Every Monday in our Lily Lines newsletter, we share something we love, but weren’t paid to promote. Here’s a running list of the books we’re reading, podcasts we’re listening to and the apps we’re using.

See a date missing? Check out our other list of Lily Likes, filled with recommendations you can use in your home or daily life.

July 31, 2018

‘Happiness’ by Heather Harpham

I usually don’t go for nonfiction reads, but I binge-listened to Heather Harpham’s “Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After” over the weekend. It’s a memoir from the perspective of a mother raising a sick child while navigating life’s everyday challenges. Harpham narrates the audiobook, and hearing her read it made it feel like she was re-telling her story just for me. Her story is moving, intimate and told with such vivid imagery. I felt like I was there with her family.

—Aviva Loeb, Washington Post designer

May 28, 2018

‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’

I first watched the 2002 film “Rabbit-Proof Fence” when I was in high school, and it’s something I think about often. Based on a novel by author Doris Pilkington Garimara, the film depicts the true story of three aboriginal girls, who were stolen from their home by government officials in Western Australia in 1931 and forced into a training camp for domestic staff. I remember being so inspired by the strength and resilience of the young girls as they escaped the camp and traveled more than 1,000 miles back home along a rabbit-proof fence. I haven’t found it on any streaming services, but you can rent or buy it in the Apple Store and on Amazon.

–Macy Freeman, producer at The Washington Post

May 14, 2018


We know Siri isn’t really a person named Siri who sits at a desk and answers our questions. (Right?) But what if she was? That’s the premise of “Sandra," a scripted podcast featuring actresses Alia Shawkat and Kristen Wiig. Shawkat voices a character named Helen, who is starting a new job at a fictional tech company. Whenever someone using a smart speaker asks a question about birds, Helen answers as Sandra, the voice assistant. Pretty soon, Helen is doling out life advice under the guise of Sandra and causing a mess. I didn’t expect to like this podcast, but it’s funny — and seems freakishly possible.

—Ashley Nguyen, Lily multiplatform editor

April 30, 2018

Do! app

Nothing gives me more satisfaction than crossing something off my to-do list. But carrying around a handwritten list is not always practical. With the Do! app, I can create a simple list that I can always have on me. Plus, it offers the same pleasure I get from handwritten lists: The app looks like a piece of paper, and when you mark something as completed, it makes a sound reminiscent of crossing it off with a pen. Bonus: It’s eco-friendly.

—Alexandra Pannoni, multiplatform editor at The Washington Post

March 26, 2018

Reading more

I’m a film writer by trade, so for the past few years, almost everything I read was about movies. I have other books on my shelves (I promise), but I hadn’t gotten around to them in years. So, part of my New Year’s resolution was to dust off some of my non-cinema-specific titles and get back to reading like I did before grad school. I breezed through my first Sandra Cisneros book, "Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories,” some time ago, and I’m picking things back up with Gabriel García Márquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera.” I quite like it. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back into reading. I think I’ll try Cristina García’s "Dreaming in Cuban” next. No fewer than three different people have recommended it to me, so I hope it’s good. You’re welcome to send me book recommendations any time at @mcastimovies on Twitter.

—Monica Castillo, writer for The Lily

March 5, 2018

‘Making Obama’ podcast

Even if you’re familiar with Barack Obama’s history, the WBEZ podcast “Making Obama” makes you feel like you’re getting to know him all over again. Host Jenn White digs into his early career in Chicago, from his time as a community organizer making close to $12,000 a year to becoming a U.S. senator. Through interviews with old colleagues, political opponents, friends and Obama himself, we hear about moments when his ambition got the best of him, and how he was perceived by Chicagoans as an outsider. (If you like this podcast, check out “Making Oprah,” too.)

—Ashley Nguyen, Lily digital editor

Feb. 12, 2018

Hopper travel app

Travel often? This free app is key to saving money on plane tickets. There’s Kayak and Priceline, but Hopper is simple in design. No frills. Easy to use. Just input which days you’re traveling, and it’ll find you the best deals, suggest whether to wait for prices to go down and send notifications to your phone when they do.

—Carol Shih, Lily producer

Feb. 5, 2018

‘We’re Going to Need More Wine,’ read by Gabrielle Union

After hearing a podcast episode featuring Gabrielle Union, I decided to listen to her book, “We’re Going to Need More Wine,” on Audible. She speaks with clarity about harrowing life experiences, including how her dad reacted after she was raped in a Payless ShoeSource, watching her friend die of cancer, and her experience with multiple miscarriages. Union’s voice makes this book easy to listen to while cleaning or cooking, and it also satisfied my love for celebrity insider knowledge: She touches on tension over a prenup with now-husband Dwyane Wade and attending her first Prince party.

—Ashley Nguyen, Lily digital editor

Jan. 29, 2018


My cousin got me into ClassPass about a month ago and I’m hooked. I’ve got a busy schedule and work unconventional hours, so I love the flexibility it’s given me. You can take classes at different studios all over your city for a flat fee. (ClassPass is available in 40 cities worldwide.) Most classes can be booked up to a week in advance, but you can book the same day as well. They even tell you what kind of clothes to wear. Even on my busiest days, I can find a class nearby to go to. There’s even a nap class, so there are no excuses.

—Aviva Loeb, Emerging News Products designer

Jan. 22, 2018

One Second Everyday app

A few months ago, I started recording videos throughout my day using an app called One Second Everyday. This app lets you easily select one second from a video to save for each day and then mash all the moments together into one video. Whether I look at the video after a week or a month, I love seeing the small moments that make up my life. Just one second can transport me back to an exact moment, a meal or time shared with friends. This app is $4.99 but totally worth every penny.

—Rachel Orr, Lily art director

Jan. 15, 2018

‘Meet Me in the Bathroom’ by Lizzy Goodman

Lizzy Goodman’s oral history, “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” made me pine for the days of mix CDs and click-wheel iPods. The supernova that was the Strokes dominate the storyline of the whole mess of Pitchfork darlings of the era, chief among them LCD Soundsystem, Interpol and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. Gossipy tidbits, as told by the people who lived them, make the book bingeable, even for those who’ve never downloaded an MP3. Listening to this Spotify playlist, which includes every song referenced, in chronological order, will make reading “Meet Me in the Bathroom” more of a trip.

—Sarah Dunton, mobile producer at The Washington Post

Dec. 11, 2017

‘New People’ by Danzy Senna

I went to a book event for “New People,” and author Danzy Senna noted that she doesn’t really use social media. Instead of scrolling through timelines, she does “brain exercises” by reading books. For a short time, I made a concerted effort to do my own brain exercises by reading Senna’s “New People” before bed. It’s a satirical, addictive and quick read. We follow Maria, a multiracial woman who is going through an intense period of distraction. She would rather stalk an unnamed poet than finish her dissertation on Jonestown or plan her wedding to her college boyfriend, Khalil. I found myself cringing and smiling while reading this book and thinking about race and passing a great deal afterward.

–Ashley Nguyen, Lily digital editor

Nov. 27, 2017

‘Situationships’ podcast

My friend Randi Williams has been talking about creating “Situationships," a podcast about black millennial love, for the past two years. It debuted earlier this month, and you’ll laugh pretty hard while listening to the first episode. We meet Alishia, a 29-year-old woman who goes on a Tinder date after a break-up — and projectile vomits on the man in a cab. The podcast also has a fun segment called “Asking for a friend,” in which Randi solicits dating advice from the people she interviews on the show.

–Ashley Nguyen, Lily digital editor

Nov. 13, 2017

Trunk Club

I’m terrible at shopping and always end up buying things that look like things I already own, or don’t go with anything in my closet. Trunk Club paired me with a stylist who got to know me by asking questions about my style. Now, she picks out things that might look good on me. Upon my request, she sends me 8-10 items to try on. Shipping is free both ways. They’re affiliated with Nordstrom, so the brands are always high quality. The clothes she sends are things I wouldn’t have otherwise thought to try on, and she gives me suggestions on how to wear them. My Trunk Club outfits always get compliments.

—Aviva Loeb, designer at The Washington Post

Nov. 6, 2017

Insight meditation app

A couple of years ago, I started meditating regularly. I subscribed to an app called Headspace but ultimately wanted to find a way to meditate for free. A good friend of mine recommended Insight Timer, and it’s been a year since I made the switch. You can use a timer and adjust the background music, or you choose from thousands of pre-recorded meditations. There’s a playlist called 365 Days that introduces a different type of meditation every week. This helped me discover what resonated with me.

—Rachel Orr, Lily art director

Oct 9, 2017

Vivino wine app

I will forever be grateful to my mother for showing me the Vivino wine app. Before downloading it, I used to select wine by finding the most attractive label in my price range. While I still do that, I now scan that good-looking label to read more about the wine, look at how other wine drinkers have rated it and learn its average price. The app also allows users to search for wine by price and rating, so you know you’re getting the best wine for the best price. What more could a wine lover want?

—Annaliese Nurnberg, photo editor at The Washington Post

Oct. 2, 2017

‘Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar’

Even if you’re an omnivore, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better collection of cookie recipes than Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s cookbook “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.” It’s a magnificently thorough collection of cookies, with clearly written instructions and accessible explanations of ingredients that should ease any concerns about ditching dairy and eggs. With 100 different recipes, it has a cookie (or brownie) for every occasion and craving, and the recipes are consistently delicious. Feed these cookies to omnivores and revel in their shock when you inform them the cookies are vegan.

Anna Walsh, multiplatform editor at The Washington Post

Sept. 4, 2017

Google Keep

Do you have sticky notes all over your desk or fridge? Are you always writing down to-do lists? If so, then Google Keep might be your new favorite tool. I use it for everything from grocery lists to restaurant recommendations to wedding planning. And I love that I can sync it across my devices, collaborate on lists with friends and set reminders. If you use Chrome, there’s even an extension to save links with notes.

Courtney Kan, designer at The Washington Post

Aug. 21, 2017

You Need a Budget app

I’ve never been great with envelopes and cash, but the You Need a Budget app helps you get to a point in your budget where you can eventually live a paycheck ahead. The budget system also focuses on flexibility, so I don’t feel like a failure if I accidentally go over my dining or entertainment budget. I’ve been using it for a couple months and have found I’ve been able to increase my savings and even have fun on vacation without feeling like I’m having to sacrifice.

Taylor Schena, senior designer at The Washington Post

Aug. 7, 2017

‘Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?’

I’m a big fan of Alyssa Mastromonaco’s book, “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?” During the Obama administration, Mastromonaco became the youngest woman to serve as the deputy chief of staff for operations. Her book offers a smart voice for a political memoir that you rarely get the chance to read. She speaks to the reality of trying to navigate your career with some youthful naivete but plenty of badassness. Plus, when you read it, you just really want to be friends with her.

-Allison Michaels, host of The Washington Post’s “Can He Do That?” podcast

‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’

Interested in gaming but looking to play as a strong female lead? “Horizon: Zero Dawn” is captivating, easy to play, and features a fantastic lead character. The dystopian open-world game allows you to fight robotic beasts.

Rachel Hatzipanagos, Lily contributor and Washington Post producer

July 31, 2018

Kwit app

For those who want to quit smoking – or encourage friends and family to – the Kwit app is a great resource. June marked one year since I smoked my last cigarette, and in the last 13 months, I have saved $1,814, have not smoked 4,031 cigarettes and have added 30 days to my life. Crazy right? Kwit tracks it all. (Sorry Android users, this app is only available on iOS.)

—Rachel Orr, Lily art director

July 17, 2018

Rent the Runway unlimited

If you’re not familiar with Rent the Runway, it’s a service that allows you to rent designer clothing for less. It’s great for weddings and one-off events. But if you subscribe to their unlimited service for $139 a month, you can to rent three garments at one time and keep them for as long as you want. It’s been so fun for me to wear several dresses I couldn’t otherwise afford and change up my wardrobe every week. Bonus: You can cancel at any time and your first month is 20 percent off.

—Amy Cavenaile, Lily art director

‘Personal Shopper’ and Kristen Stewart

Two of my favorite movies from the past few years star Kristen Stewart and are directed by Olivier Assayas. Watching "Personal Shopper,” which you can rent on iTunes, I couldn’t look away from Stewart — she’s so intriguing and mesmerizing.

“What’s the point of ‘Personal Shopper’? Perhaps simply being in the presence of an uncertain young woman played by a luminous young performer as she fully comes into her own,” Ty Burr of The Boston Globe wrote in his review. And yes, that was exactly it. Follow up with 2014’s “Clouds of Sils Maria” to be just as charmed.

Amy King, Lily editor and creative director

June 26, 2017

‘Sofia Niño de Rivera: Exposed’ on Netflix

This recommendation is in Spanish, so it might require subtitles. There are also some inside jokes about Mexico that you might not get, but it’s worth it. She has a hilarious bit about women spending their lives squatting over public toilets to stay sanitary — except for after a few drinks. Need I say more?

Ashley Nguyen, Lily digital editor

June 19, 2017

‘The Heart Goes Last’ by Margaret Atwood

With all the buzz surrounding Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” I dove into the book before starting the show. I absolutely loved Margaret Atwood’s voice, so I knew I had to read more of her books. I settled on her most recent novel, "The Heart Goes Last.”

Set in a time that could eerily become our future society, you follow the story of a married couple, Stan and Charmaine. They join an experiment called the Positron Project. Every month, they alternate between living in a prison and living in a home.

Rachel Orr, Lily art director

June 12, 2017

‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’

I just bought “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” as a gift for my 5-year-old niece.The book breaks down the adventures and accomplishments of 100 admirable women into quick, fairy-tale-style stories that will intrigue young kids while holding their attention span. It covers everyone from historic figures, like Amelia Earhart, to modern-day heroes, like Simone Biles and Malala Yousafzai.

Neema Roshania Patel, Lily deputy editor

‘Tula’ by Chris Santiago

I’ve been reading this book of poetry before bed to avoid my phone. Santiago is the son of Filipino immigrants, but he doesn’t speak Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines. “Tula” is the Filipino word for “poem,” which Santiago didn’t know before he started writing this book. That only made me love the poems more. It feels like a luxury to learn as you go rather than being expected to know everything from the onset.

Ashley Nguyen, Lily digital editor

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Plus, a passage from our book club pick

Lily Likes: What we’re using in our homes and daily lives

Things we love but weren’t paid to promote