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Why Diane Von Furstenberg is a Girls Girl- Food, Fashion, and Friends

“I design for the woman who loves being a woman.” ~ Diane Von Furstenberg

This is exactly what came to mind when an invitation to preview the new DVF collection at Neimen Marcus popped in my social feed a few weeks ago.  I have always admired women who find a way to make themselves and other women feel good about themselves (see Why We Blog).  Women are so multifaceted and intricate that there are so many ways to speak to the core of a woman and for DVF, it is through clothing.

So I grabbed my #MomSquad and made a Mom’s Night Out (#MNO) out of it to enjoy in the creative collection at Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue.

Sonia With Ceta Walters of Clark And Stone

Sonia With Ceta Walters of Clark And Stone

Live Models Giving Inspiration
Live Models Giving Inspiration

Hosts Ceta Walters and Sam Saifer Berngard created a festive and fun atmosphere with live models, nibbles, and cocktails.  DVF did the rest, her collection was vibrant, playful, and sexy. Obviously anyone in a bright yellow dress or blue fur jacket will exude confidence and fun!

As a Mom, getting out of the house with some of my favorites ladies was already a win, but being part of an event designed specifically to speak to women who love being who they are was the cherry on top!

Here are some of my favorite pieces:

Gibson’s Italia

Also, for those of you in Chicago, we were able to score a table at the new Gibson’s Italia, this hot spot did not disappoint. As a vegetarian, my menu was limited, but that was not a problem. I ordered their Italian grain bowl which was a perfect blend of salad with substance.  The farro and barley added a hearty and yummy touch!  The spaghetti dish was cooked to al dente perfection.  Since I wanted to try multiple things, I halved my order with my husband and secretly had wished I had the whole thing to myself (shhh!). My absolute favorite was the Mozzarella de Buffala.  As a vegetarian we often order this as a starter and I can honestly say this one stood out from the rest.  It was a delicious blend of avocado, basil and cheese…yummm!

Grain Bowl With Farro and Barley
Grain Bowl With Farro and Barley

Overall, I’d say the night was a win ….who knew a spontaneous weeknight could turn into so much fun!

XOXO,

Sonia

Tips for Navigating Awkward Conversations with Semi-Strangers

This time of year can seem super hectic! With schedules in school, at work, and socially in overdrive you may have run into some people that you don’t under ‘normal’ circumstances. Work parties, large family gatherings, and school functions may have you caught off guard when talking to what we call semi-strangers.

Luckily, Savvy Chick, Avani, has a gift for connecting people and handling the inevitable interactions that come with being out and about during the holidays!

We took on this topic during one of our recent Chick Chats. Check out the episode here!

Girl Talk

Be sure to listen all the way to the end where she really drops some wisdom.

Let us know if you would like to hear us speak on a specific topic. Also, like us on Facebook to stay up to date with our latest chats and other thoughts.

XO,

Your Chicks


Why São Paulo, Brazil Should Be On Your Bucket List

My husband and I were excited to attend our friend’s wedding this past October in São Paulo, Brazil. I’m anxious to share my first travel post about our trip. I hope I could do justice to all of my memorable experiences. Luckily, I have pictures to help. 🙂

We stayed at the Radisson Blu São Paulo, which was the official hotel for all the wedding guests. The hotel rooms were clean and spacious and our bathroom was equipped with L’Occitane products, which are a personal favorite. I have to mention, the Radisson Blu São Paulo, did a fantastic job with the daily buffet breakfast which includes an extensive offering of fresh coffee, cereals, pastries, eggs, cured meats, fresh juices and a whole lot more.

I can admit, as a vegetarian I was concerned about traveling to a country that relishes their meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was surprised to find there were quite a few highly recommended vegetarian restaurants.  In between our time attending wedding events, we had a chance to visit ‘Goa’ a fusion cuisine with Indo-Brazilian influence. They source fresh ingredients from their farm right in their very own backyard.

We even had a chance to go to the ‘Mercado Municipal’ and try countless exotic fruit sourced from all over the world including the Amazon. One delicious fruit after another, we were in heaven and wanted to purchase crates full of the delectable variety. But beware! This is a tourist hot-spot so all the fruit is marked up considerably and you are better off just taste testing.

By the way, here’s what I wore to the market that day: A simple white button down with a bright red ruffled skirt with brown flats (for comfort). I fit right in!

São Paulo is quite populated and there are many impoverished areas yet it’s easy to find people smiling, especially seen on the portraits of city walls drenched in lively graffiti at every turn. One such place is Beco do Batman, English: Batman’s Alley. Along with street art, which serve as great photo-ops, this area is host to cool art galleries, co-working spaces and amazing fine dining.

Beco Do Batman

Beco Do Batman

It was wedding day in São Paulo and we were ready to witness our friends tie the knot and celebrate Brazil style. Receptions in Brazil go on till 5AM! It seemed like an impossible task but if anyone was up to it, it was we New Yorkers. They served multiple courses throughout the night to keep us fueled and the bar kept flowing. We were such troopers; we partied hard all night and shut the place down. We still got it!

Here’s what I wore to this fabulous event. This sparkly maxi was a big hit and so comfortable to dance in:

…and here’s Mr. Sagir making a cameo.

The wedding was followed by a buddy-moon in Bahia, Brazil. For those who may not know of this new trend, a buddy-moon incorporates your friends on your honeymoon. It’s the official after-party to your wedding! Although, the reception was nothing short of fantastic! Buddy-moons are a fun way to continue the celebrations with friends.

We took a short flight from São Paulo to Bahia, then a bus and finally a boat in the dark underneath the starlit sky to a place called Barra Grande, a beach town on the Marau peninsula. On the way to the boat, we stopped at a local eatery off the highway specializing in empadas. The palm heart flavored empadas were a favorite amongst us and we even stopped to get more on our return trip. Here’s a quick video I took of the quaint eatery while we waited for our food.

Having returned for a month now, I’m missing the warmth. I don’t just mean the weather, but the familiarity of the locals. I understand more about the inviting culture after having been there and miss it so much. I’ll share more about the second half of our trip soon so stay tuned for my next post!

XO,
Puja
Trendy Chick

Chicks Picks: 


Exchange Screen Time for Family Time with Teal Firefly

The other day I went into the kids playroom while they were at school and it dawned on me that the way I spend time with my kids has drastically changed over the last two years.  Two years ago, both started their journey in full day school which meant them spending more time out of the house than in it.  Gone were the days where every waking moment was spent trying to “pass the time” with the kids.  As I rummaged through the jumble of toys, I began to reminisce when the kids were babies. In those days, I remember looking at the clock and wondering how it was only 9 AM when it felt like I had already been up for 12 hours.  The toys and trinkets were my saving grace, and just what the kids needed to keep busy.  While those days were amazing, it didn’t require much more from me other than supervised self-play.

As I filled bags with toys that the kids no longer play with, I couldn’t fight the bittersweet feeling of having both kids gone all day.  On one end I was thrilled to have a little bit more time for myself, but on the other end, I was sad that our time together was reduced to just a few hours before bedtime.  With after school clubs and sports I’m finding that the time I spend with the kids is engrossed in “the grind.” It has become so much more important to make those short windows of time together meaningful in some way.  

Teal Firefly DIY Card Kit
Teal Firefly DIY Card Kit

My daughter, who is seven years old, loves to craft and do projects.  What I learned was that she not only has a genuine interest in doing it, but relishes in the face to face time she gets with just me when working on a project. Juggling time between making meals, picking up, going to activities, doing homework and dropping off….things get busy!  I try not to be hard on myself, but I too crave those moments… alone with each child, one-on-one.  

My husband and I are big travelers and especially love to travel with the kids.  It’s an opportunity to break from the grind and make time to do things together as a family.  We’ve had travel plans scheduled for the Thanksgiving holiday for some time.  Knowing we would have some down time, I wanted to do some fun crafty projects with my daughter, so I poked around the internet for some meaningful projects for us to do together.  

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I stumbled across Teal FireFly, whose DIY crafting kits have everything you need to make creative, embellished cards from start to finish.  And they are not overwhelming or messy.  The kit contained cards/envelopes, direction cards for 4 designs, tags, glue dots, embellishments (rhinestones, glitter confetti) and a glitter glue pen. These kits come in a small box, so are easy pack and do while at the airport.  Like most parents with little ones, we always give ourselves some extra time in case the kids walk at a snail’s pace or Chicago traffic does what it does best….take forever!

While sitting in the lounge I pulled out one of the cupcake card set and my daughter’s eyes lit up! She was excited to have a box of goodies with instructions toward a useful finished product!  I loved the simplified, full color direction cards, as the illustrations made it easy enough for Carina to follow on her own.   We made fun cupcake cards from the Celebration kit that we plan to distribute with gifts during the holiday season.  She, and I, loved the one-on-one and even shared the goodies for some quality father-son time for my husband and son.  It was such a great alternative to screen time as we had a chance to chat and be creative together!  These cards will make a thoughtful touch to holiday gifts that can seem so impersonal sometimes.  I know that family members and friends will appreciate the extra effort!

Founder, Laxmi Shah, breaks it down best, “When you make a card by hand, you pour your heart into it!! I have found that there’s immeasurable pleasure in that for both kids and adults alike.”

So even though one chapter of endless hours in a day are over, I am grateful for companies like Teal Firefly for making products that we can do ourselves while spending quality time together.  Bye Bye supervised self-play….Hello creative togetherness! 

Right now Teal Firefly is offering 10% off the entire store in honor of the shopping season!!  Check them out here: www.tealfirefly.com

Your Chick,

Sonia

Turmeric – Why Your Body Needs It (and How to Use It)!

What is turmeric and why is it so talked about these days? Turmeric benefits are comprehensive, and most are due to its active compound, curcumin. For the last 2 years, I have probably missed a handful of days where I have not consumed turmeric. Let me tell you, it is probably the best thing I have done to my diet (Never going back!).

There are seriously so many benefits of Turmeric and I would need multiple blog posts to go through them all. Here the benefits that are most important to me! Side note: Black pepper contains piperine, which has been shown to help our bodies absorb the turmeric by 2000%. Try to use black pepper with any turmeric consumption!

Turmeric goes beyond the kitchen!
Spices that go beyond the kitchen!
ANTIOXIDANTS and IMMUNITY

Curcumin is a power antioxidant. We always hear about berries having a significant number of antioxidants and how important it is for our bodies.  Antioxidants can fight molecules known as free radicals, which negatively affect cell health, and may reduce or help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Winter Immunity Shot:

Juice fresh turmeric, lemon, ginger, and gooseberries. Add a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder. Every morning through the winter months to keep the viruses away!


Easy smoothie recipe:

Blend 1 cup of coconut milk with 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, the juice of one lemon and/or one orange, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, a tiny pinch of black pepper, and about a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root. I don’t add any sweeteners but if you need it you can use agave nectar or stevia.

Being mindful of what goes into your body can go a long way, it can even help you have healthier hair.

SKIN BENEFITS

MY FAVORITE BENEFIT (Obviously.) Research suggests turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties make turmeric effective in treating skin conditions. It can help speed wound healing, calm the pores, and help control psoriasis flares.

Turmeric - Natural Face Mask
Natural Face Mask

My weekly Turmeric Face Mask Recipe:

Mix 2 tablespoons of unsweetened yogurt (I use homemade yogurt) with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of honey for a soothing and cooling face mask. I leave it on for about 5 minutes and wash off. (I’ve never had problems with it staining skin, but use an old towel just in case.)

Acne Spot Treatment:

I make a paste of honey and turmeric (2 parts honey to 1 part turmeric) and dab on to spot treat.

BRAIN

This benefit is important to me for my toddler! Curcumin has been shown to have positive effects on brain function and memory by increasing levels of the brain hormone that boosts neuron growth (and fights decay in old folks).

Ever since my toddler has been on whole milk I have added a pinch of turmeric to her milk servings every day. She is 2 and still drinks her milk with a pinch of turmeric! You can also give it to them in a smoothie!

TEETH WHITENING:

I have not tried this yet, but it is next on my list!  We are all busy and sometimes it’s hard to get around to doing some of these things that are beneficial for our bodies. To make life easy: There are Turmeric Supplements (which also include the black pepper) that you can take daily!

Let me know what works for you, comment below!

Love,

Neema

Fresh Board Games For Your Family : Welcome to Gigamic

In our house, we like to keep some things ‘old school’ and try to maintain a weekly game night with the family.  This usually is reduced to about 20 phone free minutes with the kids where we laugh together, challenge each other, and keep track of the wins on a dry erase board just for fun.

We have cycled through so many games over the years and own all the American classics that when we had the chance to review some games from overseas we were super excited.  Gigamic is a French board game company that has a fresh take on some familiar concepts we see in games here.

As a mom of children ages 6 and 7, games that are quick to play and easy to understand are at the top of list of things I look for when shopping around.  In particular I want to highlight Katamino and Pic Mix . These games make children want to play them, they are colorful, familiar, and approachable.

 

Playing Katamino
Playing Katamino at the Atlanta Ultimate Women’s Expo

Katamino

Katamino looks like an in-life Tetris and in a way it is, it challenges the brain to fit together pieces in a variety of ways, it can be played one player or two player.  Katamino also has alternate ways to enjoy the game, see this video to learn more.

Pic Mix

Pic Mix reminded us of Spot It (a family favorite, we play it at restaurants when we wait for our food) but with a twist.  There are more cards, but it is still easy to play. Line up your cards to match the cards on the play card and you have a ‘Pic Mix’!  It is also small and portable so we can add this to our games-on-the-go.

Gigamic Booth

Anything that allows me to spend time with my children in a productive way is  win!  Thank you Gigamic for the opportunity to learn about your company as share our experience with our tribe!

Gratefully,

Rina

Chick Picks:

You Are The Company You Keep : Why We Blog

It was a life lesson my parents tried to teach us at a young age: if you surround yourself with go-getters and motivated individuals, it would ‘rub’ off on you and make you that way.  We didn’t always understand what they meant – or if they just didn’t like our friends growing up – but the older we got, the more we understood. Surrounding yourself with like-minded and successful people can inspire motivation.  Success, learning, and networking is like an addiction — once you get a taste of what it is like to be ‘one-of-those-people’, you become empowered to continue to learn and create.

Getting a graduate degree was step one for us. We were surrounded by colleagues who were motivated to pursue further understanding and deeper thought. We began learning the importance of not just accomplishing a task, but enjoying the process of collaborating with peers. And it may sound silly, but our lifestyles as a whole began to shift; we started spending more time in coffee shops getting to know people and their passions rather than partying at bars and nightclubs where the discussions were more superficial.

Once Upon a Dollhouse
With Dani and Caitlin of Once Upon a Dollhouse

Most recently, we discovered blogging. Once we entered this sphere, we quickly recognized that this was largely a female-dominated industry filled with creative influencers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists.  The desire to have these women ‘rub’ off on us was real.  We have always had a strong network of women in our lives, from our Mom to our five aunts to our cousins and  to our friends, it’s hard to ignore the magnetic energy that a room full of women can produce.


We didn’t know at the time what we were bringing to the table. We did know that we had something to offer.  In this past year, we have truly grown as individuals and as bloggers.  Joining groups where women were open to listening and sharing ideas (e.g. the Windy City Collective, Chicago Grammers, and Style Collective) has been meaningful and beneficial.  Somewhere along the way in these discussions, it did ‘rub ‘ off and we caught the bug to try something new and push ourselves professionally and creatively. This infectious transfer of motivation among women helps us to enjoy the blogging process and to have fun even when things seem hectic.

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We are getting a second chance in our thirties to redefine the next fifty years of our life. Although we don’t know what we are going to do with that opportunity yet, we do know that we will continue to grow.  We are truly grateful to the people we have met along the way who have been generous with their ideas and time – shout out to Annie Spano and the dolls from Once Upon A Dollhouse to name a few.  They inspired us to see a bigger picture and talk through a path with us chicks.

Blogging is about reciprocal influence by sharing who you are with the universe and letting the universe shape you. At Chicks and Salsa, we are trying to do just that one week at a time. Thanks for hopping along for the journey. Get out there, form connections, empower yourself and inspire others. Check out our Chicks And Salsa Chick Chat podcast to hear us think out loud about other things in life that motivate us!

Until next time,

Your Chicks,

Rina and Sonia

Fall Shopping Haul – 4 Trends to Watch For

The chicks have compiled a list of items that we have splurged on this season.  One thing we noticed is that this fall has the most unique sweater trends we have seen a while!

Free People Off The Shoulder
Cold Shoulder is Still a Thing
So grateful that we can hang on to this summer trend!  The cold shoulder and off-the-shoulder sweaters are surprisingly comfortable and warm! Our pick from ShopBop below is a winner!  Although it won’t help you beat the cooler temps, looking extra ‘hot’ may help.
New Textures
Anyone notice that suddenly velvet and suede are everywhere?  These fabrics are super fun, they have an iridescent look to them that brighten up any outfit. Velvet has a way of feeling formal and fancy, so grab at least one thing velvety for your wardrobe this year.
Red Is the New Black
We started to take notice when Clark and Stone had suddenly splashed red all over her Instagram and blog that red really kind of looks nice with natures fall colors and of course our favorite lipsticks.  The chicks tend to gravitate to nudes and blacks so it was fun to finally add some red to the wardrobe this season.
Statement Sleeves
Ok, this one is what makes sweaters this year different.  The sleeves this year are so unique and chic that they do all the talking this season.  Some are layered, ruffled, multi-colored, and ballooned!  These loose fitting looks make a girl feel good and on trend.  Abiha Khan shared some of her Asos and Nordstom finds and we could not agree more with the variety that she scooped up!
Chick Picks:


Check out our post on outerwear for some inspo.
Thanks for checking out the blog.
XOXO,
Rina

Botox and the Indian Community      

Botox, everyone has thought about it, many of us are doing it, so why aren’t we talking about it?

Growing up as first generation Indian Americans, my sister and I had the impossible task of representing our Indian side, our American side, and our hybrid side with grace and full understanding.  This meant being respectful yet assertive and exploring our interests while not wandering too far outside of our parents understanding. It also meant looking and acting within certain cultural norms without compromising our opportunities here as Americans.

Aging is one of those unusual paradoxes where being Indian and American does not agree.  It appears that Americans embrace doing things make you feel good — from facials to chemical peels to plastic surgery to Botox. There is discussion and a sharing of experiences that is a part of the American culture.  I can’t speak to other communities and cultures but the Indian community from both the immigrant and first generation perspectives does not embrace artificial enhancement. Indo-American women will undergo a variety of procedures and services behind closed doors and lie about their genetics and diets to no end.   An acceptance of anti-aging tools that we have available to us as Indians in America has been a difficult pill to swallow for many.

Avani getting her bi annual Botox shots.I am 36 years old, I have been getting Botox for 3 years.  When I looked in the mirror after having two kids and moving homes twice, my body directly experienced the stress. My body had undergone both of those life-changing events and left me with deep wrinkles which made me feel older than I was. My friends, co-workers, and sisters were supportive when I first considered Botox (see our article here about facing judgement). We talked about it, read about it, researched it until I eventually went for it.  Some family members, on the other hand, discouraged me from doing it and hesitantly added that if I did get it, I should keep it to myself.  After seeing my results and my satisfaction, two short years later, they too went ahead and tried it out. But they have since kept their “genetic” advantages to themselves.

Before And After
Before And After

Without getting too carried away, I am grateful that I can take little steps to look the way I feel.  I am not in denial of aging or of my life circumstances; this is a personal choice and one that has left me satisfied. By not sharing ideas and privatizing our desires, we cannot lift each other up in a way that can be positive in the right context.

I hope to get the discussion started.  We are fortunate that one of our Savvy Chicks’, Avani, has a husband who is a plastic surgeon — if you have any questions please leave them in comments below and we will be happy to get you an expert’s perspective.

Cheers,

Rina

If Botox is not your thing yet, here are a few Chicks Picks from Beauty Chick, Neema (check out her take on sunscreen).


“Just Like Mommy” Fashion by Jems&A

I’ve always believed that confidence comes from within. You can’t fake it.

When my family comes together at the end of the day, we sit over dinner and discuss the things we are most proud of from the day.  It might sound self-indulgent, but we hope that in recognizing our strengths and accomplishments we can be encouraged to continue to improve.  Although it’s easy to focus on the “weight we need to lose” or the “wrinkles that are creeping in,” teaching self-acceptance can be a great confidence booster. It’s amazing, as a mother of two, to watch how much we influence the level of confidence our children have. But there is something I have learned about confidence: it is multidimensional. While self-worth comes from within, our outward selves can impact how we feel about our inward selves.  Even though confidence isn’t always driven by what you see on the outside, it can definitely influence it.  

Just Like Mom!

I have observed my almost 7-year-old daughter watch me get ready for the day.  Some days I feel like wearing yoga pants and no make up. Other days, I feel like wearing heels and a dress that make me feel good.  When in both looks, I make it a point to be body positive and self-accepting as I know she’s listening to my thoughts and watching my actions.  I’m certain I’m not alone when I admit there have been times that my daughter has emulated me in a way that I am not proud of.  I use those moments as a stiff reminder that she’s watching and I need to be sure to send the right message about self-esteem and confidence.

My daughter loves to dress up.  One of the looks she loves best is when our clothing matches. It could be as simple as matching colors, style, or even patterns.  She can tell when I am “feelin’ myself” and she has a way of emulating that momentum.  I don’t claim to have a perfect body or a beautiful face but one thing that I love the most is when I feel confident in my own skin — and I want to teach my daughter to feel the same.

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I recently stumbled across a really fun website called Jems&A.  It’s a female-owned business whose mission is to design and style children’s clothing to help kids express their creative side in what they choose to wear.  The Chicks love to support women’s businesses that also promote positivity!   Their clothes were appropriate for my daughter and consistent with my own personal style which made it easy to do some “mommy & me” matching. They have clothes for not only daily wear but also for a fun night on the town.

Making memories with my children is what I cherish most in this short life. Taking the time to focus on my relationship with my children is one of my main priorities.  It was fun to play dress-up with my daughter and incorporate laughter into our fun looks!  If you like what see here in the post, consider checking out Jems&A. If you use the code ChicksAndSalsa20, you can get 20% off an order of $50 or more.

Feel good, look good, and share that same confidence with your mini!  To read about how to discuss compassion with your mini, check out our post here.

Your chick,
Sonia