Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 10.07.2016

Five Things New

These weekly posts were perhaps one of my top-five favorite things about blogging.  Here’s a few reads for starting your weekend right:

  1. What, I’m not the only person making salad dressing in empty jam jars?!  Here’s Jenny from Dinner: A Love Story with her favorite salad dressing recipe of late.  I’m really wanting to get my hands on a copy of her new cookbook.
  2. An English professor on why free speech matters and how he implements this in his classroom.  The following in particular caught me, but to be honest nearly every sentence here spoke out to me:  “As every parent learns too late, the young absorb and replicate not merely what we say, but our demeanor, gestures, and conduct, for those express what we value most. We telegraph subliminally more than we imagine. If we behave as if words are to be feared, they surely will be.”
  3. It’s not like we’ve never heard about the importance of work-life balance and stress maintenance before, but I particularly enjoyed this piece by Jonas Koffler for the New York Times: What I Learned From a Stroke at 26: Make Time to Untangle.
  4. We have been watching Luke Cage on Netflix this week and this interview with the show’s creator, Cheo Hodari Coker, was such an interesting read.  According to this piece, Coker’s unofficial tagline for the series was “The world is in need of a bulletproof black man.”
  5. This is a week old but I couldn’t believe what I was reading!  From Ask A Manager (honestly the best blog on acting professionally and not being insane at work):  My Coworker Wants us to Call her Boyfriend “Master”.

Oh, and P.S. I am making this cake this weekend.  Going sprinkle-shopping today!

Hello again.

I used to write a blog.  This blog.  I started it anonymously during my second year of law school, I think.  Maybe my first year, actually.  I can’t really remember when, but I remember that I was having a lot of feelings and needed to write it out.  Anyway, the timeline isn’t that important.  What is important is that looking back, I see a pattern in my creative life:  I have this urge to write, and I follow it, and then I get scared.

Now maybe the urge to write, maybe that is just a distraction.  I doubt this urge a lot, find it quite silly and a little embarrassing.  If I really want to write, then shouldn’t I have some kind of clear idea what to write about?  I struggled in my college creative writing classes because I couldn’t really choose a topic.  I was very critical of my creative self and felt that all of my ideas were stupid and weak.  I was afraid people would think what I wrote was lame.  (I named all of my characters Jess for the entire semester.  My professor wrote on my final portfolio something like You were the smartest person in this room and you could have been the best, if you had tried a little harder.  It was my first B.)

It’s hard for us, I think, to really know the difference between what we are supposed to do, what we want to do, and what we are afraid to do.  I read something this week that reminded me of this feeling – that we sometimes doubt our “callings” because they don’t always feel like we have been told they will.  And sometimes the things that I am most afraid of doing are the things that, once I take the plunge and give it a try, are the things I am most proud of accomplishing.

So anyway, back to this pattern.  I followed the urge.  I started a blog (and it was really terrible, and oh, the graphics – so horrible) and I kept at it, bit by bit.  I was nervous and afraid each time I hit “publish,” and yet I really loved what I was doing.  I had only a handful of readers for years, and then I took on a blogging challenge where you posted each day for an entire month.  It was fun and also terrible, and I wasn’t sure how healthy that experience was for me so I wrote about it.  That post was selected for the front page of  And then – I had thousands of views in a few days and I was on top of the world.  It was a rush: I had written something that someone important thought was good, and had shared with others, and those other people thought it was good and helpful too.  I was in love with blogging.

Somewhere in there I connected my anonymous blog with my real-life facebook profile.  I was proud and wanted to show my people what I had done, but I was also afraid that “people” would “find out” and think I was “silly” or “over-indulgent.” I felt that writing on the internet would be a source of personal and professional shame for me.  I went through periods of excited writing followed by periods of absolute fear.  (Hey other writers out there – do you feel this way too?)

I didn’t want for my blog to be silly or indulgent or a professional liability or something people would make fun of me for.  But I also think that those fears originate from something I shouldn’t let control my actions.  We shouldn’t have to feel guilty about the things that give us pleasure.  And as a woman, I shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed that some stereotypically female activities like journaling, blogging, crafting or cooking make me happy.  I get to be a fully integrated person, who is serious professionally and yet still totally me, and I shouldn’t have to feel nervous that if the internet reflects my true personality my professional reputation will suffer.  (I mean, seriously, it’s not like I’m doing anything weird.)

But I do worry.  Just because I think intellectually that a thing should be true doesn’t mean that my secret inside person is fully there, all the time.  I’m still nervous that waking this blog back up, after letting it sleep in maintenance mode for over a year, is the wrong choice.  I am still afraid that my boss or my colleagues would find it and be like Ahahaha you are so silly and ridiculous, look at this blog with purses and makeup and feelings everywhere!

But I miss writing to you.  I want you back.  And I might get scared and go dark again in the future, I can’t promise that I’ll consistently be brave.  But I am here, on October 1, turning my little blog-project back on and saying hello.

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 6.26.2015

Five Things New

It’s Friday morning, June 26th, and I’m sitting in my jammies, drinking coffee, and watching the funeral procession for Senator Clementa Pinckney.  And there are so many words, but they all seem so — insufficient.

On Charleston

  1. Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks with Say Something.
  2. AddyeB with On Charleston: I Wish I Had Something Better to Say.
  3. No Quarter, No Sanctuary, No Succor by Jamil Smith for The New Republic.
  4. Austin Channing Brown, with The Only Logical Conclusion.
  5. Osheta Moore with What I Need You to Say in Response to the Shooting in Charleston.

Also big news here in the US, the Supreme Court is speeding toward the end of its calendar, and all eyes are turned to see what will come.  Will it be today?  Monday?  Already, huge cases have been decided this week:


  1. Wondering what all is left on the docket?  Here’s Amy Howe from SCOTUSblog with And then there were seven: the remaining cases, in plain English.
  2. For a round-up of links to explain and analyze the Fair Housing decision, click here.
  3. And, there is so much to read about the ACA decision — and so many SCOTUScare jokes!  Ah Scalia! — but here’s one piece if you’re interested in what it means.
  4. Follow the live blog to see what opinions may or may not be released today.
  5. UPDATE!! Marriage equality has become the law of the land. Check here for an In Plain English summary of the case, but also read this piece by Jamil Smith for The New Republic. 

And a little joy for your weekend reading:

  1. How to Have a Bad Day, from Alexa Brown for Darling Magazine.
  2. Champagne lover?  Here’s two articles to make you an expert!  Numero UnoNumero Dos.
  3. Feeling Jealous of a Younger Colleague?  (How about — don’t be an ass.)  The comments here made me so happy!  Also, please be nice to each other.
  4. Did you see Joy the Baker’s Summer Bucket List?  Do you have a summer bucket list?  I think I might make one.
  5. And, the 2015 Running of the Interns.  This made me laugh!

Happy weekend, my friends. 




Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 6.14.2015

Better late than never, said kids receiving graduation checks from their older adult cousins (sorry kiddo, it’s coming) and, hopefully, Pink-Briefcase blog readers!

Five Things New

This week was excellent.  We had surprise dinner guests, relatively good weather, and lots of quality time with Winston.  Speaking of Winston, he’s started climbing up the walls more ferociously than normal and chewing on the sofa (not just scratching, chewing).  I think it’s time for a puppy because he clearly needs someone to hide from all day.

This Week’s Top Reads:

  1. A little perspective from a literary giant with Things to Worry About from F. Scott Fitzgerald.  (Also, can we talk about stupid humor here for one second?  Did you guys see that Ted 2 preview where the talking teddy bear is like “Eff Scott Fitzgerald? What did Scott Fitzgerald ever do to you?”  I will hopefully never see that movie but this preview cracked me up!)
  2. Micah J. Murray has been speaking to me this week.  I normally roll my eyes at religious posts or sappy things but really loved this religious post and this sappy love post.  And probably neither of them are exactly what you think.  (Well done, sir.)
  3. TOP READ OF THE WEEK:  My friend Abby Norman with When Your Pants and Your Life Don’t Fit.
  4. Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy writing about supporting our friends mourning a loss.
  5. And since I feel like I’ve been in this in-between space for, well, maybe a few years now (growing up is hard!), I really appreciated these words from Jennifer Louden in How to Take Care of Yourself when Everything is Up in the Air.

Oh, and also?  I’m making this for H next weekend and this for the next bridal shower I host.

Did you read anything awesome this week?  Link me up!

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 6.05.2015


Five Things New

So, this week was awesome.  Full of adventure, with me spending a few days working in DC, grabbing tacos and donuts with my husband on my first night home in Chicago, Navy Pier fireworks from our sofa and an entire Friday out of the office!  How was your week?  Hopefully fantastic and full of sunshine.

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week:

  1. From over at Vox (have you noticed Vox is really interesting lately?), I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me by Edward Schlosser.
  2. From Heather Caliri at The Mudroom (you know I’m an editor there, and it’s awesome, right?), I thought I’d do a new friend a favor and not make friends at all.
  3. How Comedians Became Public Intellectuals, by Megan Garber for The Atlantic.
  4. Dan Diamond for Forbes with How Joe Biden Grieved – And Survived – His Family’s Darkest Chapter.  Just, wow.
  5. The Surprising Advice Many People Need to Hear, by one of my long-time favorites Penelope Trunk.

And since it’s been a hot minute since we’ve done this, two extras for you:

Beauty Advice from Cup of Jo’s friend Gemma (I loved this one!), and The 27 Absolute Best Yearbook Quotes from the Class of 2015 from — you guessed it — Buzzfeed.  I can’t remember having to submit yearbook quotes, but it has been about five million years since I was in high school.  So, is this a thing now?  Has it always been a thing?  It seems to be a hilarious, terrible idea.

Have a fantastic weekend!  Happy reading. 

What I’m Into: May 2015


So May was kind of awesome.  It was my first month at home for the E.N.T.I.R.E. month — no work or personal travel of any kind — and it was lovely.  I’ve been soaking in the smaller joys of life as we prepare for the summer months and hopefully a steady stream of visitors.  The weather in Chicago is still very March-ish to me, but summer is slowly beginning to show its face.


I’ve been reading Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness (review coming soon here on the blog) and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.  I started and finished the entire Divergent series when we were on vacation last month and so my book completion rate has multiplied exponentially this quarter.


I watched all the finales (I think) but most of them were so forgettable that I can’t even remember which ones I enjoyed.  Which is saying something.  Game of Thrones has been excellent though — this season is the best yet.

And I’m bummed about Mindy Kaling’s show, Mindy, being canceled — it wasn’t a show I anticipated from week to week, but I enjoyed its light-hearted take on romance.  I missed the last half of this season because I was doing other things, so I’ll be catching up on its ending when it becomes available for free.  (Comcast we pay A LOT for onDemand, so you really should have given me time to watch this season before taking Mindy off the free replay list.  I mean, seriously.)



chicago 4th presbyterian ben folds concert (1)

This month was H’s birthday, and we did some fun things around the city to celebrate.  First up was a unique Ben Folds concert at the Fourth Presbyterian Church here in Chicago.  The Church was right next door to the hotel we stayed in when we first came to Chicago to look for an apartment, and it was a fun little date.  It was also totally weird to see and hear Ben Folds rocking out in his special way inside a church.  Every time he said a curse word the crowd murmured with awkwardness.  “Can he say that here?”  (In case you are wondering, yes.  No obvious repercussions.)


Then, we had the most glorious birthday dinner at Stephanie Izard’s restaurant The Girl and The Goat.  For H, there is nothing better than a fancy restaurant with a menu created by a Top Chef contestant.  (It cost a lot more pennies than my favorite place, Burger Bar. And I had to wear a dress, so I’m just saying burgers and beers remain superior in my book.)




This month H has been grilling a lot and we’ve been eating grilled chicken, veggies, and quinoa every single day for lunch.  (Well, not every day but you hear me.  I made lentil soup one week.)  I’ve also decided that my ideal Summer beverage is a 12 oz. can of Shiner.


We’re working hard to not over-purchase groceries, which means we are meal planning and using up things in our freezer.  We had a strawberry-cherry crisp one weekend for breakfast to use up some yummy frozen strawberries we had (thanks Mom!) and we’ve eaten up all of the green beans from my parents’ garden last summer.  I’m not sure why I’m such a hoarder of freezer things, but I’m working to change that.  As the kids say, #yolo or whatever, right?  So we are eating our delicious frozen goodies.


Seeing the Midwest


We made two fun day trips up to Wisconsin.  (We are trying to make Wisconsin my new West Virginia.  Although I do not love it like I love West Virginia.  Country roads, take me back to Harper’s Ferry please.)


milwaukee bronze fonz hunter mb (1)

We spent a Saturday afternoon and evening in Milwaukee where we enjoyed delicious frozen custard and visited the Bronze Fonz.  We took a brewery tour and we attended a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game.  I actually really loved Milwaukee and would like to visit again — and I have an important question for any Milwaukeeans out there:  why are there SO MANY clocks on the buildings?  I mean, that is a lot of clocks.

madison wisconsin devils lake hiking outside scenic (7)


And then we took a longer drive up past Madison to Devil’s Lake.  We hiked, fished (I caught the first fish and it was the largest!), enjoyed the scenery and ate cheese curds.  Because Wisconsin.  It was my first time fishing from a canoe and I hated how wobbly it was.  But otherwise it was super fun.


What I’m Wearing


Clothing during the Chicago not-winter-not-summer is super confusing.  Some days I’m in sleeveless dresses and sandals in the morning and then a rainstorm comes in and it’s freezing on the way home.  Other days I still need sweaters, long pants, socks and boots.  There is no consistency and it is completely unpredictable and I generally have no idea what to wear.  Fortunately fashion is not a high priority where I work.


However, there is one thing I have been consistently wearing that I can heartily recommend:  Tarte Lipsurgence Liquid Lip Shine, in Exquisite.  I am terrible at lip gloss, lip stick, lip-anything.  Terrible.  But I ordered a Tarte makeup kit from QVC and this is the greatest and best lip product I have ever owned and I am wearing it all the time.  (I mean, not every day because I forget, but I do really like it.)


On the Internet


It’s been a few months since I’ve really been paying attention to the internet (I’ve missed you!) but there are a few things that I’ve been loving.  I started following a few new blogs/websites, including Hollywood Housewife and Darling Magazine.  And I really enjoy the writing at even though its geared toward sports fans.  (Looks like my husband is wearing off on me!)  I’ve also been listening to a lot of podcasts, and am particularly enjoying Happier by Gretchen Rubin and The Right Reasons (it’s all about reality TV and it is HILARIOUS).


I’m falling hard for the writing and editing team I’m working with at The Mudroom.  I’m still learning who each of these strong women are at their cores, where they are from and what makes them tick, but it’s a wonderful community and I’d love for you to check it out.  Here are two of my favorite posts to date:  one, two.


And, suddenly I’m really into Pinterest again.  Follow me here if you want to.



Have you been doing anything awesome this past month?  And:  how are you?  It’s been ages.


To check out more monthly wrap-ups and get tons of book and music recommendations, head over to Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into link-up!  I always find really good stuff there. 

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 4.03.2015

Five Things New

It’s been a while since a weekly wrap-up, but I’m excited to be falling back into my groove with this space.  I spent some time this week reading through my entire Feedly stream (it was 500+ links long) and so these links may be from a few weeks back in internet time, but they were all on my radar this week while I’ve been catching up.

So, let’s get to it!

Five Awesome Things

O Adjunct! My Adjunct! by Carmen Maria Machado for the New Yorker.

The Rock’n’Roll Casualty who became a War Hero by Clay Tarver for the New York Times (this is from the summer but I loved reading it and just found it this week!).

The comment thread for How Can I Develop a Poker Face at Work? on Ask a Manager.  Interesting, helpful, and hilarious.

Two posts about being okay with a little imperfection, in our own lives and in our relationships:  Breaking Down from Kimberly at Penny Pincher Fashion, and You Will Stumble from Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

This list of 20 Career Tips from (female) Entrepreneurs, collected by Joanne at Cup of Jo and including some fantastic advice from Deb of Smitten Kitchen!


So, what awesome things have you been reading this week?

On opening the windows, shaking off the dust, and blogging again

I have that feeling now, that feeling where the weather starts turning warmer and you want to clean everything and throw out all of your winter clothes and go shopping.  Spring fever or something like that.

I’m finally home.  My traveling isn’t over forever, but I don’t have any work trips planned for at least a month and I’m settling back into a more normal routine.

I’ve missed you all.  And I’m excited to be back, but also nervous that it’s silly to blog after being away for months.  (But, honestly, blogging is a little silly at its very nature, so whether or not there will be readers really doesn’t increase or decrease its inherent silliness, am I right?)

Work has been — hard.  I’ve been traveling and stressing out and making presentations and filtering spreadsheets and loving every minute.  I’ve never felt more grateful for anything than I have felt these last few months for the continued opportunity to work hard in a job I love.  I’ve had really terrible jobs, and I know how depressing and terrifying and boring it is to feel like your time is not used well and you aren’t accomplishing anything because I have lived that life too.  A lot.  (If you are there right now, I’m sorry.)

I’m also learning first-hand how important it is to set boundaries for myself.  Everything in moderation.  When I’m caught up in my work, months can pass without me remembering to get a hair-cut, go out with my friends, paint my fingernails.  And let’s not even talk about laundry.

When you’ve been going nonstop and working a lot its easy to convince yourself that your work is very important and that because your work is important, you are important too.  And that is a lie.  Just because your job is hard or your hours are long does not mean your job is important.  And, whether or not you work a lot or your job is important does not make you important.  You are already important because you are a person who loves others and who is greatly loved.  Being a person who is alive is AWESOME.

I’m mostly writing for myself today.  And this is what I need to hear, every day, but especially when things feel insane or tedious or impossible or just plain boring.  You too?


Thanks for joining me here, my friends.  It’s been too long, hasn’t it?  How are things? 

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 1.11.2015

It’s been a while, my friends.  I have SO MANY links for you but I’ve tried to whittle it down to just five.  I’m going to schedule some tweets throughout the week to clear out all of the posts I saved for you over the past few weeks.  Click here to follow along.

Five Things New

The Sad Internet: 2014 in Review.  Could not stop laughing. (Also, can we just all agree that twitter can be kind of humiliating?  So many tweets, so few responses. . . )

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Me about being a Stay-at-Home Dad.  RBG is awesome and while there’s clearly a lot of privilege in this author’s experience, it made me feel optimistic about the future.

Depression is Not a Scandal from Jamie the Very Worst Missionary.  I don’t really understand why we have to have this conversation, but clearly we do, and Jamie does it so well.

Self-sufficiency is overrated from Penelope Trunk.  Penelope Trunk is so weird and awkward sometimes but SO AM I.  I love her.

An open letter to the Girl Scouts by Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess).  Looking for positive examples of women who live their lives with integrity and confidence?  Click here.


Friendship. It’s What I’m Into in December 2014.


December was an unexpected month.  I mean, not that exactly — I absolutely knew that December would come after November, as did everyone else who uses the Gregorian calendar or is at least four years old and living in the Western hemisphere.  I mean more that this December wasn’t what I expected.

Going through the month, I felt like the days were passing too quickly and I couldn’t keep up.  I searched for “Christmas spirit” everywhere but couldn’t seem to find it.  I did not bake a single batch of cookies the entire month.  For a girl who likes to bake at least a half-dozen recipes, bring cookies and such into work or drop goodies off at friends’ homes, and save a sampler platter to bring to her Dad in Tennessee, that was a pretty low blow for everyone involved.

While it was happening, it didn’t feel like anything.  I didn’t really know what I was walking through.  I didn’t really blog (sorry readers), I didn’t really work out (sorry pants), and I didn’t read very much or complete any more of the awesome online classes I started.  I barely finished listening to Serial. Looking back, though, I can see that this past December was so good for me.  December was a month where my loneliness was met week after week by lovely new friends.

The thing about being career-minded and married and moving to a new city as an adult is that your friends are often very far away.  Instead of seeing them every other day, you see them just once or twice each year.  It’s natural to feel lonely in your new city.  But, if you are like me, you might not recognize that loneliness even when it is filling your life.  I apparently confuse it with things like work stress, seasonal allergies, or the crippling emotional blow that is entering another winter in Chicago.  (I mean, seriously.  It is cold.)  And then I convince myself that work stress, allergies, or cold weather are good reasons NOT to go out and spend time with new friends, which compounds the loneliness that I haven’t even noticed I have.

I can be such a dummy. 

The past six weeks my Chicago people and out of town guests totally rejuvenated me.  Thanks to Abby for visiting pre-Thanksgiving and reuniting me with some lovely ladies I hadn’t seen in too many months.  Thanks to the awesome book release party for connecting me with people I care about but haven’t seen in ages.  Thanks to little girls who take dance classes and brought me to my first-ever showing of the Nutcracker (FYI the Nutcracker is WEIRD!) — and to the awesome hosts of the post-performance shindig.  Thanks to the friend who came to stay with us for a week while attending a conference in the city.  Thanks to my awesome family and in-laws for fun activities and hang outs over the holidays, and thanks especially to the two couples that joined us here in our Chicago apartment for New Years’ Eve fireworks. I had forgotten how much fun it was to relax, sip on homemade cocktails, bake a cake, and just have fun.

I watched some TV and read a few books and went to some cool places over the last month, but I’ll catch you up on those things later.  For now, when I think about this December, I think about you.  Thanks, friends, for making this life more awesome.

As I usually do, today I’m linking up with the fabulous Leigh Kramer to share what I was into during the previous month.  For great shows to watch, books to read, recipes to try and internet things to click on, check out all of the posts here

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