Opinion Page: Product Follow-Ups, Vol. XIII

May 3, 2023

For several months, I’ve tried to be more intentional about my purchasing.  To wear the clothes I own, and only buy replacements or new pieces as needed.  But the handful of things that I have purchased deserve a review, so let’s get to it.

I bought this Gap Puff Sleeve Tie Dress last week — I have already worn it twice (in two different groups of people) and purchased the black version.  The dress is breezy and easy to wear, but looks fancier than it is.  Also, the material is very comfortable and light.  Lastly, I bought the tall version, because I am no longer wearing any dress I can’t chase children in, and it is long enough but not long on my 5’7″ frame.

The Montana State Capitol is not a huge building, and the legislative space is very small compared to other states.  So if you want to have a conversation with someone in the hall, you have to stand uncomfortably close to them.  The odd side benefit is that nearly every female lobbyist I work with has complimented me on my eyeliner this month.

The Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Eye Pencil is an incredible product.  It’s richly pigmented, comes in shades designed to enhance your eye color, and wears well.  I love the Amethyst Aphrodisiac (shown) the best.  I also wear the Amber Haze when I want a subtle look.

My one complaint is that the “black” shade is sparkly, so you can’t easily wear it during the day and it’s nice dark enough for night.  Such a miss.

Confession time: I hate wearing pajamas with shorts.  The reason is that I often work from the couch after my husband has gone to bed, and I loathe the feel of a laptop sitting on my bare thighs.  But it’s about to be summer, and long sleeves and pants is too hot for night time sleepwear in August.

Enter these lightweight cotton and linen pajamas from J.Crew.  The long pants with the short sleeve is just a better option.  Plus, the lighter fabric keeps things breezy.  And, like most J.Crew products, they are available in plus.

A couple of months ago, I accidentally quit drinking.  How does one accidentally quit?  You order a drink in a restaurant in April and realize you haven’t had a real cocktail since February.

The truth is, I just lost interest in drinking.  I was solo parenting a baby and didn’t want to risk feeling like trash while being stuck on early morning and late night duty.  Even now, when I order a drink at a work function, I typically don’t finish it or I just have one and that’s enough.  I don’t see this semi-sober lifestyle changing anytime soon.

Enter the non-alcoholic Aperol Spritz from Food52.  Their starter kit has two bottles of No & Low Sparkling and a bottle of Aperol-like orange flavored tonic.  This is what I will be drinking all summer.

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  1. Sharon says:

    +1 for the accidental semi-sober lifestyle. I’ve purchased shrubs and other NA mixers from Mimidae Beverage Co (female owned, based in MI, ships nationally): https://www.mimidaebeverageco.com/shop

    The Berry Thai Basil and Strawberry Guava shrubs are my favorite to pair with sparkling water. A friend loves the Tamarind Sunset.

  2. KL says:

    I’ve been doing the semi-sober lifestyle since before it was cool, haha. I’m missing the gene that processes alcohol, which in me results not only in the typical Asian flush but in half a shot making me definitively tipsy for 30 min and immediately sober 15 min after that. So nursing one drink is the only realistic way to go.

    Honestly, I’ve had pretty good luck at bars and restaurants just asking them to cut the alcohol in half in a regular cocktail. The drink is usually a little sweeter or more fizzy, but it still tastes similar, whereas subbing NA mixers can be hit-or-miss.

  3. Susan says:

    +1 on the sober after kids lifestyle. I’m not a teetotaler, but the hangover/headaches/interrupted sleep catches up with me when my daughter crawls in my bed at 6am to talk about “would you rather…” I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would though.

  4. Diane says:

    Do you wear the Charlotte Tilbury amethyst with your brown eyes? Website says better for green eyes. Just curious. Gorgeous color!

  5. Jdhs says:

    Preach about the long pants short sleeve pajama option! Why is this combo so hard to find. My legs get cold! My arms do not.

  6. Pam says:

    I’m guessing your eyeliner is on point because of your application technique – could you share that??

    • Belle says:

      I literally just draw it on, thicken the line with multiple applications, and then use a black liquid liner to wing out the corners.

  7. Amanda Birkhead says:

    My go to evening beverage is a take on the spritz: Zero Sugar gingerale with a heavy splash of aperol. Enough like a spritz, low alcohol. Will try this version too!

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