I Heart 7 this week, 16 – 22 Aug 2015

Weekly round-up of things I bookmarked, laughed at, wanted to do for a living (if only for a week).


Isabella Rossellini on Her Mother Ingrid Bergman’s Enduring Style

Ingrid Bergman


Gratin of Tomatoes with Goat Cheese

Tomato Gtain with Goat cheese


The perfect head-tilt


NASA’s Pluto flyby



Tum Pukar Lo – Hemant Kumar



Make a Cookie Basket from a Paper Plate



Framed by Wanderlust with Amrita Samant (Photographer, Mommy Shots and ThatWindowSeat), Chennai, India

Amrita is a baby-grapher who loves to travel (looking on from ThatWindowSeat), drink wine, chase light, eat good food and all this while dodging selfie-sticks across the globe.

She’s joining me today for a quick (and not dirty) Q&A about her wandering soul and its many journeys. Travel with us will you.

Amrita Samant at a Holiday in FranceLast place you visited: France (July 2015)

Three places on your travel wish list: Russia, Iceland and Japan

An unforgettable experience from a  journey: A haunted rented house experience in Bari, Italy. Doors would open and close by themselves. Another one, learning to kayak on the ganges was overwhelming but an experience that pushed me way out of my comfort zone.

Five things you always carry on holiday: My camera/iPhone, sunglasses, sunscreen, multiple shoe options (just-in-case) and pepper spray.

Would you rather head to the beach, the mountains or city streets: If I had to pick one, it would be the mountains, But I try and give my trips a combination of at least two. (Greedy me!).

A place you’d like to visit again and again: Italy. Anyday!

A place you wish you hadn’t visited: None. I’m glad that hasn’t happened yet.

A person (real/fictional) you’d like to go on holiday with, and where: Can I ignore this one?

Your holidays are incomplete without:  A trip to the local food markets and a local movie at the theatres.

A stranger you met during a journey who you’re still in touch with: A (now) dear friend named Parvati whom I met in Halong Bay, Vietnam in 2012 on a terribly boring couple-y cruise 🙂 

If you’d like to participate in this series or nominate a wanderlust-afflicted friend, holler on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll be saying ‘Hi’ very soon!


Rote Beete Suppe (Beet Root Soup)

It was 1975. Two Indian friends were visiting a common German friend in East Berlin, then capital of the German Democratic Republic. That friend’s parents had years ago left their Nazi occupied country and settled along the Polish-Ukraine border. She had found her way back to divided Germany. That evening she served them a pink, sour soup. It was something she’d learned from her mother.

It had enticed the taste buds of my Father-in-law, one of the visitors, so much that he learnt the recipe from her. Making it several times during his stay in the country, he eventually forgot all about it when he returned to India in the early 80s. That is, until recently, when the sight of Saure Sahne (sour cream), leftover from my mushroom soup experiment, brought back the unique flavour of the beetroot soup and he delighted us with blending it all together again.

The dish is a popular soup in Eastern Europe, finding its way into Poland and Germany, through people carrying stories and special recipes along as the settled in newer parts in the region, in the aftermath of the war. The elaborate version of this soup, with many vegetables and even meat, is referred to as borscht (in Russian) and by differing names as dialects change across borders. This is a red hot (or pink depending on how much sour cream you like in it) soup not only in its form but also in the debates surrounding its origin.

This dish has now travelled to me, sans borders and the limits names and places often impose on people, travelled like all good things do, free as stories from life should be. And now I’m sharing it with you.

Rote Beete Suppe (Beet Root Soup)

This recipe serves two.


1 big bulb (or 2 medium or 3 small) of Beetroot

200 gm Saure Sahne (Sour Cream)

2 tsp Butter

Salt to taste


Peel, wash and clean the beetroot bulb. Chop it into small pieces, preferably squares.

In a grinder mix the chopped beet root and sour cream to make a paste.

In a pan heat 2 tsp butter, add a little salt to taste, add the beetroot & sour cream paste.

Stir for a minute and add water according to the consistency you want.

Once boiled, cool it.

Add Black pepper as per taste and coriander as garnish.


I Heart 7 This Week, 8-15 August 2015

Weekly round-up of things I bookmarked, laughed at, wanted to do for a living (if only for a week).


Inspiration and Obsession in Life and Literature


Blackcurrant Cheesecake


Zebra Stripes in Style like Olivia Palermo


La Dolce Vita


Kids Re-Enact Republican Debate


Beatles’ Shea Stadium Concert



Pack Your Life into Suitcases Yourself


Closet Diary of Richa Gupta (Founder – Zumbasa.com), New Delhi, India

She wanted to become a fashion designer back in 10th grade. Instead she studied Economics and then became a shoe designer. The designer aspirations didn’t work out too well but her love for fashion and shoes remained, finally finding expression in Zumbasa.com.

Closet Diaries: Style Secrets from Richa Gupta, Founder - Zumbasa.com

Richa Gupta, Founder – Zumbasa.com

Richa Gupta started her fashion website at the age of 25 (then under the name Du Couture, which eventually became Zumbasa), after completing an Entrepreneurship MBA course from NTU in Singapore.

Trying to find a footing in the big industry of women’s fashion, styling, apparel and accessories, Zumbasa focuses on bringing niche overseas brands to India, allowing women to dress up in their personal style rather than aping designer labels and by keeping customer needs in mind by reaching out to each one of them to ensure the right fit.

When she’s not brainstorming over the next collection to showcase, she loves traveling. One secret that most people don’t get to when they first meet Richa is that she’s a huge introvert. But today she’s shedding some of that and letting me raid her closet for style secrets, kicking off a new series on the blog ‘Closet Diaries’.


Your fashion icon(s) and what do you like most about their style

I don’t have any fashion icons as such, because each person has an individual style and sense of fashion. But if I really had to name someone it would be Audrey Hepburn.

Your style mantra

My style mantra is comfortable and classy! Jeans, Top, Flip flops for the mall or a Midi fitted dress with short heels for a night out.

The biggest fashion faux pas according to you

What may suit me might not suit you and vice versa. Just wear what you want, whatever your heart pleases and never think about what’s right or wrong fashion wise. You make your own fashion and style.

Your favourite colour/print/patterns for this season

Pastels! Baby Blues, Mint Greens, Peaches and Pinks. Print wise I’m all for florals right now!

A designer you would love to be dressed by

Elie Saab. I’m quite jealous of Sonam Kapoor in this regard!

3 things every wardrobe should have

Nude pumps

Reliable pair of jeans that have lasted you or will for years

A knee length or midi dress

A fashion accessory you never leave home without

My bag and my nude lipstick. I feel incomplete without them.

You would pair Blue Suede Shoes with

Medium blue jeans and a white button down shirt.

If you had to burn all your clothes but one, it would be

This is what nightmares are made of! I would save my favourite pair of J-brand jeans.

Your wildest style experiment yet

This one really had me thinking hard and realising I’m a very boring person when it comes to fashion. But my wildest experiment has been with a short pair of shorts and a whole lot of people looking at me at the mall!

If you’d like to participate in this series or nominate a fashionista, holler on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll be saying ‘Hi’ very soon!


A Good Home

Henri Matisse - Vase, Bottle and Fruit (1906)Spread across the centre page sat

a good home, its marble face shone

against the streaming light, falling

on a desk standing still, by the window sill

with pictures hanging all around.


Bright blue candles neatly climbing

the pyramid of books in glossy garb

and Chrysanthemums peeking

at straight lined cigars,

astride atop a China vase.


No feet roaming wild within walls,

pearly white and standing tall

covered in framed brushstrokes

containing the lives of other folks.


In this good house so perfect

and true, no stories spill

and spread unchecked,

colouring sleeping rugs that lay

lost in secrets of Mandalay.


Two Hoots for Tom Cruise

New Yorker recently called him “the good kind of crazy“.
The husband said “go fall in love with him again”.
Two Hoots for Tom Cruise_Image via pagesix.com
In college cafeteria debates when he was pitted against Pitt, I always sided with Tom Cruise. He was formulaic, chiselled, too handsome to be any good as an actor. But I watched everything, even Vanilla Sky, or especially, because he was semi-naked in parts, though Eyes Wide Shut is better for that. And including the time we (then boyfriend, now husband, who makes an exception for Cruise starrers to his ‘Nothing below 7.5 rating’ for movie viewing) ran across an empty parking lot, chased by questions from napping bus drivers, to watch the first day first show of The Last Samurai.

Something went amiss when he became a Scientology crusader & to my mind went cuckoo. I was done, with reading everything about him. The films? That was another story.

Reprising his role as Ethan Hunt in the fifth instalment of the Mission Impossible series, he’s joined by the usual company of comic sidekick, trusted friends & a brand new leggy lass, this time taking on a ‘rogue’ former British Intelligence agent.

Adrenaline rush entry, check. High speed chase, in a car & bike, check. Masking, unmasking, check. You could not see it and still know everyone gets out alive.

On a Sunday afternoon in a movie hall full to the brim, Tom Cruise’s wide screen entry received whistles once reserved for gyrating sirens. Toddlers and octogenarians were also in attendance, to watch a quintessential Hollywood blockbuster, not the film, but the man. Jumping on Oprah’s couch in real life and, off tall buildings & flying airplanes & down into shafts in films, he is the entertainer who wants you to forget what you had for lunch. He does his own stunts and wants everyone to know that. This series in particular is his way of celebrating his awesomeness, while leaving no time for analysis, discourse, comprehension. You sit, watch, leave.

This is not Color of Money or A Few Good Men, opposite stalwarts like Paul Newman & Jack Nicholson. It is Tom’s world, where no one, not even the villain, overshadows him, quite unlike action packed thrillers in recent times like Heath Ledger as the Joker in Christopher Nolan directed Dark Knight or Javier Bardem’s slow, studied evil form against Daniel Craig’s Bond in Skyfall.

Mission Impossible is not the platform for anyone else to shine, to play the anti-hero, to lead an audience astray. In this self-created world, Ethan Hunt is Tom Cruise –  pure good, unmatched, and, as Alec Baldwin will tell us at the fag end of the film, “destiny”.

Few will complain or question. Off screen he may have missed the Golden Statuette thrice, but for many movie-goers filing out as the familiar M.I. soundtrack comes on, he had them at “Hello”. And if the end is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing him again, soon.


Parents Say ‘What!’: Q and A with Me

Beginning with me, the empress of the Eggfacemomhead kingdom, we’re going to ask parents to sleep a little less, think a little more and answer some questions about their almost always fun and never ever dull lives. Stay right here will you.

#mom #sketch #toddler #art

A post shared by Manika Dhama (@manikadhama) on


In one word, life as a parent is


The easiest thing about parenting

Nap Time

3 things that make you want to pull your hair out

The Amazing Race at meal time

Strangers telling you what’s what about YOUR kid

“When are you having the second?”

Something you’ve lied about to your kid(s)

How she was born. “We wanted a baby, we had a baby.”

Most embarrassing moment as a parent

Calling up room service during vacation to report room keys thrown inside toilet

One thing you’ve learnt from your kid(s)

Dogged determination

A pre-parenting thing you miss the most

Tuesdays with Morrie. Wait, “pre-parenting”? I thought we were born this way.

An unforgettable thing your child said or did

“No F*** That” at two. I blame the other parent.

You laugh out loud when

(Laugh inside my head) when I’m presented with a seemingly logical argument for something that was broken, spilled, done to the cat.

A tip (or two) for new parents

Scarlett O’Hara was right. ‘Tomorrow is another day’. You’ll get better with time

All kids tell everyone about everything. Speak less, listen more.

If you’d like to participate in this series or nominate a friend, holler on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll be saying ‘Hi’ very soon!


10 Ways to Decorate with Wine Bottles in 30 Minutes or Less

10 Ways to Decorate with Wine Bottles in 30 Minutes or Less_EggfacemomheadWhat must a mother (and others) do when they’re done downing their favorite wine? Well, slurry speech monologues and then, some decorating. With their slender neck and bulbous bottom, wine bottles are beautiful. Why would anyone want to throw them away anyway? I’ve never thrown one till date. So what I’m always looking to do is decorating with wine bottles in interesting ways around the house. If, like me, you went about searching for design hacks on the web you’d likely hit upon many gems but most of these are very elaborate craft projects. The latter are definitely unsuitable for people who have had to perfect teeth brushing under two seconds.

Instead what I wanted to begin working with were easy on design (and time) ways to use old wine bottles, without having to chop, cut, drill. Here are ten ways to decorate with wine bottles in 30 minutes or less.

#1_Use String LightsThis one does require a visit to the electrical shop to get string lights (which may be more than 30 minutes), but if you can pick it up on your weekly/fortnightly market visit, then just dip it inside, turn it on and watch the magic.

#2_Wrap A Twine AroundFor a rustic vibe in a corner or your centre table, just wind a twine or a jute rope around the wine bottle. Then throw in some real flowers or colorful dry decoration inside or even an interesting tag around the neck.

#3_Paint the BottleThis one the whole family can have fun with. Bring out your paintbox, choose your colors and go crazy. Okay, stay sane because honey you’ll be the one cleaning up afterwards.

#4_Wrap in FabricEver so often we have odd bits of fabric lying around that is too small to do anything with. Just wrap your wine bottle in it, tie a contrasting ribbon around the neck and voilà, you’ve put two ol’ things to good new use.

#5_Make a hanging vaseSounds too darn simple and that is why it’s here. As a bonus, it can also look very garden-y if you’re stuck on the 14th floor far far away from any garden. Put a twine around the neck, tie it to a balcony railing or any pole resembling surface, fill water and put your favorite flower in it.

#6_Bring the beach inFill the wine bottle with different shades of sand, small pebbles, shells and set it on the window sill or your writing desk. Dreamy days will be made of these.

#7_Candle Light ItMany tall candles fit in to a standard wine bottle mouth. If not, use sand to fill the base, drop your candle in and light it up.

#8_Glam & GlitteratiSome boys and girls love glitter. Even if you don’t, a little shimmer and shine never hurt a soul. Spread some glitter on a paper, roll your bottle in it and watch it turn the groove on. When you decide to try this one out, I suggest declaring it Glitter Day and putting the leftovers on old boring tee shirts, white canvas shoes, your faded denims and just about anywhere that cannot protest. (Your cat will.)

#9_Go VintageEveryone has old, yellowed, frayed pages of books or even newspapers lying around. Cut these out (keep interesting headlines in to make them pop) and give the bottles an old world makeover.

#10_Bottle of MemoriesMy absolute favorite. Feel like a pirate as you roll up an old photograph or a love note from a beloved and preserve a message in a bottle, maybe even for posterity. The odd maneuvers to make it straight once it’s inside might take a bit of practice and loads of patience, but hang in there because the result will be delightfully sweet. (P.S.: If like me you’re wondering what if I want to pull that picture out at a later date, you could also put the picture on the outside. Otherwise the bottle will have to break. But if you are ready to commit to letting go of a bottle bottom, then there’s a whole lot of other decorating ideas to try out!)

Why don’t you give these a go and tell me how easy or difficult you found them. And which one was your favorite?


And Yet the Books…

I’ve always found that poetry, more than any other genre of writing, seems to best capture moments in time, containing answers to nothing and everything. It is like catharsis, like an epiphany, like someone read your mind, picked at your thoughts and made them whole. And there they rest, outside your head, in words spun this way, reminders that all will be well, as long as you have these…

And Yet the Books by Czeslaw Milosz

Chateau X by Martino ~ NL on Flickr

And yet the books will be there, on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are,” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

by Czeslaw Milosz

Read about his work here: