Bonjour! Another week of social isolation! The Starbucks near me just reopened, so I’ve gone two days in a row…the small creature comforts keep me sane. Apart from that, it’s been business as usual. I’m trying to go easy on myself. We’re all dealing with immense trauma & grief right now, so if you need to get drunk, or send a booty pic, or reorganize your cabinets again, please don’t judge yourself. If you’re alive and healthy, you’re doing great, and I love you.
This shop on Etsy is selling 3-packs of cotton masks in adorable prints. It’s a buy 3/donate 3 situation. I got these ones. I’m still having a hard time with masks, if I’m being honest. Of course I wear one on the rare occasion I go out, but the feeling that my breathing is being stifled gives me horrible anxiety. Anyone else dealing with this?
This set of food storage containers is amazing and actually just as good as the one from The Container Store. I bought two sets and then some extra minis. My cabinets will get perfect or die trying.
The Court Skort sold out before I had a chance to snag one (you snooze, you lose) and I’m mad! Same for the Bike Unitard, which I need someone to convince me I don’t need. This remains in my cart…
It’s irrational how much I want one of these, considering I have like a dozen reusable water bottles.
Just like Miley of the Cyrus clan, I simply cannot be tamed. I actually talked about spending in therapy, and my therapist said to be kind to myself about it because we’re living in a time of unprecedented horror!
One thing, other than reckless spending (lol), that’s been getting me through quar life is Twitter. I love that there’s a place that can make me sob, curse god, feel existential terror, and then make me snort laughing in the span of 5 minutes. Completely normal! Please enjoy this exquisite cartoon, from my favorite meme account, Russian Memes United. Translation:
A Glossier haul. I got more Solution, the Skincare set, Future Dew, and 2 Generation Gs. I need to start taking better care of my skin yesterday. I never had acne growing up, so when I have occasional pimples now, I basically panic and go nuclear on them. I’ve been getting away with gross negligence for too long…as age 30 looms, I’ve got to get my act together.
A Headley & Bennett “Wake Up & Fight” Mask. It’s now recommended that we wear masks while out in public (to protect others from us), so I was going to have to get one eventually. The cool thing about the Headley & Bennett masks is that they’re 100% cotton, made in LA, reusable, and each purchase donates a mask to a health care worker. Plus, they have a filter insert for added protection! I think this company’s entire operation has switched to producing masks, and it’s weirdly inspiring: capitalism, but for…doing good?
I caved and got a May Designs mask too. Even after COVID is over, I think we should still wear masks if we’re symptomatic of anything. We need to step up to protect immunocompromised people!
The Home Edit is putting out another book! I pre-ordered—I’m psyched for it to arrive in September (provided we’re all still alive then)! I have to admit that their first book was, well, not exactly for those of us actually living the low-bar lifestyle (who has an actual pantry room?) but it’s aesthetically stunning and always nice to get compulsive organization confirmation bias from my like-minded idols.
Madewell sale was still popping off, so I got these boots and this belt bag, which matches my Zip-Top Transport Carryall in the same color. I’ve been looking for a nice-quality pair of leather boots for under $100, and the gods delivered! Also, I love belt bags in theory, but haven’t successfully pulled one off yet. Now is finally the time! Oh, and the boots fit perfectly.
I wanted to try out Pact, so I ordered this dress super on sale (in Rosewood Heather & Cadet Blue). I used the code ORGANIC2020 for 20% off!
The lilac Madewell jeans didn’t work out…back they go, sadly. They fit okay, they were just very rigid.
The Kate Spade wallet is not quite as nice as the one I already have (final sale, though)…it’s obviously very cute, but I’m going to sit on it for a week, and if my feelings don’t change, it’s going up on Poshmark.
The Rothys were a win! I’m so glad I went a half size up. Honestly, I could have even gone a full size. If you get this style and you have wide feet like me, definitely size up! These ones are next, for sure.
The West Elm bedside table is gorgeous and great quality for the price! My only gripe is that the drawer itself is very shallow and small, but it did force me to go through what I kept in there and edit, so I’m calling it a win.
The Thirdlove Pima bras & undies are even more comfy than I expected them to be. I want to live in these bras, for real.
The nixit is great! Easier to put in/take out than regular cups and I’ve barely had leaks.
I’m going to put my poor wallet to bed. It’s been fun, but I’ve got to maintain my credit score and be responsible with the stimulus check we’re supposedly getting.
None of this will make up for not being able to see friends and family, missing vacations, or my general feeling of nagging uncertainty, but surrounding myself with pretty things or letting myself have little dopamine hits now and again is really all I can do right now.
RIP to the campaign of the greatest of all time. Bernie has shown up for this country time and time again, and I know he’ll keep showing up for its ungrateful ass until he draws his last breath. I’m so proud I got to vote for this man—so many people were denied that opportunity by our truly psychotic and unjust “democratic” primary system.
On a less soul-crushingly depressing note, chag Pesach sameach to all those who are observing! It’s so tough being isolated during a holiday season (although I only begrudgingly celebrate Easter because my mother-in-law is a great cook and she pops off for the holidays). And before you yell at me, we have a very small circle (just me, my husband, and his parents) that still sees each other. We are taking precautions to keep each other safe. I’m literally cut off from my entire family and all my friends so do not come for me.
That got kind of serious but, I think it’s just a sign of the times. As Bowen Yang eloquently put it on Las Culturistas, we’re living in a coronavirus monoculture. Everything we do and say is affected by its presence, even this frivolous weekly round-up post.
Where are we getting our grocery deliveries from? I’ve actually still been going to the store, as infrequently as possible, but it seems prudent to take more precaution. I know Instacart was striking, so I don’t want to be a scab, but also my grocery store is partnered with Instacart specifically. Unfortunately, I live *just* far enough away from Boston (literally 23 miles from Fenway Park), so Imperfect Foods doesn’t deliver to my zip, and other options are pretty limited.
I’m pretty decent at doing at-home nails, but since we may never be able to get manicures again, should I get this? I’m very intrigued…
I cannot stress enough how much you need to be playing the Spelling Bee game. It is my lodestar in these dark times. A true pleasure! Do I only play educational/education-adjacent games? Yes! Should you pity my future children? Definitely!
Amazon Classics (if you’re a piece-of-shit, neolib, corporate shill like me who still uses Amazon) has a bunch of Kindle books for free right now. All of the classics! 1984, Jane Eyre, Little Women, you name it! Some of them are available just to borrow, but some can be purchased for $0.00, so they’re all yours! I went nuts…I guess this means I have to buck up and start reading proper literature instead of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks.
This tweet is very specific to my interests, but it filled me with joy in a pandemic, so I had to share it.
May Designs is making the cutest face masks! I’m so glad to see so many companies stepping up and using their resources to encourage people to wear masks. Masks protect other people from you!
John Prine passed away this week from COVID. I wasn’t personally very familiar with his oeuvre, but he inspired so many of the artists I love. His impact was immeasurable and he will be missed. Marc Maron reposted his 2016 interview, if you, like me, want to get to know him better. I asked my husband to recommend a John Prine song I’d like…I had no idea he wrote this. It’s a perfect song.
My queens and idols Clea & Joanna of The Home Edit have graciously provided us with “mini edits” throughout quarantine—small one-day organizing projects to help us optimize our homes during this, well, sub-optimal time. Full disclosure, I will absolutely be ripping a few of their ideas off, but this particular mini edit is tailored very specifically to a certain kind of home: one that is already organized but seeking to minimalize. I’m so inspired by minimalist homes, but no matter how much I sell/donate, I never seem to be able to get all the way there. I’m, I guess you’d say, a maximalist clutter queen trying to become a Scandinavian ascetic.
If you are already tidy, but want to take it to the next level, here is my *very Barenaked Ladies voice* One Week Organizing Challenge!
Refresh the Refrigerator*
Be honest—when is the last time you actually cleaned your refrigerator? Like, took everything out and cleaned it? I’m a tidy gal, but I must admit that I’ve done this maybe…twice? I’ve had my fridge for like 4 years. There are plenty of great resources online to set you on your path. Jolie Kerr wrote thedefinitive guide to deep-cleaning your fridge, but here are my tips:
Take every single item out.
Wash your bins with soap and water, wipe down any shelves you can’t remove.
Check expiration dates. Expiration dates are mostly a scam, and have more to do with corporate liability than health hazard, but some things really should be tossed on schedule. Your miso paste is probably fine, but the sour cream has got to go.
Organize all of the food/bev into categories. Put them back in the proper place, i.e. vegetables in the crisper, cheese in the drawer, etc. It’s easy to get lazy and just throw things in there, but maintaining an organizational system not only makes cooking & eating easier, but saves you time at the grocery store, since you always know what you have. I can’t recommend fridge bins enough. Target’s are great and really cost-effective. If you want to splurge, definitely hit up The Home Edit’s line at the Container Store.
Now, repeat the whole thing with all of your cabinets and drawers. Be ruthless.
Pare Down the Paper*
You don’t need your tax returns from 7 years ago. Off to the shredder! Keep a shoebox handy for sentimental items like Christmas cards and recycle everything else. Basically, all you should keep is tax paperwork from the past 3 years (just in case), identity documents (birth cert, SSN card), things relevant to your current health insurance, and receipts if you itemize. Or, honestly, just digitize everything.
Itemize Your Inbox*
Emails cause some people a lot of stress, and for good reason! They’re omnipresent—they bombard us at work all day, and then in our personal lives they’re receipts, coupons, bank statements, tracking info, personal correspondence, and politics. It’s a lot to take in. My first suggestion is to use a service like unroll.me to unsubscribe from or hide unwanted emails. Next, create broad categories with sub-labels to help organize what’s already there. Soon you’ll be living an Inbox Zero Lifestyle! Here’s an example of ideas for a Gmail side menu:
Family & Friends
Tickets & Travel
Go through and delete anything older than 2 years, except tax/loan documentation and personal correspondence. Flag anything interesting that you haven’t gotten a chance to read. Take a deep breath and embrace freedom.
Sift through Your Shoe Collection*
“You’re never going to wear the yellow flatforms, Chelsea,” and other things footwear hoarders say. Truthfully, I feel like all femme-identified folx only need a pair each of the following shoes:
A “work” heel
Riding boots (suitably waterproof for winter)
Chelsea boots or booties
Leather sandals (for everyday summer wear)
Flip-flops (for the beach or pedicures)
When you purge, make sure you don’t overdo it and get rid of something functional #fortheaesthetic. But don’t get rid of your “fun shoes” either! You’re allowed to have a ton of fun shoes, just make sure you have sensible (preferably hidden) storage. I use this at my house and it fits…most of my shoes. It’s a great price and it looks really stylish. It also comes in a bench version, which I also have (for my husband’s shoes), which could be used as a TV stand as well.
Clean Up Your Carpets*
Do you have a pet? Or even just long hair that sheds? Your carpets/rugs are probably disgusting. No matter how much you vacuum, you can’t make up for the fact that rugs literally live on the floor. And vacuums can only do so much. Unless you’re a billionaire and can afford one of those fancy pet Dysons (please buy me one), a vacuum can only do so much. And every rug has different cleaning instructions (for instance, jute can’t be cleaned with water). Figure out what your rug is made of, Google deep-cleaning instructions, and go to town. You will be shocked at what comes up. This is especially important if you or a loved one has allergies!
Tackle Your Toiletries*
Your bathroom cabinets, drawers, or closet can be a breeding ground for clutter and chaos. Somehow, you can run out of bar soap while simultaneously owning 14 travel-sized tubes of toothpaste. I guarantee you have tubes of lipstick that should definitely be discarded. Getting a handle on your bathroom storage makes life a thousand times easier. This is a great guide to getting started! And since bathrooms are the least fun area to clean, less clutter means less surface area to wipe down—it’s a win-win!
Rehome Your Reading Material
I am a huge book-lover, and I would never go so far as to propose, à la Marie Kondo, that one should only own 30 books, but you probably don’t need all of the books you have. I actually wrote a post about this a few years ago and I absolutely stand by what I said. The beat up copy of Catcher in the Rye from freshman year of high school that you’ll never read again is just taking up space (if, like me, you probably will read that book again, treat yourself to a nicer copy and ditch the public school standard issue). You don’t need to own Faulkner’s entire bibliography; Toni Morrison was influenced by him, and her books are way more enjoyable. If you read her, you get the point.
Cut Down Your Closet
Another tricky one. People get very sentimental about clothes. I tend to go scorched earth on my closet every few years and then regret getting rid of that oversized Banana Republic sweater or that too-small Anthropologie jumpsuit that I will definitely fit into again someday. I think Marie Kondo speaks on this subject far more eloquently than I possibly can, so suffice it to say that you truly do not need all of those clothes you never wear. Go through everything, make a donate pile (or resell them on Poshmark!) and enjoy your simplified wardrobe!
Nothing makes a space visually interesting like color coordination. Organizing your bookshelf in rainbow order (or your dresser drawers, or closet, or literally everywhere in your home) is functional and fashionable. My favorite thing to color-coordinate is phone apps!
*I have actually accomplished all of these things very recently, so I know it’s not impossible!