coffee, two sugars

An inventory of people, places and things that have nourished us recently. To be read over a cup of coffee.

AUGUST.

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lauren 

1. Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin

I started this after seeing purveyor of all things glamour and style, Rachel Syme, recommend it on Twitter. She suggested it as a long weekend read back around the 4th, but I have poor time management skills so, c’est la vie, I’m only getting to it now. Light, airy, charming, it’s perfect for a Sunday morning lie in. Best read with a fresh french press and a slice of toast smothered in strawberry jam. Twitter is not good for much but this one time it pulled through.  

 

2. Zola (2021)

Of course right after I criticize Twitter, I laud its greatest export. Yes, the rumors are true, I have seen The Film of 2021. Janicza Bravo, Jeremy O. Harris and A'Ziah King have brought us the preeminent film of the internet age. It’s a pleasure center of pings and swooshes and dissociative screensavers, immersing the viewer in the manic, performative, liminal space known as online. Zola is a brilliant examination of how we perform for different audiences and what those audiences feel they're entitled to. The last thing I'll say is: Taylour Paige and Riley Keough better get their Oscars.       

3. Death of a Cheerleader by Pom Pom Squad

The ‘90s are back to save us from our 21st century ennui, thank god. This album combines grungy punk sounds, teen dream imagery and cult film vibes. It absolutely would have soundtracked a sexy teen drama from 1999 and therefore it’s the perfect late-summer, early fall playlist. With melancholic guitar strains and desperately yearning lyrics perfect to scribble all over your notebook (“Wanna tell you that I hate you, but it'd be a lie / ‘Cause I think I love you more than I am willing to try”), listen to this album and indulge in your own main character syndrome.  

4. Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran  

I finally made my way through Dancer from the Dance, Andrew Holleran’s gay classic and maui wowee! I! Love! This! Book! A must read for all pleasure seekers, bon vivants or anyone who wants everything they want and will settle for nothing less. Given its somewhat bittersweet ending (sorry, slight spoiler) maybe my take is not the "correct" one, but, much like the main characters of the novel, I’m a romantic. And I wouldn't have it any other way.     

5. Caesar salads

I’m sorry, but have you had one lately? Because I hadn’t until I impulse ordered one at a beachside cafe in Florida this summer. I’d forgotten the indelible universal truth that Caesar salads absolutely slap. Please go order one for yourself before the weather changes.

susan 

1. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

This is a novel about all the corners and textures of a best friendship in the face of devastating, surprising news. I devoured it in days—reaching for it on my nightstand table the second I woke up, perching on park benches with frothy cappuccinos because I couldn't bear to walk until I finished just one more chapter. I carried it in my tote bag for days, and it felt like I was walking around with a slice of cerebral magic.

 

2. Pastel mustard yellow nail polish

Over cold brew coffees at a cafe on Ventura Boulevard, my friend Sean gifted me a bottle of pastel mustard yellow nail polish. We'd been chatting about in-season nails for the summer just a week before, and when I opened the packaging, I squealed and jumped up out of my seat so suddenly that my strawberry-banana-Nutella crepe practically fell off the table. I'm calling it now—this is the color for the rest of summer. It's like August on your fingertips.

 

3. Flaky chocolate croissants

The best type of croissant? Easy. Almond. The second best type of croissant, the one you order when the coffee shop is all out of almond? Easy. Chocolate. I recently enjoyed a chocolate croissant with my friend Justine on a slow weekday morning. The chocolate in the middle of the pastry dough reminded me of middle school sleepovers, of stacking fun-size Hershey's bars onto frozen waffles for the fun of it, because everything was better with chocolate—especially if you had just failed your science pop quiz. Anyways, I'll definitely be ordering another chocolate croissant soon, even if the pastry shop has a full plate of almond ones.

 

4. John Moreland

John's one of my favorite musicians, and I've been listening on repeat to a few of his songs from years ago, specifically "Oh Julia," "Gospel," and "God's Medicine." His songs make me feel a deep melancholy blue that is at once beautiful and heartbreaking. It's the perfect type of music to listen to on a rainy day with candles lit inside your home.

 

5. Sleepy by Lush

I normally am not the biggest fan of the scent of lavender (lavender syrup in a latte though? that's a different story, and yes, please, sign me up for that) but I recently discovered Lush's Sleepy collection, which is lavender and tonka. There's a delectable sugary warmth to the scent that feels luxurious and comfortable. I got the lotion, and I'll definitely be going back for more items in the collection. 

vanessa 

 

1. Stoner by John Williams

This may be my new favorite novel. It is the first one I’ve read in a long time that has made me cry. Williams makes you feel as though you have lived life alongside the protagonist, and manages to write about death in an incredibly realistic way despite never having died (at the time).

 

2. La collectionneuse (1967)

I recently (finally) made a Criterion Channel subscription, and I am so happy that I did. One of my favorite directors is Eric Rohmer, so one of the first things I did with my new account was watch this film. I found it not only aesthetically beautiful, but also deeply thought-provoking about human relationships and morality as related to intimacy. 

 

3. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream
I just think that you can never go wrong with this flavor. It is god-tier. I almost feel like this needs no elaboration, but for those who have not tried it before, it is the perfect blend of chocolate, marshmallow and caramel; to top it off, it includes small fudge ‘fish,’ hence the name. 

 

4. Morning walks
This item goes in the vein of “appreciate the simple things.” In the past week I have felt a new appreciation for starting my day with exercise because it makes me much more clear-headed. 

 

5. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The queen of stream-of-consciousness reigns supreme. I am still reading this book and the prose is beautiful.