There's no question I'm an extroverted person—but that doesn't mean I don't need some time to myself every once in a while. When Jonah visited family over the holiday weekend, I stayed home. I kept my phone off (with the exception of the two earthquakes...) and spent three days hitting the 'Reset' button. On one of my first 'solo' experiences, I learned that the key to making the most of time alone, is 1.) Not checking your phone, 2.) Creating some sort of a routine. Each day, I maintained two appointments: I walked to coffee at ten each morning, and exercised at four each afternoon. The bookends grounded my day, while leaving me with plenty of time to read several books, discover my new favorite yoga studio (I love their 'Modo Flow' with Music class), clean-out my fridge, write, and go for a few long runs. By the time I picked Jonah up at the train station, I was thrilled to see him, but also felt refreshed and excited to catch up after days of limited communication. Not to mention, after slow weekend, I'm genuinely thrilled to tackle my inbox and a busy work week. Here's what I'm loving this week:
You can buy the drink, Rosa de Jamaica, at any taco stand in L.A., but I've always preferred making my own at home, with the heaps of dried hibiscus flowers purchased from Latin grocery stores: Tie a handful of the flowers in cheese cloth (or any porous fabric), pour boiling water over and steep for five minutes (or allow it to steep with room temperature water in the sun), then mix with sugar water, to taste. I always keep a container of the flowers in my pantry for tea, but had no idea I could also cook with them until coming across Tejal Rao's recipe for 'Hibiscus Quesadillas' in yesterday's New York Times Magazine. I made a batch of each yesterday—both the tea and quesadillas—and felt like summer had finally come. (Another great recipe linked here, for those without a NYT subscription.)
I've had My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh on my bedside table for months because how interesting could a book about sleeping for a year really be? Jokes on me. After picking it up this weekend, I read it in two binge sittings. A depressed young woman in New York decides to act on the instinct we've all had to press "snooze" to extremes, taking sleeping pills to doze through the year 2000. Moshfegh touches on so many tender topics—depression, self-prescriptions, loneliness, "adulting"—while offering an incredibly readable narrative.
I was worried the best thing about Yesterday would be the trailer: A man wakes up from a world-wide power outage to realize he's the only person to remember The Beatles. As someone who loves the music (in fact, they're easily my favorite band), I was skeptical that Danny Boyle could deliver on the concept, but I found it to be completely charming and satisfying, with a scene that made me burst into tears (I'm not an easy cry). I can't speak for those of you who don't like The Beatles (also: what??), but I already have plans to see it again. For those who have seen it: What did you think of it? (It's probably worth noting our office is divided—Emily and Katie didn't like it, despite loving the music.)
Speaking of movies... I could spend an eternity scrolling through the Instagram account @thiswashollywood, a treasure-trove of film trivia, incredible choreography, bloopers, behind the scenes, and forgotten interviews. Set to 'All Posts' and scroll away!
I completely forgot to bring my phone with me when I left to pick Jonah up at the train station, but it didn't take long for me to realize I didn't need it after all—I remembered the directions, and he knew where to meet me. Maybe it was the heightened awareness that comes from driving without Waze, but on my way to the station, I passed a cocktail bar on Sunset I'd never noticed before, with wide windows and a beautiful-looking interior. After telling Jonah about it, we decided to stop on our way home. The spontaneous stop at Bar Henry led to hours of conversation, then dinner when we felt hungry. Inspired by the discovery of the bar, we decided to select dinner without Yelp. Instead of scrolling for fifteen minutes through photos other diners had taken, we walked to a brightly lit Japanese restaurant at the end of the block, Ototo. Our meal was delicious (and surprisingly reasonable for L.A., considering we ordered four items and a drink for $60). The spontaneous evening may feel obvious to you but, to me, was a revelation I plan to recreate. Next weekend, we're planning on applying the same strategy to a pre-concert dinner. (Imagine: a world without Yelp!)
If you live in L.A... I recently saw Good Boys at the Pasadena Playhouse. Though I went in with zero expectations (I hadn't even read a review), I loved it for the thought-provoking plot and performances.