It has been slightly over a week that I cooked at home. Have been grabbing lunch at work and dinner’s with friends. With the unexpected expense with home repairs,  eating out everyday indeed has been challenging financially. Just as we try to manage this crisis, the check that we gave last month to a person has decided to deposit at the very crunch time made the whole thing more challenging. Every time, the time came to hang out with my friends makes my heart bleed. Lately, hanging out with friends has been turning out to be very expensive. I am spending the money I do not have. How do I politely decline such going out in such situations? may be I should be honest about our situation and suggest alternatives instead? . It does not help the fact that with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner and holiday season surely brings more expenses.

I digress, enough of my rantings about current financial crisis. It has been 10 days and I was craving for some home made food and specifically a particular summer sour soup that my mother used to make with fresh tamarind that was available during that time. So, I set out to cook some chickpea-tomato curry and soup along with rice.  The food turned out to be delicious, it sure tasted great. Cravings and deprivation does bring some sense of longing to some simple foods isn’t?


Motivation everyday?

Not really sure of my mind set these days. I feel very excited to go to work one day and lack motivation the next. I listen to all these philosophical audios to get perspective on life or read some random parts of some personality development books to get some inspiration to live an excited life and I feel it is too much to take in and end up give up on everything. I switch off my brain completely from “what next” or “what to do in life” or “to focus on that next project at work”  to some high-energetic music or read a light fiction that makes me forget the hardships that life has to offer.

We are what we think, and the more I know about something, I feel I know very little. This feeling of knowing little is bothersome, but it also gives me that inquisitive nature to learn more about something that I think already know everyday. I wonder, if I am in a wrong profession at times? May be? I have heard people saying that “they do not feel like they are working at all, as they love what they do and look forward for it everyday”.I did not get such feeling in anything so far. Do I not have any passion for anything that brings me happiness? I may have enjoyed teaching something new to someone, but I do not have any knack and have to be extra prepared.  Do you think, changing in perspective might help? From “Do what you love” to “Love what you do”? can it happen?

How do you feel inspired everyday?


Wardrobe rental and facebook

.. no, I am not renting any of my wardrobe. But, this idea lingered in my mind forever. I have thought about it several times, and shared with few of my close knit social group about how each of us buy and get bored so quickly and it would be great to be able to rent it out. Especially, with my Indian clothes. They are so beautiful, expensive and unique that it stands out. If rented among neighborhood, the chances of people choosing the same attire will be high, not a very practical approach and the liability for the damaged expensive clothes were higher.

This wardrobe rental ad that popped up in my facebook suggested ad is the reason behind this post. Whenever, I thought about something, it usually showed up as though it was a miracle. I thought, the facebook uses a caching and cookie reading ability in my browser to see what I am browsing, searching and based upon that it will suggest. After all, facebook is one of the very few top social medias to have more personal information about people across the world. Is that not scary enough, that someone is watching over what you do on the internet?  Recently, facebook phone app did introduce another feature, which is by default turned on is to record your conversations that you have. It is taking the advantage of your phone’s in-built microphone and is passively active in recording what you speak all the time. The recorded conversation is then ran through their algorithm and the ads are aimed to facebook users accordingly. As much as I admire at it’s brilliance, and I am impressed with their creativity of spying on voice chats and come up with a way to advertise the products, I am equally eerie about not having sense of any privacy. Please beware of this, and if you are concerned, then you can turn it off as well. In the future, it would be your smart TV that has inbuilt microphone. As such, all public email services use your text conversations to suggest the ads. Watch out. They are not harmful in anyway, it is good to be aware of what you use.

I digress, this wardrobe rental, have a free trial for 30 days and have various pricing plans to choose from depending on your need. I believe, this might be useful for people who love the variety of clothes for affordable pricing. And most importantly, I feel, there will be no clutter, rather, no accumulation of clothes. Want to know how it works ?.

Please note: I did not use this, I am just marveling at this idea that came into practicality and how it was suggested on my facebook. Also, there might have been services that were there before, but that did not come under my radar, I am not sure if this fits my-not-so-much-fashion-sense-minimalist-life-style.

And I found this news article on bbc about how apps spy on people. Click here to read.

Do you see such ads showing up on your social media sites? And what do you think about wardrobe rental?

Hola Amigos!

It has been a while that I touched this space. I hope all is well with you. Although, I have been actively passive, read most of my favorite blogs and their content, but did not comment on any. Last month was meant to be relaxing post my august challenge. The challenges, that I made to myself in one of my post in august has been successfully executed for 27 days. I diligently cooked every meal everyday with one exception of option to eat out once in an entire week. The blogging everyday has been challenging to keep up with new topics. Most of the times, I was either short on topics or short on time. This is clearly not an excuse and could have handled better using some pre-planning, but over all I feel good about meeting my expectations up to 90%.

The why? I lagged due to the long weekend labor day plans, I had guests pouring in, hosting them, preparing meals for them, taking them out during week days and being out of town the weekend, all of them together made it quite impossible, rather I turned lazy to blog about anything else. It was one happy hectic 10 days.

What I have learned doing the challenge?

It was not easy. It requires commitment and willingness to repeat this routine and make it as part of your lifestyle.

Challenges: Not having a plan of what to cook, drove me crazy almost every other day. The grocery shopping, cleaning, storing, preparing fresh meals in the morning and in the evening, cleaning dishes, blogging was bit ambitious for a person like me who is starting this routine afresh. It was hard to say NO to “going out for lunch” or “Dinner” with friends. That is why, you see, I failed at that 10% of the time, because I had to hang out with my friends once in a while. It was equally exhausting to execute so much considering my after work activities that I tend to actively participate.

Benefits – I felt accomplished for preparing fresh meals, with groceries scored from farmers market. I have drastically reduced using processed food for preparing my meals. My skin got better, discovered varieties of recipes, learned to prepare some quick meals in less than 30 minutes, and shared my recipes with my friends and family, who loved it. I choose non-indian version for most part of my diet. Overall, it also has helped me save few bucks and become health conscious.

Suggestions to self: Sometimes, it is okay to let go and take it easy, plan, write down a week ahead about meals and stick to the schedule. Take help, delegate some tasks. Simple is better. Wanting to do all by myself left  me de-motivated for most part. Going in small steps for a bigger vision is more successful than trying to get aligned all at once.

Last Month 

With the exhaustion from my own challenges, I stayed out of kitchen altogether post-guest departures. I hardly shopped or cooked. I entertained my self for every meal outside. This challenge has totally backfired on me.  Now, I am slowly getting into the groove of preparing my own food at least thrice a week. I have also been to many of my fitness classes in the evenings, and my attempts to learn something new like thisthisthis, this or this is back again. I found myself to have more time and feel relaxed with all the chores out of my way. Yes, no carrying heavy bags of grocery, washing, cutting, cooking, cleaning, thinking, browsing – it felt heavenly to not attempt to do any of those things for a while. An Aaha moment! :)

How are you all doing? What have you been upto?

I want to repeat the same challenge again, but with more pre-planning  – who is in with me?

Moroccan Beet Salad

As part of CSA farm share, I received 5 beets, and I was pleasantly surprised by many options that were quite similar when I looked for salad recipes on youtube. Every recipe I saw had at the least either 60 minutes of baking or 60 minutes of boiling. I sure was not ready to spend so much time cooking. I choose to use the pressure cooker and boiled it until there were 3 whistles. Voila it’s ready.


5 medium sized beets – slightly cut and pressure cooked until 3 whistles

1 yellow onion – medium – finely chopped

Cilantro/Parsley – 1/2 cup finely chopped (or you can add more depending on your taste buds)

Olive oil – 1tbsp

Lime juice – 1/2

Salt, pepper & cumin – as per taste (yes all three)

1/2 -Jalapenos (optional) – finely chopped


  1. Peel off the outer skin of boiled beets, cut them into equal size proportions -1/2 inch square cubes.
  2. Mix – finely chopped onion, cilantro/parsley, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper & cumin – mix it. I have added jalapeno as well for extra spice.
  3. Mix beets from step #1 & step #2 – adjust the ingredients according to your taste buds.
  4. Refrigerate it for 2-3 hours before serving it.

It sure was one delicious salad that I had. You should definitely try. Great summer salad. Very refreshing. Sorry, again, I had no picture. Also, I tried with non-red beets.

Here is the video where I sourced my recipe from except for the way of boiling the beets and jalapenos. Rest of the procedure is almost same.

Cooking with Alia -Moroccan Beetroot Salad

Learning ability?

One thing that I did not anticipate while doing my schooling was – one needs to be a lifelong student to keep progressing. Ever since, I started working, that hard truth of learning new things at every step downed upon me. During the project initiation phase, there was a very steep growth of learning curve and then eventually it would become comfortable, then another project, back to square one, repeats the same process. Currently, I work on multiple short duration projects, and every project in its own right makes me take a step back to initial stage and then build on it until I get to the stage of comfort in providing/suggesting a solution. The learning of business or technical or functional is always there to understand and work on it is sometimes straight forward and at times complex. There are some projects that I get involved in with my choice where I find myself working overtime during weekdays and weekends to supplement my knowledge to better come up with most efficient possible solution.

Learning is fun, interesting and challenging at the same time. The concentration has been declining with too many world-life problems take over my intellect space. I carry the additional burden with me which makes it difficult to move ahead freely. The art of living in present is still a distant dream for me. The whole reason for me to write this came when I have to listen to online course that I have registered to upgrade myself with new skill in my career. The video class was about for an hour and I had such a hard time focusing on it. The only way I was able to grasp something was while taking some notes and a treat of “break-from-work-for -15 minutes” has immensely helped. The revision is required and I need to find real-time examples to deepen my understanding. On the other hand, I have absolutely no problem in watching movies back to back for hours, for that matter, entire day. I know the story and do not get very inclined to watch it again. However, when it comes to educating myself with “important skillful” information, the so called mind wanders and makes focusing the most difficult task.

The problem with online courses is that, there will be no one to monitor, or are forced to do any assignments or projects, you have to be entirely disciplined for your own benefit. I find it hard to concentrate; it takes some amount of grooving into the rhythm to get there.

Dear readers, how do you progress in your existing or any new skill that you take up? What measures do you take to keep yourself updated? And how do you keep the momentum going?


After posting  How to be energetic? I really got some great suggestions, which I promptly followed them at work as well as at home. The music indeed is wonder, I never enjoyed plugging head phones into my ears for as long as I remember. Some impressions stay longer than required. I read some where that listening to music produces quite an amount of germs, and I thought that was dirtiest, ergo I avoided as much as possible, and did not share my ear plugs nor borrowed from anyone else. The sad fact is that I use mobile phone and surely, it could be the dirtiest one amongst others.  How do we even clean it? how to sanitize it? These smart phones are addictive.

I digress, the music, it has been really helping me get over with my mundane tasks like cleaning home & dishes, cooking and other chores around. At work, it has been a hit, I took my comfortable head phones and have been listening to music on repeat, so far, I have been doing great with mundane things that are not important but has to be finished sooner than later at work. Music surely is therapeutic. It is, as long as I do not pay attention to lyrics, if I do pay attention, it is very distracting. I can easily tune out the background noise while I focus. The only beneficial factor with headphones at work has been – no-distractions-from-colleagues-chatter. They think I am seriously working on something and do not initiate fun chatter.

Dear readers, do you listen to music? Why do you listen?

What motivates us to go to work every day and stay sane?

I have long been searching for this answer. The questions I tried to ask myself – whether I love my job, Love is a such a strong word, I would use “Like” over love, sure I do, for it gives me freedom to explore many other options and exposes me to interesting people, competitive enough to get ahead if I were to move onto something else, over all, the firm that I work for believes in a mission that I feel connected. But, there are days, where I find myself de-motivated, un- interested and I find myself killing time doing nothing and want to get back home as soon as I can and my restlessness continues through day with the thought “I did not accomplish much at work, ergo, not much progress at home too” and there are days where I am super productive at work, at home and at other works resulting in a good night sleep.

Today, is such a day of de-motivation, you may call it Monday Blues,  I came across this page  in google search while browsing for a quick solution to motivate myself instantly.  I will summarize the whole article in few points here.

  1. The feeling that you are making some progress at work and in life. The idea is to break down the bigger goal and try and achieve it (And this idea is exactly same as to what I have been trying to implement for the longest time possible, was able to do some times, but forego most of the times). Apparently, this is one of the reasons to feel motivated as well.
  2. 3 Factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction – Autonomy (our desire to direct our own lives), Mastery (our urge to get better at stuff), Purpose (The feeling and intention that we can make a difference in the world).
  3. Exercise & eating healthy – any kind of physical exercise everyday will produce mood-enhancing chemicals and endorphin’s that elevate your mood by lowering the stress. Of course, healthy food always makes you feel good.
  4. Reflecting on your thoughts and tracking down the progress you make each day.
  5. Most importantly, developing the art of positive thinking. Most of the times, the energy is drained by thinking negatively about something or someone. It is just easier and healthier for our brains and bodies to be positive.

The problem of implementing these steps and sticking to it until it becomes a habit is a challenging task. However, there is no harm in getting started and having a goal to do it is far better than being stuck and lacking direction. After all, the first step is very important to begin the journey.

So, dear readers what motivates you to what you do every day? I would be interested in knowing as to how you keep yourself going out and about life, work and all other areas despite hardships? How do you deal with mundane work over and over, be it professionally or personally?

Baby steps – minimalist wardrobe

If you were my regular blog reader, you probably know, how I have been suffering from excess-ism and also trying to be minimalist in many areas. The shopping freeze that I have and with numerous clothes that were accumulated over past few years, despite getting rid as much as possible, giving away, I find myself with lot more clothes that were hard to part with leaving me with congested closet. I came across this un-fancy blog few months back and loved the idea of having only seasonal clothes available in the closet and been trying to implement since then.

The procrastinator in me, delayed it for longest time possible. Travelling and staying out of my home for a day or two gives me a much needed break to formulate some of my pending, long-wished plans to solidify. So, as soon as I came back home this evening, I marched straight into my closet with “under-the-bed-box” bags that I purchased couple of weeks ago. Got all my fall & winter clothes including night-dresses from closet and packed them and kept them out of sight. That still leaves me with lot of clothes, but it looks way more manageable than it was before. I love it, my idea is, when fall begins, I would slowly be swapping my summer clothes to fall, then fall to winter and that way, I keep track of one-in-one-into-box or into good will bag. I hope this makes me feel a lot better when I look at clothes in my closet.

Have you ever done something like this? Switching to seasonal clothes on need basis?

WordPress mobile app

So, in one of my last post I did mention about few of my frequently used mobile apps. PB suggested wordpress app and thought that I may never need to use this app, now I had to for one thing, I am travelling and have no computer with me.

I love this app, so friendly and easy to go through. Love it.
So please try it out and share your experiences.