Tag Archives: friends

What a weekend

Remember when I was so ridiculously busy the month of March and had something going on every single weekend? It seems like May is about to become like that for me! However, I’m more in control of all the things happening this month, which is always better than just having things scheduled for you.

This past weekend flew by and it was so jam-packed busy, at times I felt like I couldn’t breathe! But it was also a super fun weekend!

On Friday I went over to my friend Amber’s house. Her hubby is in Oregon visiting his family, so she was on her own and wanted some company. I told her we should have a slumber party and that’s exactly what we did.

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Things I learned:

  • Centipedes are absolutely disgusting and can be disposed of by: screaming, using a drumstick, continued screaming, a coaster, heavy objects and wishing a man was there to kill it instead.
  • A spider can be scared off by screaming
  • Bugs are gross. Full stop.
  • The Arbazons are quite possibly the most badass band around.
  • Only Geddy Lee can sing like Geddy Lee
  • Only Alanis Morrisette can sing like Alanis Morrisette
  • Rock Band and 2 1/2 bottles of wine produce some ridiculous Vine videos
  • I have some of the best friends I could ever ask for


On Saturday Amber made me pancakes. No joke. And they were legit pancakes. It was so very needed after the intoxicated night before and was just the thing I needed before a morning of shopping at Nordstrom Rack.


I’m officially in love with that store. I found the cutest pair of Enzo Angiolini nude pumps to help dress up my look for REB’s grandfather’s 89th birthday shin dig on Sunday!

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I’m always iffy about pumps because I’m not a big heel person. However, these were not only comfortable but they made my usual chicken legs look kind of decent, which had me excited. The party was fun! I always love seeing REB’s family and catching up with everyone.

Other fun this weekend included photographing a high school senior! I was so glad the weather cooperated with us since we did all the photos outside in a park and then in the city. I was able to provide some accessories for the spunky 18-year-old gal, which she rocked completely. I started editing a few pictures over the weekend and seriously can’t wait to share them with all of you!!

All in all it was a super fun weekend and I’m ready for a busy week ahead! Hoping to get a lot of stuff done at work, clean the house, go on a few runs and bike rides, enjoy the sunshine, doing the Color Run this weekend, and spending Mother’s Day with mi madre!

I hope you all have a fantastic week! <3

What was the highlight of your weekend?



Lentil Chili


One my best friends, Allison, lives 752 miles away in Oxford, MS (home of Ole Miss, the Manning’s and my Rebels. Hotty Toddy!). She and I have been friends since we were 12 years old when training bras were a big deal, school supplies translated to Lisa Frank, three-way calling was the “in” thing,  and our crushes on boys only lasted one week.

I hate that she lives so far away! It’s pretty dumb. Then again, she probably thinks it’s pretty dumb I chose to live in a state shaped like a mitten where it gets colder than ever, while she gets to maintain a garden in February like it’s no big deal – pretty badass if you ask me.


The point is, she’s one of my rocks. I talk to her every. single. day. You heard that right.

Friends are essential. Especially ones you’ve known more than half your life. I was in her wedding, she was in mine. She’s heard me cry, I’ve heard her cry. She’s vented to me about what upsets her and I’ve vented to her (sometimes multiple times a day) about what’s bothering me.


One thing she and I definitely do is exchange recipes. We’re both big foodies and literally spend hours talking about food, coming up with recipes, giving each other tips or suggestions on how to alter a recipe, what flavors would work and more. We’ve even thought about starting a blog together. She’s all classic-southern-comfort-cooking-but-also-healthy-ethnic-dish (or feasts as I call ‘em) gal, and I’ve got the vegetarian-health-nut-freak-thing on my end. Together, our kitchens are unstoppable!

So this lentil chili was born as a result of one of our chats. It’s her lentil soup recipe and my vegetarian chili recipe. Together they’re married in soup harmony. Equal soup rights, y’all. Support it.


It turned out boss, and made enough to feed an army. And if I could, I’d fly her up here to eat it with me. Then we could laugh, eat good soup together, talk for hours and it wouldn’t seem like she’s 752 miles away.

Lentil Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
My best friends lentil soup recipe combined with my vegetarian chili recipe. Together, it’s an unstoppable force of flavor.
Recipe type: Chili, Soups
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-10
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 15-oz. can fire roasted diced tomato
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz. can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4½ cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 cup brown lentils, picked through, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 15-oz. can peeled, crushed tomato
  • ½ cup meatless crumbles (Boca brand or similar)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Start by heating olive oil in a large stock pot.
  2. When heated, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
  3. Then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Next add carrot, green and red bell peppers and cook until peppers and carrot are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the drained beans and vegetable stock and cook another 10 minutes.
  6. Then add in the lentils, cover and let the soup come to simmer, another 8-10 minutes.
  7. Add your spices: cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and also add in the frozen corn kernels. Give the whole soup a good stir.
  8. Finally add the crushed tomato, meatless crumbles, salt and pepper and stir well.
  9. Cover and bring to small bubble and then simmer 30-35 minutes.
  10. Top with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!


Birthday Weekend Part One


Hello friends!

I hope everyone has been doing well. I feel like I don’t give enough love to the bloggy, but things are just so busy! [broken record]

Regardless, I think October is officially the busiest month we ever have because there are so many birthdays to celebrate!! So for two weeks out of the month, every year, we celebrate birthdays of those near and dear to us.

Last weekend was my dad’s birthday and REB’s birthday and mine is coming up this weekend!

On Saturday October 6 (my dad’s birthday), my parents came down so we could treat my dad to some delicious Ethiopian food at Blue Nile in downtown Ann Arbor.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen the food I take pictures of there. We always get the Vegetarian Feast, which is unlimited portioned out veggie curries, plus all you can eat of the delicious Injera bread. My parents really enjoyed it and I think they also had a fun time at the restaurant trying Ethiopian food for the first time! The great thing is that it’s so similar to Indian food since they share a lot of the same spices and cooking methods. My mom, being some what of a picky eater, found this to be very much to her liking. Another great part to the weekend was being able to see my aunt, who was visiting my parents for a few weeks! The last time I saw her was at my wedding a year ago.

The night ended with looking at photos of their adventures showing my aunt around the mitten! I’m so glad she had a nice visit and was able to see just how beautiful parts of Michigan are.

So on Sunday I took a break from birthday celebrations so I could play photographer to my friends Amber and Richard. They are quite the gorgeous couple and it was so much fun finding new locations for photos and also letting them be celebrities for a day! They have really become two of REB and my closest, nicest friends here in A2 and we’re grateful to have friends like this close to home.

No lie, I am really proud of these photos! Some of you may know that I’m trying to start up a photography business on the side of the every day 9-to-5. My web site, Aparna Photography, is still a work in progress, but I seriously can’t wait to showcase these photos and the senior photos I did for a friend’s niece last month, on the site! It’s also really nice having friends who are open to your ideas for photos, and having them be creative and coming up with their own! Thanks Amber and Richard! I’ll gladly photograph you two any time you want :)

Oh and if you want to see all the photos, check them out here on my photo Facebook page!

When I was done playing photographer, I went home, started editing, but took a break to prepare REB’s birthday breakfast! His birthday is October 8, and my office was closed for Columbus Day. He also took the day off because we wanted to spend the day together but also do my birthday present to me that he got me (more on that in a second..).

I made baked French toast for his birthday breakfast and prepped everything the night before so the batter could sit overnight with the bread.

I followed the basic recipe on Annie Eats web site, but only changed two things: I used half a loaf of Challah instead of a French baguette, and I used skim milk instead of half-and-half. I don’t know if these changes made a big difference, because it tasted pretty good to us! :)

So once we were done with breakfast and cleaned the kitchen, we headed out for my birthday present. My birthday isn’t until this weekend, October 13 (dyscalculia Halloween!), but apparently what he had in store for me could only be done on week days.

Best surprise ever!! I’ve been wanting to go horseback riding for the longest time and even though about putting it on my 31 before 30 list, but decided not to. I should have, because then I could have crossed it off. Either way, this was a really fun day at a privately owned stable and horse training area about 40 min from our house.

The ladies who teach lessons and take care of the horses were so nice! We got a one hour private lesson where we learned how to brush a horse (there are four three different kinds of brushes!), how to properly get hold of a horses leg so you can clean out the hooves (they are HEAVY) and also how to properly bridle and saddle a horse before getting on. They also taught us how to steer on the horse, give commands, and how to achieve trust between you and horse. The hour flew by! The horses were two of the sweetest creatures I’ve ever been around. They’re a little intimidating since they’re so big, but they were so gentle and kept wanting peppermints. REB actually took lessons when he was a kid. Although he hasn’t ridden in like 18 years, it all came back to him when got up there.

So there we have it! Our birthday weekend part one. Stay tuned for part two where we celebrate my birthday this coming weekend. REB and I are five days apart and celebrating birthdays are always a fun time. This weekend I’ll be seeing some family, and then seeing friends at night for a fun dinner out on the town!

What are some of your favorite birthday celebrations?