Recent favorites: books, tv shows, recipes, and more

Between the short days and rising COVID cases, I’ve been getting settled into quarantine once again. Instead of my usual update on fun things we did over the last week, I wanted to share a few things keeping me occupied right here at home ๐Ÿ™‚

Favorite TV Shows:

1. The Great British Baking Show. I can’t believe this show has been live for so many years and I JUST discovered it a month ago. Joe put this on one day, and I was instantly hooked. Watching these amateur bakers is so pleasant and instantly puts me in a great mood. Also unlike American reality food shows which are dramatic and flashy, British realty tv is so much more down-to-earth and actually focuses on the food.

Great British Baking Show

2. Voices of Fire. This show is a heart-felt docu-series about a church in Hampton Roads, Virginia that sets out to create the world’s best gospel choir. I’ve always been a sucker for gospel music so this show caught my eye. The singers are SO talented and inspiring as they compete for spots in this prestigious choir while also sharing their life stories. I may have cried a few times ๐Ÿ˜‰

Voices of Fire

3. A Teacher. This show is about a high school teacher who has an affair with one of her students. After the first episode I was immediately hooked. I’m a huge fan of Kate Mara (who plays the teacher) and the show does a great job at portraying the complexities of this predatory relationship.

A teacher

Favorite Books:

1. Books by Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist who’s written several books on how to live a fulfilling and peace-filled life. I discovered him earlier this year when one of his books was left in an Airbnb we were staying at. I was drawn to his simple, approachable writing as well as the short length of the book (I have a short attention span when it comes to reading). His teachings come at a Buddhist angle, but even for non-Buddhists I think his lessons are very helpful. My favorite books have been Peace is Every Step and The Art of Communicating.

Thich Nhat Nanh

2. Maus. Maus is a graphic novel by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman about his father’s experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. When my brother recommended this book to me, my immediate reaction was “there is no way I’m reading a cartoon,” and his reply was “if there’s one graphic novel to read in your life, it should be this one.” I was immediately intrigued and gave it a shot, and I ended up reading it in one weekend! The plot is super gripping and heavy (you must be ready for a Holocaust story), and it also portrays the complexities of their father-son relationship. A true work of art.

Maus

3. American Pain. This one I am currently reading, but from what I’ve read so far I think this should be shared. This is a true story of some young felons who create a pain clinic in Florida that drove the spread of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. I love that it’s told like a true crime podcast, always keeping you on your toes. It’s a great way to learn about the opioid crisis while not feeling like you’re reading a non-fiction piece.

American pain book

Things I’m looking forward To:

1. Moving to a studio. I decided to move into a studio after the new year! I’ve been living in my cozy 2-bedroom walk up in the Marina ever since moving to SF 3.5 years ago, and I felt it was time for a change. The last time I lived alone, I was 23 years old living in Astoria, Queens…I struggled with loneliness as I was far from all my friends, and I ended up breaking my lease to move back into Manhattan with 3 Craigslist strangers. 4 years later, I feel like I’m in different place in life: I don’t get FoMo like I did in my early 20s, I’m in a healthy relationship, and ready to try living alone again (the random roommate thing gets old at a certain point). I’m excited to make this place my own and to try a new neighborhood in SF. ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Joe’s garden. Joe has been doing a lot of prep work for the garden to get it up and running in the Spring. It’s been such a joy to be part of this project (even though I’m not doing any manual work anymore :P). I love picking seeds together and consulting with Joe on his “wild cottage garden” vision which I think will be a refreshing change from all the perfectly landscaped yards in Pac Heights. I’m so inspired by Joe’s creativity/passion for the garden and can’t wait to see this come together in the spring!

Joeโ€™s has been cutting these trees by hand.

garden

He also set up an indoor greenhouse where seeds are starting to sprout.

indoor greenhouse

Favorite Activities

1. Learning Tarot. I’ve been playing around with tarot cards for 2 years, but lately I’ve been more serious about spending more time with the cards and building my tarot practice. I use the Wild Unknown deck which has striking, minimalist depictions with a modern twist (compared to the traditional tarot decks). One super helpful resource has been the Biddy Tarot Podcast. The podcast is super approachable and has helped me learn that tarot is less about memorizing the cards and trying to get every reading “right,” but rather tarot is meant to help access your intuition and understand what energies you need to reach your goals/purpose.

2. Obe fitness. Obe is a website with all types of at-home workout videos. I discovered this through Rachel and Rene and decided to give it a shot, especially since it’s been harder to motivate myself to work out this year. I personally like the pilates and yoga workouts, but they also have sculpt, dance, high-intensity interval training, and more. I like that all the videos are in one easy spot but to be honest you can probably find similar videos on Youtube (it just won’t be in one accessible spot). Obe has been a nice motivator to add more workouts on top of my running.

Favorite Recipes:

1. Pumpkin bread. I discovered this recipe in the fall while I was on a pumpkin craze, and it is so moist and full of flavor. I’ve made it twice and it’s a favorite for me and Joe, and also my mom! My personal twist: I cut the sugar by 25% and add chocolate chips ๐Ÿ™‚

pumpkin bread recipe

2. Chicken pot pie. With me and Joe alone on Thanksgiving, we traded a huge traditional Thanksgiving meal for a chicken pot pie. I was a little nervous at first to make this from scratch, but it ended up being pretty simple to follow along, and a very yummy meal that still got us into the Thanksgiving spirit.

Thanksgiving chicken pot pie

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