freaky friday vlog series!

I'm totally getting this blog posted by the skin of my teeth! here's my new weekly (fingers crossed) vlog series. don't ask me why I called it "freaky friday" because I have no idea. I'm trying not to be overly critical of myself, so I'm not even going to preempt this with any comments. but I will say that at the end, you might feel like that was 8 minutes and 50 seconds of your life that you'll never get back. ha! with that, enjoy!

freaky friday vlog 1.0 from kmala gutierrez on Vimeo.


what I'm watching: beyond scared straight on a&e

I really like prison shows. something about them fascinates me. I've been known to watch the same episode of Lockup over and over (mostly because they show the same episodes over and over - but I'm very excited that a new season is starting!!). many of you might know that I am a teacher in a juvenile detention facility. when I heard about a&e's show Beyond Scared Straight I was beyond excited. a prison show that focuses on scaring and traumatizing deviant youth? now that's my cup of tea! I've only seen two episodes so far - Chowchilla, which was really good, and Mecklenburg, which was also quite entertaining. because I've only seen two episodes, it's hard to say how they will go - but I am noticing a pattern already. you get the bad kids' stories, their parents cry, they go to the program, get yelled and screamed at a lot, the prisoners threated to beat them, kill them, and/or rape them, the kids cry, they tell them to get straight or they're going to make them stay for a week, the kids cry more, the prisoners tell their stories, then they talk nice to the kids, then the kids get certificates. it seems like a lot of them get "straight" in the end, though of course there are a few badasses (like the stupid girl from Chowchilla). I could see myself, though, getting a little bored if it keeps following the same pattern. I'm hoping a&e throws in a little more drama as the season goes on.


what I wore: sri krishna janmashtami, iskcon philadelphia

yesterday we celebrated Sri Krishna Janmashtami at Sri-Sri Radha-Saradbihari Mandir in Philadelphia. I'm still confused as to whether yesterday was the actual festival day or if it's today (some temples celebrated yesterday, some are celebrating today) - but either way, yesterday was an easier day (since it was a Sunday) for us to try to celebrate. I say "try" because basically we spent more time driving than we actually did at the temple. but such is life with a 14-month-old baby. sigh. at any rate, here's what we wore:

 on gita:
big-sister hand-me-down. not sure of the style of this outfit...maybe rajastani?

on me:
beautiful light silk from Tulsi, Santushti Shopping Complex, New Delhi


six years

today is the six year wedding anniversary for my husband and I. I couldn't imagine my life without him. today I am remembering our beautiful fiesta wedding six years ago. it was one of the happiest days of my life.


our gopisvara mahadeva

my posts about gopisvara mahadeva from when I went to vrindavan back in 2008 have, by far, the most hits. this one has almost 1300 alone! and if you don't remember, I posted about how we were getting our very own gopisvara mahadeva deity made. that was soooo long ago, and I realized I never post a picture of the actual deity. he was made at the soapstone deity shop that is directly across from the ISKCON Krishna-Balaram temple in vrndavan. s/he came out so beautiful!!!

I looooove this deity and feel so blessed. I know that s/he is always protecting the intimate dancing of our Radha-Syamasundar deities. hearts!


40/40 - forty things to do by age 40

a little while back I was blog click-hopping and I came across someone doing a 30/30 - that is thirty things to accomplish before she turned thirty-years-old. I had recently done my own 30/30, though mine was a writing exercise that involved thirty poems in thirty days - still the concept was similar and intriguing. since I'm already over 30 (sigh), I would obviously have to revise the idea a bit - and it seems like quite a few people do the same challenge based on their own situations. one blogger that I really love is doing a 40/20 - forty things before she is twenty (well isn't that nice!). I thought to myself how to do it... should I do a 35/35? naaa, 35 is creeping up quickly, and I'd rather have a little extra time. so I've decided to embark on a 40/40 - forty things to do by age 40. I'm 32.7 now, so I'll have a little more than seven years to complete my list - that is, until february 22, 2019. man-o-man, that seems so far away! but I know it will be here in a flash. and while some of the things on my list are simple - some are a little bit more complex and time consuming... so I better get started!!

I want to say first that it took me well over a month to compile this list. I'd say the first 10-15 items came rather easily. there were some that I hemmed and hawed about. there were some that I changed, some that I deleted. I wanted to fill the list with things that would be enjoyable to me - things that I've dreamed about. I don't want it to be stressful to complete - but I also don't take it lightly. I see finishing this list as a very attainable long-term goal. I have faith that I can do it!

without further ado, here is my 40/40!

1.    do 108 consecutive sun salutations…without passing out.

2.    own a free-standing home. with a yard. maybe even a pool – maybe.

3.    visit the casa azul.

4.    return to vrindavan.

5.    road trip across the country, while making “eating” stops at veg restaurants. this will help me accomplish the next one…

6.    visit the west coast.

7.    visit montreal and quebec.

8.    become fluent(ish) in French.

9.    throw an adult, ladies only rasa-garbha/diwali party.

10.    learn to play harmonium (better, and do it more often).

11.    get published, for real, in print. (not necessarily a book – a single poem in a reputable publication will do).

12.    get  a terminal degree. or at least start working towards one.

13.    do the “couch to 5k” program.

14.    do a 5k. (doesn’t everyone put this on their list??)

15.    spend a summer “living” in France.

16.    save $25,000 in my retirement account (really, that’s not a lot!)

17.    pay off all of my student loans.

18.    explore/learn gardening.

19.    cook a raj bhoga offering for Sri Sri Radha-Govinda.

20.    take up and “master” (at some level) a craft (like, as in arts’ncrafts).

21.    meet and get a picture with Billy Collins. and a signed book.

22.    go on a retreat at a yoga asram… no place in particular, but somewhere like Kripalu.

23.    fundraise $5,000 for Food For Life/Sandipani Muni School.

24.    read Gone with the Wind.

25.    volunteer at a non-profit (at least 10 hours).

26.    take a studio art class.

27.    write/make/produce a poetry movie (a la Tanya Davis).

28.    create a self-portrait.

29.    finish devotee young adult novel.

30.    cook my way through a cookbook (a la Julia&Julia – cookbook TBD).

31.    read the entire bhagavad-gita, start to finish, with purports and no skipping words.

32.    visit one of the “wonders” of the world.

33.    make each of my children a quilt.

34.    become a National Board Certified English teacher.

35.    do a collaborative art project with my husband.

36.    read Mahabharat with Madhavi.

37.    do a 365 photo challenge.

38.    be in the audience of a tv show. (the jon stuart show would be fun!)

39.     sew an item of clothing (I’m thinking a dress) using a pattern.

40.    blog/write about doing the 40/40.

as you can see, number 40 is to blog about the experience of completing things on my list. I was going to start a whole other blog to do this - but thought, what the heck - this blog is about my moments of being - and completing this list will fit right in. so please stay tuned. I will also (soon) have a page at in the top bar of this blog with my complete list and updates as to which is done and some links where appropriate.

now, wish me luck!


still reading

I'm still reading Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald. I don't know why it's taking me so long. ok, that's not true - I do know. it's taking me so long because I'm not reading it! I guess what I meant was I don't know why I'm not reading it. it's good, don't get me wrong. I like it because she's spot-on in describing India and Indian culture - in such a way that if you've never been to India before, you would think she was exaggerating. but I don't know - something about it isn't keeping me engaged. it reminds me a lot of when I read Eat, Pray, Love. I wanted to love that book so bad, because, well, everyone loved it. but I just couldn't relate. I wasn't a middle-aged-divorcee going through a mid-life crisis. maybe that was it. and in this case, much of what MacDonald writes is about her spiritual journey. maybe that's it. maybe I'm just not relating to her in that way.
in any case, I'm more than half way through with it, and I'm determined to finish it. I hate starting books and not finishing them. I did that with two books before starting this one - and I just hate it. I'm going to do it. I just wish I would hurry the heck up about it.


another k.mala!

sometimes I google myself. you know, just for fun. and stop trying to tell me you don't do the same thing - I know you do. today I decided to google "kmala" - and what-the-what, I found another kmala... who would've thought??

k. mala designs is Kimberly Malachowski's design empire. her designs look pretty cute, and her story of ballerina turned designer is inspiring.

I like that her stuff is hand-made.

she has a cute little etsy shop, too.

I wanted my name to be original and unique, but if I have to share it with someone, I'm glad it's someone as cool as Kimberly!


what I wore: jhulan yatra/balaram jayanti

it seems like a lot of blogs I read (like this one and this one and this one, oh yea, and this one), and those that are really popular, have this interesting feature called "what I wore" (or something along those lines). basically the blogger posts like 42 million pictures of herself (yep, pretty much all ladies, though I'm sure there's some metromen out there doing the same) in an outfit. I thought it would be fun to do this, but with what I wear to devotional/Hare Krishna functions. originally I was thinking about it in a very tongue-in-cheek sort of way, but the more I mulled it over, I realized this would be kind of fun for me because I love saris and salwars and cloth and patterns. what the heck, right?

today is the last day of jhulan yatra as well as balaram jayanti. instead of going to a local temple to celebrate, gita govinda and I went to a friend's house for a small home program. we were lucky enough to be able to swing beautiful Radha-Krishna deities and hear a little bit about Lord Balaram's pasttimes. here is what we wore.


black tank top - target
kalamkari style print salwar pants - hand-me-downs from my bff
tunic top - eshakti
blue kalamkari patiala salwar pants - fabindia


what I'm watching: dance moms on lifetime

I really love tv. like really. I remember when I first started hanging around with the Hare Krishnas I was told that tv is "maya". I even gave up watching tv for a little while during the fanatical late-90s. craziness, I know.

these days I'm watching lots of mindless, nonsensical crap tv. it's one of my only vices, and to be honest, I feel no need to be apologetic about it. tv is my escape from reality. I like to turn off my brain regularly. you know, so it can rest and regenerate. or something.

I thought it would be fun to start a little series called "what I'm watching". not necessarily to review/critique each show...but to... well, ok, I don't know what the purpose is. I guess just for fun.

let's start with one of the most fascinating shows on tv right now - dance moms on lifetime.
my daughter, madhavi, used to do competitive dance - so I totally understand the whole "dance mom" scene -except the moms at Abby Lee Dance Company are f'ing crazy. I can assure you that I was never like any of those moms, nor were any of the moms of the other dancers like that. I can, however, totally believe that these women are being for real. because you can't fake crazy like these women are crazy. it's entertaining, nontheless. Abby is unreasonable, Christi is always drunk, and Cathy (as one of my friends said) is way too Sandy Dunken. the poor little girls are, well, just little girls. the moms are the real entertainment (cat fights galore!) - and the dancers just make me sad. like, come on, Brooke just wants to be a cheerleader. one of my favorite lines came after she got hit in the face with her strange looking loli-pop prop: "if I was in cheerleading, I'd never get hit in the face with a pompom."

a few other quotable gems:

"I love dancing. I also love eating potato chips."

"Your legs are about as straight as Elton John!"

and as one of the moms commented on the inappropriateness of a costume and choreography, "they look like prostitots!"

if that doesn't entice you to watch, I don't know what will!


a hairy situation

I'm mildly obsessed with my hair. I say mildly because I go through phases where I just let it grow and don't think about it. but every so often I get the brilliant idea that I should do something crazy and fun. if you remember not so long ago I wanted to have zooey deschanel bangs - that went pretty well.

I've been like this as long as I can remember - I've always wanted to do somewhat adventurous things with my hair. when I was little, my father never really let me do much because he's relatively conservative and likes long hair on girls. so when I was old enough, I let loose a little.

totally loved this cut. it was supposed to be like the girl in the band elastica. one side was longer than the other.

and when I got even a little bit older and really wanted to push the boundaries, I started messing with color.

I had always dreamed of having red hair. but like really red. like punky red. I was on the road to that in the picture above. very long story short, after I came home from the trip to europe where that picture was taken, I dyed my hair red - beautiful red, the read I had always wanted. and then two days later (and no pictures taken!) I had to go back to black to attend a family funeral.
and from there, I never saw the red again.

over the past year or so I've been toying with the idea of trying it again. in the meantime I was trying to appease myself by playing with different styles of bangs. some worked, some didn't.

the perfect example of why one should not do major changes at places like SuperCuts.
these, not so much.

I didn't really like these at the time, but in retrospect, they weren't so bad.
getting a little better here...

doing the sideswept thing... I kind of liked them like this too.
but then, as always, I got lazy and started growing everything out...

it was starting to get a little out of control...
 I toyed with a few different ideas - including just chopping it all off. my husband helped me to imagine what it would look like super short by photoshopping my face into Katie Holmes hair/body.

not too shabby.

but going so short can be risky. it's only hair, though, right? the red though... oh, the red! I just couldn't get it out of my mind. so one day I thought to myself... what the heck? why not just do it!

...and so I did!

what happened next is quite a long story - I'll try not to babble about it too much. I knew that after stripping and bleaching my naturallydyed black hair that I would have to take quite a bit of length off. I wanted some longer layers to give it a little bit of oomph, but really, I hate layers and generally think they're a bad idea. I told the stylist of my trepedation and asked her to be gentle and not give me a bad jennifer-aniston-friends cut. while I guess it's not exactly the "rachel", I stil don't like the cut. the stylist pretty much didn't hear what I said and made a bunch of short layers. sigh. ok, whatever, it grows. the picture above is from the day after I got it done - so the color is exactly how it was when I left (because I certainly didn't wash it right away!). this photo was taken in the sun - so it looks was brighter and more vibrant than it was. it was actually more maroon/violety, because, again, the stylist didn't really listen to me... but I was ok with it. it was close enough to what I asked for.

and then...
and then...
I started washing it...
and yes - I knew it was going to wash out some. and it was going to fade some. and that it was going to take some maintenance.

but a week and only 3 washings later my hair was 37 different shades of orange. oh, it was bad. real bad. like embarrassingly bad. so I called the salon and spoke with the manager - she said, oh, no problem, it will do that - come back in, no charge, we'll fix it. super. I can handle that. so I went back -and of course went to the same stylist, because really, even though she totally gave me the haircut I didn't want, it wasn't a bad cut - no big deal. she put the color on and I sat and watched it get darker and darker. shrug - ok. and then when she washed it out all I saw was eggplant. aubergine. purple.


actually, the color wasn't so bad. it was kind of cute. but really, I didn't spend 6 hours in the salon the week before, and lots of $$$ for violetyeggplant color. I wantd f'ing red!!! she assured me it would wash out and be lighter...
and it did.
and it was.
um, mauve.


so I called back again. and again the manager was super nice and told me to come back in. this time I saw a different stylist - not actually on purpose, the other girl wasn't working - but I'm glad I did, because finally someone who knew what she was doing! she put straight-up really red on me (no red violet, ew!) and my hair is almost completely perfectly what I wanted. I'm so happy!

I even decided to try to work with the cut a little bit and curled it up and pinned it back super cute today.

and then, after I got home from work today, I was like, hey, why not put a little headband on?

I tried to do a cute wink. it ended up not-so-cute.

and voila! I'm quite satisfied... now, I will just refrain from washing my hair... um, like, forever. :)


everyday just write

I am often discouraged with my writing. I get lazy. my ego gets bruised. I get bored. I spend way more time thinking about writing than actually doing the writing. it's a habit I desperately want to change. I try to make plans and vows, but I'm really bad with plans and vows so it never really works out the way I want. there's an old time ISKCON guru who had a series of books called Everyday Just Write. I'm not sure what the story is behind the title - but I always imagined it to be something like Srila Prabhupada instructed him to, well, everyday just write. if you remember (you probably don't...), one of the original titles of this blog was named after that concept. last weekend I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a friend I've pretty much only known through facebook and we had a nice chat about writing. one of the things she said to me was how writing is such a process and how really, you just have to write everyday. every day, just write. everyday just write. why is that so hard?
the only answers I can come up with are the ones I've already said. I'm lazy. too much thinking. when I don't get praise or response, my ego hurts. really, there is no excuse. I should just do it.
I've tried a few times to write every day in a daily planner/calendar. but it usually turns out the way joining the gym does - I do it once or twice, and then never do it again. and end up with a blank calendar/journal.
but I figured I'd give it another shot. so I recently went to my favorite place on earth (yes, you guessed it), Target and purchased a 2011-2012 day planner. it's the kind that has a full month view first and then room to write on each day throughout the week. so I got it at the beginning of July and have maybe written in it three times. sigh. but I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep trying.

the sticker is my own embellishment - from *pardon my hindi.
after a one year and four month maternity leave, I am back to work. we're on a summer school schedule right now, but within a few weeks it'll be back to the same old grind. but the same old grind also means a fixed schedule. I'm looking forward to that and I think it will help me become more regulated in my writing.

honestly, I was considering not keeping this blog - just shutting it down. most of the time I feel like I'm just talking to myself. I was trying to make it more of a "poetry/writing" blog - because it seems like the most successful blogs are focused on something - you know, crafting, or recipes/cooking, vintage, or just a million pictures of the blogger wearing the same outfit. but then I realized that the whole reason I started this blog to begin with was to just write. even if it's only for myself. so yes, I will write poetry here. I will write about writing here. but chances are, I'll mostly just write nonsensicle crap about my hair, or something I want to buy... or if I'm feeling particularly philosophical, I might write about Krishna. who knows what I'll write about. but it's about doing it. and being in the moment - that is my biggest struggle of all.

so hang in there with me... all 3.5 of you who actually read this thing. we can be in the moment together.