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    How To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Hotel

    Isolating at home in this time of Coronavirus has gotten some of us fighting cabin fever by now. Having said that, considering oneself to be among the lucky ones for not showing symptoms of anything worse than that, I decided to stay put for a bit longer and instead, make a list of how to make your home feel like a luxury hotel – and make the forced isolation feel just a teeny bit, like a holiday in one of those exotic locations far far away, that is on our bucket list.

    How To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Hotel
    SOFT SHEETS – THESE DAYS MORNINGS ARE FOR LOUNGING IN BED

    …as we remind ourselves of 2 well-known facts. Firstly, that worry has no outcome, and secondly, that we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed. Replacing your bedsheets is the easiest, and most cost-effective way to upgrade your bed to a hotel bed. However, 800 thread count sheets – the kind you sleep on at the best luxury hotels, can be pricey! So catch a sale this summer and wake up with a smile in your home-hotel room, feeling like a million dollars.

    NOTE – while a higher thread count sheet stands for better quality, it’s the thread or fiber quality that matters most. A sheet of a better-quality fiber with a lower thread count will often feel softer and stand up to washing better than a sheet made from a lower-quality fiber with a higher thread count. Make sense?

    BLACK-OUT CURTAINS

    One would be hard put to figure out how to make your home feel like a luxury hotel if your bedroom windows are so bare that the very first rays of the sun hit you straight in the eye even as you are trying to decode that happy early morning dream as you wake up. If you wouldn’t pay for a hotel room that robs you of precious sleep, why put up with it at home? Am I right?

    How To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Hotel
    OH SO FLUFFY TOWELS!! FOR A HEAD-TO-TOE PAMPERED FEELING.

    One of the easiest tips on how to make your home feel like a luxury hotel is by switching to softer towels. Shopping for towels is best done by feeling and touching but when that does not seem possible in the short run. Nevertheless, let us talk about something called a ‘gram count’. The density of a bath towel is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). This number varies between 300-900. A 300-400 gram towel is thinner and lighter and is quick-drying – so this is best suited for a gym towel or a kitchen towel. A 400-600 GSM is a medium-weight towel – that works great as a beach towel or an everyday bath towel. A 600-900 GSM is dense and absorbent, making it score high on the “fluff” scale but it requires a bit more drying time. Be sure to pick one that strikes a good balance between thick and absorbent, yet light enough to be quick-drying.

    Egyptian and Turkish towels – Everyday towels are often made of standard cotton. Choose Turkish cotton if you prefer a thick, luxurious feel. They also become softer and fluffier with every wash. To keep your towels soft and fluffy, avoid using fabric softeners when washing. For a true Hotel look and feel, choose white towels, which look timeless and work with any style or color scheme. Stack your towels in an open-weave basket or tray for a spa-like bathroom experience.

    GOOD LIGHTING.

    Staring into that blue computer screen is murder on your eyes. Your home-hotel needs good task lighting (a) at your desk…

    How To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Hotel

    …and (b) mood lighting for relaxing in the intimate areas of your home such as bedrooms. Keep in mind, for reading or working in bed the light source should be above and behind you for minimum eye strain.

    How To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Hotel
    A STURDY AND COMFORTABLE DESK CHAIR

    Working from home on a regular basis as we are forced to, for some time now, you deserve more than a makeshift chair at the kitchen table. On top of everything else you are dealing with, you don’t have to be cramping from sitting on an uncomfortable chair for 12 hours every day. Pick one that looks as good as it feels nice and say goodbye to being a clock-watcher waiting for quitting time, even for a day!

    PLAIN WHITE OR BLUE-AND-WHITE CHINA.

    When it comes to lifting your mood, the aroma of a wholesome home-cooked meal served on a set of pristine white platters, bowls, and plates soothes one’s soul like little else. What about you?

    While blue and white dishes remind one of a very nice (but unpretentious) hotel in Bloomsbury where both the food they serve as well as the plates they serve it in, are simply ……Yummy! Stay safe, all!!

    How To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Hotel

    Resource Guide – Hotel Room With a View pic courtesy Brisbane Marriott Hotel, White Towels pic courtesy The Turkish Towel Collection, Colorful Towels pic courtesy Designer Living, Task Lighting pic courtesy New York Times, Bedroom Wall Sconces pic courtesy YLighting, Home Office pic courtesy Wall Street Journal, White Dinnerware pic courtesy Costco

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    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    Staying home this week – trying to remain busy, positive, calm and optimistic – decided to start working on my new Fashion blog. This is my 14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings – the first of a series titled Wallet-Friendly Fashions.

    There are a lot of places that offer great affordable choices for fashionistas in their 20 and even 30s. But when it comes to timeless affordable fashion trends for the woman in her 40s, the landscape gets a tad bleaker.

    If you’re a style-informed fashionista over 40 or 50, these are some must-haves to add to your closet as go-to items year-round (keeping fingers crossed that we will be stepping outside real soon).

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    How many of these must-haves do you already have in your closet? FYI, from time to time, I may receive a small commission for items purchased.

    The Pencil Skirt

    This one is a personal fave in my closet.

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    I wear my pencil skirts in multiple colors to work three to four times a week – as some of my design clients and friends will attest to 🙂 It is a timeless and stylish women’s fashion staple. Check out the skirt on SALE at Boden USA (they have a 90-day return policy – but not on sale items).

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    A pencil skirt is timeless, elegant and comfortable to work in – except when I’m on a Design project that needs me to climb up a ladder to measure floor-to-ceiling French Doors for custom window treatments.

    The Not-So-Tank Top

    I feel tank tops and 40 somethings don’t mix well. My version is a not-so-tank with a silk lining, which is still fashionable and fun to wear (and yet not quite as unforgiving as a fitted tank top with spaghetti straps) like the one below, in black silk embellished with a hint of lace, for evening wear…

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    ….or for daytime, choose a well-cut tank with wide straps like the one from Anthropologie currently on SALE!!

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    The A-Line Midi Dress

    A staple on my list of 14 fashion must-haves for 40 somethings for whatever one might find on the to-do list on any given day – whether it be running errands by yourself, brunch with friends or out on a first date. Shop Modcloth for this Midi dress on SALE now….!!

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    The Black Work (Or Play) Suit

    This is a wardrobe essential that you can throw in the suitcase to take on out of town trips for business or pleasure – to be mixed and matched with separates. Shop Frank & Oak‘s Transit Packable blazer and Grant Tapered pull-on Pants that wear well with travel over multiple days and nights.

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    I bought my black pantsuit a long time ago at Talbots. It has stayed with me through one childbirth, a divorce and multiple moves and I dare say, has aged well!! I still swear by it. From time to time I have paired it with a black and white silk top for a classic look, worn the jacket with blue jeans and pink linen blouse for a casual weekend look and opted for a fun and flirty short skirt over a black top for a grown-up play date. Black pants make getting dressed for work a breeze as you only have to think about the top – be it a white pussy-bow blouse or abstract floral pattern peasant blouse or sleeveless geometric top.

    The Leopard Print – In Small Doses

    No list of 14 fashion must-haves for 40 somethings would be complete without this one. However, note to self – leopard print is only good in small doses (I learned that from trial and error over the years) like a leopard print bag or stiletto sandals….

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    …or a short animal print jacket (this one from Zaful is 56% off), that looks straight out of Mrs Maisel’s closet..!

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    The Trench Coat

    A wardrobe staple of Parisian women inside and outside of the glossy pages of fashion magazines everywhere, this a must-have for anyone who speaks these three French words – “tout le monde”…! The Trench Coat is one fierce fashion choice that will instantly upgrade your closet to that of a 40-something global fashion icon before you can say “touché”…! Shop Banana Republic for a classic trench similar to the one below…

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    …or go to La Redoute (they now ship to the US and accept returns for $5) for this statement-making vintage-looking brick-red number from that you can sweep up for a 50% OFF SALE !

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    Mine is a cotton creation in a black and white houndstooth that is less fierce and more casual but still elegant at the same time. I left it with my niece, the 20 something fashionista. Oh well!

    Booties

    Another basic item that will nicely finish your wardrobe – in winter, fall or spring. Zappos has long been my go-to for affordable women’s shoes for booties that look like one pictured below.

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    As well as DSW – because it fulfills my three requirements for women’s shoes – affordable, comfortable and fashionable.

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    The Houndstooth

    The houndstooth is my staple for women’s clothing options that are bold yet sophisticated and every-day at the same time – creating an interesting texture, it is a must-have for the fashion-forward 40-50 something woman.

    Cropped Pants

    Stretched Capris or cropped Pants combine the comfort of leggings with the looks of work attire. It transitions from work to lunch to back at home.

    I feel like the moment when the humble stretched pants received the seal of approval to enter into the world of work attire, needs to be celebrated by hard-working women that want all-day comfort in an outfit that at the same time makes them look well put together.

    The Big Little Black Dress.

    Wear a different black dress every day. It was Designer Bobi Leonard who put that fun idea of a-black-for-every-day-of-the-week work dress code in my head. It works!

    I have worn a not so little (calf-length midi) black dress – to work with a mossy green bomber jacket over it, then thrown a washed gold cashmere shawl on top, switching to gold H&M sandals for an evening out.

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    Accessorize with a multi-colored glam necklace – like the orange and brown bead necklace that I picked up on a trip to Goa, or the gun-metal choker my friend Meenu bought me in New Delhi. A chunky necklace is my go-to for accessorizing whether I’m getting dressed for work – or for a social event.

    Red Shoes

    A must must-have, whether you plan to “dance away the blues” or plan on heading out to work in, paired with a white button-down shirt and basic black leggings and/or capri pants. If you’re looking for a sexy pair of shoes to wear with your white wide-leg pants at work or for date nights – this is it. I have three pairs of reds. One pair of knee-high boots, a pair of booties and the third, a sexy, strappy number for going out – when I don’t have to be on my feet for long – each one really affordable!!

    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings

    I found the red boots at a store on Melrose Avenue that was going out of business – and had a 75% OFF sale. The booties I bought at Sheik Shoes and the strappy sandals that look like the one pictured above, came from a Nordstrom half-yearly sale!! Affordable fashion…yay!

    This one above is good for going casual in, all through the spring and summer months.

    The Not-So-Basic Black Bag

    A decent-sized everyday bag in black goes a long way to round up your wardrobe.

    I swear by my patent leather black bag, It is roomy enough for everything I need with me at work, like cellphone keys, etc., etc., as well as handy for when I’m out and about running errands.

    ….and I have a smaller cross-body style one with a long strap – once again in black patent leather – for partying.

    The Wide-Leg Pants

    Okay, enough with the black! It’s time to add some joy to your closet with a pair of semi-casual wide-leg pants either in blue denim for every day on the go or an eye-catching, brightly colored pair for the office or afternoon shopping or just for hanging out. I found these Mustard Yellow Banana Republic pants on SALE !!

    I love my wide-leg pants – in beige and tan – and plan on getting a pair in white to step out in, come summer – hope and payers and fingers crossed !!

    The White Button-Down Shirt

    This one works really hard to make you look fabulous both at work – tucked into a pair of wide-leg black and white striped pants or worn with an amply cut pencil skirt in a rich port color or over plaid gray skinny pants – and at play – paired with a casual pink and white box-pleated skirt or beige satin pleated spring skirt ….

    It also makes for a great date-night fashion option when worn over a pair of faux leather black leggings a pair of strappy red high heels and a chunky red necklace….!!

    Hope you enjoy experimenting with sartorial suggestions for my 14 fashion must-haves for 40 somethings….!!

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    Spicy Kale and Eggs

    This recipe for Spicy Kale and Eggs has been tried and tested in my kitchen several times before being passed on to family members all of whom vouch for its health benefits as well as taste. Eggs gently simmered to perfection on a bed of winter kale braised with garlic, green onions and lemon juice – courtesy Williams Sonoma. Sometimes I add chopped onions and sauteed potatoes.

    Ingredients:
    • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
    • 4 green onions, white and light green portions, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 bunches kale, tough stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
    • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
    • Salt to taste
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
    • 4 eggs
    • Red pepper flakes, to taste

    Spicy Kale and Eggs recipe
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk

    Directions:
    In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add half of the kale and sauté, stirring frequently until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining kale and repeat. Add the broth, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the kale softens, about 6 minutes.

    Spicy Kale and Eggs recipe
    http://williams-sonoma.com

    Using the back of a spoon, create a pocket for each egg in the kale. Crack 1 egg into each pocket. Reduce the heat to medium-low and season the eggs with salt and black pepper. Cover the pan and let the eggs cook until almost opaque, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the eggs rest, covered, until done to your taste. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and serve immediately. Serves 4. Hope you enjoy my Spicy Kale and Eggs recipe.

    Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

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    Caramelized Honey Bananas

    When we were kids and hated all kinds of fruit, my mother had a recipe that she would make from bananas that were about to go soft. She would pan fry them with a bit of salt. Growing up, I loved bananas in all shapes and sizes and this snack was one of my favorites even though my siblings classified it as “weird” food! This recipe for Caramelized Honey Bananas was inspired by my mother.

    for Caramelized Honey Bananas

    http://fifteenspatulas.com

    I have adapted my Mum’s Fried Banana recipe which looked a bit like this…

    for Caramelized Honey Bananas

    mexicanfoodjournal.com

    …….adding just a little extra bit of sweetness to it.

    This is my banana recipe. The whole process takes literally 10 minutes and is the perfect tasty healthy snack that you can rustle up at a moment’s notice with ingredients that you have lying around at home…!

    Ingredients
    • 2 ripe bananas
    • 1 tbsp oil or butter*
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
    • A pinch of salt

    for Caramelized Honey Bananas

    onelittleproject.com

    Peel and slice up some ripe bananas, as though you were going to add them to your cereal bowl – about 1/2″ thick rounds. Make sure the bananas are not soft or mushy and have no dark spots on the skin.

    Take a non-stick skillet.
    Put it on medium-high heat.
    Add honey, oil or butter, cinnamon, and salt.
    Mix everything in and heat for a little bit, then add the banana slices.
    Turn the bananas over to cook for a few minutes on each side until they become deeply caramelized and sticky.
    I like to serve my honey bananas for breakfast alongside savory French toast. A combo of contrasting flavors and textures on a single plate. YUM….!

    You can serve Caramelized Honey Bananas piled on top of Pancakes for breakfast, grab up a Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich for Lunch …..

    allrecipes.com

    http://coconutsandkettlebells.com

    …..or serve it as a dessert with Vanilla Ice Cream.

    Click here for more of my family recipes from my mom’s diary.

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    8 Easy Ways To Makeover An Ugly Apartment Or Cookie Cutter Condo Right Now!

    If you ask me, Los Angeles can very well win an Oscar nomination for awkward apartments, cookie-cutter condos and tasteless townhouses. The 70s and 80s all but wiped out all the quaint Country Cottages, Spanish Style Bungalows, Mid Century Modern Architectural homes from the two decades prior, replacing them with generic housing, low in aesthetics and high in rent – invoking a quintessential LA understanding of the term “affordable”. Nonetheless, the teeming masses that move to this land of beautiful people and not so beautiful houses, need more than a place to rest their head. They need shelter from the storm in this city of hopes and dreams.….and so we try to decorate and personalize these soulless boxes to reflect our tastes. With that in mind, I have compiled 8 easy ways to makeover an ugly apartment or cookie-cutter condo tight now – without waiting to upgrade!

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