A New Beginning

Hello, my dear readers. How I've missed you!

Forgive my radio silence, it's truly been a month of new challenges over here, both good and bad. I haven't really known how to address everything that's been going on in my personal and political sphere at the moment. I did know that whatever it is I said on here, I wanted it to be purposeful and thoughtful. And though I did write out an immediate, painful, raw, heartbroken rant just following the results of the election, I've chosen to keep it private for the time being and focus on my reflections over the past month instead.

The results of the election have been soul-shattering, to say the least, and I could go on and on about why it's so fucked up, and why it's so terrifying to be a woman of color right now, but I'm not going to. I know that you know these things. I know that by now you know better than to tell me it's going to be okay, and I have felt uplifted by the strong outpouring of charitable giving, activism, and commitment to progress that I've seen around me. So I've been trying to focus on that. There is no real, tangible way to grapple with this kind of long-term grief, this weight that I feel, other than to take it one step at a time and try the best I can to take care of myself and my loved ones.

It's hard to explain this feeling of "otherness" that so man of us feel to people who haven't experienced it. I feel vulnerable, raw and exposed, literally all of the time. I have a target on my back, and it's only a matter of time before someone uses it. It's really frightening and overwhelming. 

So there are lots of things I've been doing in order to move THROUGH these feelings, as opposed to PAST them. I think it's really important that we feel the same anger/passion we did on Nov. 9th every day and to never normalize what is happening. Staying active and informed while protecting our hearts and souls is absolutely possible. Find out what your community is doing to resist this wave of hate and fascism that is headed our way. Women everywhere are mobilizing, checking in, taking care of each other. They are ready to fight this. We are ready. The first thing you can do is donate! I know these lists have been going around but I figure why not add one more handy place for you to check them out. I've set up a small monthly donation to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU and it made me feel so much better!

Set up monthly donations (however small) to the organizations that are going to be spending the next four years fighting for our rights. Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, Everytown for Gun Safety, Human Rights Campaign, Center for Reproductive Rights, Earth Justice, National Immigration Law Center, Council on American Islamic Relations, Citizens Climate Lobby, The Movement for Black Lives, Union of Concerned Scientists, National LGBTQ Task Force.

Money isn't the only way to help, get on mailing lists so you can stay informed and look out for volunteer opportunities. Each of these organizations has a "Take Action" page for you to read.

Facebook is an irritating nightmare most of the time, and in the days after the election was actually quite triggering for me because it became overwhelming to have this onslaught of information and reactions. But there is so much information on marches, community meetings, lectures and more that you can find out about in your own community. Don't sit on your bum bums. Get out there and talk to each other. Make your voice heard!

As an example, last Tuesday I attended a Women's Circle with Women Moving Millions, Third Wave Fund and Agnes Gund. It also happens to be in a space where Annie Leibovitz is showcasing her Women's portrait series which was co-curated by Gloria Steinem. It was held at the Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan, and if you don't know about this building I highly recommend you head to their wiki page. It was a place of rampant and horrific sex abuse up until it was closed down after Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, in a surprising and inspiring turn, the building is now being turned into the Women's Building and will house foundations dedicated women and girls. It's going to be a beautiful transformation for a place that has held so much pain. We spoke at length about ways to get active and feel safe, including taking self-defense classes, looking for ways to reach out to the disenfranchised in our communities, and how to practice resistance in our daily lives. Find your people and do the same! You can organize it, even it it's just hosting a potluck with those you know and putting your heads together and talking about what you're feeling. Also, sign up for the Action Now newsletter for concrete examples of what you can be doing every day to remain active.

Now, aside from all that, which has taken up A LOT of mental energy and space the past month, there's the business of my business. I'm sure it's clear that I've been busy elsewhere lately, and I'm so happy to say it's for a good reason. My work over at HG has taken up the majority of my time, to the point where it looks like I'll finally be moving on from babysitting as a day job. Which is CRAZY and sad and scary, but I'm ready. I've been so, so lucky throughout my nanny career to have worked with incredible families and I am so grateful for all their trust and love and support.

I'll be spending the majority of my time writing for HelloGiggles, as well as freelancing for a number of other publications. I'll be sure to let you know when I have new articles coming out so you can check them out! Now that doesn't mean that I won't have time to write here, I will probably have more time to do so, but it won't be as regularly as it was in the past year. And I'll still be writing about childcare, even if I'm not doing it as my day job anymore, because I love kids and still have so much to share that I've learned over the past decade and a half.

I've been hearing from a lot of readers who are wondering when my posts will be coming, and let me tell you that I hear you when you say that it's annoying to check the blog every day. I feel the same way with blogs I follow when they go dark for a while. So I've come up with what feels like could be a solution. I'm re-formatting as a TinyLetter. For those who aren't familiar, TinyLetter is a newsletter that you get directly in your inbox as soon as I send it. So, instead of checking the blog every day to see if I've written anything, you'll get my latest post delivered straight to your inbox! I will of course continue to update the blog every time I send one with the exact same content, if you prefer to check it that way! This way, you'll know when I've got a new post up, immediately!

You can sign up for my TinyLetter by subscribing here, or sharing your email address below:

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How exciting!

As for now, let's proceed as usual.

It has been really hard to get out of the dredges of my fear and anxiety these past few weeks, and the first few days it was impossible. I allowed myself to feel everything that was going on inside me, even if it was negative. It's part of grieving and processing. Sometimes you can't start with self-care right away. But slowly I've gotten to a place where I am able to unplug when I need to, and really take care of myself. I hope you are all doing the same. We can't effectively mobilize and fight if we aren't well-rested and taking time to breathe. Lately, I've been surrounding myself with rose-scented and themed products to take a second and float away from my troubles.

Both the Gourmand Macaron Rose hand creme and the Kocostar Rose Petals face mask are from Urban Outfitters, which has one of the best beauty sections of any mainstream shop I've ever seen. They've got indie products, big name lines, natural makeup, and all of super reasonably priced. I've written about my love for the UO beauty shop at HG a couple times here and here. I really want the Macaron Rose perfume, but I'm worried that might take me to a level of basic that I may never be able to rebound from. Luckily, my friend Haley got me an incredible Le Labo sampler for my birthday that included their Rose 31 scent that is TO DIE FOR. I'm being so greedy with it and trying not to use it all up too fast. And you know I've still all about my Glossier Rose Balm Dot Com, but I keep it in my purse for the day so at night and at home I use my good, old-fashioned Smith's Rosebud Salve.

The rose petals face mask was hilarious. Theo said I looked like I had pepperoni all over my face, which is undeniably true. I can't say it did anything truly spectacular for my skin, other than being nice and hydrating, but it did give us a good laugh!

A literal pizza face.

A literal pizza face.

Now more than ever, let's really revel in our self-care as an act of resistance. The patriarchy wants us all, men, women, trans, and gender queer to be tired and beaten down. They want us weak, impressionable, and too exhausted to fight. So let's take the time we need to make ourselves feel good. Whatever that may mean to you. A few weeks ago a well known editor of a women's site went on a Twitter rant about how all this talk of "self-care" was infantilizing, as if women couldn't handle bad news or process things in an adult way. I found it to be extremely dismissive and marginalizing. So many people rely on self-care rituals to feel healthy and whole. Some may have come upon these rituals while battling mental illness or as a coping mechanism for the daily beat downs that women of color have faced for centuries. It sucks to have the importance of self-care reduced to a childish, eye-roll inducing fad. It's just a fact that when we take care of our bodies and spirits, that we can do our work better, whatever it may be.

I've always been a devout Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie fan, from her books to her articles, she's a brilliant writer and truly one of the main feminist leaders of our time. Not only did she have one of the most thought-provoking pieces in the New Yorker this week, (read it if you haven't yet!) but she's also representing beauty brand No.7 as a spokesmodel. She's a walking example that the power of an individual is not diminished when they take care of themselves or value makeup or beauty. Read this wonderful interview she gave to the NY Times.

I hope your kids are doing okay. It's hard for me to think about how difficult it must be for children to be living during such a frightening time. I'm so worried about the escalating violence, as you know it trickles down to the schoolyard. I do think it's important to keep an active, open conversation going with your kids about what's going on in the world — just keep it age appropriate! There will always be events that they can participate in, whether it's baking cookies for the ACLU, or attending vigils or rallies. Kids will feel safer knowing they are on the same side as the good guys.

Luckily, kids have the distraction of the holidays to keep them occupied, and while I'm sure they've got tons of presents headed their way, maybe you can find a way to include some activities into their present pile. Going to the Nutcracker or to a fancy neighborhood to look at nights can be a wonderful way to create memories that will last forever, and you won't be cluttering up your house with more stuff!

I know I mentioned this last year, and don't kill me because I know we all have a ton on our plates, but the holidays are an excellent time to encourage kids to give to those who are less fortunate, and the easiest way to do that is to have them round up old toys they don't play with and donate them! All it takes is an hour or so, and it teaches them to let go of things in a healthy way and helps to instill a giving nature in them. But you know me, I love any opportunity to get stuff out of my house! I know it's easier said than done for others.

I can't leave you without some links to keep you busy and a song for your heart, so here you are my lovelies. Thanks for sticking with me, and please sign up for the TinyLetter! I'll be coming at you that way next time, so keep your eyes peeled!

Books to help kids find hope and strength in stressful times.

Two articles about one how one of my favorite publications, Teen Vogue, is changing the game. Subscriptions are only 5$ for the teen inyour life!

Case in point.

I want all this swag.

You can get this for me for the holidays if you want.

A lovely and thoughtful piece on the wonderful Adrienne Shelly.

If you aren't already reading everything Rebecca Solnit writes, start now. Her book, Hope in the Dark, has sold out since the election so if you can't get your hands on that check out her other books and articles.

My friend Erin has done an incredible job over the past few weeks of compiling ways to be politically active in the weeks since the election, big and small. She imbues this thoughtfulness and resistance into every single one of her articles, and it's truly admirable.

I met Cleo Wade at the Hester Street Fair event they mention in the article — she is one of those people who can see straight into your soul.

What I would give to have the Toast during times like these. Here's an oldie.

This made me LOL, I bet Theo wishes he could order the "My Girlfriend Won't Do The Dishes."

I've been waiting for the right time to treat my soul to this movie but I haven't found the time and I really hope I don't miss it.

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