Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Required watching

Moonlight is a work of art.

Finally got around to watching this film over the holidays. Gorgeously-shot, characters to fall in love with, and a work that forces you (in the most beautiful way) to feel compassion and heartbreak and love. (And I'm still processing the rest of my emotions.) 

Yes, it's about a Miami boy who's poor and African American and gay. But the story doesn't hit you over the head with these details. Underneath the surface, it's about our humanity. It's about our desire to be loved and wanted and understood. It's about how cruel and f*cked up life can be but finding beauty amid circumstance. 

Required watching for every grown up. 

The best movie of 2016. (New York Times)

Monday, November 21, 2016


Monday, November 14, 2016

Let the resistance begin

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


How did we get it so wrong, America?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pantsuited Up (#ElectionDay)

This Nasty Woman is gonna rock her armor so hard today! By the way, like my pussy bow?

Pantsuit flash mob

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Illustration by Farin Blackburn.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Just sayin'

Art by Feminist Fight Club.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When your child fails

One of the hardest things as a parent is watching your child fail. 

Last night, after a grueling final round of basketball tryouts, Caden didn't make the team. For a kid who LOVES the game (if you've ever watched him play then you know what I mean), it was a crushing blow. The pang of his disappointment made my own heart hurt. There I was, hugging him, holding his body -- drenched in sweat and hot tears -- telling him how proud I was of him (17 kids made it to the final round, out of more than 40 in the beginning of tryouts, he being the smallest and the only Asian kid -- clearly the odd man out but so brave for taking a risk and putting himself out there).

Afterwards, he decided to drown his sorrows at McDonald's (Big Mac, 6-piece chicken nuggets, fries, a big-ass Dr. Pepper and an Oreo McFlurry!). He finished almost everything on his tray, came home and took a hot shower and slept like a rock.

He woke up this morning in a good mood, ready to seize the day. THIS KID IS MY HERO. Yes, as a parent it's heartbreaking to watch your child work so hard and not accomplish what they set out to do. At the same time, it's an opportunity to build character, resilience and perseverance. I admire the strength of Caden's heart.

After all, it's not about how hard you fall, but how fast you get back up. 

Why you need to let your child fail. (The Atlantic)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Robbed at knifepoint

Julio Diaz was robbed at knifepoint, and he handled it in a most unusual way.

Video by StoryCorps.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The real Donald

This New Yorker cartoon from 1993 kind of sums it up...

Illustration by Lee Lorenz for The New Yorker

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why we read

Why do you read? 

What is literature and how did it change your life?

Writer, poet, teacher and translator Christopher Alexander Gellert asks these questions and more in search of how literature has changed people's lives. His project, Why We Read, will take him from Normandy and the Basque Country to Alsace and Brittany to uncover these stories.

"Often you'll think of literature as a little bonus, an extra, and people write it off as something that doesn't have value or something that doesn't have real impact," says Gellert. "But literature is anything that is a written story. It's about the books that have touched you and moved you. When you read you are forced to pause and you are forced to think beyond yourself. Literature demands your attention in ways that other media do not."

Why We Read will explore how reading changes a person. Set against the backdrop of France, Gellert, who studied French literature and speaks French fluently, hopes to discover how literature can impact a person's life. 

"Literature is very intimate and can have enormous impact on our personal evolution," he says. "But it also defines and creates our relationship with others."

Naturally, these discussions will take place over a delicious meal which Gellert will prepare. The project will be tailored to the people who take part in it. It will be not only about what participants read, but what they love to eat, as well. Gellert plans to gather these stories over the course of a year and publish them in a book.

A book is something very intimate and you carry it within yourself after you read it, but it is also something shared, says Gellert. A meal is also a shared space, something that is very intimate. A book is also something that you have to digest and it may take a person years to assimilate. There is something very sacred in these ordinary things. Having a meal with someone. Reading a book. Asking questions. Finding out how that person has changed.

Gellert hopes to raise $26,000 for the project. The funds will go toward the cost of travel, preparation of meals and cost of living during the year-long research and writing of these stories.

"We need to be able to nourish our souls," he says. "To stop thinking that it is somehow secondary in the face of ever-changing technology, our emotional intelligence has not caught up. It's not only about how reading changes us, but putting that back at the center of the conversation. That it is fundamental."

To paraphrase Proust, "Reading is not an end unto itself, but it is about unlocking portals of consciousness."

Photo by Evan Bench (via Flickr).
Watch the full videos of Why We Read, click here.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Women warriors (#RNCinCLE)

Women art warriors.

In the early hours on Sunday, just before dawn, more than 100 brave Cleveland women rose together, holding mirrors overhead to expose the naked truth about the Republican Party and making art with what may be the most controversial subject in this presidential race: a woman's body. 

New York-based artist Spencer Tunick, best known for organizing large scale nude shoots, has chosen The Land once again (in 2004 he created an installation where he photographed 2,754 naked people on East 9th Street). When it was announced that Cleveland would host the Republican National Convention, Tunick knew exactly what kind of art he wanted to create.   

"To me, [the work] references equality not only in the workplace, but in government," Tunick said about Everything She Says Means Everything in a recent interview. "Once there are more women in government, I think it is going to be a more peaceful world."

I'm inspired by Tunick's work and I'm even more inspired by my friend, Shauna Davis, for volunteering to be a part of the project. She and some 120 Cleveland-area women were chosen among 1,800 who applied to participate.

"It was so powerful, I feel like I was a part of history," she says. "It was an awesome feeling of camaraderie. And there were so many women of different body types, ages and races. There was even a trans woman. [Tunick] was so intentional when he and his team picked these women to take part."

Perhaps even more impressive was Tunick's sensitivity not only to the art but to his models. Not wanting the shoot to turn into a "press circus," Shauna says they were instructed to bring bed sheets to the installation space (a sprawling piece of un-manicured grass in The Flats, off of Scranton Road). At first she was puzzled.

"He said he wasn't sure if the police would come and he didn't invite the media," Shauna says. "He didn't want to make a spectacle of it. So the sheets were to build a wall around us, to protect us in case we needed it." 

Tunick also shared what the work meant on a personal level. As parents of two daughters, he and his wife (an Akron native) wanted them to have more choices, he told the women. The Republican Party, he said, doesn't represent that.

Though getting nude in public isn't new -- Shauna's participated in seven naked bike rides -- Sunday's event was even more poignant.

"I don't really do political things," she says. "But when we shined those mirrors on the convention center, it was like a silent protest." 

Everything She Says Means Everything by Spencer Tunick.
Prisma photo courtesy of Shauna Davis.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Art as activism (#BlackLivesMatter)

I wasn't alive in 1968 but I sure do feel like we're going back in time. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated that year, as was Robert F. Kennedy. Two black athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, staged a silent demonstration against racial discrimination during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Star Trek aired American television's first interracial kiss.

In 2016 the volatility feels as thick as a relentlessly muggy summer evening. Suffocating. Oppressive. Inescapable.

Race relations is hitting a boiling point this year. Perhaps it was most horrifically portrayed in the Dallas sniper attack last week, where a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally turned into the massacre of five white police officers.

The world seems like it's going mad.

When I don't know what to do with my emotions -- anger, fear, deep sadness, hopelessness -- I often turn to words, art and images to help me cope. I came across this cathartic article in today's New York Times.

"The best that art can do is force us to face our problems," says writer Angelica Rogers. "Within ourselves and within our society."

Here is some of the most striking artwork coming out of the Black Lives Matter movement right now:

When you look at these images, what kind of emotions do they evoke? Anger, validation, healing? 

Would love to know your thoughts.

#MLK by Nikkolas Smith. (via BuzzFeed)
"A Man Was Lynched By Police Yesterday" by Dread Scott. (via The New York Times)
"Stay Woke," "Stop Killing Us," "No Breathing" and "More Than a Hashtag" 
by Nikkolas Smith.
"Don't Shoot" by Maria Maria Acha-Kutscher. (via Sojo)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

White denim: do or don't?

Do you do white denim?

Ronald Reagan was president last time I wore a pair of white jeans. I was a pubescent 13-year-old who thought white Guess jeans were the ultimate fashion status symbol. The year was 1988 and since then, I haven't dared. It's been almost 30 years.

My straight-up honest opinion about white denim? I think it looks trashy. Like men with ponytails and Victoria Beckham, white jeans have definite opinion-splitting properties, says blogger Alyson Walsh of That's Not My Age.

Unless you're Kate Moss, most women can't pull it off.

The color white, especially when stretched over the legs, is unforgiving. Every bump, every inch of cottage cheese and dimpled skin, every crack and fold. It's like watching a fashion train wreck.

What do you think? 

White denim: yay or nay?

Shades of white. (Girls of a Certain Age)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This week's obsession: lightly-scented lotion

During hot, sticky summer months the last thing I want to do after a shower is slather on heavily perfumed, thick-as-cream-cheese kind of potions.

I'm a believer in all things Dr. Bronner. This wonderful lightly-scented lavender coconut body lotion is the perfect solution if don't want to feel like Greek yogurt.


Summer beauty tips. (StyleCaster)

Monday, June 27, 2016

New beginnings

You know that saying about one door closing and another one opening? 

Well, it's the happy circumstance I currently find myself in. I recently accepted an amazing opportunity with a strategy and design firm here in Cleveland called shark&minnow, where I am doing all things content related: branded storytelling, content creation and curation.

This new gig means I won't be posting on love,-j. as frequently. But do stop by every so often. 

As always, thanks for reading!

love, -j.    

On networking and outfits.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


We joined over a MILLION people downtown to celebrate the city of Cleveland's first championship in 52 years!!

It felt like the whole world descended upon The Land. Absolute craziness getting downtown but we made it, thanks to a lot of perseverance and a benevolent small business owner who let us park in his back lot. I mean, look at how many people there are in this aerial photo!

We stood amongst the sea of millions for a good three hours before the parade made its way to us. Thank goodness for Daddy's strong shoulders. Caden got to see Coach Lue, Kyrie, JR Smith and King James himself. In the flesh. I don't think he'll forget this year for the rest of his basketball-loving life.

Here are some of my favorite snaps from yesterday:

And my favorite photo of LeBron:

Opening photo by Peter Larson for VICE.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Dear Cavs,
Thank you for winning this for Caden. He always believed in you. You made history, you beat the odds, you proved that the underdog should never be underestimated. You are the champions. And tonight, he feels like one, too.

The Salaffs.

The king did it for CLE.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Like a lion

You watch those nature documentaries on the cable? You see the one about lions?

You got this lion, he's the king of the jungle. Huge mane out to here. He's laying down under a tree in the middle of Africa. He's so big. He's so hot. He doesn't want to move.

Now, the little lion comes. They start messing with him. Biting his tail. Biting his ears. He doesn't do anything. Now the other animals they notice this and they start to move in. The jackals. Hyenas. They're barking at him. Laughing at him. They nip his toes and eat the food that's in his domain. They do this and get closer and closer and bolder and bolder. 

Until one day, that lion gets up and tears the sh*t out of everybody. 

Still in his prime

Monday, June 13, 2016


A college campus. A movie theater. An elementary school. A house of worship. A nightclub.

Enough is enough.

Image by Wendy MacNaughton

Monday, June 6, 2016

Fashion prodigy: the Disney princess

Why go with what's popular when you can do something more innovative?

Fashion prodigy recently put a twist on one of her Disney princess costumes. She transformed her Elsa dress into a midriff top by chopping off the bottom half (I love the shards of fabric on the floor). She kept the attached cape and then paired her new "top" with purple tie-dyed shorts and added Mommy's chunky jewelry.

The best part is that stare into the mirror. She's very pleased. Obviously.

When a t-shirt becomes a dress.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The greatest

The day Muhammad Ali punched me. (The New Yorker)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

He's growing up fast

And just like that... My firstborn graduates the fourth grade. (Insert teary-eyed sobs here.)

So proud of this kid!!

Bravo, my boy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This week's obsession: graphic stripes

Stripes make me happy. Color makes me happy. Combine these two elements and you've got one of my favorite "uniforms." Make it a dress and I'm in fashion heaven (example: this floor-skimming maxi dress, above). And to add a little something unexpected, I would pair this outfit with my beloved summer staple.

How about you? Do you love stripes as much as me? Or are you more of a polka dot girl? Bold prints? Neutrals? Black?

Stripes, super-sized. (Vogue UK)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Best hair spray (for bangs)

I've had bangs for quite some time now (going on 10 years) and I'm always on the lookout for a good hair spray to keep them in place. I hate sprays that make your hair feel like a helmet. And the ones that don't do the job feel like a waste of money.

But a few years ago I met my perfect match.

This one is a maximum hold spray that isn't sticky, isn't flaky, contains sunscreen (bonus points!) and smells like lavender-bergamot-rose.

May the Force be with you.

Summer street style. (Man Repeller)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Beauty life-changer: cleansing oil

When you take off all of your makeup, how do you know you got everything?

I recently added cleansing oil to my nighttime routine and it's revolutionizing my skin. After reading this insightful article about Korean skincare (and recommendations from my BFF) I thought, "What do I have to lose? I'm 41 and STILL breaking out like a teenager." It seems counter-intuitive to add oil to your face. But I'm telling you, it works. Cleansing oil is the perfect pre-cleansing step.

Here's my revised 6-step nighttime routine: 

1) First, I take off my eye makeup using this waterproof remover. Then I use a baby wipe all over my face to remove foundation, concealer, etc. 

2) Next is cleansing oil, which I use dry (I find it's more effective). After massaging into my face, I use warm water to rinse off.

3) Then I use a gentle cleanser (I like this one) with my Clarisonic Mia brush (this product changed my life!).  

4) Toner. Always use toner.

5) Don't forget those delicate areas.

6) Finish with a nourishing face oil. This one is my favorite.

I've been following this regimen for about a week now and I'm seeing results. Fewer breakouts, clearer skin, more even tone and a brighter and happier complexion overall.

Give it a go and let me know if you had similar results.

love, -j.

A grown-up guide to acne products. (Man Repeller)

Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm a nice person

Her highness posted this on her Instagram today and I just couldn't help myself. 

We all need to find our inner diva and just let it out. 

Madonna's best diva moments.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sailor jeans

How many pairs of jeans do you have?

I think I've got six pairs in my closet. Skinnies, boyfriend, boot cut. And now I must add this wonderful pair of nautical-inspired sailor jeans. 

I love the flattering higher-rise waist and worn with leopard print pointy-toe heels is just the cat's meow. 

Spring denim. (Harper's Bazaar)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Quote for Monday

Image via 12 Kinds of Kindness.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Five fun things

Did you have a good week?

Here are five fun links from the around the web to help get your weekend started.

Have a fabulous one.

love, -j.


Korean longboarding babe Ko Hyojoo shows us how its done -- with ease and grace.

The earth breathes. She is alive.

"It takes someone strong to make someone strong." This commercial made me cry.

Check out the world's largest indoor vertical farm.

How to lose weight... Get your heart broken.

Photo via Instagram.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This week's obsession: almond soap

What kind of scents are your favorite?

I love the aromas of orange blossom, lavender, coconut and baby powder. And most recently -- almond. I've been using Dr. Bronner's lavender soap for a while now and stumbled upon this magical-smelling almond variety.


What to do with perfume samples inside your fashion magazines.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This is Saturday night

Coke bottle glasses.
Tired eyes.
Disheveled hair.
Zitty chin.

This is the epitome of sexiness, folks.

How to keep your eyes healthy. (WedMD)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Twenty dollar Tubman

Couldn't have said it better than Bee.

Change for a $20. (NYT)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Three glasses of wine later...

The first glass of wine is all about the food. The second is about love. The third is about mayhem. So says Brazilian photographer Marcos Alberti about the inspiration behind his tipsy new Wine Project.

Alberti took portraits of dozens of subjects, many of whom were coming to his studio after a long day and stressful day at work. What does it look like when you get progressively buzzed? 

It looks pretty awesome.   

See Alberti's entire collection of photos here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

This week's obsession: pom pom sneakers

Have you ever experienced love at first sight? 

When it comes to fashion, sometimes I can't help myself. Something beautiful and unexpected and whimsical will capture my imagination, like these Here Now pompom sneakers. I saw them on Eva Chen's Instagram and now I can't get them out of my mind. Pompoms are enjoying a moment. I'm seeing them everywhere -- on heels, on purses, on beanies, on keychains. 

I love girly things with a bit of badassery. These kicks are on point!!

Photo via Here Now.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Quote for Monday

Image via Pinterest.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Guns and playdates

Would you let your child play at their friend's home if you knew there was a gun in the house?

It's every parent's worst nightmare. At least it's mine. Your child is over at her friend's place. The friend asks an intriguing question, implying the forbidden. "Hey, have you ever seen a real gun? I know where my parents' hide theirs. You wanna see it?" The children find the gun. They touch it. They hold it. And then the unthinkable.

Somehow I never thought to ask other parents if they kept any guns in the house. But after my daughter's recent playdate with a friend from school, I'm thinking I need to be more upfront with fellow parents about the issue.

Consider the conversation I had with my daughter yesterday.

Me: How was your playdate? Did you have a good time?
Izzy: Yeah! We played with our American Girl dolls.
Me: Oh that sounds like fun! Did you play in her room? I remember how fun it was to see another friend's room for the first time.
Izzy: No, we weren't allowed to go upstairs because her dad has private things up there, like a gun.

I was utterly astonished.

But I shouldn't have been so shocked. Experts say that 1 in 3 families with children have at least one gun in the house. In fact, more American homes have guns than dogs. And 8 in 10 first graders know where their parents' guns are hidden. The numbers are startling. But it never occurred to me that these statistics would include the households at my children's progressive elementary school.

"Is there a gun in your house?"

It's perhaps the most awkward and divisive of questions to ask of other parents. I mean, how do you pose the question without fear of offending someone? "Hi, I hear Susie wants to have my daughter over at your house for a play date... By the way, do you keep any firearms in your home?" It's a question that could end potential friendships before they even begin.

But when it comes to my own child, I can't afford to assume anything. I can't and shouldn't leave anything to chance. So I'm gonna ask the question that I hate to ask. 

Do you have a gun in your house?

"It was a horrible, horrible accident." (NYT)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Denim on denim

Are you into denim on denim?

I'm really digging this look (which is exactly how I would wear it; paired with simple pointy-toed pumps). Up until today I had trouble finding the perfect chambray shirt. Thanks to one of my favorite blogs I need no longer search.


How to pull off a Canadian tuxedo. (Elle)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Three 90s hip hop obsessed high school geeks going about their business in inner-city Los Angeles. This movie (now streaming on Netflix) is so fresh. Two thumbs way up. 

Revisiting the 'hood with joy and wit. (NYT)