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.
*I’m writing this well in advance of Sunday, so if the world has ended or something terrible catastrophic has happened, please accept my apologies for glibly posting my silly round-up amid the chaos.
Can’t wait to watch Unpregnant on HBO Max! We need more films about abortion that don’t pull a Juno.
Lindy West’s The Witches Are Coming is even better than Shrill. The South Park chapter put words to something I’ve felt for a decade. She’s a genius. And I agree with her entirely that pockets on dresses are vastly overrated!
I started watching Woke on Hulu and Lamorne Morris is a gift. I mean, we already knew that from New Girl, but it was about damn time he got his own vehicle.
This is a weird one, but look at this beautiful pill case! As someone who takes meds every day, a pill case is an essential item to me, and this one is magnificent. As soon as I can justify spending $75 on home organizing gear (free shipping, y’know?) I will be ordering one.
I am running out of room on my walls for prints, but this one might be too cute to pass up. And I can’t rep East Coast without repping Best Coast. I almost got this one for my best friend, whose birthday was this week, but I don’t know if she reads this, so I didn’t want to spoil her present surprise.
My husband has been complaining about our water filter since the day I bought it (after our Brita broke, I bought the Target version), and we’ve been in a game of chicken about it ever since. I finally caved, as I always do, and bought a 10-cup Soma. I dig the sustainability aspect, and I’m hoping that getting filters sent to us every 4 months will actually remind me to change the thing once in a while.
Things are awful right now. Things have always been awful, but they’ve reached a boiling point. I’m delusional optimistic enough to dream about a future where we can abolish the police and put an stop to the seemingly endless murders of black Americans, but it’s not incumbent upon those same black folks whose lives are at risk to fix it. It’s on us—the people with the privilege to walk through life in relative safety. If you have the means this week, please donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund in support of the protesters. I know that this small act made me feel slightly less helpless in the face of tragedy. It is, by definition, the least I could do. I stand in solidarity with the protesters across the nation and will use my voice and my wallet whenever possible to aid in the fight.
Ariana Grande posted the above image on Friday, a list of the names of a fraction of the black lives that have been lost just in recent memory. I have spent so much of the past week crying and thinking of them, and thinking of all of the people who, as a result of police brutality, live in constant fear. I can’t believe not murdering people on the basis of race is a political statement rather than a universal moral belief.
*This post was written (and purchases made) prior to the murder of George Floyd by white supremacist police officer Derek Chauvin, which I feel bears noting because thinking about anything other than how to make change right now feels frivolous. Posting on social media is NOT the same thing as activism, but using a social platform and not discussing this feels wildly tone-deaf. This pointless little blog has always been a place where I can vent about things ranging from laughably stupid to deadly serious, and I’m so lucky to have a space to do so. I will never take this freedom for granted.
I have officially gone insane and reorganized my refrigerator no fewer than 5 times during quarantine. The Home Edit dropped their fridge & freezer line last week, so you KNOW I snagged some drawers. I was literally inside my fridge with a measuring tape–should I seek treatment?
Just started listening to Jessica Simpson’s Open Book and I started crying halfway through the prologue. I was never a huge JS fan, but I love memoirs and I’m so inspired by her bravery in telling her story. Even within the opening pages, she confronts so many issues that a lot of women never feel empowered enough to admit to or talk about. I’m listening via the Libby app; I cannot stress enough how important it is to support libraries.
I am exclusively wearing t-shirt dresses these days. I used to love this dress, but I’m still not sure that we can support Everlane again, so I bought this one to try out.
I keep seeing these as a promoted ad, and I definitely won’t get one for a while since outside is cancelled, but it seems like a great idea for when society reopens. Perfect for travel!
I bought these for my bedroom and I could not be more pleased with the purchase.
I caved and got a new laptop. Mine has been faithfully serving me for over 7 years, and it was just time. I justified the purchase because I’m going to start taking classes again (apparently one Master’s degree wasn’t enough…) although the *second* I completed the purchase of the new computer, my current one miraculously started functioning well again…Apple is Big Brother.
Pretty sure I need to stop being suckered in by celebrity home goods lines, but these bowls are the best things I own and I want to eat dinner out of them every night.
After decades of playing editions from the 1980s, I finally upgraded to a new Trivial Pursuit. I did win the first game by a hair, if you’re wondering.
All of my song challenge playlists are done. End of an era.
Just like Miley of the Cyrus clan, I simply cannot be tamed. I actually talked about spending in therapy, and my therapist said to be kind to myself about it because we’re living in a time of unprecedented horror!
One thing, other than reckless spending (lol), that’s been getting me through quar life is Twitter. I love that there’s a place that can make me sob, curse god, feel existential terror, and then make me snort laughing in the span of 5 minutes. Completely normal! Please enjoy this exquisite cartoon, from my favorite meme account, Russian Memes United. Translation:
A Glossier haul. I got more Solution, the Skincare set, Future Dew, and 2 Generation Gs. I need to start taking better care of my skin yesterday. I never had acne growing up, so when I have occasional pimples now, I basically panic and go nuclear on them. I’ve been getting away with gross negligence for too long…as age 30 looms, I’ve got to get my act together.
A Headley & Bennett “Wake Up & Fight” Mask. It’s now recommended that we wear masks while out in public (to protect others from us), so I was going to have to get one eventually. The cool thing about the Headley & Bennett masks is that they’re 100% cotton, made in LA, reusable, and each purchase donates a mask to a health care worker. Plus, they have a filter insert for added protection! I think this company’s entire operation has switched to producing masks, and it’s weirdly inspiring: capitalism, but for…doing good?
I caved and got a May Designs mask too. Even after COVID is over, I think we should still wear masks if we’re symptomatic of anything. We need to step up to protect immunocompromised people!
The Home Edit is putting out another book! I pre-ordered—I’m psyched for it to arrive in September (provided we’re all still alive then)! I have to admit that their first book was, well, not exactly for those of us actually living the low-bar lifestyle (who has an actual pantry room?) but it’s aesthetically stunning and always nice to get compulsive organization confirmation bias from my like-minded idols.
Madewell sale was still popping off, so I got these boots and this belt bag, which matches my Zip-Top Transport Carryall in the same color. I’ve been looking for a nice-quality pair of leather boots for under $100, and the gods delivered! Also, I love belt bags in theory, but haven’t successfully pulled one off yet. Now is finally the time! Oh, and the boots fit perfectly.
I wanted to try out Pact, so I ordered this dress super on sale (in Rosewood Heather & Cadet Blue). I used the code ORGANIC2020 for 20% off!
The lilac Madewell jeans didn’t work out…back they go, sadly. They fit okay, they were just very rigid.
The Kate Spade wallet is not quite as nice as the one I already have (final sale, though)…it’s obviously very cute, but I’m going to sit on it for a week, and if my feelings don’t change, it’s going up on Poshmark.
The Rothys were a win! I’m so glad I went a half size up. Honestly, I could have even gone a full size. If you get this style and you have wide feet like me, definitely size up! These ones are next, for sure.
The West Elm bedside table is gorgeous and great quality for the price! My only gripe is that the drawer itself is very shallow and small, but it did force me to go through what I kept in there and edit, so I’m calling it a win.
The Thirdlove Pima bras & undies are even more comfy than I expected them to be. I want to live in these bras, for real.
The nixit is great! Easier to put in/take out than regular cups and I’ve barely had leaks.
I’m going to put my poor wallet to bed. It’s been fun, but I’ve got to maintain my credit score and be responsible with the stimulus check we’re supposedly getting.
None of this will make up for not being able to see friends and family, missing vacations, or my general feeling of nagging uncertainty, but surrounding myself with pretty things or letting myself have little dopamine hits now and again is really all I can do right now.
My queens and idols Clea & Joanna of The Home Edit have graciously provided us with “mini edits” throughout quarantine—small one-day organizing projects to help us optimize our homes during this, well, sub-optimal time. Full disclosure, I will absolutely be ripping a few of their ideas off, but this particular mini edit is tailored very specifically to a certain kind of home: one that is already organized but seeking to minimalize. I’m so inspired by minimalist homes, but no matter how much I sell/donate, I never seem to be able to get all the way there. I’m, I guess you’d say, a maximalist clutter queen trying to become a Scandinavian ascetic.
If you are already tidy, but want to take it to the next level, here is my *very Barenaked Ladies voice* One Week Organizing Challenge!
Refresh the Refrigerator*
Be honest—when is the last time you actually cleaned your refrigerator? Like, took everything out and cleaned it? I’m a tidy gal, but I must admit that I’ve done this maybe…twice? I’ve had my fridge for like 4 years. There are plenty of great resources online to set you on your path. Jolie Kerr wrote thedefinitive guide to deep-cleaning your fridge, but here are my tips:
Take every single item out.
Wash your bins with soap and water, wipe down any shelves you can’t remove.
Check expiration dates. Expiration dates are mostly a scam, and have more to do with corporate liability than health hazard, but some things really should be tossed on schedule. Your miso paste is probably fine, but the sour cream has got to go.
Organize all of the food/bev into categories. Put them back in the proper place, i.e. vegetables in the crisper, cheese in the drawer, etc. It’s easy to get lazy and just throw things in there, but maintaining an organizational system not only makes cooking & eating easier, but saves you time at the grocery store, since you always know what you have. I can’t recommend fridge bins enough. Target’s are great and really cost-effective. If you want to splurge, definitely hit up The Home Edit’s line at the Container Store.
Now, repeat the whole thing with all of your cabinets and drawers. Be ruthless.
Pare Down the Paper*
You don’t need your tax returns from 7 years ago. Off to the shredder! Keep a shoebox handy for sentimental items like Christmas cards and recycle everything else. Basically, all you should keep is tax paperwork from the past 3 years (just in case), identity documents (birth cert, SSN card), things relevant to your current health insurance, and receipts if you itemize. Or, honestly, just digitize everything.
Itemize Your Inbox*
Emails cause some people a lot of stress, and for good reason! They’re omnipresent—they bombard us at work all day, and then in our personal lives they’re receipts, coupons, bank statements, tracking info, personal correspondence, and politics. It’s a lot to take in. My first suggestion is to use a service like unroll.me to unsubscribe from or hide unwanted emails. Next, create broad categories with sub-labels to help organize what’s already there. Soon you’ll be living an Inbox Zero Lifestyle! Here’s an example of ideas for a Gmail side menu:
Family & Friends
Tickets & Travel
Go through and delete anything older than 2 years, except tax/loan documentation and personal correspondence. Flag anything interesting that you haven’t gotten a chance to read. Take a deep breath and embrace freedom.
Sift through Your Shoe Collection*
“You’re never going to wear the yellow flatforms, Chelsea,” and other things footwear hoarders say. Truthfully, I feel like all femme-identified folx only need a pair each of the following shoes:
A “work” heel
Riding boots (suitably waterproof for winter)
Chelsea boots or booties
Leather sandals (for everyday summer wear)
Flip-flops (for the beach or pedicures)
When you purge, make sure you don’t overdo it and get rid of something functional #fortheaesthetic. But don’t get rid of your “fun shoes” either! You’re allowed to have a ton of fun shoes, just make sure you have sensible (preferably hidden) storage. I use this at my house and it fits…most of my shoes. It’s a great price and it looks really stylish. It also comes in a bench version, which I also have (for my husband’s shoes), which could be used as a TV stand as well.
Clean Up Your Carpets*
Do you have a pet? Or even just long hair that sheds? Your carpets/rugs are probably disgusting. No matter how much you vacuum, you can’t make up for the fact that rugs literally live on the floor. And vacuums can only do so much. Unless you’re a billionaire and can afford one of those fancy pet Dysons (please buy me one), a vacuum can only do so much. And every rug has different cleaning instructions (for instance, jute can’t be cleaned with water). Figure out what your rug is made of, Google deep-cleaning instructions, and go to town. You will be shocked at what comes up. This is especially important if you or a loved one has allergies!
Tackle Your Toiletries*
Your bathroom cabinets, drawers, or closet can be a breeding ground for clutter and chaos. Somehow, you can run out of bar soap while simultaneously owning 14 travel-sized tubes of toothpaste. I guarantee you have tubes of lipstick that should definitely be discarded. Getting a handle on your bathroom storage makes life a thousand times easier. This is a great guide to getting started! And since bathrooms are the least fun area to clean, less clutter means less surface area to wipe down—it’s a win-win!
Rehome Your Reading Material
I am a huge book-lover, and I would never go so far as to propose, à la Marie Kondo, that one should only own 30 books, but you probably don’t need all of the books you have. I actually wrote a post about this a few years ago and I absolutely stand by what I said. The beat up copy of Catcher in the Rye from freshman year of high school that you’ll never read again is just taking up space (if, like me, you probably will read that book again, treat yourself to a nicer copy and ditch the public school standard issue). You don’t need to own Faulkner’s entire bibliography; Toni Morrison was influenced by him, and her books are way more enjoyable. If you read her, you get the point.
Cut Down Your Closet
Another tricky one. People get very sentimental about clothes. I tend to go scorched earth on my closet every few years and then regret getting rid of that oversized Banana Republic sweater or that too-small Anthropologie jumpsuit that I will definitely fit into again someday. I think Marie Kondo speaks on this subject far more eloquently than I possibly can, so suffice it to say that you truly do not need all of those clothes you never wear. Go through everything, make a donate pile (or resell them on Poshmark!) and enjoy your simplified wardrobe!
Nothing makes a space visually interesting like color coordination. Organizing your bookshelf in rainbow order (or your dresser drawers, or closet, or literally everywhere in your home) is functional and fashionable. My favorite thing to color-coordinate is phone apps!
*I have actually accomplished all of these things very recently, so I know it’s not impossible!
If you know me personally, you know that I am a bit of a freak for organization.
One of my long-term life goals is to start a professional organizing service, but unfortunately, with the popularity of Marie Kondo and The Home Edit, the market is a bit saturated (also, I have literally no idea how to start a business). A clean home/workspace brings me an immense sense of calm, and has been an invaluable tool in maintaining my mental health. Cleaning and maintaining a household is hard work when you’re severely depressed, but it’s just those little actions that can help to lift you out of a funk*.
I decided to compile some of the things that have helped me conquer the chaos, because so many articles online rely on the reader to buy expensive products or have limitless free time, and, babe, we’re not all IG influencers. I’m out of my house for work 50 or more hours a week. If you search “entryway organization” on Pinterest, you get images of million-dollar homes (I don’t know how much houses cost, to be fair). I don’t have the time or resources to have a Pinterest-perfect home, but that doesn’t mean I can’t love and cherish my space.
Here are some of my favorite tips, tricks, and products for keeping a chaos-free home!
Actually KonMari your house. I know it’s controversial because most people have hoarding tendencies (way to generalize, Chels), but it’s the first step in the process and you can’t skip it. If you’re drowning in things, you’ll never get a real handle on your home. This is a blanket solution to your too-much-shit issues, since it applies to every room and every category in the house.
Sell stuff! Selling your used clothes and bags on Poshmark or at consignment stores can make getting rid of things into a game. I know people who’ve had luck with housewares on LetGo. You might as well get cash money as a prize for organizing.
The dollar section at the entrance to Target! This section varies seasonally—it could even have different products in it week to week—but it almost always has storage solutions like bins, boxes, and jars, usually in adorable colors. P.S. Speaking of storage solutions, The Home Edit just dropped a collection at The Container Store and it is #goals.
Do the dishes while you cook. Nothing is more discouraging than finishing dinner only to face a massive pile of gross dishes. The best hack for this is to…
Use dishwashing gloves! Using gloves in the kitchen has changed the game for me. You don’t have to touch any food remains or wash your hands fifty times as you clean. Even though I use natural cleaning products, I still worry about residue on my hands from cleaning sprays, so this has spared my hands a lot of grief!
Reusable bags for every damn thing. I bring a reusable bag or two with me every time I go into a store. These fit everything, and they fold down into practically nothing. People have an inherent tendency to hoard tote bags (guilty), but if you narrow it down to a few you really love and actually use them, you spare yourself ever having to contend with those gross plastic bags ever again.
*very Oprah voice* EVERYTHING GETS A BIN. These are my personal favorite at the moment—I took everything in my office and separated it into categories (stationery, notebooks, sentimental items, etc), and it has made things so easy to find!
Containers, dispensers! Decant all your stuff into reusable containers and then just buy refill packs or concentrates. If you have, for instance, your dish soap in a glass bottle, then you can tell at a glance exactly how much you have, and won’t be tempted to buy extra “just in case.” Look under your sink and tell me how many extra bottles of countertop spray you have.
Take inventory before every trip to the grocery store. Seems like a pain in the ass, but how many bags of lentils do you need? Utilizing bins, containers, and turntables in your cabinets and fridge will make this a total breeze. Also, this spice rack is a game-changer if you’re like me and have every spice known to man.
Laundry gets taken out of the dryer, folded, and put away on the same day. This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you set a pile of underwear on top of the dresser because you’ll fold it and put it away “later,” it’ll still be there in a week, minus the ones you’ve plucked from it to wear (am I the only person that does this?). Laundry is my least favorite chore because it is never and can never be finished, but the quicker it’s out of sight, the quicker it’s out of mind. If you hate laundry too, the KonMari is crucial—when you have fewer articles of clothing, everything has a clear and designated place, so putting away your clothes is a breeze. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually do a capsule wardrobe…
Set reminders on your phone to water your plants. This is a new thing I’m trying. Pick a day a week, or month, depending on your plant’s specific watering needs. I have let so many plants perish from negligence, including a spider plant my husband managed to keep alive for the better part of a decade. Dead plants kill the visual vibe of any space, but living plants are good for the air quality in your home and make you seem like a classy adult who has her shit together!
I’m sure I could come up with a million more tiny things I do each day to keep my living space under control, but the above are tried-and-true methods that have taken me from being an absolute slob (just ask my parents) to a person who’s fiercely proud of her home. If you live with a partner (or kids), it can be hard to adjust to new routines, but I promise that in due time, they’ll see the myriad benefits of a clean space and get into it too!
I apologize for the quality of the photos—I just used my phone and didn’t clean up beforehand—I wanted to show pictures of my actual day-to-day house, post-organizational implementation. It’s never perfect, but it’s always colorful.
*In no way am I endorsing the idea that you can “cure” depression by cleaning your house. That’s nuts. But since small tasks can be so overwhelming to those of us who deal with these issues, accomplishing them can be genuinely uplifting.
I live in a construction zone—it just sounds like combat when the compressors are whirring. What are they “compressing” anyway?
Starting last summer, we’ve been getting an addition put onto our house courtesy of our Supreme Leaders, aka my in-laws. This is my first experience working with contractors, plumbers, and electricians, and let me tell you, it’s not fun! My father-in-law is doing a ton of the work himself, but as he is only a human man, needs occasional help.
The dig is that we lost our side porch (which was the main entrance we used to get into our house) and a few windows, but we’re gaining a bathroom, a large mudroom, a few extra feet of space in our living room, a pantry, and a built-in bookshelf. So, no complaints here! I’m so excited for all the changes to come!
Where that giant rock pit is now, basically, is a brand-new house! The entire thing has been re-sided in a cream-colored vinyl (*insert apathy emoji*), but I have to admit it looks pretty snazzy. Pics to follow once Massachusetts is no longer covered in a thin layer of melted snow and filth.
I basically live on Pinterest now, planning our new digs. I get to build a bathroom, a mudroom, and a pantry from scratch! Below are some of the purchases I’ve already made, and a bunch of inspiration for my decorating moving forward!
These are a few of the items I’ve already purchased for our new bathroom. I’m going for an all black-and-white look, with occasional brass accents. The first picture is a Paris cafe print that I’m obsessed with—hopefully by the time the bathroom’s up and running, I’ll have actually been to Paris. I included two pictures of our vanity because a. it’s cute, and b. the other picture had a cactus in it, and that is the most me thing to ever happen. I love the matte black faucets we bought…I wanted to stay away from the traditional chrome (although our shower door handles will be chrome unless I can spray them to match).
I want the bathroom to be a super clean, modern space. I love the hexagonal tile above, but I’m also considering black and white penny tile. I am obsessed with the idea of a sliding barn door, since the bathroom is fairly small and the door would eliminate some wall space.
I haven’t bought much for the mudroom yet, since we’ll have to make a few big storage purchases and the room isn’t even close to finished, but I did buy these prints, which are only mildly inaccurate, to be placed opposite the entrance, sharing a charcoal gray wall with the bathroom door. And the rainbow mat? C’mon. The cutest.
I LOVE the idea of locker storage in the mudroom to help keep clutter off the floor. I want the entryway to be a bright, cheery space that welcomes us home every day. I plan to keep the area neutral and soothing. And I know I already have a mat, but that hedgehog one might be too cute to pass up!
The pantry in question is still our current bathroom, and need to be gutted before it can be used. It probably won’t be functional for at least 6 months, but a girl can dream, right? My favorite chicas over at The Home Edit post THE best pantry inspiration. Now, if only I could afford to hire them to style my entire life…
I am already pretty psychotically organized, but anything to make my life MORE organized is welcome! I’m salivating over The Container Store‘s gear: I might actually invest in that gorgeous $350 pantry kit…it’s stunning. And finally having adequate storage for my beautiful kitchen appliances is a dream come true.