Issue #108: A Sneak Peek at My New House (!) and the Buying Process
Every single closing cost and 3 tips for buyers.
Morning Person is a weekly newsletter packed with obsessively-curated recommendations and ideas—let’s get to it!
📺 “The Other Black Girl” on Hulu: I loved Zakiya Dalila Harris’s 'Get Out' meets Gone Girl novel when it came out in 2021, but I’d forgotten enough of the plot to get completely hooked by this 10-episode series. As the only Black woman working at a predominantly white publishing company, Nella (whose name, of course, is a nod to Passing) is immensely relieved when the company hires another Black woman, Hazel-May. Things quickly turn sinister though, when Nella begins receiving threatening notes and no longer knows who exactly to trust or where the threat is coming from.
📚 The Eden Test by Adam Sternbergh: Daisy is desperate to save her marriage with Craig when she surprises him with an isolated week-long cabin retreat in upstate New York run by The Eden Test, a mysterious company with ads on the Subway with the mysterious promise, Seven Days, Seven Questions, Forever Changed. As the week goes on, revelations come out—like the fact that Craig had planned to leave Daisy the night of their anniversary for another woman. A suspenseful, quick read.
🎥 ‘Sitting in Bars with Cake:’ When Jane is dragged to karaoke for her best friend Corinne’s birthday, the cake she bakes warrants a surprising amount of attention, to the point that Corinne convinces Jane to bake a cake each week of their 24th year, and bring them to bars—an activity they name “cakebarring.” The silly goal becomes a life raft and emblem of their friendship when Corinne is diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. A sweet and sincere movie that will make you cry, and reminded me of my 20s in L.A.
P.S. I’m also eager to give “The Morning Show” another try, since Season 3 came out this week. I loved the first season, but the second was filmed in deep COVID and the safety accommodations the show had to make became distracting (no scenes with large groups, and it may be my imagination, but I felt like I could tell that the actors were performing a mandated six feet apart?). Let me know if it’s any good!
On my first morning in my new house, I stepped barefoot onto my back patio. The forecast promised a hot day, but at that point, it was still cold and quiet. Toast trotted ahead of me, curiously examining his backyard, as I gripped my warm mug of coffee and took a seat on the edge of the deck’s platform, listening to the still unfamiliar sounds of a Sunday morning in my new neighborhood. Crows, a rustle of leaves from my (!) Japanese maple already turning red for fall, a conversation too far away to make out. I closed my eyes and let the gratitude wash over me as I realized: I’ve never loved somewhere I’ve lived. Before this.
When my ex and I bought our house together in 2020, it was largely because it “made sense.” Low interest rates created a frenzy to purchase, and we used money we had access to for our down payment. To me, it was a smart investment where we would have enough space and stability to have a baby. The moment we moved in, I began making improvements, figuring I would love it as soon as we smoothed the walls in the living room, added a gas fireplace, put in A/C, took the large coat rack/box out of the entryway, added wallpaper, painted the bathroom, added tile and a fence. The improvements were nice, but they never helped me feel as grateful as I should have been. It’s why Liz Gilbert’s realization about her house at the start of Eat, Pray, Love hit me like a wakeup call, “I had actively participated in every moment of the creation of this life—so why did I feel like none of it resembled me?” After a year and half in that house, I never felt the sense of ease or accomplishment that I did my first morning in my new home. That house felt like a stepping stone, where this has been a landing place. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more grateful… or done anything more difficult.