Friday, April 30, 2010

Flashback Friday: homemade food

It's my first Flashback Friday post in ages it feels like! I haven't done one since before going to India.

The above picture is from March 2009, not long after our trip to India in 2009. I can't believe that was over a year ago already. Kavi was just over 1yrs old. We were eating at a cool restaurant(that we ate at again yesterday!). I took pictures from yesterday's visit too. It's part of an older lady's house. Her house is in the back and the restaurant is at the front. It's called Whole Note Acres and it's very country and cozy feeling. It's only open Tues-Fri 11am-1pm. This place has been in business since I was a little kid in the 80's! We used to live in the same city where this is, in New Port Richey, Florida. Now I live about 30 minutes north of there. So once in awhile when my family is visiting, we take a ride down to our dear old friend Whole Note Acres. The same lady lives there and owns/runs it. She is now in her 80's I believe.

The food options are limited, but are very special. The daily menu is quiche, salad, soup, desserts, breads, and drinks. Each day of the week is assigned a specific quiche and soup. I spend usually about $8 there. That would be for getting quiche and soup, plus as much bread, iced tea, lemonade, coffee, or tea you want. It's self serve, you just get what you want and tell her what you ate at the end! It's such a warm, personal environment. The inside seating area is a circle shaped room. Outside seating is in a screened in porch that curves around the circular building. The owner lets you walk through her house too, if you want to. All her rooms are circle shaped. It's almost like being in a hobbit home, but not exactly. hehe. These pictures are just from the inside eating area, last year. They don't at all capture the place. I took more pictures yesterday and will want to share some of those once I have them edited.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Wednesday

So, I won the challenge I posted about yesterday! Thank you so much if you stopped there to vote. :)

My parents are now visiting. My sister and friend left Monday and my parents arrived last night! It's going to be another nice week spending time with family.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Help a girl out?

Originally uploaded by lillyella, uniquely you

Would you like to help me win a fashion challenge I entered over at Lillyella's blog?

To explain more, quoted from the blog:
"This month's Couture du Jour Challenge was to create an outfit of four vintage pieces. It could be casual or dressy and there was no limit on the cost of the pieces. The entries are in and now it's time for you to pick your favorite ensemble! The winner will receive their choice of any piece of jewelry from my collection."

You can go here and vote for outfit #2.
There are some beautiful outfits, so I really need help winning to get a piece of jewelry from LillyElla's shop. My submitted outfit is at the top of this post.

My outfit's link:

You can view all the submitted outfits here:

Awesome outfits, wouldn't you say?! All vintage. The voting is only open until tomorrow morning, so I'd love if you could go over today and vote! Thanks. hehehe.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fashion Inspiration: Spring Flowers

Feminine outfits to wear on a sunny spring day.
Be inspired to spend some time in the spring sun!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday evening at the beach

Yesterday evening we went to a local small beach to play and then watch sunset. My sister and good friend are visiting these past couple days(until Monday) and it was fun for all of us to go hang out there. Above in the picture is a kite and the moon. There is a fun playground for kids to play on.

The above sunset picture is from my sister's cell phone. Our camera's batteries died so I hardly got any pictures at the beach!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vintage Thursday: Reuse

I think this is my first non-trip related post in weeks!

It's neat that Earth Day this year is the same day I usually do vintage on the blog. Reusing items made in the past is a great way to reuse and reduce.

Here are some vintage items I found on Etsy recently that would create a beautiful outfit:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Loot. Pictures.

Some of the items brought back from India. Gifts I received, and items I bought for myself.
In the picture above are gifts I received from different relatives.

Gold earrings from my inlaws

Cute elephant earrings from a sis in law

fabric for making into an Indian outfit, from an aunt and uncle

A pretty watch from friends of my in laws

Now onto things I bought myself:
I love this mug. It has a vintage picture of an Indian woman on it.

Bindis, postcard packs of vintage Indian images,

The tunic part of my new outfit(seen in picture a few posts ago), a journal of handmade paper

Here's bags of things we brought home to give other people like my family and friends! I love shopping in India, especially for gifts.

If anyone wonders about the bindi(forehead adornment), in India most women wear that along with sindoor(red color at the part of your hair) to signify being married. So since most of the married women in my husband's family follow that tradition, I do as well while in India. It also makes me feel more secure while we are out, wearing obvious signs of being married.
Summer started while we were in India(Indian summer season) which is not an ideal time to visit. The only air conditioning at my in laws' was in the bedroom we slept in. A window unit. It was usually warm in the rest of the house. I say house but it's a flat, or like a condo because they own it not rent it. So in the rest of the house, ceiling fans were the only relief.

The first week and a half we were there, the temperatures were in the mid to upper 80's outside so inside it wasn't too bad with the fans on. But the last week it went into the 90's every day and got even more humid. So then inside the house with the fans out still was hard to handle, as a spoiled a/c loving American. :P It was very hot outside the day we took the picture below(and other pics like it). We only stayed outside for about 15 mins to take pictures then went back inside.
One day during the hotter week, I cooked lunch for the family. I was very nervous, making Indian food, since I felt like I was cooking for the experts! I made a potato/cauliflower dish, a spinach and paneer(indian cheese) dish, lentil(it's called dal), and rice. If you are familiar with Indian food you might recognize the Indian names of the dishes, but I will leave it more simple sounding. There was not even a ceiling fan in the kitchen, but I pushed through the sweat and hot feeling to make a meal that would hopefully please the family. They said they liked it a lot, it was their first time having an American cook them Indian food! They had no idea what to expect. Thanks to my husband teaching me Indian cooking tips over the years plus my own learning, I succeeded.
Here I am, after sweating in the kitchen for 2 hours!

Monday, April 19, 2010

More pictures

Leaving Tampa, heading to Newark, NJ! Top pic is Tampa Bay area.

Arriving to NJ, NYC in distance. Then leaving NJ on the huge plane.

In/around the building my inlaws live in

Some family

I don't really have any cool, ancient architecture pictures to share. Since our visiting India is mostly for seeing family, and because of the location, there isn't much sightseeing to do. I do miss that aspect. When I went to New Delhi in 2003 there was so much to see there and the Taj Mahal was only a few hours away too.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another video and a giveaway

Here is a short video of us in one of our taxi rides in India. The person talking loudly is the taxi driver(he was on his cell). I'm never in videos because I either don't want to be or am the one doing the video-ing. So I made sure I was in at least one short video while in India! Here it is.

ALSO: Head on over to my friend Devon's blog to enter her giveaway! She is giving away cute sewn items she made herself! :)

We are still trying to get back to life as usual. We have been doing pretty good with the jet lag issue! But just going back to normal takes some time. We are getting there!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Video Slideshow

I wanted to make some slideshows for the blog instead of adding photos one by one. This also means less scrolling for those who stop by. I customized a little photo video on windows movie maker, and added background music from a Bollywood movie we watched before. (I liked the song hehe, the lyrics are cute but you would need English subtitles to know what they are!)

This slidehow I call "Out and About". It has some pictures from when we were going out to different places. I hope you enjoy! If you can't listen for some reason, you can just watch.

I will post more pictures too of other things, soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Home, Sweet Home!

(picture from Sunday in India, I'm wearing Indian clothes)

We are back! We arrived home yesterday around 4pm. I felt like a zombie. What an exhausting journey home. If I count from when we left my in laws to go to the airport to when we walked into our house yesterday, it was about 31 hours.

We touched down in Newark, NJ yesterday morning around 5:30am. Our flight from Mumbai(Bombay), India was direct to NJ and took 15.5 hours. Yes, that is long! The exhaustion continues once you land as you immediately go through immigration(easy part), then to luggage claim to get your things to walk through Customs(HUGE pain in the neck waiting for your luggage to all arrive on the belts, like 30-45 mins standing around). The Customs part takes 10 seconds, if they don't ask you to open your belongings(they have never asked us that). Then you drop your big, heavy suitcases back off on another belt to be sent to your connecting flight. Then you go stand in a long security line, even though you already went through security TWICE in India before leaving there. Oye. By the time we were done with all that, it was 7:30am so it took 2 hours. Then we could finally relax and go eat breakfast. Then wasted a couple hours more until our 11:15am flight to Tampa. Touched down in Tampa around 2:10pm, what a relief. By 4pm we were home as I already said. (we are an hour from the airport) I hope this paragraph wasn't too boring! Just thought I would add details.

Now poor Kavi seems to have caught a cold that showed up on our travel home. His nose started running like crazy on the way home, and he is sneezing and coughing. Last year after our trip he was sick with rotavirus, a stomach/intestinal virus that I caught too. The first time I went to India, I came home with a horrible cold. I wonder if it's possible to go on a trip to India and NOT get sick afterwards? I don't want to get sick! Nooo.

We slept good last night though, overall, which is good considering our bodies already were used to the Indian time zone that is 9.5 hours ahead of EST. I hope we can conquer the 9.5 hour jet lag in a short time frame. (I can hope! hehe) I thought this would be a short entry but I keep thinking of more to write right now.

So we were home around 4pm yesterday and by 5pm I wanted to lay in bed, just to feel how comfy it is.(Indian beds are generally very hard.) My husband called to order pizza for pick up and was going to stop at the nearby grocery store for a few necessities. By the time he left to go get it, I couldn't leave the bed! I needed sleep desperately. So there I stayed until almost 5 am this morning. I missed out on the hot and fresh pizza. My husband tried waking me up to tell me he was back with it, but I just couldn't wake up enough for it. So then when I woke up this morning, I ate cold pizza. (I like it that way too!) Kavi also woke up at that time - well, he was the one who woke us up before 5am by crying, and we have been awake since. He woke up a couple times overnight crying or needing a diaper change but then slept again.

I will need to adjust to being back home before I can do my normal blog routine again. It's a strange feeling, after being away from home for 20 days(just shy of 3 weeks), being in a completely different culture, and then being back home again. I really don't feel like doing anything besides sitting around. Kavi has already gone back to his usual things like covering the floor with random toys, opening drawers and taking out utensils, taking picture frames off tables and generally making a big mess, lol. I don't feel like cleaning it up and I wish he would stop putting everything on the floor! :P Maybe it's a good sign though that he is already readjusting to being back home. Though I'd really like if he stops throwing his toys around the room.

Traveling this far and long with a toddler is not a good idea. Just telling you. It is possible, and Kavi fared pretty well on the flights. He had his own seat, which was very helpful(a carseat in his own seat). But going so far away is incredibly hard and exhausting, for both the child and parents. Kavi had diarrhea issues while away too and he still isn't over it completely. He had major time adjustment issues as well that turned him into a very unhappy little boy who only wanted mommy and daddy for the first week. That was a bit torturous for all involved. A whole WEEK of crankiness from the usually happy little boy because his schedule was completely off and everything was different.

Well that was long! I will post more pictures soon. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! Plus Pictures!

Happy Easter/Resurrection day! Here in India it's already the afternoon on Easter. My in-laws don't celebrate it so we didn't do anything special for today. We just celebrated in our hearts. It's odd to me - my first Easter in a place where it's not very celebrated. There are Christians in India who do celebrate it, but overall it's just another Sunday here. I am missing some of the good food I heard about that was being prepared at my parents house for today!

Unfortunately the unlimited internet plan I talked about last time did not get activated! That is why I haven't posted yet. Now I don't even know if that's going to happen. I can post a bunch of pictures though!

We have gone to some malls near here a couple times now and they are pretty nice! Nothing like going to a shopping mall while in another country hehehe.

Here are some pictures from out and about, and us on the top of the building my in-laws live in, overlooking the area. I will post more pictures again maybe before we leave India(a little over a week away). In the first picture the bottom white building is a local hotel. Last year I met a lot of relatives there in a meeting/banquet hall where we had a catered dinner get-together.

Hotel Three Star


small local shops

"Utsav Chowk" - a pretty structure/fountain near the entrance of this area.
On top of our building

View from the top. Also below they are working on a new park with a walking track.
It should be nice.

India is of course a very interesting place. There are some things that are done so differently that it can be hard to adjust to. It's very much a cultural experience. Also the huge gap in economic status among people in one small area is very easy to see. You can see all these nice newly built large complexes like in the picture above and like the one we are staying in. Yet very very close by are shacks and piles of trash and tiny streams filled with trash. India is definitely taking steps forward economically speaking, but the poverty is still widespread.