This week in pictures

I am totally loving the light reflecting on my leaves every single evening. More love to this summer..

This has been such a relaxing game for keeping me engaged when I felt bored. Poof..10 minutes gone just like that trying to catch that word.

No words here..just the sky.

With the temperature rising gradually, I started going back and reaching out to my old friend, cold coffee. And a quick doodle while taking the sips slowly.

Walk in the park with friend. My friend is behind the camera and she wanted to try the effects and modes on her new iPhone. I was happy to oblige!

How was your week? Let me know in the comments below.

See you later!!

My books in June and their reviews

Well, well, well…what a great reading month it has been? I am happy, actually content with the past thirty day and I am actually looking forward to July, curious to get to know about all the people, ideas and stories in store , running along those pages which are about to be unfurled. Without further ado, let me get to this month’s list.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney:

This is a book that I have recommended to many people. It is a refreshing story of two friends from school whose lives become intermingled with two adults and how the relations begin, develop and change throughout. The book is an absolute page turner with commendable narration and memorable conversations. I will give it a 4 star.

What I talk when I talk about Running by Haruki Murakami:

This book is a part memoir, part autobiography, part fitness guide and part deep dive into the life and thoughts of Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite authors and this is not a work of fiction. This is book is exactly what the title says it is. Murakami has been a runner for the most part of his life and this beautiful captures his story on why he picked up this hobby as fitness routine, how he became a marathoner, his training for each marathon and what goes in his mind while he was running, how it clears his mind, gives him ideas for his stories and helps him stay fit both physically and mentally so that he can write much better stories for us. Read this book if you want to know about Murakami, his life, his methods and what it takes to write a novel and another one and another one later, over many years and still continue to engage his readers. I will give this book a 3 star.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman:

This book is such a pleasant read, proving once again that you can be broken but still be beautiful. I love reading stories with strong female leads and this book is one piece of art that opened my mind in many ways, made me think about the society, the standards it impose, the struggles when your life doesn’t fit in the imaginary boxes created by so called regular, social people. It may not be a beach read but it is definitely a good summer read. I will give this book a 3.5 star.

Hunger by Knut Hamsun

I never heard of this book until recently and the book name kind of spilled out in a random conversation with a colleague. The title is little known and for me, the writer is unknown until recently. It is one of the best offbeat books that I read recently and it is about hunger. It is not a happy book but it is definitely a book that will make a lasting impression on you if you can make it until the last page. This book is an in depth exploration of a common but less frequently acknowledged human feeling of hunger and how it can become your master and direct your life when you aren’t in a position to address it appropriately, not by choice but by circumstances and almost helpless situations. I give it a 4 star for changing my perspective forever on hunger and lives associated with it.

Smash It by Francine Simone

Smash It is a perfect summer read and one of my favorite young adult stories that I read recently. It is a cute and captivating story of friendship, love and intriguing school life of Olivia and her friends. This is a story of what happens when a young girl decides to change her life, starts making list of goals and keep crossing them one by one, makes new friends, gets closer to BFFs and maneuvers life while having a ball doing it. I give this book a 4 star and you must read it of you are looking for a fun summer read.

Here are some of my favourites from June and my list is not even half done. I guess I have to mke part II for this post to cover all the books I read in June. If you would like to see my complete list or read more reviews, leave your comment below and I will try to make another post to continue this ride.

Can’t wait to get my hands on my July reads!! Catch you later 🙂

Summary of June – Few favorites and lot of updates

Gratitude is a great thing, isn’t it? Looking back at your days or around your place or even your room or table or bed and being able to feel thankful is a great feeling and is an immediate mood lifter, that works for me almost every time. So, I thought why not I post it online what I felt great about the month of June. So, here is my roundup post on June.

June was good, actually much than I expected. The days got longer, weather got warmer, sunsets stayed as beautiful as they always were. I am sleeping better, working out better and discovering new ways to keep myself engaged. Quarantining alone is hard but I feel like I am finally getting a hang of it.

Here is a list of few favorite things from June.

The sunsets around 8.30 pm to 9 pm are never to be missed!!

Walks in parks got longer and relaxing.

I got this baby to my home last month and this picture is from from day one, a sweet memory.

Also finished my 10th Anniversary in June, away from my husband and kid. It was not a good feeling but it is what it is. Hoping to double the celebrations next time around.

City:

As the rules are getting relaxed around Toronto, I started meeting new people, made some new friends and slowly getting myself into a new comfort zone. The parks are almost open now, picnics are allowed, play areas are filled with running kids and guzzling sprinklers. Parkettes aree filled with friendly smiles and savoury snacks. The mood around in the city and sidewalks was so much better than it was a month back. Thank god!!

Skin care:

I am getting myself enough sun everyday and in my books, more sun equals much better mood. Almost directly proportional. This is also the month where I discovered korean skin care – thanks to my girl friends who have been following this routine for a couple of months and have become strong endorsers for skin care and made got excited too!! I have googled a lot on this topic, studied, started to understand the steps better and I am currently creating a regimen that works for me. It is a trial and error for now but I will post the results here later. I am 9 days in now and I can see the slight difference in my skin. I am curious and I will keep you posted on the results.

Food:

This is the month I have carefully considered what I am putting in my mouth. I am thought twice or thrice before taking the plunge to eat unhealthy food. Moment of truth – I ate pizza slices twice this month and felt like crap pretty soon after eating them. I was feeling low in those moments and thought that my favourite food will lift my mood but something changed. I think reading more about healthy food choices is rewiring my thinking slowly. I guess this is good.

Shows:

As I mentioned in earlier, June felt good in the binge watch department too. I felt great watching old episodes of friends, new ones of working moms and I have finally completed season 3 as well. Season 4 is out I guess but It is not yet available on netflix. I will wait for it. Do you have any recommendations on what should I watch next? Leave them in the comments below.

Hobbies:

Drawing is something I have always loved and June is the month I got my first student to learn drawing from me. She is 7, she is curious, she is yearning to learn and she is totally fun. I am so glad that I got this chance to teach a kid to draw and I am feeling extremely thankful for this gig I am in love with. Yes, I started calling myself an art teacher for young kids, thanks to my first student. If you know any kids who would like to get their hands dirty, write to me. We have a lot to talk!!

Books:

I have read so many good books lately that I want to talk about them at length. Yes, I have a lot to say about them and that definitely deserves a completed post. I will write one soon, before June ends. Promise.

That was my June. How was yours? What are your favorites this month?

5 netflix shows that you can binge watch now

With more time on hand, I really can’t stay away from checking on what’s next to watch on netflix more often than I used to before. I am on the look out and I am sure you are on my team too. There are even moments when I thanked the streaming gods to keep me engaged in isolating times like these, when I am quarantining alone and only have books, birds, plants and laptop to keep me company.

I usually watch a lot of romantic comedies – Love will win in the end, with few smiles, smirks and struggles in the middle – Who can say no to such stories? Not me. But I have also started recently watching a lot of comedies and a few crime/investigation series too.

Without further ado, let me get started on the list.

Workin’ Moms:

I know I am late to the party but what a show!! Original, I must say and entertaining too. The female leads are refreshing, struggles are real and the stories covered are captivating. I have been binge watching this show since this monday and I am in season 3 now. It is not for everyone though! Catherine Rietman, bring it on!!

Queer Eye

These five gentlemen have taught me a lot on empathy, self-respect, inclusiveness, care and not to mention cooking, fashion, style, self-care and decor than any other real or reel person I have encountered in the recent years. I like all 5 of them and what they are offering to us in every single episode as they continue their journey across places and making every person they meet better than when they found them.

Anne with an E

Have you ever found a random show that you liked so much that you ended up watching it episode after episode after episode, wondering why did nobody ever mentioned this show to me before? That is Anne with an E for me. The story of a affable little girl in very special circumstances. This show is kid-safe too. You know what I mean!

Unorthodox

Although it is a 4 episode series for now, it is a good one and an insightful one that I have finished in a single sitting, because I can not wait to watch it later. Such was the story, such was the narration, the girl and her world.

Friends

Sorry to disappoint you if you are looking for new shows to watch and that is the reason I kept it at the end of the list but I am watching it again. Would watch it again after few years. Some shows are timeless and friends is one such show for me. Sorry but not sorry. Go watch again (wink)!!

That is my list. What are the shows that you are watching these days? New, old or forever favorites. Share your list in the comments below. I am all ears and eyes.

Have a great weekend!

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

The reading list

This list is simple. It is just the list of good things I have been enjoying reading lately and I thought you would fancy them too. Let us get started.

One book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading recently and have been goading my friends to read ever since is Conversations with friends. After reading the last page and calling it a win, I wanted to know more. Not about the story or the lives of the characters after the closure but about the life of the person who brought these characters to life, to make them think the way they thought and act the way they acted. The creation led me to the creator, the brilliant writer, Sally Rooney. I believe in the beginnings and the influences they have on the journey on a person.This article helped. It is written by her, in her early days, before she became a novelist and gives a pretty good picture of how it all started. Book takes commitment. Article is a speed date. Choose what you are ready for. wink.

I have completed reading the book, Essentialism by Gregory McKeown and I would recommend it to any one who is feeling overwhelmed with too many commitments, too many tasks and too little time to focus in things that matter or in case you are struggling to figure out what are those essential components of life and are getting to take the plunge and severe ties with all the non-essential stuff in life to enjoy the focused and purposeful life. It is self-help book but a good one. Go for it if any of these words like minimalism, simplicity, focus, pursuit of less appeals to you as a lifestyle choice.

I am also reading how to raise anti-racist kids and end to open plan living.

Here are some plant ideas for your home.

And, at last, here is an interesting book list if you want to dive in.

Happy Reading 🙂

When in doubt, put on that lipstick

Yes, the one that you like the most and reserve for special occasions. Put it on and spread it even, even though you aren’t going out or have no plans to do so for the next three days.

And wear your favourite work dress. It is right there, waiting to be worn out a little. You haven’t even looked at it for the last eight weeks. Don’t think thrice, or even twice. Yes, it is just Wednesday and you have no video calls to nail. But still, if you want to feel its charm, wear it. Feel your best.

Do your hair. Up, down or comfortable, just the way the way you like. Now get to work.

You want to own day, own it. You may want to take a shot, take it. Make your list, pick your goals, clear the table, type the words, make the call, grab the laptop and get the job done.

We have our lipstick on and we are waiting for none. Mine is fushia pink today.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

P.S.: I was on confidence high today and felt that you need this boost too 🙂

Sunshine and my answers to few fun questions

Thank you Chloe from Short & Sweet blog for nominating me for the sunshine blogger award. You made my day, for sure. I am glad that you believed in my sunshine. Sending loads of love your way.

And here is my award. Yayy!!!

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your blog post.

Q&A: Let us begin

What is your dream travel destination?

My dream travel destination would be someplace deep in mountains, surrounded by wild trees, winding ghat roads, little known trails and waterfalls, with little cafes appearing in surprising places filled with friendly people, offering warm ginger tea and simple filling meals, homestay room with smiling hosts and calming views of mountains or valleys throughout the day from my little window from dwan to dusk. Ahh, that does feel dreamy to me!!

Are you more of a book or movie person?

I am definitely a book person. I am watching netflix nowadays only when I am tired from all the reading I did in the day and did not have the energy left to turn the pages anymore. I guess, for the people I know, it is the other way around.

What is your favorite season and why?

Winter is my favourite season because I can cozy up my room, sleep for extra hours, read my books in holidays and drink many maugs of hot chocolate without a pinch of guilt. (wink)

If you could go back to any moment or period in time, what would it be?

If I could go back in time, I would definitely love to go back to my school days, laugh again with my friends, ride bicycle for hours and be goofy all the time again.

Favorite and least favorite trend?

When it comes to fashion, my favorite trend is dressing in monochrome and my least favorite would be dressing up top to down in checks. Checks feel too geeky to me. If it is about lifestyle trends, my all time favourite would be sustainable and simple living with least harm to nature.

Do you prefer to go by a schedule or go with the flow?

I prefer to go with the flow. I like having targets to be completed for the day, week or month but I would love it if I can choose when and where I decide to work on them and finish them.

What is one of your favorite memories?

One of my favorite memory is the week I got to spend with my friends last october in Spiti valley, in the middle of Himalayas, with no mobile signal at all for almost 5 days but plenty of beautiful mountains and views to compensate for.

What does your perfect day look like?

My perfect day would look like yoga in the morning, exploring a new neighbourhood or place, filling breakfast, writing content or making a video, reading a book, taking a walk or hike, playing with my son, early dinner and grabbing a book again before hitting the bed.

Have you ever met someone famous?

Yes, I met a couple of film stars while they happen to shoot for their upcoming films in the places I was lingering around. It happened once in college and once when I was working in Hyderabad. I did enjoy those fan girl moments for a couple of days each time.

What are 5 things you are grateful for today?

  1. My internet. Big thanks to it that enabled me to work from home during lockdown period and for helping me staying connected with my family, friends and my blog readers too.
  2. Coffee, for keeping me sane
  3. Warm sunny weather today, for uplifting my mood in the morning
  4. House plants, for keeping me in company
  5. Family, for always trusting me and rooting for me. This should be first thing in the list but this list is not in the order of importance. So, I guess they would be cool with this.

Are you more of an extrovert or introvert?

I am an extrovert 70% of the time and I need that 30% of ME time to recoup and gather myself again, to be able to extrovert efficiently in the next round of interactions. Did I confuse you enough? Actually, I am not sure but I guess I lean towards extroversion a little more than introversion. I need people and I need alone time too. I am trying to balance them both.

Thank you so much Chloe for the wonderful questions. I had so much fun answering them.

Here are my nominations for the award:

  1. The Book Satchel
  2. My serene words
  3. Silence Killed the Dinosaurs
  4. The Writing Chimp
  5. The lean minimalist
  6. Food Fidelity
  7. Little Grey Box
  8. Authentically Vegan
  9. Delicious Shots
  10. Hugs from Brooklyn
  11. Defining Yellow

You do not have to participate, but in case you are interested, here are my questions for you.

  1. What is your favourite colour and why?
  2. Which country would you love to travel as soon as the lock down restrictions are over?
  3. What are the 3 things that you are grateful for today?
  4. What is your all time favorite book and why?
  5. Which movie character do you identify yourself the most with?
  6. What was your favorite moment as a blogger?
  7. What would your best holiday look like?
  8. If you could pick up any living person on earth for a date, whom would you choose?
  9. What is your favorite season and why?
  10. What sport do you enjoy the most?
  11. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Thank you for stopping by today. I had fun composing this post, answering the questions and making the list of new questions for my nominees. I would love to see your answers to them. All the best. 🙂

Long walks and lots of pictures

Walking long distance with slow music playing in my ears is one of the newest hobbies I picked up in the recent months. This privilege, once reserved only to leisurely evenings spent exploring new places or street markets during vacations in places where I don’t live, has become a regular experience but still a privilege and I am making the most of it. Thanks to the beautiful locations, multiple parks and trails available in close vicinity within the city, the only motivation I need is to put on my shoes and walk out of the door. The remaining part of the walk will be made interesting and taken care by full blown lilies, swinging trampolines in the backyards, flower rich and leafless full bloom trees and sheepish but friendly smiles on the crosswalks by fellow city dwellers until I get close to the trail path, the place that is people poor, nature rich and perfect abode for my evenings.

Hope your liked the photo tour of the places in this post as much as I did while walking along it.