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Opportunities for Resistance: an Ongoing List

Hello, friends.

It’s been a challenging, complex week, full of confusion and fear and hatred and love and grief. Some of you may feel differently, but I feel both afraid and motivated to take a stand against what I see and name as racism, bigotry, misogyny, ableism, homophobia, and perhaps more insidiously, willful ignorance and sheer selfishness that is currently gripping our country. With that in mind, here’s a list (in formation) of anti-Trump, pro-democracy events taking place in my home of NYC this week, as well as other pro-democracy organizations that could use your support:

 

Post Trump: I’m Ready to Organize Friday, 11/18: https://www.facebook.com/events/190356798088028/

Public Meeting: Building Resistance Against Trump, 11/15, 11/20 : https://www.facebook.com/events/1809837112619445/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/1617657175194664/

Staying Woke in Trump’s America: Strategic Planning Meeting, 11/16: https://www.facebook.com/events/615635101978273/

Feminist Urgent: Post Election Brainstorming Session, 11/19: https://www.facebook.com/events/1877318232503993/

LGBTQ+ and Allies Against Trump, 12/17: https://www.facebook.com/events/554893724635466/

 

Peoples Power Assemblies: peoplespowerassemblies.org

#decolonizethisplace: decolonizethisplace.org

Jewish Voices for Peace: jewishvoicesforpeace.org

Faith in New York: faithinnewyork.org

Black Lives Matter: blacklivesmatter.com

Families United for Racial and Economic Equality: furee.org

Community Voices Heard: cvhaction.org/chapters/new-york-city

United We Dream: unitedwedream.org

Toolkit on preparing for January: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17Rj40_i39gTuo4hMNNmhToL0_NnJnzjnr3Tx90nTPfE/mobilebasic

Interference Archive: interferencearchive.org

 

A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations that Need Your Support: http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-women-pro-immigrant-pro-earth-anti-big-1788752078

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Observations, Self, Writing

on the single life.

Yesterday, I was sitting alone at a bar waiting for someone and wound up finishing the book I’d brought with me. The bar was in downtown Brooklyn, right off the train, large and bright and full of empty tables, but I preferred to sit at the counter where I could, despite being absorbed in reading, be around people. I’ve always liked that– being around people doing their own things, while doing my own thing. When I finished the book, which I did fast and greedily, I immediately texted my roommate.

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“Have you ever gotten that feeling after reading a really good book?” I continued. “Like: full, warm, maybe a little sad, and at the same time really open and clear?” It’s been such a long time since a book made me feel that way– probably years since I read a book I could both escape into and learn from.

The book, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, is a memoir about author Kate Bolick’s love life, interlaced with anecdotes and biographical snippets of five woman writers from history who remained single– or maintained a “single spirit” while married– whom she positions as her “awakeners” to the possibility of an adult life sans marriage: Maeve Brennan, Edna St Vincent Millay, Edith Wharton, Neith Boyce, and Charlotte Perkins

It’s meandering, full of poetic musings about the pleasures of singledom and fears about rejecting convention, woven (occasionally clumsily) with biographical anecdotes about her court of authors, who chatter on in her head like derelict guardian angels. Bolick writes about walking and living alone in the city, eating greasy fast food in her bed, cobbling together freelance jobs that barely pay rent, going on boozy dates, chatting with a widow who drinks tea on her stoop: she paints a picture of life in New York City that reminds me of my own.
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Bolick’s desire to be single, which outlasts a rotating cast of boyfriends, seems to be inextricably connected with her desire for the financial independence and emotional detachment she feels is required to be a “real writer.” She enjoys her wide swath of “weak ties” afforded by city life and delights in reflecting on her world from the vantage point of an unattached person: that is, a person who doesn’t define herself by her relational roles. She seems to believe that she notices more as a single person than married women might: that she can observe and appreciate more of the color of city life by the lack of a relational commitment weighing on her mind. Her desire is urged on by the awakeners, whose marriages didn’t last even when happy, and who found living alone while being sexually and socially extroverted most conducive to their productivity. Still, she feels pulled towards marriage by abstract notions of conventionality and the real comfort of having a stable partner.

The book is less about her decision not to marry than it is a scrapbook of reflections of what it means to carve out a life on one’s own, which is increasingly the question I ask myself the longer I stay single: how to live independently and confidently while also in community, how to find meaningful work that pays, how to balance professional success with alignment to one’s values, how to be a feminist and enjoy going on dates, how to be an extrovert while also listening to one’s need for solitude. It provides no easy answers to these questions. But a book that asks them, and while giving me glimpses of the lives of fascinating literary women to boot, is a gem to me.

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Observations, Self

(Nice) things fall apart: a whinge break.

When I was a kid, I broke stuff. Like, all the time. My mother’s ceramic dough bowl (inexplicably kept on our living room floor). My American Girl doll’s leg. An entire row of wine glasses at the Brewster Inn in upstate New York, where my grandparents have never taken me since.

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not my doll. I had Samantha, the prettiest one, obv.

But you know what? I’m hereby absolving myself of guilt for breaking stuff. Well, the nice stuff. Because there’s an awful lot of expensive stuff that seems to be designed to be broken!

A bit of philosophical reasoning. If a thing is more expensive, it stands to reason that it should be designed to withstand the normal usage for that type of thing. No one is saying that an expensive wine glass should be unbreakable, because wine glasses aren’t supposed to be dropped. (Although sign me up to buy if an unbreakable wine glass is ever invented!) But an expensive suitcase, a sweater, a car, a pair of boots– these things ought to last years with normal use, with normal use entailing a certain amount of friction and wear.

BUT. There are some things whose flimsiness actually increases with their price, DESPITE the mandates of that thing’s normal usage. And that’s the stuff I’m done feeling bad about breaking.

Granted, I’m not referring to things that are intentionally fragile for cultural reasons. Really nice silk stockings, for instance, tear at the SLIGHTEST provocation. I was obsessed with finding high quality sheer tights a while back and after I bought a few (returnable) pairs, I realized that the better the denier (read: the higher quality the fabric), the more they ran! I finally gave up and just bought a buttload of cheap pairs I could replace without guilt.

There’s no conspiracy, though. Sheer silk tights are meant to be objects of luxury. They’re not intended to withstand bumping into corners or being snagged by the hands of a person with ragged cuticles. They are symbols of elitism and prestige– they’re made for the woman whose life doesn’t include roughness.

I mean the expensive stuff that’s just a racket. Like expensive nail polish. Ciate London, specifically, has a nice range of colors–though nothing to write home about– but tends to go on streaky and chips within a day. Normal usage of one’s digits dictates that nail polish should last longer than that. And jeans! The expensive jeans I bought a year ago in a great cut and color, hoping to save money in the long run by eliminating the need to buy a new pair every few years, has already ripped! And not just a little snag– a full two inches of fabric wore away in the inner leg. Yes, my thighs rub together (#chubrub). But I’ve had $15 jeans last me 4 years without a run, despite both pairs being made of similar fabric blends. A similar thing happened to a friend with a pair of jeans from J. Crew.

I’m done whining now. What gives, man? Have you experienced this?

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Observations, Self, Social Justice

on maybe just thinking casually about the possibility of considering going temporarily vegetarian.

Given the fact that my latest date– a guy I’d only been out with a few times but who I thought had some relationship potential– had been cancelled (he dumped me. It’s a trend these days; all the cool kids are doing it!), I found myself with a free evening.

I then remembered that my dear friend Nandita had invited me to see a movie. If you’ve read for a while, you may remember that Nandita is the angel who invited me to the Jam. She’s artistic, she’s gentle, she’s fierce, she’s loyal, she’s grace-full, and she’s super hippie.

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Isn’t she loooooooveleeeeey?

I worry about being one of those girls who forgets about her friends when a new boy comes along, so I was embarrassed that I had even planned a date for that night in the first place. I hurried straight to the theatre to meet Nandita after work.

The place was packed, and I could barely squeeze through the theatre doors. Nandita had promised to save me a seat, but when I got inside, I was surprised to see she was sitting in the middle of a row of people: her parents, her uncle, her boyfriend, and two other friends. Leave it to Dia to invite everyone she knew to a movie about climate change.

The saved seat was next to a friend of hers from college, so we chatted for a few minutes before the film began. Someone was passing around a sign-up sheet for email updates from the director.

Honestly? The movie wasn’t anything to write home about. The director seemed very into his own face and his own thoughts and feelings. Which I would’ve been okay with if he had been honest about his own lack of efficacy, his smallness in the grand scheme of these “climate change wars” he described, if he’d been less visible and less upheld in the stories he told about native activists from other cultures — if he’d been more humble. But instead, several of the storylines seemed only to aggrandize him, glorifying his small personal victories against anti-climate-change officials. There were also a lot– a lot– of shots of him playing the banjo.

I have a hard time getting past things I don’t like in movies. What was good about the film was the way the director highlighted how art, communal feeling and experience, and creative direct action can form a kind of protected(/ing) island in the midst of the sea of climate change (which we will literally all be swimming in by 2036, if the film’s scientists are correct.) Lots of climate change films seem to focus on science and fear and politics. This one focused on art, and love. That was good!

The section that really struck a nerve, though, was the part that talked about energy production and consumption: specifically, about how much energy is consumed in the production of meat energy for mah belly. I love meat. I love hamburgers. I was vegan for a hot sec and vegetarian for around 2 years in college, but DAMN all I wanted the ENTIRE time was a burger.

And before any of you vegetarian enthusiasts (yay you!) tell me I just wasn’t doing it right (eating enough protein, combining food properly, getting enough vitamins and minerals), I was. 😀 I strongly believe that some people’s bodies are just not suited to vegetarian diets, and that that’s okay as long  as those can source their food ethically.

Unfortunately, my neighborhood may technically qualify as a food desert; and if it doesn’t, it definitely doesn’t have access to fresh organic meats and produce.

But hearing how quickly we’re headed toward climate-change-induced oblivion is making me reconsider buying the highly processed, inhumanely raised, and energy-guzzling meat at my supermarket.

So this is a very long  post to announce that I’m kinda thinking about possibly going veg.

Any tips appreciated! Share them in the comments.

xoxo m.

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Observations, Self

my skincare routine: night version

Hi there!  A few days ago, I posted about my daytime skincare/ makeup routine for my very sensitive, acne-prone skin. My daytime products, honestly, are mostly designed just to not-bother my skin. It’s hard enough to find ones that do that, let alone actually help my skin! So I save my more treatment-oriented products for nighttime.

Here we go…

  1. Almost immediately after I get home from work, I take off my pants (duh) (anyone who says they don’t do that is lying) and my makeup. I try to use Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser, but if I’m super lazy, I use Simple Micellar Water. (That stuff is BOMB and leaves my skin feeling soft, healthy, and plump. Except it doesn’t fully remove makeup. Boo.
  2. Swipe on some more apple cider vinegar cut with mineral water. It’s a natural exfoliant and helps get rid of flakes.
  3. If I’m experiencing a breakout (ok, when am I not? This is for when my skin is especially broken out) I swipe a Noxema Acne Pad on my face– but gently. These pads are seriously abrasive. I let that soak in.
  4. Now here’s the holy grail. I wake up in the morning and my acne scars are diminished, flakes are brushed away, and zits are smaller. BodyMerry Retinol Surge Moisturizer is EVERYTHING. It’s relatively cheap for the amount you get and for the quality of ingredients: retinol (the most potent form of Vitamin A, which helps to fade scarring), jojoba oil, shea butter, green tea, and Vitamin E for soothing, and hyaluronic acid, for plumping. If my skin is especially dry or stressed out, though, I use Boots Sensitive Skin Moisturizer.
  5. For serious stubborn spots, I dot on Nelson’s Pure & Clear after everything is soaked in. It’s not particularly amazing, but it does diminish zit size without much drying.
  6. Occasionally, I use a Vitamin C and exfoliating peel from Ahava for scar fading benefits.

    And that’s all, folks!

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Design, Observations, Self

my skincare/makeup routine: day version: or, what i’ve been thinking about to avoid thinking about more important stuff.

What important stuff? Like why I keep going on dates with people I know I don’t want to be in a relationship with. Like how much $$ I’m spending on frivolous things and how I need to get back to a budget. Like all my feelings about what I learned at the Jam.

Which, speaking of, needs its own blog post soon. I’ll say for now, though, that one of the major takeaways was that I need to shut down my Inner Critic, who I’m pretty sure is the one layering on the extra guilt about not spending my time on the “right” kind of activities.

Anyway, I figured I’d give my latest obsession its due indulgence, and maybe then I’ll feel a bit more capable of easing my mind over to other subjects.

Let’s talk skin. I’m including my face makeup in this roundup because face makeup directly impacts skin–and vice versa.

 

 

My morning routine is undergoing some finessing, as I’m searching for a new, lighterweight makeup for the summer and find my skincare needs change as my makeup changes. But here’s how it stands currently.

  1. Cleanse/ tone with apple cider vinegar, or with Simple Micellar Water– the former’s got malic acid, which is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, it balances my skin’s pH, and it contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to break down dead skin cells and leave my skin feeling new. The latter just makes my skin feel clean and soft.
  2. Moisturize with Dr. Lin’s Daily Hydrating Gel– I don’t love this as much as I thought I would. It contains hyaluronic acid, my favorite moisturizer, but the gel texture actually leaves my skin feeling a bit dry. 
  3. Protect with Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen– most sunscreens break me out, but not this one!
  4. Prime with Clinique Superprimer Universal Skin Primer– I’ve recently come around to the value of primers, but good god if it isn’t hard to find one that isn’t silicone-based! This is the first primer I’ve used that doesn’t clog my pores or break me out. The price, however, makes this one untenable as a staple. I’ll be trying the slightly cheaper Pixi Poreless & Flawless Primer out next to see if that works; that also has titanium dioxide, a mineral sunscreen, so I may not need the Neutrogena then. $$$$$.
  5. Perfect with Covergirl Clean Oil-Control Foundation– Buildable coverage that doesn’t make me break out is unbeatable at this price. When I feel like lighter coverage, I skip the sunscreen, primer, foundation, and concealer and sub in Pixi Illuminating Tint and Conceal.
  6. Conceal with Maybelline Master Conceal Camouflaging Concealer– I LOVE the texture of this: inky fluid that provides full coverage. But it oxides over the day 😦 I’m actually working towards trying not to need concealer– I usually only have to use it because I’ve irritated a blemish by picking at it. 
  7. Color with Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush– Every blush makes me break out except this. It’s crazy expensive for me at $28, but I think it might last me the next 3 years. 

PHEW. Then I do my eyes (brow powder, copper eyeliner, black mascara) and lips (clear primer and red lipstick). It takes 15 minutes and makes me feel like a grown woman.

Stay tuned for the evening rendition… things get WILD.

xoxo m.

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Design

confetti drawer.

I’ve never had an office job before, but I’ve always wanted to have a desk, or even cubicle, to call my own. So, when I finally got hired full-time at a REAL OFFICE WHERE I’LL HAVE MY OWN DESK, and shortly thereafter came across this inspiring interview with Swiss Miss Studio creator Tina Roth Eisenberg last week, I went into full-blown planning mode! Artwork, tchotchkes, snacks, beautiful office supplies… and a drawer full of confetti?

Tina (she and I are totes on a first name basis) says in the interview with PFSK:

“One thing that I believe in is playfulness at work, or in life. We have a drawer in the office that is just completely full of confetti. It’s the perfect analogy for what I’m talking about. I feel like it is such an important part of a work environment, that you love going in everyday.”

I don’t know that my new job is going to be something I love going in to every day. I’m m mostly excited about having more stability in my work hours, a real salary, and 30 days PTO (!!!). But I do believe I’ll enjoy the work, and even more if I can approach it with a sense of experimentation and play.

To that end, if I could have my own play-inspiring confetti drawer (which would unfortunately not be full of actual confetti due to the fact that confetti would be a pain in the ass to clean up whenever I inevitably felt compelled to toss a handful), here’s what would be in it:

  • Sharpies in every color to make quick drawings when bored.
  • Butt-loads of glass and seed beads for digging my fingers into.
  • Bubble wrap for popping in frustration.
  • A small collection of essential oils for sniffing whenever I wanted to be transported somewhere else.

I’m curious- if you had a space to dedicate just to playfulness, what would be in it?

xoxo

m.

 

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