Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Best Things Ashy Ever Ate - 2

The sequel took a while, but as they say, better late than never! So here's my second installment of some of the best things I have ever had. Additionally, I have come to realize that, through this series I would like to narrate some of the memorable experiences from my travels, wanderings and restaurant-outings.
What: Galinha Com Camaraoes
Where: Atasca Portuguese Dining in Cambridge, MA
We went to Atasca on Valentine's Day this year. J & I love trying out new cuisines and so he picked this place which was complete surprise for me! It was our first time trying the Portuguese cuisine. I ordered this yummy chicken savory dish that came with a red-heart flaky pastry (special Valentine’s Day touch) and was not sweet at all. It reminded me of the 'Indian' khari-biscuit; it's a soft, flaky, pastry which we eat usually by doing a dip-dip in the tea :)
If you love trying different cuisines and are in the Boston area, then you I would highly recommend you to try this place. 

What: Churros
Where: Toro Salao, Puerto Rico
We had one of the unique dining experiences at ‘Toro Salao’ in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico – alfresco and beneath the stars! I remember we tried the Spanish chilled veggie soup – Gazpacho, Chicken Paella (aka biryani) and finished off the meal with Churros! Churros are soft balls of dough, deep fried and then sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. You savor them as-is or dip in the warm chocolate sauce. In any case, the churros were ‘mucho delicioso’!

What: French Toast with Peaches & fresh berries
Where: Exchange Street Bistro, Malden, MA
What could be more fantastic Sunday than having a warm French toast with fresh berries and peaches for brunch? And if you happen to get this comforting breakfast at a walking distance from your home then, I would say it’s your lucky day! Well, it was my lucky day for sure, one beautiful 'Boston-summer' Sunday! Exchange Street bistro was a classy restaurant in our neighborhood (in Boston)and though we never dined there, I will always remember the sophisticated brunch we had!

What: Koffee in Kulhad
Where: At a tea/coffee shop by the Lake Fateh Sagar, Udaipur, India
On our trip to Udaipur in Jan 2012, the ‘Koffee in Kulhad’ was an experience in itself! The coffee was no doubt delicious, warm, sweet and milky – just the way coffees are made in India. But the best part was the 'kulhad' (earthern coffee cup) which enhanced the coffee flavor like 100 times. With the backdrop of scenic Lake Fateh Sagar, in Udaipur, I would say it makes as a perfect spot for memorable ‘coffee conversations’!

What: Gourmet Bhel-puri
Where: Indique Heights, Chevy Chase, MD
Bhel-puri is rice puff snack that you get on the streets of Mumbai or any other city in India. It’s usually made fresh in front of you by ‘Bhaiyya’ (street vendor) and wrapped in a cone of newspaper ready for you to devour in as you sit by the 'Marine drive' or choose to eat it as you travel in the crowded local train compartments. So you can guess my surprise when bhel-puri was served to me in such a glossy way! Well nonetheless, I loved the presentation and the spicy-tangy taste wasn’t compromised at all. This was our bar-snack while we sipped on Indian-flavor infused drinks at 'Indique Heights'. ‘Indique Heights’ has a unique ambience and serves great quality Indian food. If you are in the Washington DC area, it is highly recommended for an Indian-dinner outing.

P.S.: I  have been thinking of changing the blog's look for some time now and finally on the notable date of 12/12/12, the blog went through a make-over!
I was aiming for a more 'neat-n-clean' look here; I hope I have done justice to that. I would absolutely love to know any feedback or suggestions from a reader's perspective. Do drop a comment below!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Sparkle your way through the Holidays!

Happy Monday all (if there is a thing like a happy Monday!) This is an impromptu sequel-on-sequins (alliteration much?!). I did a post on the shimmer/glimmer/glitter trend last month; you can catch it here.
This post will be a quickie on simple and practical tips I employed to update my wardrobe for a glittery holiday look!

Quick tip: If you are thinking of adding any on-trend items to your wardrobe but are not sure about their everyday-wear-ability quotient then, check out sale racks for deals or look for cheaper options like drugstore brands. Another good idea is to wear the trendy print, color on accessories. That ways you don’t risk looking whacky and at the same time you have the freedom to tie the trendy item with your complete outfit/look.

So here goes my list...

I picked up this cute hairband on an awesome sale price of 10$ at J. Crew (couldn’t believe my luck at first; nothing is that cheap in J.Crew, you see!) I see it as sparkly fix especially for a bad-hair days (read too-lazy-to-wash-hair days)
Similar: J.Crew

Holiday glitter manicure! It’s a light-pink glitter nail polish but since its more on the translucent side, it works great as a finishing glittery coat on any nail color. I like a coat of glitter on all the nails but my favorite has to be - accent nail with glitter. Accent nail is a great idea especially if you think glitter on all the nails will be too much to handle!
I think it’s alluring when the glitter accent nail peeks from the black peep-toe pumps :)

Nail polish: Revlon Sparkling

Glitter on my eyes! It’s a smashing greyish-glittery color that is perfect for a shimmering smokey-eye look. For me, smokey-eyes and red lips is a smoldering hot look for holiday bash.  
Eye shadow: Revlon Diamond Lust
And finally, a sequin top. Though there were the usual metallic color options of gold, silver, grey, I went in for ‘Garnet’ – I think the sequins with garnet looks so luxurious and of course has the tones of a more Christmas-sey look! It will pair great black skirt/trousers for a more formal/office party look or with jet-black denims for a more casual party look.
Top: The Limited (I got it for 23.45$ during the Black-Friday sale)
Apart from these accessories, the sequin trend looks fab on belts, cardigans, shoes, bags/clutches.
Nothing like a lovely LBD (Little Black Dress) paired with black pumps, sequin belt and shimmering clutch. Picture-perfect party look! (I promise this is the last alliteration in my post today ;))

These were some of my quick and inexpensive updates to the wardrobe; did you get any sparkles for the holiday season? Do share any interesting holiday-party looks you are loving right now..

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crazy good date-night

This is what I wore on a date night, dinner and a movie! It was one of those rare days when everything goes as planned – house work, cleaning, relaxed afternoon, picture-perfect photo shoot and then a dinner n movie. check, check and check!

Date night started with a cozy dinner at - Karaikudi (in chantilly, VA) - a restaurant that serves authentic Chettinad cuisine. We started off with Rasam (perfect for a chilly night)and then moved to idli-wada sambar (my absolute favorite!) and finally finished off Chicken Chettinad with Chapatis/Rotis & Rice. 
The food itself was finger-licking good but super spicy & HOT! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy spicy food; but this was beyond my expectations (and in a real bad way!). The Rasam itself was tasty but again too way peppery for me (I left it half way while husband finished it off). The idli-wada were delish; sambar was served in meager quantities :( I mean charge me more but at least serve a cupful of that delish sambar! The Chicken Chettinad was as authentic as it could get - had a very home-madey taste to it! Awesome! Rotis were a let down (should have just stuck to parathas).
Though most of the patrons are from India, I am pretty sure that not everyone is aware of the fiery Chettinad cuisine. I wish the servers would have mentioned to me the level of spiciness and heat in the food. Well, having said all that, I think I won't mind going back there for the 'original' south-indian taste every dish had and probably will stick to idli-wada sambar/dosa. 

Well, though the dinner experience was a little setback for me (husband loves super-spicy food, so he had no complaints :)), the movie turned out to be SUPERB! We watched Argo that night. If you haven’t watched Argo yet, then go WATCH IT NOW!! Ben Affleck – the director and lead actor – is freaking 'brilliante'! 
I was spellbound after the movie; Argo is definitely one of the best movies in recent times. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, but I loved watching the 1970's setting and was pretty excited when they showed Washington-Dulles airport in one of the shots. (I live quite close to the airport, you see ;))

It was quite chilly that day (which is how the weather is usually here now) so I picked my quirky skirt and paired it with a black turtle neck. Turtle necks I am not a big fan of! They make me a little bit uncomfortable around the neck area. But the fact that they are so warm and cozy, I do wear them on chilly days. Boots and leggings and a Crazy good necklace completed the look. So you see, I 'winterized' my 'summer' look here
I got this necklace from Tanvi’s very own boutique– Crazy & Co. Thanks to my stars, I won a giveaway for a gift card to Crazy & Co. on Vidhya's blog hereI was in love with this tribal-inspired design since I had seen the House of Harlow necklace. The best part is that it's black, which makes it totally versatile.

So on date-nights, do you try new restaurants or prefer the tried-and-tested ones? Do tell. 

What I am wearing: Skirt - Anthropologie (seen here); Turtle-neck sweater - Ann Taylor Factory Outlet; Boots - Born @ The Tannery, Boston; Statement necklace - Crazy & Co.; Earrings - Local boutique in Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA; Ring - Aldo; Belt - NY & Company; Purse - Linking Road, Mumbai, India; Glasses - Burberry; Jacket - H&M

The delicious Chettinad cuisine!
Idli-wada sambar on left and Chicken Chettinad on right.

I wore the statement necklace again on Monday with formal wear and 
it paired great, don't you think? :)

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blogger awards & Festive Look

Its raining awards, again! :) I am very much thankful for this appreciation from fellow bloggers and it is definitely rewarding!

So getting straight to the award formalities..yeah, blogger awards come with a list of to-do things :)

The lovely Pranitha nominated me for 'The Stylish Blogger' award.

Thank you so much Pranitha, getting called as Stylish is one hell of a compliment that every fashion blogger vies for ;) 
Visit Pranitha's food blog here for some interesting recipes.

My blog was nominated for 'The Lovely blog' award by the charming Priyanka. She's a traveler, dreamer and a fashionista like me..and from our email interactions I got to know that she's from my city – Mumbai! You can visit her blog here for interesting tid-bits on fashion, food, baking and travels. Plus, she has a lovey sketch in the blog header that I absolutely adore!

As part of  'The Lovely Blog' award, I am sharing 7 things about myself (apart from the things here and here)

1. I absolutely love to dance. J & I did once took salsa dancing classes before our trip to Puerto Rico, but Bollywood dancing remains to be my absolute favorite! 
2. I was not a brand -conscious person, but lately I think I have become; especially for brands that have great fit and colors and quality of course. 
3. I prefer travelling in public transport (local train/T train) to work rather than having to drive to work every day. I miss Mumbai local trains so very much (sometimes I see them in my dreams too :) guess, I spent too much time travelling in trains when I lived in Mumbai)
4. Bad music gives me headache.
5. I love travelling; travelling gets me out of the mundane life.
6. I don’t have a lot of patience. I can get fed up/frustrated if things are not working out as I wanted them to. But since I have started driving, this trait has slowly started to diminish (Husband, I leave up to you to validate that J)
7. I am big movie buff and a Bollywood junkie. I love watching classic movies, rom-coms and action movies. Horror movies I absolutely detest! 

For the Lovely Blog award, I nominate 10 fantastic blogs that I totally love!

Congratulations to all the bloggers!

And here are the rules for the nominated blogs:
1.            Thank the person who nominated you.
2.            Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post.
3.            Share 7 things about yourself.
4.            Pass the award onto 15 nominees and let them know.

Well, getting to outfit-posting, this is what I wore for a Diwali party at a friend’s place. We had an awesome time playing dumb-charades, chit-chatting, giggling and of course hogging on delicious food and a yummy mango dessert. A sweet Diwali bash that was J

What I am wearing: Punjabi Suit - Haute Curry @ Shoppers Stop; Indian-clutch - Gift from aunt; Peacock-design earrings - Gift from mom; Sandals - Catwalk, India; 
Laakh bangles - picked on the trip to Rajasthan in Jan12; Ring - Pier1 Imports 
On my Nails - REVLON Raven Red 721 & REVLON sparkling 261
On my eyes: MAC Kajal; Loreal Masacara; MAC Cranberry Frost eye shadow
On my Lips: MAC Cremesheen Hang-up lipstick

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Bauble Necklace

I have to admit, statement necklace were not my thing. I mean I was fond of them (on others of course!) but the statement accessory just seemed like a lot of fashion risk. I just probably had one statement necklace until recently and that too shopped from the by lanes of Colaba Causeway. Nothing too expensive or fancy-shmancy.

Of lately, (read - since I started my blog) I have given into trying out statement accessories - taking in inspiration from my favorite fashionistas in the virtual world. And one of the many experiments was – The Bauble/Bubble necklace. The original ‘Jcrew’ version at a freaking $$$ price, so frugalist that I am, I found myself an ‘easy on the pocket’ version of the same on a deals website – Groopdealz. My version cost me around 20 bucks.

My first time wearing the bauble necklace was definitely to go the 'tried-and-tested' way; i.e. to balance out the colors in the outfit. The necklace paired like a 'match-made-in-fashion-heaven' with my GAP colored denims; the neutral striped top completed the look.

There are so many outfits - office to casual, work to weekends - that can be styled around the bauble necklace. You can definitely buy the original version of jcrew or revert to ebay/amazon for much cheaper version. I believe you these days could also find two tone bauble necklaces too.

So my two cents after taking this fashion risk – go ahead indulge on the bauble necklace. Because the day you wear it, I promise you, you will receive compliments left and right :)

What I am wearing: Striped top (worn here) - ESPRIT Factory Outlet; Colored denims: GAP;
Jute Bag - Target; bauble necklace - Groopdealz; similar necklace here
Blue stud earrings - picked up on a trip to a Jewelry factory store in Bangkok;
Tan boat shoes - Aldo; Watch - Anne Klein @ Nordstorm;
White Flower Ring - Inorbit Mall, Vashi, India; Glasses - Burberry

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P.S. Groopdealz is an awesome deals website especially for fashion accessories - statement necklaces, earrings, bracelets, scarves, etc. The quality of items has been great but the shipping process is tad long. But since I have been in no hurry to receive the items, these deals have worked for me. You can check out the website here 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! And Happy Shopping as well! well, 'cause this American holiday comes with a shopping list (and the next one with a gift list ;))

Black Friday is a phenomenon in the US and its not normal to not shop this day (yeah, whatever i-am-not-shopping resolutions you have made before, I guarantee they will break loose just reading about the Black Friday sales).

All these years I have been in the US (that will be close to 5 and half now), I remember shopping every Black Friday! and each year has taught me a lesson on how-to-become-a-better-blackfriday-sale-shopper ..and so the madness continues :D

So here are some things I have done differently this year..
1) First and fore most, I made a list - yes a list! list of everything that I think I needed and would be on a good deal this Black Friday. That list included everything from kitchen items, cooking ware, home electronic items to clothes, bag, shoes.
The electronics list was handed over to husband for a review and execution (he knows the best!)

2) For clothes, shoes, bag - I registered through emails for most of the stores/brands that I was keen on shopping at. That way I knew exactly what the deal was. I made sure I had browsed the store online to know what interested me.

3) I actually went over to the mall the day before thanksgiving to check out the clothes on sale. I had some surprising moments there. Some of the sweaters on sale at Ann Taylor (AT) did not feel rich and thick in person. Huge disappointment but an eye-opener for sure! Also, I prefer to try out clothes before I buy them. Every store has a different size chart and I always like to be sure than sorry later.

4) When going out on a shopping spree, I prefer to wear light-weight clothes. May be a tee/cami & jeans and a hoodie. That's it. No more layers required. Trust me once you are in the mall you won't be cold; and its comfortable for the clothes-trial routines in the fitting room. To be hands-free, I prefer a cross body bag and loafers or flats on feet.

5) Decide a budget - personally I have not tried this step, but its a good idea if you are not sure of what you want to buy. The budget helps to to draw a line on when to stop and step out of the mall.

6) Shop Online - Its the best way to beat the crowds and still get the best deals! But again if you need to be sure of the material, size, fit, color and usually that happens when you know a brand and trust it (for me its AT, Banana Republic, Express). Almost all stores offer free shipping & free returns on Black Friday.

Here are some of the best deals around.
1) Both AT, AT Loft & BR have 40% off your purchase
2) Express - 50% off your purchase
3) New york and Co has 50-70% off (there are some exclusions though for new arrivals, etc.)
4) Kate Spade has 50% off entire purchase. Join their FB page here for latest updates.
5) Michael Kors has a deal coming up (its still under wraps as I type this post, so better to join their FB page here).
6) Gap has up to 60% off
7) The Limited had 40% off your purchase (until yesterday). On Friday till noon, they have 50% off the original ticket prices.
8) Sign up at Black Friday deals here to know about all the deals around.
11/24 UPDATE: 9) Corningware Corelle has 50% off their select dinner ware (not dinner-sets).

Recently, I discovered a great blog by a fellow Indian blogger who is also based in the US as me. I have to say I am sorta hooked to her fashion, food, home decor blog; lovely pictures and very informative. The Zars is written by Ash and she has done special posts on Black Friday deals for make up/beauty products as well as clothing. Do check out her blog here.

So what are you waiting for you people, go ahead - shop till you drop! 'cause some body rightly said - Retail Therapy is the best therapy in the world! :D

11/24 UPDATE: This year we tried another trick to save the extra bucks on shopping, all thanks to hubs (it was his idea). Though I finished major shopping on Wednesday in-stores and online on Thursday, there were still some things left on my list (cross-body bag, kitchen items). On Friday (being a working day for me :(..), we headed to the premium/factory outlet mall quite late in the evening (around 6ish). This meant we had only 3-4 hours to shop so instead of binge-shopping, we actually shopped for items that we absolutely needed and were on the list. Time-constrained shopping is another way to make sure you don't go overboard your budget and stay on track. Also, the state of some stores was so pathetic (clothes strewn everywhere) that it actually put me off to try or shop anything. The BR factory store looked like Hurricane Sandy had just passed through it! Well, anything that works to shop in limits, right :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Diwali night

So Diwali is almost over! Yeah. Almost. 'cause I have one more Diwali bash to attend tonight, and then it will be all!

Past seven days, I have been gorging on delicious (read calorie-heavy) fare non-stop. I didn't know I would say this but, I am kinda missing my 'soup-salad' dinner nights already. Well, no worries, they will be back in routine starting next week and then I know I would be missing hogging on Indian food. Such is life dearies!

Getting back to outfit posts for Diwali, I am super-excited! This is probably first time  that I will be posting an Indian outfit on the blog (if the post here is not considered as an Indian outfit).
I love (read 'love' raised to 1000 times) to drape a sari! My earliest memories of sari include wearing it as a kid and then I was out standing in front of the scooter (Hamara Bajaj) while dad was driving me around the town :D

So a 'sari' fan that I am, this is what I wore on the main Diwali night for Laxmi Pujan. It was one bone-chilling night and still the enthusiasts that we are, we managed to click few pictures for the blog and life-time memories of course :). Lighting up diyas (oil/wax lamps), kandil (lantern), puja, sweets and sumptuous feast- that completes Diwali celebrations!

Hope you had a lovely and memorable Diwali with your loved ones! Any special gifts you received? I know what I am getting :))

What I am wearing: Bandhani-print silk sari - picked from 'Rajasthali' on our trip to Jaipur in Jan 2012; Gold Jewelry - gift from hubs and in-laws; 'Laakh' Bangles - some where in Udaipur; Special mention to Sis-in-law, Neha, for attaching beautiful blue 'Gotas' on the knots at the back of the blouse.

moi and moi handsome photographer :)

Diyas - courtesy mom and mom-in-law. Our families sent us a huge package loaded with home-made sweets and snacks, diyas, lantern and gifts. It made our Diwali even more happening!

Special Diwali treat for dearest hubs - Chole, Dal-fry, Paneer Makhani, Jeera-fried rice, Rice kheer loaded with raisins and nuts and whole-wheat parathas (not in picture)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Diwali!

This is my first Diwali with my lovely readers and blogger friends! I am so excited and happy to share the festivities with you all!

Wishing all the readers a Dazzling Diwali and a year filled with Happiness, Prosperity and Good Health!

P.S.: I am loving dressing up in Saris and Punjabi suits and all the ethnic jewelry. This is my favorite part of all the festivities apart from the food, sweets and fun time with friends and family! Diwali-special outfit posts will be coming up soon, so stay tuned :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shimmer glimmer

Sequins, sparkles, glitter, shimmer - all scream festive season, don't they? I am just back from a trip to Target and a walk by the accessories department gave cue to the fact that festive season will be upon us pretty soon!

Be it the Indian festivals (Diwali, Dassera) or Christmas or New Year’s Eve, these two months are going to be one big fanfare for everyone with invitations for get-togethers, office shindigs, family parties, pot lucks and what not.

With so many revelries lined up, dressing up, especially for us ladies, is a huge thought process. 'cause let’s get this straight, we don’t want to shop for every party that we have to attend and of course it will be a crime to repeat outfits, wont it? ;)

I would not be totally wrong in saying that, we all crave to own that one glittery piece in our wardrobe! That one shimmering piece – top, skirt, blazer, jacket, tee, scarf or even shoes - just adds the right amount of zing to a neutral colored or even a color-blocked outfit.
When the festive season is over, that shiny clothing piece gets stacked or pushed to the back of the wardrobe - maybe to be remixed in the next season or donned on that occasional Saturday party with your friends (who, mind you, were not on the guest list of the party that you wore it to!)

But hey, sparkle, shimmer, glitter is not just a thing for that weekend night out. Well, times have changed, and a little shimmer to your day/work outfit is totally acceptable. In reality, it drives you to be a little more creative with your party wear tops/skirts and certainly helps you get the most 'Bang for your buck'!For work appropriate styling, I love hints of shimmer especially during winters - a shimmer belt to your neutral colored work outfit, a sequined scarf that keeps you both warm and chic, or even a little path of glitter on your booties can be an instant cynosure. For me, shimmer/glitter is a cheerful accent to my outfit; it declares 'I am going to have an exciting day ahead ‘cause well, that’s the state of my mind today! :)’
This time I am introducing a different concept in outfit blogging; one that I have seen so many of my blogger-friends explore and personally I love it too. Creating ‘sets of multiple outfits’ gives a free hand in creativity without undue pressure on oneself to dress up and look pretty.
Today I have resigned and decided to be lazy but still create sparkling work-appropriate outfits from the comfort of my couch :)
Presenting you some of my day time looks with a hint of sparkle ;)  

Look 1: In this look, the sequined top is the center of attraction but not too much thanks to the black cover up (could be a sweater/blazer/jacket). Nude make up and hot red lips complete the look.

Gold shimmer for work

similar top here and here; similar watch here. similar black bow tie pumps here

Look 2: This is more of a Friday office look /weekend look; the tan accessories (bags, boots, bracelet, watch) pair well with the shimmer on the top. 
I have placed two choice of shoes - tan boots and tan sandals 'cause personally I think anyone of them will look great! Again, I have skipped necklace to avoid taking the limelight away from the sequined top. A rosy blush will look perfect with this outfit. 

day look- weekend

similar sweater here and here; similar bag here; similar boots here

Look 3: Out of all the looks, this is my favorite! And I think this is probably for a more creative office/work place (magazine, publication, fashion house,etc.). The sequined skirt is just WOW! But when paired with a crisp white shirt and nude pumps the glitzy look is toned down. I have skipped on all accessories except for a pair of studs. Kohl-ed eyes, blush gloss, and brown eye shadow will enhance the look. 

sequin skirt for work
similar skirt here; similar watch here; similar pumps here

Look 4:This is more of a partayyy look! We are talking about Sequins, shimmer, glimmer, sparkles and how could I not do a disco look ;)
I did something new here, by adding a sequined vest; really loved this unique piece! For a night look, smokey eyes and red lips raise the hotness quotient to another level! I loved all 3 different types of shoes to go with this look; metal cap-toe, black sequin, or silver shimmer - anyone of them would look perfect!

sequin night look

similar sequin-studded vest here and here
similar pumps here and here; similar pendant necklace here

I am submitting this post for the InFB Remix: Sparkle 

P.S.: On another note, I am ecstatic! I just checked the blog views and they have crossed the 10,000 mark!! Woop! Woop! Its nothing about the number but, the thought that the blog has gained substantial readership in past 6 months makes me super happy :)
a BIG 'thank you' to all my friends, family and readers who continue to support and appreciate my work on the blog. It wouldn't have been possible without you, so keep it coming :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Avocado Corn Soup - Healthy & Tasty series

With the cooler season upon us, I thought of sharing some of my favorite soup recipes..the ones I have tried and tested last winter and are going to be repeated this season too!

We almost have a couple of avocados in the fridge every week 'cause well, we both are crazy guacamole (guac) fans! yes, we have guac n chips almost every weekend. A spicy creamy guac n chips is definitely our go-to snack for a movie night. The best part (of course, for me) is that hubs is more than happy and loves to make guac. This means I get a day off from the kitchen! Win-win scenario, won't ya say? :) So there you have it; it never crossed my mind to try another recipe with avocados.

But once upon a time, there sat a lone avocado in the veggie drawer of my fridge and it dawned up on me - hey now that a 2-person bowl of guac is not possible, why not google a nice recipe that I can try with this avocado? So, that's how I discovered this healthy soup, which goes perfectly with our 'salad-dinner' nights. The soup is a quickie - takes less than 30 mins to whip-up and no cutting-shutting required, so that qualifies as a keeper in my weeknight dinner books. The soup can be spicy (with green chilies) and tasty (garlic and fresh coriander gives it a nice aroma)  and the corn kernels provide an interesting and flavor and texture contrast to the velvety soup.

Avocados are rich in proteins, beneficial fats, Carotenoids (i.e. high quality source of Vitamin A) and has heart healthy and anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder its termed as a healthy super-food!
Another good thing, I realized, about avocados is that, they are bland by themselves - no home grown taste at all - which really works to a cooks advantage. Because now you can dress it the way you want, savory or sweet or spicy or garlicky. Its all yours to dress up the way you want, fashion-blogger style! :)

Like most of my recipes, I have adapted this one from here.

Ripe avocados 2 medium
Corn kernels,boiled and crushed 1 cup (I used frozen corn)
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Oil 1 tablespoon
Garlic,crushed 2 cloves
White pepper powder 1/2 teaspoon
Fresh coriander leaves,chopped 2 tablespoons

1. Halve the avocados, remove the pit and peel.
2. Blend them by adding water (you can use vegetable stock for added flavor), lemon juice and salt in a blender until smooth.
3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan, add garlic and sauté for a minute and add the avocado mixture and mix.
4. Add corn and cook on medium heat until just steaming.
5. Season with salt and pepper powder.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves and tortilla chips and serve hot.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Samtana tees

Its a great pleasure to introduce to you all a 'wearable' art' brand - Samtana!

Samtana tees is based in Bengaluru, India and was co-founded by two people obsessed with wearing t-shirts. The most appealing aspect for me about this brand was their unique perspective towards creating their product, go-green initiative and use of organic cotton. Nothing feels right on your skin than clothes made of pure cotton, the best fabric on earth!
I think one of the amazing things about the company is their belief and work towards promoting local work and talent - both art and the t-shirt material. The best part is the originality/individuality of the art expressed on some of the tees; they are sure shot eye-catchers in the crowd. For me this is a super deal, a place where you get customized cotton tees for a reasonable price.

All Samtana shirts are made in India using 100% organic cotton, which is non genetically manipulated cotton that is grown free of harmful chemicals and pesticides.

The t-shirts are currently available to purchase online on the company website using credit cards or cash-on-receipt and they ship to anywhere in India. 
Samtana is offering special 10% discount code to my readers 'ZINGOFMYLIFEGOESORGANIC'. The discount code is valid on purchase of all t-shirts, including the new arrivals. Please note that the voucher is valid for one month only. So, hurry!
You can connect with Samtana via their Facebook page

A little about Samtana in the founders' own words: We founded Samtana after years of being frustrated by the lack of individuality and limited aesthetic appeal of most of the clothing available in shops around India,” says Bharath, one of the co-founders of Samtana. So we decided to get together talented artists from around the world and bring ‘wearable art’ to everyone who shares our values. Samtana is, in essence, our Community of Designers. With Samtana, we believe we have succeeded in demonstrating that it’s possible to be unique, fashionable and eco-conscious all at the same time, without breaking the bank,” says co-founder Ben Heinkel, who is based in Barcelona, Spain, and sees among modern youth a rapidly growing desire for self-expression that promotes ethical values rather than rapacious corporatism."

Some of the t-shirt designs that I fancy right now..(these tees are available for both guys & gals)

Aztec Monkey print (you can buy it here)

Creator of Legend (you can buy it here)

White Mask (you can buy it here)

So now you know, where to get that unique Diwali gift for your loved one who is passionate about wearing t-shirts! I am sure you will be loaded with hugs & kisses in return :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Summer oh summer!

Neon tee and denim shorts make a comfy n peppy combo and this is exactly what I wore on our road trip to Ocean city, Maryland. Incidentally, it was also my first long drive after getting my US driver's licence. So, I was quite pumped and looking forward to the adventure, you see! And thankfully it went really well. I think driving on a highway is a totally different ball-game, the speed, changing lanes, highway traffic..phewww!

Well, we needless to say we safely made it to Ocean city :) Ocean city is a cool relaxing place couple of hours from Washington, DC. There is nothing much to sight-see  which is a huge plus! 'cause that is exactly the kind of place I want to go to unwind and relax. Ocean city has miles of pristine beaches, a board walk with yummy fried food & ice creams and cool bars n crab shacks. It definitely makes a perfect getaway for a 2/3 day weekend.
The crab shacks remind of me of the ones in Goa, no show-sha just the real crabby stuff, chilled beer and beachy sand beneath your feet. (More on crabs and my very first experience with actually eating a crab in another post).

Well, leaving you to enjoy the pics. I love the back drop; the hotel's pool area overlooked blue waters & pleasing to the eyes. These pics make me miss summer so very much..summer oh summer, come soon will ya?

What I am wearing:  Neon pink tee: Old Navy; Denim shorts: American Eagle; sandals: Katie&Kelly at DSW; Fedora: Francesca's; Sunnies: American Eagle; Crossbody: DSW; Bracelet: American Eagle; Watch: Swatch; Butterfly pendant necklace: H&M. 

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