Weekend Reads #121

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I remember you first contacted me when my sister was in the hospital for a brain tumor. You asked an innocent question and I took out all my fear and anger and worry about her surgery on you. I was walking from one wing of the Georgetown University Hospital to another, a place where you have to turn left then right then left then up a ramp to another wing but I had taken that route often enough that I could maneuver it head down, angrily typing a reply on my phone. I’m glad I didn’t scare you away.

When I review Lands’ End and L.L Bean new arrivals, especially this time of year when the sweaters are being stocked, I think of you. I am constantly looking for brands that have tall options because you regularly remind me to do so, speaking up about brands that offer clothes not just to women over a size 10 but also over a 32″ inseam.

I know you love animals and air show so much you brave crowds to see them. You don't enjoy music festivals but went to a few in your 20s, and your favorite jewelry designer is Holly Yashi. I know you were sick in late December and just days after you got out of the hospital you were let go from your job of more than a decade. I know that your last comment on this blog was in May and in it you said you weren’t feeling well.

I’m worried about you. I care about you. You are seen, and you are special. I am so glad that this blog has connected me with you and so many other amazing people across this globe. I may not reply to every comment and if you get a reply it might be written while I am feeling emotions about something not even related to you, but I see you and for many of you who have read a long time, I feel like I get to know you while you’re getting to know me and that’s pretty special.

I’m worried about you. I’ve never met you, But it doesn’t change the fact that you matter to me and I hope you’re reading this and you're okay.

UPDATE: I wrote this intro Wednesday morning thinking about how I hadn't heard a reply, and Wednesday afternoon, this reader replied to my email.  Things for her are tough, 2020 has been a bit of a pile-up of issues and we all know that the pandemic, Mother Nature, and political issues have made life already difficult.  If you all can send some positive vibes and prayers to C, it can't hurt and can only help one of us in this community.  I thought of deleting this intro since I heard from C, but I know she is not the only one going through a hard time who reads this blog.  I just want you all to know this is a community and you are important.  If you are feeling a bit alone, I encourage you to join the WO2 Facebook group where we talk about way more than just clothing (seriously, chat about anything except MLMs, politics, religion, and other controversial or self-promoting topics) and there are some of the most wonderful people in there.  Social media can often create feelings of jealousy, FOMO, and frustration but it can also be a source of much-needed community at this time.  If you have found a great virtual community that you think others who read this blog would find useful, do share in the comments.  We need each other more than ever, even if we have never met. 

Weekend Reads

Chadwick Boseman, may you rest in peace.

Thirty years into an epic career, Mariah Carey is still trying to explain herself. (Vulture)

Woah, there's so much to process in this article by the fabulous Anne Helen Petersen: the covid influencer. (Culture Study)

Don’t feel bad: even Danielle Steel, author of 179 books, couldn’t write under lockdown. (LitHub)

We're all socially awkward now. (New York Times)

Looking for face masks that were lightweight and also unobtrusive, my family bought washable satin face masks from this Etsy seller.  They arrived quickly, beautifully packaged, and fit great. I got dusty rose which is close to my skintone, black, and blush pink.  I like the adjustable ear straps, the nose wire, and they've become faves for me and my daughter for our post-distance learning walks to get fresh air in the humid soup-like Maryland weather. All that and they're, dare I say, elegant? 

The joy of old clothes. (New York Times)

From executives to designers to Anna Wintour, fashion industry leaders say they are determined to be more inclusive. How will we know whether they’ve succeeded? (Washington Post)

Covid freed me from politeness and unwanted touching. (The Guardian)

A hack to make surgical masks fit better, especially for smaller faces. (Today)

Is San Francisco about top return to its bohemian roots? (SF Gate)

How soccer stars are using fashion to disrupt fashion norms. (Bustle)

Fashion bands together to register voters. (Fashionista)

When I was a kid my dad wore photogray glasses, now called transitions or lenses.  I always felt it was something “old people” wore.  Guess I am now that “old person” because when I saw these Ray-Bans had Photochromic lenses that adjusted based on how bright it was I was sold.  They arrived yesterday, they're super lightweight and fit my face well enough that I can garden and do things with my head bowed down and they don't slide off my nose, even when it's humid and I'm sweaty.  They're not true transition lenses as they don't go clear when indoors, but they aren't too dark to navigate indoors or in the shade. I clearly need to give them more of a workout, but for now I am a pleased “old” with my new shades! If this style isn't right for you, Ray-Ban has a whole line called ‘Evolve” that has these photochromic lenses.

On witness and respair: a personal tragedy followed by a pandemic. (Vanity Fair)

Jell-O molds are back and better than ever. (Domino)

Was the rush to support Black-owned fashion brands the start of a movement or just a trend? (Refinery29)

Is the lockdown making you depressed or are you just bored? (NYT Opinion)

I just found out about this Friday night but the revolutionary plus size fashion brand Pari Passu is offering 30% off everything with code LABORDAY through the 7th of September.  They are also offering Affirm so you can shop now and pay later with 0% APR (details on their website). 

And thank you to T/K who sent this my way knowing I and likely you would be interested: 9 common myths about ethical and sustainable fashion. (CNN)


For those on Instagram Stories who saw I somehow lost my Kindle in my palatial 1,300 SF home that I never leave with my Kindle… well I finally found it.  It was on the floor under a dining room window, hiding in the curtain.  I can only assume I was carrying it in the morning and put it down to open the curtains and forgot to pick it back up!  But now having it instead of trying to read a book on my phone's app, I've decided to go through all the half-read books on it and finish them before I buy or borrow another one.  So I am 86% through The Year of Living Danishly.  So much about what makes Denmark great is due to its small size and how the population is pretty homogenous.  However, there are so many nuggets about how to live life simpler, happier, and how America could better spend the same amount of money it spends already to better protect and care for its inhabitants. I didn't start this book thinking it would be a study on America right now before a MAJOR election, but the book is actually getting me really worked up about my country and how we need a leader that cares about people. I like this book, and will be sure to report back next weekend once it's complete!

Looking for a new series, my husband and I started Mrs. America on Hulu.  Many of you have likely already seen it, but it's a miniseries based on the movement to ratify the ERA and the backlash led by Phyllis Schlafly.  We've finished six of the nine episodes and dang, this is some timely television!  The cast is phenomenal, the story riviting, the fashion is so much fun, and I recommend if you haven't watched this to add it to your queue!

For Your Entertainment

I don't subscribe to nor have I ever seen a show on Quibi, so I am totally late to the game that Nicole Richie has a show on it called Nikki Fre$h. Essentially, Nicole Richie is being herself, all into crystals and gardening and eco-living while being completely over the top.  I've loved Richie for a long time and it's enough to almost make me want to pay for this streaming service, especially since I heard the show has been renewed for Season 2.  Instead, I follow her on Instagram and found she released an album of songs based off this show.  She calls her type of music “parent trap” and each song has a different theme that is actually important but with the rapping and the super glam outfits and it's… well it has entertained me quite a lot this week.  It was hard to decide which of the short video to share, they're all here but I decided to share this one because it's a topic I too care a lot about:

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. As always, coffee and Weekend Reads starts my weekend off right. Of course, coffee and WO are an every morning routine, but Sat. mornings, while I wait for the hubby to get up and we do our super long dog walk, are particularly comforting. Hugs.

  2. Your opening made me cry. Thanks for sharing this, Ally. So glad Debbie is well now, and that C. responded to you. Sending all of you hugs.

  3. Reading this makes me realize that this genuine sense of community is why I keep reading your blog. I had forgotten about Debbie’s surgery, but always love how she seems to live with such joy, it’s inspiring.

  4. As an American living in Germany for the last 15 years, I highly suggest that you give living in Europe a chance. When I married my German, everyone assumed the next step was getting him a Green card and moving to the US. Strangely, since the last few years, no one asks that anymore. Denmark is obviously not the same as Germany but if you have any questions about living overseas, happy to help.

  5. I LOVE MY TRANSITION LENSES!! If you’re a full-time glasses wearer (and when it is allergy season, I am), it’s a pain in the butt to carry around a case with sunglasses and stop, swap, and continue when you might need just a quick run outside. Or take a quick walk around the block. I’m 37. I don’t care if they make me “old”.

  6. Another great Weekend Reads! I meant to reply last week- as far as family Netflix shows (my boys are Emerson’s age) Operation Ouch. It’s British, twin ER doctors dealing with all common kid injuries, with a good dose of biology and anatomy info. The COVID ep was really good (though a bit outdated already!). I am washing my thumbs more carefully now!

  7. So glad you got back into Year of Living Danishly–I hope I was the recommender for it. My husband has been working for a company with offices in Copenhagen for almost two years now, and has traveled there quite a bit. Hearing his travel tales has made me realize how much our country prioritizes the wrong things, in so many places. We live to work, and even then, as your post earlier this week pointed out, we still struggle for basic things like healthcare. I highly recommend ExpatinDenmark on Instagram.

    For your additional viewing pleasure, and to supplement your awareness of life outside the US (though I doubt you need it), I recommend Mediterranean Life on Hulu. We’ve been thinking of jumping to Europe in a few years, but this show (though several years out of date) has really reinforced how much we pay vs what we get, the lifestyle we could have vs what we do. Almost every single couple comments on how much their life has slowed down compared to what it was–and so many of the people on the episodes are leaving the U.S. It’s a little House Hunters sometimes with manufactured drama in places, but a great way to travel and see smaller towns through a lens others than travel guides.

    Also glad Emerson made it through the first day of middle happy and successful. We are about to start K here and I have so much going on with what we wanted, what we have, what it will be.
    All the hearts for Weekend Reads.

  8. I say this every Saturday, but I really love Weekend Reads! Throughout the weekend, I’ll find myself coming back to it to read more of the articles. You always find such good content—thank you! The NY Times article on the social issues caused by Covid—oh, gosh, yes! I find myself exhausted from short visits with people, making small talk, etc. Sometimes, I’m just so very happy to stay at home in my little family bubble. I’m back at work now, where we are all masked up & trying our best to stay distant (public schools so yea, it’s pretty scary & doesn’t feel safe), and I’m happy to see co-workers but also want to hide away in my office quite a bit. It’s definitely a strange new world. And that leads into the article about not having to touch or be touched. Definitely understand that too! In the past, there was so much hand shaking & sometimes, you’ve got to wonder how much people really practice safe hygiene (even before Covid). I realize the article’s author was referring to more of creepy/unsolicited touching (understandable!), but I think there’s something to be said for being able to cut down on the touching overall.

  9. Jesmyn Ward was scheduled to speak at our local Arts Center early last winter and also join our book group (!!!) for an evening since we had just read Men We Reap. I was very disappointed when she canceled at the last minute. We heard later that she was called immediately home home as her husband was ill. Her writing on his death and her grief is truly moving.

  10. Is it possible to return to a black font? I’m finding your blog really hard to read since the change.

    Thanks for the usual great Weekend Reads.

  11. I’m a newer reader but the very beginning of the post scout your sister having a brain tumor – I have a brain tumor. Well it’s removed now and I’m in tree sent by but it’s crazy how I see brain tumors and cancer everywhere now. I hope your sister is going well. I just requested to join the fb group!

    1. I’m the sister and I am doing well! I’m glad you are, too. My surgery was 8 years ago and all has been fine since. But yes – I see brain tumors EVERYWHERE now. It’s amazing how something like this is surprisingly common.

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