Monday, October 12, 2020

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #30: October 11, 2020

 Hi all,

Friendship is a strange thing.  It takes on many forms.  To me, a friend is someone who makes me smile when I see them or hear from them or even just think about them.  A friend is someone who, no matter how long it's been since we last spoke, I know that I could see and immediately feel a connection with, a flood of memories, and a sense of relief and comfort.  A friend is someone I can talk to about what's really on my mind.  A friend is someone who makes me feel supported even if we're not together.

Each week, I hear from a few of you, and (especially when I hear from someone I haven't spoken to in a while) it brings me real joy.  I've been hearing from more of you lately, and I've also been starting to feel more like myself than I have in a long while - perhaps it's coincidental, but I don't think it's entirely so.  There are people on this distribution list from every aspect of my life - from Purchase Elementary School, Harrison High School, Harvard, NYU Law, FFAWN, Google, Gunderson, and so much more in between - chem camp, and Danbee, and Pleiades, and concert planning, and my various internships and summer jobs, and even two people I met (separately) on the subway in NYC.  We have shared so much, done so much, lived so much life together.  When I'm feeling down, these memories have the power to pull me out of it.

If you're on this list, it's because, when I went to create this list back in March, I thought of you.  I thought about all of the smiles you've brought to my face over the years, and I wanted to do my best to repay you for that gift.  I hope that when this email shows up in your inbox each week, you smile back at me.  I hope you remember our time together just as fondly.  And I hope you also feel a little bit more like yourself.  I cherish my friendships with every one of you, and I want you to know that I'm thinking of you and enthusiastically looking forward to being able to see you again!

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.


  • The Bachelorette premieres Tuesday night on ABC!  If that doesn't make you smile, I give up.  Please note the new night, though - added bonus: the Bachelorette won't conflict with Monday Night Football!  (Although, notably, it will conflict with Tuesday night football this week, which is only a thing because of the pandemic.  That's ok, though - between Fitzie completely whooping the Niners this afternoon and the multiple heart attacks the Seahawks just gave us tonight, I may have had my fill of football for one week!)
  • The Billboard Awards are this Wednesday at 8pm on NBC.
  • The New York City Ballet's digital fall season is underway.  This week, you can catch Balanchine's Duo Concertant, Symphony in C, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, plus Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering.  Access the stream on Facebook, YouTube, or the NYCB website; it will be available for one week beginning on Tuesday, October 13, at 8pm.
  • City Center's Fall for Dance festival has gone virtual this year.  Each year, I look forward with wild anticipation to this event, which usually features two weeks of mixed-menu dance performances ranging from tap to flamenco to krumping.  I've seen Lil' Buck dance with Tiler Peck, and Dorrance Dance (tap) paired with classical ballet and one of the best flamenco performances I've ever seen all in one night - it's downright magical.  And did I mention that tickets are only $15? This year, there are two premiere dates, on October 21 and October 26, and both programs will be available online through November 1.  You can buy tickets here.
  • The Public Theater is releasing a four-episode audio play, Shipwreck, this Friday (Oct. 16) at noon.  This piece shows our power to adapt - originally slated to be performed live this year, the play was re-worked specifically for an audience listening in from home.  Learn more here.
  • The Resolution Project, a nonprofit organization that I've been involved with for a full decade, is shifting its traditional annual gala, Resolve, to a multi-day digital experience.  RSVP for free here and tune in from Monday, Oct. 19, through Thursday, Oct. 22, for panel sessions, networking events, exhibitions from Resolution Fellows, and a live musical performance.  The Resolution Project is an organization whose mission is to develop socially responsible young leaders around the world and empower them to make a positive impact in their communities.  They accomplish that goal through social entrepreneurship, offering both Social Venture Challenges for young entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and Resolution Fellowships to provide a supportive system of funding, partnerships, and services to help them succeed.  Tune in next week, and I promise you'll feel inspired!
Home and Shopping
  • Looking to spruce up your home with some fall decor?  Pick up some super-cheap fake pumpkins and try your hand at making these inexpensive but stunning fall decorations.
  • Amazon's Prime Day sale is Tuesday and Wednesday this week.  Target and Walmart have both announced their own competing mega-sale days (Walmart's started today and runs through my birthday on Thursday, and Target's sale mimics Amazon's dates of Tuesday and Wednesday).  Best Buy will also announce their Black Friday deals this week in order to get in on the action.  Given all the craziness with mail and packages this year, it's never too early to start your holiday shopping!  Full gift guide to come once some of my go-to favorites release their holiday collections (not yet - I've been checking daily!).
Recipe of the Week: Risotto!
  • It's fall, and that means it's the perfect time for risotto!  (Ok, any season is risotto season, but still). Fall ingredients like truffles, butternut squash, figs, and even chestnuts are wonderful additions to the blank canvas of risotto, and classic ingredients like saffron pair beautifully with them.  Check out my base risotto recipe and some of my favorite combinations here.

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