1. Jenny Lewis, Voyager
First off, let’s just all agree that Jenny Lewis is the coolest lady we wish we knew. Her new album, “Voyager,” as a friend put it, “scratches a musical itch I didn’t know I had.” Listening to it, I’ve been struck by how fortunate it is to find an artist that you can grow up with. Old Rilo Kiley albums are still wonderful, but the angst is a 20-something’s angst. The songs on “Voyager” are about grown ups (with lines like the heart-stopper “when I look in the mirror all I see is just another lady without a baby”) and remind me that, though we like to say that it’s more interesting to be young, there are plenty of emotional complexities to being an adult, too.
2. Summer Reads
I’ve been a reading fool lately– blame the long days and evenings when it’s too hot to do much else. The three recent books I couldn’t put down: Philipp Meyer’s The Son, about a family of Texas cattle/oil barons. Not usually my speed, but it had the kind of plot momentum that makes a book impossible to put down.
Also, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver was a perfect summer read, reveling in the creeping, crawling, growing details in the wild. Also, apparently nature is totally sexy. Who knew?
3. Couch Dreaming
Our living room is in need of a new couch. The current eggplant-purple loveseat was one I inherited from my mom’s downsizing to an apartment. It was my favorite place to do homework in high school which means that it’s easily close to 20 years old. These days the springs are poking through to the floor and the seat looks precariously concave. That said, the irony is not lost on me that the only couches I can imagine replacing ol’ eggplant with are low-slung midcentury sofas, not 20 but probably close to 60 years old. Yet another illustration that titles (“it’s not old, it’s ‘vintage'”) are everything.
4. Hippie Cult Movies
For whatever reason, I seem to be consuming more than my share of hippie cult movies lately. Blame it on the weather– this sort of mild summer and we’ve all gotta be having some back-to-nature daydreams about living in tents and letting our hair grow long. Have you heard of the Source Family before? Apparently they were pretty nationally-known in the 70s, parodied in an early SNL and their vegan restaurant featured in Annie Hall. The doc was overseen by former(?) members so it’s not exactly hard-hitting, but the sort of Hollywood-meets-spiritual-guru aspects of the movie were pretty interesting.
Not so much a cult, The Commune is a documentary about an intentional community– Black Bear Ranch was founded in the mountains of California in the late 1960’s and continues today. Having had my own hippie experience for a while back in college, there were plenty of moments and characters that felt familiar. Fun fact: Peter Coyote was a member for a while, and every interview with him immediately transforms the movie into a Ken Burns doc.
5. Basil Seed DrinkI picked up a can of “Basil Seed Drink” on a whim at the grocery story a few months back and these weirdly-textured drinks have quickly become my warm afternoon go-to. I’ve always been a fan of tapioca and other gummy-textured things, and basil seeds have a similar jelly-like feel to them. Apparently they’re also good for controlling blood sugar, and are packed with nutrients, like all seeds. They’re popular in Thailand so if you’re an adventurous drinker, check one out in the Asian section of your grocery store. It’s the best bizarre/delicious summer drink around.