Among Other Things: Vol. 2

Happy new year, my friends!

I hope the holiday season treated you well and the new you in the new year (or the old you in the new year, it’s all good👍🏽) is making the most of 2019 so far. My own holiday season (and the time since) was overshadowed by the indescribable grief of the loss of a parent with my father-in-law’s sudden passing. Our home has since become infected with airs of resolve, loneliness, strength and pain- a smorgasbord of see-sawing emotions that occupies perhaps every home that has its soul shook at its very core. Most days, I’m thankful for the mundane everyday stuff that keeps our minds occupied and busy while we adapt to a new reality- a work meeting to worry about, a TV show that lightens the mood, a dinner recipe that satisfies a craving, a phone conversation that makes us laugh.

I figured, what better time to curate a new issue of Among Other Things, since I’ve been especially appreciative lately of these random things that have made me/us happy.❤️ Hope you enjoy this year’s first love list, and if you happen to have already had thoughts on any of them, let’s discusssss!

Listen UP! 🎧
This podcast definitely does not fall under the light listening category, but it’s well worth the stress-induced cortisol spikes if your goal is to be a better-informed citizen of the present-day world. Caliphate is a New York Times podcast in which a seasoned wartime reporter- Rukmini Callimachi (who is btw, by her job description alone, brave, badass and an inspiration)- details the inception, growth and current status of the Islamic State. Given the daily turmoil so much of the world is going through as a direct or indirect result of the group, the podcast has helped me to have clarity in understanding the problem, and thus, empathizing with those affected by it.

This Brand, Though.👏🏽
Now that I live in California, I’m proud to say that my winter wardrobe reflects that paradoxical stereotype that I once made fun of as an east coaster. You know… UGGs with shorts, a puffer vest over tees and jeans… like the body can custom warm whatever limb one chooses to sacrifice for the fashion gods that day. Having gained first-hand experience of the California winter, I can refute that explanation. However, I do consistently make the decision to wear ripped jeans and OTS sweaters, so I guess… thanks, California?😂 This cozy scarf by Ankura has been my poor clavicle’s best friend on such wild weekend nights, when my carb-happy face can bury itself in the warm alpaca wool for the next three hours straight. Not to mention, Ankura is a sustainable brand, all of whose products are ethically sourced from Peru.

Yummy in my Tummy 🍽
If you live in the Bay Area, you already know that the Mission District in San Francisco is where the goods are at. We invariably end up there all the time because it’s apparently where all of our yelp bookmarks are, and we take the tackling of that bookmark list very seriously. So of course, it’s where we wound up on my birthday a few days ago, a couple of hangry children at the doorstep of Farmhouse Kitchen. My one true birthday wish was spicy thai food and boyyy, did they serve it to us in blissful tongues-on-fire coconut-fuls. 🙌🏽🍛 Everything was soooo delicious and I already can’t wait to go back!
PSA- If you’re a normal person, you might want to ask for mild or regular spice levels… our extra spicy orders may have been low key dangerous. 🆘

Man’s Gift to Mankind 💡
Most days, the thought crosses my mind that maybe, just maybe, if someone were to take my iPhone and throw it into a swiftly flowing river, it’d be a great help. 2018 was the year I came to terms with how much of a time-suck I’d allowed my phone to become. When I started paying attention to how much time I was wasting away by scrolling mindlessly on Instagram or reading endless random news articles, I had to step back and recalibrate. Kushal recently introduced me to an app called Moment (more like installed the app and handed my phone to me one fine day #aggressivemuch) and you guys, it has been so effective! The best part is that it not only gives you a daily time report, but also the number of times you pick your phone up (‘pickups’). Turned out that my problem was a high number of pickups i.e. I was reaching for my phone instinctively when bored, and once it was unlocked in my hand, I had to do something… hence, Instagram, Facebook, yadda yadda. The 2019 me has Moment notify me periodically throughout the day with my time count + number of pickups like a strict grandma would. And because my mental state is much like a 10 year old’s, I enjoy competing with myself to beat the previous day’s numbers. It works out. 😜

Readers’ Block 📚
To say that I’m blowing through my winter reading list with a bulldozer would be putting it mildly. My library canceled my overdue fine as a silent thank you, my car trunk contains a growing paper mountain of hold slips, the librarians wave friendly hellos… this reading habit has taken on a life of its own and I am HERE for it! 🤗
I’ve read many amazing books in the recent months (see my Instagram highlight ‘Reads’ for mini-reviews on all of them), but one particular title left an impression longer lasting than others. The Immortalists is the fictional life story of four siblings after they have their date of death foretold as kids by a psychic gypsy woman. It’s a simple story but not really, as we read about how the prediction seeps into their consciousness, influencing decisions and shaping their adult lives. The book asked a question of me that I’ve unfailingly asked myself every day since-If I knew exactly how long from today I had to live on this earth, would I be doing anything differently?

Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful weekend ahead!
XO Sushmitha :)