issue #98 - the 'i can't stop watching Bravo' one

I really can’t.

I thoroughly enjoy the very familiar drama of Family Karma (honestly, the parents and grandparents are the best). I can’t stop watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or New York…but I also found this week’s episodes harder to watch.

And all I want to do is to talk about it all.

If you’re in the same boat, please hit reply so I have someone to talk about this with.

Housewives and Family Karma was legit the highlight of my week. The rest of it was filled with Zoom, emails (which I’m still catching up on), time with the kids, continuing my reading of Julia Quinn’s backlist (now making my way through the Smythe-Smith series), and starting to see friends again.

I can’t tell you how much that last one means to me. It’s the highlight of every week, and I’m actually looking forward to the coming week because of all my friend dates.

And Bravo. Bravo is also a highlight. Do I give RHONJ another shot?

What we read this week


  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman - It's translated from Swedish and deals with heavy human emotions in a light-hearted yet humane way. I love how he explores the power of empathy (something we all hopefully became better at since last year).


  • The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives by Brian Boylan (Amazon link) - this book may have fueled my current obsession with Housewives, because it is the inside look I have always wanted and finally have. It’s juicy, salacious, and offers an in-depth look at just how hard it is to produce a franchise like Housewives and who gets the fruit/cocktail/gem/snowflake and who doesn’t.

  • Rokesbys by Julia Quinn - dubbed as the Bridgerton prequels, this series gives us a brief introduction to Edmund and Violet Bridgerton (the parents of the Daphne, Anthony, and the rest of the brood). The series starts with Edmund’s older sister Billie and the close relationship the family has with their neighbors, the Rokesbys. In true Quinn fashion, the women contain multitudes and the romantic scenes are steamy and the endings are happy. I loved this series, and am making my way through the Smythe-Smith series right now.

  • The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (Amazon link; out August 31) - Hoang’s series featuring neurodiverse protagonists is one of my all-time favorites, and the final book in the trilogy is filled with so much heart and left me crying as I finished it. If you’re new to Helen Hoang, you are in luck in that The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test are already out and absolutely wonderful.

The Top 4

  1. A Day-in-the-Life of External Toxic Body Messaging (Harper’s Bazaar)

  2. Mindy Kaling's Brilliant Hack For Pushing Through Runs (Bustle)

  3. The Promise and Perils of the New Fertility Entrepreneurs (The New Yorker)

  4. How the World Ran Out of Everything (Yahoo! News, originally printed in the New York Times)

The Catch Up



Thursday (Samman)


Things we love this week


  • DRMTLGY Sunscreen! I have to link a skincare fave that I use daily. It's affordable ($22) and leaves my skin looking better than before. Never knew a sunscreen could do that! I've been re-buying this for years and it's excellent for my sensitive skin. Pro-tip: mix w/ Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi drops for an extra dewy glow.


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

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