Reindeer and Seafood on my plate: Alaska on my tastebuds

What exactly do you need on a dull day, when you have zero desire to cook yourself a meal. Add to it the craving for food, which are only available miles and miles away. What exactly do you do when your taste buds crave for a taste that is distinctly Alaskan. I am still looking for the answer, as I lust on and on.

 Alaska is not only about oysters and king crabs. Its about a whole lot of oysters and king crabs and not to forget all the deer meat. I know, I know, it should be mentioned as venison, rather than the crass deer meat, but the fact, I really do not know the exact terms for reindeer meat and caribou meat, hence the broad outline. Alaska has a distinct quality, it makes you feel hungry a little more often. No wonder I piled on all the extra calories around my tummy. Having four big meals in one day, not to mention the numerous snacks, that is stretching the limit a bit to far, for a size zero person like me. But I ain't complaining! In fact I am looking forward to anyone willing to volunteer to cook up an Alaskan feast for me and my hungry tummy and lusty soul. I guess I just have to take a trip down memory lane.

One thing was for sure. Me and hubby had decided that out first major meal in Alaska would have to be reindeer, after all the research work we had done. No offence meant to Rudolph and his friends. But alas, the first night our flight was so late, that we had to make do with our medium rare sirloin steaks. Not to mention, that they were too good. So the next morning, what we thought to be as breakfast, ultimately became brunch, only in the bid to devour only reindeer meat. The restaurant, quaint and tiny, though renowned, had a line almost stretching to the next block. In spite of our hunger, we weren't complaining. After all this hype, and after all this wait, when the reindeer sausage rolls actually did arrive, it was worth every bit of effort we had put in. The meat was softer than I had imagined, not quite similar to normal venison. And the crunch of the grilled sausage on the rolls, with the generous helping of mustard and fried onions, sealed the deal. The icing on the cake, the french fries, which had been fried in reindeer. The fries were so rich, that I even had an extra order of the fries to munch on during the day. And even after a few hours in the car, the fries did not lose their crunch.

 Well, it is difficult to find Mc D's and Subways, in the interiors of Alaska. So what become the definite choice, were quaint diners tucked away at the foothills, or near a creek flowing by. The menu and the cooking was totally rustic. But I guess, that was the best deal about taking a road trip from need of the last frontier to the other. We got to savour the traditional culinary favorites(which one will totally miss if one is taking a luxurious cruise). So for an evening snack, on a tiring day, I settled in for some steamer clams, in a garlic and butter and wine broth. The plate in which I was served was not something great, but the food which was served, was beyond doubt one the best steamer clams I have ever had. The simplicity of the recipe brought out the sweetness of the clams, and it had that touch to it, which you have, when mom prepares a dish. Food for the soul in the truest sense.

The super juicy caribou patties deserve at least a mention. Breakfast gets a different meaning when you bite into caribou meat, and hash browns.In a bid to hog the food,we forgot to take any pictures. At least my taste buds still remember the tasty deal. Following all the hype about Alaskan sea food, we usually ordered the same thing over and over again, for quite a few meals. The much spoken about FISHERMAN'S PLATTER. Talking of king crabs and oysters, it had all of that.Along with halibut fillets, clams, scallops, calamari, prawns, all fried in a light tempura batter. The sea food was fresh, the batter was crisp, and lightly spicy. Served along with a generous helping of the local shrimp cocktail, it was any seafood lover's paradise on a plate. The buttery corn and the mashed potatoes got a miss, as the sea food kept all of us hands on. Bon appetit !


Make-up Maniac's Tips and Tricks

Make up maniac, well, that is what I call myself. Not that I am always caked in make up when I step out of the house, but make up is something which is very close to my heart. I will not claim that I am self taught in make up artistry. Many influences, many people, many different make up phases, have all culminated to what I am today. One of my sisters in law(whom I have never met in person, but only communicated through social networks) kept urging me, to write something on makeup, so this post goes out to her.

Facing the camera happened by chance after finishing my masters, when I decided to make my home in Dilwalon ki Dilli. Lets say, I got lucky fast. And those were days, when make up meant, only a dash of lipgloss, and heavily kohled eyes. Its just a few days back that a friend of mine commented that she liked me better in my Aajtak days, as she called it, with this signature look. I was too icky about foundations and face powders, but learnt really fast, how important they were when you are facing the camera, which seeks to highlight even your minor flaws. so that is how the journey began, to camouflage the facial flaws while being on air, to finally becoming a full out obsession, and  a vast make up collection. I even gift my friends make up when I meet them(see how obsessive I am). 

Now the web is is flooded with make up videos and make up articles, so what more can I share in this niche world, where everyone seems to be savvy. Thought of sharing a few ideas and pointers, which helped me develop my make up skills over the years. 

Tricks and tips I found super useful. 

#1: Matching your foundation to your skin tone: 
Ladies, do not compromise on this please, as this is the biggest fauxpas that you can commit when you are trying to dress up. Try and identify the undertones of your skin. It will either be a yellowish undertone or a pinkish one. If you are unsure, seek the help of the consultant at the make up counter.No use guessing your shade, and ending up either too dark or bleached out. You just look freaky to others around you. A trick I have learned over the years, is that while buying foundation, its best to test it on your cheeks, near your jawline. If it blends well, and you cannot understand that you have make up, then you have gotten the right shade. Or else keep looking for your right shade. 

#2: Smoky eyes do not only mean shades of grey and black: get creative: 
The make up trend that's been here for long, and is here to stay for quite some time now. The rage across the green planet: Smoky eyes. This look can be achieved with almost any colour family. You just need three to four colours of the same family to get you super sexy peepers all smokin hot. Its that easy. Lets say, Purple. After applying your base, place the darkest shade of purple you have, on your lid(avoid the are near the tear duct.) Now take a shade of purple, which is slightly lighter,and with a different brush, apply it carefully on the crease. Now take the lightest shade of purple(if you do not have it, opt for light pearly pink), and with a different brush, place it around the tear ducts and as a highlighter up to your brow bone. Make sure you blend the colours around each other well, to avoid harsh lines. While buying eye shadows, check how pigmented it is. Swatch it on the back of your hand, and see how bright the colour is, after just one stroke of colour. The idea is to pack in the colour, without loading too much product. I go crazy for MAC. You take your pick. Always apply some light loose powder just below you eyes, to catch the colours which fall from your eyes, while applying eyeshadows. Brush away this powder, after you complete your eye make up.  Do not 
forget mascara and the eyeliner. Smokin smokin. 

#3: Opt for a good eye shadow base:
Please do not use your foundation over your eyelids, in a bid to save a few cents. It ain't worth it. You do not want your make up to start creasing or to melt away fast, and leave your eyes looking like raccoon eyes. Opt for a good eye shadow base or primer. My picks would be Urban Decay primer Potion and L'oreal 
De-Crease. Wait for a minute after you apply your base or primer to let it set, before you start applying your eye shadows. That time allows it to set well. 

#4: Coral blush suits almost everyone, rather than a bright perky pink: 
Coral is a color which not everyone is comfortable with. People would rather opt for shades of pink when it comes to blush. Pink is always a show stealer, I agree to that. But Pink blush does not suits everyone, neither does it suit all clothes. Opt for the shade of coral which looks good on you. Make up is all about experimenting and getting out of your comfort zone. MAC's Coppertone is a good shade of blush, which almost suits everyone. And if you want the best of both worlds, opt for colors which are a mix of pinks and corals. Case in point: NARS Orgasm. 

                                               #5: Heavier eyes pair with lighter lips, and vice versa: 
Red Lipstick, an instant mood lifter for me. Try it , and even you will agree. So whenever I opt for red lips(or anything brighter as that, like a super hot pink), I go easy on the eyes. Surely do not opt for a smoky eyes, when you have bright lipstick in mind. Opt for lighter eye shadows, nude and neutral shades. Champagne, brown, greys, pearl, go well with brighter lip colors. Urban Decay's Naked Palette is in fact a very good collection of shadows, for days when you want to go light on the eyes. If you do not wanna buy that, then just check the colors on the palette online, and find out your own dupes of the nude and neutral shades. You will get started on the nude trend. And when you are going heavy on the eyes, getting it all smokin hot, then please opt for nude lips. MAC's Myth or Rimmel's Airy Fairy are good choices.

                                             #6: Invest in good make up brushes:
Unlike make up , you do not have to invest in branded stuff, when you are picking up brushes.Look for decent stuff, but not exactly super budget brands. Pick up a few good eye shadow brushes. Get at least 4 for applying colour, 2 for blending, 1 angled brush for gel eyeliners, and a fan brush to dust away the excess powder which you put under your eyes, to catch the falling colors while applying eye shadows. Foundation is best applied with a damp sponge, but if you are comfortable with a brush, then opt for it. A large powder brush, and large blush brush are other basic necessities to your vanity. Keep checking for frayed ends of your brushes, and discard them when you start getting many frayed ends. always clean your brushes after every use. If you are not using a brush cleanser, then just clean them with warm wayer and soap, and let them air dry while laying them down a paper napkin.Store them well, dont let them get dusty, or you could land up with facial break outs.

#7: Gel eyeliners win over liquid ones: 
My Didibhai(a make up diva), introduced me to the world of gel eyeliners. I have not opted for anything else, after that. Its like an instant love story. I initiated a lot of my friends into this trend,and even they swear by it. Its worth the few extra bucks, coz one pot almost lasts 8 months or so. MAC's Fluidline range is a super winner anyday. I opt for Blacktrack in the Fluidline range, as I love my black eyeliners. It takes a lil bit of practice getting it right with an angled eyeliner brush, but practice on and you will be in love with it, even before you realize. If you are looking for budget brands, then Wet'n'Wild is a good dupe. These days every company has their gel eyeliner, so take your pick. Most of these are water resistant, so no need to worry during the hot and humid months. 

Woaah, I seem to just go on and on. Will make all of you make up maniacs, if I go on any further.Well, to cut the long story short, hopefully my basic tricks and tips will be useful for all of you to venture further in the make up journey. Start playing and the colors shall be in your finger tips so soon. Asta la vista  babies, till the next make up chit chat session.