♥ Nothing Is More American Than Chinese Food on Christmas (The New York Times): “Chinese food on Christmas has become … an acceptable alternative for anyone looking outside the usual holiday celebrations … It seems like proof that Chinese food and culture is finally part of mainstream America: Chinese restaurants have managed to become as culturally American as milk and cookies for Santa.”
♥ Fashion’s Year in Cultural Don’ts (The New York Times): “Fashion has stepped into the morass of cultural appropriation and its close twin, racism, numerous times in recent years … Apologies have become as much an industry staple as cashmere and denim … design has always borrowed the symbols of other cultures and taken them out of context, considering them largely as decoration as opposed to a representation of a narrative — though when they do get into a narrative, it is one the brand itself is creating, as opposed to the story already told. That one, of course, actually belongs to another group, racial or religious, and is already resonant with meaning … such borrowing often happens with a kind of blithe thoughtlessness, a creative entitlement. If it feeds the imagination, that’s all the justification the designer needs! You hear it again and again: They didn’t mean anything bad by it. That’s probably true. It also doesn’t obviate the pain the products cause, or the problem.”
♥ Can Reading Make You Happier? (The New Yorker): “Bibliotherapy is a very broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect. The first use of the term is usually dated to a jaunty 1916 article in The Atlantic Monthly … ‘A book may be a stimulant or a sedative or an irritant or a soporific. The point is that it must do something to you, and you ought to know what it is. A book may be of the nature of a soothing syrup or it may be of the nature of a mustard plaster’ … Today, bibliotherapy takes many different forms, from literature courses run for prison inmates to reading circles for elderly people suffering from dementia. Sometimes it can simply mean one-on-one or group sessions for ‘lapsed’ readers who want to find their way back to an enjoyment of books.”
♥ A lightly updated version of the suede moto jacket that I own in several colors is currently 40% off at Nordstrom. A few more picks for the half-yearly sale: Vince Long Faux Fur Coat, Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific Lace & Satin Slip (dozens of styles from the Halogen x Atlantic Pacific collection are now on sale), Gibson x Glam Squad Sheaffer Lace Top (vaguely reminiscent of this Zara lace top which had been one of my favorite purchases of 2016), Ugg Cable Knit Over the Knee Socks, David & Young Leopard Print Shawl, Topshop Dot One-Shoulder Bow Minidress, BP. Washed Moto Leggings, and Sam Edelman Hazel Pointy Toe Pump.
♥ You’re Not Getting Bigger, the Airplane Bathroom Is Getting Smaller (The Wall Street Journal): “… older bathrooms measured about 33 to 34 inches wide at chest level, from the mirror on one side to the wall on the other. A new Rockwell Collins lav on a Southwest Airlines 737 measured just 26 inches, or about 20% smaller … Shrink the bathrooms in the front and the rear each by 7 inches and you’re halfway to an extra row of six seats on a typical narrow-body plane on ultra-low-cost carriers. Additional space savings come from shrinking galleys, removing closets and pushing seats closer together. Another row of seats adds up to tens of millions of dollars in ticket sales over the life of an airplane … Regulations require bathrooms big enough to accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers on wide-body planes, but not narrow-body.”
♥ The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting (The New York Times): “… intensive parenting — constantly teaching and monitoring children — has been the norm for upper-middle-class parents since the 1990s … For the first time, it’s as likely as not that American children will be less prosperous than their parents. For parents, giving children the best start in life has come to mean doing everything they can to ensure that their children can climb to a higher class, or at least not fall out of the one they were born into … The time parents spend in the presence of their children has not changed much, but parents today spend more of it doing hands-on child care … Today, mothers spend nearly five hours a week on that, compared with 1 hour 45 minutes in 1975 — and they worry it’s not enough … While fathers have recently increased their time spent with children, mothers still spend significantly more … The new trappings of intensive parenting are largely fixtures of white, upper-middle-class American culture, but researchers say the expectations have permeated all corners of society, whether or not parents can achieve them … At the same time, there has been little increase in support for working parents, like paid parental leave, subsidized child care or flexible schedules, and there are fewer informal neighborhood networks of at-home parents because more mothers are working … But it’s also unclear how much of children’s success is actually determined by parenting … Psychologists and others have raised alarms about children’s high levels of stress and dependence on their parents, and the need to develop independence, self-reliance and grit. Research has shown that children with hyper-involved parents have more anxiety and less satisfaction with life.”
♥ Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content (The Atlantic): “… clout is just a means to an end, and ultimately, most of the people posting fake ads hope to eventually get paid to post real ones … Though it may seem like a useful tactic when you’re starting out, more established influencers worry that fake sponcon is creating a race to the bottom. Because brands can piggyback off of waves of unpaid influencer promoters, some have ceased paying influencers completely, or now pay rates far below what they previously spent.”
♥ The Misadventures of an Idealistic Restaurant in Cut-Throat New York (The New York Times): “Increasing wages for food service workers is certainly a noble cause … But good intentions are one thing; running a restaurant in a city as competitive as New York is quite another … Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the New York State Department of Labor to hold public hearings on the issue. The Manhattan hearing in June drew a fiery crowd of protesters on both sides of the debate. Behind the barricades, there were chants of ‘Better wages, better tips!’ One sign read: ‘Cuomo, we don’t need saving.‘”
♥ Is That Vintage Chanel a Fake? Depends Who You Ask (The Business of Fashion) “… online resale platforms like The RealReal and Poshmark face new challenges in tackling fakes, which have seen a parallel growth spurt, enabled by increasingly global trade flows and sophisticated counterfeiting technology. Counterfeit products … were worth about $540 billion in 2017 … Peer-to-peer resale sites like Poshmark, Tradesy and eBay might be on the hook for refunds, but they are protected from legal action, at least in the US. In 2010, the Supreme Court held that eBay wasn’t liable for selling fake goods on its website, a decision stemming from a lawsuit Tiffany & Co. filed against the auction site in 2004.”
♥ The Madewell extra 40% off sale (use code GOBIG at checkout) is a must-shop. I exercised restraint and only ordered backups of the Silk Button-Down Cami and Leather Card Case since I have gotten many uses out of the ones already in my possession. Other picks: Quilted Puffer Parka, Varsity Bomber Jacket, Balloon-Sleeve Pullover Sweater, Chain Crossbody Bag, Boatneck Button-Shoulder Sweater-Dress, Transport Tote, Medium Transport Tote, Skyscraper Sweater-Dress, and Zip-Top Transport Crossbody .
♥ The Itsy-Bitsy, Teenie-Weenie, Very Litigious Bikini (The New York Times): “‘The role of truth in our judicial system is central … Here you have a woman who appears to have taken the I.P. of someone else and registered it as her own — and then, it seems, had the audacity to sue an industry over something she did not create and may have stolen. If true, it’s breathtaking. I would think Victoria’s Secret would want to take a second look at their settlement.'”
♥ You Know Who’s Really Addicted to Their Phones? The Olds. (Wired): “The data suggests that the ones most hooked on their devices are those graying Gen Xers. Research by Nielsen … found that Americans aged 35 to 49 used social media 40 minutes more each week than those aged 18 to 34. Gen Xers were also more likely than millennials to pull their phones out at the dinner table.”
♥ How Fortnite Triggered an Unwinnable War Between Parents and Their Boys (The Wall Street Journal): “In less than 18 months, ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale,’ a last-man-standing shooting contest, has grabbed onto American boyhood, joining, or pushing aside, soccer, baseball, even a share of mischief … It may be only a fad, but it is a particularly popular and time-consuming one. Fortnite has 200 million registered players, 60% more than it had in June.”
♥ Is Tech Too Easy to Use? (The New York Times): “Of all the buzzwords in tech, perhaps none has been deployed with as much philosophical conviction as ‘frictionless.’ Over the past decade or so, eliminating ‘friction’ — the name given to any quality that makes a product more difficult or time-consuming to use — has become an obsession of the tech industry, accepted as gospel by many of the world’s largest companies … the frictionless design of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which makes it trivially easy to broadcast messages to huge audiences, has been the source of innumerable problems, including foreign influence campaigns, viral misinformation and ethnic violence abroad.”
♥ I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon. (The Atlantic): “To cut its ballooning delivery costs—money it was shelling out to UPS and FedEx—Amazon recently began contracting out its deliveries to scores of smaller companies, including the one I work for … I turned on the radio to hear George W. Bush eulogizing his father … In the summer of 2005 … I was invited … to ride mountain bikes with W. on his ranch in Crawford, Texas … I wrote two accounts, one for the magazine, another for the website. Got a nice note from him a couple weeks later … Lurching west in stop-and-go traffic on I-80 that morning, bound for Berkeley and a day of delivering in the rain, I had a low moment, dwelling on how far I’d come down in the world. Then I snapped out of it. I haven’t come down in the world. What’s come down in the world is the business model that sustained Time Inc. for decades. I’m pretty much the same writer, the same guy. I haven’t gone anywhere. My feet are the same.”
♥ I had previously shared that I have atopic dermatitis and winters are an especially trying time for my skin: after years of experimentation, I now have a few reliable creams and oils in my routine that range in price from modest to dear. Back in October I replaced my everyday body moisturizer with the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream (even cheaper here, if you have a local Target) and couldn’t be more pleased with the product. I have also been using it on my face and find that it seems to work for me about as well as my $60/oz face cream does. With skincare YMMV so I can’t say this cream will work for everyone, but it is so inoffensive that at worst you spend $10 on some hand and feet moisturizer that will last you months.
♥ To Solve Its Hardest Problems, Silicon Valley Turns to Physicists (Wired): “As a physicist, he’s ideally suited to the job, which requires both extreme math and abstract thought. And yet, unlike a physicist, he’s working in a field that now offers endless challenges and possibilities. Plus, the pay is great.”
♥ What Is Glitter? (The New York Times): “… aluminum metalized polyethylene terephthalate … The tiny, shiny, decorative particles of glitter we are familiar with today are popularly believed to have originated on a farm in New Jersey in the 1930s, when a German immigrant invented a machine to cut scrap material into extremely small pieces. (Curiously, he did not begin filing patents for machines that cut foil into what he called “slivers” until 1961.) The specific events that led to the initial dispersal of glitter are nebulous; in true glitter fashion, all of a sudden, it was simply everywhere.”
Have a great week, everyone!