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Issue #37: Looking Forward to the Little Things 🌹

Melia's kitchen chalkboard

From Melia:

Oh, friends, how many e-news editions have we begun with a variation on “It’s rough out there right now”? It’s the only thing that feels authentic, to first acknowledge that this is a tough freaking year, the hardest one many (most?) of us have seen in a lifetime.

As I mentioned in our most recent podcast episodethe expression “We’re all weathering the same storm in different boats” perfectly describes what we’re collectively going through right now. We or our loved ones may have suffered from COVID, the West Coast fires, or (look at today’s headlines and fill in the blank). Some of us are better equipped than others to weather the storm with coping tools, support networks, and various levels of financial, physical, and mental health.

It compounds our pain when we feel sorry for ourselves because we think we’re worse off than others, or beat ourselves up for feeling down because we think others are suffering more. That’s second arrow stuff, and there’s enough empathy to go around for all of us (Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us episode on comparative suffering is a must-listen).

I’ve been in and out of periods of existential ennui, a.k.a. Life is MEH. When I’m in that state, despair isn’t far behind. Eventually I realized that I feel this way when I’m not looking forward to anything, when every day feels more or less the same.

Darren had a great idea to ward off the blahs: Write on our kitchen chalkboard the next things I’m looking forward to. I’m reminded of them every time I pass by.

I don't have as many big things to look forward to right now, so I’ve been zooming in on little things to fuel me -- like a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. Here are some others:

☀️ Watching The Bachelorette, which is finally back, after a months-long delay. Watching the show itself packs a lot of dopamine hits -- it’s always “the most dramatic season ever”! -- and the post-show fandom brings me even more joy (Twitter, Here to Make Friends -- a feminist lens on the franchise, Bachelor Happy Hour, Ali Barthwell’s and Sharleen Joynt’s recaps, and texting with my friends who watch).

☀️ Listening to Taylor Swift’s folklore (my most-played album of 2020) or Sara Bareilles’ More Love while I work.

☀️ Taking guitar breaks between work sessions. I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique, and it works well to focus my brain during short sprints of 25 minutes and dedicate my five-minute breaks to self-care.

☀️ Listening to podcasts whenever I do chores, cook, or exercise.

☀️ Reading the Harry Potter series to Evan before bed. We’re on book four, The Goblet of Fire, and at 734 pages, it will be the longest book that either of us has ever read. 😄

☀️ Catching up with family and friends over text or FaceTime.

☀️ Watching the Borat 2 premiere on Amazon Prime Video this Friday, October 23. I am positively giddy about this movie, whose official title is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

These days, looking forward to the little things will carry us through to better times. Hit reply and tell me what’s keeping you going these days. 💕

🎙 Latest Episodes: 

Ways to Find Connection & Joy in COVID Times

Feeling stressed, exhausted, and anxious as the coronavirus pandemic wears on? Saaaaaame.

It’s important to acknowledge the grief about what we can't do right now – AND focus on what we can still do, finding meaningful moments to carry us through. Here are six ways to find connection and joy in each day.

Living By the Reverse Golden Rule

The Golden Rule – Treat others how you’d like to be treated – is easier to live by than the Reverse Golden Rule: Treat yourself how you’d like others to be treated.

We discuss why science says it’s so important to be kind to yourself and share five researched-backed strategies for embracing the Reverse Golden Rule.

👉 Steal This Tip: Celebrate milestones in special ways.         

Plan a picnic or little trip (safely!) to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, throw a virtual party -- like the 90s costume trivia party Melia’s siblings-in-law hosted for her 40th birthday -- or send a special gift. Open a bottle of wine or have a special meal to celebrate little accomplishments like turning in annoying paperwork or finishing a big project.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

via @mhglover

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Melia: 

  • Such a Jam

    Fans of Schitt’s Creek -- and even those who aren’t yet -- will love this clip of Annie Murphy and Dan Levy listening to music clips together and declaring them “Jam or Not a Jam.” Though it’s from a few years ago, Gill sent it to me just this week and totally made my day.

From Gill: 

  • Docuseries I’ll Actually Watch
    99% of the time, if you recommend a documentary to me, I will not watch it. I know, I know, there are many great ones out there, and I’m so glad you enjoy them! But unless they’re about Beyoncé or Taylor Swift, I’ll pass.

    Food-related docuseries seem to be my one exception, and I’ve been savoring a few while my travel plans are on hold. I absolutely love Samin Nosrat’s cookbook, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and the Netflix four-part series based on it is stunning and makes cooking fun and approachable. And I recommend Chef’s Table BBQ for anyone with a penchant for meat and smoke.

On Our Screens & In Our Ears  📺  🎧

From Melia: 

  • Fun Hillary

    I’ve told you how much I love the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast for its hilarious and surprisingly in-depth interviews with interesting people. I enjoyed Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s interview on cowriting The Book of Gutsy Women and Hillary’s recent second interview, in which she and Conan imagine a buddy reality show in which they drive around the country together on a motorcycle and a sidecar. Her new podcast, You and Me Both, gives her the space to be relaxed and irreverent in a way that politics didn’t. She joked with Conan that she thought about calling the podcast “I Told You So.” 😂

From Gill: 

  • Our BFF Mindy's New Book   
    Mindy Kaling is amazing and so is all of her work, so I was thrilled when she came out with a new book, Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes), earlier this month. The six essays are alternately laugh-out-loud funny and oh-no-I'm-crying-in-public poignant and cover topics including her social anxiety, becoming a single mom while missing her own late mother, and the pros and cons of not having a partner.

On Our Plates   🍽 

From Melia: 

  • Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes
    I make Darren a cheesecake cupcake trio every year for his birthday -- raspberry swirl, vanilla maple bacon, and chocolate peanut butter cup. This year instead of topping the latter with crumbled Reese’s, I made the whole cupcake into a Reese’s with the topping from this recipe. Who knew that combining chocolate chips, peanut butter, and coconut oil creates a magic shell? “Magic” is truly the only word for this.

From Gill: 

  • Caesar Salad
    I love making a crisp green salad and then dousing it in a decadent dressing. This Caesar salad dressing recipe is outstanding – garlicky and creamy and Parmesany and anchovy-y. I recommend making a double batch to last you several meals, and adding cherry tomatoes and rotisserie chicken to make your salads extra delicious.

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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3000 Old Canton Rd. Ste. 455, Jackson, MS 39216
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