Sunday NPR Nonsense

This weekend, most of my NPR consumption has been Nora and Delia Ephron-related, which is fine by me. My younger sister is also one of my closest friends and favorite people, and I hope and trust that we’ll continue to be as close as we get older and you know, write fabulous movies together or whatever it is we do. Without further ado, here’s the NPR nonsense for the week.

1. Delia Ephron on her late sister, Nora, and her own work. An old interview, but a good one all the same.

“She was born first, solo. I was born a sister, three years younger. I can only imagine her horror when I turned up. It was the first thing in her life that she had no control over.”

2. Just for fun, Nora plays Not My Job on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

3. Love in Technicolor: Interracial Families on Television -Karen Grigsby Bates

“It’s not just seeing these families that makes them believable, right?” she [USC professor Marcia Dawkins] says. “It’s seeing how they interact with each other every day, what they’re dealing with in society; what possibilities they have, what special challenges they have as a family.”

4. ‘Sports Chaplains’ Bring the Gospel to Olympic Village – Corey Flintoff

“And so it goes — Southern accents meeting Slavic ones in the Olympic village.”

5. A Man, A Plan, A Concept Album About Panama

“From beginning to end, the album tracks the journey of Panama, starting with the Spanish “discovery” of the Pacific Ocean in 1513 — “an event,” [Danilo] Pérez tells NPR’s Arun Rath, “that basically changed the dynamic of the world, how the world connected. You know, Panama became a bridge.””

6. Robert Frost’s Letters Reveal: He Really Cared What Readers Thought – a book review by J. P. O’ Malley

“What I love best in man is definiteness of position. … My God how I adore some people who stand right out in history with distinct meaning.”

7. Wordless News: Trademarking the Cronut – Maria Fabrizio

A trademark was officially registered this week for the sweet pastry that has lured New Yorkers into long lines for months.

May your Sunday be merry and bright, my friends. Get your cronut fix while you still can.

Wait, can we “parody” that? Fair use? Yeah?




In high school, I was the typical bookish, writer-ly choir kid, vehemently opposed to anything on the math department’s hallway and usually found tucked away in a corner somewhere with a book thicker than most textbooks. My senior year, I was all set to take an Advanced Placement Environmental Science course, the only class where I knew I’d be comfortable in my hippie-liberalism. My advisor, however, had other ideas. If you want to take this class, that’s great, he barked, smacking his bubblegum. But you’re going to have to drop choir. Arms crossed and eyebrows up to my forehead, I asked him why. He leaned back in his swivel chair, facing me for the first time in twenty minutes. Choir classes mess with everyone’s schedule. Why do you need to be in the Varsity class? Needless to say, I was miffed. I walked out of the office having made the clear case that my choir class was my most important, and having resigned myself to an Anatomy class.

I didn’t know most of my fellow classmates and dissection enthusiasts. Most of them were future nurses and sports-medicine professionals, and many played varsity sports. Each long black table seated two people comfortably, and I watched in acute nervousness that first afternoon as student after student breezed in and slid in next to an old friend. I had a book. My teacher, Pat, in her last year before retirement, was likely the kindest person I’ve ever met. After the first day of class, I approached the tall former gymnastics coach and quietly explained that I was likely out-of-place, and that I was a little nervous about the class but excited to be there. When she assigned lab partners, she kept me the odd one out- giving me a whole black table to myself, and never asking questions when I spread out my massive volumes of drama and literary criticism in the few minutes before class.

What I learned in Anatomy was this: you never know a good story until it happens to you. I tried to build for myself the perfect senior schedule, and felt angry and cheated for the first few weeks when I realized I’d get no AP credit for my Science class that year. I was given, however, a new favorite teacher and the most beautiful and poetic subject I’ve ever encountered. Human bodies are evidence, pure and certifiable, that there is a power out there greater than all of us. I would sit in class taking notes from Mrs. Hutchens’ vibrant presentations, and suddenly begin drafting poems and short stories about blood processes and ligaments. Anatomy had a greater effect on my writing than any other experience- as evidenced my my highly visceral poetry in a creative writing course a year ago.

Apart from that fabulous teacher- who came to every sporting event and took pictures of her student athletes with her professional camera (she would allow you to go through them and send your favorites to your parents, many of whom couldn’t always be in attendance) and organized field trips and chaperoned dances and listened to me cry over many a lunch period- I met brilliant and wildly inspiring people. The students in that class were unique, funny, and had a desire to learn about bodies to help people. They could explain complicated processes and help me, all while laughing and making me feel right at home as a fish out of water. It was beautiful. I learned how to hold a conversation about football from the boys behind me. I learned that people want to ask about God, but sometimes they’re scared. I met a girl who knew how to French-braid hair and get over a horrible boyfriend. 

That class helped me find my voice. And when I had my Christmas choir concert, guess who came with her expensive and beautiful camera, just for me?

Fifteen. That’s the number of blog post drafts I have sitting in my little WordPress queue. That’s fifteen posts worth of interesting stories, beautiful pictures, and my never-ending adoration of Claire Danes. I haven’t published them because somehow, somewhere, I’m still in the first week of Anatomy. I can’t settle in on a voice just yet.

And I think that’s okay. I think there’s a pressure, especially in the world of blogging and online identity to have the tightest and most consistent voice, all the time. Sometimes, I’d prefer to be a little more human than that. I’m erratic and excited, Elaine-slapping my closet neighbor hard when I learn something new. I like glitter, stickers, and puppies; but I also like dark walls and heavy furniture and the sound of thunder. I want my voice to be able to change and fluctuate, because maybe my voice is just that- a twenty-year-old in constant and delicious flux.

For now, let’s just spread what we love on the table- our books, our cameras, and our words- and live in the moment of not knowing. I think it’s better that way.

This was Valentine’s Day 2012, when all Anatomy students wore red for heart disease awareness. I overdressed. Typical.

527802_3501378370110_113657876_nThis was the day when all Anatomy students had to paint a body system and wear it to school. This was also the day I found out I got into Georgia and flew to Ireland, but that’s a different story.

Sunday NPR Nonsense

Tomorrow marks the first day of class for spring semester. It’s set to rain and snow ALL NIGHT LONG, so here’s to the last hurrah for NPR stories for this week. The image below is of Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy’s first scene together in Evening, which is vastly underrated and is also on Netflix! Also, Hugh Dancy in a hat. Can you even?


1. I Think I am in Friend-Love with You | Comics and interview with artist Yumi Sakugawa

“You really get a thrill when somebody you like or somebody you want to be friends with connects with you. … At least for me, I definitely get excited when people comment or make some sort of connection through online tools. So it definitely comes from an autobiographical place.”

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2. Eating Tea and Other Food Predictions for 2014

“Another study finds we threw out 40 percent of our food last year. Now grocery auctions offer unsold food, and even the former president of Trader Joe’s will open a market selling perfectly good food that’s just past its sell-by date.” 

3. The Year in Charts — Legacy Hits in the Age of Memes

“In the age of YouTube, iTunes and Spotify, the machinery that allows acts to rocket out of nowhere and top the charts has expanded and accelerated; it’s never been easier to become a flash in the pan.”

4. How Media Outlets Sometimes Agree to Agree

“Journalists do have a bias toward conflict — but do they have perfect timing? Can they catch the exact moment whena society agrees that conflicting points of view no longer merit discussion?”

5. Clay Aiken’s Political Reality

“But can the decade-ago reality show darling of pre-pubescent girls and blue-haired grannies, now a disability activist and music veteran, find love among the voters of North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District?”

First, CLAY AIKEN IN CONGRESS MY HEART. I don’t even know how to process this. What’s setting you abuzz this week?

Magazines, Chai, Community, Etc.

By way of introduction this day, I have to say that there’s no feeling quite like coming “back to school” after being away for any length. I’ve done it four times, and it’s never gotten old. This time is especially exciting because I FINALLY organized my desk and my bathroom catch-all drawer (can I just be real with you for a second? I can’t organize anything to save my life- it’s the supplies in the kitchen section of IKEA and Bed Bath and Beyond.  I may just have to do a whole post on that?) and nothing says “New Year!” quite like knowing where your Post-Its are.

I digress! It’s Saturday, and that means I work six hours at a desk with little to do but read. This day is especially exciting because Nellie Magazine made her first-ever appearance today at 11 — making her that cool Californian girl that we all can’t wait to meet for brunch. I came across editor-in-cheif Natalie Borton‘s blog over Christmas break through her former position with Darling Magazine, and I can already tell that Nellie is going to be on heavy, heavy rotation.  It’s a daily magazine and, if it’s anything like Natalie’s blog, will be dealing in all things bright and beautiful.

My word. It’s lovely. Nellie’s contributors are all unique style, wellness, and lifestyle bloggers with beautiful takes on the everyday. I was especially excited to read about a true crowd-pleasing recipe (aspiring vegan, reluctant chef for many), some adorable and actually wearable lip colors pulled together by a style blogger with the cutest hair, and five precious decorating ideas under $5. As a college student, these pieces are gold.  I can’t wait to see what’s next for Nellie and to get to know these contributors even better. Here’s a slice of their mission statement:

“Nellie is a guide to shining brightly in the everyday. We believe that contentment and improvement are not mutually exclusive; that cookies and kale are equally part of a healthy diet; that sleep is just as important as a regular exercise habit; that style is a form of self-expression, not comparison or vanity; that beauty is who we are, not what we look like; and that home is wherever our loved ones are.” 

From a young age, I can remember our house always receiving the most eclectic mix of magazines. We had the standard Parents and Family Fun, but what I remember most is curling up on the couch with an issue of More or Newsweek or Dwell. For a little while, we accidentally received a subscription to Ebony, but that’s a different story. From the time I was eight or nine, magazines have been my favorite way to watch good design and layout at work- there’s just something about the magic of consistent branding and consistently great features that fascinate me (More is my favorite example of this, even though their target demographic is twice my age). The first online magazine I met and loved was Matchbook. At first, I was skeptical about carrying Matchbook on my laptop and phone, foregoing the glossy pages I’d always loved as a geeky middle and high-schooler. What I gained, however, was an even deeper appreciation for the craft of magazine-building, and a broader understanding of what the online communities created by these magazines can do.

I am so, so, excited for Nellie’s launch. There’s so much to be said for the sense of togetherness crafted by a magazine with a persistent presence and well-formed identity. Following Natalie’s voice on her own blog has been such a treat, and I can’t wait to hear more of her and her contributors’ voices soon.

In the same vein as Nellie and their mission statement, community!

My roommates are coming home this weekend (PRAISE GOD), I have a stack of letters waiting to be stuffed with Starbucks gift cards and mailed away, and on Monday, I’ll meet people in my strange-but-beautiful classes for the first time. Over chai concentrate and milk last night, I got to thinking about community and friendship. I am dang lucky. I do a bad job of documenting all that luckiness on social media because it never really occurs to me, but I am darn lucky to be here. Home truly is wherever our loved ones are.

Here’s to home- whether it’s your desk or your deck, your futon or your French doors. Or all four.

Be Like Her

I don’t know about you, but my resolutions are usually either one of two things: dreadfully too involved and specific or dreadfully too vague. This year, I’d like to do something a little differently and make resolutions inspired by my favorite women of the screen and page- most of whom I re-encountered (there has to be a better word for that, but I’m in this French class…) in 2013. 2014, let’s go.

In 2014, I’d like to be brave like Suzy of Moonrise Kingdom.

I’d like to be intentional and comfortable in my style like Margot of The Royal Tenenbaums.


I’d like to be brilliant and dedicated like The West Wing’s Donna Moss.

donna moss

I’d like to be passionate and insistent like Leslie Knope.


I’d like to be witty and creative like Carrie Brownstein.

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I’d like to be beautifully strong like Nora Ephron.

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And for everything else, I have my eyes on these women, portrayed so beautifully in this Bing commercial.

Here’s to hoping that these stick even a fraction of a degree- I know my 2014 will be better off for it if that’s true.

Do you make resolutions? How often do they stick?

NPR Binging, and Other Things That Happen Over Christmas Vacation

This just in: aint no news binge like an NPR binge, ’cause an NPR binge…actually doesn’t stop.

To share what’s been garnering most (all?) of my attention from NPR and beyond recently…

1. Mipsterz and the conversation they’ve started among young Muslims in this nation.

“As Muslims, we are taught that the communal effort to reach out to one another anywhere and everywhere defines who we are. We greet one another saying as-salaam alaikum — peace and blessings onto you always. And we do so, regardless of what you look like or what you choose to wear.”

2. NPR interns go viral- and aren’t they charming?

3. Musical fusion in an unlikely way.

“Some scholars make the argument that Latin music’s roots come from North Africa and Jews originating from around those areas can’t resist. It’s kind of a neat theory: a few seconds of music and clave, and you’ve got instant hip-shaking.”

 4. Relevant for future educators- characters of color and race relations in YA fiction.

5. A new SNL actress? Yes, please!

6. Sesame Street then and now. And boy, it could shock you.

“Oscar seems irredeemably miserable — hypersensitive, sarcastic, misanthropic…”

In other news, this break has been about as glorious as Kerry Washington’s dress. I’ve been working on some Student Government initiatives that I can’t wait to share with everyone and their brother, and the website redesign for the community tutoring service at which I volunteer went famously. I’ve been surgically attached to a bag of chocolate chips and a Nora Ephron movie (or six? No shame) today. Tomorrow, who knows? There’s something to be said for a hot cup of tea and a couple of weeks to reboot.

What do you do to relax after too many sleepless weeks?


Image taken from my Sunday viewing of Heartburn, Ms. Ephron’s classic starring Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, and Stockard Channing. My heart.

We Drink Coffee, A Lot of It.

“We are the girls with anxiety disorders, filled appointment books, five-year plans. We take ourselves very, very seriously. We are the peacemakers, the do-gooders, the givers, the savers. We are on time, overly prepared, well read, and witty, intellectually curious, always moving… We pride ourselves on getting as little sleep as possible and thrive on self-deprivation. We drink coffee, a lot of it. We are on birth control, Prozac, and multivitamins… We are relentless, judgmental with ourselves, and forgiving to others. We never want to be as passive-aggressive as our mothers, never want to marry men as uninspired as our fathers… We are the daughters of the feminists who said, “You can be anything,” and we heard, “You have to be everything.”

— Courtney Martin, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters