Good morning! Well, it's been eleven days since our entire office started working from home and since Jonah and I began strictly following social distancing recommendations. Going from being too busy to the full-stop of being homebound has been an adjustment to say the least, as I'm sure it has been for so many of you. Whether your job is considered "essential" or put on pause, it's a really weird time right now. We're all asking the same scary questions, but at least I've finally felt myself softening to the slower pace in the interim.
At some point yesterday, I realized that Jonah and I had spent the entire Sunday doing the things we've talked about doing forever but had been too busy to do. We made French toast, went for a walk, then read the New York Times cover-to-cover before each starting and finishing a book, and making bagels. It was a perfect day in the middle of a very confusing and scary time, and a reminder that there's a lot of beauty between the overwhelming anxiety and mornings that feel a bit too close to Groundhog Day. Outside of doing what I can do—most importantly staying home, but also supporting small businesses and donating to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation—I'm trying to treat this time as an opportunity to slow down and experience gratitude for all the things I have right now, namely a home and the health of my friends and family. We'll be sharing more this week about how to maintain a routine, tips for stocking your pantry, the binge-worthy books we've been cruising through, the little things bringing us comfort, and of course this bagel recipe. For now, make yourself a cup of tea and take a deep breath. Here are some of the things I've been loving this week:
I'm going to be honest with you, with the exception of two Andie MacDowell movies (truly an unsung hero of the '90s), Jonah and I have been exclusively watching The Office. I haven't seen the series since it aired live, so every night before dinner, we watch one or two episodes to decompress. Last night, though, we veered from the norm and started Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu for something a bit more dramatic than The Office (unless you count Jim and Pam's sexual tension). The miniseries is surprisingly not at all like Celeste Ng's 2017 bestseller—but I actually prefer the twists it takes, as a new mother (Kerry Washington) threatens the picture-perfect world of the Richardsons, with Reese Witherspoon at the helm. And, Hulu has blessed us all by releasing the episodes ahead of schedule. Watch them here!
P.S., When I recommended Dark last week, a reader commented to share international shows that carry a similar tone. Pasting them here in case you missed them: Zone Blanche/Black Spot (French; Netflix), La Foret/The Forest (French; Netflix), Le Chalet/The Chalet (French; Netflix), Pustina/Wasteland (Czech; Hulu or HBO Now)
On Friday, I interviewed my friend Betsy about nutrient-dense pantry and freezer staples, which I'll be sharing later this week. Several of the ingredients she reiterated were beans, garlic, broth, and frozen peas—all of which are in this recipe from @Diningonnostalgia. The recipe, which is linked in her Highlight here, uses primarily shelf-stable ingredients, is fool-proof, and so warming. What more could you ask for right now?
I've been thinking a lot about Adam Ondra for the past week. Ondra is considered by many to be the best climber in the world (he is the only man to have won the World Championship titles in both bouldering and lead climbing in the same year). For the past few years, he's been training for the Olympics in speed climbing, the only Olympic event for climbers, despite requiring more agility than technique, which may be delayed in light of COVID-19. A few years ago, he climbed what is considered to be the most difficult bouldering route ever climbed (at a rating of 9c), which was made into a short documentary available on Youtube. It's the perfect thing to watch over your lunch break. If you're looking for more, I also highly recommend: Meru, The Dawn Wall, Touching the Void, and Free Solo.
I'm the type of person who can sit down at my computer at 9 AM and literally not stand back up until 5 PM. But, since working from home, I've been looking to the lessons in Celeste Headlee's book Do Nothing for guidance. The book is incredibly valuable in addressing the "exhaustion" we all feel from work, and ultimately burnout, which is just as applicable when working from home. She suggests having several chunks of focused, non-multitasking hours followed by unproductive time to foster creativity and innovation. When it comes to working from home, I focus on a single task for one hour, then take 15 to 20 minutes to do a quick at-home workout, make myself a snack, or simply go for a walk or read. It's worth trying if you're also struggling to find structure working from home—maybe even pick up her book!
2. Stephanie Nass of @Chefanienass is using her Instagram as a cooking hotline—send her a photo of your cupboard and she'll send you back recipe ideas!
3. Museums and galleries are offering virtual tours, libraries are sharing their archives to use as coloring books, and several National Parks are accessible by Google Earth. (Thank you to Melinda for graciously emailing this tip my way!)
4. A great resource for at-home projects for kids, from the Norton Simon Museum.
5. If constantly checking the news is driving you insane, consider subscribing to this newsletter from Quartz on "Need to Know" information about the Coronavirus.
6. This short video from SNL made me laugh.
7. After connecting with a reader over email, she surprised me with the most beautiful set of custom stationery from her brand, Southern Paperie. Thank you, Jenn!
8. If you don't already belong to our Facebook Group, I highly recommend joining.