Posts from the “Simplify” Category


Posted on July 7, 2018


[ Sustainability feels like a hopeless cause that can only result in heart ache. But poetry gives me hope. This artist found his paradise by planting trees.  ]

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He never went into academia like his peers or worked for an enterprise. He ferociously maintained his independence to do what he wanted to do. He didn’t come from money. To make ends meet, he cut his own hair. Dressed out of Salvation army in old army clothes since his childhood. Lived the simplest life to achieve his goals. Shunned excessive consumption. Shunned sacrificing sustainability for the sake of convenience. Said that folks who support war and pollution have no reverence to life. Donated his prize money towards anti-war efforts. “I never wanted a domestic life. I didn’t need a lot of money. ….. I had a different set of examples in mind. I thought of the poets and the composers before the 20th century, who never thought that they were going to have any money. So I thought to myself … well this is what I want to do and I will do it anyways.” Used his life’s savings to start a conservatory. Moved and bought a piece of deforested waste land. Started plating native trees but found that the land was too damaged to grow them. He planted the trees required to re-build the soil and the ones that change the micro-climate. Built the forest canopy first and then planted the trees that grow under it. Found his heaven. This is how my kind of style icons dress – in old clothes and in blue.


His mind and his work.

I am not in a stage of my life where I can follow his footsteps. But here are things I can do :

  1. I wanted to plant 10 trees this year. I hit the goal. 100 is my new target. I am at 38. Inside our home, outside our home, indoor plants gifted to friends, outdoor plant cuttings potted in family yards, any empty public land, our street, your street, buying carbon offsets, …. all of it is fair game.
  2. I have gone on a shopping fast since June 1st. I want to keep it a quiet long affair.
  3. I have gone as zero waste as I can. Any more, comes at the expense of my productivity and social life. I am doing my best. The rest, I plan to tackle on a different platform. Lot of our ocean plastic pollution comes from Asian rivers. Making a donation to a grass root organization in India would help. ( Haven’t figured out a specifics yet.  )
  4. Compost. It’s super food for plants. It keeps our land healthy.
  5. Save up to go solar and off the grid. I opened a seperate savings account.
  6. Keep blogging. It won’t change the world or solve world problems but it has changed me and kept me in check. Baby steps till I am ready for the leaps.

Spring Cleaning

Posted on March 24, 2018

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This year, I have nothing to declutter. A deep clean done. A zero waste check list half conquered. A closet that has been declared built. A personal uniform adopted. 3 years since I gave up fast fashion and synthetic fabrics. A 90% plastic free home. What next ? I never addressed the way I consume content online. I am an introvert by nature and have been feeling the brunt of information overload. An detox might be beneficial. I could never stay away in the past. So, wrote a little snippet of python script to enforce it. Aiming for a week’s worth black out. Longer if I can keep going. (That includes this blog too.) See you in a bit.

While I am gone, check out some good podcasts :

Waking up, Sam Harris ( My fav critical thinker )

Dan Carlin, Hardcore History ( Story telling at its finest. )

Quanta Magazine podcast ( For science. )

( Notable mentions : O’Reilly Data Show, Data Sceptic, Linear digressions and Talking Machines. ) 

Bloom and Grow Radio ( For green thumbs. )


On Being, with Krista Tippet ( For spiritual enquiry. )

White Noise : February Edition

Posted on February 25, 2018


On board of Falcon Heavy, one of the single most incredible launches I have seen in my lifetime. 

Artist of the month : Louis Faurer

Annie Hall’s personal style, deconstructed on Classiq. ( wonderful blog. )

Q : The three essential things a woman should know about style are…

A : How to look elegant by wearing something simple, how to look sexy without being naked, and how to look feminine wearing masculine-inspired outfits.

– Giorgia Tordini.

The great green wall of Africa.

The Aesthetic of Mending.

This Pinterest board on Alexa Chung.

This stripe top.

This home tour.

Meanwhile, in the land of chic woman ….

The joy of wearing out a piece of gear.

Blog Discovery of the month : VenusianGlow. My favorite articles :

A mission to create a stylish wardrobe. How I shop sustainablyLiving green. Tips for Earth day. Stop reading blogs that make you feel poor.

How to Dress Like a stereotype.

Youtube discovery : Grandma’s Recipes

I think women only start to really look like themselves after they turn 30. That’s when a girl first dares to be her own age, show her bare face, and not just dress for boyfriends or husbands. I’ve kept all the old photos of myself from the ’60s, but I can’t relate to them now at all. All that dressing up! And the eye makeup! We looked like Barbie dolls.

I found my uniform about 20 years ago, and it hasn’t changed since. To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than a simple cashmere jersey paired with boyfriend jeans or trousers. …..  I wear an old man’s smoking [tuxedo jacket] in the evenings, which, if you can get your hands on one, is definitely worth buying. You can wear it for years, even if it has holes.

– Jane Birkin, in an interview with Harpers Bazaar. 

100 wears : Lizzie writes an ode to the garments that have proven themselves to be valuable and useful.

TheLuxeStratergist’s 2017 shopping roundup. This is the sort of balance I look for : high quality garments, second hand purchases, no fast fashion, restraint and great taste. Well done lady ! You inspire me.

Finally, check out the agenda on Vogue Australia’s cover :


White Noise : January Edition

Posted on February 1, 2018

Fashion film of the month : Lacoste, Timeless. ( Max Richer did the music.)

Have you checked out the Covetan house yet ? 

The Endless Quest, on Put This On.

No Onion, you are wrong. I do spend time outdoors. Don’t you mock the trench coat ! Two possibilities : Onion is right ( it usually is ) and I am a fashion victim. Or I am an outlier. ( Its good for my ego to think the latter. )

Homo sapien fossils found in Morocco and Israel. This could help us understand our origins and migration patterns better.

 Ignore people’s advice, avoid tradition for tradition’s sake, and stop following recipes. A bountiful home garden helps, too.

– Erez Komarovsky, How to live life, Saveur Magazine.

This closet tour.

This last letter.

This blue fabric. 

This pinstripe wool short coat by Isabel Marant.

This graveyard for clothing.

Interview with Brandon Truaxe, founder of The Ordinary Skincare Brand :

Why did you get into the beauty business ?

….. I was horrified that in the lab, it was all about the scent, consistency, touch, sensorial experience, its not about the evidence ….. eventually, the role of the chemist reduces to meeting the requirements of the marketing team instead of inventing the next big thing …

( another reason we need better reviews of products. )

Cristóbal Balenciaga’s black.

(new) Blog discovery : Wear About, an Indian Street Style Blog. ( When living in India, I took a lot of styles of dressing for granted. I called them mundane/common place. This street style blog presents Indian fashion to me with a fresh pair of eyes. It makes me nostalgic. It makes me miss traveling in India. It makes me miss the textiles that I once had access to. I am amazed at the diversity from each state. I am amazed by the way the West meets the East in some of the northern states. That is something I have been meaning to achieve. To make both the cultures represent and meet in my closet. There is plenty of inspiration for me. The blog has interviews with my kind of designers. I am counting on this blog to be a window into letting me explore Indian fashion and style. )


Please excuse me while I take a break from talking about myself, clothes and style. I over did it in 2017 and am turned off by it all. I want to write about other matters that are dear to me. Zero waste. Food. Travel. Or nothing at all. If you don’t want to see these other essays, do check back in Spring.

White Noise : December Edition

Posted on December 29, 2017


Margaret Hamilton, Ex-Director of Software Engineering, NASA’s Apollo Science Program. She wears her shift dress with style. 

On Aging Gracefully.

Should the 800$ t-shirt get criticized for its pricing ?

Please read : Old Money and Style.

A guide to vintage shopping in London. 

This Pinterest board on Personal Style.

This studio apartment tour. (video)

Chanel Cruise collection ft Liu Wen (video).

Casey Neistat’s guide to life ( video ).

Lessons in photography by Walker Evans. 

I am eagerly awaiting this movie. Dear India, please don’t let them bully you into silencing the artists and banning movies.

At the heart of materialism sits the love of things, while consumerism is the neurotic love of purchasing things. Where materialists derive joy from owning and using products, consumerists compulsively buy stuff they don’t truly value or need because consumption unleashes an addictive dopamine hit in the brain. That satisfaction, however, is short lived because it fades shortly after the purchase is made — hence why so many of us are swept over by feelings of buyer’s remorse. The acquired product itself is secondary to the act of buying it. Denniss argues that materialism is less contemptible than consumerism because people who genuinely love their belongings will use them, take care of them and repair them rather than simply replacing them once they lose their sheen.

– Source.

Blog discovery of the month : Rose N Crown

Should a lifestyle blog be centered around beautiful things or beautiful moments ? Do we need beautiful things to have beautiful moments ? Can snapshots stolen from a passing day be beautiful ? ( Yes, No, Yes.) All those children at play makes me happy. All those adults running through the trees makes me happy.

This sweater sold by Nat Geo.

CH: “People keep asking me if I’ve ever been in a situation where I felt sexually threatened, and when I’m like, ‘honestly, no,’ they say, ‘Well, that’s because your personality is so strong.’ And that’s such an unfair thing to say to women. It’s not because I have a strong personality. It’s just because I’ve been lucky. People with strong personalities get sexually harassed all the time. That has no place in our conversation.’

AC: “It also implies that women who have spoken out were more vulnerable and therefore they were more targeted. That’s not cool.”

This conversation between Alexa Chung and Chelesea Handler.

This tote bag !

So, there is this stripe top …

Closet tour of Mari Giudicelli

Alice in Paris. ( Fantastic food show ! Each episode is 2 minutes long).

#what-about-ism : The disease where people scream “What-about-<insert some tangential problem>” every time we talk about a specific problem to circumvent the real issue.

This article on Fast Fashion/Fast Consumption.


#meToo : Thank you to the women who spoke up. Your courage has been contagious. Thank you to all the men and the women who have been supporting the victims. Good choice TIME Magazine !

Question of the Year :

If I wrote/published a big fat book on Personal Style, would you be interested ?

And Finally :

To Universe With Love

Happy New Year !! 

– Archana & Harsha.

Gift Guide : Books on Simplicity

Posted on December 8, 2017

Good Books on Minimalism

He said :

“You read an excessive number of books on minimalism. What an oxymoron ! ”

She said.

“There is a certain kind of music that helps you deeply experience the silence.”

We, the humans, try to simplify for different reasons. We care about the environment. We live in tiny spaces. We are allergic to clutter. We choose quality over quantity. We don’t want to participate in the game of consumption. We found equilibrium and peace. We found happiness elsewhere. Yoga. Community negated the need to look for happiness in things. We want to be frugal. We are saving up for a better life. We are preparing for a calamity/war. We have been through a recession. We want more discipline  …. For what ever reason, I will always argue that there is a lot to be gained from this school of thought. Books about minimalism needn’t be a discourse on our relationship with things. It can be a philosophy on living that eventually leads to minimalism. That kind of wisdom is a more fool proof than a decluttering methodology. Those are the kinds of book I adore.  If I were to design a curriculum, it would look like this :

Simplify – Year 2, Reflections

Posted on December 1, 2017

( Forgive my blurry photos. I forgot to pack my tripod. )

 OOTD : Navy cashmere Sweater – Everlane. Leggings – J. Brand. Boots – Churchs.

Currently Listening : The Waking up Podcast, Sam Harris 

To the Moon and Back :

A few scientists in the Silicon Valley believe that in our lifetime, we, the common folk can visit a neighboring planet or a satellite. While I talk about sustainability on Earth, they talk of colonizing/inhabiting other planets as the future of mankind. Space travel should be something I can put on my bucket list and realistically save money for, they tell me. “Earth is so beautiful, why should I bother”, I ask. “Don’t be that person who refuses to travel outside your country out of some tribal sense of pride. To be curious, to experience, to explore, to invent, to collaborate and to create, is our learning pathway”, I get told. I got a taste of what its like to live in a NASA photograph while camping out at Joshua Tree National Park. The millions of stars visible to the naked eye, the big rocks, the topography, the cold nights, the vast emptiness …. A night at the Indian Cove Campground felt like a visit to the outer space. Nothing could have prepared me for it. No photograph nor my words can capture what can be experienced. I could really see the milky way !!! We lit a fire under the rocks and ate supper staring at the sky. We tried to stay awake and stare at the moon window of our tent for as long as possible. If you fall asleep, its gone and you got to wait another day to experience it again. The daytime is a different reality – dust, sand, wind, cactus, rocks & the sun. Please go if you can !

 Left : You get your own little cave under the rocks. A camp fire never felt this primitive and raw. 
Right : The stars visible from the moon window on top of our tent. Lay in silence and stare till you fall asleep. 


It gets easier.

Simplify – Year 1, reflections.

I am thankful that I am not a refugee with no home & no future prospects. I am living a normal happy life. I am an immigrant. The news hints at how quickly the status quo can change given the times we live in. I am very thankful for the circumstances, ideologies and the nations that make it safe for me.

“What do you have enough of?” My answer would be really really long. I bought and bought over the years … and ran out of things I need. The FOMO is subsiding and I am okay with not collecting backups. I like what I own very much and there is only so much I can use+appreciate. I am okay with admiring beautiful garments I see in stores/runway and walk away with one thought – “isn’t it stunning?”. I need not attach the lines “I need it” to every item I find attractive.