Diary, Inspiration, Khushwant Singh

10 Life Lessons from Khushwant Singh

I have found that sometimes I get sad for no reason. I wonder if it is a simple mood swing or if it my inner self telling me I need movement.and a lot more to life. So while I was searching for some inspiration, Khushwant Singh came to my rescue. And here is what he has to say. Although it is predominantly leading one to accept death, there are very valuable lessons about life too here. And when I look at my life, I find i have not done /am not doing ANY of the items on the list. While it is late for resolution, a bucket list is never late. I am going to try to tick of as many of these as possible by the end of  2014. Lets see.

“I’ve lived a reasonably contented life. I’ve often thought about what it is that makes people happy—what one has to do in order to achieve happiness.

  •         First and foremost is good health. If you do not enjoy good health, you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct something from your happiness.
  •         Second, a healthy bank balance. It need not run into crores, but it should be enough to provide for comforts, and there should be something to spare for recreation—eating out, going to the movies, travel and holidays in the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be demoralising. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one’s own eyes.
  •         Third, your own home. Rented places can never give you the comfort or security of a home that is yours for keeps. If it has garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, and cultivate a sense of kinship with them.
  •         Fourth, an understanding companion, be it your spouse or a friend. If you have too many misunderstandings, it robs you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to be quarrelling all the time.
  •         Fifth, stop envying those who have done better than you in life—risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.
  •         Sixth, do not allow people to descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.
  •         Seventh, cultivate a hobby or two that will fulfil you—gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks, or to meet celebrities, is a criminal waste of time. It’s important to concentrate on something that keeps you occupied meaningfully. I have family members and friends who spend their entire day caring for stray dogs, giving them food and medicines. There are others who run mobile clinics, treating sick people and animals free of charge.
  •        Eighth, every morning and evening devote 15 minutes to introspection. In the mornings, 10 minutes should be spent in keeping the mind absolutely still, and five listing the things you have to do that day. In the evenings, five minutes should be set aside to keep the mind still and 10 to go over the tasks you had intended to do.
  •         Ninth, don’t lose your temper. Try not to be short-tempered, or vengeful. Even when a friend has been rude, just move on.
  •         Above all, when the time comes to go, one should go like a man without any regret or grievance against anyone.  Iqbal said it beautifully in a couplet in Persian: “You ask me about the signs of a man of faith? When death comes to him, he has a smile on his lips.”  

         – Khushwant Singh

b-by-b, blogger, Blogging, blogging essentials, brick by brick, content creation, wordpress

Blogging: 8 Essentials of Blogging – PART 2

Part 2 is here ..

This is the continuation of this post. The 2nd part of the 8 essentials of blogging. We have looked at the first 4 aspects already:

  • The groundwork
  • The posts 
  • The platform
  • Blog name and title

And,as of now we have some content created, we have chosen our platform and decided on a name & title. The next steps would be to fix on the visual & design aspects of the blog. We will look at the elements, their Layout, themes etc and also discuss a little bit of blog promotion.

The Elements –  Any blog will need a few elements for E.g: Header,About  Page,Contact page/on sidebar, posts section, etc. These are basic elements and must be present on every blog. If you choose to monetise your blog, it will help to have spots for advertisements and commercial display too. Enough attention needs to be paid to these elements and their content should be created carefully. A good header image will serve to set the visual tone of the blog. About page is where the purpose of the blog is described, and a connection with the audience is established. A contact page is essential to allow your readers/ advertisers to contact you. Of course, the post section is where all your blog posts go. Now it is very important to keep the data in all these sections crisp and coherent. 

The Appearance-The layout of the elements discussed above need to be  in locations that will keep the visual flowing. For Example, the pages follow the header followed by the posts with the contact details on the side bar at the same level as the posts, or,  the pages also are on the sidebar,etc. Both WordPress and BLogger allow for a lot of customisation in Layout depending on your need. The other important aspect of the appearance is the theme  of the blog – The background image, the colour scheme and the image formatting etc needs to be in consistent and in line with the blog positioning. For WordPress blogs, there are a whole host of free and paid themes which are clean and neat to look at while keeping visual appeal. If you have a paid account with WordPress, you could also use themes from the web. Blogger too has  a lot of ready made themes available for free & on the web. Some of the WordPress themes are also customised for blogger and are available with a little bit of searching.
The pictures- These are a very important part of your posts. Creating interesting graphics and clean images is essential to creating and keeping the readers interest in the blog. It has now become all the more important in the context of the new social sites with a focus on sharing pictures: Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter & Facebook as well. THere fore creating good images and collages are quite essential. There are a lot of options, paid and online, to help enhance images or create graphics.Photoshop is the best out there but asks for a budget while allowing for a huge possibilities for graphics creation and image manipulation. There are free online resources too(piktochart,picmonkey,gimp,etc.) that one can use to create really nice pictures. ANd for those using phones for pictures the list of apps is endless.

Blog Promotion-Promotion is a really important aspect of blogging. Before there is a community created for your blog, the blog must be discovered. A reader must be established. And promotion is key to that aspect. Email lists, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc are all good places to start. Also, it is important to generate content that individual to the medium, apart from simply posting links to the blog there. If your blog is centered on Recipes, instagram pictures of a simple breakfast that turned yummy, although the recipe is not necessarily on your blog, and it is fairly well known.You could, at a later date, create content for this picture on your blog. On twitter engage in a discussion about a topic, and then write a post including comments from the discussion and along with your research on the topic. This serves a lot of purposes – engages your readers, helps with content, promotes blog, and increases your presence in the community. 
And that makes it all eight. The 8 essentials of blogging are now explained and clear I hope. So those who have been putting off that blog just because you could not figure out where to start, I hope this helps.Also, here is Map to chart out your blogging path:

While writing these 2 posts, I realised the 8 aspects are actually topics in themselves. I struggled to keep the posts at readable length. At a later date, do expects posts with more concentration on these individual elements to help clarify how best to use them.
Until later then.
b-by-b, blogger, Blogging, blogging essentials, brick by brick, wordpress

Blogging: 8 Essentials of Blogging – PART 1

Here comes the first post of the series – getting started with the blog. That you have decided on starting a blog, here are some pointers on the basics of blogging & its construction – Brick-by brick.  This post will concentrate on :
The groundwork– Once you have decided that you are going to start a blog, it is important to decide what the nature and focus of the blog will be. It could be one of many: a diary sharing your life story, or it could be a craft blog, where you show people your skills, or it could be a How-to blog, or may be a blog to support your business, or even a simple outlet where you vent out your feelings. You need to decide the nature of the blog. This will help you narrow the focus of the blog and give a specific purpose.This will also help you to identify your SEO keywords for the blog
The posts– Any blogger will tell you this with conviction: Content is King. And Queen and  Jack and everything of blog. Work with commitment towards creative quality content with regularity. Create content with value for the readers  to have them coming back. In order to keep your readers engaged is to create content that will provide a takeback to them. Creating a post schedule and sticking to it will help. Make a blog calender and schedule your posts and blogging activities. There are a lot of blog planners available online. Use those  for starters.
The platform-There are a lot of options here:  Wordpress, Blogger, TypePad are a few popular ones. Running you own website is also an option. Blogger and WordPress are very easy places to start if you are a newbie. They offer a lot of options in terms of themes, widgets, ease of organising and publishing while still being free.
Blog name and title– Now  it time to fix on a Blog name. Try to keep the name based on your blog subject.  For eg. Food lovers haven, Story of a Ranch Wife, Crochet & Quill etc. And it is best if the link of the blog is the same as the title. If it is not exactly possible, atleast centre it around the title. If the blog is a professional/business blog, it would be good to purchase a domain and have a .com, .in, .org, .us site for your site.  If you are just setting out on your blogging journey, then you may start with blogspot.com/wordpress.com as offered by both these sites
So yes, these are the first 4 of the eight essentials.  The second will soon follow and will cov 
  • The Elements – Header.About  Page.  Contact page/on sidebar.
  • The Appearance-Theme. Colour coordination and choices. Layouts
  • The Pictures- creating graphics. Photoshop.Gimp.Picmonkey.Piktographics
  • Blog Promotion- Facebook,pinterest,twitter,Instagram,google+.

 See you soon with more !!
b-by-b, blogger, Blogging, blogging essentials

A New series starting!!

Woot Woot!! Make way all you fabulous people! Awesomeness heading your way!

All of you who are reading this blog and wondering if you should start one of your own, there is super news for you. And for those who have already taken the plunge but are looking for bits of help and tips, it is for you too.Newbies, you’ll love this.

Love what? A whole new series here: Brick By Brick. Posts that offer generous servings of help on blogging. Topics range from content creation, to blog elements, to writer’s block , to great blogging resources and whole lot more.Tips, treats, freebies – all coming your way !!

Friday is the day. You can expect your weekly dose of B-by-B. Every friday, starting with the coming one, one aspect of blogging will come your way. One aspect simplified for you.

Now, while I have my schedule for this, I prefer to address your needs first and so any request for posts, any topics to be covered, any questions, please post on the comments. I will cover as many as I can , either by replies, or if the topic warrants, a whole post by itself!!

Count your days down, Friday is just round the corner!!

p.s: First post is out !! Here :)!


Luscious lips in a box ….

When I was a kid, I had gone to visit a cousin , and on her dresser I found something that I still drool over .. it  was a big bright box with lace and ribbon, and guess what it was filled with – LIPSTICKS !!!!

Oh how I swooned over it.. A big box filled with various brands, lots of colors – lovely smooth jewels.. Filled a little carelessly, with lipsticks.. almost brimming with beauty.. OMG.. I vowed to have something like it one day, and started quietly collecting lipsticks.. and now I can easily say I have a lot more than that box, but that was my inspiration. I still keep my lipsticks like that box, a bit messy a bit like a pile.. and when I want to find one .. its not so easy, but hey, its my Box.
Oflate, my lip balms, glosses, lip liners and even some cotton( i have no idea why) has found its way into the box ..and its brimming and pouring over.. So i have some of its contents ( my Fav ones ofcourse) out, for a photo session .. Well,thats actually my way of cleaning the box . When i actually look at the pile, i am getting the feeling its high time i find some method to sort this out .. May be smaller ( yet pretty) boxes .. or a stack of mini drawers.. I dont know yet.. but definitely must do something to keep these better .. Humph!
Here’s a picture of some of my favorite lip products. More clear pictures and swatches will follow soon!!
Beauty, Eyes, Kajal, Lakme

The cousin – Eyeconic Kajal!

The lovely cousin of a another super product of the same line : The Lakme Eye-conic Curling Mascara.  And i love this one too !

I bought this together with the Mascara and the 2 are a deadly duo. Dead Black. That’s what they are. And they are so easy to apply. The Kajal is very soft and totally smudge proof. It just glides on the eyeline and leaves a very definitive finish.

 Me Likes .

Just like the mascara, the Lakme Eye-conic kajal too is intensely black and butter smooth. Whats more, it lasts for 10 hrs straight! Super! But wait, there is more! It is smudge proof, waterproof , and dermatologically tested ,  so its super safe .. apart from super awesome that is !

As usual, it needs to do its job for my work day.. the long and dreary types.. and last its actual 10 hrs .. but i am yet to test that bit out.. for now, i am rejoicing in its rich black outline. I am gonna give you some pictures later, when i find myself an official photographer ( read husband in his free-time) and get the lighting right..For now, here’s a pic of the product.

And again, at Rs.199 only !!