Saturday, December 29, 2007

bLaugh funny

Another great one from the folks at bLaugh. It's an old one, but it's really great. I do hope they will start adding new cartoons on a more regular basis in the coming year. Until then, I am digging out some of the older ones. Enjoy!

Are You a Twitter Ninja?

On packing and moving

Well, the new year is almost here and I wonder what it will hold for us. We've just moved this year, so it's unlikely that we'll be moving again in the coming year, so that is one relief. In any case, I will be holding on to details of these New York movers just in case we need to be moving again. There is nothing more important than having a good moving company to take care of everything for you. It's what lets you keep your sanity and considering the number of times we've been moving, it's something that is required.

The first time I did an overseas move, I had to pack everything myself and ship it to an agent who crated all my boxes together in a wooden box and shipped them to me. I received my stuff three months later in perfect condition, although the customs agents swiped a couple of items from my boxes while it was being inspected. I didn't even find out about it until I opened everything and found several items to be missing. Then I remembered one chap peering intently into the box where I had packed the missing items, so it all added up. Oh well, it wasn't too much of a loss anyhow. The point of the matter is that unless you have a professional packer, you're always going to get into scrapes like this. So I learned my lesson well and from then on only hired the best and the brightest of the packing world.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A busy year for Blogger

2007 has been quite a busy year for Blogger, with the new version of Blogger becoming available, a variety of new widgets for the sidebar, availability in 26 languages, transliteration in Hindi, Blogger photos in Picasa, autosave, profile search, video upload, Blogger Play and so much more. In fact, when I went through their list, I realized that there was some new stuff that I totally missed and will now go back and check out and probably add to my blog. I have been using Blogger since 2004 and since it was my first blog platform, I got quite attached to it. I do have a Wordpress blog and love the way I can tweak it in a way that Blogger just is not able to, but then there are lots of advantages of this system as well. For one, it is great for a beginner and for someone who is not able to devote too much time in crafting a unique blog theme for themselves. I love their drag and drop menus, which make it so easy to move things around, add things, take stuff out and best of all, be done in just a few minutes, all without having to consult a manual. Looking forward to all the good stuff Blogger will come up with next year. Check out a full list of what they have been up to on the Blogger Buzz blog.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Philippines: a whole new world

Just when I've been thinking that things are getting a bit boring and we're getting stuck in too much of a routine and repetition about our travel plans, I find out about some incredible destinations in the Philippines. OK, I know, it's not as if I didn't know about it earlier, but for some reason it was never on my travel radar, as I assumed it to be a hot and crowded urban sprawl. Well, it's not and once you leave the cities, Philippines offers some pretty spectacular sights, for beach lovers, nature lovers and adventurers, high end as well as budget travelers.

The thing about traveling to new places is that it opens up our mind and by deciding on a destination beforehand is like simply closing your eyes, which is a such a waste, right? So, with the new year's coming up, I have decided to be more open about new destinations and not let my pre-conceived notions or lack of information get in the way.

OK, back to the Philippines and what started this whole thing is that I got a comment from the Travels and Tours blog site and so went there to have a look and became totally enchanted with visiting places like Cebu or Illigan City or the numerous other destinations that would be just super to visit. As with any new destination, one needs so much information about the place, accommodation, food, culture, flights, etc and Travel and Tours seems to have a pretty good job and giving lots of information on each destination, making it easier to figure it all out.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Music from the stereo or cable?

After the hectic rounds of shopping to set up home, we have not been able to do any follow ups at all, and so whatever was left then, still remains to be done. Thankfully, there is not much stuff left to be done, and we need just odd pieces here and there, such as a shelving unit for the pantry, a console table for the hallway and a stereo cabinet of some sort. So far, we've been listening to music on the DVD player but need to get around to buying a stereo system with a 5 CD changer, so we don't need to change the CDs so often.

What has delayed the process is that we get some really great music via our cable. There are 10 channels of music ranging from dance, rock, hit-list, classical, jazz, country, world carnival, urban, easy listening and love songs. There are no ads on it at all, and the music plays on and on for as long as you want it. We listen to the classical, jazz and urban channels quite often and so haven't really been in a rush to get around to buying a proper music system.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No vacation this time around

OK, so our holiday weekend plan is officially off, since I haven't been able to book a place that I liked and also since I have been dumped with a ton load of assignments all of a sudden. That's the bad part of being a freelancer, the holidays of the country that I stay in don't coincide with the holidays of my clients, so the end result is that I usually end up working during the holidays as well. During Thanksgiving time, since most US writers were on vacation, I had tons of work and the same seems to be happening now with Christmas coming up. As a freelancer, I do get to take a lot of time off in longer stretches, but a lot of time, I end up working when everyone around me is on vacation. So, as you can see, I am currently quite bummed out. Hope to shake off the mood asap though :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Do you know a "granny pirate"?

I couldn't resist putting up another cartoon from bLaugh. It turns out there are tons of old cartoons that I have not seen as yet. I started exploring some of the older ones, when I found this one that I really wanted to share out here. Enjoy, its a good one!

Granny Pirate

Coming to terms with problems

There are lots of places one goes to take a break, but it seems that lately, the most happening places have to do with drug rehabilitation of some sort. Teenagers and young adults are only following the precedence set by celebrities and are going in for such treatments more openly now. While once it was considered something to be hidden, these days people are quite proud of the fact that they are able to face their problems head on and take steps to fix them. Not so sure how well this system will function in the long run, but for now it seems that more younger people are making the decision to get professional help.

Umm, could it be more obvious?

Found this funny cartoon on bLaugh. It's quite an old one, but surprisingly I hadn't seen it before. I love almost everything I have seen on bLaugh, their cartoons really hit the spot. Enjoy!

What is it Boy?

Traveling the home exchange way

Finding a nice place to go to for the holidays is not easy work if you start off late. We've been searching for a nice 3-4 day vacation and have not been able to find either a nice place to stay or any special deals. Part of the problem is that our area of search is rather limited, since my visa is being processed and I cannot leave the country. But, if I could, we would be on our way to some place like Cyprus or Croatia!

I think I am through looking for nice cozy hotels to stay at though, and am now seriously thinking about doing a home exchange program, where we stay in someone's home and they or someone else stays in ours. At first, it seemed like a bit too much, to have someone stay in our home when we're not there, but it seems to make sense the more you think about it. After all, we could go and stay in someone else's house as well.

One of the best sites for home exchanges is JewettStreet, about which I have been planning to write for simply ages. JewettStreet.com is THE place to head to for any and all kind of information on home exchanges, and to find your perfect place. I have several destinations and homes in mind and would love to plan a trip for sometime next year. It really is becoming one of the best ways to see a new city or country and besides the small annual fee, your entire stay is free. What's better than a free vacation? More vacation time!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Are you hoping for a ring this Christmas?

In the holiday season there seems to be no better present than gifting diamond rings. Well, if you ask me, there is no perfect time to give or get a diamond ring, as it is the gift that makes it all perfect. For a lot of consumers, diamond rings are the best way to make Christmas seem magical and special, and retailers are aware of this sentiment and come up with some sensational offers to tempt customers. The variety and prices of diamond rings is really getting to be quite amazing, so it really is possible to own a diamond ring no matter how small your budget might be. Are

The new alternative: Neighborrow.com

Have you heard about a site called Neighborrow.com? I read about it in the comment section of Apartment Therapy New York today and I had to go deeper to seeing what it was all about. It's a simpler and both cost and time effective method of getting products and services to those who need them. You can find your neighborhood and find items that you would like to borrow or trade. So whether it is a sofa bed that you need to borrow for some house guests or some DVDs for the weekend, it's all made quite simple through the people at neighborrow.

Through a wine bottle

I don't think I ever put this photo up here before. Its a picture of the view out of our old kitchen window, through some old bottles of wine. I love colored glass and love to display it in front of a window or an a ledge, and somehow this these bottles looked really nice on the windowsill. I had to toss all my colored glass collection when we moved here, so the photos are all I have left of them.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Las Vegas beckons!

The holidays are almost here, so are you all set for a nice fun vacation? Interestingly a great place to go to around the holidays is Las Vegas, which is not only about gambling any more. If you want a nice relaxing spa weekend that is also possible in Las Vegas, and remember the city is not only for the richest of the rich, there are plenty of discount hotels Las Vegas as well. Whether it is for a quick gambling weekend break for for a nice long shopping and spa vacation, Las Vegas really has something for everyone. Don't be wary of the city, don't underestimate it, and don't stay away from it for too long!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Flickr dilemma

I've been working a lot to sort out my pictures on Flickr and Picasa lately. I seem to have lots of doubles for some reason between these two photo storage solutions besides the photographs I have saved on my computer as well. For some reason, I have two huge batches of photographs on Flickr that I do not have on my computer anymore (or on Picasa either) and so need to download them one by one, unless someone knows if it is possible to download a batch from Flickr?

It sounds really tedious and time consuming but if I want those pictures, there is no other way I guess. When I switched from Yahoo photos to Flickr, they said it again and again, that there would be absolutely no restrictions at all and that the service would always be free, but now it seems that as a free account holder, I can only access 200 of my photos and the rest will stay 'hidden' until I delete some of the visible ones to free up some space.

Here's one of my favorite photos that I have taken. It was taken while we were driving along Cayuga Lake, just north of Ithaca, NY. This is a small version, since the larger one does not fit here. Click on the photo to see it in all its glory!

Driving along Cayuga Lake, NY

Friday, December 07, 2007

An old one

Here's an old post that I wanted to share. It somehow ended up in my draft box, so I thought I would post it now.

Delhi's been getting a lot of bad press lately with the sealings of commercial establishments in non-commercial zones, the way the Delhi Police handled the situation and the riots. Sunil Sethi writes about the rise of anger and hatred in the city.
An excerpt:
I have seldom seen the city gripped by such a prolonged series of panic attacks -- not even in its worst moments of crisis such as the anti-Sikh riots that erupted after the Indira Gandhi assassination. People are worried about their homes, their work places, their livelihoods, their future; the uncertainty has added up to a trauma seemingly without end.

Read the full article here in Rediff.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Home office blues

One of my agenda's of late has been setting up a nice home office for myself, replete with all kinds of paper, post-it notes, advertising pens, clips, magnets and so on. Since I work from home, it is a good idea to segregate my work area from my regular computer use also, I thought. I have cut back quite a bit on my working hours in the past few months, but still need to have a good set up that I can go to and finish any work I might have as soon as possible. I like to be organized and this is one way to take care of that for me.

Where should we go for a vacation?

It's been a while since I blogged, just got busy in my work and somehow time flew by. Besides work, I have been busy trying to find a nice getaway for the end of the month. yes, I know the timing is really bad, to start looking for a Christmas/New Years Eve vacation at the beginning of December, but I thought it would be a good way to check out some of the last minute travel sites that I have been writing about. Well, things do not always work out quite as well as they should, and so far I have not been able to find either a flight or a hotel/B&B of my choice and within my budget.

My destinations of choice are Egypt, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey and Greece, all warm weather destinations that are full during the winter season. There were lots of great deals to Egypt if one traveled at the beginning of the month, buy nothing after the 10th of December. I'm wondering if we should just shelve the plan and look out for something in these locations at the end of January, after which we will not be able to go, since we will be having guests come stay with us, as well as a business conference to attend. We had already planned to take a trip back home sometime in Feb or Mar and don't want to give that up either.

Hmmm....lets see what happens....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Working without interruptions

If you work on the internet for any amount of time, you realize the importance to doing work without interruptions right? The worst kind of interruptions on the internet happen due to pop-ups, which drive me crazy. Unless you have a decent popup blocker, you simply cannot do any work online. I invested in a good pop up blocker that came with my anti-virus program along with the pop-up blockers with the downloadable toolbars. The best option is to go for a specific pop up blocker, so you can be sure that your computer is safe from malware, spyware and so on.

Accessing market reports

All fields related to market research and search engine optimization are doing incredibly well. A new company for Search Engine service focusing on market research reports, called ReportLinker crossed 10,000 beta testers in just 3 weeks. The company has caught the attention of Internet professional from across the world and is one of the first professional search engines that gives users access to free market reports that are available on the "deep web" or the "invisible web". Most reports have been published by trusted sources such as ministries, embassies and trade unions and can be accessed on the Internet.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Real estate investments

No matter what age you are, it's never too early to start on your investments I believe. One never really knows when one will require money at a short notice and it's always good to have a backup at hand. While real estate is not a short term investment, it is one of the most reliable methods of investment that there is and if you select wisely, you will be able to create a nice little nest egg, before you retire. It is a simple way to create wealth for your future and a lot of consumers don't even bother thinking about real estate investments seriously, but if you start early, you're sure to get a great deal of profit from your investment.

Debt is part of our lives now

Most consumers get dependent on credit cards early on as college students, trying to study, work and pay for expenses for tuition, books, accommodation. It's not an easy act to juggle for anyone, but for someone just coming into being independent it much harder. Almost everyone who has a college degree has a student loan and credit card debt. It just goes with the territory, as they say on campus, it's just the way it is. Things are changing on college campuses though, security cameras on every corner. Colleges are becoming more real world and need to be guarded just like any other public space.

Since there really is no way to avoid credit card debt, maybe we should focus on education younger consumers on making better choices as well as on ways to deal with it. It is important to know how credit cards work, how to apply for loans, and all other issues dealing with debt. This education in itself will prove to be immensely valuable over a period of a lifetime for most consumers. College is a time of discovery and exploration and not one to be spent worrying and being anxious about the future. Although almost every college student graduates with debt, it is essential to put it in perspective of the value of the education gained. It's definitely a great time to make the most of new ideas and opportunities, and learning how to deal with debt is just one part of the complete experience.

A lot of college students are dealing with debt by making money online, which has really caught on in the past few years. There is a lot of money transacted on the Internet, especially at the top five online businesses. While you can't hope to become that successful overnight, or even in 2 or five years, it is possible to aspire to those levels, right? I'd say that anything and everything is possible due to the Internet and on the Internet.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A gift for your home

Since we're talking of things to buy for Christmas, I thought I would write about one of the most popular things for homeowners to buy, a new set of toilets for your home! While it's not the traditional gifting kind of item, it's certainly a good gift for your home and with lots of guests for the holidays, it's a nice way to make every part of your home look nice. The marketing of these items has really changed quite a bit, with a major toilet paper manufacturer even opening up public loos in NYC. It's kind of like pop up stores meets gorilla marketing.

Black Friday is here...

Today is the big day. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year is here and retailers and shoppers are both wary. Retailers are hoping that consumers will open their wallets and consumers are keen to see special deals that will entice them to spend more. If consumers are happy with what they find in the stores on Black Friday, they are likely to come back and shop more for Christmas in the coming weeks as well. It is the day that decides the fortunes of most retailers, and thus it was named Black Friday, for it was the day that numbers went into the black for them. I'm waiting to see the numbers for the day and compare them to last years figures.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Traveling lighter

I recently got a new Samsonite suitcase, since my old one was in a bad shape thanks to being tossed around at the airport on a regular basis. With luggage restrictions getting so much more stringent, one really couldn't travel with the older larger suitcases anyway and had to go in for smaller bags. Earlier most airlines counted your luggage per piece when flying internationally and didn't even bother with the weight, but now they have become really strict and if one uses the larger suitcases, everything becomes a mess inside since it's not even close to being full. I'm hoping my new suitcase will last long enough till the airlines come up with the next set of baggage restrictions.

residency getting nearer...

It's been one helluva busy day today. We've been out of the house since 7am and just got back at 630pm. It has been a productive day thought, I went for the medical test for my residency, so that process is well along its way now just needs a bit more patience. I'm surprised at how long the entire process has taken, although I believe that it is quite normal considering the kind of rush there is. Well, the sooner this gets done, the easier it will become to get all our other things done and settle in faster.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How often do you write letters?

Not very often, I'm sure. Interestingly, in our new home we do not have any mailboxes. In fact, none of our neighbors have one either. The concept of getting real mail is really reducing and that's quite a scary thought. Most of the time one only gets junk mail and maybe on special occasions one receives a card or two from friends and family. I've always been fond of writing and receiving letters and lately, even I have stopped writing letters altogether, which is a rather scary thought. I have to get back to writing proper letters again, rather than just communicating via emails.

Plan your Disney vacation in advance

I wrote earlier about Orlando being a great place for family vacations mainly due to the fact that Disney World was located there. Well, it is the largest theme park in the world and has millions of fans, who never tire coming back even when they are all grown up. There are lots of sites where you can get Disney tickets online, before you head for Orlando, so you can budget your vacation properly. Tickets are one of the main reason some people don't go to Disney World, but now you don't need to worry, since you are sure to find some great deals online. One of the options is to get a "Disney Magic Your Way" ticket that has options for one to then days. Besides all the theme parks, other great places to visit are Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Tickets for dinner shows, Sea World, Kennedy Space Center are also available online.

The gift of light

Continuing on from the last post where I wrote about buying the right gifts for friends and family, I'm thinking of buying a ceiling light, but since it can't possibly be a gift for any person, I think I'm just going to consider it as a gift to my new home. After all, one's home needs to look nice for the holiday's as well and nothing makes a home look nicer than the right kind of lighting, right? I've always thought so and I don't understand why so many people don't get it and live their lives in unflattering and bad light.

What kind of gift giver are you?

Since its the time of giving gifts, or at least time to think of things to give friends and family, I thought I'd share my quiz results on what kind of gift giver I am. While all the quizzes at Blogthings are quite interesting, this one was better than most. I've taken several quizzes on their site and most come up with cute results, cute enough to want to put on your blog, that is. Here are the results of my quiz.

You Are a Practical Gift Giver

Your gifts are useful, appropriate, and custom tailored to each person.
In your opinion, the best gifts are gifts that someone will actually use.
Your gifts may not be the most glamourous, but they are always appreciated.

Being aware of the environment

Our neighbors are putting up a set of solar lights and I've been quite curious as to how they will function in this intense heat. Solar panels are known to best work in medium sunlight and if you have too much of sunshine, it just gets reflected off the panels. The fact that they are making an effort to help the environment is a worthy one though, and from all our neighbors they are the most proactive when it comes to the environment and the outdoors. They have been working diligently to create a little garden area in front of their apartment and it is starting to come together now.

Using search engines to plan vacations


If you're like me, then you like to start your vacation planning well in advance. I have a lot of sites that I bookmark and have ready for when I need to find a great deal, sometimes even a last minute deal. One of the sites that I frequent is a travel search engine Bezurk, which has a good selection of flights, hotels, car rentals, activities and so on. Bezurk uses multiple sites to find the best deals available, so you don't need to waste time doing that. One of the places that I have on my radar is Cypress, which I have heard just so much about and really want to spend 4-5 days, both exploring and relaxing. I still don't know enough about Cypress to know where we should go, even to which airport we should land. So, that's what I need to focus on first.

A trip to the hills

Thinking about past vacations reminded me of the time I went to Branson Missouri from when I worked in Kansas City. It was a really nice drive through the Ozark Mountains and quite magical because of the rainy and misty weather we had that weekend. I always wanted to go back again after that trip, but never managed to return, even though it was relatively close by. Just goes to show, that one must make the most of it, no matter where one is in life, since you really don't know what will happen in the future. I had lots of pictures from my Branson trip, since I had recently bought a camera, but I wonder where those pictures are after so many years.

Is it time for our next vacation?

Even though we've been traveling quite a bit lately, we really haven't been able to take a total break since March this year, when we spent close to a week in Goa. I'm not sure when we'll be able to go for another vacation, but I'm getting mighty tempted to squeeze in at least a weekend break before the end of the year. So, that is my next agenda, to look through some sites that I have bookmarked and find a nice place to head out to for the weekend. While I'm reminiscing, here's a nice picture from our beach vacation.

Heading to the beach in Goa

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Finding the perfect console

The number of furniture stores that we've visited in the past few months is not funny. While we have bought most of the major items, we're still looking for several smaller pieces such as a console table, a small desk that doesn't look too work-like, a utility counter and shelves for the pantry and so on. It seems kind of endless, but in a way its also more fun, since as we live and get used to the space in our home, we understand that will work best in it much more than if we had bought everything in one go.

Thanksgiving is almost here

Thanksgiving is around the corner already and its hard to believe the the year is almost to an end. Living in warmer weather makes it all the more harder, since I always associate it with colder weather and it's not getting much colder here. Over the years, we've started to enjoy the little intricacies of the day and try to recreate an authentic atmosphere for it, no matter where in the world we actually are. Unfotunatley, not too many others know about Thanksgiving here, so we're having a hard time getting hold of some roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

For computer stuff...

When it comes to computer stuff, there are a ton of new variants and selections coming out every second day and if you're unsure of which hard drive to get, then its best to go ask the experts. I have to get a new battery for my laptop and I have been delaying it quite a bit, since I'm not quite sure where it will be available and am dreading the run around. I think the best way to get one would be to order it online and have it delivered to my door. I do hope I can find it easily, since I have not been able to use my laptop as freely as I normally would because of the battery.

Accessing Flickr

I'm so thrilled that I can access my Flickr account again after so many months. Since Yahoo photos closed down, all my pics are now in Flickr and I wasn't able to open it here since the site was blocked, but I found a nifty little code that bypasses the block in Firefox and lets you view it as usual. It was really quite a nice find actually. Here is the free download of the addon. Check it out, download it and have fun with Flickr!

Daily flowers

I love to have fresh flowers in my home and lately I haven't been able to get a steady supply of them established. Usually, I have a weekly routine of getting a lot of wholesale flowers that last me through the week and have my home looking great, but since moving to our new home, I haven't found a place that stocks the kind of flowers I like. I do hope I will manage finding one soon, maybe even one that delivers right to my door, like I had earlier.

Create a slide show in your sidebar

Just saw that Blogger has added a fun new tool where you can add pictures from Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket etc and create a slide show in your sidebar. I think its a great idea and think I might even remove my single pic at the top of the sidebar and replace it with this. The pictures that you add to the slide show fade into one another, so it will keep things interesting and dynamic, but still personal, unlike the shadow box I had earlier, where the pictures were not mine. Hoping to get mine set up later on today.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My first bank account

I opened my first checking account as a teenager and was absolutely thrilled at the prospect of having my own checkbook and earning some interest on the money in my account. It was a thrilling time and it feels like it happened a lifetime ago. I have come a long way from then and have learnt a lot about banking and finance since then, but there are lots of things that I still do not understand about the banking world. A checking account is a good place to start off though, and I look back fondly on those early days.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blaugh is back in business!

Yipppee! Blaugh is back! I'm so glad to see them up and running again, after a gap of over two months I think, but what felt like a lot more. They have added new rating system for viewers to rate the cartoons and see a list of the top rated cartoons on the top right hand side of the page. While the figures are the same as before, the text in the dialog balloons is all in caps now, which seems a bit too heavy handed, and will take me some time to get used to. Here's one of the new cartoons. Enjoy!!

Business Blogging Blunder

The impact of the internet

The interesting thing about the internet is that it makes it all possible, whether you're looking for a pet or some medical supplies, it can all be found on the internet. It's quite unbelievable how it has changed the way we live, work and spend our money now. It would have been impossible to do anything even similar 30 years ago, and that's what makes this technology just so fascinating and intriguing. It will definitely be interesting to see how it progresses and how we change our lives to adapt to it in the future.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Are you in the list of top 100 prolific bloggers?

I've been blogging so long now that I've lost track of how many posts I had, until I read a post on the Top 100 Most Prolific Bloggers, of which I am a part of. When the list was compiled in March 2007 by Bill Belew, and then updated at ProlificBloggers.wetpaint.com, I was at #81 with 1149 posts. I now have 1877 posts (including this one) on this blog, plus 2479 blog posts on my other 4 blogs, giving me a total of 4356 blog posts all combined. Wow! Until you sit and add it all up, it never seems like that many. All I can say, is that I have really enjoyed my blogging ride and hope to continue it, albeit in a slightly different direction this time around.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Playing with the pictures



Ever since I got back from the wedding and my vacation, I've been pottering around with my 275 pictures, cleaning them up, brightening them up, removing the red eyes etc. I downloaded the Adobe Photo Album Starter to help me do all of this and more. While it doesn't seem quite as friendly as the Picassa or Yahoo photo options that I am used to, it is still pretty good. I sent some pictures on it to family, but the captions underneath mysteriously dissappeared.....so I still have to figure that out as yet. But so far so good....



Anyhow, here are a couple of my favorite pictures from the the wedding.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Where to stay for a ski vacation

I've always been big on traveling and with the amount of traveling we've been doing these past few years, I feel that I have seen a lot even though there are innumerable places that still need to be visited. Since I grew up in the mountains, I'm a big fan of driving up to the hills and spending some time in higher climes, and one of the places that I really want to go to is Aspen, Lake Placid or any other similar winter resort. There are some pretty amazing Whistler Condos that one can rent for a week or a month and really get to live like a local.

To me that's a huge part in really enjoying a vacation, to be able to stay in a wonderful location and in a place that does not scream hotel. I'd much rather stay in a place with 2-3 bedrooms so when we travel as a family we can all be together, instead of shuttling off of our respective bedrooms. The accommodation provided by Whistler Condos is varied, so it will be easy to find just the kind of place you like to stay in and Aloha Whistler is one of the premier places to find accommodation for any ski resort.

For any kind of family vacation, I find it best to find large accommodation that has 2-3 bedrooms and is adaptable to a variety of uses, whether one wants a hectic ski vacation or a nice quiet time sitting by the fire. That's what seems to be really great about these Whistler Condos is that they seem to be able to offer it all to everyone. For more details check out their website.

Picture vacation

It's been a really hectic time for the past month, but we've managed to do a lot of stuff, from attending a wedding, doing lots of shopping, planning and organizing stuff for all the functions and take tons and tons of pictures. I had a total of 275 pictures on my digital camera and after going through them I ended up deleting about 6 of them and so ended up with a really nice stock of pictures.

I hadn't planned on taking so many pictures, since I now don't know what to do with them, and have to organize and send them to lots of friends and family, which is actually going to be a great way to keep in touch I guess. I also got to play around with my camera settings quite a bit, from party scenes to night scenes to candle light and fireworks. It's been a really fun experience using this camera and I've learned how to use it to get pictures possible.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Vacation in style every time

The one thing that we have realized that there is nothing quite like a vacation where you can relax and feel completely at home, as one can do when goes on a longer vacation and rents a condo instead of staying at a hotel. Where at one time, it was hard to find such places to go to, now one has a huge variety of places one can find information on vacation rentals. Besides, there are also lots of Free vacation rental listings on vacation sites as well as on such as Craiglist etc, where users can post pictures and information on their vacation or condo listing.

I've really been thinking of planning a trek to the mountains and so was quite happy to find a listing for a Telluride vacation rental, which I can use as a base for a couple of different treks. Luxurious, I know, but why not, it's definitely worth every penny you rent it for and combined with a trek it will be a great combination. I've never really looked out for Free condo rental listings, but I think I need to pay more attention to them, as there are lots of amazing deals out there for avid travelers.

Starting an annual treking routine

While I've been traveling quite a bit this past year, what I haven't done and am really missing is a nice long trek. Ever since I was in school, I have been going on annual treks and have really enjoyed the experience of it, but lately work and family have caught up and this part of my life has been neglected. I do hope to start off on an annual routine of treks once again once we settle down a bit. Almost all of my treks have been in the mountains, some relatively simple and others really quite strenuous. One of the last treks I went on several years ago was one of the hardest, but as is usually the case, one of the most memorable and I look forward to doing similar treks in the future. Churdhar Peak is a trek that a lot of people have gone on, but due to our lack of acclimatization and rush to head back it turned out to be rather hard.

Travel to Germany this winter


One of my hubby's favorite destinations is Germany, since he studied in the German speaking part of Switzerland and loves everything about the area. One summer he traveled through the countryside, visiting all the castles along the Rhine. The one area that I am especially keen on traveling to is Bavaria, since it is one of places that my parents spent some time when they were young, staying at several hotels in Germany and really enjoyed the amazing beauty of the area.

The best time to visit Germany is of course around Octoberfest, when everything revolves around beer, beer and more beer. Berlin is a great place to head to for getting a real view of the festive season and hotels in Berlin are hard to find unless you book well in advance. There are lots of last minute deals available at sites like Cheaperthanhotels.co.uk, so it's a good place to head to if you want to make a last minute trip or one planned well in advance. Visiting Berlin means a trip to the Brandenburg Gates, the most famous symbol of the city, which was built in the late 1700s.

On the other hand, hotels in Munich are relatively easy to find, whether its luxury or budget accommodation that you're looking for. No matter when you go, Germany is a great destination. Winter is a magical time as well, especially if you go for the winter lights festival that is held in Berlin each year. The lights around the Brandenburg Gate are a sight to see as you'll see from the above picture.

Kind of back on track

Well, I should have got back to work a while ago, but it seems that my vacation of sorts is still continuing. I have been on a bread since the beginning of October and had planned to be out of the loop only for a couple of weeks, which was turned into a full month of vacation and traveling. It has been a thoroughly fun trip, especially the wedding which was the most fun wedding ever. I danced and danced to such an extent that I broke both my heels!! More pics and information later on.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The changing nature of air travelers

Once one starts to travel on a regular basis, it seems like it becomes almost a second nature of sorts. I have been traveling rather regularly in the past two years, both domestically and internationally and now the initial excitement that used to come from flying here and flying there has reduced to now feeling something of a chore. Flying on the whole has changed completely in the past few years, with the rise of so many newer airlines and newer ways of check-in procedures. The average air traveler has also changed entirely in the last few years, with more and more die hard railway travelers switching over to flights. It's been a very interesting phenomenon to watch, especially when one is sitting at an airport lounge waiting for one's flight, to spot first time travelers from seasoned fliers.

A Hawaiian beach vacation

Nothing like coming back from a vacation and dreaming of the next one, right? Well, I just got back from a really great trip home and am now thinking that it's time to plan a proper vacation just for the two of us. A really great spot would be this Poipu Kai resort, where we could just chill and do absolutely nothing at all, but eat, sleep and take in the amazing natural beauty of Kauai.

I was quite impressed with the Kauai vacation rentals I saw at Grantham Resorts, since they really are the kind of places we like to visit and stay at. All of Hawaii is spectacular, but I think Kauai is one of the best locations in the state. There is a wide variety of Kauai resorts, so you can stay at just the kind of place you like, whether it is a condo or a beach bungalow or a villa. Poipu beach is one of the best beaches in the world and until you've been there, you've not really traveled.

A peak into the wedding


Well, I really couldn't resist and wanted to do a quick post with one of my trip photographs, since it'll be a while until I sort all of them out. Here's a quick peak into one of the wedding functions. Actually, this is before the wedding at one of the earlier parties that were held and were a great blast. My camera setting was unintentional but the effect has come out rather interesting and I think I will be experimenting a lot more with this camera in the future. More pics later.

Taking advantage of collodial silver

Colloidal silver is in the news again, but while there is lots of information about it, the majority of people are still quite confused about what exactly it is and what it is used for. When the term 'colloidal silver' is used it means that there are silver particles and not silver ions, the smallest of which measure 0.65nm, ensuring that they are the purest form of silver. It also means that they are the highest purity methods with sterile reagent grade deionized water. In fact, colloidal silver is as pure as it can get in Mesosilver as it contains only pure water and pure silver. As long as you are not allergic to silver, you will be able to use this product, and if you want the genuine product then this is where you're going to get it. So, take advantage of the benefits of colloidal silver and use it to your benefit.

Back home

Well, after a long gap, I'm back to posting again. This stint will not be as regular as it was earlier, but it's a start at least. The wedding was simply fantastic, one of the most fun times I have ever had and the best wedding I have ever attended and been part of. It is a time that I will always remember with great fondness. I took close to 300 pictures and hope to put some up here as well, but it's going to take a bit of time to sort them out as yet. I'll be busy for another week as yet and hope to get it done after that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dishing on London

One of the best things about coming back home to be with my parents, is that we get to plan future vacations. Last summer, they spent a month traveling in the UK, with a couple of weeks in London and then driving around the country, including some time in Edinburgh for the Annual Festival. As frequent travelers and having traveled extensively across the UK and Europe, they are who I ask a lot of my travel advice, especially when it has to do with London accommodation, since they really are the experts on all things London.

Taking a vacation in the UK, is not the cheapest thing in the world, so knowning where to head to for cheap hotels can be a big help. What is really great about London is that there is a wide variety of accomodation, varying from the wildly expensive and super luxurious to the cozy bed and breakfasts, which is what makes it a really attractive destination for all kinds of travellers. I myself am a bit partial to staying in somewhat offbeat hotels, those that are not the generic type, which makes for a much more interesting vacation.

At home!

Surfacing again to blog a couple of posts after over a week. It's been a incredibly fun week, with lots of work and errands to do before the wedding and lots of parties and getogethers as well. The festivities started last night and it was a really fun time. Our trip to the hills, to Mussourie is looking a bit shaky as there is just no time for it, although we are still trying to squeeze it in after the wedding. Let's see what happens as yet.

Besides being away for college, this is the longest period of time that I have been away from home and it's really nice to come back and spend time here again. Time has really been flying the past couple of years, and before one realizes the years go by. Hope I can make trips back here on a more regular basis.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Away!

So, I'm all set for my trip for which I leave in a couple of hours. A die hard blogger, I guess, that I'm blogging away when I should be packing my bags and checking to see if my passport and ticket are in my bag! Oh well, to each their own, I guess. I will have lots to blog about in the next couple of weeks, hopefully with lots of pictures as well, but will probably end up posting them once I get back. So long!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's time to golf again

I wonder if I will get to take some time out to play a couple of rounds of golf while I'm home. The course is one of the busiest in the country and as someone who hasn't been playing regularly, I am a bit apprehensive of playing there, since every second person there is a pro, but these golf apparel ladies is a good way to start looking the part at least, if not playing the part. I started playing golf when I was 22 and my coach urged me to be serious about it, since I had a good swing, but I was never patient enough to stick with it on a regular basis. Let's home with time this will change.

Travel plans

So, getting all set to go on my trip in a couple of days. I can't believe that I'm actually going, after so much of see-sawing and even ultimately canceling the trip, I am actually going to go home. I am really looking forward to attending the wedding, as it will be a great time to catch up with old friends, some of whom I have not seen in several years. The fact that the trip has come up all of a sudden is throwing into a bit of a tizzy, since there is so much yet to be done, but I guess it can all be handled one way or another. So, there will be a bit of a break in my blog posts for the next couple of weeks. Will post some pics of my trip to the hills as well. I've never been to Mussourie (not sure of the spelling!!) as yet and I'm really looking forward to going there.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Health and nutrition trends

There seem to be an increasing number of advertisements for anything and everything to do with health and nutrition. Consumers seem to be placing a lot of emphasis on looking good and therefore products like muscle milk are getting a lot of publicity. Celebrity trends have always been something that the general public have followed and this is no exception, in fact it is more of a surety than anything else.

Digg away!

If you've noticed, I've recently added Digg buttons to the bottom of my posts. I have been wanted to do this for quite some time, but never knew exactly how and never really spent enough time to go through the search sites to find an answer. Well, I found the answer and it was really simple. So, now it is the easiest thing to submit any of my posts to Digg. So, here's to more diggs!

Don't ignore Perth on your next trip to Australia



Everyone knows just how much I love to travel, to visit new places, to explore a city and get to know its intricacies, and one of the places left to explore for me is Australia. I've heard so much about Australia from friends and family, that it's moving up on our list of place to visit. I like to research a city before going on a trip there and learned that there is an International Arts Festival held in Perth every year, so I think it would be wonderful to time a trip to be able to attend it as well. Collecting art and travel are my two passions, so what could be better? Good food? Yes Perth definitely has lots of good restaurants along with great shopping and sports events. Even hotels in Perth are influenced by the dynamic nature of the city and known to be quite amazing.


Some of the smaller cities like Perth and Adelaide don't get enough emphasis due to Sydney or Melbourne being such magnets, but these cities have a lot of offer tourists as well. While Melbourne accommodation can be relatively expensive, it is in a class of it's own. Adelaide being such as sporty town, gets tourists in batches for the cricket matches and other sports events and hotels in Adelaide, get filled up rather quickly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Decor sites

I've been spending a lot of time surfing interior design sites and blogs, and have found a real great cache of them. I quickly stored them all in my bookmarks and look forward to checking them everyday. I find it quite amazing how many design and craft blogs there are and it just takes a couple of seconds to do a search and find a whole new world of reading material and decor inspiration.

One of my newest finds was a site called SceneCasters, which is not essentially a design site, but it is a site where you can create your own room or "scene" and place furniture in it so get an idea of how it will look. The technology is especially useful for retailers or restaurateurs who want to configure their spaces before going out to buy items. I signed up for the site and will be plugging in the details and configuration of my apartment to see what extra items I can buy for the empty spaces I have.

Could I have become a realtor?

Just thinking of my impending trip makes me feel oh so positive about everything all of a sudden. Really nice how a vacation peps you up in advance as well, right. It's not only vacations that make me feel good, but also getting a chance to check out some Arizona luxury real estate and live vicariously for a while. I'm quite sure that if I hadn't gone into retail and textile marketing, I definitely would have become a real estate agent or appraiser or something or the other to do with houses and interiors.

Going on a break

Well, I will be taking a trip early next month and so will not be posting regularly here. It seems that I barely got back to working again and now I'm going on another break. But this is an important trip, since it is for the wedding of an old and dear friend, and I would have regretted not going for his wedding for the rest of my life. I'm quite sure of that. There were just so many complications that were making me think that it would just not be possible to take this trip, but in the end it seems that I will be going after all. I'm still not totally convinced that I'm actually going, since the decision has been going back and forth for the past few weeks. I am rally looking forward to not working at all and not feeling guilty about it either. Each time I go on vacation or rather go home, I end up working on and off, so in the end, I get neither a vacation nor a good paycheck. Well, it all stops now and I will not work at all for the 20 odd days that I am away.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Making a sale

Having the right point of sale system can be the difference in being successful or a failure. It's really as simple as that and I don't understand how some retailers just don't see the importance of a good PoS system. If you want to grow your business, then an investment in a reliable Pos system is s must and VisonPOS is one of the best in the business and even has some used point of sale systems, if you're just starting off and want to save some money.

As a retail analyst and as someone who has worked in the retail industry for over ten years, I have advised several small retailers to make this change and get some ibm pos equipment , even if it seems a bit too expensive for the moment, as it is something that is sure to pay off in the long term. Taking care of inventory is one of the most tedious procedures, but with a NCR point of sale, it becomes quite straightforward and simple. A lot of retailers tend to focus only on their long time customers, never thinking of expanding and this is one of the things that unfortunately get neglected.

RocketShotz: easy access to the web from your mobile phone


I love finding new stuff on the internet, new technology, new gadgets, new ways to do things and so on. Usually, I surf around and visit some of favorite haunts to find new stuff, but this time, it found me! Well, that's actually a completely different story which I will write about some other time.

What this new tool is simply a way to browse the internet using a mobile phone, wait it's not over yet, it does a lot more than just that. RocketShotz makes using the internet from your phone a much easier task, so whether you're looking for an ATM or need to book a flight, it can all be done via RocketShotz. By completely doing away with having to type URLs etc, it makes the web so much more accessible and friendlier too. RocketShotz is a free service and better yet, will always remain free, so you don't need to worry about having to pay for it at a later time. For anyone who travels a lot, this is a great service, since it can make being in a new city so much easier.

How RocketShotz works, is that you just need to set up your favorite mobile sites online and then transfer the icons to your mobile phone. It's really as simple as that. You can access sites using the icons on the screen and can organize them, put them in folders etc as you like. There is no software to download, so the process is really quite fast. Personally, I think it's a really great idea, since I hate having to type in web addresses on mobile phones, and RocketShotz takes care of exactly this problem. Check it out for yourself, you're going to love it, I'm sure.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The perfect home office solution

We got an entire new home office setup including a new colour printer, which is really nice, since I never had a printer earlier and used to print stuff out at work etc. Now we have an all-in-one printer that prints, makes copies, and scans, making life so much simpler and efficient. These Dell printers have to be one of the best inventions ever, I just love the way they work and manage to make everything so simple. To top it off there are no wires at all, taking away all those messy wires. The Dell 926 all-in-one Wireless Solution is a printer-scanner-copier all combined into one and is a great printer for the home and home office, and is able to handle a variety of printing jobs with great efficiency.

Missing bLaugh

What's going on with bLaugh? There haven't been any updates in over a month now and I'm really missing their insightful and witty takes on the blogging world. I loved the way they managed to tie in what's happening in the blog world to their cartoons and manage to do it all in just one picture. C'mon guys, where are you? Do start posting some new ones again.

Inspired travel

Ever since I read Iberia, written by James Michener I've always wanted to visit Spain. There is something about the country that has always fascinated me and I would love to go for a long vacation there, learning about the city beyond just being a tourist and understanding the local culture and people. The cities of Barcelona and Madrid are some of the places that are definitely on my list of must-visit places and one of the best sources of information on hotels in Spain is Hotels Espanol, a site that has information on everything from accommodation to restaurants to local culture.

A vacation should be above and beyond just the regular run around of tourist places and one of the things that can make it unique is staying at one of those hotels in Spain that offer culture, history, and ambiance all rolled into one. It's all about getting under the skin of a city, getting to know it and love it like the locals do and it's only possible to do so, if one has the right kind of information about an area. Barcelona and Madrid have long attracted tourists and travelers and are famous for both their natural beauty and cultural heritage. At Hotels Espanol, it is easy to find just what you want in Spain Hotels which makes it easy to find the best hotels and restaurants, along with local attractions that should not be missed.

Work, work and more work!

Lots of work to catch up with on the weekend unfortunately. I had hoped to finally get some rest from work, but it looks like I'll be working all weekend as well. Hmmm.....not too good of a start to the weekend, right? That's exactly what I'm thinking as well. Got to get a head start and get finished with my work and assignments before the weekend from next week onwards.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Taking pictures

Ever since I got a new digital camera, I've really started having fun with taking pictures. I never realized that digital cameras could even be so much fun. It makes the whole process so much simpler for someone who is not a photography expert and makes the experts so much better with detailing and setting up their shots. So for both users, digital cameras are a really good option. The clarity is simply amazing and the variety is endless. Get yours today and starting taking pictures!

No luck with good art lately

Have you checked out Etsy lately? It's been a while since I last visited the site and looked at new additions to all my favorite artists. The site seems to have a lot more of the casual art now, much more than earlier, making it much harder to browse through the artwork. Most of the art now seems to be just casual sketches and drawings, especially of the kiddish nature, which might be cute, but I seriously cannot see page after page of them. I wonder what happened?

Living by the sea

One of the most fun summer home locations would have to be along the coast of North Carolina. There are some really incredible beaches there where one can really let go of all one's stresses of the city life. Wilmington NC real estate is a good place to start searching for homes in the area, as they seem to have the latest and best information on houses, locations, decors and the like. Are you dreaming of owning a home by the sea already? I am!

Crazy day

It's been a crazy, crazy day today, with the water coming in short supply since the pipes got some silt lodged in, which in turn decided to lodge itself in my washing machine, making a regular load of clothes take about 5 hours to complete. The plumber finally arrived an hour back and cleaned up the pipes, so thankfully we're back to normal now. The plumber/electrician/gardener here are all completely unique, but will relate the story some other time.....

Family vacations

I think it is a great idea to plan vacations as a family. They are a great way to spend time together since one never really gets to spend a couple of weeks just visiting in the routine. Taking a Orlando rental home is a great way to be able to spend time together as a family and have fun as well. Our summer vacation was with our entire family, and we traveled together for 3 weeks. We had another family vacation in the winter, where we again managed to spend some quality time together as well.

Photos

Yesterday turned out to be a super hectic day, between getting errands, groceries, and some tests done. As usual, I can't wait for the weekend to be here, to catch up on some much needed r & r. I finally downloaded some of the pics from a couple of weeks back that I took on a trip to the Dubai Festival City. The complex is so much more than just a regular mall, it has been designed beautifully and there is something interesting to see no matter where you look. I love the fact that there are water features spread across the mall, and these are not your usual water features, these are innovative and absolutely unique. There is also a canal meandering through the buildings, where you can go for a ride if you want. I can't wait to visit in the winter, when one can sit outside overlooking the canal and the creek, and really enjoy the beautiful setting.

Tha amazing water feature overlooking the performance arena. The steps are in between all the zig-zags of the water.


View of the canal in between and the Creek beyond through the upper level.


Zoom of the view of the Creek between the buildings


Wall of windows


Roof detail


Detail of coloured glass disguising the elevator area.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dreaming of Rome


Have you ever taken a travel quiz where you were asked your dream destination? Well, mine would be Italy. It's a place that I've always wanted to go to, always wanted to learn the language and would love to spend 2-3 weeks there, rent a nice apartment and stay there as a traveler rather than a tourist. Rome hotels offer a lot of variety and it is possible to get great deals as well, if one does the booking at the right time and at the right place. Rather than do the tried and tested routes of the city, I would much rather do a slightly offbeat and personal tour, visit areas that are not necessarily on the tourist map and get a real feeling of the country.

One cannot go to Rome without going some of the famous destinations of the city such as St Peter's Basilica, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum and many more, so its a good idea to get local guides who really know the history and culture. RomaClick is run by Mauro and Paola, who live in the city and are privy to all the local info such as what the best hotel would be, the variety of Rome accommodation and where to go for the best tiramisu. I think Rome deserves more than just a couple of days stay, so I would love to get one of those eclectic Rome apartments that offer the best of views, lots of history and also offer a unique slice of life in Italy. Just thinking about traveling to Italy makes it interesting enough to check out the site and see the sights and think of being in Italy already!

Busy work day

It's been such a hectic day today, playing catch up from the last few days of being a bit ill and not doing as much work as I should have been doing. Today was catch up day and I spent all day catching up and have spent the entire day working, with barely any breaks at all. But it looks like I've managed to cover a lot of ground today and hope tomorrow will be slightly easier and will set me up for the rest of the week.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On windows

One of the most important things to look for when looking for a house are the quality of its windows. Most often, you can tell the quality of the house just by studying the windows. Windows are the soul of house, they are what make it alive, bring in air, color and light. It is absolutely essential to have windows that provide shelter from sun, wind, rain and snow, but also look great and fit in with the overall theme of the house.

Anglian Home Improvement is one such company that understands just how to do windows, especially, double glazing, so you can enjoy the weather inside no matter what the weather outside may be. With over 36 years of experience, Anglian combines the best of experience and service to offer the best of home improvements there can be. No matter what kind of windows you want to install, casement, sash, tilt & turn, the people at Anglian have all the help you need. I really like the way they have their web site set up, it's a very user friendly and direct arrangement, so one can find what one is looking for very easily. Have a look for yourself and you're sure to be impressed.

Cooking away

I've been stashing lots of recipes in my recipe box that I have at All Recipes, which is one of the really good cooking sites. The recipes are all submitted by readers and cooks and are reviewed by readers and cooks, so you'll get a pretty good selection of recipes that are tasty, easy to make and impress everyone. I specifically look for stuff that is easy, since I'm not one to slave it out in the kitchen for hours on end. I prefer looking for recipes that offer the same result in a less painful way.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A trip to Paris


Paris is one of those destinations that is on everyone's list of cities to visit, right? So can you imagine going there and not finding a nice place to stay? It does happen, since Paris attracts just so many tourists, that hotels get booked rather quickly, especially the ones with the nice views. If you are looking for hotels in Paris, it makes sense to go to a site that specializes in offering special deals and discounts, not only at some of the major hotels, but at boutique hotels as well.

Paris hotels are known for their elegant styles and uniquely classical architecture, but unless you book via HotelClub, you might not get to stay at one of these hotels at all. I already have a general idea of what I'd like to do in the city, where I would like to stay and where I would like to eat and wander to pick up authentic works of art and pottery.

Crafting along

Some details on my very first craft project after simply ages. It was all thanks to Jessica Jones of How about Orange, that got me back to doing crafts again. While, I started small, it was something that I've always wanted to make: paper flowers Japanese style, made from post it notes (can you believe that?) They turned out really very pretty and I made three to put in a little bowl on my desk. I can't wait to do more projects and am making my list of things to buy to get serious about them. It's been a long time since I made an artwork and I've got some nice ideas floating around that I think I will make some rough drafts and then just forge ahead! Unfortunately, I don't have the link for the site where I got the instructions for the paper flowers, but I promise to look and post it here when I find it.

Asia travel news

I'll be traveling again next month, not to any exotic destination this time, just going home for a wedding and some catch up time with my family. When it comes to planning a fun vacation, I'm getting to be pretty good and have built up a list of various companies that I like to book hotels from. If you're traveling in Asia, then it's definitely a good idea to check out the AsiaHotels Blog which is a great place to get asia travel news, so you can be a bit prepared before reaching your destination.

The blog has some great travel stories in asia, which is quite a unique and different destination to someone visiting for the first time. So, if you are looking for the best beaches in Asia or for the best hotel stories in asia, this is the place to head to. I found it rather interesting to find a story on the three cheapest cities for shopaholics, which is the kind of info you never find on any other travel blog. The three cites are Bangkok, which I can vouch is great for shopping, Hong Kong and Beunes Aires, which I never would have imagined to be on this list actually.

Blogger adds fun new tool

Have you seen the new feature on Blogger that lets you see photos that others are uploading on their Blogger blogs? It's called Blogger Play and I just took a look and it's really very interesting. You can get the information on any of the pictures by clicking on the show info button. It looks like an interesting new way to find new blogs to read. Take a look around yourself. It's pretty cool.

Creating a unique look

I'm a big one for fun jewelry, something that can be worn on a daily basis, like subtle gold bracelets that work well with both office wear as well as weekend wear. It's important to have some good pieces that you can really rely on, and reach for, for any occasion. I have several such pieces that I use for daily wear and they never fail to impress even though they are rather discreet pieces.

weekend work

The weekend's been going well, although it's been a rather quiet one, since we decided not to go out anywhere and catch up with all the pending work at home in in the neighborhood. So, while we're not yet done, we're getting closer to being finished at least. We'll keep the fin for a later time for now. Well I did get to do some fun browsing and find some really interesting sites relating to home decor and more specifically crafts. More on this later on.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Weekend getaways

So, my next travel is somewhat getting made. It is to be next month, but not sure of the dates as yet. Being able to travel on a regular basis is one of the best things in life. I simply love it and want to make the most of my experience of it and go to as many places as possible. One way to make it possible is to look for great deals on cheap flights and hotel accommodation which is the simplest ways to save money while you travel. Dialaflight, for example, is a great place to find great savings on flights, hotels, holiday offers and entire travel packages.

Whether you are looking for weekend breaks or a long relaxing beach vacation, you can be sure that Dialaflight will have something great to offer. Most people can only afford to take quick city breaks maybe to Paris or Barcelona, since no one can take long times of from work, but even going for short breaks are totally worthwhile, if the destination is unique and the price is right. I'm a big fan of weekend breaks, since they are a great way to get motivated and keep up with a hectic lifestyle.

Dinner last night

Well, dinner last night turned out to be rather nice. Quite unexpected, since I didn't much care for the look of it when I checked on the status half way through baking. It's definitely something that I can repeat although I will be making lots of changes. The recipe said it was Baked Orange Chicken, but the combination of orange and veggies wasn't really great, so I would rather make it one or the other, not both. I would also do the veggies in a different way, on the stove top most likely and then add it to the baked chicken, so give a more elegant look. This was something that was fine only for a very basic meal at home, and not for company at all.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The power of light

Our new apartment had most of the lighting fixtures in already when we moved in. I did have to add a few and I selected kichler lighting fixtures, since they add just the right touch of a modern contemporary look to the rooms. Some of the existing light fixtures were quite grand, so we had to find others that would complement them while still adding a modern touch. Thankfully, we have been able to achieve just that. Light or rather natural light was one of the important factors that we looked for in our search for apartments, and we do get lots of natural light here, starting from a bit of morning sunshine to lots of afternoon and evening sunshine as well.

The reach of marketing

In the world of marketing, there are lots of interesting tactics to use to market and sell a product, but selling dance classes on the internet is definitely one of the most innovative ones I've read about lately. I wrote about a Salsa bootcamp video in my previous post, that really makes one think again about what is really marketable online or not. There don't seem to be any boundaries left anymore and pretty much anything is available online.

Dinner is planned


Found a nice recipe for dinner tonight, this time on my old favorite All Recipes, where I found my fab meatloaf recipe a couple of years back. I also registered at their site, so that I could save recipes in my recipe box and access them easily the next time I am looking for something to make. I love the simplicity of this site and great features such as resizing and changing to metric conversion, the more recipes like this button and most of all the sense of community in its readers, who volunteer their own versions of the recipes with great enthusiasm. Tonight I'm making orange baked chicken but have made several alterations to it and will post how it ended up eventually. Another feature which I like is the option of looking for recipes only with certain ingredients or by excluding them. I was searching for a chicken recipe with orange, and found lots and lots of them with just that.

Some really amazing trees!

I received an amazing forward this morning with photographs of trees that I wanted to share. I was absolutely stunned to see some of the pictures of these trees. It is quite unbelievable and almost as if they have been shaped on purpose. Enjoy the photos!







What's for dinner?

OK, need some cooking inspiration again for dinner tonight. I have no idea what I'm going to cook for dinner this evening and I have just an hour to get started. So, it's time to head to my favorite sites to search for something that I can whip up in a jiffy. Just made myself a cup of coffee and look for something nice to make. Maybe the coffee will inspire me like last time as well.

Are you invited?

Recently I had gone for a kiddie birthday party, which was unlike any other kiddie party I have ever gone to. It had all the accoutrement's of a grown up bash, all the style and all the fancy favors and of course some rather fancy birthday invitations as well. These are in big demand I hear and pretty much every kiddie party these days has to have the fanciest of invitations, decorations, costumes and themes. From a retail standpoint, it's definitely great business, but for parents it must be a complete nightmare to have to handle everything. But of course, there are party planners to take care of everything actually, so parents don't need to do much else than pay!

What do you want to be?

Halloween's one of the most fun holidays, where you can really be creative and have fun. It's perfectly alright to deck yourself in an animal costume if you want to and be the star of the night, or should I say jungle? You'd better get your costume quickly for Halloween, since all the good ones go really very quickly. I'm not sure which animal I'd want to be this year, do you?

Starbucks to offer smaller sizes

Did you hear that Starbucks is thinking of offering drinks in smaller sizes? I find all their drinks too huge, so was happy to read about this. Also did you know that even though their smallest listed size is a 12 0z tall, you could order an 8 oz short at Starbucks? I had no idea and I'm going to try it next time I go there. I did go there yesterday, so it will be a couple of days as yet before I go again, but it will a good option from now on.

and the weekend is almost here!

Getting close to the weekend!!
I don't think I've looked forward to a weekend, as much as I'm looking forward to this one. I just can't wait to take a break from work and catch up on some sleep and some rest. Next week is going to be super hectic as well, so it's only going to get busier and crazier. Let's hope it starts easing up a bit, else I'm going to need another break of some sort.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A new agenda!

Writing about crafts and projects reminded me just how much I have missed doing this kind of stuff. I can't wait to do something new and have been completely buzzing with ideas since I wrote that last post. The timing is quite perfect, since I decided not to bring any of my framed artwork with me to this apartment as I wanted a completely different look. Instead, I brought all the unframed works that I have, those that have never been displayed before and will make our home look very different from our last two apartments.

There is something about putting up a special piece of artwork, regardless of if it's original or just a movie poster. It's about creating your own space and stamping your unique look on a room. Right now, the rooms are a blank canvas and I am running through lots of ideas of what I can end up doing to get just the effect I want. So, once again, I have an excuse to look through some house tours on Apartment Therapy, to which I must confess, I am deeply addicted. If I don't browse through at least a couple of houses every evening, I just cannot close my computer for the night. If you into having a nice looking home, then check it out. I'm sure you won't regret it.

Looking for a new project

I love collecting art and am very proud of my current collection. I've never been good at art myself, although I've always loved doing crafts much more than drawing or painting. I can't get enough of visiting hobby shops looking for interesting new project to take on, and each time the kind of project I do could be completely different, from RC airplanes to creating wreathes or stenciling etc. Over the years, I have done some fun projects but have so far only kept one of them with me, and always end up gifting my projects to friends and family. One of the simplest ones I ever did was to make a wreath on paper using holly leaves and frame it for my wall. It turned out so good that my neighbor Claudia requested if I could make one for her and one for her sister. I happily gave her my original one and made a new one for her sister. After all, the holly leaves came from her garden!

TV time

Our Showtime cable plan is pretty fun and there's always something nice to watch. It is one of the most futuristic cable services with a host of extras such as closed captioning etc. While not all the programs are the ones I have been watching, these are good ones and it's just a question of getting used to seeing these new shows. Most shows are of the drama, crime variety and there seems to be very little of comedy, which is what we like to see at the end of the day. Hoping some of the good comedy shows will be added in the new season.

Is it time for the weekend yet?

Waiting for the weekend with great anticipation, since it's going to be the first weekend after I've started working again. Nothing like working to make you appreciate the weekend again, right? One just starts to take the weekend for granted when one is not working actually, it becomes no different that all other days and the days end up blurring into one another, with no separation of date and day. Anyhow, enough philosophizing on all this and time to do some work again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Travel tip

One of the fun things I look for in a hotel when I travel is the availability of hot tubs, since they are a really great way to relax and chill after a long day exploring a city. A lot of hotels have them, but usually charge for using them, unless you buy a spa package of some sorts. The trend for hot tubs has been growing and installing them in one's home is again becoming very popular. So the next time you travel, ask your hotel if they have a hot tub in their premises.

Counting on life

I wonder how many people really have good life insurance coverage? It's one of those things that everyone says that one should have, but actually very few people sign up. I chanced upon an advertisement for a plan for life insurance no medical exam, and wondered how they would come through when times get tough. It's definitely a harsh business to be in, but it's also one of the most competitive as well. I don't have life insurance coverage myself as yet, but it will probably be a good idea some time in the future, I'm sure.

personal musings

Time to get a bit serious about working again, I think. It seems like ages ago when I worked even though it was not too far back...the first week of July, ie.....but bad habits or rather habits of leisure are hard to break right. Anyway, I still haven't got my working set up completely right, so that' part of the problem. I usually just plonk on the couch and put my feet up on the ottoman and put the laptop on the lap where it really ought to be all the time right? Unfortunately, this arrangement is not working out too well for either my back or for feeling like I'm really working. But hey, that's not such a bad thing after all! Imagine if you worked all day, and didn't even realize that you were working. Now, that's a great job to have, right? Yes, yes, I am thankful and grateful to have such a great job. This is the life!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ah, Paris!

What's not to love about the city of love? Paris is one of those magical cities that is steeped with history and culture and is definitely a dream destination. I would love to explore the city using one of those old guide books that told the history of each place in the city, and maybe even read some of the novels based on the city to get a better grasp of the city. Some of the world's best monuments are located in Paris and everyone who goes to the city for the first time, just has to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Lido and Notre Dame cathedral.

I however would like to do a more whimsical tour of the city, stopping along the East Bank at some of the cafe's that world famous artists and musicians have spent time at, taking a cruise on the Seine, visiting the Sorbonne University and taking some architectural tours of the city. Hotels in Paris are one of a kind, offering a unique mix of luxury and old world charm. There are lots of modern hotels but I think for the most part hotels in France should focus on their heritage and culture.

We have a CD of one of France's most famous singers, Edith Piaf, who really personifies the entire cafe music culture and I would love to go to places that would enhance that experience. Music, wine and food are some of the things that are closest to a Parisian's heart and to get to know a city, these are good ways to delving under the superficiality of the branded tours. Regardless of which Paris hotel you stay at, you're bound to have an experience that is complete different and very continental.

And yes, the only thing not to love about the city are the huge crowds in the summer!

Do you ever run out of things to blog about?

Not me. I usually have pages and topics bookmarked in a to-blog folder and it gets updated on a daily basis, so there's always tons to write about. It's been a fun day for postings, since I written about a wide variety of topics it seems, much more than I usually do. Some days, its as if I can't stop writing, and keep getting ideas for my next post as I go along, and on others it seems that I need to really think hard about what to blog about. Thankfully, that doesn't happen too often. The thing is that I love travel and have had the chance to travel quite a bit, so have lots of experiences to relate to. In addition, I have also worked at a travel agency so I know lots of the technical stuff as well. I had no idea that job would come in handy so many years later, that too for a blog. How interesting!

Handling problems

So the much anticipated VMA Awards were last night in Las Vegas, and it was as usual a highly hyped event as anything and everything to do with celebrities has become. It seems that everything they do becomes the latest fad and the media is willing to report it in every small detail down to which drug rehab center they check into. In a way, thanks to all the publicity celebrities get regarding rehab centers lately, it's turned into a good thing for the regular reader, for whom it is becoming more acceptable to turn to such centers to handle their problems.

The power of belief

There's been a lot of talk in the media about hoodia, which is said to be one of the best weight loss remedies since it is an entirely natural product and has no harmful side effects at all. Tests have proven that there are no harmful side effects, but whether the usefulness of the product has been proven so far, I'm not so sure of. The fact does remain, that it will do you no harm, and as with any kind of medicine, more than half the battle is in the mind. So if you believe that it will work, then is surely will.

Is it movie time yet?

I'm seriously missing out on lots of good movies lately. I've seen just one movie in the theater in the past couple of months and it just not enough, especially with so many interesting movies coming out lately. We signed up for Showtime cable which has lots of good movies, if not the latest ones, and of course they have the pay-per-view option as well, where some of the newer movies are being played. Looks like until we get totally set, we're going to have to see movies in-house only.

Dealing with money

Why is it that most consumers are quite hesitant when it comes to handling their finances? It's one of the most important aspects of being an adult, yet the average consumer is often confused about basics such as cash advance procedures, debt consolidation, refinancing etc. These are concepts that should be studied in schools and colleges and only once students have a good grasp of them, should they be given credit cards and access to handling money.

Handling finances

Taking from where I left of in my previous post about handling finances, it is also important to let someone else handle them if you're going to be traveling on a regular basis. It's possible to get a financial consolidation software that takes care of everything for you instead of dealing with individual agencies. I am yet to try one of these, but I've been told they are one of the best ways to handle your finances. Have a look and see if it's something that will work to get your finances back to looking good.

Notes from a frequent traveler

When one travels it's really very important to have all your important documents at hand. That includes things such as passport photocopies, visa photocopies, passport size photographs, bank contact details in the country you're visiting as well as an email for your bank at home. I've got all of this, which is going to help me as I untangle the additional charge Budget Car Rental has put on my credit card without my permission. Since I travel with my laptop, I am able to log onto my bank and check my statements online, which is a really good way to keep a tab of things. I also added my utility bills onto my bank account, so I get a mail telling me how much my electricity and telephone bills are and just transfer the funds to them online. If you're a frequent traveler then these are the ways to make sure your travels remain stress free.