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The Link Up: The Romance Novel Em And Her Friends All Loved, Caitlin’s Dream Travel Sweatshirt, And The Best Way To Hide Your Vertical Blinds

Happy Sunday y’all! It was a pretty busy week after Portland’s weather kept most everyone at a standstill. But Em and Gretch are back in action and we get Caitlin back from Antarctica soon!! Oh and if you missed the Feel Good Flash Makeover Arlyn gifted her parents, then grab a tissue and go read that right now. Then come back for this week’s links.

This week’s house tour is from another of our favorite designers, Sally Breer. Her newly revealed LA home has so many special details (hello, ceiling!), and is calm and neutral while having the perfect pops of color to be a little unexpected. You just have to go look at it. Enjoy!

From Emily: A couple winter romance indulges to boost your mood: The book, You with a View – what a sweet and steamy book that checks all the boxes (well written, couldn’t put down, has a first love/enemies to lovers vibe and just highly enjoyable). Multiple friends have agreed that it was a standout from this year (we all read romance novels, duh). Then Brian suggested over Christmas break to go see Anyone But You, a movie with Glenn Powell and more importantly Sydney Sweeney (from Euphoria). I did a spit take – Brian, you WANT to GO see this rom-com in the movie theater??? We both know Glenn from LA (not well, AT ALL, just friends of friends) and we are both huge fans of his acting (and both crush on him). Sydney Sweeney, I recognized but had no idea who she was (Euphoria fame – which we haven’t watched and I fear would give me anxiety). It’s a very loose adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing which is helpful to know because my goodness the tropes were hard to swallow (and that’s coming from me). But once you know that it’s so enjoyable with such a great cast, with a beautiful setting, and worth the two hours. Also hot tip, we are now at the point where we can shove our kids into another movie that they want to watch while we watch our own movie and IT’S GLORIOUS!!!!!! Anyway, both of these are just fun, enjoyable, and might make you snuggle tighter in the winter.

From Jess: Emily is NOT going to be on board with this given her love of minimal chopping tools and an aversion to small appliances. BUT, when I was making soup with a friend last weekend she had electric this KitchenAid food chopper that chopped our onions so tiny and fast I could’ve cried (in the good way, not the eye-stinging way). Here’s the deal. I hate onions and only in the past couple of years have started dealing with them cooked in soup. It’s not a flavor issue, it’s a texture thing which is why I stay as far away from raw onions as possible. I wish it was different because life would be A LOT easier but here we are. Now I’ve tried hand choppers, like the one Emily loves, but they don’t cut onions tiny enough for me so I end up chopping them by hand and it takes forever because I’m slow. Now I cannot wait to make my next soup (the chopper gets here tomorrow as I’m writing this) because I just eliminated a main “pain point” that makes me not want to cook at all (I’m easily dissuaded). Plus, as someone who doesn’t have a ton of small appliances, I am happy to add it and it will be easy to stick in a cabinet. Oh, and it’s really easy to clean! I know from experience. Hope this is helpful for any other little picky weirdos like me:)

From Arlyn: Got ugly vertical blinds but can’t take them down (rental) or just don’t feel like it? BOY DO I HAVE A SOLUTION FOR YOU TO MAKE IT LOOK BETTER! I mentioned these amazing (and super affordable) brackets earlier this week in the post about my parent’s flash makeover reveal, but in case it was missed in my giant dissertation of a post, I figured it best to also share here. They take seconds to install, are adjustable so they’ll fit most overhead track rails, and the rod you chose (I got this one) ends up directly in front so you barely notice the rail anymore. Open the blinds, tuck them behind a curtain panel to the side and BOOM. A far better solution. 

Also from Arlyn: Last week, Jess talked about her hair journey for the year and asked for some recs and I’m coming this week with my hand open also asking for a favor. I was born was fairly easy hair but my skin leaves much to be desired. This year, I want to focus on fixing that, specifically the texture and the visibility of my pores. Please, someone out there, share with me a product (or service) that has helped you smooth out the texture of your skin and maybe, dear lord maybe, shrink pore size? I’m not entirely sure that’s even possible, but look, I’ll take all the recommendations. Thanks! 

From Caitlin: It’s my third consecutive travel-related link for you (and my final dispatch from Antarctica – heading back north in a few days!), but I’ve saved the best recommendation for last: it’s a soft, comfy, easy-to-move-in hoodie with a built-in eye mask. This was a Christmas gift from Brenda and she knocked it out of the park! The lining is SO soft and it’s warm without feeling thick or heavy, which is my favorite. I love the oversized, boxy fit and the built-in eye mask is a dream for long flights (or if you’re trying to sleep at 3 AM and the sun’s already risen, as is the case here!). I don’t normally love the feeling of an eye mask, but this one is large and I love the way it drapes (no elastic required). I already know that this one is gonna make my gift guide this year!

From Mallory: No joke these might have been the easiest and best eggs I have ever made!! They’re creamy with a little kick – I used this chili oil which I got from my cute little local NYC butcher shop and it is PHENOMENAL. Highly recommend you try this – oh and don’t forget to top it with green onions or chives.

Also From Mallory: So now that I live in a cold weather climate I can no longer wear my little shorts and sports bra sets to the gym – it’s time we learn how to layer!! So I recently purchased this striped workout shirt from Lululemon and I have to say I love it. It’s lightweight and drapes well which makes it the perfect layering shirt. Plus the material is slightly workout-y but it also can easily be worn around town as a regular shirt and no one would know it’s athleisure (I wear it under sweaters all the time!!). I bought it in the Yachtie Striped Black and White but it comes in lots of other cute colors too if you’re interested!! The neckline detail is also really cute:)

From Gretchen: Em loves her Bombas socks and I’ve always wanted to try them out. A friend recently recommended their Gripper Slippers, so I decided that’s where I’d start! I have terrible circulation and my toes get ridiculously cold. Socks don’t usually do enough to keep them warm and most of my slippers just feel too clunky to wear around the house. I love that these feel like the coziest socks on the planet but legit grip like shoes! A few styles are on sale right now, but the best part is that when you buy a pair, they gift a pair to someone in need. So it’s money well spent no matter what!

That’s it for today! See everyone tomorrow. xx

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Brady’s Living Room Refresh with The Citizenry

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4 months ago

@Arlyn – HYDRAFACIAL! I’ve never used much on my skin besides cream and some sort of oil (Vitamin C, Rosehip oil, etc) and my pores have always been noticeable and my skin texture sucks. I got a Hydrafacial in August and it was an IMMEDIATE upgrade. The aesthetician recommended using an exfoliant 2-3 times a week (I went with Tula) and my pores have been much better ever since!!

4 months ago

Arlyn- Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads are game-changing for texture and pores. They’re pricey, so I alternate days with an inexpensive retinol and plenty of moisturizer.

4 months ago

I just added “You, with a view” to my library request list. Looking forward. This blog convinced me to give romances a try, and it’s been a delight. Two of my recent favorites: “The Seven-Year Slip” and “The Remedy for Love.”

4 months ago
Reply to  Emilie

Just requested all three, thanks for taking the time to add your two titles!

4 months ago

What house is the post picture from? So pretty!!

4 months ago
Reply to  Galen

Brady Tolbert! Here is the room tour

4 months ago

Hi Arlyn, I highly recommend CeraVe resurfacing retinol face serum. Definitely give it a try!

4 months ago
Reply to  Heidi


4 months ago

@arlyn – I got this product in a recent Ipsy box and it makes my skin glow (and I have never thought my skin could glow): I put it on morning and night and follow up with a moisturizer (I use this one now bc I live in Chicago and have radiator heaters – so it is super dry: I currently use this cleanser, again bc of how dry it is: but in warmer weather, I use this and it makes my pores disappear:—unscented—5-91-fl-oz/-/A-83670777. My skin is currently super smooth and looks really good, which is truly a miracle.

4 months ago

Hey Jess – can you link to the kitchen aid onion chopper? (both provided links go to the same post.) Thanks!

4 months ago
Reply to  kaya


4 months ago

Arlyn- I recommend Caroline Hirons’ book “Skincare”. It’s an awesome book that breaks down everything, teaches about skincare, gives product information, dispels myths, and is super helpful! Two of my favorite products for pore size are Paula’s choice BHA skin perfecting liquid exfoliant and Sunday Reilly’s Good Genes. Have a great week!

4 months ago
Reply to  Jessica

Seconding the Paula’s Choice exfoliant. I’ve had great results with multiple Paula’s Choice products. (And I definitely have a pore issue too.)

4 months ago
Reply to  Jessica

Was coming here to say Paula’s Choice.

4 months ago
Reply to  Jessica

Was also a fan of Good Genes and still am, but I’ve found that I prefer Biossance’s Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Serum – it’s a little bit more hydrating while still evening out skin texture, and it’s significantly cheaper!

4 months ago

Arlen, check out The Ordinary – their products have the same ingredients as pricier brands but stripped down, free of fragrances etc., and affordable enough to try a few things and see what works. I love their toner (which is actually an exfoliant) and Niacinamide with zinc serum. Both have made a huge difference in my sensitive, uneven, acne prone but also aging skin!

4 months ago

Arlyn, I have the same issues, large pores on my tzone and uneven skin texture. I’ve tried facials and microneedling, I spent thousands and my skin looks exactly the same. I’ve just accepted that nothing is actually going to change my skin. Skincare is obviously important, but really what makes it look it’s best is makeup. I used powder to cover it up for years thinking liquid foundation was going to emphasis the pores and textures, but I was wrong. Liquid foundation, specifically giorgio armani power fabric foundation, is so light that it seems to sit on top of my skin giving a blurring effect. I do only apply with a wet beautyblender sponge. It lasts all day and doesn’t sink into my pores like the powder did. I sometimes get a little oily in my tzone, especially when it’s warm, but I just brush a little powder over the areas and it looks beautiful. I took it a little further and purchased the same foundation in a few shades darker and use it as a bronzer on my forehead, temples and cheekbones. The combo makes my skin glow and look sunkissed. Since I made the change I’ve gotten several… Read more »

4 months ago

Caitlin is going to do a post on Antarctica when she’s back, right?!?!

4 months ago

Arlyn, Im all about the lowest number of ingredients that are cost effective for skin care. I read a tip about apple cider vinegar (I use braggs) and started using it as a toner a few months ago. I dilute it by about half and use my reusable cotton pads and wipe it all over my face and neck every night. I have large pores on my t zone and miraculously, the ACV has made them so much smaller! It’s wild. Maybe it would work for you too. I spray my face after with a list I made from water frankincense and rose oils to dispel the lingering ACV smell. When I got a facial, the aesthetician commented on my beautiful skin and I loooved telling her about this cheap tool!

4 months ago

Arlyn — I SWEAR by the Dennis Gross Daily Peel. They are expensive but I buy the big box and they last me a good amount of time. I probably use it 1-2x a week at most. It makes my skin’s texture 1,000x better and it’s what I ALWAYS stock up on during Sephora’s big sales.

4 months ago

For pores, check out Slurp Laboratories Decalt:
It’s amazing!

4 months ago

I swear by A313 and the Ordinary’s Niacinamide serum switched off every other night. Neither is pricy and my skin is so smooth and clear. Niacinamide has more dramatically improved my skin than anything else I’ve tried, and definitely shrank my pores. I’ve been using them both for over a year.

Andrea Taylor
4 months ago hi! This isn’t a paid endorsement and I’m certainly not a typical goop customer, but this exfoliating glow stuff is awesome. It really makes your skin feel like you just had a facial and it tightens everything up. It’s pricey-ish but you only need a fingertip full for your whole face! It might help with your pores — certainly can’t hurt. I use it about 3 times a week and it really is great mixed in with everything. Also I started using skin cuticles vitamin C serum. There are less expensive versions of that— take a look, but most skin doctors will say to use that too plus a moisturizer and maybe something else. That’s the basics for my advice!

Sarah F
4 months ago

Arlyn, Hydropeptide products have completely transformed my skin. It looks better than it did 10 years ago (I’m 38). It’s a little pricey, but lasts forever because it’s great quality. The liquid resurfacing solution would be my #1 rec for you! It makes a big difference.

4 months ago

Dupe for Bombsa gripper slippers (2 for the price of the Bombas ones):

3 months ago

Arlyn: Paula’s Choice BHA liquid 🙂