Indian summer

It’s 95 degrees Farenheit in Bangalore right now. The ceiling fans been turned up to the fastest speed setting, and I’ve already downed two liters of water since morning. In my mind I’m thinking its nice I’ve got my own natural sauna out here. Wherever I go I sweat to the point my clothes are drenched and my hair! let’s just not go there…I envy all you lucky “bees”(since this is a kid friendly blog ;)) with naturally straight hair because it ain’t easy maintaining a sleek polished look with your hair looking like a place where some bird lays its eggs.

I tell myself sweating is my body letting go of its toxins. The silver lining-I’ve not put on any weight and some of my friends tell me I look like I’ve lost a few pounds – Its water weight I’m losing for sure!

Then again, Bangalore is better than my home state Kerala, also known as-‘God’s own country’ with its lush greenery and beautiful backwaters…when it comes to the heat this year, I’m pretty certain, a few more degrees and it could very well be the ‘Devil’s own hell’! There were moments when I was back home, sorting through my old clothes and knickknacks in the attic like storeroom on the top floor of my house, copious rivulets of sweat flowed continuously from my forehead down my face in torrents.

The flight from the U.S to Bangalore was smooth. American Airlines from Salt lake to Los Angeles followed by Qatar Airways from Los Angeles to Qatar and from Qatar to Bangalore.The airline food was nice and so was the service. I didn’t sleep a wink on the flight and chose to watch a couple of inflight movies back to back – Maleficient had me crying like a baby – all the sadness of leaving America gushed out in torrents, The Intern, Peter Pan….Melissa Mccarthy’s- The Spy left me in splits-everything was for the best.

We’ve been travelling a lot since we got here. So far, I’ve been to Bangalore, Mumbai and passed through Tamil Nadu on the way to Kerala in three weeks! So including Kerala I’ve covered four states in three weeks! Em’s been meeting a lot of her extended family on these trips…many tight hugs and loving kisses from loving grandaunts and uncles and cousins. Must say my little girl is holding up quite well from all this travel and change in climate. Except for a cold in between she’s been fine…Praise God! Thankfully the jet lag lasted didn’t more than a week, but the travels have left me exhausted.

We’ve also been meeting up with interior designers to do the kitchen and the wood work at our new apartment so that’s another major thing we need to finalize. How have you all been? All gearing up for the hot summers I hope! Till next take care luvs!

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Monday Rambles – Fears

Hey everyone! I’m still here. Things that were supposed to happen months ago are happening only now. Though the plan was to start back in January due to the husband’s work we had to stay back another month and when finally tickets were booked and the itinerary confirmed for the end of Feb, again he was asked to stay back for another month and so here we still are and hoping that we will finally fly to India this weekend – Saturday to be exact. Looks like Easter Sunday will be spent in – flight.

Its been crazy and although ideally I would’ve liked to be all calm and composed and zen like, reality has been far from it… When you’ve prepared your mind for something and you hear that your plans are not to be there is this feeling of powerlessness and uncertainty which don’t quiet agree with me. I hate surprises and the Cancerian that I am – I hate feeling insecure.

I’m a firm believer in the adage – Everything happens for a reason and so I settled down and decided to find the silver lining in my ‘situation’

Problem (s) – I feel stuck, I have a home in India I need to set up and being in another country further delays our settling in, I need to find a job so that the break in my resume doesn’t turn into a gaping pothole, We’ve discontinued Em’s school so shes at home and every moment I don’t engage her ends up with me feeling terribly guilty, I miss my family and friends who I’ve not seen for so many years now.

All these problems I know will disappear once we get to India but there is still this nagging thought at the back of my head…A fear that I may get sucked up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and lose my voice again. If I’m not creative I don’t exist. I also fear being consumed by my fears.

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Dear Reader, I’m sorry I’m drawing you into my fears and insecurities and I know I started this blog as my happy place. Where I can be happy and where if anyone drops by can feel happy and maybe inspired (?) 🙂

I hope you all pray for me and as I step into what feels like a new chapter in my life, your good wishes and friendship will remain because, you are all so special to me!

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016

Greetings one and all! It’s New Years Eve here and maybe already New Year in some parts of the globe so HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 to all my fellow bloggers!

I saw my Aunt had posted on her Facebook page that, the results of an online survey, in the New Year she could look forward to – ‘More muscles’, great love, career advancements and lots of travels. Everyone in the family had a good laugh…Who writes these online questionnaires anyway?!!

My mum just sent me a New Years wish

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Looking back at 2015, I say it surely wasn’t one of the most stellar years of my life. Definitely one of those so – so years where I’ve achieved nothing ‘ground breaking’ nor experienced anything ‘earth shattering’ …To condense 365 days in a nutshell I would call it – a year of ‘certain uncertainties’, lags and difficult decisions.

In 2015, I was actively involved in the lives of friends in my real life and less in my virtual world.

Smidgens of wisdom from 2015 –

  1. EI is important!! Always maintain Emotional Integrity in relationships. I’m sure we all have those moments where you feel like you were dropped into that awkward social environment where you know being friends with a person is not conducive in the long run, but you thwart your inner ‘ESPN’ (I hear you Karen of Mean Girls.. :D) and carry on anyways…Word of advise – DON’T
  2.  Regrouping is important!! Be mindful of your goals and direction in life. Take time off in your day to regroup. People and places throw you off track but as Tina would say, when its time to shut down –
  3. KISS Always!! Keep it Simple Silly!You think you’d like to take over the world and do it all and be nice to everyone…you buy stuff you do and don’t need, when what you should actually be doing is- just say a few words of gratitude to all people and things for the good and bad lessons learnt and let go! I think we all need some Marie Kondo in our lives

I have a huge announcement. The New Year I will be moving from the U.S back to India. I don’t know if you all knew but we were here because of my husbands work assignment and it has sadly come to an end and we fly back around February 2016…So here’s to New beginnings!

Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

Monday Rambles – Vegas!

Last weekend was Thanksgiving weekend here in the U.S. Families get together over delicious oven roasted turkey with cranberry sauce and scrumptuous casserole, creamy mashed potatoes and sweet and delicious pies to express their gratitude for the blessings of the preceding year. The past two years we were fortunate to celebrate Thanksgiving with cousins the American way but this year it was Vegas calling!

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This weekend is also every bargain shopper waits all year for with the awesome door bursters that start with Black Friday and continue on to the wee hours on Saturday and with a couple of deals trickling into Sunday.

So, as I was saying, the husband and I finally packed our bags to go see Vegas! It was a six hour (421 miles) drive all the way to Vegas from Salt Lake City and the route there was super boring, with rocky mountains and arid grasslands. It didn’t help that the husband decided to brush up on his high school geography and started quizzing me on the names of the rock formations on either sides of the road.

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The moment we hit the state of Nevada we started seeing casinos on either sides of the road and huge billboards of clubs that specialise in “love”  on them but those were just the tip of the ‘SIN city’ iceberg.

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We checked into the MGM Grand right on the Las Vegas strip. It was a funny start to our stay at the MGM, when after lugging three suitcases from the parking lot, standing in queue and finally getting the key to the room, we were greeted by the previous guests who were only just checking out of the room ..totally awkward situation right there… but, the staff at the reception apologised profusely and upgraded our rooms to a higher floor with a  great view of the strip and so inspite of the initial hiccup ‘alls well that ends well’ we thought.

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The next day we hooked up with our friends who had also come away from SLC and we walked the strip sight seeing and feasting our eyes on the colors and grandeur of the Casinos (and the people) on the strip, and we got to catch a glimpse of the fabulous Bellagio fountain.

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It was lovely to see the Prada and LV offerings and the cutting edge architecture of their showrooms but couldn’t help feeling tickled by this new ‘LV’ on the block.

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Planning is essential if you are going to Vegas and to make the most of your time there because you kind of feel overwhelmed by all the entertainment the city has to offer and if you are only there for a weekend you find that you end up not doing half the things you got there to see.

Justin Timberlake was performing at the MGM when we were there and then there was the Cirque du Solleil – at the CA theatre within the MGM, but kids below five are not allowed so we couldn’t go with Ems just having turned three last month.

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No, I did not gamble in Vegas. I tried a hand at one of the slot machines and stopped by the time the machine had gobbled up five dollars (yes, you read correctly five dollars…thats how gamble shy I am)

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All in all it was a fun trip ..the stay at the MGM was awesome- rooms, staff all excellent, we got to try some new albeit expensive food ( yes, dining out in Las Vegas especially on the strip can be expensive), and the weather was perfect – a nice break from Salt Lake City…

Las Vegas is just the place to go if you are single or even as a couple without kids, though there are things you can do with children at Vegas like the Arcade at the Excalibur or the Gondola ride at the Venetian or even the dare devil rides at the Stratosphere… then again this is not a city for the faint hearted or the innocent and Yes, your cards and your wallets better be loaded people!

Now I start foraging for topics to write about for the new week…Until next…Have a great week guys!

On Living and Life

Hallo Hallo my lovelies! Lil Ems has finally started school even if its just for two days a week at Pre school. I’m not sure I can ‘handle’ all this time to myself. Last week I literally binge watched shows on Netflix and before I knew it the bird was back in her nest and the husband was perplexed at the state of the kitchen and the house in general and asked ‘What were you doing here all day?!” Well, I just scratched my head and looked back at him with the same clueless expression.

Has it happened to you – when you badly anticipate for something to happen and finally when that day of freedom arrives, its over before you know it and you have nothing to show for it?

So anywho, today is yet another school day and I decided to do something constructive – update my poor neglected baby blog, take a walk/ go to the gym, read, do some crochet and tidy up and vacuum the house.

Last week after the husband and I saw lil Ems off at school we hung around downtown at the City Library where I saw this quote

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There are debates as to whether the quote was actually by Anton Chekhov – but, thats beside the point. It’s the quote by itself that ‘caught’ my attention. The thrill of getting through a crisis and recounting the incident and looking back at the lessons learnt can be to a certain extend invigorating but the complacency and the monotony of day to day life can be such a drag.

I think it’s time I took up a challenge…Lose 10 pounds soon, whip up a couple of new crochet projects, finish one book a day and write a review on here? ….Nice to see I have options.

Let me get back to conquering my day…Take care my dears!

1000 Voices Speak for Compassion #1000 Speak

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Hello everyone, I’m sure many of you would have heard of the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion movement here at WordPress…you can read about the lady who kick started this  Lizzi Rogers by clicking the link. When Serins of Serins sphere threw out an open invitation to join in, I jumped at the opportunity.

One of the best definitions for the word Compassion that I’ve read and completely agree with is that ‘Compassion is being able to recognise the suffering and sorrow of others and taking action to help’

When I think of compassion there is an incident that happened in the very recent past that comes to my mind and in this particular instance it was not a human being but an animal, that taught me a valuable lesson and made me think and gain a fresher perspective on this beautiful emotion that helps elevate us and realize the God’s spirit we were all born to embody.

We had a White Christmas here at Salt Lake this year. It was beautiful to see the snow fall and cover the rooftops and the trees and it snowed the whole day on Christmas and the day after.The day after Christmas is when my story begins. We had a visitor at our door who was none other than a  little cat. Though in the beginning I just thought it was the T.V, I later came to understand that the mewing and scratching we were hearing was actually happening outside our front door.

Now have I told you that I’m afraid of cats? I don’t hate them. All my life I’ve known people who have cats as pets. One of my Aunts had this huuuge Persian Cat at home and with all its snobbish airs you would assume it was the Shah of Arabia and we the lowly human beings it had so graciously allowed to sit in its kingdom/presence…but all said royalty or not, the moment these creatures come anywhere near me I freak out.

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So here we are inside. The husband and I were cleaning up and  it got to the point where we had three full bags of trash and we had to throw them out before the next round of cleaning could start and there was this cat mewing at the door. I tried shooing the cat away through a gap through the door and the husband had a wise idea – He got out the vacuum cleaner and started vacuuming the living room. “ The noise should drive the cat away” he said.

Well it worked! I opened the door again and this time the cat was gone! I felt immense relief and volunteered to throw the trash. Little did I know what waited me by the stairs..

The story that follows will be narrated through the eyes of a panic stricken and extremely terrified woman. The moment I stepped out three huge bags of trash in hand, the cat came pouncing up the stairs and towards me. My heart raced at record speed and I started screaming for my husband and shooing the animal away at the same time. No husband came to my rescue as he was vacuuming away to glory and my bellowing outside the door got drowned in his enthusiastic dust busting…

The cat and I were now trash bag to paw – the cat was tugging at my trash bags with its paws I mean. My heart was now beating in my throat and my brain had flatlined…”Take it!” I screamed and dropped two of the three bags I had in my hand and frantically ran down the stairs to the trash can outside.

Once I disposed of the trash, I walked back mind filled with apprehension and fear only to find this was no nightmare – I was wide awake and the cat was still there and so were my trash bags with paper cups and plates spilt all over. The cat had established dominion over my front door and was now giving me the most iciest wide eyed stare.

Seeing I was back, it walked back towards me and settled on a stair just above where I was standing on the stair landing. Once again I shouted for my husband and at this point I realized it would be just me and the cat now and I had to do something about this…I took a few deep breaths and decided to get over myself.

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I looked at my enemy the cat one more time..but this time I didn’t look at it with fear rather with an open mind to understand what I was against. It looked back at me and I couldn’t help notice now with my change in attitude  it’s eyes were not harsh or barbarous but rather seemed to be pleading with me for mercy, for COMPASSION, to rescue it from the cold…It’s body was shivering as it huddled on the step drawing from its own body heat for warmth. I continued to look into its eyes and this time my mind was more at ease..If this was a talking cat who we will now name – ‘Puss on Stoop’, our exchange at that moment would’ve gone something like this…

Me: “Dear Cat, I hope you don’t think I’m being cruel…not letting you inside”

Puss on Stoop: “But please help me.”

Me: “I would if I wasn’t so scared of you”

Puss on Stoop: “But you don’t have to be scared, look at me, I’m freezing”

Me: “I see that, but its a childhood fear I’ve not quite outgrown, pictures of a lady maimed by her pet cat, I once saw in a magazine when in school is still fresh in my memory…I want to rescue you..but I don’t know how”

And then like an angel of God, my neighbour appeared with his girlfriend’s son, “Hi Nishi, were you planning to drop by the house?” Considering I was standing in front of his house too afraid to climb the stairs and go up to mine I guess that’s what it looked like..I smiled sheepishly and told him the reason I was there.

He took a look at the cat and informed me it was just a kitten and possibly a stray and slowly and gently picked it up from where it was. From the way the cat so quickly glided off the step and onto my neighbours shoulders you could say it was greatful to its saviour and that this was the moment it was waiting for all this time…to be held and rescued…My neighbour told me he would take it to a shelter where it would be safe and in the mean time he took it into his apartment. I thanked him and walked back home.

As silly and frivolous as this incident may seem the little cat taught me a lesson in compassion. Sometimes your fears inhibit conscious thinking. Your mind shuts down and you become blind and incapable of empathy. The opposite of love is not hate it is FEAR.

All the oppression and the brutalities that are going on in the world around us – the wars, killing of innocent children, the torture and lack of tolerance for people, ideas,views and groups all stem from fear and lack of patience to try and understand.

I hope we adopt a more open and broadminded outlook to life and help further build this ‘World Village’.Let’s try and create that world of compassion and brotherhood.Tiny drops….

Monday Rambles – The Journal and the Writing process

Hey everyone, how has the New Year been? I know…I’ve been MIA, was just taking a small break after the busy holiday season to relax and unwind.

Taking a break is a good thing for the brain because it gives you a fresher and more renewed perspective on how to take your creativity forward. That said, taking a break beyond a certain period of time from a creative hobby can be detrimental as a break will lead you to lose touch and once the inertia sets in its so difficult to drag yourself out of the slump and all the writing you end up doing will be this

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image courtesy: http://www.pajamadiaries.com

As a blogger I feel its important to put out material on a regular basis and by this I don’t mean every single day as this might not be possible because sometimes you need to fulfill the obligations the other roles of our life imposes on us and your family will start sulking and complaining because you’ve served them microwave dinners three nights in a row…Life is afterall, all about balancing our ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ lives. So setting a schedule and not leaving your blog ‘fallow’ for too long is by all means ideal.

Talking about ‘inner’ life, a few days back after Ems had quite surprisingly gone to bed early and the husband was reading/researching something online, I had some time on my hands and I decided that before my writer’s block permanently froze for the whole of winter until spring when it would maybe melt and whatever creative juices were left oozed away never to be seen again, I had to write something!

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For a change instead of my laptop, I reached out for my new journal that I had bought at Barnes and Nobles for the New Year and started jotting down some ideas for the blog.

With the growing number of electronic contraptions in my life I hadn’t realized that the actual act of writing had fallen in the shadows and here I was ‘Journaling’ after a looong time :D.

As I wrote I felt like I was having a conversation with this ‘little mousy voiced sometimes in- your- face obnoxious person in my head’ (please don’t think I’m crazy)… I jotted down points and ticked those things that I agreed with myself and crossed out those things that I well, disagreed… I scribbled, I doodled, I drew pictures and stick figures and huge animated alphabets with eyes that grinned from line to line. I was having a ball!

Dawdles Doodles apart, as I continued to write things down, I could feel my thoughts were taking concrete shape and suddenly, I felt like a Jungle explorer cutting through the thick Amazon Rainforest leading my team onto a clear jungle path. I seemed to have drawn a tunnel from my outer world and into my inner mind…And I had a list of ‘workable ideas’ … Hurrah!

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I may not consider myself as a very “methodical” writer and though for most of the time go about it in a haphazard fashion, deep down I understand that ‘Writing is a process‘ and Brainstorming is the first step – for which a journal is a very handy tool!

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image courtesy: http://www.glogster.com

Writing on a paper or blogging may seem all the same since both have the element of therapy by themselves.

In blogging as we type, words flow from our subconscious and sometimes it even feels like an out of body experience where you feel like an outsider looking inside…you break free from the imaginary shackles that limit and hold you back and that is most possible when you write fiction; but, while writing pieces like this – rambles – I am conscious of myself and have an inner ‘thought auto correct’- editing, constructing, sometimes constricting my thoughts which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing, but having an opportunity to jot them down helps you get even more closer to your inner voice and your intuition.

Sure, there will be the tech buffs and gadget whizzes who can show me how modern styluses and computer softwares and apps can pretty much do everything that you do with a regular pen and paper on laptops, tablets and smartphones. Don’t get me wrong I am not against technology by any means and I whole heartedly with open arms accept all things into my life (living beings included ;D) that comes with a guarantee to make my life easier and help me save time.

And sure there are our efforts at reducing the ecological footprint. And in my search to find eco friendly recycled paper journals I didn’t have go too far and I found these on Amazon

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So, let’s not completely disregard the benefits of maintaining a real journal. Buy one, doodle in them and keep revisiting them every once in a while even if it is just for an hour because it really is a great way to de-stress and get in touch with your inner child. Fewer minutes of streaming ‘Bones’ or ‘Scandal’ or Downton Abbey’ and more streaming ‘stream of consciousness’ and suddenly you have some clarity on the things that have been bothering you because – let’s face it – a major chunk of the problems in our lives can be sorted out with a small shift in perspective.

So, what’s your experience with journaling or with technology? Please do share…And yes – Have a great week folks!

Monday Rambles – Easy steps to tackle Holiday Weight !

Ahh..My first ramble for the New Year…Of late I’ve noticed I’m getting slouchy when I sit..Maybe I should sit up straight…Hmm…I’ve placed the cushions to support my back to avoid the slouchiness but What’s that-  an unsightly ‘tire’ around my waist…I run my fingers across my face and I notice my nose is losing definition and my chin seems to have found a buddy..I’ve generally been feeling sluggish lately and my sleep patterns have changed….

Okay, I should just stop and not go further down on this road of self analysis and climb off the weighing machine it led me to… but its obvious – despite all my good intentions I’ve packed on the… ‘Holiday pounds’ (eeek!).

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I thank God for winter layering and puffy jackets

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I wonder what look George was going for here…but it couldn’t get any better than that jacket…

….because they provide an excellent cover up for all my misdeeds…Please no one invite me home for dinner because the heaters  will most likely be on which in turn will force me to let go of my ‘armor’ and you know how unforgiving those knit sweaters can be…I yearn for summer now so that I can just go back to wearing my loose airy tops.

So even if you are a ‘skinny minnie’ or a ‘chubby tubby’ like I am, we all want to lose those reminders of the Cocktails or  desserts or those cheesy casseroles that have so lovingly settled around your mid – section making you look even farther off from your ideal hour glass figure and more like a 1.5 litre bottle of Coke or Sprite or whatever your favorite type of soda is..or worse –

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Its just a matter of getting in there and battling the bulge – swish swoosh gone! (Who am I kidding,  I wish it were as easy as that but its not…) But let’s focus on doing things RIGHT this New Year and tackle this problem one baby step at a time…

1. No more mindless eating

There are moments when I become one with the food I eat..I love to eat and when a bowl of pasta is presented before me its just me and Mr. Spaghetti..but its high time we broke up with empty calories…Every item of food that you get into your hands and before it enters your mouth has to pass your very logical and sound left brain reasoning. You are not denying yourself or making a sacrifice –  If it’s high in sugar and sodium it most certainly NOT good for you. You could either share it with your colleague or whoever is close by and if they don’t want it just throw it in the bin. I hate to waste food but,you know what – ‘Better go waste than go to the waist

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2. There should be Water water everywhere

Water is so crucial and important to weight loss you just cant over emphasize the importance of drinking water. You really can never drink too much water and drinking water not just helps the kidneys work more efficiently in flushing out toxins from your body but it also helps the body to let go of the excess water that it has been holding on to as water weight thanks to all the sugar and salt we consume during the holidays.

The standard 8 glasses of water everyday has changed now everybody needs to drink half an ounce to an ounce for every pound that you weigh…So if you weigh 180 pounds you need to drink 90 ounces to 180 ounces of water every day..Sounds like a lot but the benefits are immense.

3. Take up a Hobby

Winter is hard  and with shorter days  and more time spent indoors. Hobbies that keep your mind and body active will help keep away those emotional triggers that automatically  lead you to the tub of ice cream in the freezer. Taking up a project that keeps your mind active and relieves stress is very important to balancing those hormones that lead to weight gain..So its okay sometimes to be maniacal and just immerse yourself in something you like to do as long as it keeps you from aforementioned freezer.

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4. You got to move it move it.

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(Okay did you just do a head dance while you played this video you know where you only move neck up and throw in a couple of weird expressions for effect? Its fun!)

Ahem, now that you’ve stopped watching the video, what I’m trying to say is that nobody lost weight just lying on the couch (unless of course you decide to go under the knife or adopt more radical measures that may lead to more serious consequences to your health and future well being).

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So cardio and stretching exercises need to be thrown in, in good measure..

Slowly and steadily..

Don’t see it as a chore. Just take up some activity like walking up and down the living room when the commercials are on

OR.. just playing that video we just head danced to and moving more parts of your body and not just the head..’I like to move it move it….

5. Positive affirmations 

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Who hasn’t heard about the power of positive thinking…’Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can acheive’ says Napolean Hill one of the greatest personal success literature authors of all time and most famous for his book ‘Think and Grow Rich’

Conceive a happier healthier version of you for the New Year and keep reinforcing and reaffirming those positive thoughts and Believe me we’ve got this!

Have a great week guys!