Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Fun this Weekend

Happy Monday! May your week be short and your caffeine strong. In this case, we do have a short week as tomorrow is a holiday here in Canada. Canada Day! We have nothing planned--- designed that way intentionally.

On Friday, we headed to the pool for some summer cool down time. It was just me with the two kids--- and they had so much fun! They didn't want to leave the pool. Logistically, it required some finagling though. I put Cassia in some floaties and held A for the hour + that we were there. When we came home, this mama was beat! We spent the rest of the evening outside. 

Summer eats! 

Mama needs love sometimes

So does sweet daddy!

On Saturday, we did soccer- both inside and out- soccer practice where I was the last minute assistant coach of the day (some people need to respect their commitments, just saying). And then World Cup- 2 awesome matches. Some friends came over to watch the game as well. 

On Sunday, we headed to Toronto for my friend Sonya's early morning wedding--- It was 10 o'clock so not really that early. But it felt like it to us, having to come from more than an hour away. 

We took the kids with us. Let's just say the ceremony was a bit entertaining with Anjali who was making animal songs and dancing to the religious music. I had to bring her inside (the wedding was outside on this beautiful summer day) 

The beautiful couple. Indian weddings are so colourful, festive and pretty. 

After we had a delicious lunch and hung out for a bit. This kid makes friends wherever she goes.

Everyone was tired after such a hectic morning so we ordered in food and had a dance party! 

Linking up with Join the Gossip

Have a wonderful day! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hairy Situations

Happy Friday, friends (and family)! Hope everyone is gearing up for a wonderful summer weekend. We have a wedding to go to, soccer practice and of course World Cup.... which I must say I kind of like for all the drama--- it's kinda like a really good bad reality tv show--- I mean even the Khardashians don't bite people. 

Linking up for Show us your Life with Kelly's Korner. This week, SUYL is focused on Hair Tips. I am all about the hair. I love reading hair tips  and trying different products but have difficult hair. On one hand, I have very thick, lush hair.  On the other, my hair is so thick and a bit course so it's not very manageable. I can't be a wash and go person. I have to get a blow out or do something with my hair otherwise I'm a mess... and not a hot mess.... just a mess.

This is after the hairdresser--  I hardly ever get it like this on my own. 

So here are my tips for difficult to manage hair.

1- Find a hairdresser who works for you and not against you. I looked and looked before I found that I finally was able to manage my hair. But over the summer, in Malaysia, my hair was getting to difficult to style so I had to get a cut there. I went to what I thought was a good mall but the guy seriously butchered my hair. Layers started from the middle of my head. Let's just say it was not a good look! I should have just waited until I got back home.

2- Beware of poor quality hair appliances- Like the bad hairdresser wasn't bad enough, this year I bought a cheaper than usual flat iron- I still spent like $30 on it but it damaged my hair a bit. There are certain parts that got so brittle! My hairdresser advised using tourmaline even if you have to pay a bit more. This one isn't that much more though so I bought one... I just got it last week and it's great!

3- Hot Rollers are da' bomb- On a lazy day when I'm not in the mood to blow out my hair, I just throw in some hot rollers, keep them in while I'm doing some chores and I'm good to do. A great time saver!

4- Don't wash your hair everyday. That's one of my  hairdresser's tips (and Dr. Oz's- aka Mr. Controversy these days). It can really dry your hair out. Every other day or every third day (when I don't work out) is okay for me. For those days, I use dry shampoo but you have to wash your hair the day after. This is the one I use. 

5- And while we're on that one--- wash only a part of your hair from time to time. . I may sound like a little bit of a piggie with all the unwashed hair tips but  this is one of the best tips I've gotten from my friend Louise. On a day that you really don't have time to wash your hair but want that freshly washed look, wash the first 1-2 inches of your hair and style it... looks great and HUGE time saver. However, the rest of your hair can't be greasy with a freshly washed first two inches.

There you go, can't wait to read every one else's tips!

And in case you just come here for these cuties, here they are on Wacky Hair Day.

*Also linking up with Amanda for Friday Favourites. Have a wonderful weekend everyone. 

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Goodnight moon!

I'm linking up with Courtney,  Ashley and some other lovely ladies to talk about bedtime for the toddlers. I have two kids, and I'm going through toddler-hood for the second time-- I'm a pro, right! Yeah, not really. 

I'll skip over the first year for both kids as they were two very different sleepers. I don't really know when Cassia started sleeping through the night. This kid is my more difficult sleeper. She simply doesn't need that much sleep. Up to recently, she was either still getting up to wake us up or climb into bed with us. To add to this, she is five but still naps in school- if I let her be, I think she'll go to bed about ten! Also, she loves to have someone lie down with her to sleep. I hardly ever do it but D   others are a different story!

But my sweet toddler is a different story. Anjali was sleeping through the night earlier...  I would say from about 5 months. We used to dream feed her and one night D and I crossed paths and both forgot to give her a bottle of pumped milk. We then realised she was sleeping through the night! Go team! Since then, she has for the most part been sleeping through the night. 

So here's where you stop reading, roll your eyes and think I have it easy. It has taken work. I think first of all, routine is key for us. Say it with me, routine! A nice bath (now they bathe together), snuggle time and book really works for both kids. I've done it since they were a few weeks old and it sets them up for a peaceful night. It's seriously the best baby advice I've ever received and always give to new mamas.

Naps are just as important. This kid will sleep virtually anywhere in her stroller. 

The putting them to bed though is another thing that's key and something that took a little while. Anjali loved being rocked to sleep. We tried our best not to but then with visitors around, they loved rocking her to bed. Then, she would scream like the damn world was ending when we put her down. We picked her up, she stopped creaming, put her back, screams. Back and forth until either she cried it out or we cried it out  caved and rocked her until she was in a deep slumber. 

What Darin came up with though (cause he has the harder heart is the firmer parent) was a firm putting down routine. First we would put Cassia far away as she's quite loud. Then either one of us would stay with her and just stand by the crib. We cuddled her and then firmly just put her in the crib, patting her back gently and steadily. We then said goodnight and left the room. 

Initially there was lots of wailing (it breaks your heart, I know) but now it's the total opposite. We ask her if she's ready for bed. She usually says yes and then when we take her to the room, she begins to point to the crib, virtually dives down and says goodnight. It takes about ten seconds now. So my second tip- don't drag out your goodnights.

However, as much as we have it figured out, we have trouble with her when we go on vacation (yep, two months in Malaysia), have a late night or spend the night elsewhere. She's just not as happy in her crib and usually ends up sleeping with us... and that one, I don't have the answer to. But then again, we get back home and she's good again. 

By the way, is there anything better than a picture of a sleeping child? 


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Week 24- Loving our everyday life!

More than halfway through the year and 6 months til' Christmas--- just saying! 

Day #169
Last day of school for Cassia! Here we are on the front steps of her Montessori! A will be going there for half days next year as well. 

Day #170
Our summer of fun begins. We made this delicious rhubarb loaf to have for breakfast the next day.

Day #171
My parents came so I was able to sneak out to the hairdresser ! 

Day #172
Posing in Toronto. Sometimes she has such a natural grace about her. #nothermamasdaughter. Anjali on the other hand... let's wait and see.

Day #173
I had such strong tan lines from wearing my Toms all day in Centre Island... and then after wearing these shoes, blisters from my walk on the Danforth. 

Day #174
CN Tower Time.

Day #175
My parents left and I took the girls to the library. They loved the lego board. 

And look who got her .....

Proud mama!

Linking up with Ashley for.....

Happy Wednesday, everyone!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

For the love of Judy Blume

I recently read an article that it's been 45 years since Judy Blume's first book. 45 years! It made me reminisce about my childhood and what her books meant to me growing up. I don't know if there is any author today who does that for young girls.

The first Judy B (yeah, we're tight like that) book I ever read was Blubber. I was about eight or nine but I remember it well. I found a copy in the bookshelves of some second cousins of mine who had migrated to Trinidad for a while and then moved back to the US. I had always read British novels. and though many of these books were classic, none of them were as fun and relatable as Judy's books were. This book dealt with the serious topic of childhood bullying but in such a humanizing way, teaching along the way and highlighting how very painful it can be for all involved.

Thus began my relationship with Judy Blume. I loved reading before but this started to become a little bit of an addiction. I began getting whatever JB books I could from the library in Trinidad. When I went to NYC on vacation to visit my family, I would also borrow what ever books I could find there--- let's just say they had a much wider selection than in Trinidad. I learnt about divorce from Karen, miserable siblings from Peter, puberty from Margaret (why couldn't I get a bra at 11?) and death of a parent in Tiger Eyes. She dealt with topics like war, racism and exclusion and taught us kids better along the way. I even read about scoliosis, a condition I had and treated with surgery. As someone affected myself, she presented the disease and what Deenie went through in such a real way, it was surreal! The weird thing was that most of Judy's books were written in the seventies and early eighties but even when I started to read them in the later eighties and early nineties, her style of writing was so modern and fresh, I felt like it was a current book.

I remember though thinking that the best book I had ever read was Just As Long as We're Together. It was a book about three friends going through puberty with changing friendships and relationships, first periods and kisses. An entirely normal book, poignant, happy but so well written. I read it multiple times,  and really understood and rooted for Steph, the protagonist.

This is the same cover of the book that I borrowed more than twenty years ago from that library in Queens 
So Judy has grown with me and I've read most if not all of her books. Maybe it's because I borrowed most of her books as opposed to buying them like I do now, it felt like such a treat and made me appreciate them more. Even though I passed through the phase of all the middle school books, we weren't done yet. Forever dealt with all the complicated emotions of first love and how like the name so aptly suggests, you were convinced it was forever. And as a sort of final treat, Judy gave her readers who had grown up with her one last book about adulthood with Summer Sisters, published in 1998 before she unofficially retired.

So what does this have to do with 'it's a girl's world', you might ask? Let's just say that Judy has been a long standing part of this girl's world for more than 25 years so far! I may have Elin now but I'm still one of Judy's greatest fans!

Linking up with the Dwelling Tree and Southern Beauty Guide

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend in Toronto

Ahhh summer has officially started.... and to begin with a bang we headed to Toronto for the weekend with my parents who came to visit. I have lived in Canada for about 10 years and my parents have been visiting me since then but they have never been to Toronto... my bad! We decided to remedy that on this trip. They came in on Friday around lunch time and on Saturday after soccer, we headed to the city. We stayed at the Cambridge Suites in Toronto. Highly recommend it if you're looking for a great location with a little more room than your ordinary hotel room.  In the evening, we walked around the city, visited the Eaton Centre, went to some Toronto Jazz Festival stuff and had some delicious Thai food.

Quite the poser, isn't she?

Just walking around

On Sunday, we got up bright and early and headed to Centre Island-- a place that I'd never been to as well. It's a little island that's a short ferry ride away from Toronto. It was amazing and as you can imagine a fun adventure for our five year old! On the island, there's an amusement park, a wading pool, a 'beach', lush greenery, concession stands and so many beautiful walking and biking trails! This weekend was also the Dragon Boat Festival which was fun to look at. 

Our walk downtown.
Check A out in her Marilyn pose. And yes, she is barefoot in one of the pics!

And here we are in the island

So much to see and do. 

When we came back home, my parents and the girls were quite tired so they had a 'pizza party' and Darin and I headed across to the Danforth for some yummy Greek food at Mezes.   We then got the bright idea to walk more than 4 miles back to the hotel in my new shoes--- I have the blisters to prove it. Despite that though, Toronto is so full of colourful characters and hectic night life in the summer. It was great being part of that energy and pretending we were cool once more. 


On Monday, as D took the day off, we just headed to the CN Tower. It's the tallest free standing structure in the Western hemisphere (at one time the world). It's one of the distinctive icons in the Toronto skyline. No first time visit to Toronto is complete without a visit there. We hung out for a bit before we had some Hakka and headed back home!!! 

A wonderful, hectic weekend. My dad, a bit of a cultural anthropologist himself, especially loved it and invited himself on our next trip to Europe! Done! All hands on deck.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mummy Tag

I came across this 'mummy tag' on My Life as A Mummy and loved the idea! Although on this side of the pond, we say 'Mommy.' Here we go. 

1. Are you a Stay at Home Mum, or a Working Mum?
I'm a work from home--- but freelance so only about 10-12 hours per week and when the work becomes available. 
2. Would you have it any other way?
No for right now but yes in the next few years as the girls get older. I can't see myself totally going back to the corporate world though. I did when Cassia was born but with two, I decided against it. I did not enjoy it. 
3. Do you co-sleep?
No! I've heard too many horror stories about baby suffocation and I'm too light a sleeper anyways. When we have sleepovers at other people's houses, I've slept with my kids-- Cass is a kicker so that's not cool but A is a cuddly, sweet sleeper. 
4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
Gosh, there are so many items that I love but maybe the tiny baby rocker like this one. I never had one with Cass so I guess technically it's not a must have but I used it so much with A. 
5. How many kids do you plan on having?
2 and through... We are done!!
6. Date nights? How often do you have them? 
I would say maybe every 2-3 weeks. Most nights when the kids go to bed, D and I watch tv together though.
7. Your child’s favourite show?
Cassia now loves the Disney sitcoms and A loves Yup Yups and The Wiggles. 
8. Name one thing you bought before you had the baby and never ended up using?
I bought these baby feeding spoons which were a total waste!
9. Your child’s favourite food?
Cassia's is anything with cheese- sandwiches, pizza or pasta. Anjali is more of a little gourmand, trying the different flavours and textures. Just yesterday for lunch, she had caprese pasta, chicken, goat cheese and avocado.
10. How many cars does your family have?
We have 2. An SUV for me and a car for D. 
11. Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now?
I gained 40 pounds with Cassia and lost it nine months after she was born. It was hard work! With going back to the corporate world when C was born, travelling for work and juggling being a mom, I fluctuated with my weight quite a bit as my eating wasn't always the best and I couldn't exercise as often as I wanted. 
With A, I was determined not to gain as much weight as I started off seven pounds heavier than I did with C. I gained 27 pounds but lost it in the first nine weeks as I began watching my junk intake and exercising more. I still ate but less nonsense! I lost like 40 pounds in total. THough I've gained some of it back, I exercise 4-6 times per week and do some conditioning so I think that some of the weight is muscle. I could still stand to lose 5 pounds though.
12. Dream holiday with your kids?
I think it would be Beaches Turks and Caicos- we've been twice already. Or maybe a nice Hawaiian vacay as they get older. 
13. Dream holiday without your kids?
I would love to go back to Europe. Italy (for the second time), Greece or Spain would also be nice. 
14. How has your life changed since having kids?
Bedtime is a big deal now. Gone are those late nights! 
15. Finish the sentence “It makes heart melt when…”
Ok this sounds weird but it's when my children say 'Thank you', 'Good Morning', and 'You're Welcome'. I'm a stickler for  good manners. Oh and when they snuggle up next to you and fall asleep. 
16. Where do you shop for your kids?
I don't really have one specific place but I love Gymboree, Baby Gap and Zulily for the one of a kind designer pieces on sale.  And Children's Place has great pants and leggings. 
17. Favourite make-up and skincare products?
I am a make up junkie! My favourite these days though are Smashbox CC cream, Mac Bronzer and Mac Taupe Lipstick.  In terms of skincare, I'm also a bit of a junkie. I love this Obagi Facewash for oily skin, Vitamin C Serum, Vitamin A creme and an under eye cream!
18. Huggies or Pampers?
Pampers. I used to work at Energizer (competitors of P&G, makers of Duracell and Pampers) so I was determined to use Huggies when Cassia was born. We had sooo many leaks- chalk it up to a new mom's in-expertise or a product that wasn't working for me. Either which way, I started using Pampers Swaddlers and the Baby Dry. 
19. Have you always wanted kids?
Yes! I knew from the very beginning... and more than that, I knew I wanted a daughter... and then I got greedy and wanted a second daughter. 
20. Best part of being a mum?
It would have to be the outbursts of uncontrollable laughter--- and the sweet snuggles- Tie!

Today I'm linking up with Annie , Amanda and Natalie for this new link up. Can't wait to read everyone else's Thoughts for this Thursday!

Thoughts for Thursday

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Week 23 of 2014- It's the Little Things you wish for!

Here we go once again! Can you believe we are at Week 23 already? Where is the time going? 

Today I'm linking up with Words about Waverly for an "It's the Little Things" link up. What better 'little things' to capture than our everyday moments?

Also linking up with Leslie for What You Wish Wednesday

Day #162- 
We lost another tooth just two weeks after the first one! And she's only 5 years old! Where is my baby going. By the way, she's wearing her nightgown backwards.... it's her thing. However, the second tooth only got a shiny quarter--- which incidentally she loved more than her $5 bill. Somebody needs to do some more math!

Day #163
First Day of World Cup! We had some friends over to watch the game and at night this was D horsing around with his Brazil shirt and Portuguese soccer ball. #confused

Day #164
On most days I let A hang out in the backyard while I clean up/start dinner. The shoes fly off and the fun begins!

Day #165
Love my sweeties

Day #166
Happy Father's Day to an amazing dad. I'm so blessed to be raising my children with this special boy!

Day #167
Sisters snuggling at bedtime. Life doesn't get any better than this.

Day # 168
I spent most of my day changing the look of my blog to a more summery one only to not like it after all. 

Speaking of which, do you like the new look? The brand marketer in me wanted something fun, bright and less seasonal. Me and Pic Monkey worked into the wee hours of the night to get it done. 

Happy Wednesday y'all (Bachelorette fans would get that one)!!
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