Taking Emily Freeman’s lead to share a handful of things I learned this month, from the (occasionally) significant to the (mostly) shallow.
1. Madewell is owned by J. Crew. Did everyone know this but me? I stumbled upon this tidbit in a piece covering the economics of the two businesses. J Crew is stumbling lately; Madewell is killing it, largely because of their strong denim sales. The only Madewell piece I’ve ever worn is a necklace, but I’m intrigued by their denim—like these jeans that inspired one reviewer to write, “These are the best jeans available to humanity. You can stop looking now.”
2. Puffin + Pantone. This collaboration is happening, and it looks fab. The people at Puffin (who already create some of my most favorite series, like Puffin in Bloom and these colorful clothbound classics) are pairing ten beloved middle grade classics with their “perfect Pantone color match.” Yes please.
More info on the Penguin site; titles start dropping June 6.
3. Neutrals are my happy place. As I’m putting together a spring/summer uniform, I’m continually learning that I do not want to wear bright colors these days. I still love me some coral (lifetime fave) or ocean blue (runner up), but not as a top or sweater or jeans. Maybe as a necklace or scarf. Definitely as a pretty book color (see above!).
I’m not sure if this is strange or a natural style evolution that lots of women experience, but I’m loading up on white tees all the same.
4. Ground bees are harmless but terrifying. We had a guest over very early one morning, and he commented that we had more ant hills in our front yard than any yard he’d ever seen. I hadn’t noticed myself, but sure enough, there were tiny piles of dirt everywhere. Like, there was collectively more dirt than grass.
Then the sun started coming up, and we all realized they weren’t ant hills—they were bee’s nests. (We don’t use our front door much, can you tell?) And then I started freaking out.
But our curious guest did some research and discovered they weren’t just any bees, they were ground bees—pretty much harmless to humans, extremely good for the planet, and only around for a few weeks in the spring.
This explained so much—I can remember in years’ past when my regular beautiful walking paths would weirdly be overrun with bees all of a sudden. I thought it was a sign of a nasty infestation, but nope—it’s a sign of spring.
5. Peonies are everywhere! More signs of spring: not long after we moved into our new-to-us old house these weird jungly vines started popping up all over the yard. I was wondering what kind of weird weed was crawling everywhere, but it turns out—they’re peonies! We have them everywhere, in pink and white, and I absolutely cannot wait to have more blooms than I know what to do with. (Last summer I was buying these at the farmers’ market for $2 a stem—and I didn’t even get to enjoy looking at the bushes before they were cut.)
6. People love to talk about books they hate. This month I stumbled upon this old post by Mallory Ortberg for The Toast (may it rest in peace) called Let’s talk about the books you hate. It cracked me up that there were more than 1600 comments on this one—she really tapped into something with her discussion prompt! I said as much and shared it to the MMD facebook page, where readers immediately started piling on the books they hated!
I’m not sure why readers enjoy talking about their hated reads so much (although I do have some theories), but wow, do they ever.
I’d love to hear what YOU learned in April in comments.