TOP FIVE: June 27-July 4

Top Five

#1: Home Cooking Podcast

I listened to the beautiful, inspiring, and fun podcast “Home Cooking” by Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway over the last couple weeks. (Samin is the host of that beautiful Netflix special whose name I can never accurately remember…I think SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT. Could I Google it? Yes. What can I say? I am lazy, and Googling it seems to be the equivalent of getting up to put the kettle on so I can have a cup of tea while I write this post.) And Hrishi is the co-host on the West Wing Weekly and the host of Song Exploder and if you listen to podcasts I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. ANYWAY, here is how they describe their podcast:

“Home Cooking is a podcast from Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway. We want to help you figure out what to cook (and keep you company) during the quarantine!”

It is SUCH a good listen, and full of amazing cooking tips and fun stories. There are only a few episodes, but they are each a delight. Plus, it leads me to my next item on the list, which is Yo-Yo Ma.

#2: Yo-Yo Ma

In one of the episodes they were chatting with Yo-Yo Ma and brought up a series of music he’s been making called Songs of Comfort. They are beautiful and recognizable and seem to be a reaction to the turbulence and uncertainty of these times. Here’s a clip of him discussing Songs of Comfort:

He just seems so NICE, doesn’t he?!

The host asks, “What can music and art do?”

And Yo-Yo says, “I kept looking for my voice, and I think my voice is in finding the needs of others and then representing them…So, everywhere I go, it’s always about finding what people are thinking, feeling, how they think about themselves in the world, and if I can find something that they need and if I can actually offer a little bit of something that is comforting, than that’s how I would define my job.”

I couldn’t say it better, I couldn’t agree more. In my small way, through flowers and paintings, I hope I can achieve the same.

Here is one of my favorites:

#3: Grace Rose Farm

Grace Rose Farm. There are hours of endless inspiration to be had just by scrolling through their feed. Any time I need a little injection of beauty or to see unbelievable roses, I hop over to their Instagram account. I’ve been drooling over the mail-order bouquets they offer and I’m not sure I can resist THESE incredible roses…

#4: Morgan Harper Nichols

Morgan is many things, but I know her from her art+poetry that I first came across on Instagram. She writes beautiful poetry and creates beautiful art around it. I am personally inspired to start sharing more of my words and thoughts as a result of her work! Click here to go to her Instagram page and see some of her beautiful work.

Loosen your shoulders

relax your jaw

breathe deep.

Make room for peace

right here in the wild of things.

-Morgan Harper Nichols

#5: The new course I’m taking!

I’m so excited because this week I started an online course called “Leverage Your Art” with Stacie Bloomfield, whose work you might know from Gingiber. Just in this first week, I’ve really been challenged to expand my art and I want to start sharing it with all of you as well. There is a unique challenge to be found in drawing and creating new things but maintaining my voice and style overall. I’d like to be able to paint a flower and have someone say, “It looks like Alex painted that!” and have that same hand be evident in the people or animals or objects I draw. That’s a lot of work! But it is work that I love 🙂

What did you love this week? Tell me about it below or join the conversation on Instagram by clicking here!

Top 5 for June 7-June 13

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Time to share the best things from the last week! This week was a week of settling in as I get used to being in Upstate NY for the summer after Texas. It’s pretty different here, and in some ways that I love (the mountains! the nature! the trees! the weather!), and in some ways I don’t (I’ll just leave you to guess so I don’t offend anyone haha!).

So, top 5 for this week:

1. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace has provided some REALLY GOOD deals in the last couple weeks, making it possible to outfit our mostly-empty home here in NY with all kinds of awesome finds. I like the bargain-hunting and when you don’t need something urgently it can be fun to keep an eye out for it. (If only Facebook Dating worked as well as the Marketplace…) (Oh, you guys, I should really write a post about the similarities between digging through overpriced shiny garbage with inaccurate descriptions on marketplace posts and dating apps.) (Actually, that sentence really said it all.)

I’m really looking forward to when our local country auction opens up again soon. It is an amazing place to find a great deal and some cool history. I like to say that I’m really good at buying and selling, but certain people in my family have pointed out that I’m mostly good at buying. 😀

2. Biolage Hair-Products:

Jenn over at Rambling Redhead (check her out you won’t regret it!) was sharing about her favorite shampoo/conditioner and how good her hair smelled, so I took advantage of an ULTA sale and bought some hair stuff. Guys, it smells SO good, and I am really loving this spray-in product which is great for air-drying your hair. My hair is long and I feel like it’s an upper-body workout to dry and style it, so this is good for summer days. OKAY I’M NOT A BEAUTY BLOGGER LET’S MOVE ON.

3. After writing about a spray-in hair product, I’m tempted to list local organic-matter-heavy topsoil as the third thing, just to keep you on your toes, BUT, this spot goes to the NY TIMES crossword puzzle app. I LOVE crosswords and have for years, but I’d gotten out of the habit of doing them until my brother reminded me about the app and pointed out how much more enjoyable it is to do them on an iPad with a bigger screen. So, now I’m firmly back in the crossword-puzzle camp. I can do Monday-Wednesday no problem, Thursday is tricky, Friday and Saturday are only doable with the autocheck on, but they’re a great way to wake up with a cup of coffee in the morning!

4. SWITCHFOOT. (Sw–sw–switchfoot.) I’m throwing it back to the early ’00s. My sister and I were listening to some classic Switchfoot in the car on our drive up to NY and isn’t it just amazing how your brain can locate the filing cabinet in your brain where all lyrics and melodies are stored and pull up the exact words and notes you need after ten years of not accessing that particular file? IT’S AMAZING. That link will bring you to “Only Hope” which is obviously one of their best, also sung by Mandy Moore, but–dareIsayit–I think Jon Foreman does it better!

5. Stewarts Ice Cream

I’ve been waiting for the creamy goodness that is Stewarts Ice Cream since I left the North East last summer. Okay, but also I need to maybe not eat ice cream every night. But also…have you had their Brownie-Cookie-Dough Ice Cream? If you live within driving distance of a Stewarts, order that next time. If you DON’T, you can come visit me and I’ll take you there if I can get an extra punch on my scoop card. 😀