Since I alternate pretty reliably between shopping as a hobby and environmental minimalism, I can just as reliably be counted on as an early adopter of random internet startups that promote the latter. Basically, I am a sucker for anything that claims to be less waste, more organic, etc. etc. etc. I will take a free trial or free shipping or free “you can cancel later, we swear” any day of the week.

I was first burned in love by Brandless, the unbranded-branded line of food and personal care products with minimalist packaging and Eco-friendly values. And one irresistible gimmick…

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Well, predictably yet another Black man in Minnesota has been pulled over for a minor infraction and wound up dead. And just as predictably, we’ve all taken to the internet to debate his culpability and that of the officer involved.

As I sit under curfew, 20-odd miles from the protests and rioting, stories begin to emerge on my Facebook feed. White friends, all at least superficially aware of their white privilege, begin to share stories about their roadside encounters with police. All positive, minorly inconvenient, none ending in bodily harm. This type of thinking, according to another Facebook friend and…

“I have been pregnant for one thousand years,” I whine, to anyone who will listen. In reality, I’m 25 weeks, but what a 25 weeks it’s been.

Now, I don’t really have anything with which to compare my experience, but judging by the hastily masked, tired-looking faces of other moms-to-be at the clinic, it hasn’t been a barrel of monkeys for any of us.

I never thought I’d be slogging through my first pregnancy at 35, unemployed and in a pandemic. But here I am. I learned of my “condition” in April, just weeks after I was laid off and…

Or when life interferes with your book release

If you haven’t heard, Dave and Rachel Hollis, power couple of personal growth and spendy marriage retreats, are getting a divorce.

They announced their split on June 8 via Instagram, and many people are feeling duped by the Hollis Co.’s merchandising of what was obviously a struggling marriage. The announcement also comes not three months after the release of Dave’s first book, “Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment,” which devotes several chapters to the couple’s pursuit of an exceptional relationship.

The separation news, which I actually stumbled on by mistake several days after…

When I stopped by my parent’s house this steamy Fourth of July, the front yard was lined with American flags. I asked whether the Boy Scouts put them up, as they sometimes do for a fundraiser.

No, said my aunt, visiting from out of town, “I got them for your dad, but he thought they were kind of a Trump thing.”


This is a sentiment I have heard before.

Photo by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash

Apparently, the American flag, which has flown over this country in some iteration for more than two hundred years, is now synonymous with a 74-year-old blow hard who enjoys running…

I used to consider myself a somewhat experienced subway rider. From Boston to Buenos Aires, Santiago, London, Rome, and that shuttle at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (you know the one), I thought I had just about seen it all.

I was wrong.

Just a simple, easy-to-read subway map that, believe it or not, doesn’t even show all the lines in the region.

Japan’s rail system is truly something to behold. It’s elaborate, the type of system that makes no sense until it makes perfect sense. Other small countries have one metro in their largest city. In Japan, the entire island is crisscrossed with a series of subways, commuter rails, love trains (!) and the Shinkansen, the super-fast bullet train you…

What happens when everyone is brought down to our level?

Depression, anxiety and their bedfellows are a worldwide occurrence, but they’ve been understood and treated differently by each culture down through the ages. The PHQ-9, for example, is available in more than 30 languages and has been validated for use in different ethnicities.

Still, not everyone experiences mental illness, much less at a treatable level. …

I take the snow white blanket with embroidered crosses and lay it across the Adirondack chair, balancing my Folgers instant on the armrest. I am in literal retreat, alone except for my thoughts among acres of wilderness in northern Minnesota. I rummage for some unscientific articles I found on the internet about processing trauma.

It is Thursday afternoon, and I am trying to open my heart, as they say in Buddhism. Or something. I carefully follow the steps for breathing and meditation. Minutes pass. More minutes.

Nothing. The shabby block of cement that goes where my heart should be does…

The woman on the other end of the line sounds hesitant.

“I couldn’t pay you much, especially if you won’t be around long,” she says. “Eleven, maybe $11.50 an hour.”

I clench my teeth and nod silently. “OK.” I say, neutral. I’m surprised it’s that low.

She hedges. “There’s a lot of training…”

“I’m a fast learner and a hard worker,” I offer. “I have lots of experience in customer service.” This is all true.

“It’s good you can answer phones. But there is still a lot of training specific to our business,” she argues. …

Laura Marie

35 going on 99. Giraffe aficionado and nap enthusiast. Just throwing some writing at the wall to see what sticks. Fail fast, learn fast, and all that.

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