Features + The Weekly Edit

The Weekly Edit: Never Miss a Summer

Congratulations to all the Capitol Hill staffers on the start of the August recess.  Hey, you made it!  Enjoy your 40-hour work weeks, vacation days, and lunches away from your desk.  As for everyone else, summer is in full swing, and we should be living it up.  Because January is not as far away as you think it is.


“I can’t remember the last time I had a summer,” my Father said those words to me sitting on a porch a few days after he’d broken both arms flying off a mountain bike.  That summer was a mess of doctors and hospital visits.  The two previous summers Montana had been so socked in by forest fire-smoke that you couldn’t go outside.  And the summer before that, he was going through chemotherapy.

I remember hearing the sadness in his voice, like something irreplaceable had been stolen from him, and thinking: I am never going to waste another summer. Summer is a gift.

After a brutal and punishing winter, summer feels even better than usual.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that it snowed nearly every day of the five months that I was in Montana.  It snowed in June, for heaven’s sake.  So this summer has been like a godsend, and I am not wasting a minute of it.

I have been taking a lot of long walks around my neighborhood.  Just putting on my favorite Nike shoes and heading out for a few miles of outdoor time.  Just me, the horizon, and a podcast.

Compelling storytelling, plus tales of true crime, make the Crime Junkie podcast a great listen.  I could never really get into My Favorite Murder (don’t @ me, it’s a good pod, but the jokes weren’t my humor), so this is a great alternative.  All crime.  No filler.

And the hosts often raise money for Crimestoppers, the DNA Doe Project, and other justice groups by selling merchandise.  It’s a podcast that gives back when so many just latch onto the tragedies of others, make their money, and move on.

I have been a dry shampoo devotee since I discovered Pssst in 2009 (?), but I was never a heavy user.  Dry shampoo was a product of utility.  Late for work?  Dry shampoo.  Need an updo?  Dry shampoo?  Sharing a hotel room with four women on the campaign trail?  Stand by the open window because the cloud of powder could hurt someone.

Utility was my calling.  Until I found Drybar Detox Clear.  I just re-upped after emptying a can in record time.  Why?  Because I am now an every-other day hair washer.  Something that, with baby fine hair that gets a bit oily, I never was before.  This product is light, not itchy, not powdery, and unlike so many Drybar products, the scent doesn’t make me gag.  I’m obsessed.

So if I want to get outside or head down to the shop for coffee with Kyle, I don’t have to make time to wash and dry.  I can just Detox with no loss of quality in my hairdo.

Since being back in Spokane, I’ve really rehabbed my eating.  No more fast food.  Fewer meals out.  And I haven’t eaten a donut since May (I know, I’m sad for me too.).  Partially, I did this for the wedding.  But mostly, since turning 37, I’ve become very aware that I can’t eat like I used to (it was glorious while it lasted).

These Greek Mezze Bowls are one of the easiest things to make that is tasty, filling, and inexpensive.  Instead of ground turkey, we use ground chicken with a bit of ground lamb for extra flavor.  We also soup up the condiments with tzatziki, tabbouli, hummus, and harissa from Trader Joe’s, which is a big time saver.  And we add a bed of spinach and cooked onion if we’re making them at home, but this set up works well for work lunches.

As for how to cook the meatballs, we don’t waste time with a stovetop.  We use a BBQ Grill Pizza Pan to cook them on the grill.  They get a good char, good flavor, and they don’t fall through the grate.

Need Tupperware?  These glass meal containers from Amazon are a great lunch size, and they have a spot for flatware in the top, so you’ll never forget a fork.  When I was taking my lunch to the Capitol, I also bought some inexpensive flatware so I would have different at home and at work utensils.  It made it easy to have enough of both, and if I lost one, no big deal.

I get a lot of requests for facial sunscreen recommendations.  My go-to is Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, but I know that’s a bit pricey for most of us on a budget.  I spotted this Bare Republic sunscreen at Target, and I’m very happy with it.  It’s light, non-greasy, and it doesn’t clog my pores.  It’s a good alternative to the pricier products.

A few weeks ago a reader asked for a roundup of the daily newsletters that I read.  So here’s the list.

The Hustle — daily deep dives into newsworthy topics

#5SmartReads — weekly, or daily on Hitha’s Instagram Stories

The Broadsheet — daily from Fortune

Girls’ Night In — weekly

NextDraft — a daily news roundup that isn’t a snooze fest

Mike Allen’s Top 10 AM — daily, I’ve been reading Mike since I was in D.C., his Smart Brevity take on the news is the first thing I read in the morning.

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  1. LA says:

    Could you describe how you use dry shampoo? I know everyone’s routines are different (night before, morning of, spray then brush, spray then blowdry). Just curious what your optimal routine is for second day hair? I find that dry shampoo solves the greasy hair problem for me, but leaves my hair totally flat.

    July 26, 2019/Reply
  2. NICOLE says:

    I watched with so much empathy on Instagram as you slogged through this past winter. I’m down in Portland, and while Montana winter was hands down *much* worse, this year was the first winter in over 20 years of living here where I nearly lost it waiting for just ONE day where the sun came out, or ONE day where it warmed up above bitter frigid cold. Our usual “weather gets funky for a minute, but recovers for a week before becoming lame again” pattern. Nope, this year there was just no break from the grey, oppressive cold and dark. It was ROUGH. Cheers to embracing this much needed summer in the PNW!

    July 26, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It wasn’t great, but if it kept one Californian from thinking they were cut out for Montana life, it was worth it.

      July 26, 2019/Reply
  3. ChrIssy says:

    Since you gave some newsletter recs, hope you don’t mind if I plug my own! Working with the U.N. I write a twice a month newsletter that rounds up issues impacting people around the world due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. It covers HIV and other STIs as well as politics, religion, education, and more. We only publish 2x/month and skimming is a great way to stay up to date on important stories! https://equal-eyes.org/

    July 27, 2019/Reply