Romantic Life Lessons

Happy Labor Day!

Welcome to the red line we cross each year into work-heavy fall! Insert here the shopping-for-school-supplies fantasy that is no longer relevant. Vacations are over, school is starting, but this period of the year is still fun!

If you write or edit or do anything book related, you are really, really, really into paper and pen products, making school supply shopping extra joy. Add to this how the light changes and hits whatever landscape you inhabit (except Iceland, right?). You’re no longer walking into ovenly air, but that “crisp” vibe that is autumn.

I happen to be reading a paper product–with words inside–entitled Deep Work by Cal Newport. The title intrigued me because I am very old school in how I work and think about work. I’ve always loved the idea of clearing away the clutter, ignoring the email inbox triage and focusing on deep work. In fact, I used to be able to do this quite effectively. As you accumulate tasks–or create them to avoid deep work–it is easy to put off delving into true, meaningful projects and spending the hours they require. Can you tell that I blocked off a couple hours to write this? Maybe I took a break to sip a Manhattan. Deep work is not easy but here I am committed to finishing. And maybe a little tipsy too.

In any case, I highly recommend reading this, even though it is, technically, another procrastination tool, as are most things–snacks, reading, TV, paying attention to loved ones, shopping. Deep Work is an inspiring read that may rev up your determination. Just don’t go near the bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters until you finish it (just kidding, Manhattans are delicious). If you can’t read a book right now, his Ted talk on his lack of social media is inspiring. You may not do the things he suggests but every little nudge toward better focus is a blessing.

For Labor Day, I pushed myself to run five miles*. Afterwards, as is tradition, I sang Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt while walking home. Running consistently these last 25 years, I’m not sure how much longer my body can take the punishment, but it sure feels good (and it hurts). I count my blessings every day that I can run again–and breathe deeply and non-COVIDly.

So let’s see, we’ve discussed books, exercise, and now I’ll veer into my other obsession: appeasing my inner makeup diva goddess. She’s very bossy!

Since March 2020, I’ve been watching makeup tutorials and rushing to sample brands (all of them). Yesterday, my husband finally noticed and asked if I’d accumulated a whole lot more makeup in the last year. Sadly, yes, but I do need the new Jones Road Miracle Balm in Dusty Rose and Magic Hour even though it doesn’t seem too different from Cindy Joseph’s Boom Trio. The E.L.F. pore-filling primer makes my skin look like porcelain. And Posh Spice does more than sing (!). With Victoria Beckham Beauty, she has created the best eyeliner pencil I’ve used in 53 years of life. For skin care, I use Acure day-brightening moisturizer, which is vegan and has the nicest lemony smell. Also, Patrick Smith Botanicals’ Face Serum and Face Wash are exactly what the skin wants. The afterglow stick from Nars, KVD’s tattoo eyeliner, a sparkly lipstick from Charlotte Tillsbury, mascara from Marc Jacobs and Tarte, Bobbi Brown face pencils, Urban Decay and Ilia eyeshadow palettes, and Bite lipsticks.

I’ve learned so much during the pandemic. I love make up! And I have enough now to beautify everyone in Manhattan. I’m very close to doing my own geeky tutorial.

Basically, the gist of my story right now is a range of doing a whole lot and a whole lotta nothing. But all of it counts.

Happy New Season to you all and get to that Deep Damn Work.

*Deep work on the body.

3 thoughts on “Happy Labor Day!”

  1. Deep Work reminded me of a blog post I am fond of called “Go Deeper, Not Wider.” I love the spirit of the idea, but I find it so hard to implement.

    I have just placed a hold on Deep Work at the library. We shall see what insight it will bring me as it has you.

    I LOVE office supplies. I no longer have kids in school, but I love looking at everything! Maybe there are new markers that do fabulous things or new colors to try. One never knows unless they look! I am a collector of pretty journals and more art/craft supplies than I can ever use. And yet, it is deeply satisfying to shop for them. LOL!

    Can’t wait to see your makeup tutorial!!!

    1. Dear Carolyn, That blog post just blew my mind. I was thinking of having a “Depth” year and not buying anything. One of the problems with the pandemic is that I keep buying new things, thinking that it will be exactly what I need. That three-second high with the new purchase doesn’t last long enough. Except who can give up office supplies? I share your love and also have a collection of glittery pens and journals and I always want more. Thanks for sharing the blog post and for reading. Happy Office Supplies Season!

      1. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we didn’t buy more? Our bank accounts would appreciate it! After work, I went to Office Depot because I have to spend $10 every month to get the $20 in ink cartridge recycling rewards. Hey, it’s a “free” $10 I make!!! I found gold glitter binders which I plan to turn into travel planners: one for the US and one for the World. It’s an addiction! You are right, though. The high doesn’t last long and then you want the next new thing. Maybe we should start our own accountability group to try NOT to buy anything. We can always wait until the New Year, of course! LOL!

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