Category Archives: Wedded Bliss

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Spring Cleaning – How to do a Pantry Makeover

Spring … crossing my fingers that its on the way. Winter has been one tough beast this year.

I tend to feel anew in spring, I want to open windows, clean everything and feel light and fresh especially after being couped up all winter long. I clean out my closets, switch out my winter jackets and of course, clean out my cupboards. I really enjoy a clean non cluttered kitchen, including pantry, fridge and all cupboards. Its borderline obsessive, but I figure there are worse things to obsess over right?!

Courtesy of Balance Bar (I am a 2014 Ambassador) I was able to chat with nationally recognized Registered Dietician Sharon Richter and leader of the #SpringintoBalance movement. She spoke to my Spring Cleaning (and obsessively organized) heart with her wisdom. I applied them to my Spring Cleaning Pantry Makeover and wanted to share some of her tips with you:

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HOW TO: Conduct a Pantry and Refrigerator Makeover

  1. Take everything out of the cupboard
  2. Look at expirations dates. Remove anything expired or rancid.
  3. Organize into categories (herbs, canned, breakfast foods, dry goods)
  4. Read the labels, analyze your food …

⁃ Do you have some items that have High Fructose Corn Syrup, hydrogenated oils or MSG? Get RID of them!
⁃ What is the Sodium Content of your canned goods? The average person should consume no more than 2400mg in a day – look at sodium content and portion size.

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HOW TO: Reorganize your food back into your cupboards and refrigerator.

  1. Put the healthiest items at eye level so that when you grab something its always a good option.
  2. Portion control – portion things out in advance. Prep for yourself. **Sharon says that she uses snack size baggies to measure out cereal portions and then puts the baggies back in the cereal box – GENIUS! **
  3. Use tupperware and baskets to organize your food and dry goods. An organized kitchen leads to a more awareness when eating

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Here’s an extra tip from me … keep all of your snacks (pretzels, chips, cookies, crackers) in a basket in your pantry.
This keeps bags from flopping around and looking messy BUT it also keeps you from instinctively grabbing that bag of chips when you’re hungry. If you don’t see it right away you are less likely to “just grab a few” or snack on empty processed calories rather than healthier alternatives.

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Join me for a Twitter Chat!

Balance Bar and Sharon Richter will be hosting a live, one-hour Twitter party focused on Spring Cleaning TOMORROW Thursday, March 20 at 3:00 PM EST.

Joining the Twitter party via the hashtag #SpringIntoBalance will be the most trusted natural products company, J.R. Watkins, and Balance Bar blogger ambassadors, Sweet Life Ericka, The Nutritionist Reviews, and me!.

*Balance Bar and J.R. Watkins products will also be given away to participants using the hashtag throughout the Twitter Party.

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The Heritage Jungle – Karva Chauth 2013

This may be an old school way of thinking, but I have to say that the woman of the house generally has the role of creating traditions.

As the mother and general head of the house I have been tasked with sorting through VC and I’s family’s heritage and carrying through traditions.  This is no easy task given the mix of cultures that we have come from.

VC is Filipino.  Him and his sister are the first two of his family to be born in the US, both of his brothers and his parents were born in the Philippines.  The majority of the family is in the US now and with them their have kept the Tagalog language, Filipino food and all traditions of the Filipino culture.

I am half Indian and half Scandinavian.  My dad was born and raised in India and the vast majority of his side of the family live in Mumbai and Delhi.  My mom is mainly caucasian, born in the US … her heritage is mostly Swedish with some Irish and Dutch.  I grew up in a household that evenly split the Indian and American tradition.  We celebrated the large Hindu holidays and learned about the mythology, we travelled to India we wore the clothes and we most commonly ate Indian food (my mom learned to cook it, and still does – yum!).  However we also celebrated Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, went to church almost every Sunday and were baptized.

So as you can imagine there are quite a few traditions that I need to sort through.  The G’s have a wealth of culture that will be thrown at them throughout life and I wish that I could carry all of the traditions and holidays out, but the reality is that I probably won’t and so 3 years into having my own family I am slowly making my way through the heritage jungle.

Tomorrow is one of those holidays that I haven’t celebrated in a while and think I will add back in rotation.

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It is Karva Chauth.  

Karva Chauth – ‘Chauth’ means ‘fourth day’ and ‘Karwa’ is an earther pot – symbolic of prosperity and well being. Chauth is the fourth night (day) after the Full Moon in Kartik month according to Hindu calendar. This is an occasion which pays tribute to the institution of marriage in India. Karva Chauth is predominantly observed in the north and north western parts of the country and is kept by married Hindu women. This fast is for the longevity of husband’s life and for continued marital bliss.

On this day the women get up before sunrise. They do their prayers and seek the blessings of the Gods for longevity and prosperity of their husbands and children.  The women fast through the day from before the sun rises and the fast ends only after the first sighting of the moon at night. The women do not take any food or water.

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When I was growing up my mom didn’t participate in Karva Chauth, but my paternal grandmother did.  I remember observing this holiday very closely as a child.

The women are not expected to do any work or things around the home on Karva Chauth, instead they spend the day adorning themselves.  My grandmother would have henna done, she would have her hair and nails done and would spend the day with her girlfriends primping.  They would then put on stunning Saris and lots of beautiful jewelry.   When the moon came out they would go outside with their husbands and view the moon through a veil covering their faces.  My grandfather would offer my grandmother her first sip of water for the day and make sure that she had a wonderful meal, something sweet to eat and a little gift of gratitude.

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9 years old at a puja with my Dadi

I saw it as the Indian Valentines Day.  Its a sweet sweet holiday, that symbolizes love and affection.

The first time that I kept Karva Chauth was the first year I was married.  My Grandmother called from India and told me that I had to do it, she said not participating would doom my marriage!  I don’t know how much of the superstition that I believe but when my Grandmother told me to do something I listened.  And so I fasted and that was that.

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My Dadi … wasn’t she beautiful! 

I haven’t kept the tradition since.  My grandmother has now passed away and not being told I had to made me just not do it.  Sorry Dadi.

This year I am going to get back on track.  I want G1 to see the tradition and have the same memories that I had.  But that is where it gets difficult. I am going to do a certain amount of adaptation for our lives here.  The way I see it, it is the thought into the tradition that counts.  The interpretation into our lives.  That is how I am defining tradition in this family, and I can only hope that my children will enjoy the education and culture that it brings to our lives.

My plan for tomorrow is to fast sun up to sun down, although I may have some liquids because I have a full day of training clients tomorrow … (as much as I would rather spend the day at the spa!)  I will take G1 to get our nails done, and I will dress us up in our Indian clothes for when the moon comes out.  And then I hope to I break my fast with a lovely meal … (VC are you reading?!)  Wish me luck!

How do you bring traditions to your family?  Any one out there also celebrating Karwa Chauth? 

 

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A single red rose

6 years ago today I walked through the doors of Gemma, an Italian restaurant in the Bowery Hotel downtown. I was meeting a boy. A boy that I had known 6 years prior. A boy that I had had seen once breifly in London and a second time in California. A boy that I once thought had slipped away.

That boy had found me after all that time and asked me to dinner.

When I saw him in Gemma the stars aligned. We sat at a small table, shared bites of dinner, a bottle of wine and 4 hours of conversation. I fell deeply into a place I had never been before, I knew that from that night forward my life would include him.

When I left he handed me a gift. A simply wrapped package with a pink bow. I didn’t open it in front of him, instead I hugged him goodbye and hopped in a cab. When I was safely 1 block away I ripped it open.

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A single red rose. Perfectly painted on canvas. A single red rose that will live forever.

That boy is of course now the man that I am happily married to, the single red rose is the third best gift I’ve ever received (G1, G2 take first and second) and the most surprising gift of all time.

VC, thank you for always being full of beautiful surprises.

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(the full story of how we met can be found here)

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