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Christina’s Corner: August 25, 2023

Spoiler alert: I’ve accomplished a feat I didn’t know I wanted to accomplish, which is that I used the word smorgasbord in this blog post. It’s a word I don’t use often enough, honestly – and probably haven’t since I lived in New York for grad school. There was an awesome food truck event called Smorgasburg on the weekend in Williamsburg. It has since grown to an offering in cities around the country, and different locations in the city itself, but when I was there, it was just along the East River and in the footprint of a brick factory. (The park was recently renamed Marsha P. Johnson State Park, which I love.) This reflection is a bit of a smorgasbord itself: a buffet, if you will, with offerings ranging from photos to small business support. I invite you to peruse, pick your fineries, and enjoy.

Eat: There’s a trend that’s been going around for a while called Girl Dinner. I have a whole lot to say about it, mostly about how it feels deeply rooted in diet culture to me, and this is not precisely the place for it. What I will say is this: I love a smorgasbord dinner of sorts. At-home tapas, if you will. Give me an assortment of pickled mushrooms, grilled cheese, and falafel because that’s what I have on hand and that’s what I’m oddly craving at this moment. Beautifully plated food has a time and a place, and it’s totally fine if you save that for other people. If you want popcorn, cheese curds, and a burger: go for it. You do you, whatever gender is yours.

See: If you have read this blog series for a while, you probably get the sense that I am a bit old-school and anti-tech at times. I love our ability to connect via video chat *and* I love sending handwritten letters. I own a Kindle and I really only use it for travel or ebooks from the library when paper copies aren’t available. Another thing this applies to is photographs. When I graduated college, I realized it had been years since I had a physical printed photo. I got online and printed hundreds of photos, ranging from random high school snapshots to photos taken with a digital camera while studying abroad. Truthfully? I need to do it again soon. I have a bunch of travel photos I printed in 2020, but some updated photos I’m due to get up on my walls and in frames. We have these photos in our phones, yes, and that’s so easy to share when we are traveling or to send quickly with a “look how cute my dog is” message. But someday, when I’m gone, I don’t think anyone will inherit my cloud. I would rather have boxes to hold joy and surprise and honestly, even bizarre mystery. Print those mysteries out. Leave something to throw everyone off – and something to enjoy now, too.

Do: Last week we talked about supporting your friends with big-time hype energy. This week, I encourage you to shop mall and talk up great local businesses. My family owned a small business growing up, and I saw how the line between work and home blurred for my parents as it turned into a 24/7 instead of a 9 – 5. One of my favorite questions to ask a small business owner, whether they are from the farmer’s market or in my little town’s main street, is where to leave a review to help them most. Sharing their Instagram profiles, leaving a review on google, or filming a quick review on Tiktok might make a world of difference to them. I’m someone who directly benefitted from that kind of word-of-mouth business as a kid: it paid for back-to-school clothes, movies from Blockbuster, and ice cream nights. Get takeout at your local pizza place, and pay for dance shoes for the owner’s kid. Have your oil changed at a mom-and-pop place, and help a family buy holiday presents.

Have a varied, print-worthy, community-driven weekend,