Staunchly, vol. 21: April Picks - Revolution and Cake

(Originally posted: 4/27/17)

Hello dear Staunchly readers, 

My apologies for the unintended hiatus in TinyLetter-ing. I've been busy trying to build an empire? I'm mostly kidding.

In truth, I've been feeling a bit untethered lately. I blame it on adjusting to a new apartment, Mercury going retrograde, and also that shocking last episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. Luckily, I'm finally starting to feel grounded in my space. And Mercury goes direct Wednesday. phew

I'm also starting to think seriously about the future of Staunchly and ways I can grow this humble newsletter in a fun and organic way. Which is all to say: stay tuned. Exciting things are happening. 

Ok, let's jump back in with some of my April picks! 

1. Resistance School 

Created by a group of graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School (including my friend and fellow alum of the Clinton Global Initiative internship class of summer 2011, Tess Lerner Byars—hi, Tess!), Resistance School is a four-part grassroots training program for anyone looking to fight back against the Trump agenda. Through a series of workshops taught by big names in political organizing (Marshall Ganz, Sara El-Amine), seasoned and newly-charged activists alike have learned strategies to communicate progressive values, persuade voters, and maximize the impact of the resistance.
A little late to the game, I’ve been bingeing the first three workshops over the past few days. I have never been an organizer (anyone on the 2012 Kennedy campaign can attest to this) and I loathe talking to strangers, but this course has me energized to put these strategies to the test. 

On a broader note, I encourage everyone to keep seeking the things out there that light their progressive spark.
The final class of Resistance School airs tonight (like, now), but the video of the live-stream will be available on their website immediately after.
It’s online and it’s free. Get to learning. 

2. The Staunchly Store! 

Do I get points for putting my own online store after the Resistance? No, you say? Bare minimum, you say? Fine.
Regardless, as many of you sweet tarts know, I recently opened the Staunchly store, where I will be selling varied prints and knickknacks. It has always been my dream to run a neighborhood sundry shop and this will probably be the closest I come, unless I move to one of those quaint seaside British towns where 12-part high brow detective shows are always taking place and everyone, it seems, owns a cute shop or a B & B. 

Right now, I am only offering a curated (read: tiny) selection of *high-quality* watercolor prints. But baby I’m just getting started! Hats are coming very soon. As are more prints, including commission options. Oooh! 

onsider this my attempt to get a little slice of that capitalist pie before the global economic system combusts and we all become serfs to like, a hologram of Barron Trump.

3. Ideal Woman Jewelry 

I really love this jewelry line by L.A. conceptual artist Allie Pohl, first brought to my attention by my old friend Natasha. Pohl puts the Barbie silhouette in conversation with the ideal Western measurements for a female shape (“the brick house,” if you will: 36-24-36), creating a line of pendants, rings, and earrings that rejects perfectionism and celebrates the most political quadrant of our bodies.
My favorite styles are the simple Maya necklace in 14 karat gold, the Amelia (complete with diamond baguette landing strip), and the rose gold Janis, adorned with pink sapphire lightening bolt.
I just purchased a single Rosa earring, a sweet gold stud with a tiny ruby on the bikini line. The red on gold feels sophisticated, cheeky, and honestly—a little radical. 

4. The Hermès House of Scarves website  

The ideal version of me wears silk scarves. She goes by Carolyn, remembers to take her Prozac everyday, and enjoys salads.
I am really into the neck scarf look these days. By that I mean, I wore a neck scarf once in May 2016, but I did really love the way I looked—like a wayward French girl. I can't wait to try it again this summer! 
If you, like me, wore a neck scarf once and loved it just so much, I suggest spending a few minutes or hours browsing the Hermès House of Scarves website, getting lost in print and color and imagining the kind of person you would be if you wore a silk leopard across your collarbone.
These are a few of my favorites. Like the look itself, they are very extra. Note: almost any size will work (also, pro-tip: doesn’t have to be Hermès), but the Twilly is probably the most practical. It’s the least expensive and the perfect shape for tying around your neck or twisting around the handle of your Birkin (lol)/Instacart reusable grocery bag.  


5. Vasic Mini Market Tote from Plan de Ville

My best friend Lauren has this unique, woven tote and I’m always lusting for it. It makes her look like she both reads the Gentlewoman and cuts her own lemons AND ISN'T THAT THE DREAM??

6. A Brothel for Sale.

Times are weird. Who wants to buy this old time-y brothel with me? Maybe turn it into a museum and feminist frozen yogurt shop? Let me know. Relatedly, I just purchased this used book on turn-of-the-(last)-century prostitution from Book Show in Highland Park so you could say I’m on a bit of a bender. Is anyone watching Harlots on Hulu? Would I like it? 

7. Another Round, episode 89

If you aren’t already listening to Another Round, I suggest you change that. Hosts Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are so charming, sharp, and insightful on this weekly podcast about race, gender, pop culture, and politics. This last episode was an important refresher course on the origin of “intersectionality” with the creator of the term herself, Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw. Don’t skip past the first ten or so minutes about bats. Yes, bats. This is unrelated but critical listening. 


8. Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake

A lady never forgets the first time she browned butter. Mine was five years ago, baking this hazelnut cake recipe by Suzanne Goin in my tiny New York kitchen with my friend Ceci. I remember getting really stressed about whether or not the butter had cooked enough, fiddling with the heat and bringing the pot up to the light to see if I could spot flecks. I wasn’t on mood stabilizers then so I’m sure I was extra antsy and unhinged.
Anyways, it was all worth it, because this cake was one of the most sensational ones I had ever tasted.

You can serve the cake with sautéed pears (as Goin does), or chocolate ganache à la Smitten Kitchen. Either way is delicious. I think I may make it this spring with some roasted blueberries. 

9. Gold *Statement* Earrings

Since I didn't get my ears *properly* pierced until this past December, I'm trying to make up for all the lost time I spent not wearing beautiful gold earrings. Here are some really lovely ones

(Note: the phrase statement jewelry is so silly. Statement anything. Everything we wear makes a statement, big or small, about our tastes and values or maybe just our mood that day, obviously).

Staunchly yours,