I saw a tweet earlier this week that said something along the lines of, ‘January has made you feel every single one of its days’. Unlike some years, this month hasn’t dragged for me; instead, it seemed determined to outdo itself every consecutive day. Living in Washington DC, January was a particular rollercoaster. I’m proud of how the city rallied together, in the face of chaos and violence, by supporting the local restaurants that had to close for the safety of their workers, the supportive signs and floral installations posted on the Mall, and a renewed push for DC statehood. While still in the darkness, there are always stars, and here I share all the favorites that have brightened my month.
Lupin– The edgier Parisian TV alternative now on Netflix, inspired by the stories of the French gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin. Grit, drama and mystery with all the impeccable style and panache of a good heist film. I watched it with French dub and French subtitles to practice. I cannot recommend enough! The marketing maven in me is waxing poetic about their tagline- Vous me voyez mais vous me regardez pas. Excellent for a cozy night on the couch.
The Great Pottery Throw Down– if you want all the fun of GBBO without inevitably becoming ravenous watching all the baked goods parade about, this is the show for you. There’s something impossibly wholesome about this show, and each of the potters is incredibly talented.
Ada’s on the River- on Saturday I had the chance to check out the newly opened Old Town Alexandria waterfront. We bundled up for brunch outdoors, but with heaters, glorious sunshine and several coffees, it was lovely. I recommend the Poetry in Motion (New Amsterdam vodka, ginger syrup, grapefruit + lemon juices, orange bitters) and the Baked Eggs- basque piperade, fennel sausage, cumin, confit garlic, feta and flatbread perfect for dipping in the runny yolk. The tables were spaced well apart, and I anticipate that Ada’s will be gorgeous through the warmer months.
Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia Hand Cream– it was my mother’s birthday a few weeks back, and given my love of a good hand cream came from her habit of always having one in her purse, this was the perfect gift. With vigilant hand washing/sanitizing and the cold winter weather, it’s an absolute must to keep your skin from cracking. It also smells like a dream and would make a pretty addition to your vanity, desk or bedside table.
I am challenging myself to read 24 books before my 24th birthday in a few months – I’ve just started my 5th – but I’ll hold off on reviewing until I’ve finished.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab– 10/10. I read this book in four hours straight – honest! Everything from the dark mystery, the fast pace and our heroine’s bravery and boldness had me sucked in. The plot was engaging, but what most had me turning the pages for more was the richness of Addie’s character and the central message about how art and stories sustain us like nothing else. Possible contender for favorite of the year, we shall see!
The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar– 8/10. This novel tells the journey of a young girl, Nour, and her family as they navigate from Syria to safety, following the same path as the heroine in Nour’s favorite folktale. Not only does it speak to the refugee experience, but it also brings a dash of magical realism. I especially enjoyed the poetry excerpts at the start of each section of the book.
HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes– 9/10. If you’re interested in the British royal family and the symbolism and messaging of fashion by public figures, this book is extraordinarily insightful and well researched. Great for a coffee table but I will say it’s the kind of book you pick up and put down again, not one you read straight through.
What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer– 10/10 for some of the most powerful, impactful and beautiful poetry I’ve read in a long time. Will probably be my go to gift to all of the women in my life for the next year or so.
Fresh Beauty Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask– single handedly responsible for hydrated, soft skin in the face of constant blasting from the heater. Plus who doesn’t love skincare that smells like roses?
Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion– magic in a bottle. I’ve only been using this a week and it’s helped significantly with clogged pores, evening out texture and just bringing a glow to my face. There’s a reason it’s a cult favorite amongst skincare gurus. To note, it’s only available from two esthetician retailers in the United States, I bought mine from Rescue Spa.
Equilibria– I haven’t been sleeping well lately, my brain just refusing to shut off, bouncing from one idea, task, or reminder to another until the late hours of the night. I’m working on limiting my screen time and creating a relaxing bedtime routine. One thing that I’ve been incorporating is Equilibria’s CBD soft gels. So far, I’m finding that they help me to quiet my mind and stay in that calm headspace. I’ve also heard rave reviews about their creams and drops to help with period pains, headaches and muscle soreness.
Good Molecules Wake Up Eye Gel– hydrating, antioxidant goodness courtesy of yerba mate and hyaluronic acid. A dab of this gel definitely wakes up my eyes in the morning. Also, its scent reminds me of really good applesauce, which I weirdly adore!
Dior Spring Summer 2021 Collection– Maria Grazia Chiuri has done it again. The latest launch from the iconic haute couture house has fully embraced escapism and storytelling. Each garment is incredibly luxurious, evoking the mysticism of tarot cards and the gilded romance of the Italian renaissance. I swooned. This is high fashion at its finest, the kind that transports you through aesthetic and artistry.
Bodum Milk Frother– life is better with fancy coffee. This miraculous little invention has saved me from many unnecessary trips to Starbucks over the past four weeks.
Sylvie’s Love– a movie that might make you cry from sheer happiness. One of the most beautiful love stories I’ve seen told via film. Set in 1950s Harlem, I loved the gorgeous cars, gorgeous costumes and a soundtrack that makes you want to sway. Available on Amazon Prime.
Before Sunrise and Before Sunset– available via HBO (bless my roommate), I watched both of these for the first time the past few weeks. Beyond the quirky, lovely romantic comedy, I adore these films for their scenic tours of Vienna and Paris respectively.
Scam Goddess Podcast– the best when you need a good, from the belly, snorting laugh. All the intrigue of true crime with none of the creepy factor, it’s one of my favorite podcasts ever. Use headphones/close your door so you don’t accidentally interrupt your roommate’s zoom call with your cackling.
Kacey Musgraves– just some really great songs to listen to as you work, cook, knit, do your skincare, drive, stroll, stretch. Whatever, wherever. I especially love Velvet Elvis and Pageant Material.
Jewel Tones, the outwear craze sparked by the Presidential Inauguration– I was clearly inspired by some of the excellent sartorial choices we saw on the 20th of January. Meena Harris’ emerald ensemble compelled me to pull my own giant green coat out of my closet for a spin down to the Lincoln Memorial. Michelle Obama’s belted burgundy monochrome look has haunted my every waking hour since, as has the joyful yellow of Amanda Gorman’s outfit and her powerful poem (available for pre-order this spring). The Biden granddaughter’s pastel gave me spring inspiration and Ashley Biden’s tuxedo had me taking down notes. Fashion aside, I watched the inauguration from my couch with my roommates – watching Kamala Harris make history brought a huge smile to my face and a burgeoning feeling of hope for all the girls to follow.