Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Quick Tips To Enjoy An Even Better Maui Vacation

Maui is renowned for its literally endless white sand beaches, colorful luaus and different sporting activities one can enjoy. Basically, Maui is perfect for every single possible vacation desire. You can find incredible Maui beach condos to stay at, in picturesque locations, and then enjoy a full day of everything you may desire. 


While Maui is definitely a treat, there are always things that can be better if we are to enjoy everything more. This is normal with every holiday destination from around the world. If you want to enjoy Maui even more, consider these really simple tips. 

Choosing An Ideal Maui Vacation Location
Maui gives you access to numerous entertainment sites, hotels and resorts. As a first-time traveler it is so easy to become overwhelmed. You will most likely have no idea where to settle and what accommodation is the best option for you. There is a reason why Maui is locally known as “Magic Isle”. There are 81 beaches available, all filled with rental cottages, condominiums, hotels and luxury resorts to choose from. 
If you love adventure and are looking for action, even if the vacation should be relaxing, go to the west. This is where many outdoor activities and water sports wait for you. If you love shopping, go to Lahaina. When looking for a highly romantic location with the one you love, you want to consider Maui’s southern parts. The white sand beaches there are immaculate and the sunrise is a delight when in a hammock, with Wailea and Kihei being perfect towns to consider. 
If you visit central Maui you can enjoy Hawaiian culture at its very best and when looking for mystery and solitude, eastern Maui should be your destination. 

Where Should You Stay?
Beach resorts and luxury hotels are present all throughout Maui. Many are expensive so you do want to know what your budget is so you fully understand exactly what accommodations you can afford. It is generally a good idea to book ahead, especially when budget is limited. Try to choose based on what is available on the island and what places of interest you will want to visit. There is something unique in every Maui corner so do plan the trip ahead. This should be done before accommodations are chosen. 
When particularly interested in saving on accommodations, you want to consider rental condo units. They include fully furnished bedrooms and have complete kitchens. When you travel with a family or a larger group, these rental units are highly preferred. If you travel with a small group or just with another person, something remote like a cabin is normally what is chosen. 

Make Right Bookings
Whenever possible, it is a very good idea to book ahead of time, before you reach Maui. There are always numerous accommodations available but in many beach resorts and hotels you actually need to book your stay at least 2 weeks before arrival date. The travel itinerary can be created after you make the bookings. Always check with the hotel you consider for available location transfers and tour packages since this can help you to save more money on the long run. 


When worried about the fact that you cannot cancel, remember that most resorts and hotels do accommodate cancellations. You just need to let the establishment know around 48 hours ahead of time. Some cancellation fees might appear so you want to know about them before you make the booking. 

Getting Around
Getting around Maui islands is possible in different way. At the end of the day your choice will depend on how much you want to get around alone. When exploring Maui for the first time, guided tours are recommended. These take you to various popular travel destinations. 
Those that visited Maui several times and are familiar with highways and roads can always rent cars to explore everything in complete freedom. ATV rentals are available and you can easily take advantage of public transportation, which is affordable. 

What Should You Take With You?
Maui is a great travel destination for those that love light packing. The climate is warm so you do not need to take really heavy sweaters with you. If your goal is to be a part of many sightseeing trips, be sure that you have comfortable clothing with you, like light cotton shirts and shorts. Sunglasses and hats are always a very good idea and you should always remember to bring sunscreen or buy once in Maui. Obviously, swimsuits are important due to the numerous waterfalls and beaches that can be explored in this part of Hawaii. 
In the event you want to go up country to visit ranches and enjoy some horseback riding, be sure that you have long pants and closed shoes with you. Biking tours and cycling tours will require specific clothing so preparations should be made in advance. 
Some of the Maui posh bars and restaurants impose specific dress codes. If you want to go there you need casual-formal outfits. However, in most restaurants people can enjoy themselves while wearing casual outfits. Shorts and shirts are very common there.

Final Thoughts
The tips above will make your Maui stay more enjoyable but there is so much more that can be said. Be sure that you take the time you need to actually learn all that you need to, based on where you will go. Maui can be experienced in so many ways that it is a shame not to consider them. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to Spend Less and Enjoy More On Holiday

I love traveling and feel that it is undoubtedly one of the most fulfilling ways to relax and unwind as distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. Exploring new places, meeting new people and learning about different cultures help us to refresh our minds from our daily routines. Home is still the same when we get back from a good holiday, but something in our mind has changed, and that changes everything. As much as traveling is fun, it can also be an expensive affair. Whether it is the air tickets or pricey hotels, traveling abroad is always a challenge if you have a budget restriction. 


However, there are some simple tips that you can follow to save money while planning a vacation so here is your guide on how to spend less and enjoy a pocket friendly vacation abroad -

1. Start a Travel Fund
Unless you have a lot of extra moolah in your bank account, it's time to create a travel fun. The easiest way to do so is to set a recurring deposit where a certain amount gets deducted from your savings account and is stored for your holiday.

2. Buy insurance
Why is insurance important, you ask? I've heard horror stories of people reaching their holiday destination while the airline has lost all their luggage. Then there is one where someone I knew had just gotten to day two of their big fat Euro trip, where the bag containing all their cash, passport and valuables disappeared at a cafe in Barcelona so they had to the Indian embassy and return back to India on day 3 of the vacation. Unfortunately we can't predict life and a smooth journey can take a dismal and unexpected twist anytime. No matter what we say or think, we never know what is waiting at the end of the tunnel. Such situations have made me realize the importance of buying a term insurance plan to curtail the impact of unexpected twists. After researching the same, I realized that we can now thankfully get a term plan online and it is affordable and time saving.

3. Choose an off beat destination
The more popular a destination, the more commercialized it will be. Going to underrated and under-traveled destinations can help you save money on accommodations and activities and avoid the crowds associated with top tourist spots. 

4. Make off-season your best friend
Traveling off season is one of the simplest moves that will lower the cost of your international trip. Every location has a peak season when flight, hotel and other costs are hiked up immensely. 

5. Try a Vacation Rental
Instead of choosing the standard path of a hotel, options like airbnb, couch surfing and hostels can help you save a lot of money. We often spend most of our days outdoors while traveling, so it only makes sense to spend more on your stay if you will be spending a lot of time in the hotel premises.
Another bonus of a vacation rental is that you can buy fresh produce and cook your own meals, saving up on restaurant meal costs too. 

6. Stay in a Central Location 
Transportation can add up quickly, so make sure you stay in a central location from all the places you wish to visit. Ideally, somewhere you can walk everywhere would work best. 

7. Look for Free Walking Tours
If you wish to know more about the history, culture or other trivia about the place you're visiting, instead of booking tours and guides, try to look up for free tours online. Many cities around the world offer free guided tours which offer a comprehensive experience free of cost. 

So these were my tips for you to save money while enjoying your holiday! Hope you find them helpful. 

Image source - here

About Aegon Life:

Aegon Life Insurance Company Limited launched its pan-India operations in July 2008 with a vision to be the most recommended new age life insurance Company. Aegon is one of the world’s leading financial services organizations (providing life insurance, pension plans, and asset management) and Bennett, Coleman & Company (India’s leading media conglomerate) have come together to launch Aegon Life Insurance. This joint venture adopts a local approach with the power of global expertise to facilitate a direct to customer approach, leveraging digital platforms to bring transparent solutions to customers and to prioritize their needs.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

A Chick's Guide To Buying A Car

Though I have been driving my parent's cars for a while, I bought my first car exactly one year ago. And for all of you who are contemplating buying one, this is a really good time as numerous major international brands are available in India, and there's something for every need and budget. I'm writing this post from a female perspective so besides the fact that it is much safer to have your own ride than to rely on cabs or other people, it's also really helps to have your own car because you can plonk your shoes, bags and clothes in it! 

If you don't know how to drive or have just learned, it is a good idea to buy or drive a used or old car sometime till you develop the confidence to drive in traffic and at peak hours. In case you don't want to or can't get yourself to learn driving, choose an automatic model. 

 A chick's guide to buying a new car -


1. Budget -
The first thing you need to consider is your budget and analyze which sort of car best meets your needs best.  If you're single or are a family of two, you obviously don't need to buy an SUV or MUV but you need to consider how long you plan to keep the car. Consider your savings and the loan you would like to take for the vehicle. You can make the down payment using credit cards and after choosing your loan amount and monthly EMI, you can instruct your bank so that the EMI gets auto deducted from your salary/business account. This personal loan emi calculator might provide handy for the same.

2. Manufacturer Research -
Go through reviews of cars online from trusted sites and read owner's reviews on Team BHP to see their feedback. Also, ask family, friends and colleagues about their vehicles performance if you are interested in purchasing the same model. Don't buy a car model that is about to be discontinued as you’ll regret it when you need to find spare parts and you won't get a good resale value either.

3. Petrol or Diesel -
Then there's the age old debate between petrol and diesel. Diesel cars have higher maintenance costs and have a price premium to pay. However, they are more apt if you drive long distances. Some diesels work out cheaper if you consider it from an EMI perspective.

4. Test Drive -
Above and beyond what the world says, this going to be your car and you will be driving it, so make sure you test drive all your choices before zeroing upon one. This is when you get the look and feel of your ride and can choose one of your liking. What is right for someone else may not be right for you so consider details like the comfort of the driving position, pickup and responsive. Take a friend, relative or partner along while test driving as they can offer their unbiased comments or opinions about 

5. Features -
Safety options such as ABS (anti-lock braking system), airbags are a must and are well worth it because your safety comes first. But the last thing we women care about is alloys, rims and fancy tires, so consider each feature of each model and the cost of the same. 

6. Timing -
Car manufacturers often provide special deals and discounts during the festive season so that is a good time to buy one. Avoid buying a car in December as by waiting for less than a month, your car will be a year newer. Do research on what discounts are available and ask about manufacturer specials and impending price cuts.

7. Insurance -
Dealerships profit from fat commissions on every insurance policy sold. Instead of buying insurance coverage from the showroom, take quotes from a couple of insurance companies as can save anywhere between 20 to 40% on insurance by shopping yourself and bypassing the dealer. If you are buying a premium car, opt for zero depreciation car insurance as premium cars are equipped with premium-priced parts.  
.
8. Accessories:
Crosscheck accessory prices between the showroom and after-market dealers as authorized dealerships charge much more than accessory shops do. So getting seat covers or other accessories from outside saves you quite a bit of cash. 

So those were my tips on buying a car and I hope this guide is helpful for you if you're confused about how to go about car shopping! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Spa Review - Serena Spa at Corinthians Pune

It's no secret that I'm quite a klutz and end up in comical yet painful situations like slipping and falling, banging into doors or accidentally slicing my hand ever since I was little. But this month, I took the cake and fell not once, but twice splat on my backside in a span of ten days. The first one was pretty intense and painful and I attribute it to a broken step and my platform heels (coming to think of it, the last time I tripped and fell last year was while I was wearing the same pair! Must be careful of them now!) while the second was at my regular Friday night watering hole where just as I was about to be sit on a chair, a waiter pulled it back to adjust it for me and thanks to our mismatched timing, the rest is history. Now as funny as it was, I ended up with a nagging lower back pain thanks to these two incidents and was in dire need of some repairing. 



Luckily for me, Serena Spa came to my rescue! For those of you who didn't know, Serena is a global chain of spas with a presence in India, Maldives, Seychelles, Spain and Singapore and in Pune, they are situated in the Corinthians resort and club. I visited Serena last week and not only did my spa therapy fix my back ache, but it also left me relaxed, restored and rejuvenated with an added bonus of baby soft skin which I can still feel a week later!




As I entered the spa, I was greeted with a warm welcome from the staff who gave me a form to fill and asked me if I had any particular ailments or issues following which I was served a cup of warm green tea with honey and the menu to decide which therapy I would like to go for. I decided to try their Red Rice Signature Full Body Massage as I had read rave reviews about it. This spa treatment consists of a refreshing massage using a paste of finely ground pure organic red rice mixed with rose water and curd and is absolutely perfect for those of you who want to combine a skin ritual with a body massage or if you don't prefer an oil based massage. 



The therapy began with a short steam session to prep my skin and muscles for the massage following which my therapist started the cleansing process with a short foot massage in this luxurious massage room which was filled with exotic aromas, aesthetic lighting and tranquil music to enhance and optimize the total mind - body experience. I mentioned my back pain and the fall to my therapist so she used a combination of various techniques using deft movements which were very relaxing yet energizing. The hour long massage was something I was in dire need of and it left me rejuvenated for the week to come. Post massaging, she left a coat of the paste on me like a body mask, and gave me a oil head massage, focusing on the forehead, which was the icing on the cake. As the paste has a granular texture, it exfoliates and helps get rid of dead skin and post showering, I was amazed at how soft and smooth my skin felt. This is a chemical free therapy that is rich in antioxidants and does wonders for your skin! 



I absolutely loved this therapy and the best part about the spa being located in a resort that it is the ideal setting for you and your girl gang to have spa parties, pre-bridal spa getaways and spa bachelorettes! What makes things even better is that they have daily special offers along with packages targeted for specific skin/body types and even offer facials, scrubs and wraps making it an ideal stop for brides-to-be! It is also a great setting for you to have a spa day with your beau as they have couple therapies too and as I was exiting, I saw a couple walk in for the same.

I totally recommend Serena Spa for a wonderful and relaxing spa experience and absolutely loved it!

Address - Corinthians Club and Resort, Undri, Pune
Number - 020 26542186 extn 183/186

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Get Better Sleep With SleepX

The ill effects of sleep deprivation

I'm sure you've pulled an all nighter sometime or the other in life which has resulted in very cranky next day along with headaches and fatigue. If you're not sleeping well on a regular basis, this can also lead to weight gain, risk of heart disease and a general reduction in immunity. Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation can cause weight gain by affecting our metabolism and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite. 

 A key observation I have seen myself whenever I have been sleep deprived is irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. I also tend to get headaches, backaches and hot flashes if I haven't slept well the previous night. And if all this wasn't enough, sleep disorders have also been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat. Sleep debt also contributes to a higher tendency to fall asleep during the daytime and such lapses can cause mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and most commonly road accidents. 

Benefits of sleep

It is rightly said that a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. When it comes to learning and memory, sleep helps the brain process and store new information in your memory via a process known as memory consolidation, which is why they say it is essential to get a good night's sleep before an exam or job interview. To put it in a nutshell, quality sleep will give you better memory, more focus, less stress, improved productivity, better relationships and happier days, lose weight, avoid aging prematurely and live longer. Phew, that's a lot of benefits in exchange for eight hours of shut eye, isn't it? 


Source - Link

How to Get Good Sleep

A prime factor that contributes to your quality of sleep is your mattress and bedding. If you're bed is uncomfortable, it can lead to backaches and neck pain along and leave you tossing and turning all night long. I faced this issue myself as I had a queen size mattress made by a local vendor which I was really unhappy with. Thus, this time I wanted to make sure I get one that's super comfortable and gives me my daily dose of beauty sleep. After researching various options available, I decided to go for SleepX - a bed essentials brand that recently launched in India. As I learned more about the brand, I was impressed by their range of revolutionary sleep-related products.



With a range spanning with mattresses, pillows, toppers and comforters, SleepX products are innovated in a way to offer you ultimate comfort while you catch your z's.


Their flagship fusion mattress caught my eye as it offers three different sleeping surface choices along with a nano-tech treated fabric that’s easy to clean after a spill.




 I also have seasonal allergies, so it was a relief to know that this mattress keeps allergens, fungus and bacteria at bay too.

Since we don't really buy mattresses very often in a lifetime, it is essential to invest in one that gives you the best quality of sleep and comfort. The best part is they offer a 100 night trial on their mattresses after purchase, so in a very unlikely situation, if you are not satisfied with the product, you can return it within 100 days

There is nothing like a good night's sleep. And I've decided to go for SleepX! Read more about them on there blog here

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Featured - Trofii Magazine

Trofii is India's first dedicated food and nightlife magazine that is carefully crafted by extremely passionate connoisseurs and enthusiasts to keep you updated with the latest worldwide trends, updates and information about food, wine and nightlife. Since I am a huge foodie, I am delighted to be featured in Trofii. Check out my interview below - 





Trofii gives you exclusive access to top food and wine tips from professional chefs and enthusiasts. Besides that it also helps you collect famous cooking recipes, tips and how-tos for the chef in you. Check it out at Trofii.com

Featured - Hindustan Times

In May 2018, I was featured in the Hindustan Times, which is one of India's leading newspapers. Check out my feature below -




Click here to see the whole article - 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Celebrating Sustainability With Pepperfry

Pepperfry is India's No.1 online furniture and home decor destination which offers a wide selection of amazingly priced furniture, home and living products and a consistently great shopping experience. With over 1 lakh furniture and home products to choose from, Pepperfry leaves you spoilt for choice  as you can choose from a vast range of furniture and home products and so much more.

For those who are sceptical of shopping from an online furniture store and need help with giving their home a makeover, there's Studio Pepperfry. 


This is an experience store which means that you cannot buy products off-the shelf here but can place an order for it online. 


You can touch and feel the handpicked pieces of furniture and accessories from and experience the warmth of their woods and the richness of their fabrics. 


The looks they have showcased in the studios will inspire you to create one of your own! 


It's only a display put together by interior designers in keeping with the trends for the season so they have vibrant furnishings and accessories and have created set-ups showcasing a host of design ideas. 


 The brand supports sustainability in order to enable a positive carbon footprint - Pepperfry has tied up with the NGO Grow-Trees to give back to the environment and donates money to grow trees and engage local tribals with work to plant seeds. On the occasion of World Environment Day, I visited Studio Pepperfry in Koregaon Park to attend a unique workshop celebrating sustainability.

This workshop was titled “Funk the Junk” and was organized by architects turned artists, Ketaki and Veena who created a collaborative social design installation by making beautiful unique mosaic murals using broken pieces of ceramic, tiles, araldite and cardboard. 


Everyone worked together by starting off with a plain base and arranging colorful tiles over it to turn a plain canvas into a vibrant work of art. 


Here is the end result of these beautiful works of art - 









Besides providing furniture, decor and everything from expert guidance to networking under one roof, Pepperfry's team of highly qualified, experienced architects and interior designers provide a complete range of solutions right from understanding your space and requirements, to proposing functional and trendy concepts and moods. Besides the lovely store, what impressed me the most is that the brand is focused on sustainability and giving back to nature. With the rate at which deforestation is happening, it is extremely necessary to plant more trees for a better tomorrow and save nature and I am so glad to find a brand that understands this noble cause and contributes to it! 

You must check out Studio Pepperfry if you want to refresh your living space! 


Monday, May 28, 2018

My Envy Box May 2018

Of all the Envy boxes I received this year, the May edition is definitely my favorite! This month's fabulous curation of products gives your goodies worth Rs 4250 for just Rs 850! Known as the  Resort Edition, the May Envy Box has a beachy motif and is synonymous with summer holidays by the beach. Read on the find out what the products were -


The box has a great mix of skincare, makeup and hair and I've been using these for the past two weeks so that I can give a proper verdict about them. 


Plant Magik - Natural Hair Vitalizer

Natural Hair Vitalizer is enriched with the Goodness of Centella Asiatica Extract which eliminates microbial infections of the scalp and helps to get rid of itching.  It claims to keep hair and scalp healthy and dandruff free. It’s a non-sticky leave-on oil which controls hair fall and dandruff. I applied it to my scalp and kept it overnight and it did not leave my scalp greasy at all the next day. Since I torture my hair on a regular basis by coloring it, I will definitely be using this product regularly.


Plump - Vitamin C Serum

Plump’s Vitamin C Serum is packed with nutrients like jojoba oil, orange and lemon essential oils, lemongrass, bergamot, vitamin C (of course) and vitamin E which work together to brighten the skin and prevent common signs of ageing. Because of the various oils present, it is greasy in texture so it is advisable to use this at night. It has a pleasant lemongrass fragrance which transports you to a spa. A daily dose of this serum boosts collagen and skin elasticity.



Kronokare - Sun Shield Face Sunscreen

Kronokare Sun Shield Face Sunscreen lotion ensures SPF 50 protection against UVA and UVB. Formulated without silicone, this lotion does not clog pores and allows the skin to breathe. It has a light texture and is quickly absorbed and ensures both a matte finish and non greasy touch. It is water resistant and guarantees optimum protection from the sun and stops premature skin ageing. I've used products from Kronokare in previous Envy Boxes and they were all pretty good and I quite like this sunscreen too. 


Coccoon InstaLift Wrinkle Filler 

Enriched with Vitamin A, this product makes your skin look firmer, younger and smoother. This wrinkle filler is formulated using an innovative Soft Focus Technology and hides fine lines and wrinkles effectively. It contains Retinyl Palmitate which promotes intense moisturization, anti-oxidant, accelerates cell renewal, softer, smoother skin, improves elasticity of skin and stimulates collagen formation. It has a silicone like texture and can also be used as a primer. I've used two other products by Coccoon which I received in previous boxes and absolutely adore them so I have full faith in this brand!


Elenblu - Liquid Eyeliner

Elenblu Precision Liquid Eyeliner has a weightless formulation to wing those lashes anyway you like. Its quick-dry, waterproof formulation glides on seamlessly and has a matte finish that won't smudge or budge all day.



Overall a great box which totally impressed me! Make sure to subscribe to My Envy Box to get fantastic beauty products at a mere Rs 850 per month! This is definitely the best beauty box available in India and I totally recommend it to all you beauty junkies out there as it is a wonderful product discovery box and I got to know about various stellar brands through it. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Restaurant Review - Mamagoto Pune

Mamagoto is a Delhi based Pan Asian chain which pioneered Asian experiential restaurants in the country. After expanding to six cities and sixteen locations, they have finally opened in Pune at the Pavilion mall.  Mamagoto is a fusion Pan Asian café with a relaxed and casual atmosphere where affordable Asian cuisine & drinks combine with quirky décor. And if you're wondering what Mamagoto means, it translates " to play with food".

Mamagoto's food is a blend of inspiration from Asian street hawkers, the founder's extensive travels and endless experimentation in their secret kitchens. Thus, you can expect a lot of fusion dishes which are inspired by Asian cuisine. 

I had dined at one of their Delhi outlets a few years ago and was delighted that they are finally open in Pune. I paid them a visit recently with my mom and the moment I entered, the funky, colorful and quirky decor instantly caught my eye! 

Exterior section -

The restaurant has a wide array of dishes like soups, appetizers, dumplings, sushi, rice and noodle bowls, woks, main courses and desserts leaving you spoilt for choice! 

Read on to see what I ate -
 I've been put off by Chicken for a while so my entire meal consisted of prawns and lamb. 
I started my meal with Crispy lamb (not pictured) which is consisted to crunchy lamb bits tossed with bell peppers, spring onions and Chinese spices. This is a good dish to munch on if you love Indian Chinese food! I sure do! 

I also had the shrimp with dry red chilli which again is tossed with Chinese flavors and burnt garlic. This consisted of flavorful fried prawns with just the right amount of batter! Don't miss this! Their portions are pretty big and two starters itself were making me and my mom feel pretty full so keep that in mind while ordering. 


Moving on to the main course, I ordered A Thai Lost in Hunan which consists of 
spicy Thai lamb with red curry flavor served on pad Thai noodles. If you love Thai food, you MUST try this! It was bursting with flavors and had a delicious twang of lemongrass and red curry and I absolutely loved it! 


I also tried the Three Pepper bomb prawns which was made of wok tossed prawns with green, white and schezwan peppercorns mixed with Chinese wine and sesame. This dish wasn't very spicy or peppery but was flavorful nevertheless and was very different from conventional oriental dishes they normally serve in restaurants here.


Being avid Chinese lovers, we also tried the Pan fried noodles in Cantonese and this dish gets a 10/10 for tasting as authentic as it gets. We totally loved it.


Though I usually skip dessert, for a change I was in the mood and decided to try their Banoffee pie which was a decadent dessert pie made from bananas, cream and caramel. This was just the perfect amount of sweet ( I can't deal with too much sugar as I don't have much of a sweet tooth) and the perfect way to end our meal.  



Mamagoto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoThe service is fast and the restaurant manager Mr Amal did a wonderful job with his hospitality. I really enjoyed dining at Mamagoto Pune and totally recommend this place if you love South East Asian food!


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