Hello! I missed you!
The end of the year was, in all honesty, a mess. Rather than fight it and put an immense amount of pressure on myself to make everything perfect for a carefully arranged Instagram picture, I leaned into it.
Our family room almost always had a pillow and blanket fort taking over half the couch. The kids decorated the tree, which meant the lights were tangled and the ornaments clustered near the bottom. Christmas Eve Dinner was a potato feast (fries, tots, chili cheese fries with waffle fries, pimento mashed potatoes) that largely came from the freezer, pantry, and the prepared foods section from Fresh Direct. I didn’t open up my laptop for the two weeks of holiday break, nor did I have the urge to.
I did, however, succumb a bit to the “new year, need to get my life in order!” and did ProLon this past week. All the details are shared here, but I confess that I was a total cliché while on it but it was the powerful reset my body needed, and I will definitely be doing it again.
2022 began in a way no one wanted - another highly infectious variant and massive wave of infection, schools and businesses going remote again (Rho’s home all of next week, Rhaki for part of the week), and a delay on the vaccines for kids younger than 5. It sucks. It sucks SO hard, and I want to hold some space for you to scream into the void because it seems like this is never going to end.
I wish I could tell you that this the variant to push COVID into an endemic virus, or that its “mild” nature makes it less dangerous (a virus is not a hot sauce, and we don’t know the long haul symptoms of Omicron specifically and I worry for our immunocompromised and disabled communities who rely on some level of herd immunity). I wish I could tell you that’s perfectly safe to meet friends for dinner or send your kids to school definitively (the answer is “it depends” and “what is your risk tolerance?” and ultimately “if you understand that you may still be infected despite all the measures you take”). I desperately wish I had any sense of certainty as we enter the junior year of the pandemic that we’ve had senioritis with since the beginning.
I don’t. No one does.
Here’s what I can do. I can and will continue to share the latest research from reputable sources that takes all the factors of this pandemic and public health into account. I will share how I’m staying healthy and sane during these uncertain times. I’ll keep sharing the books that bring me joy (scroll down to see the series I can’t-stop-won’t-stop reading). And when I get restock alerts for tests, I’ll definitely share them on Instagram.
Also, we’re doing things a little bit differently here at 5SR, so let me announce some new changes:
The daily 5SR newsletter is now free! Because most of you are here for the weekly summary, I won’t merge the lists. But if you’d like to opt-in for each day’s reads to be e-mailed to you/added to your blog reader, you can enter your e-mail here. This group will have exclusive access to my 1:1 mentor hours and the Smart Reads book club, so sign up if these things sound up your alley!
One of the reasons the daily 5SR is free is to encourage conversation about the reads! I love the thoughtful comments shared in this week’s posts, and I hope you join the conversation there every day!
The weekly newsletter isn’t changing. But if you like it, would you mind sharing it with someone (or a few folks) that you think would like it?
Your support means the world to me, and I’m so glad to be back in your inboxes.
What I Read This Week:
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe - this book was recommended by Traci (host of The Stacks podcast) on her best books of the year list, and I completely concur. The opioid epidemic has ravaged our country and parts of the world. And while the Sacklers are not the only ones responsible, they certainly played a driving force in the widespread prescription and use of these medicines while downplaying addiction claims. This reads like a real life Succession meets Bad Blood. I read this in spurts (at times, I had to put it down because I was so disgusted by the family and the things they said). The book had me thinking about the deep distrust so many Americans have with their physicians and the pharmaceutical industry, and how this may lead to vaccine hesitancy (this piece helped shed some light on that theory). I think everyone should read this book, and trust Traci on all book recommendations.
Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon (books 1-12) - apparently this series went viral on TikTok last summer (to the point that Berkeley acquired the series and are republishing it!), but I only came across it in December. Halfway into the first book, I texted a number of friends telling them they NEEDED to read this book about kidnapped women and sexy blue aliens on a Hoth-like planet and continued to tear through the series. It was the perfect complement to Empire of Pain, and I’m thrilled that I have 8 more books to go in the series. I won’t say anything else about the plot, but it brings me great joy that Ruby Dixon - an author who self-published much of her work - got a publishing deal due to the incredible social media response to this amazing series. The original series is available on Kindle Unlimited, and the special edition of the first book can be purchased here.
The Twelve Monotasks by Thatcher Wine - if you’re feeling overwhelmed and unfocused and frazzled (aren’t we all) but don’t even know where to start to get your life together, you need to read this book. Thatcher’s thesis - that by fully focusing on doing 12 simple tasks with your full attention, you can do everything better - is something I’ve put to the test and can attest that it works. Focusing on my meal instead of watching or reading something? I find myself being more mindful about what I’m eating and waste a lot less time because I’m bored. Walking? My 5 minute walk home after dropping off Rho is where I claim mine, and I take joy in saying good morning to the happiest traffic guard ever, smiling at all the dogs out for a walk, and feeling the crisp winter air on my skin. 2 monotasks down…10 to go.
Find Your Unicorn Space by Eve Rodsky - I highly recommend you make “play” one of the first monotasks you pursue, and then read Eve’s phenomenal new book to figure out exactly how you want to play. Unicorn Space is a concept she introduced in her first life-transforming book, Fair Play, and she goes deeper into why the pursuit and practice of creativity is not a nice-to-have, but a must-have in each of our lives. My Unicorn Space lately has been drawing mandalas, which I learned to do back in November at a summit (I use a compass and protractor to draw my circles and mark them at every 30 degrees).
Find Your Unicorn Space is the first book selection for the Smart Reads Book Club! If you’d like to join the club and meet Eve, please sign up for the daily newsletter (now free!).
Top 5 Reads Of The Week:
The Divine Art of Uniform Dressing (W Magazine)
2022 Year Mapping + Surprises (Blessing Adesiyan: Women Unlearn)
The rest of the week’s reads (and conversations!) are below:
What I Loved This Week Your Questions, Answered
I’m not buying much these days, so I’m going to use this space to share some of the questions and product requests I get asked frequently.
What COVID-19 tests are you using?
We have a Cue Health reader and a membership, which allows us to buy their PCR-quality tests at a discount. We also use On/Go antigen tests on a more regular basis and to give to the people who work inside our home, so we can all stay safe. I have an alert set on GoPuff for the On/Go tests, and restock every time they’re back in stock.
What are the Buffy dupe sheets you recommended?
These sheets! They are so soft and breathable, and currently have a 25% off coupon you can tap to add. We have 4 sets.
Looking for a body lotion that’s good quality, feels indulgent, but not ridiculously expensive.
State Of Menopause’s whipped body cream hits all of those qualities and is $29 for a generous-sized tub. The kids and I use it - it’s hydrating, dries quickly, feels really luxe, and is unscented which I prefer.
What are the best planners? Any planner tips?
I’m very loyal to my Silk+Sonder planner, and have had my subscription for almost 3 years now! You can see how I use it here and here. Rho uses the Sonder Kids planner and loves it. Code hitha15 gets you 15% off!
What was ProLon like?
I wrote all about it here, as well as answered the questions submitted earlier this week on Instagram!
Stay safe, healthy, and I wish you swift recoveries if you get the big O.