Welcome to the April 2023 edition of RPL at Home, where I share what I’m up to when I’m not in the kitchen or in front of the camera.
Each month, I’ll share snippets of what I’m working, habits I’m cultivating, things bringing me joy, books/TV shows/podcasts I’m enjoying, and more. Think of it as stream-of-consciousness blabbering meets a semi-curated list of recommendations meets life update.
This month’s edition
1. What I’m watching, listening to, and reading
2. What I’m working on (in life)
3. What I’m working on (in the biz)
4. Recipes you might have missed
5. Products I’m enjoying
6. Celebration time!
What I’m watching, listening to, and reading
I just finished season 2 of The Sex Lives of College Girls, the HBO series created by personal icon Mindy Kaling. I think I may be slightly older than the target demographic, but it was a hilarious show to binge when Max was out of town. The witty repartee between the characters reminds me of the chemistry between the main characters on Gilmore Girls, Friends, and Happy Endings, but for college gals in a very inclusive 2023.
Also, I just watched the first episode of The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy. A charming but touching exploration of getting outside of your comfort zone (in some of the coolest places on earth).
A few weeks ago, I finished Homegoing, the historical fiction novel from Ghanaian-American novelist Yaa Gyasi. And by finished, I mean I raced through it and read it at every opportunity because it was so good.
Gyasi weaves together a powerful narrative about a family that was split by slavery in the mid-18th century. Each chapter alternates between these two families over the course of seven generations: one chapter is from the perspective of a family member on the Gold Coast of Africa (present-day Ghana), the next chapter is from the perspective of a family member who lives in the U.S.
Despite there being no single central character, the storytelling is compelling, and the narratives, when read in order, paint a very clear picture of the realities of slavery and its enduring legacy on our nation.
I’m sure that this is the kind of book that many politicians would want to ban, which makes it feel all the more important to read.
Two other pieces I enjoyed this month:
- A Psychedelics Pioneer Takes the Ultimate Trip (the most profound 5 minute interview I’ve ever read; Dr. Griffiths truly has the secret to a happy life)
- Whatever the problem is, it’s probably solved by walking (more on that below!)
This episode from Hidden Brain on how experiencing awe can boost happiness. I was listening to this in early March when I saw an unexpected patch of bright orange flowers blooming on the side of the concrete 6-lane freeway I was driving on. It took my breath away and I found happy tears welling in my eyes.
At that moment, I had the urge to pull over and assume the role of carefree-girl-frolicking-in-field, but luckily my instinct for safe driving kicked in. And I was content with the fact that I had just experienced awe in this very ordinary part of my day.
What I’m working on (in life)
As I alluded to earlier, walking! I’ve always enjoyed walking, so truth be told, this is more of a build upon a current habit type of sitch instead of a build an entirely new habit.
When I first moved to San Diego, I tried to keep up my NYC lifestyle of walking everywhere. Walking 30 minutes to the farmers market was charming. Walking on a major thoroughfare at night with literally zero other pedestrians…not so much. So I quickly gave into car culture, and for the first year-ish of living here, I didn’t walk much, averaging 3,000-ish steps a day.
Eventually, I realized what’s now obvious to me. If I wanted to maintain an active lifestyle, I needed to actively put on sneakers, leave my house, and go on walks with no aim except to walk.
Why walking specifically? For one, these wobbly joints aren’t built for running. Trust me, I’ve tried. I even developed a year-long injury after going too hard with beginner Peloton classes. And two, I love walking. Being outside, even if it’s not amongst big open fields or grand mountains, is restorative for my soul.
For the last year and a half, I’ve gone on at least one walk almost every day, sometimes two walks. And that is certainly better than staying indoors all day.
But what I’m working on now is expanding this: making it at least two walks a day, if not three walks, and expanding the types of walks I take.
More frequent walks because I’ve noticed that the only way I can achieve my 10,000-steps-a-day goal on a work day is to take 3 walks a day (or two longer walks). And, yes, 10,000 steps is kind of arbitrary because you can get lots of health benefits even at 7,000 steps a day. But it’s nice to set myself a goal that feels challenging.
And, as mentioned, I’ve been trying to find little ways to experience more awe in my daily life. And going on walks, particularly right after sunrise or before sunset, really sparks that for me. Sometimes I actually stop and smell the roses. Yes, I am that person. Or I pause to admire the way the late afternoon sun makes ordinary shrubs look ethereal and flowers glow with absolute radiance.
It’s only been a week or so of hitting 10,000 steps a day, but I can already feel the benefits. I’m more energized, in a better mood, and feel more accomplished. The downside (for Max): I have been needing more frequent foot massages.
What I’m working on (in the biz)
👷🏽♀️ Building the RPL team
I’ve had my hands in a lot of different pots this month.
Working on the first big-picture round of edits for my next cookbook (more updates next month!), filming both long-form YouTube videos and short-form videos, developing new fun springtime recipes, working on a product we’re hoping to launch this fall (more on that soon-ish!), and more that I can’t even remember.
I love it all. But it’s a lot. Last week, Max and I spent a day writing down all the main areas of our business and the daily/weekly/monthly associated tasks, and honestly the list was so comically long that we both started laughing (crying) uncontrollably.
We realized that if we want to move forward on all these initiatives and still have a social life, we need to hire some very talented individuals to join the RPL team.
If you want to be notified when we post those job roles, be sure to sign up for our newsletter (also sign up if you like vegan recipes!).
👩🏽🍳 Introducing the RPL Recipe Club
We just launched our first monthly RPL Recipe Club!
Each month, I’m choosing a different recipe for the RPL community to make. Anyone can make the recipe, then submit a photo win amazing kitchen prizes. This month we’re giving away awesome cookware from Great Jones!
For all the details check out the April 2023 edition of the RPL recipe club.
🎥 What’s new on YouTube
We just shared a brand new YouTube video on how to master vegan pancakes. Not only are these pancakes life-changing, but you’ll also get to hear my mother’s hilarious storytelling in this video.
Recipes you might have missed
- Vegan Lemon Cake. So many of you chimed in with dessert suggestions in last month’s RPL at Home, and I’m proud to report we now have an epic lemon cake! Perfect for special occasions like Mother’s Day and graduations
- Spicy Gochujang Noodles. Your new favorite 30-minute noodle dinner that’s SO flavorful and easy to customize.
- Vegan Tagine with Chickpeas. A wholesome one-pot stew brimming with nutrients, warm spiced flavor, and all the coziness.
Products I’m enjoying
🥫 Calabrian Chili Paste. Y’all know I love my spicies (spicy food), and I’ve been obsessed with this Italian chile paste recently. Like all the best condiments, this one delivers multiple layers of flavor: spicy from the chiles, tangy from the vinegar, and a rich mouthfeel from the olive oil.
I found this brand at a local Italian market, but Cento also makes a variety. I slather it on (vegan) buttered toast, mash it up with vegan ricotta or feta and spread it on toast, add it to pasta…basically all the carby things.
🧴 Fave new skincare. For the last year or two, I’ve been using a few products from OSEA, which makes seaweed-infused vegan skincare and bodycare products. Last month I started using the OSEA Hyaluronic Sea Serum on my face before moisturizing in the a.m. and p.m., and I already love it. Dewy, hydrated, plump, soft, not oily. All the things!
Celebration Time! 🎉
We recently hit one million subscribers on YouTube last month! BANANAS. Thank you so much for your support and for spending time with our channel.
Okay, that’s it for this month! I’ve been loving writing these more personal posts, and I hope you’re enjoying them too.
Drop me a line below and let me know what you’d like to see in next month’s edition!