Monday, February 27, 2017

Ways to Brighten Your Home this Spring

Spring is in the air and it is time to rid those winter goodies of your house. Start this gorgeous season on the right foot by brightening your home, using these ideas!


1. DUST OUT YOUR HOME FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
Open up all the windows and begin dusting from top to bottom. That means everything! Dust all your kitchen cabinets, ceiling fans, door frames, AC etc. Move to other items like tables and chairs, decorative pieces etc and clean them properly.


Additional Tip:  Remove all the curtains, give them a proper wash, change if it is necessary and dust the rods.

2. START ADDING A FEW NEW THINGS
Buy new bedspreads in complimentary colours. Check your plants and make new additions. Choose new home decor items. Be sure to choose designs that you feel best reflect the sunny spring mood that you’re in.


3. NOTHING LIKE A NEW LAMP TO BRING OUT THE SPARKLE
Try to add beautiful floor lamps in your bedroom. If you already own few, try to change their shade, think for some DIY project to change their colour or pattern. Pick the trick that best fits your mood.


4. POTPOURRI ESSENTIALS FOR RELAXATION
Use candles and potpourri that have light and airy fragrances – no need to overwhelm your senses with strong scents. Go for lavender or lemon as both the scents remind the open meadow and spring air.


Additional Tip: Simmer cinnamon sticks, orange peels or cloves in hot water to freshen up the rooms and get rid of odours.

5. ADD FLOWERS
Add fresh flowers in your home decor. Fill assorted vases or recycled jars and bottles with water and variety of flowers for instant brightness.


6. FILL YOUR HOME WITH MUSIC…
...Turn on your CD player and let the melodious music fill your home and your senses! Try to find out new trends but make sure to play some old hits!


Add pretty spring flair to your home with vast ideas choose any thing centerpieces, table settings or door decorations to start with and feel the difference!


Thank you for reading :) my post! Those who are still here.. Let me share a Spring Potpourri Recipe with you.

Making a DIY Potpourri is quite easy and can be personalized with any scents that you love. Toss in herbs or sliced citrus for filler, and the potpourri can be refreshed over and over again with your favorite scent.

What You Need:

Flowers
Sheet pan
Parchment paper (one may use aluminium foil too)
Scissors
Essential oils
Spray bottle
Citrus fruits (optional)
Fresh herbs (optional)
Whole spices (optional)
Directions:

1. Gather your flowers to use for making the potpourri. Any kind of flower will work, especially ones that already have strong scents, such as roses. Flowers with small, individual petals work great, or whole heads can be used too. Preheat your oven to 200˚F.

2. Cover a sheet tray with parchment paper. Cut the flowers from the stems right below the heads and place them on the tray, or remove individual petals and place in a single layer.


3. To add scent to your potpourri, cut and add thin slices of citrus fruits, or tuck in springs of rosemary, lavender, or thyme to the mix. You can also add whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, which are both pretty and wonderfully scented.

4. Add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil to one tablespoon of water in a small spray bottle, and spritz the potpourri ingredients. Then pop the potpourri into your oven.

5. Dry in the oven for at least two hours, or until the flowers are brittle but not burnt. When the potpourri is ready, remove from oven and give another spritz of essential oil.

6. Once it's room temperature, gently mix the potpourri and place it in a bowl. To refresh the scent, simply spritz with the oil mixture.

Mugdha

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

'My' Favorite Android Apps (2017)

There are millions of Android apps that we can download from Google's Play store, that's too for free! When we have these many choices it's understandable that one might feel a bit rudderless. Picking out favorites also difficult and depends person to person.

Here I've listed the best 20 apps for Android users (Especially for Indians) that are sorted in social, personal use, entertainment, fitness and other categories. One more thing. I am not saying that you should download every one of these – it's just a  list of apps that sounds appealing to me!


1. Paytm 

Paytm started out with mobile recharges, DTH plans, and bill payments, and then launched an e-commerce marketplace in 2014. Its wallet partners include Uber, Bookmyshow, and Makemytrip, along with others in categories such as shopping, travel, entertainment, and food.

2. Clean Master

Keep that 'clean install' feeling


Nobody likes having a slow device, and Android somehow manages to grab digital detritus like a magnet in a junkyard. Clean Master is the mop and bucket that you need to scrub your phone clean.
Clean Master’s Junk File Cleaning feature scans your Android device and chucks out any unwanted cache and residual files. 

3. Prisma 

Make your selfies into art

It make your photographs into strange modern art. It's  quite complex, but the bottom line is it gets weird and wonderful results. So go download it and give it a try.

4. WhatsApp 

The world's most popular messaging apps says goodbye to SMS charges


Finally updated with a new interface, WhatsApp is the instant messenger of choice for any smartphone. Make voice calls or send video clips, pictures, audio or text messages. It’s everything you need to replace tired old SMS and MMS services.

5. Skype

Free calls around the world without fuss

Microsoft-owned Skype has been letting you chat for free over the internet on various different platforms. The newly updated Android and iOS apps now include video group calling. This means you can chat to up to 25 friends or family members at once, each with their own onscreen video box (presumably quite small).

6. Fleksy

This keyboard is one of the best for fast, accurate typing and it’s our new company favorite. Many of us have adopted Fleksy because it’s big, it’s clever and once you use it for a couple of hours, you realize how useful some of the smaller details are.


For example, most keyboards use a "press and hold delete key" gesture to delete words, Fleksy uses a super-quick backward swipe. Be sure check out some of the extensions like invisible keyboard too — it works surprisingly well. Download it from the Play Store for free now.

7. NDTV on android

This small app brings you all stories, videos from NDTV India, so you can always be updated with current happenings from India, on the move. The things which I like in this apps is, you can also able to become iWitness and report for NDTV.

8. Calorie Counter - MyFitness Pal

Count the calories, and the weight just falls off


Of course, running and exercise is only half the battle if you're looking to lose weight, and My Fitness Pal covers the rest. Simply search for the food as you eat it (or scan the barcode if you're eating out), and My Fitness Pal will do the rest, giving you a full summary of how much you're eating, and how quickly you can expect the pounds to drop.

There are some paid options in there, including additional dietary plans for those who really want to take control, but the free option will be enough for the majority of people. 

9. Uber 

Modernizing the taxi experience

Controversies aside, Uber is indispensable for anyone living in a big city, where hailing a black cab could be a quick way to bankruptcy. Uber can get you a ride anywhere within minutes of making a request. There are also five tiers of vehicles to hire, so you can travel like royalty if you so wish.

10. Twilight

Rest your tired eyes by lowering the blue lights


The research is pretty clear: exposure to screens late at night can disrupt your sleep, leaving you weaker the next day. The simple solution is to stop using phones and tablets before bed, but that's easier said than done, and that's where Twilight comes in.

Functioning in a similar way to Flux for desktops, Twilight adapts the colouring of the screen to fade out the blue lights as the sun sets and you get nearer to bed time, tinting everything in a soft red glow when it really matters. It takes a little getting used to at first, but if it helps you get better quality sleep then it's well worth taking the time to adapt. 

11. Clash of Clans


Clash of Clans has taken the world by storm. You know when a clash is going to go down against a rival clan, so you and your buddies can form up and build a solid defence while also forming a powerful offence. It's tactics, management and a way to keep in touch with friends or make new ones in stranger-filled clans.

12. YouTube

YouTube is the largest video streaming site, is one of the best movie streaming app as well. You can easily find a good collection of movies on Youtube.

YouTube has the best video streaming technologies which lets you to stream movies very smoothly even when you are on a slow internet connection. On android devices YouTube comes as pre-installed.

13. Snapseed


I was introduced to Snapseed by fellow blogger and I’m so glad I found it because it makes it super simple to turn your photos into pro-looking snapshots. The way they have it laid out and organized settings and adjustments is quite handy.

14. Facebook 

Well I don’t really use this “official” Facebook app. It was pre installed on my phone. I occasionally view, comment, and like friends’ Facebook posts.

15. Instagram


Instagram is ubiquitous in photography now, so you might as well have it on your phone. Owned by Facebook, the social network centered on photos offers great filters and connectivity with others.

16. Twitter

Twitter’s microblogging platform brought about the happenings, internet facet and hashtags. Connect with you friends, share your new favorite content, follow celebrities, and get breaking news as it happens.

17. Pinterest


Pinterest is the go-to social network for finding and sharing inspiration on creative projects, hobbies, fashion, and more. The app features the same functionality as the website, allowing you to “pin” and “repin” posts from other users to various boards, so you can share and save new ideas.

18. Zomato

You can set your location, the type of food you want, and your budget to find suitable local restaurants. There’s also a handy shake feature to get a random suggestion if you just can’t decide.

19. VSCO Camera


VSCO Camera has become one of the most popular photography apps, thanks in part to its powerful editing features that include impressive present lens settings, post-shot tweaks, and before-and-after comparison shots.

20. Myntra

India's largest online fashion & lifestyle store is now in your hand. Myntra shopping app has all that you need to stand out and make a style statement. You can browse through 1,00,000+ product styles from 1000+ brands instantly on the Myntra shopping app. Discover latest trends on lifestyle and shop for clothes, kurtis, shoes, t-shirts, jeans, bags, skirts, dresses, jewellery, watches and much more. 

So, these are my favorite apps that helps me go while I am free during work hours or travelling. If I have to pic top three apps that entertain me the most then I will go for - Instagram, Myntra and Clash of Clan! 

If you have any good Android apps that you enjoy using or that have made your life easier, post them below!

Thank you for reading

Mugdha 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Superfoods Recipes (Inspired by World's Cuisines)

When I hear ‘superfood’, I immediately think ‘chocolate’. Simply because it is super. To my surprise, I found that dark chocolate is a superfood due to its high antioxidant levels. It’s also high in flavonoids, substances that have been shown to improve blood flow, suppress coughs, improve memory, and keep one hydrated, smooth skin etc etc.


There are differences of opinion about the term ‘superfood’, and the list of superfoods can get wild, wacky and arguably unrealistic. So in the interests of being balanced, let’s say that superfoods are, broadly speaking, foods with high nutritional value that contribute significantly to your well being. 

Here is a list of just some of the superfoods, to give you a rough idea: Avacado, Beans, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cinnamon, Figs, Flax Seed, Miso, Oats, Oranges, Oregano, Pumpkin, Quinoa, Salmon, Sardines, Soya, Spinach, Tea (green or black), Tomatoes, Turkey, Walnuts and Yoghurt.


Palak Paneer
All credit goes to Popeye, the sailor who made it tempting to eat spinach! Kids voluntarily ate spinach because they wanted to be as strong as him. Mothers were certainly not complaining!

North Indians have used spinach for years in a traditional vegetarian dish called Palak Paneer, which consists of fresh spinach and ricotta or Indian farmer’s cheese cubes in a thick, smooth and creamy curry. This dish is served with basmati rice, naan or roti. 

Ingredients
  • 3 bunches of fresh spinach
  • 200g of Paneer (Ricotta or Indian farmer’s cheese) cut up into small cubes
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 6-7 tbsp of oil
  • 1 piece of medium sized ginger, minced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala (curry powder)
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Red chilli powder – to taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • 6 tbsp whipping cream or yogurt


Method
1. Fry cubes of paneer in 2-4 tbsp of oil until they reach golden brown in colour.
2. Chop the spinach into smaller pieces and steam it in a large container with plenty of water for 5-7 minutes. Strain off the water and blend the spinach with a spatula.
3. Heat about 3 tbsp of oil on medium flame and add onions, ginger and garlic and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes.
4. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, red chilli and salt. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to look dark brownish.
5. Add in the mashed spinach and mix well. Wait 2-3 minutes and add an appropriate amount of whipping cream to achieve the desired consistency of the curry.
6. Cook for 4-5 minutes and add the fried paneer cubes.
7. Mix well and serve hot!

Cabbage And Broccoli Soup
Healthy option which gives instant energy to the body. Not only is it super easy to make, it is rich in nutrients too!

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Avocado finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium cabbage washed and chopped
  • 300g purple sprouting broccoli (or green broccoli)
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • pinch salt
  • plenty black pepper to season


Method
1. Heat the butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes
3. Add the celery and carrots and sweat for a few minutes
4. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently as it wilts down
5. Add the chopped broccoli stirring in with the other vegetables and continue sweating all the vegetables for a few more minutes.
6. Make avocados puree using an immersion blender until smooth and add to the soup
7. Add the stock and bring to the boil then add the mixed herbs and salt
8. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft
9. Liquidise and return to the pan. Adjust seasoning to taste

Blueberry and Raspberry Cake
A moist, fruity, tangy cake with a superfood contained.

Ingredients
  • 225g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 limes, grated zest and juice
  • 250g self-raising flour, sifted with a pinch of salt, plus extra flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 100g of blueberries and 100g raspberries
  • For the syrup
  • 8 tbsp lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 140g golden caster sugar 


Method
1. Heat the oven to 180°c. Line the base and sides of a 20cm/8in square cake tin (not loose-based) with greaseproof paper and butter the paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour towards the end to prevent curdling. Beat in the lime zest, then fold in the flour and almonds. Fold in about 3 tablespoons of the lime juice so you have a good dropping consistency (the mixture should drop easily from the spoon when tapped). Gently fold in three quarters of the blueberries and raspberries and turn into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface, then scatter the remaining fruit on top – it will sink as the cake rises.
3. Bake for about 1 hour (cover with foil if it starts to brown too much), or until firm in the centre. A skewer pushed into the centre should be clean when removed.
4. While it bakes make the syrup – Put the lime juice, zest and sugar in a small saucepan over a gentle heat and stir, without allowing it to bubble. The sugar should dissolve a little. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer then spoon the syrup over it and leave it to cool completely before wrapping in paper and/or foil.

Herb Salad with Figs and Walnuts
Use whole herb leaves to add bursts of flavor to this salad. If you can find good fresh figs, use them here in place of dried ones.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces dried Black Mission figs, thinly sliced (2/3 cup)
  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1 ounce fresh cheese, shaved


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden, about 10 minutes; let cool, then coarsely chop.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the figs, greens, parsley, mint, dill, chives, cheese and walnuts and toss gently. Serve right away.

Green Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is a grain which, unlike wheat or rice, is a complete protein containing all 8 essential amino acids. It has been recognised by the United Nations as a “super crop” for its health benefits – packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest. 

Ingredients
  • 50g quinoa
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 100g frozen edamame (soy) beans
  • 100g frozen peas
  • ½ small bunch mint, chopped
  • ½ small bunch parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cucumber, diced
  • Olive oil



Method
1. Cook the quinoa by following pack instructions, drain and rinse under cold water, then drain completely.
2. Put the onion and avocado in a bowl with the lemon juice and cumin. Season with salt. Blanch the edamame and peas for 2 minutes, drain and rinse.
3.Add to the bowl. Tip in the rest of the ingredients with the quinoa. Toss everything together.

Nutritionists also recommend a healthy diet incorporating a variety of superfoods and say it will help you maintain your weight and fight disease.

Hope you all like the post and use more superfoods in your everyday diet. Thanks for reading!

Mugdha

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Why don’t you….

A start in the form of just one small step can take you further than you might have dreamed. No matter if we’re talking careers, relationships, a habit or an actual journey somewhere in the world. If you’re on the path to a major life change, or trying to figure out your passion, then a little inspiration can go a long way. Sharing few ideas and inspirational thoughts with you all..


Why don’t you….

Start taking the stairs instead of the lift? Your body will thank you for it!

Close your eyes and focus on your breath for a few minutes every day? This will help to relieve stress and focus your concentration!


Use unrefined sugar in your tea? It is a bit healthier, and tastes great too!

Why don’t you…

Say “thank you” to a loved one today for the little things they do? It will make both of you feel good and improve the relationship!


Do something nice just for yourself today! A few minutes in the park, having a nice cup of coffee with a friend, or having a haircut. Little things that help you feel special!

Make a list of all the things you are truly grateful for. You will notice how good you will feel!


Learn something about the Earth today? Learning keeps the mind alive!

Why don’t you….

Buy a week-view diary? This helps you see the gaps of free time so you can plan!


Try a crossword puzzle or word game? It will stimulate your brain power!


Share a skill you have with a friend or loved one?
.
.
.
.
Why don’t you….
Quit Quitting and Just Try


Thank you for reading it. I hope you all have a wonderful year ahead!


Mugdha 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter Skin Care

The colder months of the year are just begun and they are proved to be the harshest on our skin. In winter we often face multiple skin problems including patchy skin, dry and dull skin, roughness and even shreds.

Let’s talk about some tips on how to take care of your skin in the cold weather. These skin care codes are perfect and pocket friendly.

•Tip number one, no matter how much you hate water in winters, continue to cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin as you do any other time of the year. 


•Change your moisturizer; your summer cream should be different to your winter cream. Ideally, use something with Vitamin C and more hydration. (Note: Remember, a thicker cream does not mean more hydration! And if your skin is oily, too much cream in any season will give you hard time.)


•Continue to wear SPF (sun protection factor) in the colder months; it’s a year-round endeavor. Although it doesn’t have to be high, look for SPF 10 – 15.

•Don’t use harsh exfoliants. They don’t refresh your skin but actually damage your natural protective barrier. Use enzyme-based exfoliants which are gentler or opt for less gritty ones.


•Taking some oral supplements for skin can be an option. Although consider your physician and look out if you have any allergies. Omegas, multivitamins and vitamin C are some universal supplements.

•Eat healthily. In the winter, we tend to go for a floppy diet as being cold and indoors most of the time makes us wants to eat more, mostly unhealthy stuff. Try to have a healthier diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Soups are great for winter months.


•Water is good for your overall health. Drink suffient water in winters too as water helps in detoxification and keeps the skin younger.


•Use natural ingredients to hydrate your skin. Homemade masks provide needed moisture in the winter months. Use ingredients like honey, avocado, yogurt, almond oil, bananas, and aloe. Create a paste, and leave on skin for 10-30 minutes for lasting hydration. (Note: Allergy checks necessary). 


This will prepare you to put your skin barriers up for the winter! Comment below if you want a detail list of masks that I use in winters. Enjoy the season :) 

Mugdha