[Handpicked: July 2016]

Those of you who aren’t in the Northeast, consider yourselves blessed and lucky. Heat waves are no lie. They’re so true, in fact, that an 80 degree day required 3 outfit changes at the very least as the heat escalates throughout the day. So, this month, let’s cool off.

Pavement Coffeehouse, Iced Green Mint Tea

I think this concoction is the most refreshing drink of all time. Not only is the iced tea poured over ice, as it should always be so as to not water it down more before you start drinking it, but the mint leaves + green tea leaves + pure agave recharge you in the middle of what is nothing but a sweaty mess. I miss you, Pavement, because I’ve had to go to work on the regular and y’all don’t open until after I’m already miserably commuting on the T. I swore never to do this commute, but I’m thinking I might get myself a large iced green mint tea each night and keep it cool for the next inevitably sticky morning on the train.

Tatte Bakery & Cafe, Mint Lemonade

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I just love when you grab a cup of mint lemonade and it says it hasn’t been pasteurized because it’s just that fresh. Sure, you take the risk of contracting serious bacterial diseases with each sip. But it’s worth it. Going all the way over to Brookline, off the C-line of the T, takes some effort but once you get there, there’s an aesthetically-pleasing heaven at the end of the road. Tatte serves brunch all day on weekends (why not?) and Fridays, making the end of the week that much sweeter. I attempted to finish some research work there this past weekend, but managed to order 3 separate meals and multiple lemonades at a marble counter by the window. I have nobody to blame but myself, but I’m also quite happy with this decision.

Stephanie’s on Newbury, Classic Mimosa

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This one’s a tough win, but since I’m going for the cooler drinks today, the mimosa takes first place, with a bloody mary coming in close behind. Isn’t it also amazing I can now talk about the better of two real drinks? Twenty-fun is right. Pro tip: make your own bloody mary at Stephanie’s because you will not regret it. Maybe you might, but I can’t call that right now. Anyways, the mimosa is made with freshly-squeezed orange juice and there’s nothing more refreshing than some bubbly paired with freshness on an early morning walking down Newbury.

Tupelo, Bottomless Sweet Tea

image4 (3)I’m sure you can understand why this had to make the list. My love affair with all sweet teas has already been discussed, so none of you should be surprised. I was bound to find a Southern restaurant one of these days. Fate, destiny, a horse (anyone?) would lead me to it. Thursday nights are Tupelo Date Nights, when you can take another person and treat yourself to some Southern food up North paired with a never-empty mason jar of pure sweet tea. With lemon. And mint. {I’ve mentioned mint a lot in this post, so you’re welcome.} I have no complaints; who would? Tupelo brings some charm to Inman Square, and some charm I definitely needed back in my life after spending this summer in Boston, unfortunately discovering what heat waves are.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is a good time to read indoors, blast the air conditioning, and thank your landlord for giving you access to the roof where it’s always ironically cooler than the rest of the building (I say ironic because heat rises, but here we are, literally rooftop chilling). I pulled this book from the $1 sale section at Strand a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but curl up in bed right before midnight to read it all in one sitting. It’s irresistible. It’s enchanting. It’s timeless. The New York Times agrees. But aren’t all love stories? This one takes you from New Jersey to Nigeria over a lifetime of two lovers learning what it means to immigrate, return, and find each other again. You’ll have so many feelings, don’t even bother tracking them. Just absorb every sentence because it’s as if Adichie is speaking directly to you through Ifemelu, our lovely female protagonist, and speaks truths about what it means to be black in very real spaces on her journey. She needs to be heard, especially today, because it is a wise, genuine voice that cuts through a piercing silence surrounding race. Try a dose of perspective, read Americanah.

milk and honey by rupi kaur

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It’s not often I decide to read poetry. I always feel like I don’t understand it [read: yes, English majors have a hard time reading poetry too] and get a headache by the end of it. Since the poetess herself of this marvelous collection of poems visited campus and spoke directly to us, I’ve been itching to get past my poetry fears and read it all in one sitting. On my flight back from Chicago (more to come on that) I grabbed this book, written by a Punjabi immigrant and beautiful, light-handed writer. One disclaimer: be prepared to feel. She writes so that you can feel both her hurting, loving, breaking, and healing as well as your own story reflected in her accessible and wildly open language. She leaves you reeling and reminds you that it’s okay to feel what you feel. Over the course of 3 hours, I read and reread, cried and laughed, felt ready to go back home after leaving my family. Oh, also, this collection is absolutely priceless because it is written by a strong woman of color, of Indian descent, someone with whom I feel irreversibly connected. I thank her for sharing her soul with us and for showing the world that our voices can be acclaimed in literature too. She’s doing the good work, and I cannot wait to read more of it.

Vance Joy, “First Time”

“Riptide” is probably what comes to mind first when you hear Vance Joy’s name. Yes, “Riptide” is wonderful, especially for a quirky day at the beach. But if you want to think back to a specific summer, “First Time” is the song you want. It’s that summer in high school, right before everyone went their separate ways and before you moved from the small town to the big city, and Vance Joy effortlessly tells you about that summer you loved, and that summer you fell in love a little. Walks down that road can be refreshing too, even if they are in the past. If anything, the music sounds how that moment felt and I just felt like dancing.

So, I hope you find some way to cool off in this hot summer with a book, in a new place, with a new song. I’ll be sharing some of these handpicked moments and movements monthly with you; by all means, share with your friends and share with me any recommendations you might have for my next selection! Signing off now as I prep for that 1-year anniversary of this site, celebrate good times, and keep moving forward.

3 thoughts on “[Handpicked: July 2016]

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