Sunday, January 6, 2013


My grandmother has always been very fond of knitting and stitching and the best part is that she's amazingly good at both of them. She even used to knit colorful sweaters and scarfs for me and my brother when we were young. Seeing her engrossed in her knitting projects in winter afternoons is a dear childhood memory etched clearly in my mind. Recently her love for knitting sprang up again after she saw a neighbor knitting woolen shoes and that's when she decided that she will dig out all those balls of wool and knitting needles out of her trunk and  will knit similar shoes for herself. So she got right at it and within just 2-3 days accomplished her task!
And I must say she made quite a pretty and impressive pair for herself (that's her happy feet in the picture feeling all cozy in the new pair!!!).
Surprisingly my grandmother's enthusiasm attracted me to the art of knitting as well and I decided to try my hands at this warm art! Oh how happy and encouraging my grandmother was when I asked her to teach me what she knows. She recalled her childhood when she first learnt to knit and handed me over two long needles and a ball of pale yellow colored wool. Few attempts and some overnight practice was all it took to get me to learn the first lesson of the knitting tutorial and the picture you see right above is the first sample of my knitting skill (I know it's tiny but trust me it's quite an achievement!).

Learning this new art has brought so much joy and enthusiasm back into my life. It has made me realize how constant learning of new skills not only refreshes the mind but also adds so much beauty, vitality and versatility to one's life and being. So I am adding another goal to my list for this year and that is to learn at least 3 new skills before the end of 2013, the first one being knitting!

What do you think about the importance of new skills? Do you also agree that it's important to tread on unknown territories once in a while? Are you learning something new? If yes, then do share your experience and let me know how you feel about it. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

For those who matter

While it' necessary to act clever in accordance with the changing times and actively adapt to the new lifestyles and technological innovations that bombard our lives every other day, there's something about old philosophies and old ways that still hold as much value in the journey of our life as they did before and one of these age old notions is the concept of 'Family and Friends'.
Remember those proverbial advises such as "Family comes first!", "Charity begins at home", "Family is a haven in a heartless world", "A friend in need is a friend indeed"?
It's important to note here that while family and true friends never expect anything of us besides our own good, it doesn't mean that we should distance them and engross ourselves in the virtual world and in our quest for perfect careers. True friends and family not only provide us with the much needed reality check now and then but also act as cushions of comfort and encouragement during the hard times. They know us closely and do not judge us by the our exteriors or by the virtual profiles which mostly reflect our own desire on how we want to be perceived by others. Our family and friends know who we are, they know our strengths and shortcomings and most importantly they also know of our limitless potential. They are the ones who often encourage us and propel us towards our success when the rest of the world is hell bent on bringing us down.
So even though I absolutely agree with all those who are too busy in their lives and explorations of their self, I would still urge each and every one of you to make some time for those who really matter. Time and tide wait for none and you don't want to regret later in case it gets too late to catch up. I am suggesting here a few ways in which you can stay connected. If you have any other tip, feel free to post it in your comment for the benefit of other readers.
  • Call your mum-dad every night before sleep and talk to them for at least 5 minutes. Let them know you love them, tell them about your day, ask them how they are and send lots of hugs and kisses!
  • Try to organize a family reunion every 6 months. Not only will it bring along reminiscence of old times but it will give your whole family the opportunity to create a new memory!
  • Stay in touch with your closest friends through personal messages and weekly calls. You can also skype with them now and then and stay updated about each other's lives. And who knows you might end up making a joint adventure vacation plan to some place you fantasized about when you were kids!
  • Everyone loves surprises especially when they are least expected. So how about you surprise your parents with a fresh flower bouquet on a Sunday morning with a note that says "I miss you!". Your parents' reaction will make your effort truly worth it.
  • If you live with your parents but only catch a glimpse of them while you're on your way in/out, then it's high time you re-evaluate your activities and the importance of your family in your life. Try to catch up and interact with your parents during meals at the dining table and keep them updated about your life, dreams and goals. Also do not forget to ask them about their plans and life.
  • A short and sweet text message now and then doesn't require much effort and time and is a great way to let your family and friends know that you think of them. 

A person who has a strong relationship with his/her family and friends stays much happier and healthier than those who stay buried in their selves. Never forget that you're only a human being and not a machine. You not only need love but you need to give love too. So love lots, stay connected and take out time to make gestures that show you care. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


2012 was special for me in countless ways. It gave a whole new dimension to my personality, something I never knew existed and something I never knew had so much of me in itself. However today, on the very first day of 2013, I will not be concentrating on myself but rather on the person who even though was a complete stranger yet became special. This notable powerhouse of an individual is my fellow blogger Cathy from Cathy Trails who inspired me and transmogrified me through her simple yet insightful blog posts. Her blog is nothing but a mirror of a human heart that craves to excel, be loved, see the beauty of the world and sometimes makes little mistakes. Following is the interview that I had with this amazing new blogger. Her answers clearly reflect that this young and fearless lady is all set for the adventurous journey called 'LIFE'.

ME:The world is full of amazing people who are all different and unique in their own ways. So first of all Cathy tell me something about yourself. How would you define yourself? What best characterizes you?

CATHY: Agreed - everyone’s got their own little ‘je ne sais quoi’ and sass which makes the world even more exciting to live in. I’ll start with what I’m not: complacent, pessimistic, passive-aggressive, and stubborn. I’m better in sports that are only against one person like Tennis or arm wrestling - - and do not prefer to participate in team sports because I get too flustered. I see each day as an opportunity to improve oneself from the day before. I’m the type of person that gets along with all characters but struggles to find a quality friendship. I don’t like to settle because it’s the same as giving up. In sum, I would define myself as an optimistic, quirky, driven, and sometimes funny (emphasis on sometimes) type of gal.

ME: My next question is something that I've been always wanting to ask you. I want to know what prompted you to start your own blog?

CATHY: When I was about a month shy from leaving my home country to travel abroad, I needed a place where I can easily document my adventures and random thoughts. Facebook wasn’t going to be enough because I wanted to write stories about it – not just status updates. I had no idea how to use Twitter back then and wanted a free website. That’s when I discovered and randomly came up with Cathy Trails (to convey my wanderlustin’ antics). Now that I’m not traveling anymore, I now deem it more of a lifestyle blog and write about appreciating the little moments of my life. You can read my first blog post here: .

ME: How has been your blogging experience till now? Any tips for the newbie bloggers?

CATHY: Both advantageous and challenging.

Reflecting on the past year or so of blogging on Cathy Trails, I have learned so much about myself and what my brain is capable of absorbing. I’m still baffled by how much I have taught myself along the way by combining the use of Google/Youtube and downright persistence. Somewhere between googling ‘how to create the best blog header’ and pestering my Facebook friends with the usual status update “New post on my blog! Please read!” (while  pouting over the fact that I’ve received zero comments on my blog posts for 2 weeks in a row), I have somehow….found my passion. I believe that everything happens for a very good reason and feel this is a clear example of that. If I didn’t travel overseas and go couchsurfing - - I might have never started my blog and still be on hunt for my niche. As odd as it may sound, teaching myself how to customize blogs and anything web design related has quenched my thirst like no other interest I’ve had in my life.

I always feel shy when it comes to sharing tips for newbie bloggers because I still consider myself one. However, there are a few things I wished I had kept in mind when I first started blogging such as not take things so personally. I had less than 10 followers for the longest time and related the lack of readership to my lack of talent. Here I was pouring my heart out about my unique couchsurfing experience in the rural parts of Prague - - and never receiving a single comment, made my heart ache a little bit.

Now I realize that as long as you are authentic in your posts, give it time, while staying patient - - readership will naturally grow. Also, don’t compare your blog to others and wished yours was as cool looking as theirs or wished you had more followers. Comparing yourself to others and pouting about it isn’t going to do you any good. Instead, draw inspiration from other blogs you admire and hold yourself accountable.

Most importantly, do it for yourself, have fun with it, and work with what you’ve got. Oh, and here are some of my favorite blogging resources: ,, and  

ME: What is/are your mantras for life?


  • Choose happiness. 
  • Be comfortable with being uncomfortable (a quote by Jillian Michaels). 
  • The days are long but the years are short (a quote from Gretchen Rubin). 
  • Today will be a great day.

ME: What drives you the most? What are you truly passionate about?

CATHY: Regrets. That’s the one concept that gets my butt moving so fast; the possibility of regretting something. I’ll ask myself, ‘Will I regret it if I don’t (insert action here) 5 or 10 years from now?’ and if the answer is yes, I do what I can to make it happen. No excuses. I remember the first 20 years of my life going SO slowly but now that I’m 28 - - it seems as if time has sped up and I’m doing all that I can to hold onto the precious moments that are in front of me now. Just knowing that we only live once drives me to hop into the drivers’ seat and take full control. I want to live a life I’m proud of.

Little moments that turn out to be the most precious of moments such as making a loved one laugh until their belly hurts...a stranger giving me a compliment and vice versa...acting goofy/silly with one another...taking the time to really listen to someone...getting that rush of pride from accomplishing something difficult - - - that’s what I am truly passionate about. Call me a sap or a cheese ball but that’s the honest truth. In sum, I’m passionate about living life as a human being capable of feeling, thinking, communicating, and experiencing all sorts of cool things!

ME: Which has been that one experience in life that has taught you the most?

 I was in the middle of downtown Washington D.C, desperately lost, and holding onto a very important package I was supposed to drop off at a very specific location. While doing my best to swallow my tears and pretending I had any leads as to where to drop off this package - - I caved in, called my internship boss, and gave up. In less than 10 minutes, I see my boss running towards me with a look of fury, snatched up the package, and in less than 5 minutes seamlessly found the drop-off while stating this task was “a no-brainer and next time, figure it out”. I felt so little, so tiny, and defeated. Although painful and embarrassing, I’ll never forget it because this taught me to be stronger, to exhaust ALL possible options, be creative before taking the easy way out. Over time, I reflect on this experience because it continues to teach me to take full accountability for my good days, bad days, what I accomplished and what I didn’t.

ME: You call yourself a wanderlust. What is your idea of an ideal vacation?

CATHY:As much as I love sunbathing on an exotic beach while sipping on fresh coconut water (such as the south of Thailand), it’s never been my ideal vacation.
It’s all about the outdoor cafes in France or Italy, sipping on a perfectly crafted espresso accompanied by a few sugar cubes, while absorbing the quaint surroundings - - the people, the french or italian chatter, and the fashion. Out of all the places I have traveled to, I still fantasize about my time in Paris and Rome.

ME: Is there anything about life that intrigues you often?

CATHY: The concept of potential intrigues me. I always ponder to myself, ‘If everyone in this world recognized his or her full potential and actually took action, what would the world be like then?’ Also, because I am such an avid believer in one taking accountability and fully capable of making changes, I wonder if making excuses are ever valid and truly justify an unwanted situation such as homelessness or drug addiction. A part of me feels insensitive because I know there are some things in life that are uncontrollable - - but to what extent though? When do excuses stop justifying an undesirable situation but rather hinder a person to turn things around?

ME: Your makeover monday posts are very inspiring and reflect your efforts at starting every week with renewed enthusiasm and hope. What makes for an ideal week for you? Have you had it?

CATHY: Thank you Savvy! Although I’ve been taking a little break from the Makeover Monday posts, I firmly believe that starting a  new week, day, or even an hour with full optimism will naturally pave the way for a good time. The chances of having a good day from carrying a good attitude are much greater than starting the day with a crabby attitude yes?

Getting all my workout sessions in, eating good, accomplishing my high priority tasks, and essentially having all my life areas (work, relationships, health, family, personal) stay balanced makes for an especially ideal week for me. Do I have weeks like that all the time? No, and I wouldn’t want to because it makes those ideal weeks even more special.

ME: Who/what is your biggest inspiration?

CATHY: Jillian Michaels, one of the strongest and toughest personal trainers and a great motivational writer. Almost 2 years ago, a close friend of mine couldn’t stop raving about one of of Jillian Michaels’ books called Unlimited and as a result, inspired her to move across the country to start a new life. I was convinced and thought I better give this book a chance so I don’t miss out on what could very well be the extra push I was looking for to start my travels. Believe it or not, her direct and powerful words of wisdom inspired me to finally buy the one-way ticket to Paris I’ve been dreaming of doing for the majority of my life!
ME: If you were given the power to do any five things for the world in a day, what would you do?
  • I would convince the world that an optimistic attitude can act as an extremely effective solution to many, if not all problems in the world if we just practice it daily.
  • I’d urge everyone to adopt a ‘live as if it’s your last day’ type of attitude to create urgency in living, and not just existing.
  • Revamp the food industry by eliminating factory farms and the use of dangerous pesticides on our produce.
  • Make a poster that says “Choose happiness” in every language and give one out to as many homes as possible.
  • Make everyone a cup of tea while magically ending racism, sexism, and ageism.
ME: Your posts are always full of positivism, hope and finding happiness in the little moments of life. How would you define true happiness? Do you believe that happiness and hope are complementary?
CATHY: True happiness, to me, is like reaching ones’ ideal state of equilibrium; feeling balanced in all important areas in life while growing wiser and wiser. The times that I have experienced true happiness was when I can reflect on my past with gratitude, savor the current moment, and trust that the future will unfold as it should.

When there is no hope, there is no empowerment which is the same as giving up. To hope is to dream, to believe that everything happens as it should and to appreciate its beauty no matter what (even when it seems ugly, impossible, dreary). I feel that without hope, one’s path to happiness is more foggy, a bit cluttered, and misleading. Quite frankly, I don’t think happiness can be reached without hope.