For most of my adult life, I thought of elections as something that happen every four years to decide the President. Midterms — and definitely not state and local offices — were not remotely on my radar. That changed somewhere around 2016, and over the past six years I’ve tried to become more attuned not just to Senate and House races but also what is happening in State Legislatures — because, as The States Project reminds us, “everything we care about starts in the states.” In New York that can mean anything from affordable housing to bike lanes to a Rat Action Plan.
I know this newsletter is generally a place for food and kid recs — I will get to those I promise — but I can’t help but use my teeny tiny platform to remind us all that elections matter, and these midterms might be the most consequential of our generation. On the ballot: bodily autonomy, healthcare access, gun safety, climate, voting rights, and much, much more.
Honestly, I’m feeling pretty bleak. But I will say one thing that helps: being “with” other people who care as much as I do. I joined Vote Forward’s Big Send party this week and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it felt to be on a Zoom with people who are as worried as I am. (There’s still time to write letters! Adopt some voters here.) If you are inclined, you can also sign up to phone bank with Knock for Democracy (I’ll be doing some this weekend) or just text, DM, and email everyone you know to make a voting plan and turn out on or before November 8th.
On to the recommendations! Here’s a short list of things to close out your October.
Complicated feelings made lyrical: Most days, my internal refrain is, ‘Everything is broken, everything is amazing.’ My friend Elana shared this Maggie Smith poem that hit me right in the heart, and might do the same for you. That last line, oof. I also love Courtney Martin’s newsletter, “The Examined Family,” in which she manages to zero in on whatever complicated and bittersweet emotion I am having at any given time (start with this one).
Fuzzy fleece-y things for the fam: I love Primary a lot and not just because they have a brilliant costume concierge who helped us create Halloween magic for Finn and Lilly. They also have sturdy, gender neutral essentials that fill in the gaps. My new favorite: this ultra cozy Teddy Fleece, which is exactly what the kids need for this transitional weather. And for myself, I got this Apiece Apart fuzzy bomber on sale and it makes me so happy — it’s warmer than it looks and will take me right into winter puffer season.
A unicorn/superhero mashup to read together: I was a little worried when Lilly and I finished the Witches of Brooklyn series (cannot recommend more highly!) but then we discovered Percy Packer: Unicorn Tracker. This series has it all: fun illustrations, a grumpy unicorn who got turned into a stuffed animal, and a cute sibling dynamic. It’s technically for older kids but we’re reading it together and she is in heaven.
Inspiration for beaten down cooks: I haven’t been excited to cook something in about six months (which is sad when food is your only hobby!). But! I just got Kristen Miglore (of our much-used Genius Recipes and Genius Desserts) new book, Simply Genius, and it’s like a gust of fresh energy. The chapters have headings like “The quickest pantry dinner short list” and “Hands-off dinners for when you want to start cooking, then do other things,” which literally feels like she’s in my brain. Lilly and I spun through it and here’s our immediate hit list: Cocoa Almond Oatmeal (clearly); Tiny Pasta with Tender Herbs, Chickpeas & Yogurt; and Chicken Fennel Quinoa Porridge.
Tasty freezer food for kids and grownups: I met Chef Anicia Ngozi via IG and am so impressed at her what she is building with Kid’s Table, her meal delivery service for busy parents. After many years private chef-ing and nannying in NYC, she knows how to make food for kids that is tasty, healthy, and sets them up to be great eaters down the line. I was so excited to see her partner with Ipsa to create frozen versions of her most-loved dishes: banana oat muffins, za’atar chicken tenders, pepperoni pizza cups, and more. Our kids are big fans. My Ipsa code is Mollie15, if you want to try!
The extremely foolproof makeup staples I buy repeat: After a couple years off from makeup, I’ve gotten back into routine, albeit a very minimal one. My daily lineup (which happen to be from two brands): Ilia’s Super Skin Tint, light coverage and plenty of SPF, and Limitless Mascara, inky and lengthening; plus Kosas Cream & Light Palette, a gorgeous coral blush + highlighter and Air Brow, tinted gel that isn’t sticky or stiff. It takes me about two minutes to apply all four and it’s enough to make me feel polished on Zooms. Bonus: When I want look real fancy, I swipe on Kulfi Kajal Liner.
An amazing new kid show that highlights Native culture: Lilly and Finn’s new favorite show is “Spirit Rangers,” a Netflix series about three Native American siblings who protect the National Park they live in. It’s visually exuberant, with smart and funny dialogue that weaves in Native culture and stories. I was also so thrilled to find out that showrunner Karissa Valencia, who is half Mexican, half Chumash, is leading an all-native writers room. More of this, please!
Thank you for reading! I’ll be back in November!
Take care and see you at the polls,