Wednesday, August 16, 2017


If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Goodreads or if we have ever spoken in real life I hope you already know how I feel about Charlottesville. I cannot stop thinking about it. I’m reading To Kill A Mockingbird this week, and spending quality time with Atticus Finch has felt like an appropriate retreat from the news.

And speaking of social media, you know what’s helping me to really process and grieve in this madness? In January I followed a few people of color who are active on Twitter. I’m not saying this makes me some kind of humanitarian, but it has helped me find places to donate, and it’s been incredibly helpful for me to hear and see non-white perspectives on current events and history. For me, it is easy to feel insignificant in the face of pernicious evil, but I have been trying to listen more and to amplify the voices of others.

So if you want to start small, Janan Amirah is my current favorite tweeter. Her likes and retweets have referred me to a lot of other great accounts too, like her tweet yesterday about Well-Read Black Girl. I recommend adding her perspective to your feed.

I also recommend not being a freaking Nazi.

b perry

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Color Factory Experience

The first time I remember hearing that you were supposed to spend your money on “experiences,” I read it on a blog post by Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day and, more recently, of Color Factory fame. A few months after her blog post, I read the results of the Harvard study that money can buy happiness if you’re buying experiences. All these years later and malls are shutting down because Americans are shifting their spending from retail to, yes, experiences e.g. dining out, girls weekends, and *bing* the Color Factory.

That Atlantic article says, “Laugh if you want, but these sorts of questions— what experience will reliably deliver the most popular Instagram post?’ —really drive behavior.” So I’m no different from the rest of America: I had to go to the Color Factory because it is “San Francisco’s Newest Instagram Hotspot!” and I’ve been drinking Jordan Ferney’s sweet, sweet Kool-Aid for a decade.

I woke up on Saturday at 6:00 AM like it was Christmas Freaking Day. The entire thing was just as magical as the internet makes it look, and seeing it through Jack’s eyes was twice as nice. We spent a little over ten minutes completely alone in the confetti room, and his excitement was barely contained in those glass walls. But he hated the disco room (“Too dark! Too scary!”), and I thought he would love the giant yellow ball pit, but he was terrified. He preferred the tiny yellow ice cream cone.

This month I’m going to have a week alone with Zoe, and we’re going to spend a couple days exploring their neighborhood map (murals, temporary tattoos, private dance parties) because I have a fever, and the only prescription is more Color Factory experiences. If you’re at all interested in joining me for that, then you should TELL ME because I want you in my Instagrams too. ;)

b perry

p.s. Jack's absolutely favorite part of the entire experience? Riding the “trolley” just like Daniel Tiger.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What goals are you working on right now?

Gretchen Rubin (of Happiness Project fame) wrote about how even after you stop going to school, September remains “charged with possibility and renewal.” I just registered Jack for preschool this week, so I am definitely in the mood for some goal setting. This week I finished two books, I officially weigh 35 pounds less than I did in February, I hired a calligrapher for our Christmas card, and yes, I am perfect. ;) The momentum feels so good! The point is, when I set my August goals this weekend I wanted to talk about one my current goals: fancy Sunday dinners.

In October I said I wasn’t hosting any more Sunday Dinners with friends. Sunday snacks worked just as well with the added benefits of getting to see my friends more and never doing dishes. Unfortunately, this life philosophy also resulted in never cooking anything on Sundays. We spent all day scrounging for food, and Chris just starved. So I decided to make our Sabbath more holy (and happy) by really cooking a serious Sunday dinner.

Because we eat salad for dinner on weeknights I figured I could muster the strength to cook once a week, especially if it would make our Sundays more special. After the kids start napping, Chris and I cook and then eat together. The house is quiet, there are sides to the main course, we drink fun juices out of fancy glasses, and it really does make our Sunday better. I feel closer to Chris, I love the time searching for recipes, and I love cooking. The post from October notwithstanding, it has been a great, slow, simple, rewarding goal for me right now.

Do you have a favorite goal you’re working? I want to hear.

b perry

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Quality Time with Kids

When I was pregnant with Zoe I read aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the articles evangelizing one-on-one time between parents and their children. Everyone said I might have to go out of my way to remember that special alone time, so I printed out a yearly calendar, and I was prepared to set regular outings with my kids.

But you know, the way my life has played out, I haven’t needed a reminder. It’s like keeping a post-it that I should remember to drink to stay hydrated or sleep to feel rested. I feel a natural desire to spend one-on-one time with my kids, like I feel thirst or fatigue. I know not every parent feels this way, but I am lucky to feel this way so far.

Zoe and I get alone time every afternoon when Jack naps, and I love our time to snack (then bathe) and read together. And then as Chris and I started having more date nights, Jack started describing our one-on-one time as a “date” with Daddy or Mommy. Needing almost no excuse to plan a Bay Area excursion, I started going on Saturday morning “dates” with Jack. Outings with children being what they are, something will eventually go horrifically wrong, but so far, those Saturdays have been good for everyone in our family. Jack and I get time together, Zoe gets a great nap, and Daddy gets alone time for the first time since marrying me.

Quality time is definitely my love language, so I like having that with my kids, and I liked having it with my parents. Did your parents spend alone time with you? Special vacations or special time at home? Do you plan special time alone with your kids?

b perry

p.s. So far my favorite trips have been to Berkeley Bowl and Delores Park, but I’m pretty sure the best one ever is going to be to the Color Factory in SF next month. OMG I AM SO EXCITED. I have zero chill, as it were.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What are you reading this summer?

I know summer is for reading chick lit, but I have been reading some great non-fluffy stuff lately.

This month my book club is reading Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, which is about defectors from North Korea. And then last week I finished Funny in Farsi: a Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. Both were exceptionally well-written, and both offered a fresh perspective on worlds very different from my own. Lots of great learning for me this summer.

We have also been reading about black history. I am pretty sure we are about halfway through all the black history picture books at our library, and I have read a few books on my own too: Hidden Figures, Just Mercy, and We Are the Ship.

Homegoing has been recommended to me three times now, so even though it's historical fiction, that is definitely on my list. Any other good black history recommendations? Or summer fluff recommendations? I am open to pretty much anything.

b perry

p.s. here is my current to-read list.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Unexpected Treasures

 a much younger brother and sister

I don’t actually know what I would grab in a house fire, but I can assure you I won’t be crawling through the smoke to our bookcase or cedar chest. I suspect I might catch myself in a dead sprint to my pantry -- not for the good chocolate or foreign spices, but for the “inedible swill” my husband has begged me to throw away for years.

I would run back into our burning home for a juice box of Hi-C that expired in 2011, a half-eaten bag of banana chips from last summer, and a tiny collection of hard candy whose date of origin is philosophically and morally upsetting to my husband. I, generously, am willing to forgive Chris for this oversight because I understand that the difference between priceless and worthless can be in the eye of the beholder. So it is with my growing shrine to now-inedible snacks.

Well, not entirely inedible. I’d take a gamble on sampling the hard candy; maybe even try the banana chips. That violently orange box of Hi-C, however, is considerably more questionable than it was when it was boxed. I should have consumed it then, or at least I should throw it away now, but I hang onto it because when it comes to “having your cake” and “eating it,” I guess I’m not really hungry.

My brother gave me that Hi-C on his first trip to see me in San Francisco. He has loved Hi-C for as long as I can remember, and I love him even more than he loves Hi-C. Most of our things could go up in flames, but I will shed bitter tears at the death of that juice box. Sure, it is heinously ugly and almost certainly a biohazard, so it doesn’t hold the charm of rescuing a beloved handmade quilt, but what can I say? Nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be.

b perry

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Classic Dates

There are, I swear, five pictures of Chris and I when we were dating. This one is from our honeymoon.

Chris and I haven’t done many of the “classic” dates. Maybe it’s because we dated for like forty-five minutes before we got married, or maybe it’s because we’re not seventeen, but we have never seen a drive-in movie or gone mini-golfing. We did go bowling one Thanksgiving, but I had recently suffered an air-hockey-induced finger injury and only sent one totally humiliating ball down the lane.

This weekend I want to take our family bowling, and just the thought of it has gotten me so excited. I am trying to think of other classic dates. Roller skating? Outdoor movie? It’s summer, it’s the perfect time for this stuff! What else should I put on the list?

b perry