The Hurricanes

    It’s utterly heartbreaking -seeing the devastation of homes, infrastructure, and even complete islands, in the case of Barbuda. The loss of lives is the worst of all. We, watching from a distance, feel powerless to help. However, we can continue to support all of the brave relief workers – with our prayers, good thoughts, and donations- now, and in the months and even years to come, as they heroically rescue and rebuild these ravaged areas.

Amma’s Hair Advice


The author having a particularly good hair day and wanting to capture that moment for all time!! ?

If there’s one thing Indian women have in common, it’s taking pride in the appearance of their hair. Growing up, the ladies in my life – mom and aunties – never wore a lot of makeup (mainly just kohl eyeliner) or used fancy bottles of perfume (fresh roses and jasmine in their hair was fragrance enough.) However, every woman had a bottle of hair oil on her dresser and used it religiously. Beautiful glass bottles of coconut oil or amla (Indian gooseberry). And after the oil was applied, the long locks were corralled into one or two thick braids, into which a flower was expertly,and elegantly, tucked.

I had to go through this ritual every morning as a child but as I got older, I traded the oil for manufactured confections of conditioner, and just preferred wearing my hair out and free (I still do!) but the main difference was that I stopped putting the same level of care and time into maintaining my tresses. And believe me, every time I saw my mom, she would dispense the same pieces of advice I’ve heard all my life. And my response each time : ‘ok, mom’ *eyeroll*

Then, I moved to a windy, dry, temperate country and got a lot of split ends, tangles (GIANT tangles, actually), and hair loss due to yanking  those tangles out!! So, although I will still continue to wear my hair out, it’s definitely time to admit that mom (Amma, in my language) was right all along!

Amma’s Hair Rules:
1. Hair oil: it’s important to hydrate your locks to keep them glossy, tangle-free, and healthy. How much hair oil you use is totally up to you and is influenced by how much oil your scalp normally produces and your environment (is it hot and humid or dry and arid?) I generally do a hot oil hair treatment once a week and rinse it out in the shower. Oil treatments are great because it provides a chance to give yourself a head message! This is not only relaxing, but also increases circulation and hence the delivery of nutrients to your scalp. Occasionally, I would run a light amount of oil on my ends only. I find that it doesn’t really matter what oil you use but I prefer to have natural elements in it. Often, I would use raw coconut oil, as that is traditionally used in the part of India I’m from. As a treat, and for nostalgia’s sake, I recently bought a bottle of Amla (Indian gooseberry) oil as that was found on the dressers and vanities of all my aunties back home. However, use what you like – olive oil, argan oil etc- they will all keep your hair shiny and split end-free.
2. Braid your hair: I never listened to my mom on this growing up. In fact, it was only recently, when I moved to colder country with drier hair, that I noticed how tangled my hair kept getting. I would have to struggle to take out the ensuing rats nests and, in the process, lose a LOT of hair! I still wear my hair out and flowing wherever I go, but these days I braid them at night (bonus: beautiful waves!) and when I walk around a lot outside (the wind does a lot more damage than your would imagine!)
3. Cut down on your use of hair styling tools and harsh products. I hardly ever blow dry my hair – I’ve always preferred the way my waves look when they air dry anyway.  However, I know that many people simply feel more confident styling their hair. So, if that’s the case for you, try to give your hair a few style-free days a week: no alcohol-based products, no heat tools, or tight hats, scarves, or headbands. Let your hair – and your scalp- breathe and be free!

Remember – nourish your hair from inside and out and every day will be a good hair day!

Focus: Or The Power of A Timeout


We all feel harried at times by the pressures that life, and sometimes we alone, put on ourselves. During those times, whether we notice it or not, many physical changes can occur: our breathing becomes shallow or we might even hold our breath; we become tense and overloaded by every little thing that’s going on and get angry and frustrated by even the smallest inconveniences. That’s when the power of focus comes in. For a few minutes at least, while you are feeling this way, try and put everything else out of your mind and focus on simple, uncomplicated things- like taking slow, deep breaths, admiring the beauty and details of a flower, or even really studying the forms and lines of the stapler on your desk. Whatever you chose, really focus on it- so that your mind and thoughts slow down and, even if just for a few minutes, you will experience peace and a liberating change in perspective.

Take these beautiful rhododendrons, for example. I was having a stressful morning. You know, one of those mornings when you’re running late and the cat knocks over her water dish and your toast burns and you got about five hours of sleep as usual and that of course inevitably sets you on a downward spiral of negative self assessment and wondering how you’ve managed to waste most of your life and whether you’re actually even doing anything purposeful now … well, you get the idea. With each passing moment, I could feel myself getting more and more agitated as I was waiting for the bus. Well, to be clear, waiting for the NEXT bus -since I already missed the first one. By a minute.

In the middle of all of this, I looked over and saw these beautiful rhododendrons. And I wish I could say that their beauty immediately bettered my mood but to be honest, I just glanced at them for a few minutes before resuming my internal grumbling and worrying.  I did, however, eventually decide that while it came down to me to make whatever life-altering long-term changes I needed to, I can also choose not to ‘sweat the small stuff’ today. Annoying things happen but they don’t have to derail your life – you owe it to yourself to pick happiness as often as you can. So, I looked at those flowers again- and this time felt wonder at every detail. That shockingly beautiful shade of pink, the tiny pearls in the center, the delicate papery petals. I focused on all of those things and while my problems still remained, I found myself in a better mood to deal with them.



Monday. That very word invokes a feeling of dread and despair. If you work a standard schedule, it usually signifies the day we return to work after a too-short weekend. And, for some reason, it doesn’t even seem to matter if you have a job that you enjoy – this universal hatred of Mondays is the great equalizer. For me and my work schedule, I know it’s because the weekends are the only time I can do anything for myself, my art, chores around the house, or with my friends and family. So, my weekend flies by way too quickly!

Heading to work this morning, I started feeling that grumpiness descend on me and then immediately thought: I hate living like this! Weekends end – that happens EVERY week- so no point feeling bad about it. I thought, instead, that it would be nice to think of some ways to make that weekend feeling of Possibility last ALL week. So, I came up with some things I’m going to incorporate into my life:

1. COLOR INFLUENCES MOOD so surround yourself with your favorite, happy colors. This may be as simple as an article of clothing or setting lovey flowers (like these vibrant, yellow poppies) on your work desk.
2. MAKE MONDAYS A DAY RO LOOK FORWARD TO by setting up a standing date to do something fun by yourself or with a friend. Treat yourself to your favorite breakfast or a yoga appointment after work. Take a lunchtime walk or pick out a new book for the week.
3. VOLUNTEER. Thinking about the needs of others helps to put things in perspective and giving back to society is a natural mood-booster.
4. CREATE MINI GOALS FOR THE WEEK , such as targets for workouts, completing a few pages on that book you’ve wanted to do, clearing one area of your house of clutter. That way, you look forward to making headway on personal projects, and not just work, when the week starts. If you’re like me, you have to do everything on those two days – chores, social life, creative pursuits. It makes the time fly by and you don’t feel very well rested. I’m going to try and do as many chores as I can during the work week and schedule social time then as well. And by that token, make sure you schedule time during the week to continue doing the things you reserve for weekends. For me, that will be finding more time to work on art – a lunch here and there, for example. At the very least, I try to reserve my Sundays for working on whatever I want to. I need personal time , so for me that means staying at home and unwinding. For you, that could mean going out with friends.
5. And finally, my favorite technique: START YOUR WEEK ON SUNDAY. Mentally, if the first day of your week is something you have control over, it sets the tone for the rest of the week. So go ahead, and think of Mondays as the new Tuesdays: Nothing to fret over!!

I’m going to try and incorporate these things in my life and I hope you’ll be able to find some ways to make that transition into the work week more pleasant for yourself as well!

Have a wonderful week!!

The Rosy Side of Life


IMG_2915I love all things Rose! The flower and the scent remind me of time spent in India, where roses were everywhere! In the beautiful garlands of flowers used to welcome guests and memorialize photographs of late ancestors; in the wicker baskets of street vendors calling out their wares early in the morning. My aunts would always buy a strand or two of roses and jasmines every day,  for me to wear in my hair. The terrace of our house had three pots of rose plants and walking out – into the cool early dawn, before the sounds of the city kicked in or late at night right before bed – to smell those intoxicating blooms, shall always remain one of my very favorite memories.

In this photo are a few little rosy treats that I picked up this week : a sweet little rosebud demitasse spoon, my favorite soap in English Rose, and, as an homage to the roses I used to wear in my hair as a child – a flower garland of buds and blooms in one of the loveliest shades of pink.

Sunday Morning At The Farmers Market

I spent this lovely spring morning at the Farmers Market, where I saw dinosaur hedges, a pig on a leash, treasures and trinkets sold by flea marketers, and a bounty of beautiful tulips! So much creative inspiration for the rest of the week!IMG_2908.PNG