The week in review

August 2, 2015

So many things happened this week, starting with my new look!

pink hair

My new pink hair is the result of a BuzzFeed original project that I’m working on for next month. We shot on Monday and Tuesday; it was a ton of fun and went really well. I’m still adjusting to having pink hair but I’m into it, and the response from others — particular from complete strangers — has been really positive.

bright hair colors

pink hair

Other highlights from this week included publishing the gender-flipped bachelorette party shoot I worked on last month, puppy sitting (!!), going out for tater tots, getting completely addicted to UnReal on Lifetime (watchitwatchitwatchit), getting contacts, and trying deep-fried Oreos for the first time at Eric’s company picnic!

If Bachelor Parties Looked Like Bachelorette Parties (Photo: Lauren Zaser / Buzzfeed Life)

puppy sitting

deep fried oreos

It was very a full week, and a very good one!

Other good stuff from this week…

Writing

If Bachelor Parties Looked Like Bachelorette Parties

This Bride Asked Her 89-Year-Old Grandma To Be Her Bridesmaid

10 Life-Changing Things To Try In August

15 Temporary Tattoos Every Hopeless Romantic Will Love

Reading

Vocal Fries: Now With 10% Less Internalized Misogyny, The Hairpin.

Inside the Family Battle for the Newman’s Own Brand Name, Vanity Fair.

My Private Shame: I Didn’t Report My Sexual Assault, ELLE.

How the penis disappeared from the sex toy, Fusion.

Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You Fucking Idiots, Skepchick.

How A Small-Time Drug Dealer Rescued Dozens During Hurricane Katrina, BuzzFeed.

A Renaissance painting reveals how breeding changed watermelons, Vox. OK, I never understood trypophobia until I saw this image; it makes me deeply uncomfortable in a way that I cannot explain.

Farting Is My Secret Feminist Weapon that Works Every Time, xoJane. This is ridiculous but the writing made me laugh.

Can Geeky-Con’s Founder Change Fandom For The Better? BuzzFeed.

How Hurricane Katrina Turned Pets Into People, BuzzFeed.

My Outrage Is Better Than Your Outrage, The Atlantic.

Can Micellar Water Replace Your Whole Skincare Routine? ELLE. Dallas backed up everything in this post so I bought some on Friday.

And this made me laugh so hard I was in tears.

The week ahead…

Turning 30, nbd.

Reading: Hausfrau

July 27, 2015

Like I’m guessing many people who read Hausfrau did, I first picked the book up because of its ridiculously beautiful cover.

hausfrau

While I didn’t think I would like Jill Alexander Essbaum’s novel all that much, I actually really liked it. It was dark and intense and you sort of read it with a sense of dread…but I somehow still found it very enjoyable. Here’s the book’s description from the inside cover:

“Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno—a banker—and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zurich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds that it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.”

So, from that description and the blurbs on the back cover (and all over the Internet) that compare the book to Anna Karenina, I read Hausfrau with a “welp, this is going to end badly” mindset. That’s not a spoiler, more of a way of setting the tone for the book; that tone is, I think, part of why I enjoyed it. I didn’t expect a story of redemption, but a story of desperation and despair. When I read some reviews on Goodreads after I finished it, it seemed like the people who didn’t like it expected it to be the former. They were frustrated with Anna for continuing to make shitty choices and found her unlikable. And she is unlikable, but because Hausfrau is written in third-person, I never felt like I was being asked to like her. There was no defense of her choices or her continued fuckups; they were presented very matter-of-factly. Though some readers found her sympathetic, I’m not one of them. But I really liked the book anyway.

What makes the 320-page novel so good os the prose and the storytelling, which is elegant and tight and raw and dark. Hausfrau cuts between different moments in the past and Anna’s therapy sessions, and while that many flashbacks can be excruciating in some books or in TV shows, the therapy moments are only about a paragraph long so the book still moved quickly. About three-fourths of the way through, it begins to drag a bit, but not for long. The last few pages were so vivid and intense, and the last line of the book kind of took my breath away.

Hausfrau is not a light read, but it’s still very readable, if that makes sense; I got through it in a few days and I’ll probably read it again at some point. Definitely recommend it.

The week in review

July 26, 2015

Photo: John Gara for BuzzFeed Life; Calligraphy: Laura Hooper

The shoot I had scheduled for last week had to be pushed back, so I ended up with two days at work that were completely meeting-free. It was great! I also started making my to-do lists for each day the evening before instead of the morning of, and I muted a bunch of desktop notifications; both changes led to a very focused and productive week. On Friday, I was on a shoot with Laura Hooper all day, which was great. She’s incredibly talented and it was so fun to watch her in action. This weekend Eric and I went to the Mets game, ate crepes, and did a little shopping, and I met friends for drinks, tacos, and discussion of Taylor Swift, feminism, and kittens at Chilo’s. Good stuff all around!

Here are some other highlights from the week…

Writing

These Mini-Pizzas In Tiny Boxes Win The Late-Night Wedding Snack Game

This Ring Bearer Stole The Show At Her Mom’s Wedding

Reading

Helping Prisoners’ Voices Be Heard By Their Children and Reading Aloud to My Daughter, From Prison, The New York Times.

What If I Knew I Was Beautiful, BuzzFeed SOML.

Why You Should Wear the Same Outfit to Every Meeting, Racked.

“Where’s My Cut?”: On Unpaid Emotional Labor, The Toast.

I Completed Six of the Internet’s Top Body Shaming Challenges from Bikini Bridge to the Finger Trap Test, xoJane.

Ex-Googler says she exposed company-wide pay inequality with crowdsourced spreadsheet, Fusion.

First Look at the New Food52 Office, Brought to You by #MOVE52, Food52. I am so deeply jealous that people get to work in a place that looks like that every day.

Racist Readers Need Not Apply, Houstonia.

Think Like A Lady, Buy Like A Man: A Woman’s Guide to Dude Products, Racked.

I’m also back to reading Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South, which I started a while ago but didn’t ever finish.

The week ahead…

Big shoot on Monday and Tuesday! I’ve been prepping for this for a while so I’m anxious about it/excited to see it happen.

The week in review

July 19, 2015

On Wednesday night, Eric and I headed to SummerScreen in McCarren Park to see an outdoor screening of Wet Hot American Summer.

Since the eight prequel episodes are debuting on Netflix at the end of this month, a bunch of cast members and director David Wain showed up. (David Wain handed Eric and me Rice Krispie treats and said, “It’s just like summer camp!”) And they screened the first episode of the prequel before the movie. It was a pretty great summer night.

This weekend has been pretty nice too; last night, we got dinner from Tepache, a new restaurant in our neighborhood, and watched Despicable Me, which I hadn’t seen. That, combined with this article from The Awl, has me feeling like I finally understand Minions, maybe even enough to give this Minion erotica a read.

Here are some other highlights from the week…

Buying

Bean boots. I ordered them in July because I expect they’ll be sold out from October to February this year (like they were last year), and I just cannot wear my huge-ass Sorel boots on a day to day basis this winter.

Writing

Here’s How People Of Different Ages Define Love

These Boxers Promise To Solve All Your Boner Problems

The Ultimate Wedding Guest Poll (I was genuinely surprised by a lot of the answers here…people are more chill than I expected!)

Reading

Here’s The Trick To Getting “Nude” Lips If You’re A Black Girl, BuzzFeed.

Black Dancers, White Ballets, The New York Times.

The Women Who Rule Pluto, The Atlantic.

The Hopeful, Heartbreaking Ads Placed by Formerly Enslaved People in Search of Lost Family, Slate.

Black Women Have to Put Up with Bullshit Beauty Standards, Vice.

How seltzer water became cooler than Coke, The Washington Post.

The Myth of the Ethical Shopper, Highline.

17 Times Female Athletes Had To Put Up With Sexist Bullshit, BuzzFeed.

Kitchen gadgets review: the Egg Master – a horrifying, unholy affair, The Guardian.

Why The Key Character In ‘Inside Out’ Is The One Who Isn’t There, NPR.

I also read The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson this week and I highly recommend it. It was both educational and deeply moving, and the stories Wilkerson tells are truly humbling. Add it to your list.

The week ahead…

The shoot I’ve been working on was pushed back, and I’m looking forward to a quieter week around the office. Meanwhile, Eric and I just started planning a weekend getaway for my birthday next month, and I’m pretty pumped about that!

The week in review

July 12, 2015

fuck off lighter

This week, it felt like the Internet had no chill. The commenters were just SO aggrieved on every article I read. But this weekend has been fantastic, probably because we finally got some decent weather.

Brooklyn

margarita

Chilo's tacos

Hausfrau

On Friday night, I went out with coworkers while Eric did the same. Yesterday we went out for brunch, wandered around Brooklyn, and went to see Inside Out, which was WONDERFUL. This morning we went out for bagels and coffee and I’m meeting a friend for drinks later. It’s basically been a perfect weekend.

Here are some other highlights from the week:

Writing

17 Tips For Getting Dascha Polanco’s Pink Hair Color

Wanting

This outfit.

A Creamsicle cocktail.

Everything at Pink Olive, where Eric and I went yesterday.

Entertained by

Key & Peele’s Menstruation Orientation and Pirate Chantey.

Matt McGorry talking about feminism here and here.

And the decor/vibe/”fuck off” lighters at The Boobie Trap, where I went for a shoot on Monday.

Eating

Tacos and margaritas at Chilo’s, eggs with crispy fried dough at Miriam, and an everything bagel with herbed cream cheese and cucumbers at Bedford Hill.

Reading

If Male Actors Were Described The Way Female Actors Are, BuzzFeed.

A Father’s Struggle to Stop His Daughter’s Adoption, The Atlantic.

Revenge Killing, The New Yorker.

Meet the Women Behind the Funniest Lady Site You’re Not Reading Yet, Racked.

Why Did Mechanics In New York’s Worst Neighborhood Go On Hunger Strike?, Jalopnik.

No, Queer Women Aren’t “Just Experimenting”, BuzzFeed.

Just don’t do it, Language: A Feminist Guide.

Black Woman Artist Poses Nude at Former New York City Slave Trading Sites, Including Wall Street, Black Girl with Long Hair.

How a Bungled Police Investigation Led to a Possible Rape Victim’s Shaming, Riverfront Times.

Everything You Need To Know About Hulk Hogan vs Gawker, Vice. I went wayyyyyy down this rabbit hole this weekend.

Amy Poehler: ‘I see life as being attacked by a bear’, The Guardian.

How I Learned to Love My Body, by Orange Is the New Black’s Danielle Brooks, Glamour.

And I read Our Endless Numbered Days and Hausfrau (more on both at a later date).

The week ahead…

Prepping for two photo shoots that are happening later this month!

How to cook bacon perfectly

July 9, 2015

Like most people with functioning mouths, I enjoy eating bacon. And I’ve finally found the best way to cook it so I don’t end up with grease everywhere and curly, unevenly-cooked bacon.

The Secret to Perfect Bacon

1. Take the package of bacon from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes, slowly going from chilled to something nearer to room temperature. (Even letting it sit for 10 minutes helps.)

2. Put the bacon into a room-temperature pan — not a pre-heated one — and cook it over medium/medium-low heat until it’s done.

3. Enjoy your crispy and flat bacon.

I can’t remember where I read about this method, but it works so well. Apparently when cold bacon hits a hot pan, it immediately curls up. But when the pan isn’t hot and the bacon isn’t cold, it cooks evenly and stays nice and flat. I’ve been doing this for a few months and it’s worked perfectly every time!

DIY vase project

July 6, 2015

This vase was one of the first things I made with my Silhouette Portrait.

best buds

Photo: Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed Life

Learning to use the Silhouette is definitely taking a lot of trial and error, but this project wasn’t too bad. I quickly discovered the “Weld” function, which is what I used to get the letters to cut out as one piece instead of separately. (The font I used is called Rochester, by the way.) And it wasn’t terribly easy to get the words onto the curved vase. But I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I like the idea of giving it as a housewarming or hostess gift, along with a bunch of fresh flowers.

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!

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