Grateful Geek: Interior Design

As I pore over interior design magazines, books and blogs, Pinterest boards and store catalogues, I have a whole new appreciation for interior design and realize how I’m exercising a new creative muscle.

My new #workspace. Photo credit: nishaksquared.
My new #workspace. My desktop wallpaper appropriately reads: “Flourish your creativity.” Photo credit: nishaksquared.

Interior design is all about curating the lifestyle and experience you want and aspire for. What could be more special for yourself and whomever you share your home with?

Creating a home space is such a process. This is mine and my hubby’s third home together, but for some reason, this feels like the most important. The most special. This feels like the space that’s meant to be the truest expression of our life as adults, as individuals and as a couple.

There’s so much thought that goes into each detail, especially if you’re Type A like myself. I don’t want to settle for less than the vision I — <<ahem>> we — have. <<wink wink>>

And as each detail is realized, slowly but surely, I feel a fierce pride and joy. I love how it’s all coming together.

This week, I’m also lovin':

Behind-the-scenes work + the Chef soundtrack + Saturday nights at home and bright Sunday mornings + Homeland on-demand and Reign marathons on Netflix + polka dot mugs + Thug Kitchen and the cookbook section at Barnes & Noble + cleanliness that’s next to godliness + Jo Nesbo + dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds + brunch reunion with my BFF + listening to my hubby mindlessly sing while he works

Grateful Geek: New Home

There was no GG post last week because…we were moving into our new apartment!

My first #selfie from our new home! Love the #NYC skyline behind me.
My first #selfie from our new home! Love the #NYC skyline behind me. Photo credit: nishaksquared.

Words cannot describe how good it feels to settle into a home of our own.

Unpacking our boxes — those we packed before moved to India in 2010, as well as the ones that were piling up in my childhood bedroom while we searched for our home — has been quite the trip. There are so many sweet surprises I’d forgotten about, like the many photos, cards and letters from my favorite people.

Now, we’re occupied with decorating! This apartment is a blank canvas, and slowly but surely, we’ll fill it with things we love. For the most part, the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom are set.

The most empty? The living room and dining area.

All of this is exciting, stressful, relief-inducing and happy. I love how each detail we think of makes this apartment more ours.

This week, I’m also lovin':

Taking charge and not giving up + writing + happy feedback + channeling frustrated energy into productivity + spreadsheets + the brilliant imagination on every page of “The Bone Clocks” + great customer service + coffee: the best way to combat the afternoon sleepies! + investing in what feels good + brown cardboard packages + the perfect bedroom + kitchen experiments and homemade vegan ice cream + an Argentinian Malbec + Reese Witherspoon + my best friends + sibling bonding time + interior designing with my hubby

Presently: September 29

Getting ready for one of my #NYC strolls. Photo credit: nishaksquared.
Ready for one of my #NYC strolls. Love how autumn-friendly all these colors and patterns are! Photo credit: nishaksquared.

Letting Go Of: September…and the funk I’ve been in. This past month has been challenging for various reasons, but I’ve categorically decided to not allow any of it to distract me any longer. No more pity parties, no more indulging in self-doubt (with a hefty side of chocolate). I’m channeling all that negative, unproductive energy towards making the pivots and changes I want to make in my work and life. Just thinking about it makes me pumped!

Scoffing At: All those lists filled with “shoulds” and “musts.” If I don’t feel it or if it doesn’t feel right, no thank you. As Beyonce would say, “To the left.” As in, “Step out of my way, please.”

Making Sense Of: My brand. What I stand for. What matters most. Y’know, the big questions.

Promoting: My business! I work hard to make it an awesome experience and I realize I should share it more openly here too. Check out my website and blog, and sign up for my newsletter. There’s good stuff for anyone who wants to be a better storyteller and writer. (Thanks for tolerating the shameless plug!)

Confused By: A lot of the so-called popular things that I just can’t get into. Like hating Mondays. Like the new Indian Prime Minister, who I’m just a wee bit wary of. Like the Alibaba IPO. Like sensationalist journalism. Like SoulCycle. Like Bradley Cooper. Like Girls and Scandal. What do others see that I don’t?

Laughing At: How formulaic and over-the-top the Housewives franchise has gotten! It sometimes feels so scripted, but even if I tune in for just a few minutes, I can’t help laughing at the ridiculous crap that unfolds. Can you say #firstworldproblems?

Loving: Fall. This is my absolute favorite season. Everything inspires me.

Indulging In: Soy pumpkin spice lattes (hold the whip). Long walks in Central Park. More frequent chatting with my best friends. Tapping into my inner Jane Austen. Leisure reading at every free moment.

In Awe Of: David Mitchell’s “The Bone Clocks.” There’s no living writer who writes like him. His work is so inventive, electric, alive. It lives and breathes in your mind, long after you’ve put one of his books down. And this latest one? Well, it just may be the best book I’ve read in a good long while.

Still Inspired By: Emma Watson’s UN address last week to launch the HeforShe Campaign. I mentioned it in last week’s GG post, but its sincerity and intelligence still blow me away.

Dreaming Of: A romantic, autumnal getaway to the likes of Paris, Amsterdam or Prague. Alas, that’s impossible right now. It’s a beautiful fantasy, but maybe next year!

Eyeing: The larger, crisper screens of the iPhone 6. I made the mistake of checking one out at the Apple Store, just for fun, and haven’t been able to look at my smaller — though no less gorgeous — iPhone 5S screen the same. Sigh. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait until 2015 before making the change!

Counting Down To: Moving into our new apartment later this week! Finding a new home has been one of the longest, most confusing and frustrating processes ever. (Almost as bad as dealing with government bureaucracies. Not exaggerating. Someday I’ll need to write a post about navigating NYC real estate and its army of ineffective brokers.) But I feel an intense relief — and excitement — that we’re likely just days away from moving into our new place, and creating a home and space we love. Cheers to that!

Grateful Geek: Feminism

Earlier this week, actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered an incredible speech to launch the HeforShe Campaign.

What I found incredibly smart, refreshing and empowering is her straight-forward approach to feminism. The word has earned such a bad reputation; I honestly can’t remember a time in my lifetime when the word didn’t conjure hairy legs, militant opinions and man-hatred.

I haven’t ever openly identified myself as a feminist, but because Ms. Watson reminds us that feminism is about gender equality, it’s hard to not identify with the label and be proud of what it means.

This week, I’m also lovin':

Getting out of a funk and recognizing what feels right + encouragement from past clients + an inspiring bedside manner + more examples of how not to do business + new things for a new home + a Central Park hot dog, mustard accidents and laughing at myself + letting go of the old and underused + Silk almond milk + Columbus Avenue + Liam Neeson, master PI + constant iMessaging with my best friends + afternoons at home with my mom + seven incredible years of knowing and being with my hubby

Grateful Geek: Creative Confidence

For the past few weeks, I’ve been raving about the Kelley brothers’s fantastic, must-read book Creative Confidence. I’m nearly done with it and so pumped with the positivity and refreshed outlook it has given me.

From Unsplash. Photo credit: Mia Di Domenico.

The key lesson from the book is that we all are creative and that no matter where we are in our journey — professional or personal — we need to do more to feed our creative side and build that confidence.

Why? Because that confidence will enrich every corner of our lives.

Practice more. Experiment more. Figure out what lights a fire within us and just go for it.

Reading the book has sparked an awareness in me: I need to feed my creative self. No more planning and over-intellecutalizing. I really need to start really writing again. Not just blogging or journaling, but the kind of un-self-conscious creative writing I did when I was younger, when my imagination flew, time and space slipped away, and I wrote for the sheer joy of it.

I’m going to make more room for that starting now.

What will you do to feed your creative self and build your confidence?

This week, I’m also lovin':

Not fretting over to-do lists + a lot of positive, encouraging reading + talking + interior design tips with Domino and Elle Decor + IKEA’s “bookbook” + the importance of being Fierce Fabulous Free + the literary return of Ian McEwanThe Real Housewives of Melbourne + @puppiesnation + 642 Things to Write About + Songs of Innocence + carving out pockets of chat time with my BFFs + impromptu mid-week Mediterranean lunch dates with my hubby

Grateful Geek: Facebook Fast

I have a strong ‘Like’-hate relationship with Facebook. Well, honestly, it’s more of the latter.

From Photo credit: Aleksi Tappura.

I kept up some sort of presence on Facebook for the sake of my business, but then the other day, I realized that I’m not practicing what I preach in my work: if it doesn’t feel right or natural, you don’t have to do it, especially when it comes to social media.  Your efforts won’t pay off because you won’t be consistent and you won’t be the best version of yourself.

So I decided to #unplug from Facebook for the month of September. I figure that will free up more creative time and energy, reduce any lingering compare-and-despair symptoms, and help me think more strategically about what and how I want to share with the world.

And since making that decision earlier this week? I feel a huge sense of relief! There’s more focused, productive time, and I wasn’t even a Facebook power-user!

If you’d like to join me for my 30-day Facebook fast, the first step is to just let your friends know that you’re unplugging — accountability is everything. The second step is to remove the Facebook app from your smartphone.

And if you need some added encouragement, see Alexandra Franzen’s advice on how to unhook from FB.

This week, I’m also lovin':

(Finally) creating and sending out the introductory edition of my e-newsletter! + staying focused + patience + teaching experiences + signed leases and dry ink + “The Rip” + @TheRealPSL + Whole Foods and fig jam + navy suede fringe and jade floral romance + a dreamy, plush mattress + BoConcept + family dinners + gratuitous cursing with my hubby

Grateful Geek: Apartment Therapy

At long last it has happened: me and my hubby found a new apartment!

The home-hunting process has been long and frustrating, but as of next month, we’ll be moving into our new apartment.

Now, we’re both occupied by thoughts on how to create a space we love. I’m obsessed with color schemes, shapes, moods, styles. I’ve been surfing Pinterest and Apartment Therapy for ideas and tips, and I can’t be more excited — or pleased — to make a home of our own.

Cheers to that!

This week, I’m also lovin':

Getting back to business + good calls + Creative Confidence and the Kelley brothers + simplification + Matt Damon’s response to the ALS ice bucket challenge + soup and french fries + a classic watch + last days of summer + Brangelina‘s wedded bliss + catching up on my David Mitchell + homemade crepes and The Fault in Our Stars (still brilliant the second time around) + M83 + Kate Spade’s romantic, autumn-perfect Shanghai collection + the Friends reunion (well, almost…) + the end of Operation Find-a-Home! + phone chats with my hubby

Grateful Geek: The Art in Everyday

This week has flown by in a haze. And not because of work!

From Photo Credit: Glen Carrie.

I had oral surgery earlier this week, and though it wasn’t anything major, it took a couple more days than expected for me to feel like myself.

Instead of pushing myself to be uber-productive and cross everything off my task list, I decided to just let my body heal and my imagination fly. I napped (a lot), revisited old TV favorites, caught up on my article reading list, Internet window-shopped and Pinterest-surfed, and generally spent time…observing everything.

I marvel at how much of what we surround ourselves by affects the little moments of life. It’s those little moments that we curate for ourselves that let in the art of everyday. Be it beautiful people, places, things, food, music, what-have-you, all of these are pieces to creating the best version of ourselves, on our own terms.

By being more thoughtful of ourselves and the world around us, we can make it all so much more memorable and sweet.

Our best life. That’s pretty damn powerful, don’t you think?

This week, I’m also lovin':

End-of-summer ease + new leads and a renewed determination + thinking about 2015 + The Desire Map workbook and a pencil + Stephen King’s writing lessons reverberating in my mind + the Elevate app + painkillers + soft food and my mother’s homemade, inventive, healing dal + my bed + Bill Murray in What About Bob? and Lost in Translation + Portishead + SATC marathons and the new season of Project Runway + fall street style + the edgy sophistication of Saint Laurent + dreaming up a new living and working space + indulgence…without the side of guilt + long overdue girl talk + my amazing, extraordinary, caring, loving hubby, mom, dad and brother

Grateful Greek: Your Verse

The death of Robin Williams earlier this week has people around the world reminiscing over and praising his work.

One of my all-time favorite movies is Dead Poets Society because I remember watching the scene when Mr. Williams is teaching his class and talks about poetry. His recitation of Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!” is brilliant.

As a Whitman fan, I think Mr. Williams captured the tone and spirit of the poem perfectly. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Here are Whitman’s words:


Always remember that no matter how ugly the world may seem at times — and these days, there’s a lot of it — we all have something to give, a verse to contribute, and that’s everything.

Though Mr. Williams’s life was cut short, he contributed myriad verses that made the ugliness fade away. Let’s remember, honor and treasure that.

And let’s do that ourselves.

This week, I’m also lovin':

Reframing opportunity + The Sunday Dispatches + putting doubt in its place + business talk with entrepreneur friends + Haruki Murakami, now and forever + Dame Helen Mirren: sexy and elegant at nearly 70 — what we should all aspire for + good…no, great hair days + 73 Questions + solid return policies for my fickle inner material girl + tall soy chai tea lattes + sopaipillas at the end of a pitch-perfect Mexican meal + Hale and Hearty lunches + The Killing + the last pages of Operation Find-a-Home <<fingers crossed>> + afternoon tea with my Kindle + sleepy, early morning chats with my hubby