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 :)

tlyblog_sunflowers

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.

TLY_cuddles

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.

tlyblog_ootd

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

TLY_DreamBig_ScrabblePrint

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

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-10-32-43-am

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).

TLY_GymLegDay24.  Instagram
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.

TLY_PInkNails1

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!

TLY_35FavThings_BirthdayPost

Time to buy a new planner!

Whoa it’s like Fall has already arrived!

Ellie & I dropped off Miss S today at daycare (she is starting “kindegarden” today) and the temperature was 12 degrees Celsius.  Super excited to put on my vegan leather jacket and fringe scarf and getting the girls in their fall touqs.  Also stoked for for fall fashion!  Bring on all the layers of moody nail polish, rings and clothes :)

It is also that time of year again where all the stationary and school supplies line the front of stores.  It’s taking a lot of controlled effort not to pick up everything in sight but I love the feeling you get when a new (school) year is about to start.

TLY_PlannerThoughts3

That said, my current planner year is coming to an end and I’ve used it consistently.   Although I can’t say that I used it extensively (some months were better than others) or that it was a space to keep/record everything.  I often grabbed a plain note book or printer paper to scribble lists on and never ended up returning those notes to my main planner.   I would prefer to keep everything in one place so I can always look up that list or piece of information I recorded because it ensures that I don’t have to “recreate the wheel”.  I like my moleskin planner but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in investing in something that would better suit my current journal/planning style.  I am currently using 4 different planner/bullet journaling methods and I really just want to use ONE!

TLY_PlannerThoughts2

I’ve already got a few planners on my radar (like this Moleskin, Mini Day Designer or an undated Passion Planner).

Reviewing all these planners I realized there are some MUST HAVES for me when it comes to planners.

TLY_PlannerThoughts4

A planner needs to have:

  • Quotes to start your week.  The right motivation can really set the tone for your days ahead
  • Monthly pages spread across a normal size paper (8.5×11 inches)
  • Project Planning Pages
  • Mind mapping pages
  • Vision board pages (for like actual cutting and pasting into the planner)
  • Vertical Days Section (for tasks lists/general lists, daily appointments in descending order by time etc).  I think “going down a list” as a daily practice helps to keep your productivity in focus
  • Daily trackers for habits such as water intake, exercise and food (i.e. “whats for dinner”)
  • Daily trackers for expenses and self care
  • Daily gratitude section
  • Daily top 3-5 tasks
  • Daily creative work section.  I truly believe that doing something creative is necessary to both exercise the mind and help you in other areas of your life (such as problem solving etc)
  • Weekly goals, essentially the top 2-3 things you need to get done that week
  • Go to Lists section such as grocery, suit case packing, diaper bag etc
  • Daily, weekly and monthly productivity measurement
  • Free space (lined and blank) for doodling, note taking, free writing etc
  • Pomodoro explanation
  • Information on topics such as: productivity, focus, intention, mediation etc
  • Front and back pockets
  • Be able to lay flat
  • Bookmark (an attached piece of ribbon or a ruler that fits into the rings)
  • Free printables (something you can print from the planners website and add to your planner)

TLY_PlannerThoughts1

Things I planner doesn’t need to have:

  • Global Date and Times
  • Flight Durations
  • Dialing codes
  • Measurement conversions
  • Shirt Sizes

…pretty much anything that can be googled in seconds!

Greek inspired lentil salad

TLY_LentilSalad_pinterest

I am Indian, a desi, a first generation Indo-Canadian and I very rarely cook daal.

Why?

I just find indian food to be very mushy or overcooked.  Well some of it I love: Saag or Panner but all my life, I’ve always loved salad (I can see everything, it’s crunchy and healthy obvi :P) so eating indian food that has been cooked to an oblivion isn’t really appetizing to me.

But, I had no idea that the base of a salad could be something other than lettuce, kale or spinach.  I mean I’ve made quinoa salads but never a daal based salad.

Until I found this recipe.

TLY_LentilSalad1

What you need:

Lentils:

  • 2 cups of brown green lentils
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic

Dressing:

  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 6 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tbls vinegar (I didn’t have cherry so I used white)
  • Pepper to taste

Everything else:

  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Soft cheese to top (I used feta)

What you’ll do:

  1. Cook the lentils by first rinsing them a few times in cold water, then adding them to a pot with the garlic and bay leaves and filling the pot with water 2 inches over the lentils.  Let the lentils boil on high heat for 20 minutes and then on medium-low for another 15 minutes until they are tender.  Remove from heat, remove bay leaves and garlic and strain.  Place lentils in the fridge to cool
  2. Add the salt, mustard seeds, olive oil and vinegar to a bowl and whisk until the mix emulsifies
  3. Chop up the cucumber, Avo and slice the olives and cheese as required.
  4. Mix everything (except the cheese) until everything is fully coated in the dressing.
  5. Plate your salad and top with cheese.  Serve as a side or as a main :)

TLY_LentilSalad2

Yesterday I meditated

I realized that I needed to actually meditate (not just throw it off my goals list with an excuse).  I also realized I needed a bit of guidance.  Thank goodness for free apps from the Appstore.  I tried this one as recommended by my sister.

TLY_YestMedi2

There was a little too much talking but I did appreciate the idea the announcer made of feeling my body’s weight and listening to the sounds around you (usually with mediation you try not to focus on those things).  When my thoughts wandered, I tried to focus mainly on counting (from 1 to 10) and following my breath.

It actually felt really relaxing and I even got an idea of something to paint #The100DayProject.

Something that helped me get in the mood was actually putting on clothes to mediate in. #GetUpDressUpShowUpNeverGiveUp

TLY_YestMedi1

+

If you been following the last 5 days, you might have noticed that I’ve blogged everyday from Monday to Friday and, as a goal and personal challenge,will continue to do so for the rest of June 2017.

++

You also might notice that I didn’t actually get this post published on time.  I did 10 sun salutations for the first time in months yesterday and my muscles really felt the effects.

 

Creating magic 1 second everyday #1SE

TLY_1SE_Progress1

I take a LOT of pictures.  Yet I still have to find an effective way to getting them off the hard drive (or rather first off the SD card) and into my hands.  I did order this but still need to work on photo books for the last few years.  Definitely need to put my head down and get those done and printed.  Somewhat related story: Miss S saw one of her friends’ mom using a Canon DSLR and promptly told the Mister that she was using momma’s camera!  Luv you girl!

In a world where we are scrolling through feeds and craving that insta-gratification I feel even more compelled to save our memories not for the vanity metrics but rather for us to cherish forever.

Enter the app 1 Second Everyday.   This app and personal project has been by far the best creative endeavour I have taken in the last year.  It only requires a few minutes a day and the output is BEAUTIFUL and UNREAL.  I literally watch my compiled video of the last 7 months (ok 6 months because I was almost 9 months pregnant in February and forgot to take daily videos! Because taking naps trumped everything) several times a week and I am smiling ear to ear.

Miss S is already in love with it which makes my heart glow.  6 months of video is just under 3 minutes so another 6 months will take me to 6 minutes.  What a perfect way to remember the year.

My Buy Nothing Challenge

The other day I watched the documentary Minimalism.  And after it finished I immediately wanted to watch it again.  I guess lately I feel like a fly on the wall looking at all the STUFF at big box stores, grocery stores or even my own home.

….Maybe because I have two kids now and there is a lot of clutter in our play area and basement (although the Hubz and I find it really refreshing to rotate out the toys, but still the boxes of toys downstairs have got to go), or maybe because I am becoming more in tune with how much I create vs consume or maybe I am thinking about our environment (well always thinking not enough doing on my part) or maybe just the thought of Christmas  gift giving/wrapping paper is giving me anxiety or maybe I just need to change, somethings’ got to change.

TLY_Minimalism_1

The movie essentially says that we can lead more meaningful lives with less.  I am glad that they had a father of six give his perspective, a couple with two young children give their experiences and even a husband and wife who admit that their son is more ok with being minimalist than their daughter.

I think Miss S is almost at the age where she is realizing she gets stuff (presents, gifts from abroad, loot bag goodies etc) but from the beginning I’ve tried to teach her also about giving back.  But we definite balance out what she is playing with vs what she actually receives.

It’s also got me thinking about people bringing gifts for the birthday parties we’ll host and celebrate this year.  I mean, I know the only thing I remember from my birthday parties as a kid was cutting the cake and playing with my friends – so maybe there is an opportunity to teach our children something here also.

TLY_Minimalism_2

As for me, I want to try something new.  I would love to do Project 333 but my postpartum body needs a minute.  I think a reasonable goal would be to cut down on unnecessary spending.  I will challenge myself for the next 3 months (Jun 1 through to Aug 31) to not BUY anything for MYSELF.  It’s unrealistic for me to go cold turkey so I have a few rules that I will follow:

  • food is OK (as in groceries obviously)
  • toiletries / costs associated with self care is OK (Vitamins or Physio as an example)
  • paying for experiences is OK (costs associated with travel, day trips, photo printing, events, date nights or activities)

And to be clear, items that I normally buy for myself which are not allowed during this challenge are: nail polish, make up, shoes, clothes, jewelry, craft / stationary supplies (this will be hard)

Wish me luck :)