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spring favorites

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It can’t just be me – this winter felt, again, like it would never end. (It was so bad that this weekend, in late April, there was a snowstorm in Chicago that closed the airport, meaning we got “stranded” in Minneapolis.) I’ve been very glad for the brief moments of respite from the bitter cold and snow, and equally happy to find projects, games, and products that have made being stuck inside feel a little less-bad. Here’s what I’m into this season!

Uniqlo drape pants: Holy cow fam, I just discovered Uniqlo. Who was keeping them a secret from me?! I’ve long needed to replace things that I wear every day, like sweatpants and slippers (working from home has its own wardrobe, too.) When we stopped in a few weeks ago, I ran wild. I got two pairs of these drape pants, and I’m essentially living in them now. Perfect weight, light and flowy, stylish and comfortable. I love them!

Crocs Strappy Sandals: When a friend got married this spring, I realized that I didn’t really have any dressy shoes anymore. I saw these recommended by a one-bag traveler for their comfort and versatility, but by the time I got them in the mail I’d found a different pair of shoes to wear. After missing the Amazon return window I finally opened them and tried them on, and they feel like you’re walking on clouds – plus they’re really cute, and look nothing like Crocs!

Sadie by Courtney Summers: I had been in a real reading slump after reading a lot of non-fiction books about technology – I was getting too depressed and upset to finish them, and if I have an “active” book, it’s hard for me to start something new. Knowing that I’d probably get through a YA book in a few sittings, I overcame my aversion to starting something new when something is in progress and OMG. This book is totally worth all the hype it has gotten. I stayed up late finishing it one night, and have been thinking about it ever since. (If you’ve read it can we PLEASE talk about the ending??)

Superhi: This year, I finally decided to get really serious about learning code properly rather than the hack-and-paste strategy I’ve been going with for the last few years. Superhi is the first online course I’ve found that really works for the way my brain learns. I’ve tried Skillcrush before, and a few others, and I could never stick with them. I’ve taken three course so far and recently purchased another bundle to work through over the summer!

Notion: Everyone is singing the praises of Notion lately for organization, and I have jumped on board. The first time I tried it a few months ago I was overwhelmed by how flexible it is, but it didn’t take too long to get it set up and migrate a lot of my life over into it. Evan and I keep our schedules, our shopping list, and a sort of ‘future log’ in it, and I’m using it to track everything from code classes to essay ideas and research.

Llamanoes: Growing up, we played a lot of games, and in an effort to get away from screens and my phone, I’m working on playing more. These Llamanoes are ADORABLE and a fun game to play with kids because it’s super easy. If you’re more into adult games, we just picked up these plastic playing cards after a disastrous meeting between a bottle of water and a deck of cards.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson: It takes kind of a lot for me to opt in to new shows, but one particular review made me move this up in the queue pretty quickly. And with good reason – it’s probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in the last ten years. The episodes are short, between 15-20 minutes each, with three or four sketches in each. This is my style of comedy – taking things too far, making people uncomfortable, the darkest of the dark.

What are you into lately? Anything I should check out?

April 15, 2019
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monthly roundup no. 10: february 2019

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It’s that time of the month again where I clear out my Pocket articles and share some of my favorite articles I collected this month. It seems like I’m tending more toward technical-type investigations lately, which makes sense as I continue through my Superhi course. This is the first bootcamp I’ve found that really works for my teaching style, so if you’re a highly visual or design-oriented learner, I can’t recommend them more.

Since that kind of reading isn’t for everyone, I’m sharing some of my favorite entertainment write ups from the month. Lizzo! Laura! Roller coasters! More crummy musician men! It’s all here for you today.

It’s Just a Matter of Time Until Everyone Loves Lizzo: If you aren’t listening to Lizzo yet, what on earth are you doing? Her music is super feel good, and she’s unapologetic from everything from her body to her self-love. She’s the baddest ass flautist I’ve ever seen, and I just hope to someday feel about my self the way Lizzo feels about Lizzo. And also the way I feel about Lizzo.

The Spectacular Failure of the World’s Only Hard Rock Theme Park: This hits on two of my biggest interests: abandoned things and theme parks. I had no idea that there had even ever been a Hard Rock theme park, let alone that it had been in South Carolina of all places, and this thorough tour through its history was fascinating.

After many many years, favorite blog The Billfold is closing. One of my 2018 highlights was to finally be published there, and I’m very sad to see it go. Despite the popularity of other money sites, none of them are as personal as writers and articles were here.

On Dermatillomania: Laura Stevenson is an amazing songwriter and singer, and her jams have been there for me through some of the ugliest of times. She penned this essay on self-harm for Talkhouse, and I’m glad that she was able to share her experience so it can potentially help so many others. (Big ol’ TW on that if you’re susceptible to self-harm.)

13 Reasons We Type in Lowercase: I type almost exclusively in lowercase. At work, I type lowercase in our Slack channel, but it’s hit or miss everywhere else – Basecamp and Github see varied cases, I guess depending on the day. I’ve always thought it was mostly for speed – not hitting the “shift” key does save a little bit of time, I suppose – and, probably, a little bit of laziness.

Ryan Adams and the Betrayal of Teenage Girls: At this point it’s little shock when a powerful man’s abuse comes to light, and while I don’t think that Ryan Adams was a surprise, reading the NYT article with the women he abused hit very close to home. Mandy Moore’s quote at the end of the piece is something I think I’ve said verbatim about my abuser in the past. This Buzzfeed piece is just one more illustration that this is not isolated – it happens everywhere, to almost every woman.

I think capping it off with something happier would be nice. A friend of a friend wrote Hymns for Druggie Party Kids awhile ago, and it was recently published. It’s a great piece on how music can find you when you need it most, and it of course features my favorite band, The Hold Steady.

Any articles you particularly loved this month? Share them below!

February 21, 2019
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19 (more) creative father’s day gift ideas

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Father’s day is coming, and I love to give really unique and creative gifts. Dating a dad has given me real insight I’d never had before – the stereotypes are true, people. (If anyone would like to disagree, I have the photos of him grilling in khaki shorts and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt. I might have made him buy that Hawaiian shirt, but that’s neither here nor there.) Being with him has also broadened my horizons on what kind of gifts guys might like – so if you’re stuck with a dad, brother, partner, or someone else who is just hard to buy for, try some of these gift ideas for guys!

Slice off the Ol’ Pie Shirts: This is what I got for my man and his kiddo. (I couldn’t hold out until father’s day, though – they’re adorable in their matching shirts.) They’re super cute, and the seller offers additional kids shirts if there are jealous siblings to consider!

Bullet journal: There have been plenty of studies done that say writing down appointments and tasks helps you remember them better than filing them in a digital app or calendar, so set up a bullet journal (or find a ready-made planner) that can help him keep his head on straight. I still love the Passion Planner, but I’ve been using a bullet journal classic Leuchtturm1917 notebook lately.

Book: Books are really great gift options for anyone, basically anytime. If the dad in your life likes to read, here are a few options: Lost In Space studies pop culture and fatherhood, Don’t Make Me Stop This Car is a humor book by Al Roker (who I picture as an Ultimate Dad,) or Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, a more heartfelt book by Michael Chabon, there’s a

Set of Nice Socks: Nice Laundry and Land’s End are just a few places you can order customized monogrammed socks, so there’s never a question of sock ownership, and replenishing holy or worn out socks is probably not something he’d ever really consider, even though it probably needs to be done.

father's day gift ideas

Grill Dad Set: One of the things my boyfriend finds lacking at my apartment is grill utensils. This set includes everything needed for a really great cookout, and identifies the owner so no one else tries to snag the tool set.

Wallet: I’ve been using card holder-style wallets for a few years, and I love how minimalist it forces me to be in the cards I carry around with me. This would be a great (and useful) gift for any minimalist man in your life – or maybe just the one who’s been sitting on a six-inch-thick wallet for a few too many years.

Custom Guitar Picks: If your guy is musical, custom picks would be a cool gift. Etsy has a host of different options, from photo picks, branded, or even heavier, engraved metal picks.

Insulated Growler: If your dad, husband, or other male figure loves beer (and honestly, who doesn’t,) this insulated, reusable growler is a great gift idea. Stop by a brewery to get it filled up and take it along on a picnic to enjoy some fresh, cool craft beer on the go! (Also useful for the aggressive coffee drinker. Not that I know any, or anything…)

Bose Build Speaker Cube: This could be a fun hands-on gift for a dad and his kid (or grab an adult version for a really cool DIY project for a guy who loves tech). It will walk them through the steps to create their own working bluetooth speaker to pair with an Apple device!

Still need even more ideas? Check out these past gift guides for guys:

Letters to Dad: If it’s hard to talk about feelings in your family (I was raised in a stereotypical midwestern home – no one ever has feelings ever) this “Letters to” series is a great prompt to start opening the lines of communication, reminisce on memories, or tell your dad or father figure things you’ve always wanted to share.

Dad Joke Glass: The best part of dating a dad is unlimited dad jokes – no matter how crummy they are (sorry honey,) they make me laugh every time. This glass will let everyone around him know that the joke factory is open. (Grab a book to go along with it so he’s never floundering for a joke to tell.)

Enamel Pins: These are a super fun way to customize commuter bags or hats, and there are plenty geared toward dads. Get a set of classic dad shoes, go a little more formal with a declaration of Good Dad-dom, or lean into the humor and Simpsons fandom.

Scotch-Infused Toothpicks: My grandpa has had a toothpick in his mouth as long as I can remember (not the same one, I imagine.) These scotch-infused toothpicks from Uncommon Goods are a unique gift for any whisky lover or chronic toothpick user!

Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Body Scrub: Especially in the summer, skin can get really rough. #TreatHisSkin with this gentle exfoliating scrub (I promise this isn’t sponsored, that was just where my brain took #TreatYoSelf in this case!) It helps wash away some of the dead, rough skin, and the charcoal infusion helps users get really clean.

Card Games: Playing analog games is still just as fun, and it’s more collaborative. Spend “real life” time together with card games like Exploding Kittens or the Oregon Trail card game (which I can confirm is super fun!!)

gift ideas for men

Quip toothbrushes: Bring tech into the bathroom with an electric toothbrush from Quip. Their metal brush handles are super heavy duty, and they’ll send brush head and toothpaste refills on time every three months. We’ve used these for awhile now and I really like it a lot – plus the toothpaste tastes really great.

Mugs: A classic gift, but there are some hilarious options. Baby Daddy, Best Dad Ever, Emergency Dad Jokes – they’re all super hilarious and great options for anyone.

Smart Lawn Sprinkler System: All smart home everything. This would be a super fun gift for anyone who likes technology and working in the lawn.

Sugru Mouldable Glue: Most of the guys I know are always tinkering and fixing things – this moldable glue looks really cool, and really useful for fixing pretty much anything. This would be a cool gift to keep in the toolbox, in the garage, in the car, at work – basically anywhere so he can fix it on the fly.

Do you have any go-to gift ideas for men?

June 4, 2018
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monthly roundup no. 8: may 2018

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May is over, and it felt like finally, knock on wood, I got a reprieve from some of the stuff that’s gone on this year. Between mourning my grandma, my mom’s cancer diagnosis, and some other personal stress, nothing truly remarkable happened! I went to LA for work, went out to Navy Pier to see some Nashville friends play, and even got to make it to a Cory Branan show. The older I get, the more I start to really enjoy May – it’s usually when I spend a lot of time planning out my summer, and just like last year, I’m so excited to be spending it in Chicago. It’s the king of street festivals and I love that there are so many fun, free ways to see the city!

This month my saved links echoed the theme of something I’ve been focusing on in therapy – you don’t have to carry around everyone’s crap, and you don’t even have to carry around your own crap.

The Cost of Losing Your Keys: Okay, this first one is less in the “theme” of the others, but I’m so proud of it – I’M FINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE BILLFOLD! It’s been my favorite blog for years (the only one that I can remember reading in every city I’ve lived in) and I would be lying if I didn’t think it was super cool that I’m published on the same site as Taylor Jenkins Reid now. Last summer I lost my house keys… and let’s just say, it’s cost a lot more than I would have thought it could. (My roommate would like to update the total with an additional $50 from when she locked herself out of the apartment and had to take a Lyft out to pick up our spares from my boyfriend.) Anyway, it’s been my goal to write for The Billfold for a really long time, and I’m so happy to have finally done it.

9 Simple Ways to Start Living a More Minimal Lifestyle: Apartment Therapy has been my guilty mindless blog lately, and the articles are really helping me purge things I don’t need anymore but have struggled to part with. 8 and 9 in this list have been key to me while trying to clear out my closets. Their Weekend Project series is super fun too – every now and then if I’m just sitting at home not doing anything, I’ll take a look to see if there’s something I can quickly knock out.

If It Ain’t Yours, Don’t Carry It: Marisa Mohi is a friend-of-a-friend I’ve linked to before, and if you’re a writer, I definitely suggest adding her blog and YouTube channel to your regular reads. This post helps to simplify a pretty easy concept – you don’t have to carry the burdens of others – and it’s just something that I needed to hear at just the right time.

On Weight: I know Malory through the same grapevine I know Marisa from, and her food podcast is really great (if you’re in the Oklahoma City area and need food recommendations, OKC OVER EASY is where to look!) I’ve struggled with my weight for basically my whole life except the two years I was running super regularly. In this post, Malory says weight is stress I carry around on my body. I identify with this in a brutally familiar way, and part of losing weight for me is shedding the memory that a lot of the weight carries.

How to Stop Letting Your Anxiety Make Decisions for You: I’m getting much better about this, but I definitely admit that it hasn’t always been easy and I haven’t always excelled. Most of the time, whatever anxiety I feel isn’t even about the thing I’m feeling it toward, so really trying to figure out what’s actually going on has been key in starting to deal with this more effectively.

What are you reading this month? Any particular projects you’re working on to get summer ready?

May 29, 2018
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spring favorites 2018

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SPRING IS HERE!!! Along with it, I have some new favorite things. Let’s jump right in, because I have a lot ot say this time!

Netgalley: I love to read – surprise! Reading on my Kindle has really ramped up my reading rate lately, and Netgalley is part of why. It’s a platform for publishers to issue galleys and advanced reading copies to readers and reviewers, then collects feedback to send back to the authors and publishers. You don’t even have to be a blogger to sign up – if you regularly post reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, you’re just as likely to land books for review. It’s a really great way to save money on your reading habit and discover new authors and books. If you’re interested in some of the titles they have, I denote Netgalley books in my book club posts. I’ve requested more than one based on the cover or title and had them turn out to be among the best of the year!

Gregory Workman backpack: It’s been a long time since I was a backpack wearer – even in college, I didn’t use them often. Now that I’m using public transit more (which is a good thing!) but the tote-style bag I had been using doesn’t cut it. It’s so much weight on one arm, so I started looking around for a better backpack. I found this Gregory Workman on sale at Sierra Trading Post, and I’ve really been liking it! The quality is good, there’s a built-in laptop case, and there’s not an overwhelming number of pockets in the name of hyper-organization. This purchase may also mark my cross over into official adulthood – there was a “cuter” bag on the website I considered, but this one seemed better quality and more functional. Huh.

Quip: I’ve never had an electric toothbrush – it just hasn’t seemed worth the hassle, especially when I’m still living off stockpiled toothbrushes (thanks coupons!) Boyfriend splurged on a Quip membership a few months ago, and I get the hype now. The toothbrushes have built-in timers so you know exactly how long to brush each quadrant of your mouth, and the toothpaste is really good. The toothbrushes look really nice on the sink top too (I have the gold metal one, of course.) It also comes with a travel case for easy transport and each refill includes a mini travel tube of toothpaste, too.

No. 7 Stay Perfect Foundation: I fell in love with Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra-Long Wear foundation a few years ago, but man, it is pricey. Nothing else compares to it, though (not even the Fenty foundation that everyone loves. I find it to be really drying and that it doesn’t look very smooth on my face.) Last weekend I decided to do a half-hearted Google search for some dupes, and there were one or two reviews of this, so I picked it up at Target. (I forgot how frustrating it is to try to get a good skin color match from the drugstore.) This is probably the best drugstore foundation I’ve ever used. The texture is great (not drying even without moisturizer,) great coverage, and a little goes a long way. It also has SPF which is a big win for me. The shade I got is a touch too light, but I’ve been mixing it with Lancome’s Skin Feels Good foundation (super creamy and light, also with SPF) and it’s a good match until my summer skin kicks in 😉

Jervis Cottonbelly’s Twitter: I’ve talked intermittently about liking wrestling before, but it’s largely something I’m “in the closet” about. (I even wrote an essay about that for a zine full of smart and funny girl wrestling fans!) One of my favorite wrestlers, Jervis Cottonbelly, is an excellent Twitter follow if you’re into wrestling or not. He’s very motivational, optimistic – and, even better, talks openly about his mental health struggles. Every morning, he posts some affirmations for the day – something I need, for sure.

What are your favorite things this month?

May 8, 2018
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