Ask the Editor: Vol. III, No. Ten

Feb 3, 2022

Reader questions span the gamut this week.  Need a water jug to stay hydrated?  Want an outfit for an outdoor birthday?  You have questions, I have answers.

Hi Belle!

My friend is throwing me a bonfire party for my birthday and I’d love your help on an outfit. It’ll be outdoors in February in DC, so tolerable but still cold. I was thinking maybe a jumpsuit or a sweater dress with industrial strength tights, but I’m open to whatever  Either way, I was to look awesome (it’s still my bday) and not freeze my butt off. Suggestions?

Thanks! Shannon

I don’t usually recommend jumpsuits for parties.  Restroom trips are not enjoyable in a jumpsuit, and in the cold, that’s just more layers to remove.  So let’s try a dress and some great, thick tights to start.

J.Crew has a great turtleneck sweater dress right now.  This Karen Kane dress looks chunky and warm.  This Charles Henry dress is really long, so it will keep you extra warm.

Need tights?  I own these Plush, fleece lined stirrup tights.  Yes, part of me is shocked to own stirrup pants as an adult (hey, 90s kid!), but they’re really warm and I can layer on other warm socks under boots.  Prefer regular tights?  Try these.

Dress not warm enough for you?  I like these fleece-lined jeans and this fisherman’s sweater.

Abra,

Can you help me find a new purse?  I want something under $500, cognac or tan, and classic (not boring).  It doesn’t need to be office bag size.  It does need to hold more than a wallet and keys.  I have walked through every department store in Seattle with no luck.  Help.

Oh, and leather, no faux! Thanks. Lily

One of my favorite mid-price bag brands is Oroton.  You can find their bags at Net-a-Porter.  Their toffee-colored Margot bag has pockets, a cool style, and is a good medium-large size.

I’ve posted this Demellier Helsinki bag before; it’s a nice slim tote.  Coach’s classic bag line is making a comeback; I love their Willis bag.  For something under-$200, this Radley London bag is nice.

Belle –

I’ve used the Renee Rouleau cystic acne serum for years, but I think they’ve changed the formula.  Do you have any other treatments for deep pimples?

Best, SK

For me, the best way to heal deep acne is to get the contents of the blemish out.  These hydrocolloid bandages from Peace Out empty out your pores without marring your skin.

Prefer a topical treatment?  IS Clinical Active Serum is the best one I have ever used for preventing cystic acne.  I also like the Ole Henriksen Night Treatment.

Hi…

I’m currently traveling between my home in Minneapolis and my work in North Dakota.  When I’m in ND, I live with relatives and share a small bathroom with my teenage niece.  I CANNOT leave a single beauty product in the bathroom or it will get used, taken, or ruined.  (She’s 14, she can’t be controlled.) 

Long story short, I need some new makeup bags so I can walk in, get ready, pack up and walk out.  Please find me something great.

Jordyn

I own the Rothy’s Vanity bag set.  They’re spendy at $175 for two, but the quality is incredible.  Two years old, and they still look brand new.

Baggu makes durable, inexpensive bags.  Their fruit-printed storage cube set and 3-D bag set are worth a look.

Another option would be a hanging toiletry bag.  This way you could hang it on the back of the bathroom door, then pack it up when you’re done.  This striped bag is nice, and I like this one that unfolds to hold everything you need.

Abra,

My New Year’s Resolution was to drink more water.  I’ve been looking for one of those big water jugs, but I don’t want it to be brightly colored and covered with inspirational quotes. Thoughts?  I thought about a big Hydro-flask, but I find it easier to drink room temperature water.

I might be the only one who needs one, but I can’t find a thing. SF

One of my colleagues drinks from one of those big jugs.  Hers is the H2O Capsule. It comes with a removable insulated cover, so it might work for your purposes.  There’s also the Hydrojug, which doesn’t have any quotes.

I drink more water when I use a straw.  This Simple Modern Tumbler is the one I prefer.  It does need more refilling than a large jug, but I can take it anywhere.

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  1. Sam says:

    As a 38 yr old who has struggled with cystic acne since puberty, I strongly encourage you find a good aesthetician (I go to local Hand & Stone). My skin has vastly improved in the last year since she revamped my skin care routine. I tried so many products that just exacerbated or created new issues.

    Two products I do use regularly:

    ClarityRx Pick Me Up™ Skin Booster Pads – I use these 1-2x week to keep any bumps at bay and for overall clarity

    Versed Nix It Complexion Solution – if I’m in between pads above and feel a bump coming, I dab some of this oil on and it keeps it from blowing up.

  2. Hanna says:

    For cystic acne, I recommend this product and a good moisturizer if your skin is irritated. It is gentle and low cost.

    Malezia Acne Treatment Gel (2.5% Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide)

    https://malezia.com/products/acne-treatment-gel

  3. EriN says:

    Vote for Hydrojug – I have one and so far really like the design and quality. There are even more colors available on the hydrojug home website if you want a black, white, clear or other neutral color. https://www.thehydrojug.com/collections/all-products

  4. Kim says:

    For the makeup bag question, once again men’s products are better than women’s. I’ve used a men’s leather dopp kit from Cole Haan for my makeup for years– it’s big enough, looks great, and is very nice quality. It ran about $75 and I’ve had to for at least 7 years.

    In terms of the water bottle question, I love this clear glass bottle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R11P3T4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  5. Lindsey says:

    Lily, have you looked at Cuyana’s bags? I buy myself something from them every year. One of their black leather bags (the structured leather tote) has held up to five years of use now and still looks great. I have a few others and can vouch that they last forever and are classic but not boring.

    On the water – I use a Yeti 30 oz rambler tumbler with a straw. Goes everywhere, indestructible, but fits in my car cup holder and on my desk at work (and under the water cooler for easy refills).

  6. SS says:

    For water: I have a 20 oz hydroflask with an off brand straw lid and a plastic 64oz jug that I use to refill the water bottle (both at my work station). I also prefer room temperature water, so refilling from the jug helps with that, and having them both at my desk means I don’t have to get up from my desk. I try to have about 80 oz of water a day, and this setup has helped a lot with that goal!

  7. Jill says:

    For Jordyn, LL Bean has hanging toiletry bags in various sizes that last forever. They can go in the washer. There’s also the Scout brand, also washable. I like the washable option for when something leaks.

  8. HW says:

    Re: the water bottle, this one has been perfect for me: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081H7LKMY

    I wanted to do the full gallon, but they were so unwieldy and unattractive. It took me forever to find one without the “you got this, girl!” on them, but this one:
    -gets you to the same place in a normal water bottle size
    -is simple/minimalist
    -has the one-button push flip top (key for me)
    -has clear measurements with the intake broken down by hours
    -just requires you to refill it at lunch.

    I wish the top were a little more durable, but a small price to pay for something that fits the bill exactly otherwise.

  9. Jen says:

    Regarding the water bottle search, I, too, like to drink my water at room temp, and I can’t stand drinking out of stainless or plastic. A open spout with no straw is a must for me because I’m otherwise disgusted by the fact I can’t clean it well. I like a glass bottle, and this small bottle is what I use (though I bought mine on sale at Tuesday Morning!) https://www.amazon.com/Godinger-Beverage-Bottle-Silicon-Sleeve/dp/B07J48MHSZ

    My sister-in-law swears by this Owala one, and she uses it religiously. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Owala-FreeSip-Water-Bottle-Stainless-Steel-32-Oz-Very-Dark/350422004

    I think you have to figure out how you like to drink water and what your requirements are, and I’m sure you can find a bottle that’s just right for you! Good luck!

  10. Amanda says:

    I just have to say that the Coach bag you shared is visually sublime! I do not need a new camel/brown colored bag right now, but I’m trying to come up with a reason why I do!

  11. meghan says:

    All those bag recs are amazing, and I feel lucky because I like the most affordable one best! 🙂

  12. E says:

    My deep cystic acne has only ever been solved by two things, and that is post-partum (took 4 years for it to come back after I had my kid) and antibiotics. I was on a sulfur based one for a few years post-grad school and pre-baby and am starting a new one now that is baby-safe since we are (still) TTC (secondary infertility is the pits too) but my body is back to the deep cystic body (and face) acne that was the painful bane of my 20s existence.

  13. strin012 says:

    I have this mug for water (also have a 48 oz):https://www.amazon.com/Bubba-Double-Insulated-Tumbler-Handle/dp/B00MUEULAI?ref_=ast_sto_dp.

    The handle and straw are key. (pro tip: have the handle turned toward your non-dominant hand so you can continue doing other things while you sip)

    And I second, third, and fourth the Peace Out acne docs. They really help deep and painful acne heal more quickly. (I cut them in quarters to stretch my dollars.)

  14. Allison says:

    Shannon, We do bonfire parties often, a cute blanket is always a nice add! Or blanket scarf that you can make a blanket over your legs.

  15. Allison says:

    I just completed an exhaustive water bottle replacement search. My criteria were that it must have a straw, a mouthpiece that wouldn’t get super gross (lookin’ at you, Camelbak rubbery straw top things), lightweight plastic, and leakproof. I really didn’t want to cart around a double insulated stainless steel water bottle when my purse gets unreasonable heavy of it’s own accord no matter how many times I clean it out. I found my unicorn on Amazon – Pogo Tritan water bottle. Three size options, two lid options, and they do have stainless steel if that’s your thing. The cap over the mouthpiece is leak proof. I’m obsessed.

    https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/C3C11CF6-64C9-44A4-9F7A-57DABEF047FF?ingress=2&visitId=659b8dd2-c19a-472d-b4d4-69c6dadd5c18&ref_=ast_bln

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