april 2017 • month in review

How the frickity frack is it the end of April already?! Four months of 2017 are down, and I still feel like it’s 2012 and we’re talking about the potential apocalypse. (Of course, we could have gone through it already and just not know. You and I are in hell because Trump is president and climate change is a Thing.) Anyway, this month in review has my family’s trip to Paris, a Kid Cudi song from 2013 that I’ve just discovered, some new things I’ve acquired (including a wax seal, a Harry Potter card, and a nerdy tooth guard), and, of course, cat photos.

1. bonjour paris!

In early April, my family and I went to Paris!! For a week we wined (drank water) and dined (ate Monoprix brie cheese) our way through the dreamiest city, and it was all so, so lovely. You’ve probably seen that Days 1 through 3 are up, so we’ve still got four more days to go in terms of photo diaries! I won’t ramble more about all my feelings about Paris here, because they begin and end with the sentiment that I adore the darn city.

2. reading/listening list

‘Playing With Perceptions’ episode of the TED Radio Hour podcast: These past couple months I have really, really been getting into podcasts, and this one is one of my favorites. TED Talks can get a bad rep sometimes for how they’re bite-sized innovations and ideas that are only successful and talked about when they have mainstream appeal, but that success doesn’t even go anywhere after the hype is over about that particular talk. I still like them, but I like this Radio Hour podcast even more, because it’s perfect on long walks and really does give you a lot to think about, maybe (OK, definitely, I think) more so than the regular TED Talks, which kind of lead you on a whistle-stop tour of some concept before shooing you off the stage with a round of applause so the next guy can get on. So, anyway, this podcast features small soundbites from TED Talks, and then the podcast host, Guy Raz (which, by the way, is such a cool/interesting/funky name to have), talks to them about it. This episode was originally broadcast in 2014, and it talks about how stereotypes function in the world, why, how that affects us, and all that good stuff. Here are some quotes that really stuck with me (it’s pretty long, so I’ve bolded the parts that I think are really important, the words that I’ve written down and carry with me in my notebook, in my mind, in my heart):

  • “The concept, like, what is a stereotype anyway, you know? And I remember somebody asking me about, well, you know, you don’t want to portray, for example, a Latino person who’s a domestic worker or you know, an Italian-American who’s a cop – you can’t do that. Why can’t you do that? That itself isn’t the problem. I think for me, where it starts to get tricky is when I’m assigning, you know, some kind of moral judgment on, you know, oh – well, if you do this kind of work, you must be a person who’s limited or less-than. That is where it gets tricky. Or, I guess it’s just the oversimplification, like, stereotyping is about taking what’s true and oversimplifying it in a way that seeks to oppress or marginalize a group of people.” – Sarah Jones
  • “We need less pontificating and analysis and brow furrowing and kind of nervous handwringing, and more truly honest conversation. The times when I have most fun, […] Wherever I’ve gone, the conversation is so fruitful when we just sit there and get really rigorously honest in the moment and it’s not always pleasant the entire time. It can get a little messy but I think all this tidiness isn’t doing us any good, it just spills out anyway.” – Sarah Jones
  • What was interesting was when the white guy flew his plane into the building, I know all my Middle Eastern and Muslim friends in the states were watching TV going, please don’t be Middle Eastern, don’t be Hassan, don’t be Hussein. And the name came out Jack. I’m like, whoo! That’s not one of us. But I kept watching the news in case they came back. They were like, before he did, he converted to Islam. Dammit. Why, Jack, why?” – Maz Jobrani 
  • “Sometimes I talk about my practice, my art practice, as kind of a continuous struggle to try to be free, freedom in a lot of ways. Whether it’s to do stereotyping or what kind of jobs we’re in or what kind of clothes we wear or what we allow – is self-permission, you know, it’s what we allow ourselves to believe that we can do or to be or to act. […] It’s not just about freeing yourself from boxes other people put you in or that you put yourself in, but it’s also trying to free yourself from perceptions that you have about other people. You know, it has to be both of those way – not just about yourself, but how you see the outside world.” – Hetain Patel
  • “So contrary to what we might usually assume, imitating somebody can reveal something unique. Every time I fail to become more like my father, I become more like myself. Every time I fail to become Bruce Lee, I become more authentically me. This is my art. I strive for authenticity, even if it comes in a shape that we might not usually expect. ”  – Hetain Patel
  • “It occurred to me in that moment that, had I been speaking with my family, who’s Trinidadian, or with people in my community who speak black English vernacular, that this woman would have maybe not seen the same worth and value in terms of my intellectual capacity or just me. And so when someone calls me articulate, it’s not so much that they’ve never heard someone put together some words very well. It’s that coming from my body, coming from my skin, coming from me, it’s suddenly impressive.” – Jamila Lyiscott
  • “Yes, I have decided to treat all three of my languages as equal because I’m articulate. But who controls articulation? Because the English language is a multifaceted oration, subject to indefinite transformation […] Let there be no confusion. Let there be no hesitation. This is not a promotion of ignorance. This is a linguistic celebration.” – Jamila Lyiscott
  • “Dubois speaks about this double consciousness. You have this lens where you’re looking at yourself through the lens of other people the way that they’re looking at you. That’s deeply historical in the black community. […] What happens when people feel like they have to erase themselves in order to become a part of some mysterious whole is that we rob each other of the beauty of our differences. And that’s just tragic.” – Jamila Lyiscott
  • “I think that if you think of stereotypes as a flaw in our mind, some sort of pathology or cruelty, you actually won’t understand them very well. You won’t know how to combat them.” – Paul Bloom
  • “You’re right, language often reveals your expectations. To call somebody articulate is, in some way, reflecting the intuition that this is a surprising fact. Or, to say somebody’s clean or composed or, you know, non-aggressive, it would be an odd thing to say, unless you believed or had some reason to believe that they weren’t.” – Paul Bloom

Red Eye by Kid Cudi ft. HaimDude, I have no goddamn clue in the WORLD of how I haven’t hopped on the Haim bandwagon. I don’t know why I never looked them up before now, but I heard a clip of this song in a store or somewhere out in public, came home, and it, as well as their album Days Are Gone, has been on repeat ever since. 

In the interests of keeping this post below 2,000 words, that’s it for this week’s reading list turned listening list!

3. luna photo(s) of the month

4. new in: Paris pj’s, J.Crew kids peacoat, wax seal, Harry Potter postcard, dorky teeth guard

It’s the return of the section where I celebrate and try desperately to justify my money spending!!!! Hurrah!!!!!!! This month’s collection of stuff acquired by moi is split neatly down the middle, with two from Paris and two from London.

My pyjamas are from Monoprix, which, I guess is like the French version of Target? But nicer, of course, because they sell shit like La Roche Posay in the beauty section there. You can’t see in the full body shot, but they’ve got little Arc de Triomphes and Eiffel Towers all over it!! I had to get them. I had to!!!!!

The navy peacoat is from the kids section of J.Crew, and was originally £135 or something obscene like that, but I found it in the sale section for £65, and then I had a 20% off coupon on top of that! I’m pumped AF on this one, because my $5 peacoat from GapKids (yes, I’m just gonna go my whole life only owning navy peacoats from the kids section of various stores) has been going strong for like five years now and the color’s faded a bit, so every time I pull it out my mom nags me into oblivion about it. I still kind of prefer the slouchier shape of that one compared to the more rigid style of this one, but I do love them both a lot a lot a lot. Always good to have more jackets and coats, in my book!

I went to the House of MinaLima in London, which is an exhibition and shop featuring all the graphic art/graphic props from the Harry Potter movies (we’re talking random posters and labels for salt, as well as the Azkaban ‘Wanted’ posters, so everything), as designed by Mira Mina and Eduardo Lima. I got this card with Harry’s Hogwarts letter! Something I don’t think I’ve mentioned on this here blog o’ mine is that I am completely, utterly, in every way, devoted to Harry Potter. I can’t even describe it or explain why, but I can illustrate it by telling you that from the ages of 13 to 18 I just had to think of Sirius Black for a couple minutes and I would start crying. @me why do you care about fictional characters so much???

The wax seal is from HEMA, which I think is a Dutch store, but I saw the window display in Paris and dragged my family in. Then I proceeded to salivate over the office supply section. Wax seals follow that part of my personality that is summed up by this description: “six-year-old who has recently entered an ‘old-timey letter-writing’ phase”. But, like, the wax seal was €4! How was I supposed to pass that up?! What kind of a store even sells wax seals on the high street anymore?? Really, it was a good decision, because otherwise I might have gotten a wax seal from a specialist store, and how much would THAT have been??

Also new in this month, but not pictured because it’s got my saliva all over it and is therefore pretty gross: a toothguard for the nighttime, because I grind my teeth in my sleep and my dentist is worried about it, so I am worried too. According to my boyfriend and my brother, my grinding is so loud I wake them up sometimes. Oops.

5. a thought on that song ‘bad and boujee’

The word “candle” in French is “bougie”, so when French people first heard this song, did they think they was saying his girl is bad and candle?



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