The workplace Diva

When I was working in the corporate sector, my mornings usually started with staring at my wardrobe for a good ten minutes and wondering if I could just walk in to office wearing a leather pant, a flow-y white top and get away with it. When you dress up everyday, you might as well make it interesting right? That’s always been my mantra and my motivation to dress up everyday. Work place dressing up is a bit tricky especially when you work in a formal environment that requires you to stick to formals. That being said, you don’t need to stop being a workplace Diva. Check out the following options for your most essential workplace item – laptop bags!




For the professional Diva

Black is the color of elegance, power and sophistication. It would without doubt be the first choice for a professional look. A soft textured (faux) leather bag with plenty of space inside for your laptop and all your essentials. Pair this with a formal pantsuit for a polished look!











 


For the artsy Diva

If your work environment is the creative and chaotic type, like a media company or an advertising agency, then show-off your personality with something unique and trendy. Bold colors, graphics, silly quotes – it could be anything that describes your personality, or your workspace. Since your dressing too would veer more towards business casuals, you can get away with almost anything here!











For the casual Diva
 
This unisex laptop bag keeps it casual yet professional. Whether you are meeting with clients over a cup of coffee, or working as a freelancer with no fixed office space or timings, this tan brown leather laptop bag is your friend. You can pair it with a simple blue jeans and a crisp white shirt for a classy look!











 For the girly Diva

Simple, pink and cute. This pink canvas laptop bag is perfect for the girly girl. Whether you team it with western formals, traditional wear or casuals, this is one bag that would go with them all!



7 best pizza delivery places in Hyderabad

Italian happens to be one of my favorite cuisines and any city that I go to, I never fail to explore the options it has to offer, for some of the best pizzas and pastas. When I went to Italy a few years back, I had a chance to try out authentic Italian dishes and that obviously set the bar pretty high up when it came to searching for options back home. But over the past couple of years, I did manage to find many tiny places that offer their own version of Italian and although it can never match up to what I had in Italy, they come pretty close in second place!

The best part about all these places is that they have home delivery in Hyderabad! So next time you are faced with the "Hungry Kya?" question, you know where to look.



Flying spaghetti monster
Away from the main road, and almost invisible, this place serves some of the best Italian cuisine in Hyderabad. It is easily one of the places that I frequent the most. The ambiance is great, the staff are friendly and the food is yummy!
Place: Jubilee hills
Most popular: Sicilia pizza, blueberry cheesecake
Price: Rs.1650 for two people

Italian Pizza
A tiny place on the Old Bombay highway and almost looking like a shack, this place offers a totally different pizza experience from the regular chains like Dominoes and Pizza hut. It's easy on the pocket and though they have a small menu, they have some delicious toppings.
Place: Kondapur
Most popular: La-Provincale - Roasted eggplant, mushrooms and capsicum
Price: Rs.450 for two people

Pizza Den
This is one place that you will find to be always crowded. It's been there since years, although they have shifted locations frequently. It is definitely a hidden gem which I stumbled across years back and since then it has permanently been on my frequently-visited list. They have yummy tasty pizzas in a slightly Desi version and friendly service. 
Place: Trimulgherry
Most popular: Mexican hot pepper
Price: Rs.250 for two people 

Lazzio - the pizzaria
This is one of the only all vegetarian pizza places that I know in Hyderabad. It is a cozy and small space with the feel of a roadside eatery/cafe. It is definitely value for money and you get good food for that price. The ambiance too is cute and well decorated. 
Place: Madhapur
Most popular: Thin crust gourmet pizza. Pasta in pink sauce.
Price: Rs.400 for two people

Viva Italia 
Located in the popular white house building, this is another budget friendly place that's a must visit. It is most popular for the live counter and the thin crust pizzas that they make. The ambiance is not great but the moment the food arrives you'll soon forget the surroundings. It is also one of the best places to be ordering home delivery from. The only regret about this place would be as to why you finished the pizza so soon!  
Place: Begumpet
Most popular: Pasta aglio olio, chicken salami pizza
Price: Rs. 500 for two people

Over the flames
Another place for casual dining, and tasty thin crust pizzas. This is sort of an underground place tucked away in a building, but any conclusions that you draw from the appearance is going to fade away once you taste their wood fired pizzas. Every pizza on their menu is good! Specially the thin crust ones. 
Place: Gachibowli
Most popular: Every pizza on the menu is good!
Price: Rs.700 for two people

Mama Mia Italia
Saved one of my favorite places for the last! This tiny place is easily one of the best and most authentic in the entire city. The crust always feels fresh and soft, the staff are friendly and even give you a little tour of their wood fire oven, for which this place is famous. The prices are on the affordable side and it's a must do if you are in Hyderabad!
Place: Sainikpuri
Most popular: Veggie delight, arabiatta, Italian chicken pizza
Price: Rs.500 for two people 
 

Share your frequently visited places in the comments below! 

Indian August

Summer breeze in the air, long drives into the sunset, open fields, lying on the grass and reading books, long maxi dresses, the golden hour of sunset. I love clothes that inspire you to come up with themes and Indian August is one such brand that does exactly that. Something about the name Indian August makes me think of summer rains, old rickety swings, getting blown away by the wind while the sky thunders above you - a very bohemian, care free vibe that inspired me to come up with this look. A chance happening brought us to this quaint little park that formed the perfect setting for this shoot. So much so that I think I quite enjoyed just sitting around and becoming engrossed in my book, while my photographer did all the work!

Indian August has a range of products that includes clothing and apparel, home textiles and decor. With a focus on Indian contemporary designs, they have under their roof more than 25 designers and master craftsmen who bring to you the most elegant and contemporary designs. The eclectic use of traditional fabrics like chanderi, mangalgiri for Western outfits like ankle length pants and trousers was something right up my alley. The Khadi and kalamkari skirts were another favorite of mine. They also have an enviable collection of the cutest, quirkiest home decor. When I move in to my own place, you can expect it to be a mini shrine to this store! Another favorite of mine is of course their jewelry - exquisitely handcrafted dokra necklaces and earrings that I could wear every day. For my look I chose a comfortable and bright cotton maxi dress perfect for the weather here. Instead of going for the obvious choice of black accessories, I chose this pink Dokra necklace/earrings set which I think compliments this outfit perfectly.

This had to be the laziest shoot ever (well for me!) where all I had to do was walk around, settle down on the grass with a good book, and prance around during the golden hour of sunset!








Dress, bag, earrings, necklace: eindianaugust.com | Shoes: Steve Madden

Photography & Editing by: Divya Medikonda


Summer footwear - embelishments!

As the temperature has slowly started to soar, I have already begun my whining and complaints of how hot it is and how I feel like I am melting into a gooey puddle just after a couple of minutes in the sun. I am all for summer and tropical weather and beaches but sometimes it gets too unbearable, and there is nothing much that you can do about it. When summer comes I turn nocturnal, venturing out only after sunset. Rest of the day is spent being holed up at my desk with work, accompanied by a constant supply of cold drinks, and editing and researching for articles - which is just a fancy term for mindless browsing over various blogs, magazines and shopping sites.

Clothing during summer has to invariably be as comfortable, airy and minimal as possible. There is absolutely no intention of stacking up on accessories either. Just the thought of layering anything, even a simple necklace, makes you want to peel off the layers. The only accessories I have fun with are shoes! You must know by now, that I am a hoarder of shoes and happily so! A girl can never have enough! Embellished shoes are all the rage this season. They add a little sparkle to your otherwise hot and humid day, and they are also the easiest way to add an extra something to your simple summer dress/skirt/shorts. Since I've already committed the sin of not shopping for the longest time ever, I didn't waste any time in putting together a wish-list that would help all you guys with some inspiration as to what style you can go for as well!

Gladiators
  • Consider the shape of your leg before buying gladiator sandals
  •  Knee-high gladiators for long legs and ankle length for shorter legs
  • Also, wear chunkier styles with pants rather than dresses
  • Decide if you want flats or heels. T-strap looks great for flats!
  • When wearing knee-length or calf length, don't overdo the clothes and other accessories



Embellished Sandals
  • Evaluate your wardrobe before deciding which pair to purchase
  • If your wardrobe leans to the casual side, you can go for heavy, colorful embellishment
  • If you wear a lot of dressy pieces, go for neutral solid color
  • Embellished flip flops are a more casual alternative that you can consider
  • If you don't want to spend big bucks, buy some beads/studs/stones and do your own DIY!




Embellished Pumps
  • Perfect for a night out where you sparkle in your best
  • Go for quality and make sure the embellishments don't fall off! 
  • Subtle colors with delicate embellishments are your best bet
  • A six inch heel + striking color might be a little too much sometimes, so opt for a shorter heel when going for bolder patterns



Arture - By Shivani Patel

Meet Shivani Patel, an accessories designer from Chennai and founder of Lemon Drop Design Solutions. At a very young age she developed an interest for making little bags, pouches and gifts for friends and family, by picking up scraps of leather from her father’s factory, and soon enough that led her to take up an accessory design course from NIFT, with specialization in footwear and leather goods. Soon after college, she wanted to design and so she started making wallets and handbags under the brand name “Lemondrop”, and started offering design services to other brands.

Tell us more about Arture and how did you come across Cork?
When I was done with my course and I was free for a few months, I took the time to completely redecorate my boring white room. I painted in earthy colors and murals, made some shelves for the wall with some old plywood that was lying around, and even decided to work on a pin-up board for myself. That's when I started looking for cork to use. I sourced cork sheets locally and they really intrigued me. I  thought about the idea of using them in products but I knew it wouldn't work as the cork I found here was rubberized and very thick.

I had always thought of the idea of starting an all-natural, Eco-brand, but I didn't find anything that felt right. When I researched and learned about the properties of cork, and the benefits of using it, I didn't need to think any more. I just needed to find the right supplier.
In 2014, I was in HongKong for a materials fair, and that's when I found what I had been looking for. I then sourced samples from various parts of the world and did not settle until I was 100% happy with the quality of the cork. I finally decided one supplier that had the perfect material for me.


Do you do the designing and manufacturing by yourself?
I design myself, as well as handle the business side of things. I work alone with a very skilled technician, who helps bring my designs to life. He also looks after the production and quality aspects.

Entrepreneurship at a young age, what were your struggles if any?
Dealing with fear is the tough part. When things get a little rocky, fear creeps in. And you've got to learn that fear is the enemy. On days that I get scared, I need to take a step back, relax, and remind myself of why I do what I do. And then I'm back :)


What/Who is your inspiration?
My parents mainly. My dad is the reason I got into this field. He ran an export company which is very different from what I do, but it did make me develop an inclination towards this field. I decided to take up design, and they supported that decision. My mom has an inherent sense of style that comes to her naturally, and I like to believe that's where I get my design aesthetic from :)
Other than that, on a completely non-design side, Audrey Hepburn is my constant source of inspiration, and I am a big Seth Godin fan.



Your favorite brands for accessories?
Brands like Bellroy and Nuvo really inspire me. I love the character that the brands have. It resonates across their products, their website design, everywhere. I love that they constantly stick to their brand voice, and simultaneously create beautiful, meaningful products. That's the kind of brand Arture aspires to be.

Future plans for yourself and your brand?
I want Arture to become all that it is capable of being. And cork is just a starting point. It just so happened that I stumbled upon cork and loved it. But Arture is about nature. So we are constantly going to be on the look out for any materials that are natural and innovative.
 
Arture crowd-funding campaign is now live! You can check out the products and the story behind Arture here.

HappyCheckout.in for Happy Online shopping

Slowly but surely I am turning into an avid online shopper. Although I have been shopping online for quite a while now, initially I refrained from buying stuff like shoes and jeans online because, I still preferred going to the store and trying them out before deciding to swipe my card. But the crowds at shopping malls, the never ending queue at the trial rooms and dragging my legs out of exhaustion after a whole day of standing and walking is not how I prefer to spend my weekends! Another big bonus of online shopping is definitely the discounts that you can avail and get your favorite products delivered right to your doorstep at a much more reasonable price than the original!

HappyCheckout is one such website that's your one stop solution for exclusive, verified coupon codes. There are a large number of websites that claim to provide discount coupons but how many of them provide genuine coupons that actually work? The frustration at not finding such sites that add actual value to the shopper's intent was what made this team of online shoppers start HappyCheckout.

Just as the names says, the main intent here is to make your checkout process happy and hassle free! All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

1. Open happycheckout.in and search for your choice of shopping site or simply click on the popular ones available in the list given.

2. Browse through the coupons available for the website and click on 'reveal code' for accessing the coupon.

3. You'll automatically be directed to the website where you can browse and shop to your heart's content!

4. Copy the code from happycheckout.in and enter it in the checkout page and apply the coupon!

They offer coupons not just for purchasing from fashion retail sites like Jabong, Myntra, Yepme, Zovi but also travel websites like Make my Trip and Redbus, and food like Dominos and KFC. It's really that simple! I for one, am pretty excited to be using this for all my future shopping hauls!





How to: Wear a red shirt in 5 ways

As I sit at my desk today to pen down a post, it feels as if I am coming back home after a very long vacation. Life has taken a drastic turn over the past month and I am still trying to get my feet back on the ground!

For a change blogging had taken a back seat while I focused on other important matters of my life. You know those phases where priorities just take over, and you really don't want to spend too much time coming up with creative outfits to wear? That's usually when I tend to live in the same clothes day after day, the comfiest, softest ones that are just so familiar to touch and feel. But, there's no reason to dress the same way even if you are wearing the same clothes everyday!



 Color block it with a skirt! 

Red and royal blue has somehow become my go-to combination. I love the visual contrast they provide and how they perfectly complement each other. Although it might seem a little too festive (think 4th of July) or cartoon-ish (think superman), when the right shades are paired in the right way and with the right kind of accessories it's a visual treat!

Skirt: oasap.com | Shoes: SteveMadden 
Clutch: Newlook via koovs.com


The classic tucked in look!

There is something about tucking in a shirt into you favorite pair of skinny jeans that gives it a very business like, no nonsense feel. Black and red are a classic color combo that never fails, be it for business or pleasure! 

Jeans: Levis | Bag: stalkbuylove.com |
Shoes: Dorothy perkins via jabong.com 













The I-shall-laze-around-home-with-a-book-all-day look!

Whether you love them or hate them looks like overalls are here to stay. They are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing and if paired correctly you can very much look like a grown up in them! You can wear them with crop tops, tank tops, simple tshirts or a bright red shirt!

Overalls: Levis | Shoes: forever21.com












Tie it around your waist

This is the easiest, simplest trend that evokes an effortlessly cool vibe. Also, your shirt is always in a handy place if you suddenly need to throw it on to keep warm. If you are wearing a loose top, trying a button down shirt around your waist will automatically balance it out to create an hour-glass figure. And adding a bright colored shirt to a basic blue jeans - white tee combo adds color and a spark of interest to your outfit!


Jeans: Levis | Tshirt: c/o cupcakesandcloset.com

Shoes: forever21.com









Wear it over a fancy dress

 The best way to tone down a fancy dress and wear it in a more causal setting is to add a cardigan or a shirt. Adding a button down shirt over a dress makes it possible to wear it anywhere during the day time. This is also the easiest way to wear all your summer dresses during chilly weather. A sling bag and a pair of heels will complete your look!

Dress: Gifted | Bag: oasap.com | Shoes: jabong.com

Desi Girl

Every once in a while I tend to come back to my Indian roots and desi dressing. In fact I would say it's quite often! As much as I enjoy the comfort of a jeans and a tshirt or the feminine and flirty look of a lace dress, I would always always say that there is nothing as elegant and graceful as Indian wear. More than half the Indian population still dresses in a traditional attire so I never understand why as fashion bloggers we rarely feature Indian clothes on our blogs. As an Indian fashion blogger, I make it a point to include Indian wear as part of every day dressing and not just as festive wear or special occasion wear as most project it to be. Having grown up in a comparatively conservative city like Hyderabad, all of my college years were spent in churidars. My working years too were mostly in Indian formals, as that was the most obvious choice for the sweltering heat in the city!

When online shopping became a buzz a few years back, the options for western wear and International brands kept multiplying and soon you didn't have to look beyond your laptop to have the latest trends and styles delivered to your doorstep. Up until then I was still going to my favorite local shops, buying vibrant prints of materials, mixing and matching prints, designing my own kurtas and blouses and trusting my local tailor to deliver the best stitched suits for everyday wear and festive wear. But with the new surge of online shopping sites for Indian wear that stock up on every kind of design, shopping for Indian wear has taken a whole new direction. Whether you are living abroad or living in India, getting your hands on sarees, lehengas and kurtas has never been easier. One such website that offers a great selection of designs along with customization options is CBazaar.

For this particular look, I wanted to play with different Indian accents that could be worn on an everyday basis. White is always an artist's favorite color as it provides the perfect canvas to throw on splashes of color. Bandhani (tie-dye) dupattas need no introduction at all. The crinkled fabrics with vivid dramatic colors come in so many playful patterns. There is a whole lot of meticulous process involved in creating them and each pattern has a given name and is usually worn for a specific occasion. I had picked this pair of mojaris while street shopping in Pune, and although this is the first instance that I am wearing them I already have tons of ideas for remixing them with both Indian and Western wear. Finished my look with a pair of sliver jhumkas, a few bangles and a printed cloth bag for an evening spent walking around stalls, satiating my visual appetite and getting inspired with all the crafts, colors and designs around me.

So the next time you reach out to wear your pencil skirt or your skinny jeans, give it a miss at least once in a while and instead go the desi route. Don't restrict yourself to wearing it only for festivals or weddings. We have a riot of colorful options that can look just as classy and trendy as a western outfit, so go exploit them to the fullest and be proud of wearing Indian attire! And in case you need a serious wardrobe update, don't forget to check out Cbazaar for their various options!


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Dress: Stitched by local tailor | Bag: Shilparamam | Earrings and Mojaris: FC road Pune

Photography: Divya Medikonda

Valentine who?

Valentine's day has successfully made the transition from being just a 'day' to a full fledged festival. Love it or hate it, you simply can't ignore it. While hindutva groups try to 'preserve' our Indian culture by  trying to squish out this dangerous festival-that-must-not-be-named (because it has been adopted from western culture you-know-where), their purpose is more or less lost in the ensuing chaos. Those who celebrate it still go on celebrating, those who have the "why have only one day to celebrate love?" attitude take the high road, while those who are making money out of this entire fiasco are having a jolly good laugh while jingling their money bags. So really, what is it that we are trying to achieve here?

Some debates are never ending. I like to pick and choose my battles and I don't see any good coming out of fighting for it or fighting against it. In the end, celebrating (or not) is as much a personal choice as celebrating your birthday. So, being a fashion blogger, I did the next best thing that I could do, which is to style a couple of Valentine's Day looks for you guys. The hot debate here is always whether wearing red has become too passé or if it's still fashionable to be decked in hearts and reds. I would say wear whatever the hell you want. Fashion has no rules, and if black is your thing, by all means go ahead and rock that!


 Look 1
Black is usually my answer to all my outfit dilemmas, but even I couldn't escape the mushiness in the air and I gave in to wearing my heart on my sleeve (body? torso?) for this one day. I received the cutest heart print blouse from oasap.com which was perfect for pairing over my favorite burgundy jeans. I din't go all out 'red' but decided to stick to shades of it, and of course added my favorite pair of sparkly heels. This is really a fuss free, easy, day time look that doesn't require too much planning or thought. 

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Look 2
For the second look, I still wanted to keep it simple yet dressy. Maxi skirts shall remain my absolute favorite for a long time to come. I layered a couple of gold necklaces over a crop top for a subtle dressy look. The soft and flow-y fabric of the skirt gives it a very feminine feel and although my plans for this Valentine's day involve eating cupcakes and spending the weekend catching up on my reading, this is something that I would definitely wear for an early dinner!

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Look 1 { Jeans: Kraus | Top: oasap.com (buy here) | Shoes: Dorothy Perkinds via jabong.com }
Look 2 { Skirt: oasap (buy here) | Necklace: oasap (buy here), Top: forever21 | Clutch: NewLook via koovs.com | Shoes: jabong.com }