17 October, 2018

My Gratitude List for Sep 2018 #GratitudeCircle

Time has come again to be thankful for all good things. Are you practicing Gratitude?

Already it's 16th October and I am late to write my gratitude list. I focused on dance classes in September month and we celebrated a festival and birthday of a family member. We had some short weeks for school, thus more holidays. I performed Kuchipudi on stage after a long time and I have also started training 7 to 8-year-olds for a stage performance.

Gratitude is the best attitude. 

My Gratitude List for last month (Sep 2018):

1. Dance performance :

I performed annamacharya keerthana on stage. With just one week of practice, I think, I could do well. Fortunately, one friend helped me with makeup and the costume suited well.

2. Festival and Birthday:

We celebrated 'Vinayaka chavithi' which is an important festival in Telugu household. This time, I could do some festival dishes better than the earlier years. I think I am getting better in cooking slowly :-) We also celebrated a family member's birthday. We have cut a cake and as usual, I prepared Payasam (milk sweet) and we went for a long drive on the weekend. In our family, long drives and traveling are actually birthday gifts :-)

3. Fall colors:

I love watching nature. This season is my favorite due to many reasons. I love the leaves changing to bright yellows, oranges and then vibrant reds. Here are the best places for a long drive in the fall season in Colorado. 

4. MyFriendAlexa Campaign :

I have participated in the #MyFriendAlexa Campaign and published 2 posts per week. I read almost 10 blog posts every day, commented and shared them on social media. It was a great experience to write content regularly and see my Alexa rank grow. I didn't have many expectations before joining the campaign but this campaign organized by Blogchatter benefited me with not only a reduced Alexa rank but also to enhance my blog visibility. I grabbed more sponsored post opportunities too.

Here are the rank updates:

Sep 1st (Week 1) 
My Global Alexa Rank: 3,642,454
India Rank: 310,640

Week 2 - Sep 11th
Global Alexa Rank : 1,939,208
India Rank : 143,227 

Week 3 - Sep 17th
Global Alexa Rank : 1,435,439
India Rank : 109,652

Week 4 - Sep 25th
Global Alexa Rank : 888,185
India Rank : 47,908

I am still maintaining my Alexa rank :-)

5. Teaching Dance:

I never thought I would teach dance in my life. I always dreamed myself to be a professional Kuchipudi Dancer and not more than that. I am learning to be a good teacher and here are a few lessons that I learned from teaching. I think Now I am enjoying that phase too as a teacher. 

So, those were the important happenings in my life that I am thankful for. What are you grateful for today? Please share in the comments.

Until next time,

Linking this post to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury and #ChattyBlogs hosted by Shanaya. Also linking to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne. 

16 October, 2018

Driven By Desire by Shilpa Suraj - A guest Post and Book Review

Book Details:

Title: Driven By Desire

Author: Shilpa Suraj

Genre: Romance, Fiction

Length of the Book: 434 pages

Publisher: Juggernaut Books

Purchase Link: Juggernaut


An ace vintage car restorer and a pharmaceutical tycoon, Maxine and Krish have nothing in common.

A chance encounter puts their lives on a collision course and a stubborn and steady attraction begins to bloom.

Wanting each other is easy, it's happy ever after that's the problem...

My Review :

Driven By Desire is about a couple Krish and Max who doesn't have much in common. As they attract to each other, both have to figure out what it takes to make it a long-term relationship. 

While Max is a free-spirited ambitious woman, Krish is someone who has a lot of responsibilities both in his personal and professional level. While he is hesitant to take his relationship with Max to next level due to his other responsibilities, he realizes that it's not easy to live without Max who is like a rainbow in his life. While Max can understand the problems in Krish's life and is ready to make their relationship work, she needs more patience dealing with Krish's short temper. 

Can they make it work? Will the family responsibilities / their work become an impediment in their journey? You have to find out this by reading this book.

I don't think the storyline is unique but the characters, the narration and the backdrop make it interesting. I love the vibrant and lovely Max. Krish, Pooja, Adi, and Mr. Sheredian all contribute tot he story and they are all positive and friendly characters. I like Krish who is such a strict and responsible man but is sensitive and caring. I liked the climax though it seemed dramatic like in movies. 

At a few places, I felt bored to continue reading, especially Christmas party and the next scenes. But, the climax is worth the read. The book cover is apt. I would have loved if the story has interesting twists. Overall, a good read with proper pace.

My Rating : 4/5

I recommend this book to all Romance lovers and who love to read a story about real life responsibilities and complications in relationships.

PS: I have received an e-copy of the book in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Guest Post from the Author about the Book and Characters :

 “Life would be very boring if we only played to our strengths.” – Max, Driven by Desire

Max and Krish from Driven by Desire are some of my most vibrant, multidimensional characters so far. As someone who has always made unconventional choices herself whether it was in her choice of career, her choice of husband or her choice of lifestyle, I wanted to write a story that showed the reader that unconventional is just perception. 

One person’s strange is another’s normal. Driven by Desire is about refuting gender stereotypes, breaching supposedly insurmountable age differences and melding vastly different lives without losing your individual selves.

Meet Maxine Sheridan, aka Max, ace vintage car restorer, chronic klutz, irrepressible optimist and abysmal guitar player. When I first thought of writing what would eventually become Driven by Desire, Max and Krish’s biggest obstacle was their perception of each other. He thought she was an immature, irresponsible tomboy and she thought he was a boring, judgmental stick-in-the-mud. But when you look beyond the surface, you see the incredible.

Orphaned at the age of twenty-one and responsible for three younger siblings, Krish had no choice but to age way before his time. His life centered around his responsibilities to his siblings, the family business and last but not the least, his father’s unfulfilled dream. He has no time for car restorers with multi coloured hair who fall out of trees, land on his head and leave him dizzy in both the literal and figurative sense. And yet, he can’t resist her…He could try blaming it on the concussion but at the heart of it, he knows there is more to it. More to Max than burnt cheese sandwiches, allergy inducing lip balms and ear shattering guitar renditions. And Max slowly manages to show him that there is more to life itself.

But the path to happily ever after is never that easy, is it? There are commitments to meet, examples to set, children to nurture and families to safeguard and through it all an irresistible, incandescent attraction to fight.

Driven by desire offers everything for the consummate romance reader- passion, romance, humour, strong supporting characters, a hero to die for and a heroine who is quirky enough to change his world, if he can just let her.

About the Author:

 Shilpa Suraj was a year and a half when she was first introduced to the world of books. Her mother would park her with a picture book on the floor of the kitchen while she finished her cooking for the day. While it’s no longer the kitchen floor, you can still find her tucked away in a cosy nook somewhere with her nose buried in a book. While books in all genres interest her, it was romance that captured her heart. While racing through every romantic fiction book she could beg, borrow or buy, her over active imagination started to work overtime and weave its own stories. Years in the corporate world followed by a stint of entrepreneurship crystallised her belief that all she really wanted to do was give life to the stories bubbling inside of her. She briefly managed to tear herself away from the world of fiction to find her own personal happily ever after and now spends her time happily focusing on the two loves of her life – family and writing romances.

Enter the GiveAway on Facebook

Until next time,

12 October, 2018

5 ways to comfort / help a new Mom

How much ever experience you have or how much ever help and support you have, Giving birth to a child is not an easy task. After waiting for 9 months and after taking the utmost self-care and diet, even though the mom eagerly waits for her child, it is impossible to prepare for postpartum 100%. That's why the help and support of family and friends are most needed after delivery. 

Here are some ways that I think will be helpful to comfort a new mom. 

PC: www.pixabay.com

1. Helping with Food and cooking

I think any friend or family member should take care of the food and cooking needs for the new mom. An infant takes a lot of time feeding every 2 hrs, adjusting to this world, needing diaper changes often. Since the mom will be busy with the infant, the family/ friends should step up and arrange food. 

2. Giving more sleep to mom

Sleeplessness gives more stress than day-long work. If the family and friends can take care of baby sometimes with pumped breast milk, the new mom can have some sleep as she has to wake up every 2 hrs in the night. 
PC: www.pixabay.com

3. Taking the mom outside

Taking care of a baby the whole day is very difficult and sometimes, it becomes depressing. In those stressful days, moms feel like pumping machines as feeding baby is the high priority task they have the whole day. If moms can take a stroll outside with the baby or if they can just go outside once in a while, it takes off some stress. This helps the new mom to be happy. Family/ friends should help in making sure that the mom is spending some time outside once in a while.

4. Dealing with Hormones

After delivery, hormones show their impact. Sometimes, new mothers feel like crying without any reason. Postpartum depression is real. The family has to talk to her and listen to her and understand her behavioral changes due to hormones.  While the reasons might be many for postpartum depression, a positive dialogue and support to the new mom will help her to come out of that. New moms often doubt their efficiency to take care of an infant and doubt that they may cause any harm to the baby unknowingly.  These thoughts are common and if they can discuss these thoughts freely with friends and family, they get better support. 

5. Appreciate her

When life seems mechanical with just taking care of baby selflessly, appreciation is very much needed. It gives the mom a confidence that she is doing her tasks better and is a good parent. Appreciate her. Gifts might not be necessary always, but the support and encouragement are important at this phase. Gifting her some baby essentials from Lovingly Signed is a better idea. The website has many personalized gift sets for baby boys and girls.
Super Luxury Gift set for Boys

What are your suggestions on comforting a new mom? If you are already a mom, let me know if these ways could have helped you after your delivery.

Until next time,

5 ways to help a new mom

Ps: This sponsored post is really coming at a great time because I was just thinking to share information about Lovingly Signed website for different baby gifting options. 

11 October, 2018

Some more fall colors #ThursdayTreeLove

I cannot get enough of the fall colors and it is already first snowfall here :O

Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day. - Shira Tamir

Borrow some Gold?

Early Reds

Linking this to #ThursdayTreeLove hosted by Parul.

Until next time,

The White flowers from the Heaven #MondayMusings

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

I am not sure why I am crazy about the snow.

While it snows, I feel like beautiful white flowers are falling from the Sky.

As per the scientists, the white color is formed by the combination of all rainbow colors. Is this the reason, nature looks divine and peaceful after the snowfall?
Tree covered with Snow
Pc: www.pixabay.com

While it is fun to be under the snow catching those white flowers who are as light as cotton balls, the temperature might be freezing to play outside. But, What I observed is that the time before it starts snowing, temperature falls down reaching 0-degree Celsius and weather becomes foggy or fills with mist. The visibility slowly reduces to zero and it will be freezing at this time to go outside without proper winter wear like the scarf, cap, jacket, socks, shoes, and gloves.

Pc: www.pixabay.com

After it snows, it seems like the whole Earth is wearing a white blanket. The serene scenery cannot be explained with words. The rooftops of the houses and the tree leaves shining white with the sunshine look pristine.

It will be wonderful watching the snow fall from the window sipping a hot coffee/ Hot chocolate. I always think - while nature is this beautiful, how can we work on our routine things without stopping for some time and enjoy the beauty. My heart will always be outside when it snows and I just want to be a spectator and enjoy the experience.

How do you feel about snow? Or Am I the only one crazy about snow?

Until next time,

Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne.

10 October, 2018

Dussehra Celebration

Dussehra festival is celebrated for 9 days and this year it is celebrated from 10th October to 18th October.

Dussehra 2018

Significance of Dussehra:
There are many stories about the significance of Dussehra celebration. One is the victory of good over evil. Goddess Durga fought with a demon Mahishasura for all these 9 days and killed him on Vijaya Dasami. There is also a legend that Rama fought with Ravana and killed him on Vijaya Dasami.

Celebration: We celebrate this festival for 9 days by performing puja to Goddess Durga in 9 forms. We offer different prasadams on each day and perform pooja. Many women read Lalitha Sahasra namam and do kumkuma Archana in the evenings.

Naivedyam (Offering)
1 (10th oct)
Shailaputri Navadurga
Chalimidi (Sweet with rice flour), Vadapappu(soaked moong dal) and Payasam (Kheer)
2 (11th Oct)
Balatripura Sundari
Sweet Boondi and chickpeas
3 (12th Oct)
Gayatri Devi
Ravva Kesari and Pulihora
4 (13th Oct)
Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi
Pulihora (Tamarind Rice) and Pesara Boorelu (Wadas made of lentils)
5 (14th Oct)
Saraswati Devi
Dadhojanam (Curd rice)/  Atukulu (puffed rice), Jaggery (bellam), Sanagapappu (split skinless chickpeas)
6 (15th Oct)
Annapurna Devi
7 (16th Oct)
Sri Maha Lakshmi
Ksheerannam (Sweet with rice and milk)/ Jaggery Rice 
8 (17th Oct)
Sri Durga Devi
Gaarelu (Wada) , Lemon rice with Ginger
9 (18st Oct)
Mahishasura Mardhini
Chakkara Pongali (Sweet made with rice, milk, and Jaggery)

On the 10th day, we worship Sri Rajarajeswari Devi by offering Pulihora (Tamarind Rice) and Garelu (Wada) as naivedyam.

Source: https://hindupad.com/nine-types-of-naivedyam-for-navaratri-in-south-india/

Dussehra 2018
Happy Dussehra

Other than the puja, we also do Ayudha puja on 18th October, which means, we perform pooja to machines, instruments, weapons, and vehicles. Pooja is done for books and musical instruments also on that day.

Another important celebration is Bommala koluvu. Many idols of different colors and idols of Gods and Goddesses are arranged in a hierarchical way. Hosts arrange small gathering and invite girls and women. During this festival, a few also perform puja to small girls treating them as Goddess Durga and offer them bangles and flowers.

So, this is how we celebrate Dussehra in our household. I hope, this Dussehra brings health and happiness to your households.

Until next time,

Guess My Name with Veggies and Fruits by Liana Strat - [Book Review]


Help your little ones learn about fruits and vegetables with this delightful illustrated children's book, written by childcare expert Liana Strat.

These friendly faces will make new foods fun and engaging for young children.

Information about the book

Title: Guess My Name with Veggies and Fruits
Author: Liana Strat
Release Date: 2nd October 2018
Genre: Picture Book
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

My Review

This book gives some clues and information about some fruits and vegetables sot hat children can try guessing their names. I read this to my 4-year-old and he could understand the description, see the photo and could give the name of vegetable or fruit. 

I liked the fact that there is not more than 5 lines of description for each fruit/vegetable and so, it is easy to read to toddlers keeping their attention completely. My Son enjoyed the guessing game. 

While the first page shows the image of the fruit/ vegetable with the description, the second page introduces the name of the item. The pictures are bright and clear for the children to look and guess the name. The narration is great with rhyming words.

My Rating: 5/5

I recommend this book to toddlers below 5 years of age. 

PS: I have received a free print copy of this book from the author through Authoright.

Author Information

Liana Strat is a Nanny with a Degree in Environment Protection, currently living and working in London. Originally from Romania, she moved to the United Kingdom following a career in Childcare, after realizing her passion for children. Inspired by the multitude of experiences encountered in this field and with a strong desire to give parents an extra tool for a good food education, she followed the path of writing.

Tour Schedule

Until next time,

06 October, 2018

Designing custom signs is not tough any more with Smartsign #ProductReview

I am not a designer but a software engineer by profession. I rely on websites like Canva to design logos and images or other graphics for my blog. But, designing a custom sign board is completely new to me. So, when I came across the website SmartSign, I wanted to try if I can design one. I did try and was amazed at how easy was the process to design and order the signboard.

As I love classical dance, I decided to design a board for my childhood dance school "Kala Deepika" institute. Here are the steps I followed and you can see the result yourselves :-)

Designing the Board:

  • Before I started the design, I have created an account on the SmartSign website, which literally took 5 mins.

  • I chose "10 in. x 14 in. Customized Sign Template: Add Your Own Custom Design And Color"
Choosing the Design

  • Now, it is time to choose a high-quality Image. Since my signboard is related to the classical Indian dance, I have searched and found a good image of God "Nataraj" and a dancer posing in "Kuchipudi Dance" form.

  • When I am ready with images, I have used Canva.com to design my board with 2 images and the text I wanted. I have saved my design as a PDF file, before proceeding to the SmartSign website. 

  • I have clicked on "Personalize" to customize my design, selected the orientation and the hole pattern. 
Price List

  • It's time to upload my artwork which is a PDF file. I uploaded it and clicked on 'Add to cart'. I have also mentioned a note in "Special instructions" that no text should be cut while printing.
Personalization Options

  • I have entered the address and placed my order. Received a confirmation email about the order and in a few days, I have also received an email saying that my artwork has gone for print and then dispatched.

  • I think I have received my order in 5 to 7 days. The packaging was simple and proper keeping the sign safe. 

The End Product

The End product is of good quality of printing and the colors are exactly as designed.

The Custom Signboard

How do you like the signboard? By the way, Kala Deepika is our Dance school name which is founded by our Dance Teacher Ms. A Parvathi Ramachandran from whom I learned the Classical dance for over 15 years in Eluru, India. 

Until next time,

PS: I received the opportunity to design the signboard and receive it in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on designing and placing an order through Smart sign website. 

BBQ, Bikers, and Murder by Summer Prescott - Book Promo

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Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mysteries, Book 1
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Summer Prescott Books

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A small Midwestern town.

The best BBQ in the state.

A single mom, determined to do what it takes.

A murder that rocks her world.

Rossalyn Channing is tough, but the odds are stacked against her. Faced with the reality of starting a new life with her teenage son, after her heroic husband is killed in the line of duty, she knows that she has to do whatever it takes to survive.

Irresistibly drawn to a mysterious little building in a small town, the determined single mom uses every dime she's got to buy it, with plans to turn it into a diner that her late husband would have loved. When Rossalyn finds herself caught up in the middle of a murder investigation, however, she begins to wonder if the challenges she faces will defeat her.

A body is found on her property, the sheriff in town suspects Rossie of the murder, and it looks like her world is falling apart. It's up to this determined mom to prove her innocence and save her small family. Can she do it?

 photo BBQ Bikers and Murder on tablet 2_zpswfskej5h.jpg

Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mysteries Series

 photo Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mysteries Series_zpsogpiuwdd.jpg

BBQ, Bikers, and Murder (#1)

Baby Back Murder (#2)

Nacho Usual Murder (#3)

Hawgs, Dogs, and Murder (#4)

Killer Barbeque (#5)

Home Grown Murder (#6)

Bittersweet Murder (#7)

About the Author

 photo BBQ Bikers and Murder Author Summer Prescott_zpslkc4knve.jpg

Summer Prescott is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author, who has penned nearly one hundred Cozy Mysteries, and a successful Thriller, The Quiet Type. She makes her home in the Midwest with her Standard Poodle, Elvis, at her side.

Contact Links

Purchase Link

Until next time,

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