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




Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saravanaa Bhavan Edison, New Jersey Review



I have a great fascination for filling breakfasts as it serves you longer, I mean, if you have a great breakfast your day will start with more energy more zest. I love Indian breakfasts as it is very filling and satisfying at the same time. When it comes to southern Indian food, I always love to have breakfast or brunch.

Just recently, I had a scrumptious breakfast at Saravanaa Bhavan Edison, New Jersey. My southern Indian friends always make fun of me, since I haven’t had a chance to visit Saravanaa Bhavan yet if you haven't been to Saravanaa Bhavan than you really have not tasted great south Indian food. As I entered, my expectations were more traditional interior and space, but it was quite the opposite of my expectation. Saravanaa Bhavan owned me over at the very first sight by its beautiful modern interior with bright crimson red and opulent orange looks and attentive and humble service.



We started our day with Madras filtered coffee that something you need for a fresh morning. It was surely that, aromatic whipped and strong at the same time and served in steel glass made it even more loved.



Then my kids got their puri aloo and paneer Sabji(fried Indian dough and potato gravy and cottage cheese gravy). Kids were delightfully savoring it, I should say.


Then we tried Medu vada and chutney with sambhar. Bada was crispy and rightly cooked inside, chutney is surely succulent. Can’t says the same about the sambar though, as only a few vegetables were diving in the sambar and were not properly blend as it is supposed to be.



Then for our mains, I got Rava Dosa (Thin crispy wheat & rice crepe mildly spiced), it came with three chutneys and sambhar. Chutneys were admittedly enticing (tomato chutney is delectable, coconut is luscious, and lentil chutney is savory), the dosa was crispy and appetizing.



My husband got Mysore Masala Dosa (Red Chilli chutney spread on thin rice & lentil crepe filled with mashed potatoes and onions), it also came with three chutneys. Dosa was perfectly spicy and will surely tantalize your taste buds with perfect seasoning.

 It was surely a great visit with humble, attentive service and delectable south Indian food and yes my friends were right in saying, if you haven’t visited Saravanaa Bhavan, you have not tasted great south Indian food.



My rating id 3.5 out of 5.

Address: 149 Wood Ave, Edison, NJ 08820
Hours:
Saturday    9AM–10:30PM
Sunday    9AM–10PM
Monday    11:30AM–3PM, 5:30–10PM
Tuesday    11:30AM–3PM, 5:30–10PM
Wednesday    11:30AM–3PM, 5:30–10PM
Thursday    11:30AM–3PM, 5:30–10PM
Friday    11:30AM–3PM, 5:30–10:30PM
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Phone: (732) 767-0033
Menu: places.singleplatform.com

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Break...let it unwind




I needed to slow down a bit, there are so many things going on in my life, and as a mother or parent you might very well relate to me. My blogging, two kids, husband and home, end of the school year picnic, summer recitals, concerts, etc... I told my husband I need a break. Every now and then we do take a break. Memorial Day holiday was coming by, but this time I wanted something different than a usual break. Then one of my good friend's message came as a blessing; they wanted to go for a vacation rental, and she was just wondering if we could join them. It was an obvious yes. My friend and her family have been doing vacation rentals for many years. She is very pro at it. She made all the planning, bookings, and everything. She spoke with the owner to get photos from the location or the property where we were going. It made everything so much easier.




The significant part of living in New England or more precisely Connecticut is we have access to the all beautiful places, and natural abundance New Hampshire, Vermont to most versatile NYC has to offer and all in a driving distance. This time we wanted to go away from all hustle and bustle to a tucked away place in a quite border of Vermont and New Hampshire.



   
 The best part was that the rental was lake facing so your eyes can cover all the corners if you sit on the patio or you can enjoy mindful morning mist with your cup of tea or coffee and soak the sunset in the evening with the lake view. That day we started about 10 am in the morning and reached there at 12.30 pm. It was almost lunch time, so we packed the food on the way. We sat on the patio and had lunch with our friend. 




The rental offered paddle boat, kayak, canoeing, etc. The quaint and the quite cottage had two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a den for kids upstairs and patio overlooking the lake with living room. After we had settled down, we went for paddling boating. While paddling the boat, you can see the whole lake with its surrounding lush greenery. My son did canoeing with my friend and my husband. My little girl and friend's two daughters enjoyed most of the time at the kid's den as they were meeting after a while. In the evening we made a cup of tea in the kitchen while overlooking the view and kids had their snacks. It was such a relaxing time with letting yourself loose from the daily grind.



By the time it was evening, our husbands had fired up the grill and cooked some delicious chicken. We just cooked rice for the little kids. The best part was me and my friend did not do much yet enjoyed the dinner with a great view.



Then the next day I and my husband got up little early and enjoyed the serene misty morning lake view. He made some waffle and omelet, and I made just tea and my friend set up kids breakfast. Then kids enjoyed the little beach area, and the adults did kayaking, and paddle boating along with spending time with on the lake and nature. Did not realize how time went by and yet again it was lunch time; we again cooked with a beautiful view.



In daily grind, you can't imagine how it feels like watching the golden and silver fishes playing in the clear water. Kids got the experience of fishing too with the toy fishing rods.  Kids got a chance to scent the sweet smell of the earth. Initially, kids were skeptical about it. I loved my friend's explanation; she said that it's nothing bad, it's just different you just need to experience and appreciate the difference. My friend and I took a walk on the dirt roads. It was so wonderful to hear the music of streaming water and see the greenery anywhere your eyes could reach. Like everything has an end our sweet vacation ended too. Like every good thing, it left its own good memories and experiences. We get back to our routine life, but such beautiful breaks rejuvenate us and unwind us. We are ready to face the daily grind with more zeal and zest.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Veggie Fun, Providence, RI review



      Wherever I visit a college town whether its Burlington in VT, Newhaven in CT, Cambridge in MA, North campus in Delhi or Providence in RI, it alway gives me such ample energy and enthusiasms that none other can offer. A college town always has that organic and raw energy that slips into you. Today's college kid and youth always fascinate me the way they take their food seriously. We in our 20s or college days did not take it that seriously what goes into our body and what is on our plates. Probably that consciousness in youth food intake is why you always find a great restaurant in any college town today.


      Light, wholesome, savory "Veggie Fun" is a new age Asian vegetarian fusion cuisine. Casual open space with a huge bar, beautiful dim lighting and overlooking the streets creates a nice ambiance. 


      We started our day with Veg Dumpling. Coming from the eastern part of India inclination for momo(dumplings) is evident, but it was one of a kind. Light and succulent, filling with luscious veggies gives you dulcet culinary experience, it came with a mild sauce. 



      Then came the crispy tofu, dip in batter melting into mouth scrumptious with the addition of tasty sauce. We opted for hot veg soup too. Flavorsome with veggie enriched hot soup is definitely worth trying. A one absolute loved.



video


      For mains, we got veg lettuce wrap. As the name says, we expected something innovative, but when the veg sauteed came it was not near to the fun, just sauteed veg. But that gap was filled when we tasted teriyaki tofu sizzler with vegetable goodness, fierce and fantastic teriyaki sauce. A must try, it did come with a bowl of brown rice.


      Veggie Fun menu is very well crafted, something for everyone with good service and good portion sizes. They offer a few herbal teas and desserts too. It felt a little pricey as it is in a college town. 

      My rating is 3.5 out of 5.

Address: 123 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 02903
Hours:
Saturday 12–11PM
Sunday 12–10PM
Monday
(Memorial Day) 11:30AM–10PM
Hours might differ
Tuesday 11:30AM–10PM
Wednesday 11:30AM–10PM
Thursday 11:30AM–10PM
Friday 11:30AM–11PM

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Phone: (401) 270-4700
Menu: urbanspoon.com
Order: foodler.com, eat24.com, seamless.com, grubhub.com

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Basic classic Indian wardrobe essentials


An Assam silk sari with zardozi work clutch

      When you build a classic wardrobe, you need to pay more attention to quality than quantity. A piece that you invest on, you should be able to assemble on it, mix and match and repeat on successfully many times.

      I will list the item right below...

1.       A silk Sari - Sari is the soul of any Indian wardrobe. There are plenty of saris and fashion trends also changes quite often. If you don’t want to worry about the fast changing fashion trends, it is the perfect reason for one to go for traditional saris. In this case, it is the silk sari. There are options like Assam silk, Kanchipuram, Paithani, and Panchapally to Ikkat and many more.

A Chikankari sari

2.      Since you own a silk sari, you can either go for a Chiffon printed sari or Chikankari sari, Kantha work sari, Kashmiri embroidered, or one with Gujrati mirrored work is great too.

3.      You should own a silk/cotton salwar suit; probably it should be a solid color. You can choose between neutral or very vibrant color. Then you can always mix n match and wear it in many different ways, dress down or dress up depending on the occasion.

A solid salwar with Banarasi dupatta

4.      You should own a couple of dupattas so you can always mix and match with your solid salwar. Bandhani, Phulkari or Banarasi dupattas are great options.

5.      Indian wardrobe will be incomplete without a pair of juttis. They go well with your salwar, churidar or even sari. They come in either solid or pattern.

6.      A pair of shoes makes or breaks an outfit. When it comes to shoes, you should own a Kolhapuri sandal; you can either go with silver or gold. It definitely adds up to your outfit.

A jutti, bangles, jhumkas and a silk sari

7.      You should own stack of silver bangles. If you want to be budget friendly, then black metal is a great choice. Silver bracelets are always good. And glass bangle plays a great role too.

8.      A pair of jhumka is great, either silver or gold. If you want to perk up your look instantly, then sure go for it.

9.      A bindi small or big is essential, perhaps an identity of any Indian outfit.

10.     Without a bag, any look will be incomplete. Potlis and Indian work clutches like zardozi or phulkari. A femininity and an aura that you need for your whole Indian look.

A Kohlapuri sandal, potli, jhumkas and silver bangles

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Red Chutney, New Jersey review


 
When two cultures assimilate, the result is always brilliant, and when it comes to the assimilation of cuisine from two cultures, the effect is even more brilliant. Whether its Chinese-American, Latin-American or Mexican-Italian, but when Chinese meets Indian cuisine the food and flavor take it to another level. Yes, Indo-Chinese a very popular cuisine in India, seasonings, and flavors from both countries come under one roof. Born in Calcutta, Indo-Chinese seasons in Chinese way merged in Indian cooking techniques. If you ever taste it, you won’t forget it.


After moving from India to the USA, I always look for Indo-Chinese cuisine. Some restaurant's menu does include a few entrees but not a whole lot of items. Recently, I was lucky enough to visit Red Chutney in New Jersey and fortunate enough to find the same flavor in the restaurant. Eclectic, oriental interior with urban feels, sophisticated modern lighting, Red Chutney naturally create a great ambiance. It was an incredible feeling entering with a warm welcome, in spite of the weekend dinner rush.



The opening menu itself gives you immense hope of ordering so many items, what you always look for in an Indo-Chinese cuisine. Regardless, they also offer a vast array of pure Indian entrees too. For the starter, we opted for Chili Paneer, and since Indo-Chinese is always known for spicy, we chose Chicken Tikka for the kids. Dipped in Sichuan sauce, Chilly Paneer was an epic, flavorful, entirely coated with sauce and came with a bed of salad. I am still enchanting the enticing paneer till today. Chicken Tikka was perfectly baked, but Chilly Paneer undoubtedly was the show stopper.


Then for our mains, we had Hakka noodles for the kids and Veg Manchurian and Chicken Biryani for us. Buttery soft Hakka noodles loaded with veggies, savory Soya seasoning was definitely ideal for picky kid eaters like mine without any complaints.


The Veg Manchuria golden veg balls diving in succulent garlic sauce tickles your taste buds. The Chicken Biryani with rightly cooked rice and wonderfully well-stuffed chicken was delectably delicious, and everything was great for the price. Attentive service was a raving part of  Red Chutney.


We ended the day with Kulfi (Indian style ice cream). It was velvety and creamy, but sprinkled with some colorful sparkles took away the natural look. Nevertheless, It is worth a visit, if you savor yourself some Indo-Chinese affair. Unlike its name, Red Chutney is fierce, flavorsome, tangy and sweet. If you want to tantalize and tickle your taste buds, this is the right place to visit.


My rating is 4 out of 5.

Address: 1538 Oak Tree Ave, Iselin, NJ 08830

Hours:
Saturday 12–10:45PM
Sunday 12–10:15PM
Monday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:15PM
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:15PM
Thursday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:15PM
Friday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:45PM

Phone: (732) 549-7788