- The moment we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! Get Organized with The Home Edit dropped on Netflix last night! As a rule, I don’t watch anything that bills itself as reality TV, but I can occasionally make exceptions! Home organization, organization in general really, is my greatest passion, so this is like pornography to me. I do worry that bingeing this will cause me to absolutely spin out and reorganize my entire home. I’m already looking at my shelves and drawers disdainfully. I will say that, as nice as the aesthetic component of organizing is, creating functional systems has genuinely improved my life and helped me with anxiety and executive function. There is no such thing as organized chaos. The most creative and successful people I know are organized (and diagnosed and medicated). You don’t have to put your books in rainbow order—The Home Edit is, to some degree, selling an unattainable fantasy. But creating systems that work for rather than against you will change your life, and maybe even spark a little joy.
- So, one truly kooky thing that’s been happening is that I’m starting to window-shop my own wardrobe. Like, remember those comfy flats you used to wear to work? Maybe one day you’ll leave the house again and get to put them on! I swear that, since work-from-home began, I’ve exclusively worn my Birkenstocks and my Rothy’s flats. I have not put on a single other pair since March 17. I mean this especially about the Birks, but if you’re going to spend too much money on a pair of shoes, these are the ones. I would exclusively wear Birkenstocks if I lived in a warmer climate.
- The TikTok teacher is my queen. Ban homework.
- My September Book of the Month is Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I loved Homegoing, so I’m sure it will be an amazing read. I actually cancelled BotM because I’m trying to practice what I preach and stop buying physical books unless they’re really meaningful or something I’ll return to over and over again. I obviously want authors to make money, but getting ebooks through the library is absolutely where it’s at.
- My best friend sent me this recipe and !!!!!!!!!!!! Deb’s mind!!!!!
- My husband bought me this ukulele for my birthday. I promise I’m not a 2011-era Zooey Deschanel type or anything, but if there’s a chord chart in front of me I can play. I do have a feeling that this will be relegated to the decoration realm, but it was very sweet of him and who doesn’t love a pastel rainbow?
- THEY’RE MAKING A FILM OF REBECCA STARRING ARMIE HAMMER. Ceci n’est pas un drill! My body is ready! I loved this book as a teen, and I’m re-reading it before the film drops on Netflix in October. The e-book is on Amazon right now for literal shekels.
- This is random, but I have an enormous monstera plant in my living room that was overgrown and out of control, so I cut some of the leafy stems off to use as decorations around the house. I expected them to have a shelf-life like flowers but…they simply do not die! I’ve had three in a vase in my bedroom for months that look as vibrant as the day I cut them off. Needless to say, when I discovered that they were immortal, I put them all over my house and now I live in a rainforest.
- Finally started watching I May Destroy You and…it may destroy me.
- The episode of Black Frasier with Chris Hayes and Clark Neily is a must-listen, if only to shock and amaze yourself by vehemently agreeing…with a self-professed libertarian. Also, THEE Phoebe Lynn Robinson creating a podcast called Black Frasier in these dark times is a gift we do not deserve.
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.
So, as an apology for my absence for like, two months, I’m doing a mega-post of favorites!
Today is Primary Day in Massachusetts! Get out there and rock the f***ing vote! Find out more here!
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.
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.
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’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!
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.
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!)
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).
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.
2017 is over and frankly, BYE GIRL. What a rough year. I went from severe election depression, to a Mexican vacation, to not knowing WTF I was doing with my life, to going to grad school. The transition was rough, but not just for me. This year has also, obviously, been an actual trash-fire for the entire country.
But apart from praying for mercy from our overlords, there were a few enjoyable things about 2017. I went to Cancún and Atlanta for the first time, and got to spend two weeks in L.A., which I proudly yet undeservedly consider my homeland. I dove even deeper into my comedy obsession, and turned it into a final paper on feminism and comedy writing (in which I got to use the quotation “Men are a cancer! God made a mistake!“). I binged so much TV that it should be considered a crime against (my own) humanity. I started therapy and got back on meds. Actually, if it weren’t for the backdrop of constant nuclear panic, 2017 might have even been a good year.
Luckily, even in the darkest timeline, artists gonna art, so there was a barrage of dope shit released this year. Here are the things that really stood out in my 2017:
Roxane Gay, Hunger
Literally everything Roxane Gay has ever written is perfect, so it was a no-brainer that this incredible book would be on my “Best Of” list. This book is so powerful and emotional; I cried reading it. Hunger is, genuinely, a memoir of her body—unlike so many other books written in a similar vein, this one has no self-help aims or “happy ending.” It is a raw, honest rendering of past and present traumas, and though Ms. Gay’s journey is unique to her, her writing speaks to the universal truths familiar to all those who inhabit bodies and navigate the world. For six months, the words of Hunger have stayed with me, like a haunting presence.
Hillary Clinton, What Happened
I haven’t finished this book yet, so no spoilers! (lol)
Part of me loves this book so much merely because I love Secretary Clinton and want to push back against the haters that think, for some reason, that it’s unacceptable that the first female presidential candidate of a major political party should write a book chronicling her experiences. I know this about myself. What I didn’t expect, upon beginning to listen (I’m checking out Audible this season), is how deeply First Lady Clinton’s words would affect me. She gets pretty real about her journey, and doesn’t shy away from being honest about the present danger in which America finds itself. But it’s never sad. In What Happened, hope eclipses sadness and darkness at every turn. It doesn’t hurt that Senator Clinton is funny as hell, either. Listening to What Happened is like inspiring meditation for all of us who were deeply hurt last November.
So, if Popular Vote Winner Rodham Clinton wants to hit me up for a glass of Chardonnay, just DM me @highwaytochel, bby.
Just realized I keep switching up her name! I guess she just has so many accomplishments that I’m not even sure what to call her!
Matt Bellassai, Everything is Awful
This list was getting pretty heavy, so I had to turn up the levity to 11.
Matt Bellassai is a national treasure. I first heard of him on Throwing Shade, so I’m a bit of a late adopter, but as soon as I heard him on TSPod, I sought out his podcast Unhappy Hour, which led me to his book, which I scored, again, on Audible. I knew the book would be funny, but I didn’t think it would be laugh-out-loud-like-a-maniac-alone-in-my-car funny. The writing is so, so good. He has such a clear, distinct voice that it’s shocking he’s only my age. It’s so powerful, in fact, that I find myself relating on a deep level to a chubby, sheltered, Midwestern, gay, cis-male child, most of whose adjectives don’t describe me at all! I rarely advocate for audiobook over real book, but hearing Bellassai’s delivery is the icing on the cake.
Check out his popular Whine About It videos on Buzzfeed!
Amy Sherman-Palladino has blessed us once again! The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which Jen Kirkman consulted on, nbd) is my favorite new show of the year! I’m not even that bitter about the fact that the lead actress, Rachel Brosnahan, is the same age as me!
The MMM tells the story of Midge, a 26-year-old mother of two in 1958, going through a separation following her husband, Joel’s, infidelity. Joel had been fervently pursuing a stand-up career (i.e. plagiarizing one), but it turns out that his wife is the real natural. Coached by Susie, played by the incomparable Alex Borstein, Midge begins to perform, to varying degrees of success. Oh, and Lenny Bruce is a character.
In true ASP fashion, the dialogue is fast-paced, joke dense, and sensational. If there had to be an heir to Gilmore Girls, this is indeed the one. I just watched the series but might start it over and force the huz to watch it with me. 10/10
Is Get Out the best movie I’ve ever seen? Strong possibility. Give Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya and Betty Gabriel all of the Oscars!
I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it would be that good. I only just watched Get Out this fall, since I am horror-averse to the extreme, but I already know it will be one of my life-long favorites. Unfortunately, to write pretty much anything about it would spoil the majesty, and for once, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I was shocked, despite waiting months to watch it, and I wouldn’t take that experience away from anyone.
Jordan Peele is a genius. The film is aesthetically gorgeous, socially aware, hilarious, and terrifying. It’s a horror film, and a comedy, and a documentary.
P.S. I had the unique privilege of writing one of my final papers about Get Out, which I’m submitting to conferences!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
If you didn’t like this movie, please eject yourself from planet Earth. I won’t spoil it for anyone (it was spoiled for me by my brother), but it was a joy and a pleasure. I gasped in surprise or glee multiple times, and I got to experience the entire thing sitting between my husband and my best friend—best combo ever. I’d write more about how much it rocked my world, but I’m busy going to see it again.
Hallmark Christmas Movies
I finally discovered the true, unadulterated joy that is Hallmark Christmas movies. I watched Christmas in the Air*, which only made me thirst for more**. These things are a bright spot in an increasingly dismal world. Plus, where else will you experience the true joy of a 49-year-old, childless female lead? Hallmark doesn’t even know that it’s feminist!
*I will say, specific to this film, that it espoused one trash value, which is that messiness and imperfection is acceptable. You should have let her clean your office, dude. You’re not a creative genius—you have untreated ADHD.
**There’s an upcoming one starring Candace Cameron Bure and Marilu Henner!
St. Vincent, Masseduction
I. Love. St. Vincent. I finally got to see her in concert last month at the House of Blues! I’ve liked her for years, but I have to admit, when she started getting super high concept, starting with Strange Mercy and continuing even stronger with St. Vincent, I really became a superfan. Masseduction doesn’t disappoint for a second—it’s got killer visuals, tight tunes, and her sexiest sound yet. Go purchase this album with human currency!
The National, Sleep Well Beast
As if The National could put out a bad album. I’ve been waiting for what seems like decades for new Ntl jams, and finally, my prayers have been answered. Sleep Well Beast is everything I dreamed it would be and more. It has more tech-y, electronic-y moments (please, don’t be intimidated by my vast knowledge of music) than previous releases, but it works. Get on this album, my dudes.
Taylor Swift, reputation
I know. I’m going back on years of hating on T. Swift. I can admit I was wrong! In my hour of darkness she was standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, so let her be.
Reputation is bops for days. I adore it. I’ve listened to it more than the previous 2 albums combined, which severely deducts cool points from my street cred. But I don’t care. I even like “Look What You Made Me Do” which was pretty much universally panned. Highlights are, for sure, “Endgame (feat. Future & Ed Sheeran),” “Ready For It,” and “I Did Something Bad,” but basically every song is great so just go listen to it? T. Swift redeemed.
Guys, I got to actually go to PYHT in Hollywood! It was probably the craziest night of my entire life—maybe I’ll share the story someday—but it was an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. The whole drama is recorded on the podcast, so if you’re a listener, you may know what I’m referring to. It was definitely a…teachable moment.
Cam & Rhea, thanks for being the moms we all need, and being genuinely the warmest and best people I’ve ever met.
My ABM ladies started a natural beauty line! Lipstick, lip gloss, and essential oils, oh my! I am obsessed with clean beauty products (#backonmyhippiebullshit), so these gems were a total godsend. I took advantage of all of the launch and holiday sales, so I, of course, have the full lip collection. They go on smooth, hydrate, last, and bonus: the lip gloss smells like yummy vanilla!
The lipsticks and lip glosses all have ’90s namesakes like Blossom, Kapowski, Pink Ranger, and As If! They even have a natural beauty subscription box, à la Birchbox, which flies off the virtual shelves every month. I subscribed in December, and got an amazing box of goodies! 10/10 would recommend!