I like this little corner of the internet.
It has begun to feel like there's nowhere I really belong on social media. I've been Facebook-free since 2015. Twitter has become so cluttered that it's essentially useless. Instagram is just the same ten photographs over and over, posted by different people (including me). I used to really love reading blogs but they have become so commoditized that the personal narratives I care about have been almost entirely replaced by vapid copy and affiliate links. Where's a girl to turn?
The few voices that I have really loved hearing from lately have come to me via newsletters. Email is experiencing a renaissance. I've successfully unsubscribed to all the junky e-Blasts that used to plague my inbox (thanks to Unroll.me — even though I just found out they were harvesting receipt data from my inbox and selling it to third parties). Now, instead, I receive thoughtful long-form email newsletters from cool girls who aren't trying to get me to buy anything. Here are some of my favorites:
Claire Carusillo, My Second or Third Skin
Claire, a writer and student living in NYC, describes her own newsletter as "off-label product usage advice for deeply troubled pretty little babies." It is delightfully absurd in its almost existential approach to beauty. Since I've been following along, she has coined such skincare-related mantras as 'That Wet Look' (taking dewy skin to the next level) and 'Nothing Works and Everything's Just Vaseline' (the philosophy that even the fanciest hundred-dollar serum is basically just petroleum jelly). Pretty little babies, subscribe here.
Randle Browning, The Waco Vegan
I first met Randle when I was living in Waco. As a writer, coder, photographer, chef, jazz singer, pizza shop owner, and more, she was the most multi-hyphenate person I'd ever met. Since then, Randle has: 1) Renovated an RV and traveled the country for 6 months with her husband and pup while working remotely for Skillcrush, 2) Moved to NYC for a new startup job, hopping between Airbnbs until she found a place to live, and 3) Moved into this amazing minimalist apartment in Williamsburg (which I got to visit when I was there last week). Her newsletter/blog, which formerly focused on vegan living in a small town, has shifted into a chronicle of her many adventures. To live vicariously through her like I do, subscribe here.
Links I Would Gchat You if We Were Friends
This was the first personal newsletter I ever subscribed to. Created by Washington Post digital culture critic Caitlin Dewey, it rounds up the best of the internet each week: including the pop cultural, the personal, the political and (my favorite) meditations on how technology is changing the way we engage with all of the above. Caitlin has a remarkable ability to not only find the most hilarious, most engaging, most thought-provoking pieces out there — but also to articulate them within the larger context of why we should care. The newsletter is now defunct, but you can and should check out the archives here.
I hope that you, like me, are finding little corners of the internet where you feel at home. If you've discovered any that I should know about, leave a comment so I can crash the party. If you want to share these recommendations with a friend who should be spending a little less time on Facebook, share the link.
P.S. This was originally shared via my newsletter, My Most Recent Obsession. In it, I discuss a new subject every week: from weird beauty hacks to the effect of technology on our brains to personality tests and beyond. It's my way of sharing all my intense yet short-lived obsessions with you! Are you subscribed yet?