I didn’t set out to become a Beccamendor, it was kind of an accident. I just have always, ALWAYS liked what I like A LOT, and tend to shout my discoveries from rooftops (or these days, group texts). Pretty sure it was my friend Clare who coined my endorsements ‘Beccamendations’ after one of my impassioned rants about the very best thermos, socks, or instant coffee. (Yes, such a thing exists!) Behold, my latest discoveries.
A hundred days have passed since our schools closed and we took to our houses and apartments, stockpiling anchovies and wine and Clorox wipes. And even though we’re out-and-about a bit more of late, New York City is just not the same.
Broadway’s dark, museums are closed, and shops are either still closed or operating out of a front window. Even the famous picture spot at the end of my block in Dumbo—with the perfect view of the Manhattan Bridge and the Empire State Building—is eerily empty of its usual throngs of selfie-stick wielding tourists.
This surreal version of our city combined with the daily monotony of distance-learning, cooking and cleaning, grocery ordering, and unceasing hand-washing has started to wear on even the most perky among us.
In a major break from the norm, the other day I took the ferry across the East River to NYU for my mammogram.
The outing was a DELIGHT—from my solo nautical excursion, to the silent empty waiting room, to the crisp minty green striped kimono. Less so the boob-smooshing, but it will take a few more months of quarantining to make that fun.
As I made my way back to the ferry, I found myself thinking about how much I miss the days of meandering around the city, perhaps after an appointment or meeting in a distant neighborhood, and stumbling upon a good spot for a treat, or a cute shop to browse around in. Sigh. Until we can really wander New York again IRL, here are a few small businesses (all run by women!) to support now from the comfort of your couch.
In the category of things I love deeply but never knew I needed is this silk pillowcase by Upstate. It stays cool, is beautiful and is good for your hair and skin. Based in a loft in Chinatown, Upstate is the side project of prop stylist Kalen Kaminski. Besides silk pillowcases, she makes cozy hand-dyed sweatshirts, pajamas, scrunchies, and even a small collection of glassware, perfect for a glass of rose, or to help you remember to hydrate.
I love many different foods, but if I’m being honest, toast with butter and jam might be my very favorite, at all times of the day and night. But you’ve got to have good bread, lots of butter, and good jam. Founded by Ashley Rouse, Trade Street Jam Co. is a small-batch artisanal jam company that is Black female-owned and Brooklyn-based. With delicious flavors like Plum Rose and Blueberry Lemon Basil, Trade Street sets itself apart. Ashley sources her ingredients locally and consciously works to support local agriculture and vendors. Also, her jams contain minimal added sugar, and no preservatives or pectin, which is a nice bonus—especially after all the sourdough you’ve been baking! You may need to rush your jam order.
Heather Taylor is an LA-based textile designer. Her line of gorgeous pieces, handmade in Chiapas, Mexico features tablecloths, tea towels, napkins, aprons, throw pillows and now—masks! For every set of 10 masks she sells, Heather donates 10 to healthcare workers in the fight against coronavirus. She recently donated 600 masks to Elmhurst Hospital here in New York. And if you can barely recall what it was like to attend a dinner party inside someone’s home, check out Heather’s Instagram for the loveliest reminder.
Use all this time at home to get bendier. Late last year, pre-coronavirus, Sky Ting—a New York-based yoga studio with locations in Chinatown, Tribeca and Williamsburg—rolled out Sky Ting TV to stream their classes online. Since their studios are temporarily closed, they have been constantly bolstering the library of classes available online and adding live streams as well. Founders Chloe Kernaghan and Krissy Jones are magnetic instructors. They don’t take themselves too seriously, do explain poses thoroughly, and are great for all levels. And with classes focusing on all different areas of the body, and ranging in length from two minute water salutations to 60 minute flow, there is something for even the most hesitant aspiring yogi. Plus they offer a free seven day trial!
Sweats that are super cool AND sustainable? Yes, please. Pangaia calls itself a materials science company, and indeed they make use of an impressive array of natural materials to create their coveted pieces. Track suits made of recycled cotton, tees made of seaweed fibers, and even a puffer jacket with “down” made from wildflowers. Far from fast fashion, Pangaia completely sidesteps the overproduction that runs rampant in the fashion industry (and is such a scourge on the environment) by only producing what they sell via pre-order and by strictly limiting stock. Getting your hands on their pieces is tricky, but keep an eye on their Instagram and you can snag one in their next preorder. ❏
Becca O’Dunne is an enthusiast and educator living in Brooklyn.