6 Things That Brought Me Joy This Summer
In partnership with our friends at LÄRABAR
Caitlin O’Malley is goop’s food director. She gives us recipes, takeout recommendations, and advice on anything not related to food. She makes us laugh every day. She’s wise, which you can see for yourself on the sixth episode of The goop Lab on Netflix: “Are You Intuit?”
In mid-April, I was chatting with a friend about the state of the world, and we ended up sharing all the trivial things that had recently made us happy. We were half joking as we started, but naming these bright spots was surprisingly powerful: It made us feel a lot better. Finding small moments of joy in 2020—a year that has felt like a conveyor belt of stress, uncertainty, and bad news—has helped me clear my head, laugh out loud, and feel grounded again.
Raise a Bar
When I’ve got a lot going on with work, I need to make sure I have easy, satisfying snacks at the ready—otherwise, I end up skipping meals and feeling exhausted by the time I have a moment to put something together. LÄRABARs have been clutch for me recently, the Cherry Pie bar in particular. It’s delicious, and I so appreciate that it’s made of real fruits and nuts (seriously, it’s just dates, almonds, and cherries—that’s it). I make a point to take a little break from what I’m doing, maybe sit outside or say hi to my cat. That little moment usually gives me the boost I need to finish my day strong.
Meditation has never come naturally to me, but I’ve always enjoyed mindfulness coloring books. The Coloring Method takes the idea to the next level, pairing drawing circles with breathwork and affirmations. It’s guided and much more intentional than the absentminded doodling I was used to. It’s helped me get out of my head when I’m feeling anxious or frustrated.
Feed the People
This summer, I came across Home-y Made Meals, an LA-based network that gives people the opportunity to cook or deliver homemade meals to LA’s unhoused community, whose resources have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. I finally felt like there was a use for my skill set and that I could actually help. I’ve cooked for three weeks so far and plan to keep it up well into the fall. After I posted about it on Instagram, friends, family, coworkers, and even some strangers made contributions to my effort, which I was grateful for. Putting these lunches together has helped me find a sense of purpose.
Seeds of Change
I am a notoriously bad plant mom, but I’ve been able to maintain a regular routine while working from home, and my plants are not only surviving but thriving. I also think that because I’m home more, I’m noticing changes—watching new sprouts and buds grow here and there. It’s kind of magical. And because I’m seeing the work pay off, I feel super motivated to get more plants. I’ve been eyeing these ceramic garden pots for a while—I think they’d be a great home for the new plant babies.
While much of the summer has felt monotonous, my husband and I were able to get one lovely socially distanced weekend away together. Getaway has outposts outside of lots of major cities. Its LA spot is Running Springs in the San Bernardino mountains. You stay in a mini cabin that has everything you need and, in the spirit of minimalism, not much you don’t. We especially loved the big comfy bed, the giant picture window looking out into the forest, and the firepit with Adirondack chairs. There is notably no TV or Wi-Fi, which was a welcome change from our screen-driven routines. We cooked meals over the fire, played cards, and woke with the sun. It was only forty-eight hours, but it was incredibly restorative to get back to basics.
The Queen of Vegan TikTok
I feel very old when I’m scrolling through TikTok, but sharing funny animal videos is one of the main ways I communicate with my teenage nieces. A couple months ago, one of my nieces, who happens to be vegan-curious, sent me a video of Tabitha Brown making carrot “bacon.” The recipe looked awesome, but Brown was the real find for me (she has more than 4 million subscribers). In these sixty-second videos, Brown is funny, relatable, warm, self-deprecating, and wise. And she cooks tasty-looking food. She’s got some signature catchphrases: “That’s my business” and “Like so, like that” are now a regular part of my inner monologue when I’m cooking.