Weekend Links

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” 
― Arthur Miller

What. A. Week. I feel like I’ve been saying this every week for nearly three years, but so much is happening all the time that it’s head-spinning to try and keep up with it all. Between Beyoncé, cultural heritage disasters, the shenanigans of Trumpworld, and the long awaited release of the (albeit redacted) Mueller report.

It’s a long weekend with unusually good weather. I’m kicking up my heels in the sunshine and doing a bunch of reading (yes, including the report in full), and planning some quality time with friends and family. Share your plans, reading and otherwise, in the comments.

Notre Dame cathedral caught fire this week (Holy Week…). All credit to a human chain of people who worked together to save the artwork and relics of the cathedral’s treasury, and the fire brigade who helped to fight the blaze. At time of writing, while the damage is severe, there are reasons to be joyful about what has survived as well as mourn what’s been lost. An iconic and sacred place, holy to faith and beauty and transcendental light; there aren’t really words, but a few Parisians managed anyway:

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While we’re discussing places of worship…donations to three smaller churches deliberately burned by a racist arsonist welcome here. Notre Dame already has the support of the world, to the tunes of millions of Euros, but kindness is needed most on smaller scales.

Conspiracy theorists are trash.

It is christened!

Seems like a, pardon me, huge fucking deal.

Women across the country say: duh.

I recognize the challenges, but I think that a society-wide commitment to literacy and building it into the infrastructure of neighborhoods is a great idea.

This interview piece made the rounds last week, I think because as a self-own, it feels well-deserved.

If there is one thing we can’t stop following at Small Dog Headquarters, it’s the Saga of J. Crew. I’ve been personally invested for over a decade.

A deep dive into the mysterious case of Fan Bing Bing.

Now that Game of Thrones is back and singing its swansong, Vulture ask, “Have we reached the end of communal TV watching?” I wonder if this is more of an American problem than anything else? Britain, for example, has a core set of national channels that pretty reliably turns out shows that it feels like the whole country gathers to watch. Great British Bake Off, Broadchurch, Love Island…you can bet on at least one of these a year.

Speaking of, Game of Thrones being back means Gay of Thrones is back!

I have never once regretted my humanities degree. Not once. I will champion humanities and related education until the day I die.

This guy just barely got confirmed.

GOOD. I’m genuinely glad to see a Republican stepping in to compete with President Trump and wish him luck in promoting a more coherent set of priorities than sound bites, grievance, racism and isolationism. Someone needs to make this case.

I’m really pleased to see positive results so far from this experiment in a school serving parents as well as children. We need programmes like this explicitly designed to lift whole communities.

That…that is a big question….

More woes for Facebook (and this report not only that personal data was being made available not just for sale but as per the personal direction of the CEO based on his friendships is…oligarchy at work?).

There are a million hot takes on the Mueller report, but for my money, the only good initial takes are from legal professionals and not talking heads. The Lawfare one is long, but well worth the read. I for one am still working my way through the document and, surprise, my mind has not been changed: what is already in the public domain about this man and his entourage should have disqualified him from office long ago and the “best” defenses of his various malicious actions have been ignorance, incompetence, and that we shouldn’t worry because people didn’t end up following his crazy orders anyway. This has always been a matter for Congress–NOT the Attorney General. I fear Congress will do nothing.

On the other side of the spectrum, this is the kind of quality content I come to the internet for.

The world is not 100% trash this week, kittens! Beyonce dropped a concert album and a concert film/documentary, and though we are undeserving, we are grateful! It’s on Netflix, go partake of the Queen’s greatness.

Lizzo’s album also dropped. We are not worthy.

Empties!

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” 
― Yves Saint Laurent

A fun post for today, kittens, and of the sort that are oh, so satisfying…at least if you indulge your inner nosiness as much as I do. Once again I’ve tracked the number of beauty products I’ve used up since the start of the year as I work towards a more streamlined product shelf and a better grip on my spending.

Body

Once again, this category is deeply unglamorous for a woman who likes beauty as much as I do, but what can you do. I continue to preach the gospel of certain men’s products being cheaper and therefore worth the coin. We share a bodywash in this household and often most deodorant as well. Evidence of my travel heavy life is on display from the sample sizes of body washes, shampoos and conditioners I’ve picked up but I’m making a conscious effort to use them rather than allow them to accumulate. My bath habit is also front and center with two different products for soaking thrown in.

 

Skincare

I crunched the numbers a while ago and my shopping habits in this area had definitely changed. I’ve always owned a mix of high and low price point items, but I’ve made a consciousness effort to find quality, active products at more affordable prices while eliminating the (silly) need to have back ups of most items on my shelf–just in case. In case of what, exactly? Finally, I’ve prioritized the items I already know and work incredibly well for me rather than chasing marketing campaigns that send me off on quests to find new products which almost inevitably leads to disappointment. In 2018 I averaged in my skincare arsenal cost $31 and in 2019 the average is $20. There are some products that are simply worth the money and I will not hesitate to replace…but there are a lot of others where I’ve been able to find equivalent formulations from independent or drugstore brands. All together, now in early 30s, my skin is probably the best it’s ever been. My whole focus is on keeping it this way for as long as possible.

Hyaluronic acids from The Ordinary and two tubes of Priming Moisturizer from Glossier should surprise no one. The Botanics eye cream made it into a monthly favorites post a while ago and my enthusiasm continues unabated, as does my love for Thank You Farmer’s sunscreen. All of these items have been succeeded by their worthy replacements on my shelf. Over in exfoliating acids, Glossier, Sunday Riley and Peter Thomas Roth products run the gamut from serums to masks but I can recommend them all. The only reason I am not replacing them yet is because I am working through similar products on my shelves first. Finally, that Clinique cleanser has seen good service in the wars, but has been firmly replaced by the No 7 brand gel cleanser which I currently swear by. It is such a good product and I have been evangelizing for it heavily.

 

Makeup

Tracking your usage is incredibly useful in curbing your spending because it takes so damn long to use a makeup product. The surest reason I have for not buying anything new is the fact that I’m already assuming my descendants will have to bury in my unused powder products someday. Perhaps I’ll leave my highlighters to my nieces or something…

Anyway, because they take so long to use, it’s always very satisfying to toss a few makeup empties into the bin under my bathroom sink. I’ve made it through multiple perfumes including a full size and a sample of scents from Frapin. This has become my go to fragrance company and I own two additional scents, one of which was a Christmas present last year. They are the most gorgeous things and very unlike anything else on the market right not. Which, as a snob, I love. That bottle of Tom Ford is a sneaky addition because it’s my husband’s scent but I, ah, have been known to spritz a whiff or two of it in my time. Don’t tell Jeff.

But I’ve also made it through another tube of Givenchy primer (not my first, though I’ve since replaced it with a drugstore option to trial), two mascaras, one brow gel, and a full bullet of lipstick (Chili by Mac, also featured on a favorites post).

What I think I really like about this update is how many of these I have shouted out before and been loyal to for months, if not years. As I said, I’ve really gotten to a point where I know what works for me and what I enjoy wearing and using. By the end of 2019 I should have a tightly edited, highly effective skincare arsenal and a honed makeup collection which is smaller than it’s been in years. I may do a separate post on how my beauty preferences have changed and my hoard has shrunk since my last update a year ago, let me know if you’d be interested in some posts along those lines.

In the meantime, to the comments! Share with me the products you swear by, where you save in your budget, where you splurge, and how your habits or tastes have changed over the years. It’s a topic I will never get bored with!

Weekend Links

“Words were so puzzling. Present should mean a present just as attack should mean to stick tacks in people.” 
― Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest

Poppets, I’m back! Jeff and I spent last weekend with friends in Portugal and had a delightful time away. Once I get my act together and all my photos downloaded you’ll get a proper update on Porto with highlights and recommendations. It will not surprise a single one of you to hear that a bookstore features heavily.

In the meantime, the world spun on with much to enjoy and much to horrify. As per usual, I’ve collected a cracking bunch of weekend reading to help sort through it all. It’s extra long this week to make up for my neglect of you.

This weekend the plan is to do some more immigration paperwork and final square away the final steps, enjoy the additional hours of sunlight and buckle up for the last season of Game of Thrones to start. Share your own links to your favorite stories or weekend plans in the comments.

 

This could not be more relevant to my interests if it tried!

The Scandinavians have solved all our linguistic problems.

Cry me all your tears, prudes and patriarchs!

Rise up! (It works.)

Sometimes, when I read a story about AI, I’m reminded that it took all of a day for some program or other to “learn” from Twitter and turn horrifically racist. AI isn’t going to save us, it’s based on code written by humans and we are phenomenally messy.

The dream!

I can’t tell if I’m interested in this or not. As per the current cultural moment and the [waves hand generally at the state of the world], I’m currently fundamentally uninterested in narrative arcs of men who, in response to trauma, inflict trauma on a whole bunch of other people but with whom I’m still supposed to empathize as the designated protagonist. Perversely, I have a lot more space for women pulling that exact stunt, I acknowledge the hypocrisy.

I have zero sympathy for former-Secretary Nielsen and am even less moved to read that apparently one reason she took so long to resign was that she worried about her post-administration reputation. Well…yeah? Her legacy is separated families and children in cages and repeatedly lying about the policies regarding it.

The carnage didn’t stop there, of course. My utter lack of sympathetic feelings aside, it is Actively Bad that the American government is currently stocked with “acting” post holders.

Meanwhile, the context to the reasons as to why President Trump wanted former-Secretary Nielsen gone is also Actively Bad. According to multiple press reports, she and her allies are seeking a PR rehabilitation and I am NOT interested. Several articles point to the fact that she was fired for refusing to break the law and should be applauded for that, to which: no. That is the bare minimum we require of our enforcement officers.

A fascinating conversation on who gets to claim music genres: do old categories even matter any more?

More on Fleabag in the upcoming Favorites post, I promise, but I really enjoyed this piece from the Financial Times’ arts desk on the art of artists walking away at the right time. British TV in particular gets this right much more than American, in my opinion.

Oh man, first a villains based makeup launch and now this icon gets some love! *Struts away singing, “Why don’t you do righhhhhhhht…”*

Important reporting on the difference between the online world and real world. This profiles the left, but I’d be curious to see a similar piece on the right, to be honest, as this isn’t a one sided phenomenon. As the barriers between internet culture and the tangible world become more complicated, it behooves anyone who spends time in any bubble to be aware of their own echo chambers. But it’s also worth remembering that those barriers are blurring and we ignore the online space at our peril…as we’ve seen all to often at our collective cost lately when it comes to radicalism.

Speaking of…Alexa, show me irony.

This story is WILD.

President Trump goes to Mount Vernon and his comments are that he could have “built it better and for less money.” I’m actually speechless…

We finally see the legendary event horizon. The universe is great, even if it sometimes looks like a Tolkien villain.

Julian Assange was arrested in London this week. Let’s recap.

How the heck did I miss this? Quick, to Greenwich!

A thoughtful take from Man Repeller that’s giving me cause for reflection: in an age of peak outrage, it’s not necessary to have a take or even an opinion on everything that crosses are collective desks and feeds.

Another really good profile from The Atlantic about the population of Trumplandia, this time about its de facto Second Lady, Ivanka. What she has left in order to transition from New York society to Washington D.C., whether it has been worth it, and whether that society will welcome her back again. Probably? Society, as the piece points out, is just about as hypocritical as politics.

Beverly Cleary is 103 today and is due all the adulation on her birthday. Ramona Quimby is the first character I remember reading as a child and identifying with. Ms. Cleary’s books were vital to my childhood and so many other’s and even written decades ago, they still feel deeply personal and current. Such is childhood and adolescence, I guess.

Guessing time, will this really be the last installment? Place your bets!

Thank god for good news and blessings! The Queen knew we would need this this week.

Weekend Links

“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” 
― Leo Tolstoy

Happy Friday, ducklings! The clocks moved forward this morning so I’m putting the last minute touches on this post sitting in the cool spring sun. It’s been another hectic and bonkers week in the world, and I’ve been travelling for work a lot. This post is therefore not as long as it usually is, but there are some excellent reads in it, though I say so myself! Tell me what you’ve been up to lately in the comments.

I have my definite favorites amongst the Democratic candidates, but I’m nowhere near ready to go all in on a single preferred candidate (though the girls and I are already spooling up our 2020 discussions on our marathon phone calls). However I can confirm that Chasten Buttegieg is absolutely leading my picks for First Spouse. Super cute, cheerful, good at Twitter. Please more of this before the inevitable hellscape of the election takes us all over.

Queens of Infamy returns with an OG!

My voting state covers itself with glory again… For those interested, as with so many things in Utah/mormon history, there’s a bit of a polygamy angle here, but I direct you to the intense and intensely valuable public history project Year of Polygamy to educate yourself on this. It’s a complicated, 200 year history.

This is a good clarification…but I’m baffled as to why this information couldn’t have been provided in the first instance. It gives credence to accusations of bad faith, whether warranted or not.

I agree with Congressman Schiff: what we already know in the public domain is not okay!

Meanwhile, in Britain… What a shit show this is… While cartoons might seem like a glib way to explain the mess, these two videos from CGP Grey do a pretty good job of boiling down the Brexit problem, the impasse, and the political double (triple?) bind everyone is in because the government asked a yes/no question over what is not a simple yes/no issue. (Something something, definition of insanity, something…)

The Alphachat podcast episode on Brexit is really, really informative and looks at the subject from an economic perspective.

Also a relevant long read.

Let’s pivot shall we? THIS is a scandal worth talking about!

Yeah. Fangirls could have told you that.

Enjoy the headline image as immensely as I did, but then also enjoy the full piece on why Rick Steves says travel, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is fatal to prejudice.

There is a possible royal scandal brewing over here in the UK. Have an intensely salacious, gossip Twitter thread to explain more, and then decide how much you want to speculate on the veracity thereof.

The scientific descriptions in this piece are downright poetic and the inner six year old in me ate it up. It’s incredibly humbling to be reminded, in our swirling talks of scientific catastrophes and the age of man that the world has “ended” several times before us. She’s a resilient planet, we’re the fragile creatures.

February and March Accountability: Progress!

“Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?”
– William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing 

Time for some radical honesty, especially since I failed to report on February. In related news, where the hell has the first quarter of a whole year gone?!

February

Willpower was flexed in this month, you guys, and I am proud. After my indiscretions of last month (not expensive, but the principle of the thing!), I was determined to get back on track. This proved a bit challenging because between work and travel, I had to default to convenience a lot when it came to food.

Sanctioned purchases included a new hoover for the house and continuation of our art framing project. I only picked up one personal item: a fabulous printed shirt from & Other Stories.

 

March

Another month of willpower! The only personal item I bought was a vintage jacket from the incomparable Claudia at 282 Portobello Road. I mean, it was a green schoolgirl blazer with great shoulders. I couldn’t not. I’m a loyal customer of Claudia’s and cannot recommend her enough, especially if you are in the market for traditional British gear such as tweed and vintage Barbours. Beautiful outerwear is definitely her gift! Not only is her stock all excellent quality, she never forgets a face and rewards repeat customers with wonderful deals and bespoke service–she’s on the lookout for a leopard print coat for me even though I own four jackets purchased from her already and a Burberry trench. I added this green blazer to my year long tally of purchased items without a single qualm and paid from my monthly cash allowance!

 

Weekend Links

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Happy weekend, my ducklings! It’s been another wild and busy week, and I’m afraid I’m working this weekend to prepare for a couple of bigger projects coming up. Ergo the intro is short and sweet but the links are excellent, though I say so myself.

The case for moderation in a nutshell: our algorithms are written to drive engagement and sharing,. By its nature, that runs on outrage more than thoughtfulness.

The kids are alright.

This review of the Glossier Play line echoes a lot of my thoughts: fun, not as “off brand” as lots of people are saying, still kind of disappointing. And where is the damn candle?!

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight routinely does excellent dives into complex topics, but his latest episode tackling the idea and social uses of public shaming and featuring a thoughtful (and funny!) interview with Monica Lewinsky is well, well worth the view.

100% here for all things Lizzo.

SPEAKING OF LIZZO, with a heaping side helping of the legend that is Missy Elliot!

How pop music has changed because of streaming.

Sali Hughes has done another roundup of quality beauty products, all under £15. Bless her for this work! And of course, queen mother of beauty that she is, she did the same for skincare.

Uh oh for Trumpland?

Spring/Summer TV and streaming content is lining up its drops; I’m excited for Stranger Things and Game of Thrones, plus this based-on-a-true-story biopic, and

An absolute and necessary classic.

Cathy and her creator, many years on.

What a fun makeup collection! Obviously I’m jonesing for the Malificent themed highlighter entitled Mistress of All Evil, because duh.

Everything is a lie!

Mr. Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General and at time of writing, the internet is filled with hot takes based on absolutely zero public information. I’m reading almost none of it in until more is known about what will be made public. In normal times, what is already in the public domain should have ended the political career of any other group of people years ago and yet it’s 2019 and we live in a Trump-adjusted world, to our cost. Lest we forget, there are multiple investigations into the world of this man still ongoing elsewhere. For all the breathless coverage, his legal troubles are much bigger than just (and isn’t this amazing to type) the question of whether he or his orbit sought office with the help of a foreign power. I’m still standing by my two-year prediction at this point: either Mr. Trump does not make it to the end of his first term, OR he likely takes a second one. And for what it’s worth, both of these options represent huge failings in our political system to my eyes.