Hello! This week was absolutely insane. I spent the first half sick and the second half doing Too Many Activities™. Friday was our annual work outing, at which I spent 2+ hours getting torrentially downpoured on in a sailboat (misery) and drank all the wine cocktails (happiness). Then, I drove out to Western Mass to see one of my dearest friends and go to a show (detailed below), and didn’t get home until 2 am. Needless to say, I am an empty shell of a human who requires sleep and adequate nutrition. So, without further ado, my weekly roundup:
I saw Jenny Lewis (again) last night in Northampton, and it was a religious experience. She’s still on tour, so get tickets immediately! I might go see her again in Boston or Providence, it was that amazing.
I’ve been watching Catastropheagain, because I’m never not watching Catastrophe in a loop. Truly the greatest series ever created.
One of my biggest regrets is not registering for a high-powered blender or Vitamix for our wedding. Just trying to make my own oat milk! Also, if you’re not on the oat milk train, I feel bad for you, son.
This playlist, FIG for CHELS—True/Tested, i.e. the playlist of car songs my husband has been making for me over the past several months, slaps so hard it should be illegal.
Michael and I are (slowly) watching Westworld. We certainly don’t have the same momentum watching it as we did Game of Thrones (the nonlinear storyline doesn’t propel it forward in quite the same way), but we’re really enjoying it so far. Thandie Newton is a sensation.
Speaking of HBO, they made a series of My Brilliant Friend, one of my favorite novels of all time??? Watching immediately.
I’ve been MIA for a minute, for which I apologize profusely. I’m going to try to get back into the swing of writing, but ask any writer—it’s the hardest thing on earth.
My husband and I went to Syracuse last weekend to see a Bowie tribute show, which is exciting—Syracuse is a really cool city! Every time we visit, we hit up my favorite restaurant, Strong Hearts Café, which is totally vegan! The best part is that they have a huge menu of different vegan milkshakes which are soooo delicious. I mean, it’s always exciting to see our Syracuse friends, but Strong Hearts, tho.
My No-Spend Year is still going strong! The No-Spend has been such an amazing, eye-opening experience. I am so much happier than I was when I was spending frivolously, and I appreciate the things that I do buy so much more. I’ve managed to knock out over $2,000 in debt in less than a month! I honestly don’t even know how that’s even possible since that’s more than I bring home in income! It’s amazing how resourceful you can be when you’re on a mission.
Okay, without further ado, here’s the week in Chelsea:
After years and years I finally caved and started watching Game of Thrones with my husband, and I regret to inform you that I love it. I know enough about the series to not get attached to most of the characters, so I feel very prepared to take it on. We’re at the start of season three. I do have some issues with the show (they’re way too exploitative and gleeful about rape, for instance), but it is indeed very entertaining television.
I started the Neapolitan novels! I borrowed My Brilliant Friend while I was in Florida last month and I loved it! I bought the second one on Kindle because I couldn’t wait, but I’m going to check my local library for the other two.
Barry on HBO is back March 31! This is seriously the best new show I’ve seen in years. Bill Hader is truly one of our finest actors. If you haven’t watched it, steal someone’s hbogo password and get on it!
I watched The Feels on Netflix this weekend, and while it’s very poorly rated, it also stars Constance Wu as a lesbian so how could I not have watched it?
I want to watch Leaving Neverland but I’m also afraid that if I do I’ll never sleep at night? I remember, as a kid, when all the Michael Jackson allegations were going on, I found it so completely distressing and disgusting. So many abusers are protected from consequences by their fame or money and it’s a disgrace. Anyone who’d jump to Michael Jackson’s defense can moonwalk the fuck out of here.
This nursery tour is everything. I feel like my whole life has just become a countdown clock to having a baby of my own!
Think I’m gonna get right down to business today, guys! Here’s my week in a nutshell:
I’m actually doing it, fam! I’m doing the Spending Fast. We’re shooting for a year, but it’s based on need. If I can pay my consumer debt down faster (I have a couple of ways I could do this, but they’re both pending/not guaranteed), we might not need to keep going until 2020, but honestly, the experience has been so empowering that I don’t think I’ll want to stop! I’m rereading Anna’s book, and Katy Goodman’s Insta stories have been super inspiring (she has a No Buy highlight). Just with little tweaks, my grocery bill has started to come down, I’m using cash for purchases, and we cancelled cable (finally!). Student loans go into repayment next month, so things will be really tight—I’m working on starting a side hustle job (more on that later). It feels so good to rid yourself of all the stuff in your life that’s weighing you down! P.S. Anna’s book (Kindle version) is on sale for $1.99 right now, so snatch it up!
Catastrophe series 4 is streaming on Amazon starting March 15th and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s one of my favorite pieces of media ever made. Sharon and Rob are geniuses beyond measure. I think I’m going to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription after I watch it, which is kind of a big step for me! I’ll have to buy the season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel next year, but a one-time $12-ish purchase is better than $49-$99 a year to support a company that sucks!
Since I’m not spending money right now, I’ve been bringing my own lunch to work every day. Sometimes, that means the Trader Joe’s microwave meals that we still have from before the No-Buy, but mostly it’s meant leftovers and jar salads. I stan a jar salad. They are my favorite thing on the planet. People at work think I’m nuts rolling up to the breakroom with a quart Mason jar of lettuce but they don’t even know. You can put literally anything in a jar salad. My last one was champagne-pear salad dressing, snow peas, beet sauerkraut, mixed greens, and vegan cashew parm. Delicious!
I’m psyched to make this soup recipe. I make a mean tomato basil, but subbing cashews in for cream is genius! My belief about food is that, if you can make it vegan with little to no effort, do that shit.
I started using the iBotta app, which gives you cash back for buying certain items and submitting your receipts. It’s like coupons, but 2019. I think apps like this can be a slippery slope and convince people to buy products they don’t need, but I go through and find only things that are already on my grocery list, and choose the most cost effective brand. For instance, there was a $1 back bonus on Health-Ade Kombucha, which made it, effectively, cheaper than even the store brand. I’ve made $13 so far, off of only 2 shopping trips.
Saved the best for last: RUSSIAN DOLL. RUSSIAN DOLLLLLL! You’ve gotta watch this show. Drop what you’re doing and immediately log in to Netflix. It’s only February but this is definitely the best show of the year. Natasha Lyonne is breathtaking. We just finished last night and I am already yearning for a new season. A perfect, perfect show.
So, guys—I did a DIY and it did NOT turn out horribly!
I recently bought my first record player (yes, at age 24, shut up). I only have 4 LPs so far (because of the Spending Fast), but they have such pretty artwork that I just needed to display them. When I saw this Photo Ledge DIY on A Beautiful Mess, I knew I’d found just the thing.
Rilo Kiley’s The Execution of All Things & Eisley’s Currents
Since we redecorated our living room, there’s been an awkward patch of bare wall underneath our faux-mantlepiece that I’ve been dying to fill up with some art. When I saw the DIY on ABM, I figured I could make the space work double duty as a place to store my tiny record collection.
Jenny Lewis’ Acid Tongue & Belle and Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister
Of course, I messed up along the way. My power drill is from Ikea—I lovingly call it my “drill for girls.” Not having the right tools for the job was a major roadblock that turned this into a day-long, rather than an hour-long project. Also, Home Depot is a confounding labyrinth—we spent way too long searching for supplies. But all in all, I’m proud that I made something useful with my own two hands.
After I assembled the wood, I primed and painted the ledge gold, because all gold everything, obviously. I asked my father-in-law to come over with his drill to hang the shelf, et voilà—stylish record storage! I’m so inspired to work on more projects because of how successfully this one went.
It’s official! Nice weather is back. It was 80 degrees and sunny today! I live for shorteralls, so this is very good news!
I didn’t have to work today (praise), so I stayed in pajamas until almost 2. When I finally worked up the motivation to shower and put on clothes I had to rush out the door to cash in our cans before the redemption center closed. I know. Exciting life!
I bought this denim jacket about a million years ago at Old Navy. I don’t shop there anymore because working in retail has made me a little snobby, but this jacket is my absolute favorite. It goes with everything. It’s like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Jacket.
My fiancé is an inch shorter than me (much to both of our chagrin), so whenever he’s not around I make sure to rock platforms like it’s my job!
I haven’t really gotten into the enamel pin trend, and now with the Spending Fast, I don’t have the option, but when Cameron Esposito put out her last special, Marriage Material, she had some pins available as merch. This one says “Breast Stroke Specialist” and the other (on my opposite lapel) is a Chinese food take-out box filled with sperms. It brings me soooo much life.
The other button is handmade merch from the NAF/M. Ward show at Royale last weekend (which was amazing).
I’m hoping that the beautiful weather brings me more energy! I have been dead tired for weeks—I think it’s a side effect of spring allergies.
So, maybe I’m having a nostalgia moment and listening to Teenage Dream by Katy Perry on a Monday night while I cook dinner. Maybe. It’s been a crazy week.
Without going into too much detail, my brother-in-law-to-be had a pancreas transplant last week. Obviously all surgeries are hard on the patient (and the patient’s loved ones), but this is an auspicious surprise. He has suffered from diabetes for almost 30 years, and now he gets a new lease on life. It’s truly amazing, and I am privileged to know someone who epitomizes survival. Seeing a family member go through such life-altering (and potentially life-threatening) procedure really puts things into perspective. Every day is precious, and should be approached as such.
The lesson I’m taking from this is to chase my own happiness. If I want to listen to a 5-year-old Katy Perry album and drink a hard cider instead of doing homework, that’s my prerogative. I will allot time for my responsibilities, and maintain my work ethic, of course. But when I look back on the past few years, some of my best and most cherished memories are spontaneous moments. Detours.
Detours are inconvenient, to be sure, but they allow you to reach the exact same destination. The past 5 years of my life have been a giant detour. I should have graduated from college in 2013. But if I hadn’t made the mistakes I’d made, and strayed from my path, I may never have met the love of my life and his incredible family. If I hadn’t dropped out of private school, I may never have discovered my passion for whole foods and cooking. If I hadn’t left a stable job that made me unhappy, I may never have ended up in retail/fashion.
Some of us stay on the straight & narrow our whole lives. Some of us are late bloomers. I’d argue that neither approach is “better”. Because we all arrive at the same destination: happiness.