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My Chances?

It's spring and I'm lovin' it! As if everything [colors, flowers, sun] is shouting out to me. Nature is so therapeutic. It heals me of all my worries [seldom!]


Sometimes when I need to reorganize my thoughts and figure out what is going on in my head I crave for open spaces. Being within four walls makes me feel claustrophobic. However, it is not possible to head to a park or garden every time I need to shuffle my thoughts [else I would be in the park for 20 hours in a day!


During my recent get away I spent a lot of time outdoors soaking in the sun and cool breeze. Nothing matches lying on the green grass, surrounded by colorful tulips and just sharing thoughts and stories with a girl friend. These are the moment when I feel, "This is how I intend to spend my [distant?] future!" Future with no agendas, no (over) ambitious goals, and no disappointments! Future with mental peace, paths sorted, and goals achieved. But then you look around and wonder no one else is living that life, so what are my chances? 


But then again, my girlfriends call me 'super-woman' and this time I wanna believe them. May be I will live that life! Amen!




















Friends, by choice!

Photography courtesy Corrie Bond

I have been staring at this picture for hours. The colors, the look, the model, everything about the picture seems to calling out to me. 
What you see in the picture, is how I feel this weekend! 

So this weekend, I was visiting a friend of mine [who called me shallow, remember?]. She is soon going to graduate from Grad School and fly away to another continent. This trip was special for many reasons. One of which was that I was seeing her for the first time since I got married. [She is happily single!] We both are extremely opinionated-free-spirited-women who enjoy yapping non-stop about everything under the sun. In last few days we have discussed everything under the sun from politics, world economy, religious views, emerging markets, hospitality industry, fashion industry, food and .... [I can go on ... and on ... and on] and of course the usual quotient of gossip!


That's what I had been missing! Someone to have an mentally stimulating conversation with which does not stop at absolutely anything. She is my middle school friend, with whom I wasn't that close in school but we re-kindled our friendship few years back and it has been worth-our-while, ever since. She is someone who will call a spade a spade, which is one of her endearing qualities. [Caring, ambitious, friendly and intelligent are few adjectives I would use for her]


You know, one always hears that old friends are the best ones or that eventually you are only left with a handful of friends, or some other cliché like that? I some how do not agree with any of them! I have found friends at different walks in my life and most of them have stayed. I have different, yet significant friendships with each of them! I think after a while any friendship can sustain as long as they give each other breathing space, independence and doesn't impose over-familiriaty [personal opinion!]. 


The best part of the weekend [besides her amazing hospitality ...]? She complimented me [for a change, should I say? :P] that I haven't changed 'at all' after marriage and she appreciates that I am still 'my-own-person' [in her words!] and I haven't lost my life to the role of a wife. I like it! 


Her only advice was that I should consider doing a MBA at some point in my life 'coz she can picture me 'doing it'. Unfortunately, I do not think that is going to happen in this life time [I am so over with the whole studying part of life!] so let's move on to the pictures ...


Below is actually an account of my outfits, proving my point from the previous post - The Packing List


Day 1. Straight from the Airport. I promise you, this is all the luggage I landed with!

Day 2 spent chilling and sipping wine with friends and catching up! Thank God for the sun :)

Day 2 (Evening) Changed clothes for a girl's night out! First Dinner & Margarita's at Border Cafe then Parrrrty! ....Parrrty! ....*thud* [off to sleeeep]

Day 3. Ready for the brunch at Hi-Rise Bread Company with more friends!

Day 3 (Evening) Chilling by the river ... Perfect! :)


Sitting by the river and enjoying the view. P.S. 2nd pair of shoes besides the booties! :P


Day 4. Lunch at the best Pizza place called - Figs! Yummm!


A jail converted to a Hotel - The Liberty Hotel


Day 4 (Evening) - Back from an interesting dinner at a Middle eastern Restaurant - Oelana 

The Packing List

My vacation doesn't begin from the date of travel, but from the day I start making 'the packing list'. I have been a 'list-person' from the time I can remember. I need a list to get moving on anything ['coz I like ticking things off]. However, I would like to believe that I am a practical and light traveler. I do not believe in carrying luggage weight on the basis of 'what if?' and 'may be!'. I have a clear-cut pattern that I follow and so far it hasn't failed. There are a set of questions I would ask myself before packing:
  1. How many days am I going away for?
  2. What's the weather like?
  3. Is it is a leisure or adventure trip?
  4. Am I staying at a hotel or at a friend/family's place? 
  5. Am I traveling by car/plane/train?
Once I have all these questions answered I get started on my packing list. Ideally if the trip is for 4 or less days, I prefer to carry only hand luggage because a) it avoids wastage of time upon arrival and b) I just hate to carry big & heavy bags around unnecessarily. 


Clothes 
I put together outfits before hand so that I am definite that I am not carrying useless stuff. I calculate 2 outfits per day [Day and Evening]. Mix-n-match items to make most outfits out of the same pieces, or carry simple light dresses to reduce the weight. Under-clothes are also planned at the same time so that I do not end up with wardrobe malfunction! Pair of pyjama's or lingerie is a personal preference, I guess! Also, I always pack a pair of light work-out shorts and t-shirt 'just-in-case'!


Accessories
Minimal is the mantra here! Scarfs, belts, socks, and so on are basics but when it comes to jewelry & shoes I try to make sure that I have the most comfortable pair of shoes which will also go with most of my outfits [which I have already put together!]


Toiletries
I have a toiletry bag which is always ready with travel size 'everything'. I never use stuff from this bag in daily life. As soon as I am back from one vacation I replace whatever was finished immediately. [Just trying to reduce the margin of error here!] Since I do not use make-up, not much thought goes into it while packing. Mostly I carry a mascara and a mineral foundation for emergency! On daily basis I only wear moisturizer with SPF, gloss and Kajal [Kohl pencil].


Necessities 
The night before traveling I pack remaining for the necessities:
  • Camera, Memory Card & Charger
  • Phone, Battery & Charger
  • Laptop & Charger
  • iPod & Headset
  • Sunglasses
  • Ticket/Passport/Documents 
  • Hotel Confirmation
  • Money/Currency
  • Medicines, if any
  • Umbrella?
  • Book/Magazine/Novel
So that's my packing list. Do you have one, as well?

Outfit-of-the-Day




No special reason for the outfit. I wanted to wear this skirt since long so paired it with a grey shirt! I was divided between a bright color sandals or similar tones. I went with these because I always wear contrasts, so for a change I thought 'matching-matching' isn't a crime either [;)]

Shirt - Target
Skirt - BCBG [Same as worn here]
Shoes - Payless

Leave Me Clean

I love the days when I have enough time to 'kill time'. So I have been staring at the screen for almost an hour and procrastinating ... but now clearly I have gotten around it! Excuse me if this ends up being a lethargic post, 'coz that is clearly my state of mind right now - lethargic!   


For today's post I decided to discuss my skin-issues. Skin (facial) is definitely one of my least attractive features but nonetheless I do try and take a lot of care of it. Since, both my parents had oily skin while growing up, I sorta got that in abundance in my gene-pool! [Why do mostly the bad genes win over the good ones?] I had been struggling with acne and breakout right from the time of puberty up until recently. The skin did clear out every once in a while but it was never consistent. After numerous dermatologists and treatments I had sort of given up and stuck to the good old CTM - Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize. However, sometime last year I think I got desperate and stubborn that I wanted clean-clear skin. Period! So this is what I did, 
  1. Went to the dermatologist for the n'th [and hopefully last] time
  2. Followed his instructions and prescriptions to the 'T'
  3. Drank enough water to fill a dam! [You get the point!] 
  4. CTM my face three times a day, but definitely before going to bed [No matter what!]
  5. Used sun screen regardless of the 'time of the day'
  6. Refrained from eating deep-fried food as much as possible
  7. Slept for seven hours minimum, daily
  8. Exercised regularly [which you all already know!]
  9. Stopped touching my face with my hands
  10. I don't use make up everyday [the only thing I didn't have to work on]
So the million dollar question is that did it work this time? Well, I do not want to jinx it [I hope I do not get a pimple first thing in the morning tomorrow] but I have bee clean & clear for more than 4 months! Not a single breakout. Now the only damage left are irreversible scars due to my relentless picking on them since puberty [I wish I had listened to my mom!]. I have made my peace with them though! [The picture on the right is untouched-unphotoshopped-makeupfree] This is the best possible skin I can have and if I continue with my healthy life style, who knows, may be the scars will disappear too *wishful.thinking.look*

And for the Outfit-of-the-day, we have ...





This wasn't planned but incidentally this is at facelogic where I am waiting for my facial appointment. Simple ensemble which is easy to put on and take off ... [you know for facial and everything!] Top is more than 3 years old but I love it's sheerness and colors and the pants are 2 years old but I haven't found anything more comfortable than these, yet! Everything in this outfit is old and almost deteriorating but I love all the pieces so I am gonna keep wearing them till their last 'thread'! 

Top - Bershka [Dubai]
Harem Pants - Gift from Mom
Necklace - Gift from Mom
Bangle - Local store 
Slippers - Gift from Mother-in-law

Also, the top was previously worn as, 

Paisley and Me

Hand stamp for printing traditional "paisley" design

I thought, if anything, I would know myself quite well by now [since I live with myself 24/7] but as it figures out not-so-much! I recently realized a pattern [pun intended] which seems to be all over my life! Nonetheless it is an amazing feeling to learn something new about yourself out-of-the-blue. I am very excited about my discovery, right now!


Remember from my last post the bed spread that I can't get over [which I bought on Sunday]? Well, that [now, famous] bed spread made me realize that I am crazy about 'Paisley'. Right after that I have found the pattern of 'paisley' all over my life and hadn't even realize it for so long! [Feels weird and exciting at the same time]


Let's start with the bed-spread, first


Oh! My lovely lovely bed-spread :)

My Life-line [Organizer]

This is close-up of one of my Indian outfits! It's one of the oldest ones I own but refuse to part with. May be I will wear it one day and post a proper picture [or may be not ... keep guessing? ;)]

Well these are my Yoga slippers ['coz I only wear them to Yoga class, don't know why though!]

Last but not the least, my wedding outfit! Full of paisley and it wasn't even intentional .. hmmmm


So there, now you see what I mean? It's absolutely bizarre that I didn't notice this trend up until now! [No regrets, though. Now, at least I know what I 'like']. Here are some interesting facts about Paisley I found [I mean I googled them, of course!]
  • It is a motif of Indian and Persian origin
  • In Sanskrit language, the design is known as mankolam [ma means mango and kolam means rangoli pattern]
  • The pattern is also similar to the Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity
  • It was named 'paisley' after a town in Scotland by East India Company
  • It had been used vividly by Hermés in their last year's collection with Indian theme. 
  • You will also find it spurt every now and then in Marc Jacob's scarfs and Juicy Couture's collections 
  • It is an eternal part of most of Vera Bradley's collections
And now for the outfit-of-the-day



It was a dull, chilly, rainy evening. Hence, the layers. For the first time I decided to go by the pool and read but was bulldozed out by the bloody-mostiques. *grrrr* Anywhooo, a simple outfit! Top is same as what was worn here. Nothing 'really' exciting, if you ask me! [Oh! and this is my first time clicking pictures with a timer, so be kind! :)]

Skinnies - Miss Sixty
Top - Ann Taylor
Cardigan - Calvin Klein
Necklace - Thrifted [Tehran]
Shoes - From somewhere in the world [!?!?]

Good Deed of the Day

I did my two years of high school in Dubai, U.A.E. Besides the fact that high school is supposed to be most awkward years of most teenagers, mine had an extra dose of cultural shock. This was my first time living in a foreign land [with a bunch of weirdos, I tell you]. However, this post is not about my awkward high school days, it's about this daily ritual me and my friends started soon after we got our driving licenses called the "Good deed of the day!"


Time for some flashback ... Back in the days [10 years ago] it was extremely difficult to get a driving license in U.A.E. I had heard horror stories of people giving driving tests for over 2 years and still not passing them. That's how strict they were. The government's logic, I suppose, was that the harder they are on the learners the better drivers they would have on the road. However, the cynics thought that it was a money making scheme, as every time you gave the test you had to pay the fees [and not to forget the valuable time you would waste waiting for not less than 5-6 hours!]. Some people even said that there are chances that the officials had formerly decided a fixed number of learners they would 'pass' each day!


Anywhoooo, we all managed to get our licenses eventually. I got it on my first try! [Yay for me! Just had to say it!]. It was, at that point,our biggest achievement in life. Bigger than passing high school or getting into a good college. Oh well, after all that drama we only found that the drivers on the road were terrible! Especially the 'locals' since they had no [or little] fear of the police [in middle east the original inhabitants of the country are referred to as 'locals']. 


So we all learnt to survive and reach our respective destinations without getting killed on the roads of Dubai. However, while doing that we had to often be selfish and make our own way through the manics driving on the road. But the 'kind and sympathetic young souls' that we were, we often felt bad for some people who were trying to change the lane, or take an exit and no one would let them [People there were mean!]. Hence, the conception of "Good deed of the day!" We let at least one person [car] go by before us, or let them get into their desired lane, or whatever it is that they wanted! It made us feel better and once we had ticked that off our 'daily' list we went back to being selfish and opportunistic. Hey! A girl gotta do what she gotta do! But the funny thing is that 10 years later, I still follow my "Good deed of the day!". I like the expression of gratitude and surprise on people's face when I do that. [Yes! it also makes me feel better about myself! Is that a crime?! :o)]


And for the outfit-of-the-day, I present to you -


Husband was trying the photography stint with the green tree in the background and green truck in front. I, too, thought it was funky! Specially with my contrasting colored dress!


Although, I was hoping the owner of the car wouldn't turn up while I am busy posing alongside! Thankfully, he/she didnt!




The weather was changing on hourly basis on Sunday, however it was pleasant for most parts. We had lunch plans with husband's colleagues and their wives. We went for some delicious Thai Food at Tong's Thai which has a great ambience and food! [I love spicy food hence Thai is just heavenly for me!] Rest of the day was spend running errands and hunting stuff for our guest room. We found this beautiful bed spread that I can't seem to get over [will try and remember to share a picture]. Anyways, back to the outfit. I paired this mini-dress with black leggings and all black accessories. I love yellow and I love florals. I thrifted this dress last fall when florals were not even 'in'!


Dress/Top - Wish [a local store in Austin]
Belt - Ralph Lauren
Leggings - Thrifted
Shoes - Payless


Also, previously worn as a dress:-


Story of exaggeration!

Few days back 'someone' [who shall remain unnamed] told me that I add 'sugar & spice' to [in other words exaggerate] my stories while narrating them. Of course, I do not agree. Simply put -> I am not exaggerating, that just happens to be my version of the story [truth!?!?]. You wanna tell your version? Start your own blog! [Fair?] 

However, the comment got me thinking and I realized that conversations, written or verbal, are simply a matter of passion and personality. Just to clarify, this is me having a conversation with you, where you can't talk, only comment! [I know, life isn't fair, always! :P]. Some people state facts with absolutely no pizzazz while others like to engage their readers [listeners] with some ethos. Also, in my opinion the use of adjectives does not qualify as a means of exaggeration, it is in fact, a means of expression! 

Let me elaborate with an example ... [Why? 'Coz I wanna!]     

Basic Facts of a Story - 6:00pm, Saturday, Two Friends, Shopping Mall

Question asked was , "Where did you see these two girls before?" and this is how some 'stereotypical' people would have responded, according to me:

An average person, who is inattentive for most of his/her life, with zero personality would say, "I do not know what time is was but I 'think' I saw those two girls at the mall. I have no idea what they were doing. I was a little preoccupied."

A News-Reporter-kinda-fact-stating person would say, "Ya! On Saturday, I did see two girls at the mall. I didn't recognize them from anywhere but they were definitely there!"

An interesting person with a flare and personality would say, "I saw these pretty girls at the mall in the evening. They were dressed swell! I wish I had stopped them and asked where'd they got their shoes from! Oh Well! Why do you ask?"

An exaggerating-sorta-person would say, "You know what? I did see them at the mall in the evening. I wonder what they were doing there? Must be either meeting guys or shopping. What else would two girl be doing at the mall, right?

So there! Needless to say I fall under the category of 'an interesting person with a flare and personality'. [How cool is it to have your own blog? You can say whatever you like! Ha Ha! :P] Bottom line, I do not believe, I exaggerate. I love to orate a story with some spunk ... It's not intentional, it just happens ... 


Over to the Outfit of the Day!
Scarf - Forever 21 [09']

Tank - CK [06']; Jeans - Miss Sixty [09']
Shoes - From somewhere in the world [?!?!]

Dressed to be comfortable and enjoy the pleasant weather God has bestowed up on us. Spring came, Spring left, now we have downpour! But I am not complaining. It's a perfect weather to go for romantic drives, and walks :) ... So we are off to watch Kick-Ass [The movie] right after we gobble down the delicious Thin Crust Mozzarella Pizza [Yummm!]. 





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