Was there even a spring wildflower season last year? It kind of feels like there wasn’t one, although there probably was. Either way, nobody’s going to blame you for not noticing. We were, after all, hunkered down in a budding global pandemic.
Thankfully, springtime and its perennial promise, so perfectly symbolized by Texas’s famous wildflowers, has made its return. Firewheels, Indian paintbrushes, pink evening primrose, winecups, Mexican hats, and, of course, seas and seas of beautiful bluebonnets, among thousands and thousands of other species found across the state, will soon abound—or at least show themselves in some numbers. Below-normal fall rains have had somewhat of a diminishing effect, experts say. Nevertheless, there will most assuredly be flowers.
So, hop in the car, roll the windows down, turn the Willie up, and partake in one of the great rites of spring in Texas: the wildflower drive. Lord knows, we’ve earned it! —David Courtney, senior editor
Watch the Search Party Extended Universe
I am not just recommending that you watch the TBS/HBOMax series Search Party, created by Dallas native Charles Rogers; I’m recommending that that you allow the experience of watching the show to transform you into a dedicated Search Party fan. Let your love for the dark comedy and all who have touched it spill into other areas of your life.
Follow Charles Rogers on Instagram, which will eventually lead you down a rabbit hole to the nonexistent Senate candidate Anne Ranch! When you’re stressed, self-soothe with Search Party costar John Early’s sublime dance videos (new-millennium boy-band shuffling at its finest)! Become deeply invested in the health and happiness of former-Houstonian Meredith Hagner, who plays Portia (she is now the daughter-in-law of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, and she named her baby after John Prine)!
Basically, anytime you Google of “who plays ______ on Search Party,” you will be introduced to a brilliant up-and-coming comedian who will then introduce you to funny tweets, videos, and podcasts, until you’re plugged into a vast web of irreverent hilarity that will genuinely improve your day-to-day life. —Emily McCullar, associate editor
Use This Central Market Soap
Last spring, when the run on antibacterial agents left Soviet voids in the cleaning aisles of grocery stores and pharmacies across Texas, we made compromises. We bought runny hand sanitizer that smelled like poison. We cleaned countertops with witchy vinegar mixtures until our homes smelled like Easter eggs. We watered down what hand soap we could find.
No more. Supply blossomed to accommodate demand, and I discovered Central Market’s Mediterranean Sea Salt Hand Soap. I was drawn to the bottle’s brown plastic, which approximated the color of Aesop’s glass bottles, and its satisfying demijohn shape. And it was pretty cheap for non-Dial soap: each 10 ounce container is $6.79.
The soap now has a cult following among the five or so people who occasionally visit my home. “Your soap,” one friend said as she returned to a board game, “it is… amazing.” She sounded shocked, but I was not. Everyone comments on the soap. I am suspicious of visitors who do not compliment the soap, because I’m pretty sure that they do not wash their hands.
The soap is musky and rich, sweet but not floral or feminine. One friend said it reminded her of a middle-school crush she’d had, and since then I have identified an afternote of Axe body spray. But, like, fancy Axe body spray. The smell stays on my skin for hours. Sometimes when I’m at my desk, face buried in my hands in despair, the faint whiff of the soap’s oils on my hands surprises and soothes me. —Lauren Larson, features editor
Watch Nocturnal Animals
Tom Ford’s 2016 film Nocturnal Animals is a thrilling tale that follows Susan, an art curator who runs a gallery in Los Angeles, and her ex-husband Edward, a writer from Susan’s Texas hometown, who sends her his latest novel. He’s dedicated it to her and named it Nocturnal Animals after his nickname for her, so as you can imagine, these two have boundary issues.
The film is about malice, love, and the fine line between life and art. The tense psychological noir stylishly reveals how holding onto someone too tightly can end up leaving a bruise. Once Susan starts reading Edward’s book, the movie transforms into the story from the novel, and we’re thrust back and forth between Susan’s chic but lonely life and a family’s doomed road trip to Marfa.
The novel’s hidden and frightening message is slowly exposed through the reds and oranges of the sunsets, the whispering between the reeds, and the lull of the pitch-black night sky. But the narrative both in and out of the book are bound together, making for a melodramatic, thought-provoking film.
In Nocturnal Animals, Austin-born Ford takes us through different realities, weaves one narrative into another, and creates moods with the textures of West Texas scenery and the blending of different messages and meanings. If you’re looking to stretch your mind a bit and descend into a psychodrama masterfully crafted by a fashion designer, Nocturnal Animals is it. —Aarohi Sheth, editorial intern