CURRENTLY DIGGING: February
Currently Digging is a collection of things we have enjoyed throughout the month. Great Instagram accounts you should follow, stuff for you, for your dogs/cats, as well as great things to eat/drink or listen to; and of course, cannot forget a great read.
This month is a little different though…
Due to current events in my adopted United States, I feel compelled to pay tribute to my native country: Mexico. I am in the middle of both, one my heart, the other my soul.
This is just a sprinkle of everything Mexico has to offer, and the Mexico I know and love and grew up in is the one I want you to experience and the one that will ultimately tear down any “walls”. So, in an effort to gently #resist, this is my Mexico, a place that will welcome everyone with open arms and a table full of beautiful food.
If you ever want to visit, and have no clue where to start, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help.
So, here it is, what we have been loving (and missing) this month of February. Dedicated to Mexico, con todo mi amor.
A Taste of Mexico: Must Watch and Read list
This month is a tad different, since there is so much I’d like to recommend in terms of reading and watching and I couldn’t figure out just one to recommend, I have a little list for you below depending on what suits your fancy.
If you are in the mood for movie night:
Frida– Even though many of us think this movie should have been filmed in its native language, it is still a beautiful film and I love how it captures the color and flavor of Mexico and pays homage to one of our most beloved artists. If you are not familiar with Frida Kahlo’s work, her backstory or her delicious personality, watch this film, it is a delight for the senses.
Nosotros los Nobles (The Noble Family)– Set in present day Mexico City, this is one of the most delightful comedies of modern Mexican cinema. It digs deep into current pop culture and a very real dichotomy of the privileged and the humble. It never fails to have me in stitches.
La Edad de la Inocencia- If you are an old movie buff, then Mexico is a great country to explore. I am a little biased here since my grandmother graced the silver screen for many years and had a long and fruitful career in TV and film. This is among my favorite films of hers, this one and Cri Cri, El Grillito Cantor. She has enough of a portfolio to keep you busy and entertained on a rainy day in novelas and even a couple of spooky films.
My favorite story to tell about my grandma is that she either played the villain or the victim. She was terribly good at both! She told me the difference was “in the red lipstick.” And if I ever needed a boost of confidence, to wear the red lipstick; “nobody needs to know you are shy and insecure on the inside if you don’t want them to. You get to choose what role to portray in your life.”
If you are more of a bookworm:
Como Agua para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel if you want a classic great novel.
Corazón de Piedra Verde by Salvador de Madariaga or Mal de Amores by Angeles Mastretta if you want historical fiction.
Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz if essays and political and social fiction peak your interest.
Jaime Sabines , Amado Nervo and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz if poetry is more your jam.
Instagram Follow: @coquicoquiofficial
A conceptual delight of perfumery, spa and boutique hotel called “residencia” is a true immersion into the Yucatán Peninsula (where my family lives) with all your senses. The Coqui Coqui brand is drool worthy, their ethos present in every product, room and service and their Instagram is one of the most beautiful accounts I have ever seen. I am a sucker for good branding and gorgeous photography, and having grown up visiting the streets of Mérida and climbing the Mayan pyramids as a kid… I can tell you they nail the heart of Yucatán. Worth a visit and a splurge if you are ever in the area.
Follow @coquicoquiofficial Here
Beast + Babe collars and leashes
Handmade in California and sourced from repurposed vintage goods like zarapes (or serapes), Beast + Babe not only makes beautiful and colorful products for our beloved beasts, but has also partnered with non-profit Peace Animals who works to spay and neuter homeless and neglected dogs and cats in Mexico. With every item purchased, Beast + Babe helps to provide treatment and vaccinations for animals in need.
Get it Here
An extra in the name of the beasts we love…
Compassion without Borders
I know Dr. Christy and her husband Moncho (who grew up in Mexico City as I did). I can tell you from experience working with them while volunteering at Sonoma Humane Society just the caliber of people they are. Their compassion, and their drive to help others is much like their name… limitless. Whether they are hosting free spay/neuter and vaccination clinics for low-income communities, rescuing thousands of wonderful, adoptable dogs and pairing them with great families or offering support and aid where most needed, Compassion Without Borders is doing groundbreaking work on both sides of the border on behalf of animals and their communities, and most importantly, inspiring others in Mexico to spay/neuter/adopt and work to solve the conflict and better the care of homeless animals in positive and humane ways.
Support their work Here
Maestro Dobel Diamante: Tequila done the right way
Sure, you hear Mexico, and inevitably, tequila and tacos come to mind, right? In my time living in the US, most of my friends have only experienced tequila drowned in bad margarita mix, dread it after a horrific hangover or shy away from it, thinking it will burn on the way down and out. But the true experience of tequila is actually as revered and exquisite as a glass of wine or whiskey and it has a little ceremony of its own, much like tea.
Rule number one: Don’t shoot it. Let me repeat, do NOT shoot it. SIP it.
Rule number 2: Know your tequila (Blanco, Reposado or Añejo) and look for 100% agave. My dad enjoys his tequila as an appetizer, a glass of tequila with a chaser we call “sangrita” (not to be confused with sangria), lime wedges with salt. Now, all these things will make their way to your lips in small amounts and the purpose is to enhance the flavor. The order is up to your palate and whatever tastes better. Personally, I suck on the salted lime wedge first, coat my tongue in the lime juice, take a sip of the tequila and chase it down with a sip of the sangrita (my brother and my dad have a different order, where the tequila comes last).
Very good tequila can be enjoyed on its own as well, like whiskey and brandy. If you are lucky, you can find this one, Maestro Dobel Diamante, one of my favorites. To taste the really good stuff, you may have to jump on a plane or spend a little more money at your local watering hole, but any of the Maestro Dobel tequilas are a great introduction. Diamante is extra smooth though. Don’t mix this elixir with margarita mix, and don’t shoot it!
If you can’t find this one, ask about Tequila Clase Azul Reposado. You will know it by its beautiful white and blue ceramic bottle. And if you find yourself in Mexico, try to find this small batch gem, Casa Dragones, it is my absolute favorite and started by a woman!
If you want to try sangrita, I like Viuda de Sanchez. Some modern hipster bars are making homemade versions that are quite good. Want to impress? Bring this recipe with you.
Get it Here
For your home: The Citizenry’s Mexico Collection
When it comes to building a better model for sourcing artisan global goods straight into your home, The Citizenry is doing a beautiful job. I love their philosophy, one that revolves around partnering with artisans and makers in each country, forgoing the middleman and connecting the world with beautiful, modern design with centuries-old traditions in culture and handmade goods. Their Mexico collection features hand-woven pillows, blankets and rugs, Acapulco chairs, and other goods made of blown glass, wood and lava rock. Adding an elegant and beautiful touch of Mexico to your home has never been easier, and it is a purchase you can feel good about too, knowing your money will go a long way to support those that make these products.
Get yours Here
Tune in: Carla Morrison
Mexico is more than its beautiful traditional music of Mariachi and Trios. Spanish is a romance language after all, and we have been known to write one hell of a love song.
I’ve always appreciated music my grandparents and parents cherished and danced to, the same as my own contemporary tunes. I like a bit of everything, just don’t ask me to sit and listen to Jennifer Lopez, I’ll leave the room, ha!
I discovered Carla Morrison through a rabbit hole I followed by first falling for Natalia Lafourcade (she’s amazing by the way, and she has a great name 😉 ), whom she sang a duet with. Carla is one of those singer songwriters you can just play on shuffle and never stop. Her voice is pure honey and just so different from everything else out there.
I love different. I celebrate it, and I am glad she’s slowly starting to slip into US sound waves. You can hear her on Macklemore’s single The Train. My favorite song of hers is actually a secret track in one of her albums, she sang it live as cooly as only she can Here.
Carla Morrison is just a drop in the bucket of a very wide pool of great music though, so I’ll make sure to feature other great artists of all genres from Mexico and Latin America.
Listen to Carla Morrison Here
Lusting after: worry-free summers in Puerto Progreso, Yucatán
I grew up in Mexico, a country with many flaws like any other. I always loved it there, but it took me moving away to learn exactly what it is that I love about it, missing it and all its flavor. Summertime always has this delicious slower pace. Sunsets seem to last a lot longer there too, or maybe it’s just me being aware that when I am there, I savor every second of it. Time with my family and friends, eating a delicious bowl of chicken lime soup my grandmother made or listening to lapping of waves against a fisherman’s boat, the same guy who went out that morning and caught dinner for us.
Maybe I am longing for a time where all of this turmoil and hate and division seemed a thing from history books. Maybe knowing that it may be a tad more difficult for me to go see my family or for my family to feel welcome to come see me is too much to bear. Maybe I am preparing my mind and heart for a possible move back to Mexico someday and lose my fear of starting over, once more. The good part is, it will always be home. Regardless of anything.
I hope you get to see and taste and feel Mexico at some point in your life, and I hope it leaves a lasting good impression on you, one that will have you longing to go back.