Saturday, July 26, 2008

Noticing the little things

I love taking photos of the little details of life that we often overlook. It makes it so much more interesting to actually see everything around us in a new light, to notice things and to absorb and appreciate their beauty. This is right outside our house and I see it everyday, but I'm so glad that I stopped to photograph it one day. It's usually so hot outside, that one never lingers and in the rush-rush of our lives, we never bother to just notice things just for the sake of that alone.

creeping through

Why Orlando is just so right

It's no surprise that Orlando is such a hit with people of all ages. The Orlando area has over 50 theme parks, has one of the largest conferencing facilities, innumerable sports activities ranging from golfing, fishing, water activities and much more, a huge variety of eating out, great shopping, and lots of entertaining events such as dinner theaters. That's exactly why Orlando vacations are always in demand, no matter what time of year it is and what the weather is like. For a city to attract a range of people, it has to offer more than one kind of activity, and that's exactly what Orlando has managed to do. The city ha also perfected the art of combining official and personal events, so if you come to the city on a seminar, you can combine it with some golfing as well. It's really a great way to make your work more fun too. tra

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

summer time

Summer is here in full force and we are doing everything we can to not let it overtake our lives and keep us indoors. Even the minimum temperatures here are so high that it's hot and humid early in the mornings as well. I never thought it would be humid here in the desert, but along the coast it does get pretty humid in the summer. I can't wait for better weather, but it seems like ages away. In the meantime, here's a drink to cool off with.

a starry summery drink

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Traveling right!

As an avid traveler, I have learned that one can easily ruin a trip just by not packing correctly. These days it has become even more important to be vigilant when one packs so that one doesn't put some of the banned items in the carry on luggage and so on. One of the best things that one can buy, is a set of TSA travel locks, that can be opened by security agents without having to be broken and alert you whether they have been opened by security or not. Having the right set of travel supplies really does make all the difference in traveling worry free. Being able to carry some basic amount of toiletries on board is permitted, but one must carry them in the right kind of containers, else you will have to toss them. Such a waste, but that's the rule. It's not a fun way to start off a journey having to abandon your super expensive face cream at the airport is it? Much, much easier just to have the right kind of clear containers and travel without worry.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We all need a sense of community

I've found that I love taking photographs in my neighborhood. It wasn't until I started going for my early morning walks that I realized how peaceful it was to wander and connect with the area one lives in. At one time, we all had a great sense of community, but with time, this feeling has got lessened to the point that a lot of times, we really don't know anything about our neighborhoods, and the people who live there. It's quite sad really, but that is really the way the majority of us who live in modern cities have become. In all the places that we have lived, we came to know only our immediate neighbors and that too only quite superficially. This time around I am making a bit more effort to get to know them and establish a sense of community in out own little area.

Here's a photo I took some time back of a street nearby.

got to love this branch

Another summer trend

Summer is here and it's that time again, where everyone is looking out for the newest and latest of diets to go on and get into the best shape possible. There is a list of best diet pills here if you're interested. But as usual, I must add that before starting on any diet or exercise plan it is essential to get a health check done. If one ends up losing weight too quickly that can lead to lots of complications, so its best to be a bit cautious about it in the beginning itself, and not have something to regret later on in leisure. All the tabloids and celebrity magazines have really fueled this trend and there doesn't seem to be any slowdown to it as yet.

Sign of changing times: The new milk jug

The newly designed milk jug that has been adopted by Costco and Walmart is supposed to be a better designed jug, but the majority of consumers are not happy with it. The newer jugs are a lot cheaper for the manufacturers and are easier to ship as well, they cost less and the milk in them is fresher, but the downside is that these new jugs have no spout which leads to spilt milk everywhere. The new gallon jug is only one example of the thousands of products that are undergoing a rethink, in how to make them more cost effective and efficient.

“This is a key strategy as a path forward,” said Anne Johnson, the director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a project of the nonprofit group GreenBlue. “Re-examining, ‘What are the materials we are using? How are we using them? And where do they go ultimately?’ ”

The new jug marks a sharp break with the way dairies and grocers have traditionally produced and stocked milk.

Today, they bottle and ship two different ways. The old way is inefficient and labor-intensive, according to members of the family. The other day, a worker named Dennis Sickafoose was using a long hook to drag plastic crates loaded with jugs of milk onto a conveyor belt.

Traveling right!

Each time I travel, I worry about my suitcases. I worry whether they will arrive on time, whether they will be in good condition when they arrive, and whether they will be the oldest and most tired looking luggages on the baggage carousel. I think if I had something like these famed Zero Halliburton luggage, I would not worry at all! I've always thought of them as super cool, and loved seeing them in spy movies, so it would be really great having one or two myself. Spy movies have been a great source of inspiration for trends and a lot of thing one sees in these movies, eventually makes its way to the mass market.

Personalize your party M&M's

Did you know that you could personalize M&Ms? I didn't, so I was quite thrilled to find out from their site that you can personalize them with your own mix of colors, captions and now even photographs! I think that's really adorable! Just image how cute it would be to get some made with your child's photo on them! M&M's has long been a favorite of kids around the world (in some form or the other....ours used to be called Gems!) and I would have loved to have some personalized ones myself!

How to have the perfect vacation!

Whenever someone asks me for advice on planning a great vacation, I just cannot stress enough the importance of getting some travel insurance. It is the one thing that will ensure that your vacation does not get ruined if you fall sick, lose some important papers or your luggage. A lot of people think of it as wasted money or something to get only if you have a lot of money, but there are lots of cheap travel insurance companies out there who can provide you with all all the amenities of traveling without any worries. This is a great option for the adventurous traveler who wants to travel without too much of a plan and go for treks and backpacking adventures.

The other thing to note is that if you buy travel insurance direct from the insurance company, it will save you money instead of buying it from your travel agent or from some other source. For budget conscious travelers this is a great option. Just having a backup while you are away from home, out of your comfort zone is a great relief and is a sure way to ensure that you have an enjoyable vacation. Another key factor is to ensure that the agency that you get your insurance with is well networked and easily available in the places that you will be traveling to. Don't mess with your vacation, get travel insurance before you head out!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

thanks to the light

I got a lot of positive comments on this photo, so I wanted to post it here as well. I took this one in May, but somehow never got around to posting it till now....think I had posted too many shots of neem leaves and flowers already! We get lovely light in the house, especially in the afternoon and evenings and so most of the work is already done, and all I have to do is to be around and notice things.

the light, the light

Get set for school

Even though your next semester in college is a while away, it's a really great time to get your required textbooks, since you're sure to get some really great deals on them. As the semester nears, prices always increase, so it's best to buy in advance. A lot of bookstores reorganized their inventory during these lean summer months, so many books might be on the reduction table, if you're lucky. It doesn't always happen, since the bookstores correlate their stock with the books that the professors require for your classes, but the summer months are your best bet at finding great deals on textboks.

Schmap it!

Having a great map is essential for all travelers and I am really liking these new kinds of software that help you map your trip and location. Schmap is one such site that uses an interactive process to show you places on a map. All content is integrated dynamically so that it is completely intuitive and will have real-time photos of the places on the map. How do you use it? Well, you have to download the Schmap 2.0 and then you can use it offline. I think it is a superb trip planning tool, especially when you're not exactly sure of where you want to go in a city, and don't want to read reams and reams of tour guides to pick your options. So far, the company has mapped over 200 destinations in the US, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

On finding the perfect job

I find it very interesting how the process of finding a job has changed so much in the past few years. Where at one time, one actually had to hunt through newspapers and job agencies, now one can find a job sitting at home in your pajamas half way around the world. The entire concept of a job search has been reinvented. The jobs have changed too, so it has been a great way to keep up with the changes that have taken place. Now it is so simple to find a job in a location that you will be moving to, before you even get there. Thanks to the Internet, searching for a job has become a very easy task, but landing the perfect job can still be tough, especially in the current economic scenario. So, pull out all the stops, use all your avenues to get that job you want.

a new me!

I've really made a concerted push to doing things that make me happy, since I often get down in the dumps for no reason at all, but enough is enough, life is for living and I'm going to make sure that I'm having a heck of a time. The weirdest thing is that taking photographs made me realize this, as it made me slow down and think about the present instead of fretting about the past and worrying about the future. The now is what I concentrate on these days, and I can't tell you just how great it is to do that. Thanks to photography and this new me, I've been doing lots of things that I never thought I would do, but am actually enjoying them a lot.

Here's a shot I took early one morning.
early one morning

the right gift

Finding the right gift for someone is always a stressful job, but thanks to the xbox 360 pretty much everyone who gets it is thrilled with it. I find that to be a huge relief, since I am not that great at buying gifts for teenage boys and this was a really tough one for me. Thankfully, my know-in-all neighbor helped me out on this and get me going in the right direction. After searching on the Internet for a bit, I realized like a lot of other electronics, seems to be the best place to get one of these much in demand gizmos. Thankfully, this entire process has been quite painless!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Nothing like a bougainvillea

I simply adore bougainvilleas. The variety is amazing and these plants are so giving, always blooming the most beautiful of flowers even in the harshest of conditions. I hope I never get tired of looking at them and admiring them. I've been photographing a lot of different ones on my morning walks, but these are probably the most vibrant ones that I have shot to date. I love the background in the picture as it really makes the blooms appear more vibrant and alive.

a bolt of pink

movie theater dreaming

We've always been huge movie buffs, and have been planning to st up a nice home theater when we move to a new location. Even though, we're not quite sure when it will happen, it hasn't stopped me from looking for the perfect home theater sconces, reclining seats, cozy blankets and everything else that one needs to create the perfect home theater room in one's own house. We do love going to the theater but one often gets so busy that one cannot manage for long periods of time, and end up missing some great movies, but if one has a superb screening room at home, one can always get the same quality on DVDs as well. It's a bit of a splurge but well worth it I'm sure.

Travel inspiration

I found a pretty cool travel site today. It's called TripTie and its actually a travel planning website where you can check out other people's travel plans and use them for your own trip, add your own info to their trips, such as updating a restaurant closure or recommending a particular dish and so on. I've not signed up or used the system as yet, but I've certainly enjoyed browsing through some of the listed trips. They are a great source of travel ideas and inspiration. Besides information on the itinerary, there are also details about the cost, hotels, restaurants and much more. It seems like a great site to get ideas on where to go, although so far I saw mostly trips in the US with a few in Europe, Japan and China. I would love to find more information on European trips, especially to off the track spots that normally don't feature in the magazines and travel guides.

A luxe trip maybe?

In between working, I have been doing a lot of searching for a different kind of vacation. When we usually travel on vacation, we like to mix the budget with the expensive to get a little bit of everything, but this time we're considering going on one of these all out luxury vacations. We haven't really decided where we want to go as yet, or even when, but it sure is very tempting to search for a vacation that immediately sucks you in and makes you drop everything else! I search for everything from luxury cruises in the Caribbean to Swiss style chalets in the mountains and I'm completely consumed in trying to figure it all out. But then, that's all part of the fun. I simply adore vacation planning!