Weekend Links

“Do what we can, summer will have its flies.”
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ducklings, the weekend is upon us! Jeff and I are off frolicking, planning our summer, and generally goofing off whilst avoiding the internet and news. Go do something pleasant and pointless and here’s some weekend reading to get you through while you do.

Let’s kick this of on a positive note, shall we?  Cute babies and great hats!

He’s not well liked or respected over here, my friends.

Megan Rapinoe is justifiably riding high with the whole Womens National Team, but this profile on her relationship with her brother shows a softer side to the certified bad ass and had me tearing up at my desk.

Throw Epstein and every single powerful, hideous, power-abusing creep he ever associated with into the sun. Every. Last. One. Turn their privilege and power upside own and bury them under the weight.

Meanwhile, give this woman every single award.

The New Yorker, asking the huge questions.

Holy crap!

Really not the news I wanted to be following after watching Chernobyl

First the bloggers, now the influencers!

In related news, influence is for sale and we have data.

What a fascinating piece on Big–er–Big Cats?

Diplomacy matters. For a long time I was an American in the UK without a representing ambassador, and now Britain’s envoy to the States has resigned when his private assessments of the Washington DC climate and Trump administration leaked.

And yet…for all that, there are times I say thank god he’s bad at his job and steps all over his own administration’s messaging.

BOY BYE.

Who has a chunk of change and wants to buy me a present? Because I am lusting after this single ear piece!

I’m still really, really undecided about the whole CRISPR thing…I just think we don’t quite understand what we’re tinkering around with enough to be messing about in the genome yet.

Toxic masculinity is wild and messing with your carbs.

White supremacy is even wilder and more ridiculous. Dangerous and malignant, don’t get me wrong, but also fundamentally ridiculous.

Yes, short answer.

Interesting read. Tangentially, I just learned the other day that a coworker of mine was actually studying to become a nun before she ended up going into the British Army instead and we had a fantastic conversation about women, religion, feminism, and vocations as a result of this discovery.

What a pleasant, pleasing story!

Damn, after saying I’m not a general fan of the Disney liveaction remakes last week, I’m officially excited for this one.

Finally, meet my new favorite Twitter feed. It’s summer, drink your water!

Weekend Links

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” 
― Desmond Tutu

It’s PRIDE weekend in London, my kittens. Go out and party or protest accordingly.

Here’s your weekend reading when you need to take a break from either.

This is extremely my jam.

This first person essay of gender transition and the role pop culture can play in it is deeply poignant.

Cher is everything.

Another week, another brilliant Tiny Desk Concert that left me gasping.

This piece gripped me. Modern media is a strange thing, and so are the people who run it.

One of my brothers sometimes volunteers at an area clinic that services rural communities and he’s shared some really humbling stories. I happen to believe there is no excuse for the wealthiest country in the world to have the discrepancy in healthcare that we do.

Baby elephant!

The end of an era and some people are mad.

Hold people accountable for rape. How the hell is this so hard?!

I am deeply invested in the stories of teenage girls who fight back. They will save us all.

Disney announced the casting of a beautiful and talented woman of color in the role of Ariel in the upcoming live action remake of The Little Mermaid, and some white people on Twitter decided to be upset about it. A few thoughts. These live action remakes are unnecessary. The Little Mermaid is trash and I’m smug that from a young age (we’re talking five years old), I thought Ariel was an idiot for giving up her literal voice for some dude she had never met. Finally, racists can stay mad and I hope this makes half a billion dollars at the box office. Also, please cast Keanu.

Democracy is a wild trip, ya’ll.

In Mormon news, the LDS church’s rebrand one year on–after which both the terms “mormon” and “LDS” are no longer acceptable. How this change played out practically and logistically, and what it means for the community of the faithful. Though no longer a member or believer, I still claim the term “mormon” as the one that best encompasses the much wider history of the religious movements associated with the faith tradition…and therefore still has the space for a heretic and apostate like me.

Also in Mormon news, scholar Jana Reiss takes on a common misconception and trope around people who leave the LDS church and their subsequent feelings towards the institution.

Also ALSO in Mormon news: this.

Warning about some less than savory photos. “The Border Patrol Facebook group is the most recent example of some law enforcement personnel behaving badly in public and private digital spaces.” We BADLY need to reexamine law enforcement in this country.

Drag queens have always been with us. Thank god.

Hmm….

I have seen this movie and I’m positive it does not end well.

An update from last week. Outrage works, but it’s still fucked up this was even possible.

BRB, bathing in male tears.

I still struggle to explain America to non-Americans. Articles like this make me wonder if I’m even qualified to try!

Yikes, stay safe, Californian ducklings.

HAHAHAHAHAHA. We’re doomed.

Asking the good questions

Let’s end on a positive note, shall we? Jeff and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary this week and while I’d never claim to be any kind of authority on love, I think this piece by the Great and Good Caitlin Moran sums up our take on it pretty nicely.

 

What’s in My Makeup Bag, Round Two

“I believe it’s perfectly normal to love both lipstick and literature, to be a woman who paints her nails while shouting at Question Time.” 
― Sali Hughes, Pretty Honest

Over a year ago I spilled the contents of my makeup bag and out of the blue the other day, I remembered that post and wondered if there would be any major differences to what I’m schlepping around with me today. Only one way to find out!

Same bag, same vibe: late medieval melancholy mixed with mirth:

There are also some other sames. Still have blotting papers, period products (duh), a mini sewing kit, and safety pins. These save social lives, people. I also have the same Anne Boleyn hand mirror, because if you aren’t carrying a Tudor icon in your bag, who even are you to me?!

A few recent additions include pain killers, a stain remover cleansing wipes, and a thumb drive because what I’ve needed to be this past month is connected at work, and cleaned up at a moment’s notice!

Some noticeable differences pop up however, especially because it’s currently summer instead of spring as in the last edition. In hot weather I need products or items that are quick and easy to use, and don’t require any kind of precision at all, as sun and sweat inevitably conspire to undo any kind of work I’ve put in to make myself presentable. I’ve replaced a moisturizer with a sunscreen, because I burn incredibly quickly in direct sunlight and in the high days of summer when I’m spending hours outside (especially at the weekend), I need to have my protection on hand. I try to make it a priority to walk home from work in the warm weather when my schedule allows, which could mean up to an hour and a half in the sun. I burned badly once doing that and have been paranoid and over-prepared ever since.

I’ve actually used up most of the products shown from last year’s dump, including all of the lip products except the Glossier gloss which is still going strong. These days I’m only carrying around two lip products, both of them Charlotte Tilbury matte lipsticks (don’t be alarmed by the category, the formula and feel is extremely velvety) in a bright orange-y red and a reliable nude, and both of which have appeared in my previously monthly favorites. My cream blush from last year is also still going strong (I’m convinced I’ll be buried in it), but it’s not in my on-the-go bag at the moment and has been replaced by some sample sized items from MILK which do very well for multipurpose makeup needs.

Basic mints have been replaced by mouthwash tabs from Lush, which I purchased as a midday remedy against coffee or lunch breath. And also because it’s named for the iconic cocktail in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide the the Galaxy series, which is extremely my jam. Yes, I bought it for the name alone and no, I’ve had no regrets about this decision.

Indulge my prurience and tell me what you carry around with you. I’m genuinely curious and interested!

Year of Discipline: June

“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” 
― Abraham Joshua Heschel

Another month gone, another check in on goals. This was not a brilliant month, but it was a steady one and that feels like a big improvement on spring during which I felt scattered and all over the place. Jeff and I have both made it through some big work projects which had been consuming a lot of energy, and are now able to turn our attentions towards the pleasures of the summer. We’ve got a wedding coming up, a potential move to plan, and our anniversary trip to arrange. Immigration work is skipping along and for now at least, we’ve got an overabundance of vitamin D. Life’s okay.

General Motivation: A middling month, the first half I remained consumed with work but in the second I was able to start doing things I mentioned in my last update like exercise and cooking.

Health: This month was much better when it comes to food and I did finally get back into an exercise routine in the second half of June by scheduling classes at my gym and prioritizing them. I have the bonus of having a family wedding this summer to look good for, and this provided some much needed motivation to focus on. Thanks, little brother #2!

Financial: This month, we consolidated our remaining debt. It was a big change and was possible due to a generous and unsolicited offer from my dad to cosign on a plan to help us get a very good rate. This means we can drastically switch up our monthly household budget and make better progress in paying down debt by throwing the same amount of money at it for better returns. This is what left me somewhat staggered and weepy earlier in the month, and frankly just awash with gratitude.

Whew *wipes eyes* let’s press on, shall we? When it comes to personal spending, I did buy myself some beauty products this month using my personal cash budget. When my ban officially lifted on my birthday, I only had eyes for one item which I decided to get as a “Hey, you’re 33, have a present!” gift to myself. It’s a beautiful creamy sort of bronzer which doesn’t give you pigment so much as glow. It’s very extra, not at all necessary, but lovely for summer. The sheer gorgeousness of the packaging doesn’t hurt either! I also asked X to pick up a couple of items for me in the States that I’m unable to source here in the UK, and will get to pick up when I’m Stateside later this summer, and an eyeliner. I’m flirting with another unnecessary but totally lovely lipstick just for giggles. Finally I bought a pair of blue jeans, which believe it or not I didn’t have since I ripped my last pair months ago. But black jeans in summer won’t cut it, so I add that to my year long tally. I’m clearly well into ridiculous summer frivolity!

Happy birthday to me!

Grooming: A comparatively good hair month. I took the advice of some work colleagues with excellent hair and tried a couple of new drugstore products that have kept frizz at bay as the weather warms up. I still hate doing it. This month I also had to switch up my makeup for summer, but British summers being what they are, we’ve sometimes experienced what seems like all four seasons in a single week! This is not an easy country to style for some times.

Other:

Preparing for a possible move. While we still hope to find a way to stay in our current apartment, we are preparing for the possibility that a move will be necessary. This means allocating some of our reconstituted budget to savings to able to pay for any deposits or costs in cash.

I set my new 101/1001 list and used it as a great opportunity to get a few tasks done this month!

I got new glasses (finally, after seven years), deep cleaned the house, sold some items via consignment, and made sure I took vitamins daily (which helps me noticeably with period pains and mood stability).

I sold several items of clothing I don’t use but have good resale value and Jeff is also planning to sell some less-used sporting gear to make a few less things to potentially move. My closet gets more focused and lovely by the year!

 

Ten.

Happy anniversary, love. I didn’t think it was possible to like you more now than I did then…but you’ve taught me more about the capacity of the human heart than I ever thought possible. One decade down, and more to come.

Five Things I Loved in June

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” 
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

Happy summer, my treasures. June was another work-heavy month with distressingly little time for merriment, but the tide is turning. Evening sun and good weather is slowly resulting in more after work get togethers, weekend pleasure jaunts in the city, and all around seasonal mood elevation. I’ve not had as much time for pop culture and literature as I would wish, so most of what’s made me happy this month is in the realm of the frivolous. So here’s to June, the month of Aperol Spritz and bronzer.

Share your monthly favorites in the comments and let me know what I should be watching or reading in July. I badly need to catch up on the state of society through something besides the lens of the news.

 

Pure and Applied Framing

I did a whole post on my love for this wonderful place but it deserves a special shout out again for being such a fun place to shop from. While we’re still not sure if we’ll be in our current apartment in a few months, at least some of my precious prints are protected for hanging or a potential move.

 

New Glasses

After nearly a decade with the same cheap pair I got for the lowest possible price when living in Utah, I finally got around to replacing my glasses. Heavens, what a difference! I knew I wanted chunky, tortoiseshell frames in the highest nerd-chic style and found several options, but a great trade off between cost and style was Cubbitts. This is British brand very much in the style of Warby Parker in the states, or other artisan brands that have sprung up in recent years. The selection is limited to a few styles in a range of colors, but within that spectrum are some very good options for several kinds of aesthetics. You bring your prescription (or they also offer vision tests if needed), pick your model and color and less than a week later, voila! Highly recommended.

 

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in 1975 Red

I am on a serious Charlotte Tilbury kick of late, last month I was fixed on one of her nudes, this past month I’ve switched in one of her reds. 1975 Red is another limited edition shade of a few years ago that was actually a birthday present from some lovely former coworkers once upon a time. Lipstick being perishable, it’s the next shade I’m trying to use up rather than allow it to go bad over time and what better season to wear a particularly vibrant orange-red than the high days of summer! I continue to highly recommend the Matte Revolution formula for full coverage pigmentation and comfort. If you’re in the market for a present to yourself, she has some fabulous shades.

 

Laura Mercier Sun Kissed Veil

This was a birthday present to myself early in the month and has gotten wonderful wear already. A balm style product, it leaves a golden glow with a shimmer that’s frankly a bit too light to be called a bronzer, but produces a beautiful effect. I’ll be the first to stay this is not an ideal product, I think a powder version would be preferable for color and a shimmery balm is a bit difficult to use…but I love it. Every single time I’ve worn it I’ve been asked if I’ve been away on holiday for the weekend or got a bit of sun. In other words, mission accomplished! I will probably not buy something similar again in the future, but I’ve decided to lean into a more glam than usual aesthetic for the summer and so am enjoying this golden glow.

 

Thank You Farmer SPF

The perennial summer favorite! While we have had a few weird weather days this month (what would the Great British Summer be without the threat of a mini-winter storm?), we’re also in the midst of a heat wave as I type up the final notes on this list. We are in the season when we should be at our most fanatical about suncare, though we should be fanatical about it constantly, and for those who want an elegant solution to SPF that moisturizes and doesn’t leave your face looking or feeling chalky, I once again offer up this brilliant tube for your delectation. I’m on my third so far this year and have no intention of straying, though I also recommend the cult favorite Anthelios line which I also use regularly.

Weekend Links

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
― Henry James

Happy Friday, kittens! The sun is shining and I’ve got a lot of stuff to get through so we’re dropping the links early and hoping neither of my governments do anything particularly horrific before close of play. I’m not sure if this is too hopeful…

Last week we nearly went to war, the US president was credibly accused of rape, and the scale of our horrific treatment towards immigrants and asylum seekers as a nation was on fully display. And in about 48 hours it was all GONE. Barely a blip. We live in the upside down.

As always, I’ve lovingly curated a batch of weekend reading to help you make sense of the world in the year Our Lady Beyonce 2019. I’m not touching the first debates or the uneven Supreme Court rulings because one, it’s far too early to let a circus consume us and two, because I need to do a lot more reading on the latter to fully understand the process and implications of the rulings.

Someday, possibly quite soon, this planet is going to shake us off like a bad case of the fleas.

NO ONE is good enough to work for Beyoncé.

Hyperbolic, generational warfare title aside…the underling premise one I find very compelling and probably correct… “Not all of these problems were first caused by the Boomers, but they each worsened on their watch.” (Note, individuals and systems are not the same thing.)

Reader, I cackled. (h/t to Jeff for this one)

My feelings towards The Intercept are not un-nuanced, shall we say, but this personal piece by a journalist crossing the border is scary and worth a read. Stop law enforcement from acting like a military, 2020.

I’m glad I don’t have to make editorial decisions day to day, but whew do I think some major outlets and platforms are making some bad ones.

In related ranting… After two and half years, we need to stop treating Mr. Trump as if he’s a “normal” politician, working with and through the same old media rules. Misdirection and a scattershot approach to claims are his strength. Stop letting him get away with it: hold the line at the first lie and don’t move past it.

Glad this is happening to the long put upon US Women’s Soccer team, annoyed it took them to utterly dominate their playoffs so far to make it happen.

More money = higher taxes. I don’t understand why this is controversial, and I don’t understand ultrawealthy people being catered to and coddled to avoid this. If, heaven forbid, I ever end up superwealthy, I will absolutely be giving most of it away in my lifetime and at my death. You can’t take it with you.

If you want to help immigrants at the border (THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF WHOM ARE LEGAL ASYLUM SEEKERS), consider donating to Raices who provide legal support and assistance to the most venerable.

My love for dandies is a well established part of my brand.

I think a lot about how being a non-Brit in Britain lends me as many unusual advantages as disadvantages. I toy with trying to write about it, but am not sure how to best address it… While I dabble, of course Hasan Minaj has a brilliant and more thoughtful take on outsider status overall: how it informs his work, uses his perspective, and more.

Trigger warning. The global migration crisis has been put front and center in new ways over recent years, and most effectively in photography. The horrible image of a drowned refugee child in Europe was a galvanizing moment, I’m hopeful that the image captured on the US/Mexico border this week is as well…but I’m afraid hearts have been hardened too much…

This longread piece on Essex and its role in British culture is fascinating reading! I can confirm that Essex Man as a stereotype is alive and well.

Thoughts and prayers.

This story is 100% as bad as it sounds.

Kimberly Clark, drag queen and anti consumerism YouTuber is back online and just in time to drop a timely reminder that corporate pride is not the same thing as truly supporting LGBT+ people and communities.

This is so wholesome.