From 2016 to 2017! 

Hello everyone!!

How are you doing? It has been more than a  month since I even logged in to WordPress. Early November I was excited about NaBloPoMo, picked a topic ( a great one if I may say so) and the I went AWOL after Day 6. I picked up my phone a few times to continue but never did and the guilt added to no blog posts at all. I finally decided to log in and give y’all an update. 
First .. Happy New Year!

I don’t think anything much has changed/will change but it is always nice to have new beginnings. It will help us to relatively compare and associate events and decide if it was better or worse.

So….2016? I think it was an interesting year. Some top things of 2016.

On the blog:

I had a mixed year. I started off great with my wedding series and lots of guest posts.

I started a Travel tab and wrote about my solo trip to Hong Kong.

I had periods where I was active and periods I went AWOL. I started with NaBloPoMo but couldn’t keep up :-/ . I hope to start afresh and finish the challenge I took up.

Personal life:

Well.. I got married!!! The whole planning and experience was awesome! Stressful yes.. but good 🙂

I traveled a bit more than I have before. East Coast, Pacific Coast, India, HongKong and some weekend local trips.

I had some unexpected physical and mental ups and downs in the last few months (which is what life is all about right?).

Annndd

wait for it..MY BIG MOVE!!

Yes.. if you have been following my blog you would have noticed my posts about my long distance relationship with R. I finally made up my mind and decided to quit everything and move!

Aren’t clean fresh starts great? I think so. New place, new people, new home.. the last month has been interesting. I sure miss my “woman cave” but (married) cohabitation seems to have its own benefits ( like how he collects my coffee mugs around the house and washes them 😛 or how I can get away with just doing laundry and leave the folding part to the other person). I hope to write more about all of it this year !

I hope all of you are doing well.. I am going to go and start reading your posts now. I hope to be more consistent and disciplined blogging-wise  this year*fingers-crossed*.

Happy New Year once again 🙂

 

 

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Learn to love art and not to become super singers!

I heard a grandmother talking about how her 5 – year old is learning music and how..wait for it! The sentence did not end about how proud she was of the little one singing but ..again..wait for it.. about how her beats are uncoordinated with her tune and how initially her singing was off-tune as well. I unfortunately couldn’t keep quiet during this conversation and blurted out. It is a five year old ..FIVE YEAR OLD! And this is not the first time I hear such things. I have seen people around me having high standards, not for themselves but for others around and especially the next generation. It isn’t surprising because I have heard the same from my own mom, grandma and other family members when growing up.

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Q & A Time

Perspective and Prejudices had tagged me to take up these five questions and participate in the Sisterhood of the World Q&A. I have just modified the questions a bit to suit my needs 🙂

  1. One beauty product you would recommend to all your girlfriends that you always carry around:

Hard to pick between these two: Kajal and Lip Balm

Kajal ( or eye-pencil) for that instant ‘did not wake up and just come’ look and my argan oil lip balm because if I dont have it , you would be watching a pathetic looking, lip peeling woman which no amount of make up  can help. So I guess the winner is my lip balm.

2. Three books I love and everyone must read: 

a. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins/ Big Little lies by Lianne Moriarty 2015 books, both were #1 New York Times Bestsellers. i do not want to write reviews here but I enjoyed reading them both. Not your feel good kind of stories that make you happy. They are deep, a bit dark, make you think. If you had followed my blog from the beginning you would know that I advocate for Domestic Violence (DV). So, the only thing I am going to reveal is that the baseline of these two books was DV and it was heart wrenching to know that it still exists on a large scale even in developed countries and the bright (kindof) side of it being millions of people are reading it and hopefully they stay safe and out of it.

b. Harry Potter series: Well, I am not going to reason it out. (Enid Blyton’s books also were fighting for this space.)

c. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Her cells changed science and many peoples lives. Must read by any science student and by everyone else too.

3. Favorite online shopping site/s: 

Two  sites I frequent every week are Door to Door Organics for my groceries and Graze for snacks.

You would see me browsing any shop that sends an email with FREE SHIPPING subject line. Unlike others, I don’t shop much on Amazon. I rarely buy online though I browse a lot.

4. Favorite phone app: 

Instagram and WordPress, I have been most active on them of late. And I seem to get most notifications from either. Facebook and Twitter seem a thing of the past.

5. One dish you’re really good at love making and its recipe: 

I enjoy cooking and I love making authentic south-Indian dishes like molagootal, kootu, rasam etc. In my experimentation with healthy options , one thing I loved making (and eating) was Indian Style Couscous upma.

Recipe: (I have never attempted to write a recipe before so pardon me and let me know if you need clearer instructions)

Boil water in a large pan, add couscous and let it stand for about 5-8 mins. You have to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked , so just fluff it and add some butter/oil and pinch of salt when cooking it. Once it is cooked keep it aside. (or you can cook in two pans at the same time) I like the pearl couscous which resembles javvarisi or sabudana and not the other kind.

In the other pan, add oil, toor dal, ginger, curry leaves, pepper, all vegetables you like cut into small pieces. Fry the vegetables (add required amount of water and salt) and cook until done. Finally add the cooked couscous and cook it for couple more minutes and garnish with cilantro.

Another version: I love making couscous salad where I cook couscous, make a black bean salad with black beans, corn, bell peppers, tomtoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice. Mix both with desired amount of salt and pepper. You could even crush some tortilla chips on top for a crunch.

Okay! Now that  I am done with my turn, I have to nominate few female (I beleive!) bloggers to answer the same or similar questions of their choice. Here you go:

  1. The Thought Card
  2. Stephellaneous
  3. Thinkingua
  4. Shalijay
  5. Cybernag
  6. Kripa’s HodgePodge

Tell me what you think of my answers and please feel free to take up the challenge even if I did not tag you 🙂

Blog, blogger, blogging!

My recent friends have been fellow bloggers from the city I grew up in. Never met most of them but blogging brought us together. People have found the best of friends on that group. They are supportive, encouraging and appreciative. It does not end just at blogging, the relationships extended to where you know that you can fall back on and they will be there for you.

At the point when I thought I wish I could meet fellow bloggers around where I live, I chanced upon Danielle‘s blog and that led me to meet a couple more like minded bloggers and we had our first meet up in New York City (Yay!!).

bloggers meetup, NYC Blog Meetup #1

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Being ‘Screen free’!

I am sure the topic is self explanatory!

If not, in the present day how many hours are we completely screen-free? Should we be screen free? I believe we should.

I am no science expert but it seems pretty clear that being glued to gadgets most part of the day is not a good idea. Most of us unconsciously do have screen-free times, like cooking, spending time with your family, exercise, hobbies.But there get intertwined with taking pictures, updating statuses on social media or even watching a game with family does not fall under screen-free.

So what is the challenge?

Try to consciously plan screen-free hour(s) every week and write about it. It could be something you already do, a new hobby, reading , writing(not typing!) , travel, friends, family etc. Of course we do need pictures for our posts but try to take them at the very beginning or the very end of the challenge. wpid-wp-1442350285504.jpeg

Pingback to this page (not this post please) and use the tag #ScreenfreeChallenge for others to read. I will list the participant posts on the page over time. Please find below an old post of mine about making a jigsaw puzzle. That was one of my screen free times!

Jigsaw puzzle!

I request everyone participating to read other posts and reblog them.

P.S. This is my first time trying to organize a blogger event so if you do have any suggestions please post them in the comments sections.

Happy Screen free time!

My Mentor and I!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mentor Me.”

“Ruth” – The woman who trusted me in a  new country and gave me a kick start for my career. I was at a point where I had enrolled for a program which had no students (Yes..NO OTHER!). This was a niche and I had no idea that I was going to be alone until after I had decided my career path. Graduate school, new country, new courses. I randomly emailed her seeking help. Telling her that I wish to pursue a career in her field and maybe she could help me. She did..what started off as an unpaid internship ended after two years as an almost full-time position.

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She taught me all I needed, molded me, rectified and repaired my flaws and mistakes with patience. More than double my age but we also bonded to be friends, a person whom I sought to share my emotions, my joys and disappointments. She was my confidante, my friend , my mother-figure, my boss and my teacher. She was my pillar when I was on the verge of failure too. Just the fact that a stranger could trust me so much brought out the best out of me. I learnt not just professionally but personally to be a better person.

I have moved away and still I look forward to sharing the changes in my life with her and also knowing about what she is up-to.

She is one person whom I  dedicate my career to. She was my inspiration, I admire and adore her. I will always love you Ruth ❤

If you have had a mentor who had you under their wings and then let you fly , you are a very lucky person. So tell me who that was and how they influenced your life 🙂

Single person survival guide..food, transport, online, apps!

I have been living alone or more precisely fending for myself the last one year. After living with 5 roommates for two years , it was a huge change. One being a quieter house, second was trying to cook for one person and third was getting around. It also resulted in lot waste as I had mentioned in my previous post. So I started scouting around for options to make life easier yet socially conscious (to some extent). So here is a list of five of my main findings related to food and transport that might help you if you live alone or not! One other reason these options were preferred by me was they were smart phone friendly 😀

  1. Door to Door organics – An online produce store. Fresh and organic. I am not
    siding towards organic produce but I love them for the following reasons. Whenever I went to buy groceries at a supermarket I tend to buy a little more than required or I would see something new and plan on cooking or trying but plans change and there is nobody to eat the left overs and 😦 they are thrown away. The switch from going to a store to buying online was one of the best decisions I made. They charge $25 for a small veggie, fruit or mixed box. It is perfect ..PERFECT portion for a single person.Vegetables or fruits were enough for me to last for a week and in case I changed my mind, I would just cancel my next week’s order. Easy-peasy. Plus if you needed anything more than what was offered you could buy from their site and add to your order.

2. Grubhub : Online food delivery service from restaurants. You can download the app or order online. My roommate and I had a bunch of options we used to like and the minimum billing amount worked out for two of us. They were efficient, had even tracking systems for many restaurants and had a good customer service when we faced delays.Seamless and Eat24 are other services which offer food delivery but I haven’t tried them. If you live in California then you should check out Qulinary which is an app that links chefs around the area and provide meals.

3. Uber and Lyft : You might already know but if you don’t, Uber and Lyft are cab-like services operated by common people. You can download the apps and use them to get around many cities around the world. Our  shopping buddies. My roommate and I used to use this often to go to places that was not accessible by public transport. Uber is more prevalent than Lyft but I had a good experience with both during every ride. Cheaper than cabs, better maintained cars, friendly drivers..you could research about insurance liabilities in your state if you are a freak about it. I do have an Uber referral code that is worth a free ride for 500rs or $20 for the first ride. Do ping me if you are interested.

4. Marley Spoon : If you prefer cooking but would like some assistance then Marley Spoon is one solution. wpid-screenshot_2015-08-05-17-22-23.pngThey provide  all ingredients for a dish. Every week has new recipes and if it is to your liking you could order and cook at home. it the best of both world’s between home cooked meal and easy grocery shopping. All you have to do is follow instructions and cook. A little pricey but works if you don’t care about it. I haven’t tried them but having been following their recipes on Instagram and they look amazing. Other similar options are Blue Apron and Plate.

5. Zipcar : If you have a license and not a car, this is one of the economical options to rent a car for a couple of hours. I pay a very low annual fee because of my employer. So check you have similar dicounts. Evn if not if you are going to use it a bit, it is a good idea. Helps you practice your driving and gets you around. You could download their app, look at cars near you and pay online. User friendly!

 

I always love to hear from you,so please let me know which ones in the top 5 was new to you and if you have any other services that would help the readers.

Come on! Stop listening to your parents and lead your own life

Okay, I am happy the title caught your eye 😀 read on…

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Transalation: Does not cross the line drawn (by a parent)!

I have been having  trouble trying to suppress my disinterest when I hear statements such as “He/She listens to his parent’s words and follows their advice only” , in Tamil they say ” Naan kizhicha kotta thaanda maata” meaning the child does not cross the line we lay. There are two interpretations here : (and other kinds!)

1. The said person really follows only the parent’s words and never talks back or , has no mind to think of their own.

2. The said person gives an illusion that they are an ideal child but who leads his/her own desired life but does not reveal it to the parents. Gives an illusion in real, over phone or Skype.

or

3. Has a mind of their own but lacks the confidence/resources to defy the parents and lead the life they want. (I have a lot of support and sympathy for such)

and then there is the fourth which I love (kindof ideal)

4. The ones who lead the life they want,have their own mind (and soul) and who are open about it and yet have a relationship that is based on love .

and last but not the least

5. Those who don’t give a shit and just lead their own way without caring about anyone.

So this post is about the above statement and what it depicts of the society. I heard the story of a neighbor of mine who refused to marry a boy when she knew that he gives his whole salary to his dad and expected her to do the same. When she asked why seems he replied ‘Father knows best.” (!!!!) Same with many girls as well who listen to their parents and then carry the pattern over to the husbands when they get married. There is famous Tamil movie called “Santhosh Subramaniam” where the son is of category number 3 and becomes 2 and finally turns into number 4. The whole movie is based about a controlling father and the meek son and a scene shows how he is taken to see a girl to marry and she answers “Appa sonnarunga” meaning “Dad told me” the whole time and totally gets to his nerves.

Anyways coming back to topic.. what should I really respond when someone says that? Is that what we want from any individual? Growing up to have no backbone or a mind of their own? Shouldn’t we feel proud when a child defies you with confidence? Shouldn’t we start living our own lives when we become adults instead of holding to the pallu(tip of a dress) of our moms sarees? I want the society to accept the fact that people can make mistakes yet lead their own lives rather than listen to someone ‘experienced’ , ‘elder’, ‘wise’ etc etc. The best people have their own life experiences to back up not someone else’s. Because the same people who support this so called following don’t just end it there but also reprimand when the line is crossed. Shouldn’t lines be crossed to learn where the line is? This could be a really long post but I wanted it to be short and just get this topic out for discussion,

I wish we have more parents who say do what you want and I ll support you. Children (who grow up to be adults)  should be taught to listen to all sides but in the end to make their own choices. And even better I want the statement “Naa kizhicha kotta thaanda maata ” to become extinct.

P.S. Though I love 4’s I do secretly love the 5’s just for their attitude 😛

What is your thought when you hear such a statement? What is the change you want? Who are you among 1-5?  Let me know 🙂