Weekly Good Things – Week 51

Abbreviated Good Things!

Cross-Posted to my Substack, my new weekly Newsletter. (Sign up for goodness in your inbox directly!)

Welcome to another weekly episode of Good Things where I give you a peek into my everyday life during the week, and roundup my good links, ideas, books, and more.

Abbreviated version tonight – I hope you are all having a lovely and relaxed holiday weekend. I wanted to drop in with a quick hello!

Good Things This Week

🖼 Creative Input: A quick trip to the Museum of Fine Arts. I’d been meaning to go see the Fashioned by Sargent exhibit before it closes in a few weeks, and it didn’t disappoint. In 2024, I’m going to prioritize more quick museum trips, even if it means just popping in for an hour for inspiration.

Tiny Treasures: The Magic of Miniatures. You’ve heard of Fabergé eggs, but have you seen his miniature bulldog, Cody? (This was in the miniatures exhibit, which left me rationalizing a collection of more tiny objects.)

Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances. There’s an exhibit by the late Canadian artist Matthew Wong which is really quite stunning. He died at 35. I love some of the inspiration from artists like Kusama (which you can really see in this one.)

Creative Participation! There was an interactive part of the exhibit where you could write a poem. I spent a couple of minutes going through the thick stack of patron contributions. Some of them were truly delightful. Some of them were as entertaining as you’d think giving a crowd writing instruments could be.

Take a seat. The MFA has a collection of chairs in the permanent collection throughout the museum that you can actually sit on. This pair of Conoid chairs were created by George Nakashima and are in the Toshiko Takaezu exhibit in the new wing on the top floor. They are *wildly* comfortable.

Toshiko Takaezu was a ceramist, but perhaps more interestingly she was an artist who worked in a range of mediums, inspiring innovative techniques. I enjoyed the layout of this exhibit which included photographs, video, and sound.

🍫 Chocolate Treats: checking off another item on my December intentions list – a fancy box of Burdick’s chocolates, acquired. Bonus: I got a spot directly in front of the store. After not eating much of anything for an entire week while my mouth healed from a tea burn, I managed to also get myself a warm dark hot chocolate which was the first food in days I finally enjoyed!

⏲ Time to Bake: Cocoa Gingerbread. I loosely adapted this recipe in the NYtimes, adding cocoa and chocolate chips a la Nigella Lawson. It tastes better on day two! I don’t bake often, but when I do, I’m always decently pleased with myself.

A smattering of other good things:

  • 🛁 Watch: Saltburn (only if you like movies from A24 or other arts films and be prepared to be… mildly disturbed.) I enjoyed the movie, but I’m *really* enjoying watching reaction videos to the film. (I’ve also broken down and am watching Reacher, a show about a man who solves problems with his large size.)
  • 📚 Reading: Kim in the West’s The Meth Lunches about poverty and hunger in America.
  • 🗑 Stop Doing: I deleted Cats and Soup and Two Dots from my phone. I like playing small video games and idlers occasionally while I listen to audiobooks, and then I wake up one day and am done (for the best!)
  • 🌱 Plant Lady Life. Patiently waiting for my waxed amaryllis to bloom. (There’s still time to grab one at Trader Joe’s). I took in my little succulent garden a few weeks ago from my front stoop, and they are thriving on the bookshelf.

A quote to internalize:

I deserve a treat when I have a bad week but I also deserve a treat when I have a good week. I simply always deserve treats” – Bettina Makalintal

That’s a wrap for this week!

I hope you have time this week to rest, relax, and connect!

xo, Sam

Weekly Good Things – Week 50

Hello! Hello!

Cross-Posted to my Substack, my new weekly Newsletter. (Sign up for goodness in your inbox directly!)

Welcome to another weekly episode of Good Things where I give you a peek into my everyday life during the week, and roundup my good links, ideas, books, and more.

This afternoon, I’m writing in front of the crackling fire*, which is putting me in a delightfully cozy little mood.

*More specifically, I’m streaming the Studio Ghibli Calcifer Yule Log on my television, which is just alarmingly precious, and the fire crackle sounds are comforting. I delight myself each year when I remember suddenly, that one can watch a plethora of different fireplaces both on TV and through Youtube. Highly recommend!

“Life really life-ing!”

This week has been a challenging one for many of us. Some of the hard stuff was punctuated by a week dealing with a painful mouth making it very hard to eat! I absolutely *broiled* the roof of my mouth last week on boiling hot water, and it’s taking it’s sweet time to heal.

I did finally take myself to see a medical professional, so hopefully I’ll be back joyfully eating soon. Many thanks to my good friend and favorite Vet-Vet (Veteran, veterinarian!) 

Michele Pfannenstiel DVM who talked me into some sense to see someone. (She happens to be a fantastic vet, and wrote this handy post last week on triaging whether or not to take your pet to the emergency room.)

Things on my mind this week:

  • 2024 Planning, when things aren’t feeling as solid: We’re in the throes of planning for the new year. When you have a supremely clear vision of what’s next, this is often a very fun activity. If you’ve been through a lot of change recently, it can feel challenging. If you are feeling at all unmoored, do what I do – plan for the things that support you as a human. For me, that’s typically food, self care, reading, my inputs, connection with friends, and creative activities. I trust that the rest of the good stuff will fall into place when I’m taking care of myself!
  • Review of Wants and Needsa few months ago I came up with a very specific list of a range of wants and needs I have. Periodically I review the list to see what’s magically happened for me, and what I might want to gently nudge forward with some specific actions.
  • Memorializing a year: I went to a nice workshop with Elle Griffin of The Elysian this week. Beyond her very organized workshop outline with lots of useful links (goals!), the thing that really struck me was that at the end of the year, she makes a custom book of some of her writing! I bookmarked the site because the quality looks truly on point. I think it’s nice to make photo books at the end of a time period – pick one picture from each week or each month – Canva makes it very easy to get a book printed these days.
  • 3 interesting things from Tim Ferriss interviewing Sam Corcos, the founder of Levels
    • Sam has a goal of connecting with 1000 people a quarterwhich is a wildly ambitious goal (There was a nice moment in the episode where he mentions that they don’t always want to connect with you – and that’s okay! He focuses on the people who bring him joy).
    • Sam has a comprehensive public list of all the things he delegates to his four assistants (including loom video instructions).
    • How to host salon dinners (article) – after hosting hundreds of these – he has a detailed write up on how he does it. (I’d love to get an invite to one of these!) Last month I went to a wildly invigorating dinner like this, and I think I’d also like to host one (or several!) this year.

📆 Accountability Workshop on 1/6/24

  • Something I’ve been toying with for the past few months has been how to help other people move things forward. I’m of the belief that community is one of the best forms of accountability. For years I hosted a weekly *Do The Thing Hour, which is currently on hiatus, but love the idea of co-working towards getting things done together! I’ll be trying out something new in January, a “One Month, One Goal” workshop. We’ll come together to identify a *singular* goal you’d like to tackle in 30 days, and work together to make daily or weekly actions on your goal both measurable and more easily implementable. We’ll then have a shared goal tracker (via a fancy Google Slide Deck) Sign up here for the live class, or the recording if you can’t make it! January 6th on Zoom + 30 days of fun! $42.

This Week in Good Things:

  • 🐾 Pup Walks with Friends. This week, Bertram and I went for a stroll with Penny Puppadoodle, and her human, Somchay.
  • 🍜 Becoming a Regular: Grandma’s Kitchen. A few weeks ago I went into Grandma’s Kitchen, the delightful Taiwanese restaurant around the corner from my house, and just remembered how delightful they are. I went back this week for some chicken soup that hit the spot. I’m going to make an effort to become more of a regular!
  • 🎤 Good Listening: currently listening to Nonviolent Communication, Brandon Sanderson ‘The Hero of the Ages’, and Robert Greene: A Process for Finding & Achieving Your Unique Purpose on the Huberman Lab Podcast.
  • 👋 Recommended Action: If you have a fitness reimbursement stipend through your health insurance, don’t forget to submit your receipts before the end of the year! (If you need to spend on fitness, would love for you to consider an Ompractice membership! Come join us!)

Okay, and in prepping for this newsletter, I came across my Facebook memory reminding me tonight that I just finished my 6th year straight of running a daily mile?! (So, high five me!)

Good Things to Think About

➰ Closing Loops if you have a few minutes this week, consider sitting down and making a list of loops that you need to close. ⏳ Set a timer for 10 minutes and actually write them out! What’s been taking up space that could be finished or moved on from? What nagging tasks could use attention?

Other Good Things

Alison Roman’s “The Stew”

The Weekly Meal Plan:

Coming up in the next week? We’re doing soft food week with low acidity until my mouth heals!

  • Sunday: Pastina with butter and truffled brie (like mac and cheese, but softer)
  • Monday: Soft eggs and creamed spinach
  • Tuesday: Madras lentils with yogurt, and palak paneer
  • Wednesday: Trader Joe’s Saucy Scallops and Mushrooms with Emmenthal
  • ThursdayTakeout (Grandma’s Kitchen?) or Leftovers
  • Friday: Artichoke bread pudding and green salad

Lunches: Leftovers (fondue, a plethora of cheese), tasty bite punjab eggplant and split pea curry, a new Trader Joe’s lunch item: peanutty noodles with chicken (if I’m up to it by the end of the week!)

Snacks: Ricotta, soft boiled eggs, cottage cheese, cheese sticks, tofu, chicken broth.

Treat options: Tapioca Pudding. TJ’s Pretzel Breadpudding. Chocolate mousse. TJ’s Iced Gingerbread in the freezer. Peppermint Hold the Cones. Walker’s Shortbread. Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding. TJ’s Apple Tartin Tartelettes. (You’ll notice that this list keeps growing – I have a bad? habit of getting fancy desserts from Trader Joe’s from my freezer and taking forever to eat them.

🥑 Good Eats from this past week: I include a weekly meal plan in each week’s Good Things, and things never *actually* go as planned! Some of the standout additions include: The best bite of the week was pastina with butter and truffled brie! (So good, I’m having it again this week!) 

Alison Roman’s The Stew – with coconut milk, chickpeas, and greens – was just as good as remembered. I added chicken. Another shout out to 

Ali Slagle’s Forager’s Pasta, which I made with mushrooms, chickpeas, and added some leftover fondue.

That’s all for now! Hope you have a great week!

xo, Sam

Weekly Good Things – Week 49

Good Things, and the Weekly Meal Plan.

Cross-Posted to my Substack, my new weekly Newsletter. (Sign up for goodness in your inbox directly!)

Hello! Hello!

Welcome to another weekly episode of Good Things where I give you a peek into my everyday life during the week, and roundup my good links, ideas, books, and more.

I thought I’d lead with a photo from the archives – I took this photo in 2009 on my way to Tahoe in the summer time, but thought it might be a nice (apologies if too obvious) light at the end of the tunnel metaphor for the challenging times many of us are having these days. If this week was hard for any reason, and you found yourself going through a dark tunnel, my deep belief is that there’s a vista to look forward to on the other side.

That was weird.

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought to myself – I have to run the Boston Marathon. This is particularly weird because I don’t usually get transmissions from the universe like this.

It was a very strong feeling that popped up out of nowhere with a sense of specificity.

Not only is this odd, but I was working at Runkeeper during the marathon bombings and several coworkers and many many friends were running that day. It was truly harrowing not knowing where people were and what was going on, and the aftermath in Watertown where we could hear the gunfire from our house still triggers a vigilance response that pops up in unfortunate times.

I’ve explicitly said for years that I’ll never run Boston. (I’ve also spent the past many years saying that I’m definitely not a marathoner, happy with my consistent low mileage daily mile streak! I’m about to finish my sixth year!)

On Saturday, I ran the Firehouse, a 10 mile run, and the first long run of the marathon training cycle at Heartbreak Hill just to test the waters – or more realistically to convince myself better of pursuing this in any way. And then it didn’t suck?

So, I’m not sure what to make of all this – it’s a little late for many of the teams who have closed charity bib registration, including World Central Kitchen, which would have been a meaningful one for me! and the Red Sox Foundation – so I guess we’ll see what unfolds?

👋 If you’ve experienced a clear and resolute whispering that you’ve been happy that you acted on, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

This Week in Good Things:

  • 🎤 Good Listening: last year I decided that I’d like to work on a Youtube Channel, but didn’t get it up and running. I’ve been deeply inspired by watching my friend Aprilynne get to viral success with Youtube in a niche she was no longer interested in, burn it all down, and start from complete scratch to build her following from zero to now over 25k in under a year. (She’s a queen of methodical building.) This inspired me to get going and put up a video from 2016 on the topic of preventing burnout that I was due for a re-watch of my own wisdom! (Almost everything still tracks!)

  • ✍️ The Mediocre Achievement Thread: on Friday I was feeling at a low point, and was craving some cheering up. I’ve been thinking lately of more ways to connect with people over the internet about day-to-day life, and posted a question to one of my more active Facebook groups I’m a part of: ⭐️ MEDIOCRE ACCOMPLISHMENTS THREAD? Hello! can we celebrate each other with high fives today? I started with a few personal ones in the comments, including: 1. I sat for 40 minutes under blankets before I got up while my heat came on doing nothing. I can’t underscore how much seeing the thread grow over a few days as done for me.Instead of celebrating our friends when they hit big achievements, how can we celebrate people for just getting through the hard days of life?

  • ☕️ Connections with people that feed your soul. This week I prioritized connecting with people who truly fill my cup. // One of my women’s groups had an end of season connection where we shared what we’ve learned from others, and it was a really nice way to cap a time period together. // I kicked off taking a mini-course on a topic I’m interested in (newsletters!) from an internet friend I admire Louie Bacaj. // I met with a friend on Zoom for a wild idea session! // I went to my monthly dinner with my friend Kathy (at Bar Vlaha, for you Boston area locals). // Another internet friend in Maine mentioned he had a few extra copies of Paul Millerd’s new book he had purchased and asked if anyone wanted one. I raised my hand, sent my address, and he replied back doing one better – he was coincidently having dinner *around the corner from my house* with friends and would hand deliver me my book! We had a great catch up over a cup of coffee at the shop around the block! // I FaceTimed multiple times with a brand new human! // I stopped by a friends house for Latkes and Donuts! 🥔👋 Recommended Action: I’ve been trying to take note of the interactions I have with people where I leave our time together with increased energy – and do more of that!

The feast at Bar Vlaha. What We Ate:

Very good bread HORIATIKO PSOMI house baked village style sourdough bread, served with sheep milk butter and sea salt; with TARAMOSALATA (carp roe, lemon, olive oil) and MELITZANOSALATA charred eggplant, peppers, and herbs

MANITARIA crispy fried oyster mushrooms, maidanosalata (great!)

KARAVIDES with crayfish, ouzo, tomato, fennel, orzo

PAIDAKIA lamb chops, olive oil, lemon, oregano and HORTA (greens)

Tasting Notes: loved the vibe, loved the meal, drinks were delicious – including my mountain tea, desserts were a pass for me!

Good Things to Think About

✨ Where have you given yourself the opportunity to PLAY this week? This is here from last week, because I’ve been noodling over it all week! How can we add more play to our lives? Thank you to my mom this week, who sent me a book related puzzle for Hanukkah. I’m looking ahead to filling my calendar in the new year with creative activities and self care, including an arts workshop at The Paper Mouse, a printmaking workshop at Shepherd + Maudsleigh, a reformer class at [solidcore], and a visit to a new-ish Sauna. Have any ideas for me? I’d love suggestions!

⏳ Creating structure for high energy vs. low energy weeks. I do really well when I have a lot of specific structure – when I don’t, I drop off. Overall, I’m spending a lot of time at this time of year exploring my energy levels: trying to figure out how to create repeatable habits that I don’t resent when I’m feeling low energy. This also includes: backup lists (for when I don’t feel like doing what is planned) and updating my support system (who do I call when I need help?)and bare minimums What tasks get dropped when I’m low on spoons?

Acquisitions of Note:

  • 🪴 Flower Share: for the past few years, I’ve gotten myself a season of flower shares from Fivefork Farms: spring flowers, peony, and dahlia shares, which I pick up each week around the corner at Rancatore’s. General registration opens on Monday December 11th at 9am for new members in the Boston area. (It’s like getting T-Swift tickets level of purchasing…) There’s nothing like a fresh weekly bouquet for yourself to lift your spirits.
  • 💵 Preparation in advance: I-Bond rates aren’t nearly as good as last year, but if you are looking to park some savings, consider your yearly allocations from Treasury Direct. (Which despite its appearance IS a real government website.)
  • ✨ For those of you who like a little magic (scroll past if you don’t!): 2024 year in advance reading with Christina Luna, and the Lunation Astrological Planner 2024 which I got a physical copy of because I love writing in prompts!

Other Good Things

The Weekly Meal Plan:

This week as I’ve been writing my What to Eat in 2024 (pre-order is up here!) I’ve been thinking about the rhythm of the week, and how to better plan your meals around your energy levels.

One of the reasons I struggle with food sometimes is that my ambition and creativity gets mis-matched with my energy level and ability to actually cook something on any given day. So I’ve been trying to sync my cooking better with how I know I’ll feel on any given day based on what’s on my plate calendar-wise.

On that note, on my quest for higher and more even daily energy, I’ve been on a Quest for Good Decaf: this week I picked up a fancy box of Cometeer Decaf George Howell for the freezer (they actually have a Cometeer freezer at the shop on Walnut!), and on very good recommendation, a bag of Peet’s Decaf Major Dickason’s Blend which so far is winning.

Bean of the week: Rancho Gordo Ceci Neri (black garbanzos).

  • SundayPork tenderloin with latkes and green salad (😬 do not smite!)
  • MondayAli Slagle’s forager pasta with lots of mushrooms, chickpeas, lemon, butter and herbs. (I Dream of Dinner p. 122 – affiliate link)
  • Tuesday: Pulled chicken Turkish pilaf with tomato and cucumber salad
  • WednesdayAlison Roman’s The Stew – spiced chickpeas with coconut and greens
  • ThursdayTakeout or Leftovers
  • FridayButter Chickpeas and tofu with Rancho Gordo Black Garbanzos

Lunches: Leftovers (fondue, a plethora of cheese) TJ’s lamb vindaloo with yogurt, palak paneer with some sardines (or cottage cheese). TJ’ squiggly noodles with peanut butter and edamame.

Snacks: Soft boiled eggs, cottage cheese, cheese sticks, chicken sausage, tofu.

Treat options: TJ’s Pretzel Breadpudding. Chocolate mousse. TJ’s Iced Gingerbread in the freezer. Peppermint Hold the Cones. Walker’s Shortbread. Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding.

🥑 Good Eats from this past week: I include a weekly meal plan in each week’s Good Things, and things never *actually* go as planned! Some of the standout additions include Trader Joe’s Artichoke Bread Pudding (nice dinner with some salad if you like artichoke?). TJ’s Pretzel Breadpudding (very sweet and salty). Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Samosas. Last week’s Chickpea and Chicken Tagine from Nigella’s How to Eat was a standout. FONDUE BEANS, because of which I reached “Peak Bean”.

That’s all for now! Hope you have a great week!

xo, Sam