Monday, April 16, 2018

Things I Like Lately

A sign at Cha Cha Matcha. I've gone an embarrassing number of times recently.

We're finally starting to see some warm weather, though only in fits and starts. This past Saturday was lovely, almost summer-like, but without the humidity. A few of my law school friends and I had a free day to walk around. We went to Nolita for brunch and hung out in Williamsburg. I expect things to be busy until the end of the month, but might have a bit of a lull after that, which will be nice. Here are a few of the smaller things that have been on my mind in recent weeks:

The (Matcha) Latte Factor

Because of the busy period at work, I started to develop a daily coffee habit, though that mostly just meant coffee from the communal pot at work, or from the office K-cups. (I get a  coffee shop latte maybe once or twice a week, and don't consider it a big deal.) More recently, though, I had a sudden craving for matcha lattes, and got one every day for an entire work week. I may anticipate continuing the habit in the near term. People who are trying to be more money-conscious are supposed to watch out for the "latte factor", but it seems like my problem is more the matcha latte factor, ha! 

I started with one from Starbucks which I like, although I'm fully aware their green tea powder is slightly more sugar than matcha. Then I remembered that we had a very trendy shop near us, a branch of Cha Cha Matcha, and I figured I should try it. I actually didn't like their matcha latte, as the milk diluted the matcha so much there wasn't any flavor left. I added sugar just so it would have some taste. Their matcha "cappuccino", with at least a third less milk, maybe closer to half, tasted much better though, with some of the bitterness that matcha is supposed to have, and I don't add sugar then. At least there's a loyalty card, so I'll get a free drink once in a while? 

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In all seriousness I may not feel that bad about this expenditure, even if it's really, really indulgent. I think making matcha properly would be a significant investment because good matcha is expensive (i.e. here or here) and the need for at least a whisk (though I wouldn't expect to spend as much as on this set from Anthropologie, of course). Also, I think having all the accoutrements for matcha latte making at the office would be a bit conspicuously "too much" and weird, and er, take an awkwardly large chunk out of my billable time each day. 

Flat Shoes and Achey Feet

I've worn my new gold shimmer M.Gemi Felize maybe ten times, usually for a full day of work, including my commute, which I think is enough for me to give a fuller assessment. They've done great, were comfortable the first day for a full day at the office, and have held up well. I'd worried that the driving moccasin-style shoe, with rubber stoppers rather than a full sole, would get completely destroyed quickly, given all the walking one does in the city, but it's actually been fine. Only a tiny spot of the sole, right at the edge of the heel of each shoe, has rubbed against the ground and has any signs of wear. (The gold shimmer effect did rub off quick in those two small spots though.) I do walk more cautiously in these shoes than any others I own, and am extremely careful about checking the weather forecast before I wear them out. Still, the shoes are pretty impressive, to be comfortable for an entire day. Compare that to my Cole Haan Tali bow flats, which are great for a half-day of going to meetings or court, but leave my feet with noticeable aches if I try to wear them all day, including on my commute.  

I'm still not super sold on the M.Gemi business model, which relies entirely on frequent, limited-edition releases, because that's just not practical for me. I waited a year or more for leather Felizes to come back, and at the moment, they only really have suede ones again.  They don't release classic colors all that often either.

The Bullet Journal Experiment

I'm quite a few months into using a bullet journal-like system for keeping track of my weekly to-do lists and some longer-term things. By now, I've settled on a weekly layout that I like, after a bit of experimenting. I don't go to any effort to make it especially neat or pretty, and only use black ink, with an occasional thing in blue or red when I'm tracking something and want to visualize progress more easily. I'm happy with the Leuchtturm1917 medium dotted journal I picked, though the cover is starting to show some wear and tear with daily use. 

Now that I'm pretty sure that this is going to be a long term habit, I'm thinking of getting a more durable cover for my notebook, as I think I might start getting annoyed at seeing the increasing wear and tear on the cover over time. There's tons of choices on Etsy, including fun printed fabric ones, though that may be a little too cutesy for my needs. There are also quite a few shops selling leather covers, which should suit better. My favorites so far might be this one from a shop called Uncommon Elephant based in North Carolina, and I also like the purple or blue colors from Balabanoff, a shop based in Ukraine. Finally, I don't think this is the direction I'll go in, but Crazy Organized in Australia does some really cool paint effects on leather covers. 

Anyone else a matcha fiend? The vibe at Cha Cha Matcha is a bit too painfully hip for me (store specifically designed to be Instagram-friendly, and the fancier drinks are expensive and sound fussy and odd), but the matcha cappuccino tastes really good. 

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