May 31, 2019

Was reminded of this incredibly cool (and sexy) 2008 photoshoot with Carrie & Big (Sarah Jessica Parker & Christopher Noth) this week. His stance! Her foot coming out of the shoe! The 1930s Hays code almost-kiss! Swoon. Anyway, I had a pretty good week save a cough that won’t leave. Hoping for a weekend of romance in every definition of the word — I’m going strawberry picking tomorrow.

  1. Dividend of the Social Opt Out,” Jennifer Moxley. “How nice not to hope that something will happen, / but to lie on the couch with a book, hoping that / nothing will. To hear the wood creak and to think. / It is lovely to stay without wanting to leave.” This poem sets the tone for my weekend!
  2. How brands get their names, explained by a professional namer, Vox. Ok the use of language in branding is fascinating to me. If I think too much about advertising I feel gross, but I like this interview with someone with jobs called “Director of Naming” and “Vice President of Verbal Strategy.” It’s one of many examples of where your English or language degree could take you. I thought this was interesting: “Masculine and feminine used to be something that would appear on a clients’ creative brief in early days of my career and it was easy to understand what that meant. Feminine was soft and liquidy sounds, like “ooh” and “aah” or lots of vowels. Masculine sounds were always going to be hard stops, rougher edges, or shorter. And now, they’re just not useful. Culturally, we’re expanding a lot more in what our definition of femininity is and what masculinity is, so they’re just not as useful as they used to be.” She also talks about how the sound (and pronounceability) of a brand name is important again, as in the days of radio advertising, because of podcasts and voice activated technology.
  3. Against Advice, The Point Magazine. The author picks apart the relative uselessness of advice we receive from successful people in a Q&A or brief contact context. She makes a distinction between advice, instructions, and coaching, where instructions are specific steps to a certain goal and coaching is a more ongoing and relational type of guidance. “Instructions make you better at doing what you (independently) valued, whereas coaching makes you better at valuing—it cues you in to what’s important, at an intellectual or physical or emotional level. Coaching takes many forms—teaching philosophy is coaching, and I see my therapist as a coach of sorts—but one thing it always requires is the kind of time-investment that generates a shared educational history. Coaching is personal.” And when we’re looking for advice, we want the practicality of instructions with the meaningfulness of coaching, but advice cannot reasonably provide that in such short contact. We long for mentors and other sources of wisdom to speak into our lives, but that kind of human connection feels rare. It makes us search for that meaning in self-help books and advice threads on Twitter. As a lover of and someone who has benefited from advice columns, this reflection is food for thought.
  4. From Bars to Basements, The Frederick News-Post. A local story on the Friday5! This story is thoroughly researched about something my friends have been talking about for a while — how difficult it is to develop live music venues in Frederick. The article explains some of the intricacies of residential zoning restrictions and liquor laws that make a music venue difficult. Some of the cited objections to local music read as lame excuses to me. Cafe Nola’s manager saying “musicians have to learn to play a room” because “some people” just want to enjoy a cocktail is kind of rich, for example. Some people are there to see the band and enjoy a cocktail. Which patrons (and their money) matter to you? And the police objecting that music events cause “early morning calls for drunk and disorderly conduct, DUIs, and, occasionally, violence,” does not ring true to my observations downtown. I’m not seeing DIY musicians and their show attendees causing early morning fights; I’m seeing out-of-towners and wedding after-parties at the Shuckin’ Shack. Frederick wants to be known for being cool and creative. In my opinion, a lot of downtown residents want exposed brick with a suburban gloss, and they’re allergic to any discomfort or difference. You can’t call yourself an artsy city, move in next door to a venue, and then call the cops “frequently” to complain about the noise. These restrictions are driving local talent elsewhere, to Baltimore and other more receptive cities. Investing in your local area’s arts is worthwhile, but it can’t just be the extremely expensive and polished arts of the Weinberg and Festival of the Arts. The poor, the strange, and the independent arts move the needle.
  5. Audiobooks: The Past, Present, and Future of Another Way to Read, Literary Hub. This author, who is vision-impaired, talks about his experience with audiobooks over time. The debate, or what I prefer to call bullying, over whether reading an audiobook “counts” should really be over. For one thing, it’s unnecessarily ableist and snobby. For another, audiobooks are welcoming an entirely new readership, one that can read a book almost anywhere and anytime. We should be celebrating that! The author says it best at the end of this essay: “Nowhere in this piece have I used the word listening or consuming to describe what we do with audiobooks. Some will quibble with this—I have perused the comments sections of essays I’ve written about reading with my ears. To those who are protective of the verb to read, I ask what is gained by insisting on the distinction? If a quarterback can read a defense and a computer can read a file, it doesn’t seem like a leap to call 10 or 20 hours of processing words that happen to enter our brains through the ears reading. To put it another way, responding to the question of whether audiobooks count as reading, author and book critic for Slate Laura Miller replied via email, “What does ‘count’ mean? Who is counting? We’re not in school and completing assignments anymore. If the point of reading is to enjoy it and you’re enjoying it, why would anything be lacking?” For millennia, until Johannes Gutenberg’s marvelous invention, most stories were shared orally. No one I’ve spoken to believes print will ever be replaced, but a new, old-fashioned method is allowing written words to reach larger audiences.”


Bonus features:

May 24, 2019


Corita Kent’s That They May Have Life, 1964

Hi! It’s been a week of sweating (Maryland pls), drawing, playing with pets, and reading reading reading. I’m also fighting a cold which feels rudely unseasonable, but it has forced me to slow down, drink lots of water, and breathe through my mouth at night, to my husband’s delight I’m sure.

  1. Design plagiarism: Myth or reality? “My advice to students and young designers: Inspiration is all around you. Yes, looking at and even recreating the work of others can be invaluable. Study the details, add the methods to your personal tool box. But most importantly, ask yourself how and why the visuals worked to communicate a concept or story. Think about how you might apply the ideas in a different way or put your own stamp on it. When it’s time to design something real, put the examples away and clear your mind.” I’ve been thinking a lot about plagiarism (or copying, appropriation, whatever you might call it) in graphic design. I see a lot of digital illustrators with the same style: matte, dusty-pink, sans serif, abstracted anatomy…And maybe that’s what their clients are looking for since that’s such a major trend in web articles and social media. But as I’m learning to work in this medium, and because I’m a librarian, I’m naturally interested in the ethics of creating art and using inspiration. This piece, “Following Trends: Homage vs. Design Plagiarism,” had some great concrete advice for avoiding plagiarism and/or becoming a copier: Don’t use just one source, make improvements on your source material, and give credit. The line between inspiration and plagiarism does exist in visual media, but I think it can be confusing sometimes.
  2. 20 Hand Gestures You Should Be Using, Science of People. Love the visual aids in this article, especially the one for ~ jazz hands. ~ Also, I had never thought about #19 before: “When you flash your palm at someone, you want them to pause or stop. You can do this while anyone is speaking and they almost instantly will be quiet. (Use in emergencies only!) I was with a CEO once, and he had the habit of doing it to his employees when he was done listening. It was horribly offensive. Alternative: You also can do this when asking a question–it’s a universal attention-grabber.” Reading about hand gestures makes me feel like a Martian doing research on how to pass among Earthlings.
  3. Corita Kent Was A Pop-Art Pioneer—And A Catholic Nun, Bust. This is the artist from this week’s blog image, and I think her art is so cool. She makes the ordinary extraordinary. “In 1962, Kent attended an exhibition of Campbell’s Soup Cans by the then-unknown Andy Warhol. After seeing the paintings, she began incorporating the language of advertising and pop lyrics into her work. One month after seeing the Warhol exhibit, she began creating pieces that combined the familiar Wonderbread packaging with images of the Host, the circular wafers used during the Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist. “By taking bread out of its ordinary form, and presenting it as his body, He [Jesus] originated pop art,” she explained in a 1966 lecture, as quoted in Corita Kent and the Language of Pop, edited by Susan Dackerman. Kent saw the hand of God in the vernacular language of everyday life. She took the Exxon catchphrase, “Put a tiger in your tank,” and used it as a channel to the higher spirit. “‘Put a tiger in your tank,’ I really think of as saying [that] the spirit , whatever the spirit means to us, is inside of us,” Kent said in the oral history.”
  4. How the News Took Over Reality, the Guardian. This (very long) article talks about “the much newer feeling of actively participating in [the news], thanks to the interactivity of social media. If you are, say, angry about Brexit, it is possible to be angry about Brexit almost all of the time: to encounter new and enraging facts about Brexit, and opportunities to vent about Brexit, in ways that would have been unthinkable as recently as the mid-2000s. If you had fulminated then to your family and colleagues as even respected peers, novelists and philosophers now routinely fulminate on Twitter, you’d have alienated everyone you knew.” And although sharing and commenting feels like it might have some effect on the outcome of the story, we aren’t feeling particularly empowered by the urge. The article calls it “a low-grade sense of panic and loss of control,” and that is really how it feels sometimes. I’ll read about current events and feel stress reactions piling up in my body until the only thing to do is shut everything off and breathe deeply (or jiggle my leg until my anxiety drills a hole in the floor). He suggests that we “dedicate attention to nurturing domains in which politics cannot intrude. From this perspective, to decline to talk about Brexit or Trump at the pub or the watercooler isn’t a matter of burying your head in the sand, but of proactively protecting some parts of life from becoming overwhelmed by current affairs.” Although my eyes glazed over while the author traced the history of the news, I thought these pieces were interesting food for thought.
  5. What Happens to Your Brain When You Eat Junk Food. CW: food/calorie talk. There are so many funky phrases in this article, which quotes a food scientist named Steven Witherly: “Foods with dynamic contrast have “an edible shell that goes crunch followed by something soft or creamy and full of taste-active compounds. This rule applies to a variety of our favorite food structures — the caramelized top of a creme brulee, a slice of pizza, or an Oreo cookie — the brain finds crunching through something like this very novel and thrilling.” It gives me some insight as to why Utz Sour Cream & Onion chips get me on such a primal level. I wanted to mostly share the quoted Steven Witherly parts of this article with you all. The author of the article, who is specifically interesting in researching habits, goes on to talk about how to banish junk food and reprogram your diet. I’m not here to moralize on good and bad foods, and junk food is fine in my opinion — but the food science here is fascinating. My monkey brain loves the crunch!

Bonus features:

May 17, 2019

An how!

Julia Heller’s Boy Friends Book, June 1932

An how! David’s sister is in town for his birthday, and we spent the first night she was here looking at bunch of cool library stuff!

One of the best things we found was from the “North American Women’s Letters and Diaries” collection called the Julia Heller Boy Friends Book. This school girl from Chambersburg PA catalogued all the boys she kissed or dated (or “went around with”), from about 1930-1935. She notes which ones are taller than her, which ones have bicycles, and which ones she met at a summer camp somewhere called Social Island. She also grouped them according to “Boys I liked better than others” and “Boys I liked best of all.”

Since most of us don’t have access to the book, here’s a blog post that has some info about it. I also wanted to share a couple amazing excerpts:

  1. “Dresses cute & man can he laugh cute he has the sweetest laugh could I kiss him an how any time at all baby I am here for you! Just you! He has an adorable mother that’s the way he gets his cuteness.” (That’s what the handwriting in today’s blog image says.)
  2. “Boy, it took me three whole years to get him but when I got him I got him…Oh he is my sweet potato. Plus a dear sweet so –and so. Gee, just a handsome brute from Greenvillage. Oh my apple dumplin. He really is cuter than any other boy I ever liked or ever wish to like…Can he neck a girl oh my…He is made out of sweet sugar & still more sugar. He is absolutely too divine & gorgeous for words. And when he dresses in that brown suit & brown tie oh do we go to town. An how!” (This is the man she ultimately marries!)

I had a crush diary in middle school and I’m glad my girl Julia did too. Research is amazing, archives are wonderful, and it sucks that so much stuff is behind a paywall (but it’s awesome to have a sister-in-law with the ACCESS). Here’s some other stuff I read this week:

  1. Don’t Let People Enjoy Things, Kate Wagner for the Baffler. “First, this infantile obsession with having an “experience” with a piece of entertainment—centered, as it is, around keeping the brain a blank slate free of spoilers, expectations, and criticism—is unrealistic in that these media franchises are constantly being discussed in every medium imaginable. It’s also strange to believe that such information could ruin a specific piece of media…Simple escapism and entertainment value is not the aim of art, though it might well be the goal of enormous media conglomerates.” The influence that fandom has on the discourse around a piece of media is so weird; think of petitions trying to get cancelled shows back on the air, or the rabid misogyny toward a certain female Skywalker… The very idea of a fandom (fan + kingdom) implies citizenship and a blind allegiance that does not always respond well to criticism. But critics don’t want to “ruin” a show for the people who care about it; the critic probably cares too. For example, fantasy as a genre means a lot to me. I won’t get into my bugaboos about Game of Thrones, but it’s tough that there’s a huge cultural moment happening around “my genre” that I can have no entry to because my objections overrule the enjoyment I’d find in this show. To pile “If you complain about this show we all like, then you’re a wet blanket and another b-word” on top of that, it’s just frustrating. The best art is made better by the tempering force of critique.
  2. Millions are using this Japanese-inspired technique to radically improve their presentations, CNBC. Basically the concept for an engaging presentation with this PechaKucha method is 20 slides and only 20 seconds on each slide. It’s meant to pare down “excess and lead to shorter, more creative and highly polished presentations.” I have been doing more public speaking this year and this is seriously challenging, but maybe also inspiring. I might revisit an old presentation to try out this method with info I’m familiar with. Here’s the part I think I will have the hardest time doing: “Keep text to a minimum and give every image or graphic a discernible “holy mackerel” point that’s easy to digest.” Every image has to have a point? But what about memes and stupid gifs?? Well, I do want to give memorable presentations and respect my audience’s time. What’s your favorite public speaking tip?
  3. The Grind Won’t Save Us, But Student Debt Forgiveness Might, Elle. “Everywhere you look, the message is clear: If you can’t pay off your debt, you’re just not grinding hard enough.” This article has a lot of short lines that resonated with me. Here’s another about when people compliment you for your 3-job hustle: “But when you’re working just to keep your head above water, a compliment about work ethic is easy to brush off because what the hell else are you supposed to do? Die?” The author’s personal experience is compelling support for a radical debt-forgiveness measure, in my opinion. She acknowledges that the debt relief plan sounds like a handout, but that there is common sense in “wiping the slate clean and enacting regulation to prevent [the student debt crisis] from happening again.” Student debt relief and other areas of wealth inequality are a super personal political priority to me!
  4. Why Rachel Held Evans Meant So Much To So Many, Buzzfeed News. I met her once at a conference where she spoke. It was part of her book tour for The Year of Biblical Womanhood which was a book that at the time I didn’t think I’d like — it sounded too gamely humorous, one of those “challenge” books. But she was such a captivating speaker. This tiny conference was intimate, so I could just walk right up to her among other creative women and say, “My family are Mennonites,” and she said, “The women I met in Mennonite communities taught me a lot. I love the way they think globally and love peace.” And she looked into my face. A few years later, after graduating and not really feeling like I could go to church for a while, I read Searching for Sunday and wept with recognition of myself in her questions. A quote in this article sums up how I feel about her legacy: “Rachel, you didn’t just *try* to include us—you did it beautifully. You embraced us—PoC, women, LGBTQ people. You elevated us—doubters and seekers. You amplified us. You defended us. You advocated for us. You listened to us. You loved us. My heart is broken.” I am so grateful to her, glad to think she is in heaven, but also frustrated and sad because I don’t think she was done writing. I think she had more stories to tell and more insights to share and it just plain sucks that she is gone.
  5. Just Give it 7 Seconds, Jezebel. “Do not, under any circumstances, think about any interaction you’ve had with another human being for longer than seven seconds. So you got weird at your office Christmas party. Give it a full seven seconds, and release it. Yeah, you did make a weird noise with your mouth when you were alone with someone in the kitchen, and? Laugh about it to yourself for exactly seven seconds and then never think about it again. Anything longer is too long.” This is good advice and also hilariously put: “You just put your little head down and barrel through life like the maddening idiot you are! You simply do not have time to consider anything you’ve ever said longer than seven seconds.” I love this article start to finish!

Bonus feature:

May 10, 2019

If I’ve had a minute alone with you and/or control of the TV remote in the past week or two, I’ve probably subjected you to the Gourmet Makes series and/or its producer, Bon Appetit. This charming Youtube series has a chef work out how to create gourmet versions of snack foods (Twinkies, Oreos, Cheez-Itz) in a test kitchen. She experiments, at first does not succeed but tries and tries again, and I find them so relaxing and satisfying to watch. Bon Appetit’s Youtube channel in general has a lot of cool content, but these are my favorites. The older I get the less I want to watch hot people make each other sad and the more I want to watch nice people make each other food. Anyway, on to the reads:

  1. The Best Swimsuits: Hits and misses, Wardrobe Oxygen. CW: specific body size measurements. So this blog post is actually a helpful review of different bathing suits the author tried (“This suit was a workout to get on.” that’s a mood). I really liked her thoughts, particularly in this part [emphasis mine]: “I have been lifting weights for a little over a year but am still very soft and round.  With age, breastfeeding, and fluctuating weight I have lost a lot of buoyancy of my breasts; I also have extra skin at my stomach. I have always carried my weight in my tummy and rear. I think this body is pretty great – it’s strong, it’s healthy, and thanks to a new fitness routine it looks better now than it did five years ago. However, as a 44-year-old mom with a defined personal style aesthetic I am not one to hang out at the beach in a string bikini.  That being said, I like showing a bit of skin, I think it balances my frame nicely and I find that suits with wider straps, lower legholes, and skirts make me look larger and shorter. Swimsuits are a very personal decision; I respect whatever suit you put on or if you choose not to wear them at all.  I believe all bodies are swimsuit bodies, all ages, all abilities, all sizes, all shapes. I’ve learned that no one is analyzing me at the pool or the beach, I am not that important so I am going to wear a suit that makes me feel confident, comfortable, strong, and a little bit sexy.” Love it! Some pretty cute suits here too.
  2. What It Takes to Put Your Phone Away, New Yorker. This author reviews two books in this piece, Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, and Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing, both of which are very my cup of tea. Odell “believes that, by constantly disclosing our needs and desires to tech companies that sift through our selfhood in search of profit opportunities, we are neglecting, even losing, our mysterious, murky depths—the parts of us that don’t serve an ulterior purpose but exist merely to exist. The “best, most alive parts” of ourselves are being “paved over by a ruthless logic of use.” The author of this piece does mention that so many people, even though they earn their livelihood offline, still feel an online presence is necessary to their career, and that many people can’t afford to step away. I thought that was a helpful perspective, myself a person who would like to chuck her phone out the window. This was also a really interesting thought: “It occurred to me that two of the most straightforwardly beloved digital technologies—podcasts and group texts—push against the attention economy’s worst characteristics. Podcasts often demand sustained listening, across hours and weeks, to a few human voices. Group texts are effectively the last noncommercialized social spaces on many millennials’ phones.” I listen to podcasts; someone add me to your group text!
  3. Run Meetings That Are Fair to Introverts, Women, and Remote Workers, Harvard Business Review. This is really interesting! I’m pretty happy with how my new job handles meetings — they’re pretty no-nonsense, stick to the agenda, and save discussion for the end. Usually come in under 30 minutes, which is a miracle in my experience. But I did like this article’s recommendations for introverts: “Before: Share the purpose of the meeting, provide any relevant data ahead of time, and list the specific discussion questions you plan to cover. During: Proactively give introverted thinkers the floor with questions like, “Janet, from the discussion so far, what really stands out for you?” or “Akshay, what do you think we should be considering that we haven’t yet covered?” After: Circulate a meeting summary and proactively solicit ideas that might’ve come to mind after the meeting. You can close your email with something like, “Anyone have a new insight about this situation since we met? If so, I’d love to hear it.” Also the “no talking over each other” rule is divine.
  4. Green Voices: Our river, our stewardship, Frederick News-Post. The devastating urgency of the climate crisis has me feeling helpless, and I’ve been looking for immediate issues I can invest in or participate in locally. I might be a little late to the party on preserving the Monocacy River, but I’m really interested in it! It seems like an issue most people can get behind. This 2016 article lays out updates to the plan to protect the Monocacy, especially the creation of forest buffers on the river banks. Forest buffers have a lot of benefits: “The vegetated buffer slows down runoff and allows more of it to settle into the ground to be cleaned and more to reach groundwater. This slowing process also reduces storm water flooding and damages during flooding events…The buffer area also provides vital habitat for wildlife and birds. It also protects the scenic landscape of the Monocacy River — a defining element in Frederick that needs sound management, wise stewardship, and protection.” Think about the flooding from last summer! The Frederick non-profit organization Stream-Link plants trees along streams and also offers opportunities to volunteer. Even better, this is an issue that I can connect to emotionally, since Persey and I have a great love for the waterways of Frederick. I want to sign up for Stream-Link’s next tree planting day!
  5. How to love your job and avoid burnout, Quartz. A historical look at the evolution of work as a virtue and the process of making meaning. “When it comes to work, we’re usually not searching for a job that makes us wildly happy all day, every day; we know that’s not realistic. What we’re seeking is work that makes sense in the context of who we believe we are. And because we have to give things up in order to do it—leisure time, rest, seeing our families—the trade-off has to feel worth it.” Essentially the point is that we need to make meaning in our work. So the difference between a bearable and an unbearable job is “whether we experience ourselves as performing a willing sacrifice, or simply as suffering.” Out of all 5 things I’m sharing with you today, I think this one has the most juice and I recommend you read it.

Bonus features:

  • Video: Three professional Japanese footballers play against 100 children.
  • Audio: Child yells ‘wow’ at end of moving Mozart concert in Symphony Hall (and the orchestra wants to find the kid: “It was one of the most wonderful moments I’ve experienced in the concert hall,” Snead wrote. “If you happen to be the parent of this child and are willing to let me know, please email me at presidentceo @handelandhaydn. org.”)

May 3, 2019

Hello I am tired but here are 5 things I have found for you. I have read many stupid things this week to find 5 I feel good about. This post was going to be all about privacy on the internet, corporations and our government selling our data to each other, and how we can be vigilant in protecting our information but there are ever-evolving ways that it is being violated. We can whack one mole and two more pop up! But it turns out that most people I ranted about this to in the last week found this depressing, and so here we are with a few of my favorite and safe things: sled dogs, letters, language, clothes, and FEELINGS. Have a great weekend!

  1. Blair Braverman on the Iditarod, Fear, and Resilience, Outside. “It doesn’t get easier,” she wrote. “You get stronger.” This struck me as the most profound thing I’d ever seen. Because I’d seen the dogs get stronger, day after day. Ever since we crossed the Alaska Range, they’d started getting a little less tired after each long run, a little more confident, a little bouncier. They were efficient. They developed incredible appetites, with each dog devouring up to three pounds of meat per meal. They rested when they could, napping at river crossings while I waded into the frigid water in search of the best place to ford, then got up quickly when it was time to go. They bonded as a team, trusting each other’s senses, sleeping in cozy piles with their heads on each other’s necks. I could see them growing, adapting, with each mile. But it hadn’t occurred to me that something similar might be happening to me—something I hadn’t noticed, because I’d been busy watching the dogs. I was learning to break the impossible into tiny pieces. I was learning the difference between limits that can and can’t be pushed. I kept waiting for the trail to get easier, but maybe it wasn’t going to. Maybe all you could do was keep moving.” I know I’ve shared Blair Braverman stuff before, but this is her essay on the experience of running the Iditarod for the first time. I just love it so much: the adventure, the training and endurance, the bond between dogs and human, the historic race. My admiration for Braverman makes me understand why people name athletes among their heroes.
  2. Re: re: re: re:, The California Sunday Magazine. These collected letters (and other types of correspondence) are so beautiful. It’s all true correspondence, but I felt like I was reading short stories, and getting glimpses into these people’s’ lives and relationships is moving. I especially like the collaborative sketchbooks between father and daughter (close to the bottom of the article).
  3. Why Do Adults Talk Like Children? The Atlantic. “We have kidspeak to thank for introducing these new layers of playfulness and subtlety into our repertoire. English today is arguably more fertile than it’s been since Shakespeare’s time, and those itchy about the novelty of kidspeak might consider that not so long ago pedants were insisting the proper person should say “bal-coh-nee” for balcony, stamp out “nonwords” such as standpoint, and use obnoxious to mean “ripe for injury.” Their arguments failed miserably when presented to everyday speakers, who tend to have good intuition about how language should work. Amid today’s dreadful news cycles, the emergence of kidspeak is something to celebrate. This new slang is a totally natural and endlessly witty collective advancement of the American idiom, wielded selectively and with a fundamental irony by people fully in command of the standard language forms. It makes for more interesting, nuanced talk.” I love the evolution of our ridiculously messy English language!
  4. 7 Things Building A Plus Size Capsule Wardrobe Taught Me, Bustle. I liked this thought about overcoming the feeling like you don’t want to invest in your body now, as it is: “I kept holding myself back, thinking, “What if I lose weight? Then this gorgeous dress won’t even matter.” I was too busy imagining a perfect, thinner future for myself to take care of the body I have now. When I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a pricey, knee-high pair of leather boots last fall, I was shocked at how strongly it affected my feelings about my body for the better. Treasuring myself, treating my body as if it is inherently worthy of the best, helped heal a part of me that had been neglected for a long time.”
  5. No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work, Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy. This book makes a convincing argument that we should take emotion into account in the workplace. I think most workplaces would say they agree with that premise, but in practice their employees feel like there is either an excess of extreme emotion and aggression, or a culture of suppressing your feelings. The authors examine emotion at work from a few different angles (showing emotion as a leader, the dynamics of teamwork, when you should and shouldn’t go with your gut), but one of the concept that I appreciated was the idea of a “psychologically safe” workplace. They actually have an assessment you can take on their website to measure your workplace’s psychological safety — ie, do you feel like you can take risks, ask for help, and make mistakes without your teammates holding it against you. I also liked this part about the “thinking traps” we can fall into when we ruminate on a negative event. The three Ps they defined were: Personalization (“This is all my fault”), Pervasiveness (“This is going to ruin everything”), and Permanence (“I am going to feel like this forever”). Also, this is where this week’s blog image comes from! I really enjoyed the charming, relatable graphics in this book.