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Sneak Peek: Fiddleheads, Flamingos and Florals, Oh My!

It's sampling time! We've been working with several very talented textile designers to develop prints that we hope will bring joy, whimsy and color to your life.  Each one of these beauties will be part of our 100% Made in Kenya textile line, using cotton that is grown, spun, woven, and printed right here in Kenya. Shown below are designs by the fabulously talented Lulu Kitololo, Shadé Akanbi and Phathu Nembilwi. We can't wait for you to see the final product and hear the inspiration behind these gorgeous, wearable works of art! 

WHAT WE'RE READING// Lot by Bryan Washington

“Your eyes will show you what they want to, or whatever they think you should see.”

An insight into love in all of its forms, this is a collection of short stories written in a vibrant, conversational style has been compared to that of Junot Díaz. Set in Houston, these stories (many of which are interlinked and some of which are not) explore themes of bravery, adversity and heartbreak through the eyes of a young, gay BIPOC man.

 

 

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @quokkahub

On brand? Nope. Weirdly adorable? Yes. Devoted entirely to an Australian quokka named Daxon and the greater short-tailed wallaby community of Instagram, this may just be the last bastion of goodness and truth coursing through these hallowed interwebs. Also, it's practically Valentine's Day; let's indulge ourselves with a little extra cuteness, shan't we?

 

 

 

BUSINESSES WE LOVE // Bolé Road Textiles

Originally from Addis Ababa, Brooklyn-based designer Hana Getachew has a fabulous aesthetic that we think you'll really love!  Whether you're looking for a stand-out rug or an eye-catching cushion cover, her textiles will bring joy and happiness into your home. (I have her Bana Rugs beside my bed in Nairobi, and trust me--I'm a happier person because of them!)

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // ZURI FEBRUARY PLAYLIST -- LOVE SONGS!

To our nearest and dearest (however far it may seem), we made you a playlist with a Valentine's theme! We hope you'll enjoy this group of love songs which we've been listening to all day long.  Share it, send it or save it for later, we hope that it'll make your day a bit greater:) 

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Weekly Newsletter Feb 2nd, 2021

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @floresparaosrefugiados

Admittedly, I have no idea what any of these posts say, but this floral designer from Brazil creates arrangements that are just so wildly beautiful it's worth a share.  Each day's post is like a flower delivery to your phone which, had it been sent with a card, might say something like "Eat your heart out, FTD!"

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Scam Goddess with Laci Mosley

Do you LOVE true crime but just wish it had more of a comic twist? Do you enjoy cracking cases AND cracking up? Tune in to Laci Mosley's weekly podcast "Scam Goddess", which is 100% dedicated to fraud and all those who practice it. 

 

 

 

BUSINESSES WE LOVE // Micah's Mixx

Micah Harrigan is a 10 year old from Philadelphia who started a lemonade stand to earn money for college (he hopes to go to Morehouse), and managed to turn it into a fabulously successful business.  While he says that lemonade is his "back up plan", we have a feeling that this young tycoon will not need a plan B. While it may not be hot out right now, in this case, a little vitamin C goes a long way.

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Arise by Zara McFarlane

Lately, I've been loving British-Jamaican singer/songwriter Zara McFarlane's 2017 album "Arise". Blending influences of jazz, reggae and a hint of psychedelic rock through an exploration of the musical traditions of her African Caribbean heritage, this album has a smooth sound that we think you'll really enjoy!

 

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Meet the Team Who Makes Our Masks!

Fun fact: when Sandra and I first met, she had a bakery! She made the most DELICIOUS cassava flour chocolate cookies, and given just how delicious they were, it was not altogether inconvenient that she happened to be located next to a tailoring shop which could produce the flattering yet loose-fitting dresses we've all come to love!

It turns out that this tailoring shop would be not only one of the best in Nairobi, but that it would be run a truly inspiring woman. When we started Zuri, Flo helped us produce our first collection of dresses, and has produced ALL of the thousands of masks that you've bought this past year. This has kept her shop literally buzzing with production during an otherwise tough year, and we feel VERY lucky to bee 🐝 in this queen's hive!  

We truly want to thank you all for your support through your mask purchases, which have kept Flo's staff rocking and rolling, and have allowed us to donate more than $42,300 to Give Directly's Kenya Covid-19 Fund, the Equal Justice Initiative, the Voter Participation Center and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and more than 15,000 masks donated to Penda Health and Jacaranda Health in Nairobi.  

We hope that you've been loving them as much as we do, and that they'll bring both joy and color to your world! (P.S. Tushone means "Let's stitch" in Kiswahili!)

ARTIST CORNER // MAINA BONIFACE

Restricted Area II, 2020

Acrylic on Papr19 7/10 × 25 2/5 in50 × 64.5 cm

Waiting, Watching and Wishing series.

Maina Boniface has blown us away with his latest 2020 series, aptly entitled: "Waiting, Watching, and Wishing". In these works, Maina reflects on the voluntary and involuntary changes to everyday life brought about by events of this surreal year.  The series is mostly sold out, but you can still find five paintings available through Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, here!

INSTA CORNER // WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @HILLHOUSEVINTAGE

If you like English country interiors, nostalgic fireside vignettes, and the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven *(not necessarily YOUR oven, but AN oven), hop on to the @hillhousevintage feed and cozy up to a bucolic world that exists in Paula Sutton's Instagram reality, even if nowhere else.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Hey Ya! By Outkast

We're throwing it back to 2003 because this song is a timeless classic, just like the man who wrote it. Now, pop quiz: What's cooler than being cool?

A) When you have to get out of bed and your slippies are all the way across the room.

B) Wearing sunglasses inside. 

C) Ice cold.

You guys, it's C).

WHAT WE'RE READING // Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

It's rare that I pick up a book and finish it in one day, but on Saturday, when I started this novel, I found that I could NOT put it down. Set in Pune, India, this gorgeously told story is about betrayal between a once reckless, irreverent mother and the adult daughter who now must care for her as she both convalesces and loses her memory of the things she has done.

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Bookstyle Nairobi!

Meet Ubax, the owner of our new favorite Nairobi bookshop! Born in London to Kenyan-Somali parents, she's created a truly incredible space and community around her thoughtfully curated collection of books and publications. It's more important now than ever that we support our independent booksellers, wherever in the world they may be! We're always thinking of creative ways to connect world-wide, so here's a little glimpse inside Cheche, and we hope you'll enjoy the tour!  In the meantime, you can find our crowd-sourced list of bookshops we love on our Community Reading List HERE!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Afros and Knives Podcast

Afros and Knives, hosted by Chef Tiffani, is a culinary, culture and lifestyle podcast that has hosted conversations with black women who work, lead and create in the food, wine, and hospitality industries. We've found these conversations to be super inspiring, and we especially love the intimate way they play out, bringing the listener into the fold, so to speak:)  We hope you'll check it out!

 

WHAT WE'RE READING// Luster (a novel)

A best book of the year according to Vanity Fair, The NYT Book Review, and NPR among others, it's safe to say that we're not the only ones who truly enjoyed this book! This story of an independent, multi-dimensional young woman trying to make sense of her life is told with such wit, skill and humor, the writing alone is worth the read. 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Mahalia Jackson

As one of the most influential gospel singers and civil rights activists in the United States, Mahalia Jackson once explained that she chose gospel over blues because "With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues." (Fair enough.) She was given the honor of performing at Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Atlanta funeral, and in this album, she pays tribute to him once again by singing his best loved hymns. 

 

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING // @VELMA.ROSAI

Velma Rosai-Makhandia is a fashion and art director/photographer/(icon!) based in Kenya, and we are HUGE FANS. Founder of both the style blog 2manysiblings and also the monthly pop-up event, Thrift Social*, she epitomizes the individuality of Nairobi style.  

*Fun Fact! The photo on our 'About Us' page was taken at an early Thrift Social event

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WEAR YOUR GREENS! // LET'S GET COOKING!

There was once a time when our idea of "salad" extended no further than an avocado and a spoon, but flash forward a few years (and a few olympic-sized satchels of quinoa from the "aughts"), and we're proud to say that things have gotten pretty tasty around here!  Join us on our technicolor journey of culinary exploration; we've been cooking up a storm!

Sandra's Squash / Spinach (Squach?) Salad

These are guestimates! Use how much/many works for you, it's flexible! This serves 2 hungry people as a meal, 3 medium hungry or 4 with a main.

4 cups spinach

1 delicata squash, sliced in 1/2" rounds (leave the seeds)

1-2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 heaping tsp curry powder

1 generous tbs raisins

Olive oil

Sherry vinegar (red wine or apple cider vinegar also work!)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the squash rounds and chickpeas in the bowl, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and curry powder. Arrange everything on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 mins (until everything is browning and crispy). Place the raisins in a small bowl and just cover with sherry vinegar. Let sit until you're ready to assemble the salad. In a salad bowl, dress the spinach with a glug of olive oil and dash of sherry vinegar, plus salt and pepper. Once the squash and chickpeas are ready, add them to the salad bowl along with the pickled raisins (you can just dump the whole bowl vinegar and all), and you're ready to eat! As with most things, feel free to add a dollop of yogurt or a fried egg to make it even more festive!

Kenyan-Style Kachumbari

This classic salad from the Rift Valley is a simple but zingy addition to any meal. Personally, we love it with grilled snapper, lime and chapati!  While it's typically a tomato-based salad, we like to add cucumber, cilantro and chili as well for additional crunch. Click here for the one of our favorite kachumbari recipes!

 

 

Carrot Turmeric Chapati

Here in Nairobi, chapati is served with almost every meal, and this carrot/turmeric twist pairs perfectly with both salads above! Here's a fail-proof carrot chapati recipe that we think you'll love. Now I guess we could say: "That's a wrap!" 

 

 

 

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @DIASPORACO

Carrying on with our food theme, if you're looking for delicious, single-origin spices that are equitably traded, look no further! Sana Javeri Kadri founded Diaspora Co. to create a radically new vision of the spice trade, and she is knocking it out of the park! What we love about her Instagram page is her openness about the ups and downs of her business journey and of course, the wonderfully savory recipes she shares. (How do they stack up against "Squach"™ ⬆️ ? You be the judge.) 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Blick Bassy

Sung completely in the Cameroonian language of Bassa, singer/songwriter Blick Bassy brings the unlikely pairing of cello and trombone to his bluesy, bossa nova influenced style. With a focus on such universal themes as the need for heroes and the relevance of history, it's a strong album sung softly that will resonate with us all, especially right now. 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING// In Bibi's Kitchen by Hawa Hassan

Named one of the best cookbooks of the year, "In Bibi's Kitchen" chronicles the delicious stories and recipes gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight African nations, many of which are at the backbone of the spice trade (including: South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea). Pick it up, meet these amazing women, and start your culinary tour de force!

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Code Switch on NPR

We're frequent listeners of the podcast "Code Switch", because it explores themes of race and culture fearlessly, with broad curiosity. Their recent episode, Finding 'A Perfect Match', tells the story of two close friends who both suffered from the same aggressive form of cancer. After years of treatment, one lived and the other didn't. And while many variables factored into what happened, the woman who survived considers what role race had played in the outcome. 

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