Friday, May 29, 2015

Stuffed Peppers

We hardly had any food in the house this week after getting back from our trip and I was a little lazy to go shopping the first day back. So I tried to find whatever I could to try to put together a decent meal last night for dinner.

Before leaving I had bought some bell peppers that were on sale and never got around to using them. They would only last a couple of more days, so I wanted use them right away. I hate throwing out any food, especially produce. So, I tried to find whatever else I could in the pantry and fridge to come up with an idea.

A few staples I pretty much always have on hand are a can of black beans, onions, and frozen corn. Right away I thought of this recipe I had pinned from Damn Delicious for stuffed peppers with quinoa. Luckily, I did have some red quinoa on hand.... enough for half the recipe. Since it was just us two and I only had three bell peppers, it worked out well.  The stuffed peppers were a really tasty, super easy and a great healthy dinner to opition.

I did tweak the recipe a bit by adding sautéed onions, paprika instead of red chilli, and shredded mexican style four cheeses, instead of feta. I had cilantro on hand, but completely forgot to use it! Honestly, I didn't miss it much. I also added a tad bit of regular salsa for more flavor to the stuffing. I cooked the stuffing on the stove and pre-cooked the bell peppers in the oven while working on the stuffing. When the stuffing was ready and bell peppers were slightly cooked, I took them out, stuffed them and put them back in the oven until they were tender. I think this helped cut down the cooking time by about 10 minutes or so for me.

We both really enjoyed these stuffed peppers. They were very satisfying and flavorful. It didn't occur to me at the time, but I think a dollop for sour cream would also be delicious to top these off. The stuffing is similar to what I've used in the past to make quinoa and black bean tacos. I'm not sure where I found the original recipe, but here is a similar one from Damn Delicious again. Can you tell that I'm a huge fan of this blog yet? :) The only additional thing I added on top of these tacos was an avocado-lime-crema. It's basically just avocados blended together with some yogurt, a bit of lime juice, salt and pepper... super easy! I had a decent amount of stuffing left over... so can you guess what we will be having for dinner tonight?!

Are you a fan of stuffed peppers?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Things Thursday: Travel Edition

This week has been all about recapping our fun Memorial Day weekend travels. As I mentioned in my two previous posts, we traveled to 2 different states and 4 different cities for J & T's wedding festivities this week. It was quiet an experience traveling so much in such a short time and still being relaxed and able to enjoy it all. So for this week I wanted to share my three new packing essentials that I found super helpful this week.

One: A Steamer

I absolutely hate ironing, but I'm also very particular about having wrinkle free clothes. My mom has been telling me to get a steamer for some time now, but I've always been a little skeptical the smaller ones out on the market. So, when I was at Target last week buying some last minute essentials for my trip and saw this steamer on sale, I did hesitate a bit at first. 

However, I thought what better time to try it than now? I had to pack so many outfits for this trip and they were bound to get wrinkled no matter now well I packed. If it didn't work then I knew the hotel rooms would have an iron anyways. I didn't even bother to try it out before packing it. I have to say, although it is a handheld steamer, it is a bit bulkier than others. But since I was planning on checking in a bag anyways, it didn't matter much to me. Plus, I love Target... I know that if I don't like it I can easily return it.

I pretty much ended up using it to touch up most of my outfits, plus a couple of Chirag's. My brother-in-law loved it as well. You have to be a bit careful using it on Indian clothes since steam than sometimes tarnish the embellishments on your outfit. It worked well for me overall, however some of the reviews stated that it stopped working after a few tries. So far, I have used it on 6 different outfits, and it's priced really well compared to other handheld steamers out there. I probably won't pack it for every single trip, but I do think if you are traveling for a special occasion then it's a must. So if it continues to work I do plan on keeping it. 

Two: Packing Cubes

I have been hearing about packing cubes for sometime now. I've been wanting to give these Eagle Creek packing cubes a try, but I just never got around to ordering them online. Luckily, trusty old Target had a great alternative I was able to purchase in store, literally the night before our trip. I bought these on the fly. I didn't have as high of expectation from these, but they did the job. These are slightly more flimsy than the Eagle Creek ones, but I do like the mesh top and the different sizes. 

It really made packing so easy and really helped when I had to pack and re-pack so much during our trip as we went in between different cities. I was able to keep one of the packing cubes strictly for "to wash" clothes and so it was nice to keep clothes separated once worn. I also think these would be super helpful if you have kids and planning on packing for them all in the same bag. If you haven't tried packing cubes before I would definitely recommend giving either one of these version a try. I plan on ordering the Eagle Creek ones for my next trip.  

Three: Outfit Pictures

I'm sure this may sound silly to some people, but for me this was extremely helpful this trip. I laid out each and every single outfit, with shoes and accessories and snapped a quick picture on my iphone before packing it up. See this post. It really helped me be well prepared and a lot less stressed when getting ready... especially since most nights we were going to bed around 1-2am and getting up around 6am! As you can imagine my brain was not functioning very well on less than 4 hours of sleep a night. The night before, I could easily look at the iphone picture and know right away what I had planned on wearing and feel relieved that I already had thought of all the little details. I would highly suggest trying this out on your next trip... I promise you, you'll be glad you did! :)

FYI: None of the links in this post are affiliated.

So, those were my top three from this week. I hope you found it helpful! Are you interested joining #3TT? Please visit the hosts: SalmaRaj, or Nisha's blog, for all the details on how to join the linkup.

What are some of your travel essentials?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Packing Post: East Meets West

Packing posts are my favorite to read from other fashion bloggers. I love to know how someone is able to pack 14 days’ worth of outfits in a small carry-on and still look so well put together! I've been known to over pack and still end up regretting to pack a jacket on a chilly/rainy day or an appropriate pair of shoes to go with my cute outfit. Reading other bloggers’ posts has really helped me become a better packer when it comes to both short and long trips.

So, when it came time to pack for 4 different Indian outfits for J & T’s wedding this weekend, plus regular clothes, I decided to take a more organized approach.

I laid out each and every Indian outfit. Complete with all the accessories and shoes. I’m really glad I did this ahead of time because I was having a tough time trying to figure out what shoes to pair with my blue and orange outfit for the reception. My friend, Kruti suggested nude shoes and I think it was a much better choice. I can always depend on her for the best fashion advice. J For my sarees, I tried to choose the ones that all had silver work so that it would be easier to pair the same silver shoes. 

Graha Shanti & Pithi Ceremony

Garba Outfit

To me, bangles are an essential part of any Indian outfit and I have a pretty huge bangle collection. I really like this travel case my Mami (aunt) bought for me. It’s perfect for 4 sets of bangles and it helps keep my bangles safe and secure wherever I go. I also recently got this purple case that has little zipper flaps, so I’m able to separate my jewelry for each outfit, plus some other essentials such as bindis, bobby pins, and safety pins. I also like these sturdy zipper bags that help keep each outfit separate and still easily identifiable in my bag.

Wedding Day

Reception Outfit

Everything neatly packed

For my non-Indian clothes, I knew I needed my clothes to be light and easy to pack since Indian outfits are a lot heavier and take up a lot of space in the bag. I checked the weather and since it was going to be fairly warm, I decided to go with 4 light weight dresses. 

On the plane ride, I planned on wearing a pair of jeans and a top. I also grabbed a cardigan and scarf at the last minute because I tend to get pretty cold in the plane. I also packed two tops, just in case we planned on going out one night and the other one for the plane ride back.

For accessories (sorry forgot to take pics)... I kept things pretty simple. I had my favorite silver Fossil watch, which was fancy enough to wear with all my sarees and still went well with my casual outfits, my "diamond" studs, my favorite daily necklace, plus a long blue stoned one (gifted from my SIL). For shoes, it was time to retire my old flats after 3 long years and so I picked up these cute ones. I liked the gold detail and they were very comfortable. Lastly, I had my camel MK cross-body purse (similar here), which was big enough to hold all the essentials and small enough to throw on and be hands-free.

There was so no way all this was going to fit into a carry on, especially since Indian outfits were quiet heavy. So I did end up checking in my big bag. But by the end of the trip, I had worn each and every item I had packed. Nothing was extra and nothing was missing! Now that's a first... go me! :) 

It did get a little chilly the first night we arrived in Virginia because of the cold front, but my cardigan and scarf kept me fairly warm. Other than that, the weather was prefect for the outfits I had packed. If you’re planning a trip somewhere, I would definitely suggest taking a little extra time to lay out all your outfits and check the weather ahead of time… a little bit of time and organization upfront will help ensure you too will be stress-free and enjoyable your trip!

Are you planning on packing for a trip soon?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Wedding Weekend Whirlwind

The Captain just announced that we will be stuck on the runway for another 30 minutes, so I figured why not get a head start on my long weekend recap. 

Memorial Day weekend seems to always be a good kick off to the spring/summer wedding season. This time, it was Chirag’s cousin Jay’s turn, as he finally married his eight-year long girlfriend, Trusha! We were very excited for this long weekend since Chirag and I haven’t been able to travel lately. It was a good time to see family and friends, plus J & T’s wedding was going to be taking us across 2 different states and 4 different cities! Yup, you read right!

We started on Thursday in Harrisonburg, Virginia for J’s Pithi and Graha Shanti. Don’t quote me on this a hundred percent, but basically Graha Shanti is to make sure all the planets and the universe is at peace and we ask the Gods for their blessings as we begin the wedding festivities. The Pithi part is my favorite. It’s when the women in the family help get the groom ready for his big day. Basically, we each get to put this yellow paste called, “pithi” on the groom. Traditionally, I believe it’s made with turmeric, yogurt, and sometimes honey. By putting it on the groom’s skin, it helps make him “glow” on his big day. T’s side has a similar event on her side as well. In case you'd like to know more in-depth information this website is really great. Unfortunately, most of the pictures are still on my brother-in-law's DSLR camera, so for now these will have to do. 

Kalash Pooja (I think)

with the Groom

Chirag and I missed out on the main Mendhi Night event on Wednesday, where all the women on J’s side beautify the palms of their hands and feet with Mendhi designs. My MIL is so sweet and caring though, she saved a Mendhi cone just for me, so that I wouldn’t feel left out. As all the men and women played Antakshari (singing Bollywood songs… mainly wedding songs) after the Thursday night event, I tried out my own mendhi skills on Chirag. Although, I’m no artist… I was pretty proud of my work! What do you think, eh?

My Mendhi attempt

Early Friday morning, the “Jaan” aka groom’s side, took off in two big buses at 6am from Virginia and headed to Knoxville, TN! Chirag was excited about this since he’s from Knoxville and this way we get to spend some time (although quite brief) at his home as well. Our bus (the kid’s bus) was a lot of fun!! I love how I’m 32 years old, yet still considered a “kid” in our family! J The groom’s men really kept us all quiet entertained throughout the ride. Halfway, we stopped at a rest area where we all had Subway sandwiches for lunch and since we were running early, we even got to enjoy the great weather outside. The kids played “Kho”, basically a fun version of duck-duck goose. I had never played it before, but it was so much fun! All of Jay’s friends and other cousins were really sweet and by the end of the game we had all really gotten to know each better… the entire bus ride to Knoxville was a great ice-breaker for all the guests. That’s the best part of the wedding after all… getting to meet new people and enjoy times like these.

with Brother-in-law

We made it to Knoxville with plenty of time to rest up and get ready for an exciting night of Garba… my favorite! If you’ve ever been to an Indian wedding I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the best part. Basically, it’s a lot of dancing but you get to do it in a big group and it’s just a lot of fun. Back in the day, Garba use to be very simple… but these days, kids are coming up with all these new and innovative steps. I was starting to feel old, but luckily my new friends…helped teach me some new moves!

with SIL

Finally, it was Saturday morning.... Wedding Day!!! It was a short 1 hour drive from Knoxville to Pigeon Forge, TN. Trusha looked gorgeous in her wedding dress and Jay was looking handsome in his traditional wedding outfit as well. Everything went really smoothly on wedding day and in the evening we were off with the Bride back to Virginia.

Groom & His Groom's men

Handsome Groom

Beautiful Bride

On Sunday, we headed towards Washington, D.C. area for a beautiful reception from the groom’s side. The Bride and the Groom again looked stunning. We really had a great time eating some delicious food and dancing the night way!!

My hot date

We are so happy for Jay and Trusha! They have both known each other for such a long time and I know they are excited to finally start this new journey together, as husband and wife.

with the Newly-weds

We weren’t quite ready to say goodbye… so we decided to stay in D.C. on Monday for Memorial Day. We got to see the official Memorial Day Parade and also visited some of the Smithsonian museums. It was short stay in the city, but I’m glad we spent the extra day with our family.
Heading back… it’s hard to believe that we have traveled over 28 + hours and been to 4 different cities and 2 states in the past 6 days! It definitely has been a whirlwind… but I’m actually sad it’s over and now it’s back to reality! :(

How did you spend your Memorial Day long weekend?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Three Things Thursday: A Few Favorites

One: A Cheese Plate

I really didn't have much going on this past week... I did get a chance to hang out with my friends K & V on both Friday and Saturday night after a long time. On Friday, we went to Proof + Pantry for some drinks. When I was asking K where we were headed... the whole time I kept hearing "Poop and Pantry". I'm pretty sure an 80 year old woman probably has better ears than me! 

Anyways, when we finally got there I understood the "Proof" part. They had some amazing drinks... too bad I can't remember the name of the one I had. However, what I can remember is this amazing cheese plate! Doesn't it just look so perfectly balanced? K & V actually gifted us an awesome slate cheese plate set just like this one as a house warming gift to us last year. I absolutely love it because it's something I would have never thought I'd use a lot, but now that I have it, I use it all the time!
We have used it several times for a "wine & cheese get togethers" at our place. I typically use 2 to 3 different types of cheese and this Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly from Trader Joe's. It's delicious... you must try it! Typically, I use crackers, but I really enjoyed the cheese plate at Proof + Pantry with the crostinni breads... it was a little more filling. I love the art of displaying the perfect cheese plate, it just makes the whole evening feel a little more fancy and sophisticated.

Two: A Movie

On Thursday, Chirag and I went to go see Pitch Perfect II. If you loved the first one, I don't think you'll be disappointed at all. I do think the first one was better overall, but isn't that the case with majority of sequel movies? One of my favorite characters in the movie is 'Fat Amy'. I think she is just amazing! She has so much confidence, knows totally who she is and doesn't apologize for it. She's not afraid to be honest and tell is how it is, but at the same time she also does it in her own funny way without being rude or mean. She totally owns herself. I'm not trying to be a big feminist here... but I do think that in today's society it's important to have women characters like 'Fat Amy' to teach our younger generations to not be afraid own who they are. It's ok not to be cookie-cutter and fit into what everyone else classifies as "normal". Be different and totally own it!

Three: A Mom

Speaking of an amazing lady... I really do think that I have one of the best mom's in the world! I haven't always made this job easy for her... I've been known to push her buttons several times! But somehow, she has learned patience and survived my crazy childhood years. She really knows how to perfectly balance being there for me, but also give me my space and make my own mistakes when I need to. She has ran to come see me when I've just needed her to be here for a hug and emotional support and she's also been a phone call away at anytime of the day to just listen when I've needed to vent.
She took this entire past weekend to drive up to Atlanta with my sister to help her get settled into her new apartment. Plus, she took time out to listen to me and my crazy emotional ups and downs this past weekend as well. She even tracked me down at my new job on Tuesday when I was too caught up with work and forgot to text her back... just to make sure I was back to 'normal' and that everything was ok. That's just what moms do!

My mom has always worked a full-time job and it's not always been easy for her to make sure to give the time and attention both me and my sister have always demanded of her. She has taught me to be strong and determined in whatever I set my goals to be. As I get older and have my own responsibilities and obligations, I've really come to appreciate how my mom has balanced her career and family life. Many people say that I'm a mini version of my mom... I'm proud to say, "Yup, I sure am!" :)

Interested joining #3TT? Please visit the hosts: SalmaRaj, or Nisha's blog, for all the details on how to join the linkup.

What were some of your favorites this week?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hummus Pita Pizza

I'm not a very innovative chef. When I first started cooking, I had to follow the recipe exactly! I was scared to experiment and if I didn't have an ingredient listed... well, there was no way I could possible substitute something else.

But overtime, I'm glad to say that this is no longer the case. I think I've definitely gotten a lot more confident in the kitchen. Indian food can still be tricky for me with all the different spices, but overall I'm learning not to afraid to experiment.

I made this Hummus Pita Pizza one day when I was hungry for something to eat for lunch. However, I can't take all the credit for the original idea. My previous job had a really great cafe that my co-workers and I would often go for lunch. I would usually wait in a long line for a wrap at the Sandwich station, but from time to time, I'd be tempted to grab something super quick (& unhealthy), like a slice of cheese pizza. I quickly became friends with the pizza station guy, Jeff.

Sometimes, he would make his own creations and one of my favorites was his hummus flat bread. His version had Mediterranean flavors with feta cheese, bell peppers, spinach, and hummus. It had this extra layer of flavor that I couldn't quiet put my finger on. One day, I asked him what his secret was. He explained that he topped this pizza off with a quick drizzle of some lime juice. It makes such a big difference and totally wakes up the flavors from all the other ingredients. I always looked forward to days he planned on making this flat-bread.

Inspired by Jeff's Hummus Pita Pizza, I created my own version recently. This Hummus Pita Pizza is super quick and easy! Don't be afraid to substitute all the ingredients with whatever you have on hand. I started by spreading some hummus on a pita and added sliced onions, bell peppers, and left over tofu marinated in a peanut butter and soy sauce mixture. Any protein would do or you can make it with just veggies alone... whatever floats your boat. I placed it in an oven at 350 degrees and waited for the pita to get a bit crispy. For the last few minutes, I added a little bit of shredded cheese, until it was melted. After taking it out of the oven, I added a light drizzle of lemon juice and Siracha (my favorite). It was amazing!!! It was the perfectly satisfying lunch. Although, this recipe is quiet simple, I was so proud of my creation. Thanks for inspiration, Jeff!

What dish have you been inspired to add your own twist to recently?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Be Your Own Happy

I tend to look to my husband as my source of happiness and recently, I've really been trying to recognize and change my thinking about the phrase above... "Be with someone that makes you happy" versus "Be someone that makes you happy". It's been quiet challenging and it continues to be a work in progress.

When I was unhappy working at a previous job, I felt that I should be able to vent to him about my long day at work and be offered a big hug to make me feel better. If he didn't give him the time and attention, then it just led me to be even more upset and unhappy. Sometimes, he can be very blunt and straight forward... 'if you don't like your job, just quit...' when I just want to hear... 'aw, you work so hard, I'm sorry you had a rough day. What should we do to turn that frown, upside down?'... lol... yes, I'm a big baby and I just want to be coddled. It's a little sad I know. If you've read the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus... I'm a perfect example! But I'm realizing that if he isn't in the mood to listen or doesn't react with the same empathy I had hoped for... well, that's ok! I need to find my own way to unwind and find my own happiness at the end of the day. Easier said than done and has taken some practice for me. 

My husband does make me happy and... frustrated from time to time. He has surprised me with a romantic sunset boat cruise totally out of the blue and also frustrated me over a huge argument over some silly curtains! We both want to see each other happy, but we're also both very opinionated and outspoken. This can sometimes become a problem when I care a little too much about what he thinks, even when I pretend I don't. It leads to actions or decisions that result in my unhappiness in the end because I simply agreed to something because I was too concerned with his opinion rather than my own. It's not his fault for voicing his opinion, it's my own for not standing my ground if it's something I feel strongly about. Plus, I need to realize that if he's not totally on board with my decision... well that's ok too! Just like I'm responsible for my own happiness, the same goes for him... but this is sometimes hard for me to realize. 

In the past, I've made a huge fuss over how his action or lack therefore has made me unhappy. But I'm learning that although it's important for me to let my feelings be known, once it is said and done, I need to let it go and not look for him to "fix it" for me to be happy. It's ok to not have a "closure" on each and very little argument. I believe in any situation, it's important to realize that it's ok to agree to disagree as long as you do so in a respectful way... and actually be ok with it! I need to find my own source of happiness within myself... maybe go for a run, get a mani/pedi, or grab some bubble tea.... whatever it is that will result in making myself happy.

Sometimes, it's important to prioritize your own happiness and recognize that your happiness is your responsibility alone. I've already seen a few changes in myself ever since I've started to pay little more attention to my own happiness. Until recently, I don't really think I understood what it meant to when someone said... 'you can't be happy with someone, until you're truly happy with yourself first.' Like I mentioned before, it's all a work in progress and I'm sure I'll have a few hiccups here and there, but nonetheless I think it's truly important to "be someone that makes you happy". 

Are you your own happy?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Three Things Thursday: Time for A Reboot

I almost missed the linkup this week! I've been a little busy with my new job and once I'm home, I'm just looking forward to catching up with some Ellen and not having to study. These past week and half has been very hectic. Last week, I was cramming any last minute info I possible could into my tiny little brain, took my certification test on Friday, and spent the weekend with my friend D, who was visiting us from India! And Monday, I started my new job... during this time, I've really let myself go. Here are three ways I plan on rebooting!

One: A Diet Reboot

Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I have a major sweet tooth!! Anytime, I'm in full on study mode I tend to eat very poorly. Either I'll survive on black coffee for days and hardly eat a proper meal or I'll totally pig out, putting whatever junk I can possibly find into my body. Well, this past week it's been a little of both. Not only has this bad for my body internally, but it's also resulted in a havoc on my face! Yes, I still deal with adult acne until fortunately. :( I have used countless creams and gimmicks, but honestly I think it all comes down to your diet. 

A few months ago, I discovered this awesome salad kit with kale and brussels sprouts. I know exactly what you're thinking... but actually tastes amazing! Plus, I love how everything is included in perfect portion. I just pop up the bag, mix it all up and usually eat the salad for lunch. I find that when I typically have a salad and yogurt for lunch, I tend to healthier throughout the day. When fuel my body with all the good stuff, I definitely feel a difference internally and can see the difference externally as well. So, this week I'm totally rebooting by trying to eat more salads, fruits, and healthy snacks. I still need my coffee to wake me up early in the morning, but I'm trying to limit it to one cup and setting a goal to finish at least one bottle of water throughout my work day.

Two: A Class

How would a class help me reboot after completing months of studying, you say? Well, I have been wanting to take a photography class for quiet some time now. Chirag and I invested in a fancy DSLR about two years ago. Sure, we've taken it with us on plenty of trips and shot lots of pictures, yet I know I could take amazing pictures if only I learned to utilize it properly. This past Christmas, my brother-in-law so showing me favorites tricks and techniques to take pictures. I snapped this picture below. It was the first time I learned how to blur the background... I was excited to show everyone my picture like a little kid! :) I've been wanting to take classes for a long time, but somehow I always found an excuse as to why I couldn't do it. I think having a hobby and learning something new is a great way to reboot yourself and find something new to be excited about. So, I've decided that before the end of this summer, I'm going to take a photography class and hopefully be able to share higher quality pictures here on the blog as well!

Three: A Vacay

The last time Chirag and I took a trip was back in September of last year! Ever year we try to take one international trip around our anniversary. Last year, we ended up going to India around January to visit family, so  instead of taking another international trip, we went to Chicago instead. By the way, it's one of my favorite cities! If you haven't been yet, I would highly recommend it! We stayed in 2 different hotels and in 2 different parts of the city during our time there. I really loved how pedestrian friendly it was, plus we were able to take the train into the suburbs to visit Chirag's family for a day and come back to the city... all without renting a car! Biking around the city and having a picnic in Millenium park was my favorite part of the trip. It feels like years ago now... so, needless to say I'm ready for another one!

We've played around with a few ideas. As much as I would to tour a new city though, I'm really ready to go somewhere close to the beach, sunny, and all inclusive! We've been playing with the idea of Puerto Rico, Jamaica, or maybe even Brazil. What's better than a vacation to help you reboot, am I right?

I'm feeling re-charged just thinking about these things already! Time to make a healthy dinner for tonight. Are you interested in sharing you top threes this week? There no hard and fast rules... just share any three things you'd like. Visit the hosts: SalmaRaj, or Nisha's blog, for all the details on how to join the linkup. 

How will you be rebooting this weekend?

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Lace Top

Spring Capsule Outfits #2

I think style posts are quickly becoming my favorites. I love sharing how I plan on experimenting with latest additions to my closet and it also helps me stay accountable for how I'm spending my money.

I love this full sleeve lace top from She Inside. The quality was pretty decent. I have to warn you though, it can be a bit sheer so a white cami underneath is a good idea. Unfortunately, the sizing didn't work out very well for me... I would definitely recommend sizing up. So instead of returning it, I gifted it to my sister... aren't I the best sister, ever?! ;)

This top is perfect for spring because it gives you extra coverage on your arms, but still breathable because of the lace. I like the basic white color too because it goes with absolutely everything! I had originally created these looks when I first decided to the order this top and the combination with the colorful Kate Spade Saturday mini skirt was my favorite. Unfortunately, I waited too long and it quickly sold out after going on sale. Don't you just hate it when that happens? I loved how colorful it was, but I wasn't sure how much wear I would get out of it since it was a mini... I can be a little self consciousness with showing too much thigh. So I'm on the lookout for similar colorful skirt in a lightly longer length instead.

I wore a similar look for the first one in my first outfit post here. I would have liked the longer sleeves version better though. I always think its a good idea to balance your outfit when showing some skin. I'm showing some leg, I tend to cover up my arms. I guess there are always exceptions, though! :) Lastly, these red suede kitty heels are on my wish list for this month. They are the prefect cut and I've been known to fall over when I wear high heels... so these are just perfect. Plus, I don't own any red shoes. I love the pop of color and how they totally elevate this simple look!

This post is quiet a bit shorter than my previous ones, but I've had a super busy weekend and I started a new job today! I'm very excited about the new challenging role, but what I'm not excited about is wearing scrubs for the majority of the work week. Some people love it, but I actually don't mind getting a little dressed up for work. I guess it will be another good reason to stick to my three question checklist when adding new pieces to my wardrobe.

So, tell me... which look is your favorite?

p.s. I'm linking up with Rachelle from PinkSole for #HowISpring link up. Be sure to checkout her blog for more great inspirations this season!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Three Things Thursday: Blogger Love

Hello, hello! How is it Thursday already?! This week has completely flown by and I've pretty much been a bookworm all week. I can not wait for this weekend because one of my dear friends is coming to visit us from India! Super duper excited!

Well, since I haven't been up to much this week besides studying, I thought I would share three blogs of some very creative women! 

One: Pretty Polly Math

I have a love/hate relation with macaroons. I love to eat them... hate trying to make them! Two years ago, around Christmas time, I got obsessed with them after our friends brought us some incredible macaroons from New York. I looked up several different recipes. I probably made like four different batches, but my macaroons just didn't have any "feet"! :( If you know anything about macaroons, you'll understand how important feet are. They tastes great, but looked flat... whomp, whomp! (Pic below)
But checkout Hetal's French Macaron... perfection! Don't they just look so yummy and delicious?! I've decided that very soon, I'm going to give it another go and hopefully master this tough little cookie! She has tons of great recipes on her blog... checkout this Parle-G Cookie Butter. I'm very intrigued...  my Nana (grandfather) can't have his afternoon tea without them! PLUS she just announced that she will be on Master Chef this season! I don't really watch the show, but I'll definitely be tuning in to support her. Can't wait to see what incredible dishes she whips up on the show. Be sure to check out her blog and show her some love and support!

Two: This Design Journal

I recently came across Anima's blog and absolutely fell in love with her million different creative ideas! One of my favorites is DIY: Photo Magnets. They are so adorable and I think they would be perfect Mother's Day gift.  My SIL is expecting her baby in the next few months and I thought that using the sonogram pictures to create this photo magnet would be a perfect gift for her! Speaking of babies.... checkout this awesome Star Wall she created for her daughter's room. I love nurseries and kid's room decor. They are always my favorite! Plus, since my new hobby/obsession has been to create a beautiful garden on my patio, I'm loving her simple DIY: Pots Ready for Patio post. The contrasting plates really pop and just make the pots look so happy! Love it!

Three: Simple Medicine

Dr. Pargati just share this post on How to: Build a Portable Studio. I think it's a genius idea! My husband and I invested in a very fancy DSLR two years ago, but I haven't spent enough time trying to beef up my photography skills. Two of the biggest challenges most photographers struggle with are good lighting and a good background. Well, this doctor has found a solution for both! I know that my blog could definitely benefit from better quality photos and so I can't wait to try this out! Maybe, you'll find it helpful as well. She also has a great post on The Truth About Sugar. It can get so confusing these days - what's good, what's not. My moto is just moderation in everything I eat and do, and this post really helped clear up a few things for me. My favorite, since I was a baby, has always been honey... glad to know it's doctor approved! ;)

So, those were three of my favorite blogs this week. I hope enjoyed changing things up a bit. Are you interested in sharing you top threes this week? Please visit the hosts: SalmaRaj, or Nisha's blog, for all the details on how to join the linkup.

What's something creative you've made this week?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Liven Up - This Living Room

We lived in an apartment for 2 plus years after getting married. We invested in a few pieces here and there, like our bedroom set, but overall we wanted to wait until we felt settled in Dallas. My original vision for the living room was something like what you see below. It's been over a year since we moved in and there is still a lot left to be done! So, I thought it would be nice to recap what little progress we have made so far. 

After countless discussions about the perfect color we could both agree on, we went with Turkish Tile from Sherwin Williams. It actually looks very different in person than online. 
Overall the vision board isn't all that creative. I'm not 100% happy with what you see...but I needed to put everything together to visualize it before starting to invest in big furniture pieces. It's still a work in progress and my ideas tend to change on a monthly, if not daily, basis. 

living room

It took us close to 6 months to finally make a decision on our sofa. I really wanted a white tufted, elegant one to begin with. I wanted the room to be very elegant and feel high end. Well, we soon agreed that neither of us is very "elegant" or "high end"! We like to eat on the couch from time to time, like to put our feet up at the end of the day... on weekends we love to binge Game of Thrones or Scandal from breakfast to lunch time at least... during which time neither one of us looks very elegant to say the least! 

We finally settled on this couch by Jonathan Louis. We were able to customize the shape and fabric we wanted and we both really love it. Besides that we have also added this Lippa Table. Originally, I wanted our dinner area to be the only place we eat. I really didn't see a need for another table since both spaces are close to each other with the kitchen in the middle. However, I was wrong again! We hardly ate in the proper dinning area. The main reason being that Chirag and I usually catch up on our day while we're cooking dinner (or while he watches me) and the little time in between dinner and our evening workouts, we like to watch on some tv. I like the table we picked because it has a little mid-century modern feel and I think that's kind of the style we are both always attracted to. I added these chairs from Target and mixed them with chairs from our formal dinning table, so we have 4 chairs at both the eating areas. 

The other patterned chairs you see on the side (picture below), we already had from our apartment and we bought the round side table to go between them. I like this little nook next to our fire place. We both have big families that visit us fairly often and lots of friends here now. We love to host game nights, dinner parties, etc. so having lots of seating was very important for me. We can very comfortably seat 8 people and pull chairs from the two eating areas for additional seating. 

I absolutely adore the gold bar cart from Target. But unfortunately it was just too small for our space and I really couldn't think of anywhere else to use it. So, we ended up moving a buffet cabinet which was too small for our formal dinning area into the "bar space" and love it. 

This huge wall is what I'm really struggling to bring the whole space together.
Seems like we've done a lot, but there are several updates still needed:
    • Large Wall Art - The wall in our living room is huge! The clock ended up moving above our fireplace, so currently we put this art work from our apartment there, but I'm really not a fan of it. I originally thought of doing a gallery wall, but Chirag really didn't like the idea of putting so many holes in the walls. Plus like I mentioned earlier, we do like a clean, minimalist look overall. So I'm thinking finding a large art work that would have major impact.  I'm debating trying to paint something myself! (yikes!)
    • Large Rug - currently we have the rug from our apartment and it has a similar pattern to the one in the vision board, but it's too small for the space and doesn't anchor the room properly. I'm thinking of going with a large one and maybe solid textured one versus a pattern. 
    • Curtains - This has been the hardest thing to find. I need 102 inch curtains and I can't find any decent ones anywhere! I want them to be a bit sheer because we love all the nature light that comes in through the main floor. I have looked everywhere, so the search continues.
    • Coffee table - We are currently using the one I have from when I was in pharmacy school.... that was ages ago now! Plus it's a glass top and has a few scratch marks now. The one in the vision board is glass too, but that's not exactly going to work anymore. I'm loving something like this. But I'm really not sure how that wood is going to go with the other furniture pieces. We have a lot of black furniture, mixed with the white lippa table, and sliver glass side table. Oh lord, what am I thinking?!
So, lots to still do!!! I'm excited though... the earlier part of the year was super busy and I was in the midst of changing jobs, studying for my specialization certification, and other things. I'm really hoping to focus on this room again. The goal is to at least update the 4 main things listed above. Hopefully in the end the space will really liven up and be a place that reflects our personality and style. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Fresh (Pasta) Salad

I love all the fresh produce you can get during this time of the year. It makes me want to eat a little lighter and create no-fuss meals with fresh ingredients!

So, last week when I was at Trader Joe's I saw a huge box of fresh basil for a really great deal! Right next to it I saw this box of small cherry tomatoes, so then obviously the very next thing that came to my mind was fresh mozzarella...-ella, -ella, eh! ;)

These three fresh ingredients had me super excited. So I came home and decided to make a super simple salad. Even for someone like me, who for the longest time could not make a meal without first looking up the recipe, this was is a no brianer! 

I simply cut the cherry tomatoes and mini-fresh mozzarella balls in halves and julienned the basil leaves. Next I made a super simple dressing by just eye balling 1/4 cup of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. To add some more flavor, I added 1 clove of minced garlic and good amount of salt and pepper and just whisk it all together. Toss it with the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella and you're all done! Super, simple right?! You can adjust all the ingredients to your liking. It's so delicious because the freshness of the ingredients just speak for themselves. 
But I didn't stop there..I am a crab loving, girl after all (hence, all the running). So I added some cold pasta to the salad and turned it from a side dish into a main dish. Technically this was no longer "light", but it was still considered "healthy" in my book without any high calorie sauce or cheese. I noticed, I had a cucumber and some green onions in the fridge, so... why not?! I added them to the mix as well. All fresh ingredients worked perfectly with the cold pasta. You could even use the blender and mix basil into the dressing to make a pesto sauce, but I was too hungry and lazy! 

On a side note... I also picked up this mini-rose plant from Trader Joe's the same day. Looks, my new hobby of starting a garden on my patio continues. Aren't they just beautiful?!

Back to the salad.... If you are looking for a perfect cold salad dish to take on your next picnic, this would definitely be amazing! Speaking of picnics... the weather has been amazing lately, but unfortunately I've been stuck indoors studying for my exam. Just five more days to go... wish me luck! :)

What are you cooking up this weekend?