Week Links [10 January]

Good evening! Is it weird to say I’m just grateful to be alive? I really feel like that’s where we’re at with COVID and *gestures broadly at the entire country being consumed by flames.* I recently had my first family members get COVID, so I’m currently quarantined awaiting my test result (I feel completely healthy, so I’m praying for a negative!) The swab is not fun. I can’t believe some people have to do that for work every day!

This hardcore version of quarantine has really started to get to me, as evidenced by my sobbing to Faith Hill’s “Breathe” the other night while doing medical research on the internet (famously a terrible idea!) But being cooped up like this, without even the respite of trips to the grocery store or Starbucks, has also been creatively inspiring and very emotionally revealing. I feel grounded and present in a way I haven’t in, well, possibly ever. It can be challenging to intellectualize your own good fortune, especially at times like this, because more dire circumstances than your own are an unknown (I think I’ve just defined “first world problems”). I really feel it right now. I feel…optimistic? Is that a thing? Have I fallen victim to the New Year’s Resolution Industrial Complex?

Anyway, as usual, I have no cogent way of wrapping this up and segueing into my frivolous round-up, so let’s get to it!

  1. Currently bingeing the Australian show Please Like Me on Hulu. It is an absolute delight. As a result, I can’t stop listening to this song.
  2. I can’t drink for the foreseeable future (I actually mean it this time, it’s not just Dry January) so I ordered all 3 types of Ritual Zero Proof liquor alternatives. I’ve been making martinis with Seedlip, so I’m really excited to try their gin alternative! It really is the ritual for me! They’re running a 20% off backordered items right now, so it’s a good time to grab them.
  3. This mirror from Ikea is a steal of a deal. Will I redecorate my office to accommodate it? Stay tuned. (Update: I bought this one. A little bit smaller but it’s GOLD.)
  4. I’ve been looking for the perfect champagne coupes and these might be the ones. My timing, as ever, is impeccable.
  5. Since I’m an absolute nutcase who loves a project and is in mega nesting mode, I bought this sideboard for my office. I’m completely redecorating the space (I literally drew plans up, despite my complete lack of artistic ability), and I want it to have a mid-century lounge feel. Since you asked, I will be painting the hardware gold. My goal for this room is for it to be like if Stevie Nicks moved into Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs house. You know, normal!
  6. This book is my Bible right now.
  7. I’m also reading this book, since I technically work with the author!
  8. And while we’re on the subject of books, it really is Survival of the Thickest out here.
  9. Losing my MIND at this Care and Feeding letter that references the Spin Doctors in the year of our Lord 2021.
  10. This remains my favorite tweet ever posted.

And before I go, I’d be remiss not to say that I am terror-stricken and devastated by the insurrection that took place on Wednesday. I don’t want to live in a nation where violent white people can commit open treason and walk away safely while people of color are continually brutalized by the police for merely existing (which is to say nothing of the virulent, egregious anti-Semitism on display). But *the discourse* doesn’t need another white voice taking up space, so I’m just going to listen and keep trying to do the work to unlearn white supremacy and be actively anti-racist. Fuck fascists, invoke the 25th amendment.

Sunday Kind of Love ix

Hi there, just checking in from New England! It’s 46 degrees outside as I write this, y’know, at the end of April. 2018 was certainly not the coldest or snowiest winter of my lifetime, but it sure as hell feels like the longest. Here are a few things keeping me sane (or driving me crazy).

  1. Spring’s not coming. Here is a series of jean jackets that I may not have a chance to wear this year: this one, this one, and this one.
  2. I just started using New Wash and I’m NEVER going back! Pricey, worth it.
  3. Give me overalls or give me death: gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme.
  4. I think I should do Dry January again…Dry May? I loved the feeling of being free of vices—it’s easier to do in the dead of winter, since everyone is cooped up at home!
  5. Hello, hello, Opalhouse is in the building. I’ve been laboring under the suspicion that Target is trying to bankrupt me for quite some time, but this is egregious. So g-d, m-f–ing cute! You KNOW I bought this dish towel. #EastCoast
  6. Have we talked about the new Decemberists album yet? So good!
  7. I have had this song stuck in my head for a solid week and I think I’m having a psychotic break.
  8. Isn’t it just too predictable that I have this?
  9. Michael and I started watching The Office from the beginning and it is even better than I remembered.
  10. I recently cut all my hair off (it was super dead) and now I’m browsing all of the bobs & lobs!

Peace out, cub scouts!


Dry January

Well, I did it. I successfully completed Dry January. For anyone who doesn’t know, Dry January is the tradition of ditching booze for the entire month of January to reset for the New Year. For me, it’s about breaking bad habits and establishing a more healthy relationship with alcohol.

a pisco sour i still yearn for daily

Prior to the holiday season (2017) I considered myself a slightly-more-than-moderate drinker. I wasn’t an insatiable monster, but once I started, I had impulse control issues. I suffer from anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, so I’ve always leaned into the “numbness” that drinking can facilitate—that became doubly true after the 2016 election. Everything felt completely pointless, and I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, so hey—why not enjoy some rosé as I waited for nuclear winter? It was not a great strategy.

After the election fog began to lift, the drinking didn’t cease—the luxurious feeling of a glass of wine (or three) after a long day became something I craved. My husband is a teetotaler, so it was even causing friction in my marriage (he was totally right, by the way, and everything is great now). I started learning a lot about wine, which I’m genuinely interested in, as something of a cover—an excuse to sample the world’s offerings (there’s actually a line in The Big Sick about this…it’s not just me!)

Michael and Chelsea Wedding

I love alcohol, and I was an early adopter (I started drinking when I was fifteen). I love creating new cocktails or splitting a bottle of wine with a friend. And 90% of the time, it’s not a problem. I’ve lived the majority of my adult life making reasonable decisions regarding my intake. But that 10%—those freshman-year-of-college nights I barely remember, the embarrassing conduct at a family party—has really stuck with me as a source of shame. Beyond that, I was gaining weight. When I turned 24, I weighed between 135-140. By 26, closer to 160. I’m 5’7″, so I’ve always gotten away with carrying a little extra weight, but watching your pant size skyrocket from a loose-fitting 4 to a tight 8 is rough. Even though the “new year, new me” thing is cliché, it finally felt like an appropriate time to take on the Dry January challenge. For the first time in my life, I’m in therapy, and I’m finally adjusting to #gradschoollife (I have a 3.74 GPA after taking 5 classes). I officially started on January 2nd, the day my holiday vacation ended (I had some farewell tequila the night before, don’t worry).

I definitely cheated during DJ. But I kept track of the “cheat days” (which I did allow myself) and I’m actually pretty proud of my restraint! The only drinks I had during January marked special occasions—family dinners, the first day of school—and I never had more than one on any of these occasions (of which there were maybe 4). Nine days into the challenge, I let myself have a Patron & soda and it knocked me on my ass! Tolerance goes away really, really quickly. Plus, I notice that I get headaches now when I have even a little bit of wine. There was only one day that I backslid, from stress, so I’m penalizing myself an extra week to account for it.

The goal of my DJ challenge was not to be perfect—it was to reset and get healthy. My lifestyle feels radically altered. Drinking rarely even occurs to me anymore. And hey, I lost three pounds. No complaints!

What I Learned:

All the noms. When you’re not wasting calories drinking, you get to eat more! Eating is my single favorite thing, so this was great news. During January, I went to town on all those healthy calories. So much hummus, dude.

#skingoals. Okay, so I can’t attribute this entirely to not drinking, but it’s a lot easier to remember to wash your face at night when you’re not tipsy! I’m prone to redness, which died down, and I always get one annoying hormonal pimple every month, which seemed less hateful this month. (I should note that I started actually adhering to a natural skincare routine in late December, so that definitely helped as well).

Sugarfix. I hate sweet things (salty snacks 4 life), so I always assumed that I had a diet low in sugar. WRONG. I kept a food diary during Dry January using an app called Lifesum, and as it turns out, I’m a sugar fiend! From sweetening my morning coffee to all the carbs and alcohol I was consuming, I’m pretty sure my blood was just KoolAid. Nixing alcohol cut the sugar intake in half, and made me more mindful about other nefarious sources of sugar.

What anxiety? Okay, that’s flippant, since I’m still an anxious wreck, but without the influence of alcohol, I definitely had fewer spiraling thoughts keeping me up at night.

Bookworm Status. Unintended side effect of quitting booze? I read more. I was more focused and had more brainpower, so I supplemented my eternal television binge-watching with a few books!

$$$$. Uh, did anyone else not do the math on how much drinking costs? I certainly did not, or at least, I convinced myself that drinks out with friends was in service of something greater—a social life! It was such a nice change of pace to save some extra cash and save for Oxford, where I’m studying abroad this summer for three weeks!


So, I’m not gonna give up booze entirely—is a life without champagne even worth living?—but I feel so invigorated by the fact that, at any moment, I can. Maybe I’ll keep the car running and do another month!