BOOK | In first-world America, we're surrounded by the ease of modern convenience. Giant boxes that wash and dry our clothes for us? Check. A radio-wave-making device in the kitchen that reheats and cooks food? Check. Most of us don't even question the how or why of any of these machines. Enter the idiot-proof creation from the great mind of Randall Munroe (aka the guy who writes the webcomic XKCD): THING EXPLAINER. The coffee-table book of blueprint-style drawings and charts — all written using the most common 1,000 words in the English language — is a humorous and mentally digestible encyclopedia for our overloaded attention spans. Think of it as high school science class dumbed down for grown-ups who've forgotten most (if not all) of those basic concepts.
FOOD | Hummus is the new ranch dressing. Or the new Sriracha. Bold claims, yes, but the legume-based Mediterranean spread/dip has popped up everywhere in the past several years. The combinations of chickpeas with various spices, herbs and veggies seem endless. As a self-proclaimed hummus connoisseur who's gone through too many weak attempts making it myself at home, I've become a devotee of the EAT WELL EMBRACE LIFE hummus brand, which offers some unusual yet tasty flavors: beet (yummier than it sounds, and also pink!) black bean, spicy lentil, edamame — the list goes on. The Georgia-based company's products are a bit tricky to find locally, but Rosauers carries it in near the deli counter, and so does WinCo, sometimes.
INSTAGRAM | Back in the day when fresh flowers weren't a year-round commodity, people got creative, as they did for most tasks. Dating back to the Victorian era and also popular during the Great Depression, crepe-paper flowers were used to decorate homes and the graves of loved ones, and they've made a big comeback of late. While Spokane is home to the locally owned paper flower shop Anemone, another Washington state paper florist is worth a follow on Instagram. Kate Alarcon's @COBRALILYSHOP feed is a breathtaking study of botany. The Seattle-based artist is constantly creating delicate blooms from paper — poppies, roses, orchids, foxgloves and more — all so realistic that it's easy to forget they didn't actually grow from the ground. ♦