Features + The Weekly Edit

The Weekly Edit: Another Trip Around the Sun

My favorite birthday card that I’ve ever received was from my brother.  Outside it said, “You don’t look a day over whatever age you’re telling people that you are.”  Inside he had written, “Congratulations on the first anniversary of your 29th birthday.”

By that math, today is the 8th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday.

When I was young, I once told my Mother that she was too old to understand something. She looked me right in the eye and said, “I may be 40, but I don’t feel any different on the inside.”

At the time, I thought this was nonsense. How could you have spent four decades on this Earth, an amount of time that seemed incomprehensible at 13, and not feel any older? So I just rolled my eyes, and walked away.

Now, at 37, I can tell you confidently that my Mother was right. I don’t feel any different on the inside than I did at 27 or 33.

I don’t know where I thought I would be at 37. I probably never thought about 37 at all. But I can assure you that if I did, I did not think it would look like this.  And if we’re being honest with each other, I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I spent most of last year so depressed that getting out of bed was a challenge.  Coming out of that took a lot of work.  But here I stand, with so much to be happy about, yet feeling a bit like a stranger in a strange land.  Inside, I feel like myself.  Outside, not quite.

I suppose I have another trip around the sun to sort out these challenges.  To change.  To improve.  To try again, and perhaps fail again, but fail better.

I’m still working through all of the books I bought before I went to work in Montana.  So bare with me if you have already read them.  My latest is American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson.

American Spy is a modern take on the classic spy novel.  A young black woman — through a confluence of family ties and desire to serve her country — becomes embroiled in a deadly undercover assignment.  The book is written as an epistle, as she details her past for her sons.

I like the story.  I’ve always had a thing for spy novels.  The writing style isn’t my favorite.  I find it overly wistful at times, but as a whole, it’s an interesting book and I recommend it.

Speaking of books…do you listen to the Bad on Paper podcast?  Grace and Becca are hosting a live show in D.C., and I’m thrilled to be one of their guests.  Just 9 tickets left!  Get yours for June 7th, at City Winery.

My hair does not hold a curl that well.  I can wave it with an iron, and 10-minutes after I step outside, it starts to unravel.  Add in humidity, and you can lower that number to 2-minutes.

Earlier this year, a hair dresser waved my hair with a 3/4-inch iron.  At first, I was like, “Whoa, girl.  I am not Shirley Temple, and this is not working for me.”  But when she told me that waving bigger sections with a smaller iron can help hold a curl, I was curious.  No surprise, the professional was right.

I bought this Hot Tools 3/4 inch iron, and it works like a dream.  Instead of 1″ sections, I roll 2-3″ sections, hold for 10 seconds, and then let cool.  Once cool, I spray with a flexible hold hairspray, and brush through with a round brush.  Then, I spray with a firm hold hairspray.  The look is wavy, voluminous, and fab.

“Why do you post so much booze to Pinterest?”

It sounded more like an accusation than a question.  But the truth is, I post gorgeous, tasty cocktails to my Libations board, because I dream of a life where I stroll into the backyard in a caftan and oversized sunglasses and pour cocktails for people.  It’s all my Joan Didion dreams come true, but with a taller husband.

So if you need a cocktail recipe, that’s the place to go.

Chafing.  It’s a thing.  Recently, I wore a pair of Nike shorts (buy these at Rack for the best prices) on a vigorous hike.  Little did I know that when your thighs rub together in the desert heat, you could start a brush fire.

God Bless, Mega Babe Thigh Rescue for relieving this unexpected hell.  If only I had had this product when I was commuting through D.C.’s hot, humid summers.  Soothing, smells nice, and keeps the fire danger to a minimum.


So what are you loving this week?  Any recipes or podcasts your fellow readers need to try?  Did you find a new wonder product?  Leave the thoughts in the comments.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}



  1. Denise says:

    I made these buffalo chicken tacos with blue cheese cilantro ranch for memorial day and they were a huge crowd pleaser. People were pouring the homemade ranch on all the other foods. And it beats the hot dog / hamburger rut!


    May 29, 2019/Reply
    • Denise says:

      also, happy birthday! I’m gearing up to celebrate the 13th anniversary of my 30th 🙂 It just keeps getting better!

      May 29, 2019/Reply
  2. MC says:

    RE: Chafing. I just discovered Jockey’s Skimmies and they are LIFE CHANGING. Cannot keep this secret to myself! Available lots of places but Costco has a 2 pack for $14 with free shipping online.

    and Happy Birthday! (What says birthday more than a thigh chafing rec)

    May 29, 2019/Reply
    • Jess says:

      I second the Skimmies suggestion. I bought 3 boxes of them from Costco last year and wear them every day with my dresses. Total game changer!

      May 30, 2019/Reply
  3. Lost says:

    Happy Birthday Belle!

    May 29, 2019/Reply
  4. neurosciency says:

    happy birthday belle! sorry to hear about your chafing woes, and that last year you were really depressed. i’m 35 right now so i guess i will experience being 36 very soon. it doesn’t sound too fun. oh well, life is supposed to get better and better!

    May 29, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It’s not about age. It would have been a tough year regardless. Chafing woes aside.

      May 29, 2019/Reply
  5. Laura says:

    Your chafing stick made me think of my new deoderant.

    I switched to regular deodorant (not antiperspirant) a couple years ago and loved Native but they changed their formula NOT for the better in my opinion and it stopped lasting all day + a workout for me. I finally found an AMAZING replacement: Schmidt’s. I am convinced it’s the arrowroot powder that makes it last all day for me without needing to reapply (this was in the original Native formula before the changes). The best part is I can find it at TJMaxx and Marshall’s for only $4.99 Highly recommend.

    May 29, 2019/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Oh no! I was thinking about going back to Native after switching to Schmidt’s. Schmidt’s works well and is cheaper, but I HATE how grainy it is, and I think it stains my clothing, especially my whites, more.

      May 29, 2019/Reply
      • Courtney says:

        megababe does a natural deodorant that’s awesome as well. and I for sure live by the anti-chaffing stick. about to buy a mini for constant purse travel. jockey skimmies are awesome, but sometimes it’s too hot to have anything under a dress.

        May 30, 2019/Reply
      • laura says:

        Anna, that’s a good point. It is pretty grainy and if you had sensitive pits I could see it being an issue. I haven’t noticed it staining my clothes though but I don’t wear much white.

        I emailed Native with my disappointment about the changes and they said it was to make the formula vegan. I’m sure there was some cost reduction reasons too causing them to remove the arrowroot powder but I had the same problem I have with other brands. Around 2 PM or so, I started to stink.

        May 30, 2019/Reply
  6. Meredith says:

    Happy birthday! I would die to be 37 again, so embrace it! I am also on the natural deodorant bandwagon along with another commenter and I am 1000% in love with Pit Liquor. I do not smell 12 hours later. I do not smell 24 hours later. This is the first natural deodorant that does not have me worrying at 5 pm. Is it made of booze? Hell yes, it is!

    May 29, 2019/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Liquor is alcohol, alcohol kills germs, and it’s germs that make you smell bad, so it totally makes sense that booze would kill B.O.

      May 29, 2019/Reply
  7. pam says:

    Thanks for the share, and happy birthday. That weird feeling that inside you are not any older continues. I’m 53 and can’t figure out where the last 20 years went! Thanks for the recommendationon the megababe product. I’ve used their bust dust in the summer heat and it is great, so I will probably try this too. As for the deoderant’s people are mentioning in the comments, i love Lume, I am on my third container of it!

    May 29, 2019/Reply
  8. Katel says:

    The annual Sephora sun safety kit came with Drunken Elephant tinted sun block – for something that is zinc oxide based I was pleased with how light it felt on my skin, how well it blended and held up on humid afternoon. I topped it with Goop translucent powder sunscreen. A winning combination.

    May 30, 2019/Reply
  9. pompom says:

    Happy Birthday, Birthday Twin! It’s a great day, huh? 😉

    May 30, 2019/Reply
  10. Lynn says:

    I refuse to wear pants in the summer, so an anti-chafing stick is a must! I typically use body glide, which also works for the backs of my arms and the band of my sports bra. I chafe everywhere; it’s not fun. Another super cheap option is Dove solid deodorant. Works great!

    May 30, 2019/Reply
  11. caitlin says:

    https://www.amazon.com/Emprella-Shorts-Spandex-Stretch-Boyshorts/dp/B078HJ4B1X I ended up getting these for under dresses. They’re cheap and have no smoothing powers, but I found that allows my bikini and upper thigh zone to breathe a little better and not end up so sweaty/chafed.

    I always get the worst irritation between my thighs and my torso, almost worse than the between the thighs chafing. Maybe it’s my underwear?

    May 30, 2019/Reply
  12. Lauren says:

    Happy Birthday! I can relate to your feelings. I turned 36 last month, and I don’t know what I expected this age to look like, but where I’m at, doesn’t feel like it. I’ve always been a late bloomer in many areas of life, which can turn out to be a good thing, but…still not easy. Wishing you the best in the year ahead!

    May 30, 2019/Reply
  13. Allie says:

    I love the caftan trend, but what do I wear under them? Do I have to wear a slip or leggings or can I really just wear underwear and bra?

    June 2, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      If it’s long enough, I just wear underwear and a bra. Sometimes, I skip the bra if I’m not going anywhere.

      June 2, 2019/Reply
  14. Liz says:

    I don’t understand this at all, because you really DON’T look a day over 29. Astounding.

    On another note, Living Proof’s Prime Style Extender has a super vague description online, and I can’t tell you exactly what it’s supposed to do. Every friend of mine loves it for a completely different reason. But for my super straight and fine hair, it magically makes my curls last into the next day.

    June 3, 2019/Reply