I didn't do it on purpose, but for the past few weeks I've been watching far less T.V. than I used to—from roughly four hours a week to an hour, maybe two if it's a movie. Combined with less social media use (I stopped using Instagram in December, and only have a Facebook to check the C&C Community group!), the biggest change is that I can no longer say, "I don't have time for that." When I removed endless scrolling, I found myself seeking out more creative projects, which snowballed from there into new interests. I've been brushing up on my Spanish (taking weekly classes at the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute), writing more, reading more books, and spending more time with friends. I'm not saying I'm going to stop watching T.V. altogether—I love watching T.V. (see my 'Watch' recommendation below!)—just demoting it from my default, after-work go-to when I'm home. Here's what else I'm up to this week:
Speaking of reading... I came across the online literary journal Girls at Library this week and found myself wondering where it's been all my life! They have fantastic interviews and in-person events. I'm planning on attending my first next Thursday in Echo Park, with none other but our last C&C book club pick, Aja Gabel. RSVP here!
This recipe is everything I could ever want in a meal: With very few ingredients, it celebrates an underrated vegetable (potatoes, seasoned with just dill, garlic, and salt), gives me an excuse to eat crème fraîche (not that I needed one), and encourages you to eat the entire thing with your hands. When I prepared it last week, I made some minor adjustments, trading in salmon roe for lox and serving it alongside a basil salad (half mesclun mix, half basil leaves) with a lemon vinaigrette (equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, with honey to taste). Since I had enough potatoes for leftovers, I reheated them in olive oil then served them with a fried egg on top—talk about two perfect weeknight meals!
Last week, on a whim, I stopped by my favorite book store, Skylight Books in Los Feliz, on my way home from work. I left with three books, already twenty pages into Tommy Orange's novel There There. Since I didn't want to put it down, after reading the powerful prologue, I treated myself to dinner at Tacos tu Madre next door, just so I could keep going (note to self: Do this more often). The novel reads as a collection of short stories about twelve Native Americans on their way to a powwow, giving context to countless misquoted and mis-told moments from history along the way (including the often-quoted-out-of-context line by Gertrude Stein about Oakland, "There's no there there.").
The documentary short Zion will break your heart, then inspire you all in 11 minutes. It profiles Zion Clark, a high school wrestler born with caudal regression syndrome, a disease that meant he was born without legs, who's achieved incredible things in spite of his significant disability and difficult history in the foster care system. Watch it, then check out this list of the ten best short films on Netflix right now.
Last week, I tried Y7 yoga for the first time, a chain of studios that holds candle-lit yoga classes with a hip-hop soundtrack. While the experience of doing sun salutations to Nelly in a dark, infrared-heated room felt a little aggressive ("It's getting HOT IN HERRE") and the yoga/hip-hop puns were abundant ("A tribe called sweat;" "Cash. Money. Flow;" "I put my mat down flip it and reverse it."), it didn't stop me from going back the next day. Serious yoga culture appropriation aside (after all, it is the most millennial / L.A. thing ever to take a 2,000-year-old eastern spiritual practice and set it to hip-hop), there was something powerful, addicting even, about moving in a dark room with music blasting (it's been a minute since I've been to an actual club) that allowed me to let go of external thoughts and focus on the motions themselves. When I came across this article by Quilt-founder Ashley Sumner, I instantly loved what she wrote about the power of dancing alone in a dark room, as therapy. I haven't done it yet (mostly because my neighbors' windows look directly into mine...), but I'm going to make it a goal to do it at least once this week, even if I feel super cheesy doing it!
P.S., If dancing/flowing in the dark isn't your thing I've been very into Lola Marsh lately and the song 'Come Along' by Cosmo Sheldrake (I add my favorite songs of the year to this playlist as I hear them). I also loved this recent episode of This American Life, 'The Feather Heist.' May be one of my favorites, ever!