Grateful Geek: Words

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about books and writing.

Genius reminder from Anne Lamott in her book Bird by Bird.

From Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Photo credit: Nisha K. Kulkarni

But herein lies the problem: there’s too much thinking going on and not enough doing.

If I had one wish for this New Year, it is to write as unabashedly and un-self-consciously as I did when I first started more than two decades ago.

According to Anne Lamott, that’s the only way I can unlock the good stuff in my imagination.

I think only then will I really tap into the best version of myself, the kind of person I most want to be.

This week, I’m also lovin':

Renewed enthusiasm and a new vision + progress over perfection + first steps + f*** trying and Yoda wisdom + energy and creativity + healthy optimism and good vibes + mobile productivity + the smell of green apples + scraping a pen across actual paper + brisk walks in the freezing city air + The Good Lie + pastel pinks and blues, and all black + surround sound + “L.A. LOVE” + deep sleep + my mom’s awesome texts + my hubby, the master chef

Grateful Geek: The Smashing Pumpkins

One of my favorite bands when I was a teenager in the 1990s was The Smashing Pumpkins.

“Monuments to an Elegy” album cover.

I have very fond (and semi-embarrassing) memories of blasting their albums, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, on my old Sony stereo while singing along loudly and pretending I was a master guitarist. (In my defense, I was a moody teenager!)

I still very proudly listen to my ’90s rock, including the Pumpkins, but I’ve been woefully out of touch with what they’ve been up to.

So imagine my surprise when I saw that the Pumpkins put out a new album this week called Monuments to an Elegy. And it’s quite good! Lead singer Billy Corgan sounds as good as ever — mature and soulful — and the music is reminiscent of their ’90s roots without sounding dated.

Not exactly Christmas carols, but it nonetheless puts me in good spirits that good music still exists by musicians I grew up with.

This week, I’m lovin':

Rebranding exercises and honing in on my brand vision + business accountability + cheetah print + fresh-cut pineapple + trailers for Inside Out and Le Petit Prince + Chang-Rae Lee + my mom’s, comfort food-inspired lunch + an impromptu viewing of Pride and Prejudice (one of my all-time favorites) + evening phone chats + amazingly helpful and kind building staff + Chipotle burrito bowls with my brother + online shopping with my mom and laughing with my dad + my superhuman hubby

Grateful Geek: Pamper Time

(This GG post comes a couple of days late, but better late than never!)

Essie Headmistress

When the weather chills you to the bone and end-of-the-year task lists pile up, there’s nothing better than carving out a little pamper time.

Y’know, to do something fun and indulgent that keeps you smiling. For me, that was giving myself a pedicure at home and drinking a generous mug of soy hot cocoa.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, I think!

This week, I’m also lovin':

#GivingTuesday + Cyber Monday and completed holiday shopping! + Christmas tree-lined streets + half-workdays at home with a good friend + T-Mobile + Into the Woods and Emily Blunt + croissant bread pudding + a provocative title and thoughtful read + the perfect red nail polish for the holidays + an indulgent pine-scented candle + Todd Chrisley’s hysterical one-liners + the Lady Gaga-Tony Bennett pairing + “Lilyhammer” + update texts from my globetrotting hubby

Grateful Geek: Thanksgiving Special

I hope you and your loved ones had an amazing Thanksgiving!

Charlie Brown and friends celebrating Thanksgiving to the fullest.

Yesterday was all about soaking up quality time with loved ones, mouth-watering food and explosions of gratitude. I celebrate gratitude every single day, so Thanksgiving feels no different…except that it does.

As the year draws to a near close, I like this pause to reflect — more than usual — and take stock of all the good people and things in my life. And it should come as no surprise that the most precious gems in my life, what I’m most intensely grateful for and what makes me feel more blessed than not, are my family and friends. They are my world, and I can’t imagine this life or any other without them.

I gotta face it: I’m hopelessly in love with the people in my life. They bring me endless amounts of joy, comfort, security, encouragement, and most of all, love love love.

So even though Thanksgiving Day is over, I hope that you too feel super blessed every single day. I hope that you’re able to see how wonderful life is and how much more it can become if you just practice gratitude and let that be your north star.

This week, I’m also lovin':

Thoughtful notes + 2015 planning + “The Underground Girls of Kabul” + nearly a week’s worth of my hubby’s culinary delights + Sonix + nonstop thrills with Homeland + fresh pink blooms + midnight blue velvet and a place to sit + a smiling moon + dozing off and uninterrupted, restful, blissful sleep + family dinners and mini cupcakes + late morning starts with my hubby

Grateful Geek: Watch the Traffic

You know that saying “stop and smell the roses”?

I do love it, but I think since winter is basically here and I’m a city girl, it needs to be adapted for greater relevance.

Watching traffic snake up third avenue from our freezing balcony

Watching traffic streaking up Third Avenue. Photo credit: Nisha Kumar Kulkarni.

So let’s change it to “watch the traffic.”

I mean, I hate traffic as much as the next person. (After all, I may be one of the world’s top 10 most impatient people.)

But the other evening, as I was experimenting with my DSLR on our freezing cold balcony, I couldn’t help but pause and notice how pretty traffic can be. (From a distance, of course.)

I think taking that moment to watch the traffic, to appreciate the color and movement and how its apart of the city just as much as the heart-stopping skyline, can be just as refreshing — and gorgeous — as stopping to smell the roses.

Don’t believe me? Give it a try.

This week, I’m also lovin':

Creative sparks + an email backlog — and not beating myself up over it + photography + Alan Cumming + an encore presentation of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower and everything related to it + hot chocolate and Jello pudding + “Shark Tank” reruns + #missadventure in “The Waiting Game” + tempering perspectives + a bigger, actually better new iPhone + reconnecting with friends + impatient iMessaging while on long airport security-like queues + afternoon hang-time with my brother + giving my body room to rest and recuperate + my hubby’s happy laugh in the early morning

Write-able Moments

Getting reacquainted with an old friend: my Canon 1000D

My Canon selfie: getting reacquainted with an old friend

When I was in high school, I used to snap photos all the time. My dad gave me his old Nikon F3 and I’d take it with me everywhere. I loved that camera.

I still have piles of old photographs I developed in my high school darkroom. Some of them good; some of them just meh. I guess I never thought much of it because don’t all girls go through an experimental photography phase?

But over the years, I harbored a secret love for photography. Maybe I’m not as talented or consistent as my father, uncle and brother — all talented photographers — but I’ve always been aware of special moments. Maybe it’s the writer in me: I see write-able moments everywhere and I want to photograph them too — so I can remember them just right.

That’s why my iPhone is full of random photos I refuse to delete.

Earlier tonight, some little voice in me told me to pull my DSLR out of the closet. And though it’s freezing cold outside, I couldn’t help but take photos of the NYC skyline and streets on our little balcony.

And it felt brilliant.

I don’t know if the photos are any good, but all I know is that I feel a warmth and joy at tapping into my creative side, whatever form it may take. Photography is no exception.

So, conclusion: I think I should take more photos. With my actual camera. Capture more of those write-able moments.

Grateful Geek: Mom’s Mashed Potatoes

I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like, but nothing in this life — or the next — could possibly beat my mom’s creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes.

Mary Poppins touts a spoonful of sugar… I disagree! A spoonful (or several) of mashed potatoes makes everything better.

Mashed potatoes equate comfort, warmth, love — and when they’re extra tasty, that’s extra doses of love.

This week, after another round of oral surgery (don’t ask), my mom’s love-soaked mashed potatoes also equate ease and healing while be surrounded by family who keep you laughing.

Thanksgiving may just be two short weeks away, but I’m already so full of gratitude for mashed potatoes…and everything they represent.

This week, I’m also lovin':

A graceful response + getting over it and powering through + Banks + a clean, warm apartment + a powerful start to the final season of The Newsroom + “Dear Daughter” and a long list of good reads to dive into + dark chocolate chip cookies + the first holiday lights + iMessage conversations + hot malt Ovaltine + mini-cakes and Veuve Clicquot + my amazing family and BFFs + five years of wedded bliss with my hubby…and the fact that he can still surprise me with so much love and thoughtfulness