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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Random Things I'm Enjoying These Days!

I was always creative but never considered myself an artist. Even as I started to blog almost five years ago and launched my ETSY jewelry shop some three years ago, I still could not call myself an artist. 

I have finally grown into my artist self. I feel blessed to have the presence of the arts in all it's many forms. I learned to play with watercolors a few years ago while at Liz Lameroux's BE PRESENT retreat. I ordered these sets of watercolors which I LOVE!!!  I finally went and treated myself to a coloring book with paisleys. Ofcourse I used my 50% off coupon and so only paid around $6 for the book. I wasn't sure if the pages would hold up under the watercolor paints but it totally did. Here is a picture of the dining table from last week:




The coloring book, the Grumbacher watercolors, brushes that look beautiful in this old green coffee cup with the snowflakes on it, my empty Harvard cup that I enjoyed my Morrocan Mint Stash tea, a cup to rinse the brushes off and a sheet of paper towel to dab the excess paint off the brush before painting.


A work in progress.

This heavenly smelling candle that makes this crackling sound as it burns.























You see, being Indian, I grew up in a family that valued the math and the sciences but not art. Although that's not entirely true. 

My dad is very creative. He enjoys music like no one I know, and he loves acting in Jamatkhana (mosque) plays. He truly revels in the process of rehearsing his lines, putting together his costume and finally performing on stage.  Dad is also very creative when it comes to building things. Home Depot is one of our favorite stores to go to when working on a new DIY project. It was a few years ago when we were brainstorming on ways to hang the curtains in our home, that I realized that I get my creative gene from my dad. 



Mom on the other side is as left brain as they come. She is brilliant but not artistically inclined at all. But then again, she has a great eye for design when it comes to desi (Indian) clothes and jewelry.


So this is what I've been up to these days. Painting, a few DIY projects and creating new jewelry pieces brings me great joy. Most people partake in the annual tradition of spring cleaning but I've noticed that I tend to enjoy fall cleaning a lot more. Somehow, getting ready to start the holiday season with Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas in the folds, I just love cleaning, purging, organizing and getting the home ready for the celebrations.

Being able to create art is a blessing to me and one which I am very grateful for.
I pray you take some time to play a bit, no matter what the form.

Thank you for reading.

Love, Light and Blessings,
Anita

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Picture of the Day Series - THE RAINBOW

I love taking pictures and I've decided to share just one picture everyday that I have taken more than likely with my IPhone 6 plus and have edited with my favorite photo editing app called, "Snapseed." I love this app although my eldest always teases me about my sub par photo editing skills.

The goal is to share a picture a day with a one liner description. So here goes today's picture.

 The rainbow over South Florida.
Love, Light and Blessings,
Anita

Picture of the Day Series - Day 2

Rays of Sunlight peeking out from behind the heavy clouds.

Love, Light and Blessings
Anita

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Books That Have Changed My Life For The Better!

I am often asked to recommend books and I've come to realize that I have a short list that I absolutely recommend to anyone and everyone. In fact, if it were up to me, these would be mandatory reading.
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear," is one of my favorite quotes. The teacher can be in the form of the lyrics of a song on the radio that suddenly resonate with you in that moment in time and deliver the precise message that you need.  The teacher may also appear in the form of a simple conversation between friends. Other times, the teacher comes in the form of parts of a sermon that you were barely paying attention to, yet that one line just jolted you out of whatever rabbit hole your mind had wandered down to bring you back on your path.  The teacher may also appear in the form of a book as they have for me, time and time again.

I believe that we all have spirit guides and angels who guide us everyday. Now I know I might lose some of you at this point with this "woo woo" talk but humor me. These angels and spirit guides which I believe are assigned to me  by my Higher Power aka God use many of the mediums mentioned above to guide me on my path. We are presented with opportunities to learn these lessons daily in many different forms but alas, we tend to miss many of them. The key I have found is to pay attention to that little voice in my heart and head that whispers, "Pay Attention Anita. This one is important." So I get myself out of my head and pay attention and on most days, get the lesson but there have been many times when I completely miss the lesson and so I get presented with more and more opportunities to learn the lessons.  The storyline changes, the actors change but the lesson is always the one needed.

So without further delay, here is a list of my favorite books of all times. Please note that that I am sharing them in no particular order. I do believe that you will read whichever one you need to read. Just be open!

1. Seagull - Jonathan Livingston












2. Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield












3. Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - Deepak Chopra












4. Conversations with God - Book 1 - Neale Donald Walsch - I read this book some 18 years ago before my children were born.
There is also a book 2 and 3 in this series along with another 20 some books that Neale has written and they are all excellent books but Book 1 remains my favorite. I actually had the opportunity to spend an entire week with this author  a few years ago. I went to Oregon and met a group of 30 some people from all around the USA and the world and we had a once in a life time experience listening to this brilliant teacher in person.












5. The Seat of the Soul - Gary Zukav - now this is a book that sat on my bookshelves for almost ten years. Every couple of years, I would pick it up and attempt to read it but just got lost in the heavy jargon and I would get frustrated and put it back on the shelf. Then some ten plus years later, I picked it up and started to read it and realized that I had already received the messages that were in this book except they had come to me in the form of other authors and their books. But I am still including it here.












6. The Heart of the Soul - Gary Zukav - this book was life changing because it challenged me to really look at my behavior and forced me to face the underlying issues behind them. And as Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, you do better." Thus this book helped me "know myself better."












7. 40 Rules of Love - Elif Shafaq - an exquisitely written book in the most simple form yet the author weaves the tales of two separate families (Rumi and Shams de Tabriz and the character of this woman in her late 40's/50's). The 40 rules of love are pearls of wisdom that are scattered throughout the book and made my heart sing with joy at discovering them. I can't say anymore without giving it away so I'll stop here.












8.The Purpose Driven Life - by Rick Warren. This book kept showing up right around the time of my divorce some ten years ago until I finally realized that I was suppose to read this book. A MUST READ!!!












9. The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran - a short read but one you must take your time with. I read this book also some 18 years ago when I was pregnant with Aly (who is now 17 years old). The chapter on children along with Deepak Chopra's books have outlined how I've chosen to raise my boys. Essentially by honoring them as the individual souls that they are on their own journey. I understand that I have been entrusted with them but they are not my property to impose my own dreams and desires upon. I have and continue to encourage my boys to discover their gifts and use them to serve humanity. I believe that when you follow your passion, you never work a day in your life.












10. The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo - this is a must read!!!!












11. Brene Brown's books are fantastic and everyone should read them.

 


12. Simple Abundance - A Daybook by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book literally saved my life. After Aly was born, I got hit with post partum depression. I was living in Tucson, Arizona with an 8 month old and a husband who was away all day long at work. We had only one car between us which left me stuck at home. Tucson is beautiful but we were renting an apartment in the hills which made it very difficult to just walk to places. I saw this author on Oprah and immediately bought the book and started reading and writing the gratitude journal as directed in this book. Within a month, I started to feel better and more positive. Many of us women tend to lose ourselves in the process of being someone's daughter, someone's wife and then someone's mother. We forget who were were prior to all of that and this book helped me uncover the layers to discover my own dreams and desires.  This is a very powerful book for women. The author also wrote a version of this for men.












13. The Laws of the Spirit World by Khorshed Bhavnagari - This book found me about a year ago and I am still working through it.












I'm sure there are many more books I could recommend and maybe in time, I'll write another post but this is it for now. Please do not rush through any of these books. Instead, take your time and read them and then re read them to really absorb the messages. These took me about 20 years to read as they found me or I found them only when I was ready for them.
Therefore, pay attention to which one tugs at your heart and go read that one first. The others will find you in time.

Love, Light and Blessings,

Anita

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Know Thy Worth!

Why am I writing this today? Well, something very interesting happened earlier today. I posted a new collection of handmade earrings on Facebook available to purchase at $18-$20 per pair and someone decided to make the following comment, "Hmmm! None of them are attractive enough to spend 18 or 20 $". "
Here are the earrings I made and posted.
I actually made this frame today just to display these earrings. I used turquoise colored chalk paint on this frame and covered the insert with brown fabric only after stapling chicken wire to the inside of the frame. The entire thing took me less than an hour to put together and yes it's very messy from the back but it does the job. 


So now to make a few things clear, I don't know this person, nor am I friends with her on Facebook yet she not only took the time to check out my earrings but more importantly felt compelled to comment. Facebook notified me of a new comment on my post so I went to go read it and needless to say was taken back at first but then was simply amused. Ofcourse I responded with, "You are certainly entitled to your opinion." And then the messages and comments started. I started getting text messages on my cell and messages on FB ranging from, "On my God, she has no filter, I can't believe she said that," to "What a B....! You should block her." A few of my friends expressed their sadness  that there was this much "hatred" out in the world.  A friend who had immediately responded to my response to this comment was surprised at my what she called a "zen response." But my response was not intended to be zen - like. I simply took it as one person's opinion of art aka my earrings. Art is subjective and as the quote goes, "Beauty (and might I add, worth) is in the eyes of the beholder." 

This comment or any other comment be it positive or negative is simply an opinion of the person expressing it. It's never personal and it certainly has nothing to do with the actual person or thing or event that this person is commenting about.  And it certainly doesn't make her a bad person or a b.....
Abraham Hicks said it best.


I am just like you. I want to be liked and respected. And until a few years ago, I cared very much about what other people thought of me. I was a people pleaser. But somewhere along the way, I learned a very important lesson. I learned my self worth. I am not perfect. In fact, far from it. I am flawed and have so many things that I could and should be improving upon. But I am a good human being. I know my strengths and I know my challenges and I choose what I want to work on or ignore. That is the beauty of the being alive and human. We have choices...tons of it from the minute we wake up in the morning till we get in bed. We get to choose our thoughts and our responses to our thoughts. We get to choose what we eat, wear, do or don't do. Now ofcourse, I can hear some of you now saying, "But we don't have a choice in having to work." Well, I beg to differ. We do have a choice. We simply choose not to blow off work. We choose instead to show up. We might feel that we don't have a choice but we always have a choice. Not making a choice is also a choice. 

 
Another very important lesson I learned very early on was that every choice has a consequence. The word consequence tends to have a negative connotation but in my understanding of the word, a consequence is simply a result of a choice or an action. Consequences can be either positive or negative. 

 
The most freeing realization was that I am me regardless of other people's opinion of me. Thus I don't take compliments personally nor do I take their criticism. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the compliments and welcome the criticism as a way to learn from them but they do not reflect who I am or what my worth is. It is simply the other person's perception. That's it. So back to the earrings conundrum. I obviously think they are beautiful therefore I made them and I know that they are worth more than the $18-20 that I have priced them at. The price of any art reflects the creativity, the time, the talent and the effort of the artist. I am blessed to know that I have enough people who like my work and want more of it and for that I am grateful.

But not everything I create will be liked by everyone and that's okay. People are entitled to their opinion but it has nothing to do with me or my work. Now as far as the lady who commented is concerned, I commend her on following through when she felt compelled to. I wish her well and life goes on. Thank you for reading!

Love, Light and Blessings

Anita

PS: Good news is that the earrings are going fast! :) 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Playing in the streets of Mumbai!


I took these pictures while visiting Mumbai, India. The date was January 1, 2012.
These little boys found entertainment playing in the putrid, standing gutter water. Notice the boys aren't wearing any footwear.




I noticed this mother sitting on the side of the road waiting for God knows what as her kids waited with her. The daughter should have been carrying a toy doll but instead was carrying her youngest sibling. 
How are they able to walk on these rough streets with no shoes? 
I'm guessing the mother probably works as a cleaning lady somewhere and this happens to be her day off.





And just like that, they decided to get up and go on with their day. I was terrified yet intrigued as I watched this young girl probably no more than seven or eight years old, balance this baby on her hip.


Love, Light and Blessings,
Anita

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mangoes in Miami!

Living in Florida is like living in paradise; at least my version of paradise. The sky is almost always blue. The ocean is just a short drive awayThe temperature is a warm and comfortable 75 degrees even in the winter months and beautiful palm trees and coconut trees line our backyard. Check out this beautiful fruit hanging off the branches.















Love, Light and Blessings
Anita

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Carrot Slaw & Coconut Curry Chicken.

was reading an older issue of "How to Create Business" and came across this gorgeous recipee book by Erin Gleeson called "The Forest Feast". What intrigued me was that it had beautiful photographs and painting that had the recipes illustrated in the pages. Also the recipes are supposed to be healthy and easy to make.  I simply had to have my own copy. I'm so excited to share that it is as beautiful and as practical to use as described. 



The recipes are all vegetarian and look easy to prepare. 
I tried and made this carrot slaw that was super easy to make and delicious and most importantly healthy! My kids actually asked for seconds.



My other new favorite thing to cook in a hurry is this delicious coconut curry chicken that takes me 10 minutes to prepare. 
I start off with shredding up a store bought rotisserie chicken and placing in a pan. 

I added this jar of Coconut Curry Simmering Sauce from the Stonewall Kitchen company (available in Fresh Market - $10 a jar) to the pan with the shredded chicken along with a cup or two of water to avoid the chicken sticking to the pan. Let it simmer and heat up and serve with some warmed up bread and butter.  I've written about this in a different post about my favorite things but this is soo good that it's worth mentioning again.










Here are a few more pictures of the different pages from the recipe book. 

I can't wait to try out these other recipes.




















Love, Light and Blessings,

Anita