Friday, February 22, 2019

Some days are diamonds

Yesterday was one.

New book, three longer walks including one with the fam, lots of fresh air, some sunshine, gorgeous mural art, acupuncture appointment (I rarely feel as good as I do when I strut out of that office - new body, who dis?), fresh nails (OPI Silken Cord), check marks next to large work projects...a series of small things that added up to a diamond of a day, which was  unexpected and lovely given my shitty attitude this week. I forgot my sunglasses and my mouse and was still grinning. Forgetting my sunglasses is usually a torpedo into my day. Sensitive eyes and all.
I capped it off feeling extra good about myself because MFD watched Behind the Curve, a flat earther documentary, and no matter what else is happening in my life, I am not a flat earther and that is something to be thankful for. Get the F out of here with that.

Wishing you a diamond day today. Hell, have yourself a diamond weekend. Go on.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - let's tighten it up now

1. I am a child of the moon, and it cast a magnificent glow Monday night.

2. My attitude was shit Monday, bolstered by a long, hot, thirsty, standing train ride into the city. By Tuesday I was fully settled into my February snarkiness that hits every year this week. I need more light and time outdoors. Bring me spring.

3. Given my attitude, I didn't mind making my work from home day Wednesday, especially with the snow. Working from home wardrobe > in office wardrobe.
4. Other working from home scenes because. Because. Bruce refuses to come in when it snows. He prefers to stay outside and eat it like it's a grand delicacy.
5. I won these masks from Gina at Ciao Bella! (she's a new blogger and doesn't do social media, which I love, so please go say hey) and Pam sent me these cute towels for sending her some books! Thanks ladies.
6. My wasteful paper cupcake things are finally done. I got these from Target - washable, freezable, no waste. Silicone, not my favorite, but they'll do in lieu of throwing out paper every time. Some of my muffins won't freeze and come out okay if I don't use something that's not just the pan. 

7. I have spent a shit ton of money on dog treats through the years. Geege always turned his nose up at simple biscuits so I got used to buying other stuff. You know what these dogs like? The $1.45 box of made in the USA biscuits from Aldi. I'm not complaining. Do you know how many treats four dogs go through?

8. What else about this week? It feels draggy and blah. I've eaten a lot of carrot cake Oreos and they are delicious. I've been killing it for weeks with my night skincare routine, I usually dick out one or two nights but it's been strong. Although there is an under the skin Kilimanjaro size pimple threatening to distort my chin line. I dragged through reading the fourth Tracy Crosswhite novel. I kept not making an acupuncture appointment and my entire pinched nerve affected side is killing me so I desperately need one and it's finally today at 3. I miss the shore. 

9. Reminder:

10. Ecard of the week:

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Tighten Up by Archie Bell & The Drells

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Weaning myself off of fast fashion

Since last fall, my brain's been swirling around the concept of consumption in different areas of my life. Sometimes when I'm mulling over things in my head figuring out a new way forward, I don't write about them or feel the urge to write about anything, because I'm busy thinking. But I always reach a point where I'm just spinning my wheels in there because no thoughts are leaving my head, so I'll just pick a point and start.

Fast fashion - inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass market retailers in response to the latest trends - is contributing to a huge environmental problem of too much shit with nowhere for it to go (read more on that here, article is old but the cycle of clothes is still relevant). I pride myself on being pretty environmentally friendly in my home, but when I started following Aja Barber on Instagram last year, I realized a huge part of my identity as a consumer was wasteful as fuck: my clothes buying.

I wanted to learn more, so I subscribed to Aja's Patreon (if sustainable, ethical fashion or anti-racism work interests you, you are missing out if you have an extra $5 or $10 a month and are not following her work - knowledge is power and we must be willing to pay our teachers). So much of the work she's doing in writing about sustainable fashion struck a chord in me every time I read a piece of hers. I started really examining my habits clothes-wise and was absolutely disgusted with myself. I have been way too flippant with the privilege of purchasing. I was embarrassed that I was coming to this so late in life and had barely thought about my footprint in regards to clothes up until now.

Also inspired by Aja's commentary, I started thinking about the changes I could make or at least work towards making: investing in clothes that are going to last - clothes that are going to be easier on the planet, clothes that allow the workers making them to bring home a livable wage and not $1 a day in a shitty unsafe factory. This is not to say that all cheaper clothes don't last - I have sweaters from Old Navy that are eight years old - but in general, I had been cycling through a lot of stuff, quickly. For no reason. How many $5 t-shirts have I bought on a whim and gotten rid of in under two years that are now in a landfill somewhere, and two years later the woman who made them is still in that shitty unsafe factory making nothing in terrible conditions while I just buy more shit?

In the blogging world alone, how many times are we urged to buy buy buy? Everywhere, constantly. I'm not one to post my outfits because I am quite far from a fashion lady, but I swear I'm going to start calling out how old things I'm wearing are when I remember to. For the health of the planet and our wallets, I want keeping things to be cooler than the allure of shiny new things we don't need and won't still own two years from now. I don't begrudge one person making money off of affiliate links because we've all got to eat, but when you have to keep buying new to show new, it's a vicious cycle of waste. How much new shit are we buying that we don't need? How many resources are we consuming? How much money are we wasting? Why are we doing this?

As my stuff wears out, I'll be looking to make purchases more in line with my views on environmental sustainability, ethics, representation, the liberation of all women being bound up together, and all workers all over the world making a living wage. I want to know how a company who is producing my clothes operates before I buy from them. I can't be pro-conservation and equal opportunity for women - especially representation of marginalized black/indigenous/women of color in all industries - and continue to consume clothing the way I've been consuming clothing. The head and the actions are not lining up in my clothing life and that's a problem for me now. The fact that it hasn't been up until now is straight white privilege.

I'm late to the game on ethical fashion, way late. So I'm trying to catch up and learn. Instagram has been great for following a lot of people having conversations about ethical, sustainable fashion, and I'm doing a hell of a lot of listening and not talking in those spaces. I'm talking here after ruminating on it for a few months, because if you're out there considering being more sustainable and ethical in what you wear and consume, I want you to know I'm doing the same. Or maybe you haven't thought about it, but you're thinking about it now. Maybe you don't know where to start, like I didn't. Along with Aja I'm following BuyfromBIPOC on Instagram, which highlights BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) makers with a focus on slow, ethical, and sustainable fashion. I've started reading the Clothed in Abundance blog. Following Dominque Drakeford. Keila LeistLittle Koto's Closet. There are a lot of BIPOC women out there who have been leading this for years and I am getting in line behind them and learning as much as I can.

Will I refuse to buy something from Old Navy again? No. My relationship with retail isn't going to end overnight, and I don't have a wallet wide enough to invest in higher priced items all the time. That's why the title of this post is weaning myself, not ridding myself. I am typically an all or nothing person when I look to change something, but making some small changes in what, why, when, and from where I buy will make a huge difference in my impact on the environment as well as my mindset on consumption. I've got to start somewhere with textile waste. We all do if we want a planet that will remain.

Monday, February 18, 2019

TWTW - the one that was different than expected

Friday My plan was to come home, get in pajamas, and read. Instead I painted my nails (Inst-Dri Matte Violet Velvet) while MFD finished work and we decided to use one of our gift certificates from Christmas for a sushi dinner at Sakura with an Aldi trip on the way. But first a knock on my window at the light and we pulled over to help a senior stranded motorist who didn't have a phone, pushing her car into the gas station with our car before MFD and another guy physically pushed her into a spot. After putting laundry away, I was in bed reading by 10. 

Saturday I started a new book, photographed a shit ton of clothes to sell under the supervision of Bruce and Bender, went to the library and the post office, made a big salad, picked up pizza from Brothers for dinner at Dad & Carol's (MFD had to bring Carol's walker from hip replacement into the photo, never a dull moment), and on the way home we went to Target. Together. And that's always an adventure. 
Sunday I met one of last summer's renters to return hoodies he left from July, picked up around the house, changed the sheets, washed sheets, read, went to see the cutest little Annabelle baby finally, packed up a big bag of clothes to send to Thred Up, finished a book, and putzed around while MFD worked in the afternoon.
Sunday night dinner at Mom & Rich's with the whole fam- I stuffed myself silly then came home to watch True Detective. Luckily we were at my mom’s because we left our house without a house key. 

Weekly food prep: breakfast burritos from the freezer and strawberries for breakfasts, PB&J for lunch (only need three days), sliced bell peppers for snacks, rice and beans and Mexican stuffed shells from the freezer for dinners. It was nice to only have to slice veggies and pack fruit this weekend. 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first Show Us Your Books Readathon! Three prizes were two $15 gift cards and a $25 gift card to the booksellers of choice to the winners. I meant to spend most of the weekend reading but only read on the fringes, which is typical of how a lot of weekends in life go. 

How was yours? Are you off today? I'm in.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - When it's right the light just comes shining through

Hey. Hi. Hey. I'm tired and didn't feel like doing the typical Thursday Thoughts in which I cuttingly point out the hypocrisy of Mr. Both Sides Have Very Fine People President (where "both sides" are Nazis, one of which ran a woman over and killed her, and Nazi protestors) and his swamp of asskissing traitors go full throttle after three women of color in Congress instead of calling their own racist hateful antisemitic people in like they of all people should be anti-semitism police, so instead here's a 10 list of things I'm loving right now:

1. Birthday Countdown: we're about a month out, people. If you've read here for long, you knew this was coming, as is the month-long celebration. I always buy my own birthday gifts and those are always sneakers or athleisure shoes, nail polish, and books. I have ordered the sneakers and nail polish (going full on Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polishes this year, so I got four for the price of two OPIs and used a Target gift card so they were free). Still nailing down which books I want, and will use an Amazon gift card so they'll be free too. Free is for me. The sneakers, not free, but only $50 so a win.

2. Shore House Countdown: I try not to think of it when I can't go there. This is the longest I've gone without going to get something or drop something off or check in on the house. MFD has been doing that, my Dad and Carol stopped in in December, and Rich did a drive by last week. I'm feeling the absence of the shore in my life heavily right now. I am officially on overnight temp weather watch and always hoping for an early spring.

3. Dollar Store Bowls: They're the white ones below. The stripes are the final two bowls remaining from my shower in 2009. The ones in the back are the only ones left from World Market expensive ass bowls that all chipped. The Dollar Store bowls are the real MVP. They don't chip. I have them at the shore too.
4. The Bruce and Bender Show: these two are so cute and a riot together, even when they're wreaking havoc or destroying shit. Yesterday MFD reported that they got ramen out of the pantry and ate it in the living room.
5. Radical self love: getting up close and personal with yourself, even the parts you don't like, and loving yourself through it all.
6. A weekend of reading ahead: Well, a weekend of reading is usually ahead, but it's like a group activity this weekend. Are you joining in?

7. The ability to work from home: bless it, very seriously. I worked from home Tuesday and am working from home today.

8. Baked goods from Mom. Last night she dropped off cookies and a pound cake with strawberry icing. I ate all of the cookies and called it dinner.

9. Fake sun and fake massage: Both improve my mood immensely. If you feel any type of way without the sunlight in the winter, I am telling you to get the Sun Touch Plus and park your ass in front of it for a half hour a few times a week. It's a season changer. If you are like me you'll combine that time with your massager and get up off the couch a half hour later feeling like a new person. Don't mind the dog hair, feel the serenity.
Amazon links are affiliate links

10. Ecards.

What are you loving today? 
Aside from should be on your own love it list every day.
If you aren't, what can we do to get you on there?
Holding space in my heart for Parkland students, families, and community today and every day.

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Caught Up in You by 38 Special

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What you can expect in a resort-style trip

Raise your hand if you've spent a lot of time investigating and pricing out vacations you know you're not going to take in the next six months when you need a little escape from the every day? My hand is raised.  I've seen a lot of friends asking for resort recommendations as we sit in the winter months here in the Northeast. I feel you all.

This week I've been dreaming of being footloose and fancy free-dreaming, and doing a little researching. It's no wonder resort trips are becoming more and more popular. There are your typical all-inclusives and then there are total resort-style trips. Those have been on my mind this week: privacy, fantastic amenities, a choice of restaurants/menus for dinner, your own home, and all the decisions on what you want to do. Resorts are specialized leisure where a company has carved out a small oasis in paradise. You have a small community with which you can interact or stay entirely shielded from. Friendly staff are on hand so everything feels within reach. Crucially however, you have your own property to romp around for however long you're there: a lounge, bedroom, bathrooms, garden, beach, and pool in many of them. It's kind of like being a property owner in a wonderful part of the world, so you get a feeling of exclusivity. You choose how you plan your days out, what you want to do and when. You can, of course, do nothing. There’s no rush, you can simply lay back and take it easy but have anything provided for you at a moment's notice.

Total privacy and space
In the usual kind of tropical vacation, you’re in a hotel with many other guests, sharing a swimming pool. Your balcony is next to another  room. If you have the desire to have your own space, you can get it if you go resort-style. Usually however, the properties are fashioned in the style of the country or location. For example, if you’re close to a beach like the Kingfisher Bay resort you’ll have properties that are standalone (doesn't that look like we should get on a plan right now?). You can have something that is entirely private or semi-private. You have your own space so you can sunbathe alone with nary a person in your line of sight. Privacy is the key to these resorts. If you don’t feel like going out, then you have all the appliances you need to cook a meal within your own four walls.

It's all-in and exclusive
Resorts have exclusive items and activities that other holiday companies don’t offer. Resorts have access to a part of the beach that no other person can use and their own planned excursions where trails and activities are exclusive to their list of guests. You can go through parts of the rainforest, desert, or mountainous region that other people are not privy to. Resorts will often have their own style of doing things also, such as providing private chefs upon request. They give their guests their own pools and jacuzzis, as well boats of all kinds to go out into the sea to swim or fish. It's an all-in package that gives you everything you could ask for and that is the definition of exclusive. You’ll do things that other holiday goers around you can’t do even if they offered to pay for it.

Resort holidays are going to keep on captivating the general public. It's very alluring to have your own space, pool, waiting staff, and privacy. It's like you’ve been given a place in paradise that is all yours.

I'm a fan of vacation daydreaming of all sorts: traversing cities, roughing(ish) it in a cross country road trip, cruising, living small and sparse somewhere beautiful, and living large and lovely like a resort-style trip.

Warm and sunny are calling my name.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Show Us Your Books: February 2019

I've spent a lot of time reading recently, and I'm not planning on stopping. If you're in reading mode, join us for a readathon next weekend: read as much or as little as  you want, start whenever on Friday and end whenever Sunday. Check in whenever you want by taking reading pics and tagging us in them on IG or Twitter. We have random prizes. Why not? Everyone is welcome.

Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup.

Engrossing Reads
*Buy links are affiliate links, cost you nothing to buy through, and benefit the running of this linkup*

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas - I wonder what it was like for Angie Thomas to have a complete smash debut novel sit over 100 weeks at the top of the best seller list with The Hate U Give, to let go of her second book out into the world of people with impossible expectations? Whatever it took, I'm glad she did, because Angie Thomas has done it again. The story is good, the writing is good, the point of view just as on point as in The Hate U Give, but the main character in this book, Bri...I adore her. You should read it. Hard cover, owned, pre-ordered from Amazon buy hard cover (only $11.39), buy kindle

Recursion by Blake Crouch - Hot damn. I jumped on this advanced copy as soon as I saw it on Netgalley and I'm glad I did. I loved the story. I love how Blake Crouch can write books based in science and make me feel like I understand them well. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Book comes out June 11. pre-order kindle / pre-order hard cover

The Night Stalker (Detective Erika Foster #2) by Robert Bryndza - I dig Erika. I do not dig some of the men around her. Philly library paperback buy kindle / buy paperback

Sugar (Sugar Lacey #1) by Bernice L. McFadden - McFadden is a wonderful story teller. I loved the writing. The story was hard and redeeming all in one. Philly library paperback buy kindle / buy paperback

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena - This reminded me a lot of Clue and I couldn't put it down. I love a simple whodunit. Philly library hardback buy kindle/buy hardcover

Crimson Lake (Crimson Lake #1) by Candice Fox - I had a hard time getting into this, but once I was in I was in. I will try another. Philly library hardback buy kindle/buy paperback

Other People's Houses by Abbi Waxman - I thoroughly enjoyed the frankness of Frances. I loved all the characters and the glimpse into their worlds. BOTMC, own, mailed on buy kindle/buy paperback

Passed the Time Just Fine

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde - I loved the writing, as I did in Take Me With You. The story didn't hit me quite as hard, but it was interesting and a quick read. Philly library paperback

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin - There was a wait for this at the library, meaning this old novel is experiencing a resurgence in popularity likely thanks to the movie. This was good in the way a punch in the gut is good for making you appreciate that you can breathe. Baldwin is a master. Philly library paperback

A Killer's Mind (Zoe Bentley Mystery #1) by Mike Omer - The story was pretty good and I liked both Zoe Bentley and Tatum Gray. I'll check out a second in the series. This was a Kindle first read, I never remember that but I know this one was. Amazon kindle e-book, free

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land - Lots and lots of people suck moments in this one. Anyone who doesn't have a grasp of what it's like to live on minimum wage or gig work should read this. We need to understand how people are living. Free e-copy from Netgalley

Dark Water (Detective Erika Foster #3) by Robert Bryndza - A little bit slower than the previous too, but it kicked up a bit. I'll go on with the series even though it means buying the rest on kindle - my library doesn't have them and can't get the e-copies (did you know some publishers don't allow libraries access to their ebooks? I got a load of info from my librarian LOL). Amazon kindle ebook, purchased

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal - A nice story and little peek into Punjabi culture. I loved Nikki. I know it was in the title but I wasn't expecting actual erotic stories in there, I was like oh they're actually doing the erotic stories thing LOL. I'm not great at stories within stories. I loved how this group of women blossomed as the book went on and found support in each other. Philly library hardback

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene - I felt anxious through quite a few parts, but the good reading anxious not bad real life anxious, the what's going to happen type of anxious. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis - A little slow moving but it sped up in the middle. Mounds of secrets. I loved Olva and Rosemarie, I wish more of them were in the story. Judith was a shit, by design. Free e-copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Book comes out July 19

Grafitti Moon by Cath Crowley - Poetic writing, not a bad story for YA. Heavy, as YA can be. Philly library hardback

Queenie by Candice Carty Williams - Queenie the book was good, Queenie the character I loved, even when she didn’t love herself. I also loved the Corgis minus Cassandra and the grandparents. 
Thanks to Netgalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was hoping hard to get this one and it didn’t disappoint.

The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent - This was compulsively readable with a huge HUH in there. Can't say more without giving it all away but it was totally not what I was expecting in any way and I can't decide if I think it was a plot cop out or not. Regardless it didn't stop me from devouring the book. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper - I should not have read this book at night. Parts of it are frankly terrifying. If you like horror thriller, you might like this. It was too much for me. I closed my kindle at one point and was rigid with fear. An interesting premise that sort of blew up at the end. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Not Worth It

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton - The main character is 400 kinds of crazy. The author pounded that home throughout and it felt repetitive at times, making a portion of it feel like a slog. The link between the past and present felt really tenuous. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

At Briarwood School for Girls by Michael Knight - Barely okay, lots of potential but a lot of disconnect. Likely a case of too much going on. Cut the unnecessary side stories and characters out and this is a much better book. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

No Exit by Taylor Adams - Meh. BOTMC, own, sold

Did Not Finish

What have you been reading? 
Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is March 12, 2019 
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