My favorite things…

While Stumbling in search of some interesting new sites, I came across Vogue’s 100 under $100 – Vogue‘s list of top fall trends, all of which cost under $100! As expected, I found a lot of things to fall in love with.

Like these darling Anthropologie Zinnia Thicket salad plates…

…and this Anthropologie On-A-Whim pitcher and bowl set.

Got a whole lot of stuff strewn around the house? Gather it all together and put it into this pretty John Derian storage box, which you can show off almost anywhere!

Like traveling but hate the tiny hotel soaps? Carry along your own MOR hand-wrapped triple-milled soap and travel in style! If you’re a crafty chica, save the gorgeous wrappers and use it in a scrapbooking, altered book, or any other crafty project!

Like jewelry? Then take a look at these bohemian neck pieces from Fred Flare Zanzibar and Waikiki…

…or chose the classy look with the Spring Street Empire brooch or the Bells brooch.

Liked any of my selections? Already own any of these? (I’m green with envy if you do!)

You can check out the rest of Vogue’s 100 under $100 for a lot more drool-worthy goodies, and take a look at some more of my favorite things

Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

– Maya Angelou

This poem has traveled all over with me – tacked to the bulletin board above my study desk, taped to the wall at the appartment I rented while working in Mumbai, on my office desk, in my closet…so how could it not be on my blog?

Got a poem that’s traveled with you everywhere? Tell me about it in the comments! 

What motivates you?

business,accounts,accountant,office,boss,manag...

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Ever wonder what motivates us to give our best at work? I know a lot of you will say “Money!” but that just might not be true.

Surprised? I was too.

Research has shown that the carrot and stick approach to performance enhancement works only when the job is a mechanical job. The minute it is a cognitive job, higher rewards = worse performance. Surprising, isn’t it?

To a certain extent, money is a motivator – If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated to work. But if you pay them enough that they don’t think about money, they are better able to focus on work.

So, what then, are our drivers?

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose

Want to know more? Check out this really cool video that discusses just this.

So, what motivates you?

Wandering Wednesday #5: What's cooking?

Nutella

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy looking for interesting recipes online (it’s another matter that I don’t cook too often, but hey, I can look!) so, I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes with you.

My all-time favorite soul food is prawn rice, a recipe I learnt from a Madhur Jaffrey cook book (I forget the name now). The husband, though, loves chinese sytle noodles, and I just came across a really simple recipe from The Local Cook for a chicken stir fry with noodles. Gotta try this out on the weekend!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I need to have exact proportions and measurements to get things right. Which is why I love Mom Food Project’s recipe for three different consistencies of white sauce. No more lumpy white sauce in my baked veggies, yay!

When it comes to all things sweet (and sinful) you can be sure that I’ll be at the head of the line! One of my favorite bread spreads is Nutella — it’s absolutely divine! But if you’re bored of just spreading it out on toast, try out this amazingly simple Nutella bread pudding by ovenhaven and get transported to Nutella heaven!  

Hope these recipes entice you to go into your kitchen and cook!

Got any favorite recipes you’d like to share? You know I’d love to see them, so drop me a line in the comments!

(Click to read older Wandering Wednesday posts)

Love is…strong

Love is...not without its complicationsRelationships can be messy and complicated. There may even be times when we wonder what possessed us to get married in the first place. So when a friend recently asked me what makes my marriage tick, I had to think long and hard about the answer.

I’ve been married 8 years and knew the darling husband for 3 years before we tied the knot — that makes it 11 years with the same man. Wow!

If I said it was an easy journey, I’d be lying. If I said I was blissful every single day, I’d be lying. But I do know that I am truly blessed that we found one another. There are times when I can still get weak-kneed just looking at him…times when I marvel at the universe that brought us together…and yes, even times when I wonder how insane I was to have gotten married! But those are fleeting moments, generally brought on when I am really angry or frustrated with the husband — and those moments happen in every marriage.

So, what makes me feel like the luckiest woman alive when I wake up next to him every day?

The fact that, no matter how many fights we have, the core of our relationship —our bond — has grown stronger over the years. We can fight and argue and storm out of the house on each other, but at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, the love is very much alive and growing.

What is it that makes your relationship tick?

Synchronicity

Here’s what my horoscope said for today:

A cat caught by surprise

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You’re bound to feel creative today. Rather than engaging in something physically active, consider exploring your artistic side. Try your hand at painting, writing or a craft like floral arranging. Explore the essence of color and imagination.

Creative expression is not only a means to communicate with others but also with yourself. Take the time to learn more about this part of you. You may be surprised!

I almost fell out of my chair when I read it! I’ve been involved in creative tasks since morning, even before I read my horoscope for the day. I updated my photoblog, Shutterbug, and am busy designing a blog button for it since morning. It’s very rare for my horoscope to actually be this accurate, so I’m going to plan some creative time for later in the day too. It may be time for some photography or altered art this evening!

Have you experienced such synchronicity lately?

Whispers of Cruel Words – Alex Coleman

Whispers of Cruel Words

Criticize all you want, I won’t be perfect
talk all you need, I won’t change
laugh at me and I’ll laugh back,
there’s no shame in being myself
I’ll show who I am
and you’ll wear all your masks,
your backed into the corner
from all your insecurities
one day you’ll fall,
along with all,
your whispers of cruel words
and that’s all they are…
whispers; hardly heard.

Alex Coleman

Zangoora: A Bollywood musical extravaganza

Billed as the largest Bollywood musical extravaganza, Zangoora — The Gypsy Price is one of the first musicals to be staged in India along the lines of musicals staged abroad. Since it’s being staged at the Nautanki Mahal at Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon, I had to go watch it. My only worry was that the husband might balk at the prices — the extravaganza doesn’t come cheap, with prices ranging from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 6,500 — as he’s not into musicals and theater, but he agreed without batting an eye!

Zangoora - the gypsy prince

The Nautanki Mahal is done up in old-world style. It follows a predominantly red and gold color scheme, evoking the grandeur of a bygone era, with beautiful, huge chandeliers dominating the central dome in the waiting area, throne-like chairs scattered around, a bar at both ends of the waiting area, and walls painted to look give an inlay effect.

Photography wasn’t allowed inside the theater, while the play was going on, though I did get a shot of the stage before the play began. 😉

The story itself is simple. The play opens with the Prince Rudra’s first birthday celebrations, during the course of which the king declares that he will not charge taxes during the year, and asks his kingdom’s three chieftains to make the same declaration in their provinces. The three — Thodamal, Daulat Rai and Zohravar — are none too pleased with this decision, and hatch a plot to wipe out the king and his family.

Opening scene: elephant throne

Prince Rudra, however, is saved, and ends up with a gypsy caravan, where he is brought up as Zangoora (Hussain Kuwajerwalla), the leader of the gypsies, who sets the stage on fire with his gypsy dancing partner Laachi (Gauahar Khan). Meanwhile, Zohravar (Sadanand Patil) takes over the throne and launches his reign of terror on Shaktisheela. Of course, since this is a Bollywood musical, the story has to end well, with good winning vs. evil and Zangoora, a.k.a. Prince Rudra, winning back his rightful place on the throne as well as his lady love, Sonali (Kashmira Irani).

The dancing gypsies outside their caravan

A typical Bollywood plot, you say, whose chances at the box office may not be that great? But hey! This is live…and it’s magic!

Right from the opening scene, where you have the king and queen holding court on the back of an elephant, to the electrifying, high-energy dances, the play keeps you captivated and begging for more! The cable work is excellent, reminiscent of a Broadway musical, as actors fly through the air, spin cartwheels, fly into a dream sequence, or come onstage, suspended upside-down, to deliver prophesies to Zohravar. The sets and props are excellent, breathing life into the different sets — be it the forest, the gypsy caravan, or the throne room. One scene in particular, which is set underwater, is breathtaking. LED screens and special effects are used to show fishes and plants, while two mermaids swim through the water suspended on cables. Pure magic!

Celeberating Zangoora's coronation

If you’re around Delhi/NCR, this musical should be on your must-watch list. It’s slated to go on until December, so you have plenty of time to catch it!

Still need some convincing? Check out this sneak preview of the musical. Note: this is a shot from a promo night, so it doesn’t showcase all the scenic elements.

Liked what you saw?

Images from Reuters blogs.

Meditation music: Relaxation music

How has the week treated you so far? My week has been really hectic — a lot of high-pressure deadlines that I had to meet at work, driving through some absolutely crazy traffic, long nights and early mornings.

With all the craziness, I really needed to find some peace during the weekend, and was fortunate to stumble upon some beautifully relaxing music.  I hope this piece is able to soothe your frazzled nerves as well as it did mine!

Hope you liked this music.

(Click to read older Spiritual Sunday posts)