Month: October 2014

The TueDo List: New Jeans, Scary Movies and Native American Flair

This week we contemplated jeans. Now it’s time to actually put some on (or not, I guess — we’re not the boss of you) and have a blast this weekend. Our picks: Shop for Denim My best friend gave me a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans recently and I have decided that they are my new must-have staple. I need a backup pair, but unfortunately can’t afford $175 for the new Jen7 Skinny jeans made by the designers of 7 For All Mankind. So, I’m going to skip the mall this weekend and follow all of Susan Linney’s suggestions for finding a lucky-7 bargain online. I’m typically a terrible second-hand shopper, but for this I’ll give it a shot. (And no, you can’t have my best friend.) Celebrate Native American Culture I always feel lucky to live close to the National Museum of the American Indian. This November is National Native American Month, and the museum will be holding a trove of events. This weekend’s offerings are so great that I could pretty much move in for a …

On Loving and Hating Skinny Jeans

When I first heard the term “skinny jeans,” my thought was, “oh great, not-for-me jeans.” I’m not and never have been skinny — or even thin, for that matter. And while I’ll admit that there are times when I’d have liked to weigh less than I have — often for vanity and confidence but more as I’ve gotten older for health and for the joy of my knees not hurting — I’ve never aspired to skinny. I’m not a fan of the word “skinny.” It describes what I perceive as an extreme state, that in many cases even applies to people who don’t have access to enough food. It’s a strange position, to want to look like what skinny connotes to me in fashion terms. There are many people who are skinny not by choice. Seeking it? No thanks. Also, any fashion option marketed as “skinny” probably wasn’t meant for me anyway. The jeans themselves were built for skinny, right? They certainly weren’t intended for the over-size-12 crowd, so I’d just be over here, in …

How a Dresses-Only Girl Learned to Love Jeans

Making grand, public pronouncements is often a surefire way for me to get the universe to tell me exactly how wrong I am. This was the case when I declared that “every day is no pants day” for me in an essay at Refinery29. At the time, I’d purged my closet of all but sweatpants and one pair of extremely comfortable yoga pants that I used to sleep in, after my foray into yoga. I was convinced that my fashion sense and comfort level meant I was strictly a dresses-and-skirts kind of gal, and for the most part, I still am, except for a single pair of jeans I now can’t live without. Here’s the story of my love affair with my $29.99 Old Navy SweetHeart jeans, size 12 short. [pullquote]I learned that feeling comfortable can be its own kind of sexy.[/pullquote] I was merrily going about my skirts-and-dresses life when I decided to volunteer as a dishwasher at a nonprofit restaurant. The job itself was straightforward, except for one requirement: I had to wear …

Everything You Need to Know to Find Your Perfect Jeans

I am a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of gal — always have been, always will be. There’s something so amazing about finding that perfect pair of jeans and breaking them in so they mold perfectly to your shape. I am a denim brand’s ideal customer: I’m loyal and will purchase a sack of the same pair once I find a cut I like. But why — oh God, WHY — is the process to find a pair of jeans so hard? It’s like running the Gauntlet, fraught with perils like bad dressing room lighting, the wrong underwear and branding that simply lies. Also, the cost of denim is bordering on ridiculous. There is no such thing as denim that’s so sumptuous that it merits a price tag over $150. I’m sorry, but no. Also, why is it that our asses are getting larger yet it feels like the pants are cut smaller? I don’t understand this logic, denim brands. We would like to buy your pants, but we have to be able to fit into them first. …

My System: The Four-Pocket Office

Who: Mary Pat Boian, editor of the Lovely County Citizen, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Originally from Denver, Mary Pat visited Eureka in the ’70s, fell in love with the town’s beauty… and the sound of bugs: “The first thing I noticed were the sound of beetles, cicadas, mosquitoes… It’s rich here. There was nothing like this in Denver.” So, she stayed. (I met Mary Pat while I was at a writer’s colony, in Eureka Springs. We chatted about her system over cocktails at Rogue’s Manor.) System: Mary Pat uses her carpenter jeans as her purse or as Mary Pat says, “my office.” Each pocket has a purpose. “I have to buy jeans with decent pockets. I can’t buy girls jeans. These were $12 at Freds.” Her 4-pocket office: 1. Left Front: “I keep my pocket knife there, and my iPhone.” She shows me her slim pocket knife. “I gave this pocket knife to my dad for Christmas and he gave it back to me.” She looks at me dead in the eye, “Never give a gift you don’t …

5 Essential Tips For Buying Designer Jeans on eBay

I’m a denim snob. Jeans are not worth my time if they’re not designer-made. I can spot a fake a mile away and yes, I will give them the stink eye. I love 7 For All Mankind but would not be caught dead in Seven7s (I’ll explain why in a minute). I take my jeans to get professionally hemmed even though I don’t own an iron. The thing is, I don’t have a budget that allows for my most oft worn item of clothing to cost upwards of $250 a pop. And honestly, as much as I love Citizens of Humanity’s skinny jeans, I can’t image ever paying the same amount of money for them as I would for a new phone. Nevertheless, I still get the jeans of my dreams — sometimes for more than half of what they would cost in stores — via that “worldwide garage sale” known as eBay. It’s the best place to buy high-end jeans that are well outside of your price range. But you have to know how …

What My Sons Taught Me About Jeans, Dirt and Patience

I had never heard of A.P.C. jeans before my sons, Nick and Peter — who were 18 and 20 at the time, each requested a pair. The fact that I was unfamiliar with this hip brand is no surprise since I don’t follow fashion and I don’t love to shop. For the similarly uninformed, the mystique of A.P.C. is all about raw denim — in this case, Japanese-woven fabric that has not been washed or distressed in any way. The material is super-stiff, kind of shiny and deeply blue. Most important: Raw denim allows the wearer to personalize his pants to his unique shape, complete with idiosyncratic crotch creases and under-the-butt fade marks. Off we went to the A.P.C. store in Soho, a bare-bones affair that aptly reflects the simplicity of its wares. Nick and Peter each selected a few pairs to try on, at which point hilarity ensued: Imagine two nearly six-foot-tall men trying to squeeze their lower halves into the top of a toothpaste tube. There was major wriggling and tugging and huffing …

My Magical, Hand-Painted Levis

When I was 12 years old, a chic French clothing store opened up right next door to my mom’s first boutique. The owners, from Paris, were impossibly cool and the best dressers I had ever seen. The store was named “Vanilla” and I loved just about every item of clothing in it. One particular vêtement caught my eye — a pair of hand-painted Levi’s jeans. I was smitten. The jeans were a baby blue shade with two large, bold images painted on each thigh. One leg had a floral bouquet and the other the face of a woman. By simply adding beautifully drawn hand-painted images, they went from reliable staple to fashion statement, as well as a marker of self-identification. Each pair in the store was unique – just like their future owners. And they looked impossibly cool in the window paired with a black blouse and heels. I was smitten. These jeans represented everything that I wanted to be at the time: sophisticated yet a bit hippie, polished but not uptight, approachable, and cool, …

Gloria, Calvin, Earl and Not Me: On Being a Denim Disaster

I hate jeans. I have hated jeans since, like, forever. This may be an unpopular opinion, perhaps almost un-American. But jeans almost never look good on me, and I dread the days I have to wear them. Which, if you work in the new media world in New York now, is pretty much every day. Instead, I do my best to get away with the cute dresses I love and, in the winter (if I have to) black pants. But you only have to look around a meeting once to see who, among all those young denim-clad cool girls, comes off looking more like their Sunday-best-dressed aunt. If forced, I can don a pair of Gap legging jeans (weekends or anytime we go outside of New York). But I have to tell myself they are leggings in order for me to get out the door, confidence somewhat intact. Why are jeans are so unflattering on me? I’d love for a fit specialist to explain it. I suspect it’s a combination of short legs, long torso, …

Margit’s Note: Jean Genie

I know you have one, too. An under-the-bed plastic bin stuffed with several pairs of jeans that for one reason or another are not in regular rotation. My bin includes: two that are three sizes too small; one or two that are a full size too big; one that has a giant tear that I imagine I’ll sew up some day (yeah, right); a pair of hot red rock-and-roll skinny jeans from my Rockula days; and a pair of dusty blue overalls that every time I look at make me feel sentimental for the Daisy-Age ‘80s. When I really think about it, will I ever wear any of these again? Probably not. (Although hold up, wait a minute.) But for some reason it’s really hard to get rid of a pair of once beloved jeans. Why do we have such a love affair with le blue? It’s the American staple, works in every scenario from a party to a weekend to on-the-job — at least one day a week. A global report on denim jeans …

The TueDo List: Get Spooky, Organize Your Life and Prepare for Day of the Dead

Lists. We make them, we need them, we love them, we hate them. Here is a list of some fun things to do, read and buy this weekend. And more lists — some of them even about lists— in case you aren’t full up. Halloween Adventure List It’s the last weekend before All Hallow’s Eve, so the main events in most locations will involve pumpkins, costumes, ghosts and that most important component of the holiday — sugar. Finding the fun in your town is an internet search away, but there are some highlights. Baltimore has one of the coolest lists of Halloween events I’ve found, as befits a city known for its famous son, Edgar Allen Poe. Time Out Los Angeles will hook you up out there. and if I could go anywhere, I’d pick the 41st annual Village Halloween Parade in NYC (Whoopi Goldberg is this year’s grand marshal). Wherever you are, we know you can find something fun, even if it’s mini-Snickers and a movie at home, because that sounds really fun to …

This is the Broken Glass: Flotsam of a Breakup

There are crazy things your mind does to you after a breakup. You associate every single item and smell and taste and feel that you saw, held, smelled, tasted, experienced together as a reminder. A killing, crushing reminder of him. I walk through my house alone now. Memories flow from every painting, candle and bottle of perfume. It all feels ruined. I itemize: He brought me this art, a picture of tribal lovers. We bought this couch together, on St. Patrick’s — a rare daytime date. He was with me when I brought the dog home. She loved him. This freezer made the ice cubes for our martinis. We sprinkled this volcanic black salt on fresh avocados in the summertime. We ate cheese and tomatoes and pork chops at this table. We laughed. We cooked out of this cookbook. Barefoot Contessa. This kettle made his tea in the morning. Here, is the tea he drank. He always liked this nail polish on me. It’s called Heartbreaker. I made space in this drawer for him. I packed up …

The Thrill Isn’t Gone: Learning Guitar in My 40s

Like most of us, I’ve always kept a list of goals and ambitions in my head. When I was 10, I wanted a pony and an Academy Award. So much for that. But some of the items on my list now have a check mark beside them (get published, visit England), and as for the others, well… my garden is almost ready for its close-up, Sunset Magazine. Those are the dreams I’ve admitted to, when asked. But I also keep a second list, double-padlocked and held close to the heart, of dreams that are too private to divulge, for fear of being laughed at, or worse, being expected to follow through. For most of my life, the same dream sat at the top of my super-secret to-do list: Learn how to play the guitar. It seems like a perfectly mundane goal, well within reach, unlike that Palomino I was going to keep in the driveway. But I couldn’t make myself speak my guitar obsession aloud, let alone actually do something about it. Whenever I had …

Front to Backlist

Two Veddy British Books That List Lists

Say it with me: “Listicle.” We all know, from our BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog and Reddit perusals, that articles consisting of lists are pop-u-lar (quick, someone make a list of top 10 Broadway show tunes referenced in web ledes!). We also know that just because something is easy to read doesn’t mean it was easy to compile. This week, we offer two “lists of lists” with the strong flavor of a good cup of builder’s tea.   Frontlist: National Geographic London Book of Lists Even one of the world’s most venerable institutions, The National Geographic Society, has been drawn in to the list trend. Its newest title, National Geographic’s London Book of Lists: The City’s Best, Worst, Oldest, Greatest, and Quirkiest by Tim Jepson and Larry Porges, proves Dr. Samuel Johnson’s remark “When one is tired of London, one is tired of life.” England’s capital city teems with people, history, culture, and ideas, and lots of those have made their way onto one or more of these pages. You might be a past or future traveler …

18 Reasons I Love Lists — And You Should Too

Like the headline says, I love lists. And obviously you do too, otherwise you wouldn’t click all those bulleted, “34 Reasons Why Dennis Quaid is the Hottest Movie DILF Ever” listicles. (Yes that’s a real one. With math behind it.) When I can’t sleep, I make mental lists. I craft acronyms in the shower to remember my tasks. FLAD = Feed cat; Laundry; AT&T bill; make that Dentist appointment. While subway riding over the Manhattan Bridge I make lists on my phone. The thing is, I really love keeping lists everywhere. This has nothing to do with being organized. I have approximately 13 to-do lists going at any one time, across several different platforms. You think I’m kidding. 7 Ways I Am Not Kidding: A few Word docs variously titled ToDo, ToDo-NOW! An Excel spreadsheet where I attempt to organize my life in tabs A Google doc that’s a variation of that sheet, but accessible cloud-style An iPhone Notes list that I usually craft on said subway ride Voice-activated emails to myself as I walk down …

Why I’m Thinking of Trashing My To-Do List

I’ve always got a to-do list going. Occasionally that list is in the “Fresh” stage, when most of the items have been recently added. Sometimes, roughly half of the items are checked off, with the rest awaiting completion – I call that the “In Progress” stage. But most often, my list is in the “Can’t-Stand-to-Look-at-It” stage, where the tasks that remain glaringly undone remind me of failings both large and small. One such task that lives on every list I’ve compiled over the past six months is “Get Direct TV.” It’s a concise and seemingly benign line item, yet its simplicity belies the pain-in-the-ass job that it actually is. [pullquote]Because of the smart phone, no place is sacred or safe from the tyranny of the list. Sitting on the toilet, I type “Almond Butter” into the subject line so I remember that we’re out of it.[/pullquote] Instead of “Get Direct TV,” the phrase should really read: “Do a competitive analysis of all TV/internet/phone service providers in my area by calling each company; spend 23 minutes …

Susan’s Beauty Wish List for Fall

Honestly, the only lists I make are about beauty products. Specifically, the ones I want NOW. Autumn is such a great time of year — it’s cool but not uncomfortably so (leather jackets!), you can switch out your flip-flops for fall boots (I would sell my soul for THESE) and you can wear a little more makeup, without the fear that it will melt off under the sun. This is my current beauty wish list for the upcoming two months. 1. Red Lipstick. Fall is the only time I feel comfortable wearing a true red lip. Lipstick Queen Silver Screen Lipstick in Have Paris, $50 (If I splurge), Rimmel Moisure Renew Lipstick in Diva Red, $7 2. Red Nail Polish. I tried this color when getting a manicure last week for the TueNight party. Now I need a bottle at home! Essie Nail Polish in Jump in My Jumpsuit, $9 3. A New Blur Cream. Right now I’m obsessed with blur creams. They give your skin a filtered, “blurry” look — similar to how you appear in Instagram …

My System: One Blackboard to Rule Them All

Who: Adrianna Dufay, founding member of TueNight  System: My family uses a huge (4′ x 6′) blackboard on our kitchen wall that holds our weekly family calendar, nightly dinner reminders, grocery list, general to-do list and notes passed back and forth. Inspiration: My husband and I both work full time, have lots of evening events and have two kids in two different schools. We’ve experimented with different calendars for years now — online or not, separate or together, paper or write-erase, monthly or weekly— and this is the system that has inspired the most calm. How it works: On Saturday morning, we turn on cartoons in the other room and banish the children. Then we pour ourselves some coffee and dump everything from our shared electronic calendar (and anything else we forgot) onto the board. As we talk through the next week, we’re writing our to-do list on one side of the board and groceries on the other. How long it takes: It takes about an hour, but when we’re done with that, we’re ready for the week. My …

Margit’s Note: Your Kiss Is On My List

Buy paper towels. Send this post to best friend who should totally be reading TueNight. Read local voters guide to prep for important November 4 midterm election. Buy Ruby Jon apples and Concord grapes cause they’re in season and yummy. (Thanks for the tip Kim O). Plan Halloween costume. Sexy lobster? Better than this. Go sob in yoga class. Read Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham so not stuck with nothing to say at work drinks. Pour a glass of wine, submit photo of most recent meltdown to reasonsmysoniscrying.com. NSFW version: Pour a glass of wine, look at the 15 Best High Heels for Your Penis. Because you need to know. Buy TueNight book as stocking stuffer for your sister. Don’t do anything until October 25 when Mercury is out of retrograde. For now, just make lists. 🙂 This week, we list it out: Rachel Simons shares her list on a mirror. Adrianna Dufay shares it on a blackboard. Amy Barr ditches her to-do list. While I embrace mine. Susan Linney lists her fall beauty picks. Joyce Millman …

Hey It’s Our First Birthday Party! PHOTOS

Last Tuesday (of course) we noshed, drank and reveled to celebrate one year of TueNight. And without further ado, here are a few photos…. The event was held at the beautiful Park Avenue South WeWork in New York City, last Tuesday, October 7. Adrianna hand screen-printed some goodie bag totes for the occasion (sleeves rolled, that one.)   Nearly 100 women (and a few dudes) attended, including TueNight contributors Kathleen Warner, Cherisse Gardner and actor Chantal Jean-Pierre.   The founders of BinderCon — Leigh Stein (l) and Lux Alptraum. We learned Lux was a roller derby goddess; we think she’d like this story.   Erin Vilardi (center) from Run Vote Lead might just be asking a woman to run on the spot!   Tattly made us adorable temporary tattoos for the occasion that say “Tales to Tell” (cause we have ’em.)   Adrianna (l) joins editors (and TueNight contributor) Lauren Young and Cassandra Garrison of Reuters.   Chantal Jean-Pierre ended the evening’s readings with Cherisse Gardner’s piece, The Day I Cut My Hair, I Lost More Than Locks. Nary a …

The #BinderCon Reading List: Sites, Books and Apps

If you’re a writer — or a woman who loves writing — you might have heard about last weekend’s “BinderCon,” a conference for women writers, spawned from a similarly-intentioned, semi-secret women writer’s group on Facebook. The name? Reclaimed from the Mitt Romney comment during the 2012 election, “they brought us whole binders full of women.” Put together in only three months (unbelievable chutzpah) by Leigh Stein and Lux Alptraum, along with many volunteers, the conference included crush-worthy literary and journalistic luminaries like Anna Holmes, Dodai Stewart, Jenna Wortham, Jill Abramson, Leslie Jamison, and many more. In multiple conversations and panels, I felt happily inundated by book, site and app suggestions, so I, of course, wanted to make a list. This is by no means complete, but a few great recommendations from an esteemed group of women. Books Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay If you’re reading this site, we probably don’t have to tell you about Gay’s collection of witty, insightful essays, but Gay’s name/ book was invoked in nearly every single talk during the weekend. On iTunes …

Margit’s Note: Thank You

Hello to part two of our birthday celebration! TueNight officially turned one this year and last Tuesday we celebrated with readings, nosh and cocktails in NYC, along with nearly 100 women. (And we’ve got the photos to prove it.) Hearing our stories read aloud was powerful and, for me, quite emotional. We enlisted real actors to read and bring our stories to life. There were few eye-dabbers when actress Chantal Jean-Pierre read Cherisse Gardner’s “The Day I Cut My Hair, I Lost More Than Locks.” This week we’re sharing a few of those stories in our second Best Of series. What started as a concept early last year, to tell the stories of women hitting that midlife pivot, was realized with the help of founding team Kat Borosky, Susan Linney, Adrianna Dufay and 50-plus amazing writers. Independently created by all of us with other jobs on the side, we’ve been bootstrapping it all the way. I couldn’t be prouder of the work our tiny team has accomplished. What’s in store for the next year? Well, we’re …

Buy Our Best-Of Book!

Here at TueNight, we believe age is something to celebrate. So in honor of our first year, we’ve created a “Best of” paperback book on Blurb.com. It’s filled with 13 of our favorite pieces, along with brand new illustrations that have never before been published.  It’s our way of saying thank you to our fans and collaborators, and to harness the spirit of Year One in a package that we can hold. There’s nothing like print, after all. Buying the book is also a great way to support the site. It costs just $10 and will help us continue to share our stories with you — in all kinds of new and exciting ways! A little sneak peak:

Margit’s Note: It’s Our Birthday, It’s Our Birthday!

And we’re celebrating with this issue!* Why did we start TueNight way back in ye olde 2013? Simply put: There wasn’t a women’s website or magazine that truly spoke our language. Now in our 40s, we couldn’t find anything that wasn’t scolding us to dye our grays, cover pesky age spots or assumed that life was slowing down. The women we know are a hell of a lot more dynamic. Our similarly aged friends are traveling the world, starting new relationships, running businesses, going to concerts (does anyone say concerts anymore?), caring for kids (or not), choosing to slow down. And with that lifelong experience, there are many stories to be told, ideas to explore. As we like to say, “You, Part Two.” As you know if you’re a faithful reader, TueNight’s stories are organized by weekly themes — from Tears to Wife to Sport to Power to Tribes — and they’re inspired by the conversations we’re already having with our friends. We chose the following pieces because they truly reflect the hilarity, diversity and …

The TueDo List: Make Cake, Party, Imagine

It’s been an exhilarating week of celebrating TueNight’s first birthday. We got to take our festivities offline for the party we threw at We Work Park South in New York City. It was so much fun and filled with so many wonderful women. We see no reason to stop celebrating, especially since the weekend is here. So go ahead, be the girls with the most cake. We plan to. Eat (and Make) Cake I’ve always said I’m a decent cook and not a baker, so the Piping Perfection cake decorating class at L’Academie de Cuisine here in the D.C .suburbs would be good for me to try. My sister got me a gift certificate for one of their classes, which is a fantastic gift for the wannabe baker in your own life. If you live elsewhere, you can try the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC, the San Francisco Cooking School, the Chopping Block in Chicago or the Seasoned Farmhouse in Clintonville, Ohio. (Their Dia de los Muertos event sounds amazing.) Party On The party …

The TueNight Birthday Collection on GREAT.LY

As you may already know, TueNight has turned one! We’re celebrating in full force, and giving back to our readers with this Birthday Collection on GREAT.LY. We’ve filled it with things we love that also reflect our personality as we grow. Our collection is a celebration of awesome at any age — some of our favorite pieces from older collections and brand new picks. Shop this special section from today until October 14th and receive free shipping on any order! Here are just a few of the b-day goodies on offer: Dear New York, I Love You Recycled Cotton Tote Bag, $26 Hot Pink Brush Stroke Coasters, set of 4, $30  Jolie Leather Handbag, $155 Hashtag Necklace, $75

The Best Happy, Healthy-ish Birthday Cake Ever

Happy Birthday, TueNight! You’ve made it through year one, which in web years is a mighty accomplishment. Your birthday celebration would be incomplete without cake. To get this party started, I’m sharing a recipe from the KOD vault that has figured into sundry momentous occasions over the years. [pullquote]“The Bundt is an emblem of kinder, gentler times, when school bake sales were legal and somebody’s mother would cut one into hunks and call it “coffee cake.”[/pullquote] Break out that Bundt pan that’s been collecting dust; you’re going to need it (and if you live in a Bundt-free zone, you can pick up one secondhand at your neighborhood thrift shop for just a few bucks). For newbies, a Bundt pan is deep and round with lots of ridges but best defined by its middle chimney which leaves a hole in the center of a cake. The Bundt is an emblem of kinder, gentler times, when school bake sales were legal and somebody’s mother would cut one into hunks and call it “coffee cake.” It might have …

The TueDo List: Gone Girl, Power Pop and Powerful Candles

When Power (with a capital “P”) is misdirected, things don’t always go so well. But when channeled correctly, Power can change the world. Let’s use our powers for good this weekend. Gone Girl the Movie I have never read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which is one of those books you don’t want to tell people you’ve never read, because then you have to hear all about how amazing it is. But now that it’s also a movie — one that’s getting good critical buzz — I feel relieved. Opening today, Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. It was adapted for the screen by Flynn, who made writing the screenplay part of the deal when the film rights were optioned. (Hail to the power of negotiation.) This agreement has paid off for the author — Flynn is now writing for director David Fincher’s new HBO series Utopia. We’ll take a wider reach for a woman in Hollywood any day. Listen Up If you like thrillers of the real-life variety, Serial, a podcast from the creators of This American …