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 xii

Welcome back to another installment of my link roundup! I had to get new tires for my car this week, so I’m broke, but I’ll be fantasizing about all of these wonderful things:

I’m re-reading The Hobbit for my Oxford Fantasists class this July, and it’s so, so cute to read as an adult. It’s so clear how much Tolkien loved medieval lit.

Anyone else super excited to see SOLO?

I can’t stop listening to Margo Price‘s All American Made. She is the second coming of Dolly Parton, and this album is so, so good.

Give me all of the Caboodles. ’90s kid 5ever.

Cannot wait to watch Ibiza! Phoebe Robinson and Vanessa Bayer are my faves!

I want this light fixture like you wouldn’t freaking believe. This is on my purchase list for when I finally get a “grown-up job.”

I haven’t started The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 yet, but I’ve heard it’s amazing (and super dark). Dare I take the plunge?

I’m thinking of doing this to all the drawers in my house. Too much? #neverenoughorganization

I can’t seem to get enough of this song right now. Belle & Sebastian forever!

Not to get all downer-y on ya, but I started using this app a couple of days ago and I’m really liking it so far. Great for keeping yourself accountable!

 

catch u nxt wk!

-c

Sunday Kind of Love

Happy Sunday! I have the dreaded task of homework to look forward to today, but hopefully you have some free time to chill out, max, and relax all cool. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

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  1. I’m so inspired by the March For Our Lives. I wish I could have gone into Boston yesterday. Be sure to sign the petition against gun violence!
  2. The Lamplighter, Maria Susanna Cummins—Maybe 19th century sentimental fiction isn’t quite your “thing,” but I am absolutely obsessed with this book right now. The tale of little Gerty is so heartbreakingly sweet. Here’s a link to the Kindle edition, which is free!
  3. Should I do this? It’d be nice to have Spotify Premium again, but I’m so used to that no-commercials Hulu life, that I’m not sure I can go back! It would save me $7/month, and I’d get another service. I’m torn!
  4. This tweet destroyed me. Bless the person that saw that connection.
  5. Give me this vegan queso immediately.
  6. And on that note, I’m making these tacos ASAP.
  7. I’m so excited to watch Champions on NBC! I’m into anything Mindy Kaling is involved with, and the cast is stellar!
  8. Did you know that students and educators get a discount on digital subscriptions to the New York Times? It’s crazy affordable. I just subscribed and am loving all of this nonstop crossword action!
  9. And, last but not least, John Oliver’s staff wrote a book about gay bunnies getting married in response to Mike Pence’s Marlon Bundo book, and it is truly, truly inspiring. It’s out of stock at the moment, but as soon as it’s back, I’m buying one for my future kid.

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See you next week, bunnies!

xoxo,

c

 

 

Snowpocalypse 2018: A Reflection

Climate change is real, y’all.

Just gaze at this charming description of my region:

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It’s another Nor’Easter! My in-laws lost power but thankfully our old house (built in 1900) is somehow a bulwark never failing against storms (we nevah evah lose powah, kid). This week’s avalanche of death is being referred to as “Winter Storm Quinn,” which, honestly, for the 90s babies among us, is just kind of a bitchy move.

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Because I am quite literally snowed in, here’s how I’ll be entertaining myself today:

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fucking illegal this man should be. i’m going to have a stroke. i keep editing this caption because i have a palpitation every time i look down at this pic. see that chain? it’s dogtags. didn’t even know i had an army thing! but i guess, now that you mention it, milo as a vietnam vet in this is us
  • Catching up on The Resident. You have got to get into this show. Matt Czuchry is so hot in it that it should be a federal crime. He’s one of those Paul Rudd bastards that only gets hotter with age. It’s a travesty. He’s bringing Logan Huntzberger charm & daddy issues to the role, except, instead of a yuppie, he’s a fucking doctor who fought in Afghanistan and has tattoos. I rest my case. Also, apart from this insane digression about how much of a borderline unacceptable crush I have on the lead actor, the show is actually very good. Shaunette Renée Wilson from Black Panther is in the main cast, and she is a revelation.
  • Bingeing The Good Wife on Hulu because Czuchry is also in that, and I have no dignity or shame. Doctor Logan, Lawyer Logan.
  • HOW WAS YOUR WEEK IS BACK. This is not a drill. Jubees, Jimmy Jazz, and Ryan “Hot Lips” Houlihan are serving up the goods on a weekly basis. RIP Difficult People but Hallelujah to the return of the pod (sung like Mark Morrison).
  • Dis bitch be shoppin’. I can’t help but mindlessly window-shop to get the endorphins pumping. Madewell, Topshop, the usual suspects. The trick is just not hitting the checkout button, ya know?
  • A recent eppy of Throwing Shade, featuring Ronna Glickman (aka Jessica Chaffin) was absolutely incredible. Boston accents forever. I’m totally gonna buy Girl Scout Cookies from that woke-ass child.
  • It’s International Women’s Day, honey! I’m celebrating by building a shrine to this tweet from the incomparable Roxane Gay. If you don’t own/haven’t read everything she’s ever published, get the hell out of here and take care of that, will you?

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P.S. I just bought myself this jumpsuit as a consolation (Insiders, Muses, & Icons have a discount right now, nbd), so is it really all that bad? Also, think I snagged the last medium #sorrynotsorry.

xoxo,

c

Difficult People

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Difficult People is possibly the best show (not) on television, and you’re going to pay the $11/month no-commercials Hulu+ fees to watch it this summer.

Season 2 comes back on July 12th, and I couldn’t be more excited. The guest stars they’ve announced alone! Lin-Manuel Miranda! Tina Fey!

If you haven’t yet watched Season 1, it’s 8 triumphant half-hour episodes. You can easily marathon that on a rainy day. DP combines the mile-a-minute pop-culture reference pace of 30 Rock with the unmistakable Julie Klausner voice you know and love from her book and her podcast, How Was Your Week? (I listened to the newest episode this morning—Julie’s podcast is what got me to even care about podcasts! Only like, 5 years late to the party.) I’ve watched the series 3 times and it completely holds up.

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Actual queen, Gabourey.

Billy Eichner plays a subdued version of himself (or at least the Billy we see on his perfect TV show, Billy on the Street), that is no less quick, clever, and hilarious. Gabourey Sidibe is the show’s crown jewel, starring as Denise, Billy’s boss. But Arthur, played by the sensational James Urbaniak, might just be my favorite character (other than Julie, because of the insane levels of identification). Buzzfeed actually published a listicle about all of the quirky nicknames Arthur has for Julie. Every day that I come home and find that my fiancé has not magically turned into Arthur Tack is a day that’s basically not worth living.

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If you like making fun of militant atheists, NPR, and understudies, you’ve found your perfect show. Also, that Blue Ivy/R. Kelly joke in the first episode is high art.

So, there it is. My obsession with the work of the incomparable Julie Klausner laid out in plain view. Emmy voters—nominate Difficult People for all the Emmys.

images via TV Guide