For the Love of God, Take My Wallet Away

I’m serious. Come to my house, take it away from me, and throw it into a swamp. It has to be a swamp, because I have a deathly fear of alligators and will never attempt to retrieve it.

Being stuck at home all day without diversion is difficult for those of us who are used to being out of the house 10+ hours a day. I am not in any way complaining, of course: I’m so fortunate to live and work where I do. I’m also quarantined with a partner and a pet, so I’m not feeling the strain of a lack of companionship that a lot of people are right now. But it’s been an adjustment. Being at home all day has made me want to streamline and beautify my house, and it’s made me keenly aware of things like, oh, my bras are 5 years old. Things I can normally ignore for a while, like dirty dishes in the sink, become intolerable. Anything that’s not organized by ROYGBIV is an eyesore.

So, I’ve made some purchases. I’m only human (and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does).

Here are all the (nonessential) things I’ve bought since quarantine started and my reviews:

      • Cameron Esposito’s book, Save Yourself, on audiobook. 10/10 would recommend. I’m about 60% of the way through already because I can’t stop listening.
      • ThirdLove, baby! They were having a sale so I finally bit the bullet. I am ashamed to admit how old all of my bras are (you can probably guess how old they are by the fact that they’re Victoria’s Secret PINK…) and I seriously needed to upgrade. I got the Classic T-Shirt Bra, which I cannot recommend highly enough, the Classic Uplift Plunge Bra, the Classic Strapless Bra, and the Seamless Lounge Bra (this was free with my purchase). The only one I’m not thrilled with is the strapless bra, because strapless bras are the work of the devil, but as strapless bras go, I trust it to get the job done.
      • This ban.do necklace. Over a year ago, when I got my initial (ultimately not completely accurate) psychiatric diagnosis, I bought this one, but I had to make an update. Eventually, I’ll complete the trifecta. This necklace is tiny and dainty and perfect for everyday wear.
      • I needed another slipper chair, because I moved our other one into the bedroom (it’s the sunniest room in our house, and, in between the plants, makes for a perfect reading nook!) I love the look of this chair, and I got it super on sale, but I will say that it’s lower-backed than I had hoped, and doesn’t quite fill the space it’s in.
      • This rug. I’m obsessed. It’s so soft, and it brings such a vibe to my bedroom. Great quality for the price.
      • This bag. So cute, and deceptively roomy! It’s deeply important to me that all of my purses can accommodate a reusable water bottle and a book.
      • I love these boots, so much. I’ve needed replacement booties for ages (I wore my Seychelles pair, similar to these, until they literally fell apart). I’ve been looking everywhere; the last place I expected to find them was Target. They’re super comfortable, go with everything, and I didn’t have to spend a fortune.
      • Betabrand Dress Pant Yoga Pants. I really wanted these to work out, since dress pants are a goddamn nightmare for me. My ankles, I think, are proportional to my hips/waist, and in dress pant world this is a no-no. Whoever designs dress pants thinks women are shaped like Humpty-Dumpty, it’s a travesty. All of which is a long way of saying that I returned them. I bought a medium, my normal size, and they were super loose in the waist. If I ever see a pair I like on sale (like, really on sale) I might try again in a small.
      • Lightswitch plates. Unfortunately, the ones I bought are no longer available, but they’re Hearth & Hand with Magnolia black metal. They look amazing and were soooo on sale.

Yet to Arrive/Use:

      • The nixit menstrual cup. I’m all about a waste-free period, so I’m up to try any innovation on that score. I’ve been using the Saalt cup and wash, which I’m perfectly happy with, but the nixit seems like it might be a little easier to insert/take out.
      • Sustain Period Underwear. Basically Thinx, but available through Grove. Sustain is an awesome sexual health brand, and we stan.
      • This pink nightstand! When I first moved into my house, over 6 years ago, I didn’t have a nightstand, so I picked something up at Marshall’s for about $30. It’s cute, but it really doesn’t go with our decor. This will be a perfect fit for our room!
      • I have long stanned Girlfriend Collective, and the Spring collection is no exception. I treated myself to the Paloma Bra & Leggings in “Wildflower.” I may have also gotten some scrunchies…the Unitard is on my wishlist but I have no idea why I’d ever need one. Fun fact—you get $15 off when you sign up for texts!
      • I shopped the Madewell sale for the first time in a while. But how could I have resisted these jeans? I’m probably going to live in this dress, and this one was too cute to pass up.
      • I mentioned this in a previous post, but I caved and bought these. But I will absolutely return them if the fit is not perfect! I swear!
      • More ThirdLove! They’re having a 2/$99 sale on their Pima Cotton Bras, so I snagged this one in Stormy Lilac and Ballet. I should mention: I’m donating all of my gently-used bras to I Support the Girls, which is an amazing organization that you should definitely check out! I also snagged the 7/$47 undies.
      • I’ve had my Kate Spade wallet for years and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made. It’s sturdy, functional, and adorable. Time to welcome another baby into the family…
      • Winc wine subscription. I am not about to go out right now for non-essentials, like wine, but it does suck being trapped day after day without a little something to sip on.

think that’s it, although I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if a random package arrived in the next few weeks. Some of the items in the below section will inevitably be returned (please don’t think I’m made of money), and I’m definitely going to chill out now that quarantine life is becoming the new normal. I think, in times of stress or trauma, we can fall back on old patterns (for me, overspending), but we have to give ourselves some grace right now.

Sunday Scaries [4.5.20]

Good morning, or afternoon, or whatever because time is meaningless in quarantine! I’ve now organized my home so thoroughly that I have run out of things to organize…onto purging. Overall, though, I seem to have mellowed this week. I’m leaning into stay-at-home life and continuing to be grateful that we have employment, stable shelter, and have not run out of toilet paper. Stay safe and well, my friends.

  1. The Cut did the Lord’s work. And speaking of The Cut, this article crushed me.
  2. I would never spend $350 on a handbag…haha…jk…unless?
  3. Devastated to hear about all the media layoffs happening right now. If you’re not familiar with Brandy Jensen’s work, get to know her.
  4. I started Little Fires Everywhere. Apart from Kerry Washington making some…choices, I really like it. I loved the book.
  5. Speaking of books, I’m reading Where the Crawdads Sing and can’t put it down. I’m a sap.
  6. This recipe is absolutely outstanding!
  7. Although, I mean, Chelseas can change out all the knobs on her bedroom furniture as a treat, right? How cute would these be for a kid’s room?
  8. I don’t really know much about Dua Lipa but we stan an alto who sticks to her strengths. I’ll have to give her new album a listen.
  9. Quarantine has cracked me. I re-upped the wine subscription. A month ago I had literally quit drinking, but alas…
  10. Rest in Peace, Adam Schlesinger. If you don’t know his name, you know his work. He was younger than my dad. COVID-19 is no fucking joke.
  11. And finally, today is the 26th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, and on this day, and every day, we celebrate the man, the myth, the legend.
Record store finds royalty check to Kurt Cobain from more than 25 ...
source

Until next time,

c

Kool Things VI

It has been a minute since I’ve done one of these. But one of my major resolutions for 2018 was to get back out there and shamelessly stan my favorite tv shows write! Here are a few of my faves from the past month.

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

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image source: goodreads

So—fun fact—I started tutoring this fall! It’s definitely a challenge for me, since I’m not sure I’m the teacher type, but luckily my “student” is a wonderful human with a ton of integrity and maturity for a teenager. Her final project was a presentation on the book Station Eleven, so obviously I had to read it!

It fits squarely within the genre of dystopian YA, but the author attempts (sometimes, too hard) to elevate it with a ton of Shakespeare references (there are characters named Arthur Leander, Miranda, Olivia, Viola—and those are just the references I get). Without spoiling the ending, the climax is a bit, well, anti-climactic, but I still consider the book a worthwhile read. Plus, it’s pretty short, so it took me all of two days to finish.

 

Happy Endings

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image source: hulu

I know what you’re thinking—this show ended like 5 years ago. And it did. But I’ll have you know that David Caspe’s Happy Endings is one of the *Kanye voice* best shows of all time. It’s a travesty that it only lasted three seasons. Genius actors comprise the entire cast, but special shout out to Eliza Coupe and Damon Wayans, Jr. Brad and Jane are two of my favorite tv characters ever. This show has some of the best writing I’ve ever heard—it’s inspiring and brilliant.

The whole thing’s on Hulu, so you know what to do-lu.

 

Great, Sara Benincasa

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image via goodreads

Full disclosure: I only bought this book because I love Sara Benincasa and it was super cheap on Amazon. Great is a contemporary, YA, gender-flipped retelling of The Great Gatsby, which should be a recipe for disaster, but was actually a joy to read. The names are a bit cringe-worthy (I’ve compiled a list below), but, beyond that, it’s a smart spin on a classic that you could easily read in a day. I’m reading DC Trip now—keeping the Benincasa binge going!

Great Gatsby

Jay Gatsby – Jacinta Trimalchio (get it?!)

Nick Carraway – Naomi Rye

Delilah Fairweather – Daisy (Fay) Buchanan

Teddy Barrington – Tom Buchanan

Jeff Byron – Jordan Baker

Misti – Myrtle Wilson

Giovanni – George Wilson

 

Leahlani Bless Balm

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image via leahlani

I am obsessed with this stuff. Bless Balm by Leahlani came in the December Oui Fresh Beauty Box and I’ve been using it almost daily since it arrived. At first I was a bit skeptical of its texture and scent (it’s a pretty strong jasmine scent and it’s got sort of a Vaseline texture), but after a month of use, I’m in love. It’s so super hydrating and has kept my skin fabulous through the dry winter months. It’s upped my skincare game.

It’s pricey as hell, but after a month of use, I’ve barely made a dent in it. I have no doubt that it will last me the rest of the year. Plus, it’s all-natural and almost 100% organic, so I feel great about supporting this beauty brand.

 

Dry January

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And, last but not least, Dry January! I’m participating in the DJ tradition this month, and I’m feeling great about it! It’s such a nice new year refresh, and a great way to shed some of those holiday lbs! Basically, the rules are: Don’t drink any alcohol for the entire month of January. That’s it! I’m tying in some other wellness practices as well, but no drinking is the main goal. I’ll post a wrap-up in early February all about my experience! Wish me luck!

Kool Things V

I’m a little light this week on recommendations because, well, I’ve been busy AF. I’m finishing the last bits of my grad school application, working full time, and committing to my Trivia host side-hustle. The WordPress drafts are getting out of hand! But here’s what I’ve been up to in my spare time.

Life in Pieces on CBS

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The first season of Life in Pieces  recently went up on Netflix, so I’ve been bingeing it, hard. Fig and I finished Breaking Bad and moved onto a 30 Rock rewatch, so I needed my own personal binge show for when our schedules don’t overlap (this is often). I’m trying to wean myself off of watching Gilmore Girls in an infinite loop, so when I saw LIP advertised on Netflix’s home page, I knew it would be a perfect fit. The cast of this show is bananas. Personal faves Zoe Lister-Jones (from Whitney) and Colin Hanks (from everything + being Tom Hanks’ son) join Betsey Brandt (from Breaking Bad), James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, and the stupidly handsome Thomas Sadoski in this light-hearted comedy told in 4 vignettes per episode.

The guest cast is insane—Martin Starr plays an exterminator, Jordan Peele makes frequent appearances as Colleen’s crazy ex, and apparently next season Mullally and Offerman have roles!

Life in Pieces is the perfect binge show for the lover of light-hearted comedies and accomplished casts. Highly recommend! Come for the famous actors, stay for the amazing kids! The kid who plays Sophia is the next Shailene Woodley or whatever, for real.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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The book, I mean. Everyone’s been pestering me for weeks to start watching the HBO miniseries, Big Little Lies, starring literally every famous actress. Until last week, I didn’t even know it was based on a book, but as soon as I saw it, I recognized its candy-colored cover. I’m a moderately strict book-before-movie person, so when offered the ebook for free, how could I refuse?

At first, I was a bit dubious of the quality of the writing—it’s certainly not the sort of thing I’d typically pick up at the bookstore. But within a few pages I was hooked. I think I’ve thrown off my circadian rhythm staying up way too late reading it. I was almost less interested in finding out who the murderer/murder victim is than I was of learning about Jane’s mysterious past or the inner-workings of primary school politics.

The book is very, very different from the HBO miniseries of the same name, but I truly can’t choose which is better! They both bring so much to the table! I highly recommend both, book-before-miniseries, of course.

I’ll follow up in the next Kool Things.

The Far Field, Future Islands

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It is no secret that I am f***ing obsessed with Future Islands. They are an amazing Baltimore-based synthpop band that brings me life. I first heard of them during college (Part I) when they put out their album In The Evening Air. All I had was a crap-quality (illegal) mp3 download of it, but I listened to it on repeat for months. I took to including “Long Flight” on every mix CD/playlist I made. Now that I am a grown-ass woman and pay for my music (thankyouverymuch), I’ve since remedied this earlier discretion and made sure to follow the band’s incredible career. 2014’s Singles was a revelation, and this year’s The Far Field is a fitting follow-up.

Lead singer Samuel Herring had one of the most unique and strange voices in all of music—he’s like the second coming of Mike Patton. He transitions from beautifully melodic and clean to heavy metal screaming with effortless ease. He’s also apparently a rapper (?!) which somehow I’m only just finding out about. You think I’d have such important info about my #mancrusheveryday.

This band is so ahead of the damn curve. They put out a sign language lyric video for “Cave”! “Shadows” even features actual icon/goddess Debbie Harry! The Far Field is the best use of your Hamilton ($10), trust. Future Islands is/are a big f***ing deal. Get into it.

Listen to “Ran” and “Cave” on Conan.

Bread & Butter Wines

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I always love trying out new wines, but as someone who hasn’t yet read Marissa A. Ross‘s forthcoming book yet, I’m often at a loss for where to begin as I peruse the racks at my local wine shop. I’m a bit of a white wine junkie (basic white bitch, party of one!), so I absolutely love a Chardonnay, and am always looking for one that tastes better than the well swill they’ll serve you at restaurants if you don’t specify.

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the older I get, the more I realize that that’s a bullshit adage. When it comes to products, the cover (or label) actually says quite a bit! Small businesses that really believe in their product tend to pay greater attention to aesthetic details, like graphic and web design. I was drawn to this particular bottle because of its clean, minimal label—the website is no different. Bread & Butter only produces two very highly-rated wines out of Napa, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (which, incidentally, are my go-to white and red).

Bread & Butter Chardonnay ran me about $11, which, imho, is just about right for an everyday wine. I can’t wait to try their Pinot Noir! I’ll definitely be buying this wine again!

***

Well, those are the highlights of my week! What’s up with you? Any new fave wines or murder-mysteries to share? Sound off in the comments!

Dumb Easy Whiskey Sours & Inauguration Shit

Yeah, that’s right. It’s inauguration Day. The end is nigh. We’ll probably be dead by Monday. So, you deserve a drink tonight. And I’ve got the perfect thing.


I am a whiskey sour fanatic because I’m basic because I love me some citrus, but as I get older, I begin to adopt the Ron Swanson philosophy of drinking: “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.”

The major problema with whiskey sours, though, is the fact that sour mix grosses me out. And unless you’re in a hipster-y college town where the bartender makes his own bitters (I see you Ithaca, NY), I doubt that a whole lot of fresh-squeezed lemon is happening. Therefore, I never order these out, and they taste all the more special when I make my own.

[guys remember when Barack Obama was President and we all had faith in humanity remember that oh we were so young so naive and now we have to literally watch the apocalypse happen before our very eyes] 

Wow, sorry for the interruption. I’m having a hard day. ANYWAY, here is my foolproof recipe for perfect whiskey sours every damn time.

Dumb Easy Whiskey Sours

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp organic maple syrup
  • 1 oz of your favorite bourbon (I’m using Bulleit)
  • splash of lemon, lime, or pure La Croix

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Pour maple syrup, lemon, and bourbon in and stir vigorously. (Alternately, shake these ingredients in a cocktail shaker, if you’re Bond-style). Add the La Croix as a float—this just determines how strong the drink will be. That’s literally it. Garnish with a lemon rind if you fancy. The interwebs suggests garnishing this with a Maraschino cherry, but that’s vile.

My Inaug Survival Kit: La Croix, Chimamanda, iPod playing Janelle Monae, and this cocktail. Notice how the glass is EMPTY ALREADY?

Speaking of Inauguration Survival Kit, a few suggestions for the new regime:

  • Read. Books. By. People. Of. Color. The nation’s highest office was just reclaimed by bigotry, by a racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic administration, so it’s on us to make sure the voices and stories of the marginalized are heard. We should make Ta-Nehisi Coates a shitload of money this year.
  • Don’t let your family & friends that support this bullshit off the hook. By voting for this regime, they have proven that they don’t value your life. Or their own lives, in most cases. They’re not going to get woke on their own, clearly.
  • Donate your money or time (or both). The ACLU is going to save our asses for the next 4 years. The NAACP and SPLC too. Planned Parenthood is under attack yet again. These, among many other amazing organizations, are the bedrock of our democracy. They deserve your money, your time, or both. Become a monthly donor—$5 a month is enough. The number of individual donors is often as important as the dollar amount per donation. We need to show the regime that we care deeply about our values. Y’know, human rights and stuff.
  • Listen to a fuckload of Janelle Monae. This doesn’t seem like a real suggestion, but it is. It will heal you.
  • Use your money wisely. Any business praised by the regime should be boycotted. We can’t let Fearless Leader sell ad space on the flag (as one amazing Twitter-er observed poignantly). Only support businesses that espouse your values. You’ll find that a whole lot of them do.
  • Let yourself have a drink now and again, but don’t give in to despair. It’s so easy to not give a fuck anymore. The world is trash. But we have the power to get educated. To resist. Apply for that grad program or cool new job. Best case scenario: you get to be around like-minded individuals and fuck shit up. Worst case scenario: nuclear war kills us all and you never have to pay back your loans!

How are you resisting in 2017?

—DellaBites

 

Rosé All Day

It’s July, and I’m not sure if this is an official thing or not, but I’ve transitioned into a rosé-only diet. As in, I’m only drinking rosé right now. Girly pink wine, right?


Hell no. I think you’re thinking of white zinfandel, which is a literal abomination. It’s what high school Chelsea drank when she was first getting into wine, and it’s humbling every time I see a bottle to know that I was once so basic.

Rosé is the perfect middle ground if you’re like me and love the richness and flavor of red wine but love even more the drinkability & (literal) chill of white wine. It’s not like they mixed half a bottle of each and called it a day, but I don’t own or work at a vineyard, so I don’t know how they make it. Google it! Vast internet!

So, this is what I’m drinking right now. As in right now. The picture above with the strawberries? Half full at the moment.

Dark Horse Rosé (Limited Release!)

This wine so faaaancy it’s not even on their website! Just kidding, it cost me $6 at Wegman’s. And when I searched their “where to buy” with my zip code, they sell this rosé at the sketchy convenience store/liquor store down the street from my house! Finally, a reason to actually enter that building! All jokes aside, this is a tasty, tasty wine. I have no clue whether it earns a coveted 90+ points on the wine snobbery IQ test, but it tastes very good, and even more heavenly with the addition of chopped strawberries. My favorite summer thing is to put chopped fruit in wine. Watermelon in Chardonnay is a particular fave.

I appreciate that my wine tastes haven’t gotten too high-brow (I do have some limits though—I’m looking at you Charles Shaw), because it allows me to take occasional chances on cool-looking labels. You know I’ve had the Katy Perry song stuck in my head all afternoon…

Ruby Red Grapefruit Rosé

This wine. Oh my. This is the third bottle I’ve purchased. Yes, that’s right, I have spent $27 whole dollars on this stuff. My ex-boyfriend from high school Snapchatted me a bottle of this wine because that’s how hardcore I am about it. It suggests sweetness without actually being sweet! That’s my favorite taste! It is so grapefruit-y though. You have to be about grapefruit to like this. Sometimes I forget there’s even alcohol in it. It’s liquid summer. Literally if you comment on this post I will ship a bottle to your house if that’s even legal in these United States. Can’t wait to drink this with La Croix Pamplemousse when my best friend comes home IN THREE WEEKS.

I’m buying a case of it soon, because that beautiful Wegman’s display isn’t going to last forever. I might smuggle it into my wedding. I might drink a bottle of it at 10 am on my wedding day because holy shiiiiit you guys, I’m getting married.

I’m gushing…must be the 2 glasses of rosé I thirstily downed while listening to my new favorite podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You and doing housework/garden stuff.

What are you drinking this summer, and…can I join you?

—DellaBites

P.S. And yes, I used A Color Story‘s Rosé filter on the above pics. Of course.

P.P.S. Follow along with these shenanigans on Instagram with the hashtag #dblovesdranks!

Coffee Cocktails: Summer Edition

So, I realize typing this that there’s no “Coffee Cocktails: Winter Edition,” but everyone has had espresso martinis & coffee with Bailey’s! One thing I guarantee you haven’t tried? Vodka Mazagran! I was going to call this cocktail “Ghetto Four Loko” but I realized quickly that a. using the word “ghetto” to describe ratchet things is wicked offensive and b. this drink is actually way, way classier than Four Loko.

Those layers tho.

Mazagran is a drink that I discovered on my recent trip to Tallahassee, courtesy of Catalina Café. It’s lemonade over ice topped with cold brew. It sounds kind of weird and potentially gross, but it’s actually delicious. Not delicious in the way people say that kale is delicious—even a picky kid could get down with this drink.

Vodka Mazagran came to me while I was writing a paper for Philosophy of Law. I was drinking my afternoon cup and realized—this boring legal document would be a thousand times more interesting if I spiked my drink with vodka!

I’m a simple woman of simple desires.

So there you have it: a 3-ingredient cocktail that will make your summer. Seriously.

Vodka Mazagran

1/4 c. cold brew coffee

1 c. lemonade

1 shot of vodka (or 2, you do you)

1 tall glass filled with ice


The entry-level version of this cocktail just involves pouring these ingredients over ice, stirring, and sipping. The liquid measurements are relative to your glass size. Basically, you want more lemonade than coffee and more coffee than vodka (obviously).

If you’re not already making cold brew by the gallon every week (or like, three times a week) get on that.

Mazagran’s simplicity makes it a perfect platform for serious upgrades! Garnish it with a lemon wedge, and consider these options:

Fresh-squeezed lemonade sweetened with all-natural maple syrup

Rosemary (or rosemary-maple) infused simple syrup

Thyme-infused lemonade

Garnishing with sprigs of fresh herbs

Muddling raspberries into the sweetener

Shake these up and serve them in your best barware to dazzle your friends! Bonus points if you read up on mazagran’s Algerian origins…talk about cocktail party trivia!

Bon appétit…or rather, bonne soif!

—DellaBites

Author’s note: Please drink these babies responsibly! The mixture of coffee & vodka will result in a lessening of the obvious effects of intoxication, but trust me, they’re there! Also, who needs the calories? Savor, don’t chug!

*all photos taken with an iPhone 6 and edited with A Color Story