Good Things: 2019 Week 5

the second lunch winston flowers delivery purple flowers

There’s something incredibly satisfying to recapping my week by looking through the photos on my phone these days. This is my blog version of a regular gratitude practice – something I’ve committed to over the past few years and can’t recommend enough in order to really appreciate the good things in life. (And for that matter, I appreciate each and ever one of you reading this. Hello!)

{Week 5}  Good Things

  • a gorgeous floral delivery from Winston Flowers – my aunt and uncle are excellent at pick me up gifts. These purple flowers are stunning, and they’ll last for a while!
  • my curl quest – last week I ran out of conditioner, and decided to go wild testing out a bunch of new options. My typical go-to is Acure, which I pick up at Whole Foods. But to embrace my curls, I know that there are better options, so I polled some curly friend (and the cashier at Marty’s) and ended up getting a bunch of sample size – Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter, Kinky Curly, Cantu, and the Trader Joe’s Shea Butter and coconut oil hair mask. I’ll keep you posted.
the second lunch curly girl conditioner haul
  • Movement, amplified. In my quest to “spend out” – gift certificates, passes I haven’t used, memberships, I realized that I had a 10-pack to OrangeTheory that is going to expire this month. So I took my first class on Friday, another today, and I have my next two scheduled this week. Not sure how this is going to affect my year long run streak – so I’m going to be mindful of not overdoing it.
  • Yoga: four times! To ensure my mobility, stretching, and well, because I founded the company and get all the free yoga and meditation I want: I took FOUR! live classes on Ompractice this week. I’d love for you to join me! Unlimited membership is only $5 for your first month, and I’d be happy to meet up virtually for a class on me! Here was my lineup:
    • Yoga Nidra with Amy a cross between yoga and meditation – all about conscious relaxation, a chance to renew, and recharge yourself. Mondays and Wednesdays at 1 pm ET, 10 am PT. (Amy was in the polar vortex of the midwest while I was complaining about our 10 degrees…)
    • Yoga for Office Workers is a 25-minute break from the world. Tuesdays at 3:30 pm ET, 12:30 pm PT with Charina. Harkening back to my Runkeeper stretch-o-clocks! (Charina was actually in her “outside office” for class because…. southern California..)
    • Chair Yoga with Marie. Chair yoga is great for anyone, but is especially recommended for those who want a gentle practice. One of the surprising things was how much I enjoyed seated sun salutations!
    • Yoga for Low Back Pain with Traci – a perfect low impact class. Thursdays at 7:30 pm ET, 4:30 pm PT. Also – Traci was a sport for not laughing at me as Bertram decided that instead of his usually nap, he was going to “assist” me by licking me, sitting on the mat, and generally speaking being adorable but in the way.
ompractice amit ray quote
  • Two large library hauls: one of my favorite “activities of abundance” (a.k.a. making your self feel better through shameless acquisition without affecting your wallet) is checking out a huge stack of library books. I had to go to two different libraries this week. (On the literary note, I had about 50 recommendations from friends that I was going to post here but the list was too long. I’ll make a separate post if you need ideas of good reading!)
  • Team Retrospective: each week, one of my favorite personal activities is to reflect over the week with three questions: what worked well, what didn’t work well, what do I want to stop doing? This is straight from the “agile” playbook that most tech companies use to keep their teams celebrating their wins (hello, gratitude practice), and learning from their misses. We had a *great* team Retro this week!
  • New folks on my weekly *Do The Thing virtual co-working. Each week I gather together friends (from around the world!) for a weekly digital co-working session on Wednesdays at 1:30 – 3pm Eastern. We go around, each share what we want to get done, and then I mute everyone and we get to work. Want to participate? Sign up here.
  • On that note, I had an “in-person” friend come to participate in *Do the Thing hour this week. Amanda came with lunch she had prepared for us, and work to do! Salad (TJ’s cruciferous crunch), roasted delicata squash, warm farro, freshly made black beans, an herb-buttermilk vinaigrette, pickled shallots, an avocado, and tomatoes. I added a little bit of chicken and cilantro from my fridge. My friends are amazing.
the second lunch farro and black bean salad with avocado vinaigrette

{Delicious Meals:} 

Got ahead of myself there with a delicious meal in good things! There were so many more!

This was another week absolutely smitten with Alison Roman. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve cooked this many recipes out of a cookbook in years. If you don’t have your own copy of Dining In, RUN!

On that note, I think I’ve cooked more from cookbooks in general this month than I have in the past five years.

Here’s some of the highlights this week:

Takeout From Kimchipapi. Kimchipapi is new to Allston on Harvard street. Korean fusion poke bowls and other good stuff. (#SendNoodz.) Recommend! I had the crab fries – thin fries topped w/ crab salad, spicy mayo, eel sauce, fish eggs, scallion, and black sesame. And then a make my own poke bowl with kale noodles (thin starchy noodles), spicy tuna tartar, salmon, crab salad. Pickled radish, pickled ginger, kimchi, fresh corn and carrot, spicy mayo, ponzu sauce, fish eggs and roasted seaweed. I regret nothing.

Black bean soup with chimichurri chicken. No shame, my secret recipe is that I use Goya black bean soup in the red can. It’s excellent. 

Chicken Tikka Masala with chicken thighs arugula salad with mint, basil, and cilantro. There’s no recipe here. Truthfully, I ordered a container of sauce from Shan-a-punjab, and then cooked some chicken thighs in it. Paired with an arugula salad with mint, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. My salads are usually half greens half herbs these days.

the second lunch butter chicken and arugula herb salad

Alison Roman’s turmeric roasted carrots with seeds and labne. This was *outrageously good*. I used Samira’s Homemade labne with black olives as the base for the recipe. If you are in New England, I highly recommend picking up some at Whole Foods!

the second lunch Alison Roman Dining In Turmeric Roasted Carrots with seeds and labne

Alison Roman’s scallops with corn, hazelnuts, and brown butter chermoula. Over another arugula salad with cilantro and some lime. Another complete stunner of a dish. Also: the key to golden scallops is to NOT TOUCH THEM when they are cooking in the pan. Look at these beauties.

the second lunch alison roman dining in scallops with corn hazelnuts and brown butter chermoula

Alison Roman’s fennel rubbed pork – so, technically I did a mashup of two of her recipes here because I had pork tenderloin and not chops, and wanted to roast everything while luxuriating in a long shower with one of my new conditioners. The pork marinates in advance in a seed bath of glory. I opted for the double fennel situation, because… why not?

the second lunch alison roman dining in fennel rubbed pork with fennel

Chrissy Teigen’s Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe from Cravings. You guys. This dish. Here’s the goodness: lots of crispy pancetta, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, red pepper, lemon juice, cheese, more cheese. And then you add arugula for virtue and bite. The recipe is here, but I recommend the cookbook.

the second lunch chrissy teigen cravings lemony arugula cacio pepe 1
the second lunch chrissy teigen cravings lemony arugula cacio pepe 1

Arugula salad with avocado, green goddess, and marinated anchovies. Apparently I’ve just been craving arugula for weeks and am finally fulfilling my cravings.

the second lunch arugula salad with avocado green goddess and marinated anchovies

Well, that’s about it for this week!

I’ll leave you with this week’s best dog portrait: Bertram, in his element.

the second lunch bertram the frenchie in gray

Here’s to a great week! –– xo Sam

PS: every month or so I send out a newsletter of wellness wisdom, good things, reading, and more. I’m due for a new one imminently.

If you want to subscribe, just sign up below!

2019: Weeks 1-3

Well hello there! A fond dispatch from my couch, where I’m snuggling with my pup, avoiding both shoveling and the outdoor mile that’s going to happen as soon as it stops sleeting. So here I am, taking a moment to pause and reflect on the first few weeks of the year.

2019, so far: there has been hard work, discomfort, challenges, and growth, but also, January has been full of running, reading, writing, watching new films and taking myself on creative dates. I’ve been reading new cookbooks, and cooking with intention.  I’ve been actually cooking from my cookbooks, which I must admit is a bit of a new revelation. Normally I read them, absorb, and create something from the ether – admittedly, having someone tell me what to do in the kitchen via their “rules” a.k.a. a recipe – is a lovely change of pace.

alison roman citrus slow salmon dining in the second lunch

My resolutions this year are not grand or particularly audacious – they are simply to continue to do more of the things that I love to do, do more work to discover those things, to continue the habits that give me energy, and reduce the activities that drain me. (I’m looking at you, endless scrolling through my phone.)

Life is complicated, at times challenging. My year so far hasn’t been without these things. But, it’s easy to dwell in negativity, unless you cultivate the habit of focusing on the good things – and that’s just what I do.

To that end, one of my daily activities is practicing gratitude – taking snapshots of my everyday life on my phone, writing out the things that I’m thankful for. Noticing more. Trying, as best as possible to fill my life with little things (and big things) to be thankful for.  

That said, it’s no surprise that 60% of the photos of my phone are of my dog.  

But the first few weeks of the year I’ve been good to myself, and my hours have been filled with many good things, big and small. Here are some of them.  

{Week 1}

  • I started the year with a 5k race. I’ve run the same race several years in a row, and I love the ritual of lining up at the same starting line, with my new intentions, and a year’s worth of improvement. Last year it was about 13 degrees, this year, closer to 60. I beat the past several years of times, my reward for a year of running a daily mile in 2018.
  • Inspired by my friend Christina, I started a yearly film project – a spreadsheet where I track the movies I watch, with a goal of 52 (new to me) movies this year. Do you have any suggestions for me? So far, some of the better ones have been Quartet, A Man Called Ove, and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. 
  • Yes, I’ve been watching Marie Kondo. I came across an interesting conversation questioning the choice of translation of “tokimeku” literally (flutter), which is somewhat passive, to it’s permutation for the US audience as “spark joy” (active).
  • My co-founder Chris gave me an ivy plant of significant provenance. It’s living in our new office space in Springfield at the home of Valley Venture Mentors. 
  • My weekly creative date: I took myself to the Museum of Fine Arts for the final weekend of the Winnie the Pooh exhibit. It was so utterly charming. 

Delicious meals:

  • Duck breast, over frisée and parsley salad with baby potatoes roasted in the duck fat. (Picture up top.)
  • Delivery: Shan-a-punjab. Butter chicken, garlic naan, masala chai. All of the condiments. 
  • This Instant Pot spaghetti and meat sauce recipe. I used Rao’s and it was startlingly delicious. 
  • Alison Roman’s Slow Salmon with Citrus and Herb Salad from Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. Copious amounts of olive oil, and a winner. 
  • Leftovers: a bowl of quinoa with leftover Slow Salmon, feta, and Trader Joe’s fresh green goddess dressing. 
alison roman dining in citrus slow salmon the second lunch

{Week 2}

  • A dentist appointment. Overcoming fear and dread to take care of those teeth.
  • Our first week in the new office space!
  • My creative date: I took myself out to see Spider-Man, Into the Spider-verse. It was excellent, I highly recommend it. My planned dinner at Cava didn’t pan out (the movie got out too late), so I came home and toasted myself a St. Viateur bagel with cheddar on one half, and Soom chocolate tahini on the other. 
  • Reading: “How to break up with your phone by Catherine Price. I’m not looking to dump the phone all together, but shift to much more mindful usage. This had some pretty good specific tactics. 

Delicious meals:

  • Leftovers: Instant Pot Spaghetti, my favorite Epicurious kale and date salad, and roasted brussels sprouts with lemon tahini dressing. 
  • A food court gyro with rice pilaf and greek salad in Springfield. Surprisingly delicious!
  • Alison Roman’s Paprika-Rubbed Sheet Pan Chicken with Lemon from Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. Repurposed for several meals: as is, the next day with autumn harvest sauce. After that with eggs, and olive labne. And then after making a few different meals, I made stock with the carcass, and am still enjoying it.
alison roman paprika chicken the second lunch

{Week 3}

  • I realized that I could set my computer up with Zoom open to watch my dog sit in the window when I’m at the gym. 
  • I let my curls stay curled. 
  • Another great day at the office. A bonus? Huey sitting behind me. Have I mentioned how much I love my Push Journal? I’ve been using these for much of the past year, and am loving my Turquoise (Ompractice colors!) with rose gold spiral binding. 
  • Creative date: I took myself to the MFA to see the Ansel Adams exhibit (do go!) – fully enjoying an hour an a half of trees, the West, up close, and far off. A few things to note: I was completely captivated by some of the other artists’ works they chose to complement the work of Adams. I’ve been entranced by the work of Laura McPhee for over a decade. Her pieces in here were stunning. Also captivating: the works of Abelardo Morell, making captivating art with overlaying these iconic views with images of the ground. And then finally, this bright pink chromeograph by David Benjamin Sherry of dunes. So good. I’ll note, finally, that the instance of the gift shop at the end of this exhibit was possibly one of the most overtly thematic experiences I’ve seen the MFA attempt.. for better or for worse. I restrained myself from purchasing the faux fur fashion vest or sitting in the Adirondack chairs huffing pine candles. (Topped off the evening with a parking space directly in front of Cava for pickup.) 
Museum of Fine Arts Adams Gift Shop

Delicious Meals:

  • Turkish green beans and zucchini, a love letter to myself from my summer freezer. With feta, yogurt, and soft boiled eggs.
  • Ribollita from Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Pictured above, in the pot. What a beautiful soup with so many layers of flavor. (I’ve been eating it now for days.) 
  • Jossy’s Chicken Liver Curry from the Leon cookbook. (Pictured below.) I didn’t have enough chicken liver, so I added a can of chickpeas. Shout out to Patak’s tikka masala paste, which I ordered from the internet. It’s a pretty glorious base paste. 
  • Alison Roman’s soy brined fish from Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. (I had cod), over leftover cabbage. 
Jossys curry leon coobkook the second lunch

For the rest of today?

I’ll be spending most of it curled up with this one, planning, plotting, and scheming. Here’s to a great week ahead.

Snow Day Feels

Fall Self Care Bingo + November Intentions

Self Care Bingo on My Desk

I had to look it up, today. There are 40 days left of fall. 50 days until 2019 has arrived.

I woke up this morning – for the second time, the first was with the dog needing a 4:45 am potty break, parents of toddlers, I feel for you – and thought, today is a good day to write. So here we are. Writing, like many things, begets writing. So here I am.

We’ve passed Daylight savings, and have been weathering the transition. Fall is usually my favorite season – the lights twinkling through the auburn, red, and golden leaves. Sweaters, and layers, and hot hands slipped into my pockets before heading out into the neighborhood. Walks around the Wellesley campus are spectacular this time of year. In my kitchen, squash gets roasted, the Pot finds itself in use, and I find myself forming a re-acquaintance with hot chocolate and those perfect vegan mini marshmallows from Trader Joe’s. Why they aren’t available year round is a mystery to me.

Truthfully, I haven’t quite found myself feeling the same level of enjoyment of late. After a long stretch of feeling content, I’ve been back feeling less-than, lately. Noticeably abrupt at the changing of seasons, the optimism of summer shifting into a feeling of stuck-ness, of in-between. While this has been one of the most full years of my life professionally, it has also been challenging, and come fall, I’ve found myself squirreling away energy to make it through the days.

Friendships and relationships have suffered. A sense of ease has been missing, but somehow, anyway I can, I know I’ll find myself out the other end soon. Whatever that other end may look like. And it’s hard not knowing, isn’t it? So when I feel that feeling of un-ease, that’s where I know to double down on my self care – to focus not on the past or an uncertain future, but the present, right here, right now. Self-care is a form of meditation. It’s doing the things that we can do, in this moment. To be present, and to feel rooted, in the now.

This year, like last, I’ve been slow to post my seasonal self-care ritual: my Fall Self Care Bingo. But we have 40 days left of the season, and the board is a great way to help fill your days with the goodness needed to get through it all, without forgetting to notice the present moment. Hopefully it will bring you some enjoyment as it does to me. I think I’ve missed the boat on apple picking this year, but the rest are totally doable as the season goes on.

Grab your copy to download and print here:

[Writing as Self Care]

I’ve been thinking about ways to write more, as a form of creative outlet, catharsis. Each morning, I write to myself. Long handed morning pages – not always three, but at least one, in my notebook. This practice keeps me focused. Each morning, I also start with gratitude. A list of three things, or ten, that I’m grateful for.

I’ve taken back up with The Artists Way – I pick up the book and put it down again every so often, picking up on the creative exercises from Julia Cameron’s seminal course in discovering and recovering your creative self. There’s a passage in there that I’ve noted and noted again: Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work or why I am not doing the work.

On this note, I’ve wanted to write more. I suspect that you might want to write more as well. To do this, we need to surround ourselves with others who encourage us to do the work. As we lead our way into 2019, I’m hoping to do this with like the like-minded.

I’ve contemplated forming a writing circle that meets in person, but think I’d like to start the way I know best: a weekly video call, along the lines of my format for “Do the Thing!” hour – we gather, let each other know what we’re working on, and get to work with our pencils to the page. The idea for ‘Write the Thing!’ will be to meet weekly or every other week at a time that I’ll hold as consistent as I can.

Does this interest you? Would you like to be part of my writing circle? Just send me a note, and I’ll add you to the list of writers, and we’ll make this thing happen.

[Reading as Self Care]

I’ve started putting together my reading list for November and December, to round out the year with positive influence on the page. This year I’ve read less than last, but I always boost up the last few months. Here’s what’s planned so far. Several are chosen from my Personal Development reading list. I always add a handful of new ones as I read along.

  • Brené Brown: Dare to Lead
  • Steinbeck: Travels with Charley in Search of America
  • Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  • Jasmine Guillory: The Proposal
  • Dana Velden: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen
  • Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carloton Abrams, Dalai Lama: The Book of Joy
  • Trevor Noah: Born a Crime
  • Celeste Ng: Little Fires Everywhere
  • Atul Gawande: Being Mortal
  • Oliver Sacks: Musicophilia

Missing – some good YA fantasy to take me through the holidays. It’s possible that I’ll just do what I do every year and re-read Sabriel. Do you have any favorites I shouldn’t miss?

[Food as Self Care]

This blog, of course, started out as a meditation on eating – a thing to do during my transition to living in San Francisco. At the time, I was full of wonder, but homesick, finding solace in cookbooks, my neighborhood, and everything I could get my hands on at the Farmers market. That feeling of grounding myself in food is always present. Some days I dream of waking up and checking in for a stage at Noma, giving up all of my responsibilities and peeling a hundred pounds of parsnips to get through a busy shift and feel rooted.

But I’ve resigned myself, for now, to the life of an over-educated home cook. Surrounded by my cookbooks, my days are punctuated by the delivery of my monthly meat share, the weekly pickup of my vegetable CSA, or a trip to Trader Joes for a daily sample for the novelty of the thing. Every so often, I give up on making decisions and try out another meal kit. At first I was ashamed of it, but now I see clearly: sometimes you just need to eat without spending hours debating the merits of one dish over another.

Right now, I’m dabbling with Marley Spoon, the meal kit that Martha Stewart aligned her star power with. A few boxes in, I’ve mixed feelings. The dishes have been decent but not mind blowing (they rarely are). But I’ve appreciated getting to work – spending a little bit more time than normal prepping my dinner, and then sitting down to eat something I wouldn’t have likely chosen for myself.

As for fall foods that I’m looking forward to, there’s still so much to eat and to try. I still go back to the same seasonal list that I wrote about here: delicata squash, squashes of all varietals, apples, boiled cider, apple cider donuts, chili, pumpkin whoopee pies, Turkish pumpkin dessert, persimmons, and my all-time favorite pumpkin chocolate chip bundt.

Happy Fall!

52 Personal Development Books to Read in 2018

Sam Tackeff 2018 Personal Development Reading

Every morning before I start work, I devote an hour to personal development (largely non-fiction) reading while I let my cup of coffee do it’s magical work. Reading is the best way to kickstart my workday – it’s flipping the switch: from brain fog to focus. Sometimes I need a mere 15 minutes, other times, I take the whole hour if I’m enjoying what I’m reading. (On the flip side, I read fiction and cookbooks in the afternoon and evening to wind down.)

Here’s [version one] of my personal development reading list for 2018. I’ll be supplementing this with plenty of fiction (usually YA novels, sci-fi,and fantasy), and other books as I see fit. I typically write out a quarterly reading list that is a little bit more robust with variety, but I wanted to work through these as a starting point. Some of these books I’ve read before, and I’m looking to read with a new lens to apply to my current work. Many are books that I’ve had on my list for years, and feel like I’m at the right moment to actually get what I want out of them.

How did I pick the books? When I sit to create lists like this, I’m interested in hitting on different aspects of “whole being development” so I try to fill up with a series of business, life, psychology, health, financial, self-help, creative and inspirational reading. I find biographies and history particularly stimulating – if anything, reassuring that you don’t have to have it all together to succeed in life…Also, it’s usually a criteria that they don’t suck. If I really hate the book 50 pages in, I can quit.

Next steps for this list: I try to keep my lists updated as I work through them – there’s no hard and fast rule to sticking to what I’ve added on here. I also want to cross check and make sure that I’m reading a good amount of books written by women, POC and global voices. Already this list is skewing a little too male for my preference. Other things notably missing: I’m a little low on health, wellness, and fitness reading – I’ve had trouble finding great books that have come out in the past decade. (Suggestions welcome here!) I’ll update the list as I make adjustments and read through these.

I’m taking any and all suggestions – do you have a favorite I should read? Anything on here that I shouldn’t waste my time with?

Sam Tackeff 2018 Personal Development Reading 2

These categories are… loosely organized here. Several of these books fit into more than one of these categories; the top of the list are one’s I’m going to likely start with in the new year.

Starting Here:
[ ] Tribe of Mentors – Tim Ferriss
[ ] Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World – Gary Vaynerchuk
[ ] The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
[ ] The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson
[ ] The Five Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage – Mel Robbins
[ ] Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink
[ ] Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull
[ ] Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda
[ ] Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! – Tony Robbins
[ ] The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change – Camille Fournier
[ ] Founder at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days – Jessica Livingston

Classic-ish Business:
[ ] How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
[ ] Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini
[ ] The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz
[ ] Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work – Chip and Dan Heath
[ ] How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business – Douglas Hubbard
[ ] The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael Gerber
[ ] What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful – Marshall Goldsmith
[ ] Getting Everything You Can out of All You’ve Got – Jay Abraham

Productivity:
[ ] Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport
[ ] Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown
[ ] Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
[ ] Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done – Jon Acuff
[ ] The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure – Grant Cardone
[ ] Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – Mason Curry
[ ] On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – William Zinsser
[ ] The 80/20 Principle – Richard Koch

Psychology
[ ] The Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker
[ ] Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message – Tara Mohr
[ ] Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel Pink
[ ] Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In – Fisher, Ury, Patton

Finance
[ ] The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy –Stanley and Danko
[ ] The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing – Taylor Larimore

Self–Care/ Better Living:
[ ] Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End – Atul Gawande
[ ] Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Mediation and Practice – Shunryu Suzuki

Happiness:
[ ] Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert
[ ] The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor

Health, Wellness, the Body:
[ ] Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease – Gary Taubes
[ ] Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain – Oliver Sachs

Biography or Autobiographical
[ ] What Happened – Hillary Clinton
[ ] Promise Me Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose – Joe Biden
[ ] Find a Way – Diana Nyad
[ ] Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE – Phil Knight
[ ] Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice – Bill Browder
[ ] The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics – Daniel James Brown

Other:
[ ] Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character – Richard Feynman
[ ] Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu
[ ] Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari ; THEN Homo Deus
[ ] Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
[ ] Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone – Brené Brown
[ ] Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business – Danny Meyer
[ ] Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

Other people’s lists of note which I used for some inspiration while putting together this list:

A few other notes:

On Application: I think it was Darren Hardy who mentioned – you are better off reading one business book and applying it fully than binging on business books and not acting on what you’ve learned. To this end, every book I read I try to apply a portion if not multiple aspects to my work. Most people read and don’t apply what they’ve learned… and that’s a shame. To push myself towards doing more of this, I’ve started taking notes in my books (GASP!), testing and applying.

But sometimes I just read for the sake of reading. One thing that I’ve learned in the past few years is that one of the best results of reading non-fiction is actually just a simple context switch and brain shift in order to get myself going in the morning. So I try to use reading as a multi-purpose tool.

On Writing: The past few years I’ve been trying to commit and re-commit to sharing what I’ve learned from my reading (as opposed to hoarding knowledge.) Each year I try to write more than I did the last. It takes a bit of a mind shift from reading for one’s self, to reading with the intention of sharing the knowledge and learnings. Friends, hold me to this! (Yes, I give you permission to guilt and shame me for not writing about what I’m reading.

Do you have a 2018 reading list? Have you ever done a reading challenge? I’d love to hear about it.

Weekend Reading + The Weekly Meal Plan

Bertram the Frenchie

This weekend, we drove into Boston to take Bertram to the French Bulldog Meetup at Peter’s Park, and hang with my friend Melissa and her pup Bentley. If you haven’t seen dozens of French Bulldogs having a total snort fest; well… it’s an experience! What I lack in extroverted-ness, this little dude makes up for as quite the social butterfly. He makes human and canine friends pretty much every where he goes.

Aside from my role as Bertram’s human, life these past few months has been overwhelmed by business ownership work-mode, a big family loss (my grandmother passed away), and the general craziness of spring time. It’s been hard to sit down to make time for reading, but in a re-commitment to self-care, I made a concerted effort to do so. Here’s a snapshot of my weekend reading.

Weekend Reading

My friend Traca turned me on to the author Dorie Clark, and I’ve been diving into her writing on marketing, branding, and thought leadership. She’s highly prolific on the internet, but I’m a fan of hardcover, so I picked up her 2015 best seller – Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It. I have a bit of an elevator pitch problem as a Jill of All Trades, and have been trying to improve my own messaging around what I do and who I can help – lots of nuggets of wisdom in this one to set me further down the right path.

Truthfully it has been more than a few months since being able to really curl up and dive into a new cookbook, but I’ve been lucky to read my way through two incredible ones over the past few weeks that I can’t not mention here. Both fall into the long-anticipated cookbook category, and neither have disappointed.

The first – Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life – is an incredible team effort by Emily Thelin, featuring Paula‘s incredible life story and recipes, compiled by Toni Tajima, edited by Andrea Nguyen, and shot by Eric Wolfinger. Over a year ago I backed the project on Kickstarter, and had been waiting patiently for it to arrive. (In the mean time, in anticipation, I managed to score a dozen or more Turkish cookbooks from Paula’s own collection which she’s been paring down on eBay…)

Part biography – part recipe book greatest hits; Unforgettable is my favorite type of cookbook – one that I can sit down and read like a novel, featuring tried and true dish inspiration that connects deeply with time and place. The biography gripping – as a pioneer of middle eastern and mediterranean cookbooks, Paula has long been one of my heroes. Her cookbooks are almost all on my shelves, and yet in each page of Unforgettable I learned so much more – from her persistent reinvention, to her struggles with early onset Alzheimer’s. Truly thankful to Emily and team – this book is a gem. (As is Paula – if you aren’t following her on Twitter, you should be!)

The second – is Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering The Elements of Good Cooking, which I’ve been waiting patiently for since she’d come bounding into Omnivore around seven years ago telling me all about how she was going to write this cookbook, scheming, and dreaming.

Now, I’m actually fairly certain we had one such conversation in November of 2010, right around the time that I was working with my friend Karen on her cookbook Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It because in that conversation I was so amazed by her energy and enthusiasm that I distinctly remember going home feeling empowered and writing the ENTIRE outline, syllabus, and recipe index for my Turkish cookbook. Which.. of course is sitting in my Google Docs.. and hasn’t been written yet. Alas, c’est la vie!

But I mention this not to feel sorry for myself, but because seven years is quite a long time to wait for a cookbook, but this book does in fact, live up to the wait.

Salt Fat Acid Heat Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is part textbook (in the best way possible), part master recipe guideline and inspiration. And filled with Wendy MacNaughton’s cheeky hand drawn illustrations. The entire first half of the book is Samin being Samin – an incredible teacher and guide, with infectious enthusiasm for food, good cooking, and good eating. While I consider myself an adept cook, each section was filled with new easy ways to think about cooking – written in a manner that would teach and inspire novice and expert alike. How she *actually* manages to pull this off, I have no idea – this is so hard to do and it’s brilliant. (You’ll likely want to grab a copy, and go ahead and buy a second one to give to someone as a gift.)

And most importantly for me it provided a wealth of inspiration for this week’s meal plan! The best reminders from the book this week – the power of salt – and how important it is to salt your food early. In two weeks, it’s changed my habits completely – and the food all tastes more delicious.

:: The Weekly Meal Plan : Week of May 21st, 2017 ::

This week’s prep: hard boiling eggs for snacks. I bought myself a new gadget – despite committing to avoiding the purchase of uni-tasking – a bright turquoise Dash Go Egg Cooker. Cute, no?

Fitness and nutrition: I’m heading into week 4 of my online fitness bootcamp; going strong! We follow a carb cycling plan, which focuses on timing meals to match our training days to ensure we are eating enough to support our fitness levels to allow for both fat loss and muscle gain. It’s a more mindful way of eating to support athleticism.

Sunday: Braised beef, tiny baby potatoes, and sprouts. This meat and potatoes dinner is the ultimate comfort food. (Cheat sheet: buy the Braised Beef with Demi Glace from Trader Joe’s. It’s divine.)

Monday (low carb): Samin’s citrus salmon, avocado salad, and steamed broccoli. I get wild salmon, either frozen sockeye, or if the fresh catch looks good and is on sale, treat myself to King salmon.

Tuesday (low carb): Samin’s glazed five-spice chicken + bright Asian slaw. I’m always a sucker for five spice.

Wednesday: Turkish taskebab with tomato rice. This is a family favorite – a meaty tomato-ey braised stew.

Thursday: Jamie Oliver’s Aegean Kakavia. Fish stew from his travels cookbook. As we creep onto summer, I find myself consistently craving Mediterranean food.

Friday: I have a credit to Sweetgreen; I’m likely to pick up a salad; but honestly, I’m treating Friday like a free spot this week.

Saturday: out! We’ll be at a wedding. Bonus, they’ll have Middle Eastern catering, which is pretty much my jam.

2017 Reading List; Part One

2017 Q1 Reading List

(There are affiliate links in this post.)

I am a voracious reader. One of my favorite ways to transition to a new season is to making myself a list of great books to read. I see it as a personal syllabus – you are what you read (and subsequently act upon). The syllabus in itself is a great art – What do I want to learn? Who is the best person to teach it to me? Whose words will inspire me to act? I usually sit down with a list of topics that I’d like to delve into, and take great pleasure in searching for the perfect book to add. I’ll take a second look over my list to make sure that I have representation by women and POC’s.

Here’s what is on my list in the coming months. A few are re-reads related to projects I’m working on, another note is that I don’t typically list out my cookbooks, and I read dozens of them a season. I typically use this as a starting point for requesting books from the library, and usually manage to squeeze in a handful of last minute un-planned reads as well. After each read, I spend just a little bit of time debriefing: writing out my takeaways, and acknowledging the things that resonated and piqued my curiosity.

We Should All Be Feminists
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work
by Matthew McKay

The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy
by Lewis Howes

Personal Kanban: Mapping Work Navigating Life
by Jim Benson and Tonianne Berry

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
by Oliver Sacks

H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook
by Dana Velden

Yes, Chef
by Marcus Samuelsson

Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa
by Haruki Murakami

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek

The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
by Darren Hardy

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity
by Ryan Holiday

Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You
by William Burnett

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley
by Antonio Garcia Martinez

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel García Márquez

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
by Angela Duckworth

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
by Brian Grazer

Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want
by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

Shaping Success (dog training)
by Susan Garrett

What are you reading this winter?

Is there anything brilliant that I should add to my list?