issue #166 - the one sharing my best hacks
These have made my life better - I hope they help you as well!
I use my Google Calendar retroactively, aside from external meetings/calls/events. Instead of using it to plan my day, I log what I’ve done at the end of every hour or so, and this helps me see how I’ve actually spent my time during the week and to adjust next week’s goals and tasks better. I wish I was the kind of person who stuck to the schedule she blocks for herself ahead of time, but I am not and I accept that about myself.
One of my longtime favorite hacks is to prepare hot lemon water the night before in a Yeti mug (or any temperature controlled mug you have), so I can sip it at the perfect temperature first thing in the morning. While the health claims are largely unsupported, I find it helps me drink more water through the day.
Hair conditioner makes a great shave gel if you’re traveling or just run out.
If seated meditations aren’t for you, try a “in the moment” meditation. Wherever you are, take a deep breath and identify 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. I do this when I’m making and sipping a cup of tea, when I’m with my kids, or when I’m trying to fall asleep.
Jeans fitting too loose or too tight? My friend Liz recommends these fly buttons - place them at the perfect spot for your waist on your jeans’ waistband, and get the perfect fit! A pack of 4 buttons is only $6. (And follow Liz for more style hacks - I learn so much from her).
A club soda with lime and bitters in a wine glass looks like a spritz, tastes delicious, and is a quick order when you’re out to dinner with friends or at an event. It’s been my go-to beverage lately!
If you have a kid in your life that is OBSESSED with cars and vehicles, draw a road or train track or sea on a piece of paper and tell them to grab their favorite vehicles. It keeps Rhaki entertained for a solid 15 minutes (which is an eternity for him).
If you have leftovers from a Chipotle burrito bowl, store it upside down (the metal lid on the bottom) - your burrito bowl is perfectly mixed, and you don’t have to deal with a leaky bowl!
If you lose an earring back when you’re away from home, cut a thin slice of a wine cork and cut it in a small square as a replacement earring back (if you’re traveling, pop down to the hotel bar and ask the bartender to do it for you!)
Wearing a single color (especially navy, camel, gray, or emerald green) head-to-toe is the easiest way to look polished and pulled together, and you likely have the pieces in your closet already! If you’re looking to add a new monochromatic outfit to your wardrobe, I’m a big fan of these Daily Ritual ponte leggings (that look like trousers) and a matching mock neck or scoop neck top.
Got some brilliant hacks you’d like to share?
My skincare’s not-so-secret weapon (sponsored by Motif)
Fewer things bring me a sense of calm and peace than my skincare routine (the evening one, in particular).
For me, washing my face also represents washing the day away. The dabbing of toners and eye creams, the pressing of serums, and the massage of a rich cream and oil is giving myself the love I deserve and need.
This routine is also an opportunity to play and experiment to see what my skin responds to. I have specific serums, creams, and oils depending on what my skin needs or how I’m feeling. But when it comes to a cleanser, there’s been only one that I reach for, every night, without fail.
And that’s Motif’s Abundance phytoceramide cleanser.
Every evening, I gently massage this cleanser onto my damp skin, spending extra time on my nose, chin, and cheeks before rinsing my hands and brushing my teeth. Letting the cleanser soak in for these few minutes allows the actives to soak into my skin and target all of my skin woes - clogged pores and blackheads on my nose and chin, hydration on my forehead, and my perpetual goal of having a brighter and more even complexion.
My Palepu genes blessed me with good skin, which I am eternally grateful for. But Motif’s cleanser, whose formulation was overseen by a board dermatologist, has made my skin’s health and appearance great - so much so that my aesthetician asked me what I’d been using, and purchased a tube for herself immediately.
But don’t just take my word (or routine) for it. You can get 15% off your first order with code hitha15.
What I Read This Week
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas - my Throne of Glass journey is over and I’m not gonna lie, I miss all the characters so much. I honestly wondered how Maas would tie up the story given how distant the characters were at the end of book 6, but I am so satisfied by the ending and also nursing a god-awful book hangover that only Maas’ books (and The Idea of You) leave me with. For my fellow Maasholes, what did you do next? Read something new? Sit listlessly while staring at the wall? Get lost in Maas BookTok? Start it all over again? What a book. What a series. WHAT AN AUTHOR. When is Crescent City 3 coming out???
At least I have the Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series (I accidentally started with the second series first) and Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper Chronicles to dive into. Both authors have helped ease previous SJM-induced reading hangovers.
What Everyone Else Read This Week
Central Places by Delia Cai - My friend Delia Cai wrote a novel and it's coming out very soon. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and loved it. Audrey Zhou brings her white fiancé home to the midwest meet her Chinese immigrant parents and has to confront all kinds of questions about identity, family, and home. It's a great read!
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins - This is my second Rachel Hawkins and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. This is the story of a villa in Italy, where an aspiring musician died in 1974. Today, it's hosting two friends who are authors - one writes cozy mysteries, the other writes self-help books. The timeline flips between now and then - both stories are compelling on their own, and together they are magic!
Top #5SmartReads Of The Week
What a Hobby Feels Like (Culture Study via Pocket)
The rest of the week’s reads + last week’s (and conversations!) are below:
Your Questions, Answered
Links to your favorite restorative yoga products please!
Cork yoga blocks (they hold up better than the foam ones)
I use one of my many Chappywrap blankets as yoga blankets
If you heart this LTK post (where all the products are linked), you’ll be alerted when any of these products go on sale!
If you don’t sleep well how do you adjust your workout so you can sleep in but do something?
If I didn’t sleep well, I will filter for “active/recover” classes on obé and pick a workout based on how much time I have and how I’m feeling!
This is also when my walking pad comes in handy- even if I’m totally drained, walking slowly while I’m working helps me focus on my work and I get in my steps.
How do you fit in a workout in the morning?
It doesn’t happen everyday! While I try to get in my workout right after drop off, some days I have to jump right into work. On those days, I focus on getting something in (even if it’s just a restorative yoga flow at night, which is what happened Monday).
Could you aim for a 10 minute movement practice every morning to establish the habit first? Obé’s Recharge Challenge is a 5-day program, featuring 10 minutes of gentle movement a day!
What routines did you find most helpful throughout pregnancy? And postpartum?
First trimester: walks are all I could handle, and fresh air really helped my nausea.
Second and third trimester: I used the Power20 app’s prenatal program during my pregnancy with Rho. With Rhaki, I worked out with a trainer 2-3 days a week and did MWH's prenatal workouts and Peloton low impact rides during my pregnancy with Rhaki.
Postpartum: I made a lot of my mistakes in postpartum recovery with Rho. With Rhaki, I eased back in with Myri Health’s postpartum recovery workouts and slowly added on strength and cardio as I healed from my c-section. Peloton and obé both have great prenatal and postpartum recovery programs!
What’s your relationship to strength and weights workouts?
I’ve been inconsistent about them in the past (unless I was working out with a trainer), but TikTok influenced me to prioritize them (I’m following the 3-2-1 structure - 3 days strength, 2 days cardio, 1 day mobility) and I am LOVING obé’s Gym Strong program!
Once I wrap it, I’ll be continuing 3 strength workouts a week, for sure. My body responds to strength training with weights really well and this program makes it really enjoyable, so I highly recommend it!
What are your recovery favorites?
When the weather is nice, I love to go for a walk in the park while listening to an audiobook.
Restorative yoga feels so good - I definitely plan to prioritize it more.
Any physical activities you did while TTC?
Here’s what the expert (fertility doctor extraordinaire Lucky Sekhon) has to say!
It is safe and recommended to workout while TTC and pregnant!
If you’re going through fertility treatment, there can be some restrictions - especially if you’re doing an egg retrieval cycle. We recommend avoiding high impact exercise in the week lead up to retrieval, and 1-2 weeks post retrieval. Anything that can bounce or twist the ovaries (even yoga with inversions) is a no-go during that time.
I recommend reading Dr. Sekhon’s blog post on this exact topic as well!
Fav fitness IG accounts? Personal trainer recos?
Not this specifically, but these are the people I follow who work on fitness or make it a great part of their routine:
Shibani Faehnle (a 5SR contributor!)
I need accountability when it comes to fitness. How/where to start? How to stay consistent and accountable on your fitness journey?
Join my WhatsApp accountability group!
This is a big reason why we created the accountability group as a part of my obé partnership! It’s a place for folks to share their workout plans or what they did, but to also motivate one another and keep each other accountable.
I recommend giving obé a try and pick 5-10 workouts to do 3 days a week to start. Starting small is how you establish the habit. and you can expand it as it becomes a part of your daily routine!
A final reminder - code HITHAFREE gets you 1 free month on obé!
See you next week!