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Hidden Gems

Things that make the world a better place

Tony’s Chocolonely Bars

Opening a Tony’s chocolate bar is about as close to an irl Willy Wonka moment as you can get – the colorful and graphic packaging will have you intrigued, but uncovering the odd-shaped chunks and taste of these Belgian chocolate bars is truly enchanting. Small chunks for when I’m passing through the kitchen, big chunks for when I need something sweet after dinner. Tony’s Chcolonely is a relatively new Dutch company with a goal of achieving 100% slave-free chocolate, and their bars’ unequal chocolate-chunks are actually intended to symbolize the inequality in the chocolate industry. This chocolate bar is way better than a cliche box of chocolates. My favorite is honestly the plain milk chocolate; they’re that good. If you can’t find them in a store, you can purchase them online! \ AL

Love Letters + This is Love Podcasts

We all crave authenticity. When it comes to love, it’s no different. Perfect, BS love stories occur in Disney movies, sure. But the reality is, relationships are messy and complicated and wonderful and exciting and deeply layered. The podcast Love Letters dives into true relationship stories, providing the listener with the comfort that ‘perfect’ relationships are rare and we all encounter similar obstacles in the game of love. Episodes vary from unpredictable success stories to disaster dates, which is incredibly refreshing in our social media driven world. And if you like the sound of this podcast, you should also give This is Love a listen. This podcast also centers on the topic of love, but goes beyond the traditional partnership definition. Each episode holds a larger takeaway: how to be alone, how to be patient, and, of course, how to love. This is Love is from the creators of the podcast Criminal, and there are three seasons out now (soon to be four). Find both of these podcasts, well, wherever you get your podcasts. Cheers to love! \ Leish

Waldeck’s Ballroom Stories album

If you’re going to continue throwing Gatsby-themed parties, you might as well have the right album to celebrate the 2020 year. Waldeck’s Ballroom Stories is full of jazzy numbers with electronic and hip-hop influences, which is what the kids call ‘trip-hop.’ Klaus Waldeck, the Austrian artist behind this ‘20s electronica sound, had a career as a copyright lawyer before beginning his musical career. I doubt I would have ever stumbled upon him, if it wasn’t for my favorite burlesque routine which beautifully showcases dancer Pepper Sparkle’s talent and Waldeck’s song Midsummer Night Blues. My other favorites from the album are: Make My Day and Memories. Ballroom Stories is perfect for cocktail hour. Follow up with Waldeck’s latest album Atlantic Ballroom, if you’re thirsty for more. \ AL

Citrus Channel Knife

The older I get, the more aware I am that there is a kitchen gadget for nearly everything. For some time, I figured mixologists were also just really great at creatively cutting citrus peelings. Truth is, a citrus channel knife is the only way to achieve a fancy citrus-ribbon without swearing and/or cutting your fingers with a dull vegetable peeler. Having one of these knives is a garnish game-changer, and they’re very easy to use! These guys can likely be found at your favorite kitchen store, otherwise order one online. Then hop on over to this issue’s Bar Cart article to learn how to make a Negroni! \ AL

Zero-Waste Bamboo Tea Strainer

Work stinks! But having a little corner at your desk that’s an escape from the doldrums of cubicle life is one of the ways that I stay sane. In my corner, there’s a picture of my cat Neko, a shade loving Mother-In-Law’s tongue plant, and my stash of loose leaf teas + my fave tea brewing device. Meet Wilder Studio + Goods’ bamboo tea strainer; it’s an attractive, zero-waste brewing basket that fits in any and all wonky sized mugs. This strainer makes my morning tea brewing ritual easy and fun! Get yours here and browse their other products that have an emphasis on natural living. I hope a little warm tea can bring you a moment of peace and clarity to start your work day right! \ Tom