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On a High Note: Vol 10

Anddd we’re back! How was your weekend? I know it was a heavy one in the news (not that that’s anything new), but I hope you were able to find some time to relax and recharge. ????

“Getting back to normal” is not the appropriate phrase to use here–but perhaps “moving forward” is a better one as it pertains to finding our new groove in terms of content here on the blog. So today, we’re back, and moving forward. 

As you’ve noticed, I’ve taken quite a bit of time off blog posts in particular (aside from this one), as I’ve been prioritizing educating myself, reading, listening and reflecting, as hopefully, you’ve been doing as well. I’ve been really thankful for the many conversations we’ve been having over DM.

The one word I keep hearing over and over again: “Exhausted.” I know many of us are exhausted. I’m with you. (But also a reminder to my white readers–think about how emotionally exhausted you’d be if you’d been dealing with this first hand your whole life, if you couldn’t just “close your feed” and “take a break” for a while! This exhaustion is such a small fraction of what our Black friends feel. Perspective is always very important!)

Here’s the good news:

I know things are heavy, but right now, I think white people should be feeling exhausted! If you are, it means we’re doing something right. That we’re committed and doing the right work. Let’s keep that momentum going! 

At the same time, I think it’s important that everyone find moments of joy and laughter, too! We can’t commit to fighting longterm if we’re all pouring from empty cups. That being said, I thought, this being Monday and all, pressing “unpause” with “On a High Note” just felt like a no-brainer! It’s our TENTH edition. Wow!

As always, I hope this little round-up allows you to kick your week off with some hope, joy, and positivity! Let’s jump in. 

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

I started and finished this book this past week! It was a little slow starting out for me (so keep going!) but I ended up finishing it in just a few sittings! (Thanks, as always, to Grace for the recco!) This is not what I would describe as an “easy” read. It’s one that will make you do a lot of reflecting and thinking long after you’ve finished it! A BEAUTIFULLY written page-turner. 

Here’s the description from! 

From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.

Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.

What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. 

Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

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Major reforms that have happened since George Floyd’s death (AXIOS) 

artwork by @TheFive15 + The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

Love this artwork by @TheFive15

It’s easy to feel hopeless right now because the challenge ahead is so big, but I also think it’s important to reflect on what has been accomplished in just a short amount of time. To not lose sight of the GOOD NEWS. This Axios article rounds up some of the reforms made since George Floyd’s death shook the world and it gave me a lot of hope. This is proof that our voices matter–that change is possible and in our hands. Let’s use this hope to keep fueling the fire! ✊????✊????✊????✊????✊????

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Buy From BIPOC

Buy from BIPOC, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

@BuyFromBIPOC is a fantastic Instagram account to follow, and their brand directory on their website is also an amazing go-to when you’re in the shopping mood! I’m so thankful they introduced me to Zou Xou shoes, a black woman-owned shoe brand that focuses on small-batch, ethically-made, practical but beautiful shoes! I just ordered this pair–the sandals you see above and will report back as soon as they arrive! 

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I’m so thankful that so many of you sent me this amazing account! If you’re a huge TJ’s lovers like myself, @BlackGirlsinTraderJoes will be a must-follow for you too. Friends Dee and Lo share some awesome hacks and recipes, like this TJ’s Dragonfruit Lemonade hack. YUM. Dee is also a mom, so she shares some helpful tips for cooking for kiddos that I know the mamas out there will appreciate! 

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RomCom Pods! 

RomCom Pods! 

My friend Becca (of Bad on Paper podcast!) launched a new podcast called RomCom Pods! The idea of a scripted, non-fiction romantic comedy podcast was a totally new concept to me and I think it’s absolutely genius. This is like your favorite RomCom guilty pleasure show or movie, but in listening form–so it’s way more convenient than watching a show, haha!

One reviewer said, “Nancy Meyers would be proud!” and another likened it to your favorite Hallmark RomCom in podcast form!

I’m excited to listen to the second episode this morning! If you spent any amount of your twenties in Chicago you will also appreciate the references in the first episode. ???? (Trader Todd’s karaoke!) 

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Conference Call Walks 

Conference Call Walks 

Not a revolutionary suggestion, but a good reminder!

I haven’t exactly been focusing on doing a ton of things that bring me joy over the past couple weeks. You too? This week I’m committed to getting outside more, which is something small and doable that always makes me happy!

One easy way to do that is to commit to taking conference calls or meetings while walking–which I’m about to do right as I hit publish on this post. ???? Will you join me?