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.

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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

 

Cat Lady

So, full disclosure, I’m actually not much of an animal person. I never had pets growing up, and I was afraid of dogs and freaked out by cats into my twenties. However, when I was 21, I made a friend named Michael, who had a 6-year-old kitty named Della. She’s 13 now, and I’ve gotten to spend over 6 glorious years with her, which I have cherished, even though she’s an asshole. I have grown increasingly fond of cats over the past half-decade, and while I still don’t touch the litter box or feed her (those are Michael’s jobs), I spoil her with affection and sacrifice all of my nice furniture to her hair and claws. If you know anything about me, it’s that I really value the aesthetic of my home, so having ugly pet supplies is not an option (if I ever have a kid, the poor thing’s going to be playing with wooden blocks, because I’m not letting plastic Fisher-Price stuff into my house).

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della street fig: cutest cat 2007-present

I’m always on the lookout for ways to upgrade my space, and that space includes an animal for the foreseeable future.

Stylish Litter Boxes

I am in denial about the concept of litter boxes. Why? Why does this animal have to eliminate waste inside of my house? Can’t they breed a type of cat that doesn’t do this? It’s frankly vile, but at least it’s less vile than TOUCHING a dog’s POOP with your HANDS when you walk them (Seriously? Why would anyone ever get a dog?)

If this hideous monstrosity needs to be within the walls of my domicile, I’d at least like it to be nice-looking.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Litter Mats

If the existence of litter boxes wasn’t disgusting enough, cat spill little pebbles of litter when they come out of the box, so you have to put down a mat to catch it (and any other surprises that might leak out (vomit face emoji). We have the second one, which I use as an extra mat at the edge of the existing mat underneath her box.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Pet Beds

I mentioned before that Della is an asshole, right? She has two beds, and still chooses to sleep on my furniture (she has a predilection for slipper chairs). Since she doesn’t use her beds, I have no grounds upon which to get her another one, but that won’t stop me from browsing.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Michael and I often marvel that there’s a small, wild creature living with us. She has a very strong personality and is extremely opinionated. Gender is a construct, but my cat…is a girl. I can’t explain it, but she exudes a very feminine energy. I think she’s going stir-crazy with us being home all the time, but she still snuggles under the covers with us at night, so she must like us a little bit. I think, in quarantine, we can all learn a lot from indoor cats: take frequent naps, get as cozy as possible, and learn to relax.

-c

 

 

Stay Home & Stay Sane

So, everyone’s sharing their tips for how to maintain a sliver of sanity during quarantine, so I thought I’d jump into the mix and share what’s (barely) working for me. This historical moment will probably traumatize us for the rest of our lives, but instead of living in a state of constant fear and anxiety, I’m trying to be grateful for this rare chance to rest. Negativity and stress actually tear down your immune system; we need to take care of ourselves and our physical and mental health during times of crisis and grief. If we’re lucky enough to be safe and healthy at home, we need to show solidarity to our communities by being the best versions of ourselves and helping wherever we can. So, rather than list a bunch of charities you can donate to (that will come, trust me), here are ten little (mostly) free ways to honor yourself and your space right now.

Sanity GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
source: giphy

  1. Create a morning coffee (or tea!) routine. We can’t go out for coffee right now (I mourn it constantly), but now is the time to up your homebrew game! My go-to is the Chemex. It’s a little bit more labor-intensive than a French press, but the returns are far from diminishing. It’s by far the smoothest at-home coffee experience you can have. If you have an income right now, splurging on a Chemex and a gooseneck kettle will pay for itself within the month. I’ve come to cherish my quiet coffee time in the morning.
  2. *very Eminem voice* Clean out your closet! I find The Curated Closet to be a great resource for determining your personal style. What better time could there be to do the workbook than when you’re stuck inside with no work dress code? This is a. super fun, b. a great way to get rid of clutter, and c. a way to make a small income during a time when finances might be hard (through resale sites like Poshmark).
  3. Lean into work! If you’re lucky enough to be employed and able to work from home right now, lean into it. I’m super fortunate to actually enjoy my job, but even if you don’t particularly like your line of work, now’s a good time to embrace what you’ve got for the moment. If you’re working, that’s 8 whole hours of your day that you’re no longer obligated to fill!
  4. That being said, establish work-life boundaries. Working from home was going to go one of two ways: either I was going to goof off all day and get nothing done, or turn into a workaholic zombie who refused to take breaks. It’s the latter. Set an alarm at the same time every day and eat lunch, or take a walk, or in my case, take a shower. Get away from your computer screen if you can. You deserve it! Breaks are a legally-mandated part of your workday!
  5. Pick up a book. This has been the hardest part of quarantine for me. Even though I’m faced with endless time on my hands, I, like a lot of women, feel guilty whenever I have free time. I feel like I should be cooking, or cleaning, or working, or writing, or learning French, or literally doing anything besides relaxing. We need to stop punishing ourselves. Pick up the book, watch the tv show, do the puzzle. Do what you like.
  6. Meditate. Full disclosure, I have not actually started meditating BUT I know that I need to because I have anxiety that tends to keep me up at night. There’s, quite literally, no time like the present to start this healthy habit. Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now, but meditation can be free, very beneficial, and a far cry from Goop wellness culture.
  7. Make a mood board. The first thing I did when quarantine started was clean, organize, and redecorate my house like a madwoman. What I wish I had done was create a mood board to figure out the direction I wanted my décor to take. Do I want to make big changes or work with what I have? Do I need a new pink shag rug so that my bedroom will be “perfect?” Making a décor mood board (or, for that matter, a fashion one) is like a return to the magic of childhood imagination.
  8. Do something you’ve never done before. My example of this is that (I’m aware of how privileged this sounds) I had never actually painted the walls of my house before. My father-in-law does all the major updates here, so I was afraid to give it a try for fear of “messing up” all of his hard work. But on Saturday night I got so bored that I said, “Fuck it.” I went to the basement, looked through all the paint colors, found a cool grey, and painted a door and some faux “gables” on top. They came out really awesome and, as it turns out, I had no reason to be afraid! I’m a good painter. There’s no better time than now to take a creative risk, and there are so many things you can do that don’t cost a cent.
  9. Whatever you do, don’t punish yourself for eating. Not that you should ever have misgivings about eating, but we’re trapped inside all day! If you want a snack, have a snack! And if you’re like me, and you have the opposite problem (completely forgetting to eat all day without structured mealtimes), set an alarm and force yourself to establish healthy habits. You deserve to nourish your body.
  10. Dance like nobody’s watching. It’s a cliché for a reason, people! I have been putting on late ’90s pop, or Broadway musicals, and putting on full performances in my kitchen. I even cut my toe dancing, I was going so hard. It’s not only a great form of exercise for those of us who are indoor cats, but the movement and the music gives you a mega-blast of endorphins.

Well, I’m not used to being so cheery and positive, but I think that a lifetime of catastrophizing and anxiety have really prepared me for actual chaos. I’ve always put the needs of others before my own, but we’re really in a “put your oxygen mask on before helping others” situation, so I’m slowing down and honoring that.

-c

The Best Things I’ve Spent Money on This Year

Okay, so by this year, I mean 1/1/19 to present. As I may have previously mentioned, I took a really prolonged break from spending money so that I could (successfully!) pay off ALL of my credit card debt. I also refinanced my student loans and got a lower interest rate on my car loan, so despite the fact that I absolutely was not making a living wage, I managed to kick some serious financial ass. I would not have been able to do any of this without my amazing husband and my in-laws—they’re so supportive and generous.

The crazy thing is, I went through and tallied up what I spent on everything on this list, and it’s roughly equivalent to what I spent on copays and medication for the year. Not trying to be controversh, but I shouldn’t be able to get an enormous tattoo, furniture, and an iPhone for less money than basic healthcare. In the spirit of that sentiment, please join DSA and consider volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign /end rant.

It’s also worth mentioning that a couple of the things mentioned below are from truly evil corporations that I, as a feminist socialist, do not want to continue supporting. Disengaging with major retailers is hard work, and participating in capitalism at all means that we all have the “damn’d spot*” on our hands. Next year, I hope this list is all small businesses and sustainable retailers, but all I can do is try my best. So without further ado, here are the purchases I made last year that were absolutely worth every penny:

iPhone 11

Owning this device has kind of ruined my life, to be honest. I was already pretty addicted to my phone, but the size of this screen and sleekness of the device have me hooked. The best feature, by far, is the fact that I can more easily do the New York Times crossword on this screen, which is truly the only thing I care about in this life. And I have to admit, I love the facial recognition. I know Apple is probably conspiring with the government and stealing my identity or whatever, but the level of convenience of opening things with Face ID is…almost worth it? Saying this really feels like the Chrissy Teigen tweet about Airpods, don’t cancel me.

Casetify Phone Case

This thing is indestructible, and comes in about a billion designs. I, of course, went with the sunflower pattern. I got a discount code from a podcast for 20% off, but I’d absolutely pay full price for another one.

AirPods

I finally did it. I caved and bought AirPods. I was going to buy them through Apple, but I found the same ones on Amazon for considerably cheaper (I bought this silicone protective case too). I…love them. I can’t believe I didn’t buy them sooner.

Magnetic Car Mount

A lot of phone shit, I know. but I’ve tried every type of car mount on the market, and this is by a mile the best. The magnet is super strong, and you can just stick it inside your case so you don’t have a big ugly sticker on the back. The best part is, for only $6, it’s a 2-pack, so you can give one to your significant other. My husband is still rocking an iPhone 6+, but the gear’s ready for him whenever he decides to upgrade.

The Comfiest Cardigan

Target has really been coming thruuuu with cute clothes and décor lately. This cardigan, from their A New Day line, is legitimately the coziest garment I own. I love it so much, I went back for another one.

The Best Earrings in the Game

Okay, so I’m wildly biased, because creator and entrepreneur Shelly Harper is my cousin, but damned if I don’t love her work. She is a fucking artist. Harp Designs is a woman-owned, woman-made brand out of Oakland, CA, and it makes the jewelry at retailers like Madewell look like an absolute lil’ bitch. Everything she makes is outstanding, but these earrings are so fun that I had to have them in gold and silver.

A Kitchen Table

The pub table in my kitchen had been rickety for a while, but for the ~$100 I paid for it, it certainly served its purpose. Helping my mother shop for her new home, I stumbled across this beauty, basically a dupe of my old table, except cuter, and I simply had to have it. It could be a little sturdier, but to its credit, I built it, so…

Savage Lovecast Magnum Edition

IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, OKAY! I’m done with podcast ads, they’ve been my undoing! This podcast is my must-listen of my week, and I respect Dan so much for evolving and growing and doing everything in his power to get progressive ideas into the mainstream dialogue. Nobody’s perfect, but I’ve never not enjoyed an episode of this show. I also subscribed to Slate Plus for Dear Prudence and Stitcher Premium for Groceries, and I have zero regrets (except for the fact that Stitcher is quite possibly the ugliest, least user-friendly app on the planet). The Stitcher subscription won’t last, but ad-free podcasts were absolutely the highlight of 2019 for me.

Netflix & Hulu (no commercials!) Subscriptions

To be fair, I’ve had these for a lot longer than a year, but when you’re trying to live that homebody life and save money, these services are indispensable! We got rid of cable about a year ago, so this is the only way I can keep up with my programmes. For the combined total of $20.98/month, I get more TV than I could ever find the time to consume. Beautiful.

Monthly Charitable Donations

I’ve been donating $5/month to the ACLU & Planned Parenthood since the day after the 2016 election. It’s not much, but the number of donors to these organizations is often as important a metric as the amount donated. Planned Parenthood is an organization which is particularly near and dear to my heart, and from whose services I have personally benefitted. I also give to WERS, which is the local radio station out of Emerson College, because independent radio is important, and for my money, it’s the only radio station in the Greater Boston Area that plays anything I’d ever want to listen to.

A Tattoo

Hell yeah. So, here’s the story from A to Z—when I was 21, and towards the end of my last pre-husband relationship, I impulsively got a matching tattoo of (gag) Minnie Mouse on my ribs with my ex-boyfriend. That was in July…we broke up in November. So, for nearly 7 years, I’ve been living with this incredibly stupid-looking reminder of the guy I started dating when I was 18. No shade to him—I truly hope he’s living his best life, he’s a great guy—but it also seems psycho to have this permanently etched on my body. So, I put out some feelers on Facebook (I know…) and my friend Lauren hipped me to her shop. After perusing the various portfolios of the recommended shops, Famous Tattoos in Dartmouth won out. It’s clean, not too far away, and the work speaks for itself. Cut to a few months later—it was the best body art experience of my life. Ryan Vidinha is incredibly talented and so skillful with the tattoo needles. I sat for a cumulative 6 hours between two sessions, and he made it an absolute pleasure. And SO REASONABLY PRICED for what he was able to accomplish. My shop 4 life. Having a beautiful piece of art in place of what used to be an embarrassing blemish is so freeing. Best money I’ve ever spent.

Oh, and I got another tattoo, whilst I was on vacation in Florida. Gaze upon it. Apparently I wore the exact same outfit to both.

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Laser Tattoo Removal

I know, I just got an enormous cover-up tattoo. Why wouldn’t I just do the same in this case? Look, I tried. Because of the placement of my wrist tattoo, and how heavily the line-work was done, it’d be nearly impossible to do a cover-up that wasn’t giant and blobby to cover the black. Luckily, I discovered Disappearing Inc. Utter pros. Tattoo removal is a long, expensive process, and I’m so lucky to have Jenna as my technician. The tattoo is 3 stars (from the corner of the pages of Harry Potter, I truly was an absolute dumb bitch as a youth) and they’re so poorly done. They never healed correctly. I’ve cringed looking at them for years, and I’m so excited to see them slowly fade away. Read up on how tattoo removal works—it’s nuts and fascinating!

So it’s been a wrap-wrap-wrap up, a 12-month wrap-up. Thanks for tuning in!

*You know a bitch got out her 1973 edition of the Riverside Shakespeare to make sure she typed that correctly. Act V, scene i of MacBeth, my fave play 4 life.

Shout Out Sunday 1.26.20

So, as you can tell by the title, this is…very late. As I was about to hit “post,” I heard the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing (I talk more about that later) and it felt strange not to address it in some way. This ended up in limbo, but as a measure of accountability to myself, I’m forging ahead.

Good morning, good morning! It’s great to stay up late! Good morning, good morning, to you! Embarrassingly, I know this song from Retta’s instagram stories and not, you know, Singing in the Rain. I think I might have to do a classic movie deep-dive, since there are so many I haven’t seen!

  1. I bought myself a late Christmas gift. Chelseas can have a little purse, as a treat. My honest review is that, while this bag is very cute, it has the same issue as my other little Kate Spade…I just carry too much gd stuff. It’s a great buy for anyone who doesn’t carry around a Kindle, a notebook-sized planner, and a makeup kit everywhere they go. I honestly need to just wheel around an old-lady grocery cart.
  2. I just booked myself my first ever lash lift & tint! Granted, I have to wait until March 21st, because that’s literally the first open Saturday appointment they had, but alas. I’ve wanted to try this for so long, since I have straight, stubby lashes and wear a TON of mascara. Depending on how it goes and if I like the facility, I might try extensions. I know it’s a bit shallow, but 2020 is the year of going for it.
  3. On the note of “going for it,” I’m going to New York City in April to see not one, but TWO Broadway shows! This is a bucket-list item for me, big time. My amazing friend Annie, with whom I roomed at Oxford, planned the whole thing. The only finger-lifting I had to do was pressing the Pay button on Venmo. We’ll be seeing Hadestown and Six. I’m excited for both, but anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with British royal history, especially Henry VIII.
  4. The store was out of Burt’s Bees Micellar Water yesterday, so I grabbed this one to try. Will report back if I like it!
  5. Finally joined DSA. No war but class war!
  6. This video of a couple making traditional tofu for Chinese New Year is currently my favorite thing on the internet. It should be prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication.
  7. Unsurprisingly, my life-long dream is to be a Jeopardy! contestant. Should I just go for it?? I registered for the online test years ago and then FORGOT TO TAKE IT (this was many years before Adderall blessed my executive functioning skills). Maybe this time, I’ll get lucky…

On quite another note…

This might be kind of strange or glib to toss at the end of a post like this, but I just heard the news about Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna’s tragic death and I’m crushed. I am not a basketball fan by any stretch, but to see such a young man and his child die so senselessly would affect anyone with a heart. My thoughts are very much with Vanessa and their family, and with the families of anyone who loses a child.

I had a death in my family on December 10th, the first one in years, the first one that really hit home, and I have not quite figured out this unmanageable thing, grief. As a lifelong atheist, I have no promise of eventual reunion or comfort in the notion of a “better place.” There’s just pain, pain that doesn’t fade, pain that feels like a physical weight on my chest. With no warning, I am overcome at random intervals with the sickening creep of grief. But I’m lucky. The person I loved and lost lived a long life, and had been suffering and ill for a long time. His death was in many ways a mercy. The greatest irony of our existence is that, eventually, we all must learn to live with death in order to survive.

Until next week,

Chels