With all of my favorite coffee shops closed or only accepting pick-up orders, I have found myself brewing coffee at home much more than ever before. The ideal beverage is, of course, a vanilla oat milk latte, and unfortunately, there is no way for me to recreate my love (my one and only) in my home kitchen.
That said, I have been able to take my homemade coffee up a notch with simple syrups. Last weekend, I made vanilla syrup to put in my daily pourover coffee or my occasional evening cocktail.
While simple syrup takes a little over an hour to make, it is very simple (ha!) and likely will not require any materials that you don’t already have. If you don’t like vanilla, you can also make other flavors like cinnamon, lavender, hazelnut, or peppermint.
Just boil one cup of water with one cup of sugar, and mix in a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract. Then, let it simmer for about half an hour, before putting it in a mason jar.
I saved about half of my syrup in a jar, but ended up using the rest of my syrup to make homemade coffee liquor. I mixed about 1½ cups of the syrup with 1½ cups of rum, and added in half a cup of crushed coffee beans. It will be sitting in my cabinet for about a week to let the beans infuse before I strain them out.
One of my favorite parts of living in Seattle is the springtime, when all of the flowers bloom for several months straight. Unfortunately, outside of my daily exercise walk, there really is not much opportunity to see the flowers at this time except for what I see outside of my window.
That said, an easy way to enjoy these flowers from your home can be to press them. I had never done it before, and there are a variety of methods to find online, but the easiest way is to place a flower between the pages of a book. It doesn’t matter what book—I used my many textbooks from winter quarter that I have yet to return to the student store. Sorry Seattle U Bookstore, I’ll bring them back when the apocalypse is over.
To find flowers, I went around on a short walk. The trees in the quad are blooming right now, as is the wisteria growing on the Cherry Street entrance to Seattle U’s campus and the pink flowers right next to it.
Just place these flowers, wrapped in absorbent paper, in between the pages of your long-forsaken textbooks. Then place something heavy on top, give it a few days, and your dry, pressed flowers will be ready to use.
Four of the biggest names in rap dropped two separate collaborations on the same weekend—Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj on a remix of “Say So,” released on May 1, and Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé on a remix of “Savage,” released on April 29.
With these new releases happening days apart, I can’t help but wonder if they were coordinated. And with Cardi B nowhere to be found…it really makes you think.
Of the two, I personally prefer the “Savage” remix—Beyoncé’s verse gives me big “Flawless” vibes, in a throwback to her most iconic era. And after referencing OnlyFans in her lyrics—a website used primarily for sex workers to distribute their amateur pornography—the website experienced a 15% spike in traffic. Queen Bey’s influence simply cannot be matched.
Hayley Kiyoko also featured in a new song by MAX, called “Missed Calls,” released on May 1. Reminiscent of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” the breakup song arrives as a single off of MAX’s new album expected on May 22.
The synth pop beat bubbles behind the vocals as Kiyoko, queer icon, banters, “Are you jealous? That one day, I’ll make a girl feel as angelic,” before she vulnerably offers, “I miss the way you wanted me to change.”
Finally, Norah Jones released a much lower-energy piano ballad, entitled “Tryin’ To Keep It Together,” on April 29. With a lush piano melody behind Jones’s iconically beautiful voice, the song is nothing short of what we would expect from the nine-time Grammy-winning jazz singer.
I have watched hours and hours of Bon Appétit test kitchen over the past few weeks—so much so that all of my recommended videos have fully been replaced with baking videos and recipes. While most of my time has been spent in the older episodes from the past year, the cooking magazine has actually been producing content from quarantine.
Despite the limitations of each of the chefs’ home kitchens, the Test Kitchen has catered specifically to an audience trapped at home with few ingredients or materials. And I, personally, have found their most recent content some of the most informative and helpful.
The channel has released videos where the chefs go over their morning coffee routine, cook pantry pasta and make “improved” box mac and cheese. And, for fun, they even made the chefs do one-on-one scavenger hunts in their home kitchens over Zoom. So cute!
For me, watching the chefs playfully banter over Zoom calls makes me feel a little better, reminding me that social connection is possible, even from home.
As an added bonus, the newest cooking videos are much more directly applicable to my current setting. As Sohla, Claire, Chris and the other chefs talk about how to improvise a beautiful meal at home, I have actually been learning and improving my own cooking skills. Before, cooking was an overwhelming task to complete three times a day, but having watched these videos, it makes cooking for myself much more approachable and enjoyable. It also tastes worlds better.
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