All of last week, I felt inspired and energized—and I don't think it's a coincidence that every single day was packed with emails and video calls with our incredible new contributors to the site. I woke up excited every single morning, which I kicked off with yoga before I dove straight into my inbox (not because I had to, but because I wanted to). Because I had so many projects I enjoyed working on, I didn't mind doing some of the slightly less exciting tasks I've been putting off—and was rewarded by my new favorite (old) series each night (more on that below!). Here are a few of the things I loved this week:
I've always liked Padma Lakshmi, but that spark has developed into a full love affair recently. It began innocently enough, when I followed her on Instagram, where she is fearless in her posts speaking out on immigration reform, racial injustice, and women's rights. Her Hulu show, "Taste the Nation," came next. In it, she explores the food culture of immigrant groups in the States through burritos in El Paso, Persian food in Los Angeles, and Gullah Geechee food in South Carolina, and her curiosity is contagious. Finally, on a call with our contributor Thao Thai, she recommended I read Lakshmi's memoir Love, Loss, and What We Ate which I devoured in about 72 hours. In it, Lakshmi writes about travel, her career, and her split from her husband, Salman Rushdie (who I had no idea she was married to!). It's one of the best memoirs I've read in a long time, from an excellent role model.
The Nudge, a texting service, has partnered with comedian and activist Dr. Akilah Cadet to create an anti-racism program via text. The program is a month long and started yesterday, so now is the perfect time to sign up (it costs $5 and proceeds go to the NAACP). The program texts you two to three times per week, with a focus on education and activism. It's a no-excuses way to take accountability this month. To sign up, follow the instructions here.
Okay, so I have officially entered a new phase of quarantine and it is called "Survivor Phase." I hadn't watched the show for at least 15 years, but when Jonah watched all of Season 15: China in one weekend, I got on board with Season 28: Cagayan—and am so happy to be here. The show provides the perfect amount of pandemic escapism, with travel that only elicits a moderate amount of FOMO and is a fascinating look at human nature. After careful research, we're planning on watching Season 7: Pearl Islands, Season 1: Borneo, and Season 16: Micronesia next! Most seasons are available on Amazon Prime—and what better time to binge-watch than now?
If you're looking for something a bit more contemporary, I've heard great things about Alone on Netflix!
In the "Literary Death Match" series, four well-known authors read just five minutes of their writing to a panel of judges. The panel of famous judges are hilarious and take no prisoners in their critique of world-class writing. The Hammer hosted a Zoom version last week that you can watch here—look out for more episodes, but until then here's a past live show.
Comedian Ziwe Fumudoh interviews people who have been cancelled in her Instagram Live series on race. When Fumudoh poses no-nonsense questions to influencer Caroline Calloway ("Would you consider yourself the white savior of influencing and promoting Black talent on Instagram?") and Alison Roman ("Speaking of Asian women, why do you hate Asian women?"), they visibly squirm. But the Lives aren't simply another way to hold these people accountable to their previous actions and statements, they're to create a productive conversation, as Fumudoh explains in this New York Times piece. Writer E. Alex Jung puts it well in his recent New York Magazine feature of Fumudoh, "Any collateral humiliation is her way of upending the racial hierarchy." You can find her Lives saved as IGTVs here.
2. "According to Gabby Bernstein... judgment is the #1 reason we feel lonely, sad, and disconnected."
3. A killer one-hour HIIT workout you can do at home.
4. Outdoor dining from the restaurant worker's perspective.
5. This small French town is fighting Amazon.
6. If people today were on the Titanic...
7. If you enjoyed my Jensen McRae rec last week, she did a live SoFar show on YouTube.
8. Just two dudes (trying to) solve the "mask shortage". And some insight into why COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in the U.S...
9. This New York brownstone is beautiful.
10. I'm already looking forward to this documentary, which comes out in 2050.