Sunday, April 28, 2013

My current favourite summer trend - Maxis!!

Its April - which means in Mumbai it's hot, correction hot and humid, correction unbearably hot and humid..the saving grace is that for most of the day I am in my air conditioned office premises but when I'm travelling I just can't stop thinking about how hot it cotton airy clothes are currently my best friends.. I can't even think about getting close to denims.. and when it comes to non office wear Maxis are what I am really looking forward to buy..I mean one can always wear knee length flowy dresses to beat the heat. But Maxis are so in trend right now and although they are long but quite airy and soo comfortable. And it's not just maxi dresses but maxi skirts and maxi pants (palazzo pants.. but i like caling them maxi pants) are in too.. Here are some pictures of how celebrities here and abroad are wearing them.. Take a look for some inspiration to look cool, casual and breeze through this summer..

Maxi Dresses

Anita Dongre's Summer Resort collection. Pretty pastels!

Doesn't she look pretty and the dresses give such soft vibe

Kim K being Kim K shows off her curves in a tight Maxi

My favourite Blair aka Leighton Meester looks cute as always

Lindsay Lohan Gives two different Maxi looks

Neha Dhupia teaches us how to make a Maxi dress look more formal

Maxi Skirts

No fashion mood board is complete without taking inspiration from Blake Lively!! (Don't miss those India inspired Christian Loubotins)

Kim K shows off some leg in a Maxi skirt too..

Maxi Pants

Pair you printed Maxi Pants with a solid tank top

Shraddha Kapoor's petite frame looks even more slender in palazzo pants

Deepika was the first  Bollywood actress to sport them on screen

Blake Lively's power pink pants look classy and formal!
And don't even think that these silhouttes are meant only for tall women..Look at how cute petite women like Rachel Bilson and Selena Gomez look in them

So where does one buy them?

Looks like the trend is still setting in India, as not many high street brands have started selling them yet except for say Zara. So be on the lookout.. some boutiques like the ones in Bandra (Mumbai) have stocking up on Palazzo pants but not the Maxi dresses/skirts as yet.. as for me, I'm still searching for these and for matching/contrasting well fitting tank tops :p

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eat Pray and Shop - 2 day trip to Amritsar

Remember when I had mentioned here that the reason why I was a little inactive was because I was travelling. Recently I had gone on a small holiday which almost turned into a pilgrimage tour. Reason being we went to Vaishnovdevi - Amritsar - Delhi.  As most you must be aware Vaishnodevi is a place of great importance in Hindu religion and the pilgrimage is considered to be one of the toughest to accomplish. So in the entire trip we did a lot of praying and a lot of eating. It was after all North India, the land of lassis and hot paranthas. Here's the Amritsar part of my trip:

Amritsar has an airport and a railway station. So getting into the city  is pretty easy.

We stayed at the Radisson Blu. There are many budget stay options in the city which are very close to the city centre and the Golden Temple. However, since Radisson Blu is a new property in Amritsar the rooms were reasonably priced at Rs 5500 + taxes, thus we didn't mind spending. The hotel is very close to the airport but a good 30km away from the city. The property though is beautiful and the rooms definitely match up to the Radisson tag. On arrival we were served a welcome drink. The rep at their service desk was sweet enough to offer a late check out even without us asking for one. They offered us a 2 hour extension on the check out time, which was really helpful.

Our room
42" TV
Love a bathroom that has a bath tub and gives me space
Big bathroom
The toiletries in the bathroom
Since, the hotel is newly built, the gym and spa are not fully functional. It has a lounge and a restaurant.The room rates are inclusive of breakfast. The buffet breakfast spread was huge and everything was delicious and filling. The staff was very courteous, polite and always smiling. They all greet you with "Sasriyakal!"

Things to do 

There was only one reason for our visit to Amritsar - The Golden Temple!

There is something about these heritage structures of India that no picture no matter how well taken can capture their true beauty. I was advised to visit the temple twice, once during the day and once to check out the night view. And it looks different both the times. We were lucky enough to have gone there on a full moon night. The temple was shining or was it glowing in full glory.

If you have time on your hands please do not miss the langar ( Meal offered inside the temple). Unfortunately we couldn't make it at both the times.

Wagah Border - The border that separates Amritsar and Lahore, India and Pakistan is a must visit. The ceremony starts just before sunset where the flags of both the nations are lowered and where the army men from across the borders shake hands. The ceremony is an hour long but please please ensure that you do not go on a public holiday or the weekend. Since, there are no entry fees, this place gets crowded easily and since we went on a public holiday we had abosultely no place to sit.

Jalianwala Baug - The place where hundreds of Indians were fired at by a British officer and his team. Their fault being that they had gathered here to plan a revolt. The Indian government has turned this plot into a memorial for these Indians who lost their lives here. One can still see the bullet marks all over the walls. The number of bullets fired were in thousands. This bit of revisiting history outside the textbook really unnerved me.

Shop for Phulkaris and Amritsari Jootis - There are lots and lots of markets in Amritsar selling local garments and jootis. I wanted to buy a phulkari since a long time and I fulfilled my wish in Amritsar. A short walk away from the golden temple is Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaar which has lots of phulkari dupatta shops. One can easily bargain and the dupattas range anything from 300 to 3000 depending on how heavy the embroidery is.
I don't have a picture of the one I bought but it looks exactly like the one in the picture below. I am planning to pair it with a fuschia salwar. what say?

Image Source

Where to eat

When in Punjab, stop counting calories!

Just stop thinking about how oily, buttery sugary your food is. Just let go and binge binge binge! Kesar da Dhaba is the must go is what I have heard. We figured out where the place is, left for the place, reached there only to see there was waiting for an hour or so. Yes! this place is that popular! so we left from there Yes trip is about a lot of unfortunate incidences :( We went to the neighbouring Bharwan da dhaba, which was not such a good decision. The food was all of the above but not tasty. So I wouldnt recommend it to any one. 

But before reaching Amritsar, we had a stopover at a Dhaba on the highway. It was an actual one. And the food was so warm and fresh. Really enjoyed eating there. Here's something to tempt you while I go burn some calories!

Makki di roti nd sarson da saag

Parathas served with oodles of butter

Have you been to Amritsar? How did you find the city?

Friday, April 12, 2013

A spa session a month keeps the Stress away - Four Fountains Spa Visit

I am a spa junkie. I love spas.My friends often joke about my spa obsession saying that whichever place I travel to I only look for a spa there. I've tried out quite a few Spas in Mumbai and the latest that I added to my list is the Four Fountains Spa. They have positioned themselves as affordable day spas and have over 17 spas spread across 8 cities. You can check their website here.

On the day of the appointment I received a call from their staff to confirm the same and also to inform me that I should reach 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time. On reaching their I was greeted and seated by their executive. She informed me they have 4 types of spas Detoxing, Destressing, Immunity (?) and Beauty.

I told her i was looking at a body massage therapy. And just randomly chose the Aromatherapy Radiating Massage (Rs 2099) after glancing through their menu. The menu was elaborate and there were a list of services under each head including not just massages but scubs, wraps and facials. While glancing through the menu I checked the prices. Although, they claim to be affordable I found their prices almost on par with the other Spas I have tried. Also I noticed that the Aromatherapy Massage was mentioned under 2 under heads as well. On enquiring about the difference I was told that while the technique is the same the aromatherapy oil used is different depending on what therapy one selects. Since I had chosen the one under the "Beauty" the oil used for me was almond, jojoba oil.

After having chosen the therapy, I was greeted by their in house doctor who took a mini stress test of mine and told me that my stress level is medium and I should be taking a spa every 21 days (was I happy to hear this). She also asked me if there are specific areas that pain a lot. And she gave me a small prescription note to be handed over to my therapist asking her to focus on these areas.

So I was then introduced to my therapist for the day Shanta, she escorted me to my spa room and asked me to change into the disposable clothes and put my valuables in a locker.The spa room was not the usual small, compact one but was quite big but basic. The decor of the room wasn't too spa like but functional. Here are some pictures of the room.

The lighting in the room was pleasant. The room had an accompanying shower. Th therapy started with my therapist wiping my feet with hot towel. The massage experience was great. Some of the strokes were brilliant. And my therapist was sweet, polite and well trained. She knew exactly when to ask about the pressure, the temperature, the lighting. The oil used had nice, light fragrance. I was even given eyepads that were dipped in rose water that smelled like heaven. The music added to the experience and I was almost about to doze off when some drilling machine in a neighbouring room went on. It wasn't loud, but disturbing for sure. My therapist was really apologetic about it but obviously she couldnt help it. The room wasn't sound proof as I could hear vehicles and people talking intermittently. these disturbances aside, the therapy in itself was great and very relaxing.After the therapy I took a nice hot water shower that relaxed me even further. The oils were pretty effective. My skin felt nourished and soft.

I was then served a shot of green tea and asked to fill a feedback form. I gave my fedback and inreturn got a whole lot of discount vouchers and couponds from their affiliated salon and a couple of other places. And a book on stress and a relaxing gel that can be used to relax sore muscles.

So here I'll sum up my overall experience:

What I liked

  • Extremely courteous and polite staff
  • The setup and the ambience at the entrance may not be very spa like (read dimly lit with thai decor) but it is definitely very professional
  • Therapist was well trained, extremely polite and saw to it that Im completely satisfied with the service
  • The massage was truly relaxing, with perfect pressure. It was also concentrated
  • Concern shown by the staff on my spa experience
  • The room is not your regular claustrophobic spa room but was quite spacious
  • The products used (oils in this case) were awesome, my skin feels much softer now
  • Hygiene was maintained
  • Reasonably priced
  • They are one of those few spas in Bombay that allow online booking of gift vouchers. (I have used this service to gift a spa to my ex boss and it is pretty easy)

What could have been better

  • The rooms should be sound proof so that outside noises do not disturb the experience
  • Steam should be included as a part of the massage. As I mentioned earlier, I have been to a lot of spas and a body massage is always accompanied with steam and shower. The steam helps the skin in absorbing the therapeutic oils applied. But here steam is charged for additionally. 
  • The consultation with the doctor should happen before one chooses on the type of therapy. My choice was purely random and maybe I would have gone for something else had I chosen my therapy after the consultation
Disclaimer : The therapy I had taken was complimentary and offered to me by their marketing team. However, my opinions are completely unbiased.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

USA Beauty Haul - Sephora and Bath and Body works

So what comes to your mind when someone you know says he\she is travelling to the NYC? Statue of liberty? Wall street? Empire state? Snow? Lots of shopping?

I'm sure for a lot of girls like me the most spontaneous reaction would be - " If you don't mind, here's my shopping list" right? So recently, when my dad found out that hell be travelling to the US even before he announced his travel plans knowng his darling daughter he just said "hand me over your shopping list." Who can resist an offer like that now!!

So I quickly went online checked out all the exclusive beauty products not available here in Mumbai and put them on my list. Here's what all I got from Sephora  and Bath and Body woks (My favourite brand for fragrances) US.

US Beauty Haul
Products from Bath and body works - Twilight Woods body lotion, body mist and CO Bigelow Mint Lip tint
Passion fruit shower gel and lip gloss from Philosophy
The most famous coral blush in the world - Benefit's Corallista and Sunbeam highlighter.. for a sunkissed look
Fab fab fab!
Beauty Editor Darlings kit by Too Faced (small size version of each of their best products)
The five products that it has..including their very acclaimed eye shadow primer

The details of the products
Here are all the products.. love!

Still beaming!! :))) Thanks dad!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Attending the Lakme Fashion Week - Summer Resort 2013

The last proper story I posted was almost a good 3 weeks back. A lot of things have been keeping me busy offlate. For once the whole of last week I was travelling up north. Which means there will be a lot of travel posts in the next couple of weeks. But as of now I am going to write about the Lakme Fashion week without further delay.

This time I was lucky enough to get passes for the Lakme Fashion week Summer Resort 2013. If you know me well, you would know how much fashion excites me. I am an avid fashion blog reader and till now I have seen fashion weeks and ramp shows only in pictures. 

So this was something that I was really looking forward to. The passes entitled me to attend 2 shows Shehla Khan and Kunal Rawal. While I had some knowledge on Shehla Khan (she's a newbie and her designs are feminine and soft) Kunal Rawal being a men's wear designer did not hold much of my interest.

Here are some pictures of all the excitement that goes at a fashion week:

The buzz before the show

Shehla Khan's collection was titled Boudoir.
Tiered lace dresses

Shehla Khan stuck to her signature style of soft feminine dresses
Karishma Kapoor the showstopper walks with the designer. How awesome does she look!
Kunal Rawal with his showstoppers Arjun Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor. How hot do they look!
What's a fashion show without some Bollywood spotting at the front row
Doing my own bit of posing!

Lakme had set up a makeup booth, where one could get makeup and nails done. Loved the new pop tints!
Overall loved the experience, the buzz, the media and photogs covering the event and ofcourse the fashion spotting. Infact IMHO the fashion spotting off the ramp was even better than the actual shows Looking forward to the next fashion week now.