Shared posts

19 Dec 19:00

How to Make Friends

No, wait, come back! I want to be friends at you!
02 Nov 11:52

Political scientists warn: American democracy is in decline

by Jason Kottke

Sean Illing reports on a recent gathering of political scientists at Yale where some alarm bells were going off about the state of democracy in the United States.

On October 6, some of America’s top political scientists gathered at Yale University to answer these questions. And nearly everyone agreed: American democracy is eroding on multiple fronts — socially, culturally, and economically.

The scholars pointed to breakdowns in social cohesion (meaning citizens are more fragmented than ever), the rise of tribalism, the erosion of democratic norms such as a commitment to rule of law, and a loss of faith in the electoral and economic systems as clear signs of democratic erosion.

Illing highlighted a talk by Timothy Snyder as one of the most interesting of the gathering:

Strangely enough, Snyder talked about time as a kind of political construct. (I know that sounds weird, but bear with me.) His thesis was that you can tell a lot about the health of a democracy based on how its leaders - and citizens - orient themselves in time.

Take Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. The slogan itself invokes a nostalgia for a bygone era that Trump voters believe was better than today and better than their imagined future. By speaking in this way, Snyder says, Trump is rejecting conventional politics in a subtle but significant way.

Why, after all, do we strive for better policies today? Presumably it’s so that our lives can be improved tomorrow. But Trump reverses this. He anchors his discourse to a mythological past, so that voters are thinking less about the future and more about what they think they lost.

“Trump isn’t after success — he’s after failure,” Snyder argued. By that, he means that Trump isn’t after what we’d typically consider success — passing good legislation that improves the lives of voters. Instead, Trump has defined the problems in such a way that they can’t be solved. We can’t be young again. We can’t go backward in time. We can’t relive some lost golden age. So these voters are condemned to perpetual disappointment.

The counterargument is that Trump’s idealization of the past is, in its own way, an expression of a desire for a better future. If you’re a Trump voter, restoring some lost version of America or revamping trade policies or rebuilding the military is a way to create a better tomorrow based on a model from the past.

For Snyder, though, that’s not really the point. The point is that Trump’s nostalgia is a tactic designed to distract voters from the absence of serious solutions. Trump may not be an authoritarian, Snyder warns, but this is something authoritarians typically do. They need the public to be angry, resentful, and focused on problems that can’t be remedied.

Snyder calls this approach “the politics of eternity,” and he believes it’s a common sign of democratic backsliding because it tends to work only after society has fallen into disorder.

Snyder is the author of this list of lessons from the 20th century on how to fight authoritarianism, which he turned into a book, On Tyranny.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

Tags: politics   Sean Illing   Timothy Snyder   USA
02 Nov 11:49

Egg-in-a-Hole for You and Your Spawn

by J. Kenji López-Alt
Amber

rotating_light world's cutest breakfast alert rotating_light


Teeny-tiny portions of food are about as cute as baby teeth are sharp (that is to say, very). This egg and toast dish is probably the cutest breakfast you can make, and it'll feed a baby and a parent with just one slice of toast. Read More
26 Oct 18:16

Amy Sedaris' New Cooking Show Is Delightfully Weird — Food TV

by Claire Margine
Amber

So! Good!

Are you tired of watching lifestyle shows that don't feature raccoon accountants and advice on how to stab a baked potato "like a hairdresser who gave you bad bangs"? Have you been looking for a spa-related use for an old stocking full of oatmeal, or wonderd how to transform a stool into a spinach strainer?

If standard cooking and lifestyle shows aren't cutting it for your particular needs, Amy Sedaris is the domestic goddess for you. Her new show, At Home with Amy Sedaris, is a natural extension of the upbeat, outrageous, and wantonly kitschy lifestyle that Sedaris reveals in her two books, I Like You and Simple Crafts for Poor People.

READ MORE »

14 Sep 15:54

Downsizing

by Jason Kottke
Amber

Definitely want to see this!

Director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways) is coming out with his latest film in December. Downsizing, which stars Kristin Wiig, Matt Damon, and Christoph Waltz, is about a world where humans are able to shrink themselves down to five inches tall.

When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.

I’ve been waiting on this one since posting about nano sapiens last year:

When humans get smaller, the world and its resources get bigger. We’d live in smaller houses, drive smaller cars that use less gas, eat less food, etc. It wouldn’t even take much to realize gains from a Honey, I Shrunk Humanity scheme: because of scaling laws, a height/weight proportional human maxing out at 3 feet tall would not use half the resources of a 6-foot human but would use somewhere between 1/4 and 1/8 of the resources, depending on whether the resource varied with volume or surface area. Six-inch-tall humans would potentially use 1728 times fewer resources.

I’m sure the movie skews more toward a generic fish-out-of-water tale rather than addressing the particular pros and cons of shrinking people down to the size of hamsters (e.g. cutting human life span by orders of magnitude), but I will still be first in line to see this one.

Tags: Alexander Payne   Downsizing   movies   trailers   video
13 Sep 11:45

The first ever sketch of Wonder Woman

by Jason Kottke

Original Wonder Woman

This is the first ever sketch of Wonder Woman by H.G. Peter from 1941. On the drawing, Peter wrote:

Dear Dr. Marston, I slapped these two out in a hurry. The eagle is tough to handle — when in perspective or in profile, he doesn’t show up clearly — the shoes look like a stenographer’s. I think the idea might be incorporated as a sort of Roman contraption. Peter

The Wonder Woman character was conceived by William Moulton Marston, who based her on his wife Elizabeth Marston and his partner Olive Byrne. (Reading between the lines about WW’s creation, you get the sense that Elizabeth deserves at least some credit for genesis of the character as well.) On the same drawing, Marston wrote back to Peter:

Dear Pete — I think the gal with hand up is very cute. I like her skirt, legs, hair. Bracelets okay + boots. These probably will work out. See other suggestions enclosed. No on these + stripes — red + white. With eagle’s wings above or below breasts as per enclosed? Leave it to you. Don’t we have to put a red stripe around her waist as belt? I thought Gaines wanted it — don’t remember. Circlet will have to go higher — more like crown — see suggestions enclosed. See you Wednesday morning - WMM.

From Wikipedia:

Wonder Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Moulton), and artist Harry G. Peter. Olive Byrne, Marston’s lover, and his wife, Elizabeth, are credited as being his inspiration for the character’s appearance. Marston drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, and especially from birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger; in particular, her piece “Woman and the New Race”. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941 and first cover-dated on Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986.

William, Elizabeth, Olive seemed like really interesting people. They lived together in a polyamorous relationship (which I imagine was fairly unusual for the 1940s) and William & Elizabeth worked together on inventing the systolic blood pressure test, which became a key component in the later invention of the polygraph test. Olive was a former student of William’s and became his research assistant, likely helping him with much of his work without credit.

Update: The upcoming film Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a biographical drama about the lives of William, Elizabeth, and Olive. Here’s a trailer:

The Imaginary Worlds podcast also had an episode on the genesis of Wonder Woman (featuring New Yorker writer Jill Lepore, who wrote The Secret History of Wonder Woman):

(via @ironicsans & warren)

Tags: art   comics   Elizabeth Marston   feminism   H.G. Peter   Jill Lepore   movies   Olive Byrne   Professor Marston and the Wonder Women   William Moulton Marston   Wonder Woman
05 Sep 15:43

Hey Ladies! the book

by Jason Kottke
Amber

@Charity!

The Hey Ladies! column from The Toast is coming out in book form in May 2018 (pre-order here).

Based on the column of the same name that appeared in The Toast, Hey Ladies! is a laugh-out-loud read that follows a fictitious group of eight 20-and-30-something female friends for one year of holidays, summer house rentals, dates, brunches, breakups, and, of course, the planning of a disastrous wedding. This instantly relatable story is told entirely through emails, texts, DMs, and every other form of communication known to man.

From the column, here’s some Friendsgiving planning:

In terms of NBT aka night before thanksgiving AKA thanksgiving eve, i’m sorry to say that I won’t be here. My dad bought me a flight home (yay daddy’s girl forever haha!) and I’m leaving Monday. I saw a post on Buzzfeed about doing a friendsgiving? Is anyone interested in this? was thinking we could skip the food and just go out for tequila shots? hahah I love the holidays!

I also don’t know if anyone recalls but I will NOT be going out the night before tgiving in my hometown and that is mostly because I do not want to run the risk of seeing Jacob, my high school ex. I keyed his car in 2001 and I’m almost positive he knows it was me. What’s the statute of limitations on a crime like that? I’ve been listening to too much Serial.

Oddly, both the Times and the New Yorker have run knockoff “Hey Ladies!” pieces in the past couple of months. Not so cool.

Tags: books   Hey Ladies
15 Aug 16:14

Hilarious recipe videos in the style of famous directors

by Jason Kottke

David Ma is a food artist and director who recently made a series of four short recipe videos in the style of famous directors. There’s spaghetti and meatballs a la Quentin Tarantino (my favorite):

S’mores in the style of Wes Anderson:

What if Michael Bay made waffles?

And finally, here’s a pancake recipe in the style of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity:

Hopefully round 2 of Ma’s project will include the likes of Sofia Coppola, Ava DuVernay, Spike Lee, or Yimou Zhang.

Tags: Alfonso Cuaron   David Ma   Michael Bay   movies   Quentin Tarantino   remix   video   Wes Anderson
28 Jul 17:38

Pablo Escobar’s hippos

by Jason Kottke

At the height of his power and wealth in the 1980s, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was one of the richest men in the world. On one of his many properties, Escobar built a private zoo, complete with animals from around the world, including zebras, rhinos, ostriches, and hippos.

As Escobar’s power waned and he was eventually killed, the animals in his zoo were transferred to proper zoos…except for four hippos that escaped into the wilderness. Nature did its thing and now the Colombian wild hippo population stands at nearly 40 and could rise to 100 in the next decade.

Tags: biology   Pablo Escobar   video
21 Jul 12:05

How to safely enjoy the 2017 solar eclipse, a buyer’s guide for normal people

by Jason Kottke

Solar Eclipse Illo

On August 21, 2017 across the entire United States, the Moon will move in front of the Sun, partially blocking it from our view. For those on the path of totality, the Moon will entirely block out the Sun for more than 2 minutes. I’ve been looking forward to seeing a total solar eclipse since I was a little kid, so I’ve been doing a lot of research on what to buy to enjoy the eclipse safely. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

I’ve oriented this guide toward the enthusiastic beginner, someone who’s excited about experiencing the wonder of the eclipse with their friends & family but isn’t interested in expensive specialty gear or photography (like me!). And, again, since you will be able to see this eclipse from everywhere in North America to some degree, this guide applies to anyone in the US/Canada/Mexico.

In planning for eclipse viewing, please check out NASA’s safety notes for more information. Make sure that whatever you buy, it’s properly rated for naked eye solar viewing. Looking directly at the Sun without a proper filter can cause permanent damage, particularly through binoculars, a camera lens, or a telescope.

Note: If you’re going to get eclipse supplies, now is the time. Some of this stuff will probably be very difficult to find (or very expensive) as we approach August 21 — for instance, shipping estimates on Amazon for some of the glasses are mid-August already.

Solar Glasses

Solar eclipse glasses are essential. Right up until the Sun goes completely behind the Moon (if you’re on the path of totality), you will want to look at the crescent-shaped Sun and you’ll need certified safety glasses to do so. Regular sunglasses will not work! Do not even. A 10-pack of glasses with cardboard frames is only $16. For something a little sturdier, go with glasses with plastic frames like this 3-pack for $15. If those choices aren’t available, there are dozens of options…find some in stock that ship soon. Note: If you have young kids, splurge for the plastic framed glasses…my testing indicates the cardboard ones don’t stay on smaller heads that well.

Make a pinhole viewer. A pinhole viewer will let you see the shape of the eclipsed Sun without having to look directly at it. This Exploratorium guide should get you started. All you need in terms of supplies you probably have lying around at home: aluminum foil, paper, cardboard, etc. I suspect Kelli Anderson’s This Book is a Camera ($27) might also work if you play with the exposure times?

Apply good sunscreen. You’ve got your eye protection down, now for the rest of yourself. The eclipse is happening in the middle of the day in much of the country, in what you hope will be complete sunshine, so bring some sunscreen. The Sweethome recommends this SPF 70 Coppertone for $9. Wear a cap. Stay in the shade. Bonus for shading yourself under trees: the gaps between the leaves will form little pinhole lenses and you’ll see really cool patterns:

Solar Eclipse Leaves

A nice pair of binoculars. If you’re in the path of totality, you might want a pair of binoculars to look more closely at the totally eclipsed Sun (after checking that it’s safe!!). I’m guessing you don’t want to buy a pair of specialty astronomy binoculars, so the best binoculars are probably ones you already own. If you don’t already have a pair, The Wirecutter recommends the Midas 8 x 42 binoculars by Athlon Optics ($290) with the Carson VP 8x42mm ($144) as a budget pick. (For solar filter options, see below.)

A solar filter for your camera. If you have a camera, they might make a solar filter for whatever lens you want to use. Hydrogen alpha filters will allow you to see the most detail — “crazy prominences and what-not” in the words of a photography pal of mine — but are also pretty expensive. Better option for the casual photographer are adjustable lens filters or these cardboard lens covers: 70mm solar filter ($17) and 50mm solar filter ($13). Or you can buy solar filter sheets ($29) to make your own lens coverings for your camera, binoculars, or telescope. Quality will likely not be fantastic, but you’ll get something. Safety warning: place any filters in front of lenses or it can burn a hole in the filter (and then into your eye); i.e. don’t use binoculars in front of safety glasses!!

Note for budding solar photographers: Shooting the eclipse will be challenging. First there’s too much light and you’ll need a filter. Then when totality occurs, you’ll be in the dark needing a tripod and a fast lens. Plan accordingly…or leave it all at home and look at the thousands of photos taken by pro photographers after the fact.

Ok, that’s it. Have a good eclipse and stay safe!

Update: I removed a reference to the plastic-rimmed safety glasses I ordered because the image has changed on this item since I ordered them and published this guide…it’s now a wire-rimmed pair of glasses. I would recommend getting something else (like these or these) instead, just to be safe. (thx, @kahnnn)

Update: NASA has been alerted that some of the paper glasses being sold are not safe for viewing the eclipse. When buying, look for the ISO icon (referencing 12312-2) and for glasses made by these recommended manufacturers: American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, or TSE 17. The paper glasses I link to in this guide are safe…they have the ISO symbol and are made by American Paper Optics. (via @ebellm)

Tags: 2017 solar eclipse   astronomy   photography   science   Sun
21 Jun 17:10

Want Juicier Tomatoes? Store Them Upside Down

by J. Kenji López-Alt
Amber

food science is weird.


Our tests have already shown that with very ripe tomatoes you intend to eat a few days down the line, the refrigerator is actually your best storage option (so long as you let them come to room temperature before serving). But did you know that the position in which you store those tomatoes can also have an impact? Read More
20 Jun 17:00

Robots dreaming of flowery dinosaurs

by Jason Kottke
Amber

I need a print of this first one for my house!

Chris Rodley

Chris Rodley

Chris Rodley (who is also partially responsible for @MagicRealismBot) is using deep learning (aka artificial intelligence aka machine learning aka what do these things even mean anymore) to cross illustrations of dinosaurs with illustrations of flowers and 19th-century fruit engravings. All your favorites are here: tricherrytops, velocirapple, tree rex, pomme de pterodactyl, frondasaurus, stegosaurose, tuliplodocus. (via @robinsloan)

Tags: artificial intelligence   Chris Rodley   dinosaurs   food   remix
18 Jun 20:55

NASA’s super accurate map of the 2017 eclipse

by Jason Kottke

Using data about the Moon’s terrain from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as well as elevation data on Earth, NASA’s Ernie Wright created a very accurate map of where and when the August 2017 eclipse will occur in the United States.

Standing at the edge of the moon’s shadow, or umbra, the difference between seeing a total eclipse and a partial eclipse comes down to elevation — mountains and valleys both on Earth and on the moon — which affect where the shadow lands. In this visualization, data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter account for the moon’s terrain that creates a jagged edge on its shadow. This data is then combined with elevation data on Earth as well as information on the sun angle to create the most accurate map of the eclipse path to date.

You can download maps of your area from NASA’s official eclipse website…I will be studying the Nebraska map closely.

Nebraska Eclipse Map

See also Eclipse Megamovie 2017, an eclipse simulator you can use to check what the eclipse will look like in the sky in your area, and what looks like an amazing eclipse watching festival put on by Atlas Obscura.

Tags: 2017 solar eclipse   astronomy   Ernie Wright   maps   Moon   NASA   Sun   USA
15 Jun 14:24

Seven helpful tips on how to be miserable

by Jason Kottke
Amber

guilty x7.

The internet is chock full of articles and videos on how to be happier. But why chase happiness when making yourself miserable is so much easier? In this video, CGP Grey shares seven tactics to maximize your misery:

1. Stay still.
2. Screw with your sleep.
3. Maximize your screentime.
4. Use your screen to stoke your negative emotions.
5. Set vapid goals.
6. Pursue happiness directly.
7. Follow your instincts.

The video is based on Randy Paterson’s recent book, How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use.

Tags: how to   lists   video
15 Jun 13:27

How to apologize properly

by Jason Kottke

Apologizing is as simple as saying “I’m sorry”, right? Well, not quite. In a piece by Katie Heaney for Science of Us, here are the six components of an apology from Beth Polin:

1. An expression of regret — this, usually, is the actual “I’m sorry.”
2. An explanation (but, importantly, not a justification).
3. An acknowledgment of responsibility.
4. A declaration of repentance.
5. An offer of repair.
6. A request for forgiveness.

So no ifs or buts — “I’m sorry if you were offended” is not an apology. Neither is “I’m sorry we missed our appointment but I had to drop off my dry cleaning on the way” or any other statement that’s actually just a counterargument to an accusation of fault. Don’t use the passive voice either: “mistakes were made” is a classic non-apology.

In my experience, a particularly critical component to apologizing is the “this won’t happen again” part. When you do something repeatedly and apologize each time, those are not really apologies. If you do this, you’re pretty clearly acknowledging that your relationship to the person you’re “apologizing” to is not as important to you as the behavior in question. Either stop apologizing for your behavior or work on changing it.

Tags: Beth Polin   how to   Katie Heaney   lists
09 Jun 12:45

Homemade Tarragon Soda

Amber

tarragon soda + gin!!

Not everyone loves tarragon, but I do. When you steep sprigs of it, take a deep breath over the sauce pan, its like falling into a cloud of anise, and fennel, and green-ish black licorice, if there was such a thing. So, I buy it. Not as often as chives or basil, but more often than parsley, which I purchase just about never. So, I noticed the remnants of a small bunch of tarragon was starting the slide towards the compost bin the other day, and instead of letting it go I made a quick tarragon syrup. A tiny splash in sparkling water with a squeeze of lime or grapefruit makes a favorite not-too-sweet afternoon soda. I'll post that recipe down below. But, you can also build on the general idea. Add some coins of smashed ginger along with the tarragon to steep in your simple syrup, and you've got a bit of spicy kick to play off the tarragon notes. Other ideas? Drizzle a thread of the tarragon syrup across goat cheese or strained yogurt on a cheese plate. Or over ricotta. It plays well with citrus, so you could do a little drizzle across your oatmeal (or baked oatmeal), and then add a good amount of lemon or orange zest. Or drizzle it over broiled grapefruit halves. Or use it to sweeten your lemon/ limeade this summer. I sometimes add a tiny hint to the bottom of my espresso cup in the morning before Wayne pulls a shot for me - it adds that je ne sais quoi. I'm just going to keep going. The smallest splash in a glass with a sprig of fresh tarragon before pouring a glass of prosecco is fragrant and nice. You can do an "adult soda" with a splash of gin. Or use the syrup in a sorbet. You get the idea. Use the syrup to make a soda like this, and experiment with the leftover syrup. And let me know if you stumble on any favorite uses! xo-h

Homemade Tarragon Soda
Homemade Tarragon Soda
Homemade Tarragon Soda

Continue reading Homemade Tarragon Soda...
23 May 13:07

My Breakthrough: Impostor Syndrome Was Never the Problem

by Meg Keene
Amber

"The problem isn’t exactly imposter syndrome. The problem is our instinct to dismiss women when they’re still just learning, and then to write them off more permanently when they’ve grown into themselves."

apw-squarespace

The first quarter of this year at work was something I’d maybe describe as a tornado-shit-storm. If there is a checklist of challenges you can face as a boss, it felt like I crossed every single one off the list in the first three months of the year. It was survivable, but it in short, it sucked.

In the middle of some of the worst work stress of my life, I noticed one thing: I didn’t have impostor syndrome anymore. Magic, right? But the thing is, I realized that the problem was never impostor syndrome. The problem was the patriarchy.

Who Let Me Have This Job?

You know that feeling that eats at you? Am I really qualified to do this? Why am I in charge here? Do I deserve this job/salary/title/fancy plaque on my desk? (Okay, fine, the plaque on my desk says, “What would Beyoncé do?,” but still.) Like many women and people of color, that feeling has eaten away at me at work for years, and it was at its worst when I was in an environment (investment banking, god help me), where nobody looked like me. I spent my twenties stumbling around trying to figure out what I was doing in my life and how to be a good employee in a variety of hostile environments, and I spent much of my early thirties wondering if I deserved this job I’d made for myself that nobody took seriously, and dear God who gave me people to manage?

When I think about it, part of impostor syndrome should be normal. Not the part where you feel less than the guys issued the Ruler of the Universe Crown at birth. But the part where most twenty-somethings don’t know how to do their jobs really well, and most early-thirty-somethings are still struggling to get their feet under them as they move up the ranks? The feeling of struggle that goes with that is exactly what should be there. Maybe the problem is not that women have impostor syndrome, it’s that men don’t have more of it. Because the part of your brain that wonders, “How did I get here, and why is anyone listening to me?” That’s pretty healthy. The part of your brain that wonders, “Why does nobody here look like me, and does that mean I’m not cut out for this?” That’s bullshit.

But maybe we should embrace the part of impostor syndrome that’s really just learning and growing. Because knowing that you don’t know everything opens you up to learning so much more. When you lean in to that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing, you are often able to master a new skill, whether that’s how to manage your finances, or how to do your job, or how to be a boss. The trick is that you need to be allowed the time to own it once you do grow into it.

I Run This Mother

Maybe it’s that forty is suddenly on the horizon (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN), or maybe it’s that I’ve been running this business for almost a decade (which is about as long as anyone has been running an online publishing business), but all at once in the middle of my crisis quarter, things shifted. I didn’t feel like an impostor anymore. I didn’t even care if people took my business seriously anymore (though suddenly, and possibly relatedly, people started to). I felt like I’d earned my place at the table.

I still was as clear as ever that I don’t entirely know what I’m doing. I assume—and hope, really—that will never change, because if you know everything there is to know, you’re probably in the wrong job. I am still constantly trying to get my feet under me as a boss and figure out how to successfully manage people. (Bosses in the house, you know what I’m talking about, managing people fairly and compassionately is a hell of a learned skill.) I am always facing my limits about what I know about running a business (aka, my job), and constantly making mistakes and learning from them. But still, something was different.

But for the first time, my years of experience caught up with me. When someone questioned my authority, I realized that I had a very clear answer: “I’m in charge because I’ve been doing this a long time, and I know more about it than you do.” Did I say that out loud all the time? No. But it did make me secure in the hard choices I was making. Knowing that as always, I might not get them right, but I had as good a chance as anyone of picking the winning horse, even if I didn’t look like most founders and CEOs in my industry.

Strong Enough To Bear The Children…

But here is where the patriarchy catches up with me, again. I’ve noticed that at the exact same time that I’ve started to grow into myself… as a boss, and just as a woman and human in general, the world has started telling me that I’m becoming irrelevant. It happens in a million little ways, every single day. The message is that I should slowly give up, my best is behind me. Because after all, what is less relevant than being a middle-aged woman? That was a trick question, because clearly the answer is an old woman. But that proves my point exactly.

As the men around me age, they grow into their power. They get promotions; they’re seen as increasingly relevant and important. They’re in the prime of their lives, the center of their careers. But as women hit their mid- to late-thirties, and quite possibly have kids, we’re told that we’re getting too old to be powerful. We’re past our prime.

We’re being asked to trade in our impostor syndrome for irrelevance.

…And Get Back To Business

Maybe the answer is in that shiny plaque on my desk after all. What would Beyoncé do?

Every time I’m faced with a veiled (or not too veiled) reaction to my age, and how that relates to my cultural relevance, I raise an eyebrow and think of Beyoncé. Because I think we can agree that nobody is more relevant in this cultural moment then Queen Bey. And while Bey and I come from different life circumstances and have very different sets of privileges, Beyoncé and I do happen to be very close in age.

I like Beyoncé’s older work well enough, but it’s her new work that has catapulted her into deep, culture shaking relevancy. It’s her view of married sex in “Partition.” It’s her view on the profoundness of motherhood in “Blue.” It’s her humbling dive into the heart of a marriage in trouble in “Lemonade.” On the deepness of adult love in “Die with You.” The whirling exploration of women’s friendships in “7/11.” I could go on.

And Bey isn’t just relevant, she’s also a real life boss, like so many women are in their prime years. And not the “Slay All Day, Be Boss” kind of boss that we’ve all seen on a zillion mugs on Etsy. She’s hiring and firing and making hard decisions, and owning all of it. Because, as she’s reminded us, she might just be a black Bill Gates in the making.

Impostor Syndrome Was Never The Problem

Growing out of my impostor syndrome has been great. But as I’ve shed that skin, I’ve realized there was never anything wrong with feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t feel experienced enough for the work I had to do because… I wasn’t yet. And that’s okay. It’s great even. I’d rather that we know we’re not there yet than be gifted the King of the Universe mantel by society when we haven’t earned it.

The problem isn’t exactly impostor syndrome. The problem is our instinct to dismiss women when they’re still just learning, and then to write them off more permanently when they’ve grown into themselves. Sooner or later I’m going to be a middle-aged woman, as much as that phrase terrifies me. And I’m also starting to get solidly good at my job, and I have finally actually earned my place as a wedding expert and wedding writer (the media started quoting me that way well before I felt ready to own it). But it’s not just that. I can also pick out good jeans, and nail sex, and tell you what on fleek means (and to stop using it already).

I don’t feel like an impostor in my job and life anymore. I’m the real thing. And that’s relevant AF.

Have you Broken through impostor syndrome in your life or career? If you’re still feeling like someone is about to tell the world you’re a fake, what’s holding you back? Are you scared of not being seen as RELEVANT or important as you age?

This post was sponsored by Squarespace. We are thrilled to be partnering with Squarespace again this year to talk about what it means to be a woman with hustle in 2017. If you’re looking to make a career change or kickstart one on the side, one of the best things you can do for yourself is create a home online where you can show off your work in the form of a portfolio site, an online resume, or another hub where you can display just how awesome you are. Squarespace provides the creative tools that make it easy to build your online home beautifully, even if you’ve never made a website before and have no idea where to start. Squarespace is offering APWers a 10% discount on your first purchase when you use the code APW17 at checkout. Click here to get your website started today with a free 14-day trial from Squarespace. 

Image Credit

Kate Levy for APW

The post My Breakthrough: Impostor Syndrome Was Never the Problem appeared first on A Practical Wedding: We're Your Wedding Planner. Wedding Ideas for Brides, Bridesmaids, Grooms, and More.

26 Apr 19:14

Cauliflower Is the New Cream: How to Make Rich, Savory Vegan Creamed Spinach

by J. Kenji López-Alt

This vegan creamed spinach uses cauliflower purée as a stand-in for the cream. The most amazing part: The dish tastes just as creamy, but is actually more intensely spinach-flavored as a result, since dairy can mute flavors. It's a win-win. Read More
04 Jan 16:27

My 2016 In Reading

Amber

2017 To Do List

THE BOOKS I LOVED SO MUCH I WANTED TO SEW THEM INTO MY SKIN AKA MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
Today I Am a Book by xTx
The Three Woes by Casey Hannan
A Bestiary by Lily Hoang
Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky

THE BOOK THAT OPENED MY EYES AND MIND AND BROKE MY HEART WITH THE PAINFUL REALITY TOO MANY AMERICANS LIVE WITH

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

THE BOOK THAT WAS TOTAL TRASH AND I THINK THE WRITER HATES FAT PEOPLE WHICH IS FINE BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE OUR ISSUES BUT STILL, GIRL, WHAT….

Maestra by L.S. Hilton

THE COMING OF AGE PROSE POETRY THAT MOVED ME IMMEASURABLY

The Pocket Knife Bible by Anis Mojgani

THE BOOK THAT MADE ME THINK HILLARY CLINTON REALLY WAS GOING TO WIN THE PRESIDENCY

All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister

THE STRANGE BOOK ABOUT LONELINESS AND THE THINGS WE DO ONLINE THAT I HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Valletta78 by Erin Fitzgerald

THE POETRY BOOK I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND AT ALL THOUGH I COULD TELL THE POEMS WERE SUPER SMART

The House of Lords and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson

THE ACTION THRILLER THAT HAD LOTS OF HYPE BLURBS BUT WAS ONLY SO SO

The Second Life of Nick Mason by Scott Hamilton

THE RETELLING OF A CLASSIC THAT I REALLY ENJOYED, WHICH SURPRISED ME AND ALSO THE AUTHOR WROTE ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME, AMERICAN WIFE

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

THE BOOK THAT MADE ME CRY BECAUSE IT HELD SO MUCH I COULD RELATE TO AND THEN MADE ME A LITTLE MAD

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

EXCELLENT SMALL PRESS BOOKS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT

Pink Museum by Caroline Crew
The Farmacist by Ashley Farmer
The Voyager Record by Anthony Michael Morena
Massive Cleansing Fire by Dave Housley

THE BOOK I READ TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE A COMIC BOOK SERIES EVEN THOUGH I WAS WRITING FOR THEIR MAJOR COMPETITOR

The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O’Neil

THE COMIC BOOK I LOVED AND RECOMMEND OFTEN

Saga by Brian Vaughan

THE COMIC BOOK ISSUE I READ AND THOUGHT WAS NOT SO GOOD SO I HAVEN’T READ ANY OTHER ISSUES IN THE SERIES

Wonder Woman Rebirth #1

THE BOOK I WROTE AN INTRODUCTION FOR (OUT IN 2017! FROM BEACON PRESS!)

Like One of the Family by Alice Childress

THE BOOK I REVIEWED FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

THE BOOK I WANTED TO LOVE THAT HAD GORGEOUS OBSERVATIONS OF WOMEN’S FRIENDSHIPS

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam

THE BOOK ABOUT CHEFS AND THEIR TATTOOS WITH FASCINATING STORIES OF WHY PEOPLE PERMANENTLY INK THEIR SKIN

Knives and Ink by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton

THE BOOK I READ BECAUSE I SAW A PREVIEW FOR THE TV SHOW AND LEARNED IT WAS BASED ON A BOOK SO I STARTED WONDERING IF THE BOOK WAS GOOD

Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte

SOME VERY GOOD BOOKS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT BECAUSE THE STORIES ARE WARM AND/OR INTELLIGENT AND/OR STRANGE AND/OR GRIPPING AND/OR INTENSE

Turner House by Angela Flournoy
LaRose by Louise Erdrich
The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang
The Story of My Teeth by Valerie Luiselli
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

THE HEARTBREAKING BOOK ABOUT BEING GAY IN THE MIDDLE EAST DURING THESE TUMULTUOUS TIMES FROM A WRITER WITH A LOT OF POTENTIAL

Guapa by Saleem Haddad

GORGEOUS BOOKS OF POETRY I REALLY LOVED

Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
L’Heure Bleue by Elisa Gabbert
The New Testament by Jericho Brown
Look by Solmaz Sharif
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker

THE EXCELLENT BOOK I CHOSE AS MY SELECTION FOR BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB

The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel

THE BOOK I READ BASICALLY TO IMPRESS A GIRL AND IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD BOOK ALSO AND I HOPE THE GIRL WAS IMPRESSED BY MY DEDICATION BECAUSE THE BOOK WAS VERY LONG

The Fireman by Joe Hill

THE BOOK WITH AN AMAZING TITLE,  SOME REALLY GOOD STORIES INCLUDING A RIFF ON ANTIQUES ROADSHOW AND ALSO SOME STORIES I LIKED LESS

American Housewife by Helen Ellis

THE BOOK THAT WAS EXCEPTIONALLY WRITTEN BUT I WANTED THE ACTUAL RAILROAD PART TO BE MORE FULLY REALIZED

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

FUN BOOKS THAT WERE FUN

The Assistants by Camille Perri
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

THE BOOK ABOUT BEING SINGLE TOWARD THE MIDDLE OF YOUR LIFE THAT PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE WHEN IT COMES OUT

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

THE EXCELLENT SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS COMING OUT AROUND THE SAME TIME AS DIFFICULT WOMEN THAT MADE ME JEALOUS AND ALSO SCARED OF THE COMPETITION

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller

THE BOOK THAT WAS NOT MY CUP OF TEA BUT IT’S ME NOT THE BOOK

300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso

THE BOOKS I BLURBED (AND THEREFORE REALLY ENJOYED)

You’re the  Most Beautiful Thing That Happened by Arisa White
In the Not Quite Dark by Dana Johnson
I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan
The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky
Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz
Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy by Tressie McMillan Cottom
Bruja by Wendy C. Ortiz
Sing For Your Life by Daniel Bergner
Made for Love by Alissa Nutting

20 Dec 12:43

National Geographic’s issue on gender

by Jason Kottke

Nat Geo Gender

Bravo to National Geographic for putting a transgender girl on the cover of the magazine. Editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg explains why:

Today that and other beliefs about gender are shifting rapidly and radically. That’s why we’re exploring the subject this month, looking at it through the lens of science, social systems, and civilizations throughout history.

In a story from our issue, Robin Marantz Henig writes that we are surrounded by “evolving notions about what it means to be a woman or a man and the meanings of transgender, cisgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or any of the more than 50 terms Facebook offers users for their profiles. At the same time, scientists are uncovering new complexities in the biological understanding of sex. Many of us learned in high school biology that sex chromosomes determine a baby’s sex, full stop: XX means it’s a girl; XY means it’s a boy. But on occasion, XX and XY don’t tell the whole story.”

As part of their coverage, the magazine went out, asked kids from around the world their thoughts about being boys and girls, and came back with this video.

Tags: gender   National Geographic   Susan Goldberg   video
15 Dec 15:33

Job Of The Day: Emoji Translator

by Megan Reynolds

Everything is a job if you get paid for it.

There are many things that people do that don’t sound like jobs but actually are. One of those very things is emoji translator, a real position advertised by Today Translations, a London-based translation firm.

It Turns Out Emoji Translator Is A Real Job You Can Have

The job of the emoji translator is to simply translate emoji into English and other languages — sounds fake, but stay with me. Emoji are a language used by people who speak a wide variety of other languages and the interpretations of each little icon varies wildly by culture. In the example Today Translations CEO Jurga Zilinskiene provides to BuzzFeed, the 😇 is used generally after the sender has done something good — say you take out the trash and the recycling and also do the dishes, and you inform your roommates that you’ve done so. But, in China, users interpret that literally, indicating that someone has died.

That’s likely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to emoji use and so a translator will be hired to research trends and look into emoji usage across different communities throughout the world. Honestly, this sounds like a great job for someone who has a background in linguistics and is also quite good at figuring out rebuses, because that’s what emoji are.

The job listing lives here and there’s also an extremely difficult test that asks you to translate emoji into English as well as translating tweets about Brexit into emoji. I stared at the first page of the test for what felt like hours before realizing that my skill set does not lie in this particular area and that’s okay.


Job Of The Day: Emoji Translator was originally published in The Billfold on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

12 Dec 21:39

A Story from Roxane Gay's Upcoming Collection, 'Difficult Women' | VICE | United States

A Story from Roxane Gay's Upcoming Collection, 'Difficult Women' | VICE | United States:

When I was a girl, my father once told me that women weren’t good for much. We were parked at the mountain overlook just outside town. I was in the backseat, staring at my shoes, chewing my fingernails. He was in the front seat, drinking Maker’s Mark from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag. He and my mother had just had another heated argument and he had dragged me out of the house as if I would ever choose his side. He said, “Don’t become like your mother. She is a small woman.” My father didn’t love my mother. I don’t even think he loved me but he did love making us miserable by refusing to leave.

09 Dec 15:18

Obama authorizes larger raise for federal employees

by Joe Davidson | Columnist
Obama authorizes larger raise for federal employees
President Obama has authorized a larger-than-expected pay increase for federal employees, just in time for the Christmas bills. In letters to the House and Senate, Obama authorized an average pay raise for 2017 of 2.1 percent, instead of the 1.6 percent he submitted in August. “However, in light of the decision of Congress to provide […]
25 Oct 15:40

Fakesgiving 2016: Take the Pie Challenge!

by Bitten Word
Amber

I signed up! Their cooking challenges are so fun!

Pie challenge

Last month when we announced we were hanging up our blogging hats (can you imagine any less-cute hats than blogging hats??), we asked for any thoughts or requests about what you wanted to see before we go.

One thing several of you mentioned was a cook-along challenge, like the Cover-to-Cover Challenges and the Holiday Cookie Challenge we've done before.

We couldn't agree more. Those cook-along projects are some of our most favorites things to have come out of this blog. It's such a fun way for all of us to connect.

So we couldn't say goodbye without doing one final cook-along challenge.

And this time it's pie.

Here's how it's going to work:

If you're interested in participating, sign up before 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30. Then, on Halloween or shortly after, we'll send you your assigned recipe along with instructions about what to do. You'll have a week or so to bake your pie, and then you'll report back to us what you thought about it.

We'll feature the Pie Challenge pies in the lead-up to actual Thanksgiving, letting everybody know whether a particular pie might deserve a spot on their Thanksgiving day dessert table.

Wanna cook along? Sign up now!

We're getting hungry already...

      
 
 
17 Oct 17:43

c-bassmeow: samsweetmilk: The economic realities of Baby...



c-bassmeow:

samsweetmilk:

The economic realities of Baby boomers versus Millennials 

that comment has had me thinking for days… like im reblogging this shit a week later from my likes cus its the PERFECT analogy 

12 Oct 13:03

good work sam. 



good work sam. 

16 Sep 16:02

Vincent van Gogh visits a gallery of his paintings in the present day

by Jason Kottke
Amber

Favorite episode.

In an episode of Doctor Who from 2010, the Doctor and his companion Amy take Vincent van Gogh, who was not a commercially successful artist in his own lifetime, to the Musée d’Orsay to see an entire room filled with his paintings. The resulting scene is unexpectedly touching.

Tags: art   Doctor Who   time travel   TV   video   Vincent van Gogh
01 Sep 12:59

Diggerland USA

by Jason Kottke
Amber

Going!!! joy

Hold up! There’s an amusement park in NJ right outside of Philly called Diggerland USA where you can operate construction equipment, dig holes with backhoes, and drive asphalt rollers?!? How is this not the most popular amusement park in the entire world?

Tags: video
28 Aug 00:46

Introverts can get "hangovers" from too much socialization

by Jason Kottke
Amber

Yup.

Introverts have limited reserves of energy and attention stored up for socializing with others and when they're used up, the aftermath can feel very much like a hangover from too much drinking.

After a few hours, I couldn't take it any more. I slipped away like a thief, skulking about the house, searching for a place where it was quiet. I came across a half-lit room and saw my future brother-in-law sitting in there, staring out the window. Knowing him to be an introvert himself, I decided this was my best option for escape and sat down across the room, wrapping my arms around my knees. I remember hoping he wouldn't think I was intruding upon his own solitude before I allowed myself to zone out, letting my thoughts drown out the raucous laughter from downstairs, breathing deeply and feeling the tension drain away. I don't know how long it was before my now-husband came looking for me, but I remember him laughing at finding the two introverts seeking refuge together.

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I travelled to a friend's wedding but got to town a few days early to go see a show and meet up with some other friends. By the time the wedding rolled around, I had spent time with so many people in different social groups that I left after the ceremony and didn't stay for dancing and karaoke or anything (sorry!). I didn't even get to congratulate the bride (so so sorry!!)...I was just done. After that, I mostly just holed up in my hotel room, reading, and walked around by myself, even though there were so many other things I could have been doing with so many other people. Several years ago, I would have felt weird and horrible about this, but I know myself well enough now that I just roll with it...I read so much of a book I was enjoying that the time spent can hardly be considered a loss.

Tags: introversion   travel
11 Aug 13:31

Ocean's Ocho

by Jason Kottke
Amber

All of this, please.

They're rebooting Ocean's Eleven with an all-female ensemble including Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Sandra Bullock, and Cate Blanchett. As a lover of Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven, I am totally on board with this.

Ocean's Eleven director Steven Soderbergh, who is based in New York and is expected to be deeply involved with the spinoff -- perhaps taking on a below-the-line job like he has done on other studio films like Magic Mike XXL -- is producing solo (Oceans Eleven producer Jerry Weintraub passed away last year). Olivia Milch and Ross wrote the screenplay.

And while we're at it, let's reboot everything with female leads. We've already got Ghostbusters and Ocean's Ocho. Someone I was talking with at a party last week suggested an all-women A-Team reboot, which would be fantastic.1 What else? Reservoir Dogs? Indiana Jones? Back to the Future? Any movie Tom Hanks/Cruise/Hardy has ever made?

  1. The same person also suggested a Charlie's Angels reboot with male leads. Charlie is a woman and they're still referred to as her Angels. I am also on board with this.

Tags: Cate Blanchett   Helena Bonham Carter   Mindy Kaling   movies   Ocean's Eleven   Rihanna   Sandra Bullock   Steven Soderbergh