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Sunday, May 26, 2013

5 easy manicures to do this week

The weekend beckons with its siren call of shopping, luncheons, soirees and night outs .One needs to put their best foot forward in terms of style to dazzle at these events. We always dress up to the nines with our clothes and matching accessories but we tend to neglect our nails. Nails can actually lend that extra edge or x- factor and snazzy nails can make you the talk of the town.
Here we are enumerating 5 easy designs that will add a spring to your style
  • Fizzy Fun/ Dots – The concept and execution is simple A nice shade as a base coat and once dry use nail tools or even toothpicks to make dots. Seal with a top coat. This link makes clever use of a common office staple. Try it ….
TBDmechanicalpencil
  •  Half Moon nails – An easy and snazzy manicure .The possibilities are endless and you can make it as glittery or as sedate as you want .All you need is a base coat and using some reinforcement stickers paint a darker shade in a half moon shape. This is an excellent tutorial.
Half moon nails

  • French Manicure but not the same old white tipped – The beauty world is awash with the endless possibilities of a different tipped manicure. All you need is a bright shade as a base coat and an even more eye-popping shade for the nail tip. You can use stickers or paper cutouts to achieve perfect tips. This link has a step by step tutorial
French manicures
  • Striped Nails – They looks complex but are relatively simple to pull off if you use nail tapes or even French manicure strips. The key is to cut the strips cleanly and seal with a top coat. This is an excellent tutorial
TBDmanimonodaynauticalnails

  • Caviar Manicure – This is the newest and the hottest trend right now. Very impractical but so jazzy for a night out. All you need is a base coat and then use micro-beads. You need to pour the beads on to the still wet base coat. Better be prepared with a container to catch the flow of beads .Clean-up is also easy. This is an excellent tutorial
Ciate Caviar For Less 1

This is a post for www.stylekarma.com.
 The link for the original post is  http://www.stylekarma.com/blog/?p=67





Friday, May 24, 2013

I wanna wawa

I'm a total snob wrt COFFEE that I drink from the cafes... Its Starbucks all the way for me ... even when its  bleeding 4.5 bucks a pop...:-)  So to my amazement mybtastebuds have embraced Wawa iced Lattes so much so that I'm probably extruding vanilla chair Latter.. Iced ...Yes trust me Its as Good even better that Starbucks and its poor insipid cousin Dunkin.. Though I do love me a munchkin.. More on that later...So as an Update I Love the Iced Vanilla Chair Latter.. the Vanilla is better than the plain Chair Latter.. and the Chocolate Caramel Rocks my World.... My Babe also loves it soon much... I'll have to put up a snap of her snacking on the whipped cream.. Good that it rids me of the excess calories.. so while the weather is AMAZING.. Here's what I'm reading
desperado - Diana Palmer ...Iffy at best .. 1 out of 5 ..Avoid
I also Watched Leap Year ... I adored it thinking all the while it reminded me of Hindi Films...you know what it actually is inspired by Jab we met Yay....
(Image courtesy wawa.com)

In search of comfort on Rainy Days

Here is what is on everyone's bucket list when the weather is even a tiny bit rainy..
  1. Chai - Tea with Milk and some flavoring ... my aplologies mrs gupta ..I know you prefer it straight up without any falvorings
  2. Pakode...
But when one is on a perennial diet Always and I mean Always... Drat my weighing machine and my dietitian ... close your eyes Vibha what to do so soak up on the craving....

Gummies... oops distracted...My little one is always on a sugar kick..n is"chhoosing" aka sucking in hindi on the gummy n calling it chingum... her words not mine.BTW this is 
$4.74 for 60 .Nice and chewy and shaped liked princesses.. I sneaked a few also ..They are Delish... Thet provide the pedeatriacian recommended vitamin D and the remaining Vitamins.With the nutrition less food we have these days this is a must 

Anyhooo.. Back to Chai ..Here is the recipe for 2 cups of Ginger Tea.. Bliss
1. Put 2 cups water to boil (start with cold water)
2. Grate in 1 square inch of fresh ginger.Bring to boil and add 1 tbsp of Tea leaves( Brook bond, Tata tea)
3.Let the tea infuse the colour
4.Add 1/4 cup of milk and boil .
5.Cool and Add sugar as taste 

Its the long weekend Again

The long weekend looms its ugly head once again and like all desis in Amreeka we're all a flutter to plan out the memorial day weekend

Lets kickoff by saying I made a caramel custard... which took me an hour to steam in a wok...I made it in a cake tin.... Covered it in foil and put it on a grid in a wok and covered the wok...
Here's the link...



The only changes here are
1. Added 2.5 tbsp of custard
2. I steamed it for an Hour
3. I added some lemon rind
4.Added more Vanilla Essence


Tips..

1. Make the custard with the custard powder
2. Coooooolllll the Mix and then mix it with the eggs spoon by spoon else ull have scrambled eggs
3.Grease your tin with non stick spray ... Itll mould off easily
4. Dont touch Hot caramel...- Pretty obvious... but I scalded my finger and my tongue... Note to self... dont try it to eat hot caramel... heheheheh



Spa day at Home


Aahhh!!! , the rigors of life are all consuming and we start dreading the days as there is nothing new. Hold on Hold on … there is some relief on the way .When you are pressed for time yet still require some r and r – at least  more r and r than snoozing , why not got for a spa day at home. The requirements are limited only to ingredients and a zen space .For me relaxation starts with soothing silence without any demands of this and that .You can even enlist your girlfriends and make it a social event. If you are inviting your friends..the more the merrier. You can take turns – Gossip , chit chats , snacks and take turns doing massages ,applying face packs and even pedicures. The sky is the limit. You can do henna, hair braiding and temporary tattoos etc


                                                 ( Image courtesy www.thepartydress.net )


Here’s how to a stress free and easy spa day

1.      Silence and peaceful environment- Banish the kids or any other disturbing elements including your laptop and iPod and put on some nice soothing music.

2.      Practice Pranayama –Follow the do’s and don’ts of yoga – no yoga on full stomach etc and practice meditation for 5 minutes sitting in a comfortable position.

3.      Face Mask- Apply a soothing face mask which tones, tightens and refreshes. Many face masks are available .You can even try DIY’s but test for possible allergies by doing a patch test.

4.      Hair Mask /Hot oil treatment – Do a self hair massage .Hair is often neglected and does not get adequate nutrition.

5.      Soak your tired achy , smelly feet – Soak your feet in warm water with fragrant Epsom salts and your worries will literally melt away.

6.      Relax with a cool beverage – Drink up your cool beverage , tea and just chill chill just chill.

7.      Refreshing bath with aromatic products – This will wash away all the aches , pains and stress and will leave you feeling refreshed. Fragrant products make you smell good and feel good.

The entire process will take no more than 30-40 minutes. What are you waiting for ? You deserve this and who doesn’t want to end up smelling good…? Cheers.

This post is a part of stylekarma.com blog .The original link to the post is http://www.stylekarma.com/blog/?p=62

Friends are Yum oops Good !!!!!!

Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest… It’s about who came, and never left your side…



Friends are like a warm chocolate cake drizzled with fudge sauce , the feeling of contentment after reading pride and prejudice for the umpteenth time and the knowing who the murderer is before the end of a cozy murder mystery.They all make you feel good ........

Friends may come and friends may go but good friends are always here to last. This is the story of Sanskriti and Sneha, of Maggi and chocolate cupcakes and of a matchmaking effort actually going right .
Sanskriti was all excited to head off to the US of A after securing a scholarship to study for her MBA.She was a little scared and sad to leave all her best friends behind ,she consoled herself with the though of vonage and skype.She applied for a room-mate and selected what seemed to be the best fit for her - Sneha.And it was that day when she entered the student lodging at the U.It was a big single family home in the Uni area let out to 16 tenants at once with 2 students sharing a room and the kitchens being common. She stepped into the cavernous and dark home only to be greeted by the most comforting smell of it all -Maggi and there dressed all in purple was Sneha,  a lissom sylph sheathed in purple..that's what clinched it as sanskriti's favorite color was purple and any girl wearing purple eyeliner and shadow was a girl after her own heart .Here was her newest and probably best est friend Sneha.She was kind,understanding and lent a shoulder to cry  on when sanskriti missed her mom and her mom's chocolate cupcakes .They bonded best on cooking or lack of it on Sneha's side.Maggi was the be all and end all of Sneha's culinary talents .And one fine day Sneha's cousin Nitin was to come and visit her, sneha was all of a tizzy and Sanskriti came to the rescue with her one pot cupcakes - hey its america and they had to wash their own dishes.Hurried applications of mascara and lipsticks later , Nitin arrived to delicious smells wafting about and the tall, dark and handsome hottie locked eyes with Sanskriti and locked lips with her cupcakes.It was love at first bite and look.

Fast forward 10 years and Sneha held court amongst all of Sanskriti's best friends in her wedding to "you guessed it "- Nitin...Matchmaking does bear fruits cause Sanskriti's cousin Upamanyu fell like a ton of bricks (yup ,even though he tried Sneha's brick hard cookies ) for Sneha... Their love story is  to be continued

If you want the recipe for those love inducing cupcakes - here is the link 
Here is the proof of the pudding....





This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

My First Blog adda post - First WOW Post




Yay!!!!!!.The title of the post was "to forget is to be human and enjoy it"
The first post I wrote for WOW blogadda.com has been selected as a WOW post.It was a lot of fun writing it and I was so happy to be selected.Here is the link to the post. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sonam Kapoor at Cannes – An Indian Vision


One of the more striking visions in Cannes was sonam Kapoor – the ambassador of L’oreal with her ethnic twirl in this yummilicious Sari. What stood out was her makeup with her matte bright lipstick and her winged eyeliner. She posed as graceful as a sylph in her gold and white intricate ensemble. The nose ring studded with diamonds glittered just so. She made a statement in such a simple and flattering choice which complimented her peaches and cream complexion and is quite easy to pull off.

sonam-cannes-g-read
Her make up look comprised off
  1. Vintage inspired gold and white Sari with a different blouse designed by Anamika Khanna
  2. Her beautiful nose ring reminiscent of bridal jewelry grabbed eyeballs by Sunita Kapoor Jewelry
  3. Kohl highlighted her eyes in a winged shape
  4. Maroon Lipstick accented her lips
  5. Soft and wispy bun completed the casual yet ethnic look
Overall it was a showstopper in the sea of haute couture and it can be recreated by using these products
  1. L'Oreal Superliner Black Lacquer - Cannes'13 Special Collection for eyes
  2. L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Matte Lipstick - Cannes'13 Collection – Deep Raspberry for Lips
Find my article at stylekarma.com .Here is the link http://www.stylekarma.com/magento/blog/?p=50

Sunday, May 19, 2013

If my Dad was a politician





This is the new blogadda contest and now that I have jumped on to the literary wagon , I need to let my creative juices flow but as always I am typing this at the nth moment.Meanwhile , the baby and the Hubs are locked in a battle for the breakfast.... Any hoooo

The concept is plain and simple - How would my life be if my dad was a politician 

  1. There would be a time for everything and everything in time - One of my Dad's most favorite sayings is that "Time and tide wait for none" and it has been drummed onto our heads so much so that I repeat this to my kiddo tooo. The crux of this saying is that , you cant spend all your time dithering and procrastinating like various politicians in our country .You have to take action or it'll be too late and the opportunity will be lost . He is an ex service man so he makes his decisions and sticks to them. You need to take decisive action when the situation demands. With such a leader , the youth of the country has a fine example.
  2. Promises would be kept- We hear of promises galore from everyone but one needs to have the heart to fulfill them no matter what. Once , on the day of the golden quarterfinal , India vs Pakistan 1996 world cup , we were glued to the screen , My dad promised to take us out to Maurya Sheraton's coffee shop if we won. Our hearts beating and joyous , we won and Dad didn't squelch on the promise and did take us .I still remember that Jumbo chicken hot dog. Be it , the small things or the big things - promises are meant to be kept and should be 
  3. We wouldn't sweat the small things and keep moving on to the Bigger picture -  Red tape anyone ? To do anything and I mean anything there are tons and tons of hurdles and often we are caught in the tangled web we weave. We need to focus on the bigger picture and all these steps are a means to the end but hey at-least try and reach the summit.We need to stop sweating the small stuff and reach the summit
  4. We would be uber trendy - The dad  is totally into trends.Linen shirts check ..Even if grandchildren say ewwww Nanu .Top of the line Computers check and Kindle check..Sure he blows his top hahaha and he does it often but he perseveres and tries to get onto the trend though things often "cheese him off"- his words not mine .We as a nation would be super trendy and would be "supa cool"
  5. Cricket would be our God - I know enough said , its already our god but we would be more and more into it, so much so that the nation would embrace any country v/s any country. We would get up at ungodly hours and watch Zimbabwe v/S New Zealand with as much fervor as we would watch India v/s other neighbors matches.Children would be bought up on highlights and post match discussions rather than nursery rhymes and would learn some swear words to boot also
  6. We would have time for belly laughs -As a nation with poverty and many other ills we often dont feel good enough to laugh that hard belly laugh that makes us slap the table in mirth.If my dad was a politican he would do rather than think and strive to learn and to do new and new things -even to reinvent things.This from my dad who always asked us to be ladylike and when my 2 year old daughter behaves like a hooligan will pardon it and say , kids will be kids. If we are doers , innovators and visionaries we will feel good about us and we will laugh that belly laugh of contentment
My "papa" gets my vote for many other reasons , reasons like changing yourself with times , knowing when to be strict ( really ) and when to be compassionate.Heck , Ill even vote for him to be the head honcho of the country...Cheers !!!! DAD


This post is written for the Weekend Contest in association with Shoes of The Dead at BlogAdda.com.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

All Ramped up - A hairy story ....

Its often been said and not in a very complimentary way  that my thatch resembles a bird's all curly and everywhere .Yes , that's my sisters way of motivating me to get better groomed or worse still chop off all my hair.In fact , I have been so plagued by my messy and curly hair that I have spent the better part of my life with short locks.With another head of hair to care , this one the curliest of all (my toddlers), short hair was a winner all the way.
( Image courtesy www.topnews.in)

Though , I've lopped off a lot of hair , I still want it to look stylish and smart.In fact when I do doff off the casual clothes we wear at home ( sweats , any one) and meet civilized people whose idea of fun in not running amok , I like to feel confident of my well coiffed hair.So Tresemme came to the rescue with wonderful products which suit my hair to the the T and provide a much needed base to style my hair and make it ramp ready for real life or at-least good enough to go in public.

I have horrendously and I mean horrendously curly hair so I had to take good ammunition, the mission was to appear in public along with friends at the "please touch me museum " at philly where you guessed it , children were allowed to touch and play with stuff.So Here is what I used

  1. Tresemme climate control shampoo- Its infused with keratin, olive oil and climate controlled complex and helps in fighting the frizz, specially on humid days .I lathered and sudsed  and dumped the kid on the husband 


2. Tresemme climate control conditioner - Makes your hair so so soft .It has the same properties and
    helps to make your hair fight frizz
3. Heat Protectant - I used tresemme salon sleek smoothning spray.This contains argan oil and nourishes the hair .It protects the hair against the high heat of straighteners. Yay for straighteners though .I straightened my hair and gave a nice toss like the models in the you tube video and sashayed down my stairs to the trip.Another day saved by tresemme.

The Tresemme images are courtesy http://www.tresemmeindia.com

Here's my final and sleek look - All shiny and straight. For me ramp ready is any hairstyle that makes you feel confident of yourself and puts a zing in your step cause you know you are looking your best .
This post is a submission for Get your hair ramp ready contest at www.indibloggers.in. I liked the tips and tricks shown in the  TRESemm√© India Youtube chanel.Try it and see what fun a good hair day can lead to



Monday, May 13, 2013

Hershey's "Perfectly chocolate " Cake



It is well known in my circle that the hubs has a sweet tooth but the kid has then sweetest tooth.She loves to watch Dinosaur Train and calls herself a T-Rex.In this case she scarfs sweets by the bucketfuls.I know shes 2 and she shouldn't be indulged so therefore I have to keep her away from sweets.Just to indulge her this time I made a Hershey's chocolate cake and cupcakes

Hershey's package proclaims that cocoa is an anti-oxidant and should be enjoyed responsibly...Ya right !!!!!

So here is the recipe.It makes 2 cakes or 1 cake and 6 cupcakes like me

Ingredients 


2 cups sugar (I reduced just one or two teaspoons out of it to make it less sweeter)
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
I added 1 tsp of espresso powder or instant coffee powder .Just to add some extra zing



Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare your pans /cupcake pans
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. .
Overall the cake is soft and moist and spongy and actually quite chocolaty.The glaze is easy and stress free and one kept in the fridge overnight the cake becomes fudgey and more than yummy.

Frosting 
The perfectly chocolate cake needs a slather of perfectly chocolate frosting.So here's the recipe courtesy hershey's.
Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.


Here are the Results... The proof of  the pudding is literally eating it.....



A visit to the sweetest place on earth - Hershey's Chocolate World

AAAhhhhh !!!! The sweet sweet smell of chocolate and a visit to where it all is done makes my heart aflutter much more than even when I had the briefest of dates with my then fiance and now Hubs...Anyhooooo ,the way to a women's heart is and will always be chocolate , though I don't mind the occasional Bling.

Hershey's chocolate world is situated in Hershey's , PA.Straight up Ill let you know that the trip is not worth it if you are just doing that.If you club Hershey's world -the theme park or zoo america then Its a sweet air conditioned , chocolate smelling sweet sweet respite.




Its an hour and a half away from our place and I was skeptical whether my 2 year old would enjoy it but my tot is a chocoholic and I mean chocoholic .She craves chocolate.In a nutshell , heres what you can do

  1. The chocolate Ride- Its a nice 5 minute ride which explains the process of chocolate making and ends with a sweet surprise. Sanskriti liked the talking cows and they have 4D effects 

2. Do the Factory Worker experience - Your kid assists as a factory worker and wears a cap and packs a 
     tin of chocolates.Adorable
3. Take Pics with Chocolate characters like Hershey Bars and Kisses - My tot looooved the characters so
     much , she couldn't stop hugging them..Yes ,I mean literally couldn't stop hugging them.I had to drag her 
     away, yes I know that mean but what would you do if she has a death grip on a hershey kiss character 
      and refuses to let go

4. Trolley tour-  Take a trip around hershey town in a trolley
5. Chocolate  Movie- 4D detective Movie (10 Minutes Long)'s
6. Chocolate Tasting Adventure - A more of a classroom style learning and tasting adventure
7. Create your own chocolate Bar - The stuff dreams are made of .You can be the kid in the willy wonka
     movie.


Above all you can be a kid in the candy shop with acandy of all sorts and shapes surrounding you.There are excellent food courts which offer savory items which are a must after all that sweetness.Try the cupcakes and chocolate brownies.

All in all its a fun thing to do and cross off your bucket list but do club it with other stuff..Kisses to you literally  since I came loaded with that stuff......


I write

Yes , I do write  ,that much is pretty obvious ....But I am now also writing for a site called stylecraze.com. It’s a content rich site chock full of product reviews, tips, tutorials and tricks. It basically caters to the Indian market and has a plethora of information. You can even ask for advice and initiate discussions.
I submitted a few articles and here is the list and links

1.     Mommy And Me – Nursery Rhymes Workout -It is an article about incorporating fun and fitness into your daily routine .Learn how to work out with your child using nursery rhymes.



( This image is courtesy skinnymom.com .The original post can be found at http://skinnymom.com/2012/10/31/mommy-and-me-4-tips-for-finding-the-right-playgroup/ )

2.     Pre Natal And Post Natal Exercises For Moms- This is a comprehensive list of water and yoga based workouts for pre and post natal mom’s

3.     Strength Training and Endurance – A Beginner’s Guide- Here I write about the importance of strength training. I have also included the information about a complete circuit of strength training using weights

4.     5 Benefits of Joining a Health Club- There is always an option of working out at home and joining a health club but there are certain advantages of working out at a health club 

5.     Meet the Super foods – Add Them to Your LifestyleWith the easy availability of various foods and vegetables we can harness their nutrition. Here I enumerate certain foods and their nutritional benefits .I also provide easy ways of incorporating them in your diet and lifestyle.

So check these articles out ……..

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To Forget is to be human and enjoy it......



Yay!!! Was judged as a wow post .......



“Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.” ― Kahlil Gibran

Truer words have never been spoken.I tend to associate this with myself more than anyone else in my life though Ill even add my mom to the fray.There may be severe ramifications in case you forget to lock your car , forget to switch off an iron when you are not at home or even when a souffle falls flat due to over cooking.Forgetfulness can also be a form of emancipation if its a trait you have .It can literally set you free.We all carry a lot of emotional baggage along with us .We analyse each instance in our life and whether it was right or wrong , who hurt us and how we were wronged etc etc.If we forget and don't mull over past blunders and past wrongs we can be free,free to be fearless and free to do what we want.



This story is about a new baker who was struck by the forgetfulness fairy if there is one. Sanskriti was well versed in the art of eating cakes - Cakes iced and decorated with marshmallow fondant,chocolate cakes and even mango cakes thanks to the passionate bakers in her house - her mom and her aunt . Soon she  was starting out on her culinary journey and baking though rewarding has its own pitfalls. ..oooh the batter thickens 

Mom's Jewelery is beautiful and wearing her mom's baubles was Sanskriti's favorite past-time and yes they glittered more so on her young and butterfly like disposition.So dawned the day when Sanskriti decided to surprise her mom with a home made mother day cake.Adorned with her mom's engagement ring she consulted her recipes.She measured , she sifted , she mixed , she poured and finally she baked. Once the cake cam out all soft and spongy , she set about icing the cake with her mom's favorite chocolate fudge sauce. Aaahh!!!!!! The lusciousness of the cake was a sure treat.Sanskrit's mom was received home and given the customary hugs and Happy Mother's Day was shouted on top of the Voices. The Duo decided to go for a celebratory dinner and decided to dress up . When the Mom decided to bling up she searched high and low for her engagement ring but it was for naught ..Boo Hooo.. With a sad heart and not wanting to disappoint her offspring , mom went on the  dinner.All through the yummy pot-stickers the mom thought of the ring , she slurped the soup and her tears and the noodles and cashew and veggie studded chicken reminded her of the studded ring.

They returned home and the cake was duly produced and admired and ooohed and aahed upon and then was cut (The Sacrilege ).Mom was given the first slice as the guest of honor.She bit into it and thanked her toothpaste and her religious dental routine when she almost cracked her teeth on you guessed it , her engagement ring. It was a new birth at-least for the ring .All was forgiven and it was a happy ending to a happy day .

It was all good and though sanskriti was contrite , she being of the sunny disposition promptly  forgot about the almost loss of her mom's ring and hence being fearless about other mishaps carried on baking.  So carried on her culinary shenanigans and her next adventure was the incident when she made  home made cinnamon rolls while wearing her Mom's Diamond solitaires ..Stay tuned 



This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda