On My List

Later this week, I'll be traveling to Charleston for my best friend's baby shower (twin boys!!) and consequently have a stack of magazines waiting to be unfurled and books lined up on my Kindle ready to be devoured. Reading and writing on planes, trains and automobiles is my very favorite -- but before then, here are some worthy things to check out this week:

In all seriousness, I'd really like this bracelet for Christmas, please. 

Unused creativity is not benign.
— Brene Brown, "Magic Lessons" Podcast

Obsessed with all things #BigMagic via Liz Gilbert, especially a conversation between her and Brene Brown on how creativity, when ignored, actually brings us a lot of strife and stress. I'm longing to buy both Gilbert's and Brown's new books, Big Magic (Gilbert) and Rising Strong (Brown) but trying to put myself on a book spending freeze until I've caught up on what I've already purchased thus far. 

Paltrow refutes the idea that she can only have one career. ‘I’m a big believer in the ampersand,’ she says. ‘I don’t see it as I’m leaving something behind, I see it as this year I probably won’t make a movie or I probably won’t do a TV show or a play, and I’ll focus on the business. It’s our tendency to want to put women in one little category,’ she continues, making a pinching gesture with her hand. ‘That’s where we like them.’
— "Gwyneth Paltrow Goes to Market", Anjali Mullany for Fast Company

Whether you love or hate Gwyneth Paltrow, this FastCo profile is absolutely fascinating and focuses on both GP the personality and Goop the brand.

I had to make different decisions because I had to pay back loans. Let’s look at students now. If you’re paying back the loans, what if you are a budding entrepreneur? It keeps you from investing in a business. If you have a family? It keeps you from investing in a home and other kinds of things to strengthen your family. So it’s true, eventually I paid those student loans off, but at what cost?
— Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Refinery29

For the next election, I'm noticing and taking into account what those running have to say about these 3 things: student loan debt, women's healthcare, and the pay gap. This interview with Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards shows that she cares deeply about 2 of the 3, and even though I live over in Iowa and won't be voting for her, it does matter what politicians are saying and doing across our nation when it comes to these topics.

This DIY pumpkin spice mix is hella good in oatmeal, too.

If you're into Lorde and the like, Grace Mitchell is a newer artist whose tunes are worth checking out.

Appearing on television made Beard famous in the U.K., but what has made her even more famous has been the suggestion, put forward by certain male observers, that she is too old or unprepossessing to be on television at all. . . . Beard observed, ‘Throughout Western history there have always been men . . . who are frightened of smart women who speak their minds, and I guess, as a professor of Classics at Cambridge University, I’m one of them. . . . Sorry, sunshine, this is just not on.
— Mary Beard, The New Yorker

Mary Beard is a classics professor from the UK and my new personal hero; she takes it upon herself to respond to her online detractors no matter how horrible the insult. Read this entire New Yorker profile and seriously, start reading her blog for dry humor mixed with academic insight. I learn something and I laugh every time. 

I always find it amusing when people say to me, ‘Wow, you actually say things. You don’t sugarcoat your answers!’ Isn’t that what people are supposed to do? Why wouldn’t you give a frank answer to a legitimate question? . . . . I am frankly not all that into being politically correct. . . . I’d like to think I’ve always been candid in my responses and interactions with people, and I don’t see any reason to make the press an exception. . . . One of the things I discovered a long time ago was that it’s a waste of energy to spend a lot of time agonizing over how people will receive you. I’m not suggesting that you barrel through life willy-nilly, but I am suggesting that we stop trying to allow other people’s potential prejudices, let alone actual prejudices, to paralyze us. I don’t find it amusing or fun to have to work in an environment or live a life that has to be so controlled.
— Michele Roberts, Lenny Letter

I think it's safe to say that email newsletters are the new podcasts (or maybe they're tied for first place right now). Even though I had no desire to add one more item to my daily reading list, I listened to Kara Swisher's Re/code podcast interview with Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, and it convinced me to check out Lenny Letter -- Dunham's new pet project that claims "dismantle the patriarchy." Ok, well, I don't know about that, but after two rounds of it arriving in my inbox, I'm hooked. The biggest takeaways: diversity of subject and high-quality writing, like this interview with Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.

Finally, I'm not a teacher, and while I know about the new Common Core Standards, I don't really know the specifics of its direct affects on children. This article provides context for an example of how U.S. kindergartners and first graders have been affected by the changes in terms of increased curriculum and contrasts it with how kiddos at those same ages over in Finland benefit from a totally different structure based on play.