Updated usually on Mondays and/or Thursdays!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving, Giving Thanks

What better thought for this wonderful Thursday than giving thanks! Diana and I each came up with a list of 10 things we are especially thankful for this year. There are so many things besides the ones we have listed, but these have been on our hearts and minds. I hope this is just a source of inspiration and happiness to your day. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Spread the grace and love!

1) Music

I love music for the instruments I play for endless hours, the songs that I freely sing and dance to, and the sounds that give me chills as I meditate. Just writing about this waters my eyes. Anyway, you can quote Plato on this: 
"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."  
And you can quote me on this: 
"Music is a language; it perfectly speaks without verbal effort, and bridges our thoughts and emotions more perfectly than words ever can." 

  2006                                                                                                                         2016

2) Faith

I chose faith over Christianity, Jesus, or prayer because all those things are empty without faith. Faith is the most universal of them all, applicable to any religion. To me, faith is loving when I'm hurting, persisting when I'm weary, and asking to be filled again when empty. I would be lost without faith.

3) Friendships

Friendships are relationships. I'm thankful for all the precious, generous bonds I have with each of my friends. I'm so grateful to be molded and loved by you all. Special thank you to Diana for believing and inspiring me on the daily, Amanda for always loving and taking care of me even on the worst day I lived on this planet, and Tabitha for never failing to making me laugh when I feel like shit. You guys rock my world.

4) Privilege

I was born in America. I am the only child of a middle-class family. I've never had to skip a meal because my family couldn't afford it. My parents pay for me to do the things I love. I can drive. I have grown up in a cross-cultural lifestyle. I've had an education for the past 11 years of my life. I'm going to college. I'm going to have a job. Hopefully, I will meet someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. BUT a part of privilege is also recognizing that it isn't an entitlement. I didn't do anything to deserve these things. They are blessings. 

5) Memories

My memory jar that is pictured below is emptied and refilled every year. I write down my favorite memories because when I look back at them 10 years from now, I'll be able to remember things that I would forget otherwise. I'm just very conscientious of the fact that life is too short to forget all the good days when the heart is racing, the laughs are uncontrollable, the tears stream with joy, and the hugs mean more than words. Life is a collection of memories.

6) Dreams

I love dreaming, but it's also scary. There are so many what-ifs. But I'm thankful that I can dare to dream because I have faith. I know dreams can become reality.

7) Clothes

"The clothes that protect us, that make us laugh, that serve as a uniform, that help us assert our identity or aspirations, that we wear to remember someone--in all of these are encoded the stories of our lives." -Worn Stories by Emily Spivack (my favorite book)

8) Guidance

Especially grateful for my parents, teachers, and mentors who have guided and supported me. It is scary to think that I won't be living with my parents in 8 months. 

9) Growth

I am so much of who I am now because of the many things that this captures. My co-hosting of Curiosity Quest in NY was the beginning of my interest in broadcast journalism and the beginning of my true love for piano. I am so grateful to have grown so much because of an experience from 4th grade. The beautiful opportunities in life happen for a reason. 

10) Happiness

In the end, this is it. Why do we want to be loved? Why do we want money? Why do we want to help others? Why do we want to go to a great college? WHY? Happiness. But seriously...you don't need all those things to be happy. Happiness can be found when we live in the moment and appreciate the smallest things.
"Surround yourself with the things that inspire you and let go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work, but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world." -The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Hi everyone! :) 'Tis Diana. Here are just 10 out of many things I'm thankful for:

1) Imagination

Human stories carved into thousand-year-old traditions; wisps of culture in wisps of incense smoke; buildings sagging beneath the weight of their own history...this world is full of so many colorful tales stitched into tapestries of culture and imagination, and I am so thankful to be able to bathe in their unapologetic richness.

Throwback to my post on my China trip. Haven't read it yet? Want to read it again? Click here! 

2) Choice

I am the most indecisive person ever. But I am so lucky to be able to choose: what to wear, what to eat, what to do, who to be.

3) Art

As an aspiring photographer, musician, and writer, art seeps into the marrow of my bones. I am so thankful to not only be able to do art myself, but to be able to enjoy art in all of its capricious glory.

One of the photos in my Hydrangea Queen series, where I tried to create a Pre-Raphaelite story feel with modern elements for juxtaposition. 

4) Medicine

My autoimmune disease coupled with their necessary ER visits have rendered me another one of the billions who must thank medicine for their lives. I have so much respect and gratitude for those who dedicate their lives to making these magical things.

5) Nature

This earth is sliced with canyons and stomped with caves. I look up outside and there are trees with their leaves lipstick-red, trees with branches skeleton-bare, so how can I not be grateful for a world full of so many majestic and incomprehensible, natural phenomena?

Photo I took at Laguna Beach

6) Love

Love hurts. It’s true. But to love--all sorts of love, for animals, family, and lovers too--is the sort of feeling that warms the tips of your fingers and the arteries of your heart. I am lucky to love without fear.

7) Food

Banana nutella crepes. Enough said. (And of course rice and the little things, too. Yum yum yum. Now I’m hungry.)

Birthday pie!! :D
Eat pizza after mental breakdowns with Doro, ya feel?

8) Technology

I am typing this on a computer, I called my dad today with my phone, I can skype my best friend in college via the Internet. Technology, for all its faults, has helped me connect and learn. (And s/o to Google and Wikipedia for all the homework help! :P)

9) Space

I remember the first time I went outside at 2 a.m., tired of typing essays. I looked up, and though there aren’t too many stars visible here, the stars I could see were so...unabashed. They instantly reminded me of how small I was, and how glad I am to be so small. I know I’m romanticizing space, but I don’t think it’s wrong to romanticize something so ancient yet defiant--after all, what other thing clings on to the sky long after it’s dead?

When you love space, you make a conceptual photo with you standing in space! :D

10) Understanding

For all the people who stood by me after mental breakdowns, who never gave up on me though I gave up on myself, who gave me love when I felt only capable of hate--thank you. Thank you for understanding the fragility of the human soul, and thank you for making me stronger in spite of it.

Thank you to all of our readers! Though we'd keep writing and photographing no matter what, it's always heartwarming to know that our words and photos are reaching--and maybe inspiring--others.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

FestiFULL of LIGHTS: Deepavali! (Guest Post by Tabitha)

Deepavali (Diwali), also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most widely celebrated Indian festivals of the year. Deepavali is a 5 day celebration made up of rituals, fireworks, gift-exchanges, and feasts. It is a time to appreciate your family and to reaffirm in hope. It is a Hindu festival, but it is celebrated all around the world by various religious groups and ethnicities. There are many explanations to the origin of this wonderful festival, but they all share a universal moral lesson: the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. No matter what time of year, we can all celebrate the "simple joys of life." The message of Deepavali surely resonates in all of us.

Today's post is extra festive because my dear friend Tabitha Busi is our guest blogger and model for the day! Read below and learn about her unique cultural insight on Indian cultural clothing. This shoot was especially challenging because we were in the dark, but Diana pulled through as always! Thank you for the stunning pictures. Take it away Tabitha!

आनंद लें (enjoy)!

In India, there are several types of gatherings, festivals, and celebrations held for various cultural reasons. These celebrations are nothing like I have seen or been a part of here in America. One of these celebrations, Deepavali, is filled to the brim with joy, festivities, dancing, fireworks, lights, bright colors, and lots of fun. Deepavali is a bright and colorful time, in which colors are seen through multiple things such as lights, candles, and my favorite...clothing!
Here, I am wearing a delicate light pink chiffon saree with intricate details and designs woven onto the fabric. What makes the saree quite beautiful is the unique and intricate embroidery work. Woven into the chiffon are tiny silver sequins, gold details, and blue and hot pink feathery details. All of the outfits that I am wearing are originally from India, and it is actually about 10 years old. You probably couldn’t tell, but putting on a saree is not as easy as you might think. The saree essentially consists of three main parts which is the underskirt, the short blouse, and the chiffon draping.
Putting on a saree involves lots of pins, tucking in, folding, and wrapping around. If it isn't done correctly, one could run the risk of looking like a messy pile of chiffon. But thanks to my mom, I think I was able to pull it off!
First off, let's begin with the tree. This tree that I am entangled in is called a moringa tree, and it is in my very own backyard. A more common name for the tree is drumstick tree. My family and I actually call it a “molecada” tree because in the language that my parents speak, Telegu, moringa translates to molecada (I actually didn’t even know that it’s real name is the moringa tree!).

It might be hard to notice, but hanging from the molecada tree are several long, skinny, green, vegetables which we call molecadas. When they are ready to be picked, my parents pick the molecadas and cook them to add to a healthy and delicious Indian meal. It is actually quite rare to find such a large and prosperous molecada tree in America. They are plentiful in India, but it is difficult to successfully grow them here.

Under the molecada tree, I am dressed in something a little different than a saree. It is a deep purple and green Punjabi outfit with very intricate detailing particularly along the neckline. The embroidery includes, beading, sequins, several hints of color, and various gold patterns. Unlike a saree, a Punjabi outfit is ten times easier to put on. This is because a Punjabi outfit is not quite a dress. Rather, it is a long top with pants that go underneath. The drape over on top is a “dupatta,” a scarf-like accessory that complements/completes the outfit. The dupatta can be worn in many different ways. I chose to wear it traditionally, across my chest.

 To complete the outfit entirely, I am wearing dark green glass bangles with gold detailing on them. It is almost a necessity to complete an indian outfit (saree or Punjabi outfit) with stacks of bangles on the wrists. Here, i decided to go with dark green bangles to match the outfit.

Gold accents are also very common in Indian clothing and accessories. You can see that the necklace that I am wearing, also from India, is gold with diamonds detailed within it.
Here I am wearing another Punjabi outfit. This time, it is golden yellow and orange. The collar is my favorite part about this Punjabi dress. I own many Indian outfits, but none like this one, with such a beautiful and detailed, stand-out collar.
Of course, I accessorized with bangles. Red, gold, and orange to match the outfit. Like I said earlier, an Indian outfit is never complete without the bangles!
Deepavali is a time for celebration, appreciation, and happiness, not only for India but for everybody. It signifies the victory of good over evil. Try to remember the good things in your life at least for these couple days of Deepavali. Celebrate, love, and appreciate.

Thank you for reading! ~Tabitha

Monday, November 2, 2015

Finally FALLin' into Season

Congratulations to seniors who have put in their early applications--a definite hoorah moment! Waiting is scarier than writing the essays, but I'm excited for the future and so should you. I'm also excited that the weather is cooling! Fall, is it you?! I love California, but it took way too long to get here. Can you believe it's November? Where did 2015 even go? Well, I won't get into that now. I'll have to compile more thoughts and save them for another post. But to get back to the point, wasn't it supposed to begin to cool in September? Oh, California. 

Today's post is about transitioning from summer to fall. Basically perfect timing because there are supposed to be showers today, and it's supposed to be in the 60s and 70s all week! Fall, tied with winter, is my favorite season for several reasons (they're practically the same thing in CA). Firstly, colors. The immediate fall palette that comes to mind is mustard, teal, pumpkin, and brown. I've tried to incorporate that palette into my 3 outfits. Secondly, fall fashion is essentially a mix-match of summer and winter clothes. If you're wondering about how you can work your summer closet into your fall/winter closet, it truly depends on what your summer closet is made up of. In general, plain clothing can be worked into anytime of the year, which explains why the majority of my clothes are so. 

I know that these outfits aren't representative of what you could wear in most places around the world right now. I apologize! However, I hope there is some inspiration that can be incorporated into your style. Good luck! 

 Peter Pan Collared Top: Abercrombie//Blazer: Nordstrom//Mustard Skirt: Nectar//Shoes: Sperry's

I particularly enjoy color-blocking my outfits, and I gravitate towards clothes that have color-blocking on them. The white, royal blue, and mustard complemented each other nicely. I wear the white blazer all year-round, and it's probably the most shown article of clothing on this blog. If anything, that goes to show how valuable it is to have versatile clothing like a white blazer. It's wearable in any season as long as you pair it with the right type of clothes. As of now, I can remember wearing this white blazer in the Valentine's Day post, the Summer Moda post, and the Back to School post. Wow! But what did the trick for this outfit are the royal blue and mustard because those colors are what gives this outfit its fall flair.
Short Trenchcoat: Forever 21//Pumpkin Top: IDK//Pleated Skirt: Abercrombie

Style is made up of an array of colors. Here, I put navy blue, pumpkin, and white together. The pleats in the skirt top off the fun and happy look.
Top: Nordstrom//Skirt: Anne Klein//Cardigan: Ralph Lauren//Boots: Franco Sarto
Brown + Black work well. This outfit screams fall because of the plaid action and the long boots. The blank tank I'm wearing is my most-worn piece of clothing because I wear it with everything, every month of the year. Easy transition from summer to fall!

Feel free to contact us at letrendary@gmail.com or comment below to tell us what styles you'd like to see on the blog! Thank you to one of our readers who gave us the idea for this post. Also, shoutout to our readers in Ukraine!!! We love you. Make sure to check back next Monday for a very special and cultural post. You won't want to miss it.