Good morning! I want to express my deepest condolences to anyone who has to work today. I’m off until the 4th, because my job absolutely rules. I will be spending my day baking chocolate babka and catching up on podcasts. I’m also racing to read 50 books by the end of the year…only 4 left!
I hope you and yours have a spectacular holiday season in spite of everything. Merry Christmas!
Taylor has done it again—sneak-attacking us with another iconic album, this time in celebration of her 31st birthday. I was an extremely late-adopter with Taylor, but even if I hadn’t already become a fan, 2020 would have been the year. This girl comes back harder than a ’90s trend. (This post was mostly written a week ago, so I know evermore is already old news.)
I’m going to be posting about my 2020 in books, but one that deserves an unrelated shout out is Beach Read by Emily Henry. I almost wanted to start over from the beginning when I finished it. Powerful, sweet, delightful fun. Also, I read this during a snowstorm, so it was nice to remember that summer exists.
I got another set of foils in my quest to become a blonde and the bleach lightened the virgin hair at my roots so much that it kind of looked like a ’90s boy-band’s frosted tips (I have since gotten a root smudge). I use Olaplex to keep my hair from falling out from the way I abuse it.
I’m listening to Shit, Actually by Lindy West and the chapter on The Notebook felt like a point-blank execution. I know it’s problematic, and that by extension, I’m problematic, but I don’t care! It’s an iconic love story! (To be clear, Lindy’s book absolutely rules and has made me laugh out loud like a fool on innumerable occasions.)
Bided (bode?) my time and finally managed to snag a new wool coat for 60% off. Debating as to whether I should grab this one too, since it’s SO inexpensive…
Reorganized my fridge again because, much like Angelica Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, I will never be satisfied. These carafes are such a bargain and look sexy as hell in the fridge. No more ugly cardboard and plastic containers! These ones have a half gallon capacity if that better suits your needs.
I’ve probably already written about this, but I got a matching set of this hoodie and these joggers (when they were on sale, I’m not a millionaire) and I feel LUXE when I wear it. I wish I could afford to get them in every color. Ironically, the first day I wore my sweatsuit, I came across this article by one of my favorite writers, Amanda Mull. P.S. It’s probably only a matter of time before I get this to complete the look, since I’m the worst person I know.
Hanukkah was last week, and while I am not Jewish and have basically zero right to care about this, I am also an obsessively festive holiday person, so I had a 2-person mini feast of “traditional” foods I’d never tried to make before. A friend of mine made me some vegetarian matzoh ball soup and hamentachen, and I made latkes, applesauce, challah, and tzimmes (without the plums, since my husband has a thing about fruit in savory foods). It was so delicious and I’m definitely writing this while I’m eating the leftovers. Taste-wise, the challah wasn’t as good as when I made it on Rosh Hashanah (if this behavior is what gets me cancelled, it will have been a good run), but I’ve gotten so much better at braiding. It was a sight to behold!
Bonjour! Another week of social isolation! The Starbucks near me just reopened, so I’ve gone two days in a row…the small creature comforts keep me sane. Apart from that, it’s been business as usual. I’m trying to go easy on myself. We’re all dealing with immense trauma & grief right now, so if you need to get drunk, or send a booty pic, or reorganize your cabinets again, please don’t judge yourself. If you’re alive and healthy, you’re doing great, and I love you.
This shop on Etsy is selling 3-packs of cotton masks in adorable prints. It’s a buy 3/donate 3 situation. I got these ones. I’m still having a hard time with masks, if I’m being honest. Of course I wear one on the rare occasion I go out, but the feeling that my breathing is being stifled gives me horrible anxiety. Anyone else dealing with this?
This set of food storage containers is amazing and actually just as good as the one from The Container Store. I bought two sets and then some extra minis. My cabinets will get perfect or die trying.
The Court Skort sold out before I had a chance to snag one (you snooze, you lose) and I’m mad! Same for the Bike Unitard, which I need someone to convince me I don’t need. This remains in my cart…
It’s irrational how much I want one of these, considering I have like a dozen reusable water bottles.
My queens and idols Clea & Joanna of The Home Edit have graciously provided us with “mini edits” throughout quarantine—small one-day organizing projects to help us optimize our homes during this, well, sub-optimal time. Full disclosure, I will absolutely be ripping a few of their ideas off, but this particular mini edit is tailored very specifically to a certain kind of home: one that is already organized but seeking to minimalize. I’m so inspired by minimalist homes, but no matter how much I sell/donate, I never seem to be able to get all the way there. I’m, I guess you’d say, a maximalist clutter queen trying to become a Scandinavian ascetic.
If you are already tidy, but want to take it to the next level, here is my *very Barenaked Ladies voice* One Week Organizing Challenge!
Refresh the Refrigerator*
Be honest—when is the last time you actually cleaned your refrigerator? Like, took everything out and cleaned it? I’m a tidy gal, but I must admit that I’ve done this maybe…twice? I’ve had my fridge for like 4 years. There are plenty of great resources online to set you on your path. Jolie Kerr wrote thedefinitive guide to deep-cleaning your fridge, but here are my tips:
Take every single item out.
Wash your bins with soap and water, wipe down any shelves you can’t remove.
Check expiration dates. Expiration dates are mostly a scam, and have more to do with corporate liability than health hazard, but some things really should be tossed on schedule. Your miso paste is probably fine, but the sour cream has got to go.
Organize all of the food/bev into categories. Put them back in the proper place, i.e. vegetables in the crisper, cheese in the drawer, etc. It’s easy to get lazy and just throw things in there, but maintaining an organizational system not only makes cooking & eating easier, but saves you time at the grocery store, since you always know what you have. I can’t recommend fridge bins enough. Target’s are great and really cost-effective. If you want to splurge, definitely hit up The Home Edit’s line at the Container Store.
Now, repeat the whole thing with all of your cabinets and drawers. Be ruthless.
Pare Down the Paper*
You don’t need your tax returns from 7 years ago. Off to the shredder! Keep a shoebox handy for sentimental items like Christmas cards and recycle everything else. Basically, all you should keep is tax paperwork from the past 3 years (just in case), identity documents (birth cert, SSN card), things relevant to your current health insurance, and receipts if you itemize. Or, honestly, just digitize everything.
Itemize Your Inbox*
Emails cause some people a lot of stress, and for good reason! They’re omnipresent—they bombard us at work all day, and then in our personal lives they’re receipts, coupons, bank statements, tracking info, personal correspondence, and politics. It’s a lot to take in. My first suggestion is to use a service like unroll.me to unsubscribe from or hide unwanted emails. Next, create broad categories with sub-labels to help organize what’s already there. Soon you’ll be living an Inbox Zero Lifestyle! Here’s an example of ideas for a Gmail side menu:
Family & Friends
Tickets & Travel
Go through and delete anything older than 2 years, except tax/loan documentation and personal correspondence. Flag anything interesting that you haven’t gotten a chance to read. Take a deep breath and embrace freedom.
Sift through Your Shoe Collection*
“You’re never going to wear the yellow flatforms, Chelsea,” and other things footwear hoarders say. Truthfully, I feel like all femme-identified folx only need a pair each of the following shoes:
A “work” heel
Riding boots (suitably waterproof for winter)
Chelsea boots or booties
Leather sandals (for everyday summer wear)
Flip-flops (for the beach or pedicures)
When you purge, make sure you don’t overdo it and get rid of something functional #fortheaesthetic. But don’t get rid of your “fun shoes” either! You’re allowed to have a ton of fun shoes, just make sure you have sensible (preferably hidden) storage. I use this at my house and it fits…most of my shoes. It’s a great price and it looks really stylish. It also comes in a bench version, which I also have (for my husband’s shoes), which could be used as a TV stand as well.
Clean Up Your Carpets*
Do you have a pet? Or even just long hair that sheds? Your carpets/rugs are probably disgusting. No matter how much you vacuum, you can’t make up for the fact that rugs literally live on the floor. And vacuums can only do so much. Unless you’re a billionaire and can afford one of those fancy pet Dysons (please buy me one), a vacuum can only do so much. And every rug has different cleaning instructions (for instance, jute can’t be cleaned with water). Figure out what your rug is made of, Google deep-cleaning instructions, and go to town. You will be shocked at what comes up. This is especially important if you or a loved one has allergies!
Tackle Your Toiletries*
Your bathroom cabinets, drawers, or closet can be a breeding ground for clutter and chaos. Somehow, you can run out of bar soap while simultaneously owning 14 travel-sized tubes of toothpaste. I guarantee you have tubes of lipstick that should definitely be discarded. Getting a handle on your bathroom storage makes life a thousand times easier. This is a great guide to getting started! And since bathrooms are the least fun area to clean, less clutter means less surface area to wipe down—it’s a win-win!
Rehome Your Reading Material
I am a huge book-lover, and I would never go so far as to propose, à la Marie Kondo, that one should only own 30 books, but you probably don’t need all of the books you have. I actually wrote a post about this a few years ago and I absolutely stand by what I said. The beat up copy of Catcher in the Rye from freshman year of high school that you’ll never read again is just taking up space (if, like me, you probably will read that book again, treat yourself to a nicer copy and ditch the public school standard issue). You don’t need to own Faulkner’s entire bibliography; Toni Morrison was influenced by him, and her books are way more enjoyable. If you read her, you get the point.
Cut Down Your Closet
Another tricky one. People get very sentimental about clothes. I tend to go scorched earth on my closet every few years and then regret getting rid of that oversized Banana Republic sweater or that too-small Anthropologie jumpsuit that I will definitely fit into again someday. I think Marie Kondo speaks on this subject far more eloquently than I possibly can, so suffice it to say that you truly do not need all of those clothes you never wear. Go through everything, make a donate pile (or resell them on Poshmark!) and enjoy your simplified wardrobe!
Nothing makes a space visually interesting like color coordination. Organizing your bookshelf in rainbow order (or your dresser drawers, or closet, or literally everywhere in your home) is functional and fashionable. My favorite thing to color-coordinate is phone apps!
*I have actually accomplished all of these things very recently, so I know it’s not impossible!
So I know I literally just posted a list of shit that I like, but now that I am “somewhat back on my bullshit,” I can’t stop.
Here’s the home & beauty edition you’ve all been waiting for!
I bought dishwashing gloves and it has CHANGED EVERYTHING. I snagged these from Grove, and it has made cleaning even more of a joy than it already was.
I started using Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo and I LOVE IT. I’m more of a co-wash gal (I use New Wash, in case you were wondering), but this makes my hair feel squeaky-clean on those occasional real washes. Get it at Grove or Target!
I got this face wash as a free gift with my Grove purchase (seriously, bitches, sponsor me), and I really like it! It smells great and it feels like it’s actually exfoliating my face (hormonal breakouts are a bitch). It’s soooo cheap at Target and it’s 95% natural, so it’s a no-brainer.
These storage bins are LIFE. I just bought a few for my fridge and I fully plan on buying even more of them until my fridge is so organized that I get 5150’d.
Target sells Native deodorant now! I’m dying of happiness. This is hands-down the BEST natural deodorant I’ve ever tried. Fuck aluminum and parabens! You don’t need them! Once your body adjusts (give it a few weeks), you’ll never go back to normal deodorant in your life. It’s a bit pricier than traditional deo, but it’s worth every penny. I’m finishing up a tube of unscented right now, but next up is Lavender & Rose!
Target also sells Quip now! I’m sure there’s some back-alley, evil, corporate downside to all these indie brands being coopted by a big store like Target, but I choose to see the bright side, which is the amount of exposure these great companies are getting! Quip is my new favorite thing—it times your brushing with 2 minutes of vibration in 30 second intervals, and LET ME TELL YOU, no one brushes their teeth for long enough. I am a fastidious brusher, a person who has famously been called out by a roommate for “brushing your teeth more than anyone I’ve ever met,” and even I do not brush my teeth for a thorough two minutes every time. Get on it!
This Grove set is out-of-control cute. My husband keeps asking me which one is the hand soap and which is the dish soap, but it’s worth the annoyance to have my kitchen sink look this cute.
I started actually using a probiotic every day, so I’m basically immortal. I take Lovebug’s Here’s the Skinny, and it’s available at drugstores!
I tried Hello Fresh after cancelling my Blue Apron account (I had a great discount code), and while I really like the service, the portions are a little meager compared to BA. HF also does a bit more of the prep for you—garlic cloves come PEELED—which makes the prep faster overall. Meal kits aren’t super practical for my lifestyle right now, but if they fit into your budget and your schedule, these are both great options! Here’s my Hello Fresh referral link!
I’ll leave it there! Now to actually make one of my Hello Fresh meals and finish watching this truly godawful Hallmark Christmas movie!