Off-the-Shoulder Dresses

Latest Trend Alert- Spring Fashion

Off-the-Shoulder dresses have been all the rage lately!!! I have been seeing a ton of these types of dresses online, in magazines, in the stores, on celebrities and on blogs. With the arrival of spring ( thank goodness!) and the warm weather, it is the perfect time to indulge in this latest trend that has arrived on the fashion scene! The great thing is that because they are such a popular item this season, they come in all different shapes, sizes and prices so you are bound to find something you like!

 Below are some of my favorite Off-the-Shoulder Dresses...


1. Chambray Off-the- Shoulder Dress from Asos - $26 



2) Midi Off-the Shoulder Dress from Forever 21 - $22.90 




3) Striped Off-the Shoulder Dress from Forever 21 - $19.90 






4)  Cutout Off-the- Shoulder Dress from Nordstrom - $85 





5) Mini Off-the-Shoulder Dress from Forever 21 - $19.90






6) Eyelet Off-the-Shoulder Dress from Lulu's - $76.00 




Are you excited to rock this trend?! I know I am! I am working on creating a post that will be talking about how to rock the off-the shoulder trend in different ways which will be up soon! I am new to this so, I am working out the technical aspects :) 
Until next time...

-Dhara 






Come with me to Anand & Ahmedabad, India

Motherland - Real Quick
Travel Diary 

I recently made a trip to India!  It was an extremely short trip but well worth it. I had made the trip visit my Ba (Gujarati for grandma) and to attend a wedding.  I have spent most of my childhood in the western state of Gujarat.  I have captured a few moments from the trip which are very special to me and want to share my experience with you all! I also hope this post gives you some ideas of places to visit and foods to try if ever make the trip to the place that is my birthplace!

My Dada's (Grandpa) Farm

Highlights

 Ahmedabad
Amdavad (how the locals call it) is the largest city in the state of Gujarat,  it is my mom's home and my birthplace. Mahatma Gandhi's ashram is located in this city near the Sabarmati River (which is the major river that dissects the city) as well. As like any heavily populated city, there is a lot of pollution, traffic and traveling by car is nothing short of going to war (no joke!)!! However, the city offers exquisite cuisine, age old historical sites and plenty of interesting architecture. Do yourself favor and hire a driver who knows their way around to help you explore this widespread city.



Sabarmati River 
Law Garden
This is a public garden near a law school in Ahmedabad that is famous for it's street market. The street market has vendors exhibiting handicrafts that are unique and special to the Gujarati culture (a must visit and exclusive spot for authentic souvenirs!!). Be sure to bargain with the handicraft sellers as that is expected! The area also has an extension that lights up at night with street food vendors opening their stalls to the public. The food is AMAZING!

Street Style Chana Chor Garam 
Mango Matla Kulfi 
Ragda Puri




Rajwadu in Ahmedabad 
We ended up eating dinner at this restaurant called Rajwadu. Rajwadu is a Rajasthani/Gujarati village themed restaurant in the city of Ahmedabad. Despite being located in a city, when you enter the estate you will be transported to a traditional Rajwadi village. The experience tends to go as follows - after you enter and walk through the "village streets", you will be seated on a khatla (rope bed) and be served some fresh juices. After that you are taken to the dinner chambers which are "sit on the floor" style and you will be swarmed with rajwadi's coming around to fill your thali (plates) with the most delicious food!! Be sure to stick around after dinner to watch some traditional folk dancing and singing. 

If there is one restaurant you have to choose to eat at while you are in this city, please let it be this one. Call ahead to make reservations as we heard the wait times to be seated can be up to 3 hours at times. 

Khatlas

Performers of the folk music and dance 
Devoured everything! 
Rajwadi Thali
Anand 
Our home is about 20 minutes on the outskirts of Anand City in a small village called Kunjrao. This is where I grew up, this is where my dad grew up, this is where my grandfather grew up, this is where my great grandfather grew up ( you get the point?). The surrounding villages consider them to be part of Anand, so technically speaking, Anand city is home. Needless to say, we made the trip to Anand on a daily basis! The city is also referred to as Milk City because it is home to Amul Dairy. Amul Dairy has been a pioneer in its own right to end exploitation of farmers for their milk in the surrounding villages and has also paved the way for techniques of milk production that are now widely used all over India!

Supermarket in Anand 

The Banyan Tree - Madhuban Resort & Spa 
This is a relatively new establishment in our city but this place made me feel like I was in a five star resort in Miami! It's design mirrors many resorts here in the United States. This place is a popular choice for accommodations among the NRI's ( Non Resident Indians). The food, service and ambiance are all simply spectacular! This is also a popular venue choice for the residents around the city to host special events. We had visited only to eat but were allowed to take a walk around the property. If you don't go there for accommodations, definitely go check out the food! You will not be disappointed.





Masala Chaas (Buttermilk)- DIVINE 

Serdi No Ras (Sugarcane Juice)
The earliest memories I have of Anand and surrounding villages are drinking Serdi No Ras which means Sugarcane Juice in Gujarati with my Dada (grandpa). The feeling of stopping on the roads at the stalls where fresh juice is extracted for you, sprinkled with some masala and then given to sip on in the scorching heat is something that has never left me. Perhaps this is the reason, every time I go back, I make it a point to drink it every day! Finding a vendor is not hard at all, just look around on the roads when you are driving to and from Anand. They offer plastic cups and straws to drink out of for hygienic reasons. You have got to taste this stuff, it is SO good!





Kunjrao
This is my village. This post would be incomplete without me talking about my village. It is primarily populated by farmers that have have farmlands in the vicinity. We are a very small close knit community and everyone knows everyone. However, over the years, the population has diminished. Majority of the folks have moved out into bigger cities or now live abroad. I still have my grandma and relatives that live here, so I usually stay here during my stay in Gujarat. There is no place else I rather be! It is a quiet, peaceful and a humbling experience for me. I like to visit my grandfather's farm as that is his legacy and it makes me feel close to him while I am there (sorry to get all mushy on you).



My Ba ( Grandma)

Wedding in Gujarat
If you have never attended an Indian wedding in India, then we will have to meet for lunch because I can't possibly explain the experience via this post. However, it is just as bright, colorful, vibrant and chaotic as the movies usually portray it or as you may have heard. Yes, it is usually is a week long affair and is filled with unlimited amounts of eating, singing, dancing and rejoicing with family members. I had the exciting opportunity to attend a close family friends wedding.

My Mehendi ( Henna)

L to R --> Mother of the Bride, Groom & the Bride 
Maang Bharai (Sindoor, special red powder, is filled into the bride's hair partition. This symbolizes her marital status) 

Mangal Sutra Ceremony (Groom ties an auspicious thread/necklace around the bride that she wears as a symbol of her now being married)  

Tell me, did you feel bombarded with pictures? I don't think I have ever posted so many pictures in a single post before but I didn't have enough material to do individual posts and this was the best way I could think of compiling my journey to the motherland! 

All in all , it was a quick trip (7 days to be exact) with a jam packed schedule. I await the time that I can go back to explore more of my home state- the dessert up towards the northern and western sides, the beaches far west, the holy sites and the forests. Until next time...

-Dhara 






Come with me to Kaua'i, Hawaii

Land of Mahalo 
Travel Diary

It is hard for me to explain my admiration and love for the island of Kaua'i. If you are not aware, Kaua'i is one of the eight islands that make up the Hawaiian Islands. It is less commercialized and less touristy ( is that even a word?) compared to other wider known islands of Oahu and Maui (both of which are on my list to visit) but do not let that stop you from visiting. If you have never made it to Hawaii but plan on going, do not overlook this island!!

The relatively circular island is known as the "Garden Isle" because much of the center part of the island is covered in a tropical rain forest with beaches along the coastline ( Imagine a somewhat circle of an island with a jaw dropping lush mountains in the middle and beautiful beaches surrounding the coastline, does not make you want to jump on a plane right now?!).

If you have seen Jurassic Park, you have had a glimpse into the beauty of this island. The only thing missing during my trip was spotting Dinosaurs ( that would have been epic)! This place looks like it is out straight out of a movie but it's not, it's real and it exists on our planet!!!


 



Highlights 


Mount Waialeale 

This mountain occupies the center of the island and is known to be not only the wettest spot on the island but also one of the wettest spot on our planet! It rains almost all day long in the center and the majority of the mountain is uninhabited only accessible by air. Since it is located right in the center, much of the island's habitable areas are at the base and surround the mountain offering wonderful views from different angles. The closer you get to the center, the more it rains.




Hanalei Bay 

The largest bay in Kaua'i with gorgeous white sand beaches on one side and majestic mountains in the background! The beaches in this area attract many visitors and is the northern most point of the island. 







Queen's Bath 

A natural tide pool in the Princeville Region of Kaua'i, this sight requires a 10 minute hike and a walk across some rock formations. Due to the rain on this island, our hike was slippery and quite muddy so be prepared for that if you are to visit!! However, once you get past the mud, the view of the pacific ocean is like none other! The region has made some safety tips available to visitors as the hike can be dangerous at times. Click here for safety details. 





Queen's Bath Tide Pool

Waimea Canyon 

This 14 mile long canyon is described as the grand canyon of the pacific and rightly so!  The drive to several look out points in the state park is nothing short of a scenic painting. All of the lookout points offer a different view into the canyon and the higher you go , the deeper you can look into the deep rugged terrain.
Waimea Canyon 


Waimea State Park 


Napali Coast 

Stunning. Breathtaking. Mind-blowing. Jaw-dropping. Out of this world. Magnificent. Unreal. I can go on and on and on about just how scenic this sight is. It is accessible by boat, air or a hiking trail but not by car. We opted for the boat ride to get unearthly views of the cliffs and the pacific ocean as well. The boat will help you see one corner of the cliffs while the air will allow you to have an aerial visual and the trail offers a side view. There is a lookout point called Kalalua Valley ( accessible by car) which looks into this valley from the inner portion of the island. However, the look out point does not offer a look at the jagged cliffs from the ocean, which are a must see!!!!!!!! 

View from Kalalau Lookout Point 
Sunset in the Pacific Ocean
Napali Coast Cliffs


This is one of those places I C.A.N.N.O.T. wait to go back to!! This was a trip I reflect back on constantly because I still cannot believe the sights that I saw were real. Until next time...





Thank you for checking it out! 
-Dhara