Brace Yourself: It's an Orthodontics Post

My braces and me, age 11*

When I was Archer's age, I had my first consultation with the orthodontist. He was a kind man, quiet with (obvs) perfect teeth and a smile that filled the room. I had to have one of those palette widener things because my mouth was too small for my teeth and everything was a mess. I had a key I had to turn every few weeks and from 5th-6th grade, I made this awful sucking sound when I talked because the palette widener thingy made me salivate to such an extent I was literally choking on my spit at all times. It was AWESOME, let me tell you.

And yet, I have fond memories of the orthodontist. The doctor was nice and the technicians were chill and eventually, the expander was removed from my mouth, only to be replaced by braces. Which I REALLY REALLY WANTED until I got them and hated them--except during the holidays when I could color coordinate my rubber bands. (Black and Orange for Halloween was a solid look.)

I had braces for three years after two years with an expander and after that, wore a retainer (mostly just at night) until I was 18. Eight years I spent with shit on my teeth. (I actually STILL have a retainer cemented to my bottom teeth because I was too lazy to have it taken out and now I've had it most of my life and am attached. Literally attached. But also emotionally attached.)

All of this to say that my formative years were spent in an orthodontist's chair. So when we started looking into selecting an orthodontist for Archer this summer, I felt naturally nostalgic/apologetic/hopeful that we would find a cozy place to commit the next decade-plus of our lives (assuming the whole crew will need braces and/or something similar) AKA I assumed a very similar orthodontic experience to the one I grew up with. Which was lovely.



You can read my entire post, here. Big love and warm emBRACES to all...


*this is the only photo I could find of my braces *actually showing* during the almost three years I wore braces. Apparently, I was not fond of smiling much in those days which I very much regret now that I am adult in need of photographic evidence to include in this post. 


Bo (a dear. A female dear.) Rev (a drop of golden sun.)

Over the weekend, Fable performed in The Sound of Music. She was incredible as Sister Catherine, Sylvia the Goat and one of the Saengerbund Sisters of Herwegen and her sisters, naturally were inspired by the show. 

I mean. (A name I call myself.) 


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hope yours is full of joy and love.


I'll just eat sides! (And pie.) I love sides! (And pie.)
I'm actually not kidding with the title of this post. Did you guys see the Master of None episode when they're in Nashville and Rachel was like "I'll just eat sides. I love sides." I was like, GIRL, SNAP. I have been saying that shit for YEARS. 

This has always been my Thanksgiving mantra when people are all, "BUT YOU DON'T EAT TURKEY HOW WILL YOU COPE!?" 

Lord knows, but I've always been able to make it happen and Thanksgiving has always been (and will always be) my favorite family meal, even without the turkey. Mainly because my amazing mom (WWW) has been writing food posts on GGC for the last six years, is pure magic in the kitchen and always has been.

ED: I am NOT magic in the kitchen, and the other night, when I was reading the kids a book about The Bernstein Bears mom and all of the things she did for her cubs, I turned to my kids and was like, "Sorry I don't make you guys fancy pancakes and I'm kind of a mess in the kitchen." Fable's response? "Mom. You made something even BETTER than pancakes in the kitchen. You made us IN YOUR BODY."

So, you know... Fable for Prez!

Anyway. Sides, sides, everywhere sides... My mom knows sides. And she knows how to cook them. And I? I know how to put them in my mouth, chew, swallow and smile with my thumbs up. I also know how to write posts about how delicious they are + organize recipes in a list, so that is what I have done over on this week's 

Anyway. Without further ado... 

 A WWW-powered Thanksgiving Round-up
IMG_2510 vegetarian stuffing with meatless mushroom gravy 

ED: I FORGOT TO INCLUDE ANOTHER SIDE THAT I LOVE! So I am pasting it below. It's called Spinach and Marinated Artichokes and it is SO GOOD IT WILL MAKE YOU WILL DO A DANCE:

Spinach and Marinated Artichokes

2 lbs chopped spinach (either frozen or fresh)
20-24 ounces marinated artichoke hearts
1 small onion, chopped
½ pt sour cream (regular or non-dairy)
1 Boursin garlic and fine herb cheese (or if making vegan, 2 crushed garlic cloves and chopped chives)
Grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for vegan)

If using frozen spinach, thaw and drain in a colander.
When thawed, squeeze out excess liquid (there is a lot in the spinach so you need to really squeeze).  If using fresh spinach, cook till wilted with a couple of tablespoons of water and drain and squeeze out the liquid.
Combine spinach with marinated artichoke hearts and chopped onion and pour into a 9x9 inch casserole.
Mix sour cream and Boursin cheese together in small bowl and spread over casserole.
Top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly in the middle and slightly browned.
Serve as a side dish, or over quinoa or rice:
photo (98)

(Inquire within for more sides of your life and Happy Cooking!)



IMG_6660 To a new week of open eyes and open hearts. A surge of love... 

250. La Noyee by: Yann Tierson




"Look for the helpers." #refugeeswelcome

photo via Love in a Time of Refugees. Read the words that accompany it, here.

It has been said that during times of crisis, we should look for the helpers. This past week, as tensions have reached a fever pitch and the argument for whether or not we should allow refugees into the United States has divided us, many, like me, feel overwhelmed with wanting to DO something and SAY something and SCREAM into the ears of those who cannot recognize that refusing refugees the right to enter and relocate in "our" country is in itself a terrorist act...

I've expressed how I feel where I can, online, but yesterday I thought about "look for the helpers" as it applies to THIS. To NOW. To the debate on refugee resettlement and those who spend their days working to resettle refugees in this country. 

Look for the helpers. 

Two days ago, an incredible young woman named Rachel--a college student who worked for Cincinnati's refugee resettlement program before taking a job as an ESL teacher--commented on a #refugeeswelcome message I posted on Instagram. Her words and willingness to educate and respect all sides of the conversation blew me away.  So did her knowledge and the power of her voice, and I had planned to email her first thing yesterday morning to see if she would be willing to write a guest post here on GGC.  

But she got to me first. 

I woke up to the following message in my inbox (which Rachel has graciously agreed to let me post) along with an essay Rachel wrote, also excerpted below. 


Hi, Rebecca 

am the Rachel that commented on your Instagram post yesterday. I'm a senior at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I worked for Cincinnati's refugee resettlement organization as an intern in employment services and ESL, but remain on today as a volunteer.  I now student teach at a magnet school of Cincinnati Public designed specifically for English Language Learners, and many of the students are my refugee clients' children.  These people have been the most wonderful addition to my life - I have been culturally, emotionally, socially, and morally enriched for knowing them.  Without them, how many Hindu thread ceremonies or traditional Syrian teas do you think this gangly white girl would have attended? 

I wanted to share with you a reflection (attached) that I wrote immediately following the end of my formal internship in refugee resettlement.  I have so many things I'd love to add to that reflection - facts, numbers, stats, laws, arguments, etc. - to debunk the myths surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis as we know it today.  However, I think the part that changes hearts is the humanity of the situation.  It's been a tough job - I've seen doctors who were top in their country have to figure out how to apply their knowledge in a new language; I've seen little children catch on to English in minutes, and leave their older siblings lagging behind in feelings of inadequacy; I've seen Muslim women get screamed at by passersby to "take off your rag, this is America!"  But I've also seen truly every single family prevail.  The fact of the matter is, these people come into communities knowing they need to support each other.  They are further supported by the resettlement agency, their religious communities, their family and friends who are already here.  There's no reason to fear people.  There is reason to fear terrorism, war, what have you - but where is the reason to fear our fellow humanity?

There are three women I am very close to. They are from Eritrea, a tiny country next to Ethiopia that is often called "the North Korea of Africa".  A few years ago, many countries would not take Eritrean refugees.  They feared they would bring terrorism, war, and an oppressive regime.  The diversity scared them - Norway tried to send their Eritrean refugees back home.  The United States took them in.  Spoiler alert: They did not bring terrorism, war, or an oppressive regime.  

One of these women fluffs your pillows when you stay in a downtown hotel.  She folds sheets with meticulous standards of perfection. One of these women cooks at the Ethiopian restaurant you love to eat at so very much. She wears traditional dress with pride, and we marvel at how stunning she is. One of these women runs an in-home daycare so the other moms and dads can go to work.  She is certified and even works on the children's English starting from birth.  They are mothers, partners, neighbors, and community members.  They are self-sufficient, have learned English, and know how to work an iPhone just as well as you do.  Plus they can make some kickass injera - even with the limited selection of international ingredients found in the Cincinnati grocery store.

...The climate here in Cincinnati is not welcoming - our newspaper posted an article about our first resettled family this morning, and one of the top liked comments was "run this PC BS story again AFTER one of those bastard kids blows up a bus Downtown...."  That is arguably quite reflective of what the new Cincinnati Syrian families will face. It is disheartening, but your recent blog post and the comments of the online community you have surrounded yourself with are encouraging.  There is a thirst for knowledge, a desire to understand, and the compassion to tolerate, accept, and even celebrate our newest neighbors.  I am hopeful that there will always be a desire to see humanity, and that knowing humanity will change hearts and minds.

- Rachel 


And from Rachel's essay: 

....My internship at Catholic Charities Southwest Ohio – Refugee Resettlement Services has given me a glorious glimpse of this human experience.  My mornings were filled with endless excitement as I prepared for whatever new adventures my makeshift Steno-notepad calendar proclaimed the day would hold… almost all of which were promptly disrupted by some other completely unplanned and spontaneous adventure instead.  

Some days, I learned about case management and the importance of patience as I painstakingly went through every step of a food stamp or employment application with a non-English speaking client.  I fumbled through my own language as I sat alongside the students in my English as a Second Language class, sometimes with as many different native tongues present as there were individuals. While they quickly acquired new vocabulary and pronunciation skills, I slowly acquired flexibility in lesson planning, gentleness in correcting mistakes, and a sense of whimsy in weaving together elements of culture (namely food, of course) with the English language.  

I gained a new knowledge – and, praise God, a better sense of direction – of downtown and our Metro system as I walked and bussed my way around the city for cultural orientations, always amidst a somewhat comical entourage of startled new arrivals still fresh in traditional dress, interpreters jabbing a finger at every landmark, and other miscellaneous interns, volunteers, and even the occasional curious stray.  I heard story after incredible story of journeys across nation borders, living conditions in camps, and travels to a new home – a new home that can offer freedom and relief, but also a demotion in career, a struggle for housing, a roadblock in language, and a sense of isolation among so many people.  I saw heartbreak and jubilation side by side, and inevitably deeply felt them both as well.  

One Friday morning was filled with this juxtaposition as I sat down with an Iraqi client.  A strong-willed personality, this man had impressed me with the robustness of both his confidence and his mustache since the day I had met him.  However, he entered my cubicle with shoulders hunched in defeat, took a heavy seat in the chair directly across from me and rasped, “No job.  No friends.  No English.  No money.  No hope for family.”  As he began to weep with huge, heaving breaths, I sat in astonishment of the weighty troubles this man had to carry and felt a deep pain take my own breath away.  After imagining some alternatives together, his exit from my office was followed by the entrance of a wispy little Eritrean woman with a bundle of papers clutched to her chest.  This woman and I had connected almost instantly on my very first day of work, and I was delighted to see her after such a difficult encounter just moments prior.  She thrust her papers at me with an illuminating grin and bouncing toes.  The documents were verification of a goal we had been working on for her: a housekeeping job at a local hotel.  Their printed words meant food for her son, fare for the bus, rent for her home, and more opportunities for herself.  She could be completely self-sufficient.  We shrieked and hugged and danced in the tiny confines of my cubicle, all cobwebs of lingering sadness cleared away.  It was a moment of elation and triumph that had taken both of us a challenging journey at which to arrive. 

Most importantly, I worked in an environment that not only tolerated and accepted new cultures, but truly celebrated them.  Every single day in my office was ultimately a celebration of the world, near and far. 

These encounters, in some ways unique to refugees, hold the essential themes of what it means to be human hidden within their midst.  We feel everything from weariness to wonder across the globe, regardless of culture, race, nationality, language, income, or what have you.  We all need a sense of independence, but one that comes from a rooted sense of interdependence and belonging.  We face hardship and hurt in some way, but muster up courage from the deepest parts of our souls to carry on, to survive, to thrive.  We each interpret our experiences through a lens of our history and focus on the future with understanding of our past.  We care, maybe a bit or perhaps a lot, to heal our world, our selves, and our most beloveds in the best ways we know how.  This, I have learned, is the core experience of humanity told so clearly through the lives of our world’s refugees....


After reading Rachel's email and essay, I asked her if she would be able to share some links and information that might be helpful re: dispelling myths, better understanding relocation efforts, as well as helping the Syrian refugees both here and abroad. 

Here is what Rachel suggested. 


4 Things to Know About the Vetting Process for Syrian Refugees - NPR

- 3 Important Faces about how the U.S. resettles Syrian Refugees - Washington Post 
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees FAQ*

*This document states that the resettlement process is mostly funded by States.  It is important to note that that means UNHCR does not fund the resettlement entirely.  It is still possible that the NGOs provide a majority or large percentage of the funds to resettle.  It does not specifically mean federal, but groups within the aforementioned States.


I would encourage people to contact their local refugee resettlement organizations for other ways to help. (ED: If you google your city/state, you should be able to easily access geographically specific programs. For example, here is the website for LA's International Rescue Committee for those who are local to Los Angeles and are looking to get involved/aid in resettlement.) 

Here is a list of ways you could help at almost any local resettlement organization:
  • ​Host a family - there are certain regulations around this so you will have to check with your local office. 
  • Mentor a family (help ease the process of assimilation)
  • Donate furniture for housing
  • Volunteer to move a family into their new home 
  • Volunteer to teach an ESL course (it's a short training to teach, typically - I taught classes based on employment vocabulary, social skill vocabulary, and IDIOMS! It's the most fun)
  • Volunteer to teach how to drive
  • Volunteer to drive refugees to initial medical appointments
  • Hire refugees - reach out to your employment specialist as a friendly employer for refugees (many refugees do bring skilled labor or other trades, and a great many also have degrees in respective fields)
  • Volunteer to help with interview training - refugees are legally permitted a translator in interviews, but teaching cultural interview skills is soooo important and goes a long way
  • Cook an arrival meal for a family (families are traditionally greeted with a culturally appropriate meal)
  • Join a welcome committee!  Meet a family at the airport to welcome them!
  • Offer childcare while parents attend orientation meetings
  • Volunteer to teach the public transport system (this also happens to be how I learned the public transport system)
  • Host a religious service in their native tongue
  • Organize soccer tournaments or World Refugee Day celebrations (soccer tournaments are a way for refugees to have fun and let go of the burdens they carry daily - they're wildly popular within most communities)
  • Donate anything - seasonally appropriate clothes, school supplies, food, you name it
ED: I just came across Carry the Future, an incredible non-profit whose goal is to collect baby carriers for Syrian refugees and their babies abroad. If you have carriers you are no longer using or know people who do, please pass this along. 


I am so grateful for people like Rachel -- who open their arms to not only those in crisis, but to all of us who are looking for guidance and solidarity. So thank you, Rachel. Thank you for commenting on a very divisive thread -- thank you for your compassion -- for sharing your heart and your knowledge with me and countless others.

Thank you for being a helper. 

And I know I've posted this poem by Warsan Shire before, but it bears repeating. And repeating. And repeating:

ED: For any of you with more information on how to help/host/be involved in refugee relocation efforts in the U.S. please comment below. I would love to be able to put together a more locally-specific list and/or link to those already out there, so please comment with any links you think might be helpful. 

Also, I urge you to TAKE ACTION by asking your Governor and members of Congress to stand with you/us in solidarity with Syrian refugees. It only takes 30 seconds to raise your voice for a more inclusive USA. 

 Peace to all. 


And go outside.

On Saturday we took the kids to the Self Realization Fellowship garden. We had made plans to do so before Friday's attack on Paris. And Thursday's attack on Beirut. And the attack on Kenya in April. And. And. And... 

I have seen the strong reactions in and from all directions regarding whom to mourn and how. Because the truth is, when it comes to tragedy, most of us ARE quick to pledge allegiance to the flag that feels familiar. The song that makes us dance. Our own reflection in the mirror...

Paris is the place we all pinned to our bedroom walls as teenagers. Paris is where we planned our honeymoons. Paris is where we worshipped the literary ghosts who pushed our pens into the margins of our journals. Paris is why we wanted to study abroad. It's why I spent a summer sleeping on the couch of a friend of a friend in the Place de la Nacion.

Paris, for me, was the nucleus of my own moveable feast.  Perhaps it was for you, too.

So I understand. I understand why profile pictures have been changed. I understand the universal mourning of a place that is as far from home as any. I struggled with knowing where to stand after Je Suis Charlie, but I feel very certain that my mourning of Paris and those who spent their last nights at a rock show, are valid and deeply felt. And I feel a little sad that so many have been shamed for feeling similarly. For mourning, just like I have, for the people of Paris.

Because, it's okay. It's okay to feel particularly attached to a place that isn't everywhere in the world. It is natural for us to align ourselves with people and places that are specific. To root for home teams. To pick sides.

And yet.

And yet. 

I feel that this moment -- this time right here right now -- is also a very significant time to listen. To press our ears against the mouths of those who speak from an experience that most of us are not capable of having. I believe that great change can happen in the crossfire of differing opinions, but only if we're willing to look beyond the places we are drawn to -- the places we are tied to -- the places we call home.


In the garden there is a court of religions that boasts the symbols of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism and within it are people of all walks and talks. Some are meditating. Others are quietly cracking jokes. Some are holding hands with parents, many with heads covered. Others skip quietly with arms linked and shoulders exposed. There is an older woman walking with a cane beside a baby asleep in a stroller. There are languages I do not recognize and those I can just barely understand.


My family emigrated from countries they would not have survived in had they stayed. Perhaps yours did, too. Had Ellis Island closed its doors on my father's mother's family and my father's father's family and my mother's father's family, none of us would be here. We would have stayed in Germany. We would have stayed in Poland. We would have stayed in Hungary. We would have been taken away with the rest of the extended family -- none of whom survived the Holocaust. Not one. 


We are all the same. We are all Paris and we are all Beirut and we are all Syria. We are all Christian and we are all Jewish and we are all Muslim refugees. And not because we believe the same things, or share the same ethnicity, but because we all have the capacity to be on the other side of the divide.

We are who our parents raised and who our communities shaped and who our friends passed notes to. We are the books we have read and the shows we have watched and the movies that have changed our lives and perspectives. We are our mothers' sons and our fathers' daughters and our grandparents' legacy. We all cry and laugh and love and lose and seek and find and lose again. We all dance.

And so does she. And so does he. And so do they.

This is why traveling is so important. This is why spending time with other people, learning other languages, reading books by authors who worship differently and love differently and look differently... is so important. We cannot save our world unless we crack ourselves open and break through the glass divide. We cannot make decisions that affect other people until we listen to their words and recognize that we cannot even begin to empathize with another experience unless we stand very still and LISTEN.
There is a very important reason why so many are asking WHY.

Why Paris and not Beirut?

Why close your borders to people who are fleeing for their lives?

Why shame? 

I ask the same questions of myself and my country and our world.

I am trying to understand why anyone at any point would want to kill a person, innocent or not, while also keeping in mind that our government does this very thing all the time. That NOBODY sees themselves as in the wrong when they do what they feel they need to do -- no matter how abhorrent.

We are not innocent. We never were. And our silence as we bomb and blast and terrorize the middle east speaks volumes about our own inability to recognize our own darkness.

Perhaps this is when we start to ask the right questions. Perhaps this is when we go from questioning our friends on Facebook to questioning ourselves -- our leaders -- our communities and culture.

It is possible to change a mind without shaming it. It is possible to enlighten an enemy without killing him. It is possible to mourn for the world while solidarity to one specific place. It is possible to reflect and to discuss and to LISTEN to all sides of these various debates without turning to hatred and meanness and shame.

Sometimes the only way I can look at the big picture is by looking at it in myself. How does one go to war against her own weakness? How does one teach her children to be open and aware -- to speak up and also to sit down?

We are all going to be angry. We are all going to be afraid. And we are all, whether it's today or because of something that happens tomorrow, going to want to direct that fear and blame at those we decide most deserve it. Which is why every week another mob joins arms to point fingers towards the nearest bullseye. Last week we were up in arms over a small group of "Christians" and their frustration over coffee cups. We were up in arms over people's up-in-arm-ness.


In the garden, as I walked around the giant pond with my family, we marveled at the turtles and how they collect in the places where the sun shines the strongest.
IMG_7135 IMG_7117
We discussed the similarities between our arms and that of the branches of trees.

"It looks like they're holding their hands up... reaching toward the light."

The kids spent two hours with a pile of sticks and leaves -- and old bark that had peeled off the sides of trees. They made sandwiches for me and Hal and we pretended to eat them. Over and over. Fable made bracelets out of weeds as people passed and smiled.
I wrote most of this post in the garden, which is why I'm including pictures I took from the path. Everything seemed to communicate in all the right ways that afternoon -- as it always seems to do. There is a unity between people and plants and animals and people. A unity that cannot be found on the Internet -- on twitter or Facebook or blogs. It is easy to say terrible things when we cannot see each other -- when we cannot look one another in the eyes. But outside? In the sun? Throwing shade is what ferns do.
When I was little, my Nana told me, "if you talk to the flowers, they will listen," and I believed her. I still do. I still think that a dying flower can be saved by some positive affirmations. I believe that a tree will grow fruit if every day you ask it nicely. And because of this belief, this adamant and deeply felt belief, my children now believe it, too. Because when you believe wholeheartedly in something, it is very easy to convince those around you it is so. Especially those who look to you for answers... We all believe in things that seem insane to others. Some of these things are harmless with mostly positive implications. Some of these things are not. Sometimes we disregard our power -- and we all have power... We think that our words will not upset or unhinge or inspire or change a mind. We think that our actions do not have implications because we cannot see them from our own experience. But at 34 years old, I still talk to flowers. And at 86 years old, my Nana does, too. And at 7 years old, so does Fable. We believe because someone once made a lot of sense to us during times when we were looking for answers. We believe because we desperately wanted to. Everyone is looking for answers. Let us not forget how impressionable we all are... How willing we all are to believe in something and to pursue both light and darkness in its name.
We are all capable of hatred and rebellion. We are all capable of love and compassion. It is as easy to open a door as it is to close one. But for anyone who has ever been on the other side of the door, to know an opening is to know relief. May we recognize in ourselves a willingness to search our own walls for grooves so that we might pry open the very doors we were taught to lock and walk outside -- out of our homes and our heads and away from our computers...  beyond the lines we have spent our entire lives drawing around ourselves and those who share our sameness...

Us // them.

Me // you.

Wrong // right.

...Let us all stand up, take ourselves by the hand and go outside.

Last Name Standing

IMG_6775 I don't know either, Rev.

This week on, I'm talking about last names. Because it's been two years since we've had this little chat and it's time to have it again. 

The last name conversation has come up several times as of late. It came when I was sent this link to a Manrepeller piece about men taking their wives' names, which then led to THIS piece featuring 15 men reacting to the idea that a man might take his wife's last name, which, in these guys' defense, I wouldn't want my husband to take my name. For the same reason I didn't want to take his. It makes me feel uncomfortable to trade my name for another. And it would make me feel uncomfortable for him to do the same.

That said, some of these dudes are THE WORST. No offense, but, like, ASSHOLES.

I talked to Hal about this (for the 78979872318971927th time) yesterday, when I mentioned I was writing another post about the marriage + babies + last name conundrum.

His response. "AGAIN!? Look, we can change the kids' last names if it matters that much to you. WE CAN CALL THEM ALL WOOLF IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT."

But it isn't what I want. I mean, it IS... kind of. (I actually just want to change the GIRLS' last names to Woolf because it feels fair to me that the girls get my name and the boy gets Hal's name, especially because his name is ISAAC/SON AKA Manboyofman. Also, Woolf is the most badass name ever. If my last name was Poopbucketstinkernuts I would GLADLY take Isaacson as my own.

Or maybe I wouldn't. Maybe I would be like, "FUCK THAT. I've made it thus far with a name like Poopbucketstinkernuts and I'm going to keep on keeping on!"

My point is, I am still totally hung up over last names in a way that keeps me up at night more than anything else. Is that insane? Maybe. But I feel like I failed by not having enough of an opinion when Fable was born and I want to make sure all you ladies out there listening tonight don't make the same mistake I made which is... defaulting to THEY GET HIS NAME OF COURSE BECAUSE THAT IS THE WAY IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN.

And while Hal is totally right that it wouldn't take that much to change the girls' last name, (especially the twins), Fable and Archer are very set in their names and I don't want to mess with that. And I also don't want Archer to feel like he has a different name from his sisters. Plus, I am very well aware of how insane I sound right now about all of this. And now I'm right back where I started.

You can read my whole post, here. 

Sincerely yours, 
Larry David

Things I love for me and us: November

1. Wear, for me: 

Over the summer I flirted with eyelash extensions but found out very quickly how NOT FOR ME they were. In theory, they were very low maintenance. I mean, you basically just wake up and BAM, you're ready to roll. And even though I went with the very subtle looking lashes, they were still... too much for me. I could see them out of the corner of my eyes at all times and I had a hard time sleeping because I would rub my pillow against my face and be like WHAT THE FUCK IS IN MY EY--  oh, right. I paid for this feeling. Finally I just pulled them all out. Anyway. I was talking to the women at the MAC store about the whole faux-lash-craze when they recommended I tried their NEW and improved mascara. I was like, "yeah, right. OF COURSE you say that."

But then...

I tried it. I tried it and have never looked back. This stuff is THE SHIT, you guys. I have been looking for a mascara I loved as much as the Lancome one they discontinued many moons ago and THIS IS IT. This is it. Also here is a before + after so you can see what we're dealing with here, no filter, no makeup... besides the mascara, of course.
Wear, for them: 
Zara velvet tuxedo Jacket (they also have one in maroonand matching velvet bow tie

Tonight Archer is competing as a member of his school Ballroom Dance team (!!!)  so earlier this week we hit up Zara to do a little shopping. He didn't have any slacks that fit him and his suit jacket was three sizes too small so Archer put together the most badass ensemble that is completely mismatched but still totally works and I cannot wait to see him do his thing tonight. I mean the kid is ON FIRE lately. What a time these last few weeks have been for him. This whole year, really. 5th grade has been a game changer. Pivotal. Amazing.

Anyway, Archer picked out this jacket, which I got in one size up (12-14) so he can wear it with jeans or whatever and make it last for longer than three seconds. It's completely adorable. We found the bow tie in the men's section because they had a much more debonair collection.
2. Read, for me: 
The First Bad Man by: Miranda July

You know what? Forget what I just said. You’re already a part of this. You will eat, you will laugh at stupid things, you will stay up all night just to see what it feels like, you will fall painfully in love, you will have babies of your own, you will doubt and regret and yearn and keep a secret. You will get old and decrepit, and you will die, exhausted from all that living. That is when you get to die. Not now.” - Miranda July, The First Bad Man

Everything Miranda July writes is magic. All of it. Every. single. thing. I was waiting to finish another book before starting The First Bad Man but then I just said "fuck it" and got started and, well... I'm glad I did.

Because OF COURSE I am. Trust me, just read it. Just read it, okay? Read it just trust read read.

This book arrived yesterday and was so painfully beautiful that Fable and I read it back and forth to each other. We talked about death. We talked about life. We talked about the magic of writing and pictures. We talked about passion and how some people feel that they are BORN to do certain things. We marveled at the images and the poetry. This book blew both of us away for very different reasons that were much the same. A book for all ages, for sure. A treasure. For fans of Anna Pavlova and those who have never heard of her, this book is what you should be purchasing for your household this month.

3. TV, for me: 
Master of None, Netflix

Master of None picks up where Louie left off... except we're following Aziz Ansari this time. I was a fan of his before this show. Now? Now I am a full-blown stalker. Master of None is awkward, charming and like nothing I have ever seen on television. It provides a commentary on race/racial identity that is hilariously introspective while also exploring the spoils of 21st century life in a way that is nuanced, satirical and kind. We are only three episodes in thus far because I refuse to binge watch something worth savoring. Best new show hands down.
One Mississippi premiered its pilot episode on Amazon last week and blew me away. Starring Tig Notaro (she also co-wrote with Diablo Cody,) the pilot (and subsequent series) is based on the true story of Tig's mother's death as well as her simultaneous battle with breast cancer and intestinal disease. And yet, there is so much light coming from the end of Tig's tunnel, that it's impossible not to feel it -- even in the moments that hurt to watch. It is also clearly an homage to Notaro's hometown and pre-LA life. I can't wait to see what's next. (You can watch it here/now for free.)
TV, for them: 
Brain Games
(The first two seasons are on Netflix.)

This show has been the go-to favorite for all four kids for the last several months. Educational, fun and mind blowing for the whole family. Skip the Halloween episode, though. (For your kids.) That shit is scary. 
4. Movie, for ALL OF US: 
The Peanuts Movie (Now Playing)

I was expecting to fall asleep in this movie when we took the kids yesterday. (I'm not normally a Peanuts fan.) Instead, I sat through it completely engaged, as two squirmy children smashed popcorn against my cheeks. And at the end? I cried. All six of us really enjoyed the movie and I am recommending it with full thumbs up to every family up in here. It's not every day a film can appeal LITERALLY to all ages. This one did.
5. Obsession of the month, for me:  

Weird? Maybe. But I cannot get enough of this stuff. I throw a few dollops in my morning eggs, use it in place of salsa with my chips, heat it up and put it over pasta, quinoa... my fingers. It is THE BEST STUFF out there right now. Period exclamation point. (It was this or recommending more sauerkraut.)
Obsession of the month, for them:  

Someone recently recommended these dolls in the comments of my Barbie post and I am so glad they did (Thank you!) because they're awesome and we just recently purchased a pair for Bo and Revi's friend's birthday. And now I want to start collecting them for myself. I love them a Lottie.
What about you guys? What are your recommendations for watching, reading, wearing, playing, eating, doing, seeing, etc-ing? What are your latest and greatests for November? 


To Live and Hide in LA (and go Apple Picking)

I have a new post up over on Quiet Revolution that features some of my favorite quiet (lesser-known and not-so-lesser-known) places in LA. (Please feel free to add your favorite spots as well! I'm always looking for new places to get lost around here... )
And speaking of Quiet places to "hide" in Los Angeles, we spent our Saturday hiding out in Oak Glen -- home of Southern California apple picking which boasts a very short season, apparently. But it ended up being for the best because here's the thing about apple picking when there are no apples to pick: there are no crowds. And you still get to do fun stuff like make your own cider (although we made cider with apples that WERE NOT hand picked which was less fun, I'll admit.) But still... totally fun.
IMG_6441 Our crew for the day. 

Last year we went to a different farm, the only one we could find that had parking as it was INSANELY CROWDED (there were apples to pick last year).  But even with the crowds we had fun and the farm we picked had live music, which ruled.

This time around we went to Riley's Stone Soup Heritage Orchard because Stone Pantry Orchard was closed. My parents met us there. (It is the same distance, literally to the minute, from their house in Encinitas as it is from our house in West Hollywood.)
IMG_6547 rinsing apples before grinding them into cider IMG_6546 IMG_6559IMG_6545 IMG_6555 IMG_6552
The kids also got to make rag dolls, candles and birdhouses. Bo and Revi did, anyway. Fable is allergic to peanut butter as of a few months ago. Did I ever write about that? Fable's sudden allergy to peanut butter? CRAZY. Like, one day she was suddenly allergic and it took us several weeks to realize what was causing her full-body hives. Anyway, Fable had to steer clear of the PB table over the weekend. The twins, on the other hand...
IMG_6551 IMG_6446 IMG_6558
 The most fun, though, was the panning for gemstones situation. And the beautiful scenery and the fires burning and the marshmallows ready to roast and the hot cider and the bundled up family time.
IMG_6478 IMG_6548
I love Los Angeles like a sister, but getting the hell out of dodge is so dreamy sometimes. Especially when crowds are not a thing.
Just before Bo bolted, Revi melted down and we hightailed it outta there....


For more on Riley's Stone Soup Farm, go here.