Change and Charge – AIF Awards Gala 2013

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Shimmer of swaying saris, crisp rustle of tuxedos and Nehru Suits, Masala Mama in her navy blue business attire walked into the Central Park Ballroom at the New York Sheraton with one goal in mind: to find a story. Disclaimer up front—I am not a journalist. I’m just about people, and I love hearing their stories. And if given permission, to share them. In order to touch, tickle and transform. That’s what the waterfalls of this life do for me, and I’m all about sharing. When I find something or someone wonderful, how dare I hoard my treasure chest.

Attended the Reception at the American India Foundation (AIF) Awards Gala last night and woke up still thinking about the stories I heard. The people I met. The laughter shared, the bridges crossed and the bridges built. In the midst of conversation and clinking glasses, I was reminded of the sweet taste of new friends and fresh dreams. And what dreams look like when they become a reality.

American India Foundation’s mission is “to accelerate social and economic change in India.” The evening was dedicated to three such individuals: namely, Ajay BangaAmartya SenRadhika Roy, and Prannoy Roy.

All four recipients continue to contribute to social and economic justice, but I wanted to meet Ajay Banga. I had read about his travels to South Africa and the catalyst of change Mastercard has become in a country on its road to recovery, and I looked forward to hearing his thoughts on life there, Post-Apartheid.

Spotted Mr. Banga when the crowd had thickened, and a swarm of fans surrounded him instantly, cameras flashing overhead. One camera. Photographs were strictly prohibited so I tucked away my iPhone and vowed to make eye contact. As I weaved my way past the hustle and bustle, I thought to myself, what am I going to say to the CEO of such a prosperous company that will cause him to give me the time of day. I considered telling a white lie.

“Hi, I’m a reporter from CNN and this tiny interview will air internationally tonight. You know you want to talk to me.” Don’t iReports count?

I settled for, “Hi. What are you drinking tonight?” Continue reading

Meet Laura Anderson Kurk, Author of Glass Girl

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I was a thinker from a young age. So I resent the suggestion that young people don’t think. Or have irrelevant experiences. Or just need to grow up. Because those very tender and vulnerable years are when I learned so much about myself. My needs. My fears. My dreams.

Allow me to introduce you to my friend and co-author at Playlist Fiction, Laura Anderson Kurk. She gets teens. But not only that, she’s a superb writer who has a gift with words. She’s taught me so much in a short amount of time. On top of giving me a story that will stay with me forever. Glass Girl is an incredibly beautiful story of how something new can come of something broken. Life after loss. Love that shows up when you least expect it. But need it most. Meg’s story will take you by the hand and walk you through her journey of pain. And healing. And hope. A story that continues in the sequel Perfect Glass, which I am just as eager to pick up this June. On or around the same time as Swimming Through Clouds, my first YA Book. Ever! Yikes!  Continue reading

Finding Beauty in the Beast

One of my favorite scenes! And the backdrops! These high school students displayed superb artistic talent!

One of my favorite scenes! And the backdrops! These high school students displayed superb artistic talent!

After attending the theater [said with a  bit of Broadway flare] this past weekend as Locust Valley Jesters performed the musical Beauty and the Beast, I’m still going to sleep with the songs in my head. It was that good! :)

Beauty is my all time favorite. I mean, come on, as a reader/writer, my connection to a character who walks on stage with a book in her hands is instantaneous. And when the Beast takes Belle into his library, it’s like the equivalent of putting Nemo back in the ocean. She’s home, away from home.  Continue reading

Picture Beauty… And the Beast

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I am not a Disney Princess girl by choice. But when you have four daughters in a span of a decade, you’re bound to be surrounded by flowing dress-up gowns, sparkly tiaras, and Disney Logo jammies galore.

I do love, and I mean LOVE, one particular Disney princess. Through and through. Her name is Belle, [no relation to the Vampire lovin’ teen from Twilight,] and I love her story, just as much.

But before I get into my heart to heart connections with the reading addict turned princess, I want to share the pics from our front row seating at this weekend’s production of the Beauty and the Beast musical by our very own Locust Valley High School Jestors! And let me just tell you, these kids put on a Broadway quality show, from start to finish. As the opening curtain parted, I was transported to my favorite place: where story and music collide… into “A Tale As Old As Time…”

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Hope you enjoyed the pics! Come back this week for some more blogs on the show and the story that stole hearts on the North Shore of Long Island this weekend! 

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And you? What’s your favorite Broadway musical? Have you ever acted in a show? What’s your go-to theme song?

A New Pope and YOLO Thinks

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I know, I know, the big news of the day is the New Pope! For the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, this is Huge, really. And he’s Latino! Heard all about the white smoke and his unique entry, when Jorge Mario Bergoglio asked for prayer rather than expressing the traditional blessing in his opening greeting. Wonder if he knew when he was a little boy that some day he’d be making his debut as the Pope? Did he ever attend a Career Day at his school, walk by the Faith Pathways booth and linger, feeling drawn to the calling, long before he knew this was the path he’d take? And quite honestly, I need to do a bit more research, because I still can’t figure out why he’s going to be called Pope Francis. I’m sure it has something to do with tradition and history and inspiration. Forgive me for my ignorance. 

According to the CNN report, “Francis has a reputation for being a voice for the poor.” And the new Pope refused to elevate himself on a platform above other leaders on stage. I’m not Catholic, but I like the guy already. He has definitely made a splash in his first moments.

Bringing me to a perfect place of transition. Sort of! :) I’m in the process of having a few months of firsts as an author, and I can honestly say that I never imagined it quite like this. Had my first Book Reading last Thursday, and I didn’t faint! Actually gave the audience permission to push me over and take the mic and finish the reading in case I did. Faint, that is.  Continue reading

Masala on the Mic!

2013-03-07 19.59.10Thursday morning arrives and I am a different person. Even a year ago, I might have spent weeks preparing for a speaking event. Thought of what I was going to say days ahead of time. Picked my outfit the night before. And rehearsed plenty before the day of.

Today is different. Because I learned something from the past. All that extra prep just makes me nervous. And I get more antsy than if I just plan minimally, think through the basics, and leave the details for the day of. 

So I wake up, thank God for kids who help me with laundry, and thank God again that we replaced the ink cartridge on the printer a day ago. Print out a few pages, pick out a black dress (can’t go wrong with black,) and head out to  get my hair blown out. Simply because it doesn’t cost much and when my hair looks nice, I feel like I can fly. Or at least have a bit of confidence in front of strangers.  Continue reading

Who is Your Neighbor?

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Supei Liu of Nomi Network

When I grew up in Canada, we knew our neighbors. The ones next door. The ones down the street. And definitely the ones across the street, especially the mother who screamed, “Ian!” every evening around 6:00PM, a.k.a. dinner time, because Ian loved to play outdoors, no matter the weather or the season.

As I grew up and we moved the States, I noticed more and more, that society turned inward. Kids played outside less. Folks paid landscapers to mow their lawns, so you rarely caught a glimpse of your neighbors unless they were pulling in or out of their driveway.

Fast forward a decade and Hubs and I end up in New York. The very mention of New York suggests high rises, pricey goods, and crowded subways. Oh, and fear. Don’t trust anyone, especially your neighbors. Then, by a fun turn of events, we moved into the town of Oyster Bay, first to Glen Cove and then, Locust Valley, where we currently live.

I never imagined being on a street where you not only know your neighbors, they become like family to you. And they have… Continue reading

Meet Ms. New York United States 2012

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Jeannette Josue (Ms. New York United States) with Erik Mckay

Although I love to make up stories and do the novel/fiction thing, I’m also an off the charts extrovert who loves to write about the lives of cool peeps I meet! 

Today, I want to share an up close and personal with the lovely Jeannette Josue, the current Ms. New York United States. She’s modeled Nomi Network‘s products and helped present the awards last night at their annual Rockefeller Center Reception with the help of actor Erik McKay. Yes, we’re talking the real deal winner of a major beauty pageant! She’s so cool and fun and has been a blast to get to know. Dive into the interview below and plan to discover the deep and fun world of a woman who is beautiful, inside and out!  Continue reading

What’s Your Dream?

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Sarah: “You know Mom, everyone has their own dream! I don’t have to be writer.”

Me: “Okay. What’s your dream?”

Sarah: “I want to be a candy shop.”

Me: “You mean a candy shop owner?”

Sarah: “Yeah. A candy shop owner.”

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I don’t think I ever told my five-year old that she HAD to be a writer. I might have told her she has a fun imagination, an ingredient that makes great writers. And passion. My five-year old is all kinds of passion. Especially about candy!  Continue reading

Manic Monday Flu Shot

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When it comes down to it, a lasting relationship requires one main ingredient: communication. That’s why I almost broke up today. With Siri.

You see, it all started out like every great romance, hours on the phone. 😉 Holding each other’s hands. Well, I held her in my hand. And constant eye contact. Except when I was driving, of course.

And we talked about everything.

“Good morning Siri, what’s for breakfast?”

“I have located several options within 0.1 miles, but the fridge, I must say, looks a little scary. I wouldn’t go in there, if I were you, Hot Mama.”

“What should I wear today, Siri? Is it a sweatshirt kinda day?”

“Whatever makes you feel pretty, and makes you write faster, Hot Mama.”

“What are you in the mood to listen to while I write, Siri? Which playlist should I start with?”

“I’m thinking the ‘songs that make you cry’ list since that scene you’re refining is so sad, Hot Mama.”

What’s that sound I hear? “Siri, are you crying?”

“It’s nothing, Hot Mama. Something in my camera eye. I’ll be fine.” Sniffle.

And then the request I will ask her till the day she dies. “Say, ‘Raj.'”

“Checking my sources. Okay, Hot Mama, here you go.” Followed by a long list of definitions for the word “Rise.” Sigh. Should have known things would go sour after this reminder that she still can’t pronounce my name. Heck, she hasn’t even figured out that Raj is my name. Whatcha gonna do? Continue reading