Learning French!

Hello!!

If you know me from my Travel Blog,  you know how much I had always wanted to go to Paris. Paris has forever been my dream destination. It was on my bucket list since I was a teenager! I forever dreamt about it, wrote about it, spoke about it & finally last year I did visit it – Paris of my dreams!

I walked along with the Parisians at Champs Elysee , walked to the top floor at the Eiffel Tower, visited the Louvre, sat down at one of those Parisian cafe’s & more. It was everything I had ever imagined & more! If it was possible I had fallen even more in love with the city!

One thing however did fall short of completing the whole amazing experience – my inability to speak their language!  I had no knowledge of French beyond the basic Bonjour & Merci! And for anyone who has ever visited Paris or even France knows that without the knowledge of the language you will always miss out on the complete Parisian/French experience. That was it for me. Now, If you know me well, you will know  that I am someone who will always jump in wholeheartedly at a new idea that catches my fancy & see it through! That is just how I roll.

Flash Forward, I come back & I dive in head first to find myself a French teacher!

Now if you are a working professional in India, there is no way that you can manage time to pursue anything new during your weekday. There is no such thing as Work & Life balance. We are workaholics & proud of it! ( Although now I can proudly say, I am a very vocal advocate of work life balance, I make it work.)

The search for the ultimate French teacher was real. I looked online, asked friends for recommendations, met with teachers, took demo classes but nothing seemed to be working out as per my requirement.

In the mean time I got busy with work, had new responsibilities that kept me busy, so there was some gap in the hunt!

A friend at work recomended I downloaded an APP that connects you to any service provider you want. I thought heck why not, so I put down what I was looking for & a few french teachers responded. I called a few & decided against them for one reason or another.

It was among the many applicants I came across a teacher with impressive credentials, who stayed close to me, & was also willing to work with me as per my schedule, but the catch – she was to be out of town for a couple of weeks! The wait real.

My desire to learn french only grew that much more when I got the opportunity to visit Europe again for another holiday. It was Eastern Europe this time, but Europe never the less. Once I was back from Europe, I resumed work & was just checking my messages that I may have missed , which is when I came across a message from the perfect teacher!!!

I just knew it had to work out ! She was back in town & was ready to meet up with me if I was still interested!

It was unbelievable! I called her right away & we agreed to meet up!

It was like magic, the minute I met her, she asked me all the right questions. She understood what I was looking for,  answered a million of my questions. ( I ask a lot of questions! I am that first bench er with glasses, total nerd kid & proud of it! )

She was the one for me! ! She was willing to work with me & arrange the classes according to my schedule! We said Yes to each other and turns out not just each other ( now this is the fun part ) my cool tribe from school days as well! Four of my friends too! I  met my friends after days & just happened to mention that I was starting with French in a few days & they decided they wanted to join in too! For two of them it was relevant to their work & for one it was like she wanted to learn French for fun!

So this is the part where I can totally say, we are living happily ever after.

I am about to complete my first level of French this month & starting with level two!

Je parle at least little Francais ! 🙂

Now I would really appreciate help from you guys too! Any French speaking readers out here?? Would appreciate any advice, tips, book suggestions for me to get better at the language!

DO you have a language story as well? I would love to hear it! Do leave it in the comments section below!

You see, All’s well that ends well – Eventually ( After not giving up! )

Love,

A xo.

 

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Have a Dream & a Coffee Can!

I personally believe that it is so important to have a Dream. Something you wish to do, wish to have, wish to experience. Something that keeps you going in life.

My dream ever since I was a child was always Traveling around the world.

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When I was 7, my Mom got me a Game that came with a World Map & a couple of knowledge cards. The whole purpose of the GAME was to help me improve my knowledge of the world ( Life of an Asian Kid! ) It involved 2 players. The first had to point out a place on the map & the second player had to ask a Question relating to the place from the knowledge cards & vice-versa. The player that got the most correct answers would win!

I would play by the rules with my mom & dad but my childhood best pal Nikita & I, we had our own interesting version of the game! We would each take chances at picking a location on the map & pretend we were out to explore that place & would have our own Imaginary adventures!

Other times we were owners of a pretend Travel agency. Air-hostesses the next. But it was always something Travel related. This went on for a very long time with the two of us!  It was very clear to whoever witnessed our play, that we would both suffer from a chronic case of Wanderlust as adults!

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Yep, that’s her!

Today Nikita lives in Australia & travels around the world in her spare time & tries out all the adventure sports there are to try out! As for me, I travel enough to have Travel Blog.

I think the only reason why both of us did end up seeing the world as Adults is because every since we were children, that was our greatest Dream & coupled with it was also an intense desire for it to come true & doing everything we could that would help on the way to it.

I often get comments on my Blog, where people tell me that they wish to Travel, see the world, meet new people & experience wanderlust for themselves, but cannot. They have their own reasons as to why they cannot do so. They vary from having a family to look after, an old person to care for, a career that does not allow them to take time off or financial issues. And honestly, I get it. They are genuine reasons. I always wondered what the right response to these comments was.

It was yesterday when while watching a previous Super Soul Sunday episode of Oprah with Elizabeth Gilbert that I found the answer.

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Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the amazing Book ‘Eat,Pray, Love’, narrated a story a reader of hers shared with her. I am going to share that story with you.

The readers mother ( lets call her Amy) was born in a typical Irish catholic home in the 50’s & did what her mother & her grandmother & every other woman in her family had done before her. She got married at 18 & went on to have 5 kids in a row.

When Amy was 28, her husband left her. Just up & left. Amy was then left with 5 kids to raise. Her eldest then was 10 & the youngest 2 months old. The burden of holding her family together was on her & she did it take it upon herself to look after them as well as she could. It took a lot of efforts & sacrifices on her part which was pretty heroic in itself.

But there was also this one thing that she did, when it dawned upon her that her husband was never coming home again.She promised herself that her life would not always look this way, filled with so much sorrow, so much poverty & so much oppression in it. She promised herself that one day she would travel the world on her own.

She then got herself a coffee can, a regular coffee can. She kept it at the back of her cupboard where her children could not see it & everyday since the day her husband left, she put one dollar a day in it.

Amy knew there were always going to be hard times & there was always going to be trouble with money but one dollar was something she could spare. She never touched those coffee cans all the years & continued to put in one dollar every single day filling coffee cans after coffee cans.

After 20 years when her kids were all grown up & when her last kid left her house, that she finally cashed in those coffee cans & brought herself a ticket to travel around the world alone, as she had promised herself she would do!

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This exceptional story of heroism & Dreams answers almost every question relating to our quests. Whether it be traveling the world, writing a book, running the marathon or something else. What I want to convey through this story is simple.

Don’t give up on your quest! Keep the dream alive! Have a plan!

If you don’t have a Dream yet, I encourage you to have one from this coming year.

Take a birds eye view of things. Sometimes we don’t get things instantly. We have to wait for the right time for them to come true & honestly that’s okay. It took me a long time to make my dream of traveling the world come true, but now, almost 20 years later it is finally happening for me. It will happen for you too.

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Get a dream, keep your dream alive & get that Coffee Can ( A literal one or a Planner in its place, whichever is relevant)

Let us together declare the coming year as ‘The Year of the Coffee Cans ( & have lot of coffee in the process, wink wink 😉 )

I would love to hear about your dreams & plans too! Do leave them in the comments section of this post!

Much Love,

Arry.

 

Writing Spaces!

Every writer has a specific writing set up where he/she feels most comfortable. A cozy corner of their own, a proper study, a beautiful little coffee shop, a Garden, whatever gets the writing flowing! Writers, professional or amateurs alike, I find, are choosy when it comes to writing spaces. Creativity brings with it certain Quirks!

For me Personally, person-woman-apple-hotel-large

This is how I write – Sitting up on my bed, in my room at home, with a cup of tea or coffee!

I usually write on my Laptop! Although when I started Blogging, it was from my cell phone! It was a random idea to blog! I had always maintained Journals, but never went online with it. It was a couple of blogs later when I really got serious about blogging & wanted perfect themes & backgrounds that I moved to my Laptop.

I like perfect silence & hate being disturbed when I am writing. It makes me irritable very quickly, when somebody interrupts my flow of writing & I lose my chain of thoughts. I find it very difficult to get back on track, hence need to have a quiet environment & no disturbance. It makes me wonder how people find coffee shops a great place to write! You need to be incredibly focused to not get disturbed by all that noise!

I sometimes find inspiration when I am running in the morning at the park. So once in a while I do write mini posts from there as well. Usually it is my observations or Aha moments that I try jotting down( What is it with Mother Nature & AHA moments!? )

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It takes a long time for me to write. I usually start building a post by jotting down ideas in my Writing Journal & when I am sure I have covered all the points I need to convey, I finally get down to writing it. I write, edit, write, edit a million times before finally Publishing a post! That’s just me!

I have reached a point where I have a schedule of posting & it is not random anymore. Unless of course I am taking a blogging class ( which I find are very helpful ). Even when I ideas pop up in my head everywhere & anywhere, my writing space now is mostly my room ( which I totally love, Its my Zen place! )

What about you guys? Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have certain quirks when it comes to writing? I’d love to know! Leave a comment down below!

Love,

Arpita.

Are You My Target Audience?

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My Assignment today at Blogging101 is to Identify my ‘Target Audience’. To be very honest, I don’t really like the words ‘Target Audience’ for my readers here at ‘It’s Arpita’s Life’. It seems very business like to me. Not my style.

The thing I have always looked at my Blog as an Airport Lounge of sorts.

When you are Traveling & waiting at the Airport Lounge to board your flight or in between flights, you don’t really know who is going to come & settle in the chair next to you. But sooner or later, somebody walks in, settles down, either of you says hello, the usual conversations take place. You exchange stories about your Travels, the place you are from & where you are headed, so on & so forth. But there are also certain instances when you meet a person as a strangers, but when you part, you part from a friend. (True Story)

So basically my ‘Target audience’ is everyone & anyone with a story to share, those willing to turn from a Stranger to a friend & those who love a hearty conversation over a cup of Coffee/Tea ( you at your place, me at mine, till a better way is worked out by WordPress)

Somehow, I find that I have succeeded at finding my Target Audience! I have met so many wonderful strangers from exotic places here(Every place is exotic) who later became dear friends today.

There is so much I have shared that is close to my heart. Life Lessons I have learned, Books I have loved, My move to my new Apartment, my lifestyle choice of Minimalism & my love for Charity. You share stories this close to your heart generally with your friends, right? So I have it figured out I believe!

To all my new readers, from Bloggin101 community & otherwise, I say this – Come as a stranger, leave as a friend.

So are you my Target Audience???

-Arry.

 

Scholar PU Magnet Notebook Review!

Scholar Stationery is premium quality paper stationery brand in India since 1958. I personally have been using their Notebooks since my school days.

You should know by now that I am an absolute fan of Diaries, Planners & Notebooks. I am always looking out for beautiful ones that are easy to carry around.

So the other day when I came across this cute little Notebook by Scholar Stationery I decided to get it.

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The Scholar PU Magnet Notebook is a perfect for taking notes on the go. It comes with a Premium Italian PU Cover which makes it look really good.

The size of the paper sheets used in the Notebook is A6 which is an ideal size for me as it fits comfortably in my handbag.

The Notebook has rounded back & corners & has a magnetic flap for closure. The magnetic flap holds the notebook together & the pages are safe from being crumpled, which is something I always look for in my Notebooks & Planners.

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Lets take a look at the pages inside.

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The name page
The Notebook is very simple but has some unique features.

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The Notebook comes with 192 pages that are ruled. You do not have the option of Blank Pages. But here comes the part that I love. On the top of each page you have a date option which you can put in your self & also next to it you have the day option. You just have to tick the day of the week your are jotting the notes on!

I always wanted this feature in my Notebook. Helps me remember the day I took down a particular note.

The Notebook is relatively inexpensive & costs around 4$ which I think is very less for a notebook of such good quality.

Pros

The Price.

The Looks & Quality of the Notebook.

The Date & Day Feature that one has to fill in on ones own.

The size

The Magnetic Flap.

Cons

I wish they came up with a Blank Pages version along with the ruled one.

Summing it up

I absolutely love the Notebook. Its Simple, yet looks really great. The Quality of pages is also pretty good. The best thing however is the Price!

Will I recommend it – Absolutely!

Rating – 4.5/5

For Indian Readers – The Scholar PU Notebooks are available on Amazon & Flipkart. You can also visit their website to look at the available color options http://scholarstationery.com

Regards,

Arry.

Blogger with a Cause – Tag

Picture this. You have your day to day responsibilities taken care of. You have all the time in the world. You have all the money in the world. If I were to ask you about that one cause you could throw yourself completely behind. What would that cause be?

If I had it all, the cause for me would be ‘Feeding the Hungry’.

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A human being can survive with say a set of clothes & no shelter at least for a while. But if a person is not fed for more than a day or two, his very survival is at stake.

But when I think of it, do we need to have all our worries taken away & have all the money in the world to throw ourselves behind a cause we care for? Can’t we just start where we are. I found this Quote that came from Mother Teresa.

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We don’t always have to do things on a grand scale. There are so many ways we can still throw ourselves behind a cause with whatever little that we have.

Now, lets take the example of the cause ‘Feeding the Hungry’. How can you help with that?

These days there are so many charities & organizations that do such amazing work of providing nourishing meals to the poor. Why not volunteer with them. If you can pay for a meal, by all means help out that way by donating money. Or it can be as simple as handing out a homemade food packet to that poor homeless man across the street. Go do that! Just start where you are.

It might not be much for you, but to a hungry person, it is means much more.

feeding the Hungry can also be the Animals & Birds. Feed them too. It takes very little. Like Human Beings, hunger affects them too. Leave a bowl of water & some food for them on the deck or terrace as well. Every life is equally important in the eyes of our maker.

So, the way I interpret throwing yourself behind a cause does not translate to Throwing yourself behind a Cause when you have it all. It means this.

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So this year, I welcome all my Bloggers friends to embrace the Blogger with a cause Tag. Select a cause you are passionate about & make a commitment to it this entire year. It can be Feeding the Hungry, Helping the Homeless, Giving away clothes to Charity, Educating a Child or the one that speaks to you.

Let us make 2016 a year, when we make a difference in our own little way. Blogging is a platform that takes your thoughts & initiatives across the boundaries. Use it!

I invite all of my fellow blogger friends to participate in this Blogger with a Cause Tag.

Here are links to some Great Organizations that work towards Feeding the Hungry sent by some amazing fellow bloggers. If you are already involved with some great charitable institutions working with great causes, feel free to leave a link in the comments section & a brief description of the same!

FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN – http://www.fmsc.org ( Submitted by Whitney Parchman )

COMPASSION – http://www.Compassion.com ( Submitted by Rashmi )

CONVOY OF HOPE – http://www.convoyofhope.org ( I usually donate here)

GIVE INDIA – http://www.giveindia.org ( Another one from me)

Together Let us make a difference.

We can. We will.

Love,

Arry.

 

Memorable Moments of 2015 Tag!!

2015 has really been a really good year for me. I am very grateful to everyone who has in some way or the other made 2015 a year that I will remember fondly.

I usually do this in my Personal Journal, but this year I am doing an Online version as well.

So, here are my most memorable moments of 2015!

Traveling to 4 of the most beautiful countries of Asia

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Last Year around this time, I declared that 2015 would be ‘My Year Of Travel’. I had only heard about there being a certain power to the written word. Now I am a believer. Somehow I ended up Traveling to 4 of the most beautiful countries of Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand & Bhutan. I feel incredibly blessed. It was a dream come true!

Starting a Blog!

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In January 2015, I finally decided to have my own Travel Blog. ArpitasTravelogue was born on January 13th 2015. This is the one moment I will always remember fondly & having a Blog has been the best decision I have ever made in my life!

Quitting A Job that was making me Miserable

Although I had the most amazing boss ever, I was just unhappy. It was physically & mentally exhausting & the thought of going to work itself was giving me anxiety. I was afraid of Quitting. This went on for a year. The Trip to Singapore could not have come at a better time. Sometimes removing yourself from the situation helps you arrive at the decisions that are right for you. I had the time to think over my work situation. The decision was made. The day I came back to India was the day I quit my Job. It was the best decision ever.

Joining Blogging101

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This is one Course that every Blogger, new/experienced alike needs to take up! Almost everything I know about Blogging, I learned during the course! I also met some fabulous fellow bloggers who are now dear friends. You guys know who you are! I loved it so much, I am going to be doing it again this January!

Becoming a Minimalist

This was a life altering decision & also the right one. My journey towards Minimalism started with a Tedx Talk by a duo who call themselves ‘The Minimalists’. I knew immediately this was the right Lifestyle choice for me. Somehow I met Debbie during the same time. I was so impressed by her lifestyle!  I decided then & there that this was something I wanted to live by. I read books, spoke to people & gave away tons of stuff. My Journey is documented in the Minimalism section of this Blog. Its worked for me beautifully.

Moving to a New Apartment

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I have always wanted to live closer to Nature. I love having trees & greenery around, the birds chirping, open space, fresh air. I found a place that offered me all of the above, plus a beautiful view of the mountains right from my bedroom window! I love how peaceful & quiet it is here. Plus my moving helped me really become a Minimalist in so many ways. I got with me, only what I needed. Gave the rest away to charity.

Reaching my Health Goals

I am finally where I need to be as far as my health is concerned. The Job I quit was affecting my health negatively. I was stressed all the time, losing weight & some or the other problem would come up. Now, that I am happy doing what I am loving, I have almost no stress, anxiety & am completely fit. Stress is bad for you! No job comes before your health & physical & mental well-being.

Learning II levels of Reiki

I have always wanted to learn Reiki & finally I took time out this year, to make it happen. I am a level II Reiki practitioner & I am loving it.

Learning how to Cook

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You tube is my Cooking Teacher! I learned how to cook everything from scratch. The best way to learn hoe to cook I feel is by watching how it is done. You Tube has made lives very easy for those who wish to learn how to cook. Laura Vitale, Vahchef, Sanjeev Kapoor’s are some really great cooking channels on Youtube. Honestly, cooking is fun, you only need to have the passion for it! Now that I can cook, I enjoy putting together meals for my family and friends & I love it!

Connecting with you, my wonderful readers

I cannot even begin to explain how much I have loved interacting with you & getting to know all of you. I am very very grateful to all of you guys for your love & constant support. I feel incredibly blessed!

I would love to hear about your most memorable moments of 2015 as well! I think of it as a fun way to recollect the good times & be grateful for the blessings that the Lord has so kindly bestowed upon us!

Tagging you guys – @sashay909 @thinkervo @dalees107 @drmegsorick @piyushavir @shinepositivepower. Also anyone else who wants to go ahead & do the Tag, please feel free!!

Thank you for your Love!

Happy Holidays!!

Love,

Arry.

Moleskine Classic Notebook Review

After Reviewing The Moleskine Diary/Planner for 2016, It is time to review the Moleskine Classic Notebook.

Moleskine as we all know is world famous for Quality notebooks & planners. They are well loved among writers & Journal lovers alike. I have been wanting them for days & finally this year thanks to Amazons amazing service, I got my hands on both the Diary/Planner & the Classic Notebook.

I am a fan of writing online, it is very easy & convenient , but when it comes to maintaining a Personal Journal, nothing can beat putting pen to paper.

So without further delay, Let us get on with the review!

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The Moleskine Classic notebook’s Dimensions are 5 x 8.25 Inches. The one I have is a Soft cover with an Elastic closure & a Book Mark ribbon. You also have the option of Hard Cover.

The Notebook also comes in a variety of colors like Green, Red, Purple among others, but like always I had to go for Black one.

I like to compare the size of a notebook or Planner to other objects, just to get a clear idea about them. So here I am placing the Moleskine Classic Notebook next to my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, so as to give you a clear idea of its size.

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As you can see, it is about an Inch or Two larger than your average Tablet. So if your bag can hold a Tablet, it can hold the Notebook as well.

The Elastic band that holds the Notebook pages together is a feature I completely love, especially when the Notebook is in my hand bag. The pages do not get crumpled at all, which is great.

The Notebook is covered on the outside by a leaflet Kinda thing, which gives you information about the dimensions of the Notebook , the number of Pages & where it is made.

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On the Inside of the same leaflet you will find ideas about personalizing your Notebook. You can cut along the dotted lines to make yourself a Book Mark which says Have a Nice day & Do not Touch.

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The Moleskine Classic Notebook has around 192 pages with its corners rounded & the paper is acid free.

Lets take a peek at the Pages now, starting from the Name page.

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When it comes to the pages, you have the option of either ruled or Blank ones. I am not a fan of Ruled ( Reminds me of Notebooks I used in School) So I always opt for the Blank version. Its great if you wish to write, doodle or Draw. Blank is full of possibilities, but hey if you like the Ruled version go for it. Whichever works for you.

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Right in between the two sides of the Notebook is the bookmark ribbon. You see the purple thing above? I really think it is a great addition.

Another thing I really like when it comes to both Moleskine Diary & Notebooks is this arrangement that the inner back part of the books have. The slot where you can keep those little notes & cards which you find important. Visiting cards, Tiny greeting cards, Travel passes etc. It is so very convenient.

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Uses for this Notebook

I think it will make a great Daily Journal.

Also a great option for writers.

A nice notebook for sketching as well( although I think Moleskine has specific notebooks for sketching)

A great notebook for College Students for jotting down Lecture notes too.

Pros

The Quality of the Notebook & its Pages.

The Elastic band keeping the pages together. You don’t have to worry about the pages getting crumpled if you put the Notebook in your bag.

The Slot at the back for holding important things.

Cons

The Price again like all other Moleskine products!

The number of pages, 192 doesn’t really work for me.

You have to be careful about the kind of pen that you use. There can be feathering if you use the wrong one. ( Note – Moleskine does have a specific pen for their notebooks. Be sure you google for the pens that go well with Moleskine notebooks, there are many articles written about it.)

Summing it up

It is a great Notebook as far as Quality is concerned but I do find the price a bit on the higher side for a Regular Notebook considering you do have relatively inexpensive options with similar quality at a much lower price.

In the end, it all comes to how much you are willing to pay for a notebook.

Will I recommend it – May be.

Rating – 3.5/5

Have you used a Moleskine Notebook before? How do you like them? Let me know in the comments section!

 

Tis the Season to be Jolly!

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Dear Friends,

From my family to yours here’s wishing you a Very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!! May all good things come your way today & everyday. Let us praise the Lord, Be kind to one another, Be grateful for our blessings & spread the cheer of the Holidays.

Most importantly – Believe in Miracles!!

I am very grateful for your love & support, today & every day!

All my Love,

Arpita.