VSA Holiday Recs

Things We Love

We asked our Visitor Services Associates to share what’s bringing them joy right now. We hope this recommendation list inspires you to read, watch, listen, touch or taste something new.

Book: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

I read this book late last year but it seems more pertinent to revisit, considering how destabilizing 2020 has been. It takes a close look at the history of labor, the internet and data collection, and how we correlate the value of our lives with productivity. It’s an insightful book that compels us to question how we operate in a capitalist system and how we can build sustainable futures in our bioregions.

TV Series: The Repair Shop

The Repair Shop is a sweet series in which Britain’s finest craftspeople come together to repair and restore cherished heirlooms. The show’s mission is to subvert “throw-away” culture by giving these items another chance at life. It is also very heartwarming to watch the families react when they see their items restored! 

-Rebekah Hurst 

Essay & Audio Recording: Santaland Diaries

I read Santaland Diaries every December. It’s a 1999 essay by humorist and writer David Sedaris about his time working as a Christmas elf in “Santaland” at Macy’s department store. It makes me laugh. Anyone working in retail or the entertainment industry will appreciate it. 
-Gina Martinez 

Daily Reflections
My collection of handmade mugs brings me immense joy during my daily tea/coffee sessions. Whenever I drink from one of them, I focus on either my memories of making it or consider the artist who may have made it. I wonder how they are and if they’re still working or alive. This simple act of reflection, of thinking about happy memories or others, especially in this day of quarantine, engenders a level of connectedness I find comforting.

Online Platform: Twitch
I would not be in such good spirits if it weren’t for Twitch, the online video livestreaming service. Being able to actively discuss things with a person that lives across or out of the country and watch them doing anything from art and music to gaming has been amazing. These “streamers” have set up incredible communities and there is a level of interaction you don’t get through traditional video. This particular streamer, Justin Almazan, has brought me so much laughter and happiness. He plays music live over Twitch during jam sessions and is one of the most wholesome and supportive people I’ve interacted with over the past few months. 

Podcast: Limetown 
(Very spooky. Content warnings for suicide, genocide, violence/abue, animal abuse, and murder) Limetown is a Science Fiction podcast about a journalist who risks her life to investigate the mysterious disappearance of over 300 people at a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee. I found this podcast when I was searching for more Horror and Sci-Fi podcasts with female hosts.

Podcast: BAIT: a queerbaiting podcast
In  BAIT  two boisterous lesbians discuss such media phenomena as “bait” and “ship fandom.” Because, in a homophobic world you need to read between the lines to find good love stories. 

TV Series: Good Omens  
A TV series inspired by Neil Gaiman’s book of the same title, Good Omens follows an angel and a demon who team up to save the world from the anti-Christ. And they are arguably in love, with humanity and with each other.
-Alexandra Murphy 

Podcast: The Joe Rogan Experience
I really enjoy this podcast because Joe Rogan interviews a variety of outspoken or controversial people for 3-4 hours. These long conversations explore several different topics and ideas and spur provoking thoughts. We live in a polarizing world and I think our greatest societal weakness is that we do not take the time to listen to others with opposing views. Let’s learn to sit, listen, and agree to disagree.

Book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
I really enjoyed this book because it’s a quick read and it was extremely helpful in shifting my perspective on life and the challenges we face every day, and even more so today with the COVID pandemic testing us. If you’re struggling or feeling stuck in life, I suggest you give this book a read.  

Documentary: Crazy, not Insane.

I enjoyed this documentary because it explores why people commit crimes. Asking such questions as: What makes a person snap? Are killers made or born? Should we execute murderers or take the time to understand why these violent crimes are occurring today? This documentary underscores how a lot of people who commit violent crimes have endured horrible abuse. It was definitely an eye opener and is especially relevant when you consider that violent crime is on the rise nationwide, including in San Antonio.  
-Veronica Caceres 

Recipe: Chocolate Chia Pudding

It wouldn’t be 2020 without my ever-growing list of quarantine recipes! This pudding tastes like the chocolate pudding cups of my childhood and is perfect for setting up prior to the work week for a quick breakfast or power snack. 


  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 3-5 Tbsp. maple or agave syrup 
  • 1 pinch sea salt 
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 ½ cups coconut or almond milk 
  • ½ cup chia seeds 


  • To a small mixing bowl, sift cocoa powder. Add maple syrup, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Gradually add milk while whisking (to keep a smooth consistency).  
  • Add chia seeds and mix well. Divide between four 12 oz. jars. Cover and refrigerate at least 3-5 hours, shaking the mixture once after 30 minutes. 
  • Will keep in the fridge 4-5 days after preparation. 

-Justice Graham