Tuesday, December 09, 2008

meter reading

One of the popular games going around on flickr is being tagged to post the fifth photo from the fifth folder from your computer. I recently got tagged and looked up what the photo in question was. Well, I was happy to find it was a decent shot, one that I was planning to retake and so never got around to posting. Here it is!

meter reading

The anything and everything!

What is the one place that you can find anything and everything? The one place where you can combine your searches from across the world all in one place? Well, it's really not a tough question, it's the Internet. Whether you're searching for Zyporex or for garden gnomes, it's the one stop shop for you and millions of others around the world. I don't even bother looking for information in encyclopedia's anymore, it's just much faster and more efficient on the Internet. And I'm not even adding the fact that it's all interactive. So, continue your searches and find that things that you want quicker and easier.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The power of the Internet

Have you ever wondered how you start searching for one thing on the Internet, but end up with a completely different agenda after a bit! With the endless choices, it is quite easy to get distracted. I started off looking for something else and then 15 minutes later was looking at a site for pain pump and assorted issues. How interesting, I thought! I hadn't planned to be here, but a little learning on a new subject never harmed me. In the end, I stayed on the site for a while and forgot about what my original search had been! That's the power of the Internet!

Monday, November 24, 2008

who is watching whom?

The new Dubai Mall is finally open. We visited it last week and like everyone else were drawn to the huge aquarium, which has over 33,000 fish behind the largest single pane of glass and the largest aquarium in the world. Is there anything that is not "the largest" in this city? It's getting old now....we need to have something different besides crowing about the tallest tower, the largest mall, and so on.

are we viewing them or are they viewing us?

Looking for information on diet pills

I managed to get some pretty good feedback on the research I have been doing on diet pills, but am still looking out for anyone who has used Fentraphen to lose weight. I would love to hear from you and document your experience, so please do contact me if you have tried this. While the mainstream media is generally quite skeptical about any kind of diet pills, the research I have done shows that they do work, although it's really not the quick fix that a lot of people are looking for. They do need to be taken with caution and with a careful study of what your body is experiencing. If you are able to do that, then it will probably work quite well for you.

does one forget pain?

It's absolutely amazing just how lovely the weather has become here. Considering how hot it gets in the summer and how one just wilts, it is such a reprieve to be able to actually spend some time outdoors, instead of doing a fast sprint to the car from the house etc. That's the thing about bad things or pain, that one is able to forget it once it's past. Feels weird to be so philosophical about the weather, but it's a likely analogy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Is this the best way to lose weight?

I been talking to some people about how popular pills are becoming in a lot of people's weight loss plans. Everyone seems to have the best diet pills that work for them, usually found after a few trials, but with the holiday season coming up, everyone seems to be stocking up on them and using them to get to look their best. With the way our diet has changed over the years, it's often just not possible to change our weight with the older techniques of losing weight, as in exercising and eating less and better balanced meals. For a lot of people, using medication is the only way to trick their body and mind into losing weight. And since it has worked well for so many people, more and more are sighing up!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

rain shelter

Here's another pic from my trip to the hills. I took over 300 photographs...don't worry I'm not going to post them all here! I really loved the walks and these charming rain shelters that can be found every so often. Not only is the idea such a great one, but the design and upkeep of these rain shelters is really quite good too.


time to ride

Since the weather has turned beautiful here, there are tons of riding classes available, mostly using english saddles like this. The racing season will be starting here soon too, which is again going to increase the interest in riding, especially for kids, as it does each year. I must say, that I've never ridden a horse, but am quite tempted to learn this year, since I seem to be in the right time and place for it. I will definitely be letting you know once I start on my new adventure.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Fall colors

Fall is a wonderful time of the year. The weather is just so perfect, with just a hint of cold in the air, the colors are so amazing, everything from the trees to the flowers and leaves seem to burst into wonderful golden shades. While we don't have much of a fall here, I did manage to find some nice leaves while on my trip to the hills of Mussoorie. I loved the warm yellow color of these leaves.


An all-round destination

Suspense is good, right? Well, I am not about to reveal our next vacation destination, but will instead right about another place, a place that is world famous for fun, for crazy-ness and for amazing-ness. It's las vegas nv, fun central! The really great thing about Las Vegas is that it is different for different people. For those who want to gamble, it's superb. For those who want to shop, it's a great place. And for those who want to relax and rejuvenate in a spa, it's one of the best places to head to. Or if you'd like you can go in for a combination of everything above! I'd love to go to Las Vegas for the spa treatments, which are said to be some of the best in the world. So, there really is a lot more to the city than just gambling and strip clubs!

Making travel plans

Traveling has always been something I have loved and looked forward to from the time I was a child. The past few years, we have been able to travel a lot and I am looking forward to new sights to see and places to visit. We've already planned and booked our next vacation and I'm getting so excited about it, since it's a completely different place from where I've been so far, a place that I haven't even gone close to, a place that I have heard so much about, and a place that I've been wanting to go to for absolutely ages. More on this later....

The right way

Losing weight is big business, for both who want to lose weight and for those who want to help you lose weight. The thing is that there is no easy way, but only a slightly easier way, but one that you have to approach with caution, since it requires you to pay close attention to your body, the signs that it sends out. The thing with diet pills is that people often take them as an easy way out, a shortcut, but they have to be followed with the proper discipline and only then it is worthwhile. Some have known side effects, others don't, but as with any kind of weight loss plan, even the old-fashioned way of eating less and working out more, one needs to have a plan and meet a dietitian and doctor to ensure that you're doing it correctly.


Taking photos has become such a wonderful pastime for me and it has made me so much more aware of the things around me, especially the simple things. One always sees the large and the grand, but often misses the little things of beauty, the unobtrusive, the hidden, and that is what has been a really fun thing to explore. When I take pictures in public, I get odd looks..."what is she taking pictures of? there is nothing worth photographing there?" and so on, but the end result can be worth it most times. Here's one of the times when I got those looks!


Getting rid of them forever!

Everyone goes through it, or at least a lot of people go through it, but it doesn't make it any easier. Having any kind of acne, is painful, physically and emotionally. There are many kinds of acne treatments available these days, but one has to remember that there is a lot more than just medicine that eventually rids one of these pesky things. A good diet, a good lifestyle and being healthy is a major factor to getting rid of acne and combined with the right kind of treatments, they can be gone forever. Sounds good right?

Buying art online

Have you looked through the Etsy site lately? There are a lot of new things there and as always I am constantly amazed at the the variety of the works. I admit, not everything there is in my taste, but I applaud it for its creativity, for its ingenuity, for its energy and for its unabridged imagery. I bought something from Etsy several months back and really found the interaction of the whole process to be quick and straightforward. The artist that I purchased from, is a well known Canadian artist Mandy Budan and I was really happy to be able to get some of her works. Even better, she sent a free print of one of her works, which is the kind of generosity that personifies Etsy and its artists.

A hole-in-one!

Our home course has been holding night golf several times a week and last night my mother got a hole-in-one! She didn't even realize it until they couldn't find the ball on the green and then eventually looked in the hole....and there it was! She has always been a very disciplined golfer, right from the beginning, focusing on getting her technique right, using the right golf clubs in the right and lucky golf bags. Being a golfer myself, I can understand the incredible feeling, the euphoria and disbelief and the hope to repeat it again. I must add that I myself have never achieved quite a feat, but feel good about the good golfing genes I have!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I'm back from my trip! Well, actually I got back at the beginning of the month, but have been busy catching up with stuff...work-wise and house guest-wise, so it's been a pretty hectic time. The trip was superb...I will post a few photos here later on. The bast part was of course being in the hills in Mussoorie for a few days, which was a really nice place to chill for a few days.

Monday, September 01, 2008

a different setting

I know this is not your usual coffee drinking spot, but then nothing in Dubai is usual and normal. Everything is larger than life, exaggerated, grander, and more fantastical. This is in the Ibn Batutta Mall in Dubai, in the Persia Court where there is also a Hediard Cafe behind the Starbucks. It's certainly a great place, although so very incongruous, for a cup of coffee. I find it very interesting to see modern signs in such an old setting, but then everything is new in this city, things are just made to look old that's all.

an unusual location

Finally, a little respite...

As the weather is turning better once again, it is time to think about getting some new outdoor furniture covers so that one can fully enjoy the nice weather. The barbecue area needs a bit of an update as well and hopefully we will be able to find some nice extras to add there as well. One of the best things about the fall and winter here is that the evenings become pleasant and it is wonderful to be able to enjoy that time of the day, after so many months of long hot days.

Monday, August 25, 2008

sorting out the photos

Since I now have so many photographs taken over the past 8 months, I have begun to go through them and start deleting some of the repeats, similar ones, or simply bad ones. As I was going through them, I found this shot, which I had completely forgotten about. I really liked this series of shots that I took, since they are so simple and minimal, in the color or non-color rather, the composition etc. It is quite different from what I thought I would photograph, so am happy with the result.


getting trendy

Lately I have been noticing a very strong trend towards all sorts of embellishments that teenagers and young adults are going in for. Everything from body jewelry, tattoos, airbrushing and so on is very popular these days it seems. Fashion is extremely cyclical and lately the cycles have been getting shorter and shorter, quite similar even though they are are still variations of the original trend. Open any popular fashion magazine and you will understand what I mean. Younger people today are greatly influenced by what they see around them and on the television and are creating their won style of clothing and jewelry to define them.

The downsizing trend

US consumers are changing the way they shop and live. In a recent survey done by DisplaySearch, it was found that US consumers are switching to smaller size televisions, along with smaller cars. While the number of LCD TVs shipped last year increased by 52%, the bulk of this increase was made up of smaller size TVs of the 19, 21 and 32 inch sizes. Samsung still remains the number one flat screen TV manufacturer, followed by Sony. It will be interesting to see the effect of these changes in the long term, not only on the economy but also on the environment as every small change will definitely have an impact of that aspect as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

freeing up memory

I've been running dangerously low in memory in my laptop lately and have had to delete some of the programs that I no longer use to free up some space. I spent some time researching add on memory, micro sd and so on, and have come to the conclusion that I actually need a new laptop. I've had this one for 3 years, which in the life of a laptop is quite a bit. The way I work and use the laptop has changed quite a bit too in the past few years and so I need to re-figure what all I use it for and buy one with the correct specifications. I do hope it's not going to mess up my settings for connections that I have here and when I travel, since that will be a major hassle.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Driving by

Here's a picture that I took last month, but only recently uploaded to my Flickr page. I've been taking lots of shots while in the car and a decent number of them are pretty good and interesting. It's been so hot lately, that I've been avoiding going out into the heat too much and taking a shot from the comfort of one's car is so, so easy. Not every shot is worth keeping of course, but one does get lucky...as I have found!

speeding through

summer woes

Summer time is the worst time of the year for the skin. Besides battling sunburn, its acne that is on everyone's minds thanks to the high humidity levels. A certain amount of humidity is really great for the skin, but too much can wreck havoc on ones skin if one is not careful enough. One has to have a good skin care regimen to tackle acne, and one has to catch it as it starts. Only then one can have a nice peaceful summer! There are so many options available for acne treatments, but one must try them out for oneself and see what suits ones skin, instead of just relying on what the magazine's say. Good luck!

this past month

The past month has been unbelievably busy and I can't imagine just how fast it has gone by. It was just the start of July the other day and now August is here. Work wise the time has been really great, as I've had lots of assignments, and have been kept really busy. It's also been a good time for reading and I finished four books this past month. I had set myself the task of reading at least 2 books every month and so I am really happy that I managed to read double that amount. Two of the books were very serious stuff, about the Bush administration and the other two were more lighthearted, one about the wives of Henry VIII and another about a British writer's year in France. Great stuff, all of them.

The marketing behind the product

I constantly am amazed at how much difference there is in the way the different products are marketed by companies. Since electronics are deemed to be a masculine area, these ads are always edgy and manly, while for things like bedroom sets, the format is usually more feminine. That is how the marketing and consumer worlds function, but what I find interesting is that they almost have a sort of sociology undercurrent going on. Interestingly, more and more companies are realizing this bias and changing the way they make their ads, and focusing some of their ads more towards women.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

not overlooked any more

The thing about photography is that it makes you notice all the things that you never even gave a second glance to earlier. I've always been an observant person but was really surprised to discover that I was actually not as observant as I could be. Since I've started taking photographs, I'm always looking out for things to photograph and so have started noticing all the little things and details that I missed earlier. It's certainly been quite a fun experience.

rusty, cruddy but somehow interesting

summer tribulations

Summer is meant to be a fun time, away from school and sometimes work, but for a lot of teenagers, the problem of acne gets exacerbated due to the weather conditions and probably also due to eating a lot more junk food. There are a variety of acne treatments available in the market and come summer, there is a huge surge in the advertisements surrounding these products. The thing with acne is that there are so many causes, that it's often hard to pinpoint and separate just one cause. Trial and error is one of the most common ways of deciphering what works and what doesn't.

Party planning

Party planning has got a huge boost thanks to all the tools one can find on the Internet. I use Hallmark Smilebox for all my cards since I am able to add photographs to the cards and email them to friends and family. Today, when searching on the Internet, I found a site called MyPunchbowl where you can plan a party, right from selecting the date, creating a menu, offering a potluck list and even being able to send photographs to the party invites as well. I signed up for this site, but have yet to use it as yet. I will probably test it out just to see how it works, especially the look of the party invites and if I will be able to add photos to the invites or not.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer's lists

I am so amazed at the amount of money people spend to follow the trends. With the number of celebrity magazines constantly increasing, the trend of looking slim and trim at all times is not going to be going away anytime soon. The list of new kinds of diet foods, diet pills, slimming underwear and so on are always going to be top sellers I think, since we all have a fascination of looking as good as we possibly can at all times. I think that's an unbearable amount of pressure, but no one is caving and instead the trend is only getting bigger, with everyone watching celebrities losing their baby weight faster and faster.

A new passion

The past six months have been an incredible ride thanks to my new hobby of taking photographs! Sometimes I find it quite unbelievable that I am actually spending so much time doing this, but the fact is that it has been such an enjoyable and a thoroughly eye-opening experience, that I can't imagine why I didn't get into it before. I love to explore new areas, a lot of times just for the sake of getting to take photographs, which is quite a change from my normal self.

Here's a shot I took some time back on my morning walk.

I like sets

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shuffling vacations

We try to take different kinds of vacations each time we travel. Even though I love going to the beach and the mountains, if we were to do that every time, it would get boring really quickly. So, the trick is to alternate between hectic city vacations, historical jaunts, peaceful sojourns and party filled Vegas vacations. It certainly makes life a lot more interesting I feel. A lot of people invest in a cottage by the lake or on the beach and then get tied down to only going there, which I think is a total waste. The whole world is out there waiting to be explored, so don't go to the same place again and again. I agree, there is a certain charm in going for repeat vacations, since one really gets a higher level of comfort with a certain place, but combine those with new spots as well. It'll be totally worth it, I assure you.

early, early

I love heading outdoors early in the morning for some fresh air, a new perspective and some quiet time. It really is a great way to get a head start on the day. One day I left home slightly earlier than normal was was greeted with this sight. The light was incredible, the blue sky unbelievable (especially since we've had so many dust storms lately) and I was so glad I had my camera with me. Every minute the light changes at dawn, so it is really important to capture the moment quickly.

early one morning

Getting that xbox 360

Everyone knows that one of the best gifts to give a teenager is an xbox 360! It's just something that everyone wants, regardless of where they live, how good or bad they've been and whether they actually know how to play it. It simply is a must have item for the majority of teenagers and well, many adults as well, across the world. I, however, am not one of them! So, when I needed to buy a super-awesome present for a special teenager, I asked my all knowing neighbor and this is the answer she gave me. So off I went to my computer to find the best prices and the best places to buy it from and it turns out that buy.com is where one gets the most awesome prices. Problem solved!

Walmart changes its logo

Walmart announced that it has redone its logo, after a two year customer based transformation has been taking place at its US stores. The company's US stores will be getting the new updated look as it redoes most of its stores by the fall, but customers are already seeing the new logo in the company's new TV ads and print commercials. This is not the first time that Walmart has changed its logo, the company has freshened up its logo several times, with the last one happening in 1992. Besides the new logo, the company is also using its name without the hyphen in between as it earlier did, and has softened the letters and made them more customer friendly, instead of the old ones which were too bold and sharp.

The right way to exercise

For many people who love to be fit, the heat and the cold are not a bother at all. They seem to be oblivious to the sweltering temperatures and the icy winds and carry on regardless. I, however, am not quite built that way and need to be somewhat comfortable to be able to exercise decently. So, I need to have some basic strength equipment in an indoor environment that is temperature controlled so I can focus on the exercise instead of focusing on the crippling heat or the freezing cold. It would certainly be simpler if I were like that, since then I would not need anything, but a pair to good shoes and an open road, but unfortunately, it is the way it is!

Steve & Barry's in trouble

Low cost seller Steve & Barry's might be shutting down over 100 of its stores and is considering a full liquidation if it does not find some emergency financing. The company reportedly requires about $40 million in debtor-in-possession financing so that it can file for bankruptcy protection. According to a report, Weil Gotshal & Manges, a law firm, has been preparing the bankruptcy filing and Harvey Miller will be handling the case. Steve & Barry's has created quite a following among those who loved fashion, but did not want to pay inflated prices.

everyone's crazy for beer pong!

I have a really fun neighbor and she is set on getting one of these beer pong tables for her parties, which she thinks will be a great addition and will shake things up as well. She got the idea from one of her beer pong crazy friends who convinced her that they will be a great addition. I've never played or used one of them, so I was quite curious about them and went online to search for them. It seems that they are a huge craze and there are several very special types of tables. She is planning to get one of the portable ones, which will be really easy to put away once they are used. I'm looking forward to her getting one of these so that I can try it out myself.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

No late night stores in Japan?

Round the clock convenience stores have been struggling with decreasing sales and slow growth and might have another hurdle to cross, that of government's decision to close stores that operate late at night. In places such as Saitama, close to Tokyo, stores are urged to close late at night to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Kyoto also is working to convince its 24-hour stores to shut down late at night so as to improve the evening views and reduce energy consumption.

The industry has strongly opposed the closure as it feels it will negatively impact the sector that is already faced with a high tobacco tax that has hit sales. According to Toshiro Yamaguchi, President of Seven-Eleven Japan, "Even if we only operate the stores for 16 hours, we can't stop the refrigerators." Adding that reduction in working hours would reduce their store's profit margin by 20%.

running low on space

While on the topic of photographs, I have to say that they have started to take up a lot of space on my laptop lately, and I've got to do something to supplement my laptop memory so that I can continue taking photographs like I have been doing. I have several stages of deletion, on the camera, while I'm downloading them, once I've had a good look at them and then after a couple of weeks when I get time to do a review. But still the memory is running a bit low, so the solution is to get additional memory, which is quite an easy step I believe. Here's looking forward to unlimited photographs in the future!

Early one morning

I love my morning walks and they are even better when I find fun things to photograph. It really makes it completely worth it to wake up at 5am. I really have started liking the routine of waking up early and having more time to myself while I walk and ruminate. Other wise one is just so busy with work and house that one never has time to just be, to contemplate, to think, to dream. I love my morning walks! Yup, I can't say it enough.

the border

summer plans for most girls: lose weight

Every summer the emphasis on looking good increases exponentially. Getting into that bikini without looking like a sausage is uppermost on most girl's minds and this kind of thinking has fueled the latest diet phenomenon. To be able to lose weight is considered a most enviable task and to do it fast even better. The trick is to get yourself checked by a physician to make sure that you are well enough to take any sort of rigorous exercise routine or for medications. A lot of people ignore this stop and end up with complications and side effects that are a lot worse than being a little overweight. So, do your homework and only then go for the plan that suits you and your body best.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Zappos offers employees $1,500 to quit

Online footwear company Zappos is offering its new recruits $1,500 to quit along with payment for all the hours they have already worked. The company has instituted the new policy to ensure that it's employees are there for more than just the money. The retailer has been offering this new payment to resign system for the past three weeks so far and have found that only 2-3% of the people take the money and leave the company, which the company attributes to their strong screening process.
Zappos was one of the pioneers of free delivery and free returns, and the company motto is: ”We are a service company that happens to sell.” All new hires except those working in the Zappos warehouse complete the month-long customer loyalty training program. Brown says about two-thirds go on to work in call center roles.

the deal with acne

OK everyone knows that not all acne medications and treatments are equal but this acne treatment is said to be pretty good and is reportedly quite popular. The thing with these treatments is to be patient and to make sure that you follow all he instructions to the T, since it really matters quite a bit. It is also important to be careful of one's diet etcetera when taking any kind of acne medication. A lot of them say to avoid the sun for some time, so that is important to follow. With so much emphasis on looking good and looking as close to perfect as possible, acne treatments are getting even more popular than before.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lower priced electronic items are what consumers want

The slower economy is making consumers shop differently and the change can be felt across all sectors. Take consumer electronics for instance, shoppers are selecting items that are lower priced than they would have previously bought, such as buying a Canon PowerShot A470 camera for $129 instead of buying Canon G-series camera that costs around $500. Many shoppers are setting themselves budgets that they feel comfortable spending and do not go over it.

The most affected have been the larger ticket items such as flat screen televiisons, Blu-ray DVD players and so on. Items that have gained are smaller and lower priced items such as digital cameras, digital photo frames, MP3 players and so on, all things that are usually priced under $200. According to Susan Kevorkian, a retail analyst at market research firm IDC, "It's money that a consumer can part with ... without compromising other financial priorities or other parts of their lifestyle."

Consumer electronic retailers have already noticed the trend and are increasing their selection of these lower priced technology products to tempt shoppers. Canon has increased its lower priced cameras, those that sell for less than $200 to three from two last year, and its $129 camera is the lowest that it's ever manufactured.

Personal computers are also looking recession-proof these days. Analysts and computer vendors say that PCs do well even in uncertain times because the machines are fast becoming a commodity necessary for school, work or simple communication.

PC makers such as AsusTek Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have in the past year added smaller bare-bones notebook computers to their lineup. An EEE PC made by AsusTek costs $300 and targets users who mainly intend to surf the Internet and send email, says Donald Leung, a product manager for the company. Meanwhile H-P's Mini-Note PC costs $500 and aims to attract both students and traveling professionals.

The right perspective

As any Internet shopper knows, there is nothing more important than researching before buying. With the summer here, everyone seems to be going in for some diet or exercise treatment or the other and a lot of people don't even bother checking the credentials of the company, person and product. It is absolutely imperative that one does this vital step, since it's your body and health that one is talking about. Read as many diet pill reviews as you can, digest the information, cross check the facts, get feedback and once convinced, go ahead with it. One must think long term with these issues, instead of just that important pool party that you need to look your best for.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

a bright diptych

I've been wanting to make some diptychs for a while, but wasn't quite sure how to make them. Last week, I experimented around a bit and found that I could make them in Paint very easily, so I made three of them. I thought they came out quite well, each with a great contrast and juxtaposition's. Here is one of the brightest ones. For a good diptych, it must balance and oppose each other, else it might end up being too boring.


Where to get the best deals on electronics

The one segment of items that I always look for on the web before heading out to the stores are electronics. Interestingly, what is happening now is that I often don't even need to go to the stores, since the best deal available is online. With sites like www.buy.com, you can be sure to find the best buy there, whether it is a digital camera or a new flat screen television. Electronic items are always highly competitive and with the advent of online electronic stores, the biggest winners have been consumers like us, who have been able to find the best deals with the least amount of hassle. I can't imagine how one did one's shopping before and wasted so much time and effort going from store to store to find the best deal.

Small business owners don't see web sales declining

Many smaller businesses don't think that the slowdown of the economy will necessarily impact web sales. According to a new survey done by Register.com, about 70% of respondents said that there will be no decline in web sales in the next year, while 34.6% predicted that they will see a rise in revenue from web sales. About34.4% said that they expect sales from web sites to remain the same as before. Of a total of 800 small business execs interview for the poll, about 70% of them were owners and partners.

Interestingly, while the majority said that they do not see a decline in the newer future, about 20% of respondents did not know what their current web sales figures were and 41% said that more than a quarter of their revenue came from web generated sales.
“Having a web site has become more than a luxury for small businesses and entrepreneurs, it is a necessity,” says Register.com CEO Larry Kutscher. “Our small business customers know that investing in a great web site is a more effective way to reach potential customers and stay in contact with existing clients. The response to our survey shows the result of this investment, as a majority of customers expect no decline -- and many expect growth -- in their web revenues over the next year.”

Blind sense

With the way the heat is building up, I think I need to change my curtains and put up something more substantial to deal with the direct sunlight. I am veering towards installing some blinds and then adding my curtains in front of them, so that I will be able to control the light in the room, but also will be able to cut down on the heat generated from the direct sunlight outside. We get about 5 hours of direct afternoon sun, so it does get quite hot, but with the right curtains and colors, one can make quite a difference, I think. I've always liked having blinds for their simplicity and their utilitarian sense, something that is going to come in handy now.

ugh, the heat....the humidity!

It has become so hot lately that all one wants to do is stay indoors and keep ones cool. Besides the heat, it has also become humid all of a sudden and the high humidity levels are making things really uncomfortable and sticky. Even in the mornings the humidity makes going for my early morning walk quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, yesterday and today morning we had a lovely cool breeze, so it was a pleasure to be outside again.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

a winning method

I find that the best way to find a job these days is online. I have heard first hand from so many of my friends who ended up with great jobs that they found online. For company's looking for a specific type of resume such as Philadelphia resumes or those of marine biologists, this is a great way to open new doors and find new talent. I had placed my resume in an online site a couple of years ago and used to get so many offers from great companies, which really surprised me that they were all recruiting from the online world and not just using the regular old-fashioned methods.

a new direction for shoppers

Shopping has become a real task for many Americans trying to save money and cut costs. It is a good time to evaluate how much one spends of luxuries and frivolous things, which we often deem as necessities, but actually have nothing so urgently required about them. What we need is not a physical thing, it's a completely mental equilibrium. We decide what we want to buy based on how we feel and what we feel, so it's best to avoid shopping when one is feeling down, since you're sure to end up going overboard to compensate for how you're feeling. Instead figure out what are the things you actually use and need, and buy only those things, nothing more. It might be hard initially, but it's for the best, and won't take long to adjust to at all.

looking smart

As fashion and trends go, this is a great time for experimentation, and no one has experimented more than men with their jewelery. At one time, this used to be quite a regimental and set kind of thing, something that no one made any changes to, but in recent times, men's jewelry has become so trendy and in vogue, that men who never wore it before are total converts. The thing to remember is that while trends might come and go, if something is elegant and classic, it will remain for a long period of time, and some of these are exactly that. In general men's jewelery is not for everyone, but those who can carry it off will be sure to get an edge over others. The base line is that it will make you look distinguished and suave.

A new shopping mantra

With the economy taking a downturn, retailers and shoppers are both rethinking what they need to do and how they need to live their lives. Shoppers are wondering if it really is all that important to have that pricey pair of shoes and retailers who are closely watching the trends will be able to make it work. Shoppers are turning to department stores such as Kohl's and JCPenney which have clearance racks and away from specialty stores such as Chico's.

Most customers are making decisive choices about where to shop based primarily on price and discounters and wholesalers such as Wal-Mart and Costco are the ones who are benefiting from this recent phenomenon. According to Howard Davidowitz, the head of a retail consulting firm based in New York, "We're seeing the consumer far more budget conscious and definitely trading down."

It's not all good for the discounters though, as they are getting more new traffic, but regular customers are also cutting back on spending and have reduced their spending. Wal-Mart has seen a boost in sales, but Target has not been able to win customers over as they have usually attracted impulse shoppers, which consumers are cutting down on buying, where as Wal-Mart attracts consumers looking for all the basics, which consumers are still buying.

Warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam's Club, the Wal-Mart sibling, are seeing sales shoot up. And there's evidence more upper-income customers are heading in for gas and to buy brand-name detergent and groceries in bulk.

"It's a phenomenal shift. You see people who you never expected to be shopping at those stores," said Britt Beemer, founder of Charleston, S.C.-based America's Research Group consumer research firm. In a recent survey of 800 shoppers, he found many high-income households heading for warehouse clubs.

"Ten percent of those shoppers at the warehouse clubs had (household) incomes of over $100,000," Beemer said, double the number from a year ago. "That's not what you'd think is the typical warehouse club shopper."

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The right kind of Visa

It's just not possible to manage without a credit card these days. Everything from travel bookings to hotels and cars are easily arranged just by having a credit card. I find it also really useful to send flowers internationally, which is a really quick and easy way to send a gift. And it's all thanks to having a credit card. I personally prefer Visa cards, since they offer a very good service and all round package. There are also usually some Visa credit card offer or the other, making it even more tempting when all the other other options might be the same or very similar.

Getting a credit card is a lot easier now days, thanks to all this information that is so easily available, but one must also be careful about how one selects a credit card, since it can have a lasting effect on your credit record if it's not the right one for you. Credit Organized makes it all simple for you and safeguards you from making the wrong decision. There are a million loopholes to look out for and if you apply for one from an unscrupulous site, then you've just opened a can of worms for yourself. It is important to be cautious about selecting the right card and getting one for the right reason as well.

getting an iPod

It's time to finally get one of these, I think. I've been wanted to get an iPod for quite some time now, but just never got around to it. There was always something or the other that I ended up buying instead, so now it's time for an iPod. We're also going to get one of the sound docks for it, the Bose one most likely. We went to the store the other day to listed to the speakers, and they sound really good, especially the more powerful new one which is also portable. So, most likely we will get one of those. Not sure which iPod to get though, between the classic and the iTouch, which seems like a tempting fun thing to get. Lets see what happens!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Too much moisture can be bad too!

While so far the weather has been getting very hot, it hasn't become too humid as yet, but once it starts, there is no way one can manage without some technological help. There are lots of varieties of industrial dehumidifiers that are easily available in the market and several for the home as yet, especially for musty basements that really need them the most. There is nothing that spoils things in your basement faster than too much moisture and just having a dehumidifier can take care of it for you.

Borders launches it's new site

Borders will soon have it's own website that will give viewers the feeling that they are looking through books at their local bookstore, with features such a staff pics. The company has so far sold book online through a partnership with Amazon.com and it will not be easy to come out from its shadow. According to George Jones, CEO and President of Borders Group, "It's not the intent that we're going to out-Amazon Amazon at what they do. What we think is that we can still have a great, compelling offering."

The new site was launched on tuesday, even though the company hadd put itself up for sale two months earlier. Barnes & Noble has confirmed that it will study the viability of purchasing the company. A key feature of the new site is "The Magic Shelf" and the "Picked For You" section of staff picks. Borders will be offering free shipping for all orders above $25, as well as free shipping to Borders stores, where customers can pick up their purchase two days after buying it online.

Another benefit is that members of the Borders Rewards loyalty program will be able to redeem awards at this site, which they are not able to do when it was run by Amazon. The new Borders site will also offer rare, out of print and used books.

Orlando: a perfect family destination

Summer is almost here, so you had better plan your vacation if you still want to go for one this year! As always, summer is a great time to plan one of these Orlando vacations, which are always a hit with kids as well as the adults. Orlando is great for the kids thanks to all the theme parks and adventures. For the adults there is plenty of stuff to do with the dinner theaters, golf, fishing, shopping and since Orlando is one of the biggest conference venues you could tie up business and pleasure. There are hotels of every style and budget as well, so it is a good destination for people of all budgets, which is the question on everyones mid these days.

Monday, May 26, 2008

a simple shot

Been taking lots of photographs lately and thoroughly enjoying the process of finding good frames and interesting subjects. Here is a photo that I took for a lark, but was very happy with the results. I know it's not a perfect shot, the light could have been brighter, the picture could have been clearer, the angle about have been better, but this is the first of its kind that I have taken, and I love it simply as it is.

just a glass...

A card to establish your credit

With the kind of economic slump going on, it is even more essential than ever before to ensure you have a good credit and essentially have credit available. For a lot of people this is a hard issue to deal with, since a lot of banks and credit card companies will refuse to deal with or have very unfavorable terms when dealing with those with a bad credit record. There are solutions and ways around this though, so what you have to do is to find a company that lists and gives you all the information you need to find the right lender.

AcclaimVisa is a site that does just that, offer details on credit cards for all categories of consumers, especially those looking for credit cards with a low APR, reduced or no annual fees and a zero balance transfer option. What is really very handy about the site is that they have some of the best way to apply online to major credit card companies such as Visa, Chase Bank, Capitol One, Discover Bank and so on.

Here you can also find the best no credit cards that will fit your needs. These are cards for people who need to improve their credit history or for high school students, who are just going to start establishing their credit history. Before you apply for a credit card, do figure out how you live and how much you can afford reasonably without putting yourself in too much trouble. At AcclaimVisa, it is easy to compare benefits, find the right applications and fill them online.

Blockbuster gets aggressive

Blockbuster is unveiling plans to compete with Netflix when it launches its interactive kiosk system. These will be situated in several Blockbuster stores starting in June. The company has been testing the kiosks from NCR Corp and is also currently in talks with web ready handheld device manufacturers. According to Jim Keyes, CEO of Blockbuster, “We are actively exploring options to distribute that entertainment content to our customers via many different digital platforms that are available and emerging in the marketplace.”

The company is also growing its collection of movies. Blockbuster started acquisition talks with Circuit City in April this year and is moving fast looking to increase it's presence in the digital entertainments distribution industry. Another new launch from Blockbuster will be its download service which will also start in June, and has been done with a tie up with Movielink LLC.
Blockbuster is pursuing new e-commerce initiatives at the same time it’s working to improve the overall performance of the business. In the first quarter Blockbuster posted net income of $45.4 million on revenue of $1.39 billion, compared with a net loss of $94.4 million on sales of $1.47 billion for the first quarter of 2007. Revenue declined as a result of operating fewer stores, the company says. Blockbuster no longer breaks out e-commerce numbers in its quarterly earnings.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

future planning

When planning for a new home, the two most important areas that need to be thought of are the bath and the kitchen. These are the two areas that will require the most money, the most planning, the most time and the most of your patience as well. If you get these two rooms right, you're well on your way to creating the perfect home. So if you want to have walk in tubs in the master bath, then you have to ensure that you have to cut out something else to make it possible, not only for the money, but the time involved in setting it up. For seniors, these are a major investment, so with the right kind of planning, it can be made quite painless.

Hunting for bargains

Many consumers are avoiding their usual retail haunts in fear of a recession, and are generally only going in to shop at their favorite stores such as The Limited, Macy's and Ann Taylor Loft, if there is a clearance sale. The new favorites of many consumers have become T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. According to analysts, off-price retail companies are undergoing a "customer-gathering mode" where they are receiving lots of first time visitors to their stores.

Not only are sales forecasts dismal for many retailers, discounters such as Wal-Mart, Ross and T.J. Maxx are seeing an upturn and did better than Macy's and Nordstrom. Most off price retailers sell brands that are also available at department stores, but at much lower prices. Wal-Mart is seeing people shop at its store who did not earlier, showing how consumer perspectives are changing.

About 85% of people with household incomes of more than $100,000 reported in WSL Strategic Retail's new How America Shops survey that they were already shopping at Wal-Mart at least once in the prior three months. WSL CEO Wendy Liebmann says that means the discounter is well-positioned to prosper in a sluggish economy.

"The door is already open to (higher-income customers); now they just may be spending more than they did before," says Liebmann, whose company's survey results will be issued this month. "These people are thinking, 'Why shouldn't I save the 20 cents on toilet paper, because it all adds up.' "

Wal-Mart is probably even better positioned than the off-price retailers because it doesn't rely so much on discretionary fashion and home furnishings. Rather, it's the largely recession-proof staples — food, health and beauty aids, cleaning products and other home essentials — that draw mobs to Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A vacation lifestyle

I love the idea of renting a place on vacation for about a month and settling in to relax and live a different life of sorts. Well, if you rent one of these North Padre Island rentals, then it might just be possible to live a vacation life for a while before getting back to the real world. A lot of people are taking longer breaks these days and often coming up with plans to start their own business in the location of their choice, and this looks like a great place to live year round. It might just be fun thinking right now, but to live there for a while and see if it were possible will be even better.

Borders to open new concept store in Allen, Texas

Borders Bookstore will be opening its new 24,000 sq ft store located in Allen, Texas. The new store will be opening in August and will be one of Borders 14 concept stores that the company will open in 2008. Borders launched the first of these stores in Ann Arbor in February 2008. The store has a fresh look and blends Internet and digital options, such as computer kiosks, customizing CD selections, publishing books, creating family books and family history compilations. Involving the consumer is a great way to connect with them and to keep them interested in other aspects of the store as well.

With the right lighting....

What really makes a house into a home is having some personal things and creating a look that is unique to you. The right kind of lighting, photographs, books and plants are some of the things that create that effect. We recently looked at these Hinkley lighting fixtures since we've been looking for a few pieces for quite some time now and were quite happy with the result. Lighting is one thing that sets the mood and it's not one of the things that we should skimp on, but instead go for the absolute best that one can afford. Also, be more inventive about the places where you can look and get good discounts.

Specialty retail at risk

Specialty store retailers are likely to be the worst affect in the ongoing economic slowdown in the US. According to an analysis by investment bank JPMorgan, higher costs of food, gasoline, rent, energy, interest rates, increasing unemployment rates and falling equity markets are all factors that will contribute to this occurrence. The bank lowered the forecast for Just Group, a fashion retailer due to this slowdown by 2%. The worst affected segment will be middle market fashion retailers who are most at risk of losing their customers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

do you buy more books than you can read?

I've always been fond of reading, but I've noticed something a bit different now, that even though I don't get all that much time to read, I still love to buy books, as many books as I can and am way behind my reading. I have novels that I bought 4 years ago, that I have not had a chance to read! With travelogues and reference books, that's an OK time line, but novels are meant to be read, and with the way I keep buying books, I am unable to keep up with the reading. On the other hand, I am building up quite a nice library in my own home!

a perfect vacation?

I've not been reading as much I would like to, but during my vacation in March I was able to read 6 books! That's probably not going to happen anytime soon again, but it really is a great idea. Everyone should have a reading vacation every year, a time to forget about everything else, a time to let your troubles go and enter a world of someone else's imagination. I loved it so much, that would like to combine it with going to a remote place in the hills and spend my time walking and reading. It would be a great way to completely relax.

being smart about taking help

There are good times and bad times in everyones lives, but if you're having problems such as substance abuse then it's almost impossible to handle it yourself and the best way to take care of it is to go in for drug rehab. As easy and logical as it sounds, a lot of people don't follow this thought process and wait too long before they seek help. This is a medical and psychological problem and must be dealt with by doctors and trained professional and we need to support those who are facing such issues. The hardest part is actually putting what one feels into practice, as it is so easy to talk about all of this in normal circumstances, but when you are actually in the middle of it, it must seem to be the most confusing decision.

looking back

Time just seems to by flying by these days. May barely started and here we are at the middle of the month already. It's hard to keep track of things in the past as they seem to be flying by at such a great speed. They say that if time is going by fast in your perspective, then you are happy, contented and of course busy, so this is good way to doing a reality check of sorts, tracking happy and not-so-happy phases in ones lives. Might not always work of course, but it is a good way to look back and reflect on times gone.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

targeting seniors

One major part of the travel explosion is that there are a lot more older travelers these days. People are in better health and the travel industry has been making lots of special offers to this segment to attract them to take trips. There are lots of special group tours with medical facilities at hand, so you will have someone to remind you to take that medicare supplement while you're away. Medical reasons are a major impediment to travel for seniors and if this one aspect is taken care of, then they are likely to travel a whole lot more. We're definitely going to be seeing more inventive packages in the future targeted to this group.

the changing world of travel

The world of travel is changing and becoming ever more efficient thanks to there being so many choices. The amount of information that is available on different destinations, hotels, excursions, monuments etc is quite amazing, and thanks to the Internet, it is all so easily accessible to the average person.Earlier one had to depend solely on one's local travel agent and whatever rate and deal they gave you, that was it. One really didn't have any other choice at all. But now, we have unlimited number of choices and the hard part is deciding where to go. A good kind of hard decision, I think.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Do you have a steady stream of guests?

As is always the case, when you move to a new city, especially an international city, you are bound to get a steady stream of guests. There is no way to avoid it and it's best to embrace it head on and get all the equipment you need to make it pleasant for yourself and your guests. The one thing that will help you get set is to get one of these mattress sets, which will ensure that your guests sleep comfortably which will make them cheerful and easier to be around. Good enough reason, right? I thought so too. Nothing like having grouchy guests and this is one easy way to ensure it never happens. I always sleep better once I'm in my own bed and most people never really sleep that good when they are traveling, not surprisingly since a lot of guest beds are the left over or oldest pieces in the house. Best to invest in quality beds and mattresses now and enjoy your guests!

Pro on flickr

Well, I finally got my pro account on Flickr! I am so thrilled with it, that I could spend all day uploading pics, seeing my friends latest shots, surfing through explore and commenting on cool photos. It has been such an interesting journey for me, since I got started in earnest with uploading photos on Flickr, which was just a few months back in January. I opened my account way back in Feb 2006, but never really bothered to do anything with it, or look through other people's photos. Oh, so much time I have wasted! The best part is that I am learning to notice the little things in life, just like I am noticing the small and simple things that I have been taking photographs of.

Here's a screen shot of my first upload after becoming pro!

I've got a pro account!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

packing and moving

Some time back a college friend relocated to NYC and had to move bag and baggage to her new apartment by herself. She almost didn't move due to the huge hassle of packing and shipping things via courier companies, but if only she had enlisted a mover NYC company, she could have just supervised and had everything organized and packed for her in a professional and neat manner. I have moved several times, to different cities, to different countries and to different continents, and there is no better way to move than to leave it all to a professional moving company. There are a million other things to worry about, and if you're going to focus your energy on packing and sorting, it's going to be a real messy move. I like to pack my personal things myself, but everything else I leave to the packers and movers. It's really the best and only way to do things.

working ways

Working has never meant so many different thing to different people. At one time, work had a very narrow and specific meaning and one conjured up images of men in ties going to work carrying briefcases. Now days, it is sometimes hard to tell who is working or not just be looking at what they are wearing. The places of work have changed so radically as well, with wireless Internet becoming so popular, and cafes offering free wi-fi connections for people sitting in the cafe. You can also see people sitting in the park connected to the Internet through their cell phones and working just as hard as those sitting in offices. As easy as it is to judge people who work this way, it is important to first understand the nature of jobs and how well matched they are to these working environments.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Doing business when you're not even there

Continuing on from what I was writing in my earlier post, about how the internet and technology has changed the way we work today. Let's say you're moving to a new city and need to find some office space in Connecticut immediately, so you can move in as soon as you get there. Well all you have to do is search for office space Connecticut on the Internet, and you will find lots of options. It's really as simple as that. In fact, it's so simple and has simplified our lives so much that one wonders just how one managed to live and work before the Internet came along.

We have moved homes several times and each time I have used the internet to find apartments, car rentals, household help, air conditioning servicemen and so on. The list is endless about how useful it can be, one just has to know how to use it. Here's to new technology and to new ways of improving our lives!

The concept of work

There has been so much change in the way we work and what we even consider work that our definitions and concepts have had to change as well. Take my case for instance, I am a researcher and retail analyst and work from home, so for a lot of people this is not really working, even though I work full time, sometimes a bit less and sometimes a bit more. But it is work, serious work. I do follow a 9-5 routine of sorts, but have the flexibility to take an afternoon off, if I want to. The concept of work has completely changed and if you've read Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, you know exactly what I mean.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't you just love funny t-shirts?

One of my earliest assignments for my marketing class was a really fun write-up on funny t-shirts on campus. I got myself a nice spot where I could watch people and read their t-shirts and try and figure out why they were wearing it; was it something they loved or were they making fun of it and how many people were wearing similar t-shirts, such as fraternity based funny t-shirts or those affiliated with some other club or bar etc. As consumers go, there is no other group of individuals who love wearing something written on their t-shirts than college students. They are willing to try out a variety of trends as long as it fits in their budget, which is the primary deciding factor.

Monday, April 14, 2008

kasauli church sketched

Here's a photo that I took last month, my first attempt at processing or rather post processing! I wasn't too happy with the way the photograph turned out, the angle was bad, the view wasn't the one I wanted, but there wasn't time to go back and take it again, so I decided to test it out on adobe's photoshop express, the new free version of their famous software. This is the end result using the sketch option, which ended up giving a nice result, I thought.

Here it is, enjoy!
kasauli church...

the official age for anti-wrinke creams

Last month I did a lot of reading and one of the books I read was about three young working girls who have come to the big city to work, earn some money and find someone to love. What was so interesting is that the main character states that 28 is the official age of women that marketers target anti-wrinkle creams. I found that very interesting since a lot of women buy wrinkle cream based on advertisements in fashion magazines as well as based on their friends and colleagues usage of these creams. This is a new trend, of marketing these products at such a young audience and it seems to be working out quite well.

how to travel

As far as travel planning goes, it is essential that you plan as much in advance as possible, so that you can make full use of your time at your destination seeing and relaxing rather than trying to decide what to do and where to go. A lot of people only for package tours that organize everything from the time you leave to the time you return, so that you can maximize the time you have to see and do things while you are traveling. Then there are those travelers who like to decide what to do at the spur of the moment and do not like to have anything planned for the duration of their trip. I am somewhere in the middle as I like to have some basic plans made of the places I want to go to, but don't really require every minute to be planned from before.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Beach vacations for relaxation

As vacations go, an island or beach vacation is usually at the top of my list. There is something mesmerizing about sitting on a beach and watching the surf come in, listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean and enjoy the beautiful breeze. Well, if you go for a vacation to one of these St. Thomas villa rentals, then you will be able to experience all of this and much, much more. There really is no better way to relax than go for a beach vacation, I feel. For a more rejuvenating and holistic experience, I prefer to go to the mountains, where I can walk endlessly and introspect. For now, a beach vacation it is!

Are you into eco-friendly travel?

When it comes to making plans for travel, there are ways of doing it completely low budget and those of over the top extravagance, and both can be found on the web. There is a significant trend towards these two spheres of travel and the common thread between them is travel with a eco-friendly twist. A greater number of travelers today are opting for places that offer eco-friendly and organic products so as to protect and preserve the environment. In Hawaii especially, this form of travel is very popular. The amount of water, detergent and chemicals an average hotel uses just to do its daily laundry is enormous and the burden this puts on the environment is growing day by day. As travelers, it is our choice to select one of these hotels and by doing this it will only serve to allow more people to use the services of places like these.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

traveling right

Ever since we've been traveling so regularly, I find that having a good set of luggage is absolutely essential. Once you have the right bags that take care of all your belongings, then half the battle of packing and unpacking is won. Take for instance, these Johnston and Murphy bags, which are an essential item to have if you work and travel like me. I travel with my laptop each time and having the right bag and accessories, makes it easy for me to carry everything with ease. Once you have them and travel with them, you'll see the difference.

on making travel plans

As usual, as I get back from one trip, I start plotting and planning for the next one! I've got some great ideas for our next trip, but nothing concrete as yet, since there are several pending issues that need to be sorted out first. As soon as they are taken care of, then I can start making definite plans for a trip. I simply love the anticipation of a trip, it's half as good as the trip itself, I find. There is so much excitement once you know you will be going on a trip somewhere or the other. I simply love it!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Finding good travel deals

For a avid travel bug like me, I find that thanks to the Internet, I have immediate access to all the travel sites and travel deals that I could want. It has made our lives so much simpler to be able to find new places to go to, at very competitive rates, and do the booking from the comfort of one's own home. For most of our recent trips, I have done my research online, found great places to stay, superb restaurants to eat in and interesting places to explore. What else does one want from a trip, really? I'm quite for taking trips that don't tire you out needlessly, and I can certainly avoid trips to the malls and the such, much preferring to visit the local market for a couple of interesting trinkets or two to bring home.

traveling light...

As much as I travel, I hope never to tire of it. The way one travels and what one travels for changes constantly, but I've realized that I really want to go back to being a bit more basic in my needs when I travel, go for treks and nature basic activities instead of star hotels in big cities, opt for a simpler way of seeing things rather than complicating life and making things harder for oneself. It's all a question of perspective, I think, as things change with time and what one wants changes as well.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Long term investments

We've been thinking a lot about investments lately and have a basic plan of action in place towards short term and long term investments. Most people ignore the very long term investments and it's important not to think only short term when it comes to this area. One of the best long term investments is usually commercial real estate which is a good opportunity to ensure one has some things planned for the long term future. While it is expensive to start off, one must not be put off by that and consider the rewards of such an investment. We will soon be investing in some residential real estate which also gives good returns, but will not be as much as commercial real estate will be.

Reliance Fresh not so fresh anymore

The kind of feedback I have been getting about some of the new retail stores is really not quite encouraging about the future about the industry. The worst reviews are usually about Reliance Fresh, where the produce is not fresh and usually not even available. It's quite surprising that no one at Reliance Retail is looking into this, since it's not a recent phenomenon and has been happening across the country, regardless of location. It seems that some of the stores are being run as franchises, where they are cutting all costs and basics such as air conditioning, and driving away customers with great speed. It's really quite sad just how quickly they have gone downhill.

A new vacation idea

The one kind of vacation we have never even considered taking is a surfing one. Our friends recently planned such a trip and I was quite amazed at the detailed way they went about with their shopping, including boardshorts and the like, so that they would be completely ready to hit the surf once they got to their destination. I'm all for doing a bit of activity, other than shopping, when on vacation, but am not sure if I am cut out for such strenuous work. I would definitely love to go river rafting and so on, but surfing would take some time getting around, I think.

almost at the end now

Now that our vacation is getting close to finishing, I've started thinking of the intricacies of daily life, without all the luxuries that one has when one visits home. I will miss all of this, but then it makes one appreciate things and learn not to take them for granted. It's so easy to forget these things but after a month spent in total relaxation, going back to one's own home makes one realize how to prioritize and be selective about things. Not always an easy task, but one that must be done.

Making it special

When it comes to marketing specific products for to targeted customers, the advertisements for bridal lingerie usually do a pretty good job connecting with their audience. What really sells is the importance of the moment, since the product is no different than for other times, but it's all about capturing the essence of the marriage celebrations that make these products so special. Marketers have been using this segment of customers for making a variety of purchases, since it is a time of celebration and a lot of people go overboard when it comes to wedding expenditures.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

at a cafe nearby

Been taking so many photos recently and love to post them here as well. Here is one that I took last month, on a visit to a cafe nearby. I thought it came out quite nice, really liked the way the light came out, and the fact that it was taken from the inside, while the writing was for the outside. Something different and interesting about it, I guess.

Here it is!
inside view...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New age trade show displays

It seems that more and more displays these days are really becoming quite sophisticated and stylish. The trade show displays one sees now are a far cry from even a few years back, where things were completely different and quite boring actually. All of a sudden, it's exciting going to trade shows, even if it's just to see the displays and amazing set ups companies go in for these days. Since I have been in the travel business, I especially love going to the travel and real estate shows, where one can get to see some pretty amazing displays and arrangements.

on going home

Well, my vacation is closing towards the end and I'm not getting a very nice feeling in my stomach....it actually reminds me of getting butterflies in the tummy when we used to head back to school after long vacations. It's a feeling that I don't particularly want to feel ever again, but still haven't managed to conquer. Going back to one's normal life after a vacation, is quite a come-down, besides being able to sleep in your own bed again, which is something I really like going back to. The only solution is to start planning your next getaway before the current one ends, so you have another trip to look forward to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Marketing strategies on the Internet

I'm quite amazed at just how easy it has become to get some weight loss pills these days. In my last post, I wrote about how the Internet has changed the way the travel industry works, but the Internet has also changed the way we shop and buy things, especially for items like these. With the information as easily available as it is now with the Internet, consumers are able to have the full information before they decide to buy an item. For manufacturers too, the scale of sale has increased from a local spot to across the world, making it quite a bit lucrative for them to invest in Internet marketing strategies.

changing travel times

Traveling these days is a completely different experience than it used to be earlier. Now, pretty much everything can be taken care of online, from airline tickets, to car bookings, hotel rooms, special tours, breakfast items and so on. It really makes you wonder just how one managed before the Internet penetrated the travel industry as it has done now? Things worked, some things better and some worse, but by and large everything ran smoothly. Thanks to the Internet and the competition for lower fares, a lot more people are able to travel now than ever before. It will be interesting to see where we progress to in the future.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The power of the Internet!

Where can you find everything and anything in one spot? Why, its the Internet of course! It's the one place that you can find a Scranton personal injury lawyer or a tent for your next camping trip, all from the comfort of your home. It's been a great boon for businesses that have adapted to it, those who have been able to understand the way it is able to reach out to consumers that no other medium has been able to. When the Internet first became common and "mainstream", it brought with it a completely new way of doing business and finding customers. No one would have imagined just how simple it would be to conduct business from across the world, but that's what it has become now.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Dubai blue

Here's a picture that I took last month. We had gone to the building on the left for some work, and as soon as we came out, I saw this tall and narrow building on the other side of Sheikh Zayed Road that was being framed so nicely. Luckily, I carry my camera with me at all times, so managed to take this picture. I really like all the blue tones to it.

skyscraper on sheikh zayed road

Searching for insurance

In my last post I wrote about how consumers are relying on the Internet for more and more of our shopping these days. There is one additional type of service that we find on the Internet, that of car insurance. Almost everyone who buys a car, first searches on the Internet to find the best possible insurance for their vehicle and compare the plans before deciding which one to take. The best deals are all to be found on the Internet, so that really is where one should start one's search.

How we shop

As consumers become more savvy and informed about the different ways of shopping and saving money, there is sure to be a significant rise in online portals for shopping. While there already are several of these, the average consumer is still quite wary of spending their money through it. For the longest time, the only things we used to buy on the internet were airline tickets, but bit by bit, things are changing to include other purchases such as bulk book orders, flowers, hotel rooms, cars and so on. Life has of course been made so much easier thanks to the easy availability of online shopping and this concept will continue to shape our shopping actions in the future as well.

Decking out a truck

When my friend Sarah bought a new truck in college, I was really surprised at the number of accessories that she wanted to add on to jazz up her new purchase. There are just so many options such as ventshades, decals, storage facilities and so on, that can be added to increase the use and the style of a vehicle and Sarah wanted to make use of all of them. The business of truck accessories has changed radically and the kind of things that are now available are really of very high quality. More and more people are going in for such accessories, which has given a major boost to the industry.

Changing consumers

Retail in India and in the entire region has been changing rapidly for quite some time now and is likely to continue to do so for many more years as yet. While the smaller mom-and-pop stores have been protesting against the entry of organized retail for so long, consumers are getting more used to the concept and are getting accustomed and even liking this way of shopping. It is a more convenient way to shop after all, prices are a lot more competitive and the service level has also improved thanks to the increased choices. It will definitely be interesting to see how more and more people--shoppers and small retailers--switch to this format over time.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

To live in Branson!

It's been ages since I went to Branson, but I remember it quite well. I really enjoyed my few days there since it reminded me of being in the hills where I grew up. The more I think about it, the more it feels right to consider investing in some Branson real estate which can be used as a vacation home or for rental income in the more touristy months. Besides its natural beauty, Branson also holds a lot of attraction for country music lovers, thanks to all the theatres and live performances by several very popular and famous musicians. It's definitely a very worthwhile and viable option.


Since I've been posting so many photos on my Flickr page, I thought I would share some here as well. I took this photo several months ago, but am quite fond of it...maybe it's all the angles or the light or something else, but I really like the way it came out. It's not been getting too many hits, but that's because this type of photography is not my specialty, well actually no kind of photography is my specialty, but it's something I enjoy and hope to get better at it with time and practice.

Canal at Dubai Festival City

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Welcoming guests

If you're someone with a constant stream of guests coming in, then you're going to need to have things like this bedding, which is not only easy to maintain, but creates an elegant look in your home. I always try to make my home as welcoming and friendly as possible, when we have guests staying with us, so I add things in the guest room that will make it easy for the residents to be completely at ease in their new surroundings. Whether it's as simple as an alarm clock or local maps, the point is to make and effort to be a good hostess. Every little thing in your home reflects you and the better it looks, the better you look! Yes, I know it's bit old fashioned, but it really does hold true even today.

another break coming up!

Just a little bit of work left, before I head out for a break for about ten days or so. As has been the case in all my trips in the recent past, they happen all of a sudden, so I have to scramble to finish off everything work wise and take care of all other things as well...shopping to take home, things to be bought to be left behind, bills to be paid and so on. I wonder if there is something that I am forgetting? Probably is, and I'll only remember it once I reach my destination. Oh well, life's like that!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shopping decisions

When it comes to finding something specific, there really is not place like the Internet. Whether you are looking for a mini trampoline or something else, you are sure to find out all the information you need, right from the comfort of your home. This has really changed the way we shop and plan our purchases. We no longer have to go to store after store to find the best price, but can check all of that online itself. If you'd rather not leave your house, you can order it to be delivered right to your doorstep. If you need parts for a machine, that's easily available too. While some may argue that it has made us lazy and inefficient, I think that for the most part, the Internet has improved our lives.

Photo sharing sites

There are tons of photo sharing sites online, but the best of them has to be Flickr. I have been using the site for a couple of years now and am planning to take a professional membership, as in buy a membership, since the free accounts have several limitations. I have been taking photographs on a regular basis now, most of the time with uploading pics onto Flickr in mind, which is making me become more aware of my surroundings and take better pictures. It's certainly been quite an interesting journey.

Here's one I took last year.

Fresh corn on the cob...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Long term thinking

When one gets started on one's career, one never bothers to think about long term life plans, but it really makes sense to plan things like getting some life insurance quotes to set things for the future. It's always easier to budget one's money before one gets too used to spending it on fun stuff, which is what usually happens when one first starts out working. This really is the critical point when one has to make some tough decisions and think for the long term future, instead of just planning for one's next vacation. Interestingly, I think the newer college grads are starting to think this way, which is a really nice change.

Working as a freelancer

Long time since I posted here....most gaps are getting longer, since I have been busy with visiting family lately. I decided to take time off so I could devote myself completely to spending time with them and not have to meet work deadlines and stuff. Most people don't have an option to take time off each time someone visits, but that';s one of the things I really love about my job, and it's something that is very important to me. There really is no better way to work and I simply love the flexibility and options it gives me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Keeping medical information at hand

With the growing number of baby boomers in the US, the kind of products that are focused on them, is increasing quite rapidly. Take for instance, this medical bracelet which is to be worn so that your medical history is easily accessible no matter where you are. No one really carries all their information on a card or folder, but with this medical bracelet, it becomes so much easier to have the information on hand with you at all times. It's not just a marketing gimmick, it's a great idea that is sure to become quite popular.

When to work, when to take a break

Been on a slight break of sorts since I've got family over. I have just a couple of assignments to take care of and that's pretty much it. No point being busy and unavailable when family is visiting, right? What's the point of even visiting then? Being able to set my own work hours is probably the best part of being a freelancer, I think. I can't imagine working a regular nine-to-five kind of job now. Besides the two months I took off to move and set up home, I have only taken 4 weeks off to go home in October last year, which is much less than I usually do. Maybe this year will be better in terms of time off!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bypassing high markups in home decor

As someone in the retail industry, it is really a very exciting time to be a part of this very dynamic industry. The variations of retail stores are becoming more and more varied, which ultimately gives the choice and the selection to the consumer. Take DirectBuy for instance, which is one of the leading members only showroom for home related merchandise. Once a consumer signs up for directbuy, they have access to merchandise at manufacturer prices, that are not marked up and lets consumers buy branded merchandise at much lower prices. The mark up in home furnishings and home decor is usually around 43%, so the savings are rather considerable. It seems like the perfect answer for consumers who want to create a perfect home, but are hampered by the high prices in showrooms.

On taking better pictures

It's been ages since I posted a picture here, so I thought I must add a bit of color to the page and add a photograph or two. I have been taking a lot more photographs lately, thanks to my account at Flickr which is getting a lot of my attention these days. It has become quite addictive actually to see great photographs from one's contacts and to constantly try to improve on what one takes. I have started viewing things differently now, thanks to seeing great photographs at Flickr.

Here's one of my more recent photographs:

Finding information on medical stuff on the Internet

Ever since the Internet has become a widespread phenomenon, searching for health problems, doctors and medicines has become quite common. Whether you are searching for mesothelioma or arthritis, there are lots of articles and information available on the Internet for people to read. One does have to be careful to understand what one is reading though, since we're not doctors and a lot of information about health on the Internet is quite complicated. It is useful in combination with meeting doctors and specialists, but can be dangerous if followed by itself.

Retailers cutting costs and jobs

Retailers have been cutting back since the beginning of the new year, reducing staff, closing stores, shutting down catalogs and putting in place other measures to ensure their survival. The slowing down of the economy has affected a whole range of retailers and analysts are unsure of when the tumble will come to an end. JCPenney cut 150 jobs last week and will be combining merchandising and marketing operations for its retail and its direct sale businesses. The company will also close one of its call centers which takes care of its catalog orders and is run by 275 people.

Eddie Bauer is also making changes and will be working to make its operations more competitive and will be cutting its staff by 16%. The company will also be trimming its overhead costs which come to around 41%, which are higher than the industry standard of 35%-37%. Home Depot announced that it will be cutting jobs as well; around 500 jobs or 10% of its staff at its headquarters.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Baby boomers driving todays society

Most discussions lately tend to compare today against the golden times of the fifties and sixties when the US was booming. Maybe it is because it is an election year and people are taking stock, maybe it is because the baby boomers are starting to retire, or maybe it some different reason altogether. The fact remains that for the elder generation, the medicare advantage is one of the most discussed issues, whether it is in the newspapers or on television. Consumers today realize that the system today has lots of problems and want to relive the time when no one worried about getting medical attention as they do today.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Retailers hoping for high sales in February

After a dismal Christmas shopping season, retailers are hoping for some shopping magic to take place in February. With the Super Bowl around the corner and Valentine's Day coming up, retailers are hoping that shoppers will open up their wallets. According to survey's, shoppers will do exactly that. It is estimated that shoppers will buy close to 3.9 million television sets for the big game, which is a 50% rise in the number of televisions purchased last year, according to Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. Shoppers also plan to buy 1.8 million furniture items, up from 1.3 million pieces last year. The maximum spending will be done by young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

On average, consumers will spend $59.90 on Super-Bowl merchandise, up from $56.04 last year. In total, consumer spending for Super Bowl weekend is estimated to be $9.5 billion. According to Mike Gatti, executive director of Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a lot of smart shoppers put off buying major purchases such as televisions and entertainment centers till retailers offer special discounts.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Starting on investments

As one progresses in life and starts to accomplish goals, one realizes the importance of creating an investment fund of some sort. The two best investment options are either mutual funds or land investment, which is usually for the longer run. For a lot of people, short term investing is a good way to start off, and then branch off into long term investments which you will not want to touch for many years to come. We recently set aside some money to invest and have started off two separate streams of investment, one with mutual funds and one with property. Each month we add to our savings and to our investments, which will add up to a good amount in the long term.

Different kind of travel plans

I love being an armchair traveler, and these past few weeks I have been able to do just that. It all started with a travel assignment I got and then spiraled into much more than that. I did do some research for my assignment, but after a while it ceased being work and started to seem more like I was actually planning our next vacation or some such thing. With the travel that we've had lately, I'm going towards a more simpler kind of vacation now, something different than just a series of sightseeing and shopping excursions, something that I will remember more than any other vacation, something that will stand out in my mind as being exceptional. Not an easy task, but everyone must aspire to something right?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Online shopping

Being able to shop on the Internet has made things a lot easier for some consumers. It affords privacy and discretion as one is able to shop in one's own home for things like women's lingerie if one choses to. Consumers now days want options and choice more than anything else and if they have lots of choice of what to shop, here to shop, how to shop, they will feel more positive about a store. That really is the whole point of being able to shop online, it gives you more choice and by being in the drivers seat consumers feel stronger and more apt to spending.

New work week rocks!

Where does the time disappear here? It's amazing that it's going to be February already, already a month into the new year and I can't figure how just where the time is going. I quite like the weekend system here that makes it all seem to go by so fast. I don't dread Monday mornings any more, since there is nothing to dread as it's not the first day of the week and Thursdays are my new best friend. They seem to come so quickly these days!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Printing digital photographs

I've really been spending a lot of time taking pictures and uploading pictures and am getting more and more involved in understanding how to take good pictures. So, I was quite happy when I came across these Shutterfly coupons that will be able to help me get some of my pictures printed and delivered directly to me at home. Ever since I started taking pictures on a digital camera, I have not been printing them out and am missing being able to look at them in an album rather than just on the computer. This way, I will be able to frame them and have a physical copy to mail to friends and family.

Freelance timings

The weekend is here and it's almost time to rest. Almost, as I do have some pending work as yet to finish off first. As a freelancer, you can't be sure of always being able to take the weekends off. When it does happen, it's great, but at other times, I end up working when everyone else is on a break. I do get to take long breaks if I plan in advance. I took all of October off as well as July and August since we were moving home, so it works out quite well.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Moving tales

As I've written earlier, when it comes to packing and moving, I've got lots of experience and have used a variety of packing and moving services. For the NYC area, these movers New York are known to be the best and offer extremely good services, so you don't have to worry about anything at all. Moving companies are sometimes notoriously tough to get through to, but that's unlikely to happen with these movers, since they have really built up a reputation in the city and work to better it with each move. Word of mouth publicity is a great way to give them a boost, once you're tested them out.

How much stuff is enough?

As is the case with each of our moves, one gets to be an expert at packing and organizing stuff even before the packers arrive. While I leave the bulk of the packing to them, I have to go through and sort out stuff so that I can decide what to keep and what to get rid of. It's a time consuming process and with each move we are getting a bit better at it. We're also not buying things just because they can be bought, but now really consider if we need it, or are getting it just for the heck of it, or if it's on a substantial discount. One really needs to think of what one really needs after all, and they are very few things if you really get down to it.