1. Pep talks via newsletters
Earlier today, as I was checking my personal email, I came across Garance Dore’s newsletter. She has launched an entirely new project for herself, one where she’s able to connect with her fans (me) in a more intimate setting but with a premium. I don’t mind it one bit. Her content is worth the price of subscription. For the same price as an expensive Starbucks coffee, I get to read her letters. I love her chatty style of writing, like I’m her friend, and she’s with me on the couch sipping wine. She’s like the cooler older sister (not sure she’d appreciate that description lol) I never had, who has A LOT to say, has been to Georgia and California and anywhere I could run. Oh that’s a song. Anyway, you can check out her website here.
Is it just me or is it a common thing to stumble on something (whether an article, a book, a movie, a phrase or a billboard) that talks about that same exact thing you’ve been thinking or experiencing lately? That feeling where you want to pause and say, “Wow I needed to read/hear that today.” Well, that’s exactly how I felt reading Garance’s newsletter. I feel overwhelmed and aimless lately and in searching for something to hold on to, it’s nice to be reminded that life should be taken in strides. It’s ever changing, and you have to just go with the flow, open and curious. I know, I know it’s cheesy when I put it that way, but everytime I experience this feeling of floating in the abyss, it’s usually because there’s been a change in my routine, a change that’s making me adjust and re-assess the so-called balance (or comfort zone) I always, always try to cultivate. Then it gets knocked off and I’m desperately flailing to get back on shore where my balance, my bubble rests.
I like the positive spin that she calls “joyful adjustments.” I could work with that. Three things have preoccupied my mind since: 1) building good health habits, 2) devoting time to my passion projects, and 3) processing adult-stuff like government documents and papa’s estate. Even if it means a lot of time devoted to convincing myself that “it’s okay” or that “I can still do certain things” or my favorite “do it because you actually enjoy it,” I have to hold on to what feels true to me and work my way to get myself out of this familiar funk.
2. Revisiting my books – reading Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Finally finished another book this year, it’s like pulling teeth I know. This one is Michelle Zauner’s (aka from the band Japanese Breakfast) memoir about her mother who died of cancer in 2014. This book was born out of an essay written by Zauner for the New Yorker, and now, after four years, she has completed a full-blown memoir about her and her mother’s relationship in lieu of her passing and the aftermath of her loss.
Obviously I read it because it’s the story I’m living right now. I finished it in two days, sobbing in some parts. I remember not just my late father but also my mother (who is very much alive thank you Lord Jesus) who resemble Zauner’s Asian mom, tough love school of thought. These women love hard and deep. My favorite quote is:
“Hers was tougher than tough love. It was brutal, industrial-strength. A sinewy love that never gave way to an inch of weakness. It was a love that saw what was best for you ten steps ahead, and didn’t care if it hurt like hell in the meantime. When I got hurt, she felt it so deeply, it was as though it were her own affliction. She was guilty only of caring too much. I realize this now, only in retrospect. No one in this would would ever love me as much as my mother, and she would never let me forget it.” -Crying in H Mart
I appreciate how Zauner never spared herself. She recounted all the ways she was a less-than-ideal daughter, which in part was the effect of having to live biracial in America. She paints a picture of her mother using her food memories, and one thing that’s as enjoyable as eating food, at least for me, is reading about food. Even if you’re not in mourning, I wholeheartedly recommend “Crying in H Mart.” It’s oozing with maternal love—the kind that’s layered, complicated, and true.
3. Baking again
It’s been about two weeks since I last baked anything. Today I ended that streak. I baked this Rosemary Orange Olive Oil Cake that I read from Cup of Jo. It’s one of the easiest cakes I’ve baked. No fancy equipment needed. Possible the only challenging thing to have is the rosemary. Admittedly I almost shaved off half of my rosemary plant just to achieve almost two tablespoons of chopped rosemary. Other than that it’s an obscene amount of olive oil and voila this cake is baked!
4. Devouring “Never Have I Ever“
I love this show so much! It’s funny, lighthearted, and touching. The characters are multidimensional, which means they can be infuriating yet very much relatable. I love how the lead love interests, Ben and Paxton, have so much going for them. I honestly can’t decide which team I’m on (because this matters you know).
This second season sees more of Devi’s brand of fuck-ups. It’s so much fun watching her mess-up and try to untangle herself, an adventure to say the least. And thank God Mindy Kaling made sure we see a whole lot more out of each character, and I mean Paxton (and Kamala, and Ben, and Eleanor and so on and so forth). I only highlighted Paxton for obvious reasons. This song by Glass Animals is now on the loop.
5. There’s really no number five. I’m lame.
That’s how much I’m grasping for something going on for me right now.