New Culture Revolution

New Culture Revolution is a blog co-created by stylist & yogi Sima Kumar and actor & producer Kristin Kreuk sharing about arts & culture, travel, beauty, fashion, health & wellness, literature & film.


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NCR: Sima Says > C A T H A R S I S 

Well goodness me it has been a long while since I’ve posted something that comes from the core of my being. To everyone who follows this blog & always steadily supports… thank you for your patience. 

It’s been an interesting time. Lots of changes. I can imagine they happened quickly but really - the process started last summer. I entered a period of confusion & chaos that made me really sit up and look at who I was spending my time with and why. Bumps in the road of relationships can be golden nuggets that tumble us towards growth. Sometimes that process of alchemy can feel more like being burned alive than the possibility of pure gold. 

For me - I started making changes. In most but not all areas. Some changes simply evolved. Not all were welcome or comfortable. I began to take stock of my life and had multiple “WTF have I been doing?!!!” moments. I pegged those against the question “What do I really want?” 

Jeanette Winterson writes “what you risk reveals what you value.” This quote always resonated in me, yet I found myself risking nothing. In yoga - as Swami Santhi taught me - it is best to take on little manageable changes. Overwhelming ourselves into change doesn’t yield great results. I suppose in a way this happened. There was a people shuffle, work shuffle, home shuffle and relationship shuffle. The last one being the biggest shuffle of my adult life. I got married!

My husband, The Italian, is someone I’ve known for 16 years. I always felt disconnected from that mythical fact “you’ve probably already met the person you’re going to marry.” But in my case, it turned out to be true!

I’ll share more about my marriage here on the blog. How I came to the decision to marry The Italian (Swami Santhi was heavily involved in helping me through this) and negotiating moving my whole life to Europe. I’ll share my adventures and process on immigration (reading the 17 page immigration form is intimidating to say the least!) in a new segment here on the blog called International Affairs: There Is No Such Thing As A Marriage Of Convenience. Love is a matter of the heart. Immigrating across international borders is not. It’s all about facts.

It’s a whole new era for me. In an “insta world” I have an “insta family”. They have been warm & inviting and I’m looking forward to learning to speak Italian. Perhaps my former imaginary movie star boyfriend, Colin Firth can give me some tips on this. He apparently learned the language to woo his wife Livia.  I’ll share my personal process leading up to my wedding along with a few photos. I’ll be joining The Italian in the UK where we will live with some time spent at his family home in Campagna, Italy. The blog will take on a more European flavour. The Canadian contributors aren’t going anywhere though. Ginny will still be sharing her love of books, Tori will be offering advice on getting you “juice drunk” regardless of where you live, Darian will be providing photos (he took my wedding photos) and new contributors will be popping up. 

The only constant in life is change. The biggest change in my life is the chaos in my heart has settled flat. Just like the R. M Drake quote I shared in this post. This doesn’t mean chaos will never be again. It simply means right now, there is a sense of calm. Which is kind of crazy since everything that is before me is an unknown. I attribute this to the feeling of acceptance. With it comes a great peace. I hope wherever you are, life is peaceful, sweet and you are feeling loved. ~ Sima

NCR: The Great Mother

Celebrate. Every woman. ~ Sima

NCR: F. Scott Fitzgerald > Quote of the Day

NCR: Tribute > Maya Angelou x Dave Chapelle

In the early morning hours yesterday, an iconic humanitarian passed away. Maya Angelou lived a well storied and disciplined life. Here is part 2 of 4 videos where she spent a day with comedian Dave Chapelle. I chose this particular one to post for one of many heavy hitting truth bombs she drops “you develop courage, the most important of all the virtues, because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” 

Below is the link to  access all 4 parts of their time together. Dave Chapelle also shares some hard hitting truths about the trappings of celebrity and how sometimes getting the thing you thought you wanted isn’t what you wanted at all. Enjoy! ~ Sima

NCR: Fashion Friday > (Mis)adventures in Dress shopping.

From my days of being a beach bum kid walking her toy dog on the shores of Fiji waiting to grow into my Disney Dumbo ears to a paper thin cotton baby doll dress I still recall to this day from the 90’s (no picture evidence - sorry!) -  I have had a long love affair with Little White Dresses. Looking back now it’s shocking to think I rebelled against wearing a white dress to my first communion. Much to my father’s dismay I opted for red tights and a blue & white checked pinafore. In a row of dangling legs wearing pristine white socks & white tights … there was me … in red. This explains much of my life for those who know me well & for a long time. My fate was sealed right then & there one could say!

Church life aside here is ample evidence of me living in Fiji doing whatever it is you do while being a little kid in Fiji in the 1970’s. Hanging out with my brother on the beach, casually propped up on the hood of a car with my dad holding me in place alongside my brother, posing for photos at what looks to be a studio (notice the look on my brother Ray’s face - almost saying “uhm… she’s not wearing any pants!”).

My grunge era dress I remember so well. I was rail thin (probably too thin when I think back) and it felt like wearing a spring breeze. It was one of those dresses when I think back to wearing it I recall how I felt! I wonder if it’s like this for brides and perhaps that is why they are so attached to their wedding dresses? It was 1993 and I wore my dress to my then boyfriend’s band sold out rock concert. It was a blazing  hot summer and we were in the height of the grunge era. I decided for once to come out of the shadows of back stage & the protective compound of the sound engineer’s booth and declare that I wanted to be front and centre to enjoy the mayhem. Aware that I was inappropriately dressed - the rockstar boyfriend allocated me my own bouncer - aptly named “Big Dave”. I screamed & swooned like the rest of the hard core groupies and me and my baby doll dress survived in tact. There was no moshing  permitted near my Moschino. Girlfriend status has different privileges than Groupie status.

Fast forward to today. On my way home from lunch I stopped in at a local vintage & consignment store called Community. I am finding myself on the hunt for a lovely white dress for summer. I spy this lace number & somehow estimate it will be “just a little above my knees”. I am after all, only 5’1” tall. No halves or three - quarters. Just a solid 5’1” that I hold on to with the help of pilates. 

I snapped a photo &  shared my find with my vintage loving songstress friend, Marnie Herald. Once home I tried on my new purchase to find it … well… very short. Inappropriately short even! The only place this dress can be worn is on a sunny holiday - perhaps to Greece. These photos were snapped & now being shared at the hilarity of my error in judgment. At the end of the day - I had to laugh and remind myself of what Swami Santhi would say “What to do?” The upside to this little wardrobe malfunction tale - I’m obviously NOT as short as I imagine myself to be! Here is to warmer days & white hot dresses! ~ Sima

File Under: The more things change the more they stay the same.

NCR: Yoga > Monday Mantra > Soham or Hamsa (I am)

The mantra of soham or hamsa means I am. My individual self is the same as my Universal self. There is no differentiation. So if you are the universe and I am the universe why are we all so petrified of being rejected? What I do to you I do to me. How I love you is how I love me. How I harm you is how I harm me.

What is your relationship with rejection? How does it impact your life? I know for artists - especially actors - rejection is part of the process. Auditions are a direct experience of this. I’m not an actor so I can’t speak to this. But what I can share how I sit in on auditions with producers & directors. An actor walks in to deliver lines to sell a product and before they have hit their mark to begin, they are out of the running. Why? Because I’ve been hired to “keep it real”. What does this mean? It means if a girl walks in and she’s been a model and is too pretty then she won’t get the job. She’s not “real” enough. People don’t want to be sold shower gel from someone “too pretty”. She’s been rejected before she began. Or, she began from the moment she walked in. Nothing personal - yet so many of us take it … well… personally!

We all experience rejection. I’ve experienced it in love in the form of wanting to be with someone who chose not to be with me. Friendship - offering my style of friendship to someone who didn’t want that style of friendship. Work - applying for jobs that went to other people. Rejection is everywhere. In fact it happens on a daily basis. 

I love the above quote. Is there anything more intimate & intense than showing someone the sun in your bones and them rejecting you? Has this ever happened to you? It has to me. What do we make rejection mean about ourself? I used to make it mean I wasn’t good enough. Now I see it as as a friend. A really good friend that shows me the truth of how to align with people who are part of my tribe and live in the way I live & those who are lovely but live in a very different way. I also make it mean that I’m pretty rad for having the guts to expose the truth of me to another human being. Once I release my expectation to be accepted - and only exposing parts of me if they were guaranteed to be accepted (I understand the impossibility of this and understand such a formula doesn’t exist but you have no idea how much it makes sense in my head sometimes!!!) - I am free to be me.

How does this happen? Some people say “it’s because you’re older”. This makes sense only if you’re younger and personally I don’t believe age has anything to do with it. I have many friends in their late 30’s and early to mid 40’s who are still tortured by rejection. It happens by choosing reality. Reality is where the magic happens. It’s where experience integrates into something  beautiful: acceptance & wisdom. If I keep running from any person or situation or opportunity because he or she or it may lead to rejection I am literally choosing to be a prisoner in my own life. Set yourself free. Fly. You may be wobbly you may crash - often. But fly. It’s worth it. ~ Sima

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” ~ Rumi.


Mantra for the week is to STAY ON TRACK.

Print Your Own Makeup With Mink

NCR: Technology > 3D Makeup Printer

A little while ago I posted about a 3D printer that could (sort of) make food. My pen to paper brain has a difficult time wrapping the logic and logistics around 3D printers. I think a visit to Harvard or MIT will need to include a show and tell for me to understand this in a more integrated way. Here - Grace Choi has invented a 3D printer for makeup. This one invention could turn the beauty industry on it’s head. The future is mind boggling.  As I want to return to a simpler existence of growing my own food, taking walks in the English countryside and have face to face conversations in pubs vs. FaceTime conversations while sitting in my home with someone 30 minutes or 30 hours away - I love technology and am fascinated by it. Grace Choi is sarcastic, dry and brilliant. I can only imagine she’s going to be headed hunted by Estée Lauder or another major beauty supplier. I like to imagine if Steve Jobs were alive he would scoop her up to create a brand of Apple Cosmetics. Can you imagine the product design on that??? I’d buy it!  Beauty beware - there is a new girl in town. Her name is Grace. ~ Sima

Is the $55 billion dollar makeup industry about to be taken down by a Harvard Business student? According to Business Insider, Grace Choi has developed an at-home 3D makeup printer which has the capability to print out eye shadow, blush and lip colors in the same FDA-approved ink used by makeup companies. The outspoken Choi’s research was based around one principle: color, “The makeup industry…charges a huge premium on something that tech provides for free.” The beauty printer, Mink, has the ability to copy the color codes and exact hues used by all beauty brands. Mink is set to retail for $300 and has the ability to hook up to any computer, just like a normal printer. Watch to see how Choi’s makeup printing machine works and how it will change the makeup industry forever. (via Lauren Fisher for Harpers Bazaar)

NCR: Audrey Hepburn > What Would Audrey Do?

May 4,1929 was the day Audrey Hepburn was born. She would have been 85 years old. She was born in Brussels, lived in London before moving to Hollywood to become the iconic film star we know her to be. Initially a dancer then actress and lastly a humanitarian, her legacy lives on. Rarely has an actress continued to be so present day relevant as Audrey Hepburn is. Her onscreen style choices still dictate the fashion industry. Everything from lace eye coverings to hats, pearls and the LBD. And what is now the norm for actors to align with humanitarian efforts, it was Audrey Hepburn who was a pioneer for this movement.

On the eve of the annual Met Ball where actresses are paired with designers, it was Hubert de Givenchy that Audrey Hepburn developed a lifelong relationship with. Above is a sketch and the actual costume of one of his designs for her from Paris When It Sizzles. Of course we all know of the image from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. She didn’t flip flop when it came to style, instead opting to build and evolve with one designer. Near the end of her life when she was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer and too weak to fly back to Switzerland, it was her friend Givenchy who arranged for a private jet via “Bunny”Mellon to take her back home to Geneva to be with her family, where she passed away on June 20, 1993 at home.

I recall where I was and what was happening in my life that day. It was a friend’s birthday and I was somehow tasked with arranging the large dinner party for family & friends at an Italian restaurant. It was the spirit of Audrey Hepburn that influenced my choice in his birthday gift. The thought “What Would Audrey Do?” (now a book!). I decided on a vintage pocket watch.

One question I am always asked is “whose your favourite celebrity?” I don’t have one. After years of working with celebrities I realised they are only such when it comes to other - the public or their fans in extreme settings. Otherwise they are … like the rest of us - human. But if I had to go for an extended lunch with a celebrity I admired on multiple levels, Audrey Hepburn would top that list. She seemed to be comfortable as a flawed human, sharing of herself with grace and seemingly negotiated the ups and downs of stardom with an elegance and humanity that is rare these days. Her beauty seemed to literally shine from the inside out of her face. She was also, like me, an introvert.

Beyond her mind blowing & awe inspiring style choices and quirky roles in Charade, Sabrina and My Fair Lady, it was her work as a global ambassador to UNICEF that had the most impact on me. Seeing photos of her with children and the way a woman with a traumatic childhood of her own could commit to helping young people in countries ravaged by famine and war is how I ultimately remember her, not standing in the window of Tiffany’s the morning after the night before. She was one of those rare stars that we got to see age, naturally & gracefully. 

The Guardian wrote a wonderful article about her today and here is the link. I hope you enjoy! ~ Sima

photos: found via the web

NCR: YOGUE > Vrksasana > Tree Pose

My love of fashion has long embraced my passion for yoga. In fact, many modelling poses are a play on yoga postures. No one did it better than iconic model Veruschka, a german model, actress & artist born in 1939 in what is now known as Russia. Here she is in Hawaii in 1965 in tree pose in a photo taken by legendary photographer Horst P. Horst.

This is a excellent pose to stretch the body (especially the calves, thighs, groin and spine) and to increase balance. I always love to teach this pose because I myself have balance issues. It’s wonderful to see toddlers and young children play with this pose, It comes naturally to them and they are so limber. It’s also a really good posture to practice as we get older and balance becomes an issue. One can simply hold on to a chair or practice against the wall. In yoga there is no “doing yoga” there is only “practising yoga”. In that spirit we all have a “perfect practice”.  Try it out and watch how quickly you’ll be able to in the words of one of my favourite Depeche Mode songs “get the balance right”. ~ Sima


Yup, pretty much – genius from cartoonist Drew.

Pair with Christoph Niemann’s humorous diagrams of the creative process, then dive into the actual psychology of its stages.

(via Go Into The Story)

Substitute crying for grumpy or annoyed for me and Bobs your uncle! ~ Sima

NCR: The Possibility Of Life Between Us

Everything that matters to me is summed up so succinctly in this here frame hanging at Savoury Island Pie Co. Our testament is wherever we choose to wake up in life. For me today - it was in a pie shop. ~ Sima

NCR: Just Ginny > Reading Books With Strangers

The first few months of 2014 have been pretty rough. Team McConchie© has been dealing with some serious health roadblocks, meaning everything else gets put on the back burner. It also means I have a lot of time to spend worrying – and that’s on top of my daily allotment of “what could go wrong, and where is my life going” anxiety.

When I find myself in this downwards spiral, I find it helps to turn to some old friends for comfort and laughter.

I’ve read Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (andother concerns) by Mindy Kaling at least 5 times each. Sometimes all the way through, sometimes just the chunks I need to hear that particular day. The beauty of collection of essay books. Also, I find it soothing to know what’s coming next. 

BossyPants on family and friends: Tina understands what it means to grow up with (semi) German parentage – the way it gives you the “gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law.”

THIS IS MY CHILDHOOD. A “pep” talk from my mom is never very peppy, although often useful. Tough love to the max.

Tina’s writing never feels like she is trying to impress you, which is, well, an impressive feat for a collection of essays. Also, her love for Amy Poehler (ex: the chapter entitled “I don’t care if you like it: One in a series of love letter to Amy Poehler) showcases true best friendship – the way women can support and root for one another, even though pop culture might want us to believe otherwise. 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and feeling connected . Everyone feels a little bit like Mindy is one of his or her best friends, right? That’s one of her superpowers, and one of the reasons I can read chunks of this over, and over. It’s funny, it’s comfortable, it’s pretty perfect. I would say she just gets me and my love of celebrity gossip, fear of one night stand murders and love of SVU, but according to Instagram, Mindy “just gets” millions of people. So, that’s talent folks. Read about her exercise fantasies, they will make the gym SO MUCH BETTER.

Old friends make everything better, even if they have no idea you exist. ~ Ginny

NCR: Earth Day

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
~ Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

NCR: Gabriel Garćia Márquez > R I P

I remember the day my mum & dad took my two brothers’ and I to the library to get our library cards. It was such an amazing feeling. I felt - liberated. The idea that I could be given  a card to sign that would allow me to stroll up and down aisles filled with stories of people and lands far away and from another time was mind blowing to me. All of a sudden life was filled with unlimited possibilities. 

I was a very shy kid. Always good at conversation but inside me I was shy (later to find out through lots of Meyers Briggs test I am a rare introvert - FYI - so is Kristin, in fact we are the same category of introvert - but that’s not what this post is about). This post is about how in 1977 I got my first library card and I couldn’t wait to get home to sit under the cherry tree in our back yard and crack open the spine of a book I had picked to read. I love the smell of books. They all seem to have that same smell - until I’m done with it… then the scent changes. It goes from everyone else to mine. All my shyness disappeared as I became immersed in the stories I was reading. The characters became my friends and family and I had a say in what was going on. Reading enabled me to feel many different feelings in  a way that was safe and intimate. I could experience joy, adventure, sadness, heart break, loss, triumph. Reading to me was a portal into a greater experience of myself, one with no risk of rejection. I read - a lot.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years to when I discover Nobel prize-winning Columbian author Gabriel Garćia Márquez. I recall reading One Hundred Years of Solitude and being entirely wrapped up in this multi-generational family. Their struggles became my struggles. Their joys & sorrows were my joys and sorrows. One of my favourite quotes from the book remains with me to this day - one I draw on in trying times with myself or others “There is always something left to love.” How true is that?

Then came the more renowned Love In The Time of Cholera. This is a love story based on communicating through letters and telegraph. Old world romantic stuff that always reels me in and swallows me whole. It is also a love triangle - something I’m all too familiar with. Most of all it is a story that remains hopeful. Hopeful that it’s never too late to be with the one you love. A favourite line full of adventure and risk: ”Tell him yes. Even if you are dying of fear, even if you are sorry later, because whatever you do, you will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no.”  

What lengths we will go to for love! 

Today Gabriel Garćia Márquez died at the age of 87. But his beautiful stories will live on. ~ Sima

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