This week was Valentine’s Day, and although I am the world’s least romantic person, I got to have Thai food and watch Freaks and Geeks with the bae after a long day’s work—V-Day success! Plus, this is a long weekend, so I am RELISHING the break. Here are a bunch of things that brightened my week (which felt really, really, really long, didn’t it?)
It’s Valentine’s Week, as Logan Huntzberger might say, so the number one thing I love this week is Bae. The only cute bae nickname I can think of that hasn’t already been taken is “The Bae Harbor Butcher,” but that’s a pretty deep cut Dexter reference that no one would understand. Happy belated Valentimes to my hubby.
Bae and I will probably go see Black Panther this weekend—I’m so excited! I’m not a superhero person at all (I basically just likeJessica Jones), but it apparently lives up to the hype! Now if I could only get around to watching Wonder Woman…
I’m admittedly a late-adopter to GoodReads. I honestly didn’t even know it existed until this winter. As a lover of reading but an easily-distracted user of social media, I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, and frankly, that needs to change. A lot of the reading I’m on the hook for is dense criticism, but that’s no reason that my free time can’t be spent indulging in literature instead of binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel again. For the past few years I’ve challenged myself to a somewhat vague 2 books/month reading challenge. But now that I’ve embraced audiobooks, there’s no reason that I can’t dramatically increase that number! I’m nothing if not incredibly competitive, so bring it on!
I just changed my 2018 GoodReads from 30 books to 40 books this year, and I’ve already almost completed my seventh! 40 books a year is (very roughly) a book a week (0.7), so I’m going to have to set some serious goals and maybe even schedule my reading time!
Here’s some of the stuff (that I already own) on my list for 2018!
The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher (audiobook)
Hope Leslie, Catherine Maria Sedgwick
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Bondwoman’s Narrative, Hannah Crafts
Our Nig, Harriet E. Wilson
The Lamplighter, Maria Susanna Cummins
Ruth Hall, Fanny Fern
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
Uncommon Type, Tom Hanks
The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson
The Wild, Wild World, Susan Warner
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote (I’ve read this, but the audiobook is narrated by Michael C. Hall, who I have an unstoppable crush on)
Hard Choices & What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton
What else should I add?
P.S. One of these days, I’m going to give in to my baser instincts and sign off my blog post “xoxo, gossip girl.”
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!
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!