issue #165 - the one on current favorites
I’m bringing back an old favorite from my blogging days - The Hit List, i.e. my current favorite things - in today’s editor’s letter. I know how January-March feels like it drags on and having some new shows to watch, books to read, and little luxuries to bright up these long, cold, darker days.
obé - if you feel overwhelmed by a lot of fitness programs or apps, I have the perfect one for you. obé’s workouts honestly feel like a party (a very sweaty party that will leave you stronger and feeling better - double win), and I’ve been really enjoying my Gym Strong program and Core Challenge (day 2 was a killer - so many planks), along with dance cardio, jump rope, and boxing classes. Code HITHAMONTH gets you 1 month free if you sign up, and I’ve truly been looking forward to my workouts every single day because of obé. If you need a little extra support, you can join my WhatsApp accountability group for daily check-ins and to see what workouts other folks are doing and enjoying!
Break Point (Netflix) - Drive To Survive (Netflix’s docuseries following the F1 season) was one of my 2022 favorite discoveries, and DTS’ producers are behind this fantastic tennis docuseries that I need more episodes of (the first 5 episodes dropped on Friday, the rest in June 2023). If you’re an avid fan, you’ll get a deeper look at the sport and the leading players. If you’re new to the sport, you’ll be captivated by the athletes’ stories and the minutae of their lives (it’s a sleek “day in my life” production, except on the biggest stages of sports). Please watch the show so I have more people to discuss it with, and I also highly recommend Andre Agassi’s Open (one of the best memoirs I’ve read and offers a more historic perspective of the professional tennis tour).
The Five Minute Journal and the Full Focus Planner (pocket edition) - I’m back in my “this journal will change my life” ways, but this time I’m returning to old favorites that have worked for me in the past. I start and end my day with the Five Minute Journal, and I use the Full Focus Planner to stay on track of my tasks for the day and to track my habits. While it’s only been 2 weeks of consistent use, I have to say that this combination feels more sustainable than it has in the past, and I think this combination is going to stick for a while.
Hotel Lobby Candles - while these aren’t a new discovery, they’re a mainstay in my work mode routine (I light a candle and prepare a cup of tea and organize my day before jumping into work). I’m especially fond of their Holiday collection, which I just view as winter scents and keep burning them well into January and February. They’re offering 30% off this collection with code HOLIDAY30, so it’s a perfect time to stock up!
Riches (Amazon Prime) - here I am, once again, begging for people to watch this show because it is brilliant and smart and stunning and I very much need a second and third and bazillionth season. One of the leading British beauty corporations, Flair & Glory, has a changing of the guard when founder and patriarch Stephen Richards dies and leaves control of the company to his estranged daughter from his first marriage (instead of his second wife and their children), and drama ensues. This is one of the best shows streaming right now, in my opinion.
Gameboy (but better) handheld console - in “TiKTok influenced me to buy this”, I give you this Gameboy-esque console that’s preloaded with 500 old school games, is full color, and can be charged via a USB cord instead of replacing the batteries. At $30, it’s not on par with the current gaming handhelds or your smartphone, but I love playing Mortal Kombat and Tetris on it with no issues and when I don’t want to be on my phone.
Cinderella heels - I now own two pairs of these kinds of heels (I got the pink version first from BURU, and a black pair here) because they make me irrationally happy and are shockingly comfortable. They complement any outfit perfectly, from a simple black dress to a slim-fit trousers and a turtleneck to a disco ball in dress form. Warning - you may make outside plans or accept more invitations to parties because of these shoes - and I guarantee you’ll have the best time in them.
Walking Pad - the hold that this folding treadmill has on me is TIGHT. I walk at a leisurely 2 mph while I’m writing or catching up on e-mails and get in my 10,000 steps a day while actually focusing on my work. It was one of my best purchases last year and one I’m steadily using this year (you can get $100 off with code WPNEWYEAR).
Naidu Wines - I’ll spare you the Dry January talk, but I do know that savoring a glass of exceptional wine instead of drinking 3 glasses of okay wine is my vibe from here on out, and the wines I plan on savoring are from Naidu Wines. Raghini has grown and bottled some of the best wines I’ve ever tasted, and her wine club membership is the holiday gift to my father that just keeps giving.
What We Read This Week
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas - reading a Maas series is asking for emotional chaos, and the penultimate book in this series was no exception. I laughed. I cried. I had to take a beat or two after some crazy moments. And every Maas book I read makes me a bigger fan and I don’t care if that’s cliché, it’s my truth. I think this is my favorite book of the series so far (it had some parallels to the moments in Dorne in Game of Thrones and and Numenor in Rings of Power), and I’m excited and dreading finishing this series.
Composed by Rosanne Cash - The other day, I was asked for a book recommendation for something that will help people through life transitions - and to be honest, I don't read self-help books much, but I do love memoirs. In fact, Rosanne Cash's memoir Composed was one of the books that helped me feel empowered through my own divorce, as a single mother, and as someone forging my own way in the business world. I've seen her in concert many times, too, and she's a badass woman with so many amazing life stories. It's a great audiobook too!
Top #5SmartReads Of The Week
A Clarifying Exercise for the New Year (Magpie by Jen Shoop)
Intro for January 11, 2023 (Lainey Gossip)
The rest of the week’s reads + last week’s (and conversations!) are below:
Your Questions, Answered
Are we paying attention to “Spare” at all? How are you feeling about the Meghan & Harry media blitz?
Because of #5SmartReads, I read a LOT of news every day and have developed a pretty strong filter to not click on the trending news and focus on the underreported stories and underrepresented perspectives and people. The Royal Family and Meghan & Harry fall under the trending news category, and so I actively avoid these stories or social media posts.
Favorite city to have visited?
I consider Hyderabad, New York, and Philadelphia my hometowns, but I highly encourage you to visit all of them - they are very special cities and dear to my heart!
As a tourist, I have loved visiting Charleston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Stockholm, Bangkok, Athens, Rome (lived there during my study abroad!), Buenos Aires, Sydney and Cape Town.
I am dying to visit Marrakech, and I would love to visit Dubai.
How to focus and not get consumed by small unimportant tasks to finish important work?
The Pomodoro method! 25 minutes of focused work, followed by a 5 minute break. I use the Forest app to basically lock me out of my phone during my Pomodoro sessions so I stay focused.
When a project seems really daunting, I follow my friend Keren’s advice and do a Magic 20 - a list of 20 actions I can take to make progress on the goal- and give a task on that list my full attention with the Pomodoro technique.
I’ve also been using the Full Focus Pocket Planner since the beginning of the year and I think it’s one of the best planners out there that is easy to stay consistent with (granted I’m only into my second week so will wait a little bit longer before doing a full review).
Talk to you physician before starting this, but I love Equilibria energy capsules, They have helped me stay focused on the most overwhelming days. I’m a big fan (and you can get 15% off your order with code hitha)
They’ve all been a hit with my parents!
Laid-off and 4 months pregnant. What would you do with time? (Self-improvement/self-care, hobby, etc.)
If you are able to pause from you career, I highly encourage reading Mother Untitled - an amazing site about embracing the gray area and bringing your ambition into parenting without losing yourself! Their Instagram is full of valuable posts as well.
If I were able to take a pause now, here are the things I would do before the baby comes:
Read a book or series that’s been on my list for awhile (I read I Am Pilgrim when I was pregnant with Rho and wouldn’t shut up about it. The Idea Of You was that book for me during my pregnancy with Rhaki)
Rest as mush as possible - gentle prenatal workouts (use code HITHAMONTH to get 1 month free on obé) and walks, pregnancy-safe face masks and warm baths, and so much sleep before the third trimester constant insomnia.
I love that Kelly picked up crochet in her first pregnancy and has since made blankets for each of her children. I love needle and wool crafting, and local yarn and needlepoint shops will help you learn!
If budget permits, get away for a weekend and get pampered!
Pregnancy was one of my most creative times- that’s when I started #5SmartReads (when I was pregnant with Rhaki). If you’re feeling creative, dip your toe in creating something you wish existed!
Luxury beach bags you love!
This Lily and Bean tote has Chanel resort tote vibes at a great price point- I’ve owned mine for 5 years and it’s held up beautifully!
Want to generate new stream of income and invest existing money. How to go about it?
Ladies Get Paid has so many amazing mini-courses on this subject, but this one caught my eye for you: how to save time and scale your side hustle!
How do you keep up your skincare routine when you’re traveling?
Many of my products come in travel-friendly sizes, or I buy a travel-sized product and refill it with my bigger jars and containers when I need to! Here’s my travel skincare routine (I linked to only the travel-sized products, for context):
Motif Abundance cleanser, which I like to apply it and leave it on as a mask while I’m brushing my teeth. Use code hitha15 to get 15% off!
I also travel with Rael’s hydration sheet masks to rehydrate my skin after a flight.
Haldi recommended the Josh Rosebrook, MARA, and Rael products to my routine. If you want to revamp your skincare routine while keeping some of your favorites, fill out the skin quiz and see what they recommend!
Is it just me or is January lasting forever?
It’s not just you - I thought every weekday this week was Friday. I hope the items I recommended earlier in the e-mail bring you a bit of joy to get through these winter months!
To a restful weekend, and a great week!