💌 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