Monday Memos // 101

Pardon the unintentionally long break. I took a much needed vacation and felt true rest and relaxation. Then I got back to work where Mondays are no longer my constant day off. Adjustments, new year, new brain reorganization coming soon.

Listening:

“Diamond Day” by Vashti Bunyan.

“Poly Blue” by Jessica Pratt.

“Edge of Town” by Middle Kids.

Reading:

MATERIALS I’D RATHER BE THAN “WIFE MATERIAL”

Neither of my parents was exactly who I thought they were

What Is This Exercise Tool and How Do I Get One?

Craving:

I was in LA for Christmas and ate sooooo many delicious things. At Wax Paper, an amazing sandwich shop, I had the Ira Glass with turkey: avocado, cheddar, sprouts, pickled and raw red onions, cucumber, and garlic aioli on seeded wheat. Sitting in the sunshine with my brother, sipping a pamplemousse La Croix and eating amazing chili-lime tortilla chips (Rusty’s Chips—some of the best I’ve ever had) was wonderful.

Trois Familia was another gem. French-Mexican-California cuisine. I didn’t know what that meant but when we feasted it was all incredible. Beet tartare tostada—yum. A double decker potato taco with lime, crème fraiche, carrot pico, and cheese—this was wildly good. Parisian gnocchi with mushrooms—wow. Chicken milanesa, with raw and pickled cucumbers, and maggi ranch—wowowow.

Plus I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream and waited in line to eat at Sqirl. So excited that it was WORTH IT. My sister-in-law and I got the ricotta toast. It was like a dream. Brioche heaven, fluffy ricotta, and a rainbow spread of fresh jams—quince, blueberry and blackberry, and pluot. I got the sorrel pesto rice bowl too.

Bonus: My sis-in-law also made me the most perfect birthday cake and I, no joke, ate it every single day for an entire week. My pants are too tight but my heart is very full.

Wearing:

I was fulfilling dreams left and right in California (they do say something about dreamin’ there…). I bought myself the jumpsuit I’ve been pining over for a year, maybe two at this point. Big Bud Press: they really know fit, detail, and COLOR. It was hard to choose just one. The winner was mustang red. I also bought their pants in royal blue. Both have gotten lots of wear and lots of compliments. I will love them forever. I can’t wait for some wild color block outfit combinations.

Watching:

TV: Too quickly I watched the entirety of Friends From College and rewatched the last 3 seasons of Sex and the City. I’m ready to get back into the deeper stuff like new True Detective and High Maintenance.

Movies: On Christmas Eve I watched Love Actually (on an airplane) and Die Hard (when at my final destination while eating Chinese food and birthday cake). I’ve also recently seen Little Odessa (love Tim Roth) and In the Realm of the Senses (disturbing and… more disturbing).

“In the fact-based 1930s drama, streetwalker-turned-maid Eiko Matsuda hooks up with innkeeper Tatsuya Fuji; he leaves his wife and family for her, yet this only further inflames her obsession with him. The intense depictions of copulation and the couple’s fate will disturb even those familiar with the story.” (image via quad cinema)

“In the fact-based 1930s drama, streetwalker-turned-maid Eiko Matsuda hooks up with innkeeper Tatsuya Fuji; he leaves his wife and family for her, yet this only further inflames her obsession with him. The intense depictions of copulation and the couple’s fate will disturb even those familiar with the story.” (image via quad cinema)

Treasuring:

Connections: The last few weeks have been full of ups and downs. New, fabulous humans. Old, supportive folks. Friends and family, companions and strangers. Death and birth. Sadness and joy. Exhaustion and exhilaration. Stress and hope. But in the end, I’ve been squeezing my friends tighter and glad for everything around me. Definitely always say yes to friends and squeeze them as tight as you can.

I can’t remember where I found this, but I love it.

I can’t remember where I found this, but I love it.

Monday Memos // 81

Listening:

"Blue Castaway" by The Shelltones. 

This song makes me feel like I'm in the scene of a movie, and/or makes me want to make a movie. More than 50 years later it holds up. I'm on a melancholy tiki party kind of music kick.

"Enchantment" by The Melody Mates. See above.

"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon. 

I was at the gym — the Planet Fitness in Harlem is a world of sights and surprises — and this older man on the elliptical next to me was belting out all the songs he was listening to. I heard this line "I'll bet you think this song is about you" and whether or not it really was Carly Simon, it's been stuck in my head ever since. A few days later even, an older woman was busking in the subway with it.

Reading:

I woke up at 6 a.m. on Wednesday because my body was excited for this series of stories to be released on Bon Appétit: America's Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants. 

I first learned about it in February, and was instantly ready to participate and ready to read about all these special places around the country. I wrote draft after draft of my own love story to one of my favorite places on the planet. It was revised and tucked away, then revised again and ready in waiting. And here it is: The Weird, Wonderful Restaurant Where I Always Wanted to Work.

Being lumped among this description makes me feel like my dreams are coming true: We asked 80 of the most interesting people we know—chefs, novelists, activists, comedians, NBA players, and more—to let us in on their most-trusted haunts, from a Tibetan dumpling stand in a grocery store in Columbus to a landlocked fish market in Tulsa. These are the spots we return to again and again, the places that make no claim to be the “newest” or the “trendiest,” and that’s precisely why we love them.

I recommend reading them all. I'm slowly and lovingly making my way through these gems. 

Craving:

Delicious moments experienced in the last week:

- a feast at Lolo's Seafood Shack, which is described as Caribbean Street Eats alongside Classic New England favorites. We had conch fritters, jerk chicken, sweet plantains, crab cakes, and more. 

- Levain cookies for breakfast. A wedge of a chocolate chip walnut and double chocolate chip to start the day is an excellent way to live. 

- A lunch provided by Fuku — a "casual chicken concept by Momofuku." It's hard to pass up free spicy chicken sandwiches with habanero mayo, slaw, and pickles. 

- homemade cherry cobbler. It was sitting just feet from my desk and made by a coworker with strong opinions about the definition of a cobbler. 

- a friend reunion dinner at Jajaja, a "contemporary Mexican spot with a colorful, all-vegan menu." This was incredibly good. Plus, they had plantain chips that were exactly like home! I ate things like crushed Mayan pumpkin seed dip, turmeric queso fundito, mezcal mushroom tacos... and we got free churros with coconut dulce de leche because our wait was so long.

Jajaja was a fun spot: images above via Gothamist and Guest of a Guest.

Wearing:

On Wednesday, because I was so pumped for the day, I wore my gold star corduroy jumpsuit. On Friday, I wandered around a sunny Soho with sparkly red socks and unfashionable sandals. On Saturday, I parted my hair differently (it felt like a whole new head of hair) and wore a very comfortable terrycloth dress (it was like a cozy towel).

I'm having a red, striped moment. (items via & Other Stories)

Watching:

I'm almost done with Killing Eve and loving it. My favorite show right now is I'm Dying Up Here (waiting each week for a new episode is one of those rare acts of media patience.) I saw Ocean's 8 and couldn't wait for it to be over so I could go home and be in bed. I saw the trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale and I am very intrigued. — Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption - before everything goes to hell.

Also, these Bon App videos "Pastry Chef Attempts To Make _______" are so good. The latest, an attempt at making Skittles, watch it.

Treasuring:

Visitors: I got to show off my workspace to visiting old and new friends. We toured various floors of the World Trade Center. I felt so official when the security desk called me about my guests in the lobby. I outfitted my office into a cozy guest room and finally got to host some family. I loved wandering around the city with my sister-in-law, pointing out landmarks, eating great food, and enjoying the peaceful living room together. It's nice to mix familiarity with the newness of my experience here. 

Last week, I pulled this animal spirit for the week ahead. On Saturday, at Bon Appétit's  Healthyish Homecoming  festival, a speaker said, "Don't be a chick, you're an eagle." At the risk of sounding cheesy, I really do feel like I'm soaring. 

Last week, I pulled this animal spirit for the week ahead. On Saturday, at Bon Appétit's Healthyish Homecoming festival, a speaker said, "Don't be a chick, you're an eagle." At the risk of sounding cheesy, I really do feel like I'm soaring. 

Monday Memos // 76

Listening:

"Drover" by Bill Callahan.

"Cloudy Shoes" by Damien Jurado.

"Soft Spoken" by Naia Izumi.

Reading:

A visual read and sooo goood — Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78 — Admission to the exhibit, like the parks and starlight, is free.

I wonder where they are now? (via  The New York Times )

I wonder where they are now? (via The New York Times)

Craving:

Last weekend, one of my favorite humans came for a visit and we made sure to eat a slew of delicious foods. All of my pants feel too tight but it was worth it. 

Favorite spots/items:

  • Bubby's and their James Beard pancakes with caramelized banana and toasted walnuts. Everything at Bubby's was great, but those pancakes really excited me. We love pancakes. 
  • Fish Cheeks and all their seafood-focused Thai things (fried snapper with crispy herbs, short rib massaman curry with roasted sweet potatoes, and yum goong, which is a dish with poached shrimp, cilantro, culantro, cucumber, coconut milk, red sorrel, betel leaf, and fried shallot), plus the adorable couple sitting next to us that gabbed all about NYMag and walkup apartments with me.
  • At Dos Caminos—kind of a whacky place with giant mortars on the tables and dance scenes in the basement—we had the a salmon entree with braised kale and poblano chili verde, epazote crema, radish, cilantro, and lime. The braised kale was amazing.

At work I also aided in testing waffle makers, which resulted in sampling fresh, steaming hot waffle upon waffle. One of the recipe developer/chefs from the test kitchen made us a giant bowl of this crispy waffle recipe from Epicurious, and I would definitely recommend it. This work project did not help me fit back into my pants either. 

I took a lot of waffle glamour shots. 

I took a lot of waffle glamour shots. 

Wearing:

The weather is still confused and confusing, so I think my clothing reflects that. I've been wearing flowery dresses and getting too cold. I've been wearing my winter boots with bare legs and jackets. I've been wearing short tees and attempting full days without socks. 

Inspired by the previously mentioned weekend, I now own this shirt. (via zara)

Inspired by the previously mentioned weekend, I now own this shirt. (via zara)

Watching:

Saw: Westworld--after anxiously awaiting this for what felt like years, I wasn't as into the first episode of the new season as I thought I would be, but I feel like it might just be a slow build back to the chaos. 

I Feel Pretty--I wanted this movie to be better or at least more entertaining, but I really didn't love it. The best part was the fact that I was sitting in the same row as The Sartorialist/Scott Schuman at the theater. I will say the heartfelt monologue was nice to hear, but didn't really linger.

Wild Wild Country--now this proved to be better than I could've hoped. So many crazy stories and characters, so much beautiful editing and footage, and a fabulous soundtrack. I want more. I also feel inspired to dress in sunset-hued color palettes. 

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh a.k.a. Osho. (image via netflix)

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh a.k.a. Osho. (image via netflix)

Infinity Baby--a random pick from Amazon. The cast is amazing, the story is weird and intriguing, but there's something unfulfilling about it. I wanted it to be more like Her in it's futuristic strangeness. Still worth watching on a lazy afternoon.

Infinity-baby.jpg

Treasuring:

Swimming and sweating: During the feasting weekend extravaganza, we also went to a infrared sauna, a steam room, and a big indoor pool. It felt so good to have all that sweating and warmth. I have missed swimming so much. I want to put all these activities on repeat. Maybe I am starting to miss my Florida perspiration. 

We jammed to music in the 150 degree heat. (via  higherdose )

We jammed to music in the 150 degree heat. (via higherdose)

Monday Memos // 56

Listening:

"Sound and Color" by Alabama Shakes.

"That's Why (I Love You So)" by Jackie Wilson. Those dance moves!

Reading:

A must-read in this time that I'm calling an earthquake of garbage and monsters: Men Don’t Get to Decide What Counts As ‘Sex’ By Liz Meriwether.

A satirical read for this stuff-yourself-silly holiday: Thanksgiving Nutrition Tips: Eat Whatever You Want, but Not That. Make food your singular focus while eating. Of course, there will be conversations at the Thanksgiving table. And that’s completely O.K. — as long as you stay out of them. Don’t speak and try not to listen. Earplugs are a good idea or, if you can, simply avoid all noise. Light is also hugely distracting. Think about a blindfold.

I've never experienced any overwhelmingly uncomfortable Thanksgiving meals (cheers to supportive family members!), but Philip is the man to ask: Thanksgiving, Solved! How to Deal With This Dreadful Holiday.

Stop. Wait. Don't. (image by Paul Windle via NYTimes)

Stop. Wait. Don't. (image by Paul Windle via NYTimes)

Craving:

Celebrated my mom's birthday at Proof restaurant in DC. So much deliciousness.

I had a Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, which was garnished with cumin yogurt, truffle piccadillo, and sourdough croutons. Then I ate the Ora King Salmon with pickled mustard greens, a sticky rice cake, shiitake mushrooms, and shoyu sauce. Perfection. Everyone's dish had us oooh-ing and yummmm-ing. 

For dessert we tried the Warm Chocolate Hazelnut Cake—topped with gianduja gelato (chocolate hazelnut) and espresso sauce—and the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake—topped with almond streusel and vanilla ice cream. I almost licked the plates clean.

I couldn't find a good picture from Proof, but the photography on  Coming Soon's  website is amazing. You'll want to buy everything, too. (image of  Mosser Glass  Pink Milk Glass Cake Stand via  comingsoonnewyork )

I couldn't find a good picture from Proof, but the photography on Coming Soon's website is amazing. You'll want to buy everything, too. (image of Mosser Glass Pink Milk Glass Cake Stand via comingsoonnewyork)

Wearing:

Nothing new to talk about regarding my own clothing adventure, so here are some fabulous things for adornment:

Patches by  Amber Ibarreche .

Patches by Amber Ibarreche.

Bingo! Sweatshirt by  Tuesday Bassen .

Bingo! Sweatshirt by Tuesday Bassen.

Smiley metallic crew socks by  Hansel from Basel .

Smiley metallic crew socks by Hansel from Basel.

The Laurel Twist Mule by Loeffler Randall.

Watching:

Recently Viewed: The pilot episode of "Sea Oak." A genre-bending comedy from renowned author and creator George Saunders featuring Glenn Close as a working-class woman who dies in a home invasion and comes back from the dead full of rage, determined to get the life she never had.

Interested In: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." A darkly comedic drama with—Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell. "The Florida Project." Willem Dafoe, my messed up home State, strong emotions... sold. "The Square." A Swedish satirical drama directed by Ruben Östlund and starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and Terry Notary. The film is about publicity surrounding an art installation, and was partly inspired by an installation Östlund and producer Kalle Boman had made.

Treasuring:

Dreaming. I've been having some wild dreams, which have been leaning on the side of entertaining and humorous. Quite enjoyable, really. I've also been doing a lot of daydreaming. It's nice sometimes to stare off in a car window or walk around the fall foliage and think fondly about people, places and things.

Gifting. 'Tis the season and I love gathering presents. Making them, wrapping them, compiling them, looking at gift guides, researching best things... 

(Illustration by  Alessandra Olanow  for Cup of Jo.)

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow for Cup of Jo.)