Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Songkran Fun

The Thai people are known to be friendly, fun-loving, and easy-going people. Perhaps no other event exemplifies this characteristic better than the Thai New Year festival of Songkran. During this time, Bangkok city turns into one big water festival. At every nook and street corner, you'll find groups of people armed with water pistols, hoses, and large tubs of water with the single-minded goal of dousing passerbys. There's no escaping this water attack - you will get soaked and that too, repeatedly! The water symbolizes the washing away all sins and bad luck from the year before and purifies you for the start of a new year. This glorified water fight couldn't have been better timed. This is also around the time of year when Bangkok heat starts to become stifling, and the cool water offers a much needed respite.

It has been several years since I happened to be in Bangkok for Songkran, and I had almost forgotten how much fun (or painful, depending on how much you appreciate being put through a veritable rinse cycle) it can be! The other day, I happened to walk along the streets and captured a few candid shots of Songkran revelry. Unsuspecting tourists and locals alike, no one was safe from the water wars going on around town. I'm of the belief that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And if you're a true Bangkokian, you will join them! After taking a few pictures from a safe and dry distance, I set my camera aside. I walked up to some people holding a water hose and said, "Hit me!" in Thai. A few seconds later, I was dripping wet down to my shoes!

On a side note, Songkran marks the beginning of spring and the harvest season. Songkran is believed to be derived from the Sanskirt term sankranti and coincides with many other spring festivals in India, like Vaisakhi and Gudi Padwa. Some compare Songkran to Holi but without the use of rang. Whatever it is, it's one hell of a fun time where adults and children alike join in on some good natured mischief-making!

Note: The first two pictures have been taken from other sources but the rest taken by yours truly.
Songkran turns into a foam party too (source)
 I wish I could have witnessed this in real life! (Source)
Just because they're little girls doesn't mean they can't play hard! 
Hey! Come join us!
A water and dance party happening on the streets
A tuk tuk, a tourist, and a water gun
Beware the person who holds a water rifle on a speedy motorcycle
Old uncles know how to have fun too!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In My City: A Tale of Twin Cities (Mumbai & DC)

In My City is a series of posts about shopping and fashion in different cities. I have asked blogger friends from around the world to share their favorite local shopping spot(s) in their city along with a picture showcasing their street style.

Today we have Ashwini from The Zing of My Life talking about her favorite shopping locales in two of her favorite cities - her hometown of Mumbai and her current hometown of Washington DC. Ashwini is one of our favorite blogger buddies - sweet in nature with a sense of style that we'd describe as "easy chic". She always looks stylish and put together. Without further ado...take it away, Ashy!
When Richa & Shruti invited me to write about the 'In My City ' feature, I got down to thinking about my shopping patterns and style...where do I shop really? Lot of stuff is from here in the US, which makes sense since that is where I live currently. But then, quite a lot of stuff is from my shopping expeditions in Mumbai. So well, I am going to take some liberty here by taking you through my fave shopping jaunts in two cities - Mumbai and Washington, DC.
Picture 1: Neon necklace from Colaba Causeway, Mumbai
Picture 2: Fringe necklace from Hill Road, Bandra
Picture 3: Gold-tone ring from Langford Market, Mosaic District
Picture 4: 
Statement necklace from Groopdealz | Print-dress from Target
Anyone who has lived or visited Mumbai, a cosmopolitan city in India on the western coastline of India, will tell you that street-shopping is an activity you have to add to your must-do activities list. There are many street-shopping nooks in the city but my fave two are Colaba Causeway, which is right in the heart of the city, and Linking Road/ Hill Road in Bandra, a hip and posh suburb.

Colaba Causeway is a historic neighborhood right beside the famous landmark of Gateway of India. It's a long winding alley with small shops set up on the footpaths selling exotic jewelry, tops, skirts, bags, watches and what not. My fave part is scoring ethnic, statement jewelry pieces for an amazing price...bang for your buck kinda deal! A lot many pieces that I feature on the blog have come from this old, rustic shopping place. Don' forget to duck in and sip on a cold beer and some urban snacks at the Leopold Cafe which is right in the center of the buzzing area.

Linking Road is another street-shopping destination in the city and unlike Colaba Causeway, which is sorta cozied away into an alley, this place is located on a high-traffic road in Bandra with a mix of brand shops and street-shopping shacks. You have shops and shacks lined up on one side of the road and little alleys joining it. On the other side of the road, you have this high-end stores. A typical irony, something for which Mumbai is famous for and you will experience it in every corner of the city you visit! Linking Road offers a variety ranging from cute tops, dresses, leggings, accessories but my fave part is the shoe-shopping. Amazing collection at an even amazing price, given that you do know how to bargain! If you want to take a break and put up your feet for some time, you have street side carts and restaurants serving delicious snacks and beverages.

Hill road, Bandra is another shopping area I recently discovered which is not too far from Linking Road. A plus point of Hill road is the Elco chat corner serving spicy Indian savory snacks.

And now moving on to hip destinations in the US, specifically near Washington DC where I live now. Most of the shopping I do here is from malls and Tysons Corner is a magnificent shopping hub in the DC suburb area. It has all the stores and brands you can imagine, both regular and high brands including clothes, jewelry, beauty, home stores and what not. It houses some of my fave brand stores - Banana Republic, H&M, Aldo, Nordstrom, The Limited.

Another upcoming neighborhood is the newly built Mosaic District in Fairfax with an array of boutiques and more specifically my most recent discovery - Langford Market. With its well curated assortment of clothes, and accessories, it is fast becoming my preferred shopping destination.

I am not a big fan of online shopping for clothes mainly 'cause I absolutely need to try out an outfit before I buy it. I do indulge in shopping for accessories on the jewelry-and-fashion-deals website Groopdealz. I have been known to receive some gorgeous statement pieces in my mail for amazing deals! And then of course, I am guilty of taking the occasional detour while grocery shopping at Target! Now haven't we all been there done that :)

Well, that was my absolute favorite shopping destinations...Thank you Richa and Shruti for inviting me to write for this fab feature. Like they say, retail therapy is a mood elevator and if you are in Mumbai or DC make sure you check out these places to get a flavor of the city!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

3 Things Thursday

Today I'm linking up with Raj from Pink Chai Living, Nisha from LoveLaughMirch, and Salma from The Write Balance, for "3 Things Thursday" - a great way for us fellow bloggers to share tidbits of our lives and talk about things that are currently on our minds. Here are the 3 things on my mind this Thursday...

1. Baby, you melt my heart! Soon after baby K was born, the hubby unexpectedly got assigned a short-term project in Singapore for work. Within a matter of days, we had to pack up our stuff, get a passport made for the little one, and then fly out. Despite how we left NYC in a mad rush, I was really excited about the turn of events. With Singapore being so close to Thailand, coming home to Bangkok was a no-brainer. And so, since last November, I’ve been enjoying the love of family, the comforts of home, and the familiarity of the city in which I grew up. Plus, both sets of grandparents are here in Bangkok which means the following things: I receive a MAJOR helping hand in raising the baby, baby K gets doted on like crazy, and the grandparents are over the moon that they get quality time with their darling grandson. It’s a win-win situation for all parties! Recently, baby K turned 6 months old and I can't help but feel blessed that I’ve been able to be there through his milestones and achievements, big and small - his first bite on a piece of mango, when he first learned to sit up and roll over, his sleepy yet fresh smile when he wakes in the morning, his mundan (hair shaving ceremony), his squeals of delight when I take him swimming... I know it's a sappy thing to say but I've truly enjoyed this special time with my baby! 

2. Foodie heaven. Bangkok has a big street food culture and I'm a big street food fan. It's a match made in heaven. If you've been following my Instagram account these past few months, you'll have seen my posts of local Thai street food that I've been gorging on. ongan juice, pad thai, fried plantains, fresh coconut water, and various other delectable delights! 

3. Lust bag. I'm not one to go after the latest "It" purse but lately, I feel like my Instagram account is flooded with fashion bloggers sporting the YSL, oops I mean Saint Laurent, clutch. And now, I'm lusting after it! Something about that single "Y" on the Saint Laurent Y Ligne Clutch makes such a quiet statement. So elegant, so chic. I really want it...badly. Buy me one? 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

In My City: New York City

In My City is a series of posts about shopping and fashion in different cities. I have asked blogger friends from around the world to share their favorite local shopping spot(s) in their city along with a picture showcasing their street style.

Today we are featuring a fellow NYC blogger - Maree from A Little Bit Etc. Maree is among the first blogger friends I made. No doubt, she has a classic and chic sense of style and is a makeup guru. I also love her sense of humor - she has a knack for turning even the most mundane topics into something fun(ny) to read. Be sure to check out her blog for all things makeup and fashion and for a good dose of sass!
Living in one of the fashion capitals of the world, you would think I am a shopping machine. Every major department store at my disposal, flagship stores of every major designer just a cab ride away, but surprisingly I have to admit that I do most (if not all) of my shopping online! *cue shock and awe* Maybe it is my suburban roots and all my time spent in the mall, but I love when I can get all my shopping done under one roof – efficiency is key for me! And with so many great sites out there that offer free shipping and free returns with loads of amazing designers, I simply can’t resist. Now that being said, you can definitely still find me wandering the streets of soho or traipsing down 5th Avenue popping into some of my favorite free standing stores on the regular, but for nabbing the best deals – I always find them online.

Take this outfit, for example, that I am wearing in the below pic – the faux fur Three Floor parka, Rag & Bone Newbury boots, and Equipment sweater were all nabbed during a markdown on Shopbop.com. I never seem to have that same luck when in store. The trick is I pin all the items I want to buy to a Pinterest board, and then check back regularly to see when they have been reduced. And then I pounce! Free shipping and free returns make it super easy and when in doubt, order the two sizes you are debating between and send back the one that doesn’t fit. I know for many of you that are die-hard in store shoppers, this may never be an option. But once you get the hang of it, it’s hard to ever go back. My favorite sites I visit regularly are Shopbop, Revolve Clothing, Nordstrom and Piperlime. And yes, that free shipping/free returns theme is always present – it makes all the difference!

Now for those purchases I can simply cannot make online - I love to frequent Bergdorf Goodman for a splurge, Club Monaco for the most perfect chic wardrobe essentials, J.Crew for their prints, and the GAP for the best jeans and button downs.
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