Blogging as a business: Sponsorships

Blogging PR

Hi guys!

In today’s post, I will be talking about everything related to monetary aspects of blogging. Not many people like discussing blogging as a business so here are some insider secrets.LETS BEGIN!

1. Is your blog your primary source of income?

Before you begin to start budgeting for your blog, this question must be answered clearly by you! To read about the differences of blogging full time vs part time, how to manage time for blogging and staying on top  of your game- check out Debasree’s post! Just cause blogging is not your full time job doesn’t mean that you cant be paid for it!

2. Make an Expense Sheet
The key to any business is to map down how much you plan to invest in your blog, what your expenses are over a time period and approximately how much do you see your self making. Make an excel sheet with the following columns to keep track of your budget:
1. Predicted Expense
2. Expense
3. Predicted Income
4. Income
5. Predicted Profit
6. Profit
Having these “predicted” versus “actual” columns really keeps me motivated as I get a better idea of my goals and if they’re being achieved.Don’t run away from expenses because all good things do require some hard work and initial investment. Have a number  in mind that you know you cannot cross when it comes to spending on photographers, designers, interns etc. Similarly, don’t undersell content. Have a figure in mind, below which you will not  accept collaborations

3. What is your blog’s worth?
How much do I charge companies? This question is not that hard to answer if you trust you content, have worked hard on it and have your expense sheet in place. How much you should charge for a collaboration depends on a lot of factors such as: how much was your investment?, how many blog readers to you have, what is your blog engagement like?Having all of these figures in mind and doing some market research with similar bloggers in the bloggersphere, create your media kit.

A Media Kit is basically a document/graphic, PDF that has your blog name, a little paragraph about your blog, all your social stats, what you charge for different types of collaborations: Shout outs on Social media, blog post reviews etc

3. How can you earn from your blog?

There are multiple ways you can earn from your blog. The most popular ones are:

  • Advertising: I don’t have advertising on my blog as yet and plan to do so in the near future. I cannot speak about the same in detail but I can tell you that don’t allow random content to be advertised on your blog. If your blog is about food, get a food based company to advertise content on your blog.sThis method however is one of the easiest to get a flowing monthly income!
  • Affiliate Links: Just like advertising, affiliate links are also an easy no brainer way to earn from blogging. Amazon is one of the most active websites when it comes to affiliate linking. To sum it up, affiliate links are basically direct links to products in which case, when a reader of your blog, buys a product by clicking on that link, you get a cut from it. So, if you’re a photographer and have listed affiliate links to the nikon camera on amazon.com; if a reader buys that camera by clicking on the link- you get a commission from the same.
  • Sponsored Content: What this means is that a company will contact you directly/ the brand’s PR company will contact you to write a post featuring or reviewing their products. This of course means that the brand will send you the products and you WILL be made paid too for writing that post. Writing a post just for free products doesn’t make too much sense to me especially if blogging is your main income. If you want to earn from your blog, please don’t shy away from charging for sponsored content. It’s very easy for PR companies to send you 2 bottles of cream, a lipstick and a mascara and not pay you along side. Your writing and hard work is worth much more. Of course, in the beginning when you want your blog to grow m, writing posts for brands without charging and just accepting the products to try out works fine but not when you want to make the blog an income source. Having said that- NEVER write a post for a brand that you would not use and not love. Your readers aren’t stupid and can tell between you faffing your way through versus honest genuine content. At times, a brand will pay you for a “review” where they may nice enough to say ” please be honest”! Those are definitely the kind of brands and companies you want to work with- where you get to try out a product, write the truth about it and get paid. NEVER and I repeat NEVER write a false review if the product sucked. Yes I know you’re being paid and you have certain deliverables that have been promised to the brand. In such a situation, be honest and write an email to the PR company/brand telling them what you feel about the product. The terms of the contract with the company may get re-negotiated.
  • Freebies: Companies may contact you for your address so that they can send you a gift. In return they would expect a shout out on Social Media. Please note: YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO POST THE “GIFT” on your social media.Please don’t forget that you are not being paid to post the product. Neither had the company sent you a list of deliverables. It is simply w gift where the power to post a picture should lie in your hands. Please don’t let any company intimidate you or harass you if you haven’t put up a picture of their “gift”. You love the gift, sure put up a picture and talk about it
  • Product features: These posts are very different from writing sponsored content. A brand may simply send you products that you can style and use for your blog posts but the post need not be exclusively about the product. You are not obligated to write anything about the brand either since you’re not being paid. You feature the product in your posts only cause you want to! They work like freebies do- except that you actually use them in a blog post rather than just posting a shout out on Instagram.

4. Events and Blogger meets: PR companies and brands hold product launches, brand launches, PR parties, blogger meets etc for which you may be invited. Very often you may told/ordered to write a blog post or even 2 posts about the event, live tweet and post on Instagram- DONT DO IT. If someone asks my blogging pet peeve, it’s got to be this. You are inviting me for an event- treat me like a guest- will you? If you want me to write about your event, I will charge. Full stop. If I want to live tweet at the launch, I will do so happily so long as I’m not ordered to, that too for free. Just cause you’re being offered a free lunch and a cocktail or two doesn’t mean that you should be obligated to write a full blog post talking about the event.

Think about the type of company that’s inviting you for the bloggers meet. If it’s a smaller brand trying to widen its client base, the brand need you- not the other way round! They want your content and hence you should be remunerated for it. If that’s not possible, don’t shy away for asking for an Uber to and fro from the event. Some companies may be nice enough to offer but others don’t say a word unless you ask.

I can go on and on but will stop right here. I really hope this post helps you if you’re a budding blogger. Please value for content and had work! I know it can be hard to say no to companies since you want to do as many collaborations as you can but whatever said and done, just don’t undersell your self! If you love a brand and the work they’re doing and the opportunity you’re getting is unpaid- go for it! Mix it up and have fun so long as you don’t let anyone take you for a ride 🙂

Italy in ten: PART 1 #MMTravelDiaries

Hi guys!

So one of my most awaited posts is here:: MY ITALY TRAVELOGUE! PART I  As most of you may know, I went to Turkey, Italy and UK this summer when I graduated from my Masters. Though most part of the trip was with my parents, I did spend a few days alone as well {check out my travelling solo post} to know more about that!

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Before I move on to talk about all the places visited, I thought it would give you guys a better idea if I would write down my Itinerary for you! I hope it helps you if you want to plan a trip to Italy 🙂

DAY ONE:

Arrival in Venice// Spend the day in Venice

DAY TWO:

Leave for Florence// Spend the day in Florence

DAY THREE:

Day trip to Cinque Terre

DAY FOUR:

Tuscany day trip {Sienna, San Gimignano, Pisa}

DAY FIVE:

Leave for Sorrento// Spend the day in Sorrento

DAY SIX:

Day trip to Capri Island

DAY SEVEN:

Leave for Naples from Sorrento // Lunch in Naples // Train to Rome same evening

DAY EIGHT:

Rome Full day

DAY NINE:

Rome Full day

DAY TEN:

Leave from Italy

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Venice:

Venice is absolutely picture perfect and seems like a painting with its little canals and pastel buildings. Venice is one of those places on everyone’s bucket list as a one time visit. If you haven’t been, you must. If you have, you’ll know what I mean when I say you can skip it for round two. This was my first time to Venice was it was obviously on my list. Since its way too crowded, it can be an overwhelming experience, especially if walking is pretty much the only way to navigate.. As you may know, there are no roads in Venice, and there exist only little streets for walking or waterways and canals for water buses, water taxis etc. This also means, that you need to lugg your bags from stair cases, streets etc all the way to the hotel and nothing could escape that. Private Water taxis are crazy expensive you might want to take water buses. When it comes to Venice, it really doesn’t need more than 1-2 nights but then that’s my opinion. In fact, it’s one of those places that you could easily do a day trip from Florence as well!  Since we was there in Venice for half a day and a night we tried to make the most out of it as we walked through the city and take in as much as we could. A cafe that I knew I wanted to visit was Cafe Florian- the oldest cafe in the world! Sitting down in the outdoor seating area with a drink while listening to the cafe’s live orchestra in St. Marco’s square has got to be one those unforgettable experiences. If you’re going to Venice with a romantic partner, you don’t want to miss out on this. Other than the gelato (YUM), pizzeria’s hidden in every nook and corner; you would also find a lot of shopping. And I mean A LOT. Venice is a luxury shopping paradise with almost every designer store with stunning window displays lined up one after the other in the endless maze that the city as to offer! Also, just skip the Gandola ride. I am being very honest when I say that it’s simply a money making business which really pissed me. The gandola drives or whatever one can call them try and act honey sweet and will lure you in and charge you an exorbitant amount- but it’s honestly not worth the money.

Quick tip: Private water taxis are VERY expensive. They make sense if you’re a bigger group and can split the cost. If you’re a couple or a solo traveler, you can definitely save money by taking the waterbus to commute

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Florence/ Firenze

 The next day, we head out to Florence or Firenze. I’m pretty proud of this segment of our trip since I knew exactly what I wanted to see and when. So, for the Tuscany region our base was Florence. We left Venice fairly early in the morning and were in Florence by 12 noon- checked into our lovely airbnb apartment by 1 pm. We had the whole day our selves to explore the city since the next we decided to go in for a day trip to Cinque Terre. We wanted to visited the Uffizi Gallery,but decided to skip the same and instead soak in the city by simply walking around and of course eating yummy food! We did visit the grand Duomo, checked out Piazza Michelango and sit down at the Loggia dei Lanzi and watch the beautiful Piazza della Signoria. Another smart move was to take a pass for a hop on hop off bus. Initially I thought that it looked a little foolish but trust me, you can do a lot with that bus pass. There are a couple of routes that the bus service has where it takes you through all the must see spots. If you want to get off, great. If you don’t, you can simply keep sitting. We also enjoyed a lovely pizza meal at Piazza Republica (see picture below) – one of the prettiest squares in the city, defined by its opulence.

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Cinque Terre

For the next day, we had booked a day trip to Cinque Terre (Pronounced as CHIN-QUAY TERE- literally meaning: 5 villages) and this has to be the best decision of my life. Google the prettiest places on the planet, and it’s on the list. Cique Terre is not that accessible on your own as it involves hiring a car plus a 2-hour drive from Florence. Also, no cars are allowed inside the 5 villages so the car you hire/drive must be parked outside the 5 village gates. To commute between the villages, there are local trains and even ferrys!

We decided to take a semi-private tour using www.viator.com and it was amazing! I really don’t like group tours much maybe cause of past experiences but trust me when I say this was so worth every single penny. This tour consisted of about 8 people in the minivan (including you) and is fairly expensive but makes sense cause less people means you have your own space. The good part is that there isn’t really any “guide” as such but basically the driver of the luxury car who’s super knowledgeable and will give you as many details as possible/answer your questions. This trip also gives you tons of free time. At every island (village) we got atleast an hour or two on hour to do our own thing- eat/swim etc. Click here to see the entire itinerary of our Cinque Terre day trip. If you don’t have Cinque Terre on your list, you must add it. It’s one of the most charming places I have ever been to.

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Tuscany tour Sienna, San Gimignano and Pisa

Happy and satiated from our Cinque Terre day trip, for the next day we booked our selves a Tuscany day trip. YES, we took another tour and I have no regrets whatsoever. If you don’t have time on you, and really want to explore a city ,have a look at these tours and you won’t be disappointed. To be very honest, I realized that it’s impossible to truly manage to explore a place like Italy in a short time span without making using of these tours. We took a tour that was called Tuscany in One Day itself, and it was so worth it, again! It took us to Sienna- we were there for a few hours, then took us to a local vineyard where we had a little wine tasting and followed by unlimited glasses of wine and a traditional Tuscan meal. This had to be the most generous tour ever. After the meal, we went to Gimignano to explore the little town and had the “world’s best gelato” from the award winning Gelateria del Dondoli- Finally, from San Gimiano, we were takento Pisa to see the leaning tower of Pisa! The trip does sound rather hectic and I wouldn’t lie – it was. But, it was also worth every penny and I can confidently say that I did get the feel of the tuscan cities, gothic architecture, and food!

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Part II of the trip will be up soon where I will talk about the second of the trip: Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Capri Island and Rome!

Untill, then lots of love x

 

Eggless Nutella Cake in a Mug

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Hey guys! Canola India contacted me recently regarding trying out Canola oil! Though I was aware of the health benefits of Canola oil, I thought it would be fun to post a recipe using the same and introducing the product to you all! Canola oil is definitely one the best oils to cook with as it contains very high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and help control blood glucose. It’s lowest in bad saturated fats as compared to other vegetable cooking oils and is packed with vitamin e and omega 3! I really suggest making a little shift and trying out this oil if you are considering a healthy lifestyle.

Canola oil has partnered with cookfresh.in which is basically a service that sends you a complete box of ingredients for a dish + an easy to follow recipe! I have already done a post on Cookfresh before so you can check it out here! I created two batches of this cake – one using the Cookfresh box and their ingredients which they sent across  and the second one using the ingredients at home. Best part? Its eggless and butter-less yet its super moist and gooey! There’s also a Nutella surprise which adds that hazelnut flavor that is to die for!

cakeinamug3Batch One: From the cookfresh box. I must say this was really easy it gets. I had all the ingredients packed neatly for me and all I had to do was mix them and microwave them in a cup! Yes, that’s all. The cake was ready within a total of 3 minutes and it tasted absolutely fabulous!

cakeinamug2cakeinamug4Batch Two: After creating one batch from the Cookfresh box, I re-created it following the same ingredient list – eye balling the quantities and OH MY GOD! It turned out exactly the same.

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Eggless Nutella Cake in a Mug
Recipe type: Easy baking, Microwave Cake
Cuisine: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 mug
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of Canola Oil (You can use olive oil or any other vegetable oil too if you want!)
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of nutella
  • A mug
  • A microwave
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all the try ingridients
  2. Whisk in the milk and oil until all ingridients are combined and the batter has no lumps
  3. Pour the batter into a microwave safe mug with a wide mouth. If you take a mug (like the moustache one) the batter would reach approximately ⅔rds of the cup but If you take a bigger cup, the batter would reach only half way. So the cake that rises may not look that pretty! The cake definitely looks cuter in smaller mugs with wider mouths.
  4. Add the Nutella in the middle of the batter. Just drop it in the middle- no need to push it down and sink it in the batter.
  5. You can place a paper towel in the microwave and set the mug on top of it if you like. This is will catch any batter if your mug overflows- especially if youre using small mugs
  6. Microwave the mug for 90 seconds. The cake should have risen. You can put a toothpick in it and if it comes out clean, you know it’s done! If the toothpick sinks in with batter all around it, just give the cake 20 seconds more in the microwave.
  7. Once done, remove the mug from the microwave and it’s ready to eat! To be more indulgent, you can drop another spoon of Nutella on the top to create a Nutella ganache! Or, enjoy with vanilla ice cream. The cake tastes the best hot. If you don’t eat it immediately which you should ideally, you can put it in the oven for 20-30 seconds to warm it up a bit before eating it!

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How to clean your makeup brushes?

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HEYYYY GUYS!

Today I am sharing with you my full proof, super cheap and easy way to clean makeup brushes! I got interested in makeup about two years ago and even though I don’t own too many brushes at all, I do find my self loving the ones I own. I will not lie to you and will definitely admit that I did not wash them for a long, long time initially cause no one told me to! I know thats not a good enough reason but it somehow just did not strike me that I should be treating my makeup brushes like hair! haha THEY JUST NEED TO BE WASHED! Since we apply these brushes to our faces, it sounds absolutely gross to not get rid of the dirt,makeup residue and bacteria. Ideally, one should be washing makeup brushes religiously once a week, but I see my self doing it once every ten days #iamhuman {I just edited this post, 4 hours after posting it. If you read it within those 4 hours, you would have read that I wash my brush every two days. THAT WAS A TYPO. Oh, god no. I wish I did. but I dont}

What you will need: 

Olive Oil (for deep cleaning)

Johnsons Baby shampoo/wash (for regular wash)

Luke warm water

Paper towels

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Now, if you are planning to clean your brushes for the first time/after a very long time/ have ALOT of makeup that’s really stuck and hardened on the brushes, I suggest you engage in DEEP CLEANING.

Here, instead of simply washing your brushes with shampoo, you will condition them with oil to break down the makeup particles and dirt along with conditioning the brushes- before shampooing. (It is very similar to oiling your hail on a pamper day and then washing them!) This method will also really work to get rid of gel liner from your brush since it leaves a very stiff residue.

METHOD

1. Take 1 teaspoon of olive oil on a plate and dip your dirty makeup brush in it. The idea is to touch/lightly immerse the brush with the oil which will break the makeup. Don’t drench the brush in oil since it would not be easy to remove

2. Once the brush bristles have some oil in them, massage the brush in circular motions on the palm of your clean hands.

3. You will see the makeup particles break down on your palm.

4. Switch on the tap (Hence, you should be doing this entire process next to a sink/close to warm water supply). Start washing the brush facing downwards. Make sure that the head of the brush (the part that you use on your face) is not facing towards the ceiling and instead should be facing down into the wash basin. You don’t want the water to enter the shaft or the metal part since the brushes can start loosing their hair over time and become weaker, if that happens!

5. Once most of the oil is rinsed off, time to shampoo the brushes. Pour in some baby shampoo/soap in a little bowl or plate and dip the brush into it. Be fairly generous since you want to get rid of any bacteria and excess oil. Massage the brush in circular motions in the centre of the palm, again. Once you feel the makeup is completely out, you will get to know as the brush will start showing its original color anyway.

6. Time to re-wash the brushes. Just like last time use luke warm bottle to get rid of the shampoo/soap making sure that the brush (application part) faces downwards. The brush would be absolutely clean when the water running down from the tap and brush is clean! (Initially while washing the brushes, the water dripping down would be the color of your makeup)

7. Your brushes are squeaky clean now and need to be left to dry! For this, place 2-3 kitchen towels at the edge of a counter/table. Lay your brushes on the paper towels as I have seen in the picture. DO NOT wash your brushes and immediately place them in your brush holder/jar standing straight upright! The water will enter the metal part and you don’t want that. Hence, after washing the brushes, squeeze out the excess water and lay them flat!

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Some tips: 

If you are very regular with brush cleaning you don’t need to go the whole 9 yards and skip the olive oil step. I like oiling them irrespective since it makes them feel very soft after they dry. However, this step is skippable if you’re feeling lazy and the brushes aren’t too dirty.

Anything that is on the handle of your brushes is being passed to everything else you touch. To clean the handle of your brushes, pour rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and rub over the handle of your brushes. This will not only clean but disinfect the handles as well. (This tip is from MakeupGeek)

Always dry your blushes flat on a surface or facing downwards. You can roll up some paper to create a little cylinder. Place the handle of the brushes on that while the head of the body lays on the counter like this. 

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I really hope this post helped you! I also wanted to THANK YOU all once again for 5000 followers on Instagram. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU mean so, so much to me. Your messages, support and love is what keeping me going. I love blogging and will never stop cause you all have made it so special.

PS: I have updated my blog’s About Me section so that you all can know a bit more about me 😀 I  have answered some super frequently asked questions on topics like what camera I use, my fitness journey and about my education/career plans!FullSizeRender_4

Healthy & Refreshing Summer Coolers

FullSizeRender_2Hey guys!

Today, I will be sharing with you not 1, not 2 but FOUR drinks that you can make for your self this summer! By switching up the ingrdients that I used, while keeping the recipe the same, you will have an endless array of options to keep you hydrated {without piling on sugar and preservatives}. I must admit that I am a tad bit obsessed with Mason jars and when I saw these chalk board ones from Urban Dazzle, I knew I just had to get them. For someone like me who is guilty of not drinking too much water even in the summer, these jars are perfect as I can get atleast 500-750 ml per serving! The trick is to not make a drink which has added sugar cause that defeats the purpose!

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1. The flat tummy Water Infuser

FullSizeRender_3As the name suggests, this is simply a glass of water which has been infused with flavours and ingrdients that are really benefial for you. You can sip on this all day and trust me- it does quench your thirst! At least with me, any sort of fresh fruit flavoured water is more for fun rather than actually statiating me, but this particular combination does both! Drink this through the day, workout, eat well and you will see your self shredding that extra tummy fat!

You will need:

Water (Depends on the size of the glass. My mason jar is 750ml)

1 tablespoon Grated Ginger 1 tbs,

Half a Cucumber Sliced,

1 lemon sliced

a few mint leaves

To prepare:

Add all the ingrdients to the water and let this drink stay in the fridge for a couple of hours! The longer you keep it in, the stronger the flavour. Later, you can strain the water and you’re ready to go! To be very honest, I don’t feel the need to strain the water since the ginger or cucumber doesn’t bother me! If these ingredients both excite you, you can use any berries and some lemon instead!

2. Pomegranate Iced Tea (59 calories)

FullSizeRender_1Iced tea and summer go hand in hand for me and I am always on the look out for new flavour combinations! Though pomegranate ice tea as a flavor wouldn’t come to me naturally and before trying this I would probably choose a classic lime or peach. However, this flavor has changed my life!!! YOU HAVE TO TRY IT! Who knew pomegranate can taste so good in tea tea?

You will need:

1. Water (I used 500 ml)

2. Fresh pomegranate juice of  1 cup pomegranates seeds.

3. 1 lemon thinly sliced (3-4 slices)

4.  1 tea bag (I used earl grey)

5. 1 tablespoon brown sugar/stevia/honey

To prepare:

Take a saucepan or kettle and boil water. Simultaneously,  take 1 full cup pomergrante and juice it. Once the water is boiled, add the water is a bowl/jar and immerse your tea bag. Let the tea brew for atleast a couple of minutes. Pour in the pomergranate juice, and the sweetner of your choice! If you’re using brown sugar, it will dissolve in the hot water, so dont worry! Take out the tea bag and pour this mixture pour a tall glass/mason jar that has ice filled at least half way through to immediately cool down the tea! Add 3-4 lemon/lime slices and you have freshly prepared guilt free iced tea!

3. Pressed watermelon and basil cooler (46 calories)

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Last summer I shared with you one of favorite salad recipes, AKA Watermelon, Feta cheese and Basil salad! Today however, we will be playing with similar flavour combinations and making one of the healthiest and most refreshing coolers of all time!

You will need:

1. One cup of Watermelon chunks

2. 3-4 basil leaves

3. 1 pinch Sea Salt/Himalyan Pink salt  (normal salt will also do),

4. ¼ teaspoon white wine vinegar

5. Water (I used 500ml)

To prepare:

Take water melon chunks in a large bowl and using a metal ladle or spoon press the watermelon to extract as much juice as possible. (The remaining pulp if any should be fairly dry.). Season the juice with sea salt and white wine vinegar, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into the mason jar. Add chilled water and basil leaves.

4. Ginger Ale (72 calories)

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I absloutely love ginger ale but try not having too often since it has tons of preservates, soda and sugar! This guilt free method gives a similar flavour and is so much better for you since you know what exactly is going in the drink! It does make use of club soda but once in a while it doesnt hurt, right? The good part about this recipe is that you can make as much sugar syrup as you want and regridgate! Whenever you’re in the mood, simply add it into the soda one serving at a time and you’re done!

For the Syrup you will need: (For 6 servings)

1. 1/2 cup Brown sugar/sugar/stevia

2. 1/2 cup Chopped/Sliced ginger

For the soda: (1 serving)

3.  Lemon slices (3-4 per serving)

4. Club soda (1 glass per serving)

To prepare:

Combine the sugar, ginger, and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes; strain through a fine sieve into a pitcher, and cool. Add the club soda and lemon slices. With each glass of soda, 2 tablespoons of the syrup works perfectly!

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If you try out any of these drinks, make sure to send me a picture on Instagram, Facebook or twitter and I may just repost it! Woooho 🙂 Have a great week you all!

How I organize my makeup

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Hey guys!

Let me begin by thanking you on so much love you have given me on my last few posts! I am so glad that the website is back in action after the haitus! Since so many of you found my previous makeup post helpful, I couldnt stop my self from writing one more immediately.  In this super quick post, I want to share with you how I store my makeup. Though I am not that new beauty products and did own some in the past, I never really used them and stored them away in multiple pouches that were picked up only for weddings, functions or parties. Recently, I have started wearing makeup more often and hence the makeup bags were just not working for me. I am not the most responsible person and hence magically I would lose something or the other from these pouches which became a pain.

I then decided that I need some sort of storage where I can see all the products that I own infront of me rather than being tucked away in bags. What further led me to this decision was the fact that I had started forgetting about products that I owned cause I never saw them infront of me. As you can see in the picture below, I have numerous nude lipsticks of a similar shade not because I need all, instead, I wasn’t too sure I owned that shade since it would be hidden somewhere in some pouch in some bag in some cupboard. I was aware of the fact that if I have these products displayed infront of me on my dressing table, the chances are that I will actually use them regularly without feeling the need to buy more and more.

I then decided to search for acrylic makeup holders after looking at tons of youtube videos and talking to Shirin! I decided to try my luck on AMAZON INDIA  and boy did I get lucky! 😀 I found a lipstick stand with 24 slots for Rs. 689 . There were some other holders to going all the way till Rs.3000 so this felt like an absolute steal. Then, I got two more holders with multiiple slots of different shapes where one I use for products related to the eyes  and another for face/base products. 

LIPSTICKS:

I wasn’t too sure whether to arrange the lipsticks according to color or brand and decided to go with the brand! There wasn’t any particular reason for doing this since most of the shades I own are pinks and nudes.lipsEYES & BRUSHES: 

Though this makeup organizer has a mix of products, I tried my best to keep the vertical stand for my brushes, liners, mascaras and kajals. On the right, I have an eye lid primer, a blush and my setting powder which fit perfectly in that slot.  If you have more brushes, I highly recommend a different holder all together so that things aren’t too crowded! Those are available on Amazon India too! I would love to get more creative and DIY one though. It can make for a fun weekend project 😉

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FACE & BASE: 

This organizer is amazing too since it holds all the little tubes of BB creams, concealers and a couple of my lip glosses too. In the bigger flat compartment, I have all my blush and contouring palettes. Since I love blushes and highlighters, I can see my self buying one more of these so that the palettes are placed easily without piling them all on top of each other.

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SETS & THE REST: 

I have a couple of palettes that I love and have been using for a while. I store these along with my foundation, powder brush and bronzing powder in this spacious makeup bag from forever 21 india (online). The bag is water proof was works perfectly for travel too 🙂

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GIVEAWAY!!! 

I am giving one 24 slot Lipstick Holder &  One Brushes + Eye tools organize to one lucky winner! The contest will be held on Instagram. If you’re not on Instagram, follow all the steps on FACEBOOK instead.

1. Follow @melangeofmusings on Instagram

2. Upload a picture of your favorite makeup item. Please dont tag me in a previously uploaded photograph.

3. MENTION (not tag) atleast 3 friends in the caption of the picture along with #makeupXmm

4. Tag me in the entry! (@melangeofmusings)

5. The contest will end on 26th Jan 2015 at 6 pm. The winner will be announced on 27th of Jan.

{THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. I have bought brand new makeup holders for the giveaway with my own money}

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NOTE: In no way is the post to brag or show off my makeup. I found these amazing organizers and really wanted to share them with you! I do honestly believe that it will help all those who are new to makeup but not sure as to how store your new products. If you have been a makeup lover for a while, then this post should give you a little bit information on the current deals on amazon (hopefully! 🙂 )

The Ultimate Breakfast {Part One} – Oatmeal Pancakes with Dark Chocolate Sauce and Bananas

Hey guys!

If you don’t this about me already- then here it is: I’m a sucker for having a big breakfast! I just cannot get my self to have simply have one fruit or a cup of tea/coffee and leave home for the day. No matter how late I’m running, breakfast is one meal that will enter my tummy. Come weekend, and things become easier where I can have this meal without worrying too much about rushing out. I can laze around and take my time to enjoy my favorite meal of the day. Having a scrumptious breakfast also really helps after a long night of drinking!

Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast meals and I just can’t get enough of them! {Oh, where have you eaten the best pancakes? Do let me know in the comments below!}. However, they aren’t the healthiest of dishes which can be a bummer. Just to be a little clearer, a heavy scrumptious breakfast can be really healthy too – packed with fibers, good carbs and proteins. So, in this post, I am going to share with you a recipe of Oatmeal Pancakes with Dark Chocolate Sauce and Bananas.

I am not a recipe developer so this Pancakes Recipe is actually my recreation of Sally’s Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I cannot even begin to tell you how much she inspires me! If you haven’t come across her blog, you really must check it out! I am really new to baking and her recipes make my day!

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So with no further ado, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (123g) whole wheat. {I used Aata}
  • 1/2 cup (40g) oats. {I used steal cut oats}
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon {dalchini} powder. 
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk 
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar or stevia. 
  • 1/4 cup (63g) Curd 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Oil Spray/ Olive Oil/Coconut Oil {I used Olive Oil Spray}
  • 100 g of Dark Chocolate {One Bar- 10 squares}- Mine was 85% Cocoa By Lindt
  • One Banana

Method: 

For the pancakes: 

1. Toss the dry ingredients in one bowl-  flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.

2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Then Whisk in the brown sugar and yogurt until no lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla until combined.

3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir gently until just combined. Do not overmix the batter. 

4. Take a griddle or a non stick frying pan on medium heat and coat with cooking spray or oil.  Once hot, take an ice cream scooper and drop one scoop of the batter on the frying pan

5.  Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles begin to form on the center or sides, about 1 minute. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Before cooking the pancakes, spray oil each time. 

6. Serve hot with the Dark Chocolate sauce  and banana pieces. 

For the chocolate sauce:

1. Take your chocolate slab and break it into pieces and put in a microwavable bowl. 

2. Option 1: Put it in the microwave for 30 seconds- take it out and stir. Then put it again for 20 seconds, take it out and sir. Finally put it in again for 10 seconds, take it out and sir. Repeat this process untill the chocolate is melted.

Option 2: Melt the chocolate on a double boiler. That is, heat a sauce pan with water and place the bowl on the sauce pan {Basically avoiding direct contact of the bowl with the flame}. 

3. Once the chocolate is melted, it would be thick and gooey. To bring it to the consistency of a sauce, add a bit of milk and whisk. Repeat the process until it reaches the consistency you would like it to be. 

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What I love the most about Pancakes is one can play around with so many different flavours and fillings. Having looked at these ingredients, I am sure you’ll realize how healthy and nutritious these pancakes are. They don’t use any butter or maida and yet are so fluffy and moist. I added the dark chocolate sauce for a little bit of indulgence, but you can totally avoid doing that and just use a spoon of chocolate sauce or/and maple syrup.

Stay tuned for part two 🙂

Have a yummy weekend!

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