💌 Stuff You Should #16: November 2019

Soothing voices, raisin bran, advice for unlearning, and more.

Hi! You're reading a monthly newsletter in which I, copywriter and perpetual opinion-haver Laura Reineke, share with you some Stuff that I endorse. Your mileage may vary.

👋 Know About Me

In college I was friends with this guy who had sad, wet-looking brown eyes and a sorta morbid monotone voice and a really kind heart buried beneath layers of faux machismo and totally-not-faux self-loathing. He did standup comedy because of course he did, but his sets were pretty good, actually.

This was back when Facebook still had that “interests” section, remember that? Where you just listed your favorite things separated by commas? And it seemed like the people who most annoyed you always put the dumbest shit, like pizza and idk chilling i guess? Anyway I remember this guy listed the usual stuff for a college dude: going to concerts, weed, Taxi Driver and/or Chinatown.

But the last thing he included in his “interests” section was people watching. And while I realize now that he meant “the act of watching people,” for some reason at the time I took it to mean “the act of people watching me,” and I remember being floored, truly, at the poetry of it, at the unexpected self-awareness of this tiny confessional tacked on at the end of a social media profile.

My misunderstanding wasn’t untrue, exactly. This dude always looked slightly tortured, but you could see a weight lifted when the focus was on him, like at parties when a circle of heads would swivel his direction to hear him tell a story, like when he’d make the sparse crowd at a comedy show in the university coffee shop laugh at a one-liner you could tell he was proud of. Interests: People watching. I know what he meant now but I still feel like I figured him out in that moment.

You should tell me if you ever Figure Me Out, btw. And you should do a bunch more stuff this month that I’ve outlined in detail below. Boop!

It’s fall, y’all

🔗 Read Online

My Life As A Minor League Baseball Clown - By end of business this past Friday, the last member of Deadspin's 20-person writing staff would quit their job in protest of efforts by private equity vampires to suck the soul from the site. But on Thursday, we were still being blessed with gems like this. Deadspin was a good website. (Malt Schlitzman/Deadspin)

One Night at Mount Sinai - How a woman’s determination to be heard after a traumatizing emergency room visit revealed the systemic abuse of patients by a widely admired “rock star” physician. (Lisa Miller/The Cut)

Is America’s Favorite Playwright Too Much for New York? - I loved this profile of Lauren Gunderson, the most-produced playwright in the country, who despite dozens of finished and well-liked scripts to her name is only now in 2019 getting a splashy New York premiere. What explains that disconnect between popularity and prestige? (Dan Kois/Slate)

The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense of Time - “Life had run on a certain rhythm of time and logic, and then at a hundred different entry points, that rhythm and that logic shifted a little, sped up, slowed down, or disappeared, until you could barely remember what time it was.” (Katherine Miller/Buzzfeed)

How to Unlearn Everything - An author got tired of being asked his advice for writing about people who don’t look like you. So now he answers with three questions instead. (Alexander Chee/Vulture)

Seeing Nora Everywhere [2012] - Every New York autumn makes me think of Nora Ephron movies, and Nora Ephron movies always call to mind the beautiful eulogy Lena Dunham wrote after Ephron died in 2012. (Lena Dunham/The New Yorker)

"Jove decadent. Després del ball," Ramon Casas i Carbó. Oil on canvas, 18x22", 1899. A forever #mood.

👍 Follow

@EmojiMashupBot - This automated Twitter bot account takes elements from two emojis - the base shape, the eyes, the mouth - and shuffles ‘em up into weird hybrids to sprinkle yr timeline with unexpected silliness. (See also: @EmojiMashupPlus - same concept, supersized.)

🗣️ Quote

"I began to feel that I'd, somewhere, missed the boat. You know the boat I'm talking about. They make movies about it where I come from. It's a boat that, when you miss it, it's a boat, but when it comes in, it's a ship." - James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

💰 Buy

Sunday Riley Good Genes - Add to the list of perversely expensive products that I have found, to my chagrin, actually work as advertised: this $100+ cult* lactic acid serum. I put on a teensy bit each morning after washing my face. My skin looks amazing all the time. Sometimes…things that are expensive…..actually work?

*Sunday Riley herself recently copped to inflating that “cult” by encouraging her employees to post fake five-star reviews of her products on Sephora's website, which is stupid because if she'd just asked me I'd have posted a real one for free. 

Cascadian Farm Raisin Bran - I've sampled many a raisin bran in my time. They are NOT created equal!!! Evaluated against rigid standards for bran texture, raisin-to-flakes ratio, and added sugar content, Cascadian Farm's organic variety is the objective best I’ve found.

📺 Watch

Megan Thee Stallion at NPR’s Tiny Desk - Rapping is a skill that hypnotizes me - the breath control alone boggles my pea brain - but especially when it’s 5’10” goddess Megan Thee Stallion performing her relentless, unapologetically filthy “Freak Nasty” from the anodyne cubicles of NPR’s Tiny Desk setup.

BoJack Horseman (Seasons 1-6) - Look, if you have a Netflix account, you probably already either dig this show or decided it’s not for you. But after binging the first half of its final season I just gotta yell again about how good I think it is! And how thoroughly worth my time it’s been to watch!!

(I didn’t intend for this section to be equine-themed but lol)

✅ Try

Airtable - Color-coded spreadsheets are one of the great loves of my life, but Google Sheets and *shudder* Excel only offer so much in the way of customization. So instead I’ve been using spreadsheet/database hybrid Airtable for the past couple years. It’s fast, clean, and flexible enough to accommodate projects as diverse as my social media tracker for work, the production tracker for my podcast, and my personal theatergoing record. (Of course I keep track of my theatergoing in a spreadsheet. Have we met?!)

🗣️ Quote

"I said it first and loudest so it's right." - Eva, one of the hosts of the hockey podcast I produce, during a divisive argument on the merits of Snickers candy bars

🎧 Listen To

Pivot (Podcast) - A notorious lesbian tech reporter and a straight, balding biz-school marketing professor assess the lay of the land in Silicon Valley in this weekly news/tech/business podcast I’ve gotten into recently. Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway are fascinated by Big Tech, but they don’t for a second romanticize it; their no-bullshit takes on startup culture, CEO mythologizing, and market forces are refreshing, and helpful for cutting through the noise. Also their rat-a-tat back-and-forth bickering and bantering makes me laugh.

Superego (Podcast) - These improvised sketch comedy “profiles in self-obsession” from a quartet of professional actors/comedians are, yes, funny (here’s my favorite recurring bit if u want a taste). I also find the guys’ voices inexplicably soothing?? Even when they’re doing idiot accents, which is most of the time. Shrug! The ears want what they want.

One Direction - “Wolves” (Song) - As my sons Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall level up into the next phases of their individual solo careers, bless their sweet dumb hearts, I must once again insist that everyone take a few minutes to groove to the actual best late-stage One Direction song. Just - shhhh, just press play, you’ll feel better.

Sometimes the city shows u nice stuff unexpectedly

☀️ My Forecast

Layering up for my favorite season, then spending Thanksgiving on a beach. Also I swear to god I’m gonna finish an actual book this month. I mean it!!!

Til next month,

xo Laura

If you liked this, share it with a friend! Got some stuff you think *I* should? Reply to this email or holler on Twitter @ohonestly. Thx for reading. Love u.

💌 Stuff You Should #15: October 2019

Time capsules, almond cures, misunderstandings, and more.

Hi! You're reading a monthly newsletter in which I, perpetual opinion-haver Laura Reineke, share with you some Stuff that I endorse. Got stuff you think *I* Should? Reply to this email or holler at me on Twitter @ohonestly. Thx for reading. Love u.

👋 Know About Me

Two weeks ago I went to Maine for a wedding, and en route I stopped for a visit at my summer camp. Seven years had passed since I was last there, twelve since I actually attended, but when it comes to camp I’m like Old Rose at the start of Titanic: “It’s been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint.”

On this particular day, I could literally smell fresh paint - a few workers were there touching up railings and door frames. Otherwise, the place was empty. It was a gorgeous autumn morning. My friend Megan and I meandered past the cabins where I’d grown up over 10 summers and I reminisced aloud while Megan nodded patiently bc she's very sweet.

As it turns out, revisiting a place that meant - that means - a lot to you is…weird! It’s different than seeing an old friend or stumbling upon a sentimental item. More visceral. When we navigated the rental car out of the gravel driveway to continue on our way, I felt for the first time in ages like I had something to write about.

When I got home I looked up a thing I wrote back in the summer of 2011, just before I moved to New York, when I was in limbo between my old life and the one I was anxious to start building and I found myself missing camp the most. I hope you’ll indulge me:

sometimes when i’ve had a bad day, i imagine that i’m back at camp.

suddenly it’s a ridiculously perfect summer evening, the sky all hazy purple, and there’s a light breeze, and the last remnants of the warm sun are poking out from behind the tips of the evergreens, and i’m certain there’s no place i’d rather be than on this makeshift wooden bench, squished between one hundred of my closest friends. the benches radiate from the crackling campfire like pews from an altar, and although we’re trying to respect the serenity of the moment, we can’t help but make each other laugh. the sound of our muffled giggles mixes with the chirping of crickets and the click-click of flashlights being turned on and off. the air is soaked with bug spray. down the hill, the lake (it’s a pond, really, but we call it a lake because of course we do) is a mirror reflecting the docks and the trees that surround it.

we take turns getting up in front of the fire to perform silly sketches and to lead the rest of the group in songs about black socks that never get dirty and three short-necked buzzards, and, yes, it’s all kind of ridiculous, but that’s why we like it. there’s no room for irony. eye-rolling isn’t tolerated. but we make huge, sticky s'mores and freak out a little bit when someone spies the outline of a fox in the woods, and when the overenthusiastic swim instructor hands out awards to the little kids who passed their swim checks, we cheer like our team just won the world series.

the fire dies down - they all have to, eventually. we pack up and head to our cabins, whispering loudly, walking arm-in-arm and tripping on purpose because it’s funny. we point our flashlights up at the trees because we know the way back by heart.

the campfire in my mind is an amalgamation of ten summers’ worth of campfires, but i swear i can see it, i can feel it, just like it happened yesterday.

I hope you find inspiration in a familiar place this month, too.

…or in this newsletter! Scroll on to discover some stuff you should.

The dweebasaurus in her natural habitat.

🔗 Read Online

What Your Local Costco Says About You - For an "everything" warehouse chain, Costco is surprisingly adept at showcasing regional and local treasures. (Priya Krishna/Taste Cooking)

Stories About My Brother - How do you write about someone you loved intensely, but didn’t really like? A feminist writer looks back at the life of her late brother after his suicide, and at the societal expectations that drove them apart in adulthood. (Prachi Gupta/Jezebel)

Oh no! Oh damn! I fell in love with New York - Liking things is so humiliating. (Rosa Lyster/The Outline)

The State With the Highest Suicide Rate Desperately Needs Shrinks - Demand for psychiatric services has never been higher, but the number of providers has been falling for decades. In eastern Montana, there's only one. (Monte Reel/Bloomberg)

In the medical desert of rural America, one doctor for 11,000 square miles - Not to belabor the point, but here's another piece about an aging rural doctor in an underserved area, this one in West Texas. "A wild place of last resort,” was how Garner described parts of his territory, and for every person in every kind of medical trouble, the true last resort was him. (Eli Saslow/WaPo)

Two time capsules in NYC: An original poster for the idiot-comedy Road Trip (release date: May 11, 2000) was discovered under 20 years’ worth of other ads on a Brooklyn subway platform; down at the Viacom offices in Soho, a guy has assembled a mini recreation of a Blockbuster video store in an unused cubicle on his floor. (Gothamist)

"into endless river," James Lee Chiahan. Oil and pencil crayon on panel, 16" x 16", 2019

👍 Follow

The Approval Matrix on Instagram - New York Magazine's iconic biweekly grid of all things highbrow, lowbrow, despicable, and brilliant is now on the 'gram.

Easy Money - SHAMELESS PLUG: The Content team at Policygenius, where I work, relaunched our newsletter. It's fully worth your time, I promise. Expect actionable weekly financial advice, need-to-know money news, helpful tips from CFPs, and more.

🗣️ Quote

"The phone gives us a lot but it takes away three key elements of discovery: loneliness, uncertainty and boredom. Those have always been where creative ideas come from." - Lynda Barry, the legendary cartoonist and educator who was recently awarded a (long overdue!!) MacArthur Genius grant

💰 Buy

Girlfriend Collective activewear - I have been largely unimpressed with the scores of bras and leggings advertised to me on Instagram. HOWMEVER, this brand has been a pleasant surprise. Great colors, super soft fabric, compressive but not constricting, ethically made with recyclable materials, AND available in inclusive sizes. And not to be annoying but u can get $10 off a $95+ purchase with my referral link.

Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches - Beautifully creamy, flavorful ice cream smushed between thick, soft cookies that don’t get brittle in the freezer. Flavors include Tahitian vanilla, snickerdoodle strawberry, horchata, and my fave, “Dirty Mint Chip” - fresh mint, brown sugar, double-chocolate cookies. Bliss.

📺 Watch

Holey Moley - Do you love the dumb full-body obstacle course shenanigans of a show like American Ninja Warrior but wish there was a version that was stupider, yet self-aware? Please watch Holey Moley. It’s like Wipeout got drunk on PBRs with Dodgeball and then the pair of them invited over six-time NBA All-Star Stephen Curry to smoke weed and play mini-golf at their mom’s house on a school night. I have seen every episode. (Hulu)

✅ Try

Eat almonds to soothe heartburn - The next time you feel twinges of heartburn coming on, eat a handful of almonds - whole and raw preferred, but any will do. I first stumbled onto this "treatment" during a desperate nighttime Google after an ill-advised McDonald's dinner, and there's something to the texture/substance of almonds that when swallowing feels like it’s literally pushing the discomfort straight back down to hell where it belongs.

Tally (NOT the debt consolidation app, the other one) - I realize that not everyone is obsessed with tracking and quantifying and assessing their lives like me, BUT, if you are, Tally offers a satisfyingly minimalist, highly customizable means of doing just that. I use it to mark how often I water my plants, practice Italian on Duolingo, journal, and do my laundry, and it offers a pleasant little electronic bloop to acknowledge my efforts.

🗣️ Quote

"I love sitting in meetings in a cool dress, with my nails done, and my hair how I like it, and just telling five men in suits how it is. There’s nothing more powerful and exciting to me." - Claire Maguire

🎧 Listen To

You're Wrong About... - Every week, two thirtysomething journalists unwrap popular narratives surrounding news items from their youth - the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Satanic Panic, “Ebonics,” Columbine - to reveal the considerably more complicated stories underneath and examine why we misunderstand (and misremember) so much. Truly cannot get enough of this podcast rn.

A Strange Loop (2019 OCR) - The plot of one of the best stage shows I’ve seen this year sounds kinda fun n quirky: It's a musical about a queer black musical-theater writer who is writing a musical about a queer black musical-theater writer. And it IS kinda fun and quirky! But it's also unflinchingly dark, shockingly funny, and certainly not to everyone's taste. If you have any interest in the future of musical theater, you owe it to yourself to listen, IMO.

The Menzingers - After the Party (2017) - Sorry that I'm two years late to this album! The Philly-based alt/punk band The Menzingers have a new record out this week, but I'm just now appreciating their 2017 release, which offers up rousing rock anthems that mix recognizable emotion with powerful detail.

I saw this butterfly boppin’ around a parking lot the day after my friend Jessica’s wedding. It agreed with me that the ceremony was lovely.

☀️ My Forecast

A writing workshop (told u I was inspired!), a hockey game, a lecture on important women of the Middle Ages, a live show by one of my favorite podcasts. And a nap, probably.

Til next month,

xo Laura

💌 Stuff You Should #14: September 2019

Foul balls, headphone upgrades, googly eyes, and more.

Hi! You're reading a monthly newsletter in which I, perpetual opinion-haver Laura Reineke, share with you some Stuff that I endorse. Got stuff you think *I* Should? Reply to this email or holler at me on Twitter @ohonestly. Thx for reading. Love u.

👋 Know About Me

Reflecting on what’s changed in my life since I last sent this newsletter a year ago, the first thing that comes to mind is the fire escapes.

The board of my NYC apartment co-op (of which I am, hilariously, a member) decided this summer to repaint our buildings’ fire escapes. Until June, they’d been a cheery shade of red. Now? Basic black - a color I endorse in literally every other context but which has in this case diminished the view out my windows considerably. It’s dimmer now. Neutered. Boring.

I voted against the black paint, obviously, but found it difficult to make my case. “Keep the fire escapes red because I like it!!!” felt a little too millennial, u know? “Keep them red because it was that detail that convinced me to choose this apartment from allll the other apartments I toured” isn’t very convincing, either, to a buncha folks motivated less by personal taste than by pragmatism. “Black is straightforward and inoffensive,” etc.

But it really was the red fire escapes, set against the canopy of brilliant yellow autumn leaves out the fourth-story window, perfectly matched to the custom red cabinets in the kitchen, that made 2015 Laura look around approvingly: Now this, THIS could be my cozy little nest.

A cozy little nest, indeed! And one that four years later has lost a little of its charm. But as the kids say, WHATEVER, man. Everything else is great right now, so having a dumb small thing like this to whine about feels…kinda nice, actually.

An otherwise idyllic moment ruined by BORING BLACK FIRE ESCAPES okay I’m done I swear

🔗 Read Online

The Coast of Utopia - "Inspiring this many people really is a lot of work." On the gorgeous gaggle of affluent mommy bloggers leading Instagram-friendly lives of organic foods n fabrics on Australia's eastern shore. (Carina Chocano/Vanity Fair)

What A Foul Ball Can Do - Foul balls in baseball are wildly dangerous. There's a simple solution to keep people safe from them. So why do MLB fans - three in June alone - keep getting hurt? (Kelsey McKinney/Deadspin)

‘Urgent needs from head to toe’ - Overwhelming need meets temporary relief at a pop-up medical clinic in rural Tennessee, where the awful ripple effects of our disastrous healthcare system are on full display. (Eli Saslow/WaPo)

The American Missionary and the Uncontacted Tribe - There's an arrogance specific to missionary work that makes me uncomfortable. This very good piece on John Chau, a young Christian who died in 2018 at the hands of an isolationist Indian tribe he hoped to convert, didn't change my feelings. (Doug Bock Clark/GQ)

“Tangerines,” Haio Jang, 2018

👍 Follow

Got Distracted - My brilliant coworker Logan Sachon is writing every week about "brief obsessions and shallow rabbit holes." So far: timelines, Russian oral histories, passive income, and more, all appraised with her signature wit and candor.

Design Twitter Roundup - Chappell Ellison compiles threads of weird n wonderful design-related things (like awkward ‘70s stock photography, or a pool float shaped like a coffin) on Twitter, then sends 'em out as a newsletter. A delightful midweek diversion.

🗣️ Quote

"Don't shove me into your pigeonhole, where I don't fit, because I'm all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions." - Ursula K. Le Guin

📖 Read Elsewhere

Less by Andrew Sean Greer - I found myself rereading whole paragraphs of this Pulitzer Prize winner because I was so charmed by the author’s way with words. Wistful, sweet, funny.

My Year of Rest & Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh - If you need to Like a book’s main character in order to read it, avoid this one, in which a godawful twentysomething living in NYC in 2000 finds a batty shrink who’ll prescribe her enough drugs to facilitate a yearlong vacation from life. Like the detached materialism of American Psycho crossed with the obnoxious faux-enlightened self-centeredness of, idk, Lena Dunham. Anyway I devoured it in one weekend.

💰 Buy

Diptyque candles - Yes, I have purchased more than one of these absurdly expensive "status candles," and yes, they are #worthit. The burn time is long, the scents are strong but not cloying, and the packaging is chef's-kiss perfect. Sue me!!!

Wicked Cushions headphone ear pads - This company's $21 replacement ear pads have added years of use to my over-ear headphones, which can get kinda grody from daily use. People who've complimented the white floral ones I got for my Beats: post office staffer, two random subway teens, counter guy at the bodega, coworkers, enemies.

📺 Watch

Diagnosis - A doctor-slash-NYT columnist crowdsources diagnoses for patients with mysteries medical afflictions in this miniseries that's simultaneously upsetting (we know SO little about the human body, actually?!) and inspiring (people can be so resilient and helpful and kind!!). (Netflix)


Listing related items alphabetically to fall asleep faster - Trying to fall asleep? Get comfy, close yr eyes, and pick a category of things. I usually go with musicals bc of course I do. Then list items in that category alphabetically until you reach snoozeville. Amour, Bandstand, Cats, Dreamgirls, etc. Apparently the focus this requires helps to distract your brain from overthinking or thwarting the falling-asleep process? I'm no insomniac so I can't promise it'll help those of y'all who are, but in the months that I've been using this trick I've never once made it all the way to Z.

🗣️ Quote

"Live or die, but don't poison everything." - Ann Sexton, The Complete Poems

🎧 Listen To

Bear Brook - This true crime podcast is ostensibly about a decades-old New Hampshire murder case, but it's also a sensitive exploration of the very real people whose lives were cut short and scarred by it.

Song Exploder #153: "Scott Street" - Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers (heart emoji x1000) and drummer Marshall Vore break down the origins n structure of my favorite song from Bridgers' 2017 album Stranger in the Alps.

Running From COPS - A lift-up-the-rock-to-see-the-bugs-underneath investigation into the ways that COPS and Live PD*, TV shows which claim to depict "real policing," shape the lived realities of people in depressed communities and affect the attitudes and motivation of law enforcement. What you see on camera is always shaped by what you don't.

*Produced by my old employer, A+E Networks! Cool 🙃

I ordered googly eyes from Amazon and put them on everything in the office, including this TANGLE of CARPET FIBERS. 10/10 would recommend.

☀️ My Forecast

Visiting Maine; finishing Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys; trying my hand at random recipes for vegan treats I see on Instagram but subbing the vegan ingredients for whatever’s in my pantry, thereby missing the point entirely; welcoming autumn with open arms and a joyful screech.

Til next month,

xo Laura

Hi again.

Did I give u enough time to miss me?

If you’ve known me for a minute, you’re probably familiar with the newsletter I published semi-regularly back in 2016/2017 called Stuff You Should. Well, I’m reviving her! She’s alive!!

In the months since I let the old SYS languish (like so many other creative projects lol #yikes) I found myself reading and listening to and watching good stuff and thinking, “Dang, I wanna recommend this to some people.” Thankfully, a coworker reminded me that in addition to my social media accounts, I already created a little place to do just that. Convenient!

So Stuff You Should will be back later this month, and on Substack this time, like every other newsletter you read. If you subscribed previously, the refreshed and rejuvenated version will slide into your inbox like it never left. If you’re new, I promise not to waste (much) of your time. Either way, thanks for reading! I love u.



💌 Stuff You Should #13: September 2018

Horse girls, Chinatown memories, Silicon Valley scammers, and more.

Hi! You're reading a monthly newsletter in which I, perpetual opinion-haver Laura Reineke, share with you some Stuff that I endorse. Got stuff you think *I* Should? Reply to this email or holler at me on Twitter @ohonestly. Thx for reading. Love u.

👋 Know About Me

Are you tired of hearing me whine about the heat/humidity/sweating all the time? Because I'm super tired of it, I promise you, but it seems to be all I'm good for at the moment. There are lots of vague thoughts floating around in my brainspace these days, half-baked observations about everything from my complicated relationship with my body to my complicated relationship with algorithmic timelines on social media, but ughghg articulating stuff is just so tiring, you know? Anyway it's been so long since my last newsletter than I have many MANY strong recommendations for stuff you should. Please clap.

Ring ring, it’s me

🔗 Read Online

Giddy Up, Girlfriend! - Long-time readers will know I looove learning about NICHE INTERESTS and the people who travel far and wide and spend so much money to indulge them, so of course I lost my damn mind over this peek inside an annual meetup of fans of BREYER HORSE FIGURINES. It's wonderful. (Gray Chapman/NYT)

Jonathan Franzen Is Fine With All of It - I've never "Oh, well in THAT case"-d faster than I did when I realized that Taffy Akner was behind the Jonathan Franzen profile I planned to refuse to read. Leave it to her to make my least favorite author and "public intellectual"...well, if not likable, at least more human-seeming. (Taffy Brodesser-Akner/NYT)

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald's Monopoly Game and Stole Millions - If you haven't read this yet, you should. It's gonna make a wild movie. (Jeff Maysh/The Daily Beast)

Of Flying Squirrels and Yard Goats [2015] - When the owners of minor league baseball teams need to inject some freshness and personality into their clubs' branding, they turn to one particular sports marketing company. (Alan Siegel/Slate)

Long Live Chinatown, Especially When I'm Gone - On the allure of a neighborhood, and the choice - if it's ever a choice - to stay or leave. (Xuan Juliana Wang/The Cut)

Body Positivity Is a Scam "In the context of advertising, women’s self-perceptions are invented out of whole cloth, with no apparent connection to the circumstances of their lives. And so we have the marketing landscape as we know it now, courtesy of Dove: gentle, millennial pink, and passive-aggressively reproachful of women who have allowed themselves to feel bad about their bodies." (Amanda Mull/Racked)

A Journey Into The Dark Heart Of Celebrity Relationship Conspiracy Theories - Why do people obsess over relationships between celebrities, often to the point of fabricating them entirely? What do they get out of it? And why is it so harmful? I've waited for a piece like this for years. (Zan Romanoff/BuzzFeed News)

👍 Follow

Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter - On his website - where he still writes a blog! Like the olden days!! - and his social accounts, author/artist Austin Kleon shares a never-not-interesting array of artwork, quotes, book/film recommendations, and insights into his life as a working creative and father of two. I've followed this guy for like, over a decade now? And still find him to be one of the most interesting people on the internet.

🗣️ Quote

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living." - Annie Dillard

📖 Read Elsewhere

A Colony In A Nation by Chris Hayes - If, like me, you grew up (or still live) in a majority white community, the framework proposed here for conceptualizing systemic police violence against people of color in America is illuminating and helpful.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou - Do you like SCAMMERS and INVESTIGATIONS and RICH PEOPLE MAKING DUMB DECISIONS? Then this one's for you. In exacting chronological detail, a journalist describes how an ambitious young woman built a company that was poised to disrupt the multi-billion dollar blood-testing industry - until everyone found out it was a house of cards built on faulty science and intimidation.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett - Loved this bittersweet debut novel, which follows a trio of teens during and after a summer of hard choices. Bennett layers on nuance to her characters' inner lives and relationships in a way that kept me totally absorbed.

🎧 Listen To

Your favorite album from your sophomore year of high school - Next time you're feeling even a teensy bit blah, queue up your favorite album from your sophomore year of high school and listen to it all the way through. You will feel better. (Mine, fwiw, is Mae's "The Everglow" [2005]. Pop punk forever.)

The McElroy Brothers Will Be In Trolls 2 - I am...not entirely sure how to describe this podcast? "D-list pseudo-celebrities concoct plan to appear in sequel to children's movie and build podcast in the style of prestige documentary around their exploits in real time"? Sure. It's weird and fun and actually pretty illuminating about the process of climbing aboard a big-budget Hollywood project.

Why Is This Happening? - My enjoyment of A Colony In A Nation prompted me to check out Chris Hayes' new-ish podcast of hourlong chats exploring the roots of big trending topics (political tribalism, the housing crisis, mass incarceration, climate change, etc.). Hayes is great in this format - he's an engaging, curious conversationalist, and his expert guests are deeply sourced. The rare podcast that could stand to double the length of its episodes, IMO.

🗣️ Quote

“We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.” - Louise Glück

📺 Watch

Vanderpump Rules - I can't remember life before I started binging this addictive Real Housewives spinoff, which zooms in on the relationship melodramas simmering between the bartenders and servers at Lisa Vanderpump's SUR (which is an acronym for, I swear to god, "Sexy Unique Restaurant"). These people have very little going for them other than their good looks, and yet I find them utterly fascinating. The first two seasons are constructed with a chef's-kiss-perfect emotional payoff that rivals any Shonda Rhimes show at its best. (Hulu)

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (2018) - This HELLA endearing teen rom-com features cute clothes, beautiful photography, and a pair of leads so friggin' adorable and charismatic you'll wanna clutch them to your chest to protect them forever. (Netflix)

The Tale (2017) - Laura Dern plays a documentary filmmaker determined to confront the reality of her first sexual relationship in this powerful and disturbing examination of the narratives we tell ourselves to get by. This one's gonna stick with me for a long time. (Amazon Prime)

Commuting with a new friend

☀️ My Forecast

Taking a couple trips westward. Starting to think about how to celebrate turning 30 in December. Hopefully making a dent in my “to read” list. Also wanna try baking a fancy cake of some kind because why not?

Thx for reading,

xo Laura

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