Step Inside My Parlour
All my viewing, reading, exploring, eating, and drinking finds that are fit to share.
Come sit down, stay awhile.
I started 2021 on the right foot, book-wise: my first read was an advanced copy (thanks, NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company!) of Tamzin Merchant's beautifully-wrought, confident debut The Hatmakers. It's aimed at middle-grade readers, but it’s basically a comfy blanket and a cup of hot cocoa in front of a crackling (violet) fire in book form—a cozy, escapist enticement for folks of any age. The story of eleven-year-old Cordelia Hatmaker finding her place in the world—and her magical milliner family’s business—is steeped in a delightfully enchanted setting and sparkling with singular characters and buoyant adventure. I really adore Merchant's voice and can't wait for more!
Romance-wise, over the course of the winter I've absolutely ravaged most of Minerva Spencer's back catalog. She has such a knack for balancing nuanced characters, historical details, and super-steamy scenes—the alchemy is completely addictive! She's coming for Lisa Kleypas' crown, in my esteem...
In the battle of the plague-quarantined creatives, if I have to pit Swift vs. Shakespeare, two albums top one play. Sorry, Will—that's just math. Taylor Swift's Folklore was one of my favorite albums of 2020, so its equally-dreamy recently-released sister album Evermore has joined it in heavy rotation. They're the aural equivalents of taking stock of your former wild life from the cozy confines of a remote cabin in the woods. Can't imagine why I'd be into that...
As a longtime card-carrying member of the Julia Quinn fan club, I'm thrilled with the fizzy fun that is Bridgerton. The casting is inspired, and I'm heartened to see this level of investment and production value behind a romance novel adaptation. More of this, please! I also recently blazed through all of Dickinson, which perplexed and enthralled me in equal measure. The streaming series charts the life of famed American poet Emily Dickinson through a period-faithful aesthetic using modern language and themes. It shouldn't work, and yet...it hits every note pitch-perfectly. It’s like bizarro angsty teen Marie Antoinette + Little Women + Bright Star with humor, sex, and a Twilight soundtrack—and Hailee Steinfeld is charming as heck in the lead role. I am in extreme love with it.
It's winter where I live, which means that for about five months straight the air hurts your face, fingers, and any other unfortunately exposed bits. I'm big on exfoliating to keep the dry weather itchies at bay, and I've become obsessed with Abigail O'Neill's homemade salt glow. I make mine with lemon essential oil and holy basil (I had a bag of it lying in the back of my cupboard—the slightly-sweet scent is a lovely complement to the citrus tang). Using it as a body scrub in the shower has become my favorite nightly wind-down ritual, and it leaves my skin smooth and hydrated.
I'm always making something sweet from Abigail's book Model Chocolate, but I've been especially enamored with her krispy kale bake—it's super comforting on cold nights without being a total fat/carb bomb (bonus!)