Five Things Friday (#44)

I guess it’s kind of rude for me to just pop back up with a FTF like I haven’t been ghosting y’all for over a month but can you just trust me when I say it wasn’t a very GOOD month and the last thing I want to do when I’m having a bad time is listen to my own dumb thoughts? I’m working on it. I want to be better at working through it, but it’s a process. I promise I’m working on getting my stuff together for 2019. I have big plans and big wants and one of them is to exert more consistent creativity. A little less coffee, a little more composition. Or maybe more of both. I guess we’ll see!

Regardless, I do have five things for you on this lovely December Friday! Ready?

1. This picture of Helen McCrory on set for Peaky Blinders Season 5

Let me make one thing clear: I would die for her.

2. Sam Osborne on Etsy

I love Sam’s use of bright colors, and how cute are those printable ornaments? 

3. LP’s new album! 

LP’s new album, Heart to Mouth, may be my favorite yet (excluding her live Spotify sessions, which will always be closest to my heart), and this song is my favorite on it. It showcases her signature epic instrumentals and one-of-a-kind voice and gets me dancing every time.  

4. The Fug Girls 2018 Gift Guide

Heather and Jessica’s gift guide is one of the best every year and has something nice for every person you know with all budgets considered. 

5. This Twitter Thread

This thread of people talking about their loved ones will warm your heart on a cold winter’s day. It’s a good reminder that people notice and love the small things about you that are so integral to your being that you probably don’t think anything of them. There’s a lot of love in the world, and we should celebrate it. 

Hope everyone’s weekends are full of holiday joy and merriment! See you next week! 

Bookish Finds for Book Fiends

With the holidays swiftly approaching, you might be thinking to yourself: what should I buy the bookworm in my life? How do I make my beloved introvert leap for joy? As a noted bookworm and introvert, I’m here to give you some ideas. Most of these are small businesses, and the list should cover a wide range of budgets.

1. Book Boxes by Coffee and a Classic

I’m totally obsessed with the idea of these book boxes, and have more than half a mind to try making something similar myself. However, for $45 + shipping, you can let Etsy creator Coffee and a Classic create a gorgeous themed gift based around your friend’s favorite book. They’re lightly customizable (choices between snacks, drinks, etc.) and extremely charming and thoughtful.

You can also gift these boxes as subscriptions at their website, Coffee and a Classic, for a gift that keeps giving all year.

2. Book Themed Art

I personally have a really hard time budgeting for home decor. It’s one of those things that I feel silly spending money on, and so I always appreciate gifts that can pretty up my home a bit, especially when those gifts are unique pieces of art.

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Wind in the Willows Famous Quote Print by LucyLovesThis
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A Little Princess poster by Litographs (the picture is made of the full text of the book!!!)
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West Egg pennant by Out of Print
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Perfect House sign by ThePeddlersShed

3. A Bookish Blanket!

There is nothing a bookworm loves more than getting cozy with a blanket and a book. Why not add an extra bit of personality to their blanket?

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Gone with the Wind quilt by SweetSequels
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One Lifetime swaddler blanket by SweetSequels
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A Court of Thorns and Roses blanket by Litographs

3. A Book Bag

How else are they going to carry their library loot home?

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A Reader Lives a Thousand Lives by thecleverclove
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Anne of Green Gables Book Tote by Storiarts
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Curious George Tote by Out of Print

4. Candles!

A large percentage of self-professed Readers™ are highly devoted the *The Aesthetic* of reading (myself included), and there is nothing more dramatic than reading a book by a rainy window under a blanket while burning a candle.

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My Weekend is all Booked by TheShabbyWick 
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Christmas at the Burrow candle by Frostbeard Studio
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The Bell Jar inspired candle by NorthAveCandles

5. A pretty version of their favorite book

Remember what I said about readers being committed to the *Aesthetic*? There’s no better way to level up their instagram posts than with a unique printing of a beloved book.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from Rifle Paper Co.
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The Hound of the Baskervilles from Out of Print
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Middlemarch from Folio Society

6. Book Pins

Enamel pins are having a moment, and I’m 100% here for it — in fact, I’ve started collecting them because they’re small, easy to display, and cost less than mugs (my pre-fire collection). There are SO MANY cute book pins out there! Go crazy!

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No Mourners No Funerals pin from thatslovelydear
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To Kill a Mockingbird pins from TheSilverSpider
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Harry Potter pin by TheCleverClove
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Wuthering Heights pin by LiteraryEmporium

7. Book fashion

For the rare occasion when your book-loving friend leaves the house.

Book clutches by BAGatelleStudio
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The Secret Garden writing gloves by Storiarts
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Lord of the Rings infinity scarf by AsliDesign
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Nancy Drew t-shirt from Out of Print

8. Mugs! Mugs! Mugs!

Readers love coffee and tea and hot toddys and cocoa! Give them things to drink them out of!

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Little Women camp mug by DaffodilsAndInk

Heat-reactive Banned Books Mug from Out of Print
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Just one More Chapter by Lealohamora 

9. Tea to go in their mugs

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Matcha Do About Nothing from Novel Tea Tins (reader, I cackled at that pun)\
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The Great Gatsby Lemon & Lavender Green Tea from First Edition Tea Co.
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William Shakespeare Tea by Literary Tea Co.

And there you have it! Tons of gift ideas for your favorite book lover. This post was extremely fun to make and I’m thinking about making more gift guides through the holiday season so… let me know what you think!

See you next time, shoppers!

Five Things Friday (#43)

It’s November! It’s Friday! Time is progressing and we’re going to be OK.

Starbucks dropped their holiday cups today and my cousins and I have all officially lost our minds. I’m just so ready for Christmas!!! I love it! It’s been a crazy year and I feel like I deserve a little extra sparkle and joy in my life. And so do you! So here are five things that brought me some joy this week:

1. Wild Slice Designs on Etsy

How beautiful are these nature-inspired drawings? You know I’ll buy anything with a bison on it, and those state stickers are deeply tempting. Etsy’s going to ruin my life.

2. This Spotify Playlist

I’ve been listening to this all week and realizing how formative all of this music was to me as a musician and a person. And it’s just good for driving or working or whatever.

3. All You Need Is a Wall on Tumblr

Look at these incredible gif illustrations!!! Look at them!!! So spooky and autumnal. I want all of these to be book covers, or a children’s book. I want the future to have animated book covers — can we make that happen?

4. Danica Studio

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Super hygge home goods with 2-day shipping? Yes please!

5. John Mulaney and Annamarie Tendler’s Halloween costumes.

View this post on Instagram

Happy Halloween! Special thanks to Baz Luhrmann!!!

A post shared by John Mulaney (@johnmulaney) on

Reader, I cried.

Hope you all had wonderful Halloweens and that your Novembers are off to a great start! See you next week!

Podcast of the Week: Ask a Manager

In a complete 180 from last week’s PotW, I present to you the Ask A Manager podcast, hosted by Alison Green.

Alison’s blog, also titled Ask a Manager, is an entertaining and informative wormhole that I don’t recommend visiting unless you have the next few hours open for endless clicking and scrolling. First of all, I admit: it’s fun reading about other people’s work drama. You won’t believe some of the nonsense these letter-writers and their coworkers get up to. The beauty of the Ask a Manager blog though, is that Alison Green actually has fantastic advice for navigating the sometimes murky waters of work life.

I can no longer reasonably call myself a “recent” college graduate, but I am pretty new to the corporate world. I’ve had plenty of jobs, but they’ve almost all been for small or family-owned businesses, and they’ve had limited potential for growth. Now that I’m in a more corporate position where I am interested in working my way up the ladder, questions are popping up left and right. There are so many unwritten rules inherent in office life, and when you combine that with a persistent case of impostor syndrome, it can all feel pretty overwhelming at times. Luckily for me, Alison Green is here to help.

Ask a Manager is a fantastic resource for all things work-related, including interview tips, dealing with bosses, dealing with coworkers, discussing your salary, and achieving your career goals. Alison gives reasonable and solid advice, drawing on her years of experience as a consultant and chief of staff. This is clear in her responses on the blog, but the best part of the podcast is getting to hear her interact with people and really lead by example. If you pay attention, you can hear Alison employing the techniques she often recommends to others, and to great effect. I love her calm, even manner and tendency to say things like: “Does that seem like something you could see yourself doing?” and “What I’m hearing you say is ___________. Is that correct?” You can learn so much just from listening to Alison talk to people, even if she wasn’t giving out amazing advice the whole time. Additionally, as she mentions in the show, it’s much more effective to hear her demonstrate tone than it is to read about it, and listening to this podcast really drives home just how important tone is in the workplace.

A couple of other things I appreciate about Alison:

  1. She never shies from the hard truths. If a letter-writer is being unreasonable or deluding themselves in some way, she’s not afraid to call them out accordingly. However, she always does so with grace and patience, and always manages to make a productive conversation out of it.
  2. She actively fights against stereotyping millennials. There are a lot of ugly assumptions about millennials in the workforce out there, and she doesn’t abide by them or encourage them.

I really can’t recommend this podcast enough, especially to my peers just getting started in their careers.

Listen if you Like: Advice columns, self-improvement, getting promoted.

Recommended Episodes: 

Spoooooky Reads

Claire and Marshall of Halloweens Past

Happy Halloween, friends! In honor of the spookiest holiday, I thought I’d give you a list of some of my favorite chill-inducing books, at varying levels of scariness.

  1. The Exorcist by William Blatty

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    If you’re looking for a truly horrific read, this is a great place to start. The beginning of this novel is so deeply unsettling and anxiety-inducing that I couldn’t read it at night. For me at least, once I got further into the novel and the horror became more explicit it was easier to read than in the beginning when vaguely creepy events were taking place. However, that didn’t diminish the horror.

    In addition to being a creepy read, this book raises really interesting questions about religion and demon possession that I found fascinating, and I ended up finding it more thought-provoking than scary.

  2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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    Let’s be honest–a novel marketed to children has no business whatsoever being as scary as Coraline is, but the fact that it is is what truly makes it great. It’s creepiness has no age, and it has relatable messages for everyone about family, fantasy, and real life.

  3. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

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    If you’re more of a non-fiction reader, look no further. Like many people, I read this book when I was too young and no one was looking, and it left a very lasting impression on my young true-crime-loving self.  It. Was. Terrifying. It’s the rare non-fiction that reads like fiction, and the narrative is compelling and all the more horrible because it’s all true. Don’t read it when you’re home alone.
  4. It by Stephen King

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If you have more time to spare and want to be scared for 1,000 pages, obviously It is the book for you. I’ve read a fair amount of Stephen King, and It is my favorite (excepting The Stand, which I don’t really consider horror). There are some seriously shiver-inducing images and events, but it also grapples with very real themes and fears: the helplessness of children, and the complicity of communities in perpetuating terror against the helpless.

If your preferred Halloween activity is cozying up with a spooky book (I hear you), I hope this list gives you a place to start! Everyone be safe tonight and may your Halloween be exactly as scary as you’d like it to be.

 

 

 

Five Things Friday (#42)

It is Friday, my dudes! We survived another week! I’m looking forward to a super low-key weekend — the last few have been busy, and I’d really like to buckle down and get some writing done. As ever, we shall see how well that actually pans out.

Here are five things I enjoyed this week!

1. This profile of Jennie Snyder-Urman

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Jennie Snyder-Urman is the showrunner of one of my favorite TV shows, Jane the Virgin. This profile has some beautiful commentary on the show and is deeply inspiring creatively.

The slate of current prestige television is large and suffocatingly uniform: dark, often humorless crime-centric shows about anti-heroic men and women. In that context, Jane the Virgin is anti-prestige in every way, a show about admirable women full of brilliant color, bone-rattling twists, and goofy, sly in-jokes that regularly dives into unabashed emotional sincerity. While it’s been a critical success since it premiered in 2014, it’s also struggled against the perception that its soapier, more melodramatic elements turn the whole thing into something merely lightweight or, worse, a guilty pleasure. But Urman is not interested in what she calls “the signifiers of deep, important television,” the kind of TV where “you’re going to talk really slow, and there’s going to be a lot of pauses, a lot of men. And they’re going to get really upset a lot.” On Jane, silliness can be a demonstration of intelligence rather than a negation of it, and the proud ownership of telenovela tropes is a way to claim the importance of women’s stories.

2. Dissect the Bird by John Craigie

The universe is not against you
It went through a lot just to give you a chance
It must have wanted you pretty bad
No pressure though, no pressure though
The universe went through a lot, but no pressure, bro
You don’t gotta be perfect, you don’t gotta be a saint
Just don’t waste it, this was not a mistake.
You’re doing it wrong
Dissecting the bird
Trying to find the song
It’s a miracle that you’re here at all

3. Listener impersonations of Criminal’s Phoebe Judge

I was seriously cackling in my car listening to this. SO GOOD.

4. These bathroom tiles (and honestly this whole house)

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I’ve been looking at a lot of home decor recently to help my parents brainstorm for their upcoming rebuild. I don’t think I could talk them into a bug-themed bathroom, but don’t think I didn’t pin it for my future home.

5. Rose Soma Stickers on Etsy

There’s nothing I love more than a good Vine reference, and these stickers seem like a really good way to express that love and make new friends IMO.

 

Podcast of the Week: Homecoming

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Oh. My. Gosh.

Ohmygosh.

Go listen to Homecoming.

I have a beautiful knack for stumbling onto things just in the nick of time, like when I started listening to the Hadestown concept album literal days before the cast recording of the musical came out, even though I had no idea the musical was happening. That’s what just happened to me with Homecoming — it turns out Amazon is making a TV show out of it, which comes out November 2nd, and I am hyped.

The initially enticing part of Homecoming is the cast. Catherine Keener, David Schwimmer, and Oscar Isaac star, but the whole production is littered with stardust and familiar voices. It’s described as an “experimental fiction” podcast. It’s basically a radio play but without a narrator, so the listener has to rely on sound and context cues to identify settings and characters, which the podcast manages with incredible subtlety.

The plot is wonderfully twisty, turny, and surreal, and it’s almost impossible not to binge the half-hour episodes. It also touches on many relevant topics without being too on-the-nose: sexism in the workplace, the military industrial complex, and our country’s approach to mental health treatment are all brought to mind in the listening of this podcast.

The masterful vocal performances of the podcast have set an extremely high bar for the coming TV adaptation. David Schwimmer, in particular, inhabits his character with aplomb, and is delightful to listen to. Other than that, I don’t want to talk about this too much because I believe it’s best experienced with as little context as possible. Just go listen to it. It’s short, with just 12 half-hour episodes, and it’s best binged, if you have a road trip coming up.

Recommended Episode: Start at the beginning, ya dummy.

Listen if you like: Stranger Things, Oscar Isaac, The Black Tapes

Podcast of the Week: Decoder Ring

I’ve gotten really into podcasts lately. My job, in addition to having a commute that ranges from a half-hour to a full hour, is solitary and repetitive at times, and it’s nice to have background noise that also entertains me or makes me feel like I’m learning something. Almost all of my Five Things Friday posts recently have included a podcast, and a lot of times I’ve felt like they deserved their own post, so here I am with a new feature: Podcast of the Week!

My first PotW is a Slate podcast called Decoder Ring.

Decoder Ring releases one podcast per month that explores the origins of a cultural phenomenon. Where did the television laugh track originate, and why is it so unpopular today? Why are people so invested in fictional romance? And when did the concept of clowns switch from funny to terrifying?

Willa Paskin is a TV critic for Slate, and she has a sharp, funny, and curious approach to pop culture. Listening to this podcast feels like being a part of a very informed dinner party, because she asks questions that we’ve all had and have probably attempted to answer at one time or another. She approaches topics that could easily be scoffed at with scholarly gravity but never with condescension, and I always leave feeling like I’ve gained a new arsenal of fun facts.

Paskin always manages to find interesting and knowledgeable people to interview about the topics. The interviews add a depth to the podcast while providing a sort of human interest factor — she frequently talks to people who might fall on the odd side of the normality spectrum, who specialize in the strange and unusual. It’s fun getting to know them while they share their knowledge about various pop culture items, and it’s frequently surprisingly emotional — the Paper Doll episode in particular tugged at my heartstrings.

My love of podcasts started with supernatural stories and true crime, but sometimes it’s nice to listen to something a little lighter, and Decoder Ring is a great snack with nutritional ingredients.

Listen if you like: NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, Etsy, the word “zeitgeist”

Recommended Episode: Episode 1: The Laff Box

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From the podcast description: What happened to the laugh track? For nearly five decades, the laugh track was ubiquitous, but beginning in the early 2000s, it fell out of sitcom fashion. What happened? How did we get from The Beverly Hillbillies to 30 Rock? In this episode, we meet the man who created the laugh track, which originated as a homemade piece of technology, and trace that technology’s fall and the rise of a more modern idea about humor. With the help of historians, laugh track obsessives, the showrunners of One Day at a Time, and the director of Sports Night, this episode asks if the laugh track was about something bigger than laughter.

Five Things Friday (#41)

Happy Friday, y’all!

It’s been a pretty good week around these parts. My 4th wedding anniversary was yesterday!

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It’s been a year full of unexpected challenges, but I feel so blessed to be tackling it with this guy at my side.

This weekend I’m going to Disneyland for the first time in MONTHS (that’s a long time for me) to celebrate my birthday early with some friends. Oh yeah — it’s almost my birthday!!! Expect some navel-gazey posts about my advancing age next week.

Here are five things making me smile this week:

1. This dress on Amazon

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It’s soft, it has pockets, it’s long enough for work, it’s under $30, and it comes in a bunch of colors and patterns. Why haven’t you bought one yet?!

2. Criminal 

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This podcast is my life right now. Phoebe Judge, the host, is THE BEST. She has the most soothing voice and a very charming and empathetic manner. Criminal is interesting, varied, and thought-provoking, and really has something for everyone, even those who don’t generally enjoy grisly true crime podcasts.

Some of my favorite more lighthearted episodes are:

  • The Editor: The story of an inmate who teaches himself to read — so well and so much so that he finds an error in an encyclopedia and embarks on an unlikely friendship with an editor at Merriam Webster.
  • Triassic Park: An exploration of the theft of petrified wood from the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.
  • Carry A. Nation: Memories of a woman who called herself “a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn’t like.”

And some not-so-lighthearted episodes that have stuck with me:

  • Angie: A victim of a gruesome murder finds an unlikely avenger in a soccer player determined to solve her case.
  • The Job: Musings on the death penalty from the man who wrote the manual on lethal injection for the state of Oregon.
  • Cold Case: A stay-at-home mom determined to solve the murder of her college roommate proves the lengths to which she’ll go to find answers.

This podcast makes me think, laugh, and occasionally cry, and I really can’t recommend it enough.

3. Sweet and Lovely on Etsy

All of her pins and assorted miscellany are, as advertised, sweet and lovely and occasionally sassy. Also, relevant to the above dress:

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4. Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed Teach You British Slang

This is nothing short of delightful.

5. This comic.

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I start crying every time I look at this, but it’s not necessarily a sad cry, just an emotional one. Leave room in your heart for your after, my friends. It’s going to be good.

See you next week!

Five Things Friday (#40) – Believe Women Edition

1 in 5 women in the US will be raped at some point in their lives.

Why then, is our first instinct not to believe a woman who says she has been assaulted? Why is our instinct to protect her attacker from the consequences of his actions? Why is there a compulsion to excuse the behavior of men, to not only allow them to go without punishment but to advance in positions of power and grant them the ability to harm more women on a larger scale with fewer checks on that power?

Something has got to change. We have to start believing women. We have to trust their experiences. We have to value their lives and potential as much as we apparently value the potential of those who would perpetrate violence against them.

Instead of my normal Five Things Friday, I’m offering five ways you can support women this week. We need it right now.

1. Donate to RAINN.

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From their website: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

2. Donate to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center

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From their website:

Your donation to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center helps support our work to end sexual violence and makes a positive impact on the lives of survivors across the country. NSVRC works to address the causes and impact of sexual violence through collaboration, prevention efforts, and the distribution of resources. With your help, we’re working toward a world free of sexual violence.

Your donation will:

  • Support the creation of resources on sexual violence prevention
  • Provide emergency funds to survivors and programs impacted by natural disasters
  • Help facilitate technical assistance requests from coalitions, advocates, and others interested in understanding and eliminating sexual violence
  • Support efforts to prevent child sexual abuse

3. Register to Vote

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Vote in your city elections. Vote in your state elections. Vote in federal elections. Start giving women and people of color a more representative voice. Stop making excuses for men who hurt women in the name of your political party.

4. Support female artists.

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There are thousands of people out there right now using their art, whatever kind it may be, to cope and to support other women. Vote your confidence in them with your dollars. Encourage them to keep going. (All the photos above should link to where you can purchase them.)

5. Be mindful of survivors.

Many women but especially survivors feel enraged, invalidated, scared, frustrated and a laundry list of other emotions right now. Regardless of your political leanings, think before you speak and before you post. Remember that 1 in 5 statistic. Imagine that for every 5 women you are friends with on Facebook, 1 of those women has been assaulted. When you post a lack of belief in women coming forward about Kavanaugh, you’re reminding her of the consequences of coming forward with her own truth. You’re making her wonder if her experience matters less than your political agenda. This advice should apply always, but especially now: just be kind. Be empathetic. Be thoughtful. Be mindful.

Take care of yourselves this weekend friends, and take care of each other. The world demands it.