Weekend Reads #77

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weekend reads wardrobe oxygen

I have written and deleted about five paragraphs so far. It's 9:30pm on Friday and I have writer's block. All week, my brain has been racing. Two nights I woke up with a start before 3am and couldn't get back to sleep. I've tried meditating, walking, baths, CBD, reading, yoga, and more. It's the changing of the seasons (Thursday I was sweating in short sleeves and today I'm freezing in a thick wool sweater and shearling boots), the beginning of the holiday season, and to be honest, my period. I'll be 45 at the beginning of next year and my body is starting to act like it. My periods are inconsistent; some months they last for days and other months like this one they're all light and lovely like they were in my 20s. However, I get insomnia, anxiety, and extreme fatigue. I missed the gym Tuesday and spent the entire day in baggy fleece garments, hardly able to get off the couch (good thing I work from home because I was in no condition to interact with humankind). The next day, I had so much energy I wrote two blog posts and almost emptied one of my email inboxes, went to the gym AND went for a hike and did ab rollers in the evening. Today I woke up in the best mood, accomplished so many tasks, yet I am hardly able to form a complete sentence in person let alone with my keyboard. I've talked to my doctor, I've adjusted my diet, I've already cut out alcohol and most caffeine, and they have helped but they haven't completely ended all symptoms. I'm just taking it one day at a time, and making the most of the good points during this time of the month so I can be kinder with myself during the rough days. I know I am not the only one experiencing this, I'm not sharing to whine or beg for advice, but to let those who are going through similar that they're not alone and they're not crazy. A few things that have helped me:

  • Have a regular exercise routine.  You don't need to join Cross Fit or hit the treadmill for an hour each day.  A half hour of walking, consistent yoga classes, or 30 minutes of weight training each weekday morning (my exercise of choice) makes a major impact on sleep, mood, cravings, stress, and overall wellbeing. I challenge you to see exercise not as a way to lose weight but as medicine. Once I started doing that, it was easier to stick to it and enjoy it on my terms. 
  • Cut down on alcohol. This has been the BIGGEST changemaker for me. I have maybe two drinks a month at most and it has really improved my sleep, evened my temperament, and has done wonders for my skin too.
  • Cut down on coffee. Gosh, this is hard, but I won't do more than two cups a day no matter how poorly I slept the night before. It totally messes up my sleep schedule and I end up counteracting the up with carbs, alcohol, and medication to help me sleep or relax. Again, skin is so much better with the reduction!
  • Cut out most meat. Since August, our family has gone plant-based in the house. I still occasionally have meat and dairy when I go out to eat or when visiting friends, but the reduction has evened out my period some as well as my moods while also reducing cramps and even post-gym aches.
  • Read What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause. I read this book on Kindle, it was so good I bought a paper copy so I can mark it up and fill it with post-it notes. I shared my experience with Emerita Pro-Gest Cream a while ago. I ran out, didn't re-purchase, but got back into it in September and it has really made a difference.

Every woman, her body and life are different.  She has different needs; I'm not saying what works for me will work for you. But I think it's important to share our experiences so we can learn from one another and remove the stigma of getting older and having perfectly normal reactions to it.  I want to keep this conversation going, feel free to share your experiences in the comments or in the Wardrobe Oxygen Facebook Community which is closed and may feel safer for some. 

Sale Alert

Dang, there are some goooood sales this weekend! I have to share the best of the best:

The Sephora Holiday Bonus Beauty Insider Event started today and this is the best time to stock up and consider holiday gifts now while there is good selection.  What does this mean?  If you are a Sephora Rouge member, through November 11th save 20% off your order with promo code HOLIDAYSAVE.  From November 7th through the 11th, VIB members will get 15% off and Beauty Insider Members will get 10% off with the same promo code.  If you're not a Beauty Insider with Sephora, it's free to join and clearly, with these deals, it's worth the time to sign up.  If you're not a member you can sign up now at this link and come the 7th you'll get 10% off.

  • If you are a member already, after spending minimum of $350 per calendar year on Sephora products, your Beauty Insider membership gets bumped up to the VIB level. if you spend at least $1,000 spend amount per calendar year, you'll get bumped up to the Rouge membership pool (where free custom makeovers, access to invite-only events, and the best year-round Sephora deals live).  This may seem like a lot, but someone like me who doesn't buy a ton of Sephora products but does buy Sephora gifts for others, especially at Christmas, has been able to maintain VIB level for two years. I usually only shop during these sales, and often stock up on my favorites to make it worthwhile.
  • Speaking of favorites, here's what I buy during these sales:
    • Living Proof Dry Shampoo – with dark hair and curly hair that I don't brush, I am hella picky about my dry shampoo.  This stuff is amazing, doesn't leave my hair ashy or sticky and doesn't smell super strong.  I always keep the travel size in my toiletries kit, it's great for refreshing hair after a long flight.
    • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate – Especially with the dry air of winter and fall, this stuff is amazing for hydrating for happy, plum, glowing skin when I wake.  Only a couple drops are necessary, one bottle lasts for months.
    • Kiehl's Line-Reducting Concentrate – This with the Midnight Recovery Concentrate on my face every night for a couple of months made the age spot on my cheek almost completely disappear. Nothing else has been as effective.  I am out, and am buying a bottle during this sale! 
    • NARS Blush in ‘Sex Appeal' – When I turned 30 I began using NARS blush in ‘Orgasm' and found it transformative.  However, once I hit 40 it just seemed too bright and too shimmery.  ‘Sex Appeal' is the softer, more muted older sister of ‘Orgasm' and gives me a natural, youthful flush without any glitter. I haven't found any lower-priced dupe and think the color is so good the price is worth it.  Also, NARS blush is the only blush I can use until 99% of it is gone; no crumbling or getting weird.  I totally get my money's worth.
    • NARS Lipstick in ‘Pigalle' – If you want your lipcolor, only a bit darker and more elegant and you have similar coloring to me, this is a perfect lipstick.  It's not sticky or shiny or shimmery.  It's matte but not drying. It's my favorite everyday lipstick, and also is great in the evening with a gloss over it. Again, I haven't found a cheaper dupe and believe me, I've tried.
    • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer – I'm always looking for something with a bit more coverage than a traditional tinted moisturizer, but not as heavy as a foundation or even a BB Cream. I tried this on a whim… and am obsessed.  It's exactly what I've been looking for, evening out my skintone and giving a bit of a glow without covering my freckles or making me look like a disco ball.  A lot of foundations irritate my skin or cause me to break out, I've never had an issue with this. I wear ‘St. Moritz', but in about a month may have to go to a paler shade for my winter complexion.
    • Fenty Gloss Bomb in ‘Fenty Glow' – I pretty much swore off lipgloss, finding it messy and juvenile and complicated.  Then I tried this and now I wear gloss again.  I wear it on its own for a bit of shine on a casual day.  I wear it over ‘Pigalle' and many of my reds for shine while toning down the color a bit. It feels good, it doesn't smell gross, your hair doesn't get stuck in it, and each time you pull it out of your bag to touch up, someone will exclaim, “I use that too!  Isn't it the BEST???” Seriously, I've had women of all ages and skintones from across the room race over to share their love for this gloss. 
    • Kevyn Aucoin Lash Curler – The best lash curler on the market.  If you haven't bought a new lash curler in a while, you need to replace them because they get stretched out and the pads need to be replaced every six months or so.  Even if you don't wear mascara you may find a lash curler opens up your eyes and makes your lashes look more prominent.
    • Sephora Gift Sets – Have a teen or young adult you need to shop for?  A friend who recently got a new job, retired, or is in a new place in her life? Or maybe you want to treat yourself?  Sephora's gift sets are legendary.  They separate them by pricepoint (plenty of $10 and less gifts, it's not all pricey), by category, and even have a quiz to help you find the perfect gift.  For a friend or for yourself, I always love Sephora's gift set of their bestsellers, all in travel sizes so you can test out without a ton of retail regret. 

J. Crew has 30% off what they call their “wear-now styles” which are at this link. Use promo code SOGOOD at checkout.  

Talbots has buy one sweater, get the second 50% off with promo code COZY.  All the items in this sale are available at this link.

Neiman Marcus has their First Call Sale with up to 40% off a lot of really great wear-now items at this link.  If you think of Neiman's as being out of your pricerange, it's worth checking this sale.  There are over 52 pages of sale, so at this link I limited it to only items $100 or less that are also available in at least a size large that are wear-now categories, eliminitating lingerie. I know specific, but this is how I shop for myself and I thought it may be helpful for you. I'm eyeing these gorgeous Natori pajamas for more than 50% off, this simple yet chic jumpsuit from NIC + ZOE that can easily transform for every event on your holiday calendar, this Eileen Fisher tunic, and this four-way cardigan.

J.Jill has $50 off any order of $150 or more, and $100 off any order of $250 or more.  Use promo code INSTYLE at checkout.

Lane Bryant has a deal this weekend only – pants at this link are only $39 and jeans at this link are only $45!  Lane Bryant's jeans are amazing for fit, if you haven't tried them lately this is a good chance to do so!

Skincando is an amazing organic skincare line that is woman-owned and DC-based.  This weekend they are offering 15% off with promo code TREAT15 at checkout.  Read my Skincando cleanser review; I have used and am partial to their Aloe Foaming Cleanser, Eye Balm, Spot Treatment, and Combat-Ready Balm.

Weekend Reads

Want to see the future in a positive light?  Then check out those recognized in Teen Vogue's 21 Under 21: The Young People Changing the World. (Teen Vogue)

Speaking of the people of our future, they don't have much appreciation for how the Baby Boomer generation treats them, and I can't say I blame them. I swear, every day I receive a comment on social or this blog criticizing youth these days – their fashion, their activism, their work ethic. I really wonder what young adults they're around and if they recall that adults likely thought the very thing about them. “They underestimate us a lot just because of our age and how we’re growing up. They think we’re given everything, but I think another thing they don’t realize is that they're making decisions for our future and they aren’t really taking responsibility for it, and I think ‘OK boomer’ is kind of an accountability check.” Know your meme. (NBC)

I adore Kristine from TrendyCurvy.  I met her when we both were in a Gwynnie Bee infomercial and have loved following her since.  I'm thrilled to report she has started her own plus-size clothing line!  Check out the KIN by Kristine collection at this link.

However you feel about either or both of her parents, you can't deny that Chelsea Clinton has grown up to be quite a fascinating (and IMO, badass) woman. (The Cut)

A necessary medication to treat children (and adults) with cancer is in short supply.  The reason? Greed. Learn more, get angry, and share. (New York Times)

After our cashmere discussion last week, I am even more curious about Cuyuna's recycled cashmere.  Cuyuna partnered with a Bologna-based mill to upcycle sweaters out of existing fibers in only three colors.  Their process uses no extra dyes and eliminates excess usage of water and energy. The three new styles are crafted using a composition of 95% recycled cashmere and 5% virgin wool, the latter of which is added to supposedly preserve the sweaters’ sophisticated structures. You can see the whole collection and learn more at this link. Cuyuna sells high-quality ethically-made bags and clothing (unfortunately their clothing only goes up to XL). 

On Twitter, someone shared the previous lives of the building that now holds City Winery in DC.  It made me think of the club I used to frequent senior year of high school and the first year or two of college: Tracks.  I went down an Internet rabbit hole and found this 2013 article from the Washington Blade. I can still recall the time I went with friends, came out of the bathroom and literally slammed into… my boyfriend, who is now my husband.  I didn't know he also went there! Did any of you ever go to Tracks back in the late '80s and/or early '90s? (Washington Blade)

This week I finished Modern Love, an eight-episode series available on Amazon Prime. Based on the New York Times column of the same name, each episode shares a different story about love in New York City. Call me a cynic, but any time something is promoted to death everywhere I look, I assume it needs the promotion because it can't stand on its own. So I was late to watching this series.  But I'm trying to instill a habit of work-free Sunday and on a recent Sunday, while my husband went for a run and my daughter was at a friend's house, I decided to check it out.  And I binged three episodes in a row.  Earlier this week I finished the last episode of the series.  It's charming, not too controversial, some will make you cry but not all of them, it's not too cheesy, showcases a variety of people dealing with very real issues in their lives, and was a delight to watch.  If you watch the series and are curious about the people in the stories, Esquire tracked down the real-life people the episodes are based on to see where they are now.

For Your Entertainment

I can't deny it, I love HAIM. “Days Are Gone” continues to be one of those albums I can play from start to finish again and again without hating it.  And I'm not hating their song, “Now I'm In It” which is featured in their latest video which came out this week. It fits with the topic I shared at the beginning of this post, though at first glance it may feel like a breakup song. Per Danielle, this is the meaning of the song: “Now I’m In It is about going through it. A depression. Not leaving the house type of shit. For my sisters and I, there have been times in our lives where we have felt like we are stuck in a dark hole. This track speaks to that emotion. The track is chaotic- like my mind when I’m spiraling. fast-talking to myself- words jumbled up. heartbeat racing. These times are hard to forget and even harder to work through. After being constantly on the go the past couple years, I didn’t wanna stop and deal with some shit. Also, every day my sisters and I feel so fucking lucky that we get to do this for a living!!! It seemed like stopping and dealing with these emotions would be letting everyone down. But every time I’ve been depressed- it takes me accepting that I need help, to start to get out of it. It’s gotten a little easier as I have gotten older to recognize the symptoms and remind myself that when this happens, I need to seek help. (shout out to my therapist!!) Anyway, we all know it’s important to talk about this stuff. This one poured out of us. Take care of yourself. Be nice to yourself. And thank the ones around you that help u everyday. Hope this helps anyone who is in it right now.”

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. Years ago the “Boomers” thought their own parents’ generation was too staid, too racist, too ready to waste their lives in a war , the motto was “never trust anyone over 30.” Nothing new under the sun here.
    I will say that the Thursday/Friday weather, going from oppressively humid, stormy, then chill Fall was hard on my sinuses. I’m glad it’s cooled off, but now I’m feeling a bit dried out b/c the heat is on.

    1. Exactly, how soon we forget that we were thinking the same about the generations before us! It’s a tale as old as time, an older generation finds the younger generation lazy and entitled, the younger generation finds the older too conservative and out of touch!

  2. I appreciate being able to count on the wonderful info in your Weekend Reads. I always welcome reading about your personal experience and other information when you write about exercise, food choices, and menopause.

  3. OMG, Tracks! I Fun place back in the 80s. I remember I felt very adventurous going there, as a sheltered girl from the suburbs. Thanks for the memory!

  4. As a 57 year old woman/WO fan, I am so glad I get to share this information with Allie’s wide audience. At 56 and still menstruating, I, too was struggling will all of Alison’s symptoms. I was finally considering traditional HRT, something I’m really not comfortable with but I was really desperate. I was at the end of my rope when I decided to try acupuncture. I found a practitioner who specialized in women’s issues, including fertility. WITHIN 2 SESSIONS of acupuncture (as well as taking the Chinese herbs she recommended) I was sleeping and my hot flashes and mood swings had completely disappeared. I had stopped drinking alcohol a year prior, was drinking one cup of coffee early in the morning, getting plenty of exercise…all the other things that are recommended and nothing was helping. Until acupuncture. I quickly googled just now and found this article, https://www.webmd.com/menopause/news/20190220/acupuncture-could-help-ease-menopausal-symptoms but there are many that back up these claims if anyone needs further convincing. Acupuncture is not at all painful and in fact I always feel very relaxed and restored after a session. If you are struggling with meno symptoms I strongly recommend you try it.

      1. I would love to hear about your experience if you try it! I think this info is really important to get out to women. I have been incredibly frustrated by the lack of solid info on non-HRT menopause relief, and yet my acupuncturist says my results are very typical—so women need to know. I’m happy it’s reached a blogger with a large platform. It’s a damn miracle!

  5. I wasn’t sure whether to send this because I know that bloggers receive a lot of health advice, and you said that you weren’t specifically asking for advice, so please disregard if this is not helpful. That said, I was experiencing many of the same symptoms as you from perimenopause. I am a sound sleeper who all of a sudden was waking up multiple times a night and had very serious anxious thoughts where previously I had very little anxiety. I was recommended a supplement called DIM Detox and it has helped so much. Night sweats and anxious thoughts are gone and even my moodiness around my period (lifelong symptom) has eased.

    I heard about it in the Forever 35 FB group. I know you are there sometimes because you made a very kind comment to me once (I felt like I had spoken to a celebrity!), so if you would like to know more, I would look there. Hope this is helpful!

  6. Love Weekend Reads and had to chime re: Modern Love. I, too, was hesitant about it. I love the column and was afraid they’d ruin it. The Dev Patel/Catherine Keener episode was so lovely, I wanted to rewatch it immediately. I have a few left, but that one really stayed with me.

    1. I loved that episode as well, as well as the one with the older couple towards the end. (I won’t say any more than that here because you may not have seen that one yet!)

        1. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t catch the fact that there were a number of men of color, but no women. That certainly says something about my own blinders. Thanks to the link to the article!

  7. I have felt the same this week. I think it is the weather – I always feel this way right before the clocks turn back each year. I have been lethargic, eating poorly, and not going for walks during the day. Last night I walked home from work, which made me feel better.

    I agree that exercise needs to be thought of as medicine, especially as we get older. Just going for a walk during lunch works wonder for your mood and your sleep. When I can’t walk during lunch, I notice the difference. I think of exercising like brushing my teeth or showering. Something vital that needs to just get done, regardless of how I may feel at that moment. And I will likely feel better after.

    By the way, have you checked out Ann Taylor Factory online? My co-worker tipped me off about it. So nice to be able to find work and age appropriate basics at a reasonable price.

  8. I went to Tracks in about 1986 when I was visiting some friends in DC. I had forgotten all about it until you mentioned it.
    Fun times!

  9. I love HAIM! My two sisters and I watch this video (Want You Back) and laugh about who’s who at least once/month (I’m the tall, uptight, less coordinated one, LOL).


    I’m also a fan of Nars lipstick. My daughter just took me shopping and we picked out Nars Jolie Mome, which is just about the most perfect lipstick, ever. No fragrance, great color, smooth application. I think I’ll stock up b/c who knows…

    I love your Weekend Reads. So fun. Thank you!

  10. That whole “time of the month” thing… I totally get you. While a radical hysterectomy made some things better, menopause at 45 was a bit jarring. And if I’d been more educated, some choices might’ve been different.

    And HAIM! Yes, girl! I had the pleasure of first hearing them at a Gentlemen of the Road Stopover (Mumford & Sons music festival) and they were amazing! I’m so happy to see their success and appreciate how they are not afraid to talk about the back side of it.

    1. I SO agree with this. The numbers at which younger people vote is super disappointing. Especially when you look at how vocal/active they APPEAR on social media.

        1. Which traces back to the Supreme Court decision ruling Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, with its “preclearance” requirement which didn’t just apply to Southern states – it also applied to Wisconsin for example – unconstitutional.

          The president may appoint nominees to the Court, but the Senate confirms appointees. And Republican Senates pull all sorts of things to block Democratic nominees. Remember Merrick Garland who couldn’t even get a hearing?

          So don’t forget the Senate. Something like 22 Republican Senators are up for election in 2020. Defeating 5 (I’m assuming Doug Jones loses) flips the Senate. Susan Collins gets all the headlines, but there are also targets in Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, & Georgia because those states are trending blue or the incumbents are polling poorly $/or having trouble fundraising.

    2. But even the link you shared showed that younger generations have been voting at much smaller numbers than older generations for… well generations https://civicyouth.org/quick-facts/youth-voting/ Younger people have always voted less than older people. I can recall as a youth I didn’t vote regularly because I didn’t know how to vote when I wasn’t home while at college, because I worked the kind of job where I didn’t have off to vote, and more. I know that happens at all ages, but I think it happens a lot with younger adults just not knowing; I remember seeing a video somewhere from last year where younger generations often didn’t know their voting place because they moved so often. And on top of that, there has been an uptick in the youth voting as of recent: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/11/youth-turnout-midterm-2018/575092/

      1. You are right about people not knowing. I was shocked in 2015 when I discovered how many people – and it was not just young people – don’t know how to register to vote, don’t know the deadlines, don’t know when Election Day is, don’t know where to vote, don’t know how to apply for absentee voting/absentee ballot, don’t know how our presidential election & the electoral college works. Civics education is sorely lacking in our schools – and it wasn’t like it was great when I was in public school in the 70s. But a couple of years my class got a tour of a voting station, how the old metal machines worked, got to cast pretend ballots in them. And my parents are pro voting, so I have been registered to vote & voting since the first general election I was eligible to vote in. It was as big a milestone, bigger really since I don’t drink, as being eligible to buy alcohol.

        But this is the era of the Internet & google. It can all be easily looked up.

        And you can now register to vote online. It’s no longer necessary to take a trip to the probate judge’s office in the local courthouse. https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/

  11. I just got that split neck sweater from Talbots. It arrived right before we had our first frost – almost a killing frost. So I tried it out the next day at work.

    It’s soft & cozy. Great tunic length. Not too hot at work (I was afraid it would be); when it gets even colder I’d wear a cami underneath to make it even warmer.

    Oh, and the previous incarnation of cowl necks was when I was in high school. I have no nostalgia for 40 year old styles & tend to avoid them. But the zipper makes this not what I wore then.

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