This week was the best of times, and one of my most challenging times as well.
We had a family medical emergency that had me in the hospital for the first half of the week, supporting my family. A full recovery is expected, and it was an all too real reminder of what matters.
For me, that’s my family. And while things on the work front are running at full speed (WE’RE SPEAKING’s release in 2 days, our lead product being acquired), I look forward to spending every spare second I have with my family in 2022.
I’m so looking forward to picking up the boys from school EVERY day, not just some days. To binge watch Ted Lasso and The Lost Symbol with my dad, and to learn how to make his world famous idly, dosa, and pesarettu. To learn how to cook so many of my mom’s famous dishes and to spend more time in Pennsylvania. To go to yoga classes with my mother-in-law, and to hear all my father-in-law’s stories from when he was young. To see my friends and not have the conversations focus on work.
Granted, a good day will likely just have 1-2 of these things in it. And that will make for a WONDERFUL day. I don’t know what my next major career goal is (other than securing some kind of Taco Bell partnership), and that feels more empowering than I thought it would.
How do you turn around a bad day?
I have my methods. I love a meditation or some audiobook listening while I rest in viparita karani (legs up against the wall). I’ll read anything - but usually an old favorite comforting book. A coffee nap. Cooking.
There’s nothing I find more comforting than playing a French cafe playlist, preparing a drink, and getting to work on chopping, sautéing, roasting, and plating. It’s one of the few things that get me out of my head and helps me get into a flow state.
Also, food. Delicious food, thanks to Blue Apron.
In stressful times (like this year, and this Mercury in retrograde in particular), I’ll take any shortcut or hack that I can get. Blue Apron is more than a shortcut - it’s helped me keep my family fed with delicious meals, eased the load of meal prepping and grocery shopping, and gives me about 40 minutes every day to escape the frenzy that is life.
There are weeks when things are quieter and I opt for slightly more ambitious dishes. There are weeks that are insane and the recipes marked “easy prep and cleanup” are the ones that make it in our box. When my parents are visiting, I add some of Blue Apron’s excellent wine to our box (as well as all the vegetarian pastas - my mom is partial to the lemon cauliflower one).
And no matter how hard the day has been, cooking a Blue Apron meal - and eating it - always turns it around.
You can sign up for Blue Apron and get $110 off + free shipping on your first box!
This inclusion is sponsored by Blue Apron. Thank you for supporting the partnerships that make my life better. I hope they do the same for you.
What we read this week
Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka - is based on a true story of a female Indian spy. Hindi movie, Raazi, sparked my interest in reading more about Indian spys which set off a series of events that led me to reading Calling Sehmat. It was interesting to see how the movie paralleled the book while doing my own research about the woman that inspired Harinder Sikka. Loyalty, bravery, and suspense all bound together with the author's carefully written word to share about the unnamed spy.
Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas by Alexi Pappas - I’ve been savoring this debut memoir from Olympian Alexi Pappas. One chapter, every couple of days, letting her brutal and hilarious honesty fully permeate before I move on to the next. Even reading the first half has already helped me to expand my goals and imagine new ones. (Her instagram is also a gem of a page to follow!
We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True by Gabrielle Union - Union's first book is one of the best celebrity memoirs I've ever read and I'm looking forward to her new one. She writes candidly about wealth disparities in Hollywood, being a stepmother, race, sexual assault, and more. She goes from light to heavy and back again, just like a conversation with an old friend.
The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle - Piper Evans is an elementary school teacher living a quiet life in an island community, when members of the Royal family unexpectedly move in next door, along with their very sexy, handsome bodyguard. This is a "What if Harry & Meghan became your neighbors" but less about them, and more about the neighbor herself. There's a pretty extensive discussion about mental health in this book - it's more about two people overcoming their own baggage than it is Royal related. Loved it! Read it if you like Royal gossip with a side of The Bodyguard. Also, this gets steamy about 60% in - a 3/5 on the steam scale.
White Ivy by Susie Yang- I pleasure read White Ivy recently and it was everything I needed for this super busy, can't focus season of the year. A story that emphasizes elements of self-acceptance, struggles of minorities to fit in, all the while being a page-turner with an ending that leaves you yearning what happened next. After starting and stopping many books, this one I read to the end.
The Top 10
Practical Frameworks for Beating Burnout (First Round Review)
The Dieter’s Diet (Bustle)
The Truth About Brittany Murphy's Life (Vanity Fair)
The Catch Up
He Taught a Ta-Nehisi Coates Essay. Then He Was Fired. (The Atlantic)
Leaf Me Alone (ELLE)
How Gen Z is Fighting for Afghanistan’s Future (The Juggernaut)
October 6, 2021 (Letters from an American)
HOW TO MAKE DALGONA CANDY! PLAY PPOPGI FROM SQUID GAME (Honest Food Talks)
Toxic Twitter- A Toxic Place For Women (Amnesty)
What We Are Still Getting Wrong About Chinese Food (Food & Wine)
Let’s Ignore Each Other in the Same Room (NY Times)
The Kids I Know Are Delighted by This Cookbook (Cup Of Jo)
A Profession is Not a Personality (The Atlantic)
How Syria's Rebel Librarian's Found Hope (The Guardian)
Crispy Sheet Pan Noodles with Glazed Tofu (NY Times Cooking)
Things we love this week
I may be one in a million but I love my e-reader. As I get my feet on the ground carving out more and more time for self-care, the Kobo Libra H2O has really allowed me to take books anywhere and everywhere without the weight. I keep it in my purse and pull it out to pick up where I left off on 1 of 3 books I could be reading at any given time.
I mean… come ON. This is a podcast with Brene Brown + Roxane Gay + Debbie Millman. To be perfectly honest, I would happily be a fly on the wall as the three of them discussed snacks. While dinner parties do come up during this conversation, they also cover an extensive number of experiences, both personal and professional, shared and individual, challenging and funny. You’re going to want to take this on a nice long walk with you!
I wear very simple makeup and am hooked on this multi-stick product. It's a cream blush that blends beautifully and a lip color that's so pretty. I might need a second one so I can have it with me at all times.
I was a big fan of Command Strips for my art, until some of my heavier frames fell off the walls over time and broke! My new favorite way of hanging art is using these 3M CLAW Picture hangers - they will leave small holes in your walls, but if you're creating a permanent-ish spot to hang art, they're a great option. I have them all over for my heavier, more precious pieces.
Anyone else's kids really into popits? Where were these fidget toys when I was younger? I find myself keeping a few on my desk to fidget with during long calls, or as I try to strategize through brain fog. Get one!
Take care of yourself, and please share #5SmartReads if you’re enjoying them!