Shout Out Sunday

Think I’m gonna get right down to business today, guys! Here’s my week in a nutshell:

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  1. I’m actually doing it, fam! I’m doing the Spending Fast. We’re shooting for a year, but it’s based on need. If I can pay my consumer debt down faster (I have a couple of ways I could do this, but they’re both pending/not guaranteed), we might not need to keep going until 2020, but honestly, the experience has been so empowering that I don’t think I’ll want to stop! I’m rereading Anna’s book, and Katy Goodman’s Insta stories have been super inspiring (she has a No Buy highlight). Just with little tweaks, my grocery bill has started to come down, I’m using cash for purchases, and we cancelled cable (finally!). Student loans go into repayment next month, so things will be really tight—I’m working on starting a side hustle job (more on that later). It feels so good to rid yourself of all the stuff in your life that’s weighing you down! P.S. Anna’s book (Kindle version) is on sale for $1.99 right now, so snatch it up!
  2. Catastrophe series 4 is streaming on Amazon starting March 15th and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s one of my favorite pieces of media ever made. Sharon and Rob are geniuses beyond measure. I think I’m going to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription after I watch it, which is kind of a big step for me! I’ll have to buy the season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel next year, but a one-time $12-ish purchase is better than $49-$99 a year to support a company that sucks!
  3. Since I’m not spending money right now, I’ve been bringing my own lunch to work every day. Sometimes, that means the Trader Joe’s microwave meals that we still have from before the No-Buy, but mostly it’s meant leftovers and jar salads. I stan a jar salad. They are my favorite thing on the planet. People at work think I’m nuts rolling up to the breakroom with a quart Mason jar of lettuce but they don’t even know. You can put literally anything in a jar salad. My last one was champagne-pear salad dressing, snow peas, beet sauerkraut, mixed greens, and vegan cashew parm. Delicious!
  4. I’m psyched to make this soup recipe. I make a mean tomato basil, but subbing cashews in for cream is genius! My belief about food is that, if you can make it vegan with little to no effort, do that shit.
  5. I started using the iBotta app, which gives you cash back for buying certain items and submitting your receipts. It’s like coupons, but 2019. I think apps like this can be a slippery slope and convince people to buy products they don’t need, but I go through and find only things that are already on my grocery list, and choose the most cost effective brand. For instance, there was a $1 back bonus on Health-Ade Kombucha, which made it, effectively, cheaper than even the store brand. I’ve made $13 so far, off of only 2 shopping trips.
  6. Do you read New Darlings? They’re sharing their pregnancy journey right now and it’s so sweet I could scream. I can’t wait until that’s me!
  7. Dogs aren’t actually smart. Sorry not sorry to break this to you.
  8. I saw Neko Case when I was in Tallahassee and holy fucking shit was she amazing. If you haven’t listened to her new album, shame on you.
  9. On that note, Jenny Lewis has two new songs out: “Red Bull and Hennessy” and “Heads Gonna Roll
  10. Don Cheadle’s shirt choices on SNL last night were NEXT LEVEL.
  11. Saved the best for last: RUSSIAN DOLL. RUSSIAN DOLLLLLL! You’ve gotta watch this show. Drop what you’re doing and immediately log in to Netflix. It’s only February but this is definitely the best show of the year. Natasha Lyonne is breathtaking. We just finished last night and I am already yearning for a new season. A perfect, perfect show.
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Shout Out Sunday

Greetings, people of earth!  In personal news, I’m still adjusting to having a real job. It’s weird…people with “real jobs” work soooo much lesssss than people with service industry jobs. I actually feel guilty! Well, I’d feel guilty if I were making more money. I’m making starter wages for a 21-year-old, hardly (read: not) enough to be financially solvent.

I actually started this post two whole weeks ago, but somehow, time got away from me. I’ve just been working, cooking, spending as much time with my husband as possible, and getting ready for my week-long trip to Florida! We’re doing an overnight in St. Pete and seeing Neko Case in concert! Oh, and the night before I leave, I’m seeing Dawes at the Wang Center! Feeling very blessed these days.

Alright, without further ado, I present my favorites from the past couple of weeks).

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please enjoy this incredible picture of my cat
  1. New season of Schitt’s Creek started!!
  2. I started using DuoLingo and I can’t stop! I’m brushing up on my French, primarily, but I also started courses in Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, Welsh, Portuguese, and Russian. I tested into a decent level of Spanish, which is surprising since I’ve never taken a class in it. I can’t believe how much I’ve forgotten—I studied it for over a year in high school. Swedish, however, is by far my favorite. It’s such a cool and logical language. I highly recommend this service to anyone who has an interest in flexing their foreign language skills.
  3. Kevin T. Porter comin’ thru with the updated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel soundtrack playlist!
  4. I know I was sleeping on this, but Lizzo’s new single “Juice” is everything. Also, check out “Scuse Me” which is just a perfect song.
  5. I started meal prepping for the week and it’s honestly changed my life. My digestion has been better, and I have wholesome, healthy breakfasts and lunches prepared every day for work. I was really inspired by McKel at Nutrition Stripped. She recently launched a free e-course on meal planning and it was such a great jumping off point. Gimme all the jar salads and nourish bowls! I have to tell you, jar salads have been a game-changer for office lunch! It’s so much easier to say no to take out when you have a big serving of all your favorite legumes, grains, and veggies waiting for you in the office fridge.
  6. Rob Sheffield wrote an article about Britney Spears’s first album and it is personally so vindicating for me. Fun fact: he’s my 10th grade chemistry teacher’s brother!
  7. I just found out about Unroll.me and I am obsessed! Subscription e-mails are the bane of my existence and this service is my new favorite thing on earth.
  8. Madewell sale is 40% off right now. I got glitter statement earrings because of course I did.
  9. I just bought a tiny humidifier for my cubicle because I am 100 years old.
  10. Can’t get enough of La Neige‘s Water Sleeping Mask and Lip Mask.
  11. I really want to try Purple Carrot but it’s not really in my budget at the moment. I think it would be such a help in getting us to eat exclusively vegan meals.
  12. I’m catching up on back episodes of podcasts and this conversation between Roxane Gay and Cameron Esposito is powerful AF.
  13. I’ve been eating almost exclusively plant-based lately and I’m loving it! I still have the occasional egg and some of my meals include a little bit of cheese, but that’s been it. It’s made my cooking so much more creative. I think I’m going to start posting recipes again, since that was the whole point of this blog in the first place.
  14. Jaboukie Young-White is guesting on Pete Holmes’s Crashing and he’s amazing. I’ve been following him on Twitter forever!
  15. Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, which I’m listening to on audiobook, is so deeply moving that I cry almost every time I listen. It’s somehow even better than I thought it would be. 10/10 recommend.
  16. The Shutdown is (temporarily) over! My heart goes out to the government workers who have been furloughed (without pay) or forced to work without pay. This shutdown was about 15 days longer than any other in history, and the administration should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting workers and neglecting basic services and essential government functions, but they won’t be because they are all chaotic evil. Each and every one of the 800,000 people immediately affected are such heroes.

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.

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  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!

High High Hopes

Happy New Year! I’d say, “I can’t believe it’s 2019!” but we say that every year. I can believe it’s 2019. I can’t believe I have to deal with another presidential race when it seems like the last one isn’t even over, but I can believe that another year passed and I’m thankful that I made it through relatively unscathed. In 2018 I voted, stood up for my beliefs no matter what, finally went to Europe (no big deal) and fought through mental illness to finish a grad program and finally find a job. This is the first year of my life where January 1 has actually felt like a fresh start.

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I find resolutions challenging, because making them, you seem to set yourself up for failure. When you fail your diet, your exercise regimen, or your shopping halt, it’s not a great feeling. So instead of strict rules this year, I’m writing a list of things I will encourage myself to do and be mindful about not doing. That’s it! I’m just going to think before I act. Pretty simple—something we tell little children to do, but something that gets lost in the shuffle of adulthood sometimes. So here are my 2019 guidelines—saving money, spending time more intentionally, taking care of myself, and being grateful.

Goals for 2019

The DOs

  1. Do work out. The most basic New Year’s Resolution. But I have a gym membership to a really nice gym and I really love it there. I no longer have the excuse of having a really physical/active job, so I can’t wait to commit to yoga and running again! I want to do yoga twice a week (Thursday nights and Saturday mornings) and I want to be able to run 5 miles by the end of the year (not holding my breath on this one).
  2. Do be kind to myself. This is the first season of my life where my accomplishments feel tangible. School is over. Service industry work is over (for now and hopefully forever). I’ve got a diagnosis and proper medication for the first time. I feel inspired to push myself beyond my limits, but I need to remember that it took so much work to get where I am, and I deserve to enjoy this.
  3. Do keep writing. I’ve written more (creatively) in the past week than I have in the past like ten years. I feel like I’ve found myself again. I’m already getting good feedback from friends. It feels like what I’m meant to do.
  4. Do finish what I start and use what I have. I posted my 2019 reading list yesterday, so first and foremost, I’m finishing that. Also, I want to watch everything in my Netflix queue. At least every movie (sometimes series are too much of a commitment. There’s so much great content out there! But books and movies are just one aspect—2019 is going to be a year of appreciating and enjoying what I already have instead of seeking new things.
  5. Do protect the earth. I’m not bad when it comes to the environment. I drive a small, fuel-efficient car, we recycle everything, and we do our best to not use plastic. But ordering online, even if all of the packaging is recyclable, is still bringing more waste into my home. I don’t think twice about grabbing a paper towel or single-use disinfectant cloth. I bought these microfiber cloths to use instead of paper towels, I used up all of my non-natural cleaning products, and I’m going into 2019 with a mission to use less. I can buy a head of broccoli instead of pre-cut florets in a plastic bag. The earth is more important than a few minutes of my time.

The DON’Ts

  1. Don’t buy clothes. I’m serious! I just got soooooo much new stuff from all of my favorite shops, and I want to live in them for a while. After the holidays, and the much rejoicing after having found a new job, I absolutely cannot afford a single additional garment. Not to mention I have zero room to store it! I’m sending out a few enormous boxes to thredUP, donating bras and extra sanitary items to I Support the Girls, and then being grateful for what I already have.
  2. Don’t buy handbags. This should be obvious, from the last category, but I have a handbag problem. I have so many I can’t give them away fast enough. Being friends with me is a trial, I’m sure, but the benefit is that you will likely get a brand new designer handbag at least once a year. Handbags are status symbols—having a nice one has always made me feel like I was presenting the aspirational version of myself to the world. But bitch, I am the aspirational version of myself. This year, I invested in some high-quality leather bags and (mostly) said goodbye to the labels.
  3. Don’t eat meat and dairy. I didn’t put this under the DOs, because “Do go vegan” is a larger commitment than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle, one I admire immensely, but not one I can undertake at this time. Not eating meat will be pretty easy—I’m already doing that—but cutting out cheese will be hard. A. Because I have an entire container of herb chèvre and caramelized onion cheddar in my fridge from my NYE apps, and B. Because I have a husband to feed. He’s enthusiastic about cleaner eating (he’s stricter about meat than I am!), but he leads a healthy life already and he deserves a treat! The meat and dairy industries are horrible for the environment and just devastatingly cruel to animals. I have to put my money where my mouth is.
  4. Don’t boredom-shop at Target. This is a killer for me. I can’t remember the last time I went to Target for an actual reason. There’s something about living in suburbia, or the post-college friend diaspora, which makes me feel really alone sometimes. “Running an errand,” in more depressed times, gave me an excuse to get up, shower, get dressed, and leave the house. But I can do better! I can go for a walk in the warmer months. I can make an effort to spend more time with my friends. I can find ways to motivate myself without spending money or inviting more waste into my life.
  5. Don’t look back. I mean, I’m writing a collection of personal essays, so I kind of have to look back for material. But I don’t have to dwell on the sins of the past. Considering myself a failure because I’m at a place in my career I feel I should have been in five years ago is not productive. I can work hard and kick ass to make up for lost time, but wallowing over how unfair the world has been to me is pointless. In 2019 I’m not holding grudges (against anyone except every member of the Republican party), and I’m keeping my eye on the prize—happiness.

I’m ready to crush 2019.

Sunday Kind of Love xxi

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

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

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

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

Dressin’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Kind of Love xx

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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!