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.

 

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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

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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.

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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 

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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.)

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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)

 

 

 

 

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 | Houston Blogger (@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

 

Top 5 Legacy Gift Ideas for Father’s Day – My Fox 26 Houston segment

Hey Friends!!

I am so excited to share with you all my segment today with Fox 26 Houston. I was invited to do a Legacy Gift Special for Father’s Day and share some unique and quintessential gifts the network’s viewers on 14th June 2019 in Houston, Texas.

This is truly such a fantastic feature for me and my blog right before my blog’s Third year anniversary and I am so grateful to you all for all the support. It means a lot!

Unfortunately I hadn’t slept the entire night prior to this segment as my son is sick and is having a temperature which keeps coming back every few hours. And at 3:30 am in the morning it went over 102 and poor guy was shivering too much. He slept at 6 am and I caught a cat nap of 30 mins, since I had to be ready by 7:30 am and wanted to make sure I am able to hide my tired eyes with all the concealer 🙂

Thankfully my mom is here for few months and was able to take care of him when I had to leave at 8am and my husband too went late to his office.

To watch my segment CLICK on the image above

For the segment I wanted to make sure I share some timeless treasures for Father’s Day. Legacy gifts are increasing in popularity. And they truly are special and unique. Thanks to the amazing anchor Jose Grinan and Sally Macdonald for having me on their show.

Life Untold: This Father’s Day wouldn’t it be amazing if you could share dad’s life’s story including photos with your children and their children and future generations?  A Life Untold is a rare, story-telling company that makes it easy to turn anyone’s life story into a captivating and professionally designed hardcover book.  Think of it as a “do-it-yourself” autobiography where your dad answers over 100 detailed, thought-provoking questions.  Then A Life Untold captures those answers and turns them into a beautiful book for anyone to read.  Hard-copy or digital, these books will forever tell the history of your cherished father. This concept is meant not only for the person being talked about in the book (your dad,) but also for all who want to read it. Imagine all the great stories and experiences in dad’s lifetime put to paper and printed. This concept of encapsulating a person’s life story is not like anything else out there.  After all, it is not just a  gift  …. it’s a legacy left for generations to come.

Personalized pottery at The Mad Potter in Houston : Simply visit a pottery studio with the kids and paint a special gift for dad on a ceramic piece. I made the ceramic plate with Vir’s feet when he was under 6 months. His feet are so tiny here and this is one of the cutest pieces of art in our house. I am going to save this forever hopefully and maybe pass it on to my son’s wife.

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DNA kit: Here is no one quite like Dad. After all, he is the story-book-reader, the scraped-knee-healer, and the piggy-back-ride hero of childhood. And even though no one is exactly like dad, there is someone who is at least partially like him: YOU. In addition to the piggy-back rides, your father also gave you half of his DNA.  This year how about thanking your dad (as you wouldn’t be you without him) by giving him generations of knowledge about his own family line?   Family Tree DNA is home to the world’s largest genealogical DNA database.  With the simple swab of a cheek….in 6 weeks’ time your dad can find out his unique ethnic origins, can locate  relatives dating back hundreds of years with 99.9% accuracy and so much more.  So this year how about giving dad a FamilyTreeDNA genealogy test for $69 which is a gift that will last a lifetime.  After all it’s not just a gift ……it is his legacy!!

The Articulate Gallery: Melt dad’s heart this year with hand print-art made from their infants, toddlers or small children’s hands or have a photo taken of dad with the kids and then display that art in the coolest line of frames ever! Articulate Galleryframes come fully equipped with awesome slot-sides that make it super easy to display 2D and 3D children’s artwork versus just putting stuff on the fridge! The frames allow for easy rotation of the art and provide easy access to switch out pics without ever having to remove the frame from the wall thanks to the slot sided function.  So whether it’s a picture of your little ones painted hand art or perhaps a photo of dad with the kids…. Articulate Gallery Frames make some of this year’s greatest dad gifts around.  Please see more detailed information below. I am excited to gift this to my husband so he can place it on his office cabin wall. You can buy them for just $26 on Amazon.

A Night Sky: I wasn’t able to share this amazing piece on the segment as unfortunately there was a shipping delay. But I can’t wait to see the package when it arrives. How about giving dad a framed picture of the Night Sky Star Map of the day he was born or the day he turned to be a dad!  After all, that was a day or night that changed the world.   The Night Sky makes an incredible, memorable gift with a star map of the night in history that you choose!  This framed artwork and memento will be treasured for years to come as it is a way to memorialize a special dad in dad’s life. With this service, it is simple to create an 18″ x 24″ star map of any night in history! Your unique and personalized star map is printed on high-quality, Art Matte paper with over 190g weight. Choose from 8 different styles at any place or time in the world to memorialize what is special to you or to the recipient.

I hope you like all of the above legacy gift ideas that are unique and a great alternative to the traditional Dad’s Day presents.

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Love

Arushi (2)

The snazzy mom

Adopting a Pet Was One of My Best Decisions.

  Original Video and Article shared at CultureMap.com (Why Houston lifestyle blogger can’t resist donating to a pile of puppies)

Recently I got an opportunity to spread the word about a charity that is very close to my heart and has had a huge impact on my life called PupSquad. This is where we adopted my first son or my fur baby “Rio” eight years back. He was only 6 weeks when we brought him home and honestly, life truly changed for us. Our little pup brought so much happiness and selfless love! Over the past eight years we have made countless memories with him. I have always recommend Pup Squad to all my friends who want to adopt a pet, since I was very impressed with their good work of rescuing animals from the streets and working hard to get each one of them a loving home.

I was contacted by Culture Map Houston to be one of their community partners for the Frost’s new campaign, Opt For Optimism, which encourages small acts of kindness that lead to a big impact in our community. I loved the idea and was immediately on board to foster generosity, building community and changing perspectives. Thanks! Culture Map for having me on board and letting me use my social media influence to spread everything good.

Through this initiative I was able to thank Pup Squad for their good work by presenting them with a $100 cash card from Frost Bank, which will help defray some expenses and help keep puppies off the streets and shelters. Pup Squad rescues orphaned puppies and nursing litters from the streets, shelters, and other life-threatening situations and matches them with permanent adoptive homes. It also provides support and education to these adopters and the community at large, working with other community rescue efforts to promote spay/neuter, adoption, and humane animal care to ultimately reduce the number of animals euthanized in Houston and surrounding areas. You can learn more about donating, volunteering or apply for fostering some puppies here.

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On the day of the shoot I got an opportunity to meet Linda Passarelli who is one of the Board Members of Pup Squad. She shared with us that Pup Squad is entirely foster-based, meaning that the puppies are kept in loving homes until they are adopted. There is a fee of $200 that one pays while adopting a puppy. However, note that out of that $150 goes in medical bills right away . I remember when I adopted Rio from his foster home we were screened by the family fostering Rio and were asked several questions about our previous experiences as pet owners. Honestly, I was very impressed by the thought and dedication of that family to ensure that the pets are handed over to responsible people only.

If you are thinking of getting a pet for yourself or  your children I  highly recommend you adopt one ! And if you are in greater Houston you know where to go 🙂

dog

Arushi (2)

 

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

 

J&J Post

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