Action Replay + Gratitude List: February 2018

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The shortest month of the year also turned out to be one of the best months that I've had in a long time. As quickly as it passed, it left me with a lot of smiles and contentment. Professionally, I was very busy with work and for a couple of days I had to stay up at night to continue working. The current project I'm a part of at work, gives me time to pursue my hobbies as well. While the work is good and peaceful, occasionally there is a hitch and I have to stretch and figure things out. This happens very rarely, so I don't mind it at all. I learnt to love my job a few years ago and since then I have never complained about it. I am a workaholic and give more than 100% to my job. But that doesn't mean that I neglect my personal life. I give a 100% to both of it but if a day comes when I have to choose work over something personal, I'll go ahead and do it. My job has given me everything that I have today, I can never forget that.

Health has been good since the time we made a lifestyle change and stuck to it. We've been eating healthy and working out regularly. Ever since I hurt my back five years ago, trying to do a cartwheel, I have stayed away from yoga. Now, slowly, I have been getting back to it. Flexibility has gone for a toss and I'm struggling with balance as well. I've gotten better since the day I started and hopefully, I will soon be back to how I was before. While the intent is also to lose weight, most importantly it is to get my hormones back in control and keep PCOD at bay. I have modified my diet to include more fresh vegetables and protein. I have almost totally given up on rice too and include millets as part of my regular diet now. I still use rice in making idli and dosas though. The South-Indian in me can't do without them.

I have also started doing a weekly meal prep now. Every Sunday I stock up my fridge and pantry and prepare a meal plan for the week ahead. Since I cook all the three meals at home, I like to keep it fresh and simple. I hate cooking in bulk and storing it in the fridge. Apart from dosa batter and chapati dough, I barely stock any cooked thing. I like to freshly make food and serve it hot immediately. Thankfully, by now I know how to cook exactly for two and rarely do we have any left-overs.

Reading was good this month too. In January, I read 8 books. In Feb, I outdid myself and read 9 of them. This was again a mix of paperbacks and ebooks. I started February continuing to read 'Persepolis' and I loved the book. It is never easy to read about war, but when it is illustrated so beautifully and has a woman as the protagonist it gets easier. I read the classic 'Pride And Prejudice' and hated it. Nothing about the book connected with me and I hated every female character in the book. Maybe, had I read this book years ago, I might have liked it. 'My Cousin Rachel' was a delightful read. After 'Rebecca' I never thought I'd read another book of Daphne Du Maurier because I wanted her to only be associated by Rebecca. But Rachel was a lovely mysterious character as well. 'The Wife Between Us' was an interesting read and the twists and turns in the book had me hooked. 'Moby-Dick' was a really long read and I actually skipped ahead when there was too much talk about the anatomy of whales and the ships. In the end, it was an okay book with an okay enough moral.

'The Perils Of Being Moderately Famous' was a breezy read and nothing great. Soha Ali Khan's writing style is good and the language used is brilliant, but apart from that it just comes across as a half-hearted autobiography. But, with a fitting tribute to her famous parents. 'The Diary Of A Young Girl' was a poignant read and I so wish that I had read this book while growing up. It would have given me more strength and vision. I recently discovered that the James Bond series were originally books by Ian Fleming and I found some of their ebooks. Did you know that 'Casino Royale' was the first book where Bond was introduced? It only made it to a movie recently. I loved this book and Bond is described so stylishly that you cannot help but lust after him. Love? Well, maybe as an after thought. I ended my reading for this month with 'A Man Called Ove'. This was a book that stirred something within me. You can read what I felt about it here.

Writing was pretty decent this month too and I also ended up discovering many new blogs. Good ones I mean. These days everyone is a blogger with zero content to back their work, but when you find a space with delightful content that speaks to you, it feels so refreshing. Earlier, I stuck to reading only a few blogs of people I knew very well. In February, I realized how interesting it is to read the views of a stranger and connect with them on a certain level.

Since I've started making gratitude lists from this year, here's what I'm thankful for in February:

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~ My job: Nothing else in the world will give me the satisfaction that my work does.

~ Books: 'A Man Called Ove' in particular for teaching me so much about life and kindness yet again.

~ Music: I recently went back to listening to music regularly and realized what I had been missing so far.

~ Consistency: It is not easy to choose a healthy lifestyle and not slip once in a while. I have stayed pretty consistent with my diet and workouts.

~ Small Celebrations: It is important to celebrate small joys. We did this by ordering a dozen donuts and letting our diet slip once. We did make up for it by working out extra the next day.

~ Meal Prep: This is one of the best things I've done recently. Since the menu for the week is planned, everything is sorted and I do not have to waste time deciding what to cook.

~ Local Markets: Since I work full-time, I usually shop for groceries on my way back from work at a super-market close to my apartment. I didn't know how pricey they were until my husband took me to a local market over a weekend. I went crazy there! The freshest of vegetables and fruits at less than half the price that I used to pay earlier. Needless to say, my fridge is stocked for more than two weeks now.

~ Love: Find someone who makes you fall in love with them every single day. And stay there. Like I've always said, falling in love is not important, staying in love is.

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How was your February?

Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.

20 comments:

  1. and How I love your colorful instagram stories on healthy eating!

    Girl! I envy you for such productivity with reading, working and everything. LOL. Nevertheless, there is so much to learn from you.

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    1. Thank you, dear Poonam.

      I've pushed myself and worked really hard to get there. You will too, someday :)

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  2. Such a lovely month you had and so nice to read it. Love how well you balance your professional and personal life and the number of books you read. O re baba. :) That meal prep thing is so sensible. I do it regularly too. I have no choice since I pack 2 dabbas each for the kids and they look forward to what I pack daily. :)
    I enjoy cooking and luckily have a househelp coming in the evening to chop veggies. Then it becomes a breeze. I loved A Man Called Ove and knew you would love it as well. Heading to read your review now. And wish you a fabulous March, dear girl!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rachna. Always with many other bloggers, you also have been a strong motivation for me.

      I love cooking too and it is very important for me to cook healthy fresh meals everyday. Meal prep has helped me so much!

      Thank you for recommending the book and wishing you a healthy happy March as well :)

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  3. Weekly meal prepping is a golden habit. It totally takes the stress out of that what-to-cook issue. Also, what a joy to see all the ingredients fresh and waiting! I am grateful for my local market, too!

    That's a lot of reading in Feb, Soumya! And great choice too!

    I feel so happy to read that you love your job--it is the ideal special place to be!

    There's something about switching to a healthy lifestyle that dissolves stress, no?

    Hugs and thank you for linking up.

    P.S.: Haven't had a doughnut in years!

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    1. Tell me about it! Suddenly everything feels so good and clear. Hair and skin look and feel much better, mind is more sorted and what not! Wonder why I didn't do it before!

      Thank you for teaching me so much about gratitude :)

      Maybe we'll share one, someday.

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  4. A nice positive month, with an exhaustive reading list.. Cant help it, my eyes just stayed glued onto what you read. In comparison, my reading was quite poor this month. Speaking of health, it finally boils down to that bit of discipline of eating right and working put too. Somewhere I aint that disciplined when it comes to working out. Must be at it! Hoping your March stays the same way, more reading, better health and happier days too.

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    1. Reading has become vital for me for every month. Keeps me sane :)

      Thank you Ramya and wishing you a very happy and healthy March as well.

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  5. This made for such a heartwarming read, Soumya :) I am going to message you for specific meal prep tips, since I more or less started meal planning but haven't stuck to it for more than 15 days. Would love anything that you can share.

    So glad to see the reading spree! It's been a good month and I hope March is even better!

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    1. Thank you so much, Shy! I'll share the meal-prep I make for next week with you. Hope it helps :)

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  6. First, I am so glad we spoke. How concerned you were Soumya, that did break a knot in me. That advice you have given me about finance, to always have a fund in place even though I am not working at the moment is a golden advice. I have heard it from my mom and Mother-in-law only. That was like listening to a 'big sister' I never had.

    I love how much you love your work. When I read your posts about work, I know I miss mine. However, it was my choice to straighten things at home first and then take up a job again (which I know is going to be difficult considering the break).

    You are in a reading marathon and I love the book list you share and of course the reviews. I am glad to have Kindle too(thanks to you,no?) and it makes the reading all the more easy for me.

    I don't prefer buying anything from the supermarket. The fruits there are seedless and most super markets have most lentils rebranded. I don't trust them. I prefer local shops and the best place for veggies here are Triplicane and Mylapore (makes the trip there worth it). I prefer fresh. However, I think I will ask you specifically about the diet.

    I was shocked to read you hurt your back while Trying a cartwheel. I really hope it is better today than what it was when it happened. It must have been a thrilling experience to try. My sister does it often and I am just wheeling the cartwheel(a bout of laughter follows my trials).

    I also hope these lifestyle changes are helping keep the PCOD at bay! I am not aware of the actual issues except weight gain and irregular menstrual cycle. I hope it is just that and nothing more than that.

    Love you and hugs! Hoping I select the publish properly today!

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    1. Wow, Jay, thank you so much for this wonderful comment. I know you had to do it twice so thank you again <3

      I've been called a lot of things, but 'big sister' is a first. I shared shared my experience with you. As a feminist, be prepared for some more.

      I'm so glad you are loving the Kindle. It does make things easy with a baby around. My back is fine now, but I still have to gain the strength to go back to doing a cartwheel someday.

      Oh yes! The lifestyle changes are helping me immensely. The issues are a plenty, but it is getting better now.

      Lots of love to you! <3 <3

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  7. Did you get my comment? *worried now*

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  8. Thats a lovely month you have had, made me wonder f I need to work more on my organizing skills ( which is what I worry about always) I have been running around for getting things done and spreading awareness and my reading and writing gets a very bad hit. I sure should make some mending done on my time management skill....learning consistency from you

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    1. Thank you, Menaka. It takes a while to get consistent, but once you get there it is a beautiful place :)

      All the best!

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  9. What a lovely chatty post to read today Soumya; loved your remark about connecting and reading others whose content speaks to you - I have been enjoying my reading since a year now and make it a point to read up every person who stops by too.
    I love the idea of a meal menu for the week - I need to take a leaf outta your book and do this; I end up procrastinating on the cooking every day and half the times end up eating junk; despite all my intentions to eat healthy!
    Staying in love is the thing to be at in life and it connects very deeply with me; lovely ending to a beautiful post!
    Stay blessed and hope march is equally marvellous :-)

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    1. Thank you, Shalini!

      Wishing you an amazing March as well :)

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  10. What a lovely month you had, Soumya! How many books are you finishing up? I envy you for that. Most of the times my reading gets distracted with my kids books and end up reading only 1 or 2 books from my list.
    I would like to do the meal prep for the week plan. It would help in saving a lot of precious time.
    Wishing you a great March! :)

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    1. Thank you, Vinitha. Try the meal prep, it makes life so simple :)

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