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Thursday, March 16, 2017

19 Thoughts During a Panic Attack

It's been four months since I've written anything.  I've all but given up on my inspiration but I guess this is what it takes.  It's almost embarrassing to write this.

I'm in the midst of a panic attack and it feels relevant to post this.  Every panic attack feels different for everyone but this is what mine feel like.  It feels like there is a weight on my chest and my brain feels like it's surrounded by a viscous gray fluid...at least that's how I imagine it.  There's sludge in my veins and it feels like every movement is taking too much energy.  I'm sweating and cold at the same time.  I want to take off my sweatshirt but it feels like too much work.  I want to cry but know that I can't.

So here are the thoughts racing through my head as I'm waiting for my lorazepam to kick in:

1. Why do you even bother?  No one reads this.
2. You're too fat.
3. You're lazy.
4. You shouldn't take the medication.
5. You should take the medication.
6. I miss being a drunk.
7. I should have a drink, but I can't because I just took lorazepam.
8. You'll never be good enough.
9. You're going to fail, you're going to fail, you're going to fail.
10. You'll never have enough.
11. You are selfish.
12. You care too much.
13. You made a fool of yourself.
14. You should write more.  Why are you so uninspired?
15. You are alone, you will always be alone.
16. No one loves you.  Why should they?
17. You are a slob.
18. You shouldn't think these things about yourself, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
19. You should hurt yourself.

These thoughts keep racing around my brain on a loop and I can't wait for the numbness to kick in.  And then I hate the numbness when it is always there.  I wish I didn't feel this way...I wish that this wasn't my first post in four months.


Safe travels,


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Guest Post: 24 hours in Calcutta, India

If you're like me and never really had a huge desire to go to India, this piece will certainly change your mind.  I know it did for me.  In fact...if you go to my Wish List, I think you might see India as one of the new destinations on there.  Thank you so much for Debasri for this great story.  You can find her at her blog, Debasri Deb.

Here is a little bit about her before you can jump right into the Calcutta experience:
Debasri is a Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger writing about Fashion, Lifestyle and everything in between. A confused soul since childhood, the only thing she is sure of, is her passion and her undying love for her blog, www.debasrideb.com. A lousy Science student and a crappy engineer, Debasri finally discovered what she was good at, and that was marketing. After a short two year stint in the corporate world, working for start-ups, she wished to do something of her own. And hence, the blog. 
She is petite and pear shaped. After spending her initial years being body-shamed, a target of name callings, and trying to blend in with the crowd, she now considers herself a Ninja raising her voice against any sort of discrimination and bullying. 
Get in touch with her here: 
Email: deb.debasri2@gmail.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debasrideb/?ref=bookmarks 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debasrideb/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebasriDeb 
Pinterest: https://in.pinterest.com/Debasrideb/

And without any further delay, off you go to Calcutta, India.
24 Hours in Calcutta, India
India, a country which you can’t describe in one word. It is diverse and identical at the same time. 29 states, nearly 880 languages still in use and with a population count of approximately 1.34 billion; this is a country where we claim to have unity in diversity. 
Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, served as the capital of British held territories in India till 1911 after which New Delhi took over. I have a love-hate relation with this city. Having been brought up in a different city in a state at the other end of the country, I never thought I would be back here. But as they say, you go back to your roots and here I am. 
In this post, I will take you through an entire day of Kolkata. This is not an itinerary. It is what I would make you do if you ever happen to come here. 
So, without further ado, a raise of hands by all the pork lovers. I am sure there are many, myself included. Start the day by visiting Tiretti Bazaar at 6 in the morning. Yes, you have to wake up early for this. For all the late risers like me, trust me, this is something worth setting your alarm for.
Tiretti Bazaar
This is a place where you will get the most delectable homemade Chinese food at reasonably low prices. Delicious dim sum, yummy pork buns, homemade sausages, nothing like starting your morning with an overfed stomach, right?  
After a heavy breakfast, a morning stroll at the Prinsep Ghat overlooking the river Ganges is what you need. The view is lovely in the morning. You can take a walk along the banks sipping hot tea from bhaar (earthen pot) or sit on the stairs, earphones plugged in and staring at everything and nothing at the same time. Sometimes it's liberating to do absolutely nothing.  
The river Ganges

The second Hooghly Bridge
The bhaar (earthen pot) to have tea.
After you are done doing nothing, head for some famous tourist places. Start off by visiting Victoria Memorial. This building was created in the memory of Queen Victoria and is now a museum and serves as a huge attraction for the tourists and a perfect photography spot for us. ;) Jokes apart, this is a stunning marble building. Even if you don't want to go in, it is still worth admiring from afar. 
Victoria Memorial



After Victoria Memorial, pay a visit to the St. Pauls Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Kolkata. It is in direct line of sight from the Victoria Memorial. The architectural design of the cathedral is indo-gothic, a gothic architectural style designed to fit in the Indian climate. It also has a library built inside. 
St. Pauls Cathedral
We, the people of Kolkata are famous for our love of food. Have lunch at one of the heritage restaurants, Peter Cat, situated at the heart of the city, Park Street. Peter Cat is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, going back to the sixties, and that speaks a lot. The interior boasts of a rich history and the food does justice to this city. Peter Cat's signature dish, the Iranian style Chelo Kebab is worth mentioning. You can't come to Kolkata and not have Chelo Kebab. It’s like going to Naples and not having Pizza! 
Chelo Kebab
After lunch, it’s time for some street shopping. If you are up for some incredibly cheap shopping, then being pushed and shoved in the crowd is the price to pay. New Market will be best defined as a sprawling maze offering a wide variety of goods. It is easy to get lost there, so you would be better off with a local guide. Bargain is the middle name of New Market. You have to bargain your asses off. Time passes by like a river flow here and you might end up quite exhausted.  
Chelo Kebab
After such hard work, you deserve some peace and quality time in this bustling city. Time to go back to Prinsep Ghat for a peaceful boat ride in the Ganges. Prinsep Ghat in the evening is unrecognizable. The illuminated Hooghly Bridge is a sight to see.  

The illuminated Hooghly Bridge from Prinsep Ghat
Boating on the river Ganges at Prinsep Ghat
And if you are looking for a local’s secret, people sometimes attempt to take a bottle of beer or two and have it on the boat in the middle of the river. Though a hush-hush affair, it’s an absolute bliss.   
After getting your spent up energy back and the sweat from the shopping has all but dried up, it’s time for some fun now. If you are in the mood to listen to live bands while enjoying a peg of whiskey/rum, or a pint of beer, Someplace Else in The Park Hotel is the place to be. A British colonial styled pub, it is famous for its live band performances every night. After getting buzzed, you can dance the night off at Roxy in the same building. And if like me, you are an aficionado of pub hopping, then head off to Bar Stock Exchange from Roxy and then to Myx and end the night on a really high note (pun intended).  
This was one day in my city with me. A city nicknamed the “city of joy”.   
“Calcutta is not for everyone.   
You want your city clean and green, stick to Delhi.  
You want your city rich and impersonal, go to Bombay.  
You want them hi-tech and full of draught beer, Bangalore’s your place.  
But if you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta”
This city has its own pros and cons like every other city, but if you ever decide on coming here, do contact me and I will be your city guide with all its secrets; even the dirty ones ;) 

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Best Laid Plans Go Awry Due to Flying Pumpkins

You ever have one of those stretches of time where everything is just kind of going swimmingly?  Nothing is really going wrong, nothing is exceptional but everything is going fairly well.  And the second that you recognize this fact, that's usually when it comes crashing down on you...in my case, it literally came crashing down on me in the shape of a pumpkin falling from the sky.

I had just finished telling my therapist how I had just realized that nothing had gone wrong for a while.  I had been going on some fairly decent dates.  Work was alright.  My Scotland trip planning was complete.  I was almost done saving for Scotland.  Weight was coming off.  My running pace was increasing.  One of my best friends had moved back to Washington after YEARS of living on the opposite side of the country from me.  My medications were keeping the mood swings under control (except for the anxiety).  Nothing.  Was.  Wrong.  And that was wrong.  I felt like I couldn't breathe because I could feel that ominous black cloud behind me just waiting for me to let my guard down.  Apparently, it didn't need to wait for me to let my guard down.  It was totally okay with engulfing me even though I was expecting it.

My friend had invited me to go to a Halloween party with her (I was a giraffe in a tutu...I'm 5'9, it's kind of a given I'd be a giraffe) and I had agreed.  My friend who had just moved back was supposed to go with us but bailed at the last minute (thank goodness).  I had volunteered to drive us to said party and as we are driving at a whopping 10 mph on Interstate 5 under an overpass, we hear a deafening bang and my jaw hits the floor.  My mind goes blank as my friend starts asking me if I'm okay and this odd smell reaches my nose.  It's familiar but I can't quite place it.  My illogical brain's first thought is "did someone just shoot at us?!"  Yes, illogical but, yes, it really was that loud.  Thankfully, my friend snapped me back to reality by saying "Dude!  Someone threw a pumpkin at your car!" and just like that, I remember where I remember that smell from.  I turn around and my entire rear window is missing and there is glass and pieces of pumpkin everywhere.  If anyone had been sitting in the back seat, there could have been some serious injuries.  We met up with a very nice state patrol officer who took some photos but politely told me that they couldn't do shit for me.


Though this was possibly the first and only flying pumpkin incident off this particular overpass, this is by no means the only case of vandalism from this overpass.  Over the last month, there have been numerous incidents of rocks and bricks being thrown from this overpass.  And thus I maintain that I truly don't get people.  Is this fun?!  If so, how?!  How is it entertaining to cause damage and grief to another human being?  Do they not realize how much money and time this eats up?  Let alone how much stress it causes?  Or even worse, how much pain they could possibly physically inflict on someone?  Without insurance, this minimal amount of damage would cost me almost $2,500 to repair.  For 3 seconds of their entertainment.  To whoever did this: I hope it was worth it and if karma really is a bitch, one day, you can experience exactly the same kind of fear and frustration that you cause others.

Hopefully, your travels are safer than mine,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What I'm Eating This Week: Pumpkin Spice Cake

October is the best month of the year.  Yes, that is a bold statement but I stand behind it 100%.  October is the epitome of the autumn month and what other season is as amazing as autumn?  I know, I know, lots of people will disagree with me and say that summer is the best but I loathe heat so for me, autumn is the most amazing time of year.  The beautiful colors, the smells, the leaves everywhere, the brisk air, the fashion, the food...the no need to shave.  I even have a tattoo on my shoulder of ivy with autumnal colors in the background.  Yes, I'm slightly obsessed.


With all that said, I'm not one of those people that flock to anything pumpkin spice.  I don't feel the need to bathe in pumpkin spice body wash or use pumpkin spice mascara or nail polish or whatever other ludicrous things they are pumpkin-spicing these days.  However, I felt like I should honor the season by doing something pumpkin spice related, therefore, this week, I made a delicious pumpkin spice cake.  I'm also feeling incredibly lazy (thus this post is a day late) and I didn't want to put in a lot of work so this recipe is going to be ABSURDLY simple.  All you gourmet chefs out there: don't judge me.

Original recipe can be found at Noble Pig.


Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 Can Pumpkin
  • 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider
  • 1.5 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix and pumpkin and pour into a 9x13 cake pan (or whatever size you choose I guess but this will alter baking times).
  3. Bake cake for 28 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is baking, make the glaze by combining the remaining ingredients (cider, sugar, and spice).  This mixture should be pretty thick but pourable.
  5. When cake comes out of the oven, pour some of the glaze over the cake but reserve some to pour over individual pieces as well.
  6. Enjoy some amazing fall flavor while wrapped in a cozy blanket.

Nutrition:
  • I cut this into 12 slices but you can make the pieces bigger or smaller.
  • Each piece (when cut into 12) has about 210 calories...and yes, this is including the glaze.
Notes:
  • This is a really sweet cake so a little glaze goes a long way.
  • I added a little pumpkin spice to the cake mix as well because you know...it's the season and go big or go home.
Okay, seriously people...who doesn't love a blog called "Noble Pig"?

Safe Travels and Scrumptious Eats,

Friday, September 30, 2016

Scotland=T-110 Days

Travel Journal
We are booking (a portion of) our Scotland trip this weekend!  It’s so close I can almost feel the Highland air on my skin.  With that said, I’m pretty much done saving up!  I started saving up maybe two or three months or so ago.  No, I don’t make a bunch of money.  I just have a fool proof way of penny pinching.  And the best part?  Not only is it fool proof, it requires no brain power.  My method is this: set aside $20 per day.  That’s it.  No hard math.  No random increases per week.  Just $20 per day.  The only hard part is remembering/getting yourself to pull $20 out and not dipping into your savings.

If visuals are your thing, here you go:
Add $20 every single day to a savings account, a piggy bank, etc.  Just keep piling it on!  And any time you have the opportunity, add more.
Day
Total Amount Saved
Day
Total Amount Saved
Day
Total Amount Saved
1
$20
31
$620
61
$1,220
2
$40
32
$640
62
$1,240
3
$60
33
$660
63
$1,260
4
$80
34
$680
64
$1,280
5
$100
35
$700
65
$1,300
6
$120
36
$720
66
$1,320
7
$140
37
$740
67
$1,340
8
$160
38
$760
68
$1,360
9
$180
39
$780
69
$1,380
10
$200
40
$800
70
$1,400
11
$220
41
$820
71
$1,420
12
$240
42
$840
72
$1,440
13
$260
43
$860
73
$1,460
14
$280
44
$880
74
$1,480
15
$300
45
$900
75
$1,500
16
$320
46
$920
76
$1,520
17
$340
47
$940
77
$1,540
18
$360
48
$960
78
$1,560
19
$380
49
$980
79
$1,580
20
$400
50
$1,000
80
$1,600
21
$420
51
$1,020
81
$1,620
22
$440
52
$1,040
82
$1,640
23
$460
53
$1,060
83
$1,660
24
$480
54
$1,080
84
$1,680
25
$500
55
$1,100
85
$1,700
26
$520
56
$1,120
86
$1,720
27
$540
57
$1,140
87
$1,740
28
$560
58
$1,160
88
$1,760
29
$580
59
$1,180
89
$1,780
30
$600
60
$1,200
90
$1,800
Initially, I tried to do some weird and convoluted saving method where I would pull out a specific percentage of left over money after bills from every paycheck.  But that was so much math!  I have enough math in my life.  I decided I didn’t need any more.  Then a family friend, who is an insurance salesman so you know he’s all about the savings, was talking about saving up money and he gave me this idea.  Why didn’t I think of it?!  It’s so simple!  And so effective.  In just a few months, I’ve saved up enough money to pay for my entire trip to Scotland.  There have definitely been days where I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and just take all that money and spend it on something completely unrelated. 

The hardest part for me is that my life is not stable.  I don’t have a 401k or an IRA or even a savings account right now.  So this money that I’m saving, there have been times where I just wanted to forego my wanderlust and do the mature thing and save that money for my future.  It’s the constant inner struggle of wanting to be a grown up and not wanting to give up on my adventurous spirit just yet.  As heart-wrenching as it is, I’ve given my adventurous spirit a deadline: the end of 2017.  I’m not just going to give up travelling altogether, but it will definitely take a backseat to a lot of things.  2017 will be the year for adventure (more to come on that topic later).

So, with 2017 being the year of adventure, 2018 will be the year of practicality.  I will start saving for practical things like retirement (i.e. the not fun stuff).  I just have to try to compartmentalize the worry until then.  I have an entire year to be free!  So for now...Scotland, here I come!
Basic math for Scotland!  I even found a tour we can do in the winter time!

But in case you are curious how I planned for Scotland, here is the (organized) madness that went into it all:




























Map of Scotland (minus some islands).  We plan to hit Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Stirling, Kyle of Lochalsh, Pitlochry, Inverness, Loch Ness, Highlands, and
The Isle of Skye.  All by train.






























I still have to find a castle for us to stay in by the request of one of my travel companions.  Not that I mind staying
in a castle one bit.


Safe Travels,