It’s raining in New York today. On the walk to school, Lilly and I were talking about how plants need water to grow. “Oh! So tomorrow there will be soooo many flowers?,” she said, splashing through yet another puddle. Reframing the situation through the eyes of an almost 5-year-old was the nudge I needed to shake off my own black cloud of a morning. I wrapped up my consulting projects a couple weeks ago to take time to find my next role. After a period of brief euphoria (talking to people! no Slacks!), I’ve hit the stage of second-guessing myself and feeling anxiety about NEVER FIGURING IT OUT. This is not unsurprising or unfamiliar — I’ve been here before, after leaving jobs, coming back from parental leave, ramping down/ramping up consulting. Despite all this, it hasn’t gotten easier. I also know I’m not alone. I have also been reconnecting with friends and people in my network who are in their own exploratory phases. I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoys what my friend Becca calls the “messy middle.” Most people like answers, and it’s easier to rally around beginnings and endings.
So, here’s to muddling through and arming ourselves with some good stuff along the way:
Inexpensive, cute rainboots: Watching the kids happily splash around in their galoshes always reminds me that there is something deeply satisfying about walking through water and knowing you’re not going to get wet. I love my Target rainboots, which are comfy, stylish enough, and currently on sale.
Brightening up our fizzy water: Finn loves sparkling water, which he calls “fibby water,” so we usually have Spindrift in the fridge for us and him. Recently, I discovered Sanzo, a line of Asian-inspired sparkling waters that are completely delicious and come in flavors that take me back to childhood. I love the lychee (which has a Turning Red version that delighted Lilly) and the Calamansi, and Finn demanded the Yuzu all to himself.
5-minute exercise dates: In the depths of January sluggishness, I made Rob sign up for Peloton’s 4-week “Crush Your Core” series. Every night, we’d roll out our yoga mats and crush our core for 5-10 minutes. At the end of the program, we both felt stronger and liked the routine of it so much that we opted to do it again in March. There’s something about a tiny, daily routine that felt grounding in a time when little else does. Maybe meditation next?
Seeds for health and easier periods: Last year, my cousin Corina invited me to join the beta for Beeya, a new startup that helps women support and manage their hormones through seed cycling. I had never heard of seed cycling before but loved the sound of using real, functional foods to boost energy, aid digestion, and tamp down the unpleasant side effects of PMS. The seeds themselves tasted good and made me feel healthier just by eating them in yogurt, smoothies, and grain bowls — I also saw a real improvement in bloating and digestion, as well as cramps. They’re now officially launched and i’ve been so excited to see them grow and help more women. If it sounds like something you might need, use MOLLIE5 for $5 off your first order.
Silly towels for fun and easy bathtimes: When Lilly was a baby, our friend Gina gave her a hooded towel that made her look like an adorable monster. Now Finn has inherited it and finds no greater joy than wearing it while running around and screaming “RAWRRRR.” Lilly just got a mermaid version that she is equally obsessed with. Normally it’s a struggle to get them out of the bath but they love their towels so much that lately they pop right out.
Brand bootcamp: I first came across a brand positioning framework while working with Collective Retreats back in 2016. That framework came via Arielle Jackson, First Round’s in-house brand and marketing expert. She and I have connected over the years and I’m always so impressed by her clear and actionable approach. She just started offering a two-week Maven course that seems like an amazing way to get the fundamentals in advance of an agency project or launch. I kind of want to take it myself!
Another way to consume tahini: When in doubt, add tahini is a refrain in our house. It goes on most of my grain bowls, as well as in oatmeal and on toast. But even the best things can use a shake up, which is why I was delighted to find a recipe for green tahini vinaigrette in the Bavel cookbook my sister gave me. You can find the recipe here but I highly recommend buying the book as well — so many inspiring ideas.
Easy, healthy kid snacks: I was catching up with my friend Stephanie the other day. She since literally wrote the book on toddler and baby nutrition, I always ask her for breakfast and lunch ideas. By the time I got home from our walk, she had sent me a slew of great recs, including Energy Bites (swap seed butter to make school safe) and Chocolate Banana Chia Muffins (also Passover friendly). Both have been a huge hit in our house, and the energy bites have a bonus of being adaptable, fun for kids to make, and perfectly sized for the middle spot in a bento-style box.
A better understanding of chronic illness: As I have gotten older, I have had friends and family cope with autoimmune disease. Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, and a number of other conditions that I empathized with but never really understood. That’s one reason why I am finding Meghan O’Rourke’s The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness to be so powerful and illuminating. She is a journalist and a poet who has struggled with chronic illness for over a decade, and channels her search for answers into a beautifully reported and written book. I’ve recommended to everyone I know.
And that’s it for this rainy day. Power pose and on to the next!
P.S. Old editions live here, eventually.
P.P.S. If you found this newsletter helpful and are looking for an organization to support this month, may I suggest World Central Kitchen? They are on the ground in Ukraine and Poland helping with the current humanitarian crisis and generally do incredible work in the most desperate of situations.