Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 - Summarized in pics and words!

Its time to look back and summarize the year! I think 2016 made a Grand entry and we were crazy busy the first half of the year, 3rd quarter was busy, and things slowed down finally in the 4th quarter. But each month was event driven, and it felt like we were constantly running from one thing to another. So lets look at this by each month...

January - We just moved into the new house 3 days before the new year. Work was insanely busy at office and the house was full of boxes! We had to quickly unpack the boxes, setup the house with the essentials (cable, security), mount the TVs, order the blinds, setup the yard, attend my doctor appointments, get the house cleaned, see all the shopping that mom did for the wedding preparations, 
and on and on...I remember each day had a million to-do tasks!  Then we were all excited to welcome aai and baba towards the end of Jan, aai took over the cooking and arranging and organizing stuff around the house. We adored and enjoyed all the hand-picked unique gifts from India and maybe things calmed down for a few days.

February - We had to get ready for the biggest event of the year - brother's wedding preparations galore! Shopping, shopping, more shopping, planning, song selections, dance practices (atleast we tried to do it), endless phone calls and messaging about random wedding fun and planning, pictures, - all the chaos! ALL THE FUN! Oh and in between all that, we also had a small house warming party with close relatives and my aunt visited me 😃. And then packing our bags to Cancun and the last week of Feb came too fast and ended too fast! All we had remaining is memories, stories that we still laugh about, and the pictures! Oh and we of course officially added a new member to the family, #AK. 

March - After we were done reminiscing the non-stop pictures, messages, phone calls with everyone with the fun we had at the wedding, it was time to actually setup the new house. Earlier was just the bare minimum setting up, but now with the help of aai - we setup the wall decorations. The living room photo frames, the entry wall with all the collectibles and souvenirs, the paintings in the bedroom. Aai re-arranged the books, DVDs, styled our shelves and a long list of the small stuff that turns a house into a home. And we also spent some down time enjoying all of aai's cooking, exploring new places to eat with aai-baba and watching cricket matches!

April - After aai-baba's trip ended, T and I resumed our long walks, explored the new neighborhood, enjoyed spring weather, I potted some colorful spring plants, we bought pots and furniture for the rooftop, we met our new neighbors, and enjoyed the downtime and finally settling into the new place. And then we booked our Summer trip to Europe!

May and June - Work was busy and tense, but I was in the vacation planning mode and then we took off for a 12 day trip around Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Germany! Meeting Meg on the trip was icing on the cake. Of course, time flew-by the two months. It was pre-trip planning and post-trip excitement. And post-trip job search.

July - I was serious about the job search, resume updates, interviews.

August - I re-potted my 4 year old Fiddle leaf fig tree. This is an important event to be marked in my calendar! And then apart from calendar marked with anniversaries and birthdays this month, we also flew to Seattle, drove upto Vancouver and Whistler and did a real short and hectic 5 day trip! We loved the places we visited - there was so much to see and so little time! Mom and dad had to go to India unexpectedly and visit grandmom who was keeping unwell.

September - This was tough month and it was very sad to lose my grandmom. It was hard to see dad go through a rougher patch, but time will slowly heal the wounds.

October - I resigned at my old job after 6 years of a huge learning experience and enjoyed 10 days of staying at home doing nothing. Those 10 days were super busy though - I hardly got time for the "nothing" that I had planned to do. T and I also did a juice cleanse, and that kick-started healthy eating habits and inspired T to cook and bake! And oh, our cousins and extended family moved out to another city - we miss them.

November - New job, new hopes. 

December - Uneventful month, finally! This was just an ordinary month spent meeting lots of old and new friends, trying new recipes, cooking baking and eating, long walks, reading, enjoying summer weather in winter, updating long overdue blog posts and so on.... ;)
Oh and this has also been the year with Instagram being in constant discussion - T joined, L joined, mom joined, cousin U joined and we talk about it all the #time. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

And only fond memories remain...

I lost my grandma last month and it felt like the roots of my tree were shaken and one of the oldest branches fell off. She was probably part of one of the first memories I formed, that doting and unconditional love that only grandmoms can feel for their grandchildren. How special was the twinkle in her eyes whenever I saw her and the excitement in her voice when I spoke to her! My favorite memory of her is when she used to feed me, dipping each spoon in full fat ghee so I could grow strong and have full cheeks - maybe thats the reason why I still love ghee so much! So glad that my childhood was filled with special moments with her.

Rest in peace, Baamagaru.
1932 - 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016


T and I have always loved vacations between the nature - either the mountains or the ocean. I am not a big fan of vacationing in cities, but Europe is just at a whole different level. History and the old town charm is so well preserved - those cities are nothing like the cities we live in! So thanks to both of us having our visas ready, we planned Home -> Prague ->Vienna -> Budapest -> Hallstatt -> Fussen -> Rothenburg -> Munich -> Home. Ten days and seven places. 

Lets start with Prague...

I have always been so fascinated with those red roofs, so when a Europe trip was on cards, it had to include Prague in the itinerary. The rest of the trip was planned around Prague :-)

As soon as we landed and checked into the hotel around new town (the new town that is 600 years years old!!!), we walked to 'Lokal' to start the trip with some good Pilsner and authentic Czech cuisine. After dinner, we were greeted by fireworks at Charles Bridge and Prague lived up to all the expectations and hype!

Day 1: Off to an early start, we were lucky to get the tickets to the Astronomical clock bell tower without any big lines. And the trip to the top of the tower left our mouths open...

The  astronomical clock in the tower was first installed in 1410 and is the oldest  working astronomical clock. For the rest of the trip, we walked past the clock many times and we always stopped for the hourly chiming to see the 12 apostles bless the city and the 4 figures (vanity, miser, death, lust) shaking their heads. 
The rest of the day was spent stopping at local coffee cafes, Pivo (beer) breaks, being entertained by the amazingly talented street artists and cons, walking along Charles bridge countless times and climbing up the Astronomical tower again in the evening to view the rain-soaked red roofs. 

We also accidentally stumbled upon the Old Town Bridge Tower at the foot of Charles Bridge, and we climbed up the narrow staircase for more breathtaking views... This is the most picturesque city I have ever seen!

Day 2: We started off the day with a private 3 hour walking tour as we learnt about the history, demographics and the different architectural styles and eras in Praha. We started at the Astronomical tower and walked past the Old town square, Jewish quarters, Charles university (founded in 1348!) and to the Prague Palace.  History is so overwhelming, it almost gave us goosebumps to walk those streets that have such an old story. 
We learnt so much about the different architectural styles - Gothic (Early 13th century era that had pointed arches, tall spires, gargoyles), Renaissance (between 1400 and 1600 - with symmetrical designs on the windows and Pilasters) and Baroque (from 1600 to 1830 - with elaborate designs, lavish and complex shapes, paintings and bold colors). Fascinated by the buildings, T was very inspired to do a part-time course on architecture!

Prague is known for Garnets and I have always wanted to get a garnet ring from there. But with so many stores, it was hard to know which was a genuine stone. So the tour-guide took us to the factory outlet where the guide and T chose a ring for me :-) and that is where our tour ended. After all that walk, we headed over to 'Mlejnice' for some traditional Czech onion soup, potato croquettes and goulash.
Evening was spent walking the 200 steps up the castle and a stroll down the city with stops for wine, pivo, coffee, pastries, crepes and all the yummy street food! 

Prague is beautiful. I loved every moment and it is so hard to say which was my favorite moment in this city. But recently, T and I were sipping tea at home and asked each other to pick one favorite memory from each place. I think having chocolate crepes and coffee in the old town center with the setting sun, drizzling rain, standing at the square sharing table with strangers while enjoying the hot crepes was a blessing. This was also where history was made, kings had walked and wars have been fought! T's favorite part of the trip was the walking tour where he learnt the different architectural styles and had all his questions answered by the guide!

Day 3: We packed our bags and walked up to the railway station to catch our train to Vienna. The highlight was the dining car in the train where we had finger-licking good chicken tikka masala with wine. A break from all the walking we did the last two days....

Next stop --> Vienna!

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Post-vacation blues...

Haven't we all suffered from post-vacation blues?
Specially after spending ten days in a new continent, away from work, TV, Internet, news and phone.
And the first weekend that you are back, over with jet lag, load all the memories from the camera 
and start reminiscing what you were doing this same time last week.
But it is also go good to be home, enjoying my hot cup of tea on this rainy afternoon and 
dreaming about these places...

Have a lovely week ahead!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Weekend Floral Arrangements

After ages, T and I resumed our long weekend walks and explored our neighborhood on foot. We were totally exhausted after walking 8 miles but it was a day well-spent.

On the way back, I found a tree branch lying on the road and since I did not buy  flowers this weekend, this was perfect for my weekend floral arrangement - and the colorful vase from Cancun complemented it so well!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Life Lessons from Mom and MIL

Happy mother's day to all the women! I am so lucky to have much love, support and encouragement from not just my mom (who is obviously the best mom in the world just like everyone else's) but also my mother-in-law - I have so much to learn from these amazing women! These are just some of the many things I have learnt from two strong women who surround me. 
From my mother-in-law, I learnt that:
1) Always give 100%. To everything you do. It is amazing how much energy, dedication and effort she puts into everything - from cooking a daily meal with 5 dishes to getting perfection in hanging a wall painting that is 1/4th an inch off to the left which I would never even notice to her sending texts to me everyday in detail. She puts in her best in everything she does. 
2) Always look at the brighter side. And count your blessings. Appreciate the little things in life, they are very important. I love how a small trip to the near-by shop, an ice-cream treat after dinner, us taking 15 minutes from our busy schedule to talk to her, a small text from us makes her so happy and she appreciate us for every small gesture we do. Its the little things that matter and makes one happy, we need to appreciate it and count our blessings. 
3) Patience! Patience!! Patience!!! Ask her the silliest and the most irritating question a million times (which T does often) and she will explain it a million times - Patience! 
4) Tasty and yummy recipes. Her old recipe books that she has collected since her college are a true treasure. Some of the pages are tattered and falling apart, but they smell of the love and warmth put into cooking these recipes and noting them down. And her cooking is finger-licking good! I have copied quite a few recipes from her recipe book and have my own collection of recipes now - even if i won't try all the recipes, its nice to browse and I love that inspired by her old recipe books, I actually write down these recipes in a book using a pen and a paper (so rare in this electronic world) 
5) Always dress well. First impressions matter. - I love her matching bangles and accessories with each outfit! ;-)

My mom taught me some BIG lessons in life - that is some 30+ years of teaching and some major dedication towards her kids! And she was a teacher too - so all that teaching experience and a life long student like me.... so you can imagine ;-). 
1) Age is just a number. You should always be young at heart. Always learn new things. Always be on an adventure - Make your life an interesting one! She was the only female student in her graduation class. She moved from one country to another all by herself, leaving everything behind at the age of 45 - I wish I can such courage to do things and try new adventures when I turn 45. She started running her annual 10k races after she turned 60. Always push yourself to do a little bit more, you will be surprised what all you can achieve - So much inspiration! 
2) Volunteer. Share. Teach. Care. From a young age, she volunteered us to teach the maid's kids in summer holidays. She donated my books to the less privileged. She does a lot of volunteering herself and she taught us to share things with everyone and enjoy the joy of giving and serving others. 
3) Be independent. You can always balance your family and career - just the way she had done it. Its all about balancing and prioritizing different things at different times as life demands - so with a little bit of flexibility, hard work and dedication - everything is possible! 
4) We are all different people. And that is what makes this world interesting. No two people are the same and we all look at things from a different perspective. So lets look at the positive side of people, cause none of us are perfect. If we were all the same - then we would be called Robots!
5) Keep a hobby. All the efforts she made to read Cinderella/ Snow-white/ Bambi a million times just to have us develop a reading habit, from the tennis lessons and music classes she enrolled me at school, encouraging my photography skills and gifting me my first camera at college graduation, tips for gardening and de-stressing after work ... she has always encouraged us to have a passion and follow a hobby. Besides work, it is also important to have fun!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hello May!

Hello May!

Time for lots of sunshine, summer blooms, long walks, late evenings, mimosas and brunches!

P.S. - Impatients are my favorites for this season because they are low maintenance,  bloom non-stop and  have high impact colors.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Have you seen my collection of vases?

My most favorite is the white one with multiple tiny vases joint together - that is the cutest!
The white and blue ones are reserved for leaves-only displays, the golden one is usually out during holidays, the black block-print one is used most of the times, the white one is reserved for Ikebana flower arrangements.
I am still in search of a highly glazed blue vase, a tall big vase to hold big bunches, and one highly ornate oriental vase to the ever expanding vase collection...

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Twenty-16 was off to a really really busy start, as anticipated - A lot of excitement, joy, good vibes!
We got the new home, will be posting a lot of new projects around the house in the upcoming weeks - I am so excited about it.

Aai and baba visited us and we enjoyed delicious dinners, company in the new house, help in decorating the new place, evening catch-ups at tea time, some touristy outings and lots of laughs!

A&K got married!! Non-stop fun, shopping, dancing, family, friends, chaos, dancing, fun, chaos, cousins, colors, fun, dancing...... so many memories!!!

(p.s. - The above two pics are not by me, but by the professional photographers at Dean Sanderson. These two are my most favorite pics that capture spirit of the whole wedding)

It has been such an amazing start to the year... one of the best so far!