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De-Cluttering the blog

I am not sure what motivated me this morning, perhaps the jetlag from my recent travel or a sudden realization that I have not come to this space for longest time possible or the fact that I visit only few blogs regularly made me go through plenty of my subscribed blog list and un-follow them.

In this cleaning process, I am very sure that I might have let go of few that I am very fond of. Albeit, this process made me feel lighter. I wish to do the same in each and every area of my life, for instance too many social obligations to fulfill, too many things to get rid of at home, too much of pending work which is important but not prioritized , these are some of many that are adding to my existing stress levels. No wonder, my hair grayed out a lot more in the last one year than ever.

I wish (read resolve) to stop accumulating unwanted things and all the ships (It is the most difficult thing to do, I could not resist shopping! huh!) . One day, which will be sooner (read hope!!) than later, one thing at a time, surely but steadily, will be letting go of junk from my life. I am on that path and I’m certain that I’ll attain that space where I feel lighter and happier in life.

Have you guys heard the story of hare and tortoise? I started off like hare, but turned out like a tortoise! But, hey from the story you know who wins? and who lives longer? I am not sure about later part.

 

Relocating to United States – tips – Part -1 – Housing

I quite often run into people at work where they are new to the city and need help with many things around. I have re-located to many cities with in United states and know the pain and the time it takes to settle down. This is to help people who are new to city, and looking for a place to settle down. I will be posting on Housing, furnishing, making new friends, things to do, travelling options and more ..

Today’s posting is about housing.

Renting a place: I would not suggest that you get onto lease immediately until you have fair idea of the place, commute to work, family, child care responsibilities and in terms of activities to do in your spare time. Yes, they are all linked well together.

Temporary living- furnished – 2 weeks to 1 month, you could look for the famous Air B and B, sometimes, if you are lucky enough – craigslist -sublets and temporary housing can be of some use, if not, the safest in small cities could be – Extended stay america (It comes with kitchen & utensils), you can go on a month-to-month lease. If none of the above work, you can always stay in comfortable hotels until you figure it out.

So, you want to settle down in more comfortable place where you can call it a home:

Rent the whole unit for yourself.

a) Everything is online these days, google is the best place to scout for all the apartments in your zone/ zipcode, you will get fair idea as to how much rent on the average per unit 1 B/R, 2B/R  etc and of course place matters, safety surely matters.

b) Craigslist & Hotpads or Zillow: Craigslist & hotpads has postings directly from owners and real-estate brokers. If you have time and patience, and want it bit economical, you should reach out to all the home owners and make appointments to visit the place.  Ask them to send pictures, that will save you a lot of time. It is very important that you check out the home before you commit to move in to the home.

Online tips : You can check out the school district rating (if you have kids or not, it will give you sense of how good the community is, the greater the rating, the rent is usually high and also considered a nice neighborhood), you can choose to have furnished or not, proximity to groceries, parks, gym, public transportation etc are all found.

I personally prefer hotpads/ zillow over craigslist and I find, people are more responsive and it accurately lists the history of the home and also gives comparable prices of rentals around the area. They are more trust worthy relatively for the reason that the facts about the house are intertwined with real data. It also gives visual proximity to everything around.

c) If you are an Indian – then sulekha.com is the portal where indian do rental postings, they prefer people from India.

d) Before you do steps from #a to #c, make sure you check with people who are already living there, they might have better insight and over all idea about places around. They may just know their neighborhood alone, so do not expect more. And most importantly, reach out to your acquaintances/friends on facebook for guidance.

e) Real-estate broker – things will move super fast, they do the job for you. Specify your requirements and they have great suggestions. The only part where it hurts is – atleast in nyc, you have to pay 18% of your one years rental amount as real-estate broker fee or one month of your rent which ever is higher.

f) You can also check out with rental offices in each area, the apartment units / community’s usually have a rental office.

Looking for a roommate?

a. If you are relocating for job purpose: reach out to your community at your future employer / place you will be working and ask for information. State your rental range, what you want and neighborhoods you are interested in.

b. Craigslist is a great portal if you want a sublet, roommate or shared living – you usually will find great deals here.

c. If you are from India and want to live with Indians only – then sulekha.com will be able to help you. Also, there are facebook groups that will help you get in touch with indian communities.

d. Through referrals, ask your friends, friends of friends of friends might be able to help you in some way. It has worked for quite some people, you never know.

Now that we have some base: Questions to ask when renting a place out.

a. What utilities one has to pay? if anything is included, may be it’s heat, water, gas, electricity, cable & internet etc. Some apartments have all of them included and you need not worry about it. In some part of them are included and you are expected to transfer the rest of the bills onto your name (also helps improve your credit history).

b. Is parking free? if not what would be fee? if you are relocating to snowing areas, it is such a pain to clean the car, so do not forget to ask if there is any covered/in-door parking available?

d.Most importantly, if the laundry is in the unit or outside? If it is outside – look at the distance, if it is too far and you do not have a car and not walk able, then you should re-consider your decision.

e. Find out if they have any benefits, if you sign the lease for longest duration, especially if you are going through real-estate broker, the chances are that, you will have one month free rent. Also, find out what happens during the renew – would they increase your rent? if so what is the percentage. In NYC, they have been constantly increasing the rent by 10% every year. So watch out.

f. If you have pets, make sure about the policies, you might be expected to pay additional rent or insurance for the pet to live there.

g. If you have kids – you should prefer ground floor if possible, people downstairs will complain with your kid jumping all around, ask for near by child-care facilities, or baby-sitting facility. The owner may or may not be aware but no harm in asking such things.

Hope these tips help you in getting started when you are relocating to any city with in United States.

Dear readers, if you have any additional tips, please feel free to write in comments. Your inputs might help some one out there.

Quote day

I am so short on time and my computer says it will restart in 13 minutes from now. I got exactly so much time before it shuts down. Here are few random quotes for you. Please add your favorite quote in the comment box. I would love to collect any interesting and or funny quotes.

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein

Nothing is worth more than this day.
You cannot relive yesterday.
Tomorrow is still beyond our reach.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.
Helen Keller

First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do.

Epictetus

Happy Anniversary

..to my blog. Today, I received the “Happy Anniversary” notification from word press telling me that it has been 3 years that I have started this.  Sadly, as I keep iterating the idea behind this blog creation, is to find something, I am passionate about. I did not find it yet. I am still hopeful and the day I find it, you, my dear readers will be the first one’s to know about it.

Ever since, I got hooked onto blogging world, not necessarily I write most of the time, I spend hours and days at a time to read some interesting blogs. I have followed numerous blogs and still counting, some of them were interesting that I regularly check back and look forward for posts. It opened a new world to me.  I take this day as an opportunity to appreciate all of my readers, for reading and giving me suggestions for my confused state of questions. Thank you, Thank you!

My top 10 picks as of now, in no particular order, which might change depending on whether they continue to write. I enjoy reading some of their posts.

Indian Home Maker

Words set me free

Madh-Mama

Preethi Shenoy

Shails Nest

Peppered Thoughts

Boiling Wok

A splash of my life

Becoming Minimalist – I highly recommend you to go through this, it is amazing. Live life with less.

Trash is for tossers

There are some more that does not come to my mind right away, but I am planning to make a tab and add the blog lists that I think are interesting.  There are some food blogs, minimalist blogs, go green blogs, finance blogs which will be listed soon.

Please give them a shot and you might just fall in love with the bloggers out there.

Beautiful Spring flowers

Never knew, this cacti could flower this many flowers, a picture straight from Arizona

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flowering cactus

From here in NYC, the tulips and daffodils(?, this i am not sure and appreciate if you know it, appreciate you telling me what the yellow flowers are) and many other variety of flowers were planted on the streets of NYC, but these seem obvious everywhere. They are so beautiful.

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Tulips

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Daffodils (? may be)

Whatsappingg

Yes.. whatsapping is a new term that caught up in the recept past. Just like facebooking, orkutting, myspacing..oh wait is that publicly acceptable lingo? oh well.. we use it all the time..like

When some one asks me what are you doing?

I say either facebooking or whatsapping.. *sigh*  

Ever since I installed whats app on “my smart phone” .. i’ve started whatsapping with people that I never thought would get back in touch with. I must have only spoken to few over the phone but now I see their picture and replace my imaginary picture with real one.

It is also irritating when some one looks at “Last Seen time” and complain that I did not reply back.. oh well.. with great things comes silliest problems too.

Overall.. I am addicted and this picture that has been circulating widely on whats app lately been whatsapped to me as well.. 

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I definitely need to visit this whatsapp de-addiction center..Do you think you need tooo as well?

Mushroom Salad

Ok.. again, not my own recipe but this is from our regional TV channel and you probably will not understand even if I post the youtube link here or perhaps you might have already have this kind in your list… and Yet, I’ll give it out anyway for you to try this version out.

Cooking time is literally less than 5 minutes. Cutting vegetables is what consumes more time specially if you need to make enough salad for 2 or side for 4.

Recipe:

a) 7-8 white mushrooms  – cut into thin slices and kept in warm water for just 2 minutes.

b) 2 Green peppers, 2 Yellow peppers, 1 Red pepper – cut into thin slices diagonally (You can do it with one alone, or have another RED color added as well.. I added varied colored pepper for a colorful Salad)

c) Grounded black pepper powder – 1/4 tbsp

d) Salt – for taste

e) Green beans – 2 handfuls – cut into 1 inch slices and boil them

f) 2 medium sized Carrots – boiled – cut into 1 inch thin slices and boil them 

g) Olive oil – 1 tbsp

h) Garlic Cloves – 5-6 – minced

Procedure:

Heat the pan, pour olive oil, when it gets heated 

add minced garlic cloves, then add bell pepper mixture (green, red and yellow), sautee for about a minute or two, then add sliced mushrooms and mix it thoroughly, then add boiled green beans, carrots, black pepper powder, salt and mix it thoroughly and turn off the stove. Voila..  it’s ready to serve.. and guess what it tasted delicious. Mushrooms retained their crunchiness and I topped it with walnuts. 

Here is the result… yummmmm

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Mushroom Salad – Vegetarian

 A healthy and delicious meal is ready to eat.. and couldn’t be more happier for such a simple and easy recipe. 

Let me know what you think?

 

Inspiration …

Image src: rugusavay.com

I woke up exhausted this morning and shoot out an email to my boss stating I would be coming in late to work.

I am exhausted, stressed out beyond some reason that I know the problem and at this moment I cannot in any possible way hope to find a solution.. time is the greatest gift. Since, I could not inspire myself on my own..I looked for external source of inspiration. 

Here are couple of quotes that I liked so far by Swami Vivekananda

“Talk to yourself once in a day…otherwise you may miss meeting an excellent person in this world”

 “Anything that makes weak – physically, intellectually and spiritually, reject it as poison.” 

Speaking to self is something I avoid so much, it is just hard for me to do that and I hope to do it some day soon. Discipline is something I have been lacking regularly.. and I should be working on it.

With this rejuvenated energy, I will have an amazing time at work and be back with great post this evening about musings from my India trip.

Snow in East Coast – few clicks

So yes, it snowed bit heavily yesterday and it’s 8 inches of thickness by the end of it. I stayed indoors and curled up with a blanket and tried working from home. (Yes, an added advantage of being in IT industry)

oh boy, it was so beautiful while it snowed and this morning when it stopped. The entire city was painted white..so bright and beautiful.

Here are few pictures that I clicked on my way today.

snow

A tree full of snow on it’s branches ..how delightful.

And here is the snow fall in inches you could see.. perhaps hard to measure!

Snow

Snow.. look at the height of the snow on top of this brick wall.

Here is another beautiful Christmas-sy tree that caught my attention and it looked absolutely beautiful for me. I could not stop myself clicking this picture.

Snow

Christmas tree burdened with snow on it. Such a beautiful sight.

More later..!