Grandma’s 95th Birthday Celebration 🎉

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My family will be gathering for the 90th annual Smoot Family Reunion in Madison, WV soon.

While the fellowship amongst family since 1929 is a rich tradition, the milestone of my Grandma, Lucy L. Smoot, turning 95 is also worthy of a celebration.

Lucy L. Smoot

My Mom and Dad flew from Florida to show some love.

My parents were married in this house 53 years ago.

Although my family came from humble beginnings, there was always an abundance of love in this home constructed by my Grandpa, the late Boyd Smoot.

4 Generations of family from Charlotte, Detroit, Winter Haven, Morgantown, Dunbar, and Louisville

My Aunt Shelia recognized the sacrifices my Grandma made to care for her seven children with the reading of Proverbs 31:10-31.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

My Grandma loves to share a story about me when I was around five years old:

She and my Mom had me hyped up to go shopping in downtown Madison, WV. I hopped out the car and looked around. I said, “This ain’t no damn downtown!”

Regardless of the rural setting, it was always a privilege to travel from Detroit to visit my grandparents.

Kelsie Smoot, Sassy since birth.

Grandma kept it classy as the Birthday Queen for the weekend.

Gratitude is greater than regret…
Phillip L. Smoot Sr, The oldest of 7.
Two of my lifelines.
Matthew 18:20

Happy 95th Birthday, Grandma. We all love you! 🥳

💚KelsieLou💚

Source: Grandma’s 95th Birthday Celebration 🎉

An Imaginary City. ♥️✨

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There is a city, deep inside my heart and in corner of my imagination.
It’s a beautiful place with colourful street light, and pink roads.
Our home is a little stone house,
with cute wooden furnitures and ceramic culinary sets.
Painted in the theme of black and white colours.
We have curtains of solid silver and black metallic balls,
which make happy sounds whenever we slide it across.
There’s a little pond with colourful fishes and two beautiful crotons.
It was a perfect evening to take a walk to the city’s beautiful market.
Little kittens and puppies running around the street corners,
with a layer of rain water covering the land,
and the Love of my life beside me.
A small hut and a old lady selling raw mangoes and amla,
we sprinkle some paprika and salt on it, to give our taste buds a high spice.
Other corner had a man grilling hot chicken tandoori.
Meanwhile, our floral transparent umbrella dripping rain water on the sides,
touching the waist and thighs.
I look above and see the nature spilling it’s blessing on us.
The road looks empty,
just with us and few people taking their way to reach home,
and two sparrows searching for a shelter.
My hair clutch was sliding down, and his watch dial covered with droplets of rain water.
With calmness around, no unnecessary volumes of anything, and his hand holding mine,
we look at each other with undefined smile and love.
There’s no secret in the city,
neither in our hearts.
We converse about all the things we see on the lane, and speak out all the words from heart.
On reaching home, I take my way to the kitchen to prepare his favourite Elachi Ginger Tea.
I pour it in a mud cup, reach him to the balcony, sit on the cushion sofa, and admire rain water dripping down through the roof.
No hiding, no magic, no lies,
but to hold hands, stay around, pull waist, talk about life, and smile together.

An Imaginary City of Love and Togetherness. ♥

© Yashica Priya

Niagara Falls

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From Toronto, to Montreal, to Niagara Falls

The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
Water making its way from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The Hornblower

Experiencing the falls up close was my main priority for a day in Niagara Falls on the Canada side. I read reviews about getting there early to avoid long lines. Thankfully, that was not my experience. At 3:00 p.m., I was able to get a ticket and board in the time it takes for 700 people to ride the elevator down to the dock, get a poncho, and board the vessel.

Everyone wanted to rush to the top deck. I did my research and found out that both decks offer the same views, with more of a soaking on the top deck.

We went right into the Horseshoe Falls and stayed long enough to experience the power of the falls. The water was refreshing for a hot, summer day.

The boat turns around and gives a view of the Bridal Veil and American Falls.

Maid of the Mist

The Maid of the Mist used to operate on the Canada side until their lease expired. The cruise follows the same route as the Hornblower. The only difference is the blue poncho.

Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls was too much time wasted for about 15 minutes of an “up-close” experience to Horseshoe Falls. I didn’t even get wet. There is an assigned time to go through security and take the elevators down to what used to be called “Table Rock.”

The only good thing about waiting for the assigned time was the sun coming out and being able to see rainbows. The afternoon and evening rainbows are an advantage of viewing the falls from the Canada side. These photos are not edited.

This is an above view of Journey Behind the Falls. There are two viewing decks located on the edge of the Horseshoe Falls.

New York’s version is called Cave of the Winds. It has more of a walking deck along the American Falls. I think that is better than tunnels.

There are two tunnels that lead to views of this behind the Horseshoe Falls:

Clifton Hill Good Eats

The best way to describe Clifton Hill is a mini Great Smoky Mountains Parkway. There were some of the same attractions and franchise restaurants. I preferred a meal that was more fresh and authentic. I found a place called Fusion Wrap by accident when I was navigating to a BeaverTails location. The chicken shawarma and cardamom tea were excellent.

I was wanting BeaverTails ever since the Toronto Island tour, but it was closed by the time I got back Downtown. I was so happy there was a location in Niagara Falls.

Beavertails Canada Fusion Wraps

For dinner, it was back to Fusion Wrap and a place called Sweet Jesus for dessert.

Sweet Jesus Ontario

Rainbow International Bridge

I was right by the Rainbow International Bridge when I got off the Hornblower. Silly me forgot to take my passport, so I had to save the walk to the U.S. for later.

Niagara Falls at Night

The finale to my Canada vacation would be watching the fireworks from the Rainbow Bridge I was finally able to cross.

Back in the U.S.A.

The quickest way back to Louisville, KY was crossing the Peace Bridge into Buffalo, NY. The scenery changed from lively to stark.

I learned a lot during my visit to Canada. I respect that it is more of a mosaic than a melting pot. I am grateful that everything worked out smoothly with safe travels.

Kelsie Lou

Source: Niagara Falls

Barbie Expo Montreal, Canada

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Downtown Montreal’s Les Cours Mont Royal is home to the world’s largest exhibit of 1,000 Barbie dolls. Here are some of my favorites from the Barbie Expo:

Kelsie Lou

Source: Barbie Expo Montreal, Canada

My New Instagram Page

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Hello everybody ❤ I’ve started a new Instagram page. It has been a dream for me to start one and write little tales. I post in there my microtales, musings, snippets, and short quotes. Please do follow and support, Beyond The End 🥰

Love, Peace, and Joy ❤

© Yashica Priya

Montreal Memories

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My Canadian adventures continued from Toronto to Montreal. The drive was very scenic and more metropolitan compared to the rural landscape between Windsor and Toronto. I did all of my research about “Things to do in Montreal” and “Best area to stay in Montreal” during the drive.

I tried Airbnb and the listings were not as nice as what Toronto offered. I played it safe and booked two nights at the 5-star, Hotel Le Crystal.

Le Crystal Hotel saltwater pool
Self care in the saltwater pool, Swedish sauna and outdoor terrace hot tub.

Mary Queen of the World Cathedral

This was my first outing in Montreal. The majesty of this church was nice for prayer and reflection. The architecture stands out in the downtown location of modern buildings.

This church is a 1/3 size replica of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Montreal’s Most Iconic Dishes

Every where you go in Montreal, there are restaurants selling poutine. Poutine is french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. It does not sound appealing, but the flavors blend nicely.

If your diet allows, do not leave Montreal with out eating a smoked meat sandwich. When I walked out of Rueben’s Deli and Steakhouse, the manager said, “See you tomorrow.” He was right. What made the dining experience even more unique was having a hilarious waiter from Louisville, KY. It’s a small world and a reminder that I was in the right place, doing the right thing. I don’t take coincidences lightly.

Another must-try food in Montreal are the bagels. I worked in a bagel store in high school, so I know what a good bagel tastes like. Fresh out of the oven with cream cheese is the way to go.

It is a good thing that I did a lot of walking. I do not want to look at a french fry for the rest of the summer.

Montreal is a 24 hour city.

Scooter Tour of Montreal

After planning every step in Toronto, I thought it would be nice to go on a guided tour of Montreal. A bicycle tour was suggested, but I do enough of that at home. Dyad Scooters would lead the way for 4 hours in the city.

As we rolled through traffic towards Mount Royal, I noticed similarities to Toronto in terms of city murals.

We stopped at the bottom of Mount Royal for an explanation of how buildings in Montreal are not permitted to be built higher than this landmark.

Mount Royal location of tam-tams parties held every Sunday with a lot of “recreational” activities.

We rode down Avenue Maplewood where luxury homes lined the streets.

Once we crossed the Mount Royal Cemetery, we went to the Mount Royal park, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted. Olmsted was a blessing to North America with his landscape designs.

Fredrick Law Olmsted Mount Royal Park
Mount Royal Park
“All you need is love and skylines.”

We had to be careful going down the steep mountain. We stopped for a view of the Olympic Stadium where Caitlin Jenner who, as Bruce Jenner won the gold medal in the 1976 Men’s Decathlon.

Montreal is a bike friendly city with purposely marked lanes. Our tour went into a laid back area of The Mile End. There are a diverse number of ethnic divisions of Jewish people in Montreal, with the Hasidic families being the most noticeable.

Our last stop was at the Jean- Talon Market. I was not shy about sampling the fresh produce. A bag of cherries would be my snack for the day.

Montreal Jazz Festival

The Jazz Festival was getting ready to start just a few blocks from the Dyad Scooter store. There were at least eight different stages, plus stand alone performers. I was surprised to a lot of interactive music activities for children.

Chinatown

Montreal’s Chinatown was better than Toronto’s. I didn’t sample any food, just sightseeing. A very sweet woman gave me a pamphlet about Falun Gong.

Cannabis Dispensary

SQDC Montreal
I had to stop and Google this place. I knew people were not lined up around the block for a men’s clothing store. The smell was very loud!

Notre-Dame Basilica

In addition the the Montreal Jazz festival, there was a Cirque Festival going on too. After a long day, I was not feeling the outside events and I can catch an indoor Cirque show in any city.

I was pressed for time so I caught the Metro from downtown to Old Montreal.

Old Montreal

One of the best experiences in my life was attending the Aura show at the Notre-Dame Basilica. Photography was strictly prohibited during the 20 minute luminous show that told stories using lights and angelic music. This is a must do activity in Montreal, for sure!

You definitely feel a divine presence in this beautiful church. Celine Dion was married here.
The last photo before Aura began.

Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.

Anita Desai

Kelsie Lou

Source: Montreal Memories

How to Spend 2 Days in Toronto

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Kelsie Smoot Canada Sign In Toronto at CN Tower.
I’ve been to Windsor and Boblo Island numerous times, but this was my first visit to Toronto, Ontario.
The Ambassador Bridge:   Detroit, MI to Windsor, Ontario.
From Louisville, KY., crossed into Canada by the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit, MI to Windsor, Ont.

This vacation to Canada was inspired by one of my Smootents, Skylar who went to Niagra Falls for Memorial Day Weekend with her Girl Scouts Troop.

An important decision for my trip to Toronto was deciding where to stay. I had a wonderful experience with my first time using Airbnb.

I was hosted in a million dollar condo in the Entertainment District. The fully stocked, 2-bedroom split floor plan was a nice place to call home for two nights.

Toronto City Pass Attractions

The Toronto City pass was an opportunity to see the top six attractions in the city. With less than 48 hours, I did not waste any time getting to the CN Tower and Aquarium which were only two blocks away from the condo.

Neither attractions were crowded. Canada Day had just passed, so I missed all of those crowds. For the sake of time, I had to skip the Toronto Zoo and Ontario Science Centre.

The CN Tower

“Nothing Can Stop Me, I’m All The Way Up!”

CN Tower Glass Elevator Ride Up 346 m/ 1,136 feet.
Music: Views
Musician: @iksonofficial
The Financial District, Toronto.
There are 65 skyscrapers in Toronto. This is a view of the Financial District.
Harbourfront, Toronto.
Views of Habourfront, Lake Ontario and Toronto Island

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Ripley's Aquarium Canada
The layout of this aquarium is nearly identical to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN.

Entertainment District

By this time, I had worked up an appetite. The open air lounge of e11even was very inviting with the Scotiabank Arena over my shoulder. This freshly ground burger did not disappoint.

e11even Toronto
e11even dinner: Surf and Turf Gyoza, The best cheeseburger I ever had, brownie dessert with toffee glaze.
Scotiabank Arena
Home of the 2019 NBA Champs!
Toronto Railway Museum at Roundhouse Park
Toronto Railway Museum at Roundhouse Park

Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan's Square
The Heart of downtown, Toronto. The location of the new and old city halls.

Queen’s Park

Ontario Legislative Building
Ontario Legislative Building

Royal Ontario Museum

The ROM was included with the City Pass. My favorite world culture exhibits were the Asian and Africa collections.

Royal Ontario Museum Asian Collection.
East Asian art collection, wooden Buddhist temple statues, tea set.
Proverbial coffin from Ghana made by Paa Joe, African stools, Ejagham headdress, Nisga'a crest pole
Proverbial coffin from Ghana made by Paa Joe, African stools, Ejagham headdress, Nisga’a crest pole.

Casa Loma

Louro and Sons Jewellers.

There was a 1.5 mile walk from the Royal Ontario Museum to Casa Loma.

I passed through the posh area of Yorkville that had this unique, jewelry store front. It was right across the street from a Ferrari dealership.

Casa Loma in Toronto
64,700 sq.ft. over 7 floors.

The decor of the Casa Loma reminded me a lot of the Biltmore Estate.

Casa Loma Suites
Sir Pellatt's Suite, Lady Pellatt's Suite Guest Room, Round Room.
Sir Pellatt’s Suite, Lady Pellatt’s Suite Guest Room, Round Room.

Chinatown

With directions from a local, I was able to ride a street car to Chinatown. I was not impressed with this area compared to Chinatown’s in the U.S.A. There was mostly Dollar Store like merchandise for sale.

Chinatown Toronto
Chinatown in Toronto

Kensington Market

This was a fun area. There were a lot of specialty stores and cafes. After all the walking it was time for a cold beverage.

Kensington Market Toronto
Kensington Market Neighborhood. Krepesz Cafe for lunch.

Toronto Island

Toronto Island reminded me a lot of Detroit’s Belle Isle. A local told me that Toronto went from winter to summer during the end of June. It rained for a week straight, which caused a lot of flooding on the island. A 10 minute ride on the fery gave me this view:

View of the city from Toronto Island
View of the city from Toronto Island
Kelsie Smoot Toronto Islands
Although the Island has beaches, I am more of an ocean girl. I admired Lake Ontario from the Centre Island Pier.

Recreation

Recreational marijuana is legal throughout Canada. I was smelling herbal essences on every corner I turned. Either people were smoking or had just finished smoking.

Toronto has done a great job with having a cycling infrastructure in the core of the city. During rush hour, it looked like a race was taking place.

Toronto bike lanes
Bike Friendly City

“Views”

The CN Tower view from the condo at night.

Toronto was absolutely breathtaking. It is a shame that I never taken the four hour drive from Michigan when I lived there. I don’t think I could deal with the wintertime regardless of the underground city and heated parking garages.

Overall, I am blessed to have experienced this city, and I encourage others to do the same.

My next post will include all photos from Graffiti Alley. This post is long enough 🙂

Kelsie Lou

Source: How to Spend 2 Days in Toronto

Be Good for No Reason

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Why is that people put other people down? Isn’t that a sign of immaturity? Are you really that who judge others, gossip about someone’s life, and treat them low-grade? You don’t always see results in people more common, as you expect it to be. Our job is to mind our own life; not anyone’s. We go around and across a lot of shit. We easily hurt people, with or without knowledge. Don’t grind anybody’s feelings, emotions, and sensitivity. It is so very easy to advice or recommend people with your advices. In real, it is hard to follow it ourselves. I see many people working hard, striving much harder to comfort their families, as in hectic financial statuses, incurable diseases, physical and emotional tortures, and many. How many of us sit back and shut our mouths instead of just saying things on face to directly hurt them? People with enough sense don’t find pleasure in someone’s hurt. When you can judge or talk so much about it, the person who is personally experiencing it know it better than you and is already working on it. If you cannot be positive or spread goodness into a heart that’s trying to heal, you can at least try our best to chuck off all the wound words you’re about to say. Don’t smash someone’s confidence. Don’t create inside them the lack of self-esteem. No matter how good we’re in and out, we’re being judged. Everytime. In every way. There’s no lack for complaints about the physique you possess, the dress you wear, the money you earn, and the atmosphere you live in. We’re adults. I suppose it’s a matter of basic common sense to greet people with love, to send some good words, to admire that one or two little respectful things a human expose. We desparately need to cultivate and nourish the habit of polishing one another with positive attitude. Practice the act of gratitude. Focus on your own improvement and praise other’s success. Take responsibility on what you should be serious about. Stop arguing too much. Let go of the toxic humans and poisonous thoughts. Always remember, “Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter”.
Personally, I’ve learnt and still learning a lot on how to handle a few things in life. I’m getting wiser and better each and everyday. Putting in simple words, I stopped giving a damn to a few worthless humans around. It creates more happiness and peace inside me. ❤
Love & Peace ✌

© Yashica Priya