Weekend Dispatch

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

After a looooong 15 months, things are slowly starting to feel normal again. That's not to say that it all hasn't been slightly anxiety-inducing for me. The thought of crowded restaurants where people are standing shoulder to shoulder while they wait for a table is not my idea of an enjoyable night out. While I'm happy that we can finally pony up to the bar and order a drink, I'm not thrilled about being barstool to barstool with an overly enthusiastic patron who's had just a few too many. For me, moderation is key to re-entry. So, I'm taking things slowly and trying to re-incorporate the things I've missed most about my pre-COVID life with the things I enjoyed doing during COVID life. I spent the weekend focusing on my own mental health by taking a long 6-mile walk on Saturday morning and catching up on reading and preparing for the week ahead on Sunday.

Here are a few other ways I recharged this weekend:

From the first moment I heard Olivia Rodrigo's "driver's license", I knew I had to listen to the entire album, SOUR. Not only is Rodrigo's voice incredible, but her songs are filled with the teenage angst of our younger years, that although it's been a while, it's never truly forgotten. I felt transported to my sophomore year in high school again as I listened. Her target audience may be Gen Z TikTokers, but this Gen Y gal is loving it. Plus, it's music that my daughters and I can actually agree on when we are in the car together.

Elin Hilderbrand's twenty-seventh novel, Golden Girl, was released earlier this month. The queen of beach reads is back with a novel that's a bit of a departure from what she normally writes, and The New York Times is calling it her best one yet. This one is a bit of a murder/mystery, but has all the hallmarks of a Hilderbrand novel. Nantucket setting, unforgettable and rich characters, intrigue, scandal, mouth-watering food descriptions, and more. I'm nearing the end, but I am torn between finishing it quickly and taking my sweet time as I never want her books to end.

I'm always on the lookout for meatless pasta dishes. This vegetable spaghetti recipe uses summer veggies, such as zucchini and tomatoes (soon to be in season in New Jersey), that you can probably pick up at your local farmers' market. I eliminate the mushrooms because we don't care for them. You could easily add grilled chicken or shrimp to this recipe for protein. If you don't like spaghetti, you can use any other shape pasta for this dish.

Fans of Taylor Swift won't want to miss her Tiny Desk Concert on NPR Music's YouTube channel. If you're unfamiliar with the premise of the Tiny Desk Concerts, NPR invites a musician to the NPR studios to perform an acoustic concert in a small office in front of a small audience. For the audience it's standing room only but in an incredibly intimate setting where you feel like you're having a meeting with the musician. Not only do the concerts include the musical performances, but they also include commentary from the artists on the inspiration behind the music.

So, tell me. What do you have planned for the weekend?

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