IS IT May 2nd? Yes. Do I care? Not particularly. Here’s a list of things I loved in April.
Since April is “Earth Month,” I thought I would share some sustainable suggestions and actions to take related to climate control.
Sustainability Masterlist: This incredibly helpful and comprehensive list of sustainable swaps for the home & life was compiled by sustainability guru, Kristine Claghorn. Including everything from kitchen tools to clean beauty to a ton of sustainable clothing resources, this is your one-stop list to bookmark and refer to next time you replace anything at all.
- BONUS STEP:
- Once you’re replacing everything in your home with items from this list, utilise Amazon Smile, a branch of the website that donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases to donations of yourr choice.
Plant a Tree for Reforestation: For quite literally ONE DOLLAR, you can help plant a tree through One Tree Planted. Why? “Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. They also provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines.”
Kiss the Ground: An organization focused on Regenerative Agriculture, Kiss The Ground’s site offers lots of ways to educate (including this documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson,) and get involved based on areas of interest.
Your Climate Questions Answered: Participate in this interactive article by the NY Times about how to “shop, cook and eat in a warming world.”
Learn More About Your Effect on the Planet with these Quizzes:
- Climate Change Quiz by Bill Gates
- How Dirty is Your Closet? from ThreadUp
- Carbon Footprint Calculator from Conservation.org (I learned it takes 358 trees to offset my annual carbon footprint)
How Your Diet Contributes to Climate Change via the NY Times
Nestled in an industrial area of NoHo, this small rose farm is a hidden delight. They’ve been growing heirloom garden roses since 1996 and visiting there is a perfect Saturday morning (or Tuesday – the only 2 days they’re open) activity. You show up, and the incredibly friendly owner Lynne or one of the lovely employees will show you the ropes: Get a pair of gloves, clippers and a basket, and meander through the rows of garden roses clipping your own bouquet. I find so much joy in the process. They have SO many different kinds of roses, and I love learning more each time I visit. The price is $22 for a dozen stems, many of which have multiple blooms. (For reference, that’s the same price that my neighborhood grocery store charges for regular roses.) After you clip your selection, you hang under a covered workspace and remove the thorns, creating your own bouquet. They even give you a bag filled with water to transport it home in. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and super friendly, helping you along the way. This activity is so fun to do solo or with a group of friends (Ben actually came with me last week and loved it,) and it also seems like a really great activity to do with young kids too. (I always love seeing the moms with their daughters there together, usually in some rad matching Dusen & Dusen sets.) Find them here and on Instagram for more info.
A Few APPI Movies
In honor of AAPI Heritage month (May), this feels like a good time to share a couple of my favorite movies made by and starring APPI artists. I’m in no way an Asian cinema expert, and I’m not the most articulate when it comes to discussing film, so I will spare you my in-depth reviews and just give you a list of a couple that I personally love and let you know they’re currently streaming.
Wong Kar-wai Films
One glance at almost any frame from Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai will show you immediately why I’m drawn to his work – Romantic themes paired with strong female leads and stunning, highly saturated cinematography – it hits all my targets. My favorites (along with a lot of other people) are In the Mood for Love (HBO MAX,) and Chungking Express (CRITERION CHANNEL) As Tears Go By (CRITERION CHANNEL)
A natural next step from Kar-wai is Maggie Cheung, because they have worked together repeatedly. If you’re not familiar with her, I’m so excited to introduce you. I could watch her stunning, stoic face read a phonebook. She is a Hong Kong actress who’s career soared in the 90’s. A fascinating human with a badass career spanning from Miss Hong Kong to Action Star to Indie Darling, she quit acting in 2004 but left us with some real gems. Favorites are Hero (HBO MAX) a badass and beautiful wuxia (martial heroes) piece with a STUNNING color story (telling a tale over and over but slightly differently in a different color palette), and Irma Vep (HBO MAX) – which, I should note is a French-made film, not AAPI, but follows strongly in the tradition of French new-wave style and I love.
ALSO! Please read this article about her amazing cheongsams costumes in In The Mood For Love
This organic, low intervention wine label from Northern California is the perfect first winemaker to focus on for this column, because they skyrocketed to one of my favorites almost immediately. I’m lucky enough to have tasted many of their selections recently and I wanted to take my very first crack at “WiNe ReViEwS” here.
The below recommendation comparisons are reductive, but in an attempt to open up minds more to natural wine, let’s give it a shot.
If you like Bubbles Try CCC: I could easily say that this was my favorite wine of 2020. (We bought 3 bottles for Christmas Day.) Bold in flavor but low in acidity, this was a welcome gulpable necessity during a dark autumn. Of the three grapes used to make this, two are in my top favorites – Cunoise and Carignan, and the third is a lil guy you may have heard of…. Chardonnay. Like a blueberry fueled with pop-rocks, this juicy crunchy delight is a great option for red wine lovers who want something celebratory.
If you like Lambrusco: Try Princess Syrah For some totally unfounded reason, I don’t normally find myself drawn to Syrahs, but this tart fizzy pet-nat, seems like their sudsy, more fun cousin. An inky dark red with a sweet carbonation factor, this would be a perfect first glass to enjoy over a card game.
If you like Orange Wine TRY: Acid Queen – This tangy delight is perfect for summer, I’m picturing pairing it with salty French fries by the pool. This skin contact wine is 90% Colombard (white) and 10% old vine carignan (red), and whatever they do to let them sit on each other is working in a weird way. It’s light and dry, and after an initial shock factor that will tell you immediately why it’s called acid queen, it opens up really nicely while staying decently sour.
If you like Classic Red: TRY Sticky – This is an old vine Carignan (one of my favorite grapes) and when I say old, I mean over 100. (Which – fun fact- is rare for California wines since many vineyards were burnt during prohibition) Most carignans are a bit lighter and juicier, and the deep dark color will tell you that it’s a juice for grownups. This could be easily enjoyed chilled or room temp, and would go great with some mushroom pizza.
If you like Rosé Try: Candy Coated Clown – I have to imagine this was named after the Roy Orbison song about Candy Colored Clowns, which feels appropriate because this crushable Grenache should definitely be enjoyed in wayfarer sunglasses and paired with almost anything.
It’s always a bummer to discover a talent you love too late, especially when they pass away at a tragically young age, but I was definitely late to the game with Mac Miller. His posthumously released 2020 album Circles came onto my radar and completely readjusted the completely unfounded opinion I’d carried of him for years. The GENRE of hiphop is expansive and can mean so many different things (I guess POP doesn’t necessarily narrow much down either…) and I had assumed that the late rapper was part of the 20-teens Coachella, sound cloud rap era that just wasn’t my bag. I will quote Ben here, because he’s much better at articulating thoughts on music than I am: “I misjudged Mac Miller based on how he was introduced to me, but then he matured into a really approachable kind of jazz-rap that is as palatable as it is unique.”
Cirlces and Swimming are now two of my most-often played records. His music just puts me in the best mood -as soon as it starts playing, you no longer have to think about about what it is or what it isn’t, you only you have to enjoy it. Saturday mornings arranging flowers with Mac and some bubbles is as unexpected as it is harmonious.
I love a good personality test (WHERE MY. ENFJ’s AT?!), but the Enneagram types have me feeling, for lack of a better word, S E E N. I also find it super helpful for existing with other people to know what numbers they are. For example, I’m a 7, constantly starting new projects but bad at finishing them, and knowing that Ben is a 9 who negotiates almost everything, helps me so much! Take the test here, and if you’re interested, this podcast episode by some of my favorite OG bloggers is a great intro!
There’s not much to this. It’s spring, early summer, and I’m eating halos and cuties five at a time.
Imagine a poolside disco Mac DeMarco, and you’d have Benny Sings, my most-played artist of the month. The Dutch musician (Whose real name is Tim van Berkestijn) “gravitates towards blue-eyed soul and yacht rock, and if you’ve heard anything about Benny Sings before it’s probably that he makes happy, breezy music.” (pitchfork) After the year we’ve all had, happy and breezy is exactly what I’m looking for.
Armchair Expert with Amy Poehler
I have a love/hate relationship with Armchair Expert, because I think Dax Shepard has a real tendency to override the conversations and I don’t LOVE the constant revolving conversation around the program (I am ALL for people who choose to get sober, but I have some personal issues with AA that I won’t go into here) BUT I do love how deep he goes with his guests, and the wide variety of personalities and conversations that are had across the boards. It’s hard not to love anything with Amy Poehler, but this episode felt particularly interesting to me, covering everything from the pandemic to insecurities.
Definitely going to try this faux clay speckled jar DIY with a repurposed yogurt jar!