Paths

When I moved to Chicago in June of 2005, the only person I knew was my ex-boyfriend. He left Chicago a month later for New Orleans and lived with his new girlfriend’s family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I didn’t know anyone the first day of law school. The first people I became friends with, for the most part, are no longer close friends. Our lives grew apart, and we are now on separate paths.

* * *

I went to a wedding last night for Law with Grace, someone I didn’t even meet until my second year of law school, an outward glance might have said we’d never be good friends. And yet there she was at our wedding. We were at the hospital the night after her son was born. I cried when she walked down the aisle.

My husband and I held hands when they said their vows. I looked down the pew, at B, the Namby Pamby, my close girlfriend Butters. People who I met later in school. Whose lives are integrally wound into mine.

* * *

Today I set the table for Easter dinner, with our wedding china. A place for my husband, Butters, her boyfriend and Namby. Wine glasses, flowers, a ham in the oven. We are all apart from our families but we’ve made our own. There were biscuits and homemade carrot cake and we laughed so hard we almost cried. We talked about upcoming vacations, holidays, birthdays around the bend. It was easy and comfortable, the way a holiday with real friends is.

* * *

Life might take you down some strange and unknown paths, but it is funny how when you look back and around, you realize just how perfect it is.

Oil Cleanse Method: The Follow-Up

Awhile back I began breaking down a few facial cleansing routines and reporting back on what I was finding. It started with a simple post on battling adult acne, which led me begin the oil cleanse method as part of my skin care routine. I’ve gotten a lot of questions on the oil cleanse method but I wanted to wait awhile to see how it worked in the long term…and then my Fire Ears began and I was worried people might think my swelling ears were caused by my hippy-dippy oil cleansing. Rest assured, my dermatologist and my allergist have dismissed the OCM as the cause of my puffy ears, so I’m back to say that I’m still an oil cleanse devotee, although I’ve added the Clarisonic Mia to my arsenal of skin care, and I’ve been using Retin-A twice a week (per prescription & recommendation).
 
 The combination of the oil cleanse, common sense, my hand held sonic cleaner and the Retin-A finally has me in a happy, happy place where my skin is blemish free, protected from the sun, glowing and protected against aging. That said, when it is listed out like that it seems like…a lot of products, or expensive in the upkeep. I’ve added each element separately (and was lucky enough to get my Clarisonic for free) and over time, it hasn’t been a huge  money suck, nor is it that complex to keep up with. I always recommend adding new products or steps in slowly- you don’t want to overwhelm you skin and by buying different products at different points in time, they don’t all run out at once leaving you with an expensive reciept when you replace it all at once.
 
So, for those of you still jonesing for awesome skin, here is how it all breaks down.
 
In the morning I wash my face with my Clarisonic and gentle cleanser. My favorite mild face washes are:
 
Cetaphil Daily Cleanser
Cetaphil Daily Cleanser

Neutrogena Natural Cleanser

Neutrogena Natural

Philosophy Purity

Philosophy Purity Made Simple

 

When I get out of the shower I moisturize and use sunscreen.

Favorite sunscreen and daily moisturizers:

Neutrogena Age Shield:

Philosophy Hope in a Jar, which is light & perfect for summer:

Jojoba Oil (a thin layer):

 

In the evening I wash my face again, with the same gentle cleanser or the oil cleanse method (every other night give or take). If I used regular face wash, I follow up with Retin-A, (which is prescription only) and no moisturizer per the instructions, but if my skin is feeling dry or I used the oil cleanse I follow it with either jojoba oil or a slightly richer face cream such as Philosphy’s When Hope is Not Enough:

And? With all of this? My skin is finally, finally happy. I credit the following items with the following traits:

- The oil cleanse method really helped me get the gunk out of my pores and has softened my skin considerably and led to less “extra” oil production.

- The Clarisonic has also helped me get gunk out of my pores, and really helps me keep up with exfoliation. I also think it has reduced my laugh lines.

- The Retin-A has helped stop any breakouts that are considering happening after all the other cleansing and have also helped reduce fine lines.

- The sunscreen is going to help ensure I look marvelous at any age.

Street Art?

The other day I was out in Chicago with B and I noticed this large piece of graffiti was less like graffiti and more like art.

I told B it reminded me of a Banksy piece.

B just started blankly. “Banksy?” he asked me.

I tried to explain that Banksy was a famous anonymous street artist who had a few pieces in Chicago that I wanted to track down and see for myself. I’m certainly no art expert (please forgive any errors in this post…) but I knew enough to know that when his pieces went up they capitvated people. My interest in him began when he painted a dozen or so pieces around New Orleans on the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Banksy’s art work highlights the struggle to define the difference between graffiti that is harmful – promoting violence or adding to blight- with graffiti that is art that inspires the mind and stirs the soul. Of course, there are many who believe there is no difference and all graffiti is vandalism of anther’s property and there is no inherent value in any of it. Others see a different side, that this street art  should be celebrated, enjoyed and even protected. (I plan on watching his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop in the near future).

I snapped a quick iPhone photo of the rabbit holding the head of St. John the Baptist and started Googling. Deep down I think I was hoping that somewhere within my preppy, rule-abiding, uptight self I had found something a little more…out of the normal…to learn about. I ruled out the idea of it being a Banksy, with only 2 confirmed pieces in Chicago.

 

Image Via Maxwell Colette

Image Via Maxwell Colette:http://maxwellcolette.com/

And yet I couldn’t shake that this wasn’t your typical street art. The more I googled the more I found about an entire subculture, with artists, admirers and critics all over the world. There are cities that cover up well known artist’s pieces with glass and others that send out the Grey Ghosts to cover them up, no matter their symbolism. Which, interestingly, isn’t an idea that was lost on Banksy when he showed up in New Orleans:

 

Image Via Neatorama: http://www.neatorama.com/2010/10/11/the-gray-ghost-of-new-orleans/

But what, if anything had I found? I was starting to think I’d gotten caught up in my Banksy-fever and was itching to turn nothing into something. After some more searching I gleefully discovered I was right- the image I’d seen was more than your typical graffiti. I’d stumbled across a Gaia who according to my reading is ranked as one of the top street artists, right after Banksy and Swoon. Gaia is from Baltimore, (although I found one article saying Gaia is a she from New York, others remain ambiguous to gender) but has a few pieces in Chicago that have popped up recently. The Maxwell Colette gallery is currently hosting a Gaia exhibit in Chicago….I have a feeling I’ll be begging B to go in the near future.

It is funny, the things you notice when you open your eyes just a little bit wider and shake your pre-concieved notions of art. My five-year-old-Monet-loving-self might be a little surprised, but my more grown up palette is happy I’ve expanded my horizons.

Even if it does involve spray paint and illegal trespassing. Luckily for me, I snapped my photo from a city street. Law abiding lawyer and all.

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