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carmel, monterey and the big sur

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during our trip to SF, we spent a long weekend traveling to  carmel-by-the-sea and monterey, driving by the big sur!

it was such a memorable weekend and was the first time that our entire family was together at one place – along with its’ newest additions {leheir and my brother’s wife to-be devika}.

we spent 5 hours driving from SF to Monterey. more than usual, as we took the big sur route and had brunch halfway at a beautiful restaurant by the coast.

we stayed at a hotel in monterey. the houses/ air B&Bs’ in carmel were all booked out by the time we got to planning our trip due to the long weekend.

we got lucky though as the hotel was right by the city center and a two minute walk away from the wharf. all the good restaurants were close by. there was also fair going on right outside the hotel lobby with the cutest little shops and food stalls.

we spent sunday at carmel. had brunch at a beautiful french restaurant {which btw serves the best chocolate mousse ever} where we celebrated leheir’s 4 month birthday and then did some dolphin spotting at the carmel beach. we may have seen at least 20 dolphins, which were all v close to the shore. it was breathtaking and to think we almost decided against going to the beach!

we also spent an entire 40 minutes trying to get a good picture of the entire family, on mom’s insistence.

looking back,  i know now that these are the little moments life gifts us…that keep us going and make all the long work hours, the tough times and the distance bearable.

leheir pranaya shah

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last week, A and I were blessed with a beautiful baby niece, leheir.

being a masi is so much fun. i see her pictures 23+ times a day. and watching them takes away all the stress i have at work ;p. they make me v v happy.

cannot wait until september when i get to hold her in my arms. there will most definitely be tears. happy tears.

…normally i would have filled this post with a whole lot of pictures of her, but my unfortunately {for you} sister has this strict no-social media policy for leheir. so we have to just do with just  this one.

happy list

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every time i feel low or just not grateful enough about the way things are, i try to come up with a happy list. sometimes i even ask my friends to email/ message me theirs.

it always works like a charm.

within moments you find your self snapping out of the mind frame you’ve been in and grinning to your self {and getting weird looks from all your colleagues}

right now happens to be one of those moments. so here’s a list of what makes me smile…

1) babies – small, fat, tiny, chubby, black, laughing, crying, white or brown. basically all kinds of babies and absolutely everything about them.

2) the rains. the smell of rain. the feel of it. and how beautiful it makes my city look from the window by my desk.

3) the swedish berries green tea from the coffee bean and tea leaf.

4) snuggling in bed with my husband at the end of a long day at work, watching a crime show on netflix {marvel’s daredevil currently}

5) when a random restaurant you visit surprises you with really good food

6) a glass of sangria {or lets just make that glasses ;)}

7) swimming pools – swimming, floating or just lounging. i’m a water baby, you see.

8) reading a good article or book. an article/ book on reading of which you want to immediately call a friend or husband {in my case} to discuss.

9) memories {happy memories} – memories of family, friends, vacations and of people you once knew.

10) listening to cheerleader by O.M.I. – it’s been around for a while, but the song has a way of lifting my spirits. i try to listen to it on my way to work {when the spirits need lifting the most ;)}

feel better already! would love if you guys could  email me your happy lists, would love to read them!

mehendi

 

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here are lots and lots of pictures of the mela mehendi and the neel on tote on the turf.

the mela theme was my mum’s idea. and it was such a hit.

we had tarot card readers, caricature artists, nail painters, lakkh bangle makers, nail paint artists and really fun game stalls.

winners of the games won all things sweet-  nutella  jars, cupcake boxes, toblerones and more.

the only alcohol being served was sangria and beer. but a LOT of it was consumed.

the food was ALL Indian. as per the theme.

there was a mumbai street food stall {with mini baked vada pavs, misal pav, dhabeli and kadhi samosa}, a south indian counter, a parantha counter {with all kinds of paranthas with achar, onions and the works}, a gola counter and then of courselots of  main courses, salads and deserts.

i regret not eating as much as i would have liked to :( {common compliant for ALL my wedding functions}

BUT i had a blast and it all got over too soon.

thinking about it now and going through the pictures at work makes me cry a little. if only i could re-live those three days again and again and again. oh and the honeymoon too!

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^^ as favours for all the guests my mum hand painted wall paintings for each guest. they were all so beautiful. i had a few friends send me pics {post the wedding} with the paintings hung up on their walls. it took her a whole year to make so many of them !^

looking back, i don’t think my wedding and any of the functions would have been possible without help from every single family member of mine. so many of them flew in from different parts of america, germany, japan, new zealand and so many parts of the country. them being around me and living with us for the entire week was probably my favorite part of the wedding.  memories to cherish forever.

the bridal shower

so MUCH has happened in these past two months that just beginning to think about where to start has overwhelmed me and hence the delay in posting.

these were by far the BEST two months of my life {so UN-expected ;)}

so starting with one my favorite pre-wedding events – the bridal shower

my sister, who’s pregnant and lives in san francisco planned the whole thing with the help of my cousin here in mumbai.

inspite of her pregnancy and inspite of a new job AND a new house. i really got lucky in that department.

the shower was perfect in every way. every single detail was taken care of with so much thought.

my family spent the greater part of the weekend decorating my mama’s hose in neon. the theme was – ‘neon and neutrals’ as if you know me you’d already know that i’m obsessed with all thing NEON.

all – the friends -  very enthusiastically followed the theme. thank god we decided to do away with the ‘best dressed award’ as i really wouldn’t know who to gift it to. so many innovative neon outfits.

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^^ on the way to my ‘surprise’ bridal shower ;)^^

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^^ the beautiful house {do you love the neon pom poms as much as i do? i want to decorate my house with them for always!}

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^^ and then there was a hershey’s chocolate fountain^^

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^^ and name customized mimosa glasses with the champagne shipped in all the way from frisco! {do you SEE the amount of planning?!}

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^^ there were also neon party favours – cookies with A and my initials and wedding date inscribed in them with yummy icing – all homemade by my talented cousin Maitri ^^

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^^ a neon note board! handmade by my sister and cousin {man don’t i have the best there is in the sister department?}

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^^ a semi-neon macroon cake, once again homemade by Maitri ^^

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^^ and the last thing neon  – gifts for the bridal shower game winners^^

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^^ we played a really fun game of  ‘dress your team mate in toilet paper to make her look like a bride’ – can anyone guess who won?^^

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^^ and thats just us having a great time^^

so much effort put in by everyone in the family. words cannot express my gratitude. the bridal shower really set the mood for the rest of the events that followed!

p.s. Maitri owns her very own bakery in Mumbai called Carousel – the bake about. you can check her out on facebook if you’d like to give her goodies a try.

may weddings and other ‘may’ stuff

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may is turning out to be quite the month.

so many weddings to attend.

2015 seems to be the year of weddings!

this week we attended A’s cousins wedding and had such a great time.

it was fun to meet my to-be family and get to know them (a.k.a. party with them;))IMG_20150529_171742they were so jovial and just SO fun. caught me by surprise, if you ask me.

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in other news, went to amby valley last weekend and the weather was SO darn good. such a break from the oven that mumbai becomes this time of the year.

i’m pretty sure one of these days on my way to work i’m going to have a heat stroke…

AND in further news – two random unconnected things i learnt this month that i always want to remember:

1) each one of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. to experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it – tiger eyes, by judy blume

2) people always judge other by the model of their own limitations – so don’t give their judgment as much importance as you do..

go figure!!

happy weekend xoxo

sundays like these…

went swimming with the boys on sunday, though i ended up being the only one swimming.

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this place is so beautiful. and so peaceful. it’s almost always empty. i swam all alone while the boys played squash. in the sun. but it was refreshing. and calming.

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took a few pictures {a.k.a selfies}, since no one else was willing to take mine.

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{i am glad that this will be the place where we will eventually get married. we’ve had SO many great days here. also, it’s beautiful}

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we ended the night – attending a wedding at the new j.w.marriot. near the international airport.

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i really liked the new hotel. and the wedding was fun too. so was the company;)

days like these make me look forward to starting this new phase of my life.

even though i will dearly miss living with my family in my home.

it’s all very exciting and frightening at the same time. but i still have more than enough time to prepare my self and turn the frightening + excitement to ONLY excitement.

happy monday!!

xoxo

it’s been a long time.

i’ve been super irregular about updating this space and i am going to make an effort to improve.

it’s time i go back to  documenting all my favorite moments more often than i do. it’s important and it’s a part of my ‘being grateful’ resolution for this year.

January has been good – generally it’s my least favorite month of the year {isn’t it everyone’s?} – but this year it’s been good to me.

we’ve spent most of this month location shopping for the wedding {which by the way is one of the MOST stressful things i’ve done all my life} i wonder how come no one’s warned me about this before?

a few days ago Adi came over and cooked grilled chicken for me {i think he was making up for one of our fights;)}.

he marinated the chicken in basil, garlic, salt + pepper, mixed dry herbs, curd and olive oil. then after leaving it on for 30 – 40 mins he sauteed the chicken in a pan with some olive oil +mushrooms + garlic. covered it with the lid and let it cook for another 15 – 20 mins.

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^^ marinated chicken minus the curd ^^

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^^look at him taking his cooking so seriously^^

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^^ i just watched with my glass of wine the whole time ;) – in my defense i DID offer to help but he’s just a tiny bit controlling in the kitchen^^

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^^ and voila the finished product! – it tastes SO much better than it looks – i promise ^^

it was  just like the grilled chicken we order in restaurants. i love how much i learn about cooking being around him. he makes everything look so easy. new year resolution —> cook more often. it’s so much easier and cheaper than eating at a restaurant!

and now about the time i broke that resolution ;) the very next day…

jinal and i decided to try out this new bar we’d heard SO much about – the good wife.

it’s at the deutsche bank building at bandra kurla complex. which is SUCH a good building. i’m contemplating applying to some of the offices in the building for THAT reason alone {i kid, i kid!}

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^^ we tried the potato and goat cheese gnocchi – which was REALLY good ^^

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^^ and the green garlic rissoto – which is good if you like your food garlicky ^^

and now to put an end to this VERY long post  – i maybe almost completing my resolution of visiting at least 2 places i’ve never visited before every year  —- by february alone! so many exciting events coming up.

can’t wait to share all the pictures with you.

hope you have a great week.

xoxo

2014

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2014 has been a good and bad year.

good because i dated and then got engaged to my soon-to-be husband. i’ve visited some beautiful countries with people who i love (spain, germany and austria) i’ve met some great new people and i’ve learnt so much – at work and other wise.

2014 may have been my hardest year yet. things have started to get serious.  i’ve realised that as we grow older life gives you more responsibilities and with that comes more pressure/ stress. which never really goes away. just dies down for a few days and then comes right back.

i’ve realised that nothing good comes easy. and whatever good you have in your life, you have to work constantly to maintain. may it be your relationships and/ or even your work status. life is not all roses and rainbows and people with good/ right intentions don’t always triumph {you’d think i’d have learnt that already considering im 27 right?? but i’m a bit naive it took me a WHILE to get here}

looking back it may not have been ALL good. and it brought with it few of my hardest days. but it’s most definitely prepared me. toughened me. and made me stronger – to face all the years that are to come.

thanksgiving

last month was hard for me work wise. not more so because of the hours but just because of the environment at work.

found my self re-thinking about a lot of my career decisions/ choices.

but then thanksgiving week came in and it felt like something just smacked me.

i could spend all the hours in the day being disappointed or complaining but then that’s just very exhausting and honestly i’m pretty sure my friends and family don’t like hanging with me any more ;) instead if i really think about it i  have SOO much more to be grateful about.

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^^ like this crazy good family of mine. i love them. and wish i could be celebrating thanksgiving with them.^^

i’m also thankful for the weekend that’s almost here ;), for ‘A’ for always always teaching me the right thing to do, not giving up on me and making me a better person, my salary {because right now.. that’s the only good thing i take away from my job ;)}, for bollywood music and the fun late night drives with my friends where we’ve sang aloud – not in tune {it’s just SO DE-stressful} and lastly i’m thankful for my phone that’s is perfectly working no matter how many times i’ve dropped it and how many cracks it has suffered all over. it just refuses to give up on ;)

happy friday! xoxo

hope we have the BEST weekend. xoxo

if 50 million people say something foolish it is still foolish

this post is about all sorts of randomness.

the odd post heading is actually from one of my favorite chapters of this new book i’ve been reading called ‘the art of thinking clearly’ . it’s a book which gives you a lot to think about and learn {and let’s pretend i did not just start reading it JUST because it says on the cover that it’s ‘a million copy bestseller’ …because that would go against the whole point of the title wouldn’t it??}

often, i find myself succumbing to other people’s views or caring too much about what others think of my choices. to the point that i start doubting my own choices too.

that needs to change. and i’m on the right path with this book on this fateful monday morning. finally.

also i read this article this morning on medium about whether we are all living an authentic life.  it was insightful and has  some word exercises that came along with it which helped make things so much clearer.

…. and now for the food part of this post {because no post here in complete without food right?}

last week we took my sister to so many restaurants in mumbai. the one’s that she’d been wanting to go to {she’s coming to mumbai after 2 whole years so there were a lot on the list} we went to burma burma, out of the blue {she wanted sizzlers because apparently no restaurant in new york serves them}, the big kahuna {formerly trader vic’s mai tai lounge} and the masala library.

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^^ we had the cottage cheese in paprika sauce at out of the blue {we asked them to replace the rice with noodles} and let me confess – i’d almost forgotten how much i LOVE sizzlers ^^

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^^ the customary family picture outside masala library. the first time we went to masala library we dint come back very happy.but this time around we were much more satisfied. special recommendations: the assorted bread platter, the pesto kababs and the ghewar cheesecake.^^

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^^ on sunday a few friends and i went to the tapped beer fest at woodhouse gymkhana, colaba and the waffle sticks from the waffle house were AMAZING.  they came in all these different flavours. i tried the apple cinnamon and was not disappointed^^

around here – diwali

as i already mentioned – i loved diwali this year.

last few years i’ve been either traveling during diwali or working. which, i realised this year i,s such a bad idea because who would want to not be in the city during it’s best???

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^^ my sister and i^^

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^^ we had a pooja at A’s house on Sunday {which was fun and traditional and sort of like an engagement} ^^

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^^ with the brothers at a friend’s card party. my favorite part of diwali: the card parties!!^^

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^^ us <3 ^^