Combating Jealousy in Friendships

Sunday, July 29, 2018

If you're not the competitive type and don't ever catch yourself envying your friends' lives and experiences, you're a better person than I am and don't need to read this post. There must be a better way to spend your time. Go do that. For the shitty people like me, read on. 
People often ask, what is the difference between envy and jealousy? A definition I have found helpful is that envy relates to something you want but do not have, whereas jealousy relates to something you have but are afraid of losing. E. PEREL
Jealousy and envy in romantic relationships are pretty well-explored and discussed. They are at once erotic and toxic, sensual in their insecurities and possessiveness. They say I want you in ways that are thrilling. Your teenage years are the volatile years, the I love you so much if you even look at her I will kill myself, the I don't want anyone looking at you the way I do. It's a weird fucking attitude to have, but a generally accepted, or at least acknowledged and deconstructed, one.

But I wish we would talk more about jealousy and envy in friendships. How we lust after our friends' brilliance, their happiness, their extraordinary successes. 

My most well-known character flaw is that I've often felt insecure next to my friends, all of whom are interesting and accomplished in their own ways. They have attended the best schools, completed prestigious academic programs, set the groundwork for lucrative and deeply satisfying careers. They are esteemed scholars and activists, engineers and musicians, medical students and analysts. If I am the average of my circles, I have accomplished more than most ever will. I am so proud to know them, to bear witness to their triumphs -- many of which do not come easily.
But it takes a confident person to stand next to these sorts of friends, and I often am not one -- at least, not in this way. When I was younger and even less of the person I am now, I was constantly paranoid that I was being compared to CL (and if you know her, she is a difficult person to compete with).
The envy never bred resentment (because I love her very, very much), but I do think it put a lot of pressure on me/us. We were applying to the same top-tier schools. We attended the same high school and took the same tests. For a while, we took the same extracurricular classes. We were (and are still) close, and I think being so alike a person makes you believe that there can only be one of you.

But part of having great friends is accepting that they might be more beautiful, have higher salaries, get engaged first (and then have more expensive weddings), have more children and sooner. Have hotter, kinder, richer husbands. The list compounds and complicates with age. Infertility. Career advancement. Unemployment. Marriage. Divorce.

And yet. None of this should diminish the joy of participating in meaningful friendships with strong, empowered people.

The perpetual envy, the silly little "what if" worrier inside of you, can be a lifelong affliction. And what a fucking miserable condition that would be. 

Uhh, so anyways. Apologies for the long-winded intro. Here are ways to cope:

1. Develop a "team" mentality. 
I recently dated a fantastic guy who broached the topic of a salary gap at one point (or maybe I did, but this is unimportant). I'd confessed that I was the competitive type, that I'd sometimes felt inferior because I was at an earlier stage of my career than he was and therefore making significantly (like, eye-bulging significantly) less money. Long story short, he reminded me that relationships were about teamwork, that a "me vs. you" mentality was destructive to any sort of committed, shared experience. I think the same can be said for platonic friendships -- not that our collective salaries should be pooled together (though given how many programming friends I have, that would be nice), but that we should be encouraged to share in each other's successes as if they were our own. Instead of "X got into University Z and I didn't," redirect this insecurity into "X worked really hard on her application before she shared it with me to review. I gave her insightful feedback, and our shared efforts made her a competitive candidate." Any genuine friend will acknowledge your part in her success, no matter how small.

2. It's not a fucking competition! Stop making it one. 
Pretty much an extension of the "team" mentality. But comparison is the thief of joy! Truly! I feel like the "social media tricks us all into aspiring for the imagined" argument is so overdone and stale, so I won't rattle on. Just keep it in mind. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. 

3. Diversify your personhood. 
If your personality and interests literally overlap with someone else's so much you genuinely feel like a lower-quality imposter, you need to adopt some new fucking hobbies. Try something new. If you've been second chair to her first chair for the past twelve years of youth orchestra, pick up fencing. Or salsa dancing. Distance gives you the space to develop into your own person, your own accomplishments on your own scale. Being great at different things is so much easier than being the best (and near-best) at the same thing. 

And finally, if your friends have never done anything worth celebrating, you need to upgrade your circle.

With great love,

The Career Girl's Toolkit: Work Wear

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Photo by David Lee

"Little" Black Dress
Everyone knows how important LBD's are for your fun, going-out closet, but they are also important for work. I bought a simple black dress from Ann Taylor and it's my go-to dress for evening work events. It's easy to layer with a blazer if you want to seem more professional. I also love wearing it jacket-less and wearing a statement necklace to give my outfit a pop of color. Regular retail stores aren't the only place you can check for work attire. I actually have a great business casual black dress from Target that I've even worn to first round interviews or networking events. I love to check out the "factory" or the outlet versions of places like Banana Republic or J. Crew to find deals on these dresses (and work clothes in general). You can also make a beeline for their clearance/sale section whether you're online shopping or shopping in person. (If you're shopping online, just make sure you have gone into the stores to figure out your sizing first. Every store I've gotten work clothes at have given me different sizes.)

→ S H O P  I T  H E R E  A T   A N N   T A Y L O R
→ S H O P  I T  H E R E   A T  J C R E W  F A C T O R Y
→ S H O P  I T  H E R E  A T  M A C Y ' S
→ S H O P  I T  H E R E  A T E X P R E S S
→ S H O P  I T  H ER E  A T  B A N A N A   R E P U B L I C 

Comfortable Heels
LC mentioned in the other The Career Girl's Toolkit post that comfortable emergency flats are great, but so are comfortable heels. If you have a long work event, it's nice to wear your most comfy heels. Otherwise, go right ahead and rock those cute heels when you're mostly sitting at your desk and only walking to lunch. Corso Como is a great brand for an investment piece. You can try a pair of CC heels on at Nordstrom to find your size. Then shop online to find a pair on sale through Zappos, 6PM, or just Google around.

→ S H O P  I T  H E R E

Work Bag
A good work bag can fit your emergency flats, has extra pockets inside, and should be able to fit your Kindle or work laptop. Longchamp's are a favorite of many, but I've never liked the look of them. Instead, the Madewell Transport Bags are an amazing alternative. There are some with extra shoulder straps, there are some that zip, and some have varied handle drop lengths. If you want a bag you can personalize, the Cuyana Class Leather tote is monogrammable. I love their brand because they even have tote accessories (tote organization inserts, lipstick cases, leather laptop sleeves, and more).

→ S H O P  C U Y A N A S   L E A T H E R  T O T E S
→ S H O P  M A D E W E L L' S  T R A N S P O R T  B A G S 
→ S H O P  T H E  E V E R L A N E  D A Y  M A R K E T  T O T E

Getting Over a Breakup

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I am uncannily great at breakups, and it's mostly because I'm equally fantastic at relationships.
If you've ever been in a relationship with me, you know -- if people had Yelp reviews (and they should), my top-rated one would be "this girl loved me in such extraordinary ways. I've never met somebody who tried so hard to make me feel important."

I know this because I conduct exit interviews as part of my breakup standard operational procedure.

But uncomfortable jokes aside, I really am a cool cucumber when it comes to breakups. Not at first, though. I'm a sensitive girl. I cry until my head hurts in that weird spot between my eyebrows, and then because I am Asian, I wake up with six eyelids the next day. But being unabashedly, wholly emotional makes me a little wise in some ways. I was raised on Rilke and Whitman and Dostoevsky, and it has, forgive the hubris, made me indestructible. You become convinced, and can testify, that grief and heartbreak can catalyze personal growth (and the best art of your life) in exceptional ways. And slowly, you become excited for the person you will become.

1. Accept that grief is a really important rite of passage. 
Shortly after my high school boyfriend passed away, I read a quote that said "one of the hardest things you will ever have to do is to grieve the loss of a person who is still alive," and I was like what a load of bullshit. I also learned to get off Tumblr.

(For more about how to help a friend grieve, read this post I wrote about how my friends got me through the darkest period of my life.)

But I do acknowledge the awful things breakups can do to you. Someone I dated said "I appreciate that this is hard for you," as if I were wearing really uncomfortable lingerie and he appreciated the effort, rather than dealing with the pain of "surprise, we are not actually in love!" But it was the right thing to say. It is hard. It's the stuff of shitty poetry books (as if I could miss the opportunity to throw shade at r.h. sin and rupi kaur and the like!), and monumental works of music and art. Failed relationships, unrequited love, this is the stuff that makes the human experience so tragic and beautiful, all at the same time. I'd do it a hundred times if it meant I would feel a happiness that was twice as vibrant.

Contrary to what you might think, I don't actually romanticize pain. I'm not stupid. But I accept that part of a fulfilling and well-rounded life is failure, heartbreak, and loss. So I cry a lot. I also laugh a lot. I've lost a lot. I also love harder than anybody I know. It is life, and better yet, it is living. Grief can be healthy if you enter it fully aware that it, too, should and will pass.

Grief also cannot be monopolized, defined, or contained. For the lucky, dealing with grief looks like going on a long run. (Unfortunately, nothing in my life is dealt with by going on a long run.) For some, it's burritos and ice cream and chick flicks. For me, it's poetry and rich literature and sometimes a very long Reddit binge. Do it, but don't do it forever. When the grief becomes more identity than experience, you need to move on.

2. They can be everything you've wanted and more. You won't always feel that way. 
I've journaled through most of my recent breakups (luckily for us all, I am no longer doing so publicly on Tumblr!), and I think what's really beautiful about documenting the intimate moments of your own life is being able to reflect on them when you are a little wiser and more distant from that pain. You might realize that the things that were paramount to you once now hold less weight. You might learn a little bit more about how you express and need to receive love. You see yourself growing and evolving, and it reminds you that in December 2015, you might have been furiously googling "no contact ex will he miss me and when will he tell me and also will he want to get back together" but by January 2017 you were huddled over an XL cone of piping hot fries at Maison Antoine in Belgium, living your best life. So by the time July 2018 rolls around and some really, truly wonderful boy has broken your heart, you can kind of remember, "okay, this is shitty, but it won't always be shitty."

You may also wonder why you dated the Soundcloud rapper in the first place. It's okay, we all have a Soundcloud rapper or other notched in our bedpost.

If nothing else, do it for the future giggles. I promise they are ahead.

3. Don't do the dumb shit everyone warns you not to do. 
Speaking as someone who has done, uh, questionable things to an ex, revenge is stupid and will grant you absolutely zero closure. So don't do questionable things. Don't do that thing where you post to your Snapchat story in the hopes that they'll see it. Don't do that thing where you make vague comments and tweets. Don't drunk-text them. Don't accidentally text them. Don't play any other desperate iteration of just wanting to feel wanted by someone who has already made it very clear that you no longer have a future together. Don't get a tattoo. Don't launch an anti-romance crusade. Don't reblog shitty teenage posts on Tumblr (but do read from the wise and insightful. You'll know the difference when you see it.) Don't burn their shit, it's a waste of energy and bad for the environment. Don't demonize them in your mind, don't worship them into mythological beings. Don't convince yourself that they were the one and only one. Don't be afraid.

4. Repeat the mantras.
"Because at the end of the day, if someone does not meet you where you are, you cannot keep asking them to do so. If someone cannot reciprocate your love, if someone cannot give you what you truly deserve, you have to understand that aching for them to do so before they are ready is a form of self destruction. Your heart is a vast and tender thing, you cannot keep trying to shrink it into what someone else needs. You cannot keep pouring your love into a vessel that cannot contain it. You cannot keep pouring your love into a soul that has not opened their eyes to all they are receiving. You cannot keep pouring your love into a heart that is closed off to it. It will only leave you empty. You have to walk away. You have to let this person grow on their own terms, because you can't love someone into their potential. You can't love someone into being ready. They have to do that on their own."
B I A N C A  S P A R A C I N O 

"Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready."
N A Y Y I R A H  W A H E E D

"When you meet that person. A person. One of your soulmates. Let the connection. Relationship. Be what it is. It may be five minutes. Five hours. Five days. Five months. Five years. A lifetime. Let it manifest itself, the way it is meant to. It has an organic destiny. This way if it stays or if it leaves, you will be softer from having been loved this authentically. Souls come into, return, open, and sweep through your life for a myriad of reasons. Let them be who and what they are meant."
N A Y Y I R A H  W A H E E D

"Promise me you'll remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think."
A. A.  M I L N E, W I N N I E  T H E  P O O H

"I'll always belong to myself, even as many times as I'll try to give myself away, and as many times as someone else will try and take it, I'll always belong to myself."
R A I N E R  M A R I A  R I L K E

"Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."
R A I N E R  M A R I A  R I L K E

And finally, the one that will touch me always and profoundly: 

"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not failure. That is life." 
S T A R  T R E K ( I  T H I N K)

With great love, growing ever greater still,


What LC Read: Vol. 5-8

Friday, July 20, 2018

It's not that I haven't been reading in the past month. It's that this post format is deeply unsatisfying to create, and probably unworthy of browsing at all. If I were a different sort of girl, I'd want to buy lovely hardcovers and arrange flat lays for each feature, as so many book bloggers do. Unfortunately, I'm a Kindle girl and Still Seeking Instagram/Photographer Boyfriend (Female, 22). So these blocks of text (thoughtfully written as they are) are what we're working with for now. Hope they're not awful.

But anyways, I've been reading books at a much gentler pace in the past month. Here's where my little brain has gone:

01. Nerve | Jeanne Ryan
I saw the last few minutes of the movie adaptation and thought I'd enjoy the book, but this was a bizarre case in which the book was garbage but the film was probably pretty good. A theatre geek who "wears vintage clothes" (lol) is desperate for attention (though this is haphazardly veiled behind teenage angst) and gets paired up with a hot stranger (with his own teenage angst) to complete a set of increasingly dangerous challenges, which are streamed online for paying viewers. I'd describe this as Black Mirror's less interesting stepsister who overedited her Tumblr pictures on Picnik. You know the one.

02. The Perfect Nanny | Leila Slimani
I lost interest in the Thriller genre shortly after my "psychological horror" phase in seventh grade, but I did have a weird erotic dream about a sexy French au pair and I decided it was time to explore that further. I don't remember this book being particularly dark or creepy, just a lot of strange, tense moments between the nanny and mother. The writing felt too indulgent and "drippy" at times, likely because it was originally written in French and I think there's a certain sensuality and gravity in languages that can't be properly translated. I'm also pretty sure we never find out what actually happened. And the nanny wasn't sexy. I tried to imagine her with a bit more spice than what was described, but I think her being drab was part of the plot.

03. The Case Against Sugar | Gary Taubes
One danger here, of course, is that once we insist or pretend that we know the answer based on premature or incomplete evidence (even if we’re pushed against our will to take such stands), we’re likely to continue to insist we’re right, even when evidence accumulates to the contrary. This is a risk in any human endeavor. When Francis Bacon pioneered the scientific method almost four hundred years ago, he was hoping to create a methodology of critical or rational thinking that would minimize this all-too-human characteristic of avoiding evidence that disagrees with any preconceptions we might have formed.*1 Without rigorous tests, as many as necessary, beliefs and preconceptions will persevere because it’s always easier to believe that a single test has been flawed, or even a few of them, than it is to accept that our belief had been incorrect. The scientific method protects against this tendency; it does not eradicate it.
04. Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir | Ngugi wa Thiong'o
It is indeed a tribute to the varied character of the human that even amid such carnage of body, mind, and truth, there are some courageous souls prepared to defy the conventionally accepted, speak truth to power, and risk arguing for our common humanity. In condemning racialized empires - or any empires - we must never forget those who stood up for a decent future for all even when it was unpopular or dangerous to do so. 
05. The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity | Esther Perel (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
We still want everything the traditional family was meant to provide - security, children, property, and respectability - but now we also want our partners to love us, to desire us, to be interested in us. We should be best friends, trust confidants, and passionate lovers to boot. The human imagination has conjured up a new Olympus: that love will remain unconditional, intimacy enthralling, and sex oh-so-exciting, for the long haul, with one person. And the long haul keeps getting longer. Contained within the small circle of the wedding band are vastly contradictory ideals. We want our chosen one to offer stability, safety, predictability, and dependability - all of the anchoring experiences. And we want that very same person to supply awe, mystery, adventure, and risk. Give me comfort and give me edge. Give me familiarity and give me novelty. Give me continuity and give me surprise. Lovers today seek to bring under one roof desires that have forever had separate dwellings. 
06.  Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World | Mackenzi Lee
It's literally based on a series of popular Tweets, so the writing was pedestrian and too casual for me to commit to as an entire book, but wonderfully illustrated. It's a little too bubbly, pussy hat-feminist for me, which is not an affront against feminism but an exasperation over the anesthetized aesthetics of it. If you have a "I'm Ready for Hillary" bumper sticker on your laptop, you'll probably like this.

07. Maybe in Another Life | Taylor Jenkins Reid
Two ways a life could play out, in parallel. I think an unintentional point this raises it that there is no "right" person for you,  no "the one." There are many people to whom you could commit a very happy life. Just fucking pick one (or whatever number is your sweet spot) and then calm your tits.

08. The Only Girl in the World | Maude Julien
Literally "r u ok" the entire time. A very strange father fixated on raising his daughter as a perfect "superhuman" being by keeping her in the most horrifying and cruel of circumstances. A little cult-y. I gave it four out of five stars, but mostly because I felt bad for the chick. It was written with great introspection and thoughtfulness, but otherwise not very memorable. Four stars seems high when I think of iconic works I've also assigned the same rating.

09. Fitness Junkie | Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
My favorite palate cleanser! Which sounds totally degrading, but I don't mean it that way. I think it's actually very difficult to write a feel-good, light novel that isn't so saturated with shitty tropes and lazy rhetoric it becomes a burden to read it.

10. The Futures: A Novel | Anna Pitonioak
This girl graduated from an Ivy League with a degree in art history or something and then realizes that she doesn't know what to do with her life -- which is fine, but I also felt like she wasn't actively trying to figure it out. She also emotionally cheats on her boyfriend. She's a very unlikable character throughout. Like a "coming of age" millennial novel that's supposed to be super relatable, but we all know a girl like her and the novelty of someone with an elite education and zero life skills has long worn off.

So there's that. If you only have time for one, make it The State of Affairs by Esther Perel. A really fascinating and beautiful read.

With great love,

Tips on How to Become Yelp Elite

Every time my foodie friends hear that I'm Yelp Elite, the onslaught of questions come. How did you do it?" "How many reviews have you written?" "Does it matter if I add pictures to my reviews?"

I am by no means an expert, but I have passed on some pretty decent advice to friends (they've subsequently become Yelp Elite, but could be "correlation, not causation"). Take all this advice with a grain of salt as it's all from personal experience and what I've heard other Yelp Elites say.

1. Make sure you have your profile filled out. It's especially important to have an actual photo of yourself, this is something in the "Yelp Elite Squad Terms of Membership" along with being 21. All Yelp Elite accounts are are "required to use a real name as well as post a real (and clear) photo of your face on your profile page."

2. Write reviews and tips, but don't forget to leave photos. I like to check-in on the Yelp app when I visit a new restaurant so that I don't forget to write a review later on. While Yelp prefers longer, more thought-out reviews, you can always just write a couple of sentences about the overall ambiance of the restaurant, your favorite dishes on the menu, and the service. Not all of my reviews are equal and they don't have to be. You also don't need to only write reviews

3. Have at least 40 - 60 reviews. This is really city dependent, but have at least 40 reviews before you apply for Yelp Elite. If you have around 30 reviews but have 150+ pictures, you're probably fine.

4. "Tell Yelp why you deserve to be Elite." Be thoughtful here. Don't write something like "I want free food" or "I like food". Everyone in the world loves food, especially free food. Talk about how you want to share your passion for food with others or that you like to educate people on what to expect before they enter restaurants.

Wishing you some good food and a full belly,

The Catalogue: No. 11

This week in C.R.E.A.M.
Sorry to expose CL and myself, but we fucking love judging people for their spending habits. Like, oh, that's nice that you got Coachella tickets and eyelash extensions and weekly manicures, but have you maxed out your 401K? And I know a lot of this comes from a place of weird privilege that's not necessarily class-based. I might be more financially literate than my (still college-educated) peers, but I've arguably also had to worry more about both immediate and long-term financial insecurity.

But I also went to an expensive, need-based private university (on a full scholarship), where 71% of students came from the top 10% wealthiest families in the United States, and less than 1% came from the bottom 20%. For four years, I was surrounded by extremely "comfortable" young adults who made decisions about money that I would never understand -- even if they were smart ones, like maximizing the returns on institutional wealth. (I don't know what the fuck that means beyond the abstract. In case it was not clear, I am not the proud owner of institutional wealth.)

Then again, I managed to graduate college debt-free and with no contribution from my parents, so any snooty opinion I have on how other people pay down (or don't) their student loans is invalid. I get that.

The point is, I have zero right to secretly judge how other people "invest" their money (I also have a long diatribe about the bastardization of "invest," like no Caitlin, a pair of Gucci slides is not a fucking investment, but nobody asked, so I digress). But, like some of the articles below, I think it's worth exploring why we feel entitled to qualify, or even police, how others make financial decisions. I'm interested in how we tend to crucify poor people (primarily of color) for indulging in manicures instead of higher education, or designer belts instead of health insurance, with little to no analysis of how poverty affects our priorities.

I also think there's something to be said about how filial duty, compounded as it is in Asian cultures, complicates our relationship with real and imagined debt towards our parents. About immigrant children and their children who pay remittance upwards and outwards.

What I'm trying to say is, I wish I were a journalist to explore these further, but since I'm not, here is my weekly roundup of interesting reads.

Why We Love to Judge The Way Women Spend | Lindsey Stanberry for Refinery29
Money remains an emotionally fraught territory – triggering anger, jealousy, inadequacy, resentment, pride, gratitude, and self-pity in a split-second. Money Diaries, and its notorious comments section, provides a platform where women can overshare, vent, judge, and maybe even achieve catharsis. It’s often a difficult conversation, but an absolutely worthy one.
Women's Media is A Scam | Josephine Livingstone for The New Republic
Women’s media has also run on the first-personal travails of women. Though it sets a wildly different editorial tone, the Money Diaries invoke the ghost of xoJane, which exploited readers and writers alike by holding a “contest” for the best “It Happened To Me” first-person story. What happened was that it ran an endless stream of unpaid blog posts in which readers were invited to offer up their most traumatic experiences in return for zero dollars. The site came to represent the worst of the Personal Essay Industrial Complex, in which a publication creams the profits off women’s trauma, especially women of color, in the name of feminist solidarity.
Money Diaries: Is Privilege the Real Issue Here? | Phoebe Maltz Bovy for Refinery29
It’s my sense that the people most candid about their privilege – sometimes thoughtfully, other times less so – are young women, who are privileged to varying degrees, but not all that powerful. Even the language of spending is gendered: Women “splurge” when they spend, while men “provide.” From the reaction, it’s clear that too much of the conversation about class privilege winds up focusing on the trappings of wealth and day-to-day consumption habits, often those associated specifically with young women. The purchases that come across as super-privileged aren’t even the unattainable ones, just the ones that seem the most predictably millennial.
The Big Business of Being Gwyneth Paltrow | Taffy Brodesser-Akner for New York Times Magazine
Why mass-market a lifestyle that lives in definitional opposition to the mass market? Goop’s ethic was this: that having beautiful things sometimes costs money; finding beautiful things was sometimes a result of an immense privilege; but a lack of that privilege didn’t mean you shouldn’t have those things. Besides, just because some people cannot afford it doesn’t mean that no one can and that no one should want it.
Refinery29, Kylie Jenner, and the Denial Underlying Millennial Financial Resentment | Jia Tolentino for The New Yorker
Young women, who are constantly asked to present themselves as likable, tend to be hyper-aware of what other people think about them. And in this era of world-historical inequality—and in this country, which is psychologically addicted to the idea of bootstrapping—it is not “cool” to be blindly privileged, to have lived your life on the soft velvet cushion of family wealth. Rich people who are more or less aware of this reality negotiate around it in odd ways: they try to portray billion-dollar wealth as a cultural disadvantage, or they call themselves “self-made” when they have enjoyed advantages that others could only dream of. They try vaguely and often unsuccessfully to conceal their advantages, looking for a walkup instead of a doorman building, telling a Times reporter that they always pack their lunch for work.
 White College Graduates Are Doing Great With Their Parents' Money | Adam Harris for The Atlantic
The differences that they found between black and white families were stark. “Among college-educated black families, about 13 percent get an inheritance of more than $10,000, as opposed to about 41 percent of white, college-educated families,” Taylor said in a release announcing the new research. More specifically, white families that receive such an inheritance receive, on average, more than $150,000 from the previous generation, whereas that figure is less than $40,000 for black families.
TBC (maybe), because I used to work in a behavioral economics research lab and have more to share! Though this delves into decidedly less sexy territory.

With great love and frugality,

The Catalogue: No. 10

Sunday, July 8, 2018

I never went through a "Youtube" phase, but here are some of my favorite Youtube videos that inspire me to be a better woman (more loving, more patient, more happy, etc.)

"The message of this video is pretty obvious: take care of [your face] but also take care of everything behind it as well." 
- Anna Akana
Anna Akana's "How to Put On Your Face" video is one of her most popular videos and seems pretty straightforward at first. It seems as if she is going to show everyone how she does her makeup, but instead she creates a short film. While Anna does put on makeup throughout the video, she does so without instructions on the makeup but offers inspiration instead. Whether she was talking about "aligning, shaping, and filling in" her thoughts or self-confidence, I couldn't help but feel the tiniest bit more empowered. “Does what you do out here [your face] match what you what you feel in here [your heart]? Because I believe that confidence and how you carry yourself is going to affect more of your relationships than anything else."
"You can't do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own."
- Amy Poehler
I have always loved Amy Poehler, and hearing her give life advice while making jokes about Harvard is incredibly fun. She admits that she "learns from us," learns from the people who are college grads. She tries to get us to understand that collaboration is the reason why we're all wherever we are today. Whether it's our parents, our friends, our religion, something or someone has helped us get to where we are by believing in us or inspiring us. "When you feel scared, hold someone's hand and look into their eyes. And when you feel brave, do the same thing. You are all here because you are smart. And you are brave. And if you add kindness and the ability to change a tire, you almost make up the perfect person."
"I suggest that real equality, full equality, does not just mean valuing women on male terms. It means creating a much wider range of equally respected choices for women and for men."
- Anne-Marie Slaughter
Anne-Marie asks, "Can we 'have it all'?" and discusses the idea of valuing the work of care as much as we value paid work. Caregiving should matter in our culture, but that means changing our workplaces and our policies. She gives the audience examples of countries in Europe that are doing it better than we are in the US and I love the happy note that Anne-Marie ends her TedX on, "I grew up in a society where my mother put out small vases of cigarettes for dinner parties, where blacks and whites used separate bathrooms, and where everybody claimed to be heterosexual. Today, not so much. The revolution for human equality can happen. It is happening. It will happen. How far and how fast is up to us."

The Catalogue: No. 9

Sunday, July 1, 2018

As usual, a smorgasbord of interesting reads.

The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation | Ed Caesar for The New Yorker
A PR company that worked with dictators and oligarchs deliberately inflamed racial tensions in South Africa-- and destroyed itself in the process.

 How Anna Delvey Tricked New York | Jessica Pressler for New York Magazine
Maybe she had so much money she just lost track of it. Somebody had to foot the bills for Anna Delvey's fabulous new life. The city was full of marks.
Maybe it could have happened. In this city, where enormous amounts of invisible money trade hands every day, where glass towers are built on paperwork promises, why not? Watching the Rikers guard shove Fast Companyinto a manila envelope, I realized what Anna had in common with the people she’d been studying in the pages of that magazine: She saw something others didn’t. Anna looked at the soul of New York and recognized that if you distract people with shiny objects, with large wads of cash, with the indicia of wealth, if you show them the money, they will be virtually unable to see anything else. And the thing was: It was so easy.
Her story is allegedly being adapted into a Netflix series, and while I am not a film critic I would much rather see this done as an "I, Tonya"-esque movie. I feel like a series would rely too much on glitzy party scenes to pad the content, but nobody asked me, so onwards, Shonda Rhimes.

The Arlan Hamilton Interview Series | Startup Podcast
I am so late to celebrating Arlan Hamilton and examining her work more in-depth, but this is the woman who pulled together a $36 million venture capital fund to invest exclusively in black women-led startups and entrepreneurs. Holy shit. This, by the way, is in response to the super shitty statistic that only 0.2% of Black women entrepreneurs receive funding. Read more about that in this Forbes profile by Dominique Fluker.

Bao | Domee Shi for Pixar
I've been increasingly exhausted and suspicious of identity politics since graduating, but I think the cultural divide stemming from Bao is real and worth addressing.  More eloquent thoughts from me forthcoming (perhaps), but for now, some other voices:
Hey, White People: Pixar's Short "Bao" Isn't About You - Eric Francisco for Inverse
Here's Why Pixar's Asian-Focused Short "Bao" Has White People Confused - Michelle Rennex for Buzzfeed
Pixar's 'Bao' Draws Mixed Reactions from White Peeps Who Don't Get Asian Culture | Kimberly Yam
I do wish we'd stop centering white people's confusion in the Bao discourse because it's so unproductive to laugh at them for laughing at us. I think it far more valuable and uplifting to celebrate how poignantly "Bao" addresses what we'd taken for granted: that our mothers keep us close in ways that hurt them and us, that justly or not we are born indebted to them, that freedom often feels so guilty. That we love in such complicated and layered ways. That Domee is a genius, and we are so glad to have her on our team.

How We Treat Immigrants is How We Treat God | Steven Mattson for Sojo
Many of Christianity’s tenets are inherently illogical and absurd —  a person being fully man and fully God; a person rising from the dead; miracles (like being swallowed alive by a fish); angels and supernatural beings; an afterlife … If Christians can accept these things as true, the basic themes of the gospel: love, joy, peace, kindness, forgiveness, and hope can hardly be questioned. Yet many Christians are failing to abide by these fundamental truths, refusing to follow God’s greatest command. For people claiming the faith of Christ, showing love and compassion to immigrants, no matter their status, is a requirement of following Jesus — there is no alternative.

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