Heal the world…

Tagged as: love

With the ongoing migrant crisis getting worse by the minute, couldn’t help but think of this.


Dipping my toes into planner/organization world

Tagged as: organization

It started out with a almost-missed meeting. Then for a week I dressed my daughter in specific colored clothes as per her daycare ‘summer fun’ schedule. And on Thursday I realized I was looking at the next week, instead of the current. God forbid, I rescheduled her swim schedule. I would always dread forgetting her newly scheduled class. Finally, I accepted that I can no longer keep everything in my head. I just couldn’t keep track of it all. So, I turned to trusty Pinterest to see what other people do when it comes to organizing/planning needs. And I encountered a whole new world of planners!

And I realized this was one of those things that was different growing up in a different country. Apparently, it’s super common here in the US for students to start using planners when they start college, or earlier in some cases if they see their parents/older siblings use it. On the other hand, I never had any kind of solid success with my scribbled todo lists at crunch times like a day before exams. But over the past few years, I’ve tried a bunch of things and realized that I don’t have one silver bullet to address this issue. I’ve tried a bunch of apps on my phone, Any.do, Wunderlist, etc. And I was kind of shocked that they didn’t really work for me. Surprisingly when it came to digital solutions, for everyday task lists, Gmail’s Tasks, which is a digital version of pen-and-paper list, worked. But I couldn’t replicate the success for tasks spanning more than 2-3 days. And what about reminder appointments etc? What I was able to figure out though was that pen and paper with some kind of calendar solution works.

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve looked at multiple blogs, youtube videos to look at other people’s ‘systems’. And I fell through this amazing rabbithole that is the world of planners, filofaxes, travel notebooks et al. And color me impressed! There’s a bunch of options. And the best part about is that people have tweaked it to make it work for them. And it has taken them quite a few tries to get a single solution to work for all or at least most of their needs.

For my first foray into this world I’ve ordered the Webster Pages’s Color Crush planner. It’s not super expensive and it comes with the month and week on 2 pages view (don’t worry, this is terminology you just pick up along the way). It’s on preorder right now, but I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Apparently, Webster’s Pages doesn’t sell planners on their website anymore. You can get them from other sources though. Jennifer from My Purpley Life has a great post about where to find them.

One more product that I’m super excited about is the Midori Traveler’s Notebook (MTN). They look just so clean. And the fact that you can customize it fit your needs exactly is great. This also seems to be the goto option for people who are into journaling. There are some excellent sources for how people have customized their Midoris:

And, then there’s the whole Filofax world! They offer tons of options in terms of size, colors, inserts. I wanted to try planners as a concept since filofaxes are quite pricey. A good resource for all things filofax is Philofaxy. Zulily has a great sale on Filofaxes right now http://www.zulily.com/e/filofax-139549.html?ref=search_carousel (note: if the link doesn’t work, the sale has probably ended).

Honorable mentions for planners: MAMBI’s Create 365 planner, Kikki-k planners (so pretty), Erin Condren Life Planners to name a few. I’ve created a new Pinterest board for all things planners.

Search for hashtags #planneraddict, filofax, #midoritravelersnotebook for more ideas and inspiration.

Update: I was going to publish this post along with pictures of my new Color Crush planner, but unfortunately, the seller said that it isn’t going to be here till sept/oct. I realized I couldn’t wait that long to start using a planner. So I cancelled my order. For now, I’m back to square one, better informed though.


Judging ourselves

Tagged as: lessons

Today on my way back from work, I was listening to what turned out to be a super interesting interview with Carly Rae Jepsen (of the Call me, maybe fame). She’s come up with a new album after her runaway hit 3 years ago. She was talking about how she loves pop music. The host asked her about how pop always seems to be a target of judgement. She mentioned how she always gets asked about what kind of music is her guilty pleasure. She said, ‘I always think that’s such a strange thing — because if it gives me pleasure, I’m never going to feel guilty for it.‘. And I thought that was brilliant! Seriously, how many times do we judge ourselves for liking something that doesn’t fall within the acceptable norms? She spoke about how she grew up listening to folk music, which she still loves. But something changed when she heard Spice Girls. I know I loved the Spice Girls. I grew up in that era. But, at the same time I cannot count how many times I’ve rolled my eyes everything the Backstreet Boys played (while humming the lyrics). How’s that for being hypocrite? So here’s to not judging ourselves and everyone around us for the choices in music, clothes or anything for that matter.

Story: It’s Fun To Get A Little Deeper’: Carly Rae Jepsen Walks The Pop-Star Tightrope

On the internets this week# Vol 3

Tagged as: on the internets this week

Intro: Instead of posting multiple things this week, I’m just going to post the following one. I’d actually come across Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Dolls quite a long time back. But I stumbled over this again when someone in my network posted it on FB. I was struck, again, by how amazing this venture is. And how this is something that came very naturally to Sonia, but has had quite an effect on people who’ve come across it.

Dolls makeover:
I had three Barbie dolls growing up. I never really connected with them except for the one time when I along with my cousin and aunts made clothes for them. In different clothes, clothes that I would likely wear, they looked different. More approachable. So when I came across this story about Sonia Singh in Australia recycling old dolls by giving them a makeover, it really resonated.


Online deals this week – Vol#1

Tagged as: deals

Tegu Magnetic Blocks (Age: 1 – 99)

This past weekend I bought the Tegu magnetic blocks for a friend’s kid. And I was almost ready to buy another one for Innu. But since I was in a rush I didn’t. When I showed it to Z, he was excited about it as well. And lo & behold, they showed up on Steals.com today. For a whopping 38% off. Available in 4,6 & 8 piece sets in all the colors.

Lego Classic:

Who doesn’t love Lego? Grab the classic set from Walmart for $20.

Vera Bradley Changing pad:

How ridiculously cute is this!! And it isn’t super expensive either. I would have totally bought this if I’d known about it when Innu was born.


On the internets this week

Tagged as: on the internets this week

I’ve been totally random about posting to the blog. And recently I was thinking if it’s even worth having one if I don’t post anything regularly. So, in an effort to posting regularly, I’m going to revive this series () that I started (and didn’t really post that often to develop into a series.. *womp womp*)

Things to do:

  • My MIL is an amazing seamstress and I missed the opportunity to learn it from her. So I’m making up for the lost time. I signed up for the online sewing class created by the uber popular blog A Beautiful Mess. Details about the class here -> A Beautiful Mess – Sew with us. Also if you sign up before April 8th, you get $15 off, so the class would be for $30.
  • If you stay in the Bay area, there are lots of things you can do with your kids. After our Costa Rica trip, I can see the benefit of joining Z on his hikes. Albeit, not the ones where he is out of the house at 4.30am.. on a weekend.. So, first one on the cards is Rancho San Antonio Open Preserve where we can visit Deer Hollow Farm. They have a barnyard with a bunch of farm animals, with new addition in the form of newborn lambs. I think the sprout is going to have a fun time running around.
  • Another fun thing that people in the Bay area can enjoy. If your kid loves Monterey Bay Aquarium, they are going to love this! The minimum age limit is 5. More info here: Seashore Sleepovers. I think the March 28th one is already sold out, but they have 2 more dates available.

Random stuff I stumbled upon

  • My fav spots for baby/kid clothes shopping have been Old Navy/Target/H&M. I recently came across this Buzzfeed article about 33 places to shop for kids. One word – Mindblown! I’d never even heard about the majority ones on this list. And I’m excited to check it out.
  • Speaking of shopping, we had a belated birthday party for the sprout this past weekend. It was awesome! Even though we’d mentioned that we would rather have gifts in the form of hugs & kisses for the birthday girl, people were super generous and got amazing gifts for her. Some of her gifts were from Learning Express. We loved them! We’ve never seen them at the local ToysRUs. I think there’s a trip to the store on the cards in the very near future.
  • One more in the kid stuff category, last one, I promise! Like everything related to kids, I found that there are a ton of options if you want to get a balance bike. My first approach was going to be just looking at the Amazon reviews and ask people around. But I found an amazing resource thanks to google – Two Wheeling Tots. There’s a ton of info for all things related to kids on two wheels.
  • And now in a totally not a kid-related category, I recently heard a discussion on NPR about what is apparently a pretty popular thing – The 36 Questions That Lead to Love. In the discussion they were talking about how these questions create a closeness among two individuals which is the basis of a lasting relationship. You can hear the discussion here -> The Psychologist Behind the 36 Questions to Make You Fall in Love

That’s it from me. Happy weekend everyone!


Traveling with a toddler – Costa Rica edition

Tagged as: baby, travel

Our this year’s resolution is to travel whenever we have an opportunity to. Our big trip was going to be Hawaii. But one day Z came and asked me what did I think about going to Costa Rica instead. My reaction – ‘huh? what?’ A friend of ours was getting married in Costa Rica. But long story short, I was definitely interested! (make that all caps!!) Now that we had the where, then began the planning, and the packing. And when you are traveling with a toddler that’s always interesting! Here’s a list of stuff that worked well and stuff that we didn’t get it quite right.

Destination & Planning:

Since the wedding was in Alajuela, the central part, we decided to pick 2-3 destinations around that. After pouring through all the TripAdvisor and google search results, it quickly became clear that we needed help with getting to the various destinations since the roads and directions are quite different than what we are used to here in the US. And with a toddler in tow, getting lost in a foreign country, where we don’t speak the language was definitely not something that we wanted to risk. We looked at the different tour operators and decided to go with Costa Rica Vacations. We ended up with a 8 day trip plan starting in La Fortuna, then going to San Ramon and then end the trip in Alajuela to attend the wedding.

The boring stuff aka Documents/Visa etc:

If you are a US citizen or have a valid work visa, traveling to Costa Rica is easy. You don’t need any special documents.


After our previous blunder of taking the longest flight to India, we made sure, we chose the shortest one this time around. We had a 8.5 hr flight from San Jose, CA with a stopover at LAX. If you book your flights 30 days before your trip, tickets are much cheaper. Something we learned the more expensive way. Also, even though technically this was an international flight, but not so in terms of baggage policy. We were charged the regular $25/bag, which added up quickly. Luckily we only had to check in 2 bags.

We are huge fans of flying red eye with the sprout. She sleeps throughout the flight, and is ready to start the day once we land. And we decided to buy a ticket for her even though she wasn’t 2 during the trip. It’s just more convenient and comfortable that way.

Things we got for this trip:

– Sunscreen – We got the Blue Lizard (Sport version) since it’s waterproof. The adults ended up using the Neutrogena one since we’d already gotten it from Costco.
– Kid carrier – Z did a lot of research when it came to carriers. We’d signed up for a few hikes and getting a carrier seemed like an obvious choice. We were down to 2 choices: Deuter Kid Comfort 3 and Osprey Packs Poco. We ended up choosing the Deuter since it has better support for taller kids. The total weight capacity for this is 50lbs (counting the 7lbs for the pack itself). We can still get a few more months of use from this thing, so were ok.
– and the regular hats, rashguard swimsuits + swim diaper, crocs for the kid etc.


La Fortuna – We stayed at the El Silencio Del Campo. It was amazing! We had a view of the Arenal volcano from our room/cabin. The cabin itself was pretty big. It had 2 queen beds, a large bathroom. The hotel has multiple mini hot spring pools; which were fantastic!

They also have a mini farm where they have cows, chickens and sheep. Between that, the pool and the mini playground, it was kid heaven!

The second day we went to Mistico Arenal Hanging bridges for a guided rainforest hike. It was great! It was a 3hr hike. The toddler carrier was super helpful. She fell asleep in it after a while. And it had a comfy headrest for her. We saw all kinds of animals and reptiles there. Snakes, vipers, tarantulas, monkeys. the snakes and spiders I could’ve done without. But our guide was really great and he made it interesting. The thing that struck us the most was how untouched the rainforest seemed even though they had so many people coming through every 15 minutes. The authorities have put in a lot of effort towards making sure of just that.

The third day we decided to venture out in the town. We got a cab and then walked in the town. The locals are super friendly. Getting around without knowing any spanish wasn’t too bad either. Food is a bit expensive compared to US standards. The American fast food spots more so. Try local if you have the option. We were really excited about trying the local ceviche and it didn’t disappoint.

San Ramon – The next day we went to Villa Blanca which is a part of the cloud forest. It was one of the most amazing places we’ve ever seen! In the mornings and the evenings, the clouds seem to descend on the ground and it’s as if you are walking through them. This place has a 100% humidity. It didn’t rain while we were there but the leaves and trees were wet when we woke up in the morning. Everything is covered in moss.

The property is about 7km away from the main road. But when you are surrounding with sweeping views of the mountains and can see the Arenal volcano far away, you forget about being far away from the city center. The views are absolutely breathtaking! To make sure the guests don’t feel isolated, they have self guided trails as well as ones with the guides. They provide the option of night guided wildlife tours. They have a Lecheria (dairy farm) where guests get a chance to milk the cows twice a day. We did that and it was super fun! There’s a chapel on the property, which is a destination for quite a few weddings. Apparently the previous owner, who also happened to the President of Costa Rica, had that built as a gift to his wife for their 50th wedding anniversary. The roof is covered with painted ceramic tiles.

We were sad to leave the place. But we had a wedding to look forward to. We came to Alajuela which is a 1 hour drive from San Ramon. It is quite different from the touristy places we were at. We’d rented a condo via AirBnB. The next day was packed with the wedding festivities, dancing and all kinds of shenanigans.

The best part of this trip were how great everyone around was. When the sprout started crying while we were waiting for our lunch at Villa Blanca, the host drew a Mickey Mouse on a paper and got colored pencils for her. This wasn’t a resort that would pencils stocked, but they still made every effort to make sure everyone was happy. And that seemed to be a constant theme on our trip. Instead of raising a stink eye when a kid started crying, they asked if they could help in some way. And that goes a long way for families traveling with kids. We’ll be back for sure. Next time maybe the coastal regions.