Monday, June 27, 2016

Gili Islands Travel Guide

Whenever someone tells me they're going to Bali, I always tell them to go to the Gili islands so I thought to myself, why don't I just write a Gili Island travel guide? So here goes!

The Gili islands - Gili Trawangam, Gili Meno and Gili Air are three beautiful islands situated just off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia. What makes these islands different from their famous cousin Bali is that their beaches are breathtakingly beautiful with white sand and clear turquoise waters with stunning views of majestic Mt. Rinjani and Mt. Agung in the far distance. Gili Trawangan is the party island where you can find lots of beach bars and night life. It's the biggest and most crowded island of all three. Gili Meno is loved for its gorgeous untouched beaches and pure island life and is very popular among honeymooners. Gili Air strikes the perfect balance between the two and offers both entertainment and relaxation. 

How to get there
There are numerous locations in Bali where you can take fast boats to these islands, many of which include a transfer to the port from your hotel which take around 2 hours. I took a flight to from Bali to Lombok and then it was a two hour drive from the Lombok airport to a harbor followed by a twenty minute speed boat ride to reach Gili T. 

When to visit
The Gili Islands have a temperate climate so the weather is nice all throughout the year. The high season is from June to August and this is when most people visit the islands. The climate is really nice at this time too, it's cool and pleasant. During the month of the Ramadan celebrations, bars turn down the music around midnight, so if you're in the mood to party, avoid going around this time of the year. 

Where to stay

There are a lot of cheap hotels and guesthouses on the island as well as expensive fancy villas and resorts so there's something for every budget.

All three islands have no motorized transport so be prepared to walk. If you're lazy you can travel by horse cart. You can rent bicycles too. Someone I befriended on the island owns an electric bike (I don't know if you can rent one because I didn't see any others) and that was great fun to ride!

What to do -

 Swim, snorkel and dive - The Gilis are famous for scuba diving. The water here is clear and blue and absolutely perfect for these. There are dive shops everywhere. You can snorkel along any of the main stretches of beach and are bound to have a great experience.

Nature - If you love nature, make sure you visit Gili Meno for its famous salt lake and Turtle sanctuary on Gili Meno. Turtle eggs are collected and incubated at Bolong’s Turtle Sanctuary. The baby turtles are nurtured here until they're around eight months old, and then released. Try to attend one of the regular releases as it's a joy to witness.

Shop - There are lots of shops on the islands with Gili T being the most commercialized. You'll find a lot of fun clothing and swimwear along with mainstream beach brands. 

Yoga - I've just been doing yoga for a month and half and I really love it and if you practice yoga, then are a lot of yoga centres and retreats on the islands.  Imagine doing yoga on the beach during sunrise and sunset! Bliss!

Party - Gili T has lots of parties everyday with bars side by side next to each other. Gili Air has a few dedicated days for parties where there's only one happening on the whole island. Meno is the quiet one so I'm not sure if parties really happen there.  There's a boat party that happens too! Its supposed to be fun but I was so partied out for that entire trip that I skipped it. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

New Menu At Chili's Grill & Bar

Known around the world for bold flavors distinctive of Tex-Mex cuisine, Chili's has a brand new spiced up menu with many brand new offerings. The new menu was crafted using key aspects like modern flavor profiles, fresh ingredients and in-house preparation. This menu aims at appealing to both Chili's enthusiasts as well as foodies looking for something different to satisfy their evolving taste buds. I was there recently and tried out a bunch of new cocktails and delicious food! Read on to know more about my meal!

One of the highlights of the new menu is the Table side Guacamole. The best thing about it is that it's prepared fresh at your table with the freshest ingredients and can be customized by you. The trick to making perfect guacamole is using good, ripe avocados and the chefs at Chili's know exactly what to do. They start with freshly scooped avocados, add fresh lime, diced red onion, salt, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro and roasted jalapenos. This is followed by a squeeze of some lemon juice to add a splash of acidity to balance the richness of the avocado. This is served with warm tostada chips and house made salsa. 

A very blurry shot of the ingredients for the Guacamole 
The end result is delicious, creamy and  healthy guacamole that melts in your mouth!

The bar has a few new additions too. I tried the Sweet and spicy peach cooler which combines vodka with peach syrup and is garnished with peach slices and a surprise element of jalepenos to give it a spicy twist! Totally recommended!

Next up was the Chipotle Chicken Fresh Mex Bowl which consists of marinated grilled chicken, house-made corn and black bean salsa, rice and chipotle pesto layered with cheddar cheese, house-made pico de gallo, fresh field greens, chopped cilantro, crispy tortilla strips, fresh sliced avocado and a drizzle of cumin-lime sour cream. Phew! That's a wholesome and hearty meal which combines pretty much all the essential constituents of Tex-Mex cuisine and is delicious thanks to all the sauces.

I washed that down with the new Blueberry and Pineapple infused margarita. This one's made of tequila, orange liqueur and Chili's signature mix infused for 48 hours with blueberries and pineapple. The infusion is really good and in spite of being such a fruity drink, it's not very sweet which automatically gives it high brownie points from me because I don't like sweet drinks much. 

A Tex-Mex meal is incomplete without Tacos so we had to try the new Baja fish tacos. Warm tortillas stuffed with grilled basa and a fresh cilantro- lime slaw, topped with pico de gallo, sliced avocado and chipotle pesto drizzle. What else could you ask for! The delicate flavor of the grilled fish combined with the other flavorful ingredients makes these taco light on the stomach yet fulfilling on the taste buds. 

I also tried the Michelada (not pictured) which is a traditional Mexican cooler made of draught beer, vodka, tomato juice, hot sauce, lime juice, worcestershire sauce and cajun spice. Think Bloody Mary but not as heavy and a little milder on the tomato juice. It's really nice! Try it out! With my stomach ready to burst, I finally went for their new Roasted Garlic Baby back ribs. These fall-off-the-bone ribs are tender and slow smoked over pecan wood with roasted garlic sauce which adds the flavor of garlic to their classic BBQ sauce. Served with fries and corn on the cob. So delicious!!

So as you can see, the new menu at Chili's has a lot of delectable new items to offer and I tried a bunch of them! Being one of the very few Tex-Mex restaurants in Pune, Chili's is the undisputed leader in its category! Try it out at Phoenix Marketcity Ground Floor, bang opposite everyone's beloved Forever 21! 
Chili's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ellen 3 Color Gray & Bunny 3 Color Green Review | Klenspop

As you may know I wear contact lenses on a daily basis for many many years because of my poor vision. However, I don't like my natural eye color so much and wear a different color almost everyday. After trying out numerous brown lenses from various brands and online store, I finally decided to start experimenting with other colors and last month I reviewed Ellen Panda PM 12 Blue and PM 14 Violet lenses from their store. This time I got Ellen 3 Color Gray and Bunny 3 Color Green and I'm delighted to say that they are my new favorites! They look so natural and beautiful in spite of my Indian complexion and the fact that I am still quite tanned from all my beach vacations in Goa this summer. I got them from my favorite contact lenses online store Klenspop which offers a wide variety of circle lenses, cosmetics and beauty products at very affordable prices. Their service is really great and shipping is super fast and I receive each package just about a week after ordering.


The design of these lenses is quite unique and the 3 colors in it are dark grey, light grey and yellow, which make it look greenish. They have a thin dark gray ring at outer part while the center is yellowish gold with black dots. They're also really comfortable and I did not face any irritation even after 8 hours of wearing these! LOVE!

Diameter: 14.5 mm
Water Content: 38%
Base Curve: 8.6mm
Life Span: 6 months
Power : All except -0.25 & -0.75

You can buy it here

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Bunny 3 Color Green 

I thought I'd look strange in green lenses but was delighted to see how beautiful and natural these look. I didn't think they'd show prominently on my super dark brown eyes but they are incredibly opaque and give a striking brilliant green. The end result is a stunning blend of yellow, hazel and bright green which gives my eyes a real pop of color. The blending is also very natural as you can see.  They're also incredibly thin which makes them extremely comfortable and I have worn them to work where I am sitting in front of a computer for over 8 hours. 

Diameter: 14.5 mm
Water Content: 38%
Base Curve: 8.6mm
Life Span: 6 months
Power : All except -0.25 & -0.75

You can buy it here

Overall, I adore both of these and they are my new favorites from the array of colored lenses I own. Which one do you like better on me? I totally recommend you to try these from Klenspop if you're looking for colored lenses online! You won't be disappointed! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

SugarBox - Summer Romance Edition

Thanks to its mix of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and gourmet products, Sugarbox stands out in the sea of beauty boxes out there. This personalized monthly subscription box sends its members a box filled with their exclusive unique and fun products! I got the Summer Romance edition from them and was delighted to find a bunch of cute things in it! Kudos to their team for managing to fit so many items in the box!

The box had a bunch of fashion things in it, starting with this beige fedora style hat. 

This was followed by a face wash, a small pack of Tropical cocktail flavored Tang, a golden charm bracelet and a metallic chain headband (I love these)

Then there's this cute red on-trend off shoulder ruffle top.

And last and definitely not the least, is this beautiful beige bag which is super chic and goes with a huge range of outfits!

The coolest thing is that they have a variety of different boxes with different themes available for sale at really good discounts! What makes it even better is that you can buy all the items from their site separately too in case you don't want the whole box. I really love the concept and it makes a great gift too! Check out Sugarbox for more!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Stylish Staples - Satchel Bags

The satchel bag is the most chic and functional bag out of all the options we have in the market. It's got a vintage feel, can be slouchy, and is defined by a front flap and a long strap so you can throw it over your shoulder. Many of these also have a cross-body strap for convenient conversion from more of a purse, to a carry all. Since the satchel shape has a polished and sophisticated appearance, many big designers have come up with an array of colors and textures to make it bag more unique. In fact, the famous Celine Trapeze, Proenza Schouler PS1 and Mulberry Alexa are all satchel bags. The practical element comes into play as well, since this is a bag that has room enough for all the essentials. In fact, this bag surpasses trends because it’s so timeless and wearable. It’s an ideal construction cross between a backpack and a briefcase and is perfect for both school, work or casual wear. Thanks to its size it’s a great bag to have on hand when you need more room than a clutch can but don’t necessarily need to carry as many things as you can fill in an oversized tote. Here are some fantastic and super stylish satchel bags from House of Fraser

Satchel Bag Outfit Inspiration - 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Singapore Shopping Guide

Singapore is considered to be one of Asia’s most sophisticated and diverse shopping destinations and rightly so. Filled with swanky malls, street shopping and buzzing department stores, in Singapore there’s something for everyone.You also get duty-free luxury goods and high fashion along with traditional Asian exotica like silk, porcelain, tea and spices.Whether you're looking to indulge, scout for uncommon and unique clothing or add a coveted stylish piece to your closet, Singapore's got it all.

Thanks to its well-organized transport network, traveling from one shopping destination to another is a cakewalk. Some malls are so well connected by pathways and tunnels that you can just walk from one to another without seeing the light of day! An added convenience is the fact that there are ATMs all around and stores are open from about 10am to 9pm daily. Make sure to get your forex sorted and carry lots of cash before you go shopping so that you don’t have to max out your credit card!

When to go
The Great Singapore Sale, from late May to early July, is a much anticipated annual shopping bonanza for both locals and visitors. With generous discounts ranging with up to 70 percent off, the offers are hard to resist!

Where to go

Orchard Road – Think shopping in Singapore and the first place that comes to everyone’s mind is Orchard road. Orchard Road is a long belt of over 20 shopping malls, each with its own characteristics and tenant mix to attract different types of shoppers. 313@Somerset and Plaza Singapura are two trendy malls with arrays of shops, eateries and beauty services stopsfor young and family. For luxury shoppers there’s Ion Orchard and Ngee Ann City among others. 

Bugis Village - This is THE ultimate spot for budget fashionable buys. Bugis Village is like a street/flea market which has everything from clothing to shoes and accessories, all at very competitive and unbeatable prices. You can get lots of cheap goodies here without breaking the bank!

Haji Lane - Haji Lane is a colourful street just a stone’s throw from Bugis Village and offers goodies from local designers and vintage pieces. Comparable to Manhattan's Meatpacking District, it features loads of vintage clothing and charming boutique stores. With its unconventional offerings, this cult street has both locals and tourists hunting for unique pieces thatyou can’t find in regular malls.

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands– If luxury is your thing then visit this shopping centre at the iconic Marina Bay Sands resort. It hasthe largest collection of luxury labels under one roof in the region, with more than 170 luxury and premium brands.

Vivo City -Take an afternoon off to explore VivoCity, the largest mall in Singapore. Situated at the South of Singapore, just before the famous Sentosa Island, this mall features a plethora of shopping options that are suitable for the whole family.When you’ve shopped and are ready to drop, you can hop on the monorail or take a cable car to Sentosa, Singapore’s ultimate fun-in-the-sun playground.

Book a trip - If you're planning a shopping vacation then make sure to check out these awesome Singapore tour packages.

Life Made Easy With UrbanClap

UrbanClap is an app which gives you access to a massive range of urban lifestyle services to make life easier for you. The app lets you hire local professionals to provide you with various home and professional services so that your work gets done at ease and with perfection. Whether you're looking for a yoga instructor, photographer, make up artist, party planner, guitar teacher or even a divorce lawyer, UrbanClap's got your back! Using the app, you can choose from over 50+ services and book home services on the app based on pre-approved prices. A trusted service provider will be sent to your home at the time slot selected. You can make the payment securely and easily through a Paytm wallet too.

UrbanClap offers a large variety of lifestyle services which you can avail sitting in the comfort of your house. Whether you're looking at a fitness instructor or need a chartered accountant, with just a few steps and an easy to use interface, the app gets you what you need. Even services like packers and movers, passport agents and physiotherapists are available using the app. How convenient is that? Another situation where UrbanClap comes handy is when you need help with repairs and maintenance. As you can see above, the app gives you access to plumbers, electricians, home appliance repairs and even car washers to make life much simpler. 

How to use UrbanClap?

Make a request for the services you need using the app. All you need to do is answer some simple questions to define your criteria. Choose from a list of pre-screened professionals, as per your requirements. To make your decision making easy, you can even read profiles and reviews for each professional and compare their prices. 

Benefits of UrbanClap

• Wide Range of Home Services - It has a broad range of service providers like electricians, plumbers, appliance repair technicians, home cleaners, pest control experts available instantly

• Expert Professional Services - Hire a beautician, photographer, yoga or fitness instructor, interior designer, home event planner, guitar or dance teacher and much more

• Trusted Professionals - All professionals listed are screened by them and only trusted service providers are present on the platform

• Transparent pricing and easy payments - You pay based on pre-approved quotes. Seamless payment options.

• Convenient booking - You can book services at your home at the time convenient to you


Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Navi-Mumbai & Pune.

Download the UrbanClap app today and sort out all your Urban needs, in a single Clap!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Outfit - Arabian Nights

I've always felt strongly attracted to boho looks so here's one inspired by the Middle East. I got this beautiful crop top from Zara which I paired with these fabulous silk palazzo pants from Splash, a brand which is very dear to me because I had won a blogging contest in collaboration with Splash and was invited to attend the Splash Fashion Show 2013 in Dubai. Read more about my trip here.  I love these pants because they're really comfortable and look royal and exotic. I added a fringe bag (my love for fringe is immortal) from Bershka and topped it with a metallic headband. This look is perfect for resort wear and is great for hot summer nights!

Top - Zara
Pants - Splash
Bag - Bershka
Shoes - Bangkok

Photography - Akshat Bhatnagar

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Asus Zenfone Max - The Powerpuff Phone

The biggest concern we all have with our smartphones is their battery life. With the avid use of social media networks like facebook, instagram, twitter and snapchat (which happens to be a major battery drainer) we always end up with a low battery at the end of the day and this is even worse when we're on holiday or out during the weekend, doesn't it? The good folks at Asus gave this problem a deep thought and have brought us the Zenfone Max which boasts of a mammoth 5,000mAh battery, and a set of specifications that are aimed at maximizing the battery performance. I was in Goa last weekend yet again and it was the perfect time for me to use the Zenfone's superpowers to update my weekend adventures abundantly on social media!

The Zenfone Max looks and feels like a well built, sturdy and premium device. It is surrounded by a metal-effect bezel that makes it look stylish and easy to hold. The rear of the phone has a look and feel of embossed leather, which gives an added grip. It has a removable back panel, with the dual-SIM cards, microSD card and the 5,000mAh non removable battery underneath. With a huge battery underneath, the smartphone weighs 202 grams. 

The Zenfone Max flaunts a 5.5-inch HD IPS display which is protected by Gorilla® Glass 4 for scratch-resistance, strength and durability. Underneath is a 1280x720 HD IPS display. 

The Zenfone Max features a 13-megapixel rear camera with a laser autofocus and on the front is a 5-megapixel selfie camera. The camera has a large range of modes like manual, HDR, beautification, low light, night, depth of field, slow motion, time lapse and more. The camera was able to capture some great shots during my trip.  The camera is very good indoors as well thanks to the laser autofocus, It focuses quickly on subjects and shoots detailed photos. 

The selfie camera is really great. I got some really good photos on the beach during sunset in spite of low light. You get beautification options along with selfie panorama, night, HDR and low light among others. The photos you click using the front camera are good enough to be shared on social media without the need for any edits.any editing or filters. Here are two pictures I clicked using it -

Office selfie - My skin looks flawless and glowing thanks to its beauty mode
Sunset by the beach - It was way darker in reality than it looks like in this pic
The battery is this phone's superpower and it's fantastic. With heavy Snapchat usage (like 30 stories in one day) and lots of instagram I had over 24 hours of usage. The coolest part of this phone is that it can also be used as a power bank to charge other devices using an OTG adaptor. The battery takes a few hours to get a full charge but makes up for that with its performance. 

Under the Zenphone Max's hood is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 quad-core chipset paired with Adreno 306 GPU and 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage. This set of specifications is not top level but does a decent job in a day-to-day scenario. Nearly all the apps we normally use daily are easily handled by the smartphone and so is multi-tasking to an extent. It also has 4G support along with a memory card. 

The only issue with the UI is the large number of preloaded Asus apps on the smartphone which cannot be uninstalled. This doesn't bother a lot of people but it's something that kinda annoys me.

The Zenfone max offers a maximized battery at a minimized price. Priced at an affordable Rs 9,999 the phone justifies its mid range specs but what you get is a smartphone that is optimized in all ways possible to get the most of it's power packed 5,000mAh battery. Overall, a great phone if you travel often or hate charging your phone on a daily basis.

Click here for more information about Asus Zenfone Max
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