One of the strangest things about living in a city is that you can go an entire work week without spending more than five minutes outside. After feeling like I was far from my "nature" quota last week, I made a deal with myself to go for a short, 10-minute walk first thing in the morning and as soon as I get home at night. While it sometimes felt like a chore leading up to it, I was reminded of its value by the first step outside—going for a short walk (in addition to exercise) allowed me to take a mental "timeout." In the morning, it creates a buffer between sleep and jumping into my day; in the evening it allows me to unwind from work. Sometimes I listen to a HeadSpace meditation or podcast, and other nights I walk without headphones and am amazed at how many birds I can hear, even in the middle of Los Angeles. Here's what else I'm up to this week:
This weekend, Propel is hosting their annual fitness festival in L.A., with two days of classes from some of my favorite studios—including a few taught by our very own Xavier of SpeedPlay. I'm excited to attend his (my high school self is thrilled it's entirely set to Mark Ronson music) on Saturday, and several others throughout the weekend. If you can't make it to this weekend's festival, I just learned that 'Goat Yoga' is a thing (!), and offered at Golden Road Brewery. Just bought a ticket to go next week. What could be better than goats, yoga, and beer? Triple threat if you ask me.
P.S., The Hollywood Bowl summer calendar just came out—talk about a lineup!
Last Wednesday, I found myself with a rare opportunity: An evening with zero plans and an otherwise engaged boyfriend. I had unplanned hours with a house to myself (which I truly don't think has happened since 2015...), so I decided to celebrate. After work, I went straight to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for a spinach risotto (and a bottle of my favorite wine). Once home, I turned on a podcast, opened the wine, and spent the next hour and a half cooking. But rather than rush to "get dinner on the table," I took my time, enjoying the process of chopping Taleggio cheese, dicing onions, and browning butter for this cheesy spinach risotto from River Café in London. It wasn't until the arborio was soaking up the vegetable broth (the final step) that I read the article the recipe was featured in, and found a line that rang perfectly true:
Some chefs meditate. Some do yoga. Others do shots. But when it comes to finding calm amid the hectic whirl of the professional kitchen, Ruth Rogers, the chef and owner of the River Café in London, likes to stir risotto.
“Risotto is such a relaxing thing to make because of the slowness of it,” she said in a recent phone call. “It’s got a soothing rhythm that’s good when you’re anxious about something.”
It was a helpful reminder that cooking doesn't have to be a chore, and that sometimes the act itself is more rewarding than the plated product.
Last weekend, Jonah and I KonMari'd our bookshelf, and gave away / sold / donated over 200 books. The "survivors," a selection of maybe thirty books, are those we can't wait to read and our prized favorites (pretty much everything by David Mitchell, and A Little Life). Most decisions were unanimous, but the two books I moved from Jonah's "donate" pile to my "keep" pile were directly related to The Bachelor. Jonah held up Andi Dorfman's tell-all (which I interviewed her about here), and Los Angeles Times journalist Amy Kaufman's investigative tell-all with an expression that said "Explain yourself." The only thing better than diving into my favorite guilty pleasure show (Ari being the clear exception), is reading all about the weird behind the scenes and psychology of it later. So don't tell Jonah, but I have another book to add to that list: Most Dramatic Ever, Suzannah Showler's collection of obsessive, insightful, hilarious essays on the series. If you aren't willing to dive into an entire book about suitors and final roses, I get it—but her 2015 essay for Los Angeles Review of Books is worth a read, whether you watch the show or not. When you're ready.
It's been two years since the strange little short film, The World of Tomorrow was released, in which a little girl and her adult clone explore the adult's brain. It's extremely abstract, but the story itself rings simple and true (and earned it an Oscar nomination). Late last year, the sequel Episode Two: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts, came out and I finally got around to watching it this week at our editor Marilynn's suggestion. If anything, it's even stranger than the first but explores such interesting and abstract ideas, I had to rewatch it as soon as I finished it to be able to grasp it. You can rent both on Vimeo (and read the author's explanation for why he's charging a rental fee for short films).
P.S., This summer, Gillian Flynn's book Sharp Objects (my favorite of her three novels) is coming to HBO as a mini-series directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (of Big Little Lies). You can watch the teaser trailer here—I can't wait!
Sandra, a fictional podcast about a super-intuitive "personal assistant" (played by Kristen Wiig) that feels uncomfortably similar to Amazon's Alexa, feels like a Black Mirror episode in podcast form. Unlike Alexa, Sandra is operated by actual humans (unbeknownst to the people who use her), including Alia Shawkat's character, Helen. Listen here.