The List: I Finally Found My Favorite Author and a Solution for Busy Weeks

Plus the wedding questions I've been driving myself nuts over.
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Spent the weekend in San Diego, and a lot of time in this cute café! (Image via Eater)

Spent the weekend in San Diego, and a lot of time in this cute café! (Image via Eater)

Ever since getting engaged, I've felt a medley of conflicting emotions around Jonah's and my wedding and what we both see as unnecessary traditions (which you all picked up on, in the comments of this post!). I'm a big over-thinker, but it's still insane how much time I've dedicated to going over and over the same questions: Is a big wedding important to me? (I don't think so.) Am I for or against my dad walking me down the aisle? (I go back and forth.) Am I terrible at explaining my own complicated thought process to others? (You betcha!) I had no idea I had so many thoughts around weddings until I got engaged!

What I've learned is that the weirdest thing about planning a wedding is that it might be the most personal thing Jonah and I ever do, yet one that attracts the most opinions from others. And this is all compounded by the fact that I have a public-facing job (which, for the record, I love. It just gives me more voices to consider, which can get noisy at times!). Over the past several weeks, Jonah and I have completely confused our friends and family by initially declaring we wanted a "huge wedding in Guatemala," then switching gears towards a "courtroom wedding." This weekend, we talked ourselves into circles about it, until finally finding clarity—and even making a solid plan! I'll be writing more about the solution we landed on in the coming weeks, as well as our planning process, but for now, I'm taking the time to feel grateful. Grateful that we're surrounded by such a supportive community, but mostly grateful I can stop driving myself nuts with so many big-picture questions (ha). Here's what else I'm loving this week:

1

I rarely read books by the same author for the simple reason that there's so much on my 'to read' list, I'd rather read something entirely different. As a result, I have plenty of favorite books—A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Normal People by Sally Rooney—but have never had a favorite author, until now. This weekend, I finished Amor Towles' novel, Rules of Civility, and loved it so much I literally hugged it as soon as I read the last sentence. Although Rules of Civility was his debut, I found Towles through his second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow (which I recommended here). The protagonists in each book, Katey Kontent and Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, are so gripping they feel like they're alive, and some sentences are so beautiful that both books led me to break another rule: Instead of passing the book along to a friend, as I usually do, I kept them so I can reread them again and again. 

2

Prompted by an office discussion about my all-time favorite Architectural Digest home (Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber's Manhattan loft) and plans for Portland (no updates, we're just still chipping away at our land loan!), Anne suggested the design show on Netflix, Grand Designs. The concept is brilliant—it follows families self-building houses—and the execution is even better. Unlike a lot of design shows, it's actually realistic. It follows families creating their dream homes, but also breaking up over failed attempts. Watch it here!

3

In the podcast Ladies, We Need To Talk host Yumi Stynes talks about sensitive topics from birth control to sex, drinking, pooping, and raising children, interviewing experts along the way. What I love most about the show is that the topics are universal (the show is hosted in Australia, but relevant to women all over the world), but rarely talked about—and Yumi addresses each of them openly and honestly. There's no need to listen to the podcast in order—you can select an episode that feels relevant to you—but once you start with one, you're going to want to listen to them all (at least I did!).

4

I am horrible, horrible at making time for myself. I love spending time with people, but this also means my only "alone time" falls outside the hours of 8 AM to 9 PM. Unless I literally schedule something, I won't spend time solo—so that's exactly what I've been doing. Once a week, I've been scheduling an hour of solo time. Sometimes I'm out and about—maybe I'll go to a talk at The Wing, or slate an hour for exploring a bookstore—but more often, I'm at home, in my favorite reading chair. Even if I plan on eating dinner with Jonah later in the evening, I'll make it clear that from 6 to 7 PM I have a date with my book. It's such a small thing, but carving out that time makes all the difference in feeling grounded in the middle of a busy week!