issue #269: dusting off the ol' travel brain ⛵

Issue #269 - May 20, 2022
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A cozy dose of comfort for your inbox. A weekly newsletter with musings on and recommendations for downtime.

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Good morning,

Most of my free time this week has gone into dusting off the ol’ travel brain. We're planning for our (2-year-delayed, thanks to COVID) honeymoon and feeling pumped to finally do this.

Getting deeeeeeep into the world of understanding credit card points has been a humbling experience; The Points Guy has been helpful so far, as is their app which tells you what your options are for using the points you have across cards. This week also featured: learning about airline miles, intra-Europe travel, various COVID rules/restrictions/travel insurance now that cases are going up, and researching the best packing cubes (these Baggu ones or these from Amazon look good). Whew!

Of course, it’s all been punctuated by “fun” travel planning stuff too, like rewatching a bunch of Rick Steves episodes and clicking through friends’ epic Google Docs of travel recs (bless these types of friends). Have you got travel on the brain? Keeping fingers and toes crossed that it'll be safe to travel in a few months.

—Alisha Ramos (@alisharamos)

P.S. Some fun news: we're launching an "Ask a Gen Zer" column soon 🎉—because our curiosity about what the young people are into these days is endless, and we're assuming yours is, too. Do you have a question for a Gen Zer, or about Gen Z? Email us here and we'll have our friend, Casey Lewis of youth culture newsletter After School, on the case.

image: Architectural Digest

This Week's Recommendations

  1. LISTEN: A new audio-documentary podcast called Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV by BCC Radio 4 explores the rise of reality TV and its evolution, implications on culture, and the contestants themselves. It’s a smart, well-researched, and sharply edited series that admittedly has a more British bent to it, but also features American stars such as Heidi and Spencer and some Real Housewives cast members.
  2. COOK: Eggplant unagi—a sweet, savory, and vegetarian-friendly dish that comes together in 30 minutes.

  3. Connect more people with your blog or newsletter with Microsoft Start's new Creator Pilot Program. Earn ad revenue and exposure while still owning 100% of your content. Learn more about the program and apply here. PS - Your app will be fast-tracked when you mention GNI!  Sponsor 
  4. LISTEN: This episode on how email took over the world with Anne Helen Petersen on the You’re Wrong About podcast. It’s a fun conversation discussing the history of email and will jog your memory on the early days of inventive spam and mass email chains.
  5. LMNT is a tasty electrolyte drink mix with everything you need and nothing you don't. That means a science-backed electrolyte ratio with no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, or any other junk. Get your free LMNT Sample pack here - you only cover the cost of shipping.  Sponsor 

  6. BAKE: Citrus cake with pomegranate glaze—just what’s needed this spring! 🍋

  7. GIFT: Need a stunningly-packaged, anytime-gift that won’t break the bank? See: Deux Cranes artisanal chocolates. The bars are $13 a pop and are “handcrafted in Los Gatos by French-trained chocolatier Michiko Marron-Kibbey and designed by creative director Ayaka B. Ito as a nod to their Japanese heritage and the flavors of their youth.” The Vegan Matcha Almond with Yuzu or the Milk Chocolate with Ginger, Sesame and Buckwheat sound so good.

  8. SMILE: Two happy home tours to bring some joy into your day: Emma Straub’s book-filled home in Brooklyn and Justina Blakeney’s lush and vibrant home in SoCal. 🌈

  9. THINK ABOUT: This quote from Deb Perelman, of Smitten Kitchen, on hosting: “Hospitality is coziness. It's about welcoming people into your home and letting them feel comfortable – and the best way to do that is to make your favorite food. So, don't go fancy. Don't go showy. Nobody needs a lecture about where the chicken came from in its childhood. Make food that's really cozy and homey to you…. I think a good rule of thumb is that if you feel comfortable and cozy at the end of the night, and everyone stays too long, it was a really good time.” 
  10. GIVE: Let’s work together to help clear this Amazon books wishlist that will be used to create grassroots conversations on race, racism, and Black history within the Buffalo, NY community. (The list was created by the mother of Zaire Everhart, who was shot by a white supremacist while helping an elderly woman with her cart.)

This week's Sponsor:

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Welcome to 3 Good Things, a new series where people we like recommend things they think are worth trying.

Clémence Vina Polès is a creative director, photographer & curator. I've long admired Clémence for ages now for her work as the founder of passerby, a magazine that celebrates the women who pass us by through intimate portraits, curated recommendations, and more.Half French, half Iranian and, raised in a skyscraper-less Dubai, Clémence has always had a deep curiosity and fascination with people—how they live, what they listen to, and what motivates them. She also co-founded the female film festival FFFest and is currently Director of Special Projects at social-impact driven communications firm No. 29. You can follow her @clemencepoles, if you'd like. Enjoy her recs, below.


1) A fresh perspective on love worth thinking about:

One of the best ideas I've ever had was to enroll in a philosophy class about love following a breakup (hit me up if you want the syllabus). Time heals, but for me, so does reading. I'm currently revisiting some of the course texts, along with the best critical theory on love. To start, I highly recommend a short read by Eric Fromm, titled The Art of LovingI keep thinking of the following: “Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one's capacity to love.”⁠ It pairs quite well with a heartbreak playlist I made, as well as this round-up of films and books to mend heartbreak


2) An app worth trying:

A great option for tracking and understanding your cycle, Clue reminds you when you're about to be a hot mess (and lets you lean into it). It also tells you when you’re [most likely] ovulating which can be helpful if you’re sexually active.


3) A view on work life worth reflecting on:

I've been reading a lot about consumerism and capitalism to better understand my drives and work to divorce myself from some of them. I was really intrigued by Catherine Liu's polemic against the Professional Managerial Class (PMC), a class she identifies with, and I guess I do as well. She shows us how things like performative identity and virtue signaling stand in the way of social justice and economic redistribution — i.e., how the PMC signals progressiveness, yet serves capitalism. It was really eye-opening in how it highlights the disconnect and hypocrisy between some of our consumption habits or behaviors and what we perform to stand for. A great, snackable essay to prompt a little self-criticism and move away from what stands in the way of real change.

This Week's Reads

  1. How to take things less personally and avoid mind reading. (Psyche)

  2. Help! I Have a Shopping Problem. Includes helpful and practical tips, both psychological and structural (like deleting credit card numbers from autofill), for overspenders. (The Cut)

  3. Your Camera Roll Contains a Masterpiece. “Our smartphones are stuffed with photos. The challenge is finding the good ones.” (The New Yorker)   

  4. Should we all be  “romanticizing our lives?” (The New York Times)

  5. Sushi As We Know It Will Not Survive. Can the Restaurant Industry Reinvent It? “Fish populations have shrunk while America’s appetite for sushi has only grown. Restaurants are starting to adapt—will it work?” (Bon Appétit)

  6. What makes a great or terrible audiobook performance? (Vulture)

  7. Fascinating: TikTok has an obsession with uncovering “nepotism babies” (The Face)

  8. A modern day mystery, solved: A deep dive into why the Stanley tumbler is so popular  on social media. (The New York Times)

Congrats to our past giveaway winners who won a copy of I Dream of Dinner: Venika, Kasey, Madelyn, Holly, and Talia. 

This week, we're giving away 10 bestselling puzzles from Whiled, our sibling brand! To enter, use your unique referral link below.

Refer A Friend, Win Neat Prizes
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