issue #138 - the one about breaks
My e-mail autoresponder is up. My calendar is (mostly) clear, save for calling my reps every day and a work meeting on Monday. Rho and I are on the West Coast to spent the week with family, and I could not be more excited (and aware of the privilege that lets me take this break, and to have this time with my loved ones).
Fundamentally, we all know we can’t keep going and going and need time to rest and recharge. But life and work and family gets in the way and makes it nearly impossible to carve out time to just stop.
Thank you, Dad, for making me stop. And thank you, Taber, for running #5SmartReads so perfectly.
And thank you, Mom, for making these family reunions happen. And for everything, really.
This past week was a bit of a blur between packing, staying on top of work, and the daily juggle of kids-home-work-trying to be a human.
But I found such comfort and managed to unplug in moments throughout the day. I filled out my daily planner page and managed to cross off everything that needed to get done each day. I meditated every morning (I love Aditi’s morning meditations on the Peloton app and her empathy meditation whenever the kids were feral). I prioritized workouts after school drop-offs (and standing yoga flows while I was cooking dinner). I also incorporated Ed Mylett’s 6-hour day framework - and making breaks a priority in each of those 6 hour blocks (he shared it on this podcast, and goes into greater detail on this blog post).
Will something unexpected happen that will inevitably throw this careful routine off schedule? Of course. But I feel a lot more connected to these rituals than I previously have felt to various habits and routines, and also am giving myself a lot more grace if things don’t go as planned.
Is this what hustle & float means, Rahaf? (I read Rahaf’s brilliant book by the same name at the beginning of the year and failed to actually implement the framework and wisdom she shared back then, but watching her latest Skillshare class helped me layer in some of these rituals and make them as essential as breathing).
This is my longwinded way of saying that taking a week off is wonderful and I’m very excited for the week ahead, but prioritizing breaks on a daily basis is even more important - and I hope my rambling helps you find your own space in the day to unplug and recharge.
I’m turning over #5SmartReads to my amazing team of contributors this week, and Tejal will be taking over the weekend newsletter and Q&A. I’m so excited to read what they have to share.
But if for some reason you miss me, you can listen to some recent conversations I’ve had with some amazing friends and podcast hosts - The Desi Spark, Thank You For Asking, What’s Her Story, and High Performers HQ.
Take care, my friend. And TAKE A BREAK.
What I Read This Week
Love On The Brain and Stuck With You by Ali Hazelwood - I was craving a security blanket book earlier this week, and Ali Hazelwood’s STEMinist books always scratch that itch. Bee and Levi’s story in Love On The Brain is such a smart grumpy-sunshine story that also tackles some of the hard things - loss, emotionally abusive parents - with two of my great geek loves (space and Star Wars). Stuck With You is the second novella that centers on 3 engineer friends and the men that fall in love with them amidst some entertaining drama. I’m a big fan of her books and can’t wait to read what she writes next!
A Cosmic Kind of Love by Samantha Young (out October 18, 2022) - with space and women with pink hair on my mind, I had to pick up Samantha Young’s next book, centered around an astronaut and an event planner who fall for each other before they even met through an accidental video message. Samantha brings the steam and the heart in equal parts, and like Hazelwood weaves in hard storylines (in this case, complicated parental relationships and loss), and this met my geeky romance loving heart.
Top #5SmartReads of the Week
Style in Film: Kelly McGillis in Top Gun (Classiq)
Why Sensitivity Is a Strength in Boys (Greater Good)
The rest of the week’s reads (and conversations!) are below:
Your Questions, Answered
How long did you breastfeed? Really wanting to feel less tethered by it.
I nursed for 3 months, but Rhaki was getting pumped bottles when I had thrush and had no interest in nursing after that, so I pumped for another 2 months and weaned as my supply was waning. We also supplemented with formula from the beginning.
I wasn’t able to nurse Rho so I’m glad I had this experience. But I was SO happy to have my body to myself when I finished pumping as well.
In short- your feelings about using matter a lot, though we’re meant to feed like we should be selfless and nurse or pump exclusively for a long period of time. If you can- that’s great!
And if you can’t or don’t want to- that’s also great.
Gift ideas for a new mom to be?
This little bundle is my favorite gift for a new mom:
Nesara kaftan (code Hitha gets you $10 off!)
A Yeti mug (Moms never get to drink a hot cup of coffee in a regular mug, but this one has been my lifesaver and my favorite gift to give!)
Noise cancelling headphone recs specifically to drown out plane engine noise!
For me, Apple AirPod Max put too much pressure on the top of my head and gave me terrible headaches through I love the sound quality. These Bose headphones are the GOAT for both comfort and sound and get the wireless adapter for the airplane.
Best ways to heal form toxic relationship?
Establishing firm boundaries and maintaining them.
Unlearning a lot of what you accepted as the truth from that relationship.
Nourishing yourself with yummy food, movement that feels good, great books and movies, and lots of rest.
I’d love to find a mentor in the magazine/digital media world. Any ideas/suggestions? Thanks
Social media is such a powerful tool for this-check the masthead of your favorite magazines and the byline on the articles you read online, follow them, and engage with their content thoughtfully and meaningfully.
Be respectful when sending a DM (say hello first, please and thank you, keep your questions brief, don’t take it personally if they don’t respond) and slowly build relationship with them.
I also recommend listening to my podcast episode on mentoring.
Good birthday presents for a 1 year old and 5 year old?
A KiwiCo subscription! We are longtime fans and my kids love the activities and look forward to the delivery every month.
How to reorient when you feel like you’re drowning. Parenting/career/home/marriage
Join Mother Honestly, a community that is committed to uplifting moms and giving them tools and frameworks that are truly a life craft when you’re drowning. I would book a Motherboard session with Blessing Adesiyan who brings operational excellence to this movement she’s building and to her home with FOUR kids.
I would also encourage you to watch the Fair Play documentary (or read or listen to the book) with your partner because aiming for equality in the home is never going to happen, but finding a fair division and establishing a better way of communicating and owning different tasks and areas IS possible and will transpire your marriage. Eve Rodsky is a genius.
Thoughts on cold emailing. writing letter to women you admire?
I sent my mentor Meg a handwritten note after meeting her and we built a great friendship and relationship from it.
I’ll share the cold email Alisha sent to me when she was a freshman at NYU- she became my intern, then our roommate, and now she’s family.
Alisha offered her ask up front, shared specific details about her past experience and what she hoped to gain, and why us and our company.
It was a perfect email that we responded to quickly, and she followed it up with great work and cultivating a relationship.
I’m going to start Thorn Of Glass next while on vacation (if I get a free second!) in the hopes that I’ll trudge through book 1 and will get to book 2 by my birthday!
Gift ideas for someone in reg affairs/pharma leaving for a new job
If you don’t know this person particularly well, Small Packages is the perfect gift to give and they have a curated “career wins” box or you can build your own!
If this idea sounds like it would be a good fit for the person, take it - I would get a framed print of the chemical structure of the drugs they worked on. I’m sure you can find a great artist on Etsy or Upwork to hand-sketch or design it for you, and have it printed and framed via Artifact Uprising.
How did you achieve the wavy hair look? It looks amazing!
apply the Oribe Curl Gloss on wet hair (I do this in the shower after squeezing our the water from my hair)
wrap hair in a Kitsch satin-lined turban (code hithapalepu15 gets you 15% off)
once partially dry, spray hair with Verb heat protectant spray and dry with a diffuser attachment on your hairdryer with low heat (followed by a cool blast) and scrunch hair as needed
You can also just let it air dry if you’re not in a rush and don’t need to dry it quickly.
Most important part…DO NOT TOUCH YOUR HAIR.
Help! What to get sister for 40th bday who is climate conscious/doesn’t need much
My friend Priyanka Naik would have much better advice for you- she’s my sustainability queen!
Hi Hitha! How do you get grey hair to be finer/less course?
Religious scalp massages with Ranavat’s hair serum. It transformed my hair form being basically hay to soft and my normal texture.
I hope you