Captivations v.41: Thanksgiving and Forgiveness

November 30, 2017

Captivations is a monthly feature with links, stories, and news that captivated me. Take a look at all the things captivating me lately. While this month is focused on giving thanks, I think forgiveness goes hand-in-hand. An important part of gratitude is letting go of the feelings that no longer serve you and finding understanding in what was done against you. Our country has a lot of forgiveness to do and I think that forgiveness can bring a lot of healing.

When You Address Cards
If you’re sending out holiday cards this season, don’t forget this very important rule.

Cooking with Chef Marcus Samuelsson
It was pretty cool to meet and cook with Chef Marcus Samuelsson! He was in town for an event sponsored by Spectrum. We made the fanciest avocado toast I’ve ever made and he answered questions about cooking techniques. With 14 restaurants and 7 books, Chef is spreading the joy of good food!

Gift Giving
I made this gift guide a few years ago and I still recommend it today. I would add spa gift certificates because some pampering does lots of good for the body and mind and it’s usually something people don’t spend money on. In Austin, gift certificates to try new restaurants are a good idea. If nothing else, send a thoughtful note!

What it’s like to be undercover in North Korea
A woman named Suki Kim went undercover as a teacher at an elite school in North Korea. Her TED talk gave me a different perspective of the country. It gave me a better understanding and also made me thankful for our freedoms and opportunity in the US.

Last year, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Thailand by eating an amazing Thai feast at Nahm. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Thailand, so we got a little homesick missing out on the traditions. This year, we made our own little Thanksgiving feast for the two of us. I wrote this post on Thankfulness a few years ago but it still holds true. What I would add is I’m thankful for my privilege and the opportunity to use that privilege for good, I’m thankful for the Internet and how it brings people together, and I’m thankful for ambition and inspiration that is propelling all of us to create a kinder world.

Office Etiquette
I’m the awkward one at the office. I believe in keeping my work and home lives separate and it’s hard to balance how much to share. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in some toxic work environments? No matter what your office environment, here are some etiquette tips to remember.

What is Privilege?
Everyone needs to watch this quick video! It’s a crystal clear illustration of what privilege is and why it matters.

Cultural Appropriation
Halloween was last month but knowing why certain costumes aren’t appropriate is necessary year-round. Here’s a video explaining it. Cultural appropriation is one culture adopting another’s culture and a lot of times the culture is misappropriated and reduced to stereotypes. It’s a tricky subject because sometimes it’s hard to decipher between appreciating and disrespecting the culture. If you have to ask, maybe it’s not a good idea.

Books I Could Have Written
I love Mari Andrew’s honest illustrations and this one made me chuckle.

Guns aren’t the issue, women are
Well, if we’re not going to talk about gun policy, then let’s talk about this connection between the mass shooters. They all have a history of violence against women. The solution would be a policy with tougher consequences against crimes which would hopefully trickle to a shift in cultural norms.

New Skin Care Products
I started using Ole Hendricksen products a few weeks ago from my friend Janna‘s recommendation. (She’s a fashion blogger but knows her stuff about good skin care items!) I am pretty low-key about skincare and make-up (Remember this post about my skincare tips?), and it was only in the last couple of years that I’ve started spending more on quality products. This brand is higher quality yet affordable. I picked the Balance product line to help control my oily face. If you need recommendations, ask Janna! 😉

Can you love someone who did bad things?
This month proved that if you have skeletons in your closet, you better run and hide because the pitchforks are coming out. I feel for the survivors of harassment. I also believe in second chances and the ability for human beings to change for the better. The things that the accused did were wrong. How many years need to pass before we accept that they made regrettable mistakes and they are different now? Or do we assume they were, are, and will always be sick people who never deserve happiness again? Sarah Silverman, who is good friends with Louie C.K., threw out the question of how to reconcile what someone did to how it affects your relationship with him/her. There isn’t a clear answer, and I’m not sure how I would answer. Somewhat related, I saw this question posed somewhere: how do you judge a person’s character, from their greatest deeds or their worst mistakes? What do you think about all of this?

5 Hours a Week
It’s recommended that we spend five hours a week learning. Knowledge is power! If you think about it, learning would help with doing work better or faster and would build your brain power. Reading is an easy way to learn and you could also look at classes or use specific apps.

The superhero movies never end
I love them! I finally watched The Lego Batman Movie and Thor Ragnarok and the Justice League movie came out this month.

I mentioned in my 5th blog anniversary post my monthly Captivations posts are my favorites. I think it’s because there are few expectations about what I need to write. On my blog, I write many things that are marketable and helpful to others, but when it comes to sharing personal stories and feelings other than happiness, I’m still learning how to do that gracefully. I think I see this across the blogging world. Bloggers and maybe their audiences are getting tired of cookie-cutter posts and want a deeper reason to come back. What do you think? Which of my posts do you enjoy the most?

It’s my birthday!
If you’re reading this post on November 30th – it’s my birthday! And I am so lucky to be celebrating by exploring Belize! You know I’ll have all the details for you when I get back, but until then, follow along on Instagram or Facebook.

I’ll leave you with this photography analogy
“The light we let in produces the image that comes out of us.” – Jeremy Cowart

What’s captivating you lately? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Learn anything new lately?

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  • Ohhh, I lovelovelove that you got to cook with Chef Samuelsson!

  • 1. I hope you had a fantastic birthday!
    2. On cultural appropriation, your advice on if you have to ask, it’s probably not ok, is solid. See also, wearing any kind of “face” is also probably a terrible idea. My friend was in Connecticut for Thanksgiving and ran a 5k with her family and there were dudes in “red-face” dressed as Native Americans and it was not great.

    • Thank you, Terra! It was wonderful!
      Ugh! What troubles me is when people honestly don’t know what they’re doing is wrong and offensive. Like when people make racist comments unknowingly. It’ll be ugly but all these things should be called out in the moment if we want it to stop happening.

  • Happy happy happy birthday!! Thanks for being YOU! Your captivations posts are my favorite, because I love clicking on the links and seeing what sorts of rabbit trails I go down… 🙂