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December 2019

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December- the last month of the year is filled with nostalgia and memories. Nostalgia because as a whole year ends, we all have a flashback in our minds about the failures and achievements, gains and losses, etc. Memories because this month gives us two most cheerful occasions- Christmas & New Year and thus many get-together moments with loved ones happen leading to creating many everlasting memories.

Christmas & New Year are only 6 days apart and thus with the arrival of December, you must be busy making plans to buy various things as a token of your love & respect for your near and dear ones.

The list of Christmas & New Year gift ideas below may help you:

Fragrant Candles:
Fragrant Candles
Image Source – Google

You can never go wrong with a set of 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 fragrant candles. Candles symbolize hope, the light of life, and positivity. It is one of the best-selling Christmas & New Year gifts. Fragrant candles lighten up the mood, enhance good thoughts, and release stress and that’s why they are well-appreciated gifts. Plus, candles also impart a cozy home décor. Go for orange, lavender, or cinnamon-scented candles.

Box of Exotic Chocolates:
Box of Exotic Chocolates
Image Source – Google

A box of exotic chocolates is something that will be loved both by kids and adults. Find the ones with interesting shapes of hearts, stars, or Santa and impress your loved ones. Chocolates will increase love and sweetness in your relationships too.

Car Blanket:
Car Blanket
Image Source – Google

This is a thoughtful gift idea for those who have to drive a lot. Be it early morning or late night, this heated car blanket will keep the driver warm and cozy thus driving won’t be a punishment at all. They can be easily plugged into any car and until one unplugs it – it will remain warm.

Champagne Glasses:
Champagne Glasses:
Image Source – Google

As said earlier December is the time when people love to party more. Both Christmas & New Year refers to never-ending parties and that’s why a beautiful, sleek, and elegant set of champagne glasses will be a perfect choice of gift. You can buy them online and choose a personalized set.

Colorful Coasters:
Colorful Coasters
Image Source – Google

Colorful hand-painted coasters will be another meaningful gift. When friends and relatives come home to meet and greet that means there will be coffee/tea along with other savories too. This is when these coasters can be put to use which will impress the guests too. Anyone will appreciate this much thought about the gift.

Plants:
Plants
Image Source – Google

With every passing day, the need for plants is growing and thus these green friends would be the noblest gifts. Go for low-maintenance plants like Aloe Vera, Peace Lily, Spider plant, Snake plant, etc. These plants will help people to breathe fresh air, curb indoor air pollution, and provide a better atmosphere for those with breathing problems.

Woolen Wears:
Woolen Wears
Image Source – Google

Winter is the time for bringing out the heavy woolen sweaters, shawls, and pullovers. Opt for bright and funky woolen wears for your friends and relatives and win their hearts.

Funky Jacket:
Funky Jacket
Image Source – Google

You can opt for funky jackets with quirky messages printed on them. Those bright-colored jackets would also be great choices. Various TV shows or movie poster inspired jackets are also available and you can buy them too for your loved ones.

Body Butter:
Body Butter
Image Source – Google

Body butter or lotions or creams are the “must-have” things for the winter season. Go for herbal ones and make a hamper out of them to greet your near and dear ones.

Winter Special Recipe Book:
Winter Special Recipe Book
Image Source – Google

Winter is a great time to cook and eat. A winter special recipe book would be of great help to the ones who are new to cooking and also for those who love cooking.

Winter is perhaps the best time to eat. Why? Because you get a variety of fresh vegetables as compared to summer and monsoon. Beet or beetroot is one of the easily available vegetables of this season. It contains major nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants that provide many health benefits. Beetroot consumption helps in lowering the blood pressure, may prevent cancer, provides a supple and glowing complexion, aids in maintaining a healthy weight, provide ample muscle power among people with weak heart, may prevent dementia, etc. Apart from that, beetroot is a great source of potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, copper, vitamin C, and folate.

This bulbous root vegetable is generally eaten as a salad or juice or smoothie. But I will let you know about a recipe using beet that will satiate your sweet-cravings this winter. Beetroot kheer is not only tasty but also looks gorgeous and therefore be ready for loads of Instagram likes and comments.

Ingredients:
  • Beetroot: 2 cup (grated)
  • Milk: 1.5 liters
  • Ghee or clarified butter: 3 tsp
  • Sugar: 1 cup
  • Green cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Cashew nuts: 30 gms
  • Almonds: 30 gms
  • Rosewater- 1.5 tsp
How to make Beetroot Kheer?
  • First of all, grate the beetroot and measure 2 cups and keep them aside.
  • Now take a saucepan and fill it with 45 cups of water and bring it to boil.
  • Add the grated beetroot in it and cover it.
  • Let this boil for 5-7 minutes.
  • Keep the lid intact for another 2 minutes and now sieve the beetroot.
  • Let it cool for some time.
  • Take a bowl and squeeze the half-boiled beetroot. You will get the raw reddish-pink color.
  • Don’t throw away this juice and save it for later.
  • You can throw away the water you used to boil the beetroot.
  • Now take a clean and large saucepan or pot and put the ghee in it.
  • Let the ghee release its beautiful aroma and then add the beetroot.
  • Sauté it well for 3-4 minutes. The beetroot will become softer now.
  • Now put the milk in it and give a nice stir for 2 minutes.
  • Close the lid and keep the flame low.
  • Check after 10 minutes and give another stir.
  • It won’t take more than 15-20 minutes to cook.
  • Open the lid and check the thickness at this point. If you want a diluted one, then, add some hot water.
  • Also, add the sugar and stored juice of beet at this stage. Give a nice mix to this one.
  • Now sprinkle the green cardamom powder and give another mix.
  • Let all these gather well on the heat for another 2 minutes.
  • Add another teaspoon of ghee and rest it for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, add the rose water and close the lid to open only before serving
  • Add chopped cashews and almonds before serving.

Enjoy this amazing delicacy during your wintertime get-together parties or during the lazy weekend meals.

When someone asks you, your favorite Bollywood fashion icon that gives you fashion goals, then what would your answer be? Without a second guess, many of us would say, Lolo, our very own Karisma Kapoor. She was not only excellent in her acting skills but also played the fashion game incredibly. Karisma Kapoor, one of the most successful actresses who ruled 90s Bollywood, still is the style icon of every teenager and adults to date. From mini-skirts to slip dresses, from denim to velvet, she has aced it all.

Karisma Kapoor is one of the actresses who carried any apparel gracefully, be it Indian or western. Below are 5 of her dressing styles that are still in fashion trend!

Denim over Denim:
Denim over Denim
Image Source – Google

Denim is an all-time favorite and it’s astonishing how Karisma carried it in her 90s movies. She looked like a million bucks and even today girls are religiously carrying denim over denim everywhere for casual outlooks.

Boyfriend Shirt or Oversized Shirt
Boyfriend Shirt or Oversized Shirt
Image Source – Google

Fashion repeats itself.

Oversized Shirts are now in super trend and girls appreciate and rock it for the cool look. Check out Karisma’s oversized multi-color shirt, isn’t she killing in it with mom jeans?

Crop Top:
Crop Top
Image Source – Google

How can we forget that sassy blue crop top that Karisma paired it with a sizzling skirt in ‘Dulhan hum le jaayenge’? She carried it tremendously with matching boots to give it a bossy look.

Denim Skirt:
Denim Skirt
Image Source – Google

Denim skirts are now in trend and frankly speaking, Karisma already rocked those years ago. Look at the astounding denim long slit skirt which she pulled off with a white T-Shirt and a denim hat.

White Sneakers:
White Sneakers
Image Source – Google

White sneakers can totally steal the show! And who pulled off these white sneakers better than Lolo with the unusual multi-colored top and ribbon scarf. Girls are following this style statement unfailingly even today.

These style trends prove that 90s darling Karisma Kapoor will always be a Style Diva!

What comes to your mind when the name Usha Uthup comes up? Stunning sarees, gajra, big bindi on forehead, and a smiling energetic face – right? Right through my childhood, I have seen this lady pumping up the stage. In my world, she has always been the rockstar. Who else can set the stage on fire in a saree and wearing a gajra? My grandparents and parents always told me that “look at her how civilized her clothes are- you don’t always need to show your skin to perform!”. That is her power- she is able to connect to me and the older generation.

At 72 also she travels a lot and spreads happiness among people. Here are some facts that you perhaps don’t know about Usha didi:

  1. At the beginning of her career, she sang in Trincas. It is one of the classiest restaurants in India situated in Park Street of Kolkata. She was the first lady to sing there and that too clad in a saree. Many a time she was asked to change her clothes or at least wear the saree in some other way but she didn’t. She was there to sing and she sang without worrying about these petty things.
  2. Although a Tamil Brahmin, Usha was born in Bombay. In her school, she was thrown out of the music class.
  3. Her sisters who were into music introduced her to Ameen Sayani who gave her an opportunity to sing in the Ovaltine Music Hour of Radio Ceylon. She sang a number called “Mockingbird Hill”.
  4. Kolkata is the city that gave her massive popularity but before Trincas, she sang in a few nightclubs in Chennai. Kolkata also introduced her to her husband whom she met at Trincas and also her children were born there. She says Kolkata gave her the love of her life, identity, fame, and adulation. And she can never stay away from the city for long. Many times, she wears a big bindi with “K” written in Bengali on it- as a token of respect to the city.
  5. She gave her first-ever live performance in Kolkata at Trincas way back on 1st October 1969. Trincas is known to attract all celebrities across the country. Trincas organized a double celebration package for people. On 27th & 28th September, it organized another live performance of Usha Uthup to celebrate her golden jubilee year of performance while the restaurant celebrated its 60th anniversary.
  6. If you are a fan of her jewelry and sarees, then, you must know that she loves to shop from Kanishka, a famous South Kolkata boutique, and Chamba Lama, a Tibetan jewelry shop in the New Market area of Kolkata.
  7. Usha Uthup in 0’s broke the stereotypes of music that Kolkata or India listened to. She brought those first rays of jazz and pop among people and no parties are ever complete without her Bollywood songs.
  8. Usha Uthup says that she never had any formal training in music. Her two elder sisters Uma & Indira started to sing during the ’50s in clubs of Mumbai and she learned music from them. She says that music flows in her naturally.
  9. Do you know that Usha Uthup sang in 13 regional languages and 8 foreign languages?

Depression is very common mental illness. It is more common than we think. It has a serious effect on how one feels, the way they think and the way they act. There are more than 10 million cases of depression per year, and I am talking only about India.

Someone suffering through depression may feel sad, may feel numb, may lose interest in regular activities which all this can lead to emotional and physical problems. At times someone suffering through depression may seem just fine on the outside, but a storm of emotions is what they feel on the inside. It not only gets tough for the person who is suffering the load but also for the people around them, especially the spouse.

What Does Depression Looks Like?

Depression has many forms, and at times the ones suffering from it are really good at masking it. Some may seem numb, some may seem very happy, and some act aloof. Depression has many faces. But is you know someone, you may notice a change in the behavior:

  • They may feel sad or have depressive moods.
  • They often tend to lose interest in the activities they enjoyed earlier. Sometimes it is as simple as they may not feel like taking a bath, working, or going for a walk.
  • Too much sleep or trouble sleeping,
  • They may experience anxiety, guilt, general discontent, hopelessness, being numb and sadness.
  • Agitation, excessive crying, irritability, & social isolation.
  • Excessive hunger or loss of appetite.
  • Lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or increase in purposeless physical activity.
  • Suicidal Ideations.

Imagine someone going through all of it, and not confiding in anyone. It happens quite often, it may seem like they are a burden on people around them, which is not true but this is just one-way depression messes up with your head.

This behavior definitely affects people around the ones in suffering, and especially one’s partner. If your partner is suffering from depression, you may feel like they have loss interesting in you. They may often snap at you, fight with you for no reason, have sudden mood swings, or portray an image of themselves where they do not need your care. But the truth is they need your care the most, they may not say it out loud feeling like they don’t want to be a burden.

Tips For Dating Someone with Depression
  1. Understand that Depression is Complicated:

Understand that there are many faces of depression. One may have severe mood swings, and may seem aloof. It is not because they think you will not be able to support them, but they don’t feel like indulging in anything. Instead, try to understand the root cause by talking to them. Whether it is chronic depression, if they are going through a stressful period, or had gone through a traumatic experience recently.

  1. Tell Them You are Available to Talk

    People from depression often don’t talk with the fear of being judged or feeling like they are being judged. Make it very clear to your partner that you are available to talk, and will not judge them at all. Let them know that even if you are not available at a particular time in the day, you will reach out to them as soon as you can and that they are not disrupting your life. These things are not implied, especially to someone who is suffering from the demons of their mind.

  2. Arguing With Your Partner

    If your partner is suffering from depression, you may have noticed that they have become more sensitive than before. It is okay to argue, but be careful not to make any sarcastic comments. Even a small fight may seem catastrophic to your partner, so it is best to talk it out patiently with your partner. Ensure that it can be fixed, and you are willing to work on whatever the problem is. If you wish to make them understand their mistake, do it patiently than shouting.

  3. Understand You Are Not A Therapist

    It may be really tough to watch someone you love in pain. You do need to show your support and care, but make sure you do not pressurize them or yourself into situations either of you is not comfortable with. It is not a short term phase, so remember you can not fix them. Instead, you need to show your partner that you accept them just the way they are by just listening.

  4. It Is Not About You

    You need to be very patient and positive. At times your partner may fight with your, snap at you, or act aloof. Understand it is not about you. Focus on the positive things they still do and say. Empathize, communicate and understand it is not about you.

  5. Lookout For Warning Signs

    You may give them their space but understand that it can be deadly. Know when to intervene. If you feel your partner is hurting themselves physically or emotionally, step in and take a stand. If your partner seems hopeless and expresses that other people are better off without them, take the signs seriously. Make sure you talk to them about it, ensure things and reach out for help outside if needed.

  6. Do Not Forget Self Care

    Dealing with someone suffering from depression can be exhausting. Remember you need to talk care of yourself. Take care of your own mental and physical health, as it is a slippery slope. Share your life with them, and give your partner to support you. This will make your partner feel accomplished, & you will feel empowered. Know when to take a step back, and reach out from help needed.

Dealing with someone who is suffering from depression can be very tricky, but at the same time, it is lucky you found them at all.

“Wine makes every meal and occasion, every table more elegant, and every day more civilized” – Andre Simon

What a beautiful quote was that! Wine makes you wiser wonderfully. There are major benefits of drinking wine. It contains antioxidants which help you retain a glowing skin and hair. Drinking wine increases bone density and boosts the immune system. It lowers the risk of heart diseases and cholesterol. So, if you are bored of just drinking wine (which can never be true), you can try this purely magical, mysterious, and miraculous White Wine Chicken.

Step 1 – The Marinade Process:
Key Ingredients

Chicken: 250 gms

Salt: 2 tsp

Black Pepper Powder: 5 tsp

Ginger Paste: 1.5 tsp

Thinly Sliced Onion: 2 Small

Finely Minced Garlic: 5-6 tsp

Chopped Green Chilies: 4

Chopped Coriander: 5 tsp

Melted Butter: 7 tsp

Mustard Oil: 2 tsp

White Wine: 6-7 tsp/30 ml

  • Wash the chicken pieces nicely and pat the pieces dry.
  • Now gather all these mentioned ingredients and start the marinade by putting the ingredients in order.
  • Always put the salt first followed by black pepper powder, ginger paste, thinly sliced onion, finely minced garlic, green chilies, coriander leaves, melted butter, and mustard oil.
  • Use your hands to give a really nice mix.
  • Finally spread the white wine over this chicken. Give another hand mix very well and refrigerate it.

P.S. – For best results, the chicken should be marinated for 6-8 hours. But if you are in a hurry, you can marinade it for 1-2 hours.

Step 2 – The Paste and Mixes:
  • Boil a handful or 20-25 pieces of Cashew Nuts in water nicely so that it turns soft.
  • Now make a smooth paste of cashew nuts to be used in this amazing chicken recipe later.
Step 3 – The Frying and Cooking Process:

This step would start once your chicken is thoroughly marinated (for the time mentioned above)

Key Ingredients

Refined Oil (for frying chicken) – approximate amount

Refined Oil/Butter (for frying other ingredients) – 5 tsp

Cumin Seeds (Jeera) – 1.5 tsp

Fennel Seeds (Saunf) – ½ tsp

Green Cardamom (Hari Elaichi) – 4-5 pieces

Bay Leaves (Tej Patta) – 2 pieces

Thinly Sliced Onion – 5 pieces

Garlic Paste – 2 tsp

Sliced Tomato – 1 Medium

White Wine – 4 tsp

Full Cream Milk – 1-2 cups

Green Chilies – 4-5

Chopped Coriander Leaves – 2 tsp

Oregano – 1 tsp

  • Now you have to take out the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to normal room temperature before proceeding with the final leg of the wine chicken.
  • Put some approximate amount of oil in a wok or frying pan. Pull only the chicken out one at a time from the marinade mix and fry them well until golden brown.
  • Now take another wok and put that 5 tsp of refined oil or butter.
  • Drop the Cumin seeds, Fennel Seeds, Bay Leaves, and Green Cardamom and let the aroma fill in your kitchen.
  • Its time now to put in the thinly sliced onion with garlic paste. Fry it until golden and then put in thinly sliced tomatoes.
  • Let the tomatoes soften a bit and then put the fried chicken in the wok. Keep stirring for at least 5-7 minutes so that nothing sticks at the bottom and every bit of chicken receives the spices.
  • Remember that the marinade mix had onion, garlic, coriander, and green chilies. Now put that mix in this wok of chicken. Give a nice stir and let it cook undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  • The cashew nut paste along with 1 cup of full cream milk has to be spread now. Give a stir and put 3-4 tsp of white wine more. Keep mixing and stirring meanwhile.
  • Stir well so that there are no lumps of cashew nut paste.
  • Check the consistency of gravy and as you have put some more white wine, put the lid and let it cook for at least 15 minutes.
  • Open the lid and check the consistency again. The consistency can be adjusted with some more milk or warm water.
  • The mesmerizing aroma of white wine chicken can now be felt more. Sprinkle a tablespoon of white sugar, slit green chilies, coriander leaves, and oregano.
  • Serve it hot or mildly hot with Steamed Rice or Chapati or Paratha.

Parenthood is one of the most beautiful joys in life. But no one ever said that is it easy. It takes a lot of thinking and planning at parents’ end to give the right upbringing to their kids. And the situation may get quite challenging at times. But when the going gets tough, parents do not shy away from telling funny yet harmless lies to their kids. All the parents reading this blog would totally agree that most of the time these lies work brilliantly and put kids in the right place.

Let’s have a look at some common & funny lies that Indian parents often tell their kids growing up.

About Tea

Kids are often fascinated by tea and want to taste and savour them just like adults. But parents who don’t want their kids to have tea at a young age often scare them by saying that- drinking tea will make them dark.

About Eating Veggies

The green vegetables are healthy and essential for the growth of kids. So whenever the child makes excuses to not eat veggies, a white lie is thrown right at them that – not eating the vegetables will stunt their growth and weaken their eye-sight.

About Eating Chocolates

Eating too many chocolates will harm your teeth- the white lie we all have heard from our parents in childhood. Or whenever we opened the fridge looking for chocolates and couldn’t find them there, our parents told us that ‘the cat took away all the chocolates.’ And we believed them. Sigh.

About Chewing Gum

Don’t swallow chewing gum or your intestines will stick together- the most popular lie in the history that parents still tell their kids in the 21st century.

About Buying New Toys

These toys are for little kids and you are a grown-up now. You shouldn’t play with these toys anymore otherwise your friends would tease you.

About Washing Hand & Feet at Night

If you don’t wash your hands and feet before going to bed, then you’ll have scary dreams about witches and ghosts.

About Drinking Milk

If you don’t finish your glass of milk, all your teeth would fall off and never grow back again. This is the epic lie of all times that parents love to tell their innocent kids.

About Babies

Not all lies are meant to get things done from kids. Some lies are told just to keep their innocence intact. Like, the lie about how kids are made and born is one of them. When asked by kids, parents often say that God came from heaven and put the baby in mummy’s tummy, which kids believe instantly.

About Santa

If you don’t do your homework on time, don’t finish your milk or don’t sleep on time, then Santa won’t bring you any gift at Christmas. This is one of the best white lies that always make kids behave properly.

About Watching TV

Watching too much TV will weaken your eye-sight and then you’ll have to wear big and round spectacles for the rest of your life.

About Doing Mischief

If you do any mischief and don’t be a good guy/girl, then we’ll send you to a boarding school. This is the lie we all dreaded in childhood.

About Sports

“Padhoge likhoge banoge nawab, kheloge kudoge to banoge kharaab” – a lie that all Indian parents told their children growing up just so that they pay more attention to studies than sports.

Once the kids grow up, they have a good laugh about these lies and how they used to believe them blindly.

The sleep requirement varies from one body type to another. Some may stay fit with only 5 hours of sleep while some need at least 8 hours of sleep. But the main point is the quality of sleep. Going to bed at 10 P.M and staying awake till 1 A.M. to fall asleep is not good. Waking up at 2 A.M. and again struggling to fall asleep is not a strong sign.

Some people don’t even consider these sleep-related problems as a real problem but imagine if you go to bed sharp at 10 P.M. and fall asleep in 10-15 minutes- complete your quota of sleep- won’t your morning be refreshing? Of course, it will be. Research says that when you have a good-quality sleep, you become more positive towards life, and become more productive at work.

Do you know that there are certain types of food that can help you with better sleep? Of course, things won’t happen overnight but if you practice including these following food types, you will see good results in 2-3 weeks.

A warm companion- Tea:
Tea
Image Source – Google

Yes, tea is generally consumed right in the morning to energize the mind and body. But there are certain types of tea that help you sleep well. Chamomile tea & passionflower tea are those types of tea that will provide you with a night of better sleep. There is the presence of antioxidants in chamomile tea that promotes a better heart function and reduces inflammation. This tea also has apigenin- a type of antioxidant that communicates with certain receptors in our brains that signals the brain to sleep. The same things are present in passionflower tea and these tea types also reduce levels of anxiety and stress.

Comfortable & Tasty Soyfood:
Soyfood
Image Source – Google

Soy rich food types like miso, edamame, soy nuts, and tofu are rich in isoflavones. These isoflavones enhance the production of serotonin in the brain and that encourages the body to sleep. Having two soy food over the day will help you with your sleep-related problems.

Your Favorite Fiber Food:
Fiber Food
Image Source – Google

Wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, pulses, potatoes with skin intact, pears, broccoli, oranges, berry, barley, etc. are the food types that are rich in fiber. Include these types of food in your meals and see a sea-change in your sleep cycle. Fiber-rich food actually prevents blood sugar outpourings that may lower melatonin affecting your sleep. So, include more fiber food in your diet.

Tasty Fish:
Fish
Image Source – Google

Having any type of fish is a healthy option. But just to cure your sleep-related problem, you can have salmon, tuna, or halibut. They are rich sources of vitamin B6 that produce melatonin- a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness. These kinds of fishes also have a great amount of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. This is an amazing combination that produces serotonin- another sleep-enhancing brain chemical.

Crunchy & Juicy Kiwi:
Kiwi
Image Source – Google

You can enjoy this exotic fruit after 1 hour of your dinner as a pre-bed snack. Kiwis carry a good amount of vitamin C, E, and K along with folate and potassium. Kiwis help in reducing inflammation, aids the digestive system, and also lowers the level of cholesterol. Also, don’t forget that kiwis contain serotonin that helps with a night of good sleep.

Tart Cherry Juice:
Tart Cherry Juice
Image Source – Google

The small and beautiful looking red fruit is a great source of vitamin A, C, K, along with copper, manganese, and potassium. The juice of this fruit is known to cure insomnia too along with sleeplessness. Insomniacs can have this juice two times a day and see a great result. This juice is rich in melatonin that helps with good quality sleep.

These food types are what you see in the departmental store or vegetable market easily. Thus, pick them up if you or anyone in your family is suffering from any kind of sleep-related problem.

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