Happy holidays and thank you so much for sticking around while I took a not-so-brief hiatus to get settled into my role at Hungryroot and to figure out how to be a working parent. Neither is totally sorted but things are starting to feel much more normal, so I’m excited to take another shot at sending you periodic life optimization missives.
We are closing out a long, cozy week of relaxing, eating, and drinking in Maine. Lilly and my parents were giddy to be reunited, and Rob and I got some welcome downtime in front of the fire. We’re doing a quick stop in Boston to hang out with my sister (currently working out of her Industrious location in Back Bay—it’s like a zen productivity wonderland) before we head home.
Here’s what I’m excited about right now:
Baking: I feel strongly that it’s not the holidays without some seasonal baking, ideally featuring icing, glitter, spices, or all of the above. This year, I had a tough time choosing between all of Bon Appetit‘s gorgeous options (those zebra shortbread!!) but ended up going with Double Pecan Thumbprints per my friend Emily’s advice. She was so right. These richly nutty and chewy little guys are a sleeper hit.
Reading: I got Educated, Tara Westover’s incredible, and disturbing, memoir for Christmas and haven’t been able to put it down. Westover grew up in a survivalist Mormon family in Idaho, where her family didn’t believe in hospitals, birth certificates, or public education. Despite this, she ended up going to Brigham Young University, and later attending Harvard and earning a PhD from Cambridge. I’ve felt on edge the entire book, which is a testament to how beautiful, upsetting, and vivid it is. Also recommend listening to her interview on Fresh Air earlier this year.
5-Minute journaling: For years, I’ve kept a notebook by my bed and used it as kind of a brain dump whenever I’ve felt very anxious or very happy. It’s more of a coping tool than a habit, which is why I was so happy to receive a Five Minute Journal as a present from Hayley. I’m a week in and really enjoying it; there’s a heavy focus on gratitude and being present, and prompts to guide you through each day’s entries. (It also challenges you to reward yourself if you make it through the first five days—my treat is going to be an ice cream sundae date with Rob and Lilly at Van Leeuwan!)
Jazzing: I discovered these amazing Le Bon Shoppe socks at Steven Alan and bought them for myself, my sister and mom, and my entire Hungryroot team. I love the shimmery shades for wearing with sneakers or boots and cropped jeans, and they’re just generally a fun way to jazz things up.
Watching: While we were in Maine, we tore through a handful of award-contender films, including “Free Solo,” the documentary about Alex Honnold, the first person to free-solo (i.e. no ropes) El Capitan, and “BlacKkKlansman,” Spike Lee’s dark comedy based on the true story of a black police officer in 1970s Colorado who—you guessed it—infiltrated the KKK. Both were excellent, and unsettling.
Gifting: Some of my favorite things to give this year: Artifact Uprising framed prints of film pictures Rob took of Lilly; an extremely cozy Buffy comforter for my sister; and these chic and streamlined Everlane flats for my mom; and Fennel Pollen for my dad so he can recreate this epic pork recipe.
Getting: To no one’s surprise, Lilly was showered with presents this holiday, including a whole new wardrobe of winter gear. We’re very appreciative of her new outfits from Zara Kids, which are cute, durable, and affordable (especially love these super soft joggers) and her retro-cool Patagonia jacket. There are still a bunch of presents under the tree at home, including some art supplies and books, and I’ll report back on those!
Rob and I got plenty of gifts of our own, including two fermentation vessels for Rob’s sauerkraut and kimchee exploits, gorgeous cookbooks like A Baker’s Year and Bottom of the Pot, and these ridiculously comfy slippers for me. Oh, and Quip toothbrushes for the entire fam—thanks, Mom!
Working out the wiggles: Even when I’m on vacation, I need to get the wiggles out (i.e. do some sort of exercise). While we were in Maine, Rob and I went for a couple long walks but on other days, I bundled up, took my yoga mat outside, and did short-but-tough Aaptiv workouts. I like that they’re audio only (I wear my AirPods when doing them) and that there are tons of options—I just wish you could filter by no equipment necessary!
Hugs and see you in 2019,
P.S. If you’re curious about what I’ve been working on at Hungryroot, check out our brand refresh! We’ve got a whole new look, tons more product variety—including non-vegan and non-gluten-free offerings—and much more. I’m extremely jazzed about the whole thing. Use code MOLLIE for half off your first box if you want to try.
P.P.S. I’m still in holiday celebrating mode but believe you me, come January 1 I’ll be rolling out the whole grains and dark leafy greens. Send me any workout or healthy eating requests!
P.P.P.S. Old editions live here.