Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is what Out of Office looks like, right?

Hello lovelies, well, I will be traveling this week to San Francisco until early  next week. So, I will catch you once I am back! Oh, and before I sign off, Happy May!!
I leave you with this pic I took of an interior design store at 16th Street and 5th Avenue..


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Meetup - part II

Today I went for round II of photography meetup at the Bronx Botanical gardens, and it was awesome. Before the meetup was scheduled to happen, I had asked the organizer of the meet up, David, if I could do a quick presentation to the fellow joiners, and he agreed. So, I went searching online on all the photography blogs and forum I follow for the topics I wanted to cover, and then I put together a one-pager with bucket loads of useful information. Don't worry, the page wasn't covered in words, it was just the right amount to keep the readers interested!

Ok, I will share with you the most important information about photography that I put together after researching the blogs and forums. This information can be categorized into three basic elements:


Who we are: Every picture we take, every angle we calculate, speaks of the kind of person we are and that then gets reflected in the shots we take. Trying to copy some other photographer's style would not do justice to our pictures if we do not exploit our own style, our own self.
This is something I have learnt over and over from all the professional and seasoned photographers, and I truly feel that like anything in life, doing something where we remain true to ourselves is the key. So always remember, who we are!

What do our pictures say: We may not need a fancy equipment or super cool lenses if we don't understand what we would like to convey through our pictures. Therefore, being very clear about the story we want our pictures to tell is very important to getting avant garde quality to our shots. There is no shortcut to this. The only way to get this clarity is through practice, practice, practice! Doesn't matter how many times we get it wrong, the art is to finding a way to tell a story or convey a message through our pictures, and this also ties in with the first element about remembering who we are!

Why are we doing this: This is might be the most important element to photography. If we are pursuing this passion because someone else is doing it, then we should pretty much stop right now, right here. Because there is no point to it. However, if we know deep down why we are immersing ourselves like crazy in this field - maybe because we have a keen eye of presenting things in the most unique way or maybe we cannot live another day without pursuing this art - then we should absolutely feel good and confident about being a photographer. Yes, it can be pursued as a hobby too, nothing wrong with that. But, remember, hobby is nothing but a selfish indulgence into something that makes us really really happy and fulfilled. Either ways, the intentions should always be in the right place.

So, these are some of the things I talked about at the meetup. I also shared some websites that one can learn so much from. Honestly, I felt so good sharing this information with the fellow was like I was sharing my full cup with them!  And, yes, it also felt good when all of them thanked me for this totally unexpected voluntary act. Its always a win win when you do it with love!!!

I will be adding some pictures I took soon! Hugs!

UPDATE: Here are some pictures by moi!

Meet Tobi - he was part of the group, and I asked him to pose for my camera, and he obliged kindly - DankeTobi

Meet Fawn - ever fabulous lady who also posed for my camera! Thank you sooo much dear!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why do I feel this way

There's a part of me that's struggling to find the answer. The answer to how to market and PR Banno Raani. I am usually very confident, but right now, I feel like the most insecure person ever. Although, I am researching and reading articles upon articles on how to implement the "art" of marketing and what some of the do's and don'ts are, it's like "enough already! I want to actually to take some action now."  But what????
Oh, why do I feel this way? I just pray to God and Universe to show me a way ...I am ready to work my butt off, and just can't wait to get started.

If you have any ideas, please email them to me. Would love to hear what you have to say? And for this, special warm hugs to you!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yes, our Business Card is actually Green in color

Today is Earth Day -- yeay, for all things good, green, sustainable and environmentally safe! In this spirit, I would like to share with you that all Banno Raani packaging materials are made of recyclable materials:
 -- Our business card is made in recycled linen paper
 -- Our tissue paper, in which we gently wrap our delicate earrings are post consumer recycled
 -- Our potlis, in which we put the wrapped goodies, are made of repurposed fabrics (think old and used silk sarees, jamawar cloth)
 -- Our shopping bags, which you walk away with after buying the elegant Banno Raani jewelry, are made of recycled paper

Horray for conservation and for being conscious!! Banno Raani supports embraces Earth Day!


No Kidding, really

Ok, so when I called up GEICO today for road service, honestly, I heard the customer service rep say, "Hi, my name is Rod Blagojevich, how may I help you today?" Honestly!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Summer Dress up

I love mixing up colors (orange with pink or light beige on dark beige...haha got you!), prints  (stripes and polka dots anyone??) and cuts (cropped t-shirt with tapered pants...swoon!) when I dress up. I think it represents fun and fearlessness. Or shall I say, fierceness?? : ) Here are some inspirations for summer (a follow up to the Summer Makeup post here)...oh, what fun!
Side note: can't wait for really really hot summer....rain please be gone!! Atleast in NY!!

those red lips and that statement necklace....rawwr!!

how incredibly cute is the top and the pleated shorts!! perfect perfect perfect!

I am like dying right awesome is the whole outfit...casual yet super chic!!


love the cutwork on the dress and oh, such a cool color!


{gorgeous images courtesy Hunter and Gatti and SarahKlassen}

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I learnt how to iron a dress shirt, thanks to YouTube

The other day, after having bought a lens cleaning kit for my camera, I was in a conundrum. Ok, now that I have the ammunition, how do I fight, I thought to myself. Then it dawned on me like magic that hey, everything will be all fine and rosy for I had YouTube. I immediately started typing fervently in the search box "lens cleaning tutorial" and there there, my bunny was out of the hat. Yes, indeed, like magic! I was so pleased with this because next thing I know, I was slouching like an old man, sitting under the glare of the table lamp, with lens cleaning tools in my hand, and cleaning away to glory. I wonder what I would do without YouTube. I mean really.
Ahem, so other ways I have used YouTube:

  • how to apply blue and green eyeshadow together so I don't end up looking like a witch. Thanks to Laura Luke at panacea81. She has her own channel on YouTube - go check it out!
  • Photoshop 101 - woohoo! such a cool training and that too free!! Super huge thank you to Iceflow Studios for teaching this course
  • how to play guitar - beginners lesson. Yes, Peter Vogl really rocked the lesson big tim
  • how to iron a dress shirt -- yes yes yes! It sounds so simple, but you have to be careful with all the buttons and folds
You see, its amazing how useful YouTube is. In the future, if you have any question and/or problem and you want to see how it is solved, you know what to do!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday Update

Remember I mentioned yesterday that  Kartik and I were heading over to Morimoto Restaurant? Well, lovelies it was for my birthday, which is today!! Yeay!! Thank you thank you, I can already hear your wishes pouring in. And, wow, has the phone been ringing non stop or what?? Hmm, well, we celebrated a day early because a) I don't eat meat on Monday b) Its a Monday and  beginning of a  new workweek. So, there.
Oh, the place was truly gorgeous and I tried some of the most fancy and unique dishes ever. The place was buzzing with who's who, but my luck, I did not bump into Madonna (yeah, she was feasting there like 2 weeks ago) :). Kartik and I ordered duck, shrimp rolls for appetizer and then went for yellowtail shabu shabu with rice and noodle (yummmm). Then we ordered house special rolls with cucumber, eel, plum paste, yellowtail, sesame seeds (for crunch), and ended the gorging ordeal with chocolate explosion cake with Japanese green tea ice cream. I tell you,  I just couldn't stop eating!!
Ok, so that was yesterday. Today, Kartik bought me strawberry shortcake from Carlos's Bakery (the Cake Boss guy) and it was sooo divine and melted like velvet in my mouth. Then my friend Sirisha and her hubby dropped by, and Siri had baked me an Indian dessert of egg and custard. Yummmm again! I tell you, Birthdays are very very important! Oh, and I forgot to mention Kartik's gift - one full day of spa!! Yess!! He said that I truly deserved this since I am starting a new life (remember this) and its a very good day to pamper myself and get all rejuvenated and more. How incredibly sweet is that?? Aww, I wuuvv him :)

And, I am leaving you with a pic from yesterday. I rocked one of Banno Raani's Meena Panna earrings in peacock green, seen in Style File in this color. Enjoy!!

{click on the image above to make it bigger}

   my Birthday flowers from em'!


Sunday, April 18, 2010


I am excited because Kartik and I are going to Morimoto's namesake restaurant tonight...oooh, can't wait!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Old Pics and Parents...

Yesterday I spent the whole day with my was fun catching up with them. I dug out some old pics from mom's closet - oh, then it was an endless tirade of "ooh, look how chubby I was", "check out my frock...and thaat hair". My dad wasn't far behind and he had his "look at me all fit and slim", "check out that hair, doesn't it look like I am wearing a wig?"
We looked at the photos, while feasting on yummy paranthas that mom kept producing like magic..I wonder sometimes,  how does she do it so fast, so instantly? Its almost like taking those polaroid shots, where the ingredients of a moment is seamlessly captured on a paper, and a concrete memory is produced in a flash, literally!
We also talked about my leaving the workforce and why I did it and what would be my next steps. I had to calm my parents (especially mom, who seems to get nervous and hyperventilate whenever either Shikha or I do something out of the norm) and assure them that I knew what I was doing and that I was diligently working on my next steps. Papa got me, he got what I was trying to say, but ma was still fretting. On top of that, she bellowed, "so, when are you having a baby? Are you trying?Don't wait, hurry up." This wasn't the first time she was saying this, so I simply smiled, licked my finger dribbling with the butter that was on the parantha, and walked away, shouting, "I know Ma."
I tell you, parents...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kadiri Villa - a feast of a different kind

I would like to present to thee-  Kadiri Villa - a breathtaking palace,  full of color and splendor of royalty.
This villa in Morocco is the lovechild of Jaouad Kadiri and Priti Paul, who worked on creating this standing symbol of their passion for design and decor with architect Stuart Church. Each room and each piece in each room echos a lush and vibrant history of Morocco and India.
Feast your eyes, like I did :)


{lovely images courtesy the lovely Indian Summer}

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The melodious 1990s....

I am listening to the 90's songs by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik and am loving them!!! The nasal echo of Sanu and squeaky high pitches of Yagnik, and ofcourse predictable music of Nadeem Shravan- just perfect. Brings me back to my high school days in India... :)
Aashiqui , Saajan, Rang, Deewana, Sadak, Baazigaranyone??


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Inspiration - part 2

Ok, while we are already on the topic of inspiration, how about some experiment? No no, don't worry, I promise I won't ask you to dissect a pig...maybe a rat, but not a pig :) Alright, alright, no ewws and eeks now, this experiment that I am referring to, oh well, I attempted it already!
As you all know by now, I am an avid fashion/style buff, so I decided to put this fascination to good use. I scoured both Fashion magazines (for this project -Elle) and Home & Design magazines (for this project - Architectural Digest) and came up with pictures of interior designs that could pass for an inspiration for the clothes...umm, or the other way around. And, it was pure joy to search for colors/textures/prints/shapes in one picture and look for "inspiration" in another. I mean, I looked at a fashion shoot and few minutes later I came up with a shot of a room that could have easily been inspired by the fashion look....umm, or the other way around. When it comes to the art...anything is possible and anything can inspire...something I like to call  'mutual osmosis' -- see for yourself  and enjoy!!

so, you see how the color of the leather sofa and the cushion, spark off the dress on the right, and how the legs of the chairs complement the heels of the shoes 

Right off the bat, the print and color of sofa is too close a match to the print of the dress on the right, the orange lipstick on the model matches the pop of the modern loveseat, the green plant in the center is almost like the green pendant on the model, and the blue cushions on the sofa compete with the dark blue alligator purse...yummmy!! 

I have to say...I just love the outfit the model is wearing! Ok, now, khaki fabric of the sofa plays off the neutral printed blouse on the model, and the folksy throw on the couch speaks to the multi colors on the blouse. The darker shade on the wall is a perfect match to the trousers on the model, the red painting on the wall matches the red lips (and ofcourse, the red drink...hmm, health shake maybe), and finally orangy peachy shoes knock off the orangy-peachy painting on the wall. How divine!

The bluish purple dinner setting is almost a mirror image for the water print skirt, the cluster of buildings provide a good match for the checkered blouse, and the orange purse, oh, how it works just like the luminous lamp in the center of the table



Inspiration - part 1

As I have mentioned before, for Banno Raani, I look for inspiration everywhere. While I have been talking about my recent personal challenges and summer makeup ideas here on the blog, I have been working behind the scenes for launching the second season of Banno Raani's collections. It is a lot of work and requires a lot of time.
Ok, just to give you a perspective - Shikha and I finalized our plans and order back in January, and we only finished it off completely in the past couple of weeks. So, yes, while I haven't been talking much about Banno Raani recently (oh, how I wish I absolutely was), trust me, Shikha and I have been working really hard to continue our efforts in defining our brand and what we stand for. More to come on that soon!
Hmm, going back to the inspiration discussion, I put together few pictures of what challenges us to be at our creative best and what encourages us to stay focused on delivering unique, classic and luxe feel to all our products (visualization, anyone?). So, here is a quick "inspiration capture" for you lovelies....

The ethnic flair never ceases to mesmerize us and works like instant mood enhancers... :)

Love the gold here with bursts of turquoise...unique shapes and combinations are a must these days

Believe it or not, these home accessories also serve as inspiration for us - the modern lines and geometric patterns are definitely trend worthy....

Now, as I get closer to the next steps on Banno Raani, I will surely shout from the roof top about it, and let the 'behind the scenes' scenario be for extras on some movie DVD!!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Summer makeup

Ever since I saw these pics, I have been dying to share them with you. The makeup is just perfect in each shot, don't you think? The trick, as all professional makeup artists say, is to maximize one feature and minimize the, here are some cool ideas for summer and a lot of fun to be had!
Now, if only I could look this good... :)

Boring but Beautiful


{gorgeous pictures by Hunter and Gatti and last two from}

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I don't know why or how

I don't know why or how, but a wave of doubt and questions caught me unguarded today and I saw myself drowning in the sorrows of "what ifs" and "unkowns" So much that I almost came close to tears. While I cannot see the path that clear, I reminded myself (oh, how hard it was), that my intentions are true, honest and pure and that I will get there.  And, so, I vowed - to live my dreams with sincere and constant passion! 
And, then I saw this pic which blew away the sad clouds almost instantly...

    Kartik with my niece, Sana (aka jaaanu)

And, big hugs to all of you for being there for me! You give me strength in wonderful ways, and I am so thankful!

A Fabulous Saturday and what made it fabulous

Yesterday was super day, no make that mega super day! Kartik and I spent almost the entire day with my jaanu Sana...and ofcourse with Shikha, Dhruv, aunty and uncle. It was nice catching up...especially for them to know how I was doing now that I did not have to go to work anymore. Honestly, sometimes, its hard for me to explain how I am doing on that front, because just a few days ago I had my first dream about this a sign of separation anxiety??! Oh, I hope not (and, to all who want to know, yes, I am doing fine, and learning to manage my time in the most productive way).

Anyways, back to the mega day, we talked, laughed, recounted stories of how we once had a tiny kitchen with no counter space, but even then the lavish Indian style cooking continued, joked about why Uncle was late from work today, exchanged ideas on how to marinate chicken better, talked about the white closet that aunty needed for her house, ate fruits and skittles, discussed Banno Raani ideas, fussed over Sana and who should hold her and how...aaah! Then after gorging down a pizza or two (I made Indian style pizza, if you lovelies really have to know :), we decided to go downstairs for a stroll, while the sun was still shining.

We walked by the water, taking pictures and still laughing and talking, while Sana enjoyed the sun and fresh air from her stroller. Then we headed to the mall, because Shikha was having major coffee cravings, and I had promised her that I will introduce her to the most delish coffee around...not so bitter and not so sweet - just perfect, and Nestle's Toll House coffee turned out to be just that. As the evening started coming upon us, we headed home, and I took to kitchen like I was Bobby Flay or something and concocted one dish after another. Okay, okay, just 2 main dishes - sambhar daal and spicy chicken curry and 2 starters - mushroom masala and churrizo kebabs. Yumm, if I may say so. The dinner and night ended with mildly sweet seviyan that aunty had cooked, and it was only 10pm! Then Kartik and I bade the Anand family goodbye, and came back to the apartment and crashed on the bed. It was a full day, but it was just perfect!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Its the French affect

As I was walking down ninth avenue with my camera in tow, I was happy to come across such cute shops with delightful things that I had to go inside and explore them . One such shop that welcomed me and my camera was La Cafetiere, a French store that sells everything fabulous for you and your house. There were candles, cane hearts, delicate dinner napkins, glamorous lamps, unique glassware of all shapes and sizes and occasions, and ofcourse hand stitched teddy bears. As I was oohing and aaahing on a set of dark chocolate dinner plates, my eyes caught the curvy soup bowls and the next thing I knew, I was oohing and aahing over them. I tell you, there was constant distraction, and so hard to be focused on just one thing. And when I walked over one of the aisles,  I came across a crystal bead napkin ring, so I held it in my hand. Within moments, the sparkles from the ring danced on my palm, causing a huge smile to wash over my face. I wanted to buy all of them right then and there, but then I remembered if I did that, then I would have to buy the entire store!! :)
The decor of the shop was very homely and laid back, and Martina, the hostess at the shop, made the experience all the more, ummm, what's the phrase, ah, yes, joie de vivre! Oh, its the French affect, lovelies!

Here's the address: La Cafetiere, 160 Ninth Avenue, NYC.
Their website:

And here are some collages of the pics from the store, jouir!!:



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