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Into the fray

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My new local Sephora  is on a particularly frenetic block of Lower Broadway in Soho, and it’s never not mobbed. Because of this, I have taken to leaving to the last minute my visits to stock up on essentials. So last Friday, when I discovered that my Josie Maran Argan Oil was down to its last few precious drops, I steeled myself for the journey.

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True to form, the place was in deep lunacy mode when I arrived. I soldiered through the crowds to the Josie Maran area, procured my oil, did a quick scan of the shelf to see if there was anything new, and found this: Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil. While the notion of oil on your lips might at first seem rather ick, the stuff actually feels really light and much less gloppy than gloss (alas, on the cheeks, I found it a touch heavy).  I bought a tube in a shade called Always Cherry, which is actually as pink as it is red, and pleasantly sheer.

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Until I was 40 or so, my makeup routine consisted of taking a quick mascara swipe at my lashes before I ran out the door. These days, mascara application is but one of several steps in my maquillage, and it is always accompanied by eyeliner. I mess around with new ones from time to time, but always return to YSL Eyeliner Effect Faux Cils Shocking, because instead of a brush, which can be so challenging for the unsteady-of-hand, it has an actual felt tip, and is therefore much more difficult to mess up. One tube lasts for an unsanitarily long time, and I was well overdue to pick up a new one, so into the basket it went.

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Lately, in the interest of saving time, I have graduated (or regressed) from eyebrow pencils to Gimme Brow from Benefit. It’s actually a gel packed with microfibers that help create the illusion of a fuller  brow, and it comes with the eensiest little applicator you’ve ever seen, and it is simple, simple to get right.

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Then it was off to Zara across the street, because if there’s one Lower Broadway store that is more insane than Sephora it is Zara, and I suppose I figured that since I’d already gotten my head into the right place for Lower Broadway crazy, I might as well go for it. I saw some cute stuff—and as usual, found their selection of  jackets and coats to be superior to anything else in the store; they’re just of a higher quality—and then I spied this little baby and just about died. It’s kind of Isabel Marant-ish, but reminds me even more of Dries Van Noten, who does such great things with ethnic beading and embroidery. And it’s got everything I dream of in that type of piece: strong, graphic patterns, a tight, bright color palette, and a clean, minimal cut. I grabbed one in a size medium, made for the nearest mirror, whipped off my coat and slipped the jacket on (my policy at Zara is to avoid the dressing room experience at all costs). It looked fantastic, but felt tight in the shoulders. I asked a nearby sales associate if they had any larger sizes, and she responded that it only came in small and medium. Under any other circumstances, this would inspire my righteous indignation—any retailer who makes a garment in just two sizes isn’t thinking right about the American market. But I was so obsessed with this jacket that all I could wonder was whether it might be worth it to give up a considerable amount of range of motion in order to wear it every once in a while. I didn’t buy it, but had a feeling I’d be back.


There were other stores I might have checked off my Lower Broadway list—Uniqlo, H&M, even the mini-Bloomingdale’s—but this seemed like a good moment to quit. So I cut over to Crosby Street, one block east of Broadway and largely untrodden by the Sohotic masses. There are some great, non-chain-y stores on Crosby—beauty emporium MiN New York,  jeweler Jill Platner, designer Tess Giberson. All tempting, but I just kept walking, until I came almost to the end (technically, the beginning) of the street, where you can find the menswear and surf shop Saturdays Surf. I visit a few times a week, because they brew cappuccinos that taste just like Italy, have a staff of uniformly attractive young men, and let me bring in the dog. There’s also a courtyard out back for enjoying your coffee, and a young hipster DJ who is almost invariably playing the Doobie Brothers (ironically? I’ll never know).  Some days I’ll linger, but today I got my cappuccino to go and kept on moving. Visions of that crazy perfect jacket dancing in my head.

Posted on April 21st, 2014 21 Comments

21 Responses

  1. Cynthia says:

    Zara are officially jerks. I would also like that jacket but haha, not happening. They have two great fluid silk tunics that I would love to buy right now, but they’re only made up to size large, even though every janky polyester or rayon shirt on the site goes up to XL.

  2. Robin says:

    I love your writing Kim!

  3. 13bees says:

    we moved out of nyc a little more than two years ago after almost two decades of living and working there and this TOTALLY brought me back for a minute (which is just about all I need before the remembered anxiety of shopping alongside the mob downtown kicks in). thank you! ps. is the josie maran argan oil much better than all the other brands?

    • Caroline says:

      Because I don’t make it to Sephora very often,
      but end up in the health food store far more than i would like..
      I discovered Acure Argan oil which I like quite a bit. And it’s only $15 so it appeals to my wallet.
      FYI,whatever you do don’t buy Kheils Argan oil.
      I love Kheils but my opinion that particular product is s__t!

  4. I really love the idea of the tinted argan oil for your cheeks and your lips but I just KNOW I will break out if it touches my cheeks.

    That, and I think it might be a bit messy. I’ll end up sticking to my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm instead — easier to apply.

    I will definitely check out that brow gel though..

    ..and considering that women are not all one size, Zara is doing a grave disservice but not offering it in an L and XL!

    I have wide shoulders but am petite/skinny, so I’d need a size up, myself.

  5. Katie says:

    I ordered that Zara jacket online in a size M. I am a medium all day long. Alas, it was way too skimpy. I didn’t know they didn’t make it in a large. I just thought it was sold out online in the larger sizes. I really can’t imagine why they would only carry a S and M??

  6. Drew says:

    This post is especially pithy. Love your wit!

  7. Miss Kris says:

    Every time we come to NYC, I tell the husband “I am not going to LoBro!” Every time we leave NYC, I ask the husband “Why did you let me go to LoBro?”. Love/hate, and thank heavens for UPS.

  8. Wabisabiwife says:

    Love the eyeliner… Can not live without it. I know a day will come when my eyelids are so crepey and wrinkly and my eyesight will be so bad that the line will have to thicker than necessary or wobbly as heck. Save us from that please…

  9. Flying Mermaid says:

    Thanks for the tip on argan oil. I’d never heard of it before and am excited to try it, but just so you know, Josie Maran’s appears to be nothing but argan oil, so why not buy it on Amazon, for 1/4 the price?

  10. becky m says:

    I’m going to have to check out the argan oil. I have yet to find a lipstick/gloss/tint that doesn’t make my lips peel. I’m afraid I might be allergic to the dyes. But this sounds interesting. I bet one of those eye brow brushes jumps in my cart while I’m at it!

  11. Jana says:

    GREAT post, Kim. I don’t even care what you’re writing about (because I’m not much of a “product” girl)–your writing just makes me happy. Keep on doing what you do!

  12. Dana says:

    Gimme brow has been a life changing beauty product, it makes your brows thicker but still looks really natural, not like you’ve got on make up.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      I love it, too, and discovered it on one of those crazy trips to Sephora. I was really looking for a powder brow pencil, but this just jumped out at me. And into my basket. It’s teensy, bit that really allows you to build up bare spots. My brows look young again!

  13. Jen says:

    The Gimme Brow is an incredible product, and very natural looking. And super easy to apply for those of us who are not professional makeup artists. I didn’t think I needed to fill in my brows, but I pretty much use it everyday now, even if I don’t wear much else.

  14. Viajera says:

    Cappuccino in a courtyard? There is someone smart running that place. And I’ve always meant to learn to surf anyhow.

  15. Jen says:

    I don’t mean to question your allegiance to the felt-tip eyeliner, but I must plug Lorac’s Front of the Line Pro liquid eyeliner because I find it the easiest of all the liquid eyeliners to apply. It is, regrettably, no longer sold at/by Sephora, but it is well worth seeking out if you are an eyeliner devotée. That said, I am 100% on board with the Josie Maran picks!

  16. Lynn in Tucson says:

    And now I may need a pale blue lace bomber jacket. Who knew?

    (Though I should know better. The few things I’ve tried on when actually in Zara fit not at all.)

  17. PD says:

    Hmmm. I was also going to weigh in with a comment along the lines of others I see already mentioned here: 100% pure organic argan oil is 100% pure organic argan oil, so why Josie’s? Methinks it’s a marketing racket, as I bought mine from Lucky Vitamin, which has several brands, including this one that sells for $11: If there’s something special worth spending the $ on for the JM brand, I’d love to know what it is.

    I was just watching the Kathleen Hanna documentary, The Punk Singer, last night and they cut to an article by Kim. It looked like it was from Rolling Stone. Given the Bikini Kill/Riot Grrrl sensitivity to how they were perceived in the press, their subsequent media blackout, and Sassy as an early booster of the band and the movement (I’m fairly certain that’s how I got turned on to them), I’m particularly interested in reading this old piece!