Issue #274 - June 24, 2022
A cozy dose of comfort for your inbox. A weekly newsletter with musings on and recommendations for your downtime.

Charli XCX: technically not Gen Z, but giving Gen Z. (Image: Depop)

Good morning <<First Name>>,

Happy summer!

Recently, the divide between my 30-something self and Gen Z has been made more evident by fashion trends that repel rather than excite me. While I can appreciate bits of the Y2K resurgence (claw clips for life), I can't see myself rocking the tiny crop tops, cargo pants, bucket hats, or those little shirts that look like scarves with the pointy part in the front that are everywhere right now.

With that said, younger generations have the power to move the culture, or "shift the vibe," so to speak, so I'm always curious what they're up to, even if I personally don't participate.

A few weeks ago, we asked you what questions you have for Gen Z'ers. This week, Casey Lewis from the After School newsletter joins us to kick off our Ask A Gen Z column! She's got answers to a popular reader question about Gen Z's relationship with social media. Scroll down to find out what apps they're using (you might be surprised).

🧺 Before you go, one more exciting thing: We worked with our friends at Fishwife + our other favorite brands to curate an epic giveaway with everything you need to host the best tinned fish party this summer. Scroll down to enter—it's a reeeeally good one.

Until next week,
Alisha Ramos (@alisharamos)

image: Goodkindwork.

This Week's Recommendations

  1. Some good (enough...) rom coms: The Summer I Turned Pretty, based on the YA novel by Jenny Han, has everything you need: a pretty, Hamptons-like setting; a bookish side plot; and two (or is it three??) brooding young boys for Belly, the main character, to agonize over. // A Perfect Pairing is a good-because-it's-so-bad pick. Watch it with a friend so you can laugh at the most cliché parts.

  2. Stripes on everything breathable and flowy, please. This skirt feels great for summer (size goes to 6XL) and these linen PJs that can double as not-PJ's have been on repeat (size goes to XXL). 

  3. LMNT is a tasty electrolyte drink mix with everything you need and nothing you don't. That means a science-backed electrolyte ratio with no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, or any other junk. Get your free gift with any purchase.  Sponsor 

  4. A favorite new podcast about work (don't worry, it's *fun* work stuff): Working by Slate. We love this episode on running a bookstagram and this one on writing 500 words per day.

  5. Seeking simple, no-frills recipes that celebrate all the delicious things that are in season right now, including these genius brown butter tomatoes (reminiscent of lobster? yes, please.) and strawberry chia seed jam. 🍓

  6. Speaking of easy... A rec from our friend Becca Millstein at Fishwife: “Make this wild and unruly salade nicoise which takes an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach, overflowing with sage, rosemary & garlic seared potatoes, Castelvetrano olives, fresh basil, green beans, fresh greens, etc. It is heaven on a plate.”

  7. Kick your summer off with The Bartender’s Cure by Wesley Straton, a relatable debut novel about a protagonist who moves to NYC after a breakup (and breakdown) in order to bartend. Better yet, the book has cocktail recipes and mixologist trivia a'plenty—perfect for your weekend.  Sponsor 

  8. A good reminder: "You might need more rest and recovery time than you thought you needed and that’s okay." See the rest: 9 things that are easy to forget right now.

  9. A fun read: Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen, a con-artist story with a rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer as its protagonist.

  10. For fellow ceramics enthusiasts: One of our favorite makers just launched a big mug (the only size of mug that's acceptable). // Also: If you’re lucky, you’ll see this in time to snag the restock from this other favorite of ours before it sells out again. Each piece is so special and can double as a piece of art for your kitchen shelf.

  11. One more from Becca: "This absolutely stunning hand block printed linen robe for when you're lounging around your house, the AC isn't working, and you just can't stand to put on clothes."

  12. For some lols: This slightly unhinged American Girl Doll meme account. 😂

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Ask A Gen Z: Is Instagram For Old People?

A new series in which we ask Gen Z'ers our most pressing q's.

Reader Shakeela asks:
Has IG become a playground for old people? Which social media platforms are cool?

I spend a lot of time researching emerging apps for my job, but because I am not a member of Generation Z – and thus am ancient, at least as far as cool tech goes – I went straight to the source. Gen Z, typically defined as those between 10 and 25 years old, are early adopters who learned how to operate iPhones before they could write. Even today, they routinely use apps for months, if not years before the mainstream media catches on. Your curiosity about the next big thing that we’re missing out on is well warranted. 

The Instagram alternatives

To get a sense of how young people are thinking about social apps today, I first reached out to Emily Herrera, a Gen Z VC who is Very Online, both professionally and personally. As far as up-and-coming social apps are concerned, Emily has tried them all. The 23-year-old calls herself “day one stan” of Poparazzi, but notes that it’s “kind of dead now.” (This could change soon, as they just closed a $15M Series A.) BeReal, which NPR recently described as “Instagram's next rival for teens,” “feels stickier,” Emily says. Locket, an app for sharing photos to friends’ home screens, is her favorite app “of all time,” she says. “It is my favorite thing in the world. It’s so easy, and as a user, it’s fun as hell.”


Twitter > TikTok (yes, really)

As far as more established apps go, Emily said she spends 9 hours a week on TikTok, 6 hours a week on Twitter, 3 hours on Instagram (“and that’s only checking my exes, probably”), and an hour on Hinge. Even though the short-form video app is her most-used app, at least according to screen time, “Twitter is my whole life right now,” she said. “There’s a lot of room for narrative, and that’s what Gen Z wants to do – they want to talk. They don’t really want to take pictures anymore.” Though she uses it for personal and professional reasons alike, she said it’s been especially invaluable when it comes to networking. “Twitter’s probably the new LinkedIn,” she added.


When URL meets IRL

As for the other apps she likes, “I spend a f*ckton of time on Pinterest,” she said. “I went through a personal rebrand recently, and for that kind of thing, you need Pinterest.” Emily also does “physical manifestation boards” with friends every couple of weeks, and uses Pinterest to collect images to then print out.


Secondhand social

Of course, not all Gen Zers are as plugged in as Emily, so to get a more complete picture, I also talked to Autumn Greco, a very cool – but decidedly not Very Online – 23-year-old. Although she warned me up front that she’s not plugged in, she name-checked many of the same apps as Emily. She loves BeReal, though she hasn’t downloaded it herself. “I don’t have BeReal because I already spend so much time on Instagram, but I look at my friends’ BeReals. I’m very much involved in their BeReal moments. I’m a secondhand BeReal user.”


The TikTok to Reels pipeline

A self-described minimalist when it comes to social apps, Autumn is also not on TikTok. “I never downloaded TikTok, and I would say most of my close friends are not on TikTok. It’s a time sink. If I’m going to be on my phone, I want to be talking to someone; I want to be social. TikTok feels more like a production. I’m not trying to be a creator.” That said, Autumn, who spends a lot of time on Instagram (Stories, especially) admitted, “I’ve watched a lot of TikToks that have made their way to Reels.”


No, but really, hear us out: Twitter!

And though Autumn, who works in biomedical engineering, and Emily are in very different fields, she echoed the sentiment that Twitter is the new LinkedIn. “I treat it like someone would use early LinkedIn; I’ll share papers that are relevant to my interests or plug different things I’ve been up to, or if I’m going to a conference, I’ll follow the hashtags.”

Ask A Gen Z is written by youth culture expert Casey Lewis of the After School newsletter. Curious for more? Send any q's you have about Gen Z right this way for a future installment.

This Week's Reads

  1. Inside the Push to Diversify the Book Business (NYT Magazine) — Inside the work and people who are pushing the industry away from centering white readers and authors.

  2. I Can’t Shut Up About ‘Side-Character Summer’ (The Cut) — Are you channeling "main character energy" or prefer a side-character vibe?

  3. Why does everyone suddenly have IBS? (Drifter Mag) — An interesting deep-dive and necessary critique on the “hot girls have IBS” trend: “...they have to declare that they sh*t their pants if they eat gluten or dairy, so that abstention from those foods is seen as an act of self-care, and not disordered eating. Instead of choosing not to eat, people with IBS just can’t.”

  4. The Six Forces That Fuel Friendship (The Atlantic) — Love the note on imagination.

  5. The Personal Brand is Dead (The Atlantic) — “As a person who loves the internet, this all makes sense to me. Why should everyone have to live and write and think publicly at all times? Why should they be limited in that way?”

  6. The Work We Do While We Sleep (The New Yorker) — Note to self: get more sleep...

  7. We need a third size for vitamins. (The Shatner Chatner) — lol

Giveaway! A Really Good One!

Ahhh, summer. We're dreaming of dining al fresco, bringing our favorite spritz to our friend's place, drizzling olive oil over all the grilled veggies, busting out the fancy cocktail napkins, taking hot girl walks (iykyk), and snacking on delicious tinned fish.

If you, too, are manifesting such wonderful things for yourself this season, some good news: We've curated the giveaway prize package of our ✨dreams✨ with our friends at Fishwife, Ghia, Brightland, and Atelier Saucier. !!!

🐟🐟🐟 Enter the giveaway here and tell all your friends. 🐟🐟🐟 (Readers can also use code GNIWIFE15 for 15% off.)
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