#Meaningful Media – The truth about Bollywood

I found this video to be very thought provoking and even challenged my own thinking of how media influences the role of women in society. On a personal note, I am in finals mode for grad school till the end of April. I can’t wait for May with lots of new posts on clean eating, fitness, travel, and fashion.  Stay tuned!

#Fitness Doonya – a total body workout inspired by Bollywood!

One of my goals this spring is to change up my workout routine. I love that feeling of experiencing something new that is great for my body and mind. The first workout on my fitness bucket list was Doonya. Living in Washington D.C., I’ve seen Doonya blossom from a performance troupe to a thriving international business. Doonya combines the fun and spirit of Bollywood with a total body workout. I tried my first Doonya class on Saturday and can’t believe I waited so long! After class, I spoke with Kajal Desai, Co-Founder of Doonya, to learn more.

The Doonya Experience 

Kajal D

  • What is Doonya?! Doonya is a total body workout that helps you feel sexy, strong, and fit by incorporating movements of Bollywood dance.
  • How is Doonya different from other Bollywood workouts? Fitness is a science. We’ve put a lot of thought into our routines. It’s not just dance, we incorporate muscles and movements that make you stronger.
  • What inspired Doonya? It was really just the realization that even without being fully thought out yet as a fitness program, our students were seeing results in both body and mind. They felt happier and more confident and it made us realize there was something there. By creating a workout that was fun and effective we could make Bollywood music and movement, accessible to the world while helping students reach their fitness goals.
  • What type of person should try Doonya? Anybody! We pride ourselves on being uninhibited. We have fun when we work out and want you to enjoy your Doonya experience. It’s not about getting every step right. It’s about getting into the routine and having fun while conditioning your body. We are considered a medium impact fitness workout. We include intervals of high and low intensity to ensure our routines meet the needs of beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts.
  • What’s next for Doonya?! Currently we have DVDs, a show on ZeeTV, and classes around the US. Our goal is to continue creating and building upon the Doonya experience. You can find out the latest news on Doonya (we’ve been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, Kelly & Michael, Glamour magazine, and many more) by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

 Check out Doonya today - I love this quick and effective Ab workout and these 3-Minute Arm & Back and 7-Minute At-Home Sculpted Arm workouts!

Click here to find a Doonya class near you. I took the class in Sliver Spring and my instructor Bahar was fantastic!

Five Super Foods to get ready for Spring!

When I started Project Kahani, I never thought my most popular post would be about warm water! I’ve learned like me, readers enjoy simple ideas that make them feel great. Those of you who live on the East Coast know our winter was brutal. I’ve been in hibernation for months and can’t wait for warm weather. I’m looking forward to springtime walks, sunny days, fresh flowers, and the feeling of rejuvenation. To get ready for spring, I’m incorporating Five Super Foods into my diet. These foods help flush out toxins and take in vital nutrients. This cleanse will leave you feeling light, uplifted, and ready for Spring!

Five Super Foods to get ready for Spring!

Project Kahani - FIve Super Foods For Spring!

1. Chia Seeds

  • Why: Chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight, expands to curb your appetite, and is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps build new cells, regulate our bodies, and flush out toxins.
  • What: Adding a table spoon of chia to your diet can reduce caloric intake, add fiber, and help lower the energy density (or calories) of food.
  • How: Add a table spoon of Chia to smoothies, cereal, or try my favorite Chia Pudding recipe (mix 1/4 cup Chia to 1 cup Light Coconut Milk, add raw organic honey to taste. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours and enjoy)!

2. Light Coconut Milk

  • Why: Coconut milk is rich in antioxidants and Lauric acid which helps delay the aging process and rids the body of harmful bacteria.
  • What: Regular coconut milk contains a lot of calories. I like the Light version which has fewer calories and is easy to cook with and drink.
  • How: Add coconut milk to smoothies, cereal, and the pudding recipe above! Just make sure you balance your intake with other milks (dairy or nondairy).

3. Flaxseeds

  • What: Flaxseeds contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, Lignans (antioxidant qualities) and fiber.
  • Why: Flaxseeds improve digestive health, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Flaxseeds are also the best source for Lignans which contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • How:  Add ground flaxseeds to your yogurt and smoothies.

4. Alkaline foods

  • What: Alkaline foods (roots, vegetables, leafy greens, lemons, garlic, cayenne pepper) neutralize potentially toxic acids created by eating refined carbs, dairy, and meat.
  • Why: My favorite Alkaline food is Kale, which is rich in vitamin K and packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber.
  • How: The secret to a balanced diet is eating foods with a 2:1 Alkaline ratio. Include 2 Alkaline foods to every one carb, dairy, or meat you consume.

5. Turmeric

  • What: Turmeric is a highly anti-inflammatory spice that helps digestion, reduces cholesterol levels, and boosts the immune system.
  • Why: Turmeric is a natural liver detoxifier by producing enzymes that break down and reduce toxins in the body.
  • How:  I sprinkle Turmeric in most of my cooking and add it to my smoothies. My Poha-Inspired Tofu Salad recipe is packed with Turmeric. I also love Turmeric tea (Turmeric mixed with organic raw honey and warm water).

What are your favorite Super Foods? Would love to hear about them!

#TravelThursday – Springtime in Paris

Travel Thursdays are my favorite posts to write about. I love remembering the sites, feelings, and experiences traveling through these amazing cities. This time last year, I was in Montmartre, Paris sitting at a café with my journal, reflecting on the year so far. This process of reflection helped me understand how I wanted to focus my year ahead and what I wanted to do more of (adventure, family / friend time, blogging). While I’m not in Paris (sigh), I’m at a café in Georgetown, taking time to disconnect, reflect, and get physically and mentally ready for spring. I’ll share my new workout routines, springtime cleanses, and ideas to get you feeling ready for the new season! What are you doing to get ready for spring?!

Springtime in Paris – Must-sees 

View from the Tour Eiffel

Project Kahani - Spring in Paris 2

Project Kahani - Spring in Paris 5

Ladurée

Project Kahani - Spring in Paris 10

The River Seine, Paris

Project Kahani - Spring in Paris 7

France La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre

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Dessert in Montmartre

Project Kahani - Spring in Paris 13

#Inspired – TED & INKtalks

I love TED and INKtalks. What I love most is how each presenter’s passion is so evident that you are moved and inspired by their story. As a graduate student studying communications, I’ve learned about the power of storytelling. From scientists and doctors to entrepreneurs and teachers, each speaker takes us on a journey. As you watch these talks, I hope that you are inspired to tell your story. What are you passionate about? I can’t wait to hear about it!

Why Watch: To be inspired to take risks and to never be an Anu Aunty!

Why Watch: To find happiness and smile

Why Watch: To find out if jealousy is really a bad thing

Why Watch: To rethink education

Why Watch: To be moved to take action. 

Five to Follow – Statement Jewelry

As my fashion tastes mature, I appreciate how one or two statement accessories can really elevate a look to the next level. While fast fashion jewelry designs are fun and trendy, the jewelry houses on this Five to Follow post make jewelry that will make you stand out – tomorrow or five years from now. Warning – some of these designs are high-end, but the lasting appeal of these designs make the investment well worth it! Check out this Five to Follow list if you want to accessorize with Indian inspired designs with a flair that make a statement!

  • Amrapali - looking for elegant designs with a modern eclectic twist - this renowned jewelry house is for you. Loved by both Hollywood and Bollywood, the collaboration with designer Manish Arora has taken traditional jewelry designs to a whole new level.
  • Art Karat – a powerhouse in intentional jewelry design, Art Karat is known for its elegant and traditional designs. They often have pop up shops in the US, UK, and India – so you can experience the glory of these gorgeous designs in person.
  • BaubleBar - My go-to-shop for all things accessories. Founders Amy Jain and  Daniella Yacobovsky started BaubleBar to create the ultimate source for fashion jewelry all at a guilt-free price point. Check out the site today and receive 15% off your first purchase!
  • Valliyan - vintage influences, bright Indian hues, infused with a New York edge. Nitya founded her jewelry brand four years ago and since then has been a force in Indian Fashion. Her designs are the latest Bollywood celeb must-haves and can be your’s too!
  • Outhouse – talk about statement jewelry, Sisters Kaabia and Sasha’s bold designs will be sure to get you noticed. You can spot an Outhouse design from across the room, perfect for those who want to stand out.

[Travel Thursday] Hyatt Regency Kolkata Experience

My business trips to Kolkata have a special place in my heart. The city is historic, charming, and intellectual. And I love how Bengalis place an importance on art, literature, and dialogue. I’ve spent about 3 months in the city on four trips and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Kolkata each time. As you may have noticed I’m Marriott fan, but chose to stay at the Hyatt since it had great reviews for both vacation and business travelers.

  • Hotel: Hyatt Regency Kolkata
  • Highlights: pool, yoga in the garden, gym, breakfast and dinner buffet
  • Surrounding areas: about a 25 minute drive to Park Street, New Market, and Verdaan Market
  • Recommended excursions:  so many places – I have to write a post on my favorites like Tagore’s Birthplace, Hooghly river – Prinsep Ghat, Dakshineswar Kali Temple, and Belur Math
  • Travel Tips: Book a room that includes the breakfast buffet and a Driver all day. It’s a lot more reasonable than the a la carte pricing. The gym’s personal trainers are fantastic and happy to devise a workout tailored to your needs. And the complimentary yoga classes on the garden are blissful.

Hotel view

Hyatt Kolkata - 7

Pool view 

Project Kahani - Hyatt Kolkata - 1

Hotel view room view 

Hyatt Kolkata - 2

Evening dessert at the Waterside Cafe Hyatt Kolkata - 3

Floating flower pool

Hyatt Kolkata - 4

Afternoon tea – Waterside Cafe & The Bakery 

Hyatt Kolkata - 5

Evening tea – CATH (Club at the Hyatt)

Hyatt Kolkata - 6

Dessert buffet – Waterside Cafe 

Hyatt Kolkata - 9

Breakfast buffet – Waterside Cafe

Hyatt Kolkata - 10