Edward Scissorhands— What happens when you put a Frankenstein-esque monster in the picture-perfect suburbs? This is one of my all time favorite films, both visually and psychologically. An interesting commentary on what people will and won’t accept about you.
Your Name—An amazing, colorful anime that tells the story of two people who switch places in their dreams, but the time frame is skewed. Such an unpredictable, on your toes type of film.
Blue Velvet—The character’s motives and personalities are as random as it gets, but it’s worth a watch just to see inside of Dorothy Vallen’s apartment.
You Are What You Eat— I found this book at a $1 table outside of a thrift store and picked it up out of curiosity. Being vegan for three years, I assume that most of what I eat is healthy, but sometimes you feel low energy, bloated, or tired, without really knowing why. This book is a good merge of scientific explanation and practical understanding. There were SO many foods I had never heard of, and concepts like food combining or when to drink water to digest properly. Some of the guidelines or daily plans are super strict, but I really enjoyed reading about nutrient content and which foods could help you with what health problems. The overall concept of this book is: healing your body through what you eat.
Just Kids—Another favorite, and now that I’m back in New York it had to be re-read. If you haven’t picked up this book yet, do it, and then pass it around to your friends. Our shared copy has everyones notes, underlines, and thoughts scribbled in the margins.
Cult Records Political Section—Cult records is founded by Julian Casablancas, representing artists like The Growlers and The Strokes. Their site features upcoming shows, a mini music video reel with some pics that play in an old timey tv on your computer screen, and an amazing political section that they keep up to date and interesting. Music + activism.
Minimal— With big brand names dominating the scene right now, I think pulling back and just finding a great pair of jeans and a tee you love more than life is a statement in itself.
Long patterned skirts— And long flowy dresses. I usually resort to something practical, but just putting on a flowy garment makes you feel more elevated, feminine, and beautiful.
More and more jewelry— I really like the concept of jewelry you never take off, just add on. With traveling it was impossible to hang on to a rotating cast of necklaces and earrings, so I like picking favorites and wearing them daily. It becomes a signature look without you realizing it.
Big headphones—To all the small, white headphones that got mistaken as someone else’s, drowned in the bottom of my backpack, got tangled up with other chords, or got lost in a pocket of some garment somewhere, I will miss you. Bigger headphones are harder to lose and easier to get lost in the music & your thoughts with.
Cowboy boots—Found under racks at vintage stores in varying sizes, heights, colors, and embellishments. Worn best ironically with a sundress or underneath wide leg pants (in my opinion).
Embroidered/custom clothing—If you are feeling uninspired by what you currently own just rework it. Hems can be cut, colors can be redyed. Add an embroidered word or phrase around the collar of a tshirt, or try some small designs. Embroidery is really not as hard as you think, check out this video for a crash tutorial.
Miso soup— Super simple to make, just get some miso paste from the store and mix into a pot of simmering water (not boiling!) Add in whatever veggies & extras you want or have available, ie: baby corn, cabbage, scallion, tofu, peppers, snap peas, broccoli, kale, etc. I really love having it for breakfast on cold mornings.
Dried fruits— A better source of energy than black coffee! My favorite snack is a handful of dried blueberries to get my energy back up and brain working again. Other favorites: dried mango, dried peach, and cranberries.
Ginger— Grab a piece of fresh ginger and you can use it in SO many things & it has great healing qualities. In the morning with hot water & lemon for a natural ginger tea, grated into soups or tossed into curry for flavor. If you are sick you can just chew it, or make an herbal throat tonic by boiling some water with ginger in it. It’s very strong & a small piece of ginger can last you a while because you only need a bit of it each time.
Arabic Coffee— When I went to Palestine I learned how to make a cup of arabic coffee, the best, most potent coffee I have ever had. The grounds are super fine, and you don’t filter them out at all, just let them fall to the bottom of your cup. It is also made with the intention to be shared, almost like tea. Click here to see a video.
Za’atar— “Arabic Pizza.” Please just find a restaurant in your area that makes it and go try it.
Cherry Pie— Because why not? Serve with coconut whipped cream.
Palmier Cookies—Some of these are vegan! Check the labels. Favorite thing to toss in my bag for picnics in Paris.
Cantaloupe—For whatever reason starting my day by eating an entire, fresh melon puts me in the best mood. & It is a quick digesting food so you can get your energy & hydration up and start your day!
Homemade— Check in your fridge and take note of something you use often. Maybe almond milk, peanut butter, jam, mustard, etc. Choose a random item and learn how to make it on your own, chances are it won’t be as hard as you thought and even if you never do it again you will have more insight & appreciation for how a product you eat normally is made.
Deleting Social Media— For many of us, social media has been a part of our life since we were preteens. I remember being 13 and having sleepovers and huddling around a desktop with my friends, each of us taking turns logging into Facebook, uploading photos, messaging guys, whatnot. That’s almost 8 years I have had a social media account, with probably very few breaks or long periods of time without it. Even if it’s subconsciously, I have been thinking about how to present myself to best make people like me for 8 years. I deleted all social apps from my phone and am taking an indefinite break, even if you just take a day or two it gives you time to reflect on what pieces of you are for you and what pieces of you are for other people. Keep a journal and write down your thoughts. (And feel free to send us your reflections to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Being Brave—How often do you get an urge to put yourself out there, stand up for someone, speak your mind, try something new, but just can’t muster up the courage to do it? It takes a bit of practice, but taking a deep breath and saying or doing what you want is the best way to live your authentic life, one that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. If you get a lot of anxiety with these types of situations, mentally simulate it first, or write it down. What might you do if this opportunity or situation arises? What would your ideal self do? How can you take steps to be that person?
Volunteering—I really think this is something everyone should do, all of us have time for it and it helps connect you to your community. It is so easy to feel helpless about the state of the world and stay behind phone screens angrily tweeting or sharing or persuading our followers to “do something!”. Starting local is the best way to break that mindset, just think what would happen if everyone reading this committed to donating some of their time once a week to help better their community. It can be at a local school, shelter, trash pick up, or any other organization you feel passionate about. Go with a friend if you are nervous, but most of the time everyone is VERY welcoming and you will be happy that you did it. (if you choose to accept this challenge, share your experiences with us).
Spend as much time as you can outside—Winter is coming for us northern hemisphere folk, so every opportunity I get I go outside. You can take your computer to the park to work, go for a run or organize a pickup game with friends instead of going to the gym. Walk instead of taking transport. I love coming home from a long day of being out and about, it makes you feel more productive and gives you more creative ideas. Getting out of your comfort zone in small ways like this also really helps mental health (at least for me).
Hidden Brain— My favorite podcast EVER! Their latest series, “You 2.0” is a must listen. It details how we can best live our lives from a psychological standpoint. How do we make our brain alert, focused, happy?
Shared Journal—Self journaling lets you know yourself better or just have a space of non-judgment to be creative, but I also LOVE sharing journals with friends. You can send back and forth for long distance relationships: me and my 4 friends from high school shipped a journal in rotation during our first year of college, so we could all read about each others experiences when the group message didn’t sync up with our lives anymore. You can share one with a best friend you pass back and forth, or have an open journal for roommates or whoever visits your house. It can be fun to watch the dynamic grow and put things on paper you might have a hard time saying out loud. Or take some time to appreciate the people in your life with kind words. Try it! (and share it with me.. I’m nosy & curious).
(on our playlist all month, check the top bar)
Once in a Lifetime—Talking Heads
Dreams II—BJ the Chicago Kid
Some Girl—Goldlink, Steve Lacy
Blowin Minds (skateboard)—ASAP Mob
Going to California—Led Zeppelin
Beast of Burden—Rolling stones
Best Friend—Amy Winehouse