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When I was growing up, there were two Asian-owned businesses my family patronized regularly: Han Ah Reum (now rebranded to easier-to-say H-Mart) and Sanrio (AKA the Hello Kitty store). These days it’s not only Asian dry goods and cute characters that are owned by AAPI founders. I can also buy sunglasses and modular shoes and many other things from AAPI-led brands. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month presents a great opportunity to reflect on the inroads Asian Americans have made as entrepreneurs. It’s also a way to show our culture to the world through food, skincare, jewelry and much more. Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by signing my petition to bring back the way more poetic Han Ah Reum (translation: one arm full of groceries) or treating yourself to something on this list.
Here Here AAPI Creator Basket
I usually discover new flavors at the Canal Street Market or in K-Town, but this AAPI creator basket from Here Here is a surefire way to experiment with new tastes. Carefully curated with a selection of six gourmet picks, this basket showcases the culinary creativity and diversity of AAPI food. It includes a mouth-watering roasted chili jam from Pink Salt Kitchens. They also added Heray Infused Saffron Oil grown and hand harvested by Heray Farmers Co-op in Herat, Afghanistan.
The Alaya Discovery Box
My dad is an unofficial tea sommelier. If you present him with anything other than loose leaf (a sachet is an admission of dilettantism), you can be sure it will languish in the back of his dedicated tea cabinet. With his exacting standards in mind, I’m excited to share this Discovery Box, which includes three organic and biodynamic loose leaf teas. It has a Darjeeling First Flush Black Tea, best-selling Chamomile Flowers and a Darjeeling Green Tea. Whether you want a cup before bed (decaffeinated chamomile is my go-to) or one to put some zip into your morning, you’ll find something suitable in this set.
Momofuku Bestseller Pack
The Momofuku cookbook is the first cookbook I ever bought (stupid ambitious) and I’ve been a David Chang fan ever since (even more so after reading his memoir Eat a Peach). While I have yet to attempt any of the (beyond-my-skill-level) recipes, I am adept at boiling water and adding sauce packets. This bestseller pack includes all three noodle flavors, Chili Crunch, savory seasoned salt and soy sauce. It’s an ideal gift for those who love good food but aren’t quite at Chang’s level.
Daybird Tinted Skincare
Low-maintenance skincare fans, this one’s for you. Daybird’s Tinted Skincare is a 4-in-1 multitasker that combines moisturizer, foundation, serum and mineral sunscreen (SPF 50) into one vegan product. Available in four shades, the formula uses clinically proven, dermatologist-approved skincare actives (niacinamide, bisabolol and zinc oxide) to blur imperfections and enhance your skin’s natural beauty.
Covry Maia Sunglasses
My dream is a pair of sunglasses that stay perfectly still while playing tennis (no elastic band allowed). Covry gets pretty damned close with their unique Elevated Fit (longer nose pads, a reduced frame curvature and a narrowed nose bridge). It ensures the frames sit higher on your face and away from your cheeks. I love the contrast of the ivory frame with the soft brown lenses (and luxe gold hardware) that give just the right amount of Meredith Blake.
Heart of Dinner x Maison Miru Memory Palace Bracelet
There are only 50 of these gorgeous Maison Miru bracelets (with hand-carved bunny charms) that support Heart of Dinner, a non-profit organization that provides hot meals for the most vulnerable in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Co-created with Heart of Dinner founders Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai, the bracelet sales will help provide meals and groceries for elderly Asian Americans in need. If the bracelet isn’t quite your style, the Heart of Dinner System Kit ($165) includes a pair of Maison Miru’s bestselling hoops, studs and an ear cuff. 20% of the proceeds from the kit will be donated to Heart of Dinner. Editor’s note: since this is a limited edition collection, both products will only be available during the month of May, or until they sell out.
You’re That Bitch: & Other Cute Lessons about Being Unapologetically Yourself by Bretman Rock
Whether you’ve been with Bret since his first viral video (slapping Princess Mae’s ponytail) or you’ve discovered him through his MTV series (season 2 is that bitch) or you’ve seen his Nike campaign — he is by far one of the funniest and charismatic influencers. Read about him and educate yourself.
Goldstories Jewelry The Locket
I’m such a sucker for Regency-looking lockets that seem like they would be perfect with any of Anya Taylor-Joy’s costumes in Emma. This oval-shaped beauty from Goldstories’ Enchanted Collection is calling out to be worn with a ruffle neckline. It’s elegant and can be easily worn in casual or more upscale situations.
Alterre Black Suede Ballet Pump Starter Kit
I have a modular sofa and modular shelving, but I’m most excited about my modular shoes from Alterre. Co-founded by Harmony Pilobello and Shilpa Iyengar (who met at Parsons), this innovative brand offers shoes that can be transformed with detachable straps and accessories. This ballet pump can be worn alone for a classic look, with a bow for a feminine touch, or with a strap for added elegance. It’s three shoes in one, which is perfect for over-packers like me.
Stuart & Lau The Redux Gym Bag
If your gym bag reeks of sweat and dirty socks, do everyone in the locker room a favor and upgrade to this hyper-functional Redux Gym Bag. Made from lightweight, waterproof fabric, this bag features a pass-through sleeve for your suitcase, a ventilated shoe compartment, padded laptop sleeve and much more.
Carolyn Suzuki Goods House Plants Mini Card Set of 8
Carolyn Suzuki is the reason I have adorable notepads spread on every surface in my apartment. Branching out from notepads with this charming House Plants card set means I can send handwritten notes to all my favorite penpals.
Schwanen Garten Day & Night Special Value Set
If you love a good deal but would never skimp on skincare, this value set is for you. Schwanen Garten founders Sung Hyun and Suan prioritize formulas with natural ingredients that place their studies in immunity and antioxidation front and center. This skincare bundle features four full-size products, including a cleanser, essence, moisturizing cream (recommended for the day) and nourishing cream (recommended for the night).
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