Thursday, March 31, 2011

Me and My Shadow

It's been a very stormy day, following a stormy night. It's been stormy since yesterday afternoon!

And so I have a little shadow indoors who is three years old and not fond of thunder. Wherever I go, he follows. In the kitchen, living room, and even bathroom. Wherever I sit, he sits on me or very close to me. He is a cute shadow. I made him a Mickey head shaped pancake, which you don't need a Mickey shaped pan to do!

We had a tornado warning earlier too but I think that has passed. It's just yucky weather overall! It's supposed to go away by tonight though and then it will be sunny tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A wordless Wednesday

Originally uploaded by coffee&cream

(Tree in the back yard)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Busy Bee

I have had a busy weekend and a busy Monday.

Some of it was fun, some of it wasn't fun but necessary. Some of it has to do with our house and it's ongoing issue. We thought a meeting yesterday would bring our 3+ year process to an end, but it did not.

One really nice thing is that I got to meet another of my nieces, from my husband's side, for the first time last night. She got to meet Kavi too. She is 15 years old, super sweet and cute. She is one lucky girl because she came to the US, landed yesterday, on a school trip that is taking them around the country! She and her family are from India but currently live in Dubai for her father's job. (her mother is my husband's eldest sister) She is in Orlando, so we drove over there to see her. Unfortunately we only got to spend about 40 minutes together in the hotel lobby, after a 2 hour drive. But that's ok, I am glad we got to go because it was the only time she had a break in schedule. Today her group(of 50!) went to Magic Kingdom and tomorrow they are going to Epcot! Then they are going to the Kennedy Space Center. Then DC, New York City, and Niagara Falls! I wanna go! :)

I am also doing a lot of planning for my cousin's baby shower that is this Sunday. Things got kind of last minute with it but we are going to pull it off. I am excited about it! But there has just been a lot going on.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I added these items to my favorites list on Etsy recently. I love the bunnies! And the house paper. No bunnies on the wrapping paper, but the coloring matches the rest.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vintage Thursday: casual, career, and evening


Click pictures to be taken to their listings on Etsy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oooh, inspiration

If anyone else is familiar with last summer's(summer I think?) HGTV Design Star, you'd know that Emily Henderson won and got her own show Secrets from a Stylist. I wanted her to win! I like her style not only in decor but how she dresses. I want her clothes! I have missed the episodes of her new show but I hope to catch up online.

Emily figures out people's style preferences and gives them more than one option for a room redo! As it says better on HGTV: "Designer Emily Henderson layers different design styles to create stunning rooms tailored perfectly to each homeowner's style."

Look at these rooms!

A living room, before:
And two different "afters".
Look 1:
Look 2:

A different living room, before:
Afters, Look 1 also showing dining space:
Look 2:
And in case you think her style is all girly, take a look at these other designs:

All room photos are from here, on

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning

9x12 photograph from SouthernHippie

I am in a organizing mood. Yesterday certain things in the house were bugging me, so we started redoing some of our organization areas. My sewing/craft table had gotten really bad before we went to India and it looked like a crazy mess. I couldn't handle it any longer! I actually started working on condensing everything into smaller spaces and put the long table everything was on back into the garage.

Is it spring that triggered this? The whole spring cleaning thing? I don't really think so. What did it was a mix of being in India and just getting fed up with clutter. At my in-laws flat in India, 5 people lived there in a two bedroom place(one of my sis-in-laws moved out since getting married now). Yet they don't have a big clutter problem. They keep things well organized. They don't have closets in the bedrooms. Instead they had to buy one big closet-like cabinet for each room. And I am amazed at how many things they store in those, all organized well inside.

When I came back home I wondered again why only 3 of us, in a house bigger than my in-law's flat, have SO MUCH stuff. Stuff stuff stuff! I am sick of stuff! I only want useful items and decor that doesn't turn into piles. How did we accumulate so much in six years of marriage? I do think most of it accumulated once we had a child, because that brings new furniture, gadgets, and too many toys!

Yesterday we even dealt with a small hallway closet that has been out of control for awhile. The space was being wasted by things that we didn't even need, like empty boxes. A month ago we had to have someone come into the house and look at things(part of our ongoing process with insurance I mentioned before). I was so embarrassed when he opened that closet! But now it is no longer the closet that things might fall out of when you open it! It looks much better and I was able to store some pillows in there.

Our bedroom is another place that has gotten crazy. I don't have room for all my clothes, which is weird since I don't even feel like I have tons and tons of clothes. So much sits in baskets due to lack of drawer space and even closet space. We need another dresser or something. But what I would really like to get eventually is something like this wardrobe from IKEA.

My parents left to go back to Alabama yesterday. It's good for me to keep my mind occupied now so I don't feel sad or lonely! So this week I will try to keep up with the organizing.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Would you like the chance to win a $15 gift certificate to my shop Coffee and Cream? Head on over to this giveaway at MammaTown! It's simple to enter! :) Chana at MammaTown is celebrating one year of blogging with a week of giveaways! Check out the giveaways that started on Monday for a chance to win lots of different goodies!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vintage Thursday

Finally another Vintage Thursday! I just picked things I liked while searching, no real theme.

My parents are visiting now! We are having a nice time, of course! They will be here until Sunday.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

B&W Here and There

I thought it'd be fun to contrast style between here and India during the 40's/50's.

While what was considered glamorous or normal day to day wear here, was a totally different thing in India.
Women in riding clothes; vogue article
1. Oldies, 2. 1951 Vogue Pattern Magazine, Summer, Lanvin

Several Bollywood actresses in India in the 1940's.

In India in the 1950's, Madhubala was a famous actress. If you look at the first pic on her wikipedia page, she is wearing more of a western style look. But below she is wearing a saree in the first two pictures that were taken candidly, and is wearing other traditional clothes in the bottom still shots from films. (sarees or lehenga cholis, I can't tell)

1. Madhubala - Rare candid photo session, 2. Madhubala - Rare candid photo session,
3. Madhubala, 4. 05

The differences that would exist between a dinner party/special gathering, here and there.
1. Faculty Reception (1950-51)2. President's Independence Day reception 1950 New Delhi

I played with the retro camera app on my phone while in India(and while bored one day). Here's my contribution to black and white, 2011! Though they don't look like 2011.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Simple things

This morning's coffee

There are the simple things in life you miss while out of the country, and sometimes even while away from home in your own country! Home brewed coffee is one of them, for me.

In India, tea is much more popular. And they don't generally make it with a teapot of boiling water and tea bags. It's made with loose tea, boiled in a sauce pot, using half milk and half water, and then sugar is added. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious! Very creamy and I love it. Below is me drinking the Indian tea. They use tiny cups compared to our usual coffee mugs!

But for over 2 weeks I didn't get to have my morning coffee! My first pot brewed back home on Friday morning felt so nice.

I had coffee a few times while away, mostly iced coffees during the afternoon. My husband would buy a couple of these bottled coffees for me every few days to store in the (small) fridge at my in-laws. It tastes similar to a bottled frappuccino.The two other times I had coffee while out, it was at Indian coffee shops. Once at the coffee shop called "Barista" and once at "Cafe Coffee Day". Below is a finished latte(husband's choice, which he doesn't usually choose!) and an indulgent iced mocha coffee drink(mine heehee).
These coffee chains are relatively new in India. There are always a lot of young people sitting in them, mostly college aged. It's a new hang out place. They are nice little shops! I have been to three different coffee chains in India so far. The two mentioned above plus the year before we went to Costa Coffee. (These are not my pics below, I found them)
1. Not available, 2. Barista in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India, 3. cafe coffee day, 4. Barista Coffee

You might have noticed the mehndi still on my hands in the first photo. It's still there! But fading to light orange. Here is a picture of my left hand yesterday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

This is the post that never ends

There are stories to tell and I am trying to figure out which ones I already told. I wanted to share more about the wedding. I feel like my posts get too long. I hope they aren't tedious to read, I just want to share so much!

I had talked about a few things while away like our outings to a chinese-indian restaurant, to the Gateway of India, and about the Mehndi on our hands.

We also went to a few different malls while in India. I mentioned my quest to find an outfit for the wedding. I don't know if I said that I couldn't find one that was already made that fit me well. So we had it custom made for me, with fabric my sis-in-law bought. It fit very well since it was to my measurements! And the cost was actually less than the mall's outfit prices.

And now - the beautiful wedding:
My sis in law looked like a royal princess during the actual wedding part. One of our aunts did her hair and makeup. Gorgeous!!

The wedding had various sections. Of course an Indian wedding is much different than an American wedding. While me and my husband are Christians, the majority of his family is Hindu. So they follow the Hindu practices for things like wedding rituals. The wedding day activities lasted from morning til night! At about 9am that day, a pundit/pandit came to their place to start the wedding day rituals with the bride-to-be and her parents. I hid in the bedroom for most of it. I am not against partaking in the culture but I try to avoid participation in the religious things. I have strong feelings about my own faith so I don't want to do rituals of another religion. It can be hard and I have been put into awkward situations a couple of times because of being asked to do something. And sometimes did it instead of saying no, to avoid conflict. That doesn't make me happy though.

The ceremonial things went on at their place for over 3 hours. One little ritual followed by another, and another, and another. Finally I was asked to do a couple things and I did them. They were more tradition than religious for me, as a sister in law, to do to a bride-to-be. They involved rice and turmeric water, and putting them on the bride. The turmeric water was supposed to make her skin glow for her wedding(however it seemed only ceremonial since my sis in law took a shower before the wedding and it all washed off). Relatives came over to the house to participate and eat lunch there before everyone headed to the hotel in the afternoon, where the wedding was going to take place.

It was a confusing but interesting day! At around 5pm was when the bride-to-be was all ready in her makeup and clothes, and that is when I still had my jeans on. We then escorted her to the banquet hall where she could see the groom for the first time that day. It was her first entrance for everyone else to see! The bride and groom exchanged flower garlands around their necks and then sat down in the fancy chairs. Some people blessed them and then it was picture time.

These are pics of parts of the wedding. I was unprepared for pictures when the bottom left picture was taken. I was not yet in my fancy Indian clothes, and was the only one in jeans at that point. I was told not to worry about getting ready yet, then suddenly it was picture time! After the picture, me and my niece went to go get ready in our pretty clothes.

A little while later, it was time for my sis in law to leave the room again and go back to the hotel room for an hour or so. I am not sure why, but that is how it's done.

Some brides change clothes between sections, but she kept her same outfit on, which was gorgeous anyway. Finally we were all ready in our clothes and make up and it was time for the actual wedding rituals to start. Those lasted about an hour and a half, and by then other guests were arriving for the reception part.

Only family really attends the ceremony. There was about 35 or so family members there during that. Then about another 40 people arrived later on for the reception part. This wedding was small in comparison to many Indian weddings, which easily have hundreds of people in attendance. But this wedding was planned with less notice. (It could have been planned far ahead of time if there hadn't been family issues about accepting the marriage. The fact that there was even a wedding is kind of a big deal.)

(ughh trying to be brave by posting the above pic)

Me and my niece again, with our mehndi and pretty clothes. End of the wedding day.
The earrings and necklace I wore were gifts from my in laws on the first trip that I met them all. They went perfectly with my silver accented outfit.
We ate yummy Indian food and then it was already 9:30pm. Kavi was really tired, and so was I! We left and went to our hotel room while other people were still eating. Kavi needed to sleep. Me, hubby, and Kavi stayed at the hotel all night while everyone else went home. It was a nice little break from the hustle and bustle, just us three in the morning.

Even though my husband is with me on our trips, I miss him more than usual whenever we are in India. He had so much to do to help his father who is getting older, and with wedding planning. Some days we would plan an outing and then we would be together all day. But other days, he would have to leave for many hours at a time. I would miss him since I was in his country, not even in my own to do as I please.

Even though it seems India has stronger, tighter families than the US, they sometimes seem to think a father doesn't need to spend a lot of time with his kids. If a father is gone all the time working or traveling, it's considered normal. I don't like that. But I know some people can't help it. Jobs can be a lot more demanding in India than here, with long, 6 day work weeks instead of our 5 day work week. So my inlaws don't think it's weird to have my husband doing a million things while me and Kavi are there sitting around all day.

But this year, my husband did try harder than ever to make sure I had a good time. I had a much better time than last year, which you might remember was very hard! So I am glad the trip was good overall. :) I got to experience a lot of things. I still have henna on my hands, my own little souvenir, but it's fading now. :( I will miss it! I have had it for a whole week now. I will always have the pictures to remind me of it. Until the next time I get it for another relative's wedding. It may be quite a few years.
(from when the henna was drying on my hands, last Saturday. Edited with effect "cross process" and rounded frame.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We got home safe and sound! What a trip...but we made it! I can never seem to come home unscathed though! I am still getting over the cold, which has gotten a little better, but due to congestion my ears clogged right up during the descent into Newark airport yesterday morning. They stayed that way for the 3 or so hours until the next flight. On that flight, my ears popped over and over and over for like 15 minutes while ascending to cruising altitude. I guess they cleared up while up that high, but as soon as we started descending to land in Tampa I had a lot of ear and jaw pain and my ears clogged up again. My left ear is a little less clogged than my right ear. But still clogged today. I am taking a decongestant to try to help it. This has happened to me before on other years too, ugh. I am prone I guess, especially when sick.

So we got to our house finally around 4 pm. One of the first things I did after bringing everything inside is to go feel my bed. So soft, nice and cozy. (Indian beds are very hard, they are used to it that way. To me it feels like sleeping on wood, and they always have to add a small cushion for me while there or else I can't even sleep).

Like last year, once back into my bed my body doesn't want to get up again. After hardly sleeping for the 33 hour total journey, plus being awake that day in India before leaving, all I want to do is sleep. I made myself get up after 5 minutes to change and use the bathroom at least, get my phone to say a quick hello again to my parents, knowing that as soon as I laid down again I'd be sleeping within minutes (very unlike me, I usually take awhile to fall asleep under normal circumstances). And yes, soon after saying hi to my parents, I was snoozing. I slept from about 5pm to 3:30am and have been awake since. I feel like my day should be half over already and it's barely 8:30am here. Ha!! My husband went to work today. Crazy huh? But he slept at least 7 hours overnight so he can get through the one work day before starting the weekend.

I feel like there is so much I could type. Even the ride to the airport in Mumbai could be a post in itself!! I can't tell you how many times I said "oh. my. gosh" under my breath on the way to the airport. I prayed a lot too. The ride gets very interesting during the last half, on overcrowded narrow roads with cars zooming in and out of each other. Interesting in a visual way, along with scary! I have gotten used to the Indian style driving while we are there for the most part, like my brain switches over and doesn't feel as scared as the first time I went to India. But still, the very crowded areas when cars are zooming past you with LITERALLY one or two inches to spare, made me nervous. It's like in India, when you want to cross the street in your car or make a turn, it doesn't really matter if cars are coming. If there is even a few feet gap coming up, you just go for it and make everyone slow down or go around you. The only caution I saw is when a big bus or truck is coming, then they might wait a few more seconds. But at other times, when a big bus was coming it didn't matter, you just go. You might as well close your eyes, count to 3, press the gas down as hard as possible while honking the horn, and that will work out fine for you in India, in case you needed an Indian driving tip. ;) The horns are used all the time there, to tell people to move out of your way, or to let them know you are coming. All the big trucks there say on the back "Horn OK Please". I hope I got a picture of one saying that.

Getting through security and onto the plane, after doing what felt like a million things in the Mumbai airport, was just as grueling as we remembered it to be. Leaving the USA airports, at least the few I have been in, is soooo much easier. But they have more terrorism and security problems in India than here. So they are extra cautious. You wouldn't believe how many steps there are. Even while checking in your luggage there are things you have to do while waiting in line. Fill out a form, answer questions to Continental employees who are questioning everyone in line, show your passports, show your boarding passes, then you do that all again at the check in counter. Then you go through exit immigration, then you go through security, and all along the way you have to show all your documents. Finally once through security, we grabbed a quick snack, then went to stand in line for our plane's gate, where you go through another security. Means shoes off again, each person is checked with a hand held metal detector(women get to go stand being a portable wall while a female security guard does it). Then finally you get to go on the plane. The plane holds up to about 300 people. It's huge.

The flight was delayed into Newark by almost an hour. It didn't matter much to us because we had a few hours gap of time originally between landing and our next flight. As I mentioned maybe in the last post(or not?) in Newark we go through US Immigration, Customs, and then again security. Then it's time to relax until the next flight. Since we always arrive so early, it's breakfast time. Every year, this being the 3rd, we eat at a diner in the airport near our gates called Ruby's Diner for some American style breakfast. Our waitress there yesterday was the same as last year, and she remembered us!! I guess we are a unique combo. :P

Time passed fast until it was time for our Tampa flight. As soon as we were done with breakfast we went to our gate, and not long after they started boarding. We got on the plane on time but then had to wait for our turn to take off. Our plane left the gate but we were wondering why we weren't moving much again after 15 mins. The Captain told us we were #15 in line for take off so it might be another 30 minutes. We left at least 45 mins late. We just couldn't wait to be in Tampa and then go home.

Our flight landed in Tampa around 30mins late. At least we were very near home! The Tampa airport is our favorite, and it's the favorite among other people I know who have been in airports all around the world. It's just that the Tampa airport is well structured, nicely taken care of, never overcrowded, and easy to navigate. After collecting our bags and then waiting for my husband to go get our car where we parked it(nearby hotel), we went home. Although I made us stop for drive thru at Checkers(fast food burger place here) because I really wanted a burger after not having one for weeks. That was not fast. They gave us the wrong order and it took them 10 minutes just to give us the wrong order, then we had to turn around and get the right one, so the fast food stop was a 20min thing. But eventually, we got home! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane

Today is the day we leave. I will be glad to be back in my own house but it is sad to say bye!

I still have a cold and feel run down. I'm praying for endurance for the trip home! We leave for the airport in am hour and a half. Our flight is at 11:40pm India time, 1:10pm EST wednesday. We fly straight to NJ and don't arrive until 5:15am EST Thursday. 16 hour flight. Then we fly to Tampa around 9:30am, arriving by 12:40pm if everthing stays on schedule. I hope we are home by 2:30pm. Then we will collapse into bed!

I will write after we are home at some point. I will share more stories too. :)
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Monday, March 7, 2011


Here is the henna process and results! I think the henna is like an accessory. It's done at wedding times here. Getting it done means you are getting married or you are attending a wedding of a close family member. Me, my niece, and the bride were the only ones who got it done. I was surprised that the people who came to do it were two young guys.

You do need to be an artist, for sure! The bride got it up to her elbows and on her feet. It was a really grueling process for her. It took over 2 hours for hers to be applied followed by 2 hours of not touching anything. you can see how the design darkened over 2 days.

Mibe took about 35mins to apply. Mine was only $2 while the bride's was $50. I'm awake and still laying in bed here while Kavi sleeps. I think I have a cold now. :( I don't feel totally well.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7