Every Christmas and New Years, the entire Cupcakes and Cashmere team takes two full weeks off. It's an unconventional policy that ensures we're all well-rested for a productive upcoming year. Each break, I take time to fully sign off (I spent eight days with family in Guatemala and didn't pick up my phone once), but also make sure I'm fully organized and ready to kick off work. This year, I focused on reducing my daily decisions to avoid "decision fatigue": I replaced all of my underwear with fifteen pairs of identical skin-toned thongs, paired down my makeup routine to only the essentials, unsubscribed to a gazillion emails, and donated 90% of my clothes (thank you, KonMari). By making these tiny changes, I feel more creative at work and focused on decisions that really matter. What better way to head into a new year? Here's what I'm loving this week:
Bandersnatch is a single-release Black Mirror episode with an incredible twist: You control the plot. With a remote or mouse, you can select one of two options throughout the episode to "choose your own adventure" and influence the main character. The general plot is that a 1980s computer geek is coding a "choose your own adventure" game based on a "choose your own adventure" book (meta much?), but it has wildly different endings depending on the decisions you make. Before starting it, I assumed I would lose interest in the format but I couldn't have been more wrong—it's truly an incredible feat, and so, so smart. I'm already planning on watching it again so I can see a different plot play out. Have you watched it?
I've always loved post-apocalyptic novels (California, Station Eleven, and The Brief History of the Dead are among my favorites), so I was quick to pick up Ling Ma's buzzy debut novel, Severance. In it, nearly everyone is dying from Shen Fever, a disease that causes its victims to go about their regular routines like zombies until they essentially decay. It's among the most realistic-feeling apocalypse novels I've read, as the world slowly comes to an end around the oblivious Millennial protagonist, Candace Chen: "Me, I held down an office job... with the money I made, I bought Shiseido facial exfoliants, Blue Bottle coffee, Uniqlo cashmere." I devoured the entire thing in one sitting.
To ease the transition into work year, I came to the office on January 1st for a few hours to tidy both my physical and computer desktops. I archived spam emails, deleted unnecessary files, and finally downloaded a new image for my desktop from my favorite source. It may sound cheesy, but setting a new desktop background is the cyber equivalent of lighting a candle after cleaning a room; it's the final touch that makes it feel done. I loved my old desktop (the third one down here), but settled on these black-grounded florals. I also love this terrazzo-theme, black and white bougainvillea (combined with the beach if you have two screens), as well as the parrots here.
Since I've been on a major soup kick recently, I decided to test out different store-bought broths to see if they make a noticeable difference. Spoiler alert: They absolutely do! Plus a good broth is a weeknight dinner savior—just add some noodles, miso, spinach, and a soft-boiled egg and you have a delicious, two-minute dinner. Here are my favorites:
Best chicken broth: Epic Artisanal Broth (a splurge for a special dinner)
Best vegetable broth: Imagine Organic Low Sodium Broth
Favorite broth in L.A.: Dave's Korean Broth (sold at the Atwater Farmers' Market)
P.S., I'm heading to Park City this weekend to go skiing! Be sure to follow along on Instagram here!