Hello old friend!

After a prolonged hiatus from blogging, I restarted that adventure at www.nehaleela.com .  If you have a moment, come visit!

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Thank you Yelp!

There was a sheer excitement that accompanied moving to Boston, quickly followed by an intense trepidation. Ben and I decided on Boston last spring and moved into our home over the course of four days in June. The seemingly never-ending pile of boxes, the bare rooms and the looming task of re-painting the walls was daunting. But it was the idea of making Boston my home that was far more intimidating.

I grew up half hour outside of Boston but never quite earned the right to say I was from here, rather I always had to specify that I was from right outside the city. Everyone always says home is where your family is. So by those standards, upon walking into our new abode I was home. But I define it as far more than that. Home is knowing where we can get scrumptious egg white omelets for a Sunday brunch, where we can wander when we are craving thai, italian, indian, etc. where we can waste countless hours over pastries and a cup of tea and a book, which boutiques can make my paychecks seem a distant memory, and of-course where the closest J. Crew is.

Well, within a month, the walls were painted – a beautiful shenandoah taupe for the master bedroom and a deep slate blue for the living room. The contents of the boxes made their way into shelves and closets, onto the walls and finally out of the way. And I discovered Yelp.

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Based on the community’s reviews, I found City Girl cafe down the street for a hearty sandwich on a busy day. S&S Bakery for our leisurely breakfasts. wish or moxie, the cute boutiques that Ben would soon wish I never found. Gaslight in the south end and Villa Francesca in the north end for date nights. Border Cafe for margaritas with the girls.

In January, after months of eagerly perusing the reviews to determine weekend plans, I began yelping. It was addictive, sharing my thoughts about all the spots I was discovering! This morning, I woke up to an email from a fabulous Boston yelper, whose reviews Ive been counting on since my move, inviting me to join the Elite Yelpers from Boston!

We just returned from the grocery down the street, where the check-out people know me by name now. I’m lazily lounging in a fully furnished house. And I have this amazing feeling of being part of a community that helped me make Boston feel truly like home.


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My body is not a wonderland today…

As someone whose mind frequently wanders to stuffed shells with ricotta and turkey or whose mouth will water on cue at a sniff of fresh mangoes, I never thought that the mere mention of any food would be enough to turn my stomach. I’ve been battling this stomach flu for a solid two and a half days and have been waiting tirelessly for reprieve. Promises of this just being a 24 hour bug seem a lifetime away.

Regardless, I attempted to go to work today and was promptly shooed out the door a few hours later. I have found the ultimate refuge on the chaise of our sectional, sipping ginger root tea (on recommendation from my fabulous co-workers), watching Seinfeld re-runs, perusing the JCrew sale items and daydreaming of ways to redecorate my living room.

So now I’m vying for this Eyelet Island dress in a bright rhubarb and this printed tissue tunic in yellow as the perfect cover up…. clearly I’m wishing away the winter so I can finally embrace all those fabulous Spring colors.

The one thing I’ll be staying far far away from today is a site where me and many of my fellow wannabe domestic goddesses can waste endless amounts of time… foodnetwork.com.

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Emerging Trends at Fashion Week 2008 – Social Media or Shorter Hemlines?

Fashion Week in 2007 was the year for the celebration of staple institutions in the fashion world. Lacoste was applauded for 75 years of defining timeless and Ralph Lauren took a much deserved bow at the end of the runway for 40 years that have reshaped the industry.

As last year applauded the traditional, Fashion Week 2008 has embraced the new. New media that is. In 2006, bloggers were handed the much vied for press passes among the Anna Wintours of the industry. 2008 sees another first on this front. IQONS.com, a social networking platform that has connected some of fashion’s premier young talent with the industry’s superstars, was enlisted as a media partnership, alongside longtime traditional media partner The New York Times.

I find the most compelling aspect of social media to be the ability for a community to contribute their own thoughts and build upon one another’s ideas. It gives everyone a voice, even those who don’t get those prized seats at the runway. So I find it fitting that with the induction of this new media partnership, IQONS will circulate the first issue of its user-generated magazine among the jewel tone clad fashionistas perched under the white peaks of the Bryant Park tents. Meanwhile I will shiver in Boston, and try to live vicariously through some of my favorite fashion bloggers (Fashion Tribes) who were given the ultimate nod from the industry by getting press passes to arguably, the most glamorous week of the year.

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Yes We Can.

This Super Tuesday, Americans make their voices heard in 28 state primaries. For the length of his campaign, I have been fascinated by Obama’s powerful ability to not only connect, but also inspire. He leaves his impression but gives others a voice.

As I was getting my fill of Have Fun*Do Good, I came across this video, the work of wil.liam of the Black Eyed Peas, which gathers the voices and faces of a handful of celebrities (Kate Walsh included- one of my favorites) to make Barack Obama’s campaign ring louder today.

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A Mighty Little Box

 

I suppose I’m a Facebook snob.  I created my profile on Facebook before the time of news feeds, throwing sheep or giving gifts of lipstick and penguins.  The clean appearance of the profile appealed to me then.

I’ve been wary of the superwalls, graffiti and bumper stickers that are tacked on to chaotic profiles now.  I diffidently adopt applications that align with my interests – like the causes application or the “Where Have I Been” travel map.  I’m shamelessly careful not to clutter my page, even voting applications, groups and profile information off to maintain order.

Last month I received a Facebook gift from one of my favorite non-profit bloggers, Beth.  It was a tiny pink and green gift box and in it, a donation to the organization of her choice.   With each gift you buy with this Changing The Present application, you can make a donation to any of the non-profits that have teamed up with the application.  I scoured the organizations to return the gift to Beth and introduce it to other friends of mine.

The application introduced me to Freedom from Hunger, a non-profit I donated to by presenting little pink and green facebook gift boxes to ten of my friends.  So today, there is a box on my profile that displays the first gift I received from Beth.  In my news feed, where I normally hastily delete any activity to minimize that box as much as possible, I have retained the information about my own Changing the Present gift giving so anyone who stumbles across my profile may find this gift – one that I find far more distinctive and meaningful than animated teddy bears and balloons.

This Christmas, my family and friends made donations to Freedom from Hunger in my name.  My parents sponsored a program that allows 378 young mothers in a 3rd world country to be educated so they can help guide their daughters into a better life.  The card that accompanied their donation and thanked me for my support was nestled under the tree in a large sage green box with a deep pink bow wrapped around it.  Apparently, tiny colorful boxes on Facebook can lead to life-size change.

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Christmas Meme

So after another long blogging hiatus, and after a day of battling crazed shoppers in the beautifully decorated Back Bay I thought I would start up again to share my favorite bits of the holidays. Found this meme at The Preppy Wedding

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate. When I was little, I would complain the whole way to and from ski lessons but upon return my mother would make a mug of swiss mix with little marshmallows. Its always the perfect cure to a bitter winter day.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrap… half the fun is looking at all the beautiful colors nestled under the tree, guessing the gift and tearing it open. At the end, I love the brightly colored bits of paper strewn around the room.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Always white – I love the crisp contrast to the fresh green.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope – but it sure was popular around all the guys houses in college!

5. When do you put your decorations up?
When I was growing up my family probably did it the first weekend of December, but now its more about when I have time

6. What is your favorite holiday dish:
Pancakes on Christmas morning

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
In second grade, after months of frenzied anticipation I realized I would be missing the class trip to see the Nutcracker at the Wang Theater. I’ll never forget recieving a large package … an overstuffed manila envelope from Mrs. Essylstyn’s class. Each of the sweet little ones had included a drawing of their favorite scene in colorful crayons with a note. I felt so missed!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I think I blocked it out! No idea

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Never!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

To me, my family always decorated perfectly… wooden nutcrackers, red and gold glass ornaments, golden ornaments in the shape of various instruments, delicate red bows and my favorites… mirrored doves

11. Snow: love it or hate it?
A blanket of fresh snow has a serene effect on me. Also, I still stick my tongue out to catch snowflakes.

12. Can you ice skate?
I ice skated for years when I was much younger – then I could muster a few jumps and a rare fancy move or two… now I’m sure I can still make it around the rink a few times with only a fall or two

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
When I was very little, I would have done anything for a kitten. That wasn’t possible, so one of my presents that year was a stuffed animal ( a chestnut brown cat with streaks of black, a soft white belly and a red bell collar) that remained my favorite for years – I named her Noel. My next favorite gift was nestled in the tree the Christmas Ben and I spent in Aspen. It was the first Christmas away from our families. He saved the best present for last, and gave me a delicate gold ring, with a silver face and the inscription, “with one glance, I loved you with a thousand hearts”.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Waking up in the morning and never losing the childlike urgency of running around to wake everyone up.

15.What is your favorite holiday dessert?
peppermint stick ice cream or sugar cookies that are cheesily decorated with icing and sprinkles

16. What tops your tree?
A fragile glass angel

17. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

Giving… its an opportunity to really give thought about the people I love- their interests, passions and the things that are unique to them- in order to find a meaningful and special gift.

18. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Any and every rendition of All I Want for Christmas is You…. please don’t make fun.

19. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Love Actually

20. What would be the best gift you could receive this year?
A donation in my name in support of my favorite causes… its what i asked for!

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