The carefree aesthetic is appealing for many, but the inclusion also is full of political purpose

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Photo: Niccolo Stevens Henson/EyeEm/Getty Images

Evelyn still remembers the nickname her elementary school classmates assigned her: the mermaid. She was the strongest swimmer in her class; her mother had to fight to get Evelyn out of water when she swam at the Malecón — a large sea wall near the ocean — in Cuba, where she spent part of her childhood. Evelyn eventually decided to make her love of the ocean official: In 2014, she traveled to the Philippines to learn how to scuba dive.

“I realized that I just didn’t want to be on land anymore,” she tells me.

Since then, Evelyn has worked…


“Recreating his recipe from my memory feels like finding a key to a secret door.”

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

One of my first memories in the kitchen is of my father cooking peanut sauce. I would settle on one of the stools at the kitchen island after school, and watch him. He’d be stooped over the stove, stirring a sauce pot of what looked like thick brown goo, a tub of Skippy peanut butter and a can of coconut milk open on the counter beside him. He’d then pour the fragrant, slightly burned-smelling liquid, into a styrofoam bowl filled with rice, lettuce, fried tofu and cucumbers. This is gado-gado, an Indonesian vegetable salad topped with peanut sauce.

My father…


I wasn’t able to properly listen until I was nicotine-free

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Photo: Rattankun Thongbun/Getty Images

I began smoking cigarettes regularly when I was 17. Both my parents were smokers (they’ve since quit), which sped up my decision to take up the habit. In the beginning, my brand of choice was Newport 100s. I liked the smooth mint flavor, its polluted, metallic sweetness. After my dad went to sleep, I’d smoke out of my bedroom window, then leave it open so the smell didn’t linger. I soon graduated to Marlboro Reds, savoring the dense, harsh smoke that settled on my insides like a concrete film. I adored this feeling — burning and scraping, like eating glass.


Facing racism at hospitals, some women of color turn to home birth

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Credit: mshallenberg/Getty Images

In her 10 years as a practicing midwife, Racha Lawler experiences mostly joy, but she’s also learned one disturbing truth: Many women of color have been traumatized during a hospital birth. She recalls one woman in particular, who labored for 52 hours. Nurses insisted she and her baby could both die if a surgeon didn’t perform a crash C-section. She stood her ground, insisting that the heart rate of her other children had also dipped slightly during delivery. An hour and a half after staff tried to bully her into the surgery, she gave birth to a healthy baby.

“[The…


The science behind listening to music to concentrate

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Credit: Roberto Westbrook/Getty Images

Listening to music is a long-used productivity hack among creatives. Author Stephen King says he used to listen to Anthrax, Judas Priest, and Metallica while writing. Gabriel Marcía Márquez “wore out” Beatles records while working on One Hundred Years of Solitude. Charles Bukowski at least claimed he needed cigars, whiskey, and classical music to write 10 pages every day.

Millions of people similarly turn to music to focus. Playlists that claim to offer music to help people concentrate are growing in popularity. The YouTube channel Chillhop Music and a similar channel called ChilledCow have a combined 5.3 million subscribers. Chillhop’s…


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2016 was, without a doubt, my break out year as a writer. I hustled and busted my ass to get my work out there in world, and moved one step closer (I hope!) to writing full time. I fought back wave after wave of insecurities (Will I ever make it big? Is everyone writing more, and better, stories?) to keep pursuing my passion. My ideas got bigger and more ambitious, and I stopped being scared of reporting. I still have so many goal publications on my list, but in 2017, I want to be brave enough to write essays for…


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Header via Flickr

The first time a friend congratulated me for my sexual conquests was on a playground. I was about 18 or 19 then, either about to leave for college in New York or back on my first visit. There we were, on the cusp of adulthood, drunk on a swing set. My friend was impressed by my ability to fuck guys without guilt or regret, especially in the case of a casual one night stand. …

Elisabeth Sherman

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