May Round Up

Hot damn, guys, it is officially summer in the city! And with barely a handful of true springtime days to call our own. The sticky heat has descended on the boroughs with a vengeance, prompting us to invest in some seasonal picnic blankets, new sandals, and industrial-strength window fans. Where did this past month go, we ask, and how did we find ourselves sweltering in the June heat? It was a whirlwind, y’all: Derby, weddings, graduations, poetry readings, karaoke nights, rooftop drinks, and oh so many cups of iced coffee. So many festivities packed into so little time, and without much of a respite on the horizon. It’s all good fun though, soaked in sunshine and friendship and rosé. Cheers to summer, y’all. It’s going to be a great one.

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What We’re Doing: This month started off with a bourbon-soaked bang as we celebrated Derby, educating all of y’all (on the internet) and our New York friends (in person) on how to properly get one’s Kentucky on. Scout offered a special something for our gentlemen readers: a dapper style guide for the well-accoutred racetrack-going gentleman. All that partying kicked our asses though — or, more accurately, our immune systems. Luckily, Zelda was ready with some tips for how to make the most of your New York sick day, or at least how to make it not the worst. With June just around the bend, Scout checked in on her 2016 resolutions. And while we neither Ate This nor Drank That, we did go to a wedding, and rounded out the month with a different kind of playlist and some New York inspiration.

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What We’re Listening To: This month had us going back, back to our childhood, our adolescence, and the three chicks that got us through it all: Natalie Maines, Emily Robinson, and Martie Maguire, also known as the Dixie Chicks. The tunes of these three Texan ladies helped us through a lot of times, both bad and good, so we paid homage to them in this month’s playlist. And the Dixie Chicks fun isn’t over: We are beyond excited to see them at Madison Square Garden in two weeks (lucky Zelda is seeing them twice!). Also, in a truly momentous landmark in our musical lives, we  finally debuted our version of Monty Python’s “Philosophers’ Drinking Song” at Nerdeoke this past holiday weekend. 

We also love: Revisiting old playlists made for this summery weather! Our recent jaunt to the park had us flashing back to June 2015 (Songs to Lounge in Parks By, how apropos), August 2014 (our very first playlist, for nostalgia’s sake), and August 2015 (a playlist for new beginnings to mark the change in the seasons). 


What We’re Watching:  Zelda finally got around to sinking her teeth into two of Scout’s absolute favorites this month. First, the incomparable Orphan Black: She now joins the ranks of those of us who believe that Tatiana Maslany must be magic, and we should give her ALL THE AWARDS (seriously, why doesn’t she have an Emmy, someone give her an Emmy). And second, You’re the Worst, the best show on TV that you’re not watching. You should follow her example and catch up on Season’s 1 and 2 before Season 3 comes back around this fall! Scout dove head first into BBC’s The Musketeers — a re-imagining of Alexandre Dumas’s classic. If you like sword fights and period costumes, the entire series just went up on Hulu this month.

We also love: This cover of Beyoncé ’s “Daddy Lessons” by the aforementioned Dixie Chicks. John Green delivering the 2016 Commencement speech at his alma mater, Kenyon College. Speaking of Commencement speeches, our fave Pulitzer-Tony-Grammy-Emmy-MacArthur-winning genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda dropping some wisdom bombs on the graduates at the University of Pennsylvania. And Scout watched all the Star Wars prequels, for the first time, in one sitting. It got ugly


What We’re Reading: This oral history of the musical that was so formative in theatre education of every lost and mixed up child of the 90s, ourselves included — the 20-year old Rent (Vulture) — and this lovely tribute from one of the folks Jonathan Larson’s music indelibly shaped, Mr. Lin-Manuel Miranda himself (New York Times). This peek inside the oh-so-glamorous Met Ball, through the intensely human eyes of “Humans of New York” photographer Brandon Stanton (Vogue). This chat with Nashville gal and unabashedly proud Southerner Reese Witherspoon about what makes the region so great (New York Times). This fascinating portrait of the girl everybody’s going to be talking about once the Rio Olympics take off, gymnastics powerhouse Simone Biles (New Yorker). This important examination of Asian-American actors and their fight for visibility on screens large and small (New York Times). This interview with Linda Woolverton, the first woman to write an animated feature for Disney and the brain behind such cornerstones of our childhood as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King (Vanity Fair).  This look at Zelda’s new dream job: professional pie consultant (Bon Appetit). And this gem of a throwback to April, from the tragically soon-to-be-closed Toast: “Sondheim As I Understand Him, From a Woman Who Has Seen About One Cumulative Hour of Sondheim’s Work and Almost Certainly Misunderstood It.”

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What We’re Eating: Summer weather in New York brings with it sweaty thighs and unpleasant smells and fragrant armpits uncomfortably close to our faces on the subway. But it also opens up a whole wide realm of outdoor dining possibilities! Our fav George Watsky held a poetry reading meet-up in Central Park last weekend (in anticipation of his leaving New York and of the release of his new essay collection How to Ruin Everything, which you should all check out come June 14th!). We decided to celebrate beforehand with the official opening of our 2016 Picnicking Season. Friend-of-the-blog Katie joined in the fun; chips, brownies, fruit, sandwiches (from Bushwick stalwart and host of many a Z&S writing session, Little Skips), and possibly some illegal beverages were consumed; and a jolly good time was had by all. Here’s to summer, here’s to friendship, here’s to eating outside more!

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What We’re Drinking: We are all about the Stillwater Classique this month, in honor of Brooklyn’s Inaugural Classique Classic — a Louisville tradition that made its way here all on its own (okay…Scout may have helped…a little bit, but only a little). Scout, as tradition dictates, was out in the first round (Zelda, tragically, had to work, but would have faced a similar fate, she’s sure), but a good time was had by all. Hopefully this is the first of many Classique Classics: It’s the drinking sensation that’s sweeping the nation.

We Also Love: The Freigeist Geisterzug Rhubarb Gose from Shelton Brothers. We partook of this refreshing concoction during our park picnic, and we want more. Good thing it comes in Quince as well.


What’s On Our Wishlist: With the stage adaptation of Waitress making a big splash here in New York, Zelda has her eye on this pie print from Roaring Softly on Etsy — an homage to the story in its original, cinematic form. We both clicked pre-order faster than you can say “pie crust” on the cast album, coming to earbuds near you June 10th. And since summer has finally hit Brooklyn, Scout is lusting after all the tank tops and summer blouses. All of them.

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Scout’s Unconventional Resolution Update

Back in January, I laid out several somewhat unconventional resolutions for 2016. The idea was that by focusing on these out-of-the-box, mostly tangible items, I’d be able to achieve some of my more abstract and harder to quantify goals for the year. So as we approach the six month mark in 2016, I felt it was time to check back in on those goals and to see if my crazy theory has worked.

First off though, aside from these resolutions, 2016 has been a crazy year, both personally and universally. We’ve lost some entertainment greats. We’re poised for one hell of an election. Personally, I managed to wrangle an actual, honest to god, full-time, benefit-giving job thing. I’m adulting more than ever. We’re attending weddings, picking primary care physicians, doing our taxes, and praying that New York still gives us a spring before it gets into the unbearable heat of summer. These are not excuses but context: It’s been a hell of a ride. Now on to the resolutions!


Shenanigans in London: Sadly, this particular resolution is looking less and less likely to get checked off as 2016 continues. My limited vacation days (thanks, real grown up job) and previous engagements (Read: More weddings. All the weddings) will likely prevent me from visiting dearest Kaitlin in lovely London. I’m probably going to let this resolution roll over to 2017.  Dream on.


Thematically-Catered TV/Movie Marathons: Oh, this guy is on. There’s really nothing that Sarah, Jason, and I love more than eating and binge watching. Our You’re The Worst marathon is set for the final weekend in August (just before season three premieres), and you can bet that the latter part of the year will bring more of the same, because binge-watching is particularly appealing when faced with a cold and rainy NYC autumn.


Four/Five-Borough Brewery Tour: A couple friends of mine are in the midst of planning a five-borough bike and brew ride. Now I’ve got a bike, and I’m down to have a beer in every borough. But are my stamina and my butt prepared for the challenge? Probably not, more to come on this front…


Brush Up Your Shakespeare: This particular resolution has been very successful, probably because my roommate is tackling it as well and we keep each other accountable. In the past five months, we’veseen 15 of Shakespeare’s 37 (or 38, depending on who you ask) plays! Follow @saucyoverbold for those shenanigans.


Escape The Room: Oh, Escape the Room, how I love thee. Puzzles and friends, what could be better? Sarah and Jason got a small group of our friends an Escape the Room experience for Christmas, which we did back in February. It was awesome! We beat the clock and had all the fun! I sense at least one more room escape in my future before the year is out.


Girls Trip: While our July trip to Forecastle will sadly be sans Katie, it is still happening with 75% of the squad! And I’m hoping that Zelda and I can get our high school friend group  together somewhere before the end of the year as well.


James Bond: Well it was a nice thought, wasn’t it, me watching all the James Bond movies? I honestly thought it was going to be the easiest of these to accomplish. Alas, here we are, nearly in June, and I have watched approximately 24 minutes of Dr. No. Sadly, I think Bond may not be for me (I probably should have seen that coming –when I’m constantly giving up on TV shows for their lack of three-dimensional female characters…James Bond doesn’t do a lot for female representation). This pop culture gap may have to remain unfilled. Sigh. At least I gave it a go?

Overall, I think I’m making good headway on these goals. And I’ve managed to do some of the other back-of-my-head that were left off this list initially: watch Eurovision live (suck it Russia!), listen to all of Kanye West’s albums, read American Gods. I’ve accomplished a lot this year, and it’s not even halfway over. When I was feeling really down about life back in December, I attempted to declare that 2016 would be the “Year of Scout.” It’s one of those things you declare, to a bar crowded with people or your bestie or your own reflection, in the hopes that forced enthusiasm will somehow manifest itself as actual confidence and fulfillment. But this time, just possibly, maybe it actually will.


Two Southerners and a Wedding

As Scout wrote last fall, we’ve officially reached the moment in our young adult lives where we start to attend a lot of weddings. And in this, our twenty-sixth year on this earth, wedding season has just begun. We attended our very first New York wedding this past weekend (And thus had no time to Eat This, nor to Drink That. Apologies. The series will return in June!). So we thought we’d give you this little photo essay to commemorate the experience. It wasn’t all that different from a Southern wedding — in fact, there were several Southerners from the bride’s family in attendance, easy to spot by their brightly colored attire and snazzy bow ties — and it was a beautiful celebration of love between two of our dear friends. Zelda has known the couple since college, and her introduction of Scout to the groom remains her most successful matchmaking endeavor to date — platonic or romantic. A bestiedom was forged that day, much to her delight, and this weekend we all got to celebrate together.

There’s nothing better than celebrating the happiness of people you love. Scout had the honor of getting the inside view as a groom’s-maid, while Zelda got the perspective of an honored guest. There were songs sung, tears shed, whiskeys drunk, and many dances danced. It was a wonderful start to this, the wedding season of our lives, and we say, if they’re all this great, bring it on!




How to Have a Sick Day, New York Style

I recently found myself stricken by a nefarious disease of the throat, chest, and sinuses (viral pharyngitis, if you really want to know, which as I best understand it is a fancy science word for a very sore throat, a cough, and a nose that’s auditioning for the role of “Leaky Faucet”). Being sick as an adult sucks. Should you not have a job that offers paid sick time, you may find yourself battling through the illness in order to get yourself a much-needed pay check, warding off dirty looks and generous squirts of Purell from your co-workers who don’t want to be similarly afflicted.

Even if you are lucky enough to have the luxury of calling in sick, you still have to fend for yourself: no mom to fetch you home-cooked chicken soup, chauffeur you to the doctor’s office, fetch prescriptions from the pharmacy of your choosing. Nothing forces you to adult quite as brutally as being sick. I, for instance, had to drag myself out of my bed, put on some semblance of clothing, hike to the urgent care center, and wait at the pharmacy for my prescriptions to be filled, and I got to pay for my trouble with some of my own hard-earned cash. (On the bright side, the lovely pharmacist offered me a lollipop while I waited, making me feel simultaneously like a goddamn grown-up and a five year-old, a rare feat).

Nobody makes sick days look whimsical and adorable like Meg Ryan.

Nobody makes NYC sick days look whimsical and adorable like Meg Ryan.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your day of recovery and repose go more smoothly. And this is where the good news comes in for you New York readers: This city is a literal Mecca of delivery options. This comes in handy on a regular basis when you’re feeling lazy or anti-social. But nothing makes you truly appreciate the wonders of Seamless or Food Kick like a sick day. There’s a profound joy in realizing that, motherless though you may find yourself, you can still make the cough drops and pho come to you.

But even if you find yourself far outside the New York delivery radius, there are still some things you can do to make your sick day more tolerable. Here are a few of my recently honed tips for how to be ill like a champ.


1. Get your cozy on. Real pants have no place in a sick day. Put on your rattiest, comfiest sweats — the ones you’ve had for years and can’t bear to throw out because they’re so damn cozy. Layer up with as many blankets as you can manage. Build yourself a nest of pillows and nestle in its fluffy embrace.


2. Hydrate. Yes, your mother is right, and it really is important to push fluids when you find yourself under the weather. I like to keep on hand a liquid trifecta, in a range of temperatures, so I’m never without a beverage to suit my current state. My go-tos are tea (an herbal, non-caffeinated variety hydrates best, I lived on Sleepytime with honey to soothe my throat), orange juice (get those antioxidants flowing!), and, of course, water.


3. Wash your face. Maybe this one is particular to me, but when I’m feeling like utter death, I find if I splash some water on my face, massage in a little face wash, and towel off with my fluffiest washcloth, it makes me feel a little less dire about the state of things. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could shower or take a bath, but sometimes that is entirely too much effort, especially if you’re feeling feverish or battling chills.


4. Treat yo’self. Whatever it is that makes your heart happy and soothes your aching bones/head/throat/chest/etc., get on your computer and make a nice human on a bicycle bring it to you. Bonus points if it also helps with tip number two! My personal favorite is miso soup, steeped in comfort and nostalgia after all the high quantities of Japanese food consumed in my childhood. Matzoh ball, ramen, or pho also does the trick.


5. Binge. You’re stuck in bed. You have no energy to do anything or interact with anyone. The hours stretch ahead undivided by obligations. This is the perfect opportunity to revisit old favorites, reunite with childhood friends, catch up on standbys, or delve into a whole new world of entertainment. I generally opt for a mix of all three. My choices of late? Chuck (the rewatch), Anastasia (the classic), Criminal Minds (the catch up), and finally, finally I started watching Orphan Black (100% in Clone Club. Give Tatiana Maslany all the awards!)


Inspiration Tuesday: These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New

The recent Derby hooplah came with a healthy dose of nostalgia, a homesick longing for our old Kentucky home and all the good folks who understand just how big of a deal this little horse race is. But this time of year is also a reminder of how and why we love New York, our adopted home of a few years now. New York is at its best in these warm weather months: the parks open up, the vacationers and Hamptons weekenders clear out, and the whole city seems to spread out at our feet like a balmy playground. Maybe it’s the extended daylight or the nice weather that makes the walk to the subway seem so much shorter, but there just seems to be more time in the summer — time to do all those things we said we would when we moved here, the things that made us fall in love with New York in the first place and that keep us coming back for more.

Art: “Brooklyn Bridge,” Georgia O’Keeffe (1949)


Poem: “New York,” Valzhyna Mort (trans. Franz Wright)

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Book: Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York, edited by Sari Botton


Song: “Everywhere I Go (Kings & Queens),” New Politics

Video: “My City Style // Spring & Summer 2015,” Ingrid Nilsen 

Quotation: “I love New York on summer afternoons when every one’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it–overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


May Playlist: Once You’ve Loved Somebody, or The Dixie Chicks and How They Made Us

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to talk about a band. On the surface, this is a simple story of three Texas gals — a fiddler, a strings player, and a singer — who found each other and started making music. They released four albums, toured the world, ran into some hot water with their conservative fans by expressing uncomfortable truths, took some time off to make babies and marriages and lives outside a tour bus. And then, one day in November 2015, they made an announcement to the world. They were back. And we promptly lost our goddamn minds.

Because, you see, the Dixie Chicks are so much more than a band. They were our teachers and therapists and cool big sisters, providing the soundtrack to our childhoods and teaching us about love and loss and confidence and humility. They taught us what it meant to be a woman, and to be a Southern woman: how to stand your ground and fight for what you believe in, that it means to embrace your heritage and make it your own, that being vulnerable is not the same thing as being weak. Their songs are embedded in our bones, woven into the very fabric of our souls. There are certain bands that come along at crucial points in your life, that speak to the very heart of you and never let go. That is what the Dixie Chicks are to us. They are home.

We knew, the second they announced they were heading back out on the road again, that we needed to be there. Luckily, Scout’s momma agreed, and so come June 13th we will be in Madison Square Garden with her and our bestie Katie to soak it all up (Zelda, truly blessed, is actually seeing them TWICE, first with her family on June 1st. Scout doesn’t want to talk about it.). And as we count down the days until that fateful night, we’re reacquainting ourselves with the canon, greeting familiar songs like old friends. These are some of our favorites, in the order in which they entered our lives (this was in the time before shuffle, y’all, when we would buy the physical CDs and stick them in our boomboxes, letting them unfold like a magical, musical story). This is the story of how three gals shaped two gals, and helped bring them together as friends. We hope you love them as much as we do.

As always, you can listen along here, or we’re on YouTube and Spotify.

Derby Dapper

The supposed purpose of Derby might be horses, but aside from the two minutes of the day when we actually watch the ponies go around the track, most of our time and attention is spent on other matters. Derby, my friends, is really about the fashion — and the booze, but mostly the fashion. And it’s not surprising that some of our New York friends might be a little apprehensive about what exactly that entails. Our gentlemen pals especially seem to have some trouble when it comes to fully embracing their inner Southerner: Not everyone can pull off pastel-colored pants.

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Southern style brings up some very specific images to people: somewhere between Colonel Sanders and average LSU frat bro, a mix of Scarlett O’Hara and a Real Housewife of Atlanta. It’s a delicate balance, mixing the traditional with the contemporary, so it’s no wonder our poor Yankee buds are feeling overwhelmed.

But not to worry, Z&S is here for you! And rest assured you don’t have to dress head to toe in Lilly Pulitzer or Vineyard Vines (but, like, don’t let us stop you, if that’s your jam)in order to embrace the dapper spirit of Derby. Here, by special request, are some simple guidelines for the gentleman (also applicable to ladies in some cases),  to make dressing for Derby Day easier.


1. Keep it simple. And by simple, we mean stay single-minded in your sartorial choices. It’s all about staying on theme. Whether that theme is mint green or maybe American flags. Go full seersucker if you want. But pick a lane, and commit to it.


2. Brighter is better. I know New Yorkers have trouble with this — we love our blacks and our greys and our navy blues here — but Derby is a time to embrace color. A pop of coral here! A splash of marigold there! Gentleman, there are only so many times when bright blue pants are appropriate. Carpe chino, seize those slacks.


3. Bowties are cool. For the dudes, and ladies, who want to achieve automatic dapperness, just slap on one of the Eleventh Doctor’s favorite accessories. And keep it classy: Avoid the clip on.

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4. Hat! Hat! Hat! The hat is the most important part of any Derby outfit. You can see Zelda’s post from last Friday for ideas for the lady types among you, but hats aren’t just for the girls! While we’re embracing our “Eliza Doolittle at Ascot” look, there are plenty of choices for the dudes: the boater,  the fedora, the homburg, etc. Embrace the hat, and learn your hat etiquette.


5. Have fun. Seriously, guys, this is your one chance to wear those shorts with the lobsters on them, so just do it. Embrace your inner bro. We’ve all got one. Break out the Sperry’s and the seersucker, and don’t forget a pocket square to tie the whole outfit together! We’re all just here to get drunk and look fly while we do it. You are a classy ass dude, and you know it. All that’s left is to take the plunge.

Okay in all seriousness, I am not a fashion authority, and I am especially not a men’s fashion authority. But this is all in good fun! If you want an actual expert’s opinion on how to achieve peak Derby Fashion, this handy guide from Esquire is certainly helpful, as well as this one from The Art of Manliness. Suit up, and party on.