Consumption Lounge: 15 Things You'll Actually Want to Consume in June
Summer pipe dreams within arms reach
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I know what you’re thinking. “Carly, it’s halfway through June. Wouldn’t this have been better to publish at, say, the beginning of the month?” Yes, it would have. But I didn’t. So, here we are! Also, Doja Cat has a new single out called “Attention” that feels fitting, so give it a listen while you read.
I’ve been thinking a lot about summer aspiration after stumbling onto the Letter From The Editor section while flipping through an old magazine the other day. I always loved this department. In my teenage brain, where I could live it/dream it/be it as long as I believed it, I always envisioned success as becoming this Hollywood caricature of a super cool New York City editor at some women’s lifestyle magazine—which I mostly blame on the magazine themselves. Every month, I would have the distinct pleasure of welcoming everyone in my Letter From The Editor opener, my voice breezy and light, maybe even a little cheeky, apologizing as I wash up after a brief respite visiting some old friends at their summer home in the south of France or Montenegro, just barely sunburned from an afternoon on the beach, my voice a little hoarse from smoking cigarettes and eating cherries in the afternoons, asking to no one in particular, “Why do we choose to not live this way?” before apologizing once again as I run off to the countryside.
In this fantasy, I am a big-time editor lady who embraces the European tradition of taking two month vacations, where I write a new book every year. My love life is irrelevant, but intriguingly sordid. My wardrobe is filled with Eileen Fisher and Donna Karan. I receive a complimentary PhD from a prestigious liberal arts college and am invited to make regular cameos as a guest lecturer just because. Academia is a lucrative career in this fantasy, just like journalism, justifying the exorbitant costs to attend university, so that lecturing feels altruistic and meaningful instead of soul sucking and exploitative. It’s a pretty good fantasy! You know, Caroline Calloway shit. Aspiration: the fundamental backbone of lifestyle.
I thought a lot about that story, not just because Calloway is currently on her own media comeback tour to promote her book Scammer (retailing for the inconceivable price of $65—ironically the same markup as the actual bottle of snake oil she is also selling on the very same page), but because her story is not unfamiliar. In many ways, it’s the modern American dream: running your credit into the ground hustling like there’s no tomorrow, then building a successful brand from it. It’s helpful if you already come from money, of course, but truly anyone can hawk an aspirational branded lifestyle if they’re good enough salesperson. This is considered influential and marketable success, even if the caveat is the very lonely discovery that your best friend secretly resented you the whole time. Just the breaks of fame!
When I was living on the road, I often felt like a scammer—even if I was on assignment. It’s hard not to. Having the red carpet VIP experience rolled out at four- and five-star hotels and restaurants as a lifestyle journalist often feels like fraud behavior knowing that 95% of writers are not paid even a fraction of what it costs to realistically afford these experiences. At the same time it’s not about you. Functioning this way requires a completely different mindset that assumes everyone cares about everything you’re doing with success measured by the performance metrics of carrying on your staged lifestyle.
Lifestyle writing is different in that it should require maintaining a certain level of objectivity and established trust. Your job is to take on the theoretical role of a fussy VIP where money is of no consequence and determining whether the bells and whistles are worth it, if they’re even there at all. You’re both not this person and yet doing it, somehow, along for the ride wherever it takes you. It’s easy to get caught up in the aspirational fantasy before the harsh reality sets in—especially when every other article profiles someone who quit their day job to become a content creator that generates a monthly income of six figures that makes you question the value of integrity. Why wouldn’t you?
What’s interesting about her recent Vanity Fair spread are the optics. She’s undeniably resourceful and savvy with the foresight to recognize and take advantage of the algorithm, as well as the strategic Kardashian inclination to engineer her own cancellation to maximize profit. She didn’t create the system, but she understands how to play the game.
“The rules that apply to surviving a riptide apply to surviving getting canceled. Your first instinct is to struggle. You want to clear your name, set the record straight. Don’t. If you do, you’ll expend your energy too quick and drown. What you do instead is follow the current, even if the last thing you want to do is go in the direction public opinion is carrying you. If you’re me, that means leaning into your scammer identity. You don’t point out that you offered everyone a refund. Or that the people the workshop was meant for actually had a good time. No, you name your next book Scammer. And then, once the undertow subsides, you can make your way back to shore.”
She is somewhat delusional, of course, but you can’t blame her. The algorithm is like poker, requiring gambles and not showing your cards. She manifests. Not just the stylized remnants of botanica wares lining her altar and bathtub, but the name dropping of various success stories within the coterie of female scammers who have turned media manipulation scamming into reputable businesses and respectable fame with attractive advances.
And she has proven results, paying back her publisher from her botched six figure deal with proceeds from her OnlyFans account. I might not be buying into this brand, but clearly other people are. Even her West Village subletter had storied name recognition—poet and former sex worker Rachel Rabbit White—a fact that has been casually mentioned as a humblebrag on several articles written about her.
Reflecting on the drama of it all in—including $40,000 in unpaid back rent—Calloway adds: “At a certain point, I realized I could either live luxuriously or pay my rent.” Living responsibly within one’s means does not a compelling story make. “Nothing but writing a book could ever make me a writer, but being there, with the right people in the right places having the right conversations, could make me in a much better position culturally for when my book did come out. And being there took money. I want to be an It girl. It girls are start-ups, and start-ups need funding.”
In some ways, I think this is why I’ve found myself dipping back into my fantasy Letter From The Editor travel writer bullshit: impulsively overdrawing my account to purchase tickets to see Brian Eno perform in Paris this October, agreeing to head to the Catskills at the end of this month, confirming another trip to the Windy City in August (where I just published two features before yet another one on Boston), while tinkering with Skyscanner and Rome2Rio for calculate the cost of tacking on even more.
After all, you can’t write The Next Great American Novel from a Connecticut Muffin in Brooklyn as a practical guide to leaving dirty footprints jet-setting across a dozen countries on the trail of heartbreak without the authentically lived experience of living fast and burning credit hard (or rather, churning out functional, SEO-friendly pieces, while hinting at your sordid life until it manifests into something tangible) even if the lesson is accepting personal failure of responsibility through the radical act of self-actualization with a critique on the current state of media (because why not).
Anyway, all of this is a good reminder that you don’t actually have to spend a ton of money to treat yourself, or any money at all to have a good time. In fact, I made sure to include a few freebies for Hot Saving Your Money Girl Summer. For the rest of this month and summer solstice (June 21!), take time to sprinkle some of that aspirational, dreamy magic into your life without letting it consume you, lean into your curiosity to explore what’s in your backyard and DIY spirit, and find ways to occasionally channel moments of disgust at contemporary consumer culture into occasional acts of altruism and social responsibility. Or write that book! I know I am this Analog August!
OK that’s all for now. Speaking of hustles, I am excited to share that I will be launching my first Pilates classes next month (including some *free* classes!) Follow @pilatesxcarly on Instagram for updates. Make sure to check out the latest pod with writer Chala June and the current state of cannabis in New York, and stay tuned for another episode with Riley Brain of Wandering Bud coming soon.
Without further ado, my top picks of what to consume this month:
June Consumption Lounge
Beverage expert, writer, and dear friend Mandy Naglich kicks off the release of her highly anticipated book, “How To Taste” with a launch party on June 29 at woman-owned craft brewery TALEA Beer Co. (61 Bergen St., Brooklyn)—who I just this minute learned is opening a West Village location?! Oh, hello! Naglich, a WSET, Certified Cider Professional and Advanced Cicerone, translates her incredible palate into a truly digestible read that “covers everything from wine and cheese to ice cream and honey, tea, chocolate, and even water, from the science of taste and the rituals of creating a fine-tuned palate, to plucking flavor descriptions from the tip of your tongue, and learning how appreciating food can help you appreciate life.”
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of attending an intimate shake and shuck tutorial in the salon (yes, salon) of prolific cocktail writer, travel journalist, and “Regarding Cocktails” author Georgette Moger-Petraske with free-flowing spirits from the kind folks at Hendrick’s Gin. While many events that I attend are often exclusive to media, this is one that you can (and should) book for yourself. One-of-a-kind vintage serving ware and knickknacks fill the sumptuous Murray Hill brownstone that serves as the perfect ‘Old New York’ backdrop for a romantic date night or whimsical escape—without the hassle of fighting foodies for prime time seats. Georgette helps guests master the art of shucking, sourcing salty-sweet North Fork oysters from her friend, Oysterwoman Meg Dowe in Peconic Bay, that they can dress with an array of edible perfumes and spirit-laced mignonette paired with elegant libations. Coming up next: she’s hosting a North-to-South French immersion themed event in August that’s guaranteed to sell out.
Speaking of oysters and cocktails, I’m going to let you in a little secret: I’ve actually never eaten at Maison Premiere, the award-winning Williamsburg cocktail and oyster bar. Mostly because the three times I tried to get a table there, I couldn’t be bothered to wait an hour or pay $18 to drink a cocktail in the standing room only corner of the restaurant when there are no less than 50 other places to get a drink nearby. So, it might surprise you, then, to learn that I am recommending their new cocktail almanac, which is not really a surprise given how comprehensive and interesting the collection is. Co-signed by everyone from former Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin and award-winning restaurateurs Danny Meyer and Stephen Starr to director Baz Luhrmann (I guess it has Gatsby vibes, if you think about it), the book covers everything from proper bar ware and spirit selection to crafting a beverage service experience and historic rituals—plus all those fancy cocktails for your next summer shindig.
Have left over pasta sauce, some kale, and a few eggs? You can easily whip up this satisfyingly popular Israeli dish in 15 minutes and spice it up with very special ingredient (that was a reference to cannabis oil, but could easily be za’atar). Recipe below the jump for paid subscribers.
Free Movie Nights!
Among the best parts of living in New York? All the free shit you can do that makes up for how exorbitantly expensive everything else is. And this summer, that means free movies are back—including at some unexpected venues.
Nowadays: The Ridgewood backyard venue best known for hosting excellent weekend dance parties is now hosting free movie nights on Tuesdays from June through August. Catch a line-up of underground music-related documentaries and live concert films about The Cure, legendary drummer Max Roach, and the iconic Genesis P-Orridge.
Films on the Green: Rather catch a flick at IFC than sit through another screening of Despicable Me? You’re in luck because New York’s annual free French film festival, Films on the Green, is back with screenings every Friday night rotating throughout different parks including Washington Square Park, Transmitter Park, Tompkins Square and Seward Park. Up next: Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur) at Washington Square Park on June 16 and La Femme et le Pantin at Transmitter Park on June 23.
Film at Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City: It’s a bit surprising Lincoln Center’s free outdoor summer film series is somehow under the radar, but might as well turn widespread public ignorance into your advantage to catch Can’t Stop the Street: Hip Hop on Screen, a five-film mini-festival honoring the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop including Style Wars, Scratch, Juice, Friday, and Wild Style. Add it to this handy hip hop-themed New York City travel itinerary I whipped up for Red Bulletin.
Intrepid Museum: Always dreamed of watching Crimson Tide on a former wartime aircraft carrier under the stars with sweeping views of the Hudson River? Me either, but now you can and it will cost you nothing! Screenings take place the last Friday of April, June, July, August, and September from 5 to 9 p.m. with a line-up that includes Pirates of the Caribbean and Top Gun (not Titanic). Plan to show up early as seating is first come, first serve.
Rooftop Films: Sometimes free, sometimes not, but always a good time, this amalgamated film series showcases everything from arthouse shorts and documentaries to major blockbusters, all with plenty of fresh air at outdoor venues.
Reductress, the feminist satire site that makes us all laugh and cry at the irony, brings back its Haha…WOW series to Union Hall for a special Juneteeth edition on June 19 with hosts Sumayya Bisseret-Martinez and Georgia Rae-Lyken, featuring Alex English, Ashley Ray, Sheria Mattis, Indigo Asim, and Jess Henderson.
Pride weekend is coming up and the alphabet army usually throws a hot party, so here’s one to go to: Tokeativity, The CannaDiva, and friends are hosting Pride weekend smoke sesh followed by libations on June 23 at The Cubbyhole (281 W 12th St.) in the West Village from 6 to 8 p.m. RSVP: NYC Pride Kick Off at Cubbyhole
You’ll have to wait until July to consume this one, but make it a June pre-order priority. Already an anticipated must-read from about a dozen publications, including Nylon, Literary Hub, Buzzfeed, Goodreads, and Hey Alma, author Ruth Madievsky weaves a gripping coming-of-age story that dives into a chaotic subculture of sex, drugs, mysticism, and self-discovery for her debut novel that checks all the boxes for an instantly approved Weed Witch read.
“On the night of her high school graduation, a young woman follows her older sister Debbie to Salvation, a Los Angeles bar patronized by energy healers, aspiring actors, and all-around misfits. After the two share a bag of unidentified pills, the evening turns into a haze of sensual and risky interactions—nothing unusual for two sisters bound together in an incredibly toxic relationship. Our unnamed narrator has always been under the spell of the alluring and chaotic Debbie and, despite her own hesitations, she has always said yes to nights like these. That is, until Debbie disappears.”
Set your calendars for June 21 when form-meets-function high-end cannabis accessories brand Vessel releases their special edition Solstice Series hydro-dipped vape batteries. In typical Vessel form, these are limited edition drops that you’ll very much regret getting your hands on. Trust when I say this is among the smoothest hitting and durable vape battery pens I’ve tried—and now they come in even more cute colors inspired by sun phases (ooh!). They also make great gifts for that Gemini or Cancer in your life that you could a little extra sunshine for their birthdays.
If you have zero faith in airlines and are serious about maximizing your minimalist luggage, Eagle Creek’s new PACK-IT Slim Cubes are a very good use of $23! Among the most durable luggage on the market for long-haul travel and whose packing cubes I have relied on since 2019, these washable and water-resistant cubes are
made with 100% post-consumer recycled and bluesign® certified fabric and treated with anti-microbial agents (helpful for toting around dirties for a few days). And get this: set is designed to fit between the handle tubes in your wheeled luggage. That’s like a gift of two extra packing cubes!
Every once in a blue moon, I find myself writing about nail art, be it reusable stamping plates, holiday nail art, or the time my mom’s acrylic nails lit on fire at a Pizza Hut in South Florida. So, when sustainable press-on nails brand, Quickies, asked if they could send over some samples, I said hell yes. I don’t typically wear press-ons, but my nail beds were looked ragged after repeat gel manicures and the recent orange apocalypse wildfires kept me out of the salon, so I decided to go for it. Not only were these shockingly easy to put on and durable, but I instantly received so many compliments on my Wanna See My Croc tips. So far, I’ve had them on for over a week and only had to reapply one nail. They’re 100% recyclable and reusable, made of ABS plastic and shipped in a compostable mailer, plus: Quickies also gives back — $1 from every order is donated to LGBTQ+ organizations and the National Network of Abortion Funds.
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