Rainbow Idli: A Holi Treat for Kids

Looking for a simple yet fun way to add a little Holi spirit to your kid’s lunchbox? This quick hack transforms a basic idli into a rainbow idli, which in the eyes of a kid makes it ten times more appetizing and fun of course!. I learned the power of colourful foods when my kids were pretty young, and have been making them multi-colour paranthe for years. This year I wanted to do something special but easy for Holi, enter rainbow idli. When the idea first popped into my head I did a quick google search and found a few different methods for making a rainbow idli, and most of the decorative ones were made by using multiple pastry bags. I’ve tried to keep it really simple and used spoonfuls of coloured idli batter to create random patterns. My version of rainbow idli isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty! RAINBOW IDLI: HOW TO Start with a about 2-3 cups of idli batter. You can use a homemade batter if you have a recipe you love, or you can use a mix. (I use an instant idli mix by Gits). Separate the batter into 3 bowls and dye each section with the colour of your choice. I used gel based food colouring for recipe. Create random patterns using spoonfuls of batter. Steam as usual Plate and serve rainbow idli The easiest way to serve idli is with a chutney. Kids usually love coconut chutney, or you can try my spicy peanut butter…

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Book Review

x The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the name of this book itself made me a little reluctant to read it. I’d read it in lists of must read books, and new it had inspired a movie, but I never felt inclined to read it. Partially because it’s advertised as a thriller – a genre I rarely touch, and also because I didn’t feel drawn to the subject matter. The only reason I even bought it was the fact it was in the clearance section at HomeSense and I was leaving for Paris a few days later. It looked like a pretty quick read & I was travelling with Zara so it felt idea. I didn’t end up reading it though, because I got caught up in Mistress of the Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakurni instead on that flight. When I started my 2018 reading challenge though, it only made sense to read the books that I already had on my bookshelf at home that fit the category. So, I reluctantly read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s certainly not the type of thriller I was expecting. I have never read anything like it. Written from the eyes of Changez – a Pakistani student and professional living in New York both before and after 9/11, it’s chilling. The character takes you on a journey of love, understanding, and patriotism, and even though you might not agree with his choice, you’ll likely understand them, and possibly even respect them? When…

L’Oreal Root Cover Up: Favourite Find

Every once in a while I come across a product that is so amazing I must share it with you guys. (I wouldn’t be a good girlfriend if I didn’t share my drugstore finds would I?) Today’s find is L’Oreal Root Cover Up spray. This spray has been a huge help in repairing my hair after the whole hair dye mess. Unfortunately, I started getting grey hair pretty young – I think I was about 26. Currently I’m at least 50% grey and have to dye my roots every 3-4 weeks. Why I dye my roots is a personal choice. To be honest, I kind of love my black hair, and it would be such an ugly process to grow it out now. Some days I wish I had let it grey naturally when it first started to come in, but other days I look in the mirror and see my jet black hair colour and absolutely love it. I’m conflicted on the whole to grey or not grey issue. What I’m not conflicted on is the fact that dying my hair so often is damaging it. Even though I have a pretty religious hair care regime, including home made oils, I’m always open to any idea that lets me wash and colour my hair less often, which are both drying. I first tried the L’Oreal Root Cover Up spray when we were shooting and ad for a client last year and I needed to cover someone else’s greys, but…

Rainbow Balloon Wall: Holi Photo Backdrop

Recently I found myself scrolling mindlessly through Pinterest (happens all the time), and my scroll stopped on this beautiful rainbow balloon wall by Sweet Lulu blog. Since I’ve been wanting to do something fun & non-messy for for Holi with the kids, my mind instantly went to a photo backdrop. I’m a fan of colours any day, but Holi is of course the day to celebrate the whole rainbow! This backdrop would be super fun for a Holi party, but it’s also a something you can do for some special themed family photos. I know you are thinking I’m crazy, but it’s so easy. This is one of the those rare DIY projects that gives you maximum return for minimum investment of time & money. Balloons are super affordable and this wall actually comes together very quickly.   RAINBOW BALLOON WALL // HOLI PHOTO BACKDROP: HOW TO Total transparency, I followed the step-by-step tutorial on the Sweet Lulu site, but I did make some changes to the layout for mine. Since I wanted more colour to show than white balloons, I created colour sections using 4-6 balloons instead of just two. Also, I was a bit from abstract with the placement of my balloons than the original. A few notes from my experience creating this wall. Before putting up the whole wall, stick a few balloons up and make sure your tape stays! On my first attempt I had about a quarter of the wall done when the balloons started falling…

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: Book Review

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, that’s a book you don’t want your mom to catch you reading. Or at least I don’t want my mom to catch me reading. The thing is, I grew up in a conservative Punjabi family and erotica, sex, and desires are not things we really talk about with each other. They should be, they should be things that mothers & daughters, sisters, and sister in laws, and most importantly husbands & wives can discuss with each other, but there is still a layer of taboo and ‘sharam’ (embarrassment) around these topics in a lot of Punjabi homes. If you can get over the awkwardness of picking up the book (I used the self-checkout machine at my local library), it’s actually a great read. It’s funny, emotionally gripping, and enlightening. Yes, there are erotic stories, but they are the simplest and sweetest erotic stories you will ever read. It’s almost a little sad to know that the pleasures these women are dreaming of are really just the most basic rights in an intimate relationship. The main character Nikki is fun to follow, and the widows are a shocking bunch, but my favourite character was Kulwinder, the woman caught between culture, motherhood, and hidden desires. I think my mom-side really got her character. EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS: VIDEO REVIEW I truly enjoyed reading Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and really like Balli Kaur Jaswal’s writing style. After reading this one, I’ve learned that she has written…

7 Lessons I Learned From My Best Friend Dale

Not many people truly understood my friendship with Dale. Strangers often looked at us suspiciously when we were out. Maybe it would have helped if we had the same skin colour and people could imagine us as mother and daughter? Some of my friends and some of hers were confused by our camaraderie, and my mother on more than one occasion was jealous of the time I spent with a women only 2 years her junior. But Dale was my very best friend. 27 years divided Dale and I, (shortly after she passed away and I was scouring online articles for some form of comfort, I learned this is called an inter-generational friendship). I am 27 years older than my daughter, yet the dynamic between Dale & I was never maternal. It was more ovaries before brovaries, and definitely fries before guys. Whenever I would introduce her as my best friend people would do a double take, and we would share a chuckle or a sly laugh. The last time someone asked me how I knew Dale was at her memorial in November. She was my very best friend I told the woman who looked like she was a year or two younger than me. She was confused. The look on her face almost said, are you sure you are at the right memorial? The thing is, I never saw Dale as defined by her age. If anything, she was the living definition of age is just a mindset. From…

DIY Heart Print Dupatta

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I’ve been feeling the itch to do a heart inspired DIY. Since I love pairing dupattas as scarves with my outfits, a potato print project was perfect. This heart print dupatta originally belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Like her other dupatta that I updated with pom poms, I’d been saving this one until the inspiration for a project hit. This is a super easy DIY that you can do with your kids. I also think it would make a really fun Galentines gift! Potato printing is pretty straightforward, but do read my notes before you start to make the whole process a bit smoother. DIY Heart Print Dupatta Notes: Use a paper towel to dry your potato before you start stamping. A dry potato produces more even shapes. Put something under your dupatta if it is thin to catch the paint that will seep through. I used plain white paper. You can use fabric paint or add textile medium to acrylic paints for this project. I went with the second option because I had those items at home. Supplies: Potatoes Heart shape cookie cutter Sharp knife Paint Fabric or dupatta for stamping. Directions: Cut the potato in half and push the cookie cutter halfway through. Cut some of the excess potato around the heart shape to create a stamp effect. Start stamping. You can do a pattern like I did, or use a random approach. Just remember to apply thin coats of paint and…

The Bones of Grace: Book Review & A New Reading Challenge

The Bones of Grace is the third book in Tahimima Anam’s Bengal Trilogy. It was an unlikely book for me to choose off the bookshelf, but I had read an op-ed by Anam in the New York Times shortly after a tragic bombing in Dhaka Bangladesh last year. Her writing really struck a chord with me. She paints a picture that makes you feel like you are standing right in the scene she’s describing. After reading the piece in the NY Times, I did a google search and found that Anam had recently published, The Bones of Grace. I read this book in the spring of last year and then realized it had been the end of a trilogy! So, I went back and read the first two books in the series, and then re-read this one! In today’s video I’m walking you through my thoughts on all three books, but also introducing a new reading challenge. In 2018, I’m going to try to read 52 books by 52 South Asian authors. I read a lot, and 52 books in a year isn’t a great challenge, but putting a framework around my reading is new. My hope is that by the end of the year, I’ll have created a resource of sorts for anyone else looking for a South Asian read. To make the whole process easier I’ve started a bookshelf, where I’ll be sharing my thoughts & reviews. Slowly but surely, I’d also like to add some of the…

8 Practical Ways to Practice Self Love Today

Over the last few years, I’ve thought a lot about practical ways to practice self love. It hasn’t always been easy for me to love myself. And all those times I’ve recognized a need to slow down and give myself some love, I haven’t always known how. Should I go to the spa? Plan a girl’s weekend, or maybe read a book? Many of the suggestions that I’d heard of for self-care and self-love felt too superficial. Also, I don’t love the idea of having to spend a lot of money on self-love. With all that in mind, I’ve created a list of 8 ways that you can start practicing self love. These are real-life practical things you can do today, if you want to! 8 Practical Ways to Practice Self Love Today Delegate or Delete Right now, at this very moment, pick 3 things on your to-do list & delegate them to someone else, or just delete them. We all have more things than time on our to-do list, and we know that not everything is getting done. Stop making yourself feel bad by starting at that list, cross off a few things. Don’t even try to tell me that no one else can do them as well as you. Letting go of your perfectionism and A-type tendencies is also self love. Purge Clothes that Don’t Fit There is no reason to keep a piece of clothing in your closet that doesn’t fit you or make you feel good…

City Guide: 72 Hours in New York City

72 hours in New York City is not near enough time to experience the whole city, but it’s more than enough to capture the magic.  I’ve always wanted to go to New York City because so many artists, actors, and creatives have named it as a source of inspiration. I landed in NYC for the first time with a need to know what makes this city so appealing, that people will pay thousands of dollars in rent to live in shoe box size apartments, and I left with an intense desire to go back. As much as I love to travel, I rarely think about going back to the same cities I visited, because there is so much more to see in the world. New York City on the other hand is now in my list of cities I’d visit any day (which is by the way pretty short; London, New York, Amritsar). We stayed in the heart of Manhattan near Rockefeller Centre & Grand Central Station and  only ventured out to the borough of Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Bridge, so most of my recommendations are limited to Manhattan. If you are only going to do 72 hours in New York City, I think our location was perfect, and I actually quite liked the hotel. The Eastside Marriot on Lexington Avenue.  72 Hours in New York City My most important tip for New York City, bring comfortable shoes and walk. I know you can Uber and take NYC cabs, but…