Risen Favorites of April

Risen Favorites is a monthly series featuring Risen staff member volunteers who wish to share some of their favorite things from a given month. Topics can include anything from favorite places to favorite photos, favorite teas to favorite soaps. If you have a “favorite” item, place, or even social media account that’s out of this world, DM or email us and we’ll include it! In April, we’re covering music, documentaries and more. Enjoy! (Image Description: "Risen Favorites of April" header image. Collage of three individuals wearing bralettes, screencap of documentary "Dictatorland", and album cover of Kendrick Lamar's "Damn".)


Over my spring break this year, I went to the Big Apple. While there, I ate a lot, walked a lot, and learned a lot, including just how amazing an art haven New York is. My first favorite art spot from my time there was the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Arguably one of the easiest museums to traverse, as well as housing countless priceless, gorgeous works, makes this an absolute must-see on a New York bucket list. The entire museum is a cylindrical walk-through, in which viewers travel upwards on a ramp built at a 3 degree angle to give the Guggenheim its characteristic sloping floors and curved walls. Some personal highlights of this institution included a rare Toulouse-Lautrec work and a series of colorful, spindly Alexander Calder sculptures.


  1. Peasant With Hoe, Georges Pierre Seurat (1859-1891). (Image Description: Impressionist painting of farmer using a hoe in a green field. The sun is shining and the farmer is wearing a white shirt, blue pants, and a straw hat. A golden, gilded frame holds the painting.)
  2. Panorama of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Notice the curving floors, pristine white balconies, and classic works dotting the concourse levels. (Image Description: White balconies slope upwards towards the edges of the photo. Lots of museum-goers can be seen walking around the levels of the building. Light shines down from the ceiling.)

My second favorite museum was more of a studio than anything else. This one was called The Hole, and took up four gleaming white rooms in the Bowery, a trendy neighborhood off of NYU’s campus and just around the corner from the New Museum. Vibrant, abstract works dotted the walls, and fabulously wild paintings and illusory works were presented throughout. I loved the neon colors, huge canvases, and the little brown dog that sat on the host’s desk near the front door. While certainly not a “traditional” New York art institution, it truly wowed me and I will definitely be returning on my next trip!  


The above photos are of two of my favorite works at The Hole. (#1 Image Description: Two paintings, one green, purple, black, and yellow meshed together, and one with pink and yellow tones hang on a white wall. #2 Image Description: Two painted individuals painted in black, beige, yellow, and pink stand flush against a white wall, the first figure in a black leather jacket beckoning viewers forward with a welcoming hand.)


As far as music releases go, this month has had so many great songs released by artists such as Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and Gorillaz. This month I’m going to be focusing on one of Frank’s songs and one of Kendrick’s.

First we have “Biking” by Frank Ocean, JAY Z, and Tyler, the Creator:
(photo from Wikipedia // Image Description: Album cover of Frank Ocean’s Biking. “BIKING” is written in the bottom right corner in all caps and italics. In the bottom left, “Frank Ocean”, “JAY Z” and “TYLER, THE CREATOR” is written, also in a white font. In the background, a man’s legs are shown riding a bike that is doing a pop-wheelie.)

I’ve always loved Frank Ocean and have yet to find a song of his that I don’t like, so of course I wasn’t surprised when this song left me feeling the sort of way only a beautiful song can. As a review from Pitchfork.com says, in the song’s finale, “You imagine him riding down a steep slope with his arms up, an ecstatic smile on his face, surrendering himself, however briefly, to the moment.” The story of this song and the emotion all of the collaborators have managed to put into this song are simply incredible, but even if you’re not here for an emotional trip, “Biking” is still a bop!
You can listen to “Biking” here, and if you don’t have a Spotify account, you can also listen for free here.

Next song we have is “XXX” By Kendrick Lamar (feat. U2)
(Photo from Wikipedia // Image description: Album cover of Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. “DAMN” in all capital. bright red letters is in the top above Kendrick Lamar wearing a plain, white t-shirt. He is in front of a dark red painted brick wall)

I just recently finished listening to Kendrick's new Album DAMN, and while the cover has been the target of several memes and criticisms that it could have been made on Microsoft Powerpoint, the album did not disappoint. I couldn’t really pick a single favorite, but “XXX”  was definitely one of them. In this song, Kendrick plays around with several different sounds, and the lyrics are profound as always. Lyrics such as “Hail Mary, Jesus and Joseph, the great American flag is wrapped and dragged with explosives” and “Donald Trump's in office we lost Barack and promised to never doubt him again, but is America honest, or do we bask in sin?” show Kendrick’s critiques of the Trump Presidency and America’s political climate in general. Whether you’re here to reflect on our country or just listen to some good music, Kendrick’s newest album is perfect for some deep listening.
You can listen to “XXX” and the rest of DAMN here and here.

‘Paradise’ by Anohni

Source: Google Images [Image description: album cover for Anohni’s album “Paradise”. A collage of nine different faces in three rows, showing people of various ages and ethnicities with different expressions, ranging from crying to a face painted in red and white skull make-up. Anohni is in the second row, last on the right.]

The atmosphere of Anohni’s music, for me, has not been matched by any other artist. I discovered her last year when she released ‘Drone Bomb Me’ and I’ve been captivated by her ever since. From her newest album, Paradise, my favourite has to be the album’s namesake: ‘Paradise’ is one of those songs that make you feel with every shift in the background music and every vibrato of her voice. The lyrics are simple and have a raw quality to them - they’re short sentences without rhyme, which overlap with each other towards the end of the song and eventually drown you in their rhythmic, other-worldly quality. All the while, though, it feels intensely personal. “My mother’s love, her gentle touch / My father’s hand rests on my throat”: lyrics like this offer an intimacy between herself and the listener. This sense of intimacy is almost enhanced by the quite mechanical music playing throughout the song, giving me almost futuristic vibes when listening to it. Blended into one another, this is the anthem of dystopia - and for many, the anthem of modernity.

Social Media

For those of you who love Instagram and are always looking for new inspirations to follow: look no further! Here are my two favorite Instagram accounts of the month!

#1. Ida: @aeronautisk
(Image description: Screenshot of @aeronautisk’s instagram profile. 9 of her posts are shown, and they are a selection of her artwork, journals and jewelry.)

Let me fangirl for a second here: I LOVE IDA’S ART SO MUCH! Okay, but for real: she is so talented and creative and just a really cool person in general. Her Instagram stories are fun to watch and inspiring. Whether she’s sharing her latest project (like these nipple earrings, these wire people faces, or her denim jacket), a tour of her adorable bedroom, or art challenges, I always smile when she shows up on my feed. She is an incredible creative and everything she touches seems to turn into art.
(Image description: Ida’s art: A woman, painted with watercolors, has colorful eyeshadow and green hair. She is wearing two cigarette butts as earrings.)

(Image Description: Ida’s journal, two pages lay open. On the right page, the words “self love as a riot” are cut out of pink paper, and on the left page, a woman with short brown hair is smiling on a yellow background.)

(Image Description: Four painted, sculpted heads lay on a pale blue background scattered with sequins.)

If you love art as much as I do, or you’re looking to find inspiration, Ida’s account is the right place to turn. Follow her here!

If you’re looking for a cute account with lots of pretty photos, Lélie is perfect! Her feed is adorable, and I love the posts about all of her adventures. Most of Lélie’s photos are of herself and her surroundings, and she mixes it up with videos of herself dancing, playing guitar, and painting her face. She is so carefree and has an amazing style, not to mention that she is also gorgeous! Like with Ida, I always smile when Lélie shows up on my feed.

(Image Description: Lélie poses in one of her photos with her eyes closed. She is wearing a blue and orange floral skirt and a maroon sweater.)

(Image Description: Lélie holds a book with drawings of butterflies on one page. She is wearing a plain white t-shirt, a pale pink skirt, and pale pink tights.)

Make sure you give Lélie a follow if you love cute people and cute pictures!


Image source // [Image description: Cover image for Dictatorland. A young man wearing a large coat and a black hat stands in front of the President’s Palace in Kazakhstan. Between him and the Palace lies a large expanse of snow.]

I’m a self-confessed lover of BBC documentaries: my favourite documentarians-stroke-journalists include Louis Theroux, David Attenborough, Reggie Yates, and, most recently, Benjamin Zand. I recently watched his three-part documentary about modern-day dictatorships, titled Dictatorland, and immediately found myself searching for more of his work afterwards and asking my friends to watch it too.

One of my favourite things about Zand and his work is how accessible it is, since most of the documentary films he’s made are available on his website. A large selection of them are on the BBC News YouTube channel, which means that they’re much more widely available than the ones on BBC iPlayer.

Aside from making longer documentaries like Dictatorland, Zand is the editor and presenter of BBC Pop Up, the BBC’s ‘mobile bureau’. He spends weeks at a time in locations across the world (such as the USA, India, Kenya and Russia), filming locals on the spot and asking them questions about their lives. Most of these videos are under twenty minutes long, which gives the viewer enough time to gain a little insight on topics such as the LGBT+ community in Lebanon or the future of Baranasi sari weavers.

After all, a keen Twitter user did describe him as ‘a young Louis Theroux with a better haircut’. What’s not to love?


This month, I’ve joined the rave over bralettes.
This comfortable, sexy, and cute alternative to mainstream bras is dominating the fashion industry and trending further than just Victoria’s Secret.
Image Descriptions:
  1. A woman stands against a white wall in a black bralette, smiling.
  2. A woman wearing a black bralette stands backwards from the camera, looking over her shoulder with an inquisitive expression and hands in her hair. Photos: Aerie.com

Recently, I’ve seen ditching bras grow more common and the option most people opt for is the bralette! This undergarment is not only lacey and adorable, but it's considerably more comfortable, since bralettes don’t usually have an underwire. Essentially, bralettes are just comfy bras with only lining. US stores such as Aerie and Forever 21 are catching onto the trend and putting them at the forefront of lingerie which they carry.

As cute and soft these bras are, one concern is still valid: What about bigger-busted ladies? The only downfall to these articles of clothing is the demand for better size-adjusted alterations. No matter how many different colors and styles they seem to produce of bralettes, there seems to be a lack of support for larger sizes. With this aside, bralettes are a cute way to accent a basic outfit and are truly soft as clouds. Check them out!