Weekend Reads #176

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wardrobe oxygen gift guide

This holiday season I am looking for gifts that are fun to open, but also serve a purpose. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it's that we have just too much random stuff in our home. I've bought my family fun but also practical tools to help protect their devices and thought I'd share some of the great ones I've bought or found recently:

  • Bandolier Phone Cases: Go through my archives and you'll find several times I've rocked one of these gorgeous high-quality cases on a cord. I first learned about them in 2017 from a travel blogger; she found it secure enough to replace an easily pick-pocketed bag for her journeys and made it easy to grab it to take a photo or use an app to navitage the area or language. Bandolier carries pouches to provide more storage; I have this one and it will fit my sunglasses, lip balm, and key ring. Whatever your type or generation of phone, there's likely a Bandolier for it.
  • Chic Geeks Laptop Case: Everytime I show my laptop in a photo, someone asks where I got my green croco case for it. It's from Chic Geeks, and it was a treat to myself almost two years ago after finishing a major project. It's so luxe while also protecting my Macbook and would be a lovely gift. If green croco isn't your thing, Chic Geeks has plenty of other elegant and stylish laptop cases to choose from!
  • CaseMate AirPods Watch Band Holder: Have Airpods and an Apple Watch? Wish you had a place to tuck your earbuds during a conversation or on your drive home from your hike or gym? This handy gadget is exaclty what you need (and what will be under the tree for my husband this Christmas!)
  • Kate Spade Owl Airpods Case: This adorable case will hold your Airpods and provide a ring to connect it to your purse, backpack, and more. Looking so great, you won't mind it on display (and it will be easier to find, too!).
  • Kindle Paperwhite Cover: If you're like me, your e-reader has gotten more play in the past two years than all the time you've owned it. While I have a cover, it's starting to look worse for wear. Update your Kindle and re-inspire a love of reading. If this print isn't your jam, the link has several different patterns to choose from.
  • Apple AirTag and Keyring: Have a loved one who keeps losing their keys? Consider an AirTag and this leather keyring, which comes in a variety of great colors. Looks good, and helps them find their keys wherever they may have been placed.
  • Baublebar Personalized Phone Case: I have owned one of these cases and find them well made, unique, and really attractive. If you have a tween or teen on your gift list and don't know what to get them, check out all the different versions and colors available; it likely will be a well-received gift!
  • Dinines Kid-Friendly Tablet Case: I learned too late that even if it didn't belong to my little kid, she would be all over my tablet. I finally upgraded my case to one just like this with bumpers, a handle, and a washable surface and it was SUCH a good investment. The built-in stand makes it easy to watch anything from Daniel Tiger to YouTube DIY videos. Comes in a variety of color.

Weekend Reads

Karl's grandfather was was professor, a scientist, a veteran, and a painter. He was a fan of Vermeer and had a period where he painted in Vermeer's style. So when I saw this piece I had to click to read it and was glad I did: A Vermeer restoration reveals a god of desire. (New York Times)

A trillion tons of carbon hangs in the air, put there by the world’s rich, an existential threat to its poor. Can we remove it? (New York Magazine)

Does it seem like every bestselling book these days has the same colorful patterned cover with similar font? Behold, the Book Blob. (PrintMag)

How a lawn sign inspired by mom décor became a liberal mantra — and a symbol of a political battle over white womanhood. (New York Times)

The grand unified theory of aesthetic vlogging. (TechCrunch)

American Apparel nostalgia and the return of indie sleaze. (MEL Magazine)

An old's guide to TikTok fashion. (Amy O'Dell's Back Row)

I just turned 60 but I still feel 22. (New York Times)

The perfect cocktails for your perimenopause party. (McSweeney's)

‘I’ve experienced states of consciousness beyond this life’: The people turning to psychedelics on their deathbed. (Independent)

This article, Chicago's response, and then the article author's response referencing YouTube beauty gurus… the whole thing was entertaining. (Art Forum)

I went to lunch last week with my friend Sylvia, who is expert in mixing high and low. She can wear Dior with H&M and it looks effortless and I often can't tell what was budget in her look. She had the cutest black croco bag that totally looked expensive but come to find out it was this $30 bag from Target! I had to share, it's too good and too stylish of a deal to miss!

Did COVID change how we dream? (New York Times)

News about the city where I live: Greenbelt residents approve commission to study reparations. (Washington Post)


crimson peak

Since last weekend was Halloween, I agreed to watch a horror movie with my husband. I used to LOVE horror movies when I was younger, and gobbled up scary books. But now? I dunno, life is scary enough and I want my entertainment to relax me, make me laugh, or at least temporarily numb me. But hey, I was feeling festive and he picked Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s 2015 gothic horror romance starring Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Mia Wasikowska.

If you haven't seen this film, Wasikowska marries this dude and crosses the Atlantic to live in England with him and his sister in this crumbling home on the top of a mountain where bad things happen and there are ghosts and sex and really beautiful and gory stuff. Most reviews say this film was gorgeous and Chastain was amazing in it, but it lacked depth.

crimson peak fashion
Okay, so maybe the fashion caught my eye…

I found it beautiful and I wasn't terrified and enjoyed it. The one thing that stood out wasn't the ending, the fashion, the home, but the fact that there were two strong women and the primary male character was the one we saw nude, the one we saw in the throes of passion, the one who was the sex object. The supporting male character did the typical male thing of going to save the woman but at the end, it is the woman who saves him.

crimson peak waltz

I wasn't expecting to find a horror movie so… feminist. And to read articles that del Toro and Hiddleston specifically wanted to balance the violence with romance and sensuality and to also strike a balance considering most films have the female characters undressed. Even in a bath, we only see Wasikowska's shoulders and ankles, yet we see Hiddleston's exposed rear. While I don't plan to watch another horror movie until next Halloween, I am glad to know movies like Crimson Peak are subtly changing the narrative.

For Your Entertainment

wet leg band

Do you ever hear a song and think, dang my 17-year-old self would have LOVED this song? Because YouTube's algorithm said, “Alison, I think your teenaged self would have played this song full-volume on your 1982 Toyota Corolla stereo” and it was right. The band is Wet Leg, a British duo consisting of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers.

Wet Leg is from the Isle of Wight and began their band in 2019. The two met in college. They have in total, two singles and are having their first world tour start next month. Gotta love the Youtube algorithm for introducing me to super new bands like this that make my inner angsty teen so happy. And in case you're interested in their second single, here it is. Per one of the very few articles I could find about the band Wet Leg, Teasdale says the song below is, “is a breakup song; it came about when one of my exes went through a stage of texting me after we’d broken up telling me that ‘he had a dream about me.” (Variety)

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. That ArtForum review and the artist’s response. Holy cow. Have we completely lost the ability to empathize, to even consider our actions may have unintended and unpleasant consequences? And seriously what were the people at de Young even thinking?
    As always, a wonderful and varied collection of articles that help me find my way to new thoughts and viewpoints.

  2. Wow, I looked at your friend Sylvia’s Instagram and I must say, Instragram’s being bad for one’s self image is not limited to teens. I see these over-50 women looking fabulous and staying very thin and I wonder why I bother to get out of bed in the morning sometimes. I know . . . just don’t go there. My worth is not about how thin I am or the labels on my clothing. But it can be very disheartening, and I don’t find such pages inspirational–I find them magnifying every flaw I have.

  3. What a great collection of articles this week!!! Thank you soooo much – your blog is just a wonderful resource!

  4. My friends and I love Wet Leg and randomly drop their lyrics into conversations. Thanks for sharing!

    The link to the kindle case is missing, and it’s adorable – please update 🙂

  5. I am with you on the need for destressing entertainment. I am working my way through the Murdoch Mysteries on Acorn. Seldom more than mildly “thrilling” with a sweet Canadian sensibility that puts me in mind of Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience. Set around the turn of the 20th century. Soothing evening fare.

  6. You should let us know how the Airpod/watch holder works out.
    I have a rule, if my Airpods aren’t in my ears they’re in the case.
    However, carrying the case around is a pain.

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