Everything is Copy – a documentary about Nora Ephron made by her son. I learned so much about Ephron, what influenced her and who she influenced from this documentary, which was also just a pleasure to watch. I’m a sucker for stories about writers, especially if they have an old Hollywood connection, which this movie does. Patton Oswalt once said you can’t tell how dangerous Los Angeles is, because everything is bathed in bright sunlight. It’s a truism that the foundation of Hollywood is crushed dreams dissolved in whiskey and cigarette smoke, and yet, more often than not, people who move to LA to reinvent themselves do so thinking they will be different. They will make it. “Everything is copy” is a mantra Ephron’s mother would use on her daughters in response to their ups and downs. Ephron’s parents came to Hollywood to write movies, and if IMDB had been a thing back then, their pages would have been respectable, but they never achieved the success that Nora eventually would enjoy. Ephron left Los Angeles to not be a screenwriter, and the movie follows her career in journalism and how she was led back to movies. It also explores her decision to keep her illness largely secret and what ramifications that had on the people close to her who were essentially blind-sided by her death. I came away from the movie in awe of her ability to just get things done.
Call Your Girlfriend – This “podcast for long distance besties everywhere” was recommended to me by a bestie and, no kidding, I cannot image my life without it. Aminatou Sow is a digital strategist and her bestie is journalist Ann Friedman. On their podcast, they talk about everything from politics to periods in a way that feels both familiar and exciting. I’ve never listened to an episode of this podcast that didn’t specifically tie in to something I was currently thinking about or dealing with in my life. For example, this morning I listened to the episode “Live from LA! with Rebecca Traister.” Traister wrote the book All the Single Ladies, and they were talking about how much “single ladies” (and Traister defines that more broadly than it sounds) spend on their friends’ weddings and wedding-related events like showers and bachelorette parties. All the first trips my girlfriend and I took together were for weddings, and that started to bother her. I loved being a part of these weddings and I don’t regret traveling for them, but back then, we only had so much expendable income and it was being used up by other peoples’ weddings. Now we’re the ones getting married and we really want our friends and family to celebrate with us, but we also wonder if we’re putting people out. Traister says some women are throwing themselves big birthday parties for landmark years like turning 40. Those parties are as much a celebration of a life milestone as a wedding. I like that idea. And I’m starting to think everyone should have a gift registry going at all times.
Time to Think – Nancy Kline is a former teacher who’s created a specific methodology for what she calls “a thinking environment.” In this book, she explains how to create the conditions for yourself and others to think better and to think for yourselves. Two things that especially stuck out to me are (1) the quality of thinking someone does in your presence is directly related to how well you listen to them (and she gives some specific tips on how to listen better) and (2) the success of what we do is specifically tied to the quality of thinking we did before we started doing. I’m applying some of her principles in my life and at work and in both her method has paid dividends.
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream – I’m the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and a robust underarm smell creator. That means I’ve been using a very strong commercial deodorant while wondering if I’m increasing my risk of cancer with every swipe. Enter Soapwalla Deodorant Cream. It’s all-natural and doesn’t contain coconut oil (the one thing my skin is allergic to). It’s not an antiperspirant, so you may get a little moist in your pits, but you won’t stink at the end of the day. My girlfriend was skeptical, especially because one of her most uttered phrases while doing laundry is “I can’t get your smell out of this t-shirt.” But after sticking her nose in my pits several days in a row and being pleasantly surprised, she’s started using it herself. I would probably use the hard stuff before a work out, but for days when I’m just sitting at a desk, it’s great.