March 01, 2018

A Celebration Of Colors

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"Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams" ~ Paul Gauguin

We can't think of a world without colors.
Colors are an essential part of our life and soul.

In our country, Spring is welcomed with the festival of colors.
Holi, Dol or Basanta Utsav is a celebration of happiness, new beginnings and all things good - celebrated through the language of colors!

I have always had a soft corner for colors - be it in fashion, or decor, or even my art. I love all things colorful, so it's no surprise that Holi is one of my favorite festivals of the year.
As Spring approaches, I veer towards my most vibrant prints and outfits.....and this year, I thought of celebrating the Spring colors by mixing two trending Spring-Summer patterns - florals and checks!

Florals are synonymous with Spring fashion and colorful checks are slowly making their way from runway to reality this season.
Hence, here's a laidback and casual fusion look that shows you how to mix patterns with effortless ease!

[Floral printed kurta: Westside | Denim culottes: Vero Moda | Checkered scarf: Westside | Red suede loafers: Westside | Embroidered clutch: Street market, Jaipur | Fringe earrings: Street market, Pune | Watch: Kenneth Cole]

Photography by: Arjun of Arya Photography

Here are a few ways you can flaunt vibrant colors and mix prints this season with ease:
  • Keep the colors complimentary, so that the two different prints don't clash with each other
  • Keep one item of the look neutral so as not to go OTT with the colors - my favorite denim culottes make for the perfect bottoms with this bright kurta and brighter scarf!
  • Accessorize, accessorize and accessorize. Accessories are great for adding fun pops of color to any outfit.
  • Play with proportions - you can mix bigger checks with smaller checks for a fun look. Or go for oversized florals with small polka dots  for a chic pairing.
  • Experiment with colors. Step out of your comfort zone and try wearing bright colors or colors that you don't wear often. You never know, you might just chance upon a new favorite hue!! (In my case, it's yellow!!)
  • Balance out colors wherever possible - for example, the red of my earrings complements the red of my shoes.
  • And lastly, have fun! Follow the big trends, or create your own ones. Experiment, enjoy and embrace colors like your second skin!

On that note, I'm writing this post sitting in my room in a homestay in Shantiniketan where I'm spending Holi! (Check out my travel stories on Instagram - @styleprism)
In case you don't know, this is the town of Rabindranath Tagore's famed Visva Bharati University where Holi is celebrated in a beautiful cultural melange of dry colors, performances and festivities.

How are you all spending this colorful day???
Do let me know!

February 11, 2018

My Latest Haircare Regime #4FabulousHair {Review: Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall Range}

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Since I have semi-moved to Bangalore, I have been having issues with hair fall...coz we all know that the water here does not suit everyone hair-wise! 
That, and the pollution, irregular lifestyle and frequent travels have made my hair go from bad to worse, without me having the time or patience to properly take care of it. :(

So, when Himalaya sent me the #4FabulousHair hamper sometime back, I was ecstatic to see it contain their entire Anti-Hair Fall range - from hair oil and shampoo to conditioner and hair cream! 
I started using it around the middle of January, and as I write this 10 days into February, I can safely say that I've seen the effects of these haircare products on my hair over this period of time. I won't go as far to say that the Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall range has solved my hair problems 100% (I'm guessing it would need more time for that), but I can surely say that my hairfall issues have reduced by at least 60-70% of what they were before. Not to mention, that my hair feels softer, smoother and easier to manage when I properly follow the haircare regime with these products!

Now, let me tell you that no product is miraculous enough to get rid of your woes in just one use, or in whatever way you use it. Every grooming regime has a proper process to follow and you need to be disciplined and regular about it if you want to see positive results.
So, here are the easy-to-do-at-home hair spa steps using the new products from the Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall Range that'll leave your hair feeling nourished, healthier and stronger.

Step 1: Oiling

If you don't oil your hair, and yet think that you should have fabulous hair, you are gravely mistaken. Oiling is an indispensable part of any haircare regime, and without regular oiling, your hair will lack bounce, lustre and nourishment. 

The Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall Hair Oil, enriched with extracts of Bhringaraja and Amalaki, helps strengthen your roots and prevents hair fall. Part your hair and apply the oil on your scalp. Massage the oil gently into the scalp with your fingertips, in circular motion, for the oil to get absorbed into the scalp. Soak a towel in hot water, wrap your hair in it and leave it for 30 minutes before washing your hair for best effects.

Step 2: Shampoo

Choosing the right shampoo for your hair is an important step towards its care and nourishment. If you are faced with hairfall, dry hair, dandruff or other hair woes, then you must use a shampoo that has ingredients to nourish, nurture and care for your hair. If your existing shampoo is doing nothing for your hair damage issues, then it's time to change it!

The Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall Shampoo helps reduce hair fall with its ayurvedic composition of Bhringaraja and Butea Frondosa. This shampoo also conditions the hair to make it soft, and makes the hair texture smoother. While washing your hair, gently massage the shampoo into wet hair and scalp. Leave it on for 2-3 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. 
The best part is that this product can be effectively used on all types of hair, and also on colored or chemically-treated hair!

Step 3: Condition

Using shampoo on your hair and not following it up with the right conditioner is the biggest injustice you can do to your mane. A conditioner is must for helping make your hair soft, bouncy and smooth. So, don't skip the conditioner at any cost. Ever.

The Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall Conditioner contains Butea Frondosa, Bhringaraja and Chickpea which helps in nourishing hair, preventing excess hair fall and makes your hair silky and soft. Once you have washed off the shampoo, gently apply the conditioner on the whole length of the hair. Rub the required quantity on both palms and apply it on all strands - from base to tip. Leave it in for a couple of minutes and rinse thoroughly. 
This product is also effective for all hair types as well as chemically-treated hair.

Step 4: Protect

A leave-in cream is necessary after every hair wash, so that the goodness of the shampoo and conditioner stays in, and your hair reaps the benefits by getting softer and smoother. These kind of creams can also double up as hair oils, or as styling products while straightening or curling your hair.

The Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall Cream, with its herb-based formula containing Bhringaraja and Amalaki, is a great product for reducing hair fall and strengthening your tresses. After conditioning your hair, take a small amount of the cream and gently apply it on your damp strands. Regular use of this cream will help maintain healthy hair. This cream can also be used on all kinds of hair, and can even be applied before straightening or curling your hair as a protective serum.

I've been following these steps religiously for some time now, and I must say it's made a marked difference to the condition of my hair. My hair fall issues have reduced quite a bit and my hair does feel softer and smoother. So, yes, I'll continue this routine for healthier and stronger hair!

Hair fall is an issue faced by most women - specially ones residing in urban areas, with hectic work schedules and irregular lifestyles. So, Himalaya's Anti-Hair Fall Range is a welcome way of making sure your hair stays on your head (instead of leaving a trail on the floors of your house). 
So, if you, like me, suffer from hair fall woes, then do give these products a try! Please follow the whole routine in a disciplined and regular manner to get the best results!

Also, who else can't believe that the first month of the new year is over already!?
How fast does Time fly??? *sigh*

Hope you all are having a great February!


January 31, 2018

Breaking Myths: How To Wear Oversized With Oversized

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In today's world, there are two kind of women - those who are comfortable in their own skin and wear whatever they feel like they can carry off, and those who go by the so-called standards of beauty & perfection as put forth by the money-making industries and swear by fashion rules dictated by the experts.

The fashion gurus, who give us fashion dos and don'ts to follow, have a long list specially for curvy women. According to that list, slim super-models can carry off almost everything that those above Size 10 cannot. 

Among those rules, there's one that says you can't wear two loose silhouettes together. Baggy + baggy = you looking like a sack of potatoes (according to industry experts). And if you are curvy or plus-size, then God help you! You can kiss your dreams of wearing a flared top with billowy pants goodbye before you can even try them on!

This year. I thought of starting a series - "Breaking Myths" - that aims at opening your eyes and telling you that there's no rule for dressing up. As long as you are comfortable in what you are wearing, and you like what you see in the mirror - the world is your runway! 
The first rule that I'm dissing in this series is the 'Can't wear oversized with oversized' rule.
I quite like the chic comfort of anti-fit clothes and one fine day, I thought of trying out a flared tunic with the widest-legged pants I own; and I realised that it certainly doesn't make me look like the proverbial sack of potatoes!

So, here I am, showing you that curvy women can rock the baggy on baggy trend too, as long as you dress smart! Let me know what you think!! :)

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[Flared kurta: Global Desi | Ikat palazzos: Tailored | Lotus Afghan necklace: Taselcrafts | Afghan earrings: some Instagram store | Coin head ring: Bibi's | Black brogues: Westside]

Photography by: Arjun of Arya Photography

So, now are you confident enough to try two loose silhouettes/styles together on yourself?
Let me know how it comes out in the comments below!

Here are a few things you might keep in mind while trying this pairing:
  • Try to put together complementing colors, as two very contrast or clashing colors might take away from the flow of the viewer's eyeline, thus making the two separates look forcedly-put-together.
  • If you go for print mixing (like me), try to keep one of the prints smaller than the other so that the eyes can move smoothly from one print to another without looking too much together.
  • Go for garments that individually fit you well. Even anti-fit clothes need to be your size for the basic look to be in harmony with your body. Something 2 sizes bigger than you when put together with another thing 3 sizes bigger than you can actually make you look like that sack!
  • Accessorize well. So that the focus is not entirely upon the fact that you are wearing more than one oversized item together. Also, the right accessories will elevate the look further and add some interest to the overall baggy silhouette.
  • Last, but not the least, have fun! Don't put anything together forcefully or just for the sake of trying out the trend. See if they naturally look good together and more importantly, on your body. Experiment to your heart's content and turn heads as you break those myths!

Hope you guys liked the post and some of the Indian street-style pictures we took (including the random passerby and locals - have always been wanting to do that!). I can't thank my photographer Arjun enough for making my wish of taking these kind of pictures come true! :D

Till next time peeps!

January 16, 2018

Travelogue: Thekkady/Periyar

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Those of you who know me well enough, or who follow my blog/Instagram/Facebook since some time now; must be aware about my incessant love for travel.
I traveled quite a bit last year, and even though I planned to document all my travelogues here, I could get the time and enthusiasm to only post about the awesome food places I discovered in Goa; my laziness having the best of me when I wanted to write about my experiences in Hampi or Kanyakumari! #facepalm

So, when I ended the year with a Christmas weekend getaway to the beautiful hill station in Thekkady, Kerala; I made a silent resolution to write about it on the blog. And here I am, trying to fulfill at least one resolution of 2018! ;)

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Thekkady is a pretty, laidback and not very well-known hill-station in God's Own Country, Kerala, and is actually popular for its national park which is better known as Periyar. The Periyar wildlife sanctuary also has a beautiful lake which is the main attraction of the hill station, after the forest. It's a great place to spend a weekend - specially an extended one - as 2-3 days is enough to enjoy whatever the destination has to offer.

Unfortunately, since we visited on the long weekend during Christmas, every place was super-crowded and we actually didn't feel the urge to stand in hour-long queues for the bus that takes tourists into the forest and lake area.
So, we majorly chilled at our homestay, took an early-morning jeer safari to the various viewpoints around the periphery of the forest and indulged in enjoying some of the cultural activities that have their roots in Kerala.

I thought of making it an easy and quick read for you guys by listing a few Dos and Don'ts that you can refer to, while planning a trip to Thekkady/Periyar.
It's not an exhaustive list and the opinions expressed are entirely my own, I don't claim professional expertise in these statements.But, I'm speaking from the experience of a traveler, and I'm sure other travelers out there might find it useful to have some real advice in hand before taking the trip! :)

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The meandering Periyar river

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Day 1 outfit - Tunic: Global Desi | Denim: Lifestyle | Backpack: c/o Limeroad | Shades: H&M | Slip-ons: Max

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Pepper plant in our hotel garden

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Day 1 - from where I stand

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A local handmade bamboo raft on the Periyar river

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Out walking on Day 1 

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Flower-spotting around Thekkady


  • Do check the weather before heading to Thekkady. Even though it's a hill station, it's not necessarily as cold as you would expect. We went during peak winter season (Christmas time), the average temperature during the day was 20-21°C which was pretty on the warmer side. Temperatures did drop a bit during the night and early in the morning, so light sweaters or jackets sufficed.
  • Do book your tickets for the bus to the lake or the forest safari or nature walk only from the Govt. offices around the town centre. The prices are fixed and the service is pretty efficient. If you book from private travel agents, then they might charge higher fees and you might not even be aware of it.
  • Do check out the various local shops selling spices and handmade chocolates. The spices are all cultivated in that area, and black pepper, cardamoms, cinnamon and some essential oils are popular picks you can take home. The handmade chocolates are super-yummy and come in a wide variety - from fruit & nut to white chocolates to mint-flavored ones.
  • Do indulge in a lazy afternoon of boating on the lake, if you have the time & inclination. The lake is quite picturesque and you can have a gorgeous view of the surrounding forests and hills from while you enjoy some time on the boat.
  • The nature walk conducted inside the forest is said to be pretty interesting (though we didn't go for it because of too much crowd that weekend), but the chance of spotting animals will depend solely on your luck. Elephants, bisons and deer are still said to be spotted most of the time.
  • Please do take out an evening or two to witness some cultural performances that are famous  in the region. There are cultural academies that house shows of dance form Kathakali and martial arts form Kalaripayattu - tickets are for around 200-250/- bucks per head and are available with most travel agents or even at your hotel/resort/homestay. Sometimes, if you are booking a nature walk or jeep safari trip with an agent, they might offer you tickets for these cultural programs for as low as 150/-.
  • If you are opting for the jeep safari that takes you around the periphery of the jungle and makes pit-stops at strategic viewpoints, make sure you set off early morning - no later than 7-7.30 am. That time, there are not too many people or vehicles around, so chances are that you might spot an animal or two somewhere along the route. Also, the early morning chill and nip in the air adds to the atmosphere created by the picturesque views from the hilltops. 
  • Do visit hotel Thekkady Cafe if you are looking for an authentic Kerala meal. This place is not very fancy, but the ambience is typical, local style and the food is quite tasty at reasonable prices. You'll be assured when you see the rush and crowd at the place during lunch or dinner. 

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Picturesque view from one of the viewpoints

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The hills making a perfect backdrop

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Reflection on the Periyar river

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Day 2 morning outfit - Sweater: Allen Solly | Scarf: Kolkata | Beanie: Forever 21 

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Just need a place to pose!

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Day 2 afternoon outfit - Trench coat: Forever 21 | Floral printed tee: United Colors of Benetton

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Exploring the various photo ops all over Hotel Ambadi
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50 shades of green

  • After my experience, I would advise you to avoid planning this trip during any big holiday time. That is because the crowd makes the whole experience less enjoyable. Also, you might want to avoid the super-long queues at ticket counters or vehicle boarding points.
  • Don't rely only on your hotel to arrange for jeep safaris or other sightseeing activities. Take a short walk around and pop in at the various travel agents' offices dotting the town to compare prices. Then go for the one who's giving the best rates - it will any day be lesser than what your hotel will charge.
  • Don't carry too many warm clothes, even if you are visiting in winter. Check the weather beforehand (Google to the rescue) and carry some light sweaters or jackets only for the night-time or early morning outings.
  • Don't miss out on taking lazy strolls and long walks through the hilly roads....stop at souvenir shops or quaint hillside cafes, smell the wild flowers, breathe in the mountain air. That's when you get the real essence of a place.
  • Even if you are a lover of silver jewellery or Tibetan artefacts, try to steer clear of the many Tibetan shops you'll come across in the town. I have no prejudice against them, but as per my knowledge, the products they sell are not native or local, they are taken from the North-Eastern part of the country to be sold in the Southern state, so of course, the prices are higher than they should be. There is also no guarantee of the authenticity of the products, so there's a high chance that you'll not get your money's worth. So, don't be tempted by the appealing window displays of alluring silver jewellery; and go for the spice shops or chocolate stores instead.

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Ring of fire through which the Kalaripayattu performers jumped with effortless ease

Kalaripayattu performance - mesmerizing

Kalaripayattu - one of the oldest martial arts forms in the world

That, more or less, sums up my experience at this Kerala hill town. I am sad about the fact that we couldn't attempt a journey into the forest, thanks to the Christmas crowd, but that just might give me another excuse to visit Thekkady again!

You'll get numerous hotel/resort/homestay options in Tripadvisor or MakeMyTrip, but I would personally like to recommend Hotel Ambadi, which is a beautiful property with quaint villas, greenery and a restaurant that serves tasty food. This is not a sponsored post, so please take this as my genuine recommendation, based on experience. Hotel Ambadi boasts both a picturesque courtyard as well as art-y interiors that are done up in wood and give off rustic & earthy vibes.

You can shoot me any questions or queries in the comments if you plan a trip to Thekkady ever and I'll try to answer them to the best of my abilities. 
So, put this place on that 2018 bucket list and make sure you tick it off some time this year! Let me know how you liked it!!



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