Hello and Happy Tuesday from my beautiful home in Los Angeles! I have a couple of deeper posts I’m working on but in the meantime wanted to share with you some everyday glitter–little bits and bobs of things that are delighting me right now, that might also delight you!
Jeffrey Marsh Text Joy
I adore Jeffrey Marsh! I have solidly recommended their book How to Be You to everyone I know and am slowly buying it for each teen in my life that I sense is a weirdo. In a world that vilifies difference, Jeffrey’s message that it’s completely spectacular to be your own unique self is vital!
If you want to grab a delight in your phone, text MARSH to 75985. It is a sweet journey. I could only do two days of the ShineText situation before my phone went spontaneously dead (which is why you haven’t seen me on Instagram in four days), but I found it uplifting for those two days. You deserve kind reminders!
Jeffrey performing and inspiring at the Love & Resistance shabbat dinner I produced with my friend Rick Sorkin on inauguration day as a way to build up and empower activists. Photo by Rachel Crowl.
Meet ClaraBelle Blue
Adiba Nelson tried in vain to find a children’s book that centered the experience of a special needs child that had a personality, so she decided to write her own. Meet ClaraBelle Blue is inspired by her daughter and helps ALL children understand that you don’t need to be defined by your abilities. In addition to the main character with cerebral palsy, the book also includes characters with invisible illnesses such as anxiety and ADHD.
I think it’s a great way to show kids about difference and get more comfortable create relationships with people who are different. Check out the book trailer below, buy the book and share it on social media! (And read little excerpts in this Buzzfeed article.)
Nitika Chopra’s Love Entourage
I met Nitika last December and have experienced so much delight from her social media. She’s very upbeat and sweet, her Instagram stories are full of love, motivation, fun and exploration: of beauty products, spending quality time with her soul sisters and sharing her family’s culture. Like me, Nitika believes in the transformational power of self-care and that beauty rituals are an amazing way to connect to self love. She has had debilitating psoriasis for 26 years and the experience helped transform her perspective on life, she focuses on her happiness instead of her suffering.
Nitika is a lot of things and one of them is a life coach! She is launching a new round of her Love Entourage group coaching on June 5th. If you’re interested in working with someone who knows about self love to help you dig it up in you, check it out!
Flip or Flop Vegas
Since I retired from thirteen years of Real Estate law practice, I get my money these days through a lot of tiny hustles, many of which I can perform while watching mindless TV. I am a total sucker for home renovation shows and I love to watch the transformations, the design and the problem solving. Charismatic designers and hosts help, too!
I read People Magazine and I was really curious if the Flip or Flop spin-off, Flip or Flop Vegas was in response to the divorce of the couple in the original Flip or Flop. I certainly don’t believe people need to be married in order to be on HGTV, but as friends have reported from the producers of those house hunter shows, if you’re gay they are going to ask you to get someone to be your fake partner. Regardless of the intentions behind the creation of the show I am surprised to say how much I enjoy Flip or Flop Vegas.
It has a lot going for it. Like the original, this is a married general contractor and realtor/interior designer couple, where they buy places for cash and transform them into properties buyers will love (informed by their work with real estate clients). Aubrey is blonde and thin, Bristol is a hunky MMA fighter. Vegas is a rough flip market, it was very heavily hit in the 2008 real estate market crash and I remember before the crash reading a lot of articles about how bad the crash would be for Vegas since there was so much speculative building during that time.
Since the success of a flip is dependent on cutting the margins, they do a lot to save money without sacrificing quality. Aubrey shops mega clearance and develops relationships with suppliers who also supply casinos and celebrity homes, which means she gets higher end glitz and glam supplies at a huge discount from the leftovers of casino projects. I’m a Femme who LOVES a good bargain, I call it my “hunting” so I really appreciate the vicarious thrill of finding high end tile on clearance.
I can’t say Cottage Glam was my favorite end-result design but I loved that she pinterested this wall design and had Bristol build it. I find it relatable and her design choices to be adventurous.
Because of the Vegas influence, Aubrey can’t help but incorporate “glam” into almost every project, including a “Cottage Glam” and “Farmhouse Glam” projects. This is obviously something I’m super into. I also like that Bristol will DIY just about anything, like making a pergola from scratch instead of buying it off the rack or building barn doors. They are a pinterest dream come true. I find it pretty satisfying to watch their projects come together, and Aubrey’s staging is always very fabulous.
Nate & Jeremiah By Design
I can’t plug a heteronormative design show on HGTV without plugging the gay couple holding it down on TLC. Nate Berkus folks might remember as Oprah’s go-to interior designer in the latter years of her talk show and occasional specials on OWN. After losing his partner in the Sri Lanka tsunami he has found new love with his now husband, another interior designer, Jeremiah Brent.
It’s a combo of a regular house renovation show and Extreme Home Makeover, the tear-jerking heart pulling ABC show I wish was still on the air. Nate and Jeremiah rush in to save a couple from an ongoing renovation that has stalled out for some reason. Usually because home renovation can become a money-pit, but in some cases because couples can’t agree on a vision or because they are stymied by indecision or too many small decisions. (Oh, how I can relate.) They work with a small budget the couple has, call in some favors and deliver a stunning reno that works for the family.
I feel like the show is missing a key element, in that at least a couple of the episodes it was clear that one or both of the couple could use some therapy work around what was stalling their renovation. One woman refused to step foot in her kitchen because it was too dirty with other people’s germs even after her husband hired three cleaning crews, and her husband and daughters ate their meals separate from her. A home renovation is only relieving a symptom but isn’t going to address the cause. This show is beautiful design work and a great reminder to me to do my self work so that I don’t let my perfectionism get out of control and grind my life to a halt!
Like many design shows we get pieces of their home life. Nate and Jeremiah, gay dads worried about pre school admissions just like other upper middle class families I see on TV!
But instead of streaming I grabbed a book and put on some Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. And instead of reading I started daydreaming (this is why I am such a slow reader). I was thinking about what home means, especially what it means to me these days.
I had an incredible experience at the Queer and Trans conference I presented and performed at Swarthmore College last weekend. (More on that later.) There was a workshop given by Mia Mingus and Stacy Milbern that has totally reshaped how I think about home. They have a blog about their experience moving together from different locations in the South to their new shared home in Berkeley, CA. They are two queer disabled diasporic Korean women of color and there is an incredible amount of thought and intention behind their home and their shared values. In addition to an incredible primer on dis/ability justice, what it means to create truly accessible space, crossing the boundaries between different kinds of dis/ability, they also showed us in a truly intimate setting--their home--how they are re-imagining how they and the collective “we” support liberation.
I'm a total crafter and I also totally adore the holidays (my birthday is Christmas Eve; I love all things glitter and sparkly). Since I am a deck the halls as much as possible person and I decided that after the really difficult year I had that I was going to go as all out as possible I encouraged Dara to get a menorah for Hanukkah so we could represent her cultural heritage in our holiday melee.
We spent a good amount of time looking online for a really cool menorah, even googling "awesome menorah" to see what came up. I saw a pez dispenser menorah and told her I could easily craft it for her. And so, the Awesome 80s Menorah began.
Along comes my friend Elisabeth, who pitches herself as an organizational top and volunteered to help me sort my new craft area. It was a really incredible process! She was so kind! So many of those TV shows about organization start with someone mean about people's stuff. But Elisabeth was gentle. Between our time together in my craft area and my bathroom I learned a lot about simple steps to home organization from Elisabeth and I wanted to share them with my readers who are not organizationally-inclined.