FASHION

FASHION
FASHION

BEAUTY

BEAUTY
BEAUTY

FOOD

FOOD
FOOD

ROMANTIC NIGHT IN - NETFLIX & CHILL WITH ADORE ME


There was a time when Night Outs were a regular feature of the weekends. Followed by even late mornings. But lets say, those times seem to be from that of a different life altogether. With a pre-schooler, life has its own schedules and weekends are different. And by different, I mean by no means, not fun.

Romantic Night In seems to be the order of the day, currently. Some Mixology ,some tasty nibbles, something comfy to snuggle in, with the perfect arm candy of  a man and you are all set to Netflix and Chill. Binge watching on your favorite shows, while you curl up your toes, in your favorite fuzzy blanket, can make Winter weekend evenings seem a lot more fun.

Me and my husband love to mix up some cocktails, on weekends. From White Russian to Bloody Mary , from Ginger Snaps to a Dirty Martini, we take our pick,from our home bar.  A well stocked bar at home, goes a long way, in making evenings in, more interesting.

But its not just the spirits , which can make a great evening. Comfort is key for me, for a relaxing evening at home. The Lounge Wear from Adore Me are a great choice. Adore Me is a monthly subscription service, for intimates and lounge wear. Priced at $24.95 for your first box, you are treated to a beauitful collection, where neither comfort not style is compromised.
IMAGE COURTESY - ADORE ME 
So once I am done with all the chores, and the baby is in dreamland in her room, I treat myself to a warm bath. A bubbling and fizzzy Bath Bomb from Lush might go in the mix. Then I slip into comfy Ygritte Lounge Wear and  am ready for the evening with my Man. I love this PJ set as its comfortable, yet doesnt compromise on the spunk . The Cold Shoulder and the stripes, are a nice touch.

NETFLIX ORIGINAL : THE CROWN 
Neltflix and Chill, can hardly happen without some Netflix, is it. Me and my husband have been Netflix loyalists, over the years. While we rarely follow trends, and latest fads when it comes to our TV choices, but I guess, The Crown, was an exception in this regard. We have been binge watching this British Royal family drama, over the last weekend. There's a reason why this Netflix Original has gaied the popularity, it has, over the world. Coupled with the Ice Storm, which was so kind to visit us, this routine surely made our weened evenings very enjoyable.


Disclaimer : This post is in partnership with Adore Me 
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THE LADY IN BLACK













The Lady in Black ! All so mysterious , and yet so much fun. The Beauty of an All Black Outfit, is that its universally flattering. The options are endless on how you put together an outfit which is all black. Its a personal favorite of mine, and I personally go through quite a few variations, when I am putting together an all black outfit. The lady in Black for a Night out in town with the girl, the lady in black, for a Winter Brunch, the lady in Black for a morning run for a school drop off - the various avatars.

Winter dressing in the Midwest is all about dressing in layers, so there had to be a version, of the Lady in Black , in this regard. My Winter Coat with its Faux Fur Collar, is surely the star of the ensemble. A touch of fur makes any ensemble so chic, if done right. The faux fur collar can be removed to dress down the outfit , if needed. This Winter, there has been a trend of faux fur collars, which can be worn over different jackets. A black faux fur collar, over a black Winter coat, can make it look very elegant.

The Black Turtle Neck is a basic when it comes to Winter layers. There are uncountable ways, in which it can be incorporated in different outfits. Mine is in knitwear, but there are so many options to choose from, if you are picking out a turtle neck.

For my pants, I went for a pair of Sateen Jeggings from American Eagle . They add just a touch of sheen, and their fit is very flattering, for my Mom bod.

The outfit is a play of textures and different tones of black. I love how the texture of the coat, contrasts with the turtle neck, or that of the sateen jeggings. For my shoes, I wanted comfort to be the key. I love my Black Nike Trainers, as they are great driving shoes, besides being good running shoes. This is one of my favorite outfits , to be look chic and put together, when I am doing my school runs. The red lip might be a weekend feature, when I am translating this outfit from weekdays to the weekend. A nude lip takes its place or a lip gloss, during school runs.

If you loved my outfit, I have listed some Budget options for you to shop from. Click the Links below to shop an All Black Outfit, that I put together.

SHOP THE OUTFIT :

            
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CRAB GHEE ROAST


We were introduced to Ghee Roast, on our last trip to India. We had been to South India, to pay a visit to my husband's extended family. In a bid to try out local food, during our vacations, we chanced upon Crab Ghee Roast. Fresh water crabs cooked in compound butter flavored with spices and a finished off with a touch of molasses. We loved it so much, that we knew we had to find out a way of making it at home. My Husband made it with fresh Dungeness Crabs, as a part of the main course of our Friendsgiving Dinner last year and it was a huge hit. Friends and family who had seen the pictures or were a part of the dinner, kept asking us , for the recipe. Better late than never, as they say.

My knowledge of South Indian food is pretty less. So its always good to find out about all the hidden treasures of the wide spectrum of Indian home cooking. Ghee Roast is a popular item on the menu in the restaurants in Karnataka, as we noted during our travels in South India, last Summer. The gravy is supposed to be dry. The trick is to slow cook, but make sure that it doesn't get burnt. Nothing worse than burnt masala. As the name suggests, its cooked in clarified butter - Ghee. As it has a sizable amount of it, you cant miss this ingredient in the overall flavor. So if you are looking for a healthy recipe, this is probably not a good choice. Its finished off with a touch of Jaggery, which was quite interesting. The sugar helps in bringing all the flavors together at the end.

 I always think of an Entree in terms of what I can pair it with. Ghee Roast pairs well with steamed white rice and large Bourbon.

This recipe is pretty basic and can be applied for a protein of your choice. My husband has made it with boneless skinless Chicken Thighs (cut in cubes) and it tasted pretty well. That's what I like about a recipe, if yo can adapt it to different proteins. If you decide to make it at your home, please do write to me, on how it turned out. Would love to hear back. Hoping you love this, as much as loved it. Its now a very requested Entree in parties we host at home.

CRAB GHEE ROAST : 

Ingredients : 
Dungeness Crab - 1 : Cut and Cleaned
Ghee - 2 tbsp + 1/4 cup + 1 tsp
Yogurt - 1 cup
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander Seeds - 1tbsp
Kashmiri Chilies - Dried - 4 to 5
Jaggery - 1/2 tbsp - Grated
Whole Peppercorns - 10
Cloves  - 8 to 10
Lemon Juice - 1/2 lemon
Tamarind Paste : 1 tbsp
Garlic - 5 to 7 cloves
Scallion : 2 tbsp: chopped (use if not using Curry Leaves)
Cilantro : 2 tbsp : Copped(Use if not using Curry Leaves)
Curry Leaves : 5 to 6 (Use if not using Cilantro and Scallions)

Procedure: 

Make a marinade of yogurt, turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice and marinate the crab pieces for a couple of hours.

Dry roast the Kashmiri Red Chilies in a non stick pan. Take off the pan and cool them.

Put the pan back on heat and add 1 tbsp of Ghee and put peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, and saute for a minute. Transfer to a blender jar, along with the dry roasted chilies, garlic cloves, and tamarind paste. Add a dash of warm water and grind to a paste.

Add 1/4 cup of Ghee to a non stick pan, and let it heat. Add the marinated crab and cook them on all sides, by turning them once . Be careful when you handle crabs, as you dont want the meat inside to start falling out. Once they are cooked on all sides, transfer them to a bowl.


Put the same pan back o the heat and add 1 tbsp of Ghee.

Add the spice mix you made, along with a few tablespoons of water. Mix well. Cook on medium heat. till the masala starts to separate from the oil.



Add the fried Crabs, and season with salt. Mix well.


 Add in the grated jaggery .


 In a different pan, saute some chopped scallion and chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) in 1 tsp of Ghee, till they are a bit soft. The original recipe, uses Curry Leaves, but Me and my Husband, are not great fans of Curry Leaves. Feel free to substitute these greens with curry leaves , if you prefer that.

Garnish with the scallions and cilantro and turn off the heat Serve warm.


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MINT AND BLUES










If its Winter Blues, then treat it with a touch of Mint .

When the weather is grey, icy, foggy and gloomy in every way, I reach out for brighter colors in my closet. So when we were supposed to have an ice storm, (which didnt happen finally), I made it Minty. If Winter is here, can Spring be far behind? This was a tropic at an extempore speech competition, which was handed to me, when I was in primary school. I didnt win the competition, but my Dad explained it so beautifully, that I keep using the phrase, in all these years. We cant help but dream about Spring days, on days when Winter is not so pretty.

My Mint Sweater is an ode to such days. It symbolizes everything fresh. I have a thing for pastels when it comes to sweaters. So for my accessories, I try to go the other route. My husband had picked up this blue graphic scarf before our trip to Switzerland last Summer. I love his picks and thought of styling it with my Mint Sweater, which is always a favorite of mine, this time of the year. I wanted to play up with the words, Winter Blues, as you had seen earlier. So the Mint Sweater was paired with a Blue Scarf and Blue Denim. Coming to the Denim, they are my usual suspects. My American Eagle Low Rise Jeggings. My pre Mom body would find a good fit in many Denim brands, but somehow my Post Partum Body best fits in American Eagle Low Rise Jeggings. They are soft, comfortable, and everything you want in a good pair of denim. I cuffed the denim a bit above the Black Leather Booties I wore, just so that they didnt look boring. As for my top, I wore a white chiffon top, below the sweater, as I needed layers, but had to reduce the bulk as much as I could. Chunky Sweaters, comfy denims, scarfs and boots are my go to Winter favorites. And when the weather gets a bit more harsh, I add in the layers.

As for my Make Up, I wanted to keep it  Light and Fresh. I opted for my Everyday Skin Make Up, with a drug store lipstick - Wet 'n'Wild 903C, which is by far the best drug store nude I have come across, even if its a bit too dry.

Make Up DetailsEveryday Spring Makeup - Step by Step Tutorial  

SHOP THIS LOOK :

   
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ST. IVES APRICOT OIL SCRUB - APPLICATION & REVIEW



Skin Care is something which should never be compromised on. With the Winter months, my dry and parched skin needs even more TLC. So when I was sent a brand new skin care product to review, the timing could not have been more perfect. Thank you St. Ives and Influenster for sending me the St Ives Apricot Oil Scrub. the name St Ives is synonymous with my teenage years, like so many others. Who can forget their scrubs and masks. For years, I had not used their products, so it felt good to go back to my early days , of skin care and beauty.

St. Ives Apricot Oil Scrub is an oil and scrub in one product. As someone with dry skin I am always skeptical of physical exfoliants, whether or not they are too harsh for my sensitive skin.  But the idea of oil in a scrub seemed interesting.


PRODUCT CLAIMS: 
Suitable for all skin types
Paraben free
Made with 100 % Natural Exfoliants
Non Comedogenic
Does not contain any animal products

APPLICATION:  

Shake the bottle well. Dispense product on your hands.


Apply the product in a circular motion on dry skin.





Add water and continue massaging to emulsify. product will turn milky white. Rinse thoroughly.


REVIEW : 
I used St.Ives products after many years, as i had mentioned earlier, but I loved their quality. I have used many drugstore scrubs over the years, and have ended up with over dried or irriated skin. My skin is dry and sensitive. St. Ives Oil Scrub had very fine natural exfoliants, which did not iiriate my skin. I massaged the product as they had instructed, and my skin did not feel dry and taut when I had rinsed my face. The oil in it , is what keeps the skin quite hydrated. I love facial oils, and I feel this product was a good balance between an oil and a scrub. As I have dry skin, I try and use exfoliants once a week, although the product claimed it was safe to use a few times a week. If you see the picture below, its how my skin looks after I had washed the scrub off. My skin did feel a lot clear. I was having a problem with breakouts after I returned from my beach vacation. This product did a good job in unclogging my pores and drawing the impurities out. I tried this product for a few weeks, before I decided to review . The packaging of the product was slender and very travel friendly.


DISCLAIMER : 
I received this product for  free from Influenster and St. Ives for testing purposes.

Photograph Courtesy : Deabshish Dasgupta . Send us an email if you want your pictures taken, for an upcoming Blog Post or a special occasion. 
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MIAMI - KEYWEST VACATION VLOG &TRAVEL PLAN


Time for another Travel Post. Me and my family are avid travelers .But the blog probably has only 10 percent of our travels listed. I have the best of intentions to write about all my travels, and maybe some day I will. My Husband is an amazing Trip- Travel Planner. People follow his tips, and ideas, and there are some punters who even try to take credit, by copying his plans, and calling them their own. Thats another reason I should be writing more about all our amazing Holidays.

The Midwestern Winters are known to be harsh. So a sunny weather, and the beach always seems to be a better idea.Mexico, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rice have all seen us in the months of December along with the Sunshine State.

This time around, we had our daughter with us. We decided to limit our holiday to Miami and Key West. Check out the Vlog below to enjoy our vacation with us. 



If you are planning a similar vacation, here is a complete Travel Plan : 

Day 1: Flying to Fort LauderDale from Kansas City. 
Fort Lauder Dale is less than an hour from Miami Beach,a nd tickets can often be found at a better deal . 

Day 2: Driving to Key West and Exploring Key West 
Breakfast at our Hotel in Fort Lauderdale
Drive to Key West (Stop after 7 mile Bridge for photo op)
Lunch at Sloppy Joe's 
Walking around Duvall Street 
Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square 

Day 3: Cruise to Dry Tortugas National Park and Christmas dinner at Key West
Take the Yankee Freedom Ferry to reach Dry Tortugas National Park. Its home to the maginifient Fort Jefferson. Ticket reservations required. Brekfast and lunch are served on the cruise. Spend a lovely day, exploring the fort, snorkelling along the corla reefs , and sparkling blue waters , and some quality beach time . Its 70 miles from Key West 
Christmas Dinner at Cafe Sole, Key West. 

Day 4: Exploring Key West and Drive to Miami 
Breakfast at the Albury Court Hotel (where we stayed)
Walk up to Southernmost Point of mainland US (Photo Op)
Mile Marker Zero- End of US1 (Photo Op)
Drive to Miami (41/2 hours)
Reached South Beach, and checked into our hotel - Harrison Hotel (Booking.com Drama)
Dinner at Joe's Stone Crab . Reservation and dress code recommended. 

DAY 5 : 
Cuban Breakfast at Las Olas Cafe, South Beach, Miami 
Beach time  at South Beach 
Cuban Lunch at Versailles Restaurant, Little Havana, Miami 
Exploring Little Havana , Miami (Azucar Ice Cream Co. , Domino Park, El Credito Cigar Company)
Dinner at CJ's Crab Shack, South Beach 

DAY 6 : 
Lunch at Little Haiti - Chez Le Bebe 
Back to the Beach - South Beach 
Dinner at Michael's Genuine Food and Drink . Reservation and dress code recommended. 

Day 7 : Flying back to Kansas City 
The only pity is that the airlines lost my daughter's stroller, which was a gift from my parents. 


Hope all of you loved our vacation vlog and travel plan. Dont forget to Like our Youtube Video and Subscribe to our Channel, so that you can be notified whenever a new video is uploaded. 

Florida Look Book and Detailed Restaurant Reviews of our Florida Vacation coming soon on the Blog. Stay Tuned. 












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CHILI CHICKEN - THE INDO CHINESE CLASSIC




Chili Chicken is an iconic part of the entire cult of Indo-Chinese Cooking. From the road side fast food stall, to authentic kitchens of China Town, Chili Chicken is omni present. Having grown up in Kolkata, India, I share an undying love for this classic. Chili Chicken and Hakka Noodles are a match made in heaven for any Indo Chinese lover.

India has had its share of Chinese immigrants. They brought their Cantonese cooking, and it adapted over the years in the various China Towns across Indian Cities. This strain of Chinese cooking, is very different from the Chinese food we get across our local Chinese takeouts spread across North America. It s a part of our nostalgia, its something we hold on to. Its something which is very difficult to not love.

What exactly is Chili Chicken? Chunks of skinless boneless Chicken thigh are crispy batter fried. Then cooked in an aromatic blend of chopped ginger- garlic, onions, peppers, soy sauce and chilies. The trick to a great Chili Chicken is cooking it on high heat, and in the right wok. It can turn from a delicacy to a mushy mess in no time, if you over cook it.

There are as many variations of the basic Chili Chicken recipe, as there are Indo-Chinese food connoisseurs in town. Every household might add its own special touch. My Husband has its own trick with it. We love it and keep demanding that he make it more often. Its the perfect home cooked Friday Night dinner .

If you don't prefer chicken, then you can substitute it with the protein of your choice. The cooking time will vary according to the protein. If you are cooking with prawns, then the cooking time with reduce, when you are frying your protein, and a meat tenderizer might be useful, if you are cooking with skirt steak.

Hope you enjoy making it at home. Be sure to write to me when you do.



CHILI CHICKEN :

Ingredients :
Chicken Thighs - Boneles & Skinless - 1 lb
Egg : 1
Salt : To Taste
Sugar : 1 tsp
White Vinegar : 1 tbsp
Soy Sauce : 2 tbsp
Sambal Olek : 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chilies : 10(Cut the number by half if you are also using Fresh Green Chilies)
MSG(Ajino Moto ) : 2 pinches
Chicken Bullion : 1 cube
All Purpose Flour : 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
Black Pepper - Gound : 1 tbsp to 2tbsp
Canola Oil (for frying chicken and for gravy)
Sesame Oil
Red Onion : 1 large (Cubed)
Red Bell Pepper : 1 large : Cubed
Ginger : 1 inch Piece : Finely Chopped
Garlic : Half a large garlic : Finely Chopped
Shitake Mushrooms (Optional)
Corn Starch (Corn Flour) : 1 tbsp
Plain Water (Room temperature) - for Gravy and for making corn slurry
Red Chili Powder (or Paprika) : 1 tsp

Procedure:

Cut the chicken thighs in 2 inch chunks.

Make a dry rub of all purpose flour, a pinch of MSG(ajino moto), black pepper and a cube of chicken bullion.

Crach an egg in a bowl and whisk it. Dunk the chicken pieces first in egg and then in the dry mix. Keep aside. Heat Canola CaOil in a non stick pan. Fry the chicken in batches, till they are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.



Finely chop  the ginger and garlic. Cube the red onion and bell pepper. If you have green chilies, you can chop them too.

We had soaked some dehydrataed Shitake Mushrooms in warm water. Drain the water , before you cook them.

In a wok or non stick pan, first add canola oil.

Then add some toasted Sesame Oil.

Add a teaspoon of plain white granulated sugar and let it caramelize .



Add in the cubed onions first, then the chopped ginger- garlic and chilies. We had messed the order a bit, but the taste didnt compromise .




If you are using MSG(Ajino Moto), add a dash of it now.

A dash of good black pepper powder.

Mix Mix Mix

Soy Sauce goes in next. Go easy on it .

Some Sambal Olek. Adjust acccording to heat preferences.

A touch of Red Chili Powder (or paprika if you want cut down on the heat, yet want the color) .

White Vinegar helps to tie in all the elements together.


Half a glass of water, to make a gravy .

Add in your fried Chicken Pieces and Shitake Mushroom(if you are using it).

Make a slurry (runny paste) of Corn Starch(Corn Flour) with plain water. Mix well, as it tends to clump. Add it to your gravy to thicken it. Make sure you stir well.




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