07. Fruit and flowers

February 18, 2018

As I said recently, February is always a lot, and this particular week just always ends up being this sort of emotional center of gravity. On Presidents Day/Valentine’s Day weekend in 2014, I was getting married in Austin; in 2015 (paper), we were packing up the entire house for the full move to NYC; in 2016 (cotton), I was having the sweetest little adventure in DC (at least I wasn’t alone); in 2017 (leather), I had found out a few days earlier that my marriage was over, and I was a few days from my book deadline; and this year (fruit and flowers)…I’m just here.

Here’s what else I had going on this week.

Reading

I started reading A Wrinkle in Time yesterday. My dad gave me the entire set when I was a kid, and I actually never read it, which is a bit odd in hindsight — I was so into reading, and into like…obsessing over the few gifts that he gave me. I know that I started it — I distinctly remember the little illustration of the tesseract — but I just couldn’t really connect with it and I gave up. Anyway, I decided to read it this weekend in advance of the movie’s release, and…I did not realize that it’s the story of a young female protagonist going to save her father from the dark thing that’s holding him captive! So…kind of a lot to unpack there!!! But I’m almost done with the book.

Moving on!

“Fuck you, I like guns.”, Aging Millennial Engineer.

How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men, Time.

The Shock Collar That Is Misogyny, Guernica.

All the Insane Ways Men Do Skin Care, MEL Magazine. I legit cannot stop thinking about this article. Men are so wild and sad. Also for any men reading this who are feeling attacked and lost rn, here’s a basic starting point for skincare: 1. Cleanse with micellar water on a cotton ball OR wash with Cetaphil every night; 2. Pat on a couple of drops of Radha rose hip oil after you wash your face at night; 3. Pick up a few sheet masks that sound good to you and do them like once a week. Bonus/extra-credit: Use Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel (the best damn thing) once a week and then follow it with your sheet mask of choice. Bliss!

The Bittersweet Beauty of Adam Rippon, Vanity Fair. I was full-out crying reading this.

Behind the Revolutionary Power of Black Panther, Time.

Black Panther Begets Political Action Beyond the Big Screen, The Root. This is rad.

Modern Sorcery, City Arts. “People are feeling depressed and anxious and we need to find alternative healing methods. Women of color are learning their traditional practices, stepping into their power. All these things—taking care of yourself and your wellbeing—are connected. With the Internet, this information is becoming accessible to everyone, and you have voices around the world who aren’t just white women teaching methods that are foreign to you.”

Rob Porter’s History of Domestic Abuse Wasn’t a Secret. It’s Just That No One Cared., Slate.

The House That Spied on Me, Gizmodo.

Spare Me Your Protest Fashion and Show Me Your Employment Contracts, The Fashion Law.

I have forgotten how to read, Globe and Mail. This is annoying but also like…true. Which is annoying!!!

Behind the Book: Shooting the Cover., How Sweet Eats. 

Tara Lipinski Hasn’t Lost Her Edge, The Ringer.

Racked with the A+ Olympics coverage: How Laundry Gets Done at the Olympics, Where Do Figure Skating Costumes Come From?, and Meet the Glam Squads Behind the Olympic Games.

How to Get Your Partner to the Hospital When She’s About to Have a Baby, Lifehacker. “This will be a kinetic operation. You’ll serve as escort, confidant, valet and bodyguard. Your discomfort, embarrassment, hunger or sleepiness is irrelevant. Success is a new mom holding a tiny infant to her chest. Failure is a Craigslist ad for a used Subaru Forester with a navigation system, tinted windows and a front passenger seat soaked in amniotic fluid. Do not fail.”

Loving

This charming Tasty video and this mind-blowing video about overnight shipping.

Best life

I’m excited to make these everything bagel dinner rolls this week on my Thursday off.

As part of my ongoing quest to have nice, healthy nails, I bought some cuticle oil and have been applying it religiously twice a day. (It’s also currently $2.50 cheaper than what I paid for it!!! The flip side is that it’s now an add-on item.) I also read a ton of articles about having healthier nails, including this one, which I found was actually helpful. (The tip about having rounded nails when trying to grow them out…makes a lot of sense.)

In other news, I’ve been on a mission to find a great lemon candle; everything I had previously tried (Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena and a lemon lavender candle from Target) was perfectly nice, but way too herbal to reasonably be called a lemon candle. Just give me that pure lemon, y’all!!! Dallas suggested the Williams-Sonoma Meyer Lemon candle ($19.95) and I’m happy to report that it’s perfect. It’s just a very lovely, very sweet lemon smell, and not too strong. (Williams-Sonoma is currently having a 20% off everything + free shipping sale, so I just ordered another one.)

Oh, and you can buy the Rifle Paper Co stamps here.

The week ahead…

Short week + seeing Black Panther!

06. Heart

February 11, 2018

https://www.howsweeteats.com/2018/02/red-wine-latte/

Photo: How Sweet Eats

I just thought you should know that at this exact moment, Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 8:02 pm…my hair looks goddamn amazing

Here’s what else I have to share with you tonight:

Editing

15 Things About Starting Your First Job I Wish Someone Had Told Me, So I’m Telling You

Rate These Art History Booties And We’ll Reveal Your Renaissance Era Sexual Persona

Reading

First, I finally read Live Alone and Like It. This book showed up at my desk like two years ago and I was intrigued but I never got around to reading it. I finally made time for it this weekend — it’s a super quick read — and oh my gosh, it’s so funny and delightful! It was written in 1936 but so much of the advice is completely relevant (and just spot-on). This article gives some good historic context. 

Also:

How Facebook Is Killing Comedy, Splitsider.

‘Ironic Sexism: The Male Gaze of Hipster Spaces’, by Emma Pitman, The Lifted Brow.

Black With (Some) White Privilege, The New York Times. “What did it mean about race and opportunity in the United States that many of the most celebrated black people in American cultural life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries happened to have been born to one white parent?”

This Teenager Accused Two On-Duty Cops Of Rape. She Had No Idea The Law Might Protect Them., BuzzFeed.

Alamo Drafthouse’s Long History of Minimizing Sexual Assault and Harassment, Splinter.

Yoga in America Often Exploits My Culture—but You May Not Even Realize It, Self.

Here Are All The Black Athletes Competing In This Year’s Winter Olympics, BuzzFeed.

Uma deserves better, Anne Helen Petersen.

The Difference a Meal Makes: On Losing the Ability to Eat Solid Food, Catapult.

Sooo I Don’t Know Shit About Black Panther. I Can’t Wait to See It With Y’all, Though, VSB.

Black Panther Is a Beautiful Showcase for Natural Hair, The Cut.

Our Adoption Story: Our Family Day & Time In China, The Larson House.

A Fun Birthday Present Idea, A Cup of Jo. So cute!

The motivation behind WeWork’s innovative office design, Robin Powered.

FAQ: Your New Cursed Instant Pot, McSweeney’s.

Rachel Lindsay Never Had Sex With Nick Viall And It’s All Trump’s Fault, Betches.

Fifty Shades Freed Is Memento With Butt Plugs, Vulture. “Any critic who would describe the Fifty Shades films as basic or boring is not to be trusted: These films are insane, delightful, and borderline avant-garde in how they continually stymie every expectation of what a movie is supposed to do.”

Watching/listening

Slate’s Slow Burn podcast is probably the best thing I consumed this week. (FYI, the second episode is the weakest one, but stay the course!) I also watched Drag Race for the first time ever (started with the current season) and the documentary Icarus which is *eyes emoji*.

Loving

This Tweet, this couple, this 98-year-old man learning how old he is, and this news anchor putting on his makeup.

Best life

I took this fabric shaver ($12) to my sweaters and am quite pleased with the results! Also it’s so much more fun than shaving my body???

The week ahead…

Make it stop.

The dollhouse

February 10, 2018

Image: Miniature Co.

I have been toying with the idea of buying an unfinished dollhouse kit for a few years. I love, love, love tiny things, a love that was cemented during an April 2016 trip to Tiny Doll House, a truly magical store that I highly recommend visiting if you live in NYC and are having a terrible day/week/time. Building a dollhouse seemed like a perfect amalgamation of all my hobbies — it’s crafting and home decorating and antiquing and puzzles, and also miniatures, which are the goddamn best.

Still, though, I felt weird about it. Whenever I mused about maybe doing it, I’d eventually land on, If only I had a child to build one for! I don’t know any 30-year-old women who build dollhouses, especially not just for the hell of it. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal, but I was going through so much personal trauma and was worried that it could skew my judgment. Like, I had gone down the Avatar Real Born rabbit hole and seen what that looked like, and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to descend into my own Tragically Bizarre Hobby Phase From Which You Never Really Return at the age of 31, you know? In terms of social capital, I assumed that building the dollhouse was probably equal to adopting 25 cats all at once. I also didn’t really know what I’d, like, do with the dollhouse. Like, just…have it? Is that what one does?

Building a dollhouse wasn’t something I thought about a ton, but every so often, I’d start looking at minis on Instagram or read an article about miniatures and begin entertaining the idea again. But I just couldn’t quite give myself permission to start playing with toys. Meanwhile, I had a book to write and plenty of other stuff to keep me busy, and I just simply wasn’t in the market for a brand new hobby for most of 2017.

Then in the fall, Chip and Joanna Gaines launched their debut collection for Target. It included an adorable modern farmhouse dollhouse (which like three people texted me because they know me well!) and seeing it was a lightbulb moment: suddenly, I saw what a dollhouse could be. Before, when I thought of a dollhouse kit, I always thought of a very formal Victorian thing — which is incredibly not me, and which is why it kinda would be the equivalent of adopting 25 cats if I went that route. But a more modern dollhouse with, say, subway tile and a tiny KitchenAid stand mixer? That made sense. It actually felt like the most natural and obvious thing in the world. Suddenly I wanted to build it and then, yeah, just…have it. Like, of course.

Image: Miniature Co.

My mom and brother came to visit me for Thanksgiving this year, and on that Friday morning, as we lounged and scrolled, I started looking at dollhouses online, sort of casually. The idea that dollhouses would be on sale for Black Friday seemed sort of unlikely, but…I don’t know, the spirit moved me to just look! It was actually the first time I’d searched for dollhouses online. I had a rough price range in mind, based on what I’d seen at Tiny Doll House, where the smallest and most basic unfinished dollhouse kit was around $500 and the big Victorians were $800-$1200. I expected to pay around $400 for what I wanted (I assumed there was a pretty big markup at an NYC dollhouse store), which was actually a big part of my overall hesitation; if I was going to spend that much money on something, I wanted to be really sure and feel really good about it.

I had no idea what to expect when I started searching, but I quickly found a great website with a ton of options, including some that weren’t nearly as expensive as I’d anticipated; in fact, the one I liked best was $187. (No Black Friday sales, though — alas.) Then I discovered that it was sold at Hobby Lobby for $120…and that you could use a 40% off coupon on it. And my mom was here…with a car. We called two different Hobby Lobby stores, both of which were about an hour drive from my apartment; the first one didn’t have the dollhouse I wanted, but the second one, in New Jersey, did. It was sort of the perfect Black Friday activity. The weather was really nice, the drive wasn’t bad, and, honestly, a trip to the suburbs with my mom and brother was exactly what I wanted to do. (We also went to Target, Home Goods, and had lunch at Panera! It was a great day.) (Also, I took them to Times Square to see Spongebob the Musical the next day, so rest assured that we also spent some time in the city doing the NYC things they wanted to do!) My mom offered to buy the dollhouse for me as my Christmas present. And, I mean, dollhouses are a thing you buy for your daughter for Christmas, right?

I’m glad we were able to look at the kits IRL; Hobby Lobby had all of their dollhouse models assembled — unpainted — which gave me a better sense of the size of them. Honestly, they were all majestic. The photos of the dollhouses online don’t really do justice to how lovely and elegant and big they are, and seeing them assembled was genuinely inspiring. The Painted Lady Victorian was incredible, and there was a bigger/more expensive farmhouse that I liked so much (it’s the one on the right in the photo above), I seriously considered getting it. But ultimately, I left with what I had come for: the Vermont Farmhouse, Jr., made by Real Good Toys.

The cool thing about Real Good Toys is all of the resources they have readily available. I quickly discovered that dollhouses are mainly the realm of grandpas, and that they have already done the work to help other people build a great dollhouse. (Hobbyists are really the best!)Each RGT dollhouse has its own mini site with deeply detailed guides, photos, Q&A, etc. The sites aren’t super pretty, but reading through all of that in the days following Black Friday was very fun and reassuring.

The first thing I did was dye the shingles because I knew it would take several days, and because it could be done separately from everything else. I was super skeptical of the process at first; the overwhelmingly recommended method was to dye them in this incredibly specific way (vs. staining them or painting them) that I found intimidating and just very “hmmmm” (like…I can’t just paint them????) but eventually, I came around. And…yep, they were right! That was the way to do it, and it was fine! It was a really great first step.

But the thing with the shingles was that I was able to just pop open the box, grab the bag of shingles, and then shut the box and shove it aside again — basically, I still hadn’t had to unpack anything, and I just hadn’t *really* started the dollhouse. Even though I was super excited about the dollhouse, I was actually really anxious about sitting down and reading the full instructions. After stalling quite a bit, I finally made myself do it around Christmas, and after reading them, I sort of panicked. It’s not impossible (you actually assemble everything with basic-ass white craft glue!) and the instructions are written in an incredibly (surprisingly !) human way, which I really appreciate…but it’s a lot of work, and includes a lot of things I just don’t have experience with. (Like…woodworking? So like…all of it?)

Before I read the instructions in full, I was feeling pretty ambitious. What if I just go ahead and wire the whole thing for electricity while I’m at it?! I thought to myself one night after reading the online tutorial for giving your dollhouse working fixtures. LIKE WHAT IF I JUST TEACH MYSELF ELECTRICITY??? I COULD, YOU KNOW!!!! But after I read the full printed instructions, I was like…Oh, boy. Again, it’s not impossible, and I know I’ll just go step by step and be fine, but seeing it all in one place was just…A Lot. A dollhouse is basically a complicated puzzle that requires a ton of advance planning, a lot of careful reading, a lot of sanding, and some light sawing (SAWING!!!!!), and it’s a project I just really, really don’t want to fuck up. Like, maybe I should have gone with Avatar Real Born dolls after all! But alas, here we are.

Here’s an idea of sooooort of where I’m headed (but with less black and more color):

I’m planning for lots of beautiful neutrals and pastels, modern traditional, and classic but unfussy. (More inspiration here.) So, basically a mini version of my apartment. Which…checks out!

I’m not really sure how long it’ll take me to finish it, but I will probably take some PTO to work on parts of it (and to cut down on my apartment being in a total state of disarray). I’ll definitely blog about my progress here, and will continuing documenting everything on my Instagram Stories and in this Twitter thread.

Right after I got the dollhouse, I was visiting with my friend Rachel. She didn’t bat an eye when I told her about it; she immediately completely understood why I wanted to do it, and said that she and her husband are firm believers in adults continuing to find ways to play. (Over on the couch were the custom Muppet versions of them that were part of their wedding.) I have also been thinking a lot in the past several months about the different ways adults engage in world-building — from Dungeons and Dragons to Fantasy Football to Department 56 to The Sims to Pinterest. There’s something so universally pleasing about having your own little domain, and after the brutal past few years that I’ve had, the idea of literally building and making a tiny, beautiful home feels exactly right.

05. Work

February 4, 2018

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdlqhKplk9B/?taken-by=vashtiharrison

Image: Vashti Harrison

This week, I lost count of the number of times that one of my friends or I said, “How is it still Wednesday?” Or “How is it still JANUARY?” A lot is happening at work right now and it was just…not the best week. For anyone, it seemed like. Getting to February 1st felt like a big collective achievement.

February has aways been one of my favorite months, although I don’t know if “favorite” is the right word anymore. It’s historically just been one of the most emotionally loaded months of the year for me, and that cuts both ways. (98% of my friends are Pisces, so maybe that’s it?) That said, I do really love February. January always feels like a fake month at BF; we come back from the holiday break optimistic, only to remember that it’s never a great time to get shit done. There are too many holidays, people tend travel to the LA office (or elsewhere entirely), we’re in the middle of reviews and compensation conversations, and we tend to re-org around this time. The real work — good or bad — doesn’t start until February. Which is fine by me. Give me 28 days of cold-ass, bleak-ass, snowy-ass winter with a strong dose of gorgeous flowers and pretty pastels everywhere, and I’m good to go.

Here’s what else I was up to this week:

Writing

7 Simple And Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Life In February

Editing

16 Things About Being In Your Thirties I Wish Someone Had Told Me, So I’m Telling You

How To Apologize Like A Goddamn Adult

Reading

This week I read The Emotionary (super quick/good read) and started The Comfort Food Diaries.

Also:

Stacy London On Her Year Of Going Broke, Refinery29. This is so, so good from start to finish.

Customer Satisfaction at the Push of a Button, The New Yorker. I loved this.

The Women Behind White Power, The New York Times. “An element of surprise still animates discussions about white women supporting white supremacist politics. In part, it’s because the narrative of white supremacist history in the United States is not immune to the same sexist forces that have shaped so many of our national historical narratives: It has left out the women.”

Wellness Has a Race Problem, Self.

The man’s man’s kitchen, Curbed. “If there’s a dudely analog to ‘shrink it and pink it,’ it’s something like ‘steel it, matte-black it, and make it heavier.'”

My dream of dancing at the Super Bowl came true. And then I became Left Shark., Washington Post.

How to Travel the World While Working Full-Time, Cupcakes and Cashmere. I’m not a big traveler but I thought these were good tips.

Steve Jobs Knew How to Write an Email. Here’s How He Did It, Inc.

The $2 Ingredient I Have on Hand for Every Party I Ever Throw, The Kitchn.

Skincare Is Good and Also Works, Racked. This rebuttal is *Italian chef kissing fingers*

I (SUE the T. rex) am moving to my own place and all y’all are invited., The Field Museum. “Another change to note: since my original unveiling 18 years ago, scientific opinion on determining the sex of tyrannosaurs has lacked sufficient data. As such, I would like to state that my preferred pronouns are ‘they/them’ to refer to me in the third person. As in, ‘SUE is a T. rex. They are a majestic murderbird, and Chicago is lucky they grace the city with their presence.’” Please read this all the way to the end.

Best life

If you need something to get you through the dark days of February, consider this beautiful winter puzzle from my favorite puzzle company. I gasped when I saw it for the first time a couple of months ago, then I bought it immediately. I actually haven’t done any puzzles recently but I’m excited to work on this one this month.

I can now report that the pasta I linked to last week is delicious and so easy! I legitimately had a bare pantry the other night and was thrilled when I remembered this. Also, definitely get the Better than Bullion if you can find it; I bought it because the post recommended it, and my coworker who used to work at Good Housekeeping later told me it easily bested everything else during their broth taste tests.

I can’t stop looking at the red, white, and blue version of these socks and imagining myself as a winter Olympian for Team USA wearing these with an all-white tracksuit. As they are $36 (!!!!!), I will now aggressively be checking J. Crew for site-wide 40% off sales.

And after being on the hunt for chill background music that’s not too folksy for a while, I’ve been really loving the Spotify station Mediations of a G Radio. (Meditations of a G is a very good album BTW.) I couldn’t figure out how to link to the station, but I exported whatever I was listening to last night to a playlist which is here. My favorite songs on it are “Keep on Running” by Gabriel Garzón-Montano and “Work” by Charlotte Day Wilson, which I listened to so many times this weekend.

The week ahead…

Just being very kind to myself. Please remember to be kind to yourself too.

04. Coffee or tea

January 28, 2018

Photo by Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Image: Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

On Tuesday, I went up to the 16th floor — coming from a meeting and running two minutes late — to attend a meeting…only to discover that it didn’t actually start for another hour. As I was heading back down to my floor, a woman in the elevator backed into me and spilled her coffee all over my white jeans. I am not sure if she was a coworker or not (signs point to no, but it could really go either way) but she was like…50% less horrified than she should have been, and didn’t offer to pay for dry cleaning or anything. And I was so distracted by being two minutes late for the phantom meeting that I just flatly said, “It’s OK” when she (not-horrifiededly!!!) apologized. The coffee stains were way too big of a job for a Tide pen so I ended up walking over to CVS and buying a big bottle of Oxi Clean and spraying the stain…but it quickly became clear that the Oxi Clean needed to be rinsed out to really be effective in the moment. So I had to go up to the gender-neutral bathroom, take off my socks and winter boots (which don’t go on or come off without a FIGHT), and strip off my jeans so I could rinse them out. The stains did actually rinse out…but then I was left with a huge wet spot on the front of my pants in the crotchal region. The entire thing had all of the bumbling workplace mishap nonsense of a rom-com, and yet I never encountered any cute guys during the whole ordeal so like ??????? 

So that was my Tuesday, and a pretty good summary of the vibe of this week TBH. But! Taking Thursday off made me feel like a new woman for a little while anyway.

Here’s what else I was up to…

Writing

Here’s A Soothing Tea Recipe For Anyone Who’s Barely Keeping It Together Right Now

Reading

The female price of male pleasure, The Week. This is one of the best things I’ve ever read on sexism, sex, and rape culture.

The Rising Pressure of the #MeToo Backlash, The New Yorker. “I think it’s interesting, given the extent of what we’re learning, how many people seem more concerned with overreach than anything else.”

OTL: Michigan State secrets extend far beyond Larry Nassar case, ESPN.

The Price I Paid for Taking On Larry Nassar, The New York Times.

What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party, The New York Times. “A tragedy is like a fault line. A life is split into a before and an after, and most of the time, the before was better. Few people will let you admit that out loud.” I love this so, so much.

Four Chicago public schools getting washers and dryers to help students in need, Chicago Sun-Times.

Everything I Thought I Knew About Early Parenthood Was Wrong, The Cut.

The katykatikate guide to apologies, Katy Kati Kate.

Thinx Has a New CEO and, Finally, an HR Department, Racked.

Sorry to Bother You is a bananas satirical comedy about code-switching and exploitative capitalism, Vox.

Why Women Love to Wear Men’s Deodorant, MEL Magazine.

I delay writing back to people and then never do it — can I fix this?, Ask a Manger.

10 Straightforward Ways To Handle The Awkward Situations You Live In Fear Of, BuzzFeed.

How to Turn Your Old iPhone Into a Cute Minimalistic Feature Phone, Lifehacker.

This 10-Minute Bare-Pantry Pasta is Your New Instant Comfort Food, Food52. I’m totally sold on this recipe. I also immediately bought Emily Nunn’s book after reading this and am excited to start it this week! 

A Review of the Delirious New Diet Coke Flavors, GQ. “It is sobering to sip a soda and realize while every day I inch closer toward death, the soda is only growing stronger, smarter, and more powerful. I do not think Diet Coke Feisty Cherry is a bad product; however, I am confident there is a better use for it than drinking. Perhaps dissolving buildings; resetting fingerprints; creating mirrors out of thin air and Diet Coke Feisty Cherry.”

Watching/listening to

American Crime Story, Call Me By Your Name, “Miss Manhattan” — 99% Invisible, “The Women Who Brought Down Larry Nassar” — Burn It All Down, “Gold Coats and OGs” — Ear Hustle, and “Getting a Date” — Ear Hustle.

Best life

I earned a ton of gift card monies for a work thing recently, and decided to use some of that to buy two rings from Catbird — the Mignon and the Sweet Nothing. (See both on here.) The Sweet Nothing is so pretty; it’s actually a tiny chain and that catches the light and just looks lovely on.

I also bought these Lou & Grey sweatpants last week when LOFT had everything 50% off. I had to order up a size because my size was sold out, but I’m so glad I got them because they are SO DANG SOFT. (I also think i can easily shrink them up a little in the wash.) I’m not really a sweatpants person but I wore these all weekend and basically never want to take them off.

And after wanting it for literally four years, I finally bought Dior Nail Glow a couple of weeks ago and I’m a fan so far. As I mentioned recently, doing clear nail polish instead of traditional nail polish/gel manicures has been a good switch for me, and the Nail Glow looks nicer and holds up better than clear nail polish. I don’t know if it’s $30 good, but it’s like…$30 on a gift card good, which is how I bought it.

This weekend I made two recipes from Dining In: the sour cream flatbreads and the salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread

In other news, these gorgeous containers have made me want to commit to cooking and packing my lunch.

Also, my friend Sally and I were recently talking about how much we love all the phone beeps and bloops on Black Mirror; she said searching the iTunes store for “soothing” and “calming” ringtones brought up some good similar options, which proved to the true. I went with “Elegant Business Tone” from Soft Signals and “Short Design Tone” from Ringtones Aaa+ Design.

Loving

This tweet and also this one.

Housekeeping

Here’s your first of soon-to-be regular monthly reminders that if you like my links, you can buy me a coffee or a tea or a drink or drugs or whatever via Venmo at Rachel-W-Miller.

The week ahead…

We’re now in the third month of January.”

A Thursday off

January 27, 2018

In general, weekends are not my favorite time. I just feel so much pressure — both to get things done and to relax — that I end up overthinking everything, panicking, freezing, and then feeling like I could have spent my time much better. Meanwhile, I love to be at work and get major work FOMO, so I basically never use my time off. I’ve been thinking for a while that I should make use of my large stockpile of PTO and take a day off here and there to just do all the shit that I can never find an ideal day/time to do — home admin stuff, errands, light chores, or even the kind of shopping that I actually want to do, but don’t feel like doing on the weekends when the stores are busy and the subways are essentially shut down. (I recently made the mistake of going into the city on a Saturday — something I basically never do — and it took me two and a half hours to get home. Two and a half hours!!! To go seven miles!!! I literally lost count of how many different trains and train lines I was on. All because Sherwin-Williams had fucked up my paint sample and I wanted to get it corrected!!! Ughhhhh I’m just still so mad about that day.)

After telling myself I should really take the occasional weekday off for like…several months…I finally just went for it this week. I took Thursday off and did so many things! (For the past two weeks, I’ve kept a running list of all the things that I should do with my day off, and every time an annoying “Ugh I should do that” task popped into my head, I’d add it to the list — because I knew if I didn’t have a plan, I’d forget everything I wanted to do, and would just end up going into work.) I dropped off dry cleaning; I made a phone call (A PHONE CALL!!!) to solve an issue I was having returning some pants to Gap; I went to Target and Michaels and Catbird; I did laundry; I went to multiple grocery stores to pick up ingredients for a couple of new recipes I am planning to make this weekend; I walked a ton. I did all of this at a very leisurely pace. And…it was great!

Doing everything on a Thursday meant I didn’t have the usual “How DARE you make me do errands during my sacred weekend time?” resentment, or the pressure to ~just do nothing~ during said sacred weekend time. (“Doing nothing” is a great idea in theory, but like…what do I want to *do* when I do nothing? Do I want to watch The Crown? Do I want to read a book? Do I want to write? I should really write something. No, I should really read. Should I see a movie? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM HERE????) I didn’t do all the things on Thursday — I still left my chores to do on Friday night — but that was fine because it was essentially a bonus day, and everything I did was so much more than I normally do on Thursdays. Also, I feel like in NYC, an hour is actually 40 minutes on weekends, but is like 80 minutes on a weekday. Not only was there less foot and train traffic to deal with, but no one was interrupting me with texts or whatever because everyone was at work. I also chose to get up pretty close to my normal weekday time, which made the day feel even longer. And I didn’t have any work FOMO because I just like…chose not to care! A novel concept!!!

Now that I’ve had a taste of the magic of a random weekday off, I’m going to aim to do it once a month. Yesterday I put a recurring event on my calendar to remind myself (slash force myself) to take off the fourth Thursday of each month. I figure I can adjust if something really important comes up, but I’ll be a lot more likely to stick with it if I do it regularly.

(If you’re wondering why I chose Thursdays…well, we get catered lunch at work on Mondays and Wednesdays and bagels for breakfast on Fridays, so I immediately eliminated those days as possibilities. Also, I knew if I did a three-day weekend, then that familiar weekend pressure would start to creep in. And Tuesdays are my least favorite day of the week, so I knew better than to try to do something nice on a Tuesday — that would basically be putting the proverbial lipstick on the proverbial pig. Plus, I just really love Thursdays, so it seemed like the perfect option.)

Anyway, it was a great day, and I’m proud of myself for actually doing it, especially since one of my personal goals for January was literally just “take a day off work.” CHECK, bish!!!

03. Babe

January 21, 2018

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Photo: Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

This week, I actively avoided Twitter and most other humans, TBH. It sort of helped. *shrug*

Here’s what else I had going on.

Editing

Here’s What It Takes To Be A Full-Time Disney Princess

Here’s How I Manage To Read 60+ Books A Year

23 Things For Anyone Who Really Loves The Homes In “Black Mirror” (I was laughing so hard as I was working on this.)

Reading

Not that bad, Katy Kati Kate. “And yes, guys, what Grace described is totally normal for a woman. This is a normal sex encounter. The women that you’re seeing scoff at her? They aren’t scoffing because they think a guy would never do that. They’re scoffing because they believe every single word she said. They don’t have to imagine it either. This is a common, normal hookup. A shitty, painful hookup where Grace’s comfort and pleasure were like #7 on the priority list. Mean, punishing sex is normal. And awful. Our normal is awful.”

It’s Time to Map the Wilderness of Bad Sex, Jezebel. “The ‘sex he takes’ is not, according to the law, rape or sexual assault. It does not rise to the scrutiny of a judge and jury. It does not meet the legal definitions of sexual assault or rape. Its boundaries, shapeless and shifting, treat consent as something to be extracted, transforming sex into a commodity to be taken, rather than freely exchanged. Rarely can that sex be labeled explicitly as coercion because it conceals itself beneath a legalistic definition of sexual assault, treating consent as a binary, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.'”

I’m a sexual consent educator. Here’s what’s missing in the Aziz Ansari conversation., Vox.

Nation’s Largest Janitorial Company Faces New Allegations of Rape, Frontline.

Michigan State Can’t Bury Its Role In The Largest Sex Abuse Scandal In Sports History, Deadspin. Related: work up the nerve to watch Aly Raisman’s speech if you haven’t already. Then read what Nassar said in court this week. Then throw your phone/laptop into the nearest volcano.

Don’t Let the Smile Fool You. I’m Cringing on the Inside, The Root.

Ellen Pompeo, TV’s $20 Million Woman, Reveals Her Behind-the-Scenes Fight for “What I Deserve”, The Hollywood Reporter. This is fascinating, inspiring, and so goddamn honest.

Almost 35 years ago, she let a stranger hold her newborn. It has haunted her ever since., The Washington Post.

The Psychic Stress of Being the Only Black Woman at Work, Lenny Letter.

The Birth Plan of a Black Woman, The Cut.

When Being a Good Lawyer Means Dressing Your Clients, Racked. “How do you shop for people who are experiencing what is likely one of the worst days of their lives?”

This Twitter thread on co-parenting and gender roles.

Money Diary: A Freelance Writer Living In London On 14k, Refinery29. There’s uh…a lot going on here.

All Dudes Learned How to Dress and It Sucks, The Hairpin. “Hi, y’all all look fantastic FUCK YOU.” This is an old post that was in the Racked newsletter this weekend and it had me cracking up.

How to Rescue Your Dry and Cracked Winter Skin, Lifehacker. These are really good tips; I used New Skin on my split knuckle after reading it, and I’m going to try the sleeping in surgical gloves tip this week!

Loving

This video (sound on!), this photo, and this tweet. Also: Sam Bee on the #MeToo backlash and two recent episodes of 99% Invisible (“Mini Stories: Volume 4” — seriously, so good — and “A 700-Foot Mountain of Whipped Cream.”)

Best life

My new turtleneck arrived and I am a fan! It’s currently on sale for $10 cheaper than it was last week, and I def recommend it if you can find it in your size/color. (FYI it runs a bit small.) I’m hoping I can track down the blue one in the next couple of days.

In other news, I have heard nothing but great things from friends about my former coworker Alison Roman’s cookbook Dining In and I’m excited for my copy to arrive this week!

Also, Bed-Stuy folks: check out this black-owned laundry service; I just did a ton of laundry, but I think I’m going to take my dry cleaning there this week. Crown Heights folks: check out this new coffee shop.

The week ahead…

I’m rooting for everybody black.

02. Very stable

January 14, 2018

Hi! Here’s what I was up to this week.

Reading

Moira Donegan Says She Is The Woman Who Created The “Shitty Media Men” List, The Cut. “In some of these conversations, we spent hours teasing out how these men, many of whom we knew to be intelligent and capable of real kindness, could behave so crudely and cruelly toward us. And this is another toll that sexual harassment can take on women: It can make you spend hours dissecting the psychology of the kind of men who do not think about your interiority much at all.”

The Lefty Critique of #TimesUp Is Tired and Self-Defeating, The Nation. “On Sunday night, Alicia Garza asked on her Facebook timeline what we think is required to build a movement in the millions. In my humble 33-year view of social change, I believe that it takes everything. Everything we’ve got. Every member, every leader, every ally, every platform, every tactic and every dime—all directed toward specific goals at specific moments. The moments when your big ideas have the potential to become reality don’t come around that often. When they do, we have to move. We can’t predict what will come out of each tactic, but we move fast and big and on faith.”

Can Hollywood Change Its Ways?, The New Yorker.

I Made the Pizza Cinnamon Rolls from Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter, The Everywhereist. “Batali does not specify how tightly to roll the dough. I do so too tightly because fuck everything.”

Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now, The New York Times.

Serena Williams on Motherhood, Marriage, and Making Her Comeback, Vogue. That Serena Williams could nearly die after giving birth — in part because her doctors didn’t take her pain seriously — makes me wonder what hope there is for the rest of us.

The Fever Dream of President Oprah, The New Yorker.

‘The Greatest Showman’ Fails Disabled Audiences by Masking P.T. Barnum’s Monstrous Past, The Daily Beast.

How I Get It Done: Jodi Kantor, Investigative Reporter for the New York Times, The Cut.

It’s the Ultimate TV Prize: An Unscripted Queen Elizabeth, The New York Times. This is the first I’ve heard of the Smithsonian Channel but I want to watch this interview! 

10 Things I’ve Learned In Ten Years Of Blogging, Joy the Baker. “Keep it loose, keep it tight” is my new motto. 

3 Ways to Resurrect Your Libido in These Dark Times, GQ. “So break out the lotion and moisturize. Moisturize everything you can reach. Turn the heat up a bit, peel yourself out of your sweats, and look for low-effort, high-reward things you can do for your body. I’m sure there are things to trim that have gone unmonitored since before daylight savings time. Drink some water, since you’re probably still dehydrated after the 14 glasses of champagne you had on New Years.” Drag me, GQ.

Twitter’s Idea Of What A Black Hogwarts Would Be Like Is So Funny You’ll Scream, BuzzFeed. “You got Hogsmeade money?”

Dear People Who Don’t Wash Your Hands After Using the Bathroom: WTF Is Wrong With You? I Hate You, VSB.

Loving

Oprah’s Golden Globes speech, the male US Olympic bobsled team, this very good boy, and this tweet.

Best life

First: I can confirm that this rosehip facial oil is very, very good.

Second, I bought a nail buffer and a bottle of clear nail polish at CVS yesterday with the goal of making my desperate winter hands look less bad. (They were like…too bad to even bother wasting a manicure on them.) I am happy to report that this was a good solution! I’m also going to take an aggressive approach to moisturizing for the next several weeks.

I grabbed a tub of Art of Shaving lemon shave cream from the free table at work a few weeks ago and used it today on my legs for the first time (after reading that GQ article!!!) and it was lovely — the texture is amazing, and I love a good lemon scent.

Also, Uniqlo has their cashmere sweaters on sale for $59.90 right now and they have a bunch of new colors; I got two beige ones during a BOGO in the fall and I love them. They also have a turtleneck version now so I ordered the pink one. (I also really love the blue cashmere but I exercised some restraint.) I am not sure if I am a turtleneck sweater person but I GUESS WE’LL FIND OUT.

The week ahead….

Just thrilled about the three-day weekend!

01. Fresh

January 7, 2018

I welcomed 2018 feeling incredibly burned out. On Monday evening, I got the Sunday Scaries…but, like, for the entire year. There were a bunch of clear/obvious reasons why this was the case, but I didn’t really realize what was happening until it was too late for me to do anything but ride it out. Coming to the realization on Tuesday morning that I was burned out and then figuring out how to remedy it required some soul-searching, some planning, some patience, and some just..accepting the world we currently live in, and of the realities of being a WOC in that world. Like…of course I was burned out.

Anyway, at that point, I gave myself the assignment of doing basically nothing (except laundry because we live in a society!!! and also writing this post) from Friday night through Monday morning; this approach was actually very helpful because while I don’t like sitting still and not doing stuff, I love rules. So I slept in and wore cozy clothes and watched The Crown and read blogs and window-shopped online and drank tea and worked on my new journal and ignored the impulse to write anything and was just really, really kind to myself. And I feel…better. Imagine that!!!!

Here are some other notes from this week…

Writing

7 Simple And Easy Ways To Have Good January

Just 5 Great Planners For Anyone Who Still Needs One

35 Cool Lists To Start And Keep In 2018

Reading

We Asked, You Answered: Wondrous Things That Happened in 2017, Atlas Obscura. This is so good.

“Black Museum” Episode of Black Mirror Shows Why We Need More POC Reviewing Shows, The Mary Sue.

‘Black Mirror’s’ Season 4 Finale ‘Black Museum’ Offers a Horrifying Critique of American Racism, The Daily Beast.

How this year’s Golden Globes red carpet became a political statement and why a boycott was rejected, LA Times.

Donald Trump’s Year of Living Dangerously, Politico.

“Here’s a story about how I nearly just got killed by this cop”, @TheHipsterRebbe on Twitter.

How I Saved 30 Percent of My Income in 2017, The Cut. A lot of articles like this are bullshit, but this one is pretty good.

I Refuse to Wear Chic Workout Clothes to the Gym, Man Repeller.

How The Crown Re-created Buckingham Palace Without Actually Filming There, Vulture. This is fascinating.

Black Mirror Does Not Appear to Know What the Morning-After Pill Is, The Cut. “I’m sorry … what? I was with this show through the grief clone that expands, for whatever reason, in the bathtub. I was with it through the murderous hashtag-controlled bees. I was even with it through the politician fucking a pig on live television. But this was different. This crossed a line, and I’m not the only one who felt that way. A reminder to show creator and lead writer Charlie Brooker: The ‘morning-after pill’ and the ‘abortion pill,’ as they’re colloquially known, are not the same thing.”

Remote Control, The Believer. “As the quickly accepted press narrative also had it, the assault on Nancy Kerrigan was only a hop, skip, and a failed jump away from Tonya’s disappointment at the 1992 Games and her growing frustration thereafter. She was trash: trash cheats. Trash wants reward without working. Trash is dangerous. Trash doesn’t care about other people’s dreams. Why question a story that made such easy sense, and provided so much to laugh at along the way?” Last night, after watching some of the figure skating championships, I re-read this article, which is my favorite piece of sportswriting ever.

The Redemption Of Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu, Deadspin.

Kristi Yamaguchi, Unlaced, Shondaland.

13 Experts Explain Why Diets Don’t Work And What To Do Instead, BuzzFeed. “With all of the research we have supporting the negative physiological and psychological effects of dieting and pursuit of weight loss, I find it unethical to approach nutrition counseling with the old diet/weight loss paradigm.”

Trader Joe’s Butter Is as Good as the French Stuff, Bon Appétit.

An Update on My Twin Sister, A Cup of Jo. This is lovely.

Who the Hell Are Logan Paul and Jake Paul? A Helpful Guide to All the Pauls, Splinter. I…legitimately did not realize that Logan Paul was not Jake Paul until I read this.

Loving

My friend Sally listens to a lot of podcasts, and she made me a list of all of her favorite podcast episodes from 2017; I’ve spent the last two weeks working my way through it. You can see the list here. Everything I’ve listened to so far has been great, but I strongly recommend the episode of The Pitch; it was wild.

My friend Alanna’s Twitter thread about Anthropologie’s food styling is not to be missed.

This figure skating routine choreographed to “The Room Where It Happens” is so fun to watch.

And this tweet makes me laugh every time.

Best life

These vintage fern prints are so pretty. (The whole shop is great.)

I’m obsessed with this winter white loungewear and this cozy look.

And I did an Instagram Story of my new 2018 journal setup if you’re into that sort of thing! (It’s pinned to my IG profile as a Highlight.)

The week ahead…

Continuing to take it easy, thinking about goals and priorities for the next few months, and doing my best to stay warm!

52. Chill

December 31, 2017

This week was very cold! It was also romjul, aka my favorite time to be in the city. Here’s what else I had going on…

Writing

Friday Night Chores Are The Gateway To A Great Weekend

57 Reasons To Love 2017

15 Simple And Easy Tips For Dealing With Literal Trash

My Best New Year’s Eve Was The One I Spent Home Alone Making A List

This Divorced Couple’s Viral Christmas Proposal Video Is The Best Thing You’ll See Today

ICYMI:

The best things I wrote this year
The best things I edited this year
The best things I read this year
The best things I bought this year

Reading

The Worst Job in Technology: Staring at Human Depravity to Keep It Off Facebook, WSJ.

2 Officers Suspended Over Handling of Call After Abuse Victim Dies, The New York Times. This is so terrible.

Ben Hampton Has 670,000 Followers on Instagram. He’s Only 6 Years Old., The Daily Beast.

‘The Post’ and the forgotten security guard who discovered the Watergate break-in, The Washington Post.

The problem with men who harass, and the men who enable them, is not a lack of training, The Spokesman-Review.

My Year of No Shopping, The New York Times.

How—and Why—Did Fruitcake Become a Slur?, Food52.

Fake This Marriage, The Awl. “I live my life as if I’ve waded halfway into a river and neither side looks appealing. I haven’t drowned yet, and from the banks, I appear to be waving.”

The Sneaky Allure of the ‘Bachelor’ Instagram Influencer, Racked. “It’s a kind of ordinary we can relate to, but also aspire to enough to stay enthralled. Not to mention it’s soothing in a mindless sort of way: Instagram, like The Bachelor, is a visual platform that rewards the beautiful, the simple, and the inoffensive.”

Things We Stopped Being Mad About in 2017, Jezebel. “Anger is an interesting emotion, isn’t it? As it turns out, you can’t be mad about every single thing all the time. Your body will just say: ‘No, sorry, please stop! Let’s buy an overpriced candle!’ This is not something that was necessarily clear to us prior to November 2016, but these days, when every hour or so offers a generous continental buffet of enraging news content, one simply must learn to prioritize.” I loved this.

The Yule Log: A Pagan Ritual Turned YouTube Phenomenon, Quartzy. Also, try not to get teary when reading this Amazon review.

Spend Your New Year’s Eve Alone, Jezebel.

Sorry if, sorry you…, The Spinoff.

Let’s All Stop Saying Bless You, Lifehacker. Honestly, I’m sold. 

This amazing thread on watching Get Out.

And this week’s TWIM.

Best life

The inside of this journal looks so pretty — and all it requires is a stamp.

I made this taco soup the other night; I forgot how easy it is!

My coworker included these beautiful hangers in a post and now they are all I can think about.

I love/want this yoga bodysuit (but it’s too expensive for me).

And after multiple people mentioned it/recommended it, I finally signed up for the Girls’ Night In newsletter. (“A newsletter for women who’d rather stay in tonight” is…me.)

The week ahead…

Watching the new season of Black Mirror and welcoming 2018! Happy New Year, friends!

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