Weekend Shut-In Worksheet: Read Aimee Bender’s Latest, Watch Matthew McConaughey Broaden His Range & Make A Panzanella

Activities are wonderful, but sometimes, it’s fine to want to shut the world out for a couple of days, and make some serious time for you. Don’t be afraid of FOMO, either. There will always be another party, another pub crawl, another picnic. The time you’ll spend indulging in the things you want to do, alone, are well worth it. Here’s a handy list of awesome things to do this weekend!


  • Aimee Bender, author of last year’s slim but mesmerizing The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, has a new collection of short stories out called The Color Master, and it is a collection of dreamy but sharp modern day fairy tales. I especially enjoyed the titular story, and I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s short, but stays with you.
  • From our friends at The Hairpin, please find $2.99 and send this little gem to your Kindle  right now. An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Happening: Travels from The Hairpin is a collection of travel essays written by a variety of smart and funny people.  Each week brings you one essay, automatically downloaded to your device — a bargain!
  • If you’re counting down the days until “Downton Abbey” hits your TV again, check out this piece over at the Smithsonian’s blog about American rich folks and British high society. Very Cora, and very good.


  • I love most things that Tyra Banks does, so when I found out that America’s Next Top Model” was entering its 20th season AND was including dudes for the first time in the history of the show, I knew that Tyra’s left turn towards Crazytown was all for the best. It’s on the CW on Fridays at 9 p.m., and it’s just started! You can find the first few episodes on Hulu Plus — trust us, you’ll be hooked.
  • Zodiac,” David Fincher’s extremely long but absorbing and chilling masterpiece on the Zodiac killer is available on Netflix, so if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you do.
  • Amelia just watched Mud,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, and hasn’t shut up about how great it is. [It has a 98 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, you guys. — Amelia] The film is in theaters and available OnDemand and on iTunes and Amelia swears you’ll be blown away by how good both Matthew and Reese are. In fact, she says Matthew is her early Oscar nom pick for Best Actor.


  • Popsicles are amazing, Pimms Cups are delicious, and so if we combine the two — perfection! Let’s cling to the last fleeting weeks of summer and make these delicious Pimms’s Cup popsicles this weekend, which are best enjoyed with bare feet propped on a porch railing, overlooking a freshly mowed lawn.
  • I love a good panzanella, as a good way to use up the last little crusty heels of bread that you might have kicking around. This recipe from the Smitten Kitchen is the perfect late-summer dinner item, and helps you tear through those veggies leftover in your CSA.