Workday Reading + Ask The Edit

Belle’s Weekly Reading: August 23, 2013


I was once asked, “If you wrote a memoir, what would it be called?”  I half-jokingly answered, “Facepalm: The story of a life spent annoyed.” But last week, my Mother sent me this video from Upworthy, and it has me rethinking what annoys me and why.  The video is a snippet from a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace about how to change the way you deal with “boredom, routine and petty frustration.”  So I’m trying to remold my way of thinking about the day-in and day-out aspect of life.

1) Elle Magazine put together a “Power Survey” regarding how men and women feel about the workplace and its politics. They covered everything from negotiating starting salaries (89% of people who ask for more money get it, but most women don’t ask) to whether women are more scrutinized than men (both genders say, yes).  Definitely worth a read.

2) Could Madewell please stop making nearly all of their dresses in this faux-babydoll cut?  If it doesn’t look good on the 95lb model with legs up to her neck, exactly whose figure is this style supposed to flatter?

3) Raise your hand if you were a Girl Scout! The providers of girl power and tasty cookies are experiencing serious financial and organizational problems.  The national organization is trying to regroup, but with a 20% drop in membership and a serious lack of willing troop leaders, it may not survive.  Here’s hoping they get it together.

4) Need to save money on your dry cleaning bill?  Invest in a handheld steamer.  I like this Jiffy Esteam model.  That and a bottle of Febreeze saves me a fortune.

5) I’ve been wearing my Labradorite cuff to death, so I think I might like to add a lapis cuff to the rotation.  I just can’t decide if I want to splurge a little on this Evelyn Knight cuff and all of its twisty goodness, or save my pennies and buy this $22 Blu Bijoux bracelet.

6) I love guacamole, but I rarely make it at home because I can’t eat it all in one sitting, and the idea of eating brown, mushy day-old dip makes me queasy.  But the Kitchn has a simple solution to the problem of putrid guac, and you will not believe what it is.

7) The cobblestones were murder on my shoes this year. Five pairs of gorgeous heels and flats look like they’ve been to war on the feet of a Roman Legionnaire.  I’m having two pair repaired, but I’ll need a few pairs to get me through fall.  I already bought these Ivanka Trump Janie pumps, but I think I might also like to have these gorgeous Matt Bernson black flats with a unique shape and these blue suede shoes with gold details from Louise et Cie.  Whose says “necessities” can’t be uber stylish?

8) E at District of Chic has some stunning photos of her recent trip to the Inn at Little Washington.  It has me thinking that it might be time to start saving my pennies for a trip to this delightful country inn and its five-star restaurant.

9) For years, I have been a loyal consumer of the C&C California leggings.  They’re opaque, they wear well and they’re super soft.  But a friend encouraged me to try the Zella ‘Live in’ Leggings and I am sold.  Partially because the wider waistband makes them super comfy, but also because the heavier fabric seems to suck things in a bit more, if you know what I mean.  They also come in plus-size. And be warned, you may have to size up for a proper fit.

10) I wanted to leave you today with this article: 6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal.  I found it insightful and instructive without being too judgmental.  I’m certainly guilty of a few of them, and it was a good head check.



  1. Hitha | Hitha On The Go says:

    I swear by the Jiffy steamer – never take a trip without it! I have two – one in my suitcase, and one in my bathroom. Works like a charm when you want to give yourself an at-home facial too!

    August 23, 2013/Reply
  2. Quinn says:

    Thanks for sharing that video from David Foster Wallace. Couldn’t have come on a more perfect day for me. 😉

    August 23, 2013/Reply
  3. LK says:

    Do you have a regular at home steamer or just the handheld? I’ve been looking for an at-home steamer (doesn’t need to be travel) and I’d love recommendations on what is the best one to invest in.

    August 23, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Just the handheld. If you want something with more of a wallop, a friend has the Joy Mangano steamer and loves it.

      August 23, 2013/Reply
  4. BC says:

    I was a Girl Scout for nine years through high school in the 80’s. I really enjoyed my time with the organization but… They are not the most tolerant or generous group in numerous ways. We got in trouble for creating our own fundraiser. We sold luminary kits made from donated materials. We made almost $2,500. Do you know how many boxes of cookies we would have had to sell to make that at 25 cents a box? (The local troop’s cut) We ate very well and paid everyone’s fees for our big trip. We also got in trouble because of the food we bought for our trip. We brought ice cream packed with dry ice. We got in trouble for using camping equipment improperly. We had big donated army surplus tents and made them into a giant mess hall. Lock boxes into cookers and ovens, so long the buddy burner ( coffee can). Giant transistor things into candle lights. We were a creative bunch. Many other interesting things that would get us into trouble with the Girl Scout bigwigs. For some reason they liked our area to join in on the bigger camp outs. Last but not least, remember this was the 80’s, our group leader “left”. It was rumored that she was gay and they removed her. It was a major loss. Also for a nonprofit their volunteer bigwigs apparently made very good salaries. My mother was friends with one of them.

    August 23, 2013/Reply
    • Alaina says:

      There is an AWESOME TED Talk on salaries and the like in non-profits/charities. I’d suggest a listen; it will really change your view on how much employees should be paid. Also, if someone is not a volunteer if they are being paid a salary…


      August 23, 2013/Reply
      • BC says:

        I know but her friend considered herself a “volunteer”. I guess since she was good enough to volunteer her precious time. (Did you hear my sarcasm come through?)
        Same goes for my husband’s aunt who was a VP for the Red Cross to the tune of half a million dollars a year. Oh yeah, plus first class airfare from Ohio to DC every week. She went home every weekend. And they put her up in a luxury house in Falls Church. All to work three days a week. She worked as their fundraiser. I think the Red Cross does great things but more should go to the needy not the big salaries, etc.

        August 23, 2013/Reply
  5. Emily says:

    Belle, thank you for posting DFW’s speech “This is Water.” His trust took down the Upworthy vid, but their copy of his speech is on youtube:

    It’s a great reminder of what it means to really be an adult, thanks again.

    August 23, 2013/Reply
  6. Addison says:

    Another solution to the guacamole problem are Wholly Guacamole’s 100 calorie packs. They’re perfect for a snack or for squeezing on a burrito because they’re individually packaged. They’re also pretty decent for store bought guac.

    August 23, 2013/Reply
    • Caitlyn says:

      Came here to recommend these. The portion size is perfect and they’re delicious. I take them to work with me.

      August 23, 2013/Reply
      • Belle says:

        They’re not bad, pretty heavy on the celery salt though. A good option for those who need something that lasts.

        August 23, 2013/Reply
  7. Julie says:

    I really like this Jiffy steamer which needs a corner of the room to sit in awesome price on this at Costco too.

    August 27, 2013/Reply
  8. j says:

    I just went on a 10 day trip to Yellowstone, Jackson hole and Mt. Rushmore where casual work out attire was my go to. I purchased a couple pairs of the Zella “Live In” Leggings and they were amazing. I also purchased several other articles of the Zella line because I needed more with long sleeves. Everything was amazing and extremely comfortable and 1/2 the cost of Lululemon or Lucy. I’m hooked.

    August 27, 2013/Reply
  9. wuthering says:

    Thanks for posting the Girl Scout article. I wasn’t aware the organization was experiencing such serious challenges. I’m starting my 5th year as a Girl Scout leader. My scouts are all in 10th grade now, and have stayed with it because of the college application factor (we do a lot of service and they will all earn several major awards by the time they graduate) and the travel we do (NYC last year; planning another big trip in a year, maybe international if we can raise enough funds).

    It is an incredibly time-intensive volunteer commitment for troop leaders, so I can see how they may struggle due to lack of volunteers. The decrease in donations from 2007 makes sense to me, given the economy.

    August 28, 2013/Reply