Thursday, August 27, 2015

Three Things Thursday: Childhood Faves

It's time for #3ThingThursdays and this week babies and parenting has been on my mind. Why, you may ask? Well, I just became an aunt last Monday! :D

On our way to catch an early 6am flight back to Dallas after visiting my family in Georgia, Chirag and I received a call that Chirag's sister was in labor! Luckily, our flight was on time and we made it to the hospital just in time for the little guy's arrival. Both Mommy and baby are doing fabulous! 

Having this little guy in our lives now has got me thinking about what I would be like as a parent? I'm sure I'd be a little overbearing and protective at first, but I hope that as I get more comfortable in the new role that I would also be fun and relaxed. It's great to be able to try this role out as an auntie instead! ;)

So, besides just good moral values and excellent manners, this week's #3TT is about the three things I'd hope to teach my newphew (maybe my own kid someday) as he grows up. 

One: Ride a bike

I'm sure that hoverboards and segways will soon be taking over the streets and maybe bikes will no longer be cool, but I think every kid should learn to ride a bike. Even if it's just as a back up plan.... you know, in case the battery runs out. ;)

When I was home a couple of weeks ago, my entire family and I decided to go on a bike ride along the riverwalk. It took some convincing to get everyone excited to go, but in the end everyone couldn't stop talking about how much fun they had and that maybe we should make it a tradition! 

I was especially happy for my mom because she had never rode a bike before. She planned on just walking while we all biked, but luckily the rental shop actually had an adult tricycle. I thought my mom would be a little embarrassed, but she absolutely loved it! It was her very first time on a bike all by herself and I think she had the most fun of us all. 

Seeing my mom ride the tricycle made think of two things. 1) How did she had manage to make it through her entire life without riding a bike. 2) Why didn't we get her an adult tricycle sooner? There had been so many times where my Dad, sister and I would take bike rides on our vacation when I was younger. I actually don't ever recall my mom there with us. 

Riding a bike, like any other sport, teaches kids to be fearless and encourages them to try new things very early in their life. 

I can't wait to teach my nephew and hope to go on many bike rides together. 

Two: Learn to swim

One of our close friends, Jay, takes his daughter to swim class every Saturday. I believe she started about the age of one. Since then, it's always been something special they both do together every Saturday morning. Aside from bonding and spending time together, I think it's great that she's learning a skill that I believe is a really necessity. 

My auntie and uncle (mami & mama) actually taught me and my sister how to swim at a local gym in Bombay before we moved to the States. I remember going with them on a daily basis and always looked forward to it. I learned all types of strokes and different breathing techniques, but what I remember more than anything else is just the fun of being in the water. 

I've heard of some people who are really afraid of water. In fact, my mother-in-law use to be one of them. It's one of the reasons that Chirag is not much of a swimmer. We have gone jet skiing on several occasions and one he will never let me forget is when the jet ski capsized on our in the middle of the ocean! Chirag loves the water, but I know he would feel much more confident and have more fun if he truly learned how to swim. As I've mentioned before, my Dad actually thought himself how to swim in his late 30s. I'm so proud of him for doing so and it just goes to show you that you're never too old to learn something new. 

So, maybe our little nephew and Chirag will learn how to swim together!

Three: Let's play cards

First, by no means am I referring to gambling here! I'm talking about simple card games that I have grown up playing with my family around the dinner table. A few of my favorite card games are: Kachufool (aka Judgement), War, 7-8 (saat aath), 3-card (teen paati), and B.S. Recently, our family has also discovered the card version of Monopoly that's also lots of fun and more convenient to carry around on a car ride or a picnic. 

I know these days there are interactive video games that you can play together that are very engaging.  But there is something about sitting around the table with the family, playing cards, sharing stories, laughing, and having a good time that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside every time I go home.  

I'm sure one of the first card game we'll be teaching our little nephew will be Go Fish

As much as I can't wait to do all of these three things with the little guy as soon as he gets a bit bigger, for now I'm also just enjoying holding him in my arms and making silly faces to get him to smile again... and again. 

Be sure to check out SalmaRaj, or Nisha's blogs to find out more about how you can link-up and share what's on your mind this Thursday.

Are you a fan one of these childhood activities?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cheers to 30 Years

I'm a huge fan of theme parties. Being a bit creatively challenged, having a theme helps me stick to some basic guidelines and ensure that from the decorations to the food... that everything goes together nicely.

So for Chirag's 30th birthday this year, I decided on a Scotch and Chocolates themed party. Lately, he has really been into trying different types of Scotches and Whiskeys, plus like me, he has a pretty big sweet tooth. Overall, I wanted the party to have a bit of a sophisticated vibe. We were celebrating three whole decades after all. Once I had an overall theme in my mind, I went straight to pinterest to look for some ideas and inspiration. This post and this post were probably the most inspiring of them all. I also came across The Little Big Company's blog and pinterest board and if you love to throw themed parties, I highly recommend that you bookmark this because they have a zillion cute ideas for all kinds of parties.

The next thing to decide upon were the colors. I naturally gravitated towards gold, black, and white, but we had hosted a NYE party last year with the same exact colors. I played with the idea of adding pops of orange because Chirag is a huge Tennesse Volunteer fan, but it started to look as if I was planning a Halloween Party instead. Since Chirag typically likes a very clean, minimalistic look I decided to stick with a simple design with just stick with black and gold.

my vision... pardon my drawing skills

I am a very visual person so I quickly drafted out my vision for the party. I knew I wanted to get the big 3-0 balloons from Party City so I started from there. They have a convenient option to order ahead of time so that you can be sure the balloons will be available and ready for pick up. I ordered mine a week in advance. I got the idea of "Cheers to 30 Years" from pinterest boards. And I knew I wanted to make a smaller banner as the cake topper, inspired by this one from Sara. I also love this idea from Amy. I then contacted my mother-in-law to get baby pictures of Chirag to create a big 3-0 collage of pictures on the wall. Everyone, including Chirag, really enjoyed seeing his baby pictures and his 90's fashion sense.

Made with black card stock paper & Gold Alphabet Stickers from Michaels

The rest of the decor was pretty simple and classy.  The menu consisted of tea sandwiches catered from Central Market, which were super affordable and stuffed buffalo chicken and blue cheese bites from Sam's Club which were quick and easy to open in the oven. My sister-in-law also picked up these Thai Lime & Chili Almonds to go with the drinks which the guys really enjoyed. The deserts table included an assorted varieties of macaroons, home-made chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered pretzels. As for the birthday cake, I ordered a whole Whiskey cake from Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar to stick close to the theme.  It was huge hit with all the guests. I highly recommend it!

The desert table

Wishkey Cake

The big show stoppers would be three main scotches. I turned to my brother-in-law Hash and our dear friend Jay, who is an expert in this area. Per their advice I went with the Macallan 12, the Dalwhinnie 15, and the Balvenie Doublewood 12. Although most of the ladies at the party preferred to stick to the wines, the guys were very pleased with the scotch selection. Although the Dalwhinnie 15 was suppose to be the best, most of the guys preferred the Balveine 12. 

I didn't realize it until the last minute that the Wishkey cake was a sheet cake. I had gone to Home Goods earlier that day because I knew our table needed some kind of height and found these cute black and white suit cases. My good friend Vivek, came up with this great idea to use the suit cases as a cake stand. 

I was really happy with how the whole party turned out. Everyone had a fabulous time, plus Chirag was truly surprised and loved the theme!

Are you a fan of theme parties?

Monday, August 10, 2015

An Incredible Production

On Friday, Chirag and I went to support an incredible group of women who make up the Indique Dance Company. Their latest production is "Yatra: Discovery Through Journey". 

The weather has been bright and sunny this week with temperatures averaging around 104 degrees! So I decided to pull out this super old skirt and pair it with a light cami to wear to the show. Dallas is a city of extremes. I'm not a huge fan of cold weather and bundling up with a big coat. So, as unbearable as this heat has been lately, I have to remind myself to enjoy these bright sunny days while they last because soon it'll be freezing cold!

Indique always does such an amazing job of blending the art of Indian classical dance with contemporary story-telling themes. "Yatra" was no different. My dear friend, Kurti's piece was about her journey as a teenager struggling to fit in and still be true to herself and her Indian roots. It was something I could definitely relate to. There were several pieces in the production which were also very interesting and beautiful depicted through their dance. I have seen three of Indique's productions so far and each time these women leave me feeling so inspired and in awe of their grace and talent.

If you are in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area I highly encourage you to go see their latest production. I promise, you will not be disappointed!

Have you seen an interesting production lately?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Three Things Thursday: Favorites Lately

Yay, for Thursdays! That means the weekend is right around the corner and I can't wait! I'll be sharing what I'm so excited about in my next #3ThingsThrusday but for now let's focus on some of my favorites this week.

One: Yummy Veggie Falafels

I have been so busy lately with my new job and several side projects that it's been a little difficult to make a decent lunch or dinner. I was intrigued when I discovered these veggie falafels from Veggie Patch a few weeks ago at my local Kroger. I was a little skeptical at first since I'm not familiar with the brand, but I'm so glad I gave them a try. They are super quick and easy to make and you can even freeze them in case you want to stock up. Chirag and I are both hooked! So far, I've been a hummus & falafel wrap, a pita bread sandwich with a yogurt sauce, or sometimes I just eat them by themselves! They are really satisfying and seem to be quiet healthy... win, win! :)

Two: Mid-Week Date Night

When Chirag and I first moved to our new house, we had decided that we would try to have mid-week date nights. Sometimes, weekends are full of errands and plans with friends or family. So it's nice to do something with just the two of us to get over the mid-week hump. We typically try to go to the park, watch a movie, or try a new restaurant. A few months ago, we had been slacking on making mid-week date nights a priority, but summer has been a perfect time to get back on track.

I have several restaurants bookmarked on Yelp! that I've been meaning to try, but this week we actually went back to an old favorite - Pei Wei. Seems like they have really changed up their menu. I tried out the Sesame entree with steamed tofu and it was delish! As much as I like trying out a new place, it's also nice to revisit an old favorite.

Three: Favorite Movie of the Summer

Fast and Furious 7 set the bar pretty high kicking off the summer movie season. However, I feel fairly confident in stating that Mission: Impossible - Rouge Nation maybe my favorite movie of the summer! Ethan Hunt had me at the edge of my seat within the first 5 minutes and Benji's sense of humor really cracked me up throughout the movie. I love a good action movie, but it gets a bit boring for me with a splash of comedy. I'm not very good at reviewing movies, so you can check out the full review on IMDb. If there is one movie you go see in the theater this summer I make it one of these two.

As Chirag and I were leaving the theater, he mentioned the crazy idea of making a movie with both James Bond and Ethan Hunt. Then show how the events of the movie unfold from two different views. How cool would that be?!

p.s. If you're wondering about my review for Trainwreck. I would give it like a 6/10.

Be sure to check out SalmaRaj, or Nisha's blogs and find out more about how you can link-up. It's super duper easy!

What are some of your favorites lately?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

{Rewind} July 2015

Where did July go?! Although I wouldn't say that July was the busiest month so far this year, there were a lot of changes and events this month.

We started the month of with our Jamaican vacation and it was the perfect get away. Chirag and I got some much needed time to reconnect. I completed my first summer book, which gave me a lot to reflect upon on my pursuit of happiness. It also inspired me to continue towards my goal of reading more books.  The whole experience in Jamaica reminded me not to get so caught or upset over the little things that may not be in my control. Like Dad tells, "Learn to loosen up... and enjoy the ride."

Upon our return from Jamaica, I was thrilled to find out that all my hard work had paid off and that I was finally a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist. It has been my goal to specialize in this field ever since I was in pharmacy school. I didn't go through the typical path of becoming a specialist and I have had a few struggles on this journey, but I'm so happy that I didn't give up. Each and every experience, job, and obstacle has thought me something important and played a major part in helping me achieve this goal. I've had a few mentors along the way that saw potential in me and kept pushing me to achieve this goal. I really feel so lucky to have such inspiring people in my life. The most important lesson this journey has taught me is that - if you really want to achieve your goal, you will find a way to make it happen! This certification opens up a lot of new doors for me and I have big plans for what I would like to accomplish in the future.

The day I find out my exam results the weather was sunny with a light breeze... there happened to be a concert in the park nearby and it was just the perfect time for a picnic! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I one thing I love is picnics! So, we picked up some Jimmy John's sandwiches, wine and headed over to the park with our neighbors and their cute daughter, Radha. Avani & Hash joined us later and brought Nothing Bundt Cakes to celebrate! If there is a location near you, I highly encourage you to try their red velvet and lemon cake. They are so delicious! :)

The weekend before starting my new job, my old co-workers and I had a little get together. It's always nice to meet up outside of work and get to know each other's families. Nolan, Cathy, and Nidah have always been such positive and motivating influences in my life! One of the reasons I'm very excited about my new job is that I'll be working with two of them (Cathy & Nidah) once again. Plus, my new manager seems great and has really been motivating me already. I'm looking forward this new role and ready for the challenge!

Speaking of challenges... running has become a new hobby of mine. After completely our first 5K in May, I've really been trying to challenge myself to get to a 10-minute mile pace. Well, this month I surpassed my goal of 10 min/mile. I completed my 5k at a pace of 9:48/mile! There were definitely times were I just thought that I'll forever be around the 11min mark, but pushing myself little by little I finally beat this challenge as well! So, far I have continued to keep this pace with my running. So, I'm thinking of new goal of a 9-minute-mile!


In addition to my fitness goal, I also took some time this month to make other aspects of my health a priority. Such as sleep, taking the extra 5 minutes in the morning to eat my breakfast, and taking time at night to drink my tea and unwind.  Although it hasn't been easy to stick to them, I have definitely seen these little changes help improve my overall mood and attitude.

In midst of working long hours at my new job, it was nice to take a break. We tried out a new brunch spot, The Yolk, with K&V, I had my first blogger meet up with Dixya & Sashi, and celebrated our friend, Munira's birthday with some amazing sushi at Blue Sushi. We also caught up with Chirag's old buddies from B-school for a (veggie) burger and drinks, plus a good laugh watching Trainwreck. Living so far away from our family, it's so nice to have such amazing friends to share our lives with.

The month was wrapped up with some much needed organizing of our documents - thanks to the inspiration from Marie Kondo's book. Purging and organizing is one of my favorite things to do because it helps give me control over my crazy life, plus a clutter free home makes me feel calm and relaxed. However, tackling everything at once like the book suggests was a little to overwhelming for me. The concept of "Does this spark joy?" has definitely changed the way I shop or keep things in our home. However, documents and papers are something that is a bit tricky to address with this question alone. Chirag wasn't at all excited to take on this project, but we do feel pretty accomplished and proud of ourselves knowing that we have papers in order (for now).

There is already so much to look forward to in August, but it was nice to hit the {rewind} button. July, you've surely been good to me!

What were your July highlights?