Hola! I'm Stephanie

4 cool things

Published 5 months ago • 2 min read

Hi, Reader!

How’s your week going? I know it’s only Tuesday, but if your week is anything like mine, it’s already looking a little cray.

Which is exactly why I thought I’d tell you about a few things I’ve been enjoying lately. Some things are travel-related and some not so much, but either way, I hope they brighten things up a bit, whether your week is awesome or ugh.

The Amplifier

By now you know that I highly value expertise and curation over algorithms and crowdsourcing. Do I care what some rando on Reddit thinks about this hotel or that restaurant? Call me a snob, but no, I really do not. Watch the hilarious 1-star review videos the NPS puts on their Insta and you’ll see exactly why I don’t go for crowdsourcing.

Which is exactly why I’ve been loving the New York Times’ Amplifier newsletter, which they call “your alternative to the algorithm” (a phrase I wish I could steal), where a real actual human chooses great songs to check out each week. You have to be a paid Times subscriber to get the newsletter, but if you aren’t, you can still access the accompanying playlists on Spotify. Some weeks there’s a theme, like “7 Great Songs from Great 7th Albums” or “2007: The Summer of ‘Saltburn,’” and some weeks it’s just, “Here are some great new songs we’re excited about.” Either way, it’s always gold.

2024 Travel Predictions

Also in the Times this past weekend was a very interesting article looking at travel predictions for 2024. Different from their yearly 52 Places list, this article focused more on topics like whether airline prices will drop (short answer: yes), whether your travel points are threatened (short answer: maybe), and how A.I. will affect our vacations (short answer: it’s like letting a teenage intern do the planning). Pretty interesting stuff, and you can read all of their predictions here.

American Fiction

This one isn’t so travel-y, though it is Boston-y: we saw the movie American Fiction this weekend and I highly recommend it. The screenplay is fantastic, as is Jeffrey Wright, who plays Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, a frustrated novelist who’s also dealing with family issues. Monk uses a pseudonym to write a fake novel, but when it gets picked up by a major publishing house, hijinks ensue. Exploring issues of race, family, and capitalism, the movie is heartfelt, funny, and thought-provoking all at once. It’s getting awards-season buzz, and I would definitely suggest seeing it in the theater.

As a side note, we also saw also-buzzy and arguably-more-travel-y Poor Things, but we both left feeling lukewarm, despite the eye-popping sets and costumes (I loved the wacky vision of Lisbon) and an excellent performance by Emma Stone. Hot take, I know… If you’ve seen it, do you agree? Disagree? LMK!

Cooking Egyptian Food at Home

My mom, cousin and I have a foodie WhatsApp group where we cook dishes from a different country each month and then compare notes. It actually started as a different kind of pie each month, but Iñigo isn’t a dessert guy and I just can’t eat that much pie, so I had to request a gear shift. Plus, this theme feeds right into my international travel vibes! (Feeds into—see what I did there? 😉)

Anyway, our first month was Egyptian, chosen by my cousin’s 13-year-old son, who I think was trying to challenge us. Little did he know that we would all be psyched by the idea! I cooked two recipes this weekend, a spicy charred eggplant from Milk Street and dukkah-crusted fish from NY Times Cooking (I swear I read more than the Times!). They were both quick, easy, and delicious, and I may have to add them to my repertoire.

Next up is Spain, so Iñigo and I are making his mom’s meatball recipe, which is total comfort food deliciousness, a perfect wintertime batch cook.

Would you be interested in some kind of “international cooking of the month” group? Hit reply and let me know—I might set something up!

Ciao for now!

Hola! I'm Stephanie


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