Weekend Reads #165

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this time last week
Me one week ago at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Getting away did me a lot of good, as did taking some time off from work. Thank you all for your support and love, it helped me stick to letting myself get a rest. Much love.

Weekend Reads

The girlboss apologia era is upon us. (Vanity Fair)

“…when Google Reader disappeared in 2013, it wasn’t just a tale of dwindling user numbers or of what one engineer later described as a rotted codebase. It was a sign of the crumbling of the very foundation upon which it had been built: the era of the Good Internet.” (The Ringer)

On Instagram, I shared I got one of these dresses from Ever By X, a woman-owned slow fashion brand from Australia. They fit sizes 6-24 and come in regular and petite; I got the petite and it fits well. I haven't played much with it, but I washed it in the machine on gentle, hung it to dry and it was dry in just a couple of hours and is ready to wear, no ironing or steaming needed. Fantastic fabric for hot weather too; I'll have a full review next month!

It’s hard to be a moral person. Technology is making it harder. (Vox)

The grandparents are not okay: on the rampant and unexamined fatphobia of many Boomers and tips on how to talk about this subject (or stop this talk) with your parents. (Burnt Toast)

1,000-year-old remains may be of a highly respected nonbinary warrior. (NPR)

I bought a volcano face roller. I threw it in my bag and forgot to throw in my blotting papers, powder, and even forgot my bandana to mop my brow. Needless to say in humid and hot AF DC I gave it a literal spin before meeting friends for lunch. This shizzz works!

As someone who was in a gifted program from 2nd-4th grade where I was pulled out of class, usually at the time of math, to learn about archeological digs and write a research paper on REM sleep and then went to a gifted magnet school from 5th – 8th grade and to this day wonder if I had stayed in my neighborhood school if I would have been a more successful student… I found this article quite interesting. (Washington Post)

We had a Ford Aerostar. (Esquire)

How the pandemic laid bare America’s diabetes crisis. (Reuters)

We're going on vacation where we need to pack light, will be staying somewhere a bit rustic, and we'll be gone for a week. On our road trip, drinking tap water in different cities sort of messed up my husband and daughter's stomachs. So I bought some of these universal water bottle filter adapters from LifeStraw for this trip and just for the future. They fit on the Kleen Kanteens, Hydroflasks, and Nalgenes already in your cupboard and have replaceable filters that remove 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.999% of waterborne protozoan parasites and replaceable activated carbon capsules that remove chemicals and chlorine and improve taste.

The digital world is now our primary residence. (The Dispatch)

Growing old is a crisis more and more Americans can't afford. (New York Times)

Ohio court sentences Black woman to 18 months in prison the day after giving white woman probation for same crime. If you think that sounds like some clickbait title, I encourage you to click to actually read. (The Root)

“We all dreamt, We’ll grow old together. We’ll be old ladies together. And we did.” (The Atlantic)

TMI may be just too much to process. (Dame Magazine)

Carmen, an influencer I follow (I almost wrote friend because we do DM but I have never met her) has been discussing this topic a LOT lately on her Instagram Stories and this article sort of encompasses it: Celebrities like Jake Gyllenhaal have spoken out about how little they bathe. That's easier to say if you're white. (Insider)

Last Friday I shared I ordered this budget-friendly bikini top for large busts and how I liked it but it ran too big. I ordered it one band and one cup smaller and it's a keeper! I also got this bottom in XL which is high enough to cover my short-torso's belly button but doesn't touch my ribs. It is conservative enough in front that I don't need to do a lot of landscaping before heading to the pool, but the back is cute and doesn't make me look saggy bummed. I got the orange, I will be wearing it on our trip, you will see it on Instagram!

This article about Rebecca Minkoff popped up on Twitter for me. (New York Times). So to go with it, here is your regular reminder from me that Rebecca Minkoff is a Scientologist. (The Truth about Scientology) As is her father (Tampa Bay Times) and other members of her family. The Rebecca Minkoff items you purchase fund Scientology, if that's okay with you, cool, I just wanted you to be an informed consumer.

Duran Duran front man Simon Le Bon on a life of great videos, great gigs, and, yes, great hair. (Vulture)

For those who remember Dobbin Clothing and wonder what happened to the brand, for those who have been gaslit in relationships, or to just read about a strong woman you should click here and read this piece. (Atoosa Unedited)

This was one of the most… intense reads I read this week. TW: speaks of the former president and many individuals part of his campaign/team. (Vanity Fair)

And this past Monday my sister sent me this piece by Anne Helen Petersen that echoes what I am feeling and wrote about last week. (The Washington Post)


justine bateman face book

Justine Bateman, known to many of my generation as Mallory, older sis to Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties has come out with a book called FACE: One Square Foot of Skin. I’ve been intrigued by it but once it came up in discussion in the Wardrobe Oxygen Facebook community I bought a copy. I'm about halfway through.

Dude. Duuuuude. This book is a very strong fuck you to society expecting women to spend money and endure pain to achieve an appearance of youth. It is a series of anonymous short stories of women primarily in their 40s and 50s. They are housewives and housekeepers, actresses and architects, their tales sometimes written like journal entries, sometimes like poetry.

Just as I believe with fashion, I support people doing whatever the f*ck they want to their face or body that makes them happy. I myself got Botox once and we all know I’ve had a thing for skincare, including acids and “anti-aging” ingredients for decades. 

If you’re feeling pressure to do something to your face based on your age and society’s perception you will love this book. If you are annoyed, angered by, or jealous of women who have modified their face or body with age, this book may help you realize where those extreme feelings are coming from. If you have been questioning why you are doing certain things for your appearance that you don’t enjoy or can’t always afford… this book may give you the confidence to change your perception on beauty, priorities, and power.

If you are someone who loves your Botox or have procedures to make your face look the way you wish… at least halfway through this book I’m feeling this book is not for you. Like seriously, don’t read this book, don’t think about this book, don’t bring this energy into your life, you do you and own it. Own your life, on your terms.

As Bateman stated in an article in Vanity Fair:

“I think it’s possible that I’ll be criticized by those who have decided that plastic surgery is some kind of feminist position. That criticism of “how dare you be critical of women that have taken control and are making the changes that they see are necessary?” But look, this is just how I see things. My hope for women is that they can get a steel spine as far as how they feel about themselves. That the condition of their face is completely immaterial. We assume others are going to reject us. We don’t trust that things are going to be okay. Because of that, women feel they have to make sure all these other people are okay with what they look like. As if that’s the only way they’re going to move forward.And I don’t believe things actually work that way.”


This week we started watching Schmigadoon!, a series on Apple TV from Lorne Michaels where a couple who goes on a hiking trip to reinvigorate their relationship end up in a musical taking place in a town called Schmigadoon. The only way they can leave is if they find their one true love… which they thought they already found.

kristen chenoweth schmigadoon

Schmigadoon! stars Cecily Strong from SNL fame, and Keegan Michael-Key known from Key and Peele as well as many other roles (Keanu, my kid recognized him from Jingle Jangle) as the couple stuck in this town. The mayor is Alan Cumming, Fred Armisen is the town minister with Kristen Chenoweth as his wife. Martin Short plays a leprechaun, and that's just a bit of the star-studded cast of this weird musical comedy.

062521 Comedy Series Schmigadoon New Trailer big image post.jpg.large

I'll admit we're only three episodes in but it's ridiculous and funny and relatable (Michael-Key makes so many faces, jokes, and references that remind me of my husband as well as many of his friends and I know Strong's character (maybe I am a bit her character?). Our whole family is watching it and enjoying it (though if you're unsure if it's right for your tweens and teens check Common Sense Media).

For Your Entertainment

“If you could see yourself, from the outside in you'd say that you don't have to be more thin It's okay, and if you, could see yourself from above the sky, i think you'd say that you're doing fine.” So starts Orla Gartland's latest release, “You're. Not Special, Babe” coming from her album which drops next week. Gartland is a Dublin, Ireland singer/songwriter/musician who rose to fame on YouTube. She released her first YouTube video 13 years ago, at the age of 13 and had her first EP in 2011.

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 a boomer who has struggled with weight my whole life, I have a lot of feelings about the Burnt Toast piece. Sure, grandparents should not be body-shaming or insulting their grandkids (or kids), but I don’t see what is wrong with mentioning that strawberries are a healthy choice as a snack, discussing how restaurant portions are way too big, or being excited to celebrate your success losing weight/staying fit in your 60s or 70s.

    Processed and restaurant food today is literally designed to addict us and keep us eating more than we should, just like social media, and portions are out of control. Watch the documentary Food Inc. and your heart will break at the obese children struggling to break their addictions to junk food, and already suffering with heart problems and diabetes.

    Some say you can be fat and healthy. Well, I was healthy my whole life (every blood test, etc. came back great, low resting heart rate, etc.) until age 58 when (heavier than ever) suddenly I was warned that my cholesterol was high. I could also be looking at a knee replacement in my 60s if I don’t change my ways. Obesity contributes to more health issues the older you get, including diabetes, high cholesterol, heart attacks/strokes, joint issues…the list goes on. One may be able to get by being obese in their 20s or 30s or even 40s but at some point, it’s going to catch up with you.

    If grandparents hope to see their grandkids grow up or want to have a health and happy retirement, hiking, traveling etc., they *have* to watch their weights. Talking about food in a positive way could be the start of a productive conversation about how eating good food is just part of staying healthy and Grandma is doing it so she can be around a long time.

    I don’t believe one should shame a person for being fat (it just makes me eat more!), but it’s also possible to go too far in the opposite direction. To draw a parallel, if Grandma smoked in front of the kids, would Mom let it happen, say that you can smoke and be healthy (after all, you do read about 100+-year-olds who attribute their longevity to a daily whiskey and cigar), and tell the kids not to smoke-shame her? I’m guessing Grandma would be hustled out of the house and banned from seeing the grandkids until she quit.

    Thanks for letting me rant – – I’ve been reading a lot of Boomer criticisms lately and maybe I’m just super sensitive! I will also alert my friends that asking for lettuce wraps or dressing on the side is now a “grandma” move.

    1. Karin, I am a boomer too, and was surprised to see that boomers are seen as unhealthy body image perpetrators.
      First,. my policy (and its a family tradition) is to shut up and not interfere in adult children and grandchildren’s relationship and values. (Unless it is some extreme form of distress or abuse, and those situations would mean seeking professional advice).
      How children eat is certainly in the provenance of the parents, absolutely. Grandparents, MYOB.Times have changed.The situation has changed, for instance, children have real allergies and it is quantitatively a larger amount of people and more severe reactions than in generations past. There is also the dilemma of feeding children when mom and dad, at least preCOVID, were gone most of the day. Catering to a kid who won’t eat anything but a hot dog, for instance, when parents are mostly away is a far different and more challenging situation than in the past.
      In defense of boomers, to some extent this seems to be a case of shooting the messenger. If I reach back to my parents’ generation, the 50s were full of unrealistic standards for women, combined with enormous peer pressure and almost no professional/working outlets. Look at Mrs. Cleaver in Leave It To Beaver. She looks pathologically thin to me. If I think of my mother and her friends, many of them substituted one or two meals a day for Metrecal. Vile tasting diet food. Then Twiggy brought a new standard of extreme underweight to teenagers a decade later.
      All of us, of all generations, are the unwilling participants of a crazy level of elevated salt, sugar, and portions. And ever more sophisticated and pervasive ad campaigns. Kids are idundated with marketing for all kinds of caloric and unhealthy food.
      The other boomer experience that I am just recently feeling is seeing friends fall to diabetes, stroke, weight related ailments of all kinds. It scares us! We get fixated on healthy eating and exercise!
      So, grandparents should be mindful of their role and their influence with grandchildren, and parents should feel that they can talk about boundaries. But maybe don’t put blame on people who are navigating enormous pressures themselves. Boomers didn’t invent body image and diet problems.

  2. Oh the Toyota Van–(as related to the Aerostar). My dad had one of these in the 80s and kept going and going. He used it for so many things–it took me to college, it carried so many things (one time he had it loaded with concrete cylinders for their garden–when someone rear-ended him, it was so heavy, it stopped their car). I remember my friends and I going driving in it, and being stupid teenagers, we would roll back the sun roof and they would howl out of it, standing on the seats.

    Oh gifted programs. My husband was in a TAG (Talented and Gifted) program. I was in private school through elementary, hit high school, and went into AP English and History. I will say, those classes (with the exception of one year, where the teachers were flaky and awful) did help me: the teachers (in my terrible, underfunded, ceilings leaking high school) for my AP classes deeply cared about their students, challenged us, and worked to make us think. They saved me money in college (those AP credits letting me bypass some requirements). But I think I was deeply privileged, and probably a little unusual that as a teenager, I dug into the Scarlet Letter (no Willa Cather damage for me though please).

    I’m interested to see how first grade plays out for our son: he is going into a multi-age program, where grades 1/2 are taught together, and so the older kids help the younger. I’ve never heard of this type of program. Smaller class sizes, co-teaching, etc…a contrast to the hard core “blue ribbon” elementary school from last year that seemed more interested in test scores than kid support.

  3. Oh my gosh, at first I thought you meant that the Minkoffs had bought the Tampa Bay Times, my hometown, excellent newspaper (which I can only call the St. Pete Times). Thank goodness that is not the case!

  4. Alison, I am so very glad you are taking some time off (although I’m also glad to see some new posts.) Your website is full of ideas, news, observations, practical and fashion information. And it is all you doing the work, putting together the content. That is a phenomenal amount of work. And our digital appetite is relentless.
    I celebrate that you were able to recognize that you needed a respite. You absolutely deserve our respect for acting on that insight.
    We are, collectively, living in an uncertain world with unpleasant possibilities. We all need to take tender care of ourselves. That’s even harder when our livelihoods are on the line. Thank you for your courage.

  5. That Ever By X dress is amazing! I’m definitely ordering one. I am petite AND plus size (around US size 20). Should I go with the original fit or the petite fit?

    1. I’d go with petite, it’s about length and that will make you happier. Just know the strap may be a hair too short to do the double twist ties they show but you can still achieve all the looks!

  6. My late-edge boomer dad and his mother are the voice of body shame in my head. Toward the end of my grandmother’s life I started checking her on her body comments. She was legitimately surprised to find out I did not find her helpful suggestions helpful! She grudgingly conceded that commenting out loud on strangers’ bodies was “probably not” necessary. She did cut back on the insults and I wish I’d known to speak up decades earlier. With my Dad, I remember a moment at 16 when I’d starved my athletic, no-fat body to lose 20 lbs and he told me how proud he was of my weight loss. My first reaction was thrill at being praised by my critical father, then it hit me that this was the only time I could remember him saying that to me. And it was about my weight. Then he asked if I could give my mom some tips. Oooof. I’ve been digging out of this hole ever since.

    Interesting on the gifted kid thing. I never thought about what it was supposed to achieve — all I cared about was I got to get out of boring classes and explore much more creative and interactive projects! IMO we don’t need to eliminate “gifted” programs, we just need to teach everyone that way.

  7. Nailing it again, Alison…. Orla Gartland video was EXACTLY what I needed. Thank you.

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