10 Ways to be positive and happy

I have been recently brawling with being positive and looking at the “brighter” side of things. I am sure most of us struggle with this every day. And if you don’t you are very lucky my friend or you might be living in denial. So I thought I could share a few things I do to make myself feel better through the somber times.

  1. Take a good nap: Sleep is really important to induce positive thoughts and rejuvenate your mind. I won’t go into the science of things but I try to sleep for 7-8 hours daily.
  2. Enjoy a drink/ Listen to music: Whenever I am alone over the weekend or during the week I like to turn on some music I enjoy or videos I like to watch. I do this with a glass of cold juice or wine for weekends.
  3. Read something motivational: I know not many of us like to read but there are some motivational books that are perfect for pick me ups during the day or read motivational quotes online.
  4. Make a list of short term goals: I love making to-do lists!! This helps me to be focused on my current tasks and also make short term achievable goals. This is important to understand your own capabilities and strengths.
  5. Love yourself: I know a lot of people who find flaws in themselves and forget to embrace who they are. It is really important to accept your true self to move forward without being hung up on what is wrong. It is always good to know your weaknesses so you can work towards mitigating them.
  6. Take up a hobby/ exercise: I cannot stress enough on the importance of having a hobby. This will help to keep your mind active no matter how old you are. Another important key to being positive is exercising. The blood flow in your body will help you clean out your thoughts and help you sleep well at night.
  7. Worry less: Everyday I remind myself to not worry about the things that are out of my control and just concentrate on my priorities. This can be really difficult but it does get easier once you make a conscious effort to do so. Just take a deep breathe and move forward!
  8. Eat healthy: Ayurveda describes beautifully how the food you eat affects the formation of your thoughts. Some foods can make you lethargic or even stressed out. Learning more about what you consume and making conscious decisions can go a long way. You need to be fit mentally and physically to have a healthy and happy life. It’s not to late to start today.
  9. Smile: Every time you smile your mind will automatically take you to your happy place and make you feel better. It doesn’t take much to smile at a stranger at a store or even your colleagues on a hard day’s work. It definitely will get you through a tough day.
  10. Give your 100%/ This is your life: You worry less, give your 100% from the time you get up and things will always move in a positive direction. This is your life so don’t worry about making mistakes and enjoying every second of it. You only live once!
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Time Flies!

Time definitely flies. I just realized I haven’t written in four months, It is crazy! My day goes by so fast at work that when I am home, I laze like a hippo and have now started to look like one. I have been catching up on a lot of shows- Quantico and Hawaii Five-O being the latest. Its like I am hypnotized by the TV. The idiot box is definitely living up to its name. I am trying so hard to be productive but somehow it seems difficult once I lie down on my cozy bed after a long day’s work.

I really enjoyed my birthday in September celebrating it with the amazing Broadway show- KINKY BOOTS. I recommend this one to all age groups. Its a perfect blend of crazy, funny and sad. I really shouldn’t say sad as it was much better at depicting sadness. I was smiling as I cried.

I had a great meal with friends at Craft House which is in Suffern, NY. It is definitely worth a try. Their drinks are delicious and the Peach Cheesecake was to die for. What else do I need- I got food, great theatre and some alcohol. Oh! And my friends to enjoy this with. They even gifted me a fall jacket from COACH. My first ever!

Talking about jackets- Fall is here! Its so much better to snuggle with the person you love and smell the fresh air when you are out. I really love fall. Its gives a different quality to the breeze and the trees. Of course I am talking about the beautiful colors of the leaves as they turn yellow, orange and amber. I had never seen fall before because Mumbai doesn’t have fall. We have monsoon (I really don’t know why). But the first time I experienced fall I was so mesmerized by my surroundings. The aroma of pumpkin spice lattes, cinnamon and apple pies. YUM! It is my favorite time of the year. It is crazy how I never forget my food while talking about other important things. I guess I am just one of those people who eats while being happy, sad or stressed. Its a bad thing- definitely a bad thing. You see how the Hippo is still lazing on the bed?

The most exciting event of 2015 is that my sister is finally visiting me! I’ve been here more than 4 years and this is the first time! I’m so thrilled to have her over and show her my life that I have built here. I do believe it is important for family to know how you are really doing. It helps ease their worries and obviously makes life simpler. Also it ts that time of my life that Indians my age are pressurized to get married. All parents are worried about whether their children will ever find the love of their life (more like someone who can tolerate us). The hunt for the perfect person goes on. Just for all the parents who read this- YOUR KIDS DO NOT WANT TO DIE ALONE! We do want to find someone. Having said that, its not easy to find that one person among 7 Billion people now, is it? So sit back, relax and help your children in other ways and also have fun with them. That is important too!

Work has been hectic since I am learning new things everyday! Being in the cosmetic industry, you constantly have to keep up with the times, the trends etc. Its an ever growing business that calls for innovation and research. This industry has a lot to offer. I have finally gotten into make-up and to be honest- I love it! Never did I think that I would, but its fascinating and fun at the same time. Hopefully I’ll learn some new make-up techniques and share just like the new trend of make-up videos and blogs. I’ve also been catching up on all the cool ideas people have for putting on eyeliner. Trust me its an art and not everyone can master it.

I’m enjoying buying cosmetics and spending a lot of money on them. I bought the Urban Decay smoky palette, splurged on a nice organizer, lots of lipsticks among other stuff. Its been fun to experiment with all the make up and wear lipsticks to work. Its definitely a simple way to feel great about yourself. The past four months have been great in terms of work and also because I bought a beautiful car. It was long overdue and I wanted it before the winter set in. Commute has been so comfortable; this upgrade was necessary.

I’m definitely going to be writing soon about how I love the holidays or how much I shopped with my sister.It is going to be so much fun. Can’t wait to have you here Payal Kamath!

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Enjoying summer at Asbury Park

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Al Hirschfeld Theatre- KINKY BOOTS

A tribute to loving and losing

Some people say love hurts, others say it brings happiness. I would say love brought me life’s greatest lessons. I was 16 when I first started actually dating someone. It was kind of a big deal. Being from India I can definitely tell you that parents are really not okay with you seeing someone at that age. That’s when they expect you to enjoy life (start thinking about your career). I really did want to make it big in life. I was very ambitious at 16, I wanted to be a doctor. I even put a LOT of effort towards being one. Of course, now at 25, I know I wouldn’t have been able to succeed doing that. Anyway, the person I was dating was literally the opposite of who I was. He was funny then, we hung out a lot and he wasn’t ambitious at all. It was a typical high school relationship. I couldn’t have asked for more. I really thought I was going to marry him. Then, I went to college, I grew up.

The break up wasn’t really as difficult as it should have been. Considering I was dreaming about my perfect wedding with a person I had been for almost three years. I moved on rather quickly. I remember my friends telling me I was too practical instead of being emotional at the time. It was me who broke up. I wish I could go back and apologize for being a hard ass that I was. I din’t really care about what the other person felt. I always thought I should be happy. If not break up was my best bet.

As I started college, I became famous with the ‘senior’ guys. I was a bit of a carefree/ hippy back then; never gave a shit about what people thought of me. I guess that’s how I survived college. I made great friends who are still with me. I met someone worth being with at that time. He was really nice, funny and sociable. Would engage a crowd with a great conversation. But then all of this led to many insecurities which led to a break up. That’s what happens to good college relationships- people move abroad and long distance brings insecurities. That relationship was a big factor that led to me moving out of my house and coming to this country. Of course by the time I got here I had already broken up. Who wants an old relationship when they are in a new country. Right? Oh my god! This is who I was before- shallow who had no empathy towards anyone.

I wasn’t going to get away hurting everyone that came into my life. So I finally met someone who changed me completely. Definitely for the better and yes, I am not with that person anymore. He is happily married now to his girlfriend/ ex-girlfriend of God knows how long. I was a drifting bird in his life so to say. And I do wish them the best for their future. They are really suited for each other. And some part of me wanted them to be together even when I was dating him. How messed up is that. I’m sure many people out there must have felt like me. I became this lonely, dull person who smoked and drank all the time to make myself feel better. I never asked myself once is this relationship really worth it? But when I did I stayed away from trouble. It took me a long time to accept that I was cheated on, being lied to and rejected while living in the same house. My advice- Never do it. Move the hell out! Also, never think that you are going to end up alone. Its root cause of all failed relationships.

Anyway for what its worth, I learned a lot from each one of them, even from the ones I dated for a short time. And I wish I was in touch with each of them. But that doesn’t really happen these days. No one talks to their exes anymore, everyone just stalks them on social media! Come on! You all know I’m right about this one. That’s how all of us feel good or bad about ourselves depending how our exes are doing.

Today I do learn about their lives and I do feel extremely happy for each one of them as they get married or find the one they truly love. I am evolving and moving towards forgiving my past and doing away with regrets and being strong for my future. I certainly don’t feel as insecure as I used to before (can’t be a 100%- not insecure) haha! I learned about who I really was as a person. Inside and out. Gave me perspective and motivation to be better than who I am.

Today I am happy- not only for myself but also for the ones I loved and lost.

P.S: If ever my exes get to this- I want you guys to know that it was great to have you all in some of the most important phases of my life.

Starting Afresh

So I guess it’s been a while since I saw my own website. I have been swamped with work! Oh, but first let me tell you that I have finally found a permanent job at a renowned cosmetic contract manufacturing. My interview went really well and I was hoping to nail this one. And I did! It has been two months here and I have been learning quite a bit. I really wanted to switch jobs, get recognized for what I am doing. And I guess this is a stepping stone towards that. There have been so many changes in my life right now.

I moved closer to my new job that is in New York. No! not New York city, just New York state. Its a beautiful drive I take every morning. It was horrible in the snow but I made it. I moved all my stuff in the storm too! It’s like the storm wants to be my best buddy. Also, I am the only Indian in my workplace. Breather from New Jersey/ Indian land. Not like I hated it, I still do love New Jersey. But this is different. May be good different; I haven’t decided yet. Its too early.

I was kinda thrown into the middle of our innovation collection at work. It was like mad house a month ago. I really don’t know how I survived it. The job is teaching me the dynamics of a manufacturing unit I had never seen before. It is so different from the previous companies I worked for. I’m definitely learning though. I guess, sometimes, you just have to take one day at a time. And then all goes well. Its not the best place to build your career but I feel like I made a good start. In this day and age it’s so important to have a good relationship with all your colleagues for various reasons. One being your own sanity. The minute things go south, stress increases. I am definitely learning to ignore the things that irk me.

Living alone has been difficult, more like overwhelming. I handle my own bills now, clean the apartment and do the dishes by myself 😦 Not to mention all the cooking. Its tough to keep your mind occupied all the time in an empty apartment but I guess I have been doing okay. Its as if I have been given all this time to plan my life ahead. Plan about the more important things.

When I left home four years ago, I thought I had taken the biggest step of my life. I was wrong. That’s because I landed a fantastic group of friends and roommates here. I realize now living alone has been the toughest thing I’ve had to do.

I know I do have a long way to go. Build a career first, save some money to support a family. The future looks bright and I hope I can be positive and determined through this learning curve of my life.

For all you people out there who are considering living alone (moving out from your parents house or not living with roommates anymore); I think you should think twice before doing this. Its a lot of responsibility, its expensive and you have to pretty much take care of yourself. Having said that, sometimes its amazing to unwind by yourself, doing things you like- be it watching your favorite show or just reading a book or playing an instrument. It feels like it is going to be okay. And then a new day begins. I would recommend every person to live alone at least once in their life. See and experience the bigger picture.

Things I learned from 2014

I know I haven’t blogged for a while now. But it’s been a crazy couple of weeks; getting back to routine, trying to prioritize important things. I have dedicated this year to Career and Fitness. I know it sounds lame but I am going to do it anyway. As an International student here, getting a job, a work visa is very challenging and I do see a big chunk of people struggle everyday with this issue. But, we stay strong and get through it.

So last year, I dedicated myself to learning how much ever I could at work; enough to apply for jobs out there. Of course learning is a daily decision, so I try to imbibe how much ever I can. I have been frustrated with the job hunt. Though it has only made me more confident to know what I really want and what I really deserve. In my opinion, giving interviews is a great experience.

All my friends tell me that I look way better than I did a couple of years ago, where I was skinny and looked a little malnourished. The truth is, I stopped my bad habits and started eating more. More, obviously didn’t mean it was healthy. I gained my appetite back but it wasn’t in a good way. So I think this year needs to be about my health and earning some money (more like saving some money).

I see so many of my classmates from undergrad, tying the knot. I guess everyone is finding “the one” to be doing that. I don’t see myself getting married for a few years from now. There is so much to be done before that. Marriage needs dedication and hard work. Its not like I can’t do both but its just not the right time for me. Luckily, I don’t feel the pressure looking at other people going on this journey.

After a long time I feel happy and satisfied with myself. I don’t generally feel stressed anymore (big achievement for me considering I used to be the stress queen). 2014 taught me how worrying about unimportant things and people isn’t worth it. People who don’t matter left anyway. People who stayed always mattered. I feel proud to say that I just have a handful of ‘real’ friends who don’t pretend like the ‘fake’ ones did.

I realized I was surrounded by people who pulled me down. They were a negative impact on my life which was already complicated. Its important to understand that at some point you need to leave them behind and move forward. Of course you need your folks around you, that doesn’t mean you put up with their crap. I learned to let go! A very big lesson for me.

This is year I will learn to forgive and hopefully learn to forget. I have a lot to learn, lot to achieve this year. I hope you guys are dreaming big too. Because I know 2015 is going to be amazing! At least way better than 2014.

Dream Big and Achieve Bigger!

Bringing in the New Year

2014 just flew by. Can’t believe it’s 2015 already. I’m pretty sure I feel this way every year. I had a great, long break from work and my other stressful stuff. In this one week, I traveled, ate good food, saw dolphins among other things. I did not drink much, considering most of my other new years have gone by wasted. It’s been wonderful having these experiences with no alcohol. Life feels so much better! I enjoyed a few TV shows (that was me taking a break from being in the car and cold).

I visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The 4D experience in their movie theater is awesome! If you have young children, should definitely take them. The different types of fish I saw there, just made me ecstatic. There were sharks, shrimps, crabs, swordfish and there was a huge leopard print sting ray! And of course the dolphins were there and beautiful jellyfish. This definitely is a must-go place. TIP: Try a weekday; weekends and holidays are way too crowded.

I also had brunch at this famous place called Miss Shirley’s cafe. If you Yelp it, you will find great reviews and amazing pictures of the food. I had the shrimp and grits with the fried green tomatoes, very flavorful. Another must- have desert is the Monkey bread. Just go try it; I don’t really have words to describe it. Its that good! Miss Shirley’s was a great experience.

Another great place for desert is “The Bent Spoon”. I really enjoy this place when I crave for my dose of ice cream. I drive all the way down to Princeton for this one. This is the only place I’ve tried, that has different flavors every week! Can you believe that? They do have their usual dark chocolate, vanilla etc. But they also experiment with their bold choice of flavors. For example they had ‘Tree” flavored ice cream. Can you imagine? It was just I like imagined how a tree would taste. They incorporated it beautifully into the ice cream. I love their ice cream because its flavorful obviously; but its also so light. The after effect is not lethargy. TIP: Their sorbets are splendid and if you like hazelnut, their ice cream is to die for. I also like the sea salt caramel (its seasonal 😦 ).

For Christmas, I went to the Christmas village in Philadelphia, PA which happens every year. They have great food, lot of handicraft items, handmade goods etc. Had a waffle with strawberry bits at the waffle counter. So let me tell you this, no matter what I eat in Philly, it never seems to disappoint me. There are great places to hangout with friends, eat food, watch movies and plays. Philly has it all. And it isn’t even as crowded as New York city.

Today, when I start my new ‘work’ year, I feel well rested and ready to get on with work. To top up the motivation, I got a hair cut! A hair cut is a great confidence booster. I do want this year to be better than the last. Achieve my set goals, one at a time. I feel stronger this year and have decided to begin this year with a lot of self motivation and confidence. There is no time for set backs and mistakes!

The New Year always brings some resolutions with it. Though, this year, I have just decided to take one day at a time. Enjoy it and do everything to make it an awesome one. Every year I decide to be healthier than the previous one (doesn’t mean I exercise). I have got my appetite back that I lost in 2013. No complains there. Just that now I need to lose the hearty weight I have gained. Good thing is, I bid farewell to my addictions from 2013. I have been clean for a while now! Something that everyone should consider doing. Its totally worth the effort. I feel so much better. You won’t know how it feels until to try it. Give it a shot!

And for all those who feel the way I do- ALL THE VERY BEST! 2015 is going to be great!

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

At Miss Shirley's Cafe, Baltimore, MD

At Miss Shirley’s Cafe, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Lonely, I am so lonely; I have nobody to call my own…

This is how I felt when I first moved here. Cliche but true. I think most of us feel lonely when we first come to a different world, away from our comfort zone. Though I do know people who love this opportunity to meet new people, interact and make new friends. I find this a little weird. Don’t get me wrong, I am sociable. But I do find excessively chirpy ones among new people; a little weird.

India is crowded; very crowded as compared to the various states in the United States. You wouldn’t see a stretch of land without any people on it. I am from Mumbai, I have never seen empty spaces of land. Growing up there, I got used to the cars honking, hawkers shouting at the curb of the road, women shouting at each other so they could win their argument. This was routine for me. And how can I forget the heat and the humidity. Ah! Sweat! And of course, the smell.

A big part of my childhood consisted of playing with my neighbors and the sleepovers. It was four of us girls; sure there was a lot of fighting. But there was also a lot of caring, sharing and doing all the girly stuff together. And as we grew up, there was shopping! I fondly remember those days, when were we wore each others clothes. Today its different, considering one of us has a 6 year old boy. He is quite the rockstar. I don’t recollect a single day where our doors would be closed and we wouldn’t be running around in both the apartments.That was the feeling of belonging. I knew all my neighbors. I ate home cooked meals with them every other weekend.

So, when I landed here, in the US, I was quite shocked and depressed. I knew no one. I had no neighbors and no friends around. This feeling can really be overpowering if you don’t do anything about it. I waited for a good two weeks to realize I wasn’t in India anymore. And that my family and my friends are 10,000 miles away. Reality struck me bad. I cried a lot that night, slowly understanding that I truly was by myself.

I have seen students leaving mid- semester and going back to India. Just because they cannot handle the pressure of being alone or rather by themselves. Let me tell you this, we aren’t really alone. There are thousands, just like us, who are struggling to make it here; who are scared to ask for help. I, once wanted to go back home. I had decided to give up, lost all faith. But then my father reminded me that I was a fighter. I have always fought my way through different times. Achieved great things through hard work.

I am lucky I found amazing friends who are like family. You always feel the need to find somebody, especially during the holidays. Someone to cuddle with in the cold. How would you do that if you stayed depressed and lonely at home. So go out! Mingle! And am sure you won’t feel lonely or unhappy anymore. Trust me, it isn’t too difficult to open up to a stranger. No reason to get hurt or nothing to lose. Take this chance and enjoy your holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ

Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ