Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mint paradise

Shirt: Blanco
Jeans: Madewell
Shoes: Zara
Necklace: Forever21 (other pretty options here and here)

It's the color of the season, and, what better color to wear it with than white! Gold and pearls give mint (and, most pastel shades) a dressy look. Think gold bracelets, hoops and neckpieces.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Playing with orange

                                                                       Dress: Macy's (similar here and here)
               Sandals: Mexico street vendor (ALDO has these fun neon sandals on sale right now)
                 Scarf: Indian street market (other bright options here and here)

You don't need to hunt for a fuschia bag only because you finally bought those hot fuschia pumps. Accesorize your everyday bag to match your shoes. Try scarves, feathers or a ribbon the next time!

Check out these over the top Louis Vuitton bag charms for some food for thought.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hello Summer!

White has always been my favorite color. I seldom need a reason to wear white, but, I had to kick start summer in this airy white dress. What better than white to beat the heat. Since, it was a graduation brunch (hence, a younger vibe) I wore this to, I choose these shoes to add some spunk to the otherwise feminine ensemble.

Dress: Charlotte Russe (other pretty sundresses herehere, here and here), Shoes: Zara

White comes with trouble and lots of it. It is difficult to maintain, not practical because of its transparecy, makes one look bigger and paler than they are. Right? Wrong.

White, like any other color has to be worn right. Versatility and splendour of a white outfit is hard to beat. Follow this simple guide to not only buy more whites, but also to put your best foot forward in them!

Checklist for white outfits
  • Check the transparency of the outfit: Place your hand behind the fabric, wear it and check against light. That's the cardinal rule for buying any white clothing. If it comes with a lining, it is a hassle free pick.
  • Buy the right inners: White on white doesn't work. Always go for inners closer to your skin tone. Investing in this and this will suffice for most of your white outfits. Check this out for more options.
  • Try white for formal wear: This white blazer beats well-tailored navys and greys. While choosing white for formal wear, stick to a sharp cut and a heavy fabric.
  • Choose the right fabric: Natural fabrics like linen and cotton have a better fall (especially in white) than clingy polyester or nylon.
  • Choose YOUR white: Bright whites suit olive to dark skin tones, while cream and off-white suits pale skin tones. Try different whites until you figure out which shade suits you best. Pale skin toned women can also carry off white better by choosing outfits that have a different shade along the neckline and sleeves. Checkout this, this and this.
  • Accessorize right: While you need to stick to just one or two pieces, pick bold pieces that stand out. An oversized gold watch or golden hoops will add character to the look without dominating the white canvas. For a more muted look choose pearls and pastels.
  • Shoes:You will most likely have more than one pair that matches your white dress. Choose your shoes according to the occasion. Go for gold for more formal occasions, browns and earthy shades for a walking filled day, and, brighter colors for a fun evening out.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

T(r)ucking Good Food

After a stranded walk along the ocean, up the hill, past the shrubs and moss filled walls, the smells guided us down the hill to what looked like a crowded rest area for trailers, but, the smells said something else. Good Food.

Off The Grid is a weekly food truck affair at the parking lot of Fort Mason, San Francisco.

The next couple of minutes saw me breezing down the long flight of stairs even as the fog filled San Francisco air walloped across my face. I was greeted by smoky flavors from grilled meat on a 5 foot long skillet, and that, was the beginning of the chow fest!

We decided to follow the ‘longer the line, better the food’ mantra and stood in line for twenty long minutes for the dumplings which were worth running back to the end of the line for a second round! The hot and juicy dumplings with minced chicken and cilantro filling bathed in soy sauce (by us) justified the long wait.

Our Indian origin made us skip the Indian street chow, even as crowds thronged the truck. We made up for skipping that in less than a minute as we joined the long line to taste the grub from The Taco Guys. It had to be their popular Maui fish taco – yet another dish that more than justified the wait. The fish was fresh and lightly seasoned (just the way seafood should be) and the salad that went in with it packed a punch of flavors giving every bite the right amount of fresh fish and tang.

We couldn’t have missed the star of the night – the pork buns at ‘The Chairman’ truck, and, I am glad we did not. The perfectly marinated veggies sit pretty inside the fluffy bun and the flavors pop in the mouth even as the bun is toning them down to perfection.

After a nibble (well, more than a nibble) here and there, we dutifully marched to the Crème Brulee truck, went for the classic vanilla, and, as that spoonful of ecstasy smothered against our taste buds, we had long forgotten the purpose of our existence. We were born to eat THIS. How could there be a purpose more essential than that?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Skirt troubles

I haven't worn a long skirt in over two decades! This long skirt made it home with me ONLY because it was a good deal, and, a 100 degree day forced me to make it work, one way or the other.

                                                            Skirt, worn as a dress: Divaz Boutique Sandals: Street market in India; Belt: Charlotte Russe (similar)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Floral adieu to Spring

For years, stripes competed with checks in my wardrobe with plain t-shirts providing the backdrop. The odd floral dress or top, that I got as a gift, would be tucked away safely into a quiet corner of my wardrobe. Those pretty little things would be remembered on rare occassions when I would be scrounging around for a creative gift wrap!

That has been my relationship with floral prints, and, still is. They are pretty and feminine - just not for me. So, when floral prints became the hot Spring trend, I ignored it hoping it would pass soon. The trend lasted and I gave in - to these adorable floral shoes. If you are like me (or not) add this trend to your wardrobe (subtly) with accessories.

Shoes: Forever21 Pants: GAP Top: Forever New (similar) Flower: Street vendor in Mexico

The stores, of course, are stocked with floral pants and blouses, but, these are the shoes, scarves and bags that are worth a look.

These flower clips offer a fun and simple way of playing with this trend without making you dive right in.

Want to take this trend to the next level? Check this out!

Have fun with flowers until next time!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oranges and cream

We always wonder what dessert to make when hosting a lunch or dinner at home, eventually giving into a tub of ice-cream or something from the bakery. Dessert anxiety is common. Most people are adventurous enough to plan a five course meal, only to outsource the dessert. Of course, how many of us can boast of perfectly baked cakes or immaculate soufflés?

However, the next time, before you give in to the store bought dessert, try this. Yes, even the novices and the 'disasters in the kitchen' who take pride in their ability to make eggs should give this a shot.

I have timed this one, and, (including the time to open the can of oranges) it takes less than fifteen minutes, and, requires little to no culinary expertise (to look like someone with one!)

Here's what you need

Low fat sour cream - 16 oz
Low fat yogurt - 16 oz
Powdered sugar - one cup (taste and add more if "needed")
Mandarin oranges (drained) - small can (11 oz)
Pistachios (crushed) - a handful
Cardamom - 2-3
Cinnamon powder - a pinch or two

Add if you want to *

Saffron - tiny pinch
Almonds (flakes) - half a handful


Oranges: Drain all the syrup out of the oranges and keep them aside
Almonds: Slice each almond vertically into 3-4 pieces and stow away
Cardamom and pistachios: Blend them (dry) coarsely
Saffron: Soak a tiny pinch in a spoonful or two of milk for a couple of minutes

Get started

1. Take a bowl in which you want to serve the dessert.
2. Blend the sour cream and yogurt into a smooth paste and fold in the sugar.
3. Taste. If you need, like or want more sugar - go ahead and add some.
4. Add the cinnamon, coarsely powdered cardamom and pistachio and mix well.
5. Add the saffron along with the milk in which you soaked it
6. Top with the mandarin oranges and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.
6. No refrigeration necessary if you are ready to eat it right away!
7. Minutes before you eat,  microwave the almond flakes for 30 seconds, sprinkle on top and serve!

Three on a good day.

There have been days when it barely serves one.

* You will notice saffron and almond flakes missing from the picture. It is still as good.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Color blocking with a twist

Yes, it has been a while since this trend hit the ramp, but, color blocking is still going strong. If you are tired of the been there done that royal blue-black bandage dresses or the neons with pastels color blocked dresses with geometric patterns, read on!

Spring 2012 has welcomed this trend with open arms but stay with bright colors and mix the trend with a fit that is in. I love tulip skirts, and, when I saw this dress while I was travelling in Spain - I just had to have it! Some other color block dresses with a tulip cut - metallic, pink and purple and fuschia and silver.

Color blocking is hard to play with if you are looking to add more colors. Stay away from colors in your accesories (including shoes) and stick to a single tone - gold never fails!

                             Bag: Flea Market (similar one); Necklace: Forever21; Watch: Citizen

With the first wiff of Spring, I know we are happy to stow away our greys and blacks, but, we still pull out that little black dress for a night out in the city. Color block dresses in flowy textures and metallic accesories will easily see you through the night in shades that only the sun has seen in the past!

Happy color blocking until next time!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cupcakes and clams

After 48 hours of an overdose of L.A.'s glitz and glamour, we couldn't resist walking into the all white Bottega Louie in downtown L.A. As you walk inside, what looks like a pretty French patisserie, soon reveals a coffee shop, a bar and a sit down restaurant - a marble and brass victorian style ladies room too!

As my mind was wandering from the macaroons to the tarts and the exquisitely wrapped chocolates, the dramatic floral accent pieces in the dining area drew me there, and, before we knew it, I was debating between clam linguini and a brick oven arugula pizza.

The pizzas are baked in an open kitchen, with dramatic high ceilings, which serves as a backdrop to the dining area. Their creamy peanut butter terrine was a perfect end to the meal, and, we were more than happy to take a couple of chocolate eclairs to go. Just in case. You would rather stock up than crave!