Weekend Reads #102

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Oh, the highs and lows of Corona.  Last weekend was rough and it went into this week.  Tuesday I had a call with my business consultant and ended up in tears.  But I took a day to go outside and spend a few minutes in my front yard absorbing sunshine, I got my hands dirty in the garden, I made friendship bracelets with my daughter, I showered and used all my masks and scrubs and lotions and potions, and I went to bed early and I felt worlds better.  There's this feeling that right now we need to be productive, whether we're bored or slammed with work and/or homeschooling and/or caring for others and/or dealing with our health.  And it's unfair.  We're dealing with a freaking pandemic, something none of us have experienced before, and it's not just happening to us, or to our community, or even to our country but the entire globe.  And that's some heavy shizz, and it's going to affect all of us, likely at the weirdest and worst and most unexpected moments.  And that's okay.  And the best thing I did all week was have one of the ugliest nose-faucet puffy eye twisted-face cries I've had in years.  Letting it out reduces its power and allows us to move forward.  Much love to all of you.

How to Help

I shared this in the Wardrobe Oxygen Community on Facebook.  Today is a virtual Small Business Saturday in DC and it felt appropriate to re-share.  The businesses we support now are the ones that have a chance to make it through.  I know we don't all have the money or ability to buy from these businesses right now, but that doesn't mean you can't help them.

More than ever, small businesses you love need your support… and it does NOT need to be financial! Small businesses can be online retailers, your favorite cafe in town, your personal trainer, the company that replaced the siding on your house or seal-coated your driveway, the hotel you stay at every anniversary, or your favorite blogger or comedian or YouTuber. Some no-cost ways to help:

  • Use your social media to share them. Share their articles on your feed. Mention them in Facebook groups when people are asking for suggestions. Tag and mention them in your Instagram stories. Do a #throwbackthursday sharing a photo of their product or service or location (and don't forget to tag and mention them). Invite friends to like their Facebook pages, join their Facebook groups, etc.
  • Leave honest and detailed reviews, whether it's on Yelp, their Facebook page, TripAdvisor, or for influencers like me, on Fohr
  • Visit their websites. Google notes traffic, and it helps them rank higher for searches. Even if you can't afford to buy something from that business, visit their website and click around. For blogs, visit the actual blogs, not just their social media or the emails you get.
  • Engage. Leave comments on their Instagram posts where other people can see they have an engaged audience. Leave comments on blog posts, the Facebook pages of brands, participate in discussions in their Facebook groups.
  • Give them compliments, let them know why you love them. Small businesses right now are struggling to stay afloat, and a positive comment can be just what they need to get through the day and keep pushing forward.
  • Give them grace. Know that shipping may take longer, errors may happen, things may not be as seamless or perfect as they were before. Small businesses are scrambling to keep things running with this new normal while also applying for loans and grants, having frantic talks with financial institutions and accountants, upsetting conversations with staff, and dealing with constantly changing rules and news each day they wake. Your support makes all the difference. 2764

Weekend Reads

Speaking of small DC businesses, my Year of the Woman t-shirt is from The Outrage, a DC business participating in the virtual Small Business Saturday.  For reference, I bought a size Large.

By now I hope you have checked out Fiona Apple's latest album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters.  It's on Spotify, it's fabulous, it has been on repeat at Casa Gary.  Enjoy this interview with the artist. (Vulture)

In honor of her 94th birthday, a look back at Queen Elizabeth II's rainbow wardrobe. (Tattler)

There are two Americas now, the sick and the bored.  I am totally feeling this piece, though honestly, my life is if anything busier since sheltering in place. (Gen on Medium)

ADA Collection makes some of my very favorite belts; see me wear them here.  The founder Ada Deferrari is currently offering a free body shape guide and a free class to dress the body shape you have right now.

New plant subscription service wants to give D.C.’s aspiring green thumbs ‘a cheap kind of therapy’. (DCist)

When people try to be cheerful about social distancing and working from home, noting that William Shakespeare and Isaac Newton did some of their best work while England was ravaged by the plague, there is an obvious response: Neither of them had child-care responsibilities.(The Atlantic)

If your hands are seriously chapped from all the washings, I can't recommend Combat Ready Balm from Skincando enough.  Skincando is an organic, woman-owned, DC-based skincare line and Combat Ready Balm is a product used by US soldiers in war zones as it helps treat dryness, itching,  eczema, minor abrasions, post-shaving burn, chafing, scars, bug bites, and sun/wind burn. 

Could COVID-19 usher in a new era of responsibility in fashion? (Vogue)

If you can’t handle me at my Crocs, you don’t deserve me at my literally any other shoe. (Just Good Sh*t)

I loved Alabama Shakes, seen them several times including one show at Ram's Head in Baltimore that didn't sell out and I was right up on the stage.  I love Brittany Howard.  And I love this piece about her. (New Yorker)

In the WO2 Community on Facebook this week we've been discussing wireless bras.  If you're more the “small of bust” than I and looking for a comfy and pretty bra for staying at home, I know many who love the everyday bra from underbares. Underbares is an ethical and sustainable Washington DC-based intimates brand.

What does Vogue do in a pandemic? It shows medical workers as heroic — but also human. (Washington Post)

No beauty supply & no salon: four black women on haircare in quarantine. (Man Repeller)

Looking for a cool way to update your pad? I love these neighborhood map prints from Cherry Blossom Creative, a DC-based stationery shop and creative studio.  While the collection is primarily neighborhoods in the DC metro area, there are also maps for cities around the country such as San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and the South End of Boston.

Amazon has never been more powerful, but the consequences of its power have never been more visible.”  If you're shopping Amazon when you have other options, you really REALLY need to read this.  (New York Times)


Hey folks, if you haven't heard, the Parks and Recreation cast is reuniting for a special episode April 30th on NBC to benefit Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The writers, producers, and cast will match donations up to $500,000 combined.  (Glamour)

The series finale of Empire was so disappointing.  I know it was rushed due to SIP regulations but dang, they couldn't pull it together a bit more with clips from the past kazillion seasons? I would have loved something to remind me why I stuck around all these years.  It's a shame because this series started off so strong.

As a family, we watched The Willoughbys, a new family film on Netflix.  Dude, this movie is SO WEIRD, it's like a candy-covered acid trip but we parents were engaged (it helped to have a famous cast voicing the characters and having NO CLUE what in the world would come next), and our daughter thought it was FABULOUS. 

As I mentioned in a previous Weekend Reads, Colleen Hoover had all her eBooks for free one day and I got them all.  I read Verity and liked it, and then started on her book Hopeless, not realizing that Verity is NOT her typical type of book and this was some YA romance stuff.  And I noped out of it and started another book.  But then I decided one day when I wanted some light and mindless to go back to Hopeless and finished it in one day.  Yes, it's a story about high school seniors, a lot of it is cliche, the twist at the end I sort of saw coming (not all of it, but the jist), the first time the two got together and got all romantic was steamy but the other times I quickly scanned and moved on.  This wasn't bad, but not my genre so don't take my word for it.  With over 10,000 reviews on Amazon, the book gets a 4.6 so I am clearly not the right demo.  

At some point I preordered Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster and it showed up in my Kindle so that will be the book I start this weekend.  I've made a little routine of starting Saturday with breakfast, coffee, and a book to separate it from the week and from work.  I'll be sure to let you know what I think of it!

And speaking of books, I've made a storefront on Bookshop.  I used to track books read in Amazon but Bookshop supports indie bookstores so I'm switching to them.  When you shop at Bookshop you can support DC bookstores such as Kramerbooks.

I LOVED all the book suggestions last week, keep it up!  Several have emailed me that they got new books based on your recommendations and I am noting them for when I am out of books I already purchased!

For Your Entertainment

Missy Missy can't you see, we need your music during the quarantine. Thank you to Missy Elliott, who has provided us with not only new music but some of her legendary videos to go with it.  Enjoy “Cool Off.”

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. Round like a ceiling fan, round like a ceiling fan – I love the music videos you include in your weekend reads, always good! Clearly, we share the same taste in music. Now I’m off to see if I can learn that dance routine LOL

  2. I’ve had great luck lately with alternatives to Amazon. Etsy for a squirrel house and another specialty website for in-shell nuts (long story, trying to help 3 juvenile squirrels who abandoned their best). Another specialty store for some bread making stuff (Pacific Grain and KAF). And our local Ace hardware for row cover for veggies (esp since Amazon can’t get it here for 10 days, and I need it now).

    I might be nuts but in each case it felt like the business appreciated the business.

  3. “I’ve made a little routine of starting Saturday with breakfast, coffee, and a book to separate it from the week and from work” This is an inspired idea!! Definitely mimicing that one!

    April 25th is ANZAC day, which commemorates those who have sacrificed for our freedom (the specific date is linked to a WW1 battle where large numbers of Australian, New Zealand and Turkish men lost their lives in one battle, but this has rightly morphed into recognising all across the years). The tradition is to have a dawn service as that is when the battle commenced. It was one of those truly ridiculous ones that make me sad and angry and were sadly rife in that war. Anyway, normally I’d go up to Edinburgh Castle for the service (I’m am expat NZer), but of course this year it didn’t take place. So instead I rode my bike down to the beach and listened to The Last Post, the three national anthems, and The Reveille as I contemplated and watched the sun come up over the waves. It was extremely restorative. Nature is such a healer – as you’re experiencing in your garden.

    Take good care and thanks for the ever great content.

  4. Thanks for the book suggestions. I just read the first of a YA series recommended by my local bookshop, Capital Books (Sacramento) for my 12 yo, and it was just what I needed in terns of mix of serious and light..”The Unwanteds” by Lisa McMann. Some of the vibes of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter but definitely its own thing. Said 12 yo let me steal it while he read “Guards, Guards” by Terry Pratchett, which is part of a long, but read in any order series called Disk World. Fun word play abound.

  5. Took your nudge to support small biz Saturday, in some of those creative non financial ways. Will check out Bookshop. Thanks

  6. My family (consisting of two parents and three grown children) really enjoyed the Willoughbys as well! I highly recommend the book by Lois Lowry if you haven’t read it 🙂

  7. Parks & Rec—yay! My husband, son, & I only watched this, via Netflix, this past year. We were sad when we finished the series back in the summer, so we are all 3 excited about this. Too bad it’s not still on regularly. Comedies are desperately needed these days. I DVR’d Will & Grace & watched the final episode last night. Oh, how I wish it wasn’t over & that they would continue—even if they just did 10 or 12 episodes a year. But I guess it’s not to be.

    Other shows our family enjoys watching together are Mixed-ish, Black-ish, and Young Sheldon (missing Big Bang too!). My son is 14 & over the years, we’ve always had comedies we’ve watched together & really look forward to (The Middle was a past favorite). There were & still are moments in almost any show where he may not understand something or it’s a little inappropriate for his age. But, it either flies right over him or it leads to good conversations among the 3 of us.

    God Friended Me has been a real favorite and we are all incredibly sad to see it end Sunday night. If ever we need a feel-good show like that, it’s now.

    More good books ladies: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. Very suspenseful! A group of old college friends gather for New Years Eve at a remote Scottish hunting lodge. Someone dies.

    Long Bright River by Liz Moore. A female cop in Philly deals with her job while trying to find her missing sister, who is a drug addict. Really good, but takes a bit to get into.

    Alison, hope you have a great weekend with your family! I continue to be grateful for your blog & the various topics you write about. It’s very refreshing that there are times when it’s obvious that you just want to share with us, rather than get us to buy things we don’t really need. Thank you!

  8. I too hit the wall this week! After a big old ugly cry for no reason cry I decided to just find a way to reach out and do something ( virtually of course) for family, friends and neighbors. My two almost adult sons that I’m home with got into it too and it took us out of our own heads. We all feel a little bit better.
    I for one love hearing that that you are struggling too. All this pretending everything’s normal kinda wears you down.
    Thanks for keeping it real!!!

  9. Yes Bookshop! I am so happy they are taking the off and recently used them to support Greedy Reads my fav Baltimore shop.

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