Mother’s Day: Best Gift for Moms

her (1)

I am sharing some of my favorite products and brands here that I have been using and looking to buy. Since everyone is social distancing in May 2020, I have prepared a list that can be useful in current times. There is something for everyone here!

What I love about this list is that it can be referred anytime and for any occasion like birthdays, Christmas gifts, baby showers, weddings, graduation and more. I hope you like these gifting ideas whether you are gifting your mom, your wife, your friend or family member or even yourself.

  1. The perfect gift for the minimalistMark & Graham Monogrammed Card Case on Sale
  2. AM /PM Hydration MotivationWater Bottle with Time Marker Reminder, BPA Free Frosted Tritan Plastic, Leakproof and Drop Resistant, 1 Liter 32 Oz
  3. Update Home & Garden space with HOMENOTE White Ceramic Flower Pot Garden Planters 6/4.8 inch Pack 2 Indoor, Plant Containers with Marble Texture and Gold Detailing
  4. Family Portrait Illustration (Can be customized) I bought it for my  art wall and love it  – By Catepaper co Etsy store
  5. Homebody Must Have, stay cozy at home in this nigh/ lounge wear by  –H&M Pajama Camisole and Culottes
  6. Gift this limited Mother’s Day Gift set by Dyson to yourself or mom for the best hair days
  7. Give the gift of peace of mind. Tile helps find the things that matter most. Lost keys, remote, phone and even cats. I am planning to buy this for myself.  Special Tile Mom Edition .
  8. This Mother’s Day, whether near or far, treat her to an exclusive Venus ET Fleur® arrangement designed with the most beautiful high-quality Eternity® Roses. They last more than a year. I love mine!
  9. A hydrating, plumping treatment for when you or your loved one’s skin is extra thirsty. 12+Applications Versed Face Mask
  10. From the world’s #1 Facial hair remover, Finishing Touch Lumina Lumina flawless, comes flawless contour, a vibrating facial roller and massager in rose quartz
  11. Lightweight lenses with anti-reflective coating to reduce glare. Tijin Eyewear
  12. Mason Jar Garden, Grow Your Own Herbs Gift Set, Contains Rosemary, Basil and Sage Seeds with 6 Soil Pods by Thoughtfully Gifts.
  13. I love my  sterling silver Changeable Heart Charm Bracelet by James Avery . It  is crafted with alternating links of circles and elongated loops, and a twisted wire heart changeable charm holder in the middle. Press gently on the hinge in the heart to add or remove charms. One of the cutest bracelets I own,
  14. One of my favorite & most convenient rain wear piece the Golightly packaway jacket by Joule USA. the PU coating and taped seams make it 100% waterproof so you or your mom can take it anywhere.
  15. This Bamboo Bathtub Tray Caddy is expandable with Wine Glass Holder and Book Stand. Luxury Bubble Bath Accessories & Spa Decor.
  16. Premium Pink Floral Silky Kimono Robe On White With Pockets and can be customized too by The Knot Shop
  17. The Fawn Design Original is the perfect diaper bag, combining style, comfort, and ease and made with vegan leather.
  18. Simple & Modern 4 layer design Jewelry box available in 3 colors available on Amazon

I will love to know which is your favorite!

Happy Mother’s Day !!

Arushi (2)

Superheroes Pretend Play Indoor Activity Ideas for Kids. Free PJ Masks Activity Sheets Printables

Free Pj masks

Kid’s love superheroes. What’s not to love? They can fly, apply super strength, use their superpowers, work as a team and can do good in the world.

Another thing that kids love is “Pretend Play”.  Pretend play sessions promote enthusiastic dialog complete with descriptive new vocabulary words and increased social interaction. Best of all, when kids pretend, they also take on the perspective of another person or creature. This, inherently, helps them to develop empathy—perhaps our greatest superpower as humans.

At our home we engage with our little superhero through Role play in some of his favorite characters. And I have seen through superhero pretend play how Vir feels brave, in control and just plain good.

April 28TH is National Superhero day, this day is for honoring both fictional superheroes and real-life superheroes—those who risk their lives to keep others safe. Both heroes are role models for children, and even for adults.

Vir is a big fan of the dynamic hero trio of fan-favorites – Catboy, Owlette and Gekko – from the hit show PJ Masks. Good News!! Season 4 is debuting on May 15 at 7 PM EST/PST on Disney Junior.  And new episodes, including the FIRST-EVER 44-minute special Heroes of the Sky, that will take us through heroic adventures where we meet new allies, villains and locations while centered around the power of friendship and teamwork! The show is also available to watch on Netflix.

In today’s post I want to encourage all parents to use the power of roleplay and imagination on National Superhero Day with PJ Masks with their little superheroes.

To also help celebrate, check out the PJM National Superhero Day Celebration Kit 2020  (Click on this link for 20 page printable)

In this kit there are Activity Sheets/Printables that will help the kids have an entire day of superhero roleplay fun. Ring in the heroic day with the dynamic trio from PJ Masks, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko.

DIY Costume

Superhero Certificate

The certificate can be a great way to let the kids know they did a great job with all the activity sheets and effort they put in.

Some other learn and play activities you can include

 

Physical activity with a superhero obstacle course and tire them out.
Organize an obstacle course in your backyard or even your living room. Use a small blanket as cape or use the cut outs masks in above link and ask the kids to complete the course, pretending they are superheroes.

  • Balance a book on the head to walk.
  • Crawl under the chair
  • Knock down all the cans.
  • Jump from block to block.
  • Ride the tricycle across the living room while making a silly face.
  • Drag a heavy thing past the line.

 

DIY laser maze

diy-hallway-laser-maze-fun-indoor-activity-kids-rainy-day-easy-4

Source: It’slawaysautmn blog

You can tape crepe paper streamers, ribbons or yarn in your hallway and create a maze for kids to get through without breaking or touching.

 

Science Exploration with Magnetic powers
You need a variety of things available at home (nails, paperclips, coins, rubber bands, crayons, blocks, etc) Hold a magnet next to each item, one at a time. Sort the objects into two piles, those that are attracted by the magnet and those that aren’t.

Practice writing with superhero name

Use a dry eraser board and ask your child to trace or practice writing his /her superhero name.

Make Superpower Jell-O potion.

img_8793Take Red, green, blue or different flavors of Jell-O powder. Ask the kids to add one tablespoon of powder to a bowl. Add hot water and encourage children to take turns stirring until the powder is completely dissolved. Once the mixture is lukewarm, invite them to drink a spoonful of the superpower potion to make them strong like a superhero.

Bring in Real Life Superheroes.

In my recent Instagram post I had shared how I explained Vir that not all heroes wear capes. Real-life heroes put themselves in harm’s way, and in circumstances where they may risk their lives for others, just as their fictional counterparts do. Some of these heroes have careers that put them into these scenarios, such as members of law enforcement, military personnel, and firefighters and as we can see how the front-line workers are daily fighting the current pandemic. Reading a book and talking about their courage to our kids can be a great way to show the importance of helping others in time of need.

View this post on Instagram

Not all superheroes wear capes Vir! . The superheroes of our world are wearing scrubs, masks and gloves. The medical staff are fighting night and day against this virus to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community, family and friends. We owe a huge thanks to the heroes on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic! With news changing hourly, the fact is our health care workers will be the ones who are able to ensure that the virus does not get out of control. If you know a nurse or doctor in your family or in your neighbourhood, thank them and ask if there is something that could be done to make their lives easier. 🙏🏽 . . . . . #grateful #stayhome #flattenthecurve #socialdistancing #quarantinelife

A post shared by Arushi Garg🌸 (@the_snazzy_mom) on

I hope these ideas help you and your little ones enjoy social distancing at home. How is homeschooling going moms?

XOXO

Arushi (2)

Social Distancing and Working From Home With Kids.

img_5917_facetune_19-03-2020-17-42-20I recently shared the below tips with my entire office on working from home.  At my current role with my full time job in Account Management, I have had the opportunity to work remotely for last few years. It has been one of the greatest things to happen not just for my family life but also has brought immense productivity and efficiencies in my target driven sales profile.

I usually prefer to work from my shared office space or cafes , but with the given COVID-19 outbreak and keeping the social distancing rules in mind, I am now fully working from home and staying indoors. My son has been in daycare since he was 1 year old. Now having him home all the time and working is a new challenge.  Before making a colorful home school schedule for him I worked on a productivity driven schedule for myself.

Here are my Top 10 Tips I have been successfully implementing:

1.Maintain the routine

Every morning keep the same routine as before. Dress up in whatever you would but leave out those PJs. This will help you stay in work mode.

2.Have a dedicated work space?

A separate work space doesn’t have to be a dedicated office with a door that closes (which is often not an option in smaller living spaces). It should be an area that mentally prepares you for work mode, whether it’s a separate room, a small desk set up in a corner of the living room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table. It may take a bit of trial and error to figure out what area of your home is most conducive to getting work done.

3.Structure your day

When working from home, you’re your own personal manager. To stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do and when over the course of the day. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks. Google, MS office calendar are a must. Using a journal makes it easy to list out tasks you want to accomplish each day. Check them off and keep making notes.

4.Continue to Interact with colleagues on apps and video meetings

Working remotely can feel isolating at times, so as part of your routine, try to interact with your co-workers regularly. Holding meetings over Zoom or another video app are two quick and easy ways to stay in the loop. However, you connect, don’t let email be the only way you interact with colleagues. Work What’s App groups should only focus on immediate information exchange and less memes and jokes for productivity.

5.Walk it out : Do this only if absolutely necessary. Always maintain 6 feet from people

Make time to get up and walk away from your desk at regular intervals to stretch your legs. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from your screen and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. I personally walk on all my office calls in the house. You can also keep a step goal for the day. On some good days I end up moving around the house and clocking in 6000 steps between 9-5. Standing for few minutes every hour is also a good practice.

6.Schedule 30 minutes in the morning to prep some snacks

I’d recommend cooking enough dinner to have leftovers at least a couple times a week. Maybe you’re more creative than I am, but homemade sandwiches for lunch get boring fast. Smoothies, fruits, eggs, avocado smash toast, salad, pasta, poha, dosa , besan chilas, rice and dal or frozen parathas or meals are some meal ideas that I incorporate.

7.Use Siri/ Google/ Alexa as your personal assistants

 I use Alexa every day to help me remind for some immediate calls that I must make. The most relevant Alexa feature for the office is maintaining your calendar. Whether it’s a big deadline or a meeting you must attend, add it to your calendar using Alexa.

Listening to ambient noise or focus music helps create some background noise.

One of the best ways to stay on task, especially if you often lose focus easily, is by using a Pomodoro timer — or a periodic timer that reminds you to take a break every so often. You can set a timer to work for an hour and break for 10 minutes or any combination of intense work with periodic breaks.

8.Do Your Most Focused Work When the Kids Sleep

 With kids being out of school now and home bound, making sure working before they get up in the morning, working during naptime, and working after they go to bed at night. Yes, it’s disruptive, but yes, it helps you pack in needed work hours while spending less time distracted in the presence of your children. Schedule important calls and meetings online during their nap times or during screen time.

9.Communicate with your partner and switch out times for taking turns in the day.

If your spouse or partner is also at home caring for the kids, it’s essential that you communicate what your day is like so you’re both on the same page with your expectations and needs.

10.Stress less about extra screen time while on video calls.

Instead being concerned about how much our kids are exposed to screens , let’s focus on how they are engaging with it. I use educational apps like Reading Eggs and interactive games  to keep my son busy.

Also setting up virtual baby sitters like grandparents, classmates, friends and family has been extremely successful for us.

 

img_6538_facetune_26-03-2020-19-54-27

 

I hope you find you working from home rhythm soon. Take care and be safe my friends

XOXO

Arushi (2)

Ideas on How to Celebrate Holi in Your Child’s Classroom

img_5249

Vir is so excited to sport his DIY Holi T shirt that we made together

I believe incorporating cultural traditions in lessons and activities at school can help teachers build inclusive classrooms. My son has been the only South Asian in his classroom ever since he started going to daycare and now even at preschool. And every year I have worked on introducing a cultural day in his classroom around our big festivals like Diwali and Holi. This has helped me personally build the excitement around our culture and festivities, as our son gets to experience the fanfare around it not only at home but also at his school with his friends and teachers.

Although the kids in his class are very young to really understand the significance of “culture,” it is important for us that our toddler can celebrate these festivals with same rigor and excitement as other classroom events. Honestly, this is also a reminder for us parents to continue taking these steps to raise confident kids who are proud of their roots.

Holi is the festival of colors and when it comes to kids, we all know how much they love to play with colors! Below is a list of things I have done in the past and plan to do at my almost 4-year old’s classroom. Also, I am sharing some ideas for older kids that I have saved for coming years.

  1. Talk to your kid’s teacher

  2. Share with them more information about the festival or event you plan to celebrate. ( I usually bring print outs on simple and key information about the festival, also share pictures and ideas I like to incorporate)

     2.Start by reading a book-

I love both these books for toddlers and older kids too. Festival of Colors and Let’s celeberate Holi can be found on Amazon.

3.Ask your child to present to the class

My son gave a small presentation last year on Diwali. We will be doing it this year for Holi too. I usually read him books and show him videos and pictures to help him prepare. We try adding some festival related props that bring excitement to the talk. For Holi I plan for him to show powder color and water blaster ( pichkari ).

4. Dress for the occasion.

As Vir will be presenting to his class, I decided to work on a simple DIY project with him. This Holi T shirt was a fun way to engage and learn about the festival. Older kids can make one on their own and share it with their friends too. There are some T shirts you can also buy online at Etsy and Amazon.

img_5203

I bought the supplier from Marshalls . You just need fabric pends and a white T shirt to make something similar.

 

5. Request for a collaborative class project

We did the finger painting and hand painting activity last year on a large chart paper as a collaborative classroom project. It was displayed in the class all month, so all parents could see it and the  kids could admire their prints.

Here are some art and craft  project ideas that you can get inspiration from

Spray Painting Holi cards , Hand print heart canvas art, Watercolor garland, Holi spring tree with colorful tissue paper

 

6.Decorate the class

Just like any other celebration I like to include some pieces of decor in the class after teacher’s permission. This makes the celebration extra special. Usually I offer to get the decor and it can be something simple like, colorful ribbons, streamers, paper banners etc.

You can print this FREE  Holi banner and put it up in the class or home too

 

7.Snacks/ Class Favors

No celebration is complete without some celebratory food and gifts.. You can request for a colorful snack or buy one for the entire class – from sprinkle cupcakes, to holi special cookies, yogurt or fruit pouches. It’s a fun way to make the day extra memorable. Avoid homemade desserts or food.

I will be offering snacks and paints for favors , will be using this cute printable from 5Minutesformom 

gufts

by-5minutesformom

8.Class / Teacher gifts

You want to thank the teachers for their efforts, and it is a sweet gesture too. For teachers I like to give usually give succulents and for Holi a pretty spring bouquet will be apt. Gift cards from Amazon go a long way. (For Diwali I gave diyas and candy to the entire class in organza bags. All the parents and kids love it soo much.)

succ

Succulent box from Amazon

I hope this resource helps you prepare on steps to organize a cultural event in your child’s classroom.I

I will love to hear how you celebrate your culture in your child’s classroom.

Below are some of my previous posts on Holi celebration.

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Holi at Home With Your Kids. Free Holi Banner Include

DIY Finger Paint Activity for Babies on HOLI.

XOXO

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Holi!

Arushi (2)

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Toys & Games for Kids That Help in Overall Development.

 

 

IMG_4959

Vir is riding the Microkickboard scooter

Before having my toddler, I had seen one too many living rooms taken over by toys. I was determined that my own living room would never look like a play area. But, like all the other things I said I would never do, I found it difficult to avoid once I became a parent.

I have tried to curtail my toddler’s toy collection by buying only a few thoughtfully curated open-ended activity-based toys, some action-based figures and pretend play toys and few outdoor play and sport related products.

I am making this list based on seeing which toys have received the most use and love in our house over the years, and by the stream of friends who have played with them, the clear winners are the below 10 products. We love open ended toys as they foster creativity, imagination and problem-solving skills and makes little ones learn to be independent. These toys can vary from the child’s desire and age. (blocks, animal figures, dress up accessories and more).

ikea kitchen

 

  1. Ikea Play Kitchen – This kitchen by far is my son’s favorite pretend play toy, and I have seen him play with it since he was 1 year old. I love with time  he has learnt to be independent by playing with it. The best part is watching all his male friends also enjoy playing in the kitchen as much they do while playing with trucks. I have added several small items in his kitchen like a coffee maker, cup and kettle set to play food and utensils. (found in ikea and amazon)

 

 

2.shifu Augmented Reality games helps in memorizing better and is an immersive learning experience. Vir was recently gifted the Play Shifu Space card game by his aunt and he is learning a lot more about the planets and solar system 

 

osmo

 

I also liked theOsmo games and had seen them at our friend’s and stores, planning to try them out too

 

 

 

 

3. Construction based Toys like Tegu wooden blocks , Picasso Tiles and Lego Duplo blocks We like to rotate construction toys to avoid boredom. Vir loved that he can build different stories with each toy group.

 

4. Board Games like Three Little Piggies  helps with logic and spatial insight. I love Vir is playing the expert level and this is by far one of his favorite story and game

5. Puzzles from eeboo has helped in letter and picture recognition for at early stages of development and we have recently bought the Word puzzle gameto develop reading skills

 

6. In Culture Toys and Learning Kits – Teaching our son about our culture and language is very important to our family and plush toys and books from Modi Toys and a Travel kit with memory cards and so many other products from Sanskar teaching has helped us make the learning process fun.

Modi toys recently launched the baby Hanuman plush toy and story book I can wait to get my hands on. Also Sanskar Teaching offers virtual and online courses in Gujrati.  I highly recommend checking out these two mom owned business.

 

car track7. Car Track Play –PlayTape is perfect for building the kid’s own world of roads, highways, and racetracks. It is compatible with all match box size trucks and cars and the best part is roads can be made anywhere. Its is easy to remove and I like how my son makes these roads around his bed room

 

IMG_2860

 

8. Balance Bike – Getting my son to balance bike since he was 18 months was one of my best decisions. We started with the Woom 1 bike and after a year of balance bike we moved toWoom 2 and now he is pedaling without any training wheels!  I highly recommend their bikes we have been using the brand for over 3 years now and love it. The woom 2 bike represents the ideal link between the balance bike and a pedal bike and enables fast learning of the movement process – even without training wheels.

 

9. Scooter – We got the scooter when Vir turned 2 and it has been very helpful in promoting muscle strength and development. We love the Microkickboard scooter, it is one of the highest rated scooter in the market. Vir’s favorite activity after school is to hit the park on his scooter. I love the quality and that he never trips on it while turning.

 

boat10. Outdoor toys like water and sand table is a must especially with summers approaching. Vir was gifted Step2 Fiesta Cruise Sand & Water Table with Umbrella by his grandparents for his 2nd birthday. I like that it has a place for sand and water both. Most of the time my son makes it a car wash for all his cars.

 

 

 

 

Hope you find this resource useful!

I will love to hear your most recommended toys too.

You can also read:

10 Best Educational and Interactive Apps for Toddlers

Crafts, Toys and Activity Ideas for 3 year olds

Make your kid’s playroom magical  

DIY Finger Paints for Babies

Color party or celebrating Holi with kids 

 

XOXO

Arushi (2)

How Busy Moms Can Train For Their First Half Marathon. A Beginner’s Guide.

Wow! A half marathon in the books at the beginning of the year is just the moral boost I needed to start my year strong. I never imagined I would ever run a long-distance race. It was NEVER one of my bucket list items. Yet on Aug 2019 training for my FIRST HALF MARATHON happened to land on my To-Do-List. I remember I was feeling extremely low around that time and needed a distraction.

I had been suffering from sciatica pain for almost 6 months since the start of 2019. (This pain had been bothering me for time to time since pregnancy.) I wasn’t active for all those months and gained 8-10 pounds! This period was by far my lowest state in terms of physical well being. However, that rest was important as I wanted to make sure the sciatica pain didn’t come back.

Once I felt better and could get back to a healthier and active lifestyle,  I made sure I wanted to work towards a fitness GOAL. The Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Half Marathon registrations ad popped up on my FB feed and my gut told me to sign up and just go for it!

The last time I ran a long race was a 10k, almost 3 years back right after my pregnancy. My goal then was to shed all that baby weight. But this time it was different. I didn’t run to lose weight, I ran for my mental and physical well being. I ran for a stronger me. I ran to challenge myself. I ran because I believed I could do a half marathon if I set my mind to it.

If you follow my Instagram, you must have seen me training on my stories. It is saved under my highlights section. I started preparing for the race around September 2019. This training also helped me get ready for a 2-hour trek on an active volcano- Mt. Batur in Bali, Indonesia. This training was turning out to be my therapy and a getaway from the daily mundane. I really made sure that I don’t over think or stress about the race. So, I made a plan and I tried to stick to it.

In this post I am sharing all my tips and tricks on how I prepared to run my FIRST Aramco Houston Half Marathon on January 19th, 2020 in Houston, Texas at age 34. 

View this post on Instagram

“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” First Half Marathon ✅. l couldn’t have asked for a stronger start to 2020. So happy that I was able to share this journey of training for my race with my son. He has motivated me to be the best version of myself, so I can set a better example for him. I grew up watching my dad pick medals at different sporting events and that inspired me to be in sports throughout school and college while representing my university and state in basketball 🏅I hope to inspire my son similarly to be strong and hardworking. Because I do believe our children follow our example and not just our advice. 🙏🏽 . . #RunHou #HouHalf @chevronhoustonmarathon #HouMarathon #momswhorun #toddlermom #boymom #liveyouradventure #letthembelittle

A post shared by Arushi Garg🌸 (@the_snazzy_mom) on

Finding a Race and Signing Up

The act of committing to a race and plunking down the registration fee can help to motivate you. Plus, you need to know exactly when the race is so that you can map out your training runs over the next few months. Click HERE to find a race in your state.

My Training Plan

Note that I was always able to run a minimum of 3 miles. So, I followed the program below, 4 months prior to the race. However, if you are just starting off, I recommend training at least 6 months prior to race and get yourself to commit to this plan.

I followed the Novice 1 Half Marathon Training Program by Hal Higdon. This is a great running plan if you can stick to it. Note- I was also flexible with my run schedules. Every week wasn’t the same. Some days I was running 3 days a week and sometimes 5 days a week. What I focused was on avg miles weekly and most importantly, a long run on the weekend. I never missed that.

race plan

Credit :  Hal Higdon (https://www.halhigdon.com/)

Time Management for Moms

Most important question I have been asked by my followers. How can you do it all? Be a mom, work full time and manage your home? Let me tell you there is no magic formula. It’s team work, better planning and commitment that helped me finish the half marathon.

Communicate with your partner/ nanny/ family members before you plan to race. Me and my husband worked as a team. I couldn’t have really done this without his support. We discussed the days he will be doing school picks ups and drop offs, so I could use those days for my short runs. This meant I got to wake up early and go for runs at the gym before work or finish work 30 minutes earlier once a week and head to the trail in the evening. We also planned 1 day in a week where my husband would come back early from work, so I could start training for my longer runs in the evening (6miles +). Evenings worked best for me as Houston weather is brutal and honestly, I am not a morning person. Weekends were the easiest to coordinate and I kept aside 2 hours for my training every weekend.

Running Gear

Shoes- I had two fresh pairs of shoes on hand when I started my training. It helps extend the life of each pair by giving them ample recovery time between workouts. I ran the race in Reebok shoes and trained with Hoka one. I highly recommend both brands.

Active wear– I ran in leggings and tank tops. Most important part gear for me after my shoes was having a good sports bra. I love the Reebok Pure Move bra, it is made with motion sense technology that reacts to your movement. Also, I highly recommend wearing active wear with in built belts or zipped pockets to store phone and keys. I love my Flip belt leggings.

Before race day I treated myself to a new running T shirt and running sleeves from the Chevron Marathon Expo when I went for my bib pick up. Highly recommend buying gear form the race expo. It will forever be special.

first half marathon

Fuel for workouts

Pre work snack- I always had limited time to plan my snack, so I would just eat a banana or a peanut butter sandwich and head out for short runs. On days I did my long runs I would make a smoothie, I usually added banana to every smoothie with some spinach, chia seeds, hemp seeds, berries and oat/ almond milk.

Post workout– I would have a protein drink, some Greek yogurt with berries and granola etc. I often had my premier protein shake or some slices of apples with almond butter or I would just have dinner as almost 80% of my runs were in evening.

Note- I was eating almost everything and didn’t diet or control my calories for weight loss. If your aim is too loose weight while training, I recommend planning your meals and doing calorie counting to get the best results.

Race day nutrition– Carb load a day or two in advance before the half marathon. I ate good carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice or sweet potatoes. These foods can help your body store extra glycogen which one can draw on for quick fuel during the run. On race day I carried my Cliff  bar to snack after 10 miles, although I didn’t eat it at the race as I got bananas at every 5 miles and preferred eating that instead.

Hydration- While training I only hydrated myself with water and since I ran on trails, there was a water fountain every few miles, so I didn’t carry any water with me while training.  I didn’t use any gels, but I have heard great things about it and will be using them in the coming months. Read more HERE

Note on race day there is water + Gatorade so it is suggested you pick one and only hydrate with that to avoid mixing it up. I stuck with water.

Apps and Tech, I used for training

Recovery Days are Important

 The day after a tough workout, the most I wanted to do is jog lightly or do some form of cross-training, like cycling. You need a recovery day after a hard day. No exceptions. I usually took Epsom salt hot water baths after long runs and it helped my aching muscles a lot.

Injuries are common.

Getting injured while running is very common. Read about it here .The more miles I ran, the more stressful it was on my joints, muscles, and cartilage. And even though I felt so good pounding the pavement with the wind in my hair, the reality is that our body is made of tissue. I suffered with Achilles Tendonitis just 4 weeks before my race. I rested my leg for a week and later started to use ice packs for at least 20 minutes after each run. Anti-inflammatory painkillers helped too, but what helped me the most was the ankle compression sleeves I bought 2 weeks prior to my race.  I wore it and ran the race. I was comfortable running in to up to 11 miles. Post that I was in pain but was able to finish my race.

Tapering ( cutting back on running a week before the race) is crucial

It allows the body to recover from the training that you’ve put in, which sets you up for peak energy on race day. It helped me a lot especially after my injury. I did short runs of 3-5 miles in my tapering weeks. And did lot of stretching exercises and yoga.

 

Take the pressure off and say goodbye to any negative thoughts.

Before race day I was wondering what if I was not able to complete my race. What if my ankle pain gets worse. I would let myself down. But then I reminded myself – Hey I will still be me, and my family and friends will love me no matter whether I finish first, last, or even if I don’t finish. I can cover this topic in an entire post itself. I kept saying to myself that I am strong, I am brave and I have to do me! And above all, I wanted to  set an example for my son.

Honestly at the end of the day, racing does hurt. It is going to test your mental strength, and no amount of tips or tricks will make it hurt any less. However, that pain is what leads us to the moments of pride; because we know the struggle we have been through to get to that moment.

I would like to finish this post by quoting the legendary Kobe Bryant, who the world lost  tragically on 26th Jan  in a tragic accident .

“Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.” – Kobe Bryant. 

Good Luck on your training! You can do it.

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Everyone!

MEANINGFUL

Spending hours in long lines in the store or scanning through websites for that perfect gift can sometimes take away the joy and fun from the gifting process. Moreover, a huge focus on objects or a bunch of stuff people may not need can get stressful on your mind and pocket. To that end, I try hard to make, create or buy gifts for family members and friends that has to do more with the person’s soul instead of a hefty price tag.

I am sharing below my gift ideas that are my personal favorites be it for the holiday season or any event in someone’s life. Some of these ideas are DIY, some can be purchased online within minutes while some are more personal and need your time and presence. I am also sharing here some tips that can help you decide what that gift could be.

TIP 1 Listen  – Did your friend, colleague or family member talk about a product or service they want to try? Try gifting them something they really want. Even though it might be something predictable or boring, but research has shown that gift recipients are more appreciative of gifts they ask for than those they do not.

TIP 2 Don’t focus on size – In the spirit of gifting and showing love we sometime focus on the size of the gift instead of focusing what someone would really love. Be smart and practical and save money!

Tip 3 Keep it simple- Shopping for a“PICKY” friend or cousin can be stressful and one is always second guessing their gift. Keep it simple and uncomplicate things by getting them what they like and not what you think might me cute.

TIP 4 Focus on the moments & the experiences – There are overwhelming number of gift guides and Top 10 gift items lists out there online sharing so many different types of goods and products. But if you want to focus on improving your relationship or make a family member or friend feel closer ,than experiential gifts have more impact than material goods!

(According to a research by Chan and Mogilner’s, the relationship improvements that recipients derive from experiential gifts stem from the emotion that is evoked when the gifts are consumed, not when the gifts are received. Giving experiential gifts is thus identified as a highly effective form of prosocial spending and can have a greater impact on improving the relationship between the giver and receiver.)

Here are some gift ideas that cover the above 4 TIPS

MAKE A GIFT

These gifts take your personal time in making something that will be cherished by someone.

PHOTO & MEMORY GIFTS – Photo books for grandparents, Family calendars with quotes, Personalized story books, Pillows, & Photo mugs. You can get great deal on stores like Shutterfly, Vista Print, Costco, Minted, Sanpfish etc. I personally use Shutterfly.

Digital Art Print -I love this idea, it is easy to get and can be a great piece of art in someone’s house in the nursery, bedroom or kitchen. You can add your touch by selecting a frame that will go with someone’s taste. Digital prints can be a quote you like, an image , a collage or anything that speaks to the person’s taste and preferences you are gifting too.

Personalized GiftsEtsy has so many fantastic options to personalize gifts from glass bottles, fabric bags to metal and leather key chains, diaries etc. I gave my best friends personalized jewelry with our initials on it Nordstrom usually has a small kiosk at their stores where you can personalize anything!

Build a Box/ Gift – This is extremely simple and a fun way to create something for a friend and family member really focusing on what they will appreciate most. Example: A coffee box with a cute mug with a fun quote, their favorite coffee blend, some chocolate and a cute message holder.

You can also buy a cozy slipper and fill it with some spa essentials like bath salts, candle, nail polish, face mask for someone who can enjoy some Me time. I just made some gifts for son’s teachers with Bath & Body works items.

Build a terrarium: My personal favorite! I must have gifted so many. It’s a great project if you like. From simply buying a gorgeous succulent or cactus and placing it in a cute mug to creating a terrarium garden in a glass bowl with tips from Pinterest. A plant is always a great gift idea!

SMART & PRACTICAL GIFTS

Movie, TV or Music Streaming Subscription gift- with so many great options available for entertainment and music today you can be sure this will be a much appreciate gift especially if you can’t meet someone physically.

You can gift a year’s or few months subscription of Spotify Premium, Netflix, Apple Music, Apple TV, Disney + to HBO etc

You can also give other subscription gifts like lifestyle boxes for wine, beauty -A face mask subscription box

Kids STEM Toy box from Amazon

Lifestyle subscription box Fab Fit Fun (Use code ARUSHI to get $10 off)

Dollar Shave Club box for men

Membership gifts can really bring ease to someone who needs it and haven’t signed up yet. Be it from a local gym or boot camp class membership to Amazon Prime or Shipt home good and grocery delivery service, they add a lot of value to someone’s life by saving their time. For families Zoo, Museums, botanical memberships make great gifts too.

Gift Cards– This might not be personal, but they make the person excited they can shop something they like whenever. For example, a $50 Zara gift card is great idea for friend or family member who loves to shop there and can add some more $$ and buy their favorite bag. Gift cards of stores where people prefer to shop makes most sense. I personally prefer gift cards over any random gift that I might not use.

 Charitable donation- Contribute to your friend’s racing fund or donate to a charity of their choice. Giving to a charitable or social cause in honor of someone you care about is one of the most thoughtful ways to celebrate the season of giving.

Experiential Gifts

Experiential gifts are perfect for our loved ones who reject the notion of receiving material gifts during the holidays. From workshops and museum memberships to immersive artwork and trans formative books, there’s no shortage of meaningful experiences to gift our minimalist friends. Groupon has some great experiences you can look at and even Airbnb.

Meditation classes– Most major cities have unique meditation and mindfulness studios for classes and workshops, so look around for local options as well.

Pampering Sessions -Relaxing Spa day, boutique pedicure and manicure services, hair spa day and more are perfect way to pamper your family member or friend. Join them too.

Creative Workshops- If your spouse, friend or family member likes cooking, music, pottery making or like to learn how to surf or scuba dive a workshop or class gift makes a great call. This is great for date nights and also for bonding between siblings and friends.

Annual Pass to national parks is a great gift for the outdoor lover.

Tickets to a musical, sports event or concert

For the adrenaline junkie you can look at flying lessons, race car driving and escape the room tickets.

I hope you like these ideas , they make great holiday and special occasion gifts too. I have seen people’s face light up with a smile when they receive a gift they didn’t expect with awe and surprise. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling? I believe we all can appreciate a gift that is thoughtful and meaningful and care less of the brand or its price.

Happy Holidays !

Arushi (2)

Pink and Deep Plum Skincare Tips Pinterest Graphic