Last week was a wakeup call for me in terms of burning the candle at both ends. While I often operate at Energizer-Bunny-levels, I took on a bit more than I could handle last week, driving back from Coachella Monday morning and diving straight into work for a packed and exciting week—with more than a few late nights. By Friday, I felt exhausted, stressed, and overburdened, which is where having a fantastic team and coworkers becomes so invaluable. As soon as I walked in Friday morning, our ed team could tell I'd bitten off more than I could chew—and I wasn't the only one feeling that way. We immediately called an impromptu meeting to reevaluate the items on each of our plates, and devised a new strategy that, in retrospect feels obvious, but immediately lifted the burden. We rolled over the whiteboard we usually use for team brainstorms, and each wrote down two to three items we had to get through before leaving for the weekend. While we often get pulled away by tasks that pop up in our inbox, or new ideas for posts or projects (which is also one of my favorite parts about working for an inspired and creative small company!), I'll often look at the clock to realize it's 6 PM and none of my "must-do's" have been crossed off yet. By using the whiteboard, we not only keep ourselves accountable (which increases productivity), but are able to cheer each other on as each item gets crossed off. I hugely recommend it, whatever your to-do list looks like. We ended the week with a feeling of accomplishment (and a well-earned Champagne cheers). Here's what I'm up to this week:
I truly feel that Mt. Baldy is one of L.A.'s best-kept secrets. Just 45 minutes outside of the city (if you're driving from the east side, at least), is a tiny-but-accessible ski mountain during the winter (with $8/hour lift passes so I've even gone just for a morning to get my fix) with beautiful hikes in the springtime. The town of Mt. Baldy also feels like it could be in the middle of nowhere, and is home to some of the friendliest people (last year, I skied with friends on Super Bowl Sunday, and ended up going to a party thrown by the ski lift operators!). This Friday they're offering organized moonlit night hikes from the parking lot to the lodge (far from the full Mt. Baldy hike, but a lovely walk up its slopes) with food and live music at the top. Purchase tickets here.
Yesterday afternoon, I went to a cake decorating class in celebration of Laurel and Claire's (of the blog and bakeshop Sweet Laurel) new cookbook, Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole Food, Grain-Free Desserts. While the Vanilla Coconut Jam Cakes we assembled were so beautiful (mine is pictured above) that I would have been happy just looking at them, I was thrilled to discover they also tasted fantastic. I was so inspired that I spontaneously invited neighbors over for rosé and cake last night (side note: I've never felt so fancy or pulled-together in my life). Two of my friends enjoyed it so much, they purchased the cookbook on their phones on the spot! I've never been a cake person but this one—which doesn't have processed sugar (though it does have quite a bit of maple syrup), grains (it uses coconut or almond flour), or dairy (frosting was whipped coconut cream)—was an exception. Find the full recipe here, and keep a lookout for their bakeshop opening in the Pacific Palisades in September.
Not to add more emails to anyone's inbox, but let me make the argument for the daily newsletter. While I often let magazines pile-up on our coffee table, and recycle entire sections of the Sunday paper without a glance (see ya, Sports section...), I religiously read every word in newsletters—which is why I also only subscribe to a curated few. There's something about receiving it straight to my inbox that both holds me accountable to actually reading it and provides a welcome creative break throughout the workday! Below are some of my favorites:
1. I love the Quartz Daily Brief for morning news, but my favorite newsletter of theirs (and they have many) is Quartz Obsession which takes a deep dive into one random topic every afternoon, from cardboard to exorcism. It's fascinating!
2. Eva Chen's newsletter, comes once a week and feels like an email from a best friend (if your best friend was a former magazine Editor-in-Chief)
3. The Dry Down just switched to a paid subscription model, but it's worth trying out for $5 a month. Technically a newsletter about perfume, it's really so much more and delves into the way scent relates to so many aspects of our lives.
4. Glossy is a fashion industry newsletter I began subscribing to when we launched our Shop, but I honestly think it'd be fascinating to any consumer, for a behind-the-scenes look at top brands.
5. 'E is for Everything' is like the email version of RadioLab podcast (though there's no affiliation)—it teaches you something new every week, with curated links from stories around the web.
6. Crooked Media's newsletter, What a Day, is a culmination of so many of the things I love about the brand's podcasts, with smart commentary and need-to-know news to keep us all up-to-date.
All hail The King! The new epic three-hour documentary, Elvis Presley: The Searcher, on HBO covers his journey from childhood to Graceland, including his crazy-fast rise to fame, time in the Army, and marriage to Priscilla. I'm an enormous fan of his (circa Blue Hawaii - I can seriously get down to Rock-A-Hula Baby) so I loved every second of it, but feel like it would appeal to almost any music lover.
P.S., Has anyone watched The Magicians on SyFy? I started it this weekend at Jenna Wortham's (of the podcast Still Processing) recommendation. I agree with pretty much everything she says, so I expected to love it, but I'm having trouble getting into it and was curious to hear if any of you have started it. Should I push through and keep watching or ditch it?
While our Ten Year Anniversary Party recap went live this morning, it didn't even mention one of my favorite parts of the party: the playlist! My boyfriend Jonah put together an epic list of 90s and 2000s R&B we've been jamming to in the office ever since. You can listen to the entire playlist here.
P.S., Even though I didn't go to the festival itself, I feel like I've discovered so many new bands just by listening to people on the Coachella lineup. Here are a few of my favorites: Elohim, Greta Van Fleet, Moses Sumney, Daniel Caesar, SZA, Chloe x Halle, Declan McKenna, Marian Hill, Brockhampton, Jacob Banks, Ibeyi, and Princess Nokia.