Friday, June 26, 2020

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #16: June 25, 2020

Hi all,

This week, one of the things I'm most thankful for is music.  Whatever mood I'm in, there's a song for that.  No matter what's happening in my life, music has the power to enhance my emotions, console me, give me confidence, or pick me up and set me back on the right track, and always reminds me that I'm not alone.  So many moments of my life are intertwined with the music that marked them.  I remember the songs that helped me handle my grief when I lost my grandfather.  As a 13-year-old, when my first dog passed away, I had my grandmother show me "middle C" on the piano so I could write a song for her (the dog).  When I got my first job out of college, I remember the songs that made me feel like a confident bad-ass who could achieve anything, and in a way nothing else could (like my boss' own "Just Fine" - "I like what I see when I'm looking at me as I'm walking past the mirror...").  I remember re-discovering Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" shortly after graduation - it hasn't left my rotation since.  When I broke up with my first boyfriend, I remember the songs that gave me hope for something better yet to come.  I remember dancing awkwardly to classic 90s songs at sleepaway camp ("Killing Me Softly," anyone?).  I remember finishing my 1L fall exams and coming home, triumphant and exhausted, to Luke playing "I Fought the Law and the Law Won."  I remember, in the final hour of the Bar Exam, singing "Sloop John B" over and over in my head ("I wanna go hooooome, let me go home!").  I remember listening to the Beach Boys and Bob Seger and Three Dog Night with my dad on the way out to my grandparents' beach house in Long Beach, and hitting the high notes in "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" while singing along with the jukebox in our basement as I played ping-pong and pinball with my parents and my brother.  I remember the first song I learned to play on the piano ("Moonlight Sonata" - even in 6th grade, I didn't know how to start small), and the first song I had a chorus solo in ("Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy").  I know the lyrics to just about every song ever written for a Disney movie.  And when I go to the ballet, the moment I engage - the moment when all the stress of my day melts away and my shoulders drop several inches - is that moment of anticipation after the conductor's applause fades away and just before the first note of the music is played.  I don't know what it is about music, but music carries with it memories, and joy, and confidence, and love, and sometimes sadness and anger, too.  My whole life story can be told through music, and I'd bet that many of you feel the same way.

With all of that in mind, I'm sharing a few of my favorite playlists with you.  I shared this Quarantine Confidence Boost playlist a while back, but I'm offering it again now - it's a selection of songs with which I can't help but start singing along.  They inspire me and give me confidence, and they can get me out of a funk every time.  I'll also offer this instrumental playlist, which helps me find my groove during the work day while avoiding distracting lyrics, and one called "Life Is Good," to celebrate when you're feeling on top of the world and want some music to match.  Feeling like you're in a rut and need a pick-me-up?  Try this list of "Fight Songs."  It feels oddly intimate and vulnerable to share these with you, but if they bring any of you even a fraction of the hope and confidence they've brought me, it's worth it.  And finally, this week's section titles come from the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, Lee Annn Womack's "I Hope You Dance."

I would love to hear your quarantine playlists, too, so if you're willing to share, I'm all ears!

Previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


I hope you never lose your sense of wonder (entertainment)
  • Outdoor dining officially launched in NYC as part of Phase II - check out this list of 20 restaurants that opened this week if you're eager to be among the first patrons.
  • Miss bar trivia nights?  Check out this virtual option, which has rotating among bars in Brooklyn to help them stay afloat during the quarantine as well as to save you from another monotonous Monday.  
  • Jon Stewart is back with a new political satire movie, Irresistible
  • Just a reminder that this weekend is the culmination of Pride Week - please see last week's Digest for a long list of ways to participate, or ask Google to show you what's on the menu in your neighborhood.
  • Celebrations of Black culture
    • Just Mercy (the film version) is available for free through the end of the month on Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and a few other streaming services.  The book (mandatory reading for my 1L year of law school) is incredible, and the movie is a powerful summary.
    • Spike Lee has released a new film, Da 5 Bloods (available on Netflix).  See here for an explanation of some of the pop culture references you'll see in the movie.  If you've never experienced Spike Lee's legendary films, check out this overview, pick one, and get watching!
    • Rather than a typical standup act, Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special, 8:46, is a raw accounting of police brutality, punctuated with images of Black men who died at the hands of officers, while deftly interweaving his own personal history.  See the New York Times' commentary on the piece, along with explanations of some key references, here.
    • Have some time on your hands for reading?  Ibram X. Kendi has created an antiracist reading list.
    • Looking for additional ways to support the movement?  Check out Black Voters Matter, which focuses on voter registration, policy advocacy, and building infrastructure to ensure that Black voters are able to be heard in future elections (including this November).
Get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger (food)
  • I've been asked more times than I can count how I create a new cookie from scratch, or go off-script to customize a classic.  The answer is simply that I've learned cookie science from years of experimentation.  If you don't have the desire to spend a decade baking thousands of cookies a year, don't worry, you're still in luck: other people have enshrined their learnings on the internet so that you can learn these secrets of baking in just 10 minutes of reading.  See here for tips about how different ingredients and ratios affect the texture and appearance of your cookies, and here for a rundown on pans.  Or just watch the Good Eats episode on cookies, Three Chips for Sister Marsha, in which Alton Brown himself will walk you through many of these same tips.
  • Recipe of the Week: No-Refrigeration Bakery Frosting: You can use this versatile frosting to ice a cake, create sandwich cookies, or slather it on whatever else you feel like putting frosting on.  It will keep for 3 months in the fridge (covered) and should be ok for at least a week at room temperature (unless your room is swelteringly hot - be smart).  Combine 1 cup shortening, 1/4 cup non-dairy creamer (like CoffeeMate), 1/4 tsp almond extract, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract in a large bowl.  Gradually add 16 oz. confectioners' sugar, then up to 1/4 cup water, a few tablespoons at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.  If you want chocolate frosting, add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder with the confectioners' sugar.
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance (self-care)
  • We've all been struggling at times during the quarantine.  Need some help starting to feel like yourself again?  Check out these free coaching resources to help you deal with the stress of the quarantine isolation, parenting, financial turmoil, working from home, being an essential worker, and much more.
  • We're going to be home for a long time.  Now that we're spending so much time here, doesn't it make sense to make it a space we love to be in?  As one of the endless possibilities you can dream up, consider giving yourself some extra "outdoors" time by going back to your childhood and turning your ceiling into the night sky.  You can DIY with a bunch of stars (there are tons of YouTube tutorials if you're interested), or take a shortcut and get some help from the pros with this wallpaper.
  • Please be careful about which hand sanitizer you're using - the FDA recently released a list of toxic hand sanitizers to avoid.  Need new ones?  Bath & Body Works has a ton in stock now, and they smell delicious!
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance...I hope you DANCE!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #15, June 21, 2020

Hi all,

Happy Father's Day!  This week, I'm bringing you a few clusters of recommendations: Pride Week events, of course, as well as video game recommendations, fun and quirky food deliveries, and new thoughts on the pandemic (like how to hug safely and how to get kids to follow social distancing guidelines).  When things get busy, I like to chase one theme for a week or two, filling small gaps in my schedule with bite-sized bits of relaxation - trying new music or video games, reorganizing my reading list, or working my way through a playlist of recipes I've been eyeing for a while.  These themes have all featured heavily in my personal rotation, and below is a jumping-off point if you'd like to join me.

One other tip: Don't forget to take time for yourself these days.  Even if we can't travel like we normally would (especially during the hot summer months), taking a day or two here and there to give yourself some long weekends can be restorative and therapeutic.  I'm taking my own advice, too - tomorrow will be spent attempting to perfect a long-anticipated cookie recipe through extensive and thorough experimentation, as well as reorganizing my office space to give myself a fresh boost of energy for another busy workweek.  If you feel like you wouldn't know what to do with a day off, I challenge you to take out a piece of paper and write down 5 things you miss - I bet you can think of a way to make some of them work right now (and if you need suggestions, give me a call!).

Previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Happy Pride Week!  There are tons of incredible options this week, and most major cities in the U.S. are hosting virtual parades and showcases in lieu of their traditional live ones.  Here's an assortment that stood out to me, but do a quick Google search and you'll find tons of local options and events with specific themes (e.g., try looking for dance events, food, politics, academic discussions, or musical performances).
  • Don't miss the 24-hour Global Pride livestream on Saturday, June 27th.  This event is being billed as the first worldwide L.G.B.T.Q. event, and it will be focusing on Black Lives Matter this year, including music, performances, speeches, and messages of support.  Todrick Hall will host, with appearances by politicians from across the globe, like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Justin Trudeau (Candian prime minister), Leo Varadkar (Irish prime minister), Carlos Alvarado Quesada (president of Costa Rica), Erna Solberg (prime minister of Norway), Xavier Bettel (prime minister of Luxembourg), Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India.  There will also be an incredible cast of performers, including Laverne Cox, Adam Lambert, Kesha, Rita Ora, Pussycat Dolls, Dixie Chicks, and Olivia Newton-John.  Check out the full schedule and ways to watch here.
  • On Sunday, tune in for a special broadcast on CBS commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first NYC Pride March.
  • The main weekend of Pride Week kicks off on Friday, June 26th.  Take a stand against discrimination and police brutality by joining for The Rally on Friday evening, from 5-8pm.
  • NYC Pride's Human Rights Conference takes place on Thursday from 9:30am-6:30pm.
  • Frameline44 is hosting a Pride Showcase featuring 16 LGBTQ+ films from around the world.
  • San Francisco will be hosting a virtual Illuminate the Pink Triangle lighting event (covering a full acre and visible from outer space); you can see a countdown to the Saturday lighting here.
  • SF Pride will also have a CBS special on Sunday, "Fifty Years of SF Pride," broadcast on from 11am-3pm (PDT).
  • Going for a run this week?  Snap a Pride-themed photo along the way to enter Runstreet's photo competition.
  • Check out this free cook-along series, with suggested donations benefiting NYC Pride and God's Love We Deliver.

Bored of JackBox?  Here are some other great options for online multiplayer games - some of them are only available on certain platforms, and I haven't tried all of them (so please don't get mad at me if I'm wrong about having online multiplayer modes!).  Not a fan of my recommendations?  Check out more here and here.
  • Tried and true:
    • Gears of War: As some of you may know, Luke and I have actually spent dozens of hours playing this with one of his best friends from across the country - I like to think it showed us we could make a good team.  The story modes are pretty well done, but Horde Mode is a fantastic way to pass a few hours while chatting with friends over your headsets.  Shooter games usually aren't my thing, but this one can be very cathartic.
    • Rocket League: This is essentially soccer that is played using cars and a ball roughly the size of a small house.  You can team up with up to 3 friends and play against the masses on the internet (or if you have a larger group, you can play custom matches against each other in various combinations).
    • JackBox: Ok, seriously though, if you still haven't played any of the JackBox games, pick any party pack and get going!  Just have the person who owns the game screen share on Zoom or Google Meet (with computer audio), and everyone else can join in using whatever device they like, including their phone.  My favorite games include Drawful 2, Fibbage 3, Quiplash XL, and Trivia Murder Party 2.  Tee K.O. is also awesome, although a bit longer, and you can even order a real-life t-shirt featuring the designs you create (seriously, I own one).
  • Games I'm excited to try:
    • Just Dance 2020: Exactly what it sounds like - queue it up and have a dance party with your friends).
    • Minecraft Dungeons: Up to 4 players can take on "action-packed, treasure-stuffed, wildly varied levels" fighting the familiar Minecraft mobs.
    • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch): The classic, updated to keep up with the times.
    • Animal Crossing: New Horizons: This is primarily a single-player game, but you can interact with your friends who are also playing.
    • Don't Starve Together: This is a co-op game that requires teamwork, building, and – importantly – not dying.  One description I found describes it thus: "In this survival game, you and up to four other players are dropped into a sketchy Tim Burton-esque world filled with violent horrors and terrifying nightmarish creatures. These monsters are the least of your problems as you scramble to survive, keeping fed, warm, dry, and sane."  Come on, guys - we've essentially survived a zombie apocalypse for 3 months already; we've got this.

Looking for some new perspectives on the pandemic?  Here's a round-up of the some of the best I've seen recently:
  • How to be a good friend during the pandemic, from two New York Times editors
  • How to ease back into social interactions, from a New York Times war correspondent
  • How to hug safely, from an airborne disease transmission expert
  • Wondering how and where Covid-19 is mostly likely to spread?  See this incredibly detailed article analyzing trends of infection and superspreading events, and providing guidance on the types of activities that are and aren't safe as we start to reintegrate into society.
  • Check out this article from the New York Times called "Trying to Parent my Black Teenagers Through Protest and Pandemic"
  • Having trouble getting your children to follow social distancing rules?  Check out these helpful tips.

Bored of the same few meals over and over?  Shake up your routine with these quirky food delivery options!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #14, June 13, 2020

Hi all,

Sometimes we all just need a break.  And sometimes the best way to get one is to escape to another time and place.  We all have different ways of doing that - different ways of finding our “flow” or blocking out the stress in our lives, in order to process things and prepare ourselves to face the world again.  For some of us, that pause comes from watching a movie, or doing a workout, or falling into a great story.  If you’re looking for some suggestions, here are some of my favorites, and some that my friends have sworn by recently.
  • The Great British Baking Show: This is one of the best shows of all time.  Seriously.  There’s something about that show that is calming and comforting, and for an hour, your biggest concern will be that your favorite baker just slightly overcooked their choux buns.  You can find nearly all episodes on Netflix.
  • Animal Crossing: This game has taken over the planet during the quarantine.  If you haven’t tried it yet, consider giving it a chance.  And don’t forget that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has offered over 406,000 images of artwork for your virtual wall in this game - no matter what style or artist you love, you’re sure to find something to make your house in this game feel like a home.  Not a bandwagoner?  I got very into Stardew Valley a year or two ago, which is very similar, and has a few more adventure-y options to go with the friendship-building activities that Animal Crossing includes.
  • MindTravel: Murray Hidary creates some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.  Participating in one of his meditation events is truly transporting.  I’ve never been much of a meditation person, but MindTravel is an entirely new type of experience for me.  Can’t recommend it highly enough.
  • Video games: There are so many to choose from - pick a mood or a genre and the systems you have, and I can try to give you a recommendation.  Some of my personal favorites that can suck you into a new world include Viva Pinata, Katamari Damacy, Minecraft, Cook Serve Delicious!, Spyro the Dragon, Assassin’s Creed, and even Civilization.  Just don’t get mad at me when you glance at the clock and realize that six hours have passed without you noticing - that’s the whole point!

Previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


P.S. - Apologies for the delay this week!

The Serious Stuff
  • VOTE! In New York, we have a little over a week left before the primaries. You can still request your absentee ballot until Tuesday, June 16th (check "temporary illness" as the reason for your request - it's allowed under a recent executive order from Cuomo). If you're not yet registered, the deadline has passed for the primary, but act now and register to ensure that you can vote in the main elections in November. Don't miss your opportunity to participate!
    • Make sure you research who and what you're voting on, too. For example, if you want to see what policing laws are currently like in your city or state, check out Campaign and Voting.NYC include information about who’s on the ballot and links to get more information about where they stand on important issues.
  • As promised, I received a few additional resources for those of you interested in engaging with the issues you've been hearing about through the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests. If you haven't already, please check out the resources I sent out last week - these issues are incredibly important, and there were a few articles in last week's message that can serve as helpful starting points for these conversations.
    • Looking for ways to discuss these issues with your children? Check out this board book for very young children, written by Ibram X. Kendi, the author of How to Be an Antiracist.
    • Finding it difficult to find common ground with the protesters?  Here’s one thoughtful approach: 10 Rules for Engagement for White Jews Joining the #BLM Movement.
    • Macy's hosted an internal town hall meeting for its employees and made some excerpts from the discussion public, featuring comments by Dr. John Fitzgerald Gates, Vice Provost for Diversity & Inclusion and Clinical Professor of Management at Purdue University, explaining some of the main themes from the protests.
    • See here for an extremely provocative piece written by a former police officer.
  • Keep seeking out the beauty in moments like this. For example, this giant mural stands as a tribute to all of the lives lost to Covid-19, and depicts Dr. Ydelfonso Decoo, one of the first medical professionals to succumb to this virus while helping affected patients.

The Silly Stuff
  • Yankee Stadium is no longer open for huge sporting events, but its massive parking lot isn’t going to waste - instead it’s being converted into a gigantic drive-in movie theater this summer!  Sign up for the waiting list here to purchase tickets as they become available.
  • Looking for some competitive spirit to shake things up?  Check out this “Punderdome” event next week.
  • Dance Week at Lincoln Center is a retrospective series celebrating more than 40 years of performances, including Ballet Hispanico, the NYCB, the ABT, the School of American Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  The events were expected to take place last week, but many were rescheduled for later in the month.  Check out the details here.
  • is now offering a weekly arts event list with some really great options.  Whether you’re a suburbanite or a city-dweller, check out these virtual events to keep you cultured, even from home.
  • NJPAC has finally gone digital.  Check out NJPAC in Your Living Room, including talks, performances, and dance classes.
  • Capezio has introduced Capezio at Home dance classes (all on Instagram Live) - see the schedules at @Capezio.
  • At the New York Times, there’s a tradition that when people travel to a new place, they reach out to a local reporter for recommendations on where to eat or stay, which landmarks are worthwhile, how to get around, etc.  A handful of editors have made their notes on their local favorites available to the public in a compilation titled Notes From Our Homes to Yours - check out local recommendations for when things reopen, or treat yourself to a virtual trip and imagine all the fun you’ll have once you’re able to travel again. 

The Yummy Stuff
  • What started as a recipe exchange at Winston & Strawn turned into this digital cookbook full of delicious dishes to try.
  • Recipe of the Week: Vanilla Ice Cream: It’s getting HOT outside.  All I want most afternoons is a scoop of really great vanilla ice cream (with Nutella and sprinkles and sometimes even no-bake cookie dough, of course).  This recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen is pretty good, and it’s incredibly simple - all you do is mix together all of the ingredients together and either simmer it until the sugar dissolves for best results or just throw the mixture straight into the machine if you’re in a rush.  Pour 1 cup heavy cream, ¾ cup sugar, and 2 tsp salt into a saucepan.  Warm over medium heat until sugar dissolves; remove from heat and add ¾ cup cream, 1¼ cup whole milk, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract.  Stir to combine and pour into ice cream maker; churn according to machine’s instructions.  Enjoy as-is or over homemade blueberry pie (see below for recipe).
  • BONUS Recipe of the Week: Blueberry Crumb Pie: Stir 6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup cornstarch, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and 1 tbsp lemon juice together in a bowl; set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pour filling into pie crust; dot with 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces. Combine ½ cup packed brown sugar (light or dark both work), 1 tsp cinnamon, ¾ cup flour, and cup unsalted butter in a bowl, then sprinkle crumble topping over the pie (be generous!). Bake for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees F, wrap the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent too much browning, and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes (you should be able to see the filling bubbling gently for at least the last 5 minutes). Allow to cool and thicken for 3 hours at room temperature before serving.

The Self-Care Stuff
  • Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation app, is offering a full year of their premium subscription for free to anyone who is unemployed.  Sign up here.
  • Zappos (the online shoe store) has converted their customer service line into more than just questions about your orders - you can now call and talk about anything you'd like (even just to have someone with whom to chat casually).
  • We're all anxious to get a haircut - see here to get the skinny on when hair salons will reopen and what it will be like when they do.
  • Eataly's La Scuola is offering private online group cooking classes for pizza, pasta, wine tasting, and even Italian mixology, and they'll deliver the ingredients to all participants within the five boroughs of NYC. Call 212-539-0205 to schedule.
  • Downtown Alliance is hosting a cook-along series with chefs from restaurants in downtown Manhattan, including one with Chef Michele Iuliano from Gnoccheria in two weeks. See here for the full list and to register.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A MESSAGE OF HEARTBREAK [and a break from the Quarantine Digest]: June 4, 2020

Hi friends,

Today, for one of the very few times in my life, I'm struggling to find words.  These may not be the right words, or the best words, but please trust that they come from good intentions.  My heart is aching.  I've cried this week - a lot.  We watched a police officer heartlessly take the life of George Floyd.  We mourn Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.  We remember Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin, and so many others.  We glance at the news and see countless atrocities being committed every day against peaceful protesters and journalists by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them - committed by police officers, and sanctioned (or even encouraged) by some of our elected officials.  There's no easy solution to the problems we face - now, throughout the history of our country, and probably long into our future.  All I can offer is a list of the resources and voices that have helped me through the past week (see below), along with a poem.

About a decade ago, I had a bracelet made that says "Do Good Anyway."  The quote comes from a poem credited to Mother Theresa, which has been translated in various ways.  One translation can be found here.  Regardless of its precise original phrasing, the words have long motivated me in those times when I felt lost or alone; I hope you find it as inspiring as I have.  The way I interpret it, especially in these turbulent times, is that we should always try our best to do what is right and what is good, no matter how others will react.  Every voice speaking up for good has value, whether or not the speaker receives recognition, and even if the speaker faces scorn or worse for having spoken.  We must always stick firmly to our values and do what we know is right, even when it is difficult.  The bravery of protesters and others who are willing to speak up against wrongdoing - even if it means the risk of hatred, physical or legal harm, and great fear and stress - is inspiring to me.  There are smaller actions as well - I see images on the news of people who are uncomfortable marching themselves, but line the protesters' path to offer water, masks, and other supplies to keep them safe.  Yesterday, I saw a restaurant worker on a delivery bike stop at a busy intersection to direct traffic to another street in order to prevent an unsafe situation with an approaching group of protesters - had the cars continued through the intersection, they could have hit the protesters in the dark, and they certainly would have ended up trapped and surrounded by thousands of people, which could potentially be dangerous for both the protesters and the occupants.  No one thanked him, and few even noticed what he was doing, but he stayed anyway to prevent anyone from getting hurt.  After trash was strewn across Broadway, creating a very dangerous situation on the dark streets, the superintendent of a nearby building came out to drag the trash and debris out of the street.  No one thanked him and few knew that he was ever there, and it was dirty and difficult work, but he did it anyway.  The coming months and years will continue to be turbulent.  We may find ourselves the only voice speaking up, and we may fear the reaction of our friends and colleagues, but we should speak up anyway.  There will be things we can do to help without anyone ever knowing, and they may be difficult, and we should do them anyway.  There are conversations that will be unpleasant and difficult, but we should have them anyway.  When we know in our hearts what is right and what is good, we should do it anyway.

If you're looking for ways to help engage with these issues, support the protests, and help enact change, there have been many pieces published this week offering context and advice, and many lists of ways to act.  Some of the ones I've found most helpful and powerful are listed immediately below, in the first and only section of this week's Digest.  If you have more to add, please let me know - I will update my blog post throughout the week to add resources that are sent to me, and I will send out a more complete list in next week's edition.  This is not a one-time event - these issues will not go away, even once the daily protests end.  Please take a moment to engage with at least one of these articles - they may make you uncomfortable; they may make you sad; they may make you angry.  That's ok.  Read them anyway.  You may not agree with everything these articles say, and you may not feel like some of these issues directly affect you.  Support the cause anyway.  You may be angry about the looting and the rioting.  Support the peaceful protesters anyway.  Do everything you can to ensure that this can be a country that we are proud to live in, and that we are comfortable raising our children in - a place where everyone can proudly be themselves without fear.  When you encounter someone you feel you have nothing in common with, be kind anyway.  If you see someone struggling and don't quite know what to say, reach out anyway.  No matter what life throws at you, do good anyway.

I will be back next week with the usual variety of recommendations, but it didn't feel right this week to be talking about TV shows and online dance classes.  If you have any suggestions or if you would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.  Previous digests can be found on my blog at


Understand the issues, and take action to help
  • Perspectives
    • Former President Barack Obama wrote a powerful article this week, titled How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change, offering his take on recent events and suggesting ways that each of us can get involved in the movement for change.
    • Ibram X. Kendi, the director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center, offered this essay in the New York Times.
    • This podcast, featuring three coaches of professional teams (Gregg Popovich of the San Antonion Spurs, Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, and Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors) discussing the current state of our country and the importance of leadership at moments like this.
  • Ways to Help; Things to Do
    • VOTE.  Lasting change requires a change in leadership.  Don't miss your opportunity to help.  New York's presidential primary has been rescheduled for June 23rd.  Be sure to request your absentee ballot (check "temporary illness" as the reason for your request - it's allowed under a recent executive order from Cuomo) or to register if you haven't already.  The deadline for requesting your absentee ballot is June 16th.
      • Make sure you research who and what you're voting on too. Almost all police districts, for instance, get their funding from cities and counties, not the federal government.  If you want to see what policing laws are currently like in your city or state, check out Campaign Zero.
    • Educate yourself.  See here and here for good starting points.
    • Have difficult conversations with those around you.  See here and here for advice.
    • Make sure those around you are feeling supported.  See here for guidance about helpful (and unhelpful) ways to reach out to your black friends right now.
    • Be an ally.
    • Donate.
    • Going out to protest?  See here for tips from Time Out/In New York.
    • Want to support the protests from home?  Check out this thread.
    • Sign petitions.
    • Post thoughtfully.
    • See here and here for more ideas for how white people can help.