I am Shipra Sharma. I believe beauty is not skin deep, and, to be truly beautiful, your personality and soul have to be as refined as your external self. This blog is a place where beauty, fashion, lifestyle, inspiration, health and wellness come together to help you live a happier life.
“I left my heart in San Francisco.” I really did. About two years ago (I know I’m extremely late with this post), I traveled to the Bay Area to visit my big sister and her family. I had been there before as a child, but I didn’t remember much about it. This time around, however, I was fully immersed in a city full of culture and beauty, and I wasn’t going to forget it. This trip holds a special place in my heart. I hadn’t seen my big sister in years, and the last time we were together I was much younger. This time it was really special. We openly talked about life and problems, which was something very new for us. We built a stronger relationship, and for that I will always be thankful for this trip.
Although I had the advantage of staying with family and having a local as a tour guide, I still wanted to share my travel guide for what I did each day I was there.
California Vlog - San Francisco, Bay Area, Napa Valley - YouTube
Points of Attraction: Monterey/Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach/17 Mile Drive
Lunch: Little Napoli
Highlight: 17 mile drive
My first day in Cali was a fun one. I spent a majority of the day getting acquainted to my little niece and nephew. I had met my niece when she was a baby, but obviously she didn’t remember me, and this was my first time meeting my nephew. My sister and brother – in – law took me to Monterey on the first day. We went to Pebble Beach and took a drive along the 17 Mile Drive.
This area was absolutely beautiful. For any of my followers who like scenic locations, this is definitely a must see. Although in a very upscale neighborhood, you are greeted with the raw beauty of nature at every mile of the drive. I definitely recommend spending a whole day in this area. The 17 mile drive does take a while and there are several different points of attraction along the route. Monterey is also a very cute town. After the beach, I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and exploring all the little stores and sights the town had to offer.
As a Jersey girl, it is second nature to enjoy the shore. However, it is no secret that the Atlantic Ocean on the Jersey shoreline isn’t the best. Seeing the Pacific in its mighty beauty made me realize how much nicer Cali beaches were – a confession that kills me to admit.
Points of Attraction: Stanford Dish and Stanford University
Highlight: hiking up the Stanford Dish
The next day was quite adventurous. On the morning of day 2, my sister and I went on a hike up the Stanford Dish trail. It was my first hike ever, and it definitely was a crazy workout. It was extremely hot and there was a lot of dry air, but we made it through! I’ve been telling myself that I wanted to go on a hike ever since that one, but have yet to go on one. Fair warning – the Stanford Dish hike trail didn’t have the best views most hikes I’ve seen have, but in terms of the workout factor, it was really nice. The hike took about 2 hours. Afterwards, my sister and I returned home, had lunch, picked up my niece and nephew, and rested for a bit.
Later that evening, my brother in law took me on a tour of his alma mater – Stanford University. Being a complete nerd at heart, I thoroughly enjoy college tours. Stanford has such a vibrant culture on campus. We took a stroll and stopped at the Stanford Memorial Church, which has exquisite craftsmanship. Now I know why it is considered amongst one of the best universities in the world. It is full of history and innovation, so for anyone who loves environments like that I would definitely take a tour of the campus.
Points of Attraction: Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown San Francisco (Financial District and Union Square)
Lunch: Café Claude
On Day 3, I ventured off to the Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown San Fran. I vaguely remembered the Golden Gate Bridge from my trip as a child, but seeing it again gave me a new perspective. As an engineer, I can really appreciate the design and architecture of the Bridge. It definitely lived up to all of its expectations. Also, the weather gods were in our favor the day we went to the GGB. Not a cloud was in sight, which my sister told me was a rare feature of the area.
After taking a few tourist pictures, we ventured into downtown San Francisco. Honestly, my favorite part was the car ride through the streets. I don’t think I could ever live on the steep hill like streets, but it was a lot of fun driving through them. My cousin and I had lunch and walked around and shopped. We then headed to Union Square. Union Square had so much to do. It had the vibes of Soho but an atmosphere of calm so native to California. San Francisco is huge! I definitely recommend taking two days to explore the city on a minimum.
Points of Attraction: Palo Alto
Tea: Tea Time
Day 4 came around with me starting to feel at home in the Bay Area. Compared to the other days, it was extremely relaxed yet fun at the same time. We ventured into Palo Alto, which was minutes away from where my cousin lived. Palo Alto is considered one of the “ritziest” cities of Silicon Valley. It is the home to Mark Zuckerberg and other influential figures. Although unable to see any of these folks, I still had a great time in the city. I went shopping and had some tea at Tea Time, which is a cute little tea café with a wide selection of teas and snacks. The atmosphere of the café was chic yet homely. I definitely recommend anyone visiting the area to check out Tea Time. The rest of the day was spent walking around town before we went back home for dinner.
Points of Attraction: Berkeley
Lunch: The Cheeseboard Pizza
As I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of taking university tours. The history and potential for new opportunities always drags me to campuses. For that reason, there was no way I could not go to Berkeley. The campus was so beautiful. I’ve always heard of it being a great school, but this time around I witnessed why. After touring the university, we walked around town and then went to Berkeley Pier.
Points of Attraction: Sausalito, Napa Valley, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf
Vineyards: Jacuzzi Winery and Artesa Winery
Day 6 was my absolute favorite. We woke up extra early so we would have time to do everything we wanted to. We first drove down the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito, which is by far one of the prettiest towns I have ever seen. It looked like it belonged somewhere on a tropical island in the Caribbean. I was in awe the whole time we were there.
After relaxing by the water and eating lunch, we headed into Napa Valley. Now, being a wine lover, I was the most excited to be in Napa, and what they say is right – the wine is better. The two vineyards we went to were Jacuzzi Winery and Artesa Winery. Both of them were absolutely beautiful in their own regard. Jacuzzi had more of an Italian, rustic vibe, whereas Artesa was more modern and classy. My favorite at Jacuzzi was the Pinot Grigio, and at Artesa was the Rose of Pinot Noir. We took many pictures that day, and relaxed and took in the great views.
Following Napa, we drove back into San Francisco and went to Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf. Surprisingly enough, Lombard Street was the only thing I remembered from the last time I was in San Francisco as a child. I remember thinking it was the coolest road ever, and as an adult I still thought the same. After driving down Lombard and taking all the typical tourist pictures, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf. We first saw all the seals and then walked around until we saw a magic show, seeing the amusement and curiosity in my niece and nephew's eyes made these small moments even more special. There is so much to do and eat at the Wharf, especially if you are traveling with family. It is completely all age friendly.
Points of Attraction: Google Headquarters and Santana Row
Day 7 marked the end of my Cali trip. Because we had done so much prior to this day, we kept it quite simple. We first went to Google, and my brother – in – law, who is an old employee, gave me the low down of everything. Side note – all companies need to have an office like Google’s. It is very trendy and innovative. After hanging out there for a bit, we went to Santana Row and grabbed some coffee and treats and shopped a little. After that, I came home and packed for my trip back home.
My trip to California was such a great adventure, and I cannot wait to go back.
Hope you all enjoyed this! Up next - my Florida travel diary.
PS – this is from 2 years ago so I will not be doing a lookbook since most of the outfits are already outdated.
The year is 2018. Diversity is all around us – in the food we eat, the music we listen to, and the clothes we wear. As the world moves to a more global culture, proper cultural representation is increasingly becoming forgotten in a new method of cultural appropriation. As seen in this year’s Fashion Week where fashion mogul Gucci placed Sikh turbans on white models, proper representation is still a world away. Besides the fact that it is completely insulting when religious symbols are used for the purposes of fashion and entertainment, it is even more insulting that South Asians are turned away for jobs that are later given to other races, who end up wearing the same attire as we do. Our turbans, our bindis, our hijabs/niqabs, our gods are not here to be used for your aesthetic purposes. Our sacred items are not just props. It’s 2018 and we demand representation.
Being first generation Indian, I know first hand the struggle that comes with balancing both the culture we are born into and the culture of our ancestors. We get so caught up with the balancing act that we lose focus of who we really are. Many of us, including myself, have become a mosh pit of confusion trying to figure out what we should do and what we actually want to do. I know this a little too well. I’m an engineer by trade, honestly only because I felt like I needed to choose a career in the holy Desi trifecta of careers, but my true passion lies in the written work and fashion. So, this fashion week, I’m teaming up with other Desi bloggers and influencers in a movement called the Desi Takeover, where we highlight American Desis who are following their passions. Traditionally, entertainment and fashion usually aren’t common passions Southeast Asians allow to harvest into a career. For those who do, they have become an inspiration to the rest of the community. The Desi Takeover hopes to inspire the folks who struggle to follow their passion and helps to provide them with a platform of support. The Desi Takeover also hopes to bring the entire Desi community in the limelight. We are just as capable as others and we refuse to have our culture misused.
Our first feature is a group of three very talented men, who are giving the Punjabi community a platform to voice opinions and showcase our culture. Chugglian Radio is the first Punjabi radio show in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area. The hosts Mehar, Simar and Amrit bring charisma and true passion when they discuss Punjabi music and culture. This show now transcends international borders, since it now appears on the Punjabi music app Jamifi. Chugglian Radio reminds us that no matter how we grow up our Virsa* will always keep us connected.
I had the amazing chance to meet Mehar, Simar and Amrit and get to know more about who they are and what they do.
1. What is Chugglian Radio?
Chugglian Radio is your one spot entertainment source for Punjabi culture, geared towards the youth as a way of getting them in touch with their roots.
2. What’s the story behind Chugglian Radio and how was it founded?
Chugglian Radio started as a little joke amongst us three best friends. We would all hang around and gossip about the latest upcoming Punjabi music, and eventually we thought it would be an awesome idea to have a radio show. In 2014, we were approached by Jamifi to have our own Punjabi radio program, and that was an offer we couldn’t turn down. This gave us the chance to actually get our foot in the door and launch Chugglian.
3. How are you helping bridge the gap between the Desi and American culture?
Our motto is “Future is Folk”. As Indians born and raised in America, we know how easy it is to forget your roots and your culture, but we also realize how important it is to know about your virsa. Being aware of the challenges we face outside of India, each show and event we hold is geared specifically towards getting the youth engaged with our virsa; whether its through breaking lyrics down, talking about the state of Punjab, Melas and shows with artists, and through Bhangra and music. Our end goal is to make sure that our culture grows, while enriching not only our community but other communities as well.
4. How do you represent Punjabi Pride on a daily basis?
Everyday we try to bring awareness to our culture. There is not a single day where the 3 of us do not listen to Punjabi music and discuss our thoughts with each other and our followers. Whether it be Punjabi music or the current events in the state of Punjab, we try to always keep ourselves and others informed.
5. Tell us more about the hosts of Chugglian Radio.
Before we even started Chugglian, the 3 of us have been best friends for many years. All 3 of us were also born and raised in the United States; so with that, we can directly relate to the younger Punjabi generation and ours. Other than that, we are normal people who work a 9-5 job and do this on the side. We hope to one day make this our full time job!
6. What’s the best part about hosting a radio show?
The best part has to be just kicking it back with the boys talking about music. It’s a passion we all have, and since the 3 of us all like different styles of Punjabi Music, it allows for great debates and sometimes drama!
7. Where do you see Chugglian Radio in the next few years?
In the next couple of years, we hope to eventually get on local FM here in the Washington DC area.
8. Who are your Punjabi talent icons?
We would have to go with Diljit Dosanjh. He has had amazing success the last couple of years, and he is definitely an inspiration to the youth.
9. Why the name “Chugglian Radio”?
Chugglian means gossip, and that is exactly what we are doing when it comes to music. We critique the music and give our opinion about it.
10. What’s your most favorite episode of Chugglian Radio?
Wow! That’s a hard question, we have so many episodes out its hard to pin point it down to one. We would have to say our first Legends are Forever show is probably our biggest hit, but to be fair every show is our favorite because, each time we record, we have new jokes, new content and bring a different type of edginess to the table.
11. Why should people listen to you?
Great question! Well if you are someone who enjoys our virsa, comedy, gossip, Punjabi music, and fresh take on Punjabi current events, then we are your go to source. Chugglian brings to you a fresh vibe that our generation has never experienced on a radio platform. We are always turning on the radio and listening to different sources of entertainment, so why not have a platform for Punjabi entertainment. We have brought that concept and adapted it to the Punjabi Music Industry so we can jam out to the freshest music and also be entertained.
As summer is coming to an end, many people are preparing to either get rid of their summer wardrobe and get a winter one or they will put away their summer items until next year. To get full use out of your outfits all year round, I created this lookbook that will show you how to wear one black midi dress in both hot and cold seasons. By just changing a few accessories, you'll have four completely different outfits. Also, for the summer outfits, I paired an off the shoulder top underneath the dress to give it the cut out detail that is so popular this summer.
I don’t want to get political because then I’ll just be another distressed Liberal Millennial talking about the outlandish phenomenon known as climate change aka global warming. For those who don’t believe in climate change and who do not want to look at the scientific proof around it, I’m hoping this post will be up your realm of comprehension in understanding there is something up with Earth.
Here I am wearing an outfit best suited for Spring or Summer in New Jersey in February. Traditionally, February is a month where people are bundled head to toe because it’s supposed to be freezing. The past few Februarys, however, we hit temperatures in the late 60s/early 70s. It’s unreal I was able to wear this outfit in FEBRUARY. Something is definitely wrong with the planet – I wonder what it could be? Maybe if our President wasn't proposing the elimination of International Climate Change programs, we would probably be able to figure out what's going on with the weather.
Today as I was driving to work, I was listening to NJ 101.5 FM, which is a daily routine for me. I don’t necessarily always agree with everything said on Bill Spadea’s morning show, but I do like to open my mind to the traditional conservative stance he usually takes on the matters that affect us today. If you couldn’t tell already, I am a modern day Liberal. I strive to fight for the rights of people that can’t fight for themselves. I fight for socio-economic equality for all genders and races. Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that all Liberals are your society’s heroes and that all Conservatives are your enemies. The fight is the same on both sides; I just agree more with the solutions posed on the left. But today, I’m not writing about my validation for being a Liberal.
March 8th 2017 is International Women’s Day. As a very proud woman, I have chosen to celebrate this Day and stand in solidarity with all women across the globe. When I left my house this morning, I stood extremely proud in my red attire, and, even though I am well aware wearing a certain piece of clothing doesn’t solve the problem, I felt like I was part of this initiative. However, I was quickly disheartened when I turned on the radio and listened to Bill Spadea talk about today. He brought up the event “Day Without a Woman”, an event in which many American women are participating on this International Women’s Day. In reference to this, he asked one simple question – is this event really helping anyone? He argued that the driving reason for this event, inequality in the workplace in terms of pay, is a myth. He further tried to debunk this notion of economic inequality, while portraying this event for only “privileged feminists”. That sickened me.
On this day, when women join hands and rally for the equality of each other, it hurt that such a prominent figure would degrade the events of today. Frankly, I don’t know if this one event or wearing red will help, but it’s starting the conversations of propelling us in the direction of change. Today is so much more than fighting for equal pay. It’s a day not only for American women and the problems we face, but it’s a day for all women across the globe. Today we aren’t only fighting for equality in the workplace, but we are also fighting to change a society that pushes women into thinking they are always inferior to men in the workplace. Today we are fighting for those women in the STEM industry who have to prove that they are equally competent of being engineers and scientists just as their male peers. Today we are fighting for all those little girls who had to cut their education short or who never received one because they live in a society where girls are only seen as housewives and mothers. Today we are raising our voices for women who are constantly put down or degraded because they are not as strong or smart as men. Today we are fighting for the girls who have had their childhoods stolen by becoming child brides and sex slaves. Today we are fighting for those women who are ridiculed for balancing families and their careers. Today we are fighting for those girls who want to play football in school but can’t because that is a boy’s sport. Today we are fighting against a society that limits the power of women to mere sexual objects created for the pleasure of men. Today we are also fighting for the women who own and are confident with their sexuality, but who are often told that women cannot be sexual. Today is the day we are fighting for all aspects of a woman’s struggle.
By trying to debunk the “mysterious” wage gap today, you are opening up a window for people to throw out the other causes women are fighting for today. Just as the evidence sited in today’s show suggests the wage gap is a myth, there are many other case studies out there that suggest it is very real. I recommend you do your own research on this matter and come to your own conclusions. Also, since today is International Women’s Day and not just American Women’s Day, we are fighting for equal pay for women in every country not just our own. Today is about so much more than just money. It’s about respecting all women no matter what. It’s about not degrading them. It’s all about women empowerment. Not all women will have the luxury to strike today; so those “privileged feminists” will be striking for the sisters who can’t. Today is our day. Whichever way you feel you can make a difference, take that route and keep going. Today women have increased equality compared to our ancestors who first fought for women equality, but there is still a long way to go. Just as our ancestors fought for our lives, we must stand up today for our daughters and granddaughters of the future.
To all the women of the world, keep fighting until every female can stand shoulder to shoulder with all men, confidently and proud.
Last time I was in Washington DC, the world was a different place. Another man resided in the White House, and hope was very much alive. This was October 2016, when the race was nearing an end. The craziness we had witnessed that year was finally about to be over, or so we thought.
After everything that occurred, a part of me is very hesitant about visiting my sister in DC, which is what I do every month. It’s a combination of fear, sadness, and continued disbelief. No, this is something I can’t just “get over”, but it is something I’m trying to come to terms with and understand as reality. Looking back at these pictures from my sister’s last family weekend, I’ve come to realize one very important thing: Being aware of this new reality will be your driving force to bring the change you’d like to see. Being aware of reality doesn’t mean you agree with it, but it does mean, as we put it today, that we are staying woke.
The day I took these outfit pictures, I was hopeful for a bright American future. I was hopeful that the country would put our differences aside and accept each other. I was hopeful that the country divide would close. I was hopeful that a legacy of greatness would continue. I was hopeful.
Today feels like an unknown world, and I have no idea what will happen. But there is one thing I am certain about, the hope I felt in October while in DC, I will not let that die.
This past year I have been attending many weddings for my friends...MY FRIENDS! I can't believe I'm at the age where people I grew up with are starting to get married. This past Labor Day weekend I attended a wedding for a family friend that I grew up with, and filmed myself getting ready for the reception.
This look is one of my favorite makeup looks I have created. I hope you guys enjoy this full glam look as well!
I'm back with another review! If you saw my last mega haul video (link), you know that I bought the Korres Sleeping Beauties trio this past December from Sephora. I have officially used it all up, and I wanted to share my thoughts about this product with you all.
When I first started using these creams, I was so incredibly in love with them. However, sadly, after a few months or so, I was not as heavily impressed with the trio as a whole. That's why I was glad that these came in travel size containers. So, the package came with three creams: Greek Yoghurt, Wild Rose and Black Pine. The Greek Yoghurt cream intended to provide nourishment to dull or dry skin. The Wild Rose cream is meant for brightening, and the Black Pine is a firming, lifting and anti-wrinkle cream. Initially, I couldn't choose which one to apply every night; so, I came up with a routine where, after all my other nightly treatments and skincare routine, I would apply the Black Pine one and then either the Greek Yoghurt or Wild Rose one, depending on my skin. If I had more dry skin, I'd apply the Greek Yoghurt, but if I had dull skin, I'd apply the Wild Rose.
In the initial months of using these creams, my skin was so soft and rejuvenated when I woke up in the mornings. There was a noticeably healthier look to my skin, but after a while I stopped noticing that glow. I thought maybe my skin was not a fit for one of the three creams; so I started to only use one of them a night until I found out which one was the culprit. It was the Greek Yoghurt one. The Greek Yoghurt cream started burning my face a little when I put it on. It wasn't anything too severe, but it definitely irritated my skin and caused a lot of redness. I stopped using that one all together. Now, for the other two, I'm still in love with them. The Black Pine cream visibly has been lifting my skin up, and it is so refreshing. The Wild Rose really does a great job at brightening my skin in the places that my skin is dull. After I came back from Miami, I noticed that I had a little more pigmentation on my skin than I usually did (sunburn marks -_-). When I started using the Wild Rose cream, my skin tone was evening out, and I had more of a glow to my skin than I did before.
The only issue I had with all three were that they all had a strong scent to them. I prefer my skincare items to be fragrance free or slightly scented. If this isn't an issue for you, I definitely recommend buying it. So, the box I bought was a travel size trio kit. You can buy the the regular sized individual creams from Sephora. I would not recommend the Greek Yoghurt one for anyone who has sensitive skin because it burned my skin a little. Also, know your skin type when purchasing these creams.
Style can be a hard thing to keep up with, when trends are changing at the speed of life. There's so much going on with the fashion world that it starts to get confusing. So, in an attempt to help out all my fashion fanatics out there, I am starting the Sunday Style Segment on my blog. I will detail all the latest fashion trends, the must haves, the style secrets of the industry, and much more.
Scrolling through your insta feed, you'll see bloggers and influencers always dressed to impress. In reality, it's a hard job. As a fashion blogger, I know first hand the thought and process that goes into curating our style and outfits for our readers and followers. Every season has a new set of trends and secrets that define an individual's style, and today I will be sharing the Summer 2016 Street Style trends!
If you want to see where you can buy the items in this trend list, follow me on Polyvore.
1. OFF THE SHOULDER
Off the shoulder tops and dresses made their debut during last year's Spring and Summer seasons, but it wasn't until this Spring and Summer that it actually gained popularity. The horizontal neckline and different types of style that can be incorporated into the off - shoulder trend make this a crowd favorite. These tops and dresses can be dressed casually and formally as well.
Dresses never follow one trend season to season. That's why I have chosen my 4 favorite styles for summer. The first is a body con, midi dress. These dresses embrace every curve and really show off a woman's shape. When choosing a midi dress, it's best to pick something in a neutral or basics color family. That will allow for you to be versatile with your outfits when wearing them. The second type of dresses are ones that have dainty straps, and the more straps the better. Two basic spaghetti straps are so the 2000s. This summer, the more straps, the better. A basic spaghetti strap dress with criss cross straps in the front and back give these basic dresses such an edgy look. If you have a style that's fun and pushes the boundaries, then this type of dress is perfect for you. The next type of dress is a bold color, shoulder cut out dress. These dresses are such statement dresses. With the little peak of your skin color, these dresses are sophisticated yet trendy. This dress is perfect for cocktail hours or weddings this summer. Lastly, we have the return of the 70's flair sleeve dresses. These dresses are so boho chic. The 70s were all about carefree style, and these dresses really add the element of effortless fun to any outfit.
3. CULOTTES AND PAPER BAG PANTS
The two types of pants trending this summer are the culottes and paper bag style pants. Culottes have been a crowd favorite for the past few seasons, and they remain a favorite for this summer as well. When wearing culottes this summer, choose ones that are neutral, pastel, or light gray shades, and stay away from the darker colored ones. You can pair them with any basic white tee or crop top to make it a more fancier outfit. Moving on, next we have paper bag pants. I don't know why they have the name that they do, but these pants are so comfortable and fun. You can wear them to work, casually, or to a night out. The versatility of these pants really make them a favorite of mine.
In terms of shoes, there isn't much that is different from last summer. Pointy toed flats are still trending, and honestly they are my favorite shoe trend. They are so classy, yet so chic that I love reaching for these in my outfits. The next are thick strapped flats. If you have a more casual, comfortable style, then these perfect for you. These shoes are great for anyone who's traveling or on their feet a lot this summer. The third pair of shoes trending this summer are thin strappy heels. These shoes are so sophisticated and stylish, but they tend to be a little uncomfortable. I would wear these for a night out or to any events you may be attending this summer. The last pair of shoes are for all you have love having fun with your style. These shoes are pom-pom shoes. The fun element of the pom-poms really add such an edgy, yet fun touch to any outfit.
I hope you all enjoyed this Summer '16 trend list. Stay tuned for next Sunday's Style Segment.
While reminiscing about my recent trip to Montreal and trying to plan another trip there, I realized I never got around to uploading my Montreal Lookbook. But better late than never, it's finally up!
I had such a great time in Montreal! However, I was not prepared for the cold. The weather definitely put a damper on all of our moods. Not going to lie, I was freezing while trying to film for this lookbook. Don't do what I did! Travel with more layers, or wait until the summer to go there.