The Dumb Phones Trend. I’ve written at length about the complex relationship I have with social media. Recently, I came across a promotional video of this device (obviously while mindlessly browsing through Facebook) and I thought it was a really neat idea! From their website: “The Light Phone only makes and receives phone calls. It uses your existing phone number and it is your second phone, a supplement to your smartphone for those times where you do not need the internet in your pocket.” There are other devices coming on to the market with similar functionality, such as the Punkt MP01 phone. While I don’t think you really need these devices to be able to unplug, I do think it’s indicative of a larger conversation happening right now about the distracting nature of smartphones.
Hamilton. I listened to maybe 2/3 of the musical before but just recently on my drive down from San Jose to L.A. did I finally finish the entire soundtrack. It was magical. I hope to see the live musical one day when I win the lottery and can afford tickets.
The Jay-Z Interview. You know those nights where you casually look at your clock only to discover that it’s 3:00 a.m. and that you’re on your fourth straight hour of YouTube binging? Yeah, that happened to me a few weeks ago and one of the things I watched was the recent Jay-Z interview with Dean Baquet. I thought it was really profound and I really appreciate and respect Jay-Z’s perspective on life and the truths he’s come to terms with. I would highly recommend watching it.
A Conversation about Parenting. I was having lunch with my manager and coworker a few weeks ago and my manager said that his philosophy on parenting is a delicate balance between being a guiding force whenever possible and an authority figure only when necessary.
This means you have three jobs as a parent: (1) creating an environment for your kids that allows them to thrive in the areas they naturally gravitate towards (i.e., not forcing them to join Math Olympiad if they absolutely hate doing math problems), (2) enforcing rules that are in the best interest of your child that as a kid they might do on their own (i.e., eating healthy, exercising, etc.), (3) deciding which of the two jobs just mentioned apply to which aspects of a child’s upbringing.
French Toast in Oakland. If you’re in Oakland, you must make it your #1 priority to visit Shakewell for brunch and get an order of their French toast. You can thank me later.
Downtown Sunnyvale. Before moving back to L.A. a couple of weeks ago, I lived within five minute walking distance to Downtown Sunnyvale. It’s not really so much of a “downtown” area as it is just one block, Murphy Ave., of restaurants, bars, and shops. Initially, I thought it was the strangest, most artificial “downtown” setting I had ever been in. But after living there for a while, it really grew on me and by the time I was leaving, its image in my mind had transformed to become what I now consider the cutest, most charming, most quaint little area I’ve stepped foot in. My favorite place there is hands down Leigh’s Bookstore. There’s also a fantastic ice cream shop next door to it which sells the most amazing sorbet flavors I’ve ever had.
Mr. Money Mustache. An oldie but a goodie. I was originally introduced to MMM by a friend of mine who actually reads this blog! Initially, I was incredibly cynical and skeptical about MMM’s philosophy about personal finance but over time it really started to make sense to me and now I am more or less trying to live by it — not fully there yet, but, baby steps! If you’re interested in frugality, financial independence, and/or minimalism, I’d highly recommend checking out his blog. I recently read his post about Bitcoin and I think it serves as a good sanity check in the face of all the hype around cryptocurrency (hype which I myself gave into not too long ago *nervous laughter*).
Hell or High Water. My dad recommended this movie to my sister and me and we absolutely loved it. It takes place in Texas and tells the story of two brothers trying to provide for their family through a series of heists and a sheriff trying to track them down. On the surface, it sounds like a very basic and predictable plot line but the movie was incredibly complex and does an excellent job of blurring the lines of morality and shows that “right” and “wrong” are not black and white but rather various shades of gray. The movie also portrays Texan culture so vividly and so beautifully which is not something you hear Californians (like myself) say very often!