I SPY: Shut The Door

Mar 31, 2016

Knock, Knock!  Who's there?  DOORS.  Walls and floors say hello to the new obsession I'm adding to my list of #ihavethisthingwith...!  HA.  India has taught me to have a new appreciation for doors.  Check out these, plus their ornately painted and moulded doorway arches too.  Lets admire together!

Was welcomed to Jaipur known as the pink city by this sweet thing, at City Palace.  However, the set of four doors below were the real winners that blew my mind.

Isn't that Peacock archway and door just AMAZING?  It is called the Monsoon Gates.  Monsoon season is when Peacocks dance and flourish.  Peacocks are also India's national bird that you will find in a lot of local design details and art.

No other doors I saw were as special as the door candy found in City Palace, Jaipur.  However, at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur there were a handful of green doors that caught my eye.  More basic in design, but still pretty with a pop of color that ages well with time.

Pay attention the next time before you shut the door.  It was the number one design feature I fell in love with in India.  The detail of the arches and the grandeur of the doors gave instant curb appeal.  Hard to miss!

I SPY: Behind The Lens

Mar 30, 2016

Do you enjoy people watching?  When I travel I do pay attention to the street life.  Through the way the locals act, dress and talk it gives me a sense of the cultures personality. It's also interesting to watch how their everyday lives are lead, and the struggles they face.  This photo was a drive by snap I took during rush hour traffic in India that depicts the everyday hustle.  Observe the chaos and you will see how life and ignorance in the Third World is so different to our Western World.  A family of four on a motorcycle, no helmets on kids…mega TABOO for us who know better.  A Tuk - Tuk rick shaw jammed packed with 8 to 10 people, and no seat belts also looks mighty dangerous.

Are you looking in astonishment?  Honestly though, in that moment life had the same energy and looked no different then a NYC over loaded subway train.  I swear that's how I feel on the 6 train during rush hour!  HA.  Not perfect, but also the kind of perfect where the wrong's don't matter.  It's what you call LIFE.  You do what you have to do.  I respect that.

As much as I wanted to walk the streets to capture street life footage in India I refrained from it for my safety.  I only captured a few shots from the car window.

Beyond the dirt and grime I was intrigued by a life full of color found in the local peoples expressions, textiles and flowers. 

Their faces exuberate their warmth, and wits.  My photos are amateur, but this book I discovered in a book store when there has amazing photography of the women of India.  Very colorful, pleasing to the eye, and shares my view.  It is available on Amazon, and makes a beautiful gift or addition to your coffee table book collection.

Yes India is a poor country.  Yes you see hardship.  Yes the streets aren't pretty.  But the richness lies behind the people, how you interpret it, and what you wish to take away with you.  I chose the positive.   Even though my photos are not exactly raw through filters and alterations I made behind the lens, this is how I subconsciously remember the country at it's best.  BEAUTIFUL.  Namaste India.

I SPY: You See Me Rollin'

Mar 29, 2016

Who love's to iron?  I hate it with a capital H.  Not that I don't know how to, because in Fashion school we spent many hours learning to press garments.  That's just it…I was traumatized after graduating from F.I.T and didn't want to touch another iron again!  I avoid it at all cost, standing by the dryer to remove the laundry when it is still warm, or hanging my clothes in the bathroom to steam while I shower.  But those tricks only work for lightly wrinkled items.

What do you do when you travel?  I usually unpack my suitcase and hang up everything in the hotel as soon as I arrive.  That usually catches the wrinkles before they get deep, so the garment can just be steamed out while the shower is running.  But on my trip to India we moved everyday to a new city and hotel.  There was no way I could unpack and re-pack my suitcase daily.  So I asked my best friend GOOGLE how to pack wrinkle free, and discovered this technique.  It worked!  My dress was picture perfect on Day 2 when I visited the Taj Mahal.

You know if I folded that silk chiffon long dress for 48 hours it would of been a wrinkled mess, right?  So this is how I did it.

Now you know!  Don't let your dry cleaning bags go to waste.  The plastic and rolling reduces the friction that causes wrinkles.  I swear by it, because I returned home on Day 6 in crisp white linen pants.  If anybody knows linen they are a B*TCH and can even wrinkle sitting down!  They were the true test after staying in my suitcase the whole trip rolled up, and came out looking freshly pressed.  It is a nifty trick.  Especially with wedding season coming up, and the quick weekend getaways where you land and immediately go from dropping your bags in the hotel room on to the party…this is your time saver for your next trip.  You can thank me later!  HA.

I SPY: Feel The Burn

Mar 28, 2016

The burning question everyone's asked me since I returned from India is…did I get the Delhi belly?  Nope.  Luckily not depending on my Depend's!  HA.  As you know from my last post I was sooooo physically prepared to catch the runs.  I even mentally prepped myself to think what a great diet it would be to not eat for five days.  Well it turned out to be quite the opposite!

I ate loads.  But I did feel the burn.  On my tongue.  FIRE.  Truth be told I have a wimpy tolerance to spicy food!  Stayed clear of street food though, as hard as it was to resist.  But every hotel had a wide spread of Indian cuisine served from breakfast to dinner.  So I had my share of authentic Indian food.

Pao: Rice cakes served with a lentil stew, coriander, coconut, and tomato chutney dips

Chaat:A savory snack of potato filling, topped with pomegranates served on a crisp mini taco shell

Garlic Naan: Indian style bread

Masala Dosa:  Potato stuffed Indian crepe, served with samber, coconut & tomato chutney 

Puri Bhaji: Cumin flavored potato curry served with deep fried fluffy bread

Parantha: Fried Indian bread stuffed with potato served with yoghurt Raita & a pickled chutney

Thali: Indian bread accompanied by raita yoghurt, cumin rice, five lentils, palak spinach, corn and peas, ker sangri desert beans, masala aloo potatoes, gatte saag ground flour dumplings, jingha buttered chicken.

Have you had any of these dishes?  DELISH.  Besides the Garlic Naan, I've never had the pleasure of tasting any of these dishes before.  But now I know what to ask for the next time I go to an Indian restaurant!  The best was the Thali we had on our last night.  A tasting platter of ten different dishes.  The Garlic Naan at the Oberoi Hotel in Agra was the bomb too.  Best ever!  Light and fluffy.  Ahh…missing India!  Lots more to share this week about my trip.  Stay tuned.

I SPY: The Real Deal

Mar 18, 2016

I've heard many people get sick traveling in India?  Worried?  Hell yeah I am!  I grew up on that side of the world, and know the common precautions, to not drink tap water, be careful with the street food, not eat raw uncooked food like salad, etc.  This is basic third world country problems.  However, I've been told India is extreme, and even eating at five star hotels and reputable restaurants you can still get sick.  This is not good news for this foodie lover.  But it could make a great diet!  HA.  Worst case scenario, if my belly can't handle their food then at least I've got an emergency stash of crackers and granola bars I'm packing to survive on.

So I've been recommended to start a course of probiotics prior to leaving which I've done.  CHECK.  Also to continue the probiotics throughout my trip.  As extra precaution I'm also bringing $200+ worth of stuff I picked up at the pharmacy: Pepto Bismal & charcoal pills for the runs. Cold and fever meds.  Bandaids & antiseptic.  Hand sanitizer.  Wet wipes.  Kleenex packs.  Bug spray.  Depends.  Yes, adult diapers in case we've got it bad, and can't jump out of the car because we're on the road stuck in traffic with cows blocking us!  HA.  Believe me I've thought of every possible scenario.  I think!

The extra hoot is the kids portable potty from potty training days will be tagging along with us.  If we've got time to be graceful then we may want to squat in a field over our potty on the side of the road!  HA.  Killing myself laughing here.  I mean...seriously, where am I going?!?  It can't be that bad can it?

This is the real deal!  Packed and ready to go.  I am bringing more supplies then clothes!  This is the first time I've been such a worry wart over traveling.  I never even packed this kind of stuff when my kids were babies, and we went to Africa!  But better safe then sorry.  Wish me luck in India guys.  I'm off for the week, and will be back after Easter to share my travel stories.  Follow my journey on Instagram to stay up to date.  I'll be there @ispycandyblog

I SPY: Asking For A Friend

Mar 17, 2016

Have you heard about THINX underwear?  There are ads all over the NYC subways, it's hard to miss.  If you have no clue, let me fill you in!  They are period - proof panties that have a built in moisture wicking and absorbent protector to use in replacement of a pad or tampon when you have your period.  Some styles hold up to two tampons worth of blood.  What?  Dead serious!  HA.

Grossed out?  While I would not use them in replacement of using sanitary disposable products such as a tampon or pads, think about those days when your expecting your 'friend' to visit.  Accidents do happen!  I have had a few unexpected visits where my period has started mid day, been caught off guard and stained a good pair of panties.  Or even on the last days of your menstrual cycle when you think it's over, but it isn't really because your still having some irregular spotting.  These are typical situations where I can see Thinx coming in handy.  They could also act as an extra added protection even when using a tampon, for those with heavy flows.  Wearing white's would also no longer be off limits, because Thinx would give added reassurance, right?  After thinking about it, I have a much more open mind to it.  So I ordered the hiphuggers and the thong to try!  Ta - da.

They fit nicely, don't feel like diapers, and are machine washable.  Fabrication and weight feels similar to a bikini bottom.  They come in 6 different underwear styles that are available in either nude or black.  The nude panties have a black lining, so even if they do get soiled they won't get stained.  The area of built in protection in the underwear are just like where you would place a pad, starting at the low middle front, but protects all through the middle back up to the waistband.  This is better protection then a regular pad if your lying down sleeping, or sitting for a long time, like in a car or plane.

Has anybody tried them?  I'm asking for a friend!  *wink*  I'll be honest and admit I bought them for my trip to India when I'm expecting to be on heat!  I've got many hours sitting in a car, driving through the middle of no where without a bathroom in sight.  While I may be caught taking a leak on the side of the road, I rather not be changing my feminine products out in public!  HA.  So I seriously hope these Thinx panties will be my saviour!  Please God please!

I SPY: Extra Protection

Mar 16, 2016

Guess what?  FINALLY got a new phone!  It is a big whoop.  I've been walking around since August with a very jacked up phone screen if you remember from a previous post.  Well since then it has dropped a few more times and got a little worst *ahem*.  Royally annoyed all my friends and family for over 6 months with that crazy screen!  But you know what?  It didn't bother me.  It still worked, once all the broken glass shards fell out it was smooth again, and I learned to read between the cracks.  Such talent I have!  HA.  I learned to deal with it.  Only till last week when a certain area of the phone screen didn't work when touched did it really fail me, and force me to go claim a new iPhone 6.  Here it is...My new baby!

With a new phone has to come a new case, right?  Goodbye to my Chiara Ferragni wink case, and hello to my Art Deco looking new case from Zero Gravity.  I'm going to be looking so flyyyy in India!  HA.

In addition to the new case I got extra protection.  A glass screen protector from Moshi.  This is the real gem.  This is my public service to tell ALL of you today to get you to go out and buy a glass screen protector.  It is super easy to stick on.  Comes with a suction cup to lift it and adjust it if you don't align it right the first time.  You can't even tell it is on.  Fits like a glove on top of your original iPhone screen, and you can still be stylin' with your regular phone case on the back.

The reviews all around are good.  My friend has tried and tested it, and can vouch that this gimmick has saved his iPhone a bunch of times.  It sure costs a heck less to spend another $40+ on a new screen protector if it cracks rather then a new iPhone.  And it sure looks way better then walking around like a goon with a bullet proof Otterbox around your phone.  No offense to anyone!  Just don't like the Otterbox bulk.  So keep it sleek, clean and safe with a glass screen protector.  Go!  Order it NOW.

I SPY: Breaking In

Mar 15, 2016

Do you break in new pairs of shoes?  How?  I usually don't.  I typically wear them out for the day, with a box of band aids, let my feet suffer, and don't wear them again for a few days.  That's my kind of breaking in!  But I need tips.  I got these new pair of shoes to wear in India.  For now they're being worn as fancy house slippers!  HA.  I've been wearing them nightly around the house for the past few days, but they're still kind of tight in the front.  Any faster way to get them moulded to my feet so they don't cut in?  I need them to be comfy to walk India in ease, otherwise I'm reverting back to my old pair of sandals.  Don't let me!

Like these babies?  I think they're very me!  They've got an espadrille bottom, tapestry stitched top, and blue suede back and ties with pom poms at the end.  They're my favorite brand Aquazzura.  The two pairs of shoes you frequently see me wearing, other then sneakers, are also Aquazzura.  So I am a true fan!  They're pricey, but worth it because I wear mine to death, and honestly comfy once worn in.  I hope you'll get to see them a lot in India!  If they don't get broken into by then then definitely you'll be seeing lots of them this spring/ summer.  They're going to add a nice pop of color to my wardrobe.  So excited to say goodbye to socks very soon!  Spring is kinda sorta here.  Bring on the happy feet season!

I SPY: Down n' Dirty

Mar 14, 2016

Eat anything good over the weekend?  I did!  An oldie but a goodie…The Boil.  It's that time of year when crab boils and seafood galore starts.  This place just offers it year round, so no need to wait for the summer back yard crackers.  Having spent a lot of time in Texas I love my Crawfish, and had to order 1 lb of Crawfish + 1 1/2 lb of Dungeness Crab. 

Ready to dig in?  WAIT.  Besides that they also offer fresh and meaty Lobster and Shrimp in the boils.  How does it work?  You pick your seafood of choice or a combo, then you pick which sauce you want, and then you pick your level of spice.  The garlic butter is what I got, and do you see how much garlic is in my bag? Oh - em - gee it was heaven, even though you will be smelling like garlic for days!  HA.

The catfish slider appetizers are also a win.

An order of garlic bread to dip in the sauce is a must.  Since it is run by Vietnamese they understand our Asian necessities and it was a treat to be able to have a bowl of steamed white rice too.  Throw that garlic butter sauce over the rice, and you have a meal on it's own! 

If you enjoy getting down n' dirty this is a place for you.  Believe it or not they've been around for a few years and still have lines, and long wait times.  An hour is considered short!  Good thing is you can drop your name and there are plenty of places in their hood on the Lower East Side and in Soho that you can walk around and occupy yourself with, until you receive that much awaited text that your table is ready.  No reservations allowed.  Cash only.  If your really that impatient order take out that takes 20 minutes and eat at home or in the park!  Nom Nom.

I SPY: Flower Power

Mar 11, 2016

How's the weather where ever you are?  We got lucky the past few days in NY.  It's beginning to feel a lot like SPRING here.  The flowers are blooming and so are the flower exhibits.

This art installation by Isa Genzken in Central Park caught my eye as I was walking along Fifth Avenue yesterday.  It's right at the entrance of the park on 60th street.  You can't miss it!  Two stems of Orchids constructed from steel, soaring high in the NYC skyline.  Catch it before it comes down on August 21, 2016.

The sculpting is so real right?  I love Orchids!  Can't ever get enough of them, which reminds me that the Orchid show at the NY Botanical Garden is also now on till April 17, 2016.  I'm going to try and go this weekend.  They always put on a good show.

Another popular flower power show NYC is known for is the Macy's Flower Show that starts on March 20, 2016 thru April 3, 2016. Mark your calendars you flower lovers!

I SPY: Toilet Paper

Mar 10, 2016

What does everyone have in their home?  Toilet paper?  I sure hope so, otherwise run out now and go buy some! HA.  But other then using toilet paper in the bathroom, have you thought that it could be art?  This Scottish artist, Karla Black has proven me wrong!

Unique?  Her 800 square foot installation currently at the David Zwirner gallery is impressive in both creativity and size.  This abstract organic shape is filled with plaster powder, powder paint, eyeshadow, glitter, and earth, that creates dimension.  The perimeter is outlined by ruffles of dyed toilet paper, that creates a shape.  As you walk around it you feel a sense of movement from the different textures in the materials.

In addition to this massive floor installation there are other works of hers, that include traditional artist materials, such as chalk, paper, paint, mixed in with everyday items like ribbon, feathers and cotton wool.  Some of her pieces reminded me of the mixed media art projects my kids do in elementary school.  But obviously on a much more sophisticated level.  So simple, but well thought out.

The color palette she chose in earth tone hues, white, pink and copper glitter look rich.  My kind of colors.  Proof...I blended in!  HA.

The exhibition is on at David Zwirner till March 26, 2016.  It is worth the peek.  I'm thinking I should maybe go back and bring the kids, to be inspired by Karla Black!  After seeing this, I wish my kids would bring home more mono-tone art projects that would match my home decor.  I would totally be hanging more up if their works weren't all rainbow bright!  HA.
i * SPY CANDY. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.