Friday, May 29, 2009

Padma Laxmi Is Hot (and Makes Hot Indo-Inspired Jewelry Too)

Padma Laxmi is hot. Like if-I-were-a-lesbian-I’d-do-her hot/if-I-could-look-like-any-celeb-I-choose-Padma hot. I have literally no idea how she stays so incredibly hot while constantly being surrounded by culinary feats by some of the best chefs in the world. (I would be at least 200 lbs fatter and 200 times less hot if I were in her shoes.) She is totally one of those people who I’d trade lives with in a heartbeat, who I’d actually pay money to trade lives with. (To all of you who say, “Oh, I would never trade places with anyone, I am just so thrilled to be me!”—you are lying.) Plus, it’s fab to have an Indian woman in mainstream American cultures for us ABCD’s (American Born Confused Desi) to look up to.

Her hotness and my obsession with it have nothing to do with the fact that she recently launched her own line of Indian-inspired jewelry. I am usually a skeptic of the random celebs who brands themselves into various products (think J.Lo Glow perfume). However, when I saw Padma’s ethnic gems I was in awe. Many of her pieces are inspired by food. The shape of beans, the shape of cardamons, the color of fresh greens all have a place in Padma’s designs. I started tearing out pages to mail to my mother-in-law in an anonymous manila envelope with the words “HINT! HINT!” written in bold, black sharpie.

If you know anything about Indians, you know that jewelry is a big, huge, bank-breaking deal. While I adore rummaging through my mom’s drawers and admiring diamond chandeliers at weddings, these pieces are just not practical for everyday life. Clearly I will appreciate and treasure any piece of jewelry my family and in-laws gift me on the wedding, but I totally agree with Padma’s sentiment; “As I traveled through my life, I gathered many baubles [NOTE: what the hell is a bauble? Perhaps she meant to say bubble?] and coveted those gifts passed on to me by my Indian family. My life in the West, America, and Europe, heavily influenced my tastes. I found that while I loved those pieces, I wanted more delicate, modern versions of them to wear with everything from jeans to gowns.”

I would wear any of her pieces with jeans, gowns, dresses, saris, or nothing at all (ok, bad joke, I’d never wear them sans ropa but you get the point).

What is your take on bridal jewels? Is it a waste of money or a family treasure to pass on to the next generation?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Branches, Blossoms, and Burgers

I got back to Houston late last night after a faboo week in DC. I lived in DC from 2005–2006 and that city will always have a special place in my heart. I can already see how the Obama’s youth and enthusiasm are permeating throughout the city. I read in People magazine that Michelle Obama recently ate at Good Stuff Eatery, the love-child creation from Spike of Top Chef, my fave show. Clearly, I had to go there. It was the best burger I’ve ever had in my life—hands down. Don’t miss the Obama burger with sweet grilled onions, crisp bacon, tart current jam, and feta cheese {pictured below}.

Seeking further inspiration from my time in the nations capital, there is nothing more romantic then flowering trees. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of the capital, but dogwood trees and magnolias are equally stunning. In a potted plant they make a great eco-friendly take-away for guests. They can be used to display place cards, to top the cake, or as d├ęcor for the entire room. I am picturing the Z Gallerie Moroccan lanterns, a few branches, and plenty of candles. I’ve always pictured branches and blossoms on my big day. After realizing their connection to a city I once called home, I will definitely find them a place.

{Image courtesy of ritzy bee blog} 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shame On You California

I feel guilty. I feel sad. I feel betrayed. Today California Supreme Court upheld proposition 8 banning same sex marriage rights in California. I feel guilty, sad, and betrayed.

I feel guilty because my community deems the love I share with my fiance is stronger than the love my gay friends share with their partners. I feel sad because although President Obama's election broke down barriers for some in our country, the fight for human rights in our country persists. I feel betrayed because a right that we were given was snatched away—by an ignorant minority.

Those who oppose gay marriage claim that gay marriage taints the sanctity of marriage. To those I say, what about adultery? Doesn’t adultery do a greater disservice to the sanctity of marriage? How about polygamy? Abuse? Incest? Statutory rape? 

Those who oppose gay marriage have strong beliefs in faith. I believe that God believes in freedom and God believes in love. I believe that freedom does not see colors, sexual orientation, or class. I believe that love is a human right. How can we as a nation say that we have changed and made progress when we are oppressing our community members rights to love and freedom?

I believe that the gay rights movement is the civil rights movement of our generation. I believe one day all men will be created equal and all men will be allowed to marry the one they choose and the one they love—regardless of sex.

{Visit the Courage Campaign's website to contribute and watch their moving video set to one of my favorite songs, Regina Spektor's Fidelity.}

Buh Bye Boutonnieres

{I'm still in DC recovering from a fun and fabulous weekend with my east coast girlfriends, my hubby-to-be, and his buddies. Back to Houston tomorrow!}

Indian grooms don't traditionally wear boutonnieres. However, with these original anti-flower designs from Fritts I'm certainly considering breaking tradition and having my boo don one of these adorable pseudo-boutonnieres. San Francisco-based (woo-hoo!) flower gal Erin Rosenow crafts these whimsy accoutrements, usually custom made.  

"guys...we know you don't all want to wear roses on your lapel. gals...we know that you want your men to express themselves. with that in mind, we created fritts rosenow bespoke boutonnieres with the intention of allowing men to display their personality. each boutonniere is created with the individual in mind."

From sci-fi chic to nautical themed, these pins will let our guests know that we are far from the average couple.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Casablanca Lanterns and Good Friends

I am in DC having a fabooboo time with my dear friend Ana-Maria Comsa Antonescu. Unfortunately, we have a bad internet connection and are out and about quite a bit, so I can't update as much as I would like. However, I must mention that it's so good to spend time with girlfriends, especially one who just went through a wedding herself. We've spent every night downing Sapphire and Tonics and having heart to hearts. I'll keep you posted on any Obama sightings.

So, as I previously mentioned, the traditional oh-so-common floral centerpieces cost about $60-$80 on average. I found these gorgeous Casablanca Lanterns from Z Gallerie for only ... wait for it ... $7.95 a piece! (Loud applause please.) They would make a perfect Persian-esque decoration paired with tea lights, colorful fabrics, flower petals, and surrounded by your loved ones. 

Check out this example below; it's so majestic, unique, and something your guests will remember well past the wedding day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paper Doll Cards = Adorable

I am stuck at the airport in Chicago on my way to DC visit my friend Ana. (Ana got married last summer at her very own fun and fabulous Big Fat Romanian Wedding and I was a bridesmaid! More on that later ... it was one of the best weddings I've ever been to.) Anyways, why am I SUCH a loser that I felt the need to pay $10 for 3 hours of internet?!

At least it was worth it because I stumbled upon these too-cute-for-words handmade paper doll cards. Made by kirakirahoshi on etsy, I would adore sending these to my peeps inviting them to the big day. Every doll is unique. While she may choose the same clothes, they each will have different hair and expressions, how sweet is that?! Plus, they are accurately decked out in an Indian sari and sherwani

Kirakirahoshi has a various assortment of other bridal dolls from kimonos to western wear. Though I don't have the artistic skill to make anything this fabulous, these dolls are total inspiration for a DIY project ... I'm just sayin'.

Unexpected Inspiration: Hoedown Style

I admit it; I am a San Francisco snob. Clearly, this presents profound issues in my life as I currently live in Houston, Texas. (Oh the things you’ll do for love!) I’m honest and frank about my snobbery and would not be caught dead with anything cowboy-esque on my big day. However, this past weekend in Austin, Texas I found some unexpected inspiration from the last place I would have expected.

My bro-in-law has an obsessive, borderline spiritual relationship with food. He’d painstakingly scoped out hot spots to chow down on our trip to Austin. The spot du jour was the Salt Lick—an Austin bbq institution. The second we walked in my sister said, “You know how fat people go to fat camps to lose weight—well, we’re are at the exact opposite type of place.” It was an all you can eat bbq extravaganza—ribs, brisket, links, bbq chicken, potato salad, beans, coleslaw, biscuits—the works. I am not even a fan of bbq but this was a spiritual experience. (I cannot even tell you how incredibly succulent and delicious those ribs were. If you ever find yourself in Austin … trust me.) From families downing home-brought coolers of beers to bbq lovers from every corner of the state, there was something oddly spectacular about the Salt Lick.

As we pulled away from the Salt Lick in a level of food comatose I had never before experienced, we saw a gorgeous and truly Texan couple getting married on the Salt Lick property. (The restaurant is situated 30 miles outside of Austin in a lush green farming area.) We were enthralled (as people usually are when they happen to stumble across a wedding). However, the beauty was in the simplicity. This couple clearly loved bbq, beer, line dancing, and community. It was an example of sticking to who you are and what you love (while giving the finger to pre-conceived wedding expectations and the wedding industry complex).

While I don’t anticipate getting down hoedown style on my big day, I do anticipate a day of community, simplicity, good food, and being true to us—that’s exactly what that beautifully truly Texan couple did at the Salt Lick.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Paper Flowers in Austin, TX

We went to visit my fave married couple (my sissy Zeena + her hubby Arjun) in Austin, Texas this past weekend. They were in town for a friend's wedding. I fell in love with Austin, it's just adorable. I love the indie, hip vibe of the city. Plus, there were so many gorgeous boutiques, stylish people, and eclectic cafes. 

I discovered this incredibly inspiring store specializing in independent design and home accessories called Finch in the 2nd street shopping district. They had these adorable tissue-paper flowers scattered around the store. I immediately thought these would be perfect for centerpieces on my big day. I am a huge advocate and fan of DIY (do-it-yourself) projects.

Here's a quick how-to on making these whimsical paper flowers:

1. Hunt in your yard for fallen twigs and branches
2. Collect tissue paper, newspaper, magazines, old wrapping paper, and various kinds of paper
3. Cut the twigs into the desired height of your floral arrangements
4. Cut circles, petals, amoebas, and any shape you desire for your flowers
5. Use a hole-punch (you can get hole punches in any and every shape at craft stores) to punch a hole in the center of your petals
5. Stack 3 to 5 petals on each twig and ... walla!

Clearly you can use your imagination and get incredibly creative with this basic blue-print. I'm thinking cherry-blossom type flowers, huge vases over-flowing with flowers in different colors, painted stems, who knows! Not only are these flowers eco-friendly, but they are also incredibly affordable. Considering the average centerpiece is $40-60, it's a great, personal way to save money and create something personal that guests will remember.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Inspiration Board: Dance India

A lot of bridey-boos have what I've learned to be "inspiration boards." These boards are a collage of pink flowers, bejeweled shoes, cake toppers, and a wide array of cheesy wedding nonsense. Clearly, I do not plan to have an inspiration board. (Minus the picture of  Scarlett Johansson I keep on the fridge to prevent myself from scarfing unnecessary pieces of brie cheese.) 

However, I stumbled across this gorgeous block print made by Shyama on and it completely sums up my inspiration for the big day (and life in general)a vintage postcard of the Taj Mahal, a scrap of newspaper in Hindi, daring reds, ethnic prints, and a glamourous couple dancing the night away. (Check out Shyama's amazing creations at

Look for inspiration in unconventional places, not bridal magazines, wedding shows, and what you think looks right ... I know I am

Indo-Western Flavor: Sabyasachi

Indo-Western Clothing: fusion of Indian and Western style; kurta tops (Indian-style blouses), dupattas (long Indian-printed scarves), jeans with cholis (sexy sari blouses)

I am part Indian, part Western—clearly I adore Indo-Western fashion. My fave Indian designer is Sabyasachi, a father of Indo-Western designs. His pieces are full of color, texture, depth and represent modern Indian women. Check out his magnificent website to see why I love him so much. The sari I wore to Zeen's wedding (see me on the far right of Champagne + Mojito = Good Toast post) is a Sabhyaschi design.

While I don't know what I will wear to the San Francisco wedding, I know that it won't be a white dress or a white sari. Hopefully it will be a gorgeous Indo-Western design.

No matter your culture or aesthetic, I am a huge advocate for incorporating other traditions into your wedding. Furthermore I am a huge advocate of going against tradition and wearing red, black, a kimono, a suit, a bikni or whatever screams you.  

In the meantime, check out Sabyasachi's gorgeous designs for some inspiration, I know they inspire me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Love Balloons

I had to share this gorgeous image of a balloon garland created by Tiara Mia. It's perfect for a couple who wants something more eco-friendly than floral gardens and who doesn't take themselves too seriously. If I was getting married outside (which unfortunately is basically impossible during summer in San Francisco) I would def steal this to die for idea. In the words of Tyra Bank's newest replacement word for fierce, it's "disgusting." I love.

Champagne + Mojito = Good Speech

My sister got married last summer. I was charged with delivering a wedding speech. I am not into public displays of mushiness or public speaking whatsoever. Knowing that the speeches are an integral part of the bride and groom's special day, I bit the bullet. (See below for what I came up with.) After three round of mojitos and two glasses of champagne, I built the liquid courage to deliver a fairly successful wedding speech.

When picking who will speak at our wedding, I think it will have to be people who know us, love us, and can keep it short and simple!

The Speech, July 12, 2008

Let’s be honest, Zeena and Arjun are a pretty good-looking couple. They are kinda like the Indian Barbie and Ken, like Bandu and Kapil. After all, Zeena is a Parsi girl in the Parsi world and Arjun is a Malu boy in his own Quicksilver world. However, there is a lot more to them then just hotness.

Zeena’s not only my elder sister, but also been my second mother. We affectingly refer to her as Zeena Mommy. Being the older, and negotiably wiser one, she has taught me some valuable life-long lessons.

1. Your big sisters clothes always look better on you. Even if you are five and she is ten. As long as you put them back, even if they are stained or have holes, she will never, ever know …

2. If your parents won’t get you a dog, use your little sister. Tie a rope around her two-year-old neck. Your mama will be scared the baby may choke and make you tie it around her belly. She will still allow you to treat her like a dog. Then, have her crawl around the house and bark loudly. Call yourself Tiffany and call her Fluffy.

3. Always go for boys who have older sisters. They are trained, groomed, and whipped into perfection.

4. When it comes to parents, as ghetto-fabulous and fresh off the boat as they are, two things: a. At the end of the day, their craziness stems from the crazy amount they love us, and obviously, we love them too, even though we’re obnoxious brats. b. And more importantly when it comes to dealing with Nev and Zar, UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.

5. Lastly, Zeen has taught me how incredibly lucky I am to have a sister. For all the brats who throw rocks at your sisters and pull their hair, in a few years, you’ll learn that friends stream in and out of your life, and your sister will always be your best friend. I mean, what’s the use of good news or juicy gossip if you don’t have a sister to share it with?

Although I’ve known Arjun for fewer years then I’ve known Zeena, he has taught me how to stick with the class. Arjun is a mix of laid-back base playing with a dash pharmaceutical brilliance—druggies, report to AJ after dinner. His love for heavy-metal once dragged Zeena to a live show in her pajamas and left her so tense she couldn’t walk the entire next day. Still, he made the cut, captured her heart, and taught me a few things along the way.

1. All things in life, from earth-shattering crisis’s to well-deserved celebrations, are best handled with good, warm, buttery food. Ice-cream wipes away tears, and beefy steaks keep the good times rolling.

2. The best way to spend hard-earned money is on food. There is no amount that is too much for a good dinner. Arjun taught my family this essential lesson after his first dinner out with us. My parents scrimped on the ordering and much to Zeena’s humiliation he went home to make himself a salami and cheese sandwich.

3. It’s not only men’s hearts that are found by way of the stomach—it was Zeena’s too. Arjun wooed Zeena with a four-course home-made full Indian dinner. It culminated with powdered-sugar crusted martini glasses of fresh berries. With that, Zeena was hooked, booked, and cooked.

4. All lessons in life can be summed during our weekly Monday night sessions watching MTV’s, The Hills.

On Life: Life’s tough. Get a helmet.

On Friendship: Best friends don’t yell at best friends.

On Marriage: I’m gonna give you half my money. All you gotta do is make my food and hang out with me. 

5. The last thing that Arjun has taught me is that there is no other boy who would fit into my family better, love my sister more, or who I would rather have as my first and only big brother.

So, I’d like to thank the both of them for being my role-models, fully furnishing my apartment, and being my favorite people to party with. Not only is Arjun there to spontaneously offer me directions when I often times find myself lost, but he is also there to keep my bridal princess sister sane, happy, loved, and off my ass. Congrats to Z and A. Now, please turn your head to the lovely ladies joining me on the terrace … oh, and please feel free to join in!

I was then joined by some brave family members and friends for a rousing rendition of UB40's Can't Help Falling in Love With You

Monday, May 11, 2009

What's Important: Elephants, Drinking, and Dancing

Elephants are important to me. I have no idea why but I've always had an affinity to them. I wouldn't be surprised if it has something to do with my curry-filled belly and large nose  ... 

I ADORE these invites for Inkylive on called The Darjeeling Wedding Invitation Set. I suggested them to my family members in India and they vetoed saying that everyone in India will think we chose them because we are fat like elephants. (Seriously, they really think like that in the motherland.) For my invites I plan to design them myself with the help of our close family friend Shiraaz (an incredible artist). I'll keep you posted on that project ...

My wedding—or “circus” as I fondly call it—has already taken on a life of its own. With parents around the world trying to pick out my outfit and aunties putting their two cents in about venues, I already feel like my head is being put through the masala grinder. I’ve decided to sit back, relax, and just pay attention to the things that are important:

My Boo: Clearly.

Food: I love food. I will make sure there are juicy kabobs, warm garlic naans, delicious biryani, and generally fantabulous Indian food at my wedding.

Drinking: I’ve been known to throw back a vodka soda (or two or three) in my day. I want the champagne and tequila to be flowing like the river Ganges.

Dancing: I’ve also been known to drop it like it’s hot on the dance floor. I want the aunties in their saris and the men in their tuxes to get down and crazy to Like A Prayer, Don’t Stop Believing, and Blame it on the Alcohol. 

Family & Friends: More important than the food, drinking, and dancing, is doing it all with my family and friends. A wedding is the one time in your life when everyone you love is in the same room. That and only that is the most critical reason to even have a wedding (and the only reason I am not eloping in the Maldives).

Clearly I am not going to walk down the aisle to Mozart in B or Beethoven’s XVI symphony (so not me). I’ve been asking around facebook, the office, and friends in general for a song to walk down the aisle to. Some suggestions are:

  • Make Love in this Club
  • Too Drunk to Fuck
  • Like a Virgin
  • Boom Boom Pow

Suggestions? Comments? Any ideas for my big walk of love?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

That's baby me on my mom's lap, my sissy Zeena, Danoosh (!) on his sister's lap, and his mom in green. I'm thinking about making a virtual save-the-date with this image. How awesome is it to have a picture of me and my hubby to be at just a few months old?!

With a mother in Italy and a mother-in-law in India, our Mother's Day brunch celebration consisted of Cherrios and Folgers Instant Coffee. I told the hubby-to-be (Danoosh) that he should take me out to celebrate today as I am his future baby's mama! He said, "that's ridiculous."

I think a great way to make our wedding day more meaningful will be to incorporate things from our parent's wedding into ours. My mom was a gorgeous (and 102lbs!!) bride at the bright young age of 21 years old. Damn. I feel young at 26 going on 27.

Some of the things I plan to do to at our wedding to keep our parents an integral part of our special day are:
1. Incorporating pictures of them during their wedding into our decorations.
2. I am wearing the same necklace that my mother wore on her wedding day.
3. I am going to try and buy a sari that mirrors my mother's wedding sari.

I plan to wear a white sari to the wedding in Bombay. Finding one is the tough part. Let the search begin ... Here are some amazing sari's my mom's friend Kamal found for me at India Textiles at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay: 

(This gold one reminds me exactly of the one my mom wore.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

My BIG FAT Indian Wedding

Late on valentines day eve after a round (or two) of dirty martinis and a tummy full of bread pudding, my boyfriend took me for a drive and handed me the most gorgeous diamond ring I’ve ever seen. Shocked, overwhelmed, and blissfully filled with love, I said yes.

Fast-forward three months and here I am planning a BIG
fat Indian wedding. Let me elaborate:

Big: Two weddings, multiple events, and countless guests spanning over a four month period
Fat: One with 700-800 guests, another with around 300 guests. (!?!?)
Indian: He’s FTML (from the motherland). Therefore one wedding will be in India, one will be in San Francisco.

Clearly I am beyond excited but also a bit anxious. Most of all I am pretty stoked that I found a guy who can:
a. put up with me
b. likes to eat as much as I do
c. gets along like gin and tonic with my INSANE family
d. loves me just the way I am, not fatter, not skinnier, not smarter, not stupider. (or so he claims ...)

Always a sucker for all things beautiful, I've been scouring the web for inspiration from everything Indian, eye-catching, whimsical, and me. Whether it's a gorgeous sari, a unique centerpiece, or just a random breathtaking image, some things so enchanting that they just beg to be shared. That's why I've created this space to share them with everyone I love.