Weekend Reads #260

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Weekend Reads #260 | Artemisia Gentileschi, Pentinent Magdalene
Artemisia Gentileschi, Pentinent Magdalene, 1616-1618

Weekend Reads #260

Let’s Talk About the September Cover of Vogue. (Cup of Jo)

Nearly 90% of consumers no longer trust influencers, new study finds. (The Drum)

Who's afraid of Imagine Dragons? (Dirt)

How the drunk party anthem sobered up. (GQ UK)

I keep raving about my Eight Sleep mattress cover; this weekend it is $75 off and any accessories are 20% off if you buy a cover. And with code ALISON you get an extra $100 off!

Generation X Is Staring Down Retirement, and Student Loan Debt. (New York Times – gift article)

How to find joy when life seems awful. (Washington Post – gift article)

Back to school is here, are you ready? Nike has an extra 20% off select styles and I personally ordered some pieces for my high schooler as well as myself. Nike has a good selection of plus size activewear, sweats, and athleisure and this sale includes a lot of apparel, activewear, and accessories as well as cool for school shoes.

I Wrote The Care and Keeping of You for Girls. This Wasn’t the Future I Imagined for Them. (Elle)

My Generation: Anthem for a forgotten cohort. (Harper's Magazine)

What happened to Wirecutter? (The Atlantic) This one interested me, because I too have seen the change in Wirecutter and even mentioned it in my best bathsheet review. When I saw they replaced their Costco recommendation with one from a retailer with a high affiliate commission, I started questioning their reviews.

The influx of Amazon recommendations was also suspect; I knew thanks to also working with Amazon that this is because folks never buy just that one thing on Amazon; they buy a whole cart of randomness and last click wins the commission. Anyway, if you can't read this article due to the paywall know these folks also have seen the change in Wirecutter since The New York Times bought it. It's not just you. And me.

The “pro-life” movement looks an awful lot like a pro-rape movement. (Jill Filipovic)

The thing that’s missing from your anti-aging routine. (A Friend Indeed)

In an effort to attract and retain experienced women, some companies are adding menopause-specific care to their benefits packages. (New York Times – gift article)

How sustainable is refillable packaging really? (Dazed)

For my local yokels, a story for those who grew up in the DMV. (Margaret Crandall)

And another for my local yokels, I finally Googled this after wondering for a year: Artist Explains Why He Put Up ‘Empathy' Signs Throughout DC Area. (NBC 4 Washington)


I'm home from our last summer vacation, a Kindle of partially read books and a DVR near 100% with randomness recorded while we were away. We've caught up on Project Runway and Physical, and in the early hours when the rest of the family is still asleep, I do stretches on the living room rug while watching …And Just Like That and Real Housewives of New York City. I stan for Jenna Lyons; I thought she was cool at J. Crew but I had no idea how cool and I love how this Bravo reality show is letting me peek into her super chic IDGAF world.

My daughter woke earlier than normal the other morning and caught the tail end of the latest RHONY. She is an age where people are so binary bad or good, kind or evil, cool or cringe. She said she didn't like one character after seeing her on the screen for five minutes. I ended up telling her about that person's difficult childhood, how they have really created a life for themselves, and how to not judge a book by their cover or their quippy phrases on a reality TV show. Seriously, RHONY this season is unlike any other Housewives franchise I have previously experienced and I look forward to each episode.

I finished The Menopause Manifesto, by Dr. Jen Gunter, after writing about perimenopause and so many of you telling me I should read the book that had been on my nightstand so long it was sticky from dust. It's funny, I opened it and realized I only had a half-hour worth of reading left in the book. I have no idea why I stopped, likely because of the brain fog, forgetfulness, and chaos that is a perimenopausal brain.

When I wrote about mouth taping for sleep, folks recommended I read Breath by James Nestor. I visited my mom, saw the book in her bookcase, and realized I had read it. I read it, and found it so powerful, I loaned my copy to her. I even wrote about it in a previous Weekend Reads and recommended it as a great gift for grown-ass women.

The perimenopausal brain is like a kitchen junk drawer. It's full of treasures underneath bread ties, paper clips, and pads of Post-It Notes. It takes a Saturday afternoon or six weeks of HRT to get to the bottom and find what's valuable and organize the rest. Little by little I'm finding my way, finding myself, and finding my life during these years in a fog.

For Your Entertainment

miley cyrus single used to be young

I'm an age, and my kid is an age, where Miley Cyrus was not a “thing” for us when she was best known as Hannah Montana. When “Party in the USA” came out, that was when I first was aware of her. But when she came into her own with songs like, “Wrecking Ball” and “Midnight Sky” I became a fan. Sure, she had some weird and icky moments, but imagine if we were growing up in the public eye, we'd possibly do similar (or hide it, fight it, and end up like other child stars who haven't turned out quite as well).

I actually appreciate seeing her transition from persona to persona, not taking anything past the point of no return, and creating music from the experience (hello “Flowers”? That is one hell of an earworm). When folks tell me they don't like her because of X, Y, or Z she did over the past decade, I remind them that they too used to be young. And then this song came out.

“This song is about honoring who we’ve been, loving who we are and celebrating who we will become,” said Cyrus, 30, of the tearjerking ballad in a press release. “I feel proud when reflecting on my past and optimistic when thinking about the future.” (People) I think many of us can relate.

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. I still want to urge you and any readers in the throes of menopause or perimenopause to read “Estrogen Matters” by Avril Bluming and Carol Tavris. It is eye opening. It is the most cogent explanation of how the 2002 Womens Health Initiative study put the fear of HRT into the populace. In my mind the authors lay to rest the fear of HRT so many people have and explain its many benefits.

    The book is the prime reason that I returned to HRT after a 5 year hiatus. The insurance company I had in 2014 decided that after I had been on HRT for 2 years they would no longer pay for it. I was told by the medical establishment that since I was 60 that year and the collective wisdom was to use HRT in the lowest dose possible for the shortest time possible, it was best to discontinue the meds. I could not afford to pay for my prescription out-of-pocket, so I weaned off the patches. I was plunged into rebound hot flash hell. I was told to tough it out and told that most women would be back to baseline, which for me was dozens of hot flashes and insomnia, by the 3 year mark. The insomnia, crashing fatigue, hot flashes, and other bothersome symptoms were still with me at the 5 year mark in 2019. My situation had improved somewhat, but my quality of life was still not good. After reading Mache Seibel’s book “The Estrogen Fix” and speaking with him by phone and then reading “Estrogen Matters” I was convinced that I needed to find a doctor willing to allow me to go back on HRT. I am fortunate that I found a gynecologist who is willing to listen and to work with me.

    I re-started HRT in January 2019. My doctor started with an ultra low dose birth control pill. It did not help with the hot flashes and led to spotting. She went to a different ultra low dose birth control pill that had a higher dose of hormones. Same result. After trying and failing 3 different birth control pills the doctor sighed and said she guessed we’d have to do traditional HRT. Hallelujah! The estrogen/progestin combo helped, but I still had an average of 4 hot flashes every night. I was sleeping better, but I still did not feel as good as before menopause in 2008. We doubled my dose a year ago. That got the hot flashes down to 2 per night four or five nights a week. I saw the doctor at the beginning of this month and we have again adjusted the dose on my meds. We have upped the dose of the progestin. I’ve been on the new regime for 3 weeks. I still can’t tell if it will make a difference.

    I am one of those exceptional women for whom menopause has been a very rocky road. No one knows why. I have none of the typical risk factors – smoking, obesity, family history, drug use – that should lead to severe menopausal symptoms. I will be 69 in less than 2 months. My last period was in May of 2008. So, I have been struggling with life disrupting symptoms for 15 years! I am otherwise very healthy. I have no adverse health conditions. I do not have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a heart condition. I have never had surgery. I have never been hospitalized except during child birth. (I gave birth very quickly and easily 2 times and breast fed exclusively.) I take no prescription medications other than my HRT. No one has any explanation for why menopause has been so bothersome. I am just an outlier. But, I know there are other women out there like me.

    I feel absolutely awful that we and our doctors have been made to fear the one treatment that can help us. Insurance companies are also part of the problem. Since I am “elderly” (my GP and my gynecologist both scoff at that) and have been on Medicare for nearly 4 years, getting insurance to pay for my HRT is a problem. Medicare and my Medicare supplemental insurer are very reluctant to allow someone my age to take HRT. My gynecologist has to do battle for me every year to get my prescription covered. This is all thanks to the horridly designed 2002 WHI study. It’s too bad there is not some sort of punishment available for what I consider to be gross medical malpractice against millions of women worldwide!

  2. “…folks never buy just that one thing on Amazon; they buy a whole cart of randomness”.
    I do. Buy one thing, that is.
    It’s the equivalent of the awfully inaccurate “…everyone…”.
    Nope. Not everyone. Many, the majority…But not “everyone”.
    P.S. Posted after completing 150 separate captchas (many of whcih incorrectly described tems to be identified).

  3. Re Wirecutter. The inside baseball info on the commissions associated with their recommendations is interesting. I’d never have known that otherwise. I do know that I’ve bought a couple of items on their recommendation that turned out to be real duds, somI don’t have the same trust in their recommendations that I used to.

    1. I completely agree re NYT Wirecutter. This also pairs nicely with the piece that says 90% of Americans do not trust or listen to influencers — I agree, and currently refuse to buy anything that includes language like “I’m obsessed with this” because I know the writer is speaking social media speak, AKA brainwashing. Luckily, I have found a handful of people I do trust, Allison included. .

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