I’m traveling for the next week, visiting my BFF in New Mexico and celebrating Dio de los Muertos. You can follow along on Instagram if you want to see photos of sugar skulls and cacti! I brought in my friend Desiree to curate this week’s Web Time Wasters for you!
Hello! I am Desiree Spinner from the blog La Petite Peach where I write about being a mama, fashion, food, travel, and life in New England with two littles (and one on the way!). I have a love affair with anything European, but especially Parisian. Finding balance between being a mindful and present mom but also a good friend, wife and writer (that’s my main gig!) is what I am striving for and the blog is the vessel for that journey.
Here is a round-up of all my favorite things lately. Enjoy!
I’m a sucker for knits, especially on cold New England days, Waddler Co. and Babaa are my go-to’s
Hands down, my favorite food blog is the Minimalist Baker. She creates the best vegetarian dishes, and recently debuted her cookbook.
Local girl boss over on the Every Day Girl! Love seeing locals get exposure. Tara went from an idea on beauty products to a booming biz. Through WWOOF, I found a family in the Southwest region of France, who put me up and fed me, in return for long days of tending to their lavender fields. Like any other farming, this was hard work that began at dawn and left me exhausted by the end of the day each day. I was there for a season—from planting through harvest—and saw how the lavender grew, and was then distilled into oils. The experience helped me appreciate every single one of the ingredients used in the products we sell at Follain. It helped me understand how terroir and love is so crucial to these ingredients, and how important it is that we support the people and planet that give us these ingredients.
How was your week, guys? I got to see the amaaaaazing Andrew Solomon speak about family and identity and yesterday we hosted 20 family members at our place for our two-months-post-wedding brunch. Praise be the power of egg bakes and waffles!
Anyway. Links for you!
If you’re here in the Twin Cities and you want to hang out or hear me talk about writing for a living, I’m speaking at this free event on October 27th. Join us! I’ll be joining other, much more awesome people like Jamie Millard (the co-executive director of Pollen), John Sturgess (founder of Adogo pet hotels), and my husband (climatologist Dr. Kenny Blumenfeld.)
If you’re reading something that requires the use of multiple post-it notes, these will make the job a bit more fun.
I’ve been trying to do 10 minutes of yoga every morning, not matter what. After wading through a jillion mediocre Youtube videos, I found this one. Calming, mellow music that’s not annoying, a few slightly challenging poses but nothing crazy. Perfect for me!
I never really understood SlutWalk. I sort of thought “Okay, you enjoy sex and small clothes! That’s cool. Does it necessitate a parade any more than enjoying beer and jeans necessitate a parade?” But of course, it’s not that straightforward and SlutWalk is for everyone, regardless of your sexual preferences. Celibacy … caused me to be perceived as a prude, a pariah. Oftentimes the word virgin was hurled at me with as much judgment as the word slut was wielded towards some of my peers.
People assumed things about me — my relationship with my body, my intelligence, my street smarts, my taste, my politics — that had absolutely no basis in fact. Even those who “approved” spoke to me with an odd and unacceptable level of intimacy, once again assuming that they knew everything they needed to know about me based on one piece of information about my sexuality.
Rose and many of the women who have participated in SlutWalks all over the world have felt those feelings too.
My friend Katie wrote a lovely, honest essay about the reality of going from one child to two. I’ve known the sting of not being invited along because I’ve had to say no too many times before, due to bedtimes or nap times or just general got-my-hands-full times. I hate that if I get on the phone while my children are awake, I cannot say more than three words, or hear a full story, before someone wails or needs something. (Thank you, inventors, for text messaging.) I fall asleep in front of the TV at night and need a recap of half the show I was trying to watch in the morning. I can’t just pick up and do things spontaneously all that often. Well, sometimes I can. But I can’t rely on it the way I used to. Someone always needs to go to sleep right now. My intentions and actions do not match up the way I want them to.
My sister was adopted from Korea so I found this article incredibly fascinating: China’s one-child policy led to my adoption — and a more privileged life Sometimes it’s odd to think that between us, Wu Chao is supposedly the privileged child — the boy preferred by Chinese society, the son my family held out for while I was hidden and ultimately put up for adoption.
Have you guys heard of Havenly? For $79, interior designers will help you create concept boards for your spaces and then you can buy the pieces you like at discount prices through their store!
I’m location-independent and I so, SO highly recommend it. If you want to live and work from anywhere, you’ll love to read Working on the Road.
I’ve recently decided that I’m not going to be weird or secretive about my age; in case you didn’t know I’m 36. Why are we so weird about aging? And why are we afraid to look our age? An interesting photo essay.
My husband is the senior climatologist for the state of Minnesota (#brag) so I’ve become more and more aware of the effects of our purchasing habits and over population. If you don’t think overpopulation is a problem, I’d encourage you to look at these photos.
Somewhat related: Elon’s Musk’s ex-wife Justine wrote about their divorce. As we danced at our wedding reception, Elon told me, “I am the alpha in this relationship.” I shrugged it off, just as I would later shrug off signing the postnuptial agreement, but as time went on, I learned that he was serious. He had grown up in the male-dominated culture of South Africa, and the will to compete and dominate that made him so successful in business did not magically shut off when he came home. This, and the vast economic imbalance between us, meant that in the months following our wedding, a certain dynamic began to take hold. Elon’s judgment overruled mine, and he was constantly remarking on the ways he found me lacking. “I am your wife,” I told him repeatedly, “not your employee.” “If you were my employee,” he said just as often, “I would fire you.”
How was your week, guys? Mine was busybusybusy with non-work related stuff: haircuts and a million lunches and brunches and phone calls. Our friend Holly was in town, touring to promote her record. It’s so lovely to see your friends doing what they love!
Can I tell you about all the awesome things I found for you? All over the internet?
I don’t drink beer, but I have three cans in my fridge left over from a house party. OBVIOUSLY, I need to make this dip.
Yes. Show some respect for the brave. I hope I remember that anyone who is brave enough to stand in front of the world — to read a poem, to share a story, to sing a song, or to (gasp!) give something a try even if they’re not “perfect” yet — deserves my respect.
It doesn’t matter if I think it’s “good” or not. That’s not the point.
Courage, in any form — on key or out of tune, shaky or impeccable — is an extraordinary thing to behold and if you’re fortunate enough to bear witness to such a moment, put down your phone, set down your drink, shut up and listen.
A beautifully written, surprisingly funny essay: I’m Sorry I Didn’t Respond to Your Email, My Husband Coughed to Death Two Years Ago I have a cousin who’s also a widow, and she told my sister that she’s not sure if she’d bring her husband back. Which sounds TOTALLY CRAZY to other people, BUT: When you experience a loss like this, you get to see a really wild new amount of life. Suddenly the range of the type of sad you can feel, to the type of happy you can feel, is busted open. The spectrum from happy to sad isn’t a foot wide anymore — it’s as far as your arms can stretch and then to the edges of the room and then up the block and over into the next neighborhood. So I am not happy that Steve died. But I am happy a lot of the time, which I didn’t really anticipate on this day two years ago.
Co-signed. The inherent unsexiness of playing it cool. The sexiest, most enticing, awesome thing on the planet is a person who is fully engaged with life. Get closer, get involved. Be curious, be enthusiastic. Soak it all up! Otherwise, you live a half-life, cowed by fear, marred with self-doubt, consumed by worry. The best way to love your life is throw yourself into it with gusto, right now.
How was your week, guys? I very, very rarely attend professional conferences but when it’s in my own city – I can be convinced! On Friday and Saturday I attended SimpleRev, a conference devoted to minimalism and intentional living. Super interesting! And I finally got to meet my long-time internet friend Courtney!
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you, internet.
I’ve been reading the Tiny Buddha blog foreeeeever (and even wrote for them!) so I’m super excited to dig into their new book! 365 tiny love challenges, indeed!
There’s a freedom in saying “I’m too old for this.” Young(er) women, take this to heart: Why waste time and energy on insecurity? I have no doubt that when I’m 80 I’ll look at pictures of myself when I was 60 and think how young I was then, how filled with joy and beauty.
Self-acceptance is activism. The most important kind of activism is to be yourself—to go to yoga classes wearing whatever you want. None of this self-conscious Lululemon “you have to be wearing this, that, or the other” stuff, and a lot of places in Durham, NC, where I live and teach, are overly focused on that. But you can only be marginalized so much. The vast majority of people are just normal people. We don’t all look like Tara Stiles, and there’s more community [to be found] in standing together—as uniquely ourselves. The most important thing we can do is be honest. Take photos of yourself in your underwear!
How was your week, guys? I crossed TWO things off my ‘New Things’ list (energy work + visiting the Wabasha caves) and I’m working on writing them up. I also took myself on a little DIY writing retreat, caught up with an old friend from Australia, had a mini train adventure on the Northstar Line, and watched a friend’s band. High five, week! You were awesome!
Anyhoodles. Links for you.
I have oodles of space in September’s Network of Nice! If you’d like to make new friends, get personal insights, find un-Google-able info or beta test your offerings this is for you! Send me 50-100 words at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org and we’ll get you set up!
I’vebeen reading a few pages of The Effortless Everyday every night and it is chock full of wisdom. A particular favorite: “There’s no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.” PREEEEEACH.
I have found the gold standard for coffee travel mugs and they’re $22 for 2! 454 four star reviews!
Do you want to make an amazing first impression? Dur. Who doesn’t? Here’s how.
I looooove creepy stuff. David Lynchian-anything, Russia, weird, sad biographies. Creepy Girl Travels is for us, fellow creepers.
Oooof, this is a good one. Why is everyone succeeding except me? (And I love the photo they chose to accompany this article.) But everyone starts things and then abandons them. That’s part of being a creative person. You have good ideas and only a few of them pan out or keep your attention over time. I used to define myself as a quitter, thanks to all of the projects on my computer that I never finished. But the truth is, it takes a lot of stops and starts to figure out what you’re really committed to and what you really love enough to work hard on without much reward in sight.
Ohhhhhhhh goodness am I ever co-signed on this one. Flaking out is not self-care. It is an act of self-care to look at my schedule and see if a new project really belongs there. If there isn’t space, it is destructive for me to shoehorn it in. It’s not about only putting good things in my schedule. It’s about acknowledging what I have capacity for, and then not adding more (no matter how tempting). And later, when I’m feeling overwhelmed and terrible because I have too many things on my plate? It’s past the time for care. At that point, flaking isn’t self-care. It’s triage.