Sunday, July 24, 2016

Posted On 7/24/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Stories date back in time, much before the written word was documented story telling through memory was the way of life. Story telling has shaped generations and was considered one of the most creative forms of expressions. However since the last few decades storytelling is lost to the world and has been replaced by television and the online media channels exploring digital creativity. The timeless tradition is slowing gaining ground once again with the persistent efforts of children centric brands that look to help parents create curiosity in children. 

Colgate, India's favourite toothpaste brand has brought back to the fore a fun way of storytelling that needs no elders but just little children. The innovative packaging hides a treasure within that intimates children to unlock their imagination. Hidden in the Colgate product packaging is the Magical Sea World perfect to ignite the story-telling in the kids. Available in 4 unique sets; namely Pirate Hunt, Treasure Hunt, Pirate Ship and Coral Reef, all that is needed to to done is cut-out the characters, image the fascinating life of creatures that live under the sea while crafting the life of an exotic mermaid or the sea pirate. Weave stories around the characters like the cute Pirate, cuddly Shark, killer Whale, stingy Ray, adorable Dolphins and others.

I sat down with #PrincessHeer and she surprised me with her amazing story-telling skills that ran wild with imagination...With the characters spread across on the dining table, my little one began her exploration of Magical Sea World with her #colgatemagicalstories .....

Long long ago, deep into the sea lived a sea king  with his pretty little princess just like me. She was a gorgeous little girl who treated everyone with a lot of love and affection. She grew up with the creatures of the sea and she explored the sea with all her friends. One day the dolphin, the whale, the octopus and the sea-horse came to her and told her about a shipwreck on the other side of her palace. 

All of the friends went to explore the shipwreck, however as soon as they entered the area some of the creatures got caught into the net speed across and were trapped. They started panicking and moved around in quick succession in order to free themselves from the unexpected captivity. Just as they tried harder they felt a tug and realised that the net was being lifted by a force from above. Th mermaid quickly swam atop to see that pirates were pulling the net onto their ship. Terrified she swam back to her friends to tell them what was happening. 

She asked them to be calm and went to find their friend the shark to come help them. As soon as the shark came, she pulled hard at the net and it torn off, releasing all their friends. However as they were about towhead back home, they saw a private dive into the sea and swim after their precious little fired the sea-horse. The tiny little creature was really scared and swam towards his friends shouting out for help. Thats when the little starfish came to their rescue, the little one extended one of her arms and whacked and smacked the pirate away. 

After the chaos the friends hugged each other and promised to be by each other's sides for ever.

Interesting isn't it,
- Heena

Posted On 7/24/2016 by Team iCynosure.

No other film franchise has gone so far from being born on television to hitting the big screens with the ultimate vengeance. The television series that aired from 1966 upto 1969 took viewers through imaginary fiction that they lapped up with glee. over a period the television series gave way to the novels and comics and finally big budget films. Nearly half a decade since its debut on television and after 12 films the most recently release Star Trek Beyond is making the right noises with its new technology. Shot exclusively in digital instead of analog film, Star Trek Beyond is already creating a buzz in filmdom. 

Star Trek Beyond Review
Image Credit: Star Trek Beyond, The Film

For those who have woken up late to the Star Trek craze, there is a clear distinction of films in 2 groups; one those featuring the main character and stars from the television series to those featuring new stars playing the same characters as in the Original Series. Here is an list of ‘Star-Trek’ films in simple infographic that will outline all you need to know.

Image Credit: Karl Tate at

With so much happening over the last 12 films which would you think is the best film from the franchise? 

For me it has to be Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; did you have any doubts? The Warth of Khan is the only film that stands alone as a classic and can be followed without having to be the series follower. What I love is the on-point characterisation, the intelligent plot, the moral dilemma, the unexpected twists and above all the greatest villain in the history of the film franchise. However the greatest impact of the film remains the emotional turbulence one feels long after the film is over. 

Image Credit: Star Trek Beyond, The Film

Star Trek Beyond; the Justin Lin  film has a lot to look forward to. With the experience as producer and director of the Fast & Furious franchise, Justin Lin has added a lot of exquisite sequences to the storyline. As the film progresses the USS Enterprise Crew explores uncharted furthermost space, encountering a new ruthless enemy, who tests the Federation and everything the enterprise stands for. #StarTrekInIndia has opened to rave critic reviews and the buzz created through the innovative marketing strategy is making it an unmissable film.  

So are you headed to space this weekend? 
- Heena

Friday, July 22, 2016

Posted On 7/22/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Why do I like to travel? 

It’s simple… to explore the historic past, the vibrant present and the promising future of a place. However some places leave you so mesmerised that you cannot think about the passage of time and want to just stay still and continue to be amazed with the natural beauty and aura of the mystique. One such destination is Arizona… with so much to do, you will have a hard time picking what to experience. 

Here is a check-list of what I must do when I head there... 

Live the Grand Canyon Experience
Image Credit:

One of the Wonders of the World, the natural landscape of Grand Canyon is majestically breathtaking. The canyon is spread over 18 miles while the park spans over one million acres and is extremely accessible to explorers from the Grand Canyon Village located on the South Rim. The Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn that’s just a few minutes’ drive from the South Rim entrance organises aerial and adventure tours for explorers to experience the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon.

Tread towards the Sunset Crater Volcano
Image Credit:

Around 900 years ago the earth opened up in Flagstaff, spewing lava and poisonous gases to reshape the surrounding landscape with a rim of yellow and red cinders. Today the ruggedly dramatic lava and cinder deposits co-exist with vegetation and wildlife, to emphasise how life continues at the Sunset Crater Volcano. The Little America Flagstaff Hotel organises guided biking and hiking tours to experience the youngest volcano that looks as fresh and rugged as on day one.

Hike across the Sonoran Desert
Image Credit:

Over 100,000 square miles of an arid desert that surprises explorers with its tremendous natural vegetation and diversity of species is the Sonoran Desert. The foothills are ideal for mountain biking and horse riding excursions.The Royal Palms Resort and Spa - Destination Hotels and Resorts organises adventure excursions as well as romantic hot air balloon rides that are perfect to soothe the spirit, energise the body, and enrich the mind.

Role-play at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
Image Credit:

A 1,500-year-old archaeological site, Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park takes explorers through a prehistoric Hohokam village site that highlights a platform mound and irrigation canals. One of the attractions in the Papago Park, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is lined with replicas of traditional dwellings. The Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia organises hands-on activities for children to help them learn about archaeology.

Strike a pose at the Hiking Tom’s Thumb 
Image Credit:

A natural cave formed by a massive fallen granite boulder, the Hiking Tom’s Thumb Trail provides hikers a mysterious place to explore in the arid Sonoran Desert. The trail from the Gateway Access at the base of the McDowell Mountains leads on to Tom’s Thumb, an iconic formation that is visible from miles around, making it one of the most visited destinations. The Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains manages Hummer tours to explore the McDowell Mountain’s challenging terrain. 

Adventurous isn’t it? 
- Heena

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Posted On 7/20/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Apart from our relationships the next biggest commitment we make in life is building ahome. A place that goes on to become our sanctuary, our heaven, a place to fall back on, a place that enhances our life and that makes us feel comfortable no matter what. However zeroing in on a property for sale in Mumbai is a real challenge.
I know so many people who simply fall in love with the property while hunting for a home; let emotions take over common sense and make wrong buying decision. Everyone must realise that we live in two places, inside our homes and outside our homes and as parents we must make sure both these environments are secure, healthy and comfortable not only for our children but for our elders who live with us.

A few years ago when our little princess was born, we decided to settle down into our own home rather than move around in rented apartments. It was chaotic looking for the right home to make our dream house, especially when caring for a new-born. But as days went by we could clearly tick the boxes that were must have features versus those that could be compromised while buying our home. We identified three things that would help help all parents make that all important decision while buying their dream homes…

1. Size
Considering the needs of a growing family, the first most important feature that must be considered is the size of the house; of course considering the budgets. The house is going to be your family home for a long haul until your children complete their education and move out eventually; until which the house needs to have enough space that doubles as a bedroom and a playroom, a decently sized family room and space to host celebratory events.

2. Neighbourhood
More important that the size of your home is the where the property is located. It is very crucial to survey the area and check on the amenities available in the neighbourhood. Some of the mandatory things to look out for are schools, parks, local transport facilities and even convenience stores and shops. Also check on the local crime rate and travel to the neighbourhood at odd hours to ensure the area is safe and protected.

3. Professional Help
Buying a home needs professional help, and we must recognise that and recruit an ‘exclusive buyer agent’ so that you are not bulldozed into making a buying decision. When we recruited an agent he helped us identify the right developers in Mumbai, while informing us about applicable taxes and fees; however we were disappointed about the lack of professionalism and information sharing.

That was the situation almost five years ago, however these days HDFC has launched HDFC RED a home discovery and buying portal that offers unrestricted access to all property related information and assistance in the home buying process. The innovative technology arms users with the right tools to enable a convenient, hassle-free home search experience from a database of over 24,000 types of properties in over 23 cities.

Apart from the web-presence HDFC RED is also available as a mobile app with a simple interface that enables ‘Priority Search’, crafted to prioritise pre-decided preferences. In addition to the details about the property options available the app also outlines the social amenities present around the project. The highlight of HDFC RED is to give homebuyers a complete and unbiased guidance to make informed decisions by way of a ‘Relevance Score’ and a ‘Feedback Report’ for each property. So if you are house-hunting make sure to download the HDFC RED app available on both Android and iOS to smoothen out the process.

- Heena

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Posted On 7/19/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Women today are opening up to recognising the need for female hygiene products which has in turn revamped the product markets. The demand for quality products has risen drastically, almost 25% in India itself which has pushed brands to constantly try and innovate to bring consumers products that are not only comfortable but also that cater to very specific needs. Unicharm's Sofy is a brand that has been improving the traditional hygiene products to make them more appropriate to the changing dynamics and lifestyles of women today. 

Since the time I discovered the brand, I've been using their sanitary napkins and have been pleasantly surprised with their revolutionary product Sofy Sidewalls. It is my constant companion due to the irregular and inconsistent cycle that plagues me month on month. The best part about the product is that it offers protection from all the unassuming flow variations that I cannot foresee. Each night during 'those days' I fight my thoughts about sleeping ugly, waking up every few hours to change the night pad to ensure there is no leakage or overflow embarrassment. 
Just recently the brand launched Sofy Bodyfit Overnight, a product that pegged to be the longest napkin offering a wider hip guard that will line the underwear broader on the back than a regular napkin for extra coverage. The brand claims that the new product developed ensures a comfortable and peaceful sleep experience during periods due to it specifically designed leak protection system. 

A trial was in accordance and when I first received the product what struck me the most about Soft Overnight was the 'Prevents Leakage Until Morning' promise. Added to this were the features of a Wider Hip Guard, Shape Maintenance System and Double Absorbent Core. 

Though my expectations were pretty high due to my history with he brand, I approached it with a little resistance. On use over the last two months I can confidently say that the product has surpassed my expectations. With the new technology and the first-of-its-kind innovative concept used in the product I have had great periods. The dryness I felt even during a heavier flow and use over an extended period has confirmed its great absorbing capacity. Also the fact that the back covers a larger area than a normal napkin arrests the leakage problems. However the clincher for me was the shape maintenance system that keeps the pad in position no matter what I do. Whether I'm doing the daily chores, moving around town or sleeping the pad doesn't budge from its place. I've got less conscious about 'those days' and worry free about 'those nights' and can now sleep as ugly as I wish to. 

Have you tried Sofy? What has been your experience about their sanitary products? You can know more about the product here or visit the facebook page here. You can buy the product from Amazon here

- Heena

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Posted On 7/16/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Since the smart phone revolution, people have sought one after another feature in their handheld devices. However with the emergence of new brands and new technologies spending big bucks for a high-end smartphone is the situation if the past. Now a days high-performing mid-range flagship devices are generating immense interest in the Indian market; while giving the big boys a run for their money. 
One of the newly launched Le Eco pieces; the Le Max2 is a no-nonsense handset that can easily handle hi-definition multimedia content streaming, games and works a camera. The rear camera captures the frames beautifully in lightning speed allowing for print-quality images. The front camera is perfect for selfies especially if one uses the fingerprint sensor.

The Video-on-Demand services like Levidi and Le Live is perfect for watching movies and videos on the go. These services are free for the first year and then can be signed up for an annual subscription plan. Another win for the smartphone is the CDLA that is the first for any mobile brand. The Continual Digital Lossless Audio technology that is trigged by the replacement of the 3.5mm audio jack with the USB Type-C interface does wonders for the audio output. 

All in all the Le Max is a phone to recon with, a phone for keeps. 
- Heena

Friday, July 15, 2016

Posted On 7/15/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Lights, action, walk the success! Every girl is a diva, believe it or not. She dresses in a jumpsuit modestly and people silently look in awe at her confident stride. She dresses for a gathering in a dress, lets her hair loose and becomes responsible for the heat in the air. She adorns the diamonds and chooses the designer dress, men take immense strength to resist whistles, instead appreciate in modesty. Diva, she is. And she is the completeness. Jumpsuits online are the quick pickers these days. Women crave for it, men wait to see their girls in it. Women dresses, the evening coolers elevate her and comfort her in much elegance.  Every girl awaits to take that last dress in her wardrobe, the one she wore many months ago and she waits for the right occasion to wear it again. That, my friends, is one of her obsessively bought latest designer dresses online. With so much to do for her personal routine each day, where does she fit the time to go shopping? She rather sits at home, wears her mask, eats her carrots and order her online shopping from across the equator all in vibrant colours along with sparkling accessories and tailored in such precision that comfort is mediocre.

Sarayu, the diva rushes home to work on her article to be published in two days. She boils water for her green tea, freshens up and waits by the window for the tea to brew. She picks her laptop and starts to make tags for her article and works for ninety minutes straight until she gets a call from Nayani to meet her urgently at the Cafe in twenty minutes. The loving Sarayu she is, pauses writing, sips her tea, wears the embroidered jumpsuit she bought online and admires herself at how pretty the Jumpsuit online is! She clicks a selfie and texts her mother, another attempt to convince her mother a jumpsuit. Two hours later, she returns home elated, fixes her dinner and completes her article. Do you want to know what she is doing now? Ask yourself, what women do when they are happy? They do online shopping ;)

She dreams of her success and orders another jumpsuit online. She rethinks and agrees that she needs one or two women dresses to present her article to her boss. Wait a minute, what about the success party! Ah, another opportunity to buy latest designer dresses online. What a good life it is, she remarks! Thankfully, she will have many other occasions to wear them. She smiles and opens her Online Shopping portals.
An hour passes and Sarayu already had four cups of tea and still unable to decide between the four latest designer dresses online. She gets her popcorn and a bar of chocolate to her table.  She really loves the floral women dresses online and agrees that a white floral would work best for her presentation day.  She also adds to her cart, three jumpsuits, two women dresses, four designer dresses and a minimalist gold necklace to go, with her casual dresses.  The time is 23:00, she pays for her items and hits the bed. Sarayu thinks of an era when shopping meant relentless travelling in the city, the crowds and the bargaining which can all be done without hassle through online shopping these days. 

Just a few clicks and the women of today are all set for their parties, board meetings, and casual day outs. Fun and Relaxation, all at the same time!!!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Posted On 7/09/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Triumph, one of the world’s largest intimate apparel companies announced the launch of its new TriactionTM Sports Bra collection. In collaboration with much reputed F2 Fitness, Bandra; the brand hosted an exhilarating fitness session where participants got an exclusive preview and chance to try out the new collection. 

Present at the event were Mrs. Jennifer Kapasi, Head of Operations, Triumph International (India) who kicked off the event with an introduction about how to ‘Find the One’ sports bra that matches your body type and fitness goals. Next, F2 Fitness co-founders Farah Vohra and Neville Almeida amped up the energy levels by giving the participants a glimpse into their internationally certified Les MillsTM classes.

F2 Fitness simplifies the process of “Getting Fit and Remaining Fit” and offering personalized and effective training programs combined with nutrition guidelines to help achieve one’s fitness goals.

Highlighting the new TriactionTM Sports Collection Jennifer Kapasi explained “It comes in superb fit and energizing colours and is a definite ‘must have’ for every woman who enjoys fitness. Specially designed for women in motion, the racer back style brings added stability and support, freedom to move and a hot look that will get pulses racing. A true add-on feature is its moisture-absorbent mesh fabric at the back that provides a dry feel to the wearer!”

With this new collection, Triumph has expanded its existing range comprising sports bras that are perfect for yoga, gym, cycling, boxing or whenever you want to activate your body. With a reputation for excellent fit and superb comfort, combined with trendy designs, TriactionTM sports bras are the ideal fitness accessory for active women.

Find the One that moves with you at Triumph! Available at select large format stores, multi brand outlets and leading online portals in sizes M to XXL in colours Black, Neon Green and Neon Orange. Priced at INR 1,699/- the TriactionTM Sports Bra is a must-have for all active women to work out. 

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Posted On 7/07/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Over the last year or so I have transitioned into a more online shopper than an offline shopper and the new online shopping portals coming up are a way for people like me to unwind. 

During my recent search for a particular product I discovered a new online store… Aplava

A personalized beauty service tailored to individual taste, budget and lifestyle; Aplava focuses on making a personalized recommendation for all beauty and wellness needs. The portal bring together the nest quality Indian and International brands together across skincare, haircare and make-up products woking directly with manufactures and distributors to offer genuine products to the shopper. 

Every time I land on a shopping portal, I have to experiment and so I did a trial shopping haul. After placing the order I waited patiently for the order to arrive. The next day I received a call regarding the unavailability of a chosen product and then offered a replacement or a larger product via a cash on delivery option. I was disappointed with my choice being unavailable, however I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism. 

During my shopping experience I really was amazed with the range of products and the recommendations offered. The shopping policy was more or less similar to other online portals while the there were a few highlights and a couple of misses. 

Hits of the Portal:
§ Personalised product recommendations
§ Range of national and international brands / products
§ Well packed products ensuring no damage in transit
§ A 10-day Return Policy 
§ Complimentary products with every order 
§ Rewards for every purchase

Misses of the Portal:
§ Delivery charges apply for orders below INR 999
§ Delivery time schedules 

My shopping experience with Aplava has been pretty great and I will be looking forward to shopping with them soon again. All the products were delivered in perfect condition, bubble wrapped and intact inspite a many of them in glass bottles. I loved the fact that the brand added a small travel sized haircare package as a gift for me, in accordance with the beauty score derived from my profile.  

However one important aspect the brand needs to catchup with is to up its delivery time schedules in the tremendous competition that is seen in the online shopping scenario, to be the first choice for all online shoppers. 

Have you heard about Aplava? How has your experience been?
- Heena

Posted On 7/07/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Colorado, a state in the United States is well known as a travel destination due to its geographic diversity. The unparallel adventures and recreation activities offered by the snow-covered mountains, arid desert lands and river canyons ensure that every traveller has something to look forward to during their vacation. 

Biking at Limelight Hotel Aspen
Image Credit: Limelight Hotel 

The Limelight Hotel Aspen is a perfectly laid back gorgeous hotel thats in the midst of all natural resources, that allows to make the most of every little adventure. The hotel offers great biking adventures from peddling through the woods to a road ride around the valley. The Sky Mountain Park a distance from the hotel boats of mountain biking as well as single track trails. So if you want to ride around steep or flat surfaces, easy or extreme trails, the cycling options will available as soon as you stop out. 

Rafting at DoubleTree by Hilton Durango
Image Credit: DoubleTree by Hilton 

The DoubleTree by Hilton Durango is located on the gorgeous Animas River that offers numerous water sports including fishing, rafting, kayaking and nature viewing. Even though there are numerous activities you can do, travellers must indulge in whitewater rafting in the two distinct sections of the river. The Lower Animas is a fun and bouncy ride while the Upper Animas is long and broken into three stretches.

Gondola ride at Sky Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel
Image Credit: Sky Hotel 

The Sky Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel is a luxury hotel on a brilliant spot on the Aspen Mountain with ski-in access. An easy walk into the gondola that only a few properties offer, sets the hotel apart from the rest. The gondola ride takes you up to the summit to majestic views via the floor to ceiling glass windows. A 10 minute ride will become a journey of life like no other that travellers will ever experience. 

Ski at the Aspen Mountain Lodge
Image Credit: Aspen Mountain Lodge

The Aspen Mountain Lodge is a well known world-class ski resort that offers 4 mountains with 4100 acres of skiable terrain fit for every level of skier. The Aspen Skiing Company offers all levels of skiing experiences from expert to intermediate, from beginners to snowboarders. There are numerous ski races and competitions organised at the Aspen Mountains that is easily accessed from the Lodge. There are activities even for the novice like dogsledding, snowmobiling and even guided snowshoe. 

Wine & Dine at Magnolia Hotel Denver
Image Credit: Harry's Bar & Grill

The Magnolia Hotel Denver is a Magnolian style downtown hotel where the old world charm is restored to reflect its 1910 glory. One thing that every traveller must do is to wine and dine at the Harry’s Bar & Grill that ensures you enjoy a bistro style doing experience. Pegged as ‘One of the Best Places to Chill’; Harry’s offers an amazing array of fine wines, cocktails and a wide selection of local brews along with a large spread of seasonal appetisers and entrees. 

Excited? Lets get going now.
- Heena

Posted On 7/07/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Being mommy is no child’s play… it is a lot of hard work, no matter how young or old kids are. The job begins without any training and continues never to cease; however it is full of amazing pitstops that make the ride worthwhile. 

I know a lot of parents feel the pressure of parenthood, especially when they notice their kids with abnormal behaviour, growth not in accordance to growth charts, health and wellness issues. For me, my constant worry is about the right nourishment for my hyper-active little one. With the amount of activity she does, running around all day unable to sit still even for a few minutes, hobbies that are physically strenuous; keeps me on the edge of my already rocky motherhood chair. 

Image Credit: GrowthPlus Horlicks

A regular trip to the paediatrician ensures me that my little one is growing well within the framework of the growth chart prescribed by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. Being a strict vegetarian, I plan my little ones meals to the ‘T’, to ensure that my child’s food intake supplements an all-inclusive balanced and nutritious diet and also reinforces the importance of healthy eating habits. My diet plan for my daughter is... 

A calcium and vitamin rich breakfast including nuts, milk and cereals.
A dose of leafy vegetables and fruits to meet the protein and mineral requirement. 
A portion of lentils and grains to supplement the fibre needs. 

This food mantra is what has been designed and tested over generations to ensure a balanced diet. However with my little one more inclined towards physically strenuous activities like sports and dance; I realise how important it is to make sure she does not fall behind on the growth parameters and my continuous efforts are directed towards ensuring that she keeps pace with attaining the right weight-height for her growing age. 

Image Credit: GrowthPlus Horlicks

A recently conducted research report mentions that children in the age-group of 3-9 years are most prone to inadequate growth due to numerous factors such as fussy eating, reduced immunity, severe weight gain, etc. Lost growth in early childhood needs to be recognised and the situation is corrected with supplementing adequate nutrition to catch up on growth. The easiest method to check if your child is suffering from lost growth is to match the details below or go to the link here to map your child’s current status. 

Image Credit: GrowthPlus Horlicks

I took the Horlicks test and realised that #PrincessHeer growth has marginally slowed down, and it is the right time for me to take some action. Apart from her regular diet fixes, she needs something that will help enhance the lacking ingredients. Horlicks Growth+ has proven to nourish children with the perfect mix of whey protein, amino acids Arginine, Glutamic acid, Leucine and Lysine11; and also is able to supplement the daily quota of Calcium, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Zinc. The product from the house of GSK has now become the go-to formula for parents. 

Image Credit: GrowthPlus Horlicks

No parent needs to be told how important it is for children to catch up on lost growth in this fast-paced, super-competitive world today. Every positive step towards wellness and overall health of your child is a milestone that every parent must consciously make. 

Do you agree? 
- Heena 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Posted On 7/05/2016 by Team iCynosure.

Somewhere between being super stylish and being super casual is being stylishly casual that defines our laid back attitude while putting our best foot forward. For me on days I cannot be bothered to dress up, I pull out a shirt dress from my closet to and embrace the casual chic long button down dress that can light up the harshest summers. 

That’s exactly what happened last week when I headed to Phaltan, a few hours drive from Mumbai to relax at the Jakson Inn. A stroll in the sugarcane farms warranted a longer version of a shirt, slightly oversized by my favourite denim brand Levis

What I love about shirt dresses is that they can be styled as per individual taste from casual to sporty, from dressy to sophisticated by the simple change of footwear. I paired the dress with trainers from sketchers for the farm visit and day shoes from crocs. I cinched the waist with a thin belt for the day for a more glamorous yet effortless look while I left it loose during the farm visit. The one thing I loved was the effect rolled up sleeves gave the entire look. I went easy on the accessories and let the dress do all the talking. 

Outfit Details, Levis Shirt Dress, Skechers Shoes, Lenskart Sunglasses

How would you style a shirt dress? Tell me in the comments below. 
- Heena

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Posted On 7/03/2016 by Team iCynosure.

To be honest we didn’t even know anything about Phaltan until Jakson Inns invited us for a weekend escape to the gorgeous location. Living in Mumbai, we always desperately seek to explore untouched locations that are a far cry away from the mundane, oh-so predictable and characterless destinations that most vacation spots are fast turning into. Phaltan at a driving distance of about 4 hours from Western Mumbai, is the answer to all the experiences you seek. The ancient capital city of Maharashtra, Phaltan is the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj’s first wife Saibai; thus having a close connection to the rich heritage and history of the state. 

As we drove down to Phaltan nothing could have prepared us for the beauty of the rugged place that is as yet so untouched. The gorgeous property nestled amidst serene sugarcane fields and fruit orchards, The Jakson Inns Plathan is India’s first 3-star LEED GREEN platinum rated hotel. Though from the outside the hotel will look like a regular stay option, we were amazed with the six acres boutique property with 60 deluxe rooms and 4 suites.  Most modern facilities and amenities are available at the Inn, with special stay provisions for lady travelers, business travelers, family vacationers as well as larger groups. One thing that really amazed us was the installation of solar panels which accounts for the electricity requirements of almost one floor of the hotel. 

With a combination of contemporary design and modern facilities, the Jakson Inns Phaltan is a dream property to relax at. We were seamlessly checked in for a quick siesta post which we took the hotel tour. We were pretty impressed with the Kundalini spa, the Burn gym as well as the Green Bean restaurant and the Fulltoon bar. 

The summer heat was intense, but that didn’t stop us from exploring around the hotel.  One question that really kept popping in our mind was why someone would choose to come to a barren land to relax even though the property is great. The answer to that question came from the unique experiences that we had during our stay at the hotel. Though a host of activities are organized for vacationers to choose from; we decided to skip the regular run-of-the-mills holiday activities to explore some unique experiences that the Inn is promoting in and around Phaltan. 

A morning at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra

KVK Baramati is a leading agricultural technology haven founded by Sharad Pawar and now managed by Dr. Appasaheb Pawar for the upliftment of the farming community. KVK is a playground where scientists and agriculturalists experiment to deliver demand driven products and services to the agricultural community. Infused with demonstration plots, exhibits of farming technology and equipment and soil testing laboratories, KVK is the perfect place for experiential learning. 

An afternoon at the fields

Late afternoon, we headed for a tour of the sugarcane field and fruit orchard just besides the hotel and then settled in for a fiesta. A lavish spread set up across 20 acres of plantation while we relaxed on the traditional charpai was a scene just out of a Bollywood movie. Running around in the paddy fields and posing against the freshly ploughed read soil awakened our senses. 

An evening under the windmills

How close can one think about going to a windmill? We went so close that we could hear the gentle swishing of the air, the ferocious wing pass an inch away and the breeze playing chaos with my hair. A short drive from Jakson Inn and we were lapping in the beauty of the neatly attacked row of windmills snuggled in the backdrop of the lush countryside. The highlight of the stay, which we cherish to date; the evening spent at Pusagaon sipping red wine under the gorgeously lit sun-kissed evening sky just looking at the windmills dance to the tune of the wind is something that can only be experienced. Nothing, absolutely nothing can help you visualize it; expect the pictures we took there. 

During the short trip, we did experience a few unique things; however for the traditional there are a few things to do as well. For our next trip there we sure want to visit the Royal Rajwada (Palace), the Aundh Museum, and the Ajinkya Tara.

Yes, we are already planning our next visit to the Jakson Inns for their unrivalled service. The staff is beyond exemplary with their on-point service, knowledge about the property and the information about the history and heritage of the place. And not to forget the food, the Green Bean restaurant tosses dishes of your choice in a jiffy, if it is not already a part of their humungous buffet spread. 

Are you packing already? 
- Heena