1. I photoshopped a fan-made poster of Hogwarts, a History to make this pleasant thumbnail. I was very amused.
2. James Laver, British fashion theorist and curator for Victoria & Albert museum in the early 1900's, studied trends and the fashion lifecycle extensively. He conceived the Laver's Law, which is very cool information for anyone who consumes fashion (basically all of us.) Wouldn't you say Elsa Schiaparelli was way ahead of her time? Also, really think about it before buying into that new fad that everyone is wearing, and before throwing something out just because it "hideous" or "ridiculous" (I'm talking specifically about generating lesser trash, not discouraging you from donating clothes.)
3. Get used to my videos and my voice. You'll see a lot more in the coming months ;)
Just like with food, the end goal is to make sure you love going to the gym/ working out/ exercising. It should be something you look forward to everyday, almost like a stress-buster. But you have to remember that workouts are not meant to be easy…be an adventure-seeker, strive to be that person who gets joy out of making progress.
Another thing: if you hate your body right now, you will never have a positive outlook towards fitness. Sure, there are days when I wish I had a flatter stomach, but I know that my strong muscles lie underneath that thin layer of fat. I am always marveled by my body’s strength and what it is capable of, and the only way to see it is by pushing yourself.
While an upcoming wedding/ vacation are all huge motivators, they are fleeting. My aim is to share with you the things that will make fitness/ wellness a permanent lifestyle. Alright then, my two cents on pushing yourself to workout everyday:
• Have a consistent workout time: If you have a different schedule almost every day, aim to workout at the same time as many days a week as you can. This will leave no excuses, you will make the most of your day if you have multiple slots locked for cooking/ work/ workout etc.
• Morning vs. evening workouts: I am pro-choice about this. I was all for evening workouts 4 out of 6 years, but in hindsight, I feel like my morning workouts left me feeling far more energized. I would recommend lifting weights in the morning on a fasted state, and HIIT/ cardio in the evening. Try both before you decide what is better.
• Meditate for 15 minutes (to start with) every morning in complete isolation, preferably after you’ve made your bed and before you engage in any conversations. Do not try to control your thoughts, let your mind wander. If any negativity or self-doubt creeps in, replace your thoughts with that of your family, friends, happiest moments, how you want your day to go, and the things you will do to have that perfect day.
• A pre-workout routine/ ritual you love: I looove coffee and bananas, and I get a kick out of it (probably just the caffeine lol) that makes me want to jump, sweat, and lift. For you, it could be getting into workout clothes, an ice bath, or listening to a Rocky Balboa soundtrack. Point being, the act itself should serve as a motivator to get up and move.
• Combat the pre-workout tiredness: Many of us (including me) may feel super weak or lazy right before workout time, and my solution to that is a 20 minute power nap. You will be amazed at how alert you feel, and it will only work if it is exactly 20 minutes not including the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
• Maintain a workout journal: You don't have to log something in everyday, but do it when you want to remember a certain workout. "Today, I did 5 more push-ups than I did last week," is a journal entry that will surely help when you don't feel like moving because nothing does it better than your own words and feelings.
• Stay tuned into your body: For the longest time, I followed the calories in, calories out rule. I didn't care about eating nutrient dense food to nourish my body, and I didn't pay attention to aches induced by weak muscles. Once I did, I started training my shoulders and back more, my core strength improved dramatically, and only then could I see those abs.
• Favorite filler workouts for some days of the month: Some workout is better than no workout at all. On a particularly lazy day, your favorite workout will get you going. Here are some 30-minute routines that I love to do on such days, and even when I'm on a vacation:
When I look back, in the past year alone, my hair and skin have improved so much without any fancy products whatsoever. Until this point, I didn't share photos because the before photos always attract negativity and condescending comments. But now that I'm here and helping over 50 people get fitter and healthier everyday, I will gladly show you what you and your body are capable of if you simply controlled your mind. Even though I have been working out everyday and (at least I thought) I was eating right, I learned and continue to learn so many new things in this area. And even though mistakes teach you a lot more than I could, avoiding a few might give you the time to focus on the things that matter the most.
This is your body, your mind, your health. Prioritize it before you have no option but to leave it to doctors and medicines. You may already know that fitness is 70% what you eat. Here’s what I can promise you will have in 6 months:
• A clutter-free, positively energized mind that is capable of beautiful and creative things you would have never thought was possible
• A near-squeaky-clean annual health checkup report, and possibly permanent riddance from 95% of common diseases and chronic illnesses
• Smashin’ body, hair and skin that will have you obsess over yourself in the mirror multiple times a day (I never said good consequences, did I ;) )
Step 1: Detox from “bad” food
• Make a list of all the things you want to cut out of your intake and categorize them under: sugar, fried stuff (low-fat, low-sodium, high-bullshit chips included), items on a menu, items you cook at home, drinks (alcohol, La Croix, 0g sugar drinks included), dairy, other (red meat, spicy food, gluten, etc) .
• Go one full week without eating anything on that list. You choose whether you want to cut out sugar while still eating the other things, or if you want to cut out everything. If it is the latter, set new challenges each week: “I will not eat (pizza) until that dinner on Sunday”, “I will not eat (cake) until that birthday.” Slowly upgrade to 2 weeks, 3 weeks, and so on till you kick the habit(s).
Step 2: Learn to love the good food
• Make a list of all the things you need to include in your daily intake. For me, those were - 3 more boiled egg whites, 3 more servings of raw greens, nuts, 2 bananas, 1 avocado. (I was already eating Quinoa, 2 servings of veggies, Dal, Vega protein shake until this point.)
• Schedule this on a daily basis, with time set aside to cook and workout. You will not have time nor the appetite to eat junk, and in a week or two, you will not have junk food at home.
• If it is too difficult, make the healthy cooking & eating process novel: try a new recipe, or a new side. Do not try to distract yourself by watching TV or something else. The idea is to love what you eat, not to run away from the feeling of healthy food!
Step 3: Curb your cravings
• Midnight/ boredom cravings: I keep a water bottle with lemon squeezed in it at all times (bed + desk.) I’m usually too lazy to go to the kitchen, and I love lemon water. Win-win.
• Boredom cravings: Give in and eat (soaked) walnuts, almonds, a fruit or two
• Note down what you crave, when you crave it, and how you feel before and after you eat it.
• Anything you/ your ancestors grew up eating that get a bad rep, are not all that bad for you (in my case, biryani, idlis, dosas, anything South Indian) Paleo, for instance, is all about eating what your ancestors did. Have it once in a while and enjoy it wholeheartedly when you do.
• Go grocery shopping once a week, and make a trip to your local Farmers Market (non-GMO fruits will surprise you)
• Do not shop when you’re hungry or immediately after your workout.
• Eating healthy requires time, patience, and serious commitment. Much of it revolves around what’s on the inside both in terms of food and your thoughts. I insist that you listen to this Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra podcast - it will break down the mind-body connection and really change the idea of wellness for you.
• If I can do it, anyone can. Trust me, I lived on college cafeteria food for long enough to know that junk food is just a habit/ addiction. I also had the worst skin until last year, and that changed dramatically after I quit sugar, dairy, and bettered my overall intake. I’m ALWAYS and only one message away if you need a push. I will always keep your questions/ requests anonymous and private.
Lastly, if you found this or any of my Intro to Fitness posts useful, please pay it forward by sharing it with friends/ family. If you'd like more such posts, answer the poll below. As promised, next up: How to Workout Everyday.
#SariNotSorry, #IsItTooLateNowToSaySari, #WhatOtherSariHashtagsDidIMiss?
Earrings: Miraya (sold out, $15.99) | Rings: Miraya (set of 4, $10) | Clutch: Anandita for Miraya ($64) | Sari: Palanquine ($190) | Blouse: Soiree Couture
It is truly a blessing to be able to exist in an ecosystem where traditions are transformed into distinctive fashion pieces. No matter which region in India, the influence of culture (and Bollywood) on fashion has been subtle yet profound. The sari dates way back to the Victorian era (approx 1800-1900) and all these years later, we have myriad renditions of the garment that honestly leave me both fascinated and confused. Having tried all mainstream options available to me (mostly via mum’s wardrobe) like Kanjivarams, chiffon saris, tulles & georgettes, I put together a handy guide to contemporary sari dressing for the woman in her 20’s:
Fusion Sarry Styles (sorry I couldn’t help it. I will try not to make bad One Direction puns next time):
• Cold shoulder blouses or cropped sweaters with flowy sari fabrics like chiffon: great way to repeat your sari for a not-exclusively-Indian event.
• Button down shirts/ blouses with stiffer saris like Kanjivarams, Banarasi or a Muslin will be perfect for a simple brunch/ lunch.
• Outerwear pieces like jackets, blazers, vests (both cropped or floor-length) worn even with a solid sari make for wonderful cocktail/ reception options. You can add a belt to cinch at the waist.
• If you can drape a sari with skinny jeans, printed pants, leggings, and trousers in general, you don’t even need to look into pre-stitched options!
Here is a list of cool sari pallu draping ideas.
Sari Blouse Ideas:
I always get more than one blouse made for my outfits, one for a traditional event, and one where modesty isn’t a top concern. This is an inexpensive, sustainable alternative to buying a whole new outfit. For the traditional blouse, I use the blouse piece that is included inside the sari. For the second blouse, I aim to get statement pieces that I can wear as a crop top with a lehenga or pants.
• Play around with sleeve lengths (sleeveless, half-sleeved, elbow-length, 3/4th sleeve, full sleeve, cold shoulder) and the back of your blouse to create something distinctive. I’ve had backless, bow-tied-at-the-back, buttons-at-the-back and all kinds of blouses made!
• Ask your designer or tailor for beading/ embroidery work to make a heavier blouse. This could be scattered all over the blouse, only on the piping, or fully covering the blouse. My blue-grey blouse was originally paired with a dark blue chiffon sari (yes, monochrome works with Indian too!) but the embroidery on it has enough colors for me to easily pair it with other pieces.
• Bodysuits, collared blouses, high-neck embellished blouses (I’m looking at you, Sabyasachi Mukherjee), peplum tops, and pleather blouses with zippers are all cool, edgy options that you can easily restyle.
Pre-stitched/ concept saris you need to Google right now:
• Dhoti sari - you can attempt a dhoti-drape over leggings if you fancy. Poshpride is a current favorite although I haven't bought anything from them yet.
• Palazzo sari - with a matching crop top, you can drape this yourself, too. Rheson has some cool pieces right now.
• Sari with a cape
• Pant sari - Poshpride has some fantastic options
any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth
Key words: nutritious, life, growth. Not burgers, not fries, not the packaged s#it you’ll find near the checkout aisle.
Here’s the thing about me that might piss you off a little: I LOVE HEALTHY FOOD! I don't live to eat (it is totally okay if you do), and I don’t ever need “cheat days” for this reason. Until 2015, I was the six-small-meals-every-2-hours person. I switched to intermittent fasting then (16:8) for more than one reason (will go over this in a later post.) I eat my first meal around 1pm, and my last meal around 9pm, that means 16 hours of fasting including sleep time.
We’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it kickstarts your metabolism, keeps you from snacking, and helps you control your portions for lunch/ dinner etc. This is where I want you to pause, be open to a counter-intuitive theory, and read this NY Times article about 2016’s Nobel Prize winner, Yoshinori Ohsumi’s (Japanese cellular biologist) research work on fasting/ autophagy.
What I ate till March 2017 and decided to go cold turkey on:
What I make sure to eat/ drink everyday:
What I eat because I live with serious gastronomes (once in a month-ish):
Tips to help you control your intake to your liking/ goals:
Got more questions? Email me. Next up: How to quit dairy, sugar, processed foods, and control your junk cravings FOR GOOD!
PSA: I have a severe writer’s block because this is not about fashion
What a whirlwind of a week it has been - I really hope all that #emeraldgreen didn’t overwhelm you! In addition to your lovely comments, something wonderful came out of it. It is usually me bugging you guys to help me build content for this blog through polls and Instagram stories, but this time, I had a few incoming content requests and I was thrilled! I’m very grateful and happy to know that you find me approachable enough, and trust me enough to share personal details over the Internet. I want to cover every single topic, starting with what was probably the most requested: fitness and health.
Before I move forward, here are some things I’d like you to be mindful about:
• Do not call it weight loss, fat loss, or “loss” of anything. That language indicates deprivation or having something on your body you need to get rid of. Fitness is not that. It is gaining/ improving your muscle, strength, mood, functionality of your organs, and your life in general.
• Think of fitness like a marathon vs. a short sprint. You’re going to have to commit to a lifestyle, eat to fuel up, switch up your routines, and take breaks now and then.
• I’m (healthily) obsessed with living a healthy lifestyle, and it is only because I find it difficult to moderate. I’m not one of those people that can eat a small piece of dessert once a week, so going cold turkey works best me. I figured that out after failing multiple times at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and you should, too.
This is entirely your journey and everything has to be tailored to you. Keep up with my posts so that you can tailor my advice to suit your lifestyle. My goal is to make you independent and intuitive about health/ fitness, and not go by what works for others (not even me).
Tomorrow, I’m going to write about food. By that, I mean describe in painstaking detail what it takes to hit your nutrition goals without eating too much of the right thing, and how to stop eating the wrong things.
As a spinoff of my emerald green lehenga set, I did a variation by pairing a silver, micro-pleated off-the-shoulder top (felt the need to mention silver because it looks white everywhere.) I think the "don't mix your metals" rule is outdated.
Photos: Grier Cooper
Location: Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
Silver top: Forever 21 | Lehenga: Behind The Seams India
Styling (particularly jewelry styling,) is very personal, intuitive, and event-based. I know that 5 years ago, I never considered mixing metals like gold, silver, and bronze. I thought I was committing a fashion faux pas. But the more I broke such random fashion "rules", the better I got at doing so. So even if today you feel under-confident about something you wear (or don't wear), just remember, like most things in life, practice makes perfect. That said, I know that these rules can really get to you and it is easy to feel mismatched or overwhelmed with so much shine on you. Here's a humble attempt at trying to help you deconstruct and mix your metallics nonchalantly:
1. Pick jewelry that has both gold and silver accents. This will help you pair it with multiple outfits, thereby taking care of that practice bit (the choker set I'm wearing is a classic example: it is gold-plated with silver/ mirror accents embedded)
2. Mix metals that you wear multiple pieces of, such as bangles, bracelets, stacks of rings, or cuffs.
3. Trust your gut. If you feel like it is an overkill, it probably is. If you feel like you're really rocking a rose-gold embellished sweater with silver shoes, then you probably are!
4. Pay attention to the textures of pieces - a sequin silver bag will undoubtedly clash with gold sequin shoes, but if either one of the pieces were in a different finish, it would work. Approach your metallic pieces like they are several pieces of the same collection.
5. Complement the colors and fabric of your outfit. Picture my lehenga in a couple of different colors and you will know exactly when the silver top/ choker combination will and will not work. Go on, try it! The same logic applies to fabric, which is why mixing metals with bridal lehengas is so much easier.
I really hope this helps you break rules that should've never been set to begin with. You can always email/ DM me to help with styling decisions!
If you're at that point in your life where shopping for festive Indian jewelry is inevitable, you have come to the right place. Enter: The Polki Box.
Location: Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
Dipti Choker Set: The Polki Box | Emerald lehenga set: Behind The Seams India | Sneakers: Aldo
3 years ago, I chose a life where I could submit to creative urges as I please. With that came a set of challenges that I had no experience handling, but also no complaints. Having to keep up with trends, particularly in jewelry and accessories, hardly feels like work. That is how I found The Polki Box on Instagram - now my go-to place for wedding guest/ bridesmaid jewelry. She has an array of investment pieces that can transform any look, and here’s why I thought the Dipti Choker set checked all of my jewelry requirement boxes:
• Easy to work with both gold and silver accents, which is a constant struggle for fusion/ Indowestern looks
• The choker and earrings, each on their own, can be the only piece of jewelry I wear
• The earrings can be worn in multiple ways (pearl chain over your ear, adorning a bun etc.,) each creating a different look! A single earring also looked divine as a headpiece, especially since jhumka-ish maang tikkas are trending right now!
• I can work the piece(s) into my Indian and Western outfits both (you knew this)
• They’re intricate and durable, but also very lightweight ergo convenient to dance in
This monochrome lehenga set is over a year old, I got it made for my brother's engagement. Clearly not much has changed in terms of my color preferences, I'm still obsessed with emerald green! To say that I’ve been longing to wear this would be an understatement! I got it made from Behind The Seams (Tanvi, one of the two designers, is my friend’s sister), and I insist that you check them out for some lovely contemporary Indian pieces.
Since you made it till the end of this post - what do you struggle with during jewelry shopping? Help me help you! ;)
Sharing the end result with you isn't half as fun as sharing the journey!
Outfit: Behind The Seams India | Jewelry: Dipti Choker Set, The Polki Box (shop here)
Fun fact: Grier Cooper is a full-time wedding photographer, before which she spent 7 years doing fashion photography!
Fun fact #2: The Asian Art Museum is a popular wedding venue. The long marble steps you see in the video make for a phenomenal aisle - the lighting is impeccable, and the grandeur really comes through.
To add to the video, I thought it might be fun to let you in on my pre-editorial process/ narrative. Here goes:
Preamble: I usually begin with one key element that I want to feature: outfit, style, color, or an accessory. Then, I style the outfit with complementary or contrasting colors, at least one piece of jewelry. I always like to come up with two variations of an outfit - one festive and one casual/ high street.
Location, location, location: Okay I guess I messed up my order. I’m pretty sure I stumble upon a breathtaking location and centre my editorial around it. By now I have a decent understanding of how light may interact with my outfit (based on indoor v. outdoor, time of the day, artificial lighting in the venue etc), and naturally, I turn to Yelp and Instagram for more visuals on the location.
Vision: I put together one all-encompassing moodboard to give the photographer an overarching idea of the editorial. This includes inspiration for poses, lighting, colors, outfit/ silhouette, and location-specific photo ideas. And then I ask the photographer to do the same :)
Finishing touch: Iron my outfit. Occasionally, I’ll pick up something as random as a bindi or a bag I didn’t see earlier on my way out just to test it without trying it. I don’t know why, but it feels nice to give in to creative impulses. I also try to scrawl a 3-piece video script that clearly defines a conflict, resolution, and call-to-action/ conclusion. This helps me split my time between front of and behind the camera, and helps me avoid taking unnecessary footage.
...And you know how the rest of the story goes! I just wanted to let you in on this side of the content creation journey since we were on the BTS topic any way. Of course, Grier's photos are to follow <3
Finally, here's a link to the Complex video you saw playing on our TV, where DJ Khaled was showing his glorious sneaker collection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvZB8S5maEA
HAPPY DIWALI! HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here's a listicle of how to color for the pastel palette-loving woman!
Photos: Sindhura Gaddamanugu, Marisa Darabi
Location: Speer Family Farms Pumpkin Patch, Alameda
Blouse: Palanquine | Lehenga: Soiree Couture
Time and again, I have professed my love for pastel (Indian) ensembles, and based on the recent poll I did on my Instagram, it looks like so have most of you! There are few colors that exude feminine elegance like blush pink or powder blue, but I was quick to learn that my love affair with earthy tones would be fleeting. Dress codes, rituals, expectations, and many other things dictated the colors I could wear, and rightly so.
So for the 65% of you that happen to be fellow pastel lovers - if you ever want to embrace the other side, here are some key takeaways:
1. Be smart with the bling: If you’re opting for jewel toned lehengas, it is best to let the solid color take centerstage instead of over-the-top sequins or bling. If you really want to though, opt for subtle, antique gold gota patti embroidery or thread embroidery. Intricate motifs, crystal detailing, or matte sequins are elements that will add just the right amount of drama to a lehenga. If you’re going to leave the lehenga solid and with a border like I did, go for an embellished dupatta or blouse.
2. Welcome print: Prints are having a moment in Indian fashion, and since there is more than one color involved, it becomes incredibly easy to restyle parts of your outfit later. Contemporary prints include Butti work, block print, florals, or even geometric prints, and if you want something traditional, look into Bandhani, Ikat, or Batik.
3. Monochrome magic: I know it may sound ironic to suggest donning an in-your-face fuchsia head-to-toe, but hear me out. Wearing a matching set or layering with the same color/ tone adds a certain dimension and sharpness to your outfit. To break the monotone, get a dupatta in the right shade of gold/ silver. This is the perfect option if you want to cut back on the embroideries, prints, and the extra embellishments.
4. Fabric and fit based on your body type: I’ve dressed myself enough to know how (+where) my lehenga needs to sit on my waist, and what fabrics flatter my body type. Try enough fabrics and outfits in a store before you finalize one, and be sure to have it altered to fit you like a glove. If you get these two right, you’ll feel hella confident about wearing a vibrant color.
5. Offbeat pairing: The only way I can step out of my comfort zone and wear something I didn’t pick, is by staying true to my personal style. Wearing black for festivities is usually frowned upon in India, but it is SO me. That’s why I kept the black minimal to make it work for a fun Diwali party! Here’s a tip: take a small detail from your lehenga and match your blouse/ dupatta to it; with a little bit of practice, you’ll master mixing prints and more! For instance, here I played off the antique gold Butti print on my blouse since it matched the border of my lehenga.
6. Go all out: My original outfit featured a gold sequin blouse (taking you back to point #1) and a super long fuchsia, Butti-print dupatta. The resulting riot of colors made mum happy to the extent that she okay-ed all my browns, beiges, and muted madness. Here are some bright lehenga-bright dupatta pairings: orange and red, salmon and yellow, teal and purple, fuchsia and sky blue, green and coral.
I hope this helps you restyle an outfit that you put away just because you don’t relate to brights any longer! My remaining bright color-lovin’ fam - how would you like a how to pastel edition of this post?
Video shot on iPhone, Canon point-and-shoot; edited on Final Cut Pro
Every time I get asked where I see myself in 5 years, my answer is inevitably “hopefully not outside of the Bay Area.” I love this place like I love home. Even after four years here, I lose my heart to SFO every so often because there is just an abundance of subcultures to indulge in. Not too long ago, this I-cannot-believe-my-eyes situation happened at the eclectic Mission Street. Here’s my camera roll of Mission highlights in the form of a DIY itinerary to help you cover the historic #BaeArea neighborhood by foot, complete with Yelp, Instagram, Google Maps and website links.
*Take the BART to 16th Street Mission.
Murals: The Mission is home to the largest amount of street art in the world, and these are some truly poignant, powerful, and poetic pieces of work. Dated between the 70s and 90s, these murals show how San Francisco’s art evolved. Visit Clarion Alley, Lilac Alley, and 19th & Mission for the Carlos Santana mural. Refer to this SF street art guide for more amazing street art.
Mexican Food: This one is a no-brainer. The Mission is a hub for the best Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area. La Taqueria (in my video, 2889 Mission Street), Taqueria El Farolito (2779 Mission Street) and Taqueria El Castillito (2092 Mission Street) are three mainstream albeit crowd-favorite establishments. Did some extra digging to find these underground ones: Yucatasia (strongly recommended for avocado lovers; 2164 Mission Street) and Chava’s Restaurant (for tortillas, tacos, and an assortment of beers; 2839 Mission Street)
Vintage Clothes, Souvenirs, Cards/ Gifts: Frida Kahlo aficionados, head straight to Luz De Luna (in my video)! The kitschy, quirky Serendipity (803 Valencia Street) lives up to its name - you’ll love every card, journal, candle, and gag gift you see. As a proponent of the sustainability movement, I’d really like to recommend these vintage/ consignment stores: The Painted Bird (1360 Valencia Street) and Schauplatz Vintage (791 Valencia Street.)
Dolores Park: Is it even a Mission District list withoutDolores Park ? I won’t say much, but this is the place to be for doing just about anything while soaking in terrific SF downtown views. Also, just Google Michael The Coconut Guy.
Bookstores: While Borderlands (in my video, 866 Valencia Street) is the perfect way to wind down the walking tour; they also have an extensive zine collection (coffee makes this a winner for me)Christopher’s Books (1400 18th Street) has an old-fashioned, cozy vibe, whereas Dog Eared Books (900 Valencia Street) is thoroughly inviting and inclusive of genres, therefore pretty packed. They opened a new store in the Castro, btw.
Photos: Derick Pham (@creativality on Instagram)
Location: Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Lehenga: Soiree Couture | Top: SheIn | Earrings: Miraya (shop here) | Clutch: Accessories by Anandita
Over the last 3 years, I have found myself worrying lesser about what people think about my unabashedly in-your-face fashion picks. I was certain that my style wasn't relatable at all...until I e-met you all via Instagram and my blog. By now, you too know that the amalgam of Indian and Western is my kinda playground, and although it takes some practice to get groovin', here are some ideas that have helped me own my individualism:
1. Infuse your favorite trend: Whether it’s an off-the-shoulder number or pleated culottes, pair up a trending piece that you know you can carry off with ease. You can then spend some time finding an Indian lehenga/ blouse to go with it. This way, you’ll only have one experimental piece to worry about.
2. Let your accessories take centre stage: If you want to start small, start by raiding your mum’s trinket box. No, seriously! Playing around with Indian jewelry will help you learn how to work with different metals (a key aspect of Indian clothing is metallic colors), ergo colors. Clutches and shoes with Indian beading or embroidery will also serve the same purpose, and are the easiest ways to add an ethnic touch.
3. Focus on what you want to highlight: Numerous Indian designers have shifted focus to peplums, jackets, vests, cardigans, and kimonos at fashion weeks; you too can draw inspiration and wear your sari/ lehenga blouses with blazers, cardigans, or ponchos. Remember not to overdo it (a blouse AND a sari with a jacket will be an overkill) to maintain that subtle fusion vibe.
4. Separate your ensemble: Most Indian outfits include 2 or 3 elements (blouse, dupatta, lehenga etc.), so think about how you can use each piece on its own. A blouse may be too short (unless it is a crop top length) to pair with skinny jeans or a snug-fitting bottom, but will work with high-waisted pants or a ruffled skirt. A dupatta can be restyled into a shawl or a cape just to give your outfit that exotic edge.
5. Don't be shy, my honey: Okay I know this post was meant to tell you how not to be shy, but I have to be a little upfront here: just because you don’t find people on the street wearing Indian pieces, doesn’t mean you should conform and shy away from your country’s artwork! Wear and share your culture, and hold your head up high while doing so. It will soon become second nature to add Indian elements to your daily street style. And I promise you, anyone that is looking (more like ogling) is only doing so because you’re so GD beautiful, my desi girl ♥️
Shot these photos at the phenomenal Palace Hotel on New Montgomery street. You won't believe it - I put this outfit together in my head (didn't try it on until I actually wore it for the shoot). You might recognize this lehenga, I styled a boho-chic look with a white shirt earlier, but I just wanted to show you that tucking a solid shirt in isn't the only way to style it :)
This post is not sponsored by Impossible Foods, and all opinions are 100% honest and my own
Remember that How I Met Your Mother episode where we learned that Marshall Eriksen spent a good chunk of his NYC years trying to find The Best Burger In New York? The one he ate when he first moved there? I’m not going to tell you that the Impossible Burger at Gott’s Roadside was the Marshall burger, because we all have our The Best Burger in New York story (and because you’re not going to believe me until you taste it.) But I’ll tell you this - the Impossible, genius of a patty is the cleanest (nutrients wise), healthiest, and the least disastrous (for the environment and cows both) burger you’ll ever eat. Fun fact: Bill Gates invested in this Redwood City-based startup for the third time this year.
It doesn’t include any artificial ingredients or hormones. According to the Impossible Foods website, the patty uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to a regular hamburger patty. I took mine without the sauce, cheese, or butter to make it completely dairy-free!
I’ve never tasted meat so I can’t tell you how and if it compares to the real thing, but I can guarantee that it is absolutely scrumptious!!! Go on, give it a whirl at one of the many locations across the Bay Area and New York.
Jumping on the bandwagon is hardly my thing, you know that. But three trends I haven't been able to resist are ruffled blouses, off the shoulder tops, and denim skirts. However, I'm your average girl who doesn't live a glamorous life 24x7, so I thought I'd make a quick video to show you how to embrace a great fashion trend without getting out of your jammies. All you need to master is three fashion editor's tucking techniques; in order of my outfits:
• Middle tuck: Works great for off-the-shoulder blouses and slouchy sweaters, that way the silhouette doesn't look loose top to bottom and it accentuates your waist
• Full tuck: Perfect when your pajama-outfit needs a little seriousness, more so with a slinky/ short blouse and high-waisted pants
• Half tuck: Literally works with any button-down shirt and pants (trousers, jeans, skirts, shorts) and is a sure-shot way to avoid look too prim or formal
I linked all the jewelry featured in this video at the end of this post.
Big shoutout to Neptune's Coffee, a new eatery and my favorite lounge + work spot in good ole' Alameda.
Marble City Contemporary Earrings
Luxe drop earrings with stones and marbles set in an ebony backdrop
Color: Ebony and marble white
Composition: Zinc (polished)
Black to Basics Coin Choker
Out of stock
A contemporary take on traditional Indian coin chokers, featuring a black braided band
Length: 16" (including 11" extension)
Diameter: 4.5" (adjustable)
Composition: Raw silk, silver, and alloy
StockX is the world's first stock market of THINGS and I vlogged all about it right here.
Here's a TED talk from Josh Luber, a sneakerhead who went on to co-found Stock X. He is currently the CEO of Stock X.
Articles that I referred to, and more recent news about Stock X:
• Mark Wahlberg and Eminem have invested in Stock X: http://fortune.com/2017/02/15/mark-wahlberg-eminem-sneakers/
• A stock market for physical things could change how capitalism works: https://qz.com/1001500/stockx-a-stock-market-for-physical-objects-could-change-how-capitalism-works/
• You can now bid on Rolex watches on the stock market of things: http://www.businessinsider.com/rolex-watches-are-now-on-stockx-2017-5
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Miraya originated as a concept magazine for a Publishing class, but much of it now exists online and has been adapted for this blog. The core remains intact, and that is to explore the changing landscape of contemporary Indian fashion through the international lens, engaging readers in a creative juxtaposition between tradition and modernity. Spearheaded by Founder and Creative Director, Namrata Loka.
Click here to read about me.