October 29, 2010

Your Guide to Style

Lately I have not had much time to read lengthy novels but these style books are on my current reading list and they will be perfect for my upcoming air travel.

1. Pia Me by Pia Jacobsen. I bought this book but I have not had a chance to read it yet.

2. Lauren Conrad Style Guide.  I saw this book in Urban Outfitters and it looked pretty good. This may be my next purchase.

3. Oh No She Didn't: The Top 100 Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them by Clinton Kelly.   My colleague Sandy was so sweet and thoughtful to send me this book as a thank you for being her mentor the past few months.  Sandy had the wonderful opportunity to attend a book signing with Clinton Kelly and she managed to get me a signed copy of the book.  Some of the topics he discusses are muffin tops, mom jeans, scrunchies, suntan hose, and visible panty lines. I think this is going to be a good read!  

4. Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick by Molly Ringwald. This book was on sale at Barnes and Noble and so I picked this up. It's a quick, easy, and light read.

Are you currently reading any interesting books?

And a very special thank you to my husband who gave me this (also here) because he thought I would love it and he wanted to thank me for making him a smoothie and coffee every morning.   So to all you lovely ladies -make sure you husband's and boyfriend's are reading your blogs!

Happy Halloween!

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October 28, 2010

Weeknight Dinner: Shrimp Tikka Masala

Did you know that Chicken Tikka Masala is the single most popular Indian dish in the world? It is so popular in London my cousins tell me they can go to an English Pub for a beer and Chicken Tikka Masala.

Well last night I made a home made variation of this popular dish with shrimp.  While I try and be mostly vegetarian these days (I call myself a "flexitarian"), occasionally I will make fish and shrimp.  One of my go to recipes is cilantro lime shrimp but this shrimp masala recipe is a new favorite because of the intensity of flavors, the ease of making it, and most importantly my 2 year old highly approves of this dish!  Also the best thing about this recipe is that you can use this masala as the base for any vegetable, chicken, fish, or tofu.   And if you double up this recipe you can freeze the remainder and just take it out when you need it.  Keep in mind there are so many different ways to make a basic masala sauce and every time I do it the recipe changes.  Since it is not like baking where you need exact measurements feel free to experiment and adjust the recipe according to your personal taste.

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon fresh garlic
1-2 teaspoons garam masala 
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lb Shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes 
1/4 cup greek yogurt
Optional-1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro 
Optional-2 curry leaves
Optional-green chili

1. Heat oil in a shallow pan and add onions and let onions cook for about 10 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, garam masala, sugar, salt, tumeric, red chili powder, green chili (optional) and tomato paste.  Keep stirring and add some water if the mixture becomes too thick.  After another 5 minutes or so add the crushed tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. 
2. Blend the mixture with a hand mixer, blender, or food processor so the consistency of the mixture becomes smooth and even. You don't have to do this step but if you skip it just make sure to use finely diced onions.
3. Put the mixture back in the pan, add the shrimp, and cook until shrimp are gently cooked through. (3-5 min)
4. Remove from heat, add yogurt and the curry leaves (optional).  Finish off by garnishing with fresh cilantro. (optional)

What is your favorite "go to" meal during the week?

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October 26, 2010

Sequins and a Soiree

I absolutely love sequins (here and here) so I just bought this BR monogram pink sequin skirt. (30% off)  I wore the skirt last Saturday when my husband and I went to the South End Buttery for dinner  and then met up with friends at 28 Degrees.  I styled the skirt with a black sleeveless flowy chiffon top, black opaque tights, and these black shoes.  But now I am looking for a different way to style the outfit for dinner this Friday. 

So all you fashionista's out there- How would you style a complete look with this pinkish/brown sequin mini skirt? 

And for you lovely ladies in Boston grab your girlfriends Thursday evening for the South Shore Soiree. Hope to see you there!


Mall to host a series of events to celebrate newly renovated and expanded wing!
Event Series Presented by New Adventures of Old Christine on TV38

South Shore Plaza has set the stage for a series of events to celebrate and showcase the new retailers, restaurant offerings and anchor stores that now make up the newly renovated wing at the retail center. The South Shore Soiree is presented by New Adventures of Old Christine on TV38 kick off with Ultimate Ladies Night Out on Thursday, October 28th from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, and continues through Sunday, October 31st.

Ultimate Ladies Night, a mall-wide event, will include a runway fashion show, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, cosmetic makeovers by Nordstrom and Sephora, musical entertainment, prize giveaways and special retailer promotions. South Shore Plaza will be giving away free swag bags to the first 500 attendees. Adding to the excitement, attendees will be able to purchase cocktails to benefit Cradles to Crayons for a chance to win a diamond pendant! On top of all that, there will be a “Prize an Hour” promotion, where one $500 American Express®/Simon Giftcard will be given away to one lucky winner every hour*.

The South Shore Soiree event series is open to the public and free of charge.

*The event details are subject to change, and the public is urged to visit for event updates or to call guest services at (781) 843-8201.

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October 25, 2010

Style'n Tips: How to Wear Floral Dresses In the Fall/Winter

Madewell dress, Club Monaco blazer, Michael Kors handbag, Aldo belt, Steve Madden boots
On Sunday we met up with some friends for brunch in Boston's South End. It was a the perfect fall day to wear this new dress I bought at Madewell. (dress also seen here)  I have had my eye on this dress for a while and when I went to the store to try it on it was marked down so of course I got it.  This floral dress is quickly becoming my new"black" dress because the styling options are endless and it it such a versatile item.   Next time I may try pairing the dress with my short black leather jacket and black tall boots.

Top 5 Tips for Wearing Floral Dresses in the Fall/Winter:

1. Cover up by pairing a floral dress with corduroy blazers, denim jackets, and leather jackets. This helps break up the print,  toughens up the feminine look, and keeps you warm.  In addition, adding different textures with these type of jackets or even with wool cardigans helps make the outfit more appropriate for the cold season. 

2. Consider layering the dress with a turtleneck or long sleeve tee underneath or add a belted cardigan on top.

3. Add cold weather wear such as dark opaque tights,  darker more simple handbags, and scarves.

4. Replace sandals with tall boots, slouchy boots, or booties. 

5. Select colors and textures appropriate for fall.  Leave the linen floral dress or the classic summer white and pastel dresses and opt for darker bolder hues giving you an edgy and autumn look.  But if you do wear lighter colored floral prints then just add tights and cardigans that compliment and draw attention to one of the darker hues in the dress.

Do you like to wear floral dresses in the fall/winter? If so what are some ways you transform this look from spring/summer to fall/winter?

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October 22, 2010

My style'n tips (and yours!)

Earlier this week all of us received some great fashion tips from Harper Bazaar's Avril Graham on transitioning outfits from day to night.  Well last Saturday I needed to create and outfit that I could transition from meeting friends at the Fort Point Open Art Fall Open Studios to a casual lunch at one of our favorite spots- Flour and then on to some playtime with our daughter at The Boston Children's Museum. 

Here's what I wore:
1. Aviator sunglasses and necklace-Banana Republic
2. Black studded handbag-Deux Lux purchased at Ku De Ta (one of my favorite local boutiques) 
3. Blouse-H&M
4. Cardigan-Banana Republic
5. Belt-Anthropologie
6. Jeans-Citizens of Humanity Avedon Slick Skinny Legging Jeans
7. Black flat boots-Burberry

I wanted to look stylish and sophisticated for the art exhibits yet comfortable and casual enough to walk around town and hang out at the museum.

My strategy:
1. Carry a handbag large enough to carry all my stuff including my camera and scarf and Ariyana's snacks and cardigan.
2. Wear comfortable shoes without a high heel so I can walk and "play" at the museum
3. Layer clothing since we were going to be inside and outside for several hours
4. Add some fun accessories such as a necklace and belt so that I am style'n!
As mentioned above we all received some great style tips from Avril Graham on transitioning your look from day to night and also earlier this month Today Show's Bobbie Thomas gave us lots of amazing fashion tips as well. (here)  I also provided a few ways I transitioned my look since I attended the Swarovski event right after work on Tuesday.  But I also received some really creative and informative comments yesterday from all of you about the various ways you transition your look from day to night and I wanted to share them with you.

Reader's fashion tips on transitioning looks from day to night:
1. Add red lipstick and sparkly earrings. Melissa
2. Do a smoky eye. Josie
3. Kohl eyeliner, shoes, and jewelry. Gagan
4. More make-up and more "blingy" itemsSonali
5. Let down the hair, touch up make-up, and remove a layer of clothing. Torrie
6. Add bold jewelry, add dramatic make-up, and change your shoes. Samantha
7. Ponytails during the day and hair loose at night. Michelle
8. Add jewelry that sparkles such as big pearl and diamond cocktail ring, and gold bangles. Annelise
9. Let down your hair and put on some high heels. Tanvi
10. Add a pair of heels, eyeliner, extra mascara, and extra jewelry. Valerie
11. Change shoes. Audrey
12. Exchange a blazer for a bomber jacket, skinny denim for a wide leg flare, remove a knee high sleek heel boot for a platform shoe and keep it simple with a t -shirt and some fun jewelry beneath. Carrie
13. The right bag is important-a clutch screams evening plus some sparkly accessories as well. Connie
14. Add accessories and make clothing a bit more revealing at night. Elle 

Have a great weekend!

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October 20, 2010

Style'n tips from Avril Graham of Harper's Bazaar

 Avril Graham is wearing the gorgeous Maniac necklace from Swarovski's new Fall/Winter 2010 collection.
Last night I met up with my friends Martini and Sami at the Swarovski evening of style event hosted by the lovely Avril Graham.  Avril is the Executive Fashion and Beauty editor of Harper's Bazaar and a regular style contributor on The Today Show.  Avril shared some great tips on transofrming an outfit from day to night and she demonstrated this by styling models with Swarovski's newest pieces.

I did not buy any jewelry because I just bought these pieces and I also prefer to shop when it is less crowded.  I really enjoyed browsing the new collection, chatting with Avril about her style tips,  and drinking the delicious sparkling white wine. But, I will be back to the store because I have my eye on a few amazing statement pieces.  I did end up buying one of these beautiful crystalline pens.

Here are just a few of the helpful tips Avril provided last night.

For the day:
1. Mix and match blazers and skirts
2. For a sophisticated look a ponytail is great
3. Layer 2-3 necklaces
4. Wear watches and bracelets/bangles on the same arm
5. Add a cocktail ring for a bit of unexpected glamor during the day 

For the transition to night:
1. Let your hair down
2. Lose the blazer for a less conservative look
3. Add some drama and color with cuffs, bracelets, and bangles
4. Be bold with an eye catching statement necklace
5. Switch to a fun evening clutch
6. Don't be afraid to wear several bold accessories at one time. This can include a watch, cocktail rings, and crystal bracelets.

I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Avril and she is so stylish and friendly.

I came to this event straight from work so here are a few ways I transitioned my look. ( I wish I took a before/after picture. Oh well next time!)

1. I carried my make up bag with me and did a quick touch up before the event.

2. I switched from my bigger more conservative black bag (to hold my laptop) to a more casual brown handbag.

3. I added some Swarovski bangles for some extra sparkle in the evening.

What are some of your favorite ways to transform your look from day to night?


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October 19, 2010

La Bete Noire

My good friend Nicole and I recently made this flourless chocolate cake called La Bete Noire (the black beast).   I tried this cake about 5 years ago when Nicole brought it over to our place for a Wine and Cheese Tasting Party and I loved it.   I remember serving the cake at the end of the night with Port and the combination was such a huge hit with my guests.   I am not a huge fan of chocolate cakes but this cake is definitely an exception.  Whenever my husband and I think about that night 5 years ago we always think of Nicole and the amazing cake she made.   So if you feel like taking a break from making apple crisp and apple pie this fall then definitely try making this black beast.

The key to this recipe is using high quality chocolate. We used Callebaut chocolate from Whole Foods.
The foil kind of ruins the picture but it is crucial in this recipe to wrap the foil all the way around the pan so that water does not seep into the pan when the cake is baking.
Here is the finished product right out of the oven.
Here is the cake with the ganache and some whip cream (oh and after I had a couple of bites). The cake is rich and creamy like fudge but it is not too sweet or heavy.

Oh and a very Happy Birthday to my husband today! Chocolate cake is definitely his favorite dessert so I might have make the cake again this weekend.   I think pairing the cake with some fresh raspberries might be a nice combination. 
Do you enjoy baking with your friends and family? What types of desserts do you enjoying making?

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October 17, 2010

Beautiful Jewelry: A Sale and A Fashion Event

Do you ever call up your mom, sister, or best friend and let them know about an amazing sale you found out about?

Well Friday afternoon my cousin Nina emailed me about the Amrita Singh jewelry sale on Gilt. And while I am a member at Gilt I rarely have time to check out the sales anymore. So,  I call my sister only to find out she has already bought a necklace and then my mom and I are texting and she decides to buy a couple of pieces too.   If you love this jewelry as much as I do check out the sale at Gilt. The sale is still going on but ends at noon on Monday.  But if you don't catch the sale this time around don't worry because there will surely be another sale.

I love Amrita Singh jewelry because many of the pieces are colorful and bold and they really add drama and make a statement with casual outfits and work attire.   The items are also dressy enough to wear with cocktail dresses, sari's, and other evening wear. 

I got this statement necklace in red and of course my sister and I have the same taste and she ended up getting this necklace in black.

I was inspired to get this necklace after seeing Julie wear this exact necklace in turquoise.
I decided to get the matching earrings too
You can never have enough cocktail rings right? And at $35 this was a great deal. 

My mom got this mixed stone crown bracelet for only $35 too!

My mom also got this coco pearl bib necklace.
And since we are on the topic of jewelry check out this amazing event taking place in Boston Tuesday. Hope to see you there!

Swarovski will celebrate fall trends with an evening of style hosted by Avril Graham.  Avril is a regular style contributor to The Today Show and Executive Fashion and Beauty Editor of Harper's Bazaar. Avril will share her fashion expertise to present Boston women with looks that can easily transform an outfit from day to night with Swarovski's latest fall trends. Models will demonstrate Avril's top trends for the fall.

Tuesday October 19th, 2010 6:00-8:00 pm
Swarovski Boutique
The Shops at the Prudential Center
800 Boylston Street
Boston MA

Here are a few fabulous items from the new Swarovski Under the Blue Autumn/Winter 2010/11 collection.
Maniac necklace

Meteor Long Necklace

May Pendant

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October 15, 2010

An Indian Wedding: The Reception

The bride and groom

My sister Rachna is wearing a white chantalle lace sari
I am wearing a white chiffon sari with silver sequins
My brother looks so handsome
My mom, sister, and me
Mom and dad
 Sarina and Ariyana did a great job accessorizing with bangles, bindi's and barrettes.

the first dance

One last picture of the happy couple
Ok that's a wrap for the sangeet, wedding, and reception.  Have a great weekend.

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