Weekend Reads #271

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Painting by Charline von Heyl, Untitled, 2004. Brush strokes of Acrylic and oil on paper in shades of brown, orange, and pink
Charline von Heyl, Untitled, 2004

If you follow other bloggers, influencers, and content creators you may have seen some of them host trips. This is where they offer a planned trip, domestic or overseas, where they along with followers have a travel experience. Some are related to their niche (food bloggers in Italy, wine influencers in the Napa Valley, wellness influencers hosting a yoga retreat in Mexico), some are just bringing together like-minded folks for a hosted and coordinated vacation.

One of the companies that organizes these influencer travel trips is Trova, and they reached out to see if the Wardrobe Oxygen community would be interested in such a trip. I was intrigued. I have missed travel, and am getting back into the swing of things. And I would love to have opportunities to get to meet many of you IRL.

To get a temperature gauge, Trova created a survey where those who truly are interested in such a trip (meaning yes, you would be down for a group trip with me and others in this community) and also know they can afford it (these trips will be $2K-$3K excluding airfare/transportation to the destination). If this sounds intriguing to you, I thank you for filling out the short survey at this link.

I don't know whether I will host a Trova trip, do some other sort of travel, or hold off for now. But your feedback will help me make a decision. If you have extra you'd like to share, please do so in the comments below!

P.S. I tried a new tool from my ad network that sends a weekly digest email; it's called Grow. You may have received an email from it. I am trying something out as folks asked for an alternative to the daily email when new blog posts are published. I don't know if I'll keep it, I'm looking for ways to customize it, but if you got one of these emails, it really is me and your emails are only for Wardrobe Oxygen, no one else. I'll delve into why I set this up in a separate post but wanted to give you the heads up it's not phishing or spam, it's me.

Weekend Reads

Last spring, I splurged on a pair of tomato red Birkenstock sandals that became a signature piece into fall. They were not the classic Arizonas, something a bit more elevated, a glossier leather, the buckle the same color, the shade more vermillion or even blood orange than classic red. I walked down a sidewalk red with clay from recent construction, wearing my beloved Birks. I walked into one block of the sidewalk and realized that clay wash was just clay and I sunk down beyond my ankle bone. I lost my footing, and to keep from falling, my second Birk-wearing foot sunk into the clay.

Every hack I found online didn't work to redeem my beloved sandals and the color was sold out everywhere (and being sold for astronomical prices on resale sites). But last weekend I went to the mall and saw these in Ecru and decided 2024 Alison would rock these instead. Can one describe Birkenstocks as elegant? Because these are downright elegant for a “hippie sandal.” (Nordstrom)

Update since writing this… my husband got my red Birks clean AND I kept the ecru versions. He used a soft dog brush to brush off clay, a bit of Dr. Bonners to get off the rest, a furniture polish made with olive oil to clean the cork, and clear shoe polish to bring the shoes back to their original shine. Expect to see both on the blog a lot once the weather warms!

I had my health. I had a job. And then, abruptly, I didn’t. (New Yor's The Intelligencer)

Online shopping returns are rising. This Va. nonprofit finds a new home for discarded purchases. (Washington Post – gift article)

Looking for wardrobe classics that are sustainable and have a good size range? Check out ABLE. This weekend, ABLE is having their Signature Sale. Get 25% off sitewide with promo code SIGNATURE25. My picks:

  • This black crepe midi dress is feminine and flirty but classic enough to wear to work or even a funeral. Available in sizes XXS-XXL.
  • This gold initial necklace is so delicate and fine, it's the perfect bit of shine for everyday or to pair with other necklaces. 16-19″ chain.
  • I own this denim jacket. It's very lightweight but doesn't look it, and has super cool distressing that makes it look truly vintage. Even my kid said it's “cool.” Sizes XXS-3X (I wear a 14 and have this in XL).
  • I also own this tank. It looks like a classic ribbed tank, but has a higher neck, wide enough straps to cover a bra, and a relaxed fit that doesn't cling. However, know it does run a bit short though it doesn't shrink. The “white” is more of a winter white. Sizes XXS-3X (I have XL but think I could have done L).

The Cough That Doesn’t End: All of New York is hacking. We sent Rachel Sklar on a mission to find out what can help — if anything. (The Cut)

Proud to be a product of or a teacher in public schools? A lovely person sent this Ohio company to me. (Originalitees)

Why Substack is at a crossroads. (Platformer)

Restarting A Childhood Hobby at 53 Changed My Life. It Can Help You, Too. (Vogue)

Are greens powders actually good for you? (Eater)

Jan. 6 rioter nabbed in Bumble dating app sting pleads guilty to assaulting officers. (NBC News)

What if ‘food noise' is just… hunger? (New York Times – gift article)

A Second Life for My Beloved Dog: A simple iPhone feature unexpectedly changed how I grieved. (The Atlantic – gift article)

People are swallowing hundreds of thousands of microscopic pieces of plastic each time they drink a liter of bottled water, scientists have shown — a revelation that could have profound implications for human health. (Washington Post – gift article)

“Puttering” Might Be Doing Nothing, But That’s Something. (Dwell)

Botox destroyed what I liked about my face. (New York Times – gift article)

This made me think of what I wrote in 2018, the first and only time I got Botox: Botox gave me an existential crisis. (Wardrobe Oxygen)

Inspired by her aunt’s battle with cancer, Canan Dağdeviren developed a wearable ultrasound monitor that can screen women between regular checkups. She says it could save 12 million lives a year. (Wired)

As a reminder, my daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies, and they can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. You can also buy donation cookies to be sent to deployed troops. Learn more at this link.


Our family spent a few days over New Year's Eve at a lakehouse with another family we're dear friends with. Like every vacation, this is a time when I can catch up on reading, finish something collecting dust on my nightstand, or enjoy a bestseller or book that caught my eye on Libby. This vacation was no different.

I was an early fan of the podcast Bad on Paper. Originally co-hosted by Becca Freeman and Grace Atwood, I even was a guest for Bad on Paper's D.C. stop on their podcast tour. Now hosted by Becca Freeman and Olivia Muenter, it's still a fun podcast, especially for those who love reading YA, romance, and bestsellers all over BookTok and Bookstagram. Well, Becca Freeman wrote her own book this year, and I finally got around to reading it.

christmas orphans club by becca freeman

I pre-ordered a copy of Becca's book, The Christmas Orphans Club, as soon as it was available. Becca also sent me a copy, but both were too small of font to read with my eye (which is healing nicely, but my right eye will need a corrective lens once I get the go-ahead). Wanting so much to read it before the end of the year and holiday season, I got a copy for my Kindle and bumped up the font size.

The Christmas Orphans Club by Becca Freeman may have Christmas in the title and be a theme throughout, but this book can be enjoyed year-round. Hannah and Finn are college friends who connected by being two who didn't have families to return to over Christmas break. Their friendship continues to adulthood, living in NYC, and their “club” adds two more folks without a family for Christmas.

This is not a sad book; it's a silly and fun rom-com with chapters bouncing from the present day to Christmases past. There is romance, heartache, examples of true friendship, and how family doesn't have to be the folks you're related to. It was a quick read; I finished it in two days. I felt the characters were well developed, the madcap situations were actually realistic, and it had a happy ending. Perfect vacay reading!

merry little meet cute by julie murphy and sierra simone

Also, Christmas-themed but a bit steamier, I read A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone. My friend Chelsea recommended it as a fast and fun read. I started it knowing absolutely nothing about it. I must say I was impressed! It is funny, entertaining, really steamy, and a bit of fan fiction, and the protagonist is a plus-size adult film star. The protagonist tries her hand at a different form of acting and finds her co-star is the pop star heartthrob she had a crush on since she was a tween.

If you are one who finds they spend too much time “filling time” with their phone, scrolling through social media, or maybe playing games, you may wish to do what I am doing, which is have a book like this in your reading app, so you can absorb a few paragraphs while in line without getting so engrossed you're oblivious to the world around you. With the eBook app on your phone, no one knows if you're checking email, checking Instagram, playing Candy Crush, or reading a lighthearted romance novel.

Neither of these books kept me up past my bedtime, needing to know what would happen next, but it felt far less stressful to have sips of these books through the day than my previous habit of bouncing from app to app until I hit the end of the internet.

I was inspired by my friend who was the other mom on our holiday lake vacation. She read over 150 books last year, and it was a mix of bestsellers, highbrow literature, and plenty of romance that she could gobble up in a day or take sips without confusing them with her other reading. I hope I keep this habit, and once my eye is healed, I can do a mix of eBook and paper!

For Your Entertainment

cover artwork for the album Nothing to Declare by the band MGMT shows a photo of a tounf woman applying mascara using her foot instead of a hand to hold the mascara wand

The first time I went to the Bonnaroo Music Festival was 2007. It was an overwhelming experience, but I was in love with the overwhelming intensity of it all. In 2008, I returned with the same three I went with in 2007, but we had several other friends in tow. Better prepared, we had a great campsite and knew the lay of the land. I was 12 weeks pregnant, the only sober person in my party, and often ended up alone because I was prioritizing sleep, hydration, and regular snacks.

The first night, I can't recall the reason (likely a post-unpacking nap); I was walking alone through Centeroo and heard MGMT performing “Time to Pretend.” I felt in control, I felt like I was back home, and I was excited to experience Bonnaroo again in a completely different manner. Since then, every time I hear MGMT, it takes me back to that time.

Looking for a video for this Weekend Reads, I saw MGMT had a new release and had to listen. Not only did I dig the song, I loved the video, starring Inga Perry. Perry, a 24-year-old college student born without arms, is known on TikTok for spreading disability awareness. When researching more about Perry, I found that she is currently battling breast cancer (here is a link to her Instagram, and here is a link to a GoFundMe started by her family). Wishing her strength and health and hope the success of this video spreads to the talented star.

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. Ali, I really appreciate the article on food noise. This year, living in a foreign country, I finally had an orthopedic surgeon tell me my hip needed replacing (he pointed to where the cartilage used to be, and no longer is). He immediately followed up with BMI talk and how it impacts surgical outcomes, and recommended Wegovy.
    Living in Denmark, I haven’t been subject to the shortages I see in the U.S.—but I have a different problem. I’ve never really had food noise. What’s more, after four months on this drug, I’ve lost almost nothing. Articles like this one are so important, because people like me need the reminder: maybe nothing is ring it’s us…and medical science has a long way to go beyond concepts that so easily fall back on habits that make us sick or quell our joy in life.

  2. No comments yet?

    I just wanted to thank you for including so many good ideas in your Weekend Reads posts. Every singe week I am heartened by what you’ve chosen. The re-starting an old sport story was inspiring.

    I hope you continue to heal and take space for yourself after all of the garbage 2023 brought.

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