This month ink. is kicking off a new recurring post in which we kick off the month with a collection of stories, reflections, blogs, thoughts, etc. to get you thinking, make you smarter, and give those of you, like me, who hate trying to make small talk something to bring to the conversation should you find yourself trapped in an awkward social situation. Have something you think should be featured? Want to be featured yourself? Let me know all the awesome things you have to share in the comments!
September 1st is the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book arriving in American bookstores. It was published in the UK shortly before that, and it didn’t immediately catch on as an international phenomenon, but Happy Birthday American Harry Potter. These books inspired a generation, particularly my generation, in a way that few other book series have. And while it sometimes seems that my generation is a little bit TOO attached to these fictional wizarding world, a lot of ink has been spilled recently on the cultural and social importance of the series to those of us who grew up along with the characters. Keith Phipps wrote a piece for Vox that I think says it all. No one should have to apologize for being enchanted by a story in which you can both lose yourself and find yourself!
If you’re sick of the royal wedding, royal family, royal father-in-law drama, then I’m sorry that I brought it back up. However, you might find interesting that Kate Middleton once started a drinking society at St. Andrews, which kind of sounds scandalous, but is far less so than it is empowering to women. Want to know more? Yahoo News recounted this particular piece of royal news. The new Duchess of Sussex may get the nod for being the feminist member of the royal household, but it turns out the Duchess of Cambridge is all about ensuring the right to pop some corks with the ladies!
Speaking of female empowerment, as of this post, Serena Williams is still killing it at the US Open, and her outfits continue to slay as much as her backhand. Not long ago she made headlines for wearing a black bodysuit at the French Open, and just in the last week or so, that ensemble was back in the news when Roland-Garros announced such designs would be banned from future competitions. This led me down an internet rabbit-hole, as I began to wonder where the idea of “tennis whites” even came from, and why it’s had as lasting of an impact as it has. The history is, to say the least, a little bit convoluted and a whole lot elitist, but is also interesting in terms of the cultural and social impact sports can have on gender roles. Nadia Nittle leads this adventure into the past history of a sport that has never truly embraced its biggest female star.
Not that I think you should be looking to leave ink. for greener pastures, but if I had to recommend one other blog that you should be reading this month, it’d be “Messy Nessy Chic.” I think this is one of the most interesting collections of internet treasures on the web. If you want to be smart about random things that sound super cool in casual conversation, this is your place. I’d like to think ink. could get to this level of amazing curation someday, but in the meantime, you will not hurt my feelings if you look to Messy Nessy Chic. Recent posts include: “What happened to Picasso’s forgotten teenage muse?”; “The musicians searching for pianos inside derelict wonders”; and “For Sale: Your under the Tuscan sun fixer upper awaits!” The site is a treasure trove!
I recently heard that people are choosing the names of their future children based on whether or not they can still get the social media handles for that name. For example, I might choose to name my future, hypothetical son Artemis because @artemislaack is still available on Instagram and Twitter. And I might even lock in that name now, and claim those handles to gift to him at a later time when he’s ready to be a social media influencer. OR I might claim those handles and start filling his feeds with adorable content so that he’s a celebrity by the time I turn over those handles to him. This is happening…in real life…welcome to 2018. If you’ve done this for you child, I’m being a little judgy, but you might also find this roundup of the basic process to getting verified on Instagram very useful as you work to secure your child’s future internet stardom. I won’t be doing this for my future children, but I stil found the process fascinating, as it turns out receiving that blue checkmark next to your name on Instagram is still one of the highest marks of internet celebrity you can receive!
September is the month of the grape harvest not only at wineries across the Midwest, but also in international wine making regions around the world. Assuming you can’t get to Tuscany for the annual harvest celebration, you can likely still mark the occasion at many of your local establishments. In some cases, it still takes a village to harvest the grapes, and you may even be invited to pick and/or stomp this year’s yield. If you’re a local reader, you may check out the annual grape stome at Four Daughter Winery near Spring Grove, MN. Or, Villa Bellezza, a personal favorite of mine, in Pepin, WI has a full calendar of harvest events and eclebrations through the month of September, culminating in the first pour from this year’s vintage!
Of course when it comes to September, we can’t overlook bonfires, changing leaves, the appearance of pumpkin spice everything, cooler nights, sweatshirts, and flannel. September, you really do bring out the best of things!