Saturday, September 29, 2018

5 things that I learnt from #MyFriendAlexa for my blog's health!

All through September I read some 200ish blogs, shared them on Twitter, wrote 10 blogs myself (my average earlier was 2-3 blogs a month) and I have to admit that it was very frustrating or tiring at times to meet the criteria of mandatory reading and commenting on blogs daily. But I did it! I pushed myself and I saw great results! Here is what I learnt in short -

1. Reading other blogs is as important as writing yourself.

We totally love getting comments and views on our blog articles. That's the case with everyone right, everyone likes to get some e-love! So don't be a miser with sharing other's articles and commenting on them. Because, it helps you better your Alexa ranking! Yeah, you read it right. This is something I wasn't aware of. You leave some digital footprint, plus you get to leave your name, email and blog URL too. Maybe the blog on whom you commented, will come visit your blog to reciprocate?

2. Commit to your blog - be consistent.

As I mentioned earlier, thanks to being a working mother, my blog was not a priority and I wasn't consistent. Would only write when there was a campaign or I wanted to review something. But after being a part of Blogchatter's campaign I realised how important it is to be consistent - atleast 2 blogs a week. Even your readers would stick around this way, or else they will loose interest. So now I totally plan to have a month's plan in advance on what I should write on. If you do not have enough content you could write a micro-story, poem or even put up a photo-blog. I saw many people do that. Think of it like you'd be dedicated to your partner and call them daily or meet them every weekend - same treatment to your blog.

3. There are so many topics to write on - lot of inspiration out there.

When I had to read 10 blogs a day, I was mind blown to see the creativity out there. The different topics people write on. Fiction, poetry, photo blogs, DIY's, recipes, experiences, travel. I was totally inspired by a few pieces and took notes to write my own blogs on for instance - 30 things that make me happy or break my travel escapades into parts so that they could be a lot more detailed. So if you have a writer's block, go read a few blogs and be inspired!

4. Don't make your blog just a sponsored portal or full of ads

I'll be honest with you. My blog used to be a very heavily sponsored content portal. Most of the articles I wrote were sponsored reviews or campaigns or contests. When I came across similar blogs written by others - I found it quite irritating. I did not feel like reading them or commenting on them and that got me thinking - Why would anyone want to come on my blog and read my sponsored updates or share/comment on them? I haven't monetised by blog by having ads on them yet, but other blogs which had a lot of ads - I found them very irritating too! So hence, I plan to have a lot more non-sponsored content on my blog. Promise.

5. Add easy-sharing widgets and maintain SEO friendliness

My blog had a in-built share widget but it did not have many options for instance adding my twitter handle to it. Thanks to #MyFriendAlexa I explored many widgets and enhanced the shareability of my blog. Now anytime someone shares my blog alteast I know about it on Twitter! I also learnt many SEO lessons and technical details about blogs. There is a lot of algorithm going on!

Thank you Blogchatter.

Monday, September 24, 2018

How to exit a whatsapp group without making it awkward!

If you're from India and are a part of dozens of WhatsApp groups like "My Family", "Cuzins", "Chaddi-Buddies", "Friends Foreva"and so on... And then one fine day it just gets too much. Someone you don't really like a lot said something irritating/repulsive/borderline demeaning or someone new got added to the group whom you never liked, or the oldies of the family are now a part of the earlier youngsters-only group. You want OUT! But how to get yourself out of this without coming in focus and getting phone-calls or being gossiped about or being asked WHY when you next meet. Here are some tips -

1. The good old "I had to format my phone" -
This always works, exit the group and when anyone asks, reply after a day or so saying phone got formatted, lost all backup yada yada.. No-one can say anything except that you are a li'l technologically challenged. Someone who is extra smart from your group might challenge your explanation - after all if you use the same number to log into WhatsApp again, you stay in the groups - just that you might not have the backup of your chats if you didn't take them. But, this reason works with the older people definitely. ;)

2. The wait is worth it -
Do NOT immediately quit the group when something happened that provoked you to. It looks like a teenager type move then. Instead, wait, hold that grudge, and leave after a couple of days - under another pretext like too many groups or busy with work/studies or something else. That way, noone will link your leaving the group with someone is specific.

3. Ask an admin friend to "remove you" -
Can't get yourself to be the one to exit? Ask any admin who's your buddy or knows you well to remove you. They may have removed you accidentally or may be angry with you (you could cook up a fake argument maybe). That way, it's not on you!

4. Say you're on a "social-media vrat" or as we call it, detox -
This is another popular one, where you have a long message sent to the group, before you hit "EXIT GROUP" button. Something along the lines - "It was great to be a part of this group, but I am taking a digital detox for a few weeks. Shall be back soon. Take care...!!" - And voila! People will not ask anything.

5. Follow the sheep -
Always keep an eye out for someone else to leave the group. If you spot 1-2 people leave the group, just follow the suit. Preferably at odd hours. This way, the one who exited first will be blamed for provoking others to mimic the action, plus because there are more than one, people won't ask too many questions.

Well, these are some tips, hopefully useful. Of-course there is the other way of just being honest to the face and telling the people you dislike being on the group and leave it - AT YOUR OWN RISK!

'I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter'

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Law of Attraction for Parents - A Must Read!

The Law of Attraction is a Powerful Universal energy bringing you more of whatever it is that is going on within you, this includes your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. If we understand how this Law works we can use it for great success and fulfillment in our families, jobs, and careers.

As Parents, the first thing you need to understand is that ‘Example’ is not the best way, it is, in fact, the only way to teach your children. So in order to bring about any positive change in your children, you have to yourself commit to using these principles in your life religiously.

Here are 5 ways Parents can use the Law of Attraction to positively influence their children and promote the well-being of the family.

1. Meditate together: As the Dalai Lama said, If every child was taught to meditate, we would not have any wars in the world. Sit in silence daily as a family. The golden rule is if your child is 4 years, meditate together for 4 minutes, if he is 5 years, meditate for 5 minutes and so on daily. Breathe deeply and fully. This is a great way to energize your body and cleanse your Aura. Ask the children if they observed any negative thoughts or feelings while sitting in silence. Encourage them to speak about it and teach them the importance of forgiving everybody and everything.

2. Be happy: In order to raise a successful kid, first, ensure that He or she is a Joyful kid. The Law of Attraction always emphasizes on ‘feeling good’ as the essential key to boosting your ability to Attract and Manifest what you desire. The home should always be a happy place. Challenges will come, it is important however for Parents to remain calm and always expect good things to happen to them. This is a Winning mindset and when they observe parents always holding on to their faith and hoping for the best, children will begin to develop this mindset too. The Family can together repeat, “Only good happens to us”

3. Use positive words: Your words should be such that they inspire and encourage, not hurt and humiliate. Remember, your intentions are no good if your children feel unwanted and rejected. Every word you speak carries energy. Positive words will create positive thoughts, which in turn create positive vibrations. Law of Attraction says You can only Manifest your desires if you are in a positive vibration. So make sure you speak to each other at home with love and respect. As you do this, you will see your children doing the same and grow up to be confident, intelligent adults who can think clearly and stay focused.

4. Appreciation tool: According to the Law of Attraction, the more you observe what’s working for you, the more you begin to draw all things good and desirable. Spend 5 minutes daily at night with your children talking about what went right in the day. Make it fun and light. Encourage each other to talk about the best thing that happened in the day. This can actually help us to break away from the victim mentality and do away with the tendency to blame and find faults. This exercise will help the family develop an attitude of Appreciation, an essential key to powerful Manifestation.

5. Power of I CAN: The Law of Attraction says, If you really want to Achieve something, you got to believe that You can. Teach children about the importance of believing they are powerful creators. Encourage them to dream big. As a family, together with practice speaking the language of I CAN. Whenever someone wishes to do something, let them mentally and verbally repeat, I CAN DO IT. When done regularly, this exercise will raise their vibration and remove thoughts of self-doubt and fear.

-Dr. Karishma Ahuja 
Founder –Mastermind Training | LOA expert
A woman of power and passion, Dr. Karishma Ahuja is a renowned Law of Attraction trainer, hypnotherapist & Metaphysical Counsellor in India with profound expertise in Ho’oponopono.“I help people Dream, Believe, Forgive and Achieve their goals with joy.” says Dr. Karishma Ahuja. An Author, Master Trainer and Life coach, she specializes in teaching people about Universal Laws and the Power of the mind, thereby inspiring them to achieve big and live joyfully by pursuing qualities like self-belief and forgiveness. 

'I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter'

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Goodbye Freddie Mercury by Nadia Akbar - Book Review

When I read the synopsis of 'Goodbye Freddie Mercury', it intrigued me. I haven't read many (maybe not any) book based in Pakistan. Afghanistan and other countries yes, there are authors like Khalid Hosseini to thank for that. This book took me by surprise, and how!

Let's talk about the cover illustration first - it's eye-catchy! A hard bound version in striking pink and yellow - anyone who saw the book in my hand or at my desk stops to see the name and admire the cover. Showing both the lead characters - Nida & Bugsy along with a lot of trippiness going on, I guess that's how it is for the druggies in the story. The book itself is written very interestingly - in a dual narration. Half from Nida's point of view and the other half from Bugsy's point of view. I think it's a challenge to change the thought process and style of narration within the same book - but the author has done that well.

Upon reading the book, I feel like a new-comer, unknown person looking into the neighbouring country for the very first time. Whatever I have known till now is from the news, or the cricket team or whatever social media feeds to my ears or eyes. But the life of the people - the stark difference between the rich and not so rich, the language, the lifestyle - is so fascinating.

There is this part where the author talks about how everyone in Lahore shops. Shops to forget their pain, shops to feel happy for some time, shops to forget they are poor or oppressed and so on. It's beautifully written and I somehow feel a lot of us in India are like that too. Maybe, just maybe, we're not all that different?

I personally haven't had a youth like this - with partying, drinking, going out all the time, smoking and so on. Infact didn't even have friends who had such a lifestyle. So it's all mysterious for me - and I guess common for today's generation and youth, unfortunately. I do hope noone tries to adapt such a culture - it shouldn't be promoted and made to look so easily accessible and fun - I personally feel.

Though it's 330+ pages, it doesn't get boring at all - right from the beginning till the end - you just want to keep turning the pages and knowing what happens next. Would definitely read other books by the author in the future.

About Goodbye Freddie Mercury:

Lahore is burning. General elections are right around the corner. The summer city rages with the drug-fuelled parties of the oblivious, the rich and famous, while campaign posters and rally cries dominate the airwaves.

Bugsy, rock RJ, and host of the nation's top English radio show is young and fabulous. Seeking more than wealth, fame and prestige, he performs a dangerous favor for an old friend that plunges him into the dark recesses of desi politics. Nida, a young college student desperate to escape the oppressive atmosphere of her traditional family home and her conservative college, still mourning the death of her brother, throws herself recklessly into the drug-addled arms of Omer Ali, son of the prime minister's right-hand man. As Nida spirals into decadence and Bugsy descends into darkness, their paths cross and sparks begin to fly.

Nadia Akbar's audacious debut has all the makings of a cult novel-parties, drugs, mysteries, love triangles, political intrigue and power struggles-but its lush, sexy writing has the assuredness and precision of the acutest style of our time. Told in alternating voices and brimming with sharp observation, Goodbye Freddie Mercury hits the rocks and trails atwist.

'I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter'

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Keeping teens safe on Instagram: Tips and Tricks for Parents

Instagram is the most popular, and I would even say active platform these days. I know so many of my pre-teen or teen nephews, nieces and kids of friends on the platform and slaying it much better than us oldies. Whether it is instagram stories, or posts - they love posting and expressing themselves on IG!

This only means parents need to know what the kids are doing, or whom they are interacting with - without being too obvious about it. Teens are a delicate age when kids want and need their own privacy. I believe the diaries and slambooks of our times, the chits exchanged or the sms and even the Orkut testimonials - are all now social media DMs, Stories, Stickers and so on in today's day and age.

Instagram understands this and in the past year, has reassessed priorities, reassigned engineers and researchers, and aligned teams around the goal of fostering the safest, kindest, most supportive global community. As a part of these efforts, they launched A Parent’s Guide today, a new resource for parents with teens who use Instagram to aid them in creating safer online spaces for children.

While the Parents Guide is an additional resource to aid safer online spaces, below are a few tips that can help parents contribute more effectively to keeping their teens safe when they come online:

  • Get your Insta-game on. As parents, many of us don’t understand what Instagram is or what it does – admit it and get online! There’s no easier way for you to understand why your teen is on the platform till you get onto it, and understand its pros and cons. Once this is done – spend time understanding the platform and the variety of tools it offers so you can in turn educate your teen to make sure he/she makes good choices online – thus leading to an overall positive experience. An informed parent will create an informed teen – and that is key. (This would be much easier for someone like me, who is a social media manager by profession, but I too don't get the language the kids use these days - with all the shortcuts and words like dayum, on fleek, my mains and so on... )


  • Manage your family’s time online together. Setting a time limit for accessing social media can prove to be helpful. An added element is, replicating this with every member of the family and not just your teens. Setting a family limit for time spent online will help in making the field level and showing your teens that you too will get to spend the same amount of time that they do online will help them better understand the value and importance of your decision. On Instagram with the new Activity dashboard – your teen and you can review the amount of time each of you spend on the community – in a day or even through the past week along with an analysis of average time spent. To control the amount of time your family and you spend online you can set a daily reminder, a timer you can set to give you an alert when you’ve exceeded what you think is an appropriate amount of time on the app; and a mute push notifications setting to limit notifications. (This is a brilliant addition to the dashboard. And it's so important to set limits for yourself and other elders in the house too. If we're busy taking candids or selfies all day, how can we ask the kids to do any different!)


  • Unlearn and learn how to do Instagram right with your teen. Learning how to use the platform and its various features is a great way to start a conversation with your teen about Instagram. This also gives you the chance to talk about making their profile a private profile – thus ensuring that they have full control over the content they post and their experience on the platform is safe! Along the way, not only will you find a non-intrusive way to be a part of your teens Instagram presence but also up your Insta-game! Setting your account to private is simple – go to the “Settings” gear from your profile page, and toggle “Private Account” to the “on” position.

  • Create a strict ‘say no to bullies’ policy at home. Whether its offline or online, bullyingin any form can hinder your teens wellbeing and if consistent, even have drastic repercussions.To ensure, your teen is not targeted to any form of mental abuse online ensure that you have an open channel of communication with him/her so he/she feels that the first step to address the issue is to have a conversation with you. Then, make sure that the offensive comment filter is turned on his/her Instagram profile. This filter will automatically hide comments containing attacks on a person's appearance or character, as well as threats to a person's well-being or health. If the issue remains persistent or you spot an account, photo, video or comments that is intended to bully or harass someone, you can report it from within the app by visiting “...” on a post and clicking on “Report.” (Absolutely important! You need to have such a comfort level with your teen, that they should be able to come and tell you if someone is bullying them at school or otherwise - instead of being scared of telling you anything).


  • Comment right. Along ensuring that your own teen has a safe experience, it’s equally important to make your teen understand the importance of ensuing others have a similar experience too. Have an open dialogue with your teen about commenting right and identifying comments that might be offensive/derogatory. Instagram’s offensive comments filter automatically hides offensive or inappropriate comments, so people never have to see them. Additionally, one can also modify/customize the filter to reflect specific keywords and emoji’s that one might find offensive. Beyond this, to make sure your teens have a positive kind experience when they come online on Instagram they can also swipe to delete comments, report inappropriate comments, and block accounts that might be hindering their experience on the community. (I remember this scene from the movie called 'This is 40' where the mother checks out a hurtful comment made by a friend of her daughter's on her social media profile and goes and gives him a sounding. Obviously we are not looking at that, but teaching our kids to be right and moral is equally important to keeping them safe.)


Lastly, for any last minute advice, help or the right conversation started to kick off a difficult talk with your teen you can always refer to Instagram’s A Parent’s Guide at or check out the Help Center for more useful resources. 

'I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter'

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Himalaya for Moms - Body Butter Range - Product Review

I have been a mother for over 4 years, and ever since, it’s been a roller-coaster ride. We’ve loved the beautiful small moments and handled the not-to-great memories together as a team – a family!

I have written about the Himalaya FOR MOMS range earlier, and I was thrilled to receive their new variants of Himalaya FOR MOMS Soothing Body Butter for review- Jasmine, Rose, and Lavender. The names itself makes me feel relaxed. I personally like all the three variants!

I trust Himalaya’s range of products from pharmaceuticals, personal care to baby care. Since I am a longtime consumer, I have had no doubts about the Soothing Body Butter. I was sure that it will help keep my skin supple and soft!

Why Body Butter? 
The skin, after expanding and shrinking during and after pregnancy, tends to get dry and itchy. Body butters have soothing and moisturizing elements which are effective in relieving itching. Body butters which contain soothing and healing fragrances are especially effective in de-stressing too!

What Himalaya FOR MOMS Soothing Body Butter Does? 
Himalaya FOR MOMS Soothing Body Butter is a daily-use cream that intensively moisturizes and nourishes your skin, making it soft and supple. Cocoa Butter soothes dry, irritated skin, and Glycerin keeps the skin hydrated for a long time. Himalaya FOR MOMS Soothing Body Butter contains Vitamin E, which protects the skin from damage and irritation. It comes in the three calming fragrances of Lavender, Rose, and Jasmine.

Key ingredients:
Cocoa Butter is a natural antioxidant, which soothes, hydrates, and balances the skin. 
Glycerin is a humectant that locks in moisture and keeps the skin hydrated for longer. 

Directions for use:
Apply Himalaya FOR MOMS Soothing Body Butter all over the body gently massaging it in. For best results, use this cream twice daily. 

Pack size: 
Himalaya FOR MOMS Soothing Body Butter comes in three delectable fragrances:
Calming fragrance of Lavender
Rejuvenating fragrance of Jasmine
Uplifting fragrance of Rose

Available in 50 ml, 100 ml and 200 ml packs.

My take:

The 200 ml pack comes in an easy-to-open tub, with a lid inside to lift up and use the cream. The Body Butter smells so great – and you can go on and on applying all over your body. Because it is a Cocoa Butter based product, it will be a little sticky to touch/feel after application. I love applying the Body Butter all over my body apart from face, especially during dry seasons like winters. The pleasant fragrance stays for quite some time! At the same time, it is not too overpowering to make you and your little one uncomfortable. 

'I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter'

Monday, September 10, 2018

#MomVsFlu – A journey from worriers to warriors!

If you have read my previous blog or followed my social media updates, you know how my li'l one is a fussy eater, with a not-so-good immunity and hence frequently catches the cold and has even had flu and pneumonia. Both of these latter instances have been nothing less than a nightmare for me, seeing my kid so weak, suffering in pain not even being able to express what’s bothering him - all breathless and being nebulized and the blood tests and x-rays. If you're a parent, you will know what I mean.
Hence I was glad to be an audience to a panel discussion that spoke about Influenza. The what, how, why etcetera. We started off with penning down what according to us are the symptoms of flu. I wrote - loss of appetite, fever, runny nose, inactive and lethargic, irritability, muscle pain, sore throat, cough and vomiting.

Did you know that the influenza virus (commonly known as flu) can spread as far as 6 feet away? So if someone sneezed in one corner of a room it can get passed on to another person easily. It's contagious because it can be transferred through coughing, sneezing, talking, physical touch.

The stereotype is that the poor stay in a more unhygienic condition and prone to illness. But a shocking insight was that there are more cases of flu in kids coming from affluent families. How? These kids go to premium schools, which have AC classes which means no ventilation - the flu spreads in the classroom - affecting all kids. So, how prone are you to catching a flu is totally dependent on your environment conditions.

Who are at a higher risk of flu?

1. Kids - They're still building their immunity, go to the school, playground and other new conditions and environments.

2. Pregnant women - Women during their pregnancy have a lower immunity, reduced lung capacity and hormonal - which all make them more susceptible to catching a virus.

3. Senior Citizens

4. Patients suffering from some chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis etc.

It is extremely vital to vaccinate the pregnant mother or even before, during the planning stage - as a flu during pregnancy can really complicate things - like reduced oxygen supply to the baby, growth restriction in baby, premature delivery and other birth defects. I remember getting a flu shot during my pregnancy as well. And it can be taken at any time of the pregnancy- the sooner the better, there is no harm at all.

Coming to kids, for the first year all vaccinations are given religiously - and there are so many! But what about once they're preschoolers? Last year my kiddo got the flu and our paediatrician told us that every year a flu shot has to be given. As it's effects lasts only as much as a year and the virus keeps changing and modifying. India being a tropical region, the flu season is typically during monsoons and winters - as the virus thrives in cold and moisture. WHO decides the virus of the year in January every year and by April the new vaccine is available everywhere. So the best time to vaccinate is just before school reopens - Sometime around May. And remember! It takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to give the immunity boost, so don't wait for just one day before school reopening.

When to visit the doctor?

For pregnant ladies - if you have a temperature above 100 degree Fahrenheit, are coughing mucus - go to the doctor.

For babies and children - if there is uncontrolled fever for more than 24 hours, sudden spikes in the temperature, no intake - food and liquid, flaring of the nose, breathlessness and wheezing - go to your paediatrician asap.

Always remember, a mother's intuition is always best. And it's always better to visit the doctor than wait - waiting may get worse. And hydrate the kid - intake of fluids is absolutely essential when having a flu. It also helps the temperature come down.

Dr.Pai from the panel, who is a renowned paediatrician, asked us mom bloggers how many of us get ourselves a flu shot annually as well, and there were only 4-5 hands up in the air. I had got one during my pregnancy, but after that it's just been for the kiddo, never thought of having it for myself or the spouse and other family members. It was an eye-opener for me, why wasn't I told about this before? And as Dr.Mukesh Gupta rightly stated- vaccine is less painful than waxing - no reason to procrastinate. He had a nice term for it - samuhik vaccination. The whole family should go together and get the annual flu shot, and not only if going to USA or UK. We otherwise are carriers of the virus, most likely to pass it on to our kids.

The panel discussion also had well-known actor and mother of two - Genelia Dsouza who is a part of this initiative with the motto of spreading the awareness of Influenza in India. She also told us not to ever hesitate in asking end number of questions, however silly, to the doctors - it's always better to be safe than sorry and prevention is always better than cure, right?

For more information on Influenza -

Find/Consult a Doctor- Vaccinating Doctors can be found in every locality with a simple search by a pincode. In case, one is looking for a doctor, here is a simple way to find Doctors who vaccinate:

Disclaimer: I attended a discussion on influenza awareness facilitated by Abbott India
Limited. Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of
Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the
blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical
recommendation or prescription of treatment for babies having Influenza. Any reader of this
blog or their family members suffering from Influenza should specifically consult his/her doctor
for the same and follow the suggested course of treatment.

'I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter'