Hello hello + happy Monday! OK first – our check in! How is everyone doing??? If you feel like it, comment below with where you are and what life is like right now. I am pretty good? It’s starting to get really warm out which is wonderful but also making me nervous as people are not social distancing! I went for a walk on Saturday and there were groups of people everywhere and not everyone was wearing masks, ugh. I wanted to be quarantine police but I held back. Instead I went home and read. I finished The Book of Longings (it was AMAZING) and also read an entire thriller in one afternoon. And then yesterday I read another entire thriller. So yeah. I read a lot this weekend!
The Weekly Distraction 5.18.20
My newest project has been to make my little patio a little bit nicer. It’s tricky as I’m pretty sure I won’t be going ANYWHERE this summer and want to make the most out of it as when you live in NY, any sort of private outdoor space is extremely precious. That being said it is street-adjacent so I can’t make it too nice or things get taken. I’ve lived here 3 years and kinda just gave up: I made it nice-ish when I first moved in and everything that I didn’t chain to the fence got stolen! But I’m going to give it another go.
I purchased a big piece of artificial turf, have chairs that are decently nice (and are chained to the fence lolz), may get some new plants (should I try growing tomatoes!?), and am going to string up some lights. Again, nothing fancy… but nice enough to sit out on and/or have a friend over for socially distanced cocktails! It’s long and narrow which makes it perfect for that… ha!
On a sillier note I am obsessed with this typing test. It’s weirdly very fun seeing how many words you can type in a minute. I’m pretty fast… I got 88 words per minute. Which means… if blogging doesn’t work out…. I’d be a great secretary?
This week’s media consumption was a bit lighter than usual (lol). I finished Upload which was a combination of funny, dark, and sci-fi? Really enjoyed it. I am still re-watching White Collar (Neil and Peter are my fake friends!) and also saving up episodes of The Baker and The Beauty and Defending Jacob so that I can eventually binge watch both of those shows (LOVE them both).
I started watching Dead to Me (second season, yay!) and while I love the show, it felt stressful so I had to turn it off. I’ll be back to it. I don’t know how they are going to get away with it!
On the movies front, my friend referenced Point Break and was shocked that I hadn’t seen it. So I watched that on Saturday night and really loved it! And last night I watched Becoming (the Michelle Obama doc on Netflix) – HIGHLY recommend that. It was extremely moving but also she has some great zingers. I loved the book so this was a fun extension of that.
Last but not least, I’ve been listening to podcasts again! I’ve been bingeing Second Life (nothing new there, it’s been a fav forever now but I realized I was very behind!), and I listened to all three of Kate Kennedy / Be There in Five’s influencer series. She did three episodes and they were all great – I love her deep dives and think she takes a fair approach to talking about influencer behavior and influencer culture in general!
The Coolest + Most Chic Puzzles!
Two very cool puzzles to share – these would also be amazing gifts!
The first one is from the New York Times. Did you can get a puzzle printed with the front page from ANY date in history!? I just think this is so clever!!!! A birthday, a graduation, an anniversary, etc. Perfect for the history buff or for a birthday present or anniversary! The lead time is a bit long so just plan in advance.
And the second one is from Dusen Dusen, which I am now obsessed with after last week’s bath mat deep dive (lol!). Dusen Dusen has the COOLEST patterns and their puzzles are no exception. Someone on twitter referred to it as a “status puzzle,” which made me lol.
No. 2 Toilet Paper
Is toilet paper the new status symbol? Besides being incredibly hard to come by these days, there are now cool toilet paper startups like No. 2! Besides being convenient, besides being TOILET PAPER which is such a scarcity these days, and besides being absolutely beautiful (I joke that my leopard wrapped role is an objet d’art – it’s kind of just beautiful, I want to show it off?) it’s also more sustainable… made from bamboo. The brand very kindly gifted me an 8-pack which was so nice.
I will be honest: it is not as soft as my beloved Charmin’ (which I can’t find anywhere!), but I’ll happily sacrifice that to be a bit nicer to the planet! It’s different from most toilet paper – it’s very silky and has a nice glide to it… but it’s not cushy and soft the way that Charmin’ is, if that makes sense? One side is smooth and the other side has little bumps. And the rolls last a long, long time (at least compared to Charmin’!)
Showing Up For Others (And Yourself!)
My friend Alisha told me to read The Art of Showing Up, by Rachel Wilkerson Miller when she came on our podcast. I ordered it while we recorded and to be honest, I’d totally forgotten about it until it showed up in the mail last week, so I dove right in! I’m only a couple chapters in (still on the parts about showing up for myself!) but have already taken away so much from it and feel a) more connected to my friends and family while also b) taking better care of myself.
The mission of the book is to better connect to those around us and nurture kinder, more thoughtful relationships. I’m loving it so far and have found myself taking notes and underlining!
I was telling Becca that I’ve been spending more time learning during quarantine. Mostly that’s reading more non-fiction and self-help and business books, but also attending various webinars that have looked interesting. She was like, “why don’t you sign up for Masterclass?” and I’d never heard of it. But it sounds kind of amazing? I mean to learn cooking from Gordon Ramsey and writing from Malcom Gladwell? COOL. I am thinking about signing up but wanted to see if any of you guys have tried it yet!
Would love to hear YOUR favorite distractions, and also… where you are and how you’re doing!
Hi Grace, my name is Jess and I live in a small city in Delaware. We are still under stay at home orders and I’ve officially been remote teaching for 2 months. To be honest, I’ve been really struggling lately. I am so lucky that my friends and family are all safe and healthy and for awhile I was just happy about spending more time with my boyfriend (he’s staying in my apartment) and the spring weather and my new favorite hobby (listening to audiobooks while cross stitching). But the uncertainty of things and not knowing how long this will last started to get to me this weekend. Plus planning for the end of the school year and moving (my boyfriend and I are moving into a new place in June) is causing me so much anxiety. I hate to complain because I know I’m so lucky but this is just where I’m at. My favorite distractions are headspace and listening to Be There in Five and BOP. Love reading your blog too because it’s so helpful and nice to see/hear how other people are doing! So glad you’re feeling good this week!
Hi Jess! Aw I am so sorry you’ve been struggling! I can relate; I feel so up and down and the uncertainty is definitely the hardest part! Sending you a big hug! xx
Moving is a huge anxiety of mine too – right there with you! I hope you start having a better week. I have had so many ups and downs and sometimes it’s just hard to be positive.
AHHH!! I am so happy that someone loves White Collar as much as I do. I hope there is truth in the rumors about a reboot!
IT IS THE BEST SHOW!
My parents are watching it for the first time which I love!
Happy Monday! I don’t know if things are getting better in the US, but I find it kinda scary that people aren’t social distancing as often now, so I understand your need to be quarantine police haha! Stay strong! ❤️✨
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I flew through season 2 of dead to me (and season 1 because I somehow hadn’t heard of the show pre-quarantine!) and it was good! I love that it’s shorter episodes and now I’m ready for season 3.
The Bold Type comes back at the beginning of June, phew!
I thought it was a prank that the bold type is already coming back!!!! So happy about that!!!!
You’ve encouraged me to finallu start Becoming. It’s been in my TBR stack forever, but it’s time!
YES do it, it’s so good!!!!
I updated my patio a few years back and it was game changer. I actually used the IKEA patio floor tiles, and it made it an extension of my home. So so easy to install and pretty affordable. Can’t wait to see what you do with yours! Also, made a Negroni, thank you for pushing me over the edge to finally trying one. When I told my Mom I made one, she’s like “you’re just like Grandpa!” Ha!
My Style Vita
Oooh heading over to stalk your blog now!!
Loving that fancy toilet paper! Glad to hear you’re doing well. One TV rec I have is Mrs. America on Hulu. The acting is incredible and the music is so fun. It definitely makes you angry, but in a good way?
I live in Baltimore and just graduated law school (yay!!). This pandemic has been tough on my mental health and your blog and the Bad on Paper podcast have been my lifelines through these crazy times. Wednesday’s have become my favorite day of the week. I always add your book recs to my TBR list, I recently read The Idea of You and devoured the Jessica Simpson audiobook. Also totally relate to your relationship with Tyrion. My cat, Prince, is my child and no one can tell me otherwise! Keep doing what you do! Stay well xo
It’s on my list! Looks SO good!!!!
Congratulations on graduating, that is so exciting! (And enjoy all the time inside with your child, lol!) Hang in there and stay well. I’m so happy that the blog and the pod can be there for you right now!
My fave column always delivers!!
First of all, Dead to Me! I was really anxious all season. But push through! It’s so worth it. The end is a huge cliffhanger, but this season’s story gets resolved in such an interesting way. I love their relationship, and I love Judy’s girlfriend. At first, I didn’t like it as much as season one, but now I like it way better.
I started watching The Great on Hulu and I highly recommend it! It’s so much fun. It’s like Emma, or the Favourite, or Little Women. More light-hearted and funny period piece. (Even though there’s some weird animal cruelty and random murders because Russian nobility was supe weird.) But Elle Fanning is so great in it! And so is Nicholas Hoult.
Today is my birthday and I was really nervous about it all quarantine (even though the stay-at-home order technically expires today in Boston) but I’m actually really loving it. I started the day with some guided meditation and barre, and now I’m watching Christmas movies and drinking mimosas with an overall goal of “treating myself well.” It might be the best birthday yet?
Glad you’re hanging in there! Keep that patio furniture bolted down!!
Happy quarantine birthday!!! Hope you get to have your best birthday ever! <3
Aw happy birthday!!!!! I hope you have a great day 🙂
I’m extra anxious today. It’s starting to open up where I live (Texas) but my husband and I still feel like we shouldn’t be going out, so continuing to isolate. I’ve been watching entirely too much TV which I think is contributing to my anxiety (seriously, Dead to Me Season 2 is stressful). I think next I need to watching something funny… also the book I’m reading is about murder which I think is too much right now! Need a funny/light one next. Also more sleep. LOL
Hahahaha I am right there with you. I switched to a lighter book (The Boyfriend Project is great so far!). If you haven’t seen Never Have I Ever it’s a great quarantine show!
I agree with you about sprucing up our outdoor space. Here in Indy, we have a small backyard and patio. We recently purchased a kegerator and have decided to turn our outdoor space into a biergarten and visit with a few friends at a time this summer in order to try and continue to social distance but also have an in-person social life again. We are no longer on stay-at-home orders here, but I am on WFH status until June. I’ve also been reading a lot and sending people snail mail!
The biergarten idea is so fun!
Oh that sounds so so nice! Love the biergarten theme. It’s times like these that I am so so ridiculously jealous of anyone with even a sliver of a yard!
Hi Grace! My name is Nicole, I live in Toronto. I’m. Grade 6 teacher currently struggling with this online teaching in a pandemic. To escape the 8 hours a day I now spend on my computer I’ve dived into finding more podcasts to listen to on walks. That’s how I stumbled across Bad on Paper and then your Instagram and that’s how I got here. I love this round up of weekly distractions. It’s so positive and just what I needed, thank you! My boyfriend is definitely getting a New York Times puzzle of his birth date for Christmas this year. This was my first time on your blog but I will definitely be back.
Thank you stay safe!
Hi Nicole! Oh that is so fun, welcome! I’m so glad you found Bad on Ppaer. Stay SAFE! xx
Yay someone who’s close to me. Im im Guelph Nicole
Coursera is another great resource for online learning! Most classes are a true school format rather than a one-time webinar – which I love but realize it’s not everyone’s thing. They also have a wide variety of topics!!
Oooh – thank you! Appreciate the rec!
I’ve also discovered futurelearn which is also great. You can obviously pay to upgrade and get a certificate like with courses and most other ones but i’m just taking their free classes. They’re really short bite sized and I find take less time than coursera
I NEED to start Dead to Me, I can’t believe I haven’t binged it yet! Also, this weekend was so nice. My boyfriend and I did longer walks on Saturday and Sunday to pick up coffee, bagels, and do our 2 week grocery stock up. The weather was just SO gorgeous, but agreed it makes me nervous to see more and more crowds out and about.
Dana | It’s Casual Blog
You do! It’s so so good! I’m glad you guys had a good weekend. Hang in there! xx
Howdy, I live near Austin, Texas. Saturday at the local Walmart was like normal. Hardly any masking wearing people, hardly any parking spots, no one really paying attention to the 6 ft social distancing….. I walked in 12 feet and walked out. I wasn’t going to take my chances. I ate grilled cheese sandwiches and organized my dvd collection over the weekend. I’ll stick to shopping mid-week, early morning at another store for groceries.
Howdy! Acckkk! That would make me so nervous. I’m glad you got out! (And also – now I’m craving grilled cheese, ha!)
Hi Grace, My sister signed up for Masterclass and she loves it. She is sharing( I’m still waiting for unemployment so couldn’t afford)thank goodness. I ordered my No. 2 about a month ago and finally got it. It’s so pretty! Also arrived just in time, I was on my last roll! The two of us are taking care of our dad a lot more lately , so she is here in California with me. We usually save things to watch together. We just started “ Penny Dreadful City of Angels”. It’s dark like the first season ( different storyline), but really good. All three of your book picks look great. On the cooking front , I made a gorgeous Dutch baby pancake for our brunch yesterday. I added mushrooms and Gruyere cheese. Delicious and easy. ( see photo on my insta)I’ve been very into my cast iron skillet lately. last week it was pineapple upside down cake for my dad’s birthday. Thank you for the great list
Oh that is so great that she’s sharing it with you! I’m sorry about unemployment; ack. Your pancake sounds incredible – wow yum! Have a great week, Cy!
Hi Grace! I wanted to thank you for your content during the pandemic. The podcast, your blog and your Instagram account are all great sources of comfort for me right now as I shelter in place in Vancouver, Canada.
One other thing that is also really helpful is an app called Sanvello. It is a mix of therapy exercises and meditation, both of which I was terrible at before. But the app makes it so easy to “check-in” with yourself and do a short activity/guided meditation. I always feel better after doing one. I would really recommend it to anyone who is struggling with any thing from pandemic life to other issues or just to improve mental wellness in general.
Aw I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! Thanks for the note. I need to check out Sanvello; it sounds cool! XO
Grace, I love the weekly distraction posts and I hope you keep them up, even after life speeds up again (if?). It’s such a fun post to read. Also, I’ve been influenced. I ordered the No.2 paper and I appreciated your honest review vs. Charmin. Charmin’s softness is hard to beat, but I would prefer to prioritize our planet, so I will happily take a different, less soft texture. Thanks for sharing. Who knew we could get so excited about well-designed toilet paper. Life!!!!!!
I’m so happy you’re enjoying them!!!!! Keep me posted on how you like No. 2!
Before the quarantine started, I was offered a great job. I was to start early April. This was put on hold although the company stayed in touch with me throughout. I am handing in my resignation tomorrow and starting a new job on June 1. In this economic climate, I am very worried about this but also, need to trust that things will work out. Wish me luck!
Ah good luck!!!!! Try to focus on the positive and be excited – it sounds like an amazing opportunity!
Love this weekly post. I have been listening to Bad on Paper while I clean (it makes me motivated if I have a timer like I’ll clean for an hour and see how much I can get done!). I binged Outer Banks yesterday and am saving the last ep for tonight… you’re right John B is too hot LOL. I need to watch Dead to Me and Normal People next
Aw good I am so glad you’re enjoying the podcast!!!!! And gahhh John B! SO hot! XO
I live in (usually) sunny St Petersburg Florida. I am doing well … slightly anxious because it’s the end of school year where I work and I need some cash flow this summer. But I have some promising things in the works in terms of cash flow. It will be ok.
You influenced me to start “The Book of Longings” and it did not disappoint! I think I read it in 72 hours. Lol. I loved it!
middleditch and schwartz on Netflix is laugh out loud funny for the entire show.
I love your blog. Hope you’re hanging in there.
I am so glad you enjoyed the book!!!! It was amazing. I still can’t quite get over it!!! Have a great week ahead.
Hi Grace! I hope you have a great week. I am feeling better this week knowing that we have a long weekend ahead! I am taking next Tuesday off, so my weekend will be extra long. It’s my first day off all year and to say it is needed is an understatement. My husband and I just finished The Last Dance.. and it was absolutely incredible. I highly recommend!! I am not a basketball fan (I’m from Columbus OH, so I’m a big college football fan), but absolutely loved the series.
AH enjoy your long weekend! That sounds so so nice 🙂 and I’ll check out The Last Dance, thanks so much for the rec! XOXO
I’ve also binged Second Life and am all caught up – I found another podcast, “Entreprenista” that has a very similar style (not as good as SL, but it does the trick). All of these podcasts give me the urge to quit my job and open a bakery (currently a nutrition/exercise researcher) – but I have to remind myself that’s likely the quarantine jitters talking. Thank you for all of the content you give us, Grace – I look forward to your posts on the daily 🙂
I’ve heard good things about that one! Thank you so much for the rec! XO
This week checking in from our vacation home in western Maine. If you come from another state (we come from Massachusetts) you have to quarantine for 14 days before you can go in public. We are on a lovely little lake and while it is too cold yet for swimming, the scenery is quite ok while we quarantine!
That sounds idyllic – enjoy!
Hi Grace! The first few weeks of hanging out with just my cat was fine, then I just hit a wall in the past week and I’ve been feeling so resentful toward people who have been able to isolate with others! I know I’m extremely lucky to have a safe place to isolate, and extra lucky that my family is doing well, but it’s tough to feel alone. However, knowing that I am not alone in feeling alone helps a ton! I appreciate you being open with your feelings during this time. I think you are the only blogger that I follow who is isolating alone at home, and it’s honestly really comforting to read your posts. Tl;dr — thanks for doing what you do!
Hi Joanna. I’m in the opposite boat as you but I completely understand what you’re feeling. I am quarantined with my family who are not following guidelines as much as I would like and after being cooped up for 2 months it’s really starting to get to me. I wish I could be alone with a cat!! But on the other hand I keep trying to remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to live with family while i’m unemployed. It’s a really tough balance.
The grass is always greener, I guess! There are definitely times when it’s nice to be alone, and I’m sure there are times when you feel happy to have company! Challenges with both for sure. Glad you are safe with your family!
I hear you, it can be so hard! I feel so lucky to be safe and healthy and to have a relatively nice, at least by NY standards! place to be… but its still hard- I wish I had a partner through this!
PS another good person to follow on Instagram who is isolating alone is @mandy! I think you might like her content a lot.
Following!!! Thanks for the rec 🙂
Glad to hear you are holding up well. A bit of sun does wonders to the mood! Berlin is behaving pretty well in terms of weather so that helps with my mood too . Most places have reopened as of today so I am curious to see if it will last and how things will unfold.
As soon as I scrolled to the section about Masterclass I thought you’d recommend it, so I can have a reason to sign up, but seeing you are having doubts too well, well that makes two of us. Looking forward to seeing if you end up signing up and how you like it!
The Career Edit | thecareeredit.co
It really does!!!!
And I’m not having doubts about Masterclass – I’m just not sure I will actually sit down and use it! It sounds amazing, though!
I love these lists! My favorite distraction has been reading with my dad. We set his library card up on his ipad over a zoom call and he LOVES it. We’ve been reading the same books and texting/calling each other about them to discuss. It’s nice feeling like we can do something together even though we’re far apart!
I love that!!!! My mom and I have been reading the same books too and that’s been really nice!
I live in Ontario and things are slowly starting to open up here. I’m torn between wanting them to open up for admittedly selfish reasons but not feeling comfortable if they do. I just wish I could meet up with friends somewhere and not be afraid of hugging them hello. My nephew’s birthday is in a couple weeks and I would love to be there but I’m debating whether it’s safe for me to arrive. I feel like at the beginning of quarantine I was handling everything a lot better and the more time has gone on the more everything is hitting me. Thankfully I discovered my library has ebooks so I’ve been reading a lot.
I feel so conflicted too. We aren’t there yet in New York but I feel that anyway – conflicted bc I want things to open selfishly but also scared bc I know we’re not ready!!! I miss hugs so much!!! It’s definitely up and down. Reading has been helpful for me – hope it is for you too!
Hi Grace! Comin at ya from Concord, NC! I’ve been getting out for walks every day that it’s not raining and it’s been a great way to relieve stress, catch up on podcasts (thanks for all the book pod suggestions by the way!), and to get some distance from my house. When you get back to Dead to Me, you’re going to love the rest of the season. Agree with a fellow commenter that they wrap this storyline up really nicely! Thanks for all the great content during this weird time, I don’t comment much but I truly look forward to your stories and posts!
Hi Jen! It really makes such a difference (getting outside!!!) And now I’m even more excited to dive into Dead to me!
Unfortunately, I am a member of the elite squad known as the “Special Victims of Being Quarandumped-Unit”. 3 weeks in to self isolation (a little over a month ago) the man I was in a serious (ie mutual plans to get married) relationship with unceremoniously ended things… with a text message (we’re both in our 30s. Yep). Needless to say, lots of ups and downs and crying for the past month. Also lots of headspace, walks, podcasts (BOP!), and wine. While I feel like things are slowly getting better the overwhelming uncertainty of the future coupled with ongoing isolation makes it hard to stay in the present and even harder imagine things getting back to normal. In spite of that: I am grateful for the commitment of you and your peers to continue to graciously create and share uplifting content. When the days seem to drag on forever it is a nice little pick me up. Thank you for all that you do! Looking forward to some retail therapy with the Amazon drop! 🙂
Oh my gosh NOOOOOO I am so sorry, that’s terrible!!!!! A text message!? I am so sorry. Thinking of you… hang in there!!!!! XOXO
Hi! I’m in the DC area. I’ve been ok generally, but had a rough day today. This morning, I tripped and fell while running – I’m super scraped up, my knee hurts, my watch is shattered and ruined, and I hate running anyway so this was a bummer all around. Then, this afternoon, the CEO of the nonprofit association I work for announced that we are going to telework through the end of the year. I support the decision and especially support the reasoning behind the decision — he cited leaderships’ desire for us to not only actually be physically safe at work but to FEEL safe, which is so amazing and thoughtful — but I keep randomly crying, which I’m sure is due to a lot of pent up emotion. This is all so tough, and a positive outlook can only do so much! Anyway, thanks for all you do and here’s to this week getting better (it can only go up from here!) – Cheers!
UGH I am so sorry you had a rough day!!! I think pent up emotion is definitely very real – I know I will personally find myself sobbing at the tiniest thing that would never have bothered me in the past!!!! Sending you a hug and YES – the week can only get better from here!
Hi Grace. In central New Jersey we continue out evening walks. We have a fair amount of green space and are grateful for that. I think growing tomatoes is a great idea. I would get a planter deep enough to put heavy rocks or concrete chunks in the base before putting in your soil. (I lived in the city, also) I think cherry tomatoes or those tine sugar bombs would be ideal That way you can use them to pop in a salad or dip in hummus.
I’m gonna check out the puzzles.
Stay safe. Stay well. Go outside when you can. Rebecca
Thank you so much for the tips! Really appreciate it!