You're Going to Want to Read This Book in One Sitting

And 4 other recommendations for a cozy day...
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From a hike up Runyon

From a hike up Runyon

No one ever says their cold came at the perfect time, but mine did. After traveling for the holidays, I arrived back in L.A. excited to see my friends, but also sort of ready to hibernate... and then bam! I got a cold! Perfect timing! I had a few days to unpack and get my life back in order, answer emails, then hibernate. It was the type of cold where I felt fatigued, but not so miserable that I couldn't enjoy watching shows, playing board games, and doing a whole lot of nothing—the perfect antidote to packed family time, and break before a chaotic month. January plans, so far, include... jury duty, gum surgery, and three weekend trips (!). Here's to starting 2020 with a bang! 

1

I resisted subscribing to the new Apple streaming service—did I really need to pay $5 a month for even more shows?—but the first episode of The Morning Show hooked me, and it took less than a week for me to binge the entire first season. In it, Jennifer Aniston plays a seasoned anchor on a popular morning show after her co-anchor has been fired for sexual misconduct. In a series of twists, a fiery correspondent, played by Reese Witherspoon, is plucked out of West Virginia to be her new co-host. The show feels a bit like a juicy exposé behind the sugary-sweet world of morning shows, while addressing sexual assault and #MeToo. And it doesn't shy away from references to The Today Show (the accused even has a Matt Lauer-esque button at his desk to close the door, and Aniston's announcement of the misconduct is eerily similar to Savannah Guthrie's, though the comparison has been denied). It's smart and poignant, and Billy Crudup's laugh-out-loud funny character, as the chaos-chasing head of the TV division of a network, is among my favorite characters on a show ever

2

You could read Nick Hornby's State of the Union in the time it would take you to go to one therapy session—and in fact, I recommend you do. Each chapter of the short novel captures the ten or so minutes before a married couple heads into therapy, filling in the ellipsis through hilarious and relatable dialogue, with shorthand that captures the decades they spent as a couple. (Though I haven't watched it, it's also a show now on Sundance! If, you know, you happen to have another $10 to spend on another streaming service... I had to draw the line somewhere.)

3

Although I wasn't aware of the band Hot Chip, this music video made me fall in love with them. The video for Hungry Child, about a couple who literally can't stop hearing the same song on repeat, is worth watching all the way through. It's such a smart, creative video!

4

After struggling to find candles that are made with high-quality essential oils, a friend of mine set out to create his own (!). He spent the past year working with essential oil developers and researching candle making to create this kit, which he then packaged and made available for purchase online after realizing how many of his friends wanted one (hi, hello 👋). I initially bought a few as gifts to support his new business, but then ended up keeping one for myself. It was a bit messy (because I'm messy), but fun! I mixed the eucalyptus with the lavender scent which I'm hoarding to light in the new year, once I tire of pine-scented everything. 

5

It took me longer than it should have to finally watch the A24 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and when I finally sat down to it over the holidays, I loved it even more than I thought it would. Based in part on Director Joe Talbot's childhood best friend Jimmie Fails (who plays the lead), the film follows two best friends' (re)adoption of a Victorian house in a historically black, now very white, part of San Francisco. It's a beautifully shot (almost Wes Anderson-y), and an equal-parts charming, funny, and poignant take on legacy and the impact of gentrification in San Francisco.

2 copy

1. If you live in L.A., consider this my reminder to you to purchase theater tickets for 2020. There are some really great-looking shows at the Geffen. I created a three-show package (Man of God, The Enigmatist, and Macbeth) but if you prefer to go to just one or two, there are great deals on Goldstar.

2. Try not to purchase things online you may return—a lot of returns end up in landfills. 

3. The best board games of 2019! (Pro tip: I almost bought the top game Wingspan on Amazon for $100, until I went to a board game store in L.A., and they told me it's normally $20. The makers just didn't expect the demand and are planning on restocking early this year! Wait for the price drop ;) 

4. Consider your ears.

5. That rule about taking 10,000 steps a day? Totally arbitrary

6. My mom sent me this link with the subject line, "READ THIS. HILARIOUS!"