Good morning, long weekenders! I needed this mini-vacation like you read about. I have no plans, which, it seems, is the best possible way to spend a weekend as an adult. I would like to try to get to the beach at some point, but considering the holiday, I might have to settle for the nearby pond. I hope you make the most out your days off!
We’re all sad to see GoT go, but Barry has been renewed for another season! Bill Hader would never disappoint us. This article nails why the show is so effing good.
I did it—I became a mystical bitch. Crystals, Tarot, you name it—sign me up. I had my first ever psychic reading on Sunday (I was in tears the entire time). I bought this fancy deck set and some stones for meditation at Open Doors in Braintree, and yeah, I’m signed up for the crystal meditation class on June 3rd, so see you there?
I finally fixed my Instax Mini 8 (i.e. put new batteries in it) and I’m going to try to take more physical photos. I miss having actual pictures around! I’m pretty sure my cat, however, doesn’t appreciate me following her around like a paparazzo.
I snagged Rainn Wilson’s book on clearance at Barnes & Noble and I’m pumped to read it. Dwight Schrute is my dream man.
Have a lovely day off tomorrow, if you’re lucky enough to have one. And even if I’m not the world’s most forgiving person when it comes to this weekend’s theme (those planes tho), a Facebook friend shared this petition and it seems like a great cause.
So, as I announced a few months back, I’m not spending any money on non-essentials for the foreseeable future. I’ve certainly broadened the meaning of “essential”—for me, a meal out with friends every few weeks to catch up is really life-giving, so it’s essential to my mental health. In the past months, I’ve (somehow) managed to knock out over $2,000 of debt! This process has had highs and lows—anyone ever sent all of their money to pay off credit cards and forgotten about a scheduled charge that sent your bank account into the negative? Uh…me either. Overall, though, it’s been a lovely experiment and has really helped me build a healthy relationship with money.
So, back to the bags and purses. Part of the saving money journey has been selling things through Poshmark, so it’s forced me to take a good, hard look at my possessions and figure out which ones I’m keeping for function and which ones I’m keeping for status. My biggest area of weakness is handbags—they are my moon and stars. I have an enormous collection that I’ve had to pare down and sell. So, in essence, this list is what I decided to keep, what I decided to sell, and why.
I hope this helps your shopping journey! Please check out my shop, a lot of this stuff and way more is up for sale! I always take reasonable offers—I’m not afraid to haggle!
This bag is the GOAT. I would literally never dream of getting rid of it. I have it in a beautiful wine-colored leather. It doesn’t zip, so you have to be comfortable with an open-topped bag, but if you can deal with that, this is a fantastic bag. It’s nice and deep, perfect for a laptop, books, really anything you need. It has shoulder straps and a crossbody strap, so it’s versatile AF.
Madewell bags are just excellent quality. That’s how it goes. This one is a great travel bag—you can get a decent-sized laptop in there with little effort. You can cram all of your belongings into this thing and still zip it. It just has the standard compartments, but they’re big enough to actually accommodate your sunglasses case, pens, and other stuff you reach for all the time.
The #1 travel bag in all the land. This thing has gone to Mexico, Florida, England—it is the only bag I’ll bring on a plane now. It really stretches the limit of how much can possibly fit into one bag, while not seeming massive or suitcase-like.
This bag definitely doesn’t work as an everyday purse but it works for everything else. The one I bought is nubuck leather, so it’s super soft while still strong and durable. It fits a ton without getting unmanageable or misshapen.
This is actually up for sale on my Poshmark just because I don’t have a need for it, but it’s such a cute little bag. It’s shockingly roomy, and the inside is padded to protect your devices (it’s designed as a camera bag.
I actually ended up selling this bag, which I have mixed feelings about. It was truly so, so cute. My only complaint was that the leather was very rigid, so it was tough fitting things into the bag while retaining it’s sleek rectangular shape. When I carried this, I got endless compliments. If you can find one on sale, snag it!
This seems like one I wouldn’t like, since it’s super thing without a lot of stretch, but I’ve actually used this clutch a ton of time with great results. I bought it for a wedding years ago, and I still pull it out for special occasions or evenings out. Mine’s in a black floral pattern so it straddles the line between pretty and edgy. The winning feature of this bag is that it has card slots, so no need to carry a wallet.
I bought this bag to carry on my trip to England and I honestly didn’t love it! The no-compartments thing, for whatever reasons, works better on a large travel bag, where constantly grabbing necessities (like your money, which you then have to rustle through because you’re not familiar with the currency), isn’t as important moment-to-moment. Because the Longchamp bags are so roomy, I ended up carrying everything all of the time because I had the space. Ultimately, I switched this bag out for a £30 backpack from TopShop (in Windsor where the queen lives, no big deal), because it was just way too heavy on my shoulder.
I wanted to love this bag so much. Every few months, I take it out for a couple of days, hoping I will change my mind. But alas, it’s just not a practical bag. It’s enormous, which I actually like, but it has no compartments and an almost accordion-like structure that just gets bigger and bigger the more stuff you, well, stuff in it. It doesn’t really stay closed (nor do the side snaps) and the straps are really rigid, making it really uncomfortable to carry. If you need a really disorganized suitcase, this is the bag for you. I bought it at a discount when I worked retail and I truly did love the status symbol, but ultimately it wasn’t right for me. I sold it within an hour of putting it up on Poshmark, and I made back a good percentage of what I spent.
You didn’t think I was going to end a handbag post without a little window shopping, did you?
By which, I of course mean, what’s currently being shipped to my house. Your girl did some shoppin‘ this week! I always spend way too much money this time of year (the sales are just too good!), and my husband and I have been talking about doing a no-spend month (or 2, or 12…he’s so good with money and I am…not), so I went a little nuts in preparation. I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks, which means I actually get to dress like a person again (no shade to the retail/food service industries, but I’ve done it for 12 years, I deserve to look cute at work)! I’m joyfully unpacking all of my business casual clothing from my last office job and I *might* do a ceremonial burning of some of my ratty work clothes soon.
Here’s what I’ve been checking out lately!
On Santa’s Sleigh
I’ve been a die-hard J.Crew girl for years and years, through the Jenna Lyons era and unto the breach. Even though not every season perfectly matches my aesthetic, J.Crew makes great quality clothes and they’re always having wild sales. In the past few weeks I’ve bought this green dress (still on sale and available in every size!), this jumpsuit, these amazing pants, and these stunning sandals before they sold out, along with some other great work staples!
I especially love J.Crew for men’s clothing—my husband is allergic to shopping and would 100% wear ill-fitting pants he’s had since the ’90s and band t-shirts every day if left to his own devices. J.Crew’s pants fit him so well (he is #blessed with a great metabolism). I scored 3 pairs of pants for less than the retail of 1 yesterday—merry Christmas to him!
How is Madewell not sponsoring me by this point? I’m just free advertisement. I would say that a majority of my closet is Madewell—their clothes truly are made well, and last. Their leather bags are buttery-soft and incredible. I just snagged these tops—love a wrap, gingham, and a square neck!—and this jumpsuit, which I’m aware is criminally extra.
I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about BlissBranch on here, but it’s an awesome (and very reasonably priced!) online vintage store that was recently relaunched! I treated myself to some wide-leg pants, and a couple of gorgeous vintage dresses. This week, use the coupon code 15FORME to get 15% off your purchase!
Friends, countrymen: As I mentioned in a post this summer, I have an office job! We’re all student employees, so, baby steps, but the department is cracking down on professional, “business casual” dress. It’s been a while since I’ve done a style post (and it’ll be a while before I do another (mama put on that post-wedding weight), but faithful followers know how I dress. I’m basically a spokeswoman for Madewell. Ripped jeans are my life. I own one blazer.
Luckily, my mom was game to take me shopping for a few office-appropriate dresses to tide me over. But I’m viewing this new dress code as an opportunity to overhaul my entire wardrobe. Since I’m officially going gray (more on that later), I should probably own more than slogan tees. Unfortunately, guidelines about women’s business casual are pretty vague, and range anywhere from “don’t be a slob” to “buy a bunch of skirt suits”. The only resource I’ve found so far that’s been remotely helpful is this list. Refinery 29 also put out a list, but it’s a bit high fashion for working in public schools. Like, I’m not getting away with a silk jumpsuit.
Here’s the thing: there is no such thing as a set business casual dress code for women. For men, it’s shockingly simple—a polo or button-down over khakis. Done. It’s industry standard. But women*, whose wardrobes tend to be more diverse (let’s change that, though #teamromphim), have a lot more at stake, both because of the uncertainty of what’s appropriate and because of the general lack of understanding of men*, colleagues and bosses. Additionally, every workplace is completely different, and some are far more conservative than others. Suddenly, skirt length and neckline depth come into play.
So, here are a few of my tried-and-true favorite pieces and combinations to help ease you into adulting!
The high-necked dress can’t fail. Conservative, stylish, and diverse, this is the #1 best option for women in the workplace, imo.
Tips: avoid strapless or spaghetti-strap looks, keep the hemline close to the knee
To tuck or not to tuck—that is the question. Tucking in shirts is a terrible curse. I honestly don’t know how guys do it every day. Inevitably, you get fabric-bunch and spend the entire day stealthily readjusting to avoid lumps and bumps. Plus, if your top’s not long enough, it falls out constantly. Enter, my great love, the bodysuit. Goodbye, lumps! The bodysuit’s design keeps your top looking sleek and in place all day. Pair it with a midi-skirt for maximum cuteness.
Tip: Tall girls—size up! Bodysuit proportions are definitely made for the vertically-challenged. I’m a size S/M and I always order a large for a flawless fit. #longtorsoproblems
This is still an area I struggle with. I’ve spent years putting together a dope sneaker collection, and now all my sweet kicks are collecting dust. I tend to fall back on the same few pairs over and over again, but I’m trying to vary my shoe game.
These are perfect for summer! Avoid super-high heels, since comfort is the main objective. My tip is to invest in one super nice pair that you can wear to events and one everyday pair that looks nice but is secretly cheap enough to replace after a long summer. Get one black pair and one saddle—you’ll thank me.
These are the actual cutest (and they come in pink!)
I’m in Massachusetts where the weather has the potential to be terrible during any season, so boots are a wardrobe must. Make sure you have at least one black and one brown pair. Also, peep toes are awesome for the early fall!
Office environments vary, but I guarantee if you’re in a relatively chill field like higher ed, this will help you conquer the first-job what-the-hell-do-I-wear?! blues. Just don’t forget your BOSS necklace!
*It should be noted that when I write “men” or “women” I refer to all those who identify as such and am not trying to enforce an outdated gender-binary system. Biology ≠ gender.
Alright, it’s Thursday. Get off my back! As that garbage Christina Perry song goes, “I’m Only Human”!
Now that I’m (officially) on track to be a broke grad student, I can’t shop with the reckless abandon that I have been lately. I’ve long been a practitioner of retail therapy, but it might be time to hang up my hat. I don’t think I’ll ever truly free myself from the shackles of capitalism, but it can’t hurt to window-shop…right?
With that in mind, here’s some of my current wishlist!
I heard about RINGLY a few years back, but stumbled upon the company again while I was whiling away the hours on Amazon recently (a dangerous pastime, I know).
Side note: I am NOT responsible enough to have discounted Student Amazon Prime. Last night I bought 11 nose rings, a magnet, and a retro kitchen timer. O brave new world, with such gadgets in it!
But anyway, despite the fact that I cannot justify spending $165 on a ring that does not a. contain diamonds or b. alert the world to my marital status, I still want one so badly! They’re so pretty, and I’m dying to find an excuse to disconnect from my phone for a while. First Date, Daydream, or Dive Bar would all be perfect complements to any outfit. The bracelets, which I believe are a newer addition, are just as adorable, and way more fashion-forward than the FitBit I’ve been rocking. And I do have a birthday coming up in August…
All of the Lights, All of the Lights!
I’ve recently been tasked with a joyous assignment—picking out a new light fixture for my husband’s office! After years of waiting for this to be “his idea” he finally asked me to upgrade his situation, and I am only too happy to comply. As you may or may not know, I have a mild obsession with light fixtures, but have never had the budget to swap out all the ceiling lights in my house (saving that for home ownership, bby!)
To get an idea of my true style, check these babies from Anthropologie: Brass-Capped Spinning Pendant, Villier Chandelier, Anchored Ord Chandelier. As indulgent as my husband often is in my flights of fancy, there is no way in Hell that he’ll let me spend a grand of his $$$ on a light, so here are some far more reasonable options I’m going to throw at him.
I’ve only ever snagged Madewell denim on sale, but in my aspirational life where I have upwards of $120 to spend on a single pair of jeans, I will live in it. The few pieces I own are the most beautiful, buttery-soft, perfect jeans known to man. Fun fact: I actually like my Madewells over my Citizens of Humanity, so, do with that information what you will.
Gimme all the pairs! The fit of Madewell pants is actual perfection. The same can’t be said about sister brand, J.Crew, unfortunately, or at least not for me and my disproportionately massive butt. I don’t know if it’s vanity sizing or what, but stepping into a pair of Madewells is like the Sisterhood of the damn Traveling Pants. Booty for days.
I’m also super-feeling the wide-leg trend. I guess all these years of reading Man Repeller has finally gotten to me. I resisted wide-legs for years because I assumed they’d make me look, well, wider. I was wrong, bbs! I have this amazing velvet pair of cropped flares and pair similar to this gorgeous J.Crew pair and they are serving me LIFE on a silver platter.
These are just a few selections from the abandoned shopping carts that I have littered the internet with lately. What have you been salivating over lately?
Welcome back to another installment of Kool Things, a series in which I blab about the handful of things that brought sparkle and shine to my life this week. Let’s dive in!
This Comedy Special
Remember how, in the first installment of this series, I said, “Get you a Netflix special that can do both”? Well, here’s another one, coming at you. Amy Schumer serves up some realness on her latest, The Leather Special, which has, like all specials released by women, been ratings-trolled by the same MRA garbage piles that do things like, I assume, picket Planned Parenthood and still bring up Bernie Sanders all the time.
Amy’s stand-up is not my absolute fave (we all know I’m a Jen Kirkman stan), but her show, Inside Amy Schumer, has done some really important work, tackling topics like gun violence, online harassment, and sexual assault in the military, among others. The show was even given a Peabody! The special was no different—it’s mostly her trademark “blue” comedy, but she devotes a portion of the hour to discussing the insane gun loopholes that allow the severely mentally ill, domestic abusers, and suspected terrorists to legally purchase guns in the U.S. At a 2015 screening of her film, Trainwreck, two young women, Mayci and Jillian, were fatally shot, inspiring Schumer’s dedication to sensible gun law advocacy. The special, and a portion of Amy’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, are dedicated to the memory of the two women.
It’s the particular burden of comics and artists, at least in my opinion, to simultaneously distract and delight us in the ever-darkening political landscape and to raise awareness about social and legislative issues in a way that politicians are failing to do. It is clear from The Leather Special and Inside Amy Schumer that Amy takes the responsibility of her platform seriously and is using her voice to spark positive change. So, if you live outside of the glorious liberal havens known as “blue states”, call your Congressperson and demand gun regulation! Amy Schumer even prints a list of the Congresspeople who receive NRA money in her book—what a handy guide!
Two-fer this week! Jerrod Carmichael’s latest special, 8, is currently streaming on HBO and it is wild! I watched it today, on the heels of badass news about his returning NBC sitcom, and I’m glad I did. I’ve really enjoyed his sets on late night shows, so I was super pumped to check out the special, which was directed by my fave, local hero Bo Burnham.
Carmichael’s performance was atypical of what we expect from such a high-profile special. HBO! He appeared to be performing in the center of the room, as opposed to from a giant theatre stage, and his delivery was slow and deliberate. The material itself was, as expected, controversial, but the takes were refreshing and unexpected. I can’t believe a comic got me to laugh at the fact that he doesn’t care about global warming! I plan to watch this special again with my husband—maybe I’ll devote a whole post to it then!
A note: post-watching the special, I read a bit of the press on the special and was really surprised to hear some of the criticism. For example, he got called out on doing divisive rape material, but the material itself seemed (at least to me) to be drawing attention to the issue of consent, and how the culture surrounding sex in this country discourages an open dialogue surrounding consent. So, I guess I’m gonna throw a trigger warning on my recommendation to watch this? I encourage everyone to feel their own feelings about the material.
Relatable pull quote: “I’ve got a lot of fears…I’m afraid of going bald before I fuck Rihanna.”
The live action Beauty and the Beast is out! I went to see it yesterday with my dad (cuz we cute), and it was a visually spectacular delight!
Obviously, as a feminist, I have a lot of issues with the content of this and other fairy tales. Narratives like Beauty and the Beast can have really damaging consequences on malleable young minds, and if I have children, I plan to allow them to watch these films with a side dish of discussion on consent, agency, and whack societal norms. I went into this film prepared to love it, but willing to be critical. Also, just FYI, I 100% agree with Dana Schwartz’s brilliant Observer piece, “Why Belle Should Have Chosen Gaston”.
Also, while it was super important for Disney to announce that it would include an out, gay character (Le Fou, played by Josh Gad), the “exclusively gay moment” amounted to little more than cheeky innuendo. The portrayal of Le Fou, and the “Musketeer” that he eventually dances with at the end of the film, leaned very heavily on outdated gay stereotypes, like the assumption that all gay men harbor a secret desire to dress in drag. Drag is a magical, beautiful art form, but not all gay men are drag queens and not every drag queen is gay. I shouldn’t have to explain this to filmmakers in the year of our Lord 2017. To clarify, I’m happy that Disney is finally taking baby steps towards inclusivity, I was just deeply underwhelmed.
All of that being said, I loved this movie. I started tearing up during the opening musical number, “Belle”. Beauty and the Beast and all of the (now) classic animated Disney films, like Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, came out right around the time I was born. I must have worn holes in my VHS tapes watching them. I was shocked at how much emotion hearing those songs again brought back. The whole film is visually stunning (I’m sure it will be up for an Oscar next year for costume design or visual effects), Emma Watson holds her own with the singing, and hot British men abound.
Dan Stevens, who I loved on Downton Abbey and still haven’t forgiven for leaving the show, looks exactly like the cartoon prince/Beast in the animated film. It is uncanny! And Luke Evans as Gaston—dear God, that is one beautiful Welsh man. The cast for this film is insane—you spend the whole film internally screaming, “I KNOW THAT VOICE!” whenever you hear Cogsworth, Lumière, and Mrs. Potts speak, and lo and behold, it’s Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, and Emma Thompson! Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci as the wardrobe and the maestro was simply inspired casting. We were also graced with the presence of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who is so beautiful that, upon her transformation from feather duster to human, I nearly had a stroke. I hereby demand that all movies be remade with her as the lead!
The new songs were, well, underwhelming, as they always are in these circumstances (“Paris of My Childhood” is never taking off), but the old songs hold up beautifully and were nearly shot-for-shot the same as the animated film. Notable exceptions are the line, “Marie! The baguettes!” which is the best moment in the original film, and “every last inch of me’s covered with hair” during “Gaston”. Did we not, as audience, deserve to see Luke Evans shirtless, Disney?
Run, don’t walk, to go see this lovely film. I will fully be buying it on Blu-ray as soon as it comes out!
Watch Ariana Grade & John Legend sing the theme song here. Listen to Queen Céline’s new BatB ballad here.
This Tote Bag
I have been to the mountaintop, y’all. The JCrew All-Day Tote in Aqua Haze is where. it. is. at. I’ve been dying to get one of J.Crew’s gorgeous leather bags for ages, and I finally took the plunge this week. Why the hesitation, you ask? Well, price point for one. I have a lot of designer bags (ugh, you rich bitch) that I’ve gotten during sales or at similar price points, but those have the added bonus of resale value/demand, so they’ve been (somewhat) justified purchases. But you’ll have to pry this one out of my cold, dead hands. No resale, just love. *very Stefon voice* This bag has everything: pebbled leather, interior slip pockets, an exterior slip pocket that would fit a novella, a sweet little exterior buttoned pocket the size of a credit card, and a cute little hang-tag. It’s the perfect bag for school or work—it easily fits my MacBook!
Basically, I’m obsessed. I recently read this amazing article on Racked about the surprising inclusivity of handbags, so lately I’ve been super appreciating my growing collection.
Right now this bag is on sale in three colors, with an extra 30% off with code “HAPPYSPRING”! Happy shopping!
Wow, really, Chels? Following up a call for sensible gun law reform and a Disney movie with a beverage referenced in a System of a Down song? #priorities
But who cares—I love kombucha! Every time I bring up the ‘buch, I feel like that scene in Annie Hall where Alvy orders the alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast in L.A. However, I’ve recently started drinking kombucha on the regs and I really love it! The American diet is appallingly lacking in probiotics, so ‘buch is a fun and delicious way to up your daily dose. I haven’t tried making my own yet, but I plan to get a kit soon.
My local Wegman’s (shout of to Wegman’s, the best grocery store ever) has an entire cold case devoted to the stuff, and after weeks of lusting after it, I decided to grab a few to try. KeVita has a bunch of amazing flavors that make the idea of drinking fermented mushroom tea a little bit more palatable. GT’s sells them by the case—I highly recommend “Trilogy”.
I am officially a kombucha convert—come join my club!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m pimping my own recipe from earlier this week. But this series is about my favorite things, damn it, and corn chowder is the best! Haters, make the Beyoncé song and exit to the left. This soup is vegan, contains six different vegetables, and tastes like summer cookouts in a bowl. I’m so into it, I might make it twice this week!
Thanks for listening! Check out some of my other weekly faves here and here!