An OCD bookworm tale.

About a month-ish ago, I was having a REALLY off day. I was crabby about my body - feet covered in blood blisters from my New York escapades had kept me out of the gym for a few days. Furthermore, I was feeling disgusting after housing fully four bottles of champagne in three days, plus drinking all over the city. I was exhausted - 2am bedtimes, hotel sleep, sharing a bed, and going like a crazy person for days at a time had burned me out. I was irritated with just about everyone in my life - near or far. So I decided, spur of the moment, to rearrange my bookshelves. 

This may sound like a completely random, absurd action to take in an attempt to soothe myself, but consider the source. One of my absolute favorite parts of moving - one of the actions I have to take before a place feels like home - is to organize my books. When I moved to California, my initial quote was something like $3000, based on the phone consultation with my moving company. Upon seeing my Minneapolis apartment, the mover adjusted his estimate up by almost a thousand dollars. Dismayed, I asked why, and his explanation? "Well, ma'am, you've got...a lot of books. And my guys? They don't like moving books." I eventually negotiated the quote back down...but only if I agreed to move my books myself, in my car. This required paring down my cherished collection by almost half, and even then it was a tight squeeze to get them in the car with our suitcases and the plethora of other paraphernalia I had to fit. (I believe my mom's quote was "You can get to California with clothes and fewer books, or you can get to California with all your books but be naked til the movers come." OH JODES.) Anyway, I digress - moral of the story: for me, books are home, plain and simple. 

I am extraordinarily specific about how my books must be organized. Up until that crisis night a month ago, it was, inflexibly, "alphabetically by author's last name." I am a voracious re-reader, and knowing where to find my favorites (Austen in the top left corner cuddling up to the Brontes, Graham Greene hanging out by Hemingway with Ibbotson close by, and my growing J. Courtney Sullivan collection looking down on Meg Wolitzer from a shelf above) is critical for my happiness. Accordingly, making the shift to rearrange my bookshelves was reflective of just how unsettled and angsty I felt in every other arena. 

How, though, to rearrange? I stood in front of the shelves for a solid ten-ish minutes, debating the merits of "time period" or "alphabetically by title" or "genre" or "Dewey Decimal" while Dave looked at me like I was an actual crazy person. I dove in and eventually settled on "by spine color." BY SPINE COLOR? WHAT WAS I THINKING? I honestly feel as though I suffered some sort of miniature breakdown or psychotic dissociation that led to this completely asinine decision. But by the time I realized I was NOT pleased, I was midway through, deep in reflection of just how many blue-spined books I own. And at that point, it felt too late to turn back and start over, so I persevered, bitching all the while about how stupid it was to let Pinterest aspirations overcome plain old-fashioned good sense. 

And there you have it - the finished product. (Well, most of it - the second shelf is still only half-full because of how few books I could bring to California with me, and it's all the black spines, I stood back, I looked at them, and I decided I loathed it. But I left it, confident that it would grow on me. 

Then, last week, I flew through Marisa de los Santos's transcendently lovely "I'll Be Your Blue Sky," and suddenly, fundamentally needed to re-read everything she had ever written. So I went to find her first novel last night before dinner with Kaitlin, thinking it'd be a perfect post-meal wind-down before bed. Problem? I couldn't find it. Campers, I freaked. Not like...externally. But internally? I was a spastic, stressed frazzle of a human. And right then and there, with about an hour until I needed to leave for dinner, I pulled every book back off the shelf, and spent the most relaxing, satisfying forty minutes of my life restoring order in this specific little corner of my universe. 

I guess the lesson learned here is simply to not mess with a good thing. Also that I am fully actually insane, but let's be real...we already knew that. 

Things I love online right now...

A few utterly, shamefully frivolous joys in the last 24 hours...

1. This video of a polar bear cub in the UK exploring its home for the first time, which I have watched a couple times and will likely revisit again before the day is over. 

2. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt's outrageously gorgeous and moving collab on "Found Tonight," a mashup of songs from "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen" benefiting the March for Our Lives initiative. Listen to it on Spotify or download it on iTunes, it's just stunning...I may or may not have listened to it all day yesterday (I did). 

3. The @garyjanetti account on Instagram is hilarious, primarily because of his snarky Prince George memes which crack me up every time I see a new one. 

4. RELATED: Prince Harry's wedding is in less than two months and that means it's time for ALL THE STUFF. I just downloaded Katie Nicholl's new book "Harry: Life, Loss, and Love" (That title is so dramatic and I am so here for it), and was ecstatic to see that the hotly-anticipated Lifetime movie biopic "Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance" has a teaser trailer out. I can't wait to drink wine, eat snacks and relentlessly mock this. It reminded me of this delicious recap of the William and Kate Lifetime movie, which I can still not read without truly laughing out loud. 

5. In the "TV I am actually very excited to watch rather than just to mock" lane, we have "Sweetbitter," a STARZ series coming out in May, which is based on a book I couldn't put down last summer and am currently re-reading. Set in a high-end restaurant in NYC, the series looks promising based on the trailer. (Also loving the new "Queer Eye" on Netflix, wanting to re-watch "Mozart in the Jungle [yes, again], and started "Love" on Netflix with Dave a couple weeks ago/never finished...)

6. Finally, someone please block Mark and Graham on all my devices or I will truly fall victim to the "if it's not moving, monogram it" life philosophy. (I do not need a monogrammed striped shirt, I do not need a monogrammed striped shirt......)

Love letters to life.

Remember when I was going to write these posts celebrating the little fun things in the week, and did it ONCE, and then decided I was going to be incredibly lazy and basically stop writing altogether? Right. Time to get back at the gratitude attitude and appreciate all the quotidian occurrences that make my life so incredibly lovely, taken as a whole. 


- achieving peak basic by making (way too many) chocolate-covered strawberries for the "Bachelor" finale 


- getting to snuggle and play with and laugh at our friends' ridiculously, absurdly, over-the-toply adorable Frenchie, Leia (I have never wanted a dog as badly as I want her, I'm not joking.)

- the prettiest and most fragrant "sunset" tulips, from Costco of all places, that have been going strong for almost a week now


- so much great beer with Dave lately, notably Alpha Acid's Barrel Constrictor stouts and some outstanding IPAs


- the kind of view that makes even perennially-frazzled-in-the-mornings me slow down for a minute


Other bright spots: a raucous and riotous game of "Cards Against Humanity" with the roommates, the release of the 2018 Minnesota High School All-Hockey Hair Team, a lengthy and long overdue phone date with Hannah, planning trips home and to Oregon in May, and - best of all - looking forward to the next two weeks bringing me BOTH Kaitlin AND Kelsie in the Bay Area! 

This year's Oscars faves and fails...

WOW campers, I am in a HUGE sulk after last night's "Bachelor" finale. Like, "sitting at my desk still grumping and bitching with my coworkers" huge. I am fully aware this is dumb of me, but maybe thoughts to follow. At any rate, let's look at pretty dresses to feel better, shall we?

This is the first year in a very long time that I not only haven't seen a single nominated film, but also didn't actually watch any of the Oscars - we were in the car headed home from an absurdly wonderful weekend skiing Heavenly! I caught up on the red carpet as soon as I got home from work last night (while dipping chocolate-covered strawberries for the aforementioned "Bachelor" finale, BOOOO). Awards season is always so much fun, and I was excited to see what happened on the Oscars red carpet, especially in the wake of the all-black Globes and so many really daring fashion choices since then. A few wins and losses below: 


I found myself SO drawn to the bright, bold colors on the red carpet...possibly in reaction to the prevalence of black at shows this season...and I am HERE for Allison Janney killing it in this dress (with gorgeous jewels to boot!).

Also LOVE Leslie Mann's floaty red dream of a's just so deliciously excessive, but that ethereal pattern keeps it looking light instead of bloodbath-adjacent.

I also really went hard for metallics, specifically Gal Godot, whose dress seems like a dance-y, twirly dream (also, hi, that necklace). 

I also think this is maybe the best that Jennifer Lawrence has looked in years. Her hair below is making me wish I could pull off blonde (duh I can't, I know that)...but I would love to master that kind of wave. The deconstructed hair and the sexy simplicity of the dress's silhouette make me incredibly happy. 

And of course Lupita. HI, goddess. I've been obsessed with her red carpet fashion for years and this didn't let me has a vaguely gladiatorial, warrior-esque vibe to it that seems perfect given her turn in "Black Panther," not to mention the wars being fought in the whole #MeToo #TimesUp arena. I'll never not want her luminous complexion, either. 

And finally, Jennifer Garner, who I have loved for years and who is giving some serious "Ben who?" vibes here. HOTTIE.


Maya Rudolph: The costume shop of "The Handmaid's Tale" called, they want their red sexual-repression shroud back. 

Andra Day: Marie Antoinette called, she wants her aggressively poufy-and-floral bedspread back. 

Salma Hayek: I'm so confused by this. The material looks like something that five-year-old me would've loved in a dress-up costume, and then there's all this cleavage with these HUGE dramatic jewel-y drapes over it? Pick a lane, people. 

My other gripe with a lot of the dresses this year is how fussy things seemed, especially on people who usually veer much more toward the streamlined end of the spectrum. I adore Emily Blunt and was not a fan of this high-necked, Swiss-dotted, chiffon-and-lace, Victorian-bodice-ripper-nightgown nightmare. Plus that color washes her out like whoa. 


Bookworm: February 2018

"A river of words flowed between us." - Ernest Cline




Ready Player One, Ernest Cline: Oh my gosh I could not put this down, and ended up with a horrific sunburn from sitting poolside for about five hours reading it. My interest was piqued after seeing the movie trailer, but it was a rousing endorsement from Wade that ultimately got me to make the purchase. Set in a dystopian, virtual reality future, this was "Hunger Games" meets "Divergent" meets "The Matrix" in all the best ways. 


Victoria, Daisy Goodwin: Eh - I feel like I just keep trying and trying to like Queen Victoria and I just kind of...don't. This novel riffs on the Masterpiece series, and was a fast enough read that I didn't have time to get bored with its myriad historical falsities and inaccuracies or the trumped-up love story at the heart of the plot. 

What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, John Mullen: As a lifelong lover of Austen, I actually really enjoyed this dissection of significant aspects of her novels. Examining everything from the weather, to use of first names, to the presence (or absence) of servants, it provided a lot of context to read deeper into my favorite texts. Maybe a full Austen re-read is necessary soon...

Breaking The Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz, Jolene Babyak: A caveat - this was not particularly well-written or edited. That said, I'm on a major Alcatraz/prison kick after our trip out to the island on my birthday, and this account of the circumstances surrounding the island's most dramatic escape attempt was well-researched and super interesting to me, given my current fascination. A weird little niche read, kind of a fun change!


This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, Jonathan Evison:  I had heard really good things about Evison's work, and I think this was a letdown for me because the whole thing felt incredibly disjointed and somewhat flat. I saw both of the major twists coming about four or five chapters before they actually were revealed, and I couldn't get invested in any of the characters or their issues. It was...solidly meh. Oh well!


None this month - a short, busy month calls for a short, busy reading list!