Another month, another roundup of my favorite things I came across this month! I really, really considered posting these on Monday, when many of you would have the day off work and plenty of time to poke around the internet. But I couldn’t pass up the amazing coincidence of a blogiversary with a thousandth post and well, here we are. So, uh. Hope you didn’t have a lot of work to do today!
This month I loved...
Lots of good longform journalism this month, starting with this piece about an incident that took place right in my neighborhood, about two months after we moved in. It was a terrifying introduction to the city (though fortunately, to date, unmatched), and the idea that it could’ve been prevented is heartbreaking.
Then there’s the two-part exposé in the New York Times about the dire wage and working conditions in NYC nail salons – part 1 is here, part 2 is here. Is it even possible to get a manicure in NYC without a guilty conscience now? The opening of the second part is especially a gut-punch to me, as I also worked with dangerous chemicals while pregnant. The difference is that anytime I opened a bottle labeled "May be dangerous to the unborn child" (no really) I did so in a laminar flow hood, wearing gloves, a lab coat, and a mask.
While your sense of injustice is in full force, might as well read this piece about false confessions. Serial fans, remember Jim Trainum? He makes an appearance!
And then there’s a piece on trains in the United States, or lack thereof. This is why we can’t have nice things.
And just in case I haven’t totally dampened your spirits, maybe check out this article on the Brazilian gymnast-turned-aerialist who crashed weeks before Sochi. I'm a total sucker for the Olympics, even – especially? – the parade of countries, and the little bits Bob Costas does about the athletes. I just admire the athletes so much, and Souza deserves all the tears and praise.
OKAY let’s lighten up a bit! Here’s a relatively fluffy piece about those of us wedged in between Generation X and the Millennials. The “Oregon Trailers” doesn’t have quite the same ring, unfortunately... and honestly, I was always more partial to Number Munchers anyway.
Finally, a life hack for you: Why you should take notes by hand. As a hardcore kinesthetic learner, I will never take notes on a laptop, and I’m just going to side-eye all my students who try.
While you’re already reading all the things, why not read the current It book: The Girl on the Train. My mother-in-law recommended it as “a lot like Gone Girl, though not quite as good”, so I waited (and waited and waited) to check out the audiobook from the library. I’m happy to report that once I got past the slow beginning (no, you’re not supposed to understand everything that’s going on) I enjoyed it almost as much as Gone Girl, so it’s totally worth your time! And if you’re a fan of Molly Hooper on BBC Sherlock, you’ll enjoy the audiobook even more; Louise Brealy is one of the readers. Go, get on your library’s wait list! Read it before the inevitable movie!
I mentioned Serial up there, and if you all are craving more on Adnan Syed’s case, then you’ll be happy to know that Rabia Chaudry has started a podcast: Undisclosed. Fair warning that it is absolutely biased in Adnan’s favor – it’s sponsored by a trust for his legal fight, after all – so if you’re steadfastly resolute that Adnan is where he belongs, it’s not for you. But if you doubt, and if you wish there was just more information, well, Rabia will give it to you.
And of course, if you missed John Oliver’s piece on family leave, it’s time to catch up and watch it:
Given that I’m juggling the working mom life daily, the argument Oliver presents (about how leave benefits businesses) leaves me wondering why is this even still an issue. But then again, I shared this on my facebook wall, and a conservative acquaintance (who almost certainly did not watch the video) came out of the woodwork to complain that I might as well have asked for a free SUV when I left the hospital if I was going to be dependent on the government (???). So hey, I guess that’s why it’s still an issue. Sigh.
Fashion, food, & design
Marie Kondo’s shopping tips have gone ‘round the whole blogosphere this month. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to eliminate everything in my home that doesn’t bring me joy (as per her advice in her book everyone’s loving), but it’s a good rule of thumb for shopping.
Hot on the heels of my discovery that I said some things about the Stylebook app that a lot of people are reading, here’s some packing guides from the Stylebook blog. This general one is great, and here’s one tailored more for your summer vacations!
Another set of inside tips from a Sephora employee: the most returned items. These are the things that don’t live up to the hype!
If you happen to be a local – unlikely but still! – here’s a list of the 100 best restaurants in STL. I have only visited THREE of the top 25! Guess we’ve got some eating to do.
And this month’s gorgeous design award goes to these minimalist illustrated definitions of complex words. I could use these as a set of flashcards, if not as art!
Maps & places
This month’s totally depressing map: the most distinctive ways to die in each state. My home state might need to rethink those concealed-carry laws.
Speaking of my home state, the idea that Nashville (and many American cities) is just one giant suburb sounds exactly right.
And speaking of Nashville, this month marked five years since the great Nashville flood (which I wrote about here in this blog’s earliest days). Just looking at this slideshow to mark the anniversary made me cry, still.
Ok, let’s head back to NYC for one last link: the 10 weirdest buildings in New York. Though Sylvan Terrace isn’t exactly weird at all – what I wouldn’t give to live there!
Arguably appropriate for any age: a book of 100 of the most beautiful children’s books.
An essay on seven things good mothers do that the author won’t do anymore. I can’t see myself doing most of those things anyway, but I’m still marking this to remind myself later just in case.
I mentioned being a working mom above, and without a doubt the hardest part about being back at work is the fact that Baby P subsists entirely on what I can produce from my boobs. That means a lot of things about breastfeeding catch my eye... sorry/not sorry. One was this essay on ambivalence about weaning, which I can already relate to.
While googling around trying to figure out how to boost supply (I AM CONSTANTLY DOING THAT) I stumbled across the second half of this blog post which... I just... needed to read. I spend so much time thinking about feeding Baby P when I could be, you know, thinking about any of the other wonderful things about Baby P.
Because, you know, the benefits of breastmilk are fairly minimal relative to other things I can do for Baby P, as spelled out by Emily Oster (of my beloved Expecting Better book). I mean, I’m still going for it as long as I can. But good to know what the actual benefits are, if and when I need to weigh costs against them.
And one last note about feeding a person with your boobs: if you are in the market for a manual pump because you are, say, planning to travel all over the dang world this summer, you might become a fan of the Medela Harmony, as I have. More work, yes, but surprisingly effective, and no womp womp womp sound to bother your airplane seat neighbor.
What would your name be in another decade? Less fun for me (shoutout to the bazillion other Sarahs born in the early 1980s!) but I was THRILLED to put in Baby P’s. By chance, his uncle’s name came up for 1950s, my maiden name for 1910s, and his grandpa’s for 1890s. Meant to be!
Pinterest offices are basically real-life Pinterest. It's totally a parody of itself and it DOES NOT EVEN CARE, NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.
Fun illustrations using everyday objects. Beautiful!
The best Tina Fey quotes, in honor of her birthday this month.
And the best PUNS because YES PUNS ALWAYS.
And finally, Mr. P’s been sending me cartoons from this blog frequently lately. I think you could use them too!
Have a happy end of May, dear readers! Let’s get on to summer!