These Five Things.

watching, testing, reading, wearing, listening

Late last week, I walked by a restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try for some time and said to myself, “Maybe Joe and I can go there for our anniversary this year.” In my head I meant, like, months from now. That’s how our anniversary always feels—something to look forward to, a small speck on the horizon, an event so far in the future that surely we have ample time to plan big romantic gestures and secure dinner reservations at a prime hour, like 7:30. I thought about the menu and what we’d order and would it be the kind of place he would like to eat? All considerations for the future.

And then, minutes after arriving home, Joe asked, “What do you want to do for our anniversary this weekend?”

This weekend.

2019 is going by so fast, I actually forgot it was going to be November.

(Based on the fact that a lot of my clients are scrambling to get their holiday projects in order, I’m guessing everyone feels the same. What happened to this year?!)

Ah, but celebrate our anniversary we did! Seven years of marriage, seventeen years of being us. Talk about years flying by.

Also, we did get into that restaurant—it was a 5:15pm reservation, but meh. True romance is finding that person who enthusiastically agrees to geriatric dinner hour so you can be in bed by 10 and still hit up the hot new place. Two birds, one love.

The above doesn’t have much to do with these five things that I’ve been meaning to write about, yet here we are. See what’s been floating around in my headspace as of late:


Earlier in the summer, Joe and I finally started watching Succession on HBO. (I know, I know about a year late!) We watched a couple episodes, got busy with other things, and promptly forgot about it. Until one day a few weeks ago, when I asked if he wanted to dive back in. Cut to the close of the season finale and I swear my adrenaline high lasted a full hour after. OMG that was some good TV. Joe insisted I add tracks from the show’s score to my classical work playlist (don’t bother trying to play this one through—it’s got 47 hours of music on it LOL), and I gotta tell ya, listen to this thing at your own risk. That opening title is guaranteed to get stuck in your head all day. We’re about half way through season 2, and I’m wondering if you’re enjoying this crazy family as much as we are?



So I got really excited about Grace’s Honeymoon Glow review months ago, went out, bought it, incorporated it into my routine, then watched in horror as half my face peeled off. Y’all. That shit is STRONG. Proceed with caution if you are new to acids. After giving my skin a break (and admittedly, being a little scared of high-dose retinols after that), I was intrigued to discover Moon Juice’s Beauty Shroom. It’s also an acid, but a liquid, and I like that you can apply as much as you want to a cotton pad, even going so far as to dilute it with water or rosewater if needed. I’m only a couple days in to testing this one, but thought I’d share as acids are all the rage right now (and also, this one is considered “more natural” than standard retinols!). I’m also super into CosRx’s Poreless Power Liquid. I apply it after cleansing in the a.m., in place of toner. And indeed—the few spots on my face where some larger pores had been bugging me? Vanished. Vanquished. Buh-bye. Also, it’s only $22.



I don’t know what compelled me to bring a book like The Girls Who Went Away on vacation to Maui last month. A frothy, relaxing beach read? Uh, hardly. Maybe I’m in the intellectualizing phase of my adoption stuff, where I need to read and learn and consume everything I can to try and make sense of things. But damn, I’m glad this made it into my carry-on. Regardless of whether you are adopted, know someone who is, or don’t really know much about it, I highly, highly recommend this book. It tells first person stories of the 1.5 million American women who were forced to relinquish their children for adoption from 1945 to 1973, pre-Roe v. Wade. Something you may hear me talk about here in the future is how adoptees are constantly battling a single narrative around what adoption is and how it impacts people. Given that November is National Adoption Awareness Month, I can’t think of a better, more compelling read that helps present an alternate narrative, and frankly, truth. Come for the first person, super powerful stories from some incredibly strong women; stay for the well-written and well-researched context on society and culture in mid-century America, which led to such events.



I can’t tell you how long I searched for a great pair of straight(ish) leg jeans. You know the kind I mean: truly fitted in the butt (i.e., cannot droop where your cheeks meet your hamstrings); ever-so-slightly fitted in the thigh (but not so much they veer into bootcut territory); high waisted without feeling like I’m wearing a corset; and cropped so they look cute with boots and mules. (And, at all costs, they cannot require hemming. A tall order for a short person, I know.) Well friends, I found ’em in these Madewell jeans. I’ve been loving basically all denim from Madewell for a while now, and just when I thought the love affair couldn’t get any deeper, the fit of their “perfect vintage jeans” is in fact, well, perfect.



So I started doing these super long walks in the morning to get some exercise and clear my head before the day begins. And also, to force myself into new habits and hold myself accountable to one small thing (more on this soon). But anyway, after a few days of listening to music, I realized I needed something else to mix it up. I’ve found my jam in listening to back episodes of The Dave Chang Show. You might know Dave from such culinary hits as the Momofuku empire, and Ugly Delicious, which remains one of my fave Netflix series to date. His podcast is much like that show, where discussions about food, culture, race, politics, philosophy, and business collide. I am obsessed. If you too like the place where all those topics meet, I recommend starting with these three episodes: 1) This one on MSG and cultural appropriation; 2) This one where him and Grit author Angela Duckworth talked for two hours about resilience and I couldn’t get enough; and 3) this great, personal, wide-ranging interview with Dr. Jim Kim, former President of the World Bank, Dartmouth college and bagillion other super impressive accolades.

That’s all the news from here, for now! Tune in soon as I’ve been in home renovation hell land and have some thoughts. But actually, I do want to share some of the inspiration for our project too!

Image and Design Credits:

Intro Image: by Yang Deng  ·   Graphics by Victoria McGinley


  1. 11.6.19
    Tara said:

    Wow, I know time flies but if it’s any consolation I forget my anniversary every year (it’s 6/17 and I *always* think it’s 6/19) and it seems like only about three years ago that you got married ;)! Loved hearing what’s going on with you and funnily enough my husband was just talking about an interview he heard of Seth Rogen and David Chang cooking together. I appreciate the beauty 411 and need to get on the Poreless Power Liquid stat! My attempt at straight jeans have been fairly abysmal so will file away Madewell’s offerings for any future attempts.

    Thank you also for the book recommendation. I know you are working through so much this year with your own birth family and adoptive family and have no doubt that you’ve read Nicole Chung’s “All You Can Ever Know”…it was a powerful read that definitely illustrated the point you make that there is no single narrative. Everything about adoption is so personal–thank you again for continuing to share your exploration with all of us!

    • 11.6.19
      Victoria said:

      Yes! I know Dave Chang is working on season 2 of Ugly Delicious, but in the interim he released a 4 episode series called “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner” on Netflix. He traveled to four different cities with a different friend (slash famous person) in each one. The Seth Rogen ep was the first, in Vancouver. They were extremely high the whole time LOL. It was a good series and I enjoyed it!

      Thank you for the support as well. TBH, it’s such an effing roller coaster and I sometimes am unsure just how much to drop on everyone here. In between parsing through my feelings, I’m always weighing how public to be, which can in turn stifle my own creativity. I always appreciate the encouragement, which gives me the courage to put it out there!

      As to Nicole’s book…I’m well aware of it (it was an exciting moment within the KAD community for her work to get so much press!!), but actually haven’t read it yet. When it debuted, it felt too raw and personal and close to home (and also not, since her experience is unique in that she is a transracial, but not transnational adoptee). I plan to read it eventually, I’m just baby stepping my way there. :)

      • 11.12.19
        Tara said:

        That’s the very episode! My husband lived in Vancouver for 6 months in middle school so he really liked it on a number of levels. I completely understand regarding “All You Can Ever Know” and know you are still wrapping your head around your own story. I am sure there is so much change to process–almost like recreating your soul in light of new knowledge and perspectives. Having said that–as much as I love to hear about your process (and I know you know this) it is YOURS and you don’t need to show or share any of that here if you aren’t comfortable doing so. I am one of your many “friends who might never meet”…but I love seeing whatever you share with us here. Take care! :)

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