Month: December 2014

When I first graduated from college, I had this idea to build a website that would cull and curate news items to twenty-somethings learning to be adults. Stuff that would help them not embarrass themselves at first job interviews and also be kinder and less obnoxious members of the Facebook generation. I needed that and still do.

I wanted to survey all my favorite professors and get their advice for where to read the news, who to read, etc. Do we really have to read The Atlantic cover to cover every issue to be taken seriously? Please don’t make me do that. Please just pick the good ones for me. I still think the idea of getting suggestions from people you respect is a good one…but I think about a million other people have already done it (see: Good Reads and my beloved NYTimes Now).

These days I subscribe to way too many podcasts and newsletters and don’t even get me started on the number of pages I like on Facebook. I have no discretion, basically, but the good news is that I end up with way too much to read, and nobody should ever think of that as a problem. What a gift to be sitting under a massive digital pile of stories.

Here are my favorite piles lately. It’s a glorified blog reel, and it’s so long, but so what. They are all beautiful and good, and they make me want to be beautiful and good when I read them.

Brain Pickings Weekly

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Formerly undiscovered art by Dr. Seuss and stories you never knew about Anne Frank. That’s the kind of meat that comes in Brain Pickings. It’s super dense, so I don’t get through the whole thing often, but I feel warmer even skimming. Of course my smart friend Julie found this one first. The only thing I don’t like is how I didn’t think of it and write it first.

Maryannimal

Everyone needs a friend who is not going to panic when her hair turns navy blue on accident. I mean…that is someone who has her priorities so damn straight. I love Maryann for her Yankee Candle videos and her unabashed love for her pets. One of the most creative people I know and love in real life, and also online.

Big Table: The E-Newsletter

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Spokane might not be a culinary wonderland, but it actually is. Because this nonprofit works so hard to find every last member of the food service community in the city/region, and seeks them out to give them a little boost. The challenges faced by many in this industry are so huge (health problems from physical labor, terrible hours=miserable relationships, wage theft), but reading this newsletter–the stories of people who got a bed for their kid, or a car to get to work safely, or an extra month’s rent, or a place at a beautiful dinner hosted just for them–restores my faith every time. It’s kind of holy. It’s how I want to be a Christian.

Project Adelaide on Instagram: @projectadelaide

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It’s kind of like a painter’s version of a dance-off. Except everyone wins because these two artist-friends post their work together, which is based on the same prompt. Every time I see it, I’m like, “I better get that framed. Ohhhh, no that one! Nope, that one.”

Native Appropriations

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I realize I might do well to learn a bit more about cultural challenges in the, ahem, FOREIGN COUNTRY WHERE I LIVE, but I think about this one a lot, far as it may be from me right now.  Indigenous people are constantly represented in ways that are unflattering, unfair, untrue, etc…and I’m learning to notice when and how I can be more supportive. This blogs helps. Dear friends are teaching and working on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota right now, and they have helped me see just how long and deep and complex these challenges are.

National Geographic on Instagram: @natgeo

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I can forgive the horrific lack of copyediting on this account because the photography comes in real-time and makes me feel like I’m swimming with polar bears or climbing some mountain in the Andes. It is stunning and so so so much fun to see in my feed. It’s also a little helping hand for the “save the earth” part of my brain that hates to wash and recycle things like peanut butter jars. That kind of beauty does NOT need to be gunked up by my nasty peanut butter jar, so I better get rinsing.

Whatever by Meg Duerksen

Painted-Pumpkins

I have been reading the mommy blogs since 2006, people. This is the one that I still read religiously. She’s a Kansas mom with five kids. I love her photography. I love the way she writes. I love the way she talks about being a parent and a person who is working on stuff in her own heart and brain. She’s Midwest wonderful.

Justin Timberlake on Instagram

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Songs by JT? My virtual nightcap/lullaby/all of it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

BRACE YOURSELVES! We’ve dipped below 50 degrees. The weather service issued a cold warning on the day it hit 45.

This is all of Hong Kong right now:

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Here’s how my fellow Hong Kongers recommend facing the blustery temps:

1. Wear neon, elbow-length cashmere gloves.

2. Dress your children in at least four layers (long johns, polo shirt, cable knit RL sweater, coat).

3. Send enough hand warmers in your child’s backpack to keep the entire class warm at recess.

4. Teach your kids how to build a “fire” on the beach. (Actually, stay inside. Forget the beach exists until May when we’re back in the high 90s.)

5. Bust out the chinchilla-goat fur. This one. Side note: It’s possible I sat behind someone wearing a coat like this one at a Christmas concert last weekend, and it’s possible I “dropped my chapstick” so I could touch this coat as I “picked it up.” I totally don’t understand why people look at me and can tell I’m American. I am SO CLASSY!

But really. I am giving myself way too much credit for not thinking it’s cold yet, but I really don’t! And I think it’s mostly funny how cold everyone else feels. People are freaking out, and I promise you we are still getting tons of sunny days where I leave the house in long sleeves alone. I’m thinking it’s all my American, ahem, insulation. I knew there would be an upside to that eventually.

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