The love list: tools, books, music, projects & people that I love and recommend. [2017]

Once a year or so, I release a new “love list.”

It’s a collection of books that have inspired me, music that I listen to obsessively, time-saving tools, and more. Basically: stuff I really love.

Here’s my list for 2017.

Enjoy! I hope you find something that delights you, entertains you, or makes your day a little better than it was before.
 

BOOKS / SHOWS / MUSIC / INSPIRATION

– I listen to podcasts ALL THE TIME — when I’m jogging, when I’m running errands, when I’m tidying up the apartment, and (of course) when I’m feeling lonely and I want to hang out with my imaginary podcast-friends! Haha. Lately, I’ve been listening to: Another Round, Two Dope Queens, Throwing Shade, International Waters, Judge John Hodgman, Jordan, Jesse, Go!, and (my fav of the year) Invisibilia.

– I have watched pretty much every TV show that the magician David Blaine has ever put forth. I am mesmerized by his talent and his incredible discipline, artistry, and expansive imagination. If you haven’t seen his TED Talk, it’s incredible, too. He makes me believe that anything is possible.

– Speaking of magic… The Magicians is one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in a long time. Dark, twisted, surreal. It’s like Harry Potter but for grown-ups, and with tonnnnns of sex. The book series is amazing, too. More TV that I loved this year: Insecure, High Maintenance, Stranger Things, and Nashville. (I am so glad Nashville is moving to another network and coming back for another season! I almost went into cardiac arrest when it got canceled.)

How Bad Do You Really Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald was one of the best non-fiction books I read this year. For Real by Alexis Hall was my favorite smutty romance novel of the year. And A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is a must-read for anybody who loves supernatural love stories and fabulous, smart descriptive writing.

– I really struggle to write unless I’ve got some music playing. This chilled-out playlist is beautiful. This one’s great, too. I’ve been really into R√∂yksopp lately, as well as VNV Nation, Years & Years, HONNE, Hozier, and MUNA.
 

ONLINE TOOLS / APPS / COOL, TIME-SAVING STUFF

– Unroll.me. Dude. LIFE-CHANGING. Unroll.me instantly compiles a list of every newsletter that you are subscribed to (you won’t believe how many you’ve accumulated through the years!) and then you can “bulk-unsubscribe” from dozens of lists that you no longer want to be on… in just a few clicks. DO IT!

– Postmates. Get delicious food — from almost any restaurant — delivered to your door ASAP. Order, track the exact delivery time, text your delivery person, pay, and add a tip using your phone, tablet, or computer. I’m slightly addicted to Postmates because after a long day of typing, thinking, and staring at a computer screen, sometimes I sink into a puddle of lazy-inertia-goo and I just don’t feel like making dinner. Postmates to the rescue! If you decide to try out the Postmates app, enter this code – z2ug – and you’ll get $10 off your first delivery. Niiiiice.

– ClassPass. If you love working out, but get bored easily (“Not this SAME yoga class AGAIN!”) you’ll love ClassPass. I became a member after my friend Rebecca raved about it. You get to take unlimited fitness classes at different gyms and studios all around your city for a super-reasonable monthly rate. (The rate varies depending on where you live, but here in Portland it’s less than $80 a month.) It’s like being a member of hundreds of gyms instead of just one. If you sign up here, you get to knock $30 off your first month.
 

WONDERFUL PEOPLE

Nicole Antoinette is an amazing friend, writer, athlete, podcaster, and human being. With her encouragement and support, I trained for my first 10K race this year, and I did it, and I did not die! Her podcast brings me so much joy, and I’m excited to come onto the show for my second appearance pretty soon. Nicole: I love you.

– Melissa Cassera is a dear friend and longtime client, as well. Last year, she decided to move to Los Angeles and become a TV screenwriter, despite having no previous experience in that industry. Oh and guess what? SHE FUCKING DID IT. Her first TV movie gets released in the USA next year, and she’s got tons of other projects on the horizon, too. Melissa continually reminds me that just because people say something is “unrealistic” or “impossible” doesn’t mean that’s necessarily true. If you work hard and stay relentlessly optimistic, you can do anything you want.

Justin Thomas Smith is the best personal trainer in Portland. I met him a couple years ago — back when I could barely do one push-up — and he has helped me become so much stronger, fitter, faster, and more importantly, mentally tough. PS. You can email him at jtesmith@icloud.com if you’re interested in becoming a client.

– Lastly, but never leastly: My sweetheart Brandon. You are my king, my partner in all things, and the biggest cheerleader I could ever wish for. Also: you’re SO damn sexy. I’m so proud of you for starting your own business this year. I love you foreverly. (I will tell you lots more compliments and love-words when we’re alone… in private.)
 

A FEW MISCELLANEOUS THINGS THAT I LOVE VERY MUCH

This cookie recipe is the bomb — especially if you add a bunch of chocolate chips. This company makes amazing candles that last forever and ever. Brit+Co is one of the few websites that I visit regularly, because it feels like a sparkly little gift in the midst of a troubled world. I love my Blue Geo yoga mat because it’s so pretty, I never want to roll it up. This red wine is my favorite, and it’s so inexpensive! This kombucha is delightful. I love these guys. And this. And this. And lastly: this.

So much love.

-Alex