Onward to 2020!

The clock is quickly winding down on 2019, and this decade. Good riddance!

Of course, now is the time we all tend to get alternatively reflective or forward-thinking. (Personally, I've never been one for setting resolutions, but I'm absolutely a sucker for new, shiny day planners, Bullet journals, washu tape rolls, and gel pens.) Recently, though, I've noticed that a bunch of writers and creatives I respect singing the praises of establishing a "word of the year," sort of a lodestar for how you want your new year to go. I'm not sure I'm one for the exercise, but if I retroactively had to decide on a word for 2019, it'd be "liminal."

Anecdotally, I've seen about a 150% rise in the use of that word this year — defined as "of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition" — particularly among the woowoo Instagram set and other creatives. Which begs the question: When are we, collectively, not in a liminal state? I know I'm in the midst of it, as I've spent the year transitioning into married life, a familiar-yet-new home, a freelance career. How are you weathering your own transitions?

It seems I've been in a liminal state since at least 2009, when I was a 23-year-old journalism school graduate entering the recession with no job prospects. The future of media and journalism bleak AF then, and a full decade later, not much has changed: We're once again facing the very real potential of a new recession, the world is still in turmoil, media is still a mess, and — despite some recent freelance successes — I still don't have a job.

Reflecting about what's transpired in the last year, let alone decade, is a huge bummer, my dudes! But after 10 years of dealing with ups and downs, I know that ultimately, I have a lot to be thankful for: A support network, my husband and hedgehog, my therapist, my health.

I will be fine. We will all be fine.

Thank you, I love you.

Stuff I'm currently working on:

So I've picked up quite a few lifestyle, food, and drink writing gigs of late for publications as varied as The Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast Traveler, Thrillist, and some others. My editors there have been encouraging me to pitch more, so I plan to do just that. I'm looking for stories and topics that span drinks trends; noteworthy personalities (preferably under-the-radar chefs, producers, creatives from underreported backgrounds); travel; news businesses/products; bigger picture F&B trends and news. I'll be filing a monthly wine and spirits column beginning in January, picking up where I left from my short-lived Chicago Tribune column, where I will highlight modern drinking culture and empower curious drinkers to seek out new, interesting wine/spirits producers and styles. Have interesting stories or ideas you think would pique my interest? Want to work together? Drop me a line! jhernandez312@gmail.com

Link Love:

[1] I'm so close to meeting my Goodreads goal of 50 books this year. I'm currently halfway through 6 books Ocean Vuong's On Earth We are Briefly Gorgeous; Bryan Washington's Lot; Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea; Ta-Nehesi Coates' Between the World and Me; Ken Liu's The Paper Menagerie; and Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing but I don't know if I'll make it all the way. Oh well, it's been a good reading year for me. What are you reading?

[2] I have to shout-out my former Tribune colleague Peter Nickeas for his stirring essay about fatherhood, being present for his young son's wonderment and growth, and how much he has learned from his little person. It's a truly lovely read.

[3] So there's a really weird, really old-school habit of legacy media outlets refusing to link to other publications and giving credit where it's due. I find this incredibly gross — Internet etiquette is that the original source should be given credit — so color me surprised when Bloomberg published this must-read Jealousy List. Reporters and editors from throughout the publication give credit to stories and content creators who scooped them with their storytelling, sourcing, breaking news, etc. I think it's really refreshing to see something that acknowledges the very real impulse of "damn, I wish I did that." Also? It's just a damn good list of some of the best stories out of 2019.

[4] Writer and prominent Media Person Ella Dawson wrote this essential personal essay on the effects of burnout in her career, health, and life, but more importantly, how our current work culture and economy exacerbate and necessitate burnout. As we go into 2020, it's worth examining the energies we expend in our lives and assess the systems we've allowed to continue despite the literal dangers they impose on our health.

[5] I fucking love the em dash, but now that I work on a Chromebook, there's no easy shortcut that isn't a thousand keystrokes to produce one. Thankfully, there's this website for all your (ahem, my) em dash needs.

[6] Self-promotion time! I'm hoping to work on deeper dives and more well-rounded, well-reported work in 2020 (this is me manifesting!) but in the meantime, ya boy's gotta eat. I've recently contributed to CN Traveler's Readers' Choice package with stories about Christmas in Chicago, luxury trains and the best countries in the world, with more on the way. The Wall Street Journal also asked me to contribute to their really fun gift guide of functional OR frivolous gifts. Finally, I was recently on the Why Food? podcast, where I shared my thoughts on staying relevant in the food media space, the differences I've learned between newspaper, magazine, and digital publications, and much much more.