Week Links [2 August]

Good morning! I took a bit of a sabbatical for personal reasons, but I’m back and writing and maybe I’ll even share some of that at some point. So, I guess, here’s the past month of things!

Nicholas Braun's "Antibodies (Do You Have The)" | Know Your Meme

  1. I am a Succession stan, so Cousin Greg’s new video is the only thing I have the capacity to care about right now. Congrats to Nicholas Braun on his Emmy nomination!
  2. I started Bunheads, finally. There’s really no excuse for the fact that I hadn’t seen it, Amy Sherman-Palladino being my problematic fave and all. It’s basically like, “What if Stars Hollow but…California? And dancing!” but it’s enjoyable as everything else she puts out. I’m clocking the recycled references. And Sutton Foster holds it down as our Lorelai proxy—not an easy feat!
  3. So…did you know that they have original press photos from movies and TV shows on eBay? I may or may not be lurking on every single one feat. Niles Crane.
  4. I’m watching every version of A Star Is Born in chronological order right now and it is an absolute journey. They’re all available on HBO Max.
  5. John Legend’s WTF is a must-listen podcast episode. I can’t wait to check out his new album, Bigger Love, which has been out for a while, but since I listen to nothing but podcasts, I’m usually a few weeks behind the curve.
  6. On that note, Jim Carrey was recently on WTF as well. He’s a modern sage and humanity doesn’t deserve him. I’m looking forward to reading his book, Memoirs and Misinformation.
  7. As someone who has been on quite the quarantine drinking roller coaster, I’m interested in finding alternate ways to treat myself that still feel decadent. I’ve heard really good things about Seedlip, a brand of non-alcoholic distilled spirits. It’s a UK company, but apparently tons of bars in NYC stock it. I may or may not have bought the bundle…will report back.
  8. This might sound insane, but I’ve recently rediscovered my deep and abiding love for Taco Bell. As someone with Food Issues™️, I haven’t really eaten fast food in about a decade, but I have opened my heart back up to my childhood fave. If you know what to order, it can actually be one of the healthiest fast-food chains, and it’s definitely got the best and most varied vegetarian options. The best part? You could pay for a full meal with the loose change you find in your couch. Get thee a bean burrito and a spicy potato taco.
  9. The You’re Wrong About episodes about Jessica Simpson’s book are outstanding.
  10. We lost a real one last month. Rest in Power, Rep. John Lewis. This man devoted his life to service and the Civil Rights Movement, and I’m humbled to have shared the planet with him for 28 years. I do worry that including this news item in this sort of post is inappropriate, but it truly is something that has affected me recently, and I want to leave the tributes to those more eloquent and informed than I am.

    Updated: Former President Obama to speak at Rep. John Lewis' funeral
    photo credit

Until next week,

c

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Subtitle: White Guilt, White Fragility

Alt. Subtitle: I wrote about my feelings because of course I did

I started a post a few weeks ago that I wanted to be a long, comprehensive guide to anti-racist activism. I wanted to signal boost the work of Black and marginalized creators. I had big dreams! I kept the title of the post, because when I look back at my own body of work/internet footprint, I want it to reflect what I actually stand for. Here’s how that post started:

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to announce as loud as we possibly fucking can that BLACK LIVES MATTER and ACAB. And in the spirit of these two tenets that guide my beliefs/value system, let us proceed with an (incomplete) list of things you can actually do from home to make a difference re: the current news cycle.

      1. I mean, we’ve known J.K. Rowling was a TERF, but she’s such a bigoted TERF that she managed to distract from worldwide protests for racial justice with a few tweets. She retweeted this article! I couldn’t even make it past the first couple of paragraphs because it was so dumb and hateful! To insinuate that lesbians are the most marginalized letter in the queer initialism is simply too much to bear, especially considering that Black trans women are NOTORIOUSLY the most targeted demographic on this earth. We are *literally* in the middle of a civil rights movement about abolishing the oppressive forces that allow for the unchecked murder of Black folks, particularly Black trans folks. I’m not saying it’s easy to be queer—every demographic in the LGBTQIA+ community experiences undue pain and burden because we live in a society that is still evolving, but my god, a straight cis-woman callously using lesbians to spout anti-trans hate speech? Retire, bitch.
        1. Donate to The Okra Project, which has two mental health recovery funds specifically for Black trans women and Black trans men.
        2. This article has a super thorough list of ways to support Black trans people right now, from signing petitions to donations.
        3. Remember to unfollow anyone who posts hate speech and to use your dollar wisely. Don’t support or buy from any person or institution that is anti-Black or anti-trans.
      2. Well, the Lindsey Graham stuff was going to come out eventually (pun not intended). I will never be able to see a ladybug again without throwing up, and if you don’t know what I mean, please don’t Google it and traumatize yourself. I’ve curated an internet experience for myself in which I actually didn’t see any overtly homophobic jokes about him; I just saw the reactions, from which two very important themes emerged: a. Most homophobes are straight and b. No one should be outed…unless they’ve devoted their career to enacting policies harmful to the LGBTQ community, in which case, fuck them and their hypocritical bullshit. Him being gay is not the butt of the joke, and internalized homophobia is real, but Lindsey Graham is a piece of human garbage who deserves to be removed from office. Click here to donate to his opponent, Jaime Harrison. I don’t know that much about him beyond the Issues section of his site (not exactly a leftist, is he?), but he would be a vast improvement for South Carolina and we need more people of color in Congress.

Pretty well-intentioned, right? I mean, I guess. But in my haste to address the issues of the day, I think it bears noting that my first two points, while both containing links to donate to causes that help Black folks, are still ostensibly about white people. In all the internet chatter, what stood out most to me were queer issues centering white people. Issues that pertain more immediately to my identity and concerns. That’s not allyship. Yes, I’d been donating, retweeting, posting 20 Instagram stories a day with links to anti-racist resources, but I was still thinking about myself. So I took some time to listen and reflect on what I could do that would actually effect change. And none of that is going to take place here. It’s going to take place in Boston at protests. It’s going to take place at really awkward family dinners where I have to explain that there aren’t, in fact, “lots of good cops.” I can’t participate in blatant slacktivism and give myself a pat on the back because I posted a link to a change.org petition.

This is a dumb blog that no one reads that I created when I was 23 and wanted to be Alison Roman, or whomever the Alison Roman was five years ago I chose the name “Della Bites” because it was supposed to be a recipe blog. My cat’s name is Della, and “della” means “of the” in Italian…it was a poor attempt at a pun, and I committed really hard by buying the domain. It evolved into a place where I just share things that I like, be they leopard-print peacoats or esoteric Netflix comedies. So while the real work has to happen off-line, what I can do here is make a more conscious effort to boost Black-owned businesses and support Black and Indigenous creators, artists, and activists. Black Americans make up roughly 15% of the population; it stands to reason that 15% or more of everything that I share or talk about should reflect that. I already have a ton of guilt about the capitalist “window-shopping” aspect of this blog, which conflicts with my increasingly communist-leaning values; by sharing content from primarily white creators, I’m a participant in white supremacy. There’s no getting around that.

So, ultimately, fuck our good intentions. They’re not good enough. Actions speak louder than words, and no amount of my white self-aggrandisement will stop police from killing Black Americans unchecked, corporations (and the Supreme Fucking Court) from bulldozing sacred territory for pipelines, or the Earth from careening into the sun. When you scroll through Instagram, do you mostly see white faces? When you shop online, are all the models thin and white? If that’s been your normal for your entire life (*raises hand*), you don’t even notice it until you start looking. The first step of actually doing something is by looking in the mirror and taking accountability for your own racism (and not by doing a black-and-white front-facing celebrity video).

I vow to do better in my private and public lives. And if I fail, I want my white friends to call me out, because the onus is not on people of color to make sure white folks are doing the work. Change is already in the air—it’s palpable. We’re living through a Civil Rights Movement, and as bleak as things seem right now, I’ve never felt more hopeful and energized to participate. So things around here (and on my socials, etc) are going back to “business as usual,” but I want that to reflect a new “usual” or normal.” I worry that even this post is taking space away from folks whose voices we need to hear more than mine, but you gotta write what you know.

Cheers,

c

Sunday Scaries [5.31.20]

Good morning…I guess?

Things are awful right now. Things have always been awful, but they’ve reached a boiling point. I’m delusional optimistic enough to dream about a future where we can abolish the police and put an stop to the seemingly endless murders of black Americans, but it’s not incumbent upon those same black folks whose lives are at risk to fix it. It’s on us—the people with the privilege to walk through life in relative safety. If you have the means this week, please donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund in support of the protesters. I know that this small act made me feel slightly less helpless in the face of tragedy. It is, by definition, the least I could do. I stand in solidarity with the protesters across the nation and will use my voice and my wallet whenever possible to aid in the fight.

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image source: @arianagrande on instagram

Ariana Grande posted the above image on Friday, a list of the names of a fraction of the black lives that have been lost just in recent memory. I have spent so much of the past week crying and thinking of them, and thinking of all of the people who, as a result of police brutality, live in constant fear. I can’t believe not murdering people on the basis of race is a political statement rather than a universal moral belief.

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burlington, vt

*This post was written (and purchases made) prior to the murder of George Floyd by white supremacist police officer Derek Chauvin, which I feel bears noting because thinking about anything other than how to make change right now feels frivolous. Posting on social media is NOT the same thing as activism, but using a social platform and not discussing this feels wildly tone-deaf. This pointless little blog has always been a place where I can vent about things ranging from laughably stupid to deadly serious, and I’m so lucky to have a space to do so. I will never take this freedom for granted.

    1. Bookshop posted a list of anti-racist reading material and I can’t wait to check out some of these titles.
    2. I have officially gone insane and reorganized my refrigerator no fewer than 5 times during quarantine. The Home Edit dropped their fridge & freezer line last week, so you KNOW I snagged some drawers. I was literally inside my fridge with a measuring tape–should I seek treatment?
    3. Just started listening to Jessica Simpson’s Open Book and I started crying halfway through the prologue. I was never a huge JS fan, but I love memoirs and I’m so inspired by her bravery in telling her story. Even within the opening pages, she confronts so many issues that a lot of women never feel empowered enough to admit to or talk about. I’m listening via the Libby app; I cannot stress enough how important it is to support libraries.
    4. I am exclusively wearing t-shirt dresses these days. I used to love this dress, but I’m still not sure that we can support Everlane again, so I bought this one to try out.
    5. I keep seeing these as a promoted ad, and I definitely won’t get one for a while since outside is cancelled, but it seems like a great idea for when society reopens. Perfect for travel!
    6. I bought these for my bedroom and I could not be more pleased with the purchase.
    7. I caved and got a new laptop. Mine has been faithfully serving me for over 7 years, and it was just time. I justified the purchase because I’m going to start taking classes again (apparently one Master’s degree wasn’t enough…) although the *second* I completed the purchase of the new computer, my current one miraculously started functioning well again…Apple is Big Brother.
    8. Pretty sure I need to stop being suckered in by celebrity home goods lines, but these bowls are the best things I own and I want to eat dinner out of them every night.
    9. After decades of playing editions from the 1980s, I finally upgraded to a new Trivial Pursuit. I did win the first game by a hair, if you’re wondering.
    10. All of my song challenge playlists are done. End of an era.
      1. challenge 1: songs
      2. challenge 2: more songs
      3. challenge 3: even more songs
    11. Bonus Content: Punch Up the Jam did an episode about the greatest song of all time.

Rest in Power, and here’s hoping that by this time next week, we see some fucking justice.

-c

 

Cat Lady

So, full disclosure, I’m actually not much of an animal person. I never had pets growing up, and I was afraid of dogs and freaked out by cats into my twenties. However, when I was 21, I made a friend named Michael, who had a 6-year-old kitty named Della. She’s 13 now, and I’ve gotten to spend over 6 glorious years with her, which I have cherished, even though she’s an asshole. I have grown increasingly fond of cats over the past half-decade, and while I still don’t touch the litter box or feed her (those are Michael’s jobs), I spoil her with affection and sacrifice all of my nice furniture to her hair and claws. If you know anything about me, it’s that I really value the aesthetic of my home, so having ugly pet supplies is not an option (if I ever have a kid, the poor thing’s going to be playing with wooden blocks, because I’m not letting plastic Fisher-Price stuff into my house).

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della street fig: cutest cat 2007-present

I’m always on the lookout for ways to upgrade my space, and that space includes an animal for the foreseeable future.

Stylish Litter Boxes

I am in denial about the concept of litter boxes. Why? Why does this animal have to eliminate waste inside of my house? Can’t they breed a type of cat that doesn’t do this? It’s frankly vile, but at least it’s less vile than TOUCHING a dog’s POOP with your HANDS when you walk them (Seriously? Why would anyone ever get a dog?)

If this hideous monstrosity needs to be within the walls of my domicile, I’d at least like it to be nice-looking.

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Litter Mats

If the existence of litter boxes wasn’t disgusting enough, cat spill little pebbles of litter when they come out of the box, so you have to put down a mat to catch it (and any other surprises that might leak out (vomit face emoji). We have the second one, which I use as an extra mat at the edge of the existing mat underneath her box.

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Pet Beds

I mentioned before that Della is an asshole, right? She has two beds, and still chooses to sleep on my furniture (she has a predilection for slipper chairs). Since she doesn’t use her beds, I have no grounds upon which to get her another one, but that won’t stop me from browsing.

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Michael and I often marvel that there’s a small, wild creature living with us. She has a very strong personality and is extremely opinionated. Gender is a construct, but my cat…is a girl. I can’t explain it, but she exudes a very feminine energy. I think she’s going stir-crazy with us being home all the time, but she still snuggles under the covers with us at night, so she must like us a little bit. I think, in quarantine, we can all learn a lot from indoor cats: take frequent naps, get as cozy as possible, and learn to relax.

-c

 

 

Stay Home & Stay Sane

So, everyone’s sharing their tips for how to maintain a sliver of sanity during quarantine, so I thought I’d jump into the mix and share what’s (barely) working for me. This historical moment will probably traumatize us for the rest of our lives, but instead of living in a state of constant fear and anxiety, I’m trying to be grateful for this rare chance to rest. Negativity and stress actually tear down your immune system; we need to take care of ourselves and our physical and mental health during times of crisis and grief. If we’re lucky enough to be safe and healthy at home, we need to show solidarity to our communities by being the best versions of ourselves and helping wherever we can. So, rather than list a bunch of charities you can donate to (that will come, trust me), here are ten little (mostly) free ways to honor yourself and your space right now.

Sanity GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
source: giphy
  1. Create a morning coffee (or tea!) routine. We can’t go out for coffee right now (I mourn it constantly), but now is the time to up your homebrew game! My go-to is the Chemex. It’s a little bit more labor-intensive than a French press, but the returns are far from diminishing. It’s by far the smoothest at-home coffee experience you can have. If you have an income right now, splurging on a Chemex and a gooseneck kettle will pay for itself within the month. I’ve come to cherish my quiet coffee time in the morning.
  2. *very Eminem voice* Clean out your closet! I find The Curated Closet to be a great resource for determining your personal style. What better time could there be to do the workbook than when you’re stuck inside with no work dress code? This is a. super fun, b. a great way to get rid of clutter, and c. a way to make a small income during a time when finances might be hard (through resale sites like Poshmark).
  3. Lean into work! If you’re lucky enough to be employed and able to work from home right now, lean into it. I’m super fortunate to actually enjoy my job, but even if you don’t particularly like your line of work, now’s a good time to embrace what you’ve got for the moment. If you’re working, that’s 8 whole hours of your day that you’re no longer obligated to fill!
  4. That being said, establish work-life boundaries. Working from home was going to go one of two ways: either I was going to goof off all day and get nothing done, or turn into a workaholic zombie who refused to take breaks. It’s the latter. Set an alarm at the same time every day and eat lunch, or take a walk, or in my case, take a shower. Get away from your computer screen if you can. You deserve it! Breaks are a legally-mandated part of your workday!
  5. Pick up a book. This has been the hardest part of quarantine for me. Even though I’m faced with endless time on my hands, I, like a lot of women, feel guilty whenever I have free time. I feel like I should be cooking, or cleaning, or working, or writing, or learning French, or literally doing anything besides relaxing. We need to stop punishing ourselves. Pick up the book, watch the tv show, do the puzzle. Do what you like.
  6. Meditate. Full disclosure, I have not actually started meditating BUT I know that I need to because I have anxiety that tends to keep me up at night. There’s, quite literally, no time like the present to start this healthy habit. Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now, but meditation can be free, very beneficial, and a far cry from Goop wellness culture.
  7. Make a mood board. The first thing I did when quarantine started was clean, organize, and redecorate my house like a madwoman. What I wish I had done was create a mood board to figure out the direction I wanted my décor to take. Do I want to make big changes or work with what I have? Do I need a new pink shag rug so that my bedroom will be “perfect?” Making a décor mood board (or, for that matter, a fashion one) is like a return to the magic of childhood imagination.
  8. Do something you’ve never done before. My example of this is that (I’m aware of how privileged this sounds) I had never actually painted the walls of my house before. My father-in-law does all the major updates here, so I was afraid to give it a try for fear of “messing up” all of his hard work. But on Saturday night I got so bored that I said, “Fuck it.” I went to the basement, looked through all the paint colors, found a cool grey, and painted a door and some faux “gables” on top. They came out really awesome and, as it turns out, I had no reason to be afraid! I’m a good painter. There’s no better time than now to take a creative risk, and there are so many things you can do that don’t cost a cent.
  9. Whatever you do, don’t punish yourself for eating. Not that you should ever have misgivings about eating, but we’re trapped inside all day! If you want a snack, have a snack! And if you’re like me, and you have the opposite problem (completely forgetting to eat all day without structured mealtimes), set an alarm and force yourself to establish healthy habits. You deserve to nourish your body.
  10. Dance like nobody’s watching. It’s a cliché for a reason, people! I have been putting on late ’90s pop, or Broadway musicals, and putting on full performances in my kitchen. I even cut my toe dancing, I was going so hard. It’s not only a great form of exercise for those of us who are indoor cats, but the movement and the music gives you a mega-blast of endorphins.

Well, I’m not used to being so cheery and positive, but I think that a lifetime of catastrophizing and anxiety have really prepared me for actual chaos. I’ve always put the needs of others before my own, but we’re really in a “put your oxygen mask on before helping others” situation, so I’m slowing down and honoring that.

-c

Shout Out Sunday 1.27.19

Greetings, people of earth!  In personal news, I’m still adjusting to having a real job. It’s weird…people with “real jobs” work soooo much lesssss than people with service industry jobs. I actually feel guilty! Well, I’d feel guilty if I were making more money. I’m making starter wages for a 21-year-old, hardly (read: not) enough to be financially solvent.

I actually started this post two whole weeks ago, but somehow, time got away from me. I’ve just been working, cooking, spending as much time with my husband as possible, and getting ready for my week-long trip to Florida! We’re doing an overnight in St. Pete and seeing Neko Case in concert! Oh, and the night before I leave, I’m seeing Dawes at the Wang Center! Feeling very blessed these days.

Alright, without further ado, I present my favorites from the past couple of weeks).

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please enjoy this incredible picture of my cat
  1. New season of Schitt’s Creek started!!
  2. I started using DuoLingo and I can’t stop! I’m brushing up on my French, primarily, but I also started courses in Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, Welsh, Portuguese, and Russian. I tested into a decent level of Spanish, which is surprising since I’ve never taken a class in it. I can’t believe how much Italian I’ve forgotten—I studied it for over a year in high school. Swedish, however, is by far my favorite. It’s such a cool and logical language. I highly recommend this service to anyone who has an interest in flexing their foreign language skills.
  3. Kevin T. Porter comin’ thru with the updated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel soundtrack playlist!
  4. I know I was sleeping on this, but Lizzo’s new single “Juice” is everything. Also, check out “Scuse Me” which is just a perfect song.
  5. I started meal prepping for the week and it’s honestly changed my life. My digestion has been better, and I have wholesome, healthy breakfasts and lunches prepared every day for work. I was really inspired by McKel at Nutrition Stripped. She recently launched a free e-course on meal planning and it was such a great jumping off point. Gimme all the jar salads and nourish bowls! I have to tell you, jar salads have been a game-changer for office lunch! It’s so much easier to say no to take out when you have a big serving of all your favorite legumes, grains, and veggies waiting for you in the office fridge.
  6. Rob Sheffield wrote an article about Britney Spears’s first album and it is personally so vindicating for me. Fun fact: he’s my 10th grade chemistry teacher’s brother!
  7. I just found out about Unroll.me and I am obsessed! Subscription e-mails are the bane of my existence and this service is my new favorite thing on earth.
  8. Madewell sale is 40% off right now. I got glitter statement earrings because of course I did.
  9. I just bought a tiny humidifier for my cubicle because I am 100 years old.
  10. Can’t get enough of La Neige‘s Water Sleeping Mask and Lip Mask.
  11. I really want to try Purple Carrot but it’s not really in my budget at the moment. I think it would be such a help in getting us to eat exclusively vegan meals.
  12. I’m catching up on back episodes of podcasts and this conversation between Roxane Gay and Cameron Esposito is powerful AF.
  13. I’ve been eating almost exclusively plant-based lately and I’m loving it! I still have the occasional egg and some of my meals include a little bit of cheese, but that’s been it. It’s made my cooking so much more creative. I think I’m going to start posting recipes again, since that was the whole point of this blog in the first place.
  14. Jaboukie Young-White is guesting on Pete Holmes’s Crashing and he’s amazing. I’ve been following him on Twitter forever!
  15. Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, which I’m listening to on audiobook, is so deeply moving that I cry almost every time I listen. It’s somehow even better than I thought it would be. 10/10 recommend.
  16. The Shutdown is (temporarily) over! My heart goes out to the government workers who have been furloughed (without pay) or forced to work without pay. This shutdown was about 15 days longer than any other in history, and the administration should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting workers and neglecting basic services and essential government functions, but they won’t be because they are all chaotic evil. Each and every one of the 800,000 people immediately affected are such heroes.

Shout Out Sunday 12.9.18

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Back in the saddle again (metaphorically, of course, I’m afraid of horses). Today’s post really runs the gamut of topics, but I hope you find some new faves! As I get older, I’m investing in a quality, ethically-made wardrobe and trying to support small businesses (although my love of Target and my problematic AF love for Amazon may never die). The world is on fire, so if I can even do a tiny part to help, I’m in.

  1. I’m ditching bras in 2019! That’s right—I’m freeing myself from the Victoria’s Secret prison. I’ve been getting almost all my bras from VS for 15 years! The brand is…not great to begin with, and the quality has been declining for years. Also, tiny skinny straps! I feel like I’ve been untwisting a bra strap since I was in middle school! Now, I’m no Dolly Parton, but my girls do need support, which is why I’m switching over to bralettes. Madewell has some amazing ones on sale right now, and Everlane is the new go-to. The Tank Bra is $22 (at least $10 less than the cheapest VS bra, I ordered one in every color) and it so comfortable I could die. Plus, “lift and separate” is a thing of the past—my boobs have never looked better than in this bra, doing their own thing. Plus, Everlane fucking owns. I know that my small-ish breasts (34C) give me the privilege of metaphorically burning my bras, so if anyone has any ethical full-bust recommendations, hit me up! P.S. I’m donating my gently used bras to I Support the Girls.
  2. Spectrum Boutique is an amazing, sex-positive, gender-inclusive sex toy store that my husband came across on Instagram. They’re based out of Detroit, and their selection is curated by Zoë Ligon, a sex educator and journalist! We’re huge fans in our house of supporting small businesses, especially those that give the finger to gender norms!
  3. The new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is out! My husband and I are bingeing it this weekend. I’m so excited. MMM is one of my favorite pieces of recent media. It might even be my favorite show of all time!
  4. I did it, guys! I finally bought an espresso machine for my house! This is a decade in the making. Since I’m leaving my coffee job at the end of this month (and hopefully forever—sayonara service industry!), I’ll no longer have unlimited access to all manner of caffeinated beverages. I already have a Chemex, two French presses, a pour-over cone, a cold brew Toddy, an Aeropress, and a Verismo frother (whoever took my stovetop espresso maker is dead to me), but there’s really nothing like a proper espresso machine. I went with this model after doing some research online. I really want a $3,000 Breville machine, or something equally extravagant, but this little guy will have to do for now! Other dream espresso machines: LaPavoni, SMEG, illy.
  5. The Glossier perfume is amazing, and I hate perfume. I got a sample of it in my last order and I have been wearing it all the time. It’s the perfect combination of floral and musky without being overbearing or migraine-inducing (I basically go into anaphylactic shock every time I’m around someone with perfume or cologne on). I just bought the bottle and the solid to keep in my purse.
  6. Speaking of purses, I just got this baby in dusty peony and I am obsessed. It was on sale at the time for $129, which is an insane deal. It’s the perfect size for an everyday bag, although fitting a book and a planner is a little tight. It’s also just so cute I could die.
  7. P.S. The surprise sale is happening now!
  8. Have you heard of HARA? It’s an Australian brand that sells organic bamboo intimates and loungewear. Their stuff is definitely on the pricey side, but it’s worth it for the occasional splurge. Their mission is to bring ethically-made, sustainable clothing to the forefront, and we should all celebrate that!
  9. Oh, forgot to mention. Just bought this steaming pitcher and this tamper to go with my espresso machine, because of course I did.
  10. Boston finally nixed single-use plastic bags! California did this ages ago, and the last time I went I was so taken with the idea. Reusable bags cost a dollar and can last for years—why wouldn’t you be using them?? I literally bought reusable grocery bags at Tesco while I was staying in England because there was no way I was cheating just because I was “on vacation.” Hopefully, now that this ordinance is in effect, I’ll stop being the only crazy bag lady in the Boston area! Come on, rest of Massachusetts…do your thing.
  11. This one’s more serious, but it’s something I’m insanely passionate about. I found out about RIP Medical Debt via a New York Times article about two women who fundraised $12,500 and were able to erase $1.5 million worth of medical debt for hundreds of people. Long story short, medical debt causes bankruptcies, ruins people’s lives, and is basically all fake because our healthcare system is complete garbage. Lots of employers will match your donation (mine did!), so you can do double the good by contributing even a small amount. When donating, you can even specify that your contribution helps struggling veterans, which tbh made me tear up. If nothing else this holiday season, please donate to this incredible organization.

That’s all for now, folks! Someday, I’ll start actually writing posts again, but until then, see you on Sunday!

New Year’s Revolutions

My husband is a music teacher, and he recently asked one of his favorite students to write down a list of “New Year’s Music Resolutions.” When she came back, she presented him with her “New Year’s Revolutions,” which he corrected, but found oddly moving. When he told me about this, I was moved too—the idea of a ten-year-old girl starting a revolution felt extremely timely and appropriate. So this year, in addition to my resolutions (no drinking, more sleep, better study habits, etc), I’m making a list of revolutions.

  1. Attend a goddamn protest. My excuse last year was that I worked weekends, so I didn’t have the free time to go show my support for the Women’s March, Science March, etc. I was in California at the time of the badass August protest in Boston, so I was extra unavailable. But now? I have weekends off. There was no defensible reason that I wasn’t at the anniversary of the Women’s March over last weekend. The actual reason? I didn’t even know it was happening until I saw people’s IG posts. I know I’m in a grad school bubble, but I passionately care about these issues, and need to hit the streets to show my support. Throwing occasional money at causes isn’t the same as showing up and fighting. No more slacktivism in 2018.
  2. Buy all organic. Time to put my money where my mouth is. The only way to increase demand for natural, local, and organic foods is to literally increase demand for them. Even though, to quote my ex-boyfriend’s tweet, there’s “no ethical consumption under capitalism,” we can at least fucking try. It’s great that a carton of eggs is 89 cents, but it won’t kill me to buy the cage-free. And it’s not more expensive to buy organic! I mean, per unit, maybe, but you’d be amazed at how much you save when you stop buying processed foods and start buying whole.
  3. Believe in myself. I know this sounds wicked stupid, but for me, a depressive, possible-ADHD-sufferer and probable codependent, believing in myself is a radical, political act. The idea that I deserve a happiness and a good life is an entirely foreign concept to me. When you’re 26 and in grad school, you get asked what you’re going to do with your life constantly, and my answer thus far has been a giant question mark. Not because I don’t want a bright future, but because I’ve never had hopes, dreams, or goals. I didn’t believe that I could. This year, I’m going to write a script, look for internships, keep this blog going, and work on myself in therapy. Being a mess is not “cute” or “creative.” It’s weak.
  4. Curb my spending and shop local. Refer back to the “no ethical consumption under capitalism” notion. In my heart of hearts, I am a lil’ socialist, but in my habits I am basically a corporate monster. I believe in universal basic income, health care, and education, but do literally nothing to work towards those outcomes. “Shopping local” isn’t exactly socialist, but when my money supports local businesses in my community, or women-owned businesses, I feel less shame about parting with it. Why do I have a Starbucks gold card when my local coffee shop has way better coffee (and a way better points system)? Now, to kick the Amazon habit…
  5. Go minimal. This goes along with #4—I DO NOT NEED SO MUCH STUFF. I know I’m in the “accumulation” phase of life—newly married, young, building my identity, yadda yadda yadda—but who ever said that being an adult meant being inundated with THINGS? I’ve been donating and consigning clothes with thredUP, selling my old textbooks on Amazon, and bringing my housewares and miscellaneous items to charity shops. My aspirational self is one that has a capsule wardrobe and lives a Marie Kondo/Swedish Death Cleaning-approved life, but one step at a time.
  6. Speak up. In the current political climate, I’m afraid to use my voice. Not here, or screaming into the Twitter void, but in person. I hate bringing up the subject of politics in conversation, unless I know the affiliation of the persons present. I hate conflict, and it seems that people on the, well, wrong side of history, have very loud, aggressive voices. Since they support him, and the general shadiness of the current incarnation of the GOP, they aren’t amenable to reason. I can’t argue, because they’ve abandoned all logic. My goal for 2018 is to be an ally, and speak up when I hear ignorant people use racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic (Jesus Christ this list is long) language and not back down in the face of dissent. POC, LGBTQ folx, and every other person who is marginalized by the current system deserve better than my meek support and retweets.

Fight the power!

xoxo,

c

Aging Out

Well, it had to happen eventually. Me turning 26 next month, I mean. Twenty-six. Finally, I’ve crossed to the other side of what my imagination was capable of imagining. As a kid or a teen, 25 seemed so adult. That was the age I’d always planned to get married (I did) and start thinking about having kids (I haven’t). But that was it. Everything after 25 was blank and dark. I didn’t, don’t, have a plan.

President Obama was elected President during my senior year of high school, which means the ACA-related mandate that kids can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 was just a fact of my teens and twenties. I got to make my way through college without worrying about healthcare. Sure, I haven’t had dental for a while, but I take excellent care of my teeth and hope to go for a cleaning/checkup soon. I got to experience inexpensive preventative and emergency care, thanks to a decision that allowed me to benefit from the health insurance my father’s company provides us. I have gotten antibiotics to stave off sinus infections and UTIs. I’ve gotten my regular paps. I’ve even been tested for STIs/HIV—something monogamous people rarely feel they need to do. I have a wrist and back brace for when hard work turns into aches and pains.

I rarely visit doctors, because I’m rarely sick. The above list is a compilation of nearly a decade of experiences. I’m the queen of holistic remedies. It’s not unheard of for me to drink raw apple cider, or eat a whole garlic clove. I diffuse essential oils and apply them topically. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that local honey can help with seasonal allergies. I have been very lucky in my life. Not everyone I know has been so lucky.

Several people in my life whom I love dearly have suffered from seizures, Type I diabetes, cancer—things that herbal tea and meditation won’t cure. So, as I’m panicking, approaching my 26th birthday worried about my own access to care, I can’t stop thinking about them. That list of pre-existing conditions? I have exactly one: history of depression. Pretty much every person I know has more—just one of my family members has four on this partial list alone. This list is ableist, transphobic, misogynist, and cruel.

So, I’m turning 26. I finally have to cut the last remaining cord to my parents and get my own insurance. As stressful as it all is, I know, again, that I’m lucky. I’m a privileged, married, white woman, a born citizen of the U.S. I’m employed and educated, living in a blue state where care options are plentiful. I won’t be bankrupted trying to care for myself. But I am such a minuscule sliver of the population. The health insurance I pay for, I’ll rarely need or use.

Speaker Ryan said something, when talking a few months ago about the AHCA: “Why should healthy people pay for sick people to have healthcare?”

I paraphrase, but that sentence is the distillation of the expressed sentiments.

I don’t know, Speaker Ryan. Why should safe drivers pay for reckless ones? Why should financially responsible people pay for over-spenders’ overdraft fees?

We are one people. Every citizen, born, naturalized, and aspiring, is valuable. Their lives are valuable.

The same hypocrites who are pro-life and #AllLivesMatter are plotting to take healthcare away from millions of Americans, which will kill thousands. This is murder—it is a premeditated assault on the poor and disadvantaged, the disabled, the sick.

I am so lucky. I will probably escape from this nightmare unscathed. But because I’m unaffected, at least for now, I’m strong and healthy enough to fight for those that can’t fight for themselves. #Slacktivism is easy—real activism is really hard. I’m not even there yet. I just contacted my rep for the first time on July 4th. I’m a monthly donor to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, but I can’t afford to send them as much as I’d like.

Luckily, my best friend is a woke bae who has marched and prioritized civic engagement like a boss. She has alerted me to a few dope resources that are the perfect intro to doing your part.

***

WTF Just Happened Today – This is a daily briefing on what the government is up to. If North Korea is testing missiles, you can read about it here. If the GOP is still whining about Hillary’s e-mails, it’ll be on here. It’s so hard to keep every crazy thing that’s happened straight!

5calls – 5calls is a site that provides call scripts and contact information for State Reps, Senators, AGs, etc. Reps work for us—make sure they’re legislating your values by calling them.

Countable – Countable provides summaries of past and present bills, plus the information on how your reps have voted. It helps you make those calls armed with the facts. For instance, my rep, whom I voted for and who I feel represents most of my values, recently voted for an extremely shitty, xenophobic bill. Hell no.

Democratic Socialists of America – I still haven’t taken the plunge and joined the DSA, but it’s only a matter of time. Yes, we need to buck the 2-party system (France and Britain’s recent elections are compelling evidence as to why), but I’m hoping my beloved Dems can get it together and swerve left. The DSA is doing super important work at the local level though, so check them out. Just don’t put a rose emoji in your Twitter display name, or I’ll disown you.

***

Well, that post took an unexpected turn. What started as a personal reflection about getting older somehow turned into a call for political action. Lately, it’s been hard not to think in the plural. As the rights of other Americans are stripped away, WE supersedes ME. Grammatically-questionable platitude aside, we’ve got to get to work. 2018 is coming up fast. I’ll be 27 by the midterms—maybe I’ll have some of this figured out by then.

A few words on Orlando

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image via the Huffington Post

The language surrounding the Orlando massacre had already pivoted from “hate crime” to “terrorist action” before I even woke up to hear the news yesterday. Before the death toll began to rise. Poor, unfortunate advocates of gun control, silenced before we were even allowed to speak.

Much has been made of the shooter’s ethnic background. His parents were Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan. Therefore, apparently, by some twisted logic, the shooting at an LGBTQ safe space was an act of “Islamic terror” and not a hate crime against a beautiful community whose diversity makes us better as a nation every day.

I won’t try to argue that followers of Islam aren’t prejudiced against the gay community, because they very well may be. But aren’t the leaders that advocate for traditional marriage and undermine the human rights and dignity of that same community not the loudest and proudest Christians? I am an atheist, but I have the pleasure of knowing people of several faiths, mostly Christian ones, who are among the most loving, tolerant, and open people I’ve met. They truly believe that the message of their God or gods is one of acceptance, forgiveness, and equality.

If the shooter were a white, Christian man, he would merely be “deranged.” His actions wouldn’t be held as a reflection of the values of his faith. Christian leaders and politicians would try their damnedest to condemn his actions. And he most certainly would not have been instantly linked to terrorist organizations.

The Orlando shooter, whose name does not deserve to be printed, very well may have been a terrorist. For all I know, he was set to board a plane to join ISIS next week. But that’s not the point. The shooting was an act of terror, but not the “Islamic terror” that the orange blowhard currently running for President loves to speak about. It was an act of terror and hatred against a minority group against whom society and the world is still prejudiced.

This shooting brings up two very important issues on which U.S. needs to progress, neither of which involves Islam, ISIS, or Carrie Mathison’s intervention. The first is universal acceptance of the LGBTQ community. This won’t happen overnight, but as equal marriage is now the law of the land, it behooves those still on the fence or still steeped in hatred to look within themselves to locate the source of their discomfort. The second is this nation’s desperate need for common sense gun control.

Even though I personally would never own a gun, I have no serious objection to law-abiding citizens, regardless of race or creed, owning a firearm for hunting or sport. I don’t agree that any civilian needs a gun, but I would never infringe upon another person’s constitutional right to bear arms. Just as I would never censor a person for speaking his or her mind or practicing his or her religion openly. Neither, I should mention, would the Democratic party or its nominee for President. No one will be coming to your house to confiscate your guns. Gun control is not a ban on guns.

What gun control laws would seek to do is institute universal background checks before the purchase of guns and ammunition. They would prevent people that are currently under suspicion of terrorism from accessing guns. The same people on the no-fly list would be on the no-gun list. The majority of NRA members support these measures, by the way.

What gun control means for you: if you are a law-abiding citizen over the age of 18 who has been properly vetted, go ahead and buy a gun. Nobody is stopping you.

In most cases, the gun that your uncle keeps locked in his safe at home is not the gun responsible for mass shootings. Combat-grade assault weapons are often at fault. Civilians do not need access to the instruments of war, which are designed to maximize slaughter. A ban on assault weapons is completely reasonable.

Fifty members of our society were mercilessly gunned down in a safe space that they created for themselves. As every new outlet has claimed, it was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. This is a U.S. problem. It’s on us to be vocal about calling for change. It’s on us to vote for leaders that support gun control. It’s on us to stand up for the rights of our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community every day.

Isn’t it ironic that so much love is the target of so much hatred? Someday, I want to raise my kids in a world where, when I tell them about Orlando, they respond with the same horror with which I once responded to hearing about the Jim Crow laws, glad that their world is safer and more tolerant than the one that preceded them. To me, growing up, racial segregation was unfathomable. I’m from Massachusetts, where equal marriage has been law since 2004, so, much in the same way, intolerance toward the LGBTQ community was unfathomable. Future generations deserve to feel the same way about assault weapons and hate crimes.

I won’t be praying for Orlando, because I’m not religious and that would be an empty gesture. I will, however, be voting Democrat in November. My hope is that those fifty deaths won’t be entirely in vain, and that we can rally the support needed to change the conversation surrounding guns, terrorism, and intolerance.

Thank you.