The Mind is its Own Place


Sharing moments of optimism and inspiration. Enjoy.

Social Media is Magical

I’ll be the first to admit…I’m addicted to social media. It’s baffling how connected everyone can be at a given time. All you need is a common interest. You can converse and share information with people you’d never be able to otherwise.

Allow me to exemplify first-hand excitement:

During the holidays of 2009, my family fell in love with this awesome, hilarious video: 12 Days of Christmas, Indian version. It was produced by someone with the alias BoyMongoose, a comedic Indian Christmas Popstar who remakes carols. (Over 5k subscribers and 8,784,288 views).

My cousins and I loved it so much that a bunch of us got together a couple times before Christmas day to plan and rehearse a flash mob to surprise the rest of our family. Choreographed steps and all, we carried the operation through flawlessly (sort of). Our family loved the surprise! All of this is typical of our family—but when we posted our video on YouTube to share, guess who commented and liked our video? None other than BoyMongoose! We uploaded 2009, he commented in 2010, and we just noticed the comment last week. His props:

"hey i can’t believe you went to that much effort. that was brilliant."

Social media rewards action. By taking the time to actually put something out there, we were suddenly on a viral video producer’s radar—even if it was just for a moment. Of course, our intention was just to have family fun but the magic of social media helped us catch the eye of the one who inspired us to begin with. Thanks BoyMongoose!

I’ll leave you with our video — started shaky, ended strong:

Just Call me Padma Lakshmi..

…I actually cooked something! And it tasted delicious (roommates can testify). And no, not slapped some cheese on a tortilla. Or poured some sauce on some pasta. I actually created something out of fragment ingredients, blended them together and baked it to perfection. This is certainly an exciting first—of many more I hope.

I followed this awesome recipe for Spinach, Mushroom, & Ricotta Stuffed Shells-- (Shout out to Food Blogger Tessa for introducing me to this dish and making it sound completely unintimidating.)

I’d also like to thank my mom for handing me a package of giant shells - though I, at first, had no idea what to do with it.

Naturally I recorded the production:

started with coating the baking dish with marinara sauce. Simple:food

Then, boiled the pasta, per package instructions.

Meanwhile, chop up mushrooms..

Measured 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (the clock is not accurate).

Ditto with 1/2 of 15oz container of part-skim Ricotta cheese:

Combined chopped spinach (2 cups) and basil (2 tablespoons) and above ingredients together with 1/2 cup mozzarella:

Mix and spoon the mixture into the giant shells (this part makes me feel legit):

Bake for 10 min. Then on high for 2 min until brown:

And voila!

Roomies caught red handed sneaking more!

A fascinating find…

Letters are one of those life’s charming simplicities from which our generation and generations to come are rapidly outgrowing.

In fact, it’s coming to the point where hand written letters are becoming out of sight, out of mind. It wasn’t until I came across this archive blog of historical “Letters of Note" that I remembered how much more personal, and  thoughtful tangible written letters are than emails/messages/IMs.

The above note is a letter of praise from Audrey Hepburn to musical composer Henri Missini after hearing his musical score for Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Dear Henry,

I have just seen our picture – BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S – this time with your score.

A movie without music is a little bit like an aeroplane without fuel. However beautifully the job is done, we are still on the ground and in a world of reality. Your music has lifted us all up and sent us soaring. Everything we cannot say with words or show with action you have expressed for us. You have done this with so much imagination, fun and beauty.

You are the hippest of cats – and the most sensitive of composers!

Thank you, dear Hank.

Lots of love

Though hand-written messages and awaiting letters in the mail has transformed into pokes and tags on Facebook, emails, recommendations on LinkedIn, and reviews that swim among thousands of blogs, it’s nice that we can use the same platform to store a fascinating archive of historical letters as well.

Photo credit: LettersofNote

The art of minimalism

This is a piece of minimalist art recently discovered from the mid-1960s. SF Weekly recently featured this long lost piece, and explained:

"Minimalist artists in this period aimed "to take art to its most fundamental basic existence," Garrels says, by removing as much as possible from their pieces while still preserving an aesthetic of beauty."

Minimalism is my way of life.

I try to own as little as possible, eat just enough to satisfy my hunger. Maybe it has to do with my inability to splurge—but if I had a million dollars, I would only buy just enough to live a comfortable—at most upgraded—lifestyle. It’s pretty simple: I get overwhelmed easily. Having too much to choose from, an excess of anything triggers an uncontrollable anxiety. To me, less is always more—in deeper ways.

But first, to clarify:

Though I admire gurus and Hindu saints or Amish who are so committed to their  religion to isolate themselves from society only to test their self-endurance by barely surviving on absolute essentials—that is not the form of minimalism I’m talking about.

I’m talking about a 21st century, reasonable, secular minimalism.

Choosing to de-clutter and minimize the physicality of life goes a long way and produces more in the long run. Having less to focus on in the physical world leaves you more internal space to work on your inner being. By eliminating and cutting out the excess, your internal conflicts will lessen to the point of clarity.

It’s amazing how much satisfaction you can feel from challenging yourself to make the most out of very little. Finding ways to take simple things and make them versatile gives you an extremely deeper feeling of self-worth than working with an abundance.

It makes sense why some might consider minimalists as old fashion, rejecting the excess of information brought out by the technology age. After all, our 6-way virtual outlets (Social media, email, p2p, eCommerce, online resources, etc.) could easily trigger that overwhelming anxiety. But, it’s not about its mere existence in the world wide web. It’s about how you approach this access to limitless information—it can still be reasonably minimalistic. One minimalist blog mentions how an iPhone can be minimalist tool. You can consciously use virtual information to cut out the excess notepads, CDs, magazines, etc. that often lay around. But of course, the challenge remains: you have to maintain a resistance to the desire of more than you need.

On the above topic of self-worth—I think getting rid of all the materialistic surplus of stuff does boost your confidence in a much more lasting, and deeper way than something short-lived and superficial like a shiny new mustang would or a 4th pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. Stripping yourself of all of the excess forces you to be comfortable with your inner being.

So, living a minimalistic lifestyle is more than just being economical about the things you buy. Just like the minimalist grid from the 1960s above, the challenge is to cut out as much as possible while still holding your own and persevering a satisfying existence.

Photo Credit: SF Weekly

Corinne Bailey Rae

—Paris Nights/New York Mornings

dreaming of ..Paris Nights & New York Mornings <3

{ThisisGlamorous}: Plausible Perfect Fiction

. . . as am currently writing to you on a blanket {with books & a cute boy} in the sunshine, it is, admittedly, in the summertime, a little more difficult to get things done, especially while traipsing around in a work-wear wardrobe that includes silk blouses and linen blazers, easy dresses and perfect pencil skirts … there is more time for terraces and stops for gelato, sparkling drinks and leisurely walks, and most of all, taking in the soft and hazy moments of summer in the city …

It is my belief that roséline, editor & creative director  of {ThisisGlamorous} might as well be made of cotton candy. Contrary to the exquisite perfection of her entire site, her life can’t be perfect. But, I absolutely adore her ambition to depict a world where beauty, fashion, class, perfection, and bliss is attainable all at once—void of the realistic and inevitable pitfalls of life. Her photographers are magical. This may be a stretch…but I think such idealistic and impeccable blogs deserve their own sub-genre of plausible perfect fiction.

Plausible—because the figments are derived from pieces of real life.
Perfect—because there is nothing short of this in her world.
Fiction—because it’s too beautiful to be real.

Photo credit: {ThisisGlamorous}