I'm On a Mission to Cure Your Cabin Fever with the Biggest 'List' Ever

A super-sized List for more time at home...
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Breakfast in the office... 

Breakfast in the office... 

It's pretty unbelievable how quickly things can change. Last week was the first week people in my extended community started getting sick, and even passing away, and the first time the impacts of coronavirus directly impacted my own family, some of whom don't have access to healthcare where they live. It makes me feel claustrophobic in an entirely new way—like a sickness is closing in on the people I love. 

At the same time, I'm trying to focus on moments of joy and successes where I can find them so that everyday is full of paradoxes: I'm getting less antsy about staying home, and finding a lot of time to read and cook involved meals with Jonah, though the reality of this pandemic is simply devastating. Jonah and I are both in as fortunate of a position as we can be, with access to food and an apartment, but we've hardly stepped outside in weeks because the sidewalks in West Hollywood are so packed with people that we don't want to risk getting or passing along the virus. Everyday feels the same, but also brings its own set of challenges. Last Tuesday, I started crying on a walk while listening to this episode of The Daily, and on Saturday, Jonah and I commemorated our would-be wedding day with a bottle of Champagne and a video call with family. There are so many things to be grateful for, but just as many to be grieving. Right now, all we can do is focus on the little things that bring us joy and comfort (on that note, I've loved the emails flooding into our info inbox and posts to our Facebook Community with your recs—keep them coming!). Here are a few of the things I loved from last week :

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This week, I was finally able to curl up with Colleen Hoover's novel Verity, which came recommended to me by pretty much everyone I know, including Emily! In it, an introverted author, Lowen, is tasked with the job of finishing a series by a notorious author, Verity, after she's injured in an accident. When Lowen moves into the house to do research, she discovers Verity's unpublished memoir in a desk drawer, which is when things really get interesting. If nothing else, it's a fun, quick read you're sure to cruise through. 

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I initially resisted watching Tiger King, the stranger-than-fiction Netflix documentary about tiger breeders and zoo owners. And strangely, after two episodes I became hooked not on the show, but on the podcast. As interesting as the show is, my mom put it best when she said, "I just don't want to invite those people into my living room." Instead, Jonah and I have continued with our steady diet of "The Office," but I've enjoyed listening to Wondery's podcast about Joe Exotic as I dive into house projects. Like the TV series, the podcast is anchored in the ethical debate over keeping and breeding tigers, but that's only the surface of a real story steeped in murder, a cult-like following, and strange obsession with big cats.

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Jonah and I have created an entirely new strategy when it comes to grocery shopping, to encounter as few humans as possible. It involves a mix of online deliveries interspersed with carefully scheduled Instacart pickups and a highly strategic use of our freezer... come to think of it, I could write an entire post on it. One of my favorite ways to get fresh greens has been to make a huge batch of this herb-packed pesto each week (which I then drown in olive oil, to keep the oxygen out so it lasts longer). I love this one because of all the greens in it, but also because it uses breadcrumbs instead of pinenuts, which is easier on the wallet. I dollop it over my eggs in the morning, add it to soups, mix it in with white rice, add it to pasta (duh), smear it between sandwiches, and add it to grain bowls. So healthy and delicious! 

P.S., Last week, we made a combination of Alison Roman's #thestew and chickpea chicken, allowing braised chicken thighs to simmer in the stew for 45 minutes until the meat fell off the bone, so we could serve the entire thing over rice. Delicious!

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The Environmental Film Festival was supposed to take place earlier this month, but in light of COVID-19 they've made many of the films they planned to show available online through tomorrow. I'm planning on watching a few films tonight and have heard great things about DEER 139, Constant Thought, and Venture Out (just 14 minutes long!).

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An empty wine glass and computer board games... just another Friday night at Chez Leslie and Jonah

An empty wine glass and computer board games... just another Friday night at Chez Leslie and Jonah

If you're stuck at home, chances are you've been spending a lot of time video-chatting with friends and family! When that gets old, consider watching a show together or playing a game! Girls Night In compiled this list of games to play online with friends, I attended a book club meeting last week, Netflix Play is a site for watching Netflix with a group chat, Houseparty has made a major comeback, and trivia has gone online (updates here). On Friday night, Jonah and I played Code Names then Tee KO on Jackbox with three friends and it was almost fun enough to pretend we were enjoying it in person!

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I've taken a break from a lot of my regular news podcasts, but have been loving Crooked Media's podcast, Keep It, which puts a lighter spin on politics and current events by weaving them in with pop culture (I was thrilled to hear I'm not the only person who was made veeerrry uncomfortable by the "Imagine" video... far from it, apparently!). 

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My love of Kelsea Ballerini goes back to the start of both of our careers, and I like to think we've both come a long way since she taught me how to make sausage-stuffed croissants... Her new album "kelsea," which is more pop than country, is the perfect light, upbeat thing to have on in the background while you embark on house and cooking project this week! This song speaks to me this week...

P.S., If you're looking for something calming, consider streaming this New York jazz station, which has a cult-like following. I'm also really enjoying all of the indoor focused playlists like this one from Healthyish.

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1. Food52 put together a Coronavirus landing page (as did we!). 

2. Words of wisdom from a "millennial therapist."

3. A beautiful impromptu graduation ceremony at my alma mater.

4. I've really been enjoying @katiecouric on Instagram recently. 

5. 8 big studio movies that hit streaming early. 

6. A man filmed all of the animals that walked over one river crossing over the course of a year.

7. My new favorite micro-influencer.

8. This video of "parents on day 24 of quarantine" made me laugh. 

9. In a Zoom cooking class Alison Roman hosted last week, she highly recommended this spice company Diaspora, which ships online!

10. How to socialize during a quarantine

11. I'm intrigued by this hypnotherapy app... 

12. Jonah just showed me these mixes of classic Quentin Tarantino quotes over tracks. It's a bit more haus/techno than I usually lean (ha), but has been fun "clean the house" background music! I really like this one

13. Libro.fm, whose audiobook sales go directly to independent bookstores, just launched a #ShopBookstoresNow campaign to support them right now!