April Heart List

IS IT May 2nd? Yes. Do I care? Not particularly. Here’s a list of things I loved in April.

This Editorial on “Languishing”

I’m a fan of organizational psychologist Adam Grant on social, and was eager to read this piece of his when a friend sent it my way. “Feeling Blah During the Pandemic? It’s Called Languishing.” In the piece, he discusses the mental grogginess we’re all currently feeling as we start shifting into a new phase of the pandemic, not necessarily burnout, but something different. It helped me articulate how I’m feeling these days – functioning but foggy.  “It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.” 

Climate Actions

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:

How Your Diet Contributes to Climate Change via the NY Times

Roselane Farms

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.

Deli Containers 

Anyone really close to me can tell you that home organization is not….my strongest skill. But I did happen to level up recently in an unexpected way: A few months ago, an internet friend gave a stories tour of her new kitchen, and I became immediately obsessed with how clean and organized it was. The key? Deli Containers. Those plastic things that your pasta salad is served into from the grocery store. She had removed anything bulk or from bags (flour, chia seeds, oatmeal,) and put them into the clear stackable containers, totally reworking the limited cabinet space. I ordered THESE immediately and followed suit. 

I have essentially ONE cabinet for food in my tiny kitchen, and being able to stack and SEE everything now makes SUCH a difference. Gone are the days of cartoonish avalanches tumbling down on me when I open the door. I don’t accidentally buy things I already have because I can actually see what I have. I use a chalk marker to label them, giving me a Kondo-esque sense of satisfaction. We use them for everything from storage to crafts projects. They’re perfect for picnics, storing dry kitten food (I hate reaching into the big cat food bag), leftovers, and more. (They can also be put in the freezer and microwave.) And, unlike tupperware which always ends up being a nightmare to store, they stack directly into each other, taking up minimal space when not in use. (Some other things I bought that helped change the game were these glass cannisters with bamboo lids) PLUS the more you reuse them and buy things in bulk instead of pre-packaged, the better and better it is for the planet.

Quintessentially random, but ultimately useful, I’m a deli container convert.

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)

Maggie Cheung

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

Gearhead Wines

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.

In LA you can currently snag some of their stuff at Psychic or DomaineLA, but wherever you are I urge you to snag any of their bottles if you see them in the wild and tell me all about it!

StyleLikeU

I’m so excited to share this month’s fave follow for a couple reasons – mostly because of their mission, but also because it reveals many layers of other new thing to discover. StyleLikeU is “A mother-daughter led movement inspiring you to accept the skin you’re in.” With a Multiplatform focus, be sure to checkout their YouTube channel and podcast (which, full disclosure, I haven’t listened to yet.)

Their new video series “What’s Underneath: Black Voices” – is a collection of long form videos (about 15 min each) of Black artists, activists, musicians. The speakers strip down personally and literally, representing diverse bodies and communities, sharing stories of “strength, self-worth & joy that will change your life” while removing their clothes throughout. It’s difficult to describe, but the vulnerability expressed is quite moving. They discuss so much about race, but delve into almost every other societal stigma or issue you can think of – gender, sexuality, ableism, class, socioeconomic, you name it. The inclusion is exceptional as well – you see trans bodies, disabled bodies, pregnant bodies and more, all sharing about their personal experiences.

They’ve done episodes with some of my other favorite people I follow, and I’d especially like to highlight Janaya Future Kahn and Dronme.

Mac Miller 

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.

You Swim swimsuits 

Like most women, I have a…. temperamental relationship with swimwear, and NEVER anticipated writing about a swimsuit, but here we are. Right before a recent trip to Palm Springs I caved and bought two new suits from Youswim, the Instagrammed suit du jour, and WOW what a good decision. Their ribbed suits are one size fits all (sizes 2-14), which I was skeptical about, but it means that they hug all bodies where they need it. Somehow, at the heaviest I’ve ever been, I found myself looking in the mirror happy with how I looked and felt in a bikini. Female founded and ethically made, the suits are made to last, sustainably packaged, this is a brand you can feel good in and good about. I can’t wait to build out my collection with more fun colors.     

Coy Collection Ceramics 

I hesitate to tell you about this one, because these small-bach handmade pieces sell out almost immediately, but my lil coffee mug brings me so much joy I have to throw it out there. Coy is a Black female ceramicist based in Austin, specializing in mugs with her signature smiley face. As she says it: “Connecting functional artwork to self love and care. Each piece serves as a lil reminder that your body + home are worthy of smiles, love, and warmth.” She exudes that online too, and I love following her process on IG. If you love them like I do and want one for your own, the thing to do is sign up for her newsletter, which announces new batch drops so you can pounce. 

West of Breakfast Pajamas 

I am a sucker for matching pajama sets, and have been on the quest for the perfect pair of menswear inspired, Cary Grant style striped ones for YEARS. So when I stumbled across this multicolored striped set from West of Breakfast I clicked buy faster than I have in a long time. Founded by two sisters, one identifying as the tomboy and the other loving all things frill, they merged their styles to create PJ sets with personality. (For example, the description on my set said Croquet, 80’s synth pop, oversized sunglasses, roller coasters) Made from 100% preshrunk cotton, this is the set I’ve been searching for. They make me feel both cozy and cool, so don’t be surprised when you see me pair the top with jeans.

Enneagram Types

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!

Clementine Oranges 

There’s not much to this. It’s spring, early summer, and I’m eating halos and cuties five at a time.

Benny Sings

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! 

Stevie CBD

Anyone a CBD fan? I haven’t gotten super into it, but been enjoying calming bubbly waters and just ordered this tincture – it SEEMS like it’s helping with anxiety?!

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