7 Reasons to Wake Up Early

We have grown up hearing, ‘Early bird gets the worm’ or ‘The morning hour has gold in its mouth.’  But how many of us get up at the first ring of the morning alarm? At least, I didn’t for a long period of time. And then I took this 21-Day Challenge of waking up early and read The 5 AM Revolution by Dan Luca. 5 AM

Honestly, waking up early and that too with a spring in my step was hard for me, initially. But I persisted and when I took stock of the amount of work and things I accomplished when I got out of bed early, made me a believer.

Let me share my 7 Reasons to Wake Up Early…

Reason #1 : Gives a Head Start – I have realized that the morning is a critical time that sets the tone of the rest of the day. A good beginning makes a good ending. Working on important assignments or completing a project report or writing a blog post is something that I do first thing in the morning. The idea is to prioritize high impact tasks as compared to simple easy tasks and accomplishing these gives a  mental boost.

Reason #2 : Better Planning – I find morning time to be the best time to plan and give some serious thought to issues, situations or tasks at hand. It’s a good time to get organized for the day or week too.

Reason #3 : Increases Productivity – With to-do list in place, in the quiet of the early morning and a fresh mind, a lot is accomplished and that too at a faster pace.

Reason #4 : Better Timeliness – Waking up early gives more time to prepare and be on time for work, engagements, appointments. There is no mad rush to get ready and get tired even before the start of the day. The best is skipping the peak traffic hours and reaching the destination on time.

Reason #5 : Time for Your Own Self – There’s time for your self. I love having my cup of tea while reading the newspaper in absolute peace. Sitting in the balcony and watching the early morning life and see the world wake up is something that I like about my mornings.

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Reason #6 : Less Stress : Starting the day earlier, reduces the stress as the rush of the morning chores is eliminated. And this adds an incredible amount of positivity and optimism in our day and life.

Reason #7 : Better Sleep : Going to bed earlier and waking up earlier gives me better sleep. It is believed that this way our body is more in tune with the earth’s circadian rhythms, which offers more restorative sleep.

Are you a late riser or an early riser? How do you spend your mornings?

Linking this to the second edition of  BAR-A-THON by Blog-A-Rhythm

Theme – Seven

Day 3

barathon

7 Reasons to Choose a Homestay

There is no place like home, they say. The mere thought of it makes the heart smile and you are cocooned in the warmth of love and comfort.

I have been traveling for decades now and have stayed in all types of hotels and resorts… from the high end ones to the basic camping sites. And then sometime back, I started exploring homestays. The fact that my sister, Sheetal runs a homestay and has great stories to share about her guests and experiences was on the back of my mind too. And today, I am a huge fan of  homestays and would prefer it over a star hotel or resort for a vacation.

Here are my 7 reasons to choose a homestay…

Reason #1 : A True ‘Home Away From Home’ – This phrase is used commonly all over the world by hotels and resorts. While these accommodations may provide a homely atmosphere, they are not really homes. A homestay is someone’s home!! Here you get all the comforts of your home but in a different locale. The host family go all out to make you feel a part of their family. The best part is that they as neat and clean as your own home!!

Bhola Bhawan Bed & Breakfast 1Bhola Bhawan Bed & Breakfast

Reason #2 : Home Cooked Food – During travels, food is my biggest concern. Restaurant food appeals to me max for a day and then I crave for some home-made fare. And homestays simply fulfill that need. The food served is simple and delicious with local flavors and taste. At one of the homestay, the host let KG cook in their kitchen (who is PASSIONATE about food and cooking) and then we all shared the meal over stories and laughter.

Reason #3 : Personalized Attention – Unlike hotels, homestays have fewer rooms and fewer guests. The owners of the property are the hosts and they offer the best service and personal attention. A friend needed to see a doctor and their host took him in his car despite the easy availability of cabs. Food can be prepared as per your preference and you may even get adrak-shahad (ginger-honey) for your cough in the middle of the night.

Reason #4 : Forge Bonds – Homestay hosts are usually friendly and chatty people.  I believe, people who are not comfortable with other people would not open their homes to strangers. So, conversations with them are always entertaining and interesting. Recently, when our hostess told Aaryan to visit her and have homemade food whenever he gets town visit from his boarding school, my motherly heart shed a tear of gratitude. The best is that even their pets are friendly!

Aaryan and Babu

Reason #5 : Local Insights – With the information at our fingertips, we gather the details of the place we are visiting. But it cannot match with the insights of the one who has been born and raised at a particular place. Homestay hosts can share a lot of hidden and unknown ‘secrets’ of the city which are usually not known by the tourists. And you can learn local culture and customs through them too.

Reason #6 : Ideal for Solo Travellers – While travel liberates you, there are times when you can feel lonely and intimidated. A homestay gives you that comforting feeling in a faraway place. Also your safety and privacy is ensured too.

Reason #7 : Value for Money – During peak seasons, hotels can be prohibitively expensive. A homestay is certainly affordable alternative. While it might be same cost at some places, but you get a lot more in terms of personalized service and great experiences at a homestay.

Have you stayed in a homestay? How has been your experience? Would you choose a Homestay for your next holiday?

Linking this to the second edition of  BAR-A-THON by Blog-A-Rhythm 

Theme – Seven

Day 1

barathon

The Best Wedding Venues in India

You know, a wedding day is your Big Day. And it’s rightfully called so. It’s the only occasion in your life when you’ll have all the people you love all around you to show their love and affection for you. It’s once in a lifetime celebration, well, mostly. It’s an event to remember. And we Indians leave no stone unturned to add oodles of magnificence, splendor and glamor to the wedding functions of the family. For this very reason, now-a-days, there’s a growing trend of celebrating this bond of togetherness at amazing venues. The wedding venues range from quaint old traditional havelis and palaces to grand luxurious hotels and resorts. Here’s the round-up of the stunning venues for your big day and you can get a LOT more details at Zankyou Weddings.

Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

Known for its extravagance, style and grandeur, Rambagh Palace is the palatial abode of the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur. It is one of the most elegant and beautiful wedding venues in Jaipur to give you the authentic feel of traditions and royal heritage.

Vivanta by Taj, Surajkund, New Delhi

Nestled in a forested neighbourhood overlooking the 10th century heritage Surajkund Lake Complex, Vivanta by Taj is among the best wedding venues in Delhi. It is within city yet away from the city. It beautifully reflects the zesty, chic and vibrant spirit. This property is ideal for stylish and sophisticated celebrations of love.

Vivanta by Taj

City Palace, Udaipur

Built atop a hill, in a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles, towering over the lake Pichola is the majestic City Palace. Providing a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings, City Palace is listed as one of the most romantic wedding venues of India. The ambiance and the aesthetic beauty of the heritage building is unique and unmatched.

Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Falak-numa means “Like the Sky” or “Mirror of the Sky” in Urdu, Falaknuma Palace is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. More than a hundred years old, each area of the palace was planned ahead of its time and is very well executed. One of the grandest palaces in the world, Falaknuma Palace has influences from various parts of the world amalgamated with great ease in its architecture. It is indeed a dream destination and truly one of the best wedding venues in India.

Park Hyatt, Goa

If an intimate beachfront ceremony at sundown appeals to you, then Park Hyatt, Goa is where your wedding fantasies can come true. The lush lawns, enchanting landscapes, tastefully-decorated indoor venues at this star hotel exude grandeur and luxury at every turn. 

Grand Hyatt Goa

The Palace Grounds, Bangalore

Boasting of sprawling acreage, the Palace Grounds, Bangalore, is ideal for those who wish for an extravagant and regal wedding ceremonies not far away from the main city. Owned by the Mysore royal family, the Palace Grounds is perfect to host elaborate and lavish weddings in Bangalore.

Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur

Perched high above the desert of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan palace is one of the most opulent residences in the world. With its fascinating past and an enchanting present the Umaid Bhawan Palace is apt for that upscale yet royal wedding. Replete with traditional elephant-ride welcome, an authentic Rajashthani ambience in an ancient palace, Umaid Bhavan is truly an iconic wedding venue in India.

Hyatt Regency, Mumbai

One of the Leading 5 Star Hotels in Mumbai, Hyatt Regency is known for its contemporary luxury and elegance. Fairytale weddings are brought to life by meticulous planning and thoughtful service and thus making it a luxury wedding venues in Mumbai.

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Do these wedding venues inspire you to plan your dream weddings in style and grandeur? You may check out more details at Zankyou Weddings. Do share your favorite wedding venue in India in the comment section.

Get Your #OneWeddingWish Fulfilled!

A 4-day extravaganza with a handful of family and friends in a place where heritage and tradition met. A celebration that had splendor, affluence and incredible magnificence in an authentic flamboyant palace. Hearts warmed by cozy camaraderie and luxurious hospitality. That was the experience at a destination wedding which I had the pleasure to be a part of, recently.

Usually, when one thinks of a wedding,  hustle bustle all around and preparations happening at a hectic pace is the first thought that comes to mind. But I quite liked this idea of celebrating the start of togetherness away from all this very ‘madness’ with a close group of family and friends at a distant locale.

Destination Weddings are on the rise, all around the world and I can list the reasons why the idea of going somewhere gorgeous and unique to exchange vows is catching everyone’s fancy!

  • Destination weddings are easier and faster to plan. It may appear to be a lot of work with tons of planning but it’s actually not. Most resorts offer interesting and comprehensive packages and have everything you may need. And if you hire a wedding planner, then it’s a cake walk.
  • It’s stress free. Destination weddings have a relaxed feel about them. It’s like a little vacation for everyone; the bride and the groom as well as the guests. So, there is this happy and less formality in the air and more smiles around.
  • It’s high on bonding. Since the guest list is small, there’s more time to bond and know the family members of both the families. It’s the best way for families to meet and have a good time together.
  • It’s like a big vacation with all the people who matter the most. Though it’s a special time for the wedding couple, but it’s a great time for the family and friends to have fun too.
  • The photographs are GORGEOUS. Period. Whether the chosen destination is a palace or a fort or a sandy beach covered with palm trees or a rustic locale or a tropical paradise, the wedding venue would be beautiful in its own way. With the backdrop of the beautiful locales, the photographs can be truly epic and magazine-worthy.
  • A destination wedding is much more unique than a traditional ceremony at home. And yes, your wedding day would stand out from most people you’d know.
  • Oh! It’s sooo romantic. A wedding is a celebration of love and if it has the feel of a fairy-tale affair, how amazing is that!

Destination Weddings can truly transform your big day into something memorable and unforgettable. Do you wish to create such amazing memories on your special day?

Having this one wish (or any other) fulfilled is no longer a dream, thanks to Tata Capital wedding loans. With #OneWeddingWish campaign, Tata Capital hopes to turn that around. Tata Capital Wedding Loan helps you do that one thing that would take your wedding experience to the next level. Tata Capital offers a Wedding Loan at an attractive interest rate of 11.49% onwards with quick disbursal.

Visit Tata Capital Wedding Loan Website to apply and fill in relevant details, along with the wedding wish. After a careful analysis of your profile, Tata Capital will process your loan.

A wedding is a time to make your wishes come true. Go on and make your special day of your life extra special. #OneWeddingWishwedding-loan-one-wedding-wish-2

#UnwrapChristmas Doing a Little Something Extra

It only takes a spark to get the fire going.

And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.

That’s how it is with God’s love,

Once you have experienced it

You want to sing

You feel like spring

You want to pass it on…

A few of us gathered together for Secret Santa tidings, divided by names and united through a common Christmas spirit of sharing. And it is in this spirit that we bring this blog chain to you.

I am thankful to Sushmita Malakar for passing on the baton of spreading Christmas joy and spirit.

It is here through words that I unwrap Christmas on my blog for you.

hamilton-wright-mabie

Christmas is the season of giving. I am seeing decorated Christmas trees with presents underneath them all around me. I am reading about friends who have been busy buying and wrapping gifts for their loved ones. Christmas cards have been written with love and posted all over the world. Surprise gifts are being sent by Secret Santas to completely unknown people.

This tradition of giving gifts on Christmas is not about money but about the thought behind selecting that gift. Each gift communicates something from the giver to the receiver.

There are those perfect gifts that meet some needs and they say, “I know you and care about you.”

There are those gifts that surprise the receiver and they say,  “I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to do things that would light up your face and brighten your day.”

There are gifts that are meant to bring cheer and happiness and they say, “I want you to have the best that life can offer.”

There are these gifts that makes a person feel special and they say, “You have made a difference in my life and I thank and cherish you for being you.”

There are those gifts that come with a personal cost or sacrifice in terms of efforts or time and they say, “I value you and our relationship.”

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. So, what’s that something special you are doing this Christmas?

You may do this little something extra by donating towards giving children a home by supporting Divya Disha. If you need any information about this cause, please feel free to ask Corinne Rodrigues.

May the spirit of Christmas fill your life with joy and peace. Best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season. ♥

UnwrapChristmas

I now invite Ankita Shukla  to spread the message of Christmas on her blog.


Nightlife and Pub Finder in India

(A) “I love the nightlife.” ― Alicia Bridges

(B) “Me? I go wherever the wind blows…and wherever the whiskey shots are half price” ― Nicki Elson

(C) “Give me a small intimate gathering of five people, a dinner party, where one-on-one conversations can be had, where people talk about current events, good books, good food, and weird news. That was my idea of a good time.” ― Penny Reid

Given these options, which one would you pick?

May be (A) for the first weekend of the month or (B) for the last weekend or (C) most of the time.

But do you get stuck on deciding the place to party depending upon your mood?

People in metro cities are truly spoilt for choice as the nightlife in India is truly growing and thriving. But that makes the planning all the more difficult. And the aggressive and strict guidelines, navigating to the venue, long wait lines may take the fun out of your party mood.

Thankfully, help and support is just a click away.

LiveInStyle.com is THE nightlife and party capital on the internet.

If you are planning a night out with family and friends, LiveInStyle.com’s Nightlife & Pub Finder is just what you need to make the evening a gala success.

With presence in 6 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune, the Nightlife & Pub Finder allows you to check out the best parties and pubs based on the criteria that are important to you. For instance, for these 6 cities, you can check out pubs and party hubs based on the locality, party type viz Pubs, Night Clubs, Fine Dine and Lounges. You can also check out party hotspots based on your mood viz Party, Hangout, Relax and Dine Out.

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IMAGE CREDIT: LIVEINSTYLE.COM

Once you have keyed in your choices, a long list of recommended party outlets would be visible on the page with detailed info specific for that outlet. So, you would get to know the address, nearest landmark along with phone number of the place. There’s info on the opening and closing hours, cuisines offered, cost for two and also whether parking, credit cards, drinks and free Wi-Fi are offered or not!

Now wouldn’t all this make planning for a night out so easy and hassle-free. And it’s all the more convenient if you are new in a city.

Nightlife & Pub Finder is truly your local party guide for clubs and events.

So, go on, live responsibly and party hard!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post caters to audience aged 25 years and above

Outdoor Living

Last weekend, KG and I went to meet a client at his home. As soon as we entered the main gate, we were awe-struck. The view in front of us was such a contrast from the dusty crowded neighborhood that we had passed through a few minutes ago.

Let me share the view that had captured our imagination.

Borrowed Space - Contemporary Garden /homify

Borrowed Space – Contemporary Garden /homify

Our client had moved his living room outside in the garden and he had done it in an amazing style. As we sat outside in his garden space, I realized how beautifully he has maximized the potential of the outdoor garden area. It just needed a bit of creativity to convert the outdoor space into an additional room of his house.

The more I thought of this creative use of garden space, the more I realized that outdoor living is a fantastic idea.

Our homes are our pride. We spend so much time and resources in making it beautiful  and a comfortable living space. But it is good to step out of the confines of our homes and spend quality time outdoors with family and friends. After all, we do need to get away from the busy madness and hectic pace of life to relax and unwind at a place that’s flexible, comfortable and fun too. And there’s no better place for that than amidst nature. If the outdoor spaces is this beautiful, I think, I would spend all my time here, especially in the evenings when the weather is favourable.

CASTELFALFI : Rustic style garden by Freezanz System srl

CASTELFALFI : Rustic Style Garden by Freezanz System SRL/ homify

As average size of a home is shrinking, outdoor living spaces are becoming an extension of a home’s indoor space. The idea of a garden as a room and not just a place for plants and ornamentation is appealing to more and more people.  Yes, The party has moved outside. These creative outdoor spaces can become a great hangout place for parties, gatherings, picnics and much more. And is now called gardentainment.

Garden spaces can be converted into outdoor dining areas with outdoor fireplaces and kitchens and fire pits to enjoy the winters or having living room on the veranda or covered porches. These outdoor rooms can be adorned with unique garden containers, rustic furniture and eclectic accessories, special lighting, small store-bought fountains to cascading waterfalls and even a small Koi pond.

Gardens and outside spaces need not be plain and boring but they can be an extension of our home and can be made into a very functional living space. Sprucing up our garden space is next on my agenda.

Does the idea of outdoor living and moving the party outside appeal to you?

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