On Saturday morning, I met up with friends to attend the Women's March in downtown L.A. and it felt incredible to be surrounded by so many strong women, and the men who support them, for the second year. It's upsetting how little has improved politically, but the march felt incredibly inspiring and uplifting. The rest of the weekend was spent with friends celebrating my boyfriend's birthday, with a taco crawl through East L.A. on Saturday (our favorite was "L Fish" of the five we went to!).
To keep the badass women vibes going, all of the recommendations here are inspired by or created by strong women, from the founder of an all-women meetup startup to a New York chef, and badass podcast hosts. Enjoy!
"There’s something really organic and natural that happens to women when they congregate inside of the home," is a sentiment I couldn't agree more with—and one shared in a New York Times article I came across last week about a new startup for all-women meetups. Maybe it's from attending an all-women's college, or from the group of women I've been lucky enough to meet in L.A., but there's truly something special about sharing time and stories with other women, no boys allowed. (It's actually how I met my best friends in L.A.!) Quilt, a Wing-style women's club in Los Angeles, has turned this idea into a business, hosting events, co-working days, and "Coffee and Chats" in women's homes around Los Angeles. Last week, I attended a Breathwork class and while it was entirely different from what I expected it to be (still fantastic, just really intense!), it felt so amazing and nourishing to spend two hours with a group of supportive, kind women I'd never met (unlike a yoga class where you do your poses and leave, Quilt encourages more conversation). I loved it so much, I'll definitely be returning again soon and have already signed up to host a "Coffee and Chat," a themed morning conversation over coffee, in my own home! You can find more information here and a full list of events here.
This recipe for Zucchini and Pasta with Yogurt Garlic Sauce reminded me exactly why it's a bad idea to clip recipes from Cosmo magazine (cheesy sex tips: yes. dinner? not so much.). As someone who once spent eight hours a day editing recipes, I was pretty much yelling at this one as I tried to follow it last week. Among its greatest offenses: It says to cut baby zucchinis into rounds, then never mentions them again (your best guess is as good as mine). Next, it tells you to add Greek yogurt to a hot pan of olive oil and garlic (as you can imagine, the yogurt curdles immediately). So why am I telling you about this under-edited recipe? Because with a few tweaks, it's actually fantastic. Yes, it calls for about a week's worth of zucchini (Or as my boyfriend put it, "Who wrote this, the Zucchini board??"), but the end result is healthy, filling, and incredibly delicious. Here's how I adapted it:
Zucchini and Pasta Noodles with Shrimp and a Yogurt-Garlic Sauce
Adapted from a recipe by Amanda Cohen
6 baby zucchini, divided
10 large shrimp (I used frozen red shrimp from Trader Joe's, then defrosted them by placing them in a bowl of room temp. water for five minutes)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1½ cups full-fat Greek yogurt, at room temperature (Full-fat yogurts have a lower protein to fat ratio, which makes them less susceptible to breaking, and bringing it to room temp. before adding to heat will also help!)
4 cups cooked angel hair pasta
¼ cup minced cilantro
¼ cup minced mint
Juice of one lemon
Salt, to taste
Dried chile flakes, to taste
1. To prep: Spiralize two of the baby zucchini, cut the remaining four baby zucchinis into rounds, and cut the shrimp into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
2. In a large pan over medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and warm until shimmering. Add the zucchini rounds and cook until very lightly browned on each side, about 6 minutes.
3. Once cooked, add the zucchini noodles to the pan along with the rounds (these take less time to cook since there's more surface area). Add a bit of salt here, if you like!
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, add roughly 2 tablespoons olive oil and the garlic. Once garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute), turn heat to low. Add a tiny bit of the hot oil to the yogurt and whisk it in (this is the same idea as tempering eggs when making custard). Then, add the yogurt to the oil along with 1 cup water to thin it and stir together slowly.
5. Push the zoodles and zucchini aside, and add the shrimp (adding more olive oil, if necessary). Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until cooked through and slightly browned.
6. Add the angel hair pasta to the pan and toss. Add the yogurt sauce, cilantro, and mint and toss to coat. Right before serving, add lemon juice, salt, red chile flakes, to taste. Enjoy!
Note: This recipe is also delicious without the yogurt sauce (just add extra lemon)—and an insanely easy weeknight dinner!
Did anyone else see the recent Black Mirror episode, Arkangel? In it, a mother uses a program that allows her to see—and put parental controls on—everything her daughter sees. The moral is in the dangers of over-parenting, but a new novel warns us that danger is everywhere. In Leila Slimani's novel, The Perfect Nanny, a nanny murders the two children she cares for. But the most gripping part of the novel isn't the murder—it's the study of the relationship between the parents and their "perfect" caregiver, and between parents and their children.
Liz Plank's new video series, Divided States of Women, is an interesting concept, inspired by the divisions between women "brought to light" by the 2016 election. In it, she dives into controversial issues by interviewing women from a wide range of backgrounds. Sounds great, right? Kind of. It's also, at times, challenging watch.
But maybe that's the point? As a liberal reporter, Liz is a fervent supporter of women's rights, and opened my eyes to conversations I didn't even know were going on, even if I don't agree with them. Watch and decide for yourself here!
Last week, I wrote about my Top 10 Favorite Podcasts, and the comment section ended up including such a treasure trove of recommendations (thank you!). On Sunday, I took myself out for a coffee then went for an hours-long stroll around my neighborhood to listen to several of them (if you saw someone walking around Silver Lake with headphones giggling to themselves, that was me 👋 ). One of my favorites—and there were so many good ones—was Call Your Girlfriend (hat-tip to Kelsi Wall for the rec!). Hosted by two "unapologetic feminists," the conversations are empowering, smart, hilarious, and filled with battle cries for girl power. To answer, "How are you?" the other responded, "I'm sick with a cold, day two menstrual, and worried about the apocalypse." Same. It was the perfect thing to listen to following Saturday's Women's March, since it kept me brimming with all the positive strong women vibes.
Other podcasts I loved discovering: Criminal (I finally know what they were talking about in My Favorite Murder about the "owl theory" with Kathleen Peterson's death!), Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations, Hidden Brain, and 99% Invisible (Laura Maxwell, thank you for your wealth of podcast recs!). Can't wait to listen to the rest of your recs!
P.S., I take all your recommendations to heart and devote time to checking out every single thing that's mentioned in the comments. If there's anything you think other readers or I would enjoy, let me know below!