Weekend Link Roundup

Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich (In the background is the $5 Double Dippers Parmesan Ranch, which is just okay)

♥ The summer-of-great-fast-food-introductions continues… my new holy grail: Popeyes’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich. The crispness of the breading reminds me of the chicken sandwiches that KFC outlets in Taiwan/China serve (but KFC in Asian markets generally use “dark”/thigh meat so the mouthfeel and appearance of the meat are different). Definitely worth a try if you like fried chicken.

The Boutique Fitness Boom (The New York Times): “… boutique ‘fitness clusters’ around the country … have emerged in suburban shopping developments and gentrifying city neighborhoods. These new storefronts are rendering the old concept of ‘mall walking’ absolutely antiquated … As brick-and-mortar retail stores have taken a beating from the internet, yoga, Pilates, rowing, boxing, cycling, barre and H.I.I.T. studios are entering the spaces formerly inhabited by apparel, books and electronics stores: catering to a consumer class seemingly more interested in investing in the shape of their bodies than the clothes that cover them.”

The RealReal Wants to Sell Wall Street on Second Hand Clothing for the 1% (The Business of Fashion): “Once an online-only vintage clothing retailer, RealReal has gone brick-and-mortar, opening three stores and 11 consignment-only locations across the country. At its full-service venue … the company seeks to both buy and sell dresses, jackets and necklaces that have been sitting dormant in some very wealthy closets … Venture capital has poured in, with more than $1.1 billion dropped into used-clothing operations over the past several years … This included more than $350 million in funding for RealReal and about $130 million for domestic competitor ThredUp. French startup Vestiaire Collective raised $45 million in June to fuel international growth, bringing its total funds to almost $200 million.”

Forever 21 Hires Latham for Advice on Restructuring (Bloomberg): “Forever 21 is looking for ways to avoid becoming the next victim of the industry shakeup that has forced dozens of long-established chains into bankruptcy or out of business … A pullback by Forever 21 could add to pressure on retail landlords, who are already reeling from thousands of recent vacancies caused by bankruptcies and liquidations that have left shopping centers and Main Streets pocked with empty storefronts.”

The Surreal End of an American College (The Atlantic): “At the peak, in 2013–2014, the U.S. was home to 3,122 four-year colleges, according to Education Department data; four years later, the number had dropped by 7 percent, to 2,902 … In spring 2019, overall postsecondary enrollment decreased by 1.7 percent, or nearly 300,000 students, from the previous spring.”

♥ Take 40% to 50% off full-price styles at Ann Taylor with code LETSGO. My picks: Square Neck Jumpsuit, Popover Belted Shirtdress, Side Button Linen Blend A-Line Dress, Fringe Tweed A-Line Skirt, Midnight Jungle Popover Belted Shirtdress, Doubleweave Side Button Sheath Dress, Pleated Maxi Skirt, and Tulip Belted Maxi Dress.

Kim Kardashian West and the Kimono Controversy (The New York Times): “The line is scheduled to make its debut in July. But while traditional kimonos … have many associations, those tend not to involve lingerie, Hollywood celebrities or reality TV. Hence, the problem … Those who live by the power of viral social media moments and sharing can also be vulnerable to the power of viral social media backlash and sharing.”

The Best Frequent-Flier Awards Programs of 2019 (The Wall Street Journal): “Southwest topped the survey once again, with JetBlue close behind … Several international airlines showed strong availability as well. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Turkish Airlines both had seats available better than 98% of searches; Lufthansa , Singapore and Air Canada , all partners of United, had seats open on better than 90% of searches … Delta’s overall seat availability was its worst since 2015. The carrier had been consistently increasing availability until this year. For long-haul awards, Delta had seats available on only 46% of queries, down from 51.4% in 2018.”

The Polygamist Accused of Scamming the U.S. Out of $500 Million (Bloomberg): “The Renewable Fuel Standard initiative put billions of gallons of biodiesel into the marketplace, but it was also a magnet for cons. Around the time of Dermen’s meeting with the biodiesel trader, the EPA had begun investigating whether Washakie was running an illegal operation. Part of the problem with the program was enforcement. In its early years, registering with the EPA to claim tax credits didn’t even require an inspection.”

How 9 People Built an Illegal $5M Airbnb Empire in New York (Wired): “Airbnb and New York officials have spent much of the past five years in a high-profile feud. Airbnb wants to operate more freely in its largest market. City officials want to constrain home-sharing platforms, which they argue exacerbate New York’s housing shortage by incentivizing owners to convert residences into de facto hotels.”

Why Transparency on Medical Prices Could Actually Make Them Go Higher (The New York Times): “… publicizing prices appears to enable collusion in places where there are only a few competitors … The transparency order is part of the administration’s broader push to make health information more publicly accessible. Drug companies must state the price of their drugs in television advertisements now, and hospitals must already post on their websites the prices they charge uninsured customers.”

♥ Thousands of new styles have been added to the Nordstrom’s sale section. My picks: Alice + Olivia Tonie Embroidered Eyelet Minidress , BP. Polka Dot Jumpsuit, One Clothing Button Front Dress, BP. Stripe Tie Waist Jumpsuit, Flora Nikrooz Genevive Short Robe, ba&sh Zurich Trench Coat, and BP. Ruched Rib Midi Dress.

The Hired Guns of Instagram (Vox): “… because Facebook, and by extension the Facebook-owned Instagram, forbids retailers to run ads that promote the sale or use of firearms … Influencers skirt the rules and restrictions platforms impose on official businesses that want to advertise guns or gun-related services and accessories. This makes gun influencers more directly, tangibly important to the businesses they partner with than perhaps any other type of influencer in the bloated influencer economy.”

‘These People Aren’t Coming From Norway’: Refugees in a Minnesota City Face a Backlash (The New York Times): “A 2018 poll from The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that almost 50 percent of Minnesota Republicans wanted the state to temporarily stop accepting refugees, and during the midterm elections the most prominent members of the state’s Republican ticket all pledged to institute a moratorium on resettlement … During a meeting of about 10 C-Cubed members in April at the Faith Lutheran Church in St. Cloud … a free-flowing discussion …. began by comparing abortion access to the Holocaust and moved on to the city’s so-called refugee problem, and what the group could do to address it. Almost all of those present voiced some support for Mr. Trump. Others said that markers of progress were more interpersonal, and they would only be comfortable in their community if the Somali-born refugees converted to Christianity.”

The Legal Loophole That May Leave Some of Rock’s Greatest Riffs Up for Grabs (Bloomberg): “For pre-1978 unpublished songs, the deposited sheet music ‘defines the scope of the copyright’ … All songs, books, plays, poems, fabric patterns, photos, movies—pretty much every product of creativity that your parents and grandparents may have seen, read, or heard—have a card that lists its registration number, date, claimant, title, and more. If it’s not here, under U.S. law it’s almost as if it never existed … the law that went into effect in 1978 had a provision that said any unregistered works automatically became copyrighted on that date … But the legislative record shows that line of law was intended as a way to start the clock ticking on copyright expiration for, say, a book manuscript that had been tucked away in a drawer.”

Argentina’s Blackout and the Storm-Battered Future of the Grid (Wired): “Extreme weather events are a leading cause of blackouts around the world and the blackout in Argentina is a reminder that our electric grids aren’t ready to handle the increasing intensity of storms resulting from climate change. Although the United States isn’t likely to see a nationwide blackout like the one that hit Argentina, localized blackouts in the United States have increased in both frequency and duration in recent years. This is due in no small part to massive forest fires, snow storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes that cause localized blackouts often affecting tens of thousands of people … the key to energy security in the United States is less about the bulk power system and more about hardening the grid at the level of local distribution … Planning distribution networks to incorporate more smart microgrids and switches between local networks will make it easier to survive a blackout and restore power; building energy efficient buildings will reduce strain on the grid; moving equipment out of current and future flood zones will decrease blackout times; or simply building tougher electric poles can all contribute to decreasing outages in the future.”

♥ Take an additional 30% off sale styles at Dillard’s; no code needed, discount taken in cart. My picks: Coach Triple Leather Crossbody, Free People Patti Wide Leg Pant, Free People Shaeli Mock Neck Top, Cut The Frills Chevron Mesh Legging, Free People Lace Bodysuit, Anna & Ava Moto Legging, Free People Santorini Tie Strap Dress, Kate Spade Scalloped Heart Belt, and Free People Stay With Me Bralette. Please note that clearance sales are final and shipping is $9.95.

In San Francisco, Making a Living From Your Billionaire Neighbor’s Trash (The New York Times): “Trash picking is a profession more often associated with shantytowns and favelas than a city at the doorstep of Silicon Valley. The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, counts more than 400 trash picking organizations across the globe, almost all of them in Latin America, Africa and southern Asia. But trash scavengers exist in many United States cities and, like the rampant homelessness in San Francisco, are a signpost of the extremes of American capitalism.”

Love, Death, and Begging for Celebrities to Kill You (The New Yorker): “… quite a lot of people on the Internet seemed to be begging celebrities to kill them … the popularity of these jokes can’t be separated from the ambient fatalism inculcated by attention to actual real-world problems … Everyone … seemed to be constantly posting about how they were horny and how they wanted to die; it was natural that the two would converge … Devotion, by its nature, tends to invite agony.”

America’s Epidemic of Empty Churches (The Atlantic): “Many of our nation’s churches can no longer afford to maintain their structures—6,000 to 10,000 churches die each year in America—and that number will likely grow. Though more than 70 percent of our citizens still claim to be Christian, congregational participation is less central to many Americans’ faith than it once was … Closure and adaptive reuse often seems like the simplest and most responsible path. Many houses of worship sit on prime real estate, often in the center of towns or cities, where inventory is low. Selling the property to the highest bidder is a quick and effective way to cut losses and settle debts. But repurposing a sacred space for secular use has a number of drawbacks. There are zoning issues, price negotiations, and sometimes fierce pushback from the surrounding community and the parish’s former members.”

Boarding Now: Parents of Children With Food Allergies (The New York Times): “The D.O.T. considers severe allergies a disability under the act if they impact a passenger’s ability to breathe or ‘substantially impact another major life activity’ … No one tracks in-flight medical emergencies, but they are believed to be relatively uncommon; chest pain and heart attacks are the most common reasons that flights are diverted, according to one study. Allergic reactions comprise fewer than 4 percent of in-flight-medical emergencies.”

♥ Recently purchased: Ann Taylor Linen Blend Shirt, H&M Crêped Dress, Tophop Meghan Front Button Top, Uniqlo Drape Circular Skirt, Sézane Marianne Dress, and Reformation Mariana Sleeveless Minidress.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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