We are not free

Image: REUTERS/Darren Ornitz

This week has been hard.  Another man is dead for the crime of being black.  George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and Minneapolis is reeling, seething, hurting.  A CNN crew was arrested and detained last night by Minneapolis police as they reported on the protests, despite their every effort to cooperate and do the right thing.  How can we be the home of the free?  It is not freedom if all of us cannot walk safely.  It is not freedom for our press to be locked up without cause.  It is not freedom to be killed for the color of one’s skin.

This is so beautiful and so heartbreaking.  Thank you, Keedron Bryant, for sharing your song.

Here is a guide to white privilege by courtneyahndesign, with some small ways to be a good ally.

And here is a statement by Barack Obama, who said so eloquently what we all need to hear:

Tiny moments

Over the weekend I took my older dog to the vet for some blood work, and as I waited in the car, a young-ish gentleman parked a couple spaces from me. He spent several minutes getting his wheelchair out of the car and then easing himself out and getting himself situated. All to take his little chihuahua to the vet early on a Sunday morning.

Open car door and twist around, pull out wheelchair from behind driver’s seat, unfold and assemble. Stop and rest. Lean out to straighten it. Pivot and ease out of the car into the wheelchair. Put on mask and adjust it. Take a deep breath. Tell pup to stay in the passenger seat, that daddy is coming around the other side. Close door and wheel around, retrieve little pup from other side of car, settle pup onto lap, wheel back around and go up ramp to get to the office door.  Pull door open and prop it with wheel while wheeling inside one-handed, deftly and with ease.

I was struck by a wave of gratitude as I watched him. Gratitude for good people quietly going about their lives. Gratitude for responsible and kind pet owners. Gratitude for my own imperfect body. Gratitude for another day.

Casual Friday – WFH edition

Why yes, it is awfully difficult to tell what day it is anymore.  Friday?  It is?  Oh good!

Not that I have ever been hugely willing to sacrifice comfort for fashion, but working from home for six weeks has brought on a whole new level of expectations.  Tight waistband digging in?  No thanks!  Shoes that require anything more than nudging my feet forward to put them on?  Nah.  That being said, I do still have video chat meetings to attend and fellow Target shoppers to stay 6 feet away from, and there is no rule that says comfy can’t also be pretty.  Besides, I feel so much better when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror on my bazillionth trip to the kitchen for quarantine snacks more water if I wear an “outfit.”   It feels like a nice little treat for myself to wear something I’ve chosen, rather than whatever sweatpants are closest to my hand when I get out of bed (although there are also certainly those days, too!).

Here are the makings for a hugely comfy, very casual work-from-home Friday:

This sweet onyx heart necklace would make me smile every time I put it on.

A cozy sweatshirt with nice clean lines will last you forever.

This soft cheetah skirt feels (but doesn’t look) like pajamas.

Copper Birkenstocks for comfort with a touch of glam.

This Oscar Wilde candle by Paddywax is just as good during a workday as it is while you unwind in the evenings.  You know, when you have moved from your table to your couch.

A pair of nicely marked-down rose gold headphones (cute!) with excellent noise-cancellation (essential!) for all of those Zoom meetings.

A beautiful handblown glass pitcher and a pair of Deco-ish tumblers to keep you hydrated at your desk.  Also perfect for post-work margaritas to ease you into the weekend.

Musings on that kind of Friday

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Today I am hitting a personal little blogging milestone of 200 posts, and with all the weirdness that is going on, I thought maybe we could just chat.  May we?  I’d love to.

I started using Prose hair care several weeks ago.  You know, kind of right after we all wound up sheltering in place and wearing nothing but sweatpants?  I LOVE my new hair regimen and this is not at all a sponsored post but hit me up, Prose, your stuff is amazing, but please let me say my fine and thin but also curly hair has never looked better with such minimal styling.  And you know what?  I am a little bit bitter within my I’m-so-lucky-to-not-be-sick cocoon that no one gets to see my cute bouncy hair because we are all staying the eff home to flatten the curve and keep our fellow humans safe.  Zoom meetings don’t count, I’ve decided.  We are all so grainy looking via video chat that my hair could be a frizz ball and I could probably still look mostly decent.  The one thing I still do on a daily basis is put on lipstick, because that DOES show up on Zoom, and also I feel put together and much less like a zombie when I do.  But I feel guilty that I feel bitter.

Really, we are terribly lucky.  My husband and I can both currently work from home.  We are healthy and trying to stay that way, staying home and only venturing our to walk our dogs and pick up our groceries from the front step.  Oh, and to buy a bag of coffee every week or so, masks donned and properly secured.  But what a time to be alive.  My goodness.  Our generation is currently wading through our second “once in a lifetime” economic crisis.  We exited college and grad school just in time for the 2008 recession, failed to get jobs that paid anything decent even though we were fed the American Dream of bootstraps and college and careers to be proud of, and then have been half-walking, half-crawling towards financial solvency ever since.  Now that most of us have finally gotten jobs, we have crashed headlong into the COVID-19 pandemic — with very little savings, moderate job security if we are very lucky, and rent to pay because none of us have been able to even dream about mortgages, considering our longstanding lower-than-average pay and high-enough-to-crush-your-spirit student loan payments.  So where does that leave us?  Working from home if we are lucky, filing for unemployment if we are less lucky, and urging our aging parents to please please please stay home, because pandemic.  What a time to be alive, huh?

There are so many emotions for us all to sift through right now.  Gratitude.  Despair.  Grief.  Fear.  Compassion.  Anxiety.  More gratitude.  We do our groceries on an app and tip or delivery drivers well as they risk themselves to make a living.  We donate masks and don our own, ache for the sick and simultaneously ache for anything we can call normalcy.  It’s such a tough time.  I’ve been thinking a lot about stress and suffering.  How we all have loads to bear.  The news felt like it was crushing me, an onslaught of constant bad news at all hours of the day, so I am learning to limit that consumption.  I read the news, just not all day every day.  And I have been reminded by a dear friend that just because other people are suffering doesn’t mean I have to feel like I am not allowed to feel bad.  Also, allowing myself to suffer doesn’t do anyone else any good.  Put your own oxygen mask on, girl, and then you can help others.

In short, I’m trying.  Me and my bouncy curls and my tight chest full of anxiety keep getting up every morning and doing our best.  It’s really all anyone can ask for right now, right?  I am not a nurse, not a first responder, not a medical manufacturer, but I can stay home and help those heroes have the best shot they can against this virus.  I can donate masks and treat those around with me respect and compassion, and also allow myself room to be sad that this is the world we live in right now.  We are not working from home, we are trying to work from home while a pandemic rages around us, desperately trying to be productive while desperately trying to survive, okay?  Maybe it sounds trite by now, but take care of yourself, I’ll try to take care of myself, we’ll take care of others as we are able, and we’ll make it through this.  Trust.

On my radar

As the days continue to blur into each other, I thought I would share some things that have stood out to me amidst all the sameness of sheltering in place.  It is such a strange clump of feelings we are experiencing — gratitude to be working from home, concern over friends and loved ones, guilt over never being “productive enough,” tiny joys found in a daily homemade latte or a dog nuzzle midday, and a foreboding sense of anxiety suffusing everything (mostly) under the surface.  It’s a relief to turn all that off even for a little while, so please enjoy!

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc all around us, I was reminded of this thoughtful article from The Atlantic from 2018.  It rings just as true as it did then.  If you are a young child, be comforted by looking for the helpers.  If you have the autonomy and ability to, be a helper.

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Clare V. is having an excellent promo for Mother’s Day.  Now through 4/26 spend $200, and get a free webbing strap with code FREESTRAP.  Even better, 10% of all proceeds go to Every Mother Counts in support of safe pregnancy and childbirth for every mother, everywhere.  I have been eyeing her adorable Midi Sac for ages and finally took the plunge, along with this excellent Masculin Féminin strap for a nice graphic punch.

 

 

I’m still “nesting” now that we are home so much more, and currently I am focused on small tweaks to make our kitchen feel more pulled together.  This retro little microwave couldn’t be cuter.

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Speaking of home decor, I am crushing hard on Nicole’s sweet pink Stardew Valley-inspired kitchen.  I’ve been playing quite a bit more of late, and I think I might be ready to dive into some modding for this game — especially if I can create a kitchen even half this cute!

And for a tiny dose of levity, here’s a video explaining the pandemic to one’s past self.  Ah, to remember the good old days…  four months ago.

 

Take good care of yourselves, and (at least try to) have a relaxing weekend!

 

 

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I ❤️ For Days

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Sustainable, zero waste, closed loop — plus stylish and oh-so-comfy?  Please meet For Days, a clothing company I love for their excellent basics as much as their vision and ethos.

For Days offers a line up of tees, tanks, sweats, pants, and dresses that are all 100% recyclable, made in a closed-loop system, recycled with a waterless chemical-free process, shipped in recycled and recyclable packaging, and 100% of their transportation is carbon-neutral.  Oh, and their clothes?  They are fantastic.

Have you ever been on the hunt for the perfect tee?  Soft and easy, fitted but not too tight, good drape but not see-through?  For Days has a great selection of fits, and you can try several of them at the same time to see what works for you.  I found my tee holy grail in their Daily Crew, and my husband is wearing his Light Crew tees on repeat — they are just that comfortable.

Wear them so much you’ve worn them out?  Or suddenly hate the color you’ve chosen after wearing it incessantly?  No problem!  Send back your worn out tees to be recycled, and you get a discounted swap price on your replacement.  Planning a serious closet clean-out while stuck at home?  They have a solution for that, too!  Fill their Take Back Bag with clean old clothing (of any brand) to be recycled, and you get the swap price on new items you choose to purchase.

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As if that wasn’t enough amazingness for one company, they are making masks under their For Healthier Days initiative.  You can buy 5 for yourself and donate 5, buy 5 for a loved one and donate 5, or just donate 10 outright for only $25.

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I feel good every time I wear my For Days tee shirts.  They are soft and I always feel like I look good.  Doing good while I look good shouldn’t be quite so revolutionary, but I love this company for  it, and I hope you do, too!

Everything I Never Told You

ng_everything_coverIn Celeste Ng’s debut novel Everything I Never Told You, the story of the Lee family unfolds like the petals of a flower.  Lydia is dead, that we know, and the story of her family, their grief, and their undoing unfurls slowly, with pathos and grit alike.  Chapters from Lydia’s own childhood, her parents as young people, her siblings and their own lives — all of these are twined inexorably together, as all families’ are.  Ng pulls together the experience of being an outsider deftly with a multi-layered coming-of-age story that resonated with me deeply.  There was not a single character I wasn’t rooting for by the end.

We all have inner lives, and we all carry wounds that make us fragile, even if they are invisible to the naked eye.  The saga of the Lee family brings that home with quiet power, drawing us through a gripping page-turner of a story that sears, comforts, and ultimately shows how even the darkest hours can led us to a semblance of redemption.  Highly recommend.

 

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