Just Good Shit: 09.15.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hi, friends! It’s another light one today because I’ve been head-down on a bunch of big and fairly exciting things (including the first round of edits for my manuscript) for the past two weeks, and haven’t had much time to come up for air. I think September is just going to be like that — which is fine! When I emerge in two weeks looking exactly like this, it will be October and I feel like everything will be completely different.

Anyway, here’s what I got up to this week…

Reading

The Heir, The Atlantic.

How I Learned to (Try to) Stop Asking Female Candidates About Sexism, The Cut.

Instagram Versus Reality at Failed Interior-Design Start-up Homepolish, NY Mag.

'Soulful Vanilla Child': When Pink Was Black, Jezebel.

How a shoe that looks like a sock became the working woman’s obsession, The Goods / Vox.

What’s the Difference Between Anxiety and Ambition?, The Cut.

It’s Okay To Set Boundaries With Your Anxious Friends, Nylon.

My Tiny Gold Hoop Earrings Are $20 and Meant for Newborn Babies, The Strategist.

Admit It, You’re Humming Succession’s Theme Song Right Now, Vulture.

Buying

I’m in a “I’d like to buy an entirely new fall/winter wardrobe” mood right now, but so far, I’ve only bought a (third) pair of J. Crew’s Point Sur cropped pants in natural because they are on sale, and they are so goddamn comfortable.

Have a great Sunday! ☕️

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

🍑

Just Good Shit: 09.08.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

This was an unexpectedly busy week for me, which is why it was a bit quiet around these parts! Here’s some of what I got up to…


Writing

I wrote about dealing with work burnout and establishing work-life balance for The Highlight by Vox.

Reading

Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets, BuzzFeed News.

On the Job, 24 Hours a Day, 27 Days a Month, The New York Times.

Ten Years of Taylor Swift: How the Pop Star Went From Sweetheart to Snake (and Back Again?), The Ringer.

Are Online Beauty Product Reviews Just One Big Scam?, Allure.

This Football League Was Built For Girls Who Love To Hit, Deadspin.

Toward a Universal Theory of ‘Mom Jeans’, The Atlantic.

I Thought My Writing Career Was Over. A DIY Furniture Project Saved It., Bustle.

‘Friends’ Is Turning 25. Here’s Why We Can’t Stop Watching it., The New York Times.

#1223: Feminist Wedding Etiquette Help, Captain Awkward.

We Belong Here: Transforming Your Home Into a Place of Healing, Apartment Therapy.

‘I’m Sick of Seeing My Face,’ Says the Internet’s Kombucha Connoisseur, The New York Times.

The Great American History of the Boob Light, MEL Magazine.

How to Skip All of a Person's Instagram Stories in One Swoop, Lifehacker.

The 'Dusty Stick' Is the Best Slack Emoji That Nobody Uses, VICE.

How to Solve a Rubik's Cube, Step by Step, Wired.

Cooking

The marinated tomato BLTs I mentioned last week turned out to be incredible — highly, highly recommend!

Have a great Sunday! 🌻

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


🍑

Just Good Shit: 09.01.19

peach on peach.png

Heyoh! I’m back from vacation just in time for September, my least favorite month of the year. Here’s what I’ve got for you…

On the blog

Elsewhere

You can catch me on two episodes of NPR’s Life Kit: “Accept The Awkwardness: How To Make Friends (And Keep Them)” and “When Friendships Change, How To Cope.” I was also interviewed for this article: Want Stronger Friendships? Pull Out Your Notepad.

Reading

I read a bunch of books while on vacation: Red, White & Royal Blue, which I fucking loved and highly recommend; Heartburn, which was very funny/different but definitely didn’t age well; and The Blue Bistro (not my fave Elin novel, but I know most people love it). I also started Silver Girl.


Also:

No distractions: An NFL veteran opens up on his sexuality, ESPN.
This is so moving; if you read one thing this week, make it this.

The Ruling In This 'Friends' Lawsuit Set Back The #MeToo Movement By Years — Now The Woman At The Center Of It Speaks Out, Bustle.

Fix the Electoral College — Or Scrap It, The New York Times.

Vote for the Woman Because She’s a Woman, Time.

The Adults In The Room, Deadspin.


“The journalists at Deadspin and its sister sites, like most journalists I know, are eager to do work that makes money; we are even willing to compromise for it, knowing that our jobs and futures rest on it. An ever-growing number of media owners, meanwhile, are so exceedingly unwilling to reckon with the particulars of their own business that they refuse to accept our eagerness to help them make money. … The tragedy of digital media isn’t that it’s run by ruthless, profiteering guys in ill-fitting suits; it’s that the people posing as the experts know less about how to make money than their employees, to whom they won’t listen.”

Why Celebrities From Reality Stars to A-Listers Fake Their Marriages, Vice.

How MTV’s ‘Are You The One?’ Is Changing Dating Shows, Rolling Stone.

How Queer People Brought Some Actual Reality to Dating-Reality TV, The New York Times.

How on Earth Did ‘Are You The One’ Get Queer Love So Right?, ELLE.

Battle Hymn of the #Boymom, Jezebel.

I Came Out As A Lesbian While I Was Married To A Man., Raff Out Loud.

How I Learned to Look Like Myself, The Cut.
God, there is so much in this essay about eyebrows that perfectly maps to my own experiences.

The Morning Show: In First Full Trailer, Jennifer Aniston Disses Steve Carell, Worries About Reese Witherspoon, TV Line.

A Guide to Drawing Fat People, Stine Greve on Instagram.

Cooking

Yesterday I bought three pounds of farmers market tomatoes and am planning to make BLTs with marinated tomatoes and Alison Roman's tomato toast with buttered shrimp.

Have a great Sunday! ✨

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

🍑

Don’t talk to me if you don’t want to talk about “Are You the One?’’

are-you-the-one-16.jpg

After several people recommended the MTV reality dating show Are You the One? this summer, I finally watched it this week…and became fully obsessed with it.

Here’s the show’s premise: a bunch of single twentysomethings (who “suck at dating”) are selected to live in a house together. (Yeah, that ol’ chesnut!) Before the season begins, relationship experts do in-depth interviews, questionnaires, and personality tests, and predict the ideal pairings for everyone in the cast. (So, if there are 20 people in the cast, there will be 10 “perfect matches.”) The goal is for each member of the cast to figure out who their predetermined perfect match is. They have a set number of chances to guess as a group, and are only told the number of matches they get correct in a given round — not which perfect matches they got right. If the cast accurately guesses all of the perfect match pairings — again, as chosen by experts — by the end of the season, they will win $1 million.


What makes it so entertaining is that people are horny and complicated and will insist someone is their perfect match even though it’s very obvious that the person is…not. (Because, for example, that person has zero interest in them.)


The real reason I, like a lot of people, started watching this season, is because it’s got a twist: for the first time, everyone in the cast is sexually fluid — so everyone can theoretically be paired with everyone. There are 16 people in this cast (i.e., there are eight perfect matches), so each person has 15 potential perfect matches. (In previous seasons, it might have been, say, nine potential perfect matches.)

I don’t watch much TV and I’m definitely not a reality TV person, but I am hooked on Are You The One?. Here’s why I’ve been loving it so much:

  • It’s an MTV reality show! The nostalgia part of my millennial brain is lights UP whenever I watch AYTO. There’s something about it that’s so wonderfully MTV; if you liked, say, The Gauntlet, you will probably like this show. It’s just such a pleasure to watch!

  • It’s a tight edit. A lot of reality TV is filler (looking at you, Bachelor), but AYTO zips along at a great clip — each episode goes down like a can of White Claw. They don’t spend too much time on the things that ultimately don’t matter (like the challenges) and instead get right to the good stuff.

  • The fact that everyone can be paired with everyone (instead of several people competing for one person) changes the stakes. There are no real “losers,” which is nice. That said, people still are competing with each other (because two people might be into the same person), so there’s lots of drama. Everyone is chasing everyone, which is very fun to watch.

  • Everyone is queer! To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for how remarkable — or how normal — that would feel. It’s kind of incredible to see this group of people — who represent all sorts of identities and personality types — pursue same-sex or gender fluid relationships casually and openly on national television. It’s also so refreshing to watch a show in which there is no token queer person because everyone is queer.

  • The show is fascinating. I was surprised by how many relatable dating experiences/attitudes pop up throughout the season. After just a few days in the house, the cast members are already experiencing the full spectrum of emotions and bigger questions you can expect to see over, like, several months of dating. It’s kind of wild to witness such a pure distillation of dating in your twenties, and the ways in which people want to brute-force bad relationships that they are convinced are meant to be. There’s something about this — and, really, the show as a whole — that feels shockingly real, which I wasn’t expecting.

  • I’m also fascinated by the sense of inevitability each cast member expresses about their perfect match. Instead of going into it thinking, “I need to determine my perfect match to win the money, but I’m free to fall for whoever I want,” they seem to believe that the person selected as their perfect match is their perfect match. (At times, it feels a little strange/extreme — like you’re watching an episode of Black Mirror that’s going to end with all of these people marrying for life.) As a result, they have basically zero interest in strategy (which drives me crazy!!!) and are way more interested in feelings. They are devastated if they realize their perfect match isn’t who they wanted it to be or thought it was, and seem determined to forge a relationship with the person the experts chose for them.

  • The show has surprising moments of sweetness! Two people doing their makeup together before a party; a bro opening up to his love interest about his childhood; a cast member creating a really beautiful gift for another cast member to make amends; the cast gently and lovingly but firmly confronting the person who is the source of much of the drama in the group…it’s all been fairly moving and lovely, which I wasn’t expecting.

  • AYTO is just really goddamn entertaining. My girlfriend and I watched the whole season this week (10 episodes have aired so far, and there are two remaining) and were invested by, like, the end of the first one. On Friday night, we found ourselves jumping around and screaming at the TV like we were watching sports.

An  AYTO  meme my girlfriend made for me

An AYTO meme my girlfriend made for me

My one not-insignificant quibble/caveat is that AYTO doesn’t seem to recognize when reality TV antics/jealousy/“drama” cross over into behavior that I would actually describe as abusive. (I’m specifically thinking about Episode 9.) I remember when Real World producers broke the fourth wall to talk about whether the cast felt safe following a fight, and I think they should have done that in Episode 9, particularly because it’s a show about love and dating, and each episode features a relationship expert checking in with the cast. On a show that gets so much right, this was such a miss that I found it genuinely baffling.


Overall, though, I really do like Are You the One? and think it’s worth a watch, especially if you want something kind of lightweight to breeze through. The next episode airs Monday Sept. 3 at 11 p.m. ET on MTV, and I’m very excited about it.

And if you’re interested, here are some other articles about Are You The One? that do a great job of articulating what’s so appealing about it:

🍑

My favorite things to do in Saugatuck, MI

ACS_0140.JPG

Last week, I spent a few days on vacation in Saugatuck, Michigan, which was delightful! Since I also spent time in Saugatuck last summer and really loved it, I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite things to do there!

Where to stay

ACS_0137.JPG

We stayed at “the Cottage on the Hill” last year, which I loved. It’s a 2-minute drive from downtown and a 10-minute drive from Oval Beach, but the real selling point is the lovely enclosed porch, which overlooks a big fenced-in backyard.

ACS_0138.JPG

It wasn’t available this year, so we rented “Sunshine Cottage” instead. Sunshine Cottage is a very short walk from downtown, which was super convenient — we could walk home from dinner or from the house to an ice cream shop for a scoop of Mackinac Island Fudge in about five minutes. It also has a white kitchen with a sizable island that, when combined with the right linen shirt, makes you feel like a low-budget Nancy Meyers heroine.

ACS_0276.JPG
aperol.gif

I’m torn about which house I liked better; last year’s was bigger and comfier and cuter, but it’s a tiny bit further from downtown, and the roads you’d take into town are a bit less walkable. Sunshine Cottage is smaller and had some minor quirks (that definitely weren’t dealbreakers), but is still nice/cozy/clean/convenient. I’d recommend either one! 

What to do 

Oval Beach

beach.gif

Oval Beach, on Lake Michigan, is my favorite thing about Saugatuck. It’s been rated one of the best beaches in the world (!!) by several different publications. It’s a fairly small beach but it’s never too crowded, even when it’s busy.

ACS_0270.JPG

The sand is very soft and the water sometimes glitters in the sunlight. (By the way, the water in July 2018 was very cold, but it was perfect this time around.)

Retro Boat Rentals

retro boat rentals.JPG

Retro Boat Rentals is a very cute family-run place. You take your rental out on the Kalamazoo River for 90 minutes, where you get to see local wildlife (last year, we saw an eagle catch a fish; this year there were a lot of baby ducks) and all of the mansions that line the water. It’s a great way to spend a morning!

ACS_0279.JPG

Since our trip last summer, they’ve added a bunch of outdoor seating and a kitchen/bar, so after our boat ride, we sat outside and had beers and snacks and a truly lovely time!

ACS_0278.JPG

They also have these donut-type boats that look really fun (though, FYI, alcohol isn’t allowed on any of the boats).

ACS_0280.JPG


Shopping

IMG_5611.JPG

The downtown Saugatuck area has lots of little shops, and you can easily visit most/all of them in an afternoon. I don’t think any of the shops stands out as, like, The One You Must Visit, but spending some time tooling around to all the different ones is definitely worth it!

the brass anchor.JPG

There are a ton of other things to do in Douglas and Fennville (including wineries and antique stores and galleries), but because we haven’t had a ton of time there/have spent a lot of our time at the beach, I can’t speak to those!

You also don’t have to do much of anything, really! Saugatuck is so gentle and cozy, and is kind of built for easy bonding — you can make friendship bracelets, play games, or do puzzles, and not feel like you’re missing out.

Where to eat and drink

ACS_0141.JPG

Saugatuck has a lot of restaurants, and I’m hoping to spend a full week there next year so I can check out more of them! (The Southerner is at the top of my list for the next trip.) But here are some of the places we’ve gone and liked:

Mitten Brewing Company

Mitten Brewing Company makes truly excellent pizza — we went there twice last year because it was so good. Their outdoor seating area is incredibly cute, but you can also get your pizza to go, and then eat it in the little park across the street, which is right on the river.

Uncommon Coffee Roasters

After Googling coffee shops in Saugatuck, I was drawn to this one because their Instagram is extremely gay. And I’m happy to report that the entire place is extremely gay! Overall, it feels like the best coffee shop in a college town — homey, earthy, vaguely alt. It has a huge wraparound porch and a beautiful backyard. There’s also a guy who does chair massages in the backyard area and only charges $1 a minute, which is a pretty fantastic deal.

uncommon coffee.JPG

The BARge

This place sits behind the Ship-n-Shore hotel, so it’s not actually visible from the street. But it’s right on the water (you can see it in this photo) and the upper level offers a pretty great view. When we went for dinner, there was a live music act that was actually pretty good.

The Dunes

The Dunes bills itself as “the Midwest’s premier LGBTQ resort.” The website and even the interior make it seem, like, clubby(ish), but when we were there for karaoke night and it was incredibly…gentle and chill? We heard a lot of Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and the Beatles. (And also everyone who sang was pretty good?) But next to the TV displaying the karaoke lyrics for songs like “When I’m 64,” there was a second TV playing, like, a super-cut of random foreplay scenes from gay male porn, which was…quite a juxtaposition! Also, the customers that night were *literally* all men and it felt like a very gay male space in general, so that’s something to be aware of!

Speaking of LGBTQ experiences, there were a lot of Pride flags flying in Saugatuck, and I remember noticing last year in the big Saugatuck brochure/magazine that there were a lot of subtle (and not-so-subtle) cues that Saugatuck is queer-friendly. So that’s nice! That said, we definitely saw way more Pride flags than people of color in Saugatuck.

gif_1567033130.GIF

Oh, also! I spotted McLeod Farms peaches at the Holland Meijer, where they cost $1.29/lb. So if you live in Michigan, you should definitely look for them the next time you’re at Meijer. ✨

🍑

You can now pre-order “The Art of Showing Up’’

My second book, The Art of Showing Up, is going to be released on May 26, 2020, and is officially available to pre-order! You can find it below:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

Indigo

IndieBound

Powell’s

Workman

As a general rule, pre-ordering is a great way to support an author you like, and whose book you’re planning to buy; pre-orders tell bookstores that people are interested in the book, which is a cue that they should carry it/stock a lot of copies.

As for book itself, here’s a little more about it (at least in its current form)! It’s inspired by this BuzzFeed post and is divided into two sections: how to show up for yourself and how to show up for other people. It covers topics like getting to know yourself and your needs, setting boundaries, showing up for yourself every damn day, being comfortable being alone, shooting your phone (but also keeping in touch), showing up for yourself when shit gets hard, having difficult conversations, making new friends, having better friend hangouts, dealing with a friend who is wilding out, handling weird/awkward friend group dynamics, and showing up for others when they are going through hard times. It’s mostly new material, and I’m very excited to bring it into the world! ✨

🍑

Just Good Shit: 08.18.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

This week was a pretty full one! Here’s what I was up to…

On the blog

Reading

I finished Trick Mirror, which I thought was excellent. My favorite essays were “Always Be Optimizing” (which you can read online in The Guardian), “The Cult of Difficult Women,” and “We Come from Old Virginia.”

Also:

America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One,

The New York Times Magazine.
I am such a big fan of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ work, and this was no exception. PS You should really make time for the entire 1619 Project this week.

“Do you have white teenage sons? Listen up.”, Joanna Schroeder on Twitter.

Elizabeth Warren’s Classroom Strategy, The Cut.
I loved reading this and didn’t want it to end.

Demi Burnett and the Queering of Bachelor Nation, them.

When Is a Caption Close Enough?, The Atlantic.

Three Years of Misery Inside Google, the Happiest Company in Tech, Wired.

How aggressively cute toys for adults became a $686 million business, Vox.

I Thought I'd Accepted My Body. Then I Got Pregnant., A Cup of Jo.

Accessible Design in 2019 & Beyond, Design*Sponge.

Dudes Love White Claw, So Maybe the Idea of ‘Bitch Beer’ Can Finally Die, Eater.

How ‘Am I the Asshole?’ became the internet’s most profound query, The Daily Dot.

How to *Actually* Forgive Someone, Man Repeller.

The Two Brides Who Wore Three Different Outfits, The Cut.
“We walked down the aisle to the song ‘1950’ by King Princess, an instrumental version of that.” Fuck me up.

America Has Never Been So Desperate for Tomato Season, The Atlantic.
“Tomatoes are proof that the world still works in some capacity, at least for now.” I loved this.

Cooking

I decided to make Nora Ephron’s tomato sauce this week (see the above post about tomato season) and it was so great! I felt like a true sauce man. Next time, I’d remove the tomatoes’ seeds either before or right after blanching, but it was fine that I didn’t — the seeds were pretty unobtrusive in the final dish. This recipe also led me to download a sample of Heartburn, and I think I’m going to read the full book soon!

Have a great Sunday! 🍅

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

🍑

On deep-shallow companions

Image: Eckhard Hoehmann / Unsplash

Image: Eckhard Hoehmann / Unsplash

As I’ve been working on The Art of Showing Up, I’ve done quite a bit of research on the “ideal” number of friends a person should have, and, in the process, have come up with my own theory on this topic: Regardless of how many friends researchers say you need, or how many friends you currently have, I think everyone needs one (1) individual to fill the role of deep-shallow companion.

Your deep-shallow person is the one who happily listens to the most humdrum shit about your day, pretty much every day (and then shares theirs in turn). They let you go on and on about the traffic you sat in, the errands you ran, the minutiae of your to-do list, and everything Sweetgreen did right or wrong with regard to your salad order. (My experiences with the Sweetgreen app — which used to be very bad and are now, somehow, better? — are the epitome of deep-shallow talk.) Deep-shallow stories are both too boring and too complicated for most audiences. There’s no real drama, but there’s also definitely a five-act Shakespearean play, and it somehow all took place in the self-checkout line at Target.

Deep-shallow companionship is the height of intimacy, demonstrated through extremely not-intimate topics. It’s a bond and love that is rooted so deep, it can withstand this particular type of shallow conversation. 

Of course, most relationships include some deep-shallow talk, and occasionally, the first coworker pal you see when you walk into the office is gonna hear your terrible commute story whether they like it or not. It’s fine! But your deep-shallow person is the one who willingly listens to this stuff daily, and also shares their own with you. It’s often a role filled by a parent, sibling, or romantic partner because it requires so much love.

My suspicion is that a lot of loneliness stems from not having a deep-shallow companion. Which really sucks! Because if you try — consciously or not — to make someone your deep-shallow person and they don’t want to be (because they already have a deep–shallow companion, because it’s too early in the relationship, whatever), you probably won’t get the attention or enthusiasm you’re looking for, which just feels bad. It doesn’t mean the person doesn’t want to be friends with you or that they don’t like you (truly!)...but it still stings. Deep-shallow conversations are often when we’re our most relaxed and uncensored and real selves; not having a deep-shallow person can lead to feeling very unseen and incredibly alone.

I share this theory not to call attention to something you feel sad about and can’t really fix, but because I know how how it feels to not have the words to explain this particular kind of intimacy, or describe what it looks and feels like. I think it’s really helpful to be able to name this kind of companionship, and to be able to articulate exactly what you’ve lost if your deep-shallow person is no longer in your life. ✨

🍑

Just Good Bops: August

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

It’s Leo season! Which, to the best of my understanding, means it’s time to…show off your good hair??? I don’t know y’all, I’m doing my best to decipher whatever the hell the Co–Star app is telling me. But what I do know is that Rachel is a Leo, and when it’s your birthday you get control of the metaphorical aux cord — so a bunch of this month’s songs are requests. [Ed. note: Listen, if you can’t handle me at my Taylor Swift “Delicate,” you don’t deserve me at my Tracy Chapman “Fast Car”!!!]

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

Dedicated, Carly Rae Jepsen

Back in July, I — and all of Brooklyn, it seemed — saw Carly Rae Jepsen perform at Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, and this tweet perfectly sums up my experience:

Dedicated is relaxed ‘80s pop — Jepsen joked that the working title of the album was Music to Clean Your House To. It’s chill, romantic disco, and I can personally attest to the life-changing magic of Carly Rae Jepsen soundtracking the act of scrubbing a toilet. (Dedicated makes tedious and awful chores fun! Or at the very least, tolerable). “Want You In My Room,” “Real Love,” and “Too Much” are my stand-out tracks.

i,i, Bon Iver

i,i is Justin Vernon’s fourth album released under the Bon Iver moniker, and per the band’s own description, “The 13 new songs on i,i complete a cycle: from the winter of For Emma, Forever Ago came the frenetic spring of Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and the unhinged summer of 22, A Million. Now, fall arrives early with i,i.” With fall just on the horizon, this album feels like a lovely treat. It has all the familiar elements of a Bon Iver song — it swells, towers, and then crashes; it feels lush, warm, and dreamy — but with a newfound fearless conviction. The lyrics are as obtuse as ever, though.


And here’s the usual disclaimer! I’ve never been good at curating a playlist that ebbs and flows in just the right way, so just throw this shit on shuffle and have a good time. 🎧

🍑

Just Good Shit: 08.11.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

I’ve never really been a birthday person because pretty much everyone takes a vacation during the first week of August (seriously, it’s been this way my entire life), and also I just…don’t care that much! I usually just go to work on my birthday and, like, order my favorite takeout for dinner.

But I’m now dating a Birthday Person™, so this year, I had my first bona fide birthday week. It included breakfast at Miriam (my favorite), a manicure and pedicure at Paintbucket, a trip to Greenlight and Target, dinner at Allswell, McLeod Farms peaches with pals, an Instax camera and Catbird necklace, Good Genes (a gift from my mom that so far absolutely lives up to the hype), and birthday drinks with friends at The Springs. It was truly lovely and also I’m exhausted.

At Miriam on my birthday

At Miriam on my birthday

My goals/hopes/dreams for my upcoming year are learning to use lay and lie properly in all writing and conversation, and visiting a national park!

Here’s what else I had going on this week…

On the blog

Reading

I, like every other self-respecting Brooklyn millennial, am currently reading Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino.

Also:

The Media Erased Latinos From the Story, The Atlantic.

A mother died shielding her infant in El Paso. The father died shielding them both, family says., Washington Post.

The End of Straight, GQ.
Make sure you read this one all the way to the end.

I Gained 20 Pounds Before My Wedding and It Was Still Perfect, Glamour.

How to Plan a Wedding. (Or, You Could Just Elope.), The New York Times.
Our girl Terri made her NYT debut!!!

My In-Laws Are Careless About My Deadly Food Allergy!, Ask Polly.

Why are there so many new books about time-travelling lesbians?, The Guardian.

Bad summer, Grief Bacon.

Everything We Learned About Women’s Anatomy from Male Authors, Electric Lit.

Great tweets

“Potatoes in literally any form”

“The full scene with sound is just the greatest scene I’ve ever watched.”

“If you don’t like it…MOVE”

“to all the girlfriends”

Have a great Sunday! 🦁

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


🍑

Extremely good shit: McLeod Farms peaches

macs pride mcleod farms peaches.JPG

As you may know, I’m not a fan of summer. But one way I’ve been making it more bearable in recent years is by ordering a box of peaches from McLeod Farms, a South Carolina operation that came on my radar several years ago when I lived in Houston.

These peaches are awesome in the dictionary-definition sense of the word. So juicy, so fragrant, so special. Every bit of them detaches from the pit so easily and cleanly, it’s genuinely remarkable. Getting a box of them delivered has become one of the highlights of my summer.

But you don’t have to take my word for it! Here are some of the things my friends have had to say about them:

“This is truly the best peach I’ve ever eaten.”

“I should have eaten that in the bathtub.”

“That was obscene.”

“I should not have eaten that in public.” (I heard this more than once!)

The peaches go on sale every year in the late spring. They are sold by the box; you can either buy a box of 20 (for $60) or a box of 40 (for $77), and when you order, you select the week you want them delivered. (They ship in June, July, and August. Also, shipping to NYC is free, but I’m not sure if that’s the case everywhere.)

These peaches aren’t cheap, which is, for me, part of what makes them so special; I make a point to really savor them (I always try to enjoy at least one while sitting outside), and to share them with friends who will appreciate them.

Oprah once said* something to the effect of “you can find God in a perfectly ripe tomato,” and I think about this whenever I eat one of these peaches. (And, yes, then I obviously have a minor existential crisis about climate change and my own mortality. It happens at the beach, too! Summer is great!!!) They are just…sublime.

*I am fairly certain it was on the final page of an issue of O Magazine that I read like a decade ago, but I have never been able to track down the exact quote, so this could be entirely made-up!!! But if Oprah didn’t say it, then I will: You can find God in a perfectly ripe summer fruit.

🍑

‘‘The Orange’’

Image: Kotagauni Srinivas / Unsplash

Image: Kotagauni Srinivas / Unsplash

Today is my 34th birthday! I’m eagerly awaiting a box of fresh peaches from McLeod Farms (truly the Platonic ideal of a peach, and maybe all fruit), which are due to arrive any minute, and which have me thinking about “The Orange,” a beautiful poem by Wendy Cope that I just love. Here it is:

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It's new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I'm glad I exist. ✨

🍑

Reading list: Gun violence in America

It’s another grim Monday in the United States. I woke up at 5:45 a.m. today after having a nightmare about guns, so I put together this list (which I’ll continue to update) of the best articles I’ve read over the past several years about gun violence and the gun industry/lobby/laws in America.

To Keep and Bear Arms, The New York Review of Books.
This is probably the best thing I’ve ever read on gun violence in the United States, because it puts the Second Amendment in linguistic and historical context, and explains all the ways it’s been perverted by lobbyists. The article is currently behind a paywall, but I happened to save the entire thing to Evernote back when I first read it, which you can access here.

The Gun Industry's Deadly Addiction, Rolling Stone.

What Bullets Do to Bodies, Highline / Huffington Post.

The Gun Control Movement Needs Its Own Pro-Life Fanatics, Gawker.

The NRA Supported Gun Control When the Black Panthers Had the Weapons, The Root.

Thou Shalt Kill, Gawker.

A Drumbeat of Multiple Shootings, but America Isn’t Listening, The New York Times.

Stop Calling Children’s Gun Deaths “Accidental”, Slate.

How Credit Cards Are Used to Finance Mass Shootings, The New York Times.

The Florida Airport Gunman Shows How Domestic Violence Predicts Mass Killing, The Cut.

America’s gun problem has everything to do with America’s masculinity problem, Quartz.

Things More Heavily Regulated Than Buying a Gun in the United States, McSweeney’s.

🕊

Just Good Shit: 08.04.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

On Friday, I turned in the first draft of my manuscript — three days early!!!! — which felt pretty good. Here’s what else I had going on…

On the blog

Reading

This week, I read Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, which Terri recommended to me ages ago. As far as works of non-fiction go, it’s very good (and is a surprisingly fast read) but it’s also incredibly upsetting and tragic. Still, I’d recommend it.

Also:

Marianne Williamson's Democratic debate performance raised eyebrows. But she's no friend of the left., NBC News.

'These kids are ticking time bombs': The threat of youth basketball and Under the knife: Exposing America's youth basketball crisis, ESPN.

To Cheat and Lie in L.A.: How the College-Admissions Scandal Ensnared the Richest Families in Southern California, Vanity Fair.
This was fascinating, infuriating, and illuminating.

The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us, The New York Times.

"I Had a Miscarriage", A Cup of Jo.
I loved this essay.

Lana Wood, Natalie’s Little Sister, Has Plenty to Say, The New York Times.

Money Talks: one spouse had student loans, the other paid it all off, The Goods / Vox.

Jia Tolentino Can’t Help But Love Fancy Skincare, Into the Gloss.

We Can’t Risk Losing to Donald Trump By Believing In Anything, McSweeny’s.

“PLOT TWIST, the world's first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!”

Best life

I’ve been living in these black bike shorts from Amazon ($32.99 for a pack of six, sizes S-3XL) this summer and I highly recommend them! (I have the size small.)

I went to Lemon’s on Friday night and really enjoyed it! It’s on the roof of the Wythe Hotel, and the drinks were great (as were the chips) and the overall vibe was so cozy. (BTW, if you want a great rooftop view of the NYC skyline, it’s probably worth it to reserve an outdoor table.)

If you love a good scam (who doesn’t???) and true crime, might I suggest American Greed? I recently rediscovered it on Hulu and was reminded why I liked it so much several years ago. It has everything you want from an hour-long true crime show, but none of the dead women.

And I don’t own this National Parks Polaroid camera, but I really wish I did!

Have a great Sunday! 🍒

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

🍑

A cute little idea for your next birthday

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

This morning I was thinking about the fact that it’s now August, aka the month of my birth, and I remembered a cute idea my friend Julia gave me a couple of years ago.

She said she uses any birthday coupons she receives (like the Madewell birthday discount, etc.) to order goodies for herself online, but she doesn’t open the packages as she receives them — instead, she waits until her birthday proper. Then on her bday, she opens these packages along with any gifts she receives in the mail from her friends/family all at once. (I learned all of this when I visited her one February, and she told me that was the reason for the big pile of unopened packages in her foyer.) So cute, right? I already do this with Christmas gifts, but I really like the idea of doing it for birthdays (and waiting to open any bday cards as well).

Speaking of birthdays, here’s a cute old Terri post you might like: 17 Fun And Different Birthday Ideas If You're Really Not Into Parties.

Anyway, it’s August, I’m finally going to get my free Drunk Elephant gift at Sephora, and I’m going to wait and start using it on my birthday next week! 🎉

🍑

Anomia is my new favorite group game

Anomia.JPG

I played a new-to-me game called Anomia ($14.39 from Amazon) for the first time with friends last weekend and I liked it so much, I ordered it for myself before I’d even left the party!

ACS_0257 (1).jpg

Here’s the high-level explanation of how it works: players take turns drawing cards; the goal is to be the first person to blurt out a word that fits the category on any other card that has the same symbol as your card does. So if you are holding a card with a yellow diamond that says “U.S. president,” and someone draws a card with a yellow diamond that says “something with wings,” then you want to shout out something with wings before the person with the other card names a U.S. president.

Anomia is mostly about concentration and creativity, and I really enjoyed it! It’s very portable (important!!!) and park-friendly, a single game goes quickly, and it’s just fun. It’s much easier to learn than Codenames (though I do love Codenames); it’s more fun than Apples to Apples; and it’s way more wholesome/SFW than Cards Against Humanity. (That said, if you do enjoy CAH, you might like Anomia X, a sold-separately version of the game that has “bad manners.”)

Per the product page, it’s for 3-6 players, ages 10+ (but there’s a kids’ version for ages 5+), and it’s possible to play it if you’re colorblind (because the colors on the cards don’t matter — only the symbols do).

Overall, it’s just incredibly low-maintenance and fun, and I’ll definitely be packing it for my family vacation next month!

Buy it from Amazon for $14.39. (There is also a “party version” that has four additional decks aka more variety for $24.) ✨

🍑

Just Good Shit: 07.28.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

It’s a light/late one this week! I didn’t have much time for Internet this week, and I spent the entire day today at Jacob Riis. (It was lovely!) Here’s what I’ve got for you…

Reading

I re-read Valley of the Dolls, as planned! And I’m currently reading The Island by Elin Hildebrand. I’m really enjoying reading so many books by a single author in a row like this…it sort of reminds me of reading The Baby-Sitters’ Club books when I was younger — like you see all the little quirks and consistencies across the books. (In Hildebrand’s case, there are a lot of Sancerres and Asiatic lilies, for starters.)


Also:

The Crane Wife, The Paris Review.
“There is nothing more humiliating to me than my own desires. Nothing that makes me hate myself more than being burdensome and less than self-sufficient. I did not want to feel like the kind of nagging woman who might exist in a sit-com.” This essay really is as good as everyone has been saying it is.

A woman's greatest enemy? A lack of time to herself, The Guardian.

“Is this guy constantly texting me after I told him not to because he ‘doesn’t understand’ boundaries or because he doesn’t care about them?”, Captain Awkward.

What Big Little Lies Got Wrong About Bonnie, The Atlantic.

Big Little Lies Is Drowning in Its Own Good Intentions About Race, Slate.

Why is everyone on Tinder so obsessed with tacos?, Vox.

Why Has Language Changed So Much So Fast? ‘Because Internet’, The New York Times.
Very excited to read this book.

Why I Always Spend 20 Minutes In The Bathroom When I Get Home, Apartment Therapy.
Terri!! 💛

Have a great Sunday! 🌊

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

🍑

Just Good Shit: 07.21.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

This week went by so fast. Here’s what I was up to…

On the blog

Writing

The second installment of my SELF column is up! You can read it here: The Art of Saying No to Invites When You REALLY Don't Want to Do Something.

Reading

This week, I read The Rumor and Beautiful Day, both by Elin Hilderbrand. (I liked The Rumor a lot/better than Beautiful Day.)

Also:

It Was Never About Busing, The New York Times.


“No, black kids should not have to leave their neighborhoods to attend a quality school, or sit next to white students to get a quality education. But we cannot be naïve about how this country works. To this day, according to data collected from the Education Department, the whiter the school, the more resources it has. We cannot forget that so many school desegregation lawsuits started with attempts by black parents to simply get equal resources for black schools. Parents demanded integration only after they realized that in a country that does not value black children the same as white ones, black children will never get what white children get unless they sit where white children sit.”


If you read one thing this week, make it this Nikole Hannah-Jones article. (There is also an episode of The Daily about it.)

Confronting the Reality of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's Alleged Co-Abuser, Jezebel.

The Explicit Embrace of Racism Is Next, Splinter.
“It is easy to mock this all as hand-wringing over window dressing, given the fact that racism itself has been persisting just fine for all these years. But the public expectation that even racists would act as if they thought racism was bad had value: it was a sign that they thought that the weight of public opinion was on the other side.”

FaceApp Is Everyone’s Problem, The Atlantic.

I found your data. It’s for sale., Washington Post.

The Rise of the Spice Girls Generation, The New York Times.
This is delightful.

The Best Sex Ed I Ever Got Was From Queer YouTubers, Man Repeller.

Orange is the New Black Made TV—and Me—Gay, TIME.

Birthday Blues Bulletin Board: Advice + Open Thread, Captain Awkward.
I love so much about this post, especially this: “‘How did you grow up celebrating birthdays?’ and ‘If you could celebrate any way you want, what would you most like to do?’ are two questions that can get a discussion rolling.” And also this: “If you want a Big Deal made about your birthday, it’s almost certainly up to you to make it (or explicitly tell people close to you what a Big Deal looks like to you and that you’d specifically like one).”

Have a great Sunday! 🍉

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

🍑

Just good summer reading

Close-up photo of the novel  Valley of the Dolls  being read on the beach

When I think about the best summer reading, I think of really entertaining books that you’ll enjoy enough to want to binge read (see also: this great NYT article). But I don’t think they have to be pure fluff! To me, a great summer read should feel less like eating a ton of candy, and more like eating a delicious meal made up of of assorted dips, juicy fruits, delicious crostini, a couple of amazing pasta salads, some great Trader Joe’s appetizers, and sparkling water. It’s satisfying and filling (even if/when it’s light), and consuming it brings real pleasure.

So with that in mind, here are some of my favorites!

Fiction

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

I haven’t read this book in a few years, but it’s one I think of as best in class when it comes to light summer reads. Reading it feels like watching a great Nancy Meyers movie; it’s entertaining and goes down smoothly and easily.

Buy it for $9.70+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound.

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Every summer, I get what can only be described as a craving to read Valley of the Dolls. The book is pure camp and I love it. It also has one of the best elements of a great summer novel: rich people and their rich people problems. I might actually start reading it again tonight because it’s been a few years!

Buy it for $7.99+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound.

The Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante

When I think about these four books — My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child — I just feel such genuine fondness and appreciation for them. (By the way, I actually didn’t really get into My Brilliant Friend until the last few chapters, but then I was all in.)

Buy My Brilliant Friend for $9.32+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginedes

The first time I finished Middlesex, I felt like I'd just read a memoir, not a work of fiction. It’s one of my all-time faves. Also, I had heard the audiobook was better than the book itself, which I found preposterous but…the audiobook is truly excellent.

Buy it for $9.99+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound.

In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar

This was one of my favorite books of 2015, and reminded me just how good short story collections can be. (Also, short story collections feel very summery to me and I don’t know why.)

Buy it from Amazon for $5.10+ or find it at a local bookstore on IndieBound.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Most of this book takes place in the summer and it has loads of “classic novel you read on summer break between junior and senior years” energy.

Buy it for $10.80+ from Amazon or find it at a local bookstore on IndieBound.

A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand

I went back and forth on including this one because I think it’s fluffier than most of my other picks…but I also really enjoyed it (and The Rumor and Beautiful Day, two other Elin Hilderbrand novels I’ve finished this week) and I think Hilderband is so good at what she does that it’s worth your consideration!

Buy it for $7.99+ from Amazon or find it at a local bookstore on IndieBound.

Non-fiction

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

I’ve read almost all of David Sedaris’s books, but Me Talk Pretty One Day is probably my all-time favorite; I think it has the highest concentration of David Sedaris lines/anecdotes that I think about a lot. Also: the audiobook version (which David Sedaris narrates) is fantastic — so good for road trips.

Buy it for $10.38+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

It took more than one recommendation from Terri for me to finally read this book, but once I did, I had to admit: it’s amazing. Like, couldn’t put it down amazing; I’m happy to report I’m now a James Garfield stan.

Buy it for $12.99+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyou

By now, you’ve surely watched or listened to or read something about Elizabeth Holmes, but this book is the OG for a reason. It’s gripping (and way better than the podcasts or documentaries have been) and totally worth it.

Buy it for $12.13+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

This book reads like a novel and, despite being about the Civil War, is a bit lighter than you might expect (while still being very informative). If you’re the kind of person who’d prefer to spend their summer vacation taking trips to Gettysburg and the like, this one’s for you.

Buy it for $11.99+ from Amazon or find it at local bookstore on IndieBound. 📚


🍑