The Happiness Equation – Part 2

I finished The Happiness Equation a few weeks ago so this is somewhat of a late post, but man that book is pretty awesome!! I highly recommend it.

It really gets you thinking about things like what happiness really means, are you spending your money where you should be? Are you using your time wisely? etc. These obviously seem like normal questions in which most people would typically answer quickly without putting much thought to it, but Neil uses charts and diagrams to make the reader truly think about what he’s asked and at that point you realize that these are not simple questions but rather questions for you to think about for a few hours or even a few days until you come to a definite conclusion strong enough to change your life!

So, can you guys believe June is almost over! Where has the time gone?! The weather is warming up and we’re getting some amazing sunshine days in Vancouver which makes me happy. Being stuck indoors during work hours isn’t so bad when you get to go for a walk during lunch time around False Creek – can’t complain 🙂

Until next time….

The Happiness Equation

Hi everyone! Can’t believe this month is almost over. It’s crazy to think that half the year has flew by already!

I started reading a book called The Happiness Equation today. I’ve listened to Neil Pasricha’s interview’s and his TED talk on being awesome and happy and if you haven’t already I highly recommend you watch the Three A’s of awesome, the information he presents is so interesting and plus, who doesn’t want to be happy!? This interest led me to pick up The Happiness Equation at Chapters and I started reading there. Now normally I wouldn’t really have thought to pick the book up let alone read it and get so interested in a bookstore that I had to purchase it!

The start of the book is pretty captivating. He gives ideas, equations, thoughts and examples as to what does happiness really mean? What does it mean to us today? What did it mean to humans hundreds of years ago? He asks questions that are thought provoking and intriguing, ones that make you think about your own happiness.

I’m only on the first chapter so far called Want Nothing, Secret #1 and just thought I’d write a short post about my thoughts on the book.  Now back to reading 🙂

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts about it? Comment below, I’ve love to hear!

Spinach + Pear + Banana Smoothie

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Green smoothies are a great way to get spinach and kale in your body! And the good thing is they’re so versatile – you can virtually add any fruit along with spinach/kale and get all the daily nutrients. I posted another green smoothie recipe awhile back here and if you haven’t had a chance to try it out, I highly suggest you do!

Today’s smoothie is a quick and healthy smoothie recipe. The one thing I love about making smoothies is that I don’t have to worry about making sure my measurements are accurate unlike baking… Over here, when I say 2 cups of spinach – I really mean like, 2 cups + a handful more! Smoothies are all about experimenting with your tastebuds to see which flavours you like best.

So go ahead and get blending!

Don’t forget to comment below letting me know your thoughts about this smoothie 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cups orange juice, fresh (feel free to swap orange juice for a juice you prefer or even milk)
1/4 cup coconut water
2 cups spinach
1 cup kale
1 banana
1 pear
1 tsp chia/buckwheat/hemp mix
1 tsp honey

Directions:

Blend orange juice, coconut water, spinach and kale until all are mixed together.
Add the banana, pear, chia/buckwheat/hemp and honey and blend on high speed for 60 seconds.

Spinach Pear and Banana Smoothie

Spinach Pear and Banana Smoothie

Book Review: The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami

Published: 2000
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Rating: 4.5/5

“Stretch your legs only as far as your cot goes”

Ever read a book and feel like you just want to finish it in one day? Well, that’s exactly how I felt about The Hero’s Walk. It’s a great quick and easy read displaying how life is really too short to hold grudges!

The Hero’s Walk is about a Bhramin man, Sripathi Rao who is fifty-seven years old, father of two children (Maya and Arun) and a copywriter from Toturpuram. He’s married to Nirmala who is a self-less and understanding housewife but forced to listen to her husband and mother-in-law’s opinions. Sripathi, Nirmala and Arun live with Sripathi’s mother, Ammayya who is a controlling and superstitious woman. They all also live with Sripathi’s sister, Putti – a single forty-two year old woman who can’t seem to find the right man for herself because of her mother’s superstitions, until she meets Gopala – the milkman. Ammayya doesn’t trust any of her kids to make their own decisions and everything they do must first have her input before they take a step.

“Such was the power of death – to strip away breath and transform a person into an airy abstraction”

TheHerosWalk

Sripathi is a hardworking copywriter, who failed to become a doctor which his mother had dreamt he would become once he got older. The novel begins with a phone call from Dr. Sunderraj in Vancouver advising Sripathi of his daughter’s death. Maya and her father did not have a good relationship after her choice to marry a Caucasian guy in Vancouver. After her death, Sripathi who is the legal guardian to Nandana, Maya’s daughter, brings her to India to live with them as there is no one to take care of her in Canada. What unravels from there is another twist to the story. Nandana refuses to speak a word to anyone there especially Sripathi as she constantly feels she’s going to go back home to Vancouver soon. The interchanging storylines from Nandana and her relationship with her grandfather, Putti’s marriage proposals, Nirmala’s feelings and Ammayya’s strong views all keep the reader constantly engaged with all the twists and turns in the plot.

The book is a reflection of common situations that traditional Indian families experience.
Badami has done an amazing job describing each character’s thoughts, feelings and actions using poetic terms and phrases. She really brings the character’s to life making the reader feel a part of the story. There is something to learn for all ages. I can’t think of one negative thing about the book however, due to some inappropriate and mature content I would be uncomfortable recommending it to a certain audience.

“But people were like trees, they grew and changed, put out new leaves that you forgot to count, and when you weren’t watching, they even died”

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts about it? Comment below!

Tumeric Tea and Masala Chai Teabag – Review

TumericTea

I finalllly found my FAVOURITE Tumeric teabag. Hoo-rayyyy!
This teabag is amazing but of course it doesn’t come as close to the real deal of lemon, tumeric and ginger mixed in hot water, but does the job for when you’re out and about and in need of a little detox.

I was at London Drugs the other day and was looking for a new tea to try and came across this one. I’m sure they’ve been selling this brand there for awhile but I just happened to see it recently and I’m hooked so thought I would share with all you wonderful people!

I bought both Rishi’s Tumeric Tea and the Masala Chai to try. I enjoyed the Tumeric one very much however, the Masala Chai didn’t please my tastebuds as much as I had hoped. The Tumeric one tastes almost similar to the real deal – there’s a mild tumeric/ginger flavour along with a hint of lemon aftertaste. It also has a natural sweet flavour. The teabag only needs to be steeped for approximately 5 minutes and the flavour will start to come through. The good thing is it doesn’t stain teeth – how awesome is that! It’s definitely a unique blend of flavours mixing organic ingredients that are good for the health.RishisTumericTeaAs for the Masala Chai I wasn’t too fond of this one as the flavour of the tea was too strong and I couldn’t taste any of the spices. I drink chai every morning for breakfast (normal routine for most Indians) and thought I could substitute the traditional way of boiling the water and adding loose leaf tea with a teabag to save time in the morning before work, but it seems I’m just going to have to stick to my normal routine. There really is nothing like Indian chai fresh off the stove!
This Masala Chai teabag didn’t have the rich flavour that I was expecting and turned out be super bland. The packaging suggests the tea can be prepared with milk and sugar like the traditional way or it can be brewed straight. I tried it with milk and sugar which helped to subside the strong black tea flavour but I still didn’t taste any of the spices which was disappointing as the spices are key ingredients which add a lot of flavour to chai.

RishisMasalaChai

All in all, I was just happy I found a teabag that I can take with me wherever I go and did I mention amazing packaging! The bright colours really caught my eye in store. I’m looking forward to trying other flavours from Rishi.

Comment below if you have tried this tea brand and your thoughts/opinions about the flavours.

 

TumericTea1

*This post is not sponsored by any brand or company. All opinions are my own.*

My Creative Process

Ever wonder what really goes on behind the scenes of a blog post?
Before I started this blog, I researched a lot. Read other blogs about how to start one, how to be successful in the blogosphere and what tools and resources are necessary for me to continue writing and motivate myself and others so I don’t become part of the millions of abandoned blogs out there. Now, of course what I read about others and what worked for them didn’t always work for me so as a result I came up with my own process.

Today I’m going to be sharing with you guys my own creative process for each blog post. It may seem simple right? Think of an idea, take a picture, write up some words and publish. However, each of those steps requires more detailed steps to ensure that the post that is published is interesting to the reader. I’m an organized individual and those that know me might even say I’m a little OCD, but in these areas it’s imperative to be organized because if you’re not the amount of tools and resources available can be overwhelming.

mycreativeprocess

1. Brainstorm
This is the most important part of my process because it allows me to throw ideas around on a piece of paper. I will write down everything that comes to mind and then slowly start crossing topics off that I don’t want to write about just yet.
I then narrow it down to one large topic and then further brainstorm ideas under the large topic until I come to a topic that I want to write about. The following is an example of how I narrow a large topic further (keep in mind this is just a quick example without all the colourful pens and scribbling that normally go into this process).

Example:
Random Ideas: Recipes, Travel, Organization, Food, Lifestyle, Fashion, Jeans, Pens
Chosen Topic: Recipes: Food, Baking, Kitchen utensils, Indian, Mexican, Italian
Blog Topic: Baking
Baking Recipes: Muffins
Narrow it down further (what type of muffins?): Blueberry, Blueberry and Lemon, Raspberry, Orange
Published Post: Blueberry Muffins

2. Prioritize
There are so many ideas and posts that I want to write about but blogging takes a lot of time and effort and it’s not efficient to write about each topic that comes to mind right away, otherwise I’ll quickly run out of ideas! It’s important to schedule posts so readers will want to come back to the blog periodically.
For me, each post takes approximately 2-3 hours and if it’s a recipe it can take even longer as I have to make the food item as well as take pictures and write about it.
To help me prioritize my posts, I use the Day Designer as it allows me to see what I have planned for the week and how much time I will require to write the post.

3. Graphics
Pictures are a very important part of every post. You wouldn’t want to scroll through a blog or a website without any picture as constant text can be straining on the eye and graphics are a good way to break up text.
The pictures you see on my blog are all taken by me and edited using PicMonkey (check them out, they got some amazing graphics).
Also, for the first time today, I used a stock photo from itspinkpot (check her out for amazing photography tips for bloggers).

4. Publish and Share
Last but not least, I write out the blog post, add the graphics and share them on social media (Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest – if you don’t follow me on any of these, what are you waiting for!?).

And, there you have it! This is generally my process for each post. I might alter it here and there depending on the topic of course but it’s important to stay organized and prioritize in order to post regularly and ensure substance to each blog post.

Do you have a process that works for you? Comment below!

*This post is not sponsored by any particular company.*

Simplified Planner vs. Day Designer

 

SPvsDD2

Finding the right planner to use is an important decision. This is one planner that you will use the entire year so it’s important to find one that you like not only on the inside but on the outside as well! Pretty designs make all the more reason for you to want to organize and prioritize your day, week, month and even year well in advance!

I’ve always loved to write things down. I still remember my very first agenda from elementary school. I’ve kept an entire collection of all of my agenda’s as it’s always interesting to reflect back from time to time to see the type of things I did in the previous year. It’s also very interesting to note how handwriting changes from year to year as well! My writing in elementary was somewhat neat and so big and then gradually changed to being so small in high school and now I just abbreviate left, right and centre!

Last year, I chose to go with the Simplified Planner as I have been following Emily Ley on Instagram for quite some time now and love the simplicity of her products. This year, I wanted to try something different and read a lot about the Day Designer and thought I’d give it a go and I love it as well! Couldn’t be happier with my choice.
Today I’ll be sharing with you a pros/cons list for the Simplified Planner vs. Day Designer. Both planners are of course very similar in some ways as they both have heavy duty cardboard covers, gold corner protectors and similar coloured coils to bind the planner together. They also each include monthly tabs for each month.

So here it is!

2015 Simplified Planner ($58 USD) – Daily Version: Happy Stripe

SPfront
Pros:
– Truly is simplified! Lots of blank space for you to write what matters to you the most but also a reminder to leave some parts of your day blank for important things like yoga/exercise/meditation
– Beautiful bright and bold coloured tabs, very durable as well
– Quick shipping, mine arrived within a week and a half of ordering (Keep in mind I got it shipped to Canada)
– Comes with a beautiful gold elastic band to wrap the planner
– 2015 bucket list
– Each page features two lines from 7am to 7pm
– Front pocket on the inside of the cover
– Inspirational quotes on each day
– Thick, bright white paper

Cons:
– Size doesn’t allow you to carry it around in a purse
– Heavy/Bulky
– Difficult to keep opening and closing on an everyday basis because of the coils
– Weekend boxes are small and not broken down on an hourly basis (generally people have more things to do on weekends than weekdays so its hard to jot everything down in one small box)

SPtabs

2016 Day Designer ($59USD) – Daily Version – Limited Edition: Kayce Hughes Floral

DDfront
Pros:
– The front of the planner has worksheets to help a business owner define their goals and help with their brand
– Durable gold coloured monthly tabs
– Weekdays including weekends are on an hourly basis from 5am to 9pm
– Lots of room to write personal items such as “Today’s Top Three,” area to write things that are due, things not to forget and dinner ideas
– Bottom of each day has a notes section and a daily gratitude area to jot down things that make you happy and to show appreciation
– Inspirational quotes on each day
– Front pocket on the inside of the cover

Cons:
– Size doesn’t allow you to carry it around in a purse (it’s wider than the Simplified Planner)
– Thin paper
– Off white paper, not pure white
– Heavy/Bulky
– Difficult to keep opening and closing on an everyday basis because of the coils

DDtabs

All in all, both planners are wonderful! They both are very similar yet different in their own way. I love the simplicity of Emily Ley’s planner but also like the organized space to write down important tasks in the Day Designer. I would say the Simplified Planner is more so for a student or working person while the Day Designer is made for the “creative entrepreneur.”

SPvsDD

Do you have one of these planners? If so, which do you like and why?

*This post is not sponsored by either Emily Ley or Whitney English. All opinions are my own.*

The Day Designer

thedaydesigner

I finally received my planner – woohoo! Now, I can’t wait for January to roll around so I can start using it.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have already seen this picture. I couldn’t wait to open the package as soon as it arrived! And, of course I didn’t want to ruin any part of the packaging – it was so perfectly packed in a cute pink box with pink tissue paper.
Last year, I purchased the Simplifed Planner by Emily Ley – a super simple and super colourful planner! And I really jotted down every single thing that needed to be done on a daily basis. This time I decided to go with the Day Designer from Whitney English. I’ve been following the Day Designer on Instagram for quite some time now and I liked the different cover designs she has. I purchased this very colourful and bright one which was a limited edition through Kaycee Hughes (by the way, Kaycee Hughes has amazing customer service!). I ordered it back in September and I just received the planner yesterday – the wait is finally over!

I’ll be doing a pros/cons list of both planners on the blog here soon, so keep an eye on this space! If you’re looking for a planner I highly suggest you do your research first of the ones out there and then purchase the one that meets your needs.

I just couldn’t hold in the excitement and thought I’d share!
Hope you all are having a wonderful week so far 🙂

Do you keep a planner with you? If so, which is your favourite one and why? Comment below.

HAPPY DIWALI!

Happy_Diwali1

Today’s post is about Diwali – the Festival of Lights. Whether you observe or celebrate this festival or not, I am sure you have at least heard lots about it as there is literally something for everyone. The festival itself stretches across different cultures and religions and consists of detailed long puja’s for the religious enthusiast to the night long food and dance parties for the younger crowd to the fine and detailed rangoli drawings for the creative and patient ones right to the loud noises of the firecrackers for the little ones!

It will give a brief overview of what Diwali is and its significance and how it’s celebrated. Even though its the end of the year, this time is always my favourite as there’s so much going on from puja’s and family celebrations to lots of delicious food along with just a fun-filled atmosphere all around!

I’ve also included three graphics for you to save and use throughout this post. Feel free to send them to your family and friends along with a special message during this time of the year.

 

Happy_Diwali2

 

What is Diwali and who celebrates this festival?
Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word Deepawali which means ‘row of lights and is therefore, called the festival of lights. It’s celebrated between mid-October to November and lasts for 5 days. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs around the world. For Hindus, Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil, for Jains it signifies the attainment of liberation (ie. Moksha) and for Sikhs it signifies freedom.

How long is this festival celebrated for?
Diwali is a 5 day festival and each day is significant for a particular reason.
Day 1: Dhanteras – Marks the official start to Diwali and is a day associated with wealth and prosperity.
Day 2: Kaalichaudus – On this day, prayers are conducted to ward off evil spirits.
Day 3: DiwaliThe festival of lights. On this day, Lord Rama returned from exile following his victory against King Ravan (demon). This day is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh and lighting diya’s at home.
Day 4: Govardhan Puja and New Year – Also, known as Bestu Varas in Gujarat, this day signifies the defeat of Indra by Lord Krishna. On this day, one calls all their family members and friends to wish them a Happy and Prosperous New Year or ‘Saal Mubarak.’
Day 5: Bhai Beej – Also known as ‘Sisters Day’ which celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, brothers visit their sisters and the sisters will have prepared delicious and favourite dishes that their brothers prefer to eat and wish them a long, happy and healthy life.

How is Diwali celebrated?
To celebrate this fun filled festival, families clean and decorate their homes with lights, candles, and diyas. Decorations also include rangolis and torans. In the evenings, families get together to eat delicious food and sweets and fireworks are often displayed.

 

Happy_Diwali3

I wish you and your family a very Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year!

I also made some Diwali cards this year – which do you like? Comment below.

Diwali_Greetings

Diwali_Greetings1

The best Vegetarian Chilli

The best vegetarian chilli

It’s the season to be comfy, cozy and warm! And today I’m going to share with you my favourite fall recipe – Chilli. I don’t know about you but I sure have been enjoying the pumpkin spice lattes and all sorts of yummy fall baked goods (I feel I only really have like maybe another month and a half to enjoy it until winter rolls around and it’s…peppermint mocha time – woohoo!!). Fall wasn’t ever a season that I would actually look forward to but, this year for some reason I was… maybe it’s the pumpkin spice that I’ve been waiting for or the awesome fall decorative pieces that Pier 1 carries (oh how I love shopping there). Anyhow, I love summer and the heat that it brings so the cold associated with the fall/winter season’s just makes me really sad…however, this year it’s my goal to embrace fall..and by that I mean well just drink more lattes, ha! So…another PSL anyone? I digress.

So back to Chilli. Yuuuumy! I can never eat chilli when I’m out as most of them are non-vegetarian. So, I make my own at home which is equally delicious. This recipe calls for a lot of ingredients but don’t just glance over the ingredient list and shy away. As you look through it, you’ll notice most if not all of them are in your kitchen pantry. Chilli is not only easy to make but it’s also a great way to use the food that’s in your cupboard. I prefer my chilli to be a bit soupy so I can dip bread in but, of course if you like your’s thick then just simmer the ingredients for a little longer.

Feel free to pair the chilli with some warm bread (I prefer sourdough) lightly toasted with butter (mmmmhmmm) or top it off with your favorite tortilla chips and cheddar cheese!!

The only advice I can suggest is to make sure you have a big pot before you start because once you start you don’t want to keep transferring the food from one pot to another. Also, read through the ingredient list before you start. If you don’t have something don’t worry about it – use what you have and I’m sure it will taste equally delish! I’ve tested this recipe plenty of times to make sure that it is perfect and I promise you once you make this it will be your favourite fall comfort food as well!

Ingredients:

3 tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, minced
1 3/4 cups (425 mL) onions, diced
1 cup (250 mL) celery, diced
1 cup (250 mL) carrots, diced
1 cup (250 mL) orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
1 cup red potatoes, peeled and cut in 1- inch cubes
2 tsp (10 mL) sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
5 tbsp Old El Paso Chili mix
2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) nutmeg powder
2 tsp (10 mL) cumin
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
1 – 341 mL can whole kernel corn
1 – 19 oz (540 mL) can of Fava Bean and Chick Pea mix
1 – 19 oz (540 mL) can of Red Kidney beans
1 – 19 oz (540 mL) can of Black Kidney beans
4 cups (1000 mL) water
1 – 28 oz (796 mL) can crushed tomatoes
3 small bay leaves
5 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

1. In a large pot on medium heat, add oil, garlic, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, salt, black pepper, Chili mix, chili powder, nutmeg powder, cumin, cinnamon and crushed red pepper flakes.

2. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are softened.

3. Rinse the corn and lentils and add to pot with water, crushed tomatoes and bay leaves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir in maple syrup and lime juice.

6. Serve with bread or tortilla chips and enjoy!

vegetarian chilli

*This post is not sponsored by any particular company.*