issue #105 - on friendships
Have your friendships changed during the pandemic?
Of course they have.
A year and a half in, I’ve begun to look at pre-pandemic life as ‘before times’ and the present day on as ‘after times.’ There are things I desperately miss about the before times - traveling without fear, Broadway, big family reunions.
But I have a deeper appreciation for things that I’ve taken for granted.
I’m grateful for the health and safety of my loved ones - and aware of that gratitude in a new way. I’m grateful for my home and to feel so utterly at home in New York City. I’m eternally grateful for the precautions my kids’ schools continue to take with COVID. And I’m grateful for my friends.
I’m grateful for every text message, impromptu FaceTime call, e-mail, Zoom, DM, and rare dinner or walk together. That in-person gatherings are nice, but frequent connection - however it happens - are what keep these relationships close.
I had the incredible opportunity to talk about friendships during the pandemic on MSNBC last Sunday night, and again with my friend Leah on IG Live. They have changed, for sure. But for me, they’ve changed for the better. No longer do I make the excuses that we don’t have time for the lengthy dinners or the weekend trips we used to define friendship by. Now, it’s about sending the text or voice message when I’m thinking of someone. It’s reconnecting briefly and frequently in the craziness of our day, and with our full attention when time allows.
Friendships have never been more important. And I have never been more grateful for them than I am right now.
What we read this week
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston - I devoured this in about three blissful days and ignored my family, friends, and work the entire time. McQuiston is the absolute master of writing about LONGING and YEARNING. Ugh, be still, my heart.
Seven Days in June by Tia William - You’ve probably seen this cover all over Instagram - it was a Reese's Book Club pick for June, and is 100% worth all the attention it’s receiving. Eva Mercy is a single mom and popular erotica writer. Shane Hall is a reclusive, award-winning literary darling. Their paths cross one night and sparks fly in a way that the literary world notices, but what everyone doesn’t know is that Eva and Shane spent 7 days madly in love with each other, 15 years ago. The book flips back and forth between the current timeline and their timeline 15 years ago - I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. If you loved The Wonder Years (for the young love angle), add this book to your TBR pile.
From Hitha - I read and loved this book so, so much. It’s a must-read.
The Selection and Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass - when things are stressful, I rely on my security blanket books - the ones you can read over and over - to turn my mind off and get some rest. The Selection is one of these series for me, and every read has me feeling like we’re inching towards the reality of that series (WWIII triggered by a cyberwar with Russia, WWIV by China calling our loans, a power-hungry meglomaniac installing himself as king…oh wait). It was the first time, however, I read the companion novellas as recommended and they were absolutely delightful. If you need total brain candy that has a little depth, you can’t go wrong with this series.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells - I never thought I would feel a kinship with a security robot, but one that just wants to binge television all day but has to save humans is one that gets me. This novella - the first in the Muderbot series - was absolutely delightful. Funny, packed with action, great plot and character development…I adored it. And luckily for me, I have 5 more books left.
The Top 5
Kerouac's 'On The Peloton' by Jon Methven (McSweeney's)
Backbends Changed My Life, and They Can Change Yours, Too (Yoga Journal)
(South Asian) America Runs on Dunkin’ (The Juggernaut)
Here's What Coverage of the Delta Surge Gets Wrong—and Why It's Harmful (Verywell Health)
The Catch Up
Monday (Dr. Kate Slater)
The Assault on Black Academics (Chronicle of Higher Education)
‘Sedition Hunters': Meet the Online Sleuths Aiding the FBI's Capitol Manhunt (Huffington Post)
Reasons for Vaccine Optimism (Galaxy Brain)
What The Hell Is Blank Check Company (The Hustle)
Men Cause More Climate Emissions Than Women, Study Finds (The Guardian)
U.S. Life Expectancy Dropped 1.5 Years In 2020, Mainly Due To Covid-19 (The Huffington Post)
Things we love this week
I recently went to a lake house bachelorette, and during a quick stock-up trip at Wal-Mart (pool noodles! plastic margarita glasses! aspirin!), I grabbed this dress on an impulse without even trying it on. And I've LIVED in it every day since. It's a thicker cotton that's also incredibly soft, it's the perfect length, and it has great swing. And it's less than $10. I bought it in the blue, which is gorgeous, but you should pick it up in at least three colors.
I gave up on heels in 2020, but I still care about cute shoes. I've been wearing these gladiator sandals this summer, and each time I wear them someone will yell out a compliment (both men and women). I don't know why these don't have a higher rating because they're incredibly comfortable.
I adore Cheryl’s style so much, and she influenced me to add a rugby shirt to my wardrobe. It’ll be a nice departure from my usual Phenomenal sweatshirts over my leggings (my usual school drop-off uniform), and I’ll likely be DMing Cheryl for more styling advice for it.
Book edits and some major work projects have flared up my carpal tunnel. The only real solution is rest (which I will definitely get on vacation later this month), but Equilibria’s relief cream and acupuncture sessions are keeping the pain at bay for now. Equilibria is having one of their very rare sales - 30% off - at the moment. I’m personally restocking my supply of that cream, the rapid calming melts, treatment oil, and bath soak. If you haven’t tried Equilibria yet, you can use my code HITHA for an additional 15% off.
I have a long-term Instagram partnership with Equilibria. This inclusion is not sponsored, and I’m sharing it because their products have helped me tremendously. If you’re new to CBD, please consult with your physician first before starting it. Their quiz is another helpful place to start.
When we’ve cooked through our Blue Apron meals, dinners are usually a scavenging of whatever is in the pantry and freezer. Tonight’s dinner was a stew of frozen root vegetables and spinach, a can of chickpeas and tomatoes each, a bag of Right Rice, and coconut milk. It would have been terribly bland had it not been for my stash of Podi Life - the spicy coconut powder (along with turmeric and cayenne) seasoned the stew beautifully. Their podis make South Indian cooking so much easier (though I still have to call my mom for help), and give me a much-needed taste of home.
Take care of yourself, and please share #5SmartReads if you’re enjoying them!