Not being active on Facebook anymore, and not being a TV watcher, the news of the tsunami hitting Japan came to me a bit later than it normally would. (I know–really stupid that I could rely on Facebook so much for the spreading of world news. I was a senior in college when a tsunami hit Southeast Asia, and I remember learning about it instantly.)

Here are some links that might prove useful if you are thinking about donating some money to the relief:

How to help earthquake victims in Japan, Pacific (The Associated Press)

Tsunami aid and relief: How you can help (CNN)

2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami – resources summary (Google Crisis Response)
FYI: You can donate money directly to the Japanese Red Cross, access a People Finder database, and see realtime updates at this site.


The same age-old adages have translations in nearly every language: Love is blind. Love makes the world go round. Love is never having to say you’re sorry. All you need is love!

Yes, the world over we agree that love is grand indeed. But the many rituals surrounding love are quite distinct, as I had the awesome fortune to witness firsthand during my two-week trip to India for a family wedding.

No, it was not an arranged marriage, but rather, a “love marriage”, which is much more common nowadays. Leading up to a Hindu marriage, the engagement is just the beginning of a long line of significant events that are part of the whole tying-the-knot process (I’m pretty sure there’s no translatable equivalent of that term, by the way). A wedding is several days long with lots of pre- and post-ceremony events of import, and the bride and groom are going through separate preparation rituals at their respective homes during much of it, with families and loved ones attending all the while.

I haven’t been to more than a handful of American weddings, but it seems like there are just a few elaborate rituals garnering comparable detail and focus: the engagement (and the ring), the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding day (singular). Everything else goes on behind the scenes and isn’t necessarily mandatory or prescribed (e.g. premarital counseling, engagement party). Other than the Big Day, family members and close friends don’t share in as much.

There’s certainly nothing intrinsically wrong with less ritual or at least less public ritual, but witnessing an Indian wedding was such a beautiful contrast (not to mention EXHAUSTING, even as a spectator!) to weddings I’ve attended here in the States. Just something to think about!

I wouldn’t say I’m a jet setter, but my day job does require travel five or six times a year. This week, however, I’m headed to India for a family wedding, and all those work trips have paid off in the way of figuring out how to make travel super easy. I’m seriously taking just one small camera bag and a small-sized duffle bag for my two-week trip. (I am checking one piece of luggage, but only for any souvenirs or items I might wanna bring back.)

Solo travel can be a bit mundane, but the upside? Well, less baggage (= less stress).

Just pack clothes…and not that many
I don’t think there’s any reason why even for a longer-ish trip I can’t fit the necessary clothing into my carry-ons (think backpack or large handbag for personal item, and a medium-size suitcase for the overhead compartment, at the most). Don’t even bother packing anything that “needs” to be checked (like liquids over a certain ounce, or razors/sharp objects) if you’re only flying domestically–for the $25 fee per bag, it’s cheaper just to buy when you get to your destination.

Bring only enough entertainment and distraction for layovers
I’m bringing three books with me, and even three seems like too much despite the 12-hour leg in the middle of the trip. As much as it would be nice to catch up on reading while getting through the flight, with no fellow travelers guaranteed to keep me entertained, I’m betting I’ll spend most of my on-plane time with my eyes shut!

Nix the fancy-schmancies and the extras
No electronics (except the camera),  no extra purses or accessories. No laptop. If there’s no work involved, taking all those extras isn’t worth the hassle.

I’ll be back from India in two weeks!!

The holidays are over. It’s hard to believe it’s 2011—for me, that means 10 year high school reunion. Yikes.

One thing’s the same for me at the start of every year: New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always been kind of obsessed. If nothing else, I think the very act of deciding on a few things to change/do creates momentum. I try to pick stuff I don’t HAVE to do every single day, and that don’t have to begin on January 1st.

What about resolutions for your love life? Hmm, to do or not to do. Well, I’ve  sworn not to overanalyze anymore (see previous post), and in that vein, this blog is definitely gonna shy away from any details of the goings-on of my personal life. But I figure a few “resolutions” can’t hurt. So here goes!

1. No more seeking out relationship advice. Especially from girlfriends. I’m a go-getter by nature, but nowhere can that impetuous need-results-now approach be more detrimental than in love. So no more hounding for advice. And if I must, I’ve gotta admit—women usually lead other women wrong. (Sorry friends! I know you meant well.)

2. Wear more tangerine. I have a good feeling about this color (it was on the rise in 2010 and will be quite popular this spring, says Glamour ). So…yeah. (Yes, I needed a simple resolution to feel accomplished.)

3. No more high heels.
Seriously, I can’t do it anymore. I think they’re the worst fashion accoutrement ever, and those who wear them will pay…sooner or later. Guess I’ll have to be creative when dressing up all 5 feet and barely 1 inch of me.

4. Read books on understanding the opposite sex. Really, who understands them? Not me! So far, the following are on my to-read list:

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The Manual by Steve Santagati (because I loved the name and it looks really funny)

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray

5. Last but not least: Rename this blog!
This blog is changing direction a bit (stay tuned to find out how…you’ll know when I do), so it needs a new name! Suggestions??

Feel free to share some of your own resolutions, love-related or not!