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.

A different way to see things

One of the unexpectedly fun things I've done has been birdwatching. I never imagined that looking for birds in trees could be so interesting or rewarding. The key to expert birdwatching is of course having a good pair of binoculars, even getting a specific pair just to increase your ability to spot the birds. OpticsPlanet.net offers these and lots of other specialized binoculars such as marine binoculars which you can use specifically for whale watching and the like. I myself have never done that so far, but I'm quite interested in giving it a shot. Besides having one of the best selections of binoculars online, OpticsPlanet also has free UPS on orders of over $29.95, which makes it a really nice deal. So if you're thinking of doing some bird or marine watching, then get yourself a pair of super specialized binoculars from OpticsPlanet.

Is Budget making fradulent charges?

It's been a busy morning, trying to sort out all the pending paperwork and organize the bills. In cleaning up, I found that Budget Car Rental had charged us an additional amount five days after we had paid them their due. So I called them to find out what it was all about and was told it was toll charges. I asked the manager there to fax over the details of the dates and times of the toll charges so I could tally them with our diary for that duration. Besides overcharging for each trip, they also seem to have added a couple of charges, like two entries for toll charges on a bridge just 7 minutes apart. Something is definitely fishy here and I need to pull out our records to see just what we were doing those days. It's quite a painful procedure to have to deal with all this extra paperwork, but that's the cost of the ease of using credit cards etc.

Taking to the road

I'm a big fan of road trips. Driving is my father's passion and we took a lot of trips growing up and I love to do the same. We took a trip together last November when we drove from Toronto to NYC and back, with a break along the way in the Finger Lakes region in the town of Auburn, NY. One of the most important aspects of a successful road trip is being in a worry free vehicle such as an Isuzu extended cab, which would be a great off road vehicle as well. I've done lots of trips in the back-of-beyonds and having a tough crew cab is a great way to ensure that you're never going to get stuck somewhere. Isuzu vehicles are known for their durability and superior quality, having been around for 90 years now, they are vehicles that are completely dependable and trustworthy. You've got to love the flexibility of an Isuzu extended cab, which will allow you to take on heavy loads without a second thought. It's not only the best way to travel but the only way.

On cold and hot perspectives

Woke up to a cloudy day today, making me wonder if its time for the weather to start changing. Most days we've had really nice and bright sunny days, with clear blue skies, but it looks like the season is changing slightly now. The evenings are definitely cooler and the early mornings rather pleasant all of a sudden. I love going through the changes of seasons, that's one of the things I miss most about the US, since the seasons are very well defined there and each one is very different from the other. This morning it looks like winter outside and if you didn't know where you were, I could probably bundle up in my sweater and blanket and sip a hot cup of cocoa. Well, the ac is so effective, that most times one does need to bundle up a bit inside anyway.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Decorating with light

Our bedroom in our new home gets lots of light from two enormous windows, one facing northeast and the other northwest. The light we get is lovely and calm, only in the mornings and late afternoons. I thought long and hard on the kind of bedroom furniture shopping I needed to do, to maximize the light and space in the room and found some really nice pieces that enhance the space without crowding it. Our ceilings are really high, around 14-15 feet, so we have a wonderful feeling of space and the nice sunlight that filters through the trees only enhances it.

The right hand ring

Does a girl ever need a reason for some new diamond rings? Absolutely not! Diamond rings are all the better when they are bought without an occasion or reason, that makes them all the more special, I think. The concept of right hand rings has been around for the past couple of years and buying one without any occasion is just perfect for a right hand ring. It's always fun to browse the jewelry stores for rings and pendants, whether online or in-store, but buying one is much more fun, right?

Get to know your destination before you arrive


Have you seen a site called Virtual Tourist? I had bookmarked it quite a bit earlier so that I could have a look at it, and only today got to spend some time there. It seems to be quite a friendly site and is mostly created by users themselves, so looks like a good place to get information straight from the horses mouth, so to speak. The site has obviously been around for ages, since there are members who have joined way back in 2003. The information on each destination is organized by accommodation, things to do, transportation, things to be wary of and so on. Once you have an idea of where you want to go, this seems to be a good place to head to, so you can get some opinions from real people who have visited the place.

Another job done

We got our cordless phone just in time for the telephone chap to come in and do the wiring etc. It's been quite a run around of sorts, with the house having the wrong wiring and the power outlets being in the wrong spots, and then it turns out that we needed a new cordless phone battery as the one we got was a defective piece and would not get charged. Anyhow, we managed to get it all done in time, so that's one more thing off our list.

Food as a source of inspiration!

Good food can solve a lot of problems, I feel. It's one of the best ways to make you feel loved and cared for, especially if you're going through a drug rehab program of any sort. I started loving and really enjoying food with a passion only a few years back, till then I was quite alright with just about anything at all. But once you immerse yourself in creating good food, it as if a whole new world opens up and makes life much more interesting.

Weekend salad!


A continuation of a post I wrote a couple of days back on cooking. Well, after that interesting and innovative coffee and cardamom chicken, I made a nice salad with the leftovers of which I did remember to take a picture. For some reason, it hasn't come out as clear as it should have, and I never really checked it when I took it, so anyhow, here is a slightly blurred photo of my very own version of a nice big salad for the weekend.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

on cooking

Surprisingly enough, cooking has been quite a bit of fun this weekend! That's quite something considering I don't even have my usual stash of cookbooks to fall back on. I did manage to find some nice online recipe sites that I know for sure that I will be using quite often. And I also hope to find some additional ones too. So, here's to a new dimension in cooking and entertaining.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Inspired cooking

I think I was inspired to do some interesting cooking after writing that last post. Since I don't have any of my recipe books here, I searched online, using my limited stock of ingredients and came up with an interesting recipe. I wanted to make Cardamom chicken, but since I didn't have my book with me, I decided to look it up online. Although, I didn't find anything that I could substitute, I did end up with a great recipe that called for a combination of cardamom, coffee and black pepper. Verging on the super duper simple, it turned out rather nice, although I will tweak it a bit the next time I make it.

I added two side dishes to it, one a sauteed spinach and home fries and it was a really nice meal. Here's a link to the Coffee Cardamom Chicken recipe. I also found a really great site called Simply Recipes which is written by Elise, where I found lots of superb recipes that I am sure to be making soon, especially this Cardamom Honey Chicken recipe, which I could not make last night since I did not have any honey. Yup, I've still got lots of things to buy as yet.

Wish I had taken some pics of it though, so I could post them here. Oh well, next time then.....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Setting up for al fresco dining

When we were looking for an apartment, we had absolutely no idea that we would manage to find one with access to an outdoor seating area. Since we're on the ground floor of a villa, we just have to step outside to have an al fresco lunch or dinner under the mango and almond trees. So far, we've been focusing on furniture and appliances for the inside of the home, but now that it's mostly set, I am looking out for some nice teak furniture that I can use outside to create the perfect setting for entertaining.

Even though we're not going to be able to entertain all year round outside, it still makes sense to go in for some good teak patio furniture, since all occasions will have guests and I find it essential to have some quality furniture that doesn't cost the earth but conveys a look of understated luxury. I've already got a couple of themes ready to decorate my teak patio furniture in, with Mexican and Mediterranean being at the top of the list. Both these looks can be created quite easily with the right fabrics, cushions, plants and of course music. Here's looking forward to lots of entertaining outside!

Thoughts on blogging

I've been getting a lot of spammy comments lately, different from the usual kind of spam, since these are disguised as actual readers, but these are actually competitors of companies I have written about, trying to get some free press. I did approve some of the earlier comments, but I saw that it just led to me getting more and more of these type of comments.

I wonder if everyone else is getting by them as well. Would you approve them or mark them as spam? In some of the comments, that I've got worthwhile suggestions and insights, I've let them stay, but the ones that are obviously a plug, I have disapproved, but I do wonder if I'm doing the right thing. But the bottom line is that it's my blog to do with as and what I please, but then readers are one of the key aspects of a good blog. I say one of the key aspects, since I feel it's more important to have one's say than to say things just to win some readers for the short-term.

It's a touchy subject for most bloggers and one just has to decide where to draw the line, and how much of oneself does one give to a blog and random readers. I started blogging over three years ago, and for the longest time didn't even tell my friends and family about it, since it was just a place for me to write my thoughts, my irritations, my pleasures and my experiences.

In more recent times, I have experimented quite a bit with changing the format of this blog and have decided to keep it more personal than before. So there you have it, spammers stay away. I will not be approving any comments unless you really have something thoughtful, insightful, contributing etc to say.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Finding great business travel deals


Traveling for business is a great perk as well as a great reason for exhaustion and burnout. As the world opens up for business in every corner, longer flights have become the norm and no one is really in the mood for business after an tiring flight and jet lag. What really makes a difference is being able to travel business class and if you're traveling for business, then it becomes absolutely essential to avail of all the services you can to make your trip more comfortable, so you can be ready to go to work as you reach.

Finding a good business class deal has become a lot easier now, with comparison sites like BizClass Travel Market which offers the best comparison deals for first and business class, saving you time and money. Business class flights can be tough to find good deals for, so it pays to know where to look and searching for flights on BizClass makes a good deal simpler. I especially like the format of searching for flights, which is extremely straightforward and direct, narrowing the room for errors. Once you see the deals you can find here, you might not go anywhere else at all for all your later travels.

Took another break today

A lot of things start out with good intentions and I was meant to get back to work with a gusto. Well, I ended up goofing off and spent the day at the Ibn Batuta Mall which is quite a fun place and since it's midweek there were no crowds at all, which was really the best part of it all. I found some great deals at H&M and browsed through some great selections of home decor books at Magrudy's. Lunch was at The Lime Tree Cafe where I had a chicken and mushroom quiche, which was delicious and huge. Then I headed to wander the mall a bit more before taking a break at Starbucks for a hot chocolate, which is by far the best hot chocolate one can get these days. So, all in all a nice fun day. I hate going out to the malls when everyone else is out there as well, it just sucks out all the fun, so would rather work on the weekends a bit and take time out during the week. The one place where this does not work is the Deira City Center which is packed no matter what time or day you go. We had to wait over an hour to get a taxi there, which put a real damper to a nice day spent there. Do hope the transportation and traffic system improves soon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Do you have a digital picture frame yet?

This is something that I've wanted for a long time now. It's a digital picture frame that allows you to keep changing the picture inside it as many times as you want with just a click of a button. It's really the best way to see all the digital pictures that we keep taking and then storing on the computer, where they get to be seen even less than the real albums. The digital photo frame changes all that and makes pictures that you take accessible again. The digital picture frame that I like is by Digitalframez.com, an online electronic store that specializes in them. I'm pretty sure once I get one, I'm going to be hooked and will want to keep changing the pictures on a daily basis. I have all my pictures on my laptop and only get to see them once in a while, which is quite a waste of time, making it pointless to even take them, but once I get my digital photo frame up, it's going to be so much more interesting to take pictures again.

Playing catch up

Well, I'm kinda, sorta on my way to catching up with pending work. It's been a sudden change to working all day again, after over a month of going shopping to buy household stuff, get my utilities and appliances in order and stuff like that. Now that work has started again, it's going to be hard to find time to relax again, so I guess even though it wasn't even close to taking a vacation, it was a break or some sorts at least. Wonder when the next one will happen!

How to buy a camcorder

Well, we've have pretty much settled into out new place and have done almost all of the shopping for the house. It's been a fun and exhausting ride so far and it looks like it's going to get easier as we go along. One of the few items that still remains to be bought is a camcorder which we've not been able to decide on, since it's the first time we'll be buying one. I've been checking out TestFreaks where there is lots of information on how to select the right camcorder according to what you're going to use it for.

We're generally partial to Canon products since they are known to be very reputable and trustworthy, and are generally focusing on them. Canon also has the largest selection in camcorders, which makes it somewhat easier to make a decision to select a model from their selection of camcorders. We plan to have our shopping done by the weekend, so then I can add video's to my blog as well.

Connected finally!

Nothing like having your internet connected again, right? It feels like such a relief to be online again, to be able to check my mail and respond to clients, who feel like they have been abandoned due to my long response times. We have a broadband connection that is wireless, so we can have both our laptops connected and work as and when we please and from where ever we please. Looking forward to blogging from here!

I'm back!

Ok, it's been a longer break than I expected, but I'm back on track and hope to start my blogging on a daily basis again. This was the longest break I have taken from blogging so far, I think, that while it was relaxing not to have to think constantly of what to blog about and find time to write it, the length of the break did make me miss the process of thinking through my thoughts and sharing them on this blog. Well, here's to a new start in blogging!