KFC Cheetos® Sandwich (Btw, Cheetos Popcorn Nuggets are not sold on their own; if you want to try them, you must order the Cheetos Lovers Box. And if you are going to get the variety box, you might as well fill your fountain drink with the new Mountain Dew Sweet Lightning–tastes like fizzy water, peach syrup, and ersatz honey. Why half-ass anything when regret is a runaway train.)

♥ Co-branded products don’t get better than the KFC Cheetos® Sandwich (written with just a touch of sarcasm). Could you make your own with a Crispy Colonel Sandwich, bagged cheetos and melted cheese mixed with nacho cheddar seasoning? Sure you can. But I love that this exists. It’s fun (and maybe a little tongue-in-cheek). If you like fast food to begin with, you might enjoy trying this. But it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you missed it.

Southerners, Facing Big Odds, Believe in a Path Out of Poverty (The New York Times): “For moving from the bottom of the income ladder to the top, the South offers the worst odds in the United States. But it’s also the region where people are most optimistic about the prospects.”

Investors and Regulators Fall out of Love with Colossal Deals (The Economist): “Over the past 12 months North American buyers have had a median share-price drop of 4.2 percentage points relative to the stockmarket … the fashion among investors has shifted away from giant but stodgy firms intent on raising their margins through cost-cutting, towards smaller, loss-making ones with fast revenue growth … There is also a sense that after years of consolidation the deals that are left may be scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

The New Retirement Plan: Save Almost Everything, Spend Virtually Nothing (The Wall Street Journal): “For a new generation of Americans, the traditional retirement age of 65 is getting old. Some of the youngest members of the U.S. workforce are saving aggressively and spending little so they can leave work decades ahead of schedule, defying the career arc that typically defines adult life. Their reasons for flouting conventional career norms and saving at high rates range from dissatisfaction with unfulfilling work to the decline of traditional social safety nets to a desire for more economic security in an era defined by events such as the 2008 financial crisis.”

♥ Take up to 70% off sale styles at 24S.com. My picks: Dolce & Gabbana Sicily MM bag, Marc Jacobs Mini Grind Shoulder Bag, See by Chloe Hana Shoulder Bag, Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Box Straw Bag, Jérôme Dreyfuss Benji Crossbody Bag, and Clare V Clutch with Chain.

How H&M Plans to Survive the Retail Apocalypse (The Business of Fashion): “As H&M’s consumers migrated online and competition from e-commerce grew, the company invested heavily to improve its digital offering. It’s been rewarded with rising online sales and growing engagement from its loyalty programme of more than 40 million members … H&M has also overhauled its logistics infrastructure … Closures have increased, but the company sees a future in physical retail and is still growing its store numbers every year. It’s betting on sleeker, more modern stores, better tailored to local consumers and streamlined with the company’s online offering to entice consumers.”

What You Lose When You Gain a Spouse (The Atlantic): “It’s true that marriage is not as popular as it was a few generations ago, but Americans still marry more than people in the vast majority of other Western countries, and divorce more than any other country … just two years after the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015, a full 61 percent of cohabiting same-sex couples were married … This notion—that marriage is the best answer to the deep human desire for connection and belonging—is incredibly seductive.”

Your Poop Is Probably Full of Plastic (Wired): “… at the United European Gastroenterology meeting in Vienna, researchers announced they have detected microplastics in stool samples from every single one of a small group of international test subjects … Every participant’s poop tested positive for plastics, from polyethylene (commonly found in plastic bags) to polypropylene (bottle caps) to polyvinyl chloride (the “PVC” in PVC pipe). In fact, of the ten types of plastic that the researchers screened for, nine were detected. On average, the researchers turned up 20 particles of microplastic per quarter pound of poop.”

Costco Quietly Becomes a Destination for Clothes (The Washington Post): “Clothes and footwear now generate more than $7 billion a year in sales for Costco … Revenue in that category has climbed about 9 percent a year since 2015 … Costco is able to offer some of the best deals in the industry … because it caps its profit margins at about 15 percent … another key to Costco’s success: It offers few choices. Today’s shoppers don’t want to rummage through racks of clothing or decide between dozens of styles of jeans. They want retailers to do the searching for them, and give them a handful of foolproof options.”

How to Make a Better Raincoat with Tiny “Water Bowls” (The Economist): “Superhydrophobicity, … involves peppering a surface with microscopic structures that contain pockets of fluid. That reduces the area of contact between the surface and any water droplets which fall on it. This, in turn, diminishes the surface tension that would otherwise cause the droplet to cling on, so it instead falls off … the researchers used a laser to etch into an already superhydrophobic surface a series of patterns of small rings … water bowls … Their purpose is to constrain the spread of droplets falling on them, thus encouraging the rapid ejection of those droplets back into the air.”

♥ Take an extra 40% off sale styles at Kate Spade with code BIGDEAL. My picks: Polly Medium Crossbody, Hayes Street Arla Crossbody, Tweed Jacket, Pineapple Jacquard Jacket, Polly Small Convertible Crossbody, Ruffle Pom Cardigan, and Scallop Sweater Dress.

The Wealth Gap Is a Retail Problem (Retail Dive): “There is death in the middle, not because of a lack of meaningful differentiation but rather a lack of meaningful market size. It’s stunning … that NO ONE is really discussing that retail failure is consumer failure … All of the travails are rooted in this bifurcation of consumer earnings, aka the demise of the middle class.”

Here’s Some Money Advice: Just Buy the Coffee (The New York Times): “While it is true that every one of us … can and should be smarter about spending … small, sometimes necessary purchases are a just a sliver of a much wider story about our struggles with money that, in large part, can be traced back to the Great Recession, the debt load for younger Americans and broader trends about wage stagnation … so, no, your coffee habit is not the reason you aren’t a millionaire, nor are the haircuts you get or the gym membership you have.”

Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes (ProPublica): “Created in August 2016, the Facebook group … ‘I’m 10-15’ … boasts roughly 9,500 members from across the country … Responsible for policing the nation’s southern and northern boundaries, the Border Patrol has come under intense scrutiny as the Trump administration takes new, more aggressive measures to halt the influx of undocumented migrants across the United States-Mexico border. The patrol’s approximately 20,000 agents serve under the broader U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which has been faulted for allegedly mistreating children and adults in its custody … The Border Patrol Facebook group is the most recent example of some law enforcement personnel behaving badly in public and private digital spaces.”

Why a Cashmere Sweater Can Cost $2,000 or $30 (The Business of Fashion): “The price depends on the quality of the yarn, where the garment was manufactured, the number of units purchased by the brand, and the markup … The quality of the raw material often matters most. Lengthier cashmere fibers maintain their integrity for a longer time … The thickness of the yarn used for the fabric determines its durability … Higher-quality cashmere pieces are typically two or three strands thick.”

♥ Take 60% off select styles during the Theory Flash Sale. All sales are final. My picks: Crepe Blazer Dress (ordered), Crunch Linen Back Overlay Dress, Crepe Belted Cargo Dress, Stretch Cotton Novelty Stitch Dress, Sleeveless Button Short Jumpsuit, V-Neck Dress, and Crepe Deep V Maxi Dress.

E-Commerce Turns the Tables on Restaurant Space (The Wall Street Journal): “… startups are opening shared kitchens in industrial buildings, hoping to persuade restaurants to quit their storefronts, move to the new spaces and switch entirely to delivery … Until recently, restaurants and grocery stores have been among the few sources of strength at shopping centers and malls.”

A Costly Reminder That You Don’t Own Those Ebooks (Wired): “You’ve just bought a license that allows you to access them, one that can be revoked at any time … Microsoft’s ebook rapture underscores the hidden dangers of the DRM system that underpins most digital purchases. Originally intended as an antipiracy measure, DRM now functions mostly as a way to lock customers into a given ecosystem … It’s a cycle that has persisted for decades and shows no signs of abating.”

Rubbish Is Becoming a Political Problem in Russia (The Economist): “Moscow city authorities announced a plan to introduce recycling bins in courtyards across the city by the end of the year. For Russia this would amount to a minor revolution: while EU member states recover an average of 60% of their waste, Russia recycles just 4% … That means that landfill has taken up the slack. Such dumps cover some 4m hectares in Russia, an area roughly the size of Switzerland.”

♥ Recently purchased: Free People Mystery Land Tunic, Reformation Dolci Floral Sundress, Amanda Uprichard Wrap Front Trousers, Petersyn Bambi Tiered Dress, Express Lace Bodice Cami Jumpsuit, Sézane Emilia Dress, and Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman Short-Sleeve Sheath Dress.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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