Welcome back, after my first Weekend Reads off since starting this series back in 2018. Taking off for Spring Break last week with my kid wasn't really a vacation, but it was so helpful in getting my mind straight.
I was chatting with a fellow self-employed friend this week and we discussed how we have not been able to have a moment off this past year. Who knows what is going to happen tomorrow? Politics, pandemic, pop culture… tomorrow something could happen that will rock your business to its core or be its undoing.
We've been keeping up with business trends, following our peers, watching the news, creating Plan B and Plan C and Plan D. We can't let up on engagement, on social, on marketing, on content, on whatever we craft because the past year has not only had us overwhelmed with change and pain, but it has also had us spend so much time on devices that we have zero attention span and have found thousands of new distractions.
But that kind of 24/7 panic isn't sustainable, and it's not healthy. Taking a week not off but down (less than two hours of work a day) was just what I needed. I got a bit more sleep, I got more family time, I got more exercise time, and I found that when I had down moments I was able to let them happen.
It made me realize that for the past year I am trying to eek something out of every minute. I scroll through email on the toilet, scan social media when in line at the bank, edit photos in the passenger seat while driving home from a shoot. I wake up early to work before the family is up, I go to sleep thinking about what I didn't accomplish, and feel guilty every time I close the laptop or turn off the phone to enjoy something fully (or do nothing at all).
Mini breaks help recalibrate the mind. I am taking another starting tomorrow.
I rented a cabin a couple of hours away. And I am not taking my family, though I invited my sister to join me. I took a break from work, and now I think I need a little break from being a 24/7 wife and mom in a relatively small home that none of us leave for several days at a time.
I'll have content (and will work a bit each day and likely will Instagram Story parts of the getaway), but I am excited for Phase 2 of this recalibration. While the best shower of my life has kept me from unraveling this past year, these breaks are keeping me from breaking myself.
I know I am not the only one feeling this way, and I hope all of you get little opportunities to recalibrate in a way that makes sense for you.
Brood X or Gen X? (McSweeney's)
Convenience is destroying us. (Intelligencer)
What if the pain never ends? I will still have to face it with dignity. (New York Times)
What's happening in our nervous systems? (On Being)
A little funny about being in the present moment. (New Yorker)
A prayer for reentering the world in a bigger body. (Jewish Women's Archive)
What is going on with China, cotton and all of these clothing brands? (New York Times)
I always find it important to see what younger generations are into, and this article goes into the fashion brands that GenZ is gravitating towards. (CNBC)
America ruined my name for me. (New Yorker)
Whatever happened to TOMS Shoes? (Bloomberg)
One of the wackiest interviews I've read this week: An interview with the man who keeps uploading my feet to WikiFeet. (The Cut)
It's so rare to see a popular brand or website recognize that some athletes get periods, I just had to share: How to optimize your training based on your menstrual cycle. (Peloton Blog)
If you're curious about the new Universal Standard denim but would like to see it on someone else; I recommend Authentically Emmie who shares her thoughts with photos of two of the curve styles of their new denim.
The power of napping. (Elle)
So… there are so many talented, stylish, visionary, creative, inclusive, and inspiring plus-size women out there with huge audiences and great things to say, a desire to empower the plus community, with personal style aesthetics and life decisions that many would want to emulate… and 11Honoré chose to do a capsule collection with Lena Dunham. (New York Times)
For those who are aware of the rant Rachel Hollis did on Instagram comparing herself to Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai, you may enjoy this article: Never minimize domestic work. (Scary Mommy)
There is a Beastie Boys documentary on Apple TV called Beastie Boys Story. It came out last year, but we just got around to seeing it. It is a filming of a performance at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre where Mike Diamond and Adam Horowitz retell portions of their 2018 book. If you have read the book or seen any specials about the brand, there is nothing new you will learn watching this. And honestly, it may be a bit sad seeing Mike D and Ad-Rock looking like dads lost in the supplements aisle at Whole Foods and being there without MCA.
But as people who grew up on the Beastie Boys, who saw them in concert more than once (best show: 1994, Radio Music Hall, which is now the 9:30 Club), we still enjoyed it. We loved seeing the old video, reminiscing about how those albums defined parts of our lives, and it inspired us to listen to Paul's Boutique again as well as other Beastie albums.
The Lost Boys was one of my absolute favorite movies growing up. Both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz being so incredibly iconic, Jason Patric being utterly gorgeous (except as a vampire), and hello Keifer and Alex and all the beautiful vampires and Dianne Wiest being so fab. My kid is into a bit of scariness – more Stranger Things than The Shining, so we thought we'd watch it as a family.
Still holds up. Okay, Gertz's character for my teen self was hashtag goals and now I find her whiny and weak and her character one-dimensional (but still with great hair), and middle-aged me sees Keifer and the vampires as so young and vulnerable but the movie is still enjoyable and our tween LOVED IT. Definitely a fun blast from the past.
What's funny is the next day, we binged a few episodes of Worn Stories, a series on Netflix about clothing and the people who wear it, and in one of the episodes was this guy, Tim Cappello, and he's sharing how Tina Turner bought him this codpiece in Amsterdam and I'm like… is he the saxophonist in The Lost Boys? And sure enough, he then shares how he was famous for like 15 seconds in that movie.
Worn Stories is delightful. Based on a book of the same name by Emily Spivack, each episode has a general theme and follows the stories of several individuals and how what they wear affects their lives and defines them. Each episode also has some cool animation – claymation, puppets, cartoons, and more of these individuals, tying them together. You can't help but fall in love with some of the folks featured, and knowing their relationship to clothes (or lack thereof) adds depth and beauty to them.
After a year of not really focusing on what I wore, Worn Stories reminded me that fashion isn't for others, it's for ourselves. And using it to define ourselves is not superficial, it's a form of self-care.
For Your Entertainment
I like checking out new music on YouTube; it's a completely different algorithm from Spotify and while I often get a lot of super weird suggestions, sometimes I get some great ones. And this week I got a great one when YouTube suggested this latest video from Audrey Nuna:
Give yourself a minute. At first, I was thinking, okay another GenZ bored kid with good hair in interesting rented locales kind of music video. But then she was in the blue room and said she needed space and I was transfixed and couldn't stop repeating the refrain. This is not what I was expecting, and I wanted to hear more.
YouTube feels you, and knows when you want more. Oh you want more Audrey Nuna? Well let's blow your mind Alison. Did you know she did a song with Jack Harlow, that white kid rapper from Louisville that you joke that you look like? Yeah, it was back in 2019 which feels like last week to you but for these youngin's it was a lifetime ago.
Wait, that was the same singer? Okay, so I start researching Audrey Nuna and find articles stating her song, “damn Right” is critically acclaimed. So I check out “damn Right”:
Eh, it's good, but it's not surprising me (though I read it took 12 hours to film and was written 15 minutes after she ate her first mole taco). But then YouTube knows I am feeling meh and says, well before you go, we'd love you to check out “Time,” which came out the same year as that song with your doppelganger Jack Harlow.
Okay, I am officially intrigued.
Audrey Chu is a 21-year-old Korean American singer-songwriter from Manalapan, New Jersey who is better known by her stage name Audrey Nuna.
Singing since 2nd grade, making music videos with iMovie in 5th grade, and writing lyrics in high school, Nuna was discovered at the age of 16 by Roc Nation producer Anwar Sawyer and signed with Arista Records in 2019. “Comic Sans” was only the second rap she ever recorded.
Nuna headed to NYU's Clive Davis Institute after high school but took a gap year to focus on her music, promising her father she'd still eventually earn a degree and her mom that she wouldn't “be nude” for her career.
Nuna can sing, and she can rap, but those cool visuals for her videos? That's also Nuna. Audrey Nuna has been quoted as saying she often sees the visuals for a song while she's crafting the lyrics, the two are so intertwined.
Nuna is so new she doesn't even have a Wikipedia page, and most of her interviews are on self-important e-magazines that focus more on her astrological sign and artsy rooftop photos than facts about this artist that I think is going to blow up in the next year or so.