my cup of tea: looseleaf edition 2

my cup of tea: Lists of things I adore & want to signal boost. Some have structure/theme, some don’t. Looseleaf Editions are the ones that don’t. For more in the my cup of tea series, amble here

Passion Planner


This list-loving, paper-addicted, focus-seeking girl desperately wants a Passion Planner. Despite the mess of my real-life workspace, I’m an avid scheduler and to-do list scribbler. My heart soars in stationary shops. And nothing beats the feeling of buying a new yearly planner & opening the pages of another chapter of possibilities and goals. I’ve kept a planner since elementary school, and I’m constantly creating action plans for my projects. The Passion Planner is the ultimate tool for such a lifestyle.

This is another thing I desperately want but can’t afford to pay the shipping price for. Alas. My future work-desk fantasy also includes a Classic Stay GOALden Passion Planner on top of my stacks of books and notes. These are so popular that they’ve sold out and are on backorder. Next year, I’ll be prepared to nab one!


Neko Atsume

neko1 neko2

Neko Atsume, or the cat collector game, is a Japanese app in which you can collect cats. That’s pretty much it. A few months ago, my brother messaged me telling me to download the Neko app asap. There were no explanations or detailed instructions to go with this demand. I did it and I never looked back.

This was before the English update. I started the game when it was entirely in Japanese, a language I don’t know at all. That’s how addicting it is. It transcends all language barriers. I won’t explain toooooo much. Just get it.

It’s free. It doesn’t need wifi. It doesn’t actually take up much of your time. And it’s a burst of adorable hilarity whenever you need it. (I needed it.)




A Revolutionary Guide to Holiday Gift Guides

my cup of tea: Lists of things I adore & want to signal boost. Some have structure/theme, some don’t. Looseleaf Editions are the ones that don’t. For more in the my cup of tea series, amble here


Alright, so capitalism needs to be dismantled, yes—but that doesn’t mean gift-giving has to be anti-revolutionary. Gifts are one of my love languages. I love giving and getting as ways of affirming that we are in each others’ hearts. And I love meta-lists. So to celebrate the winter joys of holiday gifting, here is a guide to gift guides! Happy holidays.


The Feminist Killjoy Gift Guide

via The Belle Jar

A long list of fabulous products from indie artists. I love the nerdy inclination of this list. Feminist nerds, rejoice!


My faves: “Misandry” Hand-Stamped Bracelet, “Go Away” Knit Cap, “Fuck the Patriarchy” Banner, “Cats Against Cat Calls” Tote Bag, “Valar Morghulis” Phone Case, Feminist Harry Potter shirts (“The Fucks I Give Are Like Horcruxes – Very Few And Hard To Find.”)


25 Gifts For The Future Revolutionary In Your Life

By Hannah Giorgis, via Buzzfeed

A gift guide for woke folk cos “the holiday season might be a capitalist conspiracy, but sometimes even revolutionaries like presents.” Truth.

(I don’t need to tell you this, but don’t read the comments on this one.)


My faves: Feminism Is For Everybody embroidery, Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives by Nia King, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, Micah Bazant posters, “If you are neutral” sweater (I WANT THIS SO BAD), Stop Telling Women To Smile tote


The Ultimate Black-Owned Online Business Holiday Gift Guide 

By Bryanda Law, via Quirky, Brown Love

These are limited to U.S. online shops, but the list is lengthy and lovely. I like how this list is divided up by types of people you might be gifting, such as “For Your Fashion-Forward Boyfriend, Husband or Brother in College” or “For The Bookworm” or (my fave category) “For The Carefree Fashionista.” There’s fab stuff for all ages!


My faves: wool ties from My Suited Life, Bags from Gregory Sylvia, Sunglasses and Prescription Glasses from Bohten, Flower crowns and accessories from Adorned by Chi, Stationary from Nicole Marie Paperie, Pillows from Don’t Sleep Interiors, Clothing and Accessories from Orchid + Spice, Clothing from The Honorary Citizen, Clothing and Hats from DPipertwins


Your Ultimate Feminist Holiday Gift Guide


A solid slideshow. I especially love the cutesy pastel items. For the friends who believe we can smash the white supremacist hetero patriarchy while decorating our homes with adorable throw pillows.


My faves: ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ mug, ‘Smash The Patriarchy’ feminist throw pillow, ‘Feminist Fox Doesn’t Care For Your Misogyny’ iPhone case


Holigay Gift Guide 2015: For Feminists Who Live, Breathe, Wear, and Drink Out of the Movement

By Carmen Rios, via Autostraddle

This guide is well-organized into types of gifts (mugs, shirts, books, household items, and so on) AND subverts society’s concepts of gender and sexuality! What more could you want?


My faves: Safe Space pencil case, “Smash the Patriarchy” pendant, Subversive Cross Stitch Book (and I don’t even cross stitch).


Have you stumbled across other great guides to revolutionary gift-giving? Let me know!


Four Trustworthy Book Blogs for Advocates of Justice & Diversity

my cup of tea: Lists of things I adore & want to signal boost. Some have structure/theme, some don’t. Looseleaf Editions are the ones that don’t. For more in the my cup of tea series, amble here


The other day, as I was binging on book blogs to fill my to-read list (that ever-growing monster), I came across a review that referred to a girl of color protagonist as “random and unnecessary diversity.” I cringed. It was at once shocking and unsurprising. As a frequent book blog peruser, I stumble across this sort of trash often. Casual oppression masked as literary musing. Yet again, I yearned for a list of trustworthy book blogs. Not just blogs that aren’t blatantly racist/misogynist/etc., but ones that actively fight for marginalized voices. Ones that not only celebrate diversity on the surface, but truly champion justice from the roots. 

So I decided to make my own list. These are four of my personal favorite book blogs, ones I know I can always trust. 

Watercolor Moods

This pagoda of green, where words jangle within the blood, is run by Kaye (@gildedspine), a brilliant young advocate of diversity. Kaye is the creator of the viral #YesAllWomen movement, as well as #NotYourStockMuslim.

I adore this blog’s intersectional feminist lens, the YA focus, and the pastel dreamscape. Because of Kaye’s advocacy for girls & women, her devotion to diversity, and her ethical backbone, I know I can trust her recommendations.

Kaye’s voice is magical. Whether she’s writing about the pain of speaking out as a marginalized person or getting giddy over gorgeous tomes, it is always raw and lovely.


Les Reveries de Rowena

Rowena’s book reviews cover a litany of genres  (philosophy, psychology, history, sociology, etc.), always in the thoughtful analysis of a scholarly soul. Unlike many book blogs, Rowena is more erudite than exclamation-point. Don’t let that fool you though—erudite does not always mean boring! Far from. Her worldly words make me feel like I’d love to sit down with her to chat about books and culture and and history—all over cups of hot tea, of course.

Rowena reads and reviews prolifically. And she does not shirk from complexities. As a Black woman of the diaspora, she addresses colonialism and patriarchy and white supremacy face on. I’ve read too many essays from white scholars trying to skirt around the most foundational injustices of our world, so to me, Rowena is a relief. She writes, “I’m a woman moulded and shaped by three continents; my life has always been about border epistemology: navigating between cultures.”

One of the many reasons I am drawn to Rowena and her reveries is because she always challenges me. The beauty of this blog comes from its great depth. The reveries are full of deep thinking and deep feeling. The poignancy is so clearly authentic too. Never pretentious. Every post reminds me to dive into the depths myself—to read deeper, think deeper, and feel deeper.

Most unique of all, Les Reveries de Rowena is marked by a pervasive sense of kindness. Yes—kindness. A true, beautiful, rare goodness of human spirit. And if you’re wondering how kindness can play into writing about complex books—well, go read for yourself!


Wonders & Wanders / Nicole Dacanay 

This is the adventure blog of an up-and-coming author—adventures of both the page and the world. Nicole Dacanay writes about her journey as a fantasy novelist and her explorations of the outdoor world (particularly in US National Parks). The book reviews in this blog often weave those adventures together.

I adore this blog because it is such a sweet, bright corner of the over-saturated internet. All of the travel posts flare up my wanderlust (which is, I suspect, the point), and all of the writing posts make me feel so encouraged and inspired (which is quite a sought-after feeling as a perpetually “writer’s block”-stricken person). Some sample favorites: on pivoting in drafts and manuscripts & six of 2015’s most badass YA ladies.

The recurring themes of W&W are ones that are close to my heart: heroines, storytelling, perseverance, wildlife, and pursuing your passions no matter what. I can’t wait until Nicole Dacanay is a famous name someday, and I can say that I was one of her earliest fans.


Around the World in 80 Books

The 80 Books Blog is run by two women, Heather and Tqwana. They both work in the publishing industry, and are self-proclaimed nerds (aka kindred spirits). The blog’s premise is an established one, and lovely enough that it never seems cliche to me: reading is like traveling. Both are ways to explore the world, have adventures, and learn new things.

The 80 Books Blog is hilarious! Many times, I found myself giggling into my keyboard while reading a post. I especially love the Hot Air series, in which they sound off on current issues in the literary/publishing world. They hold back no punches, and it’s awesome.

Heather and Tqwana write, “Diversity isn’t a trend; it’s real life, and it’s time the industry start reflecting that. We’re just doing our part.” Their reviews are rooted in inclusivity and justice. Reviews and rants are written powerfully and empathetically. No fake PR drivel or wishy-washy “commitment to multiculturalism” like in so many platforms in the publishing industry. I highly recommend The 80 Books Blog! To start, check out their personally curated favorite posts of 2015.


I know that there are more than four trustworthy blogs out there in the world, so I’ll have to collect another list later! What are YOUR favorite book blogs? I’m always looking, so let me know! 


my cup of tea: looseleaf edition 1

my cup of tea: Lists of things I adore & want to signal boost. Some have structure/theme, some don’t. Looseleaf Editions are the ones that don’t. For more in the my cup of tea series, amble here


Anoosha Syed’s Foxville Art


Anoosha is a visual development artist based in Canada, formerly in Switzerland. She created the portrait of me that I use for my blog on the sidebar.

She has a forest princess/fierce female character/mermaid pastels aesthetic that I adore. I especially love her character sketches of roaring twenties Korra & Asami (pictured above) and her modern Disney princesses. (Seriously check out her Hijaabi Princess Jasmine. Gorgeous!) She was most recently featured on this Huffington Post article on black Harry Potter characters for her adorable dark-skinned Hermione artwork.

You can buy her art directly or through Society6. (I recently bought this galactic whales mug as a gift for an astrophysicist friend.) She also takes commissions.

More Links: Anoosha’s portfolio/site. Tumblr. Instagram. Facebook.

The Moonrise Kingdom Collection by She Loves Dresses x Crowned Bird

Jenny Baquing wearing the Genna, a dress “for explorers, dreamers, and fantasy-lovers.”

This is the new capsule collection created through a partnership between Priscilla Barroso of Crowned Bird and my friend Jennifer Baquing of She Loves Dresses. Five vintage-inspired dresses, intricately designed & hand-stitched. Shop here. Orders will be accepted until August 15.

The Moonrise Kingdom Collection, inspired by the Wes Anderson tale of a young runaway romance, is designed in mind for raven-eyed girls made of bubblegum and pink ink. Nuzzled in between the niche of new and nostalgia, these dresses are to be donned while sneaking kisses from your campfire cologne beau.

My hands-down favorite of the collection is Genna, the mint chip lace dress pictured above. It’s named after author and explorer Genna Nicole Dacanay.

And lucky lucky lucky! It just so happens that She Loves Dresses x Crowned Bird are doing a dress giveaway right now! Hurry and run over to Jenny’s Instagram page to see how you can win any dress from the line of your choosing! Giveaway closes next week, on August 9.

Matika Wilbur’s Project 562


Matika Wilbur is a Swinomish and Tulalip photographer. Project 562 is her ongoing epic adventure to photograph members of each federally recognized Native tribe in the United States. Wilbur says of her work:

Project 562 creatively addresses and remedies historical inaccuracies, stereotypical representations, and the absence of Native American images and voices in mass media and the national consciousness. I believe that there is an open space that is yet to be filled- that space is authentic images and stories from within Native America. My work aims to humanize, the otherwise “vanishing race”, and share the stories that our people would like told.

My husband Robert, who is indigenous, loves Wilbur’s work. At one point, he was even in talks with Matika to have her do a portrait of my mother-in-law Monica, a badass Tlingit businesswoman. Unfortunately, logistics did not work out.

Last year, we attended Project 562’s inaugural exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington State. And Wilbur’s project has been growing ever since. We love following it, even all the way from Morocco. You can follow Matika on Facebook or Instagram or her travel blog too. The blog also has a link to donate to Project 562.