Saturday, March 27, 2010

photo: celebratory lights

I changed the header after a long time. After posting the last shot of the wall art, I decided to put something similar on the header as well. This shot was taken on one of my morning walks in Dubai. This is the traditional way to decorate a house with lights for a wedding in this part of the world. The lights are already strung together in these loops and so it's a simple job of just hanging them up along the walls.

photo: wall art

I love taking shots of walls and doors etc, but lately I haven't had much chance to do that. I miss taking my morning walks where I had ample opportunity to capture such sighs in peace, without any interruptions or people watching me. I took the shot above at high speed, because people were constantly walking past and glaring at me and then the wall, wondering what was there to photograph it for. I see something though :-)

golfers have so many quirks!

Ask any golfer if they feel the heat when they're playing on the course, and the answer is sure to be no, not at all. It's just something about the game, that the heats becomes non-existent. One of the many quirks that golfers have. Another one is finding or buying used golf balls to practice with. This seems to make golfers really happy, even though they might have half a dozen used balls in their bag for practice as well as a dozen or two more at home. I just find it rather amusing :-)

Orlando: holding all the right cards

I was looking through some of the travel sites that I browse on a weekly basis and found that the hottest destinations for the summer seem to revolve around Disney vacations. Orlando is definitely a popular destination this year, and one of the reasons might be that many of these sites are offering great packages, even for the peak summer months when hotel rates and show prices skyrocket through the roof. Besides the Disney attraction, Orlando has many other pulls as well, such as it's world class meeting and seminar facilities, which have made it a popular choice for conferences. Sports wise, too the area has lots to offer, from golf, to fishing to water sports. I think that's why no matter the season or the state of the economy, Orlando seems to be attracting tourists.

this moment: week 5

One afternoon when I woke up from an afternoon nap.

Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

the power of marketing

Did you ever wonder how certain celebratory acts came to first be? Like celebrating with cigars or toasting someone? Sometimes I think that a lot of these came about as marketing ploys to promote these products, to make them part of the mainstream, to make them cool and something everyone wants to do, especially after seeing them in movies. Is that the tactic of these tatuaje cigars, or are they more about just the pleasure of smoking a good cigar. I do wonder.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A specialized tour for photogs

I read about a really interesting trend this morning on Springwise, which I have to say is one of my fave daily reading sites. Niche tours have been around for a while, such as the cooking tours in Italy, but here's a specific tour for photographers. London based Photours is offering guided tours to photographers, where you will not be rushed along as in a regular sightseeing tour. Currently, the company is focusing on Spain, Greece, Italy, Iceland and the UK for its tours. The tours are planned along themes such as taking night shots, or architectural or landscapes, and there are critiques held every night.

Photours also gives each participant a detailed workbook filled with full details of the themes used on their trip. Pricing varies with the length of the trip and the travel involved.It's also not hard to imagine a company like Canon—which already offers workshops in national parks—sponsoring something similar, or creating a branded travel business on the side.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

list: reading material

I've been reading a lot lately since I'm on a vacation of sorts. Here's what I've read so far:

2 States: The story of my marriage by Chetan Bhagat. I wan't really too keen on reading this, but thoroughly enjoyed it, especially his comparisons between his Punjabi mother and Tamilian mother-in-law.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (gifted to me by the lovely Marina, when we met in Delhi). A wonderfully relaxing and feel good book set on an island in Finland.

Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. I had to re-read this one, especially after seeing the movie and the drama about what percentage of the book got made into the movie.

Maharani by Jarmani Dass. A waste of time in my opinion. I'd read his book on Maharajas earlier and that was somewhat better, but still just too gossipy and one-dimensional.

Maharani by Elaine Williams (yes, I read two books with the same name, that too back to back! An account of Princess Brinda of Kapurthala's life, interesting, grand, sad at the same time.

Think Everest by Atul and Anita Karwal. I feel very proud to have read this book. It's written by my hubby's cousin sister and brother-in-law, who scaled Mt Everest in May 2008 (Just my brother-in-law). An amazing feat by any standards, the book is extra special in the way he has woven his journey before the attempt and stories about his family. A must read. The book will be launched by The Dalai Lama later on this year.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Am currently reading this one....enjoying it, but quite frankly not as much as I enjoyed the book.

wrapping it up

Ok, so I've obviously been spending too much time in the health and beauty sections of stores lately, to have picked up on the latest gossip, the new launches and tips and tricks for weight loss and glossy hair. Oh well! Talking about new stuff, there's some new kinds of slimming body wraps that are available and according to the advertisements and celebrity endorsements, they are said to be pretty effective. Very frankly, I'm not too keen on trying them, I already feel a little claustrophobic just thinking of them, so this is not for me.

what does hair have to do with it?

When I was out shopping the other day, I found that there was a good 6-8 girls listening intently to a salesgirls spiel on how to how to prevent hair loss and so forth. She was with one of the shampoo companies who are now being as pushy as the oil companies were a while ago about treating hair fall in young women. Considering how young she was, I was impressed that she knew so much technical stuff about hair follicles and so on and in the end she managed to persuade all the girls listening to her to purchase the company's new product.

teenage woes

Think about it, is there really any perfect cure-all for skin ailments that plague teenagers? What works for one person might bring on an allergic reaction in another person and so on. So the thing is that it's all about a trial and error method to find what is the best acne treatment for that particular individual. Apart from medicated stuff, it is also extremely important to have a well-balanced diet, moderate exercise and a healthy attitude. Even messing up on one of these fronts will create more complications in the hormonal system of teenagers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

this moment: week 4

This moment

A quiet moment from the past week. First light in my bedroom as I woke up.

I can't believe I've already been doing this for 4 weeks!

Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Maine delight

One of the huge advantages of living on the northeast coast of the United States is that there is so much opportunity to visit amazing places, all within a few hours drive. One of the places we really loved to explore when we lived in Providence, Rhode Island was the state of Maine. At every opportunity we got, we tried to do a trip and one of the really lovely places we found was Brown's Wharf Inn in Boothbay Harbor Maine.

It's got a lovely mix of quaintness and modernity, lots of places to sit and chill for a while in peace, and gorgeous views all around. Like a lot of other places to stay in the Boothbay Harbor area, Brown's Wharf Inn, has a great restaurant, specializing in the local seafood. And since it's located overlooking the marina, it always has lots going on and lots of watch as well, if you'd prefer to watch the world go by.

Personally, when I go for a relaxing vacation, I like to leave all my communication gadgets behind, but if you're the type who wants to be connected at all times, then you'll be happy to know that this Boothbay Harbor Inn has free Wi-Fi in its rooms. I find that one really doesn't get a true vacation unless one is switched off for a while, but for many this might be the only way to actually take a vacation.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

a netbook might be the answer

It's been a year and a half since I bought my laptop, and considering that I travel with it all the time, I wonder why I chose to one with a larger screen and keypad... as mine has place for a number pad as well, which very frankly is not used much. It is easier to punch in numbers from a keypad on the side, but how often do I do it? Quite less, like maybe once or twice a week, when using the calculator. When I went to buy a laptop, I had decided on another one, but the salesperson sold me on this, since they were giving a special deal and stuff, and I succumbed. I think a good alternative might be to get a smaller one of these netbooks that I can travel with and sync it with my main work laptop. That way, at least I will not have to lug around such a heavy weight with me all the time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

this moment: wk 3

This moment....

....a moment that needs no words. A moment that just needs a simple photo to express it all. A quiet moment from the past week that stands out, that makes you stop and stare and grab your camera.

Week 2
Week 1

Have you started planning your dream home?

Making your own home is a big deal for everyone isn't it! For most people it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get it right, to get all the aspects that one has dreamed about for years and years. The starting point of a great home is to have the perfect house plan, one that will suit your requirements and will grow with you and your family through changes and weather well too.

Now comes the confusing part. Where do you find these perfect house plans? I did a search and came across pretty quickly in my search and found that they have been in the business for over 25 years, which speaks for a lot in this business. Since they have an in-house technical team they are in great demand, especially from first time home buyers and home constructors.

Remember that when you're looking for home plans, you factor in aspects such as your own capabilities, the weather where you live, how many people will will be occupying the home and so on. Also very important is to use someone who has been recommend since that is one of the best ways to judge a company and its product.When it comes to the kind of place I want, I must have lots of windows, strategically placed windows to catch the morning light, in the master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room. Morning light is what gives a home its soul, its heart and I must have it. So apart from having the right kind of home plan, I must have a plot where there is uninterrupted sunlight.

LoudLaunch - Compensating bloggers for their unbiased opinions, reviews, and analysis.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spring time beach vacations are a good idea

Summer is the best time to head to the beach, but being there in the spring is also a great option. I find that going to a place where there are too many people just ruins a vacation for me. I'd rather go off-season or not at all instead of going in high-season and then trying to jostle even for standing space.

Beach vacations are great all year round in many locations but some like these long term Outer Banks beach rentals are a good option for spring time visits, as they will just make you love the beach more and will make you feel part of it more than just if you were to visit in just the usual high-season. There is something wonderful about going to a place when very few tourists think of visiting that make you feel more special and more a part of the place. I like that feeling.

the joys of eating outdoors

With such lovely weather, it's wonderful to be able to sit outdoors and enjoy it. Meal times especially are fun when one eats outdoors and having some comfortable patio furniture makes all the difference. A lot of furniture looks really nice, but then starts to fade and look awful just too soon, so one has to be careful in buying the right kind of furniture. Something that needs too much looking after or maintenance is no use, right! It's much better to buy something that is easy to look after as well as long lasting. Well, long enough till one gets tired of it at least!

quote: on ideas

Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats.
-Howard Aiken

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it is the only idea we have.
-Henri Alban-Fournier, Libers-propos (1908-14)

Ideas, as distinguished from events, are never unprecedented.
-Hannah Arendt

the power of word of mouth publicity

And so on it goes, that endless search for the perfect cure all, the one thing that will make you all aglow, that will transform you and make you popular. That's what it's all about right...popularity and the ability to fit in effortlessly. So whether it's something like tazorac that makes the difference or something more natural or organic, is not the issue, it's the end result that makes all the difference. And that's how word of mouth publicity works so well in these kind of segments.

and the search continues...

Ask any teenager one of the most irritating problems they have and it will usually be something about their skin and how they have to endlessly hunt for the right kind of treatment to find how to get rid of blackhead effectively. It's not something permanent of course, so it's more like an experiment, a trial and error of sorts, to be reviewed and evaluated by friends and peers, to be tossed in favor for another new try from the drugstore. And it just carries on and on like that, right!

photo: coffee and biscotti on the terrace

I'm back in Chandigarh for an extended stay. Spring is a wonderful time to be here and I'm really enjoying the lovely weather and the garden full of flowers. And of course the pampering and relaxation that is part and parcel of coming home-home.

never too young to...

Did you know that the number one selling type of cosmetic enhancement products these are all to do with anti-aging. I was quite amazed at the way this segment has grown in the past few year. What started out as targeting the older segment has filtered down to targeting women as young as 25, which is a bit too much I think. At that age, all you need to do is to take care of your skin, but not necessarily worry about anti-aging treatments. So instead of buying some anti aging face cream they should be more concerned about toning, moisturizing and cleansing the right way and on a daily basis. I wonder how long it will take marketers to turn their attention to anti-aging treatments for men as well!

is it swimsuit season already?

Spring is such a wonderful time to be outdoors. Everything is so fresh, so clean and so full of life. I look forward to this fleeting time each year and I think everyone else does too, well, unless you're already dreading swimsuit season and can only think of finding cellulite cures for all those overeating days of winter, when one more cup of hot chocolate didn't seem like such a bad thing after all. Is that you? I hope not. It's not me. I've changed my diet quite a bit these past few months and have increased the amount of fibre intake, which is key to eating well and not putting on too much weight.

Friday, March 05, 2010

this moment: wk 2

It's Friday again and that means it's time for a "this moment" photo. A photo that needs no words, a photo that makes you pause for a while, and a photo that lets you just be.

Last week's shot.

Last minute deals are the best deals

I know, I know, it's not really the best time to travel with so many unexpected job losses. I know of people who have gone on a short vacation, just to come back to no job, since the employers felt they could manage very well without them. That is scary indeed.

But, on the off chance that you have a more secure job, that does allow you the leisure of taking job-loss-free vacations, then looking for last minute deals can get you some great rewards. While most assume that unless you book months and months in advance you will not get a good deal, sites like offer some great travel coupons which will end up saving you quite a bit. So forget about just budget travel, get a booking at a five-star hotel at the price of lower than what you would usually pay at a basic three-star.

Certain destinations such as Las Vegas also have some great deals if you book with Las Vegas coupons, which will save you quite a packet. Or how about flying with Southwest using the special Southwest airline promo code, for a good deal on flights. Besides some last minute deals, there are also some great golf getaway packages at a superb reduction these days. As a leisure golfer, I know how much fun it can be to go for a nice relaxing golfing vacation, where all one does is play a few rounds, relax and plan some more golf. And yes, if there's a tournament nearby, it's a good idea to go watch the pro's play as well.

Monday, March 01, 2010

list: February reading

Despite the rushing around before we left for our trip, I managed to read more than my minimum reading per month. I try to read at least 2 books per month, which is a decent figure.

This past month I read:

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
A wonderful mix of history, drama and swashbuckling romance. Traveling back and forth between present day London and Napoleonic Paris, the Pink Carnation is a masked savior on the same lines as the Scarlet Pimpernel and Eliose is determined to unmask the hero for her dissertation.

The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble
A lovely relaxing book about a group of women who meet each month as part of a book club. It's a story about their lives, their wants, their desires and how many of them echo the books they select each month.

2 States: The Story of my Marriage by Chetan Bhagat
I have to admit, this was much more entertaining than I thought it would be. It's essentially the story of a boy and girl and how they manage to make their parents like them and each other. The comparisons between the Punjabi and Tamilian community are quite hilarious.

time for a change

We moved lots of things around at home in the past couple of weeks. It was about time the TV was shifted and after searching around for entertainment centers we found a nice sleek one, that doesn't intrude too much into the room and just does it's job, that is, has lots of space for DVD's and audio CD's, organizes wires efficiently from it's back and is easy to keep clean. I'm not too fond of these centers that become the focus of the room, I like them to just perform the function they are intended for, and that's it.

when the time is right

There comes a time in life where certain things seem right. It could be as simple as getting married or moving away that makes one think of sorting one's finances and maybe getting some life insurance or some such thing, but usually before the time is right, one just completely ignores it. As a college student who really bothers about getting health insurance, even when you're away from home, or in another country. But then things happen that make you realize the importance of it and one doesn't even think twice about enrolling in a good program. Life's like that....even the things that you once thought were just not for you at all, will be right for you at one point or the other.