Because, it's the closest thing we have, to magic

  To me, he was nothing short of a miracle. Generous, simple and in so many ways gorgeous. I was besotted right at the start. It was the eleventh grade, and he helped me with a lot of school work. There was something about the way he spoke, just so honest, he'd nothing to hide. Brown eyes, wide with innocence, incapable of telling a lie and genuinely so. Sometime in the first few weeks, I sensed a bond that'd last a lifetime. I had nothing to ask of him ,just his company made me ecstatic. It was the most honest, simple and unconditional relationship. He was my best friend. I cherished our candidness too much to jeopardize it, so I kept my feelings private. Surprisingly one day, he told me he loved me. I don't know if that was impulse, we were just children. The curiosity of what it'd be like to belong to him numbed  my instinct. Oh and did we have a blast! He moved to another city to study, and somehow that made the bond more meaningful. I'd wake up to his messages and we'd talk each other to sleep. He'd wait for a break to come visit me and we'd count the hours together. Taking each other's opinion on every damn thing and then fussing about it, petty but fun. Every birthday and New Year meant more now that I had him to share time with. It was beautiful. Of course we had our differences, often silly but the most heated arguments. Somehow, almost cosmically, every quarrel would lead me to realizing I'd be better off milking a bull .What was the point of winning the tiff? I'd forgotten how to function without him. So irrevocably in love. Even in times of chaos I'd feel an unwaning confidence because I knew he'd be there if I wished to cry. No fear of the uncertain, no dubiousness of his affection. For several reasons, the best days of my life.
       Soon enough, we'd to get serious about our careers. Now, we spoke lesser, and one day he left the country to pursue his studies. It's been a while, but I still remember the day he left. I was a wreck. I trembled at the thought of not knowing if he'd ever come back, if he'd remember what it was like to be in my company. He took away so much with his absence. The clouds drifted, so did he. In a few months I saw a new him, the simplicity dwindled because everything around was new, sensitivity and concern began to ebb , perhaps it didn't make sense to care for someone so far away, and of course,  honesty was ludicrous since we were unaware of almost everything in each other's lives. He lost himself to the splendor of possibility. For months I questioned the days we'd laughed together, had he really given up on everything I loved about him? I understood his being stressed about life's challenges, but it just seemed like his priorities had shifted. In some time, we were barely speaking. A deafening silence. Our days didn't share the same light, he got busy and I didn't intrude. Everyday, I battled my inner tornado to fill the void, and it didn't affect him that I was hurting. Never do we foresee these things, there was a time when I was immensely confident of our solidarity, and now we didn't even know when we needed each other. Merely being of relevance to him seemed arduous.
     Despite everything, each time I pass a coffee shop we'd visited or the place I first met him, I smile because those are still the most beautiful days I've seen. Love is larger than us. Innocent but Powerful. Often beyond our control, we get hurt but that doesn't curb our capacity to love.
   How many stupid times a day, must we have dwelt on our dissatisfaction?! Fundamentally greed, our craving for attention turns us into beings beyond our own handling power. Obsession cultivates a deep rooted negativity, a dark energy that taints our prudence. 
       The ones we love might not necessarily find their haven in us. Life will go on and they'd eventually gather their sanity from other sources. Perhaps, even fall in love again. Well, they're only human. Going through agony, might make us a little harsh, but we still hold a massive potential to love, and so we're beautiful!

Through the several days I spent mulling over what went wrong, I didn't realize I'd retreated from my real self too. My faith in him had shaken, I'd become terribly quick to judge and grew selfish. We only react to our environment, our circumstances and our pain. The truth is, we all have issues, he isn't perfect, neither am I. After all, when he was around, he only gave me what I wanted, any girl's fantasy, a quintessential version of what I imagined love should look like.
       We spend too much time expecting from the other end. Blessed enough to experience love and we ponder over the slightest debates. I know, I'd never be able to shake off the shadow of my first love, but I also know he'll never be the same again. Love is for realistic people. We build our hopes on an intricate web of daydreams and that makes us fragile. It's our ability to love, the complacency of being able to offer ourselves emotionally, that we cherish. Love, because it warms the heart. Whether it culminates into something or not, love because we're fortunate enough to know its bliss. People change, isn’t change the only constant? Accept the reversal, walk with the wind, it’s much easier than walking against it. Let's be grateful for the experience and accommodative of each other's flaws. Believe the best in them and derive strength from your ability to acclimate. Have faith in the beauty of your soul; your capacity to give is endless. If it's the only way, love them enough to let them go and love yourself enough to smile everyday. This Valentine's day, let's stop questioning ourselves and the ones we love. Break free of those shackles of doubt and rage, and love unconditionally... because, it's the closest thing we have, to magic.

Article by: Sweta Subramanian. She is an engineer by qualification and is currently a Singer/Performer based in Bangalore.

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All About the Cheese in the Cheesecake

All About the Cheese in the Cheesecake

What makes cheesecakes adaptable to any culinary style is their cheese. Back in Ancient Greece, every market sold cheeses to those who cannot make their own. By the time the fourth century B.C. came, the most accepted white Greek cheeses were being seasoned with spices and baked in a manner similar to pies and cakes. Even the Romans, during the height of their power, used a great deal of cheese in their cooking. They preserved cheese using a salt-based sauce and provided the recipe for the celebration of the wedding cake, which still contains cheese as the main ingredient.

The Americans and Their Cream Cheese

 A soft, mild-tasting, sweet, white cheese is the cream cheese. Generally, cream cheese contains at least 33per cent milk fat and a moisture content of not more than 55per cent and a pH level ranging from 4.4 to 4.9. Cream cheese is not usually matured and is meant to be consumed fresh. This makes it diverse from other supple cheeses, like the Neufchatel and the Europeís Brie. The taste, production and texture of the cream cheese are more comparable to that of the Mascarpone and Boursin.

Cream cheese was known to originate in the United

States during the year 1872. In Chester, New York, a dairyman developed a richer cheese made from whole milk and cream. During the year 1880, A.L. Reynolds, one of the cheese distributors in New York, first began issuing cream cheese, which was then covered in tin-foil wrappers, called the Philadelphia Brand. Hence, the name Philadelphia Brand cream cheese was adopted by the Reynolds for the product since, at that time, the quality of food products were related to the city where it originated. It was not until 1912, when James L. Kraft created the pasteurized cheese. This invention eventually led to the improvement of the pasteurized Philadelphia Bran cream cheese, which is not the most fashionable cheese used in making cheesecakes.

The French and Their Neufchatel

 While the Americans like to use cream cheeses for their cheesecakes, the French used Neufchatel cheese in their own culinary style of creating cheesecakes. Neufchatel is a flavorful cheese that provides cheesecakes with a light and airy texture and eventually became the basis of the modern American cheesecake. The French Neufchatel is slightly crumbly, soft and mould-ripened made in the region of Normandy. It was one of the oldest cheeses in France with production dating back as far as the 6th century. Neufchatel cheese is somewhat similar to camembert in appearance, with a white, dry and edible rind, but with a sharper and saltier taste. Additionally, Neufchatel cheese has the aroma and taste of mushrooms. What makes this cheese different is that unlike other cheeses with soft and white rinds, Neufchatel cheese has a grainy texture. Although Neufchatel has been less popular after the World War II, several cheesecake recipes still use the cheese. In fact, there are also Americans who like to use Neufchatel instead of cream cheese when making cheesecakes, which they can purchase at several gourmet shops.

 The Italians and Their Ricotta

 When the Italian adopted the cheesecake recipe, they used ricotta cheese to make their cheesecake a little drier. Ricotta cheese is a whey cheese made in Italy. It uses whey, which is a limpid, low-fat and nutritious liquid that is the by-product of cheese production. In its basic form, ricotta is also an un-ripened and uncooked curd, which is normally un-drained of its way. It has a fresh, creamy and grainy white appearance, slightly sweet in taste and usually contains around 5% fat.

How your favourite wine is made?

The production of wine is an incredibly fine balance of fruit and time and expertise. Keep reading to know how Reds, Whites and Sweet Dessert Wines are produced.

Red Wine

The first operation performed on grapes after they are removed from their storage is to de-stem them, which is the process of removing the grape from the shoots to which they are attached.

As soon as all the grapes in the batch are de-stemmed, they are placed into the wine press where they are compressed into a paste which in turn releases the must (the juice of the fruit). The resulting paste (or pomace) and must combination then spend time together in a cask and it is the length of time that the mixture sits with the must in contact with the grape skin and pulp that determines the character of the finished wine.

When the winemaker determines the right amount of time has passed, the juice is drawn off and yeast added to begin the fermentation process with the remaining pomace, in many cases, being returned to the vineyard to be used as a fertilizer.

Once the colour and sugar content are correct the cask valve is opened and the first juice, which is the best quality wine, is then transferred into other containers where the fermentation process is finalized.

Pressed winesí, which are full of tannin, are made from the leftover solids. They have a strong colour and are generally mixed with the first juice in many different ways to create wines of different strengths and flavours.

When the fermentation process is complete, the wine is either bottled straight away, or left to age.

White Wine

When making white wine it is important not to damage the grapes, so they are poured into the receiving bins as quickly as possible. Once they are all in the receiving bin, the grapes are then transferred to the press where the must is separated from the skins and other solids.

At this stage, the solids are disregarded and the remaining must is slightly refrigerated before being transferred into a stainless steel vat where it is allowed to ferment. Care is taken to maintain the temperature during fermenting which preserves the delicate aromas of the finished wine.

Once the fermentation process is complete, the resultant wine is decanted taking care to avoid the sediment which collects at the bottom of the vat. After decanting, the wine is bottled and ready to be sold, and is the best drunk within two years.

Sweet Dessert Wines

Dessert wines are produced in one of two ways. In the first method, Botrytis Cinera, a fungus which grows very quickly, is used. This transforms the fruit and changes the colour and also alters the acid components and sugar levels. The second method is to interrupt the fermentation process by adding alcohol. This method creates a strong, sweet wine where the grape is the major flavour.

Grapes used for sweet wines are of the white Moscatel and Garnacha varieties which, along with the production process, leave the wine with a mushroom type smell as the bottle is opened.

Scarlett Johansson on New York, Lifestyle and Woody Allen

Scarlett Johansson tells about Russia, her lifestyle and Woody Allen. Read the full interview where Scarlett makes her point on feminism and tells who she would like to be reborn in "Cosmo Life" April. Coming soon!

CL: Do you love champagne?

Johansson: I do love champagne. I have many wonderful memories connected to it. I remember when I was little, my parents let me take a sip of champagne from their glass when we were celebrating Christmas or New Year. Therefore, I associate champagne with a holiday, happy moments, achievement of some goal. All these I think are reasons for champagne.

CL: In one of the films you played a Russian girl. Why do you think you landed in this spot? What makes people see a Russian in you?

Johansson: I do not know. I have Russian roots. My relatives from my grandmother’s side come from Minsk, so my roots are there. Jon Favreau, the director of “Iron Man 2” conducting the first casting was looking for someone who could pass as a Russian face. Maybe I have some unusual independence, which is attributed to Russian women.

CL: What is the difference between this role of the Russian girl and the role of the same but American women? For you - what's the difference?

Johansson: I do not know. Perhaps there is more of a kind of European grace about Russian girl. It seems to me that she is a bit more sline and sleek, a little more elegant. And also because she has well traveled, is connected with spies and has the ability "to be double-sided“ personality.

CL: If you were offered a lot of money to live in Russia, would you agree?

Johansson: That does not sound so bad! I think many Americans would take advantage of this opportunity. I do not think it's true that I need a lot of money so that I agree to live in Russia.

CL: Would you agree to stay for free?

Johansson: You know, I'm a true new yorker, so for me, New York is vitally important. Even if it's hard time to live in New York. But I know many who moved here or have homes in Russia and they love it. I think it would be great to spend a vacation there. Why not?

CL: Spending a vacation and living constantly are two different things.

Johansson: It's true.

CL: You really can imagine yourself living, for example, in Moscow?

Johansson: I do not know. In any place, wherever you live, you should have a company of friends, it must be a feeling that somewhere around you have a family. It's difficult to just go somewhere and be disconnected. But if I have a nice group of friends, and if I'm aware of the events - what's new, where to go, what's popular — I could live in different places.

CL: What is important for you living in a big city?

Johansson: Of course, infrastructure. Also this central feeling, that everything is not too spread out. Of course, good restaurants, because I love to eat delicious food. It's important for me to be in a walking city where people go a lot, where you can meet a friend and go for a coffee. I need some kind of spontaneity in the city, where you can just walk, and then your friend calls, and you already meet in some place.

CL: Tell me honestly, do you go by taxi in New York?

Johansson: Taxi, yes.

CL: Are you really using them?

Johansson: Yes. Well, I never invite people into my car. But - yes, this is how I'm moving around in New York. Or by walking.

CL: So you can meet Scarlett Johansson in a taxi in New York?

Johansson: Yes. I use public transport. New York is a city where it is easier to move by public transport or on foot. And you know, I think in New York everybody is too cool to care of who’s walking nearby. People are too passionate about everything that happens around. So it is not difficult to remain unnoticed.

CL: Tell me about Woody Allen. He seems to be a melancholic and very funny person. Is it just an image that we see in a movie, or is he the same in life?

Johansson: I do not think Woody is so melancholy. I think that he, rather, ... I will not say that he is optimistic. He is a realist. I remember the phrase from his movie. He says: "Realism is pessimism with an alternate spelling," I think that he is actually pretty enthusiastic. He appreciates fine things in life, quiet moments. And he is quite poetic in this way. I think that his melancholy is caused by the fear of his own mortality and the fact that all this can not go on forever, and there is an ultimate end. This very idea is melancholic, I think. According to me, he is a very positive person. He enjoys things, he loves to travel, music, food, art.

CL: Usually they say that people who show a good sense of humor on stage or on the screen, in life rarely share something: jokes, stories and so on. Speaking of Woody Allen, is this true?

Johansson: I always knew that he’s shy when you meet him. But when you get to know him better, he's an excellent storyteller, very funny, so resourceful. And he always has his own opinion on any occasion, he is very categorical, he always has something to say in response to what is going on.

CL: He is more conservative, I think.

Johansson: I think that Woody is more conservative financially. He is more "overgrown" with real estate. But I will not say that he is as conservative as he looks in the film. He's pretty liberal-minded, you know — he’s from New York, a Jewish from New York.

CL: Of course, but it's bourgeois, do not you think? In a good way.

Johansson: You know, he used to have anything, and now he's incredibly successful. I think he appreciates this opportunity - come from nothing and being somebody who has a beautiful and relaxed lifestyle. But I would not say that this changed his political views that much.

CL: As for you, could you relate yourself to the bourgeoisie? Do you like bourgeois things: expensive champagne, elite restaurants, beautiful dresses? Or are these things unimportant for you?

Read the full Interview in "Cosmo Life" April Issue, coming soon!

Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures

Teeth whitening is a process of lightening or changing the color of your teeth. A few of the options are listed below in case you wish to undergo a teeth whitening procedure.

1. Teeth Whitening Toothpastes: These toothpastes help lighten the color of your teeth by about a shade or two. Such toothpastes contain chemical agents that gently polish the enamel and remove stains. These toothpastes can be purchased over-the-counter from your local drug store or they can be ordered online.

2. Teeth Whitening Strips: These are thin invisible strips that are covered with a teeth whitening gel. Use strips for about a fortnight and you will be able to see the difference that these peroxide-based strips make on the color of your teeth. The results should last approximately for four months or so and it will set you back by more than $10 and less than $60.

3. Teeth Whitening Gels: Apply these gels with a brush directly to your teeth twice daily for about a fortnight. The effects of these clear peroxide-based gels last for about 4 odd months and it might cost you about $15 - $20.

4. Teeth Whitening by a Dentist: Dentists use different types of tray-based procedures in which they apply a light to the gel on your teeth. This improves the teeth color between three and eight shades. This approach is the most effective out of the approaches listed above. This also removes stubborn stains deep in the tooth and can cost almost $800.

Simple Tricks How to Make Yourself Look Younger

For many people growing old is a hard fact to deal with. Many people consider aging a dreadful experience. When many people think of aging, they think of the deterioration of their appearance where as the options of remaining youthful is more appealing since we tend to feel better about ourselves in our youth. There are simple methods to take years off your appearance to help retain the youthful appearance without the need of painful plastic surgery or the needles used in many procedures. 

You have gray hair. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all but the hair styles can add years to your appearance. To disguise the wrinkles on your forehead, wear bangs to hide them. The current hair styles today incorporate many ways of wearing bangs giving you increased options for the new style. You can wear the bangs straight or have them lightly sweep over your forehead.

Soften your jaw line with a layered hair style cut to the neck area to draw the focus away from this area. Add shorter layers on the top of the head to add volume and take more focus off the jaw line and sagging areas. If you have crow’s feet around your eyes, style your hair around your eyes to help hide the lines. If you wear your hair long, have it layered to refresh your appearance and give yourself a natural facelift.

To hide the gray hairs, instead of coloring the entire hair, opt for highlights to enhance your natural color. The new added colors will give a youthful appearance. If you want to color your hair, avoid selecting a color too dark for your complexion since it will make you look older instead of younger.

To use makeup to change the appearance of your eyes, reshape your eyebrows.  If you have thinning eyebrows, use a cosmetic pencil to fill in the sparse areas with a brow powder to fix the pencil on the eyebrow area.

Apply concealer to remove the dark patches and age spots. Use a creamy color that contains peach or yellow undertone to remove the bluish cast under your eyes. Avoid concealers that are lighter than your skin tone.Apply a slight amount of foundation with a powder to seal the concealer. Avoid using too much powder or you will create lines and highlight the flaws in your skin tone. Use a cream blush instead of a powder blush. Using a powder blush will draw attention to the lines in your face. 

Use a lighter lip color. Darker colors will make your features appear harsh and accentuates the imperfections in your skin. Make your lips fuller add a touch of lip gloss to the bottom lip.

Apply a moisturizer to your face to keep your skin looking fresh and hydrated. If you use foundation, use a moisture rich mixture. Avoid using too much foundation as it will form in the lines of your face making you appear older as well as showing the fine lines on your face.

7 Important Steps Of The Christian Wedding Ceremony

The Christian wedding ceremony is an important ceremony for those who celebrate this religion. The ceremony is filled with multiple steps that are an important for the religion and for the couple involved. Those who do not follow the Christian faith may be a little confused by the entire ceremony. If you are going to attend a Christian wedding, you will want to know what you should expect. These are seven of the most important steps of the wedding for this religion.

 Important Family Members are Seated

 The first part of the actual processional includes the important family members of those who are to be married. This includes the parents and grandparents of both the bride and groom. It may include aunts and uncles who have been an important part of the lives of the bride and groom as well.

 The Processional

 The processional is the most well known part of the Christian wedding. The processional introduces the wedding part and eventually introduces the bride and groom to the wedding ceremony.

 The Prayer

Most Christian weddings will have a prayer directly following the processional. This prayer will change based on the wishes of the bride and groom, and the priest that is performing the ceremony. Those who are uncomfortable with prayer from other religions should know that the prayer will be said out loud to the entire group.

The Pledge and the Wedding Vows

The bride and groom will then pledge to the congregation that they are willfully going through the wedding ceremony. They will then exchange wedding vows. While some will choose to stick with the usual wedding vows, others will write their own vows. They may do this with the usual vows, or in place of the usual vows.

Ring Exchange

The couple will then go through the usual ring exchange of the wedding. Some couples will choose to say their own vows during this time instead of replacing the usual wedding vows.

Unity Candle

The Unity Candle is not always a part of the Christian wedding. Some couples will choose to light a candle together before their wedding ceremony has finished. This is a symbolic tradition that shows the unity of the couple as they start their journey together.

Prayer and Presentation

The priest will then say a final prayer to bless the new couple. The groom will then be told that he can kiss his bride. The couple is presented as a couple for the first time, and will then exit the church.

There are multiple steps to the Christian wedding ceremony. While some steps are staples in every ceremony, others may change depending on the wedding. There will be different rituals and traditions that some may use during their weddings. With that being said, these steps will give you a good idea as to what to expect when you attend this wedding.

 

How to Find the Best Weight Loss Program for You

Are you looking to lose weight?  If you are, you may be interested in joining a weight loss program.  When it comes to joining a weight loss program, you will find that you have a number of different options.  If this is your first time joining a weight loss program, you may be unsure as to what you should look for in a weight loss program.  If that is the case, you will want to continue reading on.

 

One of the best ways to go about finding the perfect weight loss program for yourself is to ask yourself a number of important questions.  One of the first questions that you should ask yourself is how much time you have to devote to weight loss meetings.  If you were to join a local weight loss program, you would likely be required to attend weekly meeting.  Whether you are busy with your family or busy at work, you may not have the time to do so.  In that case, you should look into joining an online weight loss program, as they are often designed for those with busy schedules.

 

Another question that you will want to ask yourself, when looking to find the perfect weight loss program is your willpower.  Should you join an online weight loss program, you will be given more freedom, as you do not have to physically report to meetings and answer to group leaders. While this freedom is nice, it has allowed many hopeful individuals to go off track.  If you do not think that you can stick with your online weight loss program goals and instructions, it may be better to join a local weight loss program instead.

 

Another one of the many questions that you will want to ask yourself, when looking for a weight loss program to join, is how much money you have to spend.  While it is possible to find free weight loss programs, both locally or online, it is actually quite rare.  In your search for weight loss programs, you will find that they have a wide range of membership fees.  Commonly, you will find that online weight loss programs are cheaper than locally operated weight loss programs.  If you are on a budget, the cost of each weight loss program that you come across should play a large role in your decision.

 

You should also ask yourself if you are embarrassed with your current weight or your physical appearance. Although you should have nothing to be ashamed of, you may still feel that way.  If that is the case, you may be afraid of attending local weight loss meetings.  Of course, you need to remember that everyone else in your meetings is likely feeling the same way, but you don’t have to put yourself in an awkward situation.  If you are concerned with your appearance or what others may think of you, you may want to look into joining an online weight loss program instead.

 

The above mentioned questions are just a few of the many that you should ask yourself if you are interested in joining a weight loss program. While there are a number of benefits to joining a locally operated weight loss program, as well as an online weight loss program, you need to make the decision that is best for you and your own needs.