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The List: How I Learned to Beat the 4PM Work Slump (Plus a Late-Night Pasta Recipe)

Our Editor's guide to the best things to eat, do, and read this week.

When we first moved to L.A., Jonah created a semi-annual tradition now known among our friends as "The Taco Crawl." As our fearless leader in all things tacos (his list of favorites are on his appropriately-named app) he takes us to stands, trucks, and restaurants for a taste of some of L.A.'s best. This Saturday, we started in South Central L.A., then moved north stopping at Teddy's Red Tacos (our overall favorite), Tacos Los Guichos, Holbox at Mercado la Paloma (great for fish tacos), and Tire Shop Taqueria (best tortillas!). The idea works perfectly for L.A., a city filled with incredible street tacos, but could just as easily be applied to any city for a Coffee/Cookie/Chicken Wing/Croissant Crawl. Just grab a bunch of friends, pile in the car, and go! Here's what else I'm up to this week: 


Have you noticed how many shows and movies feature a woman who wakes up an hour before her boyfriend to primp, then gets back into bed as if she woke up like that? The first time I saw it was in Bridesmaids, when Kristen Wiig wakes up next to Jon Hamm, then in the pilot of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and again in the Netflix movie Nappily Ever After (which I recommend, by the way!). The lesson in each is that the woman is an over-perfectionist, and can't be truly happy until she relaxes a bit and literally lets her coiffed hair down. It isn't a rom-com trope worth emulating in real life, but Cup of Jo writer Stella Blackmon recently reminded me of one that is: the seductive late-night pasta in bed. It appears in Nora Ephron's Heartburn (thank you Stella for inspiring me to re-watch this), the Aglio e Olio Jon Favreau's character makes for Scarlett Johansson in Chef, and as a sweet pancake iteration in Something's Gotta Give. Because sometimes some restaurant-quality carbonara (or Trader Joe's new zoodles, for the gluten-free inclined) is all you need to add a spark to a relationship. 


Last Sunday, I skipped a hike in perfect weather in favor of eight hours at a desk in Santa Monica. Actually, I paid $50 to spend eight hours at a desk. The purpose of the day, run by the organization Cave Day, is to teach its participants how to maximize a work day through deep work and well-timed breaks. Despite my initial hesitation to go (like I said, perfect weather!), I ended up having one of the most productive work days in memory. They taught me a million tricks (which I'll cover in a later blog post!), but the one that stuck with me was the importance of taking breaks. Throughout the day, we worked in 45 to 55 minute sprints. The idea is: Even if you're in the middle of something, as soon as that sprint is over, you need to get up and take a computer-less break for seven minutes. This continued all day, with a 45 minute break for lunch. While I usually suffer from a 4 PM slump, I felt energized and eager to continue working by the time we wrapped up at 6 PM. For the past week, I've been using this idea of timed sprints and timed breaks (where I'll either chat with coworkers or go for a short walk with a podcast), and I'm amazed at how much more productive I feel. Try it and let me know what you think!  


I fell in love with Michael Schur's sitcom The Good Place earlier this year, not only for its keen jokes and fantastic cast, but because each episode is incredibly thought-provoking without being preachy. As Sam Anderson wrote in yesterday's recent piece for the culture issue of New York Times Magazine, "Like any good modern comedy, the show is a direct IV of laughs, but the trick is that all of those laughs are explicitly about morality." It should come as no surprise then that Schur created the show from the simple prompt: what it means to be a good person. The show now even has "consulting philosophers" on staff and pulls from literature by some of the top philosophers. Each 22-minute episode feels a bit like a chapter in a central thesis that we owe it to each other to be good, and our relationships are what make us our best. Season 3 came out last week, so now is the time to catch up on the first two if you haven't already and read Anderson's piece here

P.S., If you live in L.A.... a new exhibit is opening at the Annenberg Space for Photography this weekend, featuring animal photography. Film fans might enjoy this curated one-day film festival. And Edan Lepucki fans (I loved her book California) might be interested in her upcoming talk at Skylight Books. Here are 12 places to pretend L.A. gets fall too ;) And if you want to go on your own in L.A. Taco Crawl, this is a great list! 

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