The world I imagine for my daughter..

As I count the days to the arrival of my little princess, I have been thinking about the world I want her to come to.  The world for me was a lot better than me previous generation, but there is still sexism, women’s safety is a concern,  and women still have to battle for being treated equally.

5 dreams for my daughter are:

  • Safety for women is a right:

This needs to explanation: we live in a world where 20 schoolgirls were taken from Nigeria 2 years ago and there is no sign of them, university campuses in US have episodes of rape,and gang rape cases happen even today in India. We grow up with a sharp sense of fear, walking fast and being wary about strangers. It is a women’s job to constantly be alert and can never really relax. I hope the world is a nicer place where she doesn’t need to be on guard and enjoy the world for being what it is.

  • Sky is the limit for my girl:

“This job may not be right from a woman, it has long hours” or “it might be hard to do this job when you have a family”… how often have we heard things like this? If a man with a family can do it, there is no reason why a woman with a family cannot. We are breaking the glass ceiling, but it isn’t equal opportunity for everyone. It should be a given for all women to have any role they dream of, sky is the limit!

  • The term “like a girl” is a powerful statement, not an insult:

The Always “Like a Girl” commercial got me thinking, we use these statements all the time. But now when I hear someone say like a girl in a derogatory way, it will make me cringe. I want my daughter to never feel self conscious about being a girl, she can run like a girl and fight like a girl, but that is a because she is a girl, and there is nothing to be ashamed about!

  • No pressure on appearance:

A hot topic that has been written about a lot lately is the pressure on appearance. The airbrushed magazine covers set unrealistic standards for beauty and young readers get under pressure about their appearance, raising the ugly head of eating disorders, unnecessary plastic surgery, and self esteem issues. In a recent interview, Jennifer Lawrence (of all people!) mentioned she felt like the fattest one- something that baffles me. It is crucial to make all body shapes acceptable, as long as someone is happy and healthy!

  • Women for women:

This is something I often wonder about: when I got married, I decided to move to New York  to join my husband, I quit my job and I had not figured out my options. I had to face judgment from friends/family- strong career women who felt it was weak to follow a man around the world. When I speak to working moms, they mention how hard it is to juggle work and home and the often unreasonable work pressures. I used to believe women in senior positions would mean a more inclusive culture. But I have observed that often women in management roles have a uni-dimensional view of how to manage work life balance: the perspective is driven entirely on how they handled it. If they had full time nannies, they don’t get the pressure of leaving at 5pm to pick up from day care or take over from the day nanny. Don’t you think it is time we stand on each other’s corner? We should support any career choice or child care choices-we have so many battles everyday,  we don’t need to defend ourselves with other woman…

 

The world is your oyster and I hope nothing holds you back!❤

Pray for all of humanity

I am going to take a break from travel pictures to write about something that has been on my mind the past few days. The world is seeing an onslaught of terror attacks, each more horrific than the next- the sheer horror is hard to imagine. I am no political expert, so I am not offering any theories or hypothesis. One would expect the same level of horror for each of these episodes- whether it was Paris or Brussels, Lahore or Istanbul, Ivory Coast or Nigeria, Syria or Yemen, Beirut or Baghdad, or Pathankot in my own country. But we see Je Suis campaigns for Paris and Brussels, but not for the rest. It is easy to say that these social media campaigns are just a pop culture trend but it is a reflection of what we care about.

The western media BBC and CNN of the world pander to their viewers- any episode in Europe or USA gets far more attention than a similar episode in Asia or Africa. But shouldn’t every life matter? What did the children in Lahore do to deserve such an end? Shouldn’t we have the same compassion? Isn’t every life worth the same?

If media focuses on what gets them viewers, social media focuses on what people have heard and are reacting to, and the governments change the landmarks for those episodes that are “trending”. We hear from terror experts that in the face of such violence it is important for the country to band together, have a strong sense of solidarity, which will eventually lead to resilience. So shouldn’t this support be for everyone?

I come from a city that has been repeatedly suffered from terrorist attacks- from 1993 bomb blasts to 2008 attacks, Bombay has endured a lot. The city banded together after each attack, resilient in spirit, but living abroad in 2008, it was a story till the terrorists were arrested. Then the channels focused on their nationals impacted, before moving to the next big story. Seeing the moving tributes for Paris, I can’t help but wonder why the same reaction isn’t available for other countries.

Facebook may allow me to change my profile picture to show solidarity for France or Belgium , but I want to pray for all of humanity- every person affected by all these senseless acts for violence.

The out”door” version of Barcelona

Barcelona has unique architecture- the buildings, town square and fountains are stunning even for those who aren’t architecture aficionados.I was obsessed with the doors and the outer facades of buildings.

Here are a few of my favorite ones (with my attempt at witty one liners), I hope you like it!:)

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Blue dreams

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Make an entrance with unique shapes!

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Who knew we would match?

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An old classic

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Am I flaming hot?

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So classy!

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I have a large green footprint

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Dancing ladies to get your attention!

Hola Barcelona

Hi everyone

I escaped to sunny Barcelona from grey rainy London over the Easter holidays. Everyone I talked to prior to the trip said Barcelona was their favorite city, and you can see why on day 1- the sun, the people, the vibe of the city. There is something for everyone here- the Gothic quarters, Sangrada Familia, Parc Guell, tapas and sangria… the list goes on!

I have to say while I adored and loved Barcelona, I have to say for someone on their babymoon, I couldn’t indulge in a few things Barcelona was famous for: the bars and nightlife, sangria, and it was still a bit too cold for the beach. So this post is the more pregnant friendly activities in Barcelona: walking around the city, eating tapas, and just relaxing!:)

Here are some of my pictures:

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Hubby enjoying the first sangria of the trip!

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Some gems around Gothic quarters

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St. Mary of the sea- amazing tall ceilings

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Cathedral of Barcelona

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Swans at Cathedral of Barcelona

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Parc Guell

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The grand Sangrada Familia- expected to complete construction in 2026, a full 150 years labour of love

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The apse at Sangrada Familia

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The incredible stain glass windows at Sangrada Familia

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The gorgeous ceilings with tree columns at Sangrada Familia

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An orange tree in Spanish Village (Poblo Espanyol)

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Poblo Espanyol has buildings styled by each region- some reviews found it touristy, but we loved it!

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Flamenco at the Andalusian part of Poblo Espanyol

I hope you enjoyed this slice of Barcelona- please share your comments!

My Pursuit of Happiness

Have you ever felt blissfully happy ? Or does it seem like a moving target? I fall in the later category, every time I reach what I perceive as my goal, I realize that comes with its own set of fears and insecurity, and the goal changes.

As a child, I used to play pretend with my cousins; we built elaborate story lines of our lives (we pretended to be adults). My cousin would choose to be a model sometimes, or a business woman other times, but I almost always picked the same thing: a house with a garden and many kids. I would be the PTA and bake sale mom who also had the best roses in the block, so it comes as no surprise that my big dream as an adult was to some day become a mom.

And December 2015 gave me the opportunity to realize this life long dream. I always thought that moment would be pure bliss- after all, if this was all you ever wanted, it should feel special right? It was, but for like 1 or 2 minutes. Then followed waves of fear and insecurity- will everything be OK? things never work out for me, how can this be happening to me now? As we crossed the 12 week threshold, it moved to will I be a good mom? Every friend and relative I know is a mom will probably be better than me- will be the worst mom of the block? What if there are comparisons? Will I live up to other’s expectations? Will I live up to my own expectations? These thoughts are turn into dreams and it becomes a narrative in your head. Every mother gives you her tips and advice with the best intentions, but you get more and more petrified that they think you can’t handle it. As the whirlpool continued, I googled if this anxiety is common and apparently it is, so I can tick off not crazy box!

I know I can overcome it, but what got me thinking is why is it hard to stop worrying? I wake up every morning saying “this is all I have ever wanted so thank you universe” and focus on making it a stressful day, but somehow the thoughts are never far away. When we are aware that a small portion of our life is in our control, we still can’t relinquish control. I understand the worry when it is something you want to achieve, but when you seem to get what you hoped, why does fear get in the way? Is it the chase of our ideal vision which may or may not be realistic?

There are a lot of self help tips and ideas out there, but I haven’t read enough about the logic behind this train of thought. Understanding why would be an interesting window into our minds.

 

As I close this rambling train of thoughts, I am curious to see what you think- share your views and experience below!

10 Notable looks of Oscars 2016

Oscars is finally here! Unfortunately, being across the pond means I have to resort to viewing online clips the next day to write my review; I miss the real time experience. This year’s red carpet was a bit of a disappointment- all the gowns were unoriginal, nothing that was absolutely unique.

Here are my 10 notable looks from Oscars 2016

Brie

Brie Lawson (Source: Getty Images)

This year’s best actress winner Brie Lawson in this blue ruffled Gucci gown with a sparkling belt. While I am in love with the color, it has too many ruffles and her hair was all wrong.

Alicia

Alicia Vikander (Source: Getty Images)

The other winner, Alicia Vikander, wore a yellow strapless Louis Vuitton number, which looks inspired by Beauty and the Beast. While it is definitely different from the typical red carpet gowns, it looks like a prom dress.

J Law

Jennifer Lawrence (Source: Getty Images)

Red carpet favorite Jennifer Lawrence wore a sleeveless black Dior Haute Couture gown to compliment her new platinum hair. It isn’t the most original gown, the hair and dress worked together.

Priyanka

Priyanka Chopra (Source: Getty Images)

Desi Girl Priyanka Chopra put India on the map, presenting at the Oscars. She looked incredible in this strapless Zuhair Murad gown. Priyanka was in all the press for her 8 million dollars worth of Lorraine Schwartz jewelry, including 50 carat earrings- I am not a fan of the earrings. It doesn’t look like 50 carat real diamond earrings, more like the fake cubic zirconia ones. But all in all, great moment for Priyanka, well done!

Jen Garner

Jennifer Garner (Source: Getty Images)

Back in the singles market, Jennifer Garner stunned in this strapless black Versace gown with an asymmetrical neckline, showcasing her incredibly toned body.

Chrissy

Chrissy Teigen (Source: Getty Images)

Now this is pregnancy fashion done right! Chrissy Teigen wore a floral embellished Marchesa gown, which clung her blossoming bump.

Charlize

Charlize Theron (Source: Getty Images)

Charlize Theron wore a daring low cut and slinky red number by Christian Dior along with a 48.8 carat Harry Winston diamond necklace, along with 15.49 carat diamond earrings and a cushion cut diamond ring. She wore an impressive haul of 3.7 million dollars worth of jewelry. While her jewelry was impressive, Charlize’s gown is extremely similar to her prior Oscar looks. Come on Charlize, try something new!

Naomi

Naomi Watts (Source: Getty Images)

Another flashback from previous Oscars was Naomi Watts in strapless sapphire and amethyst Armani Prive gown, with a statement diamond necklace from Bulgari. The beading and sparkles look a bit tacky, and the look is a bore.

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara (Source: Getty Images)

Sofia Vergara wowed with her curves in his strapless midnight blue Marchesa gown with silver details. While it isn’t the most unique gown, it is a departure from her typical mermaid style gowns. Sofia complemented the look with dangling 65 carat sapphire and diamond earrings by Lorraine Schwartz. I am not a fan of Sofia’s earrings or hair-do, but amazing outfit all in all!

Cate

Cate Blanchett (Source: Getty Images)

One of the stars to watch on the red carpet is Cate Blanchett, she is never boring and has the most unique style. This Oscars, she wore a green plunging Armani Prive gown. It was a polarizing dress, hitting best and worst dressed lists everywhere. I am not a fan of the color, it washes her out and the flower detail was cheap. Great attempt at bringing life to the red carpet, but sadly wrong choice of gown.

That wraps it up! Share your best and worst looks below…

Postcards from Paris

I spent the Christmas holidays in the romantic and magical city of Paris. As it is one of the most popular cities in the world, I don’t have to share my travel guide for it.

Here are my travel postcards (enhanced with a little help from Instagram):

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La Tour Eiffel during the day

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A closer view of La Tour Eiffel at night

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View from above LA Tour Eiffel

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Louvre

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Notre Dame on Christmas night

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The Notre Dame cathedral ceilings

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Love locks❤! Pont de l’Archeveche

 

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Pont Alexander

Golden Globes 2016 Fashion

Happy 2016!

With my move to UK, I couldn’t stay up and watch my staple E! red carpet… So I spent the day catching up to write my blog post…

So here it is- I will leave out the bad jokes, since Ricky Gervais hit the share during the show yesterday:-)

jennifer-lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence (Source: Getty Images)

Jennifer Lawrence has become a pro at red carpet fashion (and winning awards!)- she wore a gorgeous oblique red Dior dress with cutouts, and a stunning 156 carats Cartier necklace. The dress is stunning, but what brought the dress home is the necklace!

olivia-wilde

Olivia Wilde (source: Getty Images)

Olivia Wilde wore a gorgeous scarlet Michael Kors sleeveless gown along with a stunning Bulgari necklace, ring and clutch. The scarlet color was my favorite this season, really stands out!

gina-rodriguez

Gina Rodriguez (Source: Getty Images)

Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez wore a gorgeous off shoulder Zac Posen gown with Neil Lane diamond, emerald, and sapphire jewels. Flawless!

jenna-dewan

Jenna Dewan Tatum (Source: Getty Images)

Jenna Dewan Tatum rocked this gorgeous sleeveless midnight blue embellished Zuhair Murad gown.

brie-larsen

Brie Larson (Source: Getty Images)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama winner Brie Larson stunned in this gold embellished Calvin Klein number with the top trend this red carpet season-cutouts and Tiffany jewels.

amy-adams

Amy Adams (Source: Getty Images)

One of my absolute favorites Amy Adams continues her perfect streak with this bright Atelier Versace gown. Perfection!

taraji-henson

Taraji Henson (Source: Getty Images)

There was a lot of white on the carpet but the only one that impressed me was the Golden Globes winner Taraji Henson aka Cookie. She wore a strapless Stella McCartney gown with Kimberly McDonald for Gemfields emerald earrings.

 

What were your favorite looks? Share your views in the comments below..

A Bath Weekend to remember!

Almost 8 years ago I visited the city of Bath over a summer afternoon, and I remembered it as a picturesque town but I didn’t really explore it all that much. I just went around the town square and loved it.

So when we were thinking of a weekend getaway, I decided Bath would be the destination- so I could really explore the city. The city of Bath is a UNESCO heritage site, the site where the Romans built the spa Aquae Solis in the 1st century AD. The entire city seems to be made of the same golden colored stone, adding to the allure.

Here is my attempt at taking you through the main highlights of Bath (pictures are mine with a bit of help from Instagram):

Parade Gardens

Parade Gardens

In the city center is the beautiful parade gardens, with River Avon flowing through it.

City center

City center

One of my favorite places was the town center- walking around the cobbled streets listening to local artists and walking into small boutique stores.

Royal Crescent

Royal Crescent

One of the most spectacular and picturesque places I have seen in Bath is the Royal Crescent designed between 1767 and 1774. The crescent has 30 houses with the front facade being totally symmetrical and uniform.

Ha-Ha in front of Royal Crescent

Lawn in front of Royal Crescent

Here is another view of the royal crescent- with the wonderful green lawn looking into Royal Victoria Park.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

In the middle of the city center is Bath Abbey, built in 7th century.

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Roman Baths

And finally- to the highlight of Bath: the Roman Baths- set against the background of the abbey.

The original spa structure

The original spa structure

The Roman Baths were built 1st century AD, and their ruins were only discovered in 1879.

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Bath Springs

The Roman Baths used water from a natural hot spring: the Romans believed the water was blessed by Goddess Minerva.

Goddess Minerva Gold Head

Goddess Minerva Gold Head

The Baths was not just a part of their cleansing routine, there was a spiritual aspect as well. The Baths have a temple for Goddess Minerva- the gilded gold head of Minerva was discovered.

If only we could live a day like the Romans, hanging out in hot springs and enjoying a relaxing Bath!:-)

How life in London is different from New York

After 3 months in London, here is a list of 25 things that I found to be different:

  1. No guns!
  2. Police don’t carry guns either.
  3. You find pubs, parks, and curry shops in every street.
  4. You can drink in public in London!
  5. Manicures cost a fortune.
  6. Seamless has a much smaller list.
  7. You get hot food at grocery stores.
  8. Buses and trains are newer and way better connected.
  9. Subway is the path across a busy street from under the road, not the underground train!
  10. Apart from driving on the other side, streets are much smaller making driving a challenge.
  11. You hear more languages than you would in New York.
  12. Everyone seems to have traveled more than you- the average English Londoner has more stamps on their passport.
  13. Everything closes early on Sunday.
  14. Chips are french fries, and chips are crisps here!
  15. There are no closets!
  16. A lot of apartments have separate hot and cold water faucets.
  17. There a lot of period houses- older houses have terrible windows so sound proof doesn’t exist.
  18. Most showers have half doors and no curtains so high risk of spillage.
  19. Everything is smaller- from refrigerators to groceries.
  20. None of your electronics would work- either spend a ton on converters or just get new ones!
  21. Outlets have switches, something very different from US.
  22. Gardening is a national hobby, however small your garden is!
  23. People are always ready for the rain- umbrella, boots, the works.
  24. There is one bathroom feature I now adore: towel warmers.
  25. There is no “Bed, Bath, and Beyond” equivalent- you have to get bed. bath, and beyond in separate stores! Similarly, there is a Boots pharmacy, Superdrug for cosmetics, but there is no Duane Reade.

If you found other things, share your observations in the comments!