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Still #Branding After All These Years

In a time and place when you are scared and isolated, brands are happy and connection and memories and life.

My husband had hip surgery and it is difficult on both of us to be outside of our normal pace of things. The hospital has a Coca-Cola vending machine and I am entranced by the logo as always.

I used to buy Doritos at the cafeteria till my husband told me to stop. I like the nacho cheese flavor. It was forbidden to me as a kid, because it didn't have kosher certification. 

I drink Red Bull to keep going. I like Red Bull. My friend Melanie used to call me RB. At USAID when I left they gave me a box of RB, a box of Starbucks Doubleshot and their famous globe. Good memories.

Condiments are reassuring. Nothing can go wrong when there is ketchup around.

Ask someone why they prefer a certain brand over another. Ask them about a world without brands. 

It wouldn't be possible.

* All opinions my own. Photos by me.

Don't Give Yourself The Credit, & Don't Ever Feel Alone

Photo credit: Chris Dorobek / Flickr

(Note: Updated from an earlier post)

We have to work really hard in this world. Too hard, it sometimes seems like.

When we experience some measure of success, it is easy to pat ourselves on the back and say, "I did it."

But we didn't, not at all. Not really.

A lot of the time we stumble, too. We suffer, we are attacked, we get sick.

Either way, someone is always with us, pushing us as we fly around on that playground swing.

There is always a reason, and we don't know the reason. But one thing is for sure, we are never really alone.

* All opinions my own.

It's OK To Speak Up For Women, and Men

(Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post.)

For the longest time I wanted to be a good girl. Meaning, not a feminist.

Then I heard about a lot of things "nice people" went through. I didn't want to hear about those.

Sexual assault, rape.

Domestic violence.


Mental illness.

Poor medical care.

I learned that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. That women who speak up are better off than those who are quiet.

It is better to be assertive and have people call you names, than mousy and be taken advantage of.

This is especially true if you're a woman working in tech. People aren't out to be sexist necessarily, but there's a lot of machismo (warning: disturbing) in the profession. 

What's happening now, that is wonderful, is that both women and men are speaking up about the ways in which they experience gender insensitivity and outright oppression.

It's not about freeing half the sky, about sharing the sky together.

* All opinions my own.

Yesterday I Threw An F-Bomb

Photo credit: USMC via Flickr

In a way I feel like the Anthony Bourdain of public service, going from agency to agency every few years and seeing how taken-for-granted the different cultures are. Trying to make things just a little better because otherwise I couldn't get through the day, it would all be meaningless.

What I want to say is this. When you're on the inside, and you're trying so hard, it can feel so lonely and difficult. It can seem like everybody else is just fine, and you're the only one sort of sitting there bewildered and disoriented, like Bourdain in the transgender bar in Thailand when the guy dancer came up and kissed him with Day-Glo lipstick.

What I want to say is that you, and your hard work and the fact that you truly give a damn, are not alone. Do not feel that way at all. Secretly, without saying a word, you have a ton, a ton of support.

Keep fighting the good fight. One day you and your colleagues will be sitting together at some beachfront bar in Fort Lauderdale, drinking and looking out at the waves. And you'll be smiling.

* All opinions my own.


More about the photo: Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., Lemuel C. Shepherd, and William T. Clement, Okinawa, 22 May 1945. The caption on this photograph reads "Watching Their Troops-As the Marines drive toward the capital city of Naha, leaders watch the action from an observation post on a rocky ledge. They are, (left to right): Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., commanding the Tenth Army; Major General Lemuel C. Shepherd, commanding general of the Sixth Marine Division, and his assistant commander, Marine Brigadier General William T. Clement." From the Photograph Collection (COLL/3948), Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections. Official USMC photograph.

Furniture Is About Fantasy Not Fact

At Arhaus in North Bethesda (near Rockville, MD) today I am pretty sure I had a near death experience.

took these photos desperately, like a lion being ripped away from her cubs.

It wasn't any one piece but the totality.

I wanted everything. Even the stuff I didn't like.

When you buy furniture you are buying a lifestyle. Not the reality of the material within.

Like the fantasy of being a CEO in a fancy leather chair.

* All opinions my own.