December 1, 2017

Is there a Christmas song that plays on repeat in your head all month? Mine is Sleigh Bells (it’ll-be-the-perfect-ending-to-the-PERFect-day, just over n over). I don’t mind though, and if you see me bopping my head at my desk, you can assume it’s sleigh bells jingle-in, ring-ting-tingle-in too.

  1. Lady Bird (2017), Greta Gerwig. Ok so I didn’t read this but I did see it this week and absolutely loved it (see above photo of my man at the theater). Such a life-affirming film, and one that upholds the dignity of women and girls and the complexity of their relationships, which is something I need a good bit more of in films.
  2. So Much Synth, Brenda Shaughnessy. An excellent book of poetry that also examines being young and a girl, and how vulnerable that is. She does something really clever involving mixtapes too, but I won’t spoil it.
  3. The Evolution of Miss Scarlet, the Hairpin. Kinda fun to look at different iterations of the femme fatale Clue character. Here’s a few more versions of the lady that always rolls first (although there’s a tacky joke at the end of that post that I do not endorse).
  4. Rebecca Traister on the Post-Weinstein Reckoning, the Cut. “Still, I’m half-frustrated by men who can’t differentiate between harmless flirtation and harassment, because I believe that most women can. The other half of me is glad that these guys are doing this accounting, reflecting on the instances in which they wielded power. Maybe some didn’t realize at the time that they were putting the objects of their attention at a disadvantage, but I must acknowledge that some, even my friends, surely did.” Content warning for discussion of sexual harassment. A helpful piece.
  5. The 8 Types of Friends You Need to Be Happy in Life. I LOVED thinking about the different types of friends, and which one I am (could your type vary depending on the relationship? I think so), and contemplating how to be a better friend. If you can only read one of this Friday’s 5, read this one!

October 20, 2017

It’s so chilly this week, finally! Almost time to start wearing gloves, mmm…

  1. IKEA introduces LURVIG, the company’s first collection of furniture for pets I love it all.
  2. Pinpointing Racial Discrimination by Government Officials, New York Times. “What’s more, when it’s harder to get your neighborhood librarian to respond to a simple email about opening hours, it’s not much of a leap to imagine other interactions — dealing with a computer help desk, the front office at a school or just the dry cleaner — that go less smoothly.” “Countless small frictions everyday” can really add up to one person receiving less help than another, and I want to be thoughtful of the role I play in that. Anyone who serves the public also has the ability (the responsibility) to deliver countless small harmonies everyday.
  3. Best American Poetry, 2017. A lot of really good ones in this anthology – some of the ones that stuck with me are Good Bones by Maggie Smith, Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czeslaw Milosz by Matthew Olzmann, and Weapons Discharge Report by Dan Albergotti.
  4. How to Read Aloud to Children, New York Times Magazine. This is a short lovely read.
  5. Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures, by Jennifer Romolini. Still working my way through this one, but I like her writing voice. It’s the kind of book that may have hit me harder right when I graduated, still looking for the next step forward, but I am enjoying her real talk about interviews, resumes, and what questions to ask yourself so you can make clearer the path toward your big, dangerous dreams.

Bonus features:

October 13, 2017

Spooky, Friday the 13th! I skipped last week because I was being a little bump on the beach. Now I’m back and sleepier than ever, so let’s look at what I read this time around!

  1. How Information Overload Robs Us of Our Creativity “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? / Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” What an amazing (T.S. Eliot) quote. Everything I’m reading lately is begging me to slow down. I’d like to take it to heart.
  2. How to Eat Spicy Food, the New York Times. LOVED this! Basically you need to teach your brain to anticipate spicy food as a good event, not a scary, painful one, and your taste buds will follow. But I loved how the article ended: “Relax and let the plant compounds expand your ability to experience food in a new way….trust that your mouth is not going to burn for the next year.”
  3. Alive Time vs. Dead Time. This is pretty encouraging to read if you’re underemployed – it doesn’t make being underemployed any less unfair and untenable, but it may inspire you in the meantime. “This is an opportunity for me. I am using it for my purposes. I will not let this be dead time for me.”
  4. Why I’ve Never Learned to Cook, Bon Appetit. This essay stuck with me. “She was being gentle. “You should feel comfortable making mistakes because that’s how you learn.” She was saying that I shouldn’t be afraid to start without knowing everything. There was no way to do this without screwing it up first. Look at her, all these years, and look at the burn marks on her arms. Look at the chickens she sometimes still has to throw away.”
  5. Caitlin Moran: How Books Made Me a Feminist. "No. They are not the right books to read, if you are a young girl. They are not the voices you should allow in your head. Until you are grown – until you can argue, with confidence, with a narrator; with a genius; with a world-view – girls, do not read books by old men. They live in another century, and you are the future. You, and all those brilliant, beautiful girls, writing in the past.“ I don’t know much about Caitlin Moran, but I agree with her here. I have recently elected to stop reading fantasy novels by male authors for the indefinite future – no matter how cool their ideas, they canNOT escape that male gaze. It creeps in, the unnecessary objectification. And in times like these, I need a break from the misogyny that is comes so naturally to everyone (even me). 

September 29, 2017

Happy birthday to me! I’m 26 now, and tomorrow I’m marrying my silly, kind, very tall best friend. It’s such a tender time, and I can’t stop smiling. Our readings this week were:

  1. “Kids are Gross”: On Feminists and Agency, Caitlin McGregor.

    “For my friends without children (which is most of my friends), parenting is very ‘other’ as an idea and an experience, and Oscar can consequently become a phenomenon to observe and comment on and laugh at, rather than an individual person with feelings.” I’ve learned a lot about small humans in the past few years, but the biggest thing to remember is that they are humans – with dignity and boundaries to respect. 

  2. A Visual History of Lunchboxes, Design Observer. Delightful!
  3. Wear Whatever the Hell You Want, Jennifer Romolini. “Go to a store, find a thing you like and can afford that fits the body you have right now, pair it with another thing you like, and whatever the hell it is, start wearing it. Strut around in it. Dance in it, work in it, hug the people you love while wearing it. Don’t stress out about it….As women, we need to set new style rules for ourselves, ones that have nothing to do with age, body types, colors or shapes: Trust yourself, trust your instincts, trust what you love. Those are the only rules you need.” YES
  4. Good News For Young Strivers: Networking is Overrated, NYT. “My students often believe that if they simply meet more important people, their work will improve. But it’s remarkably hard to engage with those people unless you’ve already put something valuable out into the world.” Reassuring read to inspire you to Do the Work.
  5. The Ugliness Behind HGTV: A Never-Ending Fantasy Loop, Vulture. Long read. “The first thing counselors tell sex addicts is to stop watching porn, and we really shouldn’t be watching this much HGTV during our rehab [from the housing bubble burst]. Although it’s a soothing experience, it is also a fomenter of deep feelings of discontent about one’s living arrangements, which began to hit me hard around week two…

    HGTV makes big, expensive, time-consuming remodels look like two weeks’ work and a modest amount of money well spent. Moreover, it links these changes so definitively to personal and family happiness that you begin to wonder what, exactly, is wrong with you that you haven’t made some of them.”

Bonus Features:

  • What You’ve Learned, the Awl. This article has been passed around a bit this week but it’s a great place for wisdom. Plus I learned that the shape of a running track can be called a discorectangle.
  • Forever Gay pin Cute!

September 22, 2017

A week and a day till my wedding! Life is full of pretty paper things, white ribbon, and list after list. Here’s this week’s reading list:

  1. 2-Hour Rule, Business Insider. “2 hours [set aside once a week] may seem like a long time to just think […] but leaving aside at least an hour or so is a worthy investment. It lets your mind play, and if you ask good questions, it’ll sharpen it, too. That tends to compound over time.” More and more I’m realizing the importance of making space for quiet.
  2. Why Your Favorite TV Character’s Dress Looks So Different on You, Racked. This is about how TV costumers tailor everything their stars wear. Both tailoring and costuming are interests of mine, so I’ve known about this phenomenon, but this is a particularly good look inside. It’s so fascinating, and digs into some of the real work tailors do on a garment to make it perfect for a character.
  3. Ladies Be Tuckin’, The Hairpin. There is so much to parody and ridicule about the way magazines profile celebrities and famous people. Take a writing class people! This is creepy!
  4. Torrid’s NYFW Show Reaffirmed Fashion’s Disdain for Fat People, Racked. "There’s no reason a plus-size brand should play by the rules of a game that inherently dehumanizes its customers. There’s no runway show that’s going to convince them we deserve nice things.“
  5. Stain Solutions, University of Illinois Extension. This is a gem! Stain solutions for every conceivable thing you could get on your shirt or carpet!