Natural Beauty Faves i

I’m doing my best to switch my beauty products over to all-natural, clean brands, and it’s definitely a trial-and-error experience. There are still a few things I’m looking for good clean versions of (BB cream, eyeliner, mascara), but it’s been a joy to experiment and “put my money where my mouth is,” as it were.

Shea Moisture, Daily Glow Priming Moisturizer

Made with 100% virgin coconut oil, this is my FA VO RITE moisturizer EVER. I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in my skin since I started using it a few weeks ago. A tiny dab covers your whole face—I’ve had it for weeks and I’ve barely made a dent. This moisturizer runs you $11 at Target, which is shockingly cheap as both moisturizers AND natural products go, which makes it an amazing value. I plan on checking out the rest of Shea Moisture’s skincare products!

Shea Moisture, Strengthen & Restore Smoothie

 

The. Best. Leave-in. I bought this on a whim at Sally’s when I bought my crazy red hairdye (sigh @ my decisions), and I’ve been using it regularly ever since. I have WILD hair, so I need a fierce tamer. This stuff does the trick! I’m planning on trying the Co-Wash as a cheaper alternative to my favorite “shampoo”…

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Hairstory, New Wash

I switched to New Wash (yes, ditching shampoo and conditioner) recently and I ain’t NEVAH EVAH EVAH goin’ back. It runs $40 for 8 oz., so it’s a little tough to rationalize, but I’m telling you, it’s worth every dang penny. I felt a difference in my hair after the first use, and it keeps getting better. I’m going to look into cheaper options, but I might just be hooked on this stuff.

Shea Moisture, Hold & Shine Moisture Mist

Are you sensing a pattern? This brand is so legit, and so affordable. This is the *best* product for wearing your curls natural. My hair is super coarse and curly (mostly from damage, tbh), so I need as much moisture as humanly possible. This spray smells amazing and doubles as a treatment and a hairspray.

Snag it at Target!

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OY-L, Lavender Body Butter

This stuff smells like HEAVEN! It’s a whipped lotion that is completely free of all of the super scary stuff that lives in normal lotions (formaldehyde, parabens, artificial scents, YUCK). I got a 1oz. jar in my Oui Fresh Beauty Box and I’m in love! A tiny bit goes a long way, which makes up for the fact that this product is a wee bit pricey.

Thayer’s, Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

I use this stuff every day. It smells exactly like rose petals (as advertised) and makes my face feel super fresh and clean. Such an amazing alternative to all the terrifying blue toners out there…bonus: it’s alcohol-free!

Oui Fresh, As If Lipstick

Full disclosure: I have every shade of this amazing lipstick, but As If is by far my favorite. It’s non-toxic, super moisturizing, and filled with amazing ingredients. I’m kind of a lipstick connoisseur, so believe me when I say that this stuff is the bee’s knees. It’s a little pricier than drugstore makeup, of course, but as “luxury” lipstick goes, it’s totally reasonable at $20. P.S. New colors coming soon. And 20% off today with code HEYLADY.

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Native Deodorant

So, I’m a hypocrite because I haven’t entirely swapped over to natural deodorant, but Native is by far the best one I’ve found. I tried Schmidt’s, but either the recipe or the particular scent I bought irritated my skin. Other faves are Tom’s of Maine Antiperspirant, but it’s not completely natural (trying to ditch aluminum!) Native is amazing, although, be warned, it takes the body a little while to adjust from conventional to natural deodorants. Conveniently, Native sells multipacks of travel-sized deodorants! Lavender & Rose is my favorite scent, with Eucalyptus & Mint as a close second).

I’m still working through a whole host of products that I need to try (thanks Oui Fresh Beauty Box!), so I’ll hit you guys back soon with a sequel!

Treat yo’self!

-c

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Get To Work!

Control

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I know, I know. I’m a slave to capitalism. It’s unreasonable to spend $55 on a planner.

But I did it, and I’m not sorry. Because the Get to Work Book is my favorite planner, ever.

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I recently discovered that I’m a strong candidate for ADHD…which was not shocking for anyone who knows me. I wish someone had mentioned it to me before I was nearly thirty, but that’s neither here nor there. (LOL you thought this post wasn’t going to get crazy personal?) For someone with my, let’s say, executive functioning difficulties, organizing the mind is a top priority. I decided to start micro-managing my own brain by scheduling absolutely everything—work, class, gym, outings with friends—all of it goes in the calendar.

The Get To Work Book is an amazing resource. You can organize monthly, weekly, daily, and annual tasks, take ample notes, and set goals and priorities. There’s a power in seeing it all in writing. The page layout is even available online for those of us who might be a bit gunshy about the purchase.

I got a set of the Today Bookmark, the Book Band, and the 2018 Get To Work Book in black. I spent the big bucks on the full thing, but there are tons of other more economical options on the site, including the Project Breakdown Notepad and the Mini Grid Notepad.

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Moving forward, I’ll probably get the Perpetual Calendar Notepad annually, and I need these Rainbow To-Do List Stickies, for sure. What I love most about these products is that my purchases support a woman-owned small business!

Get To Work Books are available in some brick and mortar stores, but online is the easiest way to go.

Other Ways to Stay Focused

Oui Fresh Productivity Notepad Set— Another small business to support! The ladies of Oui Fresh just launched a small line of office products, including their Meal Planner Notepad. Being surrounded by beautiful things—from flowers to fonts—boosts my mood and helps me keep my cool. An organized physical space is as important as an organized brain space. The beautiful colors, graphics, and typography on Oui Fresh products makes work time feel like play time.

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did you think i was kidding?

Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, or iCal — Honestly, I don’t even know if it’s called iCal anymore. I’m 100. I never used these incredible tools before last October, and let me tell you, they’ve changed my life. I’ve got them all synced—I get notifications on my phone and FitBit every time I have an engagement. Sometimes it’s annoying, like when it buzzes to tell me to go to work as I’m arriving to work, but the security of knowing I’ll never forget an appointment is well worth it. This would have sounded horrifying to me when I was younger, but now, I can’t live without it.

Cute Pens — It sounds dumb, but creating pleasant visuals is a great way to trick your brain! Color-coding your planner with pens (my favorites are purple Pentels and multi-colored PaperMates), is a great way to keep tasks organized, especially for those of us still in school.

Lifesum, FitBit, or the tracker of your choice — Another completely obsessive-compulsive thing that I do is track my exercise and food intake. But mostly food, let’s be honest with ourselves. What I love best about this is that it reminds me to drink water! I drink more water than the average bear, but it’s still not enough. Also, most days, the apps can shame me into eating yogurt instead of an egg-and-cheese bagel, so it’s great for self-flagellation. Keeping track keeps me accountable! Also, tracking your meals creates a routine, which is so important for people, comme moi, that struggle with, well, accomplishing things. Le FitBit monitors my sleep, which, as you can see from the above photo, I’m definitely not getting enough of! Also, now y’all know my goal weight, so.

Whiteboards — I legit have 3 separate whiteboards on my refrigerator. One for daily tasks, one for shopping/groceries, and one for weekly tasks. This serves the dual purpose of keeping me accountable for my duties and chores and letting my husband know where the hell I am all day. I got all of mine in the Target dollar bins—bless whatever they call that bargain section at the front—but this one, this one, and this one are perfect!

A Pill Case — I’m not even kidding. I’ve never been so regular on my meds. I bought this pill case, and I religiously fill it weekly (of course it’s pink, so I actually pay attention to it). I keep it right on my kitchen counter, where I typically make my coffee, so I never forget to take my antidepressants vitamins! This one is so DANG cute. Another great resource for this is care/of, a monthly vitamin delivery service I just started using.

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This may seem horrifically excessive for “normals,” but taking these measures has improved my life significantly. Do you have trouble getting shit done? What measures have you taken?

In the immortal words of our Lord and savior, Beyoncé, “Always stay gracious / Best revenge is your paper.”

xoxo,

c

Gratitude: Blog Lovin’

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to express more gratitude. I’m a perfectionist who has trouble living in the moment, so taking daily stock of the little things in life that make each day a little prettier and brighter helps me to stay grounded. I have so much to be grateful for! I’m even letting myself end the previous sentence with a preposition, because 2018 me is super #chill.

This week, I’m highlighting ten blogs that I follow, some religiously, some occasionally, that inspire me to use my voice.

A Beautiful Mess

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No surprises here, right? I’ve been following ABM almost daily for about 5 years. Their whimsical, colorful aesthetic has been a huge influence on how I’ve styled my own home. I’ve tried a ton of their recipes and DIYs (I’ll link a few below). ABM has inspired me to bring more life and color into my home.

These ladies are prolific! Check out their product line, their glasses collection, their e-courses, their cookbook, and their camera bag collab!

DIYs &c. I’ve tried:

Photo Ledge DIY, Vegetarian Tikka Masala, Eggplant Parm Meatballs, Cinnamon Spice Sugar Scrub, Macrame Room Divider, Creamy White Sauce, Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, Veggie Soup, Face Oil, and so many more!

Follow if you love: recipes, home décor, DIYs, crafts, photography

The Band Wife

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This is the personal blog of Laura from A Beautiful Mess. Laura’s aesthetic and style in particular are closest to mine, and she’s a fellow cat mama, so when I discovered her blog, it became an instant bookmark. Her husband plays guitar for Mutemath and tours a ton, which is the impetus behind the blog name. My husband doesn’t tour, but being a musician’s wife is definitely…unique. Us band wives gotta stick together!

Bonus points for all the kitty and baby content!

Follow if you love: style, home décor, DIYs, babies, cats

The Larson House

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This is the personal blog of Elsie from A Beautiful Mess. It’s where she chronicled her heartbreakingly long adoption process and blogs about the joys of her new daughter, Nova. The Larsons’ adoption story has brought me to tears on more than a few occasions…adoption is one of the most beautiful and selfless things a person can do!

Follow if you love: personal posts

Almost Makes Perfect

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Minimalist aesthetic? Neutral tones? Excellent graphic design? Check, check, and check. Almost Makes Perfect is a destination for great DIYs, home decor, and gorgeous printables. I even have one of her rap lyric Valentines up as an art print in my house!

Follow if you love: home décor, minimalism, personal posts, DIYs

New Darlings

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I’ll admit it—I’m super jealous of Christina and Robert’s lives. They’re jet-setting bloggers based in Phoenix, AZ, who have the most gorgeous aesthetic and sweetest pup. Show me your ways!

Follow if you love: home décor, style, beauty, travel, photography

Man Repeller

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Technically, Man Repeller isn’t a blog anymore, although it started that way. It is a fully-fledged, awesome fashion, lifestyle, and beauty site that is #goals for any blogger. I mean, Leandra, the creator, goes to like, Paris Fashion Week. So aspirational. MR is one of my favorite sites on the whole wide internet, so much so that I actually just submitted a piece!

Follow if you love: fashion, beauty, humor writing, silly horoscopes

Sucré Style

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Stacy King (of Sucré, formerly of Eisley) barely ever posts, but the aesthetic when she does is marvelous. Fun fact, I went to a bar in Atlanta based solely on one of her gorgeous posts. Talk about an influencer! Her entire wardrobe is goals, and she has the cutest little fam.

Sucré (the band) released a single today, so go listen to it!

Visit her band’s website, and if you get a chance to see them live, DO IT.

Follow if you love: style, personal posts

Skunkboy

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Alright, fine. This is another blogger I discovered through ABM. Katie is (was?) one of the staff writers for ABM, and has a collab line with BonLook. Skunkboy Blog is where she chronicles the goings-on of her sweet fam, DIYs, and her adorable handmade “creatures.”

Follow if you love: personal posts, sewing, crafts, DIYs, vintage

dum doceo

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dum doceo is the personal blog of my dear friend Annie, a teacher and all-around badass. She’s debuting the blog at the end of the month—don’t miss it!

P.S. “Dum doceo” is Latin for “while I teach.” Annie is really freaking smart, and remembers way more about AP Latin than I do.

Follow if you love: education, personal posts, professional writing

Not Really Oxford Women

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And last but certainly not least, my own side project! My friend Annie (of dum doceo) and I recently applied to study abroad in Oxford this summer, and we’ve started a blog about the whole experience!

Follow if you love: travel, photography

***

What blogs inspire you, dear reader?

xoxo,

c

Let’s Talk About Essential Oils

The first time I ever used an essential oil, I was around 19 and had recently gotten my nose pierced with a friend. Mine (on the right side) never really healed right, so a cursory Google search alerted me to the fact that tea tree oil was anti-bacterial, natural, and promoted healing. I bought a bottle (my broke college butt was mildly appalled by the price tag), and applied it directly to my nose with a Q-Tip (not the smartest move when dealing with harsher oils). But I loved the clean, pungent smell of tea tree, so as the years went by, I sought it out in my products (to this day, I use Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree shampoo on those rare occasions when I actually wash my hair…)

Beyond my tea tree adventures, I didn’t give much thought to essential oils until a few years ago, when I first heard of oil-pulling. If you’ve been on the internet this decade, you’ve heard of it—swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for twenty minutes, pull out all the gross impurities in your mouth. A blogger I follow posted a recipe for oil-pulling chews, made from coconut oil and peppermint essential oil. I marched to the store, grabbed the peppermint oil and flower-shaped silicone ice molds, and got to work. I keep a jar of them in my fridge at all times!

When I got engaged, I decided (for some incomprehensible reason) that DIY-ing soy wax/essential oil candles would be a great idea for wedding favors. Only problem? I had to make at least 50. I diligently hit the craft store, bought all 50 tiny jars, and chose my scents. Suddenly, I had five or so new essential oils! The candle-making was ill-fated (I think I made all of 6—we repurposed the jars), but the EOs ended up being a good investment. Suddenly, I was DIY-ing counter sprays and reed diffusers. I fell in love, in particular, with Eucalyptus. It’s my spirit scent.

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the jars didn’t go to waste!

And then there was Monq. I’ve written about them before, but Monq makes portable, personal aromatherapy diffusers—mini vapes full of essential oil goodness! My personal fave blend is Active—I always have one on me! I discovered the brand on Instagram years ago, and bought my first set with a sweet promo code. These are great for us non-smokers, but I imagine that they’re a wonderful and inexpensive way for smokers to quit, since it replaces the routine. I can’t wait to try their newer blends, especially Ocean!

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yung chels, hitting a happy monq

It was like the entire earth was conspiring to get me to make essential oils a part of my daily routine. Now I’m something of a devotee, though I’d never use them in place of actual medicine…that’s just cray. They’ve help me clean up my act—and by that I mean kick toxic chemicals out of my home one by one.

 

Here are some of the products that helped me get started:

 

dōTERRA

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DoTerra is, at least in my circles, the most popular brand of EOs. Their product is great, but it’s hard to get (you have to buy through a wholesaler unless you want to pay crazy retail markups. Their branding is on point, and they have a ton of diffusers, accessories, spa products, and supplements. My mother gifted me the lovely petal diffuser for Christmas!

Oui Fresh

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You didn’t think I’d miss a chance to shout-out my ABM girls, right? What I love best about Oui Fresh oils is that they’re available at a reasonable retail price and you can buy them no-strings. My personal fave is Rose Geranium!

S.W. Basics

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S.W. Basics is the Brooklyn-based brand of Adina Grigore, who wrote the book Just The Essentials, and inspired me to actually start workin’ on my oil game. No lie, the day after I finished the book, I was browsing the beauty aisle at Target and spotted a gift set of S.W. Basics on sale, so it felt like a sign that I had to give it a try. My set came with the Cleanser, the Toner, and the Cream. I SWEAR the Toner changed my skin overnight. It’s incredible. Now, if I only I could remember to wash my makeup off and use it nightly…

Young Living

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I read a borderline horrifying article recently re: MLMs and essential oils, but, I will say that the few Young Living oils I have are very pure and smell incredible. They, like doTerra, are usually purchased through a distributer, who becomes a member to get them at wholesale price.

My favorite YL product by far is their Thieves toothpaste. They have a whole dental line that I can’t wait to try out.

I haven’t tried their new clean makeup line, but as I start running out of products, I’ll definitely check it out!

Aura Cacia

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I started off with Aura Cacia. They’re a fantastic brand with a consistently great product. My local Wegman’s (shout out to Wegman’s, the best chain grocer), has a pretty impressive natural skincare selection, and AC is the main brand they carry. They have EOs, carrier oils, epsom salts, roller balls, spritz bottles—you name it!

 

EO Products

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EO Products was a total fluke find! I had seen Everyone essential oils at Target, but the packaging was so mod and cute that I actually doubted the quality of the product (don’t judge wine or EOs by their cover, y’all). After I read Just the Essentials, I checked out Adina’s list of recommended brands in the FAQ section, and lo-and-behold: the spray hand sanitizer that I had been using for months was, in fact, EO Products Everyone label! It’s peppermint & citrus, cruelty-free, and non-GMO. I had picked it up, again, at my local Wegs, because it smelled like a mojito fever dream, and didn’t leave me feeling dried out by chemicals (à la Purell). So far, my hand sani is the only thing I’ve tried from EO, but I have total confidence in their brand’s quality (and its cute design).

 

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I’ve previously blogged about EOs once or twice…check out my cocktail-inspired room spray here!

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Also, here’s an original rollerball recipe that will put some pep in your step!

Bright Sunshiny Day Blend

  • 30 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 8 drops spearmint essential oil
  • 5 drops wild orange essential oil
  • carrier oil (I used sweet almond)

This smells like spearmint gum in the best possible way. It’s refreshing and invigorating when the spearmint top notes hit you, but the subtle, sultry bergamot lingers longer. Great to give you a (caffeine-free!) jolt.

And my all-time favorite EO recipe of all is ABM’s face oil, which I use every day after my shower!

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I’ve definitely made some missteps in the EO game. For some reason, I thought it would be smart to diffuse Texas Cedarwood and Lemongrass together (I’m still haunted by the overpowering smell), and I definitely accidentally poured half a bottle of Peppermint into my diffuser one night…

Nevertheless, this experiment into EO land has been fun. Now that I’m building up supplies, I can DIY my heart out and never have to buy chemical-laden perfumes, cleaning products, or skincare products ever again!

It’s a 12-Month Wrap-Up!

Rap- rap- wrap-up!

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.

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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

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image from the chicago tribune review

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

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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 

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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!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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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

Get Out

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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

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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.

#FeelTheDern

Hallmark Christmas Movies

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christmas in the air (2017)

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

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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!

Highlights: “Los Ageless,” “New York,” and “Pills.”

The National, Sleep Well Beast

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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.

Highlights, for me at least, are “Day I Die,” “I’ll Still Destroy You,” and “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness.”

Taylor Swift, reputation

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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.

Put Your Hands Together

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image via twitter

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.

Oui Fresh Beauty

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image via a beautiful mess

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!

 

 

 

It’s Business Time

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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.

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i obviously play pretty fast-and-loose with the rules (this was my halloween costume tbh). top is oui fresh, bottoms are madewell

So, here are a few of my tried-and-true favorite pieces and combinations to help ease you into adulting!

High-Necked Dresses

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this loft sweater dress is a dream!

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

This Madewell sweater dress is #goals.

This JCrew stunner is on my wishlist.

Living for this cobalt blue number.

Blazer/Tank/Jeans

A casual/cool riff on the suit, this look is easy and super stylish. Make sure your jeans are a dark wash, and that the tank isn’t too revealing!

This tank, with these jeans and this blazer would be adorable!

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Bodysuit & Midi-Skirt

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this look is killer

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

Madewell’s body suits are bar none the best.

This skirt is too good. Loft sure knows how to make a skirt!

Classic Blouse (or sweater!) & Trousers

How can you possibly go wrong with this combo? Bonus points for high-waisted pants with tucked-in shirttails!

This blouse from the Who What Wear line at Target would look amazing with some cream or khaki pants!

Or this sweater and these pants? *faints*

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But what about SHOES?!

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.

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Strappy Sandals

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.

Here’s your cheapo pair!

And here’s your splurge! Seychelles makes the best sandals ever.

Flats

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ella pump evangelist, party of one

Flats, or shoes with a small heel (less than 2″) are great for sedentary jobs. Opt for a leather/pleather or suede finish for ultimate polish.

These Madewell pumps are the comfiest heels ever. I’m wearing them in the pic above.

These are the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

These are absurdly cheap and very comfortable.

Loafers

Loafers, oxfords, or (nice) moccasins are a super comfy way to class up an outfit.

These are snazzy and would go with everything.

These are the actual cutest (and they come in pink!)

Boots

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!

This quilted look is adorbs!

I own boots similar to these (same brand), and they are comfy, chic, and go with everything.

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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.