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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

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

 

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).


On The Scene With Atlanta Fashion Designers

When we chicks have an opportunity to meet with creative influencers and check out emerging designers, we are there! For our most recent fashion adventure, we attended the Atlanta Fashion Designers annual showcase. The showcase was hosted in a beautiful garden venue and it did not disappoint.  There were nearly a dozen designers showcasing ethnic, urban, and high-end designs with colorful fabrics and thoughtful silhouettes.  It was a perfect evening with seating on an outdoor patio — while exchanging notes with other bloggers about fall trends and good vibes. Diversity was the theme that ran throughout the show.

The MC, Shorty Mac of HOT 107.9, was stunning and lively. She set the tone arranging a live band singing old school jams. She kicked off the event by introducing the designers and then the fashion unfolded for the evening. Chicks and salsa loved the show.. and sitting with a stylist, a fashion icon, and a designer doesn’t hurt either!

@chicksandsalsablog @nilabolour @atlantafashionicon @thesilverstylist

In particular, the men’s fashion by Lindbergh really stood apart from the rest. The ensembles were crisp and clean. In particular, the sneakers were our favorite. The use of zippers, open lacing, and bold colors really made them stand out, see the collection here.

Another thing to note this fashion season is that street style continues to trend! Alexis’ Suitcase, Shavonne, and the Girls and Curves Boutique pulled out all the stops with the street style looks. These designers were pairing sneakers with dresses and ruffles with capris.

The street style was contrasted by the next designer, HijabiPop, who explored more of an evening gown theme. This collection was a welcome addition representing fashion that is relevant in many parts of the world for millions of people.

HijabiPop taking a modern twist on traditional wear.

The evening closed with Samba dancers, nibbles and laughter. This is hands down one of the most diverse fashion shows in Atlanta.  The designs and the crowd felt worldly and engaged in supporting the diverse platform that the Atlanta Fashion Designers have set up. This is a perfect avenue for emerging creative artists to put themselves out there. Thank you to the vendors who put in time at the Sip’n’Shop and the organizers for creating such a memorable event.  I look forward to next year!

Your Party Chick,

Rina Puri

Chick Picks:

Social Media: Friend or Foe

A busy Saturday — filled with running errands, soccer games, and catching up on household work from a crazy work week.  In all relief, I settle into bed early to tune into the latest crime show I missed.  After all, the kids are tucked away in bed and my husband is out — I’ll take advantage of this time to myself.  I decide to play on my phone first…which I later regret.  I stumble across a post that I’m not a part of…that I was never meant to be a part of.  I brainstorm and think hard — was I invited to this outing and never saw the invite or replied back?  I slowly realize that this post establishes the fact that everyone was invited but me.  I come to the harsh reality that I have been left out from this group of “friends.”  The group that would have routine outings and I was once a part of have now firmly stated their stance and that I was out.

Where was my invite?

I feel a moment of uncertainty.  I feel almost 12.  I feel a moment of rejection.  This moment was just that though…just a moment.  I quickly realize that it’s okay — I’m okay without that group.  That group was full of toxicity anyways and maybe I’m okay without being invited even though the harsh cut-off did bruise me.  

I brush off my feelings and focus on the positives I have going on…I have the friends that think of me and would think of me first when organizing an outing.  I am grateful that I have friends that do keep my feelings in mind and would never cut me out like this.  I have friends that would be enraged at the thought of me sitting here in distress feeling left out of a little outing.

I go back to watching my crime show feeling like a mature adult — opposite as to how I felt moments ago.  I realize that it’s okay…after all, not everyone gets invited to everything and this moment makes things clearer than ever for me.  I’m at that point in my life that every day should be lived to the fullest and not to be wasted on feeling lesser than anyone or anything.  

The thing is, that I’m an adult and I have the life experiences to cope and get over these situations.  Will I have feelings and emotions, yes but I also can get over these things better.  I worry that my children and children I know aren’t there yet (see our post on Teaching Children Compassion).  They don’t know how to cope and get over the feelings I just experienced.  Social media hadn’t existed when I was growing up.  There was no way of knowing an outing was going on with so and so.  I wasn’t exposed to the evilness that some people have started using social media for — as a weapon.  More and more I am realizing that people are using social media to get back at others or to show off their friendships and outings.  Social media isn’t always being used as it was intended for which was to keep people connected.  

Keep Calm, It’s Just Social Media

I use social media.  I actively post social gatherings and special moments.  I love keeping up to date with the ones closest to me.  I enjoy the pictures and memes shared on a daily basis.  While I’m somewhat horrible at keeping up with correspondences, it does help me keep up with my friends and families’ lives.  

Lately, I have made the conscience decision to refrain from posting anything that could intentionally or unintentionally hurt anyone.  I do post updates about my kids, articles I find interesting, or even my tidbits about life from time to time.  I do intend on posting special events — but not to get back at anyone, but to celebrate friends and family.  I don’t feel that posting a picture when I’m out, knowing very well that someone is not included will make me feel better about myself.  I don’t feel that purposely showing off to make others feel worse is the point and I won’t fall for it.

Check out this video that speaks to Why Fake Friendships are Ruining You Life!

What are your thoughts?

Your Brainy Chick,

Komal

 

 

Easy-Peasy Hosting Tips

Looking ahead to fall and the holidays its crazy to think that 2017 is wrapping up and my calendar is already booked!  Still when the holidays come around, I get the bug to get my friends and family together over food and fun. Growing up, my Mother taught me a lot about how happiness and memories can become attached to things like eating together. Every effort put forth to make a meal ‘special’ was always acknowledged.  Along the way, I picked up a few quick and effortless tips that I use time and time again. These tips are meant to show my guests how much I appreciate them.  So with the help of some old school tricks from my Mom paired with the genius hacks of Pinterest (check out our Party Board), here are some dinner party secrets that will make hosting a breeze.

Keep your Liquor Bottles, ALL of them
Piggy backing on the mason jar trend, old bourbon, tequila, and scotch bottles make for great variety and décor on a table top. 

Keep it Simple and and Natural
There is nothing like the fragrance of fresh flowers and greenery from the yard. Yep, even if you don’t think you have pretty bushes, you do! With the help of some candles, ALL (yes, all) greenery livens up a table top. Bring the outdoors inside whenever you can. Setting the tone with earthy additions to your décor is trendy and familiar.

Don’t get Overwhelmed
I love either stocking up on readymade family dinner items from the grocery store or catering for a get-together. I have found that catering from a restaurant that you may think is expensive can often times be cheaper than eating there.  Make a budget and get a few quotes, I think you will be surprised.  Bear in mind that by outsourcing the cooking you stay focused on the decorating and presentation of the meal. Hosting a potluck is another great way to use food as an excuse to bring people together — and cut down the effort you need to put in!

Borrow Don’t Buy
I have made the mistake for years of buying decor for my dinner and cocktail parties, but now I have done away with a stash of decor that I have used over and over again.  I borrow items like chargers, runners,  and vases from friends and even scoped out a local antique shop that was cool with me renting a few trays for centerpieces (it can’t hurt to ask…right?)

Going the Extra Mile Without Losing your Mind
For a dinner party, I take the extra 5 minutes (literally 5 minutes) to print out the menu onto paper. Then cut the printed paper into narrow sheets, and tape them around the napkin to create a more formal feeling to the evening. Labeling the food is a quick way to feel fancier and show your guests you made an effort.

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The combination of glass bottles, earthy accents from the yard, a proper table setting, and relaxed atmosphere is truly the backbone for a perfect evening. Sometimes, I will hire a bartender and created a signature drink for the evening. Speaking of, if you have not tried a French 75 yet, I highly recommend ordering it on your next date night. We used the recipe from Epicuious to get the party started.

I know hosting can seem overwhelming when you decide to do it. Making a list of things to do and crossing one thing off a day, you won’t need more than two weeks to comfortably throw a fun dinner party where you can focus on the most important thing of all: time with loved ones.

Cheers,
Rina

Chick Picks:

Forget Boat Ownership – Why Boat Sharing is Perfect for Me!

I’m a Chicago gal….well mostly.  Though I was born in Missouri, I’ve spent most of my life in the Chicagoland area.  I moved to downtown when I started my undergraduate career at Depaul University in 2001.  It wasn’t long before I realized the beauty of living in this not-so-hidden Midwestern gem of a city!

From quaint storefronts, to cute coffee shops, and culinary excellence;  I knew  what would make this glorious city even more amazing is having or renting a boat.  Lake Michigan sits on the shorelines of, arguably, one of the most beautiful skylines in the US.  After getting married and doing a brief stint in the suburbs, my husband, two children and I decided to move back to Chicago.  Despite awkward questions and wonder of doing what most people don’t, it was one of the best decisions for our family.

One of the things we love the most about this city is all the green spaces, the family friendly events and the accessibility to Lake Michigan and it’s beautiful beaches.  We couldn’t help but question the possibility of boat ownership.  I feel like it rung in our ears every time we thought of it….the comments of the best days of boat ownership are the “day you buy” it and the “day you sell it.”  That’s when we discovered boat shares.

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One thing was certain, we wanted to share our love for the city and Lake Michigan with our children.  We chose to work with Pinnacle Yachts as our first boat share.  Kudos to my husband who took all the coursework to get certified to get “behind the wheel” of the boat.

Personally speaking, some of the pros of boat sharing are:

-Lifelong memories

-Hosting

-Jumping in the Great Lake Michigan

-The Play Pen

-Being directly under the fireworks as they take off from Navy Pier

-Seeing the beauty of our city from the water day or night

-Cruising the Chicago river

-Tying up to a restaurant for some yummies to share on the boat

-Sleeping on the boat after a long day in the sun

-Joining the likes of others with shared interest of the great outdoors

-Having the option to hire a captain should the driver want to enjoy a cocktail or two with friends and family

-No Mortgage

-No Maintenance

Here are some of the cons:

-Opening and closing the boat

-Scrubbing it down

-Not having first pick on popular dates on the boat

Clearly the pros outweigh the cons and though it’s a luxury, it’s a one to look into for Summer 2018 indeed.  The costs for boat sharing vary greatly based on the type of boat, days you would like to spend on the water and amenities you need when you are out there.  If you have any more questions or would like to learn more about my experience, email me at Sonia@chicksandsalsablog.com

See you on the water!  Check out our Boat Party for Savvy Chick Vlog here.

Your Party Chick,

Sonia