Favorite Things, Vol. XXVII

How is September so soon!? I feel like summer just started, and suddenly we’re inching our way to fall. I do love fall, and the changing of seasons, but I’ll definitely miss summer and the general happy attitudes that come with it. I’ll also be sharing some new products soon, and can’t wait to get your feedback!

A recent custom order from a mom to her son as he returns to college, of some lyrics that have been especially meaningful to their family. 

TO READ

Men of Steel: Chance the Rapper and Lin-Manuel Miranda: As a lover of all things Hamilton and a new gigantic Chance fan, this article is what dreams are made of. The two men have a fascinating conversation around rap and parenthood and legacies and politics, and it makes me wish they were my friends even more than I already do. I think you could argue they’re doing some of the most unique work in the entertainment industry in some of the most unconventional ways, and their charisma and talent shine through in their words.

National Parks May Be The Thing That Will Bring Us All Together: Although I’ve got many more national parks to see, my roommates recently went on a road trip to the Grand Canyon and have come back with an enormous interest in our National Parks. One of my roommates is reading Terry Tempest Williams’ book referenced in this article, and I can’t wait to read it next. There is something about nature that resonates with something inside all humanity, and I couldn’t imagine not having the National Parks to help us all remember that from time to time. Here’s to the last 100 - now let’s make sure we can keep them for hundreds more. 

Everything You Love Will Die: Yes, this is a really tragic title, but it’s also true. Death can be pretty terrifying, but at the end of the day, it’s not really something you can escape. You do what you can, and you show up, and you live the life you’re given, however long it may be. We float around the idea of “legacy” so much these days, subconsciously and directly, and we get so focused on doing more and more and making it all better and DOING IT ALL that we at times forget about what makes up a life. This article is a refreshing reminder that we make the most of our time here with things and people and experiences we choose to involve ourselves in and with. 

 

TO LISTEN

Lisa Hannigan: Live at the Paste Studio: Lisa Hannigan’s voice is one of the most unique I’ve heard - soft, yet powerful; gentle, yet forceful; controlled, yet wild - and I had the honor of getting to see her perform live at Eaux Claires this year. She was so kind and welcoming, and she truly is talented beyond compare. She has a new album coming out soon, and stopped by the Paste studio to share some of the songs. They’re as enchanting as her work always is, and as lovely as can possibly be.

The Problem With The Solution: NPR’s podcast Invisibilia has been one of my favorites since it began, and somehow I missed the second season announcement until a few weeks ago. I’ve been playing catch up, soaking up the fascinating stories, and while each week I am captivated by the stories, this one caught me in an especially tight way. I am someone who LOVES solutions. I want answers, I like explanations, not having closure can keep me stagnant for far too long, and it’s always so hard to not have them. But as you’ll hear, there are some examples where seeking out a solution can actually be detrimental. I was moved to tears by some of the stories, and had my faith in humanity restored by some of the individuals in them. Invisibilia is a wonderful podcast, and even if you don’t listen to all their episodes, make sure to check this one out. 

 

TO INSPIRE

Here’s to Bob, Luis, Gordon, and the “Sesame Street” Grownups: I was a child raised on Sesame Street by parents who were raised by Sesame Street. My house was pretty much strictly PBS until I was probably 10 or so, and Sesame Street has some of my earliest memories. My mom watched Sesame Street when it first came out, and we would often play some of the songs from the original Sesame Street days - some of them are ones I still listen to on a frequent basis if I’m feeling nostalgic. Sesame Street is still around (and watched by the two-and-a-half year old I nanny), but is now owned by HBO and a shorter program, and there aren’t as many grownups as I remember. I remember the grownups on Sesame Street being such wonderful people, there to assist and teach and listen when needed. They encouraged, they modeled, they respected, and I remember feeling so close to them. As we all know, changes can be all the things. We don’t have to like the changes, but we might not always be able to do anything about them. This article is a beautiful send-off to those grownups who helped generations of children learn so many important lessons. Thank you. 

“I Have No Choice But To Keep Looking”: I remember being absolutely horrified at the tsunami that devastated so much of Japan five years ago. Its enormity, how sudden it made landfall, the after-effects and long-lasting turmoil, and how scary it must have been for so many people. This article introduces us to some of those people, who lost loved ones in the tsunami, but still have no evidence of their bodies. Yasuo Takamatsu has not stopped looking for his wife, Yuko, since she was lost in the 2011 tsunami. He has taken up diving, to look for her in the ocean, and has searched almost constantly, both in the water and on land. Masaaki Narita has joined him in the last few years to search for his daughter, Emi, who was Yuko’s coworker at the regional bank. Their dedication is astounding, and has amazed many people, including a French composer named Sylvain Guinet, who wrote a stunning piano piece entitled “Yuko Takamatsu” after hearing of Yasuo’s constant searching. It’s an absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful example of love and family - may we all love so largely.

 

May your weeks be full of nostalgic television, acceptance that solutions may not always be what we actually need, and celebrations of nature, in all forms.

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XXVI

Between being out of town and playing catch-up on some projects, time has again slipped out of my understanding. (I mean, not that I ever really had it, but we can all dream.) I originally started this with the intention of blogging every week, and I’m hoping to continue that, but I also am not holding myself to a standard of PERFECTION OR ELSE, so these posts will happen exactly when they are supposed to. 

TO READ

I’m Good With Whatever: The High Price Of People Pleasing: For a long time, I never thought I was a people pleaser - I thought I was easy going and willing to go with the flow and good with whatever. It was probably in the last few years that I realized that while sometimes this is true - that I really am good with whatever - there are times when I do care, and it’s not an inherently bad thing to want to do what I want to do. There is often so much guilt around doing your own thing and it can at times be seen as selfish or unbending, but IT IS OKAY. Be who you are. I’m working through it, as we all probably are.

Listening To The Voices From Hijabi World: Our world looks at times, like an increasingly scary place for anyone who is different in any way, shape, or form. And other times, the goodness of people and the boldness of people to stand up for who they are and what they are about bursts through all the ignorance in the most stunning way. This video and the accompanying article are two very lovely pieces showing parts of the Muslim world that is not often portrayed by the media. The video is stunning in so many ways, and is such a powerful reminder that we all ought to do a lot more listening. 

 

TO LISTEN

First Listen: Joseph, “I’m Alone, No You’re Not”: Joseph has been one of my very favorites the last few years - their songs, their harmonies, their camaraderie as a band of sisters, seeing them live - and their sophomore album is just as dreamy as the first. NPR has it on their First Listen and I’m ready to have it in my own music library now. 

And Then Like Lions by Blind Pilot: Similarly, Blind Pilot has been another long-time favorite, and I’m not sure I even knew they had a new album coming out. If so, it’s my favorite secret/surprise. It is full of all the feels, delightful music, lovely harmonies, and lyrics that are beautiful and heartbreaking and true and real - go check it out now. 

 

TO INSPIRE

“The Gap” by Ira Glass: I’ve heard these words before, and have maybe even seen this video before, but was recently inspired by them, and in awe of the creativity of this piece. The art, the words, the combination - whether you’re in a creative field or not, whether you call yourself a creative or not (which, by the way, you ARE - you are a human and therefore you are creative), whether you’re having great success or you don’t know if you can go on with your art - this is for you. 

22, A Million: A few weekends ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Eaux Claires, the music festival Justin Vernon of Bon Iver has put on for the last two years, and what a glorious time it was. Full of some of the best live music I’ve yet seen, amazing art, beautifully curated grounds, and wonderful people, I couldn’t recommend it more. Bon Iver live debuted their new album, which comes out at the end of September (I CANNOT stop listening to this one), and recently added this to their website. It is from a good friend of Justin’s, and is some of the most beautiful writing I’ve read recently. “It is not the perceived power of money and fame that will change the course of events in one’s life, but empathy. Music is a pathway that allows us to listen to ourselves and the people that surround us. It is a pathway to understanding that actively creates change in real-time. Music, even in its most intimate moments, is a pathway between us all. It is the nuts and bolts of humanity as well as its totality. It is made sacred between people and in return makes those relationships sacred. It is the buoyant substance that we grab onto when the water rises above our heads. The answer has been here the entire time: just music, always.”

Leslie Jones On Basically Everything: It started with her Olympic commentary, but now it’s just an incredible show of positivity and unfiltered amazement at pretty much everything. Leslie Jones is absolutely wonderful and powerful and hilarious, and now I am ready to become her protege and/or ask if she can just be a constant narrator for my life. 

Elizabeth Gilbert On The Wrong Emotion: Again, Elizabeth Gilbert does all the most wonderful things. Please know there will likely be something from her on here nearly every post. I’ve taken Amy Poehler’s mantra of “Good for her, not for me,” as one of my mantras, and Liz takes that to emotions here in a straightforward, eloquently, comforting way. So often we’re taught we should feel _____ when ______ happens, but what happens when we don’t feel that way? Usually I go down the path of “there must be something wrong with ME,” but how does that change when we instead accept our own feelings and go from there? As she puts it, 

“I will not inflict upon myself anymore the shame and suffering of questioning my own reactions to life, or burying my own true feelings because I am not feeling what I’m allegedly supposed to feel.

If I feel joy, than that joy is right and real…for me.

If I feel grief, than that grief is right and real….for me.

If I love someone, then that love is right and real…for me.

If I feel mistrust or aversion to people I am supposed to trust and admire, then that feeling of mistrust is right and real…for me. And if I feel admiration for people I’m not supposed to admire, than that feeling of admiration is right and real…for me.

Nobody benefits when I try to make myself feel ways that I do not feel, and nobody benefits when I try to make myself NOT feel ways that I do feel…and nobody benefits when you do that, either.

Feel what you feel, allow your emotions to be legitimate, fearlessly examine your own reactions to your own life, and live your absolute truth — there is no other pathway to integrity than that.

Anything short of that is truly WRONG. (For you.)”

 

May your weeks be full of listening to people both similar and different than you may be, great new music from old favorite bands, and grace on grace on grace towards you, yourself, and your emotions.

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XXV

Well, it's been a bit since I posted here - between being out of town and feeling a bit overwhelmed by life, I decided to take what I could off my plate, and that turned out to be things I had put on my own plate. I'm still figuring out a balance, but aren't we all constantly trying to figure out balance??

I got connected with the poet cin salach through a mutual friend, and was so honored to make some pieces of her work. Check her out! 

TO READ

Patton Oswalt’s Tribute To His Late Wife: This is equal parts heartbreaking and beautiful. Patton Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, passed away suddenly in her sleep earlier this year, and these words sum up grief in an astounding way.

"If you spend 102 days completely focused on ONE thing you can achieve miracles. Make a film, write a novel, get MMA ripped, kick heroin, learn a language, travel around the world. Fall in love with someone. Get 'em to love you back.

But 102 days at the mercy of grief and loss feels like 102 years and you have shit to show for it. You will not be physically healthier. You will not feel "wiser." You will not have "closure." You will not have "perspective" or "resilience" or "a new sense of self." You WILL have solid knowledge of fear, exhaustion and a new appreciation for the randomness and horror of the universe. And you'll also realize that 102 days is nothing but a warm-up for things to come. 

And... 

You will have been shown new levels of humanity and grace and intelligence by your family and friends. They will show up for you, physically and emotionally, in ways which make you take careful note, and say to yourself, 'Make sure to try to do that for someone else someday.’"

Elizabeth Gilbert On The Importance Of Self-Love Amidst Difficulty: I’ve said it once and I’ll say it forever: Elizabeth Gilbert, please will you be my fairy godmother/conscience??? In this piece, she talks about those moments of difficulty where you wish you could have said something differently or been bolder or acted sooner, and how that is the moment where you need to love yourself the most. The difficult parts of yourself and of your actions and of your past can be so hard to reconcile, and it can be so hard to forgive yourself in and for those moments. But as she points out, withholding love from yourself is withholding love from the world. Empathy is hard, and empathy towards yourself is hard, AND we have to do it. We must.

Life After The Olympics: A fascinating look at Olympians, both in their experiences at their Games and what life after the Games has looked like for them. While often fraught with struggles and difficulties, to see how being Olympians has and has not affected the rest of their lives is intriguing and also rather empathy-inducing.

 

TO LISTEN

Ingrid Michelson & Deaf West Theatre Present “Hell No” - The Official ASL Music Video: While her first music video for this song with all the most amazing Snapchat filters was incredible, this is another sort of incredible. American Sign Language has always been fascinating to me - I learned some alongside my brother when we were growing up, and to see it so prominently shown is wonderful.

David Ramirez “Find The Light”: A friend was recently introduced to David Ramirez, and reminded me of his incredible work. He has long been a favorite of mine, and I’m really stoked for his tour later this year. Here’s one of my very favorite songs of his, which also definitely makes my All-Time-Favorite-Songs List.

 

TO INSPIRE

Maud Ferhout Photography: A Dutch college student, Maud put together two projects: one focusing on “real men” crying and the other on “real women” laughing. Her words in this piece explain how she came to name the projects, as well as why she chose these two actions. As someone who feels all the feels and believes gender stereotypes hurt everyone, this is a beautiful project to see. 

Leche Libre: Stylish and Functional Breastfeeding Apparel: My kickass friend Andrea recently launched a Kickstarter for her incredible breastfeeding-friendly apparel, and has already surpassed her goal in a week! Help her continue to kick more ass and normalize breastfeeding even more in a stylish way by contributing! 

President Barack Obama Says, “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like”: Obama, please NEVER STOP BEING SO EXCELLENT. This article is fantastic, he is wonderful, and this is why we need feminism. For everyone. 

Donald Maroney: As a fan of 30 Rock and an adamant detester of all Donald Tump, this is the best thing I could have ever wished for, but never would have thought to make. Sent to me by one of my wonderful roommates, Jenna Maroney’s insane words + pictures of Donald Trump = everything. 

 

May your weeks be full of empathy, words that stop you in your tracks, people who are doing important work, and well-placed lines from amazing TV shows. 

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XXIV

It's been a busy week - got to do make some signs for a local brewery, tried a delightful new restaurant in my neighborhood, ran a 10K with one of my best friends - and am getting ready to head out of town for a vacation with my family in one of my favorite places on Earth.  The world is still seeming dark and scary and hard for so many, but let's please carry on with love and cheez-its and dancing and listening. We must.

YOU GUYS. Thanks to your orders of these Love Is Love pieces, $475 was donated to the Human Rights Campaign. Thank you, thank you, thank you! When the world seems dark and overwhelming, even a little something like this makes a huge difference. <3

TO READ

My Twenties: A Retrospective: As someone in the midst of their twenties, this is a hilarious/accurate/wonderful look into all the things you ought to be doing as a twenty-something. Parts of this seem frighteningly real, and once you realize how satirized it is, you start to ease up a bit on yourself. Or if you’re not easing up on yourself, maybe this will be a good cue to do so.

Look Behind You: The View Across The Street From The World’s Most Famous Monuments: I’ve aways found it fascinating to watch other people who are watching what you’re watching. Sometimes their reactions are the same, sometimes they are completely different, and you never know exactly what their path has been to lead them to seeing that thing at that moment. DEEP. Oliver Curtis, a photographer, has started an intriguing photography project in which he shoots the scene across the street from monuments and works of art, and they are fascinating. 

 

TO LISTEN

Watch Maya Rudolph and Emma Stone Cover “Call Your Girlfriend” With Butter Tub Percussion: Two of my favorite hilarious ladies, one of my favorite songs, and a skill I will never be coordinated enough to do - what could be better? 

Anna Faris Is Unqualified: My roommate has been talking about this podcast for months, and I just joined the train, but am now VERY enthusiastically riding it. Anna Faris, her best friend Sim, and various guests talk about life, love, and so much more - I’ve snorted from laughing, I’ve cried, and think this will be a pretty good fill-in for weeks where I don’t see my therapist. Although they may not be qualified by someone’s standards, the heart and soul and compassion and hilarity they share with one another and the guests they call spills over and warms your heart whether you agree with them or not. 

Bombay Bicycle Club: I was introduced to Bombay Bicycle Club in college, and so many of their songs immediately transport me back to a time or person or place. I got to see them live a few summers ago, and was blown away at their talent. Their lyrics are amazing, their songs make you get up and dance, and they are some of the most musically talented individuals (and group) I’ve seen. Somehow, I haven’t listened to them in awhile, but needed a dance break with my nanny kids today and they popped into my brain, thank goodness.

 

TO INSPIRE

This Girl Gang Is Taking On The Patriarchy One She-Moji At A Time: I am absolutely a feminist, and in all honesty, I’ve never thought about how females are represented on the emoji keyboard - dancing lady, painted nails, getting their hair done, two girls in matching black unitards, etc. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things, it kind of sucks to only have those as your options. Thank goodness some more badass females WERE paying attention, and have created She-Moji, with 400+ original emoji. Not only do they make incredible emojis, they also donate 50% of their profits to the Malala Fund, helping to ensure all girls have access to 12 years of free, safe, quality eduation. GO GIRLS.

It’s Never Been Harder To Be Young: Heather Havrilesky is one of my favorite writers, and I’m ridiculously excited to read her new book. Her “Ask Polly” columns are consistently wonderful, and this article is no different. Being a millennial myself, I’m grateful for her words, and resonate with many of them. But no matter how old or young or middle-aged or newborn or elderly you may be, this applies to you. Yes, YOU.

“Obviously, as an advice columnist, I’m always at risk of becoming part of the problem. I tell people to believe in the lives they really want, to set their expectations high and strive tirelessly to achieve their dreams. But I also want to say to them, time after time, that there is no “better version” of you waiting in the future. The best version of you is who you are right here, right now, in this fucked-up, impatient, imperfect, sublime moment. Shut out the noise and enjoy exactly who you are and what you have, right here, right now.”  

 

May your weeks be full of changed perspectives, old songs and artists that may have slipped your mind for awhile, and moments where you allow yourself to be exactly where you are. You are magnificent. 

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XXIII

Pain and grief and shock and terror and overwhelming heartbreak have been at the center of the news cycle as of late, and I’ll be the first to admit I have no idea where to go from here. All I know is that listening is a must, ignorance needs to GTFO, and we have to keep making room for love, even (and especially) in unexpected places.

TO READ

Micah Johnson Is The Making Of America’s Own Racist Creation: I began following Shaun King last year, and have been grateful for his truth, for his words, for sharing his experience with the world, and for helping to open my eyes to things that I cannot fathom as a white woman. Racism has been an embarrassing part of our nation from the day it was born, and we must ACTIVELY work to get rid of it. We must check our privilege. We must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. We must listen more. We must.

We Live On The Internet. We Die Alone. (Nora McInerny Purmort): I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it forever - Nora is one of the most wonderful and badass humans I know. She and I became internet friends, and then IRL friends, and I’m so thankful for her words and her honesty, especially about hard stuff, like, you know, death. My generation is GREAT at reaching out online - liking, commenting, sharing, retweeting, etc - but what about when the real shit hits the fan? Are we showing up? Are we reaching out? Are we willing to step over into the holy-hell-this-is-uncomfortable-and-I’m-not-sure-at-all-how-to-handle-any-of-this territory? I am too often guilty of living behind my screen, and I hate that. As wonderful as social media is, let’s not forget that all those people we like and all those photos we share are just pieces of their lives, and showing up in your real, human self is what we are REALLY here to do.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “So after this listing of don’ts, what’s the do? I’m not sure. Try listening, maybe. Hear what is being said. And remember that it’s not about you. American Blacks are not telling you that you are to blame. They are just telling you what is. If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.” 

My sister gifted me this book for Christmas, but it slipped into my lengthy to-read list and I didn’t get a chance to get to it until about a week ago. My goodness, it was tough to put down. They way in which she weaves the narratives together, her choice of vocabulary, the discussions on race and family and background and story and belonging - all of it. I’m ready to read everything she has ever written now. If you haven’t read this, definitely pick up a copy ASAP.

 

TO LISTEN

Trevor Noah On The Fatal Shootings Of Alton Sterling And Philando Castile: In the midst of an incredibly painful week for many communities, Trevor speaks with eloquence and simplicity: “If you’re pro-black lives matter, you’re assumed to be anti-police. And if you’re pro-police, then you surely hate black people. It seems that it’s either pro-cop and anti-black or pro-black and anti-cop, when in reality, you can be pro-cop AND pro-black, which is what we should all be.” 

White Lighter by Typhoon: Introduced to them in college, Typhoon has become one of my most favorite bands, and they just announced they are starting to record a new album. In case you haven’t heard them, take a listen to their most recent full-length album for a taste of the incredible sounds they produce.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: While not a new album, I was listening to it again recently, and was simply blown away by the amount of sound they are able to make with their instruments and voices. Pairs well with whiskey, adventures, or nights in your room.

 

TO INSPIRE 

Love Is Love Print: After hearing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s moving Tony acceptance speech, I made a piece inspired by his words in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. It boldly declares that love is love, no matter what or whom or when or how or where, and we all ought to be striving for more love in all areas of our lives. Each 9"x12" original piece using gouache and ink on watercolor paper is $25, and all proceeds from the purchases of this piece will be going directly to the Human Rights Commission. (You can find more information on the HRC here) Today is the last day I’ll be taking orders for these, so if you’d like to be a part, now is the time! Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.

Ask Polly: When Will My Boyfriend Realize I’m Too Needy To Love?: This week’s collection is actually featuring my sister a few times (since she is wonderful and amazing and I’m so glad we’re now friends-and-sisters and can send each other things like this) - she was the one who originally introduced me to Heather Havrilesky’s work, and she sent me this piece last week. As someone who is anxious for a good portion of her days and has plenty of insecurities about plenty of things, her words here were like a twist cone with sprinkles on a muggy Midwest summer day that doesn’t drip on you one bit. Her advice? 

“You can make statements instead of asking open-ended questions. You can stand up for who you are and what you believe. Instead of asking your boyfriend to prop you up and make you feel whole before he knows you well enough to even try, you can do these things for yourself. The illusion that you've lost ground, that you're losing yourself, is all in your head. You are learning, every day. This is your adventure. Not every single thing will go according to plan. Your boyfriend might dump you at some point. Or he might love you like crazy until you outgrow him and you decide to move on alone. People will tell you to care less about these outcomes, but you will care more than you can possibly stand. It's time to accept that this is how you will live. It's time to stop fighting yourself, day in and day out. It's time to enjoy the way you are right now. Your desperation is beautiful. Your disappointed Chihuahua eyes are beautiful. You have to see that, and feel that, and know it in your terrified, shivering heart.” 

LET’S GO, FELLOW TERRIFIED, SHIVERING HEARTS.

Solitude: A Reprieve From The Noise Of Doing: Three sentences in to this piece and my eyes are smarting. Five sentences in, I’m googling local cabins I can Airbnb or friends who live in slightly more remote places that I need to visit tomorrow. As I’ve been working through some things lately, silence and solitude are both triggering and healing. I am only with myself and all my thoughts which mostly seem to be in the trillions at any given moment, but I am also phone-less, internet-less, and completely disconnected, which is freeing in a way not much else feels these days. It can be a bit scary to truly disconnect and to take time to make efforts to connect with yourself, and it all makes me feel a bit hippy-dippy, but as it turns out, we are the only thing we have for our entire life. Might as well try to go through it together, right? 

 

May your weeks be full of listening and learning, active participation in your community, showing up, supporting yourself, and reminding you/your friends/your family/your community/your country/your world/your universe that love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XXII

As I’m preparing to head into a rather busy month, I may ease up on these postings so as not to make myself any more crazy than I already am - we’ll see how things go. (Insert bug-eyed emoji face here)

The area above my desk where I keep some of my favorite things from some of my favorite humans - head on over to my Instagram to see where they are from! 

TO READ

The End of Reflection: The amount of time I am on my phone or laptop, at times without realizing so, makes me want to vomit sometimes. Technology is amazing, and incredibly helpful in so many ways. I’m also a huge fan of technology breaks - of time at the cabin or out of cell service range, where I feel like I get to re-set myself. This article brings up some good points for both, but let’s all agree to put our phones down more often and have some ACTUAL face time.

Thin Slices Of Anxiety: An Illustrated Meditation On What It’s Like To Live Enslaved By Worry And How To Break Free: Anxiety and I have become rather close these last few years, as much as I wish that weren’t necessarily true. It’s something I’m still figuring out how to manage, and can just be really tricky at times to deal with. These illustrations and accompanying words are so much of what I’ve found my experience to be like, and whether you also suffer from anxiety or not, I hope this helps us all increase our empathy a bit for our fellow humans. 

“Good Bones” by Maggie Smith: I found this poem relatively recently, and it’s brought me a ridiculous amount of comfort as the world seems to turn upside down in a new way every single day. I’ll tease you in with the closing lines: 

“This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.” 

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving: I picked this book up in a used bookstore in DC last month, and hadn’t had a chance to read it until this last weekend, when I read it in a day. Between a lovely solo breakfast, on public transit, and on my porch, I was absolutely floored. One of the reviews compared it to a combination of Little Miss Sunshine and Rain Man - I would perhaps add a bit of Dan In Real Life to that mix, and yet it is entirely its own. A story of truly caring, of losing it all, of friendship, of utter humanity, of heartbreak, and of joy - I cannot recommend this enough. ”Listen to me: everything you think you know, every relationship you’ve ever taken for granted, every plan or possibility you’ve ever hatched, every conceit or endeavor you’ve ever concocted, can be stripped from you in an instant. Sooner or later, it will happen. So prepare yourself. Be ready not to be ready. Be ready to be brought to your knees and beaten to dust. Because no stable foundation, no act of will, no force of cautious habit will save you from this fact: nothing is indestructible."

 

TO LISTEN

“Alaska" by Maggie Rogers: Maggie Rogers, the NYU student whose song “Alaska” nearly brought Pharrell Williams to tears in this video, has mixed and mastered her track, now available on Spotify. One of the catchiest (and overall great) songs I’ve heard lately.

Longform Podcast #187: Elizabeth Gilbert: Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my very favorite humans, and I had been saving this one for a bit. She has some of the most interesting stories, and such a fascinating view on life and creativity and how we go through it all. Recommended for literally all humans, now and always. 

 

TO INSPIRE

Jesse Williams On Black Lives, Equal Rights And Freedom: Please take the time to listen to his incredibly powerful speech. We have so far to go. ”Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s fourteenth birthday. So I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a twelve-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then go home to make a sandwich.”

Surviving On Small Joys: It seems so impossible to keep finding pockets of joy after a tragedy, whether international or national or personal. It seems like the world ought to stop, or that joy will not be a feasible option ever again. And then somehow, joy shows up. It’s miraculous and impossible and all sorts of things, and I really do not understand it. We need joy and love and peace and light, but we also know there is so much more to be done than simply to think about those things. “I know nothing that will get us through this beyond whatever small pockets of happiness we make for each other in between the rage and the eulogies and the marching and the protesting and the demanding to be seen and accounted for. I know nothing except that this grief is a river carrying us to another new grief, and along the way, let us hold a space for a bad joke or a good memory. Something that will allow us to hold our breath under the water for a little bit longer.” 

35 Corgis To Get You Through Your Day: Life can be all the things, but corgis are the greatest and I am having a very hard time not owning a dog right now. This is a semi-helpful stand-in for the time being. 

 

May your weeks be full of breaks from technology, honest words about hard things, time to reflect, and a multitude of corgis/dogs/animals. 

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XXI

Amidst some topsy-turvy unexpected life things and the return of HOT CHICAGO WOW HELLO SUMMER, mac and cheese and peonies and Parks and Rec remain.

A lovely capture from the talented lady Kelsey Stevens. Check her out here

TO READ

Joe Biden Writes An Open Letter To Stanford Survivor: Just as I’d like the Obamas to stay another four years (Barack OR Michelle, let’s be real), I need Joe Biden to stick around. He continually proves to be someone who sticks to what he believes, who actually lives out what he says, and who is using his power and influence and status for good.

Can Tylenol Help Heal A Broken Heart?: I like answers. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized we don’t get to have answers for everything, and sometimes that totally sucks. Sometimes your heart gets broken, and you don’t get to know why, and you might carry it for a lot longer than you wanted. This article is a stunning combination of science and emotions, and as the author points out, “heartache is like any other pain, and it takes time to heal.” Give yourself some love. You’re okay. xx

An Open Letter To The Female Hat-Wearing Dog From “Go Dog, Go”: A super sassy response to a weird gendered part of a book I have read many, many times and somehow never noticed? YES PLEASE. The long and short of it: wear whatever kind of hat you want, and don’t let one dog tell you not to wear it because he doesn’t like it. You do YOU and YOUR thing(s) and wear YOUR hat(s). 

 

TO LISTEN

Kate Nash: While listening to an older lady power playlist on a run the other day, I had a very distinct flashback to High School Helen going to the library and checking out this CD. It’s such a fabulous collection of songs that make you feel good and laugh and feel connected and go back to places of heartache, but also BAM! You’re powerful and amazing and incredible! Throwback Tuesday.

Slow Jam The News With President Obama: Again, PLEASE DON’T GO, OBAMA(S).

Oh Wonder - Crazy In Love (Beyoncé Cover): My Spotify Discover Weekly playlist pretty regularly gives me acoustic Beyoncé covers, like this one. I am very grateful to that strange little algorithm for this, and although this one wasn’t on that playlist, but instead found while in a dark YouTube hole, I still absolutely adore it.

 

TO INSPIRE

Watch The Cast of Girls Unite For A PSA In Support Of The Stanford Sexual Assault Survivor: There often seem to be a list of unwritten questions sexual assault survivors must answer before being believed. What were you wearing? How much had you been drinking? It’s embarrassing how much our culture victim-blames, and we must put an end to it. As the video states, “Support, listen, take action. Not because she is someone’s daughter, or someone’s girlfriend, or someone’s sister…but because she is someone.”

Google Praises 86-Year-Old For Polite Internet Searches: This is everything I’ve ever dreamed of, ever. I’m going to start asking Google questions like this.

“My Advice Is Not To Be Afraid”: Life Lessons From 2016 Grads: If you know me, you know I LOVE some good graduation advice. And if you really know me, you know that I love advice from children who are graduating even more. And if you really really know me, you’ll know I cried at this video. I dare you to make it through without shedding a single tear.

 

May your weeks be filled with good throwback music, polite internet-ing, and surprise lessons from people you may not have expected them from. 

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XX

My heart is heavy, and it's been tricky to try and pull myself out of all the feelings from all the tragedies happening around the world and happening to my people. We're here to get through this thing called life together. Let's be good to one another.

Prince's words, here in a recent custom order, are ringing especially true for me this week.

TO DO

Lin-Manuel Miranda's Sonnet At The Tonys: In case you've been living under a rock, Lin-Manuel Miranda is the creator of the breakout Broadway show Hamilton, as well as In The Heights. Hamilton won 11 Tonys this year, and instead of an acceptance speech, he read a sonnet regarding the Orlando attack, which absolutely brought me to tears. Please check it out.

Contact Your State Representatives and Senators: We cannot sit by and let things like this happen without any sort of action. Take the time to find the contact information for your representatives and ask them what they are doing to end any further violent attacks, or to let them know your thoughts.

Donate: This GoFundMe project, provided by The Center Orlando, will provide an emergency hotline and crisis counseling.

 

We are in this together. Let's act like it. 

 

xoxo

Helen

Favorite Things, Vol. XIV

As I've been transitioning from one nanny charge to two (my day job), it's left a little less time for art and rest, but thankfully they are both cute and I got a whole day to art this weekend, while watching entirely too much Parks and Recreation. (JK there is NO SUCH THING as too much Parks and Recreation. #knope2016)

A recent custom piece for a dear friend who lives all the way out in Alaska - I always feel so lucky to get to make things for my people, especially when they are far from me.

TO READ

Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker: In case you have missed this, please take the time to read this letter in its entirety. The way this case has been handled is nothing short of an absolute mess, and her words are heartbreaking and powerful. We must be better. Believe people's stories. Fight for them. "And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you."

Why You Will Marry The Wrong Person: Alain de Botton brings up some wonderful thoughts on love and relationships and trust - we've all been so brainwashed into the idea that we'll marry THE ONE or THE PERFECT PERSON, but what about when life changes us? What about those things we never saw coming? What about when we argue or disagree or come to a crossroads? As he puts it, "We should learn to accommodate ourselves to “wrongness,” striving always to adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective on its multiple examples in ourselves and in our partners."

Let's Get Drinks: LOLOLOLOLOL this is incredibly relevant and also a little bit sad about how true it is, but I LOVE how far they stretch this. Brilliantly written.

Kristen Bell: I'm Over Staying Silent About Depression: I've posted recently about Kristen Bell's video interview with Off Camera, and this piece of writing continues her wise words about the necessity of speaking up about mental health, and specifically anxiety and depression. These words are incredibly helpful to me, as I've been going through a pretty intense season of anxiety, and I hope they will also ease your minds that you are NEVER alone and you are ALWAYS worth it.

 

TO LISTEN

Broadway Carpool Karaoke: This is the most wonderful thing. Just TRY not to smile and/or singalong.

Top Of The World Tour Live: My sister is in town for a few days, and we got to see The Dixie Chicks on Sunday and live our childhood dream. They were just as amazing as they were 10-15 years ago, and I am amazed at how many lyrics I still totally had in my brain. (Okay, who am I kidding - I listen to them all the time.) I've listened to this live album more times than I can estimate, and in case you don't get to see them on this tour, may this be a stand-in for now.

 

TO INSPIRE

What To Do When You're Overthinking Your Own Happiness: Okay, hi, HELLO this is my brain about EVERYTHING relatively good that comes my way. As the author puts it, we've been trained out of the radical trust she talks about in terms of relationships, but I think that radical trust is lacking in SO MANY arenas of our society. Trust is hella scary. It's also hella important. I love that her response to this article is to push towards gratitude. To not make excuses, or make it comfortable, or think it must be too good to be true, but to simply say, "thank you" and keep on keeping on. This has proven to be much easier said than done for me, and I'm sure it will always be that way, but I have seen the importance of doing so, so I will continue to strive for gratitude, to the best of my ability.

More Than Just Parks: I've only been able to watch a few of these so far, but WOW. I'm ready to pack up a trailer and visit all the national parks NOW. See you out there.

Joey Hugs Teddy Bear And The World Goes Wild: The weekly dosage of cute, sent to me from my grandma, who rules.

 

May your weeks be full of singalongs in and out of the car, love with a heaping dose of grace, and cute animals doing cute things.

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XIII

Having an extra weekend day is always a wonderful thing, but WOW does this Tuesday feel like a Monday. It's looking as though I'm going to be very off this week. Thankfully Chicago gave us a glorious Memorial Day weekend, and I got outside as much as possible, so I'm feeling ready to go. (A feeling which, I'm sure, will be gone in a matter of hours.)

A quote from Omid Safi's wonderful article from the On Being blog, linked below.

 

TO READ

Why We're More Creative When We're Tired, And 9 Other Surprising Things About How Brains Work:  Another incredible find from my friend Luke's weekly newsletter (which you too can get by signing up here) - I wholeheartedly agree and can attest to so much of what this article has to say. The amount of creativity my brain shoots out between 10:30pm and 1:00am is astounding, and yet very inconvenient with my day job, which means waking up at 6:00am. Now I'm on the hunt for how to redirect this creativity to a more convenient time, or how I can rearrange my days.

Shine A Light On The Good And Beautiful: I've found in this season of my life, which at times has felt overwhelmingly difficult, that I've clung to optimism and hope and beauty. Not in a naive way, pretending that pain and heartbreak aren't real, but in a if-I-don't-try-to-seek-these-better-things-out-I-will-succumb-to-a-series-of-very-dark-places kind of way. Omid Safi, a consistent favorite of mine on the On Being blog (but let's be real, I love all the writers on the On Being blog) puts this idea in a really stunning and thoughtful way: "So, friends, let us stand next to one another, shoulder to shoulder, mirroring the good and the beautiful. Shine a light on the good. Applaud the good. Become an advocate of the good and the beautiful. Let us hang on to the faith that ultimately light overcomes darkness, and love conquers hate. It is the only thing that ever has, ever will, and does today."

Weird Girls: A lovely piece from the ever-wonderful Lenny Letter on parenting and expectations and communicating and standing up for what you and your humans need and deserve. Whether you're a parent or not, whether you engage with children in your daily life or couldn't tell a child from a puppy, this is an important read.

What The #MoreThanMean Viral Video Didn't Tell You: In case you missed it, there was an incredible video recently of men reading actual tweets directed at two female sportswriters, Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro. The tweets smacked of misogyny and ignorance, and some of the men reading them reacted in a very visceral way, at times even apologizing to the women, even though they themselves had not written the tweets. This article from Julie DiCaro gives some takeaways and suggestions on how we move forward from this, and how we can each contribute to a more inclusive world for females in the sports world. 

 

TO LISTEN

The West Wing Weekly: I listened to an OBSCENE amount of this podcast over the weekend. Like, I started on Friday and am nearly caught up. As a total West Wing nerd, this is my dream come true - getting to hear from some of the actors and obtaining information about the background of the show and being far too familiar with all they are saying. New favorite podcast OBTAINED.

A Collection Of My Favorite Commencement Speeches: I have long been an enormous fan of commencement speeches, and when talking to a friend lately, these three were the ones that came to mind. The first two are from this year, so they're pretty fresh in my memory. First up is Sheryl Sandberg's address at UC-Berkeley - if you can get through this one without tearing up, I will have no option but to assume that you are a robot. The way in which she goes about discussing the loss of her husband and her lessons on resilience are both astoundingly powerful. Next up is Lin-Manuel Miranda's address at the University of Pennsylvania, which covers all sorts of things and makes me even more in awe of him and all the work he does. Talk about someone who writes like they're running out of time. The final one (for now) is Amy Poehler's speech at Harvard's Class Day in 2011. She is a queen, she is the most hilarious, she is kind and smart and witty as hell, and please can she just be my fairy godmother already??

 

TO INSPIRE

Lift Off: Donovan Livingston, a student speaker at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, gives one of the most powerful spoken word poems I've seen in awhile. It covers race and education and dreams and how we do or do not support one another and EVERYTHING, and will leave you blown away by the power of words.

Side By Side Dance Company at Urban Paradise 2015 Front Row: My friend Haylie had posted this video awhile ago of some of her megaridiculouslytalented dancer friends performing an incredible piece, and now I've lost track of how many times I've watched it. One of the dancers recently launched a Kickstarter for a really interesting new project - definitely check it out, and if you feel led, send them some financial support. 

427: Ten Years Without Jen, Twenty-Six With: Be warned - tears are pretty imminent with this piece. But it isn't your normal piece on grief and loss. Matt Zoller Seitz shares his experience with losing his wife unexpectedly in a very human and vulnerable way, from the more classic stories of grief to his stories of his grief, which contain all the feels. I couldn't recommend this piece enough.

 

May your weeks be filled with creativity at convenient and inconvenient times, good words whether you're a recent graduate or you can hardly remember your commencement, and the reminder that we are in this life together. 

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XII

A crazy week of feelings + a long vacation weekend = a delayed and slightly abbreviated post. Life is life, and while part of me is saying, "HELEN GET IT TOGETHER WHY IS THIS POST A DAY LATE IS IT EVEN WORTH POSTING???" the larger part (and the part that really has to fight for airtime 89% of the time) reminds me that nothing incredibly drastic is happening simply because I am posting on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday. I don't want to be constantly stressed in this one life I've got, so I guess this means YOLO.

TO READ

Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker: I finished this book recently, and was (and continue to be) absolutely in awe of this lady. I am a huge fan of all her work as an actress, and this book was a continuation of that fandom. Wow wow wow can she write. This book is a collection of letters to men in her life - both ones she has known and ones imagined - and the combination of total honesty and some really excellent run-on sentences had me forgetting to breathe at times. Definitely put this on your Amazon wishlist.

It's Okay To Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort: Nora has long been one of my favorite Internet Humans, and I just about fell to pieces when she asked me to meet IRL while she was in Chicago earlier this year. She is one of the loveliest people I have yet to meet, and she just GETS IT. (Still unsure how to define "it", but she gets all of it.) I got to read this while it was still a PDF on my laptop screen and did a nearly equal amount of laughing and crying, so this title is immensely appropriate. Life is all the things, and it's not always what we expect/anticipate/want/etc. We can never know what other people are going through or how hard they are working to be out and about and breathing and interacting with other humans, so let's all take a pledge to be kinder, please. Go order one copy of Nora's book or you might as well go ahead and order 45 - this is going to be one you'd like to give to everyone you know. Congratulations, Nora! 

 

TO LISTEN

Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars: This isn't new whatsoever, but I've been listening to it fairly nonstop for the past few days. Their harmonies are consistently some of the best I've heard, and while I'm still bummed they are no longer a band, thankfully they made some damn fine music together for awhile.

White Flag by Joseph: Joseph is a newer favorite group, and speaking of harmonies, theirs ARE INCREDIBLE. I've always been a fan of lady power groups, and these three sisters are no exception. They've got their sophomore album coming out this August, and this new single makes me feel real ready for August.

 

TO INSPIRE

Sorry, Not Sorry by Lena Dunham: I identify VERY strongly with so much of this - I've long been apologizing for 78% of my daily life, whether or not it merits an apology, and have recently tried to make myself aware of how frequently I do so. I'm not saying apologies are bad things or that we ought to limit how much we apologize, but I DO think that sometimes we insert apologies where we don't need to. As Lena puts it, "What do you replace sorry with? Well for starters, you can replace it with an actual expression of your needs and desires. And it turns out when you express what you want (without a canned and insincere apology) everyone benefits. Your employees know what you want from them and can do their jobs with clarity and pride. The dynamic remains healthy and open. You feel 79% less shame (there's 21% of human shame that's just baseline and incurable, right!?)" 

Kittens Inspired By Kittens: One of my all-time favorite Internet things, now and forevermore.

 

May your weeks be full of good words from good humans, only the apologies you really need to be saying, and genius-level Things Kids Say.

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. XI

This week has been great and weird and hard and all the things, and I don't really know much for sure, except for I would like to sleep for 203987532 hours please and thank you.

TO READ

"I See Lego More As An Art": Through all my siblings and cousins and kids I've babysat over the years, Lego is an absolute constant. I cannot even imagine what being a Lego master builder would be like, and after reading this article, there is NO WAY I could ever be one. BOW DOWN.

How Typography Can Save Your Life: From the National Weather Service to highway signs and more, it is so interesting to look at how and why certain fonts were chosen, and in some cases, why they've needed to be changed since their original font. This is likely something Leslie Knope would have on her list of things to talk to Ben about in the car. #nerd

German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too: This article begins with a quote about how the forest ranger points out two trees that are clearly friends and why, and only gets better from there. NATURE IS SO COOL.

 

TO LISTEN

Chance the Rapper, "Coloring Book": While I wouldn't say that rap is necessarily a go-to for me, Chance the Rapper's new album has been playing on a pretty consistent loop since it came out. I remember my roommate showing me his performance of "Angels" on Colbert, and it is nearly impossible to watch without grinning. A Chicago native, he also has an incredible side project in Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - "Sunday Candy" and "Wanna Be Cool" are my favorites.

Alexey Has No Limitations: This is outstandingly beautiful. And while I believe it is inspiring, I didn't want to put it in the "to inspire" section simply because he is doing something without his fingers. Stella Young gave a TED Talk in 2014 that has stuck with me, and has solidified my belief that, as she puts it, "Disability doesn't make you exceptional, but questioning what you think you know about it does."  We often automatically jump to pity or extreme inspiration whenever we see anyone with a disability of any sort doing any kind of thing, and it can be demeaning and detrimental, even if we don't always mean it to be so. I've had the privilege of encountering and growing relationships with a few individuals with special needs over the years, and if I ever say that they inspire me, it is because of who they are, not the labels they have been given.

 

TO INSPIRE

Finding Footing In My Worth: As I read this, tears were rolling down my cheeks without my even knowing it. The writing, the memories, and the honesty throughout makes me so glad for the human experience and for sharing that with others. 

"Mad Men" Creator Matthew Weiner's Reassuring Life Advice For Struggling Artists: Being an artist and also a full-time nanny and also wanting to have some friends and also liking to sleep and also not wanting to totally lose my mind is something I struggle with a LOT. Especially when I see so much about HUSTLE HARDER every-freaking-where I turn, but then when I try to hustle harder and then run out of steam like 3 minutes later, these words from Matthew Weiner are so good, and especially these: "The greatest regret I have is that, early in my career, I showed myself such cruelty for not having accomplished anything significant. I spent so much time trying to write, but was paralyzed by how behind I felt...Any contribution you make on a daily basis is fantastic. I still happen to write almost everything at once, but I now cut myself slack on all of the thinking and procrastination time I use. I know that it’s all part of my creative process."

Solitude: A Reprieve From The Noise of Doing: Over the last few years, I feel as though I've gotten to a place like this a few times, and while I haven't followed this quiiiiite to a T, I would really like to make it happen sometime in the near future. This was another cry-while-you-read for me, with the transparency and vulnerability of all her words and her experience and the closing poem. Get at this, now.

Justin Trudeau Doing Yoga: That should be self-explanatory. (#trudeauforsupremeuniverseleaderpleaseandthankyou)

 

May your weeks be full of social networks (trees and humans alike), reassurance, and yoga (either your own practice or just watching others and thinking really hard about doing yoga maybe.)

 

xoxo
H

Favorite Things, Vol. X

One week of being 25 down, and I must say that so far, things have been pretty good. Spring is trying is hardest to show up in the Midwest, with varying degree of success, but I'm just going to be grateful for the little bits we get. Or maybe get angry when it's cold and gross. Who's to say, really.

Here's another one of the pieces I was asked to create for Krista Tippett's new book, Becoming Wise. If you haven't checked it out yet, do that ASAP!

TO READ

More Single Men Means More Men With Beards: I'm a big fan of facial hair, and look at this - evolution explains why! Science! Beards! Woo!

An Emotional Map Of The City, As Captured Through Its Sounds: As big as emotions play in our everyday lives, it's not always something that is a part of our larger lives. They can be at times difficult to interpret, but this article brings emotions into our cities in a more straightforward way. The way in which the data is collected and organized and shared is absolutely fascinating, and I hope this work continues.

To Be Yourself Completely: The Collective Grief of Losing Prince: Grief is a weird thing, and a hard thing, and a completely unpredictable thing, and as bizarre as it can be, sometimes there are overlapping feelings between grief around the death of someone we know personally and around the deaths of people we never met ourselves. We often feel some sort of connection when celebrities, and I think especially musicians, pass away. Songs and movies and TV shows can take us back to such specific moments, and losing the person who made those moments special for us can take its toll. This article does a very wonderful job of explaining these feelings, as strange as they can be. Grief is grief is grief, and it is weird always. Take your time, and make your own path.

 

TO LISTEN

Speechless With Carly Fleischmann: Episode One (Channing Tatum): This video series is the first from Carly Fleischmann, a nonverbal woman with autism, who does this interview through typing out her questions and responses through technology. It is one of the funniest interviews I've seen, and Channing Tatum is a perfect gentleman throughout. Carly, here's to you!

Gwen Stefani Carpool Karaoke: Carpool Karaoke is the best, Gwen Stefani is the best, James Corden is the best, and the special guests here are the BEST. Go take 14 minutes for yourself and ENJOY.

Can't Stop The Feeling: Justin Timberlake, I've missed your beautiful face. And songs. Good luck trying to NOT dance while listening to this.

First Listen: The Staves, "Sleeping In A Car": The Staves are one of my long-time favorites, and I cannot wait to see them this summer in Chicago and at Eaux Claires. The Current has their upcoming EP on first listen, and I've been listening nonstop - it is some good stuff. 

 

TO INSPIRE

Love Written In Morning Dew: On Being is one of my favorites, as always, and Omid Safi's piece on the love we sometimes miss out on because it may not be directly in our line of vision is a beautiful reminder.

How Do You See Me Part One and Part Two: If you know me, you know that Down Syndrome has had a profound impact on my life. My younger brother Jason and Leo (the boy I nanny) both have Down Syndrome, and I have met some of the most interesting, wonderful, hilarious, intelligent, and delightful humans because of those connections. I remember being younger and feeling how different it can be at times - getting stares from people when our family was out and about, going to plenty of doctors and therapists, having him develop a little slower than other kids his age - and wishing plenty of times that I had a "normal" brother. But as the years went on, I came to realize that "normal" isn't anything I'm interested in, or anything that exists, really. Jason is an incredible human, Leo is an incredible human, and both of these videos make my heart so full and make me feel so lucky to have them both in my life.

Grace on Broadway: The Power of Hamilton: As a nerd in general, and an especially huge nerd about all history and music, Hamilton is one of my favorite things to come out of the last year. The music and lyricism are both absolutely incredible, and it's so interesting to see how much more connected we've all become to the American story through this musical. This article does a beautiful job of explaining how much it brings people together, in so many ways.

Kristen Bell On Camera Part One, Part Two, and Part Three: Kristen Bell has been a personal favorite of mine for awhile, and it seems as time goes on, she just gets better and better. Her relationship with Dax Shepard is one of the only things helping me believe that love is a real thing, and these interviews are absolutely stunning. She talks about changing your view on the world, on feeling all the feels all the time, and how important conversations around mental health and medication are. I feel like so much of what she has to say are things I've been trying to say, and I'm so grateful for her usage of her popularity to talk about real things that so many of us are trying to figure out, one day at a time.

 

May your weeks be full of grace and love and some damn good pop music dance parties. No shame.

 

xoxo
H

Favorite Things, Vol. IX

Today's the day! I've been on earth officially for 25 years (WEIRD), and couldn't be more grateful for all the things and people and food and adventures that have come my way throughout them all. 25, let's GOOOOOOOOOO.

On Sunday, I went and picked out some birthday flowers for myself at Fleur, my favorite ultra-cute and perfect neighborhood flower shop and boutique - if you're in Chicago and haven't been, GET OVER THERE NOW.

 

TO READ

Why Finland's Mail Carriers Are Mowing People's Lawns: I love mail! Let's save the mail system but also I love all the creativity the Finns are putting into these ideas. 

My Book Was A Bad Idea: A beautifully written piece about how that constant pressure of comparison - of doing things because you "should" or because that's what peers are doing - doesn't always go the way you hoped, or even well at all. YOU DO YOU.

 

TO LISTEN

Men Struggle To Read Tweets To Female Sports Reporters: While I have only received a few offensive comments online, this is something that always strikes a nerve in me. It's so easy to leave a comment from behind a screen, without seeing the reaction of the person you are writing to, and this one shows what that can look like in a very honest way.

Ingrid Michaelson "Hell No": Ingrid Michaelson was such a big part of my college years, and I have such fond memories associated with her songs or seeing her perform. This new song is very catchy, and WILL get stuck in your head very quickly, and her use of Snapchat filters has sent me into a fit of giggles more times than I can count.

Lake Street Dive "Side Pony": I don't know how much I listened to Lake Street Dive in the past, but once I watched their Tiny Desk concert, I was hooked, and their new album has been on repeat for awhile now. It's dancey and soulful and great, and I highly highly recommend it. 

 

TO INSPIRE

What Romance Really Means After 10 Years Of Marriage: As a very, very single human, I have very little romantical advice to dish out, let alone anything about marriage, but this piece seems to hit it all on the head. Romance isn't big sweeping gestures, but as Sherman Alexie puts it, "He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing."

Inaugural Poem: After listening to Elizabeth Alexander's On Being interview again recently, I was reminded of her beautiful words from the poem she read at Obama's first inauguration. What IF love was the mightiest word?

How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe): Adam J. Kurtz is one of my favorites, and this article is no exception. I love that there is a maybe in the title - so much of my experience of fear has been that there is no guaranteed solution, even if it is seemingly the same fear someone else has. You've got to find what works best from you, and then go from there. Fear is dumb, and it is also REAL, so don't think you've got to be fooled into faking your way through, pretending you have no fears. We've all got em.

 

May your weeks be full of some beautiful flowers, lots of good dance parties, and a hell of a lot of love. It's the best thing we've got, and we can never give or have too much.  

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. VIII

A whirlwind of a week + a weekend at the lake = a better start to this week, even if my body decided on Sunday night that my attempt to go to sleep early was a JOKE and I really needed to lay awake in my bed until 2am. COOL. 

 

TO READ

The Arctic Suicides: It's Not The Dark That Kills You: I spent two summers while in college in a village in rural Alaska, and while it is an absolutely stunning place in so many ways, there are many dark aspects as well. Suicide was something that had touched nearly every life I knew, whether in their own family or someone in their community, and this article speaks to so much of the why behind such a heartbreaking thing. If you are in a dark place and feel alone, please stay. You are so important. If you feel as though there isn't anyone around you who you can talk with, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

An Inclination Toward Warmhearted Inclusivity: Individuals who may be seen as "different" or "other" have been an incredibly important role in my life, and I would be an entirely different person without their presence in my life. Sometimes we tend to see people with disabilities as inspirations, as they live their lives, but especially after watching this TED talk, I don't want to always immediately make them inspirations. They are humans living their life, but living their lives with any sort of disability isn't what makes them an inspiration. They are more than their disability, and we ought to not make that their only defining feature. I loved this piece from On Being, taking a look at how one individual with autism shares his experience, and what they have to show us in all sorts of situations.

Adulthood In The US Has Nothing To Do With Age Anymore: As a semi-recent college grad, I feel SO MANY of the things in this article. With talk of "adulting" alllll over the place, it can seem very hard to say you are an adult in this day and age when you've got mountains of student loan debt and finding a job is a full-time job and trying to find moderately priced apartments to RENT, without even remotely thinking of buying a place. But as the author of this article points out so beautifully, being an adult is "appreciating the bifurcation between the rational and the emotional, and knowing when and how to use each. It's an ability to love and be loved. It's empathy. It's kindness. It's tolerance. It's a grasp of one's faults and limitations combined with a concomitant desire to transcend them. It's self-acceptance. It's self love." Not that any of those are easier to find or accomplish than more traditional "adult" responsibilities, but it is nice to be reminded of more options. 

The Evolutionary Origins Of Laughter Are Rooted More In Survival Than In Enjoyment: Laughter is such a weird and wonderful thing, and I think history and data and research are super cool. I am a nerd, and this article is fascinating!

The History Of The Universe Is Written On The Ocean Floor: You thought that laughter piece was nerdy?? Try this one! Space, ocean, supernovas, sediment, climate change - watch out. 

 

TO LISTEN

In Residence: The Staves (Episode 3): The Staves are back with their podcast of talking about and playing some of their favorite music, and this episode focuses on heartbreak. Maybe I got a little teary from cutting onions for a frittata while listening, maybe it was the music, maybe it was both?

Listened to a lot of Hamilton while driving to the lake. No apologies. Also no surprise. Also I was outside a lot this weekend, and didn't listen to much besides nature. Go do that!! 

 

TO INSPIRE

Part 8: My friend Haylie is a part of this dance company (Backbone Dance Co.), and every time she posts their work, I watch slack-jawed in absolute awe. This time, I STOPPED eating my Toaster Strudel to watch. No regrets. They will blow you away.

6 Things You Should Say To Your Soulmate Every Single Day: Another from the indomitable Nora McInerny Purmort, here are some suggested things you can say to your soulmate/favorite humans/cat every day. Love is the best thing we've got. Cling to it while you've got it, whether it comes in the form of a partner or a best friend or a friendly neighbor or a kind stranger or a laughing baby. (And if you haven't preordered her book, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? Do it! Now! Here!)

When Breath Becomes Air: The Perfect Book At The Perfect Time: I've heard so much about this book, and after reading Courtney Martin's blog post about it, it's moved to the top of my Amazon book list. As she so beautifully writes, "No, we don’t write our own stories. No, we don’t have ultimate control. But we do have agency to make our time count. And it follows that we can’t make our time count if we are sitting around, paralyzed by the fear of losing those we love. There is meaning in contemplating the fragility of life, but you can’t dwell here too long or you lose track of the opportunity to make meaning in the midst of all the fragility." 

 

May your weeks be full of stories and music, goggling at how cool the universe is, and telling the people in your life those really really important things. 

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. VII

Although I'm only starting two hours earlier than my post from last week, I actually did remember that today was Blogging Day. But when life throws you an emotional start to the week and a good old anxiety spiral, you listen to yourself and eat two bowls of Captain Crunch and go to bed early instead of prepping this post. Feeling myself over here.

This line is taken from Elizabeth Gilbert's fabulous piece I've linked below - please read it, and see one of the many reasons why I'd like her to be my fairy godmother ASAP. 

TO READ

The Kind Gesture That Helps Elizabeth Gilbert Find The Light On Her Worst Days: Darkness and light have been incredibly important in this season of my life - the constant change between the two, the relationship we have with each, the ideas we have surrounding them - and this short piece emphasizes what a power it is to be able to control what we give out. Some days, we cannot give out any light to ourselves, let alone to others, and that is okay. Those are the days you hope for the light from others to spill over into your life, and you do what you can while you are in the dark. I think too often we focus on getting out of the dark and into the light, which is obviously preferable. But I have come to realize that sometimes there are things you can only learn in the dark. It doesn't mean it's fun or awesome or makes it okay. Being in the dark is super shitty. But don't beat yourself up too much when you're there. And if you're not, make sure you are giving out some extra light to those who might not have much light to share. We're in this TOGETHER. Let's act like it.

Amy Schumer Rejects The Plus-Size Label: I think Amy Schumer is one of the funniest and most honest voices in comedy right now. She calls it like it is, and when I saw her post on Instagram last week, I SO appreciated it. Glamour put her name on the cover of a special edition plus-size magazine, and she talked about her belief that plus-size is beautiful, but to say that she is plus-size, as someone who fluctuates between a size 6 and 8, is hurtful. AMEN AMY. I personally have been between an 8 and a 10 for the last few years, and am finally feeling positively about my body. Bodies are bodies, and all bodies are beautiful.

When Cupid Is A Prying Journalist: Happiness happiness happiness on how the world works. It's a little romantic and dreamy, and I'm fine saying that makes my heart full. 

In A Perpetual Present: I think living in the present is something we'd all like to do more, but the subject of this article has no choice but to do so. A fascinating read on memory, life, and how all any of us can do is to make the best of what we've got.

 

TO LISTEN

"Carrie and Lowell" by Sufjan Stevens: Not new, but oh so good. The first track (Death With Dignity) popped up on my friend's Discover Weekly, and made me have some really fond flashbacks to last year and hearing this album when it came out. 

On Being: I've said it before, and I'll say it again - this is one of my very favorite podcasts. I listened to a considerable amount this weekend while finishing up some projects, and wanted to share a collection of my favorite episodes here. Enjoy! 

 

TO INSPIRE

Being Dishonest About Ugliness: Continuing the dialogue on body image, this piece brings up something I've thought about a few times over the years. In so many fairy tales and "life lesson" stories, a character starts out as something ugly/weird/unusual (example: an ugly duckling) and by the end are beautiful/perfect/stunning (the ugly duckling turning into a swan), but what happens when we don't get a beautiful end? There is SO MUCH MORE to life than appearance (thank goodness) and this article brings up some really wonderful points.

World's First Pastafarian Wedding Takes Place In New Zealand: Regardless of where you are on religions these days, anything that celebrates pasta and love equally is my favorite. Also, I love that this was considered newsworthy.

The Leslie Knope Compliment You Deserve: As a longtime fan of Parks and Recreation, this is perfect. Pick an Ann Perkins face, and you get a Leslie Knope compliment. Nothing better. 

 

May your week be full of kindness and light from strangers and friends alike, honest conversations, and all sorts of pasta. You are all perfect sunflowers.

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. VI

Well, as it is 10:26 pm (CST) when I'm beginning this blog post, CLEARLY I'm very good at remembering what day of the week I decided to regularly blog. So far this week has made my brain a little bit crazy, but I WILL SURVIVE I WILL SURVIVE HEY HEY.

My lil custom piece ("accelerate through the chaos") made it into a GORGEOUS wall collection by the fabulous Josselyn, who is the winner of the friend-of-a-friend-whom-I-have-not-met-in-real-life-yet-but-when-we-do-it-will-be-pure-magic award. You know?

TO READ

Lin-Manuel Miranda: By The Book: As a frequent reader and lover of books/literature/words, I want everyone I am inspired by/everyone I am friends with/everyone in general to also fill out this questionnaire. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the genius behind In The Heights and Hamilton, and it's so cool to see his love for music and theater blending with his love for reading. BOOKS FOREVER.

Creative Angst: A Guide To Getting Over Creative Block, Imposter Syndrome, And Fear Of The Blank Page: WOOF. As someone who is feeling creatively blocked more than not most days, and generally has a constant case of imposter syndrome, this article was a breath of fresh air. I mean, I haven't been cured by any means (if anyone has a fast cure, please help a girl out), but it's always nice to know that I'm not alone in all these feels, especially as a creative. 

What Does Your Favorite Music Say About You?: I love words and music and data, and this quiz put some interesting ideas together. The study focused on categorizing listeners as sympathizers, empathizers, or balanced, depending on their musical tastes, and after taking the version CNN offers, I think my mellow/quiet/acoustic singer-songwriter tendencies are winning out towards the empathizer or balanced options. Welp.

What I Learned About Clapping Back From Beyoncé: Who isn't inspired by Beyoncé and all she does? Through the shit that life can throw our way, it can be really easy to just get mad or offer a snappy retort or be passive aggressive about one thing or another. This article argues for quiet being its own kind of strong, which I strongly identify with. In the words of the badass author, "Why yell at or tweet back, when hard work and art can do the talking?"

 

TO LISTEN

Cleopatra, The Lumineers: The first album from The Lumineers has a lot of happy, warm-hearted memories for me, and while I only started listening to their second album today, I'm getting a lot of the same feelings so far. 

Sermon On The Rocks, Josh Ritter: While this isn't new at all, it's one I've come back to a lot lately. I got to see him when he came to Chicago recently, and he was THE happiest performer I've seen in awhile. Any secrets you'd like to share, Josh? 

Please Like Me: Okay, TECHNICALLY this is a listen-and-watch type of thing, but I didn't make a proper category for television/film, so I'm making it work. Please Like Me is a GENIUS TV show from Australia my roommate found on Hulu, and I cannot say how good it is. It is a dramedy in the best sort of way - I've cried harder than I thought television could make me, I've laughed harder than socially appropriate at times, and now I'm ready to move to Australia and befriend Josh Thomas, star and creator of the show. The show covers so many important life things that ARE really hard and serious, but will then immediately make you laugh. I've found that's how life can be - so hard one second, and so light another. TV shows can often seem like an escape, which we all need at times, but sometimes we also need some advice on how to live our weird and wonderful lives, and this one does a bang-up job of all of that.

 

TO INSPIRE

Lip Sync Battle With Melissa McCarthy: This video is super-duper viral (currently 11 million views) and for some REALLY GOOD REASONS. Colors of the Wind is a go-to for my shower or solo driving adventure, and she freaking BLOWS IT OUT OF THE WATER. Watch this in its entirety, try not to cry from laughing, and if you don't feel this on a spiritual level, maybe make sure you haven't been taken over by a robot.

9-Year-Old Crime Reporter Isn't Interested In Your Opinions About Her Journalism: Any article that begins with the following sentences makes me ready to jump up and down and ask this 9-year-old if she can teach me all her life lessons: "A nine-year-old reporter in Pennsylvania was the first person to break the news of a murder on her beat. Naturally, some of the adults around her responded with hand-wringing and demands that she return to her tea parties and dolls; luckily for us, Hilde Kate Lysiak is too busy working to give a shit." GO GET IT HILDE.

Melissa McCarthy & Kristen Bell Answer The Web's Most Searched Questions: You bet your ass I've included Melissa McCarthy twice in this post. She can do no wrong, and when paired up with Kristen Bell, the magic only gets better. I burst out laughing far too many times, and wish I could hang out with them both on the regular. To give Kristen her fair share of love in this post, if you somehow missed her Africa video with her precious husband Dax Shepard, please watch that immediately.

Doris Day Turns 92, Shares Pooch Pic: There is nothing more I aspire to than this.

 

May your week be empty of overwhelming imposter syndrome, full of comedienne-induced laughs, and all the Beyoncé ever. You are amazing.

 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. V

I got to spend some time at home with family and friends, got to experience nearly every type of weather imaginable in Chicago over two days, and got a cold over the last week. AIN'T NO STOPPIN' ME NOW, FRIENDS.

I was honored to be asked to make some pieces to help promote Krista Tippett's new book, Becoming Wise. Her work on On Being has profoundly affected this season of my life - check out the link below to order her book!

TO READ

Becoming Wise: I can't even remember how I first came upon the On Being podcast, but am so grateful, however it happened. Krista Tippett, the host, has a new book out today, and I was asked to make some pieces to help promote it. While I've yet to read it, the blurbs I was given to work from are fantastic, and I can't wait to read the full thing! 

To Overcome The Fear Of Failure, Fear This Instead: Another from my friend Luke, this piece has some really wonderful things that I've been learning over the past few years. Failure is really terrifying, sometimes overwhelmingly so. But as Adam Grant points out, "ultimately, what we regret is not failure, but the failure to act." 

The Thing Is: I was introduced to this poem by Ellen Bass via On Being, and holy shit is it something else. Through the tumultuous and overwhelmingly hard parts of the last few years in my own life and in the lives of people I love, these words sum it up in the most truthful and hopeful way.

On A Serpentine Road, With The Top Down: I cried my way through this piece about the author's process of letting go of her deceased husband's car, with all the memories that stuff often holds for us, whether we realize it or not.  

The Family Footsteps We Follow: My family means the world and the universe and THE WHOLE GALAXY to me, and I am the luckiest to have their love and support throughout everything. This article talks a little more about the inevitable comparison that can happen with families, but I think the author sums up so many family dynamics with these two sentences - "Surrounded by so much loyalty. Cushioned by such love." 

 

TO LISTEN

To Love Someone by Ben Abraham: Ben Abraham is a new voice for me, and one I've loved getting to listen to lately. This is a quieter take from a song on his new album Sirens, and I'm not saying it WILL make you weepy on public transit if you're already feeling a little lonely, but I'm also not saying it won't.

Overcoats: I believe I heard of these two via Bob Boilen, host of the fabulous Tiny Desk concerts after he posted about their SXSW performance on his Instagram. He described them as "Sylvan Esso and Lucius", two of my favorites, so I was already hooked. Now I've just been listening incessantly to the few songs they have put out, and anxiously awaiting more. Join me! 

 

TO INSPIRE

Buddy Bench A Big Hit At Saskatoon's Willowgrove School: I move that schools and communities and governments and workplaces and restaurants all implement this buddy bench idea. Once again, children showing us the important things in life. 

My Year Of Saying Yes To Everything: Shonda Rhimes is a badass in so many areas, and her TED talk is no exception. She wears an astounding amount of hats, but as she reminds us through her words here, she does not want to orient her life around being known as a titan. "The hum is not power and the hum is not work-specific. The hum is joy-specific. The real hum is love-specific. The hum is the electricity that comes from being excited by life. The real hum is confidence and peace. The real hum ignores the stare of history, and the balls in the air, and the expectation, and the pressure. The real hum is singular and original. The real hum is God's whisper in my ear, but maybe God was whispering the wrong words, because which one of the gods was telling me I was the titan?" More joy, more love, more finding our own hums.

Preschool Pocket Treasures: A series on literally what it sounds like - what a mother finds in her preschooler's pockets when he comes home from school. While they are arranged by the mother, the whimsical and imaginative nature of kids shines through in these beautiful photographs, and makes my pockets look real boring. Note to self: carry more than just Burt's Bees.

Toddlerography: It should be blatantly clear by now that I think kids rule. This piece from James Corden's Late Late Show made that stance even clearer, and also made me wonder if this is the form of exercise I've been looking for and just haven't found yet. Time to google "toddlerography Chicago."  

 

May your week to come be full of all sorts of weather but hopefully a good amount of sunshine, lots of good words, and hopefully some good dance parties, with or without toddlers. 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. IV

After a crazy week with plenty of hours at my day job of nannying, the list of things to inspire you is a little longer than my other sections this week, but after 50+ hours with a 2 year old and an infant, who DOESN'T need a little inspiration? Throw in the American presidential race and anytime you turn on the news, and I think we can all see the need for a finding some happy things to fill these days.

Beth Draws Things is one of my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram - she is honest and hilarious and just wonderful. Check her out!

 

TO READ

I Told The Truth In My Sister's Obituary, So That Others Might Choose To Live: This heartbreakingly honest piece, told by a woman who chose to list her sister's cause of death as depression and suicide, brings about an important conversation. So often depression isn't listed or even talked about after it affects someone so deeply, but she believes (and I think is so important) that by talking about it, we can't keep it in the dark. Things like depression and anxiety and mental health only grow the more we don't talk about them, and while it's encouraging to see a shift in how we talk about mental health, we still have a ways to go. As she says, "Here is the truth: You have value. You have worth. You are loved. Trust the voices of those who love you. Trust the enormous chorus of voices that say only one thing: You matter. Depression lies. We must tell the truth." 

Fear Is Boring, And Other Tips For Living A Creative Life: Elizabeth Gilbert, will you please be my spirit guide/guru/voice of my conscience? Everything she is and does and shares is incredible, and this article from TED is nothing short of brilliant. Her book Big Magic was one of my favorites from last year/all time, and I would like everyone to read it. Mega props to my friend Luke for sending it in his weekly email, which I always love, and which greatly inspired this blog series.

When Friends Are "Like Family": I am a big fan of friends who have become family, in addition to my actual family, and this author brings up some really interesting points about what she's found that to mean, through research and conversation and personal experience. 

 

TO LISTEN

The Staves: Spotify In Residence: The Staves are one of my most favorite bands - their harmonies and musicality are consistently ridiculous, in the best sort of way, and I always think it's so interesting to hear what your favorite bands are inspired by. Thankfully, so does Spotify, and you can check out their first playlist/podcast/develop-a-friend-crush-on-them-all above, as well as the second episode here.

Typhoon (Lawrence High School Classroom Sessions): Another one of my favorite bands, Typhoon, in one of my favorite mediums (live and acoustic), doing one of my favorite things, aside from playing music (talking about their music and process). I've seen them live a few times, the last in a very acoustic manner at DePaul University this winter, and they never disappoint. This is one of my favorite series, from a well-connected Kansas high school teacher - check out some of the other artists and groups he's brought! 

 

TO INSPIRE

JK Rowling Posts Publisher's Rejection Letters: EVEN JK ROWLING GETS REJECTED. Granted, these letters were about her book The Cuckoo's Calling, which she first wrote under a pen name, but it is still her writing. The same author as the wonderful and treasured Harry Potter series, which are some of the best selling books worldwide. It's so easy to think that rejection is something that only happens to non-famous people, or that rejection is a bad thing, but it literally happens to everyone. 

Pope Francis Washes The Feet Of Muslim Refugees: Regardless of your faith background or where you might find yourself in the spectrum of faith, it is pretty awesome to see what Pope Francis has done since he became Pope. Coming from a Christian background and now pretty unsure of where I'd classify myself faith-wise, I've always thought that loving all humans, regardless of their background, was kind of the basis of Christianity. Love and kindness and respect for all are some of my most core values, and it's really cool to see those things popping up in the life of a international faith leader. YOU GO POPE.

Inside The Studio Of The "Micro-Engraver" Who Works Between Heartbeats To Keep His Hand Steady: Yes, you read that correctly. He SLOWS HIS HEARTBEATS DOWN in order to make the kind of work he needs to make. I haven't tried this (and likely won't), but helloooo dedication to your craft. 

Heavy Petting: Whatever you thought, THINK AGAIN, because this is the most delightful thing you'll see all week. Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, one of my favorite things on the internet, started a video series entitled "Heavy Petting" in order to spotlight dogs in need of adoption. But it's not just videos of dogs. As incredible as those always are, they are dubbed with voices of actors and actresses, many from Parks and Recreation, which makes them 394723948 times more wonderful. 

Chicago's Pizza Squirrel Is Much Cuter Than New York's Pizza Rat: Let's just first acknowledge that squirrels are ALWAYS cuter than rats, but I'd also like to say that I saw a pizza squirrel in Chicago like four years ago. Perhaps they are a rapidly breeding species? I'm fine with it.

 

May you have a week full of remembering great music, remembering to eat pizza, and remembering how important you and your life are. 

xoxo

H

Favorite Things, Vol. III

Spring is trying SO HARD to get here in Chicago, and succeeding every now and then. Really, this just means that construction is happening on all major streets and you might see more ankles out and about. HOT AND DANGEROUS AROUND HERE Y'ALL.

Working on some sketches for a customer - head on over to my Instagram to see some more of my work on a regular basis!

TO READ

We Can Never Beat Terrorism Until We Care About All Of Its Victims Equally: Terrorism is a tragedy, in all circumstances. It's senseless and heartbreaking, and has become such a tragically regular part of the news. This article points out something that I have thought about often - we were all Paris, today we are all Belgium, but what about Turkey? Or the Ivory Coast? These words are a gentle reminder that of course things seem more tragic when they are closer to us, but that we cannot let our proximity to terrorism keep us from what they refer to as potentially the most effective, yet intangible weapons: empathy and resilience. In their words, "if we can’t care about every dead, we can make an effort to know, to name, and to honor our sisters and brothers in arms—the mothers and fathers and children and friends who are killed, daily, by an evil that knows no compassion. Sometimes it feels like it’s just too many to keep a count—but we have the moral duty to at least try. Because they could be us—they are us."

The Problem With A Technology Revolution Designed Primarily For Men: I am a feminist, unquestionably. I believe being a feminist boils down to seeking out equality, and Soraya Chemaly continues to bust out the hits in how our society still has a ways to go in terms of getting close to that. Technology has done some wonderful things for feminism, and some not so wonderful things (ahem, female video game characters), but the lack of resources pertaining to sexual assault or women's health described in this article made me pretty bummed out. It's 2016. Let's keep moving forward, please.

Sarah Kay (Brain Pickings): Sarah Kay is one of my favorites, Brain Pickings is one of my favorites, and the mashup of the two is incredible. From what it means to be an artist to FOMO, from measuring creative success to the connections art can bring, this interview blew me out of the water with how much it resonated with me. I wanted to write down every quote, and as a bonus, Sarah Kay reads a few pieces - go check it out! 

 

TO LISTEN

The West Wing Podcast: Like all good nerds, I was over the moon excited about Joshua Malina's news that he hadn't just been teasing us with the idea of an episode-by-episode podcast of TV's greatest presidency. They're bringing on co-stars and talking through each episode and I CANNOT WAIT. #bartlet2016

The Cast Of Hamilton Performs At The White House: I don't think I've gone more than a few weeks without going through the Hamilton soundtrack for months now, and am absolutely blown away every time I see anything they perform live. President Obama's welcoming speech made me weep with all the hope that sticks onto any and all of the perfect words that come out of his mouth, I automatically love anyone who supports public education and recognizes how badass and amazing teachers are, I'm looking for a way to just become Michelle Obama, and just WOW is this cast talented. Check it out now. For real, NOW.

Spotify Discover Weekly: The Discover Weekly feature is one of my favorites on Spotify, and while mine have been a little spotty lately, this week's is GOOD. Take a listen if you'd like to hear what my favorite music these days is sounding like! Other than this, it's still been Hamilton and Lucius forever.

 

TO INSPIRE

Piglet Can't Help But Dance to Rihanna's "Work": Cute animals dancing to pop music for president! And prime minister! AND RULERS OF THE UNIVERSE. There's nothing better. I've lost track of how many times I've watched this.

Side by Side (Urban Paradise 2016): I was just given a pin by my best friend that reads "I dance badly." While I wouldn't say I'm a bad dancer, it is 100% not my strongest suit. Dance has always been something that stops me in my tracks, and when a friend who is a ridiculously talented dancer shared this one, I couldn't handle it. Their first piece made me weep, and I watched in slack-jawed awe through the rest - make sure you can watch this with your full attention.

Ruby's Rainbow: For any of you who may not know me personally, Down syndrome has been a part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember, and holds an incredibly special place in my heart. My younger brother Jason and my wonderfully crazy nanny charge Leo both happen to have Down syndrome, and have changed my life in the best of ways. Down syndrome is also called trisomy 21, which means individuals with Down syndrome have three copies of the 21st chromosome, and as yesterday was March 21 (3/21), it was World Down Syndrome Day. One of my favorite organizations is Ruby's Rainbow, which is an organization dedicated to providing scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are looking for post-secondary options, whether educationally, vocationally, or elsewhere. Take a look through their information, take a look at your budget, and maybe think of giving up a few coffees this month to help make more opportunities happen for some very deserving people.

 

To more spring weather, more empathy, and more cute animal videos, now and forever! 

xoxo
H