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