We’re back from a wonderful, wonderful week in Maine, where my parents were thrilled to see the kids after far too many months. Lilly got to have Grandpa Jay storytime in real life, my mom took Finn on daily power walks by the ocean, and auntie Annie spoiled everyone with treats. I gave myself a break from email and news scrolling and breathed more deeply than I have in months.
At home, spring has arrived seemingly overnight, with surprise daffodils sprinkled throughout our yard and pink trees on every corner. And as of this evening, Rob and I have both gotten our vaccine shots (he even scored Johnson & Johnson so he’s done). I felt emotional and thankful sitting in the basement of the administration site, holding my vaccine card and thinking about all the people and science that have made this possible. It’s surreal that we’re here, and I can’t help but feel a tiny bit hopeful.
Here are some things I’m excited about right now.
Our pandemic brains: This entire year, my brain has felt like a computer with too many tabs open. I am not alone! Thanks to Sarah Lyall for this NYT piece about our collective brain fog. I feel seen.
Granola experiments: Since granola is one of the few foods that Finn eats reliably (others include bratwurst and broccoli pancakes,), we make it constantly. Our go-to is Nekisia Davis’ olive oil version but while in Maine my dad requested a “clumpy” version that he could snack on. Solution: Melissa Clark’s Coconut Almond Cluster Granola, which has you grind coconut flakes and oats into a flour that kind of binds the other ingredients together. While I’m probably not going to drag out my food processor every week, it’s very tasty and excellent on its own as well as with yogurt or milk.
Getting back into the skincare game: Over the past year, I’ve gotten extremely lazy about skincare. But while we were in Maine I got intrigued by Annie’s Peach & Lily regimen (I counted at least 7 steps) and gave it a try for a few days. Not only was I surprised at how much I enjoyed going through the different steps but my skin was appreciably softer and brighter. I immediately ordered my own, slightly abbreviated, lineup. I especially love the Glass Skin serum (silky and hydrating), the Overnight Star Sleeping Mask (finally not waking up with flaky skin), and the Cold Brew Eye Recovery Stick (feels delightful and really does help with my undereye puffiness). Also worth reading: founder Alicia Yoon’s Vogue essay about Asian-American racism and hate crimes.
Things that snap and pop (no crackle): Of the many, many presents that Lilly received from her grandparents, this pop bead kit was the biggest hit. The different shapes all snap together so you don’t have to deal with string or clasps and it comes with bracelet and ring bands that make it easy to make different pieces. And thanks to the instruction guide, she now knows what a toe ring is. Speaking of things that pop, I got Finn the oddly satisfying Fat Brain Toys Dimpl for the ride to Maine and it kept him happy for hours.
Replacement superhero capes: My friend Kara gave us a playsilk a couple years ago and I remember thinking, isn’t it just a piece of cloth? My mistake. Over the years, Lilly has turned her silk into a superhero cape, hat, belt, and toy hiding place. She finally ripped it so I’m replacing it and getting a few extra for Finn. We can never have too many superheroes in the house.
Punched in the gut in a good way: I just finished Yolk, by Mary H.K. Choi, and can’t stop thinking about it. So many of the themes — Asian American identity, our sometimes unloving relationships with our bodies, sister relationships — hit close to home. It’s centered on two Korean-American sisters living in New York City and while the topic is heavy (one sister suffers from an eating disorder, the other has just been diagnosed with cancer), it’s also funny and celebrates a messy-crowded-loud New York City of the pre-pandemic era. I loved it so much.
Thinking about humane technology: My friend Maria is a former consultant, incredible COO, rock climber, and meditation teacher. I caught up with her the other day and we talked a lot about how we can create healthier relationships with technology. It’s something I think about a lot and am grateful that she’s taken the time to write this thoughtful piece about it (don’t worry, we’re not completely doomed).
And finally, new thing! I am not planning to charge for these newsletters but will be including a different organization each time. If you find these recommendations useful, please consider supporting them with follows or dollars. Stop AAPI Hate started last March in response to the increase in hate incidents against AAPI individuals related to the pandemic. In addition to other things, they track and report on hate incidents across the country, which is one of the most important ways we can raise awareness about this issue.
Thank you for reading! Sending hugs and good vibes,