issue #136 - the very brief one
I wish I had a thoughtful editor’s letter for you today. I don’t.
Instead, I have a suitcase that I need to unpack (that didn’t even leave the house, as we cancelled our trip to California for our cousin’s wedding due to rising COVID cases). I have two speaking engagements to prepare for this week and next. I have in-person meetings that are filling up my calendar in June (with backup, virtual arrangements planned in parallel).
I also have some hope that my youngest will be vaccinated next month (and my oldest son’s booster appointment is already scheduled for this week).
And given that this newsletter is already tardy, I’ll leave you with the one thing that’s brought me some sense of productivity and peace these past few weeks - my daily planning page (adopted from Lauryn Evarts, The Five Minute Journal, and my friend Rahaf’s new planning system).
And if you’d like to join me tomorrow for a conversation with my friend Rebecca about grief, you can grab tickets here! I’m also going to be speaking about the motherhood penalty next week at the WIN Summit (which is virtual!), and you can grab your tickets here (code LIFTUP gets your 25% off).
What I Read This Week
Burn for Me, White Hot, Wildfire by Ilona Andrews (books 1-3 of the Hidden Legacy series) - whatever ambivalence I had about this series (which I had mistakenly began with book 4) are gone - I’m ALL IN and I’m obsessed. If Dan Brown and Deb Harkness had a literary love child, it would be this series and it probably wouldn’t be as good as what Ilona Andrews (a husband-and-wife writing team!) has created - a powerful coup is underway amongst the magical elite in Houston, and the under-the-radar Baylor Investigations is tasked with uncovering it. Books 1-3 are centered around Nevada Baylor and Connor Rogan, and books 4-6 are focused on Catalina (Nevada’s younger sister) and Alessandro Sagrado, and I don’t want to do anything else but finish reading book 5 and count down the days until the Ruby Fever is released. If you’re still nursing a significant ACOTAR hangover, I can’t recommend this series more. It’s SO good.
What Everyone Else Read This Week
Black Ghost of Empire by Kris Manjapra - I've got two answers for this, both about as far apart as possible. First, I just started reading "Black Ghost of Empire: The Long Death of Slavery and the Failure of Emancipation" by Kris Manjapra, and it is truly an extraordinary literary feat that makes a very strong case for reparations.
The Half Orc's Maiden Bride by Ruby Dixon - Second, in as dramatic a literary-about-face as I could possibly do, I read "The Half Orc's Maiden Bride" by Ruby Dixon because, frankly, #hithamademedoit. When Hitha messages you and says "Kate, I've found the ultimate book for us", you LISTEN. And when that book is soft-core orc porn... she's right, dammit.
Time Is A Mother by Ocean Vuong - Shout out to the interlibrary loan system that brought Ocean Vuong’s brand new poetry collection, “Time is a mother,” into my life. Vuong’s writing is otherworldly, while also being indescribably human. There’s both a fragmenting and a repairing that happens within this collection - the type that every person needs in their life right now.
Top #5SmartReads of the Week
Still at War: The United States in Somalia (Just Security)
Epiphany In The Baby Good Aisle (The Cut)
The rest of the week’s reads (and conversations!) are below:
Your Questions, Answered
Remind me where you went for microblading in the city? Thanks!
Are you taking a step back in terms of eating out in restaurants, going to shows?
We’re back to outdoor dining and gatherings and I’m okay with seeing matinees (which aren’t as crowded) while keeping my KN95 mask on the entire time. I recently saw POTUS and could feel the air moving in the theater the whole time, and mask wearing was strictly enforced, so I feel fairly safe continuing to see Broadway shows.
We still PCR trust weekly and do rapid tests the day before, day of, and day after gathering or if we have any symptoms.
And we’re going to be wearing KN95 masks indoors to the wedding we’re going to this weekend.
Books or podcasts to help with inner confidence?
We’re Speaking, of course! (shameless, I know)
The Myth Of The Nice Girl by Fran Hauser
Right Within by Minda Harts (I find that you need to heal before you cultivate confidence, and this book is a must read for healing)
Buy Yourself The F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster
Inclusion On Purpose by Ruchika Tulshyan (because once you have built your confidence, it’s time to ring others along and build new tables!)
Indian inspired outfits for a American garden party wedding?
This holiCHIC by Megha Rao dress ( I own it and it’s fabulous) and it can double beautifully for any Brdigerton-themed parties you might attend (or host!)
About the Cuyana backpack in stone. Does it dirty easily? And how does the leather hold up?
I wipe down my personal item bags after traveling out of habit and because transit is gross, so any dirt wouldn’t wiped away. These are the wipes I use.
Struggling with going from 1 kid to 2. Huge mom guilt for my first baby. Any tips?
I want to tell you that you’re a great mom who is doing. great job, and that this is a really hard transition.
What helped me was carving out some rituals I did with Rho every single day that was just us. He would keep me company when I pumped and I had a basket of puzzles and books we would do and read together when I was pumping. I took him to his activities after school (acknowledging my privilege of having a LOT of help that I could pass the baby to), and Sri and I did every bedtime and wake up with him in those early month.
When do you think we’ll see a downward trend in Covid cases again?
I don’t know.
COVID has evaded nearly every model and proved to be far more resilient and we removed protective restrictions far too early, inky opinion, to safely mitigate against it.
I don’t know if we’ve hit the peak of this wave, but I don’t expect the same kind of steep drop we saw earlier this year because all public health safely measures are gone, so I expect we’ll be stuck here for some time.
Just finished Paxlovid and worried about a rebound infection. Any lit you’ve seen on that?
It has been reported, although it appears to be a rare reoccurrence but I can only imagine how frustrated someone who was reinfected must feel and how nervous you must be feeling about that.
I think this reinfection is still too early to have enough data to identify why it’s happening, but it is something that Pfizer and other researchers are carefully monitoring.
How would you describe your personal style?
I have 3 looks that sum up my style:
Boss Ass Bitch (tailored dresses and separates, pinned-toe shoes and heels, sleek hair)
Schlub (workout clothes, sweatshirts or graphic tees, baseball cap, sneakers)
Eccentric Old Rich Lady (caftans and housecoats, fluffy slippers and shoes, and embellished headbands and jewelry)
Still loving your remarkable notebook? How using?
I just picked it back up again now that I’m home (when I was traveling I barely had time to open my laptop let along the tablet)
Here’s how I use it:
my morning planning (download my daily planning sheet!)
taking personal notes during meetings (if i’m recording minutes, then I type them out)
reading long-form articles on it
capturing research and free writing ideas for some book ideas i’m flushing out
free writing my editor’s letter on it every week
May Gemini season be kind to us all.