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Some Recs for 2020

by Amelia Greenhall - 02/07/20

Some recommendations for things that cool people I know have made:

To start: We Should Get Together, a book on improving your adult friendships, by Kat Vellos. Kat is awesome so it's no surprise this book is great - besides being useful, it has drawings!

Synchronized Swim, a weekly essay project by my friend and creative collaborator Amy, and one of her best friends, about their lives in their mid 20s. (Also, you might like All Well’s sewing patterns that I’ve been working on with Amy!)

Muna & Broad makes gorgeous sewing patterns specifically for plus-size sewists. It's a collaboration between Leila and Jess, who also writes at Broad In the Seams. I am so into what they've been making and doing.

Some email newsletters:

TV wise:

I didn’t watch much, so the only recommendation I have for you is the Spanish show Money Heist on Netflix, which got me through an illness where I was too sick to read.

Activities that have been great for my daily life:

I’ve been really liking stretching almost every morning for the past few months, doing three simple stretches from the book Even The Stiffest People Can Do The Splits by Eiko. As the title suggests, it meets you where you are. I found it randomly by browsing the nonfiction stacks in the library (also an activity I highly recommend!). What's helped me stick to it is dressing first in exercise clothes, and putting out the yoga mat. Then, I don't put the mat away and change into regular clothes until I've stretched. This has often lead to a run or walk, or doing yoga, too.

Bullet journaling and morning pages have been a standby source of joy, inspiration, and figuring out and quiet listening as usual this year. If you want to try bullet journaling, the book “The Bullet Journal Method” by Ryder Carrol is well done. There are also tons of blogs and things on instagram and youtube. Morning pages are based on Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, where you write three pages every morning and see what happens.

Some favorite “self care” things this year:

  • Baths with a handful of epsom salt and some oil.
  • Using moisturizer and otherwise just taking a minute to be kind to my skin (I wrote some skincare routine thoughts earlier this year)
  • Stretching, mentioned above
  • Taking walks
  • Morning pages and bullet journaling
  • Breathing / meditation
  • "Curly girl method" of hair care, which lets my curls and waves stick around a lot more - for me, no shampoo, a gentle conditioner to cleanse with instead, and a hair gel. There are tons of resources on blogs, youtube and instagram.

Some books that stood out to me in 2019:

  • What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other by Wen Stephenson
  • The Great Derangement, by Amitav Ghosh
  • Six Degrees, by Mark Lynas. From 2008, a new and updated edition is coming out in April.
  • Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
  • We Should Get Together Kat Vellos’s book! That I mentioned above.
  • Atomic Habits James Clear
  • The Art of Simple Living Shunmyo Masuno
  • Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar
  • Why I am Not Feminist Jessica Crispin
  • Severance Ling Ma

I also have enjoyed trading recs with Harper, who pointed me to James Church’s detective stories (wow!), among other things. His reading site is filled with interesting finds.

Best of the finances books I read this year:

  • You Need a Budget Jesse Mecham
  • Quit Like a Millionaire Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung - I didn’t agree with everything in this book finances wise, but it’s a really readable intro to financial independence.
  • Work Optional by Tanja Hester - Another good financial independence/early retirement book, which actually talks about the climate crisis (!), from the writer of the blog Our Next Life.

Have any recs for me this year? I'd love to hear them, especially reading recs! – here's how to get in touch.

— Amelia Greenhall