Week Links [July 24]

I’m 24 weeks pregnant today, on the 24th! I feel like stuff like that never happens (or at least, not since I turned 19 on the 19th of August, 11 years ago). 24 weeks is a big milestone, since the babies are now considered viable (meaning that if something were to go horribly awry and they needed to be born now, they’d likely survive). That sounds kind of bleak, but it’s actually really comforting to me! For the first time in 6 months, I’m fairly confident that my little cantaloupes are going to be a-okay.

I’m also turning 30 in a few weeks and I’m actually really excited! I’m kind of amazed I even made it through my twenties. In a few months, my life will be unrecognizable. It’s a nice parallel—I was born in 1991 and my kids will be born in 2021, as my life enters a new stage.

  1. Bowen Thee Yang has been nominated for an Emmy. The first featured player on SNL to ever be nominated. Bowen must be genuinely exhausted by all the history he has made at this point. I genuinely love every single actor who is nominated in his category (including Paul Reiser, though I have never seen The Kominsky Method), so however the voting goes, I’ll be happy. Bowen has been a shining light in my life for years and I love to see him get his flowers.
  2. Ted Lasso season 2 premiered yesterday and my body is ready. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve fallen so head-over-heels for a new show. And to think I almost cancelled AppleTV+ right before I discovered it.
  3. In honor of Ted Lasso, I will have to bake the biscuits.
  4. These pink glitter Christian Cowan collab Tevas might be simultaneously the stupidest and best thing I’ve ever spent money on.
  5. I’ve been reading (and loving) Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters.
  6. Madewell now has a Preloved shop! I knew they had a jean recycling program, but this is next-level. I’ll definitely be ordering (and then recycling) some maternity jeans because buying those new is expensive. I’ve kind of outgrown the Madewell aesthetic (there just isn’t a boho bone in my body, and boxy cuts don’t suit me), but I maintain that they have the best jeans in the game and I had missed wearing them!
  7. My husband and I started watching McCartney 3,2,1 on Hulu last night and it’s better than I could have imagined. It’s like it was tailor-made for my exact interests. I was thrilled to find out that “Michelle” was partially inspired by Edith Piaf’s “Milord,” one of my favorites! (La vie en rose came out while I was in high school, so I went through a big Little Sparrow phase).
  8. On the subject of McCartney (my favorite subject!) Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen has not disappointed. I’ve been eating some meat because it’s calorie and protein-dense which is important during pregnancy, but I am feeling the pull back towards plant-based living. It’s just what makes the most sense for me and my family, but you do you!
  9. Never Have I Ever season 2 is out! I absolutely love this show, which speaks to my eternal love for Mindy Kaling, since media about young people rarely interests me (ironic, considering I am currently manufacturing two young people). I Googled it and the actor who plays Paxton Hall-Yoshida is a few months older than I am (30) so it’s okay to think he’s ridiculously cute.
  10. Bought these chairs for my dining table. We currently have a pub-height table with 2 stools that won’t work for us once the babies arrive. I’m going to pair them with a cheap-ish Ikea table and upgrade once we don’t have little Tasmanian Devils running around our house. I mentioned Detransition, Baby earlier, and there’s a moving passage about how once women enter their 30s, dining sets become very important to them…I’m sure it was a condemnation of sorts, but I deeply related to it.
  11. Lately I can’t stop listening to The Kinks. I wonder if it has anything to do with the name we picked for our daughter…

Week Links [3 July]

Get pregnant, they said. It will be magical, they said.

I was lucky enough not to get morning sickness in the first trimester, just fatigue, but last week’s heat wave and humidity had me so sick that I was rueing the day I was born. Things are still touch-and-go, but I’ve started to feel them kick, so that kind of offsets how horribly pregnancy has been treating me recently. I’m officially 21 weeks today, and trying to figure out how I’m supposed to survive the next 15-17 weeks…

I’ve officially picked the babies’ first names, so I may do some sort of “reveal” on here (the closest I got to a “gender reveal” was posting a screenshot of my blood test results on Instagram stories accompanied by a gif of Homer Simpson screaming, so…)

As much as I may have previously been irritated by how myopic pregnant people become, how singularly focused on “the baby,” now that I’ve been there, I can attest that it is real. I think it has to be evolutionary, some sort of biological imperative to keep the fetus healthy by focusing ALL OF YOUR ATTENTION AND MENTAL/PHYSICAL ENERGY ON THE BABY. It’s all I can do to watch TV without also researching baby swing safety ratings. I’ve literally told my therapist that I’m exhausting myself with this, so I certainly don’t blame my friends or family for tuning me out for a while. I’m sure by this time next year, I’ll be begging for Sauvignon Blanc in an IV and a chance to be away from them for 5 minutes. One thing that’s really important to me is to not martyr myself in the process of becoming a mother. I’d like to remain myself, albeit with some small satellites orbiting me.

jean smart is a genius

Ugh, enough about me. It’s been an insane couple of weeks, hasn’t it? Between the Olympics being racist, Britney’s statement on her conservatorship, Bill fucking Cosby going free, and Rand Paul sending out an email with a dog-whistle typo in it, it truly feels like we’re living in the darkest timeline. I’m glad about having a long weekend, but proclaiming “Happy 4th” seems hollow at best, if not entirely tone-deaf. So…just enjoy your long weekend if you’re lucky enough to have one. You deserve to rest.

  1. Jack Black is the funniest person alive.
  2. I’ve been mainlining the show Workin’ Moms on Netflix and I really hope it comes back for a 6th season.
  3. When I finished Workin’ Moms, I devoured Hacks. If Jean Smart doesn’t win the Emmy, the entire institution should be shut down.
  4. I watched Girls 5 Eva in 2 days and I haven’t stopped singing the theme song since. A perfect show.
  5. I replaced my dishes and I’m really happy with the set I got. I bought two of these sets in teal (to make a makeshift service for 8). I paired them with these oversized mugs and these serving bowls.
  6. After much research and no success finding something cheaper that I actually liked, I have purchased the stupidly expensive, aesthetic coffee maker. The other contender was this coffee maker from Drew Barrymore’s line, but the adorable green color was out of stock.
  7. This may be my most “mom” purchase yet. I have to go as hands-free as possible because I’ll have a baby in each arm pretty soon.
  8. Excited to try this cheek and lip tint. I’m almost 30 and still haven’t really figured out how to wear makeup, so this kind of product is the only thing that will get me to wear blush. This one is my current favorite, but I have it in the color “Cherry Cosmos.”
  9. This week on Las Culturistas, Matt and Bowen sang this song, correctly calling it “One of the best songs of all time, one of the most beautiful women of all time, one of the great films.” I can’t even explain how many times I’ve watched this movie.
  10. I’m going to attempt to resist buying these, but these are THE most ’90s sandals ever. Everyone’s mom had sandals just like this. Giving me such Nine West vibes.
  11. Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino’s piece on Britney’s conservatorship made me rage-cry. It truly is a nightmare, a form of modern slavery. I hope that how high-profile this case is triggers reform throughout the legal system and proves a huge step forward for the rights of disabled people.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before Getting Pregnant

So, before I got pregnant, I considered myself to be very knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth. I’d read books, watched documentaries, listened to podcasts. I knew what an episiotomy is, and what the placenta does. But as it turns out, I am actually a big moron know-nothing of the Jon Snow school of ignorance. I went into pregnancy the same way I go into everything—with big Veruca Salt energy. I wanted the Golden Goose (to finally be a mom), and nothing was going to get in my way. I really thought that because I had strong opinions about Montessori toys, and because I had a pre-conception doctor’s appointment that confirmed me physically fit to breed, that I could “handle” pregnancy, newborn care, and parenting. For the rest of my life.

6/5/21

I’m reading the books and doing the work, but I definitely could have focused less of my energy on the process of getting pregnant (which for me apparently happens if I so much as make eye contact with my husband while I’m ovulating) and more energy on learning how to be pregnant, and the risks and challenges that come along with it. I didn’t factor in what it would feel like to sit in an office chair 8 hours a day, or what eating an extra 300-900 calories a day would actually entail. I didn’t consider how awkward it is to come up with a baby shower guest list, since you’re basically begging everyone you invite for either money or presents. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for the fact that it’s not a magical, earth goddess experience—it actually rather sucks and I’m definitely never doing it again. Here are some of the things (from the serious to the silly) that I wish I’d thought about before taking the plunge, although, let’s be real—even if I had known all of this, I’d still have made the same decision 100 times over.

  1. It could be multiples. Even if they don’t run in your family, and even if you don’t undergo any fertility treatments, you could end up with twins, or even triplets (hello, This Is Us). I didn’t even consider twins to be a remote possibility—only 3% of live births are twins, and that can largely be attributed to the increase in IVF and other treatments. The chances of conceiving twins naturally is only about 0.004%. But 0.004% is not 0%. Before you slip on your sexy bra and pee on the ovulation strip, be sure to make peace with the fact that you could be getting more than you bargained for.
  2. You have to pee constantly. I knew this about pregnancy, but I always thought it was something that happened later due to pressure on your bladder. Nope! Apparently, right from the get-go, the increase in progesterone makes you feel the urge to pee 1,000 times a day. It ebbs and flows (I’m about halfway through my pregnancy now and it’s not as bad as it was), but it’s incredibly inconvenient, especially, as I discovered, when you’re trying to spend the day lounging in the pool.
  3. There is zero consistency in symptoms person-to-person or pregnancy-to-pregnancy. I was hardly sick a day, and everything I read said symptoms were especially horrendous with twins. I also never got that second trimester “boost” I was supposed to feel—I’m tired and uncomfortable all the time, since I have twice as much going on in there. I also still haven’t developed an appetite, even though everything I read, especially about multiples pregnancies, says you get hungry all the time after the morning sickness goes away. I’m only about 3 lbs. heavier than my average pre-pregnancy weight at 19 weeks. So, basically, there is no way to possibly prepare for being pregnant, other than becoming Buddha-level enlightened and being able to truly roll with the punches.
  4. No one tells you…anything. This may vary widely; I’m sure that pregnant people seeing an MFM doctor or who have higher-risk pregnancies get more face time with medical professionals, but since I am, against all odds considering my utter disdain for exercise, healthy as a horse and the babies are thriving, my actual OB appointments are about three minutes long. I’m hoping that, as I progress, I get looped in about important things such as, “What do I do when I go into labor?” and “When the hell exactly am I supposed to have these babies?” Beyond that, since I’ve barely ever met a baby in my life, is someone going to teach me how to actually take care of a newborn? Is that what pediatricians are for? It seems wildly irresponsible and vaguely illegal that they’re just going to let me give birth to these children and then take them home without making me demonstrate any sort of competency at childrearing. It’s harder to adopt a dog, much less a human child.
  5. Maternity clothes are boring. I was actually kind of excited about buying maternity clothes before I got pregnant, but the actual experience has been a total downer. Basics, like long tank tops, are affordable and can definitely be worn after pregnancy, but anything that even approximates stylishness is pricey, and in my opinion, it’s insane to spend money on things with a limited sartorial shelf life. My advice, especially to women not having multiples, is to take advantage of the existing flowy/stretchy stuff in your wardrobe and do your best to skip maternity clothes altogether. Since I’m going to be enormous, I can’t avoid it, but I’m trying to stick to things that I can wear for at least the first year postpartum.
  6. Pregnancy is essentially a temporary disability. I’m very fortunate to be a healthy and able-bodied person, so never in my life have I felt more empathy for differently-abled people than during pregnancy. I knew I couldn’t lift anything over 25 lbs., but I didn’t exactly do the math on how that would impact things as basic as grocery shopping. I also run out of energy performing simple tasks like folding laundry, and my center of gravity is already starting to shift, so I constantly have to be careful not to trip or run into things (I’ve always been a fairly long-limbed clumsy person covered in bruises). Low-impact movement/exercise is really encouraged during pregnancy, but I’m so uncomfortable all of the time that the thought of going on a walk or doing downward dog makes me want to simultaneously laugh and cry.
  7. Nothing is pregnancy safe. This one makes me roll my eyes a tiny bit, since even in recent history, people didn’t have access to fancy prenatal vitamins or, for my husband’s grandparents, even modern conveniences like electricity or running water, and they’ve been having perfectly healthy babies. But since I do have access to all of the wonders of 21st century living, I thought it appropriate to do my best to make my body a temple for my babies (minus the cheesecake kick I’ve been on). My one desert-island, can’t-live-without-it product is lipstick, specifically of the matte liquid variety, and guess what? Makeup is basically poison! If you do enough research, even some products marketed to pregnant women aren’t even pregnancy-safe! If I actually wanted to be a perfect pregnant person, I’d basically have to move in with the Bubble Boy. I’m doing my best (I switched to this lipstick), but they say a healthy mom is a healthy baby, and if I couldn’t periodically dye my greys, I would be mentally unwell.

I’m still early enough in this journey that the true trials and tribulations haven’t even begun, so I’m sure I’ll be back with another installment. But let me just say, that people who go through more than one pregnancy, especially those that are pregnant and also caring for young children, are braver than the goddamn Marines, and I salute them.

Make Mine a Double

Well, the cat is officially out of the bag. I’m pregnant. With twins—a boy and a girl (to be officially confirmed at the anatomy scan). To paraphrase something a friend told me when she found out: getting pregnant with twins on the first try is the most Chelsea thing to ever possibly happen. When I went in for my fancy, formal ultrasound at 9 weeks, the tech immediately asked me if I’d had embryos transferred, and when I said no, asked me what medications I’d taken. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect of, “Nope! This is just…my body!”

Before I got pregnant, I spent like six weeks abusing Dr. Google, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to conceive (even after my actual doctor very kindly ran fertility tests and told me point blank that I wouldn’t have any trouble getting pregnant), and of course I got twins right out of the gate. I definitely didn’t expect to get pregnant on the first try—I assumed it would take several months, which is why we started sooner than my original timetable (I wanted to have a baby at age 30 and ended up conceiving at exactly 29 and a half). I feel so incredibly lucky, and even though I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect of double the babies and double the work, I’m so grateful that they’re happy and healthy in there. I know plenty of people that have had a hell of a time conceiving, and the stress is real.

I’ve been interested in birth and parenthood for years, but since I didn’t know if or when it would happen for me, I ignored the topic for years. I can’t tell if I was punishing myself for not being up front with my husband about how much I wanted a baby, or if I was preserving my feelings until I was truly ready to be a mother. In retrospect, I am so, so glad that I didn’t attempt to do this sooner. Even a month sooner, I wouldn’t have been ready. I needed the time to get in tune with my body and my emotions. I needed to work through my issues and traumas (shout out to therapy!) so that I could show up for my kids as the best version of myself. I thought I would spend the rest of my life on antidepressants, and now I’m not taking anything (other than prenatal vitamins and B6 for nausea). I’m not knocking meds (I’m sure I’ll be back ASAP), but I do feel like a badass for doing this au naturel so far.

sonogram at 11 weeks, 3 days. the top picture is of the lower baby, who’s measuring a WEEK bigger that his/her gestational age, and the bottom picture is of the upper baby, who’s measuring exactly on track. i have a feeling by the time they’re reading to come out, i’ll be carrying around minimum 13 lbs of baby.

I’m sure I’ll have more insightful things to say about this journey moving forward, but I’m honestly still processing. I didn’t have morning sickness (so grateful for that), but the first trimester is still awful. It’s exhausting, and at least if you’re me, you’re constantly worried about miscarriage. And YES, I got my first shot of the COVID vaccine while 14 weeks pregnant. My bubs are swimming in antibodies as we speak.

If any other preggos or aspiring preggos are reading this, this is the stuff that I read/used/bought during my first trimester.

  1. A word to the wise—if you just found out you’re pregnant and haven’t even had an ultrasound or talked to a doctor yet, please do not watch The Business of Being Born. I spent 90 minutes panicking thinking I would literally die during childbirth and that the doctors would go against my will and do a bunch of unnecessary medical interventions. Obviously, I was being completely hysterical (pregnancy hormones will do that to you), and in hindsight, I’m really glad I saw the film. Even though it’s really tough on the medical establishment, I didn’t think the portrayal was unfairly biased. Birth is so shrouded in mystery—women are given basically no information about it until they’re actually pregnant. I considered myself really well-informed before, but I had no grasp on the history of obstetrics.
  2. I’ve been listening to Dr. Elliott Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast non-stop. I especially loved Mandy Moore and Hilary Duff’s episodes, since you know I have stanned both of them for 20+ years #millennialicons. I will admit that it’s making me super bummed out that I can’t have a home water birth, but between insurance, dealing with people’s opinions, and the fact that twins are higher-risk, I kissed that dream goodbye a long time ago. I still want to give birth naturally with no meds, but every time I say that, I kind of feel like that meme of the person painting on their clown makeup. I’ve also been listening to Conscious as a Mother.
  3. I’ve already made my registry because I am a full crazy person. I’m still editing it a lot, and don’t think I’ll actually really share it with anyone until I’m past 20 weeks, but it has been so much fun dreaming of their nursery, gear, and gadgets!
  4. Books in my queue: Bringing Up Bébé, The Danish Way of Parenting, Nurture, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Real Food for Pregnancy. I also have The Bump and the What to Expect apps, so I feel pretty prepared for the physical stuff, if not yet for the actual reality of somehow birthing and raising two babies at once.
  5. I justified a second pair of Birkenstocks because the bulk of this pregnancy will be during the summer and mama is not about to wear proper shoes and socks.
  6. But that being said, I did buy compression socks. I already have huge feet (size 10!), so if they grow and I can’t wear any of my existing 5,000 pairs of shoes, I will throw myself off a cliff.
  7. A neighbor of ours donated a massive pregnancy pillow to me, which has helped a lot with my tossing and turning. I don’t actually know which pillow it is, but it looks just like this one. It’s really huge though, and it takes up more than half of the bed, so I got this one for the time being.
  8. Of course I had to get a maternity set from Girlfriend Collective. I got this bra and these leggings.
  9. I’m taking the Ritual prenatal, which I love, but word to the wise, you’ll need to supplement with extra iron.
  10. This is a random one, but I feel it’s my duty to inform you that Trader Joe’s finally made a potato chip version of its Popcorn in a Pickle and they do not disappoint! I know pickles are SUCH a basic pregnancy craving, but I never said I wasn’t a PSL-loving, Ugg-wearing basic!

Week Links [21 January]

We did it, Joe. We have a new President. Yesterday was emotional, I’m not going to lie. Even though I am absolutely a dirtbag leftist who did nothing but hate on Biden and Harris during the primaries, I feel renewed by this change. Biden’s been in office for 5 minutes and he has already rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, reversed the Muslim ban, and halted deportations, so things are in motion. Now if we could just implement Medicare for All, cancel student debt, and 1000x more importantly, reunite the families separated at the border…

Regardless of the ultimate outcomes achieved by this administration, I’m proud to have cast a vote for Biden in a free and fair election that toppled a wannabe autocrat. And now for a blog post that has nothing to do with any of that.

  1. Amanda Gorman floored me at the inauguration. I immediately pre-ordered her upcoming children’s book.
  2. My guilty pleasure show, The Resident, is finally back for a new season (Fox/Hulu). I knew intellectually that a show that takes place in a hospital was going to have to do a COVID plot, but I still hated it! We watch television to escape, people! The first episode is honestly triggering. What’s worse is that they cover my boyfriend, actor Matt Czuchry, in PPE the whole time, so you barely get to gaze upon him. A damn shame. Luckily, they decided to do the rest of the season in a post-COVID flash-forward, so I can continue to be ride-or-die for this questionable show.
  3. Just bought this wall hanging for my office after a long search for “the one.” Can’t wait to share pics when the refresh is complete!
  4. I also got this love seat and this lamp, which are the official finishing touches on my office.
  5. A friend recommended The Roommate by Rosie Danan to me and…a good time was had by all.
  6. I’m never not on a quest to refresh my bedding, and I am feeling this duvet. I ultimately went with this set, since I’m not Anthro-rich. I added this blanket, which may be the softest thing I’ve ever touched.
  7. All of the nail polishes at Target were on clearance for $3 for some unknown reason, so I stocked up on a bunch of tenoverten. Also, on the subject of non-toxic nails, ella + mila has amazing lavender-scented non-acetone remover.
  8. Dyed my hair with Overtone’s Rose Gold for Brown Hair and it is…vibrant. I kind of wish I’d gone with the subtler version, since my hair is pre-lightened, but I’m sure it’ll fade. It’s a coloring conditioner, so it’s non-damaging. My hair feels really healthy!
  9. Snagged these adorable flats at Nordstrom Rack. It doesn’t count as crossing the picket line if I get them off-price…right?
  10. January 19th was Dolly Parton’s birthday, and I’m genuinely incensed that we haven’t declared it a federal holiday yet. We don’t deserve her.
can we briefly discuss miche’s fit?

Week Links [8 November]

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

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

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

Week Links [11 October]

Good morning! Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and my emotional state can confirm! Has anyone else had massive anxiety for about two weeks? RBG’s death followed by literally everyone in the administration getting COVID was the impetus for quite a lot of doom-scrolling. I know I’m not supposed to be happy that *he* got it, and I’m not sure that’s quite the emotion the news inspired, but he has also mismanaged the virus response so egregiously (I consider it tantamount to murder) that over half the amount of Americans that died in WWII have been killed by COVID in less than a year. But remember this time, 4 years ago, when the Access Hollywood tape leaked and we all gleefully thought it had fucked him out of a chance at the presidency? Remember that? If I could bottle that optimism and inject it directly into my veins…

I’ve been listening to a lot of pop music from the early ’00s lately (hello “Pieces of Me” by Ashlee Simpson!), which I’m sure is some sign that I’m emotionally regressing due to stress. After the 2016 election, I drank wine every day and obsessively binged-watched Gilmore Girls, so I’d actually consider this a significant improvement. If the past few years has taught me anything, it’s taught me that we can weather almost any storm and that genuine good can come from tragedy. Can you imagine white people meaningfully discussing police abolition even a couple of years ago? It shouldn’t have taken electing a dangerous fascist/racist/homophobic/misogynist/transphobic/xenophobic administration to get us here, but I can’t see us going back now that we’ve arrived.

All of which is to say that I woke up extremely early this morning and have had a lot of coffee, so I’m cutting myself off from writing anymore about the apocalyptic state of things. Enjoy a martini recipe.

  1. Schitt’s Creek season 6 is on Netflix, on the off-chance that you hadn’t already binged it.
  2. Jester, I have done it again. I’ve always said that the FIRST thing I would do if I ever made real money would be to get laser hair removal from my eyebrows to my toes. Hair removal is a patriarchal scam, blah blah blah, I get it, but as a person with skin so pale it’s translucent and black body hair, removal has eaten away like a third of my life. I have to tweeze my eyebrows and shave my underarms every day. When I did ancestry.com, I’m honestly surprised my results didn’t come back 100% Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal (I’ve…never taken an anthropology course). All of which is to say, though I haven’t hit it big just yet, I have decided to give at-home IPL removal a try. Even if it only delivers 20% of the results it promises, that will still be a huge improvement.
  3. Baking papo secos for the first time today! Portuguese real ones will know.
  4. Would it be psychotic to start using tanning lotion? I’ve heard amazing things about this brand and I think my legs (especially) could really use it.
  5. Mindy Kaling had a surprise baby?! Congratulations to the new mama of two! I’m so excited to read her newest essay collection.
  6. Bowen Yang remains my religion.
  7. Are we all attending Jen Kirkman’s Dysfunctional Christmas Show? I’ve been trying to get to one in LA for years (I have family in LA, jealous???), but the one upside of the pandemic is that I can stream that shit right to my TV!
  8. I’m trying to drink less and ABM publishes this martini recipe? Rude, honestly.
  9. How have I never read this interview with my forever king? I can confirm that at least this Chelsea is a pretty neat person/Birkenstock-wearing kid.
  10. My fourth wedding anniversary is coming up, and while the fourth is pretty irrelevant, the fifth seems pretty significant…needless to say, I’ve been browsing anniversary rings online. I’d like to shop indie/sustainable brands, but it looks like the diamond/white gold combo is très passé, because all the cool companies are doing yellow gold. I did find this delicate cutie on Mejuri, but this is more my speed
  11. And speaking of anniversaries, I just bought our actual anniversary gift. I was going to surprise Michael but I was way too excited!
  12. Finally, I don’t exactly keep my politics close to the vest (see above!), but I feel like it’s so important to reiterate that, despite Biden being very nearly my last choice in the primaries, I am ride or die for Biden-Harris. I’m not optimistic enough to think we’ll have a free and fair election (oh, to be young again!) but it would be shameful to not even try. I vote in person on Election Day because my polling place is awesome and right down the street from me, but not everyone has that luxury. This website breaks down how to register to vote and how to vote in every state. If you’re voting by mail, get that shit in the ballot box yesterday. Make a voting plan, and make sure everyone in your life plans to do the same. Taking ten minutes out of your day could bring us one step closer to defeating the rise of fascism. And it’s not just at the Presidential level–get to know your local candidates and yes, for now, vote blue no matter who.

Week Links [2 August]

Good morning! I took a bit of a sabbatical for personal reasons, but I’m back and writing and maybe I’ll even share some of that at some point. So, I guess, here’s the past month of things!

Nicholas Braun's "Antibodies (Do You Have The)" | Know Your Meme

  1. I am a Succession stan, so Cousin Greg’s new video is the only thing I have the capacity to care about right now. Congrats to Nicholas Braun on his Emmy nomination!
  2. I started Bunheads, finally. There’s really no excuse for the fact that I hadn’t seen it, Amy Sherman-Palladino being my problematic fave and all. It’s basically like, “What if Stars Hollow but…California? And dancing!” but it’s enjoyable as everything else she puts out. I’m clocking the recycled references. And Sutton Foster holds it down as our Lorelai proxy—not an easy feat!
  3. So…did you know that they have original press photos from movies and TV shows on eBay? I may or may not be lurking on every single one feat. Niles Crane.
  4. I’m watching every version of A Star Is Born in chronological order right now and it is an absolute journey. They’re all available on HBO Max.
  5. John Legend’s WTF is a must-listen podcast episode. I can’t wait to check out his new album, Bigger Love, which has been out for a while, but since I listen to nothing but podcasts, I’m usually a few weeks behind the curve.
  6. On that note, Jim Carrey was recently on WTF as well. He’s a modern sage and humanity doesn’t deserve him. I’m looking forward to reading his book, Memoirs and Misinformation.
  7. As someone who has been on quite the quarantine drinking roller coaster, I’m interested in finding alternate ways to treat myself that still feel decadent. I’ve heard really good things about Seedlip, a brand of non-alcoholic distilled spirits. It’s a UK company, but apparently tons of bars in NYC stock it. I may or may not have bought the bundle…will report back.
  8. This might sound insane, but I’ve recently rediscovered my deep and abiding love for Taco Bell. As someone with Food Issues™️, I haven’t really eaten fast food in about a decade, but I have opened my heart back up to my childhood fave. If you know what to order, it can actually be one of the healthiest fast-food chains, and it’s definitely got the best and most varied vegetarian options. The best part? You could pay for a full meal with the loose change you find in your couch. Get thee a bean burrito and a spicy potato taco.
  9. The You’re Wrong About episodes about Jessica Simpson’s book are outstanding.
  10. We lost a real one last month. Rest in Power, Rep. John Lewis. This man devoted his life to service and the Civil Rights Movement, and I’m humbled to have shared the planet with him for 28 years. I do worry that including this news item in this sort of post is inappropriate, but it truly is something that has affected me recently, and I want to leave the tributes to those more eloquent and informed than I am.

    Updated: Former President Obama to speak at Rep. John Lewis' funeral
    photo credit

Until next week,

c

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Subtitle: White Guilt, White Fragility

Alt. Subtitle: I wrote about my feelings because of course I did

I started a post a few weeks ago that I wanted to be a long, comprehensive guide to anti-racist activism. I wanted to signal boost the work of Black and marginalized creators. I had big dreams! I kept the title of the post, because when I look back at my own body of work/internet footprint, I want it to reflect what I actually stand for. Here’s how that post started:

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to announce as loud as we possibly fucking can that BLACK LIVES MATTER and ACAB. And in the spirit of these two tenets that guide my beliefs/value system, let us proceed with an (incomplete) list of things you can actually do from home to make a difference re: the current news cycle.

      1. I mean, we’ve known J.K. Rowling was a TERF, but she’s such a bigoted TERF that she managed to distract from worldwide protests for racial justice with a few tweets. She retweeted this article! I couldn’t even make it past the first couple of paragraphs because it was so dumb and hateful! To insinuate that lesbians are the most marginalized letter in the queer initialism is simply too much to bear, especially considering that Black trans women are NOTORIOUSLY the most targeted demographic on this earth. We are *literally* in the middle of a civil rights movement about abolishing the oppressive forces that allow for the unchecked murder of Black folks, particularly Black trans folks. I’m not saying it’s easy to be queer—every demographic in the LGBTQIA+ community experiences undue pain and burden because we live in a society that is still evolving, but my god, a straight cis-woman callously using lesbians to spout anti-trans hate speech? Retire, bitch.
        1. Donate to The Okra Project, which has two mental health recovery funds specifically for Black trans women and Black trans men.
        2. This article has a super thorough list of ways to support Black trans people right now, from signing petitions to donations.
        3. Remember to unfollow anyone who posts hate speech and to use your dollar wisely. Don’t support or buy from any person or institution that is anti-Black or anti-trans.
      2. Well, the Lindsey Graham stuff was going to come out eventually (pun not intended). I will never be able to see a ladybug again without throwing up, and if you don’t know what I mean, please don’t Google it and traumatize yourself. I’ve curated an internet experience for myself in which I actually didn’t see any overtly homophobic jokes about him; I just saw the reactions, from which two very important themes emerged: a. Most homophobes are straight and b. No one should be outed…unless they’ve devoted their career to enacting policies harmful to the LGBTQ community, in which case, fuck them and their hypocritical bullshit. Him being gay is not the butt of the joke, and internalized homophobia is real, but Lindsey Graham is a piece of human garbage who deserves to be removed from office. Click here to donate to his opponent, Jaime Harrison. I don’t know that much about him beyond the Issues section of his site (not exactly a leftist, is he?), but he would be a vast improvement for South Carolina and we need more people of color in Congress.

Pretty well-intentioned, right? I mean, I guess. But in my haste to address the issues of the day, I think it bears noting that my first two points, while both containing links to donate to causes that help Black folks, are still ostensibly about white people. In all the internet chatter, what stood out most to me were queer issues centering white people. Issues that pertain more immediately to my identity and concerns. That’s not allyship. Yes, I’d been donating, retweeting, posting 20 Instagram stories a day with links to anti-racist resources, but I was still thinking about myself. So I took some time to listen and reflect on what I could do that would actually effect change. And none of that is going to take place here. It’s going to take place in Boston at protests. It’s going to take place at really awkward family dinners where I have to explain that there aren’t, in fact, “lots of good cops.” I can’t participate in blatant slacktivism and give myself a pat on the back because I posted a link to a change.org petition.

This is a dumb blog that no one reads that I created when I was 23 and wanted to be Alison Roman, or whomever the Alison Roman was five years ago I chose the name “Della Bites” because it was supposed to be a recipe blog. My cat’s name is Della, and “della” means “of the” in Italian…it was a poor attempt at a pun, and I committed really hard by buying the domain. It evolved into a place where I just share things that I like, be they leopard-print peacoats or esoteric Netflix comedies. So while the real work has to happen off-line, what I can do here is make a more conscious effort to boost Black-owned businesses and support Black and Indigenous creators, artists, and activists. Black Americans make up roughly 15% of the population; it stands to reason that 15% or more of everything that I share or talk about should reflect that. I already have a ton of guilt about the capitalist “window-shopping” aspect of this blog, which conflicts with my increasingly communist-leaning values; by sharing content from primarily white creators, I’m a participant in white supremacy. There’s no getting around that.

So, ultimately, fuck our good intentions. They’re not good enough. Actions speak louder than words, and no amount of my white self-aggrandisement will stop police from killing Black Americans unchecked, corporations (and the Supreme Fucking Court) from bulldozing sacred territory for pipelines, or the Earth from careening into the sun. When you scroll through Instagram, do you mostly see white faces? When you shop online, are all the models thin and white? If that’s been your normal for your entire life (*raises hand*), you don’t even notice it until you start looking. The first step of actually doing something is by looking in the mirror and taking accountability for your own racism (and not by doing a black-and-white front-facing celebrity video).

I vow to do better in my private and public lives. And if I fail, I want my white friends to call me out, because the onus is not on people of color to make sure white folks are doing the work. Change is already in the air—it’s palpable. We’re living through a Civil Rights Movement, and as bleak as things seem right now, I’ve never felt more hopeful and energized to participate. So things around here (and on my socials, etc) are going back to “business as usual,” but I want that to reflect a new “usual” or normal.” I worry that even this post is taking space away from folks whose voices we need to hear more than mine, but you gotta write what you know.

Cheers,

c

Sunday Scaries [5.31.20]

Good morning…I guess?

Things are awful right now. Things have always been awful, but they’ve reached a boiling point. I’m delusional optimistic enough to dream about a future where we can abolish the police and put an stop to the seemingly endless murders of black Americans, but it’s not incumbent upon those same black folks whose lives are at risk to fix it. It’s on us—the people with the privilege to walk through life in relative safety. If you have the means this week, please donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund in support of the protesters. I know that this small act made me feel slightly less helpless in the face of tragedy. It is, by definition, the least I could do. I stand in solidarity with the protesters across the nation and will use my voice and my wallet whenever possible to aid in the fight.

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 6.02.59 PM
image source: @arianagrande on instagram

Ariana Grande posted the above image on Friday, a list of the names of a fraction of the black lives that have been lost just in recent memory. I have spent so much of the past week crying and thinking of them, and thinking of all of the people who, as a result of police brutality, live in constant fear. I can’t believe not murdering people on the basis of race is a political statement rather than a universal moral belief.

IMG_3273
burlington, vt

*This post was written (and purchases made) prior to the murder of George Floyd by white supremacist police officer Derek Chauvin, which I feel bears noting because thinking about anything other than how to make change right now feels frivolous. Posting on social media is NOT the same thing as activism, but using a social platform and not discussing this feels wildly tone-deaf. This pointless little blog has always been a place where I can vent about things ranging from laughably stupid to deadly serious, and I’m so lucky to have a space to do so. I will never take this freedom for granted.

    1. Bookshop posted a list of anti-racist reading material and I can’t wait to check out some of these titles.
    2. I have officially gone insane and reorganized my refrigerator no fewer than 5 times during quarantine. The Home Edit dropped their fridge & freezer line last week, so you KNOW I snagged some drawers. I was literally inside my fridge with a measuring tape–should I seek treatment?
    3. Just started listening to Jessica Simpson’s Open Book and I started crying halfway through the prologue. I was never a huge JS fan, but I love memoirs and I’m so inspired by her bravery in telling her story. Even within the opening pages, she confronts so many issues that a lot of women never feel empowered enough to admit to or talk about. I’m listening via the Libby app; I cannot stress enough how important it is to support libraries.
    4. I am exclusively wearing t-shirt dresses these days. I used to love this dress, but I’m still not sure that we can support Everlane again, so I bought this one to try out.
    5. I keep seeing these as a promoted ad, and I definitely won’t get one for a while since outside is cancelled, but it seems like a great idea for when society reopens. Perfect for travel!
    6. I bought these for my bedroom and I could not be more pleased with the purchase.
    7. I caved and got a new laptop. Mine has been faithfully serving me for over 7 years, and it was just time. I justified the purchase because I’m going to start taking classes again (apparently one Master’s degree wasn’t enough…) although the *second* I completed the purchase of the new computer, my current one miraculously started functioning well again…Apple is Big Brother.
    8. Pretty sure I need to stop being suckered in by celebrity home goods lines, but these bowls are the best things I own and I want to eat dinner out of them every night.
    9. After decades of playing editions from the 1980s, I finally upgraded to a new Trivial Pursuit. I did win the first game by a hair, if you’re wondering.
    10. All of my song challenge playlists are done. End of an era.
      1. challenge 1: songs
      2. challenge 2: more songs
      3. challenge 3: even more songs
    11. Bonus Content: Punch Up the Jam did an episode about the greatest song of all time.

Rest in Power, and here’s hoping that by this time next week, we see some fucking justice.

-c