Saturday, October 30, 2010

Have a Spooky (and safe) Fright Night!

Just wanted to pop in and wish you all a happy Halloween! I have to admit this isn't one of my favorite holidays--I don't have much of an appetite for the macabre and some of the decor IMO is in poor taste--(i.e. I don't find a bloody hand dangling out of car doors funny in the least bit). But I have successfully escaped those and all kinds of creepy spiders and webs so far. As a family with a young child, we are still putting up the cutesy stuff (my only indulgence in kitsch!) and I really look forward to welcoming little princesses pwincesses and toads to my doorstep! I have avoided doling out candy in the past (stickers and pencil toppers!), having lived in neighborhoods with like-minded mommies, but this year I too have caved in to candy-mania. We have a strict one candy a day policy in my house, and hopefully we will be able to stick with it.....

So bring on the adorable goblins and witches, the ninja turtles and the yodas....just keep away the creepy adults please!


*Coke-announcer voice-over*: "We will return to regularly scheduled diwali programming after the the candy is counted!"

Let's talk drama: Tara's warm and magical home in D.C.

Hello again my friends! How are you today? Since candy-night is right around the corner, I thought we'd indulge in a little candy today. Eye-candy, that is. :) We're going to visit newlyweds Tara and Daniel in their tastefully done up condo in D.C. "Tara" means star in hindi....if you visit her blog, you'll see those stars twinkling in her eyes. There's a warm, intelligent look about her, which is confirmed once you get to know her better, so be sure to linger on and read her posts as well (after the home-tour tho'!). Her home is like an extension of her---fun and fresh and alive! There are many things about her home that reached out and grabbed me, the use of color, the level of comfort, but what I love about it most is that it was so well-thought out. There isn't an inch of wasted space, every room has it's own story and yet the whole home blends seamlessly together. It is coherent and oh-so-stylish. And it's a home that is lived-in and loved.....

I usually handle the write-up for home tours, but I love how nicely Tara articulates her thoughts on her home. Because I wouldn't be able to put it across any better (and because I'm lazy!!!) I'm going to let her do most of the talking here.... so let's grab that cup of Earl Grey and settle down to be i.n.s.p.i.r.e.d. Take it away Tara........

"I live in a fairly modest-sized condo in a suburb of D.C., with three smelly boys: Daniel, Rufus and Malcolm (my husband, a pug, and a Himalayan cat, respectively.) So, of course, I gave up trying to keep a perfect house a long time ago. Instead, I try to embrace a system of organized chaos:  casually laid-out pockets of carefully curated things that we absolutely love. Limited space, as well as our love of home decor projects and regular antique store runs also means that our home is in a constant state of flux, in terms of decor. Also, travel is something very close to our hearts, and I suppose that shows when you look around our place- we have little knick-knacks from all over the world, from India to Ireland and everywhere inbetween."

This is the entry to the condo. Tara says
"It's a teensy, narrow space, occupied only by a Ghost chair that takes up no visual space while providing extra seating when we have company, and by a console table that we use as a bar, a bookshelf, a china cabinet and a place to display our tchotchkes. Oh and the kids curl up on the shelf for their afternoon nap, as you can see. Displayed in the frames are the guest tree from our wedding, and an antique political map of Calcutta."

I've been seeing that ghost chair for a long time now--it's been Tara's preferred spot for taking pictures!! If you're even remotely interested in fashion, you really have to go check out her blog--she puts together the most fun outfits. This is one stylish gal, she knows her mind and she (and her home) look perfectly put-together.

Her gorgeous living room. That rug! Swoon!

Tara, on her living room:
"The living room: This is the most important room in our home, as far as we're concerned, because we actually live in here. We entertain friends in here, have movie night and game night in here, and, at the end of the night, we curl up on our used and abused couch with the cat and the dog. We have slipcovers on the couch, and the armchair's leather, because it needs to withstand shedding, drooling and muddy paws, daily. The rug is a Turkish kilim, and all the portraits and paintings on the wall are done either by me or by close friends. The color on the walls is "Poised Taupe" by Sherwin Williams- a controversial choice, but one that we're very happy with- it makes the entire space feel like a warm hug."

 "Poised Taupe" makes a wonderful backdrop for slipcovered couches, don't you think? Love her gallery wall and the splash of yellow. I love that her home doesn't feel contrived--its practical and comfortable and yet it doesn't compromise on style! I think I like warm-hug! :)

Some details from around the living room.

Her balcony:
"Our tiny slice of the "outdoors"- haha. But really, we love this little area. We have a teeny-tiny container garden (not pictured), some flower boxes where we rotate seasonal flowers, and a little garden furniture where we relax with drinks and a hookah, while watching the leaves turn colors in the fall."
I love those fairy-lights! And Rufus appears to be having a pretty good time at home--that's one pampered pup! If you click back to her blog here, you can see the balcony in daylight.

The bedroom....
She says..
"This is supposed to be our tranquil oasis. The walls and drapes are in a serene, refreshing shade of minty blue, and the ceiling is painted a barely-there shade of pink for added interest. We moved our Persian rug to this room when we got the kilim in the living room, and it  works great with the color palette here. We're lucky enough to have huge, east-exposed windows in both bedrooms, and in this particular room, we tried to capitalize on all that light by bringing in mirrored bedside tables and an antique gilt mirror that has special emotional significance to us. In one corner of this room is Daniel's workspace. Getting a corner-model desk helped keep the bedroom a bedroom instead, since it takes up so little visual space."
Where she blogs from. I love the little brass bankura ponies on her table!

A closer look at her table top.

The antique gilded mirror she spoke of. You can see part of the kitchen reflected in it!

Her kitchen.
"Small and functional, our kitchen is still fitted with all the contractor-grade appliances it came with. If we decide we're going to spend another five years or so in this house, then we'll start upgrading things and making it more user-friendly. For now, it's a cozy space with pale yellow walls, and a breakfast bar for Malcolm the cat to sit on while we cook."

The dining room. I love those bold stripes of color--she really knows how to bring on the drama don't you think?

"The dining area is actually an extension of the living room, since we have and open-plan home. We painted the wall in taupe and gold stripes, since there are few things I love more than a dramatic dining room. On the wall are two original, signed etchings of San Francisco scenes by Alec Stern that we stumbled upon on one of our antique hunts. The oval table is surrounded by mismatched mid-century modern and traditional dining chairs. Remnants of my wedding bouquet, along with springs of eucalyptus are in a glass jar, surrounded by more glass jars (empty pasta sauce jars, jam jars, you name it) filled with candle wax, to set the mood for a romantic dinner :)"

Even her bath is stylish:
"The silver tray and silver glasses that house our balms and bathroom doodads on the vanity were part of a sterling silver set that was a wedding gift from my parents- a family heirloom. The wooden owl was a present from Daniel from his trip to Thailand, and is very near to my heart."

The guest room:
"This was once our primary bedroom. The sunny yellow instantly puts you in a warm, happy mood when you wake up in here. The canopy bed was a graduation present from my mom, and the tattered blanket is something I've had since college, but just can't get rid of because I'm so attached to it!  The convex gilt mirror above the bed is another antique store find, and the silk wing-back chair is another sentimental piece from my college days. The console-turned desk by the window is my space- it's got some sentimental art pieces, my books, color pencils, and an origami heart that Daniel made me when we first started dating."

Love those sharpened pencils against the sunny yellow walls! also note said origami heart. Aawwwwwwwww... :)

That corner looks so inviting! I think I need to add a throw to my chair now....

I love that I'm winding up this week with a tour of this charming home......those warm sunny yellows have left me with a warm fuzzy feeling and loads of inspiration. Didn't this home bring a smile to your face? You can catch up with Tara on her blog here. Happy browsing!!!

Tara, thank you for inviting us in..... :) Loved doing the home-tour!

All pictures courtesy of and copyrighted to Tara Bannerji Hoang.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scenes from a writer's home*:Parul's Mumbai Sanctuary

Do I have a treat in store for you today! We're going to be traveling to Parul Sharma's Mumbai home an inspiration-laden home tour! Some of you may remember Parul's home tour on Priya's blog. Well Parul has been busy, very busy since! She's added a new cutie to her family, she's published a new book, she's had a few run-ins with a yoga instructor who apparently needs to run his own boot camp, and she's been decorating(!!!) I don't know how she does it (all), but OMG, the results are astounding! Now, I have to admit that I'm a recent entrant into her loooong list of devoted followers (yes, I know, I was hiding under a rock all this time!), but Parul's blog has quickly become one of my must-reads! It isn't everyone who can make you guffaw-out-loud (GOL--new terminology!) and leave you with a lump in your throat. Oh, she's good! Settle into your comfy seat, grab-a-bag-of-popcorn-and-supersized-fizzy-drink good! And this is the entrance to her lovely home.....

LOVE that carved mirror. The brass hooks are from a recent trip to Kerala. Tealight-lantern--she confesses to be addicted to tealights!

I love that wooden vase! Her walls spill golden warmth and sunshine--love that color!

She recently added some impressionist prints and shelves to her dining area.

The dining room with fresh flowers. She loves greenery and has managed to create her own oasis in the middle of the fast-paced jam-packed city!


An assortment of frames, a vintage map (print), a newspaper article, a vintage (reproduction) clock. Who says good design needs big moolah?

 Love how the print just pops against the Amul-butter yellow wall!

What a neat way to store those magazines--I love baskets!

I'll let her do the talking here..."I wanted these words for the longest time. I left out the '& Carry On' bit. As long as I am calm, I will carry on no?"  :D

Her new writing desk, where many more stories will be told!!

Her son's room; love those window treatments. The little guy is crazy for race cars, can you tell?

I just have to include this picture--her green oasis and "ghanta singh", her huge brass bell, that travelled all the way from Jaisalmer with her!

Ghanta is a much-beloved part of her household!! :) You can catch more pictures of her home here and here.

Don't you just love her fun quirky personality? You can always visit her blog, and if you want something that makes you smile till your cheeks ache, you must grab a copy of her new book "By the Water Cooler".

And if you hurry, you can enter a contest to win one of five SIGNED copies of her new book!! Contest ends October 31st, so make sure you enter now! (You don't need to have a blog, and it's open round the globe!). Get the deets here!

Credits: All Pictures courtesy Parul Sharma.
*This post title is inspired by Ruskin Bond's memoirs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing tag.......

So I thought I'd (finally!) get around to tackling the various tags and awards that have been bestowed on me*!!! Since I haven't been very punctual with these, I need to start at the very beginning (which IS a very good place to start!). This is my dear friend Patty's tag from a couple of months back (!!).

Patty: What’s a perfect styling for you?

Perfect styling for me is not about money. I'm not big into designer labels but if I see quality that is affordable, I'll snap it up!! In clothing, I'm very laid back, its mostly jeans and a tee or tunic for me. I like to dress it up with a little sparkle or a bright scarf. In the colder months, I'm usually found buried under layers of warm stuff--I get really cold! I love to dress up in Indian clothes every once in a while and I'll go the whole hog--with bindis and bangles and pretty earrings!! The key for me is adding accessories, but I don't overdo it....nothing can kill a look faster than too much of anything. It's either a scarf OR a necklace. If it's a turtleneck, I'll usually go with bold earrings. For instance, I'd wear this with jeans......

My brown linen shirt, peacock earrings (these get worn a LOT!) and my brass bracelet.

Styling around the home would be about comfort and practicality. With two boys (one six year old and one much older (!!), I need to have a home that can handle the everyday occasional projectile. It also has to have that personal connection for me.  You can also see snippets of my home in some of my earlier posts here. I need to have lots of green (the live variety!--though I wouldn't mind some of the other stuff too!) around me and my home is full of plants- some thrive, some I mange to kill. I never give up. 

Some lucky bamboo cuttings that I'm trying to grow!

A cozy corner reflected in the entrance mirror.

My entryway--utilitarian, but not drab. Holder for mail, glass dish for keys, under the demi-lune table are two baskets, one for mittens/scarves (and the occasional helmet) and another one for umbrellas. Also visible in the reflection--my darling husband's contribution, the gallery wall. While I gave up in frustration after (days of!) measuring and laying out, he just stepped in and eye-balled the whole thing! I think it took him all of half an hour to do what I couldn't commit to in weeks of plotting and planning. (Now you know why I married him!!) :)

Patty - On what do you spend most of your money?

That's an easy one--my home!

Patty - What's your favourite song at this moment?
Gah! I can't name just all depends on my mood!! I love music and my tastes range from this to this. Oh and I love this and this and this. If I had more time I'd start a music blog as well (actually I have opened one, but just haven't had the time to work on it!)

Patty - Which excellences do you think you have?

I'm good at stuff. I don't know about excellent tho'. I'm a good cook, I'm good at my job, I'm good at doing stuff I want to do. I'm also pretty good at evading stuff I don't want to do.

And oh, I'm also good at kicking back and lazing! :)

Patty - And what are your failings?

Temper! Red-hot, white-hot temper! And Procrastination!

Patty thanks for inviting me to this one--you were right, it was fun! :D

Now for the next tag/award by the sweet Kanika of ...And Another blog! I just need to disclose seven things about myself that you might not know! Here goes:

1. I don't particularly like some games ( like tag!). But I love other games. Like chess--I can play it all day, it relaxes me.

2. I'm a bit of a germ-o-phobe. I carry two types of sanitizers in my bag, there's another sanitizer in my car, one by the door, one in my gym bag, and I can't go to the park without one.
Related note: I wash my hands incessantly. They're dry and cracked and have little chippy flakes of skin. No wonder. Related/unrelated note: I'm happy to let the kid play in the mud. I've never stopped him from jumping in puddles either--he's a kid and this is what kids do. He gets dunked into the bath after playtime and that cleans him up. (Only one bath a day!).

3. I used to drink gallons(!!) of tea when I was younger. My nickname in college had -tea suffixed to it. I now drink up to three cups a day.

4. I never cheated in any of my, not even in elementary school. I got where I am on my own hard work and I'm really proud of it.

5. I hate going to the dentist. I cry. I get grey hair the day before I have to go to the dentist's. (My dentist laughed so hard when he heard this that his goggles nearly fell off!)

6. I'm a control freak. I need to be in control all the time. I'm the worst back seat driver ever. Related/unrelated note: That's why I don't drink---I HATE that feeling of losing control over my senses. I also discovered that I hate NO at the dentist's even more than I hate pain and so I don't take it.

7. Small courtesies are very important to me--I like to dole out my thank yous liberally. I also stop for pedestrians and return shopping carts to their corral. A little kindness goes a long way as far as I'm concerned.

8. I have a bit of a rebellious streak in me. I may break rules from time to time. See? I just broke one. I'm about to break another rule and not nominate anyone in particular. I'm opening up the tag to all of you!

The latest award was bestowed on me by the lovely Emreen of Liven Things Up: thank you, shukriya, merci beaucoup!! and I would like to pass it on to all of you, my lovely readers-who-are-bloggers-as well!!

And that dear audience, winds it up for now! I'll be back later with a lovely is your week going so far?

*Yes, I know I have a tag-free, award-free thingy up on my blog, but I was tagged nonetheless....and I felt really guilty turning down perfectly nice folks for my silly whims and fancies!!

All pictures (those without credits) taken by me. Please write in if you need to use them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good Morning, Monday!

Hello! and how are you? How was the weekend? Ours was satisfyingly busy, with a dinner party on Saturday and some much needed R&R on Sunday. Many foods were cooked and consumed, the chef received several compliments (!!) and all the samosas vanished twenty minutes into the party. :D There were flowers and children and animated conversation. All was well and a heavy food-induced coma lulled us into sweet sleep.....

Some of the graceful tulips that brightened our weekend!

These were the colors of my weekend. Also pictured is a native American warbling bird whistle - fill it with water and it produces the sweetest trilling bird song. Such a simple concept and yet, so precious! It's made of clay and it kinda, sorta, reminds me of the little mitti-birds (clay) and animals that are available during the festive season in India---my mom would pick up some brightly colored beauties each dusshera for me to play with when I was a child. Isn't it funny/cool that almost all ancient civilizations have these underlying threads and connections? Almost as if it were ingrained into our very core, into our human-ness. Perceptions of beauty, the lilt of a lullaby, language, math and science, our understanding of the earth and the universe beyond...there are more similarities than not. I wish we could all remember these before we let superficial differences color our judgement.

The new week beckons as do several projects I have committed to (some mostly to myself--but I hate to disappoint anyone, most of all myself), hopefully as the week progresses some will take shape and I would be able to share pictures with you. I'm also waiting for a sunny day so I can take some pictures around home and share them....we've been dealing with overcast skies for the past few days; I hear Monday is to be bright and sunny (it is Sunday night as I write this), and I'm SO ready for the sun.

How was your weekend? Wishing you a bright, sun-shiny week ahead.....I'm linking up to Patty's weekend round-up.

Friday, October 22, 2010


...makes the world go round.....

Go spread some around!! Bon weekend my loves!

Image credit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The weekend that was(n't)

Hello my lovelies-- how are you today? Just wanted to pop in and say hi, and let you know that I'm still around (albeit a little disorganized and harried!!!)...I'm probably not going to be very regular with the updates for the next few days (please pardon my absence!) as there are quite a few things vying for my attention at present. I wanted to share with you some pictures and tales of weekends and afternoons past (not this weekend, I'm afraid!) where I caught up with some reading and crafting over pots of tea and crunchy goodies!! Oh, to loll around in the afternoon sun with nary a worry...time to read and reflect and just BE. No colds to deal with, no deadlines to meet, a clean house, a pot of tea, some ideas bouncing around in that ol' cranium....

Fabric flowers and beads in the afternoon sun. The book, Domesticities: At Home with The New York Times Magazine, was a gift from a dear friend. Thank you, sweet Kamini, from the bottom of my heart!! The book has been a fascinating read, and I have spent several afternoons flipping through the pages. :)

Playing around...I made the flowers with strips of my old cotton kurta...the rosettes have frayed edges, and a rough, rustic charm (I think!). Little blue seed beads make up the center.....

I like how pretty the rosettes look with some blue Chinese ceramic beads and/or malachite...what do you think?

I'm sure that you'll agree that one good turn deserves another....the thank you for Kamini's lovely surprise? Some of you might recall this post, featuring these pretty baubles...

Yes, that was my thank you gift for being such a fun, considerate friend....I couldn't spill the beans then, because it was en-route its destination (and it was a surprise!). I like to craft little trinkets for my friends...nothing says you care more than a handmade gift, don't you think?

Another afternoon, catching up on my library books. Fortified with tea and crunchy chekkalu/Nipattu (these were store bought, but I've tried, with great success, this recipe.) That's a world market jute rug (made in India) that I had "gifted" myself when we were moving into this new home). Also visible is the bottom half of our green love-seat in the family room. I like to sprawl out on the rug with the soft couch as a back rest! Its  allllll about comfort!  :D

And while I am on the subject, have you voted for Kamini's sensational saffron room yet? If not, head out there now. (All you need to do is register--like one minute of your time---it'll totally make her day (and mine!)  :)....a little peek into her room...

Go on, you know you want to......

In case I don't see you sooner, here's wishing you a warm relaxing weekend.......I'm also linking up with Patty's weekend round-up, for the weekend that was(n't). 


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