Weekend Reads #100

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wardrobe oxygen sequin dress
Inspired from this dress from 2015 I found while editing my closet. Knowing I haven't worn it for many years I'm thinking it deserves a final wear before I choose to retire it. If I don't wear it now, will I truly wear it when this is all over?

Yoga mats are shoved under all the furniture to prevent our dog's balls from rolling underneath. The living room floor lamp now has a grow lightbulb in it and has moved to the end of the dining table which has been transformed into a plant nursery. The bedroom is cleaner than it has ever been before, and there are only a few pairs of shoes at the front door when there usually a large pile. So is home decor, quarantine style.

Priorities change, in some ways aesthetic, and in others for practicality. Few of us ever spent this much quality time, day after day, after day in our homes, in this capacity.  These priorities I see also changing in our wardrobe.  A desire for comfort, of easy care, and again for practicality. As with our homes, our personal aesthetic still matters.  And so I say wear it, whatever it may be.  If not now, when?  What are you saving it for?  

Last night, my friend Chelsea tagged me in an Instagram Story, wearing her leopard-print Margaux pumps just because she felt like wearing shoes, and fabulous ones at that.  I replied back, while wearing a little black shrug sweater from cabi with faux fur puffed short sleeves that I've only had the opportunity to wear once, seen here.  It deserves to be worn, and if not now when? With it, two earrings in one ear, joggers with pockets that zip closed, a thick layer of lip balm, and wool socks with metallic silver Birkenstock sandals.  Like Mad Max, shelter in place edition. 

Wear that dress, wear that ridiculously expensive makeup.  Wear the sequins, and with them your favorite sweatpants from college. Let your hair return to its natural color or try colored eyeliner.  Embrace the fanny pack life, or become a muumuu connoisseur. Drink from the wedding crystal, dine on the Christmas china, put up your holiday lights in the summer and don that silk dress you only wore once because if now, when?  And why the hell not?

How to Help

Due to the heightened demand on hospitals, admitted patients are no longer permitted to have family members accompany them. With over 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the US (as of March 31, 2020), this means that we are facing a time where patients are dying alone, without family by their side. COVID Tech Connect provides donated tablets to hospitals across the United States to connect critically ill COVID-19 patients with family members.  If you are a manufacturer that wants to donate a minimum of 15 smart devices such as wifi-enabled smartphones or tablets, please reach out to COVID Tech Connect. To cover the cost of shipping and handling the organization is accepting financial donations at this link. If you are interested in receiving donated tablets for your hospital or hospice center that is a registered non-profit, visit this link

Weekend Reads

How to help librarians and archivists from your living room: if you’re cooped-up and curious, use your free time to decipher handwriting, tag images, and more. (Atlas Obscura)

‘Free Solo’ filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks about facing the unknown and staying sane in scary times. A plus, this interview was done by my friend Jennifer Barger! (National Geographic; if you sign up for their newsletters you can read for free)

My friend Tanvi shared how collaboration can spur creativity.  I discuss this below in the For Your Entertainment section, but was thrilled to spur on some creative juice for her and she for me. (Tanvi.com)

National economies collapse; species go extinct; political movements rise and fizzle. But — somehow, for some reason — Weird Al Yankovic keeps rocking! (New York Times)

It's the little things that bring us joy these days, and I am so in love with my Nespresso machine, even more than my ode to it from this December. Bed Bath and Beyond has several Nespresso machines on sale; I have this one which comes in three colors and is part of the sale.

Glasses fogging up when wearing a mask?  There is no true solution but these tips may minimize it. (The Cut)

What to knit when you're staying inside. Even if you're a knitter you may enjoy this from my friend Dana and her little pup Jellybean.  (Yarns of Happiness)

Speaking of knitting, my Bearabny Tree Napper gravity knitted blanket is back in stock in the small couch-chilling size!

The writer Fran Lebowitz on growing old, life in quarantine, and the sadness of seeing her city shut down. (New Yorker)

Nikon is offering free online photography classes for all of April. (The Verge)

What is the point of a fashion magazine now? (New York Times)

No time like now to transition from drugstore to natural deodorants.  I have tried dozens of them and share the good, the bad, and the ugly in this natural deodorant review post.  The comments also have great suggestions and feedback.  I'm close to finishing up a bottle of Lavender Bergamot from Apothekari and I still love it and find it effective.  I appreciate it's a classic liquid roll-on, isn't sticky, and is made by a woman-owned Canadian small business.

Remember Tiger Beat? It's still around and it's getting sued for copyright infringement. (The Fashion Law)

Citylab is inviting readers to draw a map of your life, community, or broader world as you experience it under corona. Your map can be as straightforward or subjective as you wish.  Click here to learn more and submit your map! (Citylab)


When I shared on Instagram Stories that I finished and liked Verity by Colleen Hoover, someone DMed me (sorry it's hard to keep track of DMs so not sure who) and suggested I'd like The Ghost Writer by Alessandra Torre.  I had started another book from Colleen Hoover that was just too YA for me (I liked YA until I lived with a tween and now it's just too close to my everyday) so I bought The Ghost Writer. I am 29% through it on my Kindle and I am just getting to where I am emotionally involved. Can't say yet if I recommend it, I'll be sure to report back.  But thank you all for your recommendations, I trust your taste, I mean, you read here, you like me, it's likely I would like you and have similar tastes! 

We watched a lot of TV and movies this week.  This week had a lot of rain and gray days, it was our daughter's “Spring Break” so we had more free time and the desire to pull her from Animal Crossing and ROBLOX for at least two hours a day (LOL but also TRUTH). 

  • We watched the movie Onward which was odd but sweet and she LOVED it and we parents were invested the whole time.  It's available on the Disney streaming service, we don't have that and splurged by renting it on OnDemand.
  • We also watched Isn't It Romantic (available on HBO and Netflix) and for a movie that is only a year old it felt SO dated with what is going on.  There's a joke about handwashing after riding the subway because he may have “Zika on them” and there's a cupcake shop called Corona Cupcakes.  But it was still cute and colorful happy fluff that felt good (and IMO was fine for an 11-year-old to watch while also playing Animal Crossing). In the movie Liam Hemsworth really reminded me of Taylor Swift's character in her video for “The Man”
  • We're still enjoying Making the Cut on Amazon, though there is no designer that I am rooting for yet.  
  • Karl and I watched the finale of Schitt's Creek and cried.  Okay, I cried, but he looked misty eyed!  We luckily decided to get into Schitt's Creek at the beginning of the year, catching up on Netflix right at the time to watch this final season in real time. We're going to miss it terribly.  
  • We're loving Dishing with Julia Child, a new series on PBS that is delightful.  I remember watching Julia Child as a kid and it was so fun to watch José Andres and Eric Ripert sit at a table watching Julia Child prepare fish and just laugh and be shocked by how she did it, count how many times she patted the fish, and just “dish” about it. No need to be a foodie to enjoy this show!
  • If you haven't yet caught John Krasinski's YouTube show SGN (some good news) you need to.  It's so lovely, not too long, and the second episode is a must for every Hamilton fan.
  • I still watch Empire.  It's ridiculous but I'm emotionally invested and watched it this week and it was a fun distraction.  No point in starting now, this season is the last and not a good representation of the series. 
  • We've ended up watching some seriously random stuff when we just need some sound and color and movement on the TV and something that isn't the news. I don't watch a lot of TV, especially food and home TV, yet I've now watched more than one episode of Guy's Grocery Games, several partial episodes of Property Brothers, and the quarantine edition of The Kitchen which I felt was pretty creative and a quick pivot to relevant content for our times.  With us all being at home and trying to be creative with what is in our pantry, such shows are my new mindless pleasure instead of anything related to fashion or travel.

For Your Entertainment

One of the most beautiful things that has come from this time in history is the ways that individuals are using technology to collaborate on creative projects.  On a small scale, a few of my friends and I took part in the #dontrushchallege and made this video last weekend.  We coordinated on a Friday night Zoom call then each shot our own pieces on Saturday.  We used Google Drive to send our video pieces by Saturday evening to our friend OnRae who then edited them into one piece that we were able to share on our individual platforms Monday at noon.  

I love seeing this with music.  For years technology has allowed artists to “collaborate” even if they aren't in the studio or on the set at the same time.  But to see music created in a time of stress and distancing, and such creative ways of sharing it with technology is heartwarming.  And this video from Twenty One Pilots is a perfect example, pulling their families into it to create a fun video and a super catchy song for our times.  And watch until the end, the last few seconds are the cherry on top.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Don’t you DARE get rid of that dress! When things open up again you may just have to schedule a fancy date once a year to wear it!

  2. Earlier this spring I discovered the outfit that makes me feel like ME, in the best possible way. Unfortunately, it’s too casual for my usual life as a 34-year old graduate student. You know what I’m wearing the hell out of at my house? That perfect outfit.

    Small wins for a shitty time.

  3. I saw that photo of you in that dress and thought you looked fabulous! I clicked to read the story, and are you seriously thinking of getting rid of that dress? You look really really great in it. I don’t know why you haven’t worn it, but you look fantastic in it and I hope you keep it and more importantly wear it.

    1. I agree with Sarah – think twice before losing that dress. It’s not going out of style and when you want a party dress you’ll have it nailed. I’m a fan of dress-up capsules. It’s the kind of thing that if you only wear once every few years you’ll end up not buying something for a rare event.
      With a daughter approaching high school this could well be going to a prom.

  4. Weekend Reads…I’ve read a series of light-weight mysteries by M.C. Beatty (who just passed away). They’re the Agatha Raisin mysteries and take place in the Cotswolds of England. I have a few dvds from the library since Agatha Raisin was an English series; looking forward to watching those.

    Great blog, Alison…so informative and “right on.”

    1. I’ve enjoyed this series in the past—thanks for the reminder. I had no clue Beaton had passed away. Sad to hear that. She also wrote another series with a policeman in the Scottish Highlands; the Hamish Macbeth series. Now would be a good time to enjoy some lighthearted mysteries!

  5. Love, love, love that picture! I just showed my husband & he nearly spit, he laughed so hard. You look gorgeous. Thanks so much for making our day. I so look forward to your posts.

  6. Loved the Fran Lebowitz interview, thanks!

    Regarding TV and background noise — I once broke up with a guy b/c the first thing he’d do in a hotel room, on vacation, was turn on the TV. LOL! I hated it then and I hate it now! Give me silence any day — but, to each her own!

    1. OMG yes! My husband seems to feel lost if the tv isn’t on in a hotel room, drives me absolutely crazy. WE ARE ON VACATION, LET IT (the regular world) GO! If you are bored, leave the room! Isn’t that why you travel in the first place, to do ANYTHING else?

  7. 100 Weekend Reads—yay! . I love it so. Thanks for all the great recommendations. I tend to keep the TV on for background noise quite a bit & love HGTV & Food Network. The Property Brothers are my favorites; if I could pick anyone from HGTV to design my dream house, it would be them. On Food Network, we (14 yr old son & husband too) enjoy Chopped or Restaurant Impossible when we just want something interesting to watch but may not feel like being heavily invested. The Kitchen is fun too.

    For anyone who loves good mysteries, check out the detective novels by Tana French. Her Dublin Murder series is fantastic! You don’t have to read them in the order they were written but I think they are better that way. Hope everyone reading here stays safe & healthy!

  8. At our house, Food Network is the “background noise” if we just want something on. We’ve become huge fans of Alton Brown over the years. His series QuarantineQuitchen on his YouTube channel is a riot. I laughed so hard I cried. A fun, completely off the cuff, rowdy, occasionally off color and possibly not suitable for Emerson, not so much about the cooking kind of show.

    Meanwhile I haven’t worn makeup in a month, have found a new appreciation for joggers, and my back yard oasis. Still hoping graduation will be rescheduled for later this summer. That’s the worst part of all this. Senior year activities (prom, field day, all the performances). In the grand scheme they’re a small thing, but right now, they’re the whole world.

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