Addicted to ‘Jane by Design’

Jane by Design TV Series - Cherry CrossShorter work hours (well kind of) + sluggish social scene + hubby out-of-town = TIME FOR A NEW SERIES!

I have been watching a “certain” kind of series lately – this category focuses on two things: Fashion and Women. I started with Ugly Betty, then Lipstick Jungle, Cashmere Mafia and now Jane by Design.

My latest addiction, Jane by Design, is about a high school girl, Jane Quirby, who isn’t exactly the ‘nerve of the social scene at school’ and spends all her time with her only best friend – Billy. By a stroke of fate, she ends up working for a world-famous designer, Gray Chandler Murray. And this is how the story begins and evolves – Jane juggling two different lives, one at high school and one in high fashion.

I love Jane’s life, her friendship with Billy, Gray’s ice queen character, India’s dirty ways and Jeremy’s irritating charm. I feel like it’s my dream on TV – my dream of being involved in the fashion world like she. Be the person that she is. Smart, witty, intelligent, on her toes, and hands down GORGEOUS. I am down to the 4th episode and have paused ONLY because its 2 AM and I need to be at work at 9:30!

If you have already seen this series, do tell me how did you find it. And the rest – please just watch it. I can sneak you the address to watch it online *wink wink*

P.S. Jane’s wardrobe will blow you away!

Versace Couture FW14 – The Queen Takes Over the Fashion Reins!

I have never been a fan of Versace Couture but yesterday’s show had made me a convert. It was a consistently fab show, with one show-stopper after the other. I loved the solid colors, asymmetrical cuts, destructed silhouettes, metallic accents and silk soie drapes. The collection highlighted exquisitely pleated bodice, stark cutouts, striped mesh, strips of vinyl embroidered onto a transparent base and lots of pants. Donatella has the infamous J.Lo as her muse, dressed in a white Versace Couture dress. With pulled back hair, smokey eyes, gold earrings and white clutch and stilettos, she was a fashion vision to behold. Here’s Versace’s new approach to couture, hot from the runway:

Whatcha' Looking at Donnatella? :D

Whatcha’ Looking at Donnatella? :D

One of my Favorites from Versace Couture Fall Winter 2014, Fashion Show in Paris

One of my Favorites from Versace Couture Fall Winter 2014, Fashion Show in Paris

One of my Favorites from Versace Couture Fall Winter 2014, Fashion Show in Paris

One of my Favorites from Versace Couture Fall Winter 2014, Fashion Show in Paris

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Queen of Spades says “EHOI” to Ramadan

Lamya AbedinBring out your maracas as Queen of Spades goes all Latin with its latest Mexican-inspired collection. The vivacious collection was unveiled at the La Fiesta Grande, a private pre-Eid preview, held at the Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall.

The fashionable evening unfolded over a sit-down dinner, designed and styled by Lafayette Gourmet to present an epicurean experience fit for the Mexican bonhomie that designer Lamya Abedin presented.

Abedin’s exotic Latin designs once again celebrate folk art and traditions and represent it in an urban, modern style – the very elements that make up the core of the Queen of Spades brand. The newest creations keenly emphasise indigenous crafts and pre-Columbian art that has thrived over a wide timescale, from 1800 BC to AD 1500. Abedin has particularly drawn from certain artistic characteristics that were widely prevalent in the Latin-Spanish belt through the years, like a preference for angular, linear patterns, and three-dimensional ceramics. Continue Reading

Recipe: Glorified Instant Noodles

I love my friends who happily cook for me, and whip up amazing meals in the time it takes me to make coffee (from a sachet). I met Nats last night and she treated me to an amazing meal, made from INSTANT NOODLES! Yes, there were a handful of other ingredients involved but it took about 10-15 minutes to make it, and it tasted great. And I just had to share this recipe to help all those who are neither fond nor good at cooking (including moi).

So, here it goes!

Glorified Instant Noodles - Recipe on Cherry Cross

Glorified Instant Noodles – Recipe on Cherry Cross

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 2):

  • 3 packs of Instant Noodles (you can choose any brand and flavor you like – we went for Maggi)
  • 1 cup frozen veggies (peas, carrots, corns)
  • 3 mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 cup cabbage (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp black soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  •  Oil (to fry the chicken strips and stir fry veggies)
  • 6 frozen chicken strips

METHOD: Continue Reading

LAVISH FUTOOR OPTIONS (AED300+)

Feast like a king - lavish futoor options - cherry crossIf you would like to go all out, and feast like a king, here are some options that will make your wish come true. These places have fantastic ambiance, great food and an unforgettable experience. Check out the lavish futoor options below, courtesy Time Out Dubai:

Al Falak Ballroom at Burj Al Arab Majlis-style tent, with a buffet serving mezze, Arabic desserts, cheeses, traditional gahwa (coffee) and Arabic ice cream. Dhs400 per person. Daily sunset-9.15pm. Burj al Arab, Umm Suqeim (04 301 7600).

At.Mosphere Iftar here has an unusual twist, since it is served as a high tea, but with a few Arabian twists. Dhs340. 7pm-10.30pm. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

BiCE Mare A four course menu of Italian cooking, including starter, pasta, main course and dessert. The terrace overlooks the Dubai Fountains. Dhs300. Daily from 7pm-midnight. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 423 0982).

RAMADAN KAREEM FROM TEAM CHERRY CROSS!

Iftar Options – Under AED100

Best places for Iftaar on a budget in Dubai - Cherry CrossLooking for an iftar out on a budget? Here some delicious options, courtesy Time Out Dubai:

Alchemia Tent at Habtoor Grand Beach Resort
This Ramadan tent serves fresh juices, mixed grills and light bites from an à la carte menu, as well as buffet options. The World Cup games will be shown here, and shisha is available. Private VIP lounges available for hire that can accommodate up to 15 people with private plasma TV screens or projectors.
Iftar and suhoor priced à la carte. Iftar: sunset-9pm. Suhoor: 9pm-3am. Habtoor Grand Beach Resort , Al Sufouh Road, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).

Bastakiya Café
A buffet selection of international, Arabic, Indian, Pakistani and Asian dishes, including a selection of starters, salad, soup, main courses, desserts and juices. Arabic coffee and dates will also be served.
Dhs85 per person. Half price children aged six to 12. Daily sunset-10.30pm. Arabian Courtyard Hotel, Al Fahidi Street (04 351 9111).

Barbecue Delights
Over 60 dishes of Pakistani, Afghani and North Indian cuisines from the buffet, including barbecue grills, curries and desserts.
Dhs70 (Sat-Wed), Dhs75 (Thu and Fri). Dhs40 (children four-12 years). Daily sunset-9pm. Opposite Lamcy Plaza, Oud Metha (04 335 9868). Other location: Dhs90. Dhs50 (children aged four to 12). Sunset-12.30am. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 434 3443).

Bundoo Khan
Contemporary Pakistani cuisine and barbecue, plus traditional Arabic dishes, mocktails, karak chai and Peshawari kahwa.
From Dhs75 per person. Daily sunset-10pm. Xclusive Clover Hotel apartments, Rigga Al Buteen, Deira (04 233 6333).

C.Taste
A budget friendly option.
Iftar: Dhs90. 7pm-10pm. Suhoor: Dhs70. 2am-4am. Centro Al Barsha (04 704 0000).

City Cafe
Iftar Buffet with Benefits. With every Iftar, you get more than double the value back in vouchers; a free Fitness First day pass worth Dhs100 plus a free iCare Clinics voucher worth Dhs50. Plus, buy 4 Iftars and get 1 free.
Dhs 49-69. Daily from sunset to 8:30. At Citymax Hotels in Al Barsha (04 409 8000), Bur Dubai (050 100 7065) and Sharjah (05 598 5000).

Downtown tent
Arabic cooking, music and shisha.
Iftar and suhoor priced à la carte. Sun-Wed 6pm-2am, Thu-Sat 6pm-3am. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 423 8883).

Fresh Restaurant
A traditional iftar buffet. From Dhs99 per person.
Dhs45 (children six-11 years). Free (kids aged below five years). Daily sunset-10pm. Golden Tulip Hotel, Al Barsha (04 501 6181).

Nosh
Get the chance to win a five-night stay for two in Istanbul including flights.
Dhs99. Kids under six dine for free. Daily from sunset. Movenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A (04 438 0000).

Pizza Express
A family friendly iftar.
Dhs69 per person. Daily sunset-11pm. China Court, Ibn Battuta Mall (04 368 5134).

The Noodle House
Iftar menu includes a platter of dates, fruit and juices to begin, followed by roti canai, duck wonton soup, dim sum, grilled Javanese chicken, sweet and sour fish, kailan and fried tofu cooked with tomato chili paste, and much more.
Dhs90. 7pm-11.30pm. Various locations, www.thenoodlehouse.com (04 366 6730).

The Palace Courtyard
Atmospheric Arabic courtyard, hosts a suhoor with Arabic mezze, music and shisha.
Dhs50 per person (cover charge). 8pm-2.30am. One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai Marina (04 399 9999).

BUSINESS OF BLOGGING – BY Grechen Reiter

Business of BloggingA seasoned blogger with 10 years of solid experience, Grechen Reiter shares an invaluable insight about the ‘Business of Blogging’. Her million dollar advice to make it big as a blogger is:

‘HANDLE THE FINANCIAL SIDE PROFESSIONALLY’

Now, that doesn’t sound very difficult right? Ask any blogger who is trying to earn a consistent income through blogging and s/he will attest to my view that it is, indeed, quite difficult. Grechen, however, has been kind enough to also tell us HOW. Here’s what she has to say on her post at IFB:

Establish a business FIRST

I actually did this…but it’s really important to have a business entity that you work under right from the beginning. I never took personal checks or cash or anything like that, I started with a PayPal account and sent and received invoices through that (I still do). You can set up an LLC, or a sole proprietorship if you want, you have to decide which one is better for you, but DO IT.

Make a business plan

Set goals for yourself and your business and then hold yourself accountable. Start small, and make a one year business plan, then circle out to include where you want your business to be in 5 or 10 years. I’ve heard that having a business plan can make you more productive and efficient (I honestly don’t know though, I have never done one. Although I know I should!!). It can also be useful if you’re looking for investment, even if only from friends & family.

Business of Blogging

Start with Quickbooks immediately

I started using Quickbooks a few years into my business and it was the best decision I ever made. I wish I’d started earlier, but even so, having an accounting system is ESSENTIAL to knowing how much money you make every year and filing your taxes. If you take some time every month to reconcile everything (now it’s much easier than it was 10 years ago!!), you’ll have nearly nothing to do at tax time, just fill in the numbers. I like Quickbooks, and now I use the online version, but there are other free services out there.

Separate business & personal accounts

After you create your business entity set up a bank account IMMEDIATELY, and then keep it separate from your personal account. I did this too, but I didn’t try very hard to keep it separate. I still don’t, honestly. It’s hard! The idea is that you receive money to your business account and pay business-related expenses from that, AND keep some in reserve, then pay yourself by transferring money into your personal account.

Also, if you earn any money from affiliate commissions you know how cyclical it can be. One month you’ll rake it in and the next, crickets. Unfortunately for you, the IRS still needs to get their estimated taxes every quarter, and you probably have bills to pay that don’t fluctuate with your income, so it’s important to save enough to cover the lean months. This is something that I still haven’t perfected.

make money blogging

Have an accountant

I still don’t have an accountant, but I wish I did. Especially if he/she would tell me how I can consider my clothing purchases business expenses!! Seriously, I think paying professionals is important, especially if you’re running a business. You do what you do best and let someone else handle the other stuff! I definitely wish I’d hired an accountant early on and kept him/her.

Invest in the business, tools, classes, etc.,

Ultimately, my regret boils down to not making the investments I should have in my business from the beginning: not investing the time to do accounting properly, and then not investing money BACK into my business, so that I’d have some reserves and the ability to purchase things I need to run it efficiently. Not just clothes ;)

Overeating – Why and How to Stop it

How to stop overeatingLet’s face it, the extra pounds you’re carrying around are due to overeating – plain and simple. Why do you overeat? Here are a few likely reasons:

1. Habit: Whether you realize it or not, you eat in a learned pattern, rather than out of need. You clean your plate because that’s what your mother taught. You eat what is served without stopping to check if you are full. You butter two pieces of toast for breakfast rather than questioning if one piece would do the job.
2. Absentminded: You forget to pay attention when you eat. Mindless munching while watching a movie, snacking while driving, or picking at food while cooking – these absentminded calories really add up.
3. Something Deeper: Sometimes you use food for recreation or to change your mood. These calories may lend you a temporary sense of comfort or pleasure, but ultimately your body suffers from the indulgence. 

Here are 3 Steps To overcome Overeating - read these, and apply them to your life.

Step #1: Pay Attention
Be aware of what and how much you eat. This simple concept will save you from hundreds upon hundreds of calories each week. 

To apply this rule, don’t eat while your attention is distracted by another activity. Only put food in your mouth when you are hungry and conscious of it. This means turn off the T.V., get out of your car, and no matter what you do, don’t graze in the kitchen while cooking.

Step #2: Practice Balance
Be aware of the types of food that you eat during each meal, and make sure that it’s balanced. When you eat a balanced diet filled with lean protein, whole grains, lots of veggies, a few daily servings of fruit and limited fat and sweets, your body will be satisfied and you’ll lose the urge to overeat.

This means you shouldn’t always eat carb-based meals, and you also shouldn’t always eat high-fat meals. Make a mental checklist of the food groups that you’ve eaten each day. Did you eat lean protein? Did you have plenty of vegetables? Did you refrain from eating more than one or two primarily carb-based meals? This mental checklist will save you from making food decisions that you’d later regret.

Step #3: Be Tuned In
Your body will always tell you when its hunger has been satisfied – you’ve just gotten so good at ignoring the signs that you barrel through your meal only to feel like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks once all that food hits your stomach. It’s time to take a deep breath and listen to your body.

An important part of being tuned in is to eat slowly. Once you start to pay attention you’ll notice a point when each bite becomes less and less satisfying. That is your body’s way of letting you know that you’ve had enough and that each continued bite is simply overkill (yes, even if you’re only halfway through that plate of pasta).

By learning how to control your eating habits, you’ll find weight loss to come simply and naturally.

A DAY IN SHARJAH

Sharjah's Skyline at Sunset - Beautiful - A Day in Sharjah - Cherry Cross

Sharjah’s Skyline at Sunset – Beautiful

Don’t ask me ‘WHY SHARJAH?!?’ It was just one of the things you do out of boredom and loneliness. N was out of town and to avoid being a couch potato, I decided to tag along Farah on her expedition to Sharjah.

FROM DUBAI TO SHARJAH
We had a plan. We had to take a cab from our place to metro, then metro would take us to Union MS and we’d take a bus to Sharjah’s bus station. Fortunately, we left around 5 and while in the cab to metro station had a change of heart and took the cab all the way to Sharjah (border). It costed around AED 55. You have both options.

WHAT TO SEE IN SHARJAH
If you ask me, nothing. The architecture is similar to Bur Dubai and Deira, traffic is a nightmare and crowd gawks so much that it gets uncomfortable. We went to Eye of the Emirates (5/10), Sharjah Aquarium and Museum (5/10), Al Majaaz Water Front and Caribou at Khalid Lagoon (7/10 – only place I got a WiFi) and Rolla Mall (0.1/10).

WILL I GO THERE AGAIN?
For business, I won’t have a choice, but pleasure, no thank you. And without a car, definitely not.

BEWARE
- Dress Code: make sure you are modestly dresses (read: covered arms, legs and bum).
- Temperature: it get extremely hot and humid. Stay hydrated and keep a bottle of water handy.
- Flirtation: a Arabic speaking kid (at least a decade younger than me) made a pass at me, and was quite obviously high on testosterone. It was amusing. But only for a short while.
- Itinerary: make a list of all the places you want to see (Google is your friend). Else, hop on a tour bus. Don’t wander around on your own.

Once, all experience are worth it.

Happy Experimental Traveling Cherries!

I wanted the traffic to be like this - If Only!! A Day in Sharjah - Cherry Cross

I wanted the traffic to be like this – If Only!!

I was more thankful for the Wifi than food :D A day in Sharjah - Cherry Cross

I was more thankful for the Wifi than food :D

Selfie in Eye of the Emirates Capsule ;)

Selfie in Eye of the Emirates Capsule ;)

At the Water Front, awaiting the colorful water show - A Day in Sharjah - Cherry Cross

At the Water Front, awaiting the colorful water show

 

Summer Essential: Culottes

On a whim, I bought a pair of culottes from one of my favorite stores – F&F (Oasis Center). I had no idea how will I style or wear them. But thanks to the goddess of mindless shopping that I bought these.

There are a part of my work wardrobe, and easily transition to after work meet-up with friends. For this post, I wore a red cotton button down, ankle gladiators and lots of accessories.

Summer Essential - OOTD

Summer Essential – OOTD

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