Jacob Blake Should Be At Home With His Kids, Instead He’s Paralyzed & Under Arrest

As you’re aware, this has been a stunning week in American history. Between the grotesque perversity of democracy that was the Republican National Convention and recent events, everyone I’ve talked to recently is feeling an overdraft of bandwidth.

On Sunday night, a healthy 29-year-old Black male named Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back upon opening the door to the SUV where his 3 children were seated. The cops that fired were responding to a domestic incident Blake was not involved with. Witnesses say they saw Blake breaking up a fight between two women in the vicinity before he was shot by police.

To be entirely transparent, I heard the news on Monday morning and I filed the information away until I had space to reckon with it.

The headlines don’t pause for deadlines. The workday will not relent in the presence of grief or horror. Instead of processing the weekend’s events in Wisconsin, I participated in a video call with my team in my living room 1,200 miles away where discussion is limited to sanitized topics like family, weekend plans, and the weather. I wrote emails. Later that evening while protests scaled in Wisconsin, I made dinner and watched tv.

I share all this to underscore the tension between having to exist and peaceably fulfill your day-to-day responsibilities while your country’s on fire, literally and ideologically.

On Wednesday, the country woke up to the news of a 17-year-old White male opening fire on peaceful protestors, injuring 3 and killing 2. I sat in my kitchen for a while trying to reckon with the fact that citizens are being killed in the United States by other citizens simply for demanding that the state stop crushing Black and Brown bodies with impunity.

The bullets police shot into Jacob Blake’s body tore his spinal cord apart. His kidney and a fraction of his lower intestine were removed. Jacob Blake will be paralyzed for the rest of his life. And he is currently handcuffed to his hospital bed in the ICU unit he’s recovering in because police claim he is under arrest. Blake’s own father was unclear of the charges. Lieutenant Eric Klinkhammer, of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, told the BBC: “Mr Blake is in custody for previous felony warrants. Our policy indicates that all people in custody outside of our jail facility shall be secured with restraints.”

Blake’s mother was among the first to see him after the life-saving surgeries he underwent in the hospital and her son’s first instinct was to apologize for the grief he’d put her through. She asked him if he was the one that shot himself in the back and told him he had nothing to be sorry about.

We are living in a country where Black men are apologizing for the bullets ripping through their own lives. And I will never be okay with that. It should disturb all of us.

Because it’s bullshit.

Beyond such, have you considered the trauma Jacob Blake’s children have endured? The pain they’ll feel realizing they will never be carried by or run alongside their father again? The pain rippling through this community right now and the sear felt in the cities that have seen it all before?

I’m writing you with a heavy heart and I think that’s alright. I don’t understand anything about the age we are living in, and beyond denouncing it as evil, I won’t pretend to. I simply hope you will join me in dismantling the beast devouring the lives of our Black brothers and sisters by organizing, voting, and speaking up against injustice.

My prayers are with Jacob Blake’s family.

What’s In My Bag

Earlier this afternoon, I decided to take a trip out into the world to break up a day full of virtual meetings.

I told Roy I was headed to Target.

Once he hears Target, he knows I could be lost to him for hours, bewitched by every cozy throw and seasonal candle gracing the endcaps of the homeware aisles. But these days, I try to get in and out.

I don’t notice others very much as I am often too focused on keeping my distance and avoiding awkward semi-anonymous pandemic-era eye contact.

I do however still notice errand bags.

An errand bag is a nice purse that is both utilitarian and casual while also making a statement. In the suburbs, sometimes that statement is, “Yes, I’m a mom of three who can afford to be at Target shopping in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon with a $2,000 purse and sippy cup in hand.”

Seeing errand bags in the wild is my favorite thing ever. What can I say? I like familiarizing myself with the trends influencing your average purveyor of Target dollar aisle decorations.

I’m also conscious of the statement I’m making with my own errand bag. I like to think it’s, “I’ve prepared for this trip like it is a Girl Scout excursion and yes, vintage Louis Vuitton is timeless. Next question.”

Over the last two years, I’ve been using a Louis Vuitton Cabas Piano tote (left) as my everyday bag. My mom recently bought me a convertible backpack from Target (right).

I am obsessed with both of them and I’ll tell you why. Let’s start with the Louis Vuitton Cabas Piano tote.

My love for this bag is somewhat nostalgic. It has the signature Louis Vuitton canvas lining with an interior zipper pocket and a cell-phone pouch that was most probably designed for a Motorola Razr because it’s definitely not fitting an iPhone. At 12×10 inches, it’s the smallest Cabas tote style but roomy enough to carry an umbrella and snacks. The Cabas Piano tote (once also favored by Angelina Jolie) was discontinued in 2008 as the brand prioritized marketing for newer tote bags like the now ubiquitous Neverfull tote.

At the same time, I understand the subject of luxury handbags might carry some loaded assumptions.

When it comes to material possessions, I advise making the investment and remaining as understated as possible while doing so.

In other words, you will never see me wearing a Gucci sweatshirt and I found a 2006 edition of this bag for a quarter of its original retail price on the popular resale app Poshmark.

Once my order arrived, it was clear it had been in storage for a while — maybe even the last decade. I rehabilitated with a ton of leather conditioner, love, and TLC. Ultimately, I decided I wanted the vachetta leather (the base and trim) to look less worn, so I sold the one I’d renewed and bought another one from 2008. That’s the one I carry these days.

I briefly considered doing luxury handbag restoration and resale in a professional capacity but once style becomes work, it’s no longer fun.

This year, I’d been on the lookout for a miniature backpack for a few months after I fell in love with a Marc Jacobs bag I never committed to purchasing. My mama recently bought me this yellow one from Target and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.

While the Cabas Piano tote is leather, the Target bag is polyester. The former requires being mindful about where you’re setting it down or whether it’s raining while the latter is carefree enough to take to a music festival.

While I do believe in the value luxury handbags add to one’s wardrobe, errand bags are not about luxury. They’re about utility.

The backpack I’m using now has a convenient front-zippered pocket for phone, lip balm, or sanitizer. It’s roomy, compact, and on-trend without feeling loud. I guess what I am saying is it just lets you to blend in. Which is a very 2020 mood. I’m keeping Louis but he might just go into storage until we find a reason to pour champagne again.

Here’s what I am carrying in my bag until then:

– Marc Jacobs keychain featuring a keychain from Groningen where Roy and I were engaged (my BFF’s hometown!), a car key and a house key (with a sunflower print on it just because)

– Neutrogena Hydro Boost water gel lotion sunscreen in SPF 30

– Ray Ban sunglasses case with prescription sunglasses inside

– Grove hand sanitizer in blood orange scent (I prefer Purell, this one’s kinda weird)

– AirPods and pom-pom guy AirPods case

– Pouch featuring an impressionist ballet scene with a mix of lip shades, floss, and hair accessories

– Daisy print mask my brother bought me because he’s rad

– Isabel Marant Smile lipstick shade in La Seine Shadow

– Too Faced Lip Injection Plumping Lip Gloss

– & of course, my phone which is being used to take photos and is thus not featured.

A woman’s bag is an intimate look into their priorities. I’ve tried to make my own practical while also capturing the things that make me thankful (daisies! 19th-century art! non-greasy sun protection!)

The details tell a story. What’s your errand bag saying?

The Come-to-Jesus Moment This Country Can’t Miss

Hello friends,

My apologies for the absence around here.

The idea is to blog multiple times a week but when time gets away from me, I remind myself the days are being lived and I am satisfied with that this summer.

As you can imagine, it’s been a quiet one. Last weekend, we finally departed from routine and took a 2-hour drive to Anna Maria Island at the courteous invitation of a friend. When I was younger, I took life in Florida for granted but as an adult you gain a new appreciation for the fact that people choose to retire here. Florida may carry some well-deserved stereotypes but have you ever watched the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico?

Exactly.

I voted in the Florida state primary last week. And it was surprisingly difficult to find a voter guide for local elections. I thought I just didn’t know where to look so I called a BFF who happens to be a lawyer which I will use a shorthand to communicate she’s got some stuff figured out. Imagine my surprise when we were both flummoxed by the vacuum of information a Google search led us to. The main outlet following the election was pay-walled.

We resigned to polling a few members of the local public defender’s office and looking up the websites of the candidates running.

The same day I voted also happened to be the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I thought it was strange we didn’t hear more about it from a cultural standpoint.

It’s the centennial anniversary! But somehow the brands will make sure you know when it’s National Donut Day. I digress.

The only dialogue I saw on the internet surrounding the 19th Amendment didn’t secure the right to vote for women of color.

The older I get, the more I realize voting is just not that important to a subset of Americans.

I will never forget a conversation I had with acquaintances just prior to the 2016 election where they informed me they weren’t going to vote because they didn’t want to participate in a farce since Hillary would win anyway.

That logic never really panned out.

Even still, we are nearing one of the most important elections we will experience in our lifetimes yet Roy and I will meet people completely ignorant to logic or empathy when it comes to politics. Instead we find people that are defensive, cynical, disenchanted, and occasionally others like us — cautiously hoping for the best with the disappointment of 2016 still fresh in mind.

Michelle Obama sat the country down for a serious talk during the 2020 Democratic National Convention last week. In case you missed it, I’ve linked the full video. I highly suggest listening to it and sitting with the words for a while, and even as an opportunity to meditate on what it means to be an American at such a time as this.

I’ve shared the words that stood out to me below.

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I Went To The Mall Today

As some of you probably know, Florida has been re-opened since May 4. For the internationals reading, you should know our state governor Ron DeSantis is fully Trumpian. One of his talking points when asked about Florida’s half-million Coronavirus cases is the increase of testing. He’s been seen at press conferences wearing his mask incorrectly and touching his face repeatedly while urging constituents not to so he’s not exactly an example of reasonable leadership during a pandemic.

He does, however, understand that Florida’s economy relies on tourism. This means our survival is dependent on keeping the lights on and we peaked at 15,300 new Coronavirus cases on July 12. Florida’s reporting system has also been riddled with controversy so it’s likely the figures are completely off, but I digress.

Given these political circumstances, the local culture here is proceeding with life as it formerly existed simply with masks, disinfectant spray, and utmost caution.

I don’t really have much incredulity to lend to this fact because I still see Trump lawn signs on my local runs. I am cautiously optimistic about the Biden/Harris ticket but we can all agree we are so far from ideal or agreeable circumstances in any case.

So it goes.

With this in mind, I’ve been trying to find creative ways to make outings that provide some break to the tedium of post-COVID living while keeping myself and others safe.

My office has announced we should expect to be remote until 2021.

Roy and his colleagues have a also been working from home. We have made a comfortable routine, but at times we can feel the space in our home shrinks the longer we exist in it. I can only imagine the severity with which friends in New York City felt this at the peak of the pandemic’s crest-wave in the city.

After editing 90 pages of copy today, I spontaneously drove to Millennia Mall. This is the ritziest shopping area in Orlando as it’s a mid-level to high-end mall. You can find H&M, a Johnny Rockets, and Chanel within walking distance of one another. What’s not to love?

I figured I’d distract myself from the state of the world with some window-shopping while fulfilling my quarterly visit to the only Lush store in the tri-county area.

I’d also been eyeing a few shirts at PacSun and thought I’d go see them in person since it’s been years since I bought anything from the store. My hopes for purchasing these YG and Matisse tops were abandoned when I learned Millennia Mall does not have a PacSun.

Upon giving up my search for cool graphic tees for the summer, I began wandering into old store favorites and new curiosities.

Each brand varied vastly in their post-Coronavirus approach to welcoming customers back. Some had promotional safety guidelines.

Others felt like clubs with employees monitoring the entrance like bouncers for capacity. The doorman at Sephora asked me if I’d been in since they changed things and once I confirmed I had not, he instructed me not to touch the testers.

At some point, I wandered into Hollister. I don’t know what I was expecting but everything was marketed towards Gen-Z and I felt distinctly aged out. I was hit by the nostalgia of British chavs in high school wearing Hollister sweatpants to school to lazily emphasize their wealth.

Even their sweatpants cost $45.

I could never afford anything in there as a teenager but I distinctly remember falling in love with a low-rise pair at $78 jeans and by the time I’d saved enough money slinging açaí bowls at the local Planet Smoothie to buy them, I never found them again.

The most shocking difference I found had to be the Apple store which has historically been their busiest location for sales in Central Florida. All products were stored, two letter-size sheets were taped on the doors explaining their absence on the doors and I wondered what the company’s pandemic compensation policies must be.

While I expected each store to emphasize safety and caution, I did not expect to see many stores closed due to limited hours. There were also an unusual amount of sales. You got the sense stores were doing everything to push seasonal merch out the door. I’ve even seen holiday decor in retail stores lately so it makes sense that brands are retiring Summer capsules to make room for Fall and Winter.

I briefly wandered into Banana Republic where a 19 or 20-year-old girl greeted me at the door. I thought of my summer spent with an aunt in New Rochelle where I was the teenager working at the White Plains Banana Republic location taking advantage of my employee discount to build a proper professional wardrobe.

How things have changed in the decade since.

I witnessed every age group and every demographic shopping, everyone I saw wore their masks correctly. And honestly, the mall felt far less populated than it usually is on a Thursday afternoon which I actually preferred. Meanwhile, I was surprised to find that the syrupy prompts from associates to assist you as soon as you cross the threshold of their store had not relented.

I was the only customer at White House Black Market where I tried on this gingham print midi dress which fit like a dream. I wondered where I would wear it to and settled on a pair of two-tone mules instead.

I also bought a wedding reception dress not featured here. For a party that may not happen this year as planned but the next.

In any case, joy is not to be made a crumb.