October 26, 2018

This is my favorite costume I’ve ever done, from about 6 years ago. I’m the Tooth Fairy! Are you going to a Halloween party this weekend or next week? Are you giving out candy or taking your kids to a trunk or treat thing? You need a costume. Luckily I have put together a round-up of last minute costumes in case this has been a wild month and all you have at home is a permanent marker and a cardboard box in your closet!

  1. Pineapple – This is a really detailed tutorial on what is essentially a yellow shirt and a green headband. Gender neutral and cheerful!
  2. Super-Last Minute Scarecrow and the kids’ version –  I like the idea of using yarn over straw because of itchy. Honestly both of these tutorials are complicating something that can truly be so easy: overalls or a flannel shirt (or both), + a little face paint + big hat + awkward pose for pictures = perfect scarecrow.

  3. Mister Fred Rogers – An icon whose clothes you (or the local Goodwill) probably own!

  4. Where’s Waldo – Another absolute legend. Here he is in baby version, too. I appreciate a costume that lets you wear long-sleeves because it is CRISP outside.

  5. 80s Aerobic Instructor – If I didn’t already have a costume this year, I’d be all over this one. Again a good option if only for weather management. I’m not trying to freeze giving out Starbursts on my front porch. This costume is as simple as tights under a baggy sweatshirt and a one-piece bathing suit! You could also do a shiny tracksuit or some extremely chill sweatpants. This is the costume for someone who has outgrown tripping around someone’s messy apartment in platform heels, shivering and nibbling on stale pretzels because somehow NO ONE BROUGHT FOOD.

Happy week of Halloween!


October 19, 2018

There’s a hill at this park near my house that I’ve taken to marching up and down with Persey in the afternoons. I’m delighted to find that it’s crisp and even chilly out here, so I can indulge in long, rambling walks with my girl without worrying about either of us collapsing from heat exhaustion. Something about this incline, only about a quarter of a mile at a gentle but definite slope, has been fantastic for my mental health as well as my heart rate. And the reward of sitting in the sunwarmed grass, looking over the rest of the park with Persey panting at my side, has been so rich. What do dogs look at when they look over a great height?

  1. Get Acquainted with the Gorgeous Wedding Gowns of America’s Wealthiest Families, Harper’s Bazaar. Some gorgeous satin and dramatic veils at this link. As the article says, we may not have royals here in America, but we do have society brides.

  2. The One with the Embryo’s Friends Trivia Episode: A History. This is interesting: “The writers crafted the material, but the crowd decided whether or not
    it was good enough. If a joke didn’t yield the expected laugh, the
    writers huddled up, rewriting on the spot. The actors tried multiple
    line readings, listening to hear which one landed best. If the audience
    seemed uncomfortable or put off by a line, they fixed it and tried the
    take again — and again, if necessary. This meant shoot nights were a
    marathon, often going until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. (and sometimes required
    swapping out one sleepy audience for a fresh one halfway through).
    Sometimes producers would turn to the crowd between takes, asking for a
    show of hands to see how many got the joke.” I love this episode, because it reveals more little details about our friends than we knew before, plus the electricity of a high-stakes competition. This episode and the Thanksgiving one where they’re all yelling each other’s dirty laundry in mutual destruction (”The One Where Ross Got High”) are some of my favorite moments.

  3. Doctor Beth, who runs the Realms of Gold doll and stuffed animal hospital, has a wonderful blog that photographs her process recovering and restoring beloved and damaged stuffed animals to lovable glory. What I especially love about her process is that her goal is not always to make the loveys as good as new, but to stablize their seams, wash away matted fur, and get them back to their kids as soon as possible. Take a look at some of her posts, like this amazing Gorilla restoration or this sweet Winnie the Pooh, and you’ll see what I mean.

  4. I Think About the Princess Diaries Palate Cleanser A Lot, the Cut. The Cut has this series, “I Think About This A Lot,” which is sort of a personal essay about a really specific memory or moment that the author has keyed in on with loving attention. I am always a sucker for deviling the details, but these are also often funny. Check out the series, and especially this dessert from an iconic movie of my growing up.

  5. I Still Love My American Girl Dolls, Glamour. “Historical fiction is essential to young readers, especially girls; we
    have to be able to imagine ourselves and our foremothers as vital, even
    in a small way, to the story of our society. The American Girl books
    (and later, the Dear America series, another 10/10 rec) put young women
    at the center of history and said that virtues like bravery and honesty
    and friendship and hard work were the keys to happiness and fulfillment,
    rather than a sweet disposition and a pretty face and a nice singing
    voice, as Disney might have us believe.” [Emphasis mine] Same, girl.


October 12, 2018

Hello friends. I am spending this Friday 5 on 5 of my favorite painters of dogs! Aren’t dogs and cats just the best subjects for art?

Andrew Wyeth – His paintings of family dogs are peaceful and pastoral, even though I always feel there’s something a little cold in his color palettes. It’s the chill of early mornings in a farmhouse, the kind of morning that would make you snuggle up in the Master Bedroom. His son, Jamie Wyeth, is also a delightful painter of dogs, and here’s a cute one of his.

Molly Poole – This contemporary American painter is new to me and I just can’t get over how she captures Labrador body language and expression. Looking at her paintings I delight in the truth of my dog. Here are some of my favorites: Morgan’s View, Grass is Greener, Garden Bench.

Franz Marc – German Expressionist. This painting, called Dog Lying in the Snow, is of his dog, and check out Blue Dog too!

David Hockney – This artist’s paintings are so charming. His dachshunds, Stanley and Boodgie, are his muses, and he published a book called Dog Days that features so many good paintings of these pups. Here’s a photo of him with his dogs and all the paintings of them!

Carl Larsson – Swedish watercolor artist with an illustrative style that I love. I first discovered his paintings in an art-a-day tear-off calendar my best friend gave me. This lovely one is called Woman Lying on a Bench with Dog. Cozy Nook captures how peaceful it is to watch a dog sleep in the late afternoon.

I hope these dog paintings make you smile today! I’ll end with a poem by Jane Kenyon called After an Illness, Walking the Dog: “It’s so good to be uphill with him, / nicely winded, and looking down on the pond.”


October 5, 2018

The news has been really heavy lately, have you been taking care of yourself? I would give myself a C+ for self-care this week, except that self-compassion and not being too hard on yourself is part of self-care so…I did my best to keep my chin up, and snuggled with my dog anytime I wasn’t at work.

But tonight! Oh, tonight…I’m making slime. You know slime? I have a box full of supplies from Walmart waiting for me at home, plus about 4 recipes for different slime variations. Here’s one. I will report the results of this experiment next week, but I expect that the feeling of mixing goopy, slimy materials together will be the most satisfying thing I do this week.

  1. Your Notifications Are Lying To You, Lifehacker. Quieting most or all of your push notifications has been at the top of most peoples’ Reduce Screentime strategy, but it does seem like people are talking about notifications a lot this week. Lifehacker had a good take: “Social media companies make their money through advertising, stuffing ads and promoted posts into your feed. Their business model is, quite straightforwardly, that you’ll view their ads because they bundle them with things you care about.

    Don’t trust the app. You know it doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

    With notifications off, you may feel lonely. You may start opening apps to see if there are any new replies or likes. When you notice yourself doing this, stop! Ask yourself, what do I really want right now? Is it human contact? Hug your kids, or text an actual real life friend. Is it entertainment? Decide on a book or a movie before you pick up your phone. With practice and intention, you can fight the apps’ designs and use your phone for your own purposes.”

  2. Martha Stewart Living Helped Kick off a Domestic Explosion in the 90s, AV Club. “Her soothing voice filled almost every minute of Martha Stewart Living, unfolding at a meditation-inducing monotone as she walked you through making clarified butter or planting a rose bush.” Planning to watch the clips linked in this article this weekend, how soothing!

  3. The 54 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time, Vogue. Ok, the other day I read a different list of best rom-coms that had like 3 Adam Sandler movies on it and Knocked Up, and it made me realize how fast and loose we’re all playing with the word “best.” This list does start with a caveat, “Comedy is subjective. So is romance.” I’m not sure how I feel about some of the movies/TV shows on this list (Lost in Translation, hard pass, and WHY can’t we just escape Woody Allen already), and the article needed some sterner copy-editing, but it gets me thinking. How about you? What’s your favorite rom-com?

  4. Everything You Know About Obesity is Wrong, HuffPost. This is a good, important read. “Obesity, we are told, is a personal failing that strains our health care
    system, shrinks our GDP and saps our military strength. It is also an
    excuse to bully fat people in one sentence and then inform them in the
    next that you are doing it for their own good. That’s why the fear of
    becoming fat, or staying that way, drives Americans to spend more on
    dieting every year than we spend on video games or movies. Forty-five
    percent of adults say they’re preoccupied with their weight some or all of the time—an 11-point rise since 1990. Nearly half of 3- to 6- year old girls say they worry about being fat.” Some of the reported studies about doctor care in this are so horrifying. Read it when you have the emotional energy, and do something kind for yourself after, but know that this isn’t right and no one deserves this treatment.

  5. The Governess Game, Tessa Dare. Tessa Dare’s historical romances are spicy and actually funny. I highly recommend her books, even if you’re not into the romance-novel genre. Have some fun! Read about a devilishly handsome duke with a razor-sharp jaw and sparkling emerald eyes. They are plentiful, and only a plain, sometimes-clumsy and always-feisty woman can make them settle down. 🙂


5 Favorite Podcasts

This is a photo of me from college radio days and SHOUTOUT to that shiny shirt that transitioned seamlessly (seamlessly!) from childhood dress-up to my college wardrobe. I thought I’d write a bonus post this week to share a few of my favorite podcasts. They might not be for everyone, but they get me through the margin moments of my day that would otherwise (god forbid) leave me alone with my thoughts:

  1. Wonderful – Rachel and Griffin McElroy started this podcast to cover the Bachelorette and when that took a turn for the depressing, they pivoted to talk about things they find wonderful. They do a little research on a few wonderful things each week, and speak gently and fondly to each other while their baby naps. Consistently my favorite listen of the week.

  2. Keep It – This one is a podcast hosted by a culture critic, covering political and pop-cultural current events. I really like the chemistry between these hosts, and they have good interview guests (they interviewed Jenny Han, the author of To All the Boys I Loved Before the other week!).

  3. Hey Riddle Riddle – I love the concept of this podcast. The three hosts work to solve riddles and puzzles that range from easy-peasy to the difficult or bizarre. The podcast is still relatively new, but I am liking the groove they’re finding. A guest last week said something like, “This podcast is for people who think they enjoy riddles, but actually enjoy hating riddles.” Given how many riddles rely on elaborate puns, I think this holds up.
  4. By the Book – For two weeks, two friends try to live by a self-help book to the letter, and report their results. As they follow the advice in a book, the two weeks are usually a mix of chaos and personal growth, which I can appreciate. Even when I haven’t read the self-help book in question, I still enjoy listening to this one. It’s like, “We try out this trendy book so you don’t have to.”

  5. She’s All Fat – I already talked about this podcast a few weeks ago, but it’s still so good! They describe the podcast as being for “body positivity, radical self-love, and chill vibes only,” and that has held up as I made my way through their backlog. Even though they cover some depressing topics, such as fat discrimination, they also highlight good news and resources, and the podcast stays uplifting. Also Sophie’s favorite YA author is Tamora Pierce and SAME GIRL.