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More Notes From Our Homes to Yours

Suggestions, lists, distractions and quarantine diaries from our reporters, critics and editors.

There’s a grand tradition at The New York Times that when people travel to another city or nation or region, they reach out to a reporter who works there for advice. They ask the food editor for recommendations as well, the travel editor, the art critic, the science writer who knows all about rain forests. These requests come often enough that some make lists — where to eat in Seoul, which museum to visit in Berlin. Journalists do this even when they’re cooped up during a pandemic, but about different things, of course. They take notes, casual but not — what to listen to, what to read, which workout to try. These notes, often assembled in shareable documents, reveal something of themselves and the work that they do. They are delightful, informative, helpful, low-fi insights into the worlds they inhabit. And at this extraordinary time, we thought we’d share them with you.

—Sam Sifton

Sam Dolnick, Assistant Managing Editor:
Diary of Five More Days 📆
“My 9 y.o. Is VERY into audio books so she stops me literally every sentence to correct my emphasis and suggest a new accent and show me how a REAL narrator would do it.”
Tejal Rao, California Restaurant Critic:
🌟good stuff, 5/27 edition 🌟
“listening to new Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated Side B AND Emotion Side B in my living room and pretending to be falling in love and on vacation.”
Shira Ovide, Tech Reporter:
I cheat at to do lists 📝✔️
“(I will not be taking questions about my separate work to-do list — which is largely a work of fiction — because my boss might be reading this.)”
Amanda Hess, Critic-at-Large:
life ingredient substitutions list 🍕🎉🌴😾💄
“Any other bubbly water — I'm realizing it's actually better without the "taste"?”
Jamal Jordan, Digital Storytelling Editor:
“I’m grateful to have amassed a rather long index of elders, allies and older community members, people who’ve already lived through a world-changing epidemic, to whom I could reach out for advice.”
Nellie Bowles, Domestic Correspondent:
Lessons in empathy from online reviews 🔮
“They lead me to some of the most beautiful personal essays being published today. Online shopping reviews are magic. I think they are the best thing on the internet.”
Jennifer Steinhauer, Washington Correspondent:
Teenagers: A User's Guide
“Before there was Tik Tok, we just danced in our kitchens to Babyface and used a wooden spoon as a microphone. Do you guys want to do a video of that and put it on my Instagram?”
Tina Jordan, Deputy Books Editor:
What I’m Watching 👀, Reading 📚, and Obsessing Over
“There’s just one problem, which is that my husband and I can’t eat at the table any more since it’s now strictly for puzzles, not food.”
Jennifer Schuessler, Culture Reporter:
Decluttering (or Not) While Preparing (or Not) to Move in a Pandemic 📦
“I may be the archivist of my circle of friends. Going through boxes, I’ve found 6th grade notes, printouts of old Hotmail correspondence, postcards for friends’ gigs at now-vanished clubs, Xeroxed invitations to birthday parties with hand-drawn maps.”