FASHION

FASHION
FASHION

BEAUTY

BEAUTY
BEAUTY

FOOD

FOOD
FOOD

WHEN AN ART MUSEUM FEATURES YOU



To visit Museums is one thing, but to get featured by one of your favorite Museums is another ball game. Yes, that's exactly what happened to us. NELSON ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART is one of the most important Art Museums of the Midwest,besides being one of the biggest landmarks of Kansas City.

I made Kansas City my home, quite a few years ago. This city is the place where I had many highs and some lows. The City which gave me so many memories and the city where my daughter was born. If all that was not enough, we became THE FACES OF THE CITY.

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art was planning their Gallery Guides last year. They were looking for families who would reflect the true spirit of KC.

We got a call from them asking us if we were interested to appear in a photo shoot to be represeting KC.

We agreed whole heartedly.

Little did we know then that we would actually appear on the cover of this much hyped Gallery Guide which the Museum was launching this Spring.




We just received the copies of the Gallery Guide and we were beyond thrilled. To love a City and to get loved by the City as well, is surely a great feeling.





Really loved the Gallery Guide and how it was all laid out. A small photo shoot which has surely created memories for a lifetime for us and our extended family. Here is the Picture which made it to the cover.


Posing with a Toddler on a cold and frosty December morning is quite a challenge in itself. And more so when you are surrounded by priceless pieces of Art. You are bound to get overwhelmed or even distracted.



Thank You Nelson Atkins Museum of Art for this great gesture. Surely a great memory for us. proud to be a Kansas Citian. 
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RENEE KELLY'S HARVEST: FARM TO TABLE DINING: EATING OUT

 
Every girl wants to be a Queen and have her own castle, in some dream or the other. I have had that dream ever so many times. So when the Husband announced that we were going to Dine in a CASTLE for our Anniversary, I thought that probably he was pulling a fast one on me,knowing how I feel about castles. We live in the Midwest,and not in Europe. There are no Castles here. Well, I was surely mistaken. Right in the middle of the city, sits Caenen Castle. Built in the 19th Century by the Caenen Family. This Castle has seen many a families walking its corridors and lighting its kitchen hearth. It has also been the Castle Restaurant, a Nightclub and even a Haunted House.Now its Chef RENEE KELLY'S HARVEST: A FARM TO TABLE DINNING EXPERIENCE. 





We have been to quite a few Farm To Table Restaurants but haven't blogged about any. Remind me to post about them soon.

Chef Renee Kelly serves up an interesting and eclectic menu, promoting local farmers, in the historic Castle, which she also owns. So that's History wrapped in, to the overall culinary experience. The menu of Harvest changes ever so often, depending on whats fresh at that time of the year. They collaborate with some local farms around the KC metro area for fresh,growth hormone free ingredients, and also grow some produce themselves in their backyard.



As it was a week night, there were hardly any people there at the restaurant. Which only meant that we had the Castle to ourselves. Practically ourselves. King and Queen and Princess for the Night. With our lovely server, serving us the season's best on our plates.

We kept discussing what we would do, if our family left us a Castle. We decided we would probably live in it, if we could manage to hire a few people to help us with the cleaning. Imagine cleaning across the length and breadth of that huge Castle.

Coming back from dreams to reality, you could not miss the stone walls and the high ceilings. The warm lights added just the right touch. You could almost breathe in the history all around you.



We started off with some Sangrias made with Full Bodied Reds.And it was good !! Rarely have I had a first sip of a Sangria, and felt it to be so strong.



 Then came  in the Rabbit Loin wrapped in Proscuito with Mushroom Risotto and Elder Berry. 


 We had been fascinated with Pressed Duck  ever since we saw a Parisian episode of  Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Its an old school culinary art which is a rarely available besides Paris. To see Prssed Duck on the menu, prompted the man to order it right away. Pressed Duck Breast served with buckwheat noodles, fresh spring greens, sorrel,mint and maple orange gastrique.  Its not wrong to say that this dish is one of the rare examples of the heights of Culinary Elegance. To sample it in the Midwest, is priceless. As if that was not enough, the man decided to add on to his already decadent plate. The man opted for an extra helping of a Duck Leg . If you are sampling a different protien, you need to atste the white and the dark portions of it, he stated.
 


It was Chicken Tenderloins and Truffle Fries and apricot jam for our daughter. The batter on the Chicken tenderloin was so perfect that I could have had a few meals on it, I swear. The chicken was moist, the batter was crunchy and the dusting of parsley and Parmesan was just perfect.


I opted for Branzini with Jade Rice, chamomille cream,fennel, orange and radish salad. The fish was firm with a crunchy crispy skin. It was filetted for ease of eating. My previous experiences with Branzino had been with the whole grilled fish, so this was definitely different. The jade rice was a great starch to bring all the elements together.



We were definitely full but what special occasion dinner is complete without dessert.

While our daughter opted for some house made Gelato, we finished off the night with some De-constructed S'mores. 



We could not have asked for more, for such a special occasion. Special mention for our lovely server, who made sure that the evening was extra special for us. The only regret I have is that, we could not meet Chef Renee Kelly in person, to thank her for the lovely experience. By the time, I had asked for her,she had already left for the night.

Maybe next time, we would visit the Castle for Brunch on a lovely Summer day, and explore the grounds as well. And Maybe get chatty with Chef Kelly as well.

RENEE KELLY'S HARVEST
12401, JOHNSON DRIVE, 
SHAWNEE MISSION
KANSAS 66216
WEBSITE: http://reneekellysharvest.com/



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MASTERING GEL LINER : STEP BY STEP GUIDE : BEAUTY



If you are like, then you are an eye-liner junkie. I can leave the house in PJs,but I will not leave the house without my eye liner and  mascara. Its a signature part of my look,and I can never do away with it. And my choice of Eye Liner, is clearly the GEL EYE LINERS. Liquid eyeliners are too harsh for me, and pencil eye liners often smudge. I need something which I can put on my eyes, and forget for the rest of the day. I know it might sound a bit intimidating to quite a few whenever they hear of Gel Liners.So many of my friends have told me so many times,as to how do I do my eyes so perfectly every time. Well, the answer is gel eye liner. Recently, I was having a similar conversation with my old school buddy Payel,who wanted details of my eye liner and how I use it. So I thought of penning down this post for her and so many others, who are yet to cross the bridge to Gel Liners. 

I was introduced to Gel Liners when they were first launched in India by MAC Cosmetics. At that time, Kolkata, my hometown, did not even have a MAC Counter or Pro-store of its own. We had to make a trip to Mumbai to pick up all that we loved. And since then MAC FLUIDLINE in BLACKTRACK became a staple of my Make up collection. 

FLUID LINE is MAC's range of Gel Liners and comes in a variety of colors. Currently I have them in BLACK TRACK(Black) and WAVELENGTH(Blue). They usually last for a long time for me, but if you are not careful when you use this product, it might dry out on you. So make sure that you have the lid tightly closed when you are not using the product. 

I have also used Gel Liners from other brands like BOBBI BROWN to WET'N'WILD, but nothing comes close to FLUID LINE. I have put FLUID LINE to a lot of tests over the years and every time, it has come out with flying colors. It has survived the humidity of Kolkattan(Indian) Summers and waves of the Caribbeans Sea(in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Virgin Islands). This color will not fade on you, or will not smudge on you, till you remove it with an eye make up remover. It dries to a matte color and doesn't have that disgusting shinny look which some liquid eye liners might have. 

STEP BY STEP GUIDE HOW TO USE GEL EYE LINER: 

First you need to pick up a Gel Eye Liner of your choice. Then you need to select the BRUSH of your choice.

There are three options when it comes to brushes:
 FINE LINER BRUSH
BENT FINE LINER BRUSH
ANGLED FINE LINER BRUSH 

If you are staring out, you might want to start with an angled brush. Once you feel comfortable of your strokes, then venture off to a fine liner brush. I personally prefer the MAC 266 Angled Liner Brush for starters as its just the right size. The Real  Techniques Angled Liner Brush, which you can see in my picture below, is slightly bigger and broader. The Fine Liner Brush from Real Techniques is pretty good and so is the BENT FINE LINER BRUSH from SONIA KASHUK. I have listed the links of all the products the end of the post, if you wanted to pick up any for yourself.



Dip the brush in the product and pick up product with it. Scrape off the excess on the sides of the container.




If you do not feel confident of drawing a straight line on your eye lids, then with your other hand, gently pull the eye lid towards the side. This will help you to draw a straight line following the curve of the eye. Start from the base of the lashes and then thicken as you go up.




Then open the eye  and adjust the line you have just drawn. It should be thinner on the inner corner and thicken as you go towards the outer corner to give it that almond like shape.



Here, I am holding forth the Fine Liner Brush and angled Brush from Real Techniques. Its one of the best drug store brush brands available.



If you are using the ANGLED LINER BRUSH, then pick up product in the same way and scrape off excess along the sides of the container.

Here is the trick.

While doing the upper eyes, make sure that higher part of the angle is at the inner corner and then use the brush to follow the shape of the eye.

For the lower eyes, or water line, just turn the brush around. Use the lower end of angle, of the brush, to the inner corner and use it to follow the shape of the eye.





For doing the LOWER EYES, with a FINE LINER BRUSH, begin at the outer corner and then go inwards.

Adjust the thickness on both eyes . Make sure there is no  gap between the eye liner you have drawn and the lash line. That bit of skin show is a almost a make up sacrilege. Spend that extra minute to see and inspect properly what you have drawn on both eyes and fill in any gaps.



If you want to do a CAT EYE FLICK then do not do the lower line or water line, but extend the upper line in the form of an imaginary line extending from the eyes to reach the eye brows. Make it as small or big as you feel comfortable.

So go ahead, pick up your gel liner and get practicing. Once you start getting comfortable with this product, you will never get back to any other form of eye liners.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS POST: 

  
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OOTD : BLACK MAXI DRESS, CAT EYE SHADES AND A BUN TO CHANNEL MY INNER AUDREY HEPBURN


I had been wanting to Channel my Inner AUDREY HEPBURN for some time. She is my ultimate Diva of all times. Who doesn't want to be like their Diva at least once in life. If you are like me, you would have re-created elements from your Diva on and on, but with your own touch to it.

But the days with all the heavy Winter Coats were not giving me the right mood to re-create and channel my inner Diva. So when the days started getting a bit warmer, I knew I had to take the plunge. I needed to re-create my own BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S moment but with a twist.  All that I had on my events calendar for the weekend was a barbecue at the park. And I knew I would be spending some time in front of a grill. But a DIVA can do it all and yet look iconic, isn't it. So the Bun, the Black Dress and the Cat Eye Shades had to be paired and toned down to suit the day.

PIC COURTESY: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
Rather than a formal Evening Gown, I decided to go for a solid Black Maxi Dress,which I had picked out from Macy's a few years back. The dress is pretty simple,but it has off white shoulder straps which offset it beautifully. I wanted to infuse some color in the outfit. But decided to give Statement necklaces a miss as it would be a bit to much for some barbecue at the park. As the dress had a racer back, I picked out one of my brightly colored Bikini Tops to pair with it. The aqua blues in the bikini top were a good contrast to the black and it layered very well.

I had done a Sock Bun for my hair and worn my PRADA CAT EYE Sunglasses. They have a black and violet gradient hue to the glass which is pretty cool. My small silver hoops for the ears completed the outfit. No pearls for me, and no long gloves as well.

After the lunch at the Park, we decided to do some window shopping and maybe a mini clothing haul happened. I know how much Denim is in trend now. While I own a dark wash Denim Vest, I had been wanting to pick up a LIGHT WASH DENIM VEST from our local TARGET. I tried on a few and for sure some dressing room narcissism happened.


I had forgotten to speak about the SHOES I was wearing for the day. I know Audrey, had Black Pumps on, but i decided to go with some NUDEs. It had to be comfortable footwear as I knew I would be on my feet for quite some time with all the grilling, So I opted for my DUAL TONED CALVIN KLEIN PUMPS. They are a step up from the regular NUDE PUMPS with CANARY YELLOW TIPS.  The shoes also added in another element of Color to the whole outfit.

For my NAILS, I stayed with the color scheme of the Bikini Top I had picked out. So it was ESSIE'S MINT CANDY APPLE topped with SECHE VITE QICK DRYING TOP COAT to seal it all in. Its a classic Minty shade which is a great choice for Spring Summer.


So go ahead and channel your inner Diva. Give your spin on something classic and make it yours.





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BROTH BOWLS FROM PANERA BREAD: EATING OUT


Every Family has some small traditions. We have quite a few of our own. One of them is a visit to Panera Bread after a Well Visit to the Doc. I know it might sound random, and no, we dont get paid for it, by Panera. Its not an endorsement of any sort.

There is a Panera Bread located strategically almost next door to our daughter's doctor's office. So most of the parents will be seen grabbing a coffee or a bite with their toddlers in tow. As the weather still has a chill to it, I decided to opt for Panera's latest offering: the BROTH BOWLS.

There are four offerings in Broth Bowls and all of them border around or slightly over the 400 calorie mark. They are Asian inspired for sure, as the broth base is a blend of Soy Sauce and Miso. For the carbs, you can either opt for Soba Noddles or Lentil-Quinoa Blend.

I usually opt for the Half and Half menu selection from Panera, and always feature some kind of a seasonal soup in the mix. But This Broth Bowl seemed to offer the best of both worlds.

I opted for the ASIAN INSPIRED SOBA NOODLE BOWL WITH CHICKEN. I am a die hard non vegetarian and will want a dash of animal protien at most times. I felt it was Panera's take on the trendy Ramen Noodle Bowls. Unfortunately KC does not have a speciality Ramen Noodle Bar except for the Noodle and Company outlets around town.

The menu claimed to use antibiotic free white meat Chicken, soba buckwheat noodles, fresh spinach, Napa cabbage, mushrooms, onions,cilantro, sesame seeds in a soy-miso broth.

The broth was really tasty and the sesame seeeds and the cilantro added a nice dimension to the flavor profile. The Chicken was served in thick and long chunks, which I would have preferred in smaller bite sized chunks. But was not too impressed with the buckwheat noodles. Overall the broth bowl was quite heavy and filling, as I had opted for bread with it. But maybe, Panera could offer some option on the choice of noodles next time. How about some Rice Noodles

Pic Courtesy: Panera Bread

The other options available in the BROTH BOWLS are:

 SOBA NOODLE BOWL WITH EDAMAME:
Soba Buckwheat Noodles, roasted edamame. fresh spinach, Napa Cabbage, mushrooms, onions, cilantro,sesame seeds  in a soy miso broth.

LENTIL QUINOA BOWL WITH CHICKEN: 
Chicken, quinoa,lentils,brown rice. tomato sofrito, kale, spinach, lemon juice in a soy-miso broth

LENTIL QUINOA BOWL WITH CAGE FREE EGG:
Quinoa, lentil, brown rice, Kale, Spinach, lemon juice,tomato sofrito. in a soy-miso broth topped with a hard boiled egg.

So go ahead and pick up a bowl of your choice and don't forget to tell me how it was.

Bon Appetit !!!

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SPRING OOTD: FLORALS AND LEATHER

You can wear just a dress or you can wear a dress and pair it with leather. Now  that's what packs in a solid punch. Juxtaposing something super feminine with something masculine, gives it a greater dimension. Power dressing for sure. We have been doing this for years, and this spring such pairings are all over. Androgynous dressing, but with an edge Trust me, heads will turn when you make a similar pairing. I surely did see heads turn when I had picked out this Outfit of the Day recently. 

Ever since our Beach Holiday in the US Virgin Islands, for Christmas, I had been looking for an opportunity to wear all my summery dresses I had packed for the vacay. I had been shopping in H&M on what to wear for the holiday and had picked up a few Skater Dresses . Co-incidentally most of them were florals. I cant tell you how happy I was to find them. H&M was the only store which had some warmer climate appropriate clothing, in the the dead of winters in the Midwest. 

So when the days started getting warmer, I knew the time as right for me dish out those summery dresses again. Yes, Spring is finally here with a bang. Thank god for that. Flowers and birds all around. All the color gives everyone almost a new lease of life. A wake up call from the cold and long Winter which any of us had been facing all these months. 


It was my daughter's first Easter Egg Hunt in our neighborhood. While I dressed my daughter in a bright floral dress and warm tights and a warm jacket,  I went ahead to get adventurous. I decided to skip the denims and the leggings and get my pasty legs out for a dress.  

I decided to stay within the realms of the color Black ,with all that I was pairing, as the days still had a chill in them. Moreover since I was dealing with Prints on the dress, too many colors would have made look like I was just out of Woodstock. I chose a Skater dress as it has a flattering cut to hide any bloating or tummy flab. Black is an ever forgiving color in that same regard. 


I paired the super feminine black floral skater dress from H&M with my edgy black faux leather Moto jacket from Forever 21. This jacket is a pretty old one. But its one of hose wardobe staples which you can re-cycle every year with different outfit options. The Cherry Blossom flowers are off set beautifully against the black color of the dress. And the fact that the stripes of florals follow two directions in the dress, helps it to break the monotony of patterns. I paired it with black ballet pumps which I had picked up from Off Broadway Shoes a few years back. So the dress was the only new element which I co-ordinated with two items which has been in my wardrobe for long. 

For my Make -Up , I did my SPRING MAKE-UP ROUTINE , complete with Coral Lips. I did not use any heat tool to style my hair. This is just the natural texture of my hair which I wake up in. Used some hair Spray to keep the flyways and frizz in place. 



LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS POST:

SPRING MAKE UP ROUTINE: http://journotalk.blogspot.com/2015/04/everyday-spring-make-up-step-by-step.html




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