Top 10 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Tis the season…to google “best holiday gifts for someone who has everything.”

It’s only a few days before Christmas, but I bet a bunch of you are still stuck trying to find the perfect present for the last couple of names on your Christmas list. Well if you’re scrambling for last-minute gift ideas, we’re here to help you out!  Here are 10 Asian goodies for all the people on your list.




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1. Hot sauce to-go
For the coworker who keeps a messy car but an organized food life.
Sriracha2go is an idea that’s probably on the list of top ten greatest inventions this decade. One bottle is $7, three bottles is $15, and a whopping ten bottles is $35. It’s a solid price point to buy in bulk as a stocking stuffer or as a smaller gift for an acquaintance. After all, who doesn’t like Sriracha? This handy stocking stuffer is both a novelty item and useful. Done, done, and done.




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2. Perfume
For the mother/grandmother who likes all things pretty.
Hanae Mori Parfums ($72) is a brand named after Japan’s most successful female fashion designer (and also the first Japanese woman to dominate fashion runways all over the world), Madame Hanae Mori. The Butterfly fragrance is the brand’s most popular line and known for its blend of strawberries and jasmine, with a lingering impression of vanilla. If she’s interested in exploring a step outside of her usual perfume comfort zone, this could be the one.




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3. Framed photos
For the adventurous friend you went hot air-ballooning with.
Fact: when looking for home-related things for gifts, you can’t go wrong with the refreshingly simple Muji ($5.75 for the frame, $0.25 to print a photo). Print one or two of your favorite photos, print it out and voilà — you’re giving the gift of priceless memories to display on a bookshelf.



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4. Fun socks
For the teen in your life who likes to Instagram cheeky things.
Again with the food…but who could say these Shin Ramyun Ramen Instant Noodle socks ($4) wouldn’t make you smile every time you looked down at your feet? If you had a pair, you would walk around all day in sneakers with a huge smile on your face and your own little secret.



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5. High-quality green tea
For the dad/grandpa who has hectic mornings and a worn-out coffeemaker.
Yes, Tazo to-go might cut it sometimes, but spoil someone this holiday with China’s best this season: West Lake Dragon Tea ($10.95) from the Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Critics rave about its saturated green color and strong fragrance set against a mellow, calming taste. Want to personalize the gift? Make a cup for them, bake some mild-flavored cookies and present a bag with an offer for an afternoon date.

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6. A gorgeous Japanese art poster
For the teacher/mentor who watches history documentaries and has a comprehensive “Dream Home” Pinterest board.
Stray from the famous wave poster of cultural art history appreciation and opt for a piece just as gorgeous ($24) (or its shirt adaptation!). Poppies represents a gorgeous pocket of time in Japan’s extensive art history, and choosing home decorations as gifts can feel even more personal when it’s not a poster the recipient has already seen many times before.

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7. A plush pillow
For your favorite niece or nephew (or one you don’t know so well because let’s be honest– who wouldn’t want a plush pillow?)
Okay, are you freaking out yet? You should be. These bear plush pillows ($14.16) have the best instant reaction impact. And truthfully, this is a universal gift and should not be limited to children. These plush pillows are the kind you see and instantly know who you want to gift it to (yourself included). If you’re looking for a higher price point, plush pillows know no financial boundaries. Especially with adorable egg sushi pillows. TV nights just got ten times better.

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8. A good read
For the guy in your life who likes Yo-Yo Ma, Jeremy Lin and Ken Watanabe, but can’t really pinpoint what the common thread is.
Yes, they’re all Asian, but it’s more than that. Instead of getting him a tie this year, you can get him some good literature, such as Alex Tizon’s popular Big Little Man – a work that bends taboos and is so fiercely relevant. Giving a nonfiction book might seem boring at first, but really it’s an opportunity. Asian men aren’t always represented, so this delivered with a homemade bowl of ramen can make for a good afternoon.

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9. Luxe bangles
For the lady in your life who has five favorite fashion bloggers.
Sometimes there’s something you would love to have but would never really buy for yourself. That might include $75 bangles. She can decide to wear one or two some days, and the whole shebang the next. The designer draws upon the Mughal dynasty of India and mixes it with contemporary touches.




10. Sushi class gift certificates
For someone you’d like to catch up with over some yellowtail craft-making deliciousness.
What do you get someone who has everything already? Get them an experience! In this case, nothing says “a good time” like a few hours making something that’s both art and delicious. Sushi class gift certificates start at $80 (and there are sake classes as well.)



Have you ever given or received a gift that you’ll never forget? Who knows, it could inspire someone else to gift it.


Unique Christmas Traditions in Asia


Christmas is less than a week away! For many of us, this season means decorating Christmas trees, navigating through crowded malls, playing the Michael Bublé Christmas album way too much and baking gingerbread cookies. But what does Christmas look like for the rest of the world? More specifically, how is Christmas in Asia?

Asian countries have a smaller number of Christians and Catholics compared to the rest of the world. In Thailand for instance, less than 1% of the population is Christian. As a result, many Asian countries who do celebrate Christmas simply follow Western customs and traditions such as Midnight Mass and the exchange of gifts (but not without enthusiasm). In places like Hong Kong, Vietnam and Malaysia, Western customs and traditions are followed, but the holiday has a more secular view than a religious one.

Of course, this is not the case for all Asian countries. The Philippines, for instance, is one of two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia and Christmas is the most enthusiastically celebrated holiday on the calendar. The country is known for celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season which begins September 1st.

We’ve found that the Asian countries which do celebrate Christmas have an interesting set of traditions specific to their country. Here are some of the most unique ones:





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In 1974, KFC Japan began to promote fried chicken as a Christmas meal. The insanely successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign made the “Christmas Chicken” bucket an annual tradition. In fact, the tradition has become so popular, people order their buckets months in advance to avoid the two hour line.

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In addition to KFC fried chicken, there is one more thing that must be on the table for any Japanese home to feel the holiday spirit: Christmas cake. According to anthropologist Michael Ashkenazi, who studied Japanese culture and tradition, Christmas cake is “sold on practically every street corner.” Japanese Christmas cakes are sponge cakes covered in white cream and ruby red strawberries.





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Christianity is still relatively new in Korea, so many Christmas celebrations follow that of Western culture. However, Korea has its own version of Santa Claus. Santa Haraboji, or Grandfather Santa, looks similar to the Western Santa, but he wears a traditional Korean hat (갓 gat) and his statues have often portrayed him in a green suit instead of a red one.





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Although Indonesia is a Muslim country, Christmas is still regarded as a public holiday celebrated by many. Shopping malls are known to cover themselves in Christmas decorations and Santa Claus is even a widely-known figure. One Christmas tradition in Indonesia that we typically see in July are fireworks.




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Similar to Indonesia, India has a very small Christian population, but the 2.3% of Christians (that’s 25 million) are very enthusiastic about Christmas. Religious customs such as Midnight Mass are observed and some even put a small, oil-burning, clay lamp on their roof to show that Jesus is the light of the world. In South India, the tradition of the Christmas tree is alive and well, but instead of pine trees, mangos trees are used.




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In the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated from September until January. Needless to say, this holiday is huge. One of the most well-known traditions is Simbang Gabi (night mass) which are nightly, dawn masses beginning from December 16th and ending on Christmas Eve. The masses are meant to show devotion to God and create more anticipation for the birth of Christ. After each mass, plenty of traditional food is consumed.

A "parol" is a traditional Filipino Christmas lantern.

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To us, the Christmas tree is one of the most symbolic decorations of Christmas. In the Philippines, it’s the paról. Paróls are star-shaped lanterns which represents the star of Bethlehem which guided the Three Kings. Early paróls were made of bamboo, rice paper and oil lanterns. Now, the art form of making paróls has become as intricate as they are beautiful.



Know more unique Asian Christmas traditions? Let us know!

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Holiday Gift Ideas Inspired by Asian Street Fashion Trends: Statement Pieces


If you are running around doing last minute holiday shopping or finding yourself online all day trying to find unique gifts, we’ve got you covered. We were inspired by Asian street fashion trends and we’ve rounded up a few gift ideas we think you’ll love.

Throughout 2014 we’ve seen some great statement pieces and accessories to help make outfits pop.  Below are a couple favorite street style shots and interesting products that could make a perfect gift for the most daring fashionista you know.



1. A Cool Handbag


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Spongebob’s sequined eyes on this cross body handbag immediately caught our attention, so we searched out another adventurous piece: Moschino’s Spongebob shoulder bag available here on sale for $298.


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2. A Colorful Watch


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A great watch can be an accessory lover’s best friend.  Though fashion has given us multitudes to choose from, the practical purposes of a watch makes it relatable to anyone and an easy gift to give.  This bright green band caught our eye and we found a similar style, but with a unique natural wood face—a perfect conversation starter and at a budget friendly price of $56 available here.


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3. All-Over Prints


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For the urban wear fan, Joyrich can be seen all over the Asian street fashion blogs.  Their flamboyant prints and sayings are a huge favorite for both men and women. With stores in both the United States and Asia, it’s easy to get inspired and find the designs here stateside.  If you know someone that adores bold prints, we found the tee version of this sweatshirt.  You can find Joyrich’s Cuddle Currency Shirt here for $40.


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4. A Childhood Throwback


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From Mickey Mouse to Iron Man to Looney Tunes, we’ve seen a lot of childhood favorites pop up every month on the Asian style blogs.  Check out this Tweety Bird hoodie available here for $23.


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 5. A Pop Of Color


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Winter usually means breaking out everything that is black and gray, but we loved how this stylish woman added in a touch of cobalt blue with her cropped sweatshirt and matching booties.  If anyone in your friends and family is a fanatic for all things blue, we found a great ribbed knit cropped sweater from Forever21 available here for $20.


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Stay tuned for more street fashion inspired gift guides as we count down the days until the holiday festivities begin.


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Unforgettable 2014 Celebs Share Their Holiday Plans


On December 5, the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles nightlife was alive and well on the chilly winter night. On the outskirts of Koreatown stands the Legendary Park Plaza Hotel, the venue of Audrey Magazine and KoreAm Journal’s 13th annual Unforgettable awards gala.

When entering the hotel, guests were greeted with a giant, brightly-lit Christmas tree which was not only the perfect picturesque backdrop, but it also elicited a sense of holiday spirit. Curious as to what our guests had planned for Christmas, we asked a few to see what their responses would be:

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Actress Ming-Na Wen, the recipient of the “Actress of the Year” award for her role in ABC’s hit television show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., stated, “We’re going to Hawaii, but I’m going to decorate the house. I love decorating the house.”

A performer that night, David Choi attended the event along side YouTubers Arden Cho, Anna Akana, and Philip Wang. When asked how he was going to be spending the holidays the singer/songwriter simply replied, “I’m just going to spend it with family, visit my aunt with all my cousins.”

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For his main role in the romantic comedy television series, SELFIE, John Cho was awarded “Actor of the Year” as well as Royal Salute’s “Mark of Respect Award.” Having just had his second child last year, he replied, “I’ll be around; the kids are too young to travel right now.”

Canadian-British actress Karen David, Princess Isabelle in ABC’s Gavalvant, is also going overseas, “For the holiday season, me and my hubby are going to Australia this year because my friend is getting married. I promised my parents that when we get back that we’re going to do a sort of post-Christmas celebration with them because it’s all about time with the family and having good food. And quite frankly, I miss my mother’s Chinese cooking, so I’m going home.”

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Star of Disney’s newest animated film Big Hero 6, Ryan Potter answered matter-of-factly, “I have a bunch of videos to put together for my portfolio for CalArts, so that’ll be it. I’ll just be shooting and editing throughout the holidays, but I’ll still see my family. We’ll have a honey baked ham, so ya.”

Actress and YouTube personality Anna Akana’s response was a change of pace: “I’m going to Italy in ten days! I’m really excited. Me and my boyfriend are going to for seven days over there and then we’ll come back to spend Christmas with my family.”

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Known for her powerhouse vocals, The Voice winner, Tessanne Chin performed two amazing songs that fully displayed her talents. With the mention of the holidays, she sprung right into things, saying, “I’m so excited to see my family because we have been traveling so much this year. I actually get some special time with my husband, my sister, my daddy and my nephew. I can cook up some good food and just do nothing for at least a week or two. That sounds like bliss to me right now.”

In addition to John Cho and Ming-Na Wen, Arden Cho and Ki Hong Lee both received an award for “Breakout Star of the Year.” And this night wasn’t just about awards. There were a number of live performances that kept us on the edge of our seat. Urban dance group KINJAZ kicked off the night with captivating moves followed by a performance by Tessanne Chin, whose powerful vocals left the entire audience in disbelief. Choreographer/dancer Mike Song and beatbox champion KRNFX teamed up for an equally entertaining and humorous performance followed by another duet courtesy of David Choi and Arden Cho. The audience sang along with the sweet duo before G.NA dazzled them with K-pop. Following an opening act by Howard Chen, Yoon Mi Rae hit the stage and brought the audience to their feet. This was followed by an unforgettable encore performance with Tiger JK and Bizzy.

Living up to its name, this night was truly Unforgettable.

All photos courtesy of White Rose Production.

Looking For The Perfect Holiday Dress? Get To Know: Vi Hoang of Dolly Pearl


The holiday season is fast approaching, so it’s time to break out those stunning gowns and dresses that are meant for compliments.  The task of finding the perfect dress can be difficult, especially when we go through shopping lulls and have nothing to wear. Instead, we’re left with the oh-so-stressful mission of finding that jaw dropping “it” dress just in time.  To help alleviate the “what do I wear” panic, take a peek at designer Vi Hoang’s special occasion wear line Dolly Pearl, and get to know the creative woman behind it.



Designer Vi Hoang by


Audrey Magazine: When did you first discover your passion for fashion design, and what motivated you to pursue special occasion and bridal wear?
Vi Hoang: I’ve always been interested in the world of fashion. I started reading my aunt’s Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines at age 9. It was a world so far from my own, but the glamorous images of supermodels, designers, and celebrities were permanently tattooed into my head at an early age. I can even remember specific photoshoots from the 90’s that will never be erased from my memory. My path into special occasion and bridal wear was an accidental surprise. After winning the Daily Candy ‘Start Small, Go Big’ contest in 2010, the franchise owner of Bella Bridesmaid reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to do a capsule collection for them. The reaction was so great that I decided to go from ready-to-wear to special occasion/bridal.


AM: When did you first fall in love with Dolly Parton, the icon your line is partially named after?
VH: I’ve always loved Dolly Parton since I was a very young girl. I remember watching her on TV singing with Kenny Rogers, and how much I enjoyed her as a person, as well as her magnetic performance. Her kind/positive energy, humor, and great attitude towards life made a huge impact on me through the years.


AM: What do you consider a signature feature of your designs?
VH: My silhouettes are easy and minimal, and the details almost always involve dramatic ruffles and bows—very sweet and feminine, but also modern.




AM: Can you share one of the most difficult challenges of being in fashion design, and how you overcame it?
VH: Fashion design is a very competitive industry. Bridal wear is even more competitive and becoming more and more saturated. The way I have and continue to overcome it is to make my brand more personal. Through social media, I make a personal connection with fans and clients of the line. Social media is such a huge part of our daily lives, and I make an effort to take advantage of this to connect to my audience.


AM: Taking on a creative career as an Asian-American woman, did you feel positive support?
VH: Absolutely. I was always a very artistic child, so it was no surprise to my parents that I wanted to pursue a career in fashion. I’m lucky to have parents who didn’t push me to be something other than what I wanted. When I entered the Daily Candy contest, and had to push for votes, I discovered how supportive my family, friends, and peers were, and that was so amazing to see and experience.


AM: What future hopes do you have for your line?  
VH: I hope that my line will continue to grow and develop a bigger following. Being a small business owner is a challenge in so many ways, and the most important way to stay relevant is to connect to your clients and keep that momentum alive. I hope to continue to design beautiful options for women looking for something more memorable and fashion forward to wear for their special occasions. I hope to continue encouraging women that spending a little bit more for better quality, materials, and design is worth it for those once in a lifetime occasions.


Below are some lovely options for your upcoming holiday parties and festivities.


The Melinda Gown In Poppy Red


The Cassie Dress In Navy


The Constance Top With The Harlow Skirt


The Savannah Dress In Honey


 Feature Image And All Imagery Courtesy Of Vi Hoang,


Happy Black Day: Korea’s Single Awareness Day

In America, Valentines Day means roses and a box of chocolates for our significant other. It is arguably the most romantic national holiday for us. Nonetheless, for many Asian countries, a single day to show love isn’t enough.

For countries such as Japan, Korea and China, Valentine’s day is celebrated quite differently. This holiday is an opportunity for women to present men with chocolate as an expression of love. Men do not give women anything in return until a month later. On March 14th, otherwise known as White day, men reply to the women who gave them gifts. This gift is a good indicator of whether or not he feels the same way.

As it turns out, White Day is not the only holiday we’re missing out on. A month after White Day, on April 14th, Korea celebrates yet another interesting holiday: Black Day.

As you may have guessed, Black Day is practically the opposite of the two romantic holidays. This is a day is for those who did not receive gifts on Valentines Day or White Day. Yup, this unofficial holiday is for single people.

To celebrate this day, people wear black and eat black-colored food. Specifically, people indulge in jajangmyeon, a noodle dish with a thick sauce made of chunjang (soybean paste), diced pork and vegetables. As sad as this holiday may seem, people have put in efforts to make this holiday fun such as jajangmyeon-eating competitions.

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Everything You Need To Know About Valentine’s Day Traditions

With Valentine’s Day nearly a week away, we decided this post would make the perfect Throwback Thursday. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about Valentine’s Day traditions:

Chocolates, hearts, roses, and love in the air. Yup, it definitely feels like Valentine’s Day. Although we’re accustomed to a number of Valentine’s Day traditions, we may not know where a lot of these traditions come from. In fact, many of us don’t even know the actual origin of Valentine’s Day itself. In honor of this holiday, we plan to explore everything from chocolate covered strawberries to cupid.

Giving Roses/Flowers To A Loved One

The custom of giving flowers to others dates back to the 18th century (introduced by Charles II of Sweden). During this time, floral bouquets were sent to pass on non-verbal messages. Each flower had a specific meaning or stood for a particular message and thus an entire conversation could occur purely through the flowers. Today, Valentine’s Day is the holiday which sends the largest amount of flowers. Roses are the most popular because it represents romantic love. Specifically, the red rose is showered in popularity due to its relationship with passionate love.

The Heart Symbol

The heart is said to be the source of all human emotions and the representation of love. It seems only fitting to use such a symbol for such an emotion-filled holiday. Because the shape of the heart is vastly different from the shape of an actual human heart, many suggestions have been thrown out as an explanation. Some have said that the shape was an attempt to portray an organ that they could not see. Others suggest that the shape is intended to represent various shapes of the female body.



Cupid originates from Roman mythology where he is the god of erotic love. Although classical Greek mythology  portrayed Cupid as a slender youth with wings, Cupid is now often seen as a young boy bearing a bow and arrows. Myths have suggested that being shot with Cupid’s arrow results in uncontrolled desire.


Rather than spelling out the phrase hugs and kisses, people will often use the letters X and O. While the origin of O is unknown, we do have an idea for why X stands for kiss. In the middle ages (when reading and writing skills were scarce), documents were often signed with an X. The signer would then kiss the X in front of a witness to show earnest feelings. Similarly, in Christian history, people would kiss the X after signing an oath to prove sincerity.

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Although many people link the discovery of chocolate to Latin America nearly 2000 years ago, the Mayans and Aztecs seem to have delighted in the product even earlier. They would place cocoa beans in water to drink or even use cocoa beans as a form of money. People began realizing the correlation between chocolate and feelings of excitement, attraction, and pleasure- so much that nuns were forbidden to eat chocolate and French doctors used it to cure “broken hearts”. With such strong emotions gained from this treat, it seems to make perfect sense to put some chocolate in a heart shaped box for Valentines.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

The origin of chocolate covered strawberries is often credited to Lorraine Lorusso who introduced them at a store called “Stop n Shop” during the 1960s. The act of dipping fruits in chocolate may have begun much earlier. When chocolate was first introduced in Latin America, the product was very bitter and people often ate it with fruit to balance the flavors.

The Holiday Itself

There are many legends concerning Saint Valentine. The most popular one describes Valentine as a Roman priest in the third century. Legend says that Emperor Claudius II believed that soldiers were better suited for battle if they didn’t have wives and families to think about. Because of this, he outlawed marriage for young men. Believing that this law was wrong, St. Valentine began performing weddings for young couples in secret. He was eventually discovered and imprisoned for his actions. During his imprisonment, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and sent her the very first valentine- a letter which he signed “From Your Valentine”. We’ve been using this phrase ever since.

Indian American Waris Ahluwalia Stars in Gap’s Latest Holiday Campaign

San Francisco-based retailer, Gap, has quickly created a positive buzz with its latest campaign. Designer/actor Waris Ahluwalia, arguably one of the most prominent Indian American and Sikh figures in the fashion world (just check his pages), is one of the campaign’s featured faces.

Just released at the start of the month, the campaign stars a slew of personalities including Ahluwalia (as well as this year’s Unforgettable host, Lisa Ling) and has drawn a number of positive comments for the diversity in its casting.

Seen alongside artist and filmmaker Quentin Jones, Ahluwalia is seen modelling the mega-retailer’s latest holiday fashions — a puffer vest and a button down shirt.  But it’s not just the clothes that have created a buzz.  In an industry that often draws flak and criticism for its lack of diversity, the conscious decision to cast and feature Ahluwalia as one of the faces of a globally-recognized brand is undoubtedly a needed change, a powerful statement on representation and tolerance and a much-needed step forward.

Many fans have been quick to show their support.  On Gap’s Facebook page, the photo featuring Ahluwalia has already garnered over 700+ likes and quite a few positive comments.  A sampling of which is below:

Keenu Hundal Saw this ad in teh (sic) downtown San Francisco store and literally stopped in my tracks. I was so happy to see you all select a Sikh male in your new ad campaign. We need to make the Sikh male image more mainstream in order to educate the general public on who we are, so that ignorace does not breed hate any longer. Thank you, Gap!

Charu Kapoor Deshpande You guys have truly raised the advertising/marketing bar … Bravo for making a statement by setting yourselves apart and recognizing how the world had changed and is changing! Best campaign I have ever seen because you stepped outside the box!! Bravo


Suvraj Mandeep Thank you Gap. It’s such a proudest moment to finally see that major designer store has choose Sikh as there Frontwall model who is actually a pure Sikh (the one who wears Turban and has full beard). Truly, a vary proud moment for all the Sikhs. Finally, putting Gap to my top list for shopping this holiday!


With such a positive response, we can only hope that this helps mark a new, more diverse, more representative era in the often-exclusionary world of fashion.


Audrey Explores Valentine’s Day Traditions

Chocolates, hearts, roses, and love in the air- yup, it definitely feels like Valentine’s Day. Although we’re accustomed to a number of Valentine’s Day traditions, we may not know where a lot of these traditions come from. In fact, many of us don’t even know the actual origin of Valentine’s Day itself. In honor of this holiday, we plan to explore everything from chocolate covered strawberries to cupid.

Continue reading

Girl About Town Conquers Valentine’s Day

Each holiday comes with it’s own quirks and quarrels. Thanksgiving you eat turkey, but the stress of hanging out with your crazy relatives might just make you throw it all up. Christmas is presents presents presents, but your sister might hate you forever because you skimped on her gift this year because you were broke. New Year’s is fun, but what if you’d rather stay home alone and chill instead of partying it up? And of course, there’s Valentine’s Day..

Not only is there the built-in stress that comes with each holiday, but there is the added pressure to make this day extra romantic and special.. for no particular reason really. It’s what we learned in kindergarten, it’s what we do as adults, and Hallmark, CVS, See’s Candy, Godiva, and Papyrus are all very happy to support our endeavors to make every February 14th special and romantic. Continue reading