July 29, 2014

Cape Disappointment and Long Beach

If you are driving through the olympic peninsula area (in Washington State), do pay a visit to Cape Disappointment State Park. Cape Disappointment has some stunning views from the bluffs over the Pacific Ocean.

It was in the year 2008, we woke up one weekend and searched on google and decided to drive towards Long Beach and Cape Disappointment.  We had just moved into Washington state then and were very eager to explore around. After all we are "Evergreen state".

Unfortunately, on our visit, both lighthouses and the Lewis and Clark interpretive center were closed. Well, that was the only "disappointment" - pun intended. :)

There are a few trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some trails were paved, others looked more primitive, but all passable. Nonetheless, we just took the trail that takes you up to the lighthouse just to enjoy some panoramic views. Notable thing here is that the Columbia River meet the Pacific Ocean.

The beaches seemed to be outstanding, and if you have good weather, you can station yourself there all day with a good book. Well, that pretty much was the scene the day we went. So we specifically did not spend much time at the beach since it was jam packed. I can't remember why it was crowded that day except for the fact that it was an extremely good day (bright and sunny perfect for beach bums).

If you take a closer look of this pic you will see the crowded beach at the bottom of the hill.

We caught a glimpse of sea lions and some birds but did not spot any other wildlife although many people claim to have seen deer, orcas and other animals.

So, if we neither walked much on trails nor we were at the beach then where did we spend our memorable time? Well, midway to the Lighthouse, there was this hidden beach that we were able to see from up top but there was no trail/path/ladder to go down. We decided to crawl/slide/slip down the lose sand and enjoy the view/beach.

The place was private and not a soul (except for us). We had a great time sitting on the driftwood and caught a glimpse of the passing ships/boat. The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.

Afterwhich we started our way back home and stopped briefly at Long Beach, played some frisbee and enjoyed the sunset. It was a bit chilly by then.

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July 28, 2014

In and Around Pikes Place Seattle

Pike Place Seattle

Whether you come here to get your brawny coffee from the "First Starbucks" ever established

Or, you walk the Public Market Center (Farmers market) to hand pick the freshest of sea critters or just watch the flying fish in action

Or to get a sneak peak of the mighty Mount Rainier

Or watch the Seattles London Eye (Ferris Wheel) spinning in circles

Or drown in the water view looking at the sails sailing away

Or just bring a friend to relax and enjoy the grass

 Or just watch kids having fun.

Whatever you come to seek this place won't disappoint you from having fun.
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July 26, 2014

Saturday Photo Hunt - Wet

Whitewater rafting is one of those sports where you are going to be wet from about the time you get on the river until the time you get off.

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.

There is nothing like little sprinkles of water after a long tiring hike in the woods.

My favorite place to vacation is anyplace by the ocean.

Keep your head above the water.

This post is an entry for the Saturday PhotoHunt. Theme WET. Click here if you want to participate or check out posts from other talented participants.

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Fragrance From Subconscious Mind

It’s a fine Sunday morning. Seems like my dreamy eyes don’t want to wake up but the aroma of fresh coffee is slowly caffeinating my senses. Stretching my arms while in bed, yawing in the moment I scream “Amma (Mom) is my Bru coffee ready?”
Amma: You woke up early, get some more sleep if you want. You have a long day ahead.
Me: Where is Appa (Dad)?
Amma: He has already set out today to run some errands. He won’t be home until lunch.
Me:  I smell fresh coffee, is it brewing?
Amma: Yes, making a fresh batch just for you.
Me: (hugging her) Thank you Amma. You make the best coffee. I wish I could take you with me   :)
Amma: (while I am hugging her even more tightly) ok, just brush your teeth will you?

As I finish sipping my last drop of coffee whilst enjoying some good read from Times of India in our balcony I see my mom with a glass of water chanting some mantras walking towards me (into the balcony). She stood by me to water the Tulsi plant (Sacred plant from the family of Basil). A gentle breeze just passes under my nose injecting the sweet, smooth smell of lavender.
Me: Amma, I was going to skip my shower today but you got me all into it or can I just rub myself onto you so that I can smell like lavender too.
Amma: I know Sunday is a holiday, but not for showering. So get yourself drenched and yes, you can use my Yardley Lavender Talc after.
Me: (sniffing her neck) Thanks Ma, you are a breath of fresh air. This smell is so relaxing. I wish I could take you with me  :)
Ma smiles at me, caresses her hand over my head and walks inside.

I step out of the bathroom and I hear our pooja room ki ghanti (prayer room bells) and I see a thin mist floating around. I take a peek into the Pooja room and see my mom completely focused in her prayers. The incenses were burning with the amber glow at the top spreading in the air the mystical godly fragrance.
Amma: Come and say your prayers too and get your blessings from the almighty.
Me: (Unprepared for the situation, I just walked in and sat beside her with my hands joined) Ma, can you sing the Aarthi (devotional song)?
Amma: Let’s sing together in chorus.
wasn't in the mood, but thanks to the smell of incenses that brought out the sanctity in me
Chorus Singing….
Me: Amma, this Cycle brand’s sandalwood agarbatti’s (incenses) give out such a divine smell. Wish I could take all this with me :)
Ma smiles at me, caresses her hand over my head and walks out of the Pooja room (prayer room) hiding her face. I could see a little drop of tear in the corner of her eye.

She stops and turns around to say something -
Amma: I am making your favorite for lunch today - Vegetable Pulao (Rice Pilaf cooked with assorted vegetable in a blend of whole spices with the dominating smell of cinnamon).
Me: Ah, Amma, you know exactly what can make this Sunday very special :)
Amma: But it’s going to be at least an hour until I am done with cooking. Why don’t you take out the suitcases and start some packing.
Me: (in a sad reluctant tone) Ok, I will.

Just as predicted in an hours’ time I could get a whiff of the aromatic spices especially of the cinnamon in its final prep form that’s incorporated in the Pilaf. It was whetting my appetite. I ran to my mom hugged her in a jiffy from behind.
Me: (sobbing with convulsive gasps) I wish I could take you with me :(.
Amma: (turns around holds me in her arms unveiling her tears) I know you will fly away to a distant land far-far away but you can always connect with your memories using the power of smell that you can store in your subconscious mind.

Just then the doorbell rings. Amma wipes her tears and goes to open the door.
Amma: Your Mehndi (Henna) artist is here, get ready.
The doorbell didn’t stop ringing…. Soon the whole house was filled with family and friends.
In no time the energizing smell of eucalyptus (that was mixed with the henna) was circulating the house which helped relieving the stress in the atmosphere.

I bet you guessed by now that I was describing a scene from the last few days before I was going to be married. I weaved a memoir with all the distinctive fragrance from that day and registered them in my subliminal thoughts to reminiscence these beautiful moments in the years to come.

It’s been over 10 years now that I don’t get to enjoy my Sunday specials that way. Life moves on but the memories from my subconscious mind flashes before my eyes when a similar fragrance smears the air. These are my most treasured fragrances that I seek every day to bring back those moments alive and here are some of the places that have helped me try to conjure my memories of this specific period of my life even today here miles away.

When I walk the cobbled stone streets of Pikes Place Market (Seattle Washington - The genesis of Starbucks), the strong brawny smell of coffee from Starbucks invigorates my senses reminding me of my ma’s filter coffee days.

When I shielded myself in the scent of lavender during Lavender fest season (Sequim, Washington) it brings me closer to my (omnipresent) Ma .

When I visit the Hindu temple where I stand still in the serenity and sanctity of the smell of Sandalwood paste that they use to welcome devotees. 

When the holiday season (Nov-Dec) dawns upon here, the entire city seems to get influenced under the woody smell of cinnamon. Cinnamon based drinks, baked treats, scented candles…..It’s everywhere  – Malls, shops, neighbor’s house.

When I tread the mall, I am automatically drawn towards Yankee Candles showroom wherein I go to buy my candles especially the one that has the Eucalyptus scent.
When it’s rainy or too cold outside  I cozy up myself in the favorite corner of my home where these candles burn down to throwback my wedding memories.

There are times when I don't have to walk the lanes of Pikes Place Market or visit the local temple or be amidst the Lavender farm or wait the holiday season or loiter around the mall in order to smell those distinctive aromas that sped me back in time. A walk along the sea side whilst taking in the cool, fresh smell of the ocean that wafts the air, is good enough to transport myself back in time to the very same place and among my beloved people.

Contributing this post towards #InspireAFragrance via IndiBlogger sponsored by Godrej aer

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July 22, 2014

The Bright Side Of Black

If you ask a five year old, black and white is not a color that they would agree to be even called as color. Of course I would want a 5 year old to work with eminent colors than just black. While their world is more rocking with bright vivid colors, for an adult psychology the color black has to do a little more than that.

Culturally I have been fed this thought that the color Black takes away all the fun because of the eeriness it develops. Despite that IMHO I feel that, as much eerie as the color black is being portrayed (in some culture), it is also an authoritative color. Even though I am scared of my dark black shadow or a dark black room or just the black night skies, some things are more adorned when it's black, don't you agree?   Let me tell you about just 5 of the top things that I love to have in Black.

Black Silky Tresses - Call it mid life crisis or hereditary whatever it is, my yearning for jet black silky tresses has topped my list due to the multiplying grey shade. Some say it's wisdom I say signs of aging. I know it's an era of dying it to whichever color you want, but you will only be able to understand my plight if you have to dye it every 15 days treating it with so many chemicals. What a boon it would be to have this fortifying black tresse! Thinking about all the flaunting I could do being a hair model swinging my hair in slow motion and untying  it for a Pantene commercial :)

Black Long Garment - Hello my ladies friends! you know what I mean. Every women should/must have that "perfect" black dress in her wardrobe. I am sure many of us already do have a black dress, but mine is too far from being called "perfect".  By perfect I mean how poised, unattainable, sensual I would look walking into a red carpet event that night in my backless, sleeveless long Versace gown of mine with well fitted velvet black gloves raising upto my arms. Nothing can charm a man when a women walks in with a mysterious aura in black.

Black Equestrian Pet  - In a world where most people think of cats and dogs as pet I value an equestrian as a companion. Ever since I watched the movie Black Beauty (adaptation from Anna Sewell's Novel), I have gone head over heels for a galloping friend like him. What a wondrous journey  it would be forming the special bond from a pony to a colt to being a stallion. Thinking about all the adventurous journey on the hills, charging through the beaches and growing up as a buckaroo (cowgirl) :)

Black Rock - Ok, not literally a rock, it's the diamond that I am referring to. What women doesn't like jewelry? While diamonds in general are womens best friend, a black diamond is that special best friend. I already am a collector of jewels with precious stones , So, doesn't that justify enough to have this black diamond added into my treasure. Just the feeling of uniqueness when everyone else around me will be flashing their white diamonds, I will have the advantage of showing this precious contrasting colored stone from Zales. 

Black Ride - Well, it's not just any black ride that I will fall for. It has to be the one that has the characteristic three pointed stars as trademark (Mercedes). I once rented a Mercedes Convertible in one of my road trips in europe and fell in love with it instantly. I was swarmed by people asking me all sorts of questions about the car (I loved getting the attention). Let me be honest, to me, it's not all about the well crafted cars with quality engines and stuff. It's mostly about the swagger. Imagining a trendy portfolio photoshoot of my Mercedes black flawless glossy body. Oh la la!

Black is often seen as a symbolism for affluence, power, elegance, sophistication, and confidence.  With that said, now I am dreaming that I am on a beach walking with my power packed Black Stallion friend dressed in my elegant Black flowy gown, occasionally clearing my shiny jet black strands of hair from my face, when suddenly a sophisticated black Mercedes pulls over in front of me and my confident, handsome man dressed in a black tuxedo gets off of it and woos me with that affluent black diamond.

Ah, what a lucky girl I am!
*All images are from pinterest.com
This post is a part of WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com

This post is introduced now as a part of ABC Wednesday Challenge

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July 20, 2014

Hare And The Tortoise

It was a hot sunny evening when my husband and I decided to go together to pick up our son from his YMCA summer camp. We took our Honda Accord and I gladly let him drive while I sat in the passenger seat enjoying the ride. This is usually the case since I hate driving.

I was telling my husband that we should buy a nice Mercedes, may be an SUV, the next time we think about buying a new car (So much for hating driving). Talking about car's is one of his favourite subject but talking about buying one isn't always though. You know the saga ladies.

We stopped at the traffic light after picking up our son. And what do I see in front of me - it was a black SUV Mercedes (almost like a sign - Aaaaaah). And right next to me on the adjacent lane was a man in a grey Audi convertible of course topless (not the man, but the car, he was good looking though).

Of course no one was watching the Mercedes, all eyes were on the Audi and the man in there knew he had to flaunt and he also knew how to flaunt. He revved up his engine as he was waiting for the traffic light to change (don't know whose attention he was trying to catch especially when everyone was already looking and drooling over his car) . The second time he revved up, to my dismay my husband reciprocated to his roaring engines by revving up our meek Honda Accord.

Me:     "What are you doing?"
Husband: "Getting ready for a race".
Me: "What the hell, we stand no chance he would just fly by and why are you inviting trouble. We are family people and this doesn't even suit our car"
Husband: "Keep Calm and Let it go on! "

It was almost understood that there is going to be a fast and furious scene here. The Audi guy got his cue and he gave that look - "I know how this is going to end, why don't you save yourself from the embarrassment".....

Me: "I don't like this one bit, if I see you break the road rule, I will call the cops on you"
Husband: "Dekhna hum hi jitenge" (Take my word we will win)...."

Just then the traffic light turned green and there we go................I just covered my face not ready to face this!

Son: clap! clap! clap!....yay....papa wins!

I opened my eyes and asked - what, how?
Husband: No matter how fast your car can go, eventually you are only as fast as the car right in front of you.

Turns out the car that was ahead of the Audi was some old trashy one which had tough time taking the incline. All this while someone was being smarty pants and had contemplated this move.

The tortoise wins again but not because of its slow and steadyness but being smart and shrewd.

PS: Please do not take our experience and try to make it your experience. The results may vary. Drive Safe, because we care.
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July 18, 2014

Blog Friends

I never really gave a thought over the fact that one could attract new friendships via the blogging world. Most people with whom I have developed this budding relationship are also fellow bloggers who are passionate in one or the other field that we share common interest with.

These are people whom you have never met before and unsure about the chances of ever actually meeting them in person in future. Yet, you start to develop this admiration for the work they do and eventually out of your imagination we try to personify the brain behind their incredible work via their blogs.

Here are my most cherished relationships from blog world -
Ruchi Chopra behind her blog http://ruchi2312.wordpress.com/
Ruchi is very passionate about her writes. She has been a journalist by profession and you can almost see that journalistic way of writing in all her articles. Her thoughts are dense and hence she is very articulate. She even sometimes comes with her very own cartoon strips which I feel adds value to her writes. She is a freelance writer too and recently she wrote a documentary dialogue for an upcoming wood company in calcutta. Her father's (R.I.P) blessing has helped her emotions flow, many a times even through poems. Lately she has been inspiring me with her rendezvous with nature that she has everyday in her walks :)

Saru Singhal behind her blog http://www.sarusinghal.com/
Saru's writings touched my heart at the very first read that I stumbled upon while blog hopping. Her writings are simple yet intense. Her 4 year old blog has collected noteworthy accolades. With her articles, poetry and her thought provoking quotes  from her heart I must say her writings has some pizzaz.  I had the joy of speaking to her over phone and let me tell you it didn't feel like we were new to each other. It was more like 2 best friends catching up after years of separation.  BTW, I am a permanent member in her fan club.

Anuradha Verma behind her blog http://mydreamcanvas.blogspot.com/
Unlike Ruchi and Saru, Anuradha's work and passion is towards home decor. Many of you know how much I am rooted when it comes to decor. Her blog posts are like a everyday dose of happiness to me.
I serendipitously stumbled upon her blog and instantly fell for it. The photographs on her website/FB page are extremely colorful and inviting. I recently had the pleasure of inviting her to my place when I came to know she actually lives in the same city as I do :). You know she has the best treasures in her house and some day I am going to invite myself to her place for some treasure hunt :)

Thanks for my first ever succulent plant Anu. I love it and it's in a perfect spot :)

In the blogging world people consider these contacts as part of networking (or you can call friends with benefit) that sustains ONLY on the quid-pro-quo basis. But what I learnt was there is also room for something much more worthier than just cultivating a relationship for the sake of networking. You never know who you will come in contact with and they could just go from your reader/reviewer to be a real friend.

Enjoying this virtual reality :)

This post is introduced now as a part of ABC Wednesday Challenge
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July 14, 2014

Feeling Hot Hot Hot......

The best Spring and Summer days that Seattle has seen this year I would say although the raising heat can be a bit of a bummer.

It gets so bright over here that it's hard to drive around or walk outside without sunglasses. While loads of sunscreen, sunglasses and hat can protect your skin,  eyes and keep you from getting a headache, water helps you to keep yourself hydrated and refrain from sunstroke.

At home this is what I have been sipping into for the past week. Chilled Green Tea during the morning and Salty-Spicy Lassi for evenings and night. Of course healthy eating too.

I use Bigelow Green Tea with some Lemon rinds and ginger while boiling. Slice up some Lime add it to the bottom of the jug and refrigerate it. Add some ice cubes when you ever you feel thirsty.

Whip all these in a blender and enjoy - buttermilk (store bought) with some green chilli, ginger, black salt, salt

After all the weight gain and eating disorder that I picked up during the summer vacation trip, these two drinks are helping me take control of my bloating and regulating my appetite.

I still need to start on my usual walk/jog to bring my weight back under control. Haven't had the courage to set out since its hot outside even during evenings. Sunscreen and Hat don't seem to have any effect on my skin anymore. Nonetheless I still won't complain about it. It's beautiful to see WA at its glory. I know I will get to my walking/jog routine soon because I LOVE my outdoor time. Helps me destress and gain back some sanity to the hard working mind and body.

Try these and let me know how it works for you, if it doesn't I think its time you look for the red straw that I have in my picture. Probably that's integral to this trick :)

Enjoy your summer days.

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July 13, 2014

C For California

San Diego (California)
If you directly come to this post, you may want to catch up on my prelude note here.

This is our 3rd time over all in California and 2nd time in San Diego.

Our 1st visit to California was in the year 2006. We visited Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara driving through 101. That trip would always be close to my heart because we found out we are pregnant soon after we came back from the trip. 

Our second visit to California was in the year 2012 to SFO. We drove from Seattle non stop (except for food and pits) which is approx 12hrs from our place. It was an exciting trip that we weaved up last minute and booked hotels online a night before and set out the next morning. We have always - always made only planned trips and it actually had much more to look forward to with all its surprises. This trip is also very close to my heart.

This trip made it special too with our lil guy sticking with us. We had planned the big day at Sea World just for him. Undoubtedly that ended up being the most favorite venue of this trip and Vegas apparently slipped to second spot. 

We drove from Vegas to San Diego which was approx 4.5 to 5 hrs but as usual it took us a little longer with a little traffic as we approached the LA bound highways. We drove through Vegas desserts from a whopping 118 Fahrenheit to 75 Fahrenheit in San Diego (evening). Here is a picture that we took from the car dashboard showing the outside temperature.

En route we found this funny road name. Looks like they ran out of names and resorted to just doubling up alphabets train from the rear end :)

Funny Name! Took Pic from my cell phone camera behind a dirty windshield

From 2006 to 2014 Sea World has changed quite a bit with new addition to rides, new food stalls, new attractions and of course the format of the Seal, Dolphin and Shamu Orca show. It was a hot day at San Diego, nonetheless a very productive, fun packed and eventually a tiring one. But what we took home back that day in my memory was priceless and no amount of pictures can express or replicate that.

We did not sit at the splash zone here because we were late for the show and sat at back most seat. everywhere else was taken :(

Almost reminded me of the temples in south of India when the priest sprays holy water around and everybody religiously bow down their neck to get a few sprinkled (except in this case totally drenched).

At the Dolphin Show my son was hell bent that he wanted to sit at the Splash Zone. Papa bear refused to get soaked so mumma bear agreed to part away with her camera and handed over the task to pappa bear. It was actually fun to be away from the camera and actually enjoy the show. Some Amazing shots by my hubby dear.

The Seal Show

They also have summer camps for kids which I found very interesting, wish I lived in San Diego.

Close encounter with a Dolphin friend.

Dad and Son took some rides

Kids enjoying water splash at the Atlantis ride (ride pic above)

View from gondola ride


We all know that San Diego is the place for sailboats, scuba divers, sea kayakers, snorkelers, wind surfers, wave surfers, paddle boaters and beach bummers.

The lovely terracotta roofed houses

The sandy beaches

The beautiful cliffs and alcoves

The fishy smell

The amphibian lifestyle

The italian style scooting (Vespa)

Exceptional viewpoints

It was exciting to see how humans and animals share the space amicably.

All the fun that we had

From flag to windmill to umbrella, the spirit of independence was explicit all around.

We spent our 4th of  July evening watching firecrackers at the La Jolla alcove beach and ended our trip with a  content heart and gratifying mind.

All eyes on sky with intermediate ooooooh, aaaaaah and whistles and claps :)

This is my 1st time EVER capturing digitally the firecrackers show in the last 9 years in the States. I have only always visually captured those.

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