It’s Mother’s Day again!

Every time someone asks me what I would like for Mother’s Day (and believe me, I never tire of answering this particular question) the first word that comes to my mind is: sleep. If only some enterprising entrepreneur could put a good night’s sleep in a bottle and sell it– I would have a lifetime subscription. And I’m sure I am not alone.

That said, sleep is not currently for sale, and Mother’s Day is around the corner, so I’ve come up with a list of things that might at least help the mamas in your lives feel more rested, cared for and loved.

goldies candle club
Goldie’s Candle Club.
Because what mom doesn’t want an all natural, mystically formulated scented candle arriving at her doorstep each month to help her find harmony with the seasons? Each candle also arrives with a beautifully written discussion about the particular qualities of each scent and how it relates to the time of ear it arrives.

urban moonshine energy tonic

Photo courtesy of The Alchemist’s Kitchen


Organic Energy Tonic by Urban Moonshine
Because the one thing all mothers can use is more energy. And if we can get it through a combination of roots, berries, herbs and flowers from Vermont, all the better!

CBD bath salt

photo courtesy of The Alchemist’s Kitchen

CBD bath salts by Vertly.
Because nothing says relax like soaking in a big old tub of CBD infused oils. I would like a lifetime supply, please.

Lauren's All Purpose Salve

Photo Courtesy of laurensallpurpose.com

Lauren’s All Purpose Salve.
Because what mom wouldn’t appreciate a creamy salve full of sumptuous natural ingredients that is as good in your hair as it is on your elbows, palms and feet?

Porter ceramic coffee mug

Photo courtesy of Goop

Ceramic to-go mug by Porter. Because sometimes you are just tired and are going to have to go straight the the cafe for a cappuccino. And wouldn’t it be nice if you had a reusable mug with you that is as kind to the eyes as it is to the earth?

Happy Earth Day 2019!

What if we actually believed that we could change the world for the better? That we could steer things in the right direction, reverse global warming, respect human rights and help people to live their fullest lives? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez narrates this beautiful short video (by The Intercept and Naomi Klein) that imagines just that possibility from the vantage point of herself, twenty some odd years from now.

I give you this beautiful vision of what the Earth can be as a challenge. What if we actually worked towards this positive future, instead of assuming that the end of life-as-we-know-it is a foregone conclusion? Imagining that future is the first step in making that brighter reality possible. Because you can’t be what you can’t see.

Thank you, Dr King

MLK and kids

Photo: Carl De Kayzer/Magnum Photos

First, a much overdue thank you note:

Dear Dr. King,

I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many obvious things… I get to sit wherever I want on the bus, drink from all the water fountains, I can vote. And while all of these things are rights that I believe are inalienable, we all know that they were hard won for people of color in this country. And you were right up front, leading the charge.

But what I really wanted to write about, and thank you for, is how you continue to inspire me to stand up to today’s oppression, even long after you departed this world. Your righteous anger and boundless love, your wise words and tireless energy, your fierceness… these are things that I carry with me. Even as I turn more toward women leaders as role models and mentors, and as I look to my right and left for inspiration and teachings from my sisters who form so much of the front lines in the current struggles, I still am uplifted by your eloquence. Your words, spoken a half century ago, continue to resonate today.

So thank you for mixing beauty and poetry with force and direct fierceness, for being a foundational part of my activism, for teaching me so much about the revolutionary power of love, and for being a part of my revolutionary universe.

With gratitude,

BW

And second, for those who want to take a deeper dive into the man, his life and his words, here are a few links of interest:

The New Yorker has a whole set of links to various articles they have published about Martin Luther King, Jr. All interesting and worth checking out.

From late 1957 through December of 1958, Dr King wrote an advice column for Ebony Magazine. Check out these selected letters from that year of “Advice For Living.”

Here’s an opinion piece in the New York Times about MLK’s critique of white northern liberalism. These words are perhaps even more relevant today than they were in the late 60′s.

It would be well worth your time to listen to Dr King read his Letter From A Birmingham Jail, which is arguaby his most important piece of writing. It explains so precisely the ethos behind the non-violent acts of civil disobediance and why they are so crucial in any fight for human rights.

And lastly, a piece about 5 young women who are currently fighting for education in the spirit of Dr. King.

Another year, another #GivingTuesday…

Josh's hand

Every year, for #GivingTuesday, I put up another photograph of hands. This one belongs to Josh, before we were married. It is one of the most generous hands I know.

Ok so we’re back here again, living through the week where every day has a #Name that is supposed to inspire us to spend spend spend for the holidays. For the most part, I tend to plug my ears and pretend it’s not happening until maybe halfway through Hanukkah when I panic because we haven’t started to deal with getting gifts out to the Jewish half of the family in a timely manner. (Maybe this year will be different?)

But one hashtag I wholeheartedly support is #GivingTuesday, which shines a light on giving to the non-profit organizations that do so much of the heavy lifting in our communities– especially now, as government funding is being cut right and left. I feel like so much attention lately has been placed on political campaigns (at least in my inbox)… It’s important to turn our attention to other areas, all of which are in dire need of support as well.

Here are some of the orgs my family is thinking about giving to this season:

Chef José Andrés founded the World Central Kitchen in the wake of the 2010 hurricane that devastated Haiti, because he believed that food can be an agent for change. The WCK has expanded to serve underfed communities all over the world (including the US!) with a network of Chefs all working “to empower people to be part of the solution, with a focus on health, education, jobs, and social enterprise.”

The 24 Hour Plays bring together marquee artists to create time limited theater around the world. And by “time limited,” I mean write, cast, compose, and produce entire pieces of theater in 24 hours. They also mentor a young diverse group of theater artists (24 Hour Nationals) and raise money to benefit The Lilly Foundation, which uplifts women in theater. Storytelling is a crucial way that we as humans make sense of our surroundings, and the group experience of watching a live performance fosters the type of community that is so important, particularly during these turbulent times. Oh and also, I’m on the board, so this crew is especially near and dear to my heart!

The Studio Museum in Harlem showcases and supports the work of artists of African descent and celebrates black culture and its influences on both art and society. It is more than a museum, it is a cultural nexus, a central gathering place for learning, exchanging ideas and for celebration by and of the African diaspora in all of its incarnations. Art + Community = Better everything. Just saying.

Next we have two organizations devoted to our oceans, which, by the way, cover the vast majority of the Earth’s surface. Surfrider Foundation is all about protecting the oceans, waves and beaches for the use and enjoyment of all earthlings. Oceana focuses specifically on the world’s oceans and works to protect and restore them to their former richness and diversity. It is the largest preservation and advocacy organization focused entirely on the undersea world.

Earth Justice may have the best tag line of all of these groups. Quite simply, we should all support Earth Justice “because the world needs a good lawyer.” Tell me about it.

Girls Who Code is all about eliminating the gender disparity in the tech world by teaching girls how to code. Many of these girls just happen to be people of color and come from disadvantaged neighborhoods, which is also a profound change from the predominately white male tech universe we see today. Sort of like the incoming freshman congresspeople, but I digress.

And last, but definitely not least, the good people over at Refinery29 have put together this list of ways that you can help victims of the devastating fires in California. Thousands of Americans have lost everything and are now homeless for the forseable future. FEMA, it seems, is overwhelmed and not super effective. Even a small bit of cash or in kind donations will go a long way.

Oh and if you want more ideas, click here and here for two past #GivingTuesday posts…

America

This is David Bowie’s heartbreakingly beautiful performance of Simon & Garfunkel’s love song to America. He sang this at The Concert for New York City, right after the World Trade Center was destroyed on 9/11. In case we need to remember what the hell it is we are all fighting for.

Monday, Monday… the Election Day edition

vote

I found this beautiful artwork on Instagram and it’s by @eejart

Ok so we are finally here. Election Day 2018. The mid-terms. The day when we are able to really make our voices heard about how we feel things have been going these past two years. As I’m sure you’ve heard about a thousand times, this is the most important election in most of our lifetimes. So don’t let rain or a fuzziness on the issues hold you back. Here are a few links to help you out as you make your way to the polls…

First off, you can watch this video that explains why it is SO IMPORTANT that you vote.

Avoid surprises! VoteSaveAmerica has a great voter guide where you type in your address and they give you a preview of our ballot so you know what you’re getting into today.

WNYC and the New York Times and Curbed also have good voter guides that are worth checking out.

For all you NYC voters, I found this great explanation of the 3 ballot questions on a friend’s private Instagram feed, so I reposted it for any and all to see. Don’t forget to flip the ballot!!

Time to get your vote on!

Save the date pins for downtown for democracy

Save The Date pins created by artist Marlene McCarty for Downtown For Democracy are helping to keep these two election dates front and center in our minds.

Ok so it’s been a minute, but hey– there’s been so much going on. And speaking of things going on, the midterms are less than 2 weeks away and hopefully everyone reading this is thinking about writing some postcards or making some calls or knocking on some doors to get our fellow Americans out to exercise the right that so many have died for: VOTE.

And while we’re out there talking to people and engaging our fellow citizens, we’ll probably be wearing lots of GOTV (Get Out The Vote) gear. Just in case you aren’t already kitted out, here are a few suggestions to get you going.

See you out in the streets!

downton for democracy t shirt

Straight and to the point, this Save the Date T-shirt was created by artist Marlene McCarty for Downtown for Democracy, a progressive political action committee founded by creative people to transform cultural influence into political power. There are also buttons (see above), if you’re leaning in that direction.

bird cap

It can get chilly, going door to door in late October and early November, so it’s important to dress warmly. This bright orange cashmere beanie from Bird will keep you toasty and highly visible. Plus 50% of all proceeds go to Everytown for Gun Safety, a cause we can all get behind.

womens march vote tote

While we’re on the practical side, you’re going to need a bag to hold your water, snacks and extra GOTV materials (not to mention your lip balm and phone chargers!) This VOTE tote from Women’s March is the perfect solution.

blue wave postcards

If you’re taking the time to hand write postcards to voters, why not go the extra mile and send beautiful ones? These Turn the Tide Vote Blue postcard sets were created by the Pen and Ink Brigade (a group of fierce female illustrators) to benefit VoteRiders, an org working against voter suppression by making sure folks have the info, ID’s and tools they need to vote.

i am a voter pin

Studies say that people are more motivated by the desire to be a part of a community than by a direct call to action. Which means motivating people to be voters or to join a group of voters is more effective than just telling them to vote. This enamel I Am A Voter pin (they also have hats, T’s and sweatshirts) does just that. And the money goes to helping folks get the info they need to be the voters we all want them to be.

vote barrette

There’s a little shop in San Fransisco called Heartfelt that managed to dig up some great vintage GOTV gear– these tiny VOTE barrettes will keep the hair out of your face whilst also reminding folks what to do on Nov 6.

lingua franca sweater

Lingua Franca elevates the whole message-on-clothes thing by hand embroidering words of inspiration onto luxurious cashmere sweaters. Sustainably sourced, locally made (in NYC), and women owned, the proceeds from all sales go to a bevy of great causes. The sweaters are all made to order, but if you’re pressed for time, a line of hand stitched We The People sweatshirts are available RIGHT NOW at The Whitney Museum store. So run don’t walk. They’re going fast.

What I’m reading now

here we are

Sometimes the greatest books can pop up when you least expect them…

I saw this sitting on the shelf at the public library and picked it up because it looked interesting, for obvious reaosns. The various chapters are comprised of 44 essays, speeches and drawings called things like “Starting the Journey,” “Gender, Sex and Sexuality,” “Relationships” and “Go Your Own Way,” and they address the incredibly diverse and ever changing world that makes up what we call feminism today. It’s a great introduction to this complex “ism” that so many people have invested so much energy into squelching for various reasons. You get playlists of feminist songs to sing along to by Kody Keplinger, graphic stories about the princess within by Wendy XU, and all sorts of essays about body positivity, intersectionality, gender identity, the history of feminist theory and more, by a wide array of thoughtful women and men who eat, sleep, and breathe these issues all the time.

It’s crucial to keep up with current events but it is also so important to step back and try to understand the broader picture of where we are coming from. And to read beautifully written, thoughtful and inspirational words written by badasses like these is as essential as sleep and water.

Click this link to buy or look for it at your local library: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Help them to help themselves

It has been a rough year. I don’t think I know a single person who isn’t exhausted, mentally, physically, spiritually, economically– you name it. So I hereby dedicate this first installment of my annual holiday gift guide to gifts that will help your loved ones take care of themselves. Because if we don’t take care of ourselves, and we lose the strength to persevere, all will be lost. For reals.

Goldie's mood mist no 9

photo courtesy of Goldie’s


Nothing says “Everything’s gonna be all right” like a cloud of beautifully balanced essential oil scented mist that is grounding and energizing, detoxifying and hydrating all in one. Goldie’s Mood Mist No 9 ($26) is going to improve the tone of your skin or the room you’re in, and everybody who gets near you will feel better. Which is actually a holiday gift for your entire community.

Red Flower 10000 Facial

photo courtesy Red Flower


If I had all the money in the world, I might just dump all of my other skin care products and exclusively use this 10,000 Self Care Beauty Practice set from Red Flower. You can get it all for $498 (it’s on sale!) and I promise you it is worth every penny. These creams and oils and soaps are unparalleled. But if I had to “settle” for their Hinoki mint mineral bath soak ($52) I would do so happily. And still feel like a queen. Or a king, for that matter.

Southampton Soap Co foot scrub

Photo courtesy of Southampton Soap Co


Sometimes there is no bathtub available. In these instances, however, a large pot will do nicely. Rubbing down feet with some Southampton soap cucumber mint healing foot scrub (from $25) and then soaking them in a pot full of warm water is like an instant vacation without having to deal with the long lines at airport security.

reflexology chart

While we’re on the topic of feet, reflexology is the science of massaging along specific energy meridians of the foot to help heal all sorts of physical ailments. Give a gift certificate for a 60 minute session at Perry St Reflexology ($125)… because we have all been marching since January 21 and our feet (and bodies) have had just about enough.

palo santo insence

Palo Santo incense ($20), or Holy Wood, wards off evil spirits and creates positive energy. And Lord knows we could all use some more positive energy these days.

Photo courtesy of Puerh

Photo courtesy of Puerh Brooklyn


A good cup of tea can make just about anything better. The turmeric/ginger blend (from $8) at Puehr Brooklyn Teashop might just be my all time favorite herbal tea. The anti-inflammatory qualities of turmeric mixed with the anti-oxident superpower of ginger make it powerful medicine. And a lovely teapot ($33) in which to brew these concoctions only sweetens the deal.

mndfl studio

Photo by Julia Robbs for Homepolish.com.

Meditation is probably the one thing that is most consistently recommended by doctors, therapists, yoga teachers and hippies alike for helping to relieve the stresses of this crazy world we find ourselves in. I have never, EVER, heard anyone say it is anything but beneficial. But it can be hard to start a consistent practice, which is where MNDFL Meditation Studios comes in. They provide the space and the teachers, so all you have to do is show up. Easy peasy. Think of a gift certificate from MNDFL like a gym membership for your mind.