Week Links [10 January]

Good evening! Is it weird to say I’m just grateful to be alive? I really feel like that’s where we’re at with COVID and *gestures broadly at the entire country being consumed by flames.* I recently had my first family members get COVID, so I’m currently quarantined awaiting my test result (I feel completely healthy, so I’m praying for a negative!) The swab is not fun. I can’t believe some people have to do that for work every day!

This hardcore version of quarantine has really started to get to me, as evidenced by my sobbing to Faith Hill’s “Breathe” the other night while doing medical research on the internet (famously a terrible idea!) But being cooped up like this, without even the respite of trips to the grocery store or Starbucks, has also been creatively inspiring and very emotionally revealing. I feel grounded and present in a way I haven’t in, well, possibly ever. It can be challenging to intellectualize your own good fortune, especially at times like this, because more dire circumstances than your own are an unknown (I think I’ve just defined “first world problems”). I really feel it right now. I feel…optimistic? Is that a thing? Have I fallen victim to the New Year’s Resolution Industrial Complex?

Anyway, as usual, I have no cogent way of wrapping this up and segueing into my frivolous round-up, so let’s get to it!

  1. Currently bingeing the Australian show Please Like Me on Hulu. It is an absolute delight. As a result, I can’t stop listening to this song.
  2. I can’t drink for the foreseeable future (I actually mean it this time, it’s not just Dry January) so I ordered all 3 types of Ritual Zero Proof liquor alternatives. I’ve been making martinis with Seedlip, so I’m really excited to try their gin alternative! It really is the ritual for me! They’re running a 20% off backordered items right now, so it’s a good time to grab them.
  3. This mirror from Ikea is a steal of a deal. Will I redecorate my office to accommodate it? Stay tuned. (Update: I bought this one. A little bit smaller but it’s GOLD.)
  4. I’ve been looking for the perfect champagne coupes and these might be the ones. My timing, as ever, is impeccable.
  5. Since I’m an absolute nutcase who loves a project and is in mega nesting mode, I bought this sideboard for my office. I’m completely redecorating the space (I literally drew plans up, despite my complete lack of artistic ability), and I want it to have a mid-century lounge feel. Since you asked, I will be painting the hardware gold. My goal for this room is for it to be like if Stevie Nicks moved into Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs house. You know, normal!
  6. This book is my Bible right now.
  7. I’m also reading this book, since I technically work with the author!
  8. And while we’re on the subject of books, it really is Survival of the Thickest out here.
  9. Losing my MIND at this Care and Feeding letter that references the Spin Doctors in the year of our Lord 2021.
  10. This remains my favorite tweet ever posted.

And before I go, I’d be remiss not to say that I am terror-stricken and devastated by the insurrection that took place on Wednesday. I don’t want to live in a nation where violent white people can commit open treason and walk away safely while people of color are continually brutalized by the police for merely existing (which is to say nothing of the virulent, egregious anti-Semitism on display). But *the discourse* doesn’t need another white voice taking up space, so I’m just going to listen and keep trying to do the work to unlearn white supremacy and be actively anti-racist. Fuck fascists, invoke the 25th amendment.

My 2020 in Books

2020 truly was a year for the books (don’t worry, I instantly regretted that pun). This is the year where I discovered that I’m obsessed with contemporary romance novels (think Berkley, not Harlequin). I was a super-avid reader as a child, but I found it harder to make time for it as an adult. Nothing like being stuck at home for nine months to catch up on old hobbies!

Here are a few of my favorite things from the year!

Favorite Fiction (in no particular order)

  1. The Bookshop of Second Chances – Jackie Fraser (to be released in 2021)
  2. Kindred – Octavia Butler
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  4. Beach Read – Emily Henry
  5. Well Met – Jen DeLuca
  6. The Bright Side of Going Dark – Kelly Harms
  7. Normal People – Sally Rooney
  8. The Friend Zone – Abby Jimenez

Favorite Non-Fiction

So, technically all of the “non-fiction” I read this year was either presented in memoirs style (10% Happier) or to fictionalized to protect the identities of the innocent (Three Women, lol). So for this somewhat amorphous category, I’m picking The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West. Yes, technically they are humor essays. However, they are boldly political, analytical takes at culture at large rather than explicitly personal essays, very much a response to the evils of the Trump administration and the #MeToo-era reckoning of the sex pests. This book informs and challenges as it entertains, and for that, it has won the top slot in its category.

Favorite Memoirs

Open Book by Jessica Simpson – I loved this book so much that I listened to a 4-part podcast series about it after I was finished. I was shocked that I could be so invested in the story of an artist to whom I hadn’t previously given much thought. I listened to the audiobook (obtained through my local library!), and not only was Jessica’s performance incredible and emotional, her (literary) voice came through so clearly in her writing. Honorable mention: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

Favorite Essay Collection

This one feels like choosing between my own (currently non-existent) children. Humor essays are my all-time favorite genre of writing, so they comprise a significant portion of what I read in general. Although David Sedaris will likely always be my favorite humorist, this year it went to a tie between Wow, No Thank You and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. These two books had me wheezing from start to finish. I’ve actually never been so inspired to write before (although of course, I didn’t follow through because everything I produced was absolute garbage compared to the Word Science herself).

Best Audiobook Performance

While this book didn’t make it into one of my favorite slots, I had to shout out Rachel Bloom’s unbelievable performance of I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are. This was a joy start to finish, and she performs a literal musical in the middle. Rachel Bloom is a STAR.

In Progress

These are the books I’ve started (and enjoyed) this year but didn’t finish by midnight on the 31st:

Week Links [21 December]

Good morning! I want to express my deepest condolences to anyone who has to work today. I’m off until the 4th, because my job absolutely rules. I will be spending my day baking chocolate babka and catching up on podcasts. I’m also racing to read 50 books by the end of the year…only 4 left!

I hope you and yours have a spectacular holiday season in spite of everything. Merry Christmas!

  1. Taylor has done it again—sneak-attacking us with another iconic album, this time in celebration of her 31st birthday. I was an extremely late-adopter with Taylor, but even if I hadn’t already become a fan, 2020 would have been the year. This girl comes back harder than a ’90s trend. (This post was mostly written a week ago, so I know evermore is already old news.)
  2. I’m going to be posting about my 2020 in books, but one that deserves an unrelated shout out is Beach Read by Emily Henry. I almost wanted to start over from the beginning when I finished it. Powerful, sweet, delightful fun. Also, I read this during a snowstorm, so it was nice to remember that summer exists.
  3. I discovered this jewelry brand on Instagram last week and now I want everything, especially this zodiac necklace.
  4. I got another set of foils in my quest to become a blonde and the bleach lightened the virgin hair at my roots so much that it kind of looked like a ’90s boy-band’s frosted tips (I have since gotten a root smudge). I use Olaplex to keep my hair from falling out from the way I abuse it.
  5. I’m listening to Shit, Actually by Lindy West and the chapter on The Notebook felt like a point-blank execution. I know it’s problematic, and that by extension, I’m problematic, but I don’t care! It’s an iconic love story! (To be clear, Lindy’s book absolutely rules and has made me laugh out loud like a fool on innumerable occasions.)
  6. I need an intervention to prevent me from buying this sweatshirt.
  7. I listened to this podcast episode on unpopular opinions recently and apparently my opinions are not so unpopular after all! Microwave-haters unite!
  8. Bided (bode?) my time and finally managed to snag a new wool coat for 60% off. Debating as to whether I should grab this one too, since it’s SO inexpensive…
  9. Reorganized my fridge again because, much like Angelica Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, I will never be satisfied. These carafes are such a bargain and look sexy as hell in the fridge. No more ugly cardboard and plastic containers! These ones have a half gallon capacity if that better suits your needs.
  10. I’ve probably already written about this, but I got a matching set of this hoodie and these joggers (when they were on sale, I’m not a millionaire) and I feel LUXE when I wear it. I wish I could afford to get them in every color. Ironically, the first day I wore my sweatsuit, I came across this article by one of my favorite writers, Amanda Mull. P.S. It’s probably only a matter of time before I get this to complete the look, since I’m the worst person I know.
  11. Hanukkah was last week, and while I am not Jewish and have basically zero right to care about this, I am also an obsessively festive holiday person, so I had a 2-person mini feast of “traditional” foods I’d never tried to make before. A friend of mine made me some vegetarian matzoh ball soup and hamentachen, and I made latkes, applesauce, challah, and tzimmes (without the plums, since my husband has a thing about fruit in savory foods). It was so delicious and I’m definitely writing this while I’m eating the leftovers. Taste-wise, the challah wasn’t as good as when I made it on Rosh Hashanah (if this behavior is what gets me cancelled, it will have been a good run), but I’ve gotten so much better at braiding. It was a sight to behold!

Gadget Gift Guide

Full disclosure—I am about the least tech-y person on earth. I didn’t even get a Kindle until like two years ago. However, boy, do I love a gadget! This gift guide could really apply to any kind of person, but given that I own at least a version of every single item on here, it is pretty tailored to a person…exactly like me. But, in fairness, don’t we all have a basic, millennial white woman in our lives? The prices range from $15 – $150, so whether you’re doing a Secret Santa or buying for a significant other, I’ve got your back!

For the Kitchen

  1. Dash Egg Cooker ($) – I’m obsessed with this thing! It makes perfect soft or hard-boiled eggs every time in minutes, and it comes with attachments to make egg patties for breakfast sandwiches or poached eggs. Truly the best $15 you’ll ever spend, unless of course you’re a vegan.
  2. Immersion Blender ($$-$$$)- This is the best thing I’ve ever owned in my life. The KitchenAid version is super budget-friendly and will pay for itself 100 times over. From potato leek soup to bulletproof coffee, this magic stick will puree basically anything, all without dirtying a blender pitcher. I will caution you NOT to try to blend ice cubes with it, though…I learned my lesson the hard way, and now my limited edition pink base has a white blender arm. It’s…colorblocked! If it’s in your budget, I’d opt for this set—everything you could ever need!
  3. Mandoline Slicer ($ – $$$) – I consider myself to have pretty excellent knife skills (thanks, chef Joe G from my former workplace!), but my chops (get it??) don’t come close to what this baby can do. I linked the one I have, but there are tons of options, even some as cheap as $15. So, true story: in my usual hubristic manner, I tried to use this slicer without reading the manual…it was such an epic fail (though I somehow managed not to harm myself!) that I let it sit in a drawer unused for about three years. But I finally braved it again (this time armed with the manual) when I started making these pickled onions and now I am a total convert. Is it just me, or are uniformly sliced vegetables kind of sexy?
  4. Milk Frother ($$) – This is the simplest way for even a home-coffee novice to get gourmet results at home. This is the updated version of the one I have, but there are definitely cheaper options available (this was another wedding registry score). In addition to making lattes/cappuccinos, I use this to make hot chocolate and to reheat my coffee (way more delicious than using the microwave).

For the Bedroom

  1. White Noise Sound Machine ($$) – I am the world’s lightest and worst sleeper. I won’t say this cures all of my ills, but it’s a huge help in blocking both indoor and outdoor sounds that could disturb your sleep. My husband is a night owl (his circadian rhythm is literally vampiric), and I can’t hear him in the house at all when I have this thing going. The model I linked is amazing since it whirs like a fan and has a consistent hum—it’s totally natural and easy to tune out. And it comes in pink, which is the most important thing.
  2. Weighted Blanket ($$) – This doesn’t technically qualify as a gadget, but it’s another must-have for my insomniac brethren. I can’t believe how much it prevents me from tossing and turning. I have this one (throw blanket sized), since my husband hates it and wants it nowhere near him. They come in a variety of weights, at a variety of price points. In a perfect world, I’d have a 30 lb weighted comforter that would basically crush me to death.
  3. Something NSFW ($ – $$$$) – I mean, this is a category of gadgets for the bedroom. Ahem, might I suggest this one? Make sure to do your homework and buy from a feminist, inclusive shop like Babeland or Spectrum Boutique!

For the Home & Office

  1. Light Therapy Lamp ($$) – Do you get crippling seasonal depression when nature steals the sunlight away from us? Then this is the gadget for you! I blast this thing at my face for hours a day, and I think it’s really helping. These come at a variety of price points, but they’re generally really affordable!
  2. Wireless Keyboard ($$) – When I started working from home, my back and neck started killing me from crouching down to work on my laptop 8 hours a day. I got this wireless keyboard and mouse set so that I could set my laptop back on a riser and it’s SO much more comfortable. The best thing about this specific set is that it has all the keys for a Mac and a PC, so it can be used with both.
  3. Bluetooth Speaker ($$$) – Investing in a quality Bluetooth speaker was a game changer for us! We have this one, which follows me from room to room, and this one, which stays centrally-located in our kitchen.
  4. Labelmaker ($$) – For the compulsives and organizers in your life. My labelmaker is what I would save in a house fire. I feel like I don’t even need to explain this one—you get it or you don’t.

For the Ladies

  1. Curling Wand ($$) – The curling wand is the one hair tool I could never live without. The one I use most often was a hand-me-down that retails for only $20, so this is absolutely something you don’t need to spend a lot of money on to get results. I just bought this one and can’t wait to see how it works! The bigger the barrel the looser the curl, but most wands are tapered so you can easily give your curls dimension.
  2. TENS Machine ($$ – $$$$) – *infomercial voice* Do you get debilitating menstrual cramps that make you want to commit a homicide? Then Ovira is for you! There are actually tons of different TENS machines online, some specifically marketed towards people who menstruate. Pain meds like ibuprofen are actually terrible for you and should be avoided if possible—I tend to vomit them up because they upset my stomach—so I was totally game to find an alternate solution to my misery.
  3. IPL Hair-Removal Handset ($$$ – $$$$) – I was a skeptic, but now I’m a believer. I haven’t finished the treatments yet, but I’ve already seen a drastic difference. I know, feminism, hair removal is bad, blah blah blah, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to change in this lifetime. Not having to shave every day will literally add years to my life. This is the one I have, but they’re available for as cheap as $90.
$25 and under$
$50 and under$$
$100 and under$$$
> $100$$$$

Week Links [6 December]

  1. Had to commemorate one of most iconic moments in all of culture.
  2. I’ve been rewatching New Girl and marveling at how well-written it is. I may or may not be screen-grabbing iconic lines and posting them to Twitter
  3. Am I going to be the person who buys the trendy pan? I don’t want to add “trendy pan person” to my already insufferable identity but alas, my resolve is weak. Thankfully it’s sold out in the color I want.
  4. Speaking of utterly insane shit I’ve done or thought about doing this week, I bought a retro mini-fridge for my office for drinks and snacks. Y’know, my office which is…next to the kitchen. In my defense, kombuchas take up a lot of valuable fridge real estate! It has a freezer too, so I can stock up on the lemon sorbet bars to which I am addicted. Also, I’ve cut my alcohol consumption by a huge amount, but I’ve always fancied one day having a wine fridge.
  5. This is the cutest goddamned outfit I’ve ever seen in my life.
  6. Speaking of sets, I got this hoodie and these joggers because I’m clearly never leaving my house again.
  7. Always been very flattered that the best style of boots is named after me. And speaking of my name, this t-shirt is so cute. My husband got a kick out of me wearing it.
  8. My holiday dress is super on sale.
  9. I finally bought a light therapy lamp because my winter blues were out of control. It could just be a placebo effect but I really think it helps!
  10. Half of my brain thinks that single-use kitchen gadgets are stupid and half of my brain bought this egg cooker. (Update: I love it and it’s perfect. They’re under $20 at Target!)
  11. I want to fill my entire house with this entire line.
not ashamed! although the cleavage is an accident/absolute lie brought to you by this bra.

My 2020 Christmas Wishlist

Look, am I really just making this so that I can send it to my husband because he asked what I wanted for Christmas? Honestly yes. Prices range from literally $8 to $300 so it’s basically impossible to disappoint me. Online window shopping is one of my favorite activities, so, in a way, simply making this list was its own gift. Here are all the (mostly) practical things on my Christmas list this year.

Bling

  1. HARP Designs Classic Hairpins – Shelly makes the most iconic jewelry in the game, and these hairpins combine fashion and function. I’m such a dork that I “tested” using the hair pins with a cheap set from Target, and I’m absolutely sold. I want one in every size!
  2. On that note, I would also like a pair of these in every size, starting with the largest. Hoop girl for life. P.S. HARP is 20% off sitewide right now with the code “ENJOYBY2020.”
  3. Tiffany Mini Double Heart Tag Pendant – I feel like owning something from Tiffany is kind of a rite of passage, don’t you? This necklace is super dainty and timeless.
  4. Roxanne Assoulin Color Therapy Bracelet Big Set in Pink – I’ve wanted these forever! I also love this rainbow bracelet set (Shopbop).

Slippers

I hate wearing anything on my feet (flower child forever), but people are constantly getting on me to at least wear socks or slippers in the winter. Perhaps I can be convinced if I get one of the following pairs…

  1. Minnetonka Moccasin Lolo Slippers in Blush / Nordstrom
  2. Sam Edelman Jinnie Faux Fur Slipper in Blush
  3. UGG Fluff Yeah Slide Slippers / Nordstrom
  4. UGG Scuffette II Slippers in Leopard or June Gloom
  5. Madewell Leopard Slippers

Snow Boots

It’s bad enough that I live in a cold climate, so do all snow boots have to be super ugly? For the past few years, I’ve avoided being outdoors in inclement weather at all costs, but when I did have to traverse the snow, I just wear a cheap pair of faux leather riding boots from Target that I don’t care about ruining. This year I think it’s time to finally invest in a decent pair, and knowing me, they’ll last the rest of my life due to how infrequently I’ll wear them. And hey, maybe when the virus is less of a constant looming lethal threat, I’ll go skiing to really justify the purchase.

  1. Sorel Joan of Arctic Next Snow Boot in White or Mauve Vapor – I can’t picture a more classic snow boot.
  2. UGG Adirondack III Waterproof Boot in Charcoal / Nordstrom
  3. Sorel Out N About Plus Waterproof Bootie in Alpine Tundra
  4. Hunter Original Waterproof Chelsea Rain Boot in Cavendish Blue or Yellow – I mean, theoretically a rain boot would also be a sufficient snow boot.
  5. Prada Mini Bag Combat Boot (size 10.5 please, they run small!) – Okay, this is actually a joke since these are way beyond my budget and I’d never allow anyone to spend this much money on me. A girl can dream, though!

Home Goods

  1. SMEG Retro Style Electric Tea Kettle in Pink / Pastel Blue / Cream – Smeg is my dream appliance brand. If/when (optimism!) I ever become a woman of means, I want an entire Smeg kitchen. I’ve always loved retro/mid-century design, and I truly thought I’d be over it by now, as I approach my 30s and my tastes refine, but nope! I’m a mid-century girl for life. Now I just have to somehow pick between those three colors. This Pastel Blue set comes with a 2-slice pop-up toaster, which I actually also need. Compelling…
  2. SMEG Drip Coffee Maker in Pink / Pastel Blue / Cream – So, I have about every coffee accoutrement under the sun, but I actually have never owned a drip coffee machine! I think it would be nice to brew a whole pot of coffee in the morning that would actually stay warm until I went for seconds. Right now I use a French Press or Chemex for brewing more than single cups. The Smeg machines also come in bundles with grinders – Cream / Pastel Blue – which would be a dream coffee bar setup.
  3. Retro Microwave – I rarely use the microwave in my house because I’m one of those odious people that heats up leftovers on the stove/in the oven when time permits. The microwave we have now is perfectly fine, but it’s bulky and takes up a ton of counter space. This one is tiny, which is totally fine because we never have occasion to put a full dinner plate in there. I also love this Nostalgia model, as it’s on legs, which would make cleaning the counter so much easier, but it’s actually bigger than my current one.

2020 Best Ornaments Round-Up

I had to! Each year I lean harder into my Crazy Christmas Lady identity and this year has been no exception. This is the first year I’ve really leaned into buying fun ornaments. In previous years, I’ve done simple trees with gold bulbs and a few sentimental ornaments, but now that I have my new white tree [similar here], I’m adding pops of color all over! What follows is a round-up of some of my favorite ornaments that I’ve seen online and in stores this year. I didn’t get around to including Joann’s, but apparently they have a huge selection.

  • Everything at Michael’s is wildly on sale all the time, so yesterday I made it out with easily over $100 worth of merchandise for $50. Their décor game is strong always, but here are a few of my favorite ornaments.

Stand Mixer / Retro Van / Avocado / Chinese Takeout / Ramen / Menorah / Candy Canes

  • I have long extolled the virtues of the Target Wondershop, and this year it really stepped up its game.

Lemon / Iced Coffee / Retro Deer / MetroCard / Dinosaur / Nutcracker / Pool Float / Butter / Martini / Retro Tree

  • Anthropologie is another reliable source for excellent ornaments.

Mushrooms / Caviar / Cosmo Cocktail

  • West Elm has a ton of cute stuff this year.

Monograms / Rainbow / Tassel

  • The selection at CB2 is small but doesn’t disappoint.

Cheetah Bulb / Cacti / Fortune Cookie / Marble Swirl Bulbs / Art Deco Bulbs

Personalized Gifts!

I am an absolute sucker for personalization. Monogramming? Yes, please! It’s such an easy and often, inexpensive, way to let the people in your life know that their gifts are just for them. Anyone else come from a huge regifting family? *raises hand aggressively*

I’m sure there’s some deep-seated psychological reason that I like personalized gifts (it could be the regifting thing I’ve just mentioned). I’ve always been kind of a private person, especially with my family (the primary purveyors of gifts), so it wasn’t until adulthood that I felt that gift-givers really *got* me, and even now, I mostly choose my own gifts, or buy them for my damn self (gif of Beyoncé in “Independent Woman Pt. 1”). Or, it could be that the Carrie necklace from Sex and the City imprinted on me at a young age. Either way, I think that intentional gifts, ones made just for the gift-giver, are so special, and can range from a homemade card to a monogrammed luxury bag. Below, I’ve included several across different price ranges that I’ve come across this season.

Under $25

  1. If you have a musician in your life, I can’t think of anything cuter than customized guitar picks.

Under $50

  1. These custom Simpsons portraits are SO COOL. There are a few shops that do them, at a range of price points, so it’s definitely worth shopping around.
  2. These Birth Month Flower necklaces are so gorgeous. And, I may be biased, but the August one is definitely the best, right?
  3. These personalized name rings are a perfect gift for anyone with children or pets. I have one with my cat’s name on it, because I guess I’m that person now, and it arrived in just over 2 weeks in beautiful packaging.
  4. This initial necklace is dainty, adorable, and once again, perfect for anyone with kids or pets. Or, if you’re me, you can buy one that spells out “ADHD.”
  5. I think the seller of this custom necklace intended for buyers to requests to have important names or dates engraved on them. But again, if you’re me, you currently have two in your Etsy cart, one with the names “George, Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer,” and one with “Frasier, Niles, Daphne, Roz.” They can’t legally prevent me from doing that.
  6. These custom Pisa necklaces from Baublebar are the best. I have one in the white multi-color (my name) and one in black/gold with my birth year. They take up to 9 letters or characters. They give me summer camp craft vibes!
  7. Speaking of arts and crafts, how cute are these beaded bracelets?

Under $100

  1. Did you know you can customize Converse? I did this once years ago and they were a big hit. They let you choose everything, from the eyelets to the stitching, and you can embroider text or designs onto them to make them totally one-of-a-kind.

Under $200

  1. The Medium Transport Tote is a classic leather bag, and Madewell offers free monogramming! And they have pouches and clutches to match, which you can also personalize!

Under $300

  1. If you have a fashionista in your life, but you’re (like me) a “practical gifts only” person, may I suggest the Louis Vuitton 6 Key Holder? You can customize it with different materials or colors, and hot-stamping is totally free, so you can monogram the gift for yourself or your loved one. PLUS, LV ships insanely fast (like, under 48 hours fast). Don’t ask me how I know that. I already had the Prada version of this key holder, which I somehow snagged secondhand in perfect condition for $40, so I can confirm that it’s an adorable and extremely useful way to organize your keys.
  2. I’m putting this one in the higher $$$ category just because of how wide the price range is, but you can get a Cameo from about half of the cast of The Office. You can also get one from Sean Gunn (Kirk from Gilmore Girls) and I literally can’t think of a more iconic gift. There are some people on there who truly seem way too famous to bother with this, but I’m not questioning it! Should I do something as unhinged as buy one from the Soup Nazi? Actually no. Scratch that. GEORGE WENDT IS ON THERE.
i cannot help but to extol the virtues of this nifty lil’ bud! why aren’t keyholders like this more commonplace?

Week Links [15 November]

Good morning, comrades! Another week on the books. I realize that this is likely not the case, but it is my sincerest hope that you got Veteran’s Day off to rest and recoup during what has been an exhausting and frankly, traumatizing month. And on that note, I feel like I make this point every year, but even though I am extremely anti-war and feel that the military should be dissolved and its disgustingly over-inflated budget redistributed to fund robust social programs that actually protect American lives, I am extremely pro-veterans and their rights/benefits. Two things can be true at once! Especially given the military’s predatory recruiting tactics and that, for many, military service is the least worst option, the very least they deserve is an annual holiday. *end soapbox*

Anyway, other than being mad as hell about political discourse, I have been staying the fuck home, because I live in a cold climate and I am not trying to get coronavirus! I’m disgusted by how unwilling my fellow, privileged, work-from-homers are to hunker down through winter to mitigate the spread. Can we all just get some soy eggnog and some fun Hanukkah or Christmas mugs and just stop being reckless? Cool! And yes, I do have both of those mugs because festivity is my coping mechanism.

I’ll shut up now! Here’s this week’s list of miscellany and ephemera. La la love you, don’t mean maybe.

  1. Can’t stop listening to this iconic song from 15 years ago! I love Tori Amos so much.
  2. Best modern Christmas album, sorry.
  3. Obsessed with this Etsy shop!! I also love this print shop, and have the Trade Daddy print (of course!) Madison also runs the amazing Instagram account @rulesofculture. She is doing the Lord’s work.
  4. There’s a Schitt’s Creek farewell special on Netflix called Best Wishes, Warmest Regards and I could not emotionally handle it. I may or may not have convulsed with sobs.
  5. Speaking of shows, I think I’m going to watch The Queen’s Gambit. I couldn’t be less interested in chess, but I’ve heard it’s incredible and quite horny.
  6. I haven’t made this cheesecake in a couple of years but it’s my favorite, favorite recipe.
  7. I snagged a past-season version of this Prada key holder on Poshmark for forty dollars and I am in love with it. Mine is blush pink and in perfect condition. I love that it has a slot for my ID, so I can travel light on trips to Starbucks or Target (or really, anywhere, since basically every store has Apple Pay at this point). If you’re patient, you can score really nice second-hand designer goods on Poshmark or TheRealReal…I tell myself that shopping this way is “sustainable” and not “a reckless waste of money.”
  8. I don’t know why it took my so long to buy replacement reeds for all of my oil diffusers, but I finally did. My favorite oil blends are from this Atlanta-based company (although they don’t seem to be selling them right now!), and these seasonal ones from the Target Hearth & Hand line. The little ceramic bottles are aesthetic af…I’ll probably keep reusing them long after the oil runs out. I am extremely particular about scents, so I tend to like things that closely mimic nature (pine, tobacco, etc). Vanilla makes me gag—great flavor, terrible candle scent.
  9. I finally found an ornament storage solution that has a decent capacity and doesn’t cost a million dollars. I bought 2, because I am planning to go so hard with my Christmas ornament collection over the years.
  10. I was fortunate enough to attend the Ifill Forum on Saturday (the fourth anniversary of Gwen Ifill’s passing) where Sherrilyn Ifill and Ava DuVernay spoke about the election and racial justice. Hearing Sherrilyn condemn the prison industrial complex and the way that history will remember this era had me in tears.
  11. I’d be remiss not to mention that we lost Alex Trebek last week. I’d known he was ill for a long time, but it still came as a shock. One of my biggest regrets is that I missed a taping of Jeopardy! in 2017 because I was…too hungover (I am an idiot!!!). I really thought I’d have another chance. My dad went to the taping on his own and now it’s one of his most cherished memories. Jeopardy! has been special to me for my entire life. Even as a toddler, I watched it with my dad—as I got older, I went from marveling that anyone could know the answers to being a fierce competitor. Alex Trebek was a brilliant man—effortlessly classy, a consummate host. He touched so many people’s lives, and I’m so grateful for the way he touched mine.

Week Links [8 November]

Well, we did it. Or, we didn’t do it, but organizers in swing states did it. Special shout out to Philly, Detroit, & Atlanta. I love Atlanta, and when we’re allowed to travel again, I’m definitely doing long weekends in Philly and Detroit and giving them all of my tourism money. I think we’ll always remember where we were when we found out the election had been called—I was washing dishes, and I got a text from my husband that said, “Is Biden President??” I immediately responded, “No,” but then I refreshed the ABC News live map on my phone and my heart stopped for a second. I kind of wish I’d gotten to see the news break in real time, but I’LL TAKE IT. Remember, remember the 7th of November, bitch!

I’ll be critical next week, but this weekend is for celebration. One less thing to worry about. We pop bottles when we vote out fascists.

  1. Never going to stop listening to this song for as long as I live! Let’s make it the most streamed rap song of all time. This is also in the running.
  2. Speaking of patriotism, Whitney Houston’s performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” is the best version ever performed or recorded. It’s hard to find a decent video of it, but this one starts at 1:15.
  3. Really wishing I had these champagne coupes to toast this weekend. *theatre kid voice* Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away!
  4. The Target Wondershop is absolutely popping off this year. Can you even handle this lemon ornament? I’m trying to be deliberate about my decoration curation, because the ornaments we had in my house growing up were really special—some from my mom’s childhood, some from ours—and although I am an Aesthetic™ bitch, I do want to bring that happy energy to my own children’s lives, should I ever be lucky enough to have kids (waiting on that vaccine for sure). And if I’m being honest, I’m probably going to get this retro tree in both sizes. I love that shit that was old even 25 years ago when I was a kid is coming back into vogue. *cue “Landslide“*
  5. I finally bought this sweatshirt after weeks of waffling because I thought it might be a jinx. Proud of my vote! Should I get a set of pearls to go with?
  6. My friend Rachel made a playlist of showtunes to blast when Biden’s victory was declared. She is an icon and a national treasure.
  7. Did we know that MIZ Stacey Abrams writes romance novels? Gonna have to find a way to buy all of them.
  8. I’ve been compiling a list of recipes to make if I’m ever allowed to host a gathering again and this is a definite yes. P.S. Very excited to soon have a President who believes in science and will take whatever measures are possible to mitigate the spread of the virus!
  9. I rewatched the 1997 animated film Anastasia on HBO Max on Wednesday (because stress), and I have to say it’s wildly underrated. Name a better voice cast! There are FIVE musical numbers before the 30 minute mark.
  10. My husband sent me this video about the most important run in music history. I’ve been working on this since roughly 2011 and I don’t think I’ve ever successfully done it.
  11. And, like, no neolib, but it is actually a huge fucking deal that Kamala Harris is our first woman Vice President. She has some blemishes on her record that she needs to acknowledge and atone for, and she wasn’t my choice in the primaries, but a Black, South Asian daughter of immigrants and HBCU grad without children who didn’t take her husband’s last name being elected to the second-highest office in the land? Representation matters—in big ways (young black and brown girls in this country get to grow up with a leader that looks like them), and slightly less significant, but still remarkable ways (you don’t have to give birth or let your identity be subsumed by a man’s to make it in politics). Even Hillary Clinton reluctantly took her husband’s last name in the interest of political expediency. This is a bit of a pet issue for me, I’ll admit, but in 2021 we’re moisturizing, drinking water, and not participating in the patriarchy anymore.
it is with a heavy heart that i must admit that young joe biden was a snack