The Spice Chambers – Keene, NH

Indian food is one of my all time favorite cuisines, and being able to find a good Indian restaurant was such a nice surprise around these parts. We have been frequenting this cute little place called The Spice Chambers in Keene, NH. It is right off the Main Street and super easy to find. There is parking on the street, so it’s fairly convenient too. Here’s are the contact details, for your information:

Address: 8 Winter St, Keene, NH 03431

We usually go for dinner there, but I heard that they have a good buffet lunch too (though I have not tried that). Here are some pictures from our time there

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The cute little restaurant, tucked in a corner. Great location, right downtown in Keene.

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The interior: classy, simple and chic. They have a mix of customers: college kids, couples, young professionals…

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The waiters are friendly! They have a bar in the restaurant too, though I have not ordered anything from there yet.

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I completely forgot to take photos till we were halfway through the meal! It was so yummy!

S has ordered various menu items like the Mango Chicken, and Chicken Marsala which were both pretty good. I always go for the Chicken Tikka Marsala and it is buttery, creamy and oh so yummy! We always get our curries done super spicy, but you can request for any level of spice based on your preferences.

We get Naans to go with our curries, and both the Garlic Cilantro and Garlic Chive Naans are our favorites. For appetizers, I enjoyed the Chicken Pakoras, Samosa and Pappadums. If you enjoy spicy food, ask for their Chef’s spicy sauce. It goes great with everything!

The curries also come with plenty of fragrant Basmati Rice. I always get a refill because I can’t get enough of it.

So, if you are ever around the Keene area, do try out this cute Indian place if you are a fan of spice and ethnic foods!

*Again, I am not sponsored in any way by the restaurant, and it is a place we eat out at very regularly, so I thought they deserved a review*

❤ Joy

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Adulting

It is the Lunar New Year, and that means I am 1 year older (in the lunar calendar). I am turning 29 this year, which is a little too close to the big 3-0 than I would like it. However, I am a pretty happy 29 year old, and my ever optimistic husband always tells me that at 29, my life the way I have it, is pretty darn good. So I decided I shall list all the things that my (almost) 29 self loves about my life right now.

  1. I have an adorable little family. S and I have an awesome marriage, and our two precious kitties are the luckiest little things in the whole wide world. Our home environment is comforting, supportive and extremely loving.
  2. I finally get someone special to celebrate Valentine’s Day with (even though we probably won’t really do anything), after 26 years+ of being single. I have always known I am a relationship person, and cannot be happier in a duo.
  3. I am older, wiser, and have actually been through stuff and survived it. I won’t go into details of my sob stories, but I know myself so much better, have been to the depths of sorrow and had the worst year of my life not long ago. I fought hard, I stood brave and now I live to tell the tale (just not right now). I am actually proud of who I am and what I have achieved in life.
  4. I am much more comfortable being a Hufflepuff. I know this sounds weird to non-Harry Potter-nerds, but it simply means I am now content with being the friendly, trusting, kind, caring soul I always have been, since I was a kid. When I was younger, I always felt I was boring. After all, the loudest and most obnoxious people get the most attention and sadly, get the most things. I don’t say provocative things and am nice to people, and when taking Harry Potter sorting hat quizzes, I always get Hufflepuff. I used to get so disappointed, wishing I was something else cooler. But after everything I have been through, I am happy I am who I am. I am glad I am the person who will be fair and kind even in the face of people trying to take advantage of me. I am glad I am the person who is loyal and good. If it isn’t cool being a good person, then I’ll rather forever be uncool.
  5. I am pretty content where I am in life. I don’t have all the money in the world, nothing really figured out, I live in a tiny apartment with my husband in a foreign country 10,000 miles away from my hometown. But I am happy every day, I smile all the time. I love hanging out with my husband and my cats. I am safe, and living in a fairly open-minded, diverse country (though I didn’t always know this is where I would eventually end up in). It’s simple, but oh so wonderful.

And there, being 29 is actually pretty awesome. I am no longer a kid, people take me far more seriously, and I am a full fledged adult (doesn’t feel like it at times though) with the freedom to pursue life. You know what, maybe I will stay 29 forever. Hahaha….

❤ Joy

Revival of the Dollhouse Diaries

I think it is time to revive this blog. I started it more than a year ago when I moved into the dollhouse, a little apartment of my own. While I have lived in plenty of places all over the world alone over the years, the dollhouse was pretty special as its candy coloured walls reflected my personality very well. I am idealistic, romantic, imaginative and always full of madcap ideas and creative pursuits. Behind the girly girl who keeps believing that she will one day find her happy ending though, is also an adventurous streak and a bright sense of wonder. That has taken me all over the world, to about 20 different countries, into countless communities and cultures besides the one I grew up with. It was an enriching, interesting time in my life and I have collected so many amazing memories and stories to tell for a long long time. The nomad lifestyle may seem enviable, but it wasn’t quite for me. After about 10 years moving around, I have been searching high and low for the right place to hang my hat, and I think I may have finally found it.

You see, while I was wondering when my fairytale would happen, it was already in progress. I met a kind, good natured man who turned out to be my soulmate. After meeting many mediocre to downright despicable men in my adventures, I knew a good soul when I met him. Our love story does not consist of dramatic scenes you find in movies, but it is peppered with sweet memorable little moments that make us smile. We went through plenty of stuff together and grew to love each other more with each challenge. About a month ago, we decided we wanted to spend the rest of our life together and made it official. I became a Mrs, in a land 10,000 miles away from where I was born (and where all my family is).

I had a 26 year long phobia of cats, but this man I met, he loves cats. He had one, when we were dating, and somehow I learnt to overcome my fear and fell in love with that kitty. That kitty was an old sick cat, and he passed on to kitty heaven a while ago. We were devastated, and ended up looking at kittens at the nearby animal shelter. A litter of kittens were abandoned and the shelter took them in. We could not leave without bringing one home and we chose the little guy that was trying to escape the cage when we opened it. We named him Olaf, after the adorable snowman in the movie Frozen. That started our little family. Papa L, Mama L and baby Olaf. One day, we found a starving cat outside our door. We tried to find its owners for weeks, but to no avail. The cat was so thin it broke our hearts. We fed her while we tried to find its owners, but eventually realised we probably never will find them. We decided to take the cat into our home and I named her Anna, after the princess in Frozen, because Olaf and Anna were good friends in the movie. The beginning was rough, Olaf and Anna were fearful of each other and there was hissing. However, over time, those 2 learnt to live together as siblings and now play together every day. It makes us so happy to see them being silly together and in each other’s company. Our family was coming together, and it is so heartwarming to see them each day.

Now, I’m a full time Mrs, basically taking care of the kitties while my Mr brings home the bacon. The circumstances made it so that for now, I cannot take on a job yet, and so I’m in limbo. I have decided that since I have time once again to experiment around the house with little cooking projects, hobbies and crafts, I would revive this blog and share my little stories and ideas. It will also be a place to share some of my daily adventures with our two furkids and the Mr.

The blog will remain as the dollhouse diaries even though I no longer live in that little apartment. I think the dollhouse is a part of who I am, and that sense of wonder and belief in the power of being good, of love and of fairytales and happy endings will never depart my soul.

Welcome to the dollhouse. 🙂

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❤ Joy

Updates!

Wow, I just realized that I have not posted in 10 days, so this can be a longer post. 🙂

So, updates:

1) I ran off with the circus! I have started circus classes in aerial fabric, and it’s been fun but also really really difficult. Next time I go to the big top and see people climbing and dancing in the air with fabric, I will appreciate what hard work it truly is. I am aching all over from my first class, but have more or less decided to stick with it for the rest of the year because it is a really complete workout, and let’s face it, how cool is it? I have access to what may be the best circus school in this country, so I’m going to take advantage of it. Bonus, now I can officially tell people I ran off with the circus! 😛

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2) Work at the art studio has been a lot of fun. I have found a slightly OCD side of me while sorting paintbrushes. I also enjoy the art studio vibe very much and love being around the people who work there. I am excited for Fall classes to begin so I can start my artistic pursuits and work with kids again!

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3) Cooking! I haven’t done a whole bunch of it lately, but I did make this simple dish the other day for lunch. I was craving sunny side up eggs and decided to cook a little. I made butter rice (really fragrant and yummy on its own), Asian chicken stew (turned out better than expected mostly because I had no idea what I was making even while I was making it! I sort of made it up as I went), and the sunny side up egg. It was a simple but delicious meal that I had plenty of leftovers that I could eat over the next few days, and I scarfed everything up really quickly. I would eat it beyond meal times too, and that’s how I know I really like a dish – when I start eating it as a snack and/or comfort food and prefer it over chocolate, ice cream or chips.

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Tonight, I made myself some Jamaican jerk shrimp and whole wheat and white cheddar mac and cheese. Mmmm. Two things that don’t seem to go together but totally do. I am glad I don’t eat a whole lot, so I always have leftovers, even of dishes I loved (I simply cannot ingest that much food at once).

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And that’s it for now, folks. The weather is really starting to cool down here in the Northeast and my friends/neighbors have started pulling out the space heaters, sweaters and jackets. I wore a cape last night and my new boots for the first time this season. I love the changing of seasons, even though it usually comes pretty suddenly (yesterday was summer, today we’re in a Fall coat). Hope it’s beautiful wherever you may be too.

❤ Joy

Contentment

The weather has cooled down quite a bit these couple days, but I think it is warming up again this weekend. So I took advantage of the beautiful weather and got outside. I took my book with me and sat at the gazebo having lunch yesterday, people watching and then reading my book. The gazebo means a lot to me in a silly sort of way. I still tell people all the time that I moved for Brattleboro for the gazebo that reminded me of Gilmore Girls. 😛

 

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And at the gazebo that started it all. 🙂

Life is beautiful at this moment in time. I am always seeking harmony and balance in my life and right now, things seem the most harmonious it has been. There is a comforting contentment that I sit with these days that puts a smile on my face. I want to always remember this feeling and the gratitude that swells in my heart for everything I have and don’t have in my life at this current moment. 

❤ Joy

Home-made Dinner On Movie Night

I had my usual day with the little man, which was fun and exhausting, as always. He refused to leave the library and then he clung on to my jeans and jet-ski-ed himself behind me. Brattleboro has horrible traffic, and so there is almost always people sitting in traffic down that road we take. Thus, whatever he does, he has an audience. I ended up piggyback-ing him home to speed up the process because we were already late. But his dad is great and is pretty laid back about such things. But it did set me back a little bit, as I thought I had 2 hours to prepare dinner, but it ended up being less time. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to, but I did do most of it. I think sometimes I am too critical of myself, and too much of a perfectionist.

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Homemade Dinner on movie night!

All in all, the night ended well, was a lot of fun and I saw the movie The Illusionist. It was pretty interesting and mysterious, though I kept asking questions about it hahaha. And the rice balls were a hit, I think!

Hope everyone else had a good start to the week. 

❤ Joy

Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend, everyone! This is an exciting weekend for me with my old friends’ housewarming BBQ in MA and the fireworks festival later on. I had a little bit of extra time when getting ready this morning, so I curled my hair! Curling my hair with the hot iron is so much better than perming it (which I did in the past) because the curls are a lot more defined. My hair also does not get all messy after a while, instead, the curls just grow weaker and straighten out eventually. I like my hair both straight and curled, so it doesn’t really matter very much. Though I do get a little bit sad when it straightens out in less than an hour if it rains unexpectedly or something. hahaha.

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I hope all your weekends are full of joy and precious time spent with loved ones. ^^

❤ Joy

Sephora Mail

Living in a small town with no big box stores means the lack of certain big city conveniences. I ran out of my bath foam and Sephora was out of it too. So I decided to try out Philosophy’s bath gel Love Sweet Love. As shipping becomes free after a minimum spending of 50 dollars, I picked up a couple other items too.

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I love all the pink, needless to say, but the products work great! The foot cream was a balm for my feet that has been traipsing around in open toed sandals all exposed to the elements. The bath gel had a really pretty scent as it promised. The eyeshadow palette was all sparkly and even had the perfect shade of gold eyeshadow I’d been searching for. It was like a romantic summer vacation arrived in a box, with love, from Sephora.

Online shopping has become too easy and affordable. The alternatives/options online also greatly opened up my small town world. And the thrill of seeing a parcel on my front stoop is just so delicious. I always have to make sure I delete half of my shopping basket after the initial browsing/shopping or I would probably have spent a mini fortune on amazon/Sephora by now.

Internal monologue when online shopping and reviewing shopping basket before check-out: “Nope you don’t actually need that. Delete. When are you even going to use that? Delete. Pick just one. Not two. One. Delete.”

Hope you are more disciplined than me when it comes to online shopping and keep learning to be discerning (I’m trying!)! Have a great weekend, everyone!

❤ Joy

Hobby Weekend

It was a slow weekend, not much going on in town and I’m feeling lazy too. So I made it a hobby weekend (that might extend into the week). I brought out my old Audrey Hepburn puzzle (the one that my old cleaner took apart when she was cleaning, just when I was about to finish it) and made myself re-do the whole thing. Took a little under 5 hours, but I had fun. I love training my mind, to spot the subtle differences in shades of the same color, to note the tiniest detail in each other, the curve and shape of each individual piece.

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Determined to finish this before sundown…

Then I took out my origami paper and worked on the mini paper cranes I have always wanted to make into earrings for myself. I always thought of sealing the paper cranes up and threading them into earrings but never tried it out. Now that I’ve succeeded, I might make more as gifts or see if some shop in town is willing to help me sell them, maybe. Would earn me some allowance seeing how I am not technically allowed to work for this 6 months. Well, a person’s gotta eat, right? 

2014-08-11 02.39.05I kinda missed my friends all weekend, because for some reason, everyone had something or other to do and wasn’t around. Turned out to be an okay weekend, after all, with the new hobbies I picked up a while ago. Hope your weekend was more exciting than mine!

❤ Joy 

Surprise!

Waking up at 4am to prepare more than 30 riceballs for my little kiddos allowed me to experience a little bit of the sacrifice mothers make for their children. The Japanese moms who would wake up before the crack of dawn every single day to prepare adorable bentos for their children have now earned my respect. I thought about making the rice balls the night before, but decided day old rice is just not a good idea and so I set my alarm for 4am. 

I am definitely still learning, which was why it took me an average of two tries for every single face I tried to create on the rice balls. It took a lot of patience and all I had in my mind were the happy faces of the kids. It was their last day at art camp and I wanted to do something special for them, give them my little surprise. At the same time, I made some extra for lunch since I was meeting J and thought he might appreciate some home made food too (he did). 🙂 I am just so glad I managed to pull this off and still get to work on time! 

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It was a good day, I had a little surprise of my own on the way to work and the surprise for the kids went really well. I made enough to share them with the other teachers as well. I took the opportunity to tell the kids a little bit about Japan and about the bento mums (that’s what I call them). Someone asked if I saw Godzilla or Wolverine while I was living in Japan. ;P

Have a great weekend, y’all.

❤ Joy