Weekend Reads #115

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wardrobe oxygen in universal standard
A photo from one of our shoots this week; this is the Maya Hi Low dress from Universal Standard, part of the Universal Standard Sample Sale. It comes in two colors; I'm wearing it in XS. We shot this at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center near my home.

How to Help

This week is personal. This is my cousin Brett.  He is in need of a kidney and his search has been made harder because of corona. (Long Island News 12)   Learn more about Brett at this profile of him on the National Kidney Registry. You can also contact the Northshore Renal Transplant Center at (516) 472-5800 on behalf of Brett Ashley or email brettneedsakidney @gmail.com.

To learn more about becoming a kidney donor, please visit The American Kidney Fund. I've made a donation to the American Kidney Fund; if you would like to as well you can learn how at this link.

Weekend Reads

Dave Grohl shows his awesomeness once again: In defense of our teachers. (The Atlantic)

People are really fed up with this level of virtue signaling that we’re seeing in corporate America right now. Your CEO can put out a beautifully written statement on why Black lives matter, but if the organization isn’t actually backing that up with the way that it behaves on a daily basis, then it’s kind of bullsh*t.” (Vanity Fair)

Toya was one of the first fellow bloggers I met IRL.  She was a beauty blogger and took me to Sephora.  I loved seeing her name on a TueNight byline and reading about her college experience coming from Baltimore to the county where I grew up, less than an hour away. (TueNight)

Cool Virtual Event Alert! Indie inclusive-sized fashion brand Alice Alexander is hosting Redesigning Fashion: a collective call to action for a more just, equitable and inclusive fashion future. This four day, virtual event, on September 10-13th will dig deep into the fashion industry's biggest challenges through a variety of panels, speakers and hands-on workshops. Click here to learn more

Today, Soma has select wireless bras on sale for only $25! I know this includes many of their popular Embraceable styles; you can find all their wireless bras at this link.  For help shopping, here are the best wireless bras for all bust sizes

How Ben & Jerry’s perfected the delicate recipe for corporate activism. (Bloomberg)

Why aren't fat people allowed to be trendy? (InStyle)

The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy. A long, but necessary read from Ta-Nehisi Coates. (The Atlantic)

The value of a good neighbor has soared during the pandemic. (The Atlantic)

Congrats to my friend OnRaé on her latest music video which was filmed at Black Lives Plaza outside the White House. Learn more about OnRaé in this interview which also has a link to the video. (Washingtonian)

My friend Sarah created a line of t-shirts and other products with a fantastic message – My Body Is Not a Problem To Be Solved.  She also has Your Body Is Not a Problem To Be Solved.  The collection is on sale and it can be purchased at this link (this is her affiliate link). 

If you haven't seen or listened to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's Thursday speech about Ted Yoho's ‘apology' it is worth a listen.  This link has both the video of it as well as a summary if you aren't somewhere where you can listen. (The Washington Post)

And since we're on this topic… just because you haven't called a woman a b*tch doesn't mean you haven't called a woman a b*itch. (Esquire)

A fun interview with Mira Sorvino where she goes in-depth into Romy and Michelle. (Vulture)

This whole article infuriates me.  The way it's written, the way a designer I love made yet again terrible business decisions and is yet again failing, how she and her family are so callus and unfeeling about their employees and contractors, and how I can't think just like so many other businesses that are failing that if they recognized earlier on that their clothes don't fit 67% of the female population they may be in a better situation in 2020. (New York Times)

CEO of Tapestry (which owns Kate Spade and Coach) stepping down amidst a decade-old allegation of having an inappropriate relationship with a model. (Business of Fashion)

If you're listening to Taylor Swift's newest album and wondering the story behind the song, ‘The Last Great American Dynasty,' wonder no more. (Washington Post)

Likely you've heard from another influencer or from logging into their website that Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale is coming.  They are offering a preview of what will be part of the sale… and it's essentially the same exact things from every other year.  Spanx, Zella leggings, Nordstrom brand CZ studs, Barefoot Dreams cardigans, a bunch of beauty devices like NuFace, and a dozen different snakeskin ankle booties.  This is a good sale if you like specific items, especially any beauty, intimates, or activewear part of the sale.  But a lot of it is the same old same old and in 2020, a lot of the same old seems really pointless.  I'll follow the sale and as a cardholder, I get early access and if I find it actually is a good sale, I'll do a post sharing my picks… but right now I don't think there's anything revolutionary.


I love an action film with a female protagonist, so when I saw the movie, The Old Guard, on Netflix, I decided to watch it without even knowing what the movie is about.  I love the idea of Charlize Theron becoming the female non-Scientologist (she's not one too, is she?) version of Tom Cruise being an action star beyond the stereotypical age for that role.  Don't you want to see Theron kicking ass at 65?  Anyway, let's get back to The Old Guard.  It is a movie based on a graphic novel series and as you get into the movie you do feel as though there is a backstory you're not privy to (like what the heck is that circular sword thing?). This movie was cheesy AF.  The concept is Theron and her group of “soldiers” appear to be immortal and spend their centuries fighting for justice.  Even with all these centuries of battle under their belts, they still make a clearly stupid decision and get themselves in hot water.  The whole movie feels like a pilot for a franchise, a lot of the script is corny, but you know what?  It was also a lot of fun.  I loved seeing both Theron and KiKi Layne kick serious ass and I loved seeing male action characters confidently express their feelings of sadness, love, and heartbreak.  I would totally watch a sequel, going in knowing it will be cheesy and a bit ridiculous and disjointed.  Do know like most action films, there is a lot of violence and gore. 

A chick lit book about a plus-size influencer?  How could I resist? I've been reading a lot of serious books lately educating myself on racism and needed a break so I didn't become numb to what I was consuming.  One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London sounded like a great palate cleanser and it was.  Bea Schumacher is a plus-size blogger and influencer who live-tweets a Bachelorette-eque show and her thoughts on it go viral.  The show invites her to be the star of their next season.  The book is a quick read; much of it is in transcript form from texts, Slack conversations, Tweets, and articles from websites that are like Bustle and Refinery29 that you can skim or even skip without losing the plot. The fashion is fantastic; Stayman-London knows her plus-size designers and with words creates an enviable wardrobe for the protagonist.  I liked Bea, and could relate to her and think many can.  I figured out pretty early how it was going to end and that didn't matter.  This is what you'd call a “beach read” and even if most of us aren't able to head to the beach or even the community pool this summer, it's still refreshing to have one of those books you can gobble up in a day or weekend or in between Zoom calls to let you escape for a while. 

For Your Entertainment

I already shared The Chicks once or twice here, so I won't share another of their videos this week.  But I highly recommend you listen to their new album, Gaslighter.  I see it as a country/folk alternative to Beyonce's Lemonade.  And like Lemonade, it is best consumed as an album in order.  I listened while folding and putting away laundry and it was perfect. But one of this week's biggest music news is Taylor Swift's new album, Folklore.  Created during quarantine, produced by Aaron Dessner of The National, Jack Antonoff, and Swift, this album isn't her usual pop hits but more reflective and mellow. Below is the first video from the album:

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. This quote from the NYT story about Diane von Furstenberg really sums it up:
    “We will be as fair as we possibly can,” she said. “The smaller people will definitely be handled. I own it — of course I do.”

    The smaller people!

  2. Oh the irony of InStyle writing about the lack of trendy clothes for fat people – when they rarely (never) feature models the size of the average American woman, let alone plus. Related to that, I share your anger about the DVF article. I’m sick of national and mass-market retailers saying woe is me, no-one is buying from me when they’ve made the purposeful decision to exclude 70% of their potential target market by choosing to offer sizes that stop at a 10. 12 or 14. I’m even more angry with luxury brands who have the resources and the price tags to justify the work required to create clothing that does scale to larger clothing sizes, but choose not to. And I’m baffled by boards who should be pushing these corporations to make fiscally smart business decisions but are mollycoddling them by letting them do the very opposite. If coronavirus helps sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of inclusive sizing becoming a must-do rather than -nice-to, then so be it.

  3. Don’t know how long I have been reading, but this was a fascinating list of articles. So much of what I read made me angry, but I’m hopeful that we can change the trajectory our country is on. Our future and that of our families depends on it.
    My thoughts are with your cousin Brett. May the right kidney come soon. I lift him up.

  4. Alison – first of all, I’m so sorry about your cousin, and hope that he finds a donor.

    second – I always look forward to Weekend Reads, but this one knocked it out of the park! I learned so much and best of all, through some link in one of the pieces (not sure which one b/c I dove down so many rabbit holes from these articles) found a way to help bring out the Black vote in November.

    I’ve been looking for something exactly like this and couldn’t find it until now: https://blackvoiceschangelives.org/ Through the NAACP each volunteer will be matched with 10 Black voters who vote infrequently and contact them to encourage voting this year.

    OK, off to go watch Romy & Michele while eating some Ben & Jerry’s now…

  5. Thank you for a great weekend read again! I’m always looking forward to this lovely package of Saturday goodies 🙂 It is so annoying that designers still seem to feel that fat money are filthy money. :-/ And if by any chance a fat person finds a slightly fashionable outfit i the right size, chances are he or she will be ridiculed! Why is this still so? And why do we put up with it? Fat people are letting the minority (the slim people) rule the fashion world! And Europe is definitely behind the US here 🙁 To get in a better mood I’m going to have a look at the book you mentioned, after I have finished White Fragility” – another of your recommendations 😀 Have a great weekend!

  6. So sorry about your cousin. Hoping he will get his kidney very soon!

    The article about DFV is really interesting to me, even though I’m not into designer fashion. It’s odd that 1 dress design created such an empire, but I think she’s yet another example of how rich people always have a leg up in the world. I seriously doubt that this 1 design would have launched an average Jane into a global fashion empire. But since this lady started out incredibly wealthy & with great connections, she became a huge success. Sad that she’s so far removed from the real world or the “small” people, as she calls them. I’m sure vendors & employees would appreciate their money. Her incredibly rich family will be fine. It’s just disheartening to continue to read about millionaires & billionaires who are literally getting richer during this pandemic while so many people are suffering greatly.

    The Nordstrom sale—I think your approach works. If I’m remembering correctly, you took a pretty scaled down approach last year too, and it was appreciated!

    I finished watching Never Have I Ever on Netflix this past week. It was such an enjoyable show! You’d mentioned it earlier in the summer but I just recently got to it. Looking forward to another season! The characters are interesting & it’s nice to see different cultures & ethnicities represented as they deal with universal topics & themes.

  7. I agree with you about the Nordstrom sale. There are maybe 5 other fashion/lifestyle bloggers I follow, and already a few of them have chosen the same items on their wish lists! I really re-evaluated my purchases from the Nordstrom sale as a result of what you wrote last year, about the low quality items.

  8. I’ve never known what to make of Taylor Swift “the artist” , but I’ve always had the highest respect for Taylor Swift “ the business person”. She is smart, forward thinking, and totally underrated. This album does have me interested again in her art, and is re enforcing my appreciation of her keen ability to see where the market is going and get there 1st.
    On the other hand, back in the day, i was a huge fan of the Chick’s, but not sure i find the new album interesting. But it could just be my pandemic fatigue is just not up for what they are serving

    1. I’m coming back to clarify, I find the ideas behind what the Chicks are saying interesting, it’s the music I’m less interested in

  9. I love action films with female protagonists! I think my all-time favorite is Salt. Angelina Jolie is a total badass in this film.

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