Happy Weekend + Links I Love

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Happy first weekend of December, everyone! Giving season is here and I shared this post on ways you can give back this holiday season. I still haven’t made it to the Christmas Market yet, but I just might check it out this weekend. I’m suddenly in the mood for mulled wine and Christmas decorations!

Got any fun plans this weekend? If you’re looking for some weekend reading, I’ve got you covered with my favourite links…

+ This is the best: Actors on Actors. Actors behind the year’s most talked-about movies in candid conversation with one another.

+ The trailer for Big Little Lies is here!

+ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks beauty, femininity and feminism. When asked if she considers fashion and makeup entry points to a wider audience, she said: “I decided to do this No7 thing because I thought it might be fun, and then they will give me free makeup. And I’m always up for free things. It wasn’t a carefully calculated thing. It was actually just my being blinded by the selfish overwhelming love of makeup.”

+ The holiday gift guides are rolling in. Joanna always puts together the most thoughtful gift guides.

+ So are the best of 2016 lists! The Guardian asked writers to pick their best books of the year. Here’s part one and part two.

+ When food banks say no to sugary junk, schools offer a solution. The founder of Food Bus, a non-profit that connects schools with food banks “arranged to have the students start collecting their unopened leftovers instead of throwing them away. She also arranged to purchase extra refrigerators to store the perishable items. Once a week the students haul all the food they’ve collected over to the food pantry to be distributed.”

+ I am a huge fan of America Ferrera. The outspoken actress shares how a triathlon helped her defy her inner critic.

+ One author on why you should avoid reading the flap copy. “With no background information to rely on, I found myself paying closer attention and reading more attentively. Hunting for clues in the author’s words rather than those of the Publicity team who promoted the book. It felt like a complete journey.”

+ Must read: Instagram Grandpa’s art carries his love across the world. A sweet, inspiring story. (I just started following his account.)

+ Foodism Toronto has a print edition! I grabbed a complimentary copy this week and I am loving it.

+ Favourites from my Instagram feed this week: NOOOO, DADDY, WHYYYYYYY via @evachen212, The magic of New York City during the holidays never gets old via @brightbazaar, Party for one via @davekennedy_

Reading update:

I See You by British author, Clare Mackintosh came out in Canada on Tuesday and of course, I ran out and bought a copy right away. I loved the detailed look at police procedure and the investigation. I enjoyed the rapport between the detectives. I stayed up late last night to finish it and I can’t stop thinking about it. Mackintosh explored serious issues and she’s encouraged me to be more careful while walking around the city and riding the subway.

(Photo snapped while sipping on Davids Tea’s chocolate covered almond tea latte this week.)

5 Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

Toronto Christmas Market at sunset

When December rolls around, our attention turns to finding the perfect gift for our loved ones, decorating our homes, and planning holiday dinners and parties. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity so each year I take the time to slow down, step back from it all, give thanks, and show love to others.

While I believe in giving back year round, non-profit and community groups really feel the crunch around the holidays.

If you’re looking to brighten the lives of others this holiday season, here are 5 ways you can give back…

Donate to a cause that matters to you.

Non-profit and community organizations abound so do some research and choose one that speaks to you.

Here’s a list of causes I believe in:

Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund. Founded in 1906, this charity provides 45,000 underprivileged children with a gift at Christmastime. Children who receive gift boxes are referred by social and community service agencies and often come from low-income, single-parent families and new immigrant homes. All donations are used to purchase gift boxes filled with warm clothing, a toy, candy, and dental hygiene items.

Holiday Helpers Canada. This charity has made it their mission to grant Christmas wishes in the Greater Toronto Area. All donations help provide Christmas packages to low-income families with young children. Each package includes a decorated Christmas tree, a grocery store gift card for a Christmas dinner, and gifts for each family member from their wish lists. You can choose an option that fits your budget.

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. Now in its 105th year, the fund provides direct assistance to those struggling in New York and beyond. All money collected is distributed to individuals through the fund’s eight participating organizations. Here’s a list of the organizations. Also, the stories of those who benefited or may benefit from the fund are so incredibly moving.

Make blessing bags and hand them out to the homeless.

Canadian winters can be downright brutal even when you’re all bundled up. When the temperature drops and the wind chill reaches dangerous levels, people living on the street more often than not refuse to go to a shelter. A few years ago, the city was hit by an ice storm so a couple of friends and I decided to put together blessing bags for the homeless.

Gather your friends, pool your money together, visit your local Walmart and stock up on hats, gloves, socks, travel-sized toiletries, grocery store and coffee shop gift cards, and pack items in large freezer bags or backpacks. Write an encouraging note and slip it inside each bag. Hit the streets on Christmas Eve and hand them out to the homeless.

Donate urgent need items to a shelter of your choice.

Youth, homeless, and women’s shelters depend on the public for everything from winter gear to baby formula to personal hygiene items to bed sheets. If you live in the Toronto area, local shelters are accepting holiday gifts. Here’s a list of Toronto-based agencies and their holiday wish lists.

Volunteer as a food sorter at your local food bank.

According to the Daily Bread Food Bank’s 2016 Who’s Hungry report, “The average monthly income of people coming to food banks in Toronto is $750. After rent and utilities are paid, people are left with $7.09 per day on average to pay for other necessities.” As we move into the holiday season, food banks really feel the strain as the demand for food aid soars.

If you live in the Toronto area, Daily Bread Food Bank needs volunteers for its Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts. Grab your family, friends, and co-workers and spend a couple of hours sorting food. Online registration begins on December 6.

Give gifts that give back.

Davids Tea Me to We Tea Tin, $18. Davids Tea worked together with Me to We to create this fruity, all-natural tea blend. Each purchase provides three months of clean water to a child in Kenya.

Davids Tea Me to We Colour Changing Travel Mug, $35. A travel mug (that changes colour!) for the tea lover on your list. Davids Tea partnered with Me to We to create this beautiful leak-proof, double-walled travel mug. Each purchase provides six months of clean water to a child in Kenya.

The Little Market Cool & Calm Soaking Salt, $18. This soaking salt contains a blend of peppermint essential oil and pink Himalayan sea salt. Each batch is made with care by Bright Endeavors, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to helping young mothers get out of poverty through their paid transitional jobs program. Each purchase provides young women with coaching, guidance, and job training.

Kiehl’s FAILE Collection for a Cause, $45. This gift set includes the brand’s Daily Reviving Concentrate, Limited Edition Ultra Facial Cream, and Limited Edition Creme de Corps. All profits go to Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the United States. Each purchase provides 415 meals to those in need.

How are you giving back this holiday season? Feel free to share in the comments!

What I Read in November

I read a lot in November; the most I’ve ever read in a month. Short stories, memoir, political biography, suspense, and beautifully written fiction. I am still thinking about these books and I am certain each story will stay with me for a long, long time.

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Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Sarah Nickerson is a working mom with a high-powered job and three young children. One morning on her drive to work, she is distracted by her cell phone and ends up in a horrible accident that leaves her with Left Neglect, a brain injury that steals her awareness of everything on her left side. While struggling to recover and yearning for her pre-accident life, Sarah has no choice but to slow down. A compelling story about how life can change in an instant, what we neglect in our lives, and how tragedy forces us to pay attention to what truly matters. Beautifully written, humorous, and unforgettable. I’ve been recommending it to friends, co-workers, and strangers.

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Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

When I found out Jojo Moyes was coming out with a short story collection this fall, I was overjoyed. The title story can be summed up in one word: charming. I also enjoyed the other 8 stories. Highly recommended.

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Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney

This memoir has been on my reading list for two years and I’m glad I finally read it. Moroney, a high school teacher and guidance counsellor married her boyfriend of three years in October 2005. One month into their marriage, her new husband is arrested and charged in the assault and kidnapping of two women. Shannon shares how she dealt with the grief of losing her husband, the stress of the criminal investigation, the rejection and judgment from people in her community, a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, all while trying to understand what drove her husband to commit such violent acts. She takes us inside the walls of prisons and courtrooms and I was shocked by the lack of support services available to the loved ones of offenders. It’s an incredibly heart wrenching yet hopeful story of acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, letting go, healing, and moving forward. An excellent book club pick.

Michelle Obama A Life

Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin

Following the election, I needed an uplifting read so I picked up Michelle Obama’s biography. If you’re looking for a great post-election read, I highly recommend it. I shared my thoughts in this post.

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You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott has written eight novels; this was the first one I’ve picked up. In her latest thriller, Abbott propels us into the fascinating and dangerous world of competitive gymnastics. Gymnastics is my favourite Olympic sport so the story immediately drew me in. While I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, I found myself slowing down and re-reading Abbott’s breathtaking sentences. Pulse-pounding, twist-filled, witty, creepy, skillfully plotted, and compulsively readable. It kept me up till 4 a.m.

Spin cover

Spin by Catherine McKenzie

I read McKenzie’s debut novel from cover to cover in one afternoon when it first came out in 2009. I loved it so much I picked it as my ‘book you’ve already read at least once’ for the MMD reading challenge. When Katie Sanford lands an interview for her dream job at her favourite music magazine, The Line, she is ecstatic. After celebrating her thirtieth birthday with one too many drinks, she shows up at her interview late and drunk. Needless to say, she doesn’t get the job. Katie is given the chance to redeem herself by checking into rehab, befriending It Girl Amber Sheppard, and writing an expose for The Line‘s sister gossip mag. Funny, relatable, and un-put-down-able.

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Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman has written more than thirty books; this was my first and it won’t be my last. I devoured this captivating story in one night. Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is your typical high school senior, until one night a terrible accident changes everything. Her best friend, Helene’s future is destroyed in the accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. This moving story follows one young woman as she struggles with survivor’s guilt, grief, depression, self-harm, and loneliness, and eventually moves to New York City where she finds herself. In Shelby, Hoffman has given us an astonishingly believable, relatable, lovable character; I couldn’t help but cheer her on. I don’t want to give too much away. But if you’re looking for the perfect read to curl up with, look no further than this beautifully told, vivid, poignant, unforgettable, hopeful story.

What did you read in November?

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

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Happy weekend, friends! Did you have a good week? It’s been a busy week for me and I can’t wait to just chill. I might check out the Toronto Christmas Market this weekend. I’m not in the Christmas spirit just yet, but I’m pretty sure apple cider, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and giant pretzels will do the trick.

Doing anything fun this weekend? If you’re in the mood for some Internet browsing, I’ve got you covered with my favourite links this week…

+ Exciting news: Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time’ is on its way to television.

+ 100 notable books of 2016. I’ve only read three from this list. How many have you read?

+ This great feature with one of my favourite actresses. Also loved this exclusive 128-second interview.

+ Obama reckons with a Trump Presidency.

+ Simone Biles on how she went from foster care to Olympic gold. “I’ve been brought up to never take anything for granted and to always be the best Simone—the best version of myself. From a very young age, they always believed in us and told us to believe in ourselves.”

+ Watch: A dialect coach analyzes the accents of some of Hollywood’s biggest actors.

+ I have been a Pinterest addict for years. Here’s how Pinterest is using artificial intelligence to keep the site’s 150 million-plus users pinning away.

+ I LOVED this book and my friend keeps raving about the TV series. Do you watch it?

+ I started following Benjamin Grant’s Instagram account, Daily Overview earlier this year and it’s quickly become one of my favourites. I can’t wait to get my hands on Grant’s new photography book, Overview. It’s on sale this weekend on Amazon when you use the code “HOLIDAYBOOK”.

+ Watch: Welcome to Canada. A Syrian refugee granted asylum in Canada starts his new life in Vancouver.

+ When it comes to lipstick, I usually stick to berry shades. But I am loving this red for the holiday season.

+ Glitter lips made an appearance at the Atelier Versace Fall 2016 show. Would you try it?

+ I’ve been hunting for the perfect booties for almost a year now. I was SO happy when I came across this pair while browsing this week and I snapped them up right away. They’re comfortable, they go with everything, and I got them at an unbelievable price!

+ Favourites from my Instagram feed this week: One of the best days of the year via @laurenswells

Reading update:

On Monday I picked up Faithful by Alice Hoffman. I read it in 24 hours. I highly, highly recommend it as the perfect book to curl up with.

I am making my way through Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy. I am enjoying it so far.

(Photo snapped in Bryant Park last Christmas.)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

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Happy weekend, friends and congrats on making it through the week. I made a conscious effort to smile at everyone I can across this week in the elevator, at the supermarket checkout, on the street. It really boosted my mood and I’m pretty sure it did the same for others.

Christmas is in the air! Shop windows are all decorated, Christmas trees are going up all over the city, and stores are playing Christmas tunes. Oh and the Toronto Christmas Market opened last night. It tends to get pretty crowded on the weekends, so I plan on going one evening after work to avoid the long lines. (Admission is free from Tuesday to Friday.) I’m praying that everyone doesn’t have the same idea!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! As always, I’m sharing my favourite links and this week’s links are soooo good! Make yourself comfortable and enjoy…

+ 21 stunning photos of this year’s Supermoon from around the world. Did you see it? Loving #1, #4, #6, #11, #13, #17, 19.

+ Following the election, a New York photographer asked women in Grand Central Station the question: “What now?” The responses were pure gold.

+ Glamour honoured the Stanford sexual assault case survivor at the magazine’s Women of the Year awards.

+ And in case you missed it, the powerful essay she wrote for Glamour‘s  December issue.

+ Did you tune in to BET’s White House Party for the Obamas? Here are the highlights in case you missed it. Oh, and Michelle Obama singing along during Usher’s performance was just priceless. How can you not love them?

+ This movie comes out in a couple of weeks and I am so excited. It won the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival.

+ I’m always so moved by the stories of those who have benefited or may benefit from The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. The fund provides direct assistance to those living on the streets, those who can’t afford their medical bills, children suffering from poverty and abuse, and young people looking for jobs, to name a few. A Times reporter reflects on what he learned from writing these stories. This year’s campaign runs through February 2017.

+ A complete timeline of Barack Obama’s most viral moments. Best. thing. ever.

+ A different approach to keeping young offenders out of prison. “Children as young as 13 can be tried in adult criminal court for serious crimes in New York state. But instead of redirecting troubled kids, prison hardens them. That’s why the New York Foundling, a private children’s-advocacy organization, offers an alternative, Families Rising, a diversionary option that mandates family therapy in exchange for delayed sentencing and avoiding a criminal record entirely if the program is completed successfully.”

+ Reflections from Trump’s America. This feature and photos speak volumes.

+ Made me laugh out loud. “My sister moved in, her five cats moved in, and her ex-husband moved in. It’s driving me nuts. My sister watches those murder programs. And her ex-husband is Irish so he keeps talking about the potato famine. He loves that potato famine. Always the potato famine.”

+ 50 necessary reads for your anger and your action.

+ Claire launched a food history podcast and the nerd in me is rejoicing!

+ Favourites from my Instagram feed: Gullfuss is just as magical in the night as it is in the day via @juliahengel, I want to be beautiful but not in the way those girls on the runway or in a magazine via @chevronseclairs, Into the mystic via @jasonincalifornia, Happy Saturday from the CN Tower via @iamsarahgrafferty

Reading update:

I picked up Find Her by Lisa Gardner on a whim one day this week. I read it in a day. A must-read for all the suspense lovers.

This weekend, I’ll finally be reading Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy.

(Photo snapped on an afternoon walk in Sherwood Park.)

Blanket Scarves

The days are getting chillier and most of the trees are bare and before we know it, everything will be blanketed in snow. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually excited for the temperature to drop just a wee bit more so I can wrap up in a blanket scarf. I absolutely love scarves and it’s my personal belief that you can never have too many. (I won’t tell you how many are hanging in my closet.)

If you’re looking for the perfect accessory to protect you from bone-chilling temps and whipping winds, I’ve got you covered with this roundup of super cozy blanket scarves…

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River Island Colour Block Supersoft Blanket Scarf

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J.Crew Wool Scarf in Oversized Plaid

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ZARA Wraparound Wide Striped Scarf

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Anthropologie Nenet Blanket Scarf

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ASOS Oversized Woven Long Scarf in Chevron

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Old Navy Oversized Flannel Scarf

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Wilfred Diamond Mosaic Blanket Scarf

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ZARA Checked Wraparound Scarf

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Urban Outfitters Extra Large Cozy Fringe Scarf

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Topshop Geo Check Oversized Scarf

Which one is your favourite?

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

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Happy weekend everyone. What a week it’s been! On Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling anxious and I didn’t understand why. On my way out the door, I ran into my neighbour and asked him who won the election. I was shocked to say the least. As the day went on, I avoided reading any online news, picking up any newspapers, or turning on the TV. I refused to believe it, but all the Instagram posts told me it was true. I have family living in the US so I was worried about how this would affect them.

While I in no way condone President Trump’s words and actions or agree with his policies, I’ve chosen to pray for him. God is not surprised by the outcome and I am resting in that truth. God is in control and He is still on His throne.

After an emotionally draining week, I hope you make time to relax this weekend. Sending hugs to everyone. If you’re looking for some reading, I’ve got you covered with my favourite links this week…

+ If you’re still in shock over Trump’s victory, this piece by Elizabeth Drew, How it happened clears things up.

+ For all the podcast fans in Toronto: The Hot Docs Podcast Festival, Canada’s first international podcast festival runs from November 18-20! For festival details and tickets, visit the official website.

+ Michelle Obama opens up on eight memorable years in the White House. On the most demanding part of being First Lady: “I have to be in tune. All the time. I have to be in tune with my husband, where he is, how he’s feeling. I have to be in tune with where my family is. The same thing is true in the work that I do. It’s all about me feeling where people are.”

+ And Barack Obama spoke to Brandon of Humans of New York: “I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do.”

+ 50 best cinematographers working today. I am a huge fan of Dariusz Wolski for his work on The Martian, Roger Deakins for his work on Prisoners, Jeff Cronenworth for his work on Gone Girl, Ellen Kuras for her work on A Little Chaos, and Sean Bobbitt for his work on 12 Years A Slave and The Place Beyond the Pines.

+ How I explained the election to my six-year-old daughter. This made me smile.

+ Angela Bassett: ‘Anger doesn’t serve me. If I’m frustrated, I just do better.’ “Her career, she says, has always been about “what inspires me to grow, to learn, the message – what are you saying – as opposed to ‘what are they paying?’ Oftentimes, it’s what inspires me.”

+ Watch: Subway sticky notes offer post-election therapy.

+ This photo essay of a young boy’s cancer journey brought me to tears.

+ Critics are going crazy over ‘Loving’. The team behind ‘Loving’ brings a quiet civil rights battle to life. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols and produced by Colin Firth, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It opens in theatres this weekend.

+ This bacon butternut squash risotto. Because we could all use a bit of comforting right now.

+ Anthropologie’s Cooler by Degrees collection makes me excited for cooler weather. I would love to get cozy in this hat, this blanket scarf, and these mittens!

+ I finished Michelle Obama’s biography Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin on Wednesday night. I shared my thoughts on this important read in this post.

+ Favourites from my Instagram feed: Central Park in fall via @joannagoddard, First views of Saluyita, the loveliest little surf town via @pointebreakretreats, It’s raining cats and dogs out here, try not to step in any poodles via @rosielondoner, We pulled over & these beauties came running toward me via @stephsterjovski, Alright, let’s do this via @carolinecala

Reading update:

I’m still making my way through Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton. This one belongs on your reading list.

I am also in the mood for some light reading so I’m re-reading Spin by Catherine McKenzie for the MMD Reading Challenge.

(Photo snapped in Sherwood Forest.)

Michelle Obama: A Life

Michelle Obama A Life

In the wake of Tuesday’s election, I needed to read something to lift my spirits so I picked up Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin. A former Washington Post national staffer, Slevin has a decade worth of experience writing about Barack and Michelle Obama and political campaigns. I stayed up late on Wednesday night to finish it and I’ve been thinking about it on my walks to work.

With top-notch reporting and an eye for detail, Slevin tracks Michelle Obama from her humble beginnings on Chicago’s segregated South Side to the halls of Princeton University and Harvard Law School to the corporate law firm where she met Barack to mentoring youth in her South Side neighbourhood to the White House.

I was surprised to discover that Michelle declined to be interviewed for the biography. Slevin instead interviewed family members, friends, neighbours, former classmates, and colleagues. He pieced together what he learned from these interviews and filled in the holes with reports and published interviews. It’s so skillfully done, you would never know.

I enjoyed learning about Michelle’s childhood, her relationship with her parents and brother, the racial discrimination she faced while at Princeton and Harvard, her time on the campaign trail making one-on-one connections with voters, her role as First Lady, and the ins and outs of White House life.

I admire her for her authenticity, confidence, poise, no-nonsense attitude, compassion, courage to speak out against racism, discrimination, and injustice, and her decision to ignore negative comments left on her social media. She knows exactly who she is and doesn’t apologize for it.

She devoted hours to her work on education. In a speech to high school students in Washington, she explained why as first lady she feels so strongly about sharing her story and stressing the importance of getting an education, “Because this is all I can be for you right now, is just this model of an alternative.”

She has inspired me to think deeply about ways I can spread hope and give back to my community.

As emotions are running high this week, this important and necessary read offers the hope we so desperately seek. We’ve made progress, but it’s clear from the racial profiling, police brutality, hate crimes, and protests across the U.S. that we’ve got a long, long way to go. Change begins with us, the people. It begins in our homes, our communities, our schools, our workplaces.

Beautifully written, engaging, thoughtful, revealing, and hopeful, it deserves a spot on your reading list.

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

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Happy weekend! How was your first week of November? I am SO ready for all this election drama to be over. Who’s with me? That being said, it’s 2016 and there are still countries around the world where people are fighting for the right to vote, so I hope all my American readers are registered to vote. Also, #imwithher over here in Canada because of her four years’ experience as the Secretary of State and her passion for women, children, and human rights.

How are you spending the weekend? It’s beautiful and sunny here so I plan on taking a long walk in the woods. A friendly reminder to turn your clocks back an hour before heading to bed tonight. If you’re looking for some weekend reading, I’ve got you covered with a bunch of my favourite links this week…

+ I love The Atlantic‘s video series, Women and Leadership. I especially enjoyed the third episode, Wendy Finerman on the Challenges of Being a Female Hollywood Producer. Finerman talks about the lessons she’s learned in Hollywood and how she keeps a work-life balance.

+ Bookmarking Grace’s thoughtful essay, 10 Things People Don’t Talk About in Business (But Should). I’m sure I’ll be returning to it again and again.

+ An American in a Strange Land. An incredible article by a New York Times foreign correspondent returning home after more than ten years abroad. “I worked for an American company, for American bosses, and I wrote articles trying to explain the world to a mostly American audience. All of this created the gentle illusion that we were still truly connected to home. Yet as the years passed, I realized that I had lost touch, that the country I left was no longer the same.”

+ The thought process of social media creeping made me crack up.

+ Behind the Scenes: Making a Magazine Cover. Three women share the behind-the-scenes of New York Times Magazine covers! So fascinating.

+ The Closer: Michelle Obama. Since speaking out against Trump’s treatment of women, the first lady has received a mass of emails. “Sexual assault victims recounted their trauma, fathers poured out anxieties about unhealthy influences on their sons, and a distraught parent agonized over how to explain rape to a 10-year-old. The next morning in the East Wing, a first lady who had spent years in the White House staying away from politics sorted through a thick sheaf of printed messages — a selection of the 600 she had already received, an amount that would triple by the end of the day — and realized there was an unlikely finale for her.” She will be missed.

+ A divorce lawyer, social worker, and book editor on the art of hard conversations.

+ Everyone’s talking about the new Netflix series, The Crown. Here’s the official trailer.

+ This week I finished reading Through the Glass and I’ve been thinking a lot about the criminal justice system. This article, Does the First Amendment End at the Prison Gate? is a really good read. “The original manuscript, which inmates at Monroe had long passed around in secret, was smuggled out of the prison by a volunteer English teacher in a stack of papers to be graded. Highly praised in The Seattle Review of Books, it chronicles a day in the life of a Washington state prisoner. Many scenes do not reflect well on corrections officers. On October 13, the Washington Department of Corrections officially banned the book, which meant the inmates who had ordered it would not be receiving their copy.”

+ Watch: The process of making bamboo matcha whisks by hand.

+ I watched this film last night. Have you seen it yet? It is a cinematic achievement.

+ Favourites on Instagram this week: Still planet Earth, believe it or not via @cocorocha, Happy Halloween from Poppy, Branch and lil Branch via @jessicabiel, Oh, New York, I love you via @brightbazaar

Reading update:

On Tuesday I finished Jojo Moyes’s latest Paris for One and Other Stories. I fell in love with the title story and enjoyed the other 8 stories in the collection. Worth reading.

On Wednesday I finally finished Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney and I can’t stop thinking about it. Moroney shares how she dealt with the loss of her husband, the publicity of the criminal investigation, the rejection and judgment from those in her community, and a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. She takes us on an intimate journey inside prisons and courtrooms. A story about healing, compassion, letting go, and moving forward after trauma.

I also devoured Left Neglected by Lisa Genova in two days. It’s my favourite book from the author so far and I’ve been recommending it to everyone.

Last night I picked up Hillary Clinton’s memoir, Hard Choices and I am LOVING it. An in-depth and entertaining look at her four years as Secretary of State.

(Photo snapped in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

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Happy weekend everyone. I hope you had a wonderful week and you’re ready for some rest and relaxation. The weather switched suddenly here in Toronto this week and I actually had to wear layers.

Got any fun plans this weekend? Whatever you end up doing, stay safe! As always, here’s a roundup of my favourite links this week…

+ How to Be Both. “This is what I grew up seeing, so that is what I grew up being: a young adult with a social consciousness to do what I could, and to, at the very least, speak up when I knew something was wrong.”

+ ‘I Live in a Lie’: Saudi Women Speak Up’. The New York Times issued a call-out on their site and on their Twitter to Saudi women, How Has Your Life as a Saudi Woman Changed? The response was overwhelming.

+ Ella shared her thoughts on social media and it was so honest and real. “Social media isn’t there to create a platform from which to try and emulate a stranger or aim for a photo-shopped image of virtual perfection. Don’t forget as you scroll through account after account that no one is or will ever be perfect, the concept of perfect is subjective and lies solely in the eye of the beholder.”

+ Turned down 18 times. Then Paul Beatty won the Booker. Added to my reading list. Have you read it?

+ Imagine a World Without Photography. An interview with Emmy award-winning filmmaker Alexandria Bombach.

+ Pete Wells Has His Knives Out. How the New York Times restaurant critic writes the reviews that make and break restaurants.

+ The perfect fall look in my favourite colour!

+ Zadie Smith: dance lessons for writers. On the connection between writing and dancing: “It feels a little neglected – compared to, say, the relationship between music and prose – maybe because there is something counter-intuitive about it. But for me the two forms are close to each other: I feel dance has something to tell me about what I do. What can an art of words take from the art that needs none? Yet I often think I’ve learned as much from watching dancers as I have from reading.”

+ Everything you hear on film is a lie. A fascinating TED Talk that had me reminiscing about my job in film and television post production.

+ Hellooooo pumpkin nutella hot chocolate.

+ My favourites on Instagram this week: But WHY, Mum, WHY must it be Morphin’ Time? via @evachen212, Soaring high above an ocean of autumnal hues via @brightbazaar, Dear Pretty Little Liars via @halfadams, This will be the drive into our house via @freshexchange

Reading update:

I am currently making my way through Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney.

This weekend I’ll be curling up with Jojo Moyes’s latest, Paris for One and Other Stories.

(Photo snapped in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.)