My Heart Hurts. Here’s What I’m Doing to Fight Against #MuslimBan

mosque(via Reuters)

Five people died in a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City tonight. (Update: CBC now reports 6 dead, 18 wounded.) I feel utterly despondent about the state of things right now. I know I’m not alone in feeling like what has unfolded in recent days is nothing short of evil, and it’s hard not to feel crushed by the weight of it all.

I’ve been Googling “What can Canadians do about #Muslimban?” all weekend, trying to figure out what I can do to make a difference. What follows below is a brief and hastily assembled list of action items, based on information I’ve gathered from Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook over the last few days. It is by no means complete, and I would love to hear from anyone who has suggestions for things that could be added to this list.

1. Understand the ramifications of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA). Under the STCA, refugee claimants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in. This means that refugees currently seeking asylum in the US can’t apply to come into Canada instead. Justin Trudeau tweeted earlier this week that Canada will welcome refugees, but we can’t actually do so under the current law.

2. Make some noise. For starters, you can sign the YouLeadNow petition calling on Trudeau to welcome those fleeing violence and deportation under Trump. Next, you can get in touch with your Member of Parliament to tell them you want Canada to stop honouring the STCA immediately. (If you’re not sure who your MP is, use this link to look them up using your postal code.) What should you tell them? Here’s a phone script I got from Tumblr user twolakes, which you could also adapt to send via email:

“Hi, my name is YOUR NAME and I’m a constituent of MP NAME. My postal code is THIS. I’m calling to see if and when MP’S NAME is advocating in Parliament for a repeal of the “Safe Third Country” agreement. Under this agreement, refugee claims are denied to persons who entered the USA prior to coming to Canada. Given that in the more than a decade since the law has been passed no other country has been given Safe Third Country status, this bill functions as an agreement on refugee claims between the USA and Canada, and the President’s recent order clearly goes counter to Canada’s long standing policies on asylum by discriminating against certain groups. The US Government’s prohibition of persons holding passports from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Libya, from entering or transiting through the United States means that the USA is no longer a safe country for these persons and as such they should be allowed entry to Canada. I am calling to request that the Safe Third Country Agreement be repealed, or alternately, that the United States no longer be considered a safe country for refugee claimants from these countries, or that alternate measure be taken to provide asylum in Canada to persons whose freedom of mobility has been affected by this act. Once again, my name is YOUR NAME, my phone number is PHONE NUMBER, and I can be reached any time; I would appreciate being informed of status on this urgent matter and will be calling back next A TIME DURING THEIR OFFICE HOURS to follow up if you are unable to return my call by then. Thank you for your attention to this matter and have a good day.”

3. If you can, donate to organizations committed to fighting this executive order (among other things). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was granted a stay that temporarily blocked the policy from taking effect over the weekend, but their fight is far from over. You can also donate to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Here in Canada, No One Is Illegal is fighting against the STCA and could use your support.

4. Use the rest of your dollars to make a statement. You may have noticed that #DeleteUber is trending on Twitter. While I urge you to come to your own conclusions as this story is developing quickly, I’ll also take this opportunity to remind you that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick recently joined the Trump administration’s economic advisory board. Support businesses that reflect your values.

5. Last but not least, PLEASE stop hiding behind #MeanwhileInCanada memes. Islamophobia is thriving in Canada precisely because we’re turning a blind eye to it. Keep educating yourself, calling it out, and fighting stereotypes. We’re better than this.

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Things I Read This Week: January 27, 2017

chilaquiles-fritatta-2-640x640(via Joy the Baker)

How was your week? I had a great time blogging for #BellLetsTalk day on Wednesday, but I also feel so tired from the general tone of the news this week. It would help if my gym could avoid playing the Republican retreat speech in full while I’m trying to exercise. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Jezebel – Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks
With everything that’s happening in the U.S. right now, my mind keeps turning back to this article, as well as this interview with Dr. Susan Robinson. And if you haven’t seen After Tiller, it’s worth your time. It’s available on PBS if you’re in the U.S., or on YouTube if you’re not.

New York Magazine – Watch: A Massive $2.2 Billion Dome Now Covers the Chernobyl Reactor
Fascinating.

Vulture – Archie’s Long, Dark Journey to Riverdale
Can’t wait to watch last night’s premiere!

Gizmodo – An Oral History of Homestar Runner, the Internet’s Favorite Cartoon
My sister sent me this article earlier this week and I am having early 2000s nostalgia pangs like nobody’s business, which I feel probably says a lot about me.

Joy The Baker – Chilaquiles Frittata Bake
Say whaaat? P.S. if you’re coming to my house to watch the Super Bowl next weekend, I plan to make this frittata (pictured above), so bring your appetite.

Five Things You Can Do About Mental Health Stigma

I love #BellLetsTalk Day so much, I want to shout it from the rooftops. But it’s only the beginning — the conversation about mental health doesn’t end here. You can help fight stigma every day by using these strategies:

5thingsstigma

Learn to separate fact from fiction.

Mental illness is misunderstood. By learning more about mental illness, you can become a better ally and advocate for people who may not be able to advocate for themselves.

Unlearning some of our assumptions about mental illness can be very difficult. We’re constantly being bombarded with negative messaging around mental illness — think about how many times you’ve heard that depressed people are lazy, or that people with anxiety should just get over it, or that schizophrenic patients are dangerous to society. Think about how easily the media points a finger at mental illness every time there is a mass shooting. (For the last time, mental illness is not the cause of gun violence.) We are constantly being exposed to misinformation about mental illness, which exacerbates the stigma around these issues.

By learning more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for different mental health conditions, you can help dismantle false assumptions about mental illness, which will help reduce the stigma around these conditions. A good place to start? This Canadian Mental Health Association list of common myths about mental illness.

And stop using the word “crazy.”

Words matter. According to this Mic.com article, “Using ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ in everyday speech — be it as a throwaway adjective or an insult — can be hurtful to people who live with mental illness.” As Lydia X. Z. Brown puts it, “Using that kind of language sends the message that it’s OK to trivialize mental illness.”

“Crazy” is a filler word, and your brain uses it as a shortcut when it can’t think of a more precise way of describing something. It’s easy to just stop saying it. When speaking or writing, focus on accuracy:

What’s happening in the U.S. is really crazy unbelievable.
My cat starts meowing at 6 a.m. and it’s really driving me crazy ruining my mornings.
I can’t believe this news story about Amanda Bynes, she’s totally crazy dealing with mental health issues and deserves some respect and privacy as she works to get better.

Expand your vocabulary and drop the word “crazy.” I promise you won’t miss it.

Be there for the people around you.

Isolation and loneliness are common by-products of mental health conditions, and they become a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more alone you feel, the less help and support you seek out, which in turn aggravates your condition, which makes you feel even more alone, and so on.

How can we break this cycle? Check in with your friends to show your support. This can mean being a good active listener if your friend wants to vent, or just letting them know you’re there for them if they don’t want to talk. Bell Let’s Talk has a few good phrases you can use to open up a conversation:

  • I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.
  • I’ve noticed you’ve seemed down lately.
  • Is everything ok?
  • How can I help?

Conversely, here are a few things you should avoid saying to someone who’s dealing with a mental health condition:

  • Relax!
  • Chill out!
  • You’ll get over it.
  • It’s not a big deal.
  • Just think positive.

Little things can make a big difference to someone who’s struggling. Sometimes all you need is for someone to ask how you’re doing.

Use your knowledge to help eradicate the stigma around mental illness.

There’s a lot of shame associated with depression and anxiety. I spent years hiding the way I felt from everyone I knew, including my family and close friends, because I didn’t know much about mental illness and didn’t want to appear dysfunctional in any way. As you can probably guess, that did a lot more harm than good in the long run and I’m still dealing with the after-effects years later.

Stigma silences people and exacerbates their suffering. When you understand the causes and symptoms of mental illness, it becomes easier to talk about it openly, and the more we talk about it openly, the less stigma exists around these issues. So challenge stereotypes, stand up for people, and really listen if someone tells you they’re struggling.

And if you’re worried about your own or a loved one’s well-being, seek help.

According to the CMHA, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age. It accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds in Canada.

Those stats break my heart. Death by suicide is preventable, but we need to look out for one another. If you or someone you know is in crisis and requires immediate assistance, call 911 or head to the ER. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention is launching an integrated Canada-wide distress and crisis line service later this year, but until then, learn to recognize the signs and find a place to get help.

Mental illness isn’t a choice. By showing your support for someone who’s living with a mental health condition, you are contributing to their recovery.

i_love__bellletstalk_day_so_much__i_wanna_shout_it_from_the_rooftops___sharing_tons_about_mental_health_on_the_blog_today-_check_it_out_via_the_link_in_my_profile_

That’s it for me today. Thanks for following along with my #BellLetsTalk Day posts!

Mental Health Stigma Kept Me Quiet For 10 Years

2017-01-25 12.14.11.jpgBefore things got complicated.

I’ve been living with depression since I was 15 years old. Of course, back then I didn’t know that word applied to me. I had terrible insomnia, and it took me ages to fall asleep every night. This usually meant that I slept through my alarm every morning and had to rush to get ready for school, often forgetting something — my term paper, my gym bag, my breakfast. On weekends, I stayed up all night playing computer games and routinely slept until two or three o’clock in the afternoon. My parents were constantly on my case about my sleeping habits, but I didn’t know how to change, or even how to explain what was happening to me.

I turned down my mom’s offers to see a psychiatrist: every time I took stock of my problems, they seemed too trivial to relate to a professional, and besides, I already felt weird enough as it was and didn’t want to risk being labelled even further. It was the early 00’s, and “real” depressed people were dyeing their hair jet-black and writing songs about self-harm. Everyone, myself included, chalked up my behaviour to run-of-the-mill teen angst. So, instead of getting help, I spent my last two years of high school in a fog, and unsurprisingly, it took a toll on my schoolwork: I had terrible grades and barely graduated.

c516992-r5-13-14Here I am on my last day of high school. I did graduate, but I wish it hadn’t been so difficult.

Every failed exam and terrible high school report card was cause for crushing anxiety. I felt like a complete letdown, which led me to isolate myself from my family and friends even further. The idea of dying was an attractive one. I had no idea what to do after high school; all my friends planned to become doctors or lawyers, but I assumed that my bad grades meant I wasn’t smart enough to go to university, so I didn’t even bother to consider those options. I applied to CEGEP (Quebec’s pre-university college system) and got into a film & media program, where I floundered for three years before moving across the country to go to film school. By then, I knew what depression was, and I knew I had it, but it would be several more years before I figured out how to even begin to cope with and manage the symptoms on a daily basis.

I feel like I wasted so much of my late teens and early 20s living with this mystery disease without being able to give it a name. The stigma was so strong that I felt like I couldn’t even say the word “depression,” let alone associate myself with it or, even worse, seek professional help to deal with the disease. When I look back at that time in my life, I see a lot of missed opportunities, and I wish things had been different. I did eventually muster up the courage to enroll in a university program, and I graduated from Concordia in 2013 with a 4.0 GPA and renewed confidence in my abilities. It didn’t magically solve my mental health issues, but it did help me realize that limiting myself wasn’t doing me any favours.

50249378_00201_0166_mediumProbably my proudest day EVER.

I know what it’s like to suffer in silence, which is why I want to help create space for people to share their stories and end the stigma around mental health. I hope #BellLetsTalk is only the beginning of a year-long conversation.

Why Bell Let’s Talk Day Is So Important to Me

we_did_it____infinite_thanks_to_my_squad_for_helping_me_stay_up_all_night-_i_love_you_guys-__sunriseselfie__onebravenight__camhfoundation

This is probably my favourite selfie of 2016. According to my phone, I took this at 6:04am on Saturday, May 14th. I was standing in the middle of Maple Leaf Square, in the rain, and I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. So why do I love this picture so much?

2016 was my first time participating in CAMH’s fundraising initiative, One Brave Night for Mental Health. The premise is simple: participants reach out to their community to raise funds for mental health research, stay up all night on the designated day, and post #OneBraveSelfie at sunrise to commemorate the effort.

I hesitated for a long time before signing up. I had never done any fundraising before, and for my efforts to be successful, I would have to disclose my struggle with depression and anxiety prominently on social media. I was comfortable with sharing this with my friends in-person, but the idea of shouting it from the Facebook rooftops was terrifying.

As I debated whether or not to participate, I kept thinking about my previous experience with social media and mental health: Bell Let’s Talk Day, a yearly event during which Bell donates 5¢ towards mental health initiatives in Canada by counting texts, calls, tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook video views and Snapchat geofilter usage (new this year!).

To be clear, I’m not connected to Bell in any way. I don’t use Bell as my cell phone service provider. But I do use social media a LOT, and the idea of contributing to mental health research appeals to me, so every year on Bell Let’s Talk Day I take the opportunity to tweet as much as possible, mostly about mental health statistics and ways to decrease stigma. It’s a great way to broach the conversation about mental health and participate in an effort that seems to be making a difference.

It was a good start, but it was time to get personal, so I signed up for One Brave Night 2016 and posted about it on Facebook before I had the chance to change my mind. To my surprise, the support I got was overwhelming — I got so much love from friends near and far, and I raised over $800 for CAMH research initiatives. Staying up all night was tough, but I was joined by a dear friend and we spent the whole night eating brownies and Skyping with our friend in Vancouver. I know the funds I raised will make a difference, and I’m really proud of that accomplishment.

Best of all, it helped me realize that sharing my personal stories on social media wasn’t as scary as it seemed. I stopped worrying about whether to post articles and thoughts about mental health issues and just posted them without worrying about what others might think of me. This in turn led to great conversations with friends, acquaintances, and even my parents about the difficulties I face due to mental illness.

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day, and I plan to use it to the fullest in order to raise as much money as I can and continue the conversation about mental health. It’s so easy to get involved! Here’s how:

Twitter: Each time you tweet on January 25 using #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. Make sure to follow me @SarahIsrael to see what I’m tweeting about!

Instagram: Each time you post on January 25 using #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives. Add me on Instagram (@SarahI) to follow along.

Snapchat: Each time you send a snap using the Bell Let’s Talk geofilter on January 25, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives.

Facebook: Head to the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook page and watch their video on January 25, and Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.

If you’re a Bell customer, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every call you make and every text message you send (iMessage unfortunately doesn’t count).

I’ll also be blogging about mental health throughout the day, so stay tuned for more as the day goes on. And if you’ve read this far, here are a few more pictures from our #OneBraveNight:

 

Things I Read This Week: January 20, 2017

salted-chocolate-chunk-cookies1(via Smitten Kitchen)

How are you doing? I can’t pretend that this is a great day — the U.S. presidential inauguration has been on in the background (on mute) all afternoon, and … it’s real, guys. This is happening. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Smitten Kitchen – Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
First things first: making a much-needed batch of these cookies to I have something to snack on while reading the news today and through the weekend.

New York Magazine – The Complicated, Controversial, Historic, Inspiring Women’s March
Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American Muslim activist who is one of the March’s four national co-chairs, makes a great statement in this interview: “As women of color who came into this effort, we came in not only to mobilize and organize but also to educate, to argue that we can’t talk about women’s rights, about reproductive rights, about equal pay, without also talking about race and class.” This is so important to remember. As a white girl who grew in the suburbs with limited exposure to other races, classes, and creeds, I have been working hard to broaden my understanding of feminism and make sure that the feminism I practice is inclusive. It’s hard work, and sometimes I make mistakes, but I’m learning every day. I hope the turnout tomorrow in Washington and elsewhere is MASSIVE. Let’s make some noise.

If you’re heading to Queen’s Park for the Toronto march tomorrow, don’t forget that there will be no subway service between Downsview and St George stations. Shuttle buses will not be running either, so plan accordingly.

Vulture – Billy Eichner Is Trying to Talk to You
Such an honest and interesting interview. “For me, [coming out] was a no-brainer. My personal life is too important to me and it informs too much of my work for me to have ever considered making any other decision.”

Fast Company – How Employee Burnout Became An Epidemic And What It Might Take To Fix It
On the heels of Chatelaine’s survey results announcement last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the causes and consequences of burnout. According to Chatelaine’s findings, 16% of Canadian women ages 35-45 fantasize about quitting their jobs every day. It’s hard to pinpoint a culprit — is it office culture? Workload? Compensation? Bad bosses or toxic coworkers? The women in my own life seem to agree that it’s

Glamour – These Never-Before-Seen Pics of President Obama Playing in the Snow Will Melt Your Heart
I really hope Pete Souza is working on a book.

Fancy Weeknight Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

whatsfordinner_tomatotart

A few years ago, I had some people from work over to my house for dinner. I was worried about what to serve — I wanted something that seemed fancy, tasted good, and could be assembled easily in just a few minutes, preferably while drinking a glass of wine or two. After a series of increasingly complex Google searches (“what can I serve to my colleagues so they’ll think that I’m a good cook and won’t secretly judge me?”), I settled on tomato and goat cheese tarts. They vanished as soon as I put them on the table, and I’ve had this recipe in my back pocket ever since.

This is an Ina Garten recipe, and while I would never pretend to improve upon the Barefoot Contessa’s work, I did make a few changes to suit my own tastes. First, I cut the individual tarts into rectangles, rather than circles — it seemed easier to manage, and I didn’t have to waste any pastry dough this way. It was wintertime, so I used tiny, flavourful grape tomatoes rather than a large watery one. And finally, I followed my sister’s recipe for beer and honey onion jam instead of cooking them in wine. Okay, fine, I made tons of changes to Ina’s recipe, but sometimes you have to make a recipe work for you, rather than go out of your way to follow it perfectly.

There are two parts to this recipe: the onion jam and the tarts themselves. There are a few steps, but I promise this is easy and totally doable with minimal grocery shopping. The onion jam can also be prepared a few days in advance to speed up the process on the night of your party. Continue reading “Fancy Weeknight Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts”

Things I Read This Week: January 13, 2017

kitchenrefresh(via Apartment Therapy)

How was your week? I’m volunteering for the 2017 WedLuxe Show this weekend, and I’m so excited for this brief return to event life. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

NPR – In A Surprise Send-Off, Obama Awards Biden Presidential Medal Of Freedom
This is wonderful.

The New Yorker – The Rise of Emo Nostalgia
“[Emo nights] are oddly specific celebrations of near-term nostalgia in which music made to help teen-agers flail their way to adulthood provides an opportunity for adults to succumb to the histrionics of teendom again.” I … need to go to one of these events. Hell, I need to run one. (Update: Homesick Emo Night at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto, here I come.)

Torentino’s article also refers to Jessica Hopper’s consideration of gender in the emo scene, originally published in Punk Planet in 2003 and republished in Rookie Mag in 2015. It’s worth reading (or rereading): Where The Girls Aren’t.

Canadian Business – Half of Canadian women regularly fantasize about quitting their jobs
Not a great stat. And even worse: 16% of Canadian women age 35-45 fantasize about leaving their jobs every day. I’ve been there, and it’s awful. What can we do about this?

The Walrus – Running the Road to Nowhere
The “End of Road to Nowhere” Google Maps search often ends up in Screenshots of Despair round-ups of the saddest-sounding locations (other Canadian highlights include Devastation Island in B.C., Pain Lake in Ontario, and Destruction Bay in the Yukon — yikes). I never really stopped to consider the possibility that the Road to Knowhere is a real place that plays a role in people’s daily lives. On a search for more about life in Nunavut, I came across this blog, and I’ve been reading the back entries obsessively all morning.

Apartment Therapy – A Realistic Kitchen Refresh: The Inside/Out Cleaning Plan
I plan to tackle this assignment on Monday, since I’ll be too busy to do this over the weekend. Organizing our kitchen has been a four year-long struggle for me, and I get the feeling that we’ll probably end up moving just as soon as I finally figure it out. Anyone else following the AT January Cure?

Netflix Binge of the Week: One Day at a Time

odaat(via Netflix)

My Netflix account and I have an understanding. Every time Netflix releases a new show I might like, they tell me to watch it. The notifications will gently prompt me to check it out: “Sarah, this show is now available.” Yeah, yeah. An email will follow shortly thereafter to reinforce the message: “Sarah, we just added a TV show you might like.” Okay, I know. Meanwhile, I will inevitably delete the message, promptly forget the show ever existed, only to “discover” it a few weeks or months later and wonder why the hell nobody told me to watch it in the first place.

Not so when Netflix released One Day at a Time last Friday. The timing was perfect — Toronto’s been under an extreme cold weather alert for four days, so I was housebound and in need of a new series after finishing The Crown. The notification popped up on my Netflix home screen and I clicked it absentmindedly, thinking I could watch it while making dinner.

Reader, I spent the whole weekend watching season 1 TWICE. What follows is a chronicle of my obsession. The short of it: watch this show. The long of it (warning — spoilers ahead):

One Day at a Time follows a Cuban-American family’s adventures in what you may consider to be a stereotypical sitcom format: 30-minute episodes, multi-camera setup, a studio audience that laughs every now and again. You’d be wrong to dismiss it as just another vanilla comedy, though: Penelope Alvarez, played by the truly excellent Justina Machado, is an army veteran who served in Afghanistan and is readjusting to civilian life, office politics, and dating after separating from her husband. Her two teenage children, Elena and Alex, deal with a number of real-life issues with surprising frankness: peer pressure, immigration, deportation, sexuality. Penelope’s mother, Lydia, played by Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony award-winner Rita Moreno — a true legend of stage and screen, absolutely unbelievable at 85 years old — is the keeper of the family’s Cuban heritage, and gets a complex story line that includes grappling with the effects of age, struggling with her family’s waning interest in religion, and dating as a senior.

Have I convinced you yet? This is a wholesome show that goes to the heart of difficult issues without ever feeling contrived or tacky. There’s no “today, on a very special episode of …” here, but there are tough moments. Penelope’s ex-husband, Victor, looms large throughout the first few episodes of the season: we learn that he is also an army vet who is affected by post-traumatic stress, and that he and Penelope broke up because he was abusing alcohol and painkillers and threatening to hurt himself. When he finally appears, just in time for Elena’s quinceañera, he seems to be doing better; even so, the writers steer clear of any “look, my mental illness is magically cured!” shortcuts and keep the characters firmly grounded in reality (despite Lydia’s best efforts to reunite the pair).

ODAAT_103_Unit_00566_R.jpeg(via Netflix)

The supporting cast includes Stephen Tobolowsky as Penelope’s hapless boss, Dr. Berkowitz, and Todd Grinnell as Schneider, their 40 year-old trust fund-kid landlord, who gets told off every chance they get (mansplaining, wearing a Che Guevara tshirt). Refreshingly, the men are true secondary characters, allowing Penelope to shine in every scene: Penelope takes Schneider car shopping, but he fails her completely, giving her the opportunity to face her fears about doing “husband stuff” like negotiating a good price; when Penelope finds out that a male coworker earns more than she does, she takes Dr. Berkowitz to task, and they have a frank conversation about pay equity that results in a raise.

It’s nice to see a show about a strong woman who doesn’t have her life totally figured out. Penelope is a self-described “badass Army chick,” but she’s also struggling to keep it together, and that honesty is what hooked me in from the very first episode.

I hope I’ve convinced you. Did you binge-watch One Day at a Time this weekend? Are you, like me, frantically googling whether it will get a second season (hopefully to be released next weekend)? Here are a few articles to tide you over:

Vulture – One Day at a Time’s Justina Machado on Getting Her First Leading TV Role, Fidel Castro, and Her Low-Budget Quinceañera

Salon – This is it: “One Day at a Time” is the unifying family sitcom we didn’t know we needed

This last one’s a spoiler, so don’t click unless you’ve watched the show!

E! News – One Day at a Time’s Elena Storyline Is a Breath of Fresh Air

Things I Read This Week: January 6, 2017

magiccookiebars(via Food52)

Happy New Year! It’s good to be back. My house guests are gone, the holiday decorations are put away, and it feels like I need a week-long nap to recover from the festivities. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Food52 – Magic Cookie Bars
I can’t resist ordering this dessert when I see it on a menu. Also known as Hello Dolly bars, these cookie bars are easily customized and great for parties … you know, if you’re not tired of those yet.

The Atlantic – TV Shows to Look Forward to in 2017 (So Far)
I’m really looking forward to Riverdale (with Luke Perry!), The Good Fight (a spin-off of The Good Wife that follows Christine Baranski’s character, Diane Lockhart — honestly, what the show should have been about in the first place), and Crashing. Now let us pray that Please Like Me gets renewed for a fifth season soon, because I need more!

Apartment Therapy – How Not To Let Gloomy Days Bring You Down
Some good advice for a tough, grey, cold time of year.

Fast Company – 10 Ways to Be a Better Employee in 2017
I don’t necessarily believe in setting New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in trying to be a better friend/partner/employee/human being from one year to the next. This list has some good insights on how to tackle the work front. And if you have some resolutions you’re hoping to keep, read this, too: 5 Ideas You Need to Hear (And Hear Again) to Stick to Your 2017 Resolutions.

Coachella 2017 Lineup: Radiohead, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar Headline
Can we talk about how Beyoncé is only the third woman ever to headline Coachella, and the first black woman ever to do so? Yikes. Obviously, Coachella isn’t the only festival with a gender parity issue, but seeing as Coachella’s line-up has a huge influence on who we hear on the radio and see in concert for the rest of the year, it’s a big deal. I can think of a number of other female artists who would make a great choice if Beyoncé isn’t free to headline every year — I think Drake can probably get you Rihanna’s number. (Also … road trip?)