November 9, 2018

We all made it to this Friday! I’m proud of you. This week I’ve been thinking about self-care – the fun kind that nourishes her skin and hair, but also the hard kind, the kind that mops the kitchen floor and finally washes her bras. Do you ever get the urge to ponytail up, plug in your headphones, and finally face all the things hanging over your head, mumbling that you should attend them? Now you know my weekend plans. Wish me luck!

  1. Well, Damn, Paper Books As Small As Your Phone Are Actually Great, Quartzy. Penguin is developing a mini book size that is meant to fit in the back pocket of a woman’s jeans. Check out the link for some pictures of how these books are read (horizontally! as if you are scrolling through a slightly-wider version of your phone!), and let me know what you think. According to the coverage of the mini-books, the pages are super thin, so I wonder if libraries will stock them or not. I could definitely see myself buying one of these for a favorite book.
  2. A Brooklyn Bookshop Owner on the Lost Art of the Phone Call, Haystack Stories. “That feeling when the phone rang throughout the house, and you were in another room but ran to get it, and it could be anyone but you had no idea who! Such possibility! And you had like 15 friends whose voices you could recognize simply from the word, “Hey.” And maybe because it had an actual cord it made you feel tethered to your friends in their other houses and you could picture them in their rooms, doodling, or painting their nails, as you chatted. I desperately wanted my own phone in my own room and when my mom finally gave in and got me one it felt like freedom, my secret world, a world of kids.” I really love this conversation about the landline, about how girls talking on the phone could get into the minutia of our lives back then, and that was a kind of intimacy that looks different now.

  3. Live Stream of a Norwegian Train, Kottke. This is a 24/7 stream of a train in Norway, from the perspective of the train driver’s cab. It’s so peaceful, with the noises of the rail and bell, or with your own music! Highly recommend a few minutes of this video on your lunch break.

  4. How to Host a Dinner Party When You Just Don’t Feel Like Cooking, Bon Appetit. This is a cute example of how to combine quick takeout with a few tricks at home to make it seem like you’ve made an effort. I am into it! Every time I’ve had friends over for chicken, it’s been a pretty good time.

  5. How to Not Always Be Working: A Toolkit for Creativity and Radical Self-Care, Marlee Grace. I want someone else to read this book so we can talk about it! It is a cute-sized (though not quite mini) book that combines thoughtful journal prompts with the writer’s informal reflections on the balance between work and life. She invites you to contemplate how you define your work – is it just what makes you money? Is it things you have to do but don’t feel like doing? Is it the things that make you money but also make the time fly by? This book gave me a lot to think about, and it’s worth a read if you ever think to yourself, on the way to your job, “This again? Is this all there is?”


November 2, 2018

It’s funny how the pleasure of a holiday changes as you get older. Earlier this year, I bought a pinata for a friend’s birthday party and learned that all this time, grownups have had to buy the candy and fill the pinata themselves. The feeling of dumping candy into a pinata came back to me on Wednesday, handing out treats to our neighborhood kids. The holiday is less about the thrill of free candy and homemade costumes and suddenly more about the crisp weather and porch conversations (and of course, leftover candy). As an adult with no children, it was really fun to watch kids practice being polite with fake blood all over their chins. What a fun, funny holiday.

Plus, my best friend had her baby this week! Welcome to the world, FJH!

  1. If Your Chair Hurts Your Back, Blame Technology, Then Try These Hacks, NPR. This is very informative! I want to practice better posture, especially sitting in a desk at work. I’m going to try some of these tips.
  2. How to Stay Focused. This blogger shares some of her tips for staying focused – playing classical or instrumental music has helped me at work too! So has the realization that I should write in the morning, and do email and other less intense things in the afternoons. What are your strategies for staying focused? There are some more good tips here at Buzzfeed.

  3. 9 Gift Giving Crafts to Start This Fall, Joy the Baker. Joy rounds up a few crafts that make good gifts here. I have my eye on this weekend as a crafting/sewing retreat!

  4. Awful Library Books. This is a blog detailing books that are withdrawn from all kinds of libraries (this process is called “weeding”). Each post explains a little bit of why the book was weeded, and most of the examples are just horrifyingly out of date or unappealing to readers these days. A funny, interesting look at a library process that not many know about! Here are a few of my recent favorites: The Art of Salad Making, How to Break Into Modeling, Toasts! The Complete Book of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, Curses, and Graces.

  5. 26 Iconic Foods from Disney Movies You Can Actually Make, Buzzfeed. NOTHING looks better than animated food. If I had magic powers I would want to become a cartoon and eat a glossy, animated birthday cake and some pork dumplings. This roundup of Disney-inspired recipes is the closest I can come until the technology for making me a cartoon gets here.

Have a great weekend!


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.”