TREND ALERT FOR MEN: Style tips to go short or long

Since it’s halfway through the year (what? June already?!), it’s time for a guy to update his wardrobe. There will always be tshirts and shirts to help change a man’s look, but how about updating your style with fashionable shorts and pants instead? From easy going shorts to comfortable jeans, here are some top choices and handy tips for the boys.

Shorts

Prints, checks, or good ol’ solids. Great for chilling at home, stepping out in the sun or for a beach vacation.

Trend Alert: Quirky prints on shorts (and shirts) are really hot right now. Play safe with polka dots and textures or go crazy with florals, camo prints.

Military print shorts from Ed Hardy

Ed Hardy mens military shorts

Linen shorts from Selected Homme (available on Jabong.com)

SHDott dark blue linen shorts H RS 3995

Denim shorts from Superdry

Denim shorts Superdry

Chinos

They’re comfy, easy and available in a range of colours. Chinos are quickly replacing jeans and formal trousers as the “smart casual” alternative to everything!

Trend Alert: After building up your chino collection with basics like khaki and black, stock up on bright blue, wine and olive green.

Complete look from Arrow

Arrow SS15 - Arrow chinos

Trousers from French Connection

FCUK blue chinos

Red chinos from Breakbounce

Breakbounce red chinos

Jeans

A man needs his jeans, no matter the season, the shade, the style.

Trend Alert: Skinny’s still in style, but wider leg and relaxed fits are slowly making a comeback. Look fashion forward already!

Complete look from Killer Jeans at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015

Killer Jeans Lakme Fashion Week SR 2015

Jeans from John Players

Mens Jeans John Players

Jeans from Lee

Lee mens jeans

Bollywood Fashion Guide: Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns

In my previous blog post, I did a look breakdown of Deepika Padukone’s indo-chic look in Piku. In Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Kangana Ranaut’s character Tanuja Trivedi (Tanu) is also seen in contemporary Indian wear but her definition of indo-chic is drastically different from Piku’s style.

Kangana Ranaut Tanu Weds Manu Returns

Tanu is a free-spirited quirky girl who loves having fun. As a married woman in London, she opts for Indian styles. So she wears saris in public, complete with mangalsutra and very noticeable sindoor. Her saris are mostly retro-style lacey ones, and in the opening scene she has bundled up in a beige trench coat over her sari.

Kangana Ranaut sari Tanu Weds Manu

Once back in India, the pre-marriage Tanu takes over, and she’s back to her colourful self. In the earlier film Tanu Weds Manu Kangana Ranaut opted mostly for greens and blues, but in this film her look is bolder than ever, choosing bright pinks and oranges.

Kanagana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns look breakdown

Kangana Ranaut patiala Tanu Weds Manu Returns

Printed kurta or tee

Printed patiala

Bright printed or crushed dupatta

Accessories: Jhumkas (her favourite carried forward from Tanu Weds Manu), necklaces and stacks of bangles

Makeup: Lots of it, and usually very matchy-matchy. So if Tanu’s wearing a pink kurta, she’s applied pink blush and pink lipstick. And oh, there’s also a tiny bindi and tonnes of mascara and even fake eyelashes!

How to get Kangana Ranaut’s Tanu Weds Manu Returns Look

Kurta from Biba

Biba kurta

Patiala from Soch

Soch printed patiala

Dual-toned dupatta from Aurelia, available on Fashionara

Crushed dupatta

Sari from Pernia Qureshi

Pernia Qureshi sari

Jhumkas from Fida

Fida classic jhumkas

Pink bangles from Vidhya Kangan, available on Craftsvilla

Ethnic pink bangles

Style & Shopping Guide: Deepika Padukone’s Piku look

FOUND: Deepika Padukone’s kurta from Piku! (Read on to know more).

In Piku, Deepika Padukone has one of her most unglamourous on-screen avatars. Here’s a complete style breakdown of Piku and where you can shop Deepika Padukone’s look.

Deepika Padukone in Piku

Deepika Padukone as Piku

Deepika Padukone’s character Piku is a working woman and always in a rush due to her father’s morning drama. No high-end designer wear or heavy makeup for her. Instead there’s minimal styling and accessories. Piku’s look is relatable and girl-next-door and indo-chic but deliberately non-colourful.

Clothes seem to be thrown together, her hair is almost a mess, and there isn’t much time for makeup and accessories either. She carries one big bag in which she can dump everything.

Deepika Padukone in Piku fashion

Piku (Deepika Padukone’s) complete style breakdown

Minimal no-fuss kurta

Loose pants (salwar pants or palazzos), sometimes skinny jeans

Long printed scarf/ dupatta tied on bag or loosely draped on her neck

Footwear: Flat sandals/ chappals

Bag: Large leather carryall/ tote/ shopper

Jewellery: Small drop earrings that go with almost everything

Sunglasses

Makeup: Almost none. It’s mostly a nude-ish lipstick and a small bindi

Shop Deepika Padukone’s Piku look

Blue and white kurta-pants set from Biba

Biba kurta set

Black kurta from Aks (available on Jabong.com)- exactly the same Deepika Padukone is wearing in Piku (see the first picture above)

Aks-Black-Kurti with pants

Maroon palazzo pants from Soch

Soch Maroon Palazzo Pants

Bag from Elespry

Elespry bag

Glares from Titan

Sunglasses by Titan

Drop earrings from Tanishq

Tanishq- drop earrings with pearl

 

9 things to know about shaving for girls

I have a confession: I have never shaved my body hair before. I’ve mostly waxed and used a depilatory creams for emergencies. The women in my life (mom, cousins, friends) don’t really shave and I’ve never really considered it an option.

But then I attended an eye-opening session on shaving with actor Kriti Sanon, dermatologist Dr Rashmi Shetty and makeup and hair expert Namrata Soni last week. During their candid discussion, I learnt that Kriti and Namrata have been shaving for years and swear by the technique. Both these women knew a lot about shaving and shared their personal experiences with hair removal, especially shaving.

Shaving for womenGillette Venus (8)

9 things about shaving I learnt from the experts

1) All three experts said that shaving is completely safe.

2) Namrata and Dr Shetty mentioned that dermatologists advise patients to shave instead of wax for patients afflicted with certain skin conditions or undergoing certain treatments.

Shaving for women Gillette Venus

3) Shaving does NOT make hair grow back thicker or darker.

4) Shaving is less painful than waxing, if you’re careful.

5) Shaving is super quick- you can do it in the shower or just before a party.

Shaving for women Gillette Venus

6) As long you calm your skin post-shaving (with calamine, aloe vera or a soothing moisturizer), you don’t need to worry about itches or rashes.

7) Since shaving doesn’t involve chemicals like depilatory/ hair removal creams, it won’t harm your skin.

Kriti Sanon panel Shaving for women Gillette Venus

8) No ingrowths if you shave correctly! (This often happens when I wax.)

9) You can shave your bikini area if you really want to and you’re comfortable with it.

Now that I’m hearing some positive (read non-scary) things about shaving, I’ve decided to give it a shot over the next few weeks. I will be taking up the Subscribe To Smooth Challenge and try shaving! Stay tuned for my experiences with shaving.

Travel Thursday: 10 apps for stress-free vacations

I’m obsessed with travel so before a vacation, I spend HOURS looking up new destinations, hotels, flight fares, attractions, tips and advice. And on vacation, I rely on my mobile devices to help me navigate make the most of my (too short) holiday.

Planning a vacation is isn’t easy. There are too many things to do- choosing a destination, planning an itinerary, booking flights, hotels… you get the drift. It’s bound to drive anyone up the wall. But since I’ve begun using my mobile phone to plan, book and track my vacation, the whole process has been relaxed and a lot of fun! Seriously our phones are the ultimate travel tool.

Here are my top 10 travel apps available on Microsoft devices to make your holiday planning and vacations a pleasant and enjoyable experience. Note: All these apps have been downloaded and tested on the Microsoft Lumia 535.

For Trip Planning and Discovery

HappyTrips

HappyTrips will inspire travellers with listicles and features, along with destination mini guides, hotel and attractions information and more. For example, the Berlin section includes guides on shopping, outdoors and museums in and around the city.

HappyTrips mobile app 

TripAdvisor

Can any trip be complete without reading what the TripAdvisor community has to say? TA has been my go-to app for the longest time now- I especially rely on the community to research hotels (I’m finicky about those!) and sightseeing options.

TripAdvisor windows mobile app

Burrp

I’ve been relying on Burrp since way back to locate new restaurants! 🙂 Now I use the app to discover the best places to eat, party, shop, indulge or chill. Keep this app handy for trips around India.

Burrp windows mobile app 

For Trip Booking

Kayak

Kayak is the easiest way to booking hotels, flights and rental cars across the world. With a slick interface, useful filters and an impressive range of options, the Kayak app is a must-download before your next holiday.

 Kayak windows phone app

BookMyTicket

BookMyTicket works as a gateway to several booking sites across India. In a click, the app will direct you to leading portals to book train tickets, flight tickets, bus tickets and taxis.

BookMyTicket Windows app 

Utilities

My Trips

This travel assistant app keeps track of your itinerary- flights, hotels, appointments etc and works even when offline. I especially like that it keeps track of previous trips to help with a quick trip down memory lane!

My Trips windows app

Here Maps

Here Maps is a navigation tool and more! The most useful feature is a “Collection” which is like a bookmarks folder to save places you want to visit or remember, such as “Barcelona”, “Singapore shopping” or “Chinese restaurants”. So you can save places before your trip and let the app guide you when you’re travelling.

Here Maps windows mobile app

Translator

Sometimes your little finger to locate a restroom doesn’t work. So let Translator do the talking for you (literally). This app will translate keyed-in text, speech and image-based text across multiple languages and give output in the form of audio and text. Super useful!

 Translator Microsoft Lumia app

Currency Converter

If, like me, you’re constantly converting dollars, euros, bahts, roubles or krona into rupees or vice versa, Currency Converter will save you a lot of trouble. The app tells you the latest exchange rates to make your shopping easier and quicker.

Currency Converter on Lumia 

For Your Memories

Photo Editor Master

Picture-perfect images are possible even without a fancy DSLR. Use this app to enhance your vacation pictures and share your travel story with the world! Do I see you pouting for a selfie already?

photo editor windows phone

All apps are available on the Windows store and can be downloaded on a Microsoft Lumia phone. Handset provided by brand for testing.

MONDAY MEAL: Gourmet biryani that’s fit for a king

It’s hard to believe that a biryani delivery service uses the very expensive and exotic saffron as a standard ingredient in their dishes. But I believe it, because I saw plenty of saffron at Biryani360’s kitchen in Bandra last week. A dozen glass bowls of soaked saffron strands lined the counter and aroma of the fragrant spice wafting through the office was quite a royal welcome!

A glimpse of their clean kitchen:

Biryani360 Bandra Mumbai kitchen

About Biryani360

Biryani360 is a newly-launched gourmet biryani delivery service in Mumbai. The owners claim the dish is made without preservatives, and is cooked and delivered the same day. So you get fresh biryani delivered to your doorstep, prepared with premium ingredients and whole spices (rather than the powdered form):

Biryani360 kitchen spices

First impressions

Biyani360 Mumbai pack

Biryani360 single pack

The biryani comes neatly packed in a cardboard box with machine-sealed packaging. A lot of effort has been put in to make your biryani meal a gourmet experience, from the quality of the cardboard box to the soft yet thick tissue that comes with the biryani. And of course, the biryani looks great too!

The True Taste Test (and Mom knows best!)

So does Biryani360 pass the Taste Test?

YES, with flying colours.

Biryani360 biryani dish

In just the first bite, I could feel the freshness of the biryani with the zing of the whole spices and the pleasantly thick yoghurt (brownie points for that right!). The uneven yellow-ness of the rice comes from the saffron and not artificial colours, so that’s comforting! And you may get a saffron strand or two in your biryani pack, like I did. Raisins were a surprise ingredient in my veg biryani, but they quickly turned out to be a pleasant one. That little burst of sweetness balances out the other spices that you experience.

While the flavours, textures and colours are a delicious mix, the almost-zero oil makes Biryani360 a hands-down winner. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been appalled by the sight of the shiny oil in the biryani delivered by “biryani centres” and local restaurants.

Biryani360 veg rice biryani

The best North Indian home cook in the world (my mom) also gave a thumbs-up to the veg biryani and yoghurt. She was already curious about when the Biryani360 guys would open kiosks in multiplexes and malls, or deliver to her place in town.

 

Why Biryani360 is cool

You only need to visit the Biryani360 website to know why the service is so cool. The website is a fun place, so read the FAQs and watch the video. Also, when you get your biryani pack, there’s lots to keep you interested and entertained and smiling! Take a look:

Biryani360 box pack

 

Biryani360 only offers veg and “unveg” biryani, with a serving of yoghurt. A single pack of veg or unveg biryani (serves one) is priced at Rs 360. Delivery is across Mumbai or you can order takeaway (they’re located very close to Bandra station). Visit https://www.biryani360.com/ to order.

SUMMER CHIC: 20 pretty pieces you will love

Pastels, pops, prints and pinks,

All these chic choices make me blink,

In wonder I look at these summer faves,

Twenty reasons to make me rave!

Enjoy these drool-worthy picks for summer. 🙂

Pretty Prints

Dress from French Connection, Peplum top from Trendy Divva, Sling bag from Toniq.

French Connection printed floral dress

Trendy Divva Black Printed peplum top

Printed sling bag from Toniq

Pretty Pinks

Tunic dress from Label by Ritu Kumar, Shorts from Elle, bra from Amante.

Tunic dress Ritu Kumar, LABEL

Elle pink shorts summer

amante Serenity Bra, Pink Sherbbet,Rs.1395

Pretty Palettes

T-shirt from Being Human, Dress from Superdry, Bag from Holii.

Being Human tshirt

Superdry TIE DYE MIDI DRESS

Holii Hyacinth white orange bag

Pretty Pops

T-shirt from Ed Hardy, Studs from Fida.

Ed Hardy printed tshirt

Studs from Fida accessories

Pretty Pastels

Polo from US Polo Association, Pencil skirt from Miss Selfridge, Shoulder bag from Viari.

Yellow USPA tshirt

Miss Selfridge yellow pencil skirt

Viari Santorini summer shoulder bag

Pretty Pairs

Heels from Clarks, Ballet shoe from Melissa, Sneakers from Superdry.

Clarks Coral heels

Melissa metallic ballet flat

Superdry sneakers

Pretty Purses

Tote from Hidesign, Tote from Accessorize, Cutwork bag from Lavie.

Hidesign orange tote bag

Accessorize mirror tote

Lavie cobalt blue cutwork bag

Which pretty piece are you buying on your next visit to the mall?

Picks of the week: Avengers Age of Ultron tees

Yay! The awesome supervillain-thrashing team (aka Marvel superheroes) is returning this weekend in The Avengers: Age of Ultron! Now if you’re a true fanboy or girl, of course you need a tshirt declaring your love when you go watch the film. VoxPop has more than 50 super cool Avengers Age of Ultron t-shirts:

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee -Shrit

Inspired by the superheroes and moments from the film, there are enough choices to spoil the fans: colours, graphics and themes. I’ve been browsing for a while now and it’s difficult to pinpoint a favourite (liking too many of them!).

Iron man Tee-shirt

Hulk Tee-Shirt

Iron man Tee-shirt

Special note for fangirls:

Ladies, this t-shirt collection may be for the boys, but don’t let that stop you. Buy a size that will look like an oversized tee. Then throw it over a spaghetti or racer back top, and let it show. Or you could shorten the length to make it a crop top. Wear skinny pants or shorts with coloured sneakers, and voila! Here comes the fangirl. 🙂

Shop The Avengers: Age of Ultron tshirts at VoxPopClothing.com (Price: Rs 799)

5 men’s summer fashion tips for newbies

This blog post is dedicated to all men who hesitate to experiment with their look (you all know who you are!). These mini-lessons will show you the way to an updated look for the season without stepping too far away from your comfort zone.

Ladies, if you know such hesitant, reluctant and boring men (and I’m sure you do!), use this guide as an inspirational piece to experiment on the men in your life, or push them to try out something new. 🙂

PS: Don’t miss the newbie tips, specially written for very reluctant men.

Think beyond checks: Printed shirt

So, printed shirts have been around for a couple of seasons already. But of course you’ve been sticking to solids and checks, right? You know something? Prints are not bad. Chosen carefully, the right prints for your personality and body type will make a strong statement about you.

Newbie tip: Florals freaking you out? Opt for “safer” prints like little dots and squares, or tiny abstract patterns. Just make sure the prints aren’t too big, too colourful or too eye-catching.

Shirt from 16stitches.com

16 stitches printed shirt

Get summer-ready: Linens

Linen blazers are a no-brainer for summer. They can look formal, and can be dressed up for an outdoors wedding or dressed down for a summer soiree.

Newbie tip: Choose a light, neutral shade that will go with almost all your shirts- such as off-white or light beige.

Look from Arrow

Arrow beige linen blazer

50 shades and more: Coloured shoes

Too many men have only black and tan shoes in their wardrobe. It’s time to add some colour—greens, beiges, blues… they’re all there!

Newbie tip: Start with a colour that’s already in your wardrobe, such as blue. Select a pair of shoes that’s similar or goes well with the chosen colour…. And you’re set.

Shoes from Mochi

Mochi green loafer shoes

Be playful: Round sunglasses

Aviators are a classic statement, but everyone’s wearing them all the time. If you’ve got the pizzazz, you can carry these off. And no, it won’t make you look girly. But it might just make you look like the cute teen you were once. 🙂

Newbie tip: Play safe with a round-ish frame with neutral colour rims.

Sunglasses from Fastrack

Fastrack red round sunglasses

Go retro: Bow tie

Maybe it’s to do with the Downton Abbey craze (of course men love the show too). Bow ties are making a comeback. And not just with tuxedoes or black tie events. The 21st century bow ties are quirky, cheeky and easy to wear. It’s perfectly alright to wear the “readymade” ones.

Newbie tip: To start with, choose a no-frills bow tie without patterns or prints. Wear your bow tie with a light-coloured solid shirt (such as white or baby blue), and stick to a similar colour scheme.

Bow tie from The Bro Code

The Bro Code Blue Bow Tie

5 must-have dishes to try in Singapore

My husband and I had an unforgettable five-day Singapore holiday last August. From Gardens by the Bay to Universal Studio, we enjoyed every moment of the trip. The husband (Mr S) went crazy about the food he got to try in the wonderful country- it was easy on the pocket, delicious and drastically different from what we get in India (me being vegetarian didn’t go as ballistic about the food).

And here’s a meme about Singaporean food I made:

Takeaway Level Singapore meme

Here are the top Singaporean dishes we loved (the non-vegetarian ones are obviously his picks). All pictures below are clicked by me in Singapore (except for the meme):

First… my favourite- Ice cream sandwich!

Yep- desserts first! When a friend told us about Singapore’s sandwich ice cream, I assumed he was talking about the sandwich we get in India- a slab of vanilla ice cream held between two chocolate biscuits. But the Singaporean ice cream sandwich actually had bread! So a large slice of a special (sweet) bread was wrapped around a ice cream slab of our choice (we chose chocolate chip). That sandwich is among the most interesting food experiences I’ve ever had. Yummmm!!!

Singapore icecream sandwich

Singapore icecream sandwich

Spiced Prawns

This dish was a relatively simple one- prawns were cooked with oil and spices and served with a spicy paste on a leaf. S commented that the prawns seemed super fresh and the spices were a delight. BTW, we had this at the Singapore Food Trails at Singapore Flyer.

Spiced prawns Singapore

Chilli Crab

When you’re in Singapore, you cannot miss the Chilli Crab- S tried this at one of the restaurants at Bugis. He opines that the huge helping of crab cannot be finished by one person, and the sweet-and-tangy sauce is a wonderful play on your taste buds.

Crispy Duck

The Singaporean version of fried chicken, this dish was succulent and had just the right texture. After drizzling the accompanying sauce on the bird, S declared it was the among best duck dishes he’d ever had.

Singapore food menu

Singapore Sling (a no-brainer)  

This famous cocktail is Singapore’s “national drink”. Made with gin and a fix of juices, we had this drink at a local Singapore bar during Happy Hours. Needless to say, we loved it!

PS- Discover Far More Singapore on this droolicious website.