On Education

Well. Betsy DeVos' confirmation yesterday was quite a blow.

But here's the thing - one woman doesn't control all the education of all the land.

The quality of our schools is tied to the state and to the communities those schools are in. 

We MUST support the schools in our communities, and we must support the schools in communities less fortunate than ours.

Here's an awesome list from Upworthy that details out very real, very tangible actions you can take to help combat DeVos' crazy ass ideas.

And here's a quote from Malala. When you're feeling down about DeVos, just remember that Malala got shot in the FACE for trying to learn. IN. THE. FACE. And that didn't stop her.

So I'm not letting a silly Amway nut job get me down. No way. 

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Staying Positive in 2017

Back in early 2014, I started That's An Affirmative as a way to counteract how down I was getting about our issues with fertility. Focusing on positive thoughts, quotations, and anecdotes helped me raise my spirits, maintain my sense of humor, and basically remind me daily how lucky I am in SO many other ways. It evolved into a place for me to share my thoughts on motherhood, womanhood, and the portrayal of women in media (You guys, it turns out I have a lot of feelings).

It really helped!

Fast forward three years. Now it's not just me. Now we're all depressed.

The election of President Trump has made my more personal concerns with fertility, women's rights, and overall human rights a very real and public concern. Like many of you, I'm struggling to figure out what I can do to make a difference.

In addition to calling my senators and donating to as many organizations as we can afford, I turn to writing and sharing affirmations. While I don't know how often I can post personal essays, I am committing to sharing daily words of wisdom on the blog and IG to all of you from all the smarties that came before us.  

I know it won't fix everything. I know it won't fix anything. And I'm not trying to sugarcoat what's happening.

It's about finding the words, the ideas, and the messages that will inspire us and help us to move forward.

I hope you enjoy, my dear ones! 

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How Ya Doing With Those Resolutions, Eh?

It's been a little over a month since 2016 began! 39 days since we made these huge grandiose plans and resolutions to make this year the best one yet. Studies show that a third of all resolution-makers break their resolutions a month or less into the new year (learn more about that and other fun resolution-related statistics here).  So how is it going for you? 

It's pretty obvious I'm having trouble with the blog posting resolution. I broke that one on, like, week two. But you've all been so patient with me. Thank you for not publicly shaming me or forgetting about me (and yet, also, thank you for my friends that have shamed me in person and told me to write more. That's important too!).

I swear I'm not a Total Loss. I am working hard on my resolutions, but the writing piece just hasn't fallen into place yet.  Here are the resolutions I am keeping:

  • eating well and exercising (I've lost six pounds! And the morning yoga makes me feel SO good!)
  • reading more (I'm actually going to be able to contribute at this month's book club!)
  • spending quality time with Brandon and Jack (insert heart-eyed emoji here like 32 times)
  • not over-planning my weekends 
  • watching more movies

And that is all going just swimmingly. So hooray for all of that. Hooray for succeeding on most of my resolutions, if not all!

I'm trying to address this lack of writing head on. I'm not just idly hoping it will get better ("Oh la dee da, maybe next week I'll have loads of time and be able to write!" Like that has ever happened to anyone ever.).

I'm actively trying to change things. This weekend I got away to a coffee shop for some wonderful writing (and alone!) time. My darling husband is happy to let me go so he has alone time with Jack. I just need to take him up on it more, I guess! And I need to make an effort to write one to two evenings a week...even if I'm bone-tired and my to-do list seems insurmountable. No excuses! Stop prioritizing other things! Writing is just as important as changing the sheets! 

Anyway. I hope your resolutions are going ok, and please don't give up hope if you had a less than stellar month on some of them. You still have eleven more months to totally kill it! Then by the law of averages, you will have basically erased your inconsistencies in January. Just take ten minutes today to sit down, think about that resolution, and make a plan for how you will start to incorporate it into your life, a tiny bit at a time. Just itty bitty baby bites. 

See you back here soon, I hope! Cuz that means I'm taking my own advice! 

 

My resolutioning may be inconsistent, but it's delicious.

My resolutioning may be inconsistent, but it's delicious.

Pre-MLK Weekend Bits & Bobs

Hello, friends. This week founds us down two British cultural legends and up one badass State of the Union. My goodness, what a tumultuous week! So many feelings!

Here's some good stuff from various corners of the internet to take your mind off all your emotions.

  • Did you hear about how JLaw described her personal style as "slutty power lesbian"? I think some people took offense to this, but in general I think the world loved this badass, honest, totally surprising answer (also check out The Slate's deep dive into the media representation of "slutty power lesbians" and what/who they think Jennifer was going for.)
  • I don't know if you are familiar with the hilarious comic Lauren Lapkus, but my husband showed me this series of hilarious anti-impressions she did, and I mega LOLed. Lauren Lakpus for president.
  • This McSweeney's list of Women Facts is everything.
  • Rashida Jones has a new single "Flip and Rewind", but more importantly, she has made the video into an homage to the 90s. Her wardrobe is FIERCE. Also, I honestly can't tell how serious this single is supposed to be. Is Rashida Jones looking to be a musician too? Or is it just an excuse to make this sweet video? Does anyone know?
Zack Morris called and he wants his rolled-up blazer back (also, can I get one too?).

Zack Morris called and he wants his rolled-up blazer back (also, can I get one too?).

  • How to make garlic sauce, like the yummy life changing kind found at Zankou Chicken. YES IT'S TRUE YOU'RE WELCOME.
  • This is the right answer to any sad email you receive. I know because I sent a sad email at work and someone sent this back and it was perfect.
  • And lastly, please enjoy this David Bowie homage by Flight of the Conchords. Let's continue to find ways to honor this person who broke open our minds and provided the soundtrack to such important moments in our lives. 

Will write more soon! Love to you on the eve of this long weekend!

The Ultimate Resolution

Probably eight years ago now, my dear friends Christian, Margaret, Ivana, and I did the Artist's Way together. Do you know about the Artist's Way? It's Julia Cameron's 12 step program to finding and harnessing your inner artist. It's delightfully hippy dippy, totally cheesy, and most importantly, it provides just the right number of emotionally cathartic moments to leave you feeling honest and renewed.

We LOVED it. We met every Friday morning in the cafeteria of DreamWorks Animation, where we poured over our morning pages and verbalized our deepest fears and shared our insights on our true selves and supported each other's personal triumphs and, in general, schemed on how to become That Intangible Perfect Thing We Wanted to Be.

Since then, Christian, Margaret, and I looked at each other as our spiritual and artistic guidance group. We would get together every January to talk about what was on our minds, identify our resolutions, and set true intentions for the year. More often than not, these important decisions fell by the wayside within a month. However, it was deeply calming and reassuring to have this group help me to identify my path for the year.

We haven't been able to get together the last couple years, as Margaret moved to Germany, and recently Christian moved to Spain. But it's OK because that last resolution making session resulted in the Ultimate Resolution, one that all of us still look to and strive for each year (and each day).

And that Ultimate Resolution is...

Simplify and Elevate.

Isn't that just divine? Isn't it totally perfect? Two perfect tiny goals. Simplify your life, your to do list, that problem right in front of you, your weekend plans. Elevate what is truly important, like time with your kids, time to create, time to yourself.

Don't waste energy on the bullshit. Focus on what's important, and let go of the rest.

It's the Ultimate Resolution! And although I still like to sit down and create my resolution "to do" list, in which I spell out the specific goals and life changes I have in mind, I now know what I'm shooting for. Always.

To Simplify and Elevate.

Let's do this, 2016!

PS. I love and miss you, Christian, Margaret, and Ivana!

My aloe knows what's up.

My aloe knows what's up.