Home » LIFE

Category: LIFE

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

No Friday Favorites post this week. I totally forgot to keep track of the things I was into – oops!

I hope everyone has a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day. I am off to find something green to wear and see if I can get my hands on a corned beef sandwich for lunch this afternoon!

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the arrival of spring!

 

5 Reasons I Quit Magazines

i quit magazinesIn the spirit of following my 2017 mantra of “good enough is good enough,” I want to remove magazines from my life. I hope that I can return to them more mindfully in the future. While this won’t be a permanent life change, I wanted to take a break from them for a few reasons.

It was a waste of money.

Most of us don’t think twice about dropping $5 on a magazine every so often. However, if you read as many as I do, it can easily become a $50+/month habit. If you get into reading small-batch or international magazines, the cost can easily skyrocket. I reduced my spending a lot by using my local library’s free magazine app. However, they don’t carry everything I read, so I was still spending $10-15/month. I can’t justify spending that much on reading material anymore.

The other nasty side of magazines is that they’re almost entirely ads. Whether it’s a fashion magazine pushing the latest trends, or a health magazine pushing new supplements or exercise equipment, the pressure to spend after reading is too much as well. I don’t like being prey for advertisements. I know I’m being advertised to all the time, but any progress to remove them from my daily life is worth it to me.

It was a waste of space.

Even after reducing the number of magazines I buy on a regular basis, I still find they pile up quickly. Before our last move, I piled them up and found I collected over a dozen over the past few months alone. I don’t tend to re-read things, so after I read them they just sit around collecting dust. In an effort to reduce visual clutter and useless waste, I want to keep the magazines I do read in the future to digital copies only.

I felt too much pressure to keep up.

Anyone who has ever read a Martha Stewart magazine knows my pain. Home magazines in particular are a sore spot for me. I get stuck down the rabbit-hole of wanting to organize, clean, and plan my home into oblivion after reading them. I always feel guilty for not doing more or being good enough. Fashion and travel magazines just remind me that I don’t have to money to keep up with the young jet-setter they’re aimed at. So for now, I need to quit playing the comparison game and repeat to myself “good enough is good enough.” I don’t need to know how to organize my bathroom in 20 different ways – how I did it is already fine.

They still bear unfair and negative messages toward women.

While some publications improved on this, many merely became more covert in their demeaning messages toward women. Fashion magazines may promote diversity or body acceptance, but they still largely show women with unrealistic body types. They still tell us that being thin is glamorous, and being curvy is purely for sexual appeal. I appreciate the progress, but we have a long way to go.

Many women’s magazines also promote we have to be superwomen who run marathons, have insanely successful careers, travel the world, raise perfect children, volunteer every weekend, clean our homes obsessively, and cook restaurant-quality meals for our families each night. I can’t keep beating myself up over what I don’t do, so I need to just stop reading about it for now.

I want to focus my time on books.

Instead of focusing my reading time each night to the instantly gratifying, ad-filled magazine stack sitting on my iPad, I want to read more substantial stuff. Reading magazines always had an addictive quality to them. Getting a new issue was a rush. I pour through the pages with reckless zeal, only to feel a crash when I was done. I don’t know how they do it, but magazines are like a damn drug to me. For a long time, though, they were the only reading I could stomach.

After graduate school, I was burnt out on reading almost anything. Add to that a career grading essays for hours every day, and I was usually too mentally exhausted to pick up a book. So for years, I didn’t read for fun beyond magazines.

Now that I have more time and mental energy to devote to books, I’m getting back in the habit. I was surprised how rusty I became, to be honest. At first I got distracted all the time, and I found reading took longer. However, after a few books I’m mostly back to speed-reading my way through everything. I’m also focusing my attention on reading books by women and about women.

****

So for as long as I can, I promised myself I would actively avoid reading magazines. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop reading them forever. I just need a break to find other things to occupy my time and mental space. I also want to find more publications that speak to what I want to read about. Being more mindful of what I read is important to me, and I know this “cleanse” of sorts will be a good first step!

What I Read Recently

what i read recently

(This was originally posted on Bloglovin’, using their direct-posting function, which does not link to Afternoon Glow. It has been updated to reflect more books I’ve read since the original post.)

Happy Tuesday!

I thought I’d start the day by sharing what I’ve been reading lately. One of my goals for 2017 is to read 50 books, and I’m already well on my way!

I also want to focus on reading more from our feminist history, as well as honoring amazing women writers. One area I didn’t explore much in college was women’s studies. I’m going to make up for that this year, hopefully. I’d also like to read more fiction, but man I am picky when it comes to fiction. Perhaps more Margaret Atwood? 😉

2017 Reading List (So Far):

1. The Feminist Mystique by Betty Friedan

2. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

3. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

4. Blue Nights by Joan Didion

5. How to Win at Feminism by Reductress

6. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

7. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

8. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gray

There you have it!

Any suggestions for books I should pick up this year?

My 2017 Mantra: Good Enough is Good Enough

My 2017 Mantra

I know, it’s already March and I’m just getting around to writing a post about my 2017 goals. Sue me!

Every year, I choose a mantra or quote to live by, rather than a resolution. Instead of a checklist of lofty goals I’ll never meet, I find it more productive to devote each year to improving one big thing. This year, I’m tackling my problems with perfectionism.

My 2017 mantra:

“Good enough is good enough.”

I chose this because I need a break. I want to focus on self-care and letting myself off the hook more often. It’s hard for me sometimes to stop picking on myself and say “fuck it, that’s good enough.”

Only a couple months in, I find it freeing to give up on perfection and decision paralysis. Reminding myself that “good enough is good enough” relaxes me when I stress over something stupid. I get caught up with little things, and I need an easy way to snap out of it. So far, this seems to work.

I am also giving myself a break in one major area of life: cooking. Sure, I’m relatively good at cooking and baking…but I don’t really love doing it. You wouldn’t know that, though, given how much time and energy I devote to meal planning, prepping, cooking, and pouring over recipe books or magazines for new recipes. So this year, I am scaling things back. I am sticking to recipes I know well, spending less time planning, and avoiding new cookbooks or magazines. Variety may be the spice of life, but I’m going to let restaurants bear the burden of introducing us to new things. I want to spend 2017 doing more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. If that means our meals are repetitive or boring, then so be it.

The only other goal I gave myself is to read 50 books this year. This is less of a challenge and more of a reminder to take time for myself each day. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures, but I’ve gotten out of practice over the years for several reasons I should probably share with a therapist and not the general public. 😉

Check back tomorrow to see what I’ve been reading!

Friday Favorites

Untitled

Happy Friday!

My main goal for this weekend is to go for a hike. I haven’t gone at all this year, and I’m itching to get back out there. I can only hope the weather holds up!

Have a great weekend!

Welcome Back

welcome back

Welcome back to Afternoon Glow!

While I wrote a few times since I took a break, this marks my official return to the blog on a regular basis. I think I’m ready now to come back for real. Let’s see if it sticks this time.

The past few months were busy, to say the least. We made a trip back home to Ohio in December. It was my first time back in over 2 years. It wasn’t relaxing at all, but it was nice to see everyone we managed to see. I can’t say I will do that again for another couple years, though – it was exhausting!

The holidays were good. I ate way too much, and stayed up too late getting drunk and playing euchre with our in-laws. I also helped my nephew put together a few Lego sets (a tradition we started recently). By New Year’s Eve, I think we were all ready to end 2016 and move on!

2017 so far has not let up. We moved unexpectedly in February, which meant we (and by “we” I mean mostly myself) spent January scrambling to find a new place and get everything ready to go on short notice. It was a mad dash, but we got it all done. Life didn’t really get back to “normal” until last week.

Over my hiatus, I thought a lot about the future of Afternoon Glow. After watching several blogs fold last year, I almost followed suit. In a last-ditch effort to keep this going, I am making a few changes to how I do things from here on out.

A Relaxed Schedule

In the past, I felt a lot of pressure to stick to a Monday – Friday schedule. Even when I cut back to a MWF schedule, it sucked. I could never live up to posting 5 days a week. Something about scheduling it all out kills the fun for me. It didn’t help that I was doing everything on my own.

For now, I am going to post when I can. That might mean 5 days a week; it might mean only once. I want this to be spontaneous and fun again – and I can’t do that if everything is regimented.

Less Social Media

Another part of keeping things casual means less social media. Keeping all of that coordinated also kills the fun of blogging. I will do my best to let you know when I post (mostly on Twitter), but I can’t guarantee that I get it right every time. I may also post less frequently, and I’m probably shutting down the Facebook page (I never use it). You can still find me on Instagram and Twitter, though!

If you want to guarantee you’ll get my new posts, follow me on Bloglovin’!

Ditching Comments

You may find that I shut off the comments on some posts. Sometimes, I write posts that aren’t meant to be responded to – and yet people do (not nicely, I might add). I still maintain the power to remove comments I don’t like, but I also learned there are times I shouldn’t allow people to comment at all. It’s for my sanity, really.

No More Food and Home Posts

The focus of the blog is something I want to clarify for myself. The two categories I write about the least are food and home. Frankly, they are boring as shit to write about.

I plan to replace those posts with more beauty, style, life, travel, and personal content. Instead of writing about topics I don’t care about, I need to move on to topics I do. That might mean losing readers, but hopefully it also means gaining new ones!

So welcome back, and I hope you enjoy what’s to come!

Getting Active: 10 Actions, 100 Days

10 actions 100 days postcards

Even though the Women’s March on Washington is over, we have to stay active. The 10 Actions / 100 Days campaign is a great place to start!

Our first task was to write to our senators. We should encourage them to fight cabinet appointments, advocate for issues that matter to us, and show we’re not going anywhere. The people who represent us should reflect our values, and it’s important to remind them what our values are. We want to see our education system is in good hands, global warming is taken seriously, our LGBTQIA friends live openly and freely, Muslims don’t wind up persecuted, refugees can seek asylum, black communities can trust their police forces again, and women aren’t pushed back to being second-class citizens.

I wrote to both my current senators in Washington and former senators from Ohio. I’m lucky as hell to live in a state where Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are already doing great things. They are both outspoken about issues I already care about, and are in opposition to Trump’s cabinet choices. Instead of railing on them to change, I thanked them for the work they do – and let them know I recognize and appreciate it.

Writing to my former senators in Ohio, however, proved challenging. It’s hard to write to a senator who disagrees with you, but it was worth it. I think arming yourself with information is important for this exercise. It served as a reminder that our senators do good work for their state – yes, even the ones who belong to a different party than me.

For example, the Republican senator from Ohio does a lot of work with military veterans and bringing back jobs. Both Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman care deeply about the opioid epidemic in Ohio, an issue anyone living in Ohio is painfully aware of. While they disagree on some things, both senators work hard to make Ohio a better place to live. I can certainly respect that.

I started by thanking each person for their service to this country and the states they represent – and I truly meant it. Taking time to put it on paper, I thought about how thankless working in government can be at times. If this is the first time I wrote to them, how many others never bother? We vote for them, and trust them to do what’s best for us. How often do we truly thank them for taking on such tireless and thankless work?

It’s important to stay strong and loud during this fight. However, it’s also time to acknowledge and appreciate those who work hard on our behalf. We need to stay focused while being humane in all this.

If you haven’t written to your senators yet, I highly recommend it. Check out the Women’s March on Washington website for ideas and inspiration, and to find your senators. I also recommend finding something, however small, to thank your senators for. They work hard on both sides of the aisle – and showing appreciation, not just opposition, might encourage change. It can’t hurt, right?

Womxn’s March on Seattle

womxn's march seattle

I woke up Saturday morning after only a few hours of sleep, and with a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. My body was telling me to stay home and rest – that it couldn’t handle marching in the Womxn’s March on Seattle.

Even as I sit in bed sick writing this on Sunday, I’m so glad I went anyway. I regret nothing.

Originally, organizers estimated between 50,000-75,000 people at the most. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a crowd that big (outside of maybe a sporting event).

I showed up 1.5 hours early to Judkins Park, only to find that there were already 50,000 people there! People came by foot, car, bus, ferry, bike – however they could get there.

By the time the march started, I was standing in a crowd of almost 100,000 people.

womxn's march seattle

(Marching down Jackson Street, with people stretching in front and behind me as far as I could see!)

I marched with 130,000 people, though organizers now say it may have been closer to 175,000. I honestly couldn’t tell you which number is true – both are equally nuts to me. We filled the entire 3.6-mile stretch of our march’s path. It was wall-to-wall people for the entire 5 hours it took to complete it. Every muscle in my body just straight hurt afterwards.

What I will remember most about Saturday was how positive and kind everyone was throughout the day. It’s hard to feel safe in a large crowd, especially given I went alone. I had a great time, and never once felt unsafe. Not a single person got arrested, and no one reported shoving/pushing that usually happens with crowds that big. We were there together, marching and chanting with the same mission – to show our solidarity and support for each other.

I spent the day chatting with women of all ages, sharing goldfish crackers with hungry kids, and taking in the amazing signs everyone made. It was poignant to see signs that young girls and boys made for the event. They sincerely expressed what their generation worries about – the environment, immigration laws, bullying, racism, science education, equality, and more. I was proud to see so many children marching and chanting alongside their parents.

womxn's march seattle

The number of signs with a positive and supportive message far outweighed the angry ones, which made me feel encouraged. Sure, it’s funny to see a “Queef on Trump” sign. It was more impressive to see signs from men supporting strong women, children supporting their friends, and women supporting each other. I didn’t make a sign of my own, but once I got there I kind of wish I had!

womxn's march seattle

(At the Space Needle, trying really hard not to look like sick and exhausted!)

By the time I made it to the end of the march, I was ready to head home. It was an amazing experience, but the cold medicine wore off about an hour before we finished, and I was physically shutting down hardcore. I was exhausted, but extremely happy to make it the entire way, sniffles and all!

When I got home, I told my husband all about it while he made dinner, and I watched television coverage from our march and others happening around the world. Not having cell coverage for most of the day, I missed a lot of what was going out outside of Seattle. Seeing millions of people show up around the world on Saturday was comforting. To know that so many others were just as supportive and kind throughout their own marches restored my faith in humanity that I lost in November.

Now, I’m working on what to do next – how to take what I felt Saturday and spread that into my everyday life. I’d love to hear how you plan to do so, too!

Why I’m Marching Tomorrow

 

From the moment I found out we were having a march in Seattle, I was all in.

I’ve never participated in anything this…big…before. I’m excited and a little nervous, to be honest.

When people ask why I’m marching tomorrow, the answer is simple:

I march for all of us.

I march for every woman who has been told that she shouldn’t or couldn’t do something because “good girls don’t do that,” or “women shouldn’t be like that.”

I march for everyone who told us men don’t like women who are too smart, accomplished, outspoken, or confident. (My husband would argue otherwise…he likes my loud mouth just fine.)

I march for Planned Parenthood, who helped me out when I was a poor college student without insurance. I continue to go there because they are amazing healthcare providers for both women and men. I hope you thrive for many, many years to come.

I march for every women’s studies student I poked fun at in grad school. I’m deeply sorry, and I understand now more than ever what you were all so angry about.

I march for every woman who has been told that how she dressed, spoke, or behaved led to her being a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. For every woman who was told, directly or indirectly, that she was asking for it. You didn’t. None of us did.

I march for every time woman who feels the outside world is a dangerous, violent place for women. I hope that changes someday, and that we teach both girls and boys that they have equal right to occupy public spaces.

I march for the next generation of women, who I hope are watching (or marching) today and see that we all care deeply about the world you are growing up in.

I hope everyone marching tomorrow has a safe, positive experience. 🙂