5 Random Things: August

August is flying by so quickly that I almost forgot my favorite post of the month! But here we are with a few days to spare. Phew… As the summer winds down, I’m trying to spend my time focusing on enjoying every last drop and trying to not think too much about the fact that fall/winter/the election/flu season are quickly approaching.

Amalia goes back to daycare full-time later this week which I’m both excited and nervous for but her school has put almost overwhelming precautions into place and we’ll be taking things day by day which is all that anyone can do at this point I think.

One of the most exciting updates of my month was that I had a call with the Biden campaign to talk about how I can help by using my voice. I learned that his campaign staff is incredibly smart and thinking outside of the box which gives me hope for November.

The other thing I’m very proud to finally share is that I’ve been working with TEAM Westport and a very open-minded member of the Westport Planning & Zoning committee along with some incredible local high school graduates to throw an event later this week (live tickets are sold out but you can still join streaming) about why our town is so white (it’s not an accident) and what you can do about it. It will not only be incredibly informative, but you’ll leave with action steps that you can take to make a difference.

The two main topics that will be covered are affordable housing and racism in our schools. For anyone local who is reading this, I hope you will join us either in-person or streaming.

What I’m reading and watching

Books – I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austen Channing Brown: I finished this memoir in 3 nights and could not put it down which is rare for me with non-fiction. It was short but incredibly impactful. The author shares her story of growing up and working as a Black woman in a career that has been predominantly white. What I loved about it was that she shares her personal experiences in a beautifully raw way.

This quote sums up a lot of what she discusses:

“If Black people are dying in the street, we must consult with white feelings before naming the evils of police brutality. If white family members are being racist, we must take Grandpa’s feelings into account before we proclaim our objections to such speech. If an organization’s policies are discriminatory and harmful, that can only be corrected if we can ensure white people won’t feel bad about the change. White fragility protects whiteness and forces Black people to fend for themselves.”

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I’m halfway through this novel and while it’s not a page-turner and can be slow at times, it’s overall a great book with incredible character development and has taught me even more about race in our country through the eyes of an African immigrant. It also has a beautiful love story which is never a bad thing, IMO. Americanah is the story of a woman, Ifemelu, who leaves her home in Nigeria to study in the United States and her ex-boyfriend, Obinze who leaves for London to start a new life as well.

TV Shows Ted Lasso: Anel and I were looking for something light and funny and binged the entire first season of Ted Lasso in a night. It’s short, sweet, and heartwarming… And I love Jason Sudeikis even more now as if that were even possible. He plays Ted Lasso, an American football coach who is hired to coach a soccer team in the UK despite the fact that he knows almost nothing about soccer. While it’s (somewhat) predictable, it will make you smile and laugh. And that’s something I think we could all use right now.

Documentary Boys State (Apple+): Although I haven’t finished it yet, Boys State is a very entertaining Apple documentary that follows a group of 1000 high school boys in Texas as they hold a weeklong state government simulation. I had no idea but this event happens yearly in every state and yes they have one for girls as well. The cameras follow 4 boys in particular who are charismatic, outspoken, and, well, politicians at a very young age.

5 Things I’m Loving

1. Work from home playlist: I love listening to music but always have a hard time focusing on work (unless it’s mindless) with music playing so I often work in total silence. But then Headspace made John Legend their “Chief Music Officer” and shared a playlist he created specifically to help you focus and it’s pure gold. I also love their  Lo-Fi Times focus playlist which simultaneously calms me and keeps me motivated. Headspace has an entire focus section that they specifically created for those of us working from home and while I haven’t explored all of it, the playlists have been really helpful.

On another Headspace note, I tried the Goodnight Body with Elmo meditation (3 mins) with Amalia the other night and it really helped her calm down before bed.

Transparency note: I worked with Headspace on a collaboration at the beginning of the year but my contract with them has ended. I still love, use and support the app!

2. Native Union weighted phone charger: I bought this phone charger as a stocking stuffer for Anel a few years ago and always put it on my gift guide for men. But when my phone charger kept slipping behind the nightstand, I finally bought one for myself. It’s nice and long and the weighted knot keeps it in place so you don’t have to bend down and fish around for your charger on the ground. It’s the little things these days, I tell ya.

3. Tuckernuck tiered striped dress: I bought this dress (pictured above) to wear to my sister’s upcoming socially distanced baby shower and couldn’t resist wearing it before the event. It is perfection. I’m pretty sure I’m going to copy this entire look for the shower with my pink espadrilles and these raffia earrings that I found on Amazon for $10.

Someone told me I looked like a coastal ballerina in this photo and it was just about the best compliment I’ve ever received.

4. Our new nightstands: I have definitely overshared these on my IG stories but I’m head over heels for our new nightstands. If you remember, we’re in the process of decorating our bedroom and the nightstands were the first thing to arrive. My friend and designer, Dana, found these beautiful oak dressers from the One Kings Lane x Bed Bath and Beyond collection that she thought would look great as oversized nightstands. She wasn’t wrong! They’re not my usual style but I just adore them. I got a lot of questions about quality when I first posted them and I’ll say again that I’m truly impressed.

If you like the style, but want something smaller, the same collection features actual nightstands that are also very pretty.

5. Olive & June nail kit: My friend Ailsa sent me their Studio Box when she saw me hemming and hawing over getting a manicure on my IG stories. I’ve never been able to successfully give myself an at-home many until this kit. The whole set up start to finish is great but the MVP is the Poppy which can be attached to any nail polish bottle to make painting your nails 10x easier. CCT is my personal favorite shade of polish from Olive & June. It’s similar to Essie Ballet Slippers which has been my go-to for as long as I can remember.

What is one thing you’re loving this month?

Photo by Julia Dags.

Comments

  1. Tabitha said:

    I went to Girls State when I was in highschool (early 2000’s), and it was so sexist at the time. They made the girls group learn and sign songs while the boys were having mock proceedings. I wonder if it has changed at all.

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Wow that is so sad. No idea if it’s changed.

      8.27.20 · Reply
  2. My husband and I are officially house hunting! It’s exciting and not super stressful because we have a longer timeline which has been wonderful. We’re looking in Fairfield and Trumbull and I know they are mostly white towns so following what you’ve been doing locally has been such an inspiration to me. Once we move, I plan to get more involved in my town, like you are doing, to help combat systemic racism. Thank you for being an inspiration!!

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Congratulations! Such an exciting time. Thank you for saying that and good luck in your house hunt.

      8.27.20 · Reply
  3. Lillie said:

    That is so cool that there is a documentary about Boys State. My son attended last year in South Carolina, and he says it was the best week of his life. It is a huge honor to be selected where we live. We dropped him off at college for the first time last week, and my biggest worry has been that without a tradional freshman orientation and a roommate he would be lonely. It has been quite the opposite, and now that I think about it that week at Palmetto Boys State is probably a huge part of his confidence.

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That is so sweet!

      8.27.20 · Reply
  4. Libby said:

    Oh my goodness, a call with the Biden Campaign sounds like a dream! Very excited to see more on this, and maybe on some more actionable steps for making a change in November! This is exciting, Julia!! and yes, you look like a coastal ballerina, and I feel like that is now #goals 🙂

    Libby

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I hope I can share more soon!

      8.27.20 · Reply
  5. Ashley said:

    Has it ever occurred to you and Eva that Westport is happy to stay white?? If you are so “woke”, why don’t you both move to the ghetto?? I’m sure you’ll be met with open arms!!

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      If everyone who wanted to make a change left the towns as white as ours then changes will never happen. And the lack of diversity and prejudice in these towns will continue for generations. And I don’t know about you but instead of running away from problems in my community, I prefer to tackle them head-on. And PS at this point, if you aren’t at least slightly woke about racial injustices, that is an issue.

      8.24.20 · Reply
      • Mary A. said:

        Go Julia! So inspired by your willingness to learn and grow. We need more like you! Cheers from Richmond, VA.

        8.26.20 · Reply
  6. Caroline said:

    Re: your Biden call and your voting post. I know you shared votesaveamerica.com as a resource. They have “adopt a state” so people in a deep blue or red state can still make a difference in a swing state. Great resource!

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Caroline said:

      In terms of what I love this month: Pose! I know this is not a new show, but I hadn’t watched it and finally started. So good!

      8.25.20 · Reply
  7. Carrie said:

    So, in general, I kind of dislike when bloggers/influencers share political views because for most, it isn’t their “line of knowledge,” just an opinion. But I have to say, it says SO much about you that you’ve talked with Biden’s campaign. Very cool! I appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the time to educate yourself straight from the source.

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks, Carrie! Means a lot to hear this.

      8.27.20 · Reply
  8. Erica said:

    My son is 5 and loves to do one of the Sesame Street meditations every night before bed. It’s a habit I’m happy to do with him!

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      They’re so cute and I love how into them she gets. I hope it sticks as a regular thing over here too.

      8.27.20 · Reply
  9. Kelly said:

    Love that striped dress and just may need it for our upcoming socially distanced Kentucky Derby party! What size are you wearing/would you say it is TTS? Never tried anything from that brand before!

    Thanks 🙂

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’m wearing a small but it runs a little big! I think it’s supposed to be slightly oversized though.

      8.27.20 · Reply
  10. Hayley said:

    What a lovely list of things! I adore that dress, I’m so impressed by your political actions, and I’m excited for you that school is opening – I hope it goes well. Have you tried the Bedtime Explorers podcast for Amalia on Spotify? They’re essentially guided meditations for small children, and the presenter has the most wonderfully calming voice. Amelie loves them and they’re so good on nights she has trouble calming down!

    8.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I haven’t but that sounds right up our alley. We’ll check it out, thanks for the tip!

      8.27.20 · Reply
  11. Love your outfit in this post! Also want to check out the work from home playlist. I prefer silence but if there is music that will help me concentrate then I’m all for it.

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams 

    8.26.20 · Reply
  12. Kristin said:

    Hi Julia – your update regarding activism (which is awesome to hear) reminded me of a question that’s been brewing for me for bloggers. It might sound like a criticism and I want to be VERY clear that I do not mean it that way. It’s just something I’ve noticed:

    After Blackout Day on June 2 do almost no bloggers feature activism posts (particularly BLM) in Instagram feeds?

    I do see it a lot in Stories and certainly that’s a good place to promote, discuss, etc. But Stories aren’t permanent – so if you looked at feeds, it seems like the movement was almost one-and-done after the Blackout Day. On your feed, you have one post right after Blackout about supporting black-owned companies and nothing else. But you do have at least 15 beach photos. (And please know I am NOT critical at all of your beach photos! I fully believe you should enjoy it.)

    It kind comes off to me as no one wants to “ruin” (that’s not the right word but for lack of a better one) their beautiful curated feeds. And that just seems so against what this whole movement is about. And it is great to talk about it on blogs (which personally I much prefer blog posts to IG) but many have said that IG is where the bulk of followers are, not to mention monetary opportunities.

    Can you shed some light on this and the thought process behind your feed? Maybe I am way off but it’s just been surprising after everyone made all these promises in June. Thanks so much!

    8.26.20 · Reply
    • Shar said:

      Stories get more engagement than posts because they’re more visible/require less work to like. Even non-influencers will probably notice that their stories get more views than their posts will get likes. It’s a better way to expose information.

      Also, business IG accounts with thousands of followers can directly link to websites on their stories. Having to say “click on link in bio” on a post adds a layer of friction that people won’t do.

      8.26.20 · Reply
      • Julia said:

        Shar, you are correct as well! My feed posts get wayyyy less interaction than my stories.

        8.27.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That is a really interesting question and while I can’t answer for anyone else, I can give you my own perspective. In general, I post about politics, activism, and more “important” topics in my stories instead of in my feed. It’s always been that way and you got me thinking about why. I think it’s because of the backlash, I tend to get less backlash via DM then via comments on posts. People get bold when they see others doing it and feed comments are public in this way. 

      The same goes for blog posts. If I don’t publish the first nasty comment, more don’t usually follow. It’s people feeding off of each other.

      After my BLM posts, I posted about segregation in Connecticut beaches (one of the beach photos!) and it started a whole back and forth between people arguing both sides which, I’d say is normally good, but when women start being nasty to each other on my platform, that crosses a line for me.

      While it’s a selfish answer, I’m protecting my own mental health. But you did get me to realize that so I suppose that should change! Does that make sense?

      8.27.20 · Reply
  13. Helen said:

    Your town does appear to be depressingly homogenous so it’s great to hear that you are trying to make a difference. It does beg the question why anyone would see this place as aspirational in the first instance but it’s always better to learn late than never at all. Good luck.

    8.26.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Agreed. I’m of the mindset that you do the best with the knowledge you have. As I have gained more knowledge, I have realized that I have to do something.

      8.27.20 · Reply
  14. Ashley said:

    I’m so excited to watch the boys state documentary — a lot of states have them and both my husband and I attended Wisconsin’s version while we were in high school.

    The differences between the boys and girls states were really annoying – so I’m interested to see how it is in Texas!

    8.27.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Unfortunately they don’t show anything about the girls state but now I’m so curious to know.

      8.27.20 · Reply