This week, we feature another travel blogger. Meet Paroma. Like me, she also lives as an expat. However she’s an expat living in my country. So here is a little Q&A about life, traveling and blogging. Enjoy!
Name, age, where you’re from and where you live now
Name: Paroma Chakravarty
Age: 38 years
I am from Kolkata, India and I currently live in San Francisco, California, USA.
How long have you been blogging?
It has been four years
Why did you call your blog “Year of the Monkey”?
I love to “monkey” around and see new places. So I decided to pick this name as I thought the year 2013 (when I started this travel blog) would be my year of getting fame and fortune, none of which happened hahaha.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I wanted a creative outlet and share my travel photos with friends and family.
How do you spend your days? Do you have another job outside of blogging?
I have a full time job as a scientist in a biotech company in the Bay Area.
What sets your blog apart from other travel blogs?
I write extensively about my city San Francisco, a lot about dining and food guides as well as traveling with dogs.
What do you hope that people gain from your blog posts?
I hope people get to eat some wonderful food when in San Francisco or other parts of the world, take more trips with their dogs and finally discover a different side to san Francisco, which tourists miss out on.
Where do you hope to take your blog?
I hope to grow my blog into a profitable venture monetarily, at some point.
What advice do you have for other bloggers and people wanting to blog?
Be dedicated and consistent. Write good content and definitely invest in good photography.
What’s been your favorite place that you’ve traveled to? Why?
There are several. Istanbul, Turkey would be on top of that list because it was my first time traveling internationally and also because the city has such a unique feel.
What was your least favorite?
What has been your biggest travel fail?
I had a day off during my work trip to Switzerland and I was so scared of traveling alone that I just stayed in my hotel room. I still regret not venturing out and exploring when I had the chance.
Where to next?
Central coast, California
What do you wish more people knew about where you’re from?
I am originally from Kolkata, India. I wish more people visited this city in the east rather than simply flocking to Delhi, Mumbai or places in Rajasthan.
What’s one random or odd talent you have?
Super random: I can make my eyebrows “dance” independently of each other.
This week, we are featuring Danielle from Sparkling Southerner. She is a fashion blogger living in Atlanta. She is someone who I have been following on Instagram for a few years now, so naturally I reached out to her for this Q&A series. She always seems to find the most colorful walls to take photos in front of. In fact when I think of her blog, I think of lots of colors.
Her style is southern with a twist. Enjoy the Q&A!
Searching for the perfect wedding dress in Michigan is not a simple task. It is common to see brides stressing out a few weeks before their big day because they do not seem to find their perfect dress. A dress searching quest could be very stressful, and you need to press on until you find your perfect pick. Weddings are a once in a lifetime affair for most people, and there is a lot of pressure to get the right dress. Here is a guide that will help you get the perfect wedding dress for your big day.
There are several things you need to establish before you even start looking for a wedding dress. First of all, think about your day. Are you having a beach wedding, informal wedding, formal ballroom wedding, outdoor ceremony or a traditional marriage? For more information on official wedding venues visit Townsend Wedding Venues. Your wedding theme and style significantly affects the kind of dress you can buy. Consider your body shape and preferences as well. It is important to do some research before you hit the streets. Pinterest and online magazines are great options for this as they have several dresses that will help you get a picture of what you want. You should also be realistic with your choices as a dress that looks good on another person’s body won’t necessarily look good on you.
Never be deceived by the notion that wedding dresses are available and you will just go and pick one in a boutique near you. Start looking for a dress early enough so that you have ample time to deal with the possible frustrations associated with this quest. Normally, it is good to start shopping for a gown nine to twelve months before the wedding day. This gives you enough time to deal with alterations and delivery issues that might jeopardize the marriage if you do not have enough time.
Where Are You Shopping From?
Before you begin booking appointments at bridal salons, ensure you are dealing with reputable entities. Do some homework and check their ratings, reviews and customer testimonials. It’s nice to find out the number of years they have been operating and the qualifications of the consultants working there. A diligent advisor should know all the designers making wedding dresses and the fabrics, design details and silhouettes associated with each brand. Such professionals will help you get your desired pick as they are experienced and know the most suitable dress for the different customer needs.
Before you set out to find a suitable wedding dress in Michigan, have a budget. A budget will reduce your options and give you a simpler time selecting a particular dress. When you visit a boutique, start by telling the consultant working there your projected budget. This will save you time and allow you to focus on the ones you can afford. However, be sure to find out the average price of a wedding dress in Michigan before fixing a budget. You could see this information by asking your peers who are married about the money they paid for their wedding dress. This is vital in ensuring you do not set a minimal budget that will limit the number of suitable dresses you can buy.
Still, under the price, find out the things included in the price before buying any gown. Some clothes may require alterations, and you need to budget for them as well. Some boutiques include possible changes in the overall price while others charge a specific amount depending on the work done on the dress. These are things that affect the price of the dress, and you should look into them.
Payment policy and Delivery Time
Always ask about the payment terms and delivery time before buying a dress. Most boutiques in Michigan will ask you to pay half the price of the dress as deposit and complete the payment once the dress arrives from the designer. Stores have different cancellation policies, and you should be aware of those terms as you never know what might happen between the day you pay the deposit and the wedding day.
Finding a wedding dress is a challenging task that requires patience and shrewdness. Never carry an entourage when visiting a boutique as all their opinions will just confuse you more. Go with a few friends you trust and once you find a dress, stop looking. Continuing to will start giving you second thoughts, and you will start regretting why you picked a particular dress and not another one.
In the design world, spring is often seen in a designer’s resort collection. This summer collection is designed for those who live in a cold climate to go on vacation where it is warmer. When you visit Florida, resort wear is typically a bright colored wardrobe that is geared toward summertime. These wardrobe pieces are easy to make a transition between the city and the beach. Although you don’t need resort wear to enjoy a Florida vacation, it can add a lot of fun to it.
Several weeks ago I was back in the United States for my best friend’s bachelorette party. We decided that a fun weekend away in Asheville, North Carolina would be perfect for everyone. It was the perfect halfway spot for everyone attending, it has good beer, mountains and of course the Biltmore Estate. I’m the maid of honor which means that I plan the party. So I decided upon Biltmore for our tame daytime activity. You know, the one where we wear nice dresses and pretend like we’re ladies. The one where we snap some nice photos together before chaos ensues that evening. The Biltmore Estate could not have been more perfect.
The Biltmore Estate is huge because … well it used to be an estate for the Vanderbilt family. It can be overwhelming and expensive to do all the things. So I decided to make a Biltmore Estate must-do list. Do these 6 things and you will capture the true Biltmore experience. And who doesn’t want that?
When you think of New York City, the largest city in the United States of America, you think of loud streets, honking horns and lots of people. Thoughts of peace and tranquility do not necessarily come to mind. However if you just hop on a train from Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan, you can find that perfect escape in about 90 minutes. That escape is the Omega Institute.
The Omega Institute is located just north of New York City in Rhineback, New York. From April – November every year, the retreat center hosts workshops each week on all sorts of wellness practices. You can find things from yoga to tai chi. People come and give presentations on all sorts of topics related to being a better you. In fact they offer over 350 different retreats, conferences and workshops each year. Upcoming workshop themes include couples’ relationships, growing your own food and astrology.
For those of you new to A World of Dresses, I spent about five days in Portland, Oregon, with one of my best friends last week. It was good to have a little vacation after a year of both good and bad. The year of 28 was definitely an interesting one for sure.
When traveling, you want to have some comfortable outfits. I call these my Portland outfits. My Portland outfits are a mixture of trendy yet cute. I’ve also included my friend Cece’s Portland outfits. I absolutely love personal style. Mine and Cece’s are both very unique in different ways. I packed a lot of dresses and she packed a lot of rompers. I wore sandals and she wore combat boots. All of our Portland outfits were uniquely us and comfortable.
Our Portland outfits
I packed light for this trip for several reasons. First, we were staying at the Portland Hawthorne Hostel. When staying in a hostel, you trade money for space. And honestly, who needs a lot of space when you’re out exploring a city each day? I did not want some big bag that I had to lug up two flights of stairs and store in a room I would share with five other people. A backpack was the perfect thing.
The second reason I took only a backpack is because of my mission to not give any more of my money to Spirit Airlines than necessary. Spirit Airlines is a low cost budget airline with amazingly cheap flight deals. We got both of our round trip tickets Chicago-Portland for something around $400. The catch is that they charge for everything. You pay to check a bag and you pay to carry a bag on. You even pay $10 if you need to print your boarding pass at the airport (what?!?). You pay for any food on board. We even joked that they’ll ask us to pay for our emotional baggage. You just never know.
There is a loophole, my friends. You are allowed one personal item free of charge. It has to be under the dimensions of 16 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 12 inches deep. I have this LLBean backpack from like high school that still functions well. It has all these compartments and fits those dimensions. It was perfect.
So I simply rolled up my Portland outfits and stuck them in. Everything fit quite nicely. When thinking about ideal Portland outfits, sundresses came to mind. So I picked three and packed them in.
The Old Navy Sundress
This is a new find from this past summer season that I was excited to wear. I love how simple it is and I love anything in the color green!
It was hard to pick which outfit of hers I’d post first. They were all unique and dynamic … just like she is! This one from the first day, though, just seemed fitting. It’s the perfect example of mixing several things together so well … a fun t-shirt, boots, a skirt and some purple lipstick to top it all off!
T-shirt: Go browse your local Thrift Shop
Skirt (can also be worn as a dress): similar
Those were a few of our outfits. What do you like to wear while traveling?
Also have you seen our latest all about our 5 Portland favorites? Check it out here!
I’ll admit that it was very hard to pick just five. Last week, a good friend of mine and I spent some time exploring Portland, Oregon. It was my second time to Portland and her first. We did everything from eating doughnuts to laying out in the sun to visiting a nearby winery. So after much thought, these are my 5 favorite Portland spots from this trip. Portland seems to have something for everyone … museums, doughnuts, swimming, shopping, beer, Indian food and so much more. If you are looking to visit an American city that’s accessible, pretty and friendly, Portland is the place to go. Everyone … literally everyone is nice.
So without further ado, here are my 5 favorite Portland spots:
5. The ScreenDoor Restaurant
Cece and I were looking for a good brunch spot and were recommended the ScreenDoor Restaurant. We were staying at the Hawthorne Hostel over in the South East area of town, so it was not far for us at all. The ScreenDoor was an easy maybe 5-10 minute Uber ride. We were on vacation, so why not take Ubers everywhere?
The ScreenDoor describes itself as “the best southern cuisine in Portland.” I would have to concur. I ordered shrimp n’ grits. My best friend lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and I’ve had shrimp n’ grits many a times while visiting her. I was wondering how it would stack up to what I’ve eaten where shrimp n’ grits originated. I was very pleasantly surprised. It was perfect.
Cece ordered the freshly baked short cake with fruit and whipped cream to start. I had a little bit and it was amazing. You honestly could fill up on just that alone.
I myself stole a few bites and I have to say that it was AMAZING. If you go to the ScreenDoor, you want to make sure you order this as at least an appetizer to share with your group.
Here are a few photos of my shrimp n’ grits. It had pieces of bacon in it and some vegetables too. It was absolutely perfect.
Coffee was very important to us. We kept drinking it and they kept refilling it. A brunch spot that understands my need for coffee is my kind of place.
For the main course, Cece ordered a sandwich that had some curly fries on it. I think it was the beef brisket, but I cannot remember exactly. We laughed that it was as big as her head.
On our walk home from brunch that same day, we stumbled upon a fun and quirky shop called the Sidestreet Gallery. It was everything you think when you think of Portland being weird. Outside they were selling baby doll heads for 50 cents and sunglasses for $5. That was what initially caught our attention. As we made our way inside the shop, we found all sorts of little trinkets, model sets, Christmas decorations, other decorations, jewelry, masks, costume items and so much more. If Portland were just one shop it would be this shop.
I bought these rockin’ sunglasses for only $4!
My dress here is from Old Navy, necklace is Charming Charlie and shoes Target. I wore either these or my Chuck Taylors the entire time. I like comfort while still looking cute.
3. Voodoo Doughnut
So if you want touristy, Voodoo Doughnut is your place. There’s literally a line at all times of the day, I’ve heard. We went on I think a Tuesday at like 11 a.m.
The whole idea behind Voodoo Doughnut is that they make ridiculous doughnuts with all sorts of craziness on them. I got one with fruit loops on top, for example. If you have nut allergies, be warned right now. There are a lot of doughnuts with peanuts, peanut butter or other nuts. I myself have a peanut allergy and thus stuck to two doughnuts I knew I’d be absolutely safe with.
These were Cece’s doughnuts. Yummmm.
The wait was … fun?
Life is interesting and fun for sure. While at one of our 5 favorite Portland spots, we ran into the ALS people. Do you all remember the ice bucket challenge a few years back? Everyone was making those videos and posting them to social media where they would get dunked with a bucket full of ice/water. Well that was to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease that affects about 5,600 people in the United States and I’m sure many others world-wide. There was a group of people traveling the country to raise awareness. For their Portland stop, they felt that Voodoo Doughnut was fitting. They also felt that dunking the dunkee in icing and sprinkles was even more fitting, so they did just that.
If you have interest in contributing to their campaign, you can go here.
2. Swimming/laying out by the bridge
This place just had to be in my list of my 5 favorite Portland spots. Just off of the Hawthorne Bridge, which connected the neighborhood we stayed in to downtown, is a little spot that people go to lay out in the sun and swim. I love that people just swim in the river in Portland. In my hometown of Cincinnati, many people would scoff at swimming in our river.
The flight we took home left at like 11 p.m. at night. So we for sure had a few hours to kill on our last day. This just seemed like the perfect way to spend our early afternoon.
Okay, so this technically is not Portland at all. It was a good 30 minutes- 1 hour drive from the city. But it was so amazing that I just had to include it with my 5 favorite Portland spots.
Last year around this time, I spent about a month in Nicaragua doing volunteer work. I befriended Jana who was a Peace Corps volunteer there at the time. When you are overseas, you just have this way of finding people from your culture. It can be comforting and also inhibiting if you really want to immerse yourself in the culture. That, however, is a rant for another time.
Since then, Jana has returned from the Peace Corps and is living back in her hometown of Portland. I just had to see her while I was in town. It turns out that her parents are members of Brooks Winery. They were having a members night our first evening in town and brought us along. It was such a nice treat.
The story of this place is fascinating as well. It all started with the founder Jimi Brooks. He spent some time overseas in Europe traveling. Thus when he ran out of money, he found himself with work at a winery in France. After spending time in Europe learning all about wine and how it was made, he returned to Oregon to start his own winery and farm. He sadly passed at the young age of 38. However Brooks remains in the care of his family and they keep his legacy going by producing quality wine and carrying out biodynamic farming practices. You can read the full story here.
We for sure had a great time trying out the different types of wines and appetizers.
Thanks for reading all about my journey. Have you been to Porland? What were some of your favorite spots?