Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Julie and Julia - My take

After moving to US and watching a few local American sitcoms, I heard the name Julia Child being passed around a lot. Sometimes as an inspiration, sometimes as a funny reference to motivated home chefs. I had never heard or read about her hitherto. Yesterday, I chanced upon this movie called "Julie and Julia" on Netflix. The description said something about it being inspired from Julia Child's life. So I just thought I would watch the movie a little, because a) I am not very interested in English films generally b) I did not have any reference of Julia Child. But then I watched the movie.

It was one of those movies which just caught me off guard. It had such a warm fuzzy feeling to it. The story is about a girl named Julie who works in New York but hates her job. She is going through a quarter life crisis, and wants to do something big, some challenge that she can take on and come out top of it. And so, she decided to take up Julia Child's recipe book which has 524 recipes, and decides to finish it up in exactly 365 days. Like most of us, her pump fizzles out through the middle of any challenge. To overcome that, she starts a blog which she updates everyday with the recipe she tried and how it turned out. The movie then keeps going back and forth between Julie and Julia's life. While Julie tries a recipe, the movie transports us back to the time when Julia developed it, and how her life was at that time. The character of Julie is played by Amy Adams, and if I may say so, she is equally adorable. I could so relate to her when she starts her blog. And waits for people to read and jumps at every single comment. How sometimes, she is sleepy, and yet makes time to blog because she believes her readers would be so disappointed if she didn't. It was so funny to see it in retrospective. 

The character of Julia is played by Meryl Streep. Forgive me for saying this, but I hadn't watched a single movie of Meryl Streep, until yesterday. And that's only because I am not as drawn to English movies as much as Hindi ones. But now, I am a big bag Meryl Streep fan. Now I now why people consider her a legend. The way she has played Julia's character is so adorable, it makes you fall in love with both of them. Maybe it was Julia's character that makes her so warm and fuzzy, but I still can't shake off her beautiful face and smile. I had never seen Julia Child before I sat down to write this piece. Even though now I know how she looks like, but I think from now on, every time someone mentions Julia, I am going to think of Meryl Streep. That's like two legends together. Too much to learn. Too much to love.

If you haven't watched this movie, do watch it. Bon Appetit !

Leaving you with the official trailer to enjoy :)

PS: This is not a movie review. 
PPS: Images taken from Google.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Reading & Writing development for kids with Education.com

The road to reading success can be challenging for some kids. Let these professionally animated games give your child the skills and confidence to meet those challenges head on! Alongside friends like Roly and Muggo, your child will develop reading comprehension skills ranging from sight words and letter knowledge to transition words and story comparisons in an engaging way that will help foster reading independence.

Check out Education.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Product Review - WondrBox

WondrBox aims at providing creative stimulus to kids while building concepts and helping them learn new things at the same time. I ordered a few boxes and let me share one of them in detail with you. I wouldn't be sharing all, as that would give away the surprise and discovery elements. But the review is comprehensive and based on the feedback of all boxes.

The box I am going to review is Emotion Kingdom.

The idea of this unit is to introduce kids to the world of emotions. The kids are shown basic emotions like "Happy", "sad", "angry" etc. through animal stickers. Not only this activity is fun, but also helps in making kids more aware, enabling them to articulate their feelings. These cards also double up as flash cards where kids can write practicing the feeling names. Since these are clean and wipe cards, they can be reused. Isn't that value for money?

The next activity includes 25 animal cut outs, displaying different emotions. The kids are first supposed to segregate these under the different type of emotions they have learned  in the first activity. Children can also count the number of stickers under each group, helping them enhance their numeric skills as well.

The third activity is a nice board game with the Emotions train. The players get to pick flash cards and move places as per the mood indicated. The flash cards also encourage players to talk about their experience around a particular emotion. Personally, I think it is a great way to keep the kids engaged while also encouraging them to speak up and articulate their thoughts.

The final activity is a DIY Emotion piggy bank that the kids need to make, from the material provided in the box. This activity is not only creatively stimulating for the kids using colors and ribbons, but also engaging, keeping them occupied for a good 30-45 minutes. They can also use this piggy bank as creatively as possible

I found the concept of the boxes nice and refreshing. Aimed at not only keeping them busy, but in a manner that will help them build on their cognitive skills,motor skills and logical reasoning.

The only complaint I have with the boxes is the DIY material. I found that though the material provided is sufficient in quantity, it's not really the best quality. Many a times, the blocks needed to make a craft is flimsy and doesn't stand the pressure. 

Priced in a nominal range of Rs. 250 INR to Rs. 400 INR, I think these are a good gifting item for kids. You can find the full range of WondrBoxes at this link
Go ahead, buy these for your kid, or a friend's kid and see them enjoy it, while learning a few things in the bargain.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Product Review - WondrBox (Unboxing)

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Hello people. I am back with a Product Review after a really long time. So without further ado, lets check it out.

The designers at Team WondrBox aim to provide children with play based learning against the more conventional textbook based learning in schools. So they have designed WondrBoxes with 4 activities in each box that are not only fun, but will make the kids use their cognitive and logical abilities to be able to complete them. Each box also contains a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) activity that helps kids build something from scratch and also learn a new concept. The kit contains all required materials needed like paints, colors and boxes. The kits are designed for kids aged between 3 and 13 years.

Watch the unboxing video right here.

Appreciate how neatly the activities are packed? Because if you have kids, you would know how greedy they are to open everything right away. Since there are 4 activities, it makes sense that the kids take time to complete each one, also ensuring they don't lose the other parts in the process.

Now that the box has been unboxed, let me go ahead and play and build and I will be back with a detailed review very soon.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Book Review - A Good Indian Wife

When I first read the title of the book, I thought "A good Indian wife" was used in a satirical tone. And this thought was further strengthened when the protagonist Leila continually "pushed the envelope" by trying to express herself,and sometimes not do what is expected of her.

I liked the way the author describes Leila's first few days in the country as "cold". I found it to be both literal and metaphorical, as I also experienced it when I first moved to this country. Add to the fact that she had a new marriage and an arranged one at that.

Neel's (the husband) character was very believable because of a few reasons namely, a) Inferiority complex of brown skin b) Believing that everything American was better and c) at the capability of Leila to adapt to his American life very quickly and on her own. He associated an "arranged marriage" girl to being timid and one unable to be at the helm of her own life. That in a way, is also the start of a relationship between them and if I may add, a new found respect for Leila's confidence in herself, her brown skin and her "Indian-ness". At one point Leila disagrees with something that Neel says and he finds that even though he is impressed by her ability to hold on to her own, he is also surprised at his own chauvinistic self.

While I could not identify with Leila at some places when she continues to be quiet about Neel's affair, I could also totally believe her actions as she was torn between her desire to act her way or the way that was expected of her by the society. Most of the women born in the 80s and 90s can identify with her dilemmas as we are the generation caught between having seen patriarchy up close but also seen feminism being talked about in our drawing rooms.

I really liked the book for it's easy read, and yet a good substance.My rating: 4/5