On My List

It's officially November, and even though the temps still hold around 70 degrees this week (bare legs FTW), I know winter coat weather is right around the corner. Which means reading weather is right around the corner. I, for one, LOVE this time of year when you have plenty of reasons and excuses to binge watch your favorite TV shows and read books and browse the internet and be creative. 

To kick off that season for myself, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month, also known as #NaNoWriMo. Basically, the goal is to write 1500-1700 words a day to reach 50,000 words in 30 days. It's day 3, and I'm at 7,000 words. I have no illusions about my novel being even close to publishable after this month, but I did need a fancy kick in the seat to create a better daily habit of writing. So far, this is working. It's also hard, but I can do hard things.

A friend of a friend embarked on an experiment to spend 61 days off the grid. 

The 2016 election will be here before you know it. Get to know your candidates using this handy-dandy guide from The Skimm.

With kids sucking up so much of the family income with their pesky supervision needs, it’s easy to see why some parents opt out of the workforce to care for their kids on their own. And for a myriad of complex and intersecting reasons—cultural norms, the persistent wage gap, a pipeline that keeps men in business leadership positions, the likelihood of the baby’s initial primary caretaker to continue in that role—women are usually the ones who quit. This can hurt the family’s financial well-being far into the future: A woman’s earnings drop 10 percent for every two years she’s out of a job.
— Christina Cauterucci via Slate

A sobering look at child care costs and their effect on women.

Indeed, some of these articles and misrepresentations of black women and black culture are just plain ignorant and stupid. But the machines behind this ignorance—the passion and power behind those twerking from their ivory towers—are finely-tuned and then consumed by the masses. . .

To paraphrase Nicki Minaj, if you want to write about, participate in and critique our culture, ‘then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us.’ But you can’t learn those things if you’re too busy treating the culture as merely other, merely a form of entertainment.
— Shannon M. Houston, via Salon

Nicki Minaj and Rihanna were both recently "interviewed' (using that term loosely), and at first I read and liked both profiles. Then I read this and this. And then I got completely schooled by this article explaining that my consumption actually equals white privilege. Learned a lot.

I want to read this book on the art of asking.

Given that the production and consumption of food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity, our premise was that it deserved the same attention as such well-established federal policy areas as national security, the environment, education, or healthcare. Yet, despite its increasingly evident importance to the health of our people and our environment, the U.S. has no NFP — no plan or agreed-upon set of principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole.
— Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador, Olivier De Schutter, via Medium
‘I don’t know if it’s a function of age or temperament,’’ she said, ‘’but I’m no longer seeking those major exclamatory notes of pleasure. I want a life that has pleasure contained within it.’
— Terry Gross via NY Times

TERRY GROSS, Y'ALL. I'm obsessed with Fresh Air and her prowess as an interviewer.

Haven't watched this show yet, but I think I need to. Same goes for this show.

Cool look inside one of my favorite perfumeries. 

You are not your Twitter bio, your resume, your portfolio of work or your company. You are not your work. 

My aim is not to force everyone to return in lock-step to monogamous relationships that begin after exactly 8.3 dates and result in marriage 29 months later. Such relationships are not for everyone. I am a firm believer that everyone ought to exercise their God-given right to use Tinder in whatever fashion is most suitable for their present relationship goals (or lack thereof). But it ought to be acknowledged that the two of us are not, in fact, just chilling when we get together.

So, ladies and gentleman and people who do not believe in the binary, we have reached peak Chill. Or at least I hope we have. Because Chill is the opposite of something else too: warmth. And kindness, and earnestness, and vulnerability. And we need just enough of those things to occasionally do something so remarkably unchill as fall in love.
— Alana Massey via Medium

A funny and smart meditation on relationships and being "chill."

Why has paid family leave become a national campaign issue? (THIS IS IMPORTANT.)

The assumption that Danny wouldn’t even consider being the stay-at-home parent—all other things equal—captures the prevailing nature of existing norms about parenting and the need for a fundamental shift in perspective. The question shouldn’t by default be, ‘Will Mom stay home?’ if parents decide this would be best for their child, but rather: ‘Which one of us will?’
— Li Zhou via The Atlantic

I adore Mindy, and appreciate The Mindy Project's efforts at showcasing joint parenting, but as this article points out, the show's "overall portrayal of parenting provides a spot-on reflection of the current moment, but doesn’t dare to question its constraints."

Curious about Anne-Marie Slaughter's new book.

I don’t know about trigger warnings outside classes that deal with race, gender and sexuality, but I do know that if you promote trigger warnings in subjects that are supposed to make people feel uncomfortable, you’re basically promoting a culture of extreme privilege, cause I’m pretty sure that the trans women who are being murdered weekly, the black men who are victims of police brutality daily, and the neighborhoods in America that are plagued by everyday violence, aren’t given any trigger warnings. Let’s be honest: life is a trigger.
— Rani Neutill via Salon

One teacher's experience with guiding students through discomfort as both trauma survivors and, well, regular people. Her words really got me thinking, and I'm still unpacking her points.

Just gonna end with this video. Touché.

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.

On My List

Sundays at home are my absolute favorite. We've been traveling the past couple of weeks post-wedding, and this weekend involved laying low, eating and cooking, reading and relaxing. I'm especially glad for such a low-key weekend since this upcoming week is busy at work and I'm prepping to teach 10 yoga classes between Monday and Friday. (Eep.)

This morning was particularly lovely: I woke up early, did some writing with a cup of tea and a muffin, went to a sculpt class that absolutely kicked my ass and then taught a beautiful heart-opening level 2 flow for a great group of yogis who sweated hard and even laughed a couple of times along the way. I rarely teach on the weekends, but I love subbing for weekend classes when I'm free and in town. Afterwards, Emily asked me what my plans were for the day, and I replied, "Writing, a nap, and probably a bagel." I did have that bagel and it was fabulous. 

Back to the things on my list lately, and of course we'll start with the most important: EMPIRE. 

As if I needed another show to watch, but I couldn't resist after seeing Taraji P. Henson at the Emmys and reading this article about her. Empire is by far my favorite show in a very long time because it's fresh and dramatic with talented actors/actresses and interesting music. Naturally I'm on episode 6 and may binge watch the rest of season one tonight.

This article explores why women are frequently more cautious about taking promotions, and helped me feel a little more confident about pursuing more opportunities within my field. How often do you read a job opening description and immediately think of all the ways in which you're not qualified? Studies show that women underestimate themselves more frequently than men, and I accidentally do this to myself sometimes. Literally, I read about an internal job opening this past week that asked for 7-10 years of experience and thought, "Well, I have 7 years, but that's not enough, so. . ." Ha. What?! 

One of my favorite makeup bloggers in the UK has a secondary blog called The Uphill focused on motherhood, and she is SO FUNNY. Also, I learn a lot from her.

Let's all start acknowledging our hard work, instead of saying we "just got lucky."

Making this bread today . . . anything that requires yeast makes me nervy but I've successfully made pizza dough before and she claims it is no fail, so, we'll see.

Cleaning out my Pocket! Pocket is the quickest, easiest way to hold onto all those pesky internet tabs that you wanna remember for later via phone or desktop or whatever. (However, if you're like me, it's easy to put everything in Pocket for later and then forget about it and then realize you have 250 unread articles that you "meant to save" for later. Don't do that.)

And cleaning out my closet. I know everyone is on that Marie Kondo kick, and while I haven't read her book, I get the gist and am trying to make more of a habit to get rid of clothes I don't wear, junk I don't use, and anything taking up space that annoys me when I look at it. I'm talking about you, moving boxes in the front hallway from April. Throw yourselves away! Anyway, I used to use a service called LikeTwice for any clothing items that I wanted a little $$ for (as opposed to the Salvation Army) but couldn't get my local Plato's to take (apparently my stuff is "too mature," ugh) -- but the company closed and now I'm trying something called ThredUp which seems pretty similar. (And got a huge round of funding recently.)

Listening to these old and new favorites on Spotify. (Thanks to Morgan for the Francis and the Lights rec!)

Reading Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before, David Emerson's Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Jen Hatmaker's For the Love, Greg Mckeown's Essentialism and Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? (What, you don't read 5 books at once?)

And I must say I did try to register for that baby of ours but FACE PALM, it was hard. More options than a cereal aisle at Walmart. Babies don't need that much stuff . . . right?

Happy week, friends!