5 YA books you must add to your reading list – part III

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Hi there!

Hope you’re all good. After all the festivities and falling ill, it is now time to catch up on reading. Young Adult or YA as it is popularly known as, is my favorite genre of recent times. It is sweet like a cheesecake, sometimes intense like pie, but always so delectable and fluffy.

best YA books
You are the books you read.

Here’s presenting part III of my top 5 YA books.

1. Looking for Alaska (John Green)

John Green is best known for The Fault in Our Stars, but Looking for Alaska is a wonder that deserves more praise. He manages to capture the best of your emotions and how!

The story is about Miles, who bids goodbye to his inhibitions and goes to a new school. New friends, new life, and new adventures await him. And down the hall is Alaska young – gorgeous, clever, self destructive, and screwed up. She pulls Miles into her world of friends, steals his heart, and then everything is changed. Its deeply emotional and has the perfect dose of YA feels.

Looking for Alaska
If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.

2. The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson)

This one is a story of love and loss. After Lennie’s sister Bailey dies, she finds herself torn between two boys – Toby (Bailey’s boyfriend) and Joe (the new boy in town). Lennie is constantly battling to balance her heart and head.

It is heartbreaking, romantic, and warm all in the right amounts. The overall feel of the book is tragic, but I love the way hope triumphs over tragedy.

The Sky is Everywhere
The sky is everywhere. It begins at your feet 🙂

3. Love Like Crazy (Megan Squires)

Love  Like Crazy is a fuzzy warm YA read. Love, soul, happy vibes – everything is on point. Eppie and Lincoln are the main characters (and they come quite close to my Eleanor & Park benchmark of mush). It positive, happy, and romantic, but with an undercurrent of sadness.

best YA books
Love like crazy and you’ll know the power of love.

The story highlights how it’s okay to be broken and sad. Collecting broken pieces and making life beautiful, that’s what every character in the book teaches. The romance between Eppie and Lincoln is charming at a new level.

4. The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen)

This was my first Sarah Dessen read and I was quite impressed. Loved the writing style. The story is about Wes and Mac; both are on a break from their respective relationship, but find a new friendship and companion in each other. The story is somewhat clichéd, but the freshness in writing makes it worth a read.

5. Wonder (R. J. Palacio)

Saved my ultimate favorite for the last! Wonder is a story about a boy, Auggie with facial disability. After being home schooled for years, it is time for him to finally go to a proper school. It plays well with your emotions, one minute you’re laughing out loud and the next minute your heart melts.

The journey is about Auggie, the challenges he faces, the friends he makes, and the lessons he learns. It restored my faith in friendship. Wonder is ‘feel good at its best’.

Wonder RJ Palacio
Its not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.

You can also read part I and part II for some other amazing YA recommendations. And if you have a favorite YA recommendation, do share it with me in the comments below.

Until next time, happy reading!!

 

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11 Kitchen tips for easy cooking – Festive Edition

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Festival season – time to meet, greet, and eat (not that we don’t do it otherwise, but more so during this time of the year). Who doesn’t like delicious food being served? Tempting food definitely makes everyone feel welcome and adds that festive touch. Sharing with you a few easy kitchen tips that have helped me over the years to impress my guests.

kitchen tips for easy cooking
Impress your guests and have great parties with these easy kitchen tips. Source – hyundai.it

11 kitchen tips for easy cooking. 

  1. Keep your refrigerator well stocked (boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, chutneys and dips, heat and serve snacks, and ready to fry snacks).

2. Sabjiyon ka raja – potato, if boiled and stocked, will give you a number of options for quick snacks and main course.

Make cutlets, hash potatoes, add them to chat, bhel puri, use them in canapés, deep fry and sprinkle mixed herbs….. there are so many ways to use them. Use them readily for stuffed poori, poori bhaji, or simple jeera alloo.

easy kitchen tips
Served with love…
Source – hamarakhanacooking

3. Dahi vadas are a staple party recipe. Keep them ready and use them as snacks or with main course.

Want to make instant Dahi Bhalle? Cut bread in halves, dip in a thin paste of besan and deep fry. Soak in water, drain out excess water, and your vadas are ready to go in curd.

Dahi Bhalla
Nothing like melt in the mouth Dahi Bhallas.
Source – yelp

4. Unannounced visitors? Don’t worry! Make instant Rava Idlis with Eno. Serve them with coconut chutney or with gunpowder. You can even deep fry them and serve masala idlis. Trust me your guests will gobble them all up.

5. Keep marinated chicken in your fridge. You can bake it, shallow fry it, or even grill it and serve with your favorite dip.

6. How can a party be complete, if there is no Dal Makhani? Sudden need to make Dal Makhani and Urad dal not soaked? Use a mix of whole moong and masoor dals.

instant dal makhani
Dal Makhani – All Time Favorite!! Source – FoodNDTV

7. Make ice cubes with edible food colors added to water. It’s a visual treat to see these cubes melting in a drink. The kids will love you even more for this!

8. For instant Gajar ka Halwa, grate carrots and steam them in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes. Add khoya or condensed milk, some nuts and delicious halwa is ready to serve.

gajar ka halwa
Gajar ka Halwa is indeed a royal treat.
Source – rumournews

9. Don’t we all enjoy traditional rasgullas and gulab jamuns? Use the leftover syrup to make Shahi Tukda. Fry some pieces of bread and dip in sugar syrup. Top it with condensed milk, garnish with nuts and serve to win hearts.

10. Simple boiled eggs become an attractive snack if served with chicken salami. Place halved boiled eggs in the middle and border the platter with salami for a different presentation.

11. Dessert with a difference – spread a layer of boondi in a bowl. Place small gulab jamuns on it and then add a layer of fresh cream. Repeat the layers. Garnish with some dry fruits and rose petals. This dessert will surely be the showstopper of your party.

kitchen tips for easy cooking
This is what happiness looks like….
Source – SpoonForkandFood

Hope these tips work well for you. Do let me know if you try any of these. I’ll see you soon.

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Best Budget Beauty and Skincare Products in India – Part I

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Hello! Hello. Welcome back lovelies…

Isn’t it amazing when you come across a product which works wonderfully and fits well within your budget? As much as I love splurging on high-end brands for make-up or skincare, I love when a drugstore brand gives similar results.

The products I’ve listed are value for money and have worked well for me. Affordable can have different meanings for everyone, so no offense.

best budget beauty and skincare products
Some of my fav budget beauty and skincare products.

Top 7 budget beauty and skincare products in India. 

1. Maybelline Fit Me Foundation

Maybelline is one of the best drugstore make-up brands. And they know their make-up game. Fit Me Foundation is great for normal to oily skin.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation
Blends like a dream! Use it for everyday wear or build it up for full coverage.

Pros

  • Gives natural, almost full coverage
  • Matte + Poreless finish
  • Blends easily even with your fingers
  • Comes in 14 shades
  • Doesn’t become cakey or settle into fine lines

It has worked well for me, so can’t think of any cons. The shade I use is Natural Buff.

Price – 525/- for 30ml 

2. Indulekha Bhringa Oil

This is an Ayurvedic hair oil which is best known for hair growth. I’ve been using it close to 6 months (on and off).

Indulekha hair oil
If only, it had a slightly pleasant smell..

Pros 

  • It’s a heavy oil, so you just need a tiny amount
  • It makes the hair texture soft and shiny
  • Has considerably reduced my hair fall
  • The selfie comb style bottle makes it perfect for the oil to go deep into your roots

Cons

  • Doesn’t make your hair super long, so done have any false hopes
  • Strong Ayurvedic smell

Price – 432/- for 100ml

3. Innisfree Sheet Masks

Sheet Masks have become a rage in the beauty world. This Korean invention is the new found favorite of many. Out of the many variants I’ve tried It’s Real Squeeze Mask – Strawberry and Green Tea.

Sheet masks
Easy – Peasy, and not so cheesy!

Pros

  • Hydrating and nourishing, give instant brightness and glow
  • Budget friendly (if you pick them in some offers)
  • Easy and convenient to use
  • Quick fix when you don’t have time for elaborate masking routine

Cons

  • Don’t work like traditional clay masks
  • Cannot be used for exfoliating
  • May not be suitable for acne prone skin
Innisfree Sheet Masks
Looks like a perfect Sunday!

Korean women abide by ‘a sheet mask a day’ rule. You can give it a go for about a week to make deeply moisturize and nourish your skin.

Price – 100/- per sheet (20ml)

4. The Face Shop Hand Cream

If you want baby soft hands, then a hand cream is your new best friend. I am currently obsessing over hand creams. The variant that I have is Macadamia.

The Face Shop hand cream
Vanilla mixed with hazelnut…aaah that delicious fragrance.

Pros

  • Moisturizes and hydrates my hands well
  • Gets absorbed quickly, no sticky residue
  • Light lingering fragrance
  • Tiny and compact, so easy to carry

Price – 300/- for 30ml

5. Himalaya Lip Care Lip Balms

You cannot have enough lip balms. If you’re looking for a new lip balm, then you should know that Himalaya lip balms are bomb dot com. I’ve tried 3 variants – Strawberry, Cocoa, Litchi.

Himalaya lip balm
This tastes exactly like Litchi juice on your lips.

Pros

  • Moisturizes your lips well without making them sticky
  • Delectable fragrance
  • Stays on lips for a couple of hours
  • Free from preservatives, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and silicones
  • Super affordable

Cons

  • The bullet breaks at the bottom very easily

Price – 125/- or 140/- for 4.5g

6. Plum NaturStudio All Day Wear Kohl Kajal

I am a kajal person and use it almost on an everyday basis. After trying a few brands, I found my favorite – Plum.

Plum kajal
If you have sensitive eyes and want a kajal with natural ingredients, Plum is the one for you.

Pros

  • Totally smudge proof and waterproof
  • Soft and creamy, glides easily
  • Can be used as eyeliner
  • Preservative-free, paraben-free, mineral oil-free, paraffin-free
  • 100% Vegan and not tested on animals

Cons

  • Comes in a pencil form, so you need to sharpen it

It is perfect for sensitive eyes. I use it on my waterline and it doesn’t smudge the entire day and doesn’t irritate my eyes.

Price – 495/- for 1.2g

7. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula

With winters approaching, we need an intense body lotion. Palmer’s is a brand that is well known for its effective skincare products. It heals skin and is dermatologist recommended.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula
Soak up the goodness of rich cocoa with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula

Pros 

  • Rich and creamy, yet non sticky
  • Great for dry and very dry skin
  • Fast absorbing
  • Enriched with pure cocoa butter and vitamin E
  • Provides intense moisturization
  • Paraben & Phthalate free

Cons

  • Fragrance can be somewhat overpowering
  • Packaging is inconvenient

Price -425/- for 250ml

Hope you find these recommendations helpful. Make use of the sale season and add some of these to your cart.  Also share your favorite value for money products in the comments section below.

Bye. See you soon 🙂

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Fall/Winter TBR

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Hiii!

Welcome back. With the start of the new month, new energies are flowing. Starting the birthday month with a bookish post!

Technically it is fall all over the world. Although Delhi is still considerably hot, but let’s pretend that we have pretty autumn leaves all over. During this season I gravitate towards some serious and heavy reads – emotional dramas, psychological thrillers, horror, and creepy mysteries.

fall/winter tbr
How I wish we had dreamy autumn in India as well.
Source – luxuryfitness. tumblr

So here’s my Fall/ Winter TBR

  1. Bag of Bones – Stephen King

I’ve been gathering courage to read IT (the epic horror book, now a movie by Stephen King). But after reading the reviews, I thought it would be a good idea to prep my mind with some other book by the same author.

Bag of Bones Stephen King
Finally being brave enough to read a Stephen King.
Source – bing

Bag of Bones is a murder mystery, and Stephen King is known to be the king of horror and mystery so I am hoping this sets the mood right.

2. Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetys

It is a historical fiction book that traces the characters’ journey through World War II. Certainly a heavy and daunting read, but I’ve heard so many good things about it that this had to be on my list. Promises to make you cry, change you, and leave a deep impact on you.

between shades of gray
Looking forward to this emotional roller coaster.
Source – quote book blogger

3. Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz

This coming of age YA is something that everybody loves. So I thought let’s find what the hype is all about. The story is about Aristotle and Dante, two teen boys who have nothing in common, yet find a world waiting to be explored together and develop a special friendship. It is said to be quite emotional, perfect for winters.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Can we take a minute to appreciate the pretty cover.
Source – dianewantstowrite

4. A Dog’s Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron

When nothing else works, hug your dog. But when doggie is sleeping, what to do? Read doggie books. A Dog’s Purpose is a now a movie, but I want to read the book before watching it.

It has doggies, happiness, and some more doggies. What else can I say – sounds perfect for a crazy dog lady like me!

A Dog's Purpose
What can be better than reading a doggie book and cuddling your doggieeee!
Source – bloglovin

5. The Girlfriend – Michelle Frances

Off late I’ve been adding a lot of psychological thrillers to my TBR list. It traces the relation of Laura and her son Daniel. But when Daniel finds a girlfriend, Cherry, things become chaotic and unruly. It is perfect for fans of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (which I really liked).

The Girlfriend
The addictive psychological thriller!
Source – BooksoverBlumen

6. A Thousand Boy Kisses – Tillie Cole

After some heavy reads, you need a breather and what better than a light fluffy YA. It is a tearjerker romance, about Rune and Poppy – their bonding that neither time nor distance can break.

The cover and the blurb are giving me happy fuzzy feels already! Super excited.

A Thousand Boy Kisses
You’re never too old for a cheesy romance. Source – shewhomustnotbenamed93.blogspot.com

7. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard

It’s been a while since I read an emotional contemporary book. This one suits the deal perfectly, it is about mental health and love and friendship. It’s a fluffy love story that deals with some serious topics. I think should be fun to read while soaking up the winter sun.

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder
Perfect Vacay Setting.
Source – SprinkledPages

Do let me know what’s on your winter TBR and if you have any creepy book recommendations. I hope you have a great month ahead.  See you soon 🙂

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