Posts from the “Simplify” Category

An Ode to the Old Favourties

Posted on April 22, 2017

” Oh this old thing ? They are finally getting broken in. Aren’t they gorgeous? “

Rescued by shoe polish every week. I can get 100 more wears out of them.

Its difficult to convey in words as to why I find worn in clothing beautiful. Been trying to write it down but can’t seem to succeed. There is a familiarity. There is a warmth. There is a sense of loyalty. There is a quality of earthiness to it. The way you look at the bark of the tree and don’t complain about the scratches on wood. When they say “Valar Morghulis” (all men must die) in Game Of Thronesthere is a sense of siege the moment and accept the inevitable in those words. The sense of comradeship in the reply Valar Dohaeris ( all men must serve ) is most apt. I also see it as an antidote to the youth obsessed culture of apologizing for every pimple and calling out on every wrinkle.

Spring Cleaning : A Wardrobe Audit

Posted on March 4, 2017

I am a habitual auditor. Not because I find it exciting. But out of necessity. If I made a not so wise decision in the past, I don’t want to be anchored to the mistake. In my book, periodically auditing habits, finances, diet, exercise plans, reading list, facebook friends, instagram follows, blog subscriptions, bad books, shoes, … is good exercise. Spring cleaning a closet isn’t an excuse to throw out stuff that is old and look for potential upgrades but to evaluate its current contents. I wont ask myself if I own the right version of am item. I refuse to slip into the loop of cull and buy. But I will take measures to make the most out of what I already own.

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My closet audits usually reveal my mistakes. I would have bought more than needed. And I cant let stuff sit there and gather dust. This year, its different. I had to let go of things because they are worn out or no longer fit. I have to do this exercise twice a year. Partly because it gets messy in there. I would like to blame the cat, but my laziness has a lot to do with it. I like to wipe it down and re-organize everything. Seeing all the beautiful things I own and touching the wonderful fabrics kills the desire to add more. It also gives me a chance to evaluate the current state of affairs. My process :

0. Start with the Body

Winter messes with my routine. Its cold out. I don’t exercise but eat hearty food.  By the end of it, I became skinny fat – the condition where I stay the same clothing size but have a body with declined muscle tone and higher fat percentage. I am currently not fit enough to hike all the trails we have bookmarked for Spring. We are attempting a 20 mile backpacking trip to a remote hot spring in Big Sur, California. I need to clean up my body first. Things I am doing :

Been doing some yoga, 4 times a week. Will add a HITT workout in the form of uphill bike rides this month.

Start the day with a shot of apple cider vinegar. Been drinking green tea and increased my intake of greens.

I tried switching to brown rice but I could not palette it. Been replacing the starches in a few meals with steamed sweet potatoes.

Body brushing.

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1. Closet : Think before addition. Think before subtraction

Its a new season. I dont know how they come up with these stats but rumor has it that 6 tons of clothing gets thrown out every 10 minutes. What ! Hoarding unused stuff is not good either. I don’t know if I can put this across without being a hypocrite. But let the cleaning session be a chance to mend and make do. Let it be a chance to revel in good choices already made.

Set an Intention : Zero Waste

Posted on January 13, 2017

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*current view from our backyard

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I am in India. Eye surgeries finally done and am in the recovery period ! Even with my swollen red eyes, I can see piles and piles of rubbish everywhere. As I write this, my neighborhood is burning its trash next to our home. The smell of burnt plastic is sickening. Its not just in my country. America hides its landfills well until you go real-estate hunting. Prices are cheaper when you get closer to one. And its the same sad story. Piles of discarded crap polluting the planet for the next generations – our inheritance to them. Its quite shameful.

The List : 2017

Posted on January 1, 2017

2017

Illustrator Extraordinaire : The Fashion Donkey 

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  1. Go Zero-waste. No more excuses.
  2. Gather the courage to post some outfit pictures.
  3. Get Artificial Intelligence to write a blog post for me.
  4. Create a blog post that uses data that I crawled for and analyzed in the realm of fashion. ( Like FiveThirtyEight does for politics. )
  5. Make my mother’s cookbook a master piece.
  6. Plant and grow 5 house plants.
  7. Limit meat consumption to one day a week.
  8. Aggressively save up for our next home.
  9. Inspire a 100 people to consume less.
  10. Apply for work authorization ( I lost mine in December 2016 #immigrantProblems) and find another job once I am back in America. Preferably in a tech start-up.

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I don’t have a big list this year. But each one is a big deal. Make a few goals and achieving them is preferable to getting my feet wet in a lot of to-do’s. A TIP : Monica, whom I met through this blog gave me some wonderful advice. She has her list written on a piece of paper in her handbag. She reads it frequently and its helped. She kept me on my toes by periodically asking me (via email) about my progress. Thank you for that !

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Blog goals / Mission Statement :

I want to write about my closet building stories that go beyond “go to Store XYZ and buy”.  A blog post for each building block/basic. Items I have that lasted over 2+ years and stand the test of quality – need to be talked about. Also, I have a new take on fast fashion.  :

There is no fast fashion. Just accelerated consumption. The way to combat drain of resources is not by buying to my heart’s content from Stella McCartney (who makes everything in the most ethical manner possible and with expert tailoring techniques learnt from Saville Row). But by not buying so much.

I bought everything from Zara in the past with the intention of using them sparsely. Once I changed that intention, quality and good design became paramount. I conquered that huddle. Next item on my list to master is to condition my mind to want less. I will continue to catalog my purchases. I will talk about slow fashion. I will talk about personal style without pushing products on to you. Fashion is a craft and style is very personal. Its very sacred in some sense and I dislike the strong association with shopping that came out of it all. We call marketing gurus : internet influencers. We cant recognize ads anymore because its cleverly interlaced in content.( TIP : Just count the affiliate links per post on items not owned/purchased by the blogger.) How did we get here ? Every year, my reading material shrinks after I loose a few favorites to internet fame. I want to write the blog that I would like to read. One that celebrates the craft, love of clothes, very personal : personal style and can demarcate shopping/consumption from this equation.

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Will anyone cheer me on (just a little), if I gather the courage to post some outfit pictures ? Do point it out to me if I get too preachy on this blog. Do hold me accountable if I start pushing products on to you. Anything you want to see on this blog, do leave a suggestion. Anyone else trying to go zero-waste ? If you have a list that you made for 2017 that you would like to share, please do. Happy New Year !

Declutter for a purpose : Aleppo

Posted on December 24, 2016

“How did the world let this happen? “

This was the question I asked myself after I learnt about what happened in Auschwitz. I later got to know that the world didn’t know. We were trying to stop Hilter’s invasion but discovered the concentration camps during liberation. Today, we know about Syria. We get live tweets. We hear survivor stories. Reporters are risking their lives to get us the news. Doctors are working from bunkers. Refugees are a political issue, not human beings …. I dont know whats the right thing to do. But not doing something almost feels immoral. In my lifetime, there have been a few terrible wars that I was aware of. Sudan. Rwanda. Iraq. Gulf. India-Pakistan. But Syria invokes the same stomach churn and heartbreak that I experienced when I visited the concentration camps in Germany. What can I do ?

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Simplify : Closet

Posted on December 17, 2016

More I think about simplicity, the more beauty I see in it all. More I travel, more I think of simplicity as a necessity for a healthy planet. This post is the last post of my simplify series. I will no longer incessantly talk about decluttering and downsizing. I hope to consume less and inspire by example than put out theoretical concepts. I reached THAT point. A few things worked for me and my closet :

1. Consume less

You need not give anyway everything you own. You do not even need to declutter. Need not only wear neutrals. Need not count things. Dont need to stop shopping for a year. Dont need to start a blog. The easiest way to simplify one’s life is by conditioning the mind to want less.

Gift Giving : How-Not-To ?

Posted on December 12, 2016

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I am in India and will be here for a month. I hope to use this time to get an eye surgery, travel a little, attend a 10 day wedding of my sisters, accelerate a few side projects that I have put off for a while and spend time with my family.

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On Gift Guides

I love figuring out what a loved one might need and the thought process that goes into it. I don’t consult any gift guides since I really know the people I would be gifting. In the event of my not knowing what to buy, I rather pick up the phone and have a good conversation to figure it out than buy generic products.

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The 2016 experiment

Over the last few years, we took some useless cheaply made stuff that nobody really needs. Unhealthy chemical concoctions from Bath and Body Works, cheaply made clothes made in Bangladeshi sweatshops, makeup kits, small leather bags with visible logos, sugar filled treats, … and what ever else is good when it comes to quantity over quality. This year, we are trying something new. We picked out things that we absolutely love and use in our home. The true tried and tested gems that we had to save up to buy for ourselves. Our