Mighty Life List
Dec 1 2016

Pinkies Up! Tea Gift Ideas

Tea keeps your hands warm, and your worries at bay. Let’s get all cozy.

soriyanagikettle

Sori Yanagi Stainless Steel Kettle, $78
I bought this a few months ago, and it’s one of my favorite things. The handle feels beautiful when you lift it, it’s not heavy when it’s full, and the lid is loose enough that you can keep your hands away from the steam when you lift it for a refill.

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iNeibo Tea Infuser, $8

kitchencannister

Matte Grey Kitchen Canister, $20 on Letliv
Pretty for storing loose-leaf tea on the counter. Or weed, if you live in one of the seven hippie states.

friendcup

Friend Mug, $28 on Aurelie Dorard
Hi, little guy. Handmade in France.

oxoteakettle

OXO Good Grips Anniversary Edition Uplift Tea Kettle, $80
Cork handle is so genius. Plus, when you lift the handle of this kettle, it triggers a lever that moves the whistle so you can pour.

kusmiteacollection

Kusmi Tea Collection, $105 on Amazon
Kusmi tea tins are gorgeous, I save all of mine. This sampler set contains fifteen mini-tins, and the tea is very good quality. If you’re looking for a more modest gift, consider their tins of Prince Vladmir black tea ($18), or Rose Green Tea ($18).

glasstumbler

Takeya Double-Wall Glass Tea Tumbler, $20 on Amazon
If your tea person drinks whole-leaf tea, half the point is watching the leaves unfurl.

tearobot

Robot Hanging Tea Leaf Infuser Strainer, $7
Tea robot. Crucial.

Gifts are my thing. If you’re looking for more, here’s my gift board, which will likely have these items pinned to the top.

Nov 25 2016

Shop Blue, the Democrats’ Gift Guide

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I just launched Shop Blue, a gift guide for Democrats.

Shop Blue features product listings from stores owned by Democrats who are women, religious and ethnic minorities, or members of the LGBTQ community. Those are the folks I feel will be most negatively affected by a Trump presidency, and I’d like to do what I can to support them.

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Thanks to those of you who submitted stores to me via Facebook or Twitter. If you’d like to submit more stores for consideration, you can do that below, or email direct to info@shopblue.us.

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There’s only a handful of products listed now because I wanted to get it up in time for Black Friday, but there will be lots more in the coming days and weeks. So send me more shops you love!

If you’d like to, please share the site with friends, or on your social media channels. Every purchase helps support someone who thinks the United States should be a safer, more just country. We’re together in this.

Nov 22 2016

Pre-Filled Advent Calendars for 2016

Advent calendar roundup! Nine days until we get festive AF.

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Advent Calendar Kit Mini Cards, $12
I’m so glad someone finally did this. Advent calendar cards inscribed with 24 holiday activities, for those of you who prefer the ice rink to the mall.

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Advent Grab Bag, $35
Nostalgic toys that are as much fun for grownups as kiddos, with 20 percent of profits going to IntraHealth. (As you likely already know, we make these. Which is why they’re so awesome.)

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Scandinavian Specialty Coffee Advent Calendar, $150
Twenty-four advent packages of single origin specialty coffee, roasted to order. Holiday stamina in a box.

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Susanne Kaufmann Advent Calendar, $178
A beautiful Advent calendar filled with various bath and body products to try.

whiskyadvent
The Whiskey Advent Calendar, $156
They Whiskey Advent folks expanded their line to include gin and vodka offerings as well, so stock up on mixers.

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24 days of tea, $40
A new cup of tea every day while you wrap presents.

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The Beauty Advent Calendar, $76
Includes skincare, makeup and hair care. A scattershot option for pleasing teens who like to point out that you bought the wrong brand.

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Wine Advent Calendar, $129
A glass of wine every night. You win Christmas.

Nov 4 2016

In Praise of Stuff

I was all up in the Kon Mari thing last year, but these are the questions I ask myself now about stuff:

• Would I buy this again today?

• If I threw this away, would I need to spend money I don’t have right now to replace it with something better?

For me, those are better decluttering questions than “Does this spark joy?” Because if you’re not going through a joyful period, but you’re feeling industrious, you can find yourself in an echoey room with no couch. I may not feel joyful about my couch, but I need to sit down, and I don’t have a spare thousand dollars in my account.

Yes. I’ll sometimes buy subpar things because I need them. Then I just tell myself “Well, if I find the perfect, most beautiful tablespoon measures later, ones that make me feel like dancing in the rain, and I can afford them, I’ll get those and give these to someone else. But tonight I am baking cookies.”

I don’t need less stuff to be happy. I just maybe need to mop more.

Nov 3 2016

Advent Grab Bags at The Secret Cake Society

Look! A lovely thing that heralds carefree times!

We just finished packaging our Advent Grab Bags, $35, which means they’re finally ready to order. This is the fourth year we’ve made these kits, which are tiny Santa bags with a blindfold included. Every night, you or your kiddo can reach in for something that will make you happy about childhood.

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I originally made the kits because I couldn’t find a pre-stocked advent set anywhere, and I was buying too many things in bulk just to get the one cool thing I wanted. Hank looks forward to them every year, and each toy was selected for maximum fun. So in my opinion, there’s no dumb stuff.

Just like last year, 20 percent of proceeds go to IntraHealth International. We hope to donate enough for a one-year training scholarship for two nurses. Those nurses go to a community that doesn’t have enough access to health workers, so you’re doing a good thing with your purchase.

Also!

Last year, several of you requested stocking stuffers. This is an excellent suggestion, so we put together a set of those too.

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Picking the toys was very, very fun, and we ended up with a set of Stocking Stuffers for Little Kids, $56, and Stocking Stuffers for Big Kids, $56.

And finally, I saw too many Jewish friends buying kits for love. You sweeties. I know you guys were repackaging those, and I had guilt. So!

hanukkah_grande

We made Hooray for Hanukkah! Gift Bags, $46. Aren’t they so cute? Worth it for the gelt-tasting party alone.

We also made a real, live shop to house everything called The Secret Cake Society. It’s named after the kids’ club at our wedding, which I’ll tell you about next week, because it was awesome.

In the meantime, go check out what’s inside the bags, and get your holidays all tidied up before the crazy sets in.

Nov 1 2016

Taking Stock for October

Pip posted a new taking stock list, and it hit me just right. She included a blank list so we can play along:

Making : So much! As you know, I’ve been doing a lot of election projects. We sold out of most of our I’m With Nasty merchandise, and made a $2K donation to Hillary. And I edited the interviews for Helena’s The Pussy Project. Man, I’ve missed editing.

Cooking : Brad is allergic to eggs, so in the mornings, I fry some onions, garlic, tomato, basil, and ground turkey or beef to make a meat scramble. It’s really good, and easy for the toddler to eat. We call it Beefy Crumbles, and there’s a little song to go along.

Drinking : I just restocked my tea pantry, and it feels so lux, ahhhhhhh. Right now, I’m doing an experiment to see whether I want to stick with my regular Earl Grey, or start brewing a pot of black tea and adding drops of Bergamot oil to taste. Are you on the edge of your seats, my bookish friends?

Reading: I’m skipping between three books written by friends, Grace Bonney’s In the Company of Women, Luvvie Ajayi’s I’m Judging You, and Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy. Also, just started on The Paris Wife, which one of you recommended, so thank you!

Trawling: Sites of people I like and admire, like Tina Roth Eisenberg, Jessica Hische, and of course Pip. This joint needs a redesign like whoa. And speaking of work I admire, I’m officially a patron of Kottke.org.

Wanting: Colorful clothes. I finally have time to be interested in clothes again, but most things in the closet are residual pregnancy and postpartum clothes, which means grey and stretchy. They don’t put nearly enough of the “ho” in “ho-hum.”

Looking: At this baby. All day every day. You know that thing where your kid gets old enough to walk without danger of falling, and you tilt your head up for the first time in years? We’re not there yet.

Deciding: What to make for Thanksgiving. I’m still perfecting my forever menu, but this sweet potato recipe is incredible. Also, I’ll take a ham over a turkey any day. That bird is such a pain in my ass.

Wishing: I could spend the night in a bookstore. Can I spend the night in your bookstore?

Enjoying: Our new glass house. Once a week or so, we all bunk in the one enormous room with lofted beds, and everything gets so quiet calm when the kids go to sleep, and you can even hear them breathing, and then when Ozzy burbles around 6:30 and we all pile into one bed and doze all mushed up together until the sun fills the room. I wish we were there now.

I need some sleep, so I’m skipping the rest of the list, but if you’d like to do it, leave yours or a link to yours in the comments. Full list on Pip’s site.

Nov 1 2016

The Pussy Project

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I’ve spent the last couple of weeks editing the interviews for Helena Price’s political series The Pussy Project. It’s fifty interviews with women who support Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

I’m so proud of the results, especially because the perfectionist in me was yelling “too fast! too fast!” while we worked. Here are excerpts from a few of my favorites, and links to each woman’s full interview:

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Lydia, 25
Software Engineer
Florida

“Hillary is being judged on the small number of mistakes she’s made gaining decades of experience, while her opponent is being judged on his potential despite no experience at all. It’s the same struggle women put up with every day. Our demonstrable experience is deemed less valuable than the unproven potential of a man.”

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Nadia, 31
Social Media Director
New York

“Because of this election, we’re talking about how we view women in power; we’re talking about the double standard; we’re talking about men interrupting women; we’re talking about so many problems that usually have a pink fence around them.”

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Arti, 35
Product Manager
Illinois

“I’ve served in the U.S. Army. I am a daughter of Indian immigrants. And I’ve been asked ‘what terrorist country are you from’ while walking down the street with my family.”

dianapussyproject
Diana, 30
Designer/Veteran
Texas

“I joined the Marines out of high school. I went to war. I voted to re-elect President Bush so he could “finish what he started.” That little bit of anger that started on 9/11 was a part of me now, and I wanted someone or something to pay.”

“Mr. Trump is one man with his views. I’m more concerned about his many supporters who have helped pave the way to his rise, particularly those who take his view of the world to the extreme.”

abbypussyproject
Abby, 25
Data Analyst
El Salvador/Utah

“My mom always had two or three jobs just to get me into a good school, and my dad worked from morning until night so that my brother could do sports in school, and I could be involved in after-school programs. Also so they could buy all the American Girl books I loved — I have always considered myself an American girl, I’ve never had another home-country.”

“Some of my earliest memories were with my parents, while they cleaned for businesses after they got home from their second or third jobs. I don’t believe they slept very much.”

More good interviews:

Evany
Alexandra
Darby
Emily
Michelle
Meghan
Rachel

If you’re having rough feelings about how things are going down politically, consider doing a little work toward the outcome you want to see. This project has made me feel better about this election than I have to this point.

Here’s to the first woman president of the United States of America.