Monday, May 29, 2017

Tour de CLE: My Ultimate Memorial Day Weekend in Cleveland


Based on Instagram, it seems like nearly everyone I know attended a wedding this Memorial Day weekend - but not us! We had a whole three-day weekend full of nothing - not a plan in sight, the best feeling in the world. As it turns out, though, we ended up doing all kinds of stuff, turning it into the ideal long weekend around town.

Comedy at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre

On Friday, we had tickets to comedian Mike Birbiglia's new stand-up show "Working It Out" at the city's best spot for comedy. We had great seats in a booth with a perfect view, & as expected, the show was hilarious; there's no feeling like laughing that hard! We ordered drinks (they serve you at your seat), but we didn't get any food because we were super stuffed from...

Dinner at The Greenhouse Tavern

We had reservations at Jonathon Sawyer's East 4th Street restaurant, which I hadn't been to for two years. Their carrot risotto with pancetta was to die for, & my friend Lilly & I split sides of Brussels sprouts & beets, also amazing. We were seated upstairs in a corner booth, where the service was a little slow, but the food made it worth it.

Drinks at Wonder Bar

Between dinner & the show, we killed some time at this understated bar on East 4th, which I'd never been to. I'll be back, though: They serve cocktails on tap! I had something called the "I'll Have What She's Having," though frankly, I have no idea what it was that she & I had, except that it was strong. Low-key bar with a good selection & a chill vibe.


Nightcaps at at Society Lounge

After the show, we stopped into this East 4th speakeasy-style bar for fancy cocktails. Mine was a "Snapple Sour," made with a snap pea & apple gin, & while it was tasty, it sort of tasted like... a garden? The bar was full of bros in tuxedos (post-wedding?), so it was a bit of a weird atmosphere, & we left after one drink to go get...

Pizza at Edison's Pizza Kitchen

Home & hungry, we closed out the evening with a slice at Tremont's best late-night pizza joint. There's always a bit of a wait, even when there's no one else in line, but it means the pizza is always super-fresh, as was the case this time. We took it back home & chowed down on the patio before calling it a night.

A cookout in Atwater Township

On Saturday afternoon, I drove an hour out to Portage County to my cousin Jim's college graduation/going away party; he just moved to Dayton for a sweet job with an Air Force contractor. It was a shlep to get out there, but it's a beautiful drive through the country, & I loved getting to spend some time with my family over hot dogs & beers. On my way there, I stopped for...

A dozen cupcakes from Cookie & a Cupcake

On a whim, I popped into this Tremont bakery to grab a dozen cupcakes on my way to Atwater. I went with a champagne cupcake myself - I'm not much of a chocolate gal - but I got a full array of flavors, which went over really well with the fam. Each cupcake is not only iced with frosting but stuffed with it, too!


Indians v. Royals at Progressive Field

Mike's boss is generous enough to offer employees the occasional set of tickets to local sporting events, & we were the lucky recipient for Sunday's Indians game. The seats are pretty sweet - under the awning behind first base - & though a storm was on its way in, it held off for most of the game. Long enough for us to watch the Tribe defeat the Royals 10-1!

Lunch at Momocho

I was so excited about all the local restaurants with new food kiosks at Progressive Field, opting for a meal from someplace I've never been before: Ohio City's Momocho, a modern, Mexican-inspired joint. Their field menu is limited, but my $14 pork carnitas quesadilla with cheese between the double shells was delicious & well worth it. Much better than a standard ballpark hot dog.

Shopping at CLE Clothing Co.

We left the game a little early to avoid the rain & to use the 20% off coupon we got on our way out for one of the best T-shirt companies in town. Every Ohioans needs a little CLE gear! I grabbed a "Believeland" shirt as a gift for a friend, & because it took the cashier so long to ring me out, she even gave me back the coupon to use again another time. Scorrrre.


Patio time at Flannery's Irish Pub

Before the rain rolled in, we capitalized on the last of the nice weather with an afternoon drink at the one casual dive bar on East 4th Street. We hopped in a Lyft just before the raindrops started to fall, then we hunkered down for the rest of the night o read & chill in our cozy new apartment.

Iced coffee at Civilization

To my delight, my favorite local coffee shop was open on Memorial Day, so I fended off a wicked caffeine withdrawal headache with a large, sweetened iced coffee with soy milk, my favorite. And then we ran into one of my favorite baristas while we were in line for... 

Gyros at the Tremont Greek Fest

This is one of my favorite events of the summer, & today marked Mike's & my third summer in a row attending together. One of our first-ever photos was together outside the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church where it takes places! We chowed on the best gyros in town, ran into multiple people we knew, & then closed out the weekend with a casual Monday at home.

 

How'd you spend your Memorial Day weekend? And if you're a Clevelander, did our weekend activities overlap at all? There's still time to grab a gyro before the festival ends!

Friday, May 19, 2017

I Feel Old & Haggard & It's Not OK


Warning: This is a post all about vanity & aging. Please be kind - & please also tell me I'm not the only struggling with this. Please? I hope?

I used to like the way I looked, for the most part. I used to get compliments on the shape of my eyebrows & the natural wave of my hair & the precision of my signature winged eyeliner. Not every day was a great day, of course, & I certainly didn't feel beautiful every day or even most days, but I  felt like I was trying, & I usually felt like I was at least sort of succeeding. Overall, I used to feel good about the way I looked, even when I didn't.

Until I didn't.

It happened slowly, when I wasn't paying attention - & probably because I wasn't paying attention. I like to think I still take care of myself, but do I? Only sort of. Lately, it seems like I've been putting in the bare minimum - the same minimalist routine, the same makeup look, the same sense of style, the same haircut. But I'm getting older, & my face & my body & even my hair are all changing, & what used to suffice just doesn't anymore. Today, I realized that I can't remember the last time I got a compliment on my eyebrows, which are now thinning, or anything related to my hair.

Oh God, my hair. I haven't colored it in months, haven't had it cut since October. It's frazzled & greying. It's become a strange, brassy blonde color that doesn't flatter me. It's too long, too tangled, too damaged. It's a little bit humiliating, truth be told, but I tend to tell myself, "Hey, it's long! Long hair is always pretty!" - but dude, not when it's gross.

And then there's makeup. The only thing I know how to do, makeup-wise, is my signature winged eyeliner - & even that seems to be suffering these days. At 32, am I too old for it? Every time I try to do a more subtle look, I end up looking like I have a black eye. And while I know that YouTube is full of tutorial videos, they all bore me to death; I can't sit still long enough to learn a damn thing.

There's also my sense of style, my forever-black-and-white style, literally. The other day, I tried on an adorable yellow floral number from Old Navy, & it looked smashing. I knew it did. So cute! But I also knew I would never wear it. It felt too form-fitting, showed too much skin, was too bright a color. It went back on the rack, & while I was proud of myself for not wasting my money on a style I knew I wouldn't wear, it also left me a little disappointed in myself. Have I become that boring?

I guess that when it comes to my looks, it just feels obvious to me that I'm aging, & I haven't yet figured out how to properly make the transition from naturally young & nubile (ew, j/k) to whatever it is that mature women do to keep themselves looking good. As a result, I just feel very gross & in-between, hoping that eventually, things fall into place.

But that's not how it works is it? If I want to look better, I'm gonna have to work for it. It's not like I'm suddenly going to become young again, with elastic skin & shiny hair & a body for crop tops (OK, I never had that). As we age, looking good becomes harder, not easier - even if we do become more comfortable with our natural looks (& I have).

I don't know where to start, though. I got a haircut today, one I scheduled at the very last minute, because I felt like I couldn't bear my stringy, split-end-ridden hair for another hour (literally, I went in 45 minutes after I called). The stylist, who was young & gorgeous with a head full of curls, was really nice & helpful - but she also made clear to me that, yes, my hair is very damaged, & the color is super weird, & OMG, I need help. She gave me a great cut - but I still left feeling sort of awful.

So now what? I just don't even know what to do, but I know that I don't want to go into the rest of my 30s feeling like I'm destined to just get old & look sad. So many older women - far older than me - look gorgeous & age with grace, & I want to learn how to be one of them. But where do I start? No, really, where do I start? Can you help? Because I don't know how to do this.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Skinned Knees, Bruised Egos, and the Kindness (Or Not) of Strangers

White balloon emblazoned with a red First Aid cross floating against a bright blue sky

I've had jury duty all week, & though I haven't (yet?) been chosen for a jury, I still have to show up every day & sit in this huge room & waiiiiiit - until Friday or until I get called, whichever comes first. We're dismissed for lunch from 11:30am-1:15pm, which is a welcome breath of fresh air, literally, after hours spent in a very large, very crowded, very florescent room with but one window.

The other day, I grabbed a solo lunch at Noodlecat because I wanted to try their new menu (which actually isn't online yet). I budgeted enough time for a quick stop at the CLE Clothing Co. (but sadly struck out) & the Starbucks at Public Square (because jury duty requires caffeine) on my way back to the courthouse. Unfortunately, halfway between the two pit stops, I took a spill - a hard spill - as I crossed Euclid Ave., a busy street in the heart of downtown Cleveland.

The fall took my breath away, the kind of immediate, searing pain that had me feeling nauseated & dizzy as soon as my knees hit the pavement. To top it off, I was on all fours (in a dress) in the middle of a crosswalk in a busy street without a stoplight, which meant that at any moment, a car could come barrelling toward me. I was in a hurry to get out of the way - & apparently the folks around me were, too. Would you believe that, of the four people in the crosswalk at the time I fell, not a single one asked me if I was OK?! I heard two women gasp... & then they kept walking.

I actually kind of wasn't OK, either. I'd twisted my left ankle & skinned the hell out of my right knee, which was bloodied & raw - & still, I had to hoist myself up & drag myself out of the street. I was so embarrassed - lots of people saw, & lots of them kept staring at me, which made it seem even worse that no one asked if I was all right. Head down, I  hobbled over to a Starbucks & tried to clean out my wound, which was full of gravel & grit, & then, slowwwwly, I made my way back to the courthouse.

When I got to the courthouse, I asked a cop at the security desk if he had a first aid kit, & he gave me two antiseptic wipes & a packet of Neosporin while apologizing profusely that he didn't have any Band-aids. When I got to the jury holding room, the woman next to me saw me cleaning out my wound & offered me Advil, urging me to ask the bailiff for a Band-aid. When I approached the bailiff, he gave me not one, not two, but four Band-aids. And when an elderly juror saw me limping back to my seat, she asked, "Honey, did you fall? Do you need anything? I have Band-aids & Advil!"

At first, I was both upset that I'd hurt myself and really peeved that no one said a damn word when they all saw me fall. This is the Midwest, land of the perpetually friendly, yet everyone was too busy to say a word. When I changed my perspective a little bit, though, I realized I was just so grateful to be surrounded by so many kind individuals afterward. Heck, even as I limped back to the courthouse, I sneezed on the street & a passerby told me "Bless you"; surely that woman would've reached out if she'd seen me fall! I just happened to wipe out in the company of duds.

The morals of the story, then, are as follows:
  1. Don't be a dud. If you witness someone injuring themselves, offer a kind word. Even if you can't provide actual assistance, you can do more than gasp & walk away.
  2. Lots of people are duds, but lots of people aren't. Focus on the latter, & wish the former well when they're the ones who get injured in public.
  3. Save yourself the pain & humiliation by throwing away your old shoes, no matter how much you love them, as soon as the over-worn soles too unstable for safe walking.
And maybe carry around some damn Band-aids.

When's the last time you ate pavement in public? Did anyone stop to help?!

Monday, May 15, 2017

9 Cleveland Events I'm Reaaaally Excited for This Summer


As the weather finally begins to warm up here in Northeast Ohio, there’s plenty to look forward to. Of course, there’s always the eating-stuff-outdoors factors, from sipping a beer in the sun on my new front porch to eating tacos & pierogis on the patio of my favorite bars. But there are also a few specific events I’m really excited about, ones that can only happen when it’s nice out.
Here’s what’s on my list of highly anticipated summer events in the CLE.

This warm-weather event is well underway in its 2017 season, with the April & May events already over. Describing itself as equal parts “urban treasure hunt / culinary adventure / maker center,” the Flea is a hipster heaven full of food trucks, vintage finds, original artwork, handmade jewelry, & as many screen-printed Cleveland T-shirts as you can imagine. Plus booze.

Hosted at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, this annual Memorial Day Weekend event is about as old-world Greek as you can get, with gyros, baklava, Greek beer & wine, Greek dancing, and authentic Greek shopping. It’s all Greek to me… in a good way, of course. Last year, I got a gyro every day for the entire weekend. Oops.
 
My favorite summer event in Cleveland! This summer event series in Asiatown brings together local Asian restaurants of all varieties, along with makers, creators, & entertainment options. Asian food is easily my favorite genre of food, so I take this opportunity to gorge myself on steam buns, in particular, while enjoying the parades & entertainers. 

Held every Tuesday night in Lincoln Park, just around the corner from my apartment, the weekly Tremont Farmers Market is my favorite opportunity to swoop up fresh produce and other locally made goods, including homemade bread & pasta. On days when we’re really lucky, there’s a food truck at the party, too.

I don’t spend nearly enough time out in nature, but this year, I’d like to do a little more of it. Luckily, Cleveland makes it compelling, with 18 reservations spanning more than 23,000 acres – & all of it absolutely beautiful. This summer, I’d like to get my hike on & do a little bit more outdoor exploring.

Last year, we lived so close to the site of this annual event that we ran home to our apartment to use our own bathroom instead of the Port-a-Potties in the park! AleFest, held in July, is the best place to sample craft beers & big-name brews alike, though there’s very little food available on-site – which can mean trouble for lightweights like me!
 
I don’t work in downtown Cleveland, but it’s an easy trip, if I want to work from a coffee shop in the middle of the action – and on Wednesdays in the summer, I do. During Walnut Wednesdays, held each week, 41 food trucks gather around Perk Park at lunchtime, with musical guests who provides midday entertainment to the masses.

Edgewater Live

This will be a new one for me this year because weirdly, I've never been - but this summer, I'm committed to getting to making it at least once! This summer concert series, hosted by the Metroparks, takes place nearly every Thursday of the summer at Edgewater Beach, overlooking beautiful Lake Erie with a gorgeous view of the Cleveland skyline. Why haven't I been to this yet?!

Formerly the ArtWalk, the Walkabout is now about a year old, taking place the second Friday of every month. Local businesses – bars, restaurants, & retailers alike – open their doors with discounts, art exhibits, live entertainment, street performers, & other fun opportunities to see some of this neighborhood’s highlights.

What are you looking forward to this summer, in Cleveland or elsewhere?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Finding Dora: Meet Our Second Cat!


Mother's Day weekend seems like an appropriate time to finally introduce you to my second furbaby - even though she's been a part of the family for awhile now! 

The day after Christmas, Mike & I went on a mission: to find a second kitty. We stopped by the Cleveland Animal Protective League, just down the street from our apartment, but they were nearly cleaned out of cats. I hope a bunch of 'em got good homes for the holiday! We were going to come back another day, but I convinced Mike to drive to the PetSmart in Parma, an APL partner.

And that's where we found Dora!

OK, her given name was Diamond, but no way were we making her keep that. We'd been planning to adopt a male cat & name him Sherlock, but Mike decided our new girl was too delicate for such a rough-&-tumble name. Instead, he chose the name Nymphadora, after Harry Potter's beloved Tonks (RI.P.), suggesting that we call her Dora.

Dora had come to the APL after being severely neglected. Her owner's mother brought her in, saying her daughter wasn't taking proper care of the cat. In fact, when she arrived at the APL, her fur was so matted that they had to shave her back, so when we met her, she was a little sad-looking; her fur was wiry & slick, & it was a missing a big chunk! The APL also removed several of her teeth, which were rotting from neglect - but they told us she was still able to chow down on hard food.

In other words, this baby was in serious need of love - & we were amazed that even after such poor treatment, she was friendly & sweet & cuddly. We knew she was the cat for us as soon as we walked into the adoption center & she bumped her head against the bars of her cage to be petted. All the other cats were sleepy & quiet, staying far away from visitors, but Dora was all up on us

She turned out to be the perfect addition to our little family. While she & Helo were wary of one another at first, they're now BFFs, cuddling & fighting like cat-sibs. Since she's been with us, her fur has become shiny & soft & way more pettable, & her bald patch has grown back, never to be matted again. She is happy & pretty & healthy & wonderful.

And she has so much personality.

Her meows sound, as Mike describes it, "like a velociraptor being born," which earned her the nickname Dora Dinosaura. Since her adoption, her meows have become slightly more robust, but she still sounds sort of dweeby & dinosaur-like. And she meows a lot, trying to tell us she wants food or an open window or to be petted. Opinionated little girl!

She's obsessed with plastic water bottle caps, meow-screaming whenever she sees me drinking out of a water bottle so that I'll remember to give her her favorite toy. She carries them around in her mouth like prey & bats them around the hardwood floors until she loses them. They are, presumably, hidden all over both apartments, stuck in little nooks & crannies we didn't know existed.

She's super cuddly, snuggling right up in the crook of my arm when I'm on the couch or behind my knees when I sleep. She'll headbutt us to force petting, slipping under our hands & looking just so darn happy about it. She regularly tries to lay atop my hand when I work, plopping right on top of my mouse - & she loveslovesloves her papa. I think she knows that he picked her out.

I can't imagine our lives without this sweet, soft, sleepy, meowy little girl. We feel so lucky to have found her!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Get to Know My Favorite Cleveland Bloggers


I haven't been a "Cleveland blogger" for long, if you can call me one at all. Yes, I'm a blogger who lives in Cleveland now, but I didn't start out that way, & I know a lot of my readers aren't based in Northeast Ohio. I try not to blog too much about Cleveland, lest I alienate the rest of you - but I still do my fair share of bragging on this city & sharing a look at my favorite parts of the CLE.

Long before I lived here, though, I read blogs like Cleveland's a Plum & Confessions of a CLEhabitant*, allowing me the opportunity to live vicariously through other Clevelanders. Though some of the blogs I used to love have since shuttered their proverbial doors, others have continued & new ones have cropped up - &, of course, Instagram has allowed for dozens of microbloggers, in essence, who raise up the CLE through photos & other means of visual storytelling.

In other words: There's a lot going on in Cleveland, & I love seeing the many ways social media helps us show it to the word. Here, a few ladies who are doing a helluva job of raising its profile & telling its many stories the old-fashioned way - on their blogs.

Jen at Why CLE?

Jen seems to know everyone, go everywhere, & volunteer with every organization in town - so what better person to run a blog about the "why" of loving the CLE?! Check her out for ongoing info about some of the best places & events in town, plus lots of fun giveaways.

Charity at iheartcleveland

Charity is the mastermind behind the colorful & creative Studio Chartreuse in Lakewood (one of Cleveland's best suburbas), & she's always ahead of the curve when it comes to the best new stuff in the city. Her posts are punctuated with crisp, colorful photos that show off the CLE at its best.

Crystal at Eat*Drink*Cleveland

Like to eat? And drink? Yeah, I thought so. Crystal always has intel on the best of both, all across Cleveland. Her blog is often the first to clue me into new bars & restaurants around the city - including the recent spate of breweries popping up all around the CLE. 

Rachel at It's a Hero

Rachel actually lives in my hometown, closer to Akron than to Cleveland, but she writes about activities & opportunities all over Northeast Ohio. If you're a mom of young children, in particular, you'll love her honesty, her relatability, & her recommendations for kid-friendly fun all over town.

Alicia at Poise in Parma

Yogi, wedding industry professional, & new mama Alicia is hyper-connected to the local community & is one of the best in town at single-handedly raising the city's profile. She's also got great behind-the-scenes looks at the CLE, including interviews with Playhouse Square actors & other bigwigs.

Kaylah at The Dainty Squid

Though Kaylah rarely blogs about the CLE itself, she actually lives in my neighborhood! She's definitely the biggest-name blogger in the city, though most of her views of it come in the form of amazingly spooky abandoned buildings, all around Cleveland & beyond.

Shibani of Bombay Taxi

After years of writing a shopping blog, Shibani pivoted to launch an online jewelry boutique... with a blog to accompany it. Perfect pairing! She's great at honing in on some of Cleveland's unique fashion opportunities, from fundraisers to museum exhibits to gift guides highlighting local vendors.

The Ladies of She in the CLE

Looking for a little bit of everything? This local blogger collective is "dedicated to driving conversations with purpose by women in the Cleveland area," tackling topics from parenting to pop culture to entrepreneurial guidance - all written by some of the smartest ladies in the city.

A quick footnote: Though Allison doesn't blog anymore, & Alexa doesn't blog much, they're both active on Twitter & Instagram & continue to be two of my faves. Find Allison at @allisonpeltz & Alexa at @clevelandsaplum for a look at two of the Clevelanders who first helped me fall in love with the CLE.

Tell me: Did I miss anyone? Do you know of any Cleveland bloggers I've yet to discover? Clue me in!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Somebody in My Neighborhood Hates Me


It was a sunny day last spring when I realized that the passenger-side door of my car had been keyed - one jagged, wandering line slicing through the bright blue paint. At the time, I was still living in my original Cleveland apartment, which came with a driveway parking spot - so, yes, my car was keyed while sitting in the driveway. Still, I wrote it off as teen vandals; I lived on the edge of a local park, not super populated, so I figured someone could've keyed me on the go & just disappeared into the dark. Jerks.

A couple months later, I'd moved into my second Cleveland apartment, which was in the same building as the first one but didn't come with parking privileges. While parked on the street just in front of my building, my car was keyed again; this time, it was the driver's side door, the same jagged, wandering line cutting a matching scar across the other side of the car. Who the hell was doing this? Was it just bad luck, or was I on the receiving end of someone's personal ire? I barely knew anyone in town!

Neither of the next two incidents were as serious or lasting as being keyed, but they were definitely weirder.

Once, my car was covered in mud & hay. It wasn't a job well done - farm materials just sort of tossed everywhere - but the weather than day meant that the mud was pretty seriously caked on. I scraped it off as best I could, then hit up a drive-through car wash to take care of the rest.

Another time, I walked out to find my car covered in... melted candy. Someone had tosses chocolates & gummy candy on it - again, haphazardly - & the hot sun had done a number on them, again caking my car is strange substance.

Who was doing this to me, & why?!

I will admit that, at first, I thought it was one specific person, someone who never liked me (& vice versa), but that individual soon moved out of the area - & a few of the incidents happened after that. Like I said, I barely know anyone in the neighborhood, so I didn't know who could be targeting me personally. If it was someone carrying out a personal vendetta, they were doing a pretty good job of not cluing me into it, because I had (still have!) no idea who it could be.

I'd nearly forgotten about these incidents, & then another one happened just last week, before I moved. It had been awhile since anything strange had done down, & then Monday morning, I walked out to my car to find that it had been egged. Egged! In 2017! What am I, 15? Luckily, the perpetrator only hit my driver's side window, & though the yolk dribbled down the body of the car, there was no real damage done (aside from my having to do some serious scrubbing to be able to see out my window again!)

As of this week, I've moved into a new place in a new part of town, & I have high hopes that all my car vandalism issues are a thing of the past - that they were all related to parking on a dark corner next to a wide open space, not to someone having it out for me, personally. I don't know how much more my poor car can take!

Monday, May 1, 2017

What I Read in April


I wish I had more time to read more books. People are always asking me, "How do you have time to read so much?!" The answer is that I don't watch a ton of TV anymore, & I spend a lot of my spare time with a book (or Kindle) in hand, but it still never feels like enough time. I want to read every book. My to-read list seems insurmountable, & it is; I'll never, ever get through it. 

Yet again, this month I struggled to read, & I hate the feeling that I've been wasting precious reading time. With everything that goes along with preparing to move (which happens today!), I've been working overtime just to keep my head above proverbial water; plus, we went out of town not one but two weekends. I've just been so stressed that when it comes time to relax & unwind, I've been turning to TV & the Internet instead of getting lost in books. It's not the best habit, but I know that once we've settled into our new place, I'll get back to reading.

I read five books this month, & everything got five stars, so this was, at least, a month of quality if not of quantity. What are you reading? Comment & let me know!

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach 

Yes, this book is just as weird as the title leads you to believe, but man, did I ever enjoy it. Mary Roach is an author who specializes in science with a humorous twist, which is a darn good thing when she's writing about topics like decapitation & medical experimentation. This book is all about how dead bodies have been used throughout history for various types of research, from scientific to religious & beyond. (I did not, however, appreciate her paragraph-long dig on Cleveland.) ★★★★★ 

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange

I know I'm not the target audience for this book - in her intro, the author writes, "for colored girls was & is for colored girls" - but I wanted to read it all the same. While some of it was over my head (poetry is usually a bit beyond me), I found much of it to be beautiful, powerful, & painful, a poetic telling of some of the biggest struggles women of color continue to face. ★★★★★

Working Out Loud: For a Better Career and Life by John Stepper 

I'm participating in a "Working Out Loud circle" with coworkers, & it's been a great experience so far. The whole thing is based on this book, which my colleague Larry has put into play in the workplace. We each set a goal & meet once a week to discuss & to support one another in working toward achieving our individual goals. Reading the book between meetings has helped keep my motivation high. ★★★★★   

Conviction by Julia Dahl 

This is the third book in Dahl's Rebekah Roberts series, featuring a young NYC reporter who has a complex relationship with the local Hassidic Jewish community - & this story takes a new angle, with Rebecca working to solve a case from 1992 in which a Black teen was convicted of murdering his foster family. I liked that this one was told from various angles, including the real killer's, but I felt like it was a little anti-climactic; both of the other two books had huge peak moments, & this one just... didn't. Still, I really love this series. ★★★★★ 

My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew by Abigail Pogrebin

The author is a Jewish writer, mother, & synagogue lay leader & the daughter of renowned Jewish feminist Letty Cotton Pogrebin. But despite a life of Jewishness, she wants to dig deeper, which leads her to a year of closely researching & personally observing 18 Jewish holidays, including two Shabbats & a few of the lesser-observed fast days. For me, it was a fascinating look at the many ways our diverse community observes its holidays - & it was cool to see some of my colleagues' names in print! ★★★★★

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

Please note that my "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.
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