Friday Favorites

Boy, this week was a doozy. I'll just say that toothaches are no joke. Ow. Anyway, happy Friday and happy weekend! 1. Could Wearing a Lab Coat Make You Smarter?

lab coat

Professor Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University conducted a recent study to answer the question: do our clothes affect our actions and thoughts? And if so, to what degree? He and his colleagues found that "our psychological processes are shaped by the symbolic meaning we attach to the clothes we wear." I certainly expect a certain level of dress from authoritative figures because it creates, for me, a sense of trust and security. It's true that when I dress up, I tend to work harder and smarter. I guess because I am putting on the attire of Professional, Has-It-Together Julia. I've also read many articles that say people who work from home should not do so in sweatpants; getting dressed for the day will shift their mindset to be more task-oriented. Do you agree or disagree that clothes make the mentality?

2. Difficult Women: How "Sex and the City" Lost Its Good Name


Like many women my age, I spent hours in college with my best girlfriends gossiping, drinking boxed wine and lounging on a dorm futon all while watching SATC. We'd observe the clothes (Ooh, I love it! and What the hell is she wearing? were the typical responses) but primarily discuss plot points in reference to our own life experiences. This piece by Nussbaum is fantastic; she dissects the rise and fall of the show for viewers and critics, and what makes SATC both classic and unique. I'm not embarrassed to say I learned a lot from SATC, because I truly did. Each character showed me their best and worst behavior as a female, mostly in terms of relationships, and it was continually comforting to observe both their mistakes and successes.

3. Thoughts on Creating Controversy as a Blogger


First, if you haven't read anything by Shauna Niequist, you should. As I delve into this world of blogging, I appreciate her take on Internet controversy. She writes, "Some people use their online voices and platforms to highlight the differences between us. Some people use their voices to police the highways and byways of world wide web—that’s wrong! That’s bad! That’s not what I think! There are open letters and link ups, shout outs and name drops. I don’t have anything against those bloggers. But I’m not going to be one." Love it.

4. Frankie Valli: Proud to Be a Jersey Boy


I saw Jersey Boys last night at the Des Moines Civic Center, and it was amazing. Going into it, I knew who Frankie Valli was, but I didn't really put two and two together in terms of the Four Seasons and their music. It was such a treat to hear the foursome break into song with hits like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." I found myself thinking, Oh yeah! They sing this? I know that song! The performers portraying the quartet were more than impressive (the guy who played Valli--his voice was incredible), the tickets were affordable and the seats were great. Oh, and the Civic Center sells sippy cups FOR WINE, if you feel so inclined to drink during the 2 1/2 hour performance. All that being said, I found this interview between Frankie Valli and Pat Gallagher ten times more interesting now that I've seen the show.

5. I Do Not Want My Daughter to Be "Nice"


Newman explains the pitfalls of being a "nice girl," as she raises her daughter full of attitude and independence. I used to fall victim to the "nice" syndrome--always smiling and doing the polite thing, saying sorry when it wasn't my fault, being agreeable in class and in friendships. When I stopped doing that as much, I definitely experienced backlash that was a little hard to take at first. If I passed a man on the street, I heard, "Come on, sweetheart! Life's not so bad, give me a smile!" If I pushed back with a cashier or receptionist, I felt like I was labeled as being bitchy. If I heard a male friend say something sexist or racist, and I called him out, I was told to take it easy--he was just kidding.

Annoying. But I learned to stop caring about it. I can be kind, thoughtful, opinionated, focused, helpful generous, empathetic, honest and friendly (and a million other things) without subscribing to the generic "nice" attitude that society expects women to have. I can be nice without being "nice," if that makes sense. And I'm so glad that Newman sees the same for her own daughter.

6. Winners of the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

say cheese

Wow. The third place shot, "Say Cheese," is my favorite--can you imagine touring Kenya and all of a sudden witnessing a cheetah that close? Crazy. Which one is your favorite?