Things I’ve Bought that I Love

Yes, I stole the title of this post from Mindy Kaling‘s amazing (and now, sadly, defunct) blog. And it’s a little bit of a misnomer, because I haven’t bought all of these things, but since I feel like I’m constantly accosting strangers on the street – as well as my own friends – about them, and because I remembered I had an open forum in which to express my love, I present to you the things I’m currently obsessed with.

As always, none of these are Affiliate links. I’m not that fancy.

Podcasts
Like everyone else in North America, I was and continue to be obsessed with Serial. But unfortunately Sarah Koenig is telling stories that, at least for now, have some sort of resolution or ending; these provide a regular giggle:
How Did This Get Made?
Do you love bad movies? Do you love excellent comedians? Do you love excellent comedians talking about bad movies? From I Know Who Killed Me to Hercules in New York, the movies reviewed are literally garbage and there is something for everyone.
Gilmore Guys
These fellas have a major in girls and a minor in women and think Kelly Bishop is queen. Enough said.

Books
The Best of Enemies
I Tweeted that the only issue I take with this book is the fact that it isn’t a movie I can watch, repeatedly, right this very second. Funny and heartfelt and begging to be read in one sitting, I love the voices Jen Lancaster gives to two very different but very engaging and likeable women.
Oh! You Pretty Things
A book that will transport you to (or back to) Los Angeles. Shanna Mahin has such an observant and perfect and perfectly sardonic voice that I just want to hang out watching trashy TV with her.
Luckiest Girl Alive
I’m usually great at seeing a plot twist coming – honestly, it’s what makes me so very irritating to watch movies with. But Jessica Knoll managed to both intrigue me and to trick me and to do so with such a shockingly funny, sharp voice.

Misc.
Washi Tape
I’ve recently begun scrapbooking again, and since I am the kind of person who cannot see a roll of tape (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) without wrapping some of it around my fingers, I’m delighted someone finally thought to print patterns on masking tape and sell it for $2 per roll. (That sounds like sarcasm, but it isn’t, as I would gladly be suckered into paying at least double that.)
The Wildlands Prints
As I may have mentioned, I have a small goddaughter, and that small goddaughter has a pink(ish) bedroom. And because it is my prerogative, as an adult, to decide she loves zoo animals, I adore these fun print sets from The Wildlands, which looked even better in person.
Paper-Mate Flair Pens
Are you almost anal-retentively organized? Me too. And being able to color-code my daily notes and to-do lists at work is way more fun with felt-tip pens in bright colors.

Granted, I have also recently purchased an iPad, but since I’m currently in a fight with Angry Birds and bought the damn thing the day before it dropped $100 in price, we don’t need to talk about that.

Advertisements

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chances (Stitch Fix Review #1)

Hello chickadees!

I’ll cop to the title being a misnomer – if you’ve been around here long enough, you know this isn’t my first time at the Stitch Fix rodeo; however, since it is the first time I’m reviewing what I’ve received (and since I did put the service on pause for a bit) I’m wiping the slate clean.

Let’s get this out of the way – no, this isn’t a paid post (still not that fancy), but I will shamelessly admit that any mention of Stitch Fix includes my referral link, which will help me pay for my next box if you’re a lamb and sign up.

Admittedly, I was not as excited for this Fix as the previous boxes I’d received, due quite honestly to the fact that Stitch Fix asked me back. While my first few boxes were extremely on-point when it comes to my hard-to-pin-down style, my subsequent nearly half-dozen ranged from so-so to KILL IT WITH FIRE. My feedback essentially boiled down to the fact that nothing was really appropriate for my lifestyle – I’d set a higher price point, asked not to receive anything too stretchy/blousy/polyester and that was what I kept receiving. I hated to give up the convenience, but there are only so many times you can try on the same dolman blouse before you throw in the towel.

To be fair, I don’t have an easy body to dress. I’m in the process of getting more fit and healthy, so my size is hard to pinpoint from day to day, and I have a long torso. No, I mean a seriously long torso. We’re talking Odalisque long. And to combat this, I generally need a high-waisted pant and a shorter top (hello, uneven hem! I luff you!) to balance out my silhouette. And so when Stitch Fix asked me to give them another chance, I dutifully recorded these details, Pinned a few things from their Style board, and scheduled the shipment.

Spoiler alert? It was fantastic. And I barely kept anything. I know, I know. Believe me, I KNOW. I’m picturing my poor stylist, Kat, needing to take a long lunch. Girlfriend deserves it. But she did a truly fantastic job, and all clothing quibbles were never ever something she could have predicted.

I’m not one for the unboxing, and so I’ll unceremoniously present her fantastic handiwork.

Market & Spruce Julia Utility Jacket

How adorable is this jacket? That was my immediate thought upon ripping it out of the tissue paper and tossing it on. Light enough for spring, heavy enough for fall and in a gorgeous kelly green. Unfortunately, while I love the color, it’s a tricky one for my skin tone, and while I loved this (and desperately wanted to keep it), it made me look sickly. Like Melly-Wilkes-pickpocketing-a-dead-Yankee sickly.

4a6f7e8fe5acd54820d419fc7e22c7a3

Cute, right? I absolutely loved the color on this one – not quite cobalt (one of my favorite/primary wardrobe colors) but with really lovely pintucking at the neckline and quilting on the shoulders. I’m a complete sucker for a fun detail, but while this blouse looks like it’s got a bit of structure on the style card, there was so much extra fabric around my rib cage and hips that I basically could have hosted both Barnum and Bailey.

(Side note: I’m including style cards wherever possible, because I took photos of my Fix at 12:30am and realized how truly terrible they were as I began writing.)

unnamed (1)

Leota Amandine Faux Wrap Dress

This was a lovely little wrap dress – I’d requested something for my goddaughter’s dedication in July, and the full floral skirt on this fit the bill perfectly! I’m an all prints, all the time kind of gal, and so I was incredibly excited to try this on.

But remember the long torso thing? There was a “Curses, foiled again!” situation when this happened to sit on me in such a way to make me both look like a toddler and senior citizen. Love the idea of it, though! Ladies, if you don’t own yourself a wrap dress, get one. If it fits correctly, you will never own a more comfortable or flattering piece of closing. All hail DVF.

Market & Spruce Lana Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse

Market & Spruce Lana Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse

Ah, the blouse I did keep! I told you I was a sucker for detail? Well, generally, that doesn’t extend to lace. Generally, lace always tends to have a whiff of the doily to me, but this is gorgeous. Also it’s black and white and will match up with both the velvet pants (please don’t ask) and metallic origami skirt (I repeat, please don’t ask) I just purchased. Kat, you’re a doll.

Margaret M Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant

Margaret M Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant

I loved these pants. No, I don’t think you understand – I LOVED THESE PANTS. The print, the color, the skinny fit, worshipped it all. Which is why I actually almost burst into tears very early this morning upon discovering they were just too baggy through the waist and hips. I’m sure I could have tried to shrink them in the dryer, but I just didn’t want to take the risk. Fingers crossed I can get the next size down in my next box.

And there you have it, chickadees. I’m thrilled that I gave Stitch Fix another chance, and while I’m sure I’m making their styling team apoplectic right about now, I encourage you to let them send you a few pieces and play dress-up for your friends.

In the meantime, I’ll be in a corner, crying about those pants.

Love,
Your Gal

Oops, I Did It Again

While reading, have you ever run across a word that, based on your age, reading level and experience, should be absolutely clear to you within the text?

You have. Right? And so have we all. For me, that word is “pigeon.” I know what a pigeon is – I’ve held a pigeon, I’ve fed a pigeon, I’ve eaten a pigeon (not the same pigeon – I have a strict policy against eating animals with whom I’m personally acquainted.) But for some reason, the word “pigeon” in print never fails to baffle me.

Pig-eonWhat’s a pig eon? Is that like a dog’s age? Pige-on? Pig-pig-pigeon. Pigeon. Oh. OH. PIGEON.

Even if no one can hear your inner monologue, it’s embarrassing. Like, “showing up to your ACT test with a sunburn so severe it looks like leprosy” embarrassing. But it’s even worse when your brain blips actually manage to escape your mouth. In my past four years of working as a professional, I’ve managed to say (or shout) the following in the workplace:

“I really don’t do well with people aiming balls at my face” – when asked to join a Nerf football game.

“Colin Webster? I thought you were saying ‘colon, Webster,’ which is probably why we can’t find his nametag.”

“I’m definitely worth two men” – both bastardized and said in a room full of men.

We all have our moments.

Some of us more than others.

For instance, if you’ve never informed a coworker that “Amy Schumer is a national goddamned treasure” with a director standing behind you, then I salute you.

If you’ve yet to interrupt a conversation with a stranger by screeching “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!” (low blood sugar may have been involved), I congratulate you.

If you haven’t replied to a British person’s apologies over stepping on your bag with “Well I’m sorry for dumping all your tea in the harbor,” I worship you.

And if you’ve never slipped on wet marble tile in front of three dozen lawyers and joked that you should’ve have had so much happy in your lunch hour, you’re probably my hero.

Long story short: I made it weird.

And I’ll be making it weirder here again.

Love,
Your Gal

GGG 2.0: Gal Gift Guide

Bey heard I love white trees.

Full disclosure: I am the absolute worst person in the world to buy gifts for. Not because I’m terribly picky, but because despite having 364 days in a year to think about what I want for Christmas, my response to friends/family every year is “I…have no idea. Maybe a card?”

I’m not sure when or why this happened, since my childhood lists were long and beautifully detailed, packed primarily with a horse, horse-related toys and Dear America books, and preferably in that order. (Spoiler alert: my parents started their shopping with items two and three.) Maybe it stems from the fact that if I truly want something, I’m likely to budget for and buy it for myself before Christmas rolls around; maybe it’s that I don’t need most of the things I want, or that my inability to choose a restaurant applies to all game-time decisions in my life.

Whatever it is, I am not the person you want to receive for Secret Santa. But in the interest of making life easier for anyone shopping for a similarly frustrating young lady, I present the complement to last week’s Guy Gift Guide:

1. ROOKIE YEARBOOK V.3: Tavi Gevinson is the coolest of the cool girls; Rookie’s third yearbook is a reflection of that. With contributions from Lorde, Sia and the Sisters Fanning, your lady doesn’t have to be a teen to enjoy this beautifully curated collection. (Also, her imaginary best friends Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham love it, too.)
2. ALEX & ANI: Alex & Ani is that rare product that every woman loves, even if she insists she hates jewelry. From birthstones to sports teams to gorgeously beaded patterns, Alex & Ani literally has an option for everyone. My personal favorites are the Queen’s Crown and the Phoenix Wrap.
3. RAY-BAN WAYFARERS: If every man looks better in a Clubmaster, every lady is even lovelier in a Wayfarer. Perfect for every face type and the kind of sassy and bold that makes a gal want to wear a red lip, the Wayfarer is the gateway drug to building your lady a fantastic sunglasses collection. Protip? Go for the classic, in tortoise or black.
4. REBECCA MINKOFF MAC MINI: This one is a bit on the pricier end, but if there is a more versatile bag out there, no one tell me about it. Available in any color a gal could want, the Mini Mac is the perfect size for a night out or to store the essentials in an airplane carry-on. Have a little more to spend? Try the Michael Kors Selma bag, which may just be the world’s most perfect satchel.
5. PERFUME: While it may be a no-brainer, every lady has at one point or another received 1.7 – 3.3oz of something that smells like rosy roadkill. Gentlemen, you cannot go wrong with Stella McCartney’s Stella, Hermés Eau des Merveilles or Dior’s J’Adore. (And if you’re really feeling generous, try to hunt down the Naked2 palette.)
6. THE RED TENT: I’m not exaggerating when I say every woman to whom I have lent a copy of this book has stolen it from me. Regardless of your lady’s age, ethnicity or religion, she will laugh and cry and read this novel until it falls apart.

As always, I’m neither fancy nor important enough for affiliate links: all opinions are my own!

Love,
Your Gal

GGG: The Guy Gift Guide

Image courtesy of Gawker Media.

Image courtesy of Gawker Media.

Now, let me preface my Guy Gift Guide by stating that I am an absolutely terrible receiver of gifts (oh, hello, you judgmental, dusty, expensive pile of thank-you notes), but that I pride myself on being a good-to-great giver of gifts. While pulling together my own Christmas list tends to inspire cold sweats, I always look forward to devoting hours browsing my city’s beautifully decorated stores around the holidays in search of the gifts my brothers will promptly open, examine and fall asleep on/in/under.

But choosing gifts for my family has always been easy; it’s male friends or – gasp – the occasional suitor where I think every gal has a little bit of trouble. So without further ado, I present the handful of options for your fella that are (hopefully) guaranteed to get a smile.

(As always, none of these are affiliate links – a) I’m not that fancy and b) well, refer to “a.”)

  1. KOMONO WATCHES: Gorgeous, masculine and surprisingly affordable, you absolutely cannot go wrong with a Komono watch. From hipster florals to yacht club stripes with beautifully bezeled faces, there’s a surprisingly affordable option for every gentleman in your life.
  2. HERSCHEL BAGS: Duffels, messenger bags, laptop sleeves – you name it, Herschel has it, and likely in a fun throwback print. As durable as they are fun, Herschel is the very best option for letting a fellow know that it’s high time he start traveling more, and in style to boot.
  3. BAXTER OF CALIFORNIA GROOMING: Ever wonder why your moisturizer runs out so quickly? Even that $89 stuff the very nice lady at Sephora somehow talked you into buying? It’s probably because your dude is sneaking a little bit of it to calm his razor burn. Enter Baxter: from shaving tips and tricks to Dopp kits, this California company should be your gentleman’s go-to for grooming.
  4. RAY-BAN CLUBMASTERS: Every man looks 47% more handsome and mysterious in a pair of Clubmasters. This is a scientific fact.
  5. CRAFT-A-BREW BEERMAKING KITS: From ales to stouts and everything in between, your fella can relive the glorious day man first discovered the magic of hops, barley and water with Craft-a-Brews 1- or 3-gallon options.
  6. SIGNED NOVELS: Every adult should have a small collection of contemporary novels, if only so they’ll never run out of conversation topics at a party. Chuck Palahniuk being a perennial favorite, I’d suggest scouring eBay for authors your guy loves if you can’t make it out to a signing.

Happy holiday shopping!

Love,
Your Gal

Death of a Skirt

A day in the not-too-distant past, which should neatly outline why, in the back of my mind, I secretly believe I have one great sitcom script in me.

6:30am: Awaken for morning ablutions.

7:16am: Burn forehead with flat iron. Curse appropriately.

7:18am: Burn scalp with flat iron. Curse inappropriately.

7:22am: Run tights on pretty but spiky shoes. Find another pair. Curse again.

7:38am: Late for train! Get in car.

7:46am: Car incident of which we will not speak. Call an Uber.

7:48am: 3x surge???!!! Resign self. (Curse again.)

8:50am: Ride elevator many stories, cursing weather, bad drivers and Henry Ford himself along the way. Realize Uber was over $50. Curse again.

9:00am – 6:00pm: Great meetings. Faith in humanity/good mood restored! Decide to walk home (four miles away.)

6:45pm: Leave work. Is it slightly windy? Procure coffee. Commence Homer Simpson-esque drooling. Mmmmmmm, coffee.

6:49pm: Skirt flies over head.

6:52pm: Skirt flies over head. Gather pleats and hold against legs.

6:59pm: Skirt flies over head. Curse. Call an Uber.

7:00pm: 3x surge? NEVER AGAIN.

7:13pm: Skirt FLIES over head. Download Lyft.

7:14pm: 25% Prime Time? Worth it.

7:18pm: Lyft arrives. Slide into warm, cozy car and realize you are soaking a very nice gentleman’s car seats.

7:35pm: Jump out of car, apologize.

7:36pm: Fumble for keys. Skirt flies over head.

7:40pm: Skirt goes in trash. NEVER AGAIN.

One Year, 100 Classics

10616275_678469488912416_7841571814752302060_n

Friends, Romans and countrymen, I have been woefully neglectful of this little corner of cyberspace, but I promise it’s only because I’ve embarked upon the previously mentioned journey to re-smarten myself through the classics (and I don’t mean that one class I took in college where all we talked about was psychedelic mushrooms.)

Living in a college town has its perks. And one of the biggest? Is great book stores. Towering, multi-story book stores full of that gorgeous smell that’s something like a melange of new paper and cheap leather and burnt coffee and binding glue, which in my opinion is the only safe glue to inhale. Disclaimer: I am not a scientist or a doctor, so take that last bit with a grain of salt.

Book stores are my happy place. Book stores are my sanctuary. Book stores are where I do terrible, awful, unspeakable things to my checking account. Things for which I feel the need to send my local bank branch that delicious Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark at Christmas.

My most recent set of acquisitions is a blend of old and new, classic and not. The classics are some of my best-loved – Hemingway and Huxley and Vonnegut, since my previous copies had been read to death. But since I doubt my ability to focus only on raiding the summer reading table over the next year, I’m also allowing myself one history book (a deep-seated passion) and two fun reads every time I hit the book store. You should do the same! And if you’re looking for a starter list, should you decide to take up your own #OneYear100Classics challenge, I’d suggest the following blend, which is guaranteed to keep your neurons firing and your heartstrings tugged:

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Howl and Other Poems, Allen Ginsberg
Serena, Ron Rash
The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber
The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

Note: I’m not fancy enough to have an Amazon affiliate link, so these recommendations are quite simply a few of my very favorites (and yes, I understand they are essentially the equivalent of saying The Beatles are your favorite band. But The Beatles kicked ass, and so do these books.) Also? The relationship between Hemingway and Fitzgerald was just as fascinating as their novels – you can read about it in this great book, or you can watch Midnight in Paris. (I’d suggest both. An extra ten points to you if you go on to read Djuna Barnes’ fabulous Nightwood!)

Happy reading!

Love,
Your Gal

Meet My Friends, Kübler and Ross

Or, the five stages of going-to-a-bachelorette-party-when-you’d-rather-be-at-home-watching-E! grief.

Let’s preface this with a soundtrack.

(As an all-in-good-fun FYI, I promise I’m only slightly ancient and crotchety.)

1. Denial: The subject attempts to shut out the reality or the magnitude of his/her situation and begins to develop a false reality. Or, more simply put: a 25-year-old girl cries in front of her empty-full closet.

tumblr_mexfpmwbru1rknrf9o1_500

2. Anger: The subject moves on from denial and manifests instead feelings of rage. Examples include subject standing on a street corner outside a restaurant, waiting for the rest of her party in five-inch heels before she can be seated.

bellatrix-lestrange-i-dont-like-to-be-kept-waiting

3. Bargaining: The subject’s anger abates, and he/she begins to negotiate with a higher or unknown power to avoid the cause of grief. A technique often employed by young women to stop their friends from hoovering tequila shots. This maneuver is often preceded by the “side-eye.”

anigif_enhanced-30094-1406146329-30

4. Depression: The subject becomes sullen and silent, but begins to feel an emotional attachment once again to persons and things; at this stage, the subject may also circle back to the anger stage, when she realizes, to her anguish, much of her party has scattered like a herd of cats.

where-are-my-dragons

5. Acceptance: The subject is finally able to resolve his or her feelings about the future as well as past grievances; among young women, this is generally accomplished over a plate of shared chili cheese fries at a late-night diner.

anigif_enhanced-4271-1405727955-11

Happy blueberry mojito-ing, kids.

Love,

Your Gal