How are you doing? How are you feeling?
I’m feeling a bit jumbled up, both personally and about the state of the world.
There’s the impending move back to New York, which I feel all the feelings about. There’s a sense of joy at returning home, but the uncertainty of what the new New York is like, and a little bit of fear with not having my parents around. They have been an absolute godsend for the past 4 months, and I’m really going to miss them. A lot.
I’m about to execute a new direction for #5SmartReads that’s been in the works for a while. It’s exciting, and scary, and I’m constantly second guessing myself. And if you have a second to share your thoughts with me, I’d love to hear them(for my IG followers, this survey is a bit different. If you’re up to filling out again, I’d be thrilled!)
Yesterday was a strange day. I’ve always shied away from calling the 4th Of July ‘Independence Day’ (really, it was a declaration of war on Great Britain and we didn’t actually win the independence unofficially until October 19, 1781 (the Battle Of Yorktown) or officially at\ the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783 - but I digress). And while I’ve always enjoyed the fireworks and the barbecues and any excuse to watch the seminal film Independence Day (an annual tradition!), none of them seemed particularly appropriate yesterday.
Instead, we visited with my cousins, practicing social distancing. My cousin whipped up his world-famous mirchi bhajees (long hots stuffed with the most delicious filling, and coated in batter and fried), we listened to and watched Hamilton on Disney+, and I read and re-read Frederick Douglass’ "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”.
My feelings on the 4th are more jumbled than ever. But the one thought that keeps coming up is that America is an idea that we have never fully lived up to, and we must continue to work - together - to live up to it. And while that thought intimidates me, it also gives me hope for a better America that I hope we all can build together.
If this is your first e-mail from me, welcome! In addition to writing the book How To Pack, I'm an entrepreneur and angel investor, an avid reader, and a mom of two boys (a 5 year old and a 1 year old).
Every Saturday, I share the 25 best reads from the Internet (culled from the daily shares on my Instagram), the books I've read that week, and things I'm generally loving at the moment. You can join the conversation on all these articles - and more! - in my Facebook group.
Looking for my packing list template? Here you go!
#ThingsILove This Week
I stumbled across Anti-Racism Daily thanks to Girls’ Night In, and spent quite a bit of time reading through their archives. This newsletter is deeply researched and very readable, and shows just how far we have to go. But it does offer daily action items, which makes me feel slightly less helpless. Sign up here, and donate or sign up for their Patreon if you can.
It’s hot, it’s sticky, and outside is where we are because my kids are kids and need to play. I’m incredibly impressed with Megababe deodorant (works even better than the Lavanila Sport I’ve been using for years). I alternate between my tie-dye cap and my raffia visor with my favorite cheap sunglasses. We diligently apply this sunscreen to our bodies, and I use this stick to protect their faces and this one to protect my own.
Heather Braverman was the only SoulCycle instructor that got me off my Peloton and into a studio. While she’s no longer teaching with Soul, her playlists have been the most amazing work/live/driving/lie on my bed and scroll Instagram soundtracks.
Getting Rho to sleep has been a challenge. But Headspace’s Elmo Monster Meditation and a little swipe of Bambini Furtuna’s Dreamy Hush Time (gifted) helps calm him down before books and final snuggles. And for me, Headspace’s Sleep Music and a dropper of Equilibria Women’s mint oil and swipes of their relaxing roller at my temples help lull me to sleep.
Ever wonder how the people who change the world think, work, and live? That’s exactly what Polina Marinova’s The Profile investigates, extrapolating the most important tips and stories from the millions of interviews these people have done. Polina has also been an inspiration in building a new kind of media company.
This little Dagne Dover bag is perfect for the rare outings we make. It fits everything - mask and hand sanitizer in the main compartment, my drivers license and credit card in the card slots, my phone in one of the back pockets, and my keys in the other one.
What I read this week
Wow, No Thank You - Samantha Irby is an artist with words. Her essays are sharp, biting, irreverent, and make magic out of the mundane. This book is my first by hers, but I’ve already ordered Meaty and We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. Full book review here.
The Takeover Effect + The Legal Affair (c/o NetGalley, out August 18th) - The Singh Family trilogy is basically a Bollywood movie in romance novel form, and I AM HERE FOR IT. The series is somewhat focused on Bharat - a business that’s basically the immigrant success story and being passed down to three Singh brothers - with each book focused on a brother and the smart, complex woman that steals his heart. It’s thoroughly predictable and enjoyable and basically all my brain can handle right now.
Happy pub week to these two wonderful novels:
Sex & Vanity - this book is a luxurious summer vacation in book form, which is the closest many of us are going to get. Kevin Kwan’s latest - inspired by The Bonfire Of The Vanities - is as luxurious and dramatic as the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, an a truly enjoyable book.
Self Care - as light as cotton candy and as dark and deeply prescient as the latest articles of women founders resigning en masse, Self Care deftly merges both and does it impeccably. It might read a little too real, but it presents a clear picture of just how hard it is to be a woman founder today.
I’m building outmy Bookshop store, which will house all my favorite books in all the categories. Please consider purchasing your books throughBookshopandLibro.fm(use code HITHA for 3 free books when you start a membership) to support independent bookstores!
Hitha’s Favorite Things
Libro.fm is my favorite audiobook app (it credits your favorite independent bookstore with the sale). Use code HITHA to get 2 audiobooks for the price of 1 when you create a monthly membership. Please choose one of these bookstores to support through your membership!
the marriage check-in my husband and I do every single week
DRYP by Soha will kick your butt and clear your mind. Soha’s sculpting workouts have become a new favorite of mine. Get 25% off your first month with code Hitha25
my favorite vitamins (both their pre-natal and their essential one for women). Use code HITHA for 10% off your first 3 months.
CBD has been a lifesaver for me. Get 15% off your first order with code HITHA.
my favorite produce delivery company that supports small farms in the process. Use code COOKWME-NM5DMZ for 25% off.
Brightland makes the BEST olive oil you’ll ever taste (and it’s one of my portfolio companies).
Small Packages (one of my portfolio companies) is the curated gift box company I’m always talking about - get 15% off your order with the code HITHA
Use this app to save #5SmartReads to read later
MasterClass is worth every penny. I watch them while cooking meals, when I need a break, and when I’m feeling unmotivated and I’ve learned so much from it.
my favorite cardio workout - and why. Use code G37YVV for $100 in accessories (spin shoes, weights, headphones - oh my!). You can also follow me on the app (I’m hithaonthegogo) to see what workouts I’m doing, and join our tag #smartnsweaty.
The Top 5
The World, Opened Up (Zora)
The Catch Up
You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument (New York Times)
The COVID Resurgence and Trump’s ‘Red Wall’ States (The Bulwark)
Inside the New Push to Expose America’s White Supremacist Cops (The Daily Beast)
In COVID-19 coverage, female experts are missing (Nieman Lab)
My Joy Is My Freedom (Elle)
The Problem of ‘Colonial Science’ (Scientific American)
New Hope for Civil Forfeiture Reform (The Dispatch)