beauty



india: part two

There are no words to describe our second day in India.

When my family came to India, we knew we wanted to see the Taj Mahal. The plan for the day was have a peaceful, relaxing drive for four hours to Agra, visit the Taj Mahal, and sleep on the four hour drive back to the hotel.

It was not very peaceful or relaxing to say the least. Everywhere I looked were petticabs that were built for three people, but filled with families of ten, children hanging out of the sides and back windows nearly falling out onto the dangerous highway. There were people riding camels. Elephants. Donkey-driven and bicycle-driven carts riding down the freeway with enormous agricultural trucks barreling down the road. Families of five riding on a single motorcycle.

These were a few of the safest guys on the freeway:

No hands!

The villages on the drive to Agra can’t be explained in words or photographs.

We finally made it to the Taj Mahal. As you’d expect, it was absolutely gorgeous, and such an incredible landmark reflecting an important part of India’s history. It reflects a beautiful love story of an emperor of India and one of his wives.

This group of tourists from rural India was so excited to see a blonde woman (my mom) at the Taj Mahal that they actually hired a professional photographer to take pictures with us!

Isn’t it beautiful?

Agra, India

How to Visit

I would highly recommend staying in Delhi and enduring the four-hour drive to Agra. While the drive is long, it gives you the opportunity to see so much more of India, and it was definitely the most meaningful portion of our time spent in India.

With that in mind, I would highly suggest making travel arrangements with the hotel for both a driver and a tour guide. The tour guide can spend the duration of the drive sharing his or her experiences in India – the culture, lifestyle, and day to day life. We loved learning about our guide’s struggles with arranged marriages, her goal to start a fashion line, and her experience at the university in India.

The tour guide will also be able to lead you through the Taj Mahal and help in purchasing tickets, the process of which can be very overwhelming!

Where to Eat

As a way to break up the long drive, I recommend stopping at the Oberoi Amarvilas, located 650 yards away from the Taj Mahal, for lunch before heading back to Delhi. The food was delicious, the air conditioning felt like heaven, and the view of the Taj Mahal didn’t hurt either!

Next Stop: Kathmandu, Nepal!



mba lesson of the week #12



india: part one

India is the second largest country in terms of population, with over 1.2 billion people.

We arrived in India at night after 24 hours of traveling. I found it funny that we flew from California over the entire United States, all the way over Europe, over the Middle East, and over a large part of Asia before finally touching down at the airport in Delhi. The airport was fit for a king – it was spotless, gorgeous, and extremely well-done – one of the nicest airports I’ve been to!

We made our way to the hotel, the Imperial India, a restored Victorian building built in the 1930s by the British. As you’d expect, it couldn’t have been more our style. We love anything British and Victorian – it was heaven! There were even portraits of Prince Charles hanging on the wall.

Once we arrived at the hotel, our first stop was the hotel’s Italian restaurant where we (predictably) ordered pizza. I don’t think they could tell we were Americans…

After our comfort food, and waking up at 3 a.m. wide awake and ready to start the day, 6 a.m. finally rolled around and the breakfast buffet opened up. Here is my all-American breakfast. I have no shame.

I think I gained about 20 pounds on this trip.

After breakfast, we danced around to some Bollywood music videos and then visited Humayun’s Tomb, which the Taj Mahal was modeled after.

We then visited the Lotus Temple and Qutub Minar. Lotus Temple is a Baha’i House of Worship, and Qutub Minar is the world’s tallest brick minaret.

The roads in Delhi were packed with little petticabs overflowing with families of ten, kids hanging out the back windows, motorbikes with families of five riding on them, donkey-pulled carts, human-pulled carts, people walking down the middle of the highway, the list goes on and on.

We crashed in our hotel room before dinnertime after a long day of sight-seeing…only to wake up again at 2 a.m. the next day. And then we were off to see the Taj Mahal!

It was an amazing day – and completely different than I had expected! I can’t even describe my gratitude for having the opportunity to visit such incredible, different countries. It is such a gift.

New Delhi, India

Where to Stay

The Imperial Hotel
The hotel is breathtaking. A big, white, Victorian-style building, the hotel is a refreshing oasis in the center of a very chaotic city. The rooms are beautifully furnished, the staff is extremely helpful and friendly, the food is delicious (and includes some of the best donuts in the world), and the hotel grounds are meticulously maintained. I have nothing but positive things to say about the Imperial!

What to Do

If traveling with a family, I would highly suggest arranging a private tour guide and car to show you around the city of Delhi. It is not a city that you could consider driving around yourself, but even more so, it is not a city that you can walk around with a family either. A private tour guide will allow you to spend the amount of time you want, at the sites you want to see, and at your own pace. My family likes to visit each site very quickly and get the general sense of the monument or attraction, but more importantly have the opportunity to talk to the tour guide about life in that culture.

Where to Eat

I recommend eating all of your meals at one of the hotel’s amazing restaurants. There is Italian food, international cuisine, and a world-renowned Indian food restaurant, the Spice Route.

Things You Should Know

Dress conservatively. As the majority of women are either covered up from head to toe or wearing traditional Indian saris, you will definitely feel more comfortable if dressed in baggy clothing with very little skin showing. I wore maxidresses during my entire stay in India, and I used a colorful shawl to cover my shoulders at times when I felt uncomfortable. Americans definitely garner a lot of attention – my mom and I were asked several times to take pictures with families (as they’d never seen a blonde girl or a girl as pale as me before!). Other times, they would very discretely (not really) pull out their cell phone cameras and take pictures of us. It was all very harmless, but it still made me feel much better that I was covered up!

Stay away from fruits, vegetables, and any potentially uncooked foods that may have been washed with dirty water or contaminated in some way. It may sound paranoid, but nearly everyone I know that has traveled to India has wound up with some kind of food poisoning. We sticked to carbs! It’s a good excuse to load up!

Be prepared for the weather. We visited India during monsoon season, which is probably not the ideal time to visit, and were met with 115 degree weather and scattered rain. An odd combination, huh? Be prepared for any type of weather the country can throw at you!



summertime adventure

My family isn’t really one to do things the normal way. We like to be different. And as my brother likes to say, we like to live on the edge.

Which is why, this summer, we decided to plan a whirlwind ten-day trip to India, Nepal, Qatar, Greece, and England.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting all about my family’s experiences in each of these places – it was a random, humorous, and a little bit bizarre vacation, but absolutely amazing! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit such incredible places, and I’d love to share them with you!

Now I am off to class for the night…summer school conveniently starts the night that we get home from our trip! Jetlagged? Very. Happy to sleep in my own bed? Words cannot describe it!

Image from Pinterest



passion



mba lesson of the week #11



sparklers

The 4th of July. What’s your favorite part? I love it all. Barbecue. Baked beans. Corn on the cob. Strawberry country cake. S’mores. Family time. Laughter. Smiles. Country music. Sparklers. Fireworks. I think I could go on forever.

This year, I’m dreaming of…


Anything sparkly. Especially these.


Fireworks on the lake. Most beautiful setting ever!

I hope all of you have an amazing 4th of July! I can’t wait to share with you my plans for the holiday!

Images taken from Pinterest.



meet riley

Meet one of the most amazing men in my life: Riley.

When I turned ten, I had an insatiable need for a little, white fluffball of a dog that I could carry around in a bag just like Elle Woods did in Legally Blonde. The second I met him, I knew I had found the one. It was love at first sight.

Now, Riley was almost a Colby. It was quite the decision. You see, I always loved the name Riley – not only was the name occupied by a cute boy in my fourth grade class, but there is also a TV show called The Life of Riley. Buttttt, the year I began the adoption process, Colby Donaldson won Survivor, which happened to be my all-time favorite TV show at the time. I had a huge crush on Colby. This complicated things.

After much contemplation, my heart told me this little white fluffball was a Riley.


It fits perfect.

He has dog birthday parties.

He sleeps in a little canopy-covered crate in my room.

I think I may have an unnatural obsession/adoration/love for my little boy. Isn’t he the cutest?



it’s so fluffy

So this weekend I went to the county fair…and I just HAD to show you a few pictures of the cutest, fluffiest animals I have ever seen.


Too cute? Try this one.


It was love at first sight with this one. I realized that my love for this furry, ragamuffin rabbit is its strong resemblance to my own furry, ragamuffin four-pound dog, Riley. I’ll devote a post to him sometime soon!

Now one of my favorite movie quotes is “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die” – yes, this quote is from Despicable Me. While I have yet to partake in all of its glory, I have seen the trailer maybe one hundred times, and thought this quote was very fitting for the bunnies at the fair. Hence the title of this post.

My friends observed that every time I saw a fluffy, miniature, or disfigured animal, my eyes would widen and glisten with an extreme urge to grab the animal, sprint to my car, and then promptly take it home to pamper it for the rest of its life.

They were a little bit scared to say the least.

I so badly wanted to adopt this baby piglet. Just like Wilbur.

Sidenote: Since reading Charlotte’s Web in 1st grade, I have yet to have a single bite of pork…that means bacon, sausage, ham, anything that could have come from Wilbur. I was an extreme little 6-year-old!

The rest of the weekend was spent on the boat with my family. I am finally starting to lose my zombie-like, transparent skin color!


I am trying to become a better photographer like all of you lovely ladies! So I will be taking lots of pictures of all my adventures from here on out.


I love little duck families!


I spent about 20 minutes while we were docked on shore taking pictures of these rocks. I was infatuated.

Thank you all so much for all of your sweet comments and for becoming my Google Friends! I can’t tell you how much this blogging community means to me – you are all amazing!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

xoxo



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