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Monday, 26 February 2018

A day at Fort Kochi

2/26/2018 0 Comments
Hello guys!

To travel is to live and travelling happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. While I have grazed the sands of Dubai desert, climbed to the peak of an ice mountain in Austria, experienced fresh air about 7000 feet above the ground at Grand Canyon (Next travel post, I promise! :D), I have realized that there's so much one can do, so much one can experience in our own country. Kerala, proudly known as God's Own Country, has so much to offer. While there are hill-stations on one side, the coast is full of beautiful beaches worth visiting. Recently I happened to be in Aluva (near Cochin) to visit some family and decided to spend a day at Fort Kochi in Ernakulam.

Beach, shops and cafes

We drove from Aluva to Fort Kochi which took us around an hour. As soon as we reached our destination, there was a lovely beach walkway that we walked on to get to the more commercialized part. We indulged in some street shopping, a much needed tender coconut water break and proceeded towards the streets that had more shops and cafes. After a long walk along the K.J.Herschel Road and exploring the town, we stopped by at Kochi Cafe for some cold coffee and oreo shake. Fort Kochi has a lot of European influence that not many people know about. Fortunately or unfortunately, most parts of this beautiful beach town is more or less a commercial hub. From bags, umbrellas, jewelry with ethnic designs to handmade flowy dresses and scarves to antiques, you will find all of them here at dirt cheap prices.

Colonial architecture

The biggest attraction here are the bright colored houses and buildings that are now converted to cafes, restaurants and home stays. The minute I set foot into this part of the town, I felt as if I had time traveled. I was stunned to see some gorgeous colonial construction all through the town which is supposedly a mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture. Before the colonization of Kerala, Fort Kochi happened to be a fishing village. Once the land was granted to the Portuguese in early 1500s, they built their settlement in Fort Kochi. In 1683, the Dutch took over Fort Kochi and after a hundred odd years, the British attacked and ruled the area till Indian Independence. Well, that explains the diversity in architecture.

Jewish settlement

I had also heard about Jew Town and wanted to visit the Paradesi Synagogue which is now a historical monument that is home for antiques and other artifacts. Fort Kochi is known to be the very first Jewish settlement in India. Cochin Jews, also called Malabar Jews, are believed to be descendants of King Solomon. Although we were a tad bit late to pay a visit to the synagogue, we spotted some boats at the Ernakulam-Mattancherry ferry service and decided to pay the ocean a visit which cost us around 800 bucks for a 30 minute boat ride. If you are a big fan of antiques, then there are some shops which sell them here.

I spotted some lovely home stays that I wished I could have spent a night in. However due to time constraints I had to keep my visit short and sweet. Overall, I had a great time in Fort Kochi. It was one of the must-visit places in my bucket list and I am glad I got a taste of it. Bangaloreans, time for a weekend getaway, don't you think?

Hand On The Hip

Monday, 19 February 2018

GlamEgo, my Valentine

2/19/2018 0 Comments
Hey guys!

February is supposedly the month of romance. With Valentines' Day being one of the biggest reasons for people to go out and celebrate, looking absolutely radiant is a must. But what products have you used so far? Would you to try something new? I've been frequently subscribing to GlamEgo and this month I received a whole lot of skin care products that have stolen my heart.

The packaging is interesting, as always. This time's box came with a contest to find your Valentine's name on the box. I could effortlessly find mine :D Winners will be rewarded with a 10K Shoppers Stop voucher. I am super excited! There are 4 products, 3 for skin care and 1 body mist. I am really disappointed that there are no make-up products in this month's box, but the skin care products have turned out to be quite effective and useful. This month's products are -
  • Body Mist by Natural Bath & Body 
  • Choco Caffeine Glow Face Pack by Mcaffeine
  • Saffron Radiance Face Cream by The Nature's Co
  • Pollu-Stop Face Protective Screen by Kronokare

Body Mist by Natural Bath & Body 

I always have at least 3-4 body mists I keep using at any given point of time. I feel more relaxed using body mists over deos or even perfumes. For my day-to-day use, body mists are just perfect. This blue colored beauty is one of the best I've used till date. I am not a big fan of rose or sandalwood fragrances, so this one is big hit for me. The smell is very pleasant and the packaging is quite user friendly.

Choco Caffeine Glow Face Pack by Mcaffeine

I have already used this product before and wasn't quite thrilled to see this in the box. I normally like face packs that are easily washable or peel able and do not have a strong odour. For instance, I like anything with activated charcoal or sandalwood in it. Chocolate for me is something to munch on when I am happy, sad, devastated, excited, hungry.. you get the point! :D This face pack did not help me with my skin problems, instead it was a little too irritating to have it on my face. Will give it another shot though.

Saffron Radiance Face Cream by The Nature's Co

Saffron has a gazillion uses and is really expensive. This cream is worth trying. I don't like creams that are too sticky or difficult to remove since I have oily skin. But this on dries up on your skin immediately leaving behind a certain amount of radiance.

Pollu-Stop Face Protective Screen by Kronokare

I have used a lot of products from Kronokare in the past, but this one caught me by surprise. It's a face spray kind of a thing that acts as a protective shield. I really like using this as it's very convenient to apply. I do my make-up over it so that it acts as a base or a primer. I give this product a big thumbs up.

I hope you guys are going to purchase this month's box and win the contest as well.

Hand On The Hip

How to nail your wedding trousseau

2/19/2018 0 Comments
Since this was a highly requested post, I thought this should go up before everything else that's been lined up does. And while my memory from my wedding month is fresh, I should talk about things that a bride-to-be needs to be prepared for. 

Hey everyone!

As the very infamous Murphy's law states, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong", I kinda do agree with this statement every time I have something big coming up. For me, in the recent past, my wedding was a really important occasion. I am usually carefree, I sleep a lot, I am lazy, but I was alert and worked quite hard to make everyone happy on my big day or probably months before.

While most men attend weddings for the food, all the neighborhood aunties and some jealous relatives usually make an appearance to see, feel and inspect what the bride is wearing, criticize it to their heart's content and feel good about it. Although I have a loving family and amazing friends, I did not want anyone to upset me by saying anything negative about my wedding trousseau. But as expected, some small little things here and there did tend to go off track. I am glad that nothing else did :D So here I have made a list of everything that went wrong and how I fixed it/could have planned things better!

Beauty parlor goof up

We already know about how my tailor messed up my blouses and how I had to rush to another tailor and get most of my blouses fixed and restitched, but little did I know that Lakme Salon in M.G.Road, Mangalore would have such a terrible appointment booking system. For more than one function they either got the time wrong or made me wait too long and screwed up at the last minute. How does one fix this? Don't panic!
  • Always have a backup beautician ready (preferably a good one who lives close by). The one I went to for blow drying my hair did solve my problem, but it was absolutely useless as my hair was back to normal in 10 minutes!
  • Learn how to do your own make-up and hair or find someone in the family who can! Thanks to all the experimenting I've been doing off late, I took care of my sangeet and cocktail party make-up on my own. I think I did a pretty decent job.
  • Ensure that you have a buffer of at least 30 minutes to 1 hour!

Clothes gone cray

You must be wondering what could have possibly gone wrong with my outfits. Well, on the day of my cocktail party, the person who was appointed to drape my saree did not know how to handle a silk saree, we were out of safety pins and we were terribly late! The worst part was, the gown I was meant to change into later suddenly went missing! What did I do?
  • The saving grace was the saree itself! It was so gorgeous that no matter how poorly it was draped, it still looked classy. Also, after a while I got some help from the crowd for saree draping as well as extra pins. Identify a person in your family who's a master at saree draping and take their help.
  • Always have a lot of back-up clothes! I had some extra gowns and the one I wore, less bridal than the one I was supposed to wear, actually worked to my advantage as it was more flowy and easier to manage.

Footwear fiasco

I wore a basic pair of wedges for all my functions. Although it was a bit repetitive, it was useful. But this one day I decided to wear a pair of new footwear and that was a bad idea. 
  • Back-up footwear again solves the problem here! Always carry a pair that you know you'll always be comfy wearing.
  • Spend a lot of time sitting on the throne and pretend to be a shy bride :D My hubby was too kind to be true and he saw me in pain and rescued me!
  • Don't try to experiment on your wedding day! If you've never worn heels before, your wedding day is not the time for you to try new stunts. 

Jewelry disaster

My mother-in-law had picked up some gorgeous jhumkas for me, but unfortunately since my ears are super sensitive and the holes are too small, the screw wouldn't go in. Although I was terribly disappointed, I was glad that I had some extra ear-rings that I could wear with my outfit.
  • Gold can always be a troublemaker if you are not used to wearing heavy jewelry. Ensure that you have matching fake jewelry for all your outfits that's easy to wear.
  • Try to accessorize heavily in other places like your neck or hands if you want to keep it light at your problem areas.

Things you need to carry at all times

  1. LOADS of safety pins!
  2. A make-up kit with everything you need (blog post getting ready :p)
  3. A hair straightener if you need one
  4. Your back-up clothes and footwear
  5. Lots of fake, easy-to-handle jewelry for all occasions
  6. Gold and silver nail paint
  7. Bindis of all colors, shapes and sizes
  8. A bottle of glucose, some biscuits and chocolates
  9. A first-aid kit with band-aids, cotton pieces etc. 
  10. Extra casual clothes you can wear between functions while relaxing

Weddings can be hectic, especially if they're your own. My wedding was almost a week's affair. Standing and greeting people with a smile on your face for hours together can be a little tricky. To top it off, if you don't feel confident enough in your attire, it can just add to the stress. Obviously, if you don't care about trivial things like these, you're lucky. The crazy person in me had to make sure that everything was perfect. But keeping all this aside, the one thing that absolutely helped me get through the madness was having an amazing person by my side at all times. He was my calm in chaos! I hope he will always be that for me.

Hand On The Hip

P.S. I know a lot of you are waiting to see more pics, but for that you'll have to wait a little longer :p

Friday, 16 February 2018

One kurti, two looks ft. Dittory

2/16/2018 0 Comments
Hello everyone!

Do you religiously follow trends like I do? What are the current trends that have secretly drawn you towards them? In the past couple of years I have been majorly attracted to printed sneakers, velvet tops, bell sleeves boho dresses, anything with tassels and pom poms and holo sling bags. At the moment I've been drooling over Anarkali maxi gowns and trust me, they're the definition of fusion. I just found a brilliant looking piece with kalamkari prints all over it at Soch. It was priced at 2K and my heart sank a little. Since affordable fashion is my thing and I am incredibly broke right now (and always), I had to walk away from it, no questions asked. Just when I had almost given up on my dream of owning the perfect Anarkali maxi, I was introduced to Dittory. I have curated two looks with my dream kurti and tried my hand at self-portraits (I know there's a lot of scope for improvement, but good start, don't you think? :D), but more on that later.

What's so special about Dittory? Dittory is my fairy godmother! Haha! We'll get to that part later. What's the first thing you do when you shop online? You tend to compare prices on various websites, right? It can get tedious at times. What if I told you that someone or some thing was doing it for you. Well, Dittory is a well crafted internet based invention that helps us get our money's worth. Dittory comes in three forms - a web extension, a website and a mobile app. It's basically a tool that helps compulsive shoppers like us compare prices, shop smartly and go easy on the pockets. And if you do not have a laptop, fret not. You can download their mobile app!

Let me explain to you how it worked for me. I decided to resume my Anarkali gown hunt and after a lot of R&D, a couple of green teas, some cyber window shopping, this beautiful kurti-dress from Libas caught my attention. I wanted it. I wanted it so bad! But my budget was 1000 bucks for that pretty thing and I found it on a website for 2000 bucks. But guess what? I had already installed the Dittory extension on my browser. Their genius Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithm helped me navigate to websites that had the same outfit at highly discounted rates. I got my outfit for 799 INR on Myntra and did not think twice about purchasing it. That's why I call Dittory my fairy godmother.

They also have this really cool feature that notifies you whenever there's a price drop for a product that you've been meaning to buy. Check it out here!

Styling notes about my two looks with this beautiful Libas kurti

1. Go full blown desi

Some bold ethnic jewelry and a big, round bindi can completely transform you from a little girl to a beautiful, independent, Indian woman in no time. I have been really attracted to big black bindis lately and to give it that desi factor, I made a neat bun with my hair.

2. That casual dinner date look

I wanted to see if I could wear an Indian dress and yet look very western. I achieved this look by  giving my dress a shape with a black belt and some black pumps. This look is perfect for a dinner date with your loved one.

Curiosity took over and I paid the website a visit. They have a bunch of products (clothing, accessories, footwear etc.) and you can instantly compare their prices on various e-commerce websites. I am glad that I can finally buy what I want and pay the best price for it. If you love shopping online like I do, then the only thing missing in your life is this extension on your Chrome. Install it right away and shop away to glory!

Hand On The Hip

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Darling, you look perfect tonight

2/13/2018 0 Comments
Hello peeps!

We have already seen a lot of people post about "What to wear on Valentines Day", "Five DIY gift ideas", "Top ten Valentines Day getaways" and what not as a marketing gimmick. I have also been a major contributor to this category of articles. I don't even want to analyze the profit margin of restaurants, bars, clothing brands, flower shops on Valentines Day every year. It's really sad that in the name of love, people are being exploited and young couples are under a lot of pressure. I have also succumbed to the pressure and made bad decisions in the past.

But this year, it's gonna be different. I mean, who am I kidding? I realised I am one of those people who seriously does not understand why Valentines Day is such a big deal. Why should I leave office early on February 14th, wear some uncomfortable red dress (Red is not even my color!) and act all coy and lovey-dovey on one hot, sunny day in February? Why can't I just gobble up some pizzas in my PJ's, Netlfix and chill with my bae on a random weekend when it's convenient? On the other hand, I am also a hopeless romantic and I like romantic gestures, cheesy love letters and beat this, rom-com is my fave movie genre! Keeping all my demands in mind, picking a husband has been quite a task! I mean, there are plenty of boys out there who'd make perfect boyfriends, but are they really husband material? How do you find that perfect blend? Now that I am somebody's lawfully wedded wife and all, and because most of you liked my post from last month and requested for another one (and also I had these pics from my pre-wedding photo shoot that I so badly wanted to show you guys :D), I wanted to let you guys know some things that helped me decide why I should marry this adorable man I call my husband. (Also, I've been reading this book called "My wife and other problems, my husband the only problem" which has been a huge inspiration behind this post.)

He has influenced me to gossip less and talk about more important things.

I have always had quite an appetite for gossip. (And no, it's not because I am a woman! In fact, statistics collected from surveys conducted by Daily Mail and Telegraph (and also my personal experience with men) suggest that men are more likely to gossip than women!) He has somehow made me realize that there are so many other engaging topics to talk about other than boy-girl drama and all that crap. I can safely say that gossip doesn't interest me anymore (well, at least not as much as it used to :D). Ladies, a person who piques your interests in more meaningful things and inspires you to let go of unimportant, irrelevant matters is definitely worth marrying!

He's the reason I started working out regularly.

On my 26th birthday, in front of ten people, he called me a balloon :( Or at least, that's what I gathered from a conversation he was having with my friend. I'm not gonna lie, I had gained a few pounds that year (Thanks to all the Bira blondes from the Goa trip earlier that year!). The very next day I spent the whole month's salary on a fitness center nearby and that was one of the best investments ever! I have been in love with Zumba ever since. He who motivates you to achieve something by mocking you repeatedly is a keeper!

He is the only person who has ever bought me useful things. 

On my first birthday that we spent together (the same one where he called me a balloon (oh yeah, I never let go of an opportunity to mention it)), he got me earphones! The fashion lover in me died a little bit, but those earphones were phenomenal. It's been nearly three years and they're still as good as new. It's nice that he buys me things I didn't even know I needed until he got them for me!

He lets me make fun of him (sometimes :D) and that paves way for some good laughs.

There is no husband in this world who can last two hours without making fun of his wife. But very few of them actually tolerate it when they are on the receiving end. My husband doesn't mind at all every time I call him a spoilt brat and make fun of him for spending shitloads of money on all his Apple gadgets and Egyptian cotton shirts. He who laughs at himself never runs of things to laugh at. I am secretly trying to be that person as well!

He has woken up the kaamwali bai in me!

I get influenced by people I love quite easily. There are some things that I have always been interested in, but somehow over the years that part of me had died. For instance, I used to love cleaning and organizing, but when life got in the way, I ignored the clean freak in me. Now the OCD in him has resurrected that part of me (mostly out of fear :p) and I have been constantly organizing my room for the past ten days! 

He reminds me of my mother!

My mum is someone who I have disagreed with on every possible topic my entire life, but she still is my bestest friend and he seems to be another version of her. Although it can get difficult to deal with both of them (:p), it's comforting to have them around and they are usually sensible people who have helped me become who I am today.

He is a social butterfly.

It's always nice to have someone around who can talk to anyone, especially when you are having difficulties in that area. I really enjoy showing him off to my friends and family and also at blogger's events where he is almost like my wing-man. Yes, he does end up stealing the limelight, but that's amazing for me since I like taking  a step back and being in the background sometimes.

He tells me that he loves me, trillion times a day <3

Being loved is a wonderful feeling. I really like and adore people who are very expressive. And hearing those words.... well, a girl can never get enough of it! Not a day has gone by when my inbox hasn't received his "Good Morning" or "Good Night" text. He fights with me, he calls me stupid all the time, he gets annoyed with me, but he always showers me with all the love in the world and all else is forgiven and forgotten.

This man is going to keep me on my toes and that's something I am looking forward to. I am sure the rest of my life is going to be challenging, but I am excited for the adventure. Happy Valentines Day, y'all. Don't be cliched and buy your girlfriend a hundred roses. Instead tell her why you want her in your life and may each day of the year be celebrated the same way you celebrate today!

Hand On The Hip

Photo credits - Purni Photography

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Get dressy with DressShop!

2/11/2018 0 Comments

I just found out that my best friend is having a baby shower in a couple of weeks. I also just got to know that I have a couple of cocktail parties to attend next month. Since I got rid of most of my old clothes and did not anticipate this, what am I gonna do? What should I wear? How can I get the perfect outfit in such short notice?

Well, guess who saves the day? Dresshopau is my ultimate destination for some jaw dropping dresses. From prom dresses to cocktail dresses to bridesmaids gowns, they have everything! I scanned the website for like twenty whole minutes and picked these three gorgeous outfits for my upcoming events. What do you guys think?

Knee-length cocktail dresses are currently in trend and probably always will be. What I like about this outfit is that it's super elegant and makes one look real classy! This is perfect for my friend's baby shower. Click here to explore more knee-length dresses!

High-low prom dresses are one of my favorites! They're sleek, fun and sexy. I could definitely picture myself in this for a friend's hen party. Click here to check out some high-low prom dresses!

Finally, it's really essential and useful to have some nice party dresses in your wardrobe. You never know what you might need it for! Dresshop has a really great collection and new, fresh designs. They have silk, satin, sequined, mesh, chiffon, bling and so much more to offer. Check out some more going-out dresses here!

I really hope you guys liked what Dresshop has to offer. Dresses are a quintessential part of a girl's wardrobe. A girl needs to have at least three of them in her wardrobe at all times! But if you're not looking forward  to any event as such, don't worry. With Valentine's Day almost here to spice up your love life, I think you guys should hurry and treat yourself to a nice dress from Dresshop.

Hand On The Hip

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Welcome to the dark side!

2/06/2018 0 Comments
Hi guys!

Have you ever wondered what kind of a person you are and you'd like to be? Are you usually alone in a library or a social butterfly? Do you like spending your evenings in loud bars or would you rather be home Netflixing and chilling? It's a task to figure yourself out and it's ever worse when you have to try and figure another person out. We all have our own flaws and understanding it when it isn't too late can help you go a long way. Anyway, the reason I am making you guys think about your personality is because I have had some time for myself and wanted to share some insights.

As a child, I have always disliked social gatherings. I would hate being dragged to family functions and official outings that my parents were obliged to go to. In fact I would always hide behind my mum's pallu and shy away from strangers, wait..."shy away" is an understatement, I'd actually howl with irritation and intimidation every time someone tried talking to me. I had some kind of a people phobia. But unfortunately no one seemed to understand that.

My mum has always tried to help me overcome my fear. She'd encourage me to participate in any contest that would involve performing on stage. I can't even count the number of times I have been made to give a speech to 400 odd students and 20 ish teachers. I still tremble like a maniac if I am asked to speak in front of a crowd. But what's astonishing is that no one could really tell. I would always be worried about what people would think if I acted in particular way or said something weird. I would even be too shy to go to a store and ask for something. I was almost like Raj from The Big Bang Theory. The fact that I was always forcing myself to seem normal never let anyone figure out how terrified I was of talking to strangers.

When I went college, I was way better than what I was back in school. I made a couple of good friends and liquid courage always helped me make more :D But more importantly, I felt more confident. I still did try to put myself in situations where I had to make conversations with new faces. I aced them at times and there were times where I'd feel like I'd rather just lock myself up in a room and not talk to anyone. I had no idea why I was such a people's person, yet I had so much trouble even waving at someone I knew. There have been times I have chosen to just spend the night in bed on a Friday night than go out because I'd fear that I'd have to make conversations!

Why was I born like this? Why can't I be more like one of those peeps who can approach anyone without any inhibitions? After spending some time psycho-analysing myself I have come to a conclusion that like most people, I may have been suffering from social anxiety. My sub-conscious mind always ends up putting in that extra effort to talk to people and that ends up overshadowing my real personality. My friends would still not believe this for sure, but only I know the struggles I have been through or still go through at times. And I guess it's okay to be this way.

There was a time in my career where I even considered taking up sales as my core profession and guess what? I failed at it, big time! My boss always said, "fake it till you make it" and somehow, I could never gather the balls to sell to strangers. That's when it hit me. Why try to force myself to become someone I am not? I mean, yeah, I obviously did have to figure out a way to not be a loner and I was partially successful at that. But why was I pushing myself to an extent that I'd just break? Now you might think that I must be struggling to socialise at events I go to as a blogger. And yes, I absolutely do. But trust me, it has helped me so much! From fellow bloggers to brand owners to photographers, I have mastered the art of being able to speak to anyone. I still have my moments where I completely zone out, but I am no longer that person that hides behind a shadow. I try to get better every day and hope to become a shameless chatterbox some day. But if I don't, it's still okay.

For those of you who have social anxiety just like me, don't worry. You are not alone. Keep working on yourself and some day you will succeed.

Hand On The Hip

Outfit: Top from a street store in BTM Layout, Denims from Kraus, Boots from Steve Madden
Photography: PixelShooter