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What Our Team Loved in June

A monthly series, corralling the various food, products, and entertainment we're currently enjoying.

I have a tendency to pick books for vacation that are not exactly what you'd call "beach reads." Case in point: For our babymoon back in 2014, I read the Stephen King classic, It to accompany me in Hawaii (not to mention it's over 1,100 pages long). Since one of my only goals in Cabo was to read and relax by the pool, I was committed to finding frilly, fun material and true to its name, Beach Read, this book didn't disappoint. You root for the main character, even if she's her own biggest obstacle, and when she finds love by the lake, you find yourself very invested in their future. - Emily


Two weeks ago, Jonah and I visited friends in Santa Fe who recently moved there, and I instantly fell in love with the the high-desert-nature-filled town that struck me as a smaller, more charming version of my Reno hometown. We hiked along aspens from the Santa Fe Ski Basin, ate brunch at Café Pasqual's, and had chiles at Paloma and brisket at Cowgirl Barbeque. There were endless walks through adobe-filled neighborhoods, thrifting, and an afternoon at the artist collective Meow Wolf. There's so much we didn't do (which is why I never shared a trip recap!) that we're already looking forward to returning during ski season. - Leslie


There was no doubt that this would make it on to my recommendations this month. I straight-up haven't stopped thinking about/rewatching/blasting the music from In The Heights since Saturday, June 12. To be totally honest, I was surprised by how much I loved it (as a devoted musical theater fan, I'm not typically impressed by stage-to-screen adaptations). I'd also seen the original Broadway cast perform back in 2008, and I remember thinking it was... fine. So while I didn't go into it with extremely high hopes, I was grateful to have something to look forward to this summer, and it totally blew me away. While I seem to be in the minority, I actually prefer the film to the live performance. Anthony Ramos is an absolute star, which seemed like an inevitability, and the "96,000" scene at New York's public Highbridge Pool will play on loop rent-free in my mind for all of eternity. After listening to this Popcast episode, and recognizing the colorism that came into play during casting and the lack of Afro-Latinx representation throughout the movie, I hope that the entertainment industry as a whole will learn from In The Heights' shortcomings, particularly when highlighting communities of color. In my opinion, two truths can exist simultaneously: The Washington Heights neighborhood is significantly more diverse than the film would lead you to believe, and the production, music, and storytelling were enchanting and worth documenting on the big screen. - Jess  


This series is the best new thing I've watched in a long time, hands down. After a mysterious virus kills a majority of the world's population, we meet Gus (nicknamed "Sweet Tooth"): a 10-year-old hybrid deer-child living in isolation in Yellowstone National Park who was born at the very beginning of the pandemic. No one knows whether the animal/human hybrid children caused the virus, or are just another symptom of it, but a majority of the survivors are afraid of them nonetheless. Sweet Tooth takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States (it was actually filmed in New Zealand in 2020 during an actual global pandemic), but unlike so much dystopian fiction, it's hopeful. That's the thing I loved the most about it: The tone is somewhat light, our protagonist is adorable, and the unlikely relationship between Gus (11-year-old Christian Convery) and a lone traveler he meets on the journey to find his mom in Colorado, Jepperd (Nonso Anozie), is the heart of the series. If this doesn't get renewed for a second season, I don't know if I'll ever recover. - Kelly


Last month when G and Emily hosted a team party at their house, we were lucky enough to sift through and claim some of Emily’s overflow beauty products. Long story short...I had an absolute field day! There were so many skincare and makeup products from brands I’d never heard of, and I was more than happy to take some with me to try out. (Thanks again, E!). One of my absolute favorites has been the Elemis Superfood Facial Wash. This face wash is a dream. It feels so amazing to apply and massage into my skin, and even more refreshing to wash off. I’ve been using it for about a month now and can already see how much my skin has cleared up! I’ve never been one to struggle with bad acne before but often have hormonal breakouts and skin texture issues... and this stuff cleared it all up within just a few days. My skin has honestly never looked or felt better, and I would recommend this face wash to everyone. - Lauren

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This ten-minute IGTV was one of the most impactful things I watched this month. It's a great intro to one of the Philippines' most notorious presidents, Ferdinand Marcos. His 20-year regime was known for its corruption, human rights violations, and extravagance. That, and stealing almost $10 billion. Even though I went to school in the Philippines, there is still so much I don't know about our own history. It was in college that I learned about historical revisionism and how our curriculum intentionally leaves out certain impactful events (sound familiar?). I especially enjoyed this video because it shed some light on the role the U.S. played in Marcos' climb to power, which I never knew. His regime has ripple effects that continue to affect the Philippines today, so it feels just as relevant as ever. It reminded me that when people try to brush our history under the rug, it's our job to continue seeking it out. If you enjoyed this brief little history lesson, The Kingmaker on Amazon Prime is a documentary about the First Lady, Imelda Marcos, who was just as instrumental as her husband. You may or may not have already heard of her and her 3,000 pairs of shoes... - Cass

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By this point, you know that G and I take our coffee game very seriously. We have a whole setup and are specific about everything from the beans we use to how they're ground so even I'm surprised by how obsessed I am with Taika. They're marketed as "the world's first perfectly calibrated coffee" and I've gotta be honest, it's true. They come in a petite can (hence the ideal amount of caffeine), with a smooth taste and added adaptogens so that it's well-balanced and you never feel anxious or jittery. They have three flavors and the first time I tried the macadamia nut latte (my personal fave), I assumed it had a comparable amount of sugar to Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream which, everyone knows is the gold standard. But as it turns out, they don't even add sugar, it's just some sort of witchcraft (and allulose). Unclear how they make such a perfect cup of coffee in a can, but they've managed to do so and it's well worth the investment. - Emily

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When in Santa Fe, my friend walked into the kitchen each day looking like she'd just woken up in a commercial for effortlessly chic mornings. Her organic cotton robe made her look pulled-together, yet uncompromisingly cozy as we sat on the patio drinking coffee—so much so, that I ordered one our last day there. I believe this link will get you (and me!) $60 off a purchase of $300 or more, which isn't as difficult to hit as you might think, once you see their gorgeous bedding, which I'm very seriously considering investing in... - Leslie

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Trust me, I really didn't want to like the ~Instagram dress~ I am recommending it to you, so you know it's good. After seeing my friend Emma wearing hers quite a few times, I placed it in my cart and thought about it for days, wondering if I was about to reach a new level of basic. Now, I can comfortably tell you (literally – because the dress is so. damn. comfy. – and figuratively) that this will be the dress I live in all summer. The Ellie is one of my favorite silhouettes, with a tiered midi skirt, ruffled tank sleeves (great for any other sweaty gals out there), and fitted in the bodice (no bra necessary for fellow small-chested gals) with elasticated smocking. I purchased a navy plaid, and am hoping to add in more sophisticated patterns in the future, since they're just as chic to wear on a date as they are to, welp, nap in. - Jess

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If you've watched any episode of my painting journey on my Instagram stories, you know that it's been an extremely long (but mostly fun?) process of sampling paint colors for my new apartment. In total, I've used three companies–Samplize, Clare, and Backdrop–and I like all three for different reasons. While Samplize was great for sampling 10 different versions of a very similar shade of green, I actually prefer Clare's more curated approach to color. With just 60 shades to choose from, shopping for paint colors at Clare felt much easier and just as intentional as painstakingly testing millions of shades from Benjamin Moore. The best thing about the samples from Clare was actually the price–at $2 per sample versus $6 from Samplize, I had no problem filling up my cart and feeling zero guilt during the color-selection process. After sampling six colors, I selected two (Chill and Make Waves) and bought some supplies like tape, a roller, and an extension pole, all delivered right to my door. While I ended up painting over Make Waves in my living room because I changed my mind about the vibe I was going for, I am super pleased with the color Chill that I painted in my bathroom, so much so that I may actually paint my bedroom this color as well with the leftover paint. - Kelly


I've been a long-time admirer of Rachel Saunders' work. Her ceramics are all at once calming, serene, and fun. The love is so real that I set multiple alarms for her recent sample sale. It was worth it because I was able to grab a wave incense holder that's been on my wishlist for a while. Squiggles and wavy lines make several appearances in the decor of my apartment and I'm not sick of it. When the incense holder arrived, it fit right in. - Cass


As a curly-haired girl, I’m always on the hunt for new hair products to try out, with the hope to make the most out of my ringlets and less of the frizz. As others with curly hair probably know, it can be super unpredictable...especially in the mornings. I started getting into the bad habit of washing my hair every morning to start off my day with fresh, hydrated curls, but have recently been trying to find other ways to freshen them up. While moseying around the aisles of CVS recently, I came across this 5-in-1 leave-in hair spray. The words “thickens & detangles” jumped out at me, and I instantly threw it in my cart. This little bottle of magic really does it all. It can be used as heat protection, it thickens and adds body to your hair, prevents breakage, reduces frizz, and adds shine and moisture. It also smells AMAZING. I’ve been using mine almost every day for about two weeks now, and I already know I’ll need to go back for a second bottle. I’m happy and my hair is happy. - Lauren

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