After completely "shutting off" last week—I didn't see a phone or a computer for six days—I'm back in L.A.! While I'll be posting a full recap of my experience doing a cattle drive later this week (cue City Slickers jokes...), I'm still thinking about the last two days, which was one of those perfect slow and happy summer weekends. I attended the Reno Rodeo with family and friends, harvested honey from a friend's hive (have you heard of Flow Hives? They're amazing!), and baked pies from cherries from our tree. It was the perfect summer kick-off, full of time spent outside! Here's what I'm up to this week:
On Jonah and my drive back to Los Angeles from Reno yesterday, we must have passed five farms advertising U-pick lavender, until we finally stopped at one in Lone Pine, California. Like apple picking, you pay a set fee, and walk away with armfuls of fragrant, fresh flowers. I'm planning on using mine to make lavender essential oils, as decoration around my house while it's still fresh, and in peach cobbler (a trick I learned last week to enhance the flavor of the peaches!). The rest I'll hang upside-down to dry and use until next harvest! Don't miss the Central Coast Lavender Festival in Paso Robles, Keys Creek Lavender Farms if you're driving to or live in San Diego, and 123 Farm Organics just outside of L.A.!
Little-known fact: At the Cupcakes and Cashmere office, we use Slack all day long to share inspiring articles for "Links I Love" or exciting new products to check out—but our most-used channel? #Welovesoup. What began as an "exclusive," hyper-specific channel for our Creative Coordinator Hannah and me to share soup recipes has since grown into the most active Slack channel in the office, where everyone shares recipes (not just soup). At this point, it has so many vetted recipes, it's the first place I look for delicious, easy meals. Last week, our Associate Editor Marilynn (who, for the record, kills the weeknight meal game), shared this recipe for Candace Nelson's Thai chicken salad. The best part is, if you purchase a rotisserie chicken, there's no cooking involved—once everything's prepped, all you have to do is make a peanut dressing, and toss it with the salad. It was the perfect thing after getting in way-too-late last night, and feeling too lazy to cook.
Speaking of travel... between all of the bucket lists, must-go places of 2018, and Instagrams filed under "Go here, now!" is the lesser-recognized list of places not to travel to. This piece makes the argument for countries to avoid, if possible, on the grounds that tourism often causes more harm than good. There's an ecological crisis in Bali because of all the trash along its eroding beaches, cruise ships are destroying Venice, and last year in Tanzania "an estimated 185 Maasai homes were burned down" to make room for safaris. As of last year, Fodors has published an annual list of "No" Places to avoid (at the top? The Galápagos). Does this mean you should stop traveling altogether? Of course not! But maybe it's worth considering the impact over the Insta. Here's 52 to start off with (NYT).
Last night, the new Netflix movie, Set It Up (starring Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) came out. In it, two over-worked secretaries scheme to set up their monster bosses—the thought process being that their workload will lessen if their bosses are busy ("When they're boning, we're free!"). The resulting rom-com is super charming, funny, and perfectly targets anyone whose Netflix says, "If you like [insert any 90s rom-com starring Hugh Grant]..."
I have a friend who's a wedding photographer, and every time I see her she has hilarious stories about the weddings she's just shot: The wrong bride walked down the aisle (it was in a public park and she, flustered and walking from 100 yards away, headed to the wrong one); during the "first look," the groom's immediate reaction was to say, "You're wearing that?"; a bride flung herself on the floor five minutes before the ceremony in an epic toddler-style tantrum. And that's just the short list! I recently came across a podcast, co-hosted by professional wedding photographers, that takes these stories to radio, sharing true wedding stories submitted by listeners. The stories in The Secret Life of Weddings are funny, heart-breaking, awkward, and so, so juicy.