New Moms: 5 time-saving dressing tips that will make you look like a million bucks!

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This article is about being prepared for times when you need to head out in a jiffy but have little or no time to spend on looking good. I set out to write this article for new moms but honestly any busy woman will benefit from these ideas. So go ahead and let me know if it worked for you.

  1. First thing first. Block an hour for yourself and ransack your wardrobe. Pull out stuff that you like wearing and try them on. Keep aside ONLY what fits you at this point in life. Fold the rest and deal with it later. Remember, you need to do this exercise periodically depending on how your body is changing.
  2. Make sure the clothes you have identified are washed, ironed and organized a way that makes it easy for you to find them. Next time you want to run out of the door for a quick errand just slip into one of those.
    TIP: When you are in hurry NEVER try a dress that you haven’t worn during or after your pregnancy. Always know that the slightest doubt about your appearance will make you wish you had opted for something safer. So step out in clothes that make you feel confident and nice about yourself.
  3. Don’t save that pretty outfit for another day. If you are a new mom chances are you don’t get to go out often. So why save for another day? Today is that day. Wear it and be ready to accept all the compliments that come your way because when you are happy from within, it’s bound to show!
  4. Find a good pouch or organizer to carry all your favorite cosmetics and accessories. Chose the right size pouch that will fit in any handbag – big or small. Fill the pouch with things that you can apply on the move lipstick, gloss, perfume etc. A comb and scrunchy for a bad hair day and a pair of ear rings or bracelet that will match well with all your outfits. TIP: For an instant makeover try a lip gloss, lipstick or kohl.
  5. Finally, remember no matter how organized and prepared you are life can still be unpredictable with a little one in toe. So there maybe days when s/he will puke on your crisp white shirt or wipe dirty hands on your blouse. Don’t let that dampen your spirit. Shrug it off and move on with a smile. After all, the most beautiful thing you will ever wear is not a piece of clothing or accessory but your attitude!

My favorite Mommy moment

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mommy moment

I wonder if all mommies have one.

My favorite moment is when my princess wakes up in the morning. In her groggy and whiny state, she stretches her arms and legs much to my amusement 🙂 On my lucky days, my baby wakes up smiling at me and that makes up for all the lost sleep and fatigue. I hug her tight and kiss her tiny hands and feet. Sometimes she kicks and punches me and I love that too!!!

Counting My Blessings

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Sometimes we are so consumed with self-pity that we fail to notice our loved ones who suffer silently with us yet continue to support us in whichever way possible. It’s their love which gives us the strength to bounce back and regain control. And when that happens, all worries slowly start fading away.

The past 2 months have been crazy. I haven’t had a single day off ever since the baby arrived. There were several people around to welcome the baby but a few weeks later, it felt like everyone except me had gone back to minding their own business. Being a first time mommy everything from the loud cries to the late night feeding feels overwhelming. And to think that you are alone in this only makes it worse. So I decided to share my feelings and let the world around me know how I was feeling. I called up my family and cribbed. They said they were going to visit us as soon as possible. Ok, that’s some relief but what about this moment? Now?

So I confronted my husband who had just got back home after a 12 hr work schedule and asked him why he couldn’t call more often or just come home earlier. To which he replied, if he had the time to call every few hours he would rather finish things quickly at work and be home with us. I knew he was being honest but my woes were still unaddressed. So I kept mumbling and finally when I rocking baby to sleep I muttered how I hadn’t slept properly for so many nights and wished there was someone to take over for one night. Clearly, I was talking to either myself or the baby because the third person in the room was snoring by then. I was irritated but decided to wait till the next morning. Somewhere around midnight my baby decided to call it a day and I dropped my head on to my waiting pillow. Before I realised I passed out. It must have been past a few hours when I heard someone whispering. Slowly I opened by eyes and saw my husband rocking the baby back to sleep. He was telling baby how tired her mama was and that she needed rest so he was taking over for that night.

Mommy rants…

Ok, so it’s been a rather rough week with me trying to play SUPERWOMAN. It’s probably time to accept and acknowledge that I need help. My 2 month old is a handful and as much as I would like to do everything for her, by myself, sometimes it does get tough and beyond me.

What’s with some moms (like me) not wanting to seek help/ advise from others? Are we possessive? Or are we just tired of all the extra advise that comes our way even without asking? It’s the later for me. C’mon, I know it’s all nice and useful and people mean well but that’s not what I want to discuss ALL of my waking hours. Sometimes I want to hear about work, office, movies, travel, fashion…sigh!

While I am reluctant to reach out to others for help my own expectations from my husband keeping increasing. I know I am being unfair at times. He works 12 hours a day and I cannot expect him to be available for small talk all the time, can I? I asked him directly and he said “That sounds fair…”.

So what is it that I am cribbing about? Well, honestly, I don’t know. I can blame it on post partum depression but I am craving for his attention…a lot of it, honestly. I want him to sympathize with me (more), I want him to spend (more) time with me, I want to be able to quickly grab my jacket and dash out of the door (with him) like before…but I can’t and that makes me sad. Do I not love my baby enough to let go off such things for a while? I do but who am I kidding…I miss my freedom.

Vegetable cutlets for Potluck (starter)

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At the onset, I must confess that I didn’t have high hopes of getting the cutlets right and so I didn’t bother taking pictures of what I made but I surprised myself and here I am blogging about the happy outcome.

It all started when my husband came home announcing that he had volunteered to get 25-30 vegetable cutlets for a potluck event at work. Monday morning… 25 to 30 cutlets? He must be kidding, right? No, he wasn’t. For some reason he thought I would enjoy the challenge! Well, truth is, I did enjoy it! 🙂

Anyway, so I started with an internet search for good recipes. I zeroed in on 2 recipes and decided to take ideas from both. My plan was to freeze the cutlets on Sunday night so that I was left with only the task of frying and packing on Monday morning.

On Saturday I made a small batch of cutlets. This was a trial to confirm the final recipe tasted good and that the cutlets looked good as well. I made 10 sample cutlets and they were super yum! So on Sunday I repeated the same process with bigger quantity of ingredients.

Cutlet 2
Image: http://www.myworldfoodandtravel.com/2013/10/mas-vegetable-cutlets.html

Here is the recipe and method:

PREP TIME: 1 HR

COOKING TIME: 1 HR

SERVING: 30 CUTLETS

INGREDIENTS:

  • Potato 3 cups (Steamed and mashed)
  • Vegetables 2 cups (mix of peas, carrot and beans)
  • Onion- 2 medium (diced)
  • Ginger-  1 Tbs (Finely chopped  or grated)
  • Green chilli- 2 to 3 (Finely chopped)
  • Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves- 2 tbs (chopped)
  • Chilli Powerder- 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala- 1 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice- 1 1/2 tbs
  • Corn Flour
  • Bread powder
  • Salt to taste
  1. Steam the potato and vegetables and keep aside. You could use the method suggested here http://www.padhuskitchen.com/2013/03/vegetable-cutlet-recipe-how-to-make.html
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add fennel (sounf) seeds to it and fry till it crackles.
  3. Add onion and fry it till transparent.
  4. Add salt, green chilli and ginger and sorte for a few couple of minutes.
  5. Add the  masalas- chilli powder and gram masala.
    Note: You could even add of turmeric if you like the inside of your cutlets to be yellow. I personally prefer a brown look.
  6. Now add the vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes on high flame to ensure that all moisture is gone.
  7. Add the mashed potato, lemon juice, and coriander leaves and allow the mix to rest.
  8. Now turn the flame off and allow the mix to cool.
  9. After it has cooled down mix everything together. Don’t worry if the vegetables get mashed. It’s better that way.
  10. Now make small balls out of the mix and flatten them to get the desired shape. Adjust the size to ensure that you get the required numbers.
  11. Mix corn flour with some water to make a runny batter.
  12. Dip the shapes in the batter and roll them in the bread powder (spread on a big flat plate)
    Note: I later learnt that you can make your cutelts crispier by repeating the abve step. Dip the cutlet one more time into the batter and apply a second coat of bread powder.
  13. At this stage you can either choose to freeze your cutlets for later use or fry them right away.
  14. I used a flat non-stick pan to fry the cutlets but the challenge is to get the center evenly fried.  Around bottomed pan might work better.
  15. You can either shallow fry or deep fry these cutlets.

Meeting Room Pet Peeves

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As someone who hosts and attends several meetings every week, I have my preferences. While there are some meetings that I really look forward to attending, there are others that I absolutely dread. The points for discussion and other logistics remain the same, the differentiating factor is the participant list. Some of my collegues are extremely organized, punctual and focused during meetings while there are others who…well…are a little difficult to handle.

Here’s what they do and what I would like to say to them:

  1. Asking the meeting host “Do we have the meeting today?”
    Yes, my dear, we do. Else, you would received a cancellation note from me so stop asking this question every time u bump into me before a meeting!
  2. “What’s the dial- in number again?”
    It’s a scheduled meeting which has been going on for months now. Just because you are the last  person to walk in usually, you never had to dial into a conference. And then one day someone happens to ask you to dial in and you are clueless beacuse you never paid attention. Well, guess what you just made them regret asking you for help.
  3. Verbal diarrhea
    Control the urge to explain the point again and again. We have heard you. Now give us a chance to respond.
  4. Doodling
    Well, it better be a master piece that you are creating while everyone else is busy contributing ideas.
  5. Sharing jokes
    Pointing to the laptop screen and sharing jokes with the person sitting next to you. I am sure it is funny and needs to be shared instantly but do you realise that you are distracting everyone? How about reserving it for later?
  6. Typing away!
    Meetings are not forums to complete you pending tasks. So don’t type away as if you are in a competition.
  7. Mute your laptop
    Don’t make others jump out of their seats every time someone pings you on chat!

Are any of these your pet peeves

Monster-in-Law, God, and Yoga – Lessons from My Life

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Many of us have secret messages for our children. These are lessons from life that we hope to share with our next generation when ‘the time is right’. I have a few too. I am not a relationship guru or an expert on work-life balance, but I am a keen observer of life and I believe in learning and sharing lessons from it. So here I go…

RELATIONSHIPS are the basis of life. They inspire and influence and make us who we are. Every interaction is a learning. With every interaction, we create an impression for someone. Therefore, it is important that we understand and realise how our words and actions affect others, particularly those who care for us. Here’s my take on some relationships.

Parents– Remember, this is the only relation that you don’t get to choose 🙂 Now, let’s look at the upside. Chances are these folks will never desert you, no matter what. When you are a child, your mom and dad will (mostly) be your heroes but as you grow you will realise that they are not as perfect as you thought them to be. It’s ok. You are probably much smarter and bursting with ideas. So, show them the way! Remember, they might not admit it easily but all parents secretly pat their backs for having raised a smart and sensitive gen-X.  It’s ok if there are times when you don’t understand each other. Always know that they cherish the time spent with you no matter what. So irrespective of how busy you are with college, friends, work, remember that a call from you or a meal shared with you will make them very happy. I love the way my mom’s sleepy voice becomes chirpy the moment she realises it’s her li’l (!!??) daughter on the other end of the phone line. That’s right, it doesn’t matter how old you get your parents will always see you as the baby they raised.

Friends- We love them and would much rather be with them than anywhere else! If you are an extrovert and love meeting people chances are by the time you reach college your friends list will run into multiple digits, which is good. BUT, don’t be surprised if by your 30s the list is in single digits. The thing is, as we age and priorities change we do not always have the time to keep in touch with everyone. Your real friends will understand that. With a true friend, you can always pick up the phone and continue from where you left last time. That’s the beauty of it. So give yourself time to realise that not all friendships will stand the test of time.

Marriage– They say it’s a pact made in heaven, maybe. We’ll find that out later but as long as you are on earth and in this institution, you cannot hope for divine intervention every time and take things for granted. Like any other relationship, marriage requires hard work. Not just in the beginning but forever. I am a big fan of this institution because it’s given me a lot – love, friendship, companionship, support, security, freedom, beautiful memories and YOU! But, I cannot and will not take all credit for it. This relationship should never be measured in terms of who is giving or receiving more. It should always be about two people who truly want to be together and are giving it their best. If you are lucky, you will end up having a best friend forever!

In-laws- To begin with, the Mother-in-Law (MIL) vs. Daughter-in-Law rivalry is over-hyped. Do not step into the relationship with Eagle eyes watching out for the ‘Monster-in-Law’. She might not exist! The truth is as much as you want to like them and make things work chances are they are trying too for the sake of the one man you both love. So give it a shot. Don’t overdo it and do not set wrong expectations. Every family is different and the rules in the house may differ. See if you can accept theirs, if not, let them know what doesn’t work for you. My MIL is very spiritual and perhaps wanted me to follow some of her traditions. I tried, I honestly did.  But I failed because I am not as disciplined as her. I let her know the same and she accepted me the way I am. BUT, that has not changed anything between us. We meet every few months, I keep in touch with her over phone and we have great conversations about books, spirituality and about what we would both love to do if the men in the house gave us a break from the routine!! 🙂

FAITH AND BELIEF

Faith means different things to different people. I don’t want to impose my beliefs on you but all I ask of you is to have a belief system. Life can sometimes be tough and it helps to have an anchor. Choose a path that works for you. Rituals are not important. What’s important is to derive positivity out of the experience and the ability to spread that around you.

EDUCATION, CAREER, AND MONEY

Education is very important. Later in life you will realise that most of what happens in your personal space- your career, lifestyle, friends, stress levels are all influenced by the choices that you made early on in life. There is no simple way to decide what will work for you. You have to try, re-try and keep going.

Your career will define the second half of your life. It will give you financial stability, confidence, drive to excel and much more. Be thoughtful and sincere to your job. If you feel you are not motivated or challenged enough then stop and decide if you want to continue. Let work not suffer because you are not up to it. The right job will motivate you to get out of bed every morning and face the world. Remember, not every day will be the same. But if your job inspires you and engages you in the right way then most of the days you will go to bed feeling satisfied and proud of what you have achieved.

Money is important, very important but never work for money. That’s a wrong goal to chase. The desire for money can never really be satiated. The more you have, the more you want. Instead chase the right dreams, the right motivational factors, the right influences and money will come to you. Once you have money, it is important to save for those rainy days. Don’t lead a frugal life if you don’t want to, but always respect money.

BODY AND BEAUTY

God has made us the way we are and it is important to be comfortable in your own skin. Having said that, it is also important that you accept and take care of your our body. Keep yourself fit. It’s not about ‘looking’ good, it’s about ‘feeling’ good. If you feel good in your heart and mind you will look good too! I want to emphasize this to you because I realized this only in my mid-life.  I tried Yoga out of curiosity and got hooked to it. Slowly the benefits started showing and I realised what I had missed out till then. Consider it your “me time” which resets your clock and recharges you to take on more in life.

Try and let me know if any of this works for you!

The best Pregnancy Tips I received

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Most pregnant women reading the title would say “not again!” I hear you. Everyone around you must be generous with their pieces of advice. You have already been briefed a zillion times about the importance of eating right, exercising, walking slowly, avoiding stress etc.

As I write this post, I am 6 months pregnant. So I have received a fair share of that gyaan too. From all those well-meaning sessions, I have filtered out a few advice from friends and family which really helped me. Some of these tips are simple and obvious but nevertheless someone had to point them out to me. I am greateful to those who did.

I will continue updating this list as and when I receive more of these pearls of wisdom.

Pregnancy-tips01

Image: http://xaxor.com

Breaking the news to friends and family

  • Take your time. It is more important that you enjoy this moment with your partner than spend time reaching out to people. And if you don’t want to share the news immediately, that’s fine too. In our case, we chose to do it a few weeks later. That gave us enough time to enjoy the moment before the phones started ringing!

Diet

  • Eating out is fine. What you eat is what really matters. AVOID salads and uncooked food that can unsettle your stomach.
  • Don’t try things that you have not tasted before (just because people told you it is healthy!). This is not the time to experiment. Someone had recommended a certain green, leafy vegetable to me which I had never had before. I started including it in my diet. By the third day, I was sick and throwing up.

Hair and Skin

  • ‘Hair coloring is not recommended’, said my doc. According to her, the chemicals can be harmful and are best avoided. She said I could continue using cosmetics such as eye liners, lipsticks etc.
  • Moisturize yourself well. When your body starts expanding, a part of the discomfort can be due to the stretching skin. So be generous with the moisturizer bottles! I wasn’t much into using creams but now I INDULGE. I gifted myself some fragrant and light moisturizers which make me feel good. I also use the stretch marks cream prescribed by my doc.

Clothes and Footwear

  • Always wear light colored underwear. This is very important because you need to know if you are spotting or have any irregular discharge.
  • There is a difference between buying plus size and maternity wear (yes, someone had to point this out to me!) Maternity wear can be your size with extra space to accommodate your growing self. A Plus size is the next big size which means drooping shoulders and unflattering length which you do not need.
  • Watch out for swollen hands and feet. Speak to your doc on what you can do to keep it under check. You might even have to opt for a bigger size of footwear. Time to go shopping…yay!! 🙂

Lifestyle changes

  • Whether you have exercised before or not does not matter. This is a good time to start. Walking for 20-30 minutes is usually recommended.
  • Start setting aside a little time for your baby. It helps. Especially when you need to monitor baby movements. I noticed that on days when I was busy, the baby wouldn’t move much. My own constant movements were probably rocking baby to sleep. Then I started slowing down. After every meal, I would put my feet up and gently touch my belly. The response from the other side by terrific! This soon became our play time!

Sleep

  • Don’t start sleeping on your sides very early. Wait for the doctor to tell you when to start. Sleeping on your side is not easy. So give yourself those initial months of good sleep.
  • Invest in an extra pair of pillow. It really helps to have them support your legs, lower back etc.
  • You are lucky if you don’t feel tired too often. It is still a good idea to give yourself enough sleep and rest. It will relax your mind and body.
  • By the end of 7th month, you might experience insomnia. If you know it’s happening to you then figure your way around it. For me, an evening walk followed by a hot shower and a warm glass of milk before bed did the trick.

Finally, my favorite:

  • Consider the 9 months as your best “ME TIME” ever. Do everything that makes you happy. It’s a new phase and one that will always be remembered fondly. So make it memorable for yourself!