RPL at Home (May 2023)

Welcome to the May 2023 edition of RPL at Home!

This month, we’re talking about building back a habit after a long hiatus, celebrating AAPI Heritage month, rainbow-themed art, and more!

Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, get cozy, and come hang out for a few minutes :)

Welcome to the May 2023 edition of RPL at Home, where I share what I’m up to when I’m not in the kitchen or in front of the camera. 

Each month, I’ll share snippets of what I’m working on, habits I’m cultivating, things bringing me joy, books/TV shows/podcasts I’m enjoying, and more. Think of it as stream-of-consciousness blabbering meets a semi-curated list of recommendations meets life update.

What I’m watching, listening to, and reading

📺 Watching

We’ve been working our way through the final season of HBO’s Barry, which stars Bill Hader as a depressed hitman who moves to LA and finds himself straddling the acting world and the criminal world. Season 4 is definitely dark and weird and even gutting at times, but the sharp comedy, brilliant acting, and nail-biting suspense is still there. It’s also a fascinating season of character development for the main character Barry, a bit reminiscent of Walter White’s arc in Breaking Bad. Plus, NoHo Hank’s outfit in episode 1 of season 4 nearly knocked me off the couch so there’s that.  

We recently rekindled our love for cult comedy Party Down, which ran from 2009 to 2010 and was one of the first TV shows Max and I watched together in law school. In anticipation of the relaunch of season three this year, we just rewatched the first two seasons. It reminded me of an earlier time when things felt more trivial and sillier, which is basically like therapy but for free. And while a few of the jokes are a bit cringe today, it still stands the test of time as a hilariously weird, highly enjoyable comedy.

📚 Reading

Last month, I finished reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. It’s a heartachingly beautiful novel that follows two twin sisters, Stella and Desiree, light-skinned Black girls who grow up in a fictional small town in Louisiana where everyone is also light-skinned Black. 

After they move to New Orleans as teens in 1954, one twin learns that she can “pass” as white while the other twin marries “the darkest man she could find.” The sisters go on to live very separate and very different lives, and the novel follows both them and their daughters. 

On its face, The Vanishing Half is just a great novel. The plot is engrossing and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The storytelling is vivid and paints specific worlds most of us will never know with rich detail. 

But the way Bennett thoughtfully tackles the performance of race and the historical phenomenon of racial passing—which is both at the core of Stella’s lie and the identity she has built for herself— is what takes this from good to outstanding (and a must-read in my opinion). 

PS: If you want to get more thoughts on the books I read, I’m starting to share mini book reviews over on my Instagram stories

Shorter pieces I enjoyed reading: 

  • The ghosts of our motel by Sabaa Tahir. I found this piece thanks to reader Elizabeth who recommended Tahir’s novel All My Rage. As a fellow South Asian child who grew up in a small town in the Mojave Desert, this piece brought up a lot of emotions for me. 
  • Generation Connie. A sweet and moving piece about the phenomenon of Asian American women being named “Connie” in the late 1970s through the mid-1990s, inspired by the prominent news anchor Connie Chung. 

🎧 Listening

Growing up, I was embarrassed of my parents’ accents. That fact now embarrasses me (ironic!), but given that I regularly heard their accents and other Indian accents made fun of, I’m going to give 10 year-old Nisha some slack in her emotional processing of assimilation. This episode “How to Speak Bad English” from Rough Translation was a therapeutic listen on the global pursuit of speaking “good English”—you know, that accentless English I dreamed of for my parents—and why that might be a flawed pursuit

In a society where we’re often told that quitting is for losers, I found this perspective on quitting From Hidden Brain’s episode “Taking the Leap” so refreshing. Sometimes quitting actually makes total sense, and sometimes quitting is even the more courageous thing to do. I might be biased, but being willing to quit earlier than expected is how I left an unhappy career in law and carved out the life I truly wanted to live. 

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and one of the best things I’ve listened to (or read) on the subject of living with mental illness is the recent Code Switch episode “Black with Bipolar.” Writer Naomi Jackson talks about her experience with severe mental illness and how it’s been shaped by her life as a Black woman

What I’m working on in life🧘‍♀️

In my 20s, I loved doing intense forms of exercise like HIIT and weight lifting. I was one of those gym rats who annoyingly talked about the gym whenever possible…I sincerely apologize to anyone who I annoyed. But over the last 4ish years, I’ve learned that I have overly mobile joints that can easily move out of place and cause long-lasting injuries. 

To be honest, it’s been tough. I saw myself getting weaker, but I was scared that exercising would trigger more injuries. Of course, getting weaker also made the injuries more likely to occur and to persist.  

Last year, my physical therapist suggested I try pilates as a low-impact way to strengthen my core and hips (the two secrets to a strong back, I’ve learned). 

I started doing beginner and moderate pilates somewhat regularly last summer/fall, but was stymied again early this year when my hips got out of alignment, leading to a pretty painful back injury. Did I mention this misalignment happened while I was stretching? Unlike Shakira’s hips, these hips do lie. They be trifling.

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The bright side was that since I had been doing pilates for a few months, my back was relatively strong. So instead of a 4 to 6 month recovery time, I felt 90% better within 6 to 8 weeks.

That quicker recovery time reinforced the usefulness of pilates, so I’ve been taking it more seriously since then. I’ve been loving the classes from Move with Nicole on YouTube (thanks to Laura from The First Mess for the recommendation!), and have been doing those three to four times a week. My current favorite class is this 30-minute power pilates class, but I love that she offers shorter classes because sometimes 10 or 15 minutes is all I have the time or energy for.

When I’m feeling even stronger, I may venture out into the real world and do a reformer pilates class once a week, but for now, this routine has been a good enough challenge. Also, I hate group exercise classes, so that might never happen, but I like to think of myself as a person who keeps her options open (even if I don’t).

As a treat for my recommitment to fitness, I rewarded myself with the Hypervolt massage gun (affiliate link) to massage all the sore glutes and quads and hammies. I like that it has more variable speeds than the Theragun, which is too intense for my delicate constitution.

The first five minutes of class are my favorite because the sweating hasn’t begun yet


  • In our recent YouTube video, I show you how to make the best ever vegan lemon cake. If baking intimidates you, not to worry because I explain in step-by-step detail how to nail this cake! Perfect for all the special occasions in your life, like upcoming graduations! 
  • If meal planning is more your thing, our recent video on how to use sauces for easy weeknight meals will be a game changer.
  • Braised Tofu: The most fun use for tofu! Tofu squares are pan-fried, then braised in an unbelievably delicious Chinese-flavored sauce until the tofu is wildly flavorful. If you think tofu is good only when it’s crispy, think again! 
  • Creamy Broccoli Soup: If you are looking for a quick weeknight meal that is wholesome but indulgent, this one’s for you! I promise it tastes SO much better than it sounds. 
  • Actually Good Quinoa Salad. I’m normally in the “quinoa is terrible” camp, but I promise this crispy quinoa salad with roasted vegetables and marinated chickpeas will change your mind on this superfood! 
  • Oh, and don’t forget about the RPL Recipe Club! Each month, I’m choosing a different recipe for the RPL community to make, and May’s recipe is Hummus. Anyone can make the recipe, then submit a photo to win amazing kitchen prizes. For all the details check out the May 2023 edition of the RPL recipe club.

RPL in the news 📰

🤖 AI and Recipe Development. I was recently interviewed by Business Insider on using ChatGPT to develop recipes and to kickstart creativity in the kitchen. While AI terrifies me, I also know that it’s not going anywhere, so this was a fun and interesting experiment. 

🎙️ Chatting with friends. I was also recently on the What the Focaccia podcast with my dear friends Niki Webster and Bettina Campolucci Bordi. We chatted about my journey to veganism, building a business, the future of vegan food, tips for budding content creators, and more.

📺 Local news. Later this week, I’ll be on the local news here in San Diego talking about my journey from lawyer to YouTuber! It airs on May 24 on CBS Channel 8 at 6 am, 4 pm, and 6 pm PST, as well as on the CW at 7 pm and 10 pm. You can watch it online too!

Fun things from this month 🥳

👯‍♀️ Party time. One of my dearest friends who lives on the East Coast visited a few weeks ago, and my sister and I celebrated her recent engagement with pseudo-bachelorette activities, including a day out on a boat with custom wine glasses and, let’s just say…a very festive-shaped cake. We’ve been friends since we came out of our respective wombs and our moms have been best friends since the mid-1980s! 

🎥 Visiting YouTube LA. I was invited by YouTube to be part of their AAPI Creators panel, held in LA this month, where we got to celebrate AAPI creators and chat about our YouTube journeys as Asian Americans navigating “nontraditional” careers (including our parent’s initial reactions 😅). Just a few years ago, I had no idea what I was doing on YouTube, so this was a special little moment for me. 

🎨 A Grand Opening. My friend and incredible local artist Sarah Stieber hosted a grand opening party for her spring showroom, and the theme was colorful cocktail. Despite my brand name rainbow plant life, I often dress in black (thanks to nearly a decade of living in nyc), so I had to rummage through my closet for this lewk. Sarah’s art is SO unique and fun–check it out here

Okay, that’s it for this month! I’ve been loving writing these more personal posts, and I hope you’re enjoying them too. 

Drop me a line below and let me know what you’d like to see in next month’s edition!


PS: We just booked a vacation to the Netherlands 🇳🇱 and Norway 🇳🇴 for later this summer. It was a bit random–we happened to get a good deal on flights–and we have nothing planned whatsoever. So if you live in the area or you’ve visited, I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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57 comments on RPL at Home (May 2023)

  1. Annelies Pieterse

    Hi Nisha,
    thanx for your great website and YouTube channel. You are so generous sharing your recipes and knowledge. I am not vegan but I love the recipes, since I want to cut down the amount of meat we eat.

    How great to read you are going to the Netherlands. Since I live there I will share some nice places to go to. I you love to visit cities, please skip Amsterdam.
    Visit Rotterdam, for great architecture
    Visit The Hague for a beautiful old city and close to the beach. (Scheveningen)
    Visit Amersfoort, nice city smaller than the other two.
    if you want to touch the south, visit Maastricht.
    Nice smaller city is Zutphen.
    I live in the North, Groningen, and our quote is Nothing tops Groningen. I can relate. Beautiful student town.

    And now for nature
    please enjoy the beautiful Weerribben area. Every tourist is going to Giethoorn, indeed lovely if you like to stumble over all the tourists.
    What is also very nice for great hikes is National Park Hoge Veluwe or the Posbank.
    If you want to visit one of the Wadden Islands you can choose if you leave from Groningen for Ameland or Schiermonnikoog.
    If you have any more questions, please ask them. Happy to tell you more!

  2. Tiana

    Hi Nisha,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to checking out your recommendations.
    In the Netherlands, definitely make sure you explore beyond Amsterdam to get a sense of the country. I lived in Den Haag (The Hague) with my husband for half a year and it’s worth a visit. You can do a free walking tour to learn about the history and see a lot of the city in one day. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating, perfect for summer. Definitely check out the Hagse Markt (local market) where you can buy lots of fresh produce (plastic free) as well as local food, spices, and loads of other stuff. It’s open Mon, Wed, Fri, & Sat. If nothing else, it’s just fun to walk through.
    The Veluwe is a forestry area with cycle paths and camping that is very beautiful. Dutch people voted it “the finest area of scenic beauty” in the country. I hope you have an amazing trip!

  3. Demi

    I live in the Netherlands (Amsterdam). For ‘fancy’ restaurants, I recommend De Nieuwe Winkel (although always fully booked, so waitlist) and Yerba & Bonboon. I also really enjoy Mitts (not fully vegan) & Madre (if you like cocktails). This is all in Amsterdam, except de Nieuwe Winkel, which is in Nijmegen (a very cute city). For other cities, I love Haarlem a lot.

    1. Demi

      I usually check happycow or http://www.RestauPlant.com for recommendations

  4. Tommi

    In Norway Bergen is the place to visit. And the train ride from Oslo is amazing (the half closer to Bergen). Hiking is very popular in Norway and I definitely recommend you give it a try. If you have plenty of time, there are some islands called the Lofoten in the northern parts of Norway that are absolutely gorgeous (based on pictures. I haven’t been there myself). Try a cruise along some fjords. The views are amazing.
    Oh yeah, vegan food seems to be rare in Norway. Especially in Bergen I had problems finding options, because fish is such a big deal there. Oslo should have more options.

  5. Nicol S.

    This was a fun read, Nisha! I am adding that book to my list. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Lisa

    I just finished All My Rage last night and it was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. Sabaa Tahir writes with so much beauty and emotion. The moment I finished it, I wanted to read it again.

  7. Patricia

    You have the happiest face I have ever seen and it is a joy to look at :)

  8. Rita S.

    Vegan camping recipes! They now have shelf stable tofu. I am going to try it this weekend while camping, maybe make a tofu scramble. I am really excited about this as we camp in a tent and use a cooler. This is one of the many perks of not eating meat. I would love some recipes that I could take with me while camping or even ones that could be done while backpacking. Thank you for all that you do! Hugs from NM.

    1. Johanna

      Ive been camping and backpacking with rpl red lentil curry for years now- and I’m not even vegan. Red lentils cook up so fast, in front country camp
      I cook it as written, for backpacking use powdered coconut milk, vegetable bullion cubes and powdered version of the fresh spices with minute rice or bannock bread and it’s so so decadent on the trail.

  9. Allyson

    Whoooo!!! San Diego representin’! They shared a lot in that CBS clip – your entire kitchen and that you make more now than with your Harvard degree.. lol. You should be proud! Everyone needs to eat more of the rainbow!!!

    1. Nisha

      Ha, the reporter did cover a lot in just a few minutes, right? 😂 thank you for watching and for stopping by, Allyson!

  10. Bernice

    Hi! First time commenting on your RPL at Home.. always enjoy reading them, thank you for posting :-)

    I live in The Netherlands, and I would recommend you to not only go to Amsterdam honestly- it is not representative of the diversity of our country! Try to go to the Wadden Sea for example. You can walk on the bottom of the ocean when the tide is low. During some walks you can even walk to an island (e.g. from the place Pieterburen). And if you’re in that region anyway, Groningen is a nice city to explore on foot!
    Moreover, the dunes are quite unique (landscape and biodiversity wise) too, and play an important part in the existence of The Netherlands. One region with beautiful hikes is Meyendel (near The Hague).
    If you’re more into old city centers, I would recommend exploring student cities like Utrecht, Delft or Leiden (easily accessible by train btw).

    There is so much to do.. it really depends on what you’re looking for!
    Enjoy your trip :-)

    1. Nisha

      Hi Bernice! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips on traveling in the Netherlands! This is very helpful :) It’s always so nice to hear what locals recommend. We are excited for our trip there!

  11. Sigrid

    Hey! I live in Ålesund, an amazingly beautiful part of Norway! I move to another city this summer – Trondheim – but recommendations would of course depend on where you are going! Oslo? Not my favorite city and not amazing nature, but depending on how long you stay, I really think you should consider going over to the west-cost (where beautiful montains and fjords are the scenary). If you happen to be around where I am, I would be happy to guide you around! Even though that of course if not very likely, haha :)

    1. Nisha

      Hi Sigrid! Nice to hear from you. We are trying to figure out our itinerary in Norway and how long to spend where. We will fly into Oslo but hopefully be able to travel west. We are eager to see the beautiful scenery and see some gorgeous fjords :) I’m just trying to figure out if it will be relatively easy to travel around Norway (outside of Oslo) as a vegan. If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!

      1. Sigrid

        I see! Let me know when your intermarry is figured out and how long you will stay. If you love hikes, I definitely have some recommendations. Unfortunately I am not sure what traveling vegan will look like around here..

  12. Roopa Nalam

    The fjords of Norway are a bucket list item – so excited for you!! As a fellow South Asian recovering high achiever, I relate to your content a lot and really love this newsletter. Thanks for sharing ❤️

    1. Nisha

      Hi Roopa, it’s lovely to hear from you. I’m so honored my posts have been resonating with you! The high achieving mentality is one that’s hard to shake! For me, I’ve found that accepting that I’ll be only okay at some areas of my life during certain seasons of life has been really helpful to reduce some of that self-pressure.

  13. Dee Bolemon

    Dropping in to say that everything about you and your content is uplifting, fun, and oh so needed in today’s world. Oh, let me add “wise” to this list. Especially on the advocacy front of raising awareness. ;)
    May you enjoy a wonderful vacation and bring back a new recipe or two, yes?
    With warm regards,
    Dee in Florida

    1. Nisha

      Hi, Dee! Aren’t you kind? I’m so touched you are enjoying what I share here and that you think it’s uplifting and fun ☺️ Thank you for making my day.

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