Ewww, David!!! I just started watching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix and I’m completely obsessed! Catherine O’Hara is a DREAM. What Would Moira Do? is my official life motto. If you’re wondering, yes, I have joined the Jazzagals.
I was a good little chicken on Black Friday and didn’t buy that much stuff. Just a Kate Spade phone wallet from the surprise sale (RIP, Queen), some Girlfriend Collective swag (these, this, & this, plus the discontinued? Monroe bra), a naughty “couples” purchase or three, the new Oui Fresh lip gloss shades, a cute bag from New Darlings on Depop, a SodaStream, and I *think* that’s it. But knowing me, some crazy packages are going to show up.
I’m going to see Neko Case in February! I haven’t seen her since my first date with my husband in 2013, so I’m super excited! The show is in Tallahassee, so yaaasss, I’m goin’ back!
I just watched Annie Hall again (for class!!!) and I know, I KNOW I’m supposed to hate Woody Allen (AND I DO) but I fucking love that movie—I can’t help it. In the opening scene, when he describes his working class childhood on Coney Island as an alienated, weird, smart kid, I felt seen (on film) for the first time #representationmatters). I mean, my family isn’t Jewish, but the dynamics are s i m i l a r. Watching it again felt like visiting an old friend.
I just read The Assistant by Bernard Malamud and it has my whole heart. It’s the tale of an immigrant grocer in New York whose failing business sees a revival when he hires Frank Alpine, an Italian-American man who learns a lot about shopkeeping and even more about morality. If you like books that start with robbery and end with circumcision, this book’s for you!
Now I’m reading Nicole Chung’s All You Can Ever Know. It’s incredibly moving and complicated. I’m a longtime fan of Nicole’s writing, from The Toast days, and I was so excited to finally get my hands on a copy of her memoir.
I’m alive! That’s right, boo boos! This website is still a thing and I’m still a trifling bitch. A LOT has happened over the past few months, but I’ll summarize it in one sentence and you can infer the rest: I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on a mood stabilizer!!!
Exclamation points, you ask? Isn’t that bad news? No! It’s literally the best news I’ve ever gotten. Knowing is half the battle—finding the right counseling and drug cocktail to even me out is giving me hope and happiness for the first time in YEARS. Wednesday, when I met my psychiatrist (who looks like David Sedaris but without glasses), felt like the first day of the rest of my life.
So here is the first SKoL of my post-diagnosis life. Enjoy!
My house is FULLY decorated for Christmas, and has been since the moment Halloween ended its reign of terror. The Target Wondershop is lit this year, and Hearth & Hand with Magnolia is giving me life. #thatfeelingwhenyou’renotchristianbutyoufuckinglovechristmas
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!
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?
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.doyoga 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.
Younger‘s Season 5 is done, so binge that shit! Catch up on Hulu.
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 am currently reading Crazy Rich Asiansby Kevin Kwan. I’m really enjoying it so far, and I can’t wait to see how they’ve interpreted it for the film!
I’m listening to Kate Nash’s Yesterday Was Foreverwhile 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 sexyis 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.
JK was sponsored by FabFitFun on I Seem Funso I finally caved and got a box. I’ll report back once I receive it—I’m excited! I love a subscription box because I am the bougiest.
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??
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.
Hi there, just checking in from New England! It’s 46 degrees outside as I write this, y’know, at the end of April. 2018 was certainly not the coldest or snowiest winter of my lifetime, but it sure as hell feels like the longest. Here are a few things keeping me sane (or driving me crazy).
Spring’s not coming. Here is a series of jean jackets that I may not have a chance to wear this year: this one, this one, and this one.
I just started using New Wash and I’m NEVER going back! Pricey, worth it.
I think I should do Dry January again…Dry May? I loved the feeling of being free of vices—it’s easier to do in the dead of winter, since everyone is cooped up at home!
Hello, hello, Opalhouse is in the building. I’ve been laboring under the suspicion that Target is trying to bankrupt me for quite some time, but this is egregious. So g-d, m-f–ing cute! You KNOW I bought this dish towel. #EastCoast
Oy. I have a lot of feelings about this, and though I’m hardly the first person to air grievances on the Internet, I’m going to talk about them anyway. Here there be spoilers.
Girlboss is Kay Cannon’s Netflix adaptation of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s 2014 memoir of the same name (stylized #GIRLBOSS). I read the book as soon as it came out, despite not having previously shopped the Nasty Gal site, because it seemed like a kickass Cinderella story whose beginning mirrored my own life: I was broke, underemployed and still without a degree, and I had a rabid interest in clothing and fashion. The memoir, which is interspersed with prescriptive pieces that seek to serve as feminist #inspo, tells an evocative tale. It’s Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” and now, we truly are, here.
But that was 3 years ago. The timing of the Girlboss series in 2017 seems…inopportune, to say the least. Nasty Gal has filed for bankruptcy, has been sold to retailer Boohoo, and Ms. Amoruso no longer has a stake in the company. Nasty Gal has been slammed for unfair practices and policies affecting pregnant employees. If we are supposed to see the series, like the memoir, as an inspiring rags-to-riches tale, the real-life context muddies the narrative.
Structurally, the show is a bit of a nightmare. The series is supposed to span 2 years, from Nasty Gal’s conception to the launch of the website, but there are few demarcations of time passing until the eleventh episode, set during Christmas 2007. Sophia spends the capsule episode jet-setting around the Mid-West, confronting her online nemesis and reconnecting with her dysfunctional estranged mother. The lack of through-lines in the story makes it difficult to appropriately empathize with the characters. When Shane (SPOILER) cheats on Sophia, the audience sees the shady indiscretion in the context of a monogam-ish hook-up, as opposed to a betrayal of a two-year long committed relationship.
Criminally underused is the brilliant Alphonso McAuley as Dax, who is the only truly interesting, three-dimensional character the show boasts. He is a hardworking, career-focused young black man putting himself through business school, yet is constantly put down by the rest of the cast. When he and his girlfriend, Annie, discuss the seriousness of their relationship, Dax appears plagued by issues of race (Annie is white, his parents don’t approve). This moment is moving, but feels completely out of place with the rest of the narrative—it is later completely abandoned.
For a show ostensibly about a burgeoning business and its ruthless founder, Girlboss is (tenuously) woven together by the relationships between characters it portrays. Sophia’s relationship to authority figures (her parents, her boss Rick, shop owner Mobias), and her relationship with her best friend, Annie, are all deeply fraught, and the series shows little growth in Sophia’s character until the very last episodes, where she pulls an about-face that gives the audience emotional whiplash. When her nemesis, Gail, owner of vintage Ebay store, Remembrances, calls Sophia a “garbage person,” the series feebly attempts to transform Sophia from heinous narcissist to sympathetic wunderkind, stunted by her mother’s abandonment, in the episode’s remaining few minutes. Previous to this, the realest Sophia gets is with Rosie, the park bench-dwelling elderly lady who has the sense to slap Sophia in her self-important face after a cringe-worthy monologue. In structure, in pacing, in writing, the show is just not very good. Too many aha moments, too much exposition in the dialogue, too many heavy-handed “insights” into why Sophia is so damaged—all of which could have been explained away in a 2-minute wine-drinking montage set to Jonny Craig’s “Children of Divorce”.
According to the show’s lead actress, Britt Robertson, Girlboss‘s Sophia is supposed to be a hateable character, which, in most cases, is perfectly acceptable. I personally champion any medium that can portray a flawed, complicated woman as she is. Women are held to a shameful double-standard when it comes to likability, a topic that has sparked, I’m sure, thousands of thinkpieces as well as a particularly moving passage in Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist. That Sophia is unlikable is not an issue—well-behaved women seldom make history, after all. But Sophia is not just unlikable—she is a narcissist who drags those around her down in order to buoy herself. She takes advantage of others without remorse at every turn. She speaks ill of her customers and disrespects her peers in the vintage resale community. She uses her manic-pixie-dream-girl-bullshit persona to hook the very sweet San Francisco-newbie, Shane, and then proceeds to be emotionally-withholding for two years until he cheats with a bandmate. I know that this a “real loose” retelling of the events surrounding Nasty Gal’s founding, but why choose a tale (and a person) like this to glorify with a television show? Not every story by, for, and about women is a feminist story.
After all of this, I’m somehow still left wondering: how can a show that features RuPaul Charles, Jim Rash, Norm Macdonald, Cole Escola, and Dean Norris not be good? Everybody knows RuPaul, of course, and Dean Norris notably portrayed Hank Schrader in every white man’s favorite show, Breaking Bad, but Cole Escola is a goddamn rising star that should be a household name by now. Apart from slaying on Twitter, he is killing it as the incomparable Matthew on Hulu’s Difficult People. Sure, he’s only in a couple of episodes of Girlboss, but he steals every single scene. This show has the raw materials to be amazing! This could have been a platform to turn a real-life trainwreck into compelling, must-see TV. It’s just a little off the rails.
The “cliffhangers” that will inevitably necessitate a second season are lukewarm at best: will Sophia and Shane get back together? Will the now sold-out Nasty Gal site be able to keep up with customer demand? Will the Vintage Fashion Forum continue to throw shade at Sophia via internet comments? These are the tenuous threads by which additional seasons will hang. And will I watch it? Of course I’ll fucking watch it. At the end of the day, Sophia & co.’s insufferableness is entertaining, and later seasons would allow for the exploration into the company’s downfall, something which might tickle the (many) Sophia-haters out there. But fair warning, dear reader, if you, unlike me, can’t stomach watching a thin, millennial white lady coast down the privilege highway to destination success, stop the next episode before it auto-plays.
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!