India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
August 28, 2017

A Day In The Life OF New York-Based Blogger Shalini Acharya

Text by Tina Dastur

With over 60,000 followers on Instagram, she spills the beans on her beauty regimen, closet favourites and more

As a young girl in the 1990s, I would religiously watch every Miss World and Miss Universe contest and ape the contestants’ styles. A decade later, at the dawn of the 21st century, film and television stars captured my imagination — not only with their expansive (and expensive!) closets but also with their extravagant lifestyles that saw them travelling across the globe for both work and leisure. Honestly speaking, how many of us can say that we haven’t flicked our mothers’ lipsticks, sunglasses and other accessories to emulate iconic celebrity looks?

But over the last 10 years, there has been a paradigm shift, courtesy of digital media. Bloggers on Instagram and Snapchat have replaced those once-revered models and A-listers. With thousands — and often millions — of followers on their social media platforms, bloggers are today sought after for their advice on everything from fashion, style and beauty to food, travel and even technology. Part of their appeal lies in the fact that they are far more relatable than the movie stars…but the charm mainly lies in their glamorous lifestyles. From doling out make-up tips and tricks and putting together an ‘OOTD’ (Outfit Of The Day, mind you) to sharing striking images from their vacations abroad and even posting short video clips from personal milestones in their lives (such as weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries), they have become permanent fixtures in the life of millennials.

It’s 2017, and it is practically impossible to find anyone from our generation who doesn’t ‘follow’ a blogger on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. Verve goes behind-the-scenes with style, beauty and travel blogger Shalini Acharya to learn about creating the perfect Instagram image (perfect in tone, angle and composition), her daily regimen, favoured digital platform, and more….

Keeping up with Shalini:
My morning starts with 10 minutes of meditation immediately after waking up. It helps me set the tone for the rest of the day. I also do yoga (it is inseparable from my daily routine!) and go for a run. Then, after a quick shower, I eat breakfast while checking my e-mails, Instagram page and all my other social media accounts. Most importantly, I drink plenty of water throughout the day to cleanse my stomach and stay hydrated.

I do snack, but I always try to keep it healthy by munching on walnuts, grapes and apples. For breakfast, I make a fantastic bowl of chia, smashed banana and cashew milk, topped with home-made granola, coconut chips and berries. I avoid caffeine as much as I can and instead drink a cup of almond milk or turmeric latte. I prefer staying light for lunch, so my staple is simple eggs with salmon and avocado. For dinner — regardless of whether it’s hot or cold outside — I always want a cup of soup, if you leave me to my own devices. Being a blogger, though, I do attend a lot of dinner-time events, so, to be completely honest, dinner is usually my most unpredictable meal.

I’m more of a planner in general. With outfits, it’s almost natural for me to think up combinations and put something together in my head. Sometimes, I’ll save an outfit for a special occasion…but usually, when I pull out a piece of clothing from my closet, I have a sort of plan for it in my mind.

I don’t shop daily. If I like something I see, I sleep on the idea and see if I still want to buy it over the next couple of days. In general, I think it’s a good rule to abide by to avoid splurging unnecessarily. For affordable shopping, I love ASOS and Topshop. Otherwise, Barneys New York, Farfetch and Net-A-Porter are my go-tos. I also love vintage purchases and often shop on Etsy and at vintage markets.

I handle my own styling as well as my hair and make-up. I spend time taking care of my hair and my skin with natural creams and serums. I don’t like putting too much product in my hair or too much make-up on my face…and on average, I take 10 to 15 minutes to get ready and walk out the door.

Since Alessandro Michele took over, I am loving Gucci! I’m absolutely obsessed with their prints, overall. Another favourite is JW Anderson because his silhouettes are so cool yet sophisticated. His asymmetrical gathered skirts are my favourites for summer dressing. I recently purchased my first pair of Celine sunglasses, which are stylish and classic — I wear them all the time. This Spring/Summer season, I have been more about wearing dangly earrings and I recently discovered Lele Sadoughi, who is a New York jewellery designer. I have purchased a few of her pieces, which I’ve worn on my blog and Instagram, and have gotten so many enquiries. When it comes to shoes, I usually tend to lean towards flats or kitten heels. For comfort and style, I prefer Dior’s pointed Ballerina with the J’adior ribbon. These are super-chic and can be worn with anything. Quality is very important to me and you often get what you pay for. Most brands work hard to earn their reputation, and I find that these are well worth the money.

A lot goes into creating an Instagram post, especially if it’s a sponsored one. For me, styling is just the initial part. My husband is also my photographer, and he captures hundreds of images between different concepts that we come up with based on what a brand asks for. Then, I pick my favourites and edit the images myself, following which I narrow them down to something that works for the brand, my own aesthetic as well as the overall theme of my blog and Instagram handle.

As far as my beauty ritual goes, I always wash my face and use Vitamin C oil, rose water (as my tonic) and moisturise with La Mer. I turn on my humidifier so my skin doesn’t dry out and I use a silk pillow to sleep on to avoid fine lines on my face. Since I live in New York City, there’s usually a lot of noise pollution because of which I tend to turn on some white noise before I put my head down.

One of my favourite accessories is my Hermès silk scarf. It is so versatile and can be worn as a classic piece at any time, day or night.

I tend to post twice a day on my Instagram and once a week on my blog. I’ve noticed that my readers and followers tend to be more active around 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST, so those are my ‘anchor’ times to put something up on Instagram. A new post goes up on my blog every Thursday…but, consistency is key!

My preferred digital medium is Instagram for sure. Firstly, it’s because I have more of an audience here, and that keeps me motivated. But more importantly, it’s because I am a very visual person and enjoy being able to showcase my ideas via images.

I try to avoid the internet altogether at least once a week. This means putting my phone away and doing something with my husband. It’s definitely a struggle because there are always things and places that I’ll want to take pictures of…but it really helps to leave the phone at home.

A few of her favourite things
Favoured drink…turmeric latte

Beach or mountains…the beach

On my 2017 travel bucket list…Iceland and Cambodia

Most treasured item in my wardrobe…my mum’s Rolex watch

One style trend I absolutely despise…booty shorts

I will never travel anywhere without this…my cashmere shawl

Favourite everyday look…the ‘no-make-up’ beauty look

The usual suspect in my handbag…my Celine sunglasses

A beauty experiment I’m eager to try out…short bangs

Fashion designer whose aesthetic resonates with mine…JW Anderson

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