Release Station June 21, 2021

6 Things That Brought Me Joy This Summer

6 Things That Brought Me Joy This Summer


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.  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.


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.


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.


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.