I met Richa through my sister-in-law a few years ago and very quickly realised that Richa is also a Bangkok baby like me. After connecting with each other on social media, I started reading Richa’s personal blog Urban Mantra, which focuses on a variety of topics including fashion, travel, fitness, food and more. I always look forward to reading her posts because they are fun, personal and I always learn something new! But what I truly admire is the elegant way in which Richa wears so many ‘hats’ at the same time: she is working full-time in pharma/healthcare and mother to an adorable two year-old son while also focusing on fitness, managing a successful blog and staying active on Instagram and Snapchat with strong fan following on both!
Read on for my in-depth chat with the multi-faceted, multi-talented Richa:
Tell us about yourself: I’m an Indian who grew up in Thailand, then studied and lived in the U.S. for 15 years, and now lives in Singapore. And yes, I can speak Hindi, Thai, and English. I’ve picked up Singlish too (some would argue it’s a language in itself). I did my PhD in oncology, which ultimately paved the way to a career in the research and pharmaceutical industry.
Having lived in different countries, I am innately interested to learn and try new things. I seek unique travel experiences. I enjoy fitness and new, challenging workouts. Whichever city I live in, I like to explore its little corners and hidden spots. Now that I have a 2-year old, I often like to take him along when possible. I have varied reading interests; my recent book reads include Modern Romance, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, The Girl on the Train, and The Ominvore’s Dilemma.
What makes you a Digital Dudette: I started my blog Urban Mantra about 4 years ago. Having a job in the pharma/healthcare industry where you have to be bound by rules, regulations, and facts, I sometimes felt the need for a creative outlet. My blog is my platform for sharing on topics related to style, travel, fitness and Mommyhood! I’m also active on Instagram and Snapchat which I use as an extension of my blog, sharing aspects from my blog posts and snippets from daily life.
Most valuable skills learned: Naturally, there was a big learning curve when I first started my blog. Suddenly, I had to read up on coding to personalize the look of my blog, get up to speed on blog Analytics, discover how to increase blog traffic, and all that good stuff. Four years later, I’m still discovering and trying out new things! The 3 most useful skills I learned related to my blog are the following:
1. Web design: I scoured numerous blogs and spent countless hours reading up on this topic. How to build an eye-catching and uncluttered look to the blog? How to create a personalized header with your own font? How to develop your own social media buttons for your blog page? I did it on my own and enjoyed every minute of it. The current look and design of my blog is done by myself with some credit to a Web Designer that I engaged with for the header. I’m quite proud of it!
2. Photography: A blog is as much about content as it is about good photography. In fact, I’m of the belief that if your photos are well-taken, you minimize the need for heavy Photoshopping or editing. The first step is investing in a good, DSLR camera and learning how to use it. I took a course on photography a few years back and plan to upgrade my skills with another course later this year. Another tip, which has worked very successfully for me, is to collaborate with established or budding photographers for your blog.
3. iPhoneography: I sat in a class on this topic and was inspired! You could almost do your entire blogging through an iPhone, if you chose to do so. Yes, the latest iPhones can take amazing pictures. But beyond that, there are so many apps for editing and formatting photos, creating short videos, and increasing your social media presence outside of the blog space. I use these all the time in relation to my blog.
Favourite digital resources:
Bruised Passports is a blog by an unconventional Indian couple capturing their exotic travels to unique locations
Carrie Bradshaw Lied is a blog by blogger Kathleen who shares her super chic and cute outfits on a real girl’s budget
MedicomOncology for keeping up with my scientific updates and medical news
Favourite animal: I like animals in general but don’t really have a favorite animal per se.
Favourite local spots: Living in Singapore, there’s no shortage of picturesque spots. Among my favorite activities is biking with my 2-year old along the East Coast Parkway and the open beach. If we’re talking about places to dine and lounge, my new favorite spot is Smoke & Mirrors, a bar located in the historical National Gallery with an amazing panoramic view of Singapore.
Read about more Digital Dudettes here.