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 our best recommendations for your downtime
issue 232 ~ week of August 6, 2021
editor's note

Morning <<First Name>>!

My Sunday winding down routine usually starts with skimming sites like Letterboxd and Storygraph to figure out what I should read or watch, all before actually reading or watching anything. 

I like seeing how others are ranking and rating, but the problem is: there’s a world of really great art that you miss out on when you base your entertainment on buzz. Film critics are overwhelmingly white and male, book reviews have historically downplayed the work of writers from marginalized backgrounds, and the algorithms curating what’s “most popular” are biased.

The books, movies, and music that I’ve stumbled across and decided then and there to give a chance to are some of my favorites. A poem about a Klimt painting led me to Woman in Gold. I somehow missed Monsoon’s premiere but found (and loved) it while searching for something else last month. And my *most* fun facts come from the time I went to the Natural History Museum and they were playing The Million Dollar Duck — please, just watch it. 

This is not about dismissing all the critically acclaimed media or giving in to watching any old mediocre thing (life is short and I believe in consuming good things!), but even better: consuming art when you don’t have all the data points around it. It’s trusting recommendations from new sources, understanding your own taste, and being willing to give something new a shot.

This newsletter is based on personalized recommendations, so… I recognize that tension! To be clear, I’m not against all the tools that can help you find what you’re looking for. The less time spent figuring out what you’re going to read/watch/listen to, the more time you can spend unwinding with it. Need a starting point for your next search? Here are some prompts:

  • Books: Look up the last book you loved here to find your next read.

  • Movies: Pick a selfie that you vibe with and watch that movie without learning anything about it first.

  • Music: Go to your favorite Spotify playlist, right click its name, hit “Create similar.” Now you have lots of new music to listen to!

Here’s to simpler Sunday nights,
Mary Anne Porto, Associate Editor at Girls' Night In

P.S. We recently caught up with Doree Shafrir, podcast host and author of the new book Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (& Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer in our first-ever Downtime Diary. If you'd like to receive these experimental emails and you're interested in sharing your feedback with us, sign up at your profile here.

This week's picks and reads were curated by: Mary Anne Porto

weekly picks

some recent faves, and how we're embodying Main Character Energy
  • Another way I'm fighting Sunday scaries is making Sunday meal prep and cooking easier, without sacrificing any flavor. Omsom's meal starters are great for this, and I love learning about dishes from expert chefs who proudly share their recipes and heritage.
  • This two-way furniture piece that's a classic side table one way and a book storage + snacks holding solution the other way is on my wishlist.
  • Sure, Twilight is now on Netflix, but I'm here to share my love for other movies Kristen Stewart has starred in. Two I stumbled upon in the past year IMO are worth your watch — watch this one if you like Hacks and are down for a more serious film set in the mountains of Switzerland, or this one for a story involving French New Wave and the Black Panthers.
  • For the ultimate movie experience, pair your film with Goodfish salmon skin chips. Goodfish’s sustainably sourced and upcycled crispy wild salmon skins come in 7 mouthwatering flavors, have an impressive 10g of protein, zero carbs, and are packed with omega 3s for glowing skin (!!!). Take 20% off your dream snack with code GIRLSNIGHTIN20 Sponsor
  • I asked my colleagues what they wear to feel like "the main character" — mine are these sunglasses, because ideally I'd be the mysterious ring leader in a heist movie. I could see this necklace Olivia shared on a protagonist in a dreamy seaside drama and this dress Carey picked worn by the subject of a cool musician's biopic.
  • My local bookstore’s books and wine club recently piqued my interest. If you’re outside of D.C., this service is available in a few other cities!
  • Smile is a free email sharing the top uplifting news stories — everything from animals to acts of kindness — daily. Start your days off with some positivity and add Smile to your morning routine for free today. Sponsor
  • Many of us on the team are watching The White Lotus right now. Our consensus is that it’s unsettling (in a funny way), and we have no idea where the story’s going.
  • We rounded up all of our favorite skincare products for the summer.☀️
  • "If your idea of a great time outside is more of a ‘sangria in the park’ vibe, consider Crow Canyon's speckled enamelware for your next picnic—this yellow pitcher makes me happy just looking at it. Adding in lounge chairs and an outdoor blanket from the recently-launched ITA Leisure would be the perfect finishing touch." - Nichole Powell, founder + CEO of modern outdoor brand Kinfield Guest Rec
👋 Have a weekly pick you want to see in GNI? Tell us about it here and you could be featured in an upcoming Reader Rec.
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weekly reads

share them with the group chat
A bedroom with a bed, bookshelf, and table.
reading whatever you want is made 100% better with a solid reading nook. via @desireegrrro

 take action and take care

Ways to take action this week... Get involved with movements for justice in the entertainment industry: TIME'S UP supports women in a variety of careers, with origins in the film industry. We Need Diverse Books advocates for more representative children's books. And Lift Music Fund helps underrepresented students pursue careers in music.

Ways to take care… If you're seeking support in or searching for accessible ways to get involved in film, publishing, or music, visit TIME'S UP'S mentorship program, We Need Diverse Books's Black Creatives Marketing Symposium (now accepting applications), or Lift Music Fund's list of musical studies resources.

Thanks for reading and supporting GNI and our partners — they help make the creation of this free newsletter possible. Just a note: GNI may receive a small commission from items you purchase from this newsletter. 

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