Saturday, July 22, 2017

A little bit of Sky (Thoda sa Aasman) - #OOTD

   
      I don't recall when exactly, but that time in the early 90s, there was one Indian TV drama series called sa Aasman"(A little bit of Sky). The series emphasized on women inner world, and her sensitivities. And the serial also portraited several different women from the various walks of life. Even when I was very young, the serial stayed with me, not sure because of the stories or because of the name of the series. I feel that life is always all about a little bit of earth and a little bit of sky. The earth keeps you grounded and real. On the other hand, sky adds color to your dreams and imagination.
"Thoda
       It's about six months now since I started my blog and three months now since I posted it public. It's an incredible feeling how you all responding to my blog. It feels amazing reading all your comments,  how you took time reading it and writing back to me, it means a lot.


       This week one of my friends left the USA, after all the good feelings, it again felt sad. Saying someone bye is not easy for me. When I left India and made the USA home, those friends became my family. Probably that is the reason saying goodbye to them was very hard; I felt sad the whole week.
However, life goes on. When I started my blog, I thought, I would post only ethnic or traditional Indian outfits. But, now I strongly feel that it will deny the western outfits that I wear on a regular basis. Last Sunday, I took these pictures of my outfit. I am posting a lovely pink dress from Zara. Pink or blush pink is trending everywhere this season. I like this soft shade of pink which has a very gentle and feminine appeal to it with dramatic sleeves. Ideal outfit for a summer day. I kept rest of the look very simple, a pom-pom earring and a jeweled sandal. Hope you like it. Happy weekend guys!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bilahir Tok(Assamese style Tomato Chutney),birthday memories




      I grew up in the mid-80s and early 90s Assam, India where we celebrated our birthday parties with home made food even the cake was made by our moms. There was no elaborate decorations or video games or pizzas. However, our happiness or celebration was not any less than today's birthday. As every childhood has its own charming tale. Those were the days indeed.

      In those times, the menus were fixed almost for every household. Crisp Luchi (fried dough) was a must have for a birthday or any other celebrations accompanied with green gram thick velvety gravy and succulent tomato chutney (bilahir tok). The other day my daughter completed five years. It was on a weekday, and we celebrated it at home, and on Saturday she is going have her actual birthday party with friends. I thought why not celebrate it in our old back home way, how we used to. Just like my mom, I made luchi and quintessential bilahir tok. They say, you re-live your childhood through your children. Ah, how true. I remember how my mom used to get up in the morning and prepare. How the fragrance waft into our taste buds. How heavenly it felt with those flavors and fragrances. Today, I thought why not with this post share my favorite bilahir tok. Hope you all will like it.


Ingredients

1. 4 tomatoes on the vine
2. A cup of grapes
3. A cup of cut pineapples
4. 1 to 2 tablespoon oil
5. Pinch of turmeric
6. Salt as per your taste
7. Pinch of chili powder
8. A cup of jaggery or molasses
9. Spices - pinch of nigella, pinch of cumin seeds, pinch of mustards seeds, pinch of fenugreek seeds and pinch of anise seeds and 1 dry red chili



      First, cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Put a pan on the stove on low to medium heat and add oil of your choice. I use either mustard oil or olive oil. Then put the whole spices in the oil and once it starts to crack put the turmeric and chili powder. Adding chili powder gives a nice color to the chutney, of course, it's optional. While putting the chili powder your heat should be low otherwise it will burn. Then add the tomato pieces. Stir it until it gets mussy and cover it for 5 to 7 minutes on low heat. After that add jaggery or molasses and stir it for 2 to 3 minutes. Once all ingredients get mixed, add grapes and after 2 to 3 minutes add pineapple pieces. Stir it gently, cover it and cook for 5 minutes on low to medium heat. Done.


      Now it is ready to serve with puffed luchi. It goes well with steamed rice or pilaf too. We had it with luchi. We went through a little guilt trip, but it's worth to have when it brings you the joy of your childhood memories. Sorry, my one more excuse for eating fried food. 


      This recipe is very popular in both Assam and West Bengal, India. However, my preparation is not exactly the traditional way. I added fruits like grapes and pineapple for a more fruity flavor. The best part of this recipe is that it is prepared with jaggery or molasses, which is known for digestion and many other health benefits compared to regular white sugar.

      My mom used to make kheer (Indian rice pudding) for our birthdays. I skipped it this time. Our birthday girl wanted to have a homemade chocolate cupcake. I made it for her. Our little one enjoyed her birthday very well as we used to enjoy as a kid. But she refuses to have a homemade cake for her actual birthday as mommy is not good at decoration. Happy weekend guys!

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Meghali Das

"Fashion Changes, But Style Endures"
COCO CHANEL

Introduction:
     Avon Diamond Executive President, India, Meghali Das is from Assam, India. No need for any elaborate introduction, she is the Secretary of North East Fashion Council (FNDC), India and is known for her great aesthetics for hand loom and handicraft. Her subtle yet elegant style is impactful and inspiring. Presenting her and her style...



1. What is your style?
     Meghali Das: I do not follow fashion. My comfort is my style and I always go for what suits me than following a trend.


2. Your top three favorite looks?
     Meghali Das: 

  • Totally ethnic, be it mekhela chador or saree with matching Avon jewellery. I love my hand bags and a very good collection. 
  • Love to wear skirts with knee high boots in winter depends on where I am going, weather, climate and occasion.
  • Blue denim and white shirt.

3. Eye makeup or Lipstick or both?
     Mehali Das: Depending on occasion both at times, but surely eyes at all times. Like to keep it subtle during the day.


4. Your favorite weaves or embroidery techniques you like?
     Meghali Das: Traditional wear from northeast, from all the eight states. Love to wear from Gale, Puwans and Jansems and all indigenous tribes of all states. I love hand loom.


5. Your ideal day wear and ideal night wear?
     Meghali Das: Depends...for work I prefer formal or else casual. Night is soft n comfy. 


6. What do you like to wear for a wedding?
     Meghali Das: The complete look with make up, jewellery, hair, bag n shoes, including flowers in my hair. 


7. Three accessories always in your collection….
     Meghali Das:

  • Watch - If I wear a stylish watch then I do not wear a bracelet.
  • Scarf - Scarves are nice to add color especially in a plain top.
  • Jewlery - If the neck peice is big then I wear tiny tops. If I wear danglers then no necklace. If I wear a cocktail ring then no other rings or bracelets.

8. Any gIndigenous Diva Tip?
     Meghali Das: Do not just follow any trend. Make a trend and let people follow it.


Indigenous diva


Indigenous diva is someone who has a style of her own. She explores awesome Assam silk, the magic of mairang phee, delights in dabu prints, bespoke banarasi or baluchari, packs herself in patola or paithani, keen for Kanchipuram or Kalamkari,  finds lyrics in Lucknow chikan, lives up in leheriya with charm in chanderi. Let’s celebrate all those weaves and hand work embroidery around the globe.. And her....She emerges from yesterday's heritage and blends into today's modern and contemporary ways. It's all about women and her signature style. Let’s hear from those divas and connoisseur. #indigenousdica

Introduction

  1. What is your style?
  2. Your top three favorite looks?
  3. Eye makeup or Lipstick or both?
  4. Your favorite weaves or embroidery techniques you like?
  5. Your ideal day wear and ideal night wear?
  6. What do you like to wear for a wedding?
  7. Three accessories always in your collection….
  8. Any Indigenous Diva Tip?

Indigenous Diva Guests




P.S. Through this post we feature all the hand loom lovers in the world along with their unique swag. We would love to feature your love for hand loom. Please write to us at: Acupofassamtea.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Freshii, Westport, CT review



      When I moved to the USA 15 years back, it was not only difficult but almost impossible to find choices for good fast food chain. Although a couple was there, it was not as widely known as today. But now from a couple of years ago, thanks to the food entrepreneurs and nutrition enthusiasts, you have the choice for healthy fast food chains.



      Recently we visited Fresii in Westport. The name says it all..is not it? The whole new take on good and real food, offbeat entering Fressii itself gives you great vibe. Located in the prime location with excellent shopping options and just a walk away from Saugatuck River, ivory walls and fresh green interior apparently makes you feel fresh.



      We started our day with a few drinks, precisely juices. Freshii menu consists Wraps and salads, burritos and bowls, soups and smoothies all healthy assortments. I went ahead for Mediterranean bowl -quinoa and field greens, feta cheese, kalamata olives, almonds, red onions, cucumber, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, red pepper sauce and you have choices for adding extras like meat, chicken, shrimp or falafel. I added falafel to my bowl. The great part of Freshii is you can customize it as per your taste and make it fun for you. I love that they added crunchy almond, it just goes so really well with the whole Mediterranean theme. You are eating healthy food yet at the same time no compromising on taste, Fresii food taste says it all.



      My husband got  Buddha Satay -rice noodles, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, crispy wontons, green onions, spicy peanut sauce. It was quite scrumptious. Admittedly a very innovative take.  I was hitched by the playfulness of the menu, the way how spicy sauce blends with rice noodles like American take blends with the Asian take.

      It is little expensive, has great portion sizes but worth paying for the freshness for sure. I fell refreshed and surely worth visit next.

      My rating is 3.5 out of 5.

Address: 1 Main St, Westport, CT 06880
Phone:     (203) 222-3599
Hours:
Saturday        9AM–8PM
Sunday          10AM–7PM
Monday         8AM–8PM
Tuesday         8AM–8PM
Wednesday    8AM–8PM
Thursday        8AM–8PM
Friday            8AM–8PM


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer #OOTD, Indian Ethnic


      
      A year had passed in the blink of an eye. Yes, both of my kid's school year is over. A few goof ups along the way, yet at the end a few achievements as well. There are so many graduation parties to look forward to. We were invited to a friend son's graduation party. I was just speculating what to wear. As it is an Indian friend's party, I decided that I am going to dress up in Indian wear. Living in New England, a few days of summer is bliss after the winter hibernation. I can't wait to wear my Indian outfits which I got from India during my last visit. As I was deciding on my dress, I assumed crowd would be more youth. They will wear western so to blend with it I need to wear something subtle. 


      While going through my wardrobe, I finalized on my off-white chanderi silk flared kurta with silver banarasi border, and a black dupatta with silver weaves. As the dress is simple and fuzz-free, it gives a plenty of options for accessories. 


      For accessories, I wore a silver necklace which I bought some 15 years back from Jaipur, India. I love huge silver jewelry, and I added both earrings and necklace for an extra spin. If you want, you can skip either necklace or the earrings. Added a beaded clutch with sequins and rhinestone work and bold red lips. This outfit has a very smooth and comfy vibe. Great for crisp summers as the fabric is breathable. The off white kurta always gives you the immense options for wearing with different dupattas or different looks.


      Like the school year, I had a few goof ups here too. In a few pictures, I was holding the clutch facing the reverse side. However, I think at the end the result was still good. As they say, if it ends well all is well.
      What do you guys think please do let me know.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

A cup of Assam tea with Pariah by Pranami


“And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong, and full of fire and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” –Mark Anthony;

Her passion accentuates in her designs. Working and established as PR professional Pranami, there was always a thrive, drive and love that let to give up her career and choose what she love most. A Masters in  International Public Relations from Cardiff University, her quest for fashion designing began when she came back from London, and to the cherry on top, within the first year she got into country's illustrious Lakme Fashion week 2016, and her line Pariah by Pranami got launched into renowned fashion house Ogaan Delhi. Her darn determination and endurance well paid off.




Woman…..She wears so many feathers on her hat…mother, daughter, sister, friend, fiancĂ©, in spite of all those she remains in her signature, her individuality. The same can be adorned for Pranami Kalita’s creation Pariah. She pours her love into her designs more precisely her feminity..bold yet beautiful, trendy yet timeless. In her own words, she has a piece for every woman in her designs. Everyone can relate to her designs from casual chic to haute couture. An easy breezy day gown in gadi silk(checkered assamese cotton silk weave with gos buta motif) to an articulate evening black wrap dress with adorned golden guna work or box pleat skirt with a crop top in the tribal motif. In colors, where on one end you can find earthy mustard, maroon, classic black, red and off white on the other end exuberant magenta to eclectic blue.



Pranami is also on an expedition to promote Assamese weaves into the mainstream and narrow down the gap between northeast and mainstream fashion. Her global sensibility seamlessly blends with all her Indian heritage and assamese roots whether it is the cape with zardozi and pink assamese motif skirt or off white gadi silk ghagra choli with Assamese gos buta.  The raving part is that she used all indigenous fabrics or weaves from Assam whether golden silk muga, pat or along with works from the other parts of the country with her aura and aesthetics. Pranami's revival and interpretation have absolutely given assamese designs new dimensions and destinations. Pranami recently attended Indian couture experience in Hongkong, the biggest pop-up show for Indian designer. Her designs have been featured in many leading fashion magazines like The Hindu, Vogue.In, Elle.in, Hindustan times, the Pioneer. Let's hear from the dynamic designer...






1.    Your favorite piece of creation or design? 
Pranami Kalita - I think each piece is special to me. To be honest, I can't really pick one over the other.

2.    Tell us how do you get inspiration to create such great work? How your childhood or life imprints your design?
Pranami Kalita - Life inspires me. Moods, emotions, characters, people, nature... I think for any creative field, inspiration is in abundance; we just need to look around us.

3.    How do you define fashion?
Pranami Kalita - Fashion is an extension of who we really are. It is the first impression that people get about a person, so it is really essential to stay true to your sense of being, and in effect, your sense of style.

4.    Can you tell us about your future projects or what is next?
Pranami Kalita - Pariah is constantly evolving; I like to experiment, fuse and keep trying out new things. The collection I have been working on is my interpretation of the Orient, the Far East. A lot of time was put in carefully creating contemporary designs and color palettes on traditional Assamese Eri, all handloom, and infusing it with my love for Japanese culture. I'm quite excited!

5.    Where do you see Assam in terms of fashion in next ten year?
Pranami Kalita - I see Assam growing into quite a formidable force in the near future regarding fashion. We always had a very strong sense of style and an inherent understated elegance and luxe to our culture, and that has now caught the eyes of everyone. With the advent of the internet and social media, we are finally getting out our beautiful culture to the world, and it makes me immensely happy, hopeful and proud to have been able to contribute whatever little I can to this!

6.     Since your work is all about women how do you define a woman?
Pranami Kalita - A woman is anything she aspires to be. You can't confine her within a definition, I feel every woman is so beautifully unique, and each one carries her own definition- I just want to add one thing though, and this is for every woman out there. We often let society define us, we limit ourselves, we make sacrifices for everyone around, and at times, we forget 'us' in the process. We almost loose that version of us, that our five-year-old selves thought we could be when we grew up. Don't be scared to define yourself in your own words, not let others define you. Be yourself, be Pariah!

7.    Any advice for upcoming designers who choose fashion as a career?
Pranami Kalita - Always be true to your vision.

8.    Let's make it a little fun, as a fashionista yourself what is your favorite day wear or evening wear?
Pranami Kalita - With all the running around and Delhi's heat and pollution, I like to keep it easy breezy comfort style for daytime. For evening wear, I guess it depends on what occasion I am attending. But for a normal night, I love to slip on to a maxi dress, and I am off! One can't ever be overdressed or underdressed in a maxi; they are so versatile. So if you're ever confused, just strut out in one, and I promise you'll be dazzling the evening.


9.    Do you mind to share with us about your first designer purchase?
Pranami Kalita - My first ever designer purchase- I have this weakness for shoes! I was just out of Uni and as my graduation gift to myself, I bought my first pair of Jimmy Choo, I still remember, I was so stoked and proud, haha.

All picture credit Team Pariah!

You can find her designs at http://www.pariahbypranami.com

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