Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #42: January 31, 2021

 Hi all,

Well, it's been quite a week!  On Tuesday, Luke and I bought a house!  We officially live in Irvington, NY - or at least we will in about two weeks once we're moved in.  Once it's safe to do so again, I hope each of you will take me up on an offer to come visit!  We expect that this is both our first and last time buying a house, so we look forward to making a lifetime of memories here with all of you.

But that's not all of our big news from this week!  A few hours later, I decided to accept a job offer, so I'll be starting as the second attorney at FullStory, an UX/analytics SaaS company, in March.  I am incredibly grateful to everyone at Gunderson for their mentorship and support over the past year - I've learned so much, and I've somehow weathered an unrelenting storm in my personal life, which was only possible with the help of my colleagues.  Everyone knows that firm life is very demanding, but the hours pass far more quickly with teammates like the ones I've been lucky enough to have.

This is a pretty dramatic pair of life changes to happen together, but I'm excited to hit the reset button, and I'm hopeful that I will be able to re-energize myself - it's been a long time since I've truly indulged in my hobbies or taken a step back to evaluate and appreciate the life I've built.  Nearly a year into the quarantine, it feels like the time is right to shake things up a bit!  I'll also be taking two weeks off in between my jobs, so if you're interested in catching up on Zoom, Feb. 17-28 will be the perfect time to do it!

But enough about me: It's almost February, which means that this week's Digest is chock full of recommendations for how to celebrate Black History Month!  See below for a rundown on how to keep busy all month!

As always, 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.


New Beginnings
  • In case you missed it, Starbucks released new flavors to kick off the new year - I've already heard amazing things about the Pistachio Latte.
  • Tomorrow marks the start of a new month, which means that Martha Graham has revealed their theme for February: Past/Present.  Check out the full line-up here.
  • New month, new movies and TV.  Here's what's new on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Prime Video.
  • I've spoken openly before about my experience speaking with therapists (highly recommended), but I haven't yet spoken about life coaches.  A little over a year ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Anne Collier, who has since become a friend and trusted mentor.  Her company is hosting their Learning Collaborative Management Academy starting tomorrow (but there's another session in May if you're not in a position to clear your calendar overnight).  If you're ever looking for a life coach (even if you're not quite sure what that means or how to begin), I highly recommend calling Anne - she's helped me take stock of new opportunities and possible life paths throughout the topsy-turvy ups-and-downs of the past year, and that perspective is sometimes all I need to make an important decision.  I'm not receiving anything for this recommendation - just sharing with you a very important contact of mine who has helped me tremendously!

Black History Month
  • Curious about the origins of Black History Month?  It started in 1926, in a weeklong celebration that was scheduled for the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  Read more about the history and importance of this national initiative here.
  • You can view the official list of events on the Library of Congress' Black History Month website here.
  • Kick off Black History Month with a conversation with Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to Be an Antiracist) and Keisha N. Blain (author of Set the World on Fire), discussing their book, Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.  The event will stream on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7pm EST.
  • The National Park Service has put together a guide to places across our national parks that celebrate African American history.
  • The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation has a great guide to "Black History in NYC Parks," from the birthplace of hip-hop at Cedar Park in the Bronx, to the Tree of Hope in Harlem, to the African Burial Ground in downtown Manhattan.
  • The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH; a group involved in organizing the week-long celebration that served as the origins of the modern Black History Month) has a list of free events here.
  • The Smithsonian Magazine has a broad variety of events listed here, from events for kids to discussions about prison reform and restorative justice.
  • The New York Times has a run-down on their recommended events here, including a really touching tribute to Representative John Lewis in the form of 300 trees planted in Atlanta.
  • Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!: Steppenwolf Theater presents this filmed play by Vivian J.O. Barnes, streaming all month.  Inspired and/or appalled by the experiences of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, Barnes imagines a dialogue in which a Black duchess helps acculturate a Black duchess-to-be to her new position. Together, they explore what it means to join an institution that acts as if they should feel honored to be admitted, even as it eats them alive.  That the institution in question involves not just royalty but racism, if the two are different, broadens the story. How Black women negotiate power in traditionally white arenas, and at what cost, is something that resonates far beyond Balmoral. (Description courtesy of the N.Y. Times.)
  • Find a vast array of cultural events to mark Black History Month here.
  • National Geographic Kids published this guide to some of the most famous African American heroes, and PBS has a catalogue of biopics and documentaries about prominent African Americans.  The Oprah Magazine has a different list - 26 African Americans you don't know but should.
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts also has a robust slate of events, including a weekly series of cooking classes that's billed as a celebration of African American chefs and mixologists!
  • Since no Digest would be complete without recipes, check out this list of "28 Soulful Recipes to Cook to Celebrate Black History Month," courtesy of one of my favorite food bloggers.

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