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This French Film May Be My New Favorite Movie

Plus four really good recommendations for staying home.

Let me just start by saying: I do not have COVID-19. But for a few days last week, I suspected I might. On Wednesday, despite being extremely careful, I woke up with a low fever that lasted for the entire day. When I consulted with friends who have had the virus, they confirmed that that's exactly how it began for them. My brain flip-flopped between reasoning that I probably just overdid it on a workout, or that I had somehow contracted the virus. Luckily, I was able to get a free test at the VA in Brentwood that day, that came back as "Negative" for both Jonah and me yesterday. The testing experience however was extremely positive (see what I did there?). After making an appointment online for the same day, we were able to drive through a line where we were given a test, then parked to self-administer it before dropping it in a barrel, all from a safe distance. Businesses are beginning to open for "Phase 2," but now is the time to be as careful as ever—even when we're all as antsy as ever. 

When Jonah and I took a celebratory five-minute walk outside on Sunday (only after receiving our results), I was honestly frustrated by how many people were walking without masks, despite them being a requirement in L.A. Most people were keeping their distance, but I'd estimate that about 90% of the people we saw were not wearing masks. This is hopefully the final push—we've got this, but only if we all follow the safety measures. And, there are so many things to enjoy inside. Here are a few of my favorites from the last week:


Hulu isn't the first place I'd expect to find my next favorite movie, but Portrait of a Lady on Fire was so stunning I'm struggling to find the words for it. My gut review goes something like this: GAHHHH! LOVE LOVE! GAH! RadioLab producer Suzie Lechtenberg put it slightly more eloquently when she described it in their newsletter:

I was bowled over by 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'[...] it captures passion and infatuation in such an achingly beautiful way, and each and every shot in this movie looks like a Vermeer painting.

In it, a painter in 1770 France is commissioned to create a portrait of a young woman to be sent to her fiancé. If he approves of the portrait (the 18th century equivalent of swiping right), she'll be sent to marry him. When the subject refuses to sit for the painting in protest of the marriage, another forbidden love story blooms that made my heart ache in a similar way that Call Me By Your Name did. It starts slow, but the reward is so worth it. I'm honestly still wrecked from the ending. Watch it here!

P.S., A bit random, but the soundtrack to the movie Wakefield came on my Spotify on Friday ("Rachel Portman Radio" is my go-to for WFH these days) and I liked it so much we decided to watch it. It's a strange and slow family drama, but I loved it—and it stars Jennifer Garner and Bryan Cranston, which is all I needed to know before watching it. 


Last week, our Editorial Intern, Natalie rounded up some breakfasts worth taking your time making and Big Sur Bakery's Blackberry Scones immediately caught my attention. I've gone to Big Sur with Jonah at least once a year for the past seven years, but we only came across Big Sur Bakery on our last trip there and now I'm making up for lost time. Their baked goods are some of the best I've ever had. Yesterday, we made their Blackberry Scones with mulberries I'd purchased from my favorite L.A. grocery store, Cookbook (one of L.A.'s best-kept secrets). We thought Jonah's mom's recipe was unbeatable but—dare I say it?—these were even better. Here's the recipe!


Ten years ago, a journalist heard a rumor that the massive 1990 hit song, "Wind of Change" was written by the CIA as propaganda. This would mean that espionage extends to pop music and the CIA has songwriters that extend to major heavy metal bands? The first two episodes, out now, explore this rumor and the complex levels of CIA secrecy and involvement for what promises to be a fascinating eight-part series. Like, did you know that millions of Americans have top-level security clearance? Or that tech companies with recognizable names work with the CIA to create professional fronts for spies?? I sure didn't!


The last time Jonah and I got really into a show about building your own home, we bought land in Portland (!), so it feels a little dangerous to be so obsessed with a show about home-builders right now. (Will Jonah come downstairs one morning to a renovated kitchen? Maybe!) But the Apple TV+ show HOME is worth the risk of renos and subscription to yet another streaming service. Each 30-minute episode explores a home and the family or individuals who created it: In Sweden, an entire greenhouse sits over a home to create an artificial summer even in the winter; in Hong Kong, an architect has converted his 300-square-foot apartment into a modular experiment that makes the blueprint feel limitless. One thing I'll say: The show really focuses on men. Only two of the nine episodes have a female designer or builder, which is on-par with architecture demographics, but was dramatic enough for me to notice. 

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1. My first introduction to the podcast It Sounded Like a Good Idea was when the co-hosts (and cupcakes readers!) Hannah and Caroline asked me to be on their most recent episode, but it's a new favorite!

2. How to look stylish while wearing a giant shirt (this felt particularly applicable to me borrowing Jonah's shirts this entire quarantine...). 

3. You can "watch" episodes of The Office play out on this Slack workspace

4. How to make the most of your recovery days

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