Podcast, fashion week and O Pedro by the bar

The other day, I did justice to the concept of ‘making the most of the day’. Except going to the office, I squeezed in a session with my two podcast partners in crime…

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Yup, that’s right. We’re starting a podcast! I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon.

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I actually had never met Lynn or Amrita – the two girls I’m working with on the podcast project – until we sort of randomly caught up for another meeting over coffee two weeks ago. We started talking and…well, each one of us, with a different podcast idea, decided to merge our plans and make it one.

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The most amazing thing about this is that Amrita and Lynn are both members of WAC, or Women About Community – the women’s only network that I run here. Without the forum, there are so many amazing women I would have never had a chance to meet. Starting WAC was the best thing I kicked off last year. I’m so proud over what its become and how its constantly growing and evolving.

After work and podcasting, it was time to get ready for fashion week. Lakme Fashion Week is in full flare in Mumbai at the moment, and I had one special show to attend this week… 431-88 is a Delhi based fashion brand that I’ve been a big fan of for the longest time, so when they reached out to me to ask if I could come for the show, wearing something they’d put together for me – let’s just say it was an easy sell!

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On my way to the show I dropped by Maia’s and Aditya’s new place, to meet their new addition to the family. Meet Bella guys! She’s such an adorable little girl. Shy yet curious and playful.

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We were running late for the show, but luckily Maia’s car is so big we were able to set up shop in the backseat. I love being able to use commutes productively. Or just saving time in general.

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Cameras are not allowed inside the venue without a press pass, but we managed to sneak a selfie before the show started. Prithvi, Maia and me.

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I don’t know how many times I got stopped by people asking where my outfit was from. Isn’t it so nice when women are actually not afraid of stopping a stranger to tell them that they like what they wear? Reminder to self to always do that from now on. Such an awesome thing to do!

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Maia is a frequent attendee of these type of events – she’s been a fashion blogger for the longest time now, and runs one of the biggest fashion platforms in the country. You can check out her site here.

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After the show we sneaked a few more photos before we grabbed a coffee and sangria at the bar. I ended up rushing to the salon for a blow dry right after this photo, because of how greasy my hair looked in the photos. Probably one of my biggest pet peeves in life: Greasy hair.

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Last but not least (and not actually last), Saif and I met up for dinner at fabulous O Pedro. I have been there once for lunch before, but last night’s dinner was even more outstanding than the first time we went…

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Safe to say the best ceviche I’ve ever had.

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Their cocktails are amazing too. Try their special recipe on a whiskey sour. I don’t even like whiskey and it was one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had.

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Is there anything more romantic than going for a nice dinner and sitting at the bar? Saif and I usually prefer to sit at the bar together on dates even when there are tables available. You can interact with the staff, ask them questions about the food, and it generally just feels more festive than sitting down at a dining table…

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The grilled lobster with orange (!) was also unbelievable…

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This chorizo dish was also one of my favourites. Love chorizo.

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After three cocktails and a ton of food, we went for a friends wedding function to end the night.

Safe to say, one of the busiest days. And one of the best ones, too.

Thanks again to 431-88 for having me!

Loving my new babouches from MumbaiStockholm

When I joined the company I work for as a product consultant two years ago, my very first client was an online jewellery brand. It being one of the first in India at the time, I found myself doing a lot of market research on similar brands abroad. One of the brands I ended up coming across, falling in love with, and often using to benchmark against, was MumbaiStockholm – a jewellery brand founded by a Swedish woman, Cecilia, who had spent some time living in Mumbai. Could it get any more spot on than that?

I reached out to Cecilia as soon as I found her very spot-on/perfectly-managed Instagram handle (which by the way, you must check out by clicking here). She offered to share her expert opinion, helped me out with my first questions as a brand new consultant in a brand new space, and since then we’ve kept in touch by liking each others photos and such…

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Until the other day, when Cecilia reached out for my address in India, to send me a pair of beautifully designed babouches by MumbaiStockholm. The package literally arrived within one week, which is by the way literally record breaking in India. I’ve never before received anything so fast from back home, so hats off to DHL for that. Won’t be using anything else for international shipments from this day onwards.

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The babouches came in this cute bag, and anyone who knows me knows how much I prioritise cute packaging. And by the way the packaging of their jewellery is actually what got me hooked on her products the first time I came across the MumbaiStockholm page.

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“Hanna! I hope you love your shoes!”

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I love the attention to detail, with the logo both inside the shoe…

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…and on the sole underneath.

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I couldn’t be more excited to be a proud owner of MumbaiStockholm’s babouches, and am so honoured that Cecilia thought of me all the way over here. My worry is always that Swedish brands will shy away from collaborating because I am based on the other side of the world. Cecilia + DHL just blew me and that thought far away. Easy peasy!

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I kicked off my Veja sneakers under my desk right away and slipped these cuties on. I couldn’t think of a better shoe to wear to the office, to lunch, for a day out with friends, and while traveling. These guys will definitely get to stomp across Mumbai grounds with me this year – back where it all started for MumbaiStockholm, too!

Thank you MumbaiStockholm!

Cocktail hour & mehndi mood

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On our first night in Udaipur, it was time for the welcome cocktail. The party was set up at the Trident Hotel–a two minute drive from the Oberoi, where we are staying…

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The food was set up at the entrance when we walked in… The garden had been set up for a sit-down dinner, and these little “food stations” had been installed throughout the venue. This was my favourite: Fresh burrata (flown in from Italy) and all the kind of things you would ever want to go with it. Like cherry tomatoes and olive oil, for example.

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The garden had been lit up so beautifully. My friend Alisha is running the wedding planning for this stunning wedding, and they’ve done such an incredible job! My future wedding planners for sure *note to self*

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I was going for an Indo-Western outfit for the night–something I got made by Saif’s sister Shehla specifically for the night. Saif was in a classic pinstriped suit from Etro. It’s so much easier to be a guy!

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Naman (groom) and Saif were catching up in the midst of all the hi and hello’s…

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I befriended the strawberry station – dip your berry in anything you love basically. Fresh cream and Nutella, anyone? Delicious, and I’m usually not even much for dessert…

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The fruit was beautifully cut…

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And I couldn’t get enough of the candle lit garden area…

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In the dining corner, there were chefs flown in from all corners of the world, presenting their specialties–anything from Lebanese, to Italian, to Peruvian…you name it.

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Hummus, hummus, hummus…

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I hung out extra-much at the fresh pasta station. Burrata tagliatelle or a pear & gorgonzola ravioli, anyone? Salivating while writing this…

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We were in bed by 1am or so. I love that about Saif and I – we have the same idea of what it means to have a perfect morning: Get up early, ideally before everyone else, have breakfast and beat the day (before it beats you)…

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This is where we spent the morning, on our own little backyard overlooking a beautiful garden…

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I had a blueberry yoghurt in a clay pot with fresh fruit and black coffee. Mostly had the yoghurt because the clay pot was so cute though…

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The garden right outside our room is just stunning. Walking on the grass barefoot makes me miss being back home, in my mom’s garden.

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After breakfast, it was time to get ready for the mehndi. This is how handsome Saif was looking, in an outfit from Rajesh Pratap Singh.

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I was wearing an outfit designed by Shehla, stitched by my tailor in Bandra! This was a white fabric initially–we’ve dyed it, embroidered it, stitched it together, added borders and buttons… And voila! I love it.

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Then, we walked down towards the jetty that was going to take us to the venue for the day…

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All the palace hotels are located around this lake–everything is just a five minute boat ride from each other… So convenient!

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There’s something so special about arriving in a boat vs. a car. I’ll take transportation on sea over land any day…

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We arrived at The Leela and I had to take a photo in front of the entrance of the hotel. Our friend Samu’s family owns The Leela hotels all over India, and one is just more spectacular than the other. Just, wow…

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We were greeted with sufi music at the time of arrival…

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The venue had been covered with my favourite flower – Bougainvillea…

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I ran into Alisha again–she was busy organising the function. So calm and composed despite close to 900 guests between four different hotels. Impressed, to say the least…

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We arrived just in time for dance practice. At Indian weddings the friends and family perform dances for the bride and groom before the wedding. The beautiful woman up front is Naman’s mom–mother of the groom. She’s always so happy, it lights up the entire room…

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The bride and groom were also practicing their performance…

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…and cuddling in between things…

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Mr. dance teacher did an incredible job with all the dances. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a good Sangeet teacher–he’s amazing, as a person, and as a dancer…

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…and then, finally, it was time for the performances. All close friends and family, including the bride and groom, perform what they’ve practiced the previous few weeks. It was the most organised sangeet I’ve ever been for–not a single step missed, and crazy coordination. Could be because it was in the daytime? AKA less bubbly dancers.

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I didn’t get a photo of us dancing since I was clearly on stage and too busy making sure I got my Bollywood moves right… After the dances it was time to dig into all the delicious food…

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Safe to say, I spent a lot of time around the French Fry station. How awesome is this? I hereby vote the French Fry station and the Taco station as the most important features of any awesome wedding. Non-negotiable…

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After the lunch, there were a bunch of activities all over the property… From getting mehndi done (henna), to tarot readings, psychics, games (think: Jenga and Poker), and foot massage (!), it was all there – anything you could ever ask for, and then some…