I just really love Paperless Post Flyers

I mentioned Paperless Post Flyers a few months ago in my newsletter, but because they got such a good reaction (seriously, very rarely do people reach out to tell me they liked a thing, but multiple people told me they found the Flyers mention helpful) and because I was just working on one last night, I thought I’d mention them again!

The flyers (which are free!) are perfect for casual parties/gatherings. The templates and available images/gifs are trendy and cute, and you can also customize them/upload your own stuff. And they look good on mobile! (You can view the live — far less blurry! — version of the example flyer shown above here on desktop or mobile. BTW, I turned off the RSVP button — since it’s a fake party — but every template has the option.) I also love that you have the option to text people the link to the flyer (vs. having of send it over email). Mainly, they offer a much-needed alternative to FB party invites.

Overall, they are just a bit cooler than regular Paperless Post e-vites — truly more like a flyer than a traditional mailed invitation. Since we’re heading into summer party season, I thought it was worth putting them back on everyone’s radar! 🎉

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Here's an extremely cute idea for your next museum visit

I recently came across a very charming idea in the book Cozy by Isabel Gilles:

“A friend of mine gets a postcard from every museum she visits, and instead of saving it to someday give away, on the back of the postcard, she writes the name of who she was with and the date, and then sticks it up on her wall.”


As a journaler and a human who is extremely here for pretty souvenirs that only cost a couple of bucks, I love this idea! It would be a cute one to do with a partner or with kiddos. It’s so simple and straightforward and wholesome! 🏛

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Just Good Shit: 05.26.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hello! Here’s what I was up to this week…

On the blog

From the archives

It’s OK To Feel Sad In The Summer — for everyone who feels like shit this time of year.

Reading

Breaking: Nobody Knows What’s Going to Happen in 2020, The Cut.

Allow Aurora Perrineau to Reintroduce Herself, Glamour.

Francesca Lia Block and Nineties Nostalgia, The Paris Review.
Wowowow, I feel like this article was written just for me.

Two days with Curvy Wife Guy, the most controversial man in body positivity, The Goods / Vox.

Women on wheels, Curbed.

When I couldn’t tell the world I wanted to transition, I went to Dressbarn, The Goods / Vox.

I Wanted a Burrito, but Got This Brain Injury Instead, Human Parts.

The Politics of Going to the Bathroom, The Nation.

When a Fatal Grizzly Mauling Goes Viral, Outside.

The Underrated Pleasures of Eating Dinner Early, The New Yorker.
I eat very late but I still appreciated this!

And this very good thread about Floyd Martin, a beloved mailman who is retiring after 35 years.

Watching

Fleabag Season 2, which is excellent. And I’m seeing Booksmart tonight!

Wearing

I recently bought a pair of Hurricane Drift Tevas in Endive ($40) and I…love them? (Also available from Zappos.) They look like a Teva fucked a Croc but IDGAF. (TBH, everyone in Brooklyn wears kind of ugly shoes, and these are extremely comfortable.) I often struggle to find the right neutral shoes to wear with my preferred palette (that also isn’t creepily close to my skin color), and this muted lemony yellow looks just right with my mint pants, blue J. Crew pants, white jeans and shorts, and other assorted pastels! While having Reynaud’s means I can’t wear open-toe sandals as much as I’d like to in the summer, these shoes are very good for short jaunts / very hot days.

Have a great Sunday! 🕶

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The joy of Friday Jr.

My friend Sally and I are kind of obsessed with Bitmojis. We send them back and forth to each other a lot, and delight in finding new ones that are particularly silly and/or useful.

For example, here’s our exchange from the first time I completed the New York Times crossword:

text.jpg

And here’s the start of a Monday morning text convo:

Monday texts.jpg

And one from earlier this week:

IMG_5474.jpg

But our all-time favorite Bitmoji, hands down, is the Friday Jr. Bitmoji.

Friday Jr.jpg

After Sally discovered it a couple of years ago, we started sending it to each other every week. One of us would text our version of it, and then the other would reply with her version of it. We do this pretty much every Thursday and it…never gets old. As Sally put it, “I feel like Thursdays were already just conceptually great, but in a way that we didn’t as a culture fully appreciate until Friday Jr. was invented.”

We also can’t get over the idea of calling the day before a different day “junior,” and have taken to applying the underlying logic to many other dates and events. Consider this: Christmas Eve is actually Christmas Jr. (And December 23 is Christmas Eve Jr.) Saturday is Sunday Jr. and May is Pride Jr.

The junior convention has caught on in our bigger friend group, and our partners now use it regularly too. (My favorite Friday Jr. exchange was the time I texted Sally the Bitmoji — fairly early on in our FJ history, if I recall correctly — and she replied that at the exact moment my text came through, her wife had said, unprompted from across the room, “Hey girl — it’s Friday Jr.” )

I enjoy Bitmoji unironically; I like texting, but sometimes it’s hard to communicate “I received your message, and I feel neutral-posi toward its contents” without having tone and body language to rely on. And if you text a lot, there are only so many times you can say “ooh” in reply to something before you start to worry it looks like you’re not paying attention. A well-deployed Bitmoji helps! Also, a lot of my friends have mentioned that they find Bitmojis are particularly helpful for communicating with parents — particularly parents whose first language isn’t English — and other family members.

I asked Sally to share her thoughts on Bitmojis as I was working on this, and here’s what she said:


"Sometimes Bitmoji express feelings that I otherwise wouldn't know how to express — like you know that joke where people are like ‘what is the German word for [complex feeling with five different distinct constituent feelings]’? This is a thing Bitmoji do SO well — encapsulate feelings comprised of a cool 5-6 distinct feelings.

For example you have 'I H8 U' with a pic of your Bitmoji smiling gleefully. You have 'I helped' and one of the E's is backwards which is perfect for expressing 'I tried to help and I fucked it all up, my bad, but give me credit for helping.' Then you have the ones where the Bitmoji is doing the reaction WITH the emoji of that reaction — so like laughing so hard you're crying and one hand is on the laughing-so-hard-you're-crying emoji.

Also the fact that there are three different versions of a hump day Bitmoji — so that you can express exhaustion, elation, or perseverance — is truly amazing because those are the three ways to feel about Wednesdays which I didn't realize till Bitmoji told me!

The other thing they are amazing for is if you are communicating with someone who REALLY GETS YOU, you can use a weird Bitmoji and the person will so get the spirit in which you mean it. It just gives you another way to express yourself."

I would love for some enterprising tech journalists to do a deep dive on how Bitmoji designs happen — the main people responsible for them, which ones are the most popular, which ones users hated, which ones caused the most internal debate, etc. — and I would love to know who is responsible for our beloved Friday Jr. and what inspired them.

Until then, happy Friday Jr.! ✨

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5 delicious recipes for anyone who loves beans and greens

I realized the other day that most of my go-to recipes lately have some combination of beans and greens! (And also lemon and Parmesan.) It probably has something to do with my love of chickpeas and chickpea pasta (with an assist from some of the bigger food trends happening right now). In any case, it’s going great and I have no desire to get off this train!

If you’re looking to get more beans and greens in your life, here are some of my favorite recipes:

  1. Linguine With Crisp Chickpeas and Rosemary, NYT Cooking.
    This recipe is so damn good. The crispy rosemary step always seems wildly fancy to me because I’ve never seen it anywhere else, but in reality it takes like three minutes and zero work. (It’s actually easier than having to chop the rosemary.) And the leftovers hold up quite well.

  2. Roasted Broccoli and White Beans, Shutterbean.
    This one is very good for breakfasts or lunches (or dinners) at home. I made it with frozen broccoli, which worked great. I also did half chickpeas and half white beans, as white beans because I was making a big batch and wasn’t sure how well the white beans would withstand reheating. (They were fine!) My fellow beans and greens enthusiast Alanna made it recently and said she thinks it would be great with the addition of some crispy breadcrumbs, and I very much concur.  

  3. Linguine With Chickpeas, Broccoli and Ricotta, NYT Cooking.
    This pasta really sold me on broccolini! Also, the broiled broccolini, kale, and chickpeas is so good — like, I just wanted to eat that on its own (maybe with an egg on top, like in the Shutterbean recipe). One note: adding the ricotta cools the entire dish down considerably; we ended up warming our bowls of pasta up in the microwave because it had cooled down so much.

  4. Shredded Brussels and Kale Spaghetti with Parmesan and Pine Nuts, How Sweet Eats.
    I’ve made this a couple of times now, in part because Whole Foods/Amazon Fresh sells pre-shredded B sprouts, which makes the recipe that much easier. If you make it, definitely don’t skip the pine nuts! Like all nuts, they are on the pricey side, but they add a lot of flavor and texture to this one, and really are worth it.

  5. Broccoli and Chickpea Salad, Martha Stewart.
    I discovered this recipe after Gyan — another beans and greens lover — brought it to a work potluck. It’s SO good — and basically a cold version of all of the warm recipes above! You can make it with frozen broccoli, which I think is worth it; if you do that, chopping the parsley will be the biggest lift. It’s super fresh and flavorful, is great for a potluck/party/picnic (Gyan’s has appeared at other parties since that first one and it never disappoints), and pairs extremely well with perfect chicken for a delicious lunch. 🥦

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Just good shorts

Image:  Gap

Image: Gap

I am not, in general, a big fan of wearing shorts. I have a singular pair from Nordstrom Rack that I bought in 2015 and will wear until they are threadbare, and I found a style at J. Crew Factory in 2016 that I like/wear quite a bit (both here). But in general, shorts are not my fave garment.

But last summer, Terri came to work a few times in white shorts that I loved. Every time she wore them, I would think, Wow, those seem like the perfect shorts! Eventually, I just decided to try them for myself.

The shorts are, to be exact, the Gap 5” Girlfriend¹ chino shorts and they are great. I bought them in a couple of colors (white and anchorage cream) and I love them. They are short without being short²; casual, but still tailored enough to look nice; practical without being frumpy; and available in several colors. I’m extremely here for comfortable, practical shorts for grown-ass women who semi care about looking nice. Just good shorts!

Get them from Gap for $34 (currently on sale). (They are available in seven colors + three stripes versions and sizes 00-20; tall and petite options are also available up to size 16.) ✨

¹ The “girlfriend” label makes me think of this 2016 Racked article on the problems with the “boyfriend” clothing trend.

² My other tip for buying shorts is to pay close attention to the inseam lengths. I won’t go longer than 5 inches or shorter than 4 inches. While it bums me out to dismiss the (extremely common!!!) 3 inchers entirely, I know I won’t be comfortable in them. Anyway, figuring out your preferred inseam length can definitely save you some time when you’re shorts shopping online.

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Just Good Shit: 05.19.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Heyoh! It’s another light one this week because I’ve been spending most of my time working on my book and interviewing. Here’s what I’ve got for ya…

On the blog

A modest proposal: all office bathrooms should have a radio in them

Reading

Our Fury Over Abortion Was Dismissed for Decades As Hysterical, The Cut.

Related: here’s a thread with the most compelling and moving things I’ve read on abortion over the past several years.

The Night The Lights Went Out, Deadspin.
If you read one thing this week, make it this.

Walking Time Bomb, Vulture.
I’m going to be thinking about this article for a long time.

How the Hell Has Danielle Steel Managed to Write 179 Books?, Glamour.

Stuff Your ‘Rules’, The New York Times.

Inside the Fervid Mind of a Professional Crossword Puzzler, Man Repeller.

When the Music Biz Had It That Way, The Ringer.
This one sent me down a rabbit hole! I also read about prolific songwriter Max Martin and learned that “I Want It That Way” originally had entirely different lyrics.

Why You Should Start Binge-Reading Right Now, The New York Times.

#1200: “My mom is bugging me to clean my room.”, Captain Awkward.

Honestly, We Just Hate Women, McSweeney’s.

Have a great Sunday! 🌼

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A modest proposal: all office bathrooms should have a radio in them

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Not long after I started working at BuzzFeed, a CD player/radio appeared in the women’s bathroom. It was the kind I had growing up (which retails for around $25), and it appeared without any fanfare or information about who put it there or why. At some point, there was a brief conversation about the new radio in the Women of Edit slack channel (“So there’s a radio in the bathroom now!” “Do we know who put it there?” “I like it!” “Me too!”) and then it just...was. Eventually, I am told, the men’s room got their own. We eventually moved buildings, into a space with a bathroom on each of the seven floors, and all of the bathrooms had radios in them. It was such a small thing, but I loved it.

Aside from the fact that the office bathroom radio makes a lot of people way more comfortable, it was also just fun. Like, what a treat to walk in there and discover that a bop is playing! Because I don’t spend much time in cars these days, I basically never listen to the radio. I cannot tell you how much pop music I learned about solely from hearing it playing in the BuzzFeed bathroom. (Weirdly, many of us noticed that we each tended to have certain — discrete — bathroom songs during a given season that would always be playing when we were in there.) Sometimes it would be tuned to a different station, and I’d be subjected to a truly monstrous shock jock prank for the duration of my bathroom visit, but on the whole, I heard a lot of Cardi B, Drake, Taylor Swift, and that Justin Timberlake song from Trolls.

The BuzzFeed bathrooms may have had the worst, most unflattering mirrors known to humanity, but the radio did its part to make using the restroom a little more pleasant. I’m now convinced every office bathroom should have one. Anyone can put a radio in the bathroom, but I think it’s an extra-nice move if you’re a manager. (BTW, it doesn’t need to have a CD player; we literally never used that feature, and it just makes the radio bulkier. Also: if your office bathroom has an outlet, definitely look for one that has an A/C adapter so you don’t ever have to replace the batteries.)

You can get a cute little radio from Amazon for $19.95 or a super no-frills one from Amazon for $7.99. 📻

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Just Good Shit: 05.12.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hi! Here’s what I had going on this week…

On the blog

Reading

My Cousin Was My Hero. Until the Day He Tried to Kill Me., The New York Times Magazine.

What ‘Good’ Dads Get Away With, The New York Times.

Why Rachel Held Evans Meant So Much To So Many, BuzzFeed.

Where on Earth Is Sam Sayers?, Seattle Met.

My Queer Skincare Secrets, Gay Magazine.

Desperately Seeking a Black Sperm Donor, The New York Times.

An Extraordinary New Book Dismantles the Myths That Surround Domestic Violence, The New York Times.

My Quest for the Perfect Pair of Summertime Clogs, The Cut.
I, too, am on the quest for perfect summertime clogs/non-sandals.

An Interview With A Man Who Eats Leftover Food From Strangers' Plates In Restaurants, Deadspin.

Watching

After the Met Gala on Monday night, I went down a rabbit hole and watched The First Monday in May, The September Issue, The Devil Wears Prada, and Ocean’s Eight.

Buying

On Saturday morning, I was first in line at the Dusen Dusen, Cold Picnic, Areaware, Golde, Helen Levi, and Susan Alexandra sample sale. My prize? The sole 4x6 “Flood Season” rug, plus a pretty huge haul that included a Cold Picnic bathmat, a Dusen Dusen striped throw blanket, and a bunch of other goodies. It was so fun, and I'm really happy about everything I got!

Have a great Sunday! 🌷

Sign up to receive these links each week in an email.

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Make cut flowers last longer by putting them in the fridge at night

white flowers.JPG

Here’s a little tip for anyone who is giving or receiving Mother’s Day flowers this weekend, or who just can’t resist buying a bunch at Trader Joe’s every week: If you want a bouquet of fresh flowers to last for a while, stick them in the fridge every night (and/or during the day while you’re at work).

I’ve been doing this for years and it works remarkably well. Like, I’m always genuinely surprised by how fresh the flowers stay when I employ this trick, even when they are several days old. (It’s especially helpful in the warmer months if you don’t have AC.) I have a small fridge so it’s not always possible to put fresh flowers in it, but I’ll usually stick the vase in the door shelf where you’re meant to put milk and it works out fine.

Speaking of fresh flowers, I’m a big fan of The Bouqs and Urban Stems for fresh flower delivery to long-distance friends and loved ones! I’ve always been impressed by their bouquets, user experience, and customer service. (This is not an ad BTW — I just really like them.)

Anyway: put your fresh flowers in the fridge! 💐

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The eight types of friends

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

While doing research for my book this week, I came across author Tom Rast’s list of the eight most common friend types (from his book Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without) and thought it was really cute/interesting.

Here’s an overview of the eight friend types Rast defines:

  1. The Builder

    Builders are friends who motivate you, invest in your development, and truly want you to succeed — even if it means they have to go out on a limb for you. These friends help you see your strengths and advise you on how best to use them.

  2. The Champion

    Champions stand up for you and your beliefs, and they sing your praises. They are the friends who "have your back" and who will advocate for you even when you're not around.

  3. The Collaborator

    Collaborators are friends with similar interests — the basis for many great friendships. Shared interests are what often make Collaborators lifelong friends and those with whom you are most likely to spend your time.

  4. The Companion

    Companions are always there for you, whatever the circumstances. When something big happens in your life — good or bad — these are the people you call first.

  5. The Connector

    These friends get to know you and then instantly work to connect you with others who will share your interests or goals. They extend your network dramatically and give you access to new resources.

  6. The Energizer

    Energizers are your fun friends who always boost your spirits and create more positive moments in your life. They pick you up when you're down and can turn a good day into a great day.

  7. The Mind Opener

    Mind openers expand your horizons and introduce you to new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They challenge you to think in innovative ways and allow you to express opinions that you might be uncomfortable articulating to others.

  8. The Navigator

    Navigators are friends who give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction. You seek them out when you need guidance and counsel — they're great at talking through your options.

(Read the full descriptions and an interview with Rast here. I thought the results of his research about the importance of work friendships were super interesting.)

I immediately sent this list to a bunch of my friends to see what role they think they tend to play in their friendships. I’m mostly a Navigator, with some aspects of the Builder. I really like this list as a tool for recognizing the different ways you show up for people and as a reminder that most friends won’t be the end-all, be-all friend in our lives — and that’s completely OK. ✨

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The best lemon candle is Williams Sonoma's Meyer lemon candle

lemon candle.jpg

A couple of years ago, I went on a mission to find a great lemon candle. I tried two options — Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena* and a lemon lavender candle from Target — and was super disappointed, as both smelled way too herbal to reasonably be called a lemon candle. (They are perfectly nice candles, but not what I was looking for.) I just wanted a pure-ass lemon candle! And much to my chagrin, no one on the internet could tell me which lemon candle was the lemon candle I was seeking.

I briefly entertained the idea of buying allllll the lemon candles from major retailers and doing a Wirecutter-esque test for a BuzzFeed post, but it didn’t actually end up coming to that! A friend suggested the Williams Sonoma Meyer lemon candle ($19.95), and without having tried any additional non-herbal lemon candles, I can confidently say that this is the best lemon candle in existence. TBH, I didn’t even know that Williams Sonoma sold candles, so I was genuinely surprised by this.

The Meyer lemon candle has a very lovely, very sweet lemon smell, and it’s not too strong. It’s my favorite candle to light after cleaning my kitchen or bathroom (one of my favorite little rituals) and just one of my favorite candles general. I also really love the look of the candle; the light yellow color is so pretty, and I just love the simple, label-free glass jar. I’ve burned through three of these since first discovering them.

Get the candle from Williams Sonoma for $19.95. 🍋

*I recently learned that lemon verbena is not lemon plus verbena (which for years I assumed — based solely on Bath & Body Works’ early 2000s Coconut Lime Verbena label — was some kind of green plant). Turns out, lemon verbena is an entirely different plant!

PS I can’t talk about candles without thinking about the viral “I MIGHT Boycott Bath & Body Works (RANT)” video and this reenactment of it, two videos my former BF team and I are lightly obsessed with. We probably re-watched those videos and cried laughing every other month, and still reference Angela and her rant all the time. So please put on your headphones and enjoy one of my personal “I think about this a lot”s!

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Just Good Shit: 05.05.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hi! I was pretty head-down working on my book this week, but here’s what else I got up to.

On the blog

Reading

We Have Always Lived In Presidential Primary Season : A Half-Assed Activist Post About Getting Through This Shitshow Without Perpetuating Or Tolerating Bad Behavior And Keeping Some Tiny Spark Of Hope Alive, Captain Awkward / Patreon.
This is so good. Like, I need to re-read it every week until the election.

Poetry Rx: There Are Enough Ballrooms in You, The Paris Review.
Wowowowow the first poem here!!! It’s worth clicking through in that post and reading the whole thing (it starts on page 8). I’m going to be thinking about this one for a long time.

The Case of the Stolen Ruby Slippers, The Washington Post.
I loved this.

Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden, Harper’s Bazaar.

Should These Clothes Be Saved?, The New York Times.

Rachel Held Evans, the Hugely Popular Christian Writer Who Challenged the Evangelical Establishment, Is Dead at 37, Slate.
Gosh, this is just so sad.

Why is framing a picture so expensive?, Vox / The Goods.

The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received (and Are Willing to Pass On), The New York Times.

Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies, Scientific American.

Learning How to Be Gentle in the Face of Trauma—Others’ and My Own, Catapult.

The Problem Isn’t Twitter. It’s That You Care About Twitter., The Atlantic.

How to Look 13 When You’re 30, The Cut.

Watching & listening to

Movies

Knock Down the House on Netflix (aka "the AOC documentary”).

TV

We started Pen 15 last night (on Hulu) and were literally crying with laughter at the end of the first episode. And after watching the most recent season of Veep, I started watching it from the beginning and am really enjoying it.

Podcasts

I’ve been listening to Uncover: Escaping NXIVM (it’s Season 1) and wow — it’s incredibly disturbing.

Cooking

This week, I made Shutterbean’s roasted broccoli and white beans and it turned out so well. I used frozen broccoli and when I made a second batch to eat throughout the week, I did half chickpeas and half white beans (because chickpeas tend to reheat better). It’s basically the warm version of this excellent broccoli and chickpea salad.

I also made How Sweet Eats’s Brussels sprouts and kale spaghetti with Parmesan and pine nuts for the second time. This time, I added chickpeas and Aidell’s chicken meatballs. And once again, it was so good — definitely recommend!

Have a great Sunday! ⛅️

Sign up to receive these links each week in an email.

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Just Good Bops: May

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Y'all already know how I feel about April, and even though May is usually an improvement on April, it’s still not consistently warm enough to make loud, energetic, danceable, and cheerful songs feel appropriate. May is June with training wheels. Summer Jr. if you will!


This month’s tracks are best enjoyed walking down a tree-lined street, looking up at the gaps of sunlight peeking through the leaves. (Fun fact: there’s an untranslatable Japanese word — komorebi — for sunlight filtering through the trees.)



And once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding

I included a song from this album on last month’s playlist, and I couldn’t help adding another this month. The War on Drugs sound like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty with a side of synth. (Pitchfork has a great article on the history of heartland sync rock, if you’re that type of nerd.) Much like Mitski’s Puberty 2, A Deeper Understanding is an album I find myself returning to over and over again. It’s also great background music for parties! It’s mid-tempo enough to fill the room with warmth, but it’s not too distracting either. This is very much summer BBQ fare — the shit you should be grilling to.

Better Oblivion Community Center, Better Oblivion Community Center

Definitely listen to the Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst collab on the playlist, but — more important — just listen to Phoebe Bridgers! Regardless of whether she’s performing on her own or performing alongside Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus she’s got a folk sensibility that’s infused with an earnestness that feels genuine, not grating. If nothing else, listen to her song “Motion Sickness.”

Nilüfer Yanya, Miss Universe

I was predisposed to like Nilüfer Yanya’s new album because her song “Baby Luv” is such a banger, but I knew I was in for a treat when I read this in Pitchfork’s review of Yanya’s album: “Yanya, on her debut album, has shocked her desolate confrontations into some of the most adventurous pop-rock crucibles since Mitski’s Puberty 2.” (This blog is Mitski stan account as long as I’m involved!!!) Yanya’s synth and island vibes make for a great not-quite-yet-summer album to put into your rotation. 🎧


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Here’s my little hack for using every last cent on a Visa/Amex prepaid gift card

visa gift card.JPG

Prepaid gift cards from brands like American Express and Visa make a lot of sense in theory. Like gift cards, they release you from the psychological horror of handing your loved ones cold, hard cash, but you can use them anywhere you can use credit cards, so they offer the receiver more flexibility than a store gift card. Great!

However, if you’ve ever received one, you may have discovered that they don't work like store gift cards in one major, critical way: if you swipe, say, a $25 Macy's gift card when making a $50 Macy's purchase, it'll take the $25 off your purchase and then you can pay the remaining balance with cash or your debit card. But if you try to use a $25 Visa gift card on a $50 Macy’s purchase, the card will get declined — because you’re essentially asking it to go over its limit. The only way to keep this from happening is to tell the person ringing you up, “I want to put $25 on this card” before you swipe the Visa gift card, so they can split the tender accordingly. This isn’t ideal, but it’s fine for a nice, solid number like $25.

But! It becomes a much bigger hassle when your $100 Visa gift card now has, say, $14.77 on it. It’s highly likely that at some point, there’s going to be such a weird/small amount left on the card that you’re going to be too embarrassed to ask a retail worker to “just put $4.36 on this card,” so instead you’re just going to deprive yourself of the full value of the gift card. I’m not saying this is what Big Credit Card wants to happen, but I do think these little amounts of cash left on thousands of gift cards add up for them in a way that they…do not hate. The whole thing has annoyed me for years, ever since I was on the other end of the transaction when I worked in retail in college.

(Also: to even be able to do what I outlined above, you have to keep track of the exact balance on the gift card, which requires going to a website and inputting the card number and PIN every time you want to check how much is left on it.)

All this to say: Visa and American Express and Mastercard prepaid gift cards are way more high-maintenance than they should be, and even though this is a minor hassle in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a hassle at the end of the day. But! After receiving a high-value prepaid Visa gift card last year and getting sick of checking the balance all the time, I figured out a really simple and easy workaround that allows you to actually use every penny on said card: Once the gift card is down to a stupidly small amount that you don’t feel like fucking with, you can just go to Amazon and buy yourself an e-gift card for the exact amount on the Visa gift card. So if there’s $7.83 on the Visa card, you can simply buy yourself a $7.83 Amazon gift card.

Amazon gift card.jpg

Once you’ve put in the exact amount and your personal details (including your own email address), add the gift card to your cart. Then head to check out, choose “add new payment method,” and put in the details of the prepaid gift card there (just like it’s a regular credit/debit card). You now have now successfully turned your prepaid gift card into a normal store gift card, and it’ll work as such — deducting that $7.83 from your next Amazon purchase, and letting you pay the remaining amount due, just as God intended. 🛍

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Just Good Shit: 04.28.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hi, all! Here’s what I had going on this week…

Writing

The best $16 I ever spent: Old Navy pajamas after my husband left on Vox / The Goods.

On the blog

Reading

This week, I started reading The Overstory by Richard Powers. Also:

The Company That Sells Love to America Had a Dark Secret, The New York Times.
This is a long, completely worthwhile read.

‘For five years we dreaded every meal’: my infant son’s struggle with food, The Guardian.
“At times I was sad to my very marrow, a kind of sadness I have never quite shed, as if a small grain of darkness was planted in me for ever, blooming quietly in my bones even as my child was released from the hospital and sent out into the world to do the things that babies go on to do.”

It Was Never Like Crack, Eater.

Ask Polly: ‘Will Grief Destroy My New Marriage?’, The Cut.
“If you’re going to save yourself, you need to start melting out in the open. Right now you are tidying. Stop it. This is no time to seem fine. This is no time to be good.”

Her ‘Prince Charming’ Turned Out to Be a Crazed Hit Man on the Run, The New York Times.

How the World Fell Head Over Heels for RuPaul, Vogue.

No, You Don’t Have to Stop Apologizing, The New York Times.

The Chic Octogenarian Behind Barbie’s Best Looks, The New York Times.

I Booked a $1,000 Hotel Room With 25,000 Credit Card Points. Should I Charge My Boyfriend for His Share?, Wirecutter.
This is such a good/interesting question!

Against “ME!”, The Ringer.
“‘Hey kids!’ he shouts. ‘Spelling is fun!’ she shouts back. This is how the bridge starts. The bridge, in what is growing to be a pop-era Swift trademark, is a problem.”

Why Grown-Ups Keep Talking Like Little Kids, The Atlantic.

I’m Baby, The Cut.
“‘It’s a way for us to express a feeling of general helplessness and uselessness in a ‘funny/cute’ way,’ my friend Marian Bull, who is indisputably baby, told me.”

Have a great Sunday! 🌱

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9 things that have made me a calmer, better cook

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I...did not grow up in a household where cooking for guests looked or felt chill in ANY way, so I really admire this quality in others and am trying to cultivate it in myself — whether I’m cooking for guests or just for myself. I’m not, like, Mrs. Doubtfire with her titties on fire when I’m cooking, but things like always knowing where the measuring spoon I need is, or not getting flustered or buried in disgusting dirty dishes while I’m cooking actually take work for me.

For the past six months or so, my thought has been, OK, if I’m going to cook, I’m going to really cook — because if I’m investing the time and money in making food, I want the food to actually taste good, and I find that being more focused when I’m cooking helps a lot in that regard. Also, being more focused when cooking also just...feels nice! Multitasking is bad and ineffective, while being present and accomplishing a task in one go is soothing and satisfying. I’ve found that I dread cooking a lot less now that I’m approaching it in this way.


Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in my mission to be a less stressed cook:

  1. Actually read the entire recipe start to finish before you make it.

    This may seem obvious, but I used to just skim recipes before making them for the first time, and there was often a big gap between when I skimmed it (when I first came across it online) and when I actually made it (possibly weeks later). So now I read the recipe all the way through right before I get started to make sure I understand how I’ll actually be putting the ingredients together.

  2. Along with reading the recipe in advance, also pull out everything you’ll need in advance — so measuring cups and spoons, cutting boards, spices that are in the back of your pantry, etc.

    This step might seem kind of fussy, but it’s not like pulling everything out as you go saves you time (and in my case, I’ve found it actually takes more time).

  3. Take this a step further and measure/chop all your ingredients in advance.

    I recentlyish got into the habit of doing this with new recipes, when I wanted to be extra conscientious and careful so I didn’t mess them up. It makes me feel like a fancy TV chef, and is a reminder that all those cooking shows with their cute little prep bowls are really onto something. Again, doing this can feel kind of fussy, and it might actually add a little more time in the long run, but I think it’s worth it, especially if it keeps me from screwing up a recipe or wasting ingredients because I was rushing and made a mistake.

  4. Use your dishwasher as a holding pen.

    If you’re using a lot of bulky dishes (like mixing bowls) and your sink is filling up, but you don’t have time to stop and wash everything, just stick it in the dishwasher — even if it’s not dishwasher safe, or even if you haven’t rinsed it first. Basically, your dishwasher isn’t just a dishwasher — it’s also a fantastic storage spot. (This is especially helpful in a smaller kitchen.) You can always pull things out after the fact to hand wash them or rinse them. I hate when my sink starts to fill up with dirty dishes, and this helps so much in terms of maintaining a cleaner kitchen/an overall feeling of calm.

  5. Use a bowl to collect food scraps/trash while you cook.

    My least favorite part of cooking is chopping produce, and I hate being surrounded by the wet scraps as I’m chopping. But I recently watched my friend’s boyfriend cook dinner (this delicious Ina Garten pasta) and put all the scraps (stems, rinds, etc.) in a medium-sized bowl as he did. He’s a very calm/clean cook, so I was immediately very into this concept. I’ve tried in the past to use produce bags for this, and it was never super effective. But a bowl works so much better. (I think the fact that he used a genuinely beautiful white bowl helped too.) I realized later he was likely doing this so they could compost everything, but even if you’re not composting, it’s still SO nice to not have to keep going over to your garbage can every 60 seconds.

  6. Put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode so you’re not distracted by texts or other notifications while you’re cooking.

    This is particularly helpful if the recipe is on your phone and you can’t avoid looking at your phone when you’re cooking.

  7. Related: if you’re going to make an IG story while you cook, just save the photos/videos to your phone for later instead of posting them in real time.

    Here’s an embarrassing story: I once burned the butter for lemon butter pasta because I was posting shit to my IG story while the butter was supposed to be melting (something that doesn’t take very long at all, turns out). I had to throw the butter out, clean the pot, and start over. This was extremely dumb! Since then, I’ve stopped posting cooking stuff in real time, and in general I don’t take a lot of pics/video while I’m cooking unless I know that I have like a solid five minutes before the next step.

  8. Make time.

    I rarely try new recipes on busy weeknights, or when I am getting home on the later side. And if I realize the day of that I’m going to be rushed, I’ll often change my plans and make a recipe I’ve already mastered and save the new recipe for a different night.

  9. And maybe don’t try that many new recipes overall.

    I tend to limit myself to one new recipe per week (if that!) because I’ve found that cooking new recipes — even easyish ones! — takes effort. I get very cranky with myself* if I’m putting that energy in several nights a week. But doing it once a week feels challenging in a good way, and has the added benefit of helping me master other recipes. (Which is why I can basically make chickpea pasta in my sleep now.) 👩🏽‍🍳 

*Because I have no one to blame but myself! Literally no one is making me try new recipes!


PSA: Gas-X is a magic bullet when it comes to period bloating

Gas-X.jpg

I come here today bearing excellent news for anyone who has a uterus and a body that balloons way up roughly once a month when the ol’ Aunt Period comes to town. Turns out, simeticone (better known as Gas-X) is a goddamn magic bullet when it comes to period bloating. I tried it at the recommendation of a friend and was genuinely astonished by how much better I felt. Like, I took two tablets the first day of my period and within the hour, my body had basically deflated — and it stayed that way for the rest of the week. I’ve used them several times now and I cannot get over what a difference they make.

PS If you’re going to try them, I recommend the minty chewable tablets!

Get a 48-pack on Amazon for $8.33. 🎈

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A case for having activities instead of hobbies

Friends! Today we have a post from Terri Pous, who was my first hire at BuzzFeed, and whose work I had the pleasure of editing every day for three years. Like me, she lives by the mantra ABR (always be recommending). —Rachel ✨

One of my least favorite questions is, “So, what do you for fun?” I always imagine people expect me to talk about a stamp collection, or a passion for knitting, or some other kind of hobby that conveniently fills time and gives you something to show for it. But I’m not a hobby person; I much prefer activities.

And, I get it: depending on your definition of “hobby,” activities could easily count as the same thing. To me, though, all hobbies are activities, but not all activities are hobbies. Lying on the grass in the park on a nice day? Activity! Going to the park every weekend with your Nat Geo field guide to identify the birds chirping loudly overhead? Hobby!

I like that activities have almost no barrier to entry. It’s daunting to begin a hobby — the time, skill, or effort involved can be enough to stop you before you even buy that calligraphy set. A hobby is something you craft and pursue and, if you’re lucky, perfect over time. It’s often insular, something you could parlay into a side hustle (though you don’t have to). And unless you know something I don’t (and if you do, please @ me), you can’t really make a side hustle out of planning trips to the botanical gardens with friends.

But activities! God, I love them. If Doing Things is a personality trait, then I have it. It’s probably because I live in New York, concrete jungle wet dream tomato AND home of so. many. ‘tivities. You can just pick up and do almost any activity whenever you want to do it, and a lot of them cost zero money. That’s not to say you can’t try refining them the way you would a hobby, but you don’t have to to get enjoyment out of them. They’re no-maintenance and low-stress. So much of life is about staying on brand or doing things with purpose, but activities exist just for sheer enjoyment, whatever that means for you. Love being outside? There’s an activity for that! Can’t get enough of shoveling foodstuffs into your piehole? You can make an activity out of that, too! Activities are so easy to collect and return to again and again, which is a big reason why I’ll always prefer them over hobbies.

Here are some of my personal faves, ones that even a committed extrovert like me doesn’t mind doing alone:

  • Trying new restaurants (and then providing copious suggestions when people ask for recommendations).

    I’ve started logging all of my restaurant visits into a Google spreadsheet, so you could argue that I’m hobb-ifying this activity.

  • Going to Broadway shows.

    Once I realized you don’t have to pay $100+ to enjoy arguably the best activity New York City has to offer, I started going to a lot more shows. I use TodayTix, Stubhub, TDF, and the IRL TKTS booth. And when I do decide to pay full price, I go to the box office in person to avoid those $14 “convenience” fees.

  • Visiting museums.

    Thanks to the NYC ID, I can get into a lot of museums and cultural institutions for free. But I’d willingly spend weekday afternoons at museums even if I had to pay full price. A few of my faves: The Met, the Transit Museum, the Natural History Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York, the Guggenheim, the Cooper Hewitt. I need to go the Frick. I have lots of time to do it now!

  • Attending live podcast recordings.

    I’m a maje podcast junkie, and luckily, a lot of them sometimes set up shop at venues like The Bell House, Caveat, and Union Hall to do it live. I’ve seen Who? Weekly, WTF with Marc Maron, Ask Me Another (I was a contestant on that one, too), Why Your Train is F*cked, and several more in person.

  • Playing bar trivia.

    I’m a big ‘ole nerd, which is why this is probably my fave ‘tivity. I try to play every week at Gael Pub on the Upper East Side (where I used to host), and even when we don’t win, I love ~ learning new things ~. It sounds cheesy, but this activity has taught me so much about playing with a team and meeting new people! Win win!

  • Reading, especially non-fiction books.

    Again, I’m a well-established nerd, so it’s no surprise that I love hunkering down with a good biography of Theodore Roosevelt. It’s not a revolutionary activity, but it is a good way to pack some new tidbits into my spaghetti brain and then regurgitate them to anyone within a 10-foot radius.

  • Doing jigsaw puzzles.

    Some people are intimidated by puzzles and would probably place them squarely into the “hobbies” category, but I disagree! They’re an activity for me, one best done while watching Catastrophe or Instant Hotel in the background. If you’re freaked out at the prospect of a 1,000-piecer, try a 250 and tell me it wasn’t fun, low-key, and something you want to do over and over again for no reason other than sheer enjoyment.

  • Hosting (and/or coordinating) group hangouts.

    I’m talking game nights, dinner parties, potlucks, recipe clubs, you name it. I love getting people together with a purpose (I’m as fun as I sound), especially if there’s food involved.

  • Playing board games.

    See above. I recently went to a board game cafe with a friend, and while we failed miserably at learning a new game and instead played Guess Who? and Candyland, it was still a ton of fun and a reminder of how great board games are. Some of my favorites are Codenames and Ticket to Ride, and I’m eager to learn backgammon, Settlers of Catan, and Mahjong.

  • Watching documentaries.
    I’m not a huge movie or TV person, but if there’s a good documentary, I’ll eat it up (and then proselytize about it to everyone I know). Some good ones I’ve seen: Seeing Allred, 20 Feet from Stardom, Three Identical Strangers, Icarus, Going Clear.

  • Just strollin’.
    A big advantage of living in New York (and suddenly having lots of free time) is being able to walk outside and see where your feet take you. Even though we’re currently in the midst of a fool’s spring, I’ll still pick a destination or neighborhood or errand, and just stroll around at a leisurely pace to get there. It’s a perfect way to listen to a podcast, catch up with someone on the phone, or just take out the earbuds and take in your surroundings. It’s not exactly nature, but it’s as close as New York gets, so I’ll take it. ✨

Terri Pous is a writer, editor, two-day Jeopardy! champ, and an Aries. She loves abbrevs, reality TV, obscure facts about the US presidents, and the 🥴 emoji. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @terripous, and on sidewalks @ petting every dog.

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Just Good Shit: 04.21.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Heyoh! Here’s what I was up to this week…

On the blog

Reading

The Death of an Adjunct, The Atlantic.

(Further reading: the 2016 Gawker series on adjunct professors.)

Why Notre-Dame Was a Tinderbox, The New York Times.

The Lipstick I Wore to My Divorce, The Cut.

Why I Embraced Skin Care After My Mother’s Death, SELF.

What Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Books Should You Read First?, The New York Times.

I’m very excited about The Overstory, The Great Believers, and American Eden (currently free to read on Kindle if you have Prime).

‘You Don’t Have to Have Cerebral Palsy to Relate to My Story’, Vulture.

Three Magical Phrases to Comfort a Dying Person, Jenny Harrington on Human Parts / Medium.

The Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Recall Speaks to Parental Desperation, Not Just Lack of Awareness, Jezebel.

How to Improve Your Memory (Even if You Can’t Find Your Car Keys), The New York Times.

I’m a big fan of the third tip (tell someone).

Behind the New, Gloriously Queer Emily Dickinson Movie, Vulture.

A Sober Person Walks Into a Nonalcoholic Bar…, Grub Street.

Why I Take All My First Dates to Olive Garden, Bon Appétit.

Watching

Homecoming on Netflix and more of Our Planet. I liked Episode 2 (“Frozen Worlds”) a lot — much better than Episode 3 (“Jungles”). BTW, if you’re watching Our Planet with little ones, Netflix tweeted the time stamps of the most intense segments.

Best life

House pants

After seeing several ads for them on Instagram, I ordered these not-quite-sweatpants from Los Angeles Apparel ($40). I am always on the lookout for good house clothes, and I like that I can wear these to work from home and cook but also to take Chuck on walks and run errands. I have the mint, but they come in 14 other colors, and I think I might get a second pair.

The fanny pack life

I bought a small gray Herschel fanny pack during Shopbop’s big sale a couple weeks ago and am loving it so far — it’s been great to get back to the unencumbered life. (If you’e curious, it’s $35 on Amazon and comes in seven other colors.)

Spring pasta

I made NYT Cooking’s Pasta With Fresh Herbs, Lemon and Peas the other night; I don’t think it’ll make the list of my favorite recipes of all time, but it was still good/easy/worth it!

Have a great Sunday! 🐰

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