My non-toxic method for oil painting from start to finish.


For a long time, I put aside oil painting because I don’t have a studio and I didn’t want to fill my small NYC apartment with toxic fumes.  It’s one thing, to be in a studio for a few hours inhaling the stuff; it’s another thing, to live and sleep with it every day.  Long-term effects of inhaling turpentine and mineral spirits include permanent brain damage, dementia, and psychosis.

Throughout my training, I was taught that solvents were necessary to prime surfaces, thin oil colors, wash brushes between colors, and varnish the finished painting.  Basically needed for every aspect of oil painting. I used to think solvents were an occupational hazard oil painters had to accept. Continue reading →

my shop is now open


I’m happy to announce that finally my charitable secondhand shop is open (<–see sidebar!).  I decided to give all the shop’s proceeds to Safe Horizon, an agency that helps victims of domestic violence (mostly women and children). A few of my patients have been helped greatly by this agency already, so I wanted to give back.  Anyway, go check it out.  I started off by selling a few of my beloved shoes, and will add more things in the future.

update:  to simplify the buying process, I posted all the eBay links for each item.

image:  rachel comey mars booties (for sale!)

outfit: athleisure

2221 new balance 999 everlane street

This has become my go to outfit for walks in the park.  Everlane came out with these cozy structured ‘street fleece pants’  made of soft jersey neoprene fabric with ankle zips and 3 big pockets.  I’m wearing size small.  The elastic waist band is very generous; I could probably gain 20 lbs and still fit into these!  (Just thinkin ahead.)  Would highly recommend these if you’re looking for an alternative to leggings but don’t like the look of traditional sweat pants.

I also love these new balance 999 elite edition shoes!   The 500 and 600 series shoes seem to be more popular, but as my BF pointed out, they are too ‘pretty’ and didn’t feel like ‘real’ athletic shoes.  Instead, I needed an ugly hard working shoe, but new balance can get really really ugly as you get into the 700-1000 series.  Except for the 999s, which is the perfect balance between comfort and style, I think. Continue reading →

blog: in the works

dr it girl coffee

I haven’t been writing as consistently as I would like to because my schedule has been pretty jam packed lately (despite my efforts to do less ~!).  Over the weekend, I stumbled across a few like-minded blogs (here and here – I just love finding new blogs with great content!) and felt inspired to write more!  So I thought I’d share some ideas I had in the works for the future of this blog:

  • sharing my capsule beauty kit
  • editing a style wishlist – I’m not sure why, but I’m interested in other bloggers’ wishlists and enjoy reading about how they ultimately decide to buy or not buy something.
  • sharing my ‘style story’ – a survey that looks into how your life story influences what you wear.  Very interesting idea!
  • taking better photos – I’ve been learning to do more with my DSLR.  Still a work in progress though.. with time.
  • taking you on a tour of my apartment – We did a lot of re-arranging and can’t wait to show you!
  • more outfit posts, of course! including some new athleisure – loungewear items I just got.

Stay tuned.  Let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for me down below.  Thanks!

Fashion: Round Sunglasses Not to be Feared

Holly Fulton spring summer 2013

It has been getting sunnier in New York, and that means I can finally wear my big round sunglasses that I was apprehensive about buying.  They are retro, classic, and chic, but also kind of over the top in some ways.  Once I wore them the first time though, I felt amazing.  Channeled my inner Jackie O.  The Holly Fulton spring/summer 2013 collection features some great round sunglasses.

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.50.10 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.51.13 PM

[Holly Fulton s/s 2013, images taken from Vogue]

cheap monday $30

[Cheap Monday $30]

kozara 190

[Kozara $190]

Beauty: How to get the most out of your expensive night cream

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 11.43.12 PM

[Avene $54, Vanicream $13, Jojoba Oil $13]

Last year I shelled out over $50 on a teeny tiny tube of a particular night cream because I had read amazing reviews about how well it worked and was becoming concerned that at my age, I better take preventative measures and not have regrets later on.  But if I had used it as directed, I would have run out in 2 months.  It’s been a year now and I’m just running out now, so thought I’d share how I’ve made it last.

That particular night cream was Avene Retrinal 0.1%, made by a French manufacturer.  I searched pubmed (a subscription only medical journal database) for retinaldehyde (the active ingredient in Avene) and found an article detailing how retinaldehyde is a precursor to retinoic acid (from vitamin A).  It’s long been known that retinoic acid is extremely effective at increasing skin turnover to reveal more youthful skin at the expense of temporary horrible skin irritation, burning, and redness.  Retinaldehyde is thought to work similarly to retinoic acid but more slowly and gently.  The journal article showed that retinaldehyde was significantly more effective at reducing fine lines than placebo in just several weeks.  One disclaimer I have about the research though is that it was funded by the Avene company, so you have to take it with a grain of salt.  Anyway, the reviewers on Amazon were crazy about it so I gave it a try anyway.  It’s hard to say if it is truly effective for me because at my age, I have only the tiniest of fine lines.  But I do notice that my skin feels more supple the next day.

So finally, to get the most out of my night cream, I combine it with Vanicream and Jojoba Oil!

Vanicream is often prescribed by dermatologists as a moisturizer for people with allergies and very sensitive skin, but you can get it over the counter. Its ingredients are inert and serves as a great vehicle to deliver your night cream.  The jojoba oil, being an oil, is a great way to really lock in the moisture found naturally occurring in your skin, but also to lock in the water found in the Vanicream and your night cream.  Jojoba oil is thought to be the plant oil closest in chemical structure to your skin’s natural oil (sebum) and so generally it is not supposed to be irritating.

Recently, I spent a couple days out of town and forgot to bring this regimen with me and noticed that my skin looked significantly worse!  So at the very least I can attest to its short term effectiveness.  Yay.