postcards from Goa

SO I've got a big test tomorrow that has me feeling anxious, nauseous, frightened, and about 10 other unpleasant emotions (yay for higher education.) But in an effort to not think about it too much, I temporarily distracted myself with this blogpost.

I've been sitting around with these photos of Goa for a while, which turns out is a good thing cause now I have the material for a quickie post. Perks of procrastination.

If you didn't know, Goa is a small state off the western coast of India, bordering the Arabian sea. It's famous for its beautiful beaches, spice farms, vast jungles, and rich history. We stayed at the Park Hyatt which was one of the most beautiful hotels/ resorts I have ever vacationed at. Random fact-- they had their own mini spice farm and vegetable garden where they grew ingredients used in their own restaurants.

Besides for relaxing at the hotel (their beach + pool were fabulous), we also visited some of the local public beaches and two of Goa's biggest cities, Panjim and Margao, to get a taste of the local culture. Goa is the only Indian state with a Portuguese history, and their influence is very much prevalent in the Goanese architecture and cuisine (the latter of which I admit to not being a fan of.)

It's also the home to numerous churches. Even though I'm not the most devout person, being Hindu and Indian are hand in hand for me. Obviously I am aware that people of all religions exist in India, but it was just a different experience to be in a place in India with much more religious diversity than I was used to. Especially coming from Kolkata where there's a temple or some figure of a deity on every street!

Anyways, here are my snaps from the few days we spent in Goa.

currently craving: internet impulses

I've apparently moved on from being a stress eater, to a stress online shopper. Problems of the 21st century. While I was tempted to stick to the end of summer sales, I've been fully sucked in by the "wear now and later" summer to fall campaigns.

Two items on my radar for the upcoming months are outerwear and necklaces. Ever since the beginning of the summer I've been loving longer hemlines on cardigans, vests, coats, really anything you can layer up with. Naturally a vest works as the ideal transitional piece in this category. Worn with a mini dress now, and with a button down and skinnies later.

And both outfits would go perfectly with the urban outfitters necklace that I've been dreaming of for so long ( go on sale.) Statement necklaces have made a strong comeback. But this time around instead of the heavy jewels and bright colors, it's more about layers of various metallic pieces. Dylanlex necklaces have always been on my impractical wish list, so I'm glad to see more affordable versions on the high street. And for something more subtle, there's always the option of layering daintier necklaces.

currently craving-- august 2014

herb-cheese stuffed squash blossoms

Technically I shouldn't even be blogging right now, cause I have a huge test next week. But since a miracle occurred and I managed to wake up early, I figured I'd treat myself to a whole 15 minutes worth of break time (which is dangerous since anything more than 5 and my attention span disappears.) So here's a recipe I tried out a few weeks ago.

Until recently, I had no idea that zucchini blossoms were found in cuisines outside of India! I had never seen them at the super market or at a restaurant. Since then I decided to try out this Italian recipe which calls for stuffing and battering the blossoms. My mom makes squash blossoms several times a week since it's easy to pick around a dozen of them a day in our little garden. I tried this recipe out to switch things up!

I used this stuffed blossom recipe from bon appetit magazine. Some notes:

  • I used green squash and zucchini blossoms.
  • Make sure you clean your blossoms! Remove the pistil on the inside, and the sepals from the outside (wow, all that plant anatomy crap I learned in HS bio finally has its use.)
  • I replaced 1 tablespoon of fresh mint with 3/4 tablespoon of dried italian herbs.
  • 2 inches of oil is a lot. I cut it down to less than half an inch, about enough to cover half a blossom. 
  • I had no idea where my mom's fancy schmancy cooking thermometer thing was, so I checked my oil the old fashioned way-- sticking the end of a wooden spoon in to see if it started sizzling. If it did, you're good to go!

Altuzarra for target

And here comes another designer collaboration with Target. But I'm not complaining because this is one of my favorite collections to date (although I have some difficulties with the spelling, Altuzarra, Altuzarra, Altuzarra.) My first reaction was that it's so sophisticated and sharp, a vast contrast from the bright and funky prints used in the Peter Pilotto collaboration. I only hope the quality compares cause all the previous campaigns I've seen weren't made of the nicest materials-- as beautiful as they were in the press release photos. So far I would have to say my favorite pieces are the two maxis, the Saint Laurent-esque bow ties, and the skirts with the thigh high slit (currently trending for fall 2014.) Anyone else?

all photos sourced from harper's bazaar

altuzarra-for-target-collection-2014-2 2-altuzarra-for-target-collection-2014

bright red & leopard

Keepin' it simple with a white on white palette. I've never worn the combo much before this year, but now I'm stuck on it. Put on a red lip and comfy printed sneakers since I wasn't feeling the ice queen vibes at that moment.

Considering the cottage cheese legs issue, and the fact that I tend to gravitate towards darker colors, I never thought I would be able to say this, but these white jeans have been a closet favorite ever since I purchased them a few months ago. I'm already thinking of wearing them with my favorite oatmeal colored turtleneck sweater in the colder months. It seems that nudes and light pastels are trending for fall '14, so I'm thinking a blush pink top would be perfect too.

Thanks to my mom for indulging my vanity and taking these photos of me!

jeans: free people, top: forever 21, sneakers: gap (similar by sam edelman, joie, steve madden), bracelets, rings, anklets: bought in India, lipstick: nars

avo mac n'cheese zoodles

An interlude to the deluge of photos from India. To be honest, I'm swamped by the amount I took so I'm just going to put them to the side for now. So onto this post...

Healthy eating and I have one of those on again, off again relationships. It's very unhealthy. I'm sorry but it's too hard to say no to perfectly frosted cupcakes, greasy burgers, or carb laden pastas. But it seems the last one is somewhat avoidable. I was on some food blog a few weeks ago and came across zoodles. Aka zucchini noodles. I figured I'd give it a try because a) as much as I love pasta, it's the sauce that's the good stuff b) we have a ridiculous amount of zucchinis growing in our garden (like at least 7-8 a week.)

I've made this stovetop avocado mac n' cheese recipe a few times, but adjusted it this time around to fit my tastes, as well as to make it a little healthier.

Serves 3-4

2 zucchinis (medium sized)
1 large avocado
1 tablespoon lime juice
3-4 cloves crushed garlic (cause I'm a garlic lover. If you're not, scale back to 1-2)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (optional)
sea salt + pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (+ some) tablespoons flour
1/4 cup (+ some) milk
3/4 cup shredded pepperjack cheese


1) Blend the peeled and pitted avocado in a food processor along with the cilantro, crushed garlic, lime juice, salt, and pepper. If you want an extra kick of spice you can add in some crushed red pepper (1 teaspoon at a time to make sure it isn't too hot.)

2) To prepare the zucchini, use a julienne peeler, or in my case a spiral slicer to get thin and long noodles. I preferred to eat them raw, but you can heat them up on a pan with a little olive oil and salt if you desire.

3) On a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and flour to make a white, pasty mixture. As you're using olive oil and not butter, be wary of not letting the flour burn. If it isn't becoming pasty, add more flour as needed.

4) Whisk in milk to the pan. Continue mixing until smooth. If the paste is too mushy, add in milk as needed.

5) CHEESE! Add it. Blend it till it's nice n' creamy.

6) Pour the avocado sauce onto the zoodles. Mix. Then add the cheese sauce onto the zoodles. Mix.

7) Completely optional step. Usually I would top off my pastas with some freshly shredded cheese. But to take the healthier route I decided to top it with some chopped green peppers (also grown in our garden.) They added a wonderful crunch!

India III: the motherland

Although both my parents lived in Kolkata before moving to the US (& I still have some relatives who currently reside there)-- Agartala is where my family's roots are. It's the tiny, capital city in Tripura, a state in northeastern India. Due to its small size and more relaxed atmosphere, it was a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Kolkata. The house we stayed in was the same house my mother grew up in, although there is a newly built second floor where my cousins, aunt, and uncle live. We were there for a week, and the time was spent hanging out with family, visiting a hundred bagillion temples, and eating tasty foods.

Here are some of my snapshots from the week (more below the break)

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