More often than not, common things and choices that we take for granted, are luxuries for other people-I dont think about my day to day safety or commute or wonder where my next meal is coming from-these are thing I take for granted.I am so entrenched in my everyday routine- worrying about what a co-worker said or if I am going to be able to locate a particular item of clothing that I have been eyeing for awhile or how my meeting will go on Monday that I never stop to pause and think about how lucky I am, cause being healthy,safe,educated,stated,having a loving family,being born and raised in country which has a largely stable economic and political structure(Yes I know about corruption in India and am aware of it, but right now all I feel is grateful) is a luxury, which is not afforded to a lot of people.
Hai Bhagwan (Hai Bhagwan=Dear God)I am grateful and humbled-Thank you.
p.s.-I am sorry if this bored you but this is what’s on my mind right now.
So I have a confession to make-My name is Ash and I am a procrastinator.
When I was in school and it was exam time I would somehow miraculously decide that I needed to make a lifestyle change and get healthy-instead of solving maths problems I would go for a walk and workout.
When it was summer vacation time -I would decide that it was time for me to expand my horizons and learn about the world-I would read Sweet Valley High (Yes reading about a bunch of High School teenagers counts as learning about a new culture cause the so-called teenagers lived in the US while I lived in India-so I was learning about a new culture-ergo expanding my horizons) instead of working out.
Yesterday evening instead of doing my taxes (Uncle sam just send me a sweet check-why do you need me to fill out all the paperwork) I made these sweet easter cupcakes.
Today evening instead of doing my taxes I am blogging about the sweet easter cupcakes I made yesterday.
Tomorrow evening instead of doing my taxes……hmmm….I dont have a plan..Brain going in hyper drive mode.
1/4 Cup Cupcake batter box (I used pillsbury-One of these days I am going to try and make cupcakes from scratch just not today -Procrastinator much Ash)
2 tbsp 2% milk
1 tbsp apple sauce
2 tbsp oil
Store bought frosting (One day I will make home-made frosting-Yes I know its bad to procrastinate)
Drunken dancing teddy bear sprinkle-you could get teddy bear sprinkles-they work just as fine,I just like calling mine drunken dancing ones.
Since I was just making cupcakes for me and a friend-I used 1/4 cup of the boxed mixture.I added all the wet ingredients except for the frosting and the sprinkles.
1/4 cup of the mixture yielded enough for 12 mini cupcakes.
Bake for 8-12 minutes.Let the cupcakes cool on a rack.
What happened to the good old days when you used to make funny smelling stuff-I used to come to your stores,walk around and then walk out without a bag-my wallet used to be a happy camper and so was I…
You have changed …..for the better-Hmmmmph!!!
Me no like and my wallet no like either.
Lots of Love No Love,
Anyway’s if my growing obsession with Body shop products hasn’t yet bored you (read more about it here,here and here ) here are the results of my most recent trip.
I used to have a life,friends,a work out routine and then you came along-enticing me with beautiful pictures and hundreds of recipes.Now I have to-do-diy list a mile long (or at-least 274 pins long) and clothes dont even get me started-I want them all(Goodbye paycheck-hello pinterest inspired wardrobe).
After you entered my life everything changed-Now when I see a cute mint blazer I start thinking does it belong to my blazer board or my mint-love board…(deep sigh..shaking head sadly).
Despite dire warnings from my orthopedic surgeon while he diagnosed me with carpal tunnel syndrome (jk…jk )- I continue to pin, after all you did lead me to these sweet morsels of heaven-Yogurt bites in my own home-Heaven.
Love of love
Fruit greek yogurt.
The brand of yogurt I used has fruit at the bottom -I mixed the fruit and the yogurt and used a dessert decorator (similar to this) cause I like my yogurt to look like icing (I am silly and slightly obsessive like that) but a piping bag would work just as great.
I let them set for an hour and they came out perfect-frozen- totally yummy.
I used foil and they peeled right off-You could try and pipe them directly on a plate but I think piping them onto a foil makes life a lot easier.
This is going to be quite a picture heavy post -before buying this I tried to look up reviews on this face mask but couldn’t find too many- as a result I am going to make this quite a detailed review in case any of you were thinking about buying this.
The mask comes in an old-school style apothecary jar with a black cap which is a twist top.
This product is geared towards those who have an oily-combination skin type.Its a clay mask which is supposed to draw out toxins and help balance the production of sebum.I use it twice a week because lately my skin has been behaving finicky-I let it sit on my skin for 20 minutes and then remove it using a damp warm face cloth.This mask dries quite fast-under 10 minutes if you apply a thinner layer-which is great for an early morning skin treat.The mask has a herbal-scent to it- it isn’t extremely over-powering but if you are someone who doesn’t like those kinds of scents you might want to give this a skip.My skin feels less oily after applying this mask-with summer just around the corner-this might be a good mask to use before heading out for events such as summer weddings/picnics.
It does have quite a high price point-$30 for 2 oz but I have found that I dont use a lot of this face mask and it is a certified organic product which is a bonus in my opinion!
I absolutely love John Masters Products and have quite a few of them-Click here to check my review on other John Masters products.
Its that time of the year again-No, its not Xmas… but Sephora is having their Spring friends and family sale (15% off )-Right now its only for VIB’s and is starting on March 29th and running all the way till April 6th.The sale is valid on all items at Sephora and the code is CHICVIB which is valid both online and in stores.
There is a exclusive preview day event for VIB’s where you can 15% of for yourself and a friend, a free limited edition umbrella and face time with Sephora Beauty Experts. If you haven’t received the physical pass which was mailed out to all VIB’s you can still use the code online CHICVIB.
For regular Beauty Insiders starting March 30th you can get 15% off all the way through April 5th with code CHICBI.
Want to know the dates for the 20% off Fall 2012 Sephora Friends and Family Sale-I have all that information in my my blog post here-
I had a great weekend-it involved food, friends,the latest episode of GCB, glittery nail polish and some retail therapy.
According to the SA, at Ann Taylor the mint skirt is part of this month’s new collection.It should be available in most stores and is supposed to launch online soon.I am hoping that the collection is focused around the color mint -I have been absolutely loving all things mint lately.
Since there is no such thing as too-many-white-shirts, I picked up a white shirt which was on final sale for only $20.
Because the mint skirt is from a new collection I couldn’t find a link to the skirt online.Similar mint skirts are available here, here and here.
From Loft I picked up a flirty cotton skirt-Despite the wrinkles and the relatively unflattering picture of the skirt,once you wear it, it looks great.
My Last stop was Banana republic where I picked up a ring and these cute shorts-I was wearing the shorts while clicking these pictures that’s why they are not in the picture itself.
On Sunday I and a friend stopped by to grab some fro-yo and at Limited this bright green skirt (I think this is the correct link to my skirt but I couldn’t find the name of my skirt on the tag to cross -check, So correct me if I am wrong) reeled me in-I am still unsure how I am going to style it but the bright color is beautiful for spring and summer.
One of my favorite med school memories is hanging out with friends post exams at Sardar Pav Bhaji -If you are looking for great pav bhaji, its the perfect place to go-if you are looking for ambiance, not so much- nevertheless at the end of every term a bunch of us would end up at the old-restaurant-style tables to eat a plate of spicy cheesy sardar pav bhaji.If you are in mumbai you need to make a trip to Sardar’s and I can guarantee you a good pav-bhaji.
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion.
3 large potatoes
1 cup frozen mix vegetables
2 tomatoes pureed
3 cloves garlic-chopped.
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 green chili
1 1/2 tbsp tomato ketchup
Cumin/Jeera 1 tbsp
Red Chili Powder/Mirchi- to taste
Dhania Powder 3/4 tbsp
1 cups water
2 1/2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Its important to cook and thaw the frozen vegetables in oil before chopping them in a food processor-This allows the vegetables to absorb the garlic flavor.
Mixing all the spices in 1/4 cup of hot water -somehow makes the bhaji taste better.(This is my nani’s (maternal grandmother) trick-she always uses hot water to mix the spices before adding them to any dish).
Thaw the vegetables-is 1 tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp garlic powder-After the vegetables have thawed-chop them roughly in a food processor.
Boil and peel the potatoes.
Heat the remaining oil-add Cumin Seeds,garlic and green chillies.Once the onion has cooked, add the boiled potatoes,chopped tomatoes,green chillies and mixed vegetables.Mix all the spices in 1/4 cup of warm water and add this mixture to the bhaji.
Add 1/2 a cup of water-cover the pan with lid and cook for ten minutes.
Add ketchup and the remaining water and cook on low heat for another 5-7 minutes.
Take the Bhaji off the heat,add lime juice and cilantro for garnish.
This weekend got off to CHEESY start-well it got off to a cheese fondue start, which was followed by glitter nail polish and minty-new clothes.
I am still waiting on my Deborah Lippmann nail polishes-Across the universe is back ordered but hopefully I will get them sometime this week.Till then I decided to do with Revlon’s Glitter nail polishes.In addition to these three glitter nail polishes there were two more shades -Radiant and Scandalous- but both of them were out of stock at my Rite Aid.
I also stopped by to have a look at all the spring lines which have recently hit the stores hoping to satisfy my craving for mint , here is a sneak peek.More on this on Monday.
Other mint (mint is more like a perennial spring summer trend-you can never go wrong with mint during the warmer months), neon is one of the hottest trends for spring. Here are a few ideas on how to sport this trend without going overboard.
I recently ran out of cleanser and switched back to Philosophy’s -Purity Made Simple Face wash.
My bottle was a Christmas special which is why its is a 12 fl oz bottle.Year around it is available in 3 oz, 8 oz,16 oz and 24 oz bottle.
The cleanser comes in a plastic bottle with a pop-up-pop-down cap-I do wish it came with a pump as that would allow greater control. Philosophy’s website does sell a pump separately for its bath products-I am not sure if this could be used for the face wash also.
The cleanser is whitish-cream in color and has no smell.Its rich and thick without being greasy-it takes of makeup pretty well without leaving the skin feeling tight or dry.Some cleanser work great with the clarisonic other dont-I have found that this one works wonderfully with the clarisonic.
A large bottle of this lasts ages which is what makes this a great value for money product-Because its fragrance free it works great for those with sensitive skin.
After trying out the John Masters Organics 100% Argan Oil , I have very high hopes for the Moroccan clay mask and the deep follicle treatment I ordered.Here is just a sneak peek-I will be posting an in depth review over the next couple of days.
I absolutely love John Masters Products and have quite a few of them-Click here to check my review on other John Masters products.
Lace is one of the top trends for 2012.As I had mentioned here ,I have been quite obsessed with lace skirts.I have Ann Taylor’s Snow Flower Lace skirt and absolutely love it.They recently came out with a spring version of the same skirt in a coral color-I am very tempted to pick it up, but am not sure about having two similar pieces in my wardrobe.
Have you ever liked a clothing item so much – that you bought two of them?
My recipe for strawberry sauce/jam is simple,is easy, is super quick and requires little to no work.I eat this a lot of ways-with bananas and granola,with a piece of lightly toasted bread, as a topping for my 5 minute home-made banana ice cream-the choices are endless, but my favorite way of eating this is with greek yogurt and granola.
1 cup crushed strawberries.
1/2 cup blueberries
2 1/2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup water
Boil the water with the salt and sugar till all the sugar dissolves.
Add the blueberries and strawberries (I like my sauce to be a little thick so I pulse the fruit a couple of times in the food processor till it achieves a consistency of part-chopped-up-fruit and part-juice)
Cover the bowl with the lid and let it simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes-stir occasionally.
Taste the sauce depending on how sweet or tangy the fruits are you might need more sugar.
Uncover the lid and cook for another 15 minutes till the water evaporates and the sauce thickens.
After taking of the heat add lime juice and stir-once the sauce cools transfer into a glass jar.
In the mad dash which invariably accompanies a week which is as busy as the one I have coming up-I don’t always get time to put together outfits and accessories and make sure everything matches.To save time and early morning angst – I plan my next week’s outfits on the weekend-this helps control the morning craziness, as all I have to do through out the week is grab and go.
I have a walk in closet which has a organizer housing all my jewelry.Early morning I dont want to go digging trying to find the appropriate pieces for the day- A 6 hook organizer makes life easy cause everything I need for the week is displayed and easily available.
One of my favorite pieces is this 3 strand necklace from Ann Taylor (It might be from Loft I am not a 100% sure as I bought it awhile back).Its subtle enough for work but the beads provide a pretty shimmer, perfect for evening meetings/dinners.
I am not sure if my readers would like me to do more organization posts like this-Please tell me if you want to see more such posts.
One of my daily morning rituals is drinking lemon water-Its my go-to way to start of my day with healthy habit.While I generally use pre-squeezed lemon juice straight from bottle -I have been debating whether I should make the shift to using fresh organic lemons instead.Investing in one of these bright neon Sombrero juicers might provide me with the much needed impetus to make the switch.
The best part about this juicer is not the convenient way its fits into a water bottle but rather the in built strainer which helps keep out the lemon seeds.Each Juicer is only $5 and available at umbra.com or the container store.
Growing up you couldn’t get me to eat green beans-I was quite stubborn and insisted that they resembled garden snakes.Fast forward to today, green bean are still not my most favorite vegetable but if cooked right, I love curling in with a plate full of green beans, tortilla chips and the latest magazine.
With green beans its really important not to over-cook them-Green beans can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes to cook and I keep tasting them as they cook to check that they are not overdone.
Once you are done cooking the green beans you want to soak them in a ice bath-this prevents the beans from over cooking and turning mushy.
Soak the beans in a ice bath to halt the cooking process.
1/2 a bag of green beans
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Butter
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Chili Powder (Adjust to Taste)
3 tbsps all purpose flour or maida
1/2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Chat Masala
Salt to taste
Start by boiling the beans -Beans take between 5-8 minutes to cook.Drain the water and soak the beans in a ice bath to prevent over cooking.
In a large skillet heat the butter and the olive oil-once all the butter has melted add the flour and cook on low heat for about 3-5 minutes till the flour is all cooked.
Add all the spices and cook for another 5 minutes-Toss the beans in this sauce and serve warm