7. Escape

 
Photo courtesy of me

Photo courtesy of me

 

So…last week I had a post mostly written but then life got in the way and I didn’t get a chance to publish it.

Why was I so busy? I was packing and prepping for a long weekend in Tulum, Mexico. I’ve never taken a warm weather trip during the winter, but will from now on! It was glorious to enjoy sunshine and the ocean breeze, plus all the margaritas and tacos I could stuff in my mouth. Tulum is a gorgeous town and I will definitely be back to explore more of it.

The only sucky part of my trip was Delta putting my bag on the wrong flight, and then taking 24hrs+ to get it back to me. Luckily I found a shop with a dress that fit and some sandals that works, so it didn’t ruin my trip.

The highlights? A beach day at Casa Malca (aka Pablo Escobar’s mansion) and Burrito Amor.

Things I read this week:

Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Mommy Makeover (Allure)

Opinion | When the Suffrage Movement Sold Out to White Supremacy (New York Times)

The Best Movies That Lost Best Picture at the Oscars (Vulture)

Plain to Polished: Using Accessories to Pull Outfits Together (Putting Me Together)

The Global Legacy of Quebec’s Subsidized Child Daycare (Citylab)

Art Museums Need to Address Colonialist Theft—Not Diversity (Broadly)

She Started Selling Abortion Pills Online. Then the Feds Showed Up. (Mother Jones)

Here’s Why So Many Americans Feel Cheated By Their Student Loans (Buzzfeed)

Things I’m loving this week:

I took a rare solo trip to Target and I found this A New Day sweatshirt that is super cute, and it’s light enough to layer.

I started reading Keise Laymon’s memoir Heavy on my trip, and it’s really good!

This episode from Reply All had me on the edge of my seat

Enjoy your weekend!

5. Frozen

 
Photo courtesy of  Pexels

Photo courtesy of Pexels

 
 
 
 

I’m finally thawing out from the Polar Vortex that hit this week, along with the rest of Minnesota. It legit has not been this cold since 2014, when the last Polar Vortex hit. Incidentally, that’s when LM and I spent our first Christmas together - he came and spent almost 2 weeks with me over the holidays, which solidified our desire to start a life together. I got a little sappy when I remembered that, and then I marveled at the fact that we’ve been together more than 5 years. For a woman who used to have a 3mo dating rule, 5 years with the same guy is a big deal.

I hope you’re warm, wherever you are….

Things I read this week:

Ariana Grande Accidentally Got ‘Barbecue Grill’ Tattooed on Her Hand (The Cut)

Foxconn Admits It's Not Building a Factory in Wisconsin Anymore Despite Scoring $4 Billion Deal From Taxpayers (Gizmodo)

When White People Are Uncomfortable, Black People Are Silenced (Harper’s Bazaar)

Facebook has been paying teens $20 a month for access to all of their personal data (Vox)

I Cut Google Out Of My Life. It Screwed Up Everything (Gizmodo)

What It’s Like to Be in Corporate America With a ‘Black-Sounding Name’ (The Everygirl)

Celebrate the women behind the periodic table (Nature)

Amazon’s facial analysis tech often mistakes dark-skinned women for men, study shows (Vox)

Why Spotify Finally Let People Mute R. Kelly (Vulture)

BuzzFeed’s Layoffs Were Painful for Its Staffers—and Fatal to Its Self-Mythology (Slate)

Things I’m Loving This Week:

I’m fascinated with the rise & epic fall of Theranos & Elizabeth Holmes - I’ve got Bad Blood on my library hold list. While I wait, I discovered a new podcast devoted to the scandal, called The Dropout. So far two episodes have posted and they are SO GOOD.

Stay warm everyone!

My Social Media Is About Community, Not Aspiration

 
Photo by  bruce mars  from  Pexels

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

 

I don’t get social media influencers. Maybe because I’m not their target demographic.

I don’t use social media to learn about latest cool thing that the kids are into, which is why I don’t follow influencers, and I rarely buy things that show up in an ad on my feeds. To me, it seems like influencers are trying to be “aspirational”, to get their followers to aspire to achieve a certain lifestyle - a lifestyle that involves looking perfect in the perfect clothes with the perfect house and the perfect family on the perfect vacation. Clearly a lot of people aspire to that cause influencers have never been more popular.

But like I said, I don’t get it.

Because for me, social media is about connection, not aspiration.

Maybe I feel differently because of what social media, and the Internets have meant to me. See I discovered the Internets way back in the old days, before AOL sent you 3 discs a week in your mailbox. This was the days of Netscape and IRC chat, where you really had to be a nerd to use your family’s phone line to dial into the Internets and connect with people you didn’t know, would never see, and would never meet. This is before you even have avi pics, or could Skype with folks. This was back when you asked someone “A/S/L?” and you could never be sure if the response you got back was the truth or not. It was in that world that I made my first Internet friends, way back in high school. That continued when I went to college, where it seemed like all the Black kids on campus first connected on Blackplanet before we crossed paths IRL. We’d swap AIM usernames and send each other IMs instead of picking up the phone to call. I was in grad school when I got my Facebook invite way back in the old days of 2004, where you needed a college email address from a select group of schools before you could join. As our technology got better, we got the ability to use our phones for connection instead of our computers, then our computers turned into tablets and smartphones that we could take with us anywhere. We got Twitter and Instagram and Vine and Snapchat and Pinterest, and a million other different ways for us to connect to each other. And with each one, my primary goal was to create a community, to find other people like me that I found engaging and interesting and fun to talk to.

At every point in my life, from young college kid to middle-aged new mom, I’ve used social media to connect with other people, to “find my tribe”, so to speak, when I was unable to find that community locally. Hell, I found my husband on social media, so it makes sense that I find friends there too, right? Communities on Twitter and Facebook have taught me so much, and helped me when I had a question or needed support. I especially found Facebook groups helpful during my pregnancy and while I breastfed - here was a place where I could ask about my heartburn, or to compare bump pics with other plus size moms, or get confirmation that it was ok that my breastfed baby hadn’t pooped in 3 days. It was ok that I didn’t know many plus size moms IRL, because there was an entire group of thousands of plus size moms from across the globe, all going through the same issues together and providing support. So what I didn’t go to knitting circle locally, because there was a knitting group on FB full of people my age who both loved to curse and loved to knit (and who doesn’t love the combination of the two together?).

So with my history on the Internets, you can see why I’m probably not into influencers all that much. i don’t want to know about some thing that they were paid to tell me that I need to have in my life. I do want to know what tips other moms have picked up about streamlining travel with their kids. Yeah that dress is pretty, but I’m probably not going to be interested in where it came from unless I know you actually bought it yourself and really love it, and not just saying you do because you were paid to say it. I love and appreciate a good tip, but only if it’s authentic, and the authenticity is the piece that I’m missing with the vast majority of influencers, especially on IG. So I stick to my little corners of social media and I focus on connecting with people in ways that are meaningful for me.

4. Business As Usual

 
Photo courtesy of  Pixistock

Photo courtesy of Pixistock

Now that the holidays are over, my life has gotten back to its normal routines - work for LM and I, and daycare for Josephine. In the evening we have an early dinner, then it’s bathtime and bedtime for the baby. We’ve started putting Josephine to bed a bit earlier than we used to, and that means I have a little bit more adult time before I head to bed myself. I used to spend that time scrolling social media but now that I’ve launched my Etsy shop, I have things to do almost every evening.

On the weekends, we have swim class for Josephine, and we try to do at least family activity together. Lately it’s been a trip to InnerActive, which is an indoor playground that the kids love. Also can we talk about the genius idea to open an indoor playground in a state where it’s cold at least 6 months out of the year? I wish I had thought of that.

Also this week the Polar Vortex hit Minnesota and FUCK THAT SHIT. It’s so ridiculously cold, I can’t stand it.

Things I read this week:

The Impossibility of Being a Likeable Female Politician (Harper’s Bazaar)

This totally changed how I thought about my interactions with people - There Are Two Kinds of People: "Sorry" People and "Thank You" People

Every M. Night Shyamalan Movie, Ranked (Vulture)

Women travel alone more than men. Here’s why. (Vox - The Goods0

How two Jewish American political consultants helped create the world’s largest anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. (Buzzfeed)

BEST READ OF THE WHOLE DAMN WEEK - I Was a 4-Year-Old Trapped in a Teenager’s Body (The Cut)

Crazy Rich Asians’ Oscar Shutout Is Unsurprising, but Still Disappointing (Vanity Fair)

I don’t usually do home inspo but I love this adorable house! - This Family’s Downsized Dream Home Is Full of Surprises (A Cup of Jo)

Why Did CES 2019 Revoke Its Award for Ultra-Innovative Woman-Oriented Sex Toy? (Autostraddle)

What Happens When a Woman Is Erased (Jezebel)

The Deep Ties Between the Catholic Anti-Abortion Movement and Racial Segregation (Jezebel)

As Boise booms, a city faces the curse of ‘Californication’ (Curbed)

The Idea That Men Should Be the Sole Breadwinner Is Surprisingly Recent (MEL Magazine)

This quiz told me I was 45 and I felt some type of way about it - Take This Target Quiz To Figure Out How Old You Actually Are (Buzzfeed)

Perspective | How MLMs are hurting female friendships (Washington Post)

Stealing from the dead: Forged deeds, a bogus title company, counterfeit notary stamps (Philly Inquirer)

When white Americans are the terrorists (MPR News)

Jayme Closs Will Receive Reward Money After Freeing Herself  (Jezebel)

What the Hell Is Happening Over at Gawker 2.0? (The Cut)

Unpacking the Gina Rodriguez Controversy (The Cut)

Things I loved this week:

I was reminded this week about Target Restock, and I ordered a box which arrived at our house yesterday. I needed ink for our printer & I was happy to see that I could include it in my box, saving me a trip to the store in this cold. I got a bunch of pantry items for our house, all shipped for free thanks to my REDcard, and shipped next day. If you haven’t used it, you should totally check it out.

I finally got a copy of Children of Blood and Bone from the library and it’s so good!

Also, my local library system uses the Libby app and it’s really great for checking out ebooks from the library.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

3. Cozy

 
Photo courtesy of  Pixistock

Photo courtesy of Pixistock

 

We’ve finally hit that period in the winter when it’s just COLD. This year has actually been better than previous years, thanks to El Nino, but it’s still Minnesota, which means I’m keeping myself bundled up as much as possible. At this time of year, I love to cozy up in my fave warm clothing, with a blanket on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book, or my knitting needles. I haven’t had a lot of time to do that thanks to adult responsibilities and my toddler, but I’m hopeful that I’ll get some time to cuddle up in the house soon.

In case you aren’t following me on IG or Twitter (why aren’t you following me?) I have big news - I started an Etsy shop! Honestly I’ve wanted to do it for at least two years, but fear has stopped me every time. I had every worry - what if no one bought anything, what if people don’t like it, there are tons of people selling knits online so why would they buy mine, etc. But you know how the Universe conspires to bring you what your heart desires most? Well the Universe sent me messages through Cyndie Spiegel and Monique Malcolm (via last year’s Compact Camp), that gave me confidence to push through my fear. But the biggest push came courtesy of my friend network. After I posted a pic of a slouchy beanie that I made myself, eight different women reached out and asked me to make them one too! That was the Universe telling me “it’s go time” and so on January 2nd, I pushed that “Open Shop” button on Etsy and made it happen, yay!

My shop is JTM Knits and you can find it here - JTM Knits on Etsy

I’m continuing to add my inventory as I work through the hats on my backlog. My plan is also offer kids sizes as well!

Things I read this week:

Ellen DeGeneres And The Limits Of Relatability (Buzzfeed)

An Ode to Res’ Debut Album, How I Do (The Root)

Missy Elliott Will Be the First Woman in Hip-Hop Inducted to the Songwriter Hall of Fame (Vulture)

Career Advice From Crystal, the World’s Best-Dressed Operations Manager (Man Repeller)

Day care saved my motherhood (Motherly)

WTF? - my office is requiring us to disclose all medications we take (Ask A Manager)

Middle School Teachers Are Saints  (Very Smart Brothas)

✊ - Cops Can't Force People to Unlock Their Phones With Biometrics, Court Rules (Gizmodo)

Almost all of the actresses who’ve played Cleopatra have been white. But was she? (Vox)

Savage X Fenty Responds to Criticism That They're Selling Different Styles to Straight- and Plus-Size Customers (Teen Vogue)

Timely advice - Ask the Bitches: How Do I Prepare for a Recession? (Bitches Get Riches)

Driving Uber, freelancing, babysitting: shutdown workers scramble for cash (Vox)

The Unique Racial Dynamics of the L.A. Teachers' Strike (The Atlantic)

40 Self-Care Ideas For People Who Aren't Really Into Sheet Masks And Baths (Buzzfeed)

Totally implementing at least half of this list - 15 Tips From Marie Kondo That Have Genuinely Changed My Life (Buzzfeed)

Everything You Think You Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome Is Probably Wrong (Lifehacker)

A Call-In To White Feminists About "Surviving R. Kelly" (BUST)

R. Kelly and the Cost of Black Protectionism (The Atlantic)

Why Gillette’s toxic masculinity ad is annoying both sexists and feminists (Vox)

Romper Room: Serena Williams Serves a New Spin on Her Famed Catsuit at the Australian Open (The Root)

How Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody Became This Year’s Oscar Villains (Vulture)

No One Is an Influencer If Everyone Is an Influencer (Jezebel)

‘Intensive’ Parenting Is Now the Norm in America (The Atlantic)

The Racial Wealth Gap Could Become a 2020 Litmus Test (The Atlantic)

White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not  (The Guardian)

CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS - Mother of All Breaches Exposes 773 Million Emails, 21 Million Passwords (Gizmodo)

The Family Behind OxyContin Is Accused Of Pushing The Drug To Get Rich (Buzzfeed)

The best thing I read this week - Is Sunscreen the New Margarine? (Outside)

Things I loved this week:

The Tina Snow EP from Megan Thee Stallion - it’s been in constant rotation on my Spotify

Deadly Class on Syfy - I enjoyed the pilot so much that I had to get my hands on the comics!

I’m in love with the Twerk video (and free JT!)

You need to get into two new podcasts: The Nicole Walters Podcast and Ratchet and Respectable

SOCKS! I got a lot of socks for Christmas and it’s amazing how new socks are like an event - or maybe I’m just a weirdo LOL

On deck for next week:

Knitting, knitting and more knitting! Otherwise trying to stay warm!

Have a great week!

2. Vision

 
2019 Vision Board.jpg

Remember when vision boards became a thing, like ten years ago? I think I learned about them when that terrible book The Secret came out. I decided to try it out, cause it couldn’t hurt right?

I made my first vision board when I lived in Orlando. Back then my board had pics of cities I could see myself living in, a pic of Black brides I snagged from Essence, Black couples, etc. And then I put it up in my bedroom, where I could see it everyday. And then things started to happen. First I moved back to Minneapolis - one of the cities on my board. I started dating more. It took some time, but eventually LM slid in my DMs, and then I became a bride.

At the start of 2016, I made a new board - this one had pics of houses, SUVs, money (like stacks of cash), vacations and a little Black baby. I stuck it right next to my bed, so when I woke up in the morning & before I went to bed, I saw it. Within months, I had a new SUV, then we went on vacation to Italy…and then I came back to find I was pregnant. The house didn’t come until the end of 2017 and the money came in May 2018, when I got my new job.

So it’s safe to say that vision boards work, at least for me. I’m a believer. I’m a believer in the Law of Attraction, of focusing on what you want to manifest in your life. I spent the last week of 2018 going through my old issues of O Magazine (and buying a few others) so I could put together this year’s vision board. This year I decided to stick common things together, so I have a section on health & wellness, a section on family (with a picture of a baby boy!), a section for entrepreneurial wealth, a section for travel and a middle section to remind myself how awesome I am.

I’m excited to see what will manifest in 2019 and beyond.

Things I read this week:

When A Billionaire Needs A Boss: The Story Of The Jimmy John's Sandwich Empire (Forbes)

How Comments Became the Best Part of Instagram (The Atlantic)

Hennepin County’s first black commissioner swears in on 'The New Jim Crow' (City Pages)

Scientists Have Figured Out How Endometriosis Causes Infertility (Buzzfeed)

If only more of us were so lucky - Woman With Rare Medical Condition Unable to Hear Men's Voices  (Jezebel)

NFL hires in the Rooney Rule era As a new round of head coaches is hired this offseason, we look at the league’s push for equality and what the data reveal (The Undefeated)

Exclusive: New Report Shows Gentrifiers Use Police to Terrorize Communities of Color—Without Even Calling 911 (Jezebel)

Kamala Harris Wasn’t Raised to Talk About Herself (The Cut)

Michael has a lot of student debt, and he’s trying to free himself from it the only way he knows how: getting another degree. (Buzzfeed)

Sex trafficking victim Cyntoia Brown granted clemency after 15 years in prison (Vox)

These Heroes Are Saving Black Feminist Classics by Putting Them on Wheels (Teen Vogue)

Career Contessa's Best Advice for 2019 (Career Contessa)

The Ghosts of Best-Of Lists Past (MEL Magazine)

“Just Treat Me Like Any Other Mother”: What Queer-Affirming Doulas Can Provide New LGBT Parents (Autostraddle)

Who Doesn't Want Trees? Lots of Detroit Residents, and They Have a Good Reason (Gizmodo)

Rising Esports Star, 'Ellie,' Was Just Some Dude Pretending to Be a Woman (Jezebel)

FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE - my coworkers complained that the look of my breasts post-mastectomy is making them uncomfortable (Ask A Manager)

Sandra Oh’s Golden Globes Speech Is a Master Class in Parental Gratitude (Vulture)

Christian Bale Brings Back Real Accent, Thanks Satan in Globes Acceptance Speech (Vulture)

$16,000 first-class seats sold for $675. Errors like these are more common than you’d think. (Vox)

This Woman Is Making Shawls Sexy, I Swear to You (The Cut)

Things I loved this week:

I know I’m late to the party, but I’m really digging Canva - it’s really easy to use and there are so many options for a wide variety of things to design, elements to use, etc.

Last week I took a tour of The Coven, a community and co-working space for women and non-binary people in Minneapolis. I instantly fell in love with it - it’s a gorgeous space that has lots of amenities and it feels like an awesome community. They’ve recently added a Social membership tier and I’m thisclose to signing up. I’m going to use my guest pass to get some work done, and if I love it as much as I expect, I’m signing up.

Looking forward to next week:

Just gonna be knitting and hanging with my little family….maybe have some tequila & girl talk with my friend C. Have a great week!