monthly recap | march 2021.

this is a ridiculously long update because i kind of feel like march lasted forever.

march highlights.

crawfish season // a couple of great hikes // got my first dose of the vaccine! // virtual magic show date night with alex // phone catchup with best friend sastri // lots of porch sitting

march books.

girl, woman, other by bernardine evaristo. the more i think about this book, the more i realize how good and how important it is. it is definitely one that requires your attention, but it is well worth it. the stories of black women in england spanning the 21st century are beautiful and sad and introspective, and each character has so many layers. you definitely have to be ready to step into these stories, and i’m so glad i waited to read this until i was in that space. i love how each story stands on its own but that they all tie together, and i especially appreciate the reminder that we only know a small portion of someone else’s story. this one will stick with me for a long time to come.

shrill by lindy west. i have been reading west’s collection of essays on-and-off for a few months, and march felt like a good time to finish them. i’ve listened to a few podcast interviews with west and always found them interesting, so i always knew i was going to like her writing. she has a very honest, straightforward, unapologetic voice, and i very much resonate with so much of what she writes. i will definitely continue to follow her and will read more of her work in the future.

the moment of lift by melinda gates. after listening to melinda gates’ interview on the unlocking us podcast i knew i wanted to read her book. gates has focused much of her work through the gates foundation on issues of women’s empowerment and family planning, and it was interesting to read the stories that have impacted her life and work. it reminded me a lot of half the sky but also shared some updated key statistics on the importance of educating girls and lifting up women. it is sometimes difficult for me to fathom in 2021 how our world continues to ignore the impact women’s empowerment can have on a society, and i hope that this book can convince more people of its importance.

am i there yet? the loop-de-loop, zigzagging journey to adulthood by mari andrew. i first learned about mari andrew when she did weekly illustrations for cup of jo and have been following her ever since, so when i learned she was publishing a book i was very excited. i then proceeded to let it sit on my shelf for years, but i finally pulled it down and read it in march. i liked the combination of illustrations and short essays, but ultimately the essays fell a little flat for me. i think part of it is because i am nearly 10 years older than mari was during the life events she describes, but i still think it was an interesting read. if you decide to follow mari on instagram, i especially love her series on things she loves about new york.

the joy luck club by amy tan. this was our bank holiday book club selection for march, and it took me longer than i expected to get through it. some of the chapters were especially tough for me to get through for whatever reason, but i’m really glad i read it. it provides some interesting food for thought about the things we daughters of immigrant mothers internalize about our place in the world, and it also made me incredibly grateful for my relationship with own mother. she’s different in so many ways from the mothers portrayed in the book, but at the end of the day she is a mother who raised her children in an unfamiliar country on the other side of the world from her own childhood context: that takes incredible bravery and resilience that i know i didn’t see or appreciate while i was growing up.

the lost apothecary by sarah penner. i needed a quick read after the joy luck club, and laura very kindly loaned me her copy of the lost apothecary. a very quick read, penner’s debut novel shifts between 1791 and present day, introducing us to nella, eliza, and caroline. i usually like a book with alternating timelines, but while this one started off strong it ultimately was pretty disappointing. i was very invested in nella and eliza and not so much in caroline, and the story took a few unnecessary turns in my opinion. i think penner has promise and i am not opposed to reading something of hers in the future, but this one was very meh..

currently reading: thomas page mcbee’s amateur for today’s bank holiday easter monday chat [here’s hoping i finish in time!]; viet thanh nguyen’s the sympathizer; and lori gottlieb’s maybe you should talk to someone. there’s a lot happening, book-wise, around these parts!

the best things i watched.

this very brief overview of ella baker’s life.

i don’t know what i was expecting from ted lasso, but it certainly wasn’t this much heart. the first season of the show blew me away, and i cannot say enough good things about it. please let me know if you have watched it, because i would love to discuss it with you. i will be waiting impatiently for the next season and dreaming of my new crush roy kent.

the meghan and harry interview with oprah. wow.

i finally watched the last dance. i wasn’t emotionally ready for it when it released last spring, but it was perfect for my month of watching things i hadn’t watched before. as someone who remembers much of those bulls runs of the ’90s vividly, i still learned a lot i didn’t know at the time. i was texting my brother so much while watching that i finally decided to write a post with all of my thoughts; be on the lookout for that soon!.

i also watched wandavision on disney+. there were definitely some gaps in my knowledge of the backstory since i’ve not seen all of the mcu movies, but i knew enough and filled in the rest between my brother and some google searches. you’ll need to have a working knowledge of wanda’s and vision’s roles in the marvel cinematic universe, and the first two episodes are a little slow going, but trust me when i saw it all comes together in a spectacular way. really, really good.

my sisters maggie and molly made a fabulous short film, nina. i strongly encourage you to take 15 minutes and watch this film; i think you’ll really love it.

i’m finally watching the crown. i watched the first 4.5 episodes when the first season released and then got distracted and never finished; i’m finished with the first season and will be taking my time with the remaining three.

the best things i listened to.

i caught up on a lot of podcasts in march, so i will apologize in advance for the length of this list. maybe i should make this its own post each month? we’ll let it go for one more and see how we feel

hidden brain: the snowball effect [mar 1]. great if you want to learn why certain brands or trends take off and other don’t.

seneca’s 100 women to hear: meghan, the duchess of sussex [mar 2]. meghan markle’s words of encouragement to last fall’s girl up conference attendees.

it’s been a minute with sam sanders: author torrey peters on seeing through a trans lens [mar 2]. fantastic conversation with torrey peters, author of detransition, baby [i am eagerly awaiting my copy!].

death, sex & money: ugh, dating right now [mar 3]. dating sucks at any point in your life, but it’s been particularly hard in the midst of a pandemic. this was a great look at how various people are handling it.

ted talks daily: my mother’s final wish — and the right to die with dignity | elaine fong [mar 3]. elaine fong’s talk about her mother’s fight to die with dignity was poignant and heartfelt. definitely worth a listen.

why am i telling you this?: stephen garza: how to represent [mar 3]. from the time i saw stephen garza in the boys state documentary, i knew he was going to be someone to follow. after listening to his conversation with president clinton, i’m even more convinced of it.

astray: india syndrome [mar 3]. i am still deciding how i feel about this series as a whole, but it’s definitely a fascinating topic. ps: “india syndrome” is not a real thing.

seneca’s 100 women to hear: dr shirley jackson [mar 4]. listening to dr jackson talk about her life and career was fascinating. she’s been a trailblazer in so many different ways.

call your girlfriend: burnout [mar 5]. everyone’s besties aminatou and ann get real about recognizing burnout and how to take care of yourself when you feel it happening to you.

betches sup: afternoon tea with maya wiley [mar 5]. i loved this conversation with new york mayoral candidate maya wiley. if you are able to vote in the nyc mayoral election, give this episode a listen!

it’s been a minute with sam sanders: voting rights under threat, plus do we still need sports? [mar 5]. this one was a double-whammy, covering the history of voter suppression in the states along with the role sports play in our lives in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic.

betches sup: until the end of the monarchy [mar 8]. i think this was the first podcast episode i listened to after watching meghan markle’s interview with oprah, and it encapsulated so many of my initial thoughts and feelings.

armchair expert: rupert grint [mar 8]. this conversation was a delight. team ron weasley forever.

ted talks daily: the myth of bringing your full, authentic self to work | jodi-ann burey [mar 8]. there’s a huge trend of encouraging people to bring their “whole selves” to work, but what gets overlooked is that often it isn’t safe for individuals to do so without fear of backlash or losing out on opportunities.

it’s been a minute with sam sanders: sohla el-waylly on race, food and ‘bon appétit’ [mar 9]. bottom line: i want to be friends with sam and sohla. help me make that happen.

why am i telling you this?: the honorable ruth bader ginsburg: how to fight for equality [mar 10]. to honor justice ginsburg on her birthday, president clinton replayed her interview with nina totenberg in little rock from september 2019. jeremy and i were lucky enough to be in that audience, and i loved getting to relisten to and relive that night.

the daily: diana and meghan [mar 11]. a look at the groundbreaking interviews each woman gave as well as other similarities in their royal lives.

hidden brain: the story of stories [mar 15]. this episode and the one that followed [the story of our lives] provide great insight into the stories we tell ourselves as well as the ones we tell the world and how those impact our experiences.

ted talks daily: what if mental health workers responded to emergency calls? | leslie herod [mar 15]. great talk about how systems could be improved if mental health workers were included as responders to emergency calls.

99% invisible: the megaplex! [mar 16]. this episode serves up some great nostalgia remembering the single screen theaters of my childhood before the eruption of multiplexes, but i also learned a lot about how these giant theaters have impacted which movies get made and which ones get overlooked.

code switch: lonnie bunch and the ‘museum of no’ [mar 16]. i know it’s niche, but i love listening to interviews with lonnie bunch talking about his career and how he got the museum of african-american history off the ground.

why am i telling you this?: rep. grace meng: how to stop the hate [mar 17]. a great conversation between president clinton and ny representative grace meng about the history of anti-asian legislation in the states, the more recent rise of hate crimes against asians, and her work to bring resolutions in congress condemning all forms of anti-asian bigotry.

still processing: the n-word [mar 18]. what a season premiere! i loved listening to jenna and wesley discuss the n-word and how their own relationships to the word have evolved throughout their lives.

intersectionality matters!: the story of us [part 1] [mar 20]. a look at how storytelling has shaped so many aspects of our country, both correctly and incorrectly. featuring conversations with two of my favorite authors: bryan stevenson and viet thanh nguyen!

this american life: the campus tour has been canceled [mar 21]. a look at what has happened to college admission since the onset of the pandemic, focusing particularly at what has happened now that many schools have deemed standardized tests optional rather than required for admission. i understand the original intent of standardized testing, but i also have to agree with the student who said that they serve as gatekeepers to prevent students from poor and under-resourced schools from gaining admission to the most prestigious of our higher educational institutions.

code switch: screams and silence [mar 24]. what happened in atlanta last month wasn’t an isolated incident. this episode provides background as well as action steps to take to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

throughline: the land of the fee [mar 24]. if you’ve ever wondered about the history of tipping, this episode is for you.

and on a non-podcast note! this fantastic spotify playlist has been playing on repeat the last few weeks. also it supports gold house, an organization which forges the inclusive unity, representation, and success of asians and pacific islanders.

the best things i purchased.

i used a small portion of my stimulus check to treat myself to some anecdote candles. there were so many scents that i was having a hard time choosing, so i bought 5 of the tins to try out: novella, glamping, old flame, flannels & fedoras, and astrological storming. i already know the astrological storming [sandalwood + incense] is going to be my favorite of the lot, but honestly i’ve liked all of them so far.

the best things i read on the internet.

dolly parton not only helped fund the moderna vaccine, but she also gave us the vaccine anthem we didn’t know we needed. nbcnews

this story of a pan am flight attendant and a cia agent who fell in love on a flight from paris to jfk. cnn

generational advice. new yorker via a cup of jo

more evidence in favor of a four-day work week. i am working 3.5-4 day weeks right now since i have accrued so much time off, and i am definitely more motivated and more productive because of it. bloomberg via design mom

the amount of extra work being done by women and girls during the pandemic could push gender equality back by up to 10 years. that’s horrifying. the guardian via design mom

further data shows how harsh the pandemic has been to women and members of the lgbtq+ community. the 19th*

loved this story of how amy sherald’s painting of breonna taylor will live on continue inspiring others. nytimes

this interview on what disabled motherhood looks like. a cup of jo

ashley c ford’s marie claire cover story on stacey abrams is *chef’s kiss*. “my success is tied at the most base level with the success of my people, and my people are the south. my people are americans. my people are people of color. my success can only be real if i’m doing it for the success of others”

i loved this look into daveed diggs and emmy raver-lampman’s home and am plotting how i can convince them to adopt me. architectural digest

this article that is partly about rich memphians flying to dc for the “stop the steal” rally [gross] but that is really about the ultra-elite white society that wields so much of the power in the city. this quote from native memphian jesse holland sums it up very well: “memphis has had this complicated relationship with race in the south. it has wanted always to be better, but has always struggled to figure out how to do that.” vanity fair

hollaback! has some great resources and trainings if you want to learn how to actively end harassment and violence. i am signed up for their email updates and hope to enroll in one of their bystander trainings when they open up more spaces.

this phenomenal twitter thread about the history of muslin made in india and how the british co-opted the making of it and ruined the industry in india. twitter via katie milligan

unsolicited texts from white allies. mcsweeney’s via moo

very interesting thread analyzing the data behind deaths by police in 2020. twitter via design mom

this thread of people tweeting gifs of themselves is gold. please take time to scroll through the responses. twitter via design mom

scaachi koul on the hope that beverly cleary gave to pests around the world. buzzfeed news

i can’t get these photos of the dolomites out of my head. nytimes via alex

kudos to you if you made it all the way to the end. and happy april!

xx

2 thoughts on “monthly recap | march 2021.

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