Weekend Links

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” 
― H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe

Okay. *cracks knuckles*

Rex Tillerson was fired by tweet, student walk outs nationwide show that the kids will lead us, Britain expels Russian diplomats in retaliation for what is almost universally believed to be an assassination of a former spy on British soil, Russia has expelled diplomats in response, the deputy head of the FBI was fired two days before his scheduled retirement, and a whole bunch of cabinet secretaries’ jobs and White House appointments are apparently on the chopping block. We can apparently lay to rest the idea that General Kelly is one of the “adults in the room,” after putting a couple of stories in the news this week, one that feels crass, cruel and unnecessary, and the other which seemingly underpins the narrative that he’s not at all in control of anything. Cruelty and pettiness are the defining characteristics of everything about this administration and everyone who touches it either becomes a victim or a perpetrator. As McKay Coppins at The Atlantic suggests, I feel correctly, Mr. Trump is scripting entertainment, not running a government and he likes this narrative about himself.

Woof. Here’s some other news and links to get you through the weekend.

A bit of Mormon news for those of your interested. Five years ago a blog post went sort of (in a Mormon sense) viral in which a couple “came out” about their mixed-orientation marriage that they were committed to making work. Recently, the couple announced they were separating. Both pieces of writing are well worth the read if you want to understand why marriage, sexual orientation, and family are fundamental and critical to the Mormon experience and how hard (I’d say impossible) it is for believers to operate in any kind of queer space. I have no doubt that some people make such relationships work but I have no idea where you have to fall on the Kinsey scale for it to be possible or probable. In any case, if you are interested in deeply thoughtful reads on love, life, loss, and sexuality, this one is pretty poignant.

The New Yorker deep dives into the identity of Christopher Steele.

Stupid, stupid idea.

Mr. de Givenchy has passed away.

As has Mr. Hawking.

Why do I want this overpriced thing so much?!

An update to an old but depressing story.

Girl gangs 4evah.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and the great and good Marian Keyes is here to talk to you about kelly green!

People really underestimate how much Prohibition affected American public, political, and cultural life. All kinds of delightfully quirky stuff came out of it.

What’s In My Makeup Bag?

“You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning.”
– Diana Vreeland

Inspired by a recent lunch break at the office where all the ladies (and a dude or two) began touching up their lips and faces in some way, which in turn descended into an enthusiastic rifle through and review of our mutual makeup bags and pockets, I thought I’d do an old school post and open mine up again on the blog.

Cosmetics or personal care products are intimate objects and I love posts or videos where writers, editors, or vloggers show what they carry around with them and why. Most of use use something and most of us enjoy learning what other people use. It feels like the camaraderie you get in the ladies room when you realize you are out of or forgot a key item and some fabulous member of the sisterhood graciously offers you what you need from her stash. It’s collective problem solving and sharing. It’s also just kind of fun to get a glimpse into someone’s personal likes. So with that…

This bag is a gift from X who, of course, understands me on a spiritual level. Why wouldn’t a girl want to store her face in a bag festooned with images of the danse macabre?!

Spill it!

The utilitarian bits! I carry a tiny sewing kit and safety pins on my person most of the time, you’d be amazed at how often a safety pin will get you out of a jam. My current kit is from Muji and contains everything I need to manage a hem, button, or minor rip at least temporarily. In terms of practical cosmetics, I schlep around a travel sized dry shampoo for days when my hair just needs some help, mints, blotting papers, a sample sized vial of fragrance, some moisturizer and lip balm. The Glossier balm is basically fancy Vaseline, but it’s one of the few coconut flavored/scented products that I like so I’m using it up before sourcing recommendations from my Girl Squad. My perfume vial is also Glossier which I also really like especially for its price point–I have much nicer scents but I won’t risk them in the warzone that is my work bag. I’ve spared you the feminine hygiene products, but obviously. I don’t know why I require two hand mirrors except for the fact that one has Anne Boleyn on it and that’s good enough to make it a necessity for me.

If you’ve ever glanced at my Instagram, I frequently post confessions about how many lipsticks I have on my person at any given moment at the weekend when I’m clearing out my bag and getting set up for the coming work week. I was not at all surprised to find five lipsticks plus a gloss when I upended my bag: a red, a plum, and two nudes (one pinkish and one more orange-y). Look, you never know when you need to switch up your look during a day or evening, ok?!

My other bits and pieces are much more streamlined with just a concealer, blush, and mascara. I love sample size mascaras, they are so handy to slip into a travel or work bag. I only own two concealers and am lucky enough that on really rushed mornings I can make due without foundation in a pinch. The cream blush is Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder and was heinously expensive, but has turned out to be a brilliant purchase give how much I use it. If Posh does another edition of cosmetics, and I assume she will, I hope she brings this back because I am definitely going to use mine up and will want to replace it when it’s gone. Two of those lipsticks I’m trying to use up by the end of the year and I’m reasonably confident that I’ll do so.

What are the products or items you carry around with you day to day–products, totems, treasures, or lipstick?

Weekend Links

“Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather…”

– Lyrics by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler

Another jam packed week! Another high ranking policy adviser quit the administration and a porn star is suing the president of the US, what a world. She’s suing him because apparently he forgot to sign the nondisclosure agreement his lawyer drew up for him and involved him (the lawyer) paying the adult film actress out of his own pocket for which he has not been reimbursed by the president. Oh, and it’s alleged that negotiations for this agreement were sent from an official Trump campaign email address. Setting aside the tawdriness of the whole thing, the incompetence levels are incredible. I’m not going to get into the proposed North Korea visit because the administration doesn’t appear to be on the same page as itself depending on who’s talking on which platform.

Here are your links for the weekend, I’m going to spend time with my husband because accountancy widow season is officially over, hurrah! I’ve put together an extra long batch for your delectation, let me know what you’ve read this week that made an impression in the comments below.

This post on detaching a bit from work was a good reminder for me this week.

The swift change in the gun debate from policy to private sector companies and organisations shifting the use of their money (from fashion to asset managers) is fascinating to watch.

No. Hell, no. I don’t care if Rihanna has blessed them or not.

More books about POC in the middle ages and early modern periods? Sign me up!

How cereal helped an observant couple game the lottery system (this story is fantastic)!

This feels like an episode of Black Mirror

Tom and Lorenzo sum up the shoddy Oscars red carpet coverage debacle on E! and why it matters to an industry built on PR and presentation.

President Underwood, ma’am.

This story seems…less than ideal… As an update, the BBC has the latest rundown.

Again, Mr. Trump surrounded himself with the “best people” during his campaign and now in the White House… All joking aside, it was a pretty spectacular meltdown. McKay Coppins of The Atlantic has an informed and personally insightful take.

In much, much better news, Neko Case has a new album coming, just in time for my birthday!

Here’s a parable to get behind about creation, risk, and love.


For a White House that insists it isn’t meddling, it sure does appear to meddle.

So we probably found Amelia Earhart’s remains years ago but failed to realize it because someone thought the bones discovered weren’t dainty enough. Literally, they were “too manly.” Hm.

The long, surprising history of the leopard print!

The boys are ready,” for children’s literature with heroines, says Shannon Hale. So say we all!

2018 Oscars Gown Rundown

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”
— Rachel Zoe

This was a fairly staid year for the Oscars, which was probably appropriate seeing as how the industry has been rocked by a series of scandals at the highest levels of influence and power. Several of the speeches and acts throughout the night acknowledged the tensions and conversations without our society at the moment, but of course the clothes carried much of the action in their own right.

On the whole I found this a much less boring year style-wise than we have seen recently and there were a lot style themes to enjoy: women warriors, men in color, experimentation in volume (not all of them good…), and in many cases a sense of play. While the results didn’t always work, I’m glad to see more experimentation this year and hope it’s a sign of things to come in fashion and red carpetry in an age of #MeToo, #TimesUp, demands for better and more diverse representation, and diverse stories.

Enough pontificating! Sharpen you claws, my darlings, it’s time to opine on people’s fashion choices!

The Good

Gal Gato does a mix between a flapper and a superhero get up and I love it!



Screen legend and EGOT winner Rita Moreno chose to wear the gown she wore to the 1962 Oscars where she took home a trophy for West Side Story. There aren’t enough bow downs in the world. She is the very definition of a grand dame!

Mary J. Blige looked sublime in this frock. Apparently she is coming out of a nasty divorce and I can’t help but seen something of armor in her beaded bodice. Amazonian in the best possible way.


Jane Fonda in Balmain. Bitch don’t age.


Greta Gerwig in Rodarte which brought a much needed sense of lightness and whimsy to a fairly serious red carpet in an introspective season. Rodarte is notoriously difficult as a design house and many of their creations don’t seem to work off the catwalk, but the designers seem to have found a better rhythm lately and this one of the best of their work I’ve seen in a long time. Sunlight in frock form!


Danai Guira has been rocking a glorious warrior woman aesthetic for the whole of the Black Panther premier campaign and it has been fabulous to watch. So I think this choice of an almost demure princess-y gown in a highly feminine pink was a smart design move to flip the script of her recent red carpet narrative. It’s a relative “simply” gown but I had to show the Watteau pleats in the back to show how well constructed it is. Those jewels are to die for and the general of the Dora Milaje slipped out with just a touch of warpaint!


Lupita Nyong’o, meanwhile, went full glamazon! Her first Oscar gown was a beautiful Armani cloud that was light, ethereal, and dreamlike in its quality. She could not have flipped her own script more. This, much like some of the other styling I saw throughout the night, felt a bit like armor. I can’t help but get the sense that the women of Hollywood came dressed to do battle and, since they literally use clothes as communication for a living, I take that as a sign of things to come. Excellent.

Paz Vega does the correct amount of whacky in Christopher Bu. This could have gone utterly off the riles, but works for me in a weird way because she kept her styling so minimal.

Like I’m not going to show love to either Octavia Spencer or an emerald gown!


The Bad

The fun bit!

Maya Rudolph, representing the nation of Gilead…

When bad gowns happen to brilliant actresses… Sally Hawkins brought a very recognizable British nonchalance to the red carpet. It’s a grossly sweeping statement, but I find that there is a difference in how American actors and their international counterparts treat the red carpet. In the US, it’s very literally part of the job of being a star. Negotiations for pieces and the careful, coordinated use of clothing in promoting a film is a real industry making serious money. This isn’t to say that film stars of other nationalities don’t do the same, but I see less intensity from international stars (particularly those with a stag background, as so many of the best British actors have). You get the sense that they just aren’t going to Botox and constrict themselves within an inch of their lives, wear treacherous shoes, or frankly just make more of a fuss than they personally want to for a red carpet. Not even the Oscars. While I’m personally very supportive in theory, the Oscars (for better or worse) have a great deal with how you choose to look or present yourself to the industry and I don’t think this gown was a good choice.

Emily Blunt is harnessed into a Victorian nightgown here. The color and the lace effects look drab and silly. A different color with different accents (leather or metal for instance) would have changed this whole look around.


Zendaya is a magnificently beautiful young woman who looks as if she’s been shipwrecked and forced to swath herself in the remains of sails and riggings. Her face looks incredible, but the rest of this is dreadful.

I am an unabashed Emma Stone fan, but this was simply a bad choice for the Oscars. If she wanted to wear a lady tux, she should have gone the Evan Rachel Wood route or something, this getup feels like she couldn’t be bothered to dress up for the event. Since her gown last year was my favorite look of the night, this felt like a let down. A shiny, badly ironed let down.

This is…a lot of look, Taraji P. Henson. Look, far be it from me to shame women for dressing sexily, but I’d suggest either side cutouts, or a dangerous thigh slit. Both feels like too much. The fabric choice, art treatments, and general shape make this look more like a costume to me than couture.

Bad prom dress with an awful hem. Awful.

I adore Saorise Ronan’s acting but this Calvin Klein didn’t work for me at all. But C., you cry, what of Danai Guira’s gown you praised just moments ago! Well, guys, that was better rendered than this. The color choice (with a monochromatic shoe) washes her out badly and her makeup and hair could have been much bolder in contrast to the relative simplicity of the gown. This is case of poor styling making a basic gown bad.



The Ugly

There is a theme to this category this year and it’s “too much.” Everything that I hated this year was overdesigned, overly weird (and let the record show that there is a good way to do weird on the red carpet), or

Whoopi Goldberg…your team dressed you in a bad curtains or bed sheets and badly rumpled ones at that. Fire them all instantly.


St Vincent…what happened to your pants? This is what should be called “pulling a Bjork,” and while I’m all supportive and for more eccentric dressing, this goes well passed that and straight into whacky.

Amatus Sami-Karim makes me sad here because I’d love to see a colorful motif dress just blow the competition away, but this dress feels badly overdesigned in every way. There are too many elements that don’t seem to go together: the pearl studded mesh sleeves that aren’t sheer enough to be sheer or opaque enough to go with the rest of the gown, the train treatment clearly is supposed to be feathers but just looks messy, and the fabric choice looks cheap when I’m sure this thing was bloody expensive. Render this in white matte silk with a more cohesive sleeve treatment, and let that colorful embroidery sing, and this could have been a contender. The hair and makeup, however, are stunning. So is Mahershela Ali, while we’re being honest.

Salma Hayek was done no favors by Gucci, this was bad top to bottom. Seriously, go google some more images of this thing, it’s Not Good. Another case of far too many design elements all competing and clashing with one another and leaving its wearer much the worse off.


The Best Dressed

Allison Janey in Reem Acra looking downright, goddamn regal. It reminds me a lot of Lupita Nyongo’s red caped Ralph Lauren at the Golden Globes a couple of years back, which is a compliment all around, I think. The jewels are simple and stunning, the hair and makeup excellent, and the color simply but bold. The sleeves are allowed to do all the talking and they sing.



Do you know what? Let’s hear it for the boys! A lot of men showed up and spoke up about the media year in review, including the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which is nothing but good. And in more frivolous news, a bunch of them ditched the standard black tux this year and actually did something interesting in their fashion choices. More experimental male fashion! More color! Less heteronormative rigidity!

Daniel Kaluuya does Col. Mustard in the best possible way!

Tom Holland does British tailoring. He looks adorably serious.

Armie Hammer does red velvet. I and a seeming lot of lady Twitter all felt pretty good about this (*waves hand to encompass Mr. Hammer’s entirety) whole situation.

Chadwick Boseman. Long live the king!

Timothee Chalamet actually makes a white tux wearable and not a horrible 80s tribute.

You know what, Adam Rippon? Go for it. Fetishwear on the red carpet and shoes without socks, you let your freak flag fly, sir.

Weekend Links

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
— Edith Head

London is still freezing, kittens, and I’m putting the finishing touches on this post from bed. I report to you live, swaddled in two layers of loungwear and four layers of blankets.

It was another wild week of news: the White House is still chaotic, the Brexit process is as opaque as ever, and apparently trade wars are good now? I’ve forced myself to not pile on the gloom for you in the links this week, however, so here is a lovingly curated batch of reading to take you through your weekend, no matter how cold it is outside or how weird your newsfeed is. I’ll be bringing you our favorite fight of the year, the Oscars Gown Rundown as soon as I can get it up!

Happy Women’s History Month, let’s celebrate with the most badass board game I can’t believe I had never heard of!

We LOVE a good missing-art-piece-turns-up-in-an-unlikely-place story around here!

This is a couple of weeks old now, but I just found it and it’s worth a read: what’s been happening over at Facebook for the last couple of years, both in terms of business and technology, and why it all matters to us as a society.

This profile in GQ on the popularity arc of Brenden Fraser answers a question I didn’t realize I’d been asking myself for years.

Well bloody deserved!

Long live the king!

Beauty Instagram has teased a launch from an eyeshadow brand that I love that I can already tell is going to test my willpower not to buy it. I’ve seen a decided uptick in green shadows lately and it’s none too soon as far as I’m concerned.

This is absolute trash. Do better, South.

I have been waiting for this since 9th grade.

Monica Lewinsky has something to say, and it’s well worth the read.

Want to know how to expertly cook salmon? The NYT is here to help!

Hicks is out.

This is heartening.

Girl Squad bat signal, my best mate wrote a thing!

This is dramatic and disheartening news about the scope and scale of foreign money that may be influencing powerful forces in our society: we need far, far more transparent money records in politics.

Long before Google, librarians.

Because librarians are bosses.

Five Things I Loved in February

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” 
― Carl Reiner

Kittens, I have failed you! This post is late, but as mentioned before, it’s because this month has really taken it out of me. We are currently dealing with the #beastfromtheeast storm battering the UK, which has iced over the city and actually stirring out of doors is dangerous, uncomfortable, and difficult. Meanwhile my stress levels are up again, alas, and my routines are still all over the place. Send help, chocolate, or podcast recommendations to get me through!

Here are the things that got me through the shortest and yet most irritating month of the year.

Lush Sleepy Body Lotion
This product actually caused something of a social media commotion when everyone and their dog began writing about how it helped them fall and stay asleep better. “What they hell,” thought I, “at this point I’ll give most anything a go,” and I purchased a tub when buying Christmas presents for my coworkers. Well, color me converted. I don’t know if it’s all voodoo or self-delusion, but I really feel this goop has actually helped me fall asleep and on nights I don’t use it it’s become harder to switch my brain off. Whether it’s just become a mental signal that it’s time to wind down, or because it’s become part of my evening routine after a hot bath (absolutely necessary given the state of the thermostat!), this stuff helps me relax.


Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Podcasts and audiobooks are necessary components of my commute. I try to read “smart” during the week and save my trashy novels or quick reads for the weekend, but this month was not a month for serious nonfiction–I’ve had to renew my library checkouts for my latest political and scientific reads because I could not get through them! But this audiobook, narrated by the author and astrophysicist himself, was the exception. It’s a delightful short book that discusses the wonders of the cosmos in a nicely accessible way.


Wowder, by Glossier
Yeah, yeah, another Glossier product. I didn’t start using powder until my late 20s but like so many things beauty, it was a gamechanger. No wonder people have been wearing this stuff for centuries (exclaimed the noob)! I’d been trying to use up another pressed powder with a sheen to it…until I caught sight of myself in a mirror recently and recoiled. Apparently in the depths of winter, that “sheen” actually looked more like a “disco ball,” and I hadn’t realized because like all of the rest of us poor suckers at this time of year, I’m doing my makeup in the dark. Oops. Luckily this was a Thanksgiving present from X when she visited and I finally gave it some love this month, only to have it seriously love me back. Until the sun returns, only matte powders shall be allowed near my face.


It’s Been a Minute Podcast (Black Panther Interview), by NPR

Go listen to this thing, already! This is a great podcast by the same guy who helped create and launch NPR’s politics podcast, but which takes a look at news and pop culture through the lens of interviews with artists, or friendly discussions between journalists or creators. It’s also riddled with humor and is a nice alternative to the more angsty news digests out there. The episode about Black Panther in particular, featuring one of the most recent writers of a comic book run of the eponymous character, is excellent.


Best mates
Shout out this month to my girl squad, one of whom is rocking a new job in NYC and back to pitching writing, and the other who is working on her next novel. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I am the least impressive member of my friend group! But in spite of that, our text chains, calls, and general shenanigans have helped make February a bit less awful.

Weekend Links

“And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations.
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.
― David Bowie, Changes

It’s been quiet around this parts, pumpkins, because work has gotten insane again. All of my routines are messed up right now, my organization and health are completely out of whack and the house is a mess. Jeff is in no better shape as we are in the thick of accounting busy season and the man is working absolutely painful hours at the moment. A+ adulting happening here in the Small Dog residence, let me tell you! However, the sun is out today and I’m determined to repair damages with several loads of laundry, a deep clean of the bathrooms, and a general prep for the coming week.

It’s not all stress and poor self care, though! We’ve actually carved out some fun time over the past two weeks that has been much needed. I loved Black Panther and wanted at least another half hour of Winston Duke’s character cracking jokes and telling Martin Freeman to stop talking. In other news, teenagers will save us from ourselves, and maybe society isn’t falling into wreck and ruin!

Here are your links and tell me how your are spending your weekend. Plus, if you have any self organizational tips that I may benefit from, share them in the comments!


The only cure for misinformation is education.

I love Fashion Weeks across the globe, but this piece from The Cut asks an important question about the (predominantly) women not on the catwalks.

This cow took its life into its own hooves.

The intensity of the conspiracy theorists active in the world today genuinely terrifies me. Some people are actual garbage.

The FT reports that American arms manufacturers bet wrong.

There is a lot of writing about there about the crisis of modern masculinity (some of it really smart, some of it really bad) but this editorial in the wake of the Parkland shooting is still pretty affecting.

Ugh, I need to stop falling in love with brands. They inevitably sink into mess!