Year: 2015

The Zipper

I read Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying at 19 during my first year of college, around the time my then-boyfriend and I were working together to give me my first orgasm. In the most iconic riff of the novel, protagonist Isadora Wing describes a one-hour trip from Heidelberg to Frankfurt, which she would take four times a week to see her analyst. On the train, she would see beautiful German men and have elaborate sexual fantasies, including one involving an Italian widow and a soldier in a train compartment. She famously called this a “zipless fuck….not because the participants are so devastatingly attractive, but because the incident has all the swift compression of a dream and is seemingly free of all remorse and guilt.” When I set off on a study abroad program in Europe myself a few years later in 1994, I did so with Jong’s zipless fuck in my mind. I would get a Eurail pass, travel alone, and have hot, anonymous sex with a chain-smoking French intellectual. But unfortunately for my scheme, …

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margit

Over the last three years, my body has slowly closed up shop. Four months between periods, then six, then almost a full year. So, I guess we’re done here. It’s a weird, bittersweet feeling — no more bloats, stains and mishaps. I’ve started to feel as if I’ve floated into another galaxy, where most of my friends are still on Planet Menses. That one time a year when it does arrive, it’s cause for a minor celebration. I secretly tell myself, maybe, just maybe at 47, I could still have a kid. Even though I know it’s a distant, nearly improbable concept. I do have a few friends who’ve had planned kids at 45 or even second and third “oops” kids at 45-plus — one, in fact, who grabbed me by the proverbial collar the other day, glared at me and said, “what have I done?!?” [pullquote]I’d never once fantasized about the perfect family, being a mom, spending time packing up carrot sticks in plastic baggies. That was, until I met my wonderful husband, who would, unquestionably, be …

14 Things Only a Person With a Tough Name Would Understand

1. I grew up with a tough name. Siobhan Adcock. Look at it. There’s almost no part of that name that’s not sort-of a pain in the ass. 2. People don’t tend to remember it, and when they do, they can’t pronounce it. Siobhan is an Irish name — it means Jane, or Joan, or Joanne, or if you’re feeling like a sparkly unicorn fairy, “sea foam blowing off the waves.” My father told me (incorrectly as it turns out) that it means “Queen of the Emerald Isles.” He and my mother had heard of it by way of Siobhan McKenna, the famous Irish stage actress who was in Dr. Zhivago. (But not the famously beautiful actress who was in Dr. Zhivago. And also not the second-most beautiful actress in Dr. Zhivago. The other one.) 3. My father’s name, by the way, was Dick. They don’t really name kids that anymore. Especially with a last name like Adcock. Dick Adcock, Jr. Because his father’s name was also Richard. So when my dad was growing up, there was …

The Things No One Tells You About Divorce

We had just had sex. One minute, we were kissing and pressed against each other and I was in the safest place in the world. The next minute, I was lying alongside him crying and asking, “What do people do in a situation like this?” And he was saying: “Get divorced.” When I met Erik, I had never been in love with anyone. I was 31, and I saw him across the room at a party. My first thought was that he looked endearing, gentle, like he would never hurt me. We talked about his art and my job as a writer, and when we had our first date on a bench in Union Square we kissed for hours and held hands. I felt like a kid, giddy with excitement that someone wanted me on their team. By the time he told me a few dates later that he didn’t want children, I was already hooked. My thinking went something like this: Some people are never lucky enough to fall in love. I found an …

Madonna’s Most Beautiful Love Song

In 1985, I was 16 years old and spent my weekend nights cruising the streets of Kansas City in my 1979 Fiat Strada. I realize now that a four-door hatchback is not every teenage girl’s dream, but I loved that car because it was mine, because it gave me freedom, and because it had a really great stereo system. I spent most of the money from my part-time job on cassette tapes that would become the soundtrack of my teenage years—The Bangles, the Go-Go’s, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. I was a straight girl back then, though my interest in the women of pop music should have probably been a clue. It wasn’t, however, and it took me years to figure it all out. Now, when I look back on my deep feelings for each of those women, I ask myself one question: Did I want to be them or did I want to do them? This is a very important distinction. Upon much reflection, I can say without a doubt that I wanted to do …

The Birthday Incident: Turning 40 in a Parking Garage

My friend, Andrew, an artist in Los Angeles, was grouchy on the night he turned 40. He did not like the aging process. To cheer him up, I made reservations for a small birthday dinner at his favorite restaurant and invited three of his closest friends. Andrew, being a control freak, insisted that we all meet outside his apartment complex at precisely 7 p.m. and then he would drive us to the restaurant. He was proud of his driving mojo and only trusted himself to get us to the restaurant in time. Getting together for dinner in Los Angeles can require as much precision as a military operation. Friends live far apart, and traffic is always bad. Sandra drove from Pasadena, picking up Hiroshi downtown, while I drove from Redondo Beach, picking up Brian in West Hollywood. We all converged on Andrew’s block in Silverlake, parking our cars near his apartment complex. Part One of the mission was accomplished. The metal security gate to Andrew’s garage creaked open and Andrew appeared, driving his 1996 Honda …

Touch My Body — I’ll Pay For It

I’m single. Sometimes it seems like I’ve always been single. I’ve had boyfriends, sure, but the default is single. This time around I’ve been single for about five continuous years. I live alone with a small, affection-withholding dog. I’m very busy, and I’m very social, and yet stretches of time go by during which I do not feel the touch of another human. But that’s not entirely true. Because there are those who touch me. Folks beyond my doctor and my (incredibly handsome, erudite, gentle and highly recommended) dentist. For instance: the woman who performs my ritual mani-pedi. Like so many other ladies in this town, I make a monthly — sometimes weekly! — pilgrimage to the nail salon where an attendant awaits with a steaming, bubbling basin. Like the Greco Roman baths of yore, I attempt to relax with my fellow plebeians, other exhausted citizens stealing minutes from our days to try and absorb the healing properties of water and “ballet slippers.” We soak our extremities, they sand, buff and arm us with a …

Owning My Desire: Why I’ve Always Been Unashamed of My Sex Drive

You wake in the middle of the night, your arms around me, body pressed against mine, and you stiffen immediately. I reach back with my palm to cup your cock, wanting to see how hard you are. Slowly, I arch my hips back, back and up, to make way for our connection. My eyes are still closed. I lick my fingers, make them nice and wet and moisten myself, then lift my top leg and slide it back, to rest it on top of your legs. You put your hand on your cock and point it toward me, I steer my hips toward you and we come together, slowly. The connection is blissful and wildly erotic, such slow movements, like hanging in dreamtime. I wrote that scene for a lover. A lover I met on the internet. And we wrote dozens and dozens more, sending little erotic vignettes back and forth to each other in a single Word document, adding to it over time. We wrote the scenes to entertain us for all the time …

Why I Want to Live Like I’m 40 In My 20s

My best friend and I are both named Ashley, we’re both 28 years old (born 12 days apart) and we both have brown eyes. That is pretty much where our similarities end. She loves animal print, high heels, Channing Tatum and holding onto the hope that she looks this young (or younger) forever. I love tartan, converse and Idris Elba. I also love aging. In my mind, every year of my life is an opportunity to learn more about who I am and what I want from this life. It also gets me closer to the age I’ve always wanted to be…40. I’ll be honest, watching the years tick by, another scratch on the wall, hasn’t always been a source of pleasure for me. When I entered college, I assumed I would graduate in four years just like I was supposed to, the way we all were supposed to. Being the control-freak I am, I’d studied my course catalog all summer, drawing my own charts until I was satisfied that I had a fool-proof plan …

Karen’s Note: Best of TueNight 2015

Here we are, two years after launching this site, looking at another year’s worth of amazing storytelling from our spectacularly talented and diverse group of contributors. It was not easy for Margit, Adrianna and me to narrow down our list to only twelve posts to represent the best of this year. As we started to think about your year-end “best of” post, I jumped at the chance to write the Editor’s Note, since I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary of joining Team TueNight (woot woot!). For inspiration (er, procrastination), I checked Facebook and Twitter to see what people are talking about this morning (oof, Steve Harvey), listened to Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne,” then watched a YouTube clip of the final scene of When Harry Met Sally, and now I’m listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. I also went back and read the post that launched it all back in 2013, wherein Margit so brilliantly distills who we are: “You aren’t dead yet. Not even close. In fact, you’re living life the way it …

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Non-Traumatic Motherhood: A Non-Traumatic Manual

I come at life like a blunt instrument. I throw myself head first into whatever is coming and ask questions later. This strategy has had mixed success — sometimes it’s exhausting, sometimes frustrating, but mostly it has forced me to move forward, no matter what. It’s a pattern that has been hardened and rewarded through some pretty rough years, but I’ll get to that. Professionally, I’m a proud civic-tech nerd, veteran of Obama ’08 and founding tech director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (yes, the one with Elizabeth Warren – another blunt instrument). Personally, I’ve moved cross-country several times in my life, most recently after leaving my awesome CFPB gig to get married. Then we up and moved to London, where I threw myself into a new city, job and life. The ad hoc, impulse, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants life was working for me. Until I got pregnant. MOTHER? FUCK! You can’t be a blunt instrument with a baby. Those things are delicate. But then again, people have been having kids for centuries, right? I married a …

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When You Can’t Look Away: Horror in the Newsfeed

Despite the fact that it was being played in a seemingly endless loop on the news, my mom wouldn’t let us watch the video of the Rodney King beating. She’d dive for the remote to quickly change channel or, in her most extreme moments, she’d send us kids out of the room altogether I was already an anxious kid, well on my way to becoming an even more anxious adult. Mom must have known that video would stay with me long after the trial. Even for how frequently the news showed King’s savage beating, it wasn’t impossible to avoid. This was the ’90s. There was no autoplay Twitter video and no refreshing Facebook feed flooded with violence. As much as I wish she could, these days my mom can’t shield me from them all. When I first started working in news in August 2014, I knew I’d probably have to come face to face with horrible material. I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of violence and bloodshed that unfolded during my first year on the …

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My Body F-ing Rocks

One of the great things about getting older (I am 39 this year) is a better understanding of what you need for a life that is meaningful, purposeful and satisfying. The problem is, we live in a youth-obsessed culture. You can’t be online for more than three seconds without being bombarded by images of young, invariably thin women frolicking on a beach somewhere or exercising gleefully with perfect hair, nails and skin gleaming in the sunshine. How can anyone keep up with that? Forget anyone; how can you and your ever-changing (and ever-aging) body keep up with that? We can’t. I can’t. So rather than wasting more energy lamenting it – as I did in my 20s and 30s – I am letting go and remembering something really cool: My body rocks. [pullquote]When I say that I have an ass that doesn’t quit, I literally mean it: I have an ass that doesn’t quit.[/pullquote] I am a biologist. I spent years and years getting my PhD and, while I will spare you my dissertation, the …

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Finding #Zen On Instagram

I’m busy. I have a demanding job working for 18F (yes, that’s part of President’s Obama’s “stealth startup”), which requires juggling numerous projects and frequent travel. Newsflash in 2015: We’re all busy. With the hectic pace of life, work, technology, media and the world in general, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just really need to hit pause. And when I do, I find my peace on Instagram. I’m not talking about squad envy or like-mongering or that thing where Facebook makes us feel more lonely. I’m talking (with a nod to Jon Stewart) about micro-moments of Zen — a quick hit of joy and repose amid the chaos. These little pockets of delight can come from friends and family, obviously, but I also follow a few accounts at arms-length specifically for this purpose, whether it’s because they make me smile, make me think, or just blow me away with their beauty and grace. The Art of Plating (@theartofplating) Strawberry mousse tart, pulled sugar peas, rolled white chocolate ganache and pea dust & …

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Your Nag Hath Made Me Stronger

“Why do people who least have their shit together always want to give you advice?” my friend John said to me with an exasperated sigh. I had called John because I was dealing with some family issues, and we share some common family dynamics. He was lending a sympathetic ear and sharing the latest advice from his born-again brother, who persisted in being John’s self-appointed life coach. “He has been divorced twice, he goes to church, but he hates poor people and can’t hold down a job. And he has the nerve to give me advice on how I should be living my life.” This dynamic has always puzzled me: the compulsive need to give advice when none has been asked for. What is this dynamic all about? I have seen it so many times in life, with micromanager bosses, overly critical colleagues, overbearing friends and well-meaning family members. Who actually welcomes this hypercritical and unhelpful feedback? And when does it actually help? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this – my interaction …

Rachel’s Note: Peace Is The Word

When Margit first suggested the topic of “Peace” for my guest-edited issue, I rolled my eyes. I envisioned big peace signs on garish tie-dye with that hippy-dippy bubble font, maybe worn by long-haired hippies burning incense and telling each other they were blessed. Think Don Draper on a mountaintop. It just seemed so banal and saccharine, the “thoughts and prayers” of holiday topics. Then I remembered that I have a baby daughter and that every time we leave our home I am terrified about what might happen to her in this world. Then I remembered that this relatively new fear for me is old hat for a black person running into a cop. Then I remembered that I maxed out my personal giving donating to the refugee crisis, though then there were other reasons to donate: to Planned Parenthood, to Sandy Hook Promise and Everytown USA. And there always seems to be a GoFundMe campaign supporting mass shooting victims, at best for wounded survivors, at worst for funeral expenses. Then I remembered Donald Fucking Trump. At that point I was starting to feel really bad …

6 Gifts That Give Back — With Style

There’s no denying that the holiday season provides plenty of opportunity for self-defeating habits and thoughts: We eat too much, sleep too little, plan more than could possibly be done and then feel bad about all of the above. Really, though, the holidays are meant to be a time to feel joy and happiness and sweet relief from the daily grind. Fortunately, there is gift giving to help us correct the balance. There’s a particular thrill to getting just the right gift for a friend or family member you love—and we all know the simple trick of doubling your pleasure with a gift that “gives back” (with a portion of the proceeds supporting a cause you care about). But let me propose a third dimension of uplift and awesome: By buying one of these gifts that give back, we are also funding the thriving American ecosystem of idealistic entrepreneurs, the believers and doers who literally can’t sleep at night because someone is hurting, hungry or in need. Each of the below organizations is about helping …

8 Seriously Cool Subscription Services to Give This Year

In 2015, as Facebook algorithms remind us to ping each other with birthday e-cards and Amazon gets closer to making deliveries by drone, the idea of gifting someone a jelly of the month — an anything of the month — feels quaintly retro. Strike that: It feels right. Send your favorite humans some good-old-fashioned, curated-and-dispatched-by-real-people, recurring snail-mail love. (It doesn’t have to be jelly.) 1. Vinyl Me, Please The “best damn record club today” kicks off your recipient’s new bespoke music library with one of their special-edition color LPs (think Wilco’s AM in swirling marigold, or a limited-edition clear pressing of Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear). Each month thereafter, they’ll send a new album, a 12”x12” art print inspired by the album and a custom cocktail recipe pairing. Starts at $99 for 3 months + 1 bonus album, vinylmeplease.com   2. One Story Your favorite bookworm might now prefer an e-reader to full-sized tomes — I get it, I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to read War and Peace on the subway a few years ago …

7 Handmade Gifts for Your Girlfriends

Here at TueNight we love to think of ourselves as crafty and creative, but the fact is we’re busy and distracted and still haven’t quite finished that scarf we started knitting in 2007. That’s why we’re grateful for our relationship with Great.ly and the textile designers, artists, jewelry makers, knitters and carpenters who actually put their tremendous skills to use. There’s no better way to say “I care” than by giving something handmade while supporting a true artisan. You can finish that scarf next year. 1. Flower Designs Coloring Book For your work friend who knows more about your daily life struggles than your mom does. These grown-up coloring books are ravishingly pretty yet inexpensive enough to justify as a sweet treat. And there’s a reason these books are trendy among stressed-out adults; they’re highly meditative. $15, great.ly 2. Gold foil lip print There’s something so Debbie Harry about these luxe gold lips. Remind your old college pal of your youthful indiscretions with this fabulous minimalist print. $43, great.ly 3. Leather and copper air plant …

10 Hostess Gifts They’ll Actually Want to Use

Our household throws a lot of parties. And although I’ve never expected a hostess gift for our efforts, it’s always lovely to receive something thoughtful. Host gifts are tricky gifting — you don’t want to clutter up someone’s home, but you also don’t want to be the odd guest out who arrives empty-handed. With those caveats in mind, I’ve pulled together my dream list of host gifts — all for less than $50. 1. Linen Dish Towels I love receiving gifts that are a luxurious upgrade to life’s regular, cruddy routines. These natural linen hand towels are the luxurious upgrade you didn’t know your dishes wanted. $32, Etsy.com 2. Footed Aeirum Upgrade your host’s desktop with this adorably footed container for some sweet little plants. Moss, lichens and Tillandsia will change as they grow, or you can add an air plant (starting at $14) for even more magic. $32, floragrubb.com 3. Multi-function Cake Stand Responsible for bringing a dessert? Leave behind this multipurpose cake stand, which also becomes a chip-and-dip platter, punch bowl and salad …

Gift Wrapping Tips For Every Type of Gift (You’re Welcome)

Growing up, my mom and I had the best agreement a person with a love for wrapping could hope for: I wrapped ALL the presents and, in return, not only did I get to know what everyone was getting but my mom would also indulge my every wrapping-supply whim.  For me, wrapping presents always starts with the theme. Yes, that’s right…THE THEME. I’m pretty sure it all started when I was about 13 when she dared to suggest I use the — gasp — leftover paper that had been sitting in the wrapping bin for, like, the last 100 years. And, in true teenage fashion, I’m sure I gave her that look that only teens can give that said, No Way. Mom then decided my wrapping skills were worth a few extra rolls of new paper. Each year, I chose a set of colors and/or design attributes — a theme. Some years, it would be the classic red and green or silver and gold or a delightful plaid. I would gather my supplies, turn on a …

12 Gifts for Aspiring Bartenders & Drink Lovers

Craft cocktails have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, moving some to try their hand at making these drinks at home for gatherings or for themselves; avoiding the $15 per drink cost. For those who want to revive the lost art of home hospitality and entertaining, or for those who just love the art of drinks, here’s a list of gifts that any expert or novice would love. 1. Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds  Ice is one of the most important things for bartenders to consider. If a stirred drink calls for a cube of ice or someone requests a whiskey on the rocks, a good bartender will reach for one solid hunk of clear ice both for appearance and to provide the slowest dilution rate possible — no one wants a watered down drink. Though bartenders in Japan will hand carve these spheres, these silicone molds are the easiest way to make them at home. $10, amazon.com 2. Cocktail Kit with Canvas and Leather Tote For those who love to travel and show off their …

Margit’s Note: I’ll Be Home For Christmas

  Last weekend, I stood in front of a slew of bulb-emblazoned items and felt the rush of retail — I wanted it all. A tinsel pig. A glowing paper lantern. A stormtrooper tree skirt! (Seriously, so cool and actually quite tasteful.) I purchased the latter two, though I still covet the pig. Turns out my brother who lives in Philly bought two tinsel pigs. Weird sibling serendipity. I can’t remember the last time I stayed put for Christmas. Maybe never? My husband and I are usually on the road to one of our family homes. Our own apartment decorations have only ever been teensy little Charlie Brown table trees and holiday cards on the fridge. This year, however, because of some unforeseen, aforementioned health-related snafus, I’ll be Brooklyn-based. And I figure if I’m going to feel like crap, I might as well Santa-up my surroundings. This means, finally, a real TREE. The hubs and I nabbed the biggest we could find from one of those French Canadian guys who sell them on the sidewalk …

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8 Merry & Bright Home & Office Gifts

I had a trifecta of goals as I searched for items to include here: First, to bring you my usual explosion of patterns and brights (I am nothing if not consistent; this is my MO every year Tue Night asks me to compose a gift guide). Second, to only include items that are everyday useful because even the most workaday things in your life should be bold and fun. And finally, to feature only items that’ll run you $75 or less. Done, done and done. 1. Pendleton Bowl Pendelton is a fantastic resource for good prints and not just on their famed blankets. This bowl, in their Suwanee Stripe pattern, comes in a set of four and brings just that much more excitement to your morning oatmeal. $39.50, pendelton-USA.com 2. iPhone Case I just think this iPhone case is gloriously pretty. Enough said. $32, shopbop.com 3. Cork Coasters The fact that these playful cork coasters come in a set — but each have their own look — is pretty cool. $16, michelevarian.com 4. Mara Hoffman …

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8 Under-the-Radar Indie Beauty Gifts

I love introducing the people I love to high-quality, under-the-radar beauty brands, and what better way to do it than by tucking it in a stocking or gift bag? These goodies are all under $100 and made by some of the best beauty brands you’ve never heard of (yet!). 1. Hand in Hand Bergamot & Ginger Sugar Scrub Swirling with notes of ginger, green tea and sweet orange, this exfoliating sugar scrub makes a great stocking stuffer — plus, the Philly, PA-based brand saves 100 square feet of rainforest for every scrub purchased. $24, Handinhandsoap.com   2. Olie biologique Limited Edition: The Ultimate Oil Collection Facial oils are not for everyone, but as a recent convert, I urge everyone to at least give them a try. This limited-edition collection contains five of Olie Biologique’s bestsellers (including my favorite, the amazing Huile Radicale Rejuvenating Oil) and has such pretty packaging, you can absolutely skip the wrapping paper. $62, Oliebiologique.com 3. Beautycounter Holiday Hand Collection For the eco-conscious, organic beauty lover on your list, treat them to this …

9 Passive Aggressive Gifts They’ll Love. I Guess…

Ah, the holidays. ‘Tis the season to rejoice, make merry, listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” and bite one’s tongue when one’s confronted with the time-tested barrage of unsubtle passive aggressive comments from friends and family. Well, two can play that game. In the name of holiday harmony (and your sanity), why not bite your tongue as you wrap the world’s most passive aggressive gift ever? Why say it when you can pay it forward with a gift that does the indirect communicating for you? Why not give something that says you care enough not to say exactly how you feel but not enough to not be somewhat passive aggressive about it in your gift-giving? What? I was only joking! God. You don’t have to get so upset. 1. Fiberglass Confetti Eiffel Chair The gift that passive aggressively says “your taste in housewares is beyond basic.” $395, Modernica.com 2. Basic Repellant Phone Case For your “friend” who IS basic. $38, Valfre.com 3. Shut Up Cards The gift that passively aggressively says, “Literally …

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6 Gifts for Your Urban Outdoorsman

Does your man like to hit the trail, or just to look like he does? These gifts range from practical to elegant, inexpensive to extravagant, but each would get real use in either the mountains or the city.   1. The Cinder Cone Some books are better as hard copies. Designer and surfer Foster Huntington, best known for his A Restless Transplant hit-the-road project, documented the building of a treehouse and skate park complex located in the mountains of Washington State. The Kickstarter-funded book shows that the 1970’s luxury hippy aesthetic lives on. $35 A Restless Transplant Store 2. Backcountry Navigation with Map and Compass Class GPS batteries die and cell phone signals fade, so knowing how to read a map with a compass might help your guy get back on the trail. REI offers a range of orienteering and backcountry navigation classes at locations across the US. $50–80 REI 3. Light Up Dog Collar There is no motivation like a dog to go hiking, whether it’s on the trail or through city streets and …

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Books and Bookish Gifts for Your Well-Read Friends

Each year I try to solve your book-gifting problems by choosing a handful of titles you can present to the, shall we say, “particular” people on your list. This year, I’m adding a bonus round: A few waggish book-related items for the reader who has everything — or to bundle up along with a carefully selected tome. (And I take care in selection so you don’t have to!) 1. For Your Fiercest Kitchen Queen: My Pantry: Homemade Ingredients that Make Simple Meals Your Own by Alice Waters First, she’s Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse. Second, this book, written with her daughter Fanny (Fanny’s Granola namesake), is beautifully produced and has an internal spiral binding so the book will lay flat as you gather your amateur “mise en place,” meaning you can try Alice’s chicken stock, or tomato sauce, or… 2. For Your Hard-to-Impress Aesthete: The Master of the Prado by Javier Sierra Is it a novel? A manifesto? A museum tour? A mystery? The answer is all of the above. Sierra, whose last big …

Margit’s Note: Let’s Go Shopping!

It’s our third annual, two-week extravaganza called the TueNight Gift Guide! Hard to believe we’ve hit year three. Whee! As per usual, our quirky little gift guide is different in that it’s personality-driven. Our contributors select the gifts of a particular type (books, home, beauty) or for a finicky recipient (the urban outdoorsman and even well, um, a few passive aggressive suggestions). We know how to please. Speaking of giving, today, December 1, is still #GivingTuesday. Consider this your friendly evening reminder that there’s still time to give to the charities that are important to you — and maybe even break a world record for gratitude. Here are just a handful of our favorite charities. You could: Save the lives of refugees at sea [Moas.eu] Plant a virtual tree in Paris [1heart1tree.org] Support girls’ education in Sierra Leone [ShesTheFirst.org] Help NYC students become better writers [826NYC.org] Feed children, the homeless and seniors [FoodBankNYC.org] Help fight for laws and policies to protect women’s rights and health [PlannedParenthood.org] There are so many ways to help — think …

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My Daughter, Our Amazing Grace

I have always had an extremely irregular menstrual cycle, and a few years before I married, an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital had told me that I would never get pregnant on my own. So after my husband and I had been married for a year and a half, and we were starting to think about having a baby, I made an appointment with a fertility acupuncturist as the first step in what I imagined would be a long process: February 16, 2002. But on Valentine’s Day, my husband’s father, John, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly disease, cardiac amyloidosis, which has a grim prognosis: it was likely he would be dead within a year or two. The next morning, still in shock from the news, I grudgingly did the pregnancy test for the fertility acupuncturist. It turned out I never saw the acupuncturist because that morning I saw two lines instead. And that afternoon, we told my father-in-law that I was pregnant. I had been against telling him (I was nervous and still …