Go Go Gokarna!

I traveled to Gokarna for the new year so that I could be away from the madness of the city. I was looking forward to relaxing on the beach and drinking my beer.

I reached on 31st morning and checked into Sunset Cafe on main beach. It’s a small, basic cafe that offers rooms that come with both attached bathrooms and shared bathrooms. The tariff is around 250-500 bucks per night which is cheap!

Their menu is decent for Indian food, I didn’t really enjoy their other cuisines. The beer is not cheap like in Pondi, it’s similar pricing to Bangalore.

The first day after breakfast, I tried to step out to explore and was burnt by the heat in 10 seconds! The place is hot even in December! But when you look around, you see 90% of the beaches and cafes are full of foreigners from all over the world sun bathing, learning Yoga, surfing, etc without a care in the world.

I unfortunately had to take a nap and then head out in the evening. I took an auto to Om beach. The primary mode of transport here is auto where they charge a minimum of 100 rupees. They don’t have bike rental or car rental services. It’s better when you have your own car or bike if you want to go exploring.

Om beach is crowded as they have neighboring beaches called Half Moon and Paradise beach that can be visited by taking a boat from Om beach. You can swim with the dolphins if you get lucky at one of the beaches early in the morning. If you want to stay on Om beach, there is Namaste Cafe which has fancier rooms compared to the other cafes. The tariff starts at 2k.

We had dinner at Rasta Cafe as Namaste was too crowded. The pizza and Shakshuka was quite delicious, don’t bother trying the popular chocolate ball dessert.

After dinner we headed back to main beach, where there was big beach party with sky lanterns and fireworks to welcome the new year. I would suggest bringing your camping gear and camping on the beach at night, it’s beautiful at night and nobody objects!

The next 2 days passed quickly in taking a dip in the beach, long afternoon naps and drinking chilled beer. Most of the cafes along the main beach are similar in the menu, pricing and taste. Try the Russian food to find out if you enjoy it.

On our last day, we took an auto to explore the town. We ate at the local restaurant called Pai, the masala dosas are crisp and yummy. But, the best restaurant was Shree Shakti. Mouth watering fried aloo and paneer paranthas that look like pie, creamy ice creams and milk shakes. You cannot leave the town without going there.

The markets are full of hippie pants, leather note books, religious t shirts, colored beads and chilums. You can find some interesting stuff if you look around all the lanes.

We wanted to explore Kudle beach as well though I have been there in the past, I wanted to see if it had changed. Unfortunately we had not time to spare and had to head to the bus stop.

Gokarna is the perfect get away to relax and explore. There are lots of places nearby to explore like Murdeshwar, Goa, Karwar, etc yet there are so many beaches that you can do absolutely nothing in if you’re looking for that. It’s a good mix of both.

I am definitely heading back someday!

Fashion for Freelancers

I was a freelancer for a while and I never knew what to wear. I worked at home, met potential clients at coffee shops and even attended meetings at company offices.
It was all new to me since I had only worked at a full time job at different companies so far where I wore formal wear from Monday to Friday and casuals on Saturdays. But now freelancing was a different ball game.

I made lots of mistakes, I looked up online and I watched others like myself at meet up events but it’s always best to learn what works for you. I am going to share my guide to a dress code that I learnt with time, based on what’s acceptable to different kinds of environments, comfortable and appropriate.

Mix and Match outfits. Dark unshaded jeans with a formal blouse or a semi formal shirt with a pair of nude shoes / flats is a go to outfit for everyone. It’s quick, it’s easy to pair and it can be worn to meetings at offices and coffee shops.

When you have to attend events, opt for a pretty blouse, black jeans and a pair of wedges. Your bag makes the difference so carry a nice sling bag with your cards and wallet in it. You don’t want to look too simple so add a nice pair of earrings and a pendant. If the event is bigger and more formal, wear a blazer over your outfit and a nice watch.

When you’ve been invited to a cocktail party or a networking dinner, the safest option is an appropriate length black dress or a black maxi skirt.

When you work freelance, things happen out of the blue. You may be working in your t shirt and pyjamas but in the next hour you have to be meeting a potential client to show your work / portfolio. It’s best to always have a clean pair of black jeans, black or nude shoes, neatly pressed blouses and handy accessories like a big tote bag, simple necklace or earrings, card holder, etc. You can just wear a presentable outfit quickly that way and head out.

Make up can be important too as long as you know what to wear when. Stick to nude lipsticks, ponytails if you have longer hair, basic eyeliner during the day and at night since you do have to socialize to grow your business opt for a brighter lipstick and dressier accessories but not too much bling as you are still there for work!

Your notebook/planner and card holder are equally important. Carry them everywhere as you never know when you need to write things down or when you can meet a prospective client.

Things to avoid are t shirts, too much jewelry, too much make up, shimmer, flip flops or any footwear that looks too casual.

All of this has helped me and now since I am back to my freelance career I have started following more of this code and seen some good results.

Hope this helps. Now, get to work!

Jackets to own this season

Winter is not just coming it’s finally here! I love sweaters, cardigans and jackets but when you stay in Bangalore where the weather is not cold at all, you have to wait until December to wear your winter clothes. Also, the winter is literally for only 2 months.

There are a variety of jackets you can play with to change your look often during the winter. Some of my favorite jacket trends this year were inspired by trends and items that I already owned.

When you think of long bike rides or a night out with your girls, it’s a leather jacket that’s perfect. It comes in a variety of colors, you can look really edgy without too much effort.

The Bomber jacket has taken over the internet! It’s cool and fun and instantly makes your outfit look casual yet trendy

To keep things simple you can opt for a Parka. Its warm, it’s stylish and it hides that holiday bump you’ve gained.

If you are looking to look classy and suave then it has to be a Shearling coat or jacket. It’s furry, you can find it in fake fur of course. It can be long or short depending on your style. It dresses up a boring outfit and can even be worn with a dress and some boots.

If you like long coats then this year’s fashion was dominated by trench coats in different styles. Camel/nude colored trench coats were something I really loved. You can try camel colored Duster coats which are long and make you look tall. You can try wool coats if you are travelling to a very cold place.

The double breasted trench coat is a timeless classic that makes you look classy and put together. This can be worn to work or a meeting without worrying that you look too casual. Something more causal would be a wrap coat which can be worn on cocktail dresses on a cold night out.

All of these options work in any country when it’s winter. They are great for all kinds of body shapes and for women of all ages. You can wear any of these instead of your boring sweaters or hoodies.

Happy Holidays!

Gifts this season

The best part of the year is here an it’s time to celebrate! Hot chocolate, winter jackets and Christmas trees are some of the best parts of the holiday season. There is so much warmth and joy around.

Every year we give our loved ones gifts to show them how much we appreciate them. Some gifts go unused and some of them are not what they wanted. While most people do appreciate the gesture , it’s always best to give them something they will enjoy.

The list can be endless and confusing. But these top picks will surely help in your shopping. Keep in mind the person’s color preferences, age, lifestyle, etc and you will know what they will enjoy.

Some of the top picks for men are:

– Fitness Tracker for the fitness freaks
– An assorted basket of his favorite food products
– Cologne for a man who loves his perfume
– High end earphones for anyone who loves music
– Amazon Echo for the tech gurus

Women on the other hand can be different, there are lots of common yet different things you can buy that is going to win you points.

– Perfume, floral, deep scents, etc
– Moccasins / Loafers for the girl who loves comfortable shoes
– Books for the reader
– Wireless speaker for movie or music lovers
– Faux leather bags
– Jewelry, delicate earrings, simple pendants or even a charm bracelet
– Selfie stick!

Order them online if you’re too busy, go on a shopping spree, take them along if you feel like it, whatever works for you. So, get shopping and happy holidays!

The land of Hampi

I have heard so much about the rich cultural heritage of Hampi. The ruins, the history and the people. A few years later I heard more about how it had changed into the land of hippies. The food included Israeli, Italian, etc and people travelled around in cycles. This was when I decided I must see this place for myself!

I landed in Hampi in October. There was no direct bus, we get off at Hospet and then take a bus to Hampi. Avoid the autos, they overcharge and the buses are literally next to them! As I entered the land, I was surrounded by these beautiful ruins of temples and forts. I felt like I was in a Bahubali movie!

The weather was hot during the day, don’t expect it to be cool or even warm. We had to cross the river to get onto Hippie Island. We headed to our guest house which was called Murali’s Guest House. It was a small basic room but the hosts were lovely people. After settling down, we headed out to explore the place.

There is a bustling market area with shops selling jewelry, leather goods, palazzo pants and ‘Om’ and ‘Namaste’ t shirts. The street is lined with restaurants and cafes where you can spot people from different countries smoking or relaxing with a book.

Most of the restaurants have Israeli food which I suggest you try. After we had a delicious lunch we headed back to our guest house. It was later that evening when we stepped out again.

The lake is one of the special features of the island. It’s clean, cool and surrounded with rocks. You can take a dip or just sit on the rocks and breathe in the clean air.

Then next day, we set out to explore all the tourist spots. These places are absolutely beautiful! The Vijaynagar palace, The Lotus palace, Sunset spot, etc. Avoid crossing the river after 6 p.m due to the price hike, we ended up paying 100 rupees each as we were late. I suggest you hire an auto and the auto driver takes you everywhere as they know about the spots to visit. But ensure you do your own research to avoid being taken for a ride! You can contact 9448678729, Mr Paul. He is a helpful auto guy.

After a long day of sight seeing. We rented bikes and explored places close to the island. The Hanuman temple required you to climb 600 steps to the top, yes 600! But the view is beautiful. You can witness the entire city from the top. There are several temples after the Hanuman temple amidst the rocks.

We settled in for dinner at another estaurant called Nargila. The hummus and pita bread was quite nice but the best part was a desert called Hello To The Queen. Delicious scoops if ice cream, nuts and chocolate.

The next day was our last day there so we headed to German Bakery which had some delicious food. It’s a popular spot where you can see some psychdelic paintings and tapestries. I would recommend picking up some really colorful hippie pants at the market and some cool diaries.

As the night approached us, I was sad to leave usch a relaxing place. Our host entertained us with stories of the Ramayan that happened on this land and why it’s so significant. We let go of our bikes and made our way back to Hospet where we stumbled across Hotel Malligi that serves some amazing Akki Roti and Dosas! After a happy meal we said our goodbyes and vowed to come back.

If you are in Karnataka for a trip, Hampi should be on your bucket list!

The color you wear describes your personality.

Often wondered how you get obsessed with one particular and you stick to it for years? Or do you have that friend who buys anything and everything in one color that she or he loves? Or are you someone who likes sticking to one safe color so that you don’t have to overthink your purchases?

Well, the time has come to discover why you like wearing this color and what it says about you.

If you are someone drawn to blues and shades of blue, it is because you are most likely someone who is easy to get along with and reliable. You are not impulsive- you always think before you speak and act and do everything at your own pace in your own time.

If you are drawn to red and shades of red, it is because you are bold, an extrovert and confident. You are ambitious and competitive and have a short attention span.

If you love green or shades of green, it’s probably because you love nature and are very social people. You are strong-willed and do not like to be told what to do by others. You do like to win arguments and do not concede defeat easily.

If you always pick orange you might be someone who is flamboyant and likes to be centre of attention. You are friendly and easy going.

People who are drawn to purple are sort of hippy-like in the way they tackle the world with their utopian ideals. They tend to favor mysticism to reality, and prefer to see the world through violet-colored glasses.

Those who say their favorite color is grey don’t tend to have any major likes or dislikes. They tend to be detached, and indecisive. You are practical and calm, do not like to attract attention and are simply seeking a contented life.

Those who favor pink do so because it’s an escape from the reality of impending adulthood. They’re childlike in the way they interact with others, and hope to be able to pull off red, pink’s older sister, when they finally grow up.

Those who favor white can be very critical of yourself and others. You are self-sufficient and a loner. They’re also really meticulous in their appearance, unlike the rest of us.

It takes a certain type of personality to prefer yellow to all the other colors. It involves a level of optimism that most people just don’t have. Because of this optimism, and the idealism that comes along with it, people who love yellow sometimes come off as whacky or aloof.

If you wear black all the time, prestige and power are important to you. You are independent, strong-willed and determined. You are non-emotional and give the appearance of a dignified and sophisticated person who is in total control – this is often a front as you may feel quite insecure.

So which color do you wear most often?

New Year, New Resolutions

As this year slowly comes to an end, you realize you have to start analyzing all the things you did right and wrong this year. All the promises you broke, the money you spent, the classes you skipped, the work you didn’t finish, etc

Every year we make a promise to ourselves that we will get fit, eat less junk, spend more time with family, stop buying useless stuff, take that vacation you’ve been dreaming of and spend lesser time shopping.

Some months you follow it and most months you don’t. We get caught up with our busy lives. Places to go to, people to meet and the work that piles up everyday. So many trends to follow, so many people to please and so much stuff to buy.

We forget ourselves in this endless cycle. We try to adapt to changes as much as possible and in the process forget or ignore our own resolutions and our own personal goals for the year.

Life is going to change constantly, nothing can ever be the same, not even you. Everything you plan may have to change because you are answerable to people, you need to blend in with society and you need to balance all the elements in your life well.

There is only one YOU. Change is never going to stop. You have to run with it and change with it. But never let it change the person you truly are. Your personal goals, your style, your time to yourself and your perception of things is what makes you, YOU.

This New Year’s eve, celebrate yourself and the people who help you be you.

Trends This Season

It’s raining trends this season and before you say ‘none of that looks good on me’ take a minute to read this. There is something for everyone this season! All kinds of colors and styles.

White sneakers. This trend refuses to die down, it goes with everything and instantly adds a cool quotient to your outfit. You can buy a pair that suits your budget as they are available starting from Adidas to your local shopping bazaars.

Metallics. Yes the ‘in your face’ retro golds, bronze, coppers, etc are back with a bang! They have made their way into lipsticks, shoes and liners.

Cold shoulder and off shoulder tops. This style looks good on all body shapes. Long tops, crops tops and even formal wear has introduced styles inculcating puffed sleeves and cold shoulder tops.

Velvet. This soft fabric is now being sported in bomber jackets, rompers, boots, blouses, etc.

Ripped Jeans. They are everywhere! Jeans that are ripped with lace, different colored fabric and ripped throughout the length of the fabric. You can buy a pair depending on your style and body shape. They look good with shirts, blazers, tees and pretty much anything.

Chokers. The 90’s are here to stay! You get them in different styles be it lace, wire, embellished, etc Adding a choker to your outfit makes you look really edgy. You can even wear these with a dress or to a party.

Pick your favorite trend this season!

Street Style

Some days I feel like throwing on any random outfit I can find and rush for a meeting or when I’m running late to meet a friend. On those days I call it street style. Different pieces of clothing that come together and look good but are actually an act of being in a hurry.

There are days I wear a pair of jeans, grab any cardigan I find to throw on my t shirt and wear a coin necklace with some rings that are always lying on my vanity. I take a look in the mirror and try to make my outfit look more crisp but that’s not possible so I decide that I look cool and should leave already.

There are also days where I need to look formal on a Saturday. I throw on a pair of jeans, a striped shirt and some ballet flats. I can’t be bothered to wear any accessories so I just wear a watch and bring a black bag.

With time I realized that my ‘in a hurry’ dressing was getting better. I did like my casual comfortable clothes but I learnt how to make it look like I put in some thought and effort. And that became the basis of street style for me.

You can wear a maxi skirt, a tank top and drape a scarf around your neck or you can wear a pair of shorts, slip on a pair of lace up flats and carry a sling bag and you’re ready to hit the road.

Some people enjoy more elaborate styles like layering their outfits with jackets, hairbands, etc all of which is relatable. It’s comfortable but still unique because each one of us look different in our street style clothes though the elements are the same.

It’s easy and looks cool. You can’t wear heels in rainy weather or a leather jacket when the day is warm, you wear what fits into the weather scene, what makes you feel comfortable and what you relate to the most.

Go find your street style!

The sweet life!

After long hours of work and even longer hours in traffic you find yourself being exhausted and bitter. You think of all the work you have left and how much time all of it is going to take and it’s just Tuesday.

You skipped your aerobics session because your son had cricket practise and needed to be picked up and now you’re late for the party because you had to work on a Saturday. You feel like drinking another glass of wine but you can’t since you have an early meeting tomorrow. You need to buy a pair of shoes for your friend’s wedding but you only have time on a Sunday to go to the store.

You are home after a long workshop and your kids have left the house in a mess! Just when you thought you would take a nap, you realize you need to wash the dirty dishes. And finally you receive an email at 10 p.m when you are watching your favorite show on Netflix that they need you to get on a Skype call.

Life is all about ups and downs. Most of the time you are going to see a lot of downs. There is always going to be stressful work and deadlines. There is always going to be kids and delays. There will be places to go to and places you need to go to even if you don’t want to. So what do you do in this crazy life to be sane you ask?

Have a cupcake. That’s right, a cupcake. You can’t do anything about things you can’t contol so all you need to do is be prepared to face it. You can fret all you want about how tired you are and how nobody understands the effort you put in but you are not going to get any response in return.

Calm down, take a deep breath and grab a cupcake. Enjoy the sweetness, the creaminess and the delicious taste in your mouth. For that moment, it’s just you and none of your problems. Eat it slowly and brace yourself for the downs you may experience during your day but you will be prepared.

The sweet aroma of desert, the different flavors it offers and the satisfaction you get after eating a cupcake you love is immense.

Treating yourself every once in a while is going to make you appreciate yourself and just help you deal with all the craziness around you. So go ahead, treat yourself, grab a cupcake!