Header Photography by Heba Khamis for The New York Times

Hey, all you cool cats and kittens—sorry, I had to. (I promise there’s relevant Tiger King content below).

Let’s dive in and feast on some much needed, Non-COVID food for thought. Now is your time to kick back and explore what’s on our radar to read, listen, shop, and follow. Brain Food is curated for your smart head every month, because if we’re all going to mindlessly scroll on our digital devices, we might as well make it worth it. Let’s eat.

Photography by Heba Khamis for The New York Times


Tiger King makes me thank the powers that be for the internet, and these viral memes we can credit to the Netflix doc. I’m genuinely looking forward to this Halloween’s take on the cast.

Which takes us to a new iteration of big cat royalty in Egypt. Yes, there’s a broad struggle for women’s equality (Egypt ranks 134 out of 253 in the Global Gender Gap.) BUT, six women are dominating the field of lion taming. Hey, we’ll take it. Check out this Cat Queen, Ms. el-Helw.


Any other coffee fiends out there? As I write this, I’m on my third espresso of the day, and it’s before 9 a.m. — 8 a.m. pacific time. (I’m not shaking, you’re shaking.) This brings us to SF-based craft-roasted coffee company, Lady Falcon Coffee Club. This month, Goop called them “the small brand we won’t quit.” With free 1-day delivery in San Francisco (take that Amazon) and $7 flat fee to ship everywhere else, to all my caffeine addicts out there, this one is for you.


It’s Bre & Shelby chiming in every Wednesday on their podcast, Emotional Check-in, that’s all about “mental health, sexual wellness, and all the other s**t in between.” It’s like a 21st Century Sex in the City on steroids. Based in NYC, you can follow them as they navigate life in the big apple, are joined by super cool yet obscure special guests, and share info that’s semi-educational and 100% honest.


We all want to be perfect: perfect partners, daughters, mothers, professionals, and friends. Glennon Doyle is here to liberate us from that longing — emotionally, spiritually, and physically — with her new memoir, Untamed. Doyle is known as “the patron saint of female empowerment”—talk about a newfound personal life goal—and guides us all to live, love, and laugh.

Photography by Karsten Moran for The New York Times


Just because we can’t read enough during this time, here’s anotha one. If you’re a jack-of-all-trades or strategizing your next career move, give yourself permission to become a hybrid professional and be more than your title. You can be an artist/researcher/teacher/designer. Or software developer/multimedia artist/game designer/musician. I’m a copywriter/mag editor/content slinger/tequila expert. How do you define yourself? Pick up More Than My Title to discover your dynamic career. Fresh off the press.


Colorado, this is hand-picked for you. The Joy Bandits are running rampant on the Front Range, delivering happiness, a sense of humor, and THALKEN goodies. The joy is dropped off free within Boulder County by using the code, freelocaldelivery. Or, opt for free curbside pickup outside of their Lafayette store. To preview The Joy Bandits in action, check out their social. Their slogan is, “thank you for being you.” We just want to say—THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU!


Lastly, in case you missed it: a real-life stuffed animal (a.k.a Samson the Goldendoodle) is giving us all cuddle envy. Cue Sarah Mclachlan’s “In the arms of an angel” and swoon over these should-be viral videos. I *literally* can’t.

Meet the Author

Dana Lapinel is a word wrangler from the West, working as a content writer and magazine editor in Denver for the last six years. She juggles a full-time and freelance career as a creative writer for brands with a strong voice. You can now catch her monthly as she serves up hot and fresh Brain Food for the humans of TARRA.