The Swipe Up, vol. 13

  
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You know that one gif of the little girl being dragged by the merry-go-round? Is there a way to get that tattooed on my forehead? I’m ready for gif tattoos, how much longer until that is a thing do we think?

Earlier this week I dropped my newest baby, The Comfortable Words, out into the world. You can read more about it here, but I just want to say thanks again for being cool people and sending cheers and excitement to an internet stranger.

OKAY Let’s get to the real reason why we’re all here, #lilswipes.


P.S. If you like The Swipe Up, will you share The Swipe Up? I giveaway a lil gift card to one lucky sharer every month. Just make sure you tag me or if you’re private, shoot me a screenshot of your share. Thank you! 🤘

P.P.S. As a reminder, there are affiliate links in this post.👌


What’s your all-time favorite snack (sweet and salty categories please)? — @ashleystartin
Sweet: candied pecans
Salty: Trader Joe’s Cornbread Crisps or chips and salsa (as a side note, I feel as though I am betraying my roots when I say “salsa.” Should be saying “hot sauce” and I know that, but I’m just trying to live in the light of clarification.)

My stepdaughter’s mom is an Enneagram 3. Tips for co-parenting with her? — @a.wright.fit
Kudos to you for doing the work to do the best job for your stepdaughter. I won’t speak for all Enneagram 3s, but for me, group work (and that even includes co-parenting with my own spouse) is difficult. So you might have a bit of a task ahead of you (but not an insurmountable one). We love control and we love to lead. I would ask her for tips and advice, not flattering her for manipulative purposes, but acknowledging that she’s got a head start in knowing and understanding your stepdaughter is a great way for her to see that you’re not trying to usurp her role. And honestly, caring for and investing your time in your stepdaughter will go a long way with her. It sounds like you’re already doing a great job with that, so keep on keeping on!

Newsletters — I love them. Are they the new blogs? Seems like everyone is doing them now and I’m curious about the recent push (seems to span small to large online presence). — @amandakgraham
I guess they kind of are the new blogs! So I think a lot of this stems from the desire to “own” your contact list. For example, if one day I get hacked on Instagram and chaotic evil hackers delete my account, I have to start all over, find my people again. But with newsletters, I not only have immediate access to subscribers, I’m not bound by a platform. Instagram could go down, but I’ll always have your email addresses. 😬

How do you balance being engaged on social media but not checking it 24/7? — @annaleighsaxton
I have a few tricks for this!
1) I almost never randomly post, meaning just because I take a picture of something doesn’t mean I’ll go post it immediately. (especially around my kids — I never post in front of them, for me it gives off the vibe that I’m taking the pic or whatever for content.) Take the pic, and post it later.
2) Notifications off always for everything (email (no haptics or sound), social media (nothing ever, don’t see notifications until I open the app), texts (no haptics or sound). Notifications are someone else’s to-do list for you, they are digital people walking into your office while you’re trying to work. I make my own to-do list.
3) Blackout weekends have really helped me. I don’t do it all the time (if I’m working or doing something out of the ordinary, I might still post, no hard and fast rule), and I don’t delete the apps (mainly because I can’t remember my passwords), but my brain loves a schedule and I look forward to weekends. I hope that helps!

Do you ever feel inadequate, especially as a mom? What helps you feel encouraged? — @katesgregory
I had a friend who once told me that children are tiny assassins sent by the Holy Spirit to kill your sinful self and I seriously think about that every day. I feel inadequate 👏 all 👏 the 👏 time full stop. Some of my encouragement comes from fellowship with other moms who aren’t caught up in comparing kids or busy-ness or whatever. There’s this game some people play that will always leave you feeling like you’re doing a bad job. You’re not. Every kid is different, every parent is different, and we all have different doubts. I’m reading No Better Mom for the Job by Becky Keife right now, and this really resonated with me: “Part of the journey to fully embracing that you’re the right mom for the job is being willing to call out the places in your parenting where the voice of self-doubt is louder than the song of God-confidence.” I really love that, and I think it’s true without being cliche. I will also note for the record that I think your phone can be an empowerment machine or an inadequacy machine. Cull those feeds, you do not have to follow people that make you feel like you’re not doing the best you can in a role God gave you.

How many pairs of glasses do you own and where do you get them? Imma need them. — @amandalynn.mandolin
I have maybe five pairs of face pants in rotation currently, but I mainly stick to two: the Haley from Warby Parker, and the Lowry from Warby Parker (FUN FACT: the day I got my Lowrys was the first time a stranger on the internet ever made me cry — some lady in my DMs told me I looked like garbage in them but joke’s on her because I love looking like garbage) (Also the Lowrys are men’s glasses because I need good head to body ratio). I used to play the EyeBuyDirect and Zenni Optical game, but I’m really hard on my glasses, so I needed something that could withstand my own self. (This makes me sound like the Hulk of Glasses, which I’m kind of into?) If you’re looking for more affordable options, those two places are great, but I love WP’s customer service and they are technically still very affordable so I stan.

My kindergartner is a hot mess right now. Assuming she’s exhausted from school. Advice? — @hannahlmorris
She is EXHAUSTED, and she lacks the social construct to bottle up her feelings (which is not a bad thing at all). I frequently envy my children in their ability to operate with emotional abandon. I know this is kind of a bummer, but kids need an earlier bedtime than we ever think possible. I also remember Jen Hatmaker talking about how putting your kid in water is almost always helpful. School is hard. Give your kid the gift of enough sleep.

How do you have a life and have kids? Not a parent yet, but sometimes it looks 😫🙅🏻‍♀️😑😓 — @rachelwestjones
So I assume Rachel means like a life outside of kid-centric functions. A lot of this depends on the season you’re in with your kids, how many kids you have, what your partner does for a living, all sorts of factors at play here. Right now, we’re in the thick of the following:

  1. One toddler who needs constant supervision or he’ll fall off a retaining wall, tumble down the stairs, choke on a Lego, or climb on a stool and touch a hot stove. He is also constantly hungry. He’s also really into frogs, but he can’t say “frog.” He, clear as day, says the f-word. Screams it. All the time. It’s a lot.

  1. One first-grader who needs to be physical for at least two hours every day then pumped full of so much melatonin, it could tranquilize a Clydesdale. She also had a plan to tell her teacher that she didn’t need to learn to read because she’s “a numbers person, not a word person” but that did not work out like she was hoping and our reading journey makes everyone want to drink wine straight from the box, nozzle directly emptying into our mouths. She hates reading at night, so she’s gonna make DANG sure it’s the worst twenty minutes of your day, too.

  2. A fourth-grader who wants to do all the things, have all the conversations, process all the emotions, ALL. THE. TIME.

So we don’t do anything. We don’t see anyone except the people in our small group and the people we work with and the people we live with. I remember pre-kids, I was always like: why don’t parents just get a babysitter? Why don’t I see my friends with kids more? What are they doing at home all the time? I could not have had a less informed understanding of what exactly parents were doing. By 9pm, we are all so exhausted from having to be people together that there is nothing remaining. We’ve left it all on the field.

This makes me sound like I don’t enjoy not having a life. You have a life. It’s very full. It just looks different than it did before you had kids.

@olli_oxenfree asked a great question that kind of sits next to this one: Thoughts on what realistic friendship looks like in young motherhood? It hard out hurr.

Again, I think it’s all about seasons. When small dictators are in a constant state of needing you to do everything (put on pants, remember to brush their teeth, buckle a seatbelt, climb stairs, open doors, etc.), you’re busy. You have a job that pays poorly and your supervisor cannot regulate his or her emotions and there is no HR.

I do not mean this facetiously at all, but: lower your expectations. You cannot be the life source for another human(s) AND have a marriage AND be physically healthy AND commune with the Lord of Hosts AND have deep and meaningful friendships with other women AND AND AND.

Liz Lemon was wrong:

When we were little and my mom stayed home with us, she and her friends would do tuna salad lunch. One person was in charge of bringing the tuna, one person the bread, one person the drinks. They would pile the kids into the van, meet at a house or the park, and be friends over tuna salad. Tuna salad is awful and disgusting, but substitute your own automated lunch and invite some other moms who you know are in the same boat. Find a Mother’s Day Out at a local church (it doesn’t even have to be your church: churches love it when random kids show up to their MDOs because they’re like EVANGELIZE THIS CHILD AND SUBSEQUENT FAMILY) and take a friend to lunch. Send a text when you see something that reminds you of your friend.

Realistic friendships in young motherhood succeed when you lower your expectations and give yourself some grace. It’s all about seasons.

Your opinion on the athleisure clothing trend? — @taylanedesigns
Wearing yoga pants RIGHT NOW.

I unfollowed Noah Centineo because of the blonde beard, so no real question here other than WHY? — @erinshircliff
I don’t follow Noah because God said no, not at this time, but the blonde beard is truly insane. He’s going to play He-Man in the new live-action, but last time I checked He-Man doesn’t look like Spencer Pratt, so I have no idea. CW: I’m about to show you a difficult image. Please prepare yourself:

What HAS happened, Noah? I think my favorite part of this is that all his fan accounts are so triggered by this beard, they’ve threatened to stop managing fan accounts. I recommend a rewatch of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before in order to get through this challenging time.

Several of you asked questions that I’ve already answered in previous Swipe Ups, but GOOD NEWS: I transferred the entire archive over, so there’s an entire year’s worth of content a mere scroll away!


On Influencers and the Way Social Media Makes Us Feel Like Garbage Sometimes.

Y’all had such fascinating insights into this marketing phenomenon that has permeated social media, particularly Instagram. Last week, I watched as lots of people got a very fancy box via the publishing house of an author, and I’ll be honest: it looked dope. I had questions and observations about the optics, about the feelings these boxes can dredge up. In the spirit of full disclosure, I get PR boxes every once in a while and gifts are my love language, so it makes the mailbox fun. In the spirit of double full disclosure, the day I posted this question, about three hours later got a box from a separate author and it 100000% looked like I was throwing shade at her, which…I could die. I wasn’t. But I felt like a buttmunch all the same, DMed her, Voxed her, and hopefully prostrated myself enough for her to know I truly was not being a shady piece of trash (also thank you for the box of fun stuff I’m sorry I’m human garbage).

This question was fascinating because I got answers from authors who have sent boxes, authors who didn’t have the marketing budget for boxes, people who get them or don’t get them, and people who work in publishing. This is a fraction of the answers I received, but I felt like they did a good job of giving an overview. I kept everyone anonymous but tried to give you an idea of what category they fall in for context. I also added a note here and there because this is my substack, I do what I want.

What is this? Heathers?

“When the same group of people are always PR-ing each other it feels like an exclusive club.”
“Kinda feels like a Christian best friends club that I’m not in? But I would def take one. 😂”
“It’s like handing out birthday invites in school in front of everyone, but not inviting some.” [gut punch. — ehm]
“I think some perpetuate the idea that certain communities (✝️🙋🏼‍♀️)are fairly exclusive.”
“It’s the same as watching the popular girls get flowers on Valentine’s Day in high school when you won’t.” [double gut punch. — ehm]
“I don’t take or listen to influencer opinions because it seems like friends high-fiving each other.”
“Feels like a Mean Girls club. There. I said it!” [I’m honestly so happy this commenter got this off their chest. — ehm]

I Don’t Trust Your Review.

“Initially, I’m like — FOR IT. Then, I’m like — who can I actually trust for an honest review?”
“I feel like I can’t trust that endorsement fully.”
“I always wonder if people can truly be honest in their reviews when they get packs like that.”
“It is what it is but I have gotten burned for buying something I shouldn’t have.”
“We know you haven’t read that book!”

Guys, the Earth is Dying.

“I’m constantly trying to figure out how much they cost.”
“PR boxes are so so bad and wasteful for the environment. Just send the book.”
“I don’t think they are bad, but I am insanely curious as to the cost of these books.”
“So much waste and unnecessary expense.”
“Depends on how wasteful the packaging is, honestly!” [I genuinely never considered this, and was bowled over by how many people mentioned it. Forgive me, planet. — ehm]

Actual Influencers Weigh In

“I’m not going to lie — I get a lot of them and I’m not sad when they have fun stuff. But I rarely share the fun stuff. Seems braggy?”
“I think they are a colossal waste of money.”
“As someone who is writing a book, I think they are over the top.”
“As someone who has done them, I totally see both sides. But I won’t be doing them again. I literally had my feelings hurt once when I wasn’t sent one by someone so I’m over that.”
“The enclosed “personal note” better not call me friend if we’ve never actually spoken.”
“As a small author, I didn’t have a ton of say as to what the publishing company was going to do for marketing. I had to just let it happen.”

Very Pro-Box

“It’s no different than me going to free steak dinners that are sponsored by drug reps.”
“I think it’s appropriate because those people have higher follower numbers and can reach different audiences.”
“I don’t have a problem with it. Gotta make that money honey.”
“We appreciate the hustle. Do what you gotta do to sell a book.”
“If as an author you believe in your message, you should get it to people who can get it to more people.”
“Why not? It’s not hurting anyone and some people find it fun.”
“Job perk? I just accept that this is a legitimate career field with perks (with strings attached).”
“That’s how they get the word out. Seems to be working.”
“I equate it to Oscar gift bags. You got yourself famous so now you enjoy that swag!”
“Any reason to celebrate and encourage peeps to read!”
“Celebs get morning talk shows. Smaller authors have to leverage social media and really the only way to do that is via these boxes.”
“I love watching them! So fun!”

Is This Not Potentially Very Awkward?

“If it’s one you WANT to promo, having materials helps, but it is awkward if it’s not authentic to you.”
“If I were the author I’d feel STRESS about who to send to…scared to hurt feelings. If I were the recipient, I’d feel STRESS like what if I don’t like it enough to post about it.”
[It’s so tricky, especially when you have relationships with these people. You want to be supportive, and you like THEM, so you want a bank to fall on their house. I take ANYONE sharing something I do very seriously, and I get it if people don’t feel like it fits within their audience, or they just don’t want to do it. It’s a very delicate balance. — ehm]

The Green-Eyed Monster

“Mostly jealousy. I love to preorder/support authors, but then I see these fun, exclusive PR boxes…”
“It’s weird to see the unboxings. Weirder to see who got the fun package and who only got a book.”
“They are extra. Influencer marketing tactics prey upon jealousy and coveting.” [Some version of this sentiment came up a lot. — ehm]
“Love it and jealous! How do I get on the list?”

Give Me a Chance to Pay

“I wish I had the option to pay for it as a member of a launch team!”
“I do think pre-order bonuses for everyone are a great thing.”
“I was more bugged that you needed to buy two copies of [author name redacted] to get bonuses.”
“Not getting one, especially if I pre-order is so disappointing.”
“I wish they were available for normals to buy, like ColourPop does with their PR boxes.” [Honestly this idea is smart. — ehm]

Hiding Poor Writing

“Are they trying to make up for subpar writing?”
“If your writing is good, you don’t need a bunch of $@#! to sell it.”
“Makes me think the book isn’t good, they just got a deal because they have a following or whatever. As a struggling writer who deeply cares about my dream, I want to jump off a bridge (not really).”

Actual Members of the Publishing World

“I work in marketing/book launching. They’re 😑unless done WELL.”
“This worked for a time, but I think people are over it.”
“I’m usually not interested in the things given out in PR book packages, but I also know how important presales are so I guess I don’t blame people for doing it.” [Presales are crazy important, and the publishing world is a fascinating machine. — ehm]

I Will Not Be Manipulated!

“Bribes? Do you mean bribes?”
“Feels bribe-y. If they really wanted to know what people thought, just send the book to regular people. Because really it’s often friends or people who stand to benefit from promoting the book.”
“Actively makes me not want to buy the book.”

Apathetic

“Very neutral. I know what’s happening and just take it for what it is.”
“I feel meh.”
“Oh look something else everyone is annoyed with.”

Annoyed

“I taptaptap through PR openings. Not here for the reenactment of a kid’s birthday party.”
“Doesn’t seem amazing or special when half the people I follow get the same box of stuff.”
“Immediate unfollow.”
“It’s annoying but effective.” [This is also my new bio. - ehm]

Smart Marketing But Blurgh

“It’s a smart marketing move, but I’m jealous of them.”
“Smart way to encourage them to share. Annoys me to hear about a book they haven’t read.”
“The whole influencer thing is brilliant marketing but make us regulars feel regular.”
“Makes me wonder if we magnify similar voices instead of diverse voices. Meaning, once you’ve reached a place of influence, how do you steward that well? But also, how we work outside of the white, Evangelical, influencer machine?” [I thought this was such a great point. I think even the seemingly frivolous question of how you steward influence on social well is an important exercise. — ehm]

This is Gross

“Honestly? Privileged af. And sorta icky. Give free stuff to the somebodies who have pull with the nobodies….?”
“I think they’re pretty extra. Nice thought, morphed into showing off with a side of haughty.”
“Ew.”

My Personal Favorite

“I don’t think about them at all.”

The General Consensus

“I’d rather influencers get stuff for free, but NOT post it unless they actually read and enjoyed.”
“Don’t hate them, but I’m selfishly like, don’t post about it because I’m jealous of not getting one.”
“I get them, mostly from friends who I’m grateful to support, but I almost never post about them. If I do post on book launch day, I’m very careful to indicate that I have read the book. Posting the box of stuff you got is honestly weird, and it hurts my own reputation as an influencer if my followers think I’m just posting because I got sent something. If I love what you do, I’ll talk about it organically. I do love shoes though, so I’m not sending those back.”

I’m not personally invested in this discussion really (for all of you who thought I was asking because I’m about to release a book…no), but I am interested in the conversation. I don’t have any answers (mainly just more questions), but all of your comments have made me think a lot about this. Thank you so much for sharing your opinions here!


Everything I shared on Instagram this month, in one handy little post.

We’re the Only Plane in the Sky - Politco
On 9/11, Luck Meant Everything - The Atlantic
Amanda Bynes on Instagram
Garth Brooks on Biography Channel
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hot Priest - Twitter
Mrs. Meyers Acorn Spice Candle
Mister Roger Peg Dolls via LilyElizabeth - Etsy
Baumgartner Fine Art Restoration Channel - YouTube
Tessa and Scott Say Thank You
Robin Williams on Sesame Street
Heaven Holds album by Alison Ritch
Conspiracy Corner: An Unnecessarily Close Read of the Virtue-Moir Relationship - The Ringer
Scott Moir is Engaged to Former Skating Partner — and It’s Not Tessa Virtue - Global News
The NOs of Fall - The Popcast
Sexy Mr. Rogers costume drops just in time for Halloween - New York Post
Twitch and Allison Holker on Instagram
Blown Away - Netflix
Great British Bake-Off - Netflix
Little Women: An Oral History of the 1994 Adaptation - The New York Times
The Bible Binge - Season 7: Weird Stuff God Made People Do
National Voters Registration Day
Sussex Royal on Instagram
What’s Going on With This Possible Real-Life Orphan Story? - The Cut
While I’m Livin


I tend to be the most vocal on Instagram, but hot dang if I don’t love some Twitter. This new section is just a best of my Twitter feed. Some of these tweets have PG-13 language FYI. I promise not to share a tweet that isn’t totally worth you having to look at the s-word.


My quest to stop DVT in its tracks continues with my new standing desk.
I tried the Pizza Hut Cheez-It Pizza and LO IT IS VERY GOOD WHEN HOT.
This article about Milton’s copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio is hot hot hot.
I found out Justin and Hailey made their guests watch ‘The Notebook’ before their ceremony and it’s like if I got married in high school.


As always, you can email me at erin(dot)hicks(dot)moon(at)gmail(dot)com to continue the conversation, offer feedback, or just say hi! Have a great rest of the month, and I’ll see you back here soon! Take care of each other, and take care of yourself. - ehm