Inspiration from the past & present: Sunday Suggestions 05-02-2017

 

Inspiration from the past & present || Sunday Suggestions 05-02-2017: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do || raeritchie.com

Last Sunday I went to see Jackie at the pictures.  It. Was. Amazing.  Left with my mind spinning about the subject of women and power but longer term it’s the film’s style that will probably stick most with me.  The outfits are divine (they have to get the Oscar for costume), as is the set – notably the recreation of the White House in the early sixties.  This Vanity Fair article features the movie’s set decorator, Veronique Merley, who talks about how they achieved this feat.

As the film deftly shows, Jackie O definitely knew the power of image, including the image that she projected as FLOTUS (I wonder what she would have made of that abbreviation?).  Clothes were integral to the Kennedy vision.  Others, including many contemporaries of JFK, recognised this too.  Marjon Carlos wrote this piece for US Vogue about the importance of dress for women in the Civil Rights Movement, going from Rosa Parks to Angela Davis, Nina Simone to Maya Angelou.  

The Civil Rights Movement also features in an interesting, and challenging, long form article in Vanity Fair about Emmett Till, whose murder in 1955 sparked outrage and attracted more support for black civil disobedience.  Sheila Weller interviewsTimothy Tyson, who tracked down the white woman that Till supposedly attacked.

Some of these great Civil Rights activists must be turning in their grave if they could see what was happening in the US today.  It seems that American society is growing ever more divided, with the fault line often running along racial differences.  However the recent protests are a reminder that there is still some hope out there.  Likewise this story, although a seemingly small the gesture, encouraged me to retain hope: a Manchester mum and her two boys covered anti-homeless spikes with cushions. The power of small actions exemplified.

I also want to finish this weekly round up with another example of hope – and the power that we have to do good things.  The video features Lionel Messi, world class footballing legend at Barcelona, and his biggest fan – a young boy from Afghanistan called Murtaza Ahmadi.  For 2.46 minutes, push aside any opinions you have about football (soccer) and focus on Murtaza’s delight and the heartfelt treatment he received.  You may want tissues near by….

Because we all need to feel hope.

Messi & Murtaza

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Sunday Suggestions 27-01-2017: A Compendium of Curiosities

A Compendium of Curiosities || Sunday Suggestions 29-01-2017: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do || raeritchie.com

This week’s #sundaysuggestions is a compendium of curiosities, a motley assortment of interesting tales sourced from across the Internet – so I’ll launch straight in to the list.  Enjoy, learn and share!

The blog I’d like to highlight this week is Mind the Gap by David Baker.  Baker is a UK academic who spent time in the US last year on a Fulbright scholarship.  His research focus is death after police contact, although the blog also incorporates his observations on US life more widely.  Definitely worth a read, especially in light of recent political developments.

A couple of weeks ago this column cited a review of Jackie.  This week I spotted an article by Veronqiue Merley, the film’s set decorator, about how they accurately recreated the Kennedy era White House.  I wonder what decor changes are afoot now?

Jackie Kennedy Onassis was supposedly the most photographed woman in the world, as was Princess Diana a couple of decades later.  Now the celebrity scene has changed beyond recognition, including’influencers’ emerging from social media.  The LSE blog ‘Parenting for a Digital Future’ has included a post by Crystal Abidin, a sociology scholar in Singapore, about ‘Micro-microcelebrities: famous babies and business on the internet‘.  Intriguing issues raised about when celebrities make their own babies and young children into celebrities in their own right.

A once famous figure who you now may not have heard of is yachtsman Bernard Moitessier.  I first heard his story about a decade ago but it doesn’t get any less bizarre with time.  I won’t say anything other than read this account of his life and adventures.

A history of Harper's Bazaar editors || A Compendium of Curiosities: from barcodes to Moitessier via The Gambia || Things to read and watch online || Sunday Suggestions 29-01-2017 || raeritchie.com
Part of the gorgeous spread on influential Harper’s Bazaar editors by Justine Picardie in this month’s UK issue – check out the online article cited in today’s suggestions

From bizarre to bazaar: Harper’s Bazaar is 150 years old this year.  The magazine’s history is littered with a number of powerful and pioneering female editors both in the UK and the US.  The current editor of the British edition, the brilliant writer Justine Picardie, has written about these women, both in the current issue and also for The Daily Telegraph.

You can read the latter here, although I’d recommend buying the celebration edition if you’re at all interested in the history of magazines (if you’re *really* interested in this subject then you might like to invest in this collection of essays edited by me!).

One of Harper’s rivals on the newstands both sides of the Atlantic is Vogue.  Their US website this week featured a good read by Marjon Carlos about ‘How Clothes Helped Female Leaders Convey the Struggle for Civil Rights‘.

Brits are often amused and/or baffled by the difficulty that other nations have in deciphering our accents, yet truth is that many in the UK can’t identify voices from different regions either.  This light-hearted tour of seventeen British and Irish by actor Siobhan Thompson provides a helpful guide.

Ever thought about the story behind the development of barcodes?  No, me neither but Tim Harford’s article for the BBC website provides a fascinating insight into how this technology came about.

Why 'The' Gambia & not just Gambia? || A Compendium of Curiosities: from barcodes to Moitessier via The Gambia || Things to read and watch online || Sunday Suggestions 29-01-2017 || raeritchie.com
Why ‘The’ Gambia & not just Gambia? BBC R4 has the answer

Also from the BBC, this time Radio Four, is this short clip explaining why we put ‘the’ in front of ‘The Gambia’ and some other countries but not others.  Fascinating!

In my group therapy session this week, we each mindfully contemplated a coffee bean for several minutes.  This led to the realisation that none of us really knew how they were grown or what the coffee plant was like.  I wonder who many of you don’t know this either?  If you would like to learn more, check out this article from the ever-helpful Wikipedia.  You can always rely on Wikipedia for a good read.  Maybe next week I should have a Wiki special feature…

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From Coronation Street to Japan: Sunday Suggestions 22-01-2017

 

From Coronation Street to Japan: Sunday Suggestions 22-01-2017: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do || raeritchie.com

Last week I featured the blog that I knew from my academic days and today I thought I’d showcase another.  This time, it’s the writings of Dr Charlotte Mathieson, a lecturer in English at the University of Surrey.  In particular, I wanted to flag up her recent fascinating reflections on Victorian attitudes to suntans.  Seems funny when there isn’t a scrap of sun in the skies above me but we can live in hope for a good summer ahead!

If I’ve known Charlotte’s work for a long time then my next recommendation is at the opposite end of the scale.  One of my newest friends is an amazing woman called Mary, who is a vet in the US.  She’s recently been involved in an amazing project to help save hundreds of cats in Brooklyn.  The project, and a quotation from her, featured in the New York Times.  It is such a fascinating story!

My sister-in-law alerted me to this great article on the BBC website which highlights a public health campaign in which a charity used an image of damaged lemons to demonstrate the signs of breast cancer.  So clever, so effect.

I’ve also been alerted to two very different blog posts about Japanese food over the last week.  Having spent three weeks travelling the country last year, this is a subject that I am extremely interested in!  The first is a beautifully design infographic from ‘I Love Coffee’ about how to eat sushi.  I’m wondering if seeing this had a subconscious impact as I had sushi for lunch *and* dinner on Tuesday!

The second post, from the Roads and Kingdoms site, is a long read about ‘The Second Most Famous Thing to Happen to Hiroshima‘ and it focuses on the regional speciality of okonomiyaki.  Blood delicious albeit perhaps not the most photogenic food, as my snaps (above) from our trip suggest!

One of my goals for 2017 is to become a minor expert in the soap opera EastEnders. Yes, really.  I’ve watched most of the UK soaps on and off over the years, often depending on the viewing habits of my housemates.  After researching the genre during my MA, I developed a new found respect for the way they work, particularly their willingness to blur the boundary between the fictional world on the screen and the ‘real’ world of the actors outside of it.  A particular poignant example of this happened this week as Coronation Street actor Kym Marsh depicted emotional and distressing scenes of having a still birth baby – a situation that she had experienced in her own life some years ago.  The Huffington Post published a thoughtful reflection on this.

And finally, this week’s viral video feels like a much welcome celebration of immigration and diversity in a world that seems increasingly divided.  It is actually an advertisement for Australian lamb but you’d never really notice that!  It perhaps sweeps rather optimistically about the country’s colonial past but still it’s a heartwarming message as we move into dark days the world over.  Ironically you have to go through another ad to get to the ad, which you can view here.

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Sunday Suggestions 15-01-2017

Sunday Suggestions 17-01-2017: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do || raeritchie.comHello!  An especially warm welcome to those of you who may be new to Sunday Suggestions.  This weekly column is where I share a round-up of what’s caught my eye during the previous week, from articles to viral videos.  I try to ensure that it’s a mix of insightful, intelligent and amusing links that available to all.  Enjoy!

  • If, like me, you’re looking forward to the forthcoming release of ‘Jackie’ at the pictures, then check out this review of the film by scholar Oline Eaton: ‘Jackie’ and the post-truth biopic.  It’s a great read with an in-depth critique from an expert on Jackie O, going beyond the usual film review territory.  I know Oline from my academic days and love her insights into the world of celebrity and gossip.  Whether you’re planning on seeing or not, if you want a perceptive view on popular culture then follow her blog, finding jackie.

 

  • Another famous figure from US history surrounded by layers of myth and imaginings is Henry David Thoreau – yes, the man who ventured out to Walden Pond to see what he could learn about life from living in nature but omitted to mention that he still got his washing done by his mother and sister!  Despite his oversight in crediting unpaid female domestic labour, I am fascinated by Thoreau and his adventures.  One of the happiest afternoons of my life was when two friends and I ventured to his hometown of Concord, MA, then visited Walden Pond.
Walden Pond & scientific discovery || Sunday Suggestions 17-01-2017 || raeritchie.com
My friend Mel & me at Walden Pond, March 2014

Earlier this week, one of those friends forwarded me this article from the New York Times about the scientific research going on at the lake.  It’s a fascinating read about geology and time and the impact of humans on the environment.  It also touches on the intriguing subject of unconscious human emissions when wild swimming (just to warn you).  If you’d like to know more about Thoreau then check out this essay from The Thoreau Society.

 

  • Back to the present day, specifically 15th January 2017.  It’s the third Sunday of the new year.  How are your resolutions going?  Statistically the chances are that your resolve has ebbed away by now.  Maybe you didn’t make any at all.  I prefer to concentrate on plans and having a one word theme for the year, but I do set some goals too.  One for 2017 is to read a book for thirty minutes everyday.  It’s going pretty well so far.  I’ve polished off three interesting titles and have a pile more to keep me going (I’m recording my progress on a Pinterest board if you fancy taking a look or getting some bibliographical inspiration).

Because of this goal, I was pleased to discover that the master of, well, self-mastery, Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness ProjectHappier and Home and Better Than Before) had produced a handy download with tips on how to read more.  On the same page, she has other useful worksheets on topics such as working, eating and exercising.  You can freely access them all on this page.

  • As regular readers know, I’m a big fashion fan.  Today I want to offer up several different sartorial reads that have caught my eye in the last seven days.

Firstly, last Sunday night saw the start of the awards season with the Golden Globes.  Rachel Evan Wood found herself the centre of much discussion for her decision to walk the red carpet in a tuxedo rather than the standard couture gown.  As always, the Pool presented a measured assessment of the debate.  Incidentally, Wood’s look was my favourite of the night; she along with my other choices feature on another Pinterest board, Looks of 2017, where I’ll be pinning any other winning styles that I see in the public arena this year.

Secondly, I am becoming increasingly absorbed in the topic of sustainable and ethical fashion.  As is so often the case when you develop a new obsession, you find references to it all over the place.  This week, Refinery 29 featured ‘Six Ways To Make Your Wardrobe More Sustainable‘.  This offers some good suggestions although it does read like a barely disguised promotion for the ethically minded online retailer Rêve En Vert.  Coincidentally, this week I met with another e-retailer who concentrates on sustainable fashion: check out Sheer for more.  You can also read about some ethical clothing companies that I love in a previous Sunday Suggestions post.

These brands are all small enterprises but the big guns are getting on the mindful fashion bandwagon too.  For three months Selfridges are promoting ‘Mindful Materials’, a showcase for eight brands that they stock with a focus on their environmental kudos in terms of the fabrics that they use.  It’s easy to be cynical about such initiatives but they can raise awareness of important issues.  Did you know that our demand for cashmere has led to the overgrazing of land and maltreatment of some animals?  No, neither did I until I read the Selfridges’ article.

A different approach to the topic comes from my friend Catherine over at Midlands Minimalist.  She’s written a guest post for Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist site about undertaking a wardrobe edit, a move which as a by-product can help us develop a more sustainable stance on what we wear.  Happy to get a little shout-out in the post too!

  • Finally, I like to finish on a funny or heartwarming video.  Today it’s the turn of ‘Our Dancing Town’.  On Wednesday I stayed up far later than usual and stumbled across a gem of a TV programme on the BBC.  Entitled ‘Our Dancing Town’, it’s about a choreographer visiting a rather down-at-the-heel working-class Yorkshire town called Barnsley.

His job is to get locals involved in performing a kind of mass flash mob on the streets of this former mining community.  It’s a tough challenge that you can see him undertaking in this clip of him spreading the word.  But I don’t think I’m giving away an spoilers to say that it all comes together amazingly in the end with a fun music and dance spectacular that could rival the theatrics of ‘La La Land’.  You can watch the foot tapping scene here.  It’ll put a spring in your step and smile on your face for the whole day. Watch and share!

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Dry January: a round up of writing on alcohol and sobriety

Dry January: a round up of writing on alcohol and sobriety || raeritchie.com

As I mentioned in my post on Thursday, I am dedicating much of my blog in January to discussing alcohol – or more accurately, lack of alcohol.  I’ve been sober for over two years now & I want to use my experiences to help others who are trying to cut back or give up, whether for the month or for good.

This post is a round-up of discussions of Dry January and drinking that I’ve stumbled across elsewhere.  I hope that you find this useful, interesting and, in some cases, entertaining.  As always, please do share this post widely – it does really help to get it out there!

Last week, I featured Sas Petherick as one of the women whose work has changed my life.  She is back this week because her reflection on sobriety is the most moving and beautiful thing I’ve read this week.  She inspired me to give up drinking and I’m sure her account will help others as well: Fun Bobby was wrong: the unexpected lightness of being five years sober

Not quite as long but still making it to twelve months: a post from Refinery 29 sharing four women’s experiences of going sober for a year

A post from Tommy Rosen, whose career focuses on helping people recover from addiction, discussing how being alcohol free isn’t simply a neutral stance – it is in fact a strength.  Like Sas, Rosen considers sobriety as a kind of freedom and I have to say I agree: Not Drinking – The Superpower

From the Pool last year, Marisa Bates’ account of what she learnt from doing Dry January

Laura Willoughby, founder of Club Soda, a movement to support and encourage being sober, writes for The Huffington Post about a cultural shift towards mindful drinking.  Her piece also includes some suggestions for doing Dry January, some of which I’m glad to say overlap with my top twelve tips.

A dissenting voice, although one that perhaps isn’t as contrary as first appears once you read on: in the Indpendent, Kate Taylor argues that Dry January isn’t a good idea and instead suggesting that we would be better off instituting two alcohol free days each week for the entire year.

And finally, a bit of fun as discussions of sobriety can – often rightly – be a bit serious: Buzzfeed (who else?) provides a caricature of the different categories of Dry January participants.  If you’re taking part, which are you?

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Sunday Suggestions 1st January 2017: Four women whose work has changed my life


Welcome back to my regular series with suggestions of awesome people and things to check out, read, participate in and follow – and I’m kicking the year off with what I can only describe as a power list!
I’ve been meaning to write this post for years – like as long as I’ve been blogging, and I started in May 2010.  It therefore feels appropriate to be sharing it on the first day of a new year.  I’ve always wanted to share with my readers the people whose work I read voraciously.  Of course there are lots of writers, bloggers and social media folks who I follow with interest and enjoy, but this list is like the inner sanctum: the wise women to whom I return to again and again.  These are the women that I may never have met, or perhaps only once, but my partner knows them by first name because I refer to them so often.  They may not need a surname in our household but I will share it here, along with how you can find out more about their awesome juicy goodness!

In alphabetical order else I would have spent hours agonising how else to list them….

Anna Kunnecke || Four women whose work has changed my life || raeritchie.com
Anna Kunnecke

Anna Kunnecke

Anna was one of the first life coaches who I began to follow.  I’m not sure how I even stumbled across her although it was probably via the uber coach Martha Beck’s website as Anna is a certified Master Martha Beck Coach.  I have done so many of Anna’s offering, free and paid, and they have made a tremendous difference to my life, not least because I’ve made some awesome friends through the process.  I’d include Anna herself amongst that list.  She is a huge-hearted, bear-hugging firecracker and her weekly missive is always one of the highlights of my Friday evening.

Courtney Carver || 4 Women Whose Work Has Changed My Life || raeritchie.com
Courtney Carver

Courtney Carver
Again, I’m not sure how I first found Courtney but I think it was through a chain that began with reading Oliver Burkeman’s brilliant book HELP!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done. Courtney is a warm and generous writer who shares freely with her readers about her journey into and through minimalism, encouraging and supporting all the way.  I feel blessed to have been able to host an event for her back in March 2016, when her tiny wardrobe (truly tiny – 33 items for 3 months, aka Project 333) came on tour to London.  I was so thrilled to be able to offer something back to her after all she has given me.  I am also thrilled to say that I will be interviewing Courtney for this site in January – more news on this soon!

Sas Petherick || Sunday Suggestions 01-01-2017 || raeritchie.com
Sas Petherick

Sas Petherick

Where to even start with this one?!  I just love Sas.  She’s like the cool older sister I never had (perhaps I should quickly add that I never had *any* older sister).  Another inspiring woman who’s a Master Martha Beck coach with a huge heart and bear hugs, I try to seize any chance I can to work with her.  Coaching with her, and going on her amazing Sacred Rascals retreat, has broken me apart in all the best ways.  She has also held a space for me, cheering at my side and calling out bullsh*t, as I’ve put myself back together again.

 

Susannah Conway || 4 women whose work has changed my life || raeritchie.com
Susannah Conway

Susannah Conway

My instinct when beginning to write this paragraph was to take a deep breath in then gently fold my arms around me as I contemplate the world outside the window.  I feel this is a metaphor for Susannah and her work, as it always feels calming, soothing and deeply intentional.  She is brilliant at creating containers for other people to explore their hidden depths and (re)connect with their hearts and souls.  And no kidding, her biz group ‘The Inside Story’ has literally changed my life.  Literally.  As part of this, Susannah created a ‘Summer School’ week of worksheets and completing those totally shifted the direction I was heading in career-wise – three months later, the results have been beyond my wildest dreams.

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Sunday Suggestions: 18th December 2016

Sunday Suggestions: a weekly round up of things to read, watch & listen to on a specially curated Pinterest board
Sunday Suggestions 18th December 2016 || raeritchie.com

Welcome back to my regular series with suggestions of awesome people and things to check out, read, participate in and follow.

Following up on last week’s featured piece on Last Tango in Paris, there are links to a report on the scandals surrounding old Hollywood stars and an article on the way black women are perceived.

There are also two links about design and a podcast about creativity.

Finally, I leave you with a heart-warming (and tear-jerking!) piece ahead of Christmas and my favourite Christmas song – it’s not as comedic as the usual final videos but the song is still pretty funny.

‘The Last Tango in Paris Rape Scene Is Just One of Hollywood’s Many Scandals’

Danielle Dash ‘Gifty and the Faux Fear of Black Women’

BBC Artsnight ‘The Brits Who Designed the Modern World’

Catharine Rossi ‘The underappreciated art of nightclub design, and why clubs are worth fighting for’

Recapture Self with Beryl Ayn Young ‘Creative Magic: A Conversation with Susannah Conway’

Bournemouth Daily Echo ‘Community searching for a child who sent dead dad a Christmas letter by balloon’

And finally… I guess this is a bit of a tear-jerker too: Tim Minchin ‘White Wine in the Sun’

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