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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Andhra Bhavan

Somewhere deep in my heart and soul, lies a foodie hiding. I don't claim to be a foodie, but the urge to experiment with new cuisines brings me to exciting places. Especially for people residing in Delhi, food corners are a blessing. People say that vegetarians have scanty options to explore. But that's not true.  I have tried it all, from the street food of Old Delhi to posh air conditioned restaurants. (Of course all vegetarian!)

My first stopover was the very famous Andhra Bhawan Canteen, located on Ashoka Road, Cannaught Place, New Delhi.  The price of the thali was Rs 90 way back in 2012 which has been revised to Rs.110 for veg thaali and 130 for non veg in 2014. What' the deal? Oh, the thaali is unlimited. Makes you smile?
Waiters on the go

The Andhra Canteen is managed by the state owned Andhra Tourism and Development authorities. The food is authentic, hygienic and excellent. The large canteen has a decent ambiance with a good number of employees who never let your plate stay empty. The floor supervisor is a very efficient man who commands respect, authority and discipline. The entire team of 65 waiters very professionally manages the huge footfall which triples on weekends. Despite waiting at the reception counter after buying token, your number will be called out in less than 20 minutes and the waiters escort you to a vacant table which has been cleaned in a flash! The waiters lay the plate on your table even before you shuffle on your seat. And it's not just the consistent food quality, or the amazingly low prices that keep customers coming back. It's the assurance that within 30 minutes they will be seated, served, and ready to leave after a well-served, filling meal. You can eat to your fill and still feel hungry after 2-3 hours.
I would personally rate the food a good 4.5 out of 5.

Veg Thaali
The lunch menu consists papad, rasam, sambaar, 2 dry vegetables, 2 curries, 1 sweet, lemon rice, poori, steamed rice and curd. Out of these, papad, lemon rice, sweet and curd are limited to a single serving only. Rest everything is unlimited.
Special chicken biryani is served only on Sundays in the canteen.
Very less oil and minimum spices makes the food palatable. You'd find the food home made yet delicious. It's a treat to be in such a place and feel the bliss :-) Must try for all!!!!

Eat healthy, stay healthy, stay blessed. Day 137 of the year  from my Year Health Book (YHB).

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memoirs from McLeodganj

Trip continued from Day 1 in Dalhousie

The first day of our visit to Dalhousie comprised Panchpula, Gandhi Market, Subhash ki Baoli, local shops and night stay at Silverton Estate. So much we fell in love with Dalhousie, that we extended our trip to three days. Also, how could we have missed McLoedganj after coming this far?
Second day we checked out of Silverton Estate and spent the entire day literally on the streets! We ticked off Diankund, Khajiaar from our bucket list and headed to McLeodganj late afternoon. Distance between Khajjiar and McLeodganj is 120 kilometers. We stopped at few places in between for the pristine view of farms and mountains. Dreamy bed of flowers and colorful fields were mesmerizing!


We reached McLeodganj by 9pm. To our surprise none of the hotels had rooms vacant. Kishori Lal ji volunteered to help and found us an accommodation when we had lost all hopes. We owe a lot to this gentleman.

The long cab journey had left us weary. However this little town’s active night life shook us out of our slumber. Hep music, long queues outside eating joints, chilled out visitors infused energy within us. Who wouldn’t love to party in such an electric environment? McLeodganj came across as a town that never sleeps! It gave us a feel like Goa.


Pit stop at Punjabi restaurant
We hogged on Punjabi food in one of the local restaurants and Pizza in another popular eating joint. Germans, British, Italians and travelers from various countries flocked to this beautiful uptown cafĂ© merrily enjoying dinner, music & beer. In spite of the wild party and happening crowd, McLeodganj is safe. Females travelling alone need not worry about their security. 

McLeodganj was much warmer than Dalhousie.  I ditched my woolens which I had bought in Dalhousie. 

We crashed after the tiring day only to wake up to a beautiful warm day. Oh the blue sky painted with morning rays feels so serene! No wonders why people come to mountains for meditation. You would feel like sitting alone and watch the beauty of nature for hours. 
The morning hues





Our breakfast place
.





Post a scrumptious breakfast in a little cafe we left for the Dalai Lama Temple. Unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed within the temple premises, so could not click anything beyond this memorial, right before the main entrance.

This pillar is a memorial for the martyrs who sacrificed themselves in order to free Tibet. The walls of the premises is full of posters which talk about the brave ones as well as those who went missing in the wars.


The quiet, well maintained neat and clean place fills you with positive vibes. The main prayer hall with wooden floor houses the giant statue of Buddha. The place is peaceful and relaxing beyond words. The highlight of the temple are the rotating prayer bells which bring good luck when rotated in the right direction accompanied with the correct prayer recitation. Travellers across the world gather here to practice Buddhism. Seeing them meditate or do Yoda is sheer delight. The visit to the Dalai Lama temple is an enlightening experience. You feel inner peace and blissful light in your mind!

Our next stop was Bhagsunag waterfall. We traversed on a bumpy road for about ten kilometers from main market and broken uphill trek of around 900 meters to reach to the waterfall. The waterfall is named after Bhagsunag Temple located before the river. Broken, half built roads and rough patches were not easy to cross. (Wear shoes or floaters to this place. Trek not recommended for elderly)  

The bad road condition was a big turn off for me. Yet the sight of a huge waterfall and cold splash of water was absolutely rejuvenating. A huge rock at the site was much in demand, to mount it and get a picture clicked with the waterfall in the backdrop.  The risk was worth it!



The place makes a nice picnic spot under the Sun. However, I did not like this place much. Yes I had the best company of my friends, dipped my feet in cold water and took great pictures, yet “behind the rocks” scenes are upsetting. I don’t understand the logic behind boozing or taking drugs in such places. For a moment I felt insecure but thankfully nothing harmful happened. 







We returned to the market place by noon and headed for lunch. Personally I am not too fond of momos, but had a full plate after tasting one veg momo. The hunger effect may be? The best part was the availability of vegetarian food besides non veg Tibetian, Nepalese and Asian spread.



Post lunch we roamed on the streets collecting memoirs from the local market and checked out from the hotel around five in the evening. The unexpected stretch of our trip had left us with no ticket for volvo. We somehow managed to get three seats at the last row in the noisy uncomfortable roadways bus, which rattled all the way to Delhi. 


The all girl's three days trip to the most happening place of Himachal marked it's end. Every journey is a new learning and you return as a richer person. Wish for more learnings and more excitement in future.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hills Paradise - Dalhousie


To visit Dalhousie was my dream that I nurtured since many years. A busy work life and other priorities deterred me from this heavenly place. A three day holiday came as a blessing in disguise and my desire to visit Dalhousie found wings. Around 84 kilometers from Pathankot, this lovely hill station is located at an altitude of 8000 ft above sea level in the lap of Himachal. We were welcomed by a light shower of rains at Pathankot, from where we hired a taxi driven by Kishori Lal.
Road Side Traffic

Kishori Lal ji ferried us to Dalhousie and through the entire place for sightseeing. Reliable, polite and experienced, he did not give us a single chance to complain. A straight two hours’ drive from Pathankot would have brought us to our guest house Silverton estate. However, we detoured and visited Chamera Dam first, which is a boating site and a nice picnic spot. (Our primary reason to detour- Silverton Estate check in time was 12 Noon and we had ample time to kill). Awestruck by the beauty of nature, our three hours’ drive of 120 kilometers from Pathankot to Chamera dam was full of stopovers for photography & fun. Chamera Dam is in the heart of Chamba valley (The very serene place where Bollywood film Taal was shot).
Passed through this tunnel right before the dam approach roads

Chamera Dam


The kissable roses
Beating around the bushes-Literally!






















Boating was restricted day due to rains. So we had to settle with posing along everything and anything around for pictures. The dam site blossomed with pink roses and fluffy red flowers that filled the air with sweet fragrance. I could not stop myself from kissing the charming roses!















The 3rd week of April was surprising chilly against our expectations with locals still wearing woolens and I carried none.  I clung to a thin shawl which I had brought along anticipating cold at night. The drive at the hilly roads towards Chamera Dam offered breathtaking view of the lush greenery, dreamy fog, crystal blue water and blossoming flowers. Such beauty is so rare in the cities.

The peaceful ambiance of the place was only interrupted by the cold breeze and rain drops. The feeling was beyond words. I wanted to stay in the paradise for longer. We stuffed ourselves with maggi, momos, flavored tea and marked an end to our short stay at the divine Chamera Dam.

Silverton Estate

Window overlooking the lawn
Living room of Silverton

We covered a distance of 35 kilometers driving for another hour from Chamera Dam that brought us to our guest house Silverton Estate. Located at a hill top amidst snowy fog and plush greenery, the heritage property was undreamed-of. I jumped with joy the moment I entered the property. Built during the British era, the three room apartment with bedroom, living room and dining room boasted of elements from the past. Be it the furniture, the windows, the lights, the flower vase or the switches, you feel no less than a queen with the fringes of the opulent history bustling in the room so perfectly. Old yet strong, the beautiful artifacts were very well maintained. The windows overlooked green lawn surrounded by cedar & chir trees.


Dining room@Silverton
Vikram, the owner welcomes us with rejuvenating lemon tea.  The dining room had a book shelf which immediately caught my attention. The books were of stories from the British rule to history of Dalhousie. My friends of course did not let me read books, as we were on a fun vacation, and not a boring tour. Thanks Shivani and Pooja! Silverton has an in-house kitchen which serves simple and healthy food. This is a must during trips as often people neglect their health and gorge on anything while travelling. We were lucky to get home made food in Silverton with an attendant to serve us, as done in Army style. We were more than impressed! I could not get enough of Dalhousie and the lovely Silverton Estate. The all girls trip became a memorable one. Most of the photo credits goes to our polite driver Kishori ji.



Places to see in Dalhousie-




Ghandhi Chowk Market- The central point of Dalhousie is a small local market with speciality wooden works, sweets made of fruits, fresh cakes, and pickles. Nothing spectacular to shop for, unless you want to enjoy hot momos/maggi and hot beverages.



St Francis Church


















St Francis Church- Next to the Subhash Chowk vicinity. A quiet place housing an old church, few caged birds and of course the beautiful garden. Built in 1894

Subhash Chowk- The commercial point of the town with a memorial of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The road connects to the beautiful Panchpula waterfall. Trek up on the waterfall hills for adventure or startling pictures. We visited the place with a borrowed umbrella while it rained throughout the day.

Around Dalhousie-
1. Kalatop- A wildlife sanctuary with forest guest houses, this place has been a popular shooting location for many movies, including bollywood flick Lootera (2013). Spread in a wide area, the forest has a heavy flora & fauna along with guest houses for accommodation. You can also trek up to the peak of Dainkund. (We skipped Kalatop, only to realize later "Lootera"was shot here and the place is a heaven! 

2. Khajiaar- Popularly known as the  mini Switzerland of India, the place is a huge expanse of a green pastureland surrounded by the hilly trees, 21 kilometers away from Dalhousie. Soak the sun on the green pastures while sheep grazing by your side. The place makes a nice picnic spots with lot of eating joints around.

Khajjiar




3. Dainkund- Named after the witches that disturbed the villagers, Dainkund is a hill top to trek on amid the marvelous vegetation and foggy trails, just 12 kilometers from Dalhousie. The mountain of Dainkund rises to an altitude of 2,745 meters above sea level and provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding regions. Dainkund is the highest mountain in Dalhousie that provides a picture book scenery of the whole valley. Daikund is popularly known as the singing hill. Protected and maintained by the Indian Airforce , the area gets a fair share of snowfall throughout winters. My friends and I enjoyed snowfall in April!!!!!!!!! Climatic changes may be?


























4. Dharamshala/McLeodganj-  About 124 km from Dalhousie is McLeodganj, bustling with tourists from all over the world, good night life and not so quiet like Dalhousie.
(Read: https://expressunleashed.blogspot.in/2014/05/memoirs-from-mcleodganj.html

Do's and Don'ts-
  • Do try the ginger chutney which is a local pickle preparation that adds wonderful taste and aroma to food.
  • For those with sweet tooth can gorge on to fruit burfi and fresh cakes.
  • Be prepared for abrupt rains or freezing wind and carry anything warm.
  • Dalhousie is quiet place with no night life or pubs/discs. Only photography enthusiasts, nature lovers and those looking for peace of mind should visit the place.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Go further get closer

This post is a part of the British Airways Indiblogger contest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixbLMsVlpes  This video left me in tears just like Chetna turned emotional when she was pleasantly surprised by her husband Sumit. What a memorable way to get closer and say thanks to the one whom you love the most! British airways gives that opportunity to go as far as you can to get closer.

Time is the most precious thing one can give to another person. So if you get time from a friend, near or dear one, feel lucky. In the present world, when so many things are on priority and love,relationships,quality time takes a backseat, you end up in guilt for not being able to give your 100% to a relationship. No wonders, that is the reason why newly wed couples are sent to an exotic location for honeymoon so that they spend time with each other and enjoy the blissful company without interference of the rest of the world. While this is a very well practiced concept throughout the world, the sparks of the relationship starts to disappear within few years of marriage. Not that the love subdues, but it is the lack of time which creates that wedge in relationship. Be it a working couple or one staying at home, the inability to spend quality time with each other  results in fading out the strong bond. Especially the one serving the defence sector, face this every now and then.

Keeping such lifestyle and love deprived situation in mind, what can one think of? Quitting job is not a solution, et al. How can you think of making things happen again? Well, go further and get closer. Take a vacation with your partner and visit a location to get closer to your love again! You ought to cherish those memories life long then. Had I been Sumit (from the video) I would take my partner to a place like London, where serenity meets exotica! A beautiful place where you can enjoy cuisine, culture, great night outs, sight seeing while giving the most precious thing to tour partner- TIME!

Like Chetna, it would be my first journey in air. I long for the moment when we sit arm in arm on flight and look out  of the window. His shoulder is the best place for me to rest my head and forget the world. The comfortable flight journey would be the beginning of the marvellous time we'd have in London together.
It is said that nature brings people closer. Then diving into the clear waters with my partner for a view of the breathtaking underwater life would be a great idea. The moment you feel scared or shaky, your partner would be there to extend his hand and make you feel safe. There is no other feeling like your your partner assuring you that he is with you forever! The feeling which you experience while holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each others ears, somewhere gets lost in the daily city lives where you barely have time for your own self. I want to celebrate love and togetherness with my loved one in London for sure! May be I relive the history in Buckingham Palace and see London from London Eye!

If he surprises me with such an outing, it would be a dream come true. If he does not, then I will surprise him some day. Either ways, I lose nothing :-) I hope he does not read this post, because I want him to choose a destination on his own. You can do that by clicking onthe link- http://bit.ly/1epU8Uj

Nostalgic summer vacation....

May 15th to July 15th was the time I used to wait for when I was in school. That was the summer vacation of my school.2 months freedom and holidays! My young siblings too used to be equally excited about the most awaited freedom of two months! Though the summer temperature in my hometown Dehradun never crossed 35 degrees, we often used to chill out at nearby places around Dehradun.

Sahastradhara, Lachhiwala, Rishikesh, Haridwar are few beautiful popular picnic spots at a few hours distance from Doon. We kids used to plan for the outings excitedly and pack our fancy sunshades, caps, camera, ball, Frisbee and what not. Mom used to make our favourite Rajma or Choley for Lunch, and Dad, on our popular demand used to bring cold drinks crates. The summer heat, the rising temperature, the fatigue, all used to vanish in seconds when we had the rivers in sight! And my happy family used to take a dip in the cool rivers together. Splashing water at each other, trying to learn swimming from my parents, teasing, shouting, trekking in the green valleys, refusing to come out of the waterfalls, capturing the scenic beauty of the valleys in our cameras, longing to stay there for some more time, Parents and Kids behaving alike  …Ah! I wish I could bring back the past. These are the special moments which summer vacations have given me .I can never forget the charm of those places which we used to visit each year and return home with the promise of visiting next year again during summers.
My dad is a businessman. People often think that only businessmen can spare time for their families while servicemen can’t. However I don’t think so. We used to freak out only during weekends and so is the similarity for servicemen..Times have changed, workloads have increased (so has the temperature). I am a working professional myself and I am constrained by time. My brother who is a college going boy now, cribs on his short summer vacations. Dad is also bogged by the increasing workload of his business. Yet, summers are special for us. We still eagerly look forward for an outing in Mussorie or Dhanaulti.

Once in 2007, we missed our train on the day of departure and had to wait on Nizamuddin platform for 6 more hours for the next train. The train journey of 22 long hours from Delhi to Nagpur was extremely tiring, I swear. But my happy family tried to cheer up the environment with songs and jokes while my gadget freak brother made us play  games. I enjoyed the view from the train window. The train leaving behind the farms, rivers, forests, pastures, villages were just mesmerizing. Maasi’s sweet home, my wonderful cousins, the spicy dishes of Nagpur, the lovely picnic places made it a rocking summer vacation.  It was the best summer vacation we had- a lovely reunion with my Maasi’s family after 10 years. My newly wed Bhabhi and I gelled like house on fire. Who can forget the sevpoori and sengdaana chutney. I fell in love with the  Maharashtran dishes. The temples and forts of Nagpur are a never forgetting experience for me. My cousins, maasi, mausaji, mom dad, bro and I celebrated our togetherness with an in-house dance party. Surprisingly I saw my bro dancing for the first time! Pastries, ice-creams, soft drinks(that too neat) chilled the warm night. My cousins used to chit chat with me till late night and showed me the wonderful city of oranges NAGPUR during the day time.

Nagpur remains warm throughout the year, but such a vacation dosen’t happen every day. Anything for such a wonderful reunion and a memorable summer vacation. My first visit to Nagpur will always be close to my heart. Yes, summers still have the charm and I plan to go to Manali very soon. Workload has nothing to do with the much awaited summer vacation and let go all the worries for some time.

Feeling nostalgic now!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why Day Creams? Health Book- Day 130


The secret to a luminous and rejuvenated skin lies in your skin care regimen. The world knows about cleansing, toning and moisturizing. However, many don’t know about the right cream for skin for day and night. Skin care giants encourage women to use creams at different times of the day. The reasons? Let’s analyse why to use day cream -

During the day your skin is exposed to many environmental stressors like dust- pollution, humidity, temperature shifts besides the harmful UVA/UVB rays of the sun. Even when you are indoors, your skin is exposed to UVB
rays.  The UVA rays damage your skin superficially(the dermis) that cause skin burns, tanning or inflammation, while UVB rays are present in the normal light indoors and harm your skin from inside(the epidermis), causing aging or dark spots. Stress, hormonal imbalance, anxiety and other natural snags of human body directly effect your skin. With so much pressure on your body, your skin is the first thing to give away and show signs of aging or wear & tear. Hence a day cream is recommended to shield your skin and protect the skin cells.
Day cream has SPF to protect your skin. Besides this, a day cream has lot of other ingredients that nourish, moisturize, hydrate skin which is absolutely necessary for the skin cells to remain intact and firm. Choose your day cream as per your need, age and skin type.

For those in early 20’s, should opt for a day dream infused with moisturizer, nourishment of Vitamin A, or natural ingredients that keeps collagen intact.

30-40 years of age- Since fines lines of aging start to appear in early 30’s, this is the time when you should choose day creams laden with SPF 15  and more, antioxidants, retinol and alpha hydroxyl acids.

40’s and above- Select a day cream with broad spectrum moisturizer, peptides, retinol to strengthen collagen and control age spots.

Watch out for the content in your day creams, besides selecting the ones according to your skin type. You may have oily, dry, combination or normal skin type. All will fit into the age category while selecting any brand. The market is flooded with numerous brands of day creams. Make a wise choice for your skin.

A day cream is usually light textured so as to allow the skin pores to breathe. The non greasy formula absorbs into your skin easily. Once you apply day cream, you can apply makeup over it. SPF lotion alone is not enough for your skin during the day. 

YEAR HEALTH BOOK, DAY 130. Stay healthy, stay blessed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Avon Naturals Acai & Pear body lotion

Avon Naturals Acai & Pear HBL
I bought Avon's Naturals Sparkling Pear and Acai Juicy Moisture Hand & Body Lotion- 200 ml

I love the natural flavors of Avon Sparkling Pear and Acai Naturals Hand & Body Lotions. Today when the market is flooded with variety of products that claim big on technology and ingredients, Naturals, as a sub brand of Avon is different. I gave it a try because I love natural ingredients and products with less or mild chemicals. Avon Naturals just fits into my requirement.
The Sparkling Pear and Acai flavoured body lotion smells too good. The fragrance is neither strong nor light. The former means less harsh chemicals, which is exactly what I wanted. Too strong a fragrance also causes headache to me at times.

The light texture of the lotion off white in color. The lotion feels light weight and gets easily absorbed onto your skin. Skin does not feel oily or heavy at all. The fragrance does not remain on skin for long, which is okay for me, as long as it moisturizes skin for long. The lotion is soothing and can be used daily on arms and legs. It keeps your skin smooth and nourished. The back panel of the lotion does not show acai as one of the extracts, yet presence of glycerin, mineral oil and pear extract solves the purpose for me. Pear extract is known to lighten skin tone and controls oil on skin.

The packaging is nice. The green label showing acai and pear as ingredients are apt and absolutely give this a natural look. The 200 ml pack is priced at Rs 189 which is economical. Compared with other brands, Avon products are priced less and there are high chances that you buy them at lesser offer prices! Its a fairly priced product.
My skin feels soothed after applying the refreshing HBL. This was a perfect treat for my skin during summers. However, I may not buy this during winters, as skin needs more moisturization and heavy textured HBL.
What I liked-
  • The natural light fragrance
  • Light weight texture
  • Presence of pear extract
  • Gives smooth and moisturized skin
  • Fairly priced
What I missed
  • No SPF
  • Fragrance does not stay long, unlike other brands.
A repeat purchase?
Yes!

Take care of your skin. Stay healthy stay blessed
From my year health book, this is day 135 on May 6th' 14.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Avon Solutions Refined White- Health Book -Day 125

The Skin care manufacturing giants recognized India as a huge potential market for fairness products. Little do people realize that fairness creams DO NOT change complexion. If changing our skin complexion was that easy, the world would have been a “fair” place! The creams only form a layer on the epidermis (the outer surface of skin) with a white tint. (Many a times we see people with whitish tint or a patchy layer on their faces. That’s what fairness creams do).

We can only improve our skin tone or add a glow/brightness. Fairness products should work on the inside of skin cells. Avon claims Solutions refined white works from within the skin cells to impart brightness and clear complexion within 1 week. I took the challenge.
Avon Solutions Refined Day &Night

I was happy about the fact that Solutions does claim to make you fair. I liked the technology that works on the skin and how does a blend of science and nature come together as a miracle. I used Solutions Day cream for more than 1 month and Night Cream for 2 months and saw a remarkable improvement in my skin.

The technology- Dark skin complexion is attributed to presence of melanin inside skin. More the melanin, darker the complexion. (Though more melanin eliminates chances of skin cancer or harm from UV rays).  Solutions Refined White range is infused with Silk Peptide Fiber which is a natural protein fiber made of amino acid. Our skin is rich in amino acids too, so adding the right amount & type of silk to right products can strengthen our skin structure. When silk peptide molecules enter the dermis (inside the skin layers), it makes skin look plumper, younger and rebuilds skin cells. Silk is also a good absorber of moisturizer and delivers moisture, prevents skin dehydration and makes skin silky, smooth.
Solutions Refined White has the right amount of Silk peptide fiber and helps increase skin cell proliferation, ultimately helping to bring fresh, clearer skin cells to the surface and removing excess melanin. This leaves skin looking brighter and lighter with fewer discolorations.

Day Cream- I was apprehensive about using Solutions Refined White day cream, as most of the day creams make skin oily. However, Solutions Refined White proved my inhibitions wrong. Neither did it leave my skin patchy with white tints nor oily. Day cream claims to have a broad-spectrum SPF 20/PA++ that shields skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays. (UVA damages skin superficially causing tanning, while UVB damages skin cells from inside causing skin aging). Day cream if formulated with Vitamin C as a powerful anti-oxidant that counteracts skin-damaging radicals throughout the day. My skin felt smooth and even immediately. I use it daily as a base before applying makeup. I recommend the day cream for everyday use.

Night Cream- Always use night creams that is light on skin and allow your skin to breathe while you sleep. Solutions Refined White Night Cream has a super light texture that feels lightweight on skin. Does not leave skin greasy. Formulated with Silk Peptide Fiber, it inhibits skin darkening. After initial application, my skin felt soft, smooth, radiant and non greasy. Within 2 weeks you find your skin visibly smooth, with less discolorations and improved clarity. What explains better than a compliment (which I got from a colleague on my improved skin tone post using Solutions Night Cream).

Packaging- is good and looks premier. The 50g cylindrical jar with silver lid and pink label is easy to carry into your bag.  The labelling was bit of a turnoff. The day cream jar has text “Day cream SPF20/PA++” which is not visible. The night cream mentions “whitening cream” instead of night cream, which is confusing. You would not be able to differentiate between the two jars unless you catch the text on the label.
Give the right food to your skin, stay healthy, stay blesssed. This is my 125th post of the year on the 125th day of 2014.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hair's next- Day Health Book- Day 124

Troublesome summers brings heat and humidity with it. The worst effected are your hair, which turn sweaty, dirty and dry in the harsh weather. Sharing some useful hair treatment therapies for you so that your tresses shine and breathe free.

-Wash your hair every 3-4 days with mild shampoo if you sweat a lot. Not washing hair will create a breeding ground for lice or dirt to accumulate, causing a foul smell and oily scalp.

-Massage your hair with nourishing oil every week to strengthen the roots and protect them from drying. A hot oil massage is the most recommended. To treat dandruff, mix few drops of lemon juice or camphor in the oil. Wash your scalp with anti dandruff shampoo.

-Before pressing or straightening your hair, apply heat protective gel on hair to prevent burning or drying of your hair. Local parlors don't do this which often causing hair fall and weakening of your tresses.

-Cover your head with scarf or cap before stepping out in the sun. Pollution and sun together cause lot of damage to hair.

-Give a hair spa at home each week. Try these easy and nourishing hair masks at home- 

A) Beat egg white, a cup of milk (if your hairs are dry), a cup of curd (if you have oily scalp), few drops of lemon juice, 2 spoons of oilve oil and mix well. 

Apply to your hair diving your hair into small sections. Leave it on for 15 minutes. Let steam penetrate your masked hair. (Steamers or vaporizers are easily available in the market). Rinse with cold water. Do NOT use warm water to rinse the mask.

Egg conditions your hair really well and adds shine to the dull locks. Milk conditions your dry hair. Curd treats dandruff and oily scalp. For those who do not use eggs can use Amla juice with shikakaai.


B) Banana mask is for those who have dry hair: Mix a table spoon of honey, 2 spoons of coconut oil, 1 spoon of oilve oil and 2 mashed ripe bananas. Make sure the banana is well mashed and smoothed well, leaving no pieces of banana left in the beaten mask.  Leave the mask on for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.

Try the above methods to protect your hair from the harsh summers and let them shine with health! Stay healthy stay blessed!

This is the 124th day of the year and my 134th post from Year Health Book (YHB)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Heat stroke- Health Book- Day 123

With scorching heat and rising temperature each year, the possibility of falling sick doubles up gradually. Children, old people and those who are not used to warm temperature are very prone to heat sickness including heat strokes.

Try remedies at home to beat the heat and keeping heat stroke at bay:

Drink plenty of water

Heatstroke happens when water of our body dries due to excess heat. This leads to failure of body's cooling mechanism. Human body cools off by sweating. When water dies and a person stops sweating, it may cause the person to collapse.

- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink water even if you are not thirsty. Many people don't realize that by  the time they feel thirsty, their body has dehydrated already. Those working in air conditioned rooms, seldom drink water. Drink a minimum of 3 litres of water each day.

-Consume less of carbonated drinks and extremely cold water, as that may cause stomach cramps.

-Its advisable to consume fresh fruit juice instead of artificial flavoured drinks. People loose sodium, potassium and essential salts during summers. So lemonade or shikanji is most recommended to prevent heatstroke.

Prevent heat stroke with lemonade

-Remain indoors during afternoons and peak hours of the day. Chances of getting heat stroke are highest then.

-Protect your head from sunlight. Wrap a scarf, wear a cap or carry an umbrella.

-Summer heat causes fatigue and heat exhaustion. So rest well. Do not indulge in strenuous physical exercises.

-Avoid eating oily or deep fried stuff. Instead, consume fruits with high water content, like watermelons, coconut, musk melon etc.

-Eating raw onions prevents heat stroke too.

Be safe, be hydrated..stay healthy stay blessed!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Innovation with gourd- Health Book: Day 121

When it comes to eating healthy, there are several items that you would never enjoy or find exciting. Bottle gourd is one of the biggest examples in the family of the "most hated vegetables". Lets make healthy eating a part of or daily lives while keeping it interesting at the same time.  Sharing a very easy, healthy recipe which is yummy and unlike the usual boring regular gourd.

I call it Panlo (abbreviation of paneer and loki)- Adding new dimensions of creativity to dishes and the names :-)

Serves-4-5 people

Ingredients-
1/2 kg bottle gourd, 
4-5 medium sized potatoes
200 gms paneer 
2 big size onions
3-4 medium size ripe tomatoes
Turmeric powder, coriander powder- 1 & a half tea spoon
Sesame seeds (jeera), 
Sunflower/refined oil- 2 table spoons

Method- 



1. Peel and chop bottle gourd and potatoes. Dice in any shape you want to. Pressure cook for 7-8 minutes with turmeric and salt. Avoid pressure cooking for a longer duration, as bottle gourd gets pulpy and sloppy only to spoil the dish.

2. While the content boils in pressure cooker, fine chop tomatoes and onions. Mash paneer/cheese and keep aside.


3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed deep pan and bring sesame seeds to crackle.                                                                 
 4. Add chopped onions and sautĂ© till light brown. Add tomatoes and coriander powder. 

5. Keep stirring till tomatoes turn pulpy and start releasing water. Add mashed cheese and salt. Add pressure-cooked gourd and potatoes to the mixture in the pan. Stir the content well. Add water if you like it with gravy. 



The entire process barely takes 15-20 minutes to cook. A yummy healthy dish is ready to be served hot with roti.


Gourd is extremely beneficial for stomach, especially during summers. Cleanses digestive system and keeps it cool at the same time. Cheese adds protein, making this dish perfectly balanced. Relish the dish and stay healthy, stay blessed.