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Read, Watch and Listen: March 2016

Hello March, Goodbye March.

Most of us spend our free time avoiding our idle minds, avoiding the pressure to think, immersing ourselves in other worlds and ideas. In addition to filling our time and inspiring our ambitions, thoughts, motivations and shower singing, the things we choose to consume say a lot about who we are, and even more about who we are right now, providing an easy reason to connect with those around us.

Modern ice-breakers, these topics are the best way to both connect with others with common bonds and learn something brand new. Both are exciting and speak to the human spirit — a lowest common denominator  for connection yet also one of the most intellectual ways to engage with someone else.

Every month, I reach out to harass request politely that storytellers share what they are reading, watching and listening to, in a bid to create connections and learn something new.

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Michelle in a nutshell

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.37.36 AMReading is daunting, especially when it’s a book, and especially when it’s so much easier to listen and watch, but it’s still our favorite medium, and the feeling of smugness after finishing a book will always beat the guilt of time spent binge-watching a TV show.


The Crossing: Conquering the Atlantic in the World’s Toughest Rowing Race by James Cracknell & Ben Fogle. I like adventure books, fact rather than fiction. These guys are two of my favorite ‘celebs’ who spend their lives going from one crazy challenge to the next. Who on earth would think it is a good idea to row across the Atlantic ocean?! Quite a few people apparently.” – Charlotte

“I’ve just finished reading The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. I couldn’t put the book down for a minute. It was my breather for when I needed time on my own. It’s a great read – I loved it.” – Marie


“In terms of design, I’ve been following articles re the newly re-created ‘Met’ logo, which Wolff Olins designed. It created quite a roar in the industry. Michael Bierut wrote a very good article on the subject.” – Marie

“My new favorite blog. The website says it all!” – Lara (seen below, adventuring)


And speaking of which…

The Big Chill. Nothing since Gone Girl‘s eerily accurate description* of a less than real person we may all have found ourselves trying to be at some point, Amelia Diamond (of ManRepeller fame) hits the nail on the head. While I see (saw?) myself as the unwitting victim of striving to be chill but not quite making it, Storyteller Lara had very opposing opinions.” – Serene.

“I don’t agree and I’m older than her. We usually overblow our emotions and thats why it’s better to be chill. More Buddha-chill than white girl-chill though. She doesn’t get it yet. The expectation stating thing is fine though. Plus it came from her mother.” – Lara, in a nutshell.

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“This column, simply called Sex Diaries (from NY Mag), is far less about sex and everything to do with its implications. If you want somewhere to start, I really like these, they feel so relatable.”

The MBA Student Visiting a Virgin // The Married Trader with a Sugar Baby // The Divorcée Chasing Unavailable Men

“However if it is sex you’re interested in, here and here you go.” – Serene.

“I’m traveling to Japan in a couple of weeks. One of my favorite things to do prior to traveling to a new city is peruse through their food blogs. It’s my world, but it’s a parallel world – same same but different. Humble Bean is an example of one I’m looking at now.” – Tala

“I’m reading ‘The Tao of Happiness’ and ‘The Best Advice I Ever Got’ by Katie Couric both kinda old but great reads!” – Sara.

“Despite running a virtual book club, I am having a hard time committing to bibliophile pursuits at the moment (for the past year actually). I have been reading (listening) to Pillars of the Earth for ages. I love it.  Next up? S by Doug Dorst & JJ Abrams in tangible book form, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs via Audible and My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem on Kindle. Join me.” – Ashley

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.37.42 AMA simple Google search for ‘shows I should be watching’ returned 147,000,000 results as of this morning. That’s stressful. Here’s what we’ve been watching this month…


“YouTube channels on my list this month: Go Downsize: More Freedom, Less Stuff and Exploring Alternatives: Alternative Living Videos. I need to downsize my life and these channels feature people who live in tiny spaces with their top tips on how to de-clutter your life and how to manage living in a tiny space.” – Charlotte

I love Bear Grylls – I’m watching Mission Survive. British outdoor adventurer and survival expert, he is probably best known for finding extreme ways to survive in harsh environments. He used an animal carcass for shelter long before Leonardo had the idea in The Revenant. In his current series, he takes a group of pampered celebrities into the African wilderness and sets them various challenged to see who is smart and tough enough. Brilliant TV.” – Charlotte

“I’ve been watching and listening to Creative Mornings – it’s a breakfast lecture series that I can tap into and listen to talks whilst working.” – Marie

GIRLS is inching its way up to being my favorite show right now, however I haven’t started the fourth season of House of Cards, so I won’t make big statements just yet. But it’s really really good. Don’t take my word for it – if you don’t already watch it, start today, and thank me later. The latest episode was a capsule focus on Marnie, arguable the least likeable of all unlikeable (but frightfully relatable) characters on the show.” – Serene

“Other shows I’m watching are Chelsea Does on Netflix (which you should watch regardless of whether you think you like her or not, give it a chance!) and Dolls & Em, which I thank Garance Doré for making the introduction to on her lovely podcast, Pardon My French.” – Serene

The Long Way Down,  available on YouTube. It was made in 2007, but this travel docu-series starring Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman is unmissable if you have not seen it before. Building on their success of ‘Long Way Round’, where they crossed the plet from London to New York on motor bikes in 2004, in this version they cross Africa on the bikes and support numerous Unicef projects along the way.” – Lara

The Danish Girl is an epic true story that depicts how Lili Elbe defied society and the boundaries of science to become the first person to undergo a sex change operation. Keep a tissue box nearby.” – Mae

“What am I not watching?

Netflix’s new series LOVE (touted by some as Los Angeles’ version Girls) is a sardonic take on life, love, and casual dating when you don’t quite have your shit together.

iZombie is really coming into its own this season. If you’re a fan of persnickity crimefighters (who happen to be the living dead) you will love it. Skeptics should give it a try – it’s easy to write this show off, but is some of the best writing on TV.

Eagerly awaiting season 2 of Outlander. I started this show intending to hate-watch (‘Ugh it’s like Game of Thrones for ladies’ I said). But it is not. Wonderful storytelling, a strong, ardent female lead, and beautiful acting…(ahem) actors…make this an easily binge-able series. I have now added the Scottish Highlands to my Must Visit list.

Bonus: Sherlock. You guys, I cannot with this show. I’ve seen it more times than I can count but will never pass up an opportunity to nerd out and sing its praises.” – Ashley


And now for a little honest Instagram confession…

“At the moment, as superficial and vain as it seems, I am stalking @mohamedhadid, the father of Bella and Gigi Hadid, on Instagram. The whole family is fascinating. I also can’t get enough of @sophiawebster‘s shoes and well if you love design you cannot but follow @jessicavwalsh, she’s not only a great inspiration but also is really good at referencing her imagery back to the designers or artists who actually created them, so you get introduced to a great pool of talent, new and old.” – Marie


Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.37.55 AMMonocycle by Leandra Medine (Cohen) from ManRepeller stole a lot of hearts and minds this month. This 10-ish minute podcast is perfect for a commute, a queue, or a desperate need for sanity. We want to be friends Leandra. Call us.


“I’m listening to Serial – who isn’t? I did my degree in Criminal Justice and love all things crime related. Series one was a super interesting story and I found Sarah Koenig intelligent and objective. I’m really enjoying series two. It is deep and interesting from a political standpoint, especially given the appearance of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the latest episodes.” – Charlotte

“Love a podcast. I just heard about Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, which I am excited to dig into, and Serene recently introduced me to Monocycle with Leandra Medine. Love. Like any fan girl, Nerdist will remain my forever favorite.” – Ashley

“I’m also listening to Talk Ultra – run, run and run some more. Host Ian Coreless interviews the best of the best in ultra running as well as training tips and nutrition. Each episode varies from 2-4 hours. I like spending a lot of time exercising and this is perfect for long runs. It is motivating and inspiring.” – Charlotte

“I am a podcast junkie, and there are so many I’m listening to right now, with Monocycle at the top… Other notable mentions include Here’s the Thing, Kerning Cultures, Love + Radio, Snap Judgment, Pardon my French, a16z Podcast, and Lena Dunham’s Women of the Hour. A favorite episode this week was Reviving Hamra Street from Hebah Fisher of Kerning Cultures.” – Serene

And more than ever, music makes our worlds go round…

“I just discovered Troye Sivan a couple of months ago and can’t stop listening to these songs: Touch, WILD, Happy Little Pill, and YOUTH. Add them to your playlist now!” – Danielle

“Notorious BIG, to remember not to take life too seriously, and Rihanna’s new album to remember that life is fun and spicy.” – Lara

“Songs on repeat this month: Matt Simons’ Catch & Release (Deepend Mix) and Mike Posner’s I took a pill in Ibiza.” – Mae

“Anything that gets my kids to dance…lately Justin Bieber.” – Sara

“Here’s one of my fave songs on repeat this month. I know this song may imply break-up or love lost for some, but for me it means breaking through of old and bad habits and just realizing a better version of yourself. It’s sad how I’ve only discovered Tame Impala’s album ‘Currents’ just now but they have a very cool and chill vibe – perfect for a lazy weekend!”- Joyce

“I’m getting back into my love for music. Here’s my March 2016 playlist.” – Serene


And finally, a note from Tanya that is setting the tone for a brand new month…

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She’s right. It’s amazing.

“For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.” – Gillian Flynn

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