Just musings series #3 – When the going gets tough, what do you do?

Last week was one of those difficult weeks as a new mom who has also started work and has been put in a big new project at work. Everything that could go wrong or make things tough happened- I had work related deliverables to finish by the end of the week, my baby fell ill and had diarrhea and got very clingy and cranky, my husband and I started getting on each other’s nerves, I hardly got any sleep, couldn’t wake up on time to exercise, had a lot of guests at home- you get the picture 😦

Cranky baby..lol!IMG_4141

And all the while, I kept telling myself, this is normal, every working mother goes through this and its just a phase..woman up! When the going gets tough, the tough gets going and all that! Well, that just added to my stress since I actually am no superwoman and I was done being tough. So, I did what came naturally to me- by mid week, I just let it go. I stopped trying to be in control of everything and trying to perform at everything, and just took a step back. Mid week, I took a day off, and did nothing but let my daughter cling to me and just waited for her to get slightly better. The guests started settling in, we went to the doctor for some medicines, spoke with my husband and managed to pull a late night to finish my work deliverable for the day. As for unwinding and me time- I had a long weekend (we had Holi here last Monday) to look forward to and it was an amazing weekend!

So although my daughter was slightly better but still quite clingy like a Koala (maybe this is a phase? who knows), I had lots of fun over the weekend- went to watch a movie with all the women in the family on Saturday, while my husband baby sat, ate yummy festival food that my mother in law cooked, played with my daughter and all the family members for extended periods of time, took a very long nap on Sunday afternoon, ordered in pizza saturday night, went for a wedding Sunday night, and caught up with a friend over late night drinks Monday night..it was all so good!

So, it all worked out by the time I was ready to go to work on Tuesday. I know, this isn’t the end of all the challenges or worries, but I also know, this isn’t the end of all the fun too! For me, taking a step back works, but what works for you? Would love to hear your stories from last week πŸ™‚ By the way, I’m in love with Coldplay’s new single- Hypnotized..certainly helped me calm down a bit πŸ˜€ Also, I think braving it out with a kid helps, if you like having a social life. My daughter can be cranky but she can also be amazingly supporting at times- so why not go out and have that drink or go out and have that social gathering with friends and family? πŸ™‚

Feb Book Review #2 – My Life in France by Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme

Yes, I know, it’s March and you’re wondering, why has she titled this as a Feb book review? Well, actually, this book was a part of my February book club destination challenge- Paris, and with everything going on this month- a new project at work, baby duties and having guests over at home, I wasn’t able to finish this on time to complete my challenge, but then that’s life right? So I finally managed to finish the book and here is my review πŸ™‚

My Rating: 3 Stars (this was a very difficult decision and I’ll tell you why)

Book & Author: My Life in France by Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme

Genre: A Chef’s Biography/Non Fiction

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I have to begin with why I’ve rated this book 3 stars. If you’ve read my rating process article (link here), then you’ll know I give higher ratings to books where I learn something and which are interesting too. So although, there was a lot to learn from this book, I didn’t find the book interesting enough. And the only reason I wanted to provide more stars to this book was because it is about Julia Child and I truly admire and respect the woman.

That said, although I’m really interested in eating good food, I haven’t started being interested in the art of cooking yet, and that is what most of this book is about really. To add to that, the book has been edited by Alex Preud’homme, and he has tried to keep some humor in the book (thanks to Julia Child’s real quotes), but in most parts it reads like a documentary and the worst part is that a lot of recipes and sentences are written in French without an English translation to support it! I felt lost most of the time due to that, and I think that was the reason I took so long to finish this book really.

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The book ends with the quote above and I loved this. I hope to inculcate this learning in my life soon too and enjoy the art of cooking. There were also some amazing things in the book that I didn’t know about – I mean, Julia Child is an amazing woman, but I didn’t know her passion to cook and to know French cooking was so great that she took almost 10 years with her partners Simca and Louisette to complete their first cookbook! She was almost 40 when she finished her first book! Isn’t that inspiring? It just says, if one is passionate about something, time and age doesn’t really mean anything. You can achieve anything at any time in your life! Such a beautiful take away! Oh, and all the descriptions about their tasty and leisurely meals- that is what life should be like, not the hustle bustle fast food life that we live in today. I intend to take that as my second takeaway from the book- to try and relax and slow down and enjoy my meals, as much as possible πŸ™‚

So, what did you think of my review? Have you read any of Julia Child’s books and cooked from them? How was your experience?

Just musings series #2 -The art of savouring now πŸ˜Š

Last Sunday my 9 month old daughter didn’t go to nap at her usual time in the morning , so I thought, I’ll take her downstairs to the park and put her in the swing for sometime. Little did I know that what sounded like an errand in my head to begin with, would end up being a fun filled morning in the sun doing nothing! My daughter sat on the swing yes and made all her cooing sounds and laughed and when she had enough of that, she wanted to be taken to the grass to play with her ball! I had showered and had fresh clothes on but one look at her dear face and her beckoning me to join her made me lose all sense and go play with her in the grass, bare feet, on all fours! It was so much fun! We soaked in the sun , lay on the dirty grass, laughed and chased a silly ball, on all fours for more than an hour! I hadn’t done anything like this on all the Sundays I had lived in this house! In fact most of my Sunday mornings had gone binge watching tv or sleeping! Lol

So , this is what I learnt that day from my 9 month old on how to savour the now😊

  • Forget about how you look and what you’re wearing at the moment- it doesn’t matter, no one will care in the long run😊
  • Its better if you have a partner in crime
  • It is easier to savour the moment if you’re doing something you love and with people you love – in an outdoorsy place. Step out of the couch or the floor at home and just go to the nearest open place outside!
  • As someone mentioned to me the other day- get comfortable being uncomfortable 😊It will be worth it at the end..
  • Try not to take to many pictures or videos but if you do want a memory to write about later or look back at later, take a picture when you’re about the leave the place. That way you wouldn’t have missed on any of the fun and you’d have an awesome picture with happy faces to remember at the end! Win win!

I want to practise being in the moment more, what about you? Do you like living in the past , or being excited about your future or being in the moment more? How do you savour the now? 😊

Just Musings series #1 -What brings Joy to me :)

So, ‘Just Musings series’ are going to get added to my ‘Life as I know It’ category as well, stuff that go on in my head now and then that I just want to write about as recordings I can read later when I’m a 100 years old or something πŸ™‚ You will learn nothing new from these posts, but if you have nothing better to do and come across my posts, and nod your head thinking, yeah, I feel the same way!, then maybe we can become Just Musings buddies..lol πŸ˜€

So, basically, I was trying to sort out one of my shelves and found a few of my first and old diaries. I had started writing in my diary since 1995! Imagine! And as I read through my entries, I noticed that when I was younger, I wrote about only the awesome days that I had, as if I had to cherish them and relive them when I grow up, but there were very few mentions of anything sad (except maybe entries of when a guy I had a crush on didn’t notice me..lol) And then, as I grew up, my diary became more and more negative- entries seemed like I was talking to a shrink. I realized, my diary has become my shrink and since the last few years, most of my entries were sad or about challenges I was facing in life, and very few about the joyous moments that I’d had! So insane! Why would I want to relive the sad moments?

That made me think- what were the things that brought me joy when I was younger, and don’t I have them anymore now? And I realized, I had them and I had more!!! And yet, my diary was focusing on all the negatives in my life instead of the positives. So I decided, I’d like to write about all the things that brought me joy as a kid and say, most of them are still true for me πŸ™‚ I’m also going to write more about all the fun happy things I did in my diary now on and maybe put up a post or two here as well πŸ™‚

So, here are the things that brought me joy and still bring me joy..what about you guys?

  • Books, books and books
  • Food!!
  • Getting appreciated and appreciating someone
  • Dreaming about love..lol
  • Laughing and hanging out with my closest buddies (that’s become few in between though now since my closes buddies live miles away..sigh)
  • Watching science fiction series and dreaming about UFOs.. πŸ˜€
  • Hearing my baby laugh (this one is fairly recent..heheh)
  • Making my mom and dad happy and proud of me
  • Dancing and listening to my favorite music
  • Traveling to new destinations and getting to know people πŸ™‚ Β – This one was added later in my life too

Feb book review #1 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Oh my goodness, all these Valentine’s day posts are annoying the crap out of me! Lol..Sorry, I just had to get it out of my system..deep breath..ok, let’s get on to the book now πŸ™‚

I have two books on my list of February reads this year, and Truly Madly Guilty was one of them, since I’ve been reading rave reviews about it on Goodreads. But before we dive in to what I really think, here are the statistics I put in my review posts first πŸ™‚

My rating: 3 Stars (You can read my post on my rating guidelineΒ here)

Book & Author: Truly Madly GuiltyΒ by Liane Moriarty

Genre: Drama/Fiction

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I’ll start with what I didn’t enjoy about the book- I learnt nothing new from the book- about relationships, or responsibilities, or feelings, or friendship, or about anything else in general. What is there in the book, is stuff that all of us already know and probably experience in our daily lives as well. At one point, I seriously felt like I was reading about my own life with one of the character’s story line, and that annoyed me. Since, as reader, I read to learn or escape. And reading about my own life wasn’t helping me in either of those ways! 😎 Also, I would have preferred a more not-so-happy/realistic ending for one of the couples in the story. I didn’t think they made a good couple πŸ˜€

That said, what I really liked about the book was that this is the kind of book you’d want to recommend for discussions in a book club. It’s like discussing each other’s lives without offending real people, because, you’re discussing the characters in the books actually..lol! This book is a very easy read too, so I was able to finish it in a week’s time with all my mother chores πŸ™‚ I really liked some of the characters in the book, my favorite being Oliver, Vid and Tiffany. Even though they were quirky in their own way, they seemed to be sorted where it is required. The underlying theme around which the story involves has an important message, specially for parents and that stuck to me since I’m a mom now too and really, anything can happen. You might be prepared or you may not be prepared, but how you follow up after the incident is important. Our kids are important, but forgiveness is important too- forgiving ourselves, forgiving our family, our friends. Because you never know what a person is going through and how a person will react during an actual life stressing incident. So, I’d recommend this book for a book club reading discussion, if you don’t want to deal with mushy romantic stuff this month! lol πŸ˜€ Oh, and in case you were wondering whose character I thought mirrored my life- it was Clementine’s..lol

Have you read this book or any other books by Liane Moriarty? If yes, then what did you think? Do you have any similar recommendations for me? I couldn’t figure out why the book was titled ‘Truly Madly Guilty’- does anyone else know? πŸ™‚ Who were your favorite characters from the book?

 

Originals vs Remixes- Which do you prefer?

I was listening to the ‘Trending’ station on Apple music the other day and came across a remix of ‘The Mack’ as one of the trending songs!! The remix is from the album Nevada and is quite well made to suit today’s generation’s taste in music- combining EDM sounds with some rap to an age old disco classic. I did enjoy listening to it and then immediately after, went and listened to the original Return of the Mack track and just thought to myself..mm mmm- the original is still way better than the remix πŸ™‚

Similarly, closer to home, in Bollywood, I came across another remix of a song I grew up dancing to- Humma by Remo Fernandez with the music composed by A R Rahman. The original is just amazing, even if you don’t understand the language, you’ll find yourself moving to the music for sure. But again, when I heard the remix, I was a little disappointed. The rap added in the song is sung by one of our famous rap artists, but somehow, I couldn’t find a place for rap in the original song. Also, unlike the remix of ‘The Mack’, the Bollywood track seems to have made quite a lot of changes to the original track. So, even in Bollywood, I prefer the original track to the remix.

Now when I think about it, I’ve noticed that with all the other music that I listen to, it’s always the original that stays with me longer than the remix. What are your view on this? I’ve added links to all the four songs mentioned in my post here, if nothing else, you might as well get into the groove with these amazing songs πŸ™‚

The original- Return of the Mack

 

The Remix from the album Nevada – The Mack

 

The original – Ek ho gaye hum aur Tum from the movie BombayΒ 

 

The remix – The Humma song from the movie OK Jaanu

 

Book Review: An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoof

My Rating: 4 awesome stars!!

Book Name: An Embarrassment of Mangoes (A Caribbean Interlude)

Author: Ann Vanderhoof

Genre: Non Fiction/Travelogue/Culture&History/Caribbean food recipe guide πŸ˜€

Before I start my review, here is some trivia. Did you know (because I didn’t, before I read this book):

  1. Receta means recipe in Spanish?
  2. Conch is a popular seafood in the Bahamas?
  3. Luperon is called a ‘Hurricane Hole’?
  4. Gugua – are not a strange species of insect but actually what the public minivans are called? Lol
  5. Lambi is not lamb, but the Creole word for Conch?
  6. Fig, is not Fig, but actually a Banana in the Caribbean – who knew!!
  7. And many many more such little facts- if you’ve found this interesting, I would say, you don’t even have to read the rest of the review, just read the book!! hahah

 

Note: The pictures above are not mine, but have been taken from various images from the internet, just for the purpose of this blog. I do not intend to offend any copyrights πŸ™‚

Ok, so as part of the 2017 book club reading challenge, we have a travel/tourist challenge where the moderator will select a place/region for each month as the topic, and we have to select a book that is either set in that place/location or whose author is from that location and read and review it for that month. So, for January, the location was Caribbean islands and after a lot of skimming over the internet on various options, I chose to read this book, just because the description and the author seemed very real to me and what better way to travel (if not really traveling) than by reading a good travelogue?! πŸ˜‰

I don’t read a lot of non fiction to be frank, so I wasn’t sure how to rate this book. So I used my first article in this category, on my rating (you can check that out here) and figured I did find the book interesting and amusing and I also did learn a whole lot of things, so this definitely qualifies for a 4 and above rating!

The book is written by Ann Vanderhoof (her picture earlier in the post, taken from the internet), about how she and her partner, Steve, decided and planned to take a 2 year break from their daily 9-9 jobs in Canada and go sailing in their own sailing boat across the Caribbean islands. It talks about her fears, her anxiety in the beginning since she has never sailed that long before in open ocean, her amazement and pure joys of trying out all the local fruits, vegetables and seafood that they catch fresh out of the water, her loving interactions with the locals, her huge list of recipes (that I really want to try but can’t because I don’t have most of those ingredients or cooking tools available with me yet), her test of strength and grit during the storm nights manning the sailboat, her joys of finding delight in the nature and in minimalism and her disappointment when the journey is over.

I’ve never sailed, nor have I visited any of the Caribbean islands, but reading this book, I felt like I was on a virtual tour there and now I’ve added a visit to the CaribbeanΒ – at least to one of the islands to my list of travel destinations now..lol! πŸ˜€

So, I’d recommend this book if you like reading travelogues that are real, filled with real stories, humor and lots of facts on sailing, fishing, history, culture, and my favorite touch to the bookΒ – the recipes at the end of each chapter πŸ™‚ Happy reading and happy traveling fellow readers! Next destination-Paris! Watch out this space for a review by the end of next month on my chosen book for Paris πŸ™‚

What would you have read if you had to pick a book on the Caribbean? Is reading books on travels, cooking, non fiction your thing? Have you read this book, if yes, what did you think of it? Do you have any similar recommendations for me to try out? πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

To go or not to go – A recurring theme for most parents who love to travel :D

Last weekend, we tried another go at Lonavla (which is a small hill station near Pune, Maharashtra, India) with our baby (who’s now almost 9 months old and has already traveled the East, West and North in our country! lol..We did have my parents accompanying us this time, and my husband and I were really excited since my father was able to book us rooms at INS Shivaji (which is the naval base there, since he is an ex-Navy man :))

Before, I delve into the actual topic, let me tell you, that the best places to live and stay in India are actually owned and maintained by the Defence (Army/Navy/Air Force) or various Public sectors (Railways/Govt services, etc). I’ve become a civilian since long now, but every time I get a chance to visit one of these places/establishments (thanks to me dad), I go down memory lane and I just love it! These are the cleanest, greenest places where people live in India I feel and I wonder why the private property guys can’t replicate something similar? Hmm..anyhow..back to the topic πŸ™‚

Although, the place was just as I had imagined, we had some unplanned events and a cranky baby at our hands which sort of made the experience a little more tiring and just because we could, we checked out earlier the next day, than planned. In a nutshell, we had a mix of experiences which I’ve listed down in a table as the Goods and the Bads of our trips like a true analyst..lol πŸ˜€

The Goods πŸ™‚

The Bads 😦

When we entered, it was still so beautiful! The quiet, the green trees, you could hear the birds instead of the horns of cars! So peaceful! There was an inspection ongoing, so we couldn’t get rooms at that awesome lake house that we stayed at last time, so the rooms now in comparison seemed a little dab
My daughter just wanted to be outside, in her stroller or in the carrier and see the green leaves and the birds and scream! She went out for many walks and strolls- in the evening, at night, in the morning and we even found some swings – her favorite thing to do these days there! She loved it and I loved watching the beauty of everything with her new eyes again! πŸ™‚ The rooms were quite cold and the floors were not carpeted so our daughter (who has recently started crawling) felt restricted because she wanted to crawl, but felt cold when we’d leave her on the floor to do so
Lucky that my mom had packed some home made dried food for her to eat on the first day, so that wasn’t so bad But the second day, we were unprepared and blindly depended on the canteen food, which was a huge letdown. In other notes where we were unprepared – I got her PJs but forgot to get the top that goes with the PJs! Lol!
I was able to have a few minutes of quite , sipping my whiskey in the outdoor mess at night, where I hogged on chinese starters , when I suddenly looked up and I could see the stars in a bright clear sky..it was beautiful..my highlight and moment of the trip πŸ™‚ I had planned to have some more alone and me time where I could catch up on my reading and also spend some more time with my husband, but the baby needed our constant attention and by night we were too tired to even try and stay awake beyond 11 pm! lol

I didn’t intend to make this a table of one for one or see if my Goods outnumbered the bad, but just to show that although there were tough times, there were also amazing beautiful fun times that I had. Which brings me to the question that most of us ask ourselves when we’re parents and parents who love to travel in general – Is it really worth all the headache and effort and mishaps that come along when traveling with a baby/toddler? Should I go or should I stay?

My personal take? If you love to travel, then go πŸ™‚ Traveling is about adventures and mis-adventures anyway right? I know the baby/toddler won’t really get much or remember anything when they grow up, but why should the parents miss out on experiencing the joys of traveling and the joys of seeing the same thing with the eyes of a child? It truly is exhilarating! πŸ™‚ The only tips I have is that – expect things to go wrong- you’re with a baby, thats the fun of it. And try not to be a perfectionist parent – babies can survive very well on milk, water, juice, canned baby food/cereal, mashed potato, bread, etc. if its just a matter of a few days. If your baby hasn’t fallen ill, consider the trip to be a super success! Lol! But then again, this is just my take on stuff- I’m no child doctor and no expert on traveling or parenting..hehhe

Here’s a picture of the happy family on the last day of the trip (yeah the baby looks disturbed..lol) πŸ˜€ What are your thoughts on traveling with a child? Any planning that helps smoothen things out a little? Do you like to venture out more?

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How to (or not to) eat a meal out with a baby :D

Disclaimer: This is not to be confused with an expert view on parenting or baby eating habits or recommendation of any sort! Lol!

Premise: Generally weekend brunches/lunches with the 8 month old (who has recently started crawling), with family or friends – because I am too lazy to cook πŸ˜€

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I love eating out-period. I also love drinking. Now I can do both. Pre baby time, it didn’t even matter what I ate out, as long as at least three of my meals on a weekend were outside. I can see some health enthusiasts already tsk-tsking on this (aka husband dear to top the list ;)), but I still shamelessly go on practicing this habit of mine. Now all that said, everything kind of changes when you have a baby in the picture. I may not want to eat healthy or eat at home all the time, but the Lord and the Universe sees you need some intervention, and hence, they send you a baby..hmm..

So, here is what I have learnt from my experiences lately about how to eat (or rather not eat) outside, with a baby πŸ˜€ (Please note the mommy sarcasm- I had to put that in words since I couldn’t find enough emojis to put in here, that I’d normally do when I chat about my escapades ;))

  1. Try not to eat out at all – the best tip!
  2. However, if you’re incorrigible, like me, then choose an open place – outdoors or alfresco restaurants/dine out places are superb options.My daughter loves watching birds, trees, just being outdoors basically πŸ™‚
  3. If your baby has just started moving about by themselves- such as crawling, rolling over, toddling and the likes – have an army of people accompany you to the meal. Because, do not by any means, assume that your baby will sit like a posh disciplined ‘adult’ in her crib/stroller/pram for the entire duration of the meal. The army comes in handy to play with the baby, make faces at her, distract her, and in dire circumstances – leave their meals halfway to take the baby for a walk out, so the others might eat a few bites in peace
  4. Try to avoid extreme fine dining places – its funny because everyone knows babies scream and love to get dirty and throw things around. And yet, one will invariably get those stares from other patrons at these fine dining places – if God forbid you visit one of these with your screamer of a baby. So unless you want to go into a longΒ speech defending the right of every baby to scream and be dirty every time you get those stares, I’d suggest, skip the fine dining really πŸ˜€
  5. Try to feed your baby normal food before you reach your junk food destination. Otherwise, there is always mashed potato to the rescue πŸ˜‰
  6. I’m not sure if this is a glimpse of things to come, but every time my baby sees me lift my glass to sip my drink, she is thirsty and wants her bottle. (Well, I think she actually wants that colored liquid that’s in my glass, but since she can’t have that, she has to make do with her bottle). Therefore, keep a supply of fresh juice, water and milk ready- to satisfy baby drinking habits (Cheers!)
  7. If possible, don’t bother to dress your baby like the next fashionista- I know Beyonce and Victoria Beckham do it and I love and admire those women, but I’d recommend, not to. Why, you ask? Well firstly because babies don’t care- they’re happiest when they’re naked. And secondly, the minute they step into the car or the restaurant, they’ll have saliva, juice, milk, some spit outs and maybe some mashed potato on their awesome princess dress – so really, why bother? πŸ˜€
  8. Try ordering food that don’t require you to use your fingers – say pasta and errr pasta? You don’t want to be worrying about wiping your fingers every time your baby wants you to hold her or wants to hold your hand for some strange reason. Also, soups and gravy stuff are really dangerous. My baby has a tendency to slap her palm on every surface she can find, and she doesn’t understand that yellow looking liquid has no hard surface…scary!
  9. Skip dessert – Like seriously, Prachi (I tell myself)!
  10. If you manage to eat an entire meal within say 2-3 hours and get back home and the baby hasn’t had a meltdown- give yourself a big pat on the back!!! It was a success!!! woo hoo!!! So, when do we go out to eat again? (I ask my husband, and he tsk-tsks :D)

This was just a humorous post, I actually do have a lot of fun going out and with my baby too- it’s a different experience altogether πŸ™‚ Tell me how it is with the other parents out there? What are your tips for meals and any awesome memories you’ve had with your baby-eating-out-trips? πŸ˜€

Book Review: I know how she does it by Laura Vanderkam

My rating: 3.7 Stars

The mosaic metaphor is that life consists of many tiles. Some tiles are stressful and some are wonderful.Β Laura Vanderkam

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Laura’s statement above sums up her time management lesson in this book. It’s funny how I’ve started opening up to more self help books lately. I read an awesome self help book called How to be a Badass last year and was able to take some very good lessons from the book, which are still working for me. And now this.

I’m a new mom to an 8 month old and I’ve rejoined work post my long maternity leave, so it was an obvious choice to pick this book up, just because it talks about so much positivity about women who want to have it all and can have it all too, without feeling guilty.

What I really liked about this book is that it doesn’t have too many lessons, but has a lot of facts about how real women are managing time- those statistics make it seem real. One can’t pick up this book and say – “well, its easy to preach, but let’s see how you deal with it in real life”. Because that’s exactly what the book does- it talks about women who aren’t preaching, but actually practicing awesome time management in their lives – making time for their careers, family, children, exercise/health and themselves too! It really is possible, with a little change in mindset (using Laura’s tips in the book) and some time management.

That said, I didn’t give this book my awesome 4+ stars, just because, towards the second half of the book, I thought I had learnt what I needed to learn from the first half of the bookΒ itself, and the time logs started to feel slightly repetitive/boring later on. Also, in my kindle, the book finishes at 80% and then the remaining 20% are just sources from where the author has picked up her statistics from, for the book. So thatΒ bored me a little too πŸ˜€

My summary- a good read for moms or working moms, who just need a little bit of motivation to live life queen size πŸ™‚