Five years of Articles Club

20 October 2020

Today is the fifth anniversary of Articles Club! Five years ago this month, Stephanie and I posted an invitation on our respective blogs: would anyone be interested in reading articles together and discussing them once a month? It would be like a book club, but with articles! That first night, we sat around my living room with snacks and drinks in hand, 10 or so strangers who just happened to have a little blog in common. I didn’t know anyone in the circle except for Stephanie… which is a pretty crazy situation for an introvert to find herself in.

Five years later, the faces around the circle are beloved friends. Some of them are the very same, and some we have been so lucky to welcome in for a season or for good since then.

Articles Club this year, like most things this year, has looked a little different. We canceled our March gathering as the lockdown descended, then met via Zoom for several months. In August and September, we were overjoyed to gather again – outside, at Dix Park, with the most gorgeous sunset view of the city skyline and individual dinners on our laps. For our meeting this month, we’ll walk around the side of Stephanie’s home and spread out on her back deck, and we’ll toast to five years with cupcakes.

Though we have read a few sets of articles this year, many of our gatherings have simply been social – a chance to check in on each other and share the hard and the good of the past month. After all, the world has given us much to discuss even without assigned reading, and it has been a special gift to sift through all that 2020 has thrown at us with a group of people who care deeply about each other, who believe there is gray in the world, and who are capable of approaching differing opinions with good will and thoughtfulness – and even a little humor when needed.

Earlier this year, I came to the realization that these people are my friends. That might sound like a strange thing to realize, after five years – of course these are my friends! – but they haven’t come with all the trappings I typically associate with friendship: we don’t tend to gather much outside of our monthly meeting. I haven’t met many of their significant others or children. I don’t have all of their numbers in my phone.

And yet – I have sat around a table for hours in conversation with them. I have tried, and adopted, their favorite recipes. I have learned about their childhoods and their work lives, their meet cutes and political opinions and financial situations and beauty routines and Enneagram types, their thoughts on parenting and generosity and home design. We have laughed and cried and laughed until we cried. We have brought each other meals for new babies and exchanged books and beauty products. Our gatherings are always one of my favorite evenings every month.

So yes, these are my friends. Stephanie, Kelly, Ginna, Pressley, Chelsey, Stacy, Adelyn, Bethany, Libby, Julia, Mackenzie, Robyn, and everyone else who has joined us over the years – thank you! What a gift you have been to me.

While I don’t have my usual list of reads from the past year to share with you today – I do have this: my encouragement to step outside of your comfort zone and reach out a hand in friendship. Even if it seems scary, even if it seems risky, even if it seems complicated or likely to fail – a hand extended in love is always worth it. It might sound cliche, but it’s true.

Friends, I’d love to hear about a time when you took a risk on a new friendship, if you’d like to share! Almost all of my adult friendships have required a risk on my part, so I love hearing about other’s happy endings :)

P.S. To browse past years’ articles, start here!

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Words with friends: year four of Articles Club

29 October 2019

With four years of monthly gatherings under our belt, you might think we’d have run out of things to talk about by now. But therein lies the secret: the articles, in the end, are just a jumping-off point for the free-wheeling and wide-ranging conversation that always ensues. Challenging ideas, exchanging experiences, and laughing (sometimes hysterically) are de rigueur with this group, and I’m so grateful for it.

If you’ve ever wanted to start something like this, do it. And if you just want to follow along at home, read on – I’m sharing a few of the articles we read together in the last year, plus our dinner themes just for fun! :)

How Our Families Shape Us
The Family Stories That Bind Us
Happy Children Do Chores
What Are Your Family Rules?
Meal: mac and cheese bar and salads

Being a Nuanced American:
How Social Media Has Changed How We Consume News
How Feeling Disillusioned Leads to Political Polarization
6 Orienting Questions for the Journey Towards Staying Informed
Meal: A giant charcuterie board

Blogging and Privacy:
We Want Privacy, But Can’t Stop Sharing
When Kids Realize Their Whole Life is Already Online
13, Right Now
Don’t Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say
Meal: Summer salads

Books and Reading:
Can Reading Make You Happier?
How Banning Books Marginalizes Children
Read a Novel: It’s Just What the Doctor Ordered
Meal: Recipes from our favorite chefs and bloggers

Free Inquiry, Education, and Raising Curious Kids
The Coddling of the American Mind (many of us read the book this month, too!)
Meal: Picnic food

Technology and Social Media:
Alexa, Should We Trust You?
I Cut the Big Five Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell.
Alexa is a Revelation for the Blind
Meal: Mexican

Women and Girls
This is How March Became Women’s History Month
Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to Them in the Office
Women Aren’t Nags, We’re Just Fed Up
Meal: Spring potluck

Millennial Burnout
How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation
Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?
Meal: Italian and chocolate desserts

The FIRE Way of Life
Getting Rich: From Zero to Hero in One Blog Post
What Everybody is Getting Wrong About FIRE
How to Retire in Your 30s with $1 Million in the Bank
Meal: Favorite healthy(ish) recipes

Work and Worth
The Work You Do, the Person You Are
The Dotted Lines
What the Working Class is Still Trying to Tell Us
Meal: Soup, salad, and bread

Becoming a Parent (or Not)
How People Decide Whether to Have Children
10 Amazingly Enjoyable Things About Having Kids
Why So Many American Women are Deciding Not to Have Kids
Meal: Thanksgiving favorites

If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to share a favorite dinner theme in the comments – we’re always looking for new ideas!

P.S. The beginnings of Articles Club, tips on starting your own, and what we read in our second and third years.

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What we read this year in Articles Club

9 October 2018

Tonight is the third anniversary of Articles Club!

When Stephanie and I launched our experiment three years ago — by inviting total strangers into our homes, no less — this introvert had no idea what to expect and was more than a little nervous. What a happy surprise and abundant blessing our monthly gatherings (and the ladies who gather) have been to me ever since! More than the articles we read, the gift is in tucking in around a table with ladies who are different in many ways — younger, older, married, single, mamas and not — but all united by their curious minds, care for one another, and interest in our world.

If you’ve ever wanted to start something like this, do it. And if you just want to follow along at home, read on – I’m sharing a few of the articles we read together in the last year! :)

John McCain’s Farewell Letter
Straining to Keep Faith with America

Lessons Learned from 98 Morning Routines
Routines: Comforting or Confining?
I Tried Seven Different Morning Routines – Here’s What Made Me Happiest

Sustainable Fashion
Why Consumers Forget Unethical Business Practices
Behind a $13 Shirt, a $6-an-Hour Worker
What is Sustainable Fashion and Why is it so Expensive?

Race in America
What Does it Mean to be White
Action Items for New Allies
When White Parents Won’t Integrate Public Schools

Parenting Now
How to Raise an American Adult
Seven Reasons We Hate Free-Range Parenting
12 Rules for Life

The Magic of Summer
How to Celebrate Like the Nordics
Going for a 1970s Summer
Fireworks are our Shining Stars of Summer

Being Stuck
How You Get Unstuck
Why We Feel Stuck in Life and the Secret to Dealing With It
Feeling Less than Grateful? Some People are Just Wired that Way

The Mystery of Personality
Inside the Enneagram
The Combination to Your Team’s Recurring Problem
Personality Tests are Popular, But Do They Capture the Real You?

The Truth About Beauty
Aging and My Beauty Dilemma
What Makes a Pretty Face?

Grab Bag :)
My Year of No Shopping
The Best New Year’s Game
You May Want to Marry My Husband

If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to share an article or essay in the comments that you’re itching to discuss with someone! Maybe you’ll see it show up in next year’s Articles Club recap :)

P.S. How to host an articles club, and what we read our second year

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How to host an articles club

12 September 2016

About a year ago, I posted here about the articles club my friend Stephanie and I were starting. I’m happy to say that our experiment has been a success! We’ve met almost every month since, and the discussion (and snacks, and company) has been great. I thought I’d share a few tips we’ve learned since October, as well as a few of the articles we’ve read! They’re worth looking into whether or not you’re part of a club.


Find a co-host. It’s nice to share the responsibility of finding articles, sending out details, and starting discussion!

Have snacks. We meet at 7:30, so we ask everyone to bring a savory snack, a dessert, or a drink. Since we usually meet at my house, I try to make a warm and more substantial offering, like a hot dip, pigs in a blanket (my favorite!), or samosas. It’s the perfect excuse to try out new Pinterest recipes :)

Gather a group. We’ve met with as few as four ladies and as many as fifteen, but I’d say the ideal number is between six and eight.

Choose your articles. Stephanie and I have each picked the articles a few times, and a number of other gals have shared favorites, too. We choose 2-3 articles on a particular subject for each meeting, and the leader usually comes prepared with a few questions or thought-provoking lines from the articles to start us off. Here are a few of the topics we’ve covered:

The Myth of Quality Time
The Family Stories That Bind Us
Motherhood, Screened Off

Friends of a Certain Age
Why It’s Smart to Court Your Friends
How Friendships Change in Adulthood

A High Price for Healthy Food
What Food Says About Class in America
Why are Millenials so Obsessed with Food?

The Questions that Will Save Your Relationships
Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear
Love Languages

Kids and Tech
Don’t Post About Me on Social Media, Kids Say
How I Protect My Family on Instagram

Downsizing the American Dream
How Far Can Amazon Go?

A Last Bastion of Civility, the South, Sees Manners Decline
27 Etiquette Rules for Our Times
How to Be Polite

Sound like fun? We’re always happy to welcome new gals, so if you’re into snacking, chatting, and reading and live in the Triangle, we’d love to meet you! Just send me an email :)

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