The last of my 20’s

This year is the 29th year of my existence. I stand at the end of an era that is made up of so many wonderful changes and adventures.I look back with a smile. What may have at some point been unbearable and I remember being a 20 year old who wanted to ‘grow up’, the 20’s mean getting my MBA, my 1st job , quitting my job as a banker , starting something of my own, developing hobbies,reading more books, buying my first car, travelling, getting married and LOTS more.
I approach the 30’s with mixed feelings.The 30’s mean that you need to have a plan in place and in action and should have achieved atlas 1/3rd of your bucket list.I don’t have a plan per say but I do know that in the next 10 years I would like to set a few goals and hopefully achieve them –

I would like to be a healthier & fitter person.
I would like to travel more.
I would like to buy my first house – on my own.
I would like to grow my business and get famous.
I would like to sell atleast one of my art pieces (yes I did start painting as part of my hobbies).
I would like to eat at atleast 1 Michelin star restaurant a year.
I would like to volunteer more.
Somewhere in my mid thirties I would like to start a family and have atleast one child.
I would like to spend more time with my parents and grandparents.
I would like to do a solo trip somewhere .
I would like to visit atleast 3 wonders of the World .
I would like to attempt the full marathon ( I did the half in my 20’s).
I would like to take life more seriously and save more money.

I think these are fairly broad guidelines for my plan.I have a few months to plan and get things going.

Do you have a plan for your 30’s ? Do you have a bucket list ? Do share them with me…

TMI on Facebook !

Remember Monopoly? Remember the card that said, “Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go.” Well, I think there should be a facebook jail. As your facebook friends, we should be allowed to revoke your status updating or wall posting privileges for a specific amount of time while you sit in facebook jail. And your other facebook friends should be allowed to see what landed you there. For example: Meera Kapoor has been sent to Facebook jail for three days due to violation of rules #1, #4, and #5. Here is my list of potential violations. Tell me what you think.

1) Taking pictures of food. Like really !

Unless you’re at a Michelin star restaurant, eating the best meal of your life STOP. We get it. It was good. Call someone, tell your waiter how much you enjoyed your meal, or post a review on Zomato.

2) Hashtags in every single status update – I know I’ve been guilty of this on more than one occasions I hate this show #nothingontelevision I’m bored #boredwithmylife #husbandishappy #ihatemyjob #stopdoingthis #it’s annoying

3) Bitching through your profile So you can’t stand your co-worker and you update your status message to tell us. All I’m thinking about is how I would never hire you. While there may be six degrees of separation in the real world, on Facebook there is one degree of separation. I probably know your boss, your co-worker, and the next employer that you will send your resume to. By the way, you represent your company, even on Facebook.

4) Badmouthing Your Significant Other or your inlaws Maybe he/she cheated on you, broke your heart, talked about you, left you, or you just had an argument. You created a status update to vent. Are you guilty of this? Skip directly to number 5. Rule #4 offenders should not be reading this sentence right now. So you won’t know that most of us are soooo happy that we are NOT in a relationship with someone who lacks the judgment you lack by putting your business out to the world.

5) Dear Diary

There are journals, diaries, and then there is Facebook. A lot of people confuse the two. We don’t want to hear that you can’t sleep, that you are writing a thank you card to your Aunt Shiela, that your girlfriend cheated on you, or what position you like the best. Some call it oversharing or cries for attention. Other’s call it the quickest way to get de-friended or to make us click on the “hide this person’s status updates” button. Unless you are looking for a suggestion for a sleep lab, have a greeting card business that specialises in thank you cards, or are a red light industry worker, buy a journal and make it your new bff. Update your status 722 times a day if you like. Tell it how horrible your beau was. Hell, even tell it what you had for lunch. Just do it in your journal and not on Facebook.

6) Posting personal information on someone’s wall “I’m sorry you and your wife are getting a divorce.” “I’m sorry that your mom died.” “I heard that you aren’t graduating this year.” All of these are statements that were posted on someone’s wall, instead of in a personal message or email to them. Not everyone wants to learn about a death, divorce, etc. on Facebook. Infact some people don’t even want you to share so much information online about them. Some of us prefer to hear it directly from the individual, not because you posted it on their wall.

7) Tagging somebody in a bad picture of theirs as long as you look good in it or aren’t in it. If my full body is not in the picture, please don’t tag me. If my face looks like I smelled an old sweat sock, please don’t tag me. If my arm, foot, or my left pinky is in the picture, please don’t tag me. When in doubt, delete the picture or crop me out of it.

Thank you.

Did I miss any? Feel free to leave your suggestions for Facebook violations in the comments.

Meditation by the poolside !

This year one of the resolutions I made was to spend more time on me – meditating , working out and doing yoga ! As well my usual me time at the local spas and those when I travel …

Given its mid January already I decided to kickstart my meditative journey right here at the Radisson Blu resort and spa in Alibaug. I’ve been planning on embarking on this journey since a friend of mine has been raving about how it has made him a happier , calmer and better person !

Iphone and iPad have apps that help with meditating and the one I have used is an app called the Insight Timer . (It’s free so you should definitely check it out and give it a shot).

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So this morning I woke up and headed to the beautiful poolside along with my headphones and iphone to spend some me-time . It was really refreshing and I promise to do this more often as I found it relaxing , rejuvenating and really easy to do no matter where I am travelling to !

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How many of your resolutions have you started working on ?

2014 Travel Diaries

After bringing in the new year at our house in Lonavala I was looking forward to the upcoming break in Alibaug with hubby dearest .
What better way to bring in your birthday than at a Spa resort with your partner ! Alibaug is ideal for a quick getaway especially during the ‘winter’ season in Mumbai.

About an hour by catamaran the journey culminates at the Mandwa port where the catamaran guys have a free service to take you into the main market from where you can take a rickshaw to your hotel.

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We decided to check out the Radisson Blu property in Alibaug because it came highly recommended and was fairly well priced on my favourite Booking.com

We used the catamaran services from PNP travels ( have a counter at the Gateway of India and the boats leave every 2 hours priced at ₹ 140 per person one way journey)

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Our rickshaw guy gave us his number and charged us ₹ 70 from the bus drop point till our hotel – Arif (I can share his number so inbox me !)

I can’t wait to share my experience with you ! Till then I’m going to enjoy the pool and and the good weather ! Xoxox

Hello 2014 !!

The last year was a wonderful adventure – lots of travel , the Big Fat Indian Wedding , changes , adjustments and of course spending great time with my new and old family ! I am super excited about 2014. My theme for this year is to stay positive and look at the brighter side of everything. I also made a promise to myself to stay calm and learn to believe !

Apart from the above , I have promised to do/be the following :

1. Be cool – patience , calmness & belief are key ingredients to a Happy 2014

2. Get fit – I have never been this unfit in my life and I have promised myself to take up running / walking again ( after almost a year long hiatus ).

3. Meditate – yoga & meditation will be a part of my weekly , if not daily routine.

4. Cook more – I love to cook & try new recipes and the fact that my Mr. Right is a foodie only helps ( I have an ever ready audience to showcase my ahem , skills to)

5. Paint more – Last year I took up painting and made only about 5 paintings and bought 3 wonderful pieces of art ( my 3rd acquisition is a beautiful original ‘Pichwai’ painting from Udaipur)
6. Try to be a better home maker – be more organised , planned out and work harder towards being a better host and a better wife.

7. Work harder – This year I will be launching a website , it has always been my dream to start something of my own and work on something that I am passionate about so I am super kicked about being able to inch closer to my dream .

8. Eat healthier – after a year of binging and enjoying the good & sinful foods I have promised myself to eat healthier. My friend introduced me to the loose it app during our trip to Udaipur and I started working on the app already !

9. Click more – yes I promise to use my camera more ! Follow me on instagram : @aartickapoor

10. Save more – theme for this year , post a year of wedding expenses & lots of shopping will be to save more and work towards setting out a retirement plan so that I have it ready before I hit the dreaded 30’s !

11. Read more – Running a book club with a friend is a lot of fun ! Especially when the people who are part of it are as excited about meeting up and exchanging notes on books to read as we are ! So I have resolved to read 12 new books this year ! ( totally doable I guess , even if I am travelling). Follow the book club @btbbookclub and Bound Together Bombay (Facebook)

12. Plant more trees ! – Yes I think it is time to plant more trees people ! If we plant a tree every quarter thats 4 trees per person per year ! Maybe it will help reduce the harmful effects of global warming a little.

13. Learn more – I resolve to be more open minded about learning from people around me !

14. Travel more – needless to say I always have this one on my list and I will love to share my adventures through this blog !

15. Write more ! Yes I had a very inactive year last year and I promise to be an active blogger this year !

16. Last but not the least I want to learn a language – I did a bit of French in High School and started off with Spanish , but that did not really go anywhere. So I will sign up for a do it yourself program for Spanish / Italian and try and get the basics of the language in place in 2014 !

What are your resolutions for 2014 ?

Udaipur Diaries : Staying with the Oberoi & Trident !

Having travelled to many countries globally & cities in India I have come to the conclusion that nothing beats Asian Hospitality. So we have decided that if one needs a luxurious or a comfortable holiday then one needs to look at properties in Asia & for those who want to travel for sightseeing and adventure then the world is their oyster !

Udaipur is a city of palaces . It is beautiful & scenic and offers you good food , good weather ( in winters) and the opportunity to experience & feel royal by staying with some fantastic properties. Our Udaipur experience was superb thanks to the Oberoi group and their Udaivillas & Trident properties. Luxurious , warm & very well located these 2 properties offer you just the right amount of heritage & culture along with all the modern facilities.

I felt like royalty as soon as I landed , my hotel's pick up service was fit for a princess !
I felt like royalty as soon as I landed , my hotel’s pick up service was fit for a princess !

The staff too is warm , courteous & really polite . Of course the Udai Villas is a luxurious property you must choose when you are looking to spoil yourself and the Trident ( located in the same premises) is a more reasonable & equally beautiful property.

Romantic hotels in Udaipur

Christmas in Udaipur with the Udai Villas & Trident properties
Christmas in Udaipur with the Udai Villas & Trident properties

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A picture speaks a 1000 words and I cannot agree more , so I am sharing images from our stay so you can get a taste of the Royal experience we had at these properties and hopefully it will inspire you to book a flight to Udaipur and get to these Oberoi palaces as soon as possible !

Udaipur - Trident & Udai Villas SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCMy experience was made really special by the staff – Mr. Gopal & Roop Kumar ji ( who has been associated with the property , on behalf of the Royal family for more than 40 years) when they

Peacock at Bada Mahal

picked me up from the hotel to take me to Bada Mahal for Peacock spotting and feeding ! I really felt like a princess !

We also witnessed a super romantic proposal at the jetty , while waiting for our boat for Jag Mandir and I can only say it was breathtakingly romantic. Anybody who wants to make his proposal a memorable one or plan a super romantic evening must take the help of the staff of the Oberoi Udai Villas and plan a meal for two , over looking the city & the lake.

The Royal Proposal I promise to go back and stay at Udai Villas with hubby dearest some day , it will be even better and super romantic ! Can’t wait to go back !

p.s. This was my first experience with an Oberoi / Trident property and I can only say it was perfect ! Usually a Taj loyalist I think I may have expanded my options here 😉

 

Hello 2014 !!

The last year was a wonderful adventure – lots of travel , the Big Fat Indian Wedding , changes , adjustments and of course spending great time with my new and old family ! I am super excited about 2014. My theme for this year is to stay positive and look at the brighter side of everything. I also made a promise to myself to stay calm and learn to believe !

Apart from the above , I have promised to do/be the following :

1. Be cool – patience , calmness & belief are key ingredients to a Happy 2014

2. Get fit – I have never been this unfit in my life and I have promised myself to take up running / walking again ( after almost a year long hiatus ).

3. Meditate – yoga & meditation will be a part of my weekly , if not daily routine.

4. Cook more – I love to cook & try new recipes and the fact that my Mr. Right is a foodie only helps ( I have an ever ready audience to showcase my ahem , skills to)

5. Paint more – Last year I took up painting and made only about 5 paintings and bought 3 wonderful pieces of art ( my 3rd acquisition is a beautiful original ‘Pichwai’ painting from Udaipur)

2014!!!!

6. Try to be a better home maker – be more organised , planned out and work harder towards being a better host and a better wife.

7. Work harder – This year I will be launching a website , it has always been my dream to start something of my own and work on something that I am passionate about so I am super kicked about being able to inch closer to my dream .

8. Eat healthier – after a year of binging and enjoying the good & sinful foods I have promised myself to eat healthier. My friend introduced me to the loose it app during our trip to Udaipur and I started working on the app already !

9. Click more – yes I promise to use my camera more ! Follow me on instagram : @aartickapoor

10. Save more – theme for this year , post a year of wedding expenses & lots of shopping will be to save more and work towards setting out a retirement plan so that I have it ready before I hit the dreaded 30’s !

11. Read more – Running a book club with a friend is a lot of fun ! Especially when the people who are part of it are as excited about meeting up and exchanging notes on books to read as we are ! So I have resolved to read 12 new books this year ! ( totally doable I guess , even if I am travelling). Follow the book club @btbbookclub and Bound Together Bombay (Facebook)

12. Plant more trees ! – Yes I think it is time to plant more trees people ! If we plant a tree every quarter thats 4 trees per person per year ! Maybe it will help reduce the harmful effects of global warming a little.

13. Learn more – I resolve to be more open minded about learning from people around me !

14. Travel more – needless to say I always have this one on my list and I will love to share my adventures through this blog !

15. Write more ! Yes I had a very inactive year last year and I promise to be an active blogger this year !

16. Last but not the least I want to learn a language – I did a bit of French in High School and started off with Spanish , but that did not really go anywhere. So I will sign up for a do it yourself program for Spanish / Italian and try and get the basics of the language in place in 2014 !

What are your resolutions for 2014 ?

Udaipur Diaries : Laal Mass & more !

Ok so I have no qualms admitting that food is always a really important part of my holiday. No matter where I travel to I always try to eat the local cuisine and check out the must goto spots & recommended restaurants.

While Daal baati is the most famous dish from Mewar , in my opinion it’s too heavy and after having tried it at my friend’s wedding in Indore I decided to skip it this time. On my hit list for my Udaipur trip was Lal Maas in non vegetarian & Ker sangri ki bhaji in vegetarian food. Also on my list were the following restaurants :

1. Upre  

2. Jag Mandir

3. The Bar at Udai Villas

4. Paantya at the Shiv Niwas Palace

5.Ambhrai, Amet Haveli, O/S Chandpole, Udaipur (+91 294 243 1085)

6.Café Edelweiss – European Café Street 73 Gangaur Ghat Rd 

7.Sheesh Mahal, The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur (+91 294 670 1234; www.theleela.com)

8. Palki Khana, Shiv Niwas Palace, City Palace Complex, Udaipur (+91 294 252 8016; www.hrhhotels.com

Bhairo, Taj Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, Udaipur (+91 294 242 8800;www.tajhotels.com)

I recommend making reservations before your trip as during peak season everything gets booked out ! We missed out at Udai Villas dining because it was all sold out until January 4th 2014 !!

The restaurants at Taj Lake Palace and the Sheesh Mahal are only open to resident guests so we missed out on them. We also visited Devi Garh by Lebua and I have already reviewed it. I can’t wait to review the others and share my pearls of wisdom and pictures both Va and I took during our stay. 

The Laal Maas was the best at Shiv Niwas , we tried it at Trident & Lebua as well and thought that Lebua’s version of the Laal Maas was average and too mellow and adapted to suit the western palate ( low on spice , sweeter than others and the meat was a little chewy ! ) . The Trident version we had with rice and the one at Shiv Niwas scored a 10 on our spice – o – meter and had us gulping water with every bite , yet that didn’t stop us from finishing it ( so you can imagine how good it was ! )

Our meal at Shiv Niwas was about 2000 Rs for Laal Maas + Rotis + Curd + Ker Sangri Bhaji ,  Trident was Rs 1000 for one & the Thali we enjoyed at Lebua was priced at Rs 2500 ( non veg ) & Rs 2000 ( veg) .

While we enjoyed our meals at every restaurant as each one had something unique to order I highly recommend you visit Shiv Niwas for a meal & Jag Mandir as well.

I am going to try attempting Laal Maas at home and will be happy to share the recipe I got from a friend with all who are interested !

 

Udaipur Diaries : Devi Garh ( Lebua)

On our way back from Nathdwara where we had the most amazing darshan of lord Shree Nathji we were tired & hungry and realized that it was almost 2 pm . We suddenly spotted a sign that said 1 km to Lebua Devi Garh property ( I had read about this on Trip Advisor but given it’s on the outskirts of Udaipur we did not stay here) and decided that we must pay this beautiful property a visit.

If words can describe our experience then the key terms would be – Royal , Exclusive , Beautiful & Scenic.

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For non resident guests dining at the restaurant means a minimum billing per head and average food but in my opinion this property is definitely worth a visit ( you can only visit if you have a reservation for dining here) .

As we drove up the winding slope to the fort our driver mentioned that the movie Ek Lavya was shot at this scenic property – yes the Vidya Balan – Amitabh Bachchan starer movie that had us all oohing at the scenic beauty the locale has to offer.

Devi Garh Lebua Udaipur

We were informed at the reception that one would need to have atleast Rs 3000 worth of a bill ( plus taxes) to dine at the restaurant – hungry and tired we totally decided to stop here and enjoy the experience.

The Restaurant at Lebua

The restaurant is on the first floor and offers an indoors and outdoors dining option. Given it was around 2 pm and the sun was bright we decided to stick to the indoor option , though if you like the sun the view is wonderful from the terrace.

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We decided to try their non veg & veg Thalis so that we could taste flavors of Udaipur all together in one meal !

Our host was a chatty young girl who worked abroad before getting placed at this property and we were informed that the property tends to get very cold at night ( there is no facility for electric heating here even for the suites so if you enjoy low temperature and not too much heating this maybe a good option for you to try ) .

The first course comprised of Kebabs – vegetarian and non vegetarian ( the food was served in style and the Galoti kebab was great ! ) this was served along with some fried & roasted papad and pickles.

Galoti Kebab

The main course comprised of a Thali – the non vegetarian Thali had a bowl of Lal Maas & Chicken along with Ker Sangri ki Bhaji ( typical to the region of Mewar) , Corn Bhaji , Yellow dal , Jeera Rice , Roti , Dahi and the Vegetarian one had Paneer ki bhaji additional.

The Lal Maas was average ( having eaten it the previous day at Shiv Niwas , we used that as a benchmark) . The food was not spicy at all and was made keeping a non Indian patron in mind ( though Rajasthani food is essentially known to be spicy and this is not the right meal for one who would like to enjoy the true flavours of Mewar) .

The meal was followed by Gajjar ka Halwa for the Vegetarian Thali & Gulab Jamun for the Non veg Thali . I must admit that I really enjoyed the Gulab Jamun and it did redeem the meal for me especially since Rs 2500 for a Thali of average food is not really justified by even the best view especially when the staff is over chatty and a bit annoying because they hover around and don’t know when the guests would like to be left alone.

The thing that upset us most was that the bill arrived and we were charged a flat Rs 3000 + taxes for just the food and the drinks were charged for separately , something that had not been clarified by the staff at the reception. The difference in the amount was small yet the attitude of the staff especially the manager of the restaurant was upsetting who kept arguing and then realizing our point said ok for you I will just charge as per the menu + drinks included as per cost ! This too was done in a way that left us feeling obliged for an average meal & poor staff etiquette.

All in all our experience at Lebua was average due to the staffs attitude and average food but I would still recommend you to check it out for the view !

Food to try : Galoti Kebab & Gulab Jamun , good for people who don’t like spicy food.

Food to Skip : Laal Mass & Thali or atleast specify you like the food to be spicy.

Drinks : We ordered a glass of bubbly each and they served us from a pre opened ( from the day before !! ) bottle of Sula Brut & the lady attending our table did not know how to pour it and kept on chatting along even after pouring it , which in my opinion is a big no no when it comes to bubbly !

View : Fantastic view and beautiful property

Location : Outskirts of Udaipur , good for an older couple who wants to stay in the property and not really spend too much time sightseeing .

Value for Money : 2/5 because of average food and poor staff , which is a pity for such a beautiful property and such a good brand name.