2017 in Review – Practicing Gratitude

2017 was SUCH a game changer in my life…there were so many milestones reached, growth opportunities fulfilled and SO many adventures executed – Here are my top 10 moments of the year!  I would definitely say 2017 has been my best year yet however I have no expectations for the future.

I want to say that 2018 will be better but I’m just going to live each day to the fullest and face whatever is in front of me.  This past January, I got a little angsty….I wanted each weekend activity packed and I was constantly searching/planning for our next international getaway.  I’m learning that you can be happy anywhere doing anything – Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a state of being 🙂

10.  Turning 30 in Las Vegas with my crew – In October, I said goodbye to my twenties!  I could write a whole novel summarizing my tumultuous decade but I’m grateful to have experienced some of my highest highs and lowest lows.  This decade was such an energetic rollercoaster, full of late night partying (early 20s..haha),  and many lessons learned.  If I had to anything differently was I would tell myself to have more confidence 🙂

Partying at the Cosmo

9.  Visiting National Parks – Pinnacles, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Channel Island  – When I travel to a new country, I tend to gravitate towards nature/culture so I wanted to mimic my preferences when exploring the USA.  Even though the USA political/social landscape is an absolute joke, nobody can deny the natural beauty of America so we wanted to take advantage through hiking.  Our experiences during our park visits have been unique and special – when we went to Pinnacles it was a 8 mile hike in 100 degree weather and Channel Island we got the chance to see whales during a boat ride!  So much diversity in the US of A.

Joshua Tree

8.  Getting a promotion at work – I am super proud to say that I was promoted again after 2 years and 9 months.  This job move was super challenging for me because I didn’t know where I wanted to be.  Each job transition since I’ve graduated college has been smooth and apparent but I was definitely at a crossroads this time.  After much consultation with my friends, my hubby, and talking with different people across my organization, I decided to take a position as a Quality Receiving Inspection Supervisor.  I currently manage over 20 people!  Nelli also got promoted and is working at a different site, I like to think that we motivate each other to be the best in our industry.  #powercouple

Work xmas party

7.  Enrolling at Crossfit and eating clean – I have been going to yoga pretty frequently but hiking national parks made me realize that I needed cardio/strength training in my life.  I also wanted to eat healthier because my total cholesterol was over 200 so I started meal prepping, eating leafy greens, all organic food (no processed), and no bad carbs i.e. white rice.   The first couple months were hard but finishing each workout was such an accomplishment –  I’m happy to say I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.

Farmers Market Haul

6.  Exploring the west coast with my hubby – Portland, Santa Barbara, LA, Palm Springs –  It has been about 6 months since the whirlwind of planning a wedding and honeymoon.  We are fortunate to have paid for our wedding ourselves and to not have gone into debt but our savings is not where I would like it to be….I am a hawk when it comes to monitoring our money!  We made the decision to keep our travel light for the rest of 2017 to prepare for the next year and it’s really given us the opportunity to see America once again in a different light.  This year we are planning to go to Seattle, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Chicago.

Portland Japanese Garden

5.  Spending 2 weeks with my family in NorCal – During the wedding, my whole family was able to spend time with me and Nelli in Northern California.  For my sister and brother, it was their first time in the area so I wanted to make it special.  I don’t think there was a town we didn’t touch: Napa, Oakland, Palo Alto, Mountain View, San Jose, San Francisco, Monterrey, Santa Cruz, Carmel/Big Sur, and Half Moon Bay…whew!  It got a little stressful for me trying to ensure they had fun, balancing work, and putting the finishing touches on the wedding but everybody had a great time.

Family Dinner in Monterrey

4.  Going to Trinidad for Carnival – You can read more about our adventure to Trinidad here….simply a trip that is once in a lifetime and we will never forget it.  We are blessed and fortunate to have a supportive, diverse group of friends that let us tag along in their home country ❤

Carnival Day 2 in Trinidad

3.  Going to San Diego for my bachelorette – I’m glad that I have such a supportive GIRL FRANDS.  I don’t want to be a married person that only hangs out with her husband (nothing wrong with it tho).  We partied in the Gaslamp District, brunched it up, ate too many tacos, and even had a smores night on the beach.  My friend Hannah planned an amazing weekend – she did so well that she’s planning another bachelorette for another one of her friends!

Brunch at Coronado Beach (San Diego)

2.  Going to Bali for our Honeymoon – You can read more about our trip to Bali here….we spared no expense for our honeymoon and it was worth every penny!  2 weeks, 3 hotels, 3 spas, 2 islands later…we didn’t leave any Bali adventure out.  It’s going to be tough to beat this trip 🙂

Prambanan in Java, Indonesia

1. Getting Married – Hands down the best decision I ever made was to ask Nelli out…putting myself out there changed the course of my life forever.  Read more about it here, here and here HAHA…cheers to 2017!

Sangeet 🙂

Ballin’ in Bali – Honeymoon time!

Top 5 things to do in Munduk and Ubud

  •  Munduk
    1. Brahmavihara Buddhist temple
    2. Stay in Munduk Moding Plantation (Villas, Spa, Coffee Plantation tour, Village bikeride)
    3. Waterfalls (Git Git and Munduk)
    4. Hindu temples (Lake Tamblingan, Ulun Danu Bratan)
    5. Lembuyang rice fields
  • Ubud
    1. Mt. Batur volcano hike
    2. Cultural Dances (Kechak at Uluwatu temple and Legong)
    3. Hindu Temples (Tanah Lot, Pura Lempuyang, Tirtha Empul Temple, Besakih Temple)
    4. Monkey Forest Temple
    5. Downtown Restaurants (Clear Cafe and Kaffe)
  • If you have time go to Java and see Borobudor Buddhist Temple!

Out of all our travels so far, going to Bali with Nelli is my absolute favorite….it was fitting that it was also for our honeymoon!  Nelli really went out of his way to ensure it was an enjoyable experience and that each of us got what we wanted out of Bali.  The above list only represents a FRACTION of what we did the two weeks we were there. We visited so many more places, temples and waterfalls but I chose my favorites above.  As you can see, we were quite busy but there was also plenty of time for relaxation (we had 3 spa sessions and stayed at the BEST hotels) which is important for me (read: spoiled).  We also got sick (as usual) so that really slowed down our days and it was nice to lounge around our villa recovering from our coughs!  Please bring A LOT of cough medicine when you travel internationally – I still haven’t learned my lesson and didn’t bring enough!  Here are some tips and tricks related to our favorite activities in Bali.

Continue reading “Ballin’ in Bali – Honeymoon time!”

Our Trip to Trinidad (The Blindian Connection)

Our experience in Trinidad was one of a kind and definitely felt like we were at home.  The beginning to our trip was a tad rocky though.  We arrived a day earlier than Phylicia so we stayed at a hotel close to downtown.  As soon as we hopped off the plane and headed for customs our jaw dropped:  the line to get out of the airport looked miles long.  We ended up staying 4 HOURS in the airport just to get through customs – very frustrating time for us and other people.  It was utter chaos: people were skipping, complaining, cutting, arguing; this debacle ended up being front page news in Trinidad next day.  Luckily, our trip only went uphill from there.

The taxi ride to our hotel was lovely, there were 2 other ladies in our car who were coming back to their homeland Trinidad and were able to give us tons of advice about where to eat close to our hotel.  Even though we were emotionally drained, our stomachs weren’t so as soon as we layed down our bags in our room we took a short 5 minute taxi ride to the street food they recommended.  We ended up getting a couple Trinidad staples (corn soup, potato pie, roti, etc) and shared it between us.  The food was delicious, veg friendly, Indian oriented and very cheap.  The next day we had breakfast and explored a little of the surrounding areas before Phylicia’s friend’s cousin picked us up.

Continue reading “Our Trip to Trinidad (The Blindian Connection)”

Top 5 things to do in Sri Lanka

My top 5 things to do:

  2. Visiting elephant orphanage
  3. Nuwara Eliya
  4. Anuradhapura
  5. Tooth Relic

After we spent a couple days in Manipal and roadtripped to Bangalore – we hopped on a flight from Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka was an absolute dream, we had a packed schedule and a driver/tour guide the whole time we were there.  One thing, I immediately learned is that even though some Sri Lankans look Indian, the small country is mostly Buddhist.  Maybe it’s just me but the countries that are mostly buddhist have the friendliest, calmest people I’ve ever encountered.  I really loved the vibe I was getting in Sri Lanka.

The moment we landed, I was struck by a blast of heat.  I had some layers on the plane so I discreetly changed in the car – I was too hot to function!  Our driver immediately took us to the Pinnewala orphanage – he wasn’t playing when he said we had a full itinerary.  I loved seeing all the elephants and we even got the chance to wash and ride one!  After the elephant ride, I had a lady accident but I tried to not let it dampen my plans.  We also visited a ayurvedic farm and I tasted the best tea I’ve ever had and got some lotion and hair stuff.  We later stopped by the Tooth Relic Temple which is apparently from Buddha.  I didn’t like the crowds there but I enjoyed these murals that depicted how the tooth traveled and ended up in Sri Lanka.  Our first night, we stayed at a fabulous hotel and thank god because that was the busiest first day I’ve ever experienced when traveling.

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2nd trip to India – Hubby’s Hometown

I have a travel rule that I never visit the same country twice (except for Costa Rica).  There are a total of 196 countries in the world and I average 2-4 country visits a year.  At this point…well you do the math…I will need to find the fountain of youth in order to accomplish my goal.

However, even if your home is 24 hours away you can’t help but go there yearly or every other year in the case of Nelli who’s hometown is in Manipal India.  I wasn’t really excited to go because we had just been there the year before and because of my on-going issues with his Mom.  In addition, my first trip to India was good but some aspects had turned me off…has there been a country that you didn’t love or is that an ungrateful or rude thing to say?  Each country brings an experience and I know I shouldn’t put my particular one experience as a view of the entire country but I just can’t help the feeling that India isn’t my dream land.  Nelli really wanted me to visit his hometown though so on the account that we would be visiting Sri Lanka as well I agreed to go.

There were a couple of roadblocks en route to going to India.  One is I learned at the last minute that we wouldn’t be traveling to Hampi.  Hampi is probably the most historic and well known tourist site in Karnataka.  I really wanted to take a day trip here but Nelli wanted to prioritize staying as much time at home so I was really bummed about that. Continue reading “2nd trip to India – Hubby’s Hometown”

An unforgettable vacation – Iceland


If you guys know me, my idea of a vacation is warm weather and a nice beach.  Nelli would always tell me that Iceland was one of his dream trips and I was dreading the day when he would inevitably book his plane ticket.  A couple months before he started planning and as usual, he was sticker shocked on the price as he started looking at airfare late.  He was disappointed and started looking at trip prices in Canada which would offer a similar experience in offering Northern Lights drives.  I knew how much he wanted to go to Iceland so going against my own pre-conceived notions, I pushed us to go to the little island somewhere near Europe.

The first stop after getting off the plane in Iceland was straight to Blue Lagoon.  I was horrified because have you seen me coming off a 7 hour international flight?  Apparently, going in the morning or right before or after a flight is common as the Blue lagoon is close to the airport and it gets REALLY crowded.  The Blue Lagoon is a must-see if you are in Iceland and I enjoyed the refreshing, hot water as well as the mud mask after a long, dry flight.

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Top 5 things to do in Costa Rica

My top 5 things to do:

  1. La Fortuna Waterfalls
  2. Arenal volcano visit
  3. Manuel Antonio National Park
  4. Cafe Britt
  5. Tortuguero National Park

This was Nelli’s 2nd time going to Costa Rica and he absolutely loves the country especially their coffee.  He actually planned his luggage around how much coffee he was going to bring back when we visited Cafe Britt.

Things I wish we had done – Because we only stayed for a short time, we definitely skimmed the surface of all Costa Rica has to offer.  I don’t usually prefer to visit countries twice because there is so much to see in the world but Costa Rica definitely warrants a 2nd time.

Continue reading “Top 5 things to do in Costa Rica”