Stay inside and social distance with the help of Outreach Director Gabrielle Vaillancourt, from how to make the perfect whipped coffee to I Am Not Okay With This to the best thrifting spots.
I. WHIPPED COFFEE
Courtesy of TikTok, this is one you probably didn’t even miss, but, regardless, it deserves its due respect. As a veteran coffee addict and a decent barista, coffee culture and its practice are some of the few areas I’d consider myself well-versed in— which is one of many minor inconveniences of COVID-19, as my ability to get my regular iced-cinnamon latte at Moonbean Coffee Co, a Toronto favourite, has been absolutely hindered. The recipe, which calls for instant coffee (eek), sugar, and milk, is simple, yet incredibly easy to screw up. As the popularized tutorial goes, you mix one tablespoon of coffee with one tablespoon of sugar and whisk it until thick and frothy. My two major issues with this method are a) instant coffee is universally repulsive and b) the recipe isn’t large enough to produce the right results unless you literally hand beat it for a solid 45 minutes. My solution? First, get your hands on a quality bag of beans, then get them ground extra fine (aka a Turkish ground). This isn’t an easy venture, and most likely not entirely possible or advisable during a quarantine state, but if you shop at a grocery store with an in-house grinder, utilize it! Next, you’re going to have to go big to get the best results with what you’ve got at home. I personally only have access to a Nutri-Bullet, so I chose to make my frappe with one cup of grounds, and only 1/3 cup sugar. By adding more, I was able to have the desired whip within five minutes of blending, and I stored the excess in the fridge. I filled my cup about 1/4 of the way with the whip, and filled with rest with ice and almond milk. The resulting drink was comparable to my regular standard of java, and I’ve managed to satisfy my addiction thus far in isolation.
II. I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS
The Stranger Things / Sex Ed cross-breed project of Netflix has received mixed, but overall positive reviews. Viewers have criticized the fast and simplified plot-line of the show; however, I think that was sort of the whole point. For six 20-minute episodes about a teenage girl with superpowers and confusing relationships to navigate, I’d say they did a pretty bang-up job. The show introduces itself each episode with a shot of the protagonist running through the dark night in her small hometown, drenched in blood. It usually ends with some form of small revelation about her powers or her feelings— and they get from point A to point B without (too much) unwanted cringe. It hits a lot of good marks for such a contained series— the embarrassment that can often accompany living in a low-income household in a small town; an honest storyline of adolescent sexual awakening; the intensely awkward lanky stoner boy we all know and have come to love; and the irreplaceable glory of classic teenage angst. Watching I Am Not Okay With This was a welcomed breath of fresh air to my binge-watching habits, even a palate cleanser of sorts. I think this is admirable— it proves that not every show needs to be long, winding, and ultra-complex to be of value.
III. MISS A
Miss A is another trend made popular by TikTok, but one that I had to check out for myself— it’s $1 makeup. Normally, I wouldn’t touch my skin with this stuff (therefore I didn’t buy any foundation or concealer), but the shop has relatively good reviews, and I was promised quality comparable to that of Wet n’ Wild or LA Colours. So I went ahead and did what’s only in my nature— I did the most. After ordering $50 worth of items (after shipping and tax) I waited almost 1 month for my package to arrive, which is a week and a half longer than expected, but I’ll forgive the delay on part of the surge of fame the company has experienced since initially trending on social media. Nonetheless, I was excited to check out all my items— and found myself impressed by the adorable packaging. One pro in my decision to test out these products was that everything is vegan and cruelty-free— the profits of some particular lines are almost entirely donated to charitable organizations for animal abuse, too. Now, I won’t go and say that buying from Miss A carries no guilt— I don’t think I’ll be purchasing again, at least not until they become transparent with their labour practices. $1 makeup is most likely too good to be true, and especially too good to produce fairly. But as for the products themselves, their reputation holds true. The quality was what you would expect— a hit or miss depending on the piece. Some stuff that I hated: the Glow Baby highlighters, AOA Starlet Eyeliner, AOA Buttercream Gel Liner, and especially the AOA Sugar Lip Scrubs. Some stuff that I loved: the She Jelly Shimmers, AOA Brow mascara, AOA long-lasting shadow sticks, and the Glow Liquid eyeshadows. Would I recommend purchasing from Miss A? Sure, but read some reviews of the products you wanna buy. Or don’t! Everything’s a buck, so go crazy. If anything, it’s fun and won’t put a huge hole in your pocket. $50 foundation with $1 brows is my newfound prerogative.
If we’re going to talk about ethics in everyday life, there’s no getting around it: you know as well as I do the consequences that fast-fashion reaps on the environment, every single day. As an aspiring fashion communication student, I’ve taken stock of my shopping habits (somewhat) and am making a conscious effort to shop 90% secondhand. Thrifting is in my DNA— in my hometown, your options are the church-charity thrift shop on Main or the Joe Fresh aisle of The Great Canadian Superstore. Coming to the big city, the options are endless, and it’s pretty much a given now that when my friends and I “go downtown," it means street vendor sausages and hitting Kensington Market and Queen, two notoriously fantastic neighbourhoods for a good haul. Our favourite downtown shops include: (the obvious) Black Market, Tribal Rhythm, and Common Sort. But my all-time favourite shop for vintage and high quality secondhand is Sub Rosa Vintage. I cleared out my closet in February and brought down a heavy bag of items to Sub Rosa to sell— it took a while, but they ended up processing three items and I was given $40 store credit. I walked out with a 90’s vintage Victoria Secret camisole and a burgundy repair-shop crewneck that fit me like a gem. And the best part— I didn’t care about the clothes I was selling, so I didn’t feel that I was losing anything or spending any money! I’ve never had such a guilt-free shopping experience, and it made me never want to have one again. This is a practice accessible to everyone, too— hop on Depop or arrange a swap group with your friends, or even create a Facebook page for your community if you live in a smaller area! The Internet is endless, as are your options when shopping thrift, so go out and get ‘er!
V. ALOE BUD
As someone who is consistently chaotic and disorganized, when the government tells me to stay at home and stick to my routine, I stare blankly at the screen before asking what in the hell that means. I’m out pretty much all day, every day, and when I get home I tend to crash and accidentally watch four hours of How To Get Away With Murder before falling asleep. Basically, balance is not something that comes easily to me, though I wish it did. After going through the denial, grief and anger stages of self-isolation, I have arrived at a sorrowful acceptance of the fact I must stay inside for at least 2 months. With that, I’ve set some intentions (not goals, I don’t like that word), and, in an effort to establish routine and keep check of myself, I started using Aloe Bud to set cheery reminders and check-in with myself daily. Aloe Bud is a mega-cute app with 11 options for daily tasks that you add to your board and check off every time you complete them. The thing I like about it is that it’s not goal-oriented or self-antagonistic. You check-in if you want to, and get a cheery little greeting when you do. Simple as that. I’ve found it more motivating to keep up with than carefully-planned scheduling apps and pestering notifications. It’s a fun way to both step back and keep up with yourself. I’d recommend it for literally any and everybody right now. With that, I wish all of our readers safety, health, and comfort in these trying times. HALOSCOPE is here for you, with love, as a team and a community. ✰
HALOSCOPE didn't receive any paid promotional material for this article.