Weekend Reads #137

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While we have a small profile tree, it still blocks a lot of light and space when it's up.
Blanket by Zoe Schlacter.

After putting away the Christmas tree, the house had such a different energy. A fresh, light energy. Sitting in front of our living room bay window, the tree was beautiful but it blocked a lot of natural light. It also had a pretty big footprint for our relatively smaller home. Having it gone made everything bigger, lighter, more positive. I wanted to keep that going.

When there isn't a tree up, we have this cedar chest in front of the living room window which becomes additional seating and doesn't block the natural light.

I used to have a home office, a room you had to walk through to get to our bedroom. It was our bedroom for the first few years we lived here, but when I got pregnant we decided to remodel instead of move for space and built a new bedroom. The home office is an L-shaped space that was always a catch-all like many people's guest bedroom or home office or study, but it still was mine. I picked the paint color, I chose what was on the walls.

That changed with the ‘demic. We found our kid focused more when she was out of her bedroom, so after two days of school we moved her to my desk in the home office. We also got a Peloton bike which went into that space, meaning it was ridden when the kid wasn't sitting at the desk, meaning the only way that office would be a place for me to work was if I blogged from 8pm – 4am.

I've spent many many days blogging from the couch, but when I do that it hurts my back and also makes it so no one can use the main floor (we have an open space concept downstairs). I sometimes use the dining table, but that is also in the middle of everything. I've had the most success working from the chair in our bedroom.

where the magic happens
Where the blogging magic happens – my trusty IKEA EKTORP chair

We got this chair via Freecycle; a neighbor was moving and offered it. We were thrilled when we arrived to pick pick up the IKEA EKTORP chair and footstool that it had never been used, still wrapped in plastic. This was a long while ago; we've since replaced the cover and it's starting to look a little deflated, but it's roomy enough for me to sit cross-legged in it or snuggle with our dog, Oscar in it.

Here's the chair in our bedroom in the original corner, back in 2011

Since we got the chair (here it is in our bedroom back in 2011), it has been in the corner of our room, angled to face the bed across the room, while having a view of the windows which face the woods. Thing is, you can't really see out the windows, just see the windows. And the corner is kind of stark and dark. But I couldn't imagine the room any other layout.

And then I had a dream and my bedroom was in it. But the chair was in the opposite corner where my dressing table resides, the dressing table where my husband's bureau is, and his bureau in the dark and stark corner. But nothing was dark and stark, there were so many plants and gold framed things on the walls and light streaming in from the windows.

Switching things up. No money spent, we're still playing around with layout but already love the change in energy.

I convinced my husband to join me in rearranging the bedroom to match that dream by reminding him of how bright and full of positivity the living room felt once bringing down the tree. We didn't just rearrange, we deep cleaned, since we hadn't moved that furniture in over a decade.

We didn't buy any plants or gold-framed things, this was a cost-free update. But that doesn't mean we don't already feel the positive bright energy from it.

We can often feel that we need to spend to make a change in our homes, our wardrobes, and our lives. But sometimes, just moving what you have around and giving it a good cleaning can be just what was needed to stir up some positive energy.

How to Help

I mentioned the Palm Collective in my post from Monday and this week, Wardrobe Oxygen made a donation to this organization's GoFundMe. This GoFundMe helps secure living spaces for unhoused DC residents and sending stipends directly to frontline organizers and activists. While I no longer live in the DC city limits, I love this city and hate what it has turned into. For those who don't live near Washington D.C. you may not realize that the Capitol, White House, and other government buildings are only a small portion of this vibrant people-filled city that has been devastated by these domestic terrorists.

washington city paper box
For decades, I'd seek out these boxes to get myself a paper copy of the CityPaper.

Speaking of our Nation's Capital, I also made a donation to the Washington CityPaper. Since 1981, The City Paper has reported on all things DC with an independent and local lens. As a teen, I'd grab a paper copy of The City Paper and read it as I took the Metro into Georgetown or while waiting in line to get into a show at 9:30 Club. As an adult, I'd read The CityPaper on my commute to work. Now, I rely on The CityPaper to give me DC-specific news online that I can't find anywhere else.

While many local weekly papers have been bought by major conglomerates, The Washington CityPaper continues to remain independent. However, like all journalism, it is struggling and needs our support.

I encourage you to find an independent news source in your area, or the town where you grew up, or somewhere in this vast country and share its articles, donate if you can, and help it remain independent and alive.

Weekend Reads

High school sweethearts reunite and marry after nearly 70 years apart. (CNN)

Women will bear the burden of getting our parents vaccinated. (GEN)

Mortality rate for Black babies is cut dramatically when Black doctors care for them after birth, researchers say. (Washington Post)

Why is celebrity weightloss so complicated? (Buzzfeed – thank you to Lee for sending this my way)

The paradox of online “body positivity”. (Vox – this one was sent by several of you)

Dating app Bumble files for U.S. initial public offering making 31-year-old CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd the youngest woman to take a company public. (Bloomberg)

Louise Linton (yes, the wife of Steven Mnuchin) has made a movie. (New York Times)

Did Nancy Pelosi's impeachment outfit look familiar? (Vogue) I've been following the news and some think it could be Max Mara but no confirmations.

New Mississippi flag signed into law, flies over state Capitol. (Daily Journal)

When you lose your mother. (Tue/Night)

Why are the Backstreet Boys tweeting about Qanon? (The Cut)

OnRaé LaTeal, founder of the Freedom Futures Collective, is focusing on Black joy as she mentors a “new generation of liberation music makers.” (Washington City Paper)

A drive to succeed has become a drive to just get by. Why workplace ambition is flickering out in this endless limbo. (GEN for Medium)

Denial is the heartbeat of America. (The Atlantic)

From TikTok to Depop: Fashion’s new trend funnel. (Vogue Business)

How to talk to friends and family who believe conspiracy theories. (New York Times)

Former QAnon followers explain what drew them in — and got them out. (Rolling Stone)

“The cover did not give Kamala D. Harris due respect. It was overly familiar. It was a cover image that, in effect, called Harris by her first name without invitation.” The brilliant Robin Givan's thoughts on Kamala Harris' Vogue cover. (Washington Post)

This week’s SCOTUS ruling sends a ‘chilling signal’ on the future of abortion rights. (The Lily)

Rookie, the online magazine founded by Tavi Gevinson, will revive its popular “Life Skills” column as an eight-episode podcast available on Audible. (The Cut)

Walmart’s e-commerce chief is leaving to build “a city of the future” supported by “a reformed version of capitalism.” (Vox)

Can you spread Covid-19 if you get the vaccine? (Quartz)

Brian Kelly, The Points Guy, has created an empire dedicated to maximizing credit-card rewards and airline miles. What are they worth in a global pandemic — and why are they worth anything at all? (New York Times)

Who you insult when you call this a ‘wasted' year. (GEN)


dickinson apple tv

I tried watching ‘Dickinson,' the series on AppleTV that is loosely based on the life of Emily Dickinson and I just couldn't. It was NOT for me. But my 12-year-old and I were looking for a new show to watch together and she thought it sounded cool.

This show is utterly ridiculous. It mixes modern with historical with fantastical with a script that is really corny at times and has me constantly reaching for my phone to research the truth. But it is a fun watch with a young teen/older tween because that is what the show is made for. To see it through my kid's eyes gives me a bit of appreciation.

peaky blinders

We finished ‘Peaky Blinders' and I miss it so much. Some say we'll get Season 6 this year, others say maybe not. I hope it's not too long, I don't want to lose the attachment I have to these characters. ‘Peaky Blinders' is on Netflix.

ted lasso

After multiple friends telling us we HAD to watch it, K and I started watching ‘Ted Lasso,' which is also on AppleTV. We're on episode 2 and I totally see the appeal. And it's such a breath of fresh air after consuming news all day.

For Your Entertainment

olivia rodrigo

Have you heard of Olivia Rodrigo? Unless you're a Disney Channel fan or a TikTok fan (or have one of these fans in your household), you may not have heard of this 17-year-old actress and singer best known for playing Nini Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Earlier this month, Rodrigo came out with her first single, “Driver's License” which has broken Spotify records for the most streams in a day for a nonholiday song, with over 15 million global plays the day it came out (the song continued to beat its own record, with over 17 million streams the following day).

“Driver's License” gained popularity thanks to TikTok where it was sampled millions of times and what led people to head to Spotify to hear the song in its entirety. As I was playing this video before sharing it here, my daughter, who was upstairs deep into playing a video game with her friend on Facetime came running downstairs, “Omigod, I love ‘Driver's License' it's like the breakup song for my generation!”

Do you remember the song you considered the breakup song for your generation? Maybe it was, “It's Too Late,” or “Un-Break My Heart” or “Nothing Compares 2 U.” “Driver's License” is lovely in how it's from a teenager's perspective, and unlike many of the songs we used for our teen heartbreak which were focusing on far more adult topics. Enjoy.

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. For a great way to get to know your local neighbors, keep stuff out of the landfill, and maintain a budget, don’t forget to see if you have a local Buy Nothing group! (https://buynothingproject.org/about/) Since joining my first one about 8 years ago, I’ve given away, and been gifted such wonderful things. I’ve gotten to know my neighbors and be there when they need assistance or advice. And I love knowing I’m contributing to a cycle of re-suse and appreciation.
    Coincidentally moving to the island that started it all in a few months–so maybe that’s part of the cycle 😉

  2. I just binge-watched Ted Lasso this past weekend, and I thought it was great. As the show went on, it was great to see that the characters were not as one-dimensional as they appeared to be at the beginning, especially Ted. Looking forward to Season 2.

    If you are looking for a new show, I recommend Lupin on Netflix. It’s great escapism, and not that much of a time commitment at just 5 episodes. The fact that the main character is pretty easy on the eyes is also a bonus. You should watch it with English subtitles rather than dubbing if you can (it’s in French). I was thrilled to read that Part 2 of Lupin will be arriving later this year!

  3. As always your weekend reads are one of my favorites! This week was LOADED with so much content I’m going to be busy all week. There are so many complex topics covered and it’s really wonderful to see such thoughtful long-form content is still being created. It makes me feel less lonely during the pandemic.

  4. I always enjoy your Weekend Reads, but as a Feng Shui teacher and consultant, your reflection on moving things around at home brought a huge smile. I love a good no-buy makeover and just how good it can feel to shift things around and make space. Uplifting!

  5. We’ve had an IKEA Ektorp corner sofa for about 10 years. I’ve replaced the covers when needed. I HATE buying furniture and I don’t really want to buy anything new at this point. We’re planning to move out of the country in five years and want to move as little as possible. So when our couch started to look deflated, I bought some of that poly fill stuff that you can use to stuff pillows, etc. and added the fill to the BACK of the cushions. That way the front side would stay smooth, but they would be plumped up. It was like getting a new sofa! I highly recommend doing that with your chair.

  6. The Vox article really hit home- I’ve gained 20lbs in quarantine, but I am also deep in peri menopause and having trouble accepting I won’t see my abs again no matter what I do… Also, I didn’t know there was a show about Emily Dickinson – when I saw that I immediately flashed back to 10th grade Honors English. My teacher saying- “Next we study Emily Dickinson- she sucks but you have to know about her anyway”.

  7. Have you heard of The Representation Project? Over the past few years, it has really opened my eyes to gender bias and racism. The Vogue cover is a classic example that seems like a no-brainer for people to understand, esp when you learn that the Harris team did not approve the choice of the cover photo and was surprised when it was rolled out.

    But, the subtle sexism just never ends. Just this week, NPR — a news organization I respect — sent around several newsletters with the headline that Harris gave an interview about multitasking, a female term if there ever was one. I couldn’t believe Harris would have focused an entire interview on that topic, so I read the interview — and sure enough, buried way deep down in the middle of all the important topics she discussed was a brief mention of competing priorities and multitasking. Why did NPR focus on “the woman talking about multitasking” rather than all the other important, serious, intellectual, challenging issues Harris described?!

    Sexism is everywhere! We really need to open our eyes and call it out whenever we see it. Sadly, I think we’ll have lots of opportunities to do so as our new VP takes the stage.

  8. I smiled when I read your daughter’s comment about how Driver’s License was THE break up song of her generation. I remember feeling that way too about song when I was a older tween/young teen way before I ever even kissed anyone let alone actually had my heart broken. But then I thought about my 12-year-old, a boy, who has never heard this song and would be confused as to why his generation would even need a break up song. And I think, girls mature so much faster than boys. And then I think, gee what are we doing to girls, as a society, that we expect (maybe that’s too harsh? Encourage? Allow?) them to mature so fast? And then I start to worry that we expect too much of girls, and boys get a free pass and that’s so messed up. But then I wonder if what the real issue is to let girls slow down rather than making everyone speed up. And then I worry girls are sexualized and expected to be sexy so young and then get punished for it. I think about the dress code at my son’s middle school, which is clearly in place to police girls’ bodies. My son and my husband could not grasp the point of having to wear the school t-shirt — why can’t you wear any t-shirt? — until I explained it was a way to make sure girls bodies were covered all the way up to the collarbone in a garment that will hopefully hide any outline of breasts because girls’ bodies are so distracting. And at any rate I’m off to have another discussion with my son, so maybe not the entertainment you were thinking when you linked to the video— haha

  9. Thank you for the articles about talking to people who believe in conspiracy theories. Something top of mind given recent events. When I first saw your mention of “Dickinson” I read it as “Dickensian,” a fun, family-friendly mash up of Charles Dickens characters that I recommend. Totally different, I also recommend “Woke” on Hulu. It’s based on the life of cartoonist Keith Knight, who grew up in the town I live in. Don’t let the title make you think that it’s all heaviness or preachy. Great dialogue, characters, and acting!

  10. Thank you for yet another amazing Weekend Reads. So far, I have particularly enjoyed (and have been deeply moved!) by the piece on the reunion of the old high school sweethearts; the piece about losing one’s mother; and Kendi’s “Denial is the Heartbeat of America”. All three moved my heart profoundly, in very different ways. I still have more links to follow up on.

    I am the rare person on the planet who doesn’t do social media, mostly because I don’t trust myself to not spend waaay too much time going down all the rabbit holes that would constantly be in front of my face. As it is, I often sit at my computer reading stuff or communicating with friends and family way more than I would like, compromising my own creative time. Still trying to find that balance. . . But I am realizing just how important your Weekend Reads are to me–you do so much work to cull the best pieces of the internet. I am sooo grateful for all the effort you put into this. What you share truly enriches my life. It often deeply inspires me, while helping me stay within the boundaries that I try to maintain online. (Not sure if this makes sense, but I hope so!). THANK YOU!

  11. Re the Harris cover controversy – I don’t like *either* photo. The blue suit is better, but I don’t like the crossed arms. We all know how that body language can be interpreted – stubbornness, shut off/out, I’m not listening to you, etc. The outgoing president sits like that all the time & I hate it.

    As for Wintour, it’s time for her to go. Condé Nast has been in the news a lot (Bon Appetit, etc) & put her in charge of some diversity team. But I really doubt that a daughter of the British landed gentry is who you want leading that.

    1. Yes! When you look at how and where Edward Enninful has been able to take UK Vogue, I really want a new editor in chief for Vogue US. Maybe Elaine Welteroth or Eva Chen. Or even Tan France? I bet he could do a good job of it.

      Alison — I firmly believe in the power of a re-arrangement of a room or even a whole home to align with new life aspects or even a whole new stage of one individual’s or family’s life. I don’t do it for just whatever reason (I know of people who are addicted to re-arranging their homes all the time — witness hundreds of interior blogs and Instagrams). I’ve re-arranged my home office area (in the bedroom) for the second time since lockdown, trying to follow some better Feng Shui and common-sense practices. I definitely like where you moved the armchair in your bedroom — much more welcoming and open feel. Before it looked stuck in that tight corner between the shelves.
      We’re about to rearrange our living room a bit — we live in a 2-bedroom apartment. The LV is quite large, fortunately, but it’s played open-plan space for 3-4 different discrete functions. And we’ve now gotten a rowing machine that we need to make room for. Family life in a city apartment, yes! I’ve also been decluttering, bit by bit, but also trying to restrain myself from donating a lot of my “business-casual” wardrobe that I know I’ll need in post-vaccinated back-to-office life. But it is exciting to literally make space for new priorities and focuses in one’s life — homes should be updated as dynamically as your life.

      Thanks for sharing your home and life changes, as always!

      1. Oh and we love Ted Lasso. I’m late to watching Schitt’s Creek but almost done right now. That and Ted Lasso have been great shows to balance out the horror of our news — not in some saccharine, BS way — but in a realistic, but still heartwarming way. Also late, but I just started Search Party after splurging on a 6-month deal for HBO Max — the characters are not heartwarming, but it’s looking entertaining so far in a satirical way. Also miss NYC like crazy, which this partly satisfies.

    2. Reading the article, it’s pretty clear than Ms. Givan sees the shoot with Vice President Harris in a suit with a serious, but certainly not threatening or closed posture, to be more respectful. I agree with her. I don’t see her arms as “crossed” in a closed way. They are relaxed and her expression is open.

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