Monday, April 22, 2013

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]




Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.


1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.


3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!


4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your feet. Your feet will sparkle and look as good as though you have stepped out of a beauty salon.


5. Here's what my buddies in Delhi recommended and it sure worked wonders: A dash of milk, mashed tomatoes and a dash of turmeric does wonders to clear your summer tan. 


6.  Coconut milk is a fantastic cleanser and moisturizer for your skin. Try this once in a while when you want to indulge yourself and feel pampered too!


7. Potato juice as well as lemon juice are recommended by experts for those who want to bleach their skin naturally. Try and see how this feels on your skin. I am yet to give this a try but I have heard and read that it's good and it works.


8. When you want to opt for a natural scrub, use milk, a dash of olive oil, honey and sugar crystals to scrub your skin. Make sure you don't scrub or tug your skin too hard because it sugar crystals can tear/bruise your skin if you are not careful. But for a feel-good, natural scrub without any chemicals, this one should do the trick easily and effectively.


9. Raw milk and turmeric face mask: Need I say more? You will look and feel the glow on your skin.


10. Make sure you load up your plate with lots of seasonal summer fruits such as watermelons, mangoes, musk melons, green grapes and so on. Have this fruit platter before breakfast every morning. This does wonders for your skin, your metabolic rate and your overall body fitness. It boosts your system altogether and you will feel the difference in energy levels throughout the day.


And here's a last secret tip: Drink lots and lots of tender coconut water. It's the best recipe for a glowing, luminous feel-good skin!


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♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all of you who enjoy summer. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people who are looking for easy, skin care tips. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

Friday, April 19, 2013

5 Ways to make reading more fun for kids: Connect them to inspirational game changers!

Reading is considered 'boring' by many children. Growing up around books is the best way to make your child feel comfortable and confident in the world of books.My biggest worry was that my son would feel the same way and I always ensured right from the time that he was two years old that I took him to the British Library. Here's one of Adi's earliest favorite books that he learned to read: Samira's Awful Lunch.

 So, what's the next step?


Connecting your child to game changers! Yes, that's probably the best thing you can do to take your child to the next level! Lets see how to do this step by step. Ready?




Enrol your kid in a good reading club

When I first enrolled my son Jyotiraditya for a Reading Club, I had no idea that he would enjoy it so much or that I would get useful 'expert' advice on how to take Adi's reading skills to the next level. 

At the British Council, I had interacted with several teachers who conduct workshops for kids and I loved the way they seemed to interact and understand the kids without being judgemental about them. 


Encourage reading discussion and interaction with other kids

For Adi, the reading workshop turned out to be great fun because it enabled him to interact with a  bunch of young avid readers older than himself and he also got to learn more on how to be a good reader through his teacher who came from the UK to teach them. He also got literary exposure to what kids of his age are reading in the UK.

Ask for constructive feedback from facilitator
At the end of the Reading club workshop, the teacher from UK gave me very personalized feedback and to-do list for Jyotiraditya. Here is how it reads:

1. Jyotiraditya has an exceptional interest in reading. 

What to do: Get him more books on different, interesting subjects and make him read it. If there is a topic that bores him, skip it and let him read what interests him. The idea is to get him to read about more things that he can store in his mind as information.

2.  Jyotiraditya is the only child in the Reading Club who reads without getting stuck nor does he use his finger to lean to direct the sequence of words that he is reading. This conveys that he is a very fast reader - a trait that will help him tremendously in future. 

What to do: Get him books that have advanced levels and difficult words. Work with him to make those words sound like fun. Make funny sounds together so that he enjoys associating different words with sounds. This will also help him to enjoy learning difficult words and recalling them easily.

3. When Jyotiraditya finds a difficult word, he relies on phonetics to help him get the sound of the word correctly.

What to do: Get him to write and play with difficult words and their sounds more often.

Understand the feedback, play up your kid's key strengths

From all the useful feedback that I received  this one takes the cake:  Many children of this age are very sensitive when they are corrected in front of their peers by a teacher. 

The most remarkable quality about Jyotiraditya is that he is not afraid to make mistakes. If he makes a mistake and the teacher corrects him, he takes it in his stride in a positive way and moves ahead to learn what is next. This trait conveys that Jyotiraditya is a happy and confident child and this rare strength in his personality will help him to tackle challenging situations as he grows up and becomes a man one day.

As a mother, this feedback meant so much to me.  Do you know why? 

Because when he was a baby, Adi was a very frightened, shy, hesitant and lonely child! He feared people and hid from them. During his toddler years, he would hide behind me even when he saw family friends or family members. But he had fantastic, very patient teachers who saw his strengths and helped him to leverage them.

Be Grateful to the Inspirational Game-changers in your kid's life

I particularly want to thank all his remarkably patient pre-school teachers at the Little Millenium School, Vaishali for nurturing him like a sapling and for helping him to blossom the way he has. 

Another important mention is the nursery teacher Narinder Kaur at Indus Valley Public school who constantly encouraged Adi to read, write and to do stage performances representing their school in different forums. She understood his fears so well and worked on it relentlessly. 

In fact, at one point, she made him start the day in school by going to other classes and narrating a short story. When he ended the story, she would ask the entire class to give him a standing ovation. This gave Adi a lot of confidence to speak in public and in front of strangers.

When we introduce our kids to the world of books, we throw open to them the doors of the Universe - we let them discover, dream and soar beyond all boundaries.


Won't you make reading more fun for the children in your life? What books did you love reading as a child?

If you liked this post, do drop a line. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Five ways to take charge of your anger


“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
I hear this a lot from youngsters around me: It's fine to rant, vent and lose one's temper. It's fashionable to be scornful and rude to everyone. It's great to vent. What's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? [Also read: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]
Here's what I think: Anger is a projection of our own minds. It stems from layered fears and the need to dominate and differentiate yourself from others whose actions or reactions we want to control. It destroys us first before it goes out and delivers blows to others around. That is why spiritual seekers work constantly towards conquering anger and fear. The two are so deeply inter related. You have to conquer both and not just one of the two. 

Yet, from my experience, I can tell you one secret from the spiritual world: when spiritual seekers and masters lose their temper, there is no way to end it easily. The person they are angry with suffers considerably but they themselves lose all the merits of their sadhana with just one bout of anger. They have to start from ground zero and it isn't an easy climb at all.
Anger doesn't make you human. Compassion does 
If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centuries ago. There is so much anger that is responsible for many dark, inhuman and violent acts that happen around us. When we sit back and analyze where this anger stems from, the root cause of it, you will feel amazed by the insights that it can bring us about what lies within us - dark, hidden and mysterious.
Anger is self-destructive, don't find out the hard way! 
Those who know me personally would tell you that I almost never lose my temper. A former Boss in the book publishing industry used to introduce me as "Serene Buddha" to prospective authors. Reason? No matter what tantrums authors throw, I would keep cool, turn around a hostile situation and leave them smiling by the end of our discussion. That's always been the story of my life and my interactions with others.
There are very very few occasions in my life when I have completely lost my temper. And on those few occasions, the anger ended up being very self-destructive than anything else. I once walked out of a job because I became so irrevocably angry about something that I saw as a blatant violation of what I strongly believe in. I sat at home for six months, without a paycheck, wondering whether it had been a mistake to give in to my anger, rare as that may be. But I also know myself better. I could not possibly stick onto a job just for just the paycheck, not if it violates the core values that I hold on to. So, was my anger justified at the time? I would like to think so from a spiritual perspective. But when you look at the practical side of being jobless without proper planning, it doesn't look too inviting, does it?

But do you get my point on anger being self-destructive?
One who cannot conquer anger is one who is controlled by a false sense of identification with the Physical Self. When anger takes hold of you, fight it as you would fight for your life. Don't let the mind master your actions. Be the mastermind. Take charge of your anger. [READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Angry? Try this!

On the occasions when I do lose my cool, here are somethings that work for me to keep it in my control:

1. Practice absolute silence. Stay away as far and as long as possible from whatever  ignited the anger till the mind is calm, still and able to reflect on the core issue more objectively. When the mind is still, when the thoughts are in your control, there is no scope for anger to rule you.

2. Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale so slowly that you can feel the breath enter and leave your body like a beautiful breeze. Do this for as long as you can and focus on the breath. Thoughts will slowly cease, your mind will become a shining, empty vessel and you may even wonder what made you angry in the first place.

3. Take a walk. Walk, run, skip but do any constructive physical activity that makes you thrash out your anger without hurting anyone.

4. Listen to soothing music.

5. Sip a glass of cool water, very very slowly. Concentrate on how it cools your heart, throat and frayed nerves. You will find yourself relaxing, the coolness ebbing away the heat of your anger.

I want to know your thoughts on anger. Have you noticed how you behave when you get angry and how do you tackle it in the aftermath? 

I'd love to hear from you. 

Ending this post on anger with a quote from Bree Despain, The Dark Divine
“Remember Grace, if you let anger into your heart, it will push out your ability to love.” 

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all of you who are working with sincerity to control anger and conflict. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people in a positive way. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

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