May 25, 2018

I spent last weekend celebrating David and my husband’s family in general. What a sweet, hilarious, generous people. I also learned that I get to present at a local library conference this summer, which is very exciting and also a new frontier of challenge for me. But one of my goals this year has been to get better at public speaking, and the only way to do that is to keep stumbling into situations that require I speak publicly. I might share some of my research (about mindfulness, customer service, and librarianship) here in the upcoming weeks!

  1. A Photographer’s Love Letter to City Libraries. I don’t know if I believe libraries are sacred spaces, but if any are, it would be major-city public libraries! These are some lovely photos of some seriously awe-inspiring libraries. They make me want to visit new libraries this year!
  2. Who Succeeds in Higher Education? Quick Ask Zoe. Been thinking about this transcript of a talk I read a few weeks ago. At our library, we’re talking a lot about our mission and vision, “why we’re here,” and what our core values are. Student success comes up a lot, and this talk has been a valuable reality check for me; students may need a librarian to be successful, but they need secure housing and access to food and mental health care first. This talk courageously explores what it could look like if we went where students need us (offering or supporting family study rooms, campus food banks, textbook and technology loans).
  3. The New York Public Library Lets You Downloand 180,000 Images in High-Res:
    Historic Photographs, Maps, Letters & More
    . This is so exciting! Digital collections from major libraries allow you to put the exploration back into your experience of libraries – I highly recommend browsing the NYPL Digital Collections website and see what kinds of treasures (as the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden calls them) you find! (The Walt Whitman artifacts are thrilling to me)

  4. The Trashy, Expensive, Contradictory Reputation of Leopard Print
    . This is a fascinating history of a print with complicated connotations. “I think we see fashion [as] consumption, but it’s a way to choose second skin. We didn’t choose the skin we are born in, but we can choose the skin we are showing.”
  5. And two pasta stories: Pasta-Making for Peace of Mind. “On the blog, Brown shared a photo of her plate scraped clean after sampling her sauce, writing, “I would fall in love with whoever made me this pasta. I fell in love with myself. I love me.” That’s lovely. I learned how to make soft pretzels this week, and the ritual (kneading, baking-soda baths, rolling dough into long tubes, melting butter, sprinkling sea salt) was so engaging and relaxing.

    And this quick read actually motivates me to flip the ratio and add more veggies to my pasta: Your Pasta Can Handle More Vegetables.


May 18, 2018

I wanted to use a summery photo because it’s been so dreary in our corner of Maryland this week. If you haven’t seen them already, want to see photos & stories of Frederick from the last few days of heavy rain and flooding? Check here and here. I never knew that Baker Park was designed to accommodate extra water and protect downtown Frederick!

  1. 40 Healthy Meal Prep Recipes, Bon Appetit. I like Bon Appetit recipes, despite their often-judge-y writing style. Anyway, some of these look pretty good, especially the granolas!

  2. The Two-Column Guilt Free (Yet Motivating) To-Do List. I’ve always been a pretty organized person, due to my constant fear of forgetting something (or not doing that ambiguous “enough” that keeps me up at night), but I’m always looking for more ways to plan and manage my time. I like that this method hacks into that reward impulse in my brain – do something from the easy list, do something from the hard list. It means you can “rack up numerous wins” all day.

  3.  Making Nora Ephron’s Mashed Potatoes for One. This makes me want to make mashed potatoes (my secret is to cut the potatoes up super small and boil them…they basically mash themselves). But it also makes me want to re-read Nora Ephron’s collected works, which is such a great little enormous tome.

  4. Love Letters as Writing Samples, the Candidate Who Spoke Pirate, and Other Tales of Amazing Resumes. These wild resume anecdotes made me laugh last Friday!

  5. Lilac: The Color of Half-Mourning, Doomed Hotels, and Fashionable Feelings. I love reading about colors and could read about them all day. “
    It’s a color associated with spirituality, creativity, and royalty,
    sure, but purple (and bright purple especially) is also the color of
    kookiness and wacky aunts.”

Stay safe and dry this weekend!


May 11, 2018

The other day I was having a rough time at work, so I took a walk and filled my vision with growing things. There are flowers that are brighter than neon highlighters out there, and I needed to take a minute and remember that!

  1. Millennials and the New Magnetism of Mid-Size Cities
    .This is an interesting look at the millennials who are moving from major cities back to their home, smaller cities, where there’s more chance for home ownership, jobs, and a sense of community. I would say that after a really long time feeling paralyzed and disenfranchised, I’m slowly seeing people my age able to improve their lives – maybe not the way previous generations might, or not in the same order, but the best we can with what we have.

  2. Work-Life Boundaries, Corporette. Giving this some thought this week. I really like that there’s advice for not taking work home, but also not taking the home into work too, and how rituals in between can help you mentally separate the two. For me, that’s walking Persey around our neighborhood and parks. What about you? How do you separate work and the rest of your life? Comment here!

  3. Instagram is building a team to stop people from feeling bad on Instagram, Quartzy. I kind of want to laugh except this is so sad and so prevalent. And while I think it’s great for the app creators to try to address this issue, healthy change will be most effective coming from the individual users. I’m being more intentional about how much I hang out on Facebook/Instagram, and I can already feel a difference in my sense of esteem. But a lot of damage has been done…

    “Specifically, findings from the study reported that women in their late teens and early 20s found that the app negatively impacted body image, while women in their mid-20s expressed feelings of inadequacy about their work and lifestyle.”

    and later: “The platform has so far avoided the specific recommendations from the
    original RSHP report, like the use of a “pop-up warning” triggered when
    a user reaches a level of social media usage “deemed potentially
    harmful.” RSHP also urged social media sites to mark digitally
    manipulated photos of people with “a small icon or watermark,” after
    establishing the danger to young people (especially young women)
    barraged by heavily airbrushed images passed off as genuine.Instagram has not yet imposed any of the RSHP measures, and it’s not clear whether they will.”

  4. We Need to Talk About Mental Health at Work, Glamour. “A full 28 percent of respondents said their mental health struggles had affected their ability to perform their role.”

    I thought this part was good too:
    “People don’t report often enough if their environment is causing them
    stress,” says Dr. Holland. It’s not uncommon for management to be
    unaware that something might be wrong until someone raises a flag—even
    if you feel like it should be obvious because you are, say, visibly
    falling behind on your work. “A lot of people work at 150 percent
    capacity. If that capacity drops, yes, it affects your work, but it
    isn’t necessarily noticed by others,” says Dr. Salcedo. “So it might
    still need to be brought to your boss’s or HR’s attention.”

  5. Put the Damn Phone Down and Do Something. This is an interview with the founder/CEO

    article about Pinterest and the thought process behind how the social media site works. He actually doesn’t call Pinterest a social media site (lol ok), but says instead that their mission is “to help people discover and do what they love. If you ask
    somebody who uses the platform regularly, what they’ll say is that they
    use it to plan their future. Big ideas like my vacation, my wedding,
    maybe my dream home. Small things, like my kid’s birthday party or
    meals.” He compares it more to Google, in that it’s a site meant for discovery – and emphasizes how it’s personal, and user-focused (rather than oriented around popularity and connection). After reading this interview, and compared to Instagram’s Wellbeing Team, I have a new respect for Pinterest.

Bonus feature:


May 4, 2018

I got to the beginning of this month and realized that I don’t have any set goals

last month’s big goal (buy a car) really preoccupied me, and now I’m not sure how I want to structure this month in terms of ongoing personal projects. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Spend time in nature everyday
  • Rebuild my savings account (ouch, buying a car…)
  • Get my heart rate up for 10 minutes a day
  • Cover and repaint a piece of furniture I’ve been putting off
  • Just…have more fun?

We’ve got a lot planned for the weekends in May, and I kind of like the idea of setting a goal to HAVE FUN.

  1. Orbiting Is the New Ghosting. ORBITING! What an annoying concept. But as I think about it, it must be totally new territory to try to write romantic comedies about the intricacies of modern dating. I wonder how you’d try to capture chemistry when everyone’s just hunched over smiling (or hyperventilating) into their phones though…
  2. ‘I Feel Pretty’ and the Rise of Beauty-Standard Denialism, NYT. “I suspect it’s also simply too painful to address head-on. The amount of brainpower I spend every day thinking about how I look is a monumental waste. The sheer accumulation of images of celebrity bodies in my browser history feels psychopathic. I like to think of myself as a pretty smart person, but the truth is that I can’t seem to think my way out of this. The only way I’ve found to banish momentarily that shadow of the idealized self is to pay for it to go away — with a Sephora shopping spree or a spin class.” This is a review for a movie I’m not very interested in seeing, but I really like this quote. Sometimes my anxiety about my appearance feels like a literal obstacle in my path to doing the things I actually want to do, and know that I’m capable of.
  3. This Woman Shared One Of The Wildest Birth Stories You’ve Ever Heard. What a story, and thank goodness for Youtube tutorials that come through in times of need. What a badass!
  4. Living In: When Harry Met Sally, Design Sponge. I really like Design Sponge, they’re doing some really inclusive and thoughtful writing about design lately. But I also love their “living in” series, where they pull inspiration from TV shows and movies with a defined aesthetic that you can bring into your own life.
  5. You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Women, Friendship, and the Power of Conversation, Deborah Tannen. I just started this book after devouring about a week’s worth of light and fun romances, and immediately realized I’d have to slow my pace down to absorb the familiar wisdom and findings from this book, which uses linguistics and interviews to explore a variety of female friendships. It’s really good so far!