Shout Out Sunday

Hello! This week was absolutely insane. I spent the first half sick and the second half doing Too Many Activities™. Friday was our annual work outing, at which I spent 2+ hours getting torrentially downpoured on in a sailboat (misery) and drank all the wine cocktails (happiness). Then, I drove out to Western Mass to see one of my dearest friends and go to a show (detailed below), and didn’t get home until 2 am. Needless to say, I am an empty shell of a human who requires sleep and adequate nutrition. So, without further ado, my weekly roundup:

  1. I saw Jenny Lewis (again) last night in Northampton, and it was a religious experience. She’s still on tour, so get tickets immediately! I might go see her again in Boston or Providence, it was that amazing.
  2. I’ve been watching Catastrophe again, because I’m never not watching Catastrophe in a loop. Truly the greatest series ever created.
  3. One of my biggest regrets is not registering for a high-powered blender or Vitamix for our wedding. Just trying to make my own oat milk! Also, if you’re not on the oat milk train, I feel bad for you, son.
  4. I want to try this restaurant in Newton. There aren’t enough vegan restaurants where I live!
  5. Must have this faux agave plant for my house (I’m a plant killer).
  6. This playlist, FIG for CHELS—True/Tested, i.e. the playlist of car songs my husband has been making for me over the past several months, slaps so hard it should be illegal.
  7. Michael and I are (slowly) watching Westworld. We certainly don’t have the same momentum watching it as we did Game of Thrones (the nonlinear storyline doesn’t propel it forward in quite the same way), but we’re really enjoying it so far. Thandie Newton is a sensation.
  8. Speaking of HBO, they made a series of My Brilliant Friend, one of my favorite novels of all time??? Watching immediately.
  9. Put these noodles in my body right now.
  10. This piece is extremely heavy (TW: sexual assault), but I think it’s an extremely important read. Assault is a political issue. We cannot have hideous men as leaders.

I’m sorry to bring the tears with that last one, but it so profoundly moved me that I had to share it. Silence is complicity.

Now, please enjoy this crappy iPhone picture of the one true god.

IMG_4163.JPG
jenny lewis \ calvin theatre \ northampton, ma \ 6.22.19

Until next week!

So Fresh and So Clean Clean

If you know me personally, you know that I am a bit of a freak for organization.

One of my long-term life goals is to start a professional organizing service, but unfortunately, with the popularity of Marie Kondo and The Home Edit, the market is a bit saturated (also, I have literally no idea how to start a business). A clean home/workspace brings me an immense sense of calm, and has been an invaluable tool in maintaining my mental health. Cleaning and maintaining a household is hard work when you’re severely depressed, but it’s just those little actions that can help to lift you out of a funk*.

I decided to compile some of the things that have helped me conquer the chaos, because so many articles online rely on the reader to buy expensive products or have limitless free time, and, babe, we’re not all IG influencers. I’m out of my house for work 50 or more hours a week. If you search “entryway organization” on Pinterest, you get images of million-dollar homes (I don’t know how much houses cost, to be fair). I don’t have the time or resources to have a Pinterest-perfect home, but that doesn’t mean I can’t love and cherish my space.

Here are some of my favorite tips, tricks, and products for keeping a chaos-free home!

  • Actually KonMari your house. I know it’s controversial because most people have hoarding tendencies (way to generalize, Chels), but it’s the first step in the process and you can’t skip it. If you’re drowning in things, you’ll never get a real handle on your home. This is a blanket solution to your too-much-shit issues, since it applies to every room and every category in the house.
  • Sell stuff! Selling your used clothes and bags on Poshmark or at consignment stores can make getting rid of things into a game. I know people who’ve had luck with housewares on LetGo. You might as well get cash money as a prize for organizing.
  • This article on how to deep-clean your fridge is totally invaluable. It’s got to be done! I guarantee your mayonnaise has expired.
  • The dollar section at the entrance to Target! This section varies seasonally—it could even have different products in it week to week—but it almost always has storage solutions like bins, boxes, and jars, usually in adorable colors. P.S. Speaking of storage solutions, The Home Edit just dropped a collection at The Container Store and it is #goals.
  • Do the dishes while you cook. Nothing is more discouraging than finishing dinner only to face a massive pile of gross dishes. The best hack for this is to…
  • Use dishwashing gloves! Using gloves in the kitchen has changed the game for me. You don’t have to touch any food remains or wash your hands fifty times as you clean. Even though I use natural cleaning products, I still worry about residue on my hands from cleaning sprays, so this has spared my hands a lot of grief!
  • Reusable bags for every damn thing. I bring a reusable bag or two with me every time I go into a store. These fit everything, and they fold down into practically nothing. People have an inherent tendency to hoard tote bags (guilty), but if you narrow it down to a few you really love and actually use them, you spare yourself ever having to contend with those gross plastic bags ever again.
  • *very Oprah voice* EVERYTHING GETS A BIN. These are my personal favorite at the moment—I took everything in my office and separated it into categories (stationery, notebooks, sentimental items, etc), and it has made things so easy to find!
  • Containers, dispensers! Decant all your stuff into reusable containers and then just buy refill packs or concentrates. If you have, for instance, your dish soap in a glass bottle, then you can tell at a glance exactly how much you have, and won’t be tempted to buy extra “just in case.” Look under your sink and tell me how many extra bottles of countertop spray you have.
  • Take inventory before every trip to the grocery store. Seems like a pain in the ass, but how many bags of lentils do you need? Utilizing bins, containers, and turntables in your cabinets and fridge will make this a total breeze. Also, this spice rack is a game-changer if you’re like me and have every spice known to man.
  • Laundry gets taken out of the dryer, folded, and put away on the same day. This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you set a pile of underwear on top of the dresser because you’ll fold it and put it away “later,” it’ll still be there in a week, minus the ones you’ve plucked from it to wear (am I the only person that does this?). Laundry is my least favorite chore because it is never and can never be finished, but the quicker it’s out of sight, the quicker it’s out of mind. If you hate laundry too, the KonMari is crucial—when you have fewer articles of clothing, everything has a clear and designated place, so putting away your clothes is a breeze. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually do a capsule wardrobe…
  • Set reminders on your phone to water your plants. This is a new thing I’m trying. Pick a day a week, or month, depending on your plant’s specific watering needs. I have let so many plants perish from negligence, including a spider plant my husband managed to keep alive for the better part of a decade. Dead plants kill the visual vibe of any space, but living plants are good for the air quality in your home and make you seem like a classy adult who has her shit together!
ACS_0226
this is why you’ve got to water your plants. look how droopy and lopsided he is! i’m hoping i can bring him back to life.

I’m sure I could come up with a million more tiny things I do each day to keep my living space under control, but the above are tried-and-true methods that have taken me from being an absolute slob (just ask my parents) to a person who’s fiercely proud of her home. If you live with a partner (or kids), it can be hard to adjust to new routines, but I promise that in due time, they’ll see the myriad benefits of a clean space and get into it too!

ACS_0227
too many drawer dividers is just not a thing.

I apologize for the quality of the photos—I just used my phone and didn’t clean up beforehand—I wanted to show pictures of my actual day-to-day house, post-organizational implementation. It’s never perfect, but it’s always colorful.

*In no way am I endorsing the idea that you can “cure” depression by cleaning your house. That’s nuts. But since small tasks can be so overwhelming to those of us who deal with these issues, accomplishing them can be genuinely uplifting.

Shout Out…Tuesday?

I’ve been MIA for a minute, for which I apologize profusely. I’m going to try to get back into the swing of writing, but ask any writer—it’s the hardest thing on earth.

My husband and I went to Syracuse last weekend to see a Bowie tribute show, which is exciting—Syracuse is a really cool city! Every time we visit, we hit up my favorite restaurant, Strong Hearts Café, which is totally vegan! The best part is that they have a huge menu of different vegan milkshakes which are soooo delicious. I mean, it’s always exciting to see our Syracuse friends, but Strong Hearts, tho.

My No-Spend Year is still going strong! The No-Spend has been such an amazing, eye-opening experience. I am so much happier than I was when I was spending frivolously, and I appreciate the things that I do buy so much more. I’ve managed to knock out over $2,000 in debt in less than a month! I honestly don’t even know how that’s even possible since that’s more than I bring home in income! It’s amazing how resourceful you can be when you’re on a mission.

img_0277
installation at the high museum, atlanta, georgia

Okay, without further ado, here’s the week in Chelsea:

  1. CATASTROPHE IS BACK.
  2. After years and years I finally caved and started watching Game of Thrones with my husband, and I regret to inform you that I love it. I know enough about the series to not get attached to most of the characters, so I feel very prepared to take it on. We’re at the start of season three. I do have some issues with the show (they’re way too exploitative and gleeful about rape, for instance), but it is indeed very entertaining television.
  3. I started the Neapolitan novels! I borrowed My Brilliant Friend while I was in Florida last month and I loved it! I bought the second one on Kindle because I couldn’t wait, but I’m going to check my local library for the other two.
  4. Barry on HBO is back March 31! This is seriously the best new show I’ve seen in years. Bill Hader is truly one of our finest actors. If you haven’t watched it, steal someone’s hbogo password and get on it!
  5. I watched The Feels on Netflix this weekend, and while it’s very poorly rated, it also stars Constance Wu as a lesbian so how could I not have watched it?
  6. I want to watch Leaving Neverland but I’m also afraid that if I do I’ll never sleep at night? I remember, as a kid, when all the Michael Jackson allegations were going on, I found it so completely distressing and disgusting. So many abusers are protected from consequences by their fame or money and it’s a disgrace. Anyone who’d jump to Michael Jackson’s defense can moonwalk the fuck out of here.
  7. This nursery tour is everything. I feel like my whole life has just become a countdown clock to having a baby of my own!
  8. These leggings are great. I love finding good quality clothes at a great price!
  9. The new season of Friends From College is great, btw.
  10. I saved the best for last, kids. Today, not only did my The Home Edit book come today, but JENNY LEWIS’S NEW ALBUM, ON THE LINE, IS OUT TODAY*.

*Okay, so my pre-order just came early and it’s not out until Friday but EITHER WAY!

I hope some of these recommendations freak your week!

-chels

 

Shout Out Sunday

So, I mentioned last week that I was thinking of changing the title of the feature. I’m still playing around, but we’ll go with “Shout Out Sunday” for now.

IMG_0567.JPG

  1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season two is sensational, but Amy Sherman-Palladino really likes to leave us on unsatisfying cliffhangers, doesn’t she?
  2. Everlane just added some amazing new styles! The button-fly jeans are everything.
  3. The No-Spend Month has been going…okay. I’ve definitely spent way less than I normally would, but I just went to Target and kind of blew it. But there were penguin-shaped catnip toys on clearance for like, $1! How can I not get that for Della? I may need to get her these, because how freaking cute are they? I mean, I also bought a Hearth & Hand wall shelf (I can’t find the link!), because self-control is hard, guys. And it matches my bathroom! When my spending freeze is over, I’m for sure getting this cactus.
  4. I just discovered this kiddo shop on Amazon and my ovaries are practically jumping out of my body.
  5. The Marie Kondo show is out! I KonMari’d years ago, but it’s so nice seeing other people catch on to what is truly the best organizational system you’ll ever try. Nothing else works. Clutter and “organized chaos” are not cute. It’s not “artsy” to be bogged down by possessions. Especially if you have a family, it’s so essential and time-saving to have a clean, organized space. Doing KonMari has literally improved my mental health and sense of peace. Try it!
  6. I’ve probably pimped this before, but this is my all-time favorite “natural” nail polish.

Short one this week. But isn’t that what self-care’s all about? Knowing your limits. See you next week!

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?

DRWF4MFX0AEb-cX.jpg

That said, here are some holiday faves!

*

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.

*

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.

Sunday Kind of Love xx

IMG_1522

Back in the saddle again (metaphorically, of course, I’m afraid of horses). Today’s post really runs the gamut of topics, but I hope you find some new faves! As I get older, I’m investing in a quality, ethically-made wardrobe and trying to support small businesses (although my love of Target and my problematic AF love for Amazon may never die). The world is on fire, so if I can even do a tiny part to help, I’m in.

 

  1. I’m ditching bras in 2019! That’s right—I’m freeing myself from the Victoria’s Secret prison. I’ve been getting almost all my bras from VS for 15 years! The brand is…not great to begin with, and the quality has been declining for years. Also, tiny skinny straps! I feel like I’ve been untwisting a bra strap since I was in middle school! Now, I’m no Dolly Parton, but my girls do need support, which is why I’m switching over to bralettes. Madewell has some amazing ones on sale right now, and Everlane is the new go-to. The Tank Bra is $22 (at least $10 less than the cheapest VS bra, I ordered one in every color) and it so comfortable I could die. Plus, “lift and separate” is a thing of the past—my boobs have never looked better than in this bra, doing their own thing. Plus, Everlane fucking owns. I know that my small-ish breasts (34C) give me the privilege of metaphorically burning my bras, so if anyone has any ethical full-bust recommendations, hit me up! P.S. I’m donating my gently used bras to I Support the Girls.
  2. Spectrum Boutique is an amazing, sex-positive, gender-inclusive sex toy store that my husband came across on Instagram. They’re based out of Detroit, and their selection is curated by Zoë Ligon, a sex educator and journalist! We’re huge fans in our house of supporting small businesses, especially those that give the finger to gender norms!
  3. The new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is out! My husband and I are bingeing it this weekend. I’m so excited. MMM is one of my favorite pieces of recent media. It might even be my favorite show of all time!
  4. I did it, guys! I finally bought an espresso machine for my house! This is a decade in the making. Since I’m leaving my coffee job at the end of this month (and hopefully forever—sayonara service industry!), I’ll no longer have unlimited access to all manner of caffeinated beverages. I already have a Chemex, two French presses, a pour-over cone, a cold brew Toddy, an Aeropress, and a Verismo frother (whoever took my stovetop espresso maker is dead to me), but there’s really nothing like a proper espresso machine. I went with this model after doing some research online. I really want a $3,000 Breville machine, or something equally extravagant, but this little guy will have to do for now! Other dream espresso machines: LaPavoni, SMEG, illy.
  5. The Glossier perfume is amazing, and I hate perfume. I got a sample of it in my last order and I have been wearing it all the time. It’s the perfect combination of floral and musky without being overbearing or migraine-inducing (I basically go into anaphylactic shock every time I’m around someone with perfume or cologne on). I just bought the bottle and the solid to keep in my purse.
  6. Speaking of purses, I just got this baby in dusty peony and I am obsessed. It was on sale at the time for $129, which is an insane deal. It’s the perfect size for an everyday bag, although fitting a book and a planner is a little tight. It’s also just so cute I could die.
  7. P.S. The surprise sale is happening now!
  8. Have you heard of HARA? It’s an Australian brand that sells organic bamboo intimates and loungewear. Their stuff is definitely on the pricey side, but it’s worth it for the occasional splurge. Their mission is to bring ethically-made, sustainable clothing to the forefront, and we should all celebrate that!
  9. Oh, forgot to mention. Just bought this steaming pitcher and this tamper to go with my espresso machine, because of course I did.
  10. Boston finally nixed single-use plastic bags! California did this ages ago, and the last time I went I was so taken with the idea. Reusable bags cost a dollar and can last for years—why wouldn’t you be using them?? I literally bought reusable grocery bags at Tesco while I was staying in England because there was no way I was cheating just because I was “on vacation.” Hopefully, now that this ordinance is in effect, I’ll stop being the only crazy bag lady in the Boston area! Come on, rest of Massachusetts…do your thing.
  11. This one’s more serious, but it’s something I’m insanely passionate about. I found out about RIP Medical Debt via a New York Times article about two women who fundraised $12,500 and were able to erase $1.5 million worth of medical debt for hundreds of people. Long story short, medical debt causes bankruptcies, ruins people’s lives, and is basically all fake because our healthcare system is complete garbage. Lots of employers will match your donation (mine did!), so you can do double the good by contributing even a small amount. When donating, you can even specify that your contribution helps struggling veterans, which tbh made me tear up. If nothing else this holiday season, please donate to this incredible organization.

That’s all for now, folks! Someday, I’ll start actually writing posts again, but until then, see you on Sunday!

*somewhat* back on my bullshit

So I know I literally just posted a list of shit that I like, but now that I am “somewhat back on my bullshit,” I can’t stop.

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 5.27.48 PM

Here’s the home & beauty edition you’ve all been waiting for!

  1. I bought dishwashing gloves and it has CHANGED EVERYTHING. I snagged these from Grove, and it has made cleaning even more of a joy than it already was.
  2. I started using Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo and I LOVE IT. I’m more of a co-wash gal (I use New Wash, in case you were wondering), but this makes my hair feel squeaky-clean on those occasional real washes. Get it at Grove or Target!
  3. I got this face wash as a free gift with my Grove purchase (seriously, bitches, sponsor me), and I really like it! It smells great and it feels like it’s actually exfoliating my face (hormonal breakouts are a bitch). It’s soooo cheap at Target and it’s 95% natural, so it’s a no-brainer.
  4. These storage bins are LIFE. I just bought a few for my fridge and I fully plan on buying even more of them until my fridge is so organized that I get 5150’d.
  5. Target sells Native deodorant now! I’m dying of happiness. This is hands-down the BEST natural deodorant I’ve ever tried. Fuck aluminum and parabens! You don’t need them! Once your body adjusts (give it a few weeks), you’ll never go back to normal deodorant in your life. It’s a bit pricier than traditional deo, but it’s worth every penny. I’m finishing up a tube of unscented right now, but next up is Lavender & Rose!
  6. Target also sells Quip now! I’m sure there’s some back-alley, evil, corporate downside to all these indie brands being coopted by a big store like Target, but choose to see the bright side, which is the amount of exposure these great companies are getting! Quip is my new favorite thing—it times your brushing with 2 minutes of vibration in 30 second intervals, and LET ME TELL YOU, no one brushes their teeth for long enough. I am a fastidious brusher, a person who has famously been called out by a roommate for “brushing your teeth more than anyone I’ve ever met,” and even I do not brush my teeth for a thorough two minutes every time. Get on it!
  7. This Grove set is out-of-control cute. My husband keeps asking me which one is the hand soap and which is the dish soap, but it’s worth the annoyance to have my kitchen sink look this cute.
  8. I started actually using a probiotic every day, so I’m basically immortal. I take Lovebug’s Here’s the Skinny, and it’s available at drugstores!
  9. I’m so excited about this month’s Oui Fresh Beauty Box. I can’t wait for this HAN cheek & lip tint—I’m obsessed with their super-pigmented eye shadow.
  10. I tried Hello Fresh after cancelling my Blue Apron account (I had a great discount code), and while I really like the service, the portions are a little meager compared to BA. HF also does a bit more of the prep for you—garlic cloves come PEELED—which makes the prep faster overall. Meal kits aren’t super practical for my lifestyle right now, but if they fit into your budget and your schedule, these are both great options! Here’s my Hello Fresh referral link!

I’ll leave it there! Now to actually make one of my Hello Fresh meals and finish watching this truly godawful Hallmark Christmas movie!