January 31, 2011

30 for 30 {The clothes}

It took some time, but I did it! I selected 30 items for the challenge.
Here's what I ended up with:

My mix includes:
1 faux fur vest
2 blazers
3 skirts
8 shirts
6 sweaters
1 dress
2 trousers
2 jeans
1 kimono (this is my wild card item - as I only have worn with jeans and need to find a way to get more mileage out of it)
4 shoes

I have one small footnote to make: I didn't include my red and khaki (I work for Target) for when I visit stores. Since that is really a "uniform", and the ONLY time I ever wear it is for work, I didn't feel I should have to include that in my mix. I will have to wear my red and khaki when I visit stores during this challenge, but I will also be wearing my regular clothes when I am not in the stores, so I'll make sure to only pack what's in my mix.

Check back tomorrow to see my first outfit.

January 29, 2011

30 for 30 {Taking the remix challenge}

Having recovered from my jet lag and seeing my expenses from our wonderful trip to India, I've decided to take the 30 for 30 remix challenge from Kendi of Kendieveryday (check out her blog - It's really great!). It's just what I need to spice up my closet and keep me from shopping! The challenge is quite simple: Pick 30 items from your closet (this includes shoes, but not accessories). Remix them for the next 30 days and voila - 30 for 30. Since I'm late to the game on this, I'll be frantically picking my 30 items over the next two days since we start on Feb 1. I'll need to give some thought to my picks - I do have to go to work M-F and we have a dress code (meaning I still need to look more professional than fashionista!). This is going to be interesting, but I'm up for the challenge. 

Here's what Kendi chose (I'll be using some of her items for inspiration), I'll post mine on Monday.

Photo from Kendi Everyday

Photo from Kendi Everyday

Photo from Kendi Everyday

Photo from Kendi Everyday

Photo from Kendi Everyday

Photo from Kendi Everyday

January 25, 2011

India {See you soon, not goodbye}

I didn't think leaving India would be as hard as it was. I fell in love my new family and the country itself. As we pulled away from the house, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. It took everything in me not to cry the whole ride to the airport. I've never experienced anything like this before. I literally did not want to leave. I was finally getting comfortable with my new family and able to really enjoy my time with them. The first week was overwhelming. The language barrier itself was a challenge. On top of that, I was trying to remember everyone's names (pronounced them correctly!) and how they were all related - there were times I felt I needed to draw a family tree the names written phonetically! Then, there were the short trips we took to Delhi and Fisherman's Cove. Amazing experiences and so glad we went, even though it made the trip feel that much shorter with the family. The final week was spent with family again and I think that is when I finally felt like I belonged. I was able to communicate with everyone, remember who they were and make those connections. Personalities started showing and I really got to know them (and love them!) even more. I adore everyone I met with all my heart and am already trying to figure out how soon we can get back. It's bittersweet being back home. It was such a short trip and I wish I had more time there, but I am also happy to be back home with my family and friends here. I'l leave you today with a few of the things I'll miss in India:

Autos - My preferred mode of transportation

Cheena Coal (neighborhood dog) - the little guy in front reminded me of
Coal only smaller,hence I named him Cheena (small) Coal. He was the best!

Random Cows all over the place - Love them!!

But most of all, I will miss my family:

All the cousins together with me

My mother-in-law - isn't she adorable!?!

My nephews (yes, they are twins)

The fam - love them dearly
More family (Ramesh's sister with her two boys and Dinesh's wife and one of her boys)

January 22, 2011

India {Wearing my Saris}

I picked up my blouses from the tailor yesterday and set about the task of learning how to wrap a sari. My sister-in-law will tell you it's very easy. HA! That's what she thinks. When she showed me how to wrap and pleat the sari, I was thinking to myself "how will I ever master this?" How do you know how big to make the pleats? Which way do they go? I have to make two sets of them? This was more complicated than I thought. After several failed attempts on my own, I went back for more help. Turns out I was making the pleats the wrong direction - no wonder I couldn't figure out how to get them to drape down my back. The size of the pleats determine how easy it is for you to move in your sari, so you want them to be large enough to walk, yet not so large that the sari doesn't hang properly. It took me a better half of the day to get it right one time, but I did it! Practice will make it better. What do you think??

Hand woven silk sari

Traditional Kerala Sari (Cotton)

Machine woven silk sari

January 21, 2011

India {Mehndi - Henna tatoos}

Mehndi is an ancient art form in India and was originally used on brides before their wedding ceremony. It was also one of the things I wanted to have done while visiting India. As luck would have it, Ramesh's aunt knew a woman who could come to the house to do this for me. It's not a quick process by any means and required a lot of patience on my part- this felt like my longest day in India outside of the first day we landed. The henna is applied using a cone-like tube with a metal tip and it was applied free form, meaning she didn't use a template or any guide to help her draw. The application itself only took about an hour and a half. It was the waiting three and a half hours for it to dry that was the long part. I couldn't use my hands during that time (it was quite humorous actually... Ramesh had to feed me some snacks and find me a straw for my soda!). Once the time was up, I scrubbed the henna off with a dry towel to reveal a light orange "tattoo". The color darkens over 24-72 hours to a deep orange as it oxidizes. 

January 18, 2011

India {Mahabalipuram}

After we left Fisherman's Cove, we ventured to Mahabalipuram to visit the ancient temples. Mahabalipuram's temples were carved in the 7th century from stone and represent many different styles of architecture for that time. It is believed that this was a training ground for young sculptors. The temples portray the events in the Mahabharata - a sanskrit epic of India completed in the 4th century and is considered by some to be comparable to the bible, Qur'an, and works of Homer. What's most striking about these temples is they are carved from single pieces of stone, they are not assembled.

One of the Pancha Rathas

Arjuna rathas

Sculpture of Nandi at Pancha Rathas site

Varaha Cave Temple

Arjuna's penance

India {Fisherman's Cove aka pure bliss}

On Sunday we left the city and made our way south for a two day stay at Fisherman's Cove (a resort-like hotel). It's about an hour south of Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal. I can honestly tell you I didn't know what to expect. Imagine my surprise when we were taken by golf cart to our very own private cottage with ocean view. When reserving the room, the only option available was garden view, so we didn't expect an ocean view from our room- let alone our own private cottage! It's hard to believe we are still in India. This hotel could be in any tropical location and you wouldn't know the difference. It has a spa, three restaurants, pool with swim up bar, gym, and tennis courts- it reminds me of a place we stayed at in Cabo a few years back. We ate dinner on our patio both nights and it was heaven. We didn't have to dress up for dinner, deal with crowds or worry about service. A girl could get used to this - just kicking it on the patio watching the waves, with a corona in hand! We took time out to enjoy the spa too. I took a steam and then had a head massage for 45 minutes and after that an hour long relaxation massage. It was fantastic- one of the best massages I've ever had (and I've had my share of massages). It was nice to get a way for two days, just the two of us. We spent a lot of time just lounging on the patio, reading, and enjoying the peace and quiet. As we checked out Tuesday, I saw a coworker from home! Such a shock!! When I said his name, he couldn't comprehend it was me...in India! What a small world. He had just landed the night before and was here for a week for work. The chances of that happening again - one in a million I'm sure. If you are ever in India and have a chance to visit Fisherman's Cove, I highly recommend it. 

The view from our cottage
Our very own cottage
We even had an outdoor shower - HEAVEN!
Me sitting on a catamaran - fisherman use these for fishing - I don't  know how the navigate them in the sea?!?
My view while lounging on the swing
Proof that I ran into Skip in India!
Late night snacks

Don't we look refreshed?

January 15, 2011

India {Happy Pongal}

Today is Pongal - a celebration of the harvest and to give thanks to the sun god and livestock that have helped create the material abundance. The holiday is over 1000 years old and signifies the suns journey northward (and days getting longer). One of the traditions of Pongal is to draw kolams on the doorsteps to bestow prosperity on the home. Years ago, these drawings were done with colored rice powder, but today they use chalk. I walked around the neighborhood this morning and took some pictures of the kolams to share with you.

The stairs leading up in to the house

Doorstep leading into the house

View from the balcony of the house down to entrance