On Friday evening, I posted a list of plans then turned off my phone for the long weekend. I only got through about half the things on my list (there were no margaritas and I made very little progress on this book), but it was glorious. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed I've been posting more since sheltering in place. For the most part, it's kept me feeling connected and inspired, but there are also moments where I see something beautiful and instinctively pick up my phone to share it rather than enjoy it with my own eyes. Over the weekend, I didn't take a single photo—I ate this homemade chocolate babka, went for a neighborhood walk to see the flowering jacaranda trees, and treated myself to my favorite Tacos Tu Madre burrito (crispy shrimp 4ever), all without recording any evidence of their existence. It was a much-needed reset before heading into a short, but busy week and I'd recommend it to anyone. Here's what I've been loving lately:
A family friend is hit by a bus on the first page of Emma Straub's latest novel All Adults Here, setting off a domino effect of unveiled secrets and dramas within a family and their small New England town. Like Straub's previous novels, The Vacationers and Modern Lovers, the pacing is my favorite part. It's one of those books that's impossible to put down, since every time you think you're ready to do something else, it pulls you right back in! Though it took me a week, I imagine it'd be perfect for finishing in a day!
One of the silver linings of this time at home has been the number of times we've asked ourselves, "Can we make that?" and found that the answer is "Yes." We've made croissants, bagels, harissa paste, so much bread, mayonnaise, and, as of last week, tortillas.
I recently learned that most tortillas outside of Mexico (even those made in small-batches) are made from mass-produced corn flour, but the company Masienda is working to keep the original heritage and process of making tortillas alive. As soon as Jonah added an alkaline ingredient to nixtamalize our bag of purple heirloom corn (a traditional part of the process that softens the kernels), our kitchen in West Hollywood suddenly smelled exactly the same as my family's kitchen in Guatemala. To grind the corn, we just used our food processor, which worked like a charm!
The tortillas were delicious, but they also made us feel empowered and connected to cultures and places that feel especially far away right now. You can find Masienda's corn and guide to making tortillas here, and read this fascinating article on why heirloom corn is worth supporting here.
It's easy to laugh at the new dating show, Labor of Love, hosted by Kristin Davis. The entire premise is to set up an eligible bachelorette with a baby daddy (and hopefully life partner) before her biological clock runs out. One promo shows men getting their sperm tested for fertility, and they really lean into the birthing puns (the tagline is "Love is Optional, Labor is Mandatory"). But as I watched the first episode, I realized that it also may be genius? The first thing you'll notice is that the contestants are all grown-ups, not 21-year-olds who are ready for marriage ASAP, like in The Bachelor. For the most part, they all have a strong sense of self and their careers, and don't need the Instagram following that comes from being on a national dating show. They're business-owners, physicians, and poets. My current frontrunner owns a wealth management company that empowers professional athletes through financial stability (!). Like any dating show, it has it's problems, but I'm completely hooked—this is the quarantine content I needed. Watch it here!
Before quarantine began, Jonah and I spent most Friday nights playing the cult-classic game "Settlers of Catan" with friends—a tradition that's since moved online! While an online game board and FaceTime can't replace the experience of joining around a table with beers and takeout, it gets pretty close. We use the off-brand site, Colonist.io which is simple to use—just create a private room, or play with strangers or bots, and you're on your way to settling a new island! It's incredibly dorky, but incredibly fun! Play it here!
2. I see Pop-Up Magazine every time it comes to L.A.—and have even met several of you there! This week, it's going online! Details here.
3. Architects have the coolest homes.
4. A journal prompt for every emotion.
5. Every Tuesday, Geoffrey, Kelly, Jess and I do a Peloton ride together! At 4 PM, PST we're doing an Ally LovePop Ride from 6/20/19 if you want to join! We'll post updates (and chances to win prizes) on @shopcupcakesandcashmere.