3 Things Thursday

Today I’m sharing some of the things that have happened in my world this week in an instalment of 3 Things Thursday, part of a weekly link up with Salma at The Write Balance, Raj at Pink Chai Living, and Nisha at Love Laugh Mirch.

I love the idea of a weekly check in or roundup, as it really allows you to reflect on what was important or exciting every week! Sometimes it feels like the week just flies by, so this is a great way to reflect while sharing.  Continue reading


Challenge Accepted!

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” – Fred DeVito

While this blog has been relatively quiet recently, I’ve decided that there is no better day to change that than today.  There is also no better way to start that change than with a challenge!

For the next two weeks I will be in the company of some other wonderful South Asian bloggers in a blog challenge organized by South Asian Bloggers Network (SABN) founders Salma of The Write Balance and Raj of Pink Chai Living. Along with Salma and Raj, I will also be joined by:

Sarah at Flour & Spice
Mezba Ma at A Bengali in TO
Ayesha at Live Glam Edit
Ananya at Ananya Tales
Radhika at Ms Chutzpah
Sarita at It’s My Girls’ World
Tazim at Being Tazim

Every weekday for the next two weeks, we will all be posting on our blogs as part of this challenge. I hope that you’ll follow along, explore all the blogs, and hopefully enjoy the posts that we put out there for you to read!

Can You Do the Monkido too?

group shot

Photo Credit: Christine Guillen Ferreira

A few weeks ago I joined a group of lucky YVR Bloggers that were invited for a treetop adventure at Wild Play Element Parks in Maple Ridge.  Never heard of Wild Play? Imagine a beautiful forested area with plenty of tall trees.  Now imagine the trees as a maze, connected with games, obstacles and zip lines, with you be in this adventure! If you think this sounds like a thrill, you’re spot on.

Wild Play Element Parks are located in five different cities: Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Victoria, Kelowna, Mt. Sima (in the Yukon), and Wood Buffalo.  Each park is a little different in how they are set up and what they offer.  At the Maple Ridge location, visitors are able to complete the Monkido (think of a jazzed up way of saying “monkey do”) tree top obstacle course and do the WTF (What’s To Fear) Jump. The Monkido course consists of zip lines, rope swings, wobbly bridges, tight ropes, and other obstacle I can’t even name!


When I first got to Wild Play, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was a bit nervous about the thought of not being able to have the strength to complete even one leg of the four-leg Monkido course. Memories of the rope in grade 5 gym class came back to me and I visualized standing at the bottom of this rope not sure quite what to do.  Lucky for me, that is not really what Monkido is about.  The first part of this adventure was getting outfitted with our “monkey pants” and some hands-on training where our helpful ground guide Isaac showed us what basic safety rules we needed to keep in mind at all times.  It’s important to note that Wild Play has made this training visual (“monkey see, monkey do”), not verbal, so anyone can look and understand.  This is great for those who are hard of hearing or ESL, as language is not a barrier.  In order to pass the training and begin the Monkido course, all participants must complete a small training course that’s just a few feet off the ground.

Getting my "monkey pants" on!  Helping me out was the incomparable Wendy Mein - such a great leader who gave me wonderful encouragement when I was stuck at one point!

Getting my “monkey pants” on! Helping me out was the incomparable Wendy Mein – such a great leader who gave me wonderful encouragement when I was stuck at one point!


Visual “Monkey See, Monkey Do” training with our helpful guide, Isaac. Photo Credit: James Chung at http://www.hellovancity.com

Once done the training, we all headed to the start of the Monkido course.  Much like ski slopes, the Monkido course is colour-coded (green, blue, red, and black) with difficulty increasing as you go on. I knew I wanted to complete the green and blue courses and hoped I’d complete red.  As soon as you get out on the course, you get right into guiding yourself, walking on tight-ropes, and zip lining to the next section.  There are first-aid certified guides on the ground, watching to make sure everyone is being safe and aware of their surroundings as well as to help people as needed.

Talk about an immediate adrenaline rush once you get up there! You don’t start off that high, but all the obstacles keep the course feeling like an amazing adventure and you slowly work your way higher into the trees.  Also, the fact that the course is self-guided makes it feel riskier and more exciting.  Take, for example, zip lining.  I had zip-lined once previously, and that time we had numerous guides helping us and securing us.  With the Monkido course, you are the one doing all the work, so you realize you need to be both cautious and aware while having this adventure.


Photo Credit: James Chung at http://www.hellovancity.com


Photo Credit: James Chung at http://www.hellovancity.com

While some parts of the course are physically challenging, others are a bit scary, and others are just fun.  It’s a great mix of all three elements, which makes for an interesting course.  At the end of each level you have an option to exit, but you must complete each leg that you are on.  In other words, there’s no escape route halfway between levels, although there is always help available to those who feel stuck.  And if you really get stuck, not to worry, because the staff is well-trained in performing rescues to those who need it!  I got a bit stuck at one point and realized I didn’t know the best way to get across the obstacle.  There I was, right in the middle of this series of swinging logs, realizing that I had started off on these logs in completely the wrong way, having started off with way too much momentum.  The guides were awesome (thank you Wendy!), and the manager talked me through the best way to complete the obstacle and provided me with the encouragement I needed to finish that obstacle!

In the end, I was able to complete the green, blue, and red levels.  I opted to exit at the end of red because I found that the first three levels were such a full-body workout that I was totally exhausted.  I would definitely love to come back and attempt to complete the whole thing another time.

After you complete the course, you have the option to do the WTF (What’s To Fear) Jump.  I didn’t do the jump, but some of my fellow YVR Bloggers did, and they said it was a fun thrill.  The WTF Jump is a bungee jump from atop of a 12 metre high platform in a tree, and can be done at the end of the Monkido course or on its own, without completing the course.

One of my fellow YVR Bloggers about to do the WTF Jump. Photo Credit: James Chung at www.hellovancity.com

One of my fellow YVR Bloggers about to do the WTF Jump.
Photo Credit: James Chung at http://www.hellovancity.com

My experience at Wild Play was definitely memorable.  I had a great time, challenged myself, made some new friends, and had a whole lot of fun.  I can’t wait until I can come back again.  Hmmm, who knows? Perhaps I’ll set a new record time to complete the course!

The bottom line:

Where is it?: 23485 Fern Crescent, Maple Ridge, BC

How much is it?: Monkido: Classic – $42.99, Buddy – $35.99 each, and Kids – $22.99 WTF Jump: Single jump – $19.99, Add-on – $14.99

What are their hours?: Changes seasonally.  For September they are open Thursday & Friday from 12 to 4 and Saturday & Sunday from 10 to 4.  Wild Play Maple Ridge closes on November 2.  Check the website for more detailed info.

What should I bring?: A water bottle, change for a locker, a small wallet, a snack for post-Monkido, and possibly a camera if you aren’t worried about the possibility of dropping it!  Make sure to wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing, good shoes, and, if you can, a small fanny pack like this one.  You won’t be able to wear a backpack or purse while doing the course, so don’t plan on taking a lot of stuff with you!

Who is this good for?: Anyone, 7 and older! Wild Play offers a kids course, a partnered course, and the adult Monkido course.

Portland Children’s Museum

When in Portland...

Last weekend Arun, Little Bear, Arun’s parents and I all drove south to Portland for a long weekend away from the city.  We explored downtown, did a bit of outlet shopping, and checked out the Portland Children’s Museum in Washington Park.

When we were researching what to do in Portland, we came across a few options that we thought Little Bear would like.  One was the zoo, which is also located in Washington Park, next to the Children’s Museum and the Discovery Museum & World Forestry Centre.  We ultimately decided against going to the zoo because of the allegations of abuse against the elephants there.  We’re total animal lovers, and I’m sure Little Bear would have loved seeing the animals, but we just weren’t comfortable going there.

Choosing the Children’s Museum over the zoo was not a mistake at all! I know that if I lived in Portland, I would definitely buy a family membership to the museum.  If you have never been to a children’s museum, think of it as learning through play at its best. Continue reading

Extreme Home Makeover: Real Life Edition


It was a Wednesday.  I was sitting down, drinking a cup of coffee, and reading the newspaper.  Little Bear was quietly working on a 200 piece puzzle of the Eiffel Tower.  A knock on the door.  I opened it, and to my amazement it was Ty Pennington, host of the reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! I’m writing this from a patio while having a pedicure in Whistler as the Extreme Makeover team works their magic on our house.

Yep, it happened.

Well, I did drink a cup of coffee on Wednesday.  Didn’t read a newspaper, but I did throw a newspaper into a tower of newspapers, all untouched, leaning precariously over Ziggy at the moment.  Oh, and Little Bear grabbed a wooden puzzle, but all the pieces were soon flung under the couch.

Real life is not like reality TV.  No one is about to whisk me off so that they can perform a major overhaul on my house. The downside is it takes a heck of a lot longer, but the upside is I don’t end up with a theatre room that plays Caillou on loop for hours.

When we first moved into our place in 2009, we wanted to the house to be warm and comfy.  We decided the best way to start was to tackle the floors and the paint.  For the paint, we chose a beautiful brown tone, envisioning how great it would look up on the walls.

TIP #1: Test out your paint before you commit!

We were wrong.  Although I now refer to the colour as “poop brown,” it wasn’t about the actual colour.  It was the colour in our room.  It closed it up, darkened it, and did nothing to make the room feel warm and comfy. Worsening the problem is the lack of light we have in our house.

TIP #2: Think about lighting.

We have a large window in the front living room, but there is very little installed lighting.  Living in grey and rainy Vancouver, it is important to have good lighting or at least a room that will reflect any natural light coming in.  The lighting is still an issue that we are working on!

TIP #3: Set your priorities.

This time round, we knew we wanted our paint to reflect whatever light we do have at this stage.  We also knew we didn’t want a stark white, but we wanted a neutral.  Our paint this time needed to be something that opened our space up.

TIP#4: Narrow your search.

My first step was obviously Pinterest.  I spent some time (aka TOO LONG) sorting through rooms and atmospheres that spoke to me.  Then I started out by sorting my way through paint chips at the local hardware stores.  After going to a few different stores, I had an assortment of chips.  As soon as I brought most of these home, it was clear to see that they weren’t going to work.

TIP #5: Check your undertones.

The lighting in Home Depot is probably better than the lighting at my house.  And while that’s no exaggeration, that’s also exactly the point. Bring the paint chips home even before you test out the paint and see what it looks like in your space.  You’ll notice the undertones will stand out in different ways than they did in the store. And it’s not just because of the lighting.  Your furniture, curtains, accessories – everything plays a part! Check out this great post by designer (and colour expert!) Maria Killam for more information on undertones.

Those paint chips can be so small though…if you’re having trouble figuring out the undertones of a particular paint colour, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Less reliable: Google (or Pinterest) will usually give you the answer.  Just type in the name of the paint and “undertones” and it should come up
  • More reliable: Head to your local hardware/paint store and an associate there should be able to quickly and easily look up the paint in question and tell you exactly what colours go into the paint!

TIP #6: Preparation is 80% of the work.

We had some work done on our house last year and I noticed that when the painter said the job would take one day, he spent 6 out of 8 of those hours prepping.  Cleaning the walls, spackling, taping, and edging the paint took the most time.  Then when all of that was done, he would bang out the paint and before I knew it he was done.  Don’t underestimate how much time all those “small things” can take.  They may seem minute, but they determine your success in painting!

TIP #7: Have fun.

I am still astounded it took us 5 years to gather the courage to change the wall colours, which we were never happy with! We did it in the end though.  It wasn’t scary or stressful and no tears were shed.  I was even able to do it was giant mosquito (?) welts on my legs!  A few gallons of paint, one large pizza, good music and great company was all it took.


What we started with:

“Poop Brown”: not necessarily the worst colour in the world, but definitely darkened the space too much for our liking.

paint before

The inspiration:paint before


What we ended with: a beautiful, airy, blank canvas.  Looks more beige in some lights and more grey in others.  Perfection!


Benjamin Moore, Edgecomb Gray

paint after

This change in colour is exactly what we needed.  More change to come…!


Ich Liebe Dich

Ich liebe dich. I love you.

Really, I do.  I’m not just saying that because I was nominated for the Liebster Award…


As you might gather from reading the small print on the badge above, the Liebster  Award is given to bloggers by bloggers, and it is a way to spread the love and help people discover new blogs.

Continue reading

Malala: Just One Voice

malala day

Malala Yousafzai is a young woman who needs no introduction.  Known by most simply as Malala, she has entered the realm of single-namedom, not by donning provocative clothes like Madonna or by adopting a catchy stage name.  She is Malala because there is no confusing her with any other person alive today.  Today (July 12) may be her 17th birthday, but the strength, wisdom, and courage that this young woman has is not matched by any man, woman or child out there.

It has been almost two years since Malala was shot three times by the Taliban in Pakistan.  And why was one of the world’s most notorious militant groups after a 15 year old?  Because they could see the willingness she had to stand up against their rule and fight for her right to an education – an idea that her father had encouraged in her. Malala, a young girl with a voice, scared the Taliban, and they wanted her gone.

Malala survived and has gone on to speak for the rights of girls all around the world, calling on those in power to make education available to both girls and boys.  To name just a few of her achievements, she has spoken in front of the UN, been given honourary degrees, has written a book, and is the voice, name and face behind The Malala Fund.

But Malala is not the only one.  We cannot forget about the other Malalas around the world.  The girls that have no opportunities to gain a basic education and the girls who, unlike Malala, have no father encouraging them to fight for what is a basic right.  We need to fight for them, to empower them, and most importantly, to never forget about them.

On July 14, 2014, the UN Global Education First Initiative is celebrating Malala Day – a day to fight for equal education for all. On this day Malala is encouraging you to use the hashtag #StrongerThan to show the strength that we have in fighting as a group for education rights. Let’s help
Malala make this campaign go viral and draw attention to the girls around the world without a basic education. That lack of education is a force of oppression for all those girls. Let’s change the situation and in doing so, change the way the world is run. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”