Issue #91: Summer To-Dos, Heat-Proof Outfits, and the Best Iced Coffee
Plus 5 questions with Elise Loehnen.
Morning Person is a weekly newsletter packed with obsessively-curated recommendations and ideas—let’s get to it
📚 On Our Best Behavior by Elise Loehnen: Scrolling through Elise’s podcast “Pulling the Thread” is like a who’s who of thinkers and writers I most admire (Maggie Smith, Jenny Odell, Gabor Maté, Mark Epstein—they’re all there). Her book On Our Best Behavior (out today!) is, in many ways, a synthesis of the ideas she’s learned in her years as a journalist and ghostwriter and illuminates the ways in which women equate self-denial with being good. An instant add to the “wild women” canon, you can read my Q&A with her below!
🥗 Rotisserie Chicken with Greek Yogurt, Dill, and Fennel: My local farmers’ market opened last week and I went truly nuts. Strawberries! Fennel! Squash blossoms that I promptly made into quesadillas! Spring turnips! (I ate an entire bunch raw so quickly, I had to return for more.) The true hit though was the rotisserie chicken I let cool then tossed in Greek yogurt with tons of dill, fennel, and cucumbers (similar to this recipe), and proceeded to eat all week over thick slices of bread and in salads with butter lettuce. It’s summer, baby!
🎧 The Debutante by Jon Ronson: This Audible original by one of my favorite investigative authors (his book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed provides a compassionate look at the internet’s most reviled figures) explores the unlikely story of ex-debutante Carole Howe, who’s been linked to the ‘95 Oklahoma City bombing. At just over three hours, it’s ideal for those of us who enjoy a true crime story, but don’t quite have the patience for a full podcast season.
Last summer passed in a haze of painful confusion. I spent Portland’s fleeting gorgeous days alone in an Airbnb contemplating the future of my marriage, emerging only for class and when friends dragged me out for walks. When winter came far too soon, I soothed my sense of having missed summer by drafting a warm weather to-do list I’ve been adding to every since (and began checking off this week ✔️). Below are some of my top to-dos for getting the most out of summer, favorite heat-proof outfits, and a new go-to iced coffee recipe:
Start everyday with a morning walk
Keep fresh fruit compote in the fridge for yogurt and chia pudding
Weekly sunset paddle boards on the river ✔️
Spend sunset outside as often as possible
Cook almost entirely from my weekly CSA (beginning in June!) and farmers’ market produce ✔️
Go on regular running dates with friends (and run a faster mile time!)
Weekly al fresco pasta nights with friends ✔️
Bake focaccia with summer vegetables
Make all the recipes I’ve had bookmarked since last summer, including these summery greens and beans rec’d by my friend Wendy
Head to an outdoor concert
Finally invest in a picnic blanket
Go on a solo weekend backpacking trip
Tie-dye a tee-shirt
Make more things on the grill, like this chicken!
Swim in the ocean ✔️ + swim in a lake as often as possible
Buy (or make) a berry bowl
Portland specific: Dying to go to Hiyu Wine Farm for lunch and Pastaficio d’Oro for dinner!
Psssst this is a packed email, so be sure to hit “Expand” if reading in your inbox so you can see the whole thing! Onwards!
When the weather took a hard, unexpected pivot from overcast to blisteringly hot last week, I pulled out some of my favorite (read: sweat-proof) hot weather combos.
Black Bodysuit or Tank + Structured Oversized Shorts: A notch more polished than a tank and cut-offs, this is my summer uniform for class/errands/hangs with friends. I recently expanded on my collection with the purchase of these linen shorts and thin belt. Eagerly awaiting my delivery—will report back! Pictured above: Joos Tricot Tank and Sezane Shorts.
Midi Floral Dress with Collar: I wore this to clinic last week with a denim jacket to fight the A/C. Professional, breezy, and easy. Pictured above: En Saison Dress (similar) and Madewell Slides.
Cropped Black Top + Lightwash Denim: A favorite for evening events, with a sweater draped over my shoulders for when the temps drop. Pictured above: Joos Tricot Tank and Levi’s Jeans.
I left breakfast at interviewee-turned-friend’s house last week inspired and way over-caffeinated, thanks to a brunch beverage she invented and graciously over-served me. Named the “Author’s Choice,” for when she offered it at her book launch, the original is a take on an Arnold Palmer that swaps black tea for coffee. Thanks to a recent happy mistake, she discovered that it’s even more delicious with limeade, which is how she introduced it to me: Equal-parts cold brew (Satya prefers Stumptown) and limeade (Newton’s Own, if possible), over ice.
The moment I took a sip, I was struck by how delicious it was—chocolatey, bright, and so refreshing—and how unexpectedly familiar it tasted, until I realized: It’s the morning-friendly version of a chaser my cousins taught me to follow Guatemala’s aguardiente with (a slice of lime, half of which is dipped in ground coffee, the other half in raw sugar). I picked up the ingredients on my drive home so I’m never without it this summer!
P.S. My interview with Satya, author of Quarterlife (available in paperback soon!) is among my most-read issues, ever. Small world side note: She’s childhood friends with Elise who I chat with below!
As the former CCO of goop and creator of the podcast “Pulling the Thread,”has interviewed some of the most influential philosophers, therapists, writers, and thinkers. Her new book On Our Best Behavior challenges the ways in which women continue to be held back by cultural expectations to obey and behave (a common theme!). I chatted with her about the web we’re all stuck in, how the Seven Deadly Sins pervade culture even today, and what lies on the other side of “being good.” Read an excerpt from our Q&A below, then find the entire interview here!
LS: In the introduction to On Our Best Behavior, you write that we are all "stuck in a web." Can you explain what this web is, and why it's vital to recognize and break free from it?
EL: I spent the first 40 years of my life being chased by voices telling me I was not good enough—not a good enough mother, partner, colleague. Not thin enough, not smart enough, not worthy. I hit a wall and recognized that I would never outrun these voices through performance and achievement—that I needed to turn and face them instead. It may seem like an obvious revelation, but in that moment, I realized that these voices that were urging me to be some sort of ideal woman were not unique to me. They didn’t come from my husband or my parents. They were actually toxic cultural stories that coalesced into a code of “goodness,” a punch card that lives in all women and drives our lives—I identified this list as the Seven Deadly Sins, which weren’t actually in the Bible. They’re cultural edicts, whispered into our ears over the centuries, and they are both invisible and yet obvious restraints, suggesting that good women shouldn’t need rest (sloth) or recognition (pride), have appetite (gluttony) or desire (lust) or dreams (envy), want more or even enough (greed), or ever feel upset (anger).
Once I saw this, I couldn’t unsee it—and all the ways that I police myself, and most sadly, other women. The great part though is that once you recognize these voices for what they are (toxic, cultural stories), you can start to push against them and interrupt the programming, choosing something truer in their stead.
You can read the rest of Elise’s responses here and follow her Substack . Thank you, Elise!
These canned beans look delicious. How to talk to people. ‘Tis the season: Post-grad advice, though nothing can beat the “this is water” speech for me. Summit bonanzas continue on Everest. Flexible work is feminist. Why people are faking illnesses on TikTok. Great NYT feature on Ruby Warrington, who I spoke to here on being child-free by choice! Love: “I don’t have a lot of coping mechanisms that aren’t wholly self-destructive, but here is one good one that I will recommend: saying I like things that I like.”
Morning Person is an entirely reader-supported, affiliate-free publication. Click here to subscribe or gift a friend a subscription here (if a friend sent you this email—tell them thanks!). Anything you want covered? Questions? Reply to this email to reach me directly! See you Tuesday! x
I love the Portland-specific summer items! I’m so excited for Kachka’s outdoor grill, a writer’s retreat at Lewis & Clark, and pizza at the farmers market. May/June are my favorite months in the PNW.
Hey Leslie! You mentioned wanting to grill more chicken – do you have a grill? If so, do you recommend it? I could use a little grill but have NO idea where to start. :)