Weekend Reads #273

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Tracey Emin – No Time For Love - 2020
Tracey Emin, No Time For Love, 2020

I am still tinkering with the blog. It is both infuriating but also exhilarating. I have done site renovations in the past, but I paid a company thousands of dollars to do it, and then I sent them a punch list to fix anything I found wrong. I paid someone to install the new theme and framework this time but decided to do the edits myself. Not because I like things to be difficult and infuriating but because I needed growth and understanding.

I've been blogging for 19 years. I started on Google's free blogging platform, which was HTML. I Googled code and figured out how to change the color of my site and fonts, upload a logo, change the design, widths of columns, and more. In 2014 I switched from Blogger to WordPress, which was CSS not HTML and felt helpless when something looked or acted wrong on my site.

I had a high school friend who was a WordPress developer who would help me in a jam, but he didn't comprehend how blogs, especially photo-heavy blogs worked and just kept telling me to delete posts and images to fix my problems. I had a graphic designer who created one of my old logos who would help, but she was busy, and it sometimes took days to remedy an emergency mistake. I signed with a company that focused on WordPress support for fashion and lifestyle bloggers but left them last year when they both raised their rates and removed the actual WordPress support from their packages to focus on financial growth and social media.

As I get older, I find my brain struggles to add more knowledge. And over time, I have had the money to pay someone to do that, which I find difficult. But I felt far too disconnected from this site, I didn't understand how it worked or how to fix it. So, I decided to challenge my brain and try to do all of this myself. And so far, I am glad I made this difficult and infuriating decision. It feels like 2007 when I would change the look of my site sometimes on the daily, heading to Google to learn more. I'm exhausted, but I woke this morning with ideas in my head instead of stress or dread. It's fun to try something and see it work, and I feel I am exercising this middle-aged brain.

As you go through Wardrobe Oxygen, let me know if you find anything wonky. I will keep working on it to be more functional, but there are little bugs I find once in a while. And if I find some, I know there are more. Also, let me know what would make this site easier to read, navigate, and use. This renovation is to improve the site, not just to give it a “glow-up.” I thank you for your help and support!

Weekend Reads

The sexual health checkup older adults didn’t know they needed. (Washington Post – gift article)

Women and Minorities Bear the Brunt of Medical Misdiagnosis. (KFF Health News)

Devin Moss spent a year ministering to convicted killer Phillip Hancock. Together, they wrestled with one question: How to face death without God. (New York Times – gift article)

Dollar stores are killing some supermarkets. Could co-ops help cities fight back? (Fast Company)

How Cup of Jo Founder Joanna Goddard Gets It Done. (The Cut)

Privacy is the ultimate luxury. (Back Row)

If you've been looking for a lady tux or Le Smoking but struggle to find one that is quality and available in your size, check out the newest collection from Universal Standard. The company bought luxury plus size label Henning last year (Retail Dive), and in partnership, the two brands created this classic tux jacket and coordinating trousers. Sizes 00-40: I love the look and believe with Henning quality, it will be worth the price, but I personally wish it came in petite.

Why rich people don't cover their windows. (The Atlantic – gift article)

What broke the American Dream for Millennials? (CNN Business)

Malls have rebounded thanks to an unlikely source: Gen Z. (Los Angeles Times)

Why shopping influencers are flocking to Substack. (The Guardian)

How the internet reshaped itself around Google’s search algorithms — and into a world where websites look the same. (The Verge)

Breaking up with Goodreads: The best book-logging apps for 2024. (Washington Post – gift article)

Why Platformer is leaving Substack. (Platformer)

One of the greatest people I've met through blogging is Sue at Une Femme. I really like her 5-minute no-makeup makeup look for mature skin.

I’m an Ultrarunner. Taylor Swift’s Treadmill Workout Wrecked Me. (Outside)

I have no place in my home or office where this would be useful, but I keep admiring it because it's so smart and so cute. The Poplight is a rechargeable wireless LED sconce that is renter-friendly and requires no tools to install. Next to the bed for small rooms, in a reading corner, for dramatic lighting in a dining room, that bit of light at the front door… I think it's so cute I had to share!

Are you there God? It's me. I’m in menopause. (Shannon Watts)

I'm having horrible perimenopause symptoms. The most surprising one is rage. (Business Insider)

Menopause is finally going mainstream. (Time)

Annual study from Match Group of 5,000 single people finds shift in behavior since supreme court ruling on abortion. (The Guardian)

Brands find a new way to reach many consumers: Older women. (Washington Post – gift article)

And for my local yokels, these are the local James Beard Award semifinalists for 2024. (DCist)


jacqueline novak get on your knees netflix

I started watching Jacqueline Novak's Netflix comedy special, On Your Knees. A piece she has been performing for five years, her friend Natasha Lyonne directed it and helped her get it to Netflix and a bigger audience. This is a 90-minute comedy special and it is all about sex, baby. And it's not at all cliche.

a scene from Jacqueline Novak's Netflix special, Get On Your Knees

Novak is funny and poetic and has this stream of consciousness that makes you feel she took one too many edibles after drinking one too many cups of coffee. In a ponytail, plain gray t-shirt, jeans, and beat-up sneakers, she lets her work speak instead of her body or style. Her work isn't cliche in any manner; it's really fresh. But maybe I'm just too old for her delivery. I was exhausted 30 minutes in and was glad I started it with the captioning on.

A black and white photo of Jacqueline Novak and Natasha Lyonne, making tough faces at the camera
Novak and Lyonne

Many moons ago, I went to a music festival and saw Portugal the Man perform. I was underwhelmed. And then Portugal the Man came out with the album Evil Friends, which sounded like a completely different act. So crisp and fresh and inspired. This was the first album where the band collaborated with Danger Mouse. After that, my husband and I have used Danger Mouse as an example of improving upon something. This tomato sauce is good, but it needs a Danger Mouse collaboration. A bit more heat? That runway show needed Danger Mouse to edit; everything was too accessorized. I feel Jacqueline Novak needs Danger Mouse.

get on your knees 2019 jacqueline novak

I was surprised that Novak had been workshopping this piece for five years. I get her vibe, but she needed a bit more pacing. It took some time for folks to absorb what she said and be able to get out a guffaw before she went into the next joke. In 30 minutes she shared more than any comic has in an entire show. And it was all really good, but it was so fast it didn't fully land and didn't stay with me. Two days later, I want to share some of her jokes, and I can only think of general concepts. The penis is feminine, and doggy style is heading West… I can't put any of it into words or recommend it because it was all a blur. You know how you can listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed? I want to be able to watch Novak's special at half-speed. Even though I can't, I will likely finish it this weekend.

julia fox down the drain

I DNFed my book club's selection, Parachute Women. The narrator made everything sound salacious and scandalous, but it just wasn't interesting enough for me. Too many scarves and silly little boys with big egos. By chance, our book club has been focusing on biographies and autobiographies, so I suggested we read/listen to Fox's memoir next since it seemed to be truly salacious and scandalous. This Reel is what got me interested in reading it.

Julia Fox in 2023 at New York Fashion Week wearing a top and skirt made completely out of watches

When I was sharing my progress with Down the Drain on Instagram Stories, many replied, not knowing who Julia Fox was. And I get it; she isn't terribly famous, especially with the over-35 crowd. She was in the film Uncut Gems but really got on folks' radar when she was Kanye West's fashion-daring girlfriend.

uncut gems gif of juia fox

Throughout 2022, there was an amazing amount of fluff news about Julia Fox, even though she and West only dated for a few weeks. What clothes she wore and how small they were, how she did her makeup, how she was weird and did weird things folks couldn't understand. There was a soundbite of how she said, “Uncut Gems.” She really seemed to intrigue and irritate folks. So, I was game to learn more about Julia Fox.

young Julia Fox in rd shorts and a white t-shirt

Fox had a really difficult upbringing. She was also a difficult person who made decisions I, and maybe you, would not make. She is unapologetic, and she has zero filter. Fox narrates her book with a nasally monotone that makes the graphic parts seem even more shocking. And this is a hella graphic book. I'd listen to it without headphones while putting on my makeup or preparing breakfast, and my husband would walk in and look aghast. It seemed each time he entered the room, Fox was sharing some graphic and gruesome story about sex, drugs, or bodily fluids.

julia fox and kanye double denim

Folks who know Fox only because of her brief relationship with Kanye West will be disappointed it gets just as little space in the book as when they were together. It's clear she's not writing this to ride on anyone's coattails, but as she did previous times in her life, tell her story first before another. And if you go down a Google rabbit hole, you will see that this person you may not have heard of has seriously impacted style in the past year. And “Uncut Gems” is not the only word or phrase she pronounces unusually.

For Your Entertainment

Norah Jones

Norah Jones is back. Releasing her ninth album the next month, Jones said ideas for the LP Visions “Came in the middle of the night or in that moment right before sleep, and ‘Running' was one of them where you're half asleep and kind of jolted awake.” This video for “Running” was released the same day that Jones announced the upcoming album.

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. Congrats on deciding to learn how to understand and maintain your blog. Certainly a worthy use of your our time and brain space.

    That Julia Fox memoir, however….Ugh! Why read or listen to this? Just watching part of the reel shocked and sickened me.

  2. I tried to post from mobile before but it didn’t seem to take on the under construction page:

    was there a skin care sale? if so, please share link and/or code?

  3. I’m liking the new things about your blog updates, as I’m noticing them. Love the way the blog looks if I go straight to your site & how easy it is to see various categories. I wanted to see some ways you’d worn your trouser/wide leg jeans & found a few easily. It’s also very easy to see previous posts that are from the last few days, which I like, in case I missed one.

    My emails seem to be different lately—not bad—but some days, I will get an email with 2 blog posts linked to it. It might be the day after the post went live. Or, I’ll get a link for one blog post, such as WR yesterday (1-27), and then this morning, I got an email linking WR & the “blog construction” update. I’d gotten that one earlier this week as well. Not sure if it’s supposed to be this way now or not, and it’s fine if it is. Just mentioning it because it’s a change & wanted to make sure you knew.

    You did mention the font size & your planning to adjust that—please do. I have to use my readers for anything I read now but still feel like the font is a little bit small. Can I also add how impressed I am by your doing so much of the tech stuff yourself!? Very impressive! Tech stuff stresses me out & I just want it to “work” but have no clue, most of the time, how it does.

  4. Good luck, I’m sure it’s frustrating but ultimately rewarding. Request: Can you go back to using a black font instead of gray? Gray is trendy but hard to see — and for anyone with reduced vision due to illness or age or just bad luck, black is the only color that is readable. Thanks for considering.

  5. I have read your Weekend Reads for a long time. With some of the articles in this weeks offering…well, you smashed it. Thank-you for filling far more of my Sunday morning than was intended.

  6. For the past 2 or 3 days I haven’t received the usual email notifying me of new blog posts. Just wanted to let you know I’m case it’s a bug that’s also causing this to happen to other subscribers. Thank you for sharing all that you share.

    1. Thanks, Helen. I had to turn it off as the site was updated and I turned it on but it didn’t “catch.” I think I fixed the situation. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention!

    1. Thank you, Chalotte! The form isn’t working and I forgot to update the text. Edited! I also changed the subscribe page, removing the MailChimp logo and the WO logo so I hope it performs right now. This is great feedback!

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