Back in March 2020, I started a gratitude journal. Inspired by my friend Dawn (more on her below), I’d log the day’s small victories every evening before bed. In early pandemic days, these were very small wins indeed. Now I’m on my fifth notebook and the habit keeps me grounded even when things feel aswirl.
Things have definitely been swirly recently, with nonstop kid illnesses (nothing serious), looking for progress amid the stop-start, up-down nature of consulting, and processing the shift toward a post-pandemic life filled with boosters, rapid tests, and calculated risks. Through all this, I’ve been extremely thankful for all the good listeners in my life and for the daily joys that I scribble down in my journal. On today’s list: Finn standing on the arms of our chair like a pirate and yelling “Garbage truck! Garbage TRUCKKKKK!” A walking meeting that was energy-giving and netted me 10,000 steps. Carving out time to write this little newsletter.
And so, gratitude! Lots of it. I’m also taking notes from my friend Gina’s Month of Gratitude, especially her tips on how to show yourself some thanks.
Here are a handful of other things I’m loving right now:
Seaweed-powered goodness: I started working with Rootless founder Sachi earlier this year and was immediately pulled in by her vision of building a whole health company powered by sustainably sourced seaweed. (Why? Seaweed is incredibly good for us and the planet and most of us don’t eat it on an everyday basis.) I’ve been lucky to get to bring the brand to life and we’re just weeks away from shipping our first batch of Daily Bites. They’re delicious whole food nutrition bites designed to give you the optimal daily dose of seaweed; if you’re wondering, my favorite flavor is Coconut Chai. Take a peek and feel free to use MOLLIEFRONDS for 15% off your first order $40+. Inspiring *and* practical weeknight cooking: In addition to being a gratitude guru and cookie entrepreneur, my friend Dawn is also an expert at creating fast, simple, and tasty food out of all the stuff in your kitchen and pantry. Rob and I had a chance to test some of the recipes in Ready, Set, Cook and have been impatiently awaiting the book ever since. Dawn and I share a love of “jazzy extras” (salt blends, toasted spiced coconut etc.) that can brighten anything up, as well as adaptable veggie-heavy dishes. We also just got Jenny Rosenstrach‘s latest cookbook, The Weekday Vegetarians, which builds on her philosophy that dinner doesn’t have to be a battle. So far we’ve loved her Crispy Tofu with Green Beans and Coconut Curried Red Lentils.
Finally understanding crypto: Despite dutifully taking Ec 10 in college, I have never been able to wrap my mind around key concepts like inflation and interest rates and, lately, bitcoin. But! I just read Money: A True Story of a Made-Up Thing, by Planet Money co-host Jacob Goldstein, and I finally get all of the above. It’s a fast and fun read with plenty of historical anecdotes. And yes, I am still annoyed by cryptotalk but at least I understand it.
A Russian adventure: Way on the other side of the book spectrum, I also loved Julia Phillips’ Disappearing Earth. It came out in 2019 and was on a bunch of “best of” lists but I avoided it because it centers on two sisters who go missing on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. I’m sorry I waited because it was completely stunning, with fascinating and interconnected characters in a gorgeously unfamiliar landscape.
Modernizing our kid bookshelf: My friend Liba alerted me to StickHERS, a company started by two parents who found themselves editing their kids’ books to make them less male- and white-centered. Instead of scribbling in them, or just changing them mid-read, they created stickers with female and non-gendered pronouns, non-gendered professional titles, and even more inclusive names. We have acquired a lot of amazing, inclusive books over the years (currently loving Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai) but are still swimming in traditional ones that could use an update.
Brightening up: Hayley recently introduced me to Matter of Fact, an incredible new skincare company. The founder figured out how to make Vitamin C stable and as a result created a product that is wayyyy more potent and effective than anything else available. I’ve been using the Absorbic Acid 20 Vitamin C Serum for a couple months and it’s wild how I can feel it working and see the difference in my dark spots and overall skin texture. And as a skincare nerd, I love how much education they’re doing around ingredients and getting the most out of your products.
Upgrading our pourover: Now that we’re squarely in hot coffee weather, I am very much enjoying my Great Fellow Kettle, a collaboration between Great Jones and Fellow. It’s shapely and delightful to use, for tea, coffee, or magic Misomaru soup. A bit of a splurge but a great gift or Black Friday purchase. I’m also eyeing the Great Jones baking mats, if you were wondering.
Compost, but make it cute: Speaking of upgrades, I love what Goldune is doing with their joyful and approachable sustainable marketplace. They sent me their exclusive Bamboozle Bamboo Compost Bin and it brings some much-needed cheer to the act of keeping rotting vegetables on your countertop. It’s so cute that my mom immediately demanded her own.
A somewhat lowkey Thanksgiving: We’re staying in Brooklyn this year and planning to have shrimp cocktail and martinis on actual Thanksgiving (hot dogs and Disney+ for the kids). On Friday, we’ll have a belated celebration with Rob’s side of the family (eight adults, five kids!). Instead of our usual protracted menu planning and recipe cross-referencing, we might just make Andy Baraghani‘s exuberant lineup from the LA Times. I also predict that the turmeric squash will be making appearances all winter.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful holiday and rest of the month.
P.S. Old editions live here.
P.P.S. If you find this newsletter helpful, consider making a donation of any amount to a charity you love or to Children in Conflict, a small but mighty organization that provides ongoing and meaningful support to children in war-torn countries. We recently attended a fundraiser for them and were blown away by their mission and impact.