My 2019 Reading List

These are a list of books I have every intention of reading in 2019. I’m only including books that I already own, since I’m not allowed to buy media this year (that’s why libraries exist, y’all). Here’s what on the docket!

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’m listening to this one, because I want Michelle’s amazing voice to soothe all of my ills.
  2. My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper. I’m listening to this on Audible right now and loving it. Ellie is so sweet and super funny.
  3. All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. I started this about a month ago but had to put it off until school was over so I could truly enjoy it.
  4. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay. I read most of this book in the spring but never got around to finishing it. Some of the essays can be extremely challenging to get through. The writers bare their souls.
  5. Shrill by Lindy West. Discovered Lindy way late, on Dear Prudence, and have been obsessed with her ever since.
  6. Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd. Pattie has the up-close-and-personal deets about Harrison and Clapton
  7. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Been meaning to read this one for ages.
  8. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I started this earlier this year but it got sacrificed to the grad school gods. As soon as I’m finished I’m watching the film.
  9. Live from New York. The SNL book! Been dying to read this ever since it came out.
  10. Waiting for the Punch by Marc Maron. This is a collection of all the wisdom he gained doing his interview podcast WTF with Marc Maron. He basically invented podcasts, and he’s had some of the most incredible guests—Barack Obama say whaaaat?
  11. Bitch Doctrine by Laurie Penny. I discovered Laurie on Dear Prudence and immediately started following her on Twitter. She’s a savage, and I love her.
  12. Unladylike by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin. The former ladies of Stuff Mom Never Told You wrote a book!
  13. Hard Choices and What Happened by Hillary Clinton. Because of course I am.
  14. In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington. Remember the thin privilege Twitter thread this summer? That was by Cora, who is a lingerie writer at The Lingerie Addict. I know literally nothing about lingerie, but I’m a grown-ass woman and it’s about time I did.
  15. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Started this one years ago and never finished. I am such a distracted reader!
  16. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. I am a Handmaid’s Tale stan (both the book and the show), so I can’t wait to read more Atwood!
  17. Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes. JB is one of my favorite short story writers, so I’m pumped to read his novel.
  18. How to Rent a Negro by Damali Ayo. This was on the syllabus for my American Racial Satire class, but I fell behind and never got a chance to read it.
  19. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I KNOW. It’s insane I haven’t read this already. Don’t come for me. Not every avid reader can read every damn classic.
  20. Erasure by Percival Everett. I Am Not Sidney Poitier is one of my favorite books of all time and apparently this one is even wilder.
  21. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Another classic I should have already read.
  22. Every Day by David Levithan, because who doesn’t need a YA break every once in a while?
  23. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. For obvious reasons.
  24. The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Ortberg. For obvious reasons.
  25. The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier. Love a good biography, and I find SP so inspiring.
  26. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I’ve read at least 60% of this book like three times, but always end up not finishing it for some reason! Here’s to a better 2019.
  27. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Same as Housekeeping.
  28. Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Bought this while I was in England. Zadie is bae.
  29. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Heard such good things about this one!
  30. All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey. To be fair, I’m a good chunk of the way through this one on Audible, but I do plan to finish it soon.
  31. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This is another one I read most of in high school, but I bought it on Audible narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal, so I plan to listen to it on my work commute.
  32. Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman. I am obsessed with Jaya, and who doesn’t want to read a book about summoning success, banishing drama, and raising hell?
  33. MAUS I II by Art Spiegelman. Because I was supposed to read them for class (oops!), and because I want to challenge myself to actually read a graphic novel.
  34. So Close to Being the Shit, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta. Audible, and Retta is my favorite.
  35. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Audible. When Michelle McNamara died, Julie Klausner re-aired an interview with her and she was such a brilliant mind.
  36. This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps. Audible. Busy is the best, from Kim Kelly to Busy Tonight.
  37. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle. Monty Python is my favorite ever.

I hope to read more than this in 2019, but clearly, I have a great year of reading ahead of me!

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Sunday Kind of Love xxi

Welcome back to another installment of Sunday Kind of Love! This week, I’m going to attempt to be less materialistic, since this list is usually my purchase wet dreams. With one exception everything on here is either free or personal. As I go into 2019, I want to be more mindful and creative—I want a less cluttered home and a less cluttered mind. I know everyone says this nonsense at the beginning of every year, but instead of setting firm resolutions, I want to be kinder to myself and just encourage myself to look within instead of getting external validation from purchases and other people. So, with that said, please enjoy this picture of Sam Weir, a true icon.

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pic via hello giggles
  1. I’m doing a no-buy January! Okay, so I have read Anna Newell Jones’s book already, but I think I’m going to reread it for inspiration. The idea is not to spend any money on anything except essentials and subscriptions that haven’t run their course yet, which for me are gas, groceries, car payment, car insurance, student loans (they kick in in April), Hulu, Netflix, my Oui Fresh box, and paying as much off my credit card balance as possible. I won’t be eating any meals out or buying anything new unless it completely runs out (shampoo, makeup, etc.) Katy Goodman from Vivian Girls and La Sera did a no-buy December which she talked about on her Instagram stories, and it was really inspiring to hear about her success!
  2. I finally watched the Freaks and Geeks A&E documentary and I ugly-cried the whole time. It is so inspiring and heartbreaking. Paul Feig wrote the pilot on spec, which almost never gets picked up, much less goes to series. So many people believed in that show (and also, Paul Feig is a genius). Plus, the mere existence of John Francis Daley fills me will an unimaginable amount of joy.
  3. Michael and I just rewatched the original seasons of Arrested Development and, my god, it is a perfect, perfect show.
  4. I am so excited to watch Dumplin’. I can’t even tell you.
  5. My friend bought me this for Christmas and I almost died.
  6. Okay, okay, I’ll talk about one purchase. I got this little bag for 30% at Madewell when it was first introduced and I absolutely love it.
  7. In the past week, since I’m OFFICIALLY done with school forever and ever amen, I’ve been writing more than I ever have. I’m working on a YA novel about a study abroad trip to Oxford (sound familiar), and a collection of personal essays. I wrote one this morning about the New York Times Crossword and living with bipolar, and I’m thinking of posting it here.
  8. Soup season is officially here! I’ve been making my minestrone non-stop…I have to post the recipe here! It’s a loose take on the minestrone recipe from the Thug Kitchen cookbook and I’ve never had better in my life.
  9. I’m thinking of changing the name of this weekly post. I’ve been doing it for a long time, and it’s starting to feel weird that I just named it after a song instead of coming up with an original title. So if you notice some random new post in your inbox, don’t be alarmed! It’s just me.
  10. I’m goin’ back to Tally the first week of February! I am stoked, dude. We’re seeing Neko Case at the Moon while I’m there! I can’t wait to gorge myself on a SoDough doughnut and tacos from El Cocinero! The best part is that this time I don’t have to fly into Jacksonville and drive over because I actually found a reasonable flight to the TLH airport!

Also, just a quick plug for my DePop and Poshmark shops! I’ll be adding a ton of new stuff in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! I’m @highwaytochel on both accounts, and I always take offers if you leave me a reasonable one in the comments.

In the words of the great philosopher, Phoebe Robinson, #ByeQBye!

Brand Crush: Reformation

So, to those in the know about sustainable fashion, Reformation is hardly news. But I don’t like to promote things that I haven’t actually tried, so I waited until now to write about them (their sale section is bananas good right now). They’re transparent, ethical, and oh, did I mention their clothes are sexy AF? They even have a list of sustainable washing practices on their site, though ya girl is way to much of a compulsive germaphobe to not wash after every wear (I’m just now starting to let pieces like my denim pinafore—similar here—have a second life before I toss it in the wash). I’ve heard of the jeans in the freezer thing, but I’m not emotionally ready to go there.

I am trying to do better in all aspects of my life, and one huge goal for 2019 is to significantly reduce my carbon footprint. The holiday season comes with a lot of waste (my husband and I barely fill up a trash bag a week normally and lately it’s been bursting at the seams by trash day). Reformation is on board—not only do they do their best to reduce waste and emissions in production, but they arm the consumer with the knowledge to prolong the life of their clothes and reduce additional waste. Rad.

So here’s the result of my lusty perusal of their site, some cool collabs, and my very few complaints about the label overall.

Goods

I think we all know I stan a jumpsuit. Meet Georgia, Cassidy, Mayer, Carolina, and Molly.

They call me ranch, ’cause I be dressin’. Meet Alma, Nicola, Zelda, and Josephine.

Their denim game is on point.

THEY MAKE WEDDING DRESSES. I’m literally so mad that I wasn’t really hip to Reformation when I got married, because I 100% would have gotten my dress here. Their prices are insanely reasonable and their stock is gorgeous. I’m torn between Rosey and Milan for which one I’d have worn, but heaven knows I’d have had to duct tape my tits into place.

Collabs

Girlfriend Collective. You heard correctly—Girlfriend Collective! Only my favorite activewear brand is available at Reformation, in some colors that aren’t up on the GC site!

La Ligne. La Ligne is a NYC womenswear brand that makes the most gorgeous clothes. These sweaters are goals.

Patagonia. Patagonia isn’t exactly my jam, but as far as I’m aware, they make super high-quality outside clothes. Is outside clothes a term? Clothes that you’d wear if you went hiking. NGL, though, I could eff with this white puffer jacket.

Marissa A. Freakin’ Ross. Marissa A. Ross, author of Wine, All the Time. and Wine Editor at Bon Appétit, collab’d with Reformation to do sustainable wine pairings. This situation is my brand.

Gripes

Price. Everything is so goddamn expensive. Of course I’m willing to pay more for sustainable fashion. Duh! But $218 on a jumpsuit, no matter how gorgeous, is just not my lifestyle right now. If it goes on sale for $35, like this jumpsuit I snagged, then we can talk. Sustainable fashion is kind of a Catch-22—it’s more labor-intensive to make, since the clothes have to be environmentally and ethically produced, so the only thing that would make the price go down is demand #econ101. But the average person is more easily enticed by Fashion Nova* prices (no shade, Cardi) and can’t justify more expensive clothing into their budgets. I’m trying to do what I can (sticking to brands like Everlane and Girlfriend), but rewiring your brain to a minimalist mindset (a smaller wardrobe with much higher quality clothes) is tough—we live in a capitalist hell-state that actively discourages this.

Sizing. Reformation’s sizing inclusivity is…not great. They only go up to a size 12, which, based on actual research, is smaller than what the average American woman wears. To quote the holy book, Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, which yes, I have read cover-to-cover…well, actually, I can’t find the quotation, but it is from this text that I learned that the average American woman actually wears a 14 petite (which is what my gorgeous grandmother wears and she hates herself for it! Body positivity might be a scam, but we all need to do better.) Just because this brand is great for me (I’m currently an 8 at my heaviest ever) doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge how wack it is that retailers aren’t realistic about women’s bodies.

Busted. This is just a personal one because I have awful boobs reminiscent of the wacky arm-flailing inflatable tube man in front of a car dealership. I love the low-cut look (although Miley’s outfit during her first SNL performance last week made me want to start stress-smoking**), but my breasts are just not amenable to this look without prayer and duct tape (or, constant adjusting that makes me look like I’m fondling myself). This actually falls into the sizing category, to some degree—for a size 0 model with double-As and photo shoot resources, this look is amazing. Also, side note—having worked on several photo shoots, we basically perform witchcraft to get garments to look good; things are taped, tucked, pinned, tied, and clipped. So, even though the clothes are fresh as hell, the mere silhouette implies exclusivity for the (almost every) woman that can’t pull certain looks off.

So, overall, I’d give Reformation a B+. A+ for serving looks, A+ for sustainability, but SEE ME after class for inclusivity. Reformation, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

*Confession—prior to Cardi B announcing her “bollection,” I had never heard of Fashion Nova before. Apparently it’s a huge thing? I’ve been doing my damndest not to shop fast fashion (praying that J.Crew & Madewell don’t count), so I’m actually kind of proud of myself for not knowing. Not gonna lie, though, I really want that yellow suit she wore on Carpool Karaoke.

**I know Miley is problematic, but she has never looked more beautiful than she does now. Hearing her talk about Liam saving the animals when their Malibu house burned down made me full-on ugly cry. Also, her ass got Sean Ono Lennon on the SNL stage, something he deserves as a brilliant musician and songwriter.

Dressin’

Is there an AA, but for online shopping? Sign me up. I have decided to do a no-spend month in January, but perhaps declaring that has been a bit too stressful, since I’m going completely ham on December purchases. It doesn’t help that I’m starting a new job where I can actually dress nicely every day.

A huge part of my self-care routine has to do with clothing and accessories. For the past 11-and-a-half years, I have worked in the service industry (with the exception of a few months during my grad school internship). Service industry means dress codes, some of which have been more permissive than others. Even when I was a store manager, the one who set the dress code (or, y’know, abolished it entirely), it was a coffee shop, which meant coffee spills, smells, sweat, and mop water. You’d be out of your mind to wear anything nice.

On the rare occasions I’ve gone into my various workplaces on days off, people usually ask, “Where are you going today?” because I’m (apparently) all dressed up. I get it—these people are used to seeing me in t-shirts and leggings, with little to no makeup on. But, in the immortal words of Steve Harvey, “They call me ranch, ’cause I be dressin’.” Clothing, at least in my adult years, has always been the way I express myself. I have to admit, my outfits can be a little eccentric (last night, for instance, I strolled into a family dinner wearing big hoop earrings, a pink utility jumpsuit from Madewell, a faux fur leopard coat, and leopard-print flats). PSA—the $16 ballet flats from Target are the most comfortable flats I’ve ever worn, and the cheapest. 

I know the stupid aphorism—don’t judge a book by its cover. But in my actual life, I found this to not be true at all. The way a person presents themselves says quite a lot about who they are! Just not in the way you might think. For instance, I step out into the world in lipstick (which I’ve worn every day for 12 years), a cool outfit, and styled hair because I want to project confidence, which internally, I struggle with. My house is very clean and organized because my mind isn’t. I work hard to be my aspirational self. Sometimes it fails (my professors, in particular, have seen right through the veneer) and sometimes it succeeds (my friends are often shocked when I open up about my mental health struggles). A variation of the outside-in philosophy, which was played on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a laugh, has worked for me. Organizing my home has helped me stay on top of more quotidian tasks (like, paying my car insurance and stuff). Getting validation and support from my friends has helped me seek it within (and get into therapy!)

Okay, this is getting a bit dark and long-winded, but what I’m trying to say is that fashion is important to me. I love to buy things, wear them, donate them, and give them as gifts to friends. This holiday season has taught me how much I love giving—curating special and useful gifts for the people in my life that I love.

No-spend January is going to be tough for me. But hey, I’m up for a challenge. I’m trying to view it as an opportunity to get really creative with things I already own. So instead of my usual Sunday Kind of Love post, where I chronicle all of the things I’m lusting after on the internet, I’m turning inward. Thanks for reading!

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Okay, okay, okay. I will post one recommendation. The Schitt’s Creek Christmas Special, y’all. That show is the best thing I discovered in 2018.

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Oh, okay, one more. The Weezer sketch from last week’s SNL. I died.

Christmas Kind of Love

So, full disclosure—while I don’t identify as Christian (my dad’s fam is totally secular and my mother’s is lapsed Catholic AF), I L O V E Christmas. The opportunity to decorate my home with even more white and gold? Sign me up! I have two pre-lit trees—one I inherited from my mom (it’s green with colored lights) and one skinny 6′ rose gold tree that I got at Target before the 2016 election (that year was dark, so I decorated very early). I didn’t decorate last year because our house was under construction, so this year I went ham. But this is just a dry-run for next year, which will be over the freakin’ top. I’m already depressed about January coming and having to take down all my glitz. As long as it’s down by Valentine’s Day, I’m fine, right?

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That said, here are some holiday faves!

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Best Ways to Give Back

Around the holidays I go beyond my usual small monthly donations! Here are some of my fave charities and ways to give!

Planned Parenthood, International Refugee Assistance ProjectACLU, KINDNAACP, SPLC, Support the Girls, RIP Medical Debt, The Trevor Project, It Gets Better, ITMFA, and so many more!

Best Christmas Songs

My husband, the sweet angel of earth that he is, made me a curated playlist for Christmas called FIG for CHELS—Christmas Edition, because he is perfect. There are quite a number of songs on here I’d never heard before. “You’re a Gift” by The Both is my new favorite! And we can’t forget Holiday Soul Party!

I started compiling a Christmas album playlist for myself, but I got very, very lazy. Also, I work in a store that plays nonstop Christmas music (which I’m actually very here for) so I got my fill this year!

What’s your favorite Christmas song? Mine is “Father Christmas” by The Kinks!

Best Presents

  1. Gift a subscription! FabFitFun & Oui Fresh are my go-tos, but there’s also Birchbox, Ipsy, Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s (great for guys!), quip, graze, LOLA (because practical), Book of the Month Club, or Bark Box (for those weirdo dog people in your life!) I’d suggest streaming services, but tbh just give a friend your password if they don’t already have Netflix.
  2. Gift Cards to Amazon or Target—these will never not get used.
  3. What I call “The Cornucopia”—hone in on one interest and make a gift basket out of tiny items! If your friend is a writer, buy them fancy versions of everything they need—a journal, pens, notepads, sticky notes, stickers, washi tape, paper clips, you name it! Most people (not me, obviously), but most people won’t indulge themselves in that gold stapler or adorable jar of wooden pushpins because function > fashion. Useful gifts are always the best gifts, and tons of little gifts, imo, are better than one. I did one of these for my husband for our first Christmas together and those items are still floating around the house.
  4. A memory. This might sound dumb, but this is the perfect gift for the person who has everything. Example: I’m gifting my favorite professor a framed photo I took of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, because I first heard of it in his class and his support was the reason I got the opportunity to go there. I hope that, for years to come, he can glance over and think warmly about one of his favorite places.
  5. And finally, a free idea, since not everyone in the world spends money like a millionaire (guilty!)—a hand-written card or letter. Literally who writes letters anymore?! I’ve done this a couple of times for various events (sometimes accompanying a gift, sometimes not), and it always gets a great response. Not everyone needs external validation all the time (guilty!) but people love knowing how special they are to you!

Best Holiday Decorations

Anthropologie, West Elm, Target, Pier One, CB2, and Cost Plus World Market have reliably fantastic stuff, although you know ya girl got every damn thing from Target.

Best Christmas Movies

I am about to seriously out myself right now, but I’ve never seen Die Hard or Home Alone. I know. I suck. Truth be told, I’ve never actually even watched A Christmas Story from start to finish. I am not a movie girl (I blame the ADHD). I’m a TV addict—hit me with a Doctor Who or Downton Christmas special any day.

My personal favorite holiday films: It’s A Wonderful Life (true life: I was in a stage production of this when I was 16), the Mickey Mouse & Muppet versions of A Christmas Carol, the Jim Carrey Grinch, and of course, ELF, the best Christmas movie of all time.

P.S. Love, Actually isn’t actually that good, which is insane, because THAT CAST. And liking The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t the same thing as having a personality.

Best Shows to Binge-Watch on Christmas Break

You probably only have a week off, so these are some shows you can absolutely finish before the new year! Snuggle up with your cats and watch these masterpieces!

Amazon: Catastrophe, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Netflix: Great NewsSchitt’s Creek, The Good Place

Hulu: Difficult PeopleThe Handmaid’s Tale

Best Audiobooks for Your Drive Home

Becoming by Michelle Obama, Everything’s Trash But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle, This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps, Feminasty! by Erin Gibson, Shrill by Lindy West, So Close to Being the Shit, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

Bonus Content: Chag Chanukah Sameach!

So, Hanukkah has been over for a minute, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t attempt to observe. I was too lazy to make actual latkes, but I did a run of potato soups as an homage to the culinary concept.

I didn’t buy a menorah because I kept thinking that cashiers would judge me for adding one to a cart full of sparkly Christmas garlands, but I have my eye on a few for next year—this one, this mod one, this gorgeous gold one, and this colorful one.

And good on SJ to give us a Hanukkah song that’s way better than Adam Sandler’s.

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I hope anything on this list is helpful to your holiday season!

P.S. Michael’s Christmas stuff is all 50%-60% off right now, so get thee gone.

P.P.S Send me #thoughtsandprayers that it doesn’t snow anytime soon.

My Favorite Beauty Brands

2019 is the year I get into makeup, baby! I mean, I’ve been saying that for ages, but now that I’m almost 30 (haven’t even hit 27.5, I’m just dramatic), I feel like skincare and makeup are suddenly important. I’ve always been one for mascara and lipstick, but I’m not sure I knew what a serum was until, like, yesterday. Getting a beauty box subscription helped me branch out and try a bunch of new things. These are some of my new faves!

Glossier

I’m sorry (I’m not sorry). I know this is such an eye-roll-y brand to be into, but fuck if I don’t love their products. Glossier rocks. It’s a great price point, and I have yet to be disappointed in a single product. Little by little, my entire cabinet is being taken over. I have the Perfecting Skin Tint, Zit Stick, Stretch Concealer, Boy Brow, Super Bounce Serum, Solution, and I’m getting Glossier You (the solid and the spray) soon (it smells so freaking good). In addition to selling kick-ass products, their packaging game is so strong. The pink pouch has become iconic, and they always add some fun stickers.

BITE Beauty

I’ve been #blessed to receive a bunch of BITE products as free samples with cosmetics and in my FabFitFun box (that will come up quite a bit in this post). I have their Amuse Bouche lipstick in Meringue & Chai, two Matte Creme Lip Crayons, a Lip Pencil, and a set of Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipsticks! Needless to say, I’m a super fan.

PÜR, Be Your Selfie eyeshadow palette

Thus far I’m loving this palette that I got in my FabFitFun winter box. It’s a bunch of great neutrals with just enough sparkle for the holidays. I love it so much that I look forward to checking out what else the brand has to offer!

Too Faced

I’m new to Too Faced (I got their Melted Matte lipstick in Queen B as a sample), but I just snagged their Better Than Sex mascara in full- and mini-sized. I can’t wait to try it out. If their mascara is half as good as their lip products, I’m in good hands!

Juice Beauty

This one’s hardly a surprise—Juice Beauty is a pretty popular favorite beauty brand. I’ve used a bunch of Juice samples (thanks to my awesome friend, Gilly, who hipped me to the skincare game), but I’ve never actually owned a full-sized product until this season’s FabFitFun box (I added it on for a fraction of the retail cost).

HAN

HAN’s cheek and lip tint is possibly my favorite product ever. It’s super versatile (and clean!) and I use it almost every day. If you blend it, it’s such a subtle touch of color. I also have their eyeshadow in either Golden Glow or Chocolate Bronze (forgive me, I’m away from my arsenal of goodies). It’s super pigmented and perfectly shimmery.

OSEA

OSEA is a skincare and wellness brand that uses bioavailable organic seaweed in it’s nontoxic formulas! If you’re not obsessed already, I can personally vouch for the Essential Hydrating Oil, which I got in my Oui Fresh box. Plus, it smells amazing! Take their skincare quiz here!

Johnny Concert

Vegan. Cruelty-free. Amazing. I have their eyeshadow in a super-bright platinum white (I think it’s Skull? It came in the October Oui Fresh box.) Typically this whole aesthetic (the Kat Von D thing, Suicide Girls, fetlife.com, lol) makes me puke, but this makeup is actually pretty legit. I’m looking to make sure everything in my life is cruelty-free (except my Madewell bags, don’t @ me), so I dig any brand that’s committed to this. Plus, most eyeshadow is honestly garbage, so finding an awesome, pigmented one is a clear sign from the cosmos that a brand is good.

e.l.f. cosmetics

Yeah, that’s right. The stuff you can buy at CVS. It’s good! And it’s so GOSH DARN CHEAP. e.l.f. is my starting point for trying anything new and adventurous. Remember when gel eyeliner was a thing? My first ever primer was from e.l.f. All of my makeup brushes are e.l.f. (why pay more than $3 for something I barely know how to use?). When you’re a makeup neophyte, it feels good to be able to try out a trend for a few dollars rather than investing, say $20 in a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (which, incidentally, rules, but she is an anti-vaxxer, so…) Pro tip: check out their actual website—there’s a way bigger selection there than at your local Target.

Pacifica

I’ve used a lot of Pacifica products before (I love their nail polish!). The Kale Detox face wash is excellent, their spray sunscreen is amazing for the price point, and their Aquarian Gaze mascara does the trick in a pinch (I’m still looking for a clean mascara that performs as well as conventional). As mentioned before, I love a brand that is vegan and cruelty-free, and this one is available at Target! They also have a fragrance line, if that’s what you’re into!

Thrive Causemetics

Another FabFitFun find! In this season’s box, I got a Brilliant Eye Brightener, and I absolutely love it! I suffer from the very serious ailment of dark circles, so anything that helps add some brightness to my dead-eyed stare is a huge plus. I love highlighting under my brows and in the corners of my eyes! It’s adds a tiny bit of shimmer to my usual mascara-and-lipstick only look.

Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever is a Parisian brand (I don’t think anyone’s surprised that I’m a Francophile) that I just discovered by a mild Sephora spree. I snagged this super fun eyeshadow palette that I can’t wait to use for all my holiday events! I’ve never really branched out with eyeshadow before, so it should be a trip!

Stay tuned for another roundup!

What’s in my cart?

By which, I of course mean, what’s currently being shipped to my house. Your girl did some shoppin‘ this week! I always spend way too much money this time of year (the sales are just too good!), and my husband and I have been talking about doing a no-spend month (or 2, or 12…he’s so good with money and I am…not), so I went a little nuts in preparation. I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks, which means I actually get to dress like a person again (no shade to the retail/food service industries, but I’ve done it for 12 years, I deserve to look cute at work)! I’m joyfully unpacking all of my business casual clothing from my last office job and I *might* do a ceremonial burning of some of my ratty work clothes soon.

Here’s what I’ve been checking out lately!

On Santa’s Sleigh

J.Crew

I’ve been a die-hard J.Crew girl for years and years, through the Jenna Lyons era and unto the breach. Even though not every season perfectly matches my aesthetic, J.Crew makes great quality clothes and they’re always having wild sales. In the past few weeks I’ve bought this green dress (still on sale and available in every size!), this jumpsuit, these amazing pants, and these stunning sandals before they sold out, along with some other great work staples!

I especially love J.Crew for men’s clothing—my husband is allergic to shopping and would 100% wear ill-fitting pants he’s had since the ’90s and band t-shirts every day if left to his own devices. J.Crew’s pants fit him so well (he is #blessed with a great metabolism). I scored 3 pairs of pants for less than the retail of 1 yesterday—merry Christmas to him!

Madewell

How is Madewell not sponsoring me by this point? I’m just free advertisement. I would say that a majority of my closet is Madewell—their clothes truly are made well, and last. Their leather bags are buttery-soft and incredible. I just snagged these tops—love a wrap, gingham, and a square neck!—and this jumpsuit, which I’m aware is criminally extra.

I’m eyeing this coat, this kimono jacket (all leopard everything), these Chelsea boots, this skirt (I have it in pink!), and this jumpsuit.

BlissBranch

I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about BlissBranch on here, but it’s an awesome (and very reasonably priced!) online vintage store that was recently relaunched! I treated myself to some wide-leg pants, and a couple of gorgeous vintage dresses. This week, use the coupon code 15FORME to get 15% off your purchase!

Everlane

I love Everlane so much. This winter, I finally caved and got a weather-appropriate parka (only took me 27 years), and the Tank Bra in every. damn. color. These flats are definitely on my Christmas list, and the Day Heel and Boot need to join my closet ASAP.

xo

-c