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CAMEL COAT & LEOPARD COLLAR - WINTER DIARIES










We brace up for yet another cold day tomorrow. its always difficult getting back to the grind after a long weekend, worse still if the Met Office predicts it to be bitterly cold. Add on the layers, I say to myself. One of my most trusted Winter outer wear is my Camel Coat. Its the 6th Winter, I am using it and its still in great shape. I have blogged about so many Outfit Ideas on my Blog, but somehow my trusty old friend got left behind, in the glitz and glam of newer purchases.

A Camel Coat is a wardrobe staple. It made a comeback in the last decade or so, after being a rage in the 70s and 80s. Suddenly it was one of the most pinned outfit items, which was on everyone's shopping list. Its a Neutral and a great alternative to the quintessential black winter coat. While I love my jackets, you cant deny the comfort of a woolen coat. It can be pricey when it comes to wool, but its worth every penny you spend on it. I have been wearing mine for so many Winters straight and it still looks and feels great. Wool blends are a another option , if you are on a very strict budget, but still want to go the Camel Coat route.

There are Camel Coats and there's my Camel Coat with a Leopard Collar. If you know me well, or have been reading my Blog long enough, how deep my love for Leopard runs. So when I had come across this Coat, I just kept hoping that I would get it in my size. The Leopard collar adds that touch of edge to a staple. It makes it all the more special. Not to mention that it keeps me extra warm, and saves me the trouble of carrying a scarf. Don't get me wrong, I love scarves. My Camel Coat just touches my kneee so its a great size for someone who is petite and stands at 5'1'. The cut is flattering, in a somewhat peacoat style, which hides my food baby, pretty well.

Brown and Black do not pair well, is a well known cliche. But I wanted to break just that, with this outfit idea. I am carrying forward the black tone sin the Leopard print in my Black Denim and my Black Leather Boots. Camel Coats are available in a variety of price points, in a variety of styles. There's something for everyone, within this broad spectrum. If you had to style a Camel Coat, how would your style it?

                              SHOP MY STYLE : 
                           

CAJUN MAC AND CHEESE

A freshly brewed cup of coffee and snow showers at the speed of 20mph. Yes, you guessed it right. Its a Snow day which means we are at home. No school and no activities. Thursdays and Fridays are two of my busiest days of the week, for the sheer bulk of errands scheduled. And losing one day means, Friday hits the crazy note higher than expected.

And on days like this I want meal times to be a breeze, and something comforting to the soul. So Cajun Mac'n'Cheese is on the menu. Its easy, and it packs a punch of flavor. No, its not Jambalaya, so please don't get confused. My daughter went through her phase of Mac'n'Cheese for lunch every day, till she grew. tired of it. It was then ,that I came across this adult version of Mac'n'Cheese ,with a kick. Me and my husband are big fans of Creole and Cajun cooking, so Cajun seasoning I always in stock in my pantry. With species, make sure you keep checking their best by dates.  I used prawns and sausages in mine, but you can add your choice of meat. You can add diced chicken breast or roast beef chunks. You could also add in sliced onions, chopped bell pepper and scallions. I took the easier route. You can surely customize it to your preferences, or whats in your freezer and pantry.

The trick is to get the Bechamel right. Initially, when I had first making it, I landed up with uncooked flour or the flour got burnt. Now, I understand, why restaurant kitchens  have a separate post of that of a Saucier ! My daughter loved Mac'N Cheese then and I didnt want to serve her the orange packaged over processed one. So I had to get my Bechamel right, and I did. Once that was mastered, it was easy to use it in so many different things.

So are you going to give Cajun Mac'n'Cheese a try. Its easy and simple and did I mention quick ! And it brings warmth and comfort to the soul, just after the first bite.

CAJUN MAC AND CHEESE : 

Ingredients : 
Pasta : 8 oz ( I used Thin Spaghetti, feel free to use any kind you love)
Butter : 3-4 tbsp
All purpose flour : 2 tbsp
Cajun Seasoning: 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Salt : to taste
Cheese : 1 cup - Grated ( I used Sharp Cheddar, you could use a blend)
Black Pepper : 1/2 tsp
Whole Milk : 1 cup
Prawn : 1  cup
Sausage : 1/2 cup (You can substitute it with Chicken/Roast Beef Chunks)
Parsley : Chopped/Dried : 1 tsp
Red Pepper Flakes : 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp (according to heat preferences)

Procedure: 
Cut the sausage in chunks and cook them. Keep them aside. In a non stick pan, melt some butter. Add in the prawns, and 1 tsp of Cajun seasoning.Cook till the prawns have turned pink. Keep aside. If you were interested in adding onion and bell pepper, then I would suggest fry them with the prawns

Cook the pasta till its al dente. Reserve 1/4 of the pasta boiling water, to be used in the final sauce later on.

In a large pan, start making your bechamel/roux. Add in butter, and fry the flour till its cooked, but not burnt. Keep stirring. It should turn light golden.

Add in the milk and keep stirring so that there are no lumps. Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes, till the sauce has started to thicken.

Add in your choice of grated cheese. I used sharp cheddar, but you could do a mix of a few kinds of cheese, for a more intense flavor. Mix and stir till all the cheese has melted.

Time for some seasonings. Add in 1 tbsp of Cajun Seasoning, dried parsley(use fresh if you have), black pepper and salt. Cheese has a salt content so taste the cheese sauce before you add in the salt.

Now add in the cooked pasta, cooked prawns and sausages, and fold in. You could add in your reserved pasta water, if you feel that the sauce needs thinning out.

Garnish with some crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick.



Stay warm people ! Bon Appetit ! 

LOOKING BACK AT 2017

Its the first Sunday of 2018 and it seemed like the perfect time to look back at the past year. Every year is special in its own way, but 2017 was super special. I havent ever done a Highlights of the Year post on my Blog, but I enjoy reading or watching those from my fellow bloggers. So I thought, why not, lets try penning it all down.

Without much further ado, here are a few Highlights from 2017 :
1. BLAZE came home : 
I was born in a family, where my older sibling was furry and four legged and was a Giant German Spitz, named Doda. My father rehabilitated an abused pup to the best trained Dog I have ever come across. Over the years, we have had some marvelous pets. So from a family of 3, we became a family of 4. BLAZE completed our family. We were on the lookout for a furry ember to join our family and had been looking at pets at all the local shelter's websites.Finally, we were able to adopt the runt of a Labrador Retriever Litter who had just been relocated to a KC shelter, along with a few of his litter mates. He completes the Chatterjee-Dasgupta pack with his rockstar persona.
 2. We went to ICELAND ! 
 A trip which was planned to the minutest detail by my husband Debashish. Hats off  to you. We walked on an active volcano - HEKLA, and came back alive to tell the tale.It was a fabulous 10 plus days, where we drove around this beautiful country soaking it all in. Northern Loights not once, not twice, but 5 times. Filled our hearts and minds with memories, and our bellies with local Icelandic food. From glaciers on a Black beach - Diamond Beach to unwinding in Blue Lagoon Spa, we had it all. Words are not enough and a vlog is overdue. Not mention loads of Game of Thrones and Gerua trivia memories.


3. Rii had her first Dance Recital : 
I was all tears when my four year old, showed off those dance moves, in her sparkly tutu and dancing shoes. It was a big stage, she rocked it , with not one but two different dance numbers, in two different dance styles. Go Girl go !
4. I went back to School,after close to two decades : 
When I had finished my Masters in Kolkata, with the loudest bang, I had no intention that I would ever go back to school. I had topped the University of Calcutta, I had a good job, life was good. But Life takes many turns and changes. In February 2017, I decided that I wanted to go back to school. The inspiration was my Husband, who kept telling me for the last few years, that I should do it. together we looked at options for different courses, under the broader Communications spectrum. Finally found my match. A master of Science in Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communications, from the University of Kansas, is in the works. Its been a great first semester and am looking ahead to the times ahead.
5.Macy's Mother -Daughter Fashion Show : 
For the second year in a row, Me and Rii got to reprise our spot on the runway, with Macy's Mother's Day Fashion Show. What a privilege it has been.

6. We watched a Total Solar Eclipse :
They say watching a total solar eclipse, is once in a lifetime almost. For me and mys husband,we were fortunate enough to see our second total Solar Eclipse.
7. We experienced what Ranch Life is all about : 
Ever since we moved to Kansas, I have always wanted to experience what life in a ranch is.  We had been looking at ranch holiday options for quite a years, but never quite did it, as some exotic location or the other, won over. Finally it was a fabulous 4th of July weekend, in the Flying W Ranch, in Flint Hills, Kansas. From wagon rides at sunset to look at the buffalo grazing over the hill, to s'mores on a camp fire, to star gazing from the jacuzzi, to hiking through wild flowers and flitting Monrach butterflies, farm to table dinning to some quality family time - a glam ranch life indeed.


7. How can we not have a Beach Holiday ! 
If you know us, you know that, we have an annual holiday to the beaches, usually in December or Novemeber. We turned the tables and headed to a beach holiday in Summer. It was not another locale in the Caribbean(which is our usual haunt), but to the beaches in Texas. Our daughter is an absolute water baby, and she had a blast in Corpus Christi and a few other beaches nearby. Mom and Dad came back with crazy bad sun burn, and noted that beach holidays are best in the Caribbean and in Winter.

8. Colorado for the Nth time, with Blaze: 
We have been to Colorado way too many times ,and we love every one of them. Towards the middle of the year, we decided that we wanted to head back there. It was a lazy holiday, in Boulder, Colorado. Our first holiday as a family of 4. So much fun, introducing both our kids to our old haunts and making new memories. Colorado, might also become an annual tradition now, given the fact, how much both kids enjoyed themselves.












NARS RADIANT CREAMY CONCEALER & MORE - SEPHORA HAUL

Happy New Year everyone ! It was a beautiful begging to the new year, so what better topic to write on, than Beauty itself . Who doesn't like Hauls, specially when they its from Sephora. the Holidays were drawing close, and I was running low on one of my favorite foundations, so a Sephora run had to be done. It was also my Birthday month, and my birthday gift from Sephora too needed to be picked up. Not to mention, that I had my annual discount coupon to use up too.
Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation is surely one that has a regular spot amongst my roster of foundations. My Summer shade in Y365 and since I get quite pale in Winter, I decided to get a fresh match done. I love Sephora's Skin IQ for its convenience. If you want to read all about it, then check out my Blog Post dedicated to it - SEPHORA SKIN IQ  . We did a fresh round of color matching and Thank God we did. I was two shades lighter than my usual warmer weather shade to Y345. It is not only light, but more neutral toned. While I am warm toned, but sometimes some shades can get too yellow, depending on how tanned I am , or how pale I am.                       
                
My Skin IQ post was fabulous for the fabulous Make Up artist from Sephora who had worked with me. It was such a pleasant surprise to know that she had moved to a Sephora which is even closer. Shout out loud for Kayla  Kernel ! She is a delight !

 I would have walked out of Sephora after the initial purchase, but who does that right. I was in a mood to splurge. It was a choice between getting a few new lip colors or trying out a new concealer. NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer has been on my mind, for at least 4 years, but I never picked up the full size of it. Beauty gurus around the world, have been raving about it. Better late than never , right. Skin IQ and Kayla , to the rescue again. I was matched to the color Custard. Usually I opt for concealer which are a shade or two lighter, but Kayla suggested that we stick to my exact color match for this concealer, as a lighter shade on this concealer, may make up under eyes look grey.
I have been using NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer for the whole of the Holiday season, and I feel a Review was in the works. The concealer as the name suggests is both radiant and creamy. I hate products which are chalky and dry, on my already dry skin. It didnt cling to my dry patches at all. I used it under my eyes, and on blemishes and around my nose. I applied the product with its doe foot applicator, and used a damp Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. Application was a breeze and it blends pretty easily. It has medium to high coverage. I love how good the color match was, and how luminous it looked. I used it through the cold wave we are experiencing in the Mid West and also my Holiday in the Rockies. It wears well for long hours and could be my new favorite.

December is my Birthday month and I picked up my gift. The gift options were a skin care duo from Caudalie and Tarte. I have already used the products from Caudalie, so Tarte was in my bag. It was a color co-ordinated two some - Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 hour Blush in Paarty  and Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit. Tarte's Amazonian Clay line, is meant primarily for oily skin and its Rainforest of the Sea is meant for Dry Skin. I preferred the peachy toned blush to the somewhat streaky pink lipgloss.




COZY IN CHENILLE


Merry Christmas everyone. Hope all of you have a wonderful time. Thank you so much for all your support for my Blog. Really means a lot.

So what are your plans this year ? last year I had spent Christmas on the high seas, on a cruise. Red was my color with loads of ruffles. This year, I decided to switch things up a bit. We are home for Christmas, after years of being away.  I shall be spending my day surrounded by my family and friends. And in terms of colors, the Red of last year, has surely given way to the greens. Cozy comfort is the key for me this year and every year. I am hosting a small Christmas party at home, and as hostess, I need be on trend but not wear something over fussy. A Sweater and Denim seemed to be the perfect choice, along with my statement Red lips.
                                            
Its my Chenille sweater in a forest green, which is my choice for Christmas this year. While I am still on the fence about brown lips, Chenille is one of the trends from the 90s,which I am glad made its way back. I can literally stay in Chenille all day. Its almost like lounge wear for me, if you ask. Chenille is surely an It items in your closet for the season. If you haven't picked up yours yet, then you surely need it.

I styled mine,with Jeggings and my ankle boots. As I have to be on my feet, being the hostess, I opted for flats, rather than a dressier pair of heels. My Sweater is chunky but not bulky. Its cropped just at the right length,which make sit perfect to be styled in so many ways. I have styled mine with jeggings this time, but you can style it with a skirt and Vans. Chenille Sweaters are an absolute favorite of mine, and I am surely picking up a few more colors soon. Stay warm.



  




DERMABLEND FLAWLESS CREATOR FOUNDATION - REVIEW

Come winter and my dry skin gets drier. So I am always on the look out for both skin care and make up, which help me address that problem. I recently tried out a few new beauty products, in conjunction with each other. So I thought of penning down my thoughts about them, in case any of you were struggling with dry skin too. It was Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation, along with Skinceuticals Hylaronic Acid Intensifier and Skinceuticals

Christmas is almost knocking on the door, and the party invites at this time of the year, are multiple. I want to look myself, and not cakey when I use make up. And dry skin, if not addressed with proper skin care, can make a lot of make up look cakey.

My skin does very well with Hylaronic Acid. So whenever I come across a product which claims to have hylaronic acid, I am interested to try it out. Skinceuticals Hylaronic Acid Intensifer is a multicorrectional serum. It boots the skin's hylaronic acid levels by 30%. It provides long lasting hydration which improves the skin's texture. I used a few drops on my face, after I had cleansed and dried it. I let it soak in for a few minutes, before I proceeded to the rest of my skin care and make up.
I followed it up with Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore. Its an anti ageing moisturizer, which refills cellular lipids, and nourishes dry skin. I do follow a basic anti ageing skin care regimen, but its nightly. So it was quite a change trying out an anti ageing product which I could use during the day, below my make up. it can be used on any type of skin, even including sensitive skin. Its paraben and dye free, and is lightweight with a fast absorbing texture.

                                       
Finally it was time to try out the new foundation. Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation, can be used by itself as a foundation or mixed in with skin care. It claims to be Blendable, Buildable and Customizable. Its water free and oil free, and contains 33% liquid make up pigments. I was sent in the shade 30N . I do have warm undertones, but can carry off neutral undertones for some shades too, especially in Winter, when I am so pale.

You can use these foundation drops, to create your own custom coverage. Use 1 drop for minimum coverage and 4 drops for maximum coverage. The foundation is very pigmented. The shade wasn't a perfect match, but it was close. I would like to try out their warmer toned shades too, to get my perfect shade match. I had used it over the serum and moisturizer. The foundation's claims of being blendable, is something debatable. I had to use a flat foundation brush and then a damp Beauty Blender , to get the finish I wanted. It was a bit chalky when I first started applying it. However, once it was all blended(which did take some time), I loved the finish. It did not stick to my dry patches or look cakey at all. It photographed well, and did not have a flashback. Those are brownie points in my opinion, when it comes to foundation. I also tried it out another day, by mixing it with the moisturizer, and creating my custom tinted moisturizer. I think it worked better, if you mixed it in with the moisturizer. Then it was easier to blend, and I liked the light coverage it provided. Very apt for daily school runs. Overall, its a good product, I would probably buy it again.


Disclaimer : I received these products FREE for testing purposes, but the opinions are those of my won.