Week Links [14 September]

i worked all weekend on re-organizing and snazzing up my kitchen, and i realized that i have a wild affinity for the color i call “versailles blue.” literally, every louis xvi-era décor has this shade of blue–when the world reopens, check your local art museum to fact-check me. also, sofia coppola’s marie antoinette is an amazing and underrated film.
  1. Is it too soon to decorate for Christmas? I don’t really do Halloween (even though my wedding anniversary is 30 October…go figure), so I’ve started incorporating general fall decorations—pumpkins, jewel and earth tones, and wreaths. I’m sure my consumerism is ruining the earth (and not the 100 corporations that are responsible for 71% of global emissions…), but the Target dollar grab-and-go section (does it have a name?) is my jam for decorations. I actually reuse the stuff year after year, and I like not having to be precious about storing them in the basement. Also, being able to find $3 gems means that you can decorate for even the “in-between” holidays like Dia de los Muertos and Valentine’s Day. I was such a cynical jerk until my mid-twenties, when I realized that, given life’s general bleakness, anything that can inspire a little bit of joy or peace is totally worth it. Which is why I own two Christmas trees despite being a lifelong atheist. Anyway, where was I going with this? These wicker pumpkins are adorable, rainbows belong everywhere, and you’ve got to be kidding me with these cable-knit cuties.
  2. I had no choice but to buy this dress in pale mint. My hands were tied. Now we need a vaccine and a competent government so that I can wear it to an event.
  3. Caved and bought an Ovira. TMI warning: Despite having incredibly easy periods for about 15 years, once I hit my late 20s, my uterus decided to stage a coup against the rest of my body every 25 days, and it has been debilitating. Like, can’t get out of bed debilitating. I’ve tried everything under the sun—lavender oil, magnesium, liver-destroying amounts of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, heat, meditation, stretching, *extremely The Script voice* prayer to a god that I don’t believe in, screaming—and nothing has worked, so I’m hoping that shooting electricity into my abdomen will do the trick.
  4. My husband bought these and these 2.5 years ago, with the intention of rehoming all of his CDs and recycling the jewel cases, but, as he has yet to complete this task, I finally took it upon myself to do my own CD collection, and I cannot oversell how much room it freed up in my office. My bookcase has never looked better.
  5. The perfect tweet doesn’t exi—
  6. I’ve been watching Better Things on Hulu because I’m extremely current and on the pulse of what’s hot. Am I cancelled because Pamela Adlon was/is (?) a close associate of Louis C.K., or am I redeemed because she voiced Bobby on King of the Hill?
  7. I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of NetGalley before a friend of mine posted about it on Instagram but it’s so cool! I, of course, have not been approved to actually read anything yet because I have zero credentials (I’ve literally written two book reviews ever), but I’m hoping that if I start writing reviews here I can accomplish two things: 1. Getting more words on the page! Writing begets writing! 2. Be able to read tons of as-yet-unpublished books fo’ free!
  8. Yoplait started selling lids for those adorable yogurt jars as a part of a capitalist conspiracy to ruin me. My husband loves bougie-ass yogurt, so my house is littered with these types of jars. They’re backordered right now, but soon they will be mine.
  9. I got this Zip Top set in a Causebox and I’m a close to the edge of risking it all and buying the complete set. It was in the Add-On Market for Fall and I totally would have gotten it but $50+ seemed like a lot…until I realized that it retails for $90.
  10. I am so thankful for all the people doing the work that I should be doing and informing me about amazing black-owned businesses to support. Check out this list of 7 BIPOC-Owned Clean Beauty Brands.
  11. I read P.S. From Paris by Marc Levy this week and really enjoyed it. You can definitely tell that it was translated from French, so if you’re really attuned to stuff like that it might be a slog, but as a totally basic Francophile, I loved it. It takes…quite a turn like 75% of the way through. I won’t spoil it because I would have never seen it coming. My one real “note” is that we must end the tyranny of women characters called Mia in novels. These authors must be stopped.
  12. Gonna have to endorse this drug-store toner. I used “Winter Wheat” to tame the brass in my highlights.
  13. I took the Enneagram Test and got a 2, because of course I did. I had previously taken random online tests and gotten almost equal scores for 4 and 2. Just like when I did Myers-Briggs, I never felt a strong identification with a particular type. This time, though, I find myself most intrigued by Type 6. I’ve never heard of anyone else who’s a 6 before, and the more I read about it, the more it totally makes sense for me (in a bad way, unfortunately). Now I really want to read this book when it comes out to learn more.

To borrow a phrase from my fave podcast, “Until next week, have fun.”

-c

Week Links [9 September]

  1. The moment we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! Get Organized with The Home Edit dropped on Netflix last night! As a rule, I don’t watch anything that bills itself as reality TV, but I can occasionally make exceptions! Home organization, organization in general really, is my greatest passion, so this is like pornography to me. I do worry that bingeing this will cause me to absolutely spin out and reorganize my entire home. I’m already looking at my shelves and drawers disdainfully. I will say that, as nice as the aesthetic component of organizing is, creating functional systems has genuinely improved my life and helped me with anxiety and executive function. There is no such thing as organized chaos. The most creative and successful people I know are organized (and diagnosed and medicated). You don’t have to put your books in rainbow order—The Home Edit is, to some degree, selling an unattainable fantasy. But creating systems that work for rather than against you will change your life, and maybe even spark a little joy.
  2. So, one truly kooky thing that’s been happening is that I’m starting to window-shop my own wardrobe. Like, remember those comfy flats you used to wear to work? Maybe one day you’ll leave the house again and get to put them on! I swear that, since work-from-home began, I’ve exclusively worn my Birkenstocks and my Rothy’s flats. I have not put on a single other pair since March 17. I mean this especially about the Birks, but if you’re going to spend too much money on a pair of shoes, these are the ones. I would exclusively wear Birkenstocks if I lived in a warmer climate.
  3. The TikTok teacher is my queen. Ban homework.
  4. My September Book of the Month is Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I loved Homegoing, so I’m sure it will be an amazing read. I actually cancelled BotM because I’m trying to practice what I preach and stop buying physical books unless they’re really meaningful or something I’ll return to over and over again. I obviously want authors to make money, but getting ebooks through the library is absolutely where it’s at.
  5. My best friend sent me this recipe and !!!!!!!!!!!! Deb’s mind!!!!!
  6. My husband bought me this ukulele for my birthday. I promise I’m not a 2011-era Zooey Deschanel type or anything, but if there’s a chord chart in front of me I can play. I do have a feeling that this will be relegated to the decoration realm, but it was very sweet of him and who doesn’t love a pastel rainbow?
  7. THEY’RE MAKING A FILM OF REBECCA STARRING ARMIE HAMMER. Ceci n’est pas un drill! My body is ready! I loved this book as a teen, and I’m re-reading it before the film drops on Netflix in October. The e-book is on Amazon right now for literal shekels.
  8. This is random, but I have an enormous monstera plant in my living room that was overgrown and out of control, so I cut some of the leafy stems off to use as decorations around the house. I expected them to have a shelf-life like flowers but…they simply do not die! I’ve had three in a vase in my bedroom for months that look as vibrant as the day I cut them off. Needless to say, when I discovered that they were immortal, I put them all over my house and now I live in a rainforest.
  9. Finally started watching I May Destroy You and…it may destroy me.
  10. The episode of Black Frasier with Chris Hayes and Clark Neily is a must-listen, if only to shock and amaze yourself by vehemently agreeing…with a self-professed libertarian. Also, THEE Phoebe Lynn Robinson creating a podcast called Black Frasier in these dark times is a gift we do not deserve.

Week Links [23 August]

So, I knew it was going to happen eventually, but WordPress finally forced their ugly block editor on us, so I may have to move this blog to a new host. Although, when I considered Squarespace a couple of years ago, it seemed equally, if not more daunting. Maybe I’m just dumb…don’t let the Renaissance Literature tattoos fool you. Oh, on that note, I got another tattoo last Saturday! And I’m getting another one this coming Friday! I cannot stress enough—if you’re in MA/RI/CT, please consider getting your tattoos from Ryan at Famous Tattoos. He’s an absolute pro. The shop is immaculate and I’ve never had a better tattoo experience. Things are different because of COVID, but no lie: during my first session in Dec. 2019, his literal mom came by and hung out while I was on the table. ‘Twas truly a family affair.

Anyway, here’s what I got up to this week. At this rate, I’ll be an expert mindful meditator by September.

i got indian food on my birthday (8/19) and witnessed a double rainbow!
  1. My friend told me about Project Evo and their customized planners. I took the test and got “Architect.” I’m thinking about getting one, but I am the worst at keeping up with planners. The amount of trees I’ve killed just trying to stay organized…
  2. I’m finally replacing the horrible “boob light” in my office with this absolute beauty.
  3. I really want this phone case. I know that my colleagues/”customers” couldn’t see it, but I do want to send this energy out into the universe.
  4. I’m officially the dumbest person on earth. I think I was in denial about how long quarantine would last, so I *did* wait until mid-August to order a patio set, umbrella, and outdoor rug so I could work outside. I guess it didn’t occur to me that when you buy a patio umbrella, it doesn’t come with a base. It’s just a free-floating umbrella! Totally unusable. No stores have bases in stock, and they’re estimated to arrive in friggin’ October if you order them online. Also? They cost 9 million dollars. Thankfully, shortly after writing this, my father-in-law came through with an extra one he happened to have!
  5. As of writing I JUST made these, and oh my goodness gracious are they fucking delicious.
  6. Cannot get enough of audiobooks lately. I “read” 10% Happier and Dear Girls this week and they were sublime experiences. The last chapter that Ali’s husband narrates??? Also, hate to be this person, but meditation does work. Sorry.
  7. On the recommendation of my therapist, I’m finally reading The Body Keeps the Score. I’m only 2 chapters in, but it’s incredible. I didn’t know the author had trained in Boston/Cambridge! A hometown hero.
  8. I mentioned planners earlier, and I cannot recommend customized May Books enough. I use the diet/exercise one to track my food (I’m working with a nutritionist, this isn’t an obsessive thing).
  9. Chris Fleming is my single favorite human being on this planet and I can’t get enough of “Sick Jan.” My Twitter bio is literally “Enough turquoise to get into Stevie Nicks’s house no questions asked.” Also, I may or may not have bought 4.4 lbs of boba pearls…
  10. Happy 10th anniversary to Teenage Dream! This was THE album of 2010, and 19-year-old Chels was forever changed by it. Please enjoy my favorite song on the album, a little classic known as “Peacock.”
i got this “thirty-ish” necklace from jen kirkman’s capsule collection @ baublebar years ago. my body is so, so ready to not be in my twenties anymore.

Week Links [16 August]

Good morning, starshines!

T-minus 3 days until my 29th birthday. I will do everything in my power to not fall into a deep depression, but who knows what will happen when it actually arrives.? Anyone else get gloomy around their birthday? I don’t think of it as a celebration as much as a reminder of how little I’ve achieved in 12 months. Although, to be fair, for the first time I actually feel really good about what I’ve achieved this year, especially amid a global pandemic and the rise of American fascism.

29 signals the end of an era, albeit an era that mostly sucked. 28 was about getting a cool job that doesn’t make me miserable and about not being broke all the time; 29, I hope, will be about finding my joy. I’m sure that sounds like Instagram-wellness-influencer nonsense (it feels cloying to me, and I’m the one who said it), but for the first time in my life I’m in a period of relative comfort and prosperity (lol @ the idea that I have money,  I mean spiritual prosperity). I feel a sense of self and purpose that I’ve never felt before, although that could just be a general byproduct of getting older. I feel happier, calmer, and finally able to tackle the real, internal work of self-improvement and self-actualization. But mostly, I just plan on drinking less and watching more films.

Anyway, here’s what my rapidly-graying hair and I got up to this week:

ImageImage

  1. If you live in Massachusetts, I urge you to vote in the September 1 primary. Outside of a VITALLY important Senate race, there are so many progressives running for local office. You absolutely love to see it! You can find your local candidates at this site. P.S. Vote Markey forever and ever, amen.
  2. I watched Knives Out and Midsommar on my recent “vacation” (both are streaming on Amazon Prime right now) and holy shit, 2019 was a great year for film. I cannot recommend them both more highly. It really put the iconic Ana de Armas Updates Twitter account into perspective for me.
  3. I ordered this pajama set in two colors. It is my goal to one day only have matching pajama sets. I feel like excellent home/loungewear is the next tier of adulthood that I must achieve. I also got this adorable set which is unfortunately sold out now. Lemons! So cute!
  4. I’m aware that this is insane, because I don’t eat meat or seafood, but how can I call myself a proper home cook without a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking? Even though I never use recipes because I am a terrible snob who thinks I have some sort genetic predisposition to cooking, I am a total cookbook freak. I just bought Nothing Fancy, and my wishlist overfloweth. If it seems like I’ve missed something…trust me, I have it.
  5. Coupling is on HBO Max. I don’t care if I’ve already talked about this. I loved this show in high school, and though it absolutely does not hold up 20 years later, it is a foundational text and tbh FRIENDS wishes it could have been Coupling!
  6. My local coffee shop uses these coffee syrups and they have to be the BEST I’ve ever had. They apparently only do wholesale, so do I have to open a café?
  7. Have you seen John Legend’s new video?? I won’t spoil it, but…[insert 20 crying emojis]. Congratulations to the best celebrity couple there is!
  8. did buy the Kacey Musgraves candle, and lemme tell you—it does not disappoint.
  9. On the subject of spending wildly frivolous money, this weekend I did a double-feature of Phoebe Robinson on Good for You and Whitney Cummings on Black Frasier. They both talked so openly about their past struggles with money management and the ways their relationships to money changed as they got older. I’m really inspired by it. Money is freedom, so of course I should be saving mine! But I never want to have a toxic, miserly relationship to money that prevents me from doing the things that bring me joy and having fulfilling experiences. Balance.
  10. And speaking of better ways to use your money, please support the USPS by buying stamps! I bought these and these, and the best part was that I bought them using cash back I’d earned from all of my frivolous online shopping. That’s atonement.

Week Links [9 August]

I broke 100 followers on this damn blog. I have ZERO CLUE how that happened but I appreciate you all so much! For reference, I have 91 followers on Twitter… I don’t do any promo for these posts, so I don’t know how you found me, but I’m glad you did. Thank you for indulging my nonsense.

I was listening to Nikki Glaser on Whitney Cummings’ podcast, and Whitney mentioned something about how naming your fear takes away its power. So, I’m trying to name my fear, or rather, my terrifying dream—I want to write! I pathologically don’t take my writing ability seriously—I don’t do revisions or editing. I just jettison my thoughts out into the world as they form. It feels so vulnerable to me to admit that I want something; it feels like standing in front of a crowd naked. What if I’m not good enough?? But then I remember that I have a literal Master of motherfucking Arts degree in Literature. Thoughtful analysis and communication are the only things I’m good at. Even if it’s just my alma mater’s graduate journal, I’ve been published. There is no reason I can’t write something meaningful about Bunheads. So, sorry to be like, Stevie-Nicks-draped-in-turquoise-charging-crystals-in-the-moonlight, but I’m manifesting. Hold me to account!

Apart from the above, this week was dreadfully uneventful, so, on with it!

Whitney Houston Was Too Perfect To Stay - MTV
image source mtv

  1. I desperately need ethical/sustainable fashion brand recommendations. I’m in a fashion rut. I feel really uninspired by my closet (which may have something to do with the damn pandemic, and the fact that I’m in pajamas half the day). Hit me up with your favorite brands, extra points if they’re BIPOC-owned. I’m looking into a lot of the brands on this list. I need to stop shopping at J.Crew, basically.
  2. I got myself a lil’ birthday present. I’ve been lusting over this bag for AGES, and this gorgeous yellow color was on sale. Meant to be! Also, I have a referral link for 10% off if you’re interested! (If you’re wondering, my birthday present from my husband is these earrings in both metals.) And fuck it: in the spirit of manifesting, my Venmo is @highwaytochel if you want to buy me a drink or pay off my student loans.
  3. I upgraded my home office because I’ve been craning my neck for months and I’d like to not end up with arthritis or osteoporosis or whatever terrible posture does to your body. I got these adjustable monitor stands (one for my monitor, the other for my work laptop), and this cute AF keyboard (with an actual number pad, praise be!) I’m in my office 8-10 hours a day, so I really should be taking care of my body! Also, I should be exercising…at all, but that’s definitely a story for a different day.
  4. I just finished Meaty by Samantha Irby, completing my reverse trilogy binge of her work. Hands down my favorite essayist.
  5. I went on a book-buying SPREE. I know Amazon is the devil and Bezos deserves the guillotine, but those daily Kindle deals! My plan is to be totally Amazon-free by age 30. Just like how restaurants say that they’ll use all recyclable materials by 2022 or whatever. I got: The Year of Magical Thinking,  The Collected Stories of Eudora WeltyBird by Bird, If They Come in the Morning…: Voices of ResistanceSick in the Head: Conversations about Life and ComedyFreedom is a Constant StruggleYou Deserve Each OtherThemes and VariationsTomboylandCleo McDougal Regrets Nothing, The White Boy Shuffle, and What Girls are Made ofA mix of rom-coms and radical politics—sounds right.
  6. My queens have honored us with new music. Listen to “WAP” by Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion, and watch the video here. And let me know if you think “wet and gushy” is…way, way worse than the actual lyric.
  7. I’m rewatching This Way Up on Hulu right now and it’s just an absolute gem of a show. Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan are a dream team. I also watched Military Wives, Sharon’s recent film (also on Hulu), and despite the fact that it’s sympathetic toward military things (boooo), it shattered my heart because I am a sap! Oh, and not on Hulu or related to either of these at all, but Coupling is on HBO Max!
  8. Just discovered that there’s a Haitian-American vegan catering company in the next town over that has been doing a special menu during COVID for delivery…my body is ready to receive it!
  9. This Twitter thread broke my heart. BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.
  10. In honor of Christina Schneider following me on Twitter, please listen to “Hot Wife” immediately! Personalia is a gift to this earth.
  11. Happy birthday to the *wickedly* talented, one and only, Whitney Houston. In the iconic words of Aretha Franklin, “Whitney was a talent. Definitely a talent. She had a gift. And Cissy’s baby.” We will always love you.

Limonata Rosa

I’m sure there are already 19,000 cocktails named this, but given my use of not one but two Italian liqueurs, I feel that it’s appropriate. I couldn’t tell you why, but the other day at Trader Joe’s I was struck with the desire to get a bottle of Aperol, something I’ve never actually owned before. I’ve had a few Aperol Spritzes before, and Negronis (I know, technically that’s Campari), but I’m not really super familiar with Aperol. I had to Google to even figure out what it was made of (gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, if you’re wondering). The touch of Aperol gives this cocktail a really pretty pink/peach-y color that is piuttosto adorabile, if I do say so myself.

This drink tastes like heaven. It’s sweet without being too cloying—like a melted lemon popsicle on a summer day. I don’t know if this is just a regional thing, but it’s like getting Richie’s Italian Ice from a cart in Boston Common. You can tweak the proportions however you like to make it more or less sweet (or potent). I never measure anything, so the recipe is actually just approximations, but it was roughly equal parts of all 4 ingredients, maybe a little heavy on the limoncello.

ACS_0290
forgive my unpainted hobbit nails and my half-removed tattoo…

La ricetta:

1/2 oz. Aperol*

1/2 oz. limoncello*

1/2 oz. vodka*

1/2 oz. lemonade*

*or just equal parts of each, depending on how much you want to make

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until very cold. Strain the liquid into a martini glass. Top with a club soda float (if desired) and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Happy summer sipping!

(My martini glass is from Anthropologie. I got it right before my wedding in 2016, but there’s similar here and here. Also these coupe glasses are to die for.)

Week Links [2 August]

Good morning! I took a bit of a sabbatical for personal reasons, but I’m back and writing and maybe I’ll even share some of that at some point. So, I guess, here’s the past month of things!

Nicholas Braun's "Antibodies (Do You Have The)" | Know Your Meme

  1. I am a Succession stan, so Cousin Greg’s new video is the only thing I have the capacity to care about right now. Congrats to Nicholas Braun on his Emmy nomination!
  2. I started Bunheads, finally. There’s really no excuse for the fact that I hadn’t seen it, Amy Sherman-Palladino being my problematic fave and all. It’s basically like, “What if Stars Hollow but…California? And dancing!” but it’s enjoyable as everything else she puts out. I’m clocking the recycled references. And Sutton Foster holds it down as our Lorelai proxy—not an easy feat!
  3. So…did you know that they have original press photos from movies and TV shows on eBay? I may or may not be lurking on every single one feat. Niles Crane.
  4. I’m watching every version of A Star Is Born in chronological order right now and it is an absolute journey. They’re all available on HBO Max.
  5. John Legend’s WTF is a must-listen podcast episode. I can’t wait to check out his new album, Bigger Love, which has been out for a while, but since I listen to nothing but podcasts, I’m usually a few weeks behind the curve.
  6. On that note, Jim Carrey was recently on WTF as well. He’s a modern sage and humanity doesn’t deserve him. I’m looking forward to reading his book, Memoirs and Misinformation.
  7. As someone who has been on quite the quarantine drinking roller coaster, I’m interested in finding alternate ways to treat myself that still feel decadent. I’ve heard really good things about Seedlip, a brand of non-alcoholic distilled spirits. It’s a UK company, but apparently tons of bars in NYC stock it. I may or may not have bought the bundle…will report back.
  8. This might sound insane, but I’ve recently rediscovered my deep and abiding love for Taco Bell. As someone with Food Issues™️, I haven’t really eaten fast food in about a decade, but I have opened my heart back up to my childhood fave. If you know what to order, it can actually be one of the healthiest fast-food chains, and it’s definitely got the best and most varied vegetarian options. The best part? You could pay for a full meal with the loose change you find in your couch. Get thee a bean burrito and a spicy potato taco.
  9. The You’re Wrong About episodes about Jessica Simpson’s book are outstanding.
  10. We lost a real one last month. Rest in Power, Rep. John Lewis. This man devoted his life to service and the Civil Rights Movement, and I’m humbled to have shared the planet with him for 28 years. I do worry that including this news item in this sort of post is inappropriate, but it truly is something that has affected me recently, and I want to leave the tributes to those more eloquent and informed than I am.

    Updated: Former President Obama to speak at Rep. John Lewis' funeral
    photo credit

Until next week,

c

Iconic Leos to Stan During (Mostly) August, the “Sunday Scaries” of Months

One for every day of the szn, July 23-August 22. Fire signs, assemble.

The Kacey Musgraves x Boy Smells Slow Burn Candle Is Back In Stock ...
an august 21st leo icon. and yes, my stupid ass did buy this candle.

  1. Daniel Radcliffe
  2. Rose Byrne
  3. Matt LeBlanc
  4. Sandra Bullock
  5. Maya Rudolph
  6. Soulja Boy
  7. Ken Burnes
  8. Kate Bush
  9. BJ Novak
  10. Jason Momoa
  11. Mary-Louise Parker
  12. DJ Spinderella
  13. Barack Obama
  14. Neil Armstrong
  15. Lucille Ball
  16. Charlize Theron
  17. The Edge
  18. Audrey Tautou
  19. Betsey Johnson
  20. Viola Davis
  21. Peter Krause
  22. Debi Mazar
  23. Steve Martin
  24. Ben Affleck
  25. Madonna
  26. Phoebe Bridgers
  27. Robert Redford
  28. Peter Gallagher (and ME!)
  29. Amy Adams
  30. Kim Cattrall (and the IRL Winklevoss twins, which has me dead)
  31. Tori Amos

 

The Bold Type and Sutton’s Right to Choose

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve become enamored of Freeform’s The Bold Type, which centers on the wildly unrealistic careers of three best friends in their mid-twenties working for Scarlet Magazine, a fictional analog for Cosmopolitan. The show was inspired by Joanna Coles, who was the former editor of Cosmo and Marie Claire before briefly becoming Hearst Magazine’s chief content officer. Years before The Bold Type premiered, I was familiar with Joanna Coles—Cosmo was a lifeline to me as a young woman. It was a window into a glamorous world that I sometimes still yearn to access—the beauty, the fashion, and the pleasure. Now, more than a decade on from my serious readership, I’m aware of the many criticisms that have been lobbed Cosmo‘s way, but my life does look a lot more like the pages. I own more than one designer handbag, by house is colorful and cutely-decorated, and I actually own a vibrator or two. I have a job I’m not ashamed of in a business-casual office, a graduate degree, and a bright yellow car. I may not have the career-minded, go-getter spirit of the target Cosmo reader, but I fit the aesthetic. I think teen Chels would be proud.

But back to the show. There are a lot of things one could write about The Bold Type, like the fact that no one achieves the amount of success that Kat, Sutton, and Jane have by age 25 in the fashion/publishing/journalism industries, every queer woman depicted on the show is thin, femme, and gorgeous, and that your bosses, even if brilliantly played by Melora Hardin, are not supposed to be mother-figures. But none of that has bothered me in the least. The Bold Type does the work to be progressive and in many ways succeeds, but it has the elements of Sex and the City magical realism—impeccable clothing, gorgeous apartments, and a shiny, clean New York City that is most definitely actually Toronto. None of these, however, is what I want to talk about. I want to talk about babies.

That’s right! In a show where the main characters are twenty-six years old, I am forced to discuss reproduction, and no, I’m not referring to Kat’s past abortion. I’m talking about how The Bold Type absolutely fumbled the ball on the topic of being childfree.

The background: in season four, after marrying beau, Richard, 15 years her senior, Sutton becomes pregnant, only to miscarry a few episodes later. The plot device of Sutton’s miscarriage was expected—a baby in the mix would permanently alter the tone of the show, which is dependent on its independent, professional women. What wasn’t expected is that a show that for three seasons was so on the pulse of the cultural moment would hand the “I don’t want to be a mom” plotline to the character with the notoriously fraught relationship with her own mother.

The Bold Type': Can Sutton & Richard Compromise About Having Kids ...
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I’m not in the business of disbelieving women when they say they don’t want children. If I were, I don’t think Jen Kirkman could be one of my favorite comedians (she quite literally wrote the book on this topic). Just because want to become pregnant and be some little jerk’s mother doesn’t mean that anyone else should have to do the same. I’m a monthly donor to Planned Parenthood and I believe that abortion is healthcare. It shouldn’t be a political issue. It’s healthcare that protects the lives and autonomy of people of all genders. I’d be a complete hypocrite if I believed otherwise. My feelings on the topic are so strong, in fact, that I’m outraged that they wouldn’t write Sutton’s story to be bulletproof. Sutton (like Kat, who similarly doesn’t want children) could have been a role model to teens and women in their early twenties who don’t want to follow traditional heteronormative, patriarchal paths. But the writers of the show penned Sutton’s story on crumbling rice paper, not giving it the dignity of credulity and leaving Sutton open to the same horrible question that every uterus-haver hears from the day he, she, or they graduates college until menopause or hysterectomy: “When are you having kids?” If the answer is anything but, “My insemination ritual is this evening, I’ll be registered for organic diapers at Target,” you hear the same refrain: “You’ll change your mind.” I don’t want to tell Sutton that she’ll change her mind. She deserves better. But sweetie…you honestly might change your mind someday. And here’s why:

First, most of Sutton’s story arc has revolved around her relationship with Richard. In the beginning, it’s a torrid, secret affair. Then, after they split, he gets company policy changed to allow them to date. Then it’s above-the-board, hunky-dory, and serving rom-com realness in Paris. Before you know it, they’ve moved in and married, overcoming challenges like long-distance with panache. Just prior to their wedding, Sutton plans to sacrifice her New York career to move to San Francisco with Richard (holy recycled Gilmore Girls plotline from 2007) and start anew. It’s only when her boss, Oliver (the glue who holds the damn show together, quite honestly), gives her the promotion she’s been angling for that she decides to stay, throwing a wrench into the plan and eventually leading to their split. Doesn’t it stand to reason that the show would fight for a relationship to which they’d devoted hours upon hours of airtime? In their epic fight scene, Richard makes an excellent point—their major life decisions have rarely been instances of compromise; they’ve mostly been instances of him caving to her whims. As much as I’m loath to give a man credit for anything, he has been very patient and indulgent, sacrificing many of his own desires to act as Sutton’s support system. A decision that Sutton makes overnight and that they barely discuss shouldn’t be what ends their four-season relationship arc.

Second, when Sutton finds out that she’s pregnant, she’s pretty into it. When her friends ask her if she’s happy about the pregnancy, she earnestly responds that she is. Her relationship with Richard during this brief period deepens; he’s overprotective to a ridiculous degree, but until this point, they’d never acted quite so…married. As someone who has been married for nearly four years, the whole glamorous hot-sex dinner-party life they’d been leading is hardly realistic (not that anything on the damn show is realistic). Even the wedding they throw together in a matter of days is stunning and perfect. The scene where Richard accidentally takes allergy medicine instead of a painkiller and winds up half asleep and barely able to move? That’s some husband shit right there. When Sutton miscarries soon after and, numbly unable to grieve, discovers that she’s relieved about not having the baby, it makes perfect sense. She’s 26 (very young to be a mother these days) and on the precipice of beginning her dream career. Just as she couldn’t have predicted where she’d be now two years ago, she can’t predict where she’ll be in two years—a baby could have cost her so many opportunities. It’s only when Richard expresses an interest in immediately trying to conceive again (which, what the fuck, dude? Maybe don’t try to rush a woman who’s barely recovered from a miscarriage into immediately getting pregnant again.) and they agree upon a 5-year-plan that she begins to discover that she doesn’t want children at all. Adding deadlines always makes things stressful. Even five years, which seems like a pretty big window, is still a clock ticking down the seconds until you have to irreparably change your life. Sutton, still probably dealing with imbalanced hormones, stress, and grief from her lost pregnancy, gets thrown into a pressure-cooker. Again, as a person who actually wants a baby, sometimes I remind myself that doing so would prevent me from going out for random weeknight Mai Tais and it really throws me for a loop. Momming is a lot.

Third—speaking of moms, we’ve gotta talk about Babs. Sutton’s estranged mother, Babs, with whom she’d recently reconnected, is a serious alcoholic whose negligent parenting left Sutton to fend for herself her whole life. Since no one on this show will go to a goddamn therapist, Sutton’s disappointment in her mother’s many relapses breeds bitterness, resentment, and denial. Ask any woman with a rocky relationship with her mother (I am well-qualified to speak on the topic) and she’ll tell you that that particular childhood trauma complicates her relationship to her own pursuit of parenthood. Will I be the same way? Will I overcompensate in the other direction? Will I fuck my kid up? All you want is to give your kid a better life than the one you had, but who among us has the tools to be a perfect mother? Who could possibly ever be “ready” for it? For Sutton, whose mother’s negligence is tantamount to abuse and whose father was completely absent from her life save one meeting (and whose bizarre aversion to therapy has left her without perspective and coping tools), it is impossible that she has a healthy relationship to the idea of family. Throughout the series, Sutton is pathologically unable to accept help or charity from anyone, preferring to tough things out on her own. Mothering can, in real life, be very isolating, but what it should be (as anthropological observations bear out) is a community endeavor. Mothers must ask for help—from their spouses, their families, their friends. The phrase “it takes a village” is a cliché for a reason. Sutton’s happy marriage to a loving man has already triggered the ways in which she cannot function in “healthy” relationships. I mean, the man (who’s a millionaire!!!) tries to buy her a sewing machine for like $2,000 and she loses her mind. I wouldn’t think twice if someone tried to give me a $2,000 present, and all of our wedding rings total didn’t cost that much. Her inability to accept it is a knee-jerk, fear reaction that, AGAIN, could be worked through over years with a qualified psychotherapist. By refusing to seek professional help for her inability to seek help (ahh, the complexities of mental health), she manifests her greatest fear—the fracturing of her relationship with Richard.

And fourth, we gotta talk about that. I mean, not to be a shallow, materialistic monster, but the man has more money than God and lets you live rent-free in his apartment that must have cost more than most small towns in America. Your engagement ring alone definitely cost more than my car. He’s also been your rock while you’ve pursued your various dreams and has actually started working on his own emotional issues regarding his fraught relationship with his recently-deceased father. And he also offered to do 100% of the parenting while you go live your best life. I understand that this offer in itself runs counter to Sutton’s entire being and brings up her fears about being a bad mother and continuing the cycle of abuse, but on the other hand…you can’t just give this man a baby? I mean, Kat’s living in your makeshift bedroom now…where are you planning to go? This, I know, is a Bad Take™, but it’s the one that really tugs at my heartstrings (my husband and I have a similar age gap to Sutton and Richard but I’m definitely the Richard in the situation). I’d volunteer to fill Sutton’s shoes faster than Katniss Everdeen volunteers to fill Primrose’s. I go to therapy. I’d turn myself into a human Pez dispenser if I never had to earn money again.

But that’s entirely unfair of me. I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t believe Sutton, or that she bears an undue portion of the blame. Far from it. Hey, Richard—if you wanted to be a dad so badly, you couldn’t have gotten married before your early forties, to a woman your own age? “Unlucky in love” doesn’t apply to this extremely attractive, wealthy, intelligent man: men like this hold the keys to the world. Him being a bachelor into his forties was a choice, just like Sutton deciding not to have children is a choice. Men like Richard are given decades to put their careers first, to follow their ambitions, and as such, have no right to even suggest that women whose frontal lobes have only just finished developing stall or abandon their own dreams to raise his offspring. And I’m sorry, but his hypothetical, as-yet-non-existent children are more important to him than his relationship to the love of his life? What if Sutton did want children, but was unable to bring a baby to term? Are you open to adoption? Would you leave her if her inability to proliferate your DNA was a physical shortcoming, rather than a willful decision? Also, how could you legally marry someone before ever having one (1) discussion about children? Did you really think that the offhand comment “I want what [my friends] have” was sufficient to inform your future wife of your desire to procreate? Literally get the fuck out of here with your inability to effectively communicate.

Ultimately, neither of these people should be parents any time soon, and this show has a responsibility to start normalizing therapy and communication. Therapy is not just for people with mental illness or huge problems in their lives—therapy is a space where anyone (with health insurance or immense wealth because this country is an absolute dumpster fire) can go to talk things through, gain perspective, or simply unburden themselves of boring work stories so that they don’t stupefy their friends at Happy Hour. Sutton deserves better—not just better character development and storylines, but better treatment. No one should have to recover from the wounds of negligence and abuse on her own. Sutton has every resource available to her—it is incumbent upon the writers to grant her the dignity of peace of mind. And five, ten years from now, after regular therapy and a robust understanding of her issues? She may still not want kids, and that decision will be fucking rad. But the current writing trajectory leaves open the possibility for the dreaded prophesy of our nosy elders—that she will change her mind, undermining the hard-fought and hard-won rights of women who don’t wish to become mothers.

Week Links [12 July]

Good afternoon! It’s 400 degrees out and I honestly don’t have the energy for an intro.

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  1. Did you know that when your Pyrex lids get all cracked and shitty from years of use/the dishwasher, you can replace JUST THE LIDS? I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to me in the past decade to do this, but I finally did and let me tell you—it’s a gamechanger. Full disclosure, I did buy them on Amazon because there was a better selection and the option for multi-packs, but c’mon. Can we briefly discuss this muted aqua color? If, perchance, you are reading this and not already a ride-or-die Pyrex stan, you must immediately make peace with your god and join us. Pyrex glassware lasts a lifetime, is microwave-safe, and will never get the inevitable tomato-sauce stain that plastic containers do. This beginner set, at least, is essential. I have easily three of these. This set is so sleek, so elegant. I am truly such a psycho that I bring a Pyrex container or two with me pretty much everywhere I go so that I can avoid plastic takeout containers at all costs.
  2. Right now I’m reading Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and it’s checking all of the boxes. It’s fun, it’s provocative, it’s a mystery–I recommend it highly, especially for people who, like me, knew virtually nothing about the Sikh religion.
  3. I guess I’m using quarantine to develop a new personality, because I just got a bunch of fun eyeliners and eyeshadows from Glossier? I got the Colorslide in “Stable Relationship,” “Early Girl,” and “Hardcore Velvet,” and the Skywash in “Pool” and “Lawn.” I’ve basically been wearing the exact same makeup look, if you can even call it that, for my entire twenties (just winged black liquid eyeliner and a matte lipstick in the red/pink/mauve family). I cannot endorse these products enough–I usually hate eyeshadow and think I look terrible in it, but I’m a convert now.
  4. It’s my birthday in roughly 40 days, so please get me these earrings, they’re all I want. In both metals, to match all of my looks.
  5. The most important song on earth to me right now is “Bummer Days” by Liza Anne. Who can relate?
  6. The way that this article came for my neck…
  7. Padma Lakshmi’s new Hulu show, Taste the Nation, is really good so far. Spoiler, but when Madhur Jaffrey showed up, I fell off my chair.
  8. This is the best tweet ever written. We can all quit Twitter now.
  9. MIEL HAS DONE IT AGAIN. Stream “I’ll Be Holding” on Spotify.
  10. Can’t wait to watch Palm Springs on Hulu. I love Cristin Milioti, but I am a Samberg stangirl for life.
  11. Bonus content: watch this video of my husband playing “Charade” by Henry Mancini.

Until next time,

c