Good Things 2019: Week 16

* * *

This year, I’ve committed to writing more, and it’s been working.

Aside from this blog post, this week I wrote about leadership goals, running project management at Ompractice as we grow – with Agile methodologies, agile sprint planning, and the sprint retro. Personally, I wrote about documenting and codifying my Ideal Week.

While the bulk of my writing remains unpublished, I’m thinking of this writing a little bit more like book writing than blogging.

The end goal is to build a bigger body of work on topics that I’m interested in, both for myself, and to share with others. While I love blogging, I want my thinking to be better organized, more structured, and edited to reflect developing insight over time.

I know this to be true about myself: writing is the best way for me to clarify and organize my ideas. It’s a process. Whenever I start a new project, I sit and brainstorm on paper. Then I take to the road for a long walk, or the shower, with a structure to ruminate upon. Back to my desk, I make more notes, and edit accordingly. Sleep on it, and edit again. Rinse and repeat.

But like many things that are obvious – knowing something that is true, and consistently committing to put it in practice are two separate things. This year I wanted to make sure that my desire to write actually turned into work written.

Fortunately, writing begets writing, so here we are. Like my run streak (it’s been over a year), one of the keys to success for me was to build daily doable habits. So this is what I’ve been doing loosely: writing about work during the work week, writing about life on the weekend, posting on this here blog, and then adding good things to my notebooks in between.

The two biggest shifts that has positively impacted my writing habit: scheduling the time for it, and reducing my actual time spent on my phone consuming social media.

{Assorted Good Eats:}

You’ll have to imagine them, because most of the week my phone was away from me on the charger, and I only took a handful of blurry unlit snaps of my meals. (That gorgeous spread above is what I was eating a year ago in Istanbul!)

  • Chicken marinated in Trader Joe’s Amba (fermented mango sauce). You can find it in the fresh case by the pesto and hummus, and it’s a phenomenal marinade or all purpose sauce for any meat or fish. I can’t recommend it enough.
  • Whole Foods Matzah Crack. If you go by your local Whole Foods this week, I recommend picking up this seasonal treat: matzah coated in a sweet and just slightly salty caramel/toffee, and dipped in dark chocolate. Smitten Kitchen has a good recipe if you feel like making your own.
  • Trader Joes’ Braised Beef with mashed potatoes and cruciferous crunch salad. This beef (with demi glaze) is one of the best things at Trader Joe’s.

Lot’s of good meals on tap for this week. This is what my lightweight meal planning looks like most often. I also keep a spreadsheet when I’m inspired to do things digitally.

{Good Things}

I cleaned and re-foiled the grill to get ready for grilling season. All that’s left is to hook up the new gas tank, give the grates a bit of seasoning, and I’m ready to go.

I cut the cord! After far too long overspending, and time wasted with the television just on in the background, I finally got rid of cable tv, and switched from Comcast to wildly faster fiber internet with FIOS. I’ll still have Netflix, Hulu, and the occasional live TV access when desperate, but I’m decently sure that I’ll be using it far less than I have been. And while I do enjoy watching live sports, I *love* listening to sports on the radio. The only thing I anticipate missing is the clicker to my Xfinity box.

A pup walk with my friend Teri. Teri was in town for the Boston marathon (which she CRUSHED with solid training, and a 10 minute PR), and I was delighted to get the excuse to head into town with Bertram for an active recovery walk with her on Wednesday evening. Normally I don’t bother reaching out to people who are visiting for the marathon – they usually have enough on their minds! But I was SO delighted to get to see her, and the weather was beautiful.

Great reading this week: Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism (I opted appropriately, for the hardcopy), my friend Anna’s forthcoming book Shadow Magic, Ben Horowitz’s Hard Thing about Hard Things (Audible), Karen Wickre’s Taking the Work out of Networking, some Essential Jim Rohn, the last in the Discovery of Witches series (Audible), and got started on a galley of Sarah Gailey’s upcoming Magic for Liars.

Passover Dinner: this year we had a smaller dinner at my Uncle Allan and Aunt Roz’s house than normal, with many family members spread across the country and unable to come home for the meal.

This didn’t keep us from some of our favorite traditions: reading from several different Passover Story Haggadahs (Haggadot?), singing songs, opening the door for Elijah, Miriam’s cup, and some sephardic traditions including the Moroccan Bi Pilu (going around the table and blessing each participant with the seder plate over their heads.) Our youngest participant was just shy of 27, so the four questions were a collaborative effort.

In addition to our regular updated Silverman Haggadah – which I’ve always enjoyed for it’s Retro late 50’s artistic style, we read from the Gateways Haggadah, a pictorial version of the Passover story, which is written to support families with children of all abilities and disabilities, and is meaningful to our family. And this year, some new readings from the HIAS Haggadah, connecting the Passover story to today’s global refugee crisis. Ex: the section about the modern ten plagues of the refugee crisis: violence, dangerous journeys, poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to education, xenophobia, anti-refugee legislation, language barriers, workforce discrimination, and loss of family.

For dinner, we ate traditional seder plate fixins, two types of charoset from my mother – “New England Style” with a lot of apple, and “Turkish Style” with spices and dates, hard boiled eggs, a terrine like gefilte fish with plenty of horseradish, matzah ball soup, Moroccan mini meatballs and peas (we do kitniyot), my aunt’s Tsimmes, green beans. And for dessert: fruit, macaroons and a berry crisp my mom made.

Looking forward to:

My birthday gift from my mom: a generous MFA museum membership with reciprocal privileges at top institutions!

Spring planting in my potted garden! Fresh herbs, flowers, and vegetables, I’ve missed you.

Have a great week!

xo, Sam

Good Things 2019: Week 15

Here we are, on the eve of Marathon Monday, Patriots Day, Tax day, getting ready for another week ahead.

I’m sitting looking through my schedule for the week, eating a bowl of pasta and meatballs, and getting ready to fight for the fate of Westeros with tonight’s Game of Thrones season premiere. (To be quite honest, I watch so I can talk about it on Twitter.)

The marathon is also a bittersweet day for me. I adore being a spectator, and there’s nothing like cheering for people putting in the hard work of a marathon, salty high fives, and losing your voice to the effort. (I’m a graduate of the Wellesley scream tunnel, and I live down the street from comm ave right around Heartbreak Hill.)

But I’ll never be able to fully shake the memories from 2013, the terror of not knowing where my friends at the finish line were, having to tell a runner that the race was canceled, the lockdown, hearing the shootout from our home. And though I likely have another marathon in me, I’m decently sure that I’ll never be able to run Boston. That said, come rain or shine, I’ll be out there tomorrow to cheer on the amazing folks putting in the effort and running their hearts out.

Before I get to good things, last week was a tough one, friends. We lost my grandmother (and last living grandparent), Rena, far too soon. Due to timing, we didn’t fly to Turkey for the funeral, but I’m hoping to get to spend time with my family later this year.

Rena was a fabulous, dominating force. Walking around the neighborhood she knew everyone. As a teen, I was always a little embarrassed by her, but looking back, the embarrassment has shifted to deep admiration – she’d come visit us and negotiate for lettuce at Market Basket. (And get the deal.) She was always put together – well coiffed, nails done, kohl eyeliner.

There’s not nearly enough space to sum up a lifetime of memories, but when I think of her, I think of the polyglot – speaking multiple languages at the dinner table, laughing with her friends. In the evenings, regaling us with stories with a deck of cards, or her favorite electronic poker game. (She also loved the lottery, and had a knack for winning.)

In the kitchen she’d cook for hours, making any number of meze, rolling dozens of Turkish sigara borek, making my favorite stews, or her delightful rose jam. When we’d visit, there’d always be a new fruit or cheese to try, a salty bite to eat, and a cup of tea or Turkish coffee made.

Last April, my mom and I flew to Turkey, worried that it might be our last visit. Despite bad news at the doctors, we spent many of the days eating, laughing, shopping for food, and cooking together. On one day, she summoned the energy to walk to a favorite restaurant, Şampiyon Kokoreç, to eat a plate of chopped offal, and through the neighborhood to pick out the best of the muşmula, a relative of the loquat. Still the consummate host, she cooked me my favorite dish – Mantı – turkish ravioli with yogurt sauce, and hosted the family for dinner and profiteroles.

This is one of my favorite photos of her. She will be missed.

{Good Things}

Missing this week is a lengthy photo documentation of my meals: largely because when I’m overwhelmed with life or work, even my best intentions of meal planning can get tossed out the window to be replaced by Trader Joe’s meals where my goal is to simply feed myself. (Granted, I do love a good Trader Joe’s dinner!)

Sometimes self care is simply knowing when to cut your losses and stick to the basics.

One thing I did cook for myself – and with great success: Roasted Broccoli and White Beans, from Shutterbean. This is a super easy recipe that gives you crispy and lemony beans, and a heaping serving of vegetables when the rest of your meals are lacking. I added a little bit of turkey kielbasa for a more filling meal.

New bakery treats! If you are in Portsmouth, NH, don’t miss the new lovely bakery, Elephantine. After months of trying to make it over there, I finally managed to a few weeks ago, and it held up to the hype! Notably delicious: their stunning lemon ricotta danish, the olive fougasse, and a nicely made latte.

On that note, if you love a good bakery, Newton area folks should be sure to try Koko Bakery, if you haven’t made it yet. It’s a Japanese bakery with delicious sweet treats. My favorites include the sweet red bean bun, melon pan, and any of their cookies.

Attending the Health and Wellness Show with Ompractice We spent the day spreading the word about our company, one person at a time! This was actually our first consumer show – it’s always really fun to get out there and talk to real people!

We’ve come a long way in the past year! From proof of concept to a full schedule with thirty teachers on the platform, every day is an adventure, and it feels so good doing work that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

On that note, another kindly request – I’d *love* for you to try a class. Unlimited membership is only $5 for your first month, and $24.99/month after that. We’re building this business one student at a time – but we have a full roster of incredible teachers and I’d love to fill all of their classes!

[I’m also on the lookout for bloggers who’d like to work with us as we build out our marketing. If you are interested, please fill out this two minute form!]

Looking forward to:

📣 Next month, I’m stepping back into public speaking and doing an in-person workshop for entrepreneurs on self care. This is a private event, but, if you are looking for speakers on wellness, entrepreneurship, or preventing burnout – I’m looking to do more of this! (Email me at sam at ompractice.com)

Now you’ll have to excuse me for the abrupt ending – the GOT theme song has started and I’m off to participate in pop culture.

Have a great week!

xo, Sam

Good Things 2019: Week 13

Spring has finally arrived in New England – yesterday hit 67 degrees, and over the course of the day I saw people in winter parkas, sweatshirts, shorts, and runners in tanks and short shorts. I always do love the visual contrasts that come along at the change of season.

A real spring is welcome. I was not expecting such a frenetic March, but here I am, catching up here after a brief hiatus where my organization and routines went out the window. With travel, some housing uncertainty, daylight savings, and the certain chaos of running a startup, the month saw me running around like a bit of a chicken with her head cut off – I’m ready to get back to some comforting routine!

{Good Things}

Travel. The highlight of my month was a Spring Break trip to Disney World with my college best friends and regular travel companions, Heather and Caroline. Some pictures, below, but a quick note that this was the first vacation I’ve taken in over 10 years where I did not open my laptop to work once I arrived at my destination. Balancing energy and boundaries is a fundamental principle of self care, and one of the most important ways to prevent burnout. You need to take care of yourself in order to have the energy to do good work in the world. I’m proud of myself for actually doing this for myself.

Good Books and Films. Reading this month has been a little lighter than last. I’ve been working through the Deborah Harkness witchy trilogy, quite enjoyed listening to Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime on Audible. I have about six books in progress at the moment. Films faired a little better: I quite enjoy the How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2, and Captain Marvel – which I loved. Aquaman wasn’t a critical masterpiece, but was enjoyable, because when is Jason Momoa not enjoyable?

Good Lighting. Because many of you have asked: no, I don’t have a fancy marble table. I have a fancy marble cutting board from Crate & Barrel, a Lowel Ego lamp (which doubles as a sun lamp during the winter) and internet magic. Here’s the entire set up.

Acquiring Riches. In Trader Joe’s a few weeks back, an older gentleman gave me a million dollars. Since I didn’t win the HGTV dream house this year even though I could have sworn I had, I’m going to put it to good use in my own house hunt.

This Face. Seriously, how thankful am I that I get to look at this face on a daily basis. (This is also as close as he gets to actually using this particular set of pet steps. They have been repurposed as a “desk” for my couch work space, and to prop up my computer in front of my mat while taking Ompractice classes.)

A trip to the most Magical Place on Earth. (Fight me.) I’m an unabashed Disney fan. I’ve never been a pink princess, but I *love* Disney. The rides, the food, even the lines. For that matter, I love IKEA for similar reasons… Plus, Florida agrees with me.

My last trip to Disney was in 2015 for the Princess 5k (a race with hundreds of sparkling clean port-o-potties – truly magical!), but I wanted to return with no training requirements! Happy to report that my run streak continued though, even with 10-15 miles a day of walking in the parks!

Highlights of the trip include: planning for the trip on a shared google doc agenda, staying at Caribbean Beach, Park Hoppers and fast passes, an excursion to Harry Potter world, a private Animal Kingdom lodge safari and tasting menu at JIKO, and hot ticket reservations at every Epcot restaurant I was aiming for. I go to Disney for two things: to eat and to walk – everything else is a bonus.

Delicious Meals in Disney: to make up for the 10+ miles of daily walking, we did a lot of eating.

JIKO tasting menu. Our first evening in, we went on the Wanyama private safari and tasting at JIKO, which I’d recommend heartily if you don’t mind extending your Disney budget. The evening started with appetizers before you go out on safari – a range of sweet and savory treats (the highlight of which was the Boerewors sausage. The main meal was served family style with the 12 or so of us on the trip: breads, dips, amuse, appetizers, a massive amount of food with both drink and wine pairings, of which I managed to get bites of absolutely everything. Their beef short rib was a real gem that rivaled the memorable stellar lamb shank I ordered at JIKO several years ago.

Harry Potter World – The Leaky Cauldron: fine dining this was not, but I enjoyed my Beef, Lamb & Guinness stew, and the sugar bomb that was their version of sticky toffee pudding. And of course the ambiance of Diagon Alley can’t be beat.

Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs: we were a mere week too early for Jose Andres’ openings in Disney Springs (SIGH), but I was happy to get a patio seat at this Bayless outpost. We shared toasted pumpkin seed “hummus” and mango guacamole. Knowing that vegetables would be missing from the majority of my next several meals, I went for a big salad with carne asada, and the ancho chile chocolate cake for dessert.

San Angel Inn – Mexico: our first lunch in Epcot, we shared guacamole, and I opted to go wild with the Carne Asada Tampiqueña for an indulgent lunch. Served with a cheese mole enchilada, rice, refried black beans, guacamole, onions, rajas poblano with tortillas. Under the “evening sky” – this is one of my favorite magical places to eat at Disney.

Restaurant Marrakesh: my last trip we had a glorious meal outside in Morocco at Spice Road (which I’d highly recommend), but it had been over a decade since I’d been at Marrakesh, and I wanted to try it. I opted for the Harira, a Taste of Moroccan salads, and shared the appetizer sampler – beef brewat rolls, chicken bastilla, and Jasmina salad. A cup of Moroccan coffee, while we enjoyed the belly dancing and the piano guy who seemed delighted that we were paying attention – as so few other people were. The restaurant felt a little dated, but we enjoyed ourselves.

Be Our Guest: I was *thrilled* to score us a table at Be Our Guest, because I hadn’t been there, and everyone raves over the “Grey Stuff”. We ended up going for lunch, which is an order of magnitude less fancy than dinner, but nevertheless the food was good – I ended up with the gloriously cheesy french onion soup, and the braised pork (coq au vin style) which I thought was very clever, and tasted quite good. My dining partners both ordered the Tuna Niçoise salad which was a generous portion. Ironically, the one pass for next time – the masters cupcake with the grey stuff was a total throwaway for me. Bland and boring. Save space for an extra dole whip.

Teppan Edo: it’s probably been 15? years since I’ve been to a hibachi restaurant, and we ended up having a great time here at the Japanese pavilion. I’d never been before! We had an 8:50 reservation that didn’t seat us until around 9:15. (The park “closed” at 9, but you can get dining reservations up until then, which is perfect for spacing out meals.) The sushi sampler wasn’t worth ordering, but I was needing some nibbles before the grand event, so went for this and some iced green tea. For our meal, you can order your protein of choice. Most everyone went with the steak and shrimp combo, but I opted for the sea scallops, which were *delicious*. I skipped drinks and dessert, but the cocktail menu here looks incredible.

Biergarten: I have fond memories going here with my parents as a kid. The German pavilion boasts this all-you-can-eat buffet that is always a treat. My plate(s) included salmon, multiple kinds of sausages, salads, liverwurst, potatoes, spaetzle, potato dumplings, sauerkraut, and more. And we hit perfect timing of the show, as well.

Other tasty treats: our trip coincided with the Flower Festival at Epcot, which brings a pop-up tasting shack to each of the country pavilions. I didn’t end up eating at any of these, but I did snag a Mickey boba tea twice in China. Other treat highlights include: a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich, the famous Carrot Cake whoopie – now found only at the Starbucks in Hollywood Studios, and a double trip to Dole Whip. (Pro-tip: the new mobile ordering in the parks is actually kind of amazing because nobody has figured it out yet. You can mobile order your dole whip, skip the line, walk up to the mobile order counter, and they make it fresh for you right when you arrive.)

In my tourist uniform.

The glory that is DOLE WHIP float. (I had it twice.)

Making a point to make every photo a great one. That’s me with my hands up.

On Safari. Making new friends.

Reluctantly I re-entered the real world and returned home.

Good Eating: after returning from Disney, I ordered both a Freshly box (prepared meals) and Blue Apron box to ease my re-entry. In hindsight, I should have probably just hit up Trader Joe’s and gone with some quick staples. My first experience with Freshly wasn’t great (I’ll do a round up post after my second – and likely final – box.) Nevertheless, here are some of the highlights of my past few weeks of meals.

Sirloin Steak over Broccoli and Spinach Artichoke Dip. One of my easiest Trader Joe’s hacks: take one of their frozen Spinach artichoke dips, and mix with a bag of organic broccoli. It makes for a delicious creamy base for steak, chicken, or frankly, is satisfying eaten on it’s own.

Jaleo-Inspired Meatballs with Pan Con Tomate & Saffron Mayo: hands down the best thing that came in my Blue Apron box.

Enjoy Life Chocolate Protein Bites – these are currently $1.29 for a bag at Trader Joe’s. After the first time I bought them, they were out of stock at Trader Joe’s for weeks because of fulfillment issues, but are now back. With 8 grams of protein per bag, they’ve been a not-too-sweet chocolate treat for dessert that I’ve been enjoying.

Omelettes with lots of herbs. I added some Applegate turkey breakfast sausages in here – breakfast for dinner!

Soba with miso butter, garlic, and parmesan. The occasional night strikes where I crave a big bowl of pasta. This is the result.

Home, and order restored.

Have a good week!

xo, Sam

Good Things 2019 Week 9

the second lunch bertram in his sunpatch

It’s a little astounding to me that we’ve reached March already. Spring was peeking out, and then we got a snow storm – there was almost a foot last night here, and I’ve finally dug myself out and acquired pet friendlier ice melt, so my day is a success. 

A part of my regular routine this year has been sticking to a “weekend template”. At some point, I realized that 90% of what I do each weekend is the same – home chores, errands, business work, and if I add in dedicated time for weekly creativity, I get to enjoy more of the things that I love to do on weekends: creative dates with myself, sketching, reading, etc. 

I also set aside some time this weekend to do a little recap on my month before writing out my March Intentions – and then proceeded to get very little actually done because I was under the weather. That’s how it goes sometimes. 

{Good Things} 

This was the first week in a while that I found myself scratching my head at what I actually did this week when I sat down to write. (One of the reasons I do this exercise: we tend to forget things that we’ve completed and keep hold of things that were unfinished. This is good for keeping track of things in progress, not great for gratitude and appreciating the good stuff.) But despite feeling that I did nothing, I actually got quite a lot in. 

Gave Blood – the last few attempts at doing this were a resounding failure (due largely to dehydration), so I was thrilled that hydrating well this time around gave me a quick 7 minute bag fill. If you have the capacity and ability to do so, this is a quick and easy way to help save lives.  Also: my favorite part about giving blood is that somehow, the conversations always turn to food? (I have no idea..) But while I was there, several of us had a long conversation about using dried fruit in home made meatballs. While I’m a raisin hater, I can concede that a golden raisin in a meatball is probably a good idea. (Also, I ended up eating oreos and two bags of cheez-its’ because my decision making capacity was strengthened by blood loss.)

the second lunch giving blood

Fitness, this week:

  • Monday: a mile outside, Ompractice Yoga Nidra with Amy. 
  • Tuesday: OrangeTheory
  • Wednesday: Foundations with Traci at 7:30 on Ompractice (60 minutes) 
  • Thursday: Yoga for Tight Shoulders and Neck at 12:30 ET with Niki on Ompractice (amazing!) and another OrangeTheory! 
  • Friday: a “rest day mile”
  • Saturday: was feeling a little run down, so ended up doing another rest day mile and a 20 minute Peloton ride. 
  • Sunday: “recovery mile” outdoors.

Do yoga with me! A quick note because I’m so proud of this work we are doing and would love to see more of you on the mat with me: annual memberships on Ompractice are only $149.99 right now – unlimited live yoga and meditation classes with teachers who see you. (That’s less than two months cost of a regular studio membership!) 

This was a StitchFix reject – didn’t love the shape, and it was a little too short for my long torso – but loved the color of this vest! If you want to try out StitchFix, here’s my affiliate code and we both get a $25 credit.

the second lunch stitchfix pass

Creative Date: because of my schedule and generally being under the weather, I took myself to see Free Solo on the big screen.  The film documents Alex Honnold’s (successful) attempt at Free Solo’ing El Capitan (ie: rock climbing up thousands of feet with no rope). We all know he made it, but I had to practice ALL of my meditative skills to keep from losing it during this film. If you can watch it on the big screen, do!

Food Shopping Special: I took myself to Russo’s in Watertown for some extra fresh vegetables and little treats. They always have a delightful assortment of hard to find vegetables, fruits, and goodies. And beautiful flowers! I get most of my plants there in the summer.

the second lunch russos finds
the second lunch Russos watertown produce
the second lunch russos orchids

{Good Eating}

For the past week, I’ve been ravenous. It’s taken me 20+ years to realize that yes, this is a cyclical hormonal shift that happens pretty much the same week every month. Funny how that works. Fortunately, there were plenty of good meals coming out of my kitchen. Here’s some of them:  

A cafe au lait at George Howell. Somehow the perfect beverage before the snow storm.

Tikka Masala Chicken and Tofu with arugula and lime salad. I keep a jar of Patak’s Concentrated Tikka Masala Curry Paste in my fridge to make quick flavorful meals out of leftovers. I had some tofu and some leftover roasted chicken that needed eating, so I heated them up with some curry paste and a little bit of yogurt.

the second lunch chicken and tofu tikka masala with arugula

Hodo Soy Moroccan Tofu Cubes over rice with arugula salad. I’m not a frequent soy eater, but last week I went to the grocery store hungry, and told myself I could purchase anything as long as it was protein rich. So I came home with a lot of tofu. These were a little bit on the bland side, which was disappointing!

the second lunch morroccan tofu on rice

Shan-a-Punjab takeout. On Thursday, my parents came to spend time with their granddog, and we ordered Indian takeout and I introduced them to their first episode of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. (How often is too often with Shan-a-Punjab deliver? Asking for a friend.)

the second lunch shan a punjab

Trader Joe’s Chicken Piccata over herb and cucumber salad. This is one of my favorites from the fresh case – not too lemony, not too salty. While it’s technically convenience food, I really enjoy these for lunches.

Chicken Piccata over Herb Salad

Snack: Black Forest Ham on Lucky 7 Bread – I ran out of the St. Mang Rubius cheese I was spreading on the bread in the earlier part of the week, but ended up just going french and making myself a beurre jambon with my salted sweet cream butter from my Walden share.

Ham Sandwich

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Lobster. I picked up Andrea Nguyen’s Vietnamese Food Any Day cookbook, and before getting to cook a recipe, found myself craving my favorite Bun. I grabbed her Nuoc Cham recipe, and made these PERFECT rice noodles. (This was my FAVORITE DISH ALL WEEK.)

the second lunch lobster vietnamese rice noodles

Mediterranean Chicken Bowl with Baba Gannoush and Labne. Trader Joe’s has Shawarma marinated chicken thighs that are delicious. I cooked some up and made a salad bowl with eggplant, a cucumber and herb salad with tomatoes, and a bit of Samira’s olive labne. Also wildly delicious.

the second lunch mediterranean chicken bowl with baba gannoush and labne

Fish Curry with Cabbage and Herb Salad. When I order from Shan-a-punjab, I usually order the side of masala sauce to make a new meal later in the week and extend my gustatory joy. I opted for a fish curry, which I served with a lime punched cabbage salad that I adapted from Niloufer King’s My Bombay Kitchen.

Fish Curry and Cabbage Salad

And for your weekly Bertram (part deux) – here’s the little buddy with a sleepy lip, not interested in getting up in the morning.

Bertram the Frenchie Sleepy Lip

Happy Week!

xo Sam

Good Things 2019: Week 8

the second lunch weekend brunch

This weekend I found myself slightly under the weather – likely a factor of working out in a group fitness environment several days a week… and having a co-founder who has a toddler! On the plus side though, my immune system is as fortified as ever, and illnesses these days are really only days of feeling a little under the weather, rather than anything more sinister. After a generally chronically ill childhood and teenage years, I don’t take this for granted!

{Good Things} 

I found myself resting more this week – after a couple of full months, this week had packed days of hard work on Ompractice, coupled with more intentional downtime. More reading, a little bit more time in front of the television, and delivery instead of a night out. As I get older, I continue to double down on my self care practices to make sure that I have the energy to do the work I want to do in the world. It’s *so important*.

While keeping the relaxation intentional, I still fit in daily workouts, a combination of some higher impact fitness classes, relaxing yoga classes, and my daily mile streak. 

Fitness, this week: 

  • Monday: a mile outside. 
  • Tuesday: OrangeTheory
  • Wednesday: OrangeTheory and Foundations with Traci at 7:30 on Ompractice (60 minutes) 
  • Thursday: Yoga for Tight Shoulders and Neck at 12:30 ET with Niki on Ompractice (amazing!) and another OrangeTheory! 
  • Friday: a “rest day mile”
  • Saturday: OrangeTheory – I’ve been going to the 9:15 am class, and it feels good to get it done!
  • Sunday: “recovery mile” outdoors.

Out of the house

the second lunch cambridge naturals the coconut cult

A quick trip to Boston Landing – for a pit stop at the new location of Cambridge Naturals, and a cup of coffee at Kohi. In addition to a FULL STOCK of pretty much every natural food product I’m ever on the hunt for, I was delighted to see the wildly overpriced but delicious Coconut Cult yogurts at Cambridge Naturals. I resisted ($27.99 will do that to you – hello two dollar coastal mark-up), and instead filed away the note to self, and grabbed myself a Topo Chico for the road. At Kohi I picked up a Cortado (They have Tandem Coffee!) About two dozen banana breads were coming out of the oven just as I arrived, and the place smelled like heaven.

the second lunch kohi cortado boston landing and topo chico

A Target trip – notable because I had a definitive shopping list and left without making ANY extraneous purchases. Can you believe it? (I could barely believe it myself.)

This post on building Willpower: we’ve been blogging some longform articles on Ompractice this month! Chris did the heavy lifting on this one, but it was a collaborative effort! 10 concrete tips on how to build and strengthen your willpower.

A manicure – after months going without, I finally have been working on making my hands presentable again. I took myself to a Miniluxe treat on Friday night, getting my favorite “Rodeo” color. (Side note: I always thought it was Rodeo – like the cowboys… until I realized one day that it’s supposed to be the classy Ro-de-o drive. I choose to be cowboy classy.)  My first trip back since having to pause my $65/month unlimited mani membership because I couldn’t make the time for trips. Locals, this is a *steal*.

the second lunch miniluxe rodeo manicure

Watching: On the plus side, more downtime means more progress towards my 52 new to me movies this year. (Preferably without a cell phone in hand.) In preparation for the newest theater release, I caught up with How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2. Both very cute! 

On television: I finally succumbed to Russian Doll on Netflix. (I’ll join the chorus: it’s SO GOOD!)  And a few minute into the Oscars, I decided to actually turn it on and watch – despite having avoided it for many years. Aside from the rotten best picture vote, I was happy to see some of my favorites win awards – including Olivia Colman for her role as queen Anne in The Favourite, Into the Spider-verse, and Ruth Carter for the costumes in Black Panther, and Hannah Beachler for the Production Design in Black Panther. I’m so excited for Bao – I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s at the top of my queue!

davis museum tour lavinia fontana

Creative Date: 

On Saturday, I went for a museum tour at the Davis Museum at Wellesley – actually the home of my first museum internship (I worked in Development), and where I spent four years on the Davis Museum Student Advisory Committee. I hadn’t been back for years, and was thoroughly thrilled at the updates. For anyone local to the Boston area, the museum is truly a gem. One of the missions of the director of the Davis is to update the museum to better represent the diversity of the student body – and this is clearly seen in both acquisitions and the exhibitions on view.  
We went on a tour of women artists, and I spent another hour wandering through the galleries.

There’s a phenomenal new exhibit – Art_Latin_America, including a wide selection of protest and propaganda art, that I highly recommend visiting! 
Here’s a peek at some of the art: 

Next museums on my list? Thanks to some great Twitter suggestions this week, here are some next ones for my list. I’ve been to many of these, but most it’s been over a decade! Who wants to join me?

A few suggestions that I’ve been to recently: the Whaling Museum in New Bedford (I went this summer!), and the Seacoast Science Center in Rye., NH. I’m also trying to work my way through some of the Historic Houses and Trustees Properties. And many thanks to all of you who chimed in. You know who you are!

Three other smart suggestions I’m bookmarking: getting a museum membership high enough to provide reciprocal membership at other museums (it’s.. possible I have that already.) This resource to look up participating museums: NARM – the North American Reciprocal Museum Association. And the Highland Street Foundation which sponsors free museum Fridays in the summer.

{Good Eating} I found myself eating a lot of leftovers this week.

the second lunch algerian jewish beef onion coriander stew clifford wright real stews

Algerian Jewish Beef, Onion, and Coriander Stew. From Clifford Wright’s Real Stew – a cookbook I’d highly recommend. This was INCREDIBLE. Here’s the recipe: I used ground beef instead of stew meat, and canned diced tomatoes, but everything else stayed the same!

Chocolate “Dessert” Hummus. Okay… don’t hate me. I bought two different kinds – Joseph’s and Boar’s Head, and they are both great, and I’ve been eating them after dinner, with a bunch of collagen hydrolysate stirred in as a end of the day protein boost.

the second lunch david lebovitz chicken lady chicken

Chicken Lady Chicken from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. I marinated this gorgeous bird for three days in the wildly flavorful marinade, and then roasted it in the oven. The recipe calls for spatchcocking, but I wanted to cook it in my Breville toaster, so upright she went. Recipe here. Giving into a meme, I served it with generously buttered noodles with parsley. Meme – worth reading the tweets: https://www.eater.com/2019/2/11/18220148/generously-buttered-parsleyed-noodles-meme

the second lunch generously buttered noodles and chicken lady chicken

Hodo Sesame Yuba Strips and a soft cooked egg. I was surprised to see West Coast tofu maker Hodo in my local Whole Foods, and couldn’t resist. These were nutty and good.

the second lunch barbecue pulled chicken and turkish beans over kale

Barbecue pulled chicken and Turkish beans over a bed of kale. A bit of a cultural mashup, this made for a satisfying dinner. 

the second lunch turkish manti trader joes cauliflower gnocchi

Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi deconstructed Turkish Mantı with ground beef, yogurt garlic sauce, and urfa pepper chile butter drizzle. This was a genius move on my part – hitting all my favorite flavors of one of my favorite dishes, but with my favorite TJ’s vegetal freezer item: the cauliflower gnocchi. 12/10 will make again.

the second lunch shan a punjab butter chicken takeout

Shan-a-Punjab Takeout butter chicken, raita, garlic naan, and potato naan. A masala chai, and kheer for dessert. (I have to restrain myself from ordering this three times a week.)

the second lunch soba stir fry with kimchi

A somewhat disappointing stir fry with soba, tofu, and tahini.  (What I should have done was made the Otsu recipe from 101 cookbooks…alas.

Brunch: lucky 7 grain toast with Bavarian Rubius cheese, applegate maple chicken sausage, and some soft eggs.  (At the top of the post.)

A bowl of mac and cheese. I don’t think I actually managed to take a picture of it, because I was hungry, tired, and under the weather. I stirred in a spoonful of Trader Joe’s Garlic Spread-Dip (which is basically Aioli), because, why the heck not? 

Here’s to a good week!
xo Sam