July 24, 2017

An Interview with Pastry Chef Rebekah Turshen


So many women fantasize about getting paid to bake, that Amy Schumer made a sketch about it. Please know, I am one of these women. If I could get paid to bake chocolate chip cookies all day? Forget about it. Which is why I was excited when today's bitch agreed to answer this questionnaire. I love hearing the nitty gritty on jobs that so many of us daydream about. See also: writer, fashion designer, artist, shop owner, yoga instructor, etc.

Hands-down, my favorite restaurant in Nashville is City House. Before I even knew Rebekah, I was in love with her desserts. I'm in a years long love affair with her Tennessee Waltz cake. On my fortieth birthday, she had a peach ice-box cake that made me cry it was so good. Follow her on Instagram to find all the places you can buy her desserts. Meet today's bitch, Rebekah Turshen!


What is your job title and where do you work?

I'm the pastry chef at City House in Germantown. I also sell take-out sweets at Lazzaroli Pasta and you can usually find me with my husband Art By Harry hawking our wares at Porter Flea.

When did you first learn about this field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I was looking for work in Oxford while attending Ole Miss a year past my allotted four and found the vegetarian bakery on the square in need of an assistant baker. My first day was all it took to be hooked. I had been meandering toward a degree in graphic design and just didn't feel made out for it. I'd been struggling and unsure about how to move forward, three classes shy of graduation. It will be 25 years baking for a living in February and thankfully no one's missed those three credits yet!

What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?

Keep your head down and focus on your work.


Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned or that helped improve the way you work?

Write everything down in the moment! With recipes there is so much to keep straight! Variation in batch size, application, flavor profiles, plus the constant general tweaking towards perfection! Then the brainstorming, to do lists, order lists, who-needs-what lists! Whenever I slip up and forget to write things down, I regret it.

What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

As long as we're dreaming, I would save them all up and take a real sabbatical. If my math is right that's 30 days a year!! I would divide it between going to stage at another restaurant and taking a real vacation with my husband.

What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?

I am so grateful that my job every day is producing work that I love in a restaurant where I feel appreciated by my boss, coworkers and community. It is a too rare privilege in the world and I feel very lucky.


How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

As much as I hate to admit it, my 45 minute drive home. Flipping between 91.1, 92Q, 101 The Beat, WXNA, 102.1 The Ville, or just rolling down the windows if it was a really rough one. Also animal videos and animal squishing!

What’s a fear that keeps you up at night?

That I won't be able to fall asleep.

What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

People tend to romanticize the job.


What does self care look like in your life?

Eating yogurt every morning, remembering to take care of my hands, bike riding! And doing things I don't feel like doing when I know it will make me feel better or at least get them out of the way.

What helps when you’re stuck? Do you have a motto or quote that inspires/motivates you?

Flipping through my cookbooks, old magazines and notebooks is always good. Never stop learning!

Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?

First off, my two grandmothers who were both very talented bakers. Iva Lee Haynes was my coconut cake, cobbler and pie grandmother. Stella Turshen was my mandelbrot, poppyseed cookie and chocolate loaf cake grandmother. Also the two bakers slash business owners I learned from and worked for early in my career, Paige Osborne at Harvest Cafe and Martha Foose at Bottletree Bakery.


Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

Miss Dynamite, Blankets and Better Call Saul! Definitely ice cream!

All photos courtesy of Rebekah Turshen

P.S. Meet last week's bitch:  Business Manager, Cara Jackson!

P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.

July 19, 2017

How to Create a Street Style Look on a Budget


I come from a long line of women with the gift of thrift. As a child, every time I opened a gift from one of my grandmothers, I would ask my mom if it was from the “big G”, meaning Goodwill. I thrift for important reasons like sustainable fashion, and I thrift for fun reasons, like knowing no one else at the art crawl will be wearing what I’m wearing. But mostly I like the challenge of recreating Instagram-worthy street style outfits for eight dollars.

Do you try thrift shopping, but can't seem to find anything worth buying? Do you score awesome finds, then get home and have no idea how to wear them? Do you get overwhelmed, hangry and end up abandoning a cart full of clothes you're too tired to try on? Is that four year old Banana Republic shirt really worth six dollars? Seriously, is there a vending machine in this building? Can a sister get a Snickers?


Good news! I can help. On July 27 Goodwill is hosting a meet-up called Style with a Purpose. Get personalized advice from seven local bloggers and shop merchandise especially selected by the experts (that's me!) to reflect our unique styles. We'll share our shopping strategies and help you put outfits together.

You guys, this is the most excited I've been in a long time. I get to pull items from Goodwill and put them on my very own clothing rack! And that's not even the best part. I get a mannequin!!! I mean, if for nothing else, come to see what I put on that mannequin.


My style is Sally Jessy Raphael goes to Brooklyn. I’m a buttoned-up Gen X-er with a passion for Bushwick street style. I am nothing if not a woman of contradictions. I'm in my forties, but don't have the disposable income to prove it. I want to be accepted, but I don't want to look like anyone else in the room.

You, too? Great! Here are some tips for creating a street style look on a budget.


How To Shop:

Pay attention to sale days. I like to shop Goodwill on the first Saturday of the month when everything is 50% off. Pro tip: follow Goodwill on Instagram for sale reminders.

Don't ignore the Men's section. Some of my favorite finds are from the Men's section: denim jackets, ironic tees, overalls, sweatshirts, etc.

Shop in the outfit you're looking to complete. If I want to buy a kimono or robe to wear as a jacket, I'll shop in the jeans and t-shirt I'm planning to wear with the kimono/robe.


How To Wear Robes:

With confidence. Also, if I'm wearing a thrifted family vacation tee under a Sears Roebuck 3XL housecoat, I'll wear designer jeans, nice shoes and a normal (ish) handbag. But this may be more of a testament to my age than my style.


Who To Follow for Street Style Inspiration:

Me!
Man Repeller
Who What Wear
New York Times Fashion
Clare Press
New York From Behind


Where To Wear:

At this point, I'm getting dressed to walk to the mailbox, but hey, I work from home. I save my craziest best street style outfits for art crawls, burlesque shows, Frist Fridays, drag shows, and going to Publix. If you're lucky, you can find me accidentally hiking in a caftan and Birkenstocks when someone forgets to tell me what to dress for on a Sunday drive.


There's no non-creepy way to say this, but if you follow me online and have never met me, come to this event! I promise, it won't be weird. Unless the fact that I've already named my mannequin Stevie Nicks is weird.


If you know you're coming, duh, go ahead and RSVP. Having a headcount helps know how many drinks and snacks to buy. I did mention there will be drinks and snacks, right? Put it on your calendar now! I'll be too busy dressing Stevie Nicks to remind you on the day of.

See you on July 27!

P.S. Now is the perfect time to get your denim jacket ready for fall!

P.P.S. A report on NYC street style trends by moi.

July 17, 2017

An Interview with Business Manager Cara Jackson


Photo cred: Heidi Ross

A fashion designer, an artist and a lawyer walk into a bar. And they all leave happy because the lawyer is Cara Jackson. Cara is the go-to for Nashville's creative community. Do you know what a lot of us who are creative entrepreneurs don't have, especially if we're women? Investors. I mean, we also don't have disposable income, but we're too busy to shop anyway. Without investors, there are no lawyers, strategists, or business managers.

Being a creative entrepreneur is surprisingly litigious. Designs get stolen, art gets damaged, contracts get breached, contracts get made with major retailers, commercial leases get signed, no one wants to pays you ever, etc. Also, we didn't go to business school. Strategy, smart growth. What's that? How great would it be if there was someone you could hire to help you, someone who was already immersed in the local fashion and art scene? Oh wait, there is, and she's today's bitch. Meet Cara Jackson!


What do you do and what is the name of your business?

I’m a recovering-intellectual-property-lawyer-turned-business-manager for fashion designers and creative entrepreneurs. The easiest way to describe what I do is I’m a part-time CEO for creative businesses.

When did you first learn about this field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I knew that business managers existed in the music industry, but I hadn’t thought of its application to fashion until Van Tucker planted the seed in my head. I’ve always loved being around really talented, creative people, and the idea of putting my legal and business skills to work to help them manage and grow their businesses was basically how I would have described my dream job.

What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?

When I was starting my business, one of my mentors told me that the strongest word in my arsenal would be “no”—no to business opportunities that would steer me off course and no to clients who are not a good fit for me (and vice versa). And, of course, he was right.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned or that helped improve the way you work?

To know my strengths, focus on doing what I’m good at, and then find smart people who are great at the things that I can’t or shouldn’t be doing. This might sound dramatic, but I really do believe that trying to do everything yourself is the quickest route to failure.

What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

Cook and read more. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I could easily find an extra 2 hours if I would just put down my phone on occasion (hello, Instagram)…

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made?

One thing that I’ve definitely had to get used to are the ups and downs of start-up life. A steady paycheck, benefits and vacation days are a fond, distant memory, but I wouldn’t trade them for the sheer adventure of the last almost 2 years.


What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?

When one of my clients has a great sales month or lands a major account or gets fantastic press, that makes me proud. Helping other people achieve success makes me feel successful.

Do you have a morning ritual that helps you set the tone for the day?

Working out in the mornings is a priority for me because it wakes me up and gives me energy for the day. When I’m feeling stretched thin, I make extra time in the morning for meditation and journaling, and I won’t check my email or social media until those things are done. But if I wake up and am just not feeling any of that, then a good, strong cup of coffee can set the right tone.

How do you decompress at night?

Usually by catching up on industry news or watching something on Netflix with a snoring pup beside me.

What helps when you’re stuck? Do you have a motto or quote that inspires/motivates you?

I get stuck when I have too much to do, and I can’t decide where to begin. When that happens, I write down a list of everything that needs to be done, and then I pick the simplest task. Quickly knocking out that first task and crossing it off the list motivates me to keep going.

What does self care look like in your life?

Going to the gym or doing yoga, eating (mostly) healthy and getting plenty of sleep is how I do self care. I also try to find time for a massage and treat myself to a nail service or facial at Poppy & Monroe once a month.

Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?

There are too many to name. Every woman who has worked with me, referred a client to me, graciously spent time with me over coffee and offered advice, or even just given me a small word of encouragement. You know who you are, and I am forever grateful.


Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

I don’t spend much time in front of the TV, but I did just binge watch Big Little Lies and LOVED it. My favorite snack right now would have to be Living Raw truffles. Any kind. They’re crazy good.

All photos courtesy of Cara Jackson

P.S. Meet last week's bitch:  Burlesque Student, Becca Kemp!

P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.

July 16, 2017

Friday Links


READING THIS WEEK...

My friend bitch Amanda Valentine had one of her designs stolen, which she writes about here, but read through to the end for some real talk on fast fashion.

I've loved Missy Elliot, aka Misdemeanor, since college and this article on her being the embodiment of weird femininity is great.

My obsession with Samantha Irby continues and it's only 80% because she likes my posts on Instagram sometimes.

If you are a man who accidentally ended up here, this is for you. Lindy West: Real Men Might Get Made Fun Of.

lulz...


EYES AND EARS...

You guys, I can't make myself watch anything current. Too many emotions! Instead, I'm living my best life on Hulu with Golden Girls and Beverly Hills 90210. I ain't sorry.



Are you forty-one years old and still paying off your student loan from EIGHTEEN YEARS ago? No, just me? This two-part podcast from Death Sex + Money about the shame around student loan debt is 1,000% worth the time investment. Shout-out to Mary Laura for the rec.


Stop whatever you're doing and listen to this podcast on Jay Z and Beyonce and the link between their albums, 4:44 and Lemonade. Make sure and listen to the end to get your mind blown by Jenna on the significance of the number four.

THRIFTING...


When I was in NYC a few months ago, these silky bomber jackets were in all the stores. I found one at Goodwill for 99 cents. 99 cents! Also, thanks to Louisa for the Vogue-worthy picture.

I ENDORSE...

A FB page where UPS drivers post pictures of dogs they meet on their routes.

Cherry brown butter bars.

Myself! I'm a Goodwill style blogger and I'm hosting Style With A Purpose on July 27!


July 7, 2017

Friday Links


READING THIS WEEK...

What The Latest NRA Ad Reveals About America

Celine Dion is having a moment, and I am here for it.

This whole article on Samira Wiley is great, but the last sentence about Margaret Atwood leaving a tongue emoji in an Instagram comment is hilarious.

One of the things I admire about millennials is their openness around mental health and therapy. I didn't go to therapy until I was 38 and it took awhile before I talked about it. Not this younger generation. They post selfies in their therapists' offices, and they're like, "#selfcareyall". I love it.

lulz...


EYES AND EARS...

I watched the movie 20th Century Women on Amazon and it was great! I'm still making my way through the recent season of OITNB. I just watched the Piscatella episode - OMG. Every time I watch something that gives me emotions, I have to watch a palette cleanser like The Golden Girls or The Great British Baking Show, thus my slow progress on watching anything current.

A lot of the podcasts I listen to didn't upload new episodes this week. I assume because of the 4th of July. I listened to some filler, but nothing worth noting.

THRIFTING...


This is obviously from my Instagram Story, but I keep getting requests for pictures of me wearing my thrift store finds out in the wild, so here you go. Both the robe and t-shirt are from Bellevue Goodwill.

I ENDORSE...

DJ Khaled in the NYT Fashion & Style section
Style with a Purpose
Ona Rex

July 5, 2017

2017 Reading Round Up, Part Two


As a reminder, these are off-the-cuff reviews that I peck into my phone as soon as I finish the book. A literary critic, I am not. Also, this is real heavy on the self help. I've had a year.

Here's what I've been reading!

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) BodyHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have no idea how to review a book that exposes this much vulnerability and uncomfortable truth. I felt this book the whole time I was reading it. And it felt uncomfortable, powerful and necessary. As someone with PTSD and my own self-built, emotional fortress, I have so much compassion and respect for what Roxane did in writing this book. I can't imagine the balls it took to write this, and then to go on tour and answer questions about it. To know Roxane's writing is to know she is a force, but so few people understand that a lot of times, being a "force" comes from trauma and living with unspeakable pain. This book should be required reading for everyone from young boys to adult women. And I hope it wins every goddamn award that exists.

The Mother of All QuestionsThe Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Powerful, must read. I read a lot of work from feminist writers, and this is the best book I've read so far. It'll fire you up without making you mad. It's more of a constant, low-simmering heat. My wish is for everyone I know to read this book. Much more engrossing than Men Explain Things To Me.


Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh. It's okay. Not as gripping as The Girl On The Train. This one was easier to figure out. Still a fun, quick read.





Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential PrayersHelp Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short, beautiful book. I love Anne Lamott. Highly recommend.






The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of TraumaThe Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As someone with PTSD, this book went a long way in helping me further understand my PTSD. Many parts of the book were triggering and I'd have to walk away from it for awhile. It's not a fast read. It's dense and talks a lot about rape, molestation, and child abuse. I don't know that I'd recommend reading this book if you're not also in therapy. But the book was very helpful to me.

The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge: 5 Principles to Transform Your Relationship with MoneyThe Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge: 5 Principles to Transform Your Relationship with Money by Ted Klontz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ugh, I hated this book. It's condescending. The exercises are helpful, but made me paint myself in a harsher light than needed. My therapist had to work to show me that the version of myself this book brought out is an old version (Kim 1.0). The current version of me (Kim 2.0) figured most of this shit out a long time ago and is mostly okay in regards to money. This book made me feel like I'm a lot more effed up than I am. If this book gets recommended to you, read it, and do the exercises, but check any revelations you have about yourself with your therapist.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome LifeYou Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is super self-helpy, but also super awesome. I'm surprised I don't know more people talking about this book since I know so many business owners and kickass corporate people. Everyone should read this book. *high-five emoji


Gwendy's Button BoxGwendy's Button Box by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I stayed up until midnight finishing this book. Short, quick read. It isn't "scary", but it's thrilling and fun to read.





This Is Just My Face: Try Not to StareThis Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a great memoir. The sequence of the chapters, and the story, make sense. Gabby is hilarious. If for nothing else, read it for the chapters on "phone sexery" and how she came to be cast in Precious. Funny, inspiring book.



Yes, ChefYes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loooooved this book. He wrote it in 2011, so it's a tiny bit out-dated, but it doesn't make any difference in his story. This is his story of his life, and OMG, its heart-breaking and inspiring. Great, great book. Definitely read it if you're interested in the NYC restaurant scene.


Love Warrior: A MemoirLove Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't need this book when it came out, but when I needed it, it was there and it helped immensely. Read this book if you need it.





Book of LongingBook of Longing by Leonard Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know nothing about Leonard Cohen or poetry, but I picked this book up at a friend's house and couldn't put it down, so I bought it. I enjoyed reading it, and it's made me more curious about poetry. Weird little book that I'm really glad I read.



In a Dark, Dark WoodIn a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so scary! I loved it! I couldn't put it down. Hurry up and write more books, Ruth Ware.





The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I almost put the book down about 50 pages in because a lot of the early story takes place in a rural animal control shelter and I couldn't read those parts, but I stuck with it and those scenes end pretty quick and the rest of the book is fine. That being said, I couldn't put this down and read it in one or two sittings. Lot of trigger warnings though. Know what it's about before you pick it up.

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent NationAll the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great book that most of my friends would get a lot out of. Three stars because it's dense and took awhile to get through. Worth reading though.



I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a WomanI Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! I'm already a little freaked out over aging and dying, but if anyone is going to freak me out any more, I'm glad it's Nora Ephron.



Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! Couldn't put it down. It's dark and I dreamed about it every night while I was reading it, but it is a remarkable book. So much to think about!




P.S. Forgot what I read in the first part of 2017? Here you go!

P.P.S. Are we friends on Goodreads?

June 30, 2017

Friday Links


READING THIS WEEK...

Too real:  My Name is Mitch McConnell and I Owe Thanatos 22 Million Human Souls.

To know me is to know my obsession with RuPaul's Drag Race. This W Magazine piece on Sasha Velour is everything.

I'm new to the gospel of Dr. Jen Gunter, but I am all in.

Eff you, dude!!! See also: Men Be Better.

lulz...


EYES AND EARS...

Twin Peaks is breaking my brain, you guys. I mean, in a good way, but still. David Lynch, what planet are you from?!


I love Jenji Kohan and she never does press, so I was excited when this popped up. I haven't had time watch GLOW yet, but it's on the docket.


Listen, I know. It's some bizarre white girl badge of honor to hate Lena Dunham, but I like her. And I'll tell you why. Because she apologizes, sincerely, every time she fucks up. And she fucks up a lot. Imagine if everyone at her level of fame owned up to their mistakes and then publicly self-corrected. No one apologizes anymore. No one thinks they're wrong. It's a slippery slope to not allow women public figures to be flawed. *steps off soapbox*


The intro to this episode where they're talking about Nicolas Cage is legit lol.

THRIFTING...


Shockingly, the exterior robe is the only part of this outfit not supposed to be there. And yes, I bought it.

I ENDORSE...

Sasha Velour's backup plan for "Stronger"
Cowgirls of Color
This sassy pineapple by my bitch, Betty Turbo

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