Quarantine Q&A: Update (Part 11)

The calendar has flipped to a new year, but we’re still living that pandemic life. Now, more than ever, I need to keep my time stacked with content and activities to keep myself from going crazy since it’s too cold to go outside. For more ideas, check out: Part 10, Part 9, Part 8, Part 7, Part 6, Part 5, Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, and Part 1.


  • Cooking/Recipes:
    • The TikTok Cooking (aka #TortillaTrend or the TikTok pasta): We all love a good wrap for lunch but TikTok has revolutionized the wrap game with videos like this. I’ve made a few and can confirm it’s a real game-changer. It solves the issue of getting the perfect bite – layered like this, each bite includes all the ingredients. The wheels are turning coming up with quadrant combos. And then there’s the feta pasta that went viral. Who knew this social media app would become a place I go to for cooking tips?!
    • Salted Pretzel Magic Bars: I think I might change up the nuts and do a caramel drizzle instead of extra chocolate, but this dessert is definitely on my mind. I like that it doesn’t have to be overly sweet. Thinking I might try this out and give leftovers to my doormen.
  • Other Activities:
    • City Dumpling: During the pandemic, a slew of delivery-only businesses have sprung up. I really want to try this one which just a bunch of handmade dumplings, delivered right to your door.
    • Tiny Cards: This app by Duolingo is free and FUN. It turns learning into a game, which is perfect for my competitive spirit. I studied several languages through college and am fluent in French + conversational in Spanish, but you know what they say: if you don’t use it, you lose it. This became painfully clear when I recently needed to interact with someone who spoke no English. I took a minute to compose myself and managed to cobble together enough words for us to have the necessary conversation, but it made me realize that it’s time to brush up on my language skills. I’m now practicing for a few minutes every day and really enjoying it.
    • Learn Mahjong: This is a lofty goal. My LaLa used to play mahjong regularly with a set group of ladies but never taught my me or my mother. It’s such a cool game and tradition that I’d like to learn. I know it’s not easy to master so this will be a tough one to accomplish.
    • Needlepoint: Claire told me she recently got into needlepoint during the pandemic and sent me a kit because she had a feeling I’d be into it too. I can’t wait to try.


  • Books:
    • Reese’s Book Club: Reese Witherspoon’s picks are usually solid and now there’s a companion app. I’ve already downloaded and looking forward to feeling out the community.
    • To Have and to Hoax: I downloaded this one on a whim because it was on sale and I’m hoping it’ll give me all the Bridgerton vibes.
    • Anti-racism Daily: Not a book, but a daily newsletter aimed at dismantling racism and systemic oppression. Nicole Cardoza is doing amazing work and should be credited (and supported monetarily) for helping shift perspective and frame our references. I’ve known about Anti-racism Daily for a while now and followed their socials, but it was this article on a recent cultural appropriation of mahjong that got me to click subscribe. I was nervous to read the piece at first, afraid it would be calling out all the Jewish women who play the game (see: Activities, above) but that wasn’t it. In fact, the phenomenon of Jewish women playing mahjong is not discussed here (I’m guessing because they choose to honor the game rather than white wash it as the subject of this article). What is under review is a set of white women who have attempted to rebrand the game to make it more palatable to a white American audience. Not cool. I love how the articles are succinct and there’s a TL;DR section at the bottom. Bravo.
  • Movies:
    • Sound of Metal: Riz Ahmed is a fantastic actor and I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of his projects, this being no exception. It’s about a heavy metal drummer who suddenly loses his hearing. Overnight, his life is upended – his career no longer possible, communication exceedingly difficult, and relationships difficult to maintain. Watching him adapt to his new reality is subtle and stunning.
    • To All The Boys: Always and Forever: The 3rd and final movie in this trilogy just dropped on Friday. Just as charming as the others. (Netflix)
    • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: This film adaptation of August Wilson’s play is filled with such incredible performances. Tensions reach a boiling point during a recording session with the “Mother of the Blues.”
    • Promising Young Woman: Everyone is talking about this one. It seems to be a must-see if you want to be prepared for awards season.
  • TV:
    • Bridgerton: The description of “Gossip Girl meets Pride and Prejudice” is spot on. I ate it up. (Netflix)
    • A Teacher: This reminded me of the book Tampa, which was basically Lolita in reverse and I loved when I read it years ago. Basically a female teacher has an affair with her high school student. Scandalousssss. (Hulu)
    • The Crown: I tried this one about 5 years when everyone said I would love it…but I just couldn’t get into it. I found it boring, but I think that’s because [at the time] I was really looking for something light that required little attention. I wasn’t in the right headspace and it’s really the kind of show you need to pay attention to so all of a sudden I was like “I’m almost done with the season and have no clue what’s happened.” But when the recent season was released I went through round 2 of everyone saying they couldn’t believe I didn’t watch so I decided to give it another go. I’ve always been fascinated by the royals so I was bound to like it. This time I must be in the right mental place because I’m into it. Also, the costumes are fabulous. (Netflix)
    • Bling Empire: The premise of this is basically Crazy Rich Asians but make it reality tv. (Netflix)
    • Best Leftovers Ever: In each episode, three contestants are tasked, over two rounds, to turn leftover food into something totally new and unrecognizable. It’s not the best cooking show I’ve ever watched, but it’s cute, mindless, and I like watching the always-nice judges pretend to like repurposed food that, in some cases, could not be saved. (Netflix)
    • Rupaul’s Drag Race: People were very surprised to learn I hadn’t watched this one – it’s very on-brand for me. Season 13 is currently airing but I decided to start on S1 and have no regrets. Some of these drag queens are so crazy talented and I love watching them turn it out week after week. (Hulu)
    • WandaVision: This Marvel Cinematic Universe show follows Wanda and Vision as they settle into life in the suburbs, concealing their powers. Each episode takes on the look and feel of a sitcom from a different decade. Although it’s on a streaming service, episodes are released weekly. It’s the kind of show where there are easter eggs, winks, and big reveals so it’s nice to have a week to digest the ep and google fan theories. (Disney+)
    • Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy: Of course I like this because we honeymooned in Italy and Tucci is discovering the same areas we did. But it’s also just so interesting! I had no idea that a fried pizza was created because of the cholera epidemic or that the Scampia neighborhood even existed. This show is food, fun trivia, and wanderlust all rolled into one. (CNN)
    • Firefly Lane: The first 15 minutes are just ok, but by the end of the episode you’ll be hooked. Two polar opposite besties weather the highs and lows of a two decade friendship. (Netflix)
  • Podcasts:
    • Too Long; Didn’t Watch: My current favorite show. Each episode pairs a celeb with a binge-able tv show they’ve never seen and have them watch the premiere and finale episodes. Can they figure out what happens in the middle? John Hamm watching Gossip Girl is gold.
    • Royally Obsessed: I love royal gossip and have British aristocracy on the brain, thanks to my current binges of The Crown and Bridgerton. This is filling the gaps.
    • The Readheads: I love reading and talking about books but most bookish podcasts fail to grip my attention…til now. The book choices often mirror my own and they have fun discussing them. The chat around The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes was so on-point. I also love that they do dream-casting.
    • Drinks First: Single people talk about dating in NYC.
    • Are They Canceled?: This show examines cancel culture with each episode focusing on a damned person. Sample episode: Should Sia be canceled after the comments and casting choices around her new film featuring autism?
    • Unraveled: If you like true crime, this one is gooood. It’s about the Long Island serial killer from 10 years ago. It looks like there may be some new discoveries in the case and a crooked cop is involved.