issue #109 the one on making your life a safe place

When Hitha asked me to write this week's editor’s note I was pleasantly surprised but also caught myself thinking what is there to talk about? That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of things going on in the world because we all know that there are, however, I personally have made a decision to not spend my time fretting about the world's problems. As a black woman, I don’t really have that luxury, to be honest. I need to stay informed, engaged, and active in protecting my rights, versus so many others who can take them for granted. However, I’ve made a conscious choice at this moment to opt-out. This is not permanent, it will not be forever, but I don’t have an end date.

And I’m the reason I am doing this is because of a very simple fact: I am not sure America and its problems can be fixed. We are living in a pandemic and yet we have a sizable group of people who do not believe in science, vaccines, or anything close to reality. How can you reason with people like that? The other thing about that side is they are incredibly organized, they are incredibly efficient and they are incredibly effective. Being evil, organized, and effective is a hell of a combination.

Abortion rights are being taken away yes, but this has been a long time coming. I have seen a lack of reporting on hard it was to get in abortion in Texas or the south in general, before this. There were a total of 19 abortion clinics in Texas. There’s only 1 in Mississippi. We have a climate that is changing rapidly and racism is still very much alive, present, and active. Even in my liberal state of NY. 

So as the great Maxine Waters said I have decided to reclaim my time. For the time being, I’m not signing any more petitions, I’m not calling my congressman, or senator about any votes, I’m not donating money anymore to foundations, even though I will keep my monthly recurring donation to my local planned parenthood. 

What I am doing, is taking that time & energy and pouring it into ensuring that I have a wonderful life with the people around me who I love. It’s taking the amount of time, I put into trying to make the world a better place into making my life a better & safe place for myself. 

What does that look like for me, specifically?

Weekly friend dates and facetimes where we have nail polish talk, as I like to call it. Fluffy talk about our nails, what we are cooking, TV shows we’re binging (I am wrapping up The Closer), and snacks I am loving (Sweet & Spicy Doritos have no business being as delicious as they are, but only buy the small individual bags)

I’ve assigned things to certain days I know for sure will bring me joy:

Sunday -I bake

Wednesday- my shopping day (i treat myself to something nice from my “i want it” list)

Friday - i leave work early and buy flowers and takeout

I’m reading books, and hanging outside with friends, and planning family activities. Just this weekend I’m having an old-school BBQ! In a park! My grandfather is coming and we are going to play September by Earth, Wind & Fire, eat cheeseburgers and dance. 

Old school Lale would’ve been spending the weekend finding ways to donate, finding petitions to sign, and calling friends and family to get support and get them revved up! 

I say all this not to discourage anyone from being active. We need you. And I’ll be back, I’m sure. However, when it gets to be too much when it feels like America is stealing all of the joy you have, do not be afraid to step back and re-focus your energy on yourself and enjoying the little bit of time we have here on this planet without any guilt.

You, more than anyone else, deserve your time and energy.



What we read this week


  • The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory - I recently re-read this book in an "I need to escape the world" binge. It was just as good as the first time. Jasmine Guillory is the writer we need for the times we have.



  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid - I read Malibu Rising in under 24 hours and am still thinking about it. Taylor Jenkins Reid packs so much into each page—the main characters are close siblings with secrets and their damaged parents and the story is gripping until the end. Next, I'm going to reread The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo ( (there's a tie in between the books)


  • Salt Acid Fat Heat by Samin Nosrat - I technically bought this book for my mom as a gift sometime in 2020. When I got back to the U.S., I found it collecting dust on her kitchen counter. So after essentially claiming it as my own (sorry, Mom), I haven’t been able to put it down. Not only does Samin Nosrat’s absolute joy for nourishing both herself and others literally dazzle me on every page, but Wendy MacNaughton’s accompanying illustrations provide both context and levity to what could be an overwhelming tome.


The Top 5

  1. How Dany Garcia, Daughter Of Immigrants, Made Herself Into A Mogul (Glamour)

  2. Holiday 2021 Predictions: The Cost Of Labor Shortages And Logistical Headaches(Retail Touch Points)

  3. What Do You Love About The Way You Look? (Cup Of Jo)

  4. Will You Ever Change? Can Face-To-Face Meetings Between A Victim And An Abuser Help A Society Overwhelmed With Bad Behavior? (The Cut)

  5. I've Been Called Out For Causing Racial Harm. What Do I Do Now? (Forbes)

The Catch Up

Monday (LaToya)

Tuesday (Sonal)

Wednesday (Abigail)

Thursday (Madison)

Friday (Kate)

Things we love this week


  • There is a significant amount of conversation around fast fashion and it's impact. However as a plus size woman I have extremely limited options and even lower ones when it comes to stylish, affordable options and this dress is GORGEOUS in person. I have no regrets and it's now a staple in my closet. I plan on wearing it well into winter with a leather jacket and lace up booties.


  • I am loving the Sahajan Radiance Serum. It's been perfect to keep my skin hydrated during the summer and winter. It smells luxurious and makes my skin feel soft and supple.


  • After an unfortunate incident with a wet countertop, I had to replace my phone. I polled Instagram to select a new case and was excited to find Pela Case, a plastic free compostable option. The designs are cute and it's a certified B corp.


  • This video feature of Lusia Harris - which is thankfully not behind a paywall, even though it is produced and published by the New York Times - made me cry. Twice. Even after playing competitive basketball for nearly ten years of my life, I only knew a fraction of her story and the extensive trailblazing she did so future girls like me could take the court. And to hear it all from Lusia herself… Whew. Even if you’re far removed from the basketball world, this 20-minute film is worth the watch.


  • I'm almost six months pregnant, and my office space is NOT conducive to the aches and pains that come with second trimester. At the end of the day, my butt is numb and about to fall off after I've been hunched over my laptop like a goblin for seven hours. I invested in the VariDesk Laptop 30 and my poor, sad buttbone is frankly overjoyed.

Take care of yourself, and please share #5SmartReads if you’re enjoying them!

Refer #5SmartReads