Twinning: Mommy and Son Style

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Who says only girl moms can do matching outfits with their kids?  This boy mom is proving otherwise today!

Let’s face it: We only get a few years with our kids before they decide that dressing like their mom might be the world’s biggest fashion faux pas. So I am making most of these years with these absolutely adorable ways to dress up together. Being a boy mom I hardly find outfits that we can really twin in, similar to the vast variety available for  girl moms. So I started to color coordinate and find clothing pieces with similar style, patterns, designs and colors to play “Matchy Matchy” with my toddler .

Here are some of my favorite looks I created in the last 2 years from our basic wardrobe essentials without splurging too much. I am also adding some links to shops I got our outfits from and some styling tips. You will find these memories on my Instagram Feed. Hoping to send all boy moms some inspiration .

Jumpsuit Love

One of my favorite looks! I love Mien Studios Its my to go store for shopping soft, comfortable organic clothing.

Simple T shirt and Jeans Twinning with white shoes 

This was one of our first looks, it was a coincidence until I realized we were matching. You can take it a level further by matching the T shirts and wearing similar sneakers like the famous Adidas Superstar shoes or the Converse Chucks for baby and mama.

Matching Mommy & Me T shirts with some added humor. 

One of my recent looks from my IG Feed. T shirts from BonOrganik the store has some fun family matching outfits. I added a twist to it with a short  denim skirt. You can pair it with similar color bottoms.

Keeping up with our energetic bunnies is a different skill set all together for us moms ! My spirited and strong willed kid seems to have extra batteries and honestly it takes a Herculean effort to get him to sit at the dinner table or settle him in bed! However, I promise to never tame his spirit since I believe our strong willed children will become adults who will change the world! Until then let’s keep charging mamas ! 🔌💓 . Loving our #mommyandme matching T’s from @bonorganik ! The store has some great designs and matching outfits for everyone! Click the link in bio for more ✨ . . #twinningtuesday #boymom #besties #momentsofmine #pixel_kids #LTKfamily #momootd #momstyle #mommyandmini #momsofinstagram#childofig #morecolorplease #holdthemoments #colormehappy #streetart #ltkunder50

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Color Coordination with a maxi dress and child vest or blazer

I created this looks for my son’s 2nd Birthday celebration. Looked great for photo ops. You can find our outfits at Masala Baby

I never knew a love like this until you were born. It’s a love that can put the biggest smile on my face and make me cry tears of joy at the same time. One that makes everyday a great one, even if there has been challenges. One that continues to grow even though I don’t think my heart could get any bigger. It’s indescribably the best feeling in the world. It’s a feeling I will never take for granted. As you journey into the next year—which I’m sure will be the tremendous twos, with some terrible thrown in for good measure—I’m filled with anticipation to watch you become more and more uniquely you. Happy Birthday VIR ! 💕💕 . And Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely Mamas ! 💕 . I had to share a twinning moment with my son on this special day and these beautiful #mommyandme outfits from @masalababynyc were perfect to capture our special memory. . #love #toddlermom #lethembelittle #mothersday

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When in doubt wear Denim

The most essential item in our closet. This is my go to look for boy moms. You can never go wrong with it. A denim dress is perfect way to twin with your mini me.

Twinning is Winning when in Pajamas

I love the variety available online and instore for family pajama sets. Be it for the holiday season or your daily precious moments. This is definitely one of my favorite ways to twin. Our pajama sets are from Target.

SNUGGLE with me kiddo ❤ As parents we do everything we can to try and keep our kids from becoming ill or feeling pain. But sooner or later, no matter how hard you try, your kid will get sick, and it will suck. My sweet son is suffering from an ear infection and it is devastating to watch this happy, energetic child turn into a tired kid who would rather sleep than play😞 . While these sweet smiles, cuddles and snuggles when he wakes up are nice, I know he isn't feeling well and I would gladly trade his calm demeanor for his usual wild and energetic behavior if it meant he felt better😘 . For now we are enjoying the little things like twinning in our pajamas and playing peek a boo. And since he is not very excited about his food, I am trying to make it as much fun as I can while making sure he stays hydrated ❤ . How do you handle sick days at your house?💁🏻 . #thesnuggleisreal #twinningtuesday #toddlermom #parenting #mommyhood

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Ethnic style color coordination- 

It was my son’s 2nd Diwali and I wanted a color scheme for our house party. So we stuck to white and gold and bought these kurta sets for the entire family from Fab India.

 

 

Family Vacation Color Coordination

I wanted to wear my new dress I bought for vacation and definitely wanted some pretty pictures of our family trip. So I choose Dark blue and white color scheme to go with a beach background. It was easy to put together for me and my husband as he wore white shorts and a blue T while my son wore all white with some blue print. You can create similar look in different colors from your and your little one’s closet without additional shopping. Use colors that complement each other.

 

 

Fall is around the corner and I can’t wait to share more looks that I create in our winter wear. Keep Twinning!

Love

Arushi (2)

 

The Gift of Gentleness. How I am working towards raising a gentle and compassionate child.

 

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This post was sponsored by JOHNSON’S ®, as always opinions are my own

 

“You cannot give your children what you do not have.”

– Brene Brown

 

This is one of my favorite parenting quotes and a good reminder for us to teach and character-build our children. This also include confidence, resilience, perseverance, kindness and self-esteem. But to teach this, we must first exhibit these characteristics ourselves.

When I was pregnant, I couldn’t stop myself from finding out the gender of my child. One of the biggest reasons was choosing the name early on. It was important to me to bond and connect with the life growing inside me. The feeling of having a child, a baby boy, became more real to us at that moment.

This also helped me prepare for a boy. I’d spent time thinking about how I’d raise a baby boy to be strong and gentle and to not feel forced into the super hero, big muscles and bravery stereotypes. For every car or truck toy I have given to my little boy, I gave him a color book or musical instrument.

While growing up my mom empowered me by laying emphasis on dreaming big and not be confined to society’s boxes. Similarly, I knew I didn’t want to raise my boy with society’s idea of a real man. I want to raise a little man who knows that it’s ok to cry; who knows what it means to respect others, including animals; that showing compassion and empathy is a good thing; and that if he’d rather play with a soft toy than an action figure, that it is just fine with me. Also, I remind myself every day that I too need to be gentle with his dreams and ambitions.

I can’t believe our baby is already a feisty two-year-old, and is growing, learning and exploring the world daily. We are ensuring he learns to be kind with actions and soon with his thoughts. Now that Vir is in full toddler mode, he has become incredibly enthusiastic about both exploring things and asserting his will. Kids at this age don’t understand that pushing and pulling can hurt someone and so we are teaching him how to be gentle to his friends at daycare and to his furry brother at home. By patting or caressing his hand, we tell him, “This is Gentle.” One of the best ways to explain to him this concept has been to practice it with his favorite stuff toy.

When a company too thinks like a parent, you know that they are doing something right. Like how I want to be gentle with my child’s dream and ambitions, and want my child to be kind and caring to the world, JOHNSON’S mission for last 125 years has been to create the gentlest baby products in the world. When I think of JOHNSON’S I think of pure. And for that reason, I grew up using JOHNSON’S products and today, my son is also growing up with the same. The brand recently redesigned all their washes, lotions, and haircare products and reduced the number of ingredients by more than 50%, including removing sulfates and dyes!

What caught my attention is that 96% of the ingredients in their products are naturally derived.

I wanted to share with you why JOHNSON’S new standard of gentle guided by the below five promises to parents struck a chord with me. Here are the 5 promises made by the company:

  1. Use Purposeful ingredients
  2. Never stop raising the bar
  3. Be open and honest
  4. Think like a parent first
  5. Help make the world a gentle place.

I want to use a brand in my daily routine that wants to make the world a better place. In our home we try to practice this in our daily life by choosing goods and services that give back to the community or care for our environment or even source raw materials that are fairly traded. This is the simplest ways to make sure a portion of every dollar or cent we spend goes to a better cause as well.

When I dug deeper to see how JOHNSON’S contributes to the community, I was glad to find that they partner with Save The Children on international efforts to provide healthcare, aid and education to families in communities affected by crisis or poverty. This promise resonated with me at many levels. One of the life lessons taught by my dad was to give back to the poor and needy. And every year on Diwali, we would visit an orphanage in Bombay and celebrate the spirit of Diwali with the kids by playing board games, sharing sweets and gifts and dancing to some Bollywood music. That life lesson did change the world for me and my brother when I was 11 and my brother was 9 years old. We have continued this tradition and have promised to give back to the community what we can, when we can. I want to continue this tradition with my son too and teach him the importance of being kind, generous, loving and help make the world a gentler place.

Here are few things we are working on at our home to make sure we teach our son the characteristics that we as parents can model first.

  • Think before reacting. This is something I am working on myself daily. As moms our patience get tested every minute however, I am trying to take the time to think about how my reactions and responses affect others, especially my kid.
  • React in a calm manner. Screaming only escalates the situation with my toddler, so I have realized approaching a situation more calmly is the best way to react. I sit down at his eye level and look right into eyes to let him know what he did was wrong or he needs to stop it. This is a work in progress lesson. It’s all about the tone in our voice, and so speaking softly is one of them.
  • Teach our kids to empathize with others. As I mentioned above, the best way to tell our kids to not end up hurting anyone is by being gentle. I often tell my son that please don’t give anyone “Ouchie” as it hurts, Mama doesn’t like Ouchies. He has started to understand and relate the concept and we are trying to ensure that there are no signs of hitting, biting or pulling expressed by our child.

  • Always Respond with kindness. Teaching our child ways to treat things with care helps him develop the understanding that actions have consequences. We are ensuring our son understand that he needs to share his toys with kids in the park. Also, I have started to say sorry to my son if I have been short tempered with him. All parents make mistakes. It’s how you address them afterwards that makes the difference. He’ll learn that everyone, even Mom, admits it when she’s wrong.

We have influence in fostering our child’s ability to empathize, with so much hatred and turmoil in the world today, it seems more important than ever to raise kids who can understand and be kind to other people.

Love

arushi

Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip.

Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip

Let’s face it, being a working mom can be extremely challenging. It takes a lot of planning and support to manage a household. Add business trips and travel into the equation and things get exponentially more difficult.

I always get emails and messages from my Instagram followers on how fun and glamorous my work travels are. And yes honestly, being able to visit new places and try new things is fun, but every month being on the road, another hotel, another restaurant eating alone, the glamour fades, especially when you miss your child a day or two into a five-day trip.

I have come to think of it as a necessary sacrifice that I am making to ensure I continue to build my career and not give up on my aspirations, while also providing for my family. I love my job and everything I do, but I won’t sit here and say I love it every single day. Days get long, sometimes I don’t get to FaceTime with my son before bedtime, I miss my own bed, and I feel guilty for being away and probably miss on some new words too that my son started to speak.

In the last year, I’ve realized that even though it is necessary, there is a way to handle it in a way that I don’t feel horrible for the decision I made and to not get frustrated or burnt out from my work travels. You may wonder – How can we be a good mother while also traveling for extended periods of time? Contrary to what society may tell you, there are plenty of ways to make the situation work for you and your family. Here are few tips I recommend for travel savvy moms-

  • Take it as a Break – Being a parent to a toddler can be Pickups, drop offs, swim days, play dates, other activities and your day to day chores at home while working full time can be tiring and monotonous. And so, I’ve started to look at my trips as a “break” from the job of parent at home. It’s a little break from the busy lifestyle of having to work full-time and then be on again at home as a mom
  • Make a calendar and set reminders – I usually have a calendar in front of me of my upcoming travels and start to work on putting up a plan for the family on what to do while I am away. List out all activities at daycare that needs special attention like soccer practice timings, splash day packing, events or special celebrations that week etc. Also, it lets me also confirm with my caregiver on her availability.
  • Maintain your child’s routine. While it’s important to have something fun planned for while you’re gone, don’t abandon routines. Bedtime, naptime, meals, school and playtime should remain the same. Kids rely on their schedules and if they are interrupted, it can be confusing and upsetting.
  • Leave a Meal Plan– To ensure my home is running smoothly in my absence I make a meal plan for my family and mail it to my husband and my caregiver, while also placing a print out on our refrigerator. You can also freeze meals or use local services of cooked meals that deliver at home for the days you are away. Also, I make sure to do groceries before I leave so that we are not short of the important items like Bananas, Milk, Eggs, Bread and snacks that are needed on a daily basis.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for support when and where you need it- Without my family and my in laws here in the US to check in or help out when I am gone, I rely on the support of my close friends, neighbors and my son’s teachers. I ask them for extra help when needed. Lately I have been looking to share a nanny with a close friend on the days when my husband gets late at work. It is very important to have several backups and foresee few situations that you might need help with, when you are away.
  • Create Fun Rituals – Baking cupcakes or banana bread or pudding for days when I am gone is a sweet way literally to treat my son. He is very young to understand the association, but I am sure it makes him happy especially if he is moody or cranky. Also, I try to leave a new book to read every night in my absence and come back with a small gift from my travels for my son to open. He is 2 and he thoroughly enjoys it.
  • Ditch the guilt.I know it’s tough, but you should not feel guilty about this choice. I never let others negative opinion affect how I think about myself. It may not be an ideal situation in your mind, but if you love what you do, never feel guilty about that and the fact you are providing for your family. Remind yourself that you aren’t a bad mom for traveling and don’t compare yourself to other moms on the block. If you communicate with your child before, during and after travel, they’ll be prepared for your departure and be fine while you’re gone.
  • Let your significant other rest and have a day/night to themselves.
    Even though I come back tired from traveling, I always make sure to give my partner a break, it could be some time away at the weekend with friends or a short getaway. It is very important to tell your partner you appreciate them and that it’s okay to go out and take a break and let me take on everything you’ve been doing the past few days.

In the end I will like to say that to have a family’s ability to function well with a travelling mother is also linked to the attitudes of its members. We need to make sure our partner is happy to contribute and is appreciated, and that the kids adapt well to the changes in routine, so that all goes smoothly. In our house we have learnt to treat Travel as just another facet of life that needs to be managed. I always say it’s all about Teamwork! And so, me and my husband try our best to treat travel with resourcefulness and optimism. It is hard to leave on a monthly basis, but I look forward to coming home to see my son’s face and get a hug and kiss from him (as there will come an age when he won’t  want them from mommy). His smiles make it all worth it.

Please do share your opinions and thoughts on how you are trying to balance travel and home duties.

If you are a breast feeding mom and travel for work, check my previous post –How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip

Love

Arushi (2)


 

 

My Mini TV Segment on KHOU 11 News Houston! And more information on Visit Houston’s Pack Your Bag Challenge.

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Left- Christina Kooker (Reporter KHOU 11 News), Center- Our challenge winner,  Simone and on Right ,Yours Truly -Arushi

Hey Friends !

My Instagram and blog has given me some wonderful opportunities in these last 2 years since I started my Micro Influencer journey, and this segment with KHOU 11 News was just one of those ! I like to think of  it as a feather on my blogger hat .

I had an opportunity to work with the amazing team of Visit Houston for their Pack Your Bag Houston Challenge as the “Influencer of the Week”.  And in that process I also got to experience the luxurious Royal Sonesta hotel in Houston and talk about my love for it on the show.

Here is the TV clipping from my mini segment with Great Day Houston with the  lovely host Christina Kooker at the Heritage Society. We spoke about my stay at the hotel and why these STAYCATIONS are the perfect getaway for moms.

 You can also scroll directly to 3:19 minutes to watch my story.

 

Visit Houston is giving away an amazing Staycation every week to its applicants who can either make it to the taping locations of Great Day Houston show or apply online from their home. Click here for more information. 

Also Great Day Houston reporter Cristina Kooker will hit the streets with fun challenges every week .  Two people will compete for the grand prize of a Houston weekend getaway, but there will be other ways to win fantastic giveaways too. Note it is for 12 Weeks,  and there will be 24 Winners! The games are easy and most of all, fun!  Join them on these location for a chance to play the Pack Your Bag Challenge. 

Hope you enjoyed the video !

And once again thanks for all your love and support , it means a lot to me !

XOXO

arushi

Moms Give Yourself The Gift Of a Solo Getaway – Sharing My Experience From My Hiking Trip to Machu Picchu

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In my recent post My Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu & Solo Trip to Cusco, Peru: An Adventure of a Lifetime I shared with you all my three minute movie , lots of pictures and so many other details of my amazing SOLO trip. (Check it out if you haven’t) This post focuses on what this journey meant and how it has affected me personally . Also I am sharing a list of benefits of jet setting alone and going on a getaway by yourself.

Travelling Solo was one of my top goals for the year and I knew that this year for my birthday I wished to do something different, something special, something truly just for myself. I wanted to rediscover the girl I was, before spouse, before a kid, before all the parenting responsibilities. So, a few months before my 33rd birthday I decided to challenge myself, both physically and mentally with a Solo Trip to Cusco, Peru.

I have had several opportunities to travel around the world with and without my family and friends. Travelling alone for work to a new country or state has been a part of my lifestyle and something I am familiar with since I was sixteen years old.

However, planning a getaway on my own to a country where I have never been before, hiking for two days with a group of complete strangers or for that matter living in a hostel and meeting people of all age groups from different parts of the world…… truly made this trip an Experience of a Lifetime! This journey has given me one of the most valuable collection of moments and experiences that has added depth and value to my life and who I am.

“Traveling Alone is Radical Form of Self Care”

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On this solo trip not only did I get to discover the stunning landscapes of Machu Pichhu on my hike and enjoy the breathtaking architecture, lively artisan markets and the delicious local cuisine of the vibrant city of Cusco, I also got to spend time by myself — walking alone, eating alone, writing alone and sitting alone. And honestly, this was far from lonely. It was in fact restorative!

I can’t think of the last time I had been alone long enough to revel in my own thoughts without being interrupted by my child or the nagging to-do list that lives in the back of my mind. I could have conversations with people that didn’t revolve around my child or me being a mom. It was kind of strange and exhilarating. Radical Self-care is the assertion that you have the responsibility to take care of yourself first before attempting to take care of others.

There is endless list of benefits to jet setting alone and by sharing my experiences I hope to inspire others to try out a solo adventure too.

Makes you Independent and Empowered: One comes back with a new perspective. Solo travel represents independence, wanderlust and of course freedom. One gets to create their own When and How to do it list!

Self-Discovery: Through solo travel you get a chance to listen to your gut and control the direction you want to go to. You get to know you, be you and reflect upon yourself.

Self Confidence: Yes, solo travel is a brave endeavor. There is a lot of planning and preparations that one needs to go through, especially us moms. And as women we need to research more into topics like safety, cultural norms etc. By stepping out of your comfort zone and travelling anywhere new and unknown we learn to face various types of scenarios and gain much confidence.

Making new Friends and lifetime connections: One can always choose to be alone, but on a solo trip you get an opportunity to connect and make new friendships on your journey that could last a lifetime. Travel leads to exciting adventures and meaningful connections, it provides you an opportunity to meet like minded people in a new cultural setting devoid of digital distractions.

Your well-being gets healthier: Each one of us know spending time alone makes us release a lot of stressful toxins and travelling makes us happy. Research shows that travelling alone is such a healthy option as it makes you a happier person and cuts out your depression and stressful phases.

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Being a Mom is hard work! By taking time to focus on myself, recharge and relax a little, I have returned home more mindful. I can’t think of travelling alone as “Selfish” now, as this trip has nurtured my body and nourished my mind while giving me chance to follow my dreams and do what I love – Explore! Also, I want my son to see me as a person with interests, rather than the person who does everything

Have you taken a solo trip? What was your experience? 

Love

Arushi (2)

 

My Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu & Solo Trip to Cusco, Peru: An Adventure of a Lifetime

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“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take”

Travelling Solo was one of my top goals for this year and the timing to accomplish this goal couldn’t have been any better, since I got to experience this lifetime adventure on my birthday week! Hiking through brutal altitude and stunning panoramas towards an unmatched destination: the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu.

The Inca Trail hike is one of the most iconic treks that I had been wanting to do for past many years. And finally, in February 2018 I booked my itinerary to Cusco, Peru in a single day without deliberating too much on where I should travel for my Solo Trip.

My fitness regimen for the strenuous hike was already in line with my 2018 fitness goals, with weekly 30-minute mountain climber sessions, Reformer Pilates on weekends and daily 3 mile runs on my trail. Thankfully I was right on track with my fitness.

Access to the Inca Trail is strictly controlled — only 500 permits per day are issued (including guides and porters) and only authorized companies can receive permits. I was very lucky to find a spot with a group for my hiking experience so close to my birthday. The Inca Trail is among the most expensive and is undoubtedly the most exclusive hiking route to Machu Picchu; other options like the Salkantay or the Lares treks allow travelers to book mere days in advance and pay a fraction of the price. But I was fixated on the classic Inca Trail, that connected hauntingly beautiful archaeological sites, breathtaking views, and heart-pounding mountain peaks.

MY SOLO TRIP MOVIE 

Thousands of my followers on Instagram were present with me virtually on my IG stories daily and kept sending me their love, best wishes and all the motivation I needed to go on this journey all by myself. It is unfair to log all of this by simply putting it in words and pictures, so I made sure that I can share this Lifetime Experience with all my readers and followers through a short movie that I made through my Go pro Hero 5 camera (P.S This is my first attempt to creating a Travel movie, I hope you like it)

Cusco

I landed in Cusco, a vibrant city located in the heart of the Peruvian Andes Mountains, 2 days prior to my hike to acclimatize to the altitude. Cusco is located at an altitude of 3,400 meters (11,200ft), and I came from Houston’s altitude of 24 meters (80 ft.) ! Within hours of arriving I started to notice the difference in my breathing.

 

 

Once the capital of the ancient Inca Empire, this mountain city is steeped with Inca and Spanish history and overflowing with Peruvian culture. From the breathtaking architecture and lively artisanal markets to the friendly faces and delicious local cuisine, it didn’t take long before I fell in love with this city.

After checking into my hostel, I headed to get some breakfast, where I met with two young people who too were travelling solo like me from Germany and Mexico. It has always been easy for me to start up conversations and make friends with likeminded people. The three of us headed out in the morning for a day hiking trip around the city and exploring the streets and neighborhoods of Cusco. To my surprise and delight, I made it around the city, despite being ridiculously out of breath every time I attempted to climb upstairs. Other than a bad headache, I was in pretty good shape. I drank copious amounts of coca tea and tried to rest in the afternoon once I got my room keys at 2 pm, almost 6 hours after my arrival. Honestly, I was very exhausted from my travels as I first landed in Lima and had a 6-hour layover to Cusco starting at 12 am in the night, which meant I was travelling and had been awake for almost 14 hours.

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My headache had been bothering me a lot for the first 2 days and to keep my attention diverted from it, I continued exploring the city on my own by visiting the top attractions closer to my hostel like the Plaza de Armas, Cathedral of Santo Domingo and the San Pedro local market. I loved shopping around the cute souvenir shops for colorful hats, scarves, amongst other things. Also, I made sure to enjoy the authentic Inca vegetarian meals on the upper floor with a balcony seating of two different restaurants placed at ancient colonial buildings overlooking the gorgeous Plaza de Armas.

The next day I met my guide for the pre-trek briefing. He was funny, with smiling eyes he reassured me that the symptoms of altitude sickness would pass and that trekkers with a good level of fitness would have no problems once they were off trekking. At the back of mind, I couldn’t help the nagging of self-doubt that was creeping through me. However, I kept my calm and mingled with my lovely group members. I made sure I had enough snacks and water for my hike so I went shopping for some chocolate, cookies and chips, (comfort food at its best.) Of course, I had the healthy granola bars stocked too.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

My expedition company picked me from my hostel at 4 am and we took a bus to the train station to leave on the 6:10 a.m. train, from Ollantaytambo. This is one of the most magnificent train rides in the world, with its phenomenal views of the Urubamba River, the soaring snow-capped mountain peaks and cornfield farms.

 

 

After the train ride our group met with our porters and chef and enjoyed the breakfast before we prepared for our hike. Our hike was challenging but rewarding and honestly manageable as we were all coursing with energy and excitement.

Chachabamaba was the first ancient Incan checkpoint for entering to the Inca trail. While hiking I would stop and look around the breath-taking scenery and the stunning landscapes. I knew then that over the course of the next two days, I would never fail to be moved by the beauty of my surroundings. After the first three hours of climbing we reached the most famous Inca site along the trail, Wiñay Wayna.  This site was a teaser to what was coming at Machu Picchu and I couldn’t have been more excited. Wiñay Wayna consists of two constructions, one is located on the top, and the other is below that, united by a type of stairways, where you can see some of the terraces used for agricultural activities.

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Wiñay Wayna.

We took a break near the site and were served delicious buffet style Inca meal by our chef and porters. The variety of vegetarian options had blown my mind and I was pleasantly surprised by the local recipes.

We headed towards the Sun Gate for another round of an uphill and downhill hike. (The Sun Gate was used by Incas to observe the sunrise from Machu Picchu during the summer solstice.) It started to rain on our way. Now, I always end up forgetting to pack something or the other during my trips and this time it turned out to be Poncho! However, I had my rain jacket that gave some protection in a rain forest. (some)

 

 

We stopped on our hike a few times to spot the beautiful orchids and plants, click some pictures, grab a breath and just like that on one of our stops, an Andean Bear also known as Spectacled Bear jumped out in front on our trail a few feet away from us and ran away into the forest. We got just a brief glance of the animal. While most of us initially thought it was a big black dog, our guide confirmed that it was a BEAR! This was one the most exciting episodes of my hike and was just adding up to this once in a lifetime experience.

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My amazing group , with whom I met as a stranger and we ended the hike as friends!

Once we reached the Sun Gate I got to experience the climax of our hike with the dramatic dusk and the stunning views of the Ruins of Machu Picchu! The air had retained all the grandeur and mystery around this gorgeous site. The elegant Sun Temple, the surreal Royal Mausoleum, the monolithic shrines of the Sacred Plaza and the mysteriously carved Intihuatana stone. I was in awe of this wonder and proud of my journey. Never again would I recapture that feeling, the pure wonder and elation at being there. My moment, alone, on the mountainside, feeling like I had discovered Machu Picchu for myself.(This ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century)

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The next day we hiked back at 6 am from our camp site to Machu Picchu, this time to explore the site with a guided tour and know all about its fascinating history and see the sun rising from the site. I can’t effectively describe what I saw before me. I’d seen it on so many websites, in guidebooks and on countless social media pictures, but nothing prepared me for that view. I breathed in the fresh morning air and gazed at the 600-year-old citadel. Gradually the sky grew lighter and I gasped as the first rays of sunshine touched the tips of the ruins. This was it, my magic moment – sunrise at Machu Picchu. I explored the ruins for few hours with my group, got some great pictures and selfies with the Llamas and then headed for a short hike to the Inca Bridge. The Inca bridge, which is constructed of a few narrow logs perched above a sheer vertical drop – is believed to have served as a secret entrance to Machu Picchu. The trail to the Inca Bridge wraps around the backside of Machu Picchu Mountain in the opposite direction of the Inca citadel.

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After exploring the ruins for from 6 am to 1pm we headed back to Cusco in our private van, it was a long journey with beautiful views of the Andes and the countryside. This time I choose to stay in a traditional boutique hotel with a bigger bed and an attached bathroom! I had been wet, cold, hot, sweaty and exhausted from the hike and needed some extra comfort. I was travelling back home the next day and after stuffing everything in my back pack, I headed to a spa for the best 90-minute massage and some last-minute shopping.

Truly, what an amazing experience this has been! What a fantastic gift I gave myself. This Solo journey to Cuzco, Peru and trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most valuable collection of moments and experiences that has added depth and value to my life and who I am. I have realized to live a fulfilled and meaningful life, you must live it yourself. I finally found the courage and willpower to go on this trip by myself. This adventure was impossible without the support of my amazing husband as he watched our toddler for 7 days while I was gone! (Parent of the Year)  Thanks to my family and friends who supported me and sent me all their love and best wishes to do my dream hike.

I hope this inspires you to do your dream trip by yourself when you are ready! If you are planning a trip to South America, you must stop at this world wonder and see it with your own eyes. I can’t wait to get back there sometime soon.

( In my next post I will be sharing more details on my trip details , recommendations, logistics etc with links)

XOXO

Arushi (2)

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

Among the many festivals we celebrate, HOLI has always been my favorite since childhood. This year I am so excited about being able to share my love for Holi with my son . Although he is very young to understand the culture and its essence in our lives, I cannot wait for him to sprinkle colored powder on me and enjoy the water balloons and water pistol battles with his friends and siblings in the years to come.

Simply defined HOLI is the celebration of the vibrancy of spring, fertility, love and the triumph of good over evil. The festival is usually celebrated in March and signals the coming of spring in India. It’s the start of new hopes and relationships, signified through the burst of colors everywhere. Holi is also about warmer weather, sweet delicacies and of course, special Holi crafts and activities for kids.

In this post I am sharing some fun ideas to enjoy the festival of colors with some easy to do colorful play for toddlers. Also, I made this

PRINT THIS BANNER FOR 

Pre and  Post Holi picture memories. 

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE HOLI BANNER by thesnazzymom.com

I got the print out from Office depot on four A4 sheets. You can get them laminated so that they are sturdy and can be reused later. Note you will have to cut them into circles and can use tape to attach them to a thread. I used white wool.

DIY,  TWO INGREDIENT EDIBLE PAINT FOR BABIES.

Last year during Holi, our son was only 7 months old. We celebrated the festival with him with these simple and safe DIY water colors in our bath tub. It’s a great activity for babies and note the paints are edible too.

Click here for the post and make your own paints

 FLOWER HOLI

We also played Holi outside with some rose petals. Our son  wasn’t interested earlier but later tried to throw the rose petals and joined in the fun. Playing with rose petals will also make great photo opportunities with your baby. Try it out and let me know.

RAINBOW FOAM BUBBLES PARTY

rainbow soap

Picture by Funathomewithkids.com

Rainbow Foam bubbles is a great sensory activity for kids to play and learn colors and celebrate Holi in a fun and easy way.  Note this will be good for older kids as younger kids might eat the foam and the soap could also get in their eyes.

Click here for the post and learn to make the colored foam bubbles.

COLORED TOASTS FOR TREATS

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Picture by HelloWonderful.co

Rainbow toasts is a must try! You can remove the sprinkles and just get your little one to eat his/her toast when they are fussy. It is also a great kids party snack idea and healthier than cake, cookies or donuts. The frosting is actually cream cheese and not frosting!

Click here for full recipe.

FUNFETTI MALAI KULFI IN EDIBLE SPRINKLE BOWLS

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Picture by LoveLaughMirch.com

A modern and colorful take on traditional malai kulfi. This frozen desert is a staple on Indian festivals and this twist of sprinkles will add some more fun to your Holi celebrations ! Also a great way to involve older kids in the festivities of making fun, delicious and colorful dessert while making memories. Check out this latest blog post on making this delicious desert . Sprinkle some colors on my Kulfi !!

I wish you a fun filled HOLI with your friends and family and these ideas can add to the celebration !!

HAPPY HOLI !! XOXO

Arushi (2)

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