On New Year’s Day, Daniel asked me if we should just go ahead and keep the Christmas decorations up until my birthday on the 25th. “Oh no way,” I told him, smirking at the thought of it. “That’ll be much too late.”
Well well well here we are, 19 days into January, and it’s as merry as ever at our house. I realize now that if putting up the decorations is holly and jolly, then taking them down is the exact opposite, which is to say—it’s hell. Just the kind of hell that I currently have on my to-do list.
Another line item on my to-do list: plan all the ways we need to baby-proof this house. For a few weeks now, James has been rolling over from his back to his tummy (and rolling and rolling and rolling). It’s adorable and he has the time of his life while doing it. Me though? I’m having a heart attack.
To All the Moms I’ve Ignored Before by Meaghan O’Connell
It’s a rare and special thing to come across an article that makes you feel compelled to read every last thing that the writer has ever written, but that’s how I feel after this article, by Meaghan O’Connell. The subject matter is hilariously—embarrassingly—poignant, and O’Connell has a stunner of a voice. All of it is just.so.damn.good. For instance:
“I’m sure the Virgin Mary had Jesus Christ himself and then turned to one of the Magi and was like, “Guys. Breastfeeding does not come naturally or easily. No one talks about this.” Elizabeth, who’d had St. John the Baptist a few months earlier, was probably sitting there exasperated, rolling her eyes like, Mary. Remember? I was just complaining to you about little Johnny’s shallow latch. You have to squeeze your boob and make it like a hamburger. Weren’t you listening?
The thing is, she probably was listening, or at least half-listening. She just hoped it would be different for her.”
‘Yeah, I’m Not for Everyone.’ Lena Dunham comes to terms with herself.
I loved Lena Dunham’s show, Girls, so much. And for a long time, I liked Dunham herself. I found her to be so interestingly and satisfyingly precise in the way she articulated her humor—particularly in the way she depicts self-absorption (a big part of Girls). But in the past couple of years, I’ve struggled to maintain that fondness for her, and not for ALL of the reasons that people frequently cite when talking about why they’re turned off by her, but there’s enough there to leave me feeling, I guess, troubled. This profile piece in The Cut explores that murkiness that many of us feel—that ambivalence—between enjoying the things that make her unique and lovable and shaking our heads in disbelief at the things she does.
I’ll venture a guess that each of us knows *at least* one person involved in multi-level marketing. I know well over a dozen, which is likely why I found this season of The Dream fascinating. It’s an exploration into the often murky (and intentionally misleading) world of “pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing, and all the other businesses that require their members to recruit their nearest and dearest in hopes of a commission.”
This podcast is disturbing and at many points, hard to listen to. Still, it’s important and worthwhile. The subject: How did Larry Nassar, an Olympic gymnastics doctor, get away with abusing hundreds of women and girls for two decades? Believed is an inside look at how a team of women won a conviction in one of the largest serial sexual abuse cases in U.S. history. It’s also an unnerving exploration of how even well-meaning adults can fail to believe.
I’ve always been a huge fan of documentaries but now I’m in deeper than ever. They’re almost all I watch these days. The problem is that it seems I’m ONLY selecting ones that break my heart. It’s true and, I don’t know…maybe strange and masochistic, I guess. The subjects vary, but it’s as if I’m filtering for ones that at best, affect me for days and at worst, make me lose faith in humanity (I wish I were being hyperbolic). There is just so much pain in the world—now and always. Pain and sadness that I can’t even begin to explain or make sense of, but that I know must be the true definition of unbearable. And on one hand, seeing the hard things that have occurred or are occurring now feels like a responsibility, and on the other, I can feel them breaking me down, little by little. Is it clear that I’m really easy breezy? I may have lost you by now. Anyway, these are two I’ve seen recently that, while tremendously upsetting, didn’t kill off a piece of my soul (again, I am so.much.fun.):
There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane
For a number of reasons (the most significant being that I have a child), I was completely rattled by this story of Diane Schuler, a suburban mom who drove the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway (upstate NY) and crashed head-on into an SUV, killing herself and seven others. The documentary deals with the events leading up to the crash and the aftermath, when toxicology reports revealed that Schuler had THC in her system and a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit. Meanwhile, her family and friends maintained that the reports couldn’t be accurate—she was the perfect mother and wife, they said repeatedly. You can watch it on Amazon here.
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan joins the frontline of the race wars in America, sitting down face-to-face with Neo-Nazis and fascists and marching with them at the biggest and most violent Far Right rally in recent years. Khan, who received death threats from the Far Right movement after giving a TV interview advocating diversity and multiculturalism, tries to get behind the hatred and the violent ideology, to try to understand the personal reasons why people embrace racist extremism. You can watch it on Netflix here. Or start by watching the trailer here.
Ugg Duffield II Robe
I know I know, WHAT IS IT WITH YOU AND SLEEPWEAR?! You’re right and I’m almost done! Listen, I’ve had about a dozen bathrobes in the past 15 years (some higher end, some on clearance at TJ Maxx) and this one is the best by a mile. It’s unbelievably cozy, with soft jersey on the outside and a plush fleece on the inside. It hits at the knee (the ideal robe length), available in multiple colors, and even comes in plus sizes. It’s not cheap, but I’ve washed mine many, many times and it holds up well.
The Ordinary Skincare
The older I get, the more I enjoy taking good care of my skin. Masks, serums, dermaplaning—they’ve come to feel like nourishing little rituals for me. But the deeper I dive into the world of skincare and anti-aging, the more money I tend to spend. So many of the highest rated and most sought-after products carry $100+ price tags. Not The Ordinary though, a company whose motto is: “Clinical formulations with integrity.” I’d add “and *ridiculously* affordable prices” because most of their products are only $5 or $6. Here are my favorites so far:
Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
A two percent salicylic acid treatment solution with witch hazel for blemish-prone skin. This two percent treatment solution helps exfoliate skin, fighting the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with continued use.
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
A hydrating formula with ultra-pure, vegan hyaluronic acid. This formulation combines low, medium, and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, as well as a next-generation H.A. crosspolymer at a combined concentration of two percent for multi-depth hydration.
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
10-minute exfoliating mask
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) exfoliate the skin’s topmost surface for a brighter and more even appearance. Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) also exfoliate the skin with an extended function to help clear pore congestion. This combined 32% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance.
If you’re like me, you have a few big plastic storage tubs full of old photos and VHS tapes with all your family videos. For years I’ve said I need to scan the photos and digitize the tapes, but when? How? My printer/scanner is shabby quality at best. And there are hundreds of photos! Well, I found my solution: Legacy Box—the company that will do all of it for you.
Skinny Pizza Dough (5 WW points for 1 serving)
Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Roasted Vegetables
Sautéed Spinach With Garlic
Brussels Sprouts Mac and Cheese (389 cals/serving)
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes