Week Links [25 October]

honestly? a vibe.

Good morning! It’s been a minute! I have to admit that it’s hard to come up with ten+ things a week to talk about that aren’t repeats, given that we’re all still stuck inside, going through the motions. I’m going to try to do a spending freeze for a week, starting tomorrow…it should be easy, but ever since I entered the workforce on my 16th birthday, shopping has honestly been my main source of serotonin.

Another amazing source of serotonin that I didn’t truly appreciate until my mid-twenties is…Christmas! So, full disclosure, I am the most annoying and staunch atheist you’ll ever meet (though I try to be very respectful of other people’s views and have friends from several different religious backgrounds!), but Christmas is my jam. I’ve already made my (all secular) Christmas playlists and plan on decorating on November 1st (I think you have to at least wait until Halloween is over). I have two Christmas trees…I do not mess around. I think this will probably be the year I finally upgrade my hand-me-down pre-lit green tree with colored bulbs to a chic white one (the other is rose gold, nbd). Last year I didn’t decorate at all because I was severely depressed and grieving the loss of a family member, so this year I plan to go ALL OUT to make up for lost time. Call me sappy, but I feel very inspired by the Christmas season. During (literally) the darkest time of year, everywhere you look is bright and festive. One incredible thing about getting older is that I’ve become so much less cynical and have learned to actually find joy in things that are meant to be joyful.

Anyway, fair warning: there will probably be a lot of Christmas content from me this year. Also, if you don’t think “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey is at least a Top 5 Christmas song, please unsubscribe.

Well, what follows has nothing to do with anything I’ve written here, so…[insert segue]

  1. Honestly can’t believe I haven’t shouted out the new Sufjan. Get into The Ascension.
  2. I’ve officially reached a new quarantine delusion level. I’m buying handbags and accoutrements as though I’ll ever leave my house again. Where could I even wear platform purple sandals in real life, much less during the plague? Same question, but about these.
  3. Dresses like this are my entire vibe now.
  4. Gonna try this out on my new blonde locks (see below).
  5. Mariah writes about this VH1 Divas performance in her book and that chapter is must-read entertainment. Apparently the drama has been much discussed!
  6. I am hanging on by a THREAD not buying these. Perhaps even by the time you read this post, I will have caved. As someone with (self-diagnosed, to be fair) Reynaud’s who has a complex about never having been able to follow trends as a youth (cut to me purchasing a Longchamp bag in 2016), I am extremely susceptible to capitalistic peer pressure, especially when it involves warmth!
  7. I am too poor to buy everything from this amazing queer, trans-owned jewelry company, but that doesn’t make me want to any less! Plz give me all of the anklets!
  8. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was actually a delight.
  9. I’ll definitely be making these tempeh lettuce wraps soon.
  10. Be honest—should I get this poster? I love this Etsy shop; I think I’m going to do a Tarantino wall in our media room.
  11. Got these adorable earrings from Flower Dangles. My handmade earring collection is one of my greatest treasures!
*extremely kate-mckinnon-as-keith-urban voice* who did your highlights?

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend, and if you observe the Spooky Season, I wish you a Happy Halloween! -chels

Week Links [14 September]

i worked all weekend on re-organizing and snazzing up my kitchen, and i realized that i have a wild affinity for the color i call “versailles blue.” literally, every louis xvi-era décor has this shade of blue–when the world reopens, check your local art museum to fact-check me. also, sofia coppola’s marie antoinette is an amazing and underrated film.
  1. Is it too soon to decorate for Christmas? I don’t really do Halloween (even though my wedding anniversary is 30 October…go figure), so I’ve started incorporating general fall decorations—pumpkins, jewel and earth tones, and wreaths. I’m sure my consumerism is ruining the earth (and not the 100 corporations that are responsible for 71% of global emissions…), but the Target dollar grab-and-go section (does it have a name?) is my jam for decorations. I actually reuse the stuff year after year, and I like not having to be precious about storing them in the basement. Also, being able to find $3 gems means that you can decorate for even the “in-between” holidays like Dia de los Muertos and Valentine’s Day. I was such a cynical jerk until my mid-twenties, when I realized that, given life’s general bleakness, anything that can inspire a little bit of joy or peace is totally worth it. Which is why I own two Christmas trees despite being a lifelong atheist. Anyway, where was I going with this? These wicker pumpkins are adorable, rainbows belong everywhere, and you’ve got to be kidding me with these cable-knit cuties.
  2. I had no choice but to buy this dress in pale mint. My hands were tied. Now we need a vaccine and a competent government so that I can wear it to an event.
  3. Caved and bought an Ovira. TMI warning: Despite having incredibly easy periods for about 15 years, once I hit my late 20s, my uterus decided to stage a coup against the rest of my body every 25 days, and it has been debilitating. Like, can’t get out of bed debilitating. I’ve tried everything under the sun—lavender oil, magnesium, liver-destroying amounts of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, heat, meditation, stretching, *extremely The Script voice* prayer to a god that I don’t believe in, screaming—and nothing has worked, so I’m hoping that shooting electricity into my abdomen will do the trick.
  4. My husband bought these and these 2.5 years ago, with the intention of rehoming all of his CDs and recycling the jewel cases, but, as he has yet to complete this task, I finally took it upon myself to do my own CD collection, and I cannot oversell how much room it freed up in my office. My bookcase has never looked better.
  5. The perfect tweet doesn’t exi—
  6. I’ve been watching Better Things on Hulu because I’m extremely current and on the pulse of what’s hot. Am I cancelled because Pamela Adlon was/is (?) a close associate of Louis C.K., or am I redeemed because she voiced Bobby on King of the Hill?
  7. I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of NetGalley before a friend of mine posted about it on Instagram but it’s so cool! I, of course, have not been approved to actually read anything yet because I have zero credentials (I’ve literally written two book reviews ever), but I’m hoping that if I start writing reviews here I can accomplish two things: 1. Getting more words on the page! Writing begets writing! 2. Be able to read tons of as-yet-unpublished books fo’ free!
  8. Yoplait started selling lids for those adorable yogurt jars as a part of a capitalist conspiracy to ruin me. My husband loves bougie-ass yogurt, so my house is littered with these types of jars. They’re backordered right now, but soon they will be mine.
  9. I got this Zip Top set in a Causebox and I’m a close to the edge of risking it all and buying the complete set. It was in the Add-On Market for Fall and I totally would have gotten it but $50+ seemed like a lot…until I realized that it retails for $90.
  10. I am so thankful for all the people doing the work that I should be doing and informing me about amazing black-owned businesses to support. Check out this list of 7 BIPOC-Owned Clean Beauty Brands.
  11. I read P.S. From Paris by Marc Levy this week and really enjoyed it. You can definitely tell that it was translated from French, so if you’re really attuned to stuff like that it might be a slog, but as a totally basic Francophile, I loved it. It takes…quite a turn like 75% of the way through. I won’t spoil it because I would have never seen it coming. My one real “note” is that we must end the tyranny of women characters called Mia in novels. These authors must be stopped.
  12. Gonna have to endorse this drug-store toner. I used “Winter Wheat” to tame the brass in my highlights.
  13. I took the Enneagram Test and got a 2, because of course I did. I had previously taken random online tests and gotten almost equal scores for 4 and 2. Just like when I did Myers-Briggs, I never felt a strong identification with a particular type. This time, though, I find myself most intrigued by Type 6. I’ve never heard of anyone else who’s a 6 before, and the more I read about it, the more it totally makes sense for me (in a bad way, unfortunately). Now I really want to read this book when it comes out to learn more.

To borrow a phrase from my fave podcast, “Until next week, have fun.”

-c

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.