Road trip to Pittsburgh

At the beginning of November, the Hubz, the girls and I travelled to Pittsburgh for my husband’s cousins’ wedding.  I was terrified to do a 6 hour car ride with the girls. (give or take an hour or so).  I mean, Miss S literally asks for a snack as soon as I buckle her into the car seat.  And she (like any other kid, including myself when I was her age) incessently ask “are we there yet” or “how many more minutes”. I was really afraid I would lose my $#!t.  (#BadMom alert!)

I am happy to report that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Considering we’ve done a few 2 hour trips with them, this was relativity easier.  Mainly because we broke up the trip and having Miss S ride half the time with us and the other half with her grandparents (who were also attending – just driving another car).

We made sure to have lots of snacks, a bag of entertainment (crayons, letter beads/pipe cleaners, hot wheels and lots of books via this children’s e-reader), a few CDs burnt with our favourite songs of the moment (like this, this and this) and of course an iPad with some downloaded kids shows as back up (thanks to Netflix Canada’s downloadable feature)…. I felt for the most part prepared.

Not sure if we could do that type of road trip on our own but I do feel a little more aware of what to expect and a dare I say a little more confident.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped while we were away!

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Kids asleep in the mobile bunk bed (aka a double stroller) so we get to ENJOY!

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Miss S always makes our family pictures so much fun :P

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I always love seeing the “4 pillar” representations at Hindu weddings.

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Gparents babysitting meant that us two got a break and went straight to the Hotel Lobby Bar ;)

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The happy couple!

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3 ways to get out of that #MomLife rut

Lately and on-and-off I’ve been in a weird funk.  I’ve be snappy and rude one minute and totally loving the next.  One minute I am a multi-tasking goddess and the next I am pissed that I have to do everything.  Also, I have a general feeling of being uninspired and demotivated.   Feeling like I have fallen off the wagon in so many aspects of my life.  Looking at my to do list and then feeling unaccomplished.  Total #FirstWorldProblem slash sounding like a #Millennial  (or Xennial as I am finding out)…. I know.

I think it’s a combination of realizing I head back to the working world in 4 short months and the isolation of Mat Leave that has brought up these feelings.

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Faux Leather Leggings | Booties | Off The Shoulder Top

Outside of all that – wallowing in self pity is not a good look for me.  I mean I didn’t even want to post this publicly.

So instead of complaining I figured I would teach.  Teach myself, teach my daughters and teach any other girl, woman, mother how to help yourself when you are feeling not yourself.

  1. Try to create > consume:
    I feel the the most out of it when I binge watch something on Netflix, mindlessly scroll Instagram or eat because I am bored.  It’s literally taken me 34 years of my life to realize what it was.  On the days I don’t create or accomplish something, whether thats dinner, workout, my step count, a painting, write in my journal or post on my blog – I feel like a slob.  So I try to make sure what I create balances what I consume or ideally I create more than I consume.
  2. Comparison if used incorrectly is the killer of joy: 
    In our social media ridden society it’s to easy to get caught up with what our friends and family are doing.  What I’ve learned is that everyone is in a different season of life.  And with each season/phase come different victories and different challenges.  Navigating those ups and downs is what makes life ..life!  So as much as I would love to be in a certain place doing certain things – I have to keep grinding.  And the best way to set myself up for success is only compare myself to my past self.  “This isn’t about doing everything exactly right; it’s about doing something a bit better a bit at a time.” (such a powerful idea, although I can’t take credit for these words)
  3. Guilt-free time alone/time away:
    This is huge for me.  I always complain that I want to have time alone with the Hubz but I feel so guilty asking for help with the girls. No words or wisdom or experience here just that I need to get over that.

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35 Favourite Things #HappyBirthdayToMe

The day before yesterday was my birthday  And if you can tell by the title, I turned 35!

Initially I didn’t give it a second thought, because ever since I turned 18 I realized I always have felt like I was 16 :)

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But I figured, I’d mark the moment with a little reminder to myself of 35 of my favourite things.

1. Hugs from Miss S and EliHaze
I am grateful for when my girls wrap their tiny arms tightly around my neck and lately when Miss S tries to reach all the way around my shoulders.  I completely agree with all parents who have ever told me that kid cuddles are the best.

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2. 1 second video app
I’ve been struggling with trying to capture the special moments but also stay present with the kids.  Buuut, I think I’ve found something that may be the solution.  I used this awesome app for about 6 months.  It’s so fun to watch how our life changed in those months.  Just doing some sound edits and will be posting it soon.

3. Day dates with the Hubs
Before kids, the mister and I went out almost every night. Living downtown, we took advantage of every scene possible. The ‘Liscious events, Nuit Blanche, Going to movies after work/dinner, even a late night (10pm) gym session was a luxury we enjoyed. However now, we take serious advantage of the “day date”. I know we may have a few more years ahead of us before we can truly enjoy a night out again so we are using daycare and a kiddo napping in the car seat whenever we can!

4. My DSLR
Mad love although I am in the market for a something new :) Like this and this or this.

5. My blog
I think anyone out there who has a blog agrees. And even though I’ve questioned parts of the blogging experience – my blog is a special place for my words, thoughts, art and photographs.

6. The Library
I love walking into a big room full of books, and then walking out with a stack of books for free (for appx 3 weeks) is even better.

7. Our kitchen chalkboard
I actually got the idea to paint a wall in our kitchen from a family member who also had it in her kitchen. Sometimes we use it for our grocery list, doodles, teach a lesson to Miss S, a seasonal message, a reminder, a to-do list. But it fosters our family’s cohesiveness and creativity – which is top of my list.

8.  Kiddo art work
Whether it’s stuff that gets sent home with her from preschool or things her and I create together when her pops is in school – I love it.  I really really really hope I am instilling some foundation of creativity in her.

9. Marketing/Social Media/Millennials/Hygge
I probably sound like a big nerd but I find the above topics so fascinating – especially how they interwine.

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10.  Gratitude
It’s a habit I picked up a few years ago, but it’s still my favourite mind recharging tool. (Now if only I can get into meditation)

11. Easy green smoothie
Handful or two of baby spinach, one chopped up pear, a few splashes of lime juice and teaspoon of maple syrup – the EASIEST greens smoothie eeevvaaaa!  Also quick add ons for my weekend smoothie: cinnamon, ginger (fresh with peals on), a banana, coconut water, hemp hearts, celery, cucumber #Slurp

12.  Moleskin planner
I’ve mentioned this a few times, I am kind of planner and journal obsessed.  But the Moleskin planner is my current fav.  It’s a a one or TWO year planner with a SOFT COVER!  It has lined pages beside a weekly page, tons of simple stickers, monthly calendars, free pages and a pocket.

13. The Social
Love this TV show.  Especially when I was using the gym on my work lunch break.  I can break up the work day to watch it lol

14. PodCasts
I know they’ve been around for a while, but I only got into them recently.  It’s such an EASY way to get information without having to look at something (i.e.: a screen).  I started this one recently after reading this book. Other favs include: Richroll, The Millennial and the Ted Talks.

15.  DIYing
Probably the coolest concept.  Growing up I didn’t really have anyone role model to me what a DIY was so when I started planning my wedding and realized it was thing I was hooked.  I do it a lot from party decor to house hold stuff.  Somethings I want to try in the next year: rope basket in different shapes and sizes (thinking small one for the front door key / phone spot and something larger for Miss S’s room)…aaanndd maybe this too.

16.  Fresh roses on our coffee table
The house can be a complete disaster (which it normally is) but when I see the fresh roses on the coffee table – I feel like I am in a hotel lobby or in someone who’s house is clean and spotless LOL

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17. Reading Blogs
I think I’ve said this before but blogs (currently and more specifically lifestyle blogs) are so inspiring and motivating.  I’ve been reading blogs for over 10 years now – The one blog I used to read/interact with is no longer around, but the writer was a sweetheart and so relatable. That said, with social media the past time of ACTUALLY reading the blog posts is now a long lost hobby I feel.

18.  My faux Marble table top
I saw a DIY for this in the summer and it was the coolest thing so I made one.  Theeennnn I realized I could probably just swap out a table top from an actual table (maybe something from Ikea or Target) and actually have a “marble table”.  In any case it’s perfect for clean background / flatlay shots that I love taking and it cost me less than 10 bucks!

tly_marble19.  Counting my steps
I think a few years ago when 10K steps a day became a thing I didn’t catch on.  But the older / wiser I get I feel like walking is a misunderstood form of physical activity.  I realized this by starting the BBG program (which I didn’t finish – twice now) I love the gym, I love weights and I love running but I am starting to fall in love with walking. I’ve been going back and forth between my phone and my husbands fitbit flex (which I gifted him but he doesn’t use lol).  And some days when I am feeling really motivated, I walk circles around my house just to “get my steps in

20. My Foam Roller
I first started using a foam roller in 2012, but it should have been sooner.

21. This photograph is by far my fav photograph from this year.  You can find it on my Etsy shop too!

22. Doing arts and craft projects with my daughter
I am legit that IT analyst corporette/Mat Leave mom by day and that wannabe DIY/Craft Mom all the other times of the day lol.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now just gotta find a way to do more DIYs and crafts in the day :P

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23. Going to the gym on my lunch break
I never thought I would be one of those people rushing to the gym to get a workout in during my lunch break – but it’s been the best decision for my lifestyle (as a working mom).

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I’ve been using it since 2012 on my personal account and since 2015 as an extension of this blog.  It is still by far my favourite social media site.  I always find motivating and intriguing people to follow and I love scrolling my own feed to see all the cool things I’ve been up to/pictures I’ve been able to capture.

25. Our neighbourhood
All the parks and green space – serious game changer.

26. Yoga / Sun Salutations
I don’t do it enough but it always makes me feel better.  Now next year I need to get into meditiation.

27. Facetime
I know this is super old technology but it’s major thing holding me back from getting anything other than apple products.  Plus – It’s an awesome way to talk to grandparents, cousins and friends who are not close by.

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28. Loaded Oatmeal
Although I haven’t had oatmeal in a few weeks I love love love personalizing it and making it into a hearty meal or very filling snack. Some of my fav toppings are: hemp hearts, hazelnut almond butter, cacao nibs/dark chocolate chips :)

29. Wholewheat toast with melty pb, banana and chia seeds
I would eat it everyday.

30. Intention/Minimalism
Being more aware of what I am doing/eating/thinking/saying has allowed me to be more conscious of my consumption.  And that awareness is only something a 35 year old can get :P

31. Giving up chicken (and bacon!)
I have never been so proud of myself then I have these past almost 4 months.

32. Journaling
Whatever form it is in, i.e.: this blog, bullet journaling or even in a folder of word documents.  The process and practice is very invigorating to me.

33. Red nail polish & Red lipstick
Honestly someone just perma-stain my nails red because it’s truly the only nail polish colour that I can keep on my nails for longer than 3 days :P

34. The words “I am”
Totally related to being intentional these words are really powerful.  I recently read that chanting the words “I am, I can, I will, I do” during meditation is probably more doable / powerful than focusing too hard on breathing.

35. Mind Maping
Getting all your thoughts out on a topic or project is so freeing!

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Capsule Packing for Las Vegas

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I’ve always enjoyed packing a suitcase or overnight bag.  The planning, the organization, the list making – everything that goes into packing makes me feel like I’m getting ready for the first day of school.  I guess packing gives me a sense of control, which isn’t something I crave in my every day life (I’m not exactly a type A personality).

But packing as a family of 4 takes on a whole new level because now I am trying to be as minimalist as possible.

Okay, I’ll be honest, you can’t really pack minimally with kids.  I mean even if you are going away for 6 days you still have to pack 12 days worth of clothes.  Well 15 because you need back up clothes for your back up clothes 😂.  With more than one kid, diapers, wipes and all the other stuff kids are comfortable with, that could take up an entire checked luggage.

So when we starting planning for our 1st multi-generational vacation I knew that going with more than one checked suit case was more then we could handle.  I mean we have only so many hands and carry ons and backpacks work better with umbrella strollers and babies in carriers.

I had to get creative and decided to plan all outfits (included back ups of back ups), pare down the number of shoes I normally take and research as many ways as possible to be as lean as possible with our packing.

I was pretty happy with myself when all we had was one large checked luggage, one carry on luggage and one backpack for 6 days!

I figure I’d share my capsule wardrobe for Las Vegas.  Mind you I didn’t do any clubbing but considering the girls’ grand parents were with us I did plan in case we would be able to get out (we didn’t – the time difference didn’t make for easy for evenings).

Daytime outfits were needed for hanging out at the strip, shopping, checking out the free hotel attractions, going to the gym and taking a day trip to go hiking.  Evening outfits were normally just for dinners (restaurant or buffet).

I was able to make 13 outfits from the following pieces:
– 4 fancy tops
– 1 tank top
– 2 t-shirts
– 1 button up
– 1 black skirt
– 1 light weight jacket
– 2 pairs of shorts
– 2 pairs of leggings (1 was vegan leather)
– 1 pair of gym crops
– 2 gym tops
– 2 bathing suits
Accessories included: wide brim fedora, chocker, handkerchief
4 pairs of shoes (runners, converse, mid heal sandal and flip flops – should have left the converse at home).

What started out as way to save space in our luggage actually turned out to be an efficient and quick way to get dressed for different activities on our trip.

Have you tried capsule/minimalist packing on a trip?

Not your typical kaurva chauth gift guide

This isn’t your typical Karva Chauth gift guide.  Well technically I’ve never even seen a gift guide for Karva Chauth on the internet before.  So this could even be the FIRST Karva Chauth gift guide – and quite honestly the only one you need ;)

Don’t know what Karva Chauth is?  Read about it here.

This is going to be my 5th or 6th Karva Chauth.  Yes we’ve been married 7 years now but between kids (aka being pregnant or exclusively breastfeeding) I’ve missed a few here and there.

Any whoo – on to the gift guide.

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I put this together to help my husband and the other fellas looking for something useful to give your wife.  I mean yes you could go the typical route (some type of 24k jewelry) or your could get her something(s) that she will actually use.

Bamboo Arc Handbag (find it here)
Yes the Cult Gaia was all the rage in summer but I think it would super cute with an indian outfit especially at a lower price point ;)

Vans Sk8 Lite (find them here)
Not actually sure when I went from being a can’t-feel-my-feet-because-I’m-always-in-stillettos to a mommy-sneaker-head but that is where I am at now.  I have purchased more  #athleteleasure shoes in the past 3 years than I have heels. #WhoAmI

Initial necklace and Heart Ring (find them here and here)
I am all about the ghetto love jewelry.  I have a bar necklace with the girls names on it but it wasn’t until after I started wearing it did I feel that it was too invasive (I mean I avoid even saying their names on this blog).  But I love the representation of wearing them in my jewelry.  This heart ring it something that I’ve been eye for a year and I am happy to have found a Canadian retailer who has it.

Passion Planner (find it here)
I am a planner addict (something the husband just doesn’t understand).  I even have a few planners that haven’t been used yet.  So technically I don’t really need/want this but I had to include the undated version in my gift guide.

Planet friendly make up (foundation is from here and nail polish can be found here)
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve stopped eating chicken and bacon – and its probably the most proud of myself I’ve been in a long time.  Doing this has also made me more conscious about the other aspects of my life that are no so planet friendly. I figure foundation powder and nail polish is a good start.

Rebel Mama Jersery (find it here)
I follow these ladies on instagram.  All of their posts have either got me nodding in agreement or laughing historically (also in agreement).  This is not your typical parenting advice site/mommy blog.   I love their blunt-unapologetic-straight up advice and account of motherhood.  I strive to be this kind of mom friend to my mom friends lol

Travel coffee cup (find it here)
Just because I always feel guilty getting coffee from mcds or stabies – hopefully having something like this will help.

Stop chasing the like

**I wanted to post something but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to write about.  So I’ll just do some free writing – here goes nothing.

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Well I can share that I listened to a podcast featuring an old friend (we met in grade 9 so were friend for over 15 years) that I distanced myself from about a year ago.  I feel bad that we haven’t been able to keep in touch and I am happy / proud of her for following her inner calling.  But I know in my heart we are in different places now (although we both have very similar thinking about certain subjects till this day).  The thing is – I am saying I am happy for her based on what I see in her social media pages slash what she projects of herself online.   I know that behind the scenes there is a lot of struggle and work.  In any case I wish the best for her as I know she would for me.

I am proud of myself for giving up chicken and bacon (oops might have forgotten to mention that here).  I feel better for telling my family (after keeping it a secret for about 2 months) but I realized it was time and everyday that I choose to fuel myself with less animal products, I am happier.  Eating plant strong/plant based encourages creativity in the kitchen.  And that’s one thing you should know about me by now – I love being creative.

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I want to buy pretty things but I love that I am not. (Ok don’t get my wrong, I do buy stuff but not all the stuff and more so out of necessity / less out of “I saw it I want it”).  Hence why my #OOTD shots feature all old clothes.

Although minimalism seems a little extreme, the principals behind the movement really speak to me and resonate with the direction I see my life going.  Yes this entire outfit is all old stuff from my closet. But I love that!

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Shorts (similar) | Button Up | Tanktop | Flip Flops

Instagram, branding, #sponsored posts etc all have a way of making me feel bad/guilty/inferior for not doing what the cool kids are doing.  But then I tell myself “self, what do you really want …you want to be creative and make things because that voice inside of you won’t rest until you’ve done something creative every damn day”.  For me it could be taking a picture, bullet journaling, make something new for dinner, painting or writing.

Other things on my mind: stop eating cookies, stop scrolling on my phone so much, cuddle the Hubz more, buy a new moleskin, write more if I am in the flow, finish reading a book, keep my morning journaling routine, find 2 minutes in the day to be still/meditate.

Yeaaaa! It’s Friday – see you on the flip side!