Bardot

 

 

Bardot 1

 

Bardot

 

A Brigitte Bardot Hair Moment. Wearing Dolce and Gabbana Corset and Pants. Photographed by Marlena Bielinska in NY.

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In Honor of Oscar…

 

Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, passed away last week at the age of 104.  His curvaceous and eloquent forms gave rise to Brasilia’s modernist architecture.  Niemeyer has only one residential structure in the US which is located in Santa Monica, California.  Although this home lacks some of the curve appeal that he is famous for it’s modernist lines are classic Neimeyer and are part of the legacy he leaves behind.  The pictures of the Santa Monica Home shown here were originally published in the May 2005 issue of Architectural Digest.

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Classic Black

I have always loved wearing black especially when I lived in New York.  I suppose it made me feel a bit like Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffanys”.  Just like Holly Golightly, every well dressed New Yorker makes good use of this epic hue.  There is something so sophisticated and elegant about a woman dressed in classic black.  The sheerness of the skirt on this gown is a sexy twist.  Wearing a Shareen original gown.  Photographed by Studio 838.

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From India With Love

As Americans we share a diverse existence that is both unusual and beautiful. East Indian immigrants, my family settled in a small Amish town in the Mid West. There were no other minorities in town and we lived amidst buggies, horse drawn plows, and bonnets. As such, my mother’s cooking was the most significant connection to my culture. It was the one thing in our house that truly remained Indian.  Passed down from generations of Indian women with no written recipes, it felt like a direct link to my roots.

My mom, Olga, is an incredible cook and a supremely unique spirit. Effortlessly combining grace, kindness, and humor in everything she does, she’s just at home fixing an Indian feast for hundreds of people in our backyard as she is riding a John Deere lawn mower in her perfectly coiffed sari.  Our family loves to reminisce about the humor and beauty in the unexpected things she does.  Like the time she fell into a pond chasing dragonflies to help with my sister’s high school biology project.  And then there was the Christmas when we needed a tree and she went out chopped one down from our yard and drug it in by herself while we watched from the window.  She is the mother who sprinkles Indian Jasmines in her children’s beds at night. To know her is to love her.

I wish that I could invite each one of you to our home to experience my mom’s generosity of spirit and her wonderful food but in lieu of that I am happy to share one of her dishes with you.  This particular recipe for Mint Jasmine rice is one of her own creations.  It is not only delicious and elegant but it is also vegan, gluten free, and healthy.

There is nothing like smell or taste to bring back a memory.  There is nothing that makes me feel like home more than my mother’s cooking. To me it is the heart and essence of India.  Enjoy…

Mint rice

2 cups uncooked jasmine rice

3 cups water

1 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. canola oil (You can use any oil of your choosing)

1 or 2 Serrano chilies cut in half

1 cup chopped mint leaves

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root grated

1 tsp. salt more if needed

1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes cut into halves

1 cup lightly blanched sweet pea pods

1 medium carrot cut into small strips

3/4 cup raw peanuts with skins

2 tbsp. light corn syrup

1 tsp.  brown sugar

Wash rice and drain.  Combine rice and water.  According to your preference cook rice either in a cooker or on the stovetop. Rice should be fluffy not soft and mushy. While rice is cooking prepare the vegetables and seasonings.  Slice the cherry tomatoes and Serrano chilies in half.  Blanch the sweet pea pods.  Cut carrots in small strips.  Grate the ginger.  Finely chop the mint and cilantro.  When your prep work is finished and the rice is done cooking heat oil and butter in a large frying pan. Add chopped chilies and cook for 30 seconds. Add mint, cilantro and ginger. Fry for an additional 30 seconds. Then add cooked rice and salt to taste fry for 1 or 2 minutes. Add peas and carrots. Transfer the rice to a shallow serving bowl. Just before serving add tomatoes and caramelized peanuts

Caramelized peanuts

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  There are several ways to roast the peanuts you can do this according to your choosing.  You can roast them in the oven, microwave oven, or on the stove top.  I have chosen to use the oven.  Spread peanuts on baking sheet with foil and roast them in the oven until lightly roasted.  Remove peanuts from oven and drizzle with corn syrup and brown sugar. Place them back in the oven and bake for and an additional 6 to 8 minutes.

Love, Pratima

 

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Trousdale Estates

Whether it is clothing, movies, or architecture I am a lover of all things 60s. For the last two years I have been working on remodeling my home which was built in 1962. So I was particulary excited when the October issue of Architectural Digest featured the recent renovation of Steven Meisel’s stunning mid century home. Located in LA’s Trousdale Estates. Marmol Radziner and Associates were the firm behind the renovations. So, what decade inspires your lifestyle?

Love, Pratima

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The Avalon

The Avalon 4

 

I have always thought that fashion is the most personal art form.  What could be more personal than what you choose to wear.  There is also an ease to its expressiveness.  All it takes is one gorgeous gown to make you feel glamorous and these beauties do just that.  The designer is my incredibly talented friend Angel Lee.  She graciously styled and provided all the clothes you see here, including the hat.  I wish you could see her clothes in person.  The fabrics are so decadent and the construction is flawless.  Each gown has a built-in corset so lavishly done it could be worn on its own.  Each design is a piece of art.  These images were shot at the historic Avalon Hotel by the truly iconic Ash Gupta and his beloved crew at Studio 838.  Make up and hair by Carsen LaBella.

Love, Pratima

 

 

 

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Love, Pratima

 

One of the nicest compliments given to me came from a friend’s father, a Vietnam vet and Indiana farmer.  He looked at me very intently while chewing on a piece of straw and said, “I like you. You’re common folk.”  His words struck me in such a poignant ironic way.  I was the girl who would wear high heels and a party dress to a hay ride.  I wore head to toe traditional Indian clothing my first day of high school and was the Indian girl who became Miss Indiana.  Despite all of that, what he meant was that my soul still translated itself in a relatable way, even in the rural farmland of the American Midwest.  There is a simple truth to life that will lend itself to everything you do if you discover it.  Everyday I find my way through this uncommon life, finding the courage to be a commoner in queen’s clothes. May you be so lucky to do the same.
Love, Pratima

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