Christmas Kind of Love

So, full disclosure—while I don’t identify as Christian (my dad’s fam is totally secular and my mother’s is lapsed Catholic AF), I L O V E Christmas. The opportunity to decorate my home with even more white and gold? Sign me up! I have two pre-lit trees—one I inherited from my mom (it’s green with colored lights) and one skinny 6′ rose gold tree that I got at Target before the 2016 election (that year was dark, so I decorated very early). I didn’t decorate last year because our house was under construction, so this year I went ham. But this is just a dry-run for next year, which will be over the freakin’ top. I’m already depressed about January coming and having to take down all my glitz. As long as it’s down by Valentine’s Day, I’m fine, right?

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That said, here are some holiday faves!

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Best Ways to Give Back

Around the holidays I go beyond my usual small monthly donations! Here are some of my fave charities and ways to give!

Planned Parenthood, International Refugee Assistance ProjectACLU, KINDNAACP, SPLC, Support the Girls, RIP Medical Debt, The Trevor Project, It Gets Better, ITMFA, and so many more!

Best Christmas Songs

My husband, the sweet angel of earth that he is, made me a curated playlist for Christmas called FIG for CHELS—Christmas Edition, because he is perfect. There are quite a number of songs on here I’d never heard before. “You’re a Gift” by The Both is my new favorite! And we can’t forget Holiday Soul Party!

I started compiling a Christmas album playlist for myself, but I got very, very lazy. Also, I work in a store that plays nonstop Christmas music (which I’m actually very here for) so I got my fill this year!

What’s your favorite Christmas song? Mine is “Father Christmas” by The Kinks!

Best Presents

  1. Gift a subscription! FabFitFun & Oui Fresh are my go-tos, but there’s also Birchbox, Ipsy, Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s (great for guys!), quip, graze, LOLA (because practical), Book of the Month Club, or Bark Box (for those weirdo dog people in your life!) I’d suggest streaming services, but tbh just give a friend your password if they don’t already have Netflix.
  2. Gift Cards to Amazon or Target—these will never not get used.
  3. What I call “The Cornucopia”—hone in on one interest and make a gift basket out of tiny items! If your friend is a writer, buy them fancy versions of everything they need—a journal, pens, notepads, sticky notes, stickers, washi tape, paper clips, you name it! Most people (not me, obviously), but most people won’t indulge themselves in that gold stapler or adorable jar of wooden pushpins because function > fashion. Useful gifts are always the best gifts, and tons of little gifts, imo, are better than one. I did one of these for my husband for our first Christmas together and those items are still floating around the house.
  4. A memory. This might sound dumb, but this is the perfect gift for the person who has everything. Example: I’m gifting my favorite professor a framed photo I took of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, because I first heard of it in his class and his support was the reason I got the opportunity to go there. I hope that, for years to come, he can glance over and think warmly about one of his favorite places.
  5. And finally, a free idea, since not everyone in the world spends money like a millionaire (guilty!)—a hand-written card or letter. Literally who writes letters anymore?! I’ve done this a couple of times for various events (sometimes accompanying a gift, sometimes not), and it always gets a great response. Not everyone needs external validation all the time (guilty!) but people love knowing how special they are to you!

Best Holiday Decorations

Anthropologie, West Elm, Target, Pier One, CB2, and Cost Plus World Market have reliably fantastic stuff, although you know ya girl got every damn thing from Target.

Best Christmas Movies

I am about to seriously out myself right now, but I’ve never seen Die Hard or Home Alone. I know. I suck. Truth be told, I’ve never actually even watched A Christmas Story from start to finish. I am not a movie girl (I blame the ADHD). I’m a TV addict—hit me with a Doctor Who or Downton Christmas special any day.

My personal favorite holiday films: It’s A Wonderful Life (true life: I was in a stage production of this when I was 16), the Mickey Mouse & Muppet versions of A Christmas Carol, the Jim Carrey Grinch, and of course, ELF, the best Christmas movie of all time.

P.S. Love, Actually isn’t actually that good, which is insane, because THAT CAST. And liking The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t the same thing as having a personality.

Best Shows to Binge-Watch on Christmas Break

You probably only have a week off, so these are some shows you can absolutely finish before the new year! Snuggle up with your cats and watch these masterpieces!

Amazon: Catastrophe, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Netflix: Great NewsSchitt’s Creek, The Good Place

Hulu: Difficult PeopleThe Handmaid’s Tale

Best Audiobooks for Your Drive Home

Becoming by Michelle Obama, Everything’s Trash But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle, This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps, Feminasty! by Erin Gibson, Shrill by Lindy West, So Close to Being the Shit, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

Bonus Content: Chag Chanukah Sameach!

So, Hanukkah has been over for a minute, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t attempt to observe. I was too lazy to make actual latkes, but I did a run of potato soups as an homage to the culinary concept.

I didn’t buy a menorah because I kept thinking that cashiers would judge me for adding one to a cart full of sparkly Christmas garlands, but I have my eye on a few for next year—this one, this mod one, this gorgeous gold one, and this colorful one.

And good on SJ to give us a Hanukkah song that’s way better than Adam Sandler’s.

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I hope anything on this list is helpful to your holiday season!

P.S. Michael’s Christmas stuff is all 50%-60% off right now, so get thee gone.

P.P.S Send me #thoughtsandprayers that it doesn’t snow anytime soon.

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Sunday Kind of Love xvii

I know what you’re thinking—did she die?? I mean, kind of. I got back from Europe and immediately started a full-time management position working for a huge corporation. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds, and I won’t name-check it, but trust me, you know this place and you probably love it. So my limited free time has consisted mostly of sleep, meditation, and NY Times crossword puzzles.

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the ivy brasserie in bath, uk

So, as an apology for my absence for like, two months, I’m doing a mega-post of favorites!

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rock star // dress // bag // glasses 

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Today is Primary Day in Massachusetts! Get out there and rock the f***ing vote! Find out more here!

I saw The Book of Mormon at the Boston Opera House and it was AMAZING. Buy the original cast recording here!

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Casually met Stacy King aka Sucré at Great Scott the night before my birthday. NO BIG DEAL, SHE’S ONLY MY IDOL. Get her newest single, In Pieces, and while you’re at it, buy “Inside,” Loner, Absentee, and A Minor Bird too.

I started using a tongue scraper and honestly, it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in my adult life. I use this model (it came in the Oui Fresh July Beauty Box!). I recommend copper because it’s a bacteria-resistant metal—and aside from that, it’s cute as hell! My mouth feels so much cleaner and the mouth is the first stop for overall health, so it makes sense to take good care of it, right?

Dear Coquette is back. That is all.

I read Call Me By Your Name and dear god. It’s perfect. Plus, Armie Hammer narrates the audiobook so *salivating emoji*

Just bought a Girlfriend set of this bra and these leggings, because being the cutest girl at the gym is extremely important to me. Next pay cycle I’ll be grabbing the same in Jade (hopefully the Paloma bra will be back in stock!) I currently have this set: bra (in powder blue)/ leggings. I’ve also been rocking this ban.do yoga mat, which people at yoga class think is a riot! Although I will say that in terms of functionality, my lulu mat is far superior.

Younger‘s Season 5 is done, so binge that shit! Catch up on Hulu.

I just read Guy Branum’s My Life as a Goddess (available wherever books are sold), and it was incredible. I couldn’t put it down. It’s smart, hilarious, and moving. I’ll probably break down and buy the audiobook for my eventual re-read—hearing Guy perform it sounds like such a dream. Watch him slay on Conan.

I am currently reading Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I’m really enjoying it so far, and I can’t wait to see how they’ve interpreted it for the film!

I’m listening to Kate Nash’s Yesterday Was Forever while writing this post and I’m loving it! Stream it via this link, but also, y’know, purchase it to support our girl!

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the gates at kensington palace

Lykke Li put out an album this year?? I had no clue, but as soon as I found out, I listened to it obsessively. so sad so sexy is just full of bops!

Today is release day for Erin Gibson’s Feminasty! If you don’t know Erin, she’s the co-host of the incomparable Throwing Shade podcast with Bryan Safi. I pre-ordered this puppy on Audible—it was a tough choice between the book and audio but since I’m used to listening to Erin & Bryan every week on the pod, audio won out!

Sherri & Max Bemis launched a Kickstarter! This comes on the heels of Max announcing that Say Anything is no more—some exciting changes are in the works! Pledge to support their dreams and help them keep creating art! Bonus Lucy & Coraline content, too.

JK was sponsored by FabFitFun on I Seem Fun so I finally caved and got a box. I’ll report back once I receive it—I’m excited! I love a subscription box because I am the bougiest.

Just discovered Mitski and I’m so mad none of you told me about her.

Alone Together is one of the best written shows on television right now. I’ve watched the entire series twice—I watched it and then immediately forced my husband to watch it (he loves it).

Have I talked about American Vandal on here yet? I’m way late to the game but American Vandal is a perfect, perfect show. I’m obsessed. Who drew the dicks??

Y’all know I’m obsessed with Madewell, but I went super nuts for my birthday. I got this bag, this bag (monogrammed), this clutch, this wallet, this hat, these jeans, these jeans, and probably way more that doesn’t even immediately come to mind. Take my credit card away.

I started a Depop shop. I’ve tried (and been successful with) Poshmark in the past, but I’m trying something new! Buy my designer stuff! I’ll probably upload these items to Posh as well (I’m open to offers!)

Can’t wait to read In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington! If you don’t know Cora, you may have seen her viral Twitter thread on thin privilege.

I discovered Fopp while I was in England. If you live in the UK you must go there. I bought 6 books for £3!

I’m sure it’s basic as hell, and I’m a wine peasant, but this Dry Riseling never disappoints. Pro-tip: always make sure to buy dry Riselings, not off-dry (demi-sec), otherwise you’ll basically be drinking sugar-water.

Marmite is GREAT and we need to start using it in the US!

The Lindbergh Candle Co. shop is open for pre-orders! This is my favorite candle company (their reed diffusers are incredible—I have one in my bathroom and I get so many compliments!) I love supporting small businesses (this one’s out of Atlanta, one of my favorite places).

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wadham college at oxford

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Okay. I’m exhausted. That was a lot. I hope some of this tickles your fancy! I’ll just be in my office, diffusing some Stress Away, and enjoying one of my very rare days off.

Adieu!

-c

2018 Reading Challenge

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?

xoxo,

c

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.”

Sunday Kind of Love

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.

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  1. 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.
  2. Over the holidays, Girlfriend Collective had a free bra promotion when you bought a pair of leggings! So, of course, I bought myself a set of these leggings and this adorable bra. I had first heard of Girlfriend a few years ago when they were first starting out—they had a deal where you could get a free pair of leggings for only the cost of shipping! They quickly became one of my favorite brands, with their focus on sustainability and humane labor practices.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

xoxo,

c