Posts in Life
The Essential Gift Guide for your Spiritual, Mystical, Woo-Woo friend

In this era of self-care meets Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of crystals and smudge sticks and manifesting intentions. Some describe this as spiritual, or mystical, magical or “woo-woo”. To me, it’s that combination of self help and self care - and maybe tapping into a little science and a little magic. In any case, it’s a growing trend - I have a healthy respect for the “woo”.

I’m certain you have one or more friends and family members who are either deeply engrained or just starting to dabble in this world of “woo”, and for them, I’ve created this gift guide.

 Self care gifts for your woo-woo friend: all things Tarot  Photo credit:  Tall Hair Creative

Self care gifts for your woo-woo friend: all things Tarot

Photo credit: Tall Hair Creative

Tarot: I’ve just started to get into this over the past few weeks. To be honest, it’s not weird or scary, and you don’t have to wear a crazy turban or a lot of rings (although I’m always a fan of any jewelry opportunity) to do it. I’m mainly doing it because I find it fascinating, and I think it might be a really fun party trick. Anyway, I started down the road with a clever book called WTF is Tarot? and a set of fun, pink tarot cards designed by designer and illustrator Adam J. Kurtz. So far it’s been fun and enlightening, and of course, everything is open to interpretation, but some interesting things have come of it.

 Self-care gifts for your woo-woo friend: The Universe Has Your Back series including the card deck!  Photo credit:  Tall Hair Creative

Self-care gifts for your woo-woo friend: The Universe Has Your Back series including the card deck!

Photo credit: Tall Hair Creative

The Universe Has Your Back Series: Gabrielle Bernstein has built an empire of self help and self care, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve read most of her books. My favorite one is The Universe Has Your Back in part because there’s a lot of discussion and prompts around meditation, and that’s something I’ve been trying to build into a regular practice in my life. In addition to the book, I also really enjoy the pretty illustrated 52-week The Universe Has Your Back card deck. You can pull a new card each week and use that as the mantra for your week, or live dangerously and pull a new mantra each day. And if that’s not enough, you can even get The Universe Has Your Back Journal. Individually, each piece in the series is under $20, so you can buy all three as a really nice gift for under $50!

 Self-care gifts for your woo-woo friend: crystal kits!

Self-care gifts for your woo-woo friend: crystal kits!

Crystals: I have a set of abundance crystals at my desk at work. Do they do anything? I’m not sure. But I don’t know that they don’t do anything either. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to have them there, and who knows, something amazing and magical might just happen. You can generally buy crystals anywhere, but this is one where I recommend buying from someone who is actually doing some work in the wellness space rather than just buying them on Amazon. There are usually local stores that sell crystals, or I personally recommend Good Chi Shop online, which is where I got my Abundance Kit. There’s a whole variety of kits that range between $18-$24 and they come with instructions on what to do with them. If you run out of time to order these online before the holidays, and you’re local to Cleveland, I also recommend stopping by Coven CLE which carries all sorts of magical, mystical products.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this gift guide and will use it this holiday season! If you like this post, you may also like our Essential Gift Guide for Men who have everything, Gift Guide for people who like to Drink and Gift Guide for Dogs (and dog lovers). Click through the links above to read them, and pin this post to your pinterest board for easy access!

 Self care gift ideas. Find the whole post at  bombaytaxiboutique.com/blog

Self care gift ideas. Find the whole post at bombaytaxiboutique.com/blog

 Read the whole post at  bombaytaxiboutique.com/blog

Read the whole post at bombaytaxiboutique.com/blog

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means that if you use the links in this post to make a purchase, I receive a tiny fee at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I’ve personally tested and absolutely love.

The Essential Gift Guide for Men who have Everything

Nick and I have been together for nearly 17 years - that’s a long time of gift giving. A few years ago we mutually decided to stop with the Anniversary gifts, but we still give each other gifts for Birthdays and Christmas.

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I think I’m really easy to shop for because I maintain an updated Amazon wishlist (incidentally, if you don’t have one of these, please do your loved ones a favor and create one ASAP), which includes stuff from Amazon as well as other websites. Nick doesn’t. So when it comes to gifts, I have to listen carefully all year and use my imagination and hopefully get him something that he will like (gift receipts always included).

Honestly, it’s a challenge to buy Nick gifts that don’t include clothing or electronics, but over the years I’ve done pretty well giving him things he’s enjoyed. So here’s a list of ideas that may be helpful for you when you’re giving a gift to someone who has everything.

 Gifts for the person who has everything:  The best travel pillow

Gifts for the person who has everything: The best travel pillow

Travel pillow: If you have someone in your life who travels a lot for work or leisure, a great travel pillow is a must-have if they’re not consistently traveling first class. The TRTL pillow is incredible, and works particularly well for long-haul flights. Nick and I have both used this on a 15+ hour direct flight from NYC to Mumbai, and it absolutely lives up to its claim as the best travel pillow.

 Gifts for the person who has everything:  Weighted sleep mask

Gifts for the person who has everything: Weighted sleep mask

 Gifts for the man who has everything:  weighted blanket

Gifts for the man who has everything: weighted blanket

Weighted blankets and weighted eye masks are seemingly everywhere this year, and for good reason. They work. We are living in a time of increasing stress, and luckily, this coincides with a movement towards self care. And self care includes great sleep. Weighted blankets and weighted eye masks basically work like a thunder shirt for humans - it’s like a long hug, but without all the extra arms getting in the way. I got Nick a weighted blanket for his birthday and he’s used it every day since. Granted, it will be too warm in the summer to use it, but in the mean time, this is a really great gift!

When buying a weighted blanket you want to be mindful of two things. One - you definitely want a washable cover. Two - 15 lbs is quite heavy when its in a floppy blanket-like shape, so you really don’t need to go much heavier than that unless you absolutely need to.

 Gift ideas for the man who has everything: A year of self care and Calm!

Gift ideas for the man who has everything: A year of self care and Calm!

Speaking of self care, my FAVORITE self care app is Calm. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me talk about this app in my stories because I AM OBSESSED WITH IT. In fact, I bought a super discounted lifetime subscription on Cyber Monday because I love it SO MUCH. It’s got everything from daily meditations to sleep stories - a year-long subscription is a great gift. Personally, I listen to a sleep story every night using in-ear headphones (another great gift) so I don’t bother Nick. My current favorite set are by Sudio, who carry both in-ear and over the ear headphones. Truth be told, this is one of my favorite gifts because you really can never have too many headphones - I have a set a work, in my purse, at my bedside table and in my gym bag.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this gift guide and will use it this holiday season! If you like this post, you may also like our Gift Guide for people who like to Drink and Gift Guide for Dogs (and dog lovers). Click through the links above to read them, and pin this post to your pinterest board for easy access!

 Gift guide for the person who has everything. Find the complete post at bombaytaxiboutique.com/blog

Gift guide for the person who has everything. Find the complete post at bombaytaxiboutique.com/blog

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means that if you use the links in this post to make a purchase, I receive a tiny fee at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I’ve personally tested and absolutely love.

Celebrating the spirit of Diwali

As we head into a new week, billions of Indians across the world are getting ready to celebrate Diwali, the festival of light. Like most Indian celebrations, Diwali is a four day affair, ending with the Indian New Year. Diwali is traditionally a religious holiday, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, and although each faith celebrates the holiday a little bit differently, ultimately the festival represents the symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

I’m not religious in the slightest, so for me, Diwali is a symbolic and cultural holiday rather than a religious one. Diwali is often described as the “Indian Christmas”, but honestly besides the presents, there’s really no connection between Diwali and Christmas. Growing up, I loved Diwali because we had days off school, there were presents, and my family would get together and eat themselves silly. What’s not to love? As an adult, none of these happen anymore, but I love celebrating anyway.

The spirit of Diwali comes down to 3 things: Love, Light, and Luck

You can celebrate Diwali too - if you’re uncomfortable celebrating the holiday itself, you can celebrate the spirit of Diwali - love, light and luck.

Showing love is really about surrounding yourself with family and/or friends, and there’s probably no better way to show love than through food. I invite my neighbors over for dinner and cook an entirely Indian meal. To celebrate Diwali yourself, host a casual dinner party this week, and if you’re feeling adventurous, try out some new Indian recipes.

Check out my post on Best Indian Cookbooks, and the New York Times has a pretty legit Butter Chicken recipe.

My celebration always includes lots of light in the form of candles (both real and faux) and sparklers after dinner. The sparklers take a little planning, and we stock up right after July 4th, but if you don’t have leftover sparklers, you can just light every candle you own to symbolize the victory of light over darkness.

And finally, for a little luck, my Diwali celebration includes some scratch-off lottery tickets, or lottery tickets in general, but if you feel so inclined, a trip to the casino is also a lot of fun.

Celebrating Diwali is such a lovely experience, and even if you aren’t Indian, I hope I’ve given you some fun, actionable ideas to celebrate the spirit of Diwali this year.

Wishing you a year filled with love, light and luck!

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Best Indian Cookbooks (if you're not Indian)

My great-aunt Tarla Dalal was an incredibly famous Indian cookbook author. A vegetarian herself, she only wrote vegetarian recipes that were then translated into many Indian and International languages, including Russian and Dutch. She was truly a pioneer - her first cookbook was published in 1974, well before the Internet and social media, and she published over 100 cookbooks in her time. I always loved visiting her house — as you might imagine, the food was always incredible. You can find all her recipes online at TarlaDalal.com if you’re interested in truly authentic Indian vegetarian recipes.

I visit her website often, but I’ve found it has a few limitations. For one, it lacks the high impact visuals that I’m used to from sites like Domesticate Me, Smitten Kitchen and New York Times Cooking. Second, the recipes are only vegetarian, and sometimes they’re hard to follow, and I’m Indian, so theoretically, these are familiar to me!!!

A few years ago, I found myself in pursuit of the best Indian cookbooks. My primary criteria was that the recipes tasted like home. Next, I wanted clear directions, and pretty pictures didn’t hurt either. And while there were some truly mediocre ones, I’ve found a few that are worth the purchase if you truly love Indian food.

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Made In India and Fresh India, both by Meera Sodha: I first learned about Meera Sodha from a recipe she contributed to the NYT Cooking site - she’s based in England, but her family is originally from the same part of India that my family is ancestrally from. Her recipes taste very much like the recipes I grew up on, as well as some recipes that I’ve never tried before. They’re all easy and pretty quick to execute, and she taught me some really great tips like making sure that you fry dry spices in oil for maximum fragrance and flavor. Her recipes require no special gadgets - just your basic pots and pans. I’ve tried multiple recipes from both books, and have never gone wrong with an of them.

Indian Food Under Pressure by My Heart Beets (Ashley): Ashley is a blogger, so I suppose you could technically find these recipes online, but I personally prefer using a paper cookbook for recipes. There’s something to be said for the screen not going dark or locking due to auto sleep settings. Anyway, Ashley’s recipes are all gluten free and also Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker) friendly. Because you’re putting ingredients in an instant pot, they are not aesthetically the same as assembling a regular recipe. But if you want really good Indian food with minimal fuss, and want to use your instant pot more, this book is a really good one to use. I got this one fairly recently so I haven’t cooked quite as many as from Meera Sodha’s books but everything I’ve tried has been really good (except for one which was user error - turns out I don’t really love coconut milk unless it’s in a curry).


The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla: This book has the best Indian slow cooker recipes I’ve tasted. That said, you do need a slow cooker that has a digital timer and warming function because you can’t leave Indian food to cook on low forever — the spices start to taste funky. I’ve used this cookbook to cook for a party for 40 people. While I will never cook for 40 again, rest assured I still use these recipes for those days that I’m feeling really lazy and want to dump a bunch of stuff into a slow cooker.

Are you a fan of Indian food? Leave me the favorite Indian food you’ve tasted in the comments!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you make a purchase using any of the links in this blog post (at no cost to you). As always, all opinions are 100% my own, and I only recommend products that I’ve tested myself and love!

If you like this post, you may also like our post on Tea Infused Cocktails for Fall, which includes a recipe for Bombay Government Punch.