The 4th of July snuck up on me this year. Partially because I can’t — quite — make myself care. Amidst a worldwide pandemic and the dawning realization that my schools’ teaching of US history should get a solid ‘F’ in terms of accuracy…yeah.
I do like sparklers, though.
And that’s all I have to say about July 4.
We’re coming to the end of our yearly stay in Avalon. We love this little beach town. My kids spend each morning surfing, it’s sleepy enough that they really can ride their bikes everywhere, and by now, since we’ve been coming for years, we know most of the people at our favorite restaurants/bars/shops.
But it’s a funny place, Avalon. In the midst of second wave of COVID-19 and the growing momentum (realization?) that Black Lives DO Indeed Matter…it’s basically Summer of 2019 over here.
So while my kids are able to surf and be on the beach…this year they have not been allowed to rove around on their bikes, maskless, like all the other kids. And we’ve been cooking in and staying put much more than in years’ past. Granted, we’re FINE — this can hardly be considered a hardship — but it is a decidedly different approach than most have taken.
And Mike is getting twitchy, watching the numbers rise. So there’s that.
I was in Hoy’s the other day, picking up something random (sunscreen? goggles?), when I noticed a bunch of bumper stickers by the checkout register. One of them said, “Cats’ Lives Matter”.
“You know,” I said to the kid working the register, “that bumper sticker over there? The one that says ‘Cats’ Lives Matter’? It’s basically making light of the Black Lives Matter movement. You really shouldn’t sell that in your store.”
He shrugged, and mumbled something about how he didn’t pick it out.
“Can you give your manager that feedback for me?” I asked, fully aware of HOW MUCH I Sound Like A Karen. An older woman walks up — she also works there, and heard my last statement. She wants to know what is going on.
I sigh. “That bumper sticker,” I begin. I repeat my message, then add, “I just find it really offensive. It’s essentially a racist message…you might as well sell some KKK bumper stickers while you’re at it.”
OK. Maybe the KKK reference was too far. But I’m not sure they even heard it, because the second I used the word ‘racist’ they were all up in arms. The woman started flapping her hands and puffing and literally ran (like…actual RUNNING) to get the manager. One of the kids behind the counter tried to posture, ‘Yeah lady, everybody knows it doesn’t mean THAT,’ but since he was, like, 14, he quickly wilted under my stare.
At this point, the futility of my argument was dawning on me. So Mike and I walked out. Hoy’s is a big store, I didn’t have much faith that the woman would actually find the manager in any reasonable amount of time.
Boy, was I wrong.
The manager came flying out of the store, flabbergasted. “Everyone’s upset!” she cried. “I was told to go talk to you!!!”
This whole situation was starting to feel way more dramatic than I intended. And I am starting to be annoyed by the fact that they are acting like I Am The Problem.
I sigh. Smile. And repeat my message, keeping it short. Unsurprisingly, the second I say ‘the racist messaging is offensive’ she does the same sort of hand-flapping her co-worker did. “Everyone has an opinion now! And all opinions are different!!” she screeches. “Why don’t you call the vendor and rant at him??? I’ll get you the number!!”
I look her straight in the eye. “Everyone does have an opinion,” I agree. “But surely you and I can agree that racism is, in fact, bad?”
She stares at me, pale and trembling. “OF COURSE,” she gasps. Again, I am struck by her fear. It is weird. It is making me feel weird. Like I am scary. Like I have two heads.
“Then as the manager, I expect you can choose not to sell racist products in your store.”
This is her final straw. She races back into Hoy’s, claiming she’s going to get the number of the vendor, “you should call them, I don’t get to pick what the store sells, you just rant to them…” her voice trailing off as the door shuts behind her.
We didn’t wait. Shaking, I pushed off on my bike. We biked around the corner to the fish shop, my chest tight, surprisingly upset and stressed by this minor little encounter. I find myself desperately hoping that no other racist bumper stickers will be lurking near the counter of the fish shop. I don’t have the energy for another one.
As we’re biking home, I ask Mike if this is what being anti-racist means now. If this is one of the things we’re supposed to do. Because it feels completely futile, I tell him. No one even pretended to understand what we were saying. I’ll bet they’ll just talk about that ‘crazy person’ complaining about cat bumper stickers.
“Probably” he says. “But still.”
Let’s talk stay-put swim. I’ve been a longtime fan of Maaji swimwear, especially the bikinis. These bad boys hold up during rambunctious pool play, jumping off cliffs, playing in the waves and running on the beach. AND most of the tops have some sort of tie so they actually fit without squeezing my back-fat. I just came across this gorgeous bikini top in brown. Brown is totally my color this summer (especially for swim) — I’m going to pair it with these matching bottoms (more sizes here or here). OR…oh geez…there’s also a brown floral Maaji set (same style, different pattern – top and bottom) and now….shoot. Can’t decide.
Oooo…Voloshin is 20% off this weekend. Small-batch fashion at it’s best, Voloshin is offering 20% off this weekend. While it doesn’t include our collaboration…it does include this dress I’ve been drooling over, so.
Just add apple pie. Turns out I might lean juuuust Americana enough to buy this bandana-print tee. With a pair of super-short cut-offs and flat sandals? Yes?
The spikes are aggressive. I can’t stop thinking about these studded Steve Madden sandals. The taupe color is perfect, the sandals are cushy and the studs are seriously cool…but by “studs” I mean spikes. Which feels rather aggressive….but…it does go with my mood.
Nonchalantly cool. I’m eyeing up these Good American cut-offs. There’s something so slouchy and effortless about them.
J.Crew’s sale is bonkers. I just put in a giant order. Mostly kids’ stuff. HOWEVER: I feel like I need to make a public service announcement because I love my pink J.Crew sweatshirt SO HARD that I’m buying it in another color (and I never do that). I’m getting the white and wearing it with these track shorts (in either navy or white striped). SO EXCITED.
I was sick of staring longingly at Laura’s lips. So I finally ordered Lip Bar’s Miss Independent gloss for myself. And Laura’s right: it’s SO good. On me, the color reads very ’90s brown, but in a fresh, pretty way (it’s softer and just a bit pinker). And I also recommend the Socialite gloss — it’s a freaking fantastic pink that looks so good with a tan and black tank. (Oh HEY – they’re at Target, too.)
Inspired by Vogue UK’s fashion editor…in 1941. I had never heard of Audrey Withers until Lex sent me this article in the NYTimes. It’s a refreshing and inspiring read.
WHICH REMINDS ME….we’re trying to better organize our site, and so we pulled together a Shopping tab at the top. Under this new tab you’ll be able to find things like our Black-Owned Business Directory, the Sustainable Style Guide, Weekly Sales Reports, The Swim Shop, our Voloshin collaboration, etc., But the piece I’m REALLY excited about is the new “Worth It” category. We’ve been blogging for so freaking long at this point (10+ years) that we’ve had the opportunity to come across some really stand-out pieces. These are the pieces that we’ve put through the paces, sometimes over years. So if you are as much into cost-per-wear as I am, or are looking to scale back your closet to only the most-worn pieces…the Worth It page might be a fun browse.
Wise words from Dan. If you haven’t yet read Dan Rather’s essay on the 4th July, in this tumultuous time, it’s totally worth a read. Here’s a small excerpt that I especially liked:
BTW…we’re fun in email. If you guys haven’t yet signed up for our daily newsletter, we’d love to have you. Not only does it help reduce our alliance on Facebook, but as we get closer to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, we’ll be doing early looks and sneak peeks via the newsletter. And we’ve been working really hard to keep the newsletter interesting and special. Every day we feature something totally unique that caught our eye (often from a Black-owned business or smaller, local business) and every Sunday night we send out a special newsletter that highlights something really well-tested and well-worn (this week, for example, will be our most-worn sundresses to date). We’d love for you to subscribe (here).
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone.