If you are in SF, shopping in Chinatown is a must.

The beautiful neighborhood will welcome you with bright red festive lanterns and colorful clusters of shops. As one of the top tourist attractions, Chinatown is always packed with travelers and shoppers. You can experience both good food and great shopping here. 

You can get great deals on both SF and Chinese souvenirs. From Asian art to antiques, precious stones to fun souvenirs, you can walk away feeling like you've got the best deal! The key to getting the best deal is to negotiate. Yes, negotiate on everything. 

Shopping can be more fun especially when you get a great deal. So here are some of my tips on how to find a good deal.

  • Don't be shy when it comes to negotiating. Shopkeepers are aware that it is a tourist-y place and they will bargain. 
  • Never speed shop:  Don't buy the first thing you like in the first shop. This is because the inventory is similar in most of the shops, so chances are that if you like something, you will get it at other shops as well, maybe even at a better price. It is very frustrating to realize that you paid double for an item which is available on the other side of the market for half what you paid.

  • Set a Budget: Its important to set a budget beforehand to avoid overspending. Easy to get carried away in a place like this, especially when you see the lower price tags.
  •  Do not be the first to quote a price: Always ask for the best price they can offer, once the shopkeeper quotes a price, offer half of it as yours. If he says no, be ready to walk away. Chances are he will not let you go and hence give you the item either at your price or slightly above what you quoted. 
  • Carry cash and smaller bills: The shop owners here prefer cash transactions. It is also easier to bargain when you say that you have limited cash. Try not to show the larger bills. You can't get a $30 worth artifact for $15 if you show a $100 bill.
  • Ask for additional discounts: Even if the item is not on sale, go ahead and still ask for a discount. You will be surprised at what they may offer.

I hope these tips and tricks help you in getting the deal of the day. Tell me about your shopping tips too :).

Happy shopping :)

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AuthorKunjan Chabra

Summer here in San Francisco is in full swing and I am enjoying every bit of this beautiful warm sunshine! Its perfect weather to walk around the streets and discover the hidden treasures of the city. So I decided to spend my afternoon in the colorful neighborhood of Chinatown.

SF's Chinatown is supposed to be the largest Chinatown outside Asia. It is one of the top tourist attractions in SF and the best way to explore it is by walking through these colorful streets. I have really enjoyed exploring Chinatown so far... In fact, the more I come here, the more I discover...

The 24 block area is full of shops, restaurants, museum, and temples. If you're visiting, my recommendation would be to start from Grant Ave at Bush. This is the gateway to Chinatown, a big Dragon Gate welcomes you to the main streets of Chinatown. Notice how the street's name is mentioned in Chinese on the entwined dragon lampposts. 

There are a lot of stores selling a variety of antique pieces, interesting Chinese souvenirs, furniture, etc. Chinatown also has a bunch of amazing bakeries and tea shops. Take a break from of your shopping spree and sip the tea at the oldest and the first  tea house in SF, Hang Ah Tea Room. 

Grant street is lined up with shops selling the colorful Asian furniture and inexpensive souvenirs. Stockton street is where you will find more locals doing their grocery shopping.

From antique and souvenir shops to restaurants, authentic Chinese vegetable shops to Chinese temples and churches - Chinatown has it all!

Sharing my tips on how to shop in Chinatown here.

AuthorKunjan Chabra

I came across Noelle's miniature garden at a fair in Oakland and wanted to share how beautiful small things can be. It reminded me of my childhood days when I used to play with little cups and saucers, and my tiny little kitchen set :).

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Succulents are a perfect choice of plant for a miniature garden. A low maintenance plant, they need water just once a week and for a forgetful gardener like me, they are exactly what I can manage! 

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It's so amazing to see how Noelle has grown these little beauties in absolutely any cute looking "pot". The size of the container can be as small as a quarter, but that doesn't limit her creativity.

I couldn't stop adoring these baby succulents.

Aren't these cute! Tell me what you think :).

You can check more of her work on her FB page here.

AuthorKunjan Chabra

After some breezy-cool summerish days, we finally have a sunny summer in my part of the world. Yay!! The weather has been kind today and I am totally enjoying the cool SF summer. So, I thought to share the 5 beautiful things caught my eye this week :).

Everything about this room in Jonathan Adler's store is perfect.

This antique trunk is such a wonderful conversation starter. The brass detailing is gorgeous. Did you notice the three drawers at the bottom! Aren't they so cute!

I love the pattern and texture of this Kilim rug. It oozes an earthy feeling.

I instantly fell in love with this bull head when I saw this at the Old Town in San Diego. It depicts a wonderful and happy wedding ceremony.

Now, have you ever seen chess pieces like these? They add such a character to the table.

AuthorKunjan Chabra

Every time I am in the mission neighborhood and walk by Clarion Alley, I am mesmerized by the wonderful works of art it plays host to. Clarion is a small street located between Mission and Valencia. The street hosts some of the most stunning and thought provoking murals in San Francisco.

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The first time I stumbled upon this alley, I ended up spending more than an hour admiring the various murals, and trying to understand the thought behind each of them. 

These multi-themed murals depict several of the current social and political themes of our society. 

A must visit whenever you are in the city. There are actually several such murals in the city and you can either take one of the mural tours, or DIY.

A couple of thoughts on how you could incorporate murals in your home:

  • If you like a mural, take a picture and frame it. If photographed well, a good mural pic is nothing short of an art piece.
  • If you have a backyard wall screaming paint, try getting a mural artist to paint it. Not only will it add character to your home, who knows you may end up with a masterpiece right in your backyard for your luxurious view! 

If you know of more places with beautiful murals, don't forget to tell me about them :).

AuthorKunjan Chabra

Have you ever been to Cost Plus World Market? It's always a delight to my eyes. They stock the most beautiful items from around the world at very reasonable prices.

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I first explored World Market in Los Angeles. Thanks to my sister in law!! And since then, this has been my go to place whenever I need to pamper my eyes :).

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Apart from home decor, they also have an amazing collection of food and wine, stocked from around the world.

Checkout their website www.worldmarket.com for some global inspiration and let me know what you think!

AuthorKunjan Chabra
AuthorKunjan Chabra

I love going to craft shops! There is something so inspiring about them. The extensive range of products and colors gets my creative juices flowing. Not that I am too creative, but once in a while, I do like to make something myself - gives me a sense of satisfaction, you know, making something from scratch... providing my personal touch... a story to tell...

Stay tuned for my soon to come DIY project :).

Happy Thursday!

AuthorKunjan Chabra

As we welcome the season of cherry blossom in San Francisco,  I thought what better day than today to give you a sneak peak into my den!

We moved to our current place a few months ago. It's still a work in progress but I couldn't resist sharing how everything is coming together, piece by piece. I'll give you a peek into how the living room looks today... the rest is for another post :).

I live in a single family home with the living, dining and the kitchen on the ground level and the bedrooms on the upper level. I get a perfect view of the hustle bustle on the street on one side and a beautiful backyard on the other side. Plenty of natural light :).

Come... let's go in :)

So this is our living area... As you can see, we love colors :).

The dark hardwood floor and the white walls gave us the perfect canvas to start with.

We decided to go with an ivory couch so that it highlights the rest of colorful stuff - the cushions, the rug, the side tables...

I totally love the Madhubani painting we bought from our travel to India last year. It is such an interesting style of painting, mainly practiced in the state of Bihar. They use only natural dyes and colors, and there is absolutely no empty space left. The one I have depicts the flirtatious dance ('Raas Leela') between Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. 

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The coffee table is a low wooden carved table which sits pretty on the woven Kilim rug thereby giving a very earthy look to the room.

This Tiffiany blue colored shelf on the wall (that's what I like to call it :)) is a flea market find that I totally adore! It serves as the perfect backdrop for tiny little knick knacks that I collect.

I love how cushions can bring so much color and uplift the mood of the room. I keep on experimenting with different shapes and fabric textures. 

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We chose to go with different colored frames with similar textures for our gallery wall. They go well together yet each frame stands out.

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Oh by the way, did you notice the quilted frame above? Isn't that just so pretty!

I like to mix ethnic and modern, prints and colors, textures and patterns!!

The vibrant orange accent chair with a footstool is such a comfortable chair (my fav)! It sits diagonally opposite the couch. I opted for a black and white curtain combination which balances the orange nicely and gives a complete look to the room with such an airy feel/feeling.

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This is the nook for my Mandir. I painted the shelf orange to go with the colorful palette of the home. I decided to give it a more retro look than traditional!

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I believe the living area sets the tone for the entire house. The ambience we create in the living room is a projection of our own selves to people we are hosting. Accordingly, I want it to be warm and welcoming. I also want it to tell our story and give people a peek into our lives... I want our pictures and accessories to be conversation starters... Finally, I want my living area and my home to be and feel like a happy place.

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I would love some feedback on how I could make this space look better... tell me what's working and what's not... C'mon people, tell me more. 

AuthorKunjan Chabra

It has been raining quite regularly for the last couple of days here. And there is nothing better than having a hot cup of chai on my lazy chair by the window, while it rains from up above.

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I love the combination of rain and tea... well, I dont mind some pakoras (yummy fried indian snack) to add to that combo too :)

Tell me lovely people, what do you like to do when it rains?

AuthorKunjan Chabra