issue #126 - the random one
It’s Sunday evening, just before 8 pm.
I’m sitting on Rho’s bed to finish this newsletter and tomorrow’s #5SmartReads while he plays with the Legos he received for his 7th birthday, which we celebrated over the weekend. The weekend was as much of a blur as the week was - family visits, birthday celebrations, a LOT of screen time as I attempted to rest from a chaotic week, and caring for a sick toddler (and cleaning up after said sick toddler).
One of our favorite families came over earlier today, and the kids created a Home Alone-esque booby trap as we sipped De Soi aperitifs and caught up with each other. We prepared dinner together and the mac and cheese we made for the kids went uneaten as we scrambled to feed them a smattering of bananas, rice, cheese quesadillas, protein-enriched chocolate milk, bagels, and whatever else I had in the fridge.
I really must order groceries for tomorrow.
While our kids splashed in the tub (and delighted in splashing me), I placed a Target order for the vacation gear that they’ve since outgrown from our last family vacation - swimsuits and sandals, shorts and new polos, floaties, sunscreen. Rho’s and my passports arrived in the nick of time, and I can’t believe spring break is nearly here and also how much I need to get done this week before we leave.
I really must do a brain dump and get all my tasks for the week organized - and get a good night’s sleep - and stay up to finish that deck for Tuesday - and NOT pick up In a New York Minute even though the first few pages have me totally hooked.
And I really must figure out what I’m actually going to do tonight.
It’s rare that I get to just document what happened over a day or weekend, but there’s something comforting in having this recorded for future Hitha, when her children are off living their own life and she’s puttering around the house wishing for the sounds of “Mommy! Mommy!” and the weight of her kids as they curl up on her lap to read the same book, over and over again.
So I’m going to savor the weight of Rho leaning on me, asking me to look at a Lego set he wants next and my asking how he’ll earn it, and the satisfying exhaustion that a parent of young kids feels on a Sunday evening.
Don’t worry, future Hitha. I’m savoring it.
What I Read This Week - With My Ears (sponsored by Macmillan)
Does the perfect couple exist?
This is the question I asked myself while listening to The Golden Couple, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s superb thriller.
This audiobook got me through caring for two sick kids (who watched the same movie, over and over, all weekend). It got me through a delayed flight and a quiet evening to myself, and it got me through waiting for a late night flight.
We can do hard things - as long as we have an excellent thriller being read to us.
I got completely lost in Marissa and Matt’s seemingly perfect marriage, in Avery’s unconventional therapeutic methods meeting her past, and in supportive characters that are absolutely fascinating. Thrillers are the perfect genre to listen to - there’s no reading ahead on the page, which makes it a little harder to figure out the endgame and thus a more satisfying resolution in the end.
And this book’s ending is one I did NOT see coming.
Karissa Vacker and Marin Ireland performed this book perfectly, and I’m grateful to have new authors and new narrators to add to my “must-read” list.
And if you’re new to any of them, start with The Golden Couple.
Top #5SmartReads of the Week
How to retrain your frazzled brain and find your focus again (The Guardian)
I’m the mother of a trans son in Texas — and no, I’m not a ‘child abuser’(Washington Post)
The economics of Spotify (The Hustle)
How Maggi Created a Generation of Experimental Cooks (The Juggernaut)
I Added Soy Sauce To My Brownie Out Of Desperation- Now I’ll Never Bake Without It (Bon Appetite)
The rest of the week’s reads (and conversations!) are below:
What Everyone Else Read This Week
If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich- I’ll warn you, this is basically One Direction fan fic, with a lot of heart. Written by two friends from Australia (they each took the lead on one character), the book follows a boy band and two of its members as they fall in love. The problem? Their management needs it to be a total secret as their fanbase is teenage girls waiting to fall in love with them. It might be YA, but don’t let that stop you.
Your Questions, Answered
What are you doing in ATL?!
Emceeing and moderating the final internal summit for Taco Bell!
Having an Indian fusion wedding and looking for design inspo. Any recs?!
Look at wedding photographers and officiants IG feeds that do fusion weddings (off the top of my head Sushma Dwivedi and Charmi Patel Pena) and save those images to Pinterest and pull elements you like (colors, florals, fabrics, light) onto canvas to make a mood board!
Tell us more about the books you read with Becca… I feel like I’m late to the party!
Sarah J Maas’s books!
I started with A Court Of Thorns and Roses in January, and read the first two books in her new Crescent City series in the past week and now I don’t know what to do with my life except buy Etsy fan merch from the series and think about the series and wondering when is too soon to re-read the series.
Link to those fab sunglasses please.
Here you go!
Where in ATL will you be?
I stayed at the W Hotel - Downtown, and the event was at the National Center for Civil Rights (the most incredible space - if you visit Atlanta, you MUST visit this important museum). My Atlanta favorites are saved on my Out Of Office profile!
Thank you for the BK food recs! Curious about books/resources for wealth building.
Rachel Rodgers' book and community is the first place I’ll point you to- both are brilliant!
I also recommend Her First 100K and the new investing education app they launched!
Investing in the market is the first step for wealth generation. Ellevest and a lot of the EFTs on Public are a good way to get started and have amazing educational resources.
And if you’re ready to begin angel investing and qualify as an accredited investor, my friends Annie Trotta and Jenna Mayrowitz Turner are the ones to follow!
How do you feeling about NYC lifting it’s mask mandate esp for schools?
I get that we’re all exhausted by masks and pandemic life and the numbers are low right now. But I personally feel like it’s too soon.
Our family made the decision that Who will continue masking inside school until Rhaki can be vaccinated. (We feel fine with him removing it at recess), and we’ll re-evaluate once Rhaki is two weeks out from his second jab.
Looks like you have the newer Cuyana backpack- thoughts? Thanks!
The new Cuyana backpack is incredible! It fits a large travel case, my laptop, a pair of large headphones, my planner and Kindle, with room to spare! It’s an insanely comfortable bag and looks incredibly polished as well (a must for work meetings).
I think the stone color (which I have) is perfect, as it pairs perfectly with every single neutral or bold color.
When did you feel like you got your motherhood groove?
It ebbs and flows as my kids grow, but I also think I’m a better mother during the baby and kid phases, and not my best during the toddler phase. When Rho turned 4 and Rhaki was born, I felt like I was in a great groove that turned upside down when COVID hit and Rhaki was more mobile and we were dealing with remote learning and changing Rho’s school in the midst of all of it.
Favorite Indian food in NYC?
Sona for a fantastic sit-down meal, and ticklin tikka for delivery. I also really love Amma Adyar Ananda Bhavan (the BEST South Indian food, way better than Saravana Bhavan in my opinion but you have to eat in the restaurant). I have yet to try Dhamaka or Semma, but they’re high on my list.
40th birthday present to myself? Dyson hair dryer? Fancy purse? Thanks!
I love marking special occasions with a custom piece of jewelry! Our family is very loyal to our jeweler in India who’s made my engagement and wedding rings and some special pieces I’ve designed to mark big moments, but I also love Haverhill (I wear my birthstone necklace and kids’ birthstones and initial on my wrist every single day).
I personally plan to treat myself to a tennis necklace for my 40th birthday, and I really like the bevel set one from Mejuri (this setting is less likely to snag on your clothes or bedding and is very comfortable for constant wear).
May Daylight Savings go easy on you.