Shout Out Sunday

Another week in the books! Enjoy this week’s faves!

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this makes me die with laughter every time i see it
  1. Sex Education on Netflix is the most wonderfully charming show. I can’t stop watching! The young actors are absolutely brilliant and the cast is insanely diverse. One wonderful thing about the show is that it is completely inclusive of LGBT sexuality and relationships, which gets nearly as much representation as straight ones. A perfect, perfect show.
  2. Melissa Villaseñor’s Lady Gaga impression is the best thing I’ve ever seen.
  3. I wrote a post a while ago about *feminine products* and trying a menstrual cup and never posted an update! I’ve been using exclusively a cup for a few months now and I’m obsessed. I’ll never go back to tampons and pads! I still keep some on hand for emergencies, but I’m a cup girl for life. The cup I use is not available anymore (it’s Hesta Organic), but I’m interested in trying other brands, like Lunette.
  4. Not to be a dorky dad, but I just checked my credit report on creditkarma and you should too. It’s super important to be aware of your financial health!
  5. This Twitter thread about a college professor assigning his students to make memes is solid gold.
  6. One of you has to buy this because I’m on the Spending Fast and can’t. IT’S PERFECT.
  7. I’m thinking of trying to do Whole30. Have you ever tried it? My best friend did and loved it—and she looks freaking fabulous to boot.
  8. This hash brown recipe looks amazing.
  9. And on that brunch note…Rosé Raspberry Sorbet Mimosas, dude.
  10. This next one is NSFW, so open at your own discretion—I’m a huge, huge fan of this little guy. I’ve been really reticent about this sort of thing, but I’ve been trying to be more open-minded!
  11. Bonus Content: The Head and the Heart covers “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and I am deeply, madly obsessed.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed some of this #content. As always, follow me on all the socials @highwaytochel, and check out my Poshmark store @highwaytochel. Sayonara!

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.

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!

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.

Spending Not-So-Fast

Oh, boy, have I failed at this experiment. The past two months have been a downward spending spiral. Which means that, starting next week, I have to recommit.

I think it might help to reestablish my needs list. It’s a core tenant of The Fast.

Needs:

  • student loan payments
  • car payment
  • cell phone bill
  • groceries
  • gas
  • toiletries
  • Netflix & Hulu subscriptions
  • 1 “luxury item” per week (bottle of wine, etc)
  • a dress for my bridal shower

That’s pretty much it. I have basically no excuse to purchase anything else. Especially with a wedding coming up. Hopefully posting this, publicly, will help me stay on track.

The “luxury item” shouldn’t really be a need, but severe restrictions tend to lead to spending rebounds. If I have it in mind that I can buy one little thing to keep myself sane, like a takeout coffee or some wine, I think it will help me ease into financial bad-assery again.

I don’t want my in-the-moment depressive bouts to affect my future.

To the fast!

 

Can you tell I’m super enthusiastic about this? #frugallife

 

Spending Fast Update: Month 1

April 28-May 26 (cut short because of my vacation!)

So, this whole no-spending-money-on-anything thing is a lot easier and a lot harder than I expected! Finding creative ways to save has been really fun!

I started bringing coupons to the grocery store and I saved $9 the first week and $16 the second. I also actually brought the cans to the redemption center. It was only La Croixs, but I made $5. Better than nothing!

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Au revoir, fancy takeout crêpes. (@ The Skinny Pancake in Montpelier, VT)

It’s so hard not to spend on clothes and accessories (my weaknesses). I think the best feeling so far has been my newfound ability to add to cart without checking out. I still get the online shopping rush, without actually spending money.

About halfway through the month, I found myself begin to online window-shop again, so I decided to send a payment to my student loans every time I “added to cart.” It worked brilliantly! One day I sent a random $228 to my loans, instead of spending unneccessary money on Rebecca Minkoff bags or on Asos. When I completed my student loan exit counseling, I sent another $120 towards my loans just for fun.

Of course, throughout the first month, I screwed up. I’m a human being with needs! All of these amounts are rounded up:

The Shame List

drinks at the theatre, $17

drinks at the M.Ward concert, $22

NAF merch button, $3

dinner out, $27

drinks at the La Sera concert, $13

craft supplies, $24

Home Depot (plants & woodworking supplies), $57

treated Dad to dinner, $50

dry-brush, $13

doughnuts & treats with bae, $19

*weak moment* Asos, $26

treated Dad to drinks, $23

clothes, $32

total: $326

Ugh, this list makes me look like a total alcoholic! The first month taught me that (though I don’t drink at home) I’m weak when it comes to indulging when I go out. Hopefully, that will only improve from here! It’s a bummer to think that $326 went to something other than my debt, but it’s such an immense improvement from last month that I’m not letting it discourage me! Basically, it amounts to one wasted paycheck. I think the easiest plan for me is to slowly taper off (3/4, 1/2, 1/4 a paycheck…)

Without starting the Spending Fast, that extra money that I sent to my student loans would have been wasted! Hopefully I can knock a couple thousand dollars off the top before I start owing payments in 6 months. This month, my savings/emergency fund reached $1,500, which is a major milestone for me. I can pay cash to finish my degree, which is something I never thought I’d achieve. I might start auto-depositing $100/week instead of $50/week into my savings, so that come student loan time, I’ll barely even feel my monthly payments.

I went to Montréal this past weekend, so I had 4 days of a “Spending Vacation.” Luckily, the tenets of Spending-Fasting influenced my financial decision-making while abroad. We kept expenses really low, and availed ourselves of free activities. We were lucky enough to be there during Free Museum Day! Also, dat Canadian $$ exchange rate…

On a scale of 1-10, I’d consider May to be about a 4. I saved money and learned about my own spending habits, but I also spent way more than I had originally intended to.

Here’s to June being a much more massive success!

—DellaBites