In today’s episode, we are talking about our go-to’s—everything from jeans, to kids’ books, and all the random stuff in between.
We are also going to talk about our book club selection, The Midnight Library, and answer a listener’s question.
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Listener question: What do you do when it’s time to give up a sentimental piece of furniture or decor?
Have a ceremony for the item and put it on Craigslist Free to bless someone else 🙂
Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess Podcast. Today we are talking about our go-tos. I wanted to call this episode, one jeans to rule them all, which is a Lord of the Rings reference. But I decided that that was too dorky. But the premises we are talking about our favorite fill in the blank so things like favorite jeans, favorite kids’ books, random stuff. We are also going to talk about The Midnight Library, which was one of the fiction selections for our book club this quarter and we have a listener question at the end. Okay, so before we get into our go-tos, some favorites, one jeans to rule them all.
Elsie: I want to have a Lord of the Rings marathon when I come to Missouri so you can’t say no.
Emma: Yeah, I had to read the intro twice, because Elsie I hadn’t seen my Lord of the Rings joke yet and she laughed. I was like, yes, that’s a good one. We’re just making each other laugh and you’re along for the ride.
Elsie: I love Lord of the Rings. Everyone who loves Lord of the Rings, raise your hand.
Emma: Raise your hand. Hope you’re on a walk and raising your hand right now. All right, so before we get into it, I wanted to talk about my LASIK consultation because I don’t feel like I’ve talked about it on the podcast. I’m not even sure I’ve talked about it with you. I can’t remember.
Elsie: I heard you had an appointment. I have not heard how it went.
Emma: I may have not talked to anyone about it other than my husband. I don’t know. In my mind, I’m like I talked to everybody about this. I don’t think I did. I think I talked to myself on a walk. All right. So to back up. Years ago, I was at my eye doctor getting an exam because I was needing to go up in my prescription. I wear both contacts and glasses. She said, I have very dry eyes, and I was like, I’m interested in LASIK. I was just talking with her about it. She’s an eye doctor and she was like, you may have too dry of eyes for LASIK because I can see that you have very dry eyes. I do have very dry eyes. It’s a thing I’ve talked about before and it’s a real annoyance in my life. That was part of my motivation for getting the LASIK consultation was, I don’t really mind wearing glasses. I think they’re kind of cute. I have a whole bunch of pairs and they’re fun. I wear contacts a lot. But I have extremely dry eyes and I feel like my contact use especially when I was younger like I had the kind where you took them out every night and you’d wear the same ones for like a month. I don’t even know if they make those ones anymore. That’s how old I am. But I had those all through college in my early 20s.
Elsie: What do they have now?
Emma: Now I have dailies where you throw them away every day. I talked about this years ago when I switched to it because I was trying to work on my dry eyes and I do think it’s helped. But I kind of hate it. You have to buy a ton and it feels wasteful. I do wear contacts almost every day. I would say 80% of the time I wear contacts. So it feels really wasteful and it does cost quite a bit. So I feel like I have made progress on my dry eyes but I feel like if I stopped wearing contacts that would probably help. This was my assumption. So I was like, you know what, I’m just gonna go get a LASIK consultation, it’s free. If they tell me your eyes are too dry, which was what I was expecting. I was like, maybe at least I’ll be there and they could give me some tips. They could say have you tried this, have you tried this, here’s a special doctor you could go to, and whatever. Now you have a referral and your insurance covers it or not whatever, but at least I would like have an option. So that was in my mind basically what I was doing. I was like I’m gonna go, they’re probably gonna say your eyes are too dry. But then I can say, okay, what should I do? What can I do to work on that? It’s just this thing in my life that I keep trying to work on. I don’t prioritize it as much as it annoys me. I have kept trying to make changes. So I go, and much to my surprise, they told me that I could get LASIK. I can do it. They said you’re an excellent candidate. So I was like, oh wow, okay, like, great. One thing that they kind of mentioned, so I’m in the exam room with the doctor who’s a male and also with a nurse who’s a female. I’m talking with the doctor and he’s like, oh, and do you play any contact sports? Are you on a volleyball team or anything like that? I was like, no, he was like, okay, well just bring it up because you want to make sure that especially for the first two to four weeks, really four weeks, you don’t want anything to hit you in the face, specifically the eye. Your eyes been kind of like lasered sliced. Elsie knows where this is going. I go, well, I don’t play contact sports but I do have a nine-month-old son. The nurse in the room, I could see her eyebrows go up a little. That might be a problem. He was like, Do you feel like he is in your face every day? I was like, yeah, he hits me in the face every day. Every day he hits me in the eye.
Elsie: Could you wear glasses, like glasses that are clear?
Emma: I could. So they send you home with these like goggles. I was like, could I wear the goggles while I’m like playing with him? They’re like, yeah, you could also get swim goggles and wear them while you’re playing with him. It’s only two to four weeks and since then I’ve also been like maybe it’s not as bad as I thought. So since then every day, I’m kind of paying attention how often he hits me in the face and specifically the eye. It’s every day. Every day he hits me in the eyes sometimes pretty good. He’s a little tiny baby. So I think I am going to get LASIK but I think I might wait a year or two. Which kind of bums me out in a way but I was talking with Trey a lot about it. I was like, I’m just not willing to either hold my son less or let him be in my face less, play with him last on the floor for two to four weeks, which isn’t that long but it’s kind of long in the grand scheme of like, he just changes so much so fast. I’m just not totally willing to do it. I was like I could wear swim goggles, but it just seems bananas.
Elsie: A year is not that long. Couldn’t you wear fake glasses, like the kind that I wear?
Emma: A lot of times work when he hits me, it’s in the morning and it’s like he’s already gotten up. We’re up but we’re kind of like playing in the bed. We kind of like a little morning routine. I could put on fake glasses because once I get LASIK, I won’t be able to wear my real glasses anymore, obviously, because they will be too blurry. So yeah, I’ve been like thinking it through but I think where I’m landing is I’m like, I don’t really mind waiting a year or two. It’s a long time but it’s also not like I really won’t notice. So I don’t know, this story isn’t really going anywhere but I feel like everyone’s invested in my dry journey and so here we are. Here’s the new saga. So that’s the story of my LASIK consultation.
Elsie: That’s exciting that you have options for the future.
Emma: I’m like I am definitely going to get LASIK sometime in the future. I don’t think it’s going to be this year, but I’m still going back and forth and thinking about it. I don’t really feel any hard yes or no. I’m more just thinking about it, noticing my son, noticing his growth and my lifestyle and what’s important to me. That’s kind of where I’m landing at the moment is I’ll just wait a couple of years and we’ll see. So let’s talk about go-to’s. One jeans to rule them all.
Elsie: Yeah, I love one jeans to rule them all. That’s what we’re calling this episode now. There’s no other title.
Emma: Then on that, what are your go-to jeans because I feel like jeans is a thing. You gotta have good jeans.
Elsie: So I only have one type of jeans that I’m loyal to where I have a whole bunch of pairs and that is Levi’s ribcage jeans. They’re like the super high jeans and then they’re sort of, not like a bell-bottom not like a wide leg but like a medium leg, I would say like they’re not a skinny jean. So that’s also I like them because they go along with that trend. They’re kind of in-between. I personally won’t wear wide-leg jeans but they’re like right in the middle where I still feel like they’re flattering and cute and stuff. I have them in all the colors, a couple of different sizes, like everything that I need, is what I have. So yeah, I really liked those but I’m definitely open to more jeans. So I would love to hear other people’s go-to jeans. I should probably like do some jean research because I feel like I would like a new pair of like super high, somewhat skinny jeans or maybe like a skinny jean or maybe a mom jean, but I definitely want them to be high waisted.
Elsie: Okay, so what is a mom jean? What do you consider that? How is it different from a boyfriend jean, you know how people will label that in the stores?
Elsie: I think of mom jeans as first of all, they’re high-waisted, which boyfriend jeans might not be, and they’re somewhat loose, but it’s almost like if you bought your skinny jeans three sizes too big. Boyfriend jeans, at least the times that I’ve tried them on, I feel like they have a lot of rips in them. They look kind of like, at least for me, they actually kind of looks like men’s jeans. I just could never find a pair that I felt was flattering. Mom jeans are just more comfy but still have a shape to them.
Emma: Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Well, my jeans, so I have one brand that I used to be loyal to for a long time and now I have one that all I own basically is this now. The old brand, which is cheaper, so if you’re looking for a more budget option, Jessica Simpson jeans.
Elsie: Oh yeah, I used to always wear Jessica Simpson jeans and I don’t know why I stopped but I don’t think I have any anymore.
Emma: I feel like it was like $50 to $60 a pair, somewhere like that. I’m sure you can find more expensive ones. This was years ago. I just always thought they were nice and flattering. Which by the way, I kind of liked the Jessica Simpson line. Huge fan of Jessica Simpson generally, but I also really do like her clothing line. It’s very cool.
Elsie: She has kids’ clothes now too. I just saw her pajamas when I was shopping. Those are cute.
Emma: I didn’t know that. I got to check that out. What I own now like almost all of my jeans, so I probably have like eight or nine pairs of jeans, and I would say probably seven of them are Good American, which is Khloe Kardashian’s brand. I don’t know if she owns it with someone else. That’s kind of how I heard about it. In my mind, I was like, okay, I was looking for jeans that were going to fit well and have a shape like be what I felt like looked good on my body. But I am five four, I’m fairly short to average. I don’t know like whatever you consider I’m five four. I have bigger hips and a bigger booty and a pretty small waist and I felt like I never found things that work. They always had like a big gap in the back at the waist, especially if I wanted something high-waisted or they would just be so long. I always had to tear them myself or get them tailored, whatever. I love Good American jeans. I have so many pairs. I love them so much. I think they fit so great. Most of the ones I own are high-waisted. I prefer high-waisted things because I like to do the like tan France little bit tuck in the front. I love their jeans. I want to say like 150 to 200 is kind of the range and they have sales. So they’re a little more expensive. I don’t know if that’s considered designer or anything, but they’re more than the Jessica Simpson brand. So those are kind of like the two and they’re kind of like different price ranges.
Elsie: Yeah, I think that this year, I probably need to get some new jeans and try all the new trends and just try them, just a starting point. I don’t think I have bought jeans since before the quarantine. It’s been a while.
Emma: I just worked jumpsuits now. I’m literally wearing one right now.
Elsie: I have bought a sh*t ton of yoga pants. I have more than one whole drawer of yoga sets.
Emma: Well, let’s talk about that next. That’s on the list, yoga pants. Okay, so what is your yoga pants brand? What’s the one? One yoga pants to rule them all, what you got?
Elsie: Okay, Girlfriend Collective is like my number one and I really like them. I think they’re very flattering. I only get the pocket high waisted ones. They also have different lengths. I like to get the short people one so that they kind of show your ankle a little bit. There’s nothing worse than yoga pants with a baggy extra fabric at the bottom. At first, when I was working on my collection at the beginning of 2020, I would buy a lot of like patterny kinds. Then over time, I just realized that I wear my black and dark green ones like 99% of the time, so I just bought more of those. I love girlfriend collective. I think everyone should try it. There’s a code on our sponsor page. In our show notes today there will be a place where you can see all of our codes. You can use their code, it’s a really good one. I also love their sports bras and stuff. But the thing I will say is that a lot of people, not me, but a lot of people think they’re too compressive. So if you’re sensitive about not wanting to feel sucked in or not wanting to feel like it’s tight around your waist, then the other brand that I really like is Aerie. I have quite a bit of those. I think that the downside of Aerie is that they’re not as thick. If you are worried about seeing your underwear through them or seeing your cellulite or anything like that, it’s like not going to be as good as Girlfriend Collective. So I mostly just like stick with the dark colors. The things that I really like about them is they are very, like when people say buttery like they’re very thin and comfy because it doesn’t feel as tight or restrictive. I really liked the V waisted ones where the shape of them is really cute. They have good bras as well. If you like colors and patterns, they have a lot in that department and they have a lot of jam jams or PJs, so nice stuff like that. So yeah, those are the two places that I mainly like. One more thing is I would say Girlfriend Collective stay true to size but on Aerie, I always size up because they do run kinda small. I think always size up on them.
Emma: Makes sense. Yeah, the one that I would mention if I had to pick just one, and I kind of have two as well but you’ll see they’re very different. So if I had to pick just one for forever, it would be Lululemon. I have three pairs of their aligned leggings. I just love them. I feel like they fit really nice. They’re a good thickness. They’re not crazy thick. They’re not crazy thin. They don’t feel super compression. They feel comfortable but they’re still leggings. They’re still very fitted. I’m just gonna put this out there. The three pairs that I have, I wear them now like same three pairs love them. my favorite is black, it’s so boring, but it’s true, it’s the one I wear the most. I also wear them throughout my entire pregnancy, the same pairs. So if you’re a person who like maybe you are pregnant.
Elsie: Did you have to pull them down or could you like pull them up?
Emma: Yeah, a little bit, especially towards the end. My belly would kind of hang out and it wouldn’t be as high. They didn’t really get stretched out for me. Everybody’s different but I’m just kind of saying if your weight fluctuates, whether from pregnancy or other reasons, I felt really good in these the whole time and I really liked them. I thought they were very comfortable and I wore them a lot like jeans. I would wear sweaters with them or whatever and I just really enjoyed them. I still wear them now. So they’re not like for pregnancy but I did wear mine throughout my entire pregnancy and I thought they were great. So I love those. By the way, we’ll link all this stuff in the show notes so if you’re like stressed about that, don’t just go to the show notes. Then the other thing I wanted to mention is not really yoga pants, but leggings but I do sometimes wear them to workout, which is probably weird, but it’s the Spanx moto leggings. Have you ever seen those leather ones?
Emma: By the way, for me working out means going on a long walk but I really liked them. Those are very compression. They’re more like Girlfriend Collective. So if you’re wanting something like that nd something was a look. For many years, I didn’t buy them because I was like too expensive. I don’t know. But now that I own them I really liked them. They’re like the only pair of leggings that aren’t like yoga pants that I feel like I need because they just go with things. I kind of did the moto faux leather look. I like that so yeah, it goes with my style.
Emma: So let’s talk about shoes and then also sandals. So sandals can be separate.
Emma: Okay, so, everyday shoes, if it’s summertime, I’m always wearing sandals. So if it’s not summertime, so you know on J Crew how they have those little like they look like hiking boots. They’re brown boots with red laces and a little bit of fur. I wear those every day all winter long. They’re like really good for like little kid lifestyle because I do school drop off in the morning. It’s like a long coat and those boots and then you can’t even notice that I’m wearing my pajamas under there. I guess I buy a lot of shoes from Madewell. I like Madewell shoes and I like Vans. I wear my Vans all the time and my kids also love them. Just like the classic checkered Vans and sometimes I get different colors for the kids too. I think I have a couple of different colors. I just think if it’s not sandals, it’s probably Vans. I haven’t been in the habit of wearing heels more than like, once a month since 2019. So maybe someday in the future, I will get back to that.
Emma: The pair of shoes that I wear the most, at least this winter was also a pair of Vans, but not the classic checkered slides. It’s these like high tops. Actually, I got these because I was in your closet and I was like, oh, these are cute. I’ve never seen Vans like this. You were like, oh, you can have those. I bought them and I haven’t worn them so go ahead and take them if you like them. I wear them all the time. I’m literally wearing them right now.
Elsie: Oh, cute.
Emma: They’re kind of like, the checkered is white and then kind of a creamy pink so they feel very neutral. They go with everything. I used to never wear high tops or ankle shoes. I felt like it didn’t look right with my body type and then somewhere along the way I like stopped and now I love them. I own a lot of high-top type shoes.
Elsie: I think that things like that, it’s like you get it in your head. I think that every once in a while you need, like with the jeans, you need to just go and try it all on again because you might be wrong.
Emma: Exactly. Yeah, I feel like I’ve maybe made that decision in high school and then in my 30s I was like, wait a second, now I like high tops.
Elsie: There was a time in my life, that’s not now when the only goal for every outfit was looking taller. It’s like, maybe that’s not your goal anymore. Maybe I don’t need to wear wooden shoes every single day of my life.
Emma: You’re like, I don’t want to look too old and I need to be able to chase a small child and that’s where I’m at now. So that’s my number one but then other go-to shoes is, I own a lot of pair of this brand called Sofft Shoes. They actually sponsored the blog years ago and I just stayed a fan. They’re really comfortable and they’re really cute. The pair I wear the most is this kind of black leather high tops. They’re like slide ons but they’re high tops. What I liked about that is they don’t have to wear those socks that kind of like pinch around your foot. You know, I’m talking about, they’re like footsie type socks? I feel like those are uncomfortable so I just like these. They’re very comfortable and you can wear warm socks in the winter that aren’t pinching around your ankle. Okay, so let’s talk sandals.
Elsie: Okay, so I have tried all the different kinds of like foamy or rubbery Birkenstock type of shoes and I like them all. There’s lots of different ones, but the Freedom Moses ones are like, for me, they’re the one. The reason why is because they come in the best colors. I have I think like three or four pairs and it’s kinda the only shoes I need for the whole summer. I wear them every day. I have a dark orange pair, a green pair with flowers, and then a couple of like bright pairs. If I get one more I might get the beige color.
Emma: I like the classic two-strap Birkenstocks. So I wear them so much last year, I got a Birkenstock tan. It was pretty severe and it’s a problem. I fully anticipate I’m going to get the same tan this year. I’m going to try not to but it’s just all I wear. So last year, I had a pair that was silver and they had a white soul. I bought them I think off Anthropology and I was really drawn to the metallic and a white soul. But I didn’t love the white soul and like I said I wore them so much for multiple years I didn’t have them just last year, that they really got worn out. The white soul just got real dingy real quick too but still kept wearing them for a few years. Anyway, last year they finally bit the dust so I bought, towards the end of the season, a new pair that I’ve just been waiting to unveil for warm weather. It’s the same style but like a kind of copper metallic two-strap Birkenstock but not a white soul, just the classic, I don’t know if it’s black but black or dark brown. Since I love the Birk so much I’m embracing it, I also DIYed, this will be on the blog later this week, a pair of Birkenstocks where I painted the leather a leopard print. I was really nervous about this because I’m really not the best painter but I think they turned out really cute. I showed them to Trey, and he’ll tell me the truth, and he was like these actually look like you bought them this way. I was like, thank you. So I love leopard print. That’s like my aesthetic, cool aunt, leopard print. So I had to have some leopard print Birkenstocks. So I decided though to do some that’s like, I painted them myself and I’m going to share that on the blog. So sandals. So next up, Elsie and I are both jumpsuit fanatics and so I thought we would do our favorite jumpsuit. So this could be a brand for me, I only own Big Bud so I was just going to do my favorite color. So that’s kind of up to you.
Elsie: Yeah, I have a few different brands. So I can put some on the show notes but I would say the majority of mine are Big Bud. Sometimes Madewell has good ones and then there’s this other brand. I can’t remember the name of it but I’ll be sure it’s in the show notes. They had a lot of colors as well.
Emma: How many Big Bud jumpsuits do you own?
Elsie: I would have to count but I would say around 10. I’ve been collecting them for five years because I remember I got my first one before we adopted. That’s how I keep track of time now. It’s just a thing like every six months or so I buy a new one. They come out with different colors and they change. They used to only have long sleeves and now they have short sleeves, which I liked better. At a certain point, I decided that I might as well get the whole rainbow. So I’ve been completing that rainbow for the last couple years. So I do need to make a reel or something to show them all because it is kind of a funny collection. But I really do wear them and I don’t feel like they’re going out of style or in or out anymore. I mean five years is a pretty long time for something to be the same amount in style as it used to be.
Emma: I mean it’s a jumpsuit and the way that they do theirs anyway, it’s like very classic cut. That almost makes me think of like Dickies.
Elsie: They are gender neutral, like men can wear them. They are really cute on men actually, like a lot of people wear them in bands.
Emma: Yeah, I mean, they’re very useful. The main thing I’ve seen people are like, oh, well do you have to like basically take the whole thing off to go to the bathroom? I’m like, yeah, you have to unzip the front and kind of almost take off your shirt in a way to go to the bathroom. But for me, that’s just not a big deal. I guess I would say that’s the number one problem with a jumpsuit. The thing I like about it most is like a lot of times Oscar’s crawling around in the morning as I’m getting ready. He’s playing with stuff and all that. I just don’t really have time to put together an outfit like I just don’t. I can only take my eyes off him for so long. So I just wear jumpsuits with different necklaces or a different headband or different jacket. To me, it’s like a built-in outfit and I love it. I feel like I look put together and I feel ready for the day and I don’t feel sad that I didn’t get to pick out an outfit. I feel like oh yeah, I look interesting. I look put together. Today I’m wearing the red one like it just feels nice.
Elsie: Yeah, I agree. I wear them anytime I’m like changing clothes a lot and getting frustrated then I always end up wearing one of those because it just easy.
Emma: Yep, exactly. My favorite though, I own seven, and my favorite is the white one. I wear that one the most. I don’t know what it is and it looks like a painter too. It kind of looks like an outfit you would wear to be a painter, but I don’t know it just looks cool to me. I really like the white one but I love all of them. I wear all of mine.
Elsie: Generally my power color or the colors that I feel like I look really good and I feel really good in are white and red. I do really like those jumpsuits but actually, my favorite one is the one we just got in Palm Springs, the like army green or what would you call that green?
Emma: I would say army green. It’s like a darker evergreen type.
Elsie: I really liked that one because it just feels very year-round and sort of a little more neutral than some of them. Some of them are a big look like the lavender one, things like that. Those are like a big look but the green one, it’s like a little more subdued. So I feel like it has like I’ll probably wear it the most.
Emma: I have mostly more neutral like white is kind of a neutral, still big look. I have a black one. I have this kind of evergreen one.
Elsie: You have a neon green one, I remember.
Emma: My neon green one is the biggest look for sure and then I have a red and a blue one. Those are kind of a big look. Although I feel like the blue is still like a kind of a chill blue. It’s not navy but it’s like I don’t know. It’s the lime green one that feels like a big look to me, which I like it. I actually wore that when I taught the high school kids and I got a lot of compliments on my jumpsuit.
Elsie: Adorable. I want to mention that the inspiration, why I first started buying them was from our grandma Norma, because when we were growing up for her teacher uniform, but she also wore it at church. She had like her closet was like a red dress with red shoes, a blue dress with blue shoes, a green dress with green shoes. She was very like, uniformed. We always just thought it was so cool and I still think it’s cool. Now I kind of dress like her so I like it.
Emma: Yeah, I do too. I’m like I see the appeal of this. It takes no time to get ready. You feel really good in everything. You feel put together but it doesn’t take a lot of effort. It’s great. So I’m loving it. Anyway, let’s move on from clothes because we have other go-tos. So let’s move on to, I put down coffee mug and Elsie was like let’s do coffee mug but let’s also do coffee routine items. I feel like for me, I have a lot of coffee mugs and I use them all but you kind of have a couple that to me are like that’s my favorite. I’m happy when that one’s not in the dishwasher. So what is the favorite coffee mug and then also coffee routine items like go twos?
Elsie: Yes. Okay, so my favorite coffee mugs, I have two collections from artists. I will link these artists in the show notes. One is called The Coy Collection and one is called Mud Witch. I kind of just shop every, they have releases. You get on their email list and then they have their releases. You have to buy one really fast and sometimes I miss it. That’s fine because they do it pretty often like every few months. So I have lots and lots of mugs from each of them and those are definitely my favorites. I think that there’s just something really special about being a fan of ceramic artists and just shopping from them over and over and kind of building a little collection.
Elsie: Yeah, it’s special.
Elsie: What about you?
Emma: I have two favorite mugs. I have a whole collection of like handmade mugs from different artists. Unlike Elsie I kind of have a bunch of random ones but my two favorites is, one we have this handmade mug that has little star reliefs, I guess would be the word but it’s like the glaze didn’t go in that spot. It’s from our collaboration with Etsy. So it’s an Etsy seller and she makes all different kinds of ceramics including all different kinds of mugs and she’s super talented. She made these star ones originally for the A Beautiful Mess Etsy collab. That was from a few years ago and I love that mug. It’s just really big and it also tapers to not a close at the top because it’s a mug, it has an opening, but it kind of like heads towards the closing, which I feel like keeps the coffee hotter longer.
Elsie: Her Etsy shop is called Katie Mudd, right?
Emma: Yes. Katie Mudd.
Elsie: Yeah, I love her and I have bought more of her mugs from her Etsy shop. They’re all amazing. I think that they are a really good giftable option.
Emma: I agree. Then the other handmade mug that I love because I’m not talking about my holiday mugs so that’s off right now. Not talking about any of those right now. My other handmade mug that I love is from an artist, her shop is called Not Work Related. I’ve bought from her a number of times over the years, probably four or five years.
Elsie: I know you got those are employee gifts twice because I have two of them and they’re from that.
Emma: Yes, I do holiday gifts for all our employees at both companies. I don’t always do a handmade mug, sometimes I do other things but there’s been a number of years I did handmade mugs and twice we’ve gotten mugs from her. They’re just really lovely. The one that’s my favorite because I have two from her because I’m one of the employees so I get one too, is this like very soft brown one that has little kind of confetti reliefs on the outside. What I love about it is it’s a great size and it’s also the walls of the mug are pretty thin. So it’s just like a nice, it’s not like overly heavy even though it’s a rather large mug and it’s made of clay obviously. I don’t know how she got it that thin but she’s very talented. She does lots of different styles. meals. So you can definitely and we will link all of these artists because they’re all really amazing. If you’re looking for handmade mugs, check out the show notes because that’s what we’re into. So other than favorite coffee mug, what are your favorite coffee routine items?
Elsie: Okay, so since I started waking up at five, I have my own little routine of making my own coffee by myself in my office. Since my office is on the floor with the bedrooms and stuff, I didn’t want to have a grinder and stuff like we do downstairs. So I’ve been ordering the brand, the brand is called Cometeer. Have you heard of these little like, they’re little like a freezer? It’s sort of like a Keurig. It looks like a Keurig capsule. But it’s like metal, it’s made of aluminum and so you can recycle them. It is just frozen coffee. I guess that they flash freeze it. The moral of the story is somehow it tastes fancy, like really good coffee. All you have to do is pour hot water and this little capsule melts in it. and that’s it. So it’s like really easy. I really look forward to that. It’s like one of the things that helps me wake up early. Then as far as like appliances, I’m in the market for an espresso machine because I think we’ve worn our same one out twice so I’m going to switch brands. Other than that we have the Smeg appliances. I know that they’re just like a silly aesthetic thing that people buy them because they are beautiful, but they are really functional. I do love them. I just got the kettle in my office and made a hot tea drawer. It just feels perfect so I do stand by those appliances.
Emma: I don’t really have necessarily favorite coffee routine items, we use a Chemex. So in order to like properly brew, you need a gooseneck kettle so we have that too. But that’s pretty much all we have. I have a French press and every once in a while I’ll pull it out and use it. But 95% of the time we make Chemex coffee at home and we have a grinder of course. So now we’re going to move on and talk about a fiction book from the book club.
Elsie: Yes. So spoiler alert, if you haven’t read it yet. It’s The Midnight Library and if you haven’t read it yet, you’d probably would not want to listen to this part of the episode until after you’ve read it because we’re basically in to talk about the whole story. There will be tons of spoilers.
Emma: Yes, it’s difficult to talk about this one without kind of talking about all sorts of parts of it all over. So anyway, if you haven’t read it yet, and you want to skip this part, save it for later.
Elsie: So this one’s very fresh for me because I just read it a few days ago. So The Midnight Library is a story about a woman named Nora Seed, who has come to a part of her life where she’s experiencing severe depression and she attempts suicide. In her I don’t know, death zone, she comes into this supernatural library. The librarian is like one of her childhood elementary school librarians so the whole library is books that are different versions of Nora’s own life. She has a chance to experience, one little choice could be like a whole different version of your life when it’s like compounded so it’s sort of like a mixture of, Emma said different than me. She said Groundhog Day and A Christmas Carol. I kind of felt like, do you remember the old movie The Butterfly Effect?
Elsie: That movie and also like It’s A Wonderful Life.
Emma: Spiderman, The Multiverse? Oh, It’s a Wonderful Life.
Elsie: Just because the end where you realize that like the life you already have is like.
Emma: the one you want? Or as good as it gets?
Elsie: Or better than you thought or whatever. So she starts experiencing different lives. She doesn’t want to do it at first. She starts with the very obvious ones, like the big regrets. The big choices that she made differently. She had called off a wedding so she wanted to see what that would have been like. She had to quit swimming when her father wanted her to go for the Olympics and become more serious so she wanted to do it that was like. She had to quit a band, she wanted to see what that was like. That’s kind of where the book goes from there. There’s a lot of different interesting versions. I thought that the premise was one of the best things about the whole book because it made me imagine all of those things for myself, just really, really interesting thing to think about. I don’t spend a lot of time on my regrets. Not even as a intentional, it’s just not the way my brain works. So it was interesting and I thought it was a really good story.
Emma: Yeah, so a couple of references I wrote down as Elsie mentioned was the movie Groundhog Day, also the movie or book, Christmas Carol? But not that this is the same. I also think I was joking. I think it’s kind of like Spiderman The Multiverse because it’s different alternative paths that life could have taken. I don’t spend a lot of time on my regrets either but every once in a while, I do think like, what if I had stayed in Los Angeles after college? What would my life be like then? What is that one boyfriend, what if I’d married him instead? You just have little moments where it’s not like I’m wanting those things, it’s just more like you wonder, like what would life have been like if it took this completely different turn? So in a way, Nora is experiencing that in this kind of supernatural in between life and death, Midnight library, where she is. Why I think it kind of reminded me of Groundhog Day or Christmas Carol is it feels like when authors do this type of premise, we are watching the main character go on some kind of journey of the self. So Groundhog’s Day, it’s like death of his ego. Christmas Carol, it’s like don’t be such an a**whole, basically. Be more generous, be more kind. People are what matters maybe would be a way to say that. Nora is interesting because I feel like she does come to the conclusion in the end of the book that her current life is the one she wants and she returns to it and is able to recover from the suicide attempt. But I feel like too kind of what she sees is a lot of her regrets a lot of the guilt that she had in her life is really wrapped up in other people’s expectations of her. Like with the alternative path of what if I had kept swimming and became an Olympian, like my dad wanted me to, I feel like she kind of sees that was her dad’s expectation of her and what he wanted, not necessarily what she was really desiring. I feel like too, with each of the paths, she kind of sees that none of them are perfect. There’s something painful or difficult about each one like a family member is has passed away in one of them, but she’s a rock star or various things. So it’s like you kind of see even if something that I maybe wanted or that others would putting on me, works out, there’s still these other painful things that you have to still deal with or cope with in life, which is difficult. I feel like overall, the book, I loved it so much, but it was definitely more of a quiet melancholy read, rather than some kind of sexy fairy novel or some kind of adventure where they defeat the foe. I feel like there’s a lot of books that are like you’re defeating the foe and that’s not really what this was. This is more of a quiet understanding of maybe the limitations of life. So one thing I wanted to ask you about is what did you think of Mrs. Elm, which is kind of our secondary Narrator/mystical character. She is a real person in Nora’s life. She was that like a childhood teacher but then she’s also in the midnight library. So in that world, obviously, she’s not real because it’s sort of a fantastical world or whatever.
Elsie: She also visits her elderly self in real life in a nursing facility.
Emma: In real life at the end. I was like, what are we supposed to take away from this character? What does this character represent? I don’t know. I just thought it was an interesting device that the author was using.
Elsie: Yeah, maybe like an inner mentor or something. She does give a lot of good advice because then it’s what she’s preaching by the end of it like Nora is the one preaching it. I liked how there was another character in it doing the same type of like traveling in his own library. They didn’t interact a whole lot but he said that he also had a mentor but his was like not a library, it was a video shop. I thought that was a nice detail.
Emma: I did too.
Elsie: I really liked the whole book, but my hang-up is that I kind of wish they wouldn’t have brought suicide into it at all. I thought that that made it less for me because I feel like the idea that you can overcome suicide by seeing different versions maybe is kind of insensitive towards people with mental illness. I don’t think suicide is something that can be overcome by everyone with things like that. It feels kind of old-fashioned to me. Kind of like It’s A Wonderful Life is why I made that comparison because it’s kind of just like a really old-fashioned idea that if you just have a different mindset, you can have a different brain or a different future.
Emma: Maybe just way too narrow for this big broad topic of suicide.
Elsie: I’m not saying that it’s a bad book. I enjoyed reading it but I think it’s okay to say there’s one thing about it that wasn’t my favorite part. The other thing I would say about it, is I read that it got optioned for a movie. I actually think the movie could be so great, even better than the book because I felt the one thing about the book, besides suicide, was that I wanted more descriptions in the lives. I wanted more costumes and outfits. It was a lot of times, she would go into her new life and she would like look in the mirror, and she would notice seemed a lot about her body and her face of aging or having less Abs or more abs. It didn’t seem like it had enough for me about the fashion and the different styles and versions. So I feel like in a movie, you would like see all of that. It would be more visually stunning, especially like the rock star life and the glacier studying, the Olympian. There’s just so many different versions of her and I think it would be very fun to see one actor styled in all those different ways.
Emma: I totally agree. I actually felt like my favorite of all the alternative lives that she visits because my favorite in the whole book is when she’s in the midnight library. It’s such a fantastical place and so I love all of that. It’s kind of world-building or like the rules so that’s a blast. But of the alternative lives that she goes to my favorite was when she studies glaciers and the scene where she has to kind of like protect herself from a polar bear. But that whole one, I felt like had the most description because we’re in such a strange setting. So I feel like, I don’t really I don’t know this author at all, but he probably felt like there was a lot more to explain because this is a setting that none of us would really be familiar with, being somewhere in the Arctic studying glaciers and all of that. I also really like settings like that. I just think they’re really beautiful. I like cold places so I’m drawn to that as well. I felt like there was a little bit of a missed opportunity with showing us more each of the worlds. But I did love all the kinds of rules that he built into it, like how she kind of gets dropped in. Everyone around her assumes she is the person she was yesterday and knows everything that that person knew, but she doesn’t. She asked to kind of navigate that I thought that was really like well done and interesting. I liked that. I loved when she met someone who was also going through his own alternative lives and how he described it. That was such a fun detail and a bit of world-building. So yeah, I thought it was a blast but more melancholy than a number of other fiction books I’ve read as of late,
Elsie: It was very fun. I think my favorite one was maybe the rock star. I wanted that one to be longer and I felt like it was kind of like a cheat that it’s sometimes she didn’t really get to experience a life. She just found out that someone died and then she didn’t want to be in the life anymore. You know what I mean? So sometimes that was kind of frustrating was like, but that’s okay.
Emma: You’re like, give it more of a chance. It sucks that someone died but like, I don’t know. It was strange to me that she didn’t pick any of the lives, not that her life was bad. It’s just like, I don’t know something about it.
Elsie: I think on the last life she tried to pick that life, the one where she was a mother and she was with her regret not dating boyfriend and married to him. I think that like the fact that she jumped into a life where she already had a four-year-old and already had a settled marriage. She could never really get past the feeling that she was sort of stealing someone else’s life, which I think is totally fair. I think she was trying to say she wanted to stay in it but she didn’t really want to because it never really felt like her life.
Emma: Yeah, I agree.
Elsie: But I mean, that’s what I expected the ending to be was that she would sort of like create another version of that life and it probably is what she ended up doing when she returned to her original life. Anyway, it’s definitely fun to think about.
Emma: It was very fun. I liked it a lot. Okay, so we also have a listener question. So this is from Sarah B. She says I do have a question, how do you know when it’s time to let go of a piece of furniture or decor? For background, I’m a 27-year-old living in my first apartment without a roommate. Living here alone has been the best time of my life and I’ve loved getting to make it a home. I’m getting ready to graduate and I’m expecting to move soon. I’m so conflicted about the rug in my living room. I’ve had it since I was eight years old. I know, I was like, ooh this detail, eight years old and I love it more than anything else in my home, but it’s getting old and stained and fragile. It’s also very loud. We call it the watermelon rug and she sent a picture and it truly has a two-tone green border. Then it’s like kind of a watermelon pink in the center. It really does kind of look like a watermelon. It’s a very good description. It’s definitely a bold statement. So should I keep it until the wheels fall off or is it time to part ways and start fresh? So I love her. It’s specific, but I also feel like we could answer kind of the general question as well of like, when do you know a piece of furniture or decor is done for you?
Elsie: Yeah. Okay. So first of all, if you feel guilty getting rid of things in general, that’s like, first one, then sounds like she might be one of those people. Sometimes you’ve had something for so long, that it gains this unusual amount of importance, just because you’ve had it in your life for so long that it just feels wrong to replace it or change away from it. So I would definitely vote to change and replace it. Okay, I wrote on Craigslist free yourself, free yourself. You can try Craigslist free, I think is the best thing because someone’s really taking it or donating is a little more risky, because it still might get thrown away but it’s still better than throwing it away yourself.
Emma: Yeah, still gives them a chance to find a new home.
Elsie: I mean, I think that changing things up is really good for a space. I think it’s really good for developing your personal style. If you’ve had it for that long, you probably feel like you can’t imagine your life without it. I think it’s kind of cool to prove to yourself that the rug doesn’t define your style. It’s not important. Unless it is important to you but it sounds like it’s not if you’re thinking about it.
Emma: Sounds like it is an important rug to her but she is definitely considering getting rid of it. That’s what it sounds like to me.
Elsie: You should definitely get another long-lasting rug.
Emma: Yeah, I think the fact that she mentions that it’s both stained and fragile makes me say I feel like you’re already at the place where maybe the wheels have fallen off for you. Maybe though, you need to have a moment for the rug.
Elsie: Like Marie Kondo.
Emma: Yeah, you thank it for its service, almost like in a way a little, let’s say the rug is going off retirement, he or she has done their service, and now they’re retiring. So you need to have a little retirement party for the rug in your own mind and your own heart, you don’t have to actually throw a party. Also, you could, it’s really up to you. Maybe have a little bit of a moment. A lot of times I have this, like, oh, it’s just a rug. It’s just decore, this isn’t a big deal. It’s also okay for things to just be an object or just a core.
Elsie: I love answering people’s decor questions. So send us your questions anytime at email@example.com. You can also send us segment ideas. You can send whole topic ideas really anything you want. We love it when people send pictures and like, I don’t know, we all have the same inside jokes. We’re real friends.
Emma: We are absolutely yeah. All right. Well, thanks so much for listening. If you enjoy the show, please share it with a friend. We love hearing from you if you do and hearing who you listen to the podcast with like we loved hearing from Emily who wrote, my mom and I are long distance ABM podcast fans. I live in South Carolina and she lives in Arizona. We listen on our own each week and then frequently find ourselves chatting about you two during our phone call catch-ups. Emily also says PS hi, mom in case this is read on a future episode.
Elsie: That’s cute.
Emma: Hi, Emily. Hi, Emily’s mom. All right. Thanks for listening.
Elsie: Have a good week.