Shout Out Sunday 2.16.20

Good morning, friends! I’ve been on staycation for the past week, and I have to say: time off is extremely good for mental health! On Friday, I took a tour of the Rhode Island State House. Random, but it was super fun! Doris, the tour guide, was an absolute treat!

It’s been so nice to relax and reset before I start my new job. I feel like an entirely new person. And with the renewed energy of a calm and centered woman, here’s this week’s list!

  1. Breaking news: Daniel M. Lavery‘s essay collection, Something That May Shock and Discredit You, is officially out! I pre-ordered because I’m a full stan. I made an Instagram story about it when I received it and DANNY FUCKING DM’D ME. I have photographic evidence!
  2. I am sobbing re: Wes Anderson’s new film, The French Dispatch. July can’t come soon enough.
  3. There’s a High Fidelity reboot series starring Zoë Kravitz on Hulu and I cannot wait to binge the shit out of it.
  4. This article is…so relatable.
  5. Started watching the Australian Netflix series, Sisters. I’m loving it so far—the premise is dark, but the show is so vibrant!
  6. I am obsessed with Universal Standard, and I truly wish I were a millionaire so I could bedeck myself in all of their wares.
  7. Should I get an Instant Pot? I already have so, so many kitchen appliances but people seem to love them! A huge consideration, of course, is that it comes in this color. Extremely into the idea of making my own yogurt!
  8. As you know, I’m a full-on ho for podcast endorsements, so I’m looking forward to checking out Thrive Causemetics! I actually have one of their products already (I got it in a subscription box) and I love it!
  9. I never wear sneakers but I have the soul of a sneakerhead. I keep getting targeted ads for Nothing New, and I truly wonder how long it will take me to break.
  10. Against my better judgment, I’m absolutely buying this dish set. It’s finally time to donate the Ikea set that I’ve been rocking for 6 years and get some grown-up dishes. They’re not microwave-safe so it’s all the more reason to ditch that appliance!
i told you i had proof

C U Next…Week?

-c

The Best Things I’ve Spent Money on This Year

Okay, so by this year, I mean 1/1/19 to present. As I may have previously mentioned, I took a really prolonged break from spending money so that I could (successfully!) pay off ALL of my credit card debt. I also refinanced my student loans and got a lower interest rate on my car loan, so despite the fact that I absolutely was not making a living wage, I managed to kick some serious financial ass. I would not have been able to do any of this without my amazing husband and my in-laws—they’re so supportive and generous.

The crazy thing is, I went through and tallied up what I spent on everything on this list, and it’s roughly equivalent to what I spent on copays and medication for the year. Not trying to be controversh, but I shouldn’t be able to get an enormous tattoo, furniture, and an iPhone for less money than basic healthcare. In the spirit of that sentiment, please join DSA and consider volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign /end rant.

It’s also worth mentioning that a couple of the things mentioned below are from truly evil corporations that I, as a feminist socialist, do not want to continue supporting. Disengaging with major retailers is hard work, and participating in capitalism at all means that we all have the “damn’d spot*” on our hands. Next year, I hope this list is all small businesses and sustainable retailers, but all I can do is try my best. So without further ado, here are the purchases I made last year that were absolutely worth every penny:

iPhone 11

Owning this device has kind of ruined my life, to be honest. I was already pretty addicted to my phone, but the size of this screen and sleekness of the device have me hooked. The best feature, by far, is the fact that I can more easily do the New York Times crossword on this screen, which is truly the only thing I care about in this life. And I have to admit, I love the facial recognition. I know Apple is probably conspiring with the government and stealing my identity or whatever, but the level of convenience of opening things with Face ID is…almost worth it? Saying this really feels like the Chrissy Teigen tweet about Airpods, don’t cancel me.

Casetify Phone Case

This thing is indestructible, and comes in about a billion designs. I, of course, went with the sunflower pattern. I got a discount code from a podcast for 20% off, but I’d absolutely pay full price for another one.

AirPods

I finally did it. I caved and bought AirPods. I was going to buy them through Apple, but I found the same ones on Amazon for considerably cheaper (I bought this silicone protective case too). I…love them. I can’t believe I didn’t buy them sooner.

Magnetic Car Mount

A lot of phone shit, I know. but I’ve tried every type of car mount on the market, and this is by a mile the best. The magnet is super strong, and you can just stick it inside your case so you don’t have a big ugly sticker on the back. The best part is, for only $6, it’s a 2-pack, so you can give one to your significant other. My husband is still rocking an iPhone 6+, but the gear’s ready for him whenever he decides to upgrade.

The Comfiest Cardigan

Target has really been coming thruuuu with cute clothes and décor lately. This cardigan, from their A New Day line, is legitimately the coziest garment I own. I love it so much, I went back for another one.

The Best Earrings in the Game

Okay, so I’m wildly biased, because creator and entrepreneur Shelly Harper is my cousin, but damned if I don’t love her work. She is a fucking artist. Harp Designs is a woman-owned, woman-made brand out of Oakland, CA, and it makes the jewelry at retailers like Madewell look like an absolute lil’ bitch. Everything she makes is outstanding, but these earrings are so fun that I had to have them in gold and silver.

A Kitchen Table

The pub table in my kitchen had been rickety for a while, but for the ~$100 I paid for it, it certainly served its purpose. Helping my mother shop for her new home, I stumbled across this beauty, basically a dupe of my old table, except cuter, and I simply had to have it. It could be a little sturdier, but to its credit, I built it, so…

Savage Lovecast Magnum Edition

IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, OKAY! I’m done with podcast ads, they’ve been my undoing! This podcast is my must-listen of my week, and I respect Dan so much for evolving and growing and doing everything in his power to get progressive ideas into the mainstream dialogue. Nobody’s perfect, but I’ve never not enjoyed an episode of this show. I also subscribed to Slate Plus for Dear Prudence and Stitcher Premium for Groceries, and I have zero regrets (except for the fact that Stitcher is quite possibly the ugliest, least user-friendly app on the planet). The Stitcher subscription won’t last, but ad-free podcasts were absolutely the highlight of 2019 for me.

Netflix & Hulu (no commercials!) Subscriptions

To be fair, I’ve had these for a lot longer than a year, but when you’re trying to live that homebody life and save money, these services are indispensable! We got rid of cable about a year ago, so this is the only way I can keep up with my programmes. For the combined total of $20.98/month, I get more TV than I could ever find the time to consume. Beautiful.

Monthly Charitable Donations

I’ve been donating $5/month to the ACLU & Planned Parenthood since the day after the 2016 election. It’s not much, but the number of donors to these organizations is often as important a metric as the amount donated. Planned Parenthood is an organization which is particularly near and dear to my heart, and from whose services I have personally benefitted. I also give to WERS, which is the local radio station out of Emerson College, because independent radio is important, and for my money, it’s the only radio station in the Greater Boston Area that plays anything I’d ever want to listen to.

A Tattoo

Hell yeah. So, here’s the story from A to Z—when I was 21, and towards the end of my last pre-husband relationship, I impulsively got a matching tattoo of (gag) Minnie Mouse on my ribs with my ex-boyfriend. That was in July…we broke up in November. So, for nearly 7 years, I’ve been living with this incredibly stupid-looking reminder of the guy I started dating when I was 18. No shade to him—I truly hope he’s living his best life, he’s a great guy—but it also seems psycho to have this permanently etched on my body. So, I put out some feelers on Facebook (I know…) and my friend Lauren hipped me to her shop. After perusing the various portfolios of the recommended shops, Famous Tattoos in Dartmouth won out. It’s clean, not too far away, and the work speaks for itself. Cut to a few months later—it was the best body art experience of my life. Ryan Vidinha is incredibly talented and so skillful with the tattoo needles. I sat for a cumulative 6 hours between two sessions, and he made it an absolute pleasure. And SO REASONABLY PRICED for what he was able to accomplish. My shop 4 life. Having a beautiful piece of art in place of what used to be an embarrassing blemish is so freeing. Best money I’ve ever spent.

Oh, and I got another tattoo, whilst I was on vacation in Florida. Gaze upon it. Apparently I wore the exact same outfit to both.

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Laser Tattoo Removal

I know, I just got an enormous cover-up tattoo. Why wouldn’t I just do the same in this case? Look, I tried. Because of the placement of my wrist tattoo, and how heavily the line-work was done, it’d be nearly impossible to do a cover-up that wasn’t giant and blobby to cover the black. Luckily, I discovered Disappearing Inc. Utter pros. Tattoo removal is a long, expensive process, and I’m so lucky to have Jenna as my technician. The tattoo is 3 stars (from the corner of the pages of Harry Potter, I truly was an absolute dumb bitch as a youth) and they’re so poorly done. They never healed correctly. I’ve cringed looking at them for years, and I’m so excited to see them slowly fade away. Read up on how tattoo removal works—it’s nuts and fascinating!

So it’s been a wrap-wrap-wrap up, a 12-month wrap-up. Thanks for tuning in!

*You know a bitch got out her 1973 edition of the Riverside Shakespeare to make sure she typed that correctly. Act V, scene i of MacBeth, my fave play 4 life.

Shout Out Sunday 1.26.20

So, as you can tell by the title, this is…very late. As I was about to hit “post,” I heard the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing (I talk more about that later) and it felt strange not to address it in some way. This ended up in limbo, but as a measure of accountability to myself, I’m forging ahead.

Good morning, good morning! It’s great to stay up late! Good morning, good morning, to you! Embarrassingly, I know this song from Retta’s instagram stories and not, you know, Singing in the Rain. I think I might have to do a classic movie deep-dive, since there are so many I haven’t seen!

  1. I bought myself a late Christmas gift. Chelseas can have a little purse, as a treat. My honest review is that, while this bag is very cute, it has the same issue as my other little Kate Spade…I just carry too much gd stuff. It’s a great buy for anyone who doesn’t carry around a Kindle, a notebook-sized planner, and a makeup kit everywhere they go. I honestly need to just wheel around an old-lady grocery cart.
  2. I just booked myself my first ever lash lift & tint! Granted, I have to wait until March 21st, because that’s literally the first open Saturday appointment they had, but alas. I’ve wanted to try this for so long, since I have straight, stubby lashes and wear a TON of mascara. Depending on how it goes and if I like the facility, I might try extensions. I know it’s a bit shallow, but 2020 is the year of going for it.
  3. On the note of “going for it,” I’m going to New York City in April to see not one, but TWO Broadway shows! This is a bucket-list item for me, big time. My amazing friend Annie, with whom I roomed at Oxford, planned the whole thing. The only finger-lifting I had to do was pressing the Pay button on Venmo. We’ll be seeing Hadestown and Six. I’m excited for both, but anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with British royal history, especially Henry VIII.
  4. The store was out of Burt’s Bees Micellar Water yesterday, so I grabbed this one to try. Will report back if I like it!
  5. Finally joined DSA. No war but class war!
  6. This video of a couple making traditional tofu for Chinese New Year is currently my favorite thing on the internet. It should be prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication.
  7. Unsurprisingly, my life-long dream is to be a Jeopardy! contestant. Should I just go for it?? I registered for the online test years ago and then FORGOT TO TAKE IT (this was many years before Adderall blessed my executive functioning skills). Maybe this time, I’ll get lucky…

On quite another note…

This might be kind of strange or glib to toss at the end of a post like this, but I just heard the news about Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna’s tragic death and I’m crushed. I am not a basketball fan by any stretch, but to see such a young man and his child die so senselessly would affect anyone with a heart. My thoughts are very much with Vanessa and their family, and with the families of anyone who loses a child.

I had a death in my family on December 10th, the first one in years, the first one that really hit home, and I have not quite figured out this unmanageable thing, grief. As a lifelong atheist, I have no promise of eventual reunion or comfort in the notion of a “better place.” There’s just pain, pain that doesn’t fade, pain that feels like a physical weight on my chest. With no warning, I am overcome at random intervals with the sickening creep of grief. But I’m lucky. The person I loved and lost lived a long life, and had been suffering and ill for a long time. His death was in many ways a mercy. The greatest irony of our existence is that, eventually, we all must learn to live with death in order to survive.

Until next week,

Chels

 

Shout Out Sunday 9.15.19

Good morning! Going to be a short and (sort of) repetitive one, since I’m rushing out the door to tutor. P.S. Yeah, I’m an English tutor! If you’re local to the Boston/Providence area email me at chelsea.e.harper@gmail.com to set up a sliding-scale lesson! Beyond that, here’s my week in review!

Image result for jen kirkman
source: netflix. watch just keep livin’? and i’m gonna die alone and i feel fine!
  1. Saw Jen Kirkman (again) on Friday night and she was amazing, per usual. Catch her on tour!
  2. I went to a polo match yesterday and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. You’d think polo would be really hard to follow but it’s actually really accessible and interesting! We got to even go behind the scenes and meet the horses since my friend Annie is an amazing horse girl and has mad connections. Going to Newport Polo was so laid-back…next time we’ll definitely have to tailgate! I’m actually thinking about maybe taking a riding lesson at Fairfield Farm…can you believe I used to be afraid of horses?
  3. I am on an eternal quest to find cute pajama sets, and these are looking mighty fine to me. Leopard print forever.
  4. It’s sweater szn, baby! Yes, yes, and yes!
  5. Girlfriend Collective is ALL 15% off right now, and I managed to score additional discounts with code WINGIT. I hope it still works for y’all! I got the Topanga Bra & High-Rise Leggings in Daybreak.
  6. Treated myself to a few Everlane goodies: this shirt, this shirt, and these jeans are Choose What You Pay!
  7. Re: the fashion posts above, I’m really trying to sort through all of my clothes and purge, purge purge! In a perfect world, you should only have to KonMari once, but I think a refresh every few years is warranted. I’m learning important lessons about impulsivity and purchasing. Remember how I bought myself these Docs? Yeah…they gave me a blister about the size of a quarter. Will be returning, if possible. Sometimes you try to incorporate something into your style that just doesn’t fit…
  8. And last but not least, it’s my best friend’s birthday today! SHOUT OUT SARAH.

Until next week!

Shout Out Sunday 2.24.19

Another week in the books! Enjoy this week’s faves!

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this makes me die with laughter every time i see it
  1. Sex Education on Netflix is the most wonderfully charming show. I can’t stop watching! The young actors are absolutely brilliant and the cast is insanely diverse. One wonderful thing about the show is that it is completely inclusive of LGBT sexuality and relationships, which gets nearly as much representation as straight ones. A perfect, perfect show.
  2. Melissa Villaseñor’s Lady Gaga impression is the best thing I’ve ever seen.
  3. I wrote a post a while ago about *feminine products* and trying a menstrual cup and never posted an update! I’ve been using exclusively a cup for a few months now and I’m obsessed. I’ll never go back to tampons and pads! I still keep some on hand for emergencies, but I’m a cup girl for life. The cup I use is not available anymore (it’s Hesta Organic), but I’m interested in trying other brands, like Lunette.
  4. Not to be a dorky dad, but I just checked my credit report on creditkarma and you should too. It’s super important to be aware of your financial health!
  5. This Twitter thread about a college professor assigning his students to make memes is solid gold.
  6. One of you has to buy this because I’m on the Spending Fast and can’t. IT’S PERFECT.
  7. I’m thinking of trying to do Whole30. Have you ever tried it? My best friend did and loved it—and she looks freaking fabulous to boot.
  8. This hash brown recipe looks amazing.
  9. And on that brunch note…Rosé Raspberry Sorbet Mimosas, dude.
  10. This next one is NSFW, so open at your own discretion—I’m a huge, huge fan of this little guy. I’ve been really reticent about this sort of thing, but I’ve been trying to be more open-minded!
  11. Bonus Content: The Head and the Heart covers “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and I am deeply, madly obsessed.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed some of this #content. As always, follow me on all the socials @highwaytochel, and check out my Poshmark store @highwaytochel. Sayonara!

Shout Out Sunday 1.6.19

So, I mentioned last week that I was thinking of changing the title of the feature. I’m still playing around, but we’ll go with “Shout Out Sunday” for now.

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  1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season two is sensational, but Amy Sherman-Palladino really likes to leave us on unsatisfying cliffhangers, doesn’t she?
  2. Everlane just added some amazing new styles! The button-fly jeans are everything.
  3. The No-Spend Month has been going…okay. I’ve definitely spent way less than I normally would, but I just went to Target and kind of blew it. But there were penguin-shaped catnip toys on clearance for like, $1! How can I not get that for Della? I may need to get her these, because how freaking cute are they? I mean, I also bought a Hearth & Hand wall shelf (I can’t find the link!), because self-control is hard, guys. And it matches my bathroom! When my spending freeze is over, I’m for sure getting this cactus.
  4. I just discovered this kiddo shop on Amazon and my ovaries are practically jumping out of my body.
  5. The Marie Kondo show is out! I KonMari’d years ago, but it’s so nice seeing other people catch on to what is truly the best organizational system you’ll ever try. Nothing else works. Clutter and “organized chaos” are not cute. It’s not “artsy” to be bogged down by possessions. Especially if you have a family, it’s so essential and time-saving to have a clean, organized space. Doing KonMari has literally improved my mental health and sense of peace. Try it!
  6. I’ve probably pimped this before, but this is my all-time favorite “natural” nail polish.

Short one this week. But isn’t that what self-care’s all about? Knowing your limits. See you next week!

Brand Crush: Reformation

So, to those in the know about sustainable fashion, Reformation is hardly news. But I don’t like to promote things that I haven’t actually tried, so I waited until now to write about them (their sale section is bananas good right now). They’re transparent, ethical, and oh, did I mention their clothes are sexy AF? They even have a list of sustainable washing practices on their site, though ya girl is way to much of a compulsive germaphobe to not wash after every wear (I’m just now starting to let pieces like my denim pinafore—similar here—have a second life before I toss it in the wash). I’ve heard of the jeans in the freezer thing, but I’m not emotionally ready to go there.

I am trying to do better in all aspects of my life, and one huge goal for 2019 is to significantly reduce my carbon footprint. The holiday season comes with a lot of waste (my husband and I barely fill up a trash bag a week normally and lately it’s been bursting at the seams by trash day). Reformation is on board—not only do they do their best to reduce waste and emissions in production, but they arm the consumer with the knowledge to prolong the life of their clothes and reduce additional waste. Rad.

So here’s the result of my lusty perusal of their site, some cool collabs, and my very few complaints about the label overall.

Goods

I think we all know I stan a jumpsuit. Meet Georgia, Cassidy, Mayer, Carolina, and Molly.

They call me ranch, ’cause I be dressin’. Meet Alma, Nicola, Zelda, and Josephine.

Their denim game is on point.

THEY MAKE WEDDING DRESSES. I’m literally so mad that I wasn’t really hip to Reformation when I got married, because I 100% would have gotten my dress here. Their prices are insanely reasonable and their stock is gorgeous. I’m torn between Rosey and Milan for which one I’d have worn, but heaven knows I’d have had to duct tape my tits into place.

Collabs

Girlfriend Collective. You heard correctly—Girlfriend Collective! Only my favorite activewear brand is available at Reformation, in some colors that aren’t up on the GC site!

La Ligne. La Ligne is a NYC womenswear brand that makes the most gorgeous clothes. These sweaters are goals.

Patagonia. Patagonia isn’t exactly my jam, but as far as I’m aware, they make super high-quality outside clothes. Is outside clothes a term? Clothes that you’d wear if you went hiking. NGL, though, I could eff with this white puffer jacket.

Marissa A. Freakin’ Ross. Marissa A. Ross, author of Wine, All the Time. and Wine Editor at Bon Appétit, collab’d with Reformation to do sustainable wine pairings. This situation is my brand.

Gripes

Price. Everything is so goddamn expensive. Of course I’m willing to pay more for sustainable fashion. Duh! But $218 on a jumpsuit, no matter how gorgeous, is just not my lifestyle right now. If it goes on sale for $35, like this jumpsuit I snagged, then we can talk. Sustainable fashion is kind of a Catch-22—it’s more labor-intensive to make, since the clothes have to be environmentally and ethically produced, so the only thing that would make the price go down is demand #econ101. But the average person is more easily enticed by Fashion Nova* prices (no shade, Cardi) and can’t justify more expensive clothing into their budgets. I’m trying to do what I can (sticking to brands like Everlane and Girlfriend), but rewiring your brain to a minimalist mindset (a smaller wardrobe with much higher quality clothes) is tough—we live in a capitalist hell-state that actively discourages this.

Sizing. Reformation’s sizing inclusivity is…not great. They only go up to a size 12, which, based on actual research, is smaller than what the average American woman wears. To quote the holy book, Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, which yes, I have read cover-to-cover…well, actually, I can’t find the quotation, but it is from this text that I learned that the average American woman actually wears a 14 petite (which is what my gorgeous grandmother wears and she hates herself for it! Body positivity might be a scam, but we all need to do better.) Just because this brand is great for me (I’m currently an 8 at my heaviest ever) doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge how wack it is that retailers aren’t realistic about women’s bodies.

Busted. This is just a personal one because I have awful boobs reminiscent of the wacky arm-flailing inflatable tube man in front of a car dealership. I love the low-cut look (although Miley’s outfit during her first SNL performance last week made me want to start stress-smoking**), but my breasts are just not amenable to this look without prayer and duct tape (or, constant adjusting that makes me look like I’m fondling myself). This actually falls into the sizing category, to some degree—for a size 0 model with double-As and photo shoot resources, this look is amazing. Also, side note—having worked on several photo shoots, we basically perform witchcraft to get garments to look good; things are taped, tucked, pinned, tied, and clipped. So, even though the clothes are fresh as hell, the mere silhouette implies exclusivity for the (almost every) woman that can’t pull certain looks off.

So, overall, I’d give Reformation a B+. A+ for serving looks, A+ for sustainability, but SEE ME after class for inclusivity. Reformation, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

*Confession—prior to Cardi B announcing her “bollection,” I had never heard of Fashion Nova before. Apparently it’s a huge thing? I’ve been doing my damndest not to shop fast fashion (praying that J.Crew & Madewell don’t count), so I’m actually kind of proud of myself for not knowing. Not gonna lie, though, I really want that yellow suit she wore on Carpool Karaoke.

**I know Miley is problematic, but she has never looked more beautiful than she does now. Hearing her talk about Liam saving the animals when their Malibu house burned down made me full-on ugly cry. Also, her ass got Sean Ono Lennon on the SNL stage, something he deserves as a brilliant musician and songwriter.