Guest Post at My Life in Turquoise

I'm so excited: my very first guest post is officially live! Please go check out today's post at My Life in Turquoise for my holiday take on turquoise stone nails.

And thank you again, Hetal, for inviting me—I had so much fun with it!

Red and White Holiday Sweater Nails

Happy holidays, everyone! I got busy with all my various shopping/wrapping/baking tasks and forgot to post these traditional red & white fair isle sweater nails I wore recently. But thankfully I found a few spare minutes and got them in under the wire!

This one is pretty straightforward: the base is piCture pOlish O'Hara and the various designs are all from the MoYou London Festive 04 plate, stamped with Zoya Purity.

My stamping precision could use a little work, but I'm still happy with how these turned out. O'Hara is such a gorgeous base and the plates are amazing, like all MoYous.

Thanks for looking, and if you celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful holiday!

Purple Snowflake Stamping

Snowflakes are a staple of winter/holiday nail art. I think just about everyone loves snowflakes—even me, and I hate snow! When I was thinking about my own contribution to the huge collection of snowflake nail art I've seen online, however, I decided that I wanted to put a new spin on this classic holiday look.

This purple snowflake/sparkle look definitely isn't conventional holiday fare, but I still really love how these nails turned out. The base on all nails is Deborah Lippmann Maniac and the stamping is OPI Vant to Bite My Neck? using the MoYou London Festive 03 plate. I added the dots of silver using my favorite silver polish, Zoya Trixie, and then I added the sparkles with Julep Aviva.

All of MoYou's plates are amazing, of course, but I really love these snowflakes something fierce. I might need to find a way to fit them in one more time before the season ends.

What do you think of these nontraditional snowflakes? I'd love to hear from you!

Minty Fresh Nail Art

Now that Christmas is really closing in (I can't even think about how few days I have left to do All The Things), I'm finally getting the chance to post some of my holiday nail art here for you guys. I have a nice little cache saved up to post this week and next, so I hope you enjoy!

First up is this cute little peppermint manicure inspired partly by the holiday season, and partly by one of the new(ish) piCture pOlish collaboration shades, Minty.


As soon as I saw this polish, I knew I had to do peppermint nails with it. The gorgeous mint green with the minty glitters is just too perfect!

The base of the peppermint swirl accent nail is China Glaze Snow and I applied the swirls with piCture pOlish O'Hara and a small nail art brush. The white on top of the red is white acrylic paint, as is the white of the little candies on my ring finger. The red on those is O'Hara again.

Minty is a fabulous polish, like all piCture pOlish's offerings: it went on smoothly and I had to do minimal fishing/placement for good glitter distribution. La Paillette Frondeuse and piCture pOlish did a fantastic job with this one!

It never fails: every time I look at this manicure, I crave a candy cane. I may or may not be eating one as I type this...

Thanks for looking!

Neutral Damask Print Nails

I promise that I have some more holiday nail art in the queue, but first I need to post some of my non-holiday stuff that's been languishing for a while, like this simple damask print manicure. The color palette is very fall/Thanksgiving, which is close to the time I actually wore these nails—and since it's not technically winter yet where I am, I feel like I'm still safe sneaking them in under the wire!

This look is very straightforward: my base here is Pahlish Shallow Lands (which applied perfectly, like all Pahlish polishes, but doesn't seem to be available anymore), and the damask print was stamped on using ILNP Black Orchid and MoYou London's Fashionista 07 plate.

Stamping a complicated pattern that I could never freehand in a million years is still extremely satisfying to me, so these Fashionista plates continue to be totally irresistible. I find myself reaching for them whenever I'm short on inspiration.

Thanks for looking!

Aval Vilayichathu

The very first time I had this yummy snack was from Chennai – from my roommate Reni. Her mom used to prepare this for her every time she came back from home – And I used to finish that up J. I remember getting the recipe from her once and had scribbled it down then. I did not have that note with me but just remembered the ingredients. I knew it wouldn’t go bad as this was something sweet with all my favourite ingredients. Here goes the one with my measurements.

Aval 2

Ingredients:(Serves 2 - 3)

Jaggery                                           --   1 ¼ cup grated/powdered (adjust as per your taste. This is for ones with sweet tooth like me)
Water                                               --   ¼ cup
Aval                                                  --   2 ½ cup
Grated coconut                           --   1 cup
Cardamom powder                    --   1 tsp
Ghee                                                 --   2 tbsp (optional)
Chana Dal                                       --   2 tbsp
Black Sesame seeds                    --   1 tbsp
Coconut bites/ thenga kothu --   as required(optional), I did not add this.
Cashew nuts and raisins           --   as required, I used 8 - 10 each

Aval 3


In a heavy bottomed pan ,add jaggery with water and let it melt completely. Strain for any impurities and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the raisins. Fry until they are blown up. Drain and keep aside.

Add the chana dal and fry until golden brown. Drain and keep aside with the raisins.

Repeat the same with the cashew nuts, coconut bites and sesame seeds one after the other and drain it and keep aside.

Add the aval and fry it until it is crispy. and keep is aside. This step is optional and this will give the snack a crunchy taste if eaten warm and on the same day. If you are planning to save this for later, you can omit this.

Add the jaggery syrup to the pan and cook over low flame until you get one thread consistency (When you lift your spoon, it should flow in without breaks or into a small bowl of water drop a small drop of the syrup and it should not get dissolved.) 

At this stage add the grated coconut and mix well. Cook for 2 -3 minutes until it is thick.Add the cardamom powder. Switch off the stove.

Add the aval and mix well until combined. Add the other fried items kept aside. Mix well.

Best if served with sliced bananas.

Aval 1

This stays good over the counter in an air tight container for a week or two. And for couple of months is refrigerated.

piCture pOlish Fool's Gold Swatches and Review

I don't do straight-up swatch posts too often, so when I do, you know they're going to be pretty special! Today's swatches feature a polish collaboratively designed by one of my favorite brands and one of my favorite nail bloggers—that's about as special as it gets, in my book.

Fool's Gold, designed by piCture pOlish and Sammy from The Nailasaurus, is a turquoise scattered holo sprinkled with just the right amount of small gold hex glitter. The way the gold peeks through the base without being too over the top really does remind me of little gold coins winking up from warm, tropical waters. (And it probably helps that I'm listening to Pirates of the Caribbean music as a write this!)

Like all piCture pOlish shades, this one goes on like a dream and wears really well. The jelly-like formulation also means it doesn't stain and cleans up easily, which is rare and welcome news for a teal polish!

My accent nails here are SUPER BLACK Boss Lady, which I reviewed recently and also really love. It seemed like the perfect choice to really make Fool's Gold pop.

Thanks for looking!

Disclosure: Some of the products in this post were provided for my consideration. All opinions are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Vanpayar thoran:

This is a quick,easy, yummy & healthy dish. The only part that I dont like is that we need to plan well ahead for this dish. Soaking the payar for 6-8 hours really matters. At times I ve tried various other short cuts like soaking it in hot water for 1 - 2 hours or pressure cooking it for longer time etc.. You can get it cooked well in all ways.But the perfection comes only when you soak it for a longer time.

This pairs best with rice & moru curry or with Kanji . But I love to have this even with chapathi or puttu.

VanPayar Thoran 4

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4):

Red gram                    --   1½ cup
Turmeric powder   --   ½ tsp
Chilly powder          --   ½ tsp
Coconut                      --   ½ cup
Cumin seeds              --   ½ tsp
Garlic                           --   2 to 3 pods (optional)
Shallots                       --   2 to 3
Mustard                      --   ½ tsp
Red Chilly                   --   3 to 4
Curry leaves             --   2 - 3 springs
Salt                               --   to taste


Soak red gram for 6 to 8 hours. Wash and cook it in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder and chilly powder.

Coarsely grind together coconut and cumin with a pinch of turmeric powder.

VanPayar Thoran 1       VanPayar Thoran 2

Heat oil in a pan and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the red chillies and curry leaves.Add the finely chopped garlic(optional) and shallots.

Add the ground coconut mixture and fry for a minute.

Now add the cooked lentils to this, mix well and switch off the flame.

VanPayar Thoran 5

Serve hot with rice or kanji.

Blue and Brown Stamped Waterfall Nail Art

I didn't have a chance yesterday to share the nails I wore for Thanksgiving (I was rushing to get out the door for dinner), so I thought I'd go ahead and put them up today. Better late than never, right? They're really more of a general wintery look than Thanksgiving, anyway, so hopefully I can be forgiven.

It's been forever since I've done any kind of mix-and-match/skittlette–style manicure—I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoy them! Inspired by the darker blue and brown flecks in my base color, Pahlish Midsummer Skies, this waterfall/stamping combo really captures both the chill & warmth of the season for me.

On top of the Midsummer Skies base, I stamped my thumb and ring finger using OPI Yoga-ta Get This Blue! and OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys with the MoYou London Festive 04 plate. Then I did the waterfall on my index and middle finger with the following polishes:

  • OPI Yoga-ta Get This Blue!
  • OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys
  • FNUG Bandana
  • piCture pOlish Bette
The glittery pinky nail accent is Dance Legend Road to Nowhere.

I probably never would have considered blue and brown for a color scheme for my own nails, but I'm really in love with how this turned out. It's so perfectly wintery! 

I have to be honest, though: the stamping for this one gave me fits. Trying to get the two colors to work right in one stamp and stamp the image straight on my nail was a little too much for my patience levels. The stamping here is still not quite how I want it—kinda crooked, and not centered correctly—but I reached a point where I just couldn't redo it again. Sometimes "almost perfect" has to be good enough!

Thanks for looking, and I hope those who celebrated it had a wonderful holiday!

Achinga Payar Mezhukkupuratti / Long Beans Stir Fry

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 3

Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4):

Achinga Payar / Long Beans  --   250gm
Turmeric Powder               --   ¼ tsp
Chilly Powder                     --   1 tsp
Shallots                                 --   2 - 3 (optional)
Mustard seeds                    --   1 tsp
Red chillies                          --   2
Curry Leaves                      --   1 sprig
Oil                                            --   2 tbsp ,  I use coconut oil
Salt                                          --   as required


Clean and cut the payar/beans; almost 2 inch . In a pan, add the cut beans, turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt and half a cup of water and let it cook until soft. Add more water only if required - we want the beans to be completely dry, by the time it is cooked. Keep aside.

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 1

Heat oil in another pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the curry leaves and broken dry red chillies. Add the chopped shallots, if using and saute until the shallots are brown.

Add cooked beans and mix well. Keep it on a low flame for few minutes, until any remaining water gets dried.

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 2

Serve hot with rice.

Black and Grey Curly Checkerboard Nail Art

I'm on such a stamping kick lately! I'm still enjoying my Messy Mansion stamper heads so much that I feel like I'm rediscovering all the awesome plates I have. And in the case of this look, I finally got to use a polish I'd coveted forever (surprise, surprise—it's grey!), so I'm especially pleased to share today's post.

Way back in July when I saw Wacky Laki's swatches from the Dance Legend Smoky Collection, I fell in love with them instantly. I knew I had to have these polishes! They were a bit hard to come by for a while (most of them are in stock at Llarowe as of the time of this posting, however), but I finally got my hands on a couple of shades and they're everything I hoped they would be.

The base of this look is Grey Britain. I really love the fine black particles in this polish—they give it such an interesting textured-but-not appearance. And the shade of grey is so perfect, too. I have a well-documented thing for grey polishes, but this one is definitely unique in my collection.

The stamping here is SUPER BLACK Lacquers Murdered Out (no longer available, sadly) stamped using MoYou London's Fashionista 09 plate.

Thanks for looking!

Potato Bonda

Aalo Bonda 6

Ingredients (Makes 20 medium sized):

Potato                        --   4 medium sized
Onion                         --   1 small
Green chillies         --   3-4
Turmeric powder --   ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds       --   ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds           --   ¼ tsp
Curry leaves           --  3 -4 leaves
Oil                               --  2 tbsp

For the cover:

Besan / gram flour --  ¾ cup
Rice flour               --   1/8 cup
Chilly powder      --   1 tsp
Asafoetida / Kayam --   ½ tsp
Baking soda          --   ½ tsp
Salt                           --   as required
Water                      --   ½ - ¾ cup

Oil                            --    as required to deep fry

Aalo Bonda 5


Clean the potatoes and cook them in a pressure cooker adding enough water. Or cook the potatoes as you do, preferably without peeling.

Peel the cooked potatoes and mash it.Keep aside It need not be mashed to very smooth consistency - depending upon how you like to bite them :)

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds Let it splutter. Add the cumin seeds. Then add the finely chopped onions and thinly chopped green chillies and salt. Saute until the onions are slightly brown. Add the thinly chopped curry leaves and turmeric powder. Saute for couple of minutes.

Add the mashed potato and switch off the flame. Mix and let it cool.

Give a good mix with your hand and make equal sized balls out of it. Keep aside.

Aalo Bonda 1

Mix all the ingredients for the coating.Add water little by little and make the batter. The consistency of the batter should be medium thick - like dosa batter, if you are familiar with it.

Heat oil in a deep pan, preferably a deep & wide kadai. Once the oil is really hot, reduce the flame to medium.

   Aalo Bonda 2                   Aalo Bonda 3

Dip the potato balls in the batter, roll it around to have an even coating and deep fry. Turn the bondas only after couple of minutes, once the coating really sticks to it. Otherwise, the spoon might tear the coating and oil gets into it.

Fry until the cover is golden brown as shown.

Aalo Bonda 4

Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.

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