#22

Notes from Summer: Virgo season is really doing it for me. I've been packing a lunch and making dinner for myself everyday, cleaning on the weekends, and there have been other happy things in my life besides Fire Emblem. It's cool.

Notes from Jillian: Somehow, Virgo season is having the opposite effect on me. The only thing I want to do is lay in bed and watch Sailor Moon for hours, sorry! That said, I'm really excited about some of the things I've been working on lately—and I can't wait to share them with you soon.


We recommend...

📚 Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay

I've been screaming about this book to anyone who will listen since I read it earlier this summer. I just reread it this past week & it remains stunning, stunning, stunning. Aracelis Girmay has a powerful hold on language, specifically, I am obsessed with her syntax?! Literally I am never more in awe with the way someone arranges a sentence than her. You can read one of my favorite poems from the collection here and buy it here!

– Summer


🎉 XOXO

Last weekend, I went to Portland for XOXO, an annual conference that I love very much but that is very hard to put into words. XOXO is for people who make stuff and people who like the stuff that people make. It's three days of fun and inspiring talks, game demos, live podcast tapings, karaoke, and getting to know people in a creative and welcoming community. If you have the opportunity, go.

– Jillian


🎶 What's Inside: Songs from Waitress

I've been baking a lot more than I ever have, which means I've been listening to "What's Inside" an INCREDIBLE amount. This is Sara Bareilles's concept album for the musical Waitress. I love the original cast recording, but this version is mellower, gentler, and there's really nothing better than Sara Bareilles harmonizing "sugar, butter, flour" with herself as you mix ingredients together. Listen to it on Spotify.

– Summer


📱Dark Noise

When I was in college, I used an app called Coffitivity to help me focus while I wrote my assignments. Something about the jumbled, warm sounds of a typical coffee shop atmosphere helped me get in the mood and get my work done without distractions. Today, I'm using the new Dark Noise app, which has a coffee shop soundscape that reminds me of Coffitivity, along with plenty of other noises like rainwater, waves crashing on a beach, and plain old white noise. It's simple, feels nice to use, and helps me get stuff done when my brain just doesn't want to work.

– Jillian

#21

Notes from Summer: Hello friends! August is almost over and I am exhausted. I almost never want to socialize ever again but boy if there's anything I am sure of, it's that I am an introvert.

Notes from Jillian: I have a few exciting things coming up! The first is that SNAX, a zine about snacks that I've been working on for close to two years, is finally being printed and will be available to buy very, very soon. The second is that I'm going to be at XOXO next week! Say hi if you see me.


We recommend...

🍽️ Chris Morocco Recreates Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington 

As you may know, we're big Bon Appetit fans on this newsletter. The relatively new series where Chris recreates things is actually my favorite (behind Claire, of course) and I realized more than once a week I get emotional about how wonderful it is to watch someone who is so technically skilled but is also an angel of a person. One time I read a YouTube comment that said Chris is the dream educator (kind and critical in a productive way), someone who reinvigorates you when things are difficult—this was in reference to his appearances on Gourmet Makes, but it sort of applies to his entire BA presence. I'm not in school anymore, which means I don't have educators constantly letting me down anymore. I've just got Chris Morocco being really fucking cool and being able to tell that a piece of beef was seared before being baked in the oven just by touching it, and that's truly the level of observation I want to carry with me in all things. Watch the episode here.

– Summer


🧠 Anxiety Tech

Last week, I went to a one-day conference called AnxietyTech that had talks and workshops covering all kinds of topics relating to mental health, mental illness, and self care in the tech industry—and I loved it. The bottom line is: we need to get better at how we approach and talk about mental health online, in our personal relationships, at work, and with ourselves. Step one is starting the conversation, and that's what AnxietyTech is all about. I'm definitely going again next year, and I fully endorse checking it out. Maybe I'll see you there?

– Jillian


🎮 Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Yes I AM recommending one of the most popular video games currently out! I definitely have been doing other things! In case you are nervous about RPGs like I was, let me tell you: the actual battle gameplay in this game is streamlined to your tastes. If you like high strategy and risking the lives of your in-game team (terrible), you can do that. If you just like to have fun and treat fighting as an intermission to plot (cool), you can do that too. I described this game to my brother as an anime where the commercial breaks are chess, and honestly? It's the best. The storylines are beautiful and complicated and all of the character designs are so lovely. Don't get spoiled if you can. Play it on the Switch!

– Summer


💬 Glamorous habits

Twitter is mostly bad, but Twitter threads like this one are extremely good. Rachel Syme asked people to share their "most glamorous hobby/trait/habit" and the replies are wonderful. It made me think a lot about the small ways we can take care of ourselves and make ourselves feel good, beyond the basics. (If you're wondering, my most glamorous habit is lighting a candle every morning while I get ready to go to work.)

– Jillian

#20

Notes from Summer: Hello from Los Angeles! I am traveling again, spending the week writing poems with my lovely lovely Arab American writing community. I've met so many wonderful people and feel very held, very warm. I am so thankful.

Notes from Jillian: What a year this month has been! I've been fairly busy (and fairly stressed) recently, and I'm trying to remember to take care of myself and be grateful for everything in my life, but (!!!) sometimes that's really hard to do—you know that feeling? Sometimes it just feels easier to lean into the stress of schedules and to-do lists and deadlines until it eats you entirely.


We recommend...

📖 Hard Damage by Aria Aber

This book made me lose my shit! It was my first for the #SealeyChallenge (reading a book of poetry every day for the month of August, a challenge I have not managed to keep up with) and wow did it get my month off to a good start. Aria's poetry is masterful and riddles my insides. You can order it here.

– Summer


🎮 A Short Hike

This really cute, calming indie game just came out recently and I downloaded it almost immediately—a very good call on my part. You play as a bird hiking up a mountain, talking to strangers, and finding treasure. It's the kind of game that I want to play every night before I go to bed because it's so soothing.

– Jillian


🎥 Jupiter Ascending

THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES. Every beautiful space fantasy you can think of comes true. Mila Kunis gets beautiful outfits, Channing Tatum is a wolf-man (?), bees are your friend—if you are royalty. It's on Netflix now, so please join me in rewatching this messy, messy mess of a film over and over and over again.

– Summer


🎨 Tie dye

Two things that are true: tie dye is cool again, and making things with your hands is the best stress relief that exists. Last weekend, I got up on Saturday morning and dyed a few of my socks. On Sunday, I dyed one of my t-shirts. In between a packed schedule and overwhelming to-do list, taking time to do something creative with my hands made me feel sogood. Step one: get a tie dye kit from a local craft store (or anywhere online). Step two: find a bunch of stuff you already own that you want to dye (socks, old white t-shirts, pillowcases, etc). Step three: do the thing.

– Jillian

#19

Notes from Summer: Drafting this on my phone for the first time! I am in Colorado for a wedding and am surrounded by beautiful friends I never get to see.

Notes from Jillian: July has been a super busy (but motivating!) month for me. I just launched a redesign of Give with us, my donation site. I made a lot of solid progress on SNAX, my upcoming zine about snacks. And I'm hosting a lil event at Mejuri in NYC in a few weeks—come hang!


We recommend...

📚 On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

I saw Ocean Vuong speak about this book about a month ago, specifically about the legacy of the American novel and what it means to join that tradition as a queer person of color. It was inspiring & he is the smartest person ever & this book made me cry deeply but is also just so masterfully crafted & honestly all novels should be giant prose poems!

– Summer


⌨️ Cute keyboards

A month ago, I didn't know anything about mechanical keyboards. Then I came across DSA Magic Girl, a group buy for an extremely cute, Sailor Moon-inspired keyset. Those keys aren't available anymore (mine will ship in a few months!) but I recommend clicking that link if you're at all interested in getting into mechanical keyboards but have no idea where to start. After a few weeks of a lot of googling, I ended up with this cutie on my desk, and I love it. Big thanks to KBDFans and my boyfriend, Dylan, for teaching me everything I (barely) know.

– Jillian


🍝 White Pesto Pasta

I've made BA's White Pesto Pasta recipe twice now and I can say that it's probably one of my favorite things to make! Chopping walnuts is meditative and there is something so wonderfully soothing about watching all of the ingredients emulsify together with the pasta at the end. It's really, really yummy—make sure you add lemon juice, though, since the recipe doesn't call for it (just zest). Lemon-y flavors make all food better.

– Summer


🍦 Strawberry ice cream

Specifically, Van Leeuwen's strawberry ice cream. As a kid, I never really liked strawberries, and especially not strawberry ice cream—but now I can't get enough. I buy this by the pint at my local grocery store and it's my new favorite late-night snack.

– Jillian

#18

Notes from Summer: It's my second week of work as an editorial assistant! It's cool! I have a job! I moved into a new apartment! I got a library card! Life is looking up.

Notes from Jillian: Hi, it's me. Can anyone even hear me under all of the side projects I'm currently drowning in? Nope, I didn't think so. But actually: things are going well, I'm working on a lot of things, I'm very excited about it.


We recommend...

📝 Jourdain Searles

Jourdain is my favorite film critic! It's her birthday this week, so I thought I would make sure you're all reading her. I first found her work on BitchMedia, specifically a piece on Tessa Thompson's character in Sorry to Bother You. It was an incredible, insightful criticism of the failure of the film to transform her from symbol to person. What struck me was how kind it was—maybe more than was deserved? She also hosts a podcast with Bronwyn Isaac called Bad Romance, dissecting my favorite genre: shitty romance movies! Jourdan is brilliant and hilarious. Follow her on Twitter to see more of her work!

– Summer


🎶 Carly Rae Jepsen

I went to a Carly Rae Jepsen show last night and am still trying to find the words to describe how great it was. I've loved CRJ's music since E•MO•TION, and getting the chance to dance and scream and sing along to some of my favorites from that album (+ Side B! + Dedicated, which is equally perfect!) was magical. If you are ever able to see CRJ live, make it happen.

– Jillian


🍽 Reem's Muhammara Recipe

There is nothing that connects me to my Palestinian identity more than food. I am fluent in Kitchen Arabic, every poem I write has a scene of food being eaten, I am never more righteously angry than when someone calls hummus "Israeli." In college, I was separated from my main source of that identity: my family, specifically my mom's cooking. Going to Reem's, a Palestinian-Syrian restaurant in Oakland, helped make me feel homemore than anything else in the bay. Every bite is a poem. If you visit me, I will take you there and pay for our meal, as a good Arab does. One of my favorite things there is the muhammara. It's not something my mom ever really made since it's more Syrian, so my devotion is born solely out of that first bite I had at Reem's; honestly, truly, religious. My mode of prayer is dipping bread into olive oil, hummus, muhammara—anything delicious and like home. Check out the recipe here.

– Summer


🍵 Bontemps Pu'erh tea

Every morning when I get to work, the first thing I do is heat up some water for tea. The second thing I do is sit down at my desk for 45 minutes and completely forget about the tea. (Who can relate?) My morning beverage of choice for the past few months has been this very delicious Pu'erh tea with oat milk. Some cool things about Bontemps tea: it's organic, 100% pesticide-free, and the company uses some of the profits to invest in creative women and nonbinary folks. Sounds good to me!

– Jillian

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