Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you all slept in and cozied up with a mug of coffee. I’m spending the day reading and visiting with family, but before I do that, I wanted to share a couple of things I love from across the vast Internet. This week has a fitness theme, since I went to the gym twice yesterday and am now basically immortal.
I started doing yoga every Saturday morning at my local gym and it has been an exhilarating change of pace! I find myself looking forward to it all week. I’ve been an on-again off-again yogi for about ten years, so I’ve got some pretty sweet gear—like I’ve said on the blog before, beautiful things inspire me! My lululemon yoga bag (similar), lime green mat & matching towel, and block accompany me to every session (thanks for the presents, mom!). lulu’s stuff is great, but every piece is a million dollars, so I’ll be over here, perusing their sale section.
This Rebecca Minkoff duffle was inexplicably inexpensive on Amazon, so I had to snag it. Of course I have a designer gym bag—I’m the bougie-est person on the planet. If I could retroactively gather the money I’ve spent on handbags in the past five years, I could easily pay for grad school. Some other gym bags I was peepin’ are this one, this one, and this one.
On that note, I’ve been tracking my water intake like a psycho lately. I’ve always been really good about #stayinghydrated, but nothing keeps me more in check than my reusable water bottles. I usually rock a 32oz Camelbak, but please get me one of these in every single color available. If I’m being honest, I’ll probably cave and buy this one today. I’ve heard great things about S’well bottles, but I cannot bring myself to shell out $30+ for a vessel to hold (free) water. Even if it’s this pretty. Maybe I’ll do it in honor of the Women’s March (S’well is a badass woman-owned company!) P.S. Even though I’m not drinking right now, the 25oz. S’well can hold a bottle of wine…food for thought!
I just started listening to Whitney Cummings’ book, I’m Fine…and Other Lies, on Audible, and I am loving it so far! It’s hilarious (no surprises there), but also oddly inspiring. Whitney talks at length about her many forays into therapy, which tugs at my heartstrings like Joanna Newsom on a harp. Next time I have to go to the gym without my husband (the horror), I’ll be glad to have Whitney as an elliptical companion.
I got into sneakers (and by got into sneakers, I mean, condescended to own them) a few years ago, but now that I actually have an excuse to wear them, I might have to step my game up beyond my clearance Nikes. These are gorgeous, I am positively lusting over these, and these must enter my life immediately.
Enjoy the rest of your day off, and buckle up for the work week!
Friends, countrymen: As I mentioned in a post this summer, I have an office job! We’re all student employees, so, baby steps, but the department is cracking down on professional, “business casual” dress. It’s been a while since I’ve done a style post (and it’ll be a while before I do another (mama put on that post-wedding weight), but faithful followers know how I dress. I’m basically a spokeswoman for Madewell. Ripped jeans are my life. I own one blazer.
Luckily, my mom was game to take me shopping for a few office-appropriate dresses to tide me over. But I’m viewing this new dress code as an opportunity to overhaul my entire wardrobe. Since I’m officially going gray (more on that later), I should probably own more than slogan tees. Unfortunately, guidelines about women’s business casual are pretty vague, and range anywhere from “don’t be a slob” to “buy a bunch of skirt suits”. The only resource I’ve found so far that’s been remotely helpful is this list. Refinery 29 also put out a list, but it’s a bit high fashion for working in public schools. Like, I’m not getting away with a silk jumpsuit.
Here’s the thing: there is no such thing as a set business casual dress code for women. For men, it’s shockingly simple—a polo or button-down over khakis. Done. It’s industry standard. But women*, whose wardrobes tend to be more diverse (let’s change that, though #teamromphim), have a lot more at stake, both because of the uncertainty of what’s appropriate and because of the general lack of understanding of men*, colleagues and bosses. Additionally, every workplace is completely different, and some are far more conservative than others. Suddenly, skirt length and neckline depth come into play.
So, here are a few of my tried-and-true favorite pieces and combinations to help ease you into adulting!
The high-necked dress can’t fail. Conservative, stylish, and diverse, this is the #1 best option for women in the workplace, imo.
Tips: avoid strapless or spaghetti-strap looks, keep the hemline close to the knee
To tuck or not to tuck—that is the question. Tucking in shirts is a terrible curse. I honestly don’t know how guys do it every day. Inevitably, you get fabric-bunch and spend the entire day stealthily readjusting to avoid lumps and bumps. Plus, if your top’s not long enough, it falls out constantly. Enter, my great love, the bodysuit. Goodbye, lumps! The bodysuit’s design keeps your top looking sleek and in place all day. Pair it with a midi-skirt for maximum cuteness.
Tip: Tall girls—size up! Bodysuit proportions are definitely made for the vertically-challenged. I’m a size S/M and I always order a large for a flawless fit. #longtorsoproblems
This is still an area I struggle with. I’ve spent years putting together a dope sneaker collection, and now all my sweet kicks are collecting dust. I tend to fall back on the same few pairs over and over again, but I’m trying to vary my shoe game.
These are perfect for summer! Avoid super-high heels, since comfort is the main objective. My tip is to invest in one super nice pair that you can wear to events and one everyday pair that looks nice but is secretly cheap enough to replace after a long summer. Get one black pair and one saddle—you’ll thank me.
These are the actual cutest (and they come in pink!)
I’m in Massachusetts where the weather has the potential to be terrible during any season, so boots are a wardrobe must. Make sure you have at least one black and one brown pair. Also, peep toes are awesome for the early fall!
Office environments vary, but I guarantee if you’re in a relatively chill field like higher ed, this will help you conquer the first-job what-the-hell-do-I-wear?! blues. Just don’t forget your BOSS necklace!
*It should be noted that when I write “men” or “women” I refer to all those who identify as such and am not trying to enforce an outdated gender-binary system. Biology ≠ gender.
Alright, it’s Thursday. Get off my back! As that garbage Christina Perry song goes, “I’m Only Human”!
Now that I’m (officially) on track to be a broke grad student, I can’t shop with the reckless abandon that I have been lately. I’ve long been a practitioner of retail therapy, but it might be time to hang up my hat. I don’t think I’ll ever truly free myself from the shackles of capitalism, but it can’t hurt to window-shop…right?
With that in mind, here’s some of my current wishlist!
I heard about RINGLY a few years back, but stumbled upon the company again while I was whiling away the hours on Amazon recently (a dangerous pastime, I know).
Side note: I am NOT responsible enough to have discounted Student Amazon Prime. Last night I bought 11 nose rings, a magnet, and a retro kitchen timer. O brave new world, with such gadgets in it!
But anyway, despite the fact that I cannot justify spending $165 on a ring that does not a. contain diamonds or b. alert the world to my marital status, I still want one so badly! They’re so pretty, and I’m dying to find an excuse to disconnect from my phone for a while. First Date, Daydream, or Dive Bar would all be perfect complements to any outfit. The bracelets, which I believe are a newer addition, are just as adorable, and way more fashion-forward than the FitBit I’ve been rocking. And I do have a birthday coming up in August…
All of the Lights, All of the Lights!
I’ve recently been tasked with a joyous assignment—picking out a new light fixture for my husband’s office! After years of waiting for this to be “his idea” he finally asked me to upgrade his situation, and I am only too happy to comply. As you may or may not know, I have a mild obsession with light fixtures, but have never had the budget to swap out all the ceiling lights in my house (saving that for home ownership, bby!)
To get an idea of my true style, check these babies from Anthropologie: Brass-Capped Spinning Pendant, Villier Chandelier, Anchored Ord Chandelier. As indulgent as my husband often is in my flights of fancy, there is no way in Hell that he’ll let me spend a grand of his $$$ on a light, so here are some far more reasonable options I’m going to throw at him.
I’ve only ever snagged Madewell denim on sale, but in my aspirational life where I have upwards of $120 to spend on a single pair of jeans, I will live in it. The few pieces I own are the most beautiful, buttery-soft, perfect jeans known to man. Fun fact: I actually like my Madewells over my Citizens of Humanity, so, do with that information what you will.
Gimme all the pairs! The fit of Madewell pants is actual perfection. The same can’t be said about sister brand, J.Crew, unfortunately, or at least not for me and my disproportionately massive butt. I don’t know if it’s vanity sizing or what, but stepping into a pair of Madewells is like the Sisterhood of the damn Traveling Pants. Booty for days.
I’m also super-feeling the wide-leg trend. I guess all these years of reading Man Repeller has finally gotten to me. I resisted wide-legs for years because I assumed they’d make me look, well, wider. I was wrong, bbs! I have this amazing velvet pair of cropped flares and pair similar to this gorgeous J.Crew pair and they are serving me LIFE on a silver platter.
These are just a few selections from the abandoned shopping carts that I have littered the internet with lately. What have you been salivating over lately?
Welcome back to another installment of Kool Things, a series in which I blab about the handful of things that brought sparkle and shine to my life this week. Let’s dive in!
This Comedy Special
Remember how, in the first installment of this series, I said, “Get you a Netflix special that can do both”? Well, here’s another one, coming at you. Amy Schumer serves up some realness on her latest, The Leather Special, which has, like all specials released by women, been ratings-trolled by the same MRA garbage piles that do things like, I assume, picket Planned Parenthood and still bring up Bernie Sanders all the time.
Amy’s stand-up is not my absolute fave (we all know I’m a Jen Kirkman stan), but her show, Inside Amy Schumer, has done some really important work, tackling topics like gun violence, online harassment, and sexual assault in the military, among others. The show was even given a Peabody! The special was no different—it’s mostly her trademark “blue” comedy, but she devotes a portion of the hour to discussing the insane gun loopholes that allow the severely mentally ill, domestic abusers, and suspected terrorists to legally purchase guns in the U.S. At a 2015 screening of her film, Trainwreck, two young women, Mayci and Jillian, were fatally shot, inspiring Schumer’s dedication to sensible gun law advocacy. The special, and a portion of Amy’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, are dedicated to the memory of the two women.
It’s the particular burden of comics and artists, at least in my opinion, to simultaneously distract and delight us in the ever-darkening political landscape and to raise awareness about social and legislative issues in a way that politicians are failing to do. It is clear from The Leather Special and Inside Amy Schumer that Amy takes the responsibility of her platform seriously and is using her voice to spark positive change. So, if you live outside of the glorious liberal havens known as “blue states”, call your Congressperson and demand gun regulation! Amy Schumer even prints a list of the Congresspeople who receive NRA money in her book—what a handy guide!
Two-fer this week! Jerrod Carmichael’s latest special, 8, is currently streaming on HBO and it is wild! I watched it today, on the heels of badass news about his returning NBC sitcom, and I’m glad I did. I’ve really enjoyed his sets on late night shows, so I was super pumped to check out the special, which was directed by my fave, local hero Bo Burnham.
Carmichael’s performance was atypical of what we expect from such a high-profile special. HBO! He appeared to be performing in the center of the room, as opposed to from a giant theatre stage, and his delivery was slow and deliberate. The material itself was, as expected, controversial, but the takes were refreshing and unexpected. I can’t believe a comic got me to laugh at the fact that he doesn’t care about global warming! I plan to watch this special again with my husband—maybe I’ll devote a whole post to it then!
A note: post-watching the special, I read a bit of the press on the special and was really surprised to hear some of the criticism. For example, he got called out on doing divisive rape material, but the material itself seemed (at least to me) to be drawing attention to the issue of consent, and how the culture surrounding sex in this country discourages an open dialogue surrounding consent. So, I guess I’m gonna throw a trigger warning on my recommendation to watch this? I encourage everyone to feel their own feelings about the material.
Relatable pull quote: “I’ve got a lot of fears…I’m afraid of going bald before I fuck Rihanna.”
The live action Beauty and the Beast is out! I went to see it yesterday with my dad (cuz we cute), and it was a visually spectacular delight!
Obviously, as a feminist, I have a lot of issues with the content of this and other fairy tales. Narratives like Beauty and the Beast can have really damaging consequences on malleable young minds, and if I have children, I plan to allow them to watch these films with a side dish of discussion on consent, agency, and whack societal norms. I went into this film prepared to love it, but willing to be critical. Also, just FYI, I 100% agree with Dana Schwartz’s brilliant Observer piece, “Why Belle Should Have Chosen Gaston”.
Also, while it was super important for Disney to announce that it would include an out, gay character (Le Fou, played by Josh Gad), the “exclusively gay moment” amounted to little more than cheeky innuendo. The portrayal of Le Fou, and the “Musketeer” that he eventually dances with at the end of the film, leaned very heavily on outdated gay stereotypes, like the assumption that all gay men harbor a secret desire to dress in drag. Drag is a magical, beautiful art form, but not all gay men are drag queens and not every drag queen is gay. I shouldn’t have to explain this to filmmakers in the year of our Lord 2017. To clarify, I’m happy that Disney is finally taking baby steps towards inclusivity, I was just deeply underwhelmed.
All of that being said, I loved this movie. I started tearing up during the opening musical number, “Belle”. Beauty and the Beast and all of the (now) classic animated Disney films, like Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, came out right around the time I was born. I must have worn holes in my VHS tapes watching them. I was shocked at how much emotion hearing those songs again brought back. The whole film is visually stunning (I’m sure it will be up for an Oscar next year for costume design or visual effects), Emma Watson holds her own with the singing, and hot British men abound.
Dan Stevens, who I loved on Downton Abbey and still haven’t forgiven for leaving the show, looks exactly like the cartoon prince/Beast in the animated film. It is uncanny! And Luke Evans as Gaston—dear God, that is one beautiful Welsh man. The cast for this film is insane—you spend the whole film internally screaming, “I KNOW THAT VOICE!” whenever you hear Cogsworth, Lumière, and Mrs. Potts speak, and lo and behold, it’s Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, and Emma Thompson! Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci as the wardrobe and the maestro was simply inspired casting. We were also graced with the presence of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who is so beautiful that, upon her transformation from feather duster to human, I nearly had a stroke. I hereby demand that all movies be remade with her as the lead!
The new songs were, well, underwhelming, as they always are in these circumstances (“Paris of My Childhood” is never taking off), but the old songs hold up beautifully and were nearly shot-for-shot the same as the animated film. Notable exceptions are the line, “Marie! The baguettes!” which is the best moment in the original film, and “every last inch of me’s covered with hair” during “Gaston”. Did we not, as audience, deserve to see Luke Evans shirtless, Disney?
Run, don’t walk, to go see this lovely film. I will fully be buying it on Blu-ray as soon as it comes out!
Watch Ariana Grade & John Legend sing the theme song here. Listen to Queen Céline’s new BatB ballad here.
This Tote Bag
I have been to the mountaintop, y’all. The JCrew All-Day Tote in Aqua Haze is where. it. is. at. I’ve been dying to get one of J.Crew’s gorgeous leather bags for ages, and I finally took the plunge this week. Why the hesitation, you ask? Well, price point for one. I have a lot of designer bags (ugh, you rich bitch) that I’ve gotten during sales or at similar price points, but those have the added bonus of resale value/demand, so they’ve been (somewhat) justified purchases. But you’ll have to pry this one out of my cold, dead hands. No resale, just love. *very Stefon voice* This bag has everything: pebbled leather, interior slip pockets, an exterior slip pocket that would fit a novella, a sweet little exterior buttoned pocket the size of a credit card, and a cute little hang-tag. It’s the perfect bag for school or work—it easily fits my MacBook!
Basically, I’m obsessed. I recently read this amazing article on Racked about the surprising inclusivity of handbags, so lately I’ve been super appreciating my growing collection.
Right now this bag is on sale in three colors, with an extra 30% off with code “HAPPYSPRING”! Happy shopping!
Wow, really, Chels? Following up a call for sensible gun law reform and a Disney movie with a beverage referenced in a System of a Down song? #priorities
But who cares—I love kombucha! Every time I bring up the ‘buch, I feel like that scene in Annie Hall where Alvy orders the alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast in L.A. However, I’ve recently started drinking kombucha on the regs and I really love it! The American diet is appallingly lacking in probiotics, so ‘buch is a fun and delicious way to up your daily dose. I haven’t tried making my own yet, but I plan to get a kit soon.
My local Wegman’s (shout of to Wegman’s, the best grocery store ever) has an entire cold case devoted to the stuff, and after weeks of lusting after it, I decided to grab a few to try. KeVita has a bunch of amazing flavors that make the idea of drinking fermented mushroom tea a little bit more palatable. GT’s sells them by the case—I highly recommend “Trilogy”.
I am officially a kombucha convert—come join my club!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m pimping my own recipe from earlier this week. But this series is about my favorite things, damn it, and corn chowder is the best! Haters, make the Beyoncé song and exit to the left. This soup is vegan, contains six different vegetables, and tastes like summer cookouts in a bowl. I’m so into it, I might make it twice this week!
Thanks for listening! Check out some of my other weekly faves here and here!
This week was brutal. Here in vacation destination Boston it’s been in the teens weather-wise, which is enough to crush even the most ardent winter-lover’s soul. I just looked at trusty iPhone for an update—snow expected 3 days this week! I guess spring is cancelled this year.
Also, Daylight Savings was this week. Nothing like being forced to adjust your circadian clock in order to make it to work on time!
I definitely needed some literal and figurative sunshine this week, so let’s dive in!
Lana Del Rey
In honor of Lana’s new song, “Love”, I’ve been revisiting the back catalog. I truly forgot how much I love her music! Despite the fact that she’s really blown up in popularity over the past five years, which is typically the death knell of anything cool, she continues to do whatever the fuck she wants—if anything, her albums get progressively more esoteric and less radio-friendly as the years go by. I’m anticipating the forthcoming album, but in the meantime, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy:
I couldn’t help but give a shout-out to actor and comedian, Baron Vaughn. I originally discovered him through the Netflix series, Grace & Frankie (which stars the legendary Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda), and have since gone on to devour his back catalog. He’s an absolute genius, and he’s blowing up right now.
He’s appeared on all your favorite podcasts, like 2 Dope Queens and Put Your Hands Together, he’s on 2 Netflix shows right now (the other being Mystery Science Theatre 3000), and his 90’s Disney cartoon theme-songs bit from SXSW nearly put my husband and me into comedy comas. He even replied to me on Twitter once! #braggingrights
Plus, I mean, look at him. He’s fine as hell. Go forth and discover your new favorite comedian!
I know, I know. I said I was going to cool it with fast fashion. And I have! For the most part! But I had a crappy week and I just wanted to treat myself to something adorable, and they were having a 20% off sale on pretty, flouncy dresses! I’m a human woman! After reading The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees (more on that here), I’m leaning hard into “uniforms”, and short dresses are my #1. How cute is that blue dress going to be on Easter?
This one is very local, but all the same it brought me endless joy and vitamins this week. A new juicery opened in the town where I went to college (and hope to go to grad school!) *very Stefon voice* This place has everything—raw juice, smoothies, acai bowls, wheatgrass shots! So nice to have healthy options! I really could have used this place in undergrad, when I was living off of iced coffee and bagels with hummus, but better late than never. I’m hoping that this new addition to the center is an omen that I’ll get accepted into my program!
*A note about the prices: raw juice is not cheap! And once you’ve done it at home and seen the sheer volume of produce required to make a decent amount of it, you see why. Plus, if you’ve ever cleaned out a juicer, it’s like a sticky jigsaw puzzle but less fun. I like to compare juice to wine—when you’re out at a bar, you don’t bat an eye at paying $7-$9 a glass. Think of it like that, an indulgence—similar price, similar calorie situation (I assume), way more health benes.
This Vegan Queso Recipe
To preface this, I take zero credit! This one comes to you from Wilder Wellness, a health coaching group that I joined last month. The recipes that come along with the membership have been incredible, but this one is SO beyond that I keep a jar of it in my fridge at all times.
Vegan Quesoadapted from Wilder Wellness/Wildernessa
1 lb of organic carrots (1 bag of baby carrots, or 2 large carrots chopped)
1 medium sweet potato or an equal amount of chopped butternut squash
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of organic salsa
1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
Steam the sweet potato/squash and carrots until fork-tender. Once cooked, combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Thin to desired consistency with more coconut milk. Serve on everything, from tortilla chips to scrambled eggs! I actually used it as a sauce on red lentil penne last night, because I am a goddamned innovator.
I hope these things brighten your week as much as they have mine!
I recently read The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, and it has completely revitalized my relationship with my wardrobe! I first heard about the book over on A Beautiful Mess, and after Elsie’s ringing endorsement, I ordered the book and did my due diligence (there’s homework!) I was inspired to give this book a try, because my own experience very much mirrored Elsie’s—I was consigning or donating half my wardrobe after each season because the pieces were ill-fitting or impulse buys that truly didn’t suit my style.
The book pairs practical info about textiles, conscious consumerism, and capsule wardrobes with stunning fashion photography that serves as serious #outfitinspo. The clean, modern design of the cover and pages functions like hygge in book form.
The biggest problem I faced was truly not knowing what my style even is. I’ve re-gained 20 pounds in the past year, so my style and body have gone through a major evolution. Since high school, I’ve hovered around my current weight, but a couple of years ago I lost a ton of weight after starting a medication and I felt emboldened to re-buy my entire wardrobe, thinking that of course I would be this thin forever! Wrong! I do intend to commit more time to fitness when the weather gets nicer, but for the time being, I need a wardrobe that does important things like cover my body. Also, as a newly-married lady entering her late 20s, I wanted to make sure my style represented my actual lifestyle and personality. Through this process, I discovered that I love neutrals, being slightly overdressed, and kooky accessories that get my outfits noticed. I hate tight-fitting tops but love tight-fitting bottoms. Pale pink is my spirit color and I just don’t like to wear red, no matter how much people tell me I should wear it.
The book gives a step-by-step overview of how to craft your dream wardrobe, starting with: Insta-stalking! Ms. Rees puts it more eloquently than that of course, but she recommends creating an inspiration board (I did mine on Pinterest). It’s full of pictures of my favorite style bloggers rocking outfits that I love. From there, you refine your picks down to things that you might actually wear.
I felt juvenile in this outfit. I love all of the piece individually, but put together I felt like a pop-punk teenager. In the future, I’ll pair band tees with skirts of trousers/ripped jeans with blouses to elevate the looks.
At the end of the 2 weeks, it’s easy to spot your patterns and formulas for creating outfits. For instance, it emerged that I have 2 basic modes of dressing—flowy/boxy tops with leggings or skinny jeans, and short-short dresses with tights (at least in the winter). Knowing ahead of time that I will inevitably choose these pairings makes shopping for practical clothes a breeze!
I absolutely loved The Curated Closet! Much like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it has provided me with invaluable guidance for streamlining and beautifying my life. I plan to spread the good word to all of the ladies in my life (and to my husband who *cough cough* needs to throw out all of his clothes and burn them in a funeral pyre).
What other books should I read? I’m thinking of tackling home décor next!
Happy Friday, friends! I’ve had the past 2 days off, so today feels more like a Sunday, but for most everyone it’s the start of the weekend. I thought I’d share some of the items that are lingering in my dream shopping carts across the interwebs…
I absolutely love the look of white leather. It’s just…so…impractical! I treat my leather very nicely what with the whole being-a-vegetarian thing, so I’ve been able to resist the temptation to get a bag that could so easily be destroyed.
But look at all the pretty! I love Rebecca Minkoff—the bags are well made, adorably chic, and always available at a decent price point during a sale. Someone come to my house and stop me before I pull out the credit card.
Nothing like the end of summer to make you fantasize about…next summer. I spent most of my days off this summer doing home improvement projects in a tank and shorts sweating my butt off, so next summer, when I hopefully have a beautiful apartment worthy of Pinterest, I plan on lounging dramatically in floral dresses like a proper married lady. Or something.
ASOS is (obviously) one of my favorite online shops. They are killing it in the adorable dress category right now! Wallet beware.
Cue the Sia song! I am obsessed with chandeliers. I’m on a quest to replace absolutely everything in my house with gold and brass, and Schoolhouse Electric and Lucent Lightshop are the stuff of dreams.
I think I need to build an addition to my house just to have enough rooms to install all of these chandeliers! They’re to die for.
What dream items have you been completely obsessed with lately?