Interweb Finds: the most scenic national parks, a portrait of debt & more

Interweb Finds: the most scenic national parks, a portrait of debt & more

Happy Tuesday, friends!

(And to those of you buried under what, as of Monday evening, is supposed to be an epic snowfall, happy stay-the-hell-home day, am I right? Let me know if you want a postcard from SoCal.)

I’m back in the the swing of things at school for my last semester EVER, working on my freelancing (and job-hunting) game and reading a LOT. Right now, I’m reading three books simultaneously, and over the weekend I plowed through Stephen King’s On Writing. I love writing, but when I read a lot, I love writing even more. Kinda cool how that works, huh?

Anyway! As promised, your monthly interweb finds:

A round-up of the most scenic national parks. Uh, I need to get on the road. I’ve only visited three (and driven through two) out of 25!

Related: scenic cabins to make you hate winter less. (I’m really thinking of you, East Coast!)

If you’re like me and psyched that Friends is on Netflix but don’t want to watch the entire series through (again), here’s a handy list of the best episodes.

A fascinating (and important) read: What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Me About Being a Stay-at-Home Dad.

“[M]en appear to be just as dissatisfied with the stickiness of gender-based norms as women: Nearly half of fathers report dissatisfaction with the amount of time that they are able to spend with their children—twice the rate of mothers who say the same. The gender-equality debate too often ignores this half of the equation. When home is mentioned at all, the emphasis is usually on equalizing burdens—not equalizing the opportunity for men, as well as women, to be there.”

On a similar note, can we solve our childcare problem?

“Conservative women have long charged feminists with hypocrisy for employing other women at low wages as they make headway in corporate America. […] I don’t think hiring a nanny is hypocritical, but I do think that a failure to acknowledge how another woman’s hard work enables your own is a major feminist blind spot.”

The Debt Project is a photo series and catalyst for an honest conversation about the way debt cripples people all across America. We talk about debt as a national problem often, but very rarely do we open up about our own struggles with debt. Do you agree?

A beautiful reminder for when you’re having a shitty day: today is not over yet.

$837/month for a one-bedroom apartment blocks from the beach is unheard of in Santa Monica. When can I move in?

Vitriolic comment section aside (seriously, wtf is all the hate about?) I love these vintage photos of hippie communes.

Hilarious and accurate: Disney princesses with realistic hair.

How to book the cheapest flight possible anywhere.

That’s all the web finds for this month. Stay warm, and read a good book if you have the day off! What’s on your reading list?

Feminist to Follow: Seema from The Subtle Hipster

This month’s Feminist to Follow has made feminism and public health her life’s work.

Seema Bhakta is not only a storyteller and photojournalist, but a researcher and advocate for various organizations and nonprofits that support and promote women’s well-being, including MCH in Action, a student organization centered on maternal, childbirth, sexual and reproductive health.

Seema is the blogger behind The Subtle Hipster, where, in addition to highlighting news in feminism, she writes about books, adventure, food and more. Below, she shares a thoughtful essay on why blogging about feminism is important to her. Read on!

Feminist to Follow: Seema from The Subtle Hipster

Blogging about feminism is important to me because I believe the movement is not only about equal opportunities for women, but increasing the support of diversity, reducing stigma and fighting for the rights of everyone discriminated based on their ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Just like everything else, I don’t think feminism is a black or white topic. It’s a spectrum and there are definitely a lot of gray areas. I’ve read articles and tweets from people who say they don’t think of themselves as feminists because they never faced inequalities in life or work. There are also the misguided folks who say, “I’m not a feminist because I don’t hate men.” Out of respect, we are all entitled to our own opinions but reality is, these stereotypes don’t touch the true meaning of feminism.

As I look back on my life, growing up in a very liberal state but in a more conservative community, I never expressed my own opinions or realized that I even had any. I always thought that these fights are not mine, that I had nothing to worry about. Ignorance, perhaps. I grew up thinking I was not a feminist because like others I never faced (or realized) the discrimination. But now that I am older and wiser, I realize that the challenges women face is universal regardless of whether I have experienced it or not. Even if I feel that I have not had to face unequal opportunities, being a feminist should mean that as a woman, I support other women in their fight for equality.

I read Yes, Please last month and loved this quote from Amy Poehler: “Good for her, not for me.” When I was in graduate school, there would be debates about what is right versus what is wrong for women in childbirth. This really frustrated me. You can give me all the data about healthy birth practices, parenting methods and breastfeeding, but at the end of the day it is the individual’s choice about what is right for them. (I recommend checking this photo campaign out, End the Mommy Wars.)

My maternal and reproductive interests broadened when I read a book in the summer called Golden Boy. It’s about an intersex adolescent who begins to question their sexuality, identity, and how to keep secrets after an incident with a childhood friend. I have always been an LGBT ally, but as the world opens up slowly about being intersex, asexual, and trans, feminism does not just benefit cis women, but anyone who struggles because of their gender and sexual identity.

Not only do gender and sexual identity play a vital role in feminism, but race and ethnicity do, too. Racism is a feminist issue, and so is social justice. Earlier this week, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so I want to end with this quote:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

If you want to read more from Seema, check out her blog, The Subtle Hipster, and follow her on Twitter. Here are some recent highlights from her blog:

Reflection on Sex and Gender | The A-Word, Stigma & Storytelling | No More: Together We Can End Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Check out other Feminists to Follow here.

Do you have any favorite feminist bloggers?

15 things you should never feel guilty about

15 Things You Should Never Feel Guilty About

Taking a sick day.

Staying in your pajamas until noon.

Not checking everything off your to-do list.

Changing your mind—for the sake of your heart.

Letting go of commitments that drain you—commitments that could be fulfilled by someone else.

Quitting that job you hate.

Ending a relationship that doesn’t light you up.

Not mourning the way people expect.

Giving the honest opinion you were asked for.

Letting go of friendships that give you no pleasure.

Going back to work after having a baby.

Eating. Anything.

Investing money in something that gives you pleasure—whether it’s a hobby, your education or that one pair of jeans that make you feel really, really good.

Feeling totally, completely and giddily happy.

All the embarrassing, questionable, not-totally-upstanding things you did years ago.

 

If you screwed up and offended someone or acted selfishly recently—apologize. If your privilege or good fortune is making you feel uncomfortable—lend your work or your words to a worthy cause. And if you’re stuck in a cycle of destruction, self-indulgence or tomfoolery—take the first step to end the cycle.

Everything else? In the words of Taylor Swift (yeah, I just went there)—shake it off.

P.S. You are enough | Confessions

NPR’s Invisibilia & the power of thought

NPR's Invisibilia & the power of thought

Yesterday I was consumed by my thoughts—and not the good kind.

By 6 p.m. I felt so blah that all I wanted to do was go lie down and wallow in self-pity. (Productive, right?)

But then I remembered I’d been wanting to check out NPR’s newest podcast, Invisibilia, and decided if I was going to go hang out in bed, I might as well learn something. The first episode couldn’t have been more appropriate for my crappy mood. It was all about the power of our thoughts—particularly the negative ones—and how they affect us.

Invisibilia is Latin for “all the invisible things,” which is exactly what this podcast is about: the intangible forces that shape who we are and how we walk through life. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, the first episode kicked off with responses from dozens of strangers on the street about what they were just thinking. And if you’ve ever caught yourself thinking something totally bizarre, self-destructive or morbid, you might find comfort in knowing just how common that really is.

Anyone who’s ever been consumed by dark thoughts has wondered, “Why can’t I stop thinking this way? What’s wrong with me?” And this first episode of Invisibilia shed some light on that by explaining three phases in the history of psychotherapy:

There’s the traditional Freudian thinking, which is that all of our thoughts have meaning and are tied to some deeper part of us. Which can be helpful if you never made a connection between a recurring thought and something from your past. But if there’s no obvious link, it can only exacerbate the “what’s wrong with me?” kind of thinking. (Which is what happened to one man profiled in the podcast when he began having seriously violent thoughts out of nowhere.)

Then cognitive behavioral therapy began to displace Freudian therapy by directly challenging negative thoughts—not accepting them at face value or taking them so seriously. Therapists who use this method don’t necessarily believe our thoughts are linked to who we are, and for anyone who is especially hard on themselves, this way of thinking can be a huge relief.

Mindful meditation is the most recent form of therapy of all. Instead of challenging negative thoughts, those who practice mindful meditation acknowledge the thoughts but don’t engage them. The idea is not to fight the bad thoughts but to simply let them float away.

It’s easy to see why, except for certain cases, Freudian therapy has slowly been replaced over time. Maybe those of us who are occasionally tortured by our thoughts place too much emphasis on them in the first place. Cognitive behavior therapy seems like a good and direct approach to addressing thoughts that are near the point of all-consuming, while mindful meditation seems like good practice to build into our everyday lives. After all, we can’t block out all the bad images that enter our minds, but we can decide to let them go.

Whether you’re a podcast listener or not (and until recently, I wasn’t), I highly recommend checking out Invisibilia. Not only does it cover the above, but it weaves in storytelling that’s totally addictive. My occasionally recurring sad thoughts were put into perspective big time when I learned the story of Martin Pistorius, a man who was trapped inside his own body for more than a dozen years and had only his thoughts to keep him company—or drive him to the brink of insanity. Pistorius—who went on to attend school for computer science, start a web design company and get married—wrote a book that I will be checking out very soon. And you can be sure I’m tuning in to the next episode of Invisibilia.

Have you listened to Invisibilia? What are some of you other favorite podcasts? (I’m looking for recommendations!)

Not That Kind of Girl

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I read Lena Dunham’s memoir Not That Kind of Girl last week and thought it was an enjoyable, quick read—but ultimately not how I wanted to kick off a new year of books.

It clearly compelled me enough to keep turning the pages—I finished it in just a few days. But I felt neither better nor worse off for having read it. I can point to a few reasons why.

I came across Dunham’s award-winning series Girls like I do with most popular shows: late. In catch-up mode, I watched a few episodes back-to-back but couldn’t get into it. Given the show’s popularity, I felt like I was just missing something, until I started seeing criticism of the show piling up. As for the critics’ accusations (it’s racist, vapid) I couldn’t rightfully agree or disagree having only watched a few episodes, but the flak Dunham received for being naked on-screen all the time seemed rife with sexism and double-standards.

Beyond the talk surrounding Girls, I didn’t know much about Lena Dunham until her book came out. By then, I’d read several articles about her, including an interview by Roxane Gay that intrigued me. Clearly she was smart, well-spoken and a feminist. Even if I don’t “get” her work, she seemed like someone whose sensibilities I could get behind.

Not That Kind of Girl was entertaining. It was honest, open, introspective, controversial and funny at times, and I went into it with an open mind, or so I thought, until I found myself criticizing certain passages. And then I’d catch myself: Wait, am I being critical because I really think that, or because I’ve read so much criticism of Lena Dunham? 

Dunham said in her interview with Roxane Gay that she wished she would be seen for her craft and not just for her personal attributes. Not That Kind of Girl, of course, puts her personal attributes directly under the microscope (it is a memoir, after all), but it’s still possible and right to be objective about the craft. And I think technically, she does a good job. It wasn’t the stand-up routine in book form she feared she’d be forced into, though it was formulaic. I think it’s probably hard not to be, though, when you set out to write your personal story in which Manhattan serves as the primary backdrop. Still, lines like this Carrie Bradshaw voiceover-esque line stood out to me: “I didn’t know the word for it, but I was happy.” (The word she’s looking for is happy.)

The main criticism of Not That Kind of Girl I’ve seen is that Dunham doesn’t come across as very relatable, and I felt this as well. We shouldn’t be so quick to criticize Dunham for her upper middle-class upbringing without considering how many of our beloved artists came from similar backgrounds. There have been plenty of other rich—and richer—authors before Dunham, and there will be more after her. But the question is: Will her work still be held up next to theirs decades from now? Girls, I don’t know—maybe. Not That Kind of Girl—I doubt it.

I had a hard time writing this review because I don’t feel very comfortable with being a critic. Maybe I was disappointed because I read this and thought I could write something just as good knowing it would never be a bestseller. Maybe that disappointment morphed into irritation because I haven’t.

In any case, here’s an excerpt from a chapter in the “Work” section that I did really enjoy:

“I’ll recount all the interactions where I went from having an engaging conversation on craft with a man to hearing about his sexual dissatisfaction with his wife, who used to be passionate and is currently on fertility drugs. Suddenly, we’re talking about the way his college girlfriend left her boots on when she fucked and how marriage is ‘a lot of hard work.’

What this translates to is: my wife doesn’t turn me on and you aren’t a model but you sure are young and probably some bold new sexual moves have emerged since the last time I was single in 1992 so let’s try it and then you can go back to being married to your work and I’ll go back to being married to an ‘eco-friendly interior decorator’ and I’ll never watch any of your films again.

I’ll talk about how I never fucked any of them. I fucked guys who lived in vans, guys who shared illegal lofts with their ex-girlfriends who were away at Coachella, guys who were into indigenous plant live, and guys who watched PBS.

But I never fucked them.

I’ll talk about the way these relationships fell apart as soon as they realized I wasn’t going to be anyone’s protegee, pet, private fan club, or eager plus-one.”

 Have you read Not That Kind of Girl? What did you think?

Post-holiday purge & striving for minimalism

post-holiday purge & striving for minimalism

Every January, when the dust has settled from the holidays and the New Year has set in, I find myself itching to get rid of stuff.

Christmas tends to have that effect. New books! New clothes! And a few other things I don’t know what to do with that sit in little piles for weeks!

No more. The other day, still on a fresh-new-start high, I tackled the most overwhelming and neglected part of my home: my closet, where previously it looked like a bomb had gone off. I wish I had a before photo, but imagine shelves of wrinkled clothes arranged to resemble the long-forgotten bottom of a hamper and you’ve got the idea. But yesterday, I hauled off an impressive pile of clothes for donation and reorganized the rest. Now, there’s room to spare.

My closet was a big point of contention for me over the past few months. I literally dreaded opening up the closet in the mornings to see mostly old clothes showing their wear or the few newer items not on hangers and being stored poorly. I can’t tell you how many times I ended up rushing to work or school because I spent way too long searching for a decent outfit to wear.

In 2015, inspired by the concept of a capsule wardrobe, I won’t do a whole lot of clothes shopping. (I hardly did much in 2014, either.) But when I do, I plan to be much more selective with how I spend my money.

For me, that means higher-quality basics in neutral solids that are easy to pair and accessorize and that I know I’ll wear often. I won’t buy any piece of clothing that makes me think, “Yes, but what can I wear this with?” (I blame skirts for that predicament. I’ve never been good at skirts.)

Surprisingly, I’ve found the limitations of a small space and budget to be a good thing when it comes to stuff.

One of the benefits of living in a one-bedroom apartment is that you can’t amass too many things—it gets uncomfortable real fast. (And being on a grad student budget means I don’t ever shop out of boredom.) Sure, I’d love a big closet filled with beautiful things and rows and rows of built-in bookshelves that make it so I never have to part with a book, but I also want to be able to pick up and move on to the next big adventure without feeling overwhelmed if such an opportunity arrives. I’d rather treasure a handful of pieces I truly love than keep more things than I know what to do with. 

That’s why in my post-holiday purge, I won’t feel guilty casting a critical eye on the things I’ve held onto but hardly used for ages—or things I’ve recently acquired as gifts—that don’t serve a purpose or bring me joy. After all, it’s just stuff.

Next, I’d like to cull my book collection (just a little) and see what’s been shoved into the hall closet that can go to the curb.

Are you feeling a little crowded by your things? How do you decide what to get rid of or keep?

A witty, pretty makeover

Welcome to the new Witty Title Here.

If you’re reading this in an email, pop on over to the site for a look at the brand-new design.

a Witty Title Here makeover

Snazzy, no?

A redesign had been on my mind for weeks, and I finally settled on a look I’m happy with. This space was ready for a fresh update (I had the old design for nearly two years), and I’m in love with the new look and vision. The background! That header!

Let’s talk about possibly the biggest change of all: the switch to a single-column layout. I’d noticed a handful of my favorite bloggers making the switch to a sidebar-free layout recently (namely Kate and Alexandra), and that really appealed to me. Why did I choose to get rid of my own sidebar? I was always fiddling with it, worrying that it might be too cluttered. I kept whittling it down until I realized everything that was there could go in the header, footer and navigation bar instead.

So I spent a lot of time reorganizing the content into distinct categories with dropdown menus at the top, plus I made the footer a much more functional space by adding features like an email subscribe box and social media icons. And this layout puts the focus where it should be—on the content.

Everything you see on the site was created with intention—including the background and header. The background (courtesy of MichLg at Creative Market) has a cool handwritten look to it (sort of even looks like a “W” for “witty,” right?) and I gave my logo a custom look by following this tutorial at Nectar Collective to turn my Witty Title Here stamp (below) into an image for the web. I had a lot of fun creating every element, and I was laser-focused the entire time.

Witty Title Here

Finding that kind of focus felt good—I didn’t fall into the usual distraction traps, and I think that means I’m on the right track. This design reflects that kind of focus I want to tap into more this year.

That’s why in 2015, I plan to make “focus” a recurring theme in this space.

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do like the idea of honing in on a meaningful theme that serves as a guide throughout the year. So in the coming months, I’m going to talk a lot about focus and how you and I both can zero in on the most important (and often most neglected) aspects of our everyday lives—our health, our relationships, our money—to get more out of the longterm.

2015 is going to be a pretty big year in my life. I’ll finish grad school this spring, and what happens after that is still a mystery to me at this point. I can think of no better time to get serious about giving my attention to the things that will move me forward and letting go of anything that might hold me back.

Anyone who’s ever changed their hairstyle dramatically knows the power that change holds. This redesign feels like that. I can’t wait to show you what I mean.

Feminist to Follow: Meghan from Feminist Current

There’s so much to say about feminism and all the issues women and minorities face, you could start a whole blog about it.

That’s exactly what Feminist Current founder Meghan Murphy did in 2012, and now her site—which features multiple contributors—is the most-read feminist blog in Canada. I asked Meghan if she would share her thoughts on the importance of writing about feminism, and she blew me away with her thoughtful and nuanced response. So I’m going to let her take the reigns.

Feminist to Follow: Meghan from Feminist Current

Blogging about feminism is important to me in large part because feminism is so widely misunderstood and maligned. And not only from misogynists and MRAs, but even from feminists.

The second wave was a hugely successful time for our movement, making huge strides for women in terms of issues like sexual harassment, reproductive rights, employment equity legislation and sexual assault laws. I would argue that the second wave had a bigger impact on women’s lives than any other period during the movement—yet the third wave has pretty thoroughly trashed it.

“Second wavers” is employed as an insult by many younger feminists. It’s upsetting to see women fighting themselves—I mean, do we really just want to reinvent the wheel over and over again? There are so many women and feminist struggles—successes and failures—we can learn from. The history is all there, yet we choose to believe trashing and hearsay, repeating the myth that the second wave was only about white, middle class women, and erasing all the women of colour and working class women who were central to the movement during that time (especially in Canada).

Beyond that, feminism—especially radical feminism—is pretty widely misunderstood by the general public. People either think it’s about women having power over men, like a matriarchy or something, or they think it’s about saying all women are “good” and all men are “bad,” or they think it’s just about women feeling good about themselves—that whole “anything a woman chooses to do counts as feminism” thing.

But it isn’t about any of that. It’s a political movement against patriarchy and violence against women—it’s about women’s human rights and our right to be treated with dignity and respect.

People have described Feminist Current as a kind of bridge between “popular feminism”/popular culture and a deeper feminist analysis, more closely aligned with radical and socialist feminism. I generally try to make feminist ideas and discourse relatable and clear to those who might not have a strong background in radical feminism or who have only been exposed to third wave or liberal feminism. As such, I find myself correcting misconceptions and misrepresentations of feminist ideology and goals a lot. You know, correcting the myth that anyone who opposes or is critical of pornography and prostitution is a prude or a member of the religious right, for example.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to stop correcting those kinds of misrepresentations because I think it is intentional, which is to say that it is has been a very successful tactic—it has scared women into staying silent on the issue, afraid that if they oppose porn or dare to question the existence of prostitution they will be labeled sex-hating, man-hating, freedom-hating prudes. People know that this tactic works; that’s why they keep doing it. The slander of feminists and the feminist movement, in general, is nothing new—it’s been going on since the first wave.

Feminism isn’t about being perfect, it isn’t about always making the right choices, it isn’t about whether or not you like fucking men or whether or not you wear Spanx—it’s about recognizing that the choices we make and that the way we behave and move around in this world is shaped by the fact that we live in a patriarchy. It’s about understanding that violence against women happens systemically, not accidentally or because there simply happens to be some men who happen to choose to rape or beat women.

We live in a world that sexualizes inequality and domination—I mean, look at the popularity of books like 50 Shades of Grey—BDSM is about domination and subordination and about playing at violence, humiliation, and torture, and we’ve learned this is “sexy.” We can’t pretend as though this isn’t totally attached to the fact that we live in a patriarchy. Acknowledging that isn’t the same as saying you can’t have fantasies or that you can’t do what you like in your bedroom. It is to say: take your blinders off, ask hard questions, don’t take anything at face value.

I blog about feminism because women are raped and beaten and murdered every day, all around the world, by men. Trafficking, prostitution, and porn are huge, multi-billion dollar industries that cause immeasurable harm to women and girls. And we tend, as a society, to think of these things as perfectly normal—as titillating or naughty—not as things that perpetuate damaging stereotypes about women and men and that hurt all women—both physically as well as psychologically and politically.

I am a writer and I am a woman and I am a feminist. I can’t not write about feminism—it’s too important, and if we can’t see why, we really aren’t paying attention.

 

If you want to read more from Meghan (and other feminist writers), follow her on Twitter and make sure to check out Feminist Current. I particularly enjoyed these recent posts:

Hi the media. Do your job. Love, feminism.
Can men be allies in the fight to end violence against women? (podcast)
NOW Magazine takes a stand; will continue to generate revenue through prostitution advertisements

Thanks, Meghan, for sharing your insight. Be sure to check out other Feminists to Follow here.

Who are some of your favorite feminist bloggers?

Witty Title Here: Best of 2014

Witty Title Here: Best of 2014

As 2014 comes to an end (obligatory how-the-hell-did-that-happen?! comment here), I’d like to take one last look back.

For such a demanding year, I managed to contribute a lot to this space, and of that I’m very proud. Whatever 2015 brings in the way of employment, I hope to create, collaborate, experiment and play just as much—if not more.

By year’s end, Witty Title Here will have featured exactly 99 posts on adventure, careers, feminism, beer, books, how-to’s and life in Los Angeles. Some blogs easily churn out 2-3 times more than that, but I’m pleased with the (uneven) number 99. A lot of thought and care went into each and every one.

So here’s a look back at Witty Title Here‘s highlights of 2014. Whether you’re a new or longtime reader, you might find something you missed!

I kicked off the year by observing the strengths and weaknesses of the personality types to answer the question: What kind of creative are you? I also discovered one of my favorite new books and vowed to read more this year. (Success!)

In February, we talked about the importance of self-love (it’s sexy) and loving where you live now. (Don’t wait for the dream digs to nest.) I also checked out some of the best flea markets in Los Angeles.

The following month, I kicked off the Beer with a Blogger series, which has truly been one of the most enjoyable parts of blogging this year. (So many new friends!) I gave a few tips on where to look for inspiration when you’re in a creative rut and gave a tour of Pacific Beach in San Diego, which reminds me—I need to go back pronto.

Witty Title Here: Best of 2014

By April, I’d become a bit ambivalent about a lack of voice and opinion in the blog world and called upon myself and others to change that by leaving bland behind. Then I followed up by talking about the real meaning of the F-word.

Camping in Joshua Tree National Park was the highlight of May—wrapping up my first year of school was another, and I wrote a grad school survival guide based on my experience. I also wrote a guide on the best resources for staying up-to-date on the news and interviewed the author of one of the best books I’ve read all year.

I spent so much time on the computer this year that by June, I needed a reminder to step away from the computer and go play outside. I introduced you to a few of the best Los Angeles Instagrammers and spoke with two entrepreneurs about the challenges and joys of self-employment.

July marked a big anniversary—I celebrated one year in Los Angeles! That inspired me to launch the Summer Road Trip series, featuring a bunch of fellow adventure-seekers out on the road.

In August, I had my very first visitor and learned a few things about how to be a good host in a tiny apartment. During back-to-school season, I reminded myself of the true definition of “prioritizing” and how to stay focused on priority #1.

Witty Title Here: Best of 2014

School was my #1 priority in September, but I launched yet another series, Feminist to Follow, when I realized there are so many awesome bloggers and feminists out there whose voices could use all the help they can get to be heard.

I turned 25 in October and shared a few things I learned over the years (like how contrived lists of accomplishments we should have ticked off by now are bullshit). I also revealed the secret to befriending anybody—it’s not such a big secret—and raved about the Los Angeles Public Library system.

In November, I was dismayed by the time change and gave a few suggestions on how to deal when the days are short.

And finally, this month, careers were on my mind, so I talked about both ends of the career spectrum: how to be productive when no one’s hiring and why you should quit your job.

 That’s a lot of highlights! I hope you enjoyed reading Witty Title Here as much as I did writing for it. The best part of the whole blogging experience is making connections with you guys. Y’all are the real deal.

Thanks for reading, and cheers to all the good things to come in 2015. Now, if you celebrate, go enjoy the holiday. Merry Christmas!

Interweb Finds: A vintage trailer makeover, dogs annoying cats with friendship & more

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Merry (almost) Christmas, friends!

Soon, John and I will be hopping on a plane headed east to spend a week with our families back home, and I can’t wait to finally break out my beloved winter coat I never get to wear in sunny SoCal. It’s going to be nice being spoiled by our parents again.

I’m not hauling my laptop with me, but I’ve got a couple posts scheduled to keep this space fresh in the meantime. And when I return in time for New Year’s Eve, I plan on digging into some coding and design to debut a new layout that’s going to be clean and simple but still have a little flair. I’M SO EXCITED, GUYS.

But for now, here are those interweb finds you came for.

A visual alphabet-dictionary of unusual words. My favorite is scripturient: possessing a violent desire to write.

The musical middle class is getting squeezed:

“The truth is that touring is hardly a big moneymaker for many bands. It’s expensive. It’s viciously competitive. It’s tiring. And not every band can command the $100 or $200 or $500 a ticket that acts like Beyoncé and Madonna can. As such, tour revenue has become more unevenly distributed among artists over time, exaggerating music’s superstar economy and contributing to the hollowing out its middle class.”

People who live near the Hollywood sign are trying to hide it and decrease traffic in their neighbors. How? By making deals with Google and GPS company Garmin to place it somewhere else entirely on the map.

I really enjoyed this interview with Chris Rock. An excerpt:

“To say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years.”

Sometimes, people say really stupid things on the internet. Do they deserve to be called out? Sure, probably. Do they deserve to be blasted by the media, ridiculed by thousands of strangers online and get canned from their job? One journalist responsible for the demise of a woman’s career reconsiders.

HI. SWOON. I adore this vintage trailer makeover.

I literally got teary-eyed watching this: dogs annoying cats with friendship.

Aaaand we’re going to double down on the HuffPo pet videos, because we can: shelter pets at the Christmas dinner table.

 

That’s all from me for this month—I’ve got packing to do. Have a happy, stress-free week!