Tastes like iron, tastes like blood. Tastes like metal and missiles, what they’ve done. I’ve clad my heart in many coats: hope and impulse, fervor, love; but hate has never found a place, until right now, in the closet of my house. Doesn’t matter, I’m a natural. Heart rush, heat rush, mind ice—I can hate with the best of them, close my eyes, chant with the rest of them. But. For me, not so simple. Reading the news, the beatings, the short fuse, the wreckage—how do I choose? Do I side with my mother’s race or my father’s face? Or which is right: my mother’s gender or my father’s strength? White or black, wolf or cat. Which is heaviest—I don’t know—privilege and hate, or oppression and hate? Try tallying the wrongs on your two bare hands. If you can. Cross multiply, cancel the hate, and I’m down on my knees, face to face with the history of the human race, all wrapped up in the sinews and skin of my light brown body, full of hate.

History will remember, raw and tender, while America bled and her heart fought her head. I am woman, child of man. White is my tribe, black is my clan. And hate is a coat of holes: it lights my fire but keeps me cold.

❝ I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear. ❞
— Martin Luther King Jr.

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Holiday Shopping Guide

Josh and I keep holiday shopping to a minimum, buying small thoughtful gifts for our families and stuffing our two stockings with love letters in lieu of gifts. Although I pursue simplicity in all things, battling consumerism daily, I value quality most. Over the past year, I’ve come to realize the true value of small businesses and fair trade goods and the power of the thoughtful consumer. It matters where you put your money. Every dollar spent invests in something. So this Christmas, why not invest in the lives of men and women everywhere who keep the art of crafted goods alive while building social capital, funding education, and supporting their families?

The items below are curated mostly from brands and causes that I have followed and supported for months or years, with a few that I stumbled on recently. They are affordable, beautiful, made to last, and each reflects either a personal value of mine or a lifestyle essential. And each has a story. Click the links to learn more.

This shopping guide brought to you by request of Anna K. This is not an endorsed post.


1 // Enrou Inspiration Travel Tin Candle, Inspire: “Strong women lead to strong nations” (USA), $14

2 // Sasa Designs by the Deaf Recycled Glass and Gold Trinity Necklace (Kenya), $32

3 // Connected Goods Mini Warming Basket (Senegal), $15

4 // International Princess Project Globe Trotter Tee (India), $28

5 // Badala Kuni Utensil Set in Aqua (Kenya), $18

6 // Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Milk Bath Soak (USA), $16

7 // A Well Traveled Brand Travel Tag (Haiti), $15

8 // BOHINDI Gold Bar Layering Necklace (USA), $48

9 // Slumlove Sweater Company Black Crew Neck Sweater (Unisex) (Kenya), $75

10 // Fait La Force Dopp Kit (Haiti), $42

11 // Connected Goods Turtle Pumice Stone Foot Scrubber (Nepal), $14

12 // Connected Goods Herb Drying Rack (India), $21

The crushing days

Dear tired heart,

I know you’ve lost count. Burned the food, boiled it over, spilled your drinks, forgot to save, forgot to reply, forgot to breathe, balanced a blow dryer under your laptop with water dripping from the keys. I know your shoulders hurt and your stomach is cramping. Said the wrong things, at the wrong time, numb from the confusion that seeps in and soaks deep when everything should be together but everything falls apart. I know you made chai yesterday to distract yourself. Not your first attempt, but it was perfect. An exact version of Chennai chai. And you were happy. Chin up, tired one, your secret lies in that steaming mug of spice and cream. There’s a secret to flavor and depth, character and strength. Age-old, all-true, basic: be crushed. Crush the cardamom, crush the cinnamon sticks, crush the cloves, crush the pepper. Crushing is essential to the process. Let the hurt happen. Let it be. Deep breaths. These are the crushing days.