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December & 2011 in Review


Highlights of 2011

January - I had a wonderful time visiting Anita & Mr. Anita in Dubai. Spent a good long month with family. Attended weddings for the first time, after my own. And, finally made a trip down to Neemrana.  

February - Brother got hitched. Had an amazing lunch with school friends. And went for the weekend away with family, for my birthday to Goa! 

March - Attended my first Blogging conference - Texas Style Council in Austin and met so many fabulous bloggers!

April - Experienced the Spring in Washington D.C.

May - Enjoyed the English Summer in London. 

June - Spent it in sweltering hot Delhi, planning brother's wedding. Amma passed away!

July - Completed 4 years of marital bliss! 

August - Visited agonizingly humid National Harbor. 

September - Attended IFB in NYC with Deepti. Met my childhood friend Khushbu after over 4.5 years. 

October - October was rather slow! Can't seem to remember anything worth mentioning that happened *hmmm*

November - Went to Bombay and met all the lovely bloggers there. Had another amazing lunch with school friends. 

DecemberDecember was a wonderful month. Let me repeat, W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L. month. My brother got married on the 4th. I had the time-of-my-life celebrating his happiness. I got to meet Anita after ONE WHOLE YEAR. Nothing is ever complete without her! Soon after my husband swept me away to Hawaii for 10 days to unwind from all the wedding-stress. Marriage is just getting better and better after each year ... and now the month is already over. We are counting the last couple of days and then bam! into 2012 :) 




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Pet-Peeves!

I was browsing through my blogging archives some time back, and realized that I have this one pose, which I seldom repeat! It stood out to me whenever I saw it. So thought I shall share this unintentional posing, which I have been doing over the years, with you!

Turn & Pose! 

Here & Here

Here & Here

Here & Here

Here & Here

Here & Here
Some recent & common pet-peeves! 

- New-mothers need to filter their updates on FB. Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! (No sarcasm there!) However, like you would never share your own pooping-burping-pms'ing cycle on a public platform, similar rules apply towards your toddler. No really! What? ... you didn't know? !?!? Well, now you do! :) 

Parents need to discipline their kids. Specially when they plan to venture outside the boundaries of their own home. We get it, you are over the moon that you have a kid! But so have millions of other people over thousands of years. I bet even your parents thought you were 'special' but didn't turn out that way in the end, now did you?

Old people need to be less grumpy. Yes, I know old age is hard and and we live in a multi-cultural-confused-world. But seriously, how hard is it just smile and be polite? These are simple characteristics which hold true over all the cultures/countries! I have no idea about where I might end up 50 years from now but I would definitely try and smile a lot and not be grumpy! [Do not be grumpy. Do not be grumpy. Do not be grumpy. #nottoself]

Indian women (in U.S. and everywhere else!) need to be less judgmental towards other Indian women. Guess what, ladies - It is quiet alright to hug and snuggle up your husband/boyfriend in public. It is really not illegal (really!) even if you were told other wise while growing up! So stop staring. NOW!

- Don't judge us by our clothes. Some of us like to dress smartly. Some of us are even stylish. Some of us can look good without spending a bomb. Oh! and our husbands don't judge us for our shopping either, 'coz they know they married economically-and-fashionably-savvy-women! So don't blame judge us for your poor dressing sense. Thank You! P.S. If you want I'd be happy to help. Just ask! :)

- Being on H4 is not a like being on exile. (Backstory: H4 visa is given to women arriving in the U.S. as a dependent to their working husband but are not permitted to work *sigh!*) Yes, we don't work. Yes, we don't earn. Yes, we are educated. Yes, we did leave our careers behind. But NO! we don't get bored. Besides being economically-and-fashionably-savvy-women we are also resourceful, have hobbies, run our households, and indulge in activities which we couldn't while we were working. So we are probably more productive than all of you 'judgemental' people put together. Wanna bet? 

P.S. I wanted to post this on Saturday, but refrained in the name of Christmas spirit and good-cheer, but there was no excuse now! :) 

P.P.S. I want to thank my fellow-H4-Visa-Indian-in-U.S.-economically-and-fashionably-savvy-woman-Natasha for her contribution in this post and continued support and friendship over the past blogging years! Mwwaaah! ♡  

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Mix & Match (XIII) & Happy Holidays!

Last Mix & Match of 2011!
Wearing a Kurta as a Dress - Here -> Here


This is the last edition of Mix & Match for this year, and also for some time to come ...

a) I am bored of it (aren't ya'll?
b) I cannot seem to find any photographic evidence

But hopefully I would be able to come up with something equally innovative and creative to share with everyone! Suggestions are welcome. 


I hope everyone has been good this year. 
Santa is coming soon! ;)

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Anger & Forgiveness

Yamini & Neha have me thinking about anger and forgiveness lately. I realized that do not fight with anyone as passionately as I did before. For most parts I do not find "it" worth my time. Also, do not find anyone worth fighting 'with' either. As I am growing up it is getting harder and harder to forget, though! Every memory (specially bitter ones!) is starting to become engraved in my brain forever. We have already established that I do not hold grudges, but I do not forget either. In other words it means that a lot of my brain-space is being occupied by unnecessary stuff which I wish I could cltr-alt-del. So the no-fighting part is good. Not-forgetting part, not so much! 

Anyhoo, if you are wondering what happened to all the chunky knits? 
Well, that's Texas for you! Totally unpredictable in terms of weather.




Skirt - BCBG via Nordstorm RACK [09']
Bangles - Here & There [07'/08'/10']
Ring - On Sale Shop My Closet 
Boots - DP Italia [10']
Top - Zara [11']

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Choreographed!

Photos of me with TJ (brother) - Taken by Mr. Fabulous
Photos of me with Mr. Fabulous - Taken by TJ (brother)


Below, Me & Mr. Fabulous are enacting a scene, 
quite common in the Hindi movies from the 70's 
guy & girl are meeting in the garden for a date
Guy: Forthcoming - Girl: Shy



Shoot, directed by - Haaris 

I hope everyone had a good Monday! :)

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Mix & Match (XII) & Life without Sugar

Wearing packaging material as a bracelet - Here -> Here

If you are a regular here or on my Facebook Page, you know I had taken a sugar sabbatical for 6 months from 1st June to 30th November 2011. A lot of people have/had a lot of questions about my this action. So here I am giving the run-down on all the why's and how's, 'coz for most parts I am a nice person and value my readers' requests and questions ... for most parts! ;) 


Sugar Sabbatical

Why? 
Two reasons:

1. I was going to be in India for the complete month of June (2011) and by experience I knew that I would be od'ing on all the Indian sweets hence decided to take the pledge to avoid the damage. You know I work hard on my body so it hurts me literally (in my heart!) when it all goes down the drain. 

2. Earlier this year, I some how became addicted to having some form of chocolate on daily basis. Like I had to have a KitKat or a cookie or a cake every.single.night else I wouldn't get sleep! I husband had to ration my chocolate intake and hide all-things-sweets before going to work! So I had to take some drastic steps to break that habit. I do not like being addicted to anything. I repeat, anything! I am a super woman and I can do anything! 

How?
I took the decision to quit quite spontaneously sometime in May! I didn't think much about it prior to taking the giant step! Once the D Day arrived I started educating myself. Obvious things to avoid were chocolates, cookies, cakes, candies, bottled beverages, etc. (you get the idea). Slowly I learnt that a most of the pre-packaged food items like chips, breads, canned foods, etc. all have added sugar in them. 

Within the first week I had the clear idea of what all I could not eat any more and the answer was pretty simple - ANYTHING WHICH IS NOT NATURALLY SWEET! 

What?
So what did I eat when I got the sugar cravings? - Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables! 
Breakfast was the hardest meal to manage as I realized that most of the options had added-sugar (yogurts, protein bars, cereal, etc.). I chose Muesli for most times, which tastes like cardboard so I added raisins to add some sweetness. All the other meals were easier with the option of lots of veggies. 

1st Dec. 2011
We were celebrating my sister-in-law's Bachelorette Party on 30th November, so as soon as the clock turned 12 midnight, she nudged to break my sabbatical on her special day with a slice of chocolate cake and of course there was no question of turning her down. However, after having it I felt quite sick in my stomach and didn't feel I was missing out of anything (though everyone else seemed to enjoy the cake a lot!). Later in the day I had some Indian sweets (courtesy: Dad!) which gave me some major stomach ache, i.e. I was over sugar and nothing seemed as sweet as before (literally and metaphorically, both

Now what?
Oh well!
  • I am trying to stay on track. 
  • I do not get sugar cravings any more. 
  • I do not "need" chocolate any more. 
  • I get satisfied in small portions of everything.
  • I hope to keep the 'added sugar' to the minimum in my meals
  • And continue on my path of ultimate fitness!  
STORY OF MY LIFE!

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Expectations!


With time I have learnt to have the least possible expectations from people. It doesn't mean I have given up on mankind. It only means that I have decided to give everyone A LOT of space to be whoever they want to be! It is not easy but it is also, not impossible. Every time I feel a 'grudge' or 'bitterness' growing inside me, for someone failed me or didn't live up to my expectation (how were they to know?) I tell myself that, "Every one is doing the best they can!" There is already so much stress in life, simply to even exist ... why add to the drama with unnecessary expectations? I know it is easier said than done, but it CAN be done. With a little practice and a little mental-tuning, it CAN be done. Anything for the peace of mind! Right? :) 


Moving away from the Browns and the Greys ... 
back to color with the Burgundy & Fair Isle sweaters!  





Jeans - GAP [09']
Shirt - Tailored via Richa [11']
Sweater - Monsoon, U.K. [10']
Booties - Local Boutique [09']
Ear Studs - c/o Moissanite.com
Pendant - Gift from Soomya [11']
P.S. 
People from Moissanite.com were kind enough to send me a pair of these sparkly studs to try. While, I am not an expert but if they hadn't told me I for one could not tell them apart from diamonds. 

What is Moissanite? Well there is an interesting story behind the manufacturing of this gemstone. Click here if you wish to learn more.  

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How to choose location for outfit posts?

It was a grey and gloomy day! Excuse me while I go match my mood to the ambience! :P







Tights - UO [10']
Sweater Tunic - Nordstrom RACK [09']
Ring - ASOS [11']
Boots - c/o Wanted Shoes [11']
Necklace - c/o PiyaGanwani @ Etsy [11']
Some of you have asked me to write about how I pick location for the outfit posts. While it is not possible to shoot at perfect location all the time ... we do try and make an effort to give an aesthetic and visually appealing background to the outfit posts. 

Regularly looking for new and exciting locations also helps keep photography interesting for Mr. Fabulous, as I can only imagine how mundane it would be if he had to take same kind of shots at the same location, everyday! *Probably would feel like guantanamo bay*

Here's what we do: 
  1. Constantly keep our eyes open for interesting and preferably isolated location while we are driving around the city. 
  2. We prefer open spaces with lot of natural light. I intentionally avoid alleys and streets with tall and narrow buildings. 
  3. Of course, remembering them when the right outfit comes along is a talent in itself!
  4. Colorful walls behind restaurants/shops, gardens, industrial areas, parking lots, are some of our go-to-places. 
  5. Lastly, and most importantly we always try to make sure the background/location compliment the outfit. e.g. We pay special attention that the colors of the outfit do not end up camouflaging with the backdrop, instead stand out. More contrast the better!

P.S. Don't you simply love the statement necklace I am wearing in this post? My dear friend Piya has designed it and she was kind enough to send one to me. Do check out her Etsy Shop. It would make for a great gift. Order now to get it in time for Christmas!

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Chunky Knits

Recent Realizations:

  • A little restrain in speech, action and reaction ... goes a long way!
  • The "how" matters more than the "what" in almost all the situations
  • When you communicate effectively, everything works out as per the plan
  • Give your best compassionate smile, instead of saying, "Told you so!"
  • Always look at the bigger picture
  • ... and ALWAYS dress like a super star! :)

It is FREAKING freezing here in Texas. While I am excited to bring out my chunky knits but I am not looking forward to shivering and stuttering in cold!

Sweater - GAP [11']
Tee - GAP [11']
Skinnies - GAP [11']
Boots - Børn [10']
Earrings - c/o IN PINK [11']

P.S. Thank You for all the Birthday wishes for Mr. Fabulous. We had a wonderful day which I hope he enjoyed. I ended up getting him a few 'materialist' presents after all. Here is something he wishes to say: 

"Thank you all for your warm and wonderful wishes. Hope you all have a chilled out holiday season and may the new year be filled with love, peace, happiness, and good health.

Wine, whiskey, vodka or beers, Let's say cheers, let's say cheers!!"

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Mix & Match (XI) & Back to Blogging!

Wearing a dress as a skirt - Here -> Here

... As you read this I am on my way back home

I have been trying to write a post for several hours now. Every time I sit down to type I fall short of words thoughts! Living in India for past 6 weeks, I have constantly filtered my thoughts before opening my mouth. I guess, that filter is now coming in the way of my bindaas (blunt!) blogging. I think I need the 'american air'. 

Recently, someone asked me how living in the U.S. has affected my blogging. It was then that I had realized that if ever I moved back to India (for good!) I probably wouldn't blog ... or at least not so regularly. Real life is quite hectic for me, in this part of the world to maintain another (virtual) life. Oh Well! Thankfully we do not have to worry about it any time soon. I will be catching up on all your posts as soon as I finish unpacking. Thank you for always being there for me! 

P.S. It is my handsome husband's birthday today! For the first time I do not have a gift for him ... except of course! lurrrvee ;) 

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Roka, Feb 1st 2011

These pictures are from earlier this year, 
from the Engagement Party we threw for my brother & sister-in-law! 



With Mr. Fabulous
With SIL (Richa) 
With my brother! :)
My brother is married (Yay!). I am through with all the festivities and so sleep deprived! But the drama is finally over (I kid!) ... Indian weddings are like reading an interesting novel! It had all the ingredients - fun, thrill, anxiety, suspense and of course drama! I cannot wait to dissect and explore everything that went down in the last month but right now I need some peace and quiet! 

However, since I hadn't posted any outfit posts in a while, I thought I would leave you with some shots from February 2011... The wedding-week's outfits will have to wait till I get the professional shots from the photographer! 


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Mix & Match (X) plus Relevance of Mehndi ...


Wearing a Jumpsuit as Pants - Here -> Here

Relevance of Mehndi in Hindu Traditions

Photo by Juanita Tommy.
Source: http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/photo969412.htm.
Mehndi (also known as Henna in Urdu) is an important part of Hindu tradition. Wedding being one of the most important occasions in any girl’s life is also referred to as haath peele karna (an idiom) which can be translated as “to color a girl’s hand yellow,”  i.e. to get her married. One of the symbolic references of mehndi is fertility. Therefore it shouldn’t be any surprise that the mehndi application ceremony, simply called Mehndi Ki Raat, is celebrated in full galore and grandeur. This ceremony is often combined with Sangeet [which] translates as “music,” and hence makes it a night full of music, dance and feasting.
This ceremony is usually held one night before the wedding. The application of the mehndi on a bride’s hand (starting from the elbows) and feet (starting from below the knees) takes no less than 6-to-7 hours. Family and friends also apply one of the simpler designs of mehndi to celebrate with the bride-to-be.
One of the myths (just for fun, really!) involved with mehndi is that the darker the color of mehndi would be, the more your husband-to-be would love you. That is the reason why, even after its application the mehndi is kept on overnight to get a deeper, darker color on the palms. Traditionally, after her marriage, a girl does not indulge in any household work till the mehndi fades out completely (giving more time to the bride to get to know her husband and new family). For several centuries Indian marriages have been arranged by their parents and/or elders, thus such small rituals gave more time for couples to spend time together and built their marriage.
There after mehndi is applied on all important occasions and festivals. More than anything, it’s application is considered seemly and  auspicious.
Portions of this post were sourced from Importance Of Mehndi In Indian Culture.
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