Weekend Reads #208

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Robert Henri, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. 1916

I just got back from six nights in Mastic Beach, which is on Long Island in New York. An uncle and his partner live nearby on Long Island and three households from that side of the family come together for a week each summer to see one another and visit these relatives.

Last summer, we rented a house on Fire Island, which was AMAZING. We were in Davis Park, which is very quiet. No cars, no stores except a little general store/snack bar, no street lights, only one beach bar/restaurant (above the general store/snack bar). It took a lot of strategy figuring out what to take that we could carry ourselves onto the ferry and cart down the boardwalks to the rental house a few blocks away. It also took a lot of strategy when a tropical storm turned into a hurricane and was heading our way and we couldn't find a hotel within 50 miles that was dog-friendly. My husband ended up securing the rental home himself and staying in it with our pup Oscar while the rest of us waited it out in a Hampton Inn in Brookhaven.

This year we decided to have a lower-stress, lower-strategy vacation while still being close to family and the beach. We searched for rental houses on Long Island not far from the family that lives there and chose Mastic Beach. It was an excellent house, down the street from the bay, built where houses can no longer built so it was remote and surrounded by wildlife but still just a few minutes from a King Kullen grocery and other shops and restaurants.

We liked it so much, we stayed an extra day. Wi-Fi was spotty and I didn't bring my laptop so I am trying this at noon the day before Weekend Reads goes live trying to pull this all together. I'll try to do a full recap of our trip (for those curious, here is the Airbnb listing) and I'll also write about what I packed and wore hopefully this coming week!

orange by gerta conner 1973
The print hanging in the dining room of our vacation rental

As for the painting at the top of this Weekend Reads, it's related to the print I have just above this paragraph. This print was hanging in the rental house and I was immediately drawn to it. Orange is my favorite color, and I just liked the whole vibe of the piece. I came up short searching online but after asking on Instagram Stories, a few folks including Tara informed me that it was the work of Gerta Conner otherwise known as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Henry. Gerta Conner was married to the famous illustrator Mac Conner. The signature matches Conner's.

Gerta Conner was the granddaughter of sculptor and heiress Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Yep they are those Vanderbilts, and yes that Whitney of the museum. Gerta Conner passed in 2009. This piece very well could have been by her; I have no idea as this article has the only picture of any of her work that I've found online.

The panting above is by Robert Henri and is of Conner's grandmother, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. This paragraph from this article in the New York Times about the artist that I found during my search made me decide this would be this Weekend Read's work of art:

“In addition to being a leading patron of American art, Whitney also had the spirit — and style — of a rebel. A 1916 portrait by the painter Robert Henri, which hangs in the new Whitney building, shows her lounging on a couch, wearing a silky tunic and a pair of loose blue pantaloons. At the time, it was highly unusual to see a woman of her class and status wearing pants — and her husband, Harry Payne Whitney, refused to hang the portrait in their Fifth Avenue townhouse. Whitney’s granddaughter, Laura Miller Biddle, remembers her as a beautiful woman who ‘loved sensuous clothes' — and was tough when it came to advocating for artwork she believed in.”

Weekend Reads

People naturally want to help others who are in need, and that’s a good thing. To avoid creating more strain for already hard-hit communities, it’s best to give cash. Here’s why, plus a list of ways to contribute to recovery in Eastern Kentucky. (The Daily Yonder)

FYI, Wardrobe Oxygen donated to SAMS Lonesome Pine Mutual Aid and Appalachian Citizens Law Center Flood Recovery Fund.

Jane Fonda on her new H&M campaign, the legacy of her iconic VHS workout, and feeling youthful in her 80s. (Vogue)

As a child of immigrants, I feel guilty for embracing the minimalist aesthetic. (Dwell)

Pop culture’s problem with middle-aged women. (Catapult)

How the anti-aging industry turns you into a customer for life. (Vox)

You may not be the age where you watched iCarly or Sam & Cat, but you may have a kid or younger person in your life who did and will recognize this actress. Even if you don't, this is a traumatic story, and sadly one that is all too familiar with child stars. Jennette McCurdy lived a teen star dream. Silently, she was suffering. (The Washington Post)

Seriously, what are you supposed to do with old clothes? (The Atlantic)

The feminist backlash has always been with us. That doesn’t mean we should be afraid. (Men Yell at Me)

With little government guidance on a fast-spreading virus, a new form of social-media vigilantism has emerged. (New York Times)

Why Instagram’s quest to combine community and discovery won’t work. (Link in Bio)

Jazzercise is alive and kicking decades after it got started. (Bloomberg)

For the third summer, the most worn swimsuits I own are the Lands' End Tugless Tank and the Sunsets Taylor Bikini. Not your typical bikini top, the Taylor has underwires and molded cups, adjustable straps, and looks a bit like a cropped tank or sports bra. It's made specifically for large busts. It stays in place when I dive in the pool, when kids grab on me in the ocean, holds my bust up off my stomach and gives great shape, and is my top choice when I want the convenience of a two-piece but the support and function of activewear. It also looks and fits great three summers and counting. I have this matching bottom; I also think this one is great but honestly, it's the same swimsuit fabric as most brands so the top probably goes with any swim bottom you already own. Want to cover your midsection? Sunsets makes the same exact Taylor but in a tankini.

Way to go, Mom! Why it’s better to encourage those parenting through a public meltdown. (The Baltimore Banner)

“Today I am a woman”: Why I had a Bat Mitzvah ceremony on my 60th birthday. (Jumble & Flow)

A Texas blueprint for converting the ‘abortion-minded’: Lattes and a view. (Washington Post)

On my vacation, I wore these shorts on the car ride there with a rainbow-striped Breton and Birks, feeling cute enough to stop for lunch. I then wore them the next day over my swimsuit as I went kayaking, kept them on as we pushed our kayaks onto the shore and floated in the bay. They were dry by time I got back to the house. I took them into the shower with me, washed them with a bar of Ivory soap and hung them over the deck railing to dry in the sun. They dried so quickly I put them back on for a bike ride, which ended up getting muddy when I got stuck. They went back into the shower with me, and the following day they were worn with a lightweight sweatshirt as I enjoyed my morning coffee and a book before most of the house woke up. I own two pairs and am tempted to get another.

On the road with America’s female truckers. (Huck)

If you too watched Hulu's The Bear you may too enjoy this profile: Jeremy Allen White is not afraid to cry. (InStyle)

Thank you for calling the perimenopause hotline, where our hold times are completely unpredictable. (McSweeney's)

How compassionate are you with yourself? (Self-Compassion)


zeving tomorrowandtomorrowandtomorrowushc

Our rental house in Mastic Beach was essentially in the middle of a wildlife refuge with a view of the bay and a deck that was the perfect place for spectacular sunrises and dramatic sunsets. And a great place to read each morning with a cup of coffee. With my morning coffee (as well as afternoon water and evening tea) I read the book Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin.

Svetlana Legetic who I've known for years through Brightest Young Things (RIP) and various other DC communities, regularly recommends books on her Instagram. She has rarely steered me wrong, having a mix of intelligent, slightly odd, and thought-provoking suggestions in a mix of genres. And when I saw she recommended this book after seeing several other love it, I decided to buy it and take it on vacation.

This book deserves the praise it is receiving. When folks on the trip asked what I was reading, I said it was a book about two friends who came together for a love of gaming. That sounds like… well it sounds like a book I wouldn't want to read but it was exactly the book I needed right now.

It's a book about love. About friendships that sustain even when the individuals in the friendship are flawed and make poor decisions. It's about how a non-romantic love can be so powerful and important, and how it can survive even after years of abuse and/or neglect. How creative collaboration is intoxicating and infuriating and wonderful.

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow review 1
Reading the book at Smith Point, sharing where you find the connection to the title, but blurring out anything else so not to ruin the book for those who have yet to read it!

I don't play video games, I'm not a coder, I've never been in that world yet I was rivited by the gaming aspect of this novel. I loved how it connected to interpersonal relationships, how we deal with difficult emotions and trauma, and how it reminded me of longterm friendships in my life. And it reminded me of how I thrive in an environment of creative collaboration, one I haven't really had since leaving Corporate America.

But instead of making me feel sad or upset about this lack of collaboration, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow left me feeling hopeful and positive. Anyway, I don't want to ruin the book for any of you who may wish to read it, so I'll stop here. But clearly, I loved it.

We had a power failure last night while writing this, so no time to get a song for your Saturday. We'll be back to normal programming next weekend!

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. Right on, Alison! I was confusing myself between the grandmother and granddaughter on my phone but so excited help attempt to solve the mystery of the print on your vacation. Both women sound fascinating–I need to look into some biographies to learn more! Thanks for all you do–have heard other who’ve really enjoyed the book as well so need to put THAT on my reading list as well! 🙂

  2. Hi Allie,

    I know it is a million degrees out but I am starting to think about fall fashion and I don’t know what is in style this year. With COVID, etc., I have been wearing the same fall/winter clothes for years and I am over them. I opened my draw with my fall/winter tops in them today and got nauseous at the idea of putting them back on again. I also can’t stand the thought of wearing my combat boots/chunky boots again that I wore to death last year. I am reading that knee high/over the knee boots are in again but is that really the case? I want to switch up my fall/winter wardrobe but I am also a 40-year old woman living in NYC, so I need comfortable shoes with arch support and good jackets since I have to walk everywhere.

    Can you do a post regarding your thoughts on fall fashion?

  3. AJ Fikry is a great book, too! It kind of has the vibe of a cozy, book club read but with more interesting, thought-provoking observations than you’d expect from a book about a bookstore.

  4. So glad you enjoyed your beach trip with your family! And thanks for including the Air B&B link. This probably sounds crazy, but I find it incredibly relaxing to look at beach vacation rentals & think about future vacation ideas. So that was very enjoyable. Ok, that book—you’re probably the 4th or 5th person I’ve seen recommend it— and you all loved it in spite of not being gamers, coders, etc. So, I’m adding it to my library queue. I will look forward to your post about what you packed & wore on your trip. It’s always impressive! I just returned from a visit to a North Carolina beach & then a few college visits further South. We flew, so I couldn’t pack as much, yet I had to take things for 2 different parts of the trip. I’m not good at packing light—ha—so I did ok but still managed to take a few things that didn’t work. Live & learn…

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