December 20, 2014

It's that time of the year again...

... when I trail off into a circle of excuses for not being much active in this space. 

Why? What did you think I was going to say - Christmas ?!?

On the onset, let me tell you how crazy this year has been. I know its the same excuse remodeled in a new fashion every single time but I can't help it, you know. :P

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If taking care of a 3-month old baby, managing a home and blogging on the side was hectic, then let me introduce you to a whole new level of BUSY. Add a 7-month vacation to India (Yes, it's still called a vacation :P), a growing infant, being in the best other city of the world (other than New York City) according to me - "Mumbai", family time, outings, and a string of Must-Do, Have-To-Do items on the list and countless other responsibilities (Phew!), it has been a roller coaster ride, I tell you...

Nevertheless, I still managed to squeeze in a couple of book reviews, a month long blogathon and some random posts in this interim.

I returned to the US in October and while things are pretty much in control with a 15-month old toddler, the "crazy times" still persist. :)

Not to worry, I have been stalking all you wonderful bloggers and the lack of being able to comment on every single post upsets me.

So I will definitely squeeze in a few more posts before the end of this year (time and baby permitting).

Tell me, how've you been ? :)

Yours' truly,
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August 29, 2014 - The Ultimate Shopping Experience

Ok, so it's shopping time. Excited? :) Who isn't, right? But hold on.

If I asked you what's the worst thing about shopping, what would you say ? I know what I would say.

1) Leaving the comforts of your home - True. Let's face it now - after a full day of shopping I get tired from all the walking around, the lugging of heavy bags and no comfortable pit-stop till I reach back home.

2) Lack of good prices - You know, sometimes I wonder if there was ever a shop where people could get everything they wanted for unbelievable prices without having to spend hours searching for that perfect vendor or walk all over the place looking for a perfect price. Unfortunately that place exists only in my head. :p

3) Battling the weather conditions - It's called a shopping spree for a reason. :-D If you had to battle the sveltering heat or muddy rains to just reach your favorite shop only to find the thing you were looking for is out-of-stock, would you still like it. I know I wouldn't. Not pretty.

In the recent years, thanks to the internet and online-retailers, shopping has taken a different meaning altogether. It surprised me when my friends chose online shopping. I mean, how do you even shop "online" for clothes or cosmetics? My doubts were put to rest when I came across Jabong.

It's a smart, easy and fun way to shop from the comforts of your home for great prices with wide varieties of choices. Jabong offers you this and much more.

Recently, I decided to feel the experience myself and I wasn't disappointed. 

For starters, their website - is so easy to traverse and to search products that half of your shopping stress is reduced right at the start.

They offer a wide range of products for men and women.

On selecting my product, the payment and confirmation procedures were a cake-walk. All I had to do was 
  • Choose the appropriate payment method (which, by the way, can be one of the following - Netbanking, Credit card or Debit card)
  • Review my order and delivery date
  • Confirm my purchase
The best part came after the procedure was completed. I received an email and an SMS confirming my payment, order details and the expected date of delivery (which was a week later owing to the pincode where I stay). So there it was. All the information I needed at one place in an easy manner. :)

Jabong provides an easy tracking system which tracks the delivery of your product from the onset of online purchase.

One more thing that impressed me was that even though the expected date of delivery for my product was a week later, I received an SMS 3 days after the day of purchase saying my package would reach me today. Isn't that cool? A couple of hours later, the delivery person was at my doorstep.

My order was neatly packed and wrapped with bubble wrap. I love clean packaging and Jabong surely is a pro at it! :)

This experience was so much easy and fun without having to go through any hassles of regular mundane shopping. So here on, Jabong it is ! :) 

Yours' truly,
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August 20, 2014

Book Review : Rise of the Sun Prince

Title: Rise of the Sun Prince (Ramayana: The Game of Life - Book 1)
Author: Shubha Vilas
Place: India 
Publisher: Jaico Publication House 
Publication Date: 2014
Genre: Mythology
Edition: 2014 
Pages: 252 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-81-8495-530-9

Goodreads blurb - Here

My thoughts - 
First of all, I have to admit that I was completely mesmerized by the front cover of this book. Kudos to the artist for the cover illustration. I was left gaping at the masterpiece observing the vibrant colors, the depiction of the scene and expressions of the characters. Every subtle nuance has been captured so beautifully that you never wish to shift your gaze. To add to it - the way Lord Rama's lotus eyes and the look of sheer determination in them has been accurately envisioned by the artist to match the author's words is commendable. For once, I felt it right to judge the book by its cover.

Moving on to the book, remember how we have come across the story of Ramayana time and again since childhood of how Lord Rama kills Ravana and rescues Sita? Well, I would say that was only one percent of the entire book. 

With this book be ready to experience the real story of Ramayana. Being the first book of a series, this book takes us on a never-before journey to reveal the characters and their stories. The reason why this legendary epic was written, the reason why Valmiki turned out to be the chosen one to write this epic, the history of the kingdom of Ayodhya and its ruler - Dasaratha, the great tales of bravery, compassion, kingship and beyond.

What's different about this book is how every character, instance and situation relates to our present day. Never before did I read the epic to understand and find answers to my life. The author enlightens us with elaborate descriptions to shift our focus from the situation in hand to reveal an underlying way of better living. It helps us to identify ourselves and adorn a clearer perspective towards life.

At many points while reading, I stopped to ponder and ask questions about a particular character or situation. Enter the footnotes. The footnotes at the end of the pages answered my questions in mind-boggling ways.

When it comes to the characters, I experienced Dasaratha’s pain and rejoiced in his happiness as the story progressed. Thanks to the flawless depiction of relationships. The author perfectly portrays the father’s love, care and concern for his son and a teacher’s eye for talent in his disciple. The comparison of perspectives – one for love and attachment and the other for duty made me twirl as my mind transported to the era when unfulfilled commands weren’t merely brushed off instead they were came with free curses.

The only showdown for me was few missing pages from the book. That’s right. My copy of the author-autographed book seemed to miss 8 pages towards the end of the book and that dampened my spirits since I didn’t want to miss the continuity of the narration. Nevertheless, I won’t let that affect the rating since that would be like eating a delicious, sumptuous banquet and not thank the chef.

The glossary describing the 24 qualities of a complete hero reminded me that we are imperfect beings who reside in an imperfect world. We need constant reminders to align ourselves internally and externally so as to conduct ourselves with utmost poise and accuracy.

My rating for this book stands at a perfect 5/5. J

I completely read the book and I was happy to have encountered this version of the epic in addition to what I already knew.

Go ahead and read this book. Indulge yourself in those magical times !

Thank you Shri Shubha Vilas and BlogAdda for this magical book. 

This book gave me countless quotes of wisdom. Here I enlist, however, just a few - 

"Nature of attachment is such that the mind justifies our attachment and hides our weakness."

"The longer you struggle to get something you are attached to, the more painful is the fear of it's loss."

"Dasaratha loved Rama, but Vishwamitra knew Rama."

"Celebration means sharing your joy making other people happy."

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Yours' truly,
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July 31, 2014

Completing UBC and NaBloPoMo - July 2014

So another fun, hectic, huge, emotional and very interesting month of Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo comes to an end. 


What I learnt from blogging the whole of this month - 

  • Devoting a fixed blog-time everyday is essential for my blog
  • Visiting other blogs consistently led me to some beautiful blogs which I missed the earlier times
  • Blogging everyday is not that big of a deal when it becomes a habit
  • My mind is constantly at work churning out new content for posts

What could have been better - 

  • Scheduling few of my posts upfront so as to avoid publishing at the last minute for the day
  • Streamlining the number of blogs I visit so as to not miss reading posts from fellow bloggers
  • Being able to reply to all comments at the end of every day.

What was new this month on my blog - 

Yours' truly,
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I am done being "afraid"...

Sometimes, I feel life teaches you in the most funniest of ways. 

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When it gives you an opportunity, you look at it with doubt and assess your abilities. Then you think less of yourself and decide to give it a miss. But life has already skipped ahead of you and thrown it right back at your face. 

You cringe and recoil but to no avail. Then comes the fear that sends countless butterflies flying in your stomach. When you think everything in your life is doomed, you amaze yourself by surfing through the troubled waters with ease. 

Once it's all done with and dusted, you look back and feel proud of your achievements. 

And somewhere laughing from some corner of your heart is your life telling you with a smirk - "See I told you!" 

When Corinne from Everyday Gyaan decided to start the Blog Carnival with this prompt, I felt happy. For once I didn't need to concoct a story or think hard on what to write. 

Because I know my fears well. They have bogged me down for so long that it's become a part of me. But now it's high time I shed them away. 

If I wasn't afraid - 
  • I would embrace failure with open arms. Yes, I would. The fear of failure has stopped me every time I craved for a new beginning. What if I don't succeed? This question has been the first thought to pop in my mind whenever I decided to look for a new venture. But going forward, I have resolved to strive for success and embrace failure. They don't say - Failure is good for success - for no reason, do they? :) 
  • I would stop doubting myself. Am I good enough? Really? Every time I sail through a problem it makes me strong and feel hopeful that the next time it's going to be cakewalk. Only it isn't. The problem could be tiny but the doubt that settles in my mind about my capabilities seems larger than the problem itself. My inbuilt capabilities are what I possess but whatever I lack can definitely be learnt or improved on. That's my new motto every time a streak of confidence dips low.
  • Stop believing in my fears. I acknowledge that certain fears are bound to exist in life and choose leave it at that. No one wants to see our fears being an integral part of our lives so much so that we think twice before walking on our own. I felt truly inspired from an earlier post this month about fears. Ever since that post, my favourite quote to carry always with me is - Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Doesn't the tag line itself speak a thousand words?

Remember, your problems are only as big as you make them.

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Write Tribe

Yours' truly,
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                          **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 30, 2014

The road ahead...

29th July 2000

How should I describe today? A day of mixed emotions? Personal realizations? Life-changing moments? Or should I call it a plain rebirth? Sitting at the international airport lounge, with a family of strangers at my side and a hand-bag in my hand, I am amazed how my life has taken a sharp turn in the past 48 hours.   

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For 16 years I have stayed here. Abroad. In the Middle East. With my family. My parents who love me immensely. A mischievous baby bro who plays my side-kick and partner-in-crime for most pranks. Education in a sophisticated Indian school. Extra-curricular activities, competitions, regular concerts and outings to keep us busy. We had an almost perfect life.

Life was good. On one hand, I had just completed my Class 10 final exams with flying colors. The new year in Class 11 had begun in full swing - something I was still coping with thanks to the elongated vacation to India after the Class 10 exams and a sudden leg surgery in India. But nevertheless I was confident of catching up during the summer vacations (July and August) and be right on track in September before the Half Yearly exams. 

Major career options can take a back seat for now. These only need to be decided in Class 12 and that's still a good 1 year later. So why bother about it now?

On the other hand, fate was busy making other plans for me. 

As the first month of the vacation period creeped towards it's end, sudden changes at dad's workplace forced him and mom to rethink options for the future and our life abroad. And the first casualty was me.

I was at a crucial stage of my education. Any chance of a sudden job loss for my dad would mean losing an entire academic year since the admissions in India close well before the end of July. Thus began discussions and decisions to get me admitted to a good junior college in India before the admissions close.

I was told 2 days ago that I need to move to India alone. My mother and brother would join me 20 days later. It took only 48 hours to book my ticket and pack my belongings from a country where I spent living and studying for 16 years. I'll tell you what I felt when I was told I would be shifting base to Mumbai to a new college to study with new friends who speak a new language? 

Fear. Sadness. Doubt. 

Not to forget the fact that I had never traveled alone by a bus, let alone an entire 4-hour flight journey.

My parents charted out a new life for me and I wasn't skeptical how I was going to adjust to it. At first it sounded exciting to share the breaking news with friends about the quick decision. On the day of my travel at 6 PM just as we were about to leave home for the airport, the feeling finally sunk in. 

I am never going to live in the Middle East anymore. I was being uprooted to a new location. 

I wanted time to pause. So I could breathe. So I could absorb my surroundings. So I could say good-bye. 

But time flew by like always and there I was at the airport looking clueless. My father requested a family, who were traveling to Mumbai like me, if I could accompany them on my maiden flight. They obliged. And thus the scene was set. 

Dad helped me check-in my bags and walked me till the immigration counter. When he kissed and hugged me, I felt a huge blow deep down in my heart. For the first time in 48 hours I realized I would be staying away from my dad for God-knows-how-long. 

So this is me now, on my maiden journey to India. Alone, in a flight, seated next to strangers, with a million emotions to share but no words to express. 

All thanks to the huge lump in my throat and the tight knot in my heart.

Dad - your loving hug choked me up. I wanted to say so much to you but I couldn't. Now all I can wish is I can tell you telepathically how much I will miss you. I wish I could tell you or mom how scared I am. That I am unaware of what this road beholds for me. 


P.S. - This was the flurry of thoughts running in my head as I moved out from one home to another to test the waters. Looking back at how the past 14 years have zoomed by, I feel nostalgic of that time. Life has changed so much post that journey. 

Today, I felt I should share with you what ran through my mind 14 years ago as I embarked on a new chapter in life. 

Do you remember your first journey away from home? What were your feelings?
Yours' truly,
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                          **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 29, 2014

Blast from the Past: Favorite posts {3}

My next favorite in this series is a poem I had written for BlogAdda's WOW prompt.

It was the first time I was attempting a WOW prompt. I liked this particular prompt since it required us to write a blog post from the perspective of a last tree standing on a deforested land. 

Source : Google Images

I wrote this poem in a time span of 3-4 hours and loved the fact how my words flowed with each paragraph as I wrote. I think the topic was instigating enough which didn't need the expressions to be well-planned.

Deforestation is a pressing issue thanks to the huge impact global warming has had on our universe. Always attempt to put in efforts either growing trees and plants in your backyard or at least having few potted plants in your apartment / home. 

Take a look if you haven't already seen this one. Hope you like it as much as I loved writing on the issue :)

Do you like having plants in your home or backyard ? What are your thoughts on the deforestation issue?

Yours' truly,
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                     **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 28, 2014

Underage? Not anymore.

Treat Juvenile Rapist as an Adult and Punish Him and If proven they should be Hanged. #HangTheRapist

He's young. Not quite an adult. 

Attends school, plays sports, reads young adult novels and prefers eating junk food. Sure, there are bad influences at times - a cigarette here, some bad words there. But he's still young. Not quite an adult.

Or so you thought.

Look closely at him. Can you see the hideousness behind that face? Can you read his dirty mind? Can you look past his innocent face to reveal the filth in his character? 

No. That's because he's "juvenile" for you. Just another underage individual who probably made a silly mistake and repents it. You are confident - he won't do this again.

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Frankly speaking, when it comes to committing crimes like rapes, I don't understand the word - "juvenile". Even if we label them as "under maturity", we fail to acknowledge the maturity of this young adult when it comes to raping a girl.  
  • What's so underage in that term anyways? 
  • He was present at the time of the crime and he also helped in it, didn't he? 
  • Wasn't he wise (rather sane enough) to make the decision? 
  • Even if he was influenced into the decision, didn't he know the simple difference between right and wrong?

So then why should we treat them any different from any other accused person? 

We have read time and again of numerous incidents involving juvenile defendants. A 3-year-old accidentally murders his father with a pistol. A 10 year-old school kid open fires with a gun in the class room murdering scores of children. In these cases, you could still try the accused in juvenile courts. The accused are either kids or mere-adolescents. They were surely unaware of the repercussions. 

But like in the case of the 2012 Delhi rape case, the so-called "juvenile" was 17 years and 6 months old on the day of the incident. Let's not forget, the news described him as the most brutal of the six accused. Do we still think he was only partially involved in the rape? Or that he was probably unaware of the consequences?

In my opinion, it's time we changed the juvenile age for rape crimes. Let's bring it down by 5-6 years. Any age higher than that threshold should be subjected to adult punishment. My mother always says - "It's better to nip the problem at its bud than let it flourish into a huge creeper." I agree. Let's hang the juvenile who are convicted in rape crimes unless proven otherwise. That's the only fair way to deal with such dirty minds. 

Leave him today and he will return tomorrow. With a bigger vengeance. With a much more gruesome crime. He's surely not going to learn from his first time experience. 

"You can’t make the same mistake twice, the second time you make it, it’s a choice." 

Or so the saying goes. But in this case, I reckon even the first time the juvenile are involved in a crime of personal choice and decision.

What's your take on this issue? Do share your thoughts.

**Linking with Indispire#23**

Yours' truly,
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        **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 27, 2014

Book Review: The Deliberate Sinner

Title: The Deliberate Sinner
Author: Bhaavna Arora
Place: India 
Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Publication Date: 2014
Genre: Adult Fiction
Edition: 2014 
Pages: 162 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-93-82665-20-5

Goodreads blurb - Click here

My thoughts - 
"Hate the sin, Not the sinner!" shone the words as I turned the cover page of the book from BlogAdda. The autograph of the author below those words made me smile with anticipation. :)

How true were those words! More often than not, we end up hating the sinner. Our intellectual minds are so well-programmed to suppress that little voice in our head called conscience. Our heads conveniently choose to filter out the important bits of reality and shift focus on the trash information. 

'The Deliberate Sinner' gives us an insight of this so-called society which judges you at every step, at every turn of your life and chooses to label you as per it's whims and fancies. It poses crucial questions that have plagued our worlds for so long and even now. It's an ode to all those women who strive to make a difference to their otherwise not-happening lives. 

The characters-Rihana and Veer are realistic and well-drawn. They remind you of any modern-day couple who lose themselves in the denseness of deadlines, career, future but still crave for romance, passion, desires and most importantly love. 

The author has done a commendable job to highlight the grave situations in today's world. Every twist in the story made me cringe and ask myself - why do such people exist? What makes male chauvinism a difficult nut to crack? I empathized with Rihana on her misfortunes. I was crushed at her defeats. I was happy for her well-deserved success.

In my opinion, the few areas which could have been better were the pace of the narration, the introduction of the supporting characters and the clich├ęd ending. Nevertheless, the boldness of the story and the added ingredients of sensuality manages to keep the reader hooked. I would still call this book an entertainer and rate it 3/5.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book - 

"You have to take the problem head on. Either you die, or you kill the enemy; there is no other way."

"The day you stop experiencing pain or pleasure, that very day you cease to exist. Pain and pleasure are inseparable."

"Love can be arranged."

And the best one... 

"Nobody will marry you if you laugh like this. Laugh like a girl!" :D

Thanks Bhaavna Arora for the personalized message and BlogAdda for this wonderful book review opportunity :)

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Yours' truly,
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July 26, 2014

Looking back 10 years...

Every decade brings us new memories in our lives. 

Famous life coach and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins believes - "Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year - and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!"

Source : Google Images

When I look back at the last 10 years, it feels like a blur. Not because I have forgotten the moments in those years, but because as always life has been fast paced and leaping towards it's destination at breakneck speed. 

By far, my twenties have been the most fun-filled years (I have 2 months to go before I enter the thirties). It's also been very fulfilling personally. 

Here are 10 important events that took place in my life (in chronological order) in the last 10 years  - 

1. Completion of my Graduation 

2. My first job 

3. Moving to the UK for work 

4. Loss of my maternal grandfather 

5. Visiting Singapore as a danseuse 

6. Entering matrimony 

7. Completion of my Post-Graduation 

8. Purchasing our home 

9. Moving to USA for work 

10. Birth of my baby girl 

Tell me, what are the 10 most important events that have happened in your life in the past decade ? :)

Yours' truly,
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                                **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 25, 2014

10 things I love about blogging...

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1. Writing to my hearts' content about my interests, opinions, likes, dislikes, experiences and favorite moments makes me feel on top of this world.

2. I get a wonderful opportunity to improve myself and my writing constantly. 

3. I am grateful for the wonderful network of virtual friends that blogging has given me. I have made more friends in 3 years of blogging life than I would have befriended in real life otherwise. :)

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4. I am grateful that blogging gave me a small platform of my own where I could nurture my inner voice. All that I couldn't have said vocally has been written in this small space of mine.

5. I am able to share my views and thoughts on a common topic (like a social issue, health problem, personal experience etc.).

6. I get to read awesome posts by new / old / experienced / professional bloggers every day / minute / second.

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7. I love this opportunity to connect with fellow bloggers every day.

8. I get to know my virtual friends better through their blogs. By reading their words, I get an insight into their inner worlds.

9. I look forward to the feedback from readers.

10. Last but the not the least, blogging inspires me to live each day so that I can create a memory to write in this blog. 

Tell me 10 things you love about blogging. 

You don't have to tell me in the comments. 

Go on, blog about it and leave the link to your blog post in the comments below. :)

Yours' truly,
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                           **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 24, 2014

I can't live without...

We all have things that we can't live without. Don't we? I'd be surprised if you didn't. 

Really? Cross your heart? Ok, I believe you. :)

Talking about technology addiction, what makes us vulnerable enough that we can't seem to continue our existence void of certain gadgets? When did we change our old selves to fully depend on these products? We didn't have these "facilities" right from birth. We didn't spend our lives - right through childhood to adulthood - with these gadgets and yet, here we are today, looking lost and depressed if we lose our dependable partners for even a minute.

Don't worry. Not everything on this list needs to be a bad addiction. It could be a dear possession, a good habit, a special someone? :)

So let's share the 3 things that we can't live without? Ok? Done. 

I decided to write about the first 3 things that come to my mind so here goes - 

1. My iPhone - Yes, I must admit it. I am addicted. But life has been a lot easier too. Communication, news, camera, music, blogging, video recording, online reading, alarm clock and the likes. Life did exist even before the iPhone happened but with each passing day I am amazed by the product at how simple and easy it is to use for any age group. 

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2. Books - eBook or paperback, I need to have either one in my bag at all times. This year has by far been the best in terms of my reading. It's not a lot of books but even then I find myself looking for a book to read over watching mindless programs on TV or just whiling my time away. :) I've decided to continue the reading even if it's only for a few pages every single day.

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3. Sleep - I don't need to snooze all day long to feel refreshed. It takes a 6 hour sleep (at nights) and a power nap of 30 mins (on some afternoons) to keep me going during the day. With the baby around, I can't be assured of a continuous slumber but even a non-stop 3 hours interval works for me. 

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Name 3 things you can't do without. :)

Yours' truly,
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                  **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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