Things I Love: Cats, Kleon, Chai and More

by Elena Aguilar, Bright Morning President

We’re starting a seasonal blog post about things we love! While we at Bright Morning live, breathe, talk and read all things related to education, transformation and justice, we also have interests beyond these topics. And we wanted to break up the intensity of what we write and offer, and this seemed like a fun way to share other aspects of who we are. So here’s the first “Things I Love.” Future blogs will be written by other teammates! 

  1. Celery juice. Last year, I started juicing celery every day. It makes my mind feel crisp and sharp. This guy has a massive following in the alternative medicine world, and I haven’t read his book, but often his Instagram posts resonate. Fortunately, I am not dealing with any big health issues, but celery juice makes me feel great! (I love this juicer if you are looking for one).
  2. Austin Kleon. In a certain genre of books, this is one of my all time favorites. I have read it over and over. I also found Kleon’s second book to be equally powerful. And now, his third has struck a deep chord again. I’m envious if you’ve never read these and get to experience Kleon for the first time, but I dip into his books again and again.  
  3. Cat socks. I wear these socks all the time. I’m wearing them now. They’re the perfect weight and they have cats on them and I love cats. There’s a cat on my lap right now in fact. Whenever I’m home, this cat usually has some part of his body on me. But I love him. 
  4. Hu Chocolate. Chocolate is good for you. It boosts your resilience. There’s research on that if you need it. But the chocolate has to be good quality and delicious and that’s what Hu Chocolates are. My favorite flavors are this one (maybe because it’s a new flavor) and this one too
  5. Jane the Virgin. I absolutely love love love this show. I love watching Latinas and a show in which the majority of characters are people of color and I love that they speak Spanish and subtitle conversations when they could easily make the characters speak English. It makes me laugh, and even shed a few tears. And my 15 year old son likes it too and we watch together. (And for now, my love for the show stands apart from any feelings I have about the actors).
  6. Pit Paste deodorant. I am very cautious about the products I put on my body–our skin absorbs so much and we take in so many toxins in our food, water and air. And yet, I don’t want to be stinky. I have tried many deodorants (after I stopped using antiperspirant a long time ago–it’s scary) and lavender Pit Paste is the winner. Also, I like that you can buy it in a jar because I’m trying to reduce my consumption of things in non-recyclable plastic (but it also comes in a plastic tube).
  7. Last Pass. Let’s get practical with this one because we need more than cats, chocolate and TV shows to live a good life. Last Pass is THE answer to our modern day need for hundreds of logins and passwords. You store all your passwords there, and only need to remember one master password. Using this has cleared up a whole lot of space in my mind, and anything that helps me direct cognitive energy to meaningful work is to be appreciated. 
  8. This AOC candle that I found in San Antonio, TX when I was there last Spring presenting the Core Collection Sampler. Here’s a peak behind my writing routine: when I’m working on a book, or a hard article, or even a blog, I light a candle or two on my desk. This candle helps me imagine that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is blessing my efforts and I draw inspiration from her courage. 
  9. Chai. I’ve been a devoted coffee drinker for decades (I like to say that appreciating it is in my Costa Rican blood–my family still grows and roasts their own coffee in the outskirts of San José). But I’ve recently stopped drinking it and have replaced that obsession with this chai. It’s spicy and flavorful and truly the best chai I’ve ever had. And I have tried a lot of chai. 
  10. Birkenstocks. I was one of those Birkenstock-wearing people in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s who was laughed at for her lack of style. For a while, I didn’t care. And then I did. So I stopped wearing them. And then I laughed at others who wore them. Not my greatest moment. Now that Birkies are in again, my feet are back in their care. Yes, I still seek peer approval. But as I approach my 50th birthday in December, I also care less what others think. And Birkenstocks (after you break them in) are soooooo comfortable! If you see me presenting and wearing them, you’re welcome to tell me I don’t look goofy. Even if I do. Permission to lie. I’m seriously contemplating wearing either Birkenstocks or Adidas Ultra Boosts (my other favorite shoe) for the rest of my life because life is just too short for shoes that make my body ache. 

Do you share any of these loves? Let me know if you try any of them–and what you think!