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Issue #27  //  What Do We Carry Forward With Us? 👐

via @shinetext

From Gill:

A few weeks ago, when we were all still getting used to our new stay-at-home reality, a dear friend asked a question in our group text that I can’t stop thinking about.

What from this time are you looking to carry forward?

We responded:

- Being more resourceful in the kitchen

- The simplification of external responsibilities and shedding a lot of extras

- The end of the obsession with productivity and pointless busyness

- Having more time to catch up with people without a ton of advance planning

- When I go back to work, it’ll be nice to know I’m just going straight home and I don’t feel pressure to go to the grocery store, library, bank, etc.

- Not having a ton of commitments – will like it better when we can have spontaneous social stuff with others, but not having it all scheduled

I loved that our answers centered on simplifying plans and focusing on the things that are most important to us. Now, close to a month later (or has it been years? Time has lost all substance), I would add:

- Being more open with each other about how we’re really doing and giving space for all the complex emotions we feel, without judgment

- Reaching out to loved ones often and looking for ways to deepen connections

- Becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and change

- Enjoying open stretches of time with nothing to do (and not feeling guilty about not being “productive”!)

What about you? What are you looking to carry forward?

🎙 Latest Episode: #35 - Mindfulness in Tough Times, with Dr. Megan Clapton

Dr. Megan Clapton is just the person we want to talk to right now, and we’re so grateful for this conversation. Megan, a licensed professional counselor and the founder of Mindful Therapy, talks about how practicing mindfulness can help us through difficult times. She also shares strategies and lessons learned from a tough personal experience – being in medical isolation with a serious illness – that are relevant for all of us right now.

👉 Steal This Tip: Megan Clapton Edition

The simple 4-7-8 breath is something I use a lot in my practice. It’s a wonderful way to start mindful breathing or meditation, and you can practice it any time. It’s good for the mind because it can distract you from whatever is going on, and it’s good for the body because it allows oxygen to get into your blood.

Breathe in for four seconds through your nose and hold it for seven seconds. And then breathe slowly out of your mouth for eight seconds with a whooshing sound.


Episode 32: Training Your Brain to Expect the Good🎙

Whether you naturally lean toward optimism or pessimism, you can train your brain to zoom in on the good and expect more of it. We follow up on Episode 15: Choosing Optimism, sharing research-backed tips on how to train your brain for optimism – even if it doesn’t come easily to you.

Listen to the episode.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

From the text thread with our husbands: 

Evan was playing with Snapchat filters, and Darren graciously shared this portrait with the group. His alternate caption: "When the Zoom comes on before you're ready"

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Melia: 

  • Feeling It All in Quarantine
    I’m a huge fan of Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong, an incredibly versatile and funny performer. She blew me away with this essay on struggling with mental health in quarantine while losing her close cousin and starting a new relationship. It’s poignant and candid and beautiful, and it made me love her that much more.

From Gill: 

  • Cooking Lessons from Isolation
    The Serious Eats team has been working from home for over a month, and their roundup of lockdown cooking takeaways was helpful and reassuring: “The dishes never stop. There's no such thing as enough produce. And, seriously, it's okay if your meals aren't perfect.” It’s nice to hear that even professional cooks just want quick mac and cheese some days.

On Our Screens & In Our Ears  📺  🎧

From Melia: 

  • Alicia Keys in Full Color
    I’m loving the audiobook of Alicia Keys’ new memoir, More Myself. She vividly takes us through her life and music, as she breaks free from the people-pleasing of her early years and comes fully into her own. She includes short audio recollections from key people in her life (her parents and husband, Swizz Beatz, and celebrity friends like Bono and Oprah) and sings verses from her songs a cappella. I admire her for so many reasons, from her songwriting to her commitment to social justice.

From Gill: 

  • Focus Music
    When I am writing or working on a task that requires a lot of concentration, I have a hard time listening to music with lyrics. I rotate through a few tried and true Spotify playlists – Chill Lofi Study Beats, Classical Essentials and Focus Flow – but my current favorite is Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi’s Nightbook. It’s atmospheric and mellow but with just enough of a beat to keep me engaged.

On Our Plates   🍽 

From Melia: 

  • Spaghetti Carbonara  
    This is good old-fashioned comfort food that hits all of the right notes: hearty, salty, and rich. The creaminess of the egg and parmesan is so satisfying. I like to cook the bacon extra crispy and caramelize the onions. This time I used basil instead of parsley, but either works great.

From Gill: 

  • Grilled Kimcheese
    We get a giant cabbage in our CSA basket every two weeks, and I can only eat so much coleslaw, so Brian made a giant jar of kimchi (adapting this recipe based on what we had on hand). It is delicious and we have SO MUCH, so we’ve started making grilled cheese sandwiches with kimchi at every opportunity. The combination of rich meltiness and subtle heat is fantastic. Give it a try with homemade or store-bought kimchi, sauerkraut, or any other spicy, crunchy, or pickled vegetable.

If you like the Semi-Together podcast, why not share the pod with a friend who would enjoy it? You can also become a patron here.  

Until next time! 


Melia & Gill 😘😘

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