February’s in full swing! And on this Sunday morning, I’m in full pajamas with a full glass of cold brew. At least for the moment, I’m pretending that I don’t have chores to do and hundreds of pages of reading #gradschoolproblems. Here’s some of the stuff that made me smile this week.
P.S. This entire week is dedicated to The Purple One, in honor of Sheila E. shutting down Timberlake over the stupid hologram. This is my sole comment on the Super Bowl.
Valentine’s Day is so not my jam, but novelty pajamas absolutely are. I saw these at Target the other day and almost caved and bought them (there’s still time…) Also, tacos are life, and I need this shirt to add to my obnoxious collection of Francophile clothing items.
I am so excited about SOLO that I could scream. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is, I think, my exact number on the Kinsey Scale?! Summer can’t come fast enough!
Okay, okay. I’m like, the last person on earth to see this, but I finally watched Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy video and just about died from the sweetness. I’ve never actually seen KUWTK, and to me, Kylie Jenner is just “the lipstick girl,” but I have to give the whole fam (Kris) mad props for their marketing finesse. Also, we got to see Chicago West for the first time!
I have got to make this DIY. I’m obsessed with macarons (I know, basic), and this would look so cute on my bar cart! My bar cart apparently isn’t available from Target anymore, but maybe I should get a second one for coffee because this beautiful cart exists? I needed to lie down when I saw this one…gorgeous.
It’s finally February. Praise Be / Under His Eye. January suuuuucked, so I’m glad to have a fresh start. I did accomplish a few things in January, but overall it was a wash. Daylight Savings starts (ends?) in a month and I’m counting the days.
The other day, I had a personal training session and my lovely trainer didn’t pull any punches! It was a full body workout like I’ve never experienced. Of course, because I’m an idiot, I went back to the gym that night to take a Vinyasa Flow class. I clearly can’t be trusted to take care of my own body. Friday night (the day after) I was hurting. Luckily, my brother had a foam roller, and I inexpertly worked out some of the knots in my back. Needless to say, I’m a convert! I’m snagging one of these ASAP!
I was reading some tips on zero-waste living, and while I’ll never get 100% there (hell, I’m like 40% there), I was intrigued at the concept of reusable organic cotton pads. As you all know, I’m here for period gear, but I’ve been a little gunshy about the cost of converting. Well, enter the Hesta Menstrual Cup which is AFFORDABLE and comes with an organic cotton reusable liner! According to Clue, it should arrive via Prime before I’m stricken with the (lovely, natural) plague, so I’ll report back soon!
I cannot stop listening to this Marvelous Mrs. Maisel playlist I made on Spotify. This series has the best music curation I’ve ever heard, and they’ve got that Amazon money so there are TWO Barbra Streisand songs! My playlist isn’t 100% accurate—it’s missing at least one song that wasn’t available on Spotify and the version of “I Enjoy Being A Girl” is different, but I did my due diligence and it’s pretty thorough. Check out this playlist, which is one of the sources I used for mine, and make sure to listen to the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Goys podcast!
I assume you’re all watching This Is Us, correct? I am SO EXCITED for tonight’s episode, I could scream! We’re finally going to find out how Jack died…I think. Even though I’m a baby and will inevitably be asleep early tonight (even though “my team” is in the Super Bowl or whatever), I’ll be rushing home from work to watch it tomorrow.
This series about Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker by the incomparable Dana Schwartz has me cackling! I actually read Fifty Shades a few years back, while I was “babysitting” my mother-in-law post-surgery, and I have so many thoughts and feelings (about the movie too).I think it’s a gorgeous tribute to the inspiration for Fifty Shades, Twilight, that the two lead actors have zero chemistry. If there weren’t so many takes available online, I’d definitely write a post about it. P.S. I actually wrote a similar post about Dana Schwartz’s own book a few months back!
A Design Kit is finally out! The ladies of ABM put out a companion app to their amazing A Color Story and it’s the best! I made the above graphic with ADK in about 5 seconds flat. There’s a great selection of brushes, fonts, and stickers to jazz up all of your photos!
This is super random closer, but I just found these bookends on Modcloth (but cheaper on Amazon), and I must have them for when our renovation is complete…whenever that will be. It’s very apropos in a musician’s household.
Signing off until next week! Everyone enjoy the football sports stuff!
Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to express more gratitude. I’m a perfectionist who has trouble living in the moment, so taking daily stock of the little things in life that make each day a little prettier and brighter helps me to stay grounded. I have so much to be grateful for! I’m even letting myself end the previous sentence with a preposition, because 2018 me is super #chill.
This week, I’m highlighting ten blogs that I follow, some religiously, some occasionally, that inspire me to use my voice.
No surprises here, right? I’ve been following ABM almost daily for about 5 years. Their whimsical, colorful aesthetic has been a huge influence on how I’ve styled my own home. I’ve tried a ton of their recipes and DIYs (I’ll link a few below). ABM has inspired me to bring more life and color into my home.
This is the personal blog of Laura from A Beautiful Mess. Laura’s aesthetic and style in particular are closest to mine, and she’s a fellow cat mama, so when I discovered her blog, it became an instant bookmark. Her husband plays guitar for Mutemath and tours a ton, which is the impetus behind the blog name. My husband doesn’t tour, but being a musician’s wife is definitely…unique. Us band wives gotta stick together!
This is the personal blog of Elsie from A Beautiful Mess. It’s where she chronicled her heartbreakingly long adoption process and blogs about the joys of her new daughter, Nova. The Larsons’ adoption story has brought me to tears on more than a few occasions…adoption is one of the most beautiful and selfless things a person can do!
Minimalist aesthetic? Neutral tones? Excellent graphic design? Check, check, and check. Almost Makes Perfect is a destination for great DIYs, home decor, and gorgeous printables. I even have one of her rap lyric Valentines up as an art print in my house!
Follow if you love: home décor, minimalism, personal posts, DIYs
Technically, Man Repeller isn’t a blog anymore, although it started that way. It is a fully-fledged, awesome fashion, lifestyle, and beauty site that is #goals for any blogger. I mean, Leandra, the creator, goes to like, Paris Fashion Week. So aspirational. MR is one of my favorite sites on the whole wide internet, so much so that I actually just submitted a piece!
Follow if you love: fashion, beauty, humor writing, silly horoscopes
Stacy King (of Sucré, formerly of Eisley) barely ever posts, but the aesthetic when she does is marvelous. Fun fact, I went to a bar in Atlanta based solely on one of her gorgeous posts. Talk about an influencer! Her entire wardrobe is goals, and she has the cutest little fam.
Alright, fine. This is another blogger I discovered through ABM. Katie is (was?) one of the staff writers for ABM, and has a collab line with BonLook. Skunkboy Blog is where she chronicles the goings-on of her sweet fam, DIYs, and her adorable handmade “creatures.”
Follow if you love: personal posts, sewing, crafts, DIYs, vintage
I live in a construction zone—it just sounds like combat when the compressors are whirring. What are they “compressing” anyway?
Starting last summer, we’ve been getting an addition put onto our house courtesy of our Supreme Leaders, aka my in-laws. This is my first experience working with contractors, plumbers, and electricians, and let me tell you, it’s not fun! My father-in-law is doing a ton of the work himself, but as he is only a human man, needs occasional help.
The dig is that we lost our side porch (which was the main entrance we used to get into our house) and a few windows, but we’re gaining a bathroom, a large mudroom, a few extra feet of space in our living room, a pantry, and a built-in bookshelf. So, no complaints here! I’m so excited for all the changes to come!
Where that giant rock pit is now, basically, is a brand-new house! The entire thing has been re-sided in a cream-colored vinyl (*insert apathy emoji*), but I have to admit it looks pretty snazzy. Pics to follow once Massachusetts is no longer covered in a thin layer of melted snow and filth.
I basically live on Pinterest now, planning our new digs. I get to build a bathroom, a mudroom, and a pantry from scratch! Below are some of the purchases I’ve already made, and a bunch of inspiration for my decorating moving forward!
These are a few of the items I’ve already purchased for our new bathroom. I’m going for an all black-and-white look, with occasional brass accents. The first picture is a Paris cafe print that I’m obsessed with—hopefully by the time the bathroom’s up and running, I’ll have actually been to Paris. I included two pictures of our vanity because a. it’s cute, and b. the other picture had a cactus in it, and that is the most me thing to ever happen. I love the matte black faucets we bought…I wanted to stay away from the traditional chrome (although our shower door handles will be chrome unless I can spray them to match).
I want the bathroom to be a super clean, modern space. I love the hexagonal tile above, but I’m also considering black and white penny tile. I am obsessed with the idea of a sliding barn door, since the bathroom is fairly small and the door would eliminate some wall space.
I haven’t bought much for the mudroom yet, since we’ll have to make a few big storage purchases and the room isn’t even close to finished, but I did buy these prints, which are only mildly inaccurate, to be placed opposite the entrance, sharing a charcoal gray wall with the bathroom door. And the rainbow mat? C’mon. The cutest.
I LOVE the idea of locker storage in the mudroom to help keep clutter off the floor. I want the entryway to be a bright, cheery space that welcomes us home every day. I plan to keep the area neutral and soothing. And I know I already have a mat, but that hedgehog one might be too cute to pass up!
The pantry in question is still our current bathroom, and need to be gutted before it can be used. It probably won’t be functional for at least 6 months, but a girl can dream, right? My favorite chicas over at The Home Edit post THE best pantry inspiration. Now, if only I could afford to hire them to style my entire life…
I am already pretty psychotically organized, but anything to make my life MORE organized is welcome! I’m salivating over The Container Store‘s gear: I might actually invest in that gorgeous $350 pantry kit…it’s stunning. And finally having adequate storage for my beautiful kitchen appliances is a dream come true.
2017 is over and frankly, BYE GIRL. What a rough year. I went from severe election depression, to a Mexican vacation, to not knowing WTF I was doing with my life, to going to grad school. The transition was rough, but not just for me. This year has also, obviously, been an actual trash-fire for the entire country.
But apart from praying for mercy from our overlords, there were a few enjoyable things about 2017. I went to Cancún and Atlanta for the first time, and got to spend two weeks in L.A., which I proudly yet undeservedly consider my homeland. I dove even deeper into my comedy obsession, and turned it into a final paper on feminism and comedy writing (in which I got to use the quotation “Men are a cancer! God made a mistake!“). I binged so much TV that it should be considered a crime against (my own) humanity. I started therapy and got back on meds. Actually, if it weren’t for the backdrop of constant nuclear panic, 2017 might have even been a good year.
Luckily, even in the darkest timeline, artists gonna art, so there was a barrage of dope shit released this year. Here are the things that really stood out in my 2017:
Literally everything Roxane Gay has ever written is perfect, so it was a no-brainer that this incredible book would be on my “Best Of” list. This book is so powerful and emotional; I cried reading it. Hunger is, genuinely, a memoir of her body—unlike so many other books written in a similar vein, this one has no self-help aims or “happy ending.” It is a raw, honest rendering of past and present traumas, and though Ms. Gay’s journey is unique to her, her writing speaks to the universal truths familiar to all those who inhabit bodies and navigate the world. For six months, the words of Hunger have stayed with me, like a haunting presence.
I haven’t finished this book yet, so no spoilers! (lol)
Part of me loves this book so much merely because I love Secretary Clinton and want to push back against the haters that think, for some reason, that it’s unacceptable that the first female presidential candidate of a major political party should write a book chronicling her experiences. I know this about myself. What I didn’t expect, upon beginning to listen (I’m checking out Audible this season), is how deeply First Lady Clinton’s words would affect me. She gets pretty real about her journey, and doesn’t shy away from being honest about the present danger in which America finds itself. But it’s never sad. In What Happened, hope eclipses sadness and darkness at every turn. It doesn’t hurt that Senator Clinton is funny as hell, either. Listening to What Happened is like inspiring meditation for all of us who were deeply hurt last November.
So, if Popular Vote Winner Rodham Clinton wants to hit me up for a glass of Chardonnay, just DM me @highwaytochel, bby.
Just realized I keep switching up her name! I guess she just has so many accomplishments that I’m not even sure what to call her!
This list was getting pretty heavy, so I had to turn up the levity to 11.
Matt Bellassai is a national treasure. I first heard of him on Throwing Shade, so I’m a bit of a late adopter, but as soon as I heard him on TSPod, I sought out his podcast Unhappy Hour, which led me to his book, which I scored, again, on Audible. I knew the book would be funny, but I didn’t think it would be laugh-out-loud-like-a-maniac-alone-in-my-car funny. The writing is so, so good. He has such a clear, distinct voice that it’s shocking he’s only my age. It’s so powerful, in fact, that I find myself relating on a deep level to a chubby, sheltered, Midwestern, gay, cis-male child, most of whose adjectives don’t describe me at all! I rarely advocate for audiobook over real book, but hearing Bellassai’s delivery is the icing on the cake.
Amy Sherman-Palladino has blessed us once again! The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which Jen Kirkman consulted on, nbd) is my favorite new show of the year! I’m not even that bitter about the fact that the lead actress, Rachel Brosnahan, is the same age as me!
The MMM tells the story of Midge, a 26-year-old mother of two in 1958, going through a separation following her husband, Joel’s, infidelity. Joel had been fervently pursuing a stand-up career (i.e. plagiarizing one), but it turns out that his wife is the real natural. Coached by Susie, played by the incomparable Alex Borstein, Midge begins to perform, to varying degrees of success. Oh, and Lenny Bruce is a character.
In true ASP fashion, the dialogue is fast-paced, joke dense, and sensational. If there had to be an heir to Gilmore Girls, this is indeed the one. I just watched the series but might start it over and force the huz to watch it with me. 10/10
Is Get Out the best movie I’ve ever seen? Strong possibility. Give Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya and Betty Gabriel all of the Oscars!
I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it would be that good. I only just watched Get Out this fall, since I am horror-averse to the extreme, but I already know it will be one of my life-long favorites. Unfortunately, to write pretty much anything about it would spoil the majesty, and for once, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I was shocked, despite waiting months to watch it, and I wouldn’t take that experience away from anyone.
Jordan Peele is a genius. The film is aesthetically gorgeous, socially aware, hilarious, and terrifying. It’s a horror film, and a comedy, and a documentary.
P.S. I had the unique privilege of writing one of my final papers about Get Out, which I’m submitting to conferences!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
If you didn’t like this movie, please eject yourself from planet Earth. I won’t spoil it for anyone (it was spoiled for me by my brother), but it was a joy and a pleasure. I gasped in surprise or glee multiple times, and I got to experience the entire thing sitting between my husband and my best friend—best combo ever. I’d write more about how much it rocked my world, but I’m busy going to see it again.
I finally discovered the true, unadulterated joy that is Hallmark Christmas movies. I watched Christmas in the Air*, which only made me thirst for more**. These things are a bright spot in an increasingly dismal world. Plus, where else will you experience the true joy of a 49-year-old, childless female lead? Hallmark doesn’t even know that it’s feminist!
*I will say, specific to this film, that it espoused one trash value, which is that messiness and imperfection is acceptable. You should have let her clean your office, dude. You’re not a creative genius—you have untreated ADHD.
**There’s an upcoming one starring Candace Cameron Bure and Marilu Henner!
I. Love. St. Vincent. I finally got to see her in concert last month at the House of Blues! I’ve liked her for years, but I have to admit, when she started getting super high concept, starting with Strange Mercy and continuing even stronger with St. Vincent, I really became a superfan. Masseduction doesn’t disappoint for a second—it’s got killer visuals, tight tunes, and her sexiest sound yet. Go purchase this album with human currency!
As if The National could put out a bad album. I’ve been waiting for what seems like decades for new Ntl jams, and finally, my prayers have been answered. Sleep Well Beast is everything I dreamed it would be and more. It has more tech-y, electronic-y moments (please, don’t be intimidated by my vast knowledge of music) than previous releases, but it works. Get on this album, my dudes.
I know. I’m going back on years of hating on T. Swift. I can admit I was wrong! In my hour of darkness she was standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, so let her be.
Reputation is bops for days. I adore it. I’ve listened to it more than the previous 2 albums combined, which severely deducts cool points from my street cred. But I don’t care. I even like “Look What You Made Me Do” which was pretty much universally panned. Highlights are, for sure, “Endgame (feat. Future & Ed Sheeran),” “Ready For It,” and “I Did Something Bad,” but basically every song is great so just go listen to it? T. Swift redeemed.
Guys, I got to actually go to PYHT in Hollywood! It was probably the craziest night of my entire life—maybe I’ll share the story someday—but it was an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. The whole drama is recorded on the podcast, so if you’re a listener, you may know what I’m referring to. It was definitely a…teachable moment.
Cam & Rhea, thanks for being the moms we all need, and being genuinely the warmest and best people I’ve ever met.
My ABM ladies started a natural beauty line! Lipstick, lip gloss, and essential oils, oh my! I am obsessed with clean beauty products (#backonmyhippiebullshit), so these gems were a total godsend. I took advantage of all of the launch and holiday sales, so I, of course, have the full lip collection. They go on smooth, hydrate, last, and bonus: the lip gloss smells like yummy vanilla!
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
grapefruit essential oil
eucalyptus essential oil
lime essential oil
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.
So, guys—I did a DIY and it did NOT turn out horribly!
I recently bought my first record player (yes, at age 24, shut up). I only have 4 LPs so far (because of the Spending Fast), but they have such pretty artwork that I just needed to display them. When I saw this Photo Ledge DIY on A Beautiful Mess, I knew I’d found just the thing.
Rilo Kiley’s The Execution of All Things & Eisley’s Currents
Since we redecorated our living room, there’s been an awkward patch of bare wall underneath our faux-mantlepiece that I’ve been dying to fill up with some art. When I saw the DIY on ABM, I figured I could make the space work double duty as a place to store my tiny record collection.
Jenny Lewis’ Acid Tongue & Belle and Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister
Of course, I messed up along the way. My power drill is from Ikea—I lovingly call it my “drill for girls.” Not having the right tools for the job was a major roadblock that turned this into a day-long, rather than an hour-long project. Also, Home Depot is a confounding labyrinth—we spent way too long searching for supplies. But all in all, I’m proud that I made something useful with my own two hands.
After I assembled the wood, I primed and painted the ledge gold, because all gold everything, obviously. I asked my father-in-law to come over with his drill to hang the shelf, et voilà—stylish record storage! I’m so inspired to work on more projects because of how successfully this one went.