Arts and culture

What I'm Reading

Image courtesy of Getty Images and Victoria Warnken/Bustle

Image courtesy of Getty Images and Victoria Warnken/Bustle

How About We Don't Expect Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle to Get Along

As usually happens when I read a piece by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, I started cheering in my head when I got into this one! More great work here on the outsized expectations we have of women and the strangely specific roles they are forced to play.

Is Wokeness In Fashion Just Another Illusion?

I will not be including a picture of the Instagram post in question here, but if you click through you can see what the uproar is about. Personally, I find it incredible that in our connected world anyone could possibly claim ignorance on so basic an issue as usage of the n-word. If you speak English, spend time in the United States, and do business with Americans, it is your responsibility to behave in culturally appropriate ways - just as it would be if you were occupying space in any other country and culture.

Sex Work Has A Class Problem

I don't have strong feelings on the concept of sex work in general. They call it the world's oldest profession for a reason and I know it will never go away, but the intricacies of how to protect people who might be victimized and still enable people who feel empowered by their choice of work are complex. This is a great take on how some of these issues play out in the actual practice of sex work.

The Strange Brands in Your Instagram Feed

Can I be honest? I haven't for one second thought that any of these brands were worth purchasing, even before I knew the details about how they came to be.  If something is too good to be true, it probably is!

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of lithub.com

Photo courtesy of lithub.com

Anne of Green Gables: Patron Saint of Girls Who Ask Too Many Questions

The depth of my love the Anne of Green Gables and her world knows no bounds. I've read the entire series many times over and wholly identified with her from the start. As a kid, I read pretty much any historical fiction I could get my hands on, and there was lot of prim and proper behavior and bonding with horses and stuff,  but Anne was always real to me. To this day, I use the term "kindred spirits" and look for them everywhere.

Me as a debutante with my grandma in 2000.  We bought the dress in the bridal department of Saks, which was... bizarre.

Me as a debutante with my grandma in 2000.  We bought the dress in the bridal department of Saks, which was... bizarre.

The Curious Plight of the Modern Debutante

So, uh, fun fact: I was a debutante. Twice: in Ventura, where my dad's family has lived since the 1880's, and in LA, where my mom grew up. Even eighteen years ago I found it weird, dated, and irrelevant. I agreed to do both balls because they meant a lot to my mom and grandparents, and because I got to wear a poofy dress with lots of hair and makeup and force a boy I had a crush on to hang out with me for a night. I mean, I was 17!

13 Things You Should Know About HIV, But Probably Don't

As a teenager in the 90's, I was absolutely petrified of AIDS. It was finally publicly acknowledged but it was still basically a death sentence. I remember the AIDS quilt and Ryan White, and Pedro on The Real World, and scary sex ed. I'm glad we've come so far, but AIDS remains a global health threat and we should all be informed about how the disease is currently impacting our world.  Spoiler alert: it's not just for men who have sex with men anymore.

Image courtesy of thecut.com

Image courtesy of thecut.com

The Other Women's March on Washington

It's not enough to march, we need to run and vote, too.  I'm looking forward to participating  in the political process in 2018.  And I happen to love this author, Rebecca Traister - check out her book All The Single Ladies if you haven't already!

What I'm Reading

Image courtesy of wired.com (Getty Images)

Image courtesy of wired.com (Getty Images)

Why Men Don't Believe the Data on Gender Bias in Science

If you, like me, have ever been frustrated by interacting with a man who prides himself on his pure, logical mind and yet seems to be completely ignorant of the realities of prejudice, this is news you can use.

Photo courtesy of racked.com (Jessica Pons)

Photo courtesy of racked.com (Jessica Pons)

My Super Sweet 15

Growing up in Southern California, I always knew about quinceañeras, but I didn't know they had become this much of an industry.  This is another fascinating look into one of the ways immigrant populations add to the cultural tapestry and diverse economy of the US.

Photo courtesy of vulture.com (Sergi Alexander/Getty Images)

Photo courtesy of vulture.com (Sergi Alexander/Getty Images)

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About "Despacito"

Given that this article is now over two months old I would have thought it would have lost relevance... but based on the pop radio station in San Francisco, "Despacito" is still going strong.  To me the song seemed to come out of nowhere, but this article explains in depth how clueless that perception is.

Photo courtesy of newyorker.com (Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty)

Photo courtesy of newyorker.com (Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty)

What Le Cirque Will Be Remembered For

Almost 20 years go, I ate at Le Cirque in Vegas with my parents, and I remember thinking it had to be the pinnacle of fine dining.  I never knew the real scoop on the NYC original!  And if you didn't already think Ruth Reichl is a badass, you will now.

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of goop.com

Photo courtesy of goop.com

Can This Simple Tool Banish Cellulite?

You guys.  I just... I want this not to be too good to be true.  I've had cellulite as long as I can remember, and even at my absolute thinnest it remained present and accounted for.  I am loath to pay $89 for something that might become a useless piece of junk, but I really want this to work!

Photo courtesy of newyorker.com

Photo courtesy of newyorker.com

Why J. Crew's Vision of Preppy America Failed

I am a prepster from way back, but like many of J. Crew's former core customers, I feel like I've matured away from the brand.  I had felt like I was maybe the only one and should be getting on board with GIANT ruffles, sparkly tutus, and boy pants, but it appears that a lot of consumers like me are part of J. Crew's larger struggle to stay relevant.

The Unhealthy Truth Behind 'Wellness' and 'Clean Eating'

My parents raised me to be a skeptic, and my grandma's favorite saying was "everything in moderation," so I haven't latched onto any of the various health fads that have happened during my lifetime in a serious way.   I'm counting myself lucky, and hoping that people who are starting to spiral into the world of health scare tactics can read this article and pull themselves out.

Why the 1980's Anne of Green Gables is Such a Hard Act to Follow

I adored the Anne of Green Gables books as a kid - I saw myself in her, and read the entire series so many times that my paperback copies have horribly bent spines and dozens of dog-eared pages.  And the mini-series holds a special place in my heart because I wasn't allowed to watch much TV growing up but my beloved babysitter let us see the whole thing.  Anne was and remains a revolutionary character and I'm thrilled she's getting a new vision, even if I'm afraid it won't stand up to the PBS original!

What I'm Reading - My Recent "Beach Reads"

Life is good when you have back to back girls' weekends with different groups of excellent ladies.  And for all that relaxing time, I needed some solid reading.  Over the past two weekends, I made my way through back issues of some of my favorite magazines (Vogue, The Atlantic, perhaps surprisingly SF Magazine) as well as a giant hardback book.  Here's what I loved!

Bolshoi Confidential: Secrets of the Russian Ballet from the Tsars to Today

Every year, my dad gets a stack of hardback books for the family for Christmas.  He generally hands them out to the people he thinks will be the most interested in each book, with instructions to read and return to our family condo at Tahoe for everyone else to enjoy. This year he chose Bolshoi Confidential for me, a perfect fit for my lifelong love for (and jealousy of) ballet.  The book is a comprehensive history of Russia's (in)famous Bolshoi Ballet and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't classify it in the same category as compelling, almost page-turning nonfiction works that have taken popular culture by storm.  It's great for ballet fans, but maybe a bit dense for the average reader!

Photo courtesy of vogue.com (Annie Leibovitz)

Photo courtesy of vogue.com (Annie Leibovitz)

How Tennis Star Maria Sharapova is Getting Back in the Game

I don't follow tennis, but it's hard not to know about star player Maria Sharapova and her recent fall from grace.  Because I'm such a joiner, people like Sharapova who keep to themselves and completely separate their professional and personal lives are a bit off-putting for me.  But this article makes a fairly convincing argument that Sharapova's behavior on the tennis tour would be judged much less harshly if she were male.

Image courtesy of theatlantic.com (Kevin Tong)

Image courtesy of theatlantic.com (Kevin Tong)

Welcome to Pleistocene Park

File this one under the category of mind-blowing.  It's always amazing to me just how many people are working on the distant future of our planet, in ways that seem harebrained, but are based on hard science and supported by experts all over the world.

Photo courtesy of modernluxury.com/san-francisco (Matthew Millman)

Photo courtesy of modernluxury.com/san-francisco (Matthew Millman)

This High Tech Boutique Wants To Make Real-Life Retail as Addictive as Online Shopping

The brand Reformation has been fashion girl bait for some time, and this new development in retail just makes me want to check it out that much more.  Here's hoping I can withstand the so-called addition and still only purchase things I love and know I will use for a long time!

Weekly Peek

Photo courtesy of Boboquivari's

Photo courtesy of Boboquivari's

Brush With (a Few Degrees of) Celebrity

My husband and I were recently planning a double date with some good friends, and decided to finally try a San Francisco institution: Bobo's.  Yes, I've lived in SF for 10 years and have never been, I'm aware this is a travesty.  We had a great time, enhanced by the fact that we were squirreled away at a private alcove table that is reportedly the favorite hangout of one Mr. George Clooney when he's in town.  I have to admit that for me the experience was much more about the ambiance than the food - if you're looking for the best old-school steakhouse experience in San Francisco I'd direct you to Harris' - but I spent most of my evening elbow deep in Dungeness crab with garlic sauce and regretted not one bite!

Photo courtesy of jake.clothing

Photo courtesy of jake.clothing

Dangerous Liaisons

JAKE has just come out with their Dangerous Liaisons collection, and so of course we had to support our friends at one of their launch parties.  I am dying for the custom toile fabric used throughout the collection, featuring greyhounds (the official shop mascots are Echo and SCOTUS, that would be Supreme Canine of the United States to you) instead of dragons!  It's those kind of playful details that make JAKE clothes stand out in a sea of fashion.

Photo courtesy of hoodline.com (Carrie Sisto)

Photo courtesy of hoodline.com (Carrie Sisto)

Weird for Good

I've mentioned before that I sit on the board of CounterPulse, an amazing performing arts organization based out of a theater in SF's Tenderloin.  This year, for the first time, we're putting on a gala Family Feast & Fundraiser, and I'm chairing the host committee!  The past few months have been a whirlwind of brainstorming, planning meetings, and bonding time with the truly incomparable staff and board members of CounterPulse, and we're just under a month out from the event itself.  The dinner is already sold out, but the after party will be super fun, featuring live performances, bespoke cocktails, a drag show, DJ and dancing, and a silent auction, all to benefit the Springboard Fund For Artists so that CounterPulse can keep providing a home for groundbreaking art that shatters assumptions and promotes community.  All the hippest, artiest kids in town will be there, and you'll want to be there too!

End of the Season

In bittersweet news, my official ski season is over.  I spent my winter training three new candidates to join the Alpine Meadows National Ski Patrol, and I'm so pleased and proud that all three passed their final test and will be wearing red jackets from now on!  Fortunately for all of us who love the mountains, there's still snow to spare in the Sierras and many of the ski hills are planning to be open into May and June.  I'm thinking of snagging a few runs of spring corn on Memorial Day Weekend.  How many times in life is there the opportunity to do that??

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of elle.com

Photo courtesy of elle.com

Kate Middleton's Engagement Dress May Have Triggered the Downfall of the Brand Issa

I own one Issa piece, a gorgeous peacock green gown with cap sleeves and a plunging back, and was a fan of the brand's simply elegant aesthetic.  It's too bad the brand disappeared, but this article is a sobering reminder that fashion is above all a business.

Photo courtesy of marieclaire.com (@ashleybouder)

Photo courtesy of marieclaire.com (@ashleybouder)

Ballet Has A Sexism Problem - But I'm Fighting Back From the Inside

I've had season tickets to the San Francisco Ballet for at least five years now.  In that time, I don't recall seeing a single piece by a female choreographer.  And I'm pretty sure there there have been few if any pieces created by people of color.  These are both serious problems.

Photo courtesy of theguardian.com (Popperfoto)

Photo courtesy of theguardian.com (Popperfoto)

"London Bridge is down:" the secret plans for the days after the Queen's death

This is fascinating.  Royals lover, hater, or not-carer, there is a lot going on here for everyone!

Restaurants Banning Children: Is It Good For Business?

As a child, I would have been outraged by this.  My parents were sticklers for table manners and took us with them to all kinds of fine dining restaurants starting when we were quite young, and I was really proud of being a well-behaved child in an adult environment.  However, my adult self realizes that not every kid is restaurant ready and that paying customers deserve the kind of experience they've sought out and paid for!

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of washingtonpost.com (David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

The 5 Craziest Hours in the White House

When you think about it, there a lot of ways our American tradition of peaceful government transitions is pretty impressive.  But have you ever thought about the nitty gritty logistics?

Image courtesy of economist.com

Chattering Classes

One of my closest friends, who also started our legendary book club, sent us this link the other day.  Groups of women often get accused of gossip and catty chatter, but I actually find many of our meetings adhere to these time honored conversational rules!

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com (Tony Cenicola)

The Banned Books Your Child Should Read

This looks a lot more like my childhood reading list than a banned book list!  Sometimes people like to protect children from certain less pleasant realities, but to a kid that can feel like dishonesty - and what these books have in common besides high quality writing is honesty.

9 So-Called Home Décor Rules That You Should Break, According to These Interior Designers  

I was sort of nodding along absentmindedly while reading this, until I got to the last point.  A striped ceiling? As an unabashed lover of stripes, that sounds pretty fantastic to me.  Now I'm wondering how it would look in my living room... or maybe our kitchen/great room!

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of elle.com (Getty/Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo)

The Afterlife of a Ballerina

I danced all through childhood and dreamed of becoming a professional dancer (although it quickly became clear that a profound case of flat feet was going to get in my way).  The flip side of the dream is something I would never have thought about.

Photo courtesy of nymag.com (Naima Green)

Do Women Still Need A Space of Their Own?

The jury is still out on need, but want?  Absolutely!  I move that the next outpost of The Wing should open in San Francisco.  

The Binge Breaker

Overuse of social media is often cast as a lack of willpower or discipline, but what if we really can't help ourselves because of the way technology is designed?  And what if there was a different way?  (As a side note, The Atlantic is doing a lot of fear mongering these days, whether justified or not.)

Photo courtesy of skinet.com

SKI 2017 Buyers Guide

No, I don't need new gear... but that doesn't mean it isn't fun to look!  For anyone who's curious, my current favored setup is Nordica La Nina skis mounted with Marker Jester bindings plus my Fischer Vacuum series boots.  Backups for bulletproof days are my Nordica Jet Fuel skis (now discontinued).

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of buzzfeed.com (Ian Spanier Photography)

The Challenge of Building TV's Best Reality Show

I don't know about you, but when I was in high school I was OBSESSED with The Real World and Road Rules on MTV, and I remember watching early versions of The Challenge.  It turns out the makers of the first reality TV show are still defining the game.

Image courtesy of marieclaire.com (Dana Tepper)

Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They'd Never Had Kids

There's a lot of talk about "the last taboo" but I really do think this might be it.  As a married woman of childbearing age, the topic of children is pretty much always top of mind for me, so this article definitely struck a chord.

Photo courtesy of refinery29.com (Saint James)

The Evolution of the Striped Shirt Trend (& One of the Key Brands Behind It)

I don't know about you, but I cannot resist a striped shirt.  At the same time, I'm super picky about them, so I currently only own a couple.  It seems I'm not the only one in thrall of the classic stripe!

Lessons in the Delicate Art of Confronting Offensive Speech

The story that spurred this article is now old news, but the topic was relevant before the election and continues to be relevant now.