Sharing the books I've read with my reviews - you can find the full list of my 2022 favorites plus everything I've read in 2023 here

Pro tip: I check out most books from the library via the Libby app, and in order to avoid massive waitlists I try to find books from previous years' "Best of" lists (i.e. Oprah's Favorite books of 2021, Barack Obama's 2022 reading lists, Reese Witherspoon's 2022 reading lists, etc - usually less wait for the older hits!).

Also just want to point out the benefits of reading fiction as outlined in this article in case you are also suddenly feeling pressure to read more self help, business, and non-fiction books:

  • Enhances sense of wellbeing
  • Provides space for mental contemplation
  • Reduction in symptoms of depression
  • Reduction in mortality rate for those who read
  • Fosters greater empathy and social cognition



My rating: 3.5/5. Beautiful writing and descriptions of grief and dual emotions. However, romantic scenes make me cringe and this is heavy on the romance. If you're a romance reader this is for you! I am definitely going to explore other books by this author because they cover other genres and I really did enjoy the writing.


Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

My rating: 5/5. This started a little slow but once it picked up I was SO invested in the characters. I realized the Chinese immigrant experience is one I know little about so this was a really educational read for me.


Long Bright River by Liz Moore
My rating: 5/5. Could not put this down, and I appreciated the compassionate storyline around tough issues like addiction. It's giving The Wire as told by a woman. 



The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. 
My Rating: 2.5/5. I got through it quickly but it didn't really capture me at any point. I think I read/watch too much crime because I predicted the twist from the beginning. It was dull enough to help me sleep during pregnancy insomnia though.



Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
My rating: 5/5
Y'all if you read nothing else off this list, make it this book - mandatory for white readers. Winner of the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction, the 2023 Prize for Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association, this historical fiction book inspired by true events blew my mind. It's the story of forced sterilization on poor, teenage Black teens not that long ago, and weaves in a lot of cultural aspects and lessons. Please read it.

My rating: 3.5/5
This was really thought provoking and got me fired up and maybe hit too close to where it feels like society is headed for comfort. It's dark and dystopian, I'm glad I read it.

My rating: 5/5
This is a book I still think about regularly - it was so good. It shows how race impacts everything, and gets into family legacy. As a parent it had me thinking about intention vs. impact, and what that will mean for my kids and the future generations of my family. The story is told with such a compassionate lens towards all of the characters, many of whom I would despise outside of this writing.


Girl A by Abigail Dean
My rating: 3/5
This psychological thriller is a fascinating story that I flew threw but child abuse is the main theme, and like I said earlier I must read/watch too much crime because I predicted the plot twist from the jump.



Wahala by Nikki May
My rating: 4/5
Took me a bit to get into it but once I was in I was LOCKED IN. Love/hated the characters, love a story about women's friendships, and this was an overall enjoyable light-ish read. BBC has optioned it for a series so hopefully we get a good show out of it - I will definitely watch. 


Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
My rating: 5/5
Book tok told me to read this one and I couldn't put it down. I loved the insight into the publishing industry and the narrative on people who think they get it, everyone's favorite topic - reverse racism, and cultural appropriation. Touches on a lot of hot topics with a gripping storyline. I will say I didn't love how the end played out but otherwise this was a wonderful read.  


This is a living list of my books and reviews, and I always post when I finish a book on Instagram and save to the books highlight. 

Recent Books and reviews

Monday, September 18, 2023

 

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Some people have reached out for copies or text of articles since not everyone has subscriptions to the publications I post or have run out of free articles. I'm using gift links where they're available (i.e. you can read the articles without subscriptions/counting against your free articles). I note them with the 🎁 icon so you know it's a safe click (I know how it is saving up the articles).

🎁 Millennial moms are tired of trying to be perfect (WaPo): Raise your hand if you feel this headline.

Polls of millennial moms show the effects of this inescapable messaging: that they have internalized the importance of being a “perfect mom”; that they are extremely stressed and adept at hiding that stress from even their own families. They confess that they are exhausted by this perpetual, ambient pressure, and are eager to escape it.

Public freakouts, adult tantrums, and bullying are here to stay (Axios): Reassuring to know that it isn't in my head that people are increasingly...worse. I want a deeper dive though to understand why some people went this direction and others didn't. 

What kind of love lasts longest? (Psychology Today): This article talks about how our relationship with our partner impacts our lives (outside the relationship) and how we can convert our relationships to a healthy long lasting love.

🎁 Why food allergies are on the rise (WaPo): Other allergy parents and I have this conversation all the time (my 19 month old has severe egg and dairy allergies), and this article gives a lot more scientific breakdown than our theories. Plus interesting data on who is impacted. 
**If you're an allergy parent, I save a lot about our food allergy experience and how we feed HL in my IG highlights.

How the NFL talks behind closed doors (The Atlantic): If you follow me on Instagram you know I've been leaning into sports (and I'm over it). If anything my sports era has convinced me the NFL is even more trash than I originally thought, and this article details some of the reasons.

ICYMI


2023.09.17 sunday reading list

Sunday, September 17, 2023


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Sunday Reading List is late this week because pregnancy has destroyed my brain and I can't focus long enough to read a whole article. Here's what caught my attention this week:

Girl Trends and the repackaging of womanhood (Vox): If you're on tik tok, Girl Math and Girl Dinner and Girl Walks have probably popped up on your FYP. Why do these take off and why do we have to say "girl"?

Men's groups are embracing an alternative to American masculinity (WaPo): This looks at how a men's group in DC is addressing loneliness, violence, and its approach to masculinity. 

Guns for tots: what could go wrong? (Substack): Gun marketing to kids... wow.

The consultants who get teens into elite sororities (The Guardian): A look into the jobs of the consultants getting paid $2,000 to consult girls going through sorority rush. 

How to get the most happiness out of your social life (The Atlantic): Even though we prefer to hang out with people who are similar to us, more diverse relationships have been proven to improve well-being, improve certain types of performance, and enhance social adeptness. Studies show that even kids benefit from diverse relationships! This article also give action steps to build more diverse relationships in life.


ICYMI: 

Recent outfits and products we talked about on IG

What I eat to get 30 grams of protein for breakfast

Our best parenting decision 

Why "tough on crime" doesn't work, and what does

2023.08.27 Sunday Reading List

Monday, August 28, 2023

 


Y'all my toddler son has the most beautiful curls in the world and he has no idea. We have had a lot of trial and error to find what works for him, both with his routine and products. 

For context, his dad is Black and I am white with naturally curly hair and he has three distinct curl patterns in his hair. As someone who grew up hating their curls, it's important to me that my kids feel confident about their hair and know how to care for it. Here is our routine:

@lhtempleton sharing my toddler's curly hair care routine - it's taken some trial and error but this is what works for us. remember the key is to keep it moisturized! we love @Mixed Chicks Hair and @SheaMoisture products for him. #ftm #curlyhair #curlyhairtutorial #curlscheck #toddlerhair #toddlerhairtutorials #biracialhaircare #fyp #mixedkidshair #curlyhairtips ♬ original sound - Lindsay Templeton

Wash Day

While he takes a bath every night, we wash his hair once a week. Minimizing washes is important to not dry out his curls. He HATES getting his hair washed in the tub, and this suggestion from a friend to lay him out on the counter and wash his hair in the sink while Ms. Rachel distracts him on the phone has been a game changer. 

First we shampoo with a sulfate free shampoo. We use this Shea Moisture shampoo. 

After I thoroughly rinse out the shampoo, I apply this Deep Conditioner from Mixed Chicks, comb his hair, let it set for a few minutes, then rinse it out. 

Next I squeeze excess water from his hair and apply a small amount of this Mixed Chicks Leave-in conditioner (sample size here) comb, and let his hair air dry.

All in this takes less than 10 minutes and my son spends the entire time enchanted by Ms. Rachel. 

Non Wash Days

As part of his morning routine I wet his hair with a spray bottle (when he's in a bad mood about it I let him spray my hair first, he also enjoys spraying himself in the face 🤷‍♀️). 

Once his hair is wet I spray this Mixed Chicks Detangler all over, then apply this Cantu leave-in conditioner to the drier textured spots in his hair. Then I comb through his hair and let it air dry. 

Realistically we get to this 3 days/week. Mornings can get chaotic, toddlers have tantrums, and in this season of life nothing is going to be 100%. 

About the products 

I prefer using a wide tooth comb because it's easier and less painful on tangles.

While you can buy Mixed Chicks products from Target and Wal-Mart, I prefer buying directly from the Mixed Chicks site because they offer sample sizes of everything which is CRUCIAL when trial-and-erroring multiple textures in a kid's hair, and every order comes with a bag of free samples (bonus is that some products that don't work for my son do work for me). Shipping is fast and they have a points system that gets you discounts.

Dos and Don'ts

Curly hair takes trial and error, and it takes time to figure it out. I always get the smallest possible sizes to try, and think of the process as data collection. 

It's ok to feel frustrated, but we need to watch how we express this around our kids because it's not ok for them to feel bad about their hair because we are frustrated.

If you see kids whose hair is similar in texture to your child's, ASK the parents what they use! We're all in this together and happy to help!

Our goal is to retain moisture- that's what makes the curls so shiny and bouncy and prevents itchy/flaky scalps. 

NEVER brush your child's hair dry.

For tangles make sure their hair is nice and wet with plenty of detangler/cream and start with a small section of hair. Hold it at the base of the scalp, and comb starting at the very end of the section. Keep a grip on the base of their hair to keep from pulling on their scalp - curly headed kids can have tender scalps.

If they say it hurts, you don't need to power through. Take a break. Try smaller sections of hair. Let them know you believe them (avoid "it's not that bad").  

Use distractions: toys, screen time, books, whatever you need.

my toddler son's curly hair routine

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Fearless Fund responds to racial discrimination lawsuit (TechCrunch): ICYMI, as predicted the same dude behind the race based admissions lawsuits that went to the Supreme Court is now attempting to take down DEI and funding initiatives, and he's starting with a Black woman owned venture fund that awards grants to Black Woman owned businesses. Via AfroTech:

He also shared that the current lawsuit against the Fearless Fund is the first of many that he hopes to pursue through his American Alliance for Equal Rights organization against private corporations.

IUD insertion doesn't have to be so painful (Vogue): This article enlightened me of a 20 year cycle research data goes through that is causing a known treatment to IUD insertion pain (raise your hand if you went into cervical shock from your's and were told maybe you should have eaten more before you came) to not be used by doctors. PS MEN COULD NEVER!

The making of Real Housewives (Bustle): I don't even watch Real Housewives but this BTS info was a fascinating read. 

Body language cues that lead to instant likability  (Psychology Today): As someone who struggles to mute their facial expressions, this was a relief to read.

The key to inclusive leadership (HBR): I was actually surprised to read the results of this study and appreciated the tangible action items we can take as leaders to improve in these areas. 

2023.8.13 Sunday Reading List

Sunday, August 13, 2023

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D.C.'s ward 8 council member has called on the mayor to join him in requesting the national guard come help fight crime. This is an interesting (🥴)  solution considering the [lack of] data supporting "tough on crime" solutions like this. So let's talk about it.

For context: crime in D.C. has gotten bad. Like up 25% since last year bad. And the offenders are increasingly younger - police have arrested kids as young as 11 (ELEVEN) for violent car jackings. Anyone in education knew there would be an uptick in youth crime as a result of COVID school closures with zero planning for kids living in poverty without access to internet (in D.C.'s poorest wards only 45% of families have access to broadband), food, or safe spaces. And to be clear this isn't on teachers or school administrators who spent the pandemic doing the best they could with no resources. Teachers and administrators are not responsible for policy or funding allocation, this is all on the highly paid district and government officials.

Let's talk about this in three parts:

Part 1: why is it dumb and a complete waste of resources to even TALK about bringing in the national guard to fight crime?

Besides the fact that they wouldn't even show up for the January 6 insurrection so good luck getting them to show up for this, study after study after study show that despite the US spending $1 trillion on tough-on-crime measures, increased number of police does not deter crime. Our own Department of Justice says

Looking at number of police per 1,000 population; crime rate; and crime rate ranking for 26 major cities fails to reveal consistent relationships among these variables.

Part 2: what are they going to do? Put more people in prison? Make more arrests? Once again ALL the data say threat of punishment does not deter crime. 

The US has a 70% recidivism rate, meaning 70% of people return to prison within a few years of release - and these are just the people who get caught a second (or third or fourth) time. So why doesn't the threat of punishment and harsher sentences work? 

According to the BBC:

  • Studies have shown that criminals tend to value their futures less, making harsher sentences arbitrary
  • Studies have also shown that people with lower education levels are less deterred by harsh sentences
  • Experts say criminals believe they will not be caught - even after being caught once they do not expect to be caught again. This expectation means they do not expect to serve prison sentences.
Crime as a result of a public health crisis:
  • 60% of incarcerated people have at least one diagnosed mental illness
  • 50-60% of offenders have a traumatic brain injury
  • 80% of offenders suffer from substance abuse disorder
  • There is a strong and heavily researched relationship between poverty and neurodevelopment
Part 3: what can we do about crime?

The key to reducing crime is preventing it, not punishing it. We need consistent, well-funded, long term strategies (meaning when we don't see results right away we can't just drop it - systemic change takes time).  This research paper has an intensive list with supporting data, case studies, and examples. Here is a brief, very summarized list:
  • Access to health care and treatment
  • Community violence intervention: trained professionals to intervene and de-escalate violent conflicts, and provides wraparound services to those who have a high risk of violence.
  • Civilian crisis response: 20% of 911 calls are related to mental illness or substance abuse which police are not equipped to handle. Trained non police (social workers etc)
  • Economic opportunity and housing security: loans, housing programs, job placement and upskilling programs.
  • youth employment and skill building programs
  • Youth programming: Programs to support students’ social and emotional well-being have been found to reduce total arrests by as much as 35%, violent crime arrests by as much as 50%, and youth recidivism by 21%
  • High-quality education and school-based violence prevention
  • Investment in environment and community spaces 
You know what comes next. Local elections matter so much in this area - please research your local elections, reach out to your local candidates for their stance on these issues, and vote for the ones who will help prevent crime. And have these conversations with your people, make sure they understand the power of their votes and of these policies.