Monday, October 28, 2013

DIY Honey Lemon Face Mask

When it comes to the weekend, we women just want to be pampered and feel rejuvenated after a long and tiring week. One way to do that is to induce in a feel good home made face mask that will lighten, tighten and brighten your skin. 

The concoction you would need for this perfect facial remedy that I guarantee will smooth, heal and soothe your skin tone requires two basic ingredients - lemon and honey. What you get as the end result is bright and exfoliated skin that is the answer to your beauty prayer.

So here you have the perfect facial that works to reduce acne, clean pores and brighten skin. Follow this DIY Honey Lemon Face Mask and watch your skin naturally transform.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Grand Canyon, AZ

Sometimes we are destined to have a life changing experience, just to abandon the old and embrace the new. A late summer visit to the Grand Canyon on a beautiful cloudy day was just what I needed.  A prevailing and awe inspiring landscape, it is a prodigious feeling to stand in front of the Grand Canyon. With everything around you so gigantic, you are reminded of how small you are on the surface of the earth.

The Grand Canyon is one of the most phenomenal places on earth. Situated in Arizona’s northwestern quadrant, the Grand Canyon National Park encompasses colossal canyons and meandering river tributaries. This park is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and entertains a huge number of tourists annually.

I recollect the day I visited the Grand Canyon this summer. Driving towards the South Rim, with the rain painting one elegant scenery all around the beautiful desert was so relaxing. The weather outside was unstable, largely varying from warm to cool due to occasional cloud bursts in the region. I was really hoping my trip would not be affected by the weather, but I must say that when I got there, it was a splendid scene. 

After checking in at the visitor center and intensely studying the South Rim tour guides, it was time to explore.  With a prevailing thunderstorm and the gentle rain in the background, the canyons looked exquisite, all glistening as if they were just rinsed in spring water. 

The Grand Canyon is an astounding natural wonder. The Canyons emulsified into inimitable hues that looked delightfully decorated. Somewhere in the distance, the muddy Colorado River was highlighted against the limestone, flowing as it scours the walls and instrumentally shapes the canyon every minute. All around you see flamboyant and intricate landscapes, spectacular vistas and miles and miles of overwhelming sized canyons.  The chirpy tourists are always on the pursuit to capture some visually aesthetic snapshots.  Occasionally, the California condor soars high above casting its shadow over the canyon walls as if to indicate the expansiveness of the west.

The South Rim, open all through the year, has many unobstructed views, stone spires and buttes that are popular to vision especially during sunset. I appreciated the trail walks as they do justice to completely observe the landscape, relax and just listen to that eerie canyon sound resonate around as if you were alone with nature. At several vistas along the way, I first and foremost took in the beauty and then took out my camera to capture some of the sights that were just beyond belief. But like they say, it is a must visit site for anybody travelling to the west. 

Visit the Grand Canyon Park Site for further information and plan a trip next summer to that place on earth where you will be left awe struck in wonder and amazement.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Have A Great Week!

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10 Ingenious Home Uses for Baking Soda

If you ever wondered how to keep your house spick and span, all you need is some baking soda to the rescue. Whether you are looking to polish silver or banish soap scum, freshen laundry or clean the carpet, one product will cast a magic spell over your home.

Follow these simple suggestions and transform your life with one must have pantry ingredient.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scintillating Scents – The Natural Way

If your house begins to smell really musty, it is time to do something about it. If it is missing the aromatic scent you so long to whiff after a draining day, maybe your house is in dire need of some fresh air. For a start, open all the windows and let the air circulate all day. 

Everybody wishes to walk into their house and inhale a lovely aroma right? Nothing overpowering. Just pleasant! I feel your pain but with little effort you can transform your space into a sweet smelling haven.

While most of us initially turn to air fresheners and scented candles, it is important to know that these are harmful for your health and must be eluded. Instead, make your own subtle scents with a blend of spices, herbs or even fresh fruit and enjoy a clean and safe atmosphere at your convenience.

When you feel like you need to lighten up the air at home, just simmer some sweet scent in a pot. You will be surprised at how quickly your entire space starts to feel incredibly blissful. The steam infuses the air and it begins to acquire a natural aroma around you. So, what do you have to do for some natural fragrance? Follow these simple DIY aroma sensations at home.

Spice it up
For a start, do not discard the peels of apples and oranges. Instead store them in an airtight mason jar topped with water, a few cloves and a cinnamon stick. Cut up some lemon slices. Add them to the infused water. Close and refrigerate this magic potion for up to 2 weeks. 

Herb Delight
Another option for that natural scent in your home is to add some herbs. Rosemary and thyme are great scents to have this time of the year combined with pure vanilla extract and some lemon slices. Trust me, your house will be as fragrant as if you were in the Williams-Sonoma store.

Citrus Punch
For a sweet, delicious and lasting scent, slice some ginger and orange slices in a mason jar. Add a dash of almond extract. This is a refreshingly fresh scent for any time of the year.

All these options can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Adding water to them increases their life span, so do not forget to top up with water.

Whenever you want to indulge in some sweet air, just add the ingredients to a pot on the stove, bring to a boil and then simmer over low-medium heat. Keep an eye on the water level in the pot to make sure it does not evaporate quickly. 

I guarantee you will have the best fragrance in every corner of your home and what a neat idea for a wonderful gift the next time you go to a party. Do away with the store bought fragrances and make your own instead. You are entitled to enjoy a healthier option for a renewed and amazingly sweet-smelling home.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin Loaf With Cream Cheese Filling

After tasting the famous pumpkin cream cheese loaf cake at Starbucks, I knew I just had to make this quick bread at home. With minimal effort and a lot of patience, I managed to pull this one.

Super moist and creamy, this quick bread cake with it's wonderful cream cheese filling is not overly sweet, yet perfect for anyone willing to try. I could really use a little more practice on the aesthetics, but otherwise it is pretty close effort to the classic favorite of the year. 

I am super happy with my loaf, and so satisfaction is achieved by pairing it with a cup of strong coffee and the smell of fresh baked pumpkin all around.

Cream Cheese Filling
1/2 ounce cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg at room temperature.


With an electric hand mixer, whisk the the cream cheese till soft and creamy. Add the sugar and the egg and beat till smooth and creamy. Keep aside.

Pumpkin Bread
1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup roasted walnuts/pecans
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla 
1 cup sugar
80 ml canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. set aside. 

In a large bowl stir the flour, salt, cinnamon  baking powder, baking soda and sugar and gently mix to incorporate all ingredients.Add the nuts and toss in the flour.Set aside

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, add in the vanilla, vegetable oil and the pumpkin puree and stir well.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and fold in the mixture just enough to combine everything. Remember to not over mix the batter.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan. Then layer with the cream cheese filling and add the rest of batter and smooth out.

Bake for 55- 60 mins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Store refrigerated for upto 2 weeks. When ready to serve, slice, warm in microwave and serve. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

Yes, the ultimate season favorite is here and just when you thought you are spending too much money to indulge in it, ABC news featured a copycat recipe courtesy Good Housekeeping. Try this awesome seasonal favorite which is so easy to make at home. I guarantee, you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Home Made Pumpkin Spice Latte

Courtesy : Good Housekeeping

Thursday, October 10, 2013

DIY Halloween Crafts

Halloween is upon us and while most of us are ready to go trick or treating, I have some really cool Halloween crafts for you. Go ahead and display them on the mantle or hang them around the house and watch your guests turn envious of your creativity. I am very happy to find some great ideas to share with you. Enjoy making your very own Halloween decor this year.

Halloween Frame Display
Get some old frames out of the attic and print some really cool Halloween clip art available in abundance over the internet. Simply frame and hang at any corner of the house. Be warned! staring at these frames can create an eeriness around your sweet home.
DIY Halloween Candy Totes
I am sure the kids are going to get a lot of candy this year. Just add a touch of Halloween to their candy bags and make your very own Halloween tote. You would need a couple of plain blank canvas totes available online. Just choose a spooky design and have the kids trace and paint them on the totes. Let dry and use for trick or treating.

Be creative and imaginative and a simple suggestion is to let the kids come up with the designs. Have fun overall.
Pumpkin Carving
Everybody loves to carve their pumpkins for Halloween. Why not try to be creative this year and innovate new methods of pumpkin carving. Martha Stewart has some awesome ideas for pumpkin carving and decorating available on her website. Check them out and find out what you would like to create this Halloween.
Halloween Gift Tags
Here are some of my custom design free printables to download and use as Halloween Gift tags.

Whatever you choose to do, get cracking as it is almost that spooky time of the year to go trick or treating. 
Happy Halloween!!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cozy Knits

It's time to take out the most indispensable item in the woman's closet - sweaters. This season, the latest trends are boat necks and pullovers. Cropped sleeves and original cuts are grabbing attention. Get cozy in hand woven sweaters to brave the chilly weather. From stripes to prints to cable-knits, experiment and see what is best for you.

Here are a couple of my favorites for the season.

A bit pricey no doubt, but I adore this one. This simple Burberry Brit short sleeve classic sweater is so gorgeous with its neatly crafted check design in camel that it can attractively complete any formal attire. 
Designed for petites, this slouchy sweater with metallic tones is an ensemble to be worn for a chic and attractive look. Customize with leather skirts or pants and reveal that sexy side of you.
This sweater is lightly jeweled to help you look all dolled up and pretty. Pair it with distressed denim or floral frocks this shimmery number is a must have to add something extra to your outfit.
Who says peplum has to be for trendy tops? This rapid trend looks pretty in sweaters as well. Just be bold to take your boyfriend jeans to a totally elevated level or even slip it over a pretty floral dress and go paint the town in fashionable autumn shades.
This soft knit sweater from GAP is available in two shades: Snow cap and novelty cashew crunch. I love the cable stitch knitting with its neat trim in ribbing to complete the look. What is even better is that poncho are loose fitting garments that highlights a more relaxed you.
This pure cashmere turtleneck makes it a chic match for any outfit. Pair it with jeans and step out looking modern and classy. The horizontal cable knits give this sweater an oomph that raises its standard to gorgeously classy.
Cozy up to a warm mix of pretty colors, flattering silhouettes and striking prints. Gorgeous styles for the season simply team it up with cords and make this your go-to sweater.
A neat wrinkle free sweater in bold colors makes any outfit look elegant and distinct. Pair it with jeans or a short skirt and leather boots and you are so ready to shine.

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ten Free Halloween Fonts To Download

This Halloween make your own spooky banners with these special Halloween fonts available for free download. Whether you are making decorations, banners, invitations or table cards, Creative Pro has some really scary fonts for you. Have fun and download them at Creative Pro.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

DIY - Nautical Rock Souvenirs

I stumbled upon this neat idea for a wonderful beach souvenir that I knew I just had to create a post for. What a great idea to have as home decor -nautical souvenirs handmade by you after that awesome vacation by the sea . What is even better is that this is an incredible craft activity for the entire family and the result is some amazing motifs on rock that eventually turn out to be the perfect souvenirs for that wonderful seaside vacation.

Here is how to design your very own sea motifs on rock. It is a really crafty project to execute and fun is written all over it. Trust me it is contagious. 

The procedure to follow is below to create some really cool nautical souvenirs :

  • Gather some smooth rocks. Pretty round and smooth faced ones are the best.
  • With a paint sharpie, draw nautical motifs of any kind from sea shells to anchors, from crustaceans to starfish. Just think of anything nautical and draw.

Let your imagination run wild and do not forget to have fun with this craft.
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's time to start baking and spreading the aroma of autumn around. I found this neat recipe and added my variations to make some delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. The pumpkin flavor is infectious in these cookies with soft centers and crispy edges and the chocolate chips are divine. Try them out and see what you think!

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients :
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp ground cinamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter till smooth.

Beat the white and brown sugar, a little at a time. with the butter until light and fluffy. 

Add in the egg and beat.

Add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour,salt, baking soda and ground spices till combined. 

Slowly add the flour mixture in batches into the batter and mix until well combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop golf-sized balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and gently flatten them with your fingers (about 1/2 inch)

Bake 15-20 minutes or until tops are browned and edges dry.

Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Variation: Sprinkle little coarse salt on top for a gourmet version.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Smile, Breathe & Go Slowly

Everybody encounters tussles in their life. Some of us may need improvement in our careers or relationships or maybe fitness or just our state of being. It is daunting to make changes for any of us. And if we are on the path of improvement, the first step to attaining success is slowing down. Of course for all of us who have tried to progress under the countless categories that define who we are, a little bit of inspiration and some moral advice from those who have already voyaged down that road is just what we need on our self-improvement journey.

Life can be ludicrously convoluted if you let it. I suggest we simplify. The tragedy of our living is that we age faster than we grow wise. Most of us are always pushing the boundaries of our expectation. But sometimes we just choose to forget that it is better for us to slow down and breathe. Why do we dissuade from training ourselves in discovering activities that are solely about being in the present? No deadlines, no race. Just being in the moment and enjoying it without any objectives.

"There is more to life than increasing its speed." ~Gandhi

It is a pity that most of us are always sprinting against time. The world is fast-paced, fractured and hurried. We are habituated to believe that this is the way to live. We are continuously in a state of hurry and all in the name of productivity, of having more or appearing busy. Stop and think, does life have to be this way?

If your purposes are to yield or generate something remarkable, slowing down and converging on the end result will get you there more commendably than swishing to complete the work. Why endure the tensions and stress of hastening, only to create more opportunities to err? Why hurriedly produce bad quality products that exasperate and destroy your creativity skills? Why choose to be like everybody else just rushing to get through the day? Slow down, focus, appreciate and enjoy what you are doing. The most important step is realization that life is better when you pace slower, when you are more unperturbed and the result is that you will get more out of every moment.

The big question after realization is to execute the change. While most of us appreciate it is a better way of life, some of us are inhibited by our commitments or our surrounding environments. So there is a background check that you have to do. Take responsibility for your life. Make the changes now. Work it out in your day, among your family and friends even with your colleagues and officials at work. You don’t have to be like everyone else, rushing to dismay. You can make the change in your life now as your environment does not control you – you do.

So, you are in the middle of your day, and you’re wedged in the pursuit of thoughts, feelings, to-dos, meetings, readings and communications, all to be done in one day. What will you do? Let all of that fade.

Pause.Breathe.Smile.Enjoy.Just Do.

If you’re washing a dish, do it sluggishly, and feel every sensation. If you’re eating a fruit, taste it, feel the textures, be wary of your hunger or lack of it. If you’re writing something, pour your heart into that writing, inhabit the words. If you are reading, digest the wordings the author has chosen and understand the composition of the text.

Just do. The rest of the world becomes meaningless distraction. Slow down and enjoy a stress free life.

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