The holidays are hard. I should know; I’ve spent all week in Iowa receiving unsolicited tours of small towns (North Liberty still has a Pizza Ranch!) and explaining to cattle-farming relatives why I don’t eat beef. But I did find a sacred spot amongst the stress: There’s a new ’80s-themed bar, just 15 minutes from my parents’ house, which boasts not only several pinball machines, but the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game, too. I spent an entire Ziplock bag of quarters (usually reserved for parking and tolls) on a vintage gaming spree. And I felt so relaxed afterwards that I didn’t even care that my little nephew decided to hide his share of tater tots in my new black ankle boots. I was slightly peeved about the ketchup, though.
Here are this week’s links.
Religion Gets Goop-ed
Sure, millennials have abandoned religion in large numbers, but judging from SoulCycle’s infamous waitlists, plenty of young people still have a void to fill. This article chronicles how wellness culture has seeped into religious tradition in the form of a trendy Shabbat dinner club in NYC — chic enough for the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow. Apparently nothing says “Shabbat shalom” like sexy selfies, organic food sourced from Sweetgreen, and vibes galore. [Buzzfeed]
The Ultimate (Only?) Equine Beauty Routine
With their long, glossy manes and sassy tails, horses are the hot girls of the animal world. It’s a weird observation, sure, but writer Maggie Lange took a cue from their exquisite beauty (and strength), and decided to go on an all-horsey beauty kick. From hardening her fingernails with hoof polish to slathering her locks in Mane ‘n Tail conditioner, Lange almost managed to embody Black Beauty. Maybe this isn’t a regimen to say “neigh” to. (Sorry, I had to.) [Lenny Letter]
Happiness Is A Holiday Snack
If you grew up in the Midwest, you’ve probably spent the last two weeks of December with your hand in a tin of puppy chow — and by that, of course, I mean Chex drowned in peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar. The snack’s popularity is understandable, given that it’s addictively sweet and as comforting as a steaming hot toddy on a cold Minnesota day. But as this lovely piece of food writing mentions, puppy chow is made in the microwave, meaning that even the sloth-iest of cooks can manage to whip up a batch or four. Recipe included. [Taste]
Mindfulness, Meditation, And Modern Medicine
This excerpt from a book written by two friends — a neuroscientist and a Buddhist monk — explores the similarities between Buddhist practices and cognitive therapy. The consensus here is that western medicine still has a lot to learn from eastern religion, although I’d like to point out that no one mentions anything about the healing powers of grilled cheese. Or frozen custard. (Or puppy chow, c’mon.) Maybe I need to enlighten them instead? [The Atlantic]
Escape Into Fiction (And Away From Your Relatives)
The holidays are stressful — you get it. So it’s important to carve out some time away from your favorite uncles, find a secret spot to call your own (I recommend my grandparents’ garage, if you’re in the area), and recharge. And sometimes the best short escape can be found in the form of a short story. You won’t be gone for too long and you’ll get the chance to immerse yourself in a world that doesn’t include your nephews fighting over the last slice of jello cake. Consider selecting a book(s) from Electric Lit’s list of 2017’s best short fiction; they polled their highly book-savvy staff to create it. [Electric Lit]