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 <3! 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!

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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!

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Jenna Dewan Tatum (Source: Getty Images)

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

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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.

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Amy Adams (Source: Getty Images)

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

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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!

A fall weekend in Cotswolds

Ever since I moved to London, I heard about Cotswolds, the Hamptons of London. I got the opportunity to spend a Fall weekend in Cotswold- just as their tourist season was wrapping up. It is a picturesque part of the country, with tree tunnels, rolling meadows. As we drove by, I kept reminding the novels I read through childhood.

This post isn’t pictures of sights, just the fall colors and greenery.

Hopefully it will have the same effect on you as it did on me- I fell in love with nature again <3

(Pictures are all me with a little help of Instagram)

The many colors in one frame

The many colors in one frame

I love yellow!

I love yellow!

Orange is the new block

Orange is the new black!

Colors of the shrubs- so they don't feel left out

Colors of the smaller plants- so they don’t feel left out

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree :-)

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree :-)

Ello Scotland!

Exotic Scotland always beckoned me- with mountains and the breathtaking landscape of Scottish highlands, the rich history, traditions and castles, the mysterious Nessie.. the list goes on and on…. So when I finally got to Scotland, it was a dream come true!

My pictures are more from Loch Ness- the natural beauty captured my heart and gave me a much needed break from the hustle and bustle. The enormous Loch, the green mountains, clouds and rainbows, and when you least expect it, some sheep! What would have made this album epic would a picture of the elusive Nessie- but I wasn’t that lucky! :-)

I couldn’t cover much of Edinburgh- it is a big city, and we got there during the summer fringe festival- full of music, performances, and art- which made it crazier. The streets were full of people, so stopping for a picture was next to impossible.

So come see the magic of Scotland- one of my favorite vacations to date (all pictures are mine, and with no filters :-)):

The magic of Loch Ness

The magic of Loch Ness

Uruquat Castle

Uruquat Castle

The cascading hills near the castle and Loch

The cascading hills near the castle and Loch

A waterfall in the mountains around the Loch

A waterfall in the mountains around the Loch

Fort Augustus Center

Fort Augustus Center

Roybridge while driving around the Loch

Roybridge while driving around the Loch

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

From inside Stirling Castle

From inside Stirling Castle

Fringe Festival in the background of Edinburgh castle

Fringe Festival in the background of Edinburgh castle

Bristol relived!

My first taste of UK was during my year studying at Bristol- the city is always in my memory as the place which was full of fun, friends, and carefree fun! After 9 years, I was curious to see how much the city has changed.

I guess the first thing I realized is I never truly explored the city- the touristy bits! So it was fun to rediscover the elements that make it so tourist friendly, and what better weekend to explore than when the annual balloon festival is in town!

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge

One of the mos amazing sighs is the Clifton Suspension Bridge- walking along the bridge is an incredible experience. The river Avon below, the greenery around the bridge, and the gorgeous hill with observatory… perfect spot for a picnic!

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The balloon festival

The balloon festival- the annual event that attracts thousands…. one of the best places is the White Lions bar at Avon Gorge Hotel- the best view of the bridge and to see the hot air balloons….

How did a monkey get here?

How did a monkey get here?

Clifton village has lots of cute arts and craft stores and boutiques, and as I was walking around, and look who I spotted?

Victoria Rooms

Victoria Rooms

One of the most beautiful landmarks are the Victoria Rooms, with gorgeous fountains outside…

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter’s Church, Castle Park

Castle Park is an an open green space by the river, with herb gardens, and the ruins of Bristol castle, and St. Peter’s church. It is a great combination of history, green space, and tranquility by the river.

Other spots that I couldn’t take a picture of:

  • Cabot Towers
  • College Green
  • Bristol Harbor

My first few pictures of London

Hello London! Thank you for the great welcome- gorgeous weather with hardly any rain and some awesome company to explore… :-)

So here is a collection of my postcards so far-taken by me, with some help from Instagram!

Westminster

Westminster

Big Ben

Big Ben

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Artwork outside Regent Park

Artwork outside Regent Park

Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind - boat

Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind – boat

Southark- remains of Winchester Palace from 12th century

Southark- remains of Winchester Palace from 12th century

Kensington

Kensington

Camden

Camden

My Top 5 New York memories

After a long hiatus, I am back in blogging- big changes! We picked our bags, and hopped across the pond to London. After all the chaos has settled, I am so excited to be blogging again.

I was thinking about my top 5 places of New York- the snapshot that comes up when you think of the city…. If you head to New York, here is my one day list of must sees- the places the tourist books don’t cover!

And here is my list (pictures taken by me, with some Instagram love):

  • Waterfront and skyline views
Skyline view

Skyline view

Walking along the Hudson river is so incredible- tall buildings in every direction… Whether you are on the Jersey side or Manhattan, the views are one of the most unique in the world…

  • High Line Park
Highline Park

Highline Park

One of the most unique places in New York is Highline Park- an abandoned railway line that is converted to a park. What I love is the unique views- water, city landscape, and the most unique art. This billboard is one of my favorite spots on the Park.

  • Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Central Park is the must see park in every guide book, but Washington Square Park is the hidden gem! Just off the busy West Village neighborhood, you are suddenly transported to a world with live music, art exhibits, and people escaping their busy lives…

  • City Hall Park
City Hall Park

City Hall Park

This isn’t a hugely popular park, but tucked between busy downtown buildings is a little park covered in flowers and with this gorgeous fountain. It is my little spot of sanity in the middle of crazy!

  • Frying Pan
Frying Pan

Frying Pan

Frying Pan is my favorite bar- an old boat that is docked on Hudson river. It is the best summer spot- rocking on the boat on a warm summer day is incredible! My only complaint is now that it is on all the travel magazines, there is a line to get in… I miss the days when it was on a hidden gem…

Remembering my favorite person- my grandpa

Happy July 4th!

July 4th was always special to me, way before I moved to USA- it is the birthday of one of the biggest influences of my life- my grandfather. As I faced my first July 4th without him, I wanted to pen my feelings- which like his personality are full of joy and laughter…

My grandfather (thatha in Tamil) was a force of nature- he was born in a village, but always had big plans. He married my grandmother (his niece- this was normal in the 1940s) in his teens, moved to Bombay alone to build a better future for them- all with the will and determination that was like second nature to him. He slept on the streets, lived in huts but always found a way to make his life better. He worked 3 jobs at a time, and raised 3 amazing people, including my mom. His life story is an inspiration to me!

But the more personal memories are how he was the glue for all of us- I remember as kids I sometimes disliked being forced to Sunday lunch instead of being allowed to watch movies, but the Sunday lunch is the reason I love my cousins. Every birthday was a family celebration and my grandfather was always there (even though with his weak digestion, he couldn’t eat all that much!). Thatha was the life of the conversation, with witty one liners and jokes, he always wanted to know what was the trend. I remember when I was 13, thatha asked me what was the fuss for February 14th- when I explained to him, he asked my grandmother whether she would like to go on a date, much to her embarrassment!

Thatha taught me a lot growing up- he taught me to read the paper and would teach me about politics when I was 5, he taught me trump (a popular card game) and always called me affectionate pet names like German lady, etc. When we were kids and he would visit us, he would enthrall us with stories of his childhood and starting days in Bombay. As I got older, whenever I am in India, he used to call me every day to hear my voice. He was the only one who pulled my cheeks every time we met, loved debating politics, and enjoyed listening for all our stories.

Thatha is a creature of habit, his daily schedule was fixed: coffee, Tamil news, yoga, then breakfast of dosa at 9.30am, and so on. The world can come and go, but the schedule was fixed. I admired that always, because it’s easy to make and excuse give up on things like yoga but the discipline is rewarding!

Anyone who knows Thatha will tell you that he is stubborn and won’t budge. One particularly funny incident I remember was last year after his surgery. I was in the hospital with him, and the doctor told me and my aunt that he needs to be on a strict diet of mostly semi solids and sent a dietitian in to build a list of what he can and cannot eat. The dietitian walked in and we braced for the worst because he loved his routine food list and everything the dietitian was suggesting were things he won’t even try! But he was exceptionally agreeable, and we were thrilled! As soon as the dietitian left, I was arranging for soups and juices, when he said “why are you listening to her? Poor girl was so young so I didn’t want to give her a hard time. I want my dosa!”

The quality I hope I can learn from him is to be content. Every time anyone asked him how he was as he got older, Thatha always said “I have everything I need, I am very fortunate”. All he wanted was newspaper, Bengay, and his wife for company! :-)

I miss Thatha most when I imagine not having him around to share the small and big events in my life. He is always the first person I call after my parents to share because his reaction is pure joy!

Miss you Thatha! We think of you everyday….