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A 30 something blogging about her love affair with Fashion.....among other things!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stereotypes

Have you ever Google "Black women"?  I have. Sometimes I Google images of black women to get inspiration on style. The first images that appear on my screen  are all related to hair, then come pictures of curvy black women, and finally pictures of women wearing almost nothing, in sexy poses. At the very end of the search, you can find pictures of famous black people, celebrities like Halle Berry or Oprah or the latest darling of Hollywood, Lupita N'yongo. 
  
Is that it? Are all black women across the world about hair, being curvy and posing provocatively? Is it how we are perceived? Are we falling yet into another stereotype? Because I can tell you right now, I am a black woman but I am not about hair, being curvy or posing butt naked.

What brought on this, is the fact that I barely see someone who resembles me on the Internet. I gave up a long time ago trying to find someone who looks like me on TV. As a matter of fact, I grew up watching people who had nothing in common with me, even Ashley on the Fresh Prince or the girls on Cosby Show because they were American. I am very happy for characters like Olivia Pope but at the end of the day, she is also nothing like me. When it comes to the Internet, I go on Pinterest, which I love but all I see are white women, with skinny bodies (unless I refine my search which is also another tricky process). Although I love their style, I cannot relate because they do not look like me. 

It would be nice to see myself being represented from time to time in a positive way on TV, social media and such. When you watch TV nowadays (and by TV, I mean the mainstream American TV that has invaded the entire world), black women are either cheating with the President, getting away with murder, rotting in a jail, brawling over silly dramas, or performing lap dances and such. Black women are much more than hair, big butts and being sexy. Black women are also more than being angry or bossy. They are of all shapes and all sizes, even of different skin tones. They believe in different religions, they have different personalities and aspire for far more greater things than what the Media and Internet will let you to believe. 

I am a black woman, I am an African woman, I am also a Muslim. All these mean is that I am a minority that is often ignored in the world. I do not have much of a voice. And I definitely do not get a say. My situation gets worse because I live abroad. I am not at home where I have the chance to be surrounded by women who like me are Black and Muslim. I live in places where for most of the time I may be the only Black Muslim around. It never bothered me before. I always joked that it made me "exotic". But it can be lonely sometimes. It can also be stressful because you always have to be good, always have to be on your best behavior. You do not want to be caught doing something bad because the locals will see it and think that everyone who is Black and Muslim or from Africa behaves that way.  

What I am trying to say is that I am not a stereotype. I maybe black, African and Muslim but I do not behave the way you would expect them to behave. I am not about hair. Truth be told I cannot do a thing to my hair because I am not good at it and I am lazy. I do not have the time to sit and twist my hair before going to bed so that it becomes all curly the following morning. As a matter of fact, I am very happy that I cover my hair because it is one less thing to worry about. I do straighten it also because it is easier to style when it is silky smooth. 
I am not about curves either. Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against curvy women. I think that they are beautiful from the bottom to the top. But as someone who has always been curvy, and is now bigger, I am not into that. I hate having a big butt and big hips. I hate having to always look for extra extra large while I shop. Sometimes I am dying to slip into that dress and not struggle to make it pass my breast and stomach. I do not want to be skinny. I have been and I did not like it either. I just want to have a flat stomach and smaller hips. 
I am not about posing sexy with almost nothing on. As a Muslim girl, I believe in modesty. You want to wear sexy clothes, I will not judge you. All I am saying is that it is no who I am now, and it is not who I want to be. I would wear skinny jeans and expose my neck and arms but that is as much skin as you would see from me. 

I have a character that is just me, a mixture of my Dad and my Mom, my extended family and my friends, my husband and my kids, experiences and life events that forge me into the woman I am today. I may be looking for someone who resembles me out there but I know for a fact that no one else is. 



Blazer -  Max
Dress -  Cupid
Pants -  Brandmart
Shoes -  Shimamura



I absolutely love this dress and wear it often to"dress" up a bit. If it had sleeves it would have been the perfect little dress



A touch of masculinity with the Oxford

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thrift of the day

I miss thrifting. Back when I was living in the US and Japan, it was one of my favorite activity. In Japan, it was so addictive that I did not purchase anything new for a long time.
In Pune, I do not get to thrift a lot. There a not many places where you can go and score used clothes. There are what we call flea markets but they are not the real deal as they never sell anything dirt cheap or pre-owned there. Everything is new and can turn pricey. The closest I get to thrift is when I check the street vendors on M.G.road. They have many imitations but sometimes you come across the real deal. Plus it is never really expensive. What do you except, it comes out of a cardboard box.
But recently I discovered a new place to thrift. There is this lane at the end of North Main road in Koregaon Park with street vendors offering cheap sandals and other knick knacks. Some of them sell western clothes. Sometimes you go and you can score, other times their selection is really boring. Recently I went there because I wanted to shop but did not want to spend too much money. I saw this mint Dorothy Perkins blouse and a Leopard tunic dress. The blouse was dirty but I took a chance on it. Plus it was on my shopping list. And who can resist a leopard print? Both items cost me 300 Rps (less than $5). I went home excited and immediately washed them both. Two days later I was ready to wear the blouse but surprise, surprise it is a bit tight at the sleeves. I could fix it now that I have the skills to do so. But it is such a beautiful blouse I do not want to take the risk. Plus it is not long enough so chances are that I may not wear it. Therefore the blouse goes to the "For sale" bin. (By the way, my clothes are divided in several sections: 
1-the Special occasion section: clothes I wear like once a year for a party
2-the everyday casual: clothes I wear on a daily basis
3-the dress up section: clothes I wear on dates or when we go somewhere different
4- the pajama section: clothes I would not be caught dead wearing outside except maybe to work out
5-the "to be fixed" section: clothes I want to refashion
6- the "for sale" section: clothes that do not fit or that I do not like anymore but that I plan on selling
7- the too cold for Pune section: all my heavy knits and coats 
8- the "donate" section: clothes that I will donate.
 Phew!)
The tunic dress however, fits like a glove. I really like tunic dresses of this kind but I can never find them in my size or a size bigger in here. Plus it is so soft it is like wearing a nightgown.




Open cardigan - Shimamura
Tunic dress- Thrifted (Forever New)  
Pants - Zara (More than 12 years old)
Shoes - Busy Bee (Koregaon Park)


There is a story to these pants. I bought them back in 2002 maybe and wore them twice ever since. They were in my "cold clothes" suitcase and I was very happy that they still fit after all these years (Stretch! Hello?)I love the color and the fit but they are way too long. Even with my highest wedges, they still drop to the floor. Back in the days in Zara Japan, any pants size 8 and up were always too long ( I am happy that they eventually realized that bigger size did not necessarily mean longer legs) But, maybe it is time to hem them a bit.



I was happy with my thrift but there were so many more clothes I could have bought from that place. Actually one seller was pushing a Pierre Balmain shirt on me, begging me to purchase it. It was tempting, except the buttons were so weird. Any other skilled thrifter would have seen the potential in that shirt. But me, I did not because the buttons irked me. I cannot tell you how many things I did not buy while thrifting just because there was something wrong with them. Back in the days when I did not know how to use a sewing machine, I was okay with it. But now, I have to admit that it was pure laziness that made me let go of that shirt. But I am not losing sleep over it. That thing was truly ugly.


Close up on the wedges (my camera is really getting crappier and crappier) 


Red lipstick (a first for me believe it or not) and my dear Razor pendant gifted by my Mother

It is getting cooler now in Pune. And I am so excited because it means I get to wear sweaters and jackets. I hate being cold but I do miss layering. I do miss the Fall, when Mother nature turns to gold, and you reach for a blanket at night. I just hope that the cool weather is here to stay at least until next year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Style Challenge

Hello there readers!

 I have some exciting news. I have been asked by an e-commerce menswear company called Bonobos to participate in their Fall Style Challenge along with other bloggers.

The challenge is to style different looks for women that would complement any items from their Fall men's suit line. This is a no brainer because I love Fall: it not too cold, not too hot and you get to layer. Plus I have to say their Fall line is very nice even if I am no expert on men's fashion. They have some pieces I know the hubby would have liked. Who am I kidding, they have some pieces I would have picked for myself (if the price was not too steep).

Anyway, based on the Bonobos Fall lookbook,  I decided to style these following outfits: (and they all come with a story!)

Casual Sunday


Bonobos Tweed Blazer


Pretty in Pastels

It is Sunday. You and your man want to have a lazy day: sleeping in, then going out for brunch at your neighborhood cafe, maybe end up antique shopping. He is dressed relaxed in Jeans and shirt but he adds a little bit of texture with his tweed jacket. You want to match his effortless look with a boyfriend jeans but you up the ante by paring it with a bejeweled sweater, peplum shirt and your favorite trench. The beret makes you feel like such a lady but the grey booties say " you rock, girl!". Well, just because it is Sunday, does not mean you have to let go of your style.

 Lunch date


Bonobos Grey Windowpane Wool Suit 


Butterflies


A man in a nice suit always gives a good impression. Imagine him showing up dressed to a tee in a grey wool suit for your lunch date? Who would not have butterflies? Thanks to this outfit, you will give him butterflies too. The pleated midi skirt with colorful butterfly print says that you are fun, and bold. You pair it with a leather and tweed jacket to keep you warm; and a grey sweater because by now you are comfortable enough in his presence. But the accessories in a soft color palette always remind him that you are foremost a lady and needs to be treated as such. 

Pair Plaid for a party


Bonobos Blackwatch Plaid Tuxedo


Pair Plaid


It is party time. He looks clean and fresh in his plaid Tuxedo and you do not want to be outdone. So what do you do? You find inspiration in the way Carry Bradshaw was dressed as Stanford's best man. You want to be edgy and playful. A sequined jumpsuit paired with a red jacket is the solution. For accessories, go for blue stilettos because metallic ones are so predictable, a studded round clutch and heart shaped earrings. But you are not done: you need a  plaid bow tie that matches the plaid of your man's tux. He finds it super sexy and cannot keep his eyes and his hands off you.

There you have it: three different styles that would compliment any items from Bonobos Fall line. It was fun styling these outfits. I cannot wait to see what the other bloggers will do with the challenge. Stayed tune to learn more as well. Do not forget to check Bonobos for more Fall styles.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Comfort zone

I am stuck. In a dress routine. I wear the same thing over and over and sometimes the same way. I wanted to dress better this year, wear more of the clothes that keep hanging on my closet. Basically have fun with the clothes I neglected. For a while I was trying. I went on Polyvore and made styling boards of different items that I have problems wearing. And it worked. Dressing up was fun and so much faster in the mornings. But these past weeks I have been wearing the same thing maybe because I have been busy. I grab these Jeans my Hubby bought for me from the US and a top. Sometimes when I have more time I throw on a blazer on and some heels. Truth is I love the jeans. They are a nice dark wash and not too loose or too tight. They are perfect. But I was trying to get out of my comfort zone and avoid the jeans uniform. Not stay in. 

I hate routine. But I am not comfortable with change either. The truth is I would love to just change my entire wardrobe and start from scratch. But that would require funds I do not have. Therefore I better work with what I got. Since most of it is not bad at all. 

Take this tunic for example. I had it for a year now. I love it so much I made another one just like that. Sure it is big and not that flattering unless I use a belt (which I never do). But it is comfy and so easy to style. Plus the tropical print always gives me a boost. So far I always wore it with jeans or black pants. But today I decided to pair it with orange pants and ankle strap heels. It was nice and unusual. The pants could have used a bit of ironing but I am happy with the result. 

Maybe the problem is that I want to dress great but I am not willing to suffer from it. If you have been reading for a long time you will now that I am all about comfort. I get that fashion is to have fun and experiment. But you cannot expect me to have fun strutting in five inch heels. I am not into that "fashion is pain" thing. I am more into "fashion is comfort" thing. And I am not willing to sacrifice that. I need a pair of jeans I don't have to struggle to get in. I need a pair of pants that is not so tight I can't breathe. I need heels that give me enough support so I do not wobble when I walk. My dresses will never be too tight or too revealing. 

But I will tell you what I am willing to do in the name of fashion: I am willing to experiment with color and prints and materials. Everyday I am discovering more prints to fall in love with and more colors that may suit me. Living in India,  you have to fall in love with prints and colors and embellishments. It is what they do best when it comes to fashion design. Furthermore I would experiment with silhouettes. I have been dying to try and make (or have someone make me) pleated midi or full skirt. They are so ladylike and elegant,  an attribute that I find missing in my style. But also simple pants. I need simple structured pants. That is what is lacking in my wardrobe: more tailored outfits. Less boho and more chic. Because the bohemian thing can get you so far. Have you seen how much crap the Olsen twins get for their dress style. Personally I love it (and even dedicated a full board on my Pinterest) to it. Yet,  something got to give.

There you have it, my next goal in perfecting my style: not stray too far from my comfort zone by trying new things. How on earth am I to accomplish that? Well stay tuned!


Tunic - Cupid (Koregaon Park)
Pants - Splash
Shoes - Head over heels (Lifestyle)


Bag -M.G Road

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sparkle

"Life is too short,  buy the shoes!"

I wished I could live by that moto. I often deprive myself of little pleasures just because. I see a fabulous pair shoes at the mall but I do not get it. I see the red velvet cake I have been eying at the bakery but I resist it. I have coupons for the spa waiting to be used but I do not go. Why am I doing this?  Why am I always denying my self? What am I so scared of? True, I have too many shoes and really do not need to buy more. But one more pair of shoes will not hurt me and my bank account. If I end up never wearing them,  I can sell them. And if I wear them, they will make me happy. And what about the spa? I do not have much time to enjoy a full body massage and all that jazz but I could get a mani pedi. 

And that is what I did today. I went and got myself a pedicure. It was not my first time getting one.  But I never got to enjoy the full experience on previous occasions because it easily takes two hours. And who has time for that? Today I sat for an hour and a half. As a result, my feet are super soft plus I had my toenails painted. I am a henna girl but I thought that I could give nail polish a try particularly when someone else is doing it for me. I felt great but I could not quite relax. During the whole thing I kept on thinking that I would feel better shopping. What is wrong with me?

I really need to learn to indulge more. My best friend says that I am afraid of getting out of my comfort zone. She may be right. I am a housewife and my life revolve around my family. I take care of their every need but often ignore mine. The only thing that I seem to do for myself these days are eating, watching TV,  Zumba and shopping. But I am thinking that there is more to life than just that.  I want to have fun and laugh out loud. I want to do something out of the ordinary that does not involve spending too much money or putting myself in harm's way.  I want to go see a concert, a show, enroll in a class. 

Speaking of depriving myself, this sequin tee is almost as old as my second son yet it it the third time I am wearing it. I find it too daunting to wear in broad daylight. It is too bright,  too shiny. "But what is the worse that could happen if I wear it? " I asked myself this morning. "Maybe draw attention to myself." was my answer. So I put it on and went on to enjoy a sunny Sunday: pedicure,  burgers for lunch and a quick stop at the Women's entrepreneurs fair (where I did not buy a single thing however tempting it was). It was not as bad as I thought. Sometimes in life you have to take chances, you have to indulge,  you have to wear sequins in daylight, buy the danm shoes, eat the cake and get those toes painted..... Before they turn the lights out.


Sequin tee - Forever 21 via Factory 2 u
Dress worn as a skirt -  M. G. road
Shoes -  Sole to Soul
Painted toenails - Aroma Thai


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vidéos killed Music

A while back,  I decided to watch the VMAs. I was shocked after the first five minutes.  Arianna Grande,  Jessie J and Nicki Minaj did the opening act.  It was the usual girls wearing almost nothing and grinding on stage.  Obviously Nicki Minaj 's performance was so raunchy it was censored whether by MTV itself or the Indian channel, I would never know.( Judge for yourself here and while you are at it watch the whole thing for more raunchy performance by female singers including Beyonce). 
And watching the real Anaconda video recently, I understood why. (it is a must see to say the least)

But it got me thinking about female singers lately. They are all so oversexual. Last year we all screamed when the former Disney child actor turned pop singer Miley Cyrus twerked in Robin Thicke groins.  We were equally shocked when Beyonce opened with her butt hanging in the air at her performance for the AMAs. But this has become common practice. Now if you want to be a successful female singer you gotta lead with your butt or do something sexily shocking (like performing a lap dance on stage) .  It is becoming the norm so much that it doesn't shock anymore. However it is sad that these young stars feel the need to de-robe to sell albums. Why can't they rely on their voice only?  Or maybe they lack the talent?

I am a child of the 80's. I grew up listening to Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, TLC, Monica,  Brandy and such. But I also enjoyed older tunes because of my Dad who was listening to Etta James, Nina Simone and such.  Back in those days,  there was no MT, music videos were rare. Even if we had them they were mostly recording of artists at their concerts. Plus in my country we had to wait from six months to a year to get the videos from USA or other places. Things were faster on the radio. That way we would hear a new artist and fall in love with his voice and the song before we actually knew what the singer looked like. I can still remember the first time I heard Mariah Carey on the radio. I thought her voice reassembled Whitney Houston. Needless to say that I was hooked long before I even knew what she looked like. 

Back in the 90's, with the arrival of cable in my country and the exposure to Western culture,  we watched more videos. Women singers were sexy but they were never over the top. The raciest of the bunch was Madonna for me. I did not understand her lyrics because I could barely speak English back then but her videos were crazy.  At close second came Salt and Peppa and TLC  But although they had raunchy lyrics their dress style would be considered demure compare to now.  I think the first bad sexy chicks that appeared back then were Lil Kim( her pasties at the VMAs. That was shocking!)  and Foxy Brown at the beginning of the 2000s. Those women started to act like men rappers by saying it like it is and throwing their sexuality in the mix. And it changed the game. They paved the way for Nicky Minaj and other female rappers nowadays.

Videos changed the game. Before artists were too busy singing, making records and touring. They would interact with their fans on the stage and that was about it. People did not expect them to be beautiful and wear trendy clothes. They were not mega stars and triple threats. Some even managed to keep their day jobs and live a normal family life. But with the arrival of videos,  people concentrated more on the aesethics rather than the acoustics. Women had to be beautiful, skinny,  and own trendy but skimpy clothes. And with HD, skin even had to be flawless,  no breakout, no wrinkles. It puts so much pressure on artists that it is no wonder why most of them wind up in rehab or have eating disorder. I remember watching "Bootilicious" on the computer once with a male friend of mine. The Internet connection was slow so the video would stop every five seconds. At one point it stopped on Beyonce while she was dancing and we could see her love handles. My friend just said :"euuww! ". He was shocked that Beyonce was so fat. His words. Not mine. Another  time I was watching Mtv with a group of friends when Indira Arie appeared. One of them (male) exclaimed:" Oh my good!  Look at that ugliness! " Ironically,  it was her song :"Videos"

But to blame videos only would be unfair. With so many new female artists popping up every year, skinnier, more beautiful, not necessarily talented but sexier and eager to do anything to make it, things took a turn for the worse. To keep up older artists have to do something drastic. Did anyone noticed how Beyonce became raunchier after the arrival of Rihanna. Sure Queen B is still on top but I am sure that having Rihanna on her tail pushes her to the limit.  And what about Jennifer Lopez wiggling her forty year old butt on the cover of her new single weeks shy of Nicky Minaj dropping hers on Anaconda cover. It is so sad but that is what women artists are reduce to do these days to stay relevant.




Album covers in the 80's and 90's



Album covers now


Most people think that this is perfectly normal. They applaud Rihanna for expressing herself through her music and not being afraid to show her sexual side. I applaud too. More power to her for being a sexual being and doing whatever she wants. But where I have a problem is that her attitude and other female singers affects more than just them. It affects a whole bunch of young girls who see them as a role models (whether they like it or not). They think that they can act like them and get away with their I do not give a fuck attitude.  If I had a daughter I would not want her liking Rihanna or her likes and thinking that she could emulate them. Because I know how it is to be young and be impressed by a female figure. I know what it is like to want to do everything the same as her and I also know the dangers. And back then my role model did not post naked pictures of herself on Instagram.  She did not even have "leaked"  sex tapes.

Because of all that ( and other issues) I no longer listen to music like I used to do.  I do not try and find out what the latest hit is.  Sometimes when I go somewhere and hear something that I like,  I will try and find out more about it. I still do not know all the songs to Beyonce's latest album. And the first time I heard Arianna Grande on the radio,  I did not think that she was all that.  I miss voices like Whitney Houston,  Janet Jackson, Tracy Chapman and Lauren Hill. I miss voices that will pierce your heart, and make your goose bumps. Some are still fighting and are still relevant while keeping their clothes on like Alicia Keys. And new ones are warming my heart to tears like Adele (once I watched on of her concert on a flight and I was wailing like a child)  But Music as I knew it is dying and it is all because of music videos and the sex sells antics.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cool Kids

During our trip to Goa I got to listen to this song Cool Kids. I am not even sure who is it from but it was a pleasant tune and even my kids were singing it after hearing it for the first time. I got me thinking about me and my youth. I was never part of the cool kids. They were a bunch of  handsome and rich (or upper middle class)neighborhood kids who spoke French like the French themselves and live their lives like they were the cast of 90210. I used to hang with the cool kids, long enough to envy their lifestyles but also to discover that they were not what I needed in my life at the moment. At a very young age I had to make a decision whether to keep on hanging with them or find other friends that were more suitable to what I wanted. I was barely 15 and I witnessed them going to clubs, having sex and creating dramas. Moreover I always felt that I was never really a member of their gang. I was more like the girl they tolerated just because my best friend at the time was a member of the gang. They were having a negative influence on me and I just wanted to be free from all of them. And I did. It was a painful cut but in the process I went back to family and childhood friends and discovered where I really belonged.

Fast forward 18 years and I am still not part of the cool kids or mothers. I live a lonely life because I move from one place to another. I like people but they also scare me. And if I see that we clearly do not have much in common, I would not bother hanging out with you. When I lived in Japan, I had my set of friends and I would divide my time between them. In the US I had no one to talk until the last two years. In India I have some mom friends but we do not hang much outside the school playground or play dates. Therefore I spend lots of time by myself doing things for myself. I watch a lot of crappy movies, sew even crappier clothes, even eat alone. Sometimes I like it. Other times I just want to cry. 

It is not like there are no other women around me I could hang with. The school my kids go to offer a plethora of women I could befriend. But I have a bad habit, I judge people even before getting to know them and decide whether they would be good for me or not.  I did it countless of times in the past and missed on opportunities to be friends with excellent people. Still I do it again and again. Let me give you examples of how I judge:
- Indian mothers scare me because most of them do not smile or say hello. Moreover most of them are as rich as Cresus therefore hanging with them would be a tad hard for the simple person I am.
- Foreigner moms also live a lifestyle of coffees, Zumbas, sari parties and ladies nights. There is nothing wrong with most of that but I do not do ladies night. I barely even go on diner dates with my husband let alone leave him and the kids at home at night to go partying. 
Now you see how it would be hard for me to make new friends.

 On top of that I have a strong fear of rejection. If I cough up the courage to invite you for coffee and you turn me down, chances are I will never invite you again. It is not because I am petty. No, I am scared of not being liked. Plus, once you start a relationship with someone, they may do something that will either hurt you or disappoint you. And I would rather be free of the heartache. 

The funny part is that if you ask my oldest friends, they will tell you that all of it is just nonsense, that I am a very open person who likes people. They are partly right because I do not show that side of me to them.  

So what am I supposed to do? Be more open? Be more inviting? Or wait for someone to hand me a life jacket? I just want girlfriends with whom I can exchange laughs, tips or complaints. I just need someone who would make me feel less lonely in this small town. I do not need them to be rich or cool, just fun and open and understanding. Is that so much to ask? 

Anyway, enough of my rant. I leave you with pictures of my latest design. I call it the Kente Baseball tee. I got the idea after seeing a grey jumper with African prints on the Internet. Since I do not know how to make baseball tees (or jumpers yet), I cheated a bit. I lucked out when I saw white baseball tees at a shop in M.G.road. I bought two of them one to use as a template and the other one to sew. For the one I am wearing I just removed the sleeves, traced them on Kente fabric and attached the traced sleeves to the tee. I love the end result. If I find other baseball tees I may reproduce them but this time with sequins sleeves. And who knows I may even make some for the kids to match because I realized that Raglan sleeves (the kind of sleeves you find in baseball tees) are really easy to draft and sew. 




Baseball tee - Sunder Sale shop, M.G. road then refashioned by me
Skirt - Sunder Sale shop, M.G. road


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

5 things to do in Goa

Just before school started again,  we went down to Goa for a few days.  I did not think we would have fun because of the rain but we did.  That is why I am sharing 5 things I enjoyed doing in there while it rained:

1-Drive

You would think that after 10 hours on the road,  I would be fed up with driving (or being driven). But a two hour drive to Palolem beach just reminded me how much I love just driving.  Plus the scenery was beautiful: luscious greens,  colorful houses,  even the tumultuous river was a sight not to miss.  Plus listening to the radio made it so fun. Which brings me to my number two.

2-Listening to Indigo radio

I actually  discovered this radio on my 1st trip to Goa and urged the hubby to check it out.  He loved it and said that it reminded him of the radio in the US.  They have all the latest hits but also some good oldies like How will I know from Witney Houston or Pray by Take that.  I just wished I could have this radio in Pune as well.

3- Eat

If you go to Goa you got to eat well.  And their selection of international  food makes it so easy to indulge.  We love Goan food but we also enjoy other cuisines.  On this trip most of the joints we wanted to hit were closed for the monsoon, but we got to discover new ones like Fat fish and Cafe Délicieux.  The fish Thali we ate at Fat Fish was succulent.  I am not big on seafood but I was licking my mussels and sucking my crab legs till the last drop.  I could not stop.  And I could not remember the last time I enjoyed seafood.  My husband said that if it was any indication of how good coastal food is,  we should try to go to kerela.
Cafe Délicieux  was a surprise.  I could not believe how cheap everything was.  Plus it was good. The dessert selection was a bit of traditional and bit innovative. The sandwiches were great and came with a refreshing salad.  I just wished we stayed longer because they have these huge velvety couches that are perfect for lounging. Actually I wished I had such a nice place to hang in Pune.

4-Stroll on the beach

Well duh! It is Goa.  You may want to swim but I would not recommend it during Monsoon.  The waves are high and strong,  they may drown you.  So a nice little stroll is in order. The sand is wet from the rain but still feels nice under the toes. If you are lucky,  you may see the skies clearing up and enjoy the light peeking through the clouds.  Is it peaceful.

5- Visit old Goa

Old Goa is an area in the city with old buildings dating back to the 15th century. They have old churches and Unesco World heritage sites.  They provide a peaceful and nice shelter from the rain and many Instagram opportunities.

There are plenty of others things to do in Goa like shopping but for a short trip and under the crazy rain,  I was glad of what we did.  I hope I get to go back to Goa.  It is really a nice place for vacations with or without rain.

I leave you with what I wore on the way to, in and out of Goa.  To learn more about what to wear on road trips, read this.


Outfit 1:
Golden jumper -  thrifted
Camo top -  People
Cargo pants - Shimamura 
Sneakers - shoe store in Ishikawacho
Bag - shop in Pink City


Outfit 2:
Open cardigan - M. G. road
Jumpsuit - Brandbox
Jellies - M. G. road


Outfit 3:
Scarf -  Big Bazaar
Dress - gift
Pants - H&M

And pictures of the food:


Fish thali at Fat Fish


Eggplant Toastie and... 


Rocher praliné (sorry had to bite it) at Cafe Delicieux

Friday, August 8, 2014

Leopard print simple blazer

They say if you love something, buy it in two. I love my polka dots blazer bought less than a year ago at Max. It comes in a soft lightweight fabric which means that it is perfect for layering in Summer. Back when I bought it, the store carried another version in leopard that was really cute. But for some reasons I could not let myself buy two blazers that day. I chose the polka dot because it would have been easier to style than the leopard one. And made a mental note to purchase the leopard one a few weeks later. But when I went back to the store it was sold out. I have been looking for a leopard blazer for a while now but saw nothing that interested me.
Yesterday I went fabric shopping for my business and I spotted a really nice leopard fabric. I bought 3 meters thinking that I could make a maxi dress. At home, I played with the fabric a bit thinking about all the things I could make instead of a maxi dress (I am getting a tad bored with them) : jumpsuit? Not sure I am confident enough to pull it off and wear it. Pants? I already have one. A dress shirt? Yes! That could work. But wait a minute, a blazer would get more use.

So there I was on a Sunday afternoon between reheating lunch for the kids and preparing for Iftar, cutting and sewing the blazer. It actually took me more time because as always I mess up ( finished it the following Tuesday). I used this tutorial found on Youtube that looks super easy. I was glad to realize that sewing the sleeves before closing the sides is much easier than sewing them on a finished garment. For a touch of fun, I addded a pink collar and cuffs. And voila?
What do you think?


Leopard blazer - Did it myself
Tee - Gap
Jeans - super old
Shoes -  thrifted







I wore it today for a school run and felt pretty comfy. My kids complimented me on it (they want me to start making them clothes now...) and my Mom friends could not believe I sew it. I have to admit that I was pretty proud of myself once I was done. But now, the more I look at it, the more it ressembles a robe some go go dancer would wear after her show. Is it just me, or there is something about pink and leopard put together that screams hoochie? Maybe the material is too light and needs lining. Or maybe it is ill-fitting. I am not sure. One thing I know is that I love the fabric and I am dying to get more of it. Maybe next time I will make a kimono or kaftan out if it!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jaipur ( day 3 and 4)

Every time I wake up in my hotel room, I cannot help but feel happy because it is truly a beauty. The grounds around the room leave me breathless and I cannot help but take pictures after pictures. As a wannabe fashion designer I find our hotel to be excessively inspiring. Actually I find the entire city of Jaipur to be inspiring from the architecture,  the vibrant hues,  the locals. Everything makes me want to reach for my sketch book and draw collections after collections.


Pool area



Dancing girl painting 


Garden View 


Painted ceilings in the bar area next to the pool

Day 3 in Jaipur was spent in Amber fort at the outskirts of the city.  The fort was perched high on a hill that could be reached either by walking,  elephant ride or car. Thankfully our driver took us all the way to the top.  The fort itself is imposing with barricades similr to the wall of China running around it for miles. Inside the f our t has a huge court, two or three main building harbouring what used to be bath, latrines,  audience hall, chambers.  There is nothing inside except beautiful mazed gardens and carved ceilings.  The day was hot but we took our time visiting the place,  resting and drinking a lot of water between areas. 
Anyway after the fort, our driver took us to a shop where they sell textiles.  We were not to buy but I got to witness how block printing was done. I was so excited that I wanted to try.  But the professional would never have let me ruin his craft. The entire time I was watching him work,  my husband was busy listening to the manager of the place explaining his business.   I have to give it to the Rajhastanis,  they sure know how to sell. 

Before returning to the hotel for nap time,  we had refreshing lassis.  The kids enjoyed the pool in the afternoon and we had early diner at a local restaurant.  Since everyone was feeling better we ordered Thali.  Let us just say that we had better and cheaper Thali.  The restaurant called Natraj was old and you could feel it.  Plus upon paying outrageous taxes,  they still beg for service charges. Unbelievable! Needless to say that we will not eat there again.  I am very disappointed  that I could not get to sample real Rajhastani food due to my stomach and poor choice of restaurant.  But life is not perfect.





Outside Court



Beautiful carvings





Gardens inside Amber Fort

Day 4 
We rested all morning at the hotel. I was waiting to hear from a guide I was referred to by another tourist so that he could take us to see Elephants but he never called me. After another lunch at the hotel, we headed to Nagrah Fort. It was way up high in the outskirts of the city but near Amber Fort.  We had a 360 degree view of the city of Jaipur. We took several pictures and enjoyed drinks.  During our drive down to the city,  we spotted several wild peacocks.  I always thought peacocks were domestic animals so I was blown away to see them in the wild.  Some of them even flew when we attempted to take pictures.  
As we wanted to have a good night rest before our road trip back to Delhi the following morning,  we ordered take away from Handi,  an Indian restaurant.  We had some chicken rolls which was simple but delicious.  The following day was also the first day of Ramadan so a good meal was in order. 



View of Jaipur from Nagrah Fort



We left Jaipur happy to have visited.  It was an interesting trip with a few ups ( Taj Mahal, sightseeing, our hotel in Jaipur, shopping) and a few downs ( hecklers, our lazy driver,  the kids and I getting sick). But at the end it was worth it. I wanted to share more pictures but between my husband and I we took over 500 pictures.  India has so many beautiful places and I hope to see them all before we leave.

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