For years, I have been trying to steal the title “Queen of Christmas” from Mariah Carey. I always put up a tree, but starting in 2016, I really turned the Christmas cheer up to an 11 (it’s been a rough several years for the world!) But this year, things might look a little different. As I’m expecting twins at some point between, well, later today and my to-be-scheduled induction on November 1, I may just not have the energy or the time to create my usual Winter Wonderland.
So this year, I am embracing all things fall! I didn’t even wait until September to start with the pumpkin spice lattes. Fall is definitely the best actual season, at least weather-wise, but as someone who doesn’t eat candy and hates scary movies, Halloween has never really been my thing (even though my anniversary is 10/30 and we had a candy buffet at our wedding…go figure).
As much as you may try to deny it before it actually happens, having kids does majorly change you, and I realize that I’m about to raise two Scorpio babes who may actually be born on Halloween. I definitely needed a spooky season attitude adjustment, so I’ve started a Halloween and fall décor collection that will hopefully be as insane as my Christmas collection by the time the kids are old enough to Trick or Treat.
We are a cat family, so this kitty skeleton is a must. They also have a bat version…I’m planning on getting several bats to hang on the wall in our entryway.
I love these skeleton dudes, and I want to get a bunch to pose on our furniture, but I’m such a jumpy person that I’ll probably have a mild heart attack every time I walk into a room and see one.
Apparently I’m just really into skeletons, because this skeleton man is on my front door, and even though he annoyingly clangs around every time we open it, I would die for him. My favorite decoration I’ve ever owned.
I love this bottlebrush Halloween wreath. Wreaths are one of my favorite ways to decorate seasonally, since they don’t take up any counter space, they’re easy to store and reuse year after year, and they don’t require any special skills or gear to hang, like Christmas lights do. A pushpin, Command hook, or over-the-door hanger will do the trick.
This raffia wreath might just become a year-round decoration in our house.
I hung this felt autumn wreath on the door in our main entryway. It’s protected from the elements by our glass door, and it’s super light-weight, which makes it perfect for such a high-traffic area.
I’m drinking my morning coffee out of this ghost mug right now. This version is so adorable that I might have to get a few just to decorate with. Maybe I could fill them with candy? Does anyone else collect holiday mugs and swap them out every season? Just me?
These neutral pumpkins come in two sizes and colors, and if I had unlimited money I would buy 400 of them.
Couldn’t resist this plaid pumpkin. In my opinion, pumpkins are the best fall décor pieces, because you can leave them out well past Halloween. If the colors coordinate, you can even incorporate them into your Christmas decorations!
Good morning! I have barely left the house in ages since I’m pregnant and only half-vaxxed (I had to wait until the second trimester), so I don’t have much to report, but here’s what little I can recommend at the moment.
Finally caved and bought this water bottle. The one thing I didn’t consider was that it has a greater capacity than my Soma filter, so filling it is an enormous production. (I ended up solving this by picking a water dispenser up from the Container Store).
Treated myself to this cutie after a very long purse-buying hiatus.
This deodorant is so good. It’s still a natural deodorant, so it’s not magic, but it really holds up, even in hot weather. I got mine at Ulta.
Even though I have only recently joined the motherhood club, I’ve been A Mom for a while, as evidenced by my excitement over this gadget.
Pretty much none of my bathing suit tops fit me now that I have pregnancy boobs (which, for me, is still nothing to write home about), so I’m trawling the J. Crew sale for something with some structure that can accommodate the new additions.
My husband and I have been watching The Nanny on HBO Max and apart from the obvious things about it that haven’t held up over the past 30 years, it is a near perfect show. Sylvia Fine is my idol.
Good day, sunshines! I’ve been deep into an all-consuming work project all week, so I don’t have a ton to share. Did anything catastrophic happen in the world? I’m completely tuned out (and I have to admit that ignorance is, as they say, bliss).
Where I live it’s still freezing cold, but it’s just now starting to show signs of the early spring thaw, which can’t come soon enough. I’ve been excessively cautious about the virus and haven’t done anything or seen anyone since the fall, so I’m looking forward to an outdoor brunch on a warm day in the not-so-distant future.
Did I really just start this blog post with small talk about work and the weather? Send me to the guillotine. Anyway, have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow and stay safe!
Currently knitting a baby blanket out of this yarn. I got three skeins–I’m planning to do the middle section in a slightly darker blush pink. God forbid I ever have a boy…
I’m re-re-reorganizing my kitchen counters (mostly to accommodate my Always Pans, if I’m being honest) with this shelving unit and this toaster. I also got this electric kettle and I’m obsessed! Being able to control the exact temperature is a game-changer. Temp is a really important factor in coffee quality, but in addition to that, I’ve used it to make perfectly lukewarm water for yeast and non-scalding water for tea.
Speaking of yeast—this is bar none the best and easiest pizza crust recipe. If you don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer, I highly recommend saving up for one. Alternately, you could simply get married and put one on your wedding registry. 100% worth making a lifelong commitment to another human being.
One of my myriad terrible qualities is that I can’t seem to walk out of a Target without buying a cute mug. But in my defense, the only two left were the C (for Chelsea) and M (for my husband, Michael), so I think that legally obligates me to get them. The colors also coordinate with my entire house, so, you do the math.
Is the terrazzo trend over? I love the look, but I’m hesitant to leap into anything trendy. Except, of course, “millennial pink,” since pink is a neutral in my book. Maybe I could start small, with a phone case? I’m gutting and redoing our second bedroom in a pastel rainbow theme, and these colors are perfect for an accent wall.
Redid my entryway/mudroom with these hook racks. I’ve never been able to resist a brass accent.
Happy (very belated) Valentimes! I’ve never been much for this particular holiday, since I hate candy, cold weather, and obligations generally, but a cozy Valentine’s Day at home this year is just what the doctor ordered. This was my eighth V-Day with my husband, if such a thing is to be said. He shares my general sentiment (he’s even more of a Grinch than I am; he’d forget his birthday and Christmas if I didn’t remind him), but he knocked our first Valentine’s Day out of the park. We saw Nicole Atkins at Brighton Music Hall, and it remains one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Quick tangent: Nicole is one of the finest singer-songwriters on the planet, in addition to being SO NICE in person.
In other news, the entire country is frozen. I’m from Massachusetts, so winter storms are par for the course and we have the infrastructure to deal with them. My heart aches for the Southern states who weren’t prepared for this climate catastrophe, and whose leaders are incompetent, hypocritical assholes who don’t care whether their constituents live or die (looking at you, Ted Cruz). One of my favorite comedians, Jen Kirkman, put together an amazing thread of all the ways to help Texas. I feel very, very grateful to be where I am right now, and also to have a husband who does all the shoveling and snow maintenance.
Today (2/20) would also be Kurt Cobain’s 54th birthday. I’m a lifelong Nirvana stan (literally lifelong; Nevermind came out almost exactly a month after I was born), so I always get reflective on this day, as well as on April 5th (the day he passed). He had only just turned 27 when he died (two and a half years younger than I am now!) but in his short life absolutely changed the world. I’m tempted to say he was ahead of his time, but he wasn’t…he was living in the present while the rest of the world languished in the past. Happy birthday, king.
With all that being said, stay warm and safe and listen to some Nirvana today.
I cannot tell a lie: the Always Pan is worth 100% of the hype. I just bought a second one (although in retrospect, I should have gotten the Dinner for 4 bundle). The pan going to be my new go-to gift for friends. And as soon as the lavender comes back in stock, one of my parents will be #blessed with a hand-me-down.
I’ve been loving In the FLO by Alicia Vitti. My psychiatrist actually recommended it to me, since she knows my ultimate goal is to get in sync with my body and be on as little medication as possible. The term “biohack” makes me want to vomit, but the author makes clear that she doesn’t mean it in the tech bro way. I’d never even heard of the infradian rhythm! Obviously boo biological essentialism and sex ≠ gender, but I’m also sick and fucking tired of the fact that all of our conventional knowledge and medical studies are based on male bodies.
I’m rewatching Gossip Girl on HBO Max because I have zero respect for myself (actually it’s because the girl I tutor was assigned to read the book in her Y.A. Lit class). I watched it for the first time when I about 24, having missed the boat in my teen years, and it’s amazing how much my perspective has changed in the intervening time (I’ll be 30 in 6 months). The show is…VERY CAVALIER about sexual assault in a way that cannot have been healthy for my generation to watch. However, for each troubling moment, there is one equally joyful and iconic, such as the fact that, canonically, Lily van der Woodsen has slept with both Trent Reznor and Slash.
I searched vintage glassware on Etsy on a complete whim and found this set of floral glasses. They match a juice pitcher that belonged to my husband’s late grandmother almost perfectly! They were extremely close, so I’m excited to be able to display this sweet little trip down memory lane. The rest of the shop has super cute stuff for great prices.
*Bernie meme voice* I am once again posting this about a month late. In fact, I’m posting this so late that a new Bernie meme (mittens) has already come and gone, replacing the “I am once again asking” meme. We stan a sustainable grassroots king, but c’mon Chelsea—stay ahead of the meme cycle.
I’ve been emotionally all over the place, so it felt disingenuous to be posting about redecorating my office while I was in a private hell. 2021 has been a trip so far, but things seem to have stabilized, and now everything’s coming up Milhouse. My grandmother and her sister got their first doses of the vaccine the other day, which is the first time it’s felt like this all might actually end. When my mom sent me the picture of my grandma getting the vaccine, I think I took my first deep breath in 11 months.
Anyway, here’s a post that has been languishing in my drafts for weeks. Here’s to fresh starts!
I just read Chloe Liese‘s Bergman Brothers series, and I might actually die waiting for the Axel/Rooney novel. I ship them so hard. Also, my friend is an author and apparently knows Chloe personally! I’m starstuck!
Thinking about painting all of my bedroom furniture (which is a horrible dark wood stain) white with this tutorial. Doesn’t make sense to replace all of the furniture, but…
I did get this bedframe. A gold canopy bed! Can you imagine anything so magical??
Loved this podcast episode about the Crisis Pregnancy Center scene from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. And not that I need to clarify my position, but I’ll take any chance I get to shout out that abortion is healthcare, a right, and needs to be protected at all costs.
We did it, Joe. We have a new President. Yesterday was emotional, I’m not going to lie. Even though I am absolutely a dirtbag leftist who did nothing but hate on Biden and Harris during the primaries, I feel renewed by this change. Biden’s been in office for 5 minutes and he has already rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, reversed the Muslim ban, and halted deportations, so things are in motion. Now if we could just implement Medicare for All, cancel student debt, and 1000x more importantly, reunite the families separated at the border…
Regardless of the ultimate outcomes achieved by this administration, I’m proud to have cast a vote for Biden in a free and fair election that toppled a wannabe autocrat. And now for a blog post that has nothing to do with any of that.
My guilty pleasure show, The Resident, is finally back for a new season (Fox/Hulu). I knew intellectually that a show that takes place in a hospital was going to have to do a COVID plot, but I still hated it! We watch television to escape, people! The first episode is honestly triggering. What’s worse is that they cover my boyfriend, actor Matt Czuchry, in PPE the whole time, so you barely get to gaze upon him. A damn shame. Luckily, they decided to do the rest of the season in a post-COVID flash-forward, so I can continue to be ride-or-die for this questionable show.
Just bought this wall hanging for my office after a long search for “the one.” Can’t wait to share pics when the refresh is complete!
I’m never not on a quest to refresh my bedding, and I am feeling this duvet. I ultimately went with this set, since I’m not Anthro-rich. I added this blanket, which may be the softest thing I’ve ever touched.
Dyed my hair with Overtone’s Rose Gold for Brown Hair and it is…vibrant. I kind of wish I’d gone with the subtler version, since my hair is pre-lightened, but I’m sure it’ll fade. It’s a coloring conditioner, so it’s non-damaging. My hair feels really healthy!
Snagged these adorable flats at Nordstrom Rack. It doesn’t count as crossing the picket line if I get them off-price…right?
January 19th was Dolly Parton’s birthday, and I’m genuinely incensed that we haven’t declared it a federal holiday yet. We don’t deserve her.
Good evening! Is it weird to say I’m just grateful to be alive? I really feel like that’s where we’re at with COVID and *gestures broadly at the entire country being consumed by flames.* I recently had my first family members get COVID, so I’m currently quarantined awaiting my test result (I feel completely healthy, so I’m praying for a negative!) The swab is not fun. I can’t believe some people have to do that for work every day!
This hardcore version of quarantine has really started to get to me, as evidenced by my sobbing to Faith Hill’s “Breathe” the other night while doing medical research on the internet (famously a terrible idea!) But being cooped up like this, without even the respite of trips to the grocery store or Starbucks, has also been creatively inspiring and very emotionally revealing. I feel grounded and present in a way I haven’t in, well, possibly ever. It can be challenging to intellectualize your own good fortune, especially at times like this, because more dire circumstances than your own are an unknown (I think I’ve just defined “first world problems”). I really feel it right now. I feel…optimistic? Is that a thing? Have I fallen victim to the New Year’s Resolution Industrial Complex?
Anyway, as usual, I have no cogent way of wrapping this up and segueing into my frivolous round-up, so let’s get to it!
Currently bingeing the Australian show Please Like Me on Hulu. It is an absolute delight. As a result, I can’t stop listening to this song.
I can’t drink for the foreseeable future (I actually mean it this time, it’s not just Dry January) so I ordered all 3 types of Ritual Zero Proof liquor alternatives. I’ve been making martinis with Seedlip, so I’m really excited to try their gin alternative! It really is the ritual for me! They’re running a 20% off backordered items right now, so it’s a good time to grab them.
Since I’m an absolute nutcase who loves a project and is in mega nesting mode, I bought this sideboard for my office. I’m completely redecorating the space (I literally drew plans up, despite my complete lack of artistic ability), and I want it to have a mid-century lounge feel. Since you asked, I will be painting the hardware gold. My goal for this room is for it to be like if Stevie Nicks moved into Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs house. You know, normal!
And before I go, I’d be remiss not to say that I am terror-stricken and devastated by the insurrection that took place on Wednesday. I don’t want to live in a nation where violent white people can commit open treason and walk away safely while people of color are continually brutalized by the police for merely existing (which is to say nothing of the virulent, egregious anti-Semitism on display). But *the discourse* doesn’t need another white voice taking up space, so I’m just going to listen and keep trying to do the work to unlearn white supremacy and be actively anti-racist. Fuck fascists, invoke the 25th amendment.
Good morning! I want to express my deepest condolences to anyone who has to work today. I’m off until the 4th, because my job absolutely rules. I will be spending my day baking chocolate babka and catching up on podcasts. I’m also racing to read 50 books by the end of the year…only 4 left!
I hope you and yours have a spectacular holiday season in spite of everything. Merry Christmas!
Taylor has done it again—sneak-attacking us with another iconic album, this time in celebration of her 31st birthday. I was an extremely late-adopter with Taylor, but even if I hadn’t already become a fan, 2020 would have been the year. This girl comes back harder than a ’90s trend. (This post was mostly written a week ago, so I know evermore is already old news.)
I’m going to be posting about my 2020 in books, but one that deserves an unrelated shout out is Beach Read by Emily Henry. I almost wanted to start over from the beginning when I finished it. Powerful, sweet, delightful fun. Also, I read this during a snowstorm, so it was nice to remember that summer exists.
I got another set of foils in my quest to become a blonde and the bleach lightened the virgin hair at my roots so much that it kind of looked like a ’90s boy-band’s frosted tips (I have since gotten a root smudge). I use Olaplex to keep my hair from falling out from the way I abuse it.
I’m listening to Shit, Actually by Lindy West and the chapter on The Notebook felt like a point-blank execution. I know it’s problematic, and that by extension, I’m problematic, but I don’t care! It’s an iconic love story! (To be clear, Lindy’s book absolutely rules and has made me laugh out loud like a fool on innumerable occasions.)
Bided (bode?) my time and finally managed to snag a new wool coat for 60% off. Debating as to whether I should grab this one too, since it’s SO inexpensive…
Reorganized my fridge again because, much like Angelica Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, I will never be satisfied. These carafes are such a bargain and look sexy as hell in the fridge. No more ugly cardboard and plastic containers! These ones have a half gallon capacity if that better suits your needs.
I’ve probably already written about this, but I got a matching set of this hoodie and these joggers (when they were on sale, I’m not a millionaire) and I feel LUXE when I wear it. I wish I could afford to get them in every color. Ironically, the first day I wore my sweatsuit, I came across this article by one of my favorite writers, Amanda Mull. P.S. It’s probably only a matter of time before I get this to complete the look, since I’m the worst person I know.
Hanukkah was last week, and while I am not Jewish and have basically zero right to care about this, I am also an obsessively festive holiday person, so I had a 2-person mini feast of “traditional” foods I’d never tried to make before. A friend of mine made me some vegetarian matzoh ball soup and hamentachen, and I made latkes, applesauce, challah, and tzimmes (without the plums, since my husband has a thing about fruit in savory foods). It was so delicious and I’m definitely writing this while I’m eating the leftovers. Taste-wise, the challah wasn’t as good as when I made it on Rosh Hashanah (if this behavior is what gets me cancelled, it will have been a good run), but I’ve gotten so much better at braiding. It was a sight to behold!
Full disclosure—I am about the least tech-y person on earth. I didn’t even get a Kindle until like two years ago. However, boy, do I love a gadget! This gift guide could really apply to any kind of person, but given that I own at least a version of every single item on here, it is pretty tailored to a person…exactly like me. But, in fairness, don’t we all have a basic, millennial white woman in our lives? The prices range from $15 – $150, so whether you’re doing a Secret Santa or buying for a significant other, I’ve got your back!
For the Kitchen
Dash Egg Cooker ($) – I’m obsessed with this thing! It makes perfect soft or hard-boiled eggs every time in minutes, and it comes with attachments to make egg patties for breakfast sandwiches or poached eggs. Truly the best $15 you’ll ever spend, unless of course you’re a vegan.
Immersion Blender ($$-$$$)- This is the best thing I’ve ever owned in my life. The KitchenAid version is super budget-friendly and will pay for itself 100 times over. From potato leek soup to bulletproof coffee, this magic stick will puree basically anything, all without dirtying a blender pitcher. I will caution you NOT to try to blend ice cubes with it, though…I learned my lesson the hard way, and now my limited edition pink base has a white blender arm. It’s…colorblocked! If it’s in your budget, I’d opt for this set—everything you could ever need!
Mandoline Slicer ($ – $$$) – I consider myself to have pretty excellent knife skills (thanks, chef Joe G from my former workplace!), but my chops (get it??) don’t come close to what this baby can do. I linked the one I have, but there are tons of options, even some as cheap as $15. So, true story: in my usual hubristic manner, I tried to use this slicer without reading the manual…it was such an epic fail (though I somehow managed not to harm myself!) that I let it sit in a drawer unused for about three years. But I finally braved it again (this time armed with the manual) when I started making these pickled onions and now I am a total convert. Is it just me, or are uniformly sliced vegetables kind of sexy?
Milk Frother ($$) – This is the simplest way for even a home-coffee novice to get gourmet results at home. This is the updated version of the one I have, but there are definitely cheaper options available (this was another wedding registry score). In addition to making lattes/cappuccinos, I use this to make hot chocolate and to reheat my coffee (way more delicious than using the microwave).
For the Bedroom
White Noise Sound Machine ($$) – I am the world’s lightest and worst sleeper. I won’t say this cures all of my ills, but it’s a huge help in blocking both indoor and outdoor sounds that could disturb your sleep. My husband is a night owl (his circadian rhythm is literally vampiric), and I can’t hear him in the house at all when I have this thing going. The model I linked is amazing since it whirs like a fan and has a consistent hum—it’s totally natural and easy to tune out. And it comes in pink, which is the most important thing.
Weighted Blanket ($$) – This doesn’t technically qualify as a gadget, but it’s another must-have for my insomniac brethren. I can’t believe how much it prevents me from tossing and turning. I have this one (throw blanket sized), since my husband hates it and wants it nowhere near him. They come in a variety of weights, at a variety of price points. In a perfect world, I’d have a 30 lb weighted comforter that would basically crush me to death.
Something NSFW ($ – $$$$) – I mean, this is a category of gadgets for the bedroom. Ahem, might I suggest this one? Make sure to do your homework and buy from a feminist, inclusive shop like Babeland or Spectrum Boutique!
For the Home & Office
Light Therapy Lamp ($$) – Do you get crippling seasonal depression when nature steals the sunlight away from us? Then this is the gadget for you! I blast this thing at my face for hours a day, and I think it’s really helping. These come at a variety of price points, but they’re generally really affordable!
Wireless Keyboard ($$) – When I started working from home, my back and neck started killing me from crouching down to work on my laptop 8 hours a day. I got this wireless keyboard and mouse set so that I could set my laptop back on a riser and it’s SO much more comfortable. The best thing about this specific set is that it has all the keys for a Mac and a PC, so it can be used with both.
Bluetooth Speaker ($$$) – Investing in a quality Bluetooth speaker was a game changer for us! We have this one, which follows me from room to room, and this one, which stays centrally-located in our kitchen.
Labelmaker ($$) – For the compulsives and organizers in your life. My labelmaker is what I would save in a house fire. I feel like I don’t even need to explain this one—you get it or you don’t.
For the Ladies
Curling Wand ($$) – The curling wand is the one hair tool I could never live without. The one I use most often was a hand-me-down that retails for only $20, so this is absolutely something you don’t need to spend a lot of money on to get results. I just bought this one and can’t wait to see how it works! The bigger the barrel the looser the curl, but most wands are tapered so you can easily give your curls dimension.
TENS Machine ($$ – $$$$) – *infomercial voice* Do you get debilitating menstrual cramps that make you want to commit a homicide? Then Ovira is for you! There are actually tons of different TENS machines online, some specifically marketed towards people who menstruate. Pain meds like ibuprofen are actually terrible for you and should be avoided if possible—I tend to vomit them up because they upset my stomach—so I was totally game to find an alternate solution to my misery.
IPL Hair-Removal Handset ($$$ – $$$$) – I was a skeptic, but now I’m a believer. I haven’t finished the treatments yet, but I’ve already seen a drastic difference. I know, feminism, hair removal is bad, blah blah blah, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to change in this lifetime. Not having to shave every day will literally add years to my life. This is the one I have, but they’re available for as cheap as $90.
I’ve been rewatching New Girl and marveling at how well-written it is. I may or may not be screen-grabbing iconic lines and posting them to Twitter…
Am I going to be the person who buys the trendy pan? I don’t want to add “trendy pan person” to my already insufferable identity but alas, my resolve is weak. Thankfully it’s sold out in the color I want.
Speaking of utterly insane shit I’ve done or thought about doing this week, I bought a retro mini-fridge for my office for drinks and snacks. Y’know, my office which is…next to the kitchen. In my defense, kombuchas take up a lot of valuable fridge real estate! It has a freezer too, so I can stock up on the lemon sorbet bars to which I am addicted. Also, I’ve cut my alcohol consumption by a huge amount, but I’ve always fancied one day having a wine fridge.