I didn't realize it until it happened, but I've been preparing for last week for a looong time. Over the past seven days, I dusted off my paddle board, went on blue bell-dotted hikes, did my first out-of-home workout, hosted friends from out of town, and got drinks with new friends. The things I'm planning now aren't for "someday," but "this month," like a backpacking adventure around Mt. Hood, an ambitious garden project with a neighbor, weddings, and trips. It feels so good to jump back into the thick of things and celebrate being together again. Here's what else I'm loving this week:
Even though Thao Thai insisted in last week's post that she wasn't arguing for romance novels, she succeeded in helping me realize how harshly I've judged them in the past as unworthy. As soon as I read her first draft, I righted my wrong and downloaded When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri from the library, a book Thao loves that's also been on my TBR list since novelist Robyn Schneider shared her top LGTBQ+ books for Pride Month last year. The book alternates between Katie, a Kentucky native with traditional values, and Cassidy's perspectives for a fun and sexy page-turner that pleasantly surprised me with its warmth and depth of honesty.
Also great: Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers is one of my favorite books I can remember reading recently, with several moments that made me laugh out loud, as nine people navigate an experimental wellness retreat.
Olivia Rodrigo's new album SOUR speaks directly to the angsty teen in me (the one who blasted Tegan and Sara and thought the violin intro to The Veronicas's "Untouched" was, like, so metal...still do). Take, "brutal," which borrows those violins, but quickly swaps them for guitar and the battle cry I needed when I was in high school, "And I'm so sick of 17/Where's my fucking teenage dream?/If someone tells me one more time/'Enjoy your youth,' I'm gonna cry." Olivia Rodrigo's target audience might be the generation who finds their music recs from TikTok, but us Insta-users will appreciate the nods to T. Swift and songs that wouldn't be out of place at a Cotillion Ball, circa 2007.
I pulled up this NYT recipe as a purely practice move to cook the mushrooms and spinach wilting at the back of my crisper drawer—not exactly the source of an exciting recommendation. But Jonah and I were both surprised by how delicious this exceedingly simple (and affordable!) one-sheet vegetable side is, thanks in large part to the caramelized shallots. In keeping with a high-low theme, we ate it with lamb chops in front of the TV for the "Friends" reunion.
In the HBO documentary, "Fake Famous," three people who want to be famous undergo an experiment in which they're coiffed for Insta-fame, a process that involves photoshoots, social media consultants, stylists, and buying followers and engagements. I'm obviously not naive to this world: I work for a lifestyle company largely driven by social media, know just how much effort can go into making something look "effortless" online, and drove past the Paul Smith wall everyday on my way to work for years. Still, I was genuinely surprised by some of the revelations in the documentary, like the fact that 40 million people on Instagram have over one million followers. Let that sink in: 40 million people have over one million followers. The documentary only brushes the surface of the impact of social media on those who create it and consume it, and leaves out far more than it includes, but it's a fun watch and important reminder that not all that glitters is real.
1. A reader sent me a song she and her husband released from their band Emily + Shawn and it's so good. (Perfect rainy day vibes!)
2. You need to know about So Good General Store, a plastic-free BIPOC-owned line of sustainable cleaning goods that smell amazing and work (founded by the amazingly talented wife of our friend and videographer Thomas!)
3. This movie looks so sweet and Wes Anderson-y. Hoping to see it in theaters!
4. PSA to anyone else who's been waiting over a year to finish their Year&Day set. They're finally back in stock! I just dropped $150 on my own pre-orders...
6. ILY, Paul.
7. "Pinterest for travel planning." I haven't tried it, but looks like it could be useful! (Update: The brand is currently invite-only, but reached out to me this morning to offer readers a code to use the app—just add "THELIST" here!)