Monday, October 31, 2011

the week that flew by

And again, the week has gone by so fast, and it's the end of October. Sometimes I think that if I didn't take so many photos of the little daily things, I might not even remember all that we did in the week. Partly due to the routine, partly due to the monotony of it all, and throw in a tired mommy with a fading memory, and the mind is like a blank slate. So, it's thanks to these photos that I remember, the little picnics we had, sitting on the grass and munching on a freshly baked baguette. I had forgotten what a welcome the streaks of sunlight give me when I make my way out to the lake through the parking lot. I had forgotten that one morning, while E slept, we had a nice relaxing cup of tea as the steam made it's way up lazily.

Our morning tea, a ritual I find so lovely, so endearing, and so heartwarming. It's probably because of all the years of seeing my parents take it so seriously. Now, it's my turn. And I'm loving it. Preserving it for E's memories.

Evening streaks of sunshine in the parking lot by the lake. It even makes the concrete worth looking at again.

A little picnic on the grass. Kicking off shoes, reveling in the fresh air, tasting the warm bread, and listening to E's delight every time she sees a dog.

Elisha at the window in her room, which gets fabulous afternoon and evening light. She can carry off polka dots anywhere!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A little itty-bitty wish list for Diwali!

Diwali is here! This is the one time of the year, that I like to pull out all my traditional stuff out of the cupboards and use them to create a more traditional look. My home is not ethnic at all. That's not my style. I love some ethnic stuff, but don't want my home to be full of it, that's all. I love to have an eclectic mix of contemporary, country, sleek and graphic styles in my home. At one time one only used to find products and homes with a very one-dimensional ethnic Indian look, but now many designers and artists have become so creative in taking something so ethnic and Indian and giving it a contemporary twist. Now, that's totally my style! Well, anyways, I got started thinking about all this, since there is a fab giveaway at Patricia's blog Colours Dekor brought by Shopo, one of the upcoming online shopping sites that specializes in modern Indian crafts and artifacts.

So here are a few things on my wish list of Diwali decor!

This striking patchwork kantha cushion cover from Anek Designs
 
This red charger plate from Elan
 
This Vintage Rose Tray from Artnlight

Thursday, October 20, 2011

recently

Some sights from the past week. Since the weather has morphed into the most amazing weather ever, we've been trying to spend more time outside. It's such a change from the claustrophobic and oppressive heat and humidity of the summer.  And wow, the light has become so beautiful again. Inside the house, it's warm and soft, inviting and captivating. Outside, it's enchanting and makes everything glow.

The gulmohars trees are growing fast, and some are even flowering. I love this curved glass building and have taken many shots of it. I never seem to tire of it, especially in the wonderful evening light.

A little art in E's room. I made this years ago, before I had even thought of a baby, but last year I used this and another similar one (which is now on the opposite wall) as Christmas decorations, and I thought they would be perfect for her room. Back then, she still was in our room, so I hadn't really bothered with doing up her room for her after we moved into this apt. It's not the greatest or most creative art, but I really wanted something I had made to be in her room.

Not to be outdone by the evening light, here's some morning sunshine on the living room table. I love how it streams into the room, warm instead of blindingly bright as it was in the summer. We've had several foggy mornings, but this morning, I had the windows open and it even got chilly inside!

looking for a dream getaway

As someone who has always loved to travel, I've not been doing much of it lately, which led me to think of how things change when one has a child. Before E was born, we based our travel decisions differently, usually selecting a place where we could chill out and relax, find good restaurants to eat in and have a few spots of interesting sightseeing nearby. But, now that we have a little toddler with us, we just haven't been able to travel as much as we would have liked, usually because it just seems too much of an effort, and we are the quintessentially tired parents.

So, instead we are thinking that we need to shift our travel priorities, selecting places and resorts that cater to our needs not only as a family, but also offer tailor made packages that are luxurious and distinctive, so that I can keep that 1 hr hot oil massage as my goal while someone babysits my daughter for me. Now, that's a good vacation goal to have, right! Looking around online, I found that one of the leading vacation providers for such a service was a company called Tropical Sky which specializes in luxury holidays to tropical places. Ah, just the sound of it makes me want to book one of their all inclusive holidays to caribbean, where I can unwind and do something other than my daily routine. Keeping a child occupied on the beach is easy work too, with sandcastles to build and moats to dig, so I'll be able to maybe even read a bit. Yes, yes, I'm talking about reading a book, instead of a magazine! After a bit of browsing, I thought why not make a plan for a barbados holidays 2012, maybe we can get all the stars aligned if we start planning now itself.

Planning a vacation in advance is key in getting good deals, but often when one books too far in advance, one is not sure if something comes up at the last minute. Paying a non-refundable advance fee will of course ensure that you don't back out and lose your money, since you are after all getting a really good deal in the first place. Even though I'm planning a trip several months away, just looking at this travel site, let me do a little armchair traveling. There are so many places that I want to go to, all across the world, from Bali to Cuba to pretty much all of the Caribbean. Closer to home, one of the spots I really want to go to is Sri Lanka. With flight times relatively short and an amazing variety of landscapes, finding holidays to sri lanka all inclusive might be our best bet to have a really nice relaxing holiday, where we don't have to worry about anything at all. Ah, now if only I could be whisked away on my magic carpet!

In the photo: Jetwing Vil Uyana Hotel in Sri Lanka which is one of the new breed of luxury lifestyle hotels and is in a rural setting. The area has been transformed using ancient forms of agriculture to reclaim agricultural land in the Dry Zone and turn it into a wetland system. 

So, do you want the Love poster?

Don't you love giveaways! I do! I'm not hosting one, but am just writing about a fab giveaway at Urban Style Vibes, where there is an iconic Love poster by Made by Girl up for grabs! I'm all for graphic art, I think it adds a nice fun atmosphere in a home, different from the usual oils and watercolors.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

yay for beach season!

Beach season is here! So thrilled to finally be able to spend time outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather, which just a few short weeks back was unbearable and quite miserable. Out at the beach its wonderful to see so many people out and about, with boats, atvs, surf board and so on. The most popular are the atv's since there is so much to explore on the larger patches of beach, especially where all the dune grasses are growing. In fact, I even saw a stall selling equipment like atv winches and the like for atv owners.And it looked like they were doing a good amount of business too!

how many camera's are enough?

More than one, definitely! It seems that camera's are on my mind tonight. I wrote a post about my current camera some time back and now I'm about to write about my old one...well, actually, the new version of the old one. I had a Casio Exilim camera for quite a few years, this is the camera that got me started in photography, the one that got me hooked. It was a tiny little thing, something I could slip into my pocket with ease, but it only had 5 mega pixels, which very soon wasn't enough for me. Now I see that there is a new Exilim EX-H20G out in the market and this one is 10 mega pixels and besides several of the must-have functions, it also has a built-in GPS function, so you'll have the information about all your photos automatically. I think that's a nice function to have, especially in one of these smaller cameras where you don't really expect it.I think it's important to have a couple of cameras, one fancy-shmancy one and one simple point and shoot. I'm feeling so nostalgic about it, I might just have to take out the old one and take a few photos with it!

Yay for consumerism!

Ok, so because I apparently talk about things I use, buy and own, I am now a ShopSquad shopping expert!! Ask me anything and everything you want to, where I got E's books, to her cute dresses---oh no, those are made only for her, so no one else can have them----, the art on my walla, the camera I use, clothes, music, furniture, anything and everything. Talking about camera's, I currently use the Canon G11. It's a nice step up from my old point and shoot 5mp camera, as it has some of the dslr functions, so I can kind of try my hand at them, while I convince myself to take the plunge and go for a dslr next time around. But seriously, if you love photography, then having the G11 is really great, since it's not as bulky as an dslr, but comes up with really great shots. I use it on Auto most of the time, but have started to experiment with the other slr-like functions, and have been pleased with the results. Ok, so if you want to take a look at the Canon G11 here are some details.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being creative with business cards

Do you ever think of what you might have done if you weren't doing your current job? A dream job maybe, something that you really wanted to do when you were growing up, but got sidetracked in the quest to have a career that paid the bills. Growing up, I never spent much time thinking of what I wanted to do, but at a certain stage in school, I suddenly felt that I should focus travel or hospitality. For a while it was all about working in the hotel industry for me, but I happily lost my interest in this field when I realized that it would involve working on all the holidays! But, ah travel, that's always been around in my life. And I've even managed to live my dream by working in a travel agency, which was one of the most fun jobs ever.

Even though now my work involves the travel industry only in writing work, I still dream of designing my own travel agent business cards, imagining what kind of card I would pick. Ready made cards have speed on their side, so if you're in a rush, then you can have your cards ready in no time at all. Just pick your design, add your details and place your order. Selecting the right font can make all the difference without going overboard, especially if you want something a bit conservative. If you think about it, business cards are your first impression to the world, so they have to stand out, to be different from the competitor down the road.

Sometime back, I downloaded a set of business card plates where all I had to do was add my details. It came in a set of 6 different designs which I thought was an interesting way to look at business cards. You don't have to just stick to one design. Select a few different designs, but keep them similar by adding your logo and details and there, you're going to have a business card that memorable. So, be innovative and see the difference it makes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

the past week


As boring as it can get to do the same thing over and over again, taking photographs has made me see everything with more interest. I make an effort now. A cup of tea is a cup of tea, repeated everyday, but taking photographs prods me on to maybe pull out a different cup, to use the cloth napkin and so on. We buy pretty things, but then relegate them to the cupboards, to be saved for a special day, which invariably comes along once in a blue moon. 

Talking about the moon, here's half a moon in the lovely evening light, as the sun sets. I sat on a bench facing the water, with E by my side, both of us munching on a fresh baguette. Oh I tell you they are addictive. We've altered our walk time to coincide with when they bake the baguettes at our local bakery. I'll try to take a photo or two of it next time around.

 Morning sunshine streaming into the living room. I love how warm and inviting it has become now that the summer is over. I'm in love with it again, after our disagreement over the hot summer months when it was too harsh.

Ah, saving the best for last :-) E wearing her new wooden bangles that my s-i-l sent her. I'm perched on the windowsill and she came to me instead of going to the window to look down at the cars. She makes me feel so special. I love her so much. Each day a little bit more.

a breath of fresh air

I can feel the change in the air these days. Suddenly, the air is lighter and less humid, the birds seem to be chirping a bit louder, happier maybe! We've been spending a lot of time outdoors, lingering in the park in the evenings, taking little mini-picnics to savor along with the smell of the grass. While we don't get much of real winter here, it does get chilly and since the houses are made more for keeping the heat of the summer at bay, they don't always fare so well in the winter. High ceilings mean that using room heaters is often a wasted effort. What works to keep you cozy at night is a heated blanket instead. I love that you can set the temperature and so it can be used in a variety of temperatures. I always used to be wary of any kind of electric stuff for sleeping, but ever since I used a heating pad at a resort in the hills, I was convinced. They are so convenient to use and work really well. If you're wary of them, start off just by turning it on before you get into bed, so it's all warm and toasty for you to get into.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

from our windows


As the weather is changing, our views are improving too. The skies are bluer instead of a hazy shade of gray. Living in Dubai, one gets so used to seeing new and outrageous designs of buildings, but if one stops and looks there are a lot of really nice touches to a lot of the normal looking ones too. Like the steps in the black glass building. Not all the buildings are residential, and this black glass one is a commercial building, and there is another 1 or 2 more else where in our area as well. They've tried to make it a nice mix so that people can live and work here, but I wonder how many people are really lucky enough to live and work in the same area.

These are the 4 buildings to our south, seen from our side window. Incidentally, we had seen an apartment in the 3rd one from the left, and found the layout of the flat to be really convoluted. It had so much wasted space in hallways and passageways, almost like a maze. The last one on the right was still under construction when we moved here last year and they worked on it day and night, weekends too, to finish up the structural work. Now the work on the insides continues. This one is a commercial building too. Hoping that once offices open up, some retail establishments will come up too.

do you remember writing christmas cards?

Can you believe it's October already! I just cannot get my head around the fact that we're already counting down to the end of the year, time to get ready for the parties, the holiday season, the presents and the Christmas cards, of course the cards. Isn't it special to get a few? There was a time we used to get tons and tons, I mean everyone used to send them out to everybody. We used to be writing cards, writing addresses and sticking stamps from the beginning of December, building up the excitement. Things have changed, and now it's all about holiday invitations for the parties instead, and it's all done online of course! While it can seem a bit mechanical and synthetic to get an online invite, selecting something with a personal touch makes all the difference.