issue #265: on perfectionism, fun beauty picks, and art 🌸

and we're back from our spring hiatus!
Issue #265 - April 22, 2022
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A weekly newsletter with musings on and recommendations for downtime

Reconnecting among the spring blooms. Art by Carolyn Yoo for GNI.

Good morning!

Every now and then, an Instagram post will stop me in my tracks and cause me to exhale a heavy breath of relief. A few weeks, ago it was a post from the wildly popular Instagram by Liz and Mollie that had this effect.

The post features a simple two-panel comic depicting a woman pushing a large boulder up a mountain (first panel) and subsequently (and joyously) giving up on doing so (second panel). "Just because you can endure... / ...doesn't mean you have to," the comic reads. Wow. These were the words I needed to hear at exactly that moment. Our society applauds persistence, determination, and grit. But this comic reminded me that there can be just as much strength (and joy!) in giving up, defying expectations, or simply letting some things go.

Liz and Mollie are a joy to follow precisely for these simple but powerful wow I needed to hear this moments. They're releasing their second book on April 26th titled Big Feelings: How To Be Okay When Things Are Not Okaya guide to managing our big and uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, envy, and burnout.

This week, I've asked Liz and Mollie to share with us their best tips on how to manage perfectionist tendencies, something I struggle with and know many others do, too. Read on below for their advice.

Have a great weekend (and it feels great to be back from hiatus!).

— Alisha Ramos (@alisharamos)

P.S. Please welcome our first ever Artist in Residence, Carolyn Yoo, who's created beautiful illustrations for our next few newsletters (see above). 🥳 Carolyn is a Korean American artist & illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. Using paint, pencil, and pastel, she makes warm and energetic illustrations that center food, travel, and domestic life. We love love love her work. You can find her on Instagram or her website.

Image: HBO Max

This Week's Recommendations

  1. Snacking on Trader Joe’s Corn Elote Chip Dippers (I know, late to this party!). They’re satisfyingly thick so there’s no breakage when dipping into a sauce and coated with a mouth-watering mix of spices that reminds me a bit of Cool Ranch Doritos. I like to eat these on their own, but they’d be delicious paired with guac, salsa, hummus, or another new TJ’s fav in our household: their Vegan Buffalo Dip.
  2. Listening to a new-to-me band called Trousdale, a trio whose melancholy sound and pretty harmonies remind me of The Chicks meets HAIM. This song is great for easy morning listening.
  3. Looking for your next book club pick? The bestseller that Kristin Hannah calls "a vibrant, unputdownable thriller" is now in paperback! We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker is an extraordinary novel about two kinds of families―the ones we're born into and the ones we create.  Sponsor 
  4. Watching and loving Minx on HBO, a comedy set in the 70’s about a woman who launches a feminist magazine in partnership with an adult magazine purveyor, played by Jake Johnson. Paul Feig, who directed Bridesmaids, is credited as an exec producer, to give you an idea.
  5. Flipping through a buzzy new cookbook I just bought: Salad Freak by Jess Damuck, which is really scratching my itch for more bright-but-not-boring salads in my life. Dreaming about the recipe featuring rhubarb, ginger, strawberries, toasted buckwheat, honeycomb (!) and sea salt.
  6. Listening to the dramatized version of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas after Hitha recommended it. I'm new to this much-beloved fantasy series! And very much loving it!
  7. Finance bros are out, #RichGirls are in. Money with Katie is here to help you manifest your financial freedom. Katie's advice is accessible and fun - a welcoming space to talk spending habits, smart investing, and tax strategies – without putting you to sleep. Follow Katie here Sponsor 
  8. Evangelizing my Wordle replacement to anyone who will listen. I've been playing this quick, fun game each morning. The thrill of getting it right in one guess!
  9. Adding Lessons in Chemistry to my cart after seeing so many people whose reading habits I admire buzz about it on social. Set in the 1960s, it's about a chemistry teacher who becomes the unlikely star of a beloved cooking show.
  10. Calling all embroiders (or would-be embroiders): let THIS serve as some major inspo. 😍

This week's Sponsor:

by Alisha Ramos

My beauty routine has been in a bit of a boring and basic rut recently with the same-old cleanser, toner, and moisturizer on rotation. (No fancy serums, either. Like I said: boring!) I was therefore pretty excited to have the opportunity to switch things up and try out some of Beauty Pie’s best-selling products.

For the uninitiated, Beauty Pie sells high-quality, luxury skincare, makeup, bodycare, fragrances and more at a fraction of typical retail prices as part of its membership program. Below are some of my favorites that I’ve tested over the past month.

Super Healthy Skin Deluxe Body Moisture Creme: This thick, delicious-smelling, hydrating body creme has now earned a permanent spot in my bathroom. After I hop out of the shower, I slather this baby everywhere and feel like I really just treated myself to some serious self-care. I plan to definitely repurchase this one. (Typical Price: $55, Members' Price: $16.92)

Superluminous™ Under-Eye Genius (I use the Light/Medium shade): Ummm !!! I’ve been searching for a long-lasting, super brightening under-eye concealer and this is it. I now use it daily. I like to layer this under my regular under-eye concealer for a lifting effect, dabbing it on the outer and inner corners of my eye (a trick I learned from TikTok, natch). The slight pinkish tone helps cancel out any bluish, sad, dark under-eye shadows. At about $9, it is a total steal. (Typical Price: $30, Members' Price: $9.40) 
Bahia de Miel Fragrant Reed Diffuser: My love (and particular-ness) for scents runs deep; I am the gal who owns too many candles. When I took a whiff of this diffuser, I knew instantly that it was a winner in my book. Bahia de Miel features the perfect cocktail of notes, including pressed basil, balsam fir, wild honey, vanilla, and musk. It’s a lightly sweet, sexy, and sophisticated fragrance, reminiscent of an expensive hotel in a tropical locale somewhere.  The minimalist tinted glass vessel looks great, too: it’s currently displayed in our living room. (Typical Price: $65, Members' Price: $27.94) 

Jeju Daily AM/PM Moisture Superinfusion™: I feel like I’m doing that whole “repairing my moisture barrier” thing when I use this moisturizer. The unique texture, which is attributed to the fact that it’s made from Jeju Volcanic Sand, reminds me a bit of coconut oil. When you first scoop into it, there’s a bit of resistance, like hardened wax. Then, when you smooth it between your fingers, it melts luxuriously. I love the way this feels on my face—it’s got a velvety texture, and leaves my skin dewy, not oily or greasy (important for my oily-prone skin!). Love that I can use this both in the morning and at night, making it a non-fussy part of my routine when I need a little extra boost of hydration. Again, the price for this is just incredible for the quality of the product. (Typical Price: $90, Members' Price: $17.23) 

If you'd like to try these out yourself, I've got some GREAT news for you: Beauty Pie is currently offering a free trial membership for 60 days, so you can shop like a member without the annual fee! Plus: get free shipping on your first order (BTW, you can cancel at any time).

Try Beauty Pie today and get in on this.
Shop Beauty Pie

Simple Mindset Shifts You Can Make to Recover From Perfectionist Tendencies

by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy (aka Liz & Mollie)
Surprisingly, many people who have perfectionist tendencies don’t identify as perfectionists, either because they only associate perfectionism with the tendency to do things like color code folders, or because they have such high standards for themselves that they think they are closer to being failures than to being perfect. 

Here are some clues you’ve tied your worth too closely to meeting an unrealistic ideal:
  • You’re unable to shut off. When you try to step away from a project, you can’t stop creating mental checklists.
  • You never feel good about what you’ve done. You obsess, sometimes to the point where you miss important deadlines or regret trying at all.
  • You’re so tired, but the only way you can imagine digging yourself out of your exhaustion is to do more.
If these resonate with you: you’re not alone. We’ve been there.

One of the most destructive aspects of perfectionism is that it prevents us from being kind to ourselves. We fear that if we relax, we’ll become complacent and indulgent. But by obsessing too much over getting it exactly right, we actually undermine our ability to succeed. When high achievers mess up, they see it as a learning experience, course-correct, and move on. Perfectionists get stuck, revisiting even the smallest mistake over and over, and making themselves feel terrible about even trying at all. This is called the “perfection paradox”: we’re so afraid of failing that we have a hard time doing.

But cutting ourselves some slack actually makes us more likely to improve--and less likely to give up. Below we’ve included four recommendations for how to move forward with a healthier mindset. And remember: if you slip up here and there on the path to recovery, that’s okay. As with all things in life, it won’t be a perfect process.
  1. Replace “avoidance goals” with “approach goals." If your goal is to not fail, you’ll never feel that good—and you won’t be thrilled when you achieve it. Instead, start setting what psychologists call “approach” goals (achieving a positive) instead of “avoidance” goals (preventing a negative). For example, if you’re going to give a presentation at work, say to yourself, “I want to impress people with my compelling storytelling” (approach goal) rather than “I want to avoid looking like I don’t know what I’m doing” (avoidance goal).
  2. Get rid of “always” and “never." These words are usually signs your self-reflection is becoming self-destructive. The next time you catch yourself thinking the words “always” and “never,” reframe the situation. Say you’re too exhausted after work to join your friends for dinner. Instead of thinking, “I always let people down,” tell yourself, “I’m skipping one event to take care of myself.” You can also remind yourself of all the times you did show up.
  3. Ask yourself, “What do I want or need, free of expectations?” Who would you be if you didn’t feel pressure to follow someone else’s rules? Growing up, Liz’s immigrant parents encouraged her to become a neurosurgeon, wealth manager, or corporate lawyer. But after two years of staring at a Bloomberg terminal until 1am as a consultant, Liz burned out. For weeks, she dreaded telling her parents that she was going to quit. When she finally called them, she was surprised that they supported her decision. Her parents had never been ill-intentioned: they wanted what was good for Liz (a stable, lucrative career), but that wasn’t what ended up being best for her (a career that involved a bit more risk, but was personally meaningful).
  4. Name your inner perfectionist. Author Amber Rae refers to her inner perfectionist as Grace. When she feels compelled to run herself ragged she tells herself, “Oh that’s Grace.” And instead of silencing Grace, Amber asks her, “What are you afraid of? What do you need to feel safe?” These questions also allow Amber to alchemize Grace from a guard into a guide. 
Thanks, Liz and Mollie, for sharing your wisdom with us! Pre-order your copy of their new book, Big Feelings: How To Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay, to learn strategies for turning big emotions into manageable ones.

This Week's Reads

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