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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

Entries in suggestions (7)


Help for the hopeless (mouth) 


For most of my life, my mouth has been a train wreck. When I go to a dentist for the first time, they say things like, “I see we have quite a history!” and “Look at all this!”  For years, I would brush and floss diligently, only to somehow end up with more cavities than I have teeth. Especially after I had Henry. Pregnancy hormones, man. Also: caramels.

Even before The Child, however, every cleaning was a gore-fest; every x-ray ended in the dentist tallying all the cavities to his assistant while I wept into my blood-soaked bib. Not surprisingly, these ordeals resulted in me not wanting to go to the dentist anymore. Did you know that if you don’t go to the dentist, your teeth will not magically remain okay? And then when you go back they can’t even believe how messed up your mouth is, or that you’re still alive or able to eat anything chewier than pudding?  

About three years ago I started the ol’ Paleo diet. I really liked it. I still like it. I would call myself, right now, Paleo-ish: mostly Paleo, with the occasional off-roading because life's too short not to eat cheese. The only thing I really, really avoid is wheat. I won’t claim real intolerance, but if I have wheat I feel bad. (It's easy to avoid something when you get bloated and depressed afterward.) Since the Paleo-ish eating, my checkups have become startlingly less terrible. The cleanings were still pretty dramatic, but I had zero cavities.  I think it’s safe to assume that wheat (or, more precisely, the wheaty treats—brownies/cookies/cakes/crackers) is problematic for me. 

The real change, however, started about eight months ago,with this new regimen.  It was created by Dr. Ellie Phillips, DDS, and it goes a little something like this: 

1. Rinse with CloSYS. (I had never heard of this before, but it’s available online; I've also found it at CVS.) 

2. Brush. 

3. Rinse with Listerine. 

4. Rinse with Act Fluoride Rinse. 

And that's it. 

(If you’re looking for reasoning and/or details, I strongly recommend looking at her site. There’s good information in there. Go on. There are details, like only using regular Crest paste and replacing your toothbrush frequently. Dr. Phillips is also an enthusiastic advocate of supplementing with xylitol, which is a thing I keep forgetting to do. I am not a perfect disciple.)  

You’ll notice there’s no flossing in there. I still sort of floss, but that’s because most of my mouth is made up of crowns and play-dough, and I feel weird if I don’t. If I’m in a rush, however, I do the rinsing and skip the flossing. 

ANYWAY I went for a checkup about a month into this new routine, climbed into the dentist chair, braced myself for an hour of gore and mayhem, and experienced…not much. A little bleeding, a sensitive area here and there, but I never even once prayed to God and all the saints in heaven. This was a strange and new world. 

Then the hygienist said something. Her mouth opened, and she said, “You’re doing a good job.” 

You’re. Doing. A. Good. Job. 

I have never heard anyone in a dentist’s office say this to me. Never. And I was. I was ever so good. I was flossing like a pro and brushing for two straight minutes twice a day with my soft-bristled brush. I followed the rules. And still the hygienist would lecture me after each torture session about the importance of flossing. She would make me hold a mirror in front of my face while she demonstrated proper flossing technique on me and I’d try to say, “I know! I floss like that!” But my mouth was full of her hands! 

Not only was I told that I was “doing a good job,” (I might have asked her to repeat it, a few times) there were (again!) no cavities. I was so excited leaving the dentist’s office that I almost ran home to write this blog post ordering everyone to do what I’m doing. But I thought I should wait. I had only been using the rinses for a month or so. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I was drunk. You just never know with me. 

Fast forward to today, the day of my next checkup.  I am here to tell you that this cleaning was … I don't even...there are no words. It was painless. I’ve had haircuts that felt worse. It felt like someone was just...brushing and flossing for me. How nice of them! While I have my hands free, for knitting! There was no bleeding, no sensitivity. I didn’t pray. I didn’t sweat. I didn't cry/laugh. The hygienist said everything was “perfect.”  I might have teared up. My dentist told me that I've halted my gum recession. Once again there were no cavities, and then he and the nurse held me in their arms and declared me their favorite patient ever. Then they made all the other patients come in to admire me. It took a while.  

I'm not being compensated for this post. I just can’t keep this to myself. Again, I think the reduction in sugar intake was a huge help. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to hear that part. (Did you just slam your laptop down and run to your bundt cake for comfort? I get it. Bundt cakes are delicious.) But the rinses were definitely instrumental in making my cleanings less...instrumental. Will they help you? I have no idea, but I don't see why not, and I don’t think it can hurt. 


May I Firmly Suggest: Show Your Work 

What’s this? What has excited Ms. Bradley’s passions to the point that she can't gently suggest said item? This book has, my friends. This one right here.

If you’re not familiar with Austin Kleon and his work, you’re in for a treat. Austin Kleon describes himself as a writer who draws; Maria Popova at Brain Pickings calls him as “a keen observer of and participant in the creative economy of the digital age.” I’d say he’s an artist, an educator, and a brilliant thinker regarding the creative process. His ideas are deceptively simple, but they stay with you. 

I loved his book Steal like an Artist; I picked it up in 2012 and find myself returning to it all the time. Despite my enthusiasm for that book, I was a little leery about this new title. I thought it was about promotion and marketing, and those concepts make me barfy. I hate promoting myself, and I actively resist any thoughts about my brand. Show Your Work, however, is much more exciting (and much less nausea-inducing) than that; it’s more about sharing than selling. Sharing not only your finished products but also your process. Keeping the lines of communication open with your audience. Learning to take risks and make yourself vulnerable.

This book will resonate with anyone who creates or wants to create, and anyone who wants to take more risks in work and life. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Gentle is not going to cut it with this one.

This is not a sponsored post; I'm just crazy about this book. Links to both books are affiliate links.


May I Gently Suggest: Scribd

This post is sponsored by Scribd, but the opinions contained herein are all mine.

There are purists out there who want books only to exist in musty paper form, but I am not among them. I love books, sure. I love them so much that I purchase too many of them. Periodically I must purge my collection and it pains me to do so. And so I fully embraced the ebook concept from the beginning, mostly because I knew that if I didn’t find some alternative, we’d eventually have no space left.

It turns out I love ebooks for much more than their space-saving benefits. I love being able to click on a word and find out what it means. (Infinite Jest would have been a much more frustrating experience without it. Flipping back and forth between the book and a dictionary, like a savage.) I love having a selection of books at my disposal when I’m stuck on the subway, or when I’m going on vacation and don’t feel like checking a suitcase full of books. I especially love that the instant gratification of waiting .00002 seconds (approximately) from the moment I decide I must read a book to the moment I start reading it.

That instant-gratification aspect can really backfire, however, if I were to spend $9.99 every few days, which I would certainly do, if I had an ounce less self-control. And now Henry has an ebook reader as well, so between the two of us, we could do a lot of damage to our bank account. And our library’s ebook selection is spotty at best.

When Scribd asked if I wanted to check out its subscription service, I was all over it. For $8.99 a month you get unlimited access to over 100K books from over 900 publishers. You can sync across devices: so if I start reading a book on my iPad, I can continue it on my iPhone at the page I left it. (The Scribd app is also available for IOS, Android, and the Nook.) You can download the books to read offline. Experience-wise, it’s identical to my Kindle or iBook apps, except I’m not spending crazy amounts of money.

I’ve been trying out Scribd for a few weeks, and I’m a fan. Right now I’ve got Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Lit by Mary Karr, and Shakespeare by Bill Bryson downloaded on my phone, and there are fifteen more titles saved to my personal library. There are a ton of young-adult titles as well, which I am about to make Henry check out before he downloads another book without telling me.

Scribd is offering Finslippy readers a special deal of three months free when you subscribe. (That deal expires on 12/31.)  You can also give a Scribd subscription to the reader(s) in your life. Their gift e-cards are pretty great. Here are a couple of my favorites:


Wait, and this one: 




Tracking Pixel


May I Gently Suggest, #4: Winter Break Edition

This week was Henry's winter break, a time that is usually marked by gloom, slush, bickering, claustrophobia, and late nights surfing Priceline looking for deals on tropical vacations. This year, however, it's been sunny and warm and we've been going out for frozen yogurt and walks in the park. Thanks, climate change! My enjoyment is mingled with terror, much like this frozen yogurt is mingling with chocolate chips! (And yes, I realize that neither frozen yogurt nor chocolate chips are Paleo. I was reminded of this afterward, painfully. Ouch.)


I just finished 1Q84 and I enjoyed the hell out of it, I'm pretty sure. It's still too freshly read for me to figure out completely how I felt about it, but I will tell you that it's worth reading. It's long--over 900 pages--but not especially dense. I finished it quickly, thanks to insomnia, which enabled me to read at such hours as 3 am and 4 am and Why the Hell Am I Still Conscious am. Did any of you read it? What did you think?

When I wasn't making my way through 1Q84, I got to read my friend Matt's story. Matt is an incredibly talented writer (see: The Book of Right and Wrong), and "The Advocate" is just as funny and heartwrenching as his other work. You can enjoy it here for only 99 cents--free for Amazon Prime members. Download! Go!

If you're at all interested in watercolor painting, you need this book. I got this from my talented dad, who started me on this watercoloring obsession and also supplies me with free watercolor supplies and endless tips. Sadly I cannot gently suggest my father to you, as he is not for sale or rent. But this book is a fine companion, if not as huggable.

Finally, may I gently suggest Childbirth 101? Eden and I co-hosted this series, which is both amusing and information-packed, for those of you about to give birth or considering doing so in the future. (Or if you just want to reminisce?)

All Amazon links contain my affiliate code.