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DUCK & ROLL, KANSAS CITY


 
I am head over heels in love ----- with the latest Chinese restaurant in town! I have a weakness for Chinese food, having grown up in a city that has one of the oldest China towns in the world. So my standards for judging Chinese food are very high. On a rare occasion that I  mention that I was wowed by Chinese food, you know you are in for a treat. Another reason I fell in love with the food at  Duck & Roll, was because it serves Cantonese food. The Chinatown or the large Chinese community in my hometown, Kolkata(India) is all Cantonese. So it felt like I was eating in the Chinatown of my childhood. Take a bow Duck & Roll, Kansas City, you know how to win a foodie's heart. I am so in love with this new place, that I have already done a few rounds of takeout before I started writing this post.
I take no credit in discovering Duck & Roll, it is my husband, Debashish who did the research. I was heading downtown for a shoot when he mentioned if I wanted to try out a new place. I was pre-occupied in planning my shoot, and agreed, without even asking much. Shoot done, he mentioned that we were headed to a Chinese place. Duck & Roll, he mentioned had come near Country Club Plaza, and he had ordered our dinner online. We were doing a takeout, as you know my husband is immune-compromised for his battle with cancer. The first takeout was followed with another, within a few days. And we live nowhere close to the Plaza. Yes, we drove up all that way from a takeout from a new restaurant, during a world pandemic. That should say something about the place, right.

If you have seen pictures of videos of those amazing food stalls, and hawkers in Hing Kong, then let me tell you, Duck & Roll has been designed, on those lines. Its almost as if a few food stalls were combined into one, for the benefit of the local foodies. Loved the kitschy decor and the colors- it made me feel as if I was on a vacation to Hong Kong! Duck &Roll specializes in Chinese barbecue, dumplings, and wok bar with made-to-order fried rice and noodle dishes.

Let us start with what we ate and what we loved from the menu at Duck & Roll. Since they pride themselves on their dumplings, we started off with a few rounds of their Pork, Shrimp, Chives, and Mushroom Dumplings. Three dumplings are served per serving, so we started with a serving for each.

The second item, we tried on the menu, from their appetizer section, was their Chicken Satay, which was served with their signature peanut sauce. Our daughter loves Chinese food too, but can't handle spice. So she opted for the satay, and we sampled it, a bit.

The third item we tried out, is the item we ordered on two different occasions. Yes, the same item, as its that good - Beef Ho Fun! The beef was tender and flavorful, the flat noodles, had enough bite to hold up to the beef and the sauce!

 The fourth item we tried out was XO Shrimp with Canton Noodles. Another favorite of our daughter, who just mentioned that they were the best shrimps, she has had. It was snot spicy, yet packed a flavor punch.

The fifth item we tried out was Master Stock Chicken which was served with sesame rice. The chicken came off as briny at first bite but in a good way. It's very easy to dry out chicken, in trying to cook it. But this chicken was moist and had a good bite.
Last but not least. was Cumin Lamb! This item is a favorite of ours in general, so it was good to see a familiar name on the menu. The lamb was not gamey at all, which it can often become, if not cooked low and slow, and with the right marination. It was spicy and everything good and paired perfectly with the sesame rice. 

So if you are looking to try out a new place in town, I would say head to Duck & Roll in Main Street, in Kansas City MO! I enjoyed both our takeouts, and the portions were great. I did miss pairing the food with some good Asian beer, and also the entire charm of dining out and asking the ambiance in. Hoping the pandemic is over, we can get back to dining in and enjoy the food in-house at Duck & Roll! 

RED,WHITE AND BLUE - 2020 EDITION







So this is the last post for the month of July, and its a throwback to the 4th of July. This post was written and was waiting in my drafts until the whole article was lost. I heard it happened to another local blogger earlier this month. Every year, I love to plan outfits for my whole family, for special occasions. I usually start with my outfit and then try coordinating colors, patterns, for the last of the fam. Total matchy is never my style, so I like to pick out outfits that complement each other.

Red, white, and blue are always special! While we hope every year for Rii as kids outgrow faster, we like to shop in our closest, to pick out our coordinating outfits. this year was different. I had decided to shop for myself (online) for Mother's Day from Loft. It turned out to be the most harrowing experience. Of the 6 tops I had ordered, 3 made it to me, in two different shipments. The third shipment, which was supposed to have had the favorites of mine, never reached me. I was shipped someone else's order, and my credit card was charged. One month of trying o email, call text Loft to no avail. Finally, I had my bank take care of it., which is what should have done in the first place. Just a bad experience with a brand I use to love a lot.

Anyways, coming back to planning my 4th of July outfit. There was one top in my shopping cart, which I had picked out, for this reason. I knew I wanted to wear it probably white shorts(which I didn't land up buying later), red shoes, red earrings, and red lipstick. To me, it made the perfect 4th of July outfit. The polka-dot printed chambray blouse was not only a great piece, but it was very forgiving of my COVID pounds.

If you like my outfit and wanted to pick up similar pieces, I have linked up some favorites!

SHOP MY LOOK:
 

HEAVEN SCENT SOY CANDLES

Self-care is very important for me, and the latest companion in my self-care journey is Heaven Scent Soy Candles. I love a good candle and have been a candle shopper for years now. candles are a big part of my home decor, and you can see them all across my house. As I take my self-care so seriously, I love some hot soaks in my tub, with some candles setting the mood, for me to cal down, and let the strains of the day, float away.  So to test out a new candle and some other home fragrance products seemed right up my alley. 
I am also a woman of color, and I take my role in being an ally, very seriously. So rather than focusing on any candle brand or a candle from a big box store, I decided to focus on Heaven Scent Soy Candles, which is a Black-owned business, and also a woman-owned business. Heaven Scent Soy Candles was set up by Lori Jamison in 2016. She had been using store-bough homes freshening kits but nothing left a long-lasting fragrance, which she was happy with. The idea was to create a clean, intriguing scent like no other. Thank you for the beautiful products to try out and that beautiful hand-written note! 


Heaven Scent Soy Candles are made of soy wax, which provides a cleaner burn, and no toxins, or pollutants.  They provide a long-lasting burn providing fragrance created from natural essential oils. The candles have a wooden wick. You can't miss the crackling which comes with it, which seeks to create that cozy feeling. Wooden wicks also create a faster melt pool, which provides a stronger scent throw. Heaven Scent Soy Candles not only create hand-poured soy candles but a range of other products, like rattan reed diffusers, and many more home-fragrance products. 
I got to try out a few different products from Heaven Scent Soy Candles. Let us start with their Classic Tumbler Jar Soy Candle in the fragrance Faith! Its a sweet yet salty oceanic accord combined with an undercurrent of amber and vanilla! This 11 oz jar candles offer around 60 hours of burn and are priced at $23. When I first read the description of a clean burn, I wasn't sure that I would feel it so easily. I have been burning candles for a long time, but these candles were very different and in a good way. It creates that perfect cozy atmosphere and you feel as if you are in spa, when you are still at home. They have been a blessing during these unprecedented times, when stress levels are so high, as the world faces a pandemic. I love to light the candles, to create a sense of calm around me, as I unwind from my day. The fragrance can also be found in their Soy Melts, which are priced at $5, and are a great addition for your office space or home! 
 
If you love to travel, just like I do, then you.  will appreciate the next range of products, I got to try out - Travel Tins! Cute travel-sized soy candles, with a lingering fragrance, which is amazing. I tried out two different fragrances - Tiki Beach and Sweet Indulgence. The gold tins are adorable, and just the packaging itself made me fall in love with them. They also make a great addition to your guest bedroom, as you can leave a few fragrance options for your guests to make their stay cozier. these are priced at $11 and provide 30 hours of burn. Come Christmas, these would be great stocking stuffers, for my family! 

Last but not the least, I got to try out their Home and Linen Spray, in the fragrance Staycation. For me, it has helped transform my bed-time to a great degree. I have spritzed this spray on my pillow, and I cant tell you how well, I slept! 

Whenever I collaborate with a brand, I make sure, that I believe in the products themselves or can vouch for their quality. For that reason, I usually try out the products myself for a few weeks to a month, before I share about them on my platforms. I am so impressed by the quality of all the products from Heaven Scent Candles! They are great for personal use, and also a great idea for gifts. And why not support a woman-owned, black-owned small business if you do decide to get some new candles! You can check out on Instagram, Facebook, or on their website, to shop online. 


PAMPERING SESSION AT POSH KC

Who doesn't love a pampering session! I know I do, and so does my daughter. So we decided to get pampered at Posh KC Blow Dry Bar, in downtown KC, for a mommy-daughter date! And guess what, if you wanted to get pampered at Posh KC, I have a special discount code for my followers in the Kansas City area. Scroll down to the end of the post, for the discount code.

Posh KC, as the name suggests is a blow-dry bar, located in the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City. In the last 5 years, they have made their name in being the premier in beauty and bridal provider in Kansas City!
We booked our appointment online and arrived right in time for our appointments. We were both wearing our masks, and so were the lovely ladies at Posh KC. We got our temperatures checked and filled out a disclosure form. The clients were socially distanced from one another. 
Riona has been dancing for the last five years and is used to the idea of getting her hair and makeup when it comes to recitals. She enjoys the experience and tries to soak in as much as she can. Am sure you'll remember our Mother's Day video where she did my makeup and rocked it totally. She opted for a service called The Princess. It is a pampering session meant for ladies 12 and under. It comes with an optional wash, hairstyle, glitter spray, and lip gloss. Cristina Espinosa was my daughter's stylist and was so patient and wonderful during the whole experience. Rina has long hair and usually loves to keep it open. But I wanted to see some braids on her. So Cristina made both mom and daughter happy, by curling Riona's hair and then doing a wonderful braid on one side! Loved it. Come Riona's next recital, I might book an appointment with Cristina, to do Riona's hair and makeup.  
Now it was mom's turn to get pampered. I opted for The Signature, which includes a wash, hairstyle, and makeup. Alyssa Gerber was my hairstylist, and she took such good care of me. I was undecided whether I just opt for a blowout or should I opt for some braids too. I mentioned to Alyssa how Farrah Fawcett has always been my hair inspiration, and I love a retro-vibe. She nailed it with her blow out, where she gave me an amazing root lift, with minimal back-combing. I am now officially in love with Unite's Expanda Volum, as a root lifter. Alyssa besides being a fabulous hairstylist is also is a rescue-dog mom like me, and yes, we had to talk about our puppies as well! 






After my hair was done, it was time to switch to Cristina's makeup chair. We spoke a bit about what I like and don't like about makeup. If you know me, then you know that I love everything makeup. But sometimes you fall into a rut as you keep repeating the same looks over the years. I told Cristina to surprise me, and that she did. From false lashes to skipping eyeliner, from finding a perfect nude, it was fun chatting up all things makeup with Cristina! 
If you are one of my followers in the Kansas City area, and you wanted to get pampered at Posh KC, then use the code Ritz5. When you book online, there is an option to include a note, and you can add the code there. Occasion or no occasion, its always a good idea to get pampered! 

CULTIVARE: GREENS & GRAINS: PREVIEW NIGHT

 Dining in after mid-March, and it had to be special! It was all about supporting a good friend's new restaurant - Cultivare: Greens & Grains! We were invited for the preview night of the restaurant before it opens its doors to the public on July 8th. Cultivare: Greens & Grains is a fast-casual restaurant in southern Overland Park, which seeks to redefine how we think of grains and greens! Healthy eating is not just a passing fad, but something all of us have learned to appreciate. So when a new cool new place opens up which is all about healthy eating, you know you have to be there.
 When you walk in, you can't miss the clean lines, open concept, and the modern yet minimalistic decor which packs an aesthetic punch! I am clearly pinning the faux plant wall idea onto my home decor board on Pinterest!

As I mentioned earlier, we were dining in, after mid-March. Team Cultivare was taking all precautions to ensure safe dining. You have the option of sitting indoors or o their beautiful patio. All guests wore masks, till they were at their table, ready to eat. While many of my friends have been dining in, for the last few weeks, we had not taken the plunge yet, as you know my husband is immune-compromised. But when we saw all the safety the arrangements, we knew we had taken the right decision to dine in.
Let's talk about food, shall we! When you are in Cultivare, you can choose from Shareables, Signature Salads, Classic Salads, Signature Bowls, and Create Your Own Bowls! The menu has been beautifully curated, to say the least. I have been privy to some sneak peeks on social media, as the menu was being created by Kasim and the team. So I was so happy to finally taste the culinary creations.

We started our evening with their Hummus Trio from their Shareable section. Hummus and toasted pita chips or cucumber rounds. The three flavors include chimichurri with toasted pine nuts, harissa red pepper with almonds, and spicy red chili with candied peanut! Everyone in our home is a huge hummus fan, and this hummus trio hit a home run, at first bite.
 
 You know that I am a girl who loves her steak. And when you have steak and blue cheese, you know I will definitely gravitate towards it. For my main course, I opted for the Steak and Gorgonzola Salad, from their Signature Salads. Signature lettuce blend, tomato, roasted corn, red onion, gorgonzola.


I love me a good bowl, and this didn't disappoint. Loved the play of textures, and flavors in my Signature Salad. With all the binge-eating that I have been indulging in, during the quarantine, this is one healthy meal, which made me feel less guilty of what I was eating! The portion size is amazing and I needed a to-go box, coz you know I can never finish my meals at restaurants. 

A huge Thank You to Kasim Hardaway and Team Cultivare for inviting us for their preview night! Attended an event after what seemed like ages, even if it's in the new normal code of everyone wearing masks. To enjoy great food in an amazing place, to see the sparkle in the eyes of friends, as we spotted each other across the restaurant, after months. All the best Cuiltivare, we will surely be back! 





DENIM SKIRT & CROP TOP KINDA SUMMER


You can let the quarantine blues get you down, or you can get dressed to beat the blues! I decided to do the latter. One of my favorite blues is those from my denim! For Summer, I am partial to my denim cut-offs and of course, my denim skirt.

A denim skirt is a wardrobe classic! In Spring you can style your denim skirt with tights and pastel sweaters, and ankle boots. In Summer, you can pair your denim skirt with bright crop tops, or a classic white shirt and your espadrilles. In Fall, you can style your denim skirt, with over the knee boots, and your favorite suede jacket.

Every Summer we usually go on a few trips, sit out in the patios of our favorite restaurants, and enjoy brunch, head to first Fridays in the Crossroads, and whatnot. This Summer is different, but I wanted to take the opportunity to get dressed. We started our own Summer tradition this year. As a family, we try and dine out in our back yard. And we get dressed for it! It feels good, I tell you!

So this weekend, I styled my denim skirt with my jade crop top, for dinner in our patio! I love the idea of shopping in my closet and styling my wardrobe staples, in different ways. It is easy to shop for new items, but its also a lot of fun, when you shop your own closet. I brought in some different tones to my outfit with yellow and multicolored statement earrings. I finished off the outfit with my favorite platforms/espadrilles!