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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Strong

The Joy List

It's hard to believe we are at the end of February and closing in on one year since the first inklings of this pandemic started to creep into our society. It's a good week to focus on joy, then, isn't it? Here's what brought me some this week.

Watch: Lupin Streaming on Netflix

I love Omar Sy (The Intouchables, Jurassic World, Call of the Wild), and I loved this show — a thriller that dashes back and forth in time and chronicles the life of Arsanne Diop, a boy orphaned when his father is framed for a crime he did not commit. The revenge plot is very David and Goliath —a wealthy powerful patriarch thoughtlessly frames his loyal chauffeur who leaves a son to avenge his wrongful conviction and suicide. The story is brilliant in part because it nods to Arsene Lupin, the famed gentleman thief, and keeps you on the edge of your seat with every hairpin twist and turn, but also because you just can't help but love Diop powerfully played by Sy. There are just five episodes in the first part so it's easy to binge. I can't wait for Part II.

This book! I just loved it. Why? Because it's what we need right now. It's a hilarious, thrilling, good and gory romp of a story that not only satisfies a need for a page-turner to pry your mind away from the real world, but also takes a satisfying dip into exposing deep-rooted American sexism. It serves as an ode to women's power, and the strength of female friendships, and the village that supports mothers. I laughed, I shuddered, and I could not put it down. You'll love it.

This hearty winter's eve recipe is a little bit of a project, but not that much to deter even a weekday dinner. It also goes a long way — it fed my family of four for a few days (and it gets better every day it's reheated). If you feel like streamlining the recipe, I'd skip turning the ground sirloin into meatballs and also forgo grilling the sausages and just brown the sirloin and the sausages (removed from casings) together in a hot skillet with olive oil, and then transfer the meats to the rich sauce to simmer for a couple of hours before assembly. I also like a little heat in my sauce so I may add some red pepper flakes next time. This is one good lasagna. Add copious amounts of wine and enjoy.

I love the Root Crafted line of simple syrups made by two female (mom) founders. They're made from all natural, organic ingredients and come in a variety of infusions including pear, pomegranate, hibiscus, grapefruit, and my current favorite, The Lemongrass. I mix it with seltzer after a long run for a really refreshing, hydrating thirst quencher, and then as soon as the clock gets near 6pm (who are we kidding, 4:30pm) I reach for a bottle of something brown (usually bourbon, but Scotch or Rye will certainly do fine) and mix one part spirit to two parts simple syrup and pour it over ice with and some squeezed fresh lemon juice and a few shakes of Hella Cocktail Bitters and we have a fantastic shake the day off cocktail. It's a little bit of heaven in a glass. And if that's not joy, what is?

Sending lots of love and joy your way.


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