Life is what you make it…

Life is what you make it…

I’m not a fan of holidays. There…. I said it!

I know I am probably in the minority, but I hate having to celebrate something because a calendar tells me to do so. I know when my distain started. I was fourteen years old. It was right after my father passed away from a massive stroke. It physically pained me to go into a department store and see all the father’s day displays. I hated watching television because of the commercials celebrating dads, knowing I would never be able to hug my father again.


I am of the belief that you don’t need a special occasion to show someone you love and care about them. I feel you should do little things every day, just because. Why wait for a hyped up day to celebrate. Which is probably why I am anti-Valentine’s Day.

For so many women, I think, Valentine’s Day is a disturbing holiday. It is a day so many feel bad about their current relationship status…. Lets face it, how many women do you know who have sent themselves flowers to work just so they have something to show off?

Valentine’s Day is just another day to me. I haven’t officially celebrated in years. However, this year, I had the best night ever. And romance didn’t even play a part…


In 2012 we were in the midst of a major kitchen renovation. At the same time, Hurricane Sandy ravished my home. We ended up not having a usable kitchen for over four month. As someone who loves to cook, it was torture. So when the programmers from India who are working at my office expressed their frustration about living in a hotel, for months on end, without being able to cook, I felt their pain. One of the programmers actually brought spices from India but had no place to cook.

IMG_1199“I have a kitchen!” I exclaimed in response and invited them over. We decided to make diner that Sunday, which happened to also be Valentine’s Day. I also invited a colleague and his family over, but he only was able to come with his son because his daughter got sick.



The excitement and joy on the guy’s faces as they began to cook their authentic food was contagious. We all peeled, chopped and sautéed. My home filled with the distinct aroma of Indian cuisine as I learned classic recipes. My friend’s son acted as our official photographer capturing every fun filled moment.


I have always been a fan of Indian food, but when I had to go to India for work in the fall I became spoiled. American Indian food didn’t hold a candle to the amazing flavors I experienced abroad. But on Valentine’s Day I had the opportunity to taste it again. And my husband finally was able to understand the difference authentic made.

Are you a fan of holidays? Have you had an unconventional holiday?

28 thoughts on “Life is what you make it…

  1. I’m glad you finally had a good Valentine’s Day. I have never been a big fan of the holiday either. It falls 3 days after my birthday, so I never really got anything as a gift. This year my husband even skipped my birthday because his paychecks have been so small.

  2. This is how Valentines day should be… exactly what you make it. I am not a fan of the Hallmark holiday myself and have really just made it about my kids. My hubby and I got married on the 10th, so that is our “true” valentines day.

    This is great and it makes me appreciated my husband love for Indian food a bit more because while I do not hate it, it’s not something I crave.

    Thank you for sharing Hilary, this is a wonderful post.

    1. Kisma – I love that you made V-day about your kids. My dad always gave me a heart shaped box of chocolate every year. i loved it (even though he ate most of it). Indian food is one of those things you love or hate. Not much middle ground…

  3. I love that you opened your kitchen to this experience and I bet it was a magical evening for everyone! I am living vicariously through your pictures and I bet those flavors are still lingering on your tongue days later. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’m a bit of a cynic, myself. I see all these ‘special days’ as simply a ruse for card manufacturers and various corporations to boos their sales. The accompanying hype serves to raise the guilt complex in those who can’t be doing with the feeling of being left out. You know, I LOVE Christmas, but nowadays, I wish it was only allowed for a maximum of 12 days either side, max. It, too, has become over comercialised. (I know, I’m sounding like a right grumpy old git.)

    However – Indian cooking? AUTHENTIC Indian cooking? In your own home? Wow!

    We’ve been to India on holiday each of the last six years, and I agree, the food cooked there (or in this case, your kitchen) tastes SO much better than you get in your local restaurant / take-away.

    I can almost smell it from here. 🙂

    1. Colin – I don’t think you sound grumpy at all… Probably because I totally agree with you. I used to love Christmas too. But now that the season starts in August I want to scream! What parts of India did you go to? I was in Chennai… I can’t believe how different and more amazing the food was there…

  5. Like you I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s such a commercialized day and really has nothing to do with love… We get together with friends. Or this year, the girls and I went to visit my mom for the weekend since we had Friday and Monday off.
    I wish I could have been there to taste that yummy food. What a great idea to invite them over to cook. 🙂

    1. Susi – you guys would have loved the food! it was amazing, and totally blew the place we took you to away! Sounds like a great V-day for you, your mom and the girls…

  6. That looks like such a wonderful evening with friends! My favorite Valentine’s evening, ever, was one I spent with two old friends at a local pizzeria when I was visiting my hometown a few years ago. Holidays spent that way — in nontraditional, but happy ways — are some of the best memories of all.

  7. Hubby worked on Valentines which is pretty much par for the course. We do things for the kids and maybe get each other a little chocolate something; but other than that we don’t go overboard. I would love to have someone cook authentic Indian food in my house!! Living in a small town has it’s drawbacks in terms of dining out options: meaning ZERO!! Unless you do like diner and truck stops!

  8. I liked the celebration you had. It sounded like fun.
    I howeve am one that enjoys celebrating all holidays. I know we can (and I do) show love and celebrate it through out the entire year but I like have those extra “special” days as well to do something perhaps a little more for those I love and care about. Call me a kid at heart but I’ve never grown tired of holidays. I understand about the Father’s Day thing as I have a hard time with that one now that my dad is gone as well but I try to make it a good day for my husband since he’s a father and I know my dad would want me to honor his memory by making sure that other fathers know how important their role is as a dad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.