Sunday Kind of Love

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Happy weekend! This week is spring break for those of us still affiliated with a college or university. Even though I have to work three out of the five days next week, it will all be worth it when I fly to sunny Florida! Can’t wait to go to Tallahassee for the third time—I’m telling you, it’s a really cool city! But until my flight Wednesday night, I’ll just be daydreaming about better weather and improving my mood with a few of the following:

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i know you are but what am i?
  1. Michael Ian Black wrote a piece called “The Boys Are Not All Right” regarding masculinity, violence, and the ongoing gun debate. Michael Ian Black is (obviously) one of the best writers and actors of our time—you might know him from StellaI Love the 80sAnother PeriodThe Jim Gaffigan Show, and Wet Hot American Summer, to name only a small fraction of his impressive credits. He is also the author of over 10 books (you may have heard of A Child’s First Book of Trump?) Sorry for rambling, but I love this man so. Black has such moving, important things to say about toxic masculinity’s role in the epidemic of gun violence. Peruse his website here.
  2. This song is the extreme jam. Lyrics here for the nerdy among us.
  3. Have you heard about the Hamilton Polka yet? The Weird Al/Lin-Manuel connection is my OTP.
  4. People dressed up like Marvelous Mrs. Maisel characters for Purim! Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein have been retweeting them into the TL! As someone from the most Catholic-dense area outside of the freaking Vatican, I had no clue Purim involved costumes! Just the best.
  5. I’m reading this book over break and I am so damn excited. Janet is the actual queen. Watch her on Super Soul Sunday!
  6. This recipe is almost as amazing as its creator! I obviously mess with it a bit (not about that pancetta life), but it’s an easy classic that literally everyone loves. If you haven’t bought Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook yet, what’s wrong with you?
  7. Have I shouted out May Designs yet? They have an agenda collab with Blue Sky available at Target and my gosh is it cute. But my favorite thing about this incredible brand is the free (!) cellphone and computer wallpaper they create every month! I’m rocking March’s lewks right now!
  8. Oh, hi! If you need me, I’ll be browsing ALL THE SHOES for spring and summer. No shame in my Katy Perry game. Take my first born in exchange for some lemon or left shark heels. These are like if my soul were a shoe. P.S. They sell a few of the fruit Gelis at the retail establishment and work for and y’all KNOW I’m getting some.

See you next week on another installment of Sunday Kind of Love!

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xoxo,

c

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The Argonauts

I’m taking my first ever Women & Gender Studies class this semester (prior to this spring, I was just learnin’ from the school of life). When I looked at the course offerings for Spring ’18, it seemed very on-brand for me, plus I really like the professor. If you’re not familiar with the discipline, well, neither are any of its scholars, really! It’s a controversial field that is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on literary studies, history, sociology, anthropology, law, psychology—you name it. Honestly, we can’t even all decide on a name (Women’s Studies too narrow? Gender Studies too broad? Are we being inclusive enough?)

In my class, we’re reading all the hits! Butler, Rubin, Crenshaw—all the rad ladies that you’ve come to know and love if Gender Studies and intersectionality are indeed your jams. We recently read the 2015 “theory memoir” The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, which was a pretty fascinating read.

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The Argonauts tells the nonlinear tale of the romance, marriage, and journey to parenthood of Maggie Nelson and her partner, artist Harry Dodge. Although, conceptually, if a romantic partner texted me lines of Barthes, I would vomit and leave that person, it’s a cute look on others.

The writing and organization of the book read a tad pretentious, but it’s clear that Nelson has a brilliant mind for theory—the theoretical passages, paraphrased or quoted, are woven seamlessly into the narrative. Since I have to co-lead a class discussion on The Argonauts, I thought I’d post some of the questions that came up for me while I was reading:

  1. What is the benefit of the book’s organization (or lack thereof)? What, if any, are the detriments? While I found the lack of structure frustrating at times, it made for a very fluid read—but even if I took a ten-minute break, I had to backtrack slightly because I always felt I had lost my place. Is the form deliberately “deconstructed” to mirror the methodology of the critics whose work Nelson employs?
  2. Is the genre-fluidity of the novel a comment on gender-fluidity and of the way we are conditioned by society to categorize?
  3. Is it ethical to share so much about someone else’s journey? Do you feel that Nelson has appropriated Harry’s experience for the purposes of her writing? Obviously, as they are spouses, she had permission, but is it possible to meaningfully capture or understand the experience of the other?
  4. Nelson describes in detail her unconventional journey to pregnancy. Despite how unconventional her family is and journey was, is there anything essentialist about her portrayal of pregnancy and motherhood?
  5. The section about Nelson and Dodge’s wedding occupies only a page and a half of the book. Is that a visual representation of the author’s views on marriage? Is Nelson commenting on the heteronormative nature of the institution of marriage and how, like gender, it doesn’t work as a prescriptive one-size-fits-all for every family?
  6. Bonus Question: Would you find it romantic or insufferable if your significant other texted you lines of Barthes?
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image source

Further Reading:

Object Lessons, Robyn Wiegman

Gender Trouble, Judith Butler

Embodied Avatars, Uri McMillan

Exposed, Stacy Alaimo

Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader

 

 

The G.O.A.T.s (Greats Oats of All Time)

Overnight oats are one of the only foods I can tolerate eating in the morning. If I had it my way, I’d fast until 2pm every day and skip straight to lunch—burritos anyone? Don’t get me wrong—breakfast food is incredible, but I’m not making my incredible hollandaise sauce on a weekday morning before work, you feel me? And for the especially lazy among us, here’s some info from Oats Overnight.

Oatmeal is a bland, neutral food, so it tastes good no matter what you put in it. I’ve been trying to get creative and move away from the traditional, I’ll call it Starbucks, method of brown sugar, nuts, and dried fruit. I cut the sweetness way, way down, since breakfast is supposed to be healthy, but feel free to sweeten to taste.

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The main instructions for overnight oats are incredibly simple:

Place 2/3 cup (a whole cup makes soooo much) oats and 2/3 cup milk (non-dairy/unsweetened preferred) in a mason jar, yogurt cup, or bowl. Mix. Put into the fridge at night. Take out and eat in the morning.

Basically, for all of the following, put the listed ingredients in at night and save the toppings until morning. This yogurt cup I found at Target is the perfect vessel. Here are some of the varieties I’ve come up with to spice up my morning forcefeeding.

Just Another Matcha Monday

2/3 c organic oats (or Quaker, you do you)

2/3 c non-dairy milk

1 tsp chia seeds

1/4 tsp matcha powder

1 tsp honey

optional topping: coconut flakes, blueberries

Graceland (inspired by this recipe)

2/3 c oats

2/3 c milk

1 tbsp organic peanut butter (crunchy preferred for texture)

1/2 tsp all-natural maple syrup

1 tsp chia seeds

dash of freshly-ground Himalayan pink salt

topping: 1/2 banana, sliced

The Blanched Dubois

2/3 c oats

2/3 c milk

1/2 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp chia seeds

2 tbsp blanched slivered almonds

optional toppings: 1/2 banana, sliced, handful of sliced strawberries

Tropic Thunder

2/3 c oats

1/3 c milk (2/3 if juice is omitted)

1/3 c all-natural fruit juice (pineapple, orange, or a blend)

1 tsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp organic coconut sugar (omit if using sweetened juice)

toppings: fresh sliced mango, coconut flakes

A few other ideas for things you could add to any of the above recipes: flax meal, protein powder, maca powder, spirulina (in the Tropic Thunder)

These all fall under the category of “sweet breakfast,” but I plan to follow this post up with some savory variations! I have an idea for an “everything bagel” variety that I can’t wait to test.

Until next time,

c

 

 

 

 

Wishlist Wednesday [CB2]

There is nothing I love more than looking at home furnishings online. The only thing I might enjoy more is literally being an interior designer, but I’m pretty sure I missed the boat on that. CB2 is one of my favorite fantasy destinations (fantasy because I can afford nary an item on this wishlist). CB2 really captures my personal aesthetic—I like clean, midcentury mod-inspired contemporary in all things, but especially in my home décor.

The items below would brighten any abode!

Enjoy browsing, boos!

 

 

What are you fantasizing about lately?

xoxo,

c

Sunday Kind of Love

Good morning, sunshines (she types in the late afternoon)! Short one this week—I’m pretty drained after a super long week. Please enjoy the following photo of a California beach, where I’d much rather be right now.

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image source flickr
  1. McDonald’s created a vegan patty, and though I have extremely mixed feelings about it, hopefully it gets to America soon, because there are very few food options on road trips. Also, ending my McDonald’s boycott would put me back in the fry zone…
  2. This Twitter thread is a living nightmare.
  3. I bought myself a present this week, and I’m so excited to get it in the mail. I ❤ Monq! It’s been awesome to watch their company grow over the years.
  4. I am so buying this for our new entryway.
  5. At long last, new music from Janelle Monae! Listen to “Django Jane” and “Make Me Feel“!
  6. These art prints by Arielle Vey are giving me life.
  7. Can’t get enough of Health-Ade Kombucha lately! Easily the best brand I’ve tried.
  8. I’ve been dying to try this cabbage soup recipe but I keep forgetting to buy cabbage! Putting it on the list stat!
  9. This is so freaking adorable. I’m dying. I will take any and all taco-related merchandise, please.

xoxo,

c

How to Part with Books: A Sentimentalist’s Take

I love books.

They were the first things I ever bought and owned with my own money. My parents read to us religiously as children, and always supported our desires to go to the bookstore or the library (Walpole, MA Barnes & Noble and Morrill Memorial Library, wassup?) Because I didn’t really get into clothes & fashion until my late teens/early 20s, the books I owned and treasured were my outward manifestations of self. They represented who I was—a reader. A reader of classics, YA, total trash, anything I could get my hands on.

I even brought a shitload of my books to college. I remember the flimsy shelves above my dorm’s Twin XL bowing under the weight of my volumes. Moving has always been a nightmare—most of the boxes are just tomes on tomes. My poor husband had to take about three trips with the car just to get each and every books and massive Tupperware container of David Sedaris, Chuck Klosterman, Kurt Vonnegut.

At a certain point, though, I had to grow up. I’m an adult woman with a home—I’ve got to be organized! I took to downsizing my collection, which I thought would be completely heartbreaking, but was much easier than I thought! Here’s what I did!

Ask Yourself:

1. Am I ever going to open this again?

Example: The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Joyce Carol Oates

I loved this book. So, so much. I devoured it in only a couple of days after picking it up at a thrift store. But it’s no longer on my shelf (I donated it to my local library). The reason being that I likely won’t reread it and the desire for someone else to enjoy it outweighs my desire to keep it. I used to be a serial re-reader (how more of my books didn’t come apart at the binding, I’ll never know), but now that I am an adult with the resources to interact with ALL OF LITERATURE via the internet, ain’t nobody got time for that! I keep books that I know I’ll make reference to or return to time and time again (The Bell Jar is my best example of this). If you love something, set it free!

2. Does this represent the person that I am, or the person that I was?

Example: Chuck Palahniuk‘s entire catalog

I’m 100% here for remembering where you came from, but it’s not always flattering or as idyllic as you remember. When I was in high school, I read every damn thing Chuck Palahniuk ever wrote. It was dirty, subversive, thrillingly perverse. As a young, inexperienced person, I couldn’t get enough! But I’m older now, and (I hope) a little smarter and more worldly. I appreciate the role these books played in my maturation, but I likely won’t read them again and I can see that some of the material within them is a bit…problematic. But you didn’t click this to hear a feminist lecture.

P.S. If someone gifts me Adjustment Day, I won’t not read it.

3. Have I even read this? Am I going to?

Example: The New New Rules, Bill Maher

My dad gave this book to me (I used to really enjoy Real Time before I became fatigued of certain…let’s just say, problems), and at the time, I really did plan to read it. However, other books took priority (lots of comedic memoirs by women), and I never got around to it. By the time I decided to donate a bunch of books, it was easy to part with, since it held no real meaning to me. Also, Bill Maher’s honestly kind of a dick. Conversely, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is a book on my shelf that I haven’t read yet, but the prospect of finally diving into it thrills me!

4. Am I just keeping this to seem smart?

Example: Gustave Flaubert’s Complete Works

I used to work at Barnes & Noble. Yes, the very same one I went to constantly as a child (I’m predictable). The employee discount is sweet, so during my tenure I bought a lot of books. After reading Madame Bovary at 17 and absolutely loving it, I had a fancy that I might want to read all of Flaubert’s writing, so I bought an enormous tome of it. I lugged that massive thing from home to home to college to apartment and so on. I don’t think I ever opened it. Meanwhile, I had physical copies of just Madame Bovary in English and French! At a certain point, I had to let it go, and to the library it went. I still plan on reading more Flaubert (ten years later, smh), but I’ll have to buy individual copies, or go digital ($0.99 on Kindle!)

More Tips

Spark Joy. Marie Kondo knows WTF she’s talking about. Pick up each and every book you own and see if it sparks any feeling. When I picked up some classics that I should have felt inspired by, I felt nothing. (Hint: I got rid of a lot of books by male authors this way!) Using this method, I donated 2 full milk crates of books to my local library.

Go digital! Over last summer, I finally read The Handmaid’s Tale. I borrowed a physical copy from my campus library, but I wanted to have a copy for reference. Luckily, at least at the time, the Kindle edition was available fo’ free on Amazon (it’s now available for free via Kindle Unlimited). P.S. Claire Danes narrates the audiobook! This was a great way to keep something that I felt sentimentally attached to, without spending money or adding clutter to my home!

On that note, get on the audiobook train! This is another way to reduce clutter but still devour books! I recently “read” Everything is Awful by Matt Bellassai, I’m Fine by Whitney Cummings, and The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, all narrated by their respective authors, and it was such an awesome experience

And of course, last but certainly not least, give your library some love! Libraries are so important, and they need our support. They are a vital part of the community, and a great way to keep engaging with Literature without joining the cast of Hoarders. Look for opportunities to volunteer or donate (money or books). Help out with a Friends of the Library book sale! It’s so easy to just buy everything on Amazon (literally all of the links in this post are Amazon, sorry), so don’t forget that your local or campus library is a great resource.

 

What are some other tips to help me kick out clutter?

xoxo,

c

Risk

I submitted the following to the Man Repeller Writer’s Club for January 2018. The prompt was to write about one or all of the following in 500 words or fewer:

What’s a risk you took that you regret taking?
What’s a risk that you’re glad you didn’t take?
What a risk you wish you took?
What’s a risk you hope you take this year?

***

I have been on this spinning blue orb for more than twenty-six years and I have never taken a single risk. Or, at least, it feels that way. I’ve never bungee-jumped, taken a transatlantic flight, publicly declared my love to someone, or gotten a tattoo larger than a postage stamp.

That’s not entirely fair. I’ve done some stuff. I dropped out of college (more than once) but ended up in graduate school, and, I mean, I got married. But, in the moment, these seemed like the safest options, hardly the risks they purport to be. I had played it safe for decades because the threat of the unknown was too daunting.

So, when I started therapy, I didn’t think much of it. It didn’t seem like a risk, because when I’d tried it before, I hadn’t learned anything. I didn’t do the work, I didn’t stick it out. I’d go once, maybe twice, declare it useless, and forge ahead with my life. But by the time my twenty-sixth birthday appeared on the horizon, the nihilism and hopelessness that had characterized my adult life became too overwhelming to bear. My panic attacks increased. I was drinking every day. I was unmoored from reality in a way that was jeopardizing my health and my marriage. And worst of all, I had no fucking clue what to do with my life.

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        And then I met Tanya. Her office was at the end of a long hallway in one of the campus’s newest buildings, which had the sterile vibe of a hospital ward. Her lime green loveseat reminded me of my childhood bedroom. After some sessions, I’ve fallen apart and failed to put myself back together for days at a time. I’ve arranged toys in a sand table and choked on my own tears. I’ve made resolutions, reported successes, and admitted failures. I’ve shown up drunk—she’s seen the worst parts of me up close. And most importantly, I’ve learned to trust another person with my real thoughts, my inner monologue, not just the bullshit performance everyone else sees. The chasm between how I see myself and how others see me is so much wider than I could have ever imagined. Vulnerability is a trip.

Tanya ends every session with the same line: “Remember what we talked about.” Sometimes, that’s the hardest part—remembering that I deserve to be happy, that I’m a good person. That I don’t need to constantly self-flagellate, or be polished and perfect every moment of the day. That I’m allowed to say no.

It’s been the greatest, shittiest, hardest, most wonderful six months of my life. Well worth the risk of actually getting to know myself.