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Trip to Amsterdam

Pedestrian friendly sidewalks, delicious food from around the world, courteous tram staff, teenagers who get in the photo with you, humorous TSA agens, a true melting pot of people who take the time to talk to you… Sounds familiar? No? Let me take you on a trip to AMSTERDAM – The City of Canals.


Loved this neighborhood.

This trip came at a time when I was so stressed that I could barely breathe. A long weekend with my best friend who was also going through a rough time, was just the answer. Despite the cold weather, we enjoyed every single moment and can’t wait to show it all to you.

We rented a cute apartment in a residential neighborhood which was a quick 15 minute walk from most sites. It was safe, comfortable and despite the tiny bedrooms and bathroom, was the perfect home away from home.

While I reached early morning, via an almost red-eye flight from Boston, my friend Sumita was a short 40 mins flight away from AMS. So I took the few hours I had in the morning to take a short nap, shower and get ready for DAY 1.

Thanks to Google Maps, and a handy itinerary my Sister in Law Aditi made for us, we kind of knew what we wanted to do. We started the day with a walk to Ruksmuseum and explored for a couple of hours. It was really windy and cold outside so the museum offered much needed warmth and respite.

We had lunch at this amazing hole in the wall Indonesian restaurant. We were told to try Indonesian food in Amsterdam and we were not disappointed!

Warung Spang Makandra


We bought ourselves a 48 hour tram pass and just started exploring. This city is so public transit friendly it is amazing. We had to stop and take so many photos with all the canals on our way. It is absolutely breathtaking.


We walked to the City Center and stopped for some beer tasting and their famous fries with mayo!

We did some souvenir shopping, bought some wine, cheese and fruit and decided to have an early dinner at the apartment and call it a night. We did 20,000 steps that day!

Day 2

I slept for NINE whole hours! Boy it felt great.

We kept the morning relaxed to just hang out and catch up. We hadn’t seen each other in 2 years! We are both breakfast people so we decided to check out Omelegg – Another highly reviewed place just minutes away from our Air BnB. You guys the eggs were so fluffy and they came with a salad. Unlike the greasy fries we are used to. OMG!


Amsterdam is so pretty and is best seen on foot so we decided to walk and explore some more before our Canal Tour.

In the Canal Tour, we almost dozed off – not because it was boring but because it was so peaceful. Gosh this city is amazing. Check out this view where you can almost see all 7 arches. Count….



You’ll think it was a food trip (well it almost was) because I am now going to tell you about the most amazing dinner we had that day. The Indonesian Rice Table. It is basically their take on tapas. An aluminium makeshift table with a few tea lights is put on our table with 8 different curries/salads/dishes to try with rice. Absolutely heavenly! If you have an Indonesian restaurant close to where you are, definitely give this a try. And ours was vegetarian too!

Next up  – The Flower Market! how perfect is my outfit right?





You guys it was time for … THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT TOUR. We were a little skeptical at first but talking Jodi and Markita at PR Weekend convinced me that this will be safe and very informative and I am SO Glad we did the tour. There were about 15 people plus the guide and we walked to the Red Light District which also happens to be the oldest part of Amsterdam. And being the history buff that I am, I was completely immersed. This is one of the two remaining houses in Amsterdam which has a wood foundation. You can see that its all kinds of warped. But charming.


Not just about the red-light, our guide gave us a short history lesson and it was absolutely fascinating how AMS being one of the largest trading ports led to the bustling red-light district. It was also very safe! Our tour was a 3 hour walking tour where we passed all kinds of “windows” , houses, even an old church.


It was good to hear that the women are protected and it is very safe and organized. Definitely not cheesy but eye-opening and informative. For privacy reasons we weren’t allowed to take photos  so here’s one with closed shades.


The “Window”

Friday was a really step-heavy day for both of us so we left the tour a little early and decided to call it a night!

Day 3

Our last day in Amsterdam 😦 so we decided to make the most of it. As luck would have it, the sun came out and we decided to explore all the outdoor markets today. We started our morning in the Jordaan neighborhood which was absolutely breathtaking. We took lots of photos!



At the Noordemarket Sumita and  I bought amazing artwork from a lady from Mozambique. I am having a hell of a time trying to figure out how to frame it 😦


There wasn’t any fabric at the Noordemarket so we asked a few locals and ended up at the Albert Cryp Market which was FANTASTIC! We are both not big shoppers but we enjoyed looking at all that this market had to offer. And then I spotted some fabric stores and there goes an hour 😉

Lunch was at this Ramen Noodle (sounds crazy but it was delicious) bar where I literally wanted to bathe in that broth 😉 Topped with so many delicious veggies. I washed it all down with Kirin beer and we were ready to walk some more.


Gosh, by the end of it, my back was really hurting so we decided to slowly back to the apartment for a little R&R. but not before I spotted a bookstore and got myself two sewing magazines 🙂 God bless my friend for giving in to my whims. She is my bestie for a reason.

I am having a hard time coming up with words to sum up this Amsterdam trip with Sumita. It was so much more than a sightseeing trip. It was a detox for my soul, my mind and my body in the company of someone who just gets me. It was accompanied by zero judgement, plenty of hugs and kisses and even some tears. But isn’t that what life is worth living for?



And as I always say, when a vacation ends, the best part about that is, you get to come HOME!

In closing, I will leave you with this gem 😉

Montreal , Canada – Jazz, Sewing and More…


Ah Montreal… my love. You are such a tease. So close and yet so far.

It is where I discovered the first underground mall, and the loveliest of gardens. The fries covered with cheese and gravy – so gross and yet so delicious. The charm of your old city and the lovely people keeps drawing me to you and I keep going back again and again. And to honor you, I even dressed in your colors to celebrate Canada Day!       canadaday

You made me so happy in my recent trip that you inspired me to blog about my travels again! So thank you Montreal for a lovely weekend amidst Jazz and Sewing Friends and Gardens and Yummy Food.

This was not our first time in Montreal. Just for kicks I dug out a photo from 14 years ago which was indeed our first time in this city.


This was our 5th but Dia’s first and this time we just decided to “hang out” and relax. We weren’t interested in doing any touristy things and that’s what was different this time I think. Coincidentally the International Jazz Festival was also going on so that added to the fun. Oh and if you’re driving to Montreal and Grantham NH is on your way, you HAVE to stop at Farmer’s Table Cafe for a wood fired Pizza! SOO good. What did we ever do without yelp? Beats me.


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On our first day there, we took Uber to The Botanical Gardens where we soaked in the natural beauty. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it. Especially if you have kids. Its a great way to educate them about nature. Dia was completely fascinated by it. The orchid section was my favorite as was the bromeliads! Look… a flower growing in a flower!



Yes, Dia and I are wearing matching dress. Made by me of course! ( like you even needed to ask). This is my first time in public wearing matchy matchy and it won’t be the last. Thanks to dinagideon for encouraging me!

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From there we walked to the rose garden and then the Insectarium where Dia and Gagan really had fun. I was mostly taking pictures. I’m sorry but insects don’t float my boat 🙂

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Dia was a trooper. She walked so much that day.. so I let her have ice-cream for lunch 🙂 We just ate at the cafe (meh.. )

IMG_0183and headed back to St. Catherine for some Jazz Fest Fun. We took the metro back. I love taking public transport wherever I can and I guess when you’re a 4 year old, everything is fun. Dia enjoyed the train ride.


Back Downtown, we spotted a fountain and there was no going back. Lack of bathing suit didn’t deter this girl from having the most fun! Gagan and I sat on the steps listened to jazz (playing nearby) and it was one of the best afternoons ever.


Back at the hotel, Gagan and Dia hung out at the pool while I freshened up. We went out to this vegan place La Panthere for dinner which was just ok. Why do all the vegan places smell the same? You know the “crunchy granola” type smell. Anyway… I am not a big fan of fusion cooking so whatever… Dinner was so.. so but I was craving crepe for dessert. Luckily we’re in Montreal so that’s not a problem. We had the best nutella and banana crepe at this little hole in the wall place on St. Catherine. I forget the name. Except that it was heavenly. Ok I found it. Paris Crepe. And its actually on St. Crescent.

Day 2: We took it easy, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at our hotel. Why do croissants taste so good in Montreal? Must be the butter 😉


By the time we reached Jean Talon it was nearly lunch so we walked around eating lots of fruit samples, bought a bunch of cherries and strawberries and blueberry juice to quench our thirst and had the best buckwheat crepe of my life. I had remembered this crepe from 5 years ago when I was in Montreal last for PR weekend. And decided to re-live it. Dia loved it so much that we had to get her her own – with cheese. Its like Dosa mom! Yes it was. So yummy and delicious. Note to self – try at home. Creperie Du Marche

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This balloon spiderman lasted all of 5 minutes sadly… but it was fun while he was with us.


From there, Gagan took Dia back to the hotel to hang out at the pool while I met up with some fabulous sewing friends and had another memorable evening! One of the best perks of starting and running PatternReview is the lovely people it connects me to, and I feel grateful for that.

I met up with Anne-Marie on St. Hubert and even managed to do a little fabric shopping at Tissue Marina (full review on PatternReview). From there I took another Uber to Gainzbar with Heather where we met up with about 15 other Canada sewing friends from PatternReview and blogging community.


I have this annoying habit of getting photos taken in the same spot if I’ve been there before. This is in front of UltraTex.


And this is from 5 years ago at PR Weekend Montreal 🙂


Left to Right… Anne-Marie, Me, Rhonda (in the back), Carmen (in front) and Kay

Time flies when  you’re having fun doesn’t it? I relived some old memories and definitely made a few new ones. I had asked for a source for African Wax Print fabric before our meet up and ReneeB and Caroline gifted me some! Monseratt showed us how to needle a thread the way her granddad showed her and it is a life changer. Here’s a video I took of her showing it to us.

I missed Renee(miss celie’s pants) just by a day. Darn it. She blogged about her trip here. I also finally got a chance to meet Carmen Bouchard. And she is as lovely in person as she is online. What a small world we live in!


Gagan and Dia were having a blast in the hotel so I decided to stay for dinner. Heather recommended this el salvadorian place for pupusas  and Vicki was kind enough to drive us there in her car. The food was to die for! I ate a LOT!

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The late night commute back to the hotel was enjoyable because Caroline and Claire accompanied me. We talked about schools and retirement and sewing and how to get the best view of the city 🙂 Which we tried out the next day at Mont Royal Park.


We drove there on our way out from the hotel and checked out the lake before driving up to the highest point where there was a short hike up the mountain. It was really lovely and the view was terrific!

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And because we’re foodies and I started the post with food, I feel obligated to end with food also. If you are in Montreal and are vegetarian, you must go out of your way to eat at-least one meal at Lola Rosa We ate at Rue Milton so can’t say about their other location. But hands down the best burrito ever! and I don’t even like burritos.


Drive back was uneventful and except for the 1.5 hour delay at the border we didn’t hit any traffic.

You want to know the best part about traveling? You get to come home with a lifetime of memories! And that night as lie down in your own bed, don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t fall asleep. You are after all still mentally in Montreal  🙂

In Just One Day…

In the midst of a chilly spring,
despite the weatherman’s best predictions…


If you’re willing,
and you have faith,
and good company,



There comes a DAY, so PERFECT, a TOWN so picturesque

Where everything is magical.
Where you make friends on a busy street.

Find treasures where you least expect

Shop for trinkets with a good friend

Even the Pizza is out of this world!

And that perfect scoop of ice-cream

You even learn a new sport


Enjoy a warm embrace






You even find time to reflect

And then, a winding road leads you to a perfect beach where the breeze is so good…




And the sun warms your soul and puts a smile on your face.

You feel you’ve lived a lifetime in


5.25.2014 was one SUCH Day.

Years from now when I look at these photos and read this, it will remind me of this special day I spent in the magical town of Newburyport!



Our Bermuda Vacation

We love to travel. Always have. We find places which are off the beaten path. Love to sample local foods. We even attempt speaking foreign languages but most of all we love to  meet people on our vacations.  Most of our vacations are about exploring and adventure. ( I really should write about the time in Chile  when we got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere… TWICE! )

Post baby, our vacations are a little bit different. Don’t get me wrong, we still explore and do some adventures (we hiked the Torres Del Paine , Chile with a 11 month old on our backs)  but we’ve also learned to relax a bit.

Why haven’t I blogged about our Chile and Paris trip (last 2 years)? Maybe it’s time or maybe I’ve become lazy. I am going with the former 🙂

Anyway, this year we decided to go someplace close (Bermuda is only a 2 hour flight from Boston!). We spent 4 days there and came back totally relaxed. I’ll let the pictures do the talking… (Okay Okay I admit I am lazy!) Check it out will you?


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A new pattern company – ooh la la!

Just before we were about to leave for Martha’s Vineyard, I received a package containing two new patterns which I’d been lusting after for a long time!


And pretty they sure are! I ordered the Belladone Dress because I love the back cut out and streamlined skirt of the dress and the Blouse Datura. I can see myself using up a lot of the cottons I have left over from making things for Dia. I didn’t blog about it but last year we went to Paris and what can I say. I am in LOVE! I love all things french now 🙂  Ok back to Deer & Doe.

So last night  I traced off Datura and I even have the perfect fabric for it. I got this hand block printed fabric (all vegetable dyes!  ) from India years ago. It’s the softest cotton ever. I have used a similar fabric in this top and I wear it all.the.time.

Colette Sencha

But, I needed a contrast fabric so I decided to check out my local fabric store – Quilter’s Way, right here in my town and right next door to a knitting store and a kitchen store. See where I am going with this… Yup, I came back home with a lot more stuff than I needed 🙂

I picked up these two basic cottons. Actually the maroon is quite cool with a slight tone on tone print.  Donna, at the store was super helpful and I was able to find just the right fabrics.

Check it out. I am making the peter pan collar version. Black or Brown? Not sure…


Most of my fabric still comes from online stores but I sure am grateful for Quilter’s Way.  The quilting manufacturers have actually started making really nice apparel quality fabrics and the prints are breathtaking. I’ve been using quite a few for Dia and starting to use for my clothing as well. Here are some photos I took there. I’ll write a full review on PatternReview soon too. Aren’t you dying for those polka dots? I AM!


Oh and Martha’s Vineyard, it was a blast. A perfect day! And this is one of the reasons I will never move  🙂


Dia is a Jet Setter!

While Gagan was away for a couple weeks, I decided to brave a cross country trip alone with Dia to visit my cousin- Niti and her family. Mother’s mother is called “Mausi” in Hindi. Oh yeah, we have different names for each relation. And they are different if they are from father’s said. For example, Father’s sister is called “Bua”. That’s your lesson for today. Moving on…

So I was a tiny bit concerned on flying with her alone now that she is a little mobile. But all my worries went away when I entered the plane. Dia loved it! She was happily sitting in my lap strapped to mommy in her sling. We had a 1.5 hour layover in Atlanta which was just enough time to go from one terminal to the other and exchange my window seat for an aisle.

Once there, Dia loved all the attention she was getting from her Mausi and her cousins. My 9 year old Niece went crazy! She was like a mini mom to Dia. The second day, we were there, I was actually able to leave Dia with Niti and went out for a little bit with my Niece and Nephew.


Did I mention that I love girls and girlie girl things? Anusha, my niece had been saving this bead making kit to make with me. And we did. It was so much fun. A quick trip to Michaels and somehow we ended up with more beads than she ever needs 🙂 But at least she will have an endless supply of bracelets.


Day 3 was baking with Mausi day! We donned our aprons and baked chocolate chip cookies. YUM! Here’s my go to recipe for triple chocolate cookies.



Day 4 we spent the day in San Francisco! One of my favorite cities in the whole world. Did I mention that in my previous life I wanted to be an Architect and this my friends is the city made for them. I was so mesmerized by the little houses with cute porches that I even forgot to take pictures.

We did some touristy things..
With my niece

The Golden Gate Bridge…


Hung out at the Pier

And Of course had the famous Sourdough soup bowl.

sourdough bowl

At home with Niti and the kids, Dia loved swinging in her backyard. And we loved it so much that we locked ourselves out. OKAY, I admit, I locked us out. God bless my Brother in law who came to rescue us with his key. Oh well… they don’t call me absent minded for nothing 🙂


On our last day with Niti, Dia started crawling! We even caught it on video.

Little munchkin had jetlag! It was too cute. On our ride back home, Dia slept throughout! Me, I kept my eyes closed trying to lock in the wonderful memories from our first trip together as a Mother and Daughter. Memories so beautiful, that years later when you close your eyes again, you are taken right back to the west coast, in the valley, at the foothill of the spectacular mountains.

Back home in New England – Home sweet home, we both crashed for 10 hours!

More Pictures from our California Trip

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