Lady In Read Writes

3 Lessons Learned from 31 Days of Blogging

By October 31, 2017 Everything Else, Learning

Today is the last day of the UltimateBloggingChallenge – October and Write31Days… I made it to the end (I think I missed a couple of days, which means I need to get scheduling posts as a habit next!!). But Yayyy, here we are, all of us who promised to write 31 days and it is great to reach the end of this 31 days which just proves we can do it..

What did I learn

– That it Was Not Scary At All – Spooktober not withstanding, blogging everyday for 31 days might seem daunting, but it is not.. The fact that there are others who are part of the challenge is a big boost to our confidence.

– It is Doable – Commitment to the challenge here showed me that it is doable, so it just means I need to commit to myself now outside the challenge ūüôā

– You make great friends and discover you are part of a wonderful virtual community.. so Thank You to all who helped make these 31 days seem a breeze!

So a Big Hurrah to all and looking forward to keep seeing each other even post challenges..

As for me, here are my tentative plans for the next few weeks:

– Work on my blogs –¬†current¬†and¬†new blog¬†and set things up for both by mid November

– Work to have additional posts scheduled as the holiday season gets underway

For Ruby Tuesday: Found Рa leaf that made its own way as it glided down the tree away from the heap nearby!

last leaf

For First Chapter, First Paragraph at BibliophileByTheSea


There was trouble afoot in Sleepy Hollow. Harry could feel it, although he couldn’t quite put his finger on what was causing his uneasiness.¬†

For Teaser Tuesday over at The Purple Booker:

It was not the mayor and the band of grave robbers who stepped out of the car. 

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Magic Monday – 13 Spooky Halloween Reads for Kids and Adults

By October 30, 2017 Books

“The baby bat

Screamed out in fright,

‘Turn on the dark,

I’m afraid of the light.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē¬†Shel Silverstein

light in the attic shel silverstein

So we all have our fears! Dracula would definitely have screamed out too like baby bat, wouldn’t he? The poem above is from Shel Silverstein’s wonderful book ‘Light in the Attic‘ (and he has more fun spooky poems as well from his many books). So what scares you? Me, I would put creepy, crawly things on my list first (spiders, depends on the size!!).¬† But reading calms my every fear….

Little Women Louisa May AlcottReading to my kids when they were much younger and to/with them as they grew older has been a treasured activity for me. They are 14 and 11 now, and I still read to/with them every once in a while. Over the summer, my daughter and I read some of ‘Little Women‘ together, each of us picked a couple of characters that we chose to read and read their parts out, while taking turns reading in the rest of the book which was non-dialog. I am hoping to get back to it soon with her.

With my son, I normally just chose to read what he is reading (though not always at the same pace/time) – he just finished reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ and I need to get to that soon!!

And themed reading can be fun with kids! Holidays present a wonderful opportunity for themed reading with so many ways we can incorporate the holiday – books need not be about Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas or Valentine’s Day, instead they can be spooky or scary, about giving or volunteering or sharing, about love in every way…

treats only halloween ladyinread

So here is a list of 13 books to read on or around Halloween, or really, any time of the year (across age groups):

  1. The Berenstain Bears – The Big Book of Berenstain Books – Beginner Books¬†– Watching the TV show was always fun and the books are delightful. This set of books has a couple of spooky tales to read – including the aptly named ‘The Spooky Old Tree’ (Ages 3 – 7 years, and even older!)
  2. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything РShe is truly not afraid Рa fun look at feet and pants and a shirt and a hat that go together (Preschool РGrade 2, and again even older!)
  3. Harry’s Spooky Surprise!¬†(Harry The Happy Mouse Book 3)¬†¬†– Harry’s spooky surprise is good at teaching kids not to be scared and finding friends in unexpected places; and at showing how you can be kind, loving, and with the help of friends, surprise loved ones with the best of surprises.. (For Ages to 5 years old and even older)
  4. The Witches by Roald Dahl РRoald Dahl, enough said! (8 to 12 years old)
  5. Frankenstein and Dracula (Classic Library Hardcover edition) РI bought mine at a book fair years ago and love how it looks in addition to the books themselves!  (Grades 3 Р7 for Frankenstein; and over Grade 6 for Dracula)
  6. Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  7. Lord of the Flies
  8. The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings¬†by Edgar Allen Poe (my favorite, of course, is ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’) and/or¬†Tales of Mystery and Terror¬†by Edgar Allen Poe
  9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Grades 5 Р8)
  10. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde РI read this first when I was about 11, I think and I remember crying for the ghost. I truly love him more with every reading.
  11. The Exorcist¬†– I read the book as an adult (watched the movie when I was a kid) and the book left me sleepless and scared for a couple of days!! For braver high schoolers?? and adults…
  12. The Picture of Dorian Gray¬†by Oscar Wilde –
  13. Collected Ghost Stories¬†– M.R.James –

berenstain bearstell tale heart poepoe

hawthorne twice-toldcollected ghost storiesFrankenstein Dracula

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Emerging Patterns

By October 29, 2017 Art

Tie dye

 All rolled up and waiting..

All tied up for colors

Ooh, here comes the first squish of color, bright pink it is…!

Coloring Tie Dye

Working at it, more colors to add…

All ready with all my favorite colors.. do you love the patterns?

Beautiful bright tie dye shirt

For PhotoSunday and for UBC

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The Why Post

By October 28, 2017 Art, Everything Else, Food, Learning, Memes, Reviews, Travel, Writing

My previous(still actively current as well) blog

I started blogging years ago actually and as part of setting up this new blog earlier this month, I even imported content from there (excluding a couple more recent posts).. So you might be asking, why a why I am blogging post? This is more of a reinventing myself as a blogger post – of moving from a free blog to my own space on the world wide web. If then, why import all content from my previous blog? Because that is a part of me as well, and as part of reinventing, I also plan to refresh and redo some of my posts from earlier.

Writing Fuels me

Writing has been a treasured part of my life forever now (well, since I learned to write anyways, and before that, I made up stories to tell my little brother), and blogging is an extension of that.¬† As a child, I wrote poems, stories, and participated in writing challenges whenever I could. Everything I wrote, no matter what it was, gave me a sense of accomplishment that it energized me, made me happier, made me ‘me’, and that eventually led to a better me, which meant I was able to also help others (tutoring classmates the previous night before finals and all through the year was one of my first such experiences; mom would worry that I would not be able to focus on what I needed to study for, but teaching and sharing my knowledge made me better at it so it was all gooood!) (By the way, I also experience this same energy-up when I work on art or end up taking a really good photograph or somehow manage to have cooked up something yummy that is also healthy)

What was I blogging about?

My initial blog started out as my spot for my¬†R&R ‚Äď this could easily mean the traditional ‚Äėrest and recreation‚Äô or my little twist on the traditional ‚ÄėRecreation and Relaxation‚Äô or my very own ‚ÄėRaving and Ranting‚Äô.¬† In the beginning (and even today), I read many blogs about blogging – and many of them had a central message – “pick a niche”.¬†That led me to thinking – what is my specialty? I realized I am more of a Jack of Many Trades (with some level of mastery in a few) and it would be me being me, if I wrote about all of those passions and interests I have. So I have been writing about reading, travel, participating in memes, sharing recipes, tips, my poetry, and photographs, life’s magical moments, parenting and its many facets, reviews of books and products, and more.

And now 

All those varied things that I (plan to) write about inspired me to add the tagline for my blog Рthis is not a niche-less blog, but a blog(ful) of niches!!  I am still working on the theme, the logo, updating my older posts so they fall in place with my categories, and some more branding to make it more like home, a cozy place for readers to drop by and explore.

Today, I hope to keep doing all that and also include more posts where I can let my readers relax a bit, learn some more, and leave with a smile on their faces, facts in their brains, a spring in their step, and a desire to return (of course)!!…

So here is my question to my readers (old and new) –

what energized you today? Or made you smile? Do let me know in the comments!!


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13 Interesting Facts About Spooky Creepy Halloween Handpicked For You

By October 26, 2017 Uncategorized

My daughter came to me sometime back to get my feedback on a poem she is writing for her Language Arts class at school – using Maya Angelou’s ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten me at all’ (and I discovered a wonderful poem and¬†Maya Angelou’s recitation¬†of that poem as a result). As we read my daughter’s poems, she commented that she had not realized earlier how scary Mother Goose poems sound (for example, Rock-a-Bye Baby). To read some of these scary poems, you can check out¬†this link¬†here¬†and¬†Literati Pulps’s¬†scary poems to read for Halloween.

From Mother Goose’s scary poems and the¬†Grimms Brothers Fairy Tales¬†to clowns scaring people across cities in the world today and the various true stranger danger news everyday, we have come a long way.¬† With all the scary clowns, clown costumes and masks are banned in my kids’ schools along with a few other type of costumes. So I am looking forward to trick-or-treating with my kids with the added assurance that we will not be running into scary clowns (hopefully) in our neighborhoods!! But there is more to Halloween than trick-or-treating and here are 13 ghoul-picked weird facts for you..

1. Halloween’s origins are in the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain celebrated over 2000 years ago.

2. Halloween is short for Hallow’s Eve (the day before All Hallows Day/Holy Day) on November 1st

3. Some people have¬†samhainophobia¬†(fear of Halloween)…

4. Trick-or-treating itself owes its beginnings to the practice known as mumming or guising, where people disguised in costumes went door-to-door singing songs and dancing in exchange for food

5.¬†Mumming¬†and guising might have had their origins in another custom called ‘souling’, where people (mostly poor children) went door to door, offering prayers for the departed in exchange for¬†soul cakes.

6. Jack-o-lanterns were originally made of turnips. Pumpkins are a much later addition

By Toby Ord (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

7. The name Jack-o-lantern also has an interesting history. According to Irish folklore, Jack tricked the devil one too many times and was denied entry into heaven because of that. But since he had already made a bargain with the devil that Satan cannot claim his soul, he ends up in the in-between and he made himself a lantern with a piece of coal the devil threw at him, and has been roaming ever since.

8. Apple bobbing or dunking as a Halloween game started in Ireland and England in the 17th Р20th centuries. 

9. Chocolate candies top the list of popular Halloween candies and an¬†article¬†has Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at #1 on the list.

10. Halloween is the second most commercially successful festival in the US (not Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day), after Christmas (the sheer amount of candy sold itself helps! and then there are the costumes and Halloween parties!!)

11. Some of the other similar customs that are celebrated around the world include Day of the Dead in Mexico, Dziady in Poland, Ghost Festival in China, and Calan Gaeaf in Wales.

12. The movie¬†Halloween¬†re-purposed William Shatner’s Star Trek’s mask, as they were on a shoestring budget, and that was the cheapest mask they could find.

13.  World War II caused sugar rationing, which impacted trick-or-treating for a few years.

Do you have any interesting facts or stories to share about Halloween? Do let me know. 

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Word…. Wednesday

By October 26, 2017 Memes, Writing

For Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What’s surprised you most about your life or life in general?

That life is full of surprises! And you never know when it can throw a curve-ball at you or shower you with gifts¬† – so take both in stride…

2. ¬†Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie…you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?

the soup for me!

3. What’s a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?

With Steinbeck being a native Californian and having many books set in the state, there are many famous books just by Steinbeck alone – and I am ashamed to say I am yet to read any of them though I have at least three of his books in my home library (and my son just finished reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ for school; he has asked me to read it as he really enjoyed it so that will be my first Steinbeck). Based on my son’s review, it rates 5 stars!

4. There are 60 days until Christmas…have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?

Not yet.. will only start sometime November ūüôā Lists, lists, and more lists for me to stay organized.

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you’d like to visit one day? The¬†top rated tourist attractions¬†in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis’s Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee’s Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

None yet. Have not been to Tennessee. Great Smoky Mountain would be first on my list.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Do you have times when an acquaintance chances up on you suddenly and stops to greet you (meeting after a long time, too) and you were in the middle of something else, so you do have a conversation that you hope was good.. and later, you recall things you should have made part of the conversation (maybe you saw on Facebook earlier about an award he or she won; or something else worth bringing up and making them feel good).. well, that happens to me every once in a while, and it happened today too…

For¬†ABC Wednesday‘s Round 21 – Letter P, I have here an image

P is for Plumes – my son, as I have mentioned earlier in the blog too, is in his high school’s marching band. Marching band is loads of hard work, loads of commitment of time and energy, and loads of fun and learning in the process!! When they are performing in events and competitions in full regalia, the marching band looks and sounds awesome! As parent volunteers, we sign up for various jobs. One of them I signed up the last time was to insert these beautiful white plumes into their shakos (hats).

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Hello world!

By October 25, 2017 Writing

A New Blog!

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Tuesday Memes

By October 25, 2017 Uncategorized

For Ruby Tuesday, a glimpse into the beautiful truck art of India via paper crafts you can make at home using printables or templates shipped to you. You can check out my blog about it here.

For Top Ten Tuesday, today’s top ten is about titles. Book titles and covers do matter – it is like love (or not) at first sight, or first impressions matter, or something similar. There are many a times that I tend to turn to the back of the book and read the blurb even before looking at the title/cover for this reason (who knows what gem I missed or the opposite because of first impressions!). Some titles make me fall in love with the book, others that are over-the-top that still make me curious enough to read the book, and still others are so cringeworthy that they make me decide instantly not to read the book. Today’s list mainly includes the first two categories – that I loved or was curious about. 
  1. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss – How could I not love this title? Well, nothing more to say there actually! Yet to read it fully though this book has made an appearance in previous Top 10 lists.
  2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – The straightforward creepiness of this title made me read it, and of course, it is by Agatha Christie. I loved this book
  3. A Book about Absolutely Nothing. by I.M. Nobody
  4. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – This intrigued me and I picked it up from a library sale based solely on its title – it is in my TBR.
  5. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson – everything? Condensed into this book. Again, like #4, I got it at a sale, and have read it in bits and pieces of the everything so far. 
  6. Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition: A Collection of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful Words, Phrases, Praises, Insults, Idioms, and Literary Flourishes from Eras Past by Lesley M.M. Blume – This is a book on my bedside and I open random pages to read up about words, forgotten-yet-delightful!
  7. Inside Out & Back Again By Lai, Thanhha – This was a delight to read and an eye-opener too, about refugees, immigrants, and their hardships. 
  8. How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan – Another book picked up at the library sale because of the title!! Later discovered the controversy around it – on my TBR still.
  9. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1) by Catherynne M. Valente – Isn’t this title just delightful? Bringing fairies and girls who make their own ships and travel the world all together..
  10. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama  – This was a book I enjoyed reading – light-hearted and endearing…Never got around to reviewing it though.

an additional one, because Indian truck art is something I have loved always and found this while looking for books to read for the same:

So what book titles have caught your attention? (or not :)) let me know….
For First Chapter, First Paragraph and for Teaser Tuesday, here are glimpses from the book that I started reading today (a chick flick after a while!). The book is ‘When Dimple Met Rishi‘ by Sandhya Menon. 
For First Chapter, First Paragraph at BibliophileByTheSea
Chapter 1 
Dimple couldn’t stop smiling. It was like two invisible puppeteers, standing stage left and stage right, were yanking on strings to lift up the corners of her mouth.
For Teaser Tuesday over at The Purple Booker:
The girl glanced down at the flower, and then up at him again. She nodded solemnly, like she understood the gravity of this moment. She wouldn’t tattle. 

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Quadrille Monday

By October 24, 2017 Art, Writing
The day that dawned
When I creaked my way
It whispered
‘Put a spring in your step
Rise above your fear
Grin and face it,
Dance, melt away those pounds
Take a journey on the greens
¬†The creak will just be an echo then.’
For today’s Quadrille #43, I tried to use some of the words from this series and this is something I really need to work on – poetry writing, and exercise!! ūüôā

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Sunday …

By October 23, 2017 Uncategorized

For Sunday Whirlings (whirl of words above), Twiglet # 46 (my first attempt, so not sure how I met the prompt),and for UBC as well as Write 31 Days
Still Holding…
’twas the middle of the night,
actually, almost two, alright!!
A light drizzle pitter-pattered
me to sleep….
Soon, dreams milled, chattered,
shared a bit or two of gossip..
You know, I was king of the hill
Wore a ruby-trimmed crown
Sat on my throne until…
….a knock and a pound
they followed each other;
blinded by the light, i woke
muttering to myself, oh brother
something sticky i found, was it yolk?!
But I – was still king of the hill
even if just in my dreams!!
 – Vidya T

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