90 Days, 90 (well, 94) Reasons


I am finally emerging from the maelstrom of activity that has made up my last three weeks: I’m sitting in a different house now, on the other side of the (successful, thank god) conference that has consumed my last two months, and trying to reconcile the huge child that lives in my new house with the still-babyish girl we left with grandma a week ago. I stared at Zoe intently this morning, trying feverishly to memorize her new curves and angles, while expressions wholly foreign to me passed over her face (those two above? I’d never seen them before this morning!). C’mon, seriously? It was only A WEEK. I feel like I’m on a roller coaster ride in the dark, and this was a huge, stomach-churning drop.

Of course, while I’ve been reflecting on my new little world, we are also in a time of giant change in our greater world. Hurricane Sandy has brought many lessons to the forefront, and will continue to do so as we slowly begin to gain some perspective on it. For me, what it has illustrated is how vulnerable we truly are in our little homes, our little power grids, our little cars. But I don’t find that individual vulnerability particularly alarming; instead, I take it as a reminder of how much we all really need one another. In the last week, I’ve been so heartened to see and hear how folks everywhere have been stepping up to help and support one another. We forget this in our busy individual lives, but we all depend in some way on the goodness of other people in our communities, in our country, and in our world.

I can’t stop time for Zoe, and I can’t deny this: every day, she grows incrementally less a part of me, and more a part of the world. All I can try to do is my part in ensuring that it’s a world where decision-making is rooted in the values of helping out the less fortunate, respecting others’ personal decisions, and freely pursuing knowledge. That’s the world I want to raise my girl to be a part of, and that’s my reason for voting for Barack Obama. What’s yours?

STFU, Parents

I’ve hesitated writing about STFU, Parents for a while, even though it’s quickly become one of my more rabid obsessions, taking over my life to the point where I think, “hm, what would STFU, Parents say about this” at least once a day. The hesitation isn’t because I think my obsession makes me seem like a bad parent (more like a sensible one, duh), but because I literally have SO MUCH to say about this that it seemed like a really intimidatingly long post to write.

But with the recent unveiling of Blair Koenig as the (previously anonymous) author of the blog, it seemed like a good time to share how amazing the site actually is. That link, like most of the coverage that STFU, Parents has been getting recently, pretty well misses the mark. STFU, Parents isn’t an attack on parents, or even a space for only non-parents to gather. I’ve been pregnant or a parent the whole time I’ve been reading, and far from being an unwelcoming space, it actually draws tons of parents who weigh in with their takes too.

So what is it? Nothing short of a complete, incisive takedown of the modern disease of gross over-sharing on social media. It focuses on the parenting arena, but could just as easily focus on people who can’t shut up about their pets, their medical ailments, whatever. It just happens that the experience of raising children particularly brings it out in people.
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Sherwin-Williams’ Paint Tools

We visited our new house for the final walkthrough today! It was the first time that we saw it without the sellers’ furniture, and it was incredibly exciting to imagine what the rooms are going to look like with our things in them.

As we walked around, I found myself especially daydreaming about what the walls are going to look like. Paint and wallpaper are so powerful in setting the feel of a room, whether you want it to be soothing or impactful, cheery or cozy. So since we can’t get in there and start painting yet, I’ve gone completely bonkers over online paint tools in the meantime.

Right now, I’m all about Chip It, Sherwin-Williams’ tool where you give them a photo whose colors you like or find inspirational, and they tell you what paint colors match the picture. Then you pop over to their Color Visualizer and you can look at that color (or related ones) in sample rooms to see how they look.

Without it, I never would have realized how cozy a dark bathroom might be:

Or how fun a juicy coral could be for Zoe’s room:

I can hardly wait to make some of these into reality. Play around, let me know what your favorites are!

Bonus link: TinEye’s Multicolor Search, one of my favorite color-inspiration tools. It goes the other way from Chip It: you provide the colors (and in what proportion), and it provides Flickr pictures that match those colors. Breathtaking!

Feeling Old At 30

I was just reading this post today, and realized that feeling old at 30 is nothing new to me. In fact, most of her examples could have been drawn straight from my everyday life: I refuse to believe there are college graduates born in the 90s (RG3!?!), I don’t really acknowledge that my university has the shiny new (or, ahem, 6-year-old) basketball arena that was built well after my graduation, and just last night I was extolling the virtues of concerts where you get to sit down (while we’re at it, could they have them start earlier too?). My favorite part of the Glamour post is this:

You don’t start feeling older at 40, you start feeling old the second you’re made to be around people who’re younger than you masquerading as adults. I say masquerading because there can’t actually be adults younger than you, right? We all feel like the youngest adults.[emphasis mine]

It rings so true for me, because while I absolutely love being in my 30s and cherish all the experiences of the last decade, I also hands down still think of myself as young. That’s the thing that you never realize as a teenager: as the years pass, you may get old, but that doesn’t mean you feel old. You gradually add into your life the trappings of adulthood, but you don’t necessarily think of them as such in your eagerness to move forward. Then one day, you look at people 2-8 years younger than you and think, “Well, they may live on their own, but how? It’s not like they’re real adults!” And that’s it, my friends: you are old. And smug. And, by the way, if you think that literally raising an infant will steer you away from infantilizing younger adults… you’d be wrong.

So yes, there is something poignant, and depending on your outlook, even bittersweet about saying that final and probably overdue goodbye to your young adult years. Yet, when I think about the actual experiences I had of being 16, 20, 24 — I can’t believe all the things I didn’t know and how much smaller my world was. My friend recently remarked that you are supposed to know everything you’ll know in life by 30, which is a staggering thought. I’d prefer to think that in every decade, your experiences and knowledge explode exponentially, so you’re always looking back at younger you with a fond (and smug) smile. I like that, especially the thought that one day, I will look back and say about 30-year-old me, “oh, man. You knew nothing, Abby Phoenix.”

(Photo courtesy of Someecards)

New Music via Spotify and IFTTT


I love music — not all music, because honestly, people who say, “I listen to everything!” are pretty damned suspect. While I have specific tastes, I also love ingesting new music at a fairly heady clip, to constantly enrich my ongoing in-head soundtrack. For me, there’s no worse feeling than being in a music rut… except possibly the sour funk of being between books (or, horrors, in the soggy middle of a terribly uninspiring book).

Anyway, the dawn of Spotify has been personally monumental. They offer a semi-restricted free version, but I almost immediately upgraded to the $10/month Premium version, which means that almost anything that I ever want to try to listen to is a quick search and click away. AMAZING.

Okay, but how to find new stuff without constantly scouring music blogs and the review sections of magazines? Here’s my secret: my favorite make-life-easier site, IFTTT (If This, Then That), which so aptly is subtitled “Put the internet to work for you.” IFTTT is magic, and makes awesome stuff happen. See here:

This IFTTT recipe takes info from an RSS Feed of all new albums coming out on Spotify, and emails them to me, along with info as to what genre it is. So now I have an email folder filled with info about all the new albums that just came out, and I can spend the day trying them out on Spotify to find out what I like.

Completely life-changing, and all it cost me was the $10/month Spotify Premium account (so worth it anyway, c’mon), and a free sign-up for IFTTT. And that brings me to my new favorite song of the week (video above), courtesy of the adorable new Brit band Alphabet Backwards and two of my favorite internet tools.

Schmidt ❤ GOOP ❤ Schmidt!

This isn’t new news by any means, but I was so glad that New Girl has returned in all its full Schmidtty glory that I was doing a quick google search on Max Greenfield. When I saw the link that I’m about to share with you, I had to read it five times in a row just to be sure that it was real. I’M STILL NOT SURE. Is this an elaborate hoax??? IS THIS REAL LIFE?

Because if it is real: So. Awesome.

I give you Max Greenfield – Guest Editor of GOOP — yes. YES!!!!

GOOP! GOOP, where Gwyneth Paltrow sells $500 sweaters covered in heart patterns! GOOP, where Gwyneth suggests $1850 watches and $1395 WEEKEND BAGS as Christmas gifts for her and him, respectively!! GOOP, where she calls Jay-Z “Mr. Carter”!!

Oh god bless you, Gwynnie. I’m still not sure if Schmidt’s GOOP Guide (I made that up, but c’mon, that name is great — rolls off the tongue!) is somehow part of Greenfield’s Schmidt performance (you never know — he apparently made a Schmidt workout video and then actually went and taught a spin class in person after that) or genuine, but either way: perfection.

(Photo courtesy of Uproxx)

Good Grammar

I have been hesitant to post about my love of good grammar, because:

  • Making any statement about the importance of grammar positions me as someone who thinks her own grammar is completely flawless, which is definitely not true. I know that I’ll never have all the rules down pat, but it’s a process, and I really enjoy learning from my mistakes.  (Yes, this is an invitation to find my mistakes and rub my nose in them — do it!)
  • Honestly, it’s a bit embarrassing. I am hereby admitting that my appreciation of clean, grammatically correct writing runs so deep that it can give me the shivers sometimes to read a piece of prose that’s both perfectly expressed and meticulously executed. Seriously: SHIVERS.

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