Wednesday 30 November 2016

Travel Post: Danau Toba – Interlaken of the East!

"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine”
Read this quote a while ago, but it’s kind of stayed with me, because I think it sums up my life quite precisely. I was telling a friend the other day that if I am not actually traveling, you can assume that I am planning my next travel – as that’s my only motivation to brace my gruelling corporate day job!
So when in September my husband wanted to plan for a short holiday within Asia, I got excited as I had Indonesia on my travel radar for quite some time now; and when I got my “Google Cap” on, I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to limit our destination search to Bali or Bintan in Indonesia. Whilst looking through various options, I came across this small article on Danau Toba in North Sumatra; and some voice in my head made me zero in on this location. Also, since the flights were quite affordable, we thought why not!
Since the nearest airport to Danau (Lake) Toba was Medan, we decided to spend couple of days here.

Let me try and give you my version of the travelers’ guide to this mystical place.

To begin with, I would urge you to include Medan as part of your itinerary in case you are planning to visit Danau Toba, despite the not-so flattering descriptions on some of the popular travel guide sites.

Now back to Danau Toba. After extensive research we booked 3 nights in Taman Simalem Resort (highly recommended for the facilities, hospitality and the food!) with and had rented a car to move around. Here are some of the fun things that we ventured into:
  • Lake Cruise – The cruise takes just over an hour; it took us to the middle of the huge lake and our local guide gave us valuable insights into the amazing history of the nearby villages. There is also the option to drive around the lake and soak in the culture by shopping or having a hearty meal in the bazaar area
  • Visit to the Hot Springs – Not the most pleasant of journeys, but an interesting visit. Reaching the source of the springs is apparently only possible by a bike, but nevertheless we made it till Panguruan (island opposite Tuk-Tuk) and it was worth a visit, even if just for another glimpse of the Lake.
  • Ambarita – This is an ancient village around an hour away from Tuk-Tuk, where we could soak up the mesmerizing culture and heritage of the local tribes. I would recommend to hire a local guide (do bargain for the rates though!)
After having our fill of the mythical lake, we moved to the next leg of our holidays – Medan. The journey between Danau Toba and Medan is approximately 4.5 hours by car. We stayed for 3 nights in Medan and just about managed to visit a few exciting places in the city.
My recommendations in Medan would be – 
Mystic Waterfall


A two and half hour trek into the depths of the Sibolangit jungle took us to the absolute highlight of our trip – Dual Colour Waterfall!! It is an experience beyond words and if you are up for the walk, a complete must visit.

Half day City tour – The local guide tour took us to the Dutch colonial–era buildings such as the Old City Hall and the Medan Post and Telegraph Office,  the Great Mosque of Medan, the royal palace Maimoon Palace and Asam Kumbang Crocodile Park.

Shrine of Annai Velangkanni

It is a unique Indian-Catholic church; a perfect merger of the Hindu and Catholic cultures. And it is so gorgeous, that I am falling short of words to describe it.

I hope I have convinced you to pack your bags and jump onto the next available plane to Danau Toba!!
Since I began with a quote, let me end with one too..
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by. -
Robert Frost

-Gauri Patwardhan
  For So-Saree

P.S. We do not own images used in this post.

Monday 28 November 2016

Shades of Grey featuring Zaful

A few weeks ago I had written about my fall favorites from Zaful, a site that is most favored by bloggers because of its exclusive fashion forward collection, fast delivery and affordable prices. Zaful is a brand that consists of upcoming new designers who are as individual and unique as its discerning customers. From clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, they have it all.

Lately, my crazy work schedules and unhealthy binging has been having an adverse effect on my waist line. So I pick clothes that look flattering on my frame. Long sleeves and layers is what I choose, as it helps me hide all the bulge and makes me look chic at the same time.
That was the main reason for picking this dress from Zaful and the other reason being my love for polka dots. Also the neck and sleeves have a very Victorian feel to it and I was totally floored by the fall of its fabric.
As far as the clutch was concerned it was love at first sight.

Since the products are shipped from an international location, I was expecting atleast a month for the goods to arrive. But I was so surprised when my goods arrived within 15 days, nicely packed and looked perfect, just as they were shown on the website.

For this look, my inspiration was 50 Shades of Grey. ;)
I decided to play with grey and pull off a monochrome look.
I kind of liked the final effect. What do you think?

These earrings are a gift from my sister. They were bought from P.N.Gadgil Jewelers. They are American diamonds set in silver and I think they make a good gifting option.

Outfit Details:

Dress, Triangle Clutch:
Sandals: Payless
Earrings: P.N. Gadgil Jewellers
On my Nails: Sally Hansen Insta Dri 370-Show Steel-er

Saturday 26 November 2016

BAPS Swami Narayan Temple in Chino Hills, California

After our weekend trip to SFO, we set out to explore the Swami Narayan Temple in Chino Hills, California the next Saturday.
Chino Hills is about half an hour's drive from LA, and we experienced the most pleasant climate on our way to the temple.

I admit I haven't seen every single Swami Narayan Temple in India, but this one in Chino Hills has to be the best one I have seen till date. This is also where I shot an outfit post wearing my Bandhani Saree. A few of our American friends had joined us and they were so awestruck and mesmerized by its beauty, that they were already making plans to visit India.
So if you are visiting Southern California or are near LA, make sure you add this place in your must visit places.

The property was huge, the temple had intricate carvings and we took an elevator to enter the temple.
It was a very beautiful experience.
If you thought the exterior was beautiful, wait until you enter inside the temple.
No cameras are allowed beyond the elevator.

We had visited this temple the weekend after Diwali and the temple still had the Diwali decorations.
The interiors have intricate carving on white marble and the statues of Swamis and Gods are breathtaking beautiful and in gold.
I spent majority of my time, explaining the relation between Radha and Krishna, the elephant head God and the Jain concept of not eating garlic and onions to my American friends.

After the Darshan, we moved on to check out the cafeteria. We sampled some lip smacking Khasta Kachori, Sev puri and Chai there and our friends were delighted as they hadn't tasted Indian Chaat ever.

All in all, it was a lovely evening spent, and I wouldn't mind visiting this place again and again.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Pub Crawl at Viviana Mall, Thane

Viviana Mall hosted the second season of the Pub Crawl from the 18th-20th November 2016 after a tremendous response to the first one and what a fun affair it was.
5 Beers in 5 Pubs at just Rs. 350 was a total steal.
No wonder Viviana Mall was thronged by thousands of people during the past weekend.

This year the mall had roped in 7 seven restaurants to participate in the Pub Crawl:

Soda Bottle Opener Wala, Irish House, British Brewing Company(BBC), Jugheads, Slice of Lime, The Beer Café, The United Sports Bar and Grill.
Customers could choose any 5 restaurants from these participating ones and enjoy a mug of beer in each one at a total price of Rs. 350.

If these does not signify "Acche Din" then what does? ;)

However, this year the major attraction was live performances by bands like Indian Saga and The Burp Symphony at the Mall.

I had the pleasure to be a part of this gala event with 4 other cool bloggers and we had such a great time. Being a non alcoholic person I stuck to my Virgin Pina Colada, but the rest of the blogger brigade went all down and crazy.

It was such a fun and relaxing affair catching up with like minded blogger buddies over food and drinks.
I want to make a special mention of the restobar British Brewing Company which serves one of the best foods I have tasted lately. So guys, next time you visit Viviana Mall make sure you visit it and try their Shephard's Pie and Veg Kheema Pav.

Until then, keep it cool guys, coz Desh Badal Raha Hain..!!!

Friday 18 November 2016

The Gharchola Chronicles

Hey Guys..
Today I am finally putting up a post that has been work in progress for the longest time.
After I wrote about the Panetar Saree, I was keen on writing about the Gharchola. 
For readers who have no idea what I am talking about read this.
Finally I was able to compile a post on Gharchola, which will not only educate you about it, but would want you to rush to a nearby Saree store and buy one for your self. :)

Gharchola is a Wedding saree most popular in Gujrati/Kutchi and Rajasthani Culture and has Zari grid patterns with Bandhani print inside each grid. To make it richer and expensive, it may be hand-embroidered or attached a heavy border.
The name Gharchola is made of two words: Ghar+Chola. Ghar mean Home and Chola means Clothing. So literally the word Gharchola means Home Clothing or an outfit that you wear at home. However, the word Gharchola has much deeper connotations than you would think.
Ghar refers to the Bride's new home/Husband's home and Chola refers to Wedding apparel.
When the new bride enters her marital home post marriage wearing a Gharchola, it means she enters the new home with everyone's blessings and good wishes.
Since it is a wedding apparel, it is most commonly available in red/maroon colour. However, it is also available in green/yellow colour.
Contrary to popular notion, Gharcholas are hardly made in silks.
The most authentic ones are made in Vankatgiri cotton which is soured from the South of India. This particular type of cotton fabric has silk like sheen to it, but since it is cotton, it absorbs the colour during the tie and dye process properly thus rendering the saree a richer and deeper hue.
However, nowadays Gharcholas made in silk are also available.
not sure why but Gharcholas are always draped in Gujrati style.

I had the opportunity to wear my Gharchola for a cousin's wedding recently and I made sure I took pictures so that I could use them on my blog. :)
Scroll down and let me know what you think.

Monday 14 November 2016

Outfit Post: My First Ripped Denim

After years of putting off buying one, I finally bought my first pair of ripped denim, this year.
When I brought the pair home, husband was amused.
When I told my sister she started laughing at me.
When my mom saw it, she was upset I spent a bomb on a pair of jeans which was torn.

But the first time I wore it, it just felt right.
It fit me like a dream and compliments from total strangers in a foreign country just made me feel better.
Today, my ripped denims are an inseparable part of my wardrobe. They have already traveled with me to 3 countries and I can't imagine traveling without them.

I wish I had embraced them earlier, but better late than never.


Outfit Details

Denim: Vero Moda
Top: Lifestyle
Hat, Bracelet: Daiso Japan
Floral Sneakers: Thrifted
Sling Bag: Koovs

Friday 11 November 2016

Lookbook featuring Farbod Barsum

Behind every Successful Woman is a Fabulous Handbag.
Jokes apart...believe it or not as far as making first impressions are concerned handbags always speak louder than words.
And that is why it is really necessary to pick the right bag and the right brand.
I am not the kind of person who is picky about brands/trends.
I but what I appreciate is good quality, neat finish and fine craftsmanship.
I recently came across a brand that seemed to possess all these qualities.
Farbod Barsum, a brand founded in 2010 has now become synonymous with Couture Exotic Skin Luxury Handbags and Accessories.
With their design house based in Beverly Hills, the brand makes sure that their materials are
sustainably harvested and dyed in chrome free tanneries making their design asthetics ethical and ecological. The skins that they use in making their products meet strict compliance with the international requirements of CITES.Did you know..Farbod Barsum bags were the first to incorporate Swarovski Crystals and Feathers on Exotics.
No wonder Farbod Barsum products are liked, endorsed and flaunted by socialites, celebrities and royalty alike.

One look at their collection and I was floored. Each and every piece is a piece of art. 
Their snakeskin clutches have already stolen my heart. :)
I was so impressed and inspired by their collection that I decided to create a look book with my favourite pieces from their collection.
Let me know, which one you liked.





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