Wednesday, May 3, 2017

News and Things: April Favorites

Not to sound like a broken record... but where the heck did April go? 

To be fair, it's been one of my busiest months of the year so far. With everything from my UW Research project wrapping up our preliminary drafting, to the extensive work I've been doing writing for The Daffodil Festival this year, to spending a week in one of my favorite places on Earth - Sunriver, OR - April was jam-packed with plenty of events and occasions to keep me busy.

Thankfully, this year's high school musical, Hairspray, was able to keep my two younger siblings out of my hair! (Well, for the most part.)

I was able to round out my month with a little time spent in Seattle, too, playing Dungeons and Dragons with sorority sisters, meeting up with my Big - who I haven't seen since last summer - and checking out a few Seattle-area restaurants I've been missing. I even celebrated Independent Bookstore Day in Seattle all by myself, by camping out for a little under two hours inside of Elliot Bay Book Company! I actually ended up breaking my Resolution for this year... but I have several key enablers to thank:

But enough about that, mainly because I'm pretty sure I'll be bringing it up in a separate blog post.

Clearly, April has been a busy month, and not just for me: there's been a lot of News. There's been a lot of Things. So, without further ado, here's the April edition of "News and Things"!

Sometimes, it's hard to listen to criticism. Of course, it's much more fun to hear, when it's not for you! Epic Reads asks their Harper Collins YA authors to talk about their worst reviews, in a sort of bookish-Mean Tweets format that I hope gets more installments.

In a rare instance of direct corporate interference with White House business, Twitter has sued the government to stop the unmasking of one of many Anti-Trump accounts, which have sprung up in the wake of Trump's presidency. These "rogue" Twitter accounts have no direct oversight by the government, despite professedly exposing the work of said departments, which means this case will no doubt bring forth exploration into how far the First Amendment stretches.

As someone who regularly enjoys Instagram-ing special meals and plating her food as if it was the last three minutes of a round of Chopped, I felt especially vindicated by this study explained by YouTube channel Eater, discussing why indulging in food rituals boosts enjoyment. It's all about mindfulness!

In an administration who proposes "alternative facts" while blatantly ignoring concrete evidence, it's no surprise that the White House - and its supporters - are now picking fights with a dictionary. Trump's war on words, tackling lexicographical juggernaut Merriam Webster, poses an interesting argument: at what point does providing accurate, public information become a political statement?

I love well-read celebrities, and our own Hermione/Belle is no exception. This Entertainment Weekly list breaks down every book Emma Watson has recommended through her work as a UN Ambassador, through her Shared Shelf initiative on Goodreads, and even just generally on Twitter.

Of course, as you know, I live in Washington. You really think I'm not going to bring up the March for Science?

It's always awesome when you attempt a new craft or recipe, only to find that you're actually, secretly super good at it. That's what happened this month, when I decided to try my hand at constructing those persnickety French macarons... and it worked perfectly! (Imagine my surprise when taking it one Pinterest-inspired step further - painting them watercolor-style with food dye - worked wonderfully, too!)

If you're a fan of Rachel Bloom in the CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, you're going to love the song "Ladyboss" she wrote for Vanity Fair, extolling the difficult balancing act of women in managerial positions. ("How much boob is too much boob?")

Before catching the high school production my younger siblings were in, my friends and I made some time for a bite at Shake Shake Shake in Stadium District, a '50s style burger joint with some of the best milkshakes you've ever had. My personal fave: the Onion Rings have a super light batter and perfectly tender insides, while the Custom Dippers provide a delicious counterpoint (try the curry ketchup!).

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am also a Pope Francis super-fan, so as soon as I heard that he released a surprise TED Talk on inclusivity and equality, that was pretty much the only thing I watched online that day.

As a dedicated YouTube and stickers obsessive, when I found out that one of my favorite bullet journalers, Myriad Inklings, ran her own trendy Etsy shop - Paper Kumaco - I immediately placed an order. These watercolor succulent stickers are some of my favorites! 

Like I said in the intro, I recently got the chance to hang out with my Big in Seattle this past weekend, and such a sweet occasion was only made sweeter by the Strawberry Rhubarb crumble pie, courtesy of Pie Bar in Ballard. Our favorite part? The silent video of Nick Offerman drinking scotch in front of a roaring fireplace, playing on loop on one of the TVs next to the bar. 

My parents made time in their busy schedules this past month to take me to see Fate of the Furious - the newest installment of one of my favorite film franchises - on a random Friday, while my siblings were busy with the musical. Yes, I am the goober who cried at the end of the movie. 

And just in case you needed me to prove how much time I spend with both my parents and in Stadium District in Tacoma, Indo Asian Street Eatery is a relatively new restaurant that has sprung up and immediately made itself indispensable. Their Wellness Shot cocktail was a table fave, as well as their Sesame Cracker Spicy Shrimp appetizer.

One of my favorite recurring installments on YouTube is the "Seven Bucks Moment" series, from The Rock's YouTube channel. In this iteration, YouTube celebrity Lilly Singh  details the painful depression that sprung up during her senior year of college, and how making the decision to pursue creativity helped her recover her sense of self. Let me tell you, it's exactly the kind of story I needed to hear this month.

What have been some of your favorite news headlines this month? What else has been catching you attention this April? Let me know, in the comments below!

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