Weekend Links: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
– Winston Churchill

Gillette released an ad about target masculinity and every single Mens Rights Activist on the internet lost their god damned mines over it. “Hamberders” happened. Theresa May squeaked by a vote of No Confidence in her government but Brexit is still no less shambolic. American elected leaders are in a game of oneupmanship in cancelling one another’s public duties. Approximately one million Democrats are running in 2020. New news about the investigation into the President caused him to frantically tweet that new caravans of asylum seekers are coming to impose shariah law or something…

It’s telling that we are three weeks into the new year and there is already THIS MUCH to recap. I actually forgot that the news about the FBI opening an investigation into a sitting president is less than seven days old…

But never fear, kittens! I have lovingly curated enough good and interesting things from around the internet today to help you in processing the fact that the world is on fire.

I want to live in Jeremy Irons’ house..

Were we living in normal times, this would be administration-ending in its own right. Not the outcomes, whatever they were or may yet be, but just that the FBI felt the need to even look into this.

Less than 24 hours later, this reporting also dropped. Even if the sheer amount of inappropriate contact with known-hostile actors and resources could be explained by dumb coincidence and bad luck (which is one hell of a reach at this point, but let’s allow it), at this point the amount of piss poor judgement shown should invoke some kind of major censure from Congress and others with co-equal authority under Constitutional law.

Why can’t we just say he’s not a good manager? Incidentally, this whole presidency is a great case study for those who claim they want people to run the government like a business. I have never understood this, they are in no way analogous. A business exists to make profit, a government exists to administer services, enforce laws, manage public spaces, fund agreed projects and programs that serve the good of the populace, and maintain infrastructure. These are not the same thing as maximizing profit!

K, so I’m switching careers to become a cheeseplate influencer. Thank you for coming to this important announcement.

Media bias is real, but it seldom cuts along the lines that the people complaining about it most loudly claim it is.

I really liked this short Vlogbrothers video on different types of burnout, which follows the viral Buzzfeed article on the same topic I shared last week.

I now long for a sight of Benny!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, rebranded as AOC, has been making waves in the media–mostly thanks to how much attention is being flung at her by white, male, conservative media. It’s included a horrific attempt to pass off nude photos as hers, patronizing language, and attacking her comments while ignoring whole swaths of the rest of the cohort of freshman congressmen and women. Why the vitriol? This writer argues it’s more than run-of-the-mill misogyny (of which there is plenty), it’s deeper than that. (In related writing, this Op Ed about how women are changing the face of power, not least of all by refusing to play into the historical white, male narratives of what power looks like and how it should be practiced.)

This is important investigative reporting on who can access what data about you and how.

What a great piece on whether we may have had that whole slather-on-suncreen-100%-of-the-time thing wrong

In the interest of even-handedness, Lawfare lays out a compelling case that the FBI has overstepped in troubling ways far too many times in recent years and why that’s a bad thing.

DAMN, girl!

I am delighted to report that, much like unto Logan Paul, I had no idea who this internet person was until this story happened.

This piece from The New Yorker on the interpretations of heaven and hell is an excellent read.

Making space for discomfort.

I’ve learned the value of being read to (audiobooks) as an adult.

Late on Thursday, this piece of news dropped. A bit more granular detail which is also pretty damning. The word “bombshell” is genuinely overused these days, but this qualifies. There needs to be rigorous and impeccable investigation on this point because it does cross into potential impeachment proceedings territory if true.

ETA: The special counsel issued an extremely rare statement in response to this reporting and the news media is still dissecting it.

Of course he didn’t!

Ramblings: The Upside

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” 
― Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary

Trump and Brexit. Between them it has been one hell of a week…and I’m typing this on a TUESDAY.

But from the various breaking news alerts to the sense of being caught between not just one but two non-functioning governments, I put on my best political Carrie Bradshaw and couldn’t help but wonder…

What is the upside to all of…this? Because in spite of the sheer-head-shakery of it all, I think there is a potential long game win for us here.

The thing about the election of Trump, Brexit, the waves of other disruptive political movements across the West in the last few years is that they are leaving many people with the sense that the old rules have been not just set aside, but torn up and tossed to the winds. There is a lot about that which is (rightfully) scary. But there’s also this:

The old rules include patriarchy and systemic sexism. The old rules include systemic racism coupled with classism. The old rules included systemic privilege for some and systematic exclusion for others. The old rules required certain systems to function, operating in symbiosis.

The groups of the historically powerful (mostly political leaders, mostly white, usually rich, and typically male) who have glommed on to these leaders and movements, which are trying to shake up the status quo, strike me as fundamentally shortsighted. Every Brexiteer and Never Trumper who eventually became converted has made a bet that the fundamental changes they are driving (or allowing to happen) somehow won’t affect him–that the cost of the disruption in our institutions and status quo will be born by someone else. So what if he challenges the norms of the presidency, at least the libs are owned, right?

This is faulty logic to me on the macro scale. If you help to unmake the system and rules that protects and privileges you, what exactly is your plan for when your protections erode? When your foes play by new rules? When your old friends no longer stand by you? When your access to wealth and privileged is diminished? I think a lot of the traditionally powerful are in for a surprise, and I’m not exactly angry at the prospect.

If one good thing comes out of this political era, it may be the unmaking of bad systems. I don’t pretend that the work of building better ones won’t be hard or unpleasant, but I’m also not going to pretend I mourn the loss of many of those Old Rules. I wish we could arrive at better and more just New Rules through a less destructive, less morally bankrupt, and more noble process than what we often have before us… but I think we must take what we can get. To waste the sheer human cost of the damage that is being done by not at least trying to make something better seems criminal.

Weekend Links

“But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Happy Friday, ducklings! I’m dropping the Links a bit early because it is a particularly scrumptious load of internet-y goodness and I refuse to let a(nother) shocking week of political news get in the way of some things worth reading.

If 2018 was anything to go by, something genuinely newsworthy will drop the moment after I schedule this thing to go live… The shutdown is still on, the Trump Show is still trumping, Brexit is still a flaming mess of malice…truthfully I needed a break from most of it.

Here’s your batch of reading, let me know what you are getting up to this weekend in the comments. I’m going to try and get some writing down, the house cleaned, and a just-because-it’s-fun-and-I-can creative project idea going. It’s been a while since I’ve had the bandwidth to sketch up a project like this so I’m enjoying the process.

This thread of museums and cultural heritage institutions sharing their “best ducks” missed the last weekly links post by sheer bad timing but was simply way too good not to post. My weird little nerdy heart could barely take the gleeWhoever runs this account is my new true love. (Here’s an easier to digest rundown if you don’t have time to scroll…but you’d REALLY be doing yourself a disservice.)

Well…I just…drat

Something interesting happened where the creative world intersects with the business world recently.

This story is horrendous, full stop. But it is horribly telling that the term “rape” is conspicuously absent from this article.

Here’s a great round up of TED talks to start your year with some inspiration.

This longform piece from Buzzfeed hit me hard and has stuck with me. Why burnout and anxiety are the millennial condition, and how we got here.  You may start off rolling your eyes or yawning, but I hope plenty of people read this through to the end. It describes almost everyone in my general age range that I can name. “To describe millennial burnout accurately is to acknowledge the multiplicity of our lived reality — that we’re not just high school graduates, or parents, or knowledge workers, but all of the above — while recognizing our status quo. We’re deeply in debt, working more hours and more jobs for less pay and less security, struggling to achieve the same standards of living as our parents, operating in psychological and physical precariousness, all while being told that if we just work harder, meritocracy will prevail, and we’ll begin thriving. The carrot dangling in front of us is the dream that the to-do list will end, or at least become far more manageable.” (The follow up piece is worth reading too.)

In related news

Of course I’m not going to bypass the opportunity to share yet another piece on eschewing fast fashion.

I can’t tell if this is cute or possibly a new for the species. By which I mean humans.

The internet has always been a strange place and we’ve always struggled with how to navigate it. We’re now dealing with the aspect of how much of it is fake.

This is dedication to a goal!

What an important study project this must have been, into those who joined ISIS from the US and why.

Why I decided not to pursue freelance writing full time and as my only source of income: the increasingly grim reality. I suspect this will always be my What Might Have Been personal topic–if I had had a different life or circumstances I might have made different choices–but I found that even as a young woman who was able to land pitches, I didn’t make nearly enough until I branched into other kinds of work as well. I want this to be different, and creative and thoughtful writing to be valued more by society (I sure as hell pay for it), but for so many people it’s not a feasible career. We are missing critical voices and perspectives on every conceivable topic as a society because of it.

Seems legit…/s

Like many, I found the closing quote of this piece extremely telling, “I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.” In other words, this person voted for a man not on the basis of the bridges he could build or the problems he could solve, but because of the people he said or implied he would harm. President as weapon, not as servant; attack dog rather than home defender. Vox breaks this down more eloquently than I.

Women making change happen.

GUYS. Our girl Hannah Capin’s debut novel made Goodreads Best Young Adult Books of January list!

The White House announced that the President would give an address from the Oval Office regarding the “crisis” of the border (reminder, almost everything that can be termed a crisis–including moral ones–at the border has been a crisis of the President’s own policy and making). All major networks were asked to carry the message, and after some perfunctory handwringing (which is not the same thing as a vigorous debate of how to best coverage a president with record breaking false claims, especially given the precedent of not granting other presidents the same kind of airtime), they agreed. Some thought this was a good idea. Others did not. The speech happened, it moved the national mood not a whit and here we are (presumably) still fighting about it.

Meanwhile – because we live in a reality TV show now – Mr. Manafort’s lawyers either on-purpose-sneakily or stupidly filed some paperwork. Oops. Is this incompetence or a leak, do we think? Because we learned that Mr. Manafort shared some information with people associated with Russian intelligence. And wh

Longtime readers know that my love of collective nouns runs deep, so I was delighted to learn that collective nouns themselves have a collective noun.

And incredibly important and valid point in this piece.

Female scribes!

Who wants this?! Who asked for it?! Bring me their names!

Great, now we’ve got aliens to deal with

Well, they are late because this is happening.

Empties!

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

My love for this kind of hashtag content continues unabated, so once again here’s a rundown of all the beauty products I used up in the last six months. If I were more consistent (or, frankly, didn’t have so many products which makes finishing anything a challenge) I’d do these kinds of posts more often because I enjoy tallying up what I use and why. So, if you’re nosy and like beauty and grooming, come on and judge the sheer amount of stuff I’ve managed to slather on myself in the past half year.

I’ve significantly reduced the size of my overall stash over the past year. My little sister has benefited from more than one major clear out of makeup and jokes that she hasn’t had to ever buy makeup thanks to me–she got another haul over Christmas. But I still have way more stuff than one woman needs! This year, as part of my ongoing accountability, I’m committed to six months without spending money in the “beauty” category that is not a strict replacement of something I’ve used up.

Slowly but surely I’ve built a pretty good skincare regimen and, as I’ve learned more and more about ingredients and formulas, I’ve been able to find cheaper products that produce the same effects as pricier items.

Skincare first! Korean sunscreen continues to take the cake, both in terms of good pricepoints and elegance of formula that don’t leave a white cast and help moisturize skin. My favorite by a long shot is Thank You Farmer, which I continue to replace regularly.

Let’s talk cleansing! Micellar waters tend to have cult followings but I find most are much of a muchness and that you can get by with whatever happens to be on sale at Boots. At least someone in my mentions will yell at me for this supremely plebeian take, I’m sure. When it comes to cleansers, the No 7 line at Boots has been a revelation and I can heartily recommend this gel cleanser that acts like a balm–rub it onto dry skin and let it break down SPF and mascara for you, before you add water and wash away as a milky texture. You’ll notice the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm Cleanser in there as well, which I love but is more than twice the price. It’s also a gorgeous product, but I’m sticking with drugstore versions for the time being since I’ve found such a great option.

Over here in moisture…I liked the Pestle & Mortar eye cream, but have also replaced it with a drugstore line option (Botanics) which I can also recommend. Only one toner, the acid Solution by Glossier which helps with exfoliation but I only use rarely since I use acids in masks and other products pretty regularly. Only one tube of the Glossier Priming Moisturizer…because I left the other one in a hotel bathroom on a work trip. Oops. I really like this product, it’s an extremely good match for me, especially as I layer it with SPF and…

Serums and such! The Ordinary continues to provide brilliant products at ridiculously low price points and in spite of the drama with their founder and his poor decisions on social media, the products are still worth looking into. I’ve gone through a few of their different oils (which I wouldn’t necessarily repurchase), multiple bottles of their Hyaluronic Acid (which I clearly would), and their caffeine solution eye treatment (I’m on my second bottle). I can also recommend their Lactic Acid treatment as a decent alternative to the more expensive Good Genes by Sunday Riley–it’s not an exact match but does a similar job. Finally, I’ve added another Korean product here, the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner which is a beautiful, hydrating product. I think I’m on my second or third bottle thus far and I’m probably going to stick with it for a long time to come.

Shockingly, I actually used up makeup products. The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is easily the best foundation I’ve ever tried and I’m itching to replace it, but I’ve got to use up an existing foundation first. While not as good, it’s perfectly serviceable and deserves to be used up instead of neglected. I also finished up my Glossier concealer which I really liked, and the NARS eyeshadow primer which is a great product and one I replaced whilst in the States for Christmas.

Multiple mascaras (all drugstore because I cannot see the wisdom of spending designer prices on something you are supposed to use up in three months, but do yell at me about how I’m wrong in the comments), and multiple lip balms from Keihl’s, Glossier, and DHC.

And then, my ducklings, LIPSTICK. I finished two by BITE, my favorite brand, and a Pat McGrath dark, vampy color as well as NARS velvet lip pencil in Red Square which is a gorgeous orange red. I fully intend to repurchase the NARS in due course, once I’ve used up more of my existing lipstick collection.

Hair stuff. I’m sure I’m missing items because there is no way I only used two shampoos and one conditioner in six months, but I’ll be damned if I know where they wandered off to. The OGX line produces really nice products and I’ve repurchased from them regularly. TGel by Neutrogena is the only thing that has ever tamed the eczema on my scalp (sexy…).

I’m trying to get more into haircare this year since it’s never an area of grooming in which I’ve felt particularly proficient, therefore I was surprised to see two styling products in the bag: a leave in conditioner by Aussie which has been an old standby for years, and a travel sized Elnet. I never buy larger cans of hairspray since I use it so infrequently and don’t want to sacrifice precious shelf or drawer space to a bulky can that will take me years to use.

And finally, body products! I’m sure I’m missing out on all kinds of lovely products but this is almost purely a utilitarian category for me. I’ve written before that I share body cleanser with my husband because I don’t see the point in buying two versions of a single kind of product, and for some reason at some point years ago I started borrowing whatever deodorant he had lying around the house  and clearly haven’t revisited my life choices since. Er…perhaps I should do that at some point…

I absolutely loved the Lush Sleepy body lotion and have fully bought into it’s street cred as a soothing sleep aid. I’m not immediately repurchasing, but will certainly keep it in mind should I find my latent insomnia creeping back in. The real hero of this category is the supersized jug of Keihl’s justly famous Creme du Corps body lotion. Not only does this stuff help with my eczema but it lasts for absolute yonks. I picked up this tub when we were last in the States about over years years ago and it lasted about that long, while being used almost every day. It’s not a cheap product so I bided my time until another trip to the US and a generously donated coupon from family allowed me to replace it at the size I wanted for a large chunk off the price. I’m assuming that we won’t be back Stateside until 2020, at which point it will be time to pick up my next batch.

Weekend Links:

“Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.” 
― Sir Walter Scott

Hey there, kittens. I’m back and WOOF there was a lot of news whilst I was away. I shan’t attempt to recap it here, let’s just pick up fresh and lean into the fact that Lizzo has released a new song and there are tons of more women elected to representative office in the US. I can be happy all weekend off of that! It’s 2019 and there is much to do and celebrate.

Let’s kick off with one hell of a Girl Gang Good News Minute: Hannah’s book is coming out this year and you guys need to read it!

The third season of The Trump Show has premiered and right on target there is an old rival from a previous season (a certain senator-elect from the Beehive State), fresh new antagonists (in the form of dozens of new congresswomen and senators), and a disappointing and lackluster character has been written out (hand over the gavel, Ryan). I kid, I kid! I would never think of our government in terms of reality television!

A quick editorial note generally: we aren’t allowing ridiculous comments about a then-teenage woman having fun with a viral sensation or a grown woman’s “likability” distract us. Misogyny is very 2016, guys. We’re on to you and we’re not having it.

The plight of rural America and why a country that is so unevenly resourced with fair wage opportunities is a problem for everyone.

More end of year lists!

Ah yes, content that was meant for me, specifically, to consume.

This. Is. Spectacular.

The essay that made a lot of people (including me) cry recently.

I’d come expecting to meet fierce partisans, die-hard right-wingers, guys who were truly preparing to fight the real-life battle everyone in the media seems so sure is coming and that a few lunatics are clearly trying to spark. Instead, everyone seemed kind of horrified by the idea.”

THIS is a headline.

Never mind the US government, who the hell is running its Twitter feeds?!

Speaking of, Politico makes the case that our Tweeter-in-Chief is actually getting worse at Twitter. Seeing as how it’s probably the medium most responsible for his”political” career, what does it mean that he’s no longer really a master of the medium and has been supplanted by younger native users and more adept wielders?

Demanding better of men is our mood for 2019.

My goodness, I want these jewels fiercely.

Another gorgeous piece from over the Christmas holiday to make you feel all the feels.

For all intents and purposes, we’re only 35 years into a 75- or 80-year process of moving from analog to digital,” said Tim Bajarin, a longtime tech consultant to companies including Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “The image of Silicon Valley as Nirvana has certainly taken a hit, but the reality is that we the consumers are constantly voting for them.”

NEW LIZZO ALERT.

A little something to make you think.

God damn it…I’m not crying, you’re crying:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Five Things I Loved in December

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
― Oprah Winfrey

Darlings, it’s New Years Eve! We’re back in London after two weeks stateside, breaking out the bubbly and hunkering down for a pleasant evening of movies and goofing off to ring in 2019.

2018 has been a wild year. The world has sometimes been alight with wild optimism…and sometimes it’s just felt alight altogether. While much of is has been hard, more of it has been hopeful for me and I cannot really wish for more than that. And I wish the same for each one of you lovely minions who stop by this random corner of the internet to chat with me. I appreciate and value you more than I can say.

Here is the last favorites list of the year of the lovely and silly things that made my December merry and bright. I’ll see you next year, kittens.

 

Travel

Yes, once again I am lamenting at how little traveling we do given our extremely advantageous geographical circumstances. Poverty is dreadful. But thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our family, we were able to visit both sets of parents and siblings after two years away. It was restorative in the way that only travel can be. I sincerely hope we find a way to build more of it into our budget in 2019.

 

Luxe Square Turtleneck by Everlane

I bought these sweaters some time ago, in navy and gray, and they were basically my Go To uniform in the month of December. One of my personal smaller goals is to upgrade my casual clothing to something a 30-something reasonably successful woman would wear…instead of living in sweatshirts and pajama bottoms all weekend long. And it’s not that I don’t own nice casual clothing, it’s that I default to lazy way too much of the time! Everlane has long been a supplier of reliable basics in minimalistic-chic colors and I can easily recommend the brand. These sweaters were thin enough to be easy to pack but high quality enough to make basic jeans and boots feel Put Together, and the modern shape makes them interesting. I get compliments whenever I wear them, and I wore them a LOT this month. Hopefully they keep them in stock and introduce new colors when I’m allowed to shop again.

 

Sephora

Okay, sue me, I bought stuff whilst on holiday. In my defense, I got a gift card for Christmas from a brother who truly knows the innermost workings of my soul and I bought nothing that wasn’t planned for in advance. It was a perfectly acceptable holiday indulgence (she justified)! All joking aside, it was a real pleasure to enjoy a favorite shopping spot which is inaccessible to me in the UK, and it was a greater pleasure to do so in a way that felt much healthier than the frantic binges of years past. Let me know if you are interested in a rundown of the fistful of goodies I brought home with me, I will oblige with another manifesto on lipstick if requested!

 

Revisiting Old Haunts

We spent two weeks visiting family this month, which was a long expedition to the States. While my parents do not live in an area that Jeff and I shared at any point, we were able to revisit several of our old  favorite spots in Utah. Without exaggeration, we ate the state–or at least the Salt Lake valley! We hit The Dodo, The Red Iguana, and Ruth’s Dinner, all required dining the next time you are in SLC and highly recommended by Team Small Dog.

 

My Dog

Our family dog Mika is 14 years old and it’s clear that she’s not going to last much longer, so I was very grateful to be able to pet and cuddle with my puppy a lot this past trip. I don’t anthropomorphize dogs…but I do love them and think they are their own unique personalities. Dogs are the only creatures on earth that have co-evolved with humans for as long as they have and we are a better species with them around. Mika has brought a lot of silliness and joy to my family and even from afar,