issue #111 - the one about speaking (and other things)

Yes, I used this subject line to shamelessly plug my forthcoming book, We’re Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris. Preorders are incredibly important for forthcoming books, as it lets the publisher know how many copies to print and distribute. If audio is your thing, I narrated the audiobook and am so proud of it.

Please place your pre-orders, tell your friends and family to pre-order theirs, and stock up on a few copies if your budget permits - it makes for an excellent gift!

Speaking is on my mind lately (and on my calendar, with two upcoming panels and a book tour looming). It’s become a big part of all my jobs - in pitching and negotiating with Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals, in hosting IG Lives and doing video projects on Instagram, and in speaking on panels and delivering keynotes (2021 was a big year for that!).

And with my book launch approaching, I’ll be speaking a LOT (and mercifully there’s a whole chapter in the book on owning your voice and delivering your message with power - hint hint).

If it looks easy, there is a ton of preparation and practice behind it. I prepare talking points for every panel I participate in and usually have them scribbled onto sticky notes that I stick all over my screen. When I’m moderating a panel, I begin researching and preparing weeks in advance, and aim to send the questions a week in advance to refine the ones I’ll ask and in what order.

Thinking about speaking had me thinking about my old blog, which I stopped posting to in 2018. I could no longer maintain the quality of posts with things ramping up with Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals and being pregnant. I’ve gone back and re-read it and thought “oh, this seemed so effortless. I should bring it back.” And then I remembered the late nights I would be writing and preparing social media posts, the frenzy of cooking and shooting recipes on a Sunday so I could photograph them in good light, asking friends and strangers to snap outfit pictures when I was running around the city.

I loved it. I still do, and I miss my blog. But pausing that opened up the door with #5SmartReads, this newsletter, my podcast (which will definitely be returning next year!), and my second book.

This is my rambling way of saying the more effortless something looks, the more work is done to prepare and practice and make it seem that way. That it’s okay to close a chapter of something, even if you really love it. And to keep putting in the work and trying new things, because you’ll never know what it’ll lead you to.

And, of course, to pre-order my book. Please. Thank you.

What we read this week


  • The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg - Been reading a lot of The Flavour Bible lately as research for holiday recipes. Reading cookbooks is my favourite thing to do!


  • Effortless by Greg McKeown - I don't connect to most self-help books, finding them fluffy and unrelatable. But EFFORTLESS is an exception, providing actionable advice to achieve what seems impossible (creating a morning routine that sticks, starting that side hustle, or living healthier). Lots of suggestions on how to change your mindset—and what to do one that roadblock is overcome.


  • Witch Please by Ann Aguirre - I love a romance. I love a witchy book. I had high hopes for this witchy romance, and it delivered. Billed as Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls, it’s a sweet romance that throws a witchy handywoman and a unlucky-in-love baker in a charming town outside of Chicago. If you love witchy politics, family drama, and delicious sounding baked goods, this book is for you.

The Top 5

  1. The Secret Sisterhood of Offshore Oil Workers (Narratively)

  2. Gabrielle Union: The Hard Truth About My Surrogacy Journey (TIME)

  3. The bubblegum misogyny of 2000s pop culture (Vox)

  4. What Is National Day For Truth And Reconciliation, And Who Gets The Statutory Holiday? (CTV News)

  5. The ‘Red Zone’ Is The Most Dangerous Time Of Year For Campus Sexual Assault. Here’s What You Need To Know. (The Lily)

The Catch Up




Thursday (Sonal)

Friday (Julia)

Things we love this week


  • I am loving my Dyson blow dryer lately! It took me over 3 yrs to really give it a chance but with a combination of shorter hair and a bit more time for myself, I've been giving myself a blow out once a week and LOVE IT!


  • Black shearling Birkenstocks are the sh*t. I got them for my birthday, and they make any casual outfit (whether it's jeans & a T-shirt or a workout set) look a touch more pulled together. And if Birkenstocks weren't already comfortable enough, the shearling takes them to a whole new level. These are my daily "walking around" shoes, and I'm already eyeing the tan/white color combo.


  • I Need My Space are the organizing queens that visit our home somewhat regularly (usually every 6 months) and keep things tidy. Because of COVID and life in general, it’d been a year and a half since Stacy (the organizer we’ve been working with for 5 years) to visit and give our kitchen and bar a much-needed tidying. If you’re in the tri-state area and could use an extra pair of hands to get you organized, I can’t recommend them more highly.

  • It still feels like summer here in New York, which means I’ve been wearing my Nesara kaftans on repeat. They are simply perfect - insanely comfortable, beautiful, flattering, and wash and hold up beautifully. I’m plotting how I can wear them in the winter - with a pair of thick tights, a textured cardigan, and ankle boots perhaps?

  • Tinx has influenced me into wanting a tennis bracelet. And while I’m saving up for the real deal, this demi-fine one from BaubleBar is incredible quality. I haven’t taken it off since I got it weeks ago, and it’s been comfortable on my sensitive skin and adds that little bit of glitter on my wrist. I just purchased the necklace version, along with this link necklace.

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

Refer #5SmartReads