Link Pack Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down on Friday

Hello and good morning it is 3 P.M.!

Today I woke up and felt ,,,,, not so great mentally,,, so I decided to treat my brain like a friend and devote my day to doing things I like.

It was supposed to rain this morning but it ended up being gorgeous outside. I took a little walk in the sunshine and picked up an almond milk triple-shot latte and a slice of red velvet cake at Starbucks. I got home, put on my favorite podcast and did some work. Then I did some pilates with a really fun Blogilates video and after took a shower and used every single luxurious product I own.

Now we are here and I honestly feel better.

I know it’s not always as easy as this. I can’t ignore the thick coat of depression and anxiety we’re all under thanks to a global pandemic, shady/shitty/just plain bad politics, systemic racism, the U.S. COVID response/vaccine distribution disaster, every small business and restaurant we know and love closing because our government failed to provide monetary relief, wide-spread death, etc…

But on the personal level of just me, and just my OCD-addled brain, I am choosing to celebrate that today it was not so hard to turn one thing around.

ANYWAY ! LINKS !

So my order of the new Parade seamless underwear came and I am thriving. I can’t stand underpants with any sort of elastic against my skin and these are truly buttery soft and won’t just slide down your butt like most seamless pairs do. 10/10 recommend. I really love the grass green and the sky blue colors in the brief and hip-hugger styles. If you’re thinking about getting a pair (or a few) use my code lily-d26 for a free pair!

It’s the Lunar New Year! Here are some traditions and taboos you should know about.

Hate crimes fueled by anti-Asian racism have risen by 1,900% in New York after the start of the pandemic. There have recently also been a string of violent attacks on the Asian community in Northern California. Want to help? Fight Asian-targeted (and all) racism by calling it out when you hear it, reporting it, and donating to the people and communities it causes harm to.

I made the TikTok pasta. How was it? I really liked it. It was sort of like a feta mac-n-cheese. I also used gluten-free pasta which I think helped the heavy dish feel a little lighter. My notes? Use garlic powder not actual garlic and add scallions to the tomatoes while you roast them. Mix spinach in with the dish once you start combining it with the pasta for some added greens. If you haven’t made it yet and your main worry is that you won’t like it because you think it’s a lot of cheese, it is. This is probably a skip for you then.

I really need some new dishtowels. I think these are pretty. These are cool too.

So people can see my face when I’m on a Zoom in my cave-like living room (god I hate this WFH existence) I purchased a ring light. This ring light to be exact! It plugs into the wall (my laptop does not have any USB outlets,,,,thanks Apple), has adjustable tri-pod legs, a holder for your phone (in case my beauty vlogging career takes off I guess), three different light settings AND makes it so my boss can see me scowling during the 10 A.M.

Why do I love these smiley nails? @ Color Camp please make neon green ones with frowny faces.

Dan and I are doing fondue for Valentine’s Day! We’re doing a meat, a cheese and a chocolate. I found some inspiration for things to dip here. I already know what Dan got me (because I asked for it and sent him a link lmao).

We made these Trader Joe’s mac & cheese bites for the Super Bowl and they were the hit of our 4-person pod feast.

I have NOT been able to stop fantasizing about these shoes ever since I saw them on my favorite TikToker….GlitterParis!!

Most days I feel exactly like this:

Can’t think of a gift for your BFF or S/O? Might I suggest….

Anyway, my wet hair has dried into a triangle and I must go burn it into submission with various heated tools!

xoxo

What I’ve Cooked in My Air Fryer & What Actually Works

When I received an air fryer over the holidays, my boyfriend thought that I had been gifted a deep fryer. I think he assumed I would be making things such as french fries, corn dogs, fried Oreos, etc …

Alas, I am yet to receive that type of power.

An air fryer is similar to a tiny convection oven. The device bakes and roasts (like an oven) but its final result mimics that of a deep fryer. You get crunchy-crispy goodness, but you don’t have to use a shit-ton (or ANY!) oil.

While I have yet to make any fried candy bars, I have made a bunch of meat and vegetable dishes in my air fryer.

If you came here to read about making french fries, I am sorry to disappoint — I haven’t tried those yet but I s2g they are on my list!!

THIS IS WHAT I HAD MADE SO FAR:

SALMON

I normally bake my salmon in an oven. It is a no-muss, no-fuss way of getting the job done. I hate touching raw fish and baking it in a glass pan usually equals minimal touching.

HOWEVER!!! I never get a delicious flaky-crunchy top that way, and I really like it when salmon is like that— especially if I am having it on salad or with a lot of vegetables. I was told that cooking salmon in an air fryer gets you that result, I decided to attempt Skinnytaste’s air fryer blackened salmon with cucumber-avocado salsa.

The recipe says: “Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.”

Perhaps I chose a THICC cut of salmon….but after 7 minutes my fish was still very raw? I popped that bb back in for another 7 minutes, when it beeped, tested it with a meat thermometer (my kitchen must-have) and then only after seeing that it was at an internal temp where it could be consumed without causing bodily harm, pronounced it done.

The top was crispy and well-seasoned (the Skinnytaste recipe’s seasoning mix was v good) and the center was cooked (although perhaps a tad over-done). I have cooked salmon in an air fryer since then (for a total of 12 minutes at 400º) and had much better, less stress-inducing results.

HOWEVER!! You think your apartment stinks after you cook fish in an oven? WHEEE! Get ready for it to be way worse!! Stink city bb!! Also, is there a way to prep your air fryer so the fish won’t stick to it or no? I had to touch (cooked) fish stuck on bits when I was trying to clean my device and that was gross! ALSO no matter how much I have scrubbed since, I feel the scent of salmon still lingers in my air fryer. I am not entirely a fan.

8/10 for taste……..4/10 for experience

CHICKEN NUGGETS

If you have an air fryer, you need to make chicken nuggets. They can be real chicken nuggets, gluten-free nuggets, naked nuggets, soy nuggets, whatever you want them to be. But just go make them.

RIGHT NOW!!!

Never in my life have I made such perfectly crispy nuggets. Not since the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru have I been blessed with such crunchy, crispy, golden PERFECTION!

Here is how to do it: Pre-heat your air fryer to 400º. When that’s done, dump in your nuggets. Cook for 5 min at 400º. Once they beep, shake them in the pan so they flip over. Cook for another 5 mins.

I am dead ass serious!!!! This is nugget bliss!! AND SO EASY!!

Now if only I had saved all those extra Chick-Fil-A sauces 😦

10/10 for taste……10/10 experience!

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

What I have learned about air fryer recipes from the internet is that they are semi-trial and error. I mean that’s a lot of recipes, but I find it to be especially true for those involving an this particular device.

When done correctly, an air fryer will produce potato chip-like brussels that you won’t want to stop popping in your mouth.

However, oven-baked brussels caramelize in a low-and-slow way an air fryer won’t. Oven-baking also allows your sprouts time to really soak in your seasonings. Sure, air fryer brussles will have a few crisp, tasty leaves, but the entire sprout (at least in my experience) has not been as flavorful as say….olive oil drizzled sprouts, sprinkled with sea salt, black pepper, rosemary and a little garlic in a 425º oven.

But here is how I have made good air fryer sprouts:

Halve or quarter your sprouts (depending on size). In a mixing bowl, toss them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a bit of salt and pepper. Preheat for 400º, dump them in your air fryer. Cook for 7 min at the same temp. Take them out, give the air fryer basket a shake, then cook for another 5 min at 400º. If you like them extra salty, add another pinch of salt.

8/10 for taste……8/10 experience

TOFU

I am not a tofu wiz but cooking your tofu in an air fryer feels like a really good hack! I have never successfully pan-fried tofu. I always use too much oil or just straight up burn the tofu. BUT HERE IS WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO TO MAKE IT EXCELLENT SO YOU CAN ENJOY A BAHN MI OR RICE BOWL OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU WANT TO MAKE WITH TOFU.

Step 1 is go to Trader Joe’s. They have a Sriracha tofu that you should buy. I like it. If you don’t like spicy, they have a plain version but then why are you buying tofu from Trader Joe’s if you’re not going to get the obnoxious flavored kind? Go to Ralph’s (Kroger/Jewel/Ask your local pizza rat) or something.

Step 2!! Preheat the air fryer to 400º. While it’s heating up, cut your tofu into a way that makes sense for you. If you’re putting it on a sandwich, I would recommend long strips. If you are eating it in a rice bowl, burrito, salad or whatever else, I recommend making cubes.

Step 3 – if you are going to add seasoning to it, now is the time to do that. I am not going to tell you what to do … I got the Sriracha tofu.

Step 4: Dump your strips/cubes into the air fryer. Cook for 5 min at 400º. Give it a little shake after the first timer goes off and then repeat!

CRISPY DELICIOUSNESS!

10/10 for taste…..10/10 for experience!

BAGEL

Full disclosure, I saw someone attempt this on TikTok before I tried it. Their bagel looked gorgeously golden brown!

I did not have a regular bagel, but I DID have a bagel thin.

This was my first and final mistake.

I put it in the air fryer at 350º for 4 minutes.

Basically, I made a cracker?

It was edible but it was…..not a bagel/sort of burned!!

2/10 for taste…….0/10 for experience!!!!

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH WITH AN EGG IN THE MIDDLE

Another one that I saw on social media, this time from Instagram! The original poster made a grilled cheese sandwich. It was breakfast time for me, and I added an egg. So sue me!!!!!!

I preheated my air fryer to 400º.

I buttered the sides of my bread that would be touching the air fryer. I placed one piece of bread butter-side down, topped it with cheese and cracked an egg (which mercifully stayed in place).

I let it cook for 5 minutes on that side and when it was done, I placed my other piece of bread (butter side UP) on to the sandwich and cooked for another 5 minutes at 400º.

IT LOOKED GORGEOUS! The bread wasn’t burnt (prob because it wasn’t a bagel thin) and the butter and cheese and egg had kept the bread moist enough to not dry out too much. BUT I forgot one crucial step. I did not flip the sandwich in the fryer!! The bread on the bottom was a soggy mess as it had never fried and bore the weight of all that dairy.

The worst part is, I didn’t realize it until I had it in my hands, ready to eat.

I want to attempt this one again. I am not a fan of mushy bread.

7/10 for taste …… 4/10 for experience

If you’ve made it to the bottom and you’re wondering what sort of air fryer I have my grubby mitts on, it’s this one.

I am still learning how to do things with it (clearly) but it has been an overall enjoyable experience so far. Please do not confuse this device with an Instant Pot. That is a pressure cooker. Allegedly, pressure cookers can cook a chicken but can also make yogurt (?). I don’t know much about it, other than I once had a boyfriend who was a lawyer and he was representing someone who had been badly burned after their pressure cooker (I don’t remember if it was Instant Pot?) exploded. He made me promise never to purchase one. I am afraid of explosions and also burns so I will likely keep this promise for the rest of my life!!

thanks for reading

xx

A Saturday Link Pack (Because Why Not?)

Hello from gloomy LA, where it has been raining since 9 a.m.

Since waking, I have consumed two Dunkin’ donuts and an iced toasted-almond triple-shot almond milk latte. So, my body is 97% sugar.

That means I am in the mood to shop!

Since we can’t go anywhere or do anything (it is day 327 of the pandemic), I am putting this sugar-high to good use by building you an awesome link pack!!

Today’s pack will be full of things to buy, stories to read, recipes to try? (I am so tired of cooking), TikToks, podcast recs, random chit….I don’t even know. I am just typing out an intro.

After this goes live, I will now have posted 2 shopping pieces in a row. Is that too many? Do you hate it? Do you love it?

Lmk (also idc!!!!)

Enjoy!

Have you been watching Bling Empire on Netflix? It’s so good. If you’re as entranced by Anna Shay as I am, read this Town & Country profile on her life. She once managed a Salsa band and literally learned what a Target store is 2 years ago!!!

Speaking of Tarjayyyy, I wore a very 90’s sweater on my Instagram story yesterday and got a bunch of DMs about it. It’s from Target!

This is my new favorite beauty/skincare podcast. It’s called Natch Beaut. Start with the Caroline Moss (of my other fave pod, Gee, Thanks! Just Bought It) episode for a lot of laughs and some good cruelty-free product recs. Listen here.

One of the recs was for Chemist Confessions. This skincare brand is owned by two WOC chemists, who both used to work for “a beauty conglomerate”  (idk which one but 👀 👀 👀). They are now focused on making products that are transparent about ingredients and how those ingredients work on your skin. I am trying their Baby Steps Exfoliation Treatment and I ordered a sample pack of their moisturizers (which cost $0!).

I don’t want to rub my face the wrong way (aka try too many exfoliants at once), but this influencer I follow is using the new NudeStix micro-peel and it looks so pretty in her medicine cabinet. Very MILK vegan moisturizer neon packaging vibes. It also has really good reviews AND it’s cruelty-free.

Selena, Selena, SELENA! If you are my friend IRL, then you know I feel like Selena Gomez might be my wife. I love her. I don’t know why it took me so long to start trying products from her beauty line, Rare Beauty. Rare Beauty’s Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush is EVERYTHING. Like noah fence, but I might be throwing away my Glossier? The color of these cream blushes is a lot softer than her previously released Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, and the application is apply-with-your-fingers-fool-proof. Plus, it’s cruelty-free! Are you sensing a theme? I own the shade “Nearly Apricot” but when my next paycheck hits, I have my eye on “Nearly Mauve.”

I really want some new bed sheets. I love these rose quartz-colored ones from Urban Outfitters. Of course, Amazon has a much cheaper dupe. Would love to give my precious coins to a brand that deserves it, so if you know of any more sustainable beddings brands HMU.

Why am I so into this chunky-knit blanket?? I’ve also been obsessed with this tufted throw forever and now UO is selling it in a very cool Chartreuse. Or is green over with in 2021?

This is your reminder to go for walks outside (with a mask on), drink lots of water, do yoga at home after work, and take breaks from screens!!

Can I convince my boyfriend to order pizza for dinner? Dan if you are reading this pls don’t say no.

These are my new favorite Uggs.

Find me riding out the rest of the pandemic this summer here… or here…. or maybe even here (if I suddenly become very rich).

MARK YOUR CALS FOR FEB. 12!! NADIYA BAKES!! PEAK COZY BAKING SHOW GOODNESS!

These super high-rise Everlane jeans will give you an amazing butt (even if you don’t have one). They run a teense big. I sized down.

Chicago is doing indoor-dining again and that scares the fuck out of me tbh!

This TikTok compilation of the best Olivia-Joshua-Sabrina tweets is very LOL for those who know the drama.

Can’t sleep? These are the best melatonin gummies. You can find them at Target. I would eat them by the fistful if they weren’t designed to make me pass out.

Speaking of crashing, I feel the sugar leaving my body. Gonna go hydrate with a bunch of water. If you liked my link pack, bought anything, have comments, questions or concerns, LMK on Instagram. Send me a DM. Put it on your story. At least give me a follow!!

xo

Things I’ve Been Doing Instead of Drinking

I’m just going to start by saying, I really want a glass of wine right now.

I’ve paused Real Housewives of Salt Lake City to write this (because inspiration rarely strikes at convenient times), and normally I would be watching all the drama go down accompanied by a nice glass of red (or white) (or rosé).

But no.

I am doing Dry January, which I sometimes also call “Dryanuary.”

Never has the urge to drink in daily life been stronger. We are living through a global pandemic, a bunch of fuckwits stormed the Capitol, Harry Styles is dating Olivia Wilde, Tr*mp was impeached again, Armie Hammer wants to eat people, we still have to do our jobs, I haven’t had eye lash extensions since last March, every single restaurant we know and love is closing for good, I haven’t seen my friend group since last year and I think they all probably hate me because of it, I can’t stop crying because of that song “drivers license” AND I missed a dental appointment so they are billing me $125!

I!

WANT!

A!

DRINK!

But,,,,, if I am being honest with myself, and with you — mom, the only person who still reads this site anymore — I was drinking more often than I liked.

I would like to note that in pre-pandemic life, drinking was also a social activity. Rarely did I drink alone.

I miss cozying up between friends and strangers at the bar, gabbing about work, ordering apps, bonding hard over a second glass of something. I miss everyone in various stages of hair and makeup while the most ready person fixes drinks. I miss getting a little buzz and hitting the dance floor.

I really fucking miss blasting Taylor Swift in my ear pods, drunk in the Uber and on the way home.

During pandemic life, I live with my boyfriend so if I am not drinking with him then I am drinking alone.

Drinking by yourself is fun if you’re in the bath or cooking dinner. I have found that it is less fun when you are doom scrolling through Twitter or seeing photos of people on Instagram in M*GA hats, wearing shirts that say “6 MILLION MORE.”

So new year new me, even though I haven’t had a hair cut in ages.

No drinking. Also I deleted my Twitter.

So what have I been doing for the past 14 days? LET ME TELL YOU!!!!!!

I have been drinking a lot of tea and non-alcoholic kombucha. Tea is nice because it makes you feel cozy and sleepy. Kombucha is nice, because it tastes like juice and it is especially nice to drink when it is icy cold.

I have been working out. I started doing Blogilates routines because this influencer that I follow did Blogilates last year and she had the most amazing butt.

I have had discussions with people — both negative and positive — about Dryanuary. I have found that some people who typically don’t drink, like to use your month-long resolution as an excuse to remind you that they aren’t like you and that they don’t feel the need to do this. It has been an opportunity to both practice and lose your patience!

I have also had some encouraging conversations too.

I have been on walks. I have taken baths. I have tried reading books. I cooked more meals. I online shopped. I called my parents. I called my therapist. I have been doing yoga for my upper back and I have read through all my old text messages, even the ones that cause me to hurt.

And to be honest, I don’t feel that different. I still have anxiety. I still have depression. I still have OCD. I still feel like whyyyyyy is this happening? But I didn’t expect to quit drinking and have everything magically change for me.

This is/was an exercise in breaking a bad habit for me. It was never about making a permanent change. Like most of us who resolve to do better because the Earth has successfully completed another spin around the sun, I wanted to kick off the first day, week, month in way that inspired future physical and mental health.

It has only been two weeks but my face feels less puffy and I am sleeping better — both things I will remember once January fades into whatever the hell we are headed towards.

But I don’t feel mentally amazing. And how could I expect to? I am thankful for so many things in my life, but the world (especially America rn) pretty much sucks! It’s not like drinking ever deluded me into think it wouldn’t, or that it could ever stop the pain of being robbed of an entire year of life.

Maybe one day I will quit drinking totally. I probably should, this audio book about alcoholism that I am listening to is scaring the crap out of me. Plus, because I drink for pleasure I like to drink things that taste nice and those things tend to be a little $$.

But until then, I will continue to have tea, paint my nails, call my mom, water my plants, take self-inventory of my feelings and try to enjoy the rest of this month (where I have spent all my money on $$ health snacks).

When it’s over, maybe I’ll celebrate with a kombucha.

xo

LL

Saturday Link Pack

Hello!

Happy weekend! I am currently sitting on my couch, next to my boyfriend, who is depressed that I have announced that I want lip injections.

I ran an Instagram poll this week asking you all what you’d like to see more of on Lately, and many of you (the 5 people who responded) answered roundups and recipes. So on this grey LA October day, I am posting a roundup of just….shit from the internet? And a recipe or two.

Enjoy

Speaking of D*n, he LOVED this brown-butter salmon with lemon and Harissa recipe that I made the other week. It’s an Alison Roman dish and was fairly easy to make.

I have been dreaming of these press-ons from Color Camp. The orange is fall AF. If you’ve never ordered from CC, they send you a try on kit before your order ships so you can give them the exact size of your nails. The result is press-ons that actually fit and look natural. This autumn floral design is super cute too.

This is THE BEST smelling & looking candle.

Repeller (formerly Man Repeller) shut down this week, right after a relaunch that held the promise of inclusivity and would have opened the door to much-needed conversations in the fashion/beauty/lifestyle digital space. If you want details on the close, you can read about it here. If you want some insider gossip on the sitch….click here.

I’ve been eyeing these bike shorts (yes bike shorts are still a core part of my wardrobe) from Aerie. The v-seam looks ultra-flattering. Plus, they’re on sale right now for $25. They also come in legging form.

I just started using these much-hyped Japanese beauty skin cloths in the shower. They exfoliate like a mofo. 10/10 recommend.

I’ve been trying to up my fermented foods/probiotics intake, because I have severely screwed up my gut health during quarantine. I’ve been really enjoying drives to Erewhon for Kombucha Kat (and I am a person who typically doesn’t like kombucha but this stuff is really tasty). I’ve also started drinking this blackberry apple cider vinegar tea in the mornings.

You STILL need to wear SPF in the fall/winter!! Even when it’s not sunny out. Even indoors! They discontinued making my favorite one from Purito : ( right as I am squeezing out of the last drops from my bottle! I might try EltaMD next, or Solid & Striped.

Maybe I’ll wear this dress to Thanksgiving. I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I have been dreaming of eating stuffing.

Somebody buy me these earrings.

Halloween is in 1 week! My grandmother sent me some Halloween/fall cookie cutters and I put them to good use. She even sent me a card with the sugar cookie recipe she has been making my entire life.

Albertson’s was out of purple and orange icing. Peep the pilgrim hats I tried to turn into a spooky witches hat and a fall hat for gardening.

Anyway, we saw a rat on the balcony yesterday. Tell me again why we left the valley?

xoxoxo

Lily

M*ney

I am currently saving money for a pair of shoes that don’t actually exist.

I know that I want new shoes. I mean, I always want new shoes. But after a recent closet purge at Buffalo Exchange where I made $160 selling what felt like $1,000 worth of goods, I realized I had sold a lot of my nicer pieces, including fancy shoes that I currently have no business wearing (because where the hell do I even go?), but will want to replace to wear later.

I pulled open tabs on Staud, Suzanne Rae, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Brother Vellies, etc… and quickly realized — 1. Sh*t, I am broke, and 2. Would it feel as good to instantly replace my shoes (and go into even MORE debt) than it would to save up for a pair I actually have my eye on?

Also 3….. or do I want a purse??

So, they’re more metaphorical “shoes” than anything.

One of the few reasons I am so glad to live in 2020 (including being on the same plane of existence as Harry Styles) is that there is an app for everything. I’ll preface this by saying, THIS IS NOT AN AD. I have in no way been paid to endorse anything. I just really love the Digit app.

You can make this money app do whatever you want (besides give you more money lol). Right now, I have it scheduled to pull a little money (and I mean truly a tiny bit) from my checking account for a “rainy day fund,” and a little bit of money that I use to pay my credit card bill with.

So when I realized I might want new shoes/a new purse/diamond earrings/the magic potion that will make Harry Styles fall in love with me, I set up a new “Savings Goal,” as the app calls it.

I labeled it “NEW SHOES!!!” Because I am someone who enjoys caps and exclamation points to make life more exciting. I picked a random number to save up to that would afford me dream shoes, and in a time frame that would turn my little nest egg into a present for New Years (because 2021 HAS to be better than 2020. Especially if I start it by wearing new shoes.)

The app then alerted me that it would need to save between $5 – $15 every day, depending on what’s in my checking account.

My lizard brain thought…$5 to $15?? That’s like…my daily Starbucks coffee and a bagel! NO! But then my humanoid brain whispered into my hippocampus, “I dare you to do it, bitch.”

Yes, this post is disgusting and steeped in privilege. I am a woman who can afford to save money for something she doesn’t actually need. Giving up a daily dose of Starbucks is not a hardship.

What I have learned about myself since March 2020, when everything shut down and changed, is that I am a person who spends money to feel better. During the pandemic, it has reached a fever pitch (mom I know you are reading this and freaking out. Please take a breath and calm down.) I know, through communicating with friends, that other people are going through a similar thing. But it still feels incredibly shameful and isolating.

It feels good to buy goods that support small business, because everyone is floundering. But then I feel like I am floundering (mental health wise) and I want to support myself through self care. Then I realize that I am a piece of sh*t because the world around me is crumbling and I need to donate to bail funds and free food fridges and NOT buy that Amazon potato peeler because I should be at a place in my life where I am perfectly fine just peeling all my fruit and potatoes and things with a knife, and if I wanted to practice good self care I would just go paint my nails or something. Which makes me think about how I want new nail polish and then the cycle starts again.

So I have been meditating on it.

I may not actually buy “shoes” or a “purse” or anything at all.

I would like to think I am trying to break this money cyclone I have created for myself, and be more mindful when it comes to WHY I am making purchases, and stop that bottomless hole feeling. Do I feel anxious right now? Am I buying new bedsheets because I am depressed or because I can’t get that hot sauce stain out? Will I still want this item in 2 weeks? Remember the glitter chair quarantine purchase????

By acknowledging that I am saving money for a goal, I am attempting to have less of a knee-jerk response to self-soothe by entering my secret code on any website that takes Shopify.

That includes unsubscribing from sites I like that offer me daily deals and my compulsory “I left the house coffee” (which NGL, is going to be super hard because it has become a ritual for me to go on a walk to get that delicious, delicious iced bean water).

I will be real with you my beautiful readers, who I hope don’t think I am now scum on the bottom of a Jimmy Choo… I do still want shoes. And I will probably allow myself one coffee outing a week. But I have made this blog post in an attempt to be accountable? In an attempt to be transparent?

Both, I guess.

I just hope someone out there relates to this/doesn’t tell me to burn in hell for behaving irresponsibly with my money.

Please don’t punch me in the face if you see me with an iced latte on the street.

X

LL

Have a Cozy-Making Sunday

I am writing this to you from my kitchen table, where I have a lovely view of an aluminum butter wrapper that has flown onto my balcony and out of someone’s trash. Either that or my upstairs neighbors are dumping their garbage out of their window.

I have yet to learn to love life on the east side.

ANYWAY.

I have a face mask on, I’m wearing my gnocchi Uggs, and I’m sipping some re-heated coffee. To add to the major relaxation vibes, Dan has football on (which is serving as my background noise ASMR for the day) and I have lit every single candle in our apartment. It is the late-teens of October and I am extremely dedicated to the spirit of Sunday cozy-making.

While it still may not be cold enough in LA to wear a sweater and I will probably have to say R.I.P. to any plans I had to go to a pumpkin patch this year, here are some things on the internet that are making me feel especially cozy today:

In the spirit of becoming my own favorite Midwestern aunt, it is my duty to inform all of you that this is the last day of Bath & Body Works buy 1, get 1 3-wick candle sale.

This weekend I listened to the Amelia Diamond episode of Gee Thanks, Just Bought It, and it was like spending time with an old friend. Diamond left Man Repeller (now called, Repeller) in 2018 and I have missed her voice/sense of humor ever since.

As soon as I take a leisurely solo trip to the grocery store to buy ingredients, I’ll be baking this apple cider doughnut cake.

Independent book stores really need your help right now. Even if you don’t have time to read (or like to), you definitely have friends and family who do. Consider buying a book, tote bag, or cool crewneck sweater to keep these places open. Here are a few independent book stores that I love: Unabridged Bookstore (Chicago), Women & Children First (Chicago), Skylight Books (Los Angeles), City Lights Bookstore (San Francisco), McNally Jackson (New York).

I got into my friend’s car after months of not seeing her and one of the first things she said to me was “you smell SO good.” I just started wearing this perfume.

I used to hate tomatoes and now I am obsessed with bursting them with olive oil and a little garlic to make pasta sauce. Will probably make some variation of this for dinner this week.

Have you been doing yoga at home? I’ve been really into SarahBethYoga’s videos. Sometimes I take a 15 minute break from work to do this one. I’ve also been looking for a new yoga mat. Anyone have any recs?

Just copped this plaid jacket from Minnesota/North Dakota brand Kittsona. I’m going to have to wait a little until the temps drop to wear it, but when I do I’d love to pair it with something like cozy like this. Mommy blogger fall is the vibe.

Speaking of mommy blogger fall, every year I consider buying this Everlane glove boot. TC if you’re reading this, I need you to peer pressure me into it!!! NO RAGRETS

Hope you’re somewhere cozy, enjoying Great British Baking Show, and drinking mugs of tea.

Love

LL

Rating Sh*t I Bought Because of TikTok

If you think there aren’t 27 year old women on this app, you’re probably on the wrong side of TikTok. This video app (which has completely ruined taken over my life) is influencing the crap out of me to buy things.

There are so many makeup artists touting must-have setting sprays, hair stylists with holy grail conditioners and just cool/smart people who have put me on to products that “actually work.”

But do they?????

Because I am a complete and total sucker, I have bought some of these things. Here’s what is actually good:

The Revlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer

I bought this at Ulta after a bunch of women that I follow on TikTok used it to give themselves DryBar-worthy blowouts.

Full disclosure, I am a DryBar ADDICT. I used to go every other week because it was in my building at work. Shoutout Burbank. I fully believe that if I were to have even the faintest whiff of a DryBar candle right now, it would give me a full body orgasm.

But not only do I miss DryBar, my frizzy little head misses it too. My hair has not been sleek or bouncy in the months? years? That we have been here.

I am fairly okay using hot tools. I have been flat ironing my own hair since I was 13 (humblebrag).

This hair-drying round brush isn’t difficult to use, but it is definitely bulky. I had to section my hair into smaller portions than normal to get the strands as sleek as I wanted to because I just couldn’t get in there, on account of how big the brush is.

I did love how quickly it dried my hair, even when it was wet-wet. It’s a great tool for creating sleek/flipped ends. I DON’T love that I can’t get as close as I want to to my roots, like I typically would be able to with a flat iron.

It gave me lots of volume. I had to go back over the top with my flat iron 😦

8/10 — Excellent hair tool. Probably easier to use if you have thin to medium hair and aren’t a total chia pet like me.

Essence Lash Princess Mascara

This mascara was $5 at CVS and worth every penny. That’s 500 pennies so…that means a lot. This mascara will give you black-blash lashes with lots of buildable volume and length. HOWEVER!!! due to the heaviness of this mascara, it won’t hold a curl no matter how many times you attack your lashes with a curling wand.

7/10 — a great drugstore mascara, especially if you have naturally curly lashes.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid

This product from The Ordinary is all the rage on Skincare-Tok. Normally, I am slightly afraid of this brand because I have no fucking clue what anything does or is for. BUT!!! After seeing too many TikToks where teens AND adults used this acid to help fade acne scars, I knew I needed to try it out.

IT. WORKS.

10/10

Actually holy grail for me??? I have scarring, largely from my dermatillomania (chronic skin picking!), and after only a week of using this, my marks have faded dramatically. Plus, it was $7 at Ulta. THANKS TIKTOK!

NYX Powder Puff Lippie

1000000/10. It’s like dream matte mousse but for your LIPS!! And in so many gorgeous shades. It’s budge-proof, it’s light, it’s pigmented, it smells good….it’s perfect. AND IT IS CHEAP!! If you wear lipstick, get it.

ART

There are some pretty amazing artists/designers/creators on TikTok. These are some of the ones I’ve made purchases from. I know these aren’t like….products I can give feedback on exactly, other than to say they were all so pretty and I love them/supporting small business!

All 10/10!!

Saying Sorry

Everything is different this year, including my apologies. Yom Kippur begins this weekend and I have been taking stock of what doesn’t sit right with me. Last year, I sought to forgive myself for the way I was mistreating me. This year (in my eyes) is less about the push and pull of asking for forgiveness and granting it. It’s about apologizing and expecting no forgiveness at all.

First and foremost, I would like to apologize to Breonna Taylor. An entire country — YOUR country — failed you. I am so deeply sorry that you have continually been denied justice and for the meme-ification of your murder and your life. You are more than a hashtag and the products and magazine covers made to capitalize off of your existence as a Black woman. The treatment of your memory is abhorrent. “Sorry” could never be enough. What has been done to you is unforgivable. All I can offer is my words and my actions. Your life mattered.

I deeply hate and am disgusted by the treatment of the Black community by police in the United States. I am naming Breonna, but there have been many other Black people — who all matter — who still have not received justice. I am dedicating 5781 (the Jewish new year) to education and action.

I am sorry to all the kids who were excited about their first year of kindergarten, middle school, high school and college. I am sorry to everyone entering their last year of those things. It’s such a shitty time to begin or to end anything. I am so sorry you were robbed of your excitement and had to adapt to this weird non-way of living life. It sucks so much.

If you were planning to get married this year or go on your honeymoon or had a big family trip planned, I’m sorry you had to hold off. This isn’t our year, is it?

I am really sorry to anyone who got sick with coronavirus. The people in charge grossly mishandled all of it. I have come to accept that our country could have done so many more things right and chose not to. I am so sorry to anyone who had to suffer or is currently suffering because they couldn’t/can’t get the medical care that they need. It’s embarrassing on so many levels.

I am sorry to the summer I thought I was going to have. I am sorry to my friends who I haven’t seen in months. Please know that I miss you every single day. I am sorry to Chicago, to Andrew, to my aunt and my uncle. My parents. My grandma. Mary. I apologize to the nights out I missed. The restaurants that closed that I wanted to try. To my therapist for calling her 18000000 times. To my eyes for only ever taking in my computer screen. To California for its fires. For things that aren’t my fault and for everything that is. To Chelsea, to Tori, to Julia to Amanda. To Mijal. To Dan.

I read something somewhere once about some years being the ones where you plant the seeds and the next years being the ones where you watch it all grow. I am really hoping to see something good bloom eventually.

Love you all

LL

Home Goods & Home Okays

Hello it’s me, your favorite anthropomorphic hot Cheeto, here to talk to you about decorating.

I am currently in the process of moving and while I’m not totally all moved in yet, I have been decorating/planning how to decorate/crying/dreaming about how I would decorate if I had more money.

I am a Cancer sun, Cancer rising, so I am a homebody.

I like my apartment to be a place where I can rest and recharge. I want all of it to be as comfortable as possible, with lots of textures and colors and plants and candles. I want to feel cozy and like I could sit and eat a snack in virtually every square inch!

I also really like knick knacks.

Rooms that look like this make me feel cozy:

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Felt cute, might archive later 😊

A post shared by ANDREA BURKE (@asburke) on

and this

and this

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🌀 home stuff 🌀

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However, I am someone who frequently spills iced coffee/red wine on to my white bed sheets. I am afraid to hammer nails into my walls or hooks into the ceiling because I will most certainly fuck it up and ,,,,,,asbestos. My new kitchen is itty bitty. I’m going to be living with my boyfriend. My budget is like $5.

HERE IS HOW I AM MAKING IT WORK, URBAN OUTFITTERS HOME SECTION BE DAMNED!!!

Get a statement piece

I can’t afford hundreds of those cool neon bendy candles I keep seeing on Instagram. All I have are my own shitty Target ones. So I got this purple rug after reading about it on The Strategist. Yes, it’s bright AF but it’s going to add a much needed pop of color to the rest of the room which I am decorating with a grey couch, a white TV stand and a white bookshelf.

This way, when people enter my apartment they won’t be like “wow she doesn’t even have cool candles” they’ll be like “WOW THAT IS A PURPLE ASS RUG.”

Bookshelves are multi-purpose

Did I arrange my boyfriend’s copies of David Sedaris books by color? That’s a secret I’ll never tell. But I WILL tell you that I am using our new Ikea bookshelf as a spot to display artwork from my friends, cards I have been sent in an effort to save the USPS, plants and various little bits and bobs. However, if I had an Urban Outfitters home budget, you’d better believe I’d be getting one of these!

This may seem like a duh to everyone BUT I am happy to find an alternative to wall shelves. Don’t tell me they’re easy to just nail in. I’m sure they are. You’re more than welcome to come over and do that for me!

Here’s what is saving my little kitchen

My new kitchen is small.

Like New York apartment small.

Like I can reach into the refrigerator and pull something out of the oven while also passing someone at the table something from inside a cupboard, SMALL.

As you can imagine, there is also virtually no storage.

So as a woman with a lot of cookware (and a lot of wine) I invested in a bar cart and a rolling kitchen rack. Now I have room on my shelves for food instead of wine glasses, won’t have to store my alcohol like I live in a college dorm and have two really cute spaces that I can mix/match/decorate as I please. I’ll provide photos later. Promise.

Let the light in

Excluding the living room, the apartment tends to be on the darker side due to the windows and where they are placed. To make the bedroom feel light and airy, I went to Home Goods (shoutout title of this post) and purchased the biggest round mirror I could find and any light/natural wood frames. The goal is to make the room feel bigger, brighter, lighter and warmer. That means I am going to be decorating it with mirrors, replacing dark wood frames with light ones and furnishing the space with light fabrics but with cool textures.

My duvet cover (which is a dupe for an expensive Urban Outfitters one) is white, but features a cool textured fringe-y bottom. I am currently searching for the perfect uniquely-shaped pillow (would love one like this) and I have been looking at headboard alternatives (because I never found one that I liked) and am giving strong consideration to a few macramé hangings including: this one and this one.

Randomly I own these woven baskets that I am going to use to store extra blankets in, so those will go in the room as well. Of course, there will also be plants just like… everywhere.

The place IS coming together. Slowly but surely. You don’t have to take my word for it but eventually photos will do it justice! Thank you to everyone who has given me furniture as they have moved away or just Mari Kondo-ed their space. It’s all bringing me joy.

If you feel like sending me a house warming gift, I’d love candlesticks. Or a bottle of wine.

loving u

LL