Bella’s Bookshelf 2 | The Five Love Languages

DE best book I have ever read! Yes, I said “de” instead of “the”. Why? Because my native Caribbean slang allows me to emphasize just how much I loved this book. If you haven’t added this book to your library, do it now. If you haven’t read this book, read it now. It is available in any place that sells / rents / stores books. I am dead serious. Read it. Now.

I cannot post a picture of this book…because…my mom visited me recently, fell in love with the book, and somehow convinced my abso-positively, most favorite book to fly across the Caribbean Sea and live on her bookshelf. Le sigh.

Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of what used to be one of my most prized possessions. If you ever meet him, please tell him I am eternally grateful to him. I’ve applied this book to not only, my relationships, but also to my friends, family members, and coworkers. I am convinced that most relationships / friendships end not because two people are incompatible, but because they do not understand how their spouse / friend loves him / her. In other words, most couples do not speak the same love language.

The 5 love languages are:

1) quality time – You feel most loved when someone gives you his / her undivided attention. No, it’s not just going to eat at a restaurant. It’s when someone does something just because they want to be with you. It’s most likely your love language if you complain  that “He/she never spends time with me.”

2) words of affirmation – You feel most loved when someone speaks words of admiration to you. They don’t just compliment you, they breathe life into you with their positivity. You love when they express their gratitude or appreciate something you’ve done.

3) receiving gifts – You feel most loved when someone gives you a gift. When you receive a gift, your heart does somersaults because it communicates that “he / she was thinking about me.” If you tend to complain that “he / she went on a trip and didn’t buy me anything!” then chances are this is your love language.

4) physical touch – You feel most loved when you are hugged or cuddled.

5) acts of service – You feel most loved when someone “shows” you how much they love you. You don’t really care how much someone says he / she loves you. You need them to “show” you. When they wash the car, take out the garbage, cook you dinner, etc. and do these things consistently, you know they love you.

Usually, the way you show your lover / best friend you love him / her is the way you want to be loved. If you complain about something, then your complaints will reveal your love language too. You can take a quick test to learn your love language here. What is yours? Mine is quality time :). Most times though we express love to our friends / spouses how we want to be loved. Unfortunately, if they do not have the same love language as we do, then they may not feel loved. Simply, it would mean you are speaking French while he / she only understands Spanish. It doesn’t mean that you are incompatible. It just means that you have to make an effort to love your friend / parents / spouses / children in the language that they understand. And, teach them how to love you in the language that you understand best.

Today’s Lesson: Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, does not mean that they don’t love you with all they have. Love is a choice. Spread some love today!!


Love 4 | Be Patient

Dear Lord,
Help me to not mistake Your silence for Your absence.
Help me to remember that Your timing is perfect,
and Your presence is constant.
Teach me to trust Your sense of timing
rather than my own.
Your thoughts are not my thoughts.
Your ways are not my ways.
Wherever you lead me, I will go.

Kailash | “Foodgarsmic” Indian Cuisine

It was Ladies Night in Ridgewood, NJ.
We needed the perfect meal to erase life's current challenges.
East Indian spices had to be the perfect remedy.


The mix of herbs and spices, embedded in our Lamb Biryani and 
Shrimp Achari Machli, was almost therapeutic. 
We were stunned into silence...
... especially when the waiter served us Tikka Masala sauce.
This sauce nulled all our GRE vocabulary. 
All we could muster was "Hmmm!" and 
"Ohmigod, this is sooooo good. So sooooo good!"  

The owner of the restaurant was so pleased by our foodgarsmic 
moments, that we were treated to dessert "compliments of the Chef."

Ginger Icecream

Ginger Icecream

Thank you Kailash! You fed our souls in the most indescribable way.

Love 3 | Don’t Rush

Love is patient. Take your time to discover the qualities that you admire about your spouse. Take your time to discover the flaws. No one is perfect – there will be flaws. With time, you will know which flaws you can / cannot / are willing to tolerate.

Love is patient. Ask yourself, do you really, really know him/her? Do you really know how he/she handles conflict? Have you disagreed before? How did the two of you handle that disagreement? Were you pleased with the way it was handled? Don’t rush. Live in the moment. Understand each moment. Pray about the moments, both good and bad. With time, you’ll know. So, don’t rush.

Love is patient. If he/she promises to love you forever, then he/she will love you today, tomorrow, next month, next year, in 3 years. Don’t rush. Don’t be manipulated. Listen to your heart, yes, but also your head. Take it slow. Love is patient.

Eureka 1 | Email and SMS Tow Alert Services

Eureka! I have an idea!! 😀

You will be hearing this from me quite often because I am constantly envisioning things that do not exist. If you ever watch the animated film, The Croods, pay attention to the character called Belt aka Emergency Idea Generator. Belt and I are two sides of the same coin…except, I prefer to be called something a bit more fashionista-esque because I am a girly engineer (sometimes). So…let’s go with Innovangelista

Most adults do not have active imaginations. They choose to accept things the way they are. They talk about mortgages, taxes, promotions and the ever-depressing news. Heck, sometimes they even rationalize getting married or having kids by potential tax breaks. Unfreakinbelievable!

I have a theory: I am an imaginative child-like soul, residing as a tenant in a 16-year old body, with an adult degree. Best of all worlds if you ask me. Lots of pros with that combination (aging gracefully being one of them haha).


  • I imagine a world with lots of new technologies that have yet to be invented, but can be invented given current resources.
  • My engineering background allows me to rationalize how said idea can address an unmet need and become a tangible product.
  • My inner entrepreneur (trained by Steve Blank‘s lectures through the NSF I-Corps Program) projects how this product can be commercialized.

Life is about having fun. It’s okay to think outside the box and ask a lot of “Why?” questions. Challenge yourself. Challenge your peers. Have fun with learning! With that, let’s innovate this Tow Alert Service.

Innovangelista Idea Activate! 


Current Technology

Without a smart phone, you could call 911 and ask if your car is listed on the tow log.

With a smart phone, you could google like my coworker did.

The Problem

The time spent by 911 dispatchers identifying a car’s status (towed vs stolen vs driver forgot where he/she parked) quickly adds up.  This is obviously an inefficient use of time.

The anxiety felt by the driver when he/she cannot locate his/her car is mindboggling.

The Solution

An email or SMS alert is sent to you when your car is towed.

It would be very similar to the SMS weather alerts, which warn us of impending flash floods or tornadoes.

How to Implement

When you register your car, your license plate is linked to your cell phone and email address. Then, when your car is towed and added to the tow log, an email or SMS is automatically sent to your phone.


A one-time fee of $0.99 or less is paid by customers who sign up for this email/SMS service. Or, the service is free to the user, but each email/SMS has a an advertisement included. Companies pay to have their ads included in these messages.


What do you think?

Bella’s Bookshelf 1 | The Fault in Our Stars


Few books have 100,000+ reviews on To top it off, The Fault in Our Stars had an average rating of 4.4. Obviously, I had to read it.

It is a bittersweet tale of two cancer-stricken teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, who fall in love amidst their battle with metastatic thyroid cancer and osteosarcoma. Given that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., it is a very believable story, full of heartbreak, anxiety, support groups, hospital visits and grief. But, the story is not completely morbid. There are fleeting moments of laughter, friendship and parent-teenager dynamics that illustrate some normalcy in the lives of Hazel and Augustus.

There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s 0.1 and 0.12 and 0.112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities….There are days, many of them, when I resent my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I am likely to get…

Truthfully, this is not the best book that I have read, but I’ll give it 3.7 out of 5 stars. Why?

  • because there are many quotable quotes.
  • because I loved how Hazel and Augustus discuss our mortality with an intelligent flair. Only people who accept death as an inevitable part of life can speak so eloquently on the subject.
  • because only a great writer can make you fall in love with the characters so much that you cry when the inevitable happens.
  • because few novels force you to live each day as if it were your only day, or as if it were your last day.

Letter to Graduate Students 2 | Salary Negotiations


Dear Dr. You,

I know you must be super stressed with your job search. I wish I could tell you that job hunting is easy. But, it’s not. It took me 100+ job applications and 4 months before I found mine. Sadly, this is a true representation of the average PhD’s job hunt. Even post-docs have it rough. A post-doc friend applied to 100+ faculty and industry positions, and only got 1 offer.

But, I’ll give you some hope. I have a friend who landed a job after his first on-campus interview. He’s a pretty wow engineer. Maybe, if the stars are aligned in your favor and you are pretty wow, then you’ll get a job after your first interview too.

Dear Dr. You
Fast forward to getting the job offer. How do you know what your salary should be?

Here are four great websites to help you:

1. GlassDoor is my personal favorite.

  • You can search by job title, geographic location and company name.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a simple horizontal bar chat.
  • Current and former employees review company culture and work-life balance.


  • You can search by job title and geographic location.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a bell curve.
  • A benefits tab summarizes the typical compensation package offered to someone with your job title.

3. CareerOneStop

  • You can search by job title and geographic location.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a horizontal bar chart.
  • A Cost of Living calculator (use the free demo) helps you determine if your monthly salary is enough to pay all your bills, student loans and still leave you enough dollars to save.

4. MyPlan

  • You can search by job title and geographic location.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a tabular format, indicating percentile distributions.


Best of luck to you as you start your job search! You got this! Let me know if these websites were helpful to you, and if there are websites that are even better than



Bella A.