issue #91 - the one about revolutionary rest

#5SmartReads creator Hitha Palepu on the joy of the mundane

Hi friend!

I have missed you. I have missed writing this note every week. I’ve missed THIS.

There hasn’t been a moment to stop and reflect since turning in the book. I’m on a rage cleaning spree in our home, finally opening up the boxes that have been piling up, putting away the spices and oils and random things that had taken up residence on our kitchen counter. I am still tracking down all of Rho’s remote learning and homework sheets to submit and I need to weed out old t-shirts because those drawers are overflowing and keep getting stuck.

In other words, I’m finding joy in the mundane and giving my brain a much needed rest. And it feels really, really good.

I know this sounds obnoxious, but I have the propensity to jump into something else the second I finish something. I rarely sit and reflect on what I’ve just completed, which results in frequent burnouts that often leave me on my couch staring at the television (usually a Gossip Girl rewatch) and answering the bare minimum of e-mails.

One of my favorite Peloton instructors Robin often ends her ride with “may your rest be revolutionary.” Having heeded her words, I agree that the most rebellious thing you can do in our go-go-go-always-on world is take a damn break.

And I, for one, am thoroughly enjoying mine.

May you embark on some revolutionary rest this weekend, and I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.

What we read this week


  • The Duke And I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn (Bridgerton Collection Volume 1 for Kindle) - first up on my reading list was the Bridgerton series, and I tore through the first three books this week. I was absolutely delighted by the books (which yes, do veer from the show but I love both of them equally). I’m also thrilled with Simone Ashley’s casting as Kate in season 2, and I’m praying for some Bollywood drama with a Regency twist in the Netflix version. I’m waiting for Volume 2 to be released to the Kindle next month, so I’ll be catching up on my very belated NetGalley reading list.

  • The Last Firehawk Series by Katrina Charman - as Rho and I eagerly await the latest Dragon Masters book, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying The Last Firehawk series. It’s got magic, an evil vulture, and a motley crew of heroes. Most importantly, it’s captivated my kid’s attention thoroughly that he would rather snuggle and have me read these than watch TV or play on the iPad.


  • Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner - The tech industry has truly become a meme over the past decade—with everyone poking fun at its beer on tap, ping pong tables galore, and hoodie-wearing employees. But beyond the perks, there's a bigger issue at hand—the widening inequality between America's tech elite and lower classes. Author Anna Weiner recounts that very gap firsthand as a former tech worker. And also—the scary amounts of data these companies have on us. Masterfully written and entertaining, it's an excellent read.


Beth and Katie

  • Brave New Home by Diana Lind - Diana Lind explores the rise and role of the single family home in the US. She looks at the history of cities and the ways policy and marketing have impacted our goals for our dwellings. Super conversational AND smart!

The Top 5

  1. How A Pearland Mom Changed Her Life To Save Her Transgendered Child (Houstonia Mag)

  2. Women's Labor Force Participation Rate Hit a 33 Year Low in January (CNBC)

  3. An American Influencer Who Promoted The Sale Of Her eBook About How To Move To Bali During The Pandemic Is Now Being Deported (Buzzfeed News)

  4. Amazon Is Officially America’s Favorite Grocery Story, Thanks To A Pandemic Driven Boost To Online Shopping (Insider)

  5. Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome (Harvard Business Review)

The Catch Up

Monday (Julia)

Tuesday (Diksha)

Wednesday (LaToya)

Thursday (Beth and Katie)


Things we love this week


  • Blue Apron has been my personal lifesaver while writing. I had restarted our subscription back in December and do have an ongoing partnership with them on Instagram (full disclosure). Not having to deal with meal planning for our dinners AND having home-cooked meals has been a literal treat. They’re having one of their rare $100 off 5 box deals right now. If you do, ALWAYS order the quesadillas when they’re available. They’re the best.

  • Who else has awful tech neck (or neck and back pain in general)? I have found a little routine that is an absolute lifesaver:

  • I watched half of Roxane Gay’s MasterClass yesterday and it is masterful (pun intended). I am a longtime fan of the platform - Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bob Iger, Ron Findley, RuPaul and Robin Roberts’ classes are all amazing. The platform is pricey ($180 for an annual membership), but I watch or listen every single day. It keeps me company while I’m cooking or tidying, during my work breaks, and when I’m embarking on revenge bedtime procrastination.

  • Repeat purchases recently - Brightland’s chili oil and their new garlic oil (disclosure - I’m an investor), Wander Beauty’s Fast Lane instant facial and Mist Connection toner-essence (you can use HITHA15 for 15% off), more bath bombs for Rho and new sleep sacks for Rhaki (because he’s growing too fast!), and these slippers for my dad because he saw my husband’s and wanted a pair.


  • As someone who's basically become a born-again virgin during quarantine, this mascara IS actually better than sex. It curls. It lengthens. It stays put all day! This has been my go-to mascara since my high school days, and I've stayed loyal ever since. And while I've tried basically every top-ranked mascara on the market, nothing compares to this product.


  • These "cookies" are actually delicious, flaky, fruit filled pastries. Make them on a Sunday listening to your favorite soul playlist and know good days are coming.

Beth and Katie

  • I did not let myself buy one of those giant popcorn tins this year because I knew I wouldn't be having a movie night with girlfriends to keep me from over doing it myself! But I definitely missed the cheddar popcorn- so enter this cheese powder that can be sprinkled on your own homemade popcorn- great taste and now orange fingers!

    From Hitha - this description influenced me to purchase this cheese powder ASAP.

Take care of yourself, and please share #5SmartReads if you’re enjoying them!

Refer #5SmartReads