The Best Things I’ve Spent Money on This Year

Okay, so by this year, I mean 1/1/19 to present. As I may have previously mentioned, I took a really prolonged break from spending money so that I could (successfully!) pay off ALL of my credit card debt. I also refinanced my student loans and got a lower interest rate on my car loan, so despite the fact that I absolutely was not making a living wage, I managed to kick some serious financial ass. I would not have been able to do any of this without my amazing husband and my in-laws—they’re so supportive and generous.

The crazy thing is, I went through and tallied up what I spent on everything on this list, and it’s roughly equivalent to what I spent on copays and medication for the year. Not trying to be controversh, but I shouldn’t be able to get an enormous tattoo, furniture, and an iPhone for less money than basic healthcare. In the spirit of that sentiment, please join DSA and consider volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign /end rant.

It’s also worth mentioning that a couple of the things mentioned below are from truly evil corporations that I, as a feminist socialist, do not want to continue supporting. Disengaging with major retailers is hard work, and participating in capitalism at all means that we all have the “damn’d spot*” on our hands. Next year, I hope this list is all small businesses and sustainable retailers, but all I can do is try my best. So without further ado, here are the purchases I made last year that were absolutely worth every penny:

iPhone 11

Owning this device has kind of ruined my life, to be honest. I was already pretty addicted to my phone, but the size of this screen and sleekness of the device have me hooked. The best feature, by far, is the fact that I can more easily do the New York Times crossword on this screen, which is truly the only thing I care about in this life. And I have to admit, I love the facial recognition. I know Apple is probably conspiring with the government and stealing my identity or whatever, but the level of convenience of opening things with Face ID is…almost worth it? Saying this really feels like the Chrissy Teigen tweet about Airpods, don’t cancel me.

Casetify Phone Case

This thing is indestructible, and comes in about a billion designs. I, of course, went with the sunflower pattern. I got a discount code from a podcast for 20% off, but I’d absolutely pay full price for another one.

AirPods

I finally did it. I caved and bought AirPods. I was going to buy them through Apple, but I found the same ones on Amazon for considerably cheaper (I bought this silicone protective case too). I…love them. I can’t believe I didn’t buy them sooner.

Magnetic Car Mount

A lot of phone shit, I know. but I’ve tried every type of car mount on the market, and this is by a mile the best. The magnet is super strong, and you can just stick it inside your case so you don’t have a big ugly sticker on the back. The best part is, for only $6, it’s a 2-pack, so you can give one to your significant other. My husband is still rocking an iPhone 6+, but the gear’s ready for him whenever he decides to upgrade.

The Comfiest Cardigan

Target has really been coming thruuuu with cute clothes and décor lately. This cardigan, from their A New Day line, is legitimately the coziest garment I own. I love it so much, I went back for another one.

The Best Earrings in the Game

Okay, so I’m wildly biased, because creator and entrepreneur Shelly Harper is my cousin, but damned if I don’t love her work. She is a fucking artist. Harp Designs is a woman-owned, woman-made brand out of Oakland, CA, and it makes the jewelry at retailers like Madewell look like an absolute lil’ bitch. Everything she makes is outstanding, but these earrings are so fun that I had to have them in gold and silver.

A Kitchen Table

The pub table in my kitchen had been rickety for a while, but for the ~$100 I paid for it, it certainly served its purpose. Helping my mother shop for her new home, I stumbled across this beauty, basically a dupe of my old table, except cuter, and I simply had to have it. It could be a little sturdier, but to its credit, I built it, so…

Savage Lovecast Magnum Edition

IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, OKAY! I’m done with podcast ads, they’ve been my undoing! This podcast is my must-listen of my week, and I respect Dan so much for evolving and growing and doing everything in his power to get progressive ideas into the mainstream dialogue. Nobody’s perfect, but I’ve never not enjoyed an episode of this show. I also subscribed to Slate Plus for Dear Prudence and Stitcher Premium for Groceries, and I have zero regrets (except for the fact that Stitcher is quite possibly the ugliest, least user-friendly app on the planet). The Stitcher subscription won’t last, but ad-free podcasts were absolutely the highlight of 2019 for me.

Netflix & Hulu (no commercials!) Subscriptions

To be fair, I’ve had these for a lot longer than a year, but when you’re trying to live that homebody life and save money, these services are indispensable! We got rid of cable about a year ago, so this is the only way I can keep up with my programmes. For the combined total of $20.98/month, I get more TV than I could ever find the time to consume. Beautiful.

Monthly Charitable Donations

I’ve been donating $5/month to the ACLU & Planned Parenthood since the day after the 2016 election. It’s not much, but the number of donors to these organizations is often as important a metric as the amount donated. Planned Parenthood is an organization which is particularly near and dear to my heart, and from whose services I have personally benefitted. I also give to WERS, which is the local radio station out of Emerson College, because independent radio is important, and for my money, it’s the only radio station in the Greater Boston Area that plays anything I’d ever want to listen to.

A Tattoo

Hell yeah. So, here’s the story from A to Z—when I was 21, and towards the end of my last pre-husband relationship, I impulsively got a matching tattoo of (gag) Minnie Mouse on my ribs with my ex-boyfriend. That was in July…we broke up in November. So, for nearly 7 years, I’ve been living with this incredibly stupid-looking reminder of the guy I started dating when I was 18. No shade to him—I truly hope he’s living his best life, he’s a great guy—but it also seems psycho to have this permanently etched on my body. So, I put out some feelers on Facebook (I know…) and my friend Lauren hipped me to her shop. After perusing the various portfolios of the recommended shops, Famous Tattoos in Dartmouth won out. It’s clean, not too far away, and the work speaks for itself. Cut to a few months later—it was the best body art experience of my life. Ryan Vidinha is incredibly talented and so skillful with the tattoo needles. I sat for a cumulative 6 hours between two sessions, and he made it an absolute pleasure. And SO REASONABLY PRICED for what he was able to accomplish. My shop 4 life. Having a beautiful piece of art in place of what used to be an embarrassing blemish is so freeing. Best money I’ve ever spent.

Oh, and I got another tattoo, whilst I was on vacation in Florida. Gaze upon it. Apparently I wore the exact same outfit to both.

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Laser Tattoo Removal

I know, I just got an enormous cover-up tattoo. Why wouldn’t I just do the same in this case? Look, I tried. Because of the placement of my wrist tattoo, and how heavily the line-work was done, it’d be nearly impossible to do a cover-up that wasn’t giant and blobby to cover the black. Luckily, I discovered Disappearing Inc. Utter pros. Tattoo removal is a long, expensive process, and I’m so lucky to have Jenna as my technician. The tattoo is 3 stars (from the corner of the pages of Harry Potter, I truly was an absolute dumb bitch as a youth) and they’re so poorly done. They never healed correctly. I’ve cringed looking at them for years, and I’m so excited to see them slowly fade away. Read up on how tattoo removal works—it’s nuts and fascinating!

So it’s been a wrap-wrap-wrap up, a 12-month wrap-up. Thanks for tuning in!

*You know a bitch got out her 1973 edition of the Riverside Shakespeare to make sure she typed that correctly. Act V, scene i of MacBeth, my fave play 4 life.

Shout Out Sunday 1.26.20

So, as you can tell by the title, this is…very late. As I was about to hit “post,” I heard the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing (I talk more about that later) and it felt strange not to address it in some way. This ended up in limbo, but as a measure of accountability to myself, I’m forging ahead.

Good morning, good morning! It’s great to stay up late! Good morning, good morning, to you! Embarrassingly, I know this song from Retta’s instagram stories and not, you know, Singing in the Rain. I think I might have to do a classic movie deep-dive, since there are so many I haven’t seen!

  1. I bought myself a late Christmas gift. Chelseas can have a little purse, as a treat. My honest review is that, while this bag is very cute, it has the same issue as my other little Kate Spade…I just carry too much gd stuff. It’s a great buy for anyone who doesn’t carry around a Kindle, a notebook-sized planner, and a makeup kit everywhere they go. I honestly need to just wheel around an old-lady grocery cart.
  2. I just booked myself my first ever lash lift & tint! Granted, I have to wait until March 21st, because that’s literally the first open Saturday appointment they had, but alas. I’ve wanted to try this for so long, since I have straight, stubby lashes and wear a TON of mascara. Depending on how it goes and if I like the facility, I might try extensions. I know it’s a bit shallow, but 2020 is the year of going for it.
  3. On the note of “going for it,” I’m going to New York City in April to see not one, but TWO Broadway shows! This is a bucket-list item for me, big time. My amazing friend Annie, with whom I roomed at Oxford, planned the whole thing. The only finger-lifting I had to do was pressing the Pay button on Venmo. We’ll be seeing Hadestown and Six. I’m excited for both, but anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with British royal history, especially Henry VIII.
  4. The store was out of Burt’s Bees Micellar Water yesterday, so I grabbed this one to try. Will report back if I like it!
  5. Finally joined DSA. No war but class war!
  6. This video of a couple making traditional tofu for Chinese New Year is currently my favorite thing on the internet. It should be prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication.
  7. Unsurprisingly, my life-long dream is to be a Jeopardy! contestant. Should I just go for it?? I registered for the online test years ago and then FORGOT TO TAKE IT (this was many years before Adderall blessed my executive functioning skills). Maybe this time, I’ll get lucky…

On quite another note…

This might be kind of strange or glib to toss at the end of a post like this, but I just heard the news about Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna’s tragic death and I’m crushed. I am not a basketball fan by any stretch, but to see such a young man and his child die so senselessly would affect anyone with a heart. My thoughts are very much with Vanessa and their family, and with the families of anyone who loses a child.

I had a death in my family on December 10th, the first one in years, the first one that really hit home, and I have not quite figured out this unmanageable thing, grief. As a lifelong atheist, I have no promise of eventual reunion or comfort in the notion of a “better place.” There’s just pain, pain that doesn’t fade, pain that feels like a physical weight on my chest. With no warning, I am overcome at random intervals with the sickening creep of grief. But I’m lucky. The person I loved and lost lived a long life, and had been suffering and ill for a long time. His death was in many ways a mercy. The greatest irony of our existence is that, eventually, we all must learn to live with death in order to survive.

Until next week,

Chels

 

Shout Out Sunday 11.17.19

**This is last week’s post that I managed to never publish. Travel back in time to November 10th as you read this.**

Hello, hello (hola!) I’m pretty sure I just outed myself as extremely old by making a 15-year-old U2 reference, but there’s no shame in my Dad-joke game. We’ll get right to it this week, then!

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  1. I recently started a tutoring job at a local community college and I just have to say how inspired and hopeful it makes me about the future. I went to a predominantly white university in suburban Massachusetts, so my college experience was wildly different than the population I’m working with. The students who come to the tutoring center are so kind and motivated to succeed—getting to know them and be a tiny part of their stories makes me better and is the highlight of my week.
  2. This is old news at this point, but Jeannie Gaffigan was on WTF with Marc Maron and her interview was fascinating. I can’t wait to check out her book!
  3. Elizabeth Warren released a Medicare for All plan and we simply must stan. Without getting too personal, I recently had a huge bomb dropped on me re: my employer-provided health insurance, so this issue both ideologically and personally affects me. The healthcare system in this country is so broken (my therapist certainly agrees!), so two of the Democratic frontrunners running on unequivocal M4A platforms is hugely important.
  4. On that note, I can’t stop laughing at this tweet.
  5. Speaking of Twitter, Hunter Harris is the best person on there.
  6. Sunnyside on NBC is such an amazing show, but of course, as is typical of smart comedies, didn’t get its due. Networks taking away all my favorite shows—that’s Cancel Culture.
  7. Winter has officially come to Boston (the forecast says snow on Tuesday), so it’s time to revisit my favorite coats: the Everlane ReNew Long Puffer and the ReNew Lightweight Puffer. And, I have to admit, I bought a peacoat at Target and I’ve been wearing it every day.
  8. I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but I’ve been revisiting a ton of ’90s alternative rock, and I will absolutely give myself vocal nodes singing along to Celebrity Skin. Truly one of the best and most iconic albums of all time. I stan the legend Courtney Love!
  9. I got the new iPhone in the mint-green color and honestly, it’s ruining my life. I was so suspicious of FaceID but I have to admit…it’s really convenient?? Also, the screen is bigger than on my last phone, so it makes doing the NYTimes Crossword easier and that is truly my only priority in life.
  10. I’m going to New Orleans next month! I’ve been once, in 2016 right after my wedding, but this time I want to do it right! What should I do while I’m there?
  11. *very local reference* The Red Lentil in Watertown is incredible. Bostonians, flock!
  12. And most importantly, tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, and while I am personally vehemently anti-war and military spending, one thing we absolutely should and must spend government money on is taking care of veterans and their families. And, tbh, all vulnerable populations. Not doing so is, frankly, un-American!

Au revoir, mes enfants!

Shout Out Sunday 10.27.19

Good day, sunshines! It’s been quite some time since I’ve done one of these…most of these are leftover from about a month ago, so bear with me. I have been psychotically busy. I just picked up a part-time job that starts this Wednesday and I’m kind of freaking out about it. Side hustle culture will put my entire generation into an early grave. But it’s one step closer to a career doing what I love, so…worth it?

Anyway, here’s this week’s list!

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follow lyz here
  1. First and foremost, the great Bowen Yang is now a cast member on SNL. This is basically the only good thing that’s happened since the 2016 election. Listen to his podcast, Las Culturistas.
  2. I’m watching Succession because I hate being left out of the conversation! That theme song…
  3. I started taking horse-riding lessons at Fairfield Farm in Rochester and I’m completely in love! I’m counting down the days until I get to ride Eagle again. Riding him was one of the most therapeutic and calming experiences I’ve ever had. I’m still a little bit afraid (not of falling off, just of the fact that he’s a thousand-pound beast), but I truly think I’ve found a new passion. Oh, and it might just be good for my ADHD
  4. And on that note, can I buy this helmet or is it too soon?
  5. My therapist hipped me to ADDitude—it’s a really great resource for those of us struggling with ADHD, especially those of us who struggled for years and years without a diagnosis. Since I began treatment for ADHD, I’ve gained so much perspective about my life and my choices. I’m not ready for any big changes, but I am starting to feel glimmers of hope. Unfortunately, the two best things for ADHD are exercise and a well-balanced diet, so I’m probably screwed.
  6. Also, is it extra for me to get this initial necklace with the letters “ADHD”?
  7. I’m booking a tattoo at Famous Tattoos in Dartmouth (kind of a hike but I’ll travel for quality!) These are my reference photos (it’ll be on my ribs, covering up a horrible tattoo I got at 21, matching with my ex):found on Pinterest--gorgeous tattoo I'm using as a reference photo.sunflower tattoo
  8. Tutoring the Transcendentalists today, and all I can think about is the part of Amanda Palmer’s book where she discusses Thoreau’s mom bringing him doughnuts out at Walden. Solitude and self-reliance, my butt (I know those are Emerson chapters…come at me, bro).
  9. This is Us and The Resident are back for new seasons, so I’ll be crying even more than usual.
  10. So, I’ve talked about natural deodorant on here before, but I swear I’ve finally found THE one. Native deodorant in Lilac & White Tea which of course, I now realize, is a limited seasonal scent (thus why it was the only one at Target when I bought it). I wanted to love Myro (which is also now available at Target) but it just doesn’t work as well as Native does. And Native has started making a bunch of different new products, which I can’t wait to try out. We’ve been using Burt’s Bees toothpaste, but when we run out I’ll definitely give Native’s a try!

Okay. I did it. I actually published a blog post. See you next week!

Shout Out Sunday 6.16.19

Good morning! I’m actually putting this out on time this week, considering last week’s came out on Wednesday. It’s Father’s Day, and I know that can be really rough for some people. My dad and I are pretty close, but my heart goes out to all the people who might be struggling today. In honor of this holiday, may I wish a happy Father’s Day to Jeff Goldblum only:

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just a little jeff to bless your timeline (image source)

Well, let’s get right to it, shall we?

  1. Lyz Lenz’s piece on “Sex After Jesus” is so moving.
  2. I am obsessed with the Public Goods aesthetic! How is it possible that I only heard of this brand this week? It’s a lot like Brandless, which I’ve talked about on here before, but it seems to be specifically membership-based, like Grove. The older I get, the more I love minimalism.
  3. I’m so into this new trend of alcohol-free bars! I would totally buy an artisinal mocktail. The fun of drinking is just being out with your friends, isn’t it?
  4. I really want to watch the Black Mirror episode with Miley Cyrus, but the mere CONCEPT of Black Mirror scares the shit out of me. I don’t need that “what if cellphones but too much” energy in my life.
  5. How are these baskets only $6? Please give me all of them.
  6. I…can’t stop watching Laura Prepon’s Instagram videos. She has a YouTube channel too, if that’s more your speed.
  7. I caved and signed up for another year of Amazon Prime for the cheap Kindle books and to watch Fleabag. I’m a monster. And I’m aware that I will inevitably buy the jumpsuit.
  8. A meme was going around Twitter last week to share a photo of yourself as a child that has the same energy of you as an adult. My post is…on brand.
  9. Modcloth’s dresses are on sale but you’ve gotta act fast since sizes are going!
  10. I started a “Words Wednesday” series where I’m going to post a piece of creative writing weekly. Check out last week’s post!

Songs of the Week:

Lazy Line Painter Jane” by Belle & Sebastian. This has been one of my favorite songs for years and years, but I saw it on someone else’s Spotify playlist today and all of the feelings came rushing right back to me. A perfect jam.

Does He Love You?” by Rilo Kiley. This week’s creative writing piece will be a short story based on this song (if I can finish it on time!) I’ve been planning to get a tattoo that says “I am flawed if I’m not free” for ten+ years…should I finally just do it?

Back next week with more! TTFN!

Shout Out Sunday 5.19.19

Happy Sunday, friends! I wish I could say “Happy long weekend,” but alas, that’s next weekend. Here’s the stuff that “freaked my week,” and yes, I regret saying that.

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this picture was taken february 7th in st. pete florida. literally why do i live in the northeast?
  1. I finally started watching You’re the Worst and it’s a perfect show. Je suis obsessed. Chris Geere is my boyfriend. The Ferris Bueller discussion at the beginning of episode two is the very definition of *chef’s kiss*.
  2. Gimme dis vegan ice cream.
  3. I bought the damn Rothy’s and they’re incredible. Worth every penny.
  4. Last week’s Game of Thrones was TRASH—sound off in the comments if you’re as upset as I am, and as terrified for tonight’s finale. This thread is everything.
  5. Check out this trippy video for “Oh What a World“! And yes, I am a Kacey stan, sorry ’bout it.
  6. I don’t know if you saw the original piano Cardi B video, but he’s back with another one and it’s perfect.
  7. Wait for the cameo at the end of this video. My god.
  8. I know it’s basic to plug yourself, but I wrote this piece about Céline Dion 2 years ago and watching everyone on Twitter stan her so hard lately has made me feel like an honest-to-goodness trendsetter.
  9. I just placed a hold on Reese Witherspoon’s book at my local library via the Libby app. I listened to her interview on Sooo Many White Guys the other day and she truly is a boss.
  10. I don’t have a dining table (or a dining room for that matter), but these chairs are the most perfect things I have ever seen and I must have them.
  11. Is Chipotle cancelled?

 

See you next week! Or, y’know, sooner if I decide to actually write a blog post one of these days.

*My very smol dragon tattoo in the above pic (Smaug!) is courtesy of Oxford Tattoo.

 

Shout Out Sunday 2.24.19

Another week in the books! Enjoy this week’s faves!

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this makes me die with laughter every time i see it
  1. Sex Education on Netflix is the most wonderfully charming show. I can’t stop watching! The young actors are absolutely brilliant and the cast is insanely diverse. One wonderful thing about the show is that it is completely inclusive of LGBT sexuality and relationships, which gets nearly as much representation as straight ones. A perfect, perfect show.
  2. Melissa Villaseñor’s Lady Gaga impression is the best thing I’ve ever seen.
  3. I wrote a post a while ago about *feminine products* and trying a menstrual cup and never posted an update! I’ve been using exclusively a cup for a few months now and I’m obsessed. I’ll never go back to tampons and pads! I still keep some on hand for emergencies, but I’m a cup girl for life. The cup I use is not available anymore (it’s Hesta Organic), but I’m interested in trying other brands, like Lunette.
  4. Not to be a dorky dad, but I just checked my credit report on creditkarma and you should too. It’s super important to be aware of your financial health!
  5. This Twitter thread about a college professor assigning his students to make memes is solid gold.
  6. One of you has to buy this because I’m on the Spending Fast and can’t. IT’S PERFECT.
  7. I’m thinking of trying to do Whole30. Have you ever tried it? My best friend did and loved it—and she looks freaking fabulous to boot.
  8. This hash brown recipe looks amazing.
  9. And on that brunch note…Rosé Raspberry Sorbet Mimosas, dude.
  10. This next one is NSFW, so open at your own discretion—I’m a huge, huge fan of this little guy. I’ve been really reticent about this sort of thing, but I’ve been trying to be more open-minded!
  11. Bonus Content: The Head and the Heart covers “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and I am deeply, madly obsessed.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed some of this #content. As always, follow me on all the socials @highwaytochel, and check out my Poshmark store @highwaytochel. Sayonara!