True Story: I Don’t Have A Cell Phone

don't-have-a-cell-phone
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Lindsay and I’m an herbalist, wellness guide, yoga teacher, poet, and small business owner with a former life (I suppose I’m old enough to have a former life now) in non-profit management and social services.  I geek out on plants every day.  I have a permanent reversed manicure of rich, black soil under my nails.

I don’t wear make-up but sometimes like to paint my face.  I sing whenever I want to and like the fact that “work” takes me out into the wilds, weeds, and hollers…  I seek out hot springs and count my pennies like my great grandmother would.  I count my blessings, too.  I’m 38 years young and falling in love with the challenges, heartbreaks, joys, and beauties of this world with each waning day.

How do you feel about technology in general?
I think that Einstein can preface my answer to this question ~

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Technology is linked with the rational mind.  To me, it is supposed to be a faithful servant to magic, intuition, tradition, art, and creativity.  Technology has instead become the means in which we go about relating to the world.  This is truly a crisis of the spirit.

Because I feel this way, I have created ways to lessen my interaction with technology.  Of course, there is only so much I can do in this sea of microchips and screens.  However, I do what I can.
I do not have a TV and do not watch shows.  I watch movies rarely.  I have a rule that if 3 people tell me to watch the same film in a short amount of time, I will watch that movie.  For example, many people told me about ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Avatar’ when they came out.  I watched those films.  The most recent movie that this happened with was ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, but I still haven’t seen it yet!
I do have the internet.  This is a challenge for me.  I co-own a small, plant-based apothecary (Sweet Gum Springs Apothecary) here in Mississippi.  We use social media for our business and it makes a huge difference.  So, yes I have the internet.
Why have you chosen not to have a cell phone?
About five years ago I moved from my home in San Francisco to Appalachia.  I had been living in SF for 7 years.  Before that Eastern Europe for 2 years.  I’m originally from Mississippi and had decided to move back South by some internal prodding of unknown source.  I followed this instinctual tug and found myself in a holler in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I lived in a small community called Spring Creek about 1 hr and 15 min NW of Asheville, NC.  I found a job as a Retreat Manager at a silent, contemplative retreat center.  And, because of my remote location my cell phone didn’t work!!!  After awhile, I thought to myself, why do I need this thing anyway?
So, it was not so intentional.  I just was weened off of it by mountain livin’ (of which I am deeply grateful for).  When I moved off the mountain three years ago and emerged back into the lowlands of Mississippi, I decided to continue the trend and only use landlines.
How do the people in your life feel about your lack of a cell phone?
Nobody really complains about it.  If I have to meet someone, they learn that they have to be more intentional about setting a good location and time as they know they can’t reach me if something goes awry.
The only concern I get is when I travel distances in my car.  My friends want me to have a phone for emergency purposes.  However, I keep my time on the road during the daytime and alert my friends when I’ll be traveling.  It’s worked out really well and I’ve never had an issue.  So many other people have cell phones, that it would be easy to contact help if I needed some.
Another interesting thing is dating.  I’m still in the dating period of my life.  And, I really love that men I am spending time with can’t just text me random thoughts.  I much prefer that he call me anyway.
Has it affected your personal life at all? Your professional life?
It hasn’t affected my professional life at all.  I’ve trained customers of the apothecary to pay with cash or check and that’s been fine.  Of course, there are moments when I lose a sale to someone who could really use my products.  But, they just bring cash next time.
It really hasn’t affected my personal life.  I’ve noticed that I have deeper and richer conversations with my friends over the phone.  I actually have a phone with a chord!  It makes me sit down and really be present with them.  I like that and it’s hard to find this kind of long-distance bonding (smile).
When I prepare for a phone call, it’s almost ritualistic.  I go to the bathroom if I need to…maybe pour some tea…  I find a comfy seat and then dial their number…  I’m THERE and the conversations are so rich.  It’s one of those small gifts I can offer my friends.
Many people want to “text me their number” and I tell them they can’t.  I’ve also learned to tell people when I give them my number that they can’t text me.  It’s really liberating that no one can send me absent-minded blurbs about whatever they are feeling.  I feel that they have to approach me with a lot more intention.  That’s how I roll.
Those moments when so many people use their phone to ‘fill in gaps’ – taking public transport, waiting for a friend, etc – what do you do?
I like this question.  I look around.  I look at people.  I look at the place I am waiting.  I feel things.  I sense things.  I work on being present and taking it all in.  I talk to people.  Sometimes I go through my paper planner and scratch some things off and write some things in…
I had an interesting experience this past May.  I visited San Francisco, my old stomping grounds, after not being back for 4 years.  I was horrified by how many people were on their phones.  I’ve never seen anything like it ~ anywhere.  Any empty space or free moment was filled with phone gazing.
Two weeks after my trip to San Francisco, I was in New Orleans teaching a workshop.  I didn’t see much of that.  A friend actually told me that there were fewer TVs in New Orleans, per capita, than any other major US city.  I suppose the music, arts, and culture has maintained some connectivity in New Orleans.  It was refreshing to be there after the intense shift I witnessed in San Francisco culture.
There are so many tools on modern cell phones – gps, camera, flashlight, etc. Do you use maps and a digital camera instead?
I just bought a digital camera about 2 months ago.  I mainly use it to log plants and herbs that I’m growing or harvesting from the wild.  I LOVE the macro lens and how it allows me to zoom in so close to plant loveliness!
As far as GPS goes.  I simply write down directions to places I commonly go to and keep them in my car.  I have a little bundle of directions that I leaf through when I hit the road.
What’s your preferred mode of communication?
I love talking in person.  When I am able, that’s what I make time and space for.  I also love movement and dance.  It’s a lovely form of communication.I used to go to the Asheville Dance Collective’s dance ‘waves’ on Saturdays when I lived in Appalachia.  Everyone was to leave their cell phones outside the room.  When we entered the large, wooden floored room, we weren’t to talk ~ only dance.We were led by a DJ from mellow music to ecstatic music and then back to serene sounds.  A wave would easily have 100 people present on a Saturdaymorning.  And, we would all be laying on the ground all sweaty by the end of the wave.  It was amazing.  My kind of communication!
In other places this experience has been called ‘Sweat Your Prayers,’ ‘Dance Church,’ ‘Ecstatic Dance,’ and ‘Five Rhythms.’
What are the benefits of not having a cell phone?
While not having a cell phone, I happened upon the documentary film ‘Full Signal’ (you can watch it on YouTube for free ~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7DPO7QAFfs).  I realized that I was playing my small part in creating a safer, saner world by not using a cell phone.
I feel that cell phone free bars and restaurants of the future will be the equivalent to smoke-free bars and restaurants of the present.  At first, people will be offended.  But, later they will see they were submerged in a virtual smoke cloud.
Can you think of a scenario in which you’d get one?
If I were transient and wasn’t rooted in my home that I am in now, I might consider getting one.  But, considering that I’ve got 4 years under my belt, I think I could figure it out.
What advice would you give to others who are looking to live a more unplugged life?
Start small and simple.  Chose one thing and ‘fast’ for a month and see what happens.  My first fast was from movies and I did it for one year.  During that time, I really noticed how much my friends talked about movies they had seen or wanted to see.  It was really crazy and seemed obsessive!  I realized now much I engaged in those conversations at one time, as well.  Slowly, and without effort, people just stopped talking about movies with me.  And, I’ve really liked things this way.
I also fasted from the internet in 2008.  I only achieved one month and I was at Zen Buddhist Retreat Center.  But, it was amazing.  It shifted my mind and my mental state to be way more present with myself and others around me.
Fasting periods of 21 days, one month or three months seem to work for most people.  Try a “technology fast” of your choice.  Try it with a friend or group of friends so that you can compare notes and experiences.
I’ve found that lessening the amount of technology I use has opened up a wellspring of intuition and creativity.  I have had to rely more on my senses and I’ve freed up space for my mind to wander and create.  The mind likes this kind of un-constructive and free-form space.Technology can be a tool for creativity and expression…but again, only when we’ve tapped into the wisdom and guidance of our own intuition and the present moment as it is.  This comes first…  Technology is just something to help it manifest more fully in the world.

Web Time Wasters

You guys! It’s been a crazy week! Eight days ago my guy and I tied the knot in front of our parents and his boys. Yesterday, I invited over a pile of friends for a) Adult Snow Cones b) my 36th birthday.  Somewhere in there, I met friends for coffee and lunch, read lots of magazines on blankets, played hooky at the beach, and watched my husband (?!!?) record a podcast about climate change with two professional comics.

But enough about all that. Let’s talk about the internet.

I’m officially a stepmom now and this book comes highly recommended. If you have any other recommendations, let me know!

Sister Bourne is our new idol.
In the 1910s she lost her first school teaching job in Arizona because she danced the one-step (think about what would have happened if it was the two-step!). At her second teaching job at a mining camp outside of Tuscon, Bourne asked her students (who didn’t speak any English) to teach her Spanish even though it was illegal to speak Spanish at Arizona schools at the time.

DIY deodorant cream? I’m kind of into it.

I love the idea of pairing a workout with your favorite book!

Wouldn’t this be cute nestled on your bookshelf?

Back-to-school supplies for grown ups

Yes! Yes. The REAL way to stand with Planned Parenthood.

Whoa! An app for … foraging fruits and vegetables?

THESE IMAGES ARE MAGICAL.

Not Dressed As Lamb is one of my long-time favorite fashion bloggers; she’s incredibly stylish and fit and happens to be 43. Recently, she started the Instagram hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike, asking her followers to photograph themselves in trends they’ve been told they “shouldn’t wear over the age of 30.” The results are wonderful!

I liked this. 5 simple ways to make life LESS convenient.

Why is it so painful to admit you’re on public assistance?
I see myself in the stranger’s eyes, and I know he thinks he and I are the same. I am a young white woman with an expensive looking dress I bought at a thrift store last summer.  I have an EBT card, too, I imagine myself telling him, taking ownership of my identity. After all, what is there to be ashamed of? I wonder what it is, exactly, about receiving public assistance that humiliates me so deeply. I work hard, I want to tell him. I’m working two jobs this summer, and I’m starting college in the fall. Instead, I merely smile back at him and shrug. Moments later, I slip the cashier my EBT card, and the cashier looks surprised, then confused. Still, he swipes it without a word, and to my relief, it’s accepted. When I exit the store, I don’t let myself look back.

Wait, what? You can make your own sidewalk chalk?

Cute! DIY map envelopes!

A roundup of eco-friendly beauty products.

What if we treated our sons like daughters?
Logan is learning to read! There are so many books in his classroom, and he naturally gravitates to books about princes. He even wears his Prince Charming costume to school most days and keeps it clean. He daydreams about growing up rich and living in a castle and being married to a beautiful princess.

How to spend time alone in NYC.

And a few Yes & Yes posts you might have missed: 4 theme parties you’ve probably never tried,

Bringing Summer Inside + Not being a failure + Travel purses

You know the deal, dudes. I round up some of this month’s sponsors’ best posts, you get to avoid errands and laundry for another hour. Yes? Yes.

Bolster-bigad

Favorite posts:
Regal, oil paint cat portraits // Bringing summer inside // Art Wine & Design
Let’s be friends!
instagram // twitter // pinterest // houzz

AmberRose

Want to see you face here? In front of 12,000+ daily readers? Check out my traffic and rate info here or drop me a line at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org and we’ll get you started!

Read // Eat: Palmer House Brownies from ‘The Devil In The White City’

This post comes to us via my dear friend/food stylist Benjamin Plante! You can read his hilarious food blog here or drool over his Instagram here.

recipes-the-devil-in-the-white-city

In the air there are hints of fried foods, manure, and chafed thighs.

4-H kids around the state are packing up the overnight kits, whispering words of encouragement to their soon to be prized heifer, and working up the courage to ask that cute girl from Beltrami County out for a creamy after the show.

All of that can mean only one thing.  It’s fair season.

And what better book to read this fair season than Erik Larson’s book The Devil in the White City. This historical work covers the mother of all fairs, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  And added bonus…there’s a serial killer on the loose in Chicago at the same time and NOBODY seems to notice! I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this as there are plenty of high quality documentaries about this killer on Netflix (and by “high” I mean grainy re-enactments a la Unsolved Mysteries).

On a serious note though, it is a great book.

Half of the book covers the point of view of the architects in charge of building a small functioning city on the shores of Lake Michigan in just under three years – everything from the challenges caused by bureaucracy to the fierce Great Lake winds destroying a building overnight.

The other half covers the twisted mind of H. H. Holmes. One of the least-known serial killers in American history. While the world was obsessed with Jack The Ripper, Holmes was terrorizing young women in his elaborate home full of tunnels, gas chambers, and a crematory. But like many serial killers he was a knock-out. So it’s hard to hate him right?

At this point I imagine you’re wondering where the food comes into play? Here’s the answer:

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition was a foodie’s dream. Much like state fairs of today, vendors needed to out-sell each other and came up with some genius products along the way.

Notable Foods from the 1893 Expo:

Juicy Fruit Gum

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer

Aunt Jemima’s Pancake Mix

Cream of Wheat

And The Palmer House Brownie. The very first brownie. Ever. Though the term “brownie” doesn’t show up in cookbooks until a few years later. Many believe The Palmer House Brownie to be the Alpha Brownie.

Bertha Palmer, wife of Potter Palmer, owner of the Chicago luxury hotel, The Palmer House, challenged the hotel chef to create a “ladies” dessert that was smaller than a slice of cake and portable, to be used in box lunches served at the Woman’s Building at the fair. The brownies quickly became a hit and are still served at The Palmer House to this day.

So make a pan. Nestle into the comfy corner of the sofa. And pick up The Devil in the White City. History, a serial killer, and brownies, a perfect weekend.

palmer house brownies

The Palmer House Brownie

(recipe from Epicurious)

Brownies:
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1 pound butter
1 pound granulated sugar (3 1/2 cups)
8 oz. cake flour (2 cups)
1 tablespoons baking powder
4 whole eggs
1 pound crushed walnuts

Glaze:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Melt chocolate with the butter in a double boiler or in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Mix dry ingredients except the walnuts– in a large mixer bowl on low speed for 4-5 minutes.

Add the eggs and mix until blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking sheet and sprinkle with the walnuts, pressing nuts down lightly into the mixture with the palm of your hand.

Bake in the preheated 300-degree oven for 40 minutes. You will know when it is done because the edges start to become a little crispy and the brownie has raised about ¼ inch. Note that even when the brownie is properly baked, it will test “gooey” with a toothpick in the middle due to the richness of the mixture.

After removing from the oven, allow to cool at least 30 minutes.

To make glaze: Mix together water, preserves and gelatin in a saucepan, mix thoroughly and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Use while hot. Spread the glaze in a thin layer over the brownies using a pastry brush. The brownies are easiest to cut if you can place the whole pan into the freezer for 3 – 4 hours after glazing, then remove and cut with a serrated knife.

If there are any book/recipe pairing you’d particularly like to see, tell us in the comments!

39 Ways To Wring The Last Drops Of Awesome From Your Summer

ideas-for-summer
Friends,
It’s August 25th and the entire internet is filled with back-to-school guides and I AM HAVING NONE OF IT.

Yes, I realize that Minneapolis public schools started class yesterday. Yes, I realize we’ve only got six days till September. But Autumn doesn’t technically start till  September 23rd and we’re scheduled to have temperatures in the 70s and 80s for the next 10 days.I will not go gentle into that good Autumn. I will wring the last drops of sunscreen-scented, watermelon-flavored summer from this season and I invite you to do the same. Let us not rush towards those Pumpkin Spice Lattes before it is time!

To celebrate this season that is totally not over yet, I’m
a) taking Friday afternoon off and meeting 20 friends at Lake Calhoun
b) writing you this listicle

1. Find a new place to swim
A new lake. A river beach. A rooftop pool.

2. Get a truly ridiculous pedicure
Intricate nail art. Rhinestones. Different colors on different nails.

3. Navigate the water in a new way
Dinner cruise. Jet ski. Paddleboard. Kayak. Canoe. Swan-shaped paddle boat. Sailboat. Pontoon with martinis at sunset.

4. Pick flowers and press them
Tuck them in the pages of your favorite books. Discover them in the winter and feel wistful.

5. Climb a tree
Don’t get hurt.

6. Jump off something high into the water
A rope swing. A diving board. A tree? Don’t get hurt.

7. Bring your dog to the lake and let it go swimming
Try not to let it shake off all over everyone.

8. Make yourself an ice cube necklace
It’s exactly as easy as you think!

9. Go camping
Even if it’s in the city or your own backyard.

10. Cook things over a fire
Chocolate cake inside an orange! Baked feta and tomatoes in a tin foil packet! Campfire bread in a coffee can!

11.  Make popsicles
Strawberry rhubarb! Coffee! Sangria!

12. Grill fruit
Seems exotic and exciting – is actually really easy.

13. Learn the summer constellations
Everyone will be really impressed!

14. Go to a drive-in movie
THIS IS THE ACTUAL BEST

15. Take an underwater camera to the beach and go crazy
But not in a creepy way, right?

16. Make a sand castle
And then run through it.

17. Explore your city by bike
When you explore on two wheels, you see things you’d otherwise miss and you have access to all sorts of hidden trails and back alleyways. Check out your city’s bike sharing program and use Ride The City to map a safe route.

18. Play public transport roulette
Buy an all day ticket, get on the first train or bus that pulls up, get off at the first place that feels interesting. Repeat.

19. Tequila watermelon
‘Nuff said.

20. Fancy jello shots
Greyhound jello shots in grapefruits. Mojito jello shots in limes. Creamsicle jello shots in oranges.

21. Adult snow cones
We’re doing this on Saturday!

22. Roller skate
Down the street. In the basement. At a rink.

23. Hit up garage sales
We all know Labor Day is the height of garage sale season!

24. Drive down a dirt road
Windows down. Radio up. 

25. Make sun tea
Tea bags + mason jar = porch sippin’ goodness.

26. Make weird ice cream
Sweet corn ice cream! Sour cream ice cream! Cereal milk ice cream!

27. Go hiking
Bonus points if it’s a trail you’ve never explored before

28. Check out a weird local tourist trap
Check out Roadtrippers.com and see the things your city is hiding. I’ve never been to the Wabasha Street Caves!

29. See live music from a band you’ve never heard before
Check out the gig list and hit up a bar or patio near you – totally regardless of the style of music that’s being played.

30. Drink/eat on a rooftop
Food tastes better that high up. (Here’s a list of Minneapolis’s best rooftop happy hours.)

31. Re-read your favorite teen books on a blanket
I just re-read this and I loooooved it!

32. Have a brunch picnic by the water
Frittatas travel really well!

33. Have a bbq brunch
Bacon on the grill. Sourdough on the grill. Peaches on the grill. 

34. Throw a theme party
Yes? Yes.

35.  Make that awesome salt spray for your hair so you can have sexy beach waves
Toussssselllled!

36. Watch movies in the park (or your own backyard)
Let’s all watch ‘Adventures In Babysitting’!

37. Wash your car the old fashioned way
Like, with a sponge and a bucket.  In your driveway.  With some Aerosmith playing on the tape deck.

38. Go to the farmers’ market with $20 in cash and buy things you’ve never eaten before
White gourd! Bitter berries! Those purple carrots!

39. Watch a meteor shower
Pretty!

What are you doing to squeeze the last bits of summer out of your August? Tell us all about it in the comments!

photo by death to the stock photo // cc

True Story: I Have Schizoaffective Disorder

schizoaffective disorder

Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m a writer in my early thirties — born in the Midwest and living in San Francisco with my husband, pup, and miscellaneous old things. My debut novel, THE BORDER OF PARADISE, is being published in 2016. I currently run esmewang.com, where I provide resources for aspiring writers to develop mastery and resilience on the path to building a creative legacy; as a part of that work, I also offer a limited number of writing mentorships.

For those of us who don’t know, what is Schizoaffective Disorder? What are the symptoms?
Schizoaffective disorder is what I call a schizophrenia wedded to a mood disorder. I’ve been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar Type, which means that my particular brand of mood disorder includes the severe manias and depressions associated with bipolar disorder. Symptoms vary among those diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, but my most popular symptoms include both “negative” and “positive” symptoms — I’ll explain that in a second — as well as the elations and depressions of bipolar disorder. To be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, psychotic symptoms must have occurred for more than two weeks continuously, and must occur when the person is neither manic nor depressed. This second part is important because severe mania and/or depression can also involve psychosis.

Using the words “negative” and “positive” has always struck me as bleakly hilarious when talking about psychotic symptoms, but that’s what they’re called; “negative” symptoms refer to things such as being unable to talk or motivate oneself, while “positive” symptoms refer to delusions, which are false beliefs, and hallucinations, which are false perceptions.

What are the most common misconceptions about people with a schizoaffective disorder diagnosis?
Most people don’t even realize that schizoaffective disorder exists, as it’s relatively rare. However, I’m constantly being reminded of misperceptions regarding schizophrenia and psychosis. Schizophrenia does not mean a split personality. (There are few things more galling to me than someone saying, “I ate Japanese food last night, Italian food for lunch, and Greek food for dinner! Totally schizophrenic!”)

To be psychotic does not mean that someone is homicidal, a serial killer, or your bad ex; it doesn’t even mean that someone is yelling expletives on the bus. I’ve been psychotic while working an office job, and no one noticed — in some cases, I’m able to keep my symptoms to myself, which brings me to another misconception: that those who live with schizoaffective disorder, or any severe mental illness, are necessarily unable to live high-functioning lives.

What happened in your life that led to this diagnosis?
I’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder since I was seventeen, but the psychotic symptoms that started when I was twenty-one began to happen more frequently and last for longer periods of time. Eventually I woke up and found myself unable to move. For a few days, I could not complete a sentence — it was like the words were dropping out of my body. I thought my husband was a robot, and that my house had been replaced by an identical house that was not my house. And that’s when my psychiatrist said, “Okay, maybe this should be categorized as schizoaffective disorder.”

How are you treating this?
It took forever, but my mental health team and I finally found a mix of medications that keep my symptoms relatively under control. In particular, an old-school antipsychotic called Haldol was my so-called “miracle drug,” as I’d tried every atypical antipsychotic out there (called “atypical” because they’re newer, with — for most people — fewer severe side effects). I also work with a counselor who specializes in people with chronic illness, which is helpful because I’m also dealing with late-stage Lyme disease. Despite my treatment plan, it’s completely likely that I’ll have what they call a “breakthrough” episode at any time — usually brought on by stress. So I try to keep the stress at a minimum, which is, of course, easier said than done.

Can you explain what it feels like when you’re having an episode?
What an episode feels like depends on whether I’m having a psychotic episode, a depressive episode, or a mania. To describe accurately any single one could take volumes, but I’ll say a sentence for each: completely terrified and confused; to borrow from David Foster Wallace, like a person standing at the window of a burning building while everyone below yells, “Don’t jump!”; like my brain is on fire.

How have the people in your life reacted to your diagnosis and episodes?
Not well, at first. It took over a decade, but now my parents are very supportive, and fairly well-educated. But everyone is always learning, including myself. Neither my husband nor I had been through one of my lengthy psychotic episodes until 2013, when I was psychotic for nine months! That’s basically a full-term pregnancy. We both had to learn what was okay and what was not okay to do. And my symptoms are likely to change throughout my life, as well.

I think a lot of people would be surprised to know that it’s possible to live a successful, fulfilled life with a serious mental health diagnosis. What do you think are the keys to managing your mental health while attending an Ivy League college or getting a literary agent – both things that you’ve done.

Support is a big one, of course, but honestly, I think I just have a bizarrely iron will when it comes to life thus far, and I’ve learned to develop resilience. In college, I was hospitalized twice, began having psychotic symptoms, and went for months at a time where I was sleeping 15-20 hours a day — and managed to graduate from Stanford with a 3.99 GPA, albeit miserably. And I don’t want anyone who might be reading this and struggling with their own issues to therefore look at themselves and expect more of themselves than their health will allow; everyone is different. I personally am amazed that I’ve lived to my thirties, let alone held down jobs or finished graduate school.

What advice would you give to people struggling with serious mental health issues?
I don’t know if this is really advice, but — you’re not alone. Being seriously mentally ill feels like the loneliest thing in the world, and stigma really boosts that feeling, which is why I find it so essential to be as honest as I can on my website and in my advocacy work. You’re not alone. You deserve goodness. And you’re not broken beyond repair.

Web Time Wasters

Such a sassy song.

What you do on a friend’s birthday says about how much your value their friendship.

A brave article from a mom who gave up primary custody of her daughter.
I worried that I was teaching her that struggle is a part of life — something that many of us are taught subliminally. I worried that she would grow up with issues from not having her daddy in her life (a struggle that many women can relate to). I worried about the relationship she would have with money if she watched me try to make ends meet. I worried about a lot of things during that time, but the biggest worry of all was that I was setting an example for her that life is very, very hard — and that is not something I want to pass on to my child.

Let’s all make bacon donuts with maple cinnamon cream and then let’s make lemon poppyseed ricotta waffles followed by a watermelon margarita and a pie that has a crust made out of saltines.

I’m completely mesmerized by this … blazer?

I’m almost done with my tube of CC cream and I think I’m going to splash out on this highly-reviewed mineral makeup.

I love a good interview. A crematory operator explains what it’s like to burn bodies for a living.
What is the grossest thing you do at work?
Sometimes we get bodies in that are fairly decomposed. Because I’m at a crematorium in Detroit we often deal with bodies that have been found in abandoned houses and they’re there for quite a while until they’re found. So when they are found I have to make sure each body matches up with the paperwork so I have to check the toe tags and ankle bracelets to check and keep everything organized. Recently we’ve been dealing with the universities and donor cadavers and sometimes the cadavers aren’t all in one piece. If they’re in multiple pieces, each piece is tagged with the same ID number to make sure no pieces get misplaced. I had to hold a severed human head and it was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. That could be a little weird for people.

Ha! The asshole rating self-exam.

Yup. I didn’t blog for an entire week and no one died.

Ooof. What do I have to say to a cop?

Yes! You can actually enjoy your mornings!

Gorgeous cat toys and accessories.

ALLLLLEEEERT! This empty Sicilian town is giving away houses.

My partner’s a climatologist so this article hits close to home.
“Oh yeah,” Schmidt says, almost casually. “The business-as-usual world that we project is really a totally different planet. There’s going to be huge dislocations if that comes about.”

But things can change much quicker than people think, he says. Look at attitudes on gay marriage.

And the glaciers?

“The glaciers are going to melt, they’re all going to melt,” he says. “But my reaction to Jason Box’s comments is—what is the point of saying that? It doesn’t help anybody.”

Do you have an intense kid in your life? Here are five ways to calm them down.

This designer is funding her trip of 26,000 miles by selling a series of 26 travel-inspired, hand-lettered posters!

And a few Yes & Yes posts you might have missed: True Story: I have Aspergers, How to become a morning person (or at least fake it), Love your ex enough to leave them alone. 

(Not) riding elephants + the reality of soul mates + $15 clothes

It’s August and it might be hot, hot, hot where you live. Don’t you think you should stay inside in the air conditioning and look at these links from Yes & Yes sponsors instead?

15ea

Favorite things:
cute dresses // good karma // buy one, get one
Let’s be friends!
twitter // pinterest // facebook

drdowlingsponsor

Favorite posts:
the life you want most // you don’t have to shine // soulmates + “the one”
Let’s be friends!
instagram // facebook

expertvegabond

Favorite posts:
why you shouldn’t ride elephants in Thailand // iceland photography // 30 best travel tips
Let’s be friends!
facebook // instagram // twitter

Want to see you face here? In front of 12,000+ daily readers? Check out my traffic and rate info here or drop me a line at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org and we’ll get you started!