Eggy Brekkie Tacos

If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself wondering, “How can I incorporate more tacos into my every day life?” Soft or hard, veggie or bean, I love all tacos indiscriminately (get your mind out of the gutter).

Breakfast tacos aren’t exactly a stunning innovation. The breakfast burrito is a restaurant menu staple for good reason—Tex-Mex and breakfast foods are a beautiful marriage of flavors. But it is my life’s mission to eat (specifically cruciferous) vegetables at every meal, and damn it, I will accomplish it!

These tacos are endlessly customizable, and a great way to pack some serious nutrition into your morning. Plus, everything tastes better in a taco shell. It’s literally science.

Cauliflower is my favorite here, but other veggie options include broccoli, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, or zucchini!

Eggy Brekkie Tacos

  • soft corn tortillas, taco size
  • 1-2 eggs (per person), scrambled
  • leftover roasted veggies (I recommend cauliflower)
  • salsa

Optional toppings might include: shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, bean dip, hot sauce, sauerkraut—if you can dream it, you can do it!

If you don’t have any leftover veggies (I seem to always have something in my fridge), toss your chopped veggie of choice in olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and roast until soft and slightly browned.

Scrambled your eggs and heat up as many tortillas as you plan to eat. I like to heat my tortillas over the open flame on the stove, but the microwave or the oven on a very low setting will work just as well. As soon as everything is piping hot, assemble your tacos by dividing the scrambled eggs and vegetables amongst the tortillas. For the less adventurous (read: messy) eaters among us, combine all desired ingredients into a bowl and top with the corn tortillas, chopped. Dig in!

There you have it: every food group before 10 am. Brb—gonna go whip up some more breakfast tacos!

 

This morning’s variation: spinach, black bean dip, salsa, scrambled eggs, beet & red cabbage sauerkraut, hot sauce

 

I Discovered A Thing!

We live in a terrifying age. Targeted ads online are getting way too omniscient and precise. I don’t know that I’ve ever Googled Mrs. Meyers or Method (my preferred cleaning product brands), but I guess my general online vibe is bougie-hippie, because today, on Facebook of all places, they got me!

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inspiring af product photography

I use Facebook for three things—to promote my side hustle gigs, to post my wedding pictures, and to use the “On This Day” feature to scrub my social media accounts of old posts (advanced Twitter search is also great for this). Not that anything I posted as a teen is particularly embarrassing, but I don’t need “proof” that I was really into Kate Nash in 2010. So many status updates of no-context song lyrics—it was a simpler time.

But today, as I was giving the ol’ Timeline a cursory scroll, I saw a promoted blog post offering a free Mrs. Meyers kit. I’m not one to usually fall for this stuff, but I had to at least check out if it were legit, right? I visited the (actually super cute) blog, and read the sponsored post. It was advertising a website called Grove Collaborative, a Blue Apron-esque monthly delivery service for green cleaning and beauty products. At the present moment, they’re offering a 60-day free trial of their VIP service, which includes free shipping and a bunch of free goodies with the purchase of $20 worth of products. I think the VIP service is typically $40/year—I might give it a go when mine renews in July.

Today I placed my first order and got $50 worth of products for only $20! Free Mrs. Meyers lotion, hand soap, and dish soap, and they tossed in free sponges and a glass spray bottle! I’m excited to try out the wood & steel cleaners—I’m the queen of using all-purpose sprays on everything, but I think it’s time to grow up and take better care of my things!

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Grove Collaborative comes to my life at the perfect time—I’ve been in the process of switching to all-natural products in every aspect of my house and home, from whole foods to makeup, so having a delivery service bringing me organic cotton tampons and essential oils, for example, is a great way to keep me from Target impulse buys! Because, as we all know, Target is a death trap for the wallet. I go in for toothpaste and leave with a new bedroom set. It’s insane! The items on Grove Collaborative’s site are all also a tad lower in price than they are at Target or your local grocery store, which is another great way to save money. As far as I can tell, you only need a minimum of $10 worth of products per monthly shipment, so only order what you need, when you need it.

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these are a few of my faaaavorite brands—shop mrs. meyers, method, and seventh generation!

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Oh, and before I forget to mention it, if you provide a phone number, Grove Co. sends you a text to remind you of your next shipments! This is a huge boon to me, since I can be spacey about subscriptions (for instance, we’ve only gotten Blue Apron boxes by accident because I forgot to cancel…oops). Oh brave new world, with such services in it!

Click here for my referral link to get $10 off your first order!

*note that I am not in any way affiliated with Grove Collaborative, but would obviously love to be!

**all photos via Grove Collaborative and linked in the text of the post

Kool Things V

I’m a little light this week on recommendations because, well, I’ve been busy AF. I’m finishing the last bits of my grad school application, working full time, and committing to my Trivia host side-hustle. The WordPress drafts are getting out of hand! But here’s what I’ve been up to in my spare time.

Life in Pieces on CBS

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The first season of Life in Pieces  recently went up on Netflix, so I’ve been bingeing it, hard. Fig and I finished Breaking Bad and moved onto a 30 Rock rewatch, so I needed my own personal binge show for when our schedules don’t overlap (this is often). I’m trying to wean myself off of watching Gilmore Girls in an infinite loop, so when I saw LIP advertised on Netflix’s home page, I knew it would be a perfect fit. The cast of this show is bananas. Personal faves Zoe Lister-Jones (from Whitney) and Colin Hanks (from everything + being Tom Hanks’ son) join Betsey Brandt (from Breaking Bad), James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, and the stupidly handsome Thomas Sadoski in this light-hearted comedy told in 4 vignettes per episode.

The guest cast is insane—Martin Starr plays an exterminator, Jordan Peele makes frequent appearances as Colleen’s crazy ex, and apparently next season Mullally and Offerman have roles!

Life in Pieces is the perfect binge show for the lover of light-hearted comedies and accomplished casts. Highly recommend! Come for the famous actors, stay for the amazing kids! The kid who plays Sophia is the next Shailene Woodley or whatever, for real.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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The book, I mean. Everyone’s been pestering me for weeks to start watching the HBO miniseries, Big Little Lies, starring literally every famous actress. Until last week, I didn’t even know it was based on a book, but as soon as I saw it, I recognized its candy-colored cover. I’m a moderately strict book-before-movie person, so when offered the ebook for free, how could I refuse?

At first, I was a bit dubious of the quality of the writing—it’s certainly not the sort of thing I’d typically pick up at the bookstore. But within a few pages I was hooked. I think I’ve thrown off my circadian rhythm staying up way too late reading it. I was almost less interested in finding out who the murderer/murder victim is than I was of learning about Jane’s mysterious past or the inner-workings of primary school politics.

The book is very, very different from the HBO miniseries of the same name, but I truly can’t choose which is better! They both bring so much to the table! I highly recommend both, book-before-miniseries, of course.

I’ll follow up in the next Kool Things.

The Far Field, Future Islands

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It is no secret that I am f***ing obsessed with Future Islands. They are an amazing Baltimore-based synthpop band that brings me life. I first heard of them during college (Part I) when they put out their album In The Evening Air. All I had was a crap-quality (illegal) mp3 download of it, but I listened to it on repeat for months. I took to including “Long Flight” on every mix CD/playlist I made. Now that I am a grown-ass woman and pay for my music (thankyouverymuch), I’ve since remedied this earlier discretion and made sure to follow the band’s incredible career. 2014’s Singles was a revelation, and this year’s The Far Field is a fitting follow-up.

Lead singer Samuel Herring had one of the most unique and strange voices in all of music—he’s like the second coming of Mike Patton. He transitions from beautifully melodic and clean to heavy metal screaming with effortless ease. He’s also apparently a rapper (?!) which somehow I’m only just finding out about. You think I’d have such important info about my #mancrusheveryday.

This band is so ahead of the damn curve. They put out a sign language lyric video for “Cave”! “Shadows” even features actual icon/goddess Debbie Harry! The Far Field is the best use of your Hamilton ($10), trust. Future Islands is/are a big f***ing deal. Get into it.

Listen to “Ran” and “Cave” on Conan.

Bread & Butter Wines

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I always love trying out new wines, but as someone who hasn’t yet read Marissa A. Ross‘s forthcoming book yet, I’m often at a loss for where to begin as I peruse the racks at my local wine shop. I’m a bit of a white wine junkie (basic white bitch, party of one!), so I absolutely love a Chardonnay, and am always looking for one that tastes better than the well swill they’ll serve you at restaurants if you don’t specify.

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the older I get, the more I realize that that’s a bullshit adage. When it comes to products, the cover (or label) actually says quite a bit! Small businesses that really believe in their product tend to pay greater attention to aesthetic details, like graphic and web design. I was drawn to this particular bottle because of its clean, minimal label—the website is no different. Bread & Butter only produces two very highly-rated wines out of Napa, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (which, incidentally, are my go-to white and red).

Bread & Butter Chardonnay ran me about $11, which, imho, is just about right for an everyday wine. I can’t wait to try their Pinot Noir! I’ll definitely be buying this wine again!

***

Well, those are the highlights of my week! What’s up with you? Any new fave wines or murder-mysteries to share? Sound off in the comments!

Oil Vey


I’ve been trying to incorporate more essential oils into my daily life. There are so many amazing, creative ways to make them a part of your routine! I regularly oil-pull with a peppermint essential oil & coconut oil blend, and I use a tea tree & coconut oil blend every night to moisturize and cleanse my face. But I have bunch of bright, spring scents left over from my (ill-fated) idea to make homemade candles for my wedding that I needed to put to good use! Pro-tip: don’t try to make 50 homemade essential oil/ soy candles as wedding favors—planning a wedding is stressful enough! 

After I saw this post last year, I was inspired to make my own linen spray with the lovely scents I had just lying around in my cabinets. But, after an incident involving me lifting this plant mister by the plunger, breaking the mister and spilling oily water all over my bedroom, I briefly set aside my goal of perpetually gorgeous-smelling sheets and pillows.

Well, no more! I was helping a friend shop for an upcoming trip yesterday, and in the travel section of Target I found a cute little pink spray bottle, which reminded me of this awesome DIY! I can’t take any credit for the idea or the basic recipe, but the essential oil blend is something I concocted, based on the amazing cocktail, the Paloma! The Paloma is a tequila-based cocktail with grapefruit and lime—delicious, refreshing, and reminiscent of warm summer nights. I’d found my muse.


“Paloma” Room & Linen Spray

  • water
  • witch hazel
  • grapefruit essential oil
  • eucalyptus essential oil
  • lime essential oil
  • small funnel
  • small spray bottle


Combine 1 part water to one part witch hazel in the small spray bottle of your choosing. My witch hazel has a slight odor, so next time I make this, I’ll use more water than witch hazel. In a 12 oz bottle I used about 30 drops grapefruit, 20 drops eucalyptus, 20 drops lime. How strong you want your scent to be is up to you! Give the bottle a shake and spritz anywhere that needs freshening!* I added a handwritten label with gold Sharpie—paint pens or chalk pens will also do the trick!

*The oil and water will separate, so shake the bottle before each use for best results.

The grapefruit is bright and refreshing, the lime is fruity and mellow, and the eucalyptus adds an almost minty sharpness reminiscent of the fragrance of tequila. All the cocktail love with none of the calories.

Happy spring, happy Passover, and happy Easter! Oh, and blanket apology for the title pun.

—DellaBites

The “WTF do I make for dinner?” Dinner

I found myself in an incredibly rare predicament the other night: I had a ton of time on my hands, but zero chef-spiration! Usually it’s quite the opposite—I’m racing the clock to get a meal on the table and I have to edit my ideas down to what’s achievable in the span of an hour.

My malaise was so powerful that even after flipping through a few of my cookbooks (The First Mess Cookbook, One Part Plant, and Thug Kitchen) I was without direction. A lot of recipes sounded great, but I was always an essential ingredient or two off. I’m, like, the Dowager Countess of substitutions, but, like I said, I had zero creativity.

So, since time was on my side, I decided to make something that has evaded and frustrated me for years: polenta.

I know, I know. You’re like, “Chelsea, wtf? Polenta is two ingredients. Do you secretly suck at cooking, and you’ve been stringing us along with this psuedo-cooking blog for almost 2 years?” Ugh, shut up. I was the same way with rice (Martha Stewart recipe, bless up!). For me, it seems, the simpler the recipe, the more I struggle. Bake a pie from scratch? No problem, friend. Make quinoa? *frantically Googles instructions*

Polenta is a tricky beast. It’s technically easy to make, but making it properly is difficult and time-consuming. When I saw the cornmeal in my cabinet, I knew I had found my white whale. Combining this singular vision with a bunch of pantry staples, I embarked on making the least cohesive, yet most delicious dinner I’ve made in ages. And I thought I’d share.

Creamy Polenta with ‘Wino Forever’ White Beans & Roasted Veggies

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 onion of your choice, chopped finely
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (vegan butter or coconut oil will also work!)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked corn, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 400, on the roast setting if you have it.

Start the polenta—I use this recipe. I’ll give some basic instructions, but I strongly recommend reading the Serious Eats recipe, as well as the accompanying backstory. I did not follow this recipe properly, which led the polenta to take twice as long to cook. Do as I say, not as I do. 

In a large pot, warm the water over a high heat. Whisk in the cornmeal. Bring the pot to a boil, and let boil/simmer, stirring consistently, until the mixture begins to thicken and “spit”. Then lower the heat and let cook for about an hour longer. Make sure you’re stirring frequently! When it’s thick enough that you can pull it away from the pan with your stirring implement, it’s ready to be seasoned with salt and butter. Stir and then serve.

While the polenta is simmering away, steam your corn for a few minutes, until soft. Set aside. Chop your onion, zucchini, squash, and cauliflower, and place them in a glass baking dish. Toss them in a tbsp of olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Stir at the 15 minute mark, and add more olive oil if they’ve dried out. Roast until they reach your desired doneness, browned on the outside, about 30 minutes.

While the polenta and veggies are cooking, start your beans. Drain and rinse 2 cans of white beans. Set aside. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant. Add beans, and toss to coat in the oil. Once the beans are warmed, add your white wine, hot pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Simmer together for 5 minutes, or until the alcohol has cooked off. Add butter and veggie broth, stir, and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the beans start to fall apart and the liquid has reduced to a gravy-like consistency. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving. When finished, the beans have a surprisingly meaty taste!

Stir the corn into the polenta before serving!

Plate the meal in layers, starting with a bed of polenta, piling on the veggies, and topping with the beans and “gravy”. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Dig in and enjoy!

**There’s a way to make this so that everything finishes at just about the same time. But I’m more of a renegade chef, plating on the fly.

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Always serve with La Croix, obviously.

It’s not the most beautiful meal (lots of yellow and beige) but it is to-die-for delicious! It made a huge batch, so I got to enjoy the leftovers for days to come. For non-veg folk, it might seem odd to eat beans & vegetables for dinner, but trust me—all of your essential food groups are represented, and if I’m not mistaken, this meal is gluten-free!

BRB, fantasizing about making this again.

—DellaBites

 

Kool Things IV

Another week for the books! It literally snowed yesterday, because April Fool’s Day is real. I needed my escape, and I found it in memoirs and comedy, by which no one is surprised. These are the things that got me through the hail/sleet/snow hellscape that was this week.

This Show

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Crashing, Pete Holmes

I cannot even believe that I haven’t written about Crashing yet! Crashing, the semi-autobiographical brainchild of brilliant comedian and beautiful human being, Pete Holmes, is HBO’s newest Sunday night series. It tells the (dramatized) story of Pete’s divorce and entry into the New York City stand-up scene. Guest stars have (thus far) included comedy powerhouses like Sarah Silverman, Artie Lang, and TJ Miller, as well as one of my personal favorites, Aparna Nancherla.

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If you don’t yet know the delightful Pete Holmes, well, you should. He briefly hosted his own talk show that aired weeknights after Conan, The Pete Holmes Show, hosts an interview podcast called You Made It Weird that never fails to get spiritual, and landed an HBO special called Faces and Sounds that dropped in December. He’s a hometown hero, hailing, like myself, from Metro Boston (I think Somerville or thereabouts). Pete Holmes truly has one of the most unique voices in comedy—his relentless optimism and winning smile make jokes like calling himself “Lesbian Val Kilmer” all the more powerful. Crashing chronicles Pete’s days as a fresh-faced comedy newbie; now, though, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

*Crashing airs Sunday nights at 10:30 on HBO.

This Book

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Real Artists Have Day Jobs, Sara Benincasa

This week I’ve been devouring this amazing book of essays by comedian and author Sara Benincasa, and it’s been an emotional journey. I finished it on my lunch break today and it took everything I had not to publicly sob. I hesitate to call this book “self-help,” but if you read it, you will help yo’ self. For real. The words of wisdom in this book range from “brush your damn teeth” to “treat your vagina like the magical temple that it is.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get it. Benincasa gets very frank about her own struggles with mental illness but never fails to be disarmingly hilarious. As someone who aspires to a reasonable facsimile of this incredible woman’s career, it is inspiring beyond belief to read of someone rising from the ashes of her own self-destruction and kicking major ass purely through hard work and talent. 10/10, read this f***ing book.

I’ve already ordered one of her other books, Agorafabulous!, which I can’t wait to start reading!

Check out her short film, The Focus Group, on Vimeo.

*The kindle version of Real Artists Have Day Jobs is only $1.99 right now, my dudes! Go forth and read!

This Special

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Pizza Mind, Sasheer Zamata

SNL cast member and jumpsuit messiah Sasheer Zamata just dropped her very first stand-up special on the incredible comedy streaming service, Seeso. The stunning and brilliant Ms. Zamata tackles race, feminism, and being named after Star Trek like a gotdamn professional. Topics of discussion include “resting bitch face,” her brief employment at Disney world, and the (very f***ing true) fact that white girls are constantly shedding hair all over the place. The special is hilarious, but it’s also a thoughtful, educational experience. Sasheer Zamata does not care if her material on race makes you uncomfortable. That’s on you.

Pizza Mind is must-see TV. If you have a spare hour, give it a watch. You will be rewarded with a magical cartoon adventure and a show-stopping finale number #nospoilers.

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DID I GODDAMN MENTION THE JUMPSUIT, THOUGH? My ladies who art in comedy are KILLING it in the wardrobe game lately.

Watch her bit about her tricky-to-pronounce first name here.

Watch her in “Black Jeopardy”, one of SNL’s finest skits. Here she is with Drake, Tom Hanks, Louis CK, and Elizabeth Banks.

*Pizza Mind is now streaming on SeeSo!

Dis Phone

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I upgraded early and got an iPhone 7 this week! I almost went Plus, but I tried out my husband’s 6+ for a little while, and the damn thing’s just too big! I like being able to rock the one-handed text. But don’t text and drive! Do as I say, not as I do! The transition from iPhone 6 to 7 has been like night and day! It’s faster, there are two speakers, and it’s PINK. I know I’m predictable and basic, but the more pink I can get in my life, the better! I also got the 128G model (4 times the storage of my last phone!) so that I could combine the functions of iPhone and iPod (I’ve been using my iPhone 4 from many years ago as an iPod—the thing was begging to be sent to a farm upstate, it was dead and buried). Despite the foolish amount of music I’ve put on it, I still only seem to listen to Hamilton…

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We got a shipment of phone cases from The Casery to my work, so I also treated myself to this amazing case. Kendrick Lamar fans, unite! This isn’t a sales pitch for my work or anything, since y’all don’t know where I work, nor is it an ad for The Casery, but seriously, you guys, these cases are the absolute best. The designs are the cutest I’ve ever seen (donuts! sushi! cacti!) and the cases are super well made. I’m obsessed…I might need to get this one next, in honor of the little cat that started it all—Della!

This Game

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Stump! Trivia

I’ve been playing Stump! Trivia for ten whole years, since way before it was appropriate for me to be hanging out at a bar on a weeknight. I’m not actually sure it’s even appropriate now. But alas, such is my addiction to trivia and other brain puzzles—every Wednesday night for the past year (and many Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in years past), my father and I have ordered a round of drinks and a basket of french fries and challenged ourselves to a battle of wits in the quest for a restaurant gift card.

Stump! is arguably the best trivia game in the Boston area (it was started in Marshfield), but it’s now a nationwide company that offers fun, challenging trivia and Questionnairey (a Family Feud-style game) at bars and private events. Long story short, I am a huge, huge fangirl, and a frequent player. So, the other night, after a particularly exciting win at our local pub, I applied to be a host.

I had applied years and years ago, but was likely much too young to be considered. Doesn’t super make sense to hire an underage girl to work in a bar—I don’t hold the lack of response against them. But this time, I heard back via email almost immediately and set up an audition!

I wasn’t looking for a second job, and the extra few bucks a week won’t make a huge difference to me financially, but the public speaking experience is priceless! The whole gig is essentially an improv performance—something I’ve been anxious about for years! I recently admitted to myself that my dream is actually to be Conan O’Brien (or a reasonable lady approximation)—writer, performer, icon. Okay, I’m joking about the icon part, but in order to achieve even a tiny sliver of my dream, I’m going to need to get better in front of a crowd.

If you’re in the Boston/South Shore area, come support me here!

***

Thanks for letting me blab about my obsessions for a month straight! What are you obsessed with lately?

—DellaBites

*as usual, all of the images via google or the sites linked in each description!

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Céline’s Cult of Personnalité

Céline Dion is Québécois royalty and this we avow*. If I’m being completely honest, for most of my life, I never gave much intentional thought to Ms. Dion. Growing up in the nineties and early ’00s, she was a ubiquitous, essential presence. I absolutely dare you to go grocery shopping without hearing at least one of her enduring bangers on the radio. The soft rock/pop vocalist genre never really did it for me, but it is impossible to deny both Dion’s talent and her contributions to pop culture.

*I deeply apologize for this ill-placed Evita reference.

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The music of Céline Dion harkens back to a simpler time in popular culture, when talented composers created sleek, radio-friendly hits for talented songstresses and their angelic voices. Now, I’m all for the singer/songwriter as a cultural character and a genre, but in many ways the push for authenticity of subject may have actually done damage to pop music in general. I want Ryan Adams to write all of his own songs, but I don’t feel personally connected to Kelly Clarkson’s input in the songwriting process, y’know? Songcraft is important.

Dion, whose 49th birthday is next week, is experiencing something of a career Renaissance right now (or maybe I’m just projecting?). She’s been performing on tons of awards shows, she recently recorded a version of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” that did quite well, and she recorded a ballad “How Does A Moment Last Forever” for the new Beauty and the Beast live-action film, starring Emma Watson and literally every other actor. The new song was a sweet throwback to when she recorded the theme song to the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast with the criminally underrated Peabo Bryson.

Last January, Dion lost her husband René Angélil, whom she had known since she was 12 years old. In honor of this beautiful queen rising from the ashes of tragedy, I’ve put together a short retrospective of her classic English-language hits.

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look at this marie antoniette-ass wedding ensemble. that is a 7-lb tiara containing 2,000 austrian crystals on her head. she is serving “bow down, bitches” realness while the haters are being automatically teleported to the left. (image source)

Vive la Reine, and may she never relinquish her French-Candian accent.

The Power of Love

That’s right, guys. The “I’m your lady / and you are my man” song. You are lying if you don’t know at least one couple that used this as their wedding song. This song is a classic—it’s sappy, romantic, and that high note at the end? Girl’s got the pipes. If you, unlike me, are ashamed of your love of power ballads, watch this video for no other reason than the haircut. #thefuckingnineties

How to listen: Drunkenly, at the end of a girls’ night out. Alternately, karaoke at a Bachelorette party.

It’s All Coming Back to Me Now

From the first aggressive piano chord, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” is a fantastic, nuanced jam that manages at once to be angry ex-girlfriend diss track and a lament of lost love. It’s equal parts “I Will Survive” and “You’re Still the One”. Céline adopts a sexy rasp during the pre-choruses that breathes life into me. Baby, baby, BABY, this is, possibly, a perfect song.

How to listen: Home alone, belting along with hairbrush microphone in hand.

“Because You Loved Me”

I can’t find a decent version of this video, which is a shame. This song is excellent, so excellent in fact that it was the theme song to a Robert Redford movie. This is one of those Céline songs that has burrowed itself so far into your brain that when you hear it, you will unwittingly sing along to every word. The lyrics are essentially a laundry-list of reasons to love your bae, and frankly, it was a missed opportunity that I didn’t use them wedding vows.

“Because You Loved Me” won a Grammy and was nominated for the damn Oscar. I would be mad that it lost the Oscar, but it lost to “You Must Love Me” from Evita, and Andrew Lloyd Webber can do no wrong. In any case, the following year, Céline was vindicated, because “My Heart Will Go On” won for Titanic!

How to listen: While makin’ babies.

All By Myself

Céline’s cover of the 1975 Eric Carmen song is arguably as popular as the original—not an easy feat! This is an anthemic jam and you all know it. The lyrics are beautifully minimalistic, which imbues them with even more meaning—she’s by herself and she DON’T WANNA BE all by herself, damnit! “All By Myself” is probably the #1 sad jam ever written, and putting a varnish of Céline talent on it makes it all the more iconic.

How to listen: Driving home from work in the rain after a really hard day. Crying optional. I’d say post-breakup, but you’re no cliché.

That’s The Way It Is

This is the most late-nineties song ever recorded. Every pop artist had a song that sounds eerily like this one in the late nineties (see “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)“, “As Long As You Love Me“, and “Shape of My Heart” by the Backstreet Boys, “Sometimes” and “Born to Make You Happy” by Britney Spears, and probably an entire LeAnn Rimes or Faith Hill album, if I’m being honest. Is it the chord progression?) Céline’s, of course, is the epitomization of the trope. “That’s The Way It Is” is a pep talk in song form. Only Céline could get away with the lines, “Don’t surrender / ’cause you can win / in this thing called love,” and make the word “love” span 3-5 syllables.

How to listen: In the car with your single friends, to subliminally plant inspiration and positivity into their brains! Because you’re not a busybody or anything!

A New Day Has Come

This song is about the birth of her son. Could anything possibly be sweeter? Lines like “I was waiting so long / for a miracle to come” and “I can’t believe / I’ve been touched by an angel with love” are so uplifting and precious! What kind of sociopath doesn’t want to listen to a new mother’s impassioned love song/lullaby to her baby?

How to listen: At a gender reveal party, to liven up the mood when everyone finds out it’s a boy.

P.S. Céline in the video is #hairgoals af.

Beauty and the Beast (feat. Peabo Bryson)

It is beyond fitting that the theme song for the movie about the French Disney princess would be sung by the only French (Canadian) singer most Americans can name. And Peabo Bryson! How good is that guy? You may recognize his voice from every Disney theme song of the late eighties/early nineties.

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peabo bryson is hella bae—image source

It is also incredibly fitting that the updated 2017 version of this song is performed by Ariana Grande and John Legend—two powerhouse vocalists who can actually hold a candle to the original performances. Ariana Grande’s impression of Céline is a divine inspiration. Go forth and reward your ears with this sultry ballad.

How to listen: On repeat for the past 26 years.

My Heart Will Go On

This Oscar-winning song is an enduring classic. I will never yield in my belief that this song is at the pinnacle of songwriting achievement. I don’t care that it’s cheesy. I don’t care that it conjures up images of baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio. If you don’t feel a profound connection to your emotions when you hear this song, check for a pulse. That flute/recorder part in the beginning? I melt. When the guitar and the harmonies come in in the second verse? RIP me. Dramatic key change? My spirit rises from the grave and floats off into outer space.

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image source

“My Heart Will Go On” is still a part of the zeitgeist 20 years later for a reason. Do you still hear “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins on the reg? Of course you don’t. You forgot that song even existed until right now. Before you rush off to watch Tarzan, at least finish reading this, though.

How to listen: When you can give it your full attention. When you can let the calming strains wash over you like a soothing bath. This song is the essential oils of music.

Honorable Mention

I Drove All Night

Céline turns this song, intended for Roy Orbison but popularized by Cyndi Lauper, into a early ’00s deep club track, and it is blissful. Think Cher’s “Believe”.

How to listen: Request this song next time you’re out, and watch the millenials & gen X-ers distinguish themselves from the gen z-ers or whatever they’re called. Y’all weren’t born.

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So, before I get into this bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay (a personal inexpensive fave), someone come stop me from ordering The Essential Céline Dion. 2 Discs!

#YQY

—DellaBites