Fashion Friday

Land of Nams: living in johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love
I’m a sucker for grey and while wandering around Rosebank (barf) I found this store called The Space (a blog post of its own to come). I found some amazing accessories for my office as well. I am not a shell person, but I am a grey person and I’m living in a hot-as-hell environment so shells seem appropriate, plus they don’t even look like shells. PLUS it can be worn as a necklace too. Or layered with several of them since they’re only about 12USD. They’re reminiscent of meditation beads so you earthy-crunchy gals would like it too.

Land of Nams: living in johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love I wore this outfit to the 12 decades art hotel.

Shell Necklace: (who knows) via The Space

Other necklace: Anthropologie. my mother-in-law took me shopping for my birthday, she’s cool like that.

Romper: H&M

Ring: the Sunday flea market on 77th and Columbia (NYC)

Nails: gelish manicure in Mint Icing  (you really have to start getting no-chip manicures, hello they’re NO CHIP)

I have a bonus for you, a new web log whose drawings I’m obsessed with (via Pinterest). I think I would file it as at least partially a fashion blog, the illustrations are usually of clothing by Comme des Garçons or Prada or chose comme ça. Anyway, I’m so inspired Eri Makiyama’s sketches/paintings on Mermaid Hair that I want to start drawing and watercoloring again.

ps. Zara opened in South Africa. Sandton City Mall. It’s not even on their website yet! You’re welcome.

Fashion Fridays: of clay earrings and blood diamonds.

hot studs, fashion fridays, land of nams

I have a small but lovely offering for today’s Fashion Friday. Since I recently got married and happen to be Indian, I came into a fair amount of bling. Indian parents (and grandparents, and your aunts) live for their daughters to get married, and thus we are the recipients of lots of gold and diamond jewelry when we finally make all their dreams come true by tying the knot, (we are not complaining). My most treasured piece is 2.2 carat diamond solitaires (1.1 ct each, we’re not the Kardashians here) that my mom and aunts gave me.

In college, I used to deplore diamonds and all they represented. I swore I would never get one (I did end up with a vintage engagement ring at least). My mom said watching me go through that period was like watching a gay person who hadn’t come out of the closet yet: She could see the truth, and was waiting for me to see it too. There is a line from Aziz Ansari’s character on Parks and Recreation which aptly/hilariously describes this phenomenon:

There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t love diamonds. Even the super left wing chicks who saw Blood Diamond and cried. When they get a diamond, they’re like, “yeah, b*tch, get more of them blood diamonds! Make ’em extra bloody.”

   Anyway, all this to say when we moved to South Africa I had to leave my precious baubles in the States. I know, cry me a river. I just couldn’t risk parting with those lovely things if something should happen. Anyway, the bright side is that this has given me an opportunity to try all kinds of costume jewelry in my ears(since I didn’t take those babies out of my ears except to polish them, I didn’t even want to take them out for my wedding day earrings, which were…uncut diamonds).

In Hermanus we wandered into a gift shop called Pure South. I found these earrings called Hot Studs, which are made out of clay and also made here in South Africa (Cape Town). They have several different lines with clever names like “Rolling Stones” or “The Braidy Bunch.”  They are charming, and they are 60 ZAR (about 7 USD). I took home a bright pink and a grey for when I’m feeling the need for some neutrals. They are excellent for gifts, for matching your crazy hair color or giving a boring clothing day a pop of color.

hot studs, land of nams

Earrings: Hot Studs from Pure South

Glasses: Garrett Leight via Shopbop

ps. I’m not trying to make light of the very serious problems and victims of diamond mining in South Africa and beyond. I’m just trying to make a little fun of myself.




Discovering Cape Town Part 1: the Surrounding Wine Lands

this weekend p and i got up at the ungodly hour of 4 am to catch a flight to Cape Town. there is so much hype surrounding this city i thought i might be underwhelmed by it (you know, like when you go to prague or something). that was a silly assumption. i was so overcome by the natural beauty, where every new thing i saw was more beautiful than the last. i wasn’t sure exactly how to write about it so i’ll let my pictures do most of the talking. i will say that we had so much fun that it was like the honeymoon we didn’t have in bali (on account of I had very severe food poisoning). i will also say that my photographs get better in parts 2 and 3 partially because the Cape Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on planet Earth and partially because i learned a lot about my camera during this trip.

    our day started with a trip to vergelegen wine estate (seen at the top) which is known for being mandela’s favorite (and i think quite touristy). since we had started our day at 4 am we were sampling wines by 10. nothing wrong with that.

    vergelegen has an elaborate garden where it is easy to waste spend fifteen minutes at least just photographing the flowers. the other thing it has is german tourists. p and i spent at least ten minutes unintentionally silently snooping in on several conversations.

   after vergelegen we drove to spier. we didn’t get to sampling the wines however, because i miraculously spotted that they have a cheetah conservancy. i spent 200 rands just to play with the baby cheetahs while p  thumbed through his blackberry watched lovingly. they were extremely adorable, and worth every penny even though i now have conflicted feelings about ‘animal encounters.’

    we headed into Stellenbosch for some lunch and one of our favorite couple activities: sheeshah. in south africa, they call it Hubbly Bubbly. that such a ridiculous name that we concluded it must have been an indian who came up with it. i ordered Bob’s Your Uncle wine…and it came in a beer bottle. for those of you in the back: instead of a glass of wine you get the amount of a large beer bottle. the hubs helped me out because i don’t think he wanted to drive a passed-out wife back to cape town. i think we have found an economical girly drink for our housewarming braai though.

we drove back to the city and went to El Burro in Green Point for dinner. anyone living abroad (unless it is in Mexico) knows how difficult it is to find proper mexican food. well this place is legit and i highly recommend you try it if you’re in town. the pork tacos are better than most of the tacos i’ve had in my life, because the way they braise it is HEAVENLY and SPICY (i think for me spicy=heaven).

     we capped off the day with, you guessed it, more sheesha at Al Diwan in Mainroad in Greenpoint. what it is lacking in ambiance it makes up for with amazing sheesha. i leave you with one last pic of the amazing stellenbosch wine lands and tomorrow i’ll show you even more breathtaking views of the cape peninsula.

photos via namrata singh

blog maintenance.

i’m in cape town exploring what is one of the most beautiful places in the world. i’m also spending a few hours doing blog maintenance on the advice of some people who know what they are talking about while p is interviewing people today. so i leave you with this beautiful flower we saw when driving around the cape peninsula. i can’t wait to show you the photographs of the rest of this place.

25th october, 2011

cupcakes: how to edit your baking recipes for the altitude

Namrata Singh//carrot cake cupcakes and maple cream cheese frosting. 

i finally got around to baking here for the first time for some friends last week. the most exciting part about it was that i visited kadies and found neon pink dusting powder. i used my usual smitten kitchen recipe and they tasted delicious but didn’t look as delectable as they normally do because i was in denial that we live on the highveld and therefore should have adjusted my baking practices according to our altitude. 

Namrata Singh//carrot cake batter

because of the lighter air pressure foods (and my lungs, i can barely run 5 kilometres i can barely run) respond differently than us low altitude dwellers are used to. so, the first thing you need to do is decrease your amount of leavening agents by about 15-25% percent per 5,000 feet. in jozi we are at 5,751 feet so i now take out about a quarter of the baking soda (i.e. take out 1/4 teaspoon for every teaspoon the recipe calls for). you also need to increase the amount of liquid to counter the dryness….add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid per cup of flour (note: in baking, eggs do not count as liquid but butter does). the internet also recommends decreasing the amount of sugar by 2 to 3 tablespoons per cup of sugar but i say ‘pshaw’ to that. 

the last recommendation is to raise the cooking temp by 20 degrees F or 11 degrees C (math people i know that 20 degrees F does not equal 11 degrees C in a direct conversion) and slightly shorten the cooking time. i can’t help you with that, you’ll just have to poke your cupcake with toothpicks to figure out exactly when to take them out. 

while they weren’t as lovely of a color or perky as they normally are i was able to hide the imperfections with the heavenly frosting.  and they were absolutely delicious which made up for what they were lacking in looks. and now i hope you can use my misadventure to avoid having one of your own!

ps. for you fellow americans baking soda is called bicarbonate of soda here and confectioners or powdered sugar is called caster sugar and both can be found in the plenty even at the most basic grocery stores (which is not the case for you poor berliners). 

24th october, 2011

fashion fridays.

i realize that this outfit is a bit plain and a bit of a cop out since i already featured the shirt and necklace this week in a post about neighbourgoods. my reason for using it anyway is that i should focus on local african designers as much as possible. and to make up for my lack of creativity i have a little extra for you: my nails. in a pathetic heroic attempt to save money since we are dropping hard earned cash for cars sometime this month i decided to do my own nails, (p, my parade please).

i wore this outfit to lunch at my friend bing’s house (she cooked and hosted a delicious lunch with some other ‘real’ bloggers- heather, martina, sine and clare) and to my first photography class. i learned a ton at both. a very successful day in south africa.

glasses: garrett leight via shopbop

necklaces: ruby, skermunkil, and i don’t remember from an nyc flea market

shirt: take care clothingvia neighbourgoods

black bandeau: h&m because see-through shirts need bandeaus

jeans: mavivia the mavi store in hackesher markt (berlin), they were like 2 for 1. i don’t really like them though because they get super loose after one wear.

and le manicure. i got my inspiration via this pin on pinterest. i think it turned out okay. it is a feat to properly photograph your own nails though.

grey: opi in moon over mumbai

gold glitter: opi in only gold for me

top coat: essie in no chips ahead (i only mention because it works preeetty well)


i am off to cape town for the week with ptomorrow and i am incredibly excited to see the city that the whole word talks about (and by ‘see’ i mean ‘drink my way through several wine farms’). i hope your weekend is fabulous and restful. bis nächstes mal meine kartoffelköpfe!!

21st october, 2011

things to do in joburg: wolves cafe (adorable, unlimited internet in an internet challenged country)

Namrata Singh//wolves cafe 

if you’ve ever lived or visited south africa you know this country is a bit internet challenged. never before had i had a thought about how many bytes of internet i use. i was blissfully sucking all the magical internet i pleased through my various apple devices. since arriving here we’ve been surviving on an overpriced stick (who uses internet sticks?) from vodacom. i had to think twice before clicking on each gawker recap video of real housewives of new jersey radiolab podcast. so you can see how pathetic my life was becoming. at present we have no stick and we are waiting for our relocation service to get its act together for proper internet at our house and i thought i was out of luck for a whole week. think about it. a week. without. internet. after having an existential crisis and deciding that yes, in fact if i do not have internet then life is meaningless i ordered p to set out to find a place with unlimited internet.

IF cafes here or even hotels have complimentary wifi they usually have daily limits on it. if you didn’t know how quickly you go through 75mb you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. never fear, wolves café to the rescue.  it is located in illovo on the corner of corlett and oxford road (right next to oliva).  first of all it is ADORABLE with adorable little bunting flags strung up everywhere and delicious baked goods. as you can see, i said f**k you to my newly slightly slower metabolism and had a red velvet cupcake and latte. best of all, i lazily sat for hours using the free, unlimited, delicious internet. they also sell some adorable wares including pieces by skermunkil design. they do sponsored movie nights sometimes and this week the film was Dirty Dancing, so in addition to having delectable treats it is clear that they are tasteful cinephiles. if you are looking for a charming (and yes, trendy) place to enjoy some solitude and internet then wolves is a good bet. 

20th october, 2011