Things We Currently Love: January 2016

Chelsea

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

I started DS9 last year and found the earlier season a bit tedious, but by season 4 and onwards it’s a very engaging show which has come into its on, so even though I started it in 2015 it’s more of a January 2016 obsession.  I would rank it as below The Original Series, but above The Next Generation.

Coconut Oil

During the winter my skin and hair get extremely dry, and I find that using a regular moisturizer or conditioner isn’t enough.  I leave it in my hair for an hour before showering to deep condition, use it moisturize my body, rub a very small amount over my hair to smooth it while removing frizz and static, use it as a makeup remover, and mix it with a bit of nutmeg as an exfoliant (you’ll smell like a cookie!)  But don’t leave it on your face.

Françoise Hardy/Comment te dire adieu? (1968) – Françoise Hardy

This is the only album I listen to, it’s very comforting.

Cassie

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I’m unsure if it’s fair to put a half-read book on a list of things you love but I can’t remember being this gripped by a book in such a long time. Some may suggest that I’m focusing on the wrong aspect of Yanagihara’s tale but to me, it’s a book all about the gravity of small gestures. (I know this book was on a bunch of Best of 2015 lists, but consider me perpetually late to the party).

Gardening

I’m far from a green thumb and I recently overwatered a large collection of succulents so much they up and died, but I’m trying! And it seems that trying is enough because I find that nothing is quite as calming as being wrists deep in dirt. I recently rescued a pot-bound mystery tree from my late grandfathers property and am eagerly awaiting it’s first bloom so that I can identify it.

The Psychoanalytic Geography of Alan Partridge

We can thank Paul Kingsbury for this gem. I want to highfive Kingsbury a billion times for thinking up something so simultaneously absurd and so completely ingenious. It’s both a crash course in Joan Copjec’s work on Lacan and a farcical new insight into everyone’s most loved/loathed radio show host. Trust me when I say it’s well worth getting behind that paywall. (FWIW Kingsbury’s body of work is actually pretty fascinating).

Hannah

dressing like a pink cloud — I wish to be a pastel ice queen, draped in vintage silks & angora & pale fur. I’ve been snatching up peach-pink & ivory & celadon silk 1930s tap pants, step-in teddies, and slips all winter, and incorporating them into everyday outfits. My best find is an early 40s ivory silk fischer heavenly slip with lace trim — for 20USD! It has pale pink lipstick stains across the bust, but that only makes it more endearing. Winter brings out my inner sloth, all i want to do is luxuriate under soft blankets reading, or don a furry cape, beret, and gloves & go for a very short jaunt in the park when the winter sun is high. Pantone’s choices for colour(s) of 2016 hit me close to heart. Long live pastel!

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soups — With the purchase of an immersion blender, homemade soup has never been so simple. My partner is more of the cook in our house, but I can whip up a mean butternut squash soup sans recipe. My favourite though, is our take on gombapaprikás, using whatever slightly exotic fungi you can find at the international grocery & liberal amounts of Hungarian paprika in a homemade veggie broth. In restaurants, CLT izakaya Futo Buta has my favourite ramen I’ve had in the States: fire & ice — kimchi broth, hot smoked salmon, fresh mint, cabbage, shaved carrot, radish, black sesame. by no means traditional ramen, but so amazingly delicious I wanted to lick the bowl.

“love me forever (chopped & screwed)” – young thug — This song is my go-to for the cool down during my daily dance improvisation lately. The chopped/screwed version gives a wistful lethargy to what was an upbeat, gleeful track. During the recent snowstorm, after a bit too much whiskey, L. put this song on around midnight; I was pirouetting on the ice without making a dent of a footprint, when I slid and fell hard on my right knee & left shoulder. Thanks to the booze, I didn’t feel anything. I still have a gnarly bruise.

Brandi

This January has been a struggle for me. I can feel every drop of the incessant rain in Vancouver and I’ve taken to hiding myself away in my shitty customer service job and my heavy rain boots. In times like these the only drive I have is to consume and obsess but hey, I’m content.

Some of the shit I like this month includes:

Mourning Coup

This month I’ve been listening to Mourning Coup’s debut album, Baby Blue, on (all-consuming) repeat . Mourning Coup, a Vancouver based Indigenous artist with roots in Siksika Nation, vibes a dreamy experimental pop that channels ancestor and blood memory. It’s heavy shit that’s also completely wonderful to listen to.

You can stream Baby Blue for free on soundcloud and buy the LP from No Sun Recordings ($15.00 USD).

otipêyimsiw-iskwêwak kihci-kîsikohk (Metis in Space)

Full disclosure, otipêyimisiw-iskwêwak kihci-kîsikohk (Métis In Space) is a podcast created by 2 of my good friends and listening to it is like a warm blanket. However, the concept and execution of it is so fun and so necessary that I’d be listening to it even if I hadn’t had the privilege of getting drunk with these 2 women in my offline life.

Supported by Indian & Cowboy, this podcast is all about 2 Metis women getting together, drinking a bottle of wine and reviewing sci-fi/fantasy’s use of Indigenous peoples.
I’m eternally sad I wasn’t able to appear on it while I was in Montreal but you can listen to previous episodes/subscribe to new ones here.
Be sure to listen to the episode I was supposed to appear on (Metis in Space: S.2 EP#10) in which they are subjected to Wonderfalls, teenage Brandi’s fav (created by adult Brandi’s problematic fav, Bryan Fuller).

Price-Matching

I used to be a grocery store cashier and apart from being the most miserable job I’ve ever had (including a stint cleaning up chicken blood) it taught me that I should never ever pay full price for something. My cashier job has turned me into one of the customers I used to hate: a line halting, great and terrible price-matcher. But Reebee, a customizable sales flyer and coupon clipper app, makes it easier on everyone to deal with me. Big box and chain stores will almost always price match even if it’s not advertised and I don’t really understand why people won’t do this small time corporate haggling. But don’t worry, I’ve vowed never to pay full price for tampons or bread or junk food ever again in my life.
You can download Reebee for iphone and android here.

Kathryn

01. Leave Me Alone (album), Hinds

For a long time, I wasn’t listening to new music at all and, when I was, I especially wasn’t listening to fuzzy garage pop. I figured I was done with lo-fi pop, that I had all of the lo-fi pop I needed in my life, and that I just didn’t need to go looking for that anymore. So, Leave Me Alone came as the most beautiful, pleasant surprise – dueling female vocals, lovely little guitar lines, rough around the edges in the most delightful way. Hinds reminds me of my favorite rough around the edges group, The Babies & the album opener, “Garden”, is a delightful lost anthem for wayward teens and twenty-somethings. YouTube link.

Paper Girls

02. Paper Girls (comic), Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

I’m obsessed with the brilliant and beautiful art in this comic, set in the suburbs of Cleveland in the 1980s. Vaughan and Chiang get the setting exactly right, but even better than the perfectly rendered split-level houses is the dynamite crew of these tough as nails twelve year old paper girls faced with an unimaginable extraterrestrial threat. Paper Girls is one of those comics that will assuredly be recommended to “people who don’t read comics” & I look forward to seeing it on loads of end-of-year best-of lists in about 10 months.

03. Kristaps Porzingis for Shifman Mattresses (endorsement deal)

There are many things I love about basketball, but my favorite thing is how deeply weird it can be when you shift the focus from the sport to its individual players & this story, which focuses on an endorsement deal between a purveyor of luxury bedding and a 7-foot-three 20 year-old Latvian basketball player is a wonderful example of basketball’s unexpected weirdness and whimsy.

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04. Setting Up My Desk (minor life improvement)

I’ve lived in the same house for over two years now, the longest I’ve lived in any one place since 2005. I’ve gotten so used to precarious and impermanent living situations that it’s hard to think of making space for myself to do anything. But around a year ago, I got myself a desk and this weekend I finally set it up as a proper work space and am now riding that sweet 72-hour high of feeling like I might actually get something done for once in my life.

05. Prince Charming Shower Cream (bath/shower product)

Like many people who have worked for Lush, I’ve soured on much of the company’s rhetoric and question many of their business practices, but I can’t help it – I still have a weak spot for this once-a-year Valentine’s Day product. Prince Charming was reformulated for this year’s line and, at first, I was shocked and disappointed, going so far to tell my former coworkers at Lush that I felt “betrayed,” but it ended up turning out fine. In the bottle, the pomegranate scent is much more up front than in past years (almost unpleasantly so), but once you lather up you smell the grapefruit and mallow root and it’s just a really nice dumb luxury that I look forward to whenever this time of year rolls around. Anyway, as much as I love showering with this I’m still really glad that I don’t work at Lush anymore.

Julia

January was awful, but it’s over. Here are some things I liked.

Casey Mecija

Formerly of Ohbijou and currently a badass, Casey rocks. Not only am I really enjoying her song Palms Out, I’m loving the creative ways she’s promoting her first solo endeavour. She collaborated with digital artist Sammy Rawal to have an accompanying .gif with lyrics for each song. Really well-executed creative concept. She is also one of the many artists to weigh in on important conversations about racism in Toronto/Canada’s music scene, which you should read in full.

Maman Sauvage by Geneviève Elverum (Castrée)

So, perhaps the best thing about January, and about this year, is that I am pregnant and going to meet the baby that is currently percolating in my womb. I have a womb! I am with child! That’s biblical and shit! Since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been desperately searching for stories by anyone who resembles me in their fucked up relationship to femininity and who never necessarily planned on becoming a parent/mother. I found it in Geneviève Elverum Castrée’s poetry. It’s in French and it’s all about how weird it is to be pregnant and I was sobbing by the end of it. This book feels like it was written to be read by me while pregnant, and I’m so so happy I found it.

(Strangely enough, it was this time last year that I stumbled upon O Paôn, her music, for the first time and fell in love with that.)

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Vintage maternity tags (and the clothes that go with them)

I was lucky enough to find the motherlode of vintage maternity clothes in late 2015, and am happy to finally be forced to wear them. I use the word “forced” because I’m going to keep wearing the pieces from my regular wardrobe that still fit me as long as I can. All the details! The designs! The thinking that went in to making these pieces wearable for expanding bellies and breasts! I marvel at it all. And my favourite is probably the detailed tag designs and ridiculous puns. Coming Attractions, Expectantly Yours, Stork-A-Lure.

Amaka

Hot Pilates

Imagine paying for a service — once you pay for this service, you get to spend an hour in a heated room (generally around 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit) while an instructor enthusiastically yells at you for that entire hour. They shout at you to move your body in various ways: get on the floor. Stand up. Hold a side plank. Do some weird push-ups! Sometimes, you tune them out and want to curl into the fetal position, praying for the madness to end. Only sometimes.
My favorite thing about Hot Pilates is that by description alone, it sounds horrendous. But it’s addictive! For me, no class feels easy, giving me room to improve, strengthen poses, and push through mentally when physically, my body has had it. It’s fun, I promise.

Wearing shoes that make me taller

Being 6’1” matters to me in the way that it has to matter — it’s what people notice about me, and often ask about. My height has been the the subject of debate for folks in denial (why would I lie? Why?), an opportunity to help strangers reach high items at grocery stores, and a great way to be selected early to join a basketball team in high school gym class, despite being…not very good at basketball.
As a tall woman, wearing heeled shoes can be an intimidating feat when you’re already much taller than most people. But in my case, sometimes the purchase of a great shoe is just too tempting. You buy one pair of heeled brogues, and you never look back.
This month, I bought 4 pairs of shoes, all with a slight heel — 2-3 inches, I’d guess. Though my priority with all clothing is comfort, I have begun to love having the option of wearing something that literally elevates me, albeit temporarily.

Not Mackelmore

I do not like Macklemore. I LOVE not liking Macklemore. I really enjoy not liking any of his songs. I am overjoyed when I see headlines that will lead me to articles about him online, so that I do not click on those links. I am not sure if this is breaking the rules, to talk about something that I don’t like. If it is, I am okay with breaking the rules.

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