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

The Zodiac Signs As Quarantine Snacks

Did I do this already? I don’t remember. Doing it again!

ARIES

Iced Coffee

You love to start your day by absolutely ruining your empty stomach with a large iced coffee. Then, when it’s well past lunch and you still haven’t eaten, you get a second one!

TAURUS

Leftover holiday candy

You survived off of mini-Snickers bars and packets of M&M’s from Halloween to Dec. 1. Thankfully, your Reeses cups don’t taste too much like the Lush bath bombs your mom put in your Christmas stocking.

GEMINI

Any Kind of Chips

You love that CRONCH!! Potato, tortilla, even pita. Just be sure to brush those crumbs out of your bed in between episodes of Bridgerton.

CANCER

Microwave Quesadilla

Every quarantine snack pretty much doubles as a depression meal, but nothing says I HAVE GIVEN UP ON MY LIFE PLEASE LET ME SLEEP FOREVER quite like a nuked tortilla with a few slices of Kraft American cheese.

LEO

Bell Peppers + Cream Cheese + Hot Cheetos/Takis

You’ve been watching a lot of TikTok and this seemed like a fun snack to try. Now you’re really into ALL TikTok snacks, but you can’t bring yourself to try those TikTok egg salad pickle-boats just yet (thank god).

VIRGO

Charcuterie Board

No one has any control right now, but at least you do over this charcuterie board. Make a salami river! Cookie cutter a fun shape into your brie! We’re all gonna die.

LIBRA

Apple Sauce/Yogurt Pouches for Babies

We get it. You’re baby.

SCORPIO

Gabagool

Whether you are Tony Soprano or someone who took a trip to Gelson’s for hummus and left with a lot of expensive food items you didn’t really need, it is powerful to eat loose cured-meats. You can’t tell me otherwise.

SAGITTARIUS

Expensive Cookies Your Roommate Bought

Okay, THIEF!!! The next gluten-free double-chocolate chip Tate’s box is on you, I guess.

CAPRICORN

Alcohol

Drunk since March, drunker in September and now DRUNKEST in 2021! Maybe you can get a Cancer to make you a microwaved quesadilla to soak some of that up.

AQAURIUS

Fruit With Alternative Nut Butters

Isn’t it nice that someone has a nutritious coping mechanism??? You go for apples, bananas, persimmons, dates, figs, etc… all with almond, cashew, sunflower, whatever the fuck else butter!! You’re getting some good protein and fiber god damnit!

PISCES

Ice Cream

At least you’re more upfront about your need for comfort food than a lot of these other signs. Good thing it’s never too cold for ice cream — especially when you’re parked in front of your space heater.

How to Make Eggs

I recently watched a TikTok where a girl was sobbing about how “it” never ends. She panned to piles of dirty laundry and a sink full of dishes.

The video was duet-ed by a woman who explained that “care” never ends. You will always have laundry to do, dishes to clean, bookshelves to dust, etc. She explained that your level of “care” fluctuates, depending on what you have going on in your life.

A really important “care” thing for me is knowing how to make food. Sure, sometimes care looks like Postmating Thai food, but the need to nourish your body never ends and money does (otherwise I would be ordering Thai food for every meal for the rest of my life). That’s where cooking comes in.

I didn’t realize how few of my friends knew how to boil or fry an egg until quarantine began. Please believe me when I tell you that I had three different people text me about this.

A desire to learn is worthy of applause, as is a desire to care for oneself.

If you are a person with access to a kitchen with a stove, have a frying pan and a small pot, and want to learn to cook eggs for yourself but never learned how, THIS IS FOR YOU!!!

I promise, this is all easy as hell. Even if you’ve never done it before.

Plus, you’re not just learning how to hard boil an egg, you’re half of the way to making egg salad or a breakfast sandwich or a pasta topping.

HOW TO MAKE A HARD BOILED EGG

There are two ways of doing this, but I’m going to teach you the way my grandma taught me, which I think is the easiest. You will need a pot, so something with tall sides that can hold a lot of water, a spoon, some water and then as many eggs as you want to make.

  1. Fill a small pot with water and set it on a stove burner at a high heat.
  2. Bring your pot of water to a boil on the stove. You will know it is boiling when the water is bubbling.
  3. Take your spoon and gently put an egg on it and place the egg into the boiling water. Do this GENTLY. You’re trying not to crack the egg.
  4. Take the spoon out
  5. Set a timer on your phone for 8 minutes (if you like your egg yolk to be a little runny) or 9 minutes (for a firmer egg).
  6. DO NOT TOUCH THE WATER LET IT KEEP BOILING
  7. When the timer goes off, TURN OFF THE WATER.
  8. Take your spoon and scoop the egg out of the pot. You can either leave it on the counter to cool or run it under cold sink water (while it balances on the spoon) until it is cool enough to touch.
  9. When it is cool enough, you can peel the shell off the egg. My best advice for peeling the shell off is to 1. GET A PAPER TOWEL. 2. Put the egg on the paper towel. 3. Gently crush the egg with your palm (don’t flatten it so it explodes. Be gentle!), rolling it back and forth a little until cracks form all over. Then peel all the crunchy part off.
  10. Throw your shell away. I recommend pouring a little salt and pepper on your plate and dipping your egg into the mixture for a lil flavor.

WANT TO TURN YOUR HARD BOILED EGGS INTO EGG SALAD?

Boil and peel 4 eggs (assuming you’re making egg salad for 1 person. If you’re making it for two, I would double the amount of everything). Cut the eggs up on a plate or cutting board. It doesn’t really matter how. You could also put them all into a bowl and mash them. You do you. But you’re going to need to combine your eggs in a bowl anyway, with some mayo (I would recommend about 1/4 cup but you can eyeball it), about 1 squirt of yellow mustard, chopped up green onion, pepper, salt and paprika. Mix it all up with a fork. Voila! You just made egg salad. Put it on some toasted bread or eat it with peppers and pickles if you’re a TikToker.

HOW TO MAKE SCRAMBLED EGGS

My boyfriend is practically a genius, so when we started living together I was stunned to discover that he doesn’t know how to make scrambled eggs.

That, or he is completely pulling my leg and doesn’t want to make breakfast.

There are many different ways to make scrambled eggs. However, you don’t need to do it the fancy French way, or add milk or a ton of butter. All you need is two eggs (three if you’re really hungry), a small bowl, 1 fork, a frying pan, a wooden spoon or spatula and some sort of fat, like butter or olive oil.

  1. Crack your eggs into a small bowl. If you get eggshell in there, take one of the halves of the already broken shell and fish out the tiny piece that got way. Shell attracts shell. My grandma taught me that and it is probably the best piece of advice I have ever been given.
  2. Take your fork and stab the yellow yolks until they don’t look like perfect circles anymore. Then, mix the eggs together. You should be left with a yellow-y mixture.
  3. Set the bowl aside.
  4. Take your pan and set it on a stove burner. Turn the burner to medium-high heat.
  5. Let the pan get hot. You’ll know it’s hot (DON’T TOUCH IT) when you hold your hand over it, and you can feel the heat.
  6. Turn the heat down to low.
  7. Throw some butter or olive oil in there. Not a lot. If you want to use a measurement I would say 1/2 a teaspoon of olive oil or if you’re using butter, I would say use about as much as you would typically spread on toast.
  8. Spread it around the pan with your wooden spoon.
  9. Pour your egg mixture into the pan.
  10. LET IT SIT FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS.
  11. Then take your wooden spoon and make small circles. You don’t want the egg to cook in one solid circle, you’re trying to make curds by breaking them up.
  12. You will know your eggs are done when there are no longer any sort of mucus-y looking parts to it. If you are like my boyfriend and you can’t be bothered to pay attention to what that means, I would say about two minutes.
  13. Serve immediately

WANT TO MAKE BREAKFAST TACOS?

*I am in no way claiming that this is the way to make authentic tacos. It is definitely not!!*

You’re going to need any tortillas of your choice. They don’t even have to be taco-sized, you could also make this a breakfast burrito or roll-up. You’ll need cheddar cheese and hot sauce. Assuming you just made the scrambled eggs, take a clean frying pan and put it on the burner at low heat. Put your tortilla in the pan. While your tortilla heats up, sprinkle it with cheddar cheese. Wait for it to melt. If you’re feeling fancy, this is when you can add things like tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, beans, meat, etc… Then dump your scrambled eggs on top and let them get a little warmer (they likely will have cooled). Remove taco from frying pan, top with hot sauce!

HOW TO FRY AN EGG (THIS IS THE LAST ONE I PROMISE)

You’ll need an egg, a frying pan, a spatula and some sort of fat like olive oil or butter.

  1. Put your frying pan on a stove burner at high heat. Let it get hot. You’ll know it’s hot (DON’T TOUCH IT) when you hold your hand over it, and you can feel the heat.
  2. Put about a tablespoon of olive oil or butter into the pan. Can’t be bothered to measure? Cut off a big hunk of butter or make a small pool olive oil. Let the butter melt (or just leave the olive oil alone in the pan).
  3. This part is the trickiest part IMO. You need to crack the egg and put it in the pan. The simplest way to do this is to crack the egg against the pan and dump in its contents. If you are afraid of getting burned or of leaving shell in there by mistake, get a small bowl and crack the egg into there instead. Then dump the egg from the bowl into the frying pan.
  4. Yes, the oil/butter will make scary noises while it cooks the egg. Get over it tbh.
  5. You will know when one side is done because the outer edges of the egg will start to brown and turn crispy.
  6. Take your spatula and slide it under the egg. You are going to flip the egg. Yes, you can do this. There is no way to fuck it up other than to chuck the egg on the floor. Focus!! Flip the egg over so the other side can cook!!!
  7. Wow you did it.
  8. Let it sit there are like….2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Do a little longer (3 min) for a firmer yolk.
  9. TURN THE HEAT OFF.
  10. Take your spatula and take the egg out of the pan!!!! Now you can add this fried egg to a piece of toast, bowl of pasta, rice or something!!!

I don’t really have another recipe for you with this. My only advice, is that everything tastes better with a fried egg on it. Try it on pasta, pizza, a grain bowl, on some fried rice, avocado toast… honestly the sky is the limit with this one. My favorite way to eat a fried egg rn is between two halves of an english muffin with some cheddar cheese and hot sauce mmmmmmm.

ANYWAY

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. If you want to learn how to make other basic things, LMK. I can also teach you how to make harder things. Idk. I’m here!! Caring never stops! And that is okay. We can do this together.

Lately Snack Break: St. End

“Snack Break” is Lately’s interview series where we chat with people we think are interesting, for about as long as it takes you to finish your afternoon snack. Our second in the series is with St. End founder and friend of Lately, Erin Gabriel….who for the longest time, I thought was named Erin Gabe.

Erin is an internet cool girl with a natural eye for design that would make Alexa Chung blush.

The florist by-day, jewelry designer by-night is the sole force behind the accessory brand St. End, named for the latter half of your childhood “BEST FRIEND” necklace.

Whether you’re looking to rock a cow-print hair barrette, give your kid sister a beaded bracelet that says “Paul Rudd” or want to elevate your outfit with a pair of glow in the dark flower earrings, Gab(ri)e(l) is your girl.

Her brand St. End is full of bold colors, dreamy shapes and original ideas that turn your ears, wrists, and hair, into a full-on party.

You just always seem to know what looks good. Where do you think that comes from? Do you have any inspirations?

EG: First of all, thank you! I would accredit my Aquarius-ness for always having my finger on the pulse of any new style trends; it’s important for me to stay on top of the curve, or try at least. 

I also think growing up with a mother that was constantly repainting, redecorating, and tweaking the style of our home played a huge role in how attuned I am to design. She and I have always been keen on DIY projects for home decor and fashion, so I think that translates into my inspiration for starting St. End. 

So your DIY spirit is what drew you to making jewelry?

EG: I have been making my own jewelry since I was little and got my first pair of jewelry pliers and a tackle box full of beads. In high school when I couldn’t find accessories that were to my liking, I would buy cheap costume jewelry from Forever21 and reconstruct [them] to add charms or rhinestones or beads, until I had a piece of jewelry that was totally unique to me.

I used to make bracelets out of zippers and vintage beads my Grandma gifted me and sold them at art fairs. I guess I’ve always been a jewelry entrepreneur lol.

You’re so creative! You’ve made earrings in the shape of gummy worms, tombstones, bananas, mushrooms and butterfly wings! Where do you get your ideas from?

EG: When I’m designing pieces, I start by sketching ideas for shapes if I plan on working with polymer clay. This then leads to a big trial and error process where I see what color and shape combinations I like. I also use Pinterest and IG for inspiration. 

You also give your pieces these insanely good pun-based names. Where do those come from?

EG: I keep a running list of names I like or think are clever and usually end up texting my friends to see what they like best. Niche references are a big part of the St. End brand.

Your Halloween collection just dropped and it was amazing. What’s next for St. End?

EG: I really hope to get into designing molds for custom metal jewelry. I would love to have custom molds cast into finer materials like sterling silver or 14K gold.

Five years from now, I just hope I’m still designing and creating pieces that are fun and I want to wear! That’s really why I started St. End- to create jewelry that I want! I just got lucky that other people want to wear it, too.

If you could make jewelry for any celeb, who would it be? 

EG: Immediately I thought of Phoebe Bridgers since I recently made a pair of ghost earrings inspired by her Stranger in the Alps album artwork. I think I would cry if she wore a pair of my ghost earrings.

Oh, also AOC. I can picture her wearing a pair of my tiny gold hoops. I think it would be very on brand for her. I just want people to feel cool when they wear my stuff and to know that it was created with so so much love.

Honestly, that’s my favorite part of your brand. You can tell a lot of thought and care went in to every piece. It feels like you’re wearing a little piece of art. For Lately readers who haven’t shopped St. End yet, what are the essential pieces?

EG: Crushed Little Stars, Uptown Pearl, Daisy Dukes, More Cowbell, and a custom Stretchy Bracelet to finish off the look.

You can follow St. End on Instagram at: @st.end_

All The Movies I’ve Watched During Quarantine, Ranked

My boyfriend Dan (with who I am currently quarantining), is a man of many hobbies. When he’s not watching sports/sports gambling/blogging about live theatre/singing along to show tunes/playing online trivia/doing magician stuff/asking me to make him a tuna sandwich/refusing to buy me expensive jewelry, he’s typically watching a movie.

Sometimes, when I’m not on my 47th rewatch of Grey’s Anatomy, I’ll watch one with him.

And so that is how during quarantine we have watched a shit ton of films. Some of them I had never seen, some he had never seen and not all of them were enjoyable! I decided to rank them for my own amusement and your (hopefully) enjoyment.

All my digital media training is telling me to rank them worst to best to build anticipation, but those lists always suck because who cares about what’s good? I’m starting with #1. Save the worst for last! It’s more exciting that way!

The Goodbye Girl

This is my favorite movie we’ve seen so far. It’s a very cute rom-com and I never realized how appealing young Richard Dreyfuss is. I even Googled if he’s Jewish (aka crush-worthy/HE IS). 10/10. Definitely watch this if you are a complicated woman who wants to feel all squooshy inside or if you’re a schlubby actor-type with a white knight complex. You’ll feel seen.

My Cousin Vinny

Worth it for Marisa Tomei’s outfits, alone! Also a great movie to watch if you feel like you can’t get enough Joe Pesci, which is how I feel 90% of the time. Also I saw him when I was on a walk the other day in Toluca Lake. He wasn’t wearing a mask. Oh, Joe!

Bonus points if you recognize that one of the leads is Rachel Green’s ex from Friends!

Scream

I know! I’d never seen Scream before! I finally get why everyone has the major horn for that Dad from Riverdale. He was crazy and hot. Also, petition to revive Matthew Lillard’s career from its Ghostface grave.

Charade

It’s not like I have a Kate Spade tea cup with an Audrey Hepburn quote on it or anything (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I think Hepburn is FABULOUS in this movie and that Cary Grant is pretty darn cute. Was he gay IRL? Is that an old Hollywood rumor? I don’t care! Those two have chemistry for days.

A great movie to watch when you’ve had enough of your boyfriend, have your period and just want some wine and chocolate.

To Catch A Thief

Made me want to go to the French Riviera/ wear a pretty dress/ drink a sazerac sling. These are top marks from me, people.

First Wives Club

I’ve seen this movie 100 times but Dan had never seen it. It’s a classic. Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, SJP AND Maggie Smith?? Your fave movie could NEVER.

Interview With A Vampire

This felt like a Twilight prequel? Almost? Kirsten Dunst gave me major Renesmée vibes. Plus, one thing I have discovered during quarantine is that I think I fucking LOVE Tom Cruise. I mean, I hate him (#TeamNicole) but he’s so good at acting!!! Damn!!

Romancing The Stone

Another actor whose movies I’ve learned I have a soft spot for is Michael Douglas. This movie had big Indiana Jones energy but I wish the female lead had been Goldie Hawn or someone like that. I’d love to see who was on the short list for casting. Good movie to watch with a pizza!

Dirty Harry

We watched this movie because I have been feeling homesick for San Francisco and my family and I knew it had some cool shorts of North Beach. After watching this I realized how good my dad’s Clint Eastwood impression actually is.

American Graffiti

This movie had me feeling nostalgic for something that doesn’t and maybe never existed! I loved it!

Donnie Brasco

I fucking love movies about the mob.

Coco

Okay, fuck this movie for making me cry but FUCK! This movie!!!!! So fun and also sweet!!!

Election

Dan was SHOCKED that I had never seen this film. I enjoyed it but I think it kind of made me hate Matthew Broderick. Baby Reese was incredible though.

The Princess and the Frog

Dan had never seen this one and I’m really glad he liked it because I think it’s one of my favorite Disney movies.

Honeyboy

This movie was very sad and then I spent a really long time Googling Shia LaBeouf!

Fatal Attraction

I knew the term “bunny boiler” came from this movie. Dan says my dad made that term up. Glenn Close is national treasure.

Heaven Can Wait

CLASSIC movie about someone dying when they shouldn’t have and the people who run heaven having to put their soul into someone else’s body. CLASSIC!

Basic Instinct

We watched it to see Sharon Stone. Again, some really nice shots of San Francisco. I thought it was kind of dumb but thinking about it now I guess it was more dumb-fun. Also how does she look so elegant in a white turtleneck and why can’t I pull that off!?

Waiting for Guffman

Your typical silly Christopher Guest comedy. Good cast. Great movie to half-pay attention to.

Anna and The Apocalypse

This movie was weird AF, especially because I didn’t know it was a musical. It’s about a Christmastime zombie apocalypse in England? Ireland???? It’s cute and predictable but still a good watch, especially because real life feels sort of like a zombie apocalypse rn anyway.

Scream 2

Not as good as the first one but still kind of fun. Not realistic that Buffy would die but ok.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The best Indiana Jones movie.

Punch Drunk Love

Probably the only Paul Thomas Anderson film I like. Don’t take my film school diploma away!!! It’s a time Adam Sandler was serious in a film and it worked!

Death On The Nile

Better than Murder on the Orient Express!

All the rest of the Indian Jones movies

I know, it’s a crime I’d never seen these. They were fine.

A Few Good Men

Tom Cruise is fun! Demi Moore is not fun but I like her! This movie is ok.

Shampoo

My dad said we should watch this one. It was aight. Goldie Hawn wore some cool outfits.

National Treasure

Kind of fun but also I didn’t really care. Sorry to Dan who LOVES this movie.

Monsters University

Nothing special but easy to watch especially after you’ve had a lot of margaritas and just cried your eyes out to Coco.

Tangled

Am I the only person who thinks this movie is just,,,,, fine? Also what is the lesson here??? Blonde hair is magic and brown hair is not??? Weird.

Private Benjamin

Cute but it falls apart.

Leaving Las Vegas

VERY depressing! Kind of glad I saw it? Would have been fine never watching it though.

Bob & Carole & Ted & Alice

The seventies were strange but Dyan Cannon dressed well is the moral of this story.

North By North West

Felt like semi-enjoyable required reading but also I fell asleep watching this so I don’t think I actually know how it ends?

Rope

Ugh. Pass.

Step Brothers

TRULY do no understand the hype. Arrest me. Maybe it’s because my parents aren’t divorced? There are much better buddy comedies out there that aren’t quite so stupid.

The Exorcist

I get that it’s iconic and that it was terrifying at the time but also this movie barely made any sense and it felt like you had to know a lot of back story on things before you watched it. Also, okay — so he offers himself up to Satan and then tosses himself out a window. Is Satan dead now? Wouldn’t that be a bigger deal? Or did Satan just jump into someone else’s body? Wouldn’t THEY be possessed? This barely made sense. ALSO SHUTUP ABOUT SPOILERS. THIS MOVIE HAS BEEN OUT FOR LIKE 50 YEARS ALREADY.

Reality Bites

I watched this because a podcast told me to. SNOOZE.

The Master

The Master Cleanse is more fun to endure.

Collateral

Tom Cruise but make it boring.

Phantom Thread

My boyfriend loves this movie and likes to quote the thing about asparagus and oil. I absolutely hated this movie and tried to take frequent trips to the bathroom and kitchen so I didn’t have to watch it but Dan would always pause it until I came back. Thanks. 🙃

Mission Impossible 2

FINALLY!!! THE WORST MOVIE WE WATCHED!!! #1!!!! CAPITAL B, BAD!!!! I didn’t watch Mission: Impossible but I can assure you, ANYTHING is better than very stupid Mission: Impossible 2. This was a total waste of time. Watching George O’Malley scratch 007 into Meredith Grey’s hand is a better time than streaming this. SKIP.

I’ve Finally Discovered My QuaranTALENT

My Instagram feed has become a parade of people I know displaying their hidden talents. I had no idea so many of them could make focaccia bread! Or cross stitch! Or build furniture! And while it’s been wonderful to watch, it’s also inspired me to try to find my own.

After crashing and burning at friendship bracelets, failing miserably at French braids and making my boyfriend ingest a truly awful fried rice made with apple chicken sausage, I’ve finally figured out what MY hidden quarantine talent, or “quaranTALENT,” if you paid attention to my headline — is.

Shockingly, it’s not TikTok (although I definitely think it’s hers), or baking banana bread (we know how that turned out), cutting my hair (have yet to attempt), or even tie dying sweats.

Here is what it is: BAKING COOKIES.

I am actually really freakin good at this? I have made mostly chocolate chip (my preferred cookie), some gluten free with choccy bits and most recently, a vegan oatmeal chocolate chip recipe from the NYT cooking app that used a banana instead of butter or eggs. And they’ve all been delicious.

I really did not bake cookies often before this? The last time I recall making some was for my boyfriend in college and I burned them.

Go figure.

I am much more of a cook (fried rice aside) than a baker because cooking = playing and baking = rules.

Plus, baking is really just chemistry and I failed chem in high school. Shoutout Doctor Kasparian, C Block!

However, I have found calming magic in the methodical baking of cookies. I get a lot of pleasure from mixing and then forming the sticky little dough balls in my hands, then smooshing them a little on to the crinkly parchment paper resting atop my cookie sheet. My brain gets calm knowing you can basically put anything in a cookie — chocolate chips, peanut butter, sprinkles, shredded coconut, pretzels, etc… and it will turn out okay.

I like the way they smell.

I like that if they are a lil lumpy it’s okay.

I like that they take 10 mins to bake.

I like the way they look sitting in the Tupperware that I have now coined my “cookie container.”

I enjoy this process so much I have even briefly flirted with the thought of purchasing a cookie jar. Is that gauche? Just look at this gorgeous one from Williams Sonoma and tell me I’m wrong!

Anyway.

What’s your quarantalent? Do you have one? Do you WISH you had one? What would it be? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be here, looking at cookie recipes.

xx

L

What to Pair With Wine When You’ve Got Nothing in the Fridge

Forgot to grocery shop?

Didn’t have time to grab anything on the way home?

Too exhausted/depressed from the stress of your daily life to make a real meal and too poor to order Postmates (until Friday 😈) but have a bottle of wine on hand?

Don’t drink on an empty stomach!

Lately has got you covered.

Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc + left over pineapple fried rice with a shit ton of Sriracha + Bachelor in Paradise

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc + Trader Joe’s olive oil popcorn and some defrosted pot stickers with sweet chili sauce + old reruns of Law & Order: SVU + a phone call to your mom

Apothic Red + 3 Babybel cheese rounds and some really stale cracked pepper crackers + an hour of mindless Instagram scrolling + one questionable Amazon purchase

Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio + a pizza bagel that you made yourself with jarred tomato sauce, an onion bagel, TJ’s shredded mozzarella and some dried basil + a face mask + You’ve Got Mail

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc + a salad you made with the end of your lettuce, a lot of Persian cucumber slices, a leftover half of browning avocado, TJ’s jasmine rice and some Chinese dressing + a really hot bath

14 Hands Winery Rosé + a handful of cheddar goldfish + a phone call to your ex

 

3 Products That Have Totally Changed My Life

What do these three items have in common? Absolutely nothing–except that they have greatly improved my life.

If you are a human who eats any sort of pizza, ever gets cold/ has period cramps, or are someone who uses a hairbrush, I’m about to make your life 10% better (at the very least).

Pizza Scissors

If you’re not cutting your pizza with scissors, you’re an idiot. They’re actually called “kitchen shears” and not “pizza scissors” but regardless, they make slicing your pizza an absolute breeze.

I find actual pizza cutters to be ineffective. I also lack the control I crave when I want to cut my pizza, just so. Plus, those things never REALLY penetrate the crust, do they? Knives also fuck up the cheese on your slice, you have to saw away at your pizza like a log, and I’m pretty much just scared of them in general.

Scissors however I am proud to say I have been using since Pre-K. I am a scissors master. It makes way more sense to use something I am actually good at using to slice my way through a hot Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower crust pizza (or whatever) than wield a weapon I am not sure about.

PRO TIP: Don’t use the scissors you have in your kitchen knick knack drawer because those are germ-y from cutting clothing tags/amazon boxes/your bangs/pet things/idk. Invest in stainless steel kitchen shears!! Use them exclusively for pizza! You can find them on Amazon. YOU’RE WELCOME

Heated Blanket

My beautiful and kind friend Chelsea Denise Ashley Duff (not her actual name) won me a heated blanket during my family’s annual Chanukah white elephant game. From the day I plugged it in it has been nothing short of revolutionary.

My house gets really cold (great in the summer, awful in the winter) and although I know Chicago is going through a heat wave (that will end LOL) it’s still semi-cold everywhere else, even Los Angeles.

When I use it not only do I not have to shiver to get warm and then sweat beneath seven different blankets, but I can control the temperature so I don’t overheat. Plus, it warms me up right away which means less time with cold feet.

Another benefit of this heated blanket is that it’s basically a massive soft heating pad. So if you are a person who gets period cramps, laying under this baby feels really really soothing on your uterus.

This is not the one I have, but it’s close.

Tangle Teezer

I will be honest with you, I used to travel without a hair brush. They are mostly too big and bulky for my toiletry case and carry-on and also, I don’t wash my hair every day because it’s drying for my hair type, so I could get away with not having one on short trips.

However on long trips, I would typically attempt a sad finger-comb through my locks that would do nothing to tame the snarls all over my head. It made me feel incredibly self conscious and also kind of dumb for not just lugging around a large hair brush despite only having to use it once or twice on my trip and not having one made me (not the universe) responsible for my bad hair days.

Enter, the Tangle Teezer!

It’s small enough to fit inside a purse and tough enough to get through massive knots in wet and dry hair. Plus, it comes in a ton of cute colors and it’s only $12!! I use this little brush in the shower and it dries super quickly after because it’s all plastic so it doesn’t get my things damp if I need to pack up quickly. Plus, it’s super easy to pick the hair out of it and throw it away. This is a travel-must IMO.

Anyway, what products have changed your life recently?

Peloton? The Bible? LMK!

xo

24-Hours Of Self-Indulgence

We asked one Lately editor to keep a diary about what she ate/spent/did in one day. The results were a chilling reflection of hedonism.

6:30 A.M. 

I wake up and check my phone. I have a text from my boyfriend, three Instagram notifications (not popular), and eight Twitter notifications (POPULAR (jk it’s all Twitter telling me my followers liked someone else’s tweet)). I am currently working from home so I set up my computer for the morning meeting I am to have in exactly half an hour.

8 A.M.

The morning meeting is over, I pitched some story ideas at work and now I am scrolling through the internet. Things I have open on my browser at all times: The Cut, The Strategist, Amazon, Cup of Jo, Man Repeller, and Twitter. I have yet to drink water or eat anything.

I try to start my days with a glass of ice cold water. I typically forget about said glass of water and by the time it’s 10 a.m., it’s room temperature and I don’t want to drink it anymore so I toss it down the sink and pour a new glass.

I make coffee in my massive cheetah thermos-thing I got from the 99-cents store. My drink of choice is a 6-oz of something from Pete’s that I make in my Keurig plus a shit ton of ice, and a heavy pour of chocolate almond milk. One of these days I am going to freeze coffee ice cubes but also that would involve buying ice cube trays (I want these ice sticks). I have a note in my phone about this that I have ignored for months.

I am starving. I have never woken up and not been absolutely ravenous.

I am a huge fan of breakfast sandwiches, so I toast two slices of whole grain bread in my toaster oven and put two slices of cheddar cheese on one of the two. I fry an egg. I am in the mood for a grilled cheese-vibe, and IMO no grilled cheese is complete without a thin layer of pickle relish.

IF YOU THINK THAT IS DISGUSTING, I URGE YOU TO CLICK THIS LINK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE/TRY IT FOR YOURSELF.

We are out of pickle relish. I put bread and butter pickle chips on it plus a squirt of mustard. Yes, it’s like 8:30 in the morning. She is a salty-centric queen and she makes no apologies.

10 A.M.

I have to pour myself a new glass of water. Lol.

I also realize that I have yet to wash my face/brush my teeth. Right now I am using this Andalou vitamin-c cleanser that my friend Andrew recommended to me. It smells like gummy bears and it’s brightening without stripping me of my natural oils. I am currently moisturizing with Manyo Factory Herb Green Fresh Lotion. I got it from the skincare place in chinatown that Rio Viera-Newton (of “The Strategist” and also of “being an internet cool girl”) loves when I was in New York. It’s called oo35mm and it is really tiny but the people who work there are super helpful and friendly!!

I used to use a lot more stuff on my face but then I got tired and now I don’t!

I brush my teeth.

12 P.M.

I ordered lunch from Health Nut, the place the Kardashians’ used to love, and order their Chinese Chicken Salad. Typically, I get their “Noodlerama” which is salad with cold rice noodles and spicy dressing, but today I feel like eating lettuce with chicken and some tiny crunchy things that Health Nut really needs to consider adding more of.

Recently, I had my deodorant confiscated from the Stockholm airport (why? idk!) so I am in the market for a new deo. I have been using some version of Old Spice ever since college (smells like an ex-boyfriend) but now I want to switch to something natural because I am worried that everything I’m using is killing me!

This deodorant is supposed to 1. work and 2. smell just like Old Spice, plus it’s natural and comes in super chic packaging. On the same Sweden trip, I also thrashed my favorite Madewell transport tote. It’s taken a heavy beating over the past five years traveling with me everywhere from Chicago to Singapore and now it’s completely falling apart.

I order a new one (with a zip-top!) in the color “saddle” because I am nothing if not a basic bitch, forever and ever. But also, if you’re in the market for a travel bag that can fit a weekend’s worth of clothing, an over-stuffed makeup bag, and a laptop–this is the bag for you.

During my purchase I also spy this architecturally interesting bag, but it doesn’t ship until July! So….bye.

2 P.M. 

I’m on Instagram. I really want some hot Cheetos. Has anyone actually purchased Necessaire? I want to try it but also, I think I only want to try it because my favorite Instagrammers are being paid like 5k to post about it all day. They have a body wash, but they also do lotion and lube and stuff. I text Kate about it and make a mental note to circle back later.

I eat a sunbutter cup. It’s like a Reese’s but with sunflower seed butter and dark chocolate (so nothing like a Reese’s). I need more underwear and I am genuinely digging these from Amazon. They’re a dupe for the Gap Body ones we love at Lately, and since the closest Gap Body to me is like 15 miles away, I’ll just Prime these to my house instead.

My to-do list is still a mile long. I have a lot of hand-wash laundry to get to. I have 600 emails to respond to and I feel like at least half of them are embargoed news that I missed while I was OOO (out of office).

I want to make skillet lasagna for dinner.

5:30 P.M. 

After work I watch every episode of Netflix’s “Special” which I HIGHLY recommend. I schedule an appointment with my lash artist in Culver City and with my dermatologist in Agoura– both luxuries that keep me from looking like a drowned rat every day of my life.

Next I grocery shop for everything I need for my lasagna.

It’s from Basically, Bon Appetit’s Millennial-inspired cooking and recipe site, and it looks easy to make. I love cooking and find it soothing. I haven’t had a hard day, but my brain has felt like a mess for a while after having traveled and drank a shit ton and I hoped it would be nice to make myself a meal and enjoy the process of being present in my kitchen.

But spoiler alert, this recipe is not so easy to make!!!! Especially when you’re attempting to halve the recipe and suck at math-slash-are alone and need to use like 4 different bowls and lift a very heavy pan!!

Although I make a mess in the kitchen and my lasagna turns out ugly as sin (also makes more than I can ever possibly eat), it’s fucking delicious and nourishes me in mind, body, and spirit.

Yes, there are nights when all I want is a big salad with a ton of vegetables. I think a baked fish with a side of greens can be a centering experience. But nothing is as especially healing as a big bowl of warm pasta with some sort of spicy red sauce and a lot of cheese. Nothing corrects my center of gravity quite like that. I find my stillness in the noddles. The aromatic sauce and gooey cheese envelopes my soul.

If I were drinking right now, I would be enjoying this experience with a hearty glass of red wine.

Regardless, I feel soothed.

I cuddle up on the couch with my dog and watch “The Bisexual”. Passover starts Friday at sundown and I think about how soon I won’t be able to eat any leavened bread. That means no bagels or breakfast sandwiches. I’m going to practically be a beast for a week. Thank god for matzo brittle.

 

Surprise Bitch! Bet You Thought You’d Seen The Last Of Us

In the words of Cardi B, we’re back bitches. We don’t want to hear we’re acting different–because we’re pretty much the same anyway.

Yes, we took a writing respite because life is a thing that gets in the way and we are only a small (but mighty) team of two busy ladies. But we’re here now! Did you miss us? We missed you.

So much has happened while we were on a break! Glossier came out with a bunch of new products we have no plans to try. The Jonas Brothers are back and they’ve had sex. Tavi Gevinson pointed out that Elizabeth Holmes and Gigi Hadid have the same voice and now we can’t un-hear it!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvPCcFMnk2_/

Anyway, this is not really a post with any point other than to say HEY! We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.

So get ready to hear the latest from Lately prettttayyy prettayyyy soon.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

L & K