25. Learning Something New

 
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I love learning.

As a kid, I was a voracious reader - I always had my nose in a book and I read everything I could get my hands on. I love learning both random facts and also how things work, and I also love learning about history. I have spent hours going down a rabbit hole of Wikipedia pages. In my career, I’ve always taken roles that has required that I learn something new - a new technology, new programming language, a new methodology, etc. I love the “eureka” moment when I discover something new and it clicks in my mind.

My love of learning has also had an impact on how I’ve run my blogs over the years. It began when I moved over to self-hosted Wordpress - I was too cheap to pay someone to create and maintain my site, so I had to learn to do it myself. I spent hours and hours looking at Wordpress themes, and asking Google how to do things. I learned what the hell a cPanel was, how to add things via FTP (remember that?), how to find good plugins and add them, etc. But Wordpress is a beast to maintain and I got tired of all the upkeep. So I took my talents and site to Squarespace.

Squarespace is amazing. Yes there’s a learning curve, but that’s true for anything. Squarespace is really easy to get set up and start using immediately. I did have to spend a good chunk of time in the Help, and Googling various things, but I figured out how to do things in Squarespace much faster than I did in Wordpress. And Squarespace is so much easier to maintain, and to make changes as needed. I love Squarespace so much that I also created my business site on Squarespace, and I’m thinking of creating a third page for JTM Knits.

Along with Squarespace, I’ve also been teaching myself how to use Canva. I told yall before how much I love Canva and I’ve used it a ton, for all of my sites. Once again, there’s a learning curve, but they have really great tutorials and other tools to help you learn, and they even have experts you can turn to.

Beyond learning the ins and outs of Squarespace, I’m also learning a lot about SEO. I don’t want to game the system, I just want to make sure that more than 3 people read the things that I write :-)

Learning these new things have been fun, but it’s also given me a deeper understanding of my businesses and the inner working. And I can always use more tools in my back pocket.

Things I Read This Week:

The Iowa caucuses suck for Iowans (The Outline)

The Perils of Being ‘Office Oprah’ (The Root)

That ‘Sweatshop-Free’ Label in Your Clothes Is Mostly Still Just a Bunch of Bullshit (MEL Magazine)

America’s Job Listings Have Gone Off the Deep End (The Atlantic)

14 People on How They *Actually* Made New Friends as an Adult (Man Repeller)

These Millennials Got New Roommates. They’re Nuns. (NY Times)

One Day, All of This Will Be Embarrassing (The Atlantic)

Here's How A Christian Group Prevents Same Sex Couples From Adopting, In the Name of 'Religious Freedom' (Jezebel)

The dad from that viral baby video is demonstrating a crucial parenting skill (Quartz)

I Couldn’t See Myself in Any Book I Read in Prep School. It Changed Me More Than You’d Think. (Slate)

7 Easy Ways to Cut Back on Sugar (The Everygirl)

are these men hitting on me via LinkedIn or are they legit business contacts? (Ask A Manager)

Racism Is Not a Youthful Indiscretion; It Is a Deeply-Ingrained Mindset (Pajiba)

A Breakthrough in the Mystery of Why Women Get So Many Autoimmune Diseases (The Atlantic)

Paris Is Burning Is Back—And So Is Its Baggage (Vanity Fair)

Open Thread: If Free Shipping Went Away, Would You Shop Less? (Man Repeller)

The Life of a Facebook Moderator Sounds Even Worse Than You Imagined (Gizmodo)

The Revenge of the Poverty-Stricken College Professors Is Underway in Florida. And It's Big. (Jezebel)

They Gave America 13 Goals—And Got a Lecture in Return (The Atlantic)

Other Stuff:

Did you catch Euphoria on HBO? It’s the new show starring Zendaya, and McSteamy from Greys Anatomy is also in it. The first episode was trippy but I liked it. I really like seeing Zendaya step out of the Disney star role and do something much more edgy. I can’t all the way relate to the portrayal of teenagers or the drug use, but I dig what I saw so far and I’m interested in where they take it.

My friend Rachel was a guest on The Nod this week! It’s a really good episode, and you should just add The Nod to your regular podcast list.

Also Rachel mentioned this game in her weekly roundup and it is addictive, which means you should play it immediately.

I’m actually finding time to read a book! I’m currently reading The Signal and The Noise for work, a part of my role as a data analyst. I just started but I really like it and I’m fascinated by the storytelling.

Have a great weekend!

Hollywood, Please Give Me More "Insecure" and less "Twelve Years A Slave"

 
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I told yall about how I grew up in a super pro-Black home right? In my house, it was all about Blackness: Black movies, Black TV shows, Black books, Black dolls, Black music, Black everything. In my house, I pretty much watch whatever if it was Black, which is why I saw a lot of Spike Lee and John Singleton films before I was probably old enough, LOL. And I was blessed to come of age in the golden age of Black TV, with shows like Martin, Living Single, In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, New York Undercover and more. I even grew up with indie stuff, like Sankofa and Just Another Girl on the IRT.

Back then, the good old days of 90’s film/TV, we had such a diversity of images and stories being told. We had some stories of struggle and violence (Boyz In The Hood, Menace II Society) but we also had carefree stories (House Party) , and even romcoms (Boomerang). And then we went through this drought, where we hardly saw ourselves on TV or in film, and if we did get a film, it was probably a Tyler Perry Madea special - no shade to those who like that sort of thing, but it’s not my cup of tea for a variety of reasons.

It seems now like the pendulum is swinging back towards what we saw in the 90s, with a greater diversity of creators and stories being told, which I love. But what I don’t love is the type of stories that I feel bombarded with.

Frankly, I’m tired of seeing Black pain and oppression presented as entertainment.

A few week’s ago, Netflix released Ava Duvernay’s powerful miniseries, When They See Us, which focuses on the Central Park Five and the unjust, inhumane way they were treated. I know folks who watched and wept at every episode. I know folks who only made it through one episode before they had to turn it off, never to watch again. But me, I’m not even starting it - I won’t be tuning in. This is not because I don’t love Ava Duvernay’s work (I do) or that I don’t find this story worth telling (I do). It’s because I don’t think Black folks should be the ones watching this story at all.

We know what pain and trauma and oppression look like. We live with it everyday. We’re the first ones to share stories of police brutality or yet another unarmed Black person being murdered by the police or of a Black church being burned to the ground. We live with these atrocities and we already know these stories. It’s not us who should be watching this story, It’s white people. They are the ones who need to see and internalize the pain these young men endured.

i’m so happy that Black creators - from producers to directors to screenwriters and beyond - are getting the opportunity to create their own projects and share their stories, and our stories with the world. But is it asking too much that we share less about our Black pain and more about our Black joy? I’m tired of seeing us as slaves, as second class citizens enduring Jim Crow laws, of us living in poverty. I don’t need films or TV to teach me these stories, or to make it more real for me. All it does for me is inflict more pain and more trauma. Sure I could watch Rosewood or Twelve Years A Slave or Mudbound, but I know it will end with me in tears and feeling such a…a heaviness and sadness. And I don’t want that. So I don’t watch.

I do however, watch Insecure. And I watch Queen Sugar. And I watch Blackish and grownish and Dear White People. I love to see Black people doing regular degular smegular things, like fix their broken relationships or try to fit in at work. I want to see all different types of Black folks, that demonstrate the diversity of the Black experience, and how there isn’t just one way to be Black. I’m engaged and invested in Issa and Molly on Insecure because in them, I see myself and my own existence. I loved seeing Zoe grow on Blackish and now do stupid college student stuff on grownish. It’s relateable but more importantly, even at the “worst” moments, it’s not rooted in pain and oppression. It’s simply Black people living their lives and telling their stories.

Twitter told me that Octavia Spencer is producing a movie about the Tulsa race riots. While I hope it’s going to be better than that revisionist history presented in The Green Book, and while I love Octavia Spencer, I’m not looking forward to this one. It’s an important story that should be told, but I hope that we also get some films greenlit that show carefree Black people living their lives, and maybe some Black joy in it as well.

24. Party Girl

 
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Happy Friday everyone! We made it to the weekend!

Last weekend, I had a girl’s night out for the first time in…it’s been so long I don’t even remember. My line sister Amanda was in town, and she got together a group of her high school friends, her sister and me. I love her sister and it was nice to meet some new ladies - her high school friends were very nice and welcoming. Our night started with dinner, and then we hit not one, not two but THREE different night spots. I didn’t make it home until 2AM!

After my night out with the girls, I’m confident that I’m not missing anything out here in these streets, especially at the clubs/party spots. I loved doing that stuff when I was young and single, but I’ve gotten it all out of my system. I had a good time thanks to the company I was with, but I could have had an equally good time at a lounge spot, or just chilling at someone’s house. I’m past the days where I need to be seen at the latest spot - at this point I just want to be incognito and have a chill time.

One the plus side, I debuted a cute dress and I found a new chill spot for my next date night with William.

Also I was totally useless the next day, so I’m clearly too old for this staying out all night life.

Next weekend, when I’m knitting on my couch, I will have zero worries that I’m missing anything. I’m old and washed and that is ok.

Things I Read This Week:

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk Have “Ideal” Marriage Where They Don’t Live Together (Vanity Fair)

Re-Parenting Yourself Is One of the Hardest (But Most Important) Things You’ll Ever Do (MEL Magazine)

Alabama allows rapists to share custody of resulting children. So does Minnesota. (City Pages)

Men Aren’t Quite Sure How to Be Abortion-Rights Activists (The Atlantic)

The Creator Of HBO's "Chernobyl" Would Love If You Stopped Taking Nuclear Disaster Selfies (Buzzfeed)

There’s Nothing Wrong With Posing for Photos at Chernobyl (The Atlantic)

No One Talks About Perimenopause—It’s Time to Change That (Glamour)

The Range: A Summer Sneaker (Capitol Hill Style)

Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure. (USA Today)

Re-Watch Your Favorite Movies With the Captions On (Lifehacker)

Drag Race Inc.: What’s Lost When a Subculture Goes Pop? (Vulture)

The scourge of millennial job-hopping is a myth (Quartz)(

Lesbians And Queer Women Do Not Exist For Your Entertainment (Role Reboot)

Are doulas the key to help save black mothers' lives? (Motherly)

The 25 Best Music Documentaries to Stream & Where to Watch Them (Highsnobiety)

24 Fashion Documentaries Every Highsnobiety Reader Should Watch (Highsnobiety)

Sick of traffic? Get cities to invest in bikes and mass transit, says report (Curbed)

Ava DuVernay vs. Linda Fairstein: Fact Checking 'When They See Us' (Pajiba)

The cast of Sesame Street offers the most heartwarming Tiny Desk concert ever (The AV Club)

15 Rare Photos of Black Rosie the Riveters (Stuff Mom Never Told You)

A Brief History of Doughnuts (Stuff You Missed In History Class)

Other Stuff:

A few months ago I visited The Coven, a women’s social club and coworking space here in Minneapolis. I loved it but I couldn’t justify joining considering that i have an office to go to during the week. The Coven clearly heard my desire to join because they added a Social membership, and they ran a special discount for the Social membership over the summer! That was all I needed to take the plunge and I absolutely love being part of this community. The Social membership gets me 3 visits per month which is perfect for me - on my no meetings days I can work from there instead of my office or at home.

I’ve watched 2 of the 3 episodes in the newest season of Black Mirror on Netflix - first of all, why are there only 3 episodes? That’s wack! I really liked the first episode “Striking Vipers” but I wasn’t a huge fan of the second episode “Smithereens”. I’ll probably finish it off this weekend.

And speaking of Netflix, you must watch The Black Godfather - it’s a documentary about Clarence Avant and his amazing life. I won’t spoil it for you, but I think you’ll be fascinated by his story and delighted by him. Go watch it and tell me what you think.

Also remember how I was on the hunt for some good ankle pants? I love the pair I got from Old Navy, so I’m going to get a few more. I also really love my NYDJ ankle pants.

This weekend is Father’s Day - do you have any special plans? William requested golf time and a home-cooked dinner, but I also got him a couple of things I think he will like.

Have an awesome weekend!

Stop Shaming People For Evolving Their Opinions

 
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Social media - and Al Gore’s Internet - are a gift and a curse. We have more information at our fingertips than at any other point of our history. We have the ability to connect with people around the world. Social media has created careers (and wealth), facilitated marriages and sparked connections between people who otherwise would have been strangers. But social media doesn’t mitigate or change human behavior, and we act just as ugly online as we do IRL.

Social media, especially Twitter, is a time capsule of sorts. We can see what we’ve shared at a particular point in time in our lives, and there are even apps designed specifically to show you what you shared on this same date in previous years. Most of the time I enjoy using Timehop or Facebook Memories and seeing my previous content, but there is the occasional moment where I see something I posted years ago and I cringe. Sometimes it’s because I’ve shared an opinion that doesn’t jive with my current outlook. And it’s in those moments that I’m really lucky to not have people searching my own tweets and sharing screenshots for the world to see.

We really gotta stop cancelling folks or throwing their old opinions in people’s faces.

We’re all allowed to evolve and grow in our opinions.

I mean, isn’t that what we want from people?

Back in the day, everybody had a personal blog, including me. We were all in college or fresh out of school, trying to figure out the world and who we were as people. A blogger once wrote that she feared what life would be like as a single mother, a “baby mama” and she vowed to not become one. And then life came at her hella fast, and she became the very thing that she vowed so many years ago not to be - a baby mama. The Internet, much like The North, never forgets and they never fail to remind her about the words she wrote so many years ago, when she was young and a bit naive. To a lot of folks, it’s a joke - “ha ha ha she became the thing she had so much disdain for!” To me, it’s shortsighted. Yes, it’s probably not a good idea to make firm pronouncements in public, but who hasn’t done that? Youth leads you to see life in a firm black-and-white, with no shades of gray, and without the context of wisdom to understand that life is more complicated than we think.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I talked on Twitter about how much our life views have changed, over the past ten years. She mentioned how she’d grown up with certain beliefs that were passed down by her parents, and that she had to challenge herself to evaluate those beliefs for validity. That self-reflection led her to change her belief system and evolve into a different person, along with age and a lot of life experiences. This is the growth that we want from people!

Last week, Uncle Joe changed his position on abortion, in regards to the Hyde Amendment. Was her just pandering? IDK. I hope not. But if he’s not, and he’s truly moved, why would we down him for that? Our forever POTUS Barack Obama famously evolved his position on gay marriage, as he should have. And he shouldn’t get flack for that. We should WANT people to grow and evolve over time, no matter their age!

I’m tired of seeing folks dig up old tweets or blog posts to prove that someone is secretly terrible. If they are truly terrible, we’ll find out! Why can’t we give people the benefit of the doubt, and believe that they’ve simply changed their opinions on a subject?

Or is that too much like right in our age of hot takes and screenshots?

23. A Movie Challenge

 
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You know what’s great? When you have weirdo friends who are as weird and random as you. Stick with me, this is going somewhere.

Like six months ago, I was out (on a school night!) with my friends Jessica and Claire for some Jamaican food, drinks and gossip. The three of us have the most random conversations every time we’re together, and that night was no exception. I have no idea how the topic even came up, but Jessica casually mentioned that she has watched every movie that Stanley Tucci has made. I love Stanley Tucci so I was intrigued - turns out, she did this as a challenge with a friend of hers, like a personal bucket list thing.

So then I started thinking about what actor I love enough to want to do this type of challenge. And the answer immediately came to me - Samuel L Jackson. He’s one of my favorite actors, he’s done a variety of films, and his IMDB list is long. I scrolled through his list of roles on IMDB and I realized that I’ve only seen about a quarter of the films he’s made. So I’m setting a challenge for myself, to watch every feature film Samuel L Jackson is credited in. For the purposes of this challenge I’m skipping the shorts he made (cause I’m assuming I won’t be able to get my hands on them) but all the other feature length movies are on my agenda. I’ll also rewatch movies I’ve already seen for the purpose of the challenge.

I’ll be sharing updates periodically with what I watched and what I thought of the movie, and Sam’s performance.

This should be fun!

Also if I can pull this off, I totally might do this with an actress - any suggestions on who? Maybe Meryl?


Things I Read This Week:

Here (and queer) (The REWM)

The Real Difference Between Creators and Influencers (The Atlantic)

Let Black Babies Be Wild And Free (Mater Mea)

The Divided House of Lorne Michaels (Jezebel)

The #StayAndFight coalition urges Hollywood to reconsider boycotting Georgia (Vox)

Reddit Asks the Question: 'What is Common Knowledge in Your Field that Others Don't Know?' (Pajiba)

Men Share Their Abortion Stories: “We Both Knew We Weren’t Ready” (Man Repeller)

What Every Successful Person Knows, But Never Says (James Clear)

The rise of granny panties (Vox)

Chicken Farmers Thought Trump Was Going to Help Them. Then His Administration Did the Opposite. (ProPublica)

There Are Two Types of Airport People

A Montessori summer—how to give your kids freedom *and* structure (Motherly)

Gaslighting: How To Recognize It And Protect Yourself (Ravishly)

LaCroix’s era as the coolest seltzer in America is over (Vox)

After Sephora Announces Companywide Diversity Training, Customers Say Racial Profiling Isn't the Only Problem (The Root)

A Neonatal ICU Nurse Donated Her Uterus to Help a Stranger Become Pregnant (Jezebel)

A Bride Kicked a Guest Out of Her Wedding Because She Thought Her Dress Was Too White (Glamour)

Texas Teacher Outs Herself on Twitter as MAGA-t Who Wants to Help Trump Round Up 'Illegal Students' in Her School (The Root)

Too Many People Want to Travel (The Atlantic)

These Reporters Lost Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back Against Big Tech. (Buzzfeed)

Ancestry DNA Test Results Are Not Only Widely Misinterpreted, They’re Potentially Damaging (MEL Magazine)


Other Stuff:

I finally got a chance to break out my summer dresses! I got this Old Navy jersey swing dress and loved it so much, I bought a second one! I’m also wearing this maxi dress every chance I get, and best of all, it has pockets!

Have you watched Always Be My Maybe on Netflix yet? I watched it last Friday night and I loved it! It’s a really adorable romcom, but the best part is that the entire cast is people of color, and the majority are Asian. Ali Wong is so great in it, but the star for me was Randall Park (aka the dad on Fresh Off the Boat).

My Mother’s Day gift from William and Josephine has turned into my favorite daily accessory - I wear it almost everyday.

I’m still on the hunt for my Holy Grail foundation, so I took advantage of the Tarte sale to pick up the Shape Tape foundation. I love some of their other products so I’m hoping I’ll love the foundation too.


Enjoy your weekend!