Hello! This week was absolutely insane. I spent the first half sick and the second half doing Too Many Activities™. Friday was our annual work outing, at which I spent 2+ hours getting torrentially downpoured on in a sailboat (misery) and drank all the wine cocktails (happiness). Then, I drove out to Western Mass to see one of my dearest friends and go to a show (detailed below), and didn’t get home until 2 am. Needless to say, I am an empty shell of a human who requires sleep and adequate nutrition. So, without further ado, my weekly roundup:
I saw Jenny Lewis (again) last night in Northampton, and it was a religious experience. She’s still on tour, so get tickets immediately! I might go see her again in Boston or Providence, it was that amazing.
I’ve been watching Catastropheagain, because I’m never not watching Catastrophe in a loop. Truly the greatest series ever created.
One of my biggest regrets is not registering for a high-powered blender or Vitamix for our wedding. Just trying to make my own oat milk! Also, if you’re not on the oat milk train, I feel bad for you, son.
This playlist, FIG for CHELS—True/Tested, i.e. the playlist of car songs my husband has been making for me over the past several months, slaps so hard it should be illegal.
Michael and I are (slowly) watching Westworld. We certainly don’t have the same momentum watching it as we did Game of Thrones (the nonlinear storyline doesn’t propel it forward in quite the same way), but we’re really enjoying it so far. Thandie Newton is a sensation.
Speaking of HBO, they made a series of My Brilliant Friend, one of my favorite novels of all time??? Watching immediately.
Think I’m gonna get right down to business today, guys! Here’s my week in a nutshell:
I’m actually doing it, fam! I’m doing the Spending Fast. We’re shooting for a year, but it’s based on need. If I can pay my consumer debt down faster (I have a couple of ways I could do this, but they’re both pending/not guaranteed), we might not need to keep going until 2020, but honestly, the experience has been so empowering that I don’t think I’ll want to stop! I’m rereading Anna’s book, and Katy Goodman’s Insta stories have been super inspiring (she has a No Buy highlight). Just with little tweaks, my grocery bill has started to come down, I’m using cash for purchases, and we cancelled cable (finally!). Student loans go into repayment next month, so things will be really tight—I’m working on starting a side hustle job (more on that later). It feels so good to rid yourself of all the stuff in your life that’s weighing you down! P.S. Anna’s book (Kindle version) is on sale for $1.99 right now, so snatch it up!
Catastrophe series 4 is streaming on Amazon starting March 15th and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s one of my favorite pieces of media ever made. Sharon and Rob are geniuses beyond measure. I think I’m going to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription after I watch it, which is kind of a big step for me! I’ll have to buy the season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel next year, but a one-time $12-ish purchase is better than $49-$99 a year to support a company that sucks!
Since I’m not spending money right now, I’ve been bringing my own lunch to work every day. Sometimes, that means the Trader Joe’s microwave meals that we still have from before the No-Buy, but mostly it’s meant leftovers and jar salads. I stan a jar salad. They are my favorite thing on the planet. People at work think I’m nuts rolling up to the breakroom with a quart Mason jar of lettuce but they don’t even know. You can put literally anything in a jar salad. My last one was champagne-pear salad dressing, snow peas, beet sauerkraut, mixed greens, and vegan cashew parm. Delicious!
I’m psyched to make this soup recipe. I make a mean tomato basil, but subbing cashews in for cream is genius! My belief about food is that, if you can make it vegan with little to no effort, do that shit.
I started using the iBotta app, which gives you cash back for buying certain items and submitting your receipts. It’s like coupons, but 2019. I think apps like this can be a slippery slope and convince people to buy products they don’t need, but I go through and find only things that are already on my grocery list, and choose the most cost effective brand. For instance, there was a $1 back bonus on Health-Ade Kombucha, which made it, effectively, cheaper than even the store brand. I’ve made $13 so far, off of only 2 shopping trips.
Saved the best for last: RUSSIAN DOLL. RUSSIAN DOLLLLLL! You’ve gotta watch this show. Drop what you’re doing and immediately log in to Netflix. It’s only February but this is definitely the best show of the year. Natasha Lyonne is breathtaking. We just finished last night and I am already yearning for a new season. A perfect, perfect show.
So, full disclosure—while I don’t identify as Christian (my dad’s fam is totally secular and my mother’s is lapsed Catholic AF), I L O V E Christmas. The opportunity to decorate my home with even more white and gold? Sign me up! I have two pre-lit trees—one I inherited from my mom (it’s green with colored lights) and one skinny 6′ rose gold tree that I got at Target before the 2016 election (that year was dark, so I decorated very early). I didn’t decorate last year because our house was under construction, so this year I went ham. But this is just a dry-run for next year, which will be over the freakin’ top. I’m already depressed about January coming and having to take down all my glitz. As long as it’s down by Valentine’s Day, I’m fine, right?
That said, here are some holiday faves!
Best Ways to Give Back
Around the holidays I go beyond my usual small monthly donations! Here are some of my fave charities and ways to give!
I started compiling a Christmas album playlist for myself, but I got very, very lazy. Also, I work in a store that plays nonstop Christmas music (which I’m actually very here for) so I got my fill this year!
Gift Cards to Amazon or Target—these will never not get used.
What I call “The Cornucopia”—hone in on one interest and make a gift basket out of tiny items! If your friend is a writer, buy them fancy versions of everything they need—a journal, pens, notepads, sticky notes, stickers, washi tape, paper clips, you name it! Most people (not me, obviously), but most people won’t indulge themselves in that gold stapler or adorable jar of wooden pushpins because function > fashion. Useful gifts are always the best gifts, and tons of little gifts, imo, are better than one. I did one of these for my husband for our first Christmas together and those items are still floating around the house.
A memory. This might sound dumb, but this is the perfect gift for the person who has everything. Example: I’m gifting my favorite professor a framed photo I took of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, because I first heard of it in his class and his support was the reason I got the opportunity to go there. I hope that, for years to come, he can glance over and think warmly about one of his favorite places.
And finally, a free idea, since not everyone in the world spends money like a millionaire (guilty!)—a hand-written card or letter. Literally who writes letters anymore?! I’ve done this a couple of times for various events (sometimes accompanying a gift, sometimes not), and it always gets a great response. Not everyone needs external validation all the time (guilty!) but people love knowing how special they are to you!
I am about to seriously out myself right now, but I’ve never seen Die HardorHome Alone. I know. I suck. Truth be told, I’ve never actually even watched A Christmas Story from start to finish. I am not a movie girl (I blame the ADHD). I’m a TV addict—hit me with a Doctor Who or Downton Christmas special any day.
My personal favorite holiday films: It’s A Wonderful Life (true life: I was in a stage production of this when I was 16), the Mickey Mouse & Muppet versions of A Christmas Carol, the Jim Carrey Grinch, and of course, ELF, the best Christmas movie of all time.
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.
‘Sup, y’all? It seems like spring is finally creeping its way in…in Massachusetts we get like 9 months of winter, about 2 days of spring in early May, and then oppressive summer for the rest of the time. It’s so great! #thxglobalwarming
Also, it’s the end of the semester, so things are peak stressful. Here’s what’s up.
Happy Sunday! I have the dreaded task of homework to look forward to today, but hopefully you have some free time to chill out, max, and relax all cool. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.
I’m so inspired by the March For Our Lives. I wish I could have gone into Boston yesterday. Be sure to sign the petition against gun violence!
The Lamplighter, Maria Susanna Cummins—Maybe 19th century sentimental fiction isn’t quite your “thing,” but I am absolutely obsessed with this book right now. The tale of little Gerty is so heartbreakingly sweet. Here’s a link to the Kindle edition, which is free!
Should I do this? It’d be nice to have Spotify Premium again, but I’m so used to that no-commercials Hulu life, that I’m not sure I can go back! It would save me $7/month, and I’d get another service. I’m torn!
This tweetdestroyed me. Bless the person that saw that connection.
I’m so excited to watch Champions on NBC! I’m into anything Mindy Kaling is involved with, and the cast is stellar!
Did you know that students and educators get a discount on digital subscriptions to the New York Times? It’s crazy affordable. I just subscribed and am loving all of this nonstop crossword action!
And, last but not least, John Oliver’s staff wrote a book about gay bunnies getting married in response to Mike Pence’s Marlon Bundo book, and it is truly, truly inspiring. It’s out of stock at the moment, but as soon as it’s back, I’m buying one for my future kid.
It’s finally February. Praise Be / Under His Eye. January suuuuucked, so I’m glad to have a fresh start. I did accomplish a few things in January, but overall it was a wash. Daylight Savings starts (ends?) in a month and I’m counting the days.
The other day, I had a personal training session and my lovely trainer didn’t pull any punches! It was a full body workout like I’ve never experienced. Of course, because I’m an idiot, I went back to the gym that night to take a Vinyasa Flow class. I clearly can’t be trusted to take care of my own body. Friday night (the day after) I was hurting. Luckily, my brother had a foam roller, and I inexpertly worked out some of the knots in my back. Needless to say, I’m a convert! I’m snagging one of these ASAP!
I was reading some tips on zero-waste living, and while I’ll never get 100% there (hell, I’m like 40% there), I was intrigued at the concept of reusable organic cotton pads. As you all know, I’m here for period gear, but I’ve been a little gunshy about the cost of converting. Well, enter the Hesta Menstrual Cup which is AFFORDABLE and comes with an organic cotton reusable liner! According to Clue, it should arrive via Prime before I’m stricken with the (lovely, natural) plague, so I’ll report back soon!
I cannot stop listening to this Marvelous Mrs. Maisel playlist I made on Spotify. This series has the best music curation I’ve ever heard, and they’ve got that Amazon money so there are TWO Barbra Streisand songs! My playlist isn’t 100% accurate—it’s missing at least one song that wasn’t available on Spotify and the version of “I Enjoy Being A Girl” is different, but I did my due diligence and it’s pretty thorough. Check out this playlist, which is one of the sources I used for mine, and make sure to listen to the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Goys podcast!
I assume you’re all watching This Is Us, correct? I am SO EXCITED for tonight’s episode, I could scream! We’re finally going to find out how Jack died…I think. Even though I’m a baby and will inevitably be asleep early tonight (even though “my team” is in the Super Bowl or whatever), I’ll be rushing home from work to watch it tomorrow.
This series about Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker by the incomparable Dana Schwartz has me cackling! I actually read Fifty Shades a few years back, while I was “babysitting” my mother-in-law post-surgery, and I have so many thoughts and feelings (about the movie too).I think it’s a gorgeous tribute to the inspiration for Fifty Shades, Twilight, that the two lead actors have zero chemistry. If there weren’t so many takes available online, I’d definitely write a post about it. P.S. I actually wrote a similar post about Dana Schwartz’s own book a few months back!
A Design Kit is finally out! The ladies of ABM put out a companion app to their amazing A Color Story and it’s the best! I made the above graphic with ADK in about 5 seconds flat. There’s a great selection of brushes, fonts, and stickers to jazz up all of your photos!
This is super random closer, but I just found these bookends on Modcloth (but cheaper on Amazon), and I must have them for when our renovation is complete…whenever that will be. It’s very apropos in a musician’s household.
Signing off until next week! Everyone enjoy the football sports stuff!