Mighty Life List
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I originally made the kits because I couldn’t find a pre-stocked advent set anywhere, and I was buying too many things in bulk just to get the one cool thing I wanted.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!

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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.”

nadiapussyproject

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.”

artipussyproject
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.

Oct 26 2016

Halloween Costume Basics for Babies Toddlers

I spent way too long looking for base pieces in multiple colors that make a good starting point for homemade baby or toddler costumes. These are all available via Amazon Prime, so you can still get them in time without fitting in a run to the store. Here you go:

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A baby pilot cap in BLACK for $10. Boom. In 6 months size, they also have blue, yellow, and pink. The nice thing about these is if you pin costume embellishments to them, you can reuse.

basiconesiecostumetoddler

If you need a shirt, it’s cheaper to just order a pack of long-sleeved onesies. I’ll use the rest of the colors anyway. These are $16 for four, and come in a bunch of colors: red, black, brown, blue onesies, and tan, purple, pink, navy onesies.

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Leveret baby leggings also come in a zillion solid colors, which supposedly match this brand’s onesies, according to a few reviews, but ymmv. Two for $12.

If reusing the costume as clothes is a main goal, consider Primaries, which are just solid-colored kids clothes in every color. Great quality. It’s most of Ozzy’s wardrobe.

Happy Halloween, guys!

Oct 19 2016

Nasty Woman T-Shirts

The debate made me feel panicky and furious. And so we registered I’m With Nasty.

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We made Nasty Woman T-shirts,

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and Nasty Hats,

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and Such a Nasty Woman pins,

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and Make America Nasty pins (Michelle’s idea, because she’s a genius).

50% of profits go to the Hillary for America campaign. We’re paying rush fees to get them to you as soon as we can. Let’s fight this man who thinks no one respects women… more than him.

America, I’m with Nasty.

Oct 14 2016

Spiced Pumpkin Rum Toddy

pumpkinspiced

You’re warm, you’re cozy, you need to stand up more slowly from your chair. You can’t really tell these have booze in them, so pace yourself.

• Good Earth Original Sweet and Spicy Tea
• Kraken Rum
• Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage

Brew a half-mug of tea, add a shot of rum, top off with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage. It’s not an exact science but you can’t really go wrong here.

Here’s to the smell of dirt under the leaves you waited too long to rake, oversize cable-knit sweaters with sleeves you can pull your hands up inside, rain beads on the window.

This is my 20th cocktail toward my Life List goal to create 100 cocktails. A fifth of the way there baby.