NCR: New Culture Revolution

New Culture Revolution is a blog co-created by Sima Kumar & Kristin Kreuk. We post mostly about love, yoga, style & travel.

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NCR: QOTD > Anais Nin

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin

NCR: I AM THAT GIRL > Yasmeen Kumar

How This Girl is grew up to be That Girl

When I grow up I want to be THAT GIRL Yasmeen Kumar! This is an outright brag post about my niece. But also one that anyone with a young daughter, sister, niece,cousin, friend should read… Super proud of the authentic voice of Yasmeen. It may sound like no big deal to be true to yourself, but actually taking the steps to live with integrity and uphold yourself in today’s climate of towing the line of popularity (this exists from childhood to old age - I witness it first hand) is no joke and I applaud you Yasmeen for not just talking the talk … but walking the walk. Thank You to Emily Greener & Sheila Moeschen for giving her a platform to let her voice be heard. I’m both humbled and inspired! ~ Sima

Interview taken from http://www.iamthatgirl.com/

When Yasmeen Kumar was given the school assignment to design a social impact project, she knew she wanted to do more than create an awesome presentation or propose hypotheticals about how to solve problems; she wanted to roll up her sleeves and wrap her hands and heart around an issue she feels passionate about: people who are homeless on the streets of her native Vancouver. “I really wanted to gain an understanding of how this impacts peoples lives,” says Yasmeen, and Helping Homeless Vancouver was born. Yasmeen works to identify, collect, and distribute basic resources such as clothing and toiletries to aid the homeless population. The more she educates herself and gets involved in the anti-poverty movement, the more inspired she is to transform Helping Homeless into a 100% non-profit some day. Yasmeen says, “I want to be a really positive role model for young girls, especially girls of color. I want to represent Indian girls with ambition and passion.” When this teen is taking a break from inspiring others and dreaming huge, Yasmeen loves kicking around with friends and treating herself to one of her most favorite guilty pleasures: Twizzlers! 

If you could describe yourself in one hashtag, what would it be?

#littlethings, because that’s what I’m all about. The things in life that make me happy aren’t shiny and expensive, it’s the small things that let me know people are thinking about me, like when my friends bring extra food to share at lunch, or when my dad brings home knick knacks, and tiny pencils home from work. That’s why I focus on little things with my social justice initiative Helping Homeless Vancouver, giving people the small stuff like socks and toiletries that really brighten up their lives. Little things make a big difference.

Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.

My mom rocks. She’s super modern, fun and accepting of all my choices. She does her best to steer my sister and I in the right direction, but gives us the freedom we need to figure things out for ourselves. She’s pretty cool.

What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?

 A goal I’ve set for myself is to expand my anti-poverty work into a formal non-profit. Hopefully one day my dream of having the resources and funding to make some long term change will come true, and we can start getting people off the streets and into permanent housing. My life ambition is to become a powerful and influential Indian, female leader  and role model. I want girls to know that they don’t have to fall victim to harmful gender roles, and beauty standards and they too can influence change.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to stay true to myself in a world full of ridiculous standards for women. I don’t listen to gender roles or beauty standards, I just do what makes me happy, independent, and self-reliant.

What piece of advice changed your life?

There’s a quote in my school library that say “live in such a way that if anyone were to speak badly of you nobody would believe it” and that’s how I’ve chosen to live. I don’t do anything to intentionally hurt anyone, and if I do, I right my wrong. I inspire and encourage others, and live my life to be the best version of me that I can possibly be!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years I will be 27, which seems crazy. I’d be lying if I said I had it all figured out, but I’m still young, I have some time. In ten years I see myself being well educated and well traveled. I see myself having built strong relationships with my friends and family. I see myself being a positive role model to women of all ages. I also see my anti-poverty work being taken to the next level and making some really big change.

What is the number one item on your bucket list?

I want to travel. I want to understand how the world works outside the the privileged life I live in Canada. I want to have a new understanding of different cultures and people. I want to eat yummy food, make new friends and lasting memories.

Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?

It’s not fair to call one person the biggest female influence in my life when there are so many women that have helped shape who I am. My Nani and Aji taught me how to be independent. My Fua showed me how to be polite, yet assertive. My best friend Corinna showed me how to be driven. My sister Aaliyah showed me how not to fear being unique. And my mom showed me how to always take the high road, no matter how tough.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?

The biggest risk I’ve taken in my life is being an assertive girl in a world where women are often discouraged from speaking up. I have no shame in standing up for myself or others which isn’t always easy. Especially in high school, assertive girls are not usually “fan favourite”, but that’s okay because it’s not worth being liked by everyone when you disrespect yourself.

Why are you THAT GIRL?

I AM THAT GIRL because I have chosen to be her. I have chosen to not let gender roles or beauty standards define me. I have chosen that to be driven, compassionate, and accepting. And most importantly I have chosen to love myself regardless of flaws.

*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor

https://www.facebook.com/helpinghomelessvancouver?fref=ts

NCR: Sima Says > Soulful Sunday > Changes

It’s now autumn where we live. This is in many ways my favourite time of year. It feels pensive and reminders that the only constant in life is change is all around me. All I have to do is look outside and Mother Nature is speaking loud and clear. Leaves are starting to fall. The trees are starting to resemble a symphonic fire. Bursting with red, orange, yellow and gold. One last dramatic reminder that we are all alive before the death of winter comes to wrap us up and take us to places hidden. 

It’s a time I start thinking of more hot yoga, less hatha yoga. Finding healthy ways to heat my body from within. When trying to decide what to make for dinner I am inspired by soups and stews. Light and clear broth bursting with flavours of root vegetable to stick to my ribs and warm my insides. 

I love to walk this time of year. The perpetual rain that slaughters the Pacific North West hasn’t quite arrived even though everyone knows it’s imminent. Now is a time when I am taking walks with friends vs. going out for dinners. Pulling out my cashmere love wrap and leather ankle boots, leaving my glamorous long nails behind for a shorter more practical manicure that is the colour of aubergine. Changing hairstyles to match the mood of season… these are some of the ways I embrace the changes from my optimal time of year, summer and transition into fall.

As I prepare to leave this place which has ultimately been ‘home’ in many ways - even if it’s never felt like it - my relationships dictate this to be the most home I know.  It’s as though my senses want to experience what is uniquely the west coast. This place has a distinct smell. It smells of rich earth and green. There is a moisture that creeps all over you like moss and imbeds itself into your bones. It can be menacing - but once you know you’re going to be leaving it - this same feeling becomes romantic. Like a touch from a lover who is about to leave you. The goodbye is staring you in the face and there is an understanding that it’s “for the best” yet all you can do is remember the good times and wish for a long goodbye. ~ Sima

NCR: Yogue > Yoga + Style

There is a difference between “looking good” being “good looking” and beauty. To me beauty is timeless and encompasses much more than designer clothes, good bone structure and great hair and makeup. It is something that emanates from a place within.

For me the people I experience as beautiful are kind, thoughtful, honest. There is an acceptance of who they art and an honesty about how they project that in the world. Couple these aspects of a human with someone who is creative and thinks about ways to dress as a way to share themselves with the world - I see this as beauty.

Beauty is a deeply personal journey yet a very universal expression. It is beyond something that is surface because beauty is sustainable. It doesn’t fade as we age it simply transforms. ~ Sima

NCR: Wife Life > Wednesday Wisdom

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. ~ Arthur Koestler

I’m sharing this quote today because I see how many people want to connect and feel a sense of trust and belonging with each other. I also see how so many people go about doing many opposite behaviours that keep us from this very thing.

When I took counsel with Swami Santhi after my husband The Italian -unexpectedly proposed - contemplating and exploring this karma I would be starting was something I weighed up heavily. I refer to The Italian and myself as O & O (Old and Older). It was when Swamiji said to me that marriage would be the next phase of my spiritual growth that I moved from fear to courage. He explained to me that we could only evolve so much as an individual. And that he believed I was ready for the next phase of my spiritual journey. This was the biggest factor to me taking the leap of faith.

What about LOVE?!? I can hear the cries now. Well - I don’t believe love is enough. Ask any couple in a long term relationship and they will say the same. Because The Italian and I are O & O - we know this from past relationships. We have both been blessed to experience epic love affairs with other people. I believe a successful relationship requires a shared goal which two people are committed to working towards. The Italian and I have that.

Love is a feeling it is not the foundation. To me, the foundation has to be something much more exclusive than the universality of love.

Being in a marriage relationship has taught me courage in a hyper magnified way. Being married has taught me I can pretend to do my relationship or I can do my relationship. How many relationships are we pretending to do? At the end of the day there is only one choice that will be successful. My marriage relationship is a macrocosm of all other relationships. Perhaps it’s another relationship that magnifies for you the fast track to reality. For me it’s focussing on my Wife Life. Because although I’m a daughter, sister, aunty, niece, cousin, friend and colleague to many, I’m a wife to only one.

If you’re playing games, double talking, isolating, justifying or denying - that thing you want - love & acceptance - will always be elusive.

Pretending is a waste of life and living. My suggestion to anyone on a ride that is making you sick at the playground we call Life - simply get off. Figure out the unravelling after. But first get off the ride that is literally making you sick. To quote Michael Stipe of REM “it’s hard to walk with dignity with throw up on your shoes.” ~ Sima

NCR:  Yoga > ABC new anchor Dan Harris on meditation

ABC news anchor Dan Harris experienced a panic attack live on air. Here we have an American male skeptic share how embracing meditation changed his life. He explains the science behind it very clearly. Take a few minutes out of your day to listen to what he has to say… and don’t forget to brush your teeth! ~ Sima

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywp4vaFJASE

NCR: Aerin Lauder > Home Is Where The Art Is

Ever since I saw Aerin Lauder’s book Beauty At Home, my favourite page is the one with the quote I’ve shared. I love how through her childrens’ art she is organically being a supportive mother and a mentor. It’s so easy to be a contributor vs. contaminator. The more I fine tune my life and the way I want to live and participate and engage, the more acutely I see this. I especially love what she says about taking the work of her children seriously. That confidence that comes from the encouragement of our parents is more potent than anyone realizes in the moment. It’s effects have a great reach. ~ Sima

"Mom used to frame everything we made, and now I’m following her example. It makes children so proud to see their work on display instead of hidden away. I figure if I take my children’s work seriously, maybe they will too. And it reinforces the idea that art is not something alien and esoteric. Anyone can make art." ~ Aerin Lauder 

art photo from the book: Beauty at Home

portrait of Aerin Lauder via Elle Magazine

NCR: Documentary > Fed Up

The sugar cartel. This movie is a must watch. A severe wake up call.

NCR: Monday Wisdom > YSL

One of the greatest fashion designers of our time and the man responsible for making the female tuxedo, Yves Saint Laurent helps us keep it real. Happy Monday! ~ Sima

NCR: Joan Rivers > Who Are You Wearing?

It was Joan Rivers who changed the fashion & celebrity relationship by being the first person to ask the question "Who are you wearing?" while interviewing celebrities on the red carpet.

This had a profound impact on the partnership between fashion and the film & tv industry. So in turn she had a profound impact on my career. Much of my work as a stylist took place in dressing celebrities for the red carpet. This post is to honour a very funny lady and one who was a game changer. May she rest in peace. ~ Sima

NCR: Yoga > How The Sun Sees You 

Here’s a really great visual to  inspire you to take care of your skin - your largest and only visible organ. ~ Sima

NCR: Yoga > @ RIP > BKS IYENGAR

And so a great spark has returned to the divine. 

Renown yoga master B K S Iyengar has passed away. He was largely credited with bringing yoga (asana) to a wider western audience.

I enjoyed going to the Iyengar studio in London’s Maida Vale neighbourhood on a regular basis. An oasis at the end of Randolph Avenue - the studio was loyal to it’s namesake. A very strict physical practice it was through Iyengar yoga that I healed much of a chronic shoulder injury.

Iyengar was quoted as saying “I always tell people, live happily and die majestically”. ~ Sima

NCR: Sima Says > A Year In Review

Living to 44 has been mind blasting for me. A lot happened and so much changed. Ultimately each of us must decide how we want to live and learn how to be more discerning. We will all meet shiny people who blind us with their brilliance but wait before running off with them so you may see the ones that have a steady flame in the centre and will go the distance with you.

A number of people asked me to write a post about a few things I’ve learned along the way. I endeavour to carry these lessons with me from today onwards and promise to surround myself with people who will remind me if and when I forget.

1. Release ALL expectations from everything & everyone. This is pretty much a mind f*ck and takes daily practice. But it is so worth it. Because you create space to experience people, places and things closer to what they truly are in that moment vs. what you expect them / it to be. Expectation is directly linked to Attachment. Attachment is the source of much of our suffering.

2. It’s the information age & the highway of technology sees everyone speeding. My advice: SLOW DOWN. If you receive a harsh email from someone who tells you a) you suck at your job b) you’re a horrible human being c) points out all the things wrong with you d) gives you unsolicited advice or opinions (I’m 100% guilty of this one) e) all of the above - DON’T RESPOND. Be patient. Someone else is taking the time to formulate another message to you. They are the match in the darkness. Wait for their message. It’s coming. This message is one that is a) supportive b) kind c) loving d) points out how you contribute goodness to the world & their life e) all of the above. 

If you’re someone who tends to send thunder thumbs or trigger finger volatile messages: STOP. Your words are harming another human being but they are mostly harming you. Anger & Hurt are blinding. When you regain your vision you may not have anyone around left to burn.

3. The middle path is the best path. When you find something that feeds your soul - this could be another person,  yoga, religion, church, philanthropy, knitting, reading, running, cross fit, food, sex, binge watching Netflix, house cleaning - pull back and find your centre. Anything you do that turns your life into a lop-sided lorry means you probably need to redistribute your load so you don’t cause a major accident. Get the balance right. 

4. Don’t gossip. I qualify this as talking about someone when they are not present and saying things you would never say if they were present. It will ruin more than your relationships - it will eat away at your health and rob you of miracles that are earmarked for you. Stop this one thing and watch your life profoundly change. 

Note: Pretending like you don’t do it doesn’t count. 

5. Have the courage to be authentic. Being fake is literally a waste of your life. Ask yourself: What could I be doing that is more truthfully me. You’ll become a game changer. And that is what you were put on the planet for. 

6. Be of service. If you can connect someone to help them get a job, meet someone they may fall in love with, offer advice that has been solicited, provide an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, directions, a lift, hand me down clothes, personal or household items you no longer need but they do - do it. Sharing expands the heart. The heart is your only indefatigable muscle. Think about it. It keeps beating even while you sleep.

Note: This doesn’t include being an accommodator whose available for things people can Google and don’t because they are lazy. 

7. Spend time in Nature. Don’t wait to go outside when the weather is nice. We go out in the world when we aren’t particularly nice but somehow punish Mother Nature by withholding ourselves from her until she gives us what we want. In that way - we are all bratty kids. Smarten up. Notice how every person who has blown your mind engages with Mother Nature regardless of what she’s giving us? Yeah - that’s not a coincidence.

8. Stand in the light of kindness. Even and especially with those who present themselves as adversaries and enemies. Be kind. It’s good for your health.

photo: taken by my father, David Kumar. August 1976 - sixth birthday party. 

NCR: Sima Says > Trend vs. Style

Trend: A general direction in which something is developing or changing

Style: A distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed  or Elegance and sophistication

both definitions via The Oxford English dictionary.

We’re well into summer in the northern hemisphere and undoubtedly the warmer temperatures mean a lot less clothing. Something about the sunshine and breezy summer air that makes us feel more adventurous. People jump off cliffs into pools of freezing cold water, go on nature adventures, book trips they usually save up all year for… 

The adventure continues when it comes to fashion. One go to trend is the denim short shorts. This year its back with a vengeance. Through my travels from point A to point B I see this look everywhere. I like this trend. It’s fun, there is something tough yet sexy about it - giving an air of ballsy broad to whoever is wearing it. Here’s the thing … and I’m sorry if I’m bursting your bubble - NOT EVERYONE WHO IS WEARING DENIM SHORT SHORTS SHOULD BE WEARING DENIM SHORT SHORTS! 

Just because something is a trend and you like it doesn’t mean it’s something that is going to look good on you. Here are my personal guidelines for this look. Firstly, this look is age specific. It looks best on teenagers and women in their twenties. Yes there are women in their early 40’s who can pull this off and they are called Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Aniston - perhaps living in Malibu gets you a pass - but once you’re into your 30’s trends are best evolved into personal style. The only person in my rule book exempt from this age cap for denim short shorts is Kate Moss. The second qualifier is… is your body in good shape to pull this look off? Be honest - and if you’re not capable of being honest call your most honest friend for a second opinion. Please do not mistake the honest friend to be the person who makes you feel the best about yourself - more often than not - this person is never housed in the same body. Here is the thing - with all the women’s empowerment and girl power going on in the world - which I’m a huge supporter of - doesn’t mean everything you wear will look good on you. It means we support the idea that you can wear whatever you want to without consequence. This post is about style not politics. Part of empowering your inner style icon is developing the skill of what suits your body type and what does not. This look is NOT flattering on all body types. If your crotch is eating up the fabric this look should be a pass. Now before you start writing me with protest comments - this is NOT about being skinny. It’s about being fit. There is a difference. If you’re confused - Google "Beyoncé denim shorts". Where does this style work best? -  at summer festivals - a place that requires comfort & durability. My last and important guideline - if your beautiful bum cheeks are peaking out to say Hello! - say goodbye to your denim short shorts.

Instead - think of harnessing the summer short shorts look with something a bit more stylish and with classic design. I’ve trolled through Pinterest and found examples which I’ve included in this post. Wearing shorts that fit well and suit your body and incorporating a look that is proportionate is the key to pulling this off. If you’re in the category of “crotch eats fabric” - a pair of shorts that is made with more tailoring and structure will be better suited to you. An easy way to achieve this is with a higher waisted look as shown above. Taking a more classic approach to pulling together outfits and pairing them with more refined fabrics and well chosen accessories is what can take the denim short from a trend into the land of personal style.

I once enjoyed wearing denim short shorts myself. I cut off my over-priced Big Star jeans in the Nineties and hit the streets with them cut off a little too frayed, a little too short and styled them with Doc Marten black boots and a plaid shirt and a perfectly placed slouchy knit touque on my head - we called it… Grunge. I was in my early twenties and was going to the Free Tibet and Lollapalooza concerts. Kurt Cobain was still alive. My point: this look has a time and place. Check your expiration date (usually achieved by looking at your backside & bare legs in a full length mirror) and enjoy your short and sassy summer! ~ Sima

compilation photos: via Pinterest

Photo of Kate Moss: via Mango campaign 

NCR: Sima Says >Happy Weekendering

Hurricanes couldn’t remove you from my mind. You’re my world and I’m incapable of not loving you. ~Billie-Jo Williams

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