Happy Monday! I feel like the only thing I did this weekend was tackle errands, but it feels so good knowing I'm heading into this week with most of my personal to-dos crossed off (I'm looking at you formerly leaky tire and rusty bike chain), especially considering it's going to be a packed one with my writing group, a mid-week sleepover with girlfriends (we're forever sixteen), and a concert Thursday night. But here's my secret for packed weeks: start slow, and stack them. Tonight, I'm heading home after work, tomorrow I'll be home in time for dinner around 8:30, then the next two nights are late, so I can stay in Friday evening or do something laid-back with friends! I find that as long as I don't have more than two late nights in a week (i.e., home after 10:30 PM, weekends included), I'm able to maintain my energy without crashing, or sacrificing time with friends. Here's what else I'm up to this week:
Calling all East-siders! Next week is Echo Park Rising, a free music festival that pretty much takes over the entire neighborhood, in the best way possible. Each year, concerts and workshops pop up in backyards, bars, and even yoga studios—you could easily make a weekend out of it, starting with brunch at Pollen (my personal neighborhood favorite), followed by cocktails at The Holloway (they start early), a wildlife walk around Echo Park Lake, and then concerts that last well into the evening! Even their list of participating businesses is a great snapshot of Echo Park spots worth visiting. Check out the full schedule here.
Before coming across this recipe, I'd never considered tossing a vegetable in a coffee rub—but why not? There's coffee-rubbed steak and even chicken. Paired with Chinese five-spice powder , these coffee-roasted carrots have the richness of a cut of steak that's balanced by an herbed Crème Fraîche (which I could eat with a spoon it's so delicious!). I made these for dinner last night, and served them with some good crusty bread, blue cheese, and a small arugula salad as well as a glass of Grenache—I mean, the recipe said to and who am I to ignore a wine recommendation?
Last week, I made these cold soba noodles which weren't anything out of the ordinary, except for the rice vinegar sauce which I could pour over anything. It's a great option for transforming leftover vegetables into a meal!
When I mentioned my fiction writing group last week, I was flooded with questions so here are a few answers! I've always been interested in writing fiction (for my own enjoyment), but never made it past initial drafts of short stories, so I've started a group with two girlfriends where we create prompts and meet every Tuesday evening to read each others' work. Last week, we assigned the prompt: Write about a routine your protagonist is in. What would be something that breaks that routine? Is there a pay-off to breaking that routine? The most useful part for me is having that weekly touch-point, and to hear what I've written through someone else's perspective. At our first meeting, one of my friends recommended Anne Lamott's twenty-year-old book on writing, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Even if you don't write, Lamott's book is a touching, funny read for anyone facing a large project they need help breaking through on (this also made me laugh!). And if you prefer reading more than writing, here's an interesting essay on why The Bachelorette will disappoint us every time, and I just picked up this collection of essays!
Have I mentioned I have a slight obsession with Kristen Bell? Maybe once... or twice... Last night, Jonah and I watched her new movie on Netflix, Like Father, with Kelsey Grammar and (no surprise here) loved it. It's funny and touching, without being overly cheesy, and had an ending I didn't see coming. I highly recommend it for a mid-week movie that doesn't take too much brainpower, but has a big pay-off.
P.S., I don't think I've ever been so excited about a movie as I have about Free Solo. It's directed by the same person (Jimmy Chin) who directed one of my all-time favorite movies, Meru, and looks incredible, not to mention inspiring.
My workout playlist just got that much better, thanks to these badass female artists. This weekend I put on Warriors by Karmic and Woman by Diana Gordon (whose behind some of Beyoncé's most memorable lyrics) while doing a sprint workout. I swear I worked that much harder with their encouragement. What are some of your favorite songs to work out to? Here's my unedited, extremely random running playlist (though I also love the ones Nike puts together as well!).