The week in review: USA! USA!

July 5, 2015

Last Monday, I was thinking about my lifelong friend Heather, and how we hadn’t caught up in way too long. We’ll often go, like, years without truly catching up, and then we’ll spend eight hours in a Starbucks talking about everything. And I was thinking to myself that since she lives in D.C., it shouldn’t be that difficult to have one of our marathon catch-up sessions soon. The next day, she actually texted me that she and her boyfriend would be in NYC for the holiday weekend, and wondered if Eric and I wanted to meet up with them. Catching up with her and getting to know her boyfriend over tator tots, nachos, and patriotic JELL-O shots at Pork Slope was a pretty great way to spend the 4th, and was definitely my favorite moment of the week!

Here are some other highlights…

Writing

“Catalyst” Is Your Favorite New Feminist Wedding Magazine

21 Wedding Registry Items That Are Totally Worth It

10 Life-Changing Things To Try In July

8 Tips For Taking Better Photos Of Fireworks With Your Phone

Eating

Breakfast at SCRATCHbread this morning!

Reading

Prisons that withhold menstrual pads humiliate women and violate basic rights, The Guardian.

The Abortion That Let Me Be a Mother, BuzzFeed. This gut-wrenching essay is a must-read.

Juice Contract, The New Yorker. “Juice Your Own Adventure and the Juicee mutually agree that the Juicee does not have to go to the gym today, or maybe ever. From a legal standpoint, drinking a green juice is the same thing as doing between six and twelve hours of high-impact cardio.”

Lesbnb, Bitches Gotta Eat. This is just delightful.

Do these exercises for two minutes a day and you’ll immediately feel happier, researchers say, The Washington Post.

Holly Madison Reveals The Hell That Is Playboy Mansion Life, BuzzFeed. “I feel like there comes a time in every woman’s life when you have to become a feminist.”

All Dolled Up: The Enduring Triumph of American Girl, Racked.

I Was A Victim of Reddit’s FatPeopleHate Because I Refused to Be Ashamed of My Body, xoJane. “It amazes me what a man will say to a woman that he is not sexually attracted to. Because he despised my body, I had nothing left to offer the world in his eyes.”

Sexts, Hugs, and Rock n Roll: On The Road With The Teen Social-Media Sensations Of DigiTour, BuzzFeed.

Federal Judge: My Drug War Sentences Were ‘Unfair and Disproportionate’, The Atlantic.

Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity To Ocean, The Onion.

Nicholas Winton, Rescuer of 669 Children From Holocaust, Dies at 106, The New York Times. This was so incredibly humbling. 

Beauty Behind Bars and Prison’s Underground Beauty Culture, xoJane.

Why We Don’t Keep Secrets In Our House {Child Abuse Prevention}, Denver Metro Moms’ Blog.

Beyond Marriage Equality, Nicolette Mason.

Pretty still life photography in 8 tips, A Subtle Revelry.

Encouraging thought of the day, Adulting.

The week ahead…

I’ve got a BuzzFeed photo shoot this week…I spent my morning making boob-shaped confetti for it!

The perfect one-piece swimsuit

July 4, 2015

Just a reminder: Modcloth’s Bathing Beauty one-piece swimsuit is seriously the best swimsuit. I put off buying a good suit for so long because I always waited too long (I’m not buying a swimsuit in March, EVERY RETAILER EVER) and didn’t want to spend more than $30 on a suit. But last year, I finally sucked it up and bought this one and I’m so glad I did.

It’s so comfortable, plus it comes in a ton of colors/prints and the customer-submitted photos prove it looks good on tons of bodies. Such a worth-it purchase. 

Photos by David Bertozzi for this BuzzFeed post.

My new favorite breakfast sandwich

July 1, 2015

Last month, Eric and I had breakfast at the Civil Service Cafe in Bed-Stuy. Their menu isn’t huge, so we both ordered the same breakfast sandwich, which comes with two scrambled eggs, tomato, cheddar, lettuce, cucumber, and roasted pepper pesto. And it was SO GOOD.

I would never think to put lettuce and cucumber on a breakfast sandwich, but it added freshness and a bit of crunch that I really liked. I was so inspired that the next morning, I went and bought everything I’d need to make my own version.

I started with a single egg cooked using this method. (I’d tried to make an egg that way a couple years ago and it didn’t go very well, but this time it went perfectly, and I’ve been using it for egg sandwiches ever since.) While the egg and cheese were on the stove, I spread some Sabra roasted red pepper hummus on the top half of a potato roll. When the egg was done, I added it to the roll along with avocado slices and thinly-sliced cucumbers and green peppers. (I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes and our lettuce had suddenly gone bad.)

Definitely recommend!

My sister-in-law’s wedding flowers

June 30, 2015

A few days before Eric’s sister Kelley got married last month, I was asked to help with the wedding flowers, which she had planned to DIY. I love arranging flowers and I think DIY wedding flowers are awesome — I first learned they were A Thing when Julia decided to do hers — so I was very excited to help! Using the flowers Kelley had ordered, along with some hydrangeas and snapdragons we grabbed from the grocery store the morning of the wedding, I made nine bridesmaids bouquets and the bridal bouquet. Here’s how they turned out:

View More: http://lacandellaweddings.pass.us/kelley-matt

All photos by La Candella Weddings

A fancy animal gallery wall is the perfect gallery wall

June 29, 2015

When Eric and I went to the beach with our friends Carly and David a couple weeks ago, we started our day with breakfast at their apartment. And that’s where I saw their amazing gallery wall.

Cat gallery wall

This is what Carly told me about how their wall came to be:

“David was drunk is 2011 and stumbled across an artist who painted ‘Gentleman Dogs in Suits’ on Amazon and bought it on the spot. A previous version he told me of this story including him buying it on the street, but now he’s saying this never happened and he doesn’t remember telling me that. Agree to disagree. This was a time that he still went on Facebook, and he found the post, celebrating his purchase!”

“He hung it in his room and decided it was lonely, so he decided to expand the collection (probably also on a drunken whim).”

“Then came Carly: the beautiful and intelligent woman who would sweep him off his feet and three years later become his wife! I loved the art he already had, and thought it would be a thoughtful Christmas gift for my new boyfriend to add to the collection, so two more portraits by a different artist were hung on his wall. Then we moved in together, and people started getting them for us as housewarming gifts. My mom found some coasters depicting dogs as famous people at a garage sale and she had them mounted for us. My sister added the giant cat on the upper right when Rosie and Frankie joined the family. We got another famous print of two very chic cats painted over a page from a french novel for my bridal shower, and on and on it went! We opted for a tortoise shell green background, because I thought it gave it a den-like feel.”

Cat gallery wall

I love this! (Coincidentally, here is a similar gallery wall I came across yesterday, that actually belongs to a guy I am loosely connected to through the wedding industry.) It seems like people are always saying they don’t know what to hang on their walls because they don’t have good photos to frame, and gallery walls are kind of a pain to create. Doing completely unexpected artwork is both practical and fun!

The week in review

June 28, 2015

What a week!

Gay marriage is “so ordered,” which means these two crazy kids got married and some of you are moving to Canada. (BYEEEE!)

Meanwhile, I sent BuzzFeed Weddings’ bro-dal showers out into the world, and Eric and I successfully hosted my family for the weekend! I took them to BuzzFeed, Flying Tiger, and Fishs Eddy; we all went to a Mets game (the stadium is SO nice and we had perfect weather), checked out Governors Island, and taught my brother to play cards. And we feasted. It was a lot of fun!

Here are some other highlights from the past week…

Loving

These prints.

This dreamy pink Instagram and this beautiful rainbow one.

These two.

Writing

Why Bro-Dal Showers Are The Next Big Thing In Weddings

What Classic ’90s Bath & Body Works Scents Smell Like To Adult Women

Mindy Kaling Perfectly Explained Why Groomsmen Have It So Much Easier Than Bridesmaids

Reading

17 Easy Ways to Get a Better Butt, McSweeny’s.

Here’s What We Found Inside The Tenement Museum Walls, Gothamist.

Instagram Death Match: Rosé vs. Avocado Toast, Man Repeller. (Also: How Avocados Became the Oprah of Instagram)

Who Set Jessica Chambers On Fire? The Internet Is Trying To Find Out, BuzzFeed.

Why the SCOTUS Ruling on Gay Marriage Feels So Good, Gawker.

How to Choose a Color Story for Your Home, A Beautiful Mess.

Paint Tricks: Use Disney’s “Go Away Green,” Apartment Therapy.

29 Bridal Hairstyles Black Girls Can Rock Flawlessly, BuzzFeed.

And I finished Americanah this week!

The week ahead…

Looking forward to the short week and 4th of July weekend!

Places to Go: Fishs Eddy

June 23, 2015

Have you heard of ASMR? Fishs Eddy is my version of that. The store is just dreamy and it makes me feel kind of tingly all over.

fishs eddy

I’d come across Fishs Eddy products online several times — uh, I Google “cake stands” like…a lot — but the fact that it was a store that was basically made for me hadn’t ever really clicked. But last month, I saw a blurb in Time Out that mentioned it and I added it to my list of places to check out…and then the next day, I happened to find myself standing in front of it, so I decided to go in. And after about 30 seconds, it was all over for me.

Fish's Eddy

The vibe is a little bit Anthropologie, a little bit Crate and Barrel, a little bit antique store, and…a whole lot food stylist’s wet dream. I wanted to buy pretty much everything, including those adorable cone-shaped ice cream cups for myself and RBG mugs for all my friends…along with the gorgeous white hotel dinnerware that just sort of beamed at me whenever I walked past it, the cute party cups, the charming food storage bowls, everything from the Amy Sedaris collection (!!!), and I don’t even know what else because at that point I’d pretty much turned into Lily when she found out her parents were taking her to Disneyland. (To Eric’s credit, he didn’t respond to me with a side-eye as epic as Chloe’s.) But like…there are only so many jadeite berry baskets that my heart can take, you know?

The week in review

June 21, 2015

So…apparently June is almost over and I’m not quite sure how that happened. By my estimation, I lost two weeks to errands and to-dos, and another week to discussing Rachel Dolezal.

beach

Here’s what was actually keeping me busy…

– I went to the Mouth holiday preview with my coworker Jess, which was pretty great. And OMG THE FOOD. There was a delicious latke bar and we are still trying to decide which of the two onion jams we sampled was the best one.
– I had the hair appointment from hell last Saturday. Uggggggggggh. I’m still not over it.
– I went to a New York beach for the first time! Eric and I headed there last Sunday with our friends Carly and David; we had perfect weather and it wasn’t too crowded, so it was lovely all-around.
– After living in Brooklyn for several months, we finally have a dresser! We spent Sunday evening (and a little bit of Monday evening) KonMari-ing our closet and transferring clothes to the new dresser. It wasn’t terribly fun at the time, but now that I’ve perfected my folding skills and our drawers and closets look SO GOOD, I feel much better about that aspect of my life. (I’m sure my socks are happier too.) And Kondo is right — once things have a designated place in your home, it’s so much easier to just always put them there. (Also, I will never try to tell myself that we don’t really need a dresser ever again. Um, we do.)
– I spent a lot of time this week getting ready for the potluck brunch I hosted at my apartment yesterday —running little errands, cleaning, fixing up little things around the apartment that needed to be fixed, etc. The party was a lot of fun and, because it ended in the early evening, there was still plenty of time to crawl into bed in our clean, tidy apartment and finish the third season of Orange is the New Black. (Binge-watching in a clean home while wearing something other than what I slept in makes a huge difference in how I feel about this activity. That is, it means I actually enjoy it.)
– And I’ll admit: I did spend a lot of time complaining about Rachel Dolezal and shouting at the TV during the interviews she gave. Ugh. That woman.

Here are some other highlights from the past two weeks:

Eating

A lot of sandwiches. I recently read an interview with someone (a blogger, I think?) where she said that her family only grocery shops for three dinners at a time instead of shopping for the entire week. Eric and I have been wasting way too much food lately so we decided to switch to this method…and the first week, we still ended up tossing some food that we didn’t eat. So two weeks ago, I suggested we get the ingredients for really good sandwiches because the mental barriers to making sandwiches are pretty low compared to making a meal that requires a lot of chopping, dishes, and/or turning on the stove. We also got a bunch of picnic-type foods (pepperoni, cheese, crackers, fruit, hummus, etc.) so we have that option as well. It’s summer…it works.

Loving

These paper flowers, this van, and the idea of a subway symphony.

Writing

The $20 Item You Should Add To Your Wedding Budget Immediately

This Is How To Make Your Nails Look Fly AF For A Wedding

Bath & Body Works Is Rereleasing Six Of Your Favorite Scents From The ’90s

We Tried Kylie Jenner’s Line Of $250 Hair Extensions

This Guy Turned The Bone From His Amputated Leg Into His Wife’s Engagement Ring

This City Hall Wedding Instagram Is Basically Perfect

How Fluent Are You In The Language Of Women’s Magazines?

34 Real-Life Wedding Moments That Prove Dads Are The Best

This Couple Nailed Their Hitchcock-Inspired Engagement Shoot

Reading

Mind Your Own Damn Business: An Ode to Tact, Jezebel. “If something wasn’t relayed to you — an uninvolved party — you probably weren’t told for a reason. Maybe there are safety or legal ramifications, or someone wants to have the whole picture in front of them before they go about announcing anything. Or, more simply, you just ain’t in the circle. Some things are shared on a need-to-know basis and sorry, you don’t need to know. And when you don’t need to know, poking into somebody else’s business and asking invasive questions makes you look like a tactless asshole.” God, I love this.

Working at Lucky Magazine Taught Me All About Writing, New York Magazine.

Feminists share what’s in their fridges, SheKnows.

37 Difficult Questions From My Mixed-Race Son, BuzzFeed. This is just so fucking good.

The Straight White Man’s Guide To The 21st Century, BuzzFeed. Too hard to even choose a favorite line here.

Measures We’re Taking to Offset the Patriarchal Footprint of Our Wedding, McSweeney’s.

Two Weeks of Status Updates from Your Vague Friend on Facebook, The New Yorker.

The making of Dr. Oz, Vox.

Looking the Part, BuzzFeed. Loved this essay.

How A Fake Viral News Story Wrecked Three People’s Lives, BuzzFeed. Anyone who regularly reads the Daily Mail should read this. And also…stop reading the Daily Mail.

Toxic Shock: Why This Woman Is Suing a Tampon Company After Losing Her Leg, Vice.

Why Serena Williams, Andreessen Horowitz are investing in this company that sells hair — yes, hair, Business Insider.

I Catfished a Pedophile Who Was Posing as a Pro-Anorexia Coach, Vice. Congrats, Vice, on giving us something more horrifying than the tampon story to think about.

The week ahead…

My family is coming into town for a visit! Eeeep!

Let the record reflect: Charleston

June 21, 2015

I. Say Their Names

Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Susie Jackson

Cynthia Hurd

Tywanza Sanders

Rev. Daniel L. Simmons

Myra Thompson

Ethel Lee Lance

Read their stories. Say their names.

II. Again

What happened in Charleston is so tragic, so heartbreaking, so…American. And so is the reaction to it.

When Elliot Rodger murdered six people and injured 14 others last year, I wrote:

Every time someone goes on a shooting spree, we ask why. And then this guy did us a favor and told us why! And the thing about the manifesto is that it is so. Damn. Articulate. Even though you might think someone so concerned with being an alpha male would attempt to come across as one in what is essentially his memoir, it actually reads as remarkably honest. He talks about his pain, his humiliation, and how he’d go home and cry out of frustration after seeing couples out together in public. He seems to own the fact that he wasn’t what he so desperately wanted to be (powerful) because he’s writing with the guns in his possession and his “Day of Retribution” planned. He’s comfortable talking about his own weaknesses, and his motivation is unbelievably clear. It’s also exactly what you’d think his motivation would be if you’ve ever witnessed a misogynist in action, or spent any time on an anti-PUA forum (something I do not recommend if you want to be able to get out of bed ever). So we don’t need to ask why because he told us why.

And yet. Even with the manifesto in front of us, there are still choruses of “This wasn’t about women!” and “But mental illness!” and “Neither guns nor misogyny kill people; people kill people!” and “Not all men are like that!” and “We’ll never really know why he did it” and “But…but…maybe he was gay?” YOU GUYS. DID YOU DO THE READING?

And so here we are again, watching people have the “Gee, I wonder what his motive is” conversation. Even though the alleged shooter targeted a historic black church, one that is a symbol of both resistance and sanctuary. Even though a witness said he straight-up said, “You’re raping our women and taking over our country.” Even though he’s been photographed wearing racist symbols, driving a car bearing racist symbols. Even though, like Rodger, he spelled it all out for us his manifesto. Even though. Even though. Even though.

III. Fear

A few weeks ago, my coworkers and I were on the subway, heading to drinks for one’s birthday. When we got on the train, we made that classic mistake of getting in the mostly-empty car. A few moments later, we heard a guy talking very loudly; at first we thought he was lecturing another rider, but then it became clear he was talking to himself. He was a white guy, appeared to be in his 50s or so, and looked a little shabby but still like he had a bed to sleep in at night. And he was racist.

If a single subway car is mostly-empty, there’s a reason for it.

At first we exchanged glances in that Ugh, NYC, oh no what have we done? way. But as our car rattled along the track, I moved further away from him. I wasn’t the only brown girl in our group, but I was the only black girl, and I didn’t want him to notice me. As we rolled up to the next stop, I said to the group — too lightly, too softly — “Shall we change cars?” No one heard me. As the train progressed to the next stop, he got louder. “Let’s change cars,” I said firmly and loudly as the train began to slow this time. When it comes to angry men ranting about their hatred for women and/or black people, I’m done waiting for someone else to make the first move, done talking myself out of being afraid. The truth is, I am afraid.

IV. Terrorism

Reading last night that the director of the FBI said he doesn’t think this act fits the definition of terrorism left me sputtering with rage.

“Speaking in Baltimore, Comey said his agency is investigating the murders as hate crimes, but that he does not believe they meet the legal criteria for terrorist acts.

‘Terrorism is act of violence done or threatened to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry, so it’s more of a political act,’ he said.

‘Based on what I know so far I don’t see it as a political act. That doesn’t make it any less horrific… but terrorism has a definition under federal law,’ he said.

The official FBI definition of terrorism defines it as ‘the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.'”

Mr. Comey: Did you do the reading?

V. The manifesto

It’s disgusting, but it’s not shocking. Just your basic, run-of-the-mill racist stuff. Which is why I was afraid of the man on the train — because you just don’t know which ones are going to escalate.

VI. Community

VII. Further Reading

Our Racist History Isn’t Back to Haunt Us. It Never Left Us., The New Republic.

Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable, Esquire.

No Quarter, No Sanctuary, No Succor, The New Republic.

The Deadly History of “They’re Raping Our Women”, Slate.

The Charleston shooter killed mostly black women. This wasn’t about ‘rape’, The Guardian.

Murders In Charleston, The New Yorker.

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’? The Washington Post.

Jon Stewart on his “profound sadness”

Why calling the Charleston shooting terrorism is important to so many people, Vox.

Hundreds Rally To Remove Confederate Flag From South Carolina Capitol Grounds, BuzzFeed.

Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now, The Atlantic.

Reading: The Vacationers

June 11, 2015

The-Vacationers

Image: Freutcake

Last year, a publicist friend sent me a big box of books she thought I’d like; included among them was The Interestings (which I’d already read and loved), Boy, Snow, Bird (would recommend), The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (meh), and The Vacationers…which I totally dismissed. Yes, I am guilty of judging a book by its cover; I didn’t give it much thought because light fiction (which I thought this was) hasn’t really appealed to me in years.

But then a couple weeks ago, I read an essay in Real Simple written by the author, Emma Straub. And I remembered my coworker/friend Jess saying she was friendly with Straub and really liked her work. I needed something new to read, so I decided The Vacationers‘ day had come.

I ended up finishing the book in two days because I loved it so much. This is how I want all light fiction to be; it’s smart and funny and the characters are just real enough. I could easily see it as a really likable movie in the vein of The Devil Wears Prada or Julie and Julia. (Possibly because I cast Stanley Tucci as Lawrence when I was reading, and then decided Meryl Streep should be Franny because those two should always be in every movie together.)

Bottom line: The Vacationers is truly the perfect beach read (and it just came out in paperback); I definitely recommend it!

My goal for 2015 is to read more; see my reading list and get more book reviews here.

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