Its time for Sephora Play Boxes again. Sorry for the delay in putting up the post. But it had been a busy weekend, and with the Oscars, I decided to let the dust settle down, and give a proper review , rather than rushing through a loosely worded, mediocre post. What a goof up it was yesterday at the Oscars ! Craziest Oscars ever, for sure.

Coming back to all things beauty, the January Spehora Play Box was themed around - " Beauty Set Go. " The Play bag was a mesh one, with the title, " Sweat is just another way to Glow." So I am assuming that fitness and beauty were the larger framework, around which they curated this month's box. I usually love the monthly pouches, and have been hoarding then. But somehow this month's box was the most unimpressive so far.

For those of you who are not aware with Sephora Play, let me tell you that its a monthly beauty subscription box from Sephora, which is priced at $10 , plus taxes.

The first product which I want to talk about is the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream. I had been hearing about this product from the last year or so, but had never thought of trying it. I dont like my Foundation or Base to be with SPF, as I hare flashback in Photos. And its no mystery that I get photographed a lot being a freelance journalist and a blogger. But I appreciate a good CC Cream, espexially when I am travelling or for  days when I know there will no flash photographs. Sephora messed up with my shade. They sent in a Medium, when I am a Light, they sent me a Fair. It has SPF 50 which is a broad spectrum coverage. I used my damp Beauty Blender to apply the product. Its got good coverage, and was quite good for day to day wear. The trick with this product is the blending. You have to spend some time, in blending this product with a damp sponge, or else it can look very cakey.
The second product I was excited about is Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. Its a sheer lip color with a glossy finish. I am not a fan of sheer formulas as such, but this was a wearable shade. It had reddish tint to it. One of those your lips but better shades. I only wish Sephora wold Up their Lip Game in their subscription box service. I am more of a make up junkie, and would love to see more lipcolors in the monthly boxes. Black Honey is an iconic shade created by Clinique in 1971, and it was good to see it in a new sheer formula.

The third product is the Tarte Frxxxtion Stick. I currently have a few Tarte products in rotation in my current skin care routine. Its an exfoliating gel cleanser in a unique twist up stick format. The solid gel transforms to a cleansing lather that gently sloughs away impurities. Its a good choice for post-gym showers, travelling or tiem crunched days in genral. This cleanser can alos be used as a mask by leaving it on the skin for 10 minutes. Its a good cleanser, but I didnt quite understand the exfoliating bit. Nothing overwhelming about this product.

Courtesy the Sephora Play boxes, I have used a few products from the Drunk Elephant Line .This time around it was Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream. Its vintage inspired, deeply moisturising face cream that brightens and visibly firms skin with a  rich yet whipped formula. I try to incorporate products which are anti ageing, in my skin care routine, and I quite liked this formula.

celebrity hair stylist Jen Atkins create the line Ouai (to be pronounced Way). I have used one of their texturising sprays, which had cone in a earlier Play box. All that I remember about the product taht it was beautifully perfumed. OUAI Treatment Masque, is a restorative hair mask for damaged hair. My hair is frizzy and dry and I have been coloring it for more than 16 years now. So I love a good restorative hair mask. Since my hair is long and its dry, I used up the mask at one application. That was a bummer. I like to use a product a few times at least, before I can decide whether I like it or not. The formula left my hair a lot hydrated and didnt make it greasy once I had washed it off. There are some hair products which weigh my hair down, as despite being dry and damaged, my hair is very fine.

Last but not the least, is the perfule sample. This month it was Tory Burch Love Relentlessly. I must say, I was in love with the Holiday 2016 ad from Tory Burch and was humming it all along. Coming back to the fragrance, it claimed to be unabashedly feminine and tender, with delicate notes of pink pepper, orris and patchouli. The fragrance is said to be inspired by the most romantic couple Tory Burch knows, her parents.

Overall, a good box in a few months. Sometimes there are more duds in box than loves, and January was a month, when the loves overshadowed the duds. Now the question is, which products, will I purchase in a full size. I guess I will opt for the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream, but have it in a shade which matches my skin tone, and not be in a shade which makes me look like an Oompa Loompa.




When the weather is beyond perfect at the weekend, you make sure to reserve a spot on some patio in town. We always do a dinner on Valentine's Day. But this year, we decided to postpone the celebrations to the weekend. When the temperature of your city, ties up to Highs , which were in 1930s, it is special . Brunch it was. If you know me, long enough, you know I have a special thing for Brunches. I find them so ever so romantic, and even therapeutic to a certain extent , after a hectic week.

We headed to Gram and Dun, on the Country Club Plaza, in Kansas City. Its always a good idea to go to Plaza when the weather is so perfect. After months and months of grey, clammy weather , it was bright and sunny. Patio seating is first come, first serve, at Gram and Dun . We  had a wait of around 20 minutes, as we had called in earlier. We got a beautiful table , on the patio(one of the best). It was with a street view of the Plaza. The sun was on our shoulders and we were smiling. Gram and Dun claims to create a neighborhood vibe and bring in their signature touch to classic dishes. At first sight, they didnt disappoint.

We have a three year old, who is a picky eater. As the restaurant didn't have anything special in a kids portion, and my daughter was not too keen on a full size Brunch entree, we had to get creative. She had had a snack before we started off, and mentioned that she would like some chips or fries. Before any of you health freaks, start rolling your eyes, about how unhealthy, it is, let me remind you, that its a 3 year old, on a celebratory meal with her parents. We ordered the Not - SO -Standard -Potato Chips with Parmesan Cheese. It came with a Sauce Fight featuring Gochu-Jang Mayo, Gold Sauce, Romesco Sauce. We all started nibbling in.

If you are in the Patio and its Brunch, then it calls for cocktails. I usually settle for a Mimosa, but the Brunch Punch looked promising. I loved the fact that it was poured and mixed Table Side. I could get used to this kind of drink service. It was not too sweet and was pretty smooth. It was a mix of Bourbon, White Wine, Apple Cider, Bitters, Orange Licquer.

Time for the main course. Me and my husband are big fans of Shrimp and Grits for Brunch,no matter how highly priced they are on the menu. We could have settled in for a Biscuits and Gravy and kept the tab lower, but aren't we always in a mood to splurge, when we are eating out. Need to change that habit, I keep telling myself, for the past decade.

Shrimp and Grits it was. Gram Dun 's version is with Blackened Shrimp and an Avocado Gravy . Our first look at the portion size, and my husband remarked that we might have to order something else. But we were wrong. The Grits was so loaded, that we were
full . The shrimps had a nice color and texture and good kick of spice. The grits were creamy and felt like they almost had a stick of butter in every portion.

Gram and Dun is clearly not a budget brunch place. And I know of many budget options for brunch, on the Plaza itself. But I feel its value for money, if its a special occassion. I loved the ambience, the service and the food . The servers were not over bearing with their presence ,which can often be a problem. Now the question is, will I be going back? I will surely be going back and try and explore the other options on the menu.

Hoping all of you had a great Valentine's Week with your loved ones.



Spring is almost here ! And who is looking forward to updating their wardrobe with the latest trends?! I know I will indulge in some shopping. How about I bring for your some cool Fashion  Advice from a fabulous Fashion designer in town. Designer Munisa Khuramova designs under the label : Munelle De Vie. I had loved her show at the opening night of Kansas City Fashion Week Spring Summer '17. So it made sense we followed it up with a lovely in depth interview, where she talks at length about everything Fashion.

If you want to know all about my experiences at Kansas City Fashion Week,then Click HERE 


Journospeak : What's one word you would use to describe your clothing line ? 
Munelle De Vie : Power

Journospeak : When did you start Designing ? What inspired you to become a Designer ? 
Munelle De Vie : I started designing since six years old . First I designed for my dolls and later attended drawing and sewing schools .
What exactly has inspired me is simply impossible. My life and my being and everything I do is Fashion; my essence is to Design. Its not just and idea- its a dream. When I was a child I always used to say, " I will be a famous Fashion Designer in America ." That's what has ultimately brought me here. My mother instilled in me the knowledge of a powerful country known as the United States. Her stories and the clothes she would bring from her long trips would widen my eyes to the possibilities that lay waiting for me .

Journospeak : What is the inspiration for your current line - Spring Summer'17 ?
Munelle De Vie : The inspiration came from observing patterns in ocean, fishes and their world. Nature has a power that I want my woman to feel when she puts on a piece.

Journospeak : In terms of Trends, what will go on from the Runway, to Every Day Fashion in Spring Summer '17? What are the trends to look out for in Spring Summer ?
Munelle De Vie : The organza assymetrical shirts, organza sweater puffy sleeves that will be replaced with a silky charmeuse , pants (with beadings, high waisted) , shorts(silk charmeuse), coats and silk chiffon dresses will definitely be a must buy for SS'17.
Purple , historically the color of power and royalty , as well as striping. Luxury textures of flowy silks. Comfortable and chic clothing is essential in a woman's wardrobe.

Journospeak : What makes your latest collection or design aesthetic stand out ? 
Munelle De Vie : Sustainable fabrications, inspiration for any woman, and an intimate story co-related with each peice they will be wearing.

Journospeak : What are you looking forward to in your upcoming collection - Fall Winter'17 ? 
Munelle De Vie : A lot of LOVE, passion and eye opening. Its all about getting romantic and flirty while on the path to fulfillment of one's passions.

To read more about my experiences at Kansas City Fashion Week, Click HERE.



Is it just me, or is everyone , desperately waiting for Spring ? Valentine's Day was just around the corner and it was a perfect opportunity to bring out some Spring colors. I love my monochromes , but pastels have a way of touching your heart . We have been having quite fluctuating temperatures here in the Midwest,which made it all the more easier to lose some of the multiple layers, we are otherwise bundled in.

Chunky knits are an eternal favorite of mine. And I might just have a bit too many of them, in my current rotation of clothes.

Valentine's Day is after the color of love. There are years, when I bring out the reds, but this year, I decided to go with a dusty rose. Blush was after all +Pantone 's Color of the Year for 2016. The sweater is chunky, yet has a lacy knit, which gives it a more romantic vibe. I paired it over a white button down. And I wanted to juxtapose the soft romanticism of the top with some something tough. Hence came my new Ripped Skinnies from American Eagle Outfitters . I loved the rips, the season's latest hemline, and undoubtedly the fit.

For my accessories, I wanted to keep them simple. My Prada Cat Eye Shades are a classic, and I love bringing it out ever so often. Its an investment piece, by all means, The red tone of the glasses were a great pair with the rosy sweater. My Nude Pumps , with kitten heels, are perfect, for Mommy runs, which always happen before a date night. And my old pink handbag from Coach.



Valentine's Day is just around the corner. The day doused in 50 shades of Red and Pink and all things Passion. The reservations are made, and the gifts are in place, baby sitters are booked in. A Date Night with your significant other. February 14th in all its glory . My plans are similar to some extent. But its my pans for the evening before, which I thought I might chat up about .

Galentines' Day . February 13th. A day dedicated to your girl gang. Amy Poehler, might have coined the fancy moniker in Parks and Recreation, but the tradition of spending a dedicated to your friends, has been around. Honoring friendship, is always a special tradition.

If I was hosting a Galentine's Day Party for my Girlfriends, here's what I would do :

1. Dress Code : Red and Pink

2. Candles, Flowers , Confetti :
Setting the right mood for any party is a sure shot way of making your guest feel comfortable. Twinkling lights of the aromatic candles set around the room, pretty flowers and even some confetti, will have your guests in the right spirit soon enough.

3. "Hey Mr. DJ, put on the Music."
Which party is complete with music. And when its a night for your girl friends, let the Power Ladies of Music tak eover. Adele, Queen Bey, or  even the Spice Girls for a trip down memory lane.

4. Think Pink, when it comes to Something to Drink :
Virgin : Pink Lemonade
Alcoholic : Pink Champagne on Ice(Yes,she said it ), Raspberry Martini

5. A dessert table with the sweetest treats.
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate is never a bad idea. Champagne pairs pretty well, with a chocolate covered strawberry, if you didn't know. And for a doughnut loving soul like me, its the perfect evening.

6. Cue up my favorite Romantic Movies on the TV. Netflix and Chill can be a favorite for a Gilrs Night In.

7 . DIY SPA and Mani Pedi Stations for my favorite girls.
Biting into some chocolate covered strawberries, sipping on some Bubbly, watching the chocolate boys on the TV and having a spa date at home. It all sounds too good, right.

8. Last but not the least , engaging in some face to face conversation. Catching up. In today;s world of calls being by speedy texts, meet ups being replaced by Face Time, meeting up with friends in person, is very precious and much needed.

9. Or you could play dress up and hit the hottest spots in town, with the best Wing women, that your always treasure.

Have a lovely time ladies !

Pictures by : Debashish Dasgupta 


Rainforest of the Sea : Tarte had me hooked in the name. I had seen this line at my local Sephora, and was quite intrigued. S when one my friends had picked up a gift featuring some products, from the line, I must say, I was very happy.

Are you as confused as I was, when you saw that name? Well, lets talk about it then. Tarte wanted to create a collection or a line, for those of us, with dry parched skin. In their search for natural ingrdients, they went ahead with KELP. Yes, its Kelp, which is described in the fancy branding of this line. Hydration and Anti Ageing are the key areas, in which this line focuses on. Marine Algae, coconut, cucumber are some of the natural ingredients of this line.

The packaging was blue, teal purple, with a marine inspired design. You could not miss the Kelp connection from it.

Tarte's previous line - Amazonian Clay was targeted more towards Oily or Combination Skin.

To begin with, I was most fascinated to try out one of  the most hyped product of recent times . Tarte Maracuja Oil . It has been quite a rage among beauty lovers. I tried it out in my skin care routine, and understood what the hype was all about. Although I have dry skin, its very sensitive , and can be prone to breakouts with certain products But this face oil, was very calming and very hydrating. It was not too heavy, yet my skin felt plump after a single use. Its currently on my nightstand, and I am surely getting the full size one.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea - Drench Splash Lipstick in Cabana Boy . Isnt that quite a mouthful to remember. Its a satin Matte lipstick, in mauvy nude pink. I have a warm complexion, so these tones suit me better than brownish mauves. The lipstick was quite creamy, and it glided on quite easily. But its not very long wearing, I must add.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Highlighter in Exposed is yellowish golden highlighter. It was very creamy and easy to blend. As I have a warm undertone, I love highlighter which are warm. I used it with a light hand, and it gave a subtle glow. It was in the same league as the Tarte Blushes, which I really love. Its a good highlighter to be worn during the day. I might layer it, if I wanted to use it for a nightout make up.

Tarte Rainforst of the Sea Marine Boosting Mist claims to be a 4 in 1 product - primer, make up setting spray, hydrating mist and skin refresher. It has a lovey orangey citrusy perfume. I use it as a moisturizing primer before my make up. It lives up to its claim of being hydrating, and you will be reaching for it every day. Especially for us, in these harsh Midwestern Winters, this product is like a breath of fresh air.

The least favorite product in this set was the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Deep Dive Cleansing Gel . It was lavender scented,which I really loved. But there wa snothing path breaking about this cleanser.My friend, who is a beauty expert, and who had picked up this gift set for me, was most interested in finding out, how this product worked. It was a gel based cleanser and a little went a long way. I use waterproof eye make up, and while this cleanser removed my foundation and other facial makeup, it didnt do a good job, in removing my robust long stay gel eyeliner and waterproof mascara.




The Miami experience is incomplete without Joe's Stone Crab. The iconic joint, which is known for being the favorite of celebrities, two hour wait and Stone Crab. Founder Joseph Weiss, discovered the Florida specialty, Stone Crabs ,and the rest as they say is history. One claw of a Stone crab is harvested, and it regrows. It makes it a pretty sustainable way of sea food fishing, I must say.

Joe's does not take reservations, hence you realize why you always have to be prepared for a two hour wait. Located in the southern part of South beach, and is a walk away from Ocean Drive. A 100 year old institution, which still keeps up its old world dinning charm, in every possible way. A very rare feat of being both Classic and Hip, without compromising on any thing

Joe's is always buzzing with people, who are all waiting for their tables. I tried my best, to see if I could recognise any of the faces, when we finally made it inside. But I had left my glasses at the hotel. Yes, this is the spot, where you easily spot celebrities, any time of the week. People watching game was quite strong, I must add.

While we were waiting for or table, I could not help but notice a plaque(board) which had a list of Dos and Don'ts. Among the many things it mentioned, Cut Off shorts not allowed. So presumably, Joe's has a subtly enforced Dress Code. Make sense to not head from the beach, with flip flops. Good for us , that we love dressing up. From all my previous visits to Florida, I knew that if you are planning a dinner at a hot joint in South Beach, then you should take the time to plan out your outfit.

Tuxedo clad servers hovering, dark woodwork all round, impressive and ornate ceilings, I almost felt if I had taken a trip back in time. Service was impeccable, even if the servers seemed a bit too serious . Our seat was a cross between a booth and a normal table. A bit of exclusivity, in an otherwise crowded and bustling restaurant. Date Night brownie points, for our Maitre'D for sure.

Sadly enough, there was nothing special for kids, in the menu, so we went head and ordered French Fries for our daughter, and an order of Fried Green Tomatoes for us.

 It was time for our piece de resistance - Stone Crabs. Stone Crabs claws are graded according to size and priced accordingly. We ordered a plate of Large Stone Crab Claws. They come boiled, and cold. The shells are cracked, and ready to eat. Served with their famous Mustard Mayo(sorry, forgot to take close up shots). The stone crab claws, with their black tips, were quite a pretty sight, on the white table cloth laden table, amidst a room of ornate wood work.

The crab flesh is pretty sweet, and quite quite fleshy. As we dunked our crab meat in the mustard mayo , we did have to be careful for the juices running by. I know there were paper bibs placed on our table by our server, but we managed pretty well, without them. It was distinctly different in taste from the Dungeness Crab, or the King Crabs of Alaska, or the Blue Crabs of Baltimore. For sea food lovers , it was quite an experience. Stone Crab Claws are harvested in the Crab Season, from October to May. We were there for our Christmas break, and the crab claws could not be any fresher.

As we had expressed a soft regret, that there was no Kids Menu, our server surprised our daughter with some house made Raspberry Sorbet, at the end of the meal.

The food was pricey, like any other fine dinning joint, but the experience was surely very exclusive. Date Night perfection . So if you are planning a trip to Miami Beach, make sure you have time for Joe's Stone Crab.

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