Yummy “Pad Thai”

Now… who wouldn’t love a mean Pad Thai? I love Thai curries cause they are so rich in flavor and I am a big fan of spicy food although my all time favorite is the Pad Thai. Pad Thai, a dish made from stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, soy sauce and usually scallions and bean sprouts is consistently rated as one of the world most tastiest dishes. Did you know that Pad Thai is actually of Vietnamese origin and was imported to Thailand by Viet traders, it has since become one of Thailand’s national dishes.

I have never tried making Pad Thai at home cause I always thought of it as complicated and I would never get it to taste like it does at the restaurant. Then this past Tuesday my friend at work suggested an easy recipe she had tried and swore was the real deal. So yesterday I made Pad Thai at home and man was it awesome and it tasted just like it does at the restaurant. So here’s the magic recipe…go ahead…try it…chances are it won’t be just for once.
http://browniesfordinner.com/2010/05/11/easy-pad-thai/

(via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pad_Thai)
(via http://browniesfordinner.com/2010/05/11/easy-pad-thai/)

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Is it time to “Lean In” on finances

So today I saw this interesting article on Yahoo Finance about women and finances that I thought was worth sharing. To be honest, money and the stock market really bored me and was anyway way over my head, until recently, when I had to roll over my 401K account from a previous company I worked for to a TD Ameritrade one. And I thought what an excellent opportunity to educate myself on investing and the stock market and basically learn how manage my 401K account on my own. Being the engineer that I am, I figured the best way to go about it, is to study it and collect data, a lot of it. So I started reading articles on the USA Today Money section and The Wall Street Journal, I spent time researching the various technical terms aka financial jargon on the web, I go to the Yahoo Finance site everyday to look at the latest going on’s in the market and when possible I listen to the Nightly Business report on PBS,  which is an excellent 30 minute business news summary of the day. It took a little while but with all the studying and researching, I feel confident enough now to venture a few stock picks on my own. What surprised me though, is how much data and statistical analysis can go into coming up with a good stock pick. A lot of people think investing in the stock market is gambling with your money, which it is in a way, cause you have to be lucky more than anything else to make any money in it, but still it takes a lot of number crunching and analyzing of the company financials to have reasonable confidence as to why you are buying a certain stock, what is a good price to buy it at and how will you make money on it. It is imperative to figure out how you think, the company you want to invest in is going to turn a profit and grow their business. Remember, stock prices usually reflect the perceived growth of the company and not necessary what they are worth today.  It’s also a good idea to look for companies that pay a higher dividend, this can not only be a good secondary source of income but also provide you with tax-benefits.  More than anything else, what matters the most is how much risk can you actually stomach. Which brings me to the above article. I think it is true that women are more risk-averse than men when it comes to investing, but that maybe partly because women don’t like to jump into something they don’t know or completely understand. Everyone has their own style of investing, I have found mine to be more data-driven than gut feel or impulse driven. So the solution for me was to equip myself with as much information as possible. I still have a long ways to go before I learn everything there is to learn or be all set for retirement, but it’s not as complicated as everyone makes it out to be, it’s definitely not rocket science. If you spend a little time on it, you’ll see, it’s actually quite interesting!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/girl-time-lean-finances-140424950.html

(Article via Yahoo Finance)

A book that shouts girl power!

lean_in

The timing of Sheryl Sandberg’s new book “Lean In” could not have been better, considering that a lot of discussion lately in the social media and news sites, has been about the “work-life” balance. One article in the NY Times asks “Is There Life After Work?”, good question! One that most of us have asked ourselves at one time or another. With ever-growing demands at the workplace and most of us having little kids at home to take care of, it is no easy task to keep it all together.  “Lean In” is about finding that balance in work and life to achieve what we want. And key to that balance is finding the right partner, an equal and supportive partner. In a truly equal world, as Sandberg says, men would run half the homes and women half the countries. Also key is women finding the initiative and will to lead. If more women took on leadership roles at the workplace and more men contributed at home, we would surely be making some progress towards a truly equal world.

Far from being a memoir or a preachy lesson on women’s rights, “Lean In” is an inspiring call to action. As promised in the introduction, the book aims to be less of a feminist manifesto and more of an open and honest discussion on some of the issues women deal with at the workplace and finding ways to overcome them. Each chapter addresses a particular situation or dilemma and where appropriate Sandberg offers helpful suggestions. Nobody starts out chartering their complete career path fresh out of college, but with the right attitude and a drive to succeed, it definitely is possible to make it to that highest rung, as evidenced by Sandberg’s own success.

The book, undoubtedly makes a few valid points worth thinking about. One explanation on what could be holding women back from realizing their full potential, is that fundamentally, women are plagued by self-doubt, more so than their male counterparts. When offered a compliment on a job well done, women usually attribute it to being at the right place at the right time, having had help from others, or sometimes sheer luck but rarely to their own skills. Women are uncomfortable or even embarrassed when they are thought of as being too aggressive or too outspoken. She is too ambitious is not necessarily viewed as a good thing at the workplace.  There is also something to be said about perception. Men are expected to advocate for themselves and play hardball but the same behavior from a woman is perceived as violating the gender norm. Still, rather than explaining away the reason for a dearth of female leaders on a male dominated society, Sandberg points to the fact that women more often than not, hold back when presented with challenging opportunities. To be noticed and be rewarded for our accomplishments, we need to speak up, demand an equal seat at the table and not be afraid to express our opinion. In essence, we need to “Lean In” instead of “leaning back”. It goes without saying that in addition to having the right approach and mindset, finding a motivating mentor or sponsor at work is invaluable to career progression. Mentors are often encouraged by an employee who shows potential, and a good word from someone higher up in the food chain can do wonders for one’s career.

The part in the book that resonated with me the most, is when Sandberg says “Think about what you would do if you are not afraid, and do it”. Take a leap of faith and believe in yourself that you have what it takes. Here’s a crazy idea, I have always wanted write. If I was not afraid I would take a creative writing course and start working on my novel. I would offer an opinion without worrying if I am being judged. I would speak up when I have something meaningful to add. I would take on a challenging project at work without over analyzing whether I can handle it. I would put myself out there if I was not afraid. And as scary as this sounds, I have a feeling this is just what I need. Success is sure to follow.

(image via amazon.com)