Westervin Recommends

Westervin Recommends: September

It’s been a while since our last recommendations, but our gifted guest blogger Sarah Hughes has made it worth the wait. Boy are these a treat!

Annie Dillard

Westervin Recommends for September: Annie Dillard

{ some party from unexpectedtales }

With The Maytrees, Dillard manages to write a book that is not about love and death, but TOTALLY IS.  I don’t want to write a book review of this particular book, but I want to recommend Dillard, because I lost my breath reading her prose. I’m in phase where I’m feeling particularly disenchanted, and Annie begs you to stop being like that.  Seriously.  It made me love Cape Cod while I was there, even though it was raining atrociously and I hated all the tourists who made the lines to get clam chowder long.

Giving your stuff away for free

Westervin Recommends for September: Giving away your stuff for free

{ the couch in the street by Jessica Gardner }

This is a post about karma.  I don’t really believe in karma, so let’s call it physics.  Some law of matter says that there is a finite amount of matter in the universe.  It cannot decrease or increase; it simply changes.  I feel that way about stuff.  There is always the same amount of secondhand, curbside furniture in the universe, and it is your responsibility to give and take with balance.  If you try to make money from things you did not purchase, that is like trying to circumvent the laws of physics.  Or karma.  They seem really similar.

Grüner Veltliner

Westervin Recommends for September: Grüner Veltliner

{ hang me out to dry by Jena Ardell }

I know white wine season is almost over, but give this one a shot.  I really like the Höpler vineyard, which I had at a local restaurant and couldn’t stop mentioning every time I had a sip.  You can find them in the German wine section. They’re pretty reasonably priced, and they are the wine equivalent to granny smith apples, fresh laundry, and clean air.

Making your own sushi

Westervin Recommends for September: Making your own sushi

{ Hippo Sushi by Koala Joe }

We’re about 5 years late on this. It’s as easy as people say and gives me an excuse to eat pickled ginger by the jarful. I’m gonna go and try to predict more trends now.

Westervin Recommends

Westervin Recommends: MARCHing On

Our favorite guest bloggers are back!  Sarah Hughes and Seth York are here with another great batch of recommendations.  You’ll laugh.  You’ll cry.  You’ll want them to move in with you to entertain you with their whip-smart storytelling.


photography by indieuh

{ by the observatory by India K }

To recommend a whole state may seem sort of generalized or inaccessible, but trust us, Vermont is awesome. As a state it seems conflicted. It’s sort of liberal and libertarian. They like solar power, but they also want you off their property. They wear a lot of hemp, but they’d just as soon you didn’t bring your southern nonsense in their business. And no one wants Wal-Mart.
For example, do you remember Chris Cooper in Adaptation? I swear that guy threatened to shoot us if we didn’t get off his property when we tried to walk through his covered bridge. But just down the road, we had some delightful, 5-year aged cheddar samples and a fruit & wine tasting! I embrace this dichotomy fully.

Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

I first heard this song as a “Tiny Desk Concert” on NPR-where a band squeezes into the music editor’s office and plays acoustic sets. It was awkward for this band since they appeared to have about twenty members, some of them only tangentially involved with the music-making. I loved it immediately. It was a like a big party with all your weird friends who sing and dance and tell stories, probably around a bonfire or something. Ok, well I don’t have those friends either, but for a couple minutes, I did.
Find the studio version of this song, but then also watch the Tiny Desk Concert. It’s really close up, they probably knocked over some paperwork and stuff, and the lighting is like daytime, office building lighting. But it’s the best way to see the band members hang out, and especially the lead singers who look like they’re in love and they just sing to each other and I wish it were my home.

Lint Rollers

photography by eros turranos

{ feast by eros turannos }

Something about me: I hate spending money on things I think I can make or feel entitled to get for free. This has traditionally included pens, staplers, umbrellas, travel mugs, folders, plants, and a host of other things. Including the lint roller. I thought just a piece of duct tape rolled onto itself would suffice, and mostly it did for my amateur lint rolling needs. You know, fuzz from other clothes, laundry lint. It did work, until we got a cat. Months ago, I could not have imagined the extreme dedication and dexterity cat hair has for ingratiating itself into all of your worldly possessions. Needless to say, I found a formidable foe. Now lint rolling now is like grabbing my keys before I try to catch the bus. It’s a necessity for everyday, just so my coworkers and classmates don’t think I own twenty long-haired cats or one large, cuddly Yeti.

Westervin Recommends

Westervin Recommends for February

Gather round, ladies and gentlemen for one heck of a post by two spectacular guest bloggers!  Sarah Hughes and Seth York are here (Oh, you don’t know them?  They’re about to be your best friends!) with Westervin Recommends.  I’ll let them explain:

We’re world-class at providing the recommendations you didn’t know you needed.  Remember when someone told you what you should order at your first Indian restaurant?  And it was Chicken Korma?  Remember when someone told you about a website called YouTube?  And then you found a video of cats that sounded like they were talking?  We’re that guy, all the time.

Pundits. Proselytizers. Purveyors.

Making Your Own Popcorn

Photography by Vins Baratta

{ MA – Vice Magazine by Vins Baratta }

When I was a kid my parents took my brother and I camping.  They thought it would be cool to show us Jiffy Pop popcorn, the kind that you hold over an open flame and the foil balloons up rapidly like a UFO when the kernels start popping.  Mom and Dad forgot to mention to us that this was normal.  Instead, as the foil blew up, my brother and I screamed and ran behind a tree.  I haven’t forgiven them for laughing so hard.

The first time I made homemade popcorn I had a flashback to that camping trip.  Except this time I could handle it.  Though making it still feels a little dangerous at that Jiffy Pop moment of maximum poppage.

You can roll it in salt, butter, parmesan, garlic OR cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder OR drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauce and then freeze it.  But those are just the ones I’ve tried.  Super cheap too.


Drinking In-flight

mixed media art collaboration by Anthony Zinonos and Brandi Strickland

{ cloudyREDSa WAFA collaboration between Anthony Zinonos and Brandi Strickland }

I know what you’re thinking; why have booze on a flight when it’s overpriced and dehydrating and you’re not in the air that long anyway.  To you naysayers…I say “Nay.” It’s really not any more money than your typical cocktail (of course you get a cocktail, you don’t get a Miller Lite when you’re pretending you’re in first class).  United has the best tonic water, and they even give you limes.  Try it sometime.  Order a mid-afternoon drink, mix your tiny bottle of liquor with the tonic in a little plastic cup on your tray table.  Sip, recline, imagine it’s helping your travel sickness/anxiety.  It’s the only way you’ll get through Two and a Half Men anyway.

The Wire

mixed media art by Hollis Brown Thornton

{ TV Room (Entry Hall Wallpaper) by Hollis Brown Thornton }

Have you heard what everyone is saying about this show?  It’s The Great American Novel in five grueling seasons.  The show could be a sociology dissertation on like, thirty different subjects.  Everyone’s a little conflicted, but everyone has a mother too — the cops, the gangbangers, the crooked politicians, the students.  Watch it and prepare to be inducted into the coolest club of other people who are into it.  You smile at each other differently because you know. Oh, and the theme song is Tom Waits.   That’s all I can say.