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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

Mom’s You Can Only Do So Much…

Pack kids’ lunches.  Grade class spelling tests.  Make sure N’s book report is started.  Plan for the next Language Arts unit.  Make sure kids’ laundry is washed before Friday.  Make copies for Social Studies project.  Oh crap, I have to send out the minutes for the PTA board meeting.  Wait — did I really sign that field trip mission slip?  When is the next girls’ outing…is it this week or next?  Did I call my mom?  When do I need to have report cards done by?

Always Multi-Tasking
Always Multi-Tasking

These are my current thoughts.  I am now up at 3 AM on a Monday morning thinking of all the things I wish I would have had time to complete over the weekend.  Why am I up right now?  Why can’t I just get this noise out of my head?  Oh right — because I don’t just wear one hat, I wear like 20.  I’m (and in no particular order) a mom, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, teacher, neighbor, friend, best friend, coworker, peer, subordinate…and so on and so forth.

Constantly…working moms around the nation are on overdrive.  Moms are always on the go and always “on.”  I know I’m always “on” — mainly because I’m an elementary school teacher…looking out for children is a constant in my life.  I don’t think it really matters if you’re a teacher or not — the constant to-do list runs through our minds day and night (see my earlier post about achieving balance).


When I took a year off last year, I noticed that I was relieved from that element of my life — which was work.  I didn’t have a boss to report up to because I was my own boss.  I didn’t feel this constant feeling of having to “report” anywhere by a certain time or fulfill my own set of work obligations.  Now — even when I love what I do and wouldn’t imagine another career for myself, I do feel a constant loyalty to my students day in and day out…even on my evenings and weekends.  Would I trade what I do to stay home?  Never.

All at once, I take turns wearing all the other hats — and try to juggle it all at once.  Sometimes I wonder why I even try to juggle it all because it seems humanly impossible to be everywhere all at once…but I try anyways because that’s what I am.  I am the type of person, like many other amazingly strong women out there that try to do everything all at once.  I am the type that will put too much on my plate because I know that I work best under pressure and can’t stand not giving any aspect of my life my 110% all the time.  Is it healthy?  Probably not, but that hasn’t stopped me once.

Constantly, I am reminded to take a moment for myself to unwind and take a “time-out.”  A moment to just be with my own thoughts and be myself, a moment to find my zen.  To shed away all those hats for a moment to gather my own ideas and to just be.  As I get older, I do find that listening to my inner self is getting more and more important.  When I feel that anxious, robotic, out of body experience.  When I feel that I’m slipping away from myself…

Mama Challenge - Time Out Card
Mama Challenge – Time Out Card

I have found a few ways that help me gather myself and recharge.  Whether it be making a Target run to just roam around aimlessly with a Starbucks in hand.  Or to get on that treadmill and run away the feels.  Or by meeting up with some girlfriends for some “wine and whine” time.  Or even by taking the long way home from work to just sit and listen to the radio in silence.    

I have found the importance of finding your “time-outs.”  What makes you feel like you the most?  What makes you feel so content that it feels like you’re recharging your “battery?”  What could possibly help you strip away all your hats for just one moment?  

So ladies, take a moment.  Not because I’m urging you to do so, but because you feel that it’s about time!  Take that moment for yourself — just for you.  You can only give and give so much…

You’re in “time out!”

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi

Disclaimer:  No way do I feel that moms staying home to take care of their household and family don’t deserve a time out either — get out there ladies…you need that break!

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

Chick Chat Podcast on iTunes NOW!

Hey Chicks!  We have heard from women we know and women that we don’t that having a sister and a best friend you can talk to often is such a blessing.  We know first hand, that we can’t do this “Life” thing alone, many of us have sisters and speak daily.  To listen in on our phone calls, aka Chick Chat, look up Chicks And Salsa on iTunes for our podcasts where we discuss a variety of things from dieting, parenting, and what is trending.

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

Have a topic? Let us know!

How do I find a Podcast on my iPhone

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

If you have not yet discovered podcasts, they are a game changer and a real way to learn on the go.  I listen to them in the gym and in the car.  I have learned so much about blogging, and also listened to podcasts for kids (please check out Brains On!, a science channel for kids).

For iPhone users its easy, swipe right on your home screen and search for Podcasts.  Then type in Chicks And Salsa and our channel should pop right up.

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

Please check it out, let us know what you think!

Cheers,

Your Chicks And Salsa Team XOXO