Locally-led crisis response, 1970s punk glamor, Kate Winslet soars, and more.
Digest #31 - September 5th, 2021
How are you all? We’ve each been going through a lot, as residents of this planet and members of our species, and I genuinely hope you’re all taking care of yourselves as best you can.
A few little updates from me… I’ve started my part-time MPA, and am taking a class on state and local taxation every Monday evening. I find the content terribly interesting—dare I say exciting—which speaks a lot to how I’ve grown over the past decade. Teenage-me would be horrified.
I’m also off to London on Wednesday! Only a 4 day trip. I’ll be joining my best friend’s wedding celebrations, and speedily seeing some of my colleagues and friends. Honestly, the whole thing is rather daunting because of COVID. But, I am trying to remain optimistic because if everything goes well, and everyone stays safe, it’ll be a spectacular time.
I’ve also finally conceded that this digest is better as a monthly output - the first Sunday of every month, to be specific. I consume plenty of content I wouldn’t recommend to you, but want to keep this digest to things I especially enjoyed and think you will too. Quality over quantity, as is my general motto in life. Given my restrained recreational time, this means I need a full month to dig up these seven gems for you.
I hope you’ll continue to enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy sharing them!
With love from Atlanta,
Locally-led crisis response
There are so many acute humanitarian crises ongoing at this moment, and I know it can feel overwhelming as a bystander, not knowing how to help effectively. Financially supporting trusted locally-led organizations is one way we can help to make immediate impact.
I have personally made recent donations to five organizations:
The Bayou Community Foundation’s Recovery Fund helping local residents most impacted by Hurricane Ida, specifically serving Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and Grand Isle in coastal southeast Louisiana;
Slow Factory Foundation’s Superfund. I donated to honor my Lebanese best friend Sarah Almahmoud’s birthday last month, as the Lebanese people need our help now more than ever;
The Watan Project and Children Without Border’s joint fundraiser for Afghanistan; and
The Ayiti Community Trust’s Earthquake Relief Fund for relief in Haiti.
If you have supported different locally-led crisis response efforts (in these or any other crises) please hit reply to this email and send me the information. I’ll include in next month’s digest, and share info about each and every recommendation on social media more immediately.
Why did nobody tell me about this movie? I did not read one review, recommendation, see a post, anything, beyond the standard Emma Stone trailer with this white cape-dress getting lit up. My husband Alex and I only watched this because it became available to stream on Disney+, and I was so extremely delighted by the entire thing. I was not expecting a Devil Wears Prada-esque/heist movie/murder mystery genre mashup set in 1970s London? With epic servings of classic punk fashion? I am mad at every single person who had seen this gem and not told me. This is the only big-Hollywood film I’ve truly enjoyed in a long time.
Mare of Easttown
I had seen a fair few tweets about this show being brilliant, not to mention its whopping sixteen Emmy nominations, so needed to check it out myself. Kate Winslet absolutely triumphs in her lead role as a tough, wise-cracking detective dealing with overlapping personal traumas in a tight-knit Pennsylvania community. It’s a beautifully produced show that skips showy effects in favor of brilliant writing that serves up complex characters and a layered plot (plenty of red herrings and genuinely shocking plot twists). But do be warned that there are a few shocking scenes including graphic violence. Rather than being gory or gratuitous, they feel extremely raw and necessary. The subject matter is heavy all-around, and touches on drug addiction, suicide, custody battles, abduction, sexual abuse… almost the whole gamut of human trauma. It’s not light watching, but so worth it if you have the emotional capacity to get sucked into binge-watching all seven episodes and remerging in a more sullen (but satisfied) mood.
Point and Kill ft. Obongjayar
I very recently (in May’s digest #28) shared a Little Simz video, but can’t help sharing this one with you, it’s just so damn good. It’s a video you’ll want to watch a few times to really visually absorb and appreciate, and the kind of song that I’m bound to keep on repeat for days at a time (what Alex calls my '“adult Frozen songs”). It’s got a groove and funk vibe that will make it impossible not to do a little dance or tap your toes, gorgeously dreamy vocals from Obongjayar, and Little Simz’s unparalleled flow to spellbind you. Have a listen! I’m going to go back to listening it for the next hour or two ;)
Sherry vinegar, mustard and red onion vinaigrette
I’m going to let you in on a guilty secret. Even as a relatively experienced and (self- described) competent cook, I love using meal kits from time to time. I cook a lot—and by that I mean that I cook 6 lunches and 6 dinners a week from scratch—so it’s incredibly easy to fall into a rut and make the same things over and over. Ordering a meal kit once every few weeks helps me mix it up a little and use ingredient combinations I might not have otherwise considered. For me, (unsponsored opinion, as always!) Blue Apron is by far the best choice for both quality of meals and price. Sometimes a little part of a meal is so good that I integrate it into my usual cooking routines. The vinaigrette from this recipe is one example of that. It’s so easy to make from simple ingredients, and tastes particularly amazing on salmon and trout. You’re welcome in advance.
Shadow and Bone
In Digest #27 back in May, I wrote about the Netflix series Shadow and Bone and mentioned it desperately made me want to read the young adult fiction series it was based on. Well, now I’ve actually finished the first two novels in the trilogy! They were great reads, but they also made me appreciate the show significantly more. A number of great writing decisions were made for the screen, like combining the first book of the trilogy with the first book from The Six of Crows Duology (which I’m yet to read) as a parallel timeline. Another stellar choice was making the title character, Alina Starkov, mixed race after casting English-Chinese actress Jesse Mei Lei to play her (cementing her narrative as an outsider, and allowing her character to further develop in the show). I’m excited to keep reading these, and for season two of the show to be released. It’s nice to look forward to a new things from a franchise! I’ve missed this feeling, and first felt it for the Buffyverse, and more recently Game of Thrones. If you’re looking for a fun fantasy world to immerse yourself in, I highly recommend the Grishaverse!
This is definitely my favorite viral post of the month. The ballroom track makes it magical, but this little girl undeniably knows how to serve looks.