Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ireland - The Emerald Isle (Part 1)

Thanks to laptop issues and travels, I missed blogging for a quite some days now. I wanted to get this post going in the first week of August to celebrate the two year anniversary of my trip to Ireland. But better late than never, right :)

I was on a week-long trip to our office in Galway, based off the western coast of Ireland. Sight-seeing seemed pretty tough given the tight schedule, but nonetheless, the avid traveler in me had decided to make the most out of the weekends I would be there. I had looked up bus tours and since decided to go with a day tour with the Galway Tour Company. 

I landed on a saturday morning at the Shannon airport (direct flight from Boston, thank god for that!) and after a two hour bus journey reached my hotel in Galway afternoon-ish. I was delighted when I found out that it was quite centrally located; walkable distance from the bus station (lugging the baggage was an easier task now). After freshening up and a healthy lunch, I walked the main streets in Galway. Though it was the first week in August (which is a pretty glaring in the US), it was windy and cool there and I had my jacket on me all the times. In Ireland it pretty much rains all the time and anytime, so a a rain-jacket is highly recommended during your stay. 

The city layout was typical European; walking streets laden with shops, cute boutiques, restaurants, and of course Irish pubs, people drinking beers, merry-making and of course good-looking Irish lads (ahem ahem). I am glad I took the stroll out on a Saturday; I got to experience the true Irish spirit! My pit stops for sure included a shack serving fresh fish and chips and a cutsey bakery to taste the yummy goodiness. Looking at the pubs, I for sure longed for company to step in and gulp down a pint, but guess that had to be for some other time.

Sunday was reserved for the day long bus tour with the Galway Bus Company.The tour started at 9 in the morning from the Galway bus-stop and took us through the Irish countryside to Kilfenora, the village of Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher, Ballyvaughn. Must say, it was kinda weird traveling alone. So without further adieu, presenting you my pictorial travelogue..

First stop was the grassy lands and the historic structures at Poulnabrone dolmen in the Burren. 
It's a portal tomb dating back to the Neolithic age!

The limestone rock formations

Pretty greenery and cloudy skies - a common sight in Ireland

Directions in English and Irish language - Gaelic
Spotted this magnificent beast in the perfect backdrop of Burren. A stunning visual to experience for sure!
The Burren is home to 75% of Ireland's native flora and location of numerous ancient monuments like the Dolmen (in the pic above) and the Ballyalban Fairy Fort - home of little men with green hats and orange beards!

Famous Celtic Crosses aka Irish High Crosses at Kilfenora

My tour companions - our cute bus driver and his little friends 

Glimpses of the coastal village of Doolin. We lunched at the Gus O'Connor's, a traditional Irish pub

An Irish woman was strumming the Celtic Harp at one of the tourist spots in the Irish countryside. The scenery, the music and the ambiance..it was all simply magical! My trip would have been surely incomplete without this musical experience.

Irish countryside is simply breathtaking to say the least!

The ubiquitous 'Chicken Tikka Masla' and chips (aka french fries). This dish is served in almost every Irish pub.
I was happy when I saw it on the menu - not so much when I tasted it. We always crave for something homey and comforting after a long day at work, don't we :)

My antics at the 'Hat shop'..I guess I should have bought one! 
Doesn't it look stunning - of course ignoring my tired-and-end-of-long-day eyes that is!

old castle in ruins

Cute row houses in the city

Stay tuned for the part 2 of this travelogue to Cliffs of Moher (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed here) with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, views of Connemara and the Burren landscape including the huge Leprechaun Head carved in the rocks.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Dose of Vitamin C

After a neutral-colored outfit (which was quite dull to my tastes), thought I should dress up more like me - vibrant and colorful :) And what better translates summer than the bright sunshine hue of yellow, right? 

I had been on a lookout for a yellow tee/blouse/top for quite some time; the one in the right shade and fit. Sometimes the tees were too light colored, some were too casual, and most of the times I couldn't find the right shade itself. Finally, my search came to an end when I found this perfect yellow top - loose, flowy, and the right hue; it's perfect for cooler weather, summers and can be dressed down or tucked in with formal pants or a skirt.
And if you feel the sunshine hue is not enough in itself, pair it with tangerine accessories. I promise the effect is gonna get you back in your cheerful spirits!  

Oh well, and have you entered this fabulous giveaway for a Target giftcard? Hurry up! Its closes in two days on August 17.
LOFT blouse (similar) | Flower necklace from Groopdealz | Francesca clutch (similar)|
Banana Republic sunglasses | Payless flats |

I love it when my glasses go with the whole look..feels like I have got everything together:)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Muted Tones

I have never liked dressing up in muted tones really.. I have to have some color either top or bottom,  or a scarf maybe. But this one picture from the Banana Republic ad inspired me to give it a try. I loved how they had styled the look just with a pop of color from the red beaded necklace. I don't know if this is my fave look, but I just gotta had to try it out..what do you think? Does it work or is it a pass?

Oh and bee-tee-w, have you entered the giveaway yet? All you gotta need is an Instagram and a Facebook account.

P.S.: Notice my new hair-cut and look *wink wink*

P.P.S.: I got my hair permanently straightened at Lakme Salon in India hair. Frizzy, unruly hair..see you never!

Express pants | Ann Taylor lace white top | Beaded necklace from Tibet (gift from mom-in-law) 
| Franco Sarto bag c/o TJ Max | Tory Burch aviators |

The Inspiration and the Muse

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Century and a Giveaway! (** Update: Giveaway now closed **)

Ta da..This is my 100th post, people! Yes, One Hundredth! Can you believe it? Feels odd that I have been writing for so long and that I have reached the mile marker 100. I was never really into writing you see; not the writer-types, but I am more of the talkative-types. So, well who knew I would be writing for so long?!

Most of the times, the writing has been about my thoughts, adventures, experiences - both good and bad, and the meh ones..and sometimes it has been as curt and straight-forward as this. But nevertheless throughout this journey I have surprised myself, my mom (she couldn't identify with her child who took to writing out of nowhere) and many of you, my friends and readers.

So before I go on and on, on how I have come to be writing this 100th post, let me get to the celebrations part of this post where you, YES you can actually win something! My most fave retail website - Groopdealz and I have have come together for a GIVEAWAY to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Groopdealz is a daily boutique deals website and they are giving away a 25$ gift card to Target! Now who doesn't shop at Target, tell me? And by shopping I don't mean the daily grocery stuff, I am hinting towards the occasional unplanned stroll down the shoes, bags, accessories aisles (I would also add the home décor aisle to this list ;)).
I am so glad to have paired up with one of my fave brands and as you may know many of my accessories in the posts here, here and here have been from this darling website. If you are looking for the fancy-shmancy necklaces, earrings, bags, and home décor stuff for an unbelievably economical price then you know you have head to Groopdealz.

Easy-peesy rules for the giveaway:
1. Follow 'the Zing of my life' on Facebook
2. Follow Groopdealz on Facebook
3. Follow Groopdealz on Instagram
4. Follow the Zing of my life on Instagram

Extra entry to the giveaway if you:
1. Sign up for the emails on Groopdealz website.

Drop a comment below to let me know you have fulfilled the requirements along with the social media userids with which you are following. Also, don't forget to mention your email id so that I can reach you.

This giveaway is open to the residents in US and Canada only and ends on August 17, 2013. A winner will be chosen via random.org and announced in the following week. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bollywood Dance Performance - Dancing the Bolly-style

I took a Bollywood dance performance class last fall at Born2Dance Studios here in Northern VA and least to say it was an ama-Zing experience (gotta have zing in my life people :)) By the end of the eight week sessions, our group was scheduled to participate in a Winter Performance Gala organized by the dance studio management.

We performed on a medley of a couple foot-tapping numbers - Second Hand Jawani and Jhallah Wallah. This was my second time performing on a stage as grown up:) First time it was during my Master's program for the Annual Diwali program conducted by the Indian Student Organization at my university. Needless to say, it's always fun to perform on Bollywood songs - especially group performances! The dance studio fees were quite reasonable and they arranged for the costume, music and other arrangements for the performance. The tickets were economically priced at 25$ and our instructor was from the revered Bolly-dance academy 'Doonya'.

Doonya is based in both DC and NY and specializes in Bolly-fitness class. It's basically Zumba but with desi dhink-chak songs. How cool is that! When I know the song, I try to dance with more energy and passion "Pair apne aap thirakne lagte hai" (English translation - My feet start to tap on their own)

So long story short, today I want to share the beautiful memories from my Bollywood performance. Thank you Doonya and Born2Dance Studio for this invigorating dance experience!

Check out the dance video right here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW6M7RQYgV0 ( I am the one on the extreme left)

Me in my Bollywood-meets-Arabic costume


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