Weekend Reads #93

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Last year was my first year buying health insurance for my family through the Maryland healthcare exchange.  When I quit my day job, I went on COBRA for the first year, finding its ridiculous cost actually cheaper than anything available through the ACA.  Last year, the ACA was cheaper thanks to more people using it, and I got us on a plan with Kaiser Permanente.  If you haven't used Kaiser, it's a plan where most everything is covered as long as you go to their facilities and their doctors.  In my area, a whole building is dedicated to Kaiser care; the pharmacy, the lab, the doctors, the specialists.  I can get a blood test and walk down the hall for my pap smear and go downstairs to get my allergies checked out and then at the exit pick up my prescriptions.  I never experienced that before and loved the convenience but hated not being able to pick a new doctor when I didn't like the one available. And I did not like one of my doctors and didn't like the one for my child. As a family, we went to the doctors a total of three times in 2019 and it just seemed so expensive especially for providers we didn't trust or respect so this year I switched us to a high-deductible plan under a different insurance plan that costs half as much.  We're saving the difference to use for any out-of-pocket costs, but other than taking our child to her annual visit and to get her 11-year-old vaccines, I haven't really done much with our healthcare for 2020.

And then my dear friend got cervical cancer.  It was caught at her annual, and because she went to her scheduled well-woman visit, they caught it so early she had a hysterectomy, but does not need further chemo or radiation.  If she didn't have her pap on time, it likely would have been far worse.  So this week I got up close and personal with my new insurance and made myself doctor's appointments to be sure all is well.  And I'm writing about this to motivate you to do the same if you haven't recently.  As women we often put ourselves last, but if we aren't here or in the best condition, we can't care for others.  We can't be badass boss women.  We can't change this world for the better.  So take care of your health, it's the best gift you can give to those you love the most.

Weekend Reads

Over the years, many of you have asked for a way to support Wardrobe Oxygen without having to click on links or visit the site directly (for reference this is how blogs like mine make money). I've felt really awkward about it, but I saw another influencer set up a “Buy me a Coffee” account and I felt this was pretty unobtrusive. If you wish to have a way to support Wardrobe Oxygen and keep the great content coming, you can always buy me a coffee.  Thank you.  I've been doing this for 15 years and it continues to blow my mind that anyone wishes to pay for this content; I am honored to have you read and support my work! 

You may have heard this week about Rage Baking; it's a book that is coming out.  I highly recommend you read this piece by Tangerine Jones, the woman who actually started it all. (Medium)

Meet the new class of beauty pros bringing real inclusivity to fashion runways. (Vogue)

The case against italicizing “foreign” words. (Catapult)

Fat women onscreen deserve better than crappy love interests. (Buzzfeed)

Oh snap! I did a Facebook campaign with Shipt two years ago and with it got a free annual membership.  I transferred it to my mom; it was a great way for her to be able to get heavier and bulkier items like laundry detergent and toilet paper without having to carry them herself. It's a great concept, but I hate that they're doing this to their gig employees. (Vice)

An interview with stylist, iconic Harlem boutique owner, designer, tastemaker, and fashionable mom Ashlee Muhammad. (The Cut)

“We know we shouldn’t treat women’s bodies like they’re somebody’s property, and that extends to medicine.” Med students are performing pelvic exams on unconscious, non-consenting patients. (New York Times)

Tennessee lawmakers worried women will hoard tampons.  Insert eyeroll emoji. (Vox)

This is the weirdest investigative longread I've read in a long time. How memes on Facebook are tied to scam dating websites that are tied to… NASA? (Snopes)

British TV and radio presenter Caroline Flack passed away this weekend. I didn't know her work, but every time I log into any social media I find individuals who did not know Flack personally share very intense thoughts on what kind of person she was and how they feel about her passing, often trying to be funny.  It has made me incredibly sad and uncomfortable and makes me think of the small-scale criticism I've encountered over my years as a public blogger and the criticism my friends and peers have received.  I haven't known how to write about it, especially since I am not terribly familiar with Flack and do not wish to misrepresent or take advantage of this tragedy.  So I link to Jane Cunningham who stated it quite well. (British Beauty Blogger)

Are you a rockstar founder or co-founder of a company?  Are you over 50? Did you start this work after 40?  If so you may be eligible to apply for AARP's Purpose Prize Award.  Click here to learn more and let me know if you applied!

See, Hear, Read

I don't get a chance to listen to podcasts as much as I used to when I had a work commute.  This weekend, I went to an event in Northern Virginia which had a 40-minute drive there and a bit over an hour to get home so I was able to catch up on a few of my favorites.  One of my favorites is Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations and the most recent one is with Tracee Ellis Ross.  Tracee is 47, a style icon, an award-winning actress, a director and producer, CEO, and she's living life on her terms.  You could say she was born with a sequined spoon in her mouth (her mom is Diana Ross) but she chose to forge her own path.  She discusses being loud, not being conventionally pretty, being single over 40, starting her own haircare brand, and just living a vibrant life and I found is entertaining and inspiring, far more so than many other celebrity interviews. It's 43 minutes and not too heavy on the commercials (thank you for that skip 30-second option so you can miss all the WW promotion) but I think you'll enjoy it. 

For Your Entertainment

Mikayla Simpson who is known as Koffee, is a 20-year-old singer, rapper, songwriter, and guitarist from Spanish Town, Jamaica.  She just won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album for her EP, Rapture and was the first woman to ever win this award. Koffee sang in church choirs and at age 12 taught herself how to play guitar. Like many in the past decade, Koffee gained popularity thanks to her videos on YouTube, especially “Legend,” a song in 2017 that was a tribute to Usain Bolt. Koffee's songs tell stories of the violence and social problems she witnessed growing up and political issues like gun violence but also share her faith and gratitude. Harry Styles picked Koffee to open for him for parts of his North American tour this year. While I usually share a music video, I felt the best way to showcase Koffee is with her recent NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

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 don’t agree with the author of the italics article. I use italics in a completely different way than what she is complaining about. I have to agree with a couple of posters on Catapult in that some folks look for offense under every rock and politicize everything. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

    I write a lot of casual software use instructions. I say casual because I don’t intend to write a proper manual for publishing. I am writing for a particular group of Users that I train and provide a Help Desk for. I use italics to emphasize important parts of the instructions and to point out common mistakes. Perhaps I am not using italics correctly but what I doing is of help to the people I work with so I will probably continue with this practice.

  2. Thanks for the powerful article byTangerine Jones ands a great post in general. I forwarded the TJ article to a friend who is a chef and food anthropologist. He sent this in return: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/feeling-down-scientists-say-cooking-and-baking-may-help-you-feel-better-180961223/ Tangerine stresses the aspects of tradition, community, dialogue, and appropriation, but this might partly explain why she was drawn to baking as an avenue.

  3. Thanks for posting about Rage Baking. Although our circumstances are different, much of the first paragraph of Jones’ post resonated with me as a queer woman. I was looking around for a way to write the authors or Simon & Schuster when I came across this Eater article, which provides that the authors are going to acknowledge Jones in the next edition: https://www.eater.com/cookbooks/2020/2/19/21142732/rage-baking-tangerine-jones-racial-injustice-controversy-explained. Although some of the damage cannot be undone, I’m glad that they are acknowledging it and moving in the right direction.

  4. Can I recommend a podcast? “How to Fail” by Elizabeth Day. She’s a UK journalist and she interviews all kinds of people about the 3 biggest ‘failures’ in their life and how they learnt from them and went on to succeed. It’s really interesting and thought-provoking and some of the interviewees are fascinating!

  5. Allie – I’m in SoCal and have had Kaiser for about 30+ years, all throughout my working years and now into retirement. I hear my friends stories about their health insurance and it is abysmal. I would never switch from Kaiser as I have been totally satisfied. If you are not happy with your current doctor(s) you can switch any time. You can also rotate within locations. My main medical office is somewhat busy so I request an appointment at another location; back and forth for my convenience. 24-hour walk-in urgent care. 24-hour pharmacy. I haven’t heard of any other provider that is so patient friendly. Definitely keep requesting different doctors until you find a good match. Ask Members Services if they have the booklet that lists all the doctors, their specialties, pictures and other bio information. Stay with Kaiser!!. I recently picked up a pain medication prescription. Can you believe, $.69. The most I pay for all medications is $7.00 unless it is name brand, which I have never needed. And office appointments are only $5.00. GO Kaiser.

    1. Kaiser started in CA and only recently branched out so it makes sense that their coverage and offerings would be more robust there.

  6. Buy me a coffee-brilliant! Health insurance, ah, what a mess. Daughter qualifies for pretty decent subsidy now under ACA, but when she marries late this year, going forward she will lose it due to joint income determines subsidy. He has insurance through employer, but has to pay half, and all of spouse. She is only 28 but has a slew of health issues due to auto accident when she was ten. Navigating the system trying to fit her various doctors in is daunting. I just found out last week two women in mid-40s I know diagnosed with breast cancer. Listen to Alison, ladies, get the wellness check ups and mammograms!

  7. I always look forward to weekend reads – I’m drinking coffee in bed and clicking through your links, one of my favorite ways to start a weekend. I’m a longtime reader and truly appreciate your work. I frequently use your affiliate links but like the idea of buying a coffee! Your honesty about how you monetize the blog makes me want to support it even more.

  8. As a physician I loved that you included several things in this post. First, the importance of putting aside savings/HSA funds for healthcare expenses in a high-deductible plan. Hopefully one day we will health care coverage deserving of being a developed country but until them people need to be ready for financial distress. I see too many middle class people say that can’t save, when I know they can. It’s hard, but I’ve seen too many people devastated by relatively small emergencies to not support saving a few thousand for that unexpected ER visit or test.

    Also, the whole medical student and vaginal exams thing is a bit strange. Consents for gynecologic procedures should include exam under anesthesia and at a teaching hospital I would expect possible a single medical student to do an exam under anesthesia in a situation where the exam is also being done for medical purposes by an attending. I have never been to any non-gynecologic surgery were a vaginal exam was performed by anyone.I was also shocked to find out not everyone’s medical school acted that way, but medicine has a long history of shady practices in general.

  9. ~and while i appluad Tenn for considering adding tampons and pads to their tax free WEEKEND, if you’re living pay check to pay check, are you really going to be able to buy more than 1or 2 months supply at a time. lets get serious, this isn’t going to change the states or its citizens bottom line.

    1. Exactly. Who except the 10-percenters with enough McMansion space for a year’s supply too?!?
      Heh, this made me remember Elaine’s sponge hoarding.

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