Loving lately

Just wanted to share a few things that have got me excited in the past couple months. Apart from dreaming about my wishlist, I have truly enjoyed the things I have mentioned below.

  1. MUJI Bag: I was strolling through MUJI three weeks ago to get their acrylic drawers for $10 (as if I didn’t have enough) but the deal was too sweet to resist. You can store a LOT in these drawers. I found bag organizers on sale and this particular bag caught my eye. It has a blue denim kind of look and is water resistant (tried and tested over the weekend in the rain). It’s a small bag that is perfect for everyday essentials and I have been carrying it every day to work. It’s just easy-peasy and fulfills my desire to be super organized! You can check out what’s in my bag here.
  2. Trader Joe’s: Since I have started controlling what I consume every day, I have much appreciated and driven miles to find a Trader Joe’s. The variety of snacks they have makes me want to buy everything. And the dark chocolate is amazing. What more can you ask for. Who knew I would get this excited about grocery one day. Loving Trader Joe’s.
  3. Cole Haan Jacket: This jacket has been a savior in the cold weather. Winter has been bearable with this jacket. It is really comfortable and not too heavy for a long coat. It’s made with 100% down/feathers and the wine color I love!
  4. Apple watch: I am glad that I splurged on my apple watch for New Year’s. I am really happy with it. I had the Series 1 which had terrible battery life so I returned it. The Series 2 was definitely worth the wait. It reminds me to do everything!! Like to stand up when I am lounging like a hippo, breathe when I am super busy and don’t have time. I love it! And its looks so chic like all other apple products.
  5. Skin care: Last but not the least, I am loving my skin care routine right now. I look forward to it every morning when I wake up and at night before bed. It keeps me feeling fresh and lively. When you feel good about yourself you can definitely conquer the world. At least I think so. I know I have been saying this for too long. But I am working on getting my skin care routine up soon. Meanwhile, you can follow me on Instagram (@sonalkam7) where I will be posting my skin care edit in pieces.

I hope you also have a few goodies that you have been loving. Please feel to share them in the comments below!

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10 Ways to be positive and happy

I have been recently brawling with being positive and looking at the “brighter” side of things. I am sure most of us struggle with this every day. And if you don’t you are very lucky my friend or you might be living in denial. So I thought I could share a few things I do to make myself feel better through the somber times.

  1. Take a good nap: Sleep is really important to induce positive thoughts and rejuvenate your mind. I won’t go into the science of things but I try to sleep for 7-8 hours daily.
  2. Enjoy a drink/ Listen to music: Whenever I am alone over the weekend or during the week I like to turn on some music I enjoy or videos I like to watch. I do this with a glass of cold juice or wine for weekends.
  3. Read something motivational: I know not many of us like to read but there are some motivational books that are perfect for pick me ups during the day or read motivational quotes online.
  4. Make a list of short term goals: I love making to-do lists!! This helps me to be focused on my current tasks and also make short term achievable goals. This is important to understand your own capabilities and strengths.
  5. Love yourself: I know a lot of people who find flaws in themselves and forget to embrace who they are. It is really important to accept your true self to move forward without being hung up on what is wrong. It is always good to know your weaknesses so you can work towards mitigating them.
  6. Take up a hobby/ exercise: I cannot stress enough on the importance of having a hobby. This will help to keep your mind active no matter how old you are. Another important key to being positive is exercising. The blood flow in your body will help you clean out your thoughts and help you sleep well at night.
  7. Worry less: Everyday I remind myself to not worry about the things that are out of my control and just concentrate on my priorities. This can be really difficult but it does get easier once you make a conscious effort to do so. Just take a deep breathe and move forward!
  8. Eat healthy: Ayurveda describes beautifully how the food you eat affects the formation of your thoughts. Some foods can make you lethargic or even stressed out. Learning more about what you consume and making conscious decisions can go a long way. You need to be fit mentally and physically to have a healthy and happy life. It’s not to late to start today.
  9. Smile: Every time you smile your mind will automatically take you to your happy place and make you feel better. It doesn’t take much to smile at a stranger at a store or even your colleagues on a hard day’s work. It definitely will get you through a tough day.
  10. Give your 100%/ This is your life: You worry less, give your 100% from the time you get up and things will always move in a positive direction. This is your life so don’t worry about making mistakes and enjoying every second of it. You only live once!

Bringing in the New Year

2014 just flew by. Can’t believe it’s 2015 already. I’m pretty sure I feel this way every year. I had a great, long break from work and my other stressful stuff. In this one week, I traveled, ate good food, saw dolphins among other things. I did not drink much, considering most of my other new years have gone by wasted. It’s been wonderful having these experiences with no alcohol. Life feels so much better! I enjoyed a few TV shows (that was me taking a break from being in the car and cold).

I visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The 4D experience in their movie theater is awesome! If you have young children, should definitely take them. The different types of fish I saw there, just made me ecstatic. There were sharks, shrimps, crabs, swordfish and there was a huge leopard print sting ray! And of course the dolphins were there and beautiful jellyfish. This definitely is a must-go place. TIP: Try a weekday; weekends and holidays are way too crowded.

I also had brunch at this famous place called Miss Shirley’s cafe. If you Yelp it, you will find great reviews and amazing pictures of the food. I had the shrimp and grits with the fried green tomatoes, very flavorful. Another must- have desert is the Monkey bread. Just go try it; I don’t really have words to describe it. Its that good! Miss Shirley’s was a great experience.

Another great place for desert is “The Bent Spoon”. I really enjoy this place when I crave for my dose of ice cream. I drive all the way down to Princeton for this one. This is the only place I’ve tried, that has different flavors every week! Can you believe that? They do have their usual dark chocolate, vanilla etc. But they also experiment with their bold choice of flavors. For example they had ‘Tree” flavored ice cream. Can you imagine? It was just I like imagined how a tree would taste. They incorporated it beautifully into the ice cream. I love their ice cream because its flavorful obviously; but its also so light. The after effect is not lethargy. TIP: Their sorbets are splendid and if you like hazelnut, their ice cream is to die for. I also like the sea salt caramel (its seasonal 😦 ).

For Christmas, I went to the Christmas village in Philadelphia, PA which happens every year. They have great food, lot of handicraft items, handmade goods etc. Had a waffle with strawberry bits at the waffle counter. So let me tell you this, no matter what I eat in Philly, it never seems to disappoint me. There are great places to hangout with friends, eat food, watch movies and plays. Philly has it all. And it isn’t even as crowded as New York city.

Today, when I start my new ‘work’ year, I feel well rested and ready to get on with work. To top up the motivation, I got a hair cut! A hair cut is a great confidence booster. I do want this year to be better than the last. Achieve my set goals, one at a time. I feel stronger this year and have decided to begin this year with a lot of self motivation and confidence. There is no time for set backs and mistakes!

The New Year always brings some resolutions with it. Though, this year, I have just decided to take one day at a time. Enjoy it and do everything to make it an awesome one. Every year I decide to be healthier than the previous one (doesn’t mean I exercise). I have got my appetite back that I lost in 2013. No complains there. Just that now I need to lose the hearty weight I have gained. Good thing is, I bid farewell to my addictions from 2013. I have been clean for a while now! Something that everyone should consider doing. Its totally worth the effort. I feel so much better. You won’t know how it feels until to try it. Give it a shot!

And for all those who feel the way I do- ALL THE VERY BEST! 2015 is going to be great!

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

At Miss Shirley's Cafe, Baltimore, MD

At Miss Shirley’s Cafe, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Its Thanksgiving time! Lets all give thanks!

Before I came to the United states, I had no clue what thanksgiving was. During my first year of study here, I was exposed to thanksgiving concepts, foods, and ways of celebration. For a foodie like me, it is a grand fiesta. There is literally soooo much food around. And it sounds all delicious!

For us, in India, the only time we truly celebrate together with so much food and lights is Diwali (I mean it’s called the festival of lights). Diwali for us is like celebrating thanksgiving here. Good food, great clothes, so many gifts! It’s a crazy time for the females considering we get to eat and shop a lot! And who doesn’t like sale and discounts! I remember last year, me and my group of friends were sitting in my room, not talking to each other and just shopping continuously for hours. This was because all of us didn’t want to tackle a crowd. It can really get messy during this time. I, once heard that people could die in this stampede (So much for being a shopaholic, huh?).

Since I don’t have my family here to celebrate thanksgiving with, I will be enjoying every moment I can with my friends who are my family. I will spend most of my time eating and shopping (And hoping that the winter storm isn’t too bad). I remember, my first storm I witnessed here was Sandy. Ah! those days without electricity, a week of being nomadic and wishing to be back home. Sure don’t want anything close to that! I hope and wish, all of you are warm and safe with your kith and kin celebrating this holiday with a lot of love and happiness.

This year though, with yummylicious food, I will try to thank every person who made a difference in my life at some point. It sounds sweet, doesn’t it? You guys should try it too!

But trust me when I tell you this, I haven’t tasted the traditional baked or roasted stuffed turkey. Can you believe it! And you would think I go all out for my food, right!? (Any volunteers to feed me delicious turkey this year?)

P.S: Thank you dad and Payal (sister) for always being there and witnessing my success and failures; for lifting me up every time I fell down. I miss you guys!

Thank you Pia for always being there; taking care of me, an entire week, while I irritated you with my sickness. Thank you Manali and Neha, for always being there and handling my idiosyncrasies well.

A very big thank you to all my friends, all over the world, for making the slightest difference in my life and also for being a part of it. I miss you all. Hoping to see you all at some point, very soon.

Enjoy giving thanks using the new KRDTS app available on Google Playstore and Apple Appstore.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Amchi Mumbai Misal Pav

I have been very lucky to have friends who have a similar ‘food wavelength’ as mine. What can I say we all love food!! Me and my roommates have this thing where every weekend one of us cooks food for the rest. Its awesome fun eating together!! Neha, my roommate decided to make Misal Pav- so for all you guys who don’t know what Misal Pav is- Its a spicy curry (of course its spicy!) made with sprouted lentils called ‘Matki‘ (Moth beans). Its served with onions, lemon and cilantro. Also the Misal (curry) is topped with ‘Farsan‘ or ‘chiwda’. And you have this curry with bread (pav) toasted with butter. I am drooling just writing about it.

So we wanted to make everything the traditional way; just like how our moms make it back home. We kept the moth beans to sprout for a long time. And by that I mean that it took a week! The weather here is so cold and dry here that the beans did not sprout for that long. It was all worth it at the end though. Five of us together had so many pavs in one meal. Thoroughly enjoyed the laboring over the Misal Pav. More like ‘Missile pav’!

I suggest you guys to try it at least once in your life. Its totally awesome!!

For recipes: http://www.tarladalal.com/Misal-(-Mumbai-Roadside-Recipes-)-33442r

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Food cooked close to home :)

This is my first post as a blogger; and so I thought what could be better than writing about food first. Me and my friends always like to try out new restaurants, ice cream parlors, frozen yogurt places or may be even state parks with some barbecue and grilling outdoors. We usually Yelp these kinda things and check for 4-5 ‘star’ ratings. (We rate places ourselves too!).

On Wednesday, we decided to go for dinner next day. As usual we ‘yelped’ it. This time the craving was for Indian food. My friend had suggested this place called ‘Indus Grill’ some time ago. It is a recently opened restaurant with 4-star ratings.

Let me tell you about Indus grill — It’s a really small, little place with 6-8 tables (each has two chairs, that’s all!). Also it smells like a typical Indian kitchen full of spices. Mmmm… So we started off with some Beef chapli, Chicken Seekh Kabab, Chicken Tikka. For the main course we ordered the Peshawari Karahi, Ginger Chicken, Mughlai Korma, Chicken Biryani, Veggie Biryani, Gobi Aloo and Bhindi Masala (Not to scare you with this never ending list, but this was for 7 people :P) All of this topped with excellent Indian breads- Chicken Keema Naan, Tandoori Roti and Garlic Naan. When I took my first bite of the food, it was as though I literally went back home. Every dish was as tasty as the other. So the best part about the food -less oil, doesn’t fill you up because of its heaviness. We guys ate continuously without a word for two hours. For dessert we had Gulab Jamun and Firni; which were also very good (Seems like I can’t stop raving about this place).

The people were warm and service was really good. As it’s a small family owned restaurant they serve you with humility and warmth. I enjoyed every bit of my evening with my friends and some really good food.

Me with the Indus grill team!

Me with the Indus grill team!

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

Peshawari Karahi with Chicken Keema Naan

Peshawari Karahi with Chicken Keema Naan

P.S.: The place is BYOB (Its like a cherry on the cake).

If you live in Highland Park and are up for some Indian food:

Indus Grill: http://www.indusgrillnj.com/

Only delivers in Highland park (You can always call for pick-up).

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/indus-grill-highland-park

ENJOY!!