Coffee exploration in Calgary

It’s not often that we decide to just head to the big city for the weekend but I had been wanting to get a break from the usual flow of life.

Being a stationery geek I really wanted to visit Recess shop – a small stationery shop which came on my radar on IG and it kind of gave me an excuse to plan a trip around it! I’ll tell you what we ALWAYS end up doing at new places- other than seeing the usual popular places we always end up covering these:

  • Farmer’s Market
  • Local coffee shops
  • Stationery or craft shops

We didn’t visit the zoo or the Calgary Tower though these two are something you must see if it’s your first time in Calgary.

Our visit was more around exploring the local shops.

Coffee Shops:

There were 3 coffee places to try on my list, out of which we ended up going to two. Analog and Monogram.

Coconut Latte at Monogram

Analog is located in Calgary’s Farmer’s Market and Monogram right in the heart of downtown. If I had to choose one Analog hands down is the best! Maybe it has to do with my choice of Drink at Monogram (coconut latte) which was nice but I had expected more from a fancy coffee shop. Mind you the coconut syrup or whatever it was was also sitting at the bottom of the cup so I only tasted it until I was through with the latte. Overall ok. It’s a beautiful place and next time I would try their latte to do a better comparison.

Dessert Places:

We also ended up trying rolled ice cream at Scrollio! Delicious and must try!

Kulfi @ Scrollio

Very close to Scrollio is Made By Marcus which dare I say is much luxurious bath to the senses!

Ricotta and lemon 🍋 something (I forgot the name) at Made by Marcus

Overall a laid back trip where we rested, explored the city a little bit more (I know Calgary is a treasure trove for coffee creatives) and we will be back again for some more experiences!

Have you been to Calgary? What would you recommend?

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What April Taught Me

Another month is over! Wow that went by fast – even though some days it felt like time had slowed down. There are a bunch of highlights – we got a play set for my step son, his swimming classes also started (which he was asking for since Feb) plus i got a Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s really amazing what this machine can do – being a paper and stationery lover – I have to say that this was an unexpected, exorbitant and satisfying purchase.

This is no spring - play set covered in snow - second winter for Edmonton!

This is no spring – play set covered in snow – second winter for Edmonton!

Mothers day card using cricut

My first Cricut project: A mothers day card. I didn’t have the scoring tool so messed up a bit while turning. Gluing could use some refinement 🙂 but overall really impressive cutting.

Five Things April Taught Me:

  1. Make time for activities that truly refresh your soul || This month I played a bit more with stamping, watercolor and paper craft. It truly is freeing to express ourselves with blobs of paint. This also imprinted on me that how “set” I had become in my routine and life that coloring outside the lines was preposterous to me. Blank pages are not always inviting but a little scribble here, a little stamping there and feels like acceptance of all that goes around.
  2. Not to worry about things that are out of my circle of influence || I have tendency to get stressed over stuff that’s out of my reach of action.Things that i cannot do anything about. This would remain a work in progress!
  3. Giving is always better than receiving || Always. Always. Doesn’t matter if we have too little or too much. Making a different in someone’s life can be a smile, encouraging words or just a cup of coffee.
  4. Enjoy the slow-days as much as fast-calendar-full days || We all have different days depending on the activities but I tend to freak-out quickly when I have stuff to do back to back. Reality is that even if things-on-the-todo-list don’t get done, it’s fine. The sun would still shine (or snow would still come lol)
  5. Workout is not just for the gym || There are other ways to moving the body. Husband had to stop going to the gym because of pressed-disc; since we both go to the gym together this affected my motivation/desire to workout. I just wanted to take time off too. What I noticed last month was that everything helps: gardening, cleaning, dancing, jumping jacks every couple of hours! Just move more than you usually move.

Overall, it was creative month. How did your month go? Tell me all about it!

Posted in Life Lessons, Musings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Spring Has Sprung

Winter is officially over as per the calendar but we still continue to have cooler temperatures here in Edmonton. Last week was spring break so little sprout went to Buds n Spuds program at the muttart – which gave me the opportunity to take some beautiful shots of tulips!

 

 

 

If you are in season of waiting or hardship, know that it WILL change. Just like spring brings flowers and green leaves, the season of wait and trial will be over. Till then, stay grounded in WORD.

Posted in Faith, Just Flowers, YEG | Tagged , | Leave a comment

5 Ways to Be True To Yourself

Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day. -John Wooden

Each one of us is unique and we have our own experiences that shape our lives and thought process not just about ourselves but about those close to us, this world and our community. I strongly believe that it is very important to be honest with yourself, live openly and follow your heart.

EssentialLifeSkills.net states that “To be true to yourself takes courage. It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open-minded and fair. It does not mean that you are inconsiderate or disrespectful of others. It means that you will not let others define you or make decisions for you that you should make for yourself.”

5 Ways To Be True To Yourself:

1) Take responsibility for your life & actions.

We are responsible for our life. When we understand that we have to be true to ourselves, life then takes on a whole new meaning. Thing is, too many times we are stuck with what people have done to us and not what we have done to others – that’s how it usually is – but that’s not where we have to be.

We have to really understand that life is fragile, short and full of joy and we must take on the responsibility of our life with not just with our words but our more so with our actions.

2) Understand your Values

It’s important to know what your values are, for an honest talk. Having values and being able to define them makes life easier. Value is “a strongly held belief about what is valuable, important, or acceptable”. Values are important because they act as guidelines for the events in your life. It took a while to find my own values – I am a homebody who values hard work, nurturing, passionate about loving people in my life and making a difference. To me, it’s important to encourage people to be their best not just with words and actions but by being transparent about my own life and struggles.

The sooner you find your values, the easier it becomes to be true to yourslef because your behavior is guided by a set of values and not just how you feel at the moment.

Find your values here and you’ll find your center.

3) Have Goals And Align Them With Your Values

Do not just sleepwalk through your life but have some goals. Set some limits, create some boundaries, etch some lines in the sand and reach those lines and stretch yourself. Create the structure of routine and discipline. Be a better person than you were yesterday.

4) Pay extra attention to self-talk

We have wicked ways to convince ourselves of that one more handbag that we have been wanting to buy or that extra bite of chocolate that seems harmless. But this very self-talk makes us believe things that we either later of feel guilty about or develop a distorted view of how things should be. While chocolate and handbag are in the lower pedestal – what we think of others or what we want other to think of us or how others should be treating us something we must have a firm grip on – to be whole. And this is where attention to self-talk comes in.

Learn to separate lies that the “negative-self” could bring up or anything negative that undermines your own strengths. Remember that it’s easy to judge or condemn others but remain honest with your true self by monitoring your negative thoughts.

5) Choose Grace Over Guilt

We all make mistakes and when it comes to the realization – drop the big ego, admit your mistake and learn from it! It doesn’t make any difference if we continue to do the same thing that hurts our near and dear ones. And even if you end up doing something you regret, forgive yourself – choose grace over guilt. Understand that you are learning and growing and it’s ok to make mistakes. Just let it go and start over!

Posted in Musings, Retrospection | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tail End of Winter 2019

By now if you have a friend living in a snow-covered city, you would have heard of how tired they are by now. Of the cold. Of the sun-less days. Of the dull winters. But I won’t repeat the same because even though this was one of my coldest winters EVER it was also the coziest, reflective time to enjoy the indoors. I enjoyed being indoors with books, tea, heated blanket. I can’t wait for the snow to melt and see little spuds peeking out. The coldest in Edmonton this year has been -46C!! With days starting to get longer and brighter in the mornings and time change just around the corner – spring is just around!

Here are a few pictures. Enjoy.

Posted in Musings | Tagged , | Leave a comment

This Year

Hey there! It has been a month and a half since I stopped by to share my life. I wish I could say I have months of content planned or that I have thrilling tales to share but we have had the coldest spell here in Edmonton and let’s just say I have been hibernating with cozy blankets and binge watching Friends the second time.

I have had plenty of time to look back at the last year and make some goals for this year. Let me lay it out here so I can look back and cross off the items. (who doesn’t like crossing off todo items?!? you don’t? WEIRDO)

Read and complete New Testament: Husband & I have been studying a chapter every day so my goal is to complete NT this year.

Books to read: Every year I aim to read up a number of books primarily fiction…but this year I have a higher goal not just a number but a specific list. The main reason these books are on this list is that I own them already either in digital format or paperback. So this goal is intertwined with my goal of not buying any books this year.

No book buying: This includes cookbooks, fiction or non-fiction book. I’ve already read 5 books this year and 4 of them were borrowed from the library. And truth is that I rarely read non-fiction books in paperback but somehow want to own them. So this goal is to remind myself how blessed I am already. Moreover, I am on a mission this year to purge ~60% of the stuff in the entire home!

Purge and then Purge Again: We got basement renovated last year and it reminded me how much I love clear and uncluttered spaces. The calm that it brings and oh the joy of not shoving stuff in drawers or thinking what would fall if I open this cabinet. Yeah. That. Kind. Of. Stress. I. Don’t. Want. So slowly I have been going through nooks and corners and drawers and mind you I am not even 20% done but hey it’s a start.

Practice gratitude every day: Last year on Christmas, my sister gifted me the day designer and it has a little section for writing daily Gratitude. Sometimes I have to force myself to think of something that I am grateful for, it’s surprising how I cannot think of even one thing but then forcing myself space runs out. It’s like opening a flood gate: hot water, heating, blanket, socks…you see where I am going with this (you can tell this woman likes to be warm)

Make something with my hands: Other than meals! I like knitting and it has been a year since I created anything so I am hoping to knit something this year.

Scrapbook 2019: Every year at the end of every month I compile, sort and print pictures of events of us. Doesn’t have to be outgoing events sometimes we take goofy selfies so that goes in the pile too. I believe that as much as digital imaging has made “capturing moments” easy it has also become harder to preserve and then look back at the time when “we went there”. So, I channel all my creative energy to create yearly (divided into months) Scrapbook. It is my third year of doing this and truly it THE thing that my husband loves to tell people and is often the topic and browsing through when we have guests over.

Trips/Hikes: We have three confirmed trips this year (Banff, Niagra Falls, and Victoria, BC) and one still in the talks but no tickets yet for visiting my sister over for Christmas to California. We also want to explore more of the national parks here in Alberta.

These are my big 7. I haven’t set a goal for health or weight. We have been hitting the boot camp 4 days/week so I trust the process and with time it should show some results.

That’s all for now – I’ll pop in again to share a few podcasts, blog posts, TED talks that I enjoyed and think are worth your time.

 

Posted in Planning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

8 Things I learned in 2018

blank journal

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

2018 was one of the most eventful years so stay with me as I summarize all our endeavors and then my take away from the experiences.

Early in the year we experimented with our diet and gave try to keto so anywhere we’d go I looked for high-fat items. Then a month and a half into it I was diagnosed with gallbladder stones. My parents advised me to change my arrival in India a week prior to our planned date so that I can get Cholecystectomy. Post surgery we celebrated our late-reception with my mom’s family in India.

In June, we celebrate little Monkey’s 5th birthday and then early July I took a 4-day trip with my sister to Vancouver. We also kicked off our basement renovation which wrapped up in November. We had my in-laws visit us for 4 months (jun-sep) and we went to see Pandas at the Calgary Zoo.

In October, I tagged along with Husband on his CITT conference (again..in Vancouver) and we went to Seattle for a day trip. My sister and her husband visited us for Christmas and we had a blast surrounded with loved ones.

Lessons

  1. What others think – I KNOW that this is easier said than done but it took me a very long time to learn and internalize that it doesn’t really matter what xyz thinks about me or if my IG feed has to be perfect. What I share is based on my experience and if it resonates with somebody they will understand and connect with me.
  2. Treasure experiences over stuff– if you’d notice in my summary above, I didn’t mention any handbag or books I bought but only experiences. This year (with health on the front focus) my viewpoint has shifted to all about places we explore, games we play and things we do and it’s amazing!
  3. Schedule Rest – like any important appointment I learned to schedule some quiet time to rest and rejuvenate for people and things that needed my attention.
  4. Treat my body right – Same as scheduling rest, working out and eating right (most of the time) is a work in progress.
  5. Write it down – We met many new people at church so I started writing their names and things they’d share about bit by bit I now know and remember more about them than if a relied on my memory. Journaling is another thing that has literally helped me straighten my big huge messed up ball-of-thoughts.
  6. Choose grace over perfection – Forgiving myself and choosing grace is the most important thing. I am hard on myself for mistakes I do and not just at work but at home while cooking or raising a toddler or forgetting to mail a birthday card etc. It didn’t take long for me to go down the path of beating myself up for screwing anything and then staying there. But now I just acknowledge, make a note of the mistake and if there is anything to learn and forget about it. Still not perfect but something again work in progress.
  7. Prayer develops faith – If you had told me to pray out loud, I’d run away far away as if someone threatened me with a gun. In all my years of supposedly faith I hadn’t prayed out loud (ever) and only until I met my husband that he slowly encouraged me to pray out loud. And i still can’t pray publicly but we pray during family prayer time and that has given me so much peace.
  8. Giving is the ultimate joy – It doesn’t have to be money or stuff but sometimes just a smile or kind words make a world of a difference. And little things are all that matter!

That’s what this year taught me. To love and forgive myself the same way I would anyone else and to take care of my body and soul so that I can pour into others.

Wish you a very blessed 2019!

Posted in Retrospection | Tagged | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas

Taking a moment to stop by here and say “Merry Christmas” to you and yours!

 

Posted in Faith | Leave a comment

Light Walk and Christmas

What a way to start the Christmas season!

For those of you don’t know we love Muttart! So much that when we finalized the date of our wedding last year, I tried to secure a date there for our reception. But alas they were booked all through the August so instead, we planned our photo shoot (engagement as well as our wedding photoshoot) and it turned out to be amazing!

I am always surprised with the creativity of the people behind the pyramids – especially the feature one.

A tower of presents
Beautiful poinsettia at the base of presents tower.

 

And if you are looking for some last minute photo shoot – can’t get any better than THIS. The Temperate Pyramid will light up into a winter wonderland until the end of January 2019. Link here.

Light up arch
How perfect is this lit up arch!

Christmas at Home

We decorated our Christmas tree the first week of December and look how radiant it is! As always Husband and I do not exchange gifts but we wrapped up a few for my sister and her husband (who will be joining us from sunny and warm California) and for my stepson (who has requested many times to open presents and I have hidden all of them since then). Moreover, we do not encourage any Santa stories (him being 5 and now observing the excitement around him in his school) but the honest truth that we work hard and save up to buy him things that he would enjoy.

Christmas tree 2018
Christmas tree 2018

I really hope that your Christmas is full of love and peace and pray that joy of Jesus’s birth along with His sacrifice on the cross enlighten our lives.

Have a very merry Christmas, to and yours!

Posted in Faith, YEG | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My experience with HSG

Never in a million years had I thought that I would have issues getting pregnant! Who does until it happens, right? After a year of going through the highs and lows of trying to get pregnant, we finally decided to seek help to rule out any issues in either of us.

So after hormone tests (all being okay), I was recommended to get HSG done.

“A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray test. It looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. It often is done for women who are having a hard time getting pregnant (infertile).”

Here is a diagram to give you an idea – an iodine dye is injected inside the uterus which shows up in the x-ray to determine if fallopian tubes are open.

See the source image

My gyno had already told me that it is a very painful test. Initially I thought she was just exagerating (doctors never do it was just the sissy me reassuring myself) I looked up several available articles on this topic, didn’t find much on pain other than it depends or it was mildly uncomfortable and that cramps were normal. So, I was a little nervous but nothing I can’t handle.

The night before the test I was to insert a tablet in my vajay-vajay to loosen up the cervix. I arrived early and they did a routine ultrasound then took me in for HSG.

It took some time to get in the right position – bum up and legs apart for strangers to peek in there and tell me if I can conceive. The rest is kind of blurry. The doctor explained what she was doing but I honestly don’t remember which I can now read up and deduce that the pain might have been from the cannula in the cervix opening. The next 5 minutes were the most painful minutes of my entire 35 years of a lifetime (or whatever I can recall from my childhood all through adulthood)  I was sweating, crying – it felt like a knife up in there. When it was over, I laid for a while even though I knew I had to get dressed. It was probably less than 5 minutes of test to that resulted in “no blockage in the fallopian tubes” but intensity of the pain shook me to the core. It scared me to the point where I told my husband that we should consider adoption (easier said than done). I have extreme respect and awe for women that bear children.

Anyways, I wanted to share my experience so that if someone needs to look up, they might get an insight – everyone’s journey with a childbearing is  unique.

 

 

Posted in Faith | Tagged , | Leave a comment