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.


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