Welcome to the Weekend Edition, a newsletter that will come to you twice a month, always featuring 4 objects worth keeping.
1.The Conscious Closet
In the words of author and sustainability expert Elizabeth Cline, “If you want to change the world, there’s no better place to start than with the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet.” The fashion industry thrives on making us feel inadequate just as we are, and The Conscious Closet is an antidote to that constant manipulation of our emotions. Cline teaches readers how to feel more secure in our own style, how to acquire smartly, ethically, and less, and how to give our discards a second life that doesn’t involve a landfill. I turned down many corners in this book.
2. Wild Bird Fund
Prepare to be enthralled, delighted, amused, inspired, and to find yourself suddenly deciding that your life’s purpose is to help rehabilitate wild birds. This has become my favorite Instagram account, guaranteed to take me out of any bad mood. I would like to make cookies for the angelic volunteers of the Wild Bird Fund, a non-profit NYC wildlife rehabilitation center that takes in all sorts of unwitting victims of our modern urban environment—birds ranging from great blue herons to ring-necked pheasants, as well as box turtles, dragonflies, and at least one very indignant-looking opossum.
PHOTOS BY MIKU OTAGIRI
3. New Year, same old you!
In case you need further convincing that self-acceptance is the key to any sort of happiness, this Guardian piece by Oliver Burkeman explains why perfectionism (as opposed to your inherent imperfection) is the real problem.
4. Summer of Soul
FILMIf you haven’t yet seen it, this documentary by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will blow your mind. The same summer that Woodstock became legend, another music festival—the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival—provided a stage for Black entertainers such as Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, the Staples Singers, B.B. King, the Fifth Dimension, Nina Simone, the list goes on. But unlike what happened with Woodstock, the resulting 40 hours of footage of this festival languished in a basement for decades. Thompson interweaves recollections of participants and historical context, and the energy of the performances is goosebump-inducing.
FILM STILL OF MAVIS STAPLES AND MAHALIA JACKSON
Wishing you a gentle start to the year—
* * * *
With 2022 looking hazier all the time, I’m reminded that there is only one thing any of us can be even vaguely certain of: this one moment we’re in. And who better to look to for guidance at this fragile, unpredictable time than Georgia O’Keeffe. She lived 98 years on this planet (11/15/87 – 3/6/86), through pandemics and world wars, clinical depression and near-blindness. She certainly went through periods of despair. But ultimately she never lost her huge appetite for experience, for the earth under her feet, and the beauty she could make with her hands. So instead of sinking under the disappointment of hunkering down and canceling joyful plans once again, I decided to celebrate four things that GOK might have loved. They’re all both fresh and timeless—just like GOK herself.
1. The Slowdown.
Whether you read poetry every day or truly never, this is a treasure. Via the podcast and newsletter, host and curator Ada Limòn offers up a poem a day along with a brief and always-meaningful framing of the poem. If you’re looking for some hope in dark times, I highly recommend the December 10 episode, and the poem “Spell” by Emma Hine.
Ada Limòn photo by Lucas Marquardt
MOBILE APPI’ve always wanted to be one of those people who could identify every tree and flower and bird and butterfly…but I am not. This app, a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic, lets you snap a picture of just about any living thing, tap a button, and find out what it is. Even better, every time you use the app, you’re helping to accumulate data for the scientists and environmentalists who also use the app. I’m a newbie gardener and it’s been essential for distinguishing between native species (keep) and invasives (yank).
3. Mending Matters.
Fiber artist Katrina Rodenbaugh’s first book is an accessible guide to transforming stains and tears in beloved clothing items into something beautiful. GOK was devoted to mending her own clothing, repairing the same items over and over. I like to think I’m emulating her as I learn to patch jeans, even if my stitches aren’t nearly as tidy.
Here’s what you need:
4 T (or more, to taste) olive oil
1 large onion, or 2-3 small, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 pound organic carrots, scrubbed well, no need to peel, roughly sliced into rounds
4 cups vegetable broth (if the soup turns out too thick for your taste, you could add more broth or water or milk at the end, but then be sure to check for seasoning)
¼ cup full-fat coconut milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
¼ tsp white pepper
Heavy pot (I used a ceramic glazed cast iron Dutch oven)
Immersion blender (If you don’t have one, you can use a food processor or blender but it will be a little bit more of a production. In a pinch, if you get the carrots soft enough, you could make a chunky carrot soup with a potato masher. I’m sure GOK would approve.)
Optional toppings: chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, because I had it, and I think some lemon zest could also be nice); mushrooms (I used shiitake) browned in a good glug of olive oil. Other ideas would be some caramelized onions with the herbs, and/or a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Here’s what you’ll do:
Over low-medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil and about a half teaspoon of salt. You want the onion soft, not brown. This could take 5-10 mins. Add the garlic and carrots and sauté a few mins more, until the garlic is softened. Pour in the veg broth and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about a half hour. Check a few carrots for doneness and when a knife easily slides through, turn off the heat. Use the immersion blender to puree the soup to the consistency you like (I don’t mind a little chunky). Stir in the milk and white pepper and taste for salt. Top as desired or enjoy your sunny bowl just the way it is. Also though, toast makes everything better.