Greetings, people of earth! In personal news, I’m still adjusting to having a real job. It’s weird…people with “real jobs” work soooo much lesssss than people with service industry jobs. I actually feel guilty! Well, I’d feel guilty if I were making more money. I’m making starter wages for a 21-year-old, hardly (read: not) enough to be financially solvent.
I actually started this post two whole weeks ago, but somehow, time got away from me. I’ve just been working, cooking, spending as much time with my husband as possible, and getting ready for my week-long trip to Florida! We’re doing an overnight in St. Pete and seeing Neko Case in concert! Oh, and the night before I leave, I’m seeing Dawes at the Wang Center! Feeling very blessed these days.
Alright, without further ado, I present my favorites from the past couple of weeks).
I started using DuoLingo and I can’t stop! I’m brushing up on my French, primarily, but I also started courses in Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, Welsh, Portuguese, and Russian. I tested into a decent level of Spanish, which is surprising since I’ve never taken a class in it. I can’t believe how much Italian I’ve forgotten—I studied it for over a year in high school. Swedish, however, is by far my favorite. It’s such a cool and logical language. I highly recommend this service to anyone who has an interest in flexing their foreign language skills.
I know I was sleeping on this, but Lizzo’s new single “Juice” is everything. Also, check out “Scuse Me” which is just a perfect song.
I started meal prepping for the week and it’s honestly changed my life. My digestion has been better, and I have wholesome, healthy breakfasts and lunches prepared every day for work. I was really inspired by McKel at Nutrition Stripped. She recently launched a free e-course on meal planning and it was such a great jumping off point. Gimme all the jar salads and nourish bowls! I have to tell you, jar salads have been a game-changer for office lunch! It’s so much easier to say no to take out when you have a big serving of all your favorite legumes, grains, and veggies waiting for you in the office fridge.
I’ve been eating almost exclusively plant-based lately and I’m loving it! I still have the occasional egg and some of my meals include a little bit of cheese, but that’s been it. It’s made my cooking so much more creative. I think I’m going to start posting recipes again, since that was the whole point of this blog in the first place.
Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, which I’m listening to on audiobook, is so deeply moving that I cry almost every time I listen. It’s somehow even better than I thought it would be. 10/10 recommend.
The Shutdown is (temporarily) over! My heart goes out to the government workers who have been furloughed (without pay) or forced to work without pay. This shutdown was about 15 days longer than any other in history, and the administration should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting workers and neglecting basic services and essential government functions, but they won’t be because they are all chaotic evil. Each and every one of the 800,000 people immediately affected are such heroes.
These are a list of books I have every intention of reading in 2019. I’m only including books that I already own, since I’m not allowed to buy media this year (that’s why libraries exist, y’all). Here’s what on the docket!
Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’m listening to this one, because I want Michelle’s amazing voice to soothe all of my ills.
My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper. I’m listening to this on Audible right now and loving it. Ellie is so sweet and super funny.
All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. I started this about a month ago but had to put it off until school was over so I could truly enjoy it.
Not That Bad: Dispatches from RapeCulture, edited by Roxane Gay. I read most of this book in the spring but never got around to finishing it. Some of the essays can be extremely challenging to get through. The writers bare their souls.
Shrill by Lindy West. Discovered Lindy way late, on Dear Prudence, and have been obsessed with her ever since.
WonderfulTonight by Pattie Boyd. Pattie has the up-close-and-personal deets about Harrison and Clapton
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Been meaning to read this one for ages.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I started this earlier this year but it got sacrificed to the grad school gods. As soon as I’m finished I’m watching the film.
Live from New York.The SNL book! Been dying to read this ever since it came out.
Waiting for the Punch by Marc Maron. This is a collection of all the wisdom he gained doing his interview podcast WTF with Marc Maron. He basically invented podcasts, and he’s had some of the most incredible guests—Barack Obama say whaaaat?
Bitch Doctrine by Laurie Penny. I discovered Laurie on Dear Prudence and immediately started following her on Twitter. She’s a savage, and I love her.
Unladylike by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin. The former ladies of Stuff Mom Never Told You wrote a book!
Hard Choices and What Happened by Hillary Clinton. Because of course I am.
In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington. Remember the thin privilege Twitter thread this summer? That was by Cora, who is a lingerie writer at The Lingerie Addict. I know literally nothing about lingerie, but I’m a grown-ass woman and it’s about time I did.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Started this one years ago and never finished. I am such a distracted reader!
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. I am a Handmaid’s Tale stan (both the book and the show), so I can’t wait to read more Atwood!
Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes. JB is one of my favorite short story writers, so I’m pumped to read his novel.
How to Rent a Negro by Damali Ayo. This was on the syllabus for my American Racial Satire class, but I fell behind and never got a chance to read it.
Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I KNOW. It’s insane I haven’t read this already. Don’t come for me. Not every avid reader can read every damn classic.
Erasure by Percival Everett.I Am Not Sidney Poitier is one of my favorite books of all time and apparently this one is even wilder.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Another classic I should have already read.
Every Day by David Levithan, because who doesn’t need a YA break every once in a while?
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. For obvious reasons.
The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Ortberg. For obvious reasons.
The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier. Love a good biography, and I find SP so inspiring.
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I’ve read at least 60% of this book like three times, but always end up not finishing it for some reason! Here’s to a better 2019.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Same as Housekeeping.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Bought this while I was in England. Zadie is bae.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Heard such good things about this one!
All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey. To be fair, I’m a good chunk of the way through this one on Audible, but I do plan to finish it soon.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This is another one I read most of in high school, but I bought it on Audible narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal, so I plan to listen to it on my work commute.
Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman. I am obsessed with Jaya, and who doesn’t want to read a book about summoning success, banishing drama, and raising hell?
MAUS I & II by Art Spiegelman. Because I was supposed to read them for class (oops!), and because I want to challenge myself to actually read a graphic novel.
So Close to Being the Shit, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta. Audible, and Retta is my favorite.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Audible. When Michelle McNamara died, Julie Klausner re-aired an interview with her and she was such a brilliant mind.
This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps. Audible. Busy is the best, from Kim Kelly to Busy Tonight.
Always Look on the Bright Side of Lifeby Eric Idle. Monty Python is my favorite ever.
I hope to read more than this in 2019, but clearly, I have a great year of reading ahead of me!
We’re officially on the Oxford countdown! I leave for England in a month! (Well, a month and 2 days, but whatever!) Time to start planning outfits and prepping! And, I guess, doing schoolwork, or something. It’s such a dream come true to get to study at Oxford this summer—I wanted to go there as a child!
Here’s what’s up this week, as I anxiously await my departure:
I have always wanted to be a mom, and these little stacking name rings are too much for my heart to take.
Lay Lay is the only person that matters in the entire world.
Congrats to ABC for cancelling Roseanne. Shouldn’t have taken a racist tirade. We need to stop giving bigots platforms. First Amendment states with clarity that we have freedom of speech—not freedom from consequences. (Maybe now ABC can revive Happy Endings, a show that is *actually* great?)
Well, summer lasted for about a week. Now we’re back to gloomy 50 degree days, because, apparently, life is a rich tapestry. Why do I always start these posts by talking about the weather? Because I’m from New England and that’s the most exciting thing we have? Probably.
In any case, here’s what’s been going on with me, since you asked:
I went on vacation to Tallahassee last week, and I brought way, way too many outfits, courtesy of my Away luggage. The carry-ons are inspired—they charge your damn phone! I bought a massive one for my trip to England in July! I know buying stuff they advertise on podcasts is basic, but these suitcases are by far the best I’ve ever owned, and I’m not getting paid to say it!
I’m reading Not That Bad, a collection of essays curated and edited by Roxane Gay and MAN OH MAN is it a fun romp for the whole family. Just kidding, it’s a living nightmare! Girls and women and transfolk endure so much—it’s hard to read about, but so important. The thesis of the collection, in short, is that, as women*, we’re taught to internalize our abuse, to rationalize with ourselves that what we experienced was “not that bad,” when truthfully, any assault is “that bad.” Minimizing our pain and not holding abusers accountable contributes to the perpetuation of rape culture. But you should read Roxane explain it much more eloquently than I ever could. TW rape and sexual assault.
I start class on Tuesday, again (does she ever stop doing school?), so I just spent a small fortune on books. It’s a Recent British Short Fiction class, and we’re reading all things A.S. Byatt and J.G. Ballard. Brits really love going by their initials, huh? (cough J.K. Rowling cough) Because I love you, here’s a pdf of Ballard’s complete short stories—my personal fave is “The Smile.”
This casita is too much. I would simply die to have a guest house. Maybe I should finish my own home renovation before I start expanding…
I am so excited to see this movie that I can hardly breathe. One more week!
My girl Courtney Barnett put out a new album on Friday and it is so freaking good! Plus, the deluxe edition (which hubby definitely bought for me yesterday at Newbury Comics) comes with an adorable tote bag!
A cluttered house is a cluttered mind. I’ve linked to these babes before, but seriously, The Home Edit is pure, unadulterated organization porn. The older I get, the more of an anal-retentive organization freak I become. Don’t let me into your house if you don’t want it cleaned!
I caaaaannnnn’t stop listening to Cardi B‘s Invasion of Privacy. I need to go to Cardi B rehab. My favorite of her songs? Gosh, thanks for asking! Toss up between “I Like It” and “Moneybag.” I mean, come on with this line: “I said bae, it’s a snack / he said it’s a entrée / with them pretty-ass twins you look like Beyoncé.” INSPIRED.
I didn’t wake up to watch the Royal Wedding, because 4am is too goddamn early, but don’t get it twisted—I’m all in. From the pics I’ve seen, I know Oprah and Serena Williams were there, the hats were fierce AF, and Rev. Michael Curry took everybody to church.
Just gaze at this charming description of my region:
It’s another Nor’Easter! My in-laws lost power but thankfully our old house (built in 1900) is somehow a bulwark never failing against storms (we nevah evah lose powah, kid). This week’s avalanche of death is being referred to as “Winter Storm Quinn,” which, honestly, for the 90s babies among us, is just kind of a bitchy move.
Because I am quite literally snowed in, here’s how I’ll be entertaining myself today:
Catching up on The Resident. You have got to get into this show. Matt Czuchry is so hot in it that it should be a federal crime. He’s one of those Paul Rudd bastards that only gets hotter with age. It’s a travesty. He’s bringing Logan Huntzberger charm & daddy issues to the role, except, instead of a yuppie, he’s a fucking doctor who fought in Afghanistan and has tattoos. I rest my case. Also, apart from this insane digression about how much of a borderline unacceptable crush I have on the lead actor, the show is actually very good. Shaunette Renée Wilson from Black Panther is in the main cast, and she is a revelation.
Bingeing The Good Wife on Hulu because Czuchry is also in that, and I have no dignity or shame. Doctor Logan, Lawyer Logan.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!