City: San Francisco
Day: Founder and Host of KaamnaLive, a #BSFREE talk show for our times, mom of 2, and lover/patron of the arts. My day is spent maxing out on all three.
Night: I think I have only 2 night avatars - party girl or narcoleptic. I could sleep endlessly if I didn’t have such serious life FOMO. As an extreme extrovert, I’ll rarely pass up an opportunity to see friends or to be around music. Even a Tuesday night can get crazy, so those who know me well know never to say never ;)
I used to be a morning person. That was before I had kids! Right through school and college, any studying that had to be done would start at 5 am and I would be concluded at noon, just as my buddies were waking up! I’m still most fired up cognitively in the mornings so save all the creative stuff for then. My alarm (or my kids) wake me around 7. We meet at the breakfast table around 7:30am. My day starts with a cup of warm water with lemon, followed by an egg and some fruit. I save my coffee for just before I work out for a little extra juice. 3 days a week I hit up a cardio dance class at 8:30 which kicks off my day right. On days that I don’t dance, I have a little studio set up in my house, with some weights and a punching bag. That’s my “efficient” workout - in and out in 45 mins. It is important for me to work out every day. I feel restless and lethargic without it. The weekends though, are rest days. Those are as important.
I work from home and my office is an extension of my bedroom, so commute is not something I talk about. I feel fortunate because it saves me a ton of time. That being said, working alone from home can be lonely, especially for an extrovert. I do find it important however, to switch energies between home and work, since the physical boundaries are not very well delineated. For instance, I never work in my pjs. I like the idea of “showing up” for work.
As mentioned earlier, mornings are saved for the important work, writing, strategizing, decision-making. I know my bio-rhythms now. I am a napper! Post-lunch is when I tackle more routine tasks, scheduling, responding to emails, and actually get in a 20 minute power-nap before I pick up the kids. As a solo entrepreneur, I’ve got to do it all and it has to get done! But the good news is that most of the time, I get to choose what happens when. Shoot and release days are non-negotiable but I have some flexibility with the rest.
I love food and don’t restrict myself but I do like to eat healthy when I’m home. Lunch is typically a tricolore salad with beets and avocados as the highlight, sprinkled with whatever else I have around the house - sunflower seeds, almonds, and a piece of chicken, or something hot from leftovers. I’m one of those people that always feels cold so I’m never really satisfied with a meal unless there’s something warm in it.
On weekdays, my kids have a firm 8:30pm bedtime. Until then, I’m all theirs - homework, assignments, resolving disputes, nursing fictional wounds. After 8:30pm, my time is mine. I either settle down to some work (editing videos, reviewing notes), curl in to watch something that makes me laugh (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a current favorite), or head out to see a friend for a post-dinner drink. If I’m home, I really try to get to bed by 11pm. It’s not for a lack of will (I love sleep, as mentioned above), but just trying to fit everything into the 24 hours we’re granted in a day.
I don’t cook. I cannot cook. I mean I’ve tried, and my children pleaded with me to stop and now I’m very much at peace with the fact that it’s just one of those things that has eluded me. Maybe in another lifetime. That being said, food is important to me. I grew up in an Indian household where freshly cooked meals were a priority and it’s something that’s ingrained in me. So I had to get busy outsourcing to the right team. I have a helper who comes in and cooks Indian food for my family a couple of times a week. Dinner is at 6:45pm and my kids, husband and I eat dinner together. No phones, no books, just us and re-runs of our days. After that, everyone disappears to different parts of the house to tend to their affairs, either solo or in pairs. I’m usually with my eight year old helping her with whatever’s on the cards that day.
The goals for the weekend are regeneration, reconnection, rejuvenation. It wasn’t always like this - I used to pack the weekend with activities and people and events and noticed that even my kids craved more down time, even though we were doing “fun” things. Now, I plan no more than one activity during the day. I spend the morning pottering around the house taking care of small things. We either do lunch out with friends or check out something going on in the city. And then I take a guilt-free, interference-free nap in the afternoon. We’re pretty social so Friday and Saturday nights typically involve parties and friends. I have a high need for connection with people so I enjoy it, and am often the one planning fun things with different groups.
High Brow Ritual
I am addicted to travel. I feel like the world is fascinating and provides an endless opportunity to explore, to learn and to be stimulated by. I find San Francisco a little cut off geographically - it’s really hard to access most parts of the world. Still, it’s a priority for me, so every opportunity I get (long weekends, every kids’ break), we’re out.
Low Brow Ritual
Thursday nights at my favorite dive bar in the city dancing to 80’s music. Cut-offs, sneakers and Depeche Mode. What's not to love?
I’m really trying to get off the hamster wheel. Like many of us, I find some days are a blur of tasks and checklists. But when I think about meaningful moments, turns out I missed them, or I wasn’t paying attention, or I don’t remember them because I was too busy, being busy. I am making a concerted effort to slow it all down, to move away from doing to being. I’m trying to pause to identify strategic, conscious efforts that are more likely to get me where I want to be. I’ve started a meditation practice which is not yet ritualized, which is why you don’t see it up above. It’s a work in progress. While I feel like this is my time to push my career into full gear I also don’t want to charge through life frantically.
How do you cut away the daily noise, and keep focused on what keeps you nourished, productive, and whole?
I find it funny that the home remedies I grew up with in India are now making their way into Whole Foods (at a price premium of course) but it does remind me that nature has many of the cures we need, so I try to stay natural whenever I can. For instance, I swapped out buying ginger tea and brew my own at home (even a kitchen dud like me can manage that!). I find my hot water and lemon every morning has really improved my susceptibility to everyday sniffles caused by fluctuations in SF weather. If I'm looking for a snack, I'll likely reach for a piece of fruit (dark chocolate is a late night vice). I've recently discovered charcoal pills as my new favorite go-to to reset after a night out.
I've finally become a grown up and settled on a skincare regime that works for me. I like Biologique Recherche Lait U Cleansing Milk as a daily cleanser and follow it up with Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Cream. And sunblock is a must, no matter where you live. I like Heliocare.