June 06, 2018

Introducing our June Muse of the Month - Deb Dutta, @deesignplay.  Deb is proof that you can do it all!  Not only is she an amazing fashion, DIY & travel blogger creating stunning images in equally stunning places, but she is also a technology leader, leading innovation in Silicon Valley.  A true inspiration for women who want to pursue multiple passions, and do it in style!  We love following her adventures on Instagram, and especially love seeing how she styles her Criscara jewels.  

I hope you enjoy learning more about Deb in our interview, and follow along with her adventures.   XO, Crista  

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An Interview with Criscara Muse, Deboshree Dutta


Tell us about what you do.

By day, I lead product management at PayPal. By nights and weekends, I'm a content creator, influencer, doggy mommy and a music & DIY addict. I was born and raised in India and moved to the states over 10 years ago to pursue the "American dream". Little did I know that dream would go far beyond leading technology in the heart of Silicon Valley, but also open up opportunities to become a media partner and social influencer for leading fashion, travel and lifestyle brands globally.


How do you balance being a technology leader with being a fashion, DIY & travel blogger?

I've been asked this question several times and I don't think I still have a one-line answer! I'm not a blogger or a technologist, I'm a girl who travelled thousands of miles from home to pursue many different dreams. Leading innovation in Silicon Valley's best was one of them, and I've been fortunate to grow my influence as a technologist and empower other women in tech to do the same. Additionally, I've always tried to incorporate beauty in my everyday life - in fashion, at home and even in my cooking. My blog was born as a lifestyle archive of all the beautiful things in my life.

Today I'm fortunate to have two of my dreams turn into full-time careers that give me opportunities to travel the world, experience things I'd never dreamed of and live a life I hadn't anticipated.

Of course it comes with relentless hard work - everyday! I don't really think of weekends or vacations as most people do; I use the time to work harder and draw more inspiration to curate interesting and diverse content for my blog. Some may say I'm working constantly, but when you love what you do, does it really matter? Most importantly, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without the loving support of my husband, Bharath, always by my side and always giving me the space and encouragement to keep pushing the envelope.


What do you like most about being able to do both?

Honestly, I've made it a point to keep both my professions separate from one another so one doesn't impact the other. My work at PayPal challenges my intellect, my tech-curious mind and creates impact in a world where my technical and leadership skills can really make a difference.

My blog Deesignplay is my escape. It's where I go to get away from the real world. It's my place to be as creative as I want to be, to speak whatever comes to my mind and to explore without any boundaries.

The most rewarding part of doing both is when I hear of the number of women my work inspires. When others reach out to me and tell me they're inspired by how I balance work and personal life, and how it's impacted their journey, it really fills my heart and motivates me to work even harder!


Any advice for someone dreaming of starting their own fashion or travel blog while also working full time?

Everyone has their journey and mantra they live by. My only advice to anyone thinking of starting their own blog is to make sure they make it their own. Especially if you are working full time, you want to be sure the time you put into the blog really counts, and the only way you'll see traction is if you keep true to who you are, share your truth and do it because you really want to share your original thoughts with the world.

When you start from scratch and build every block of your blogger universe, there are tons of lessons you learn - especially from the mistakes you make! Every step takes you a tiny bit closer to the bigger picture. Like every startup, don't say no to opportunities, and more importantly don't get disheartened when you don't "grow" as fast as you thought you would. The results of your hard work will show in time. You just have to be patient and constantly monitor what is and isn't working for you with analytics tools like Iconosquare, Google Analytics, etc. And PLAN! Managing two jobs and your personal life can be overwhelming. If your day time job is demanding, you'll need to plan your blog work so one doesn't impact the other. If you are a parent, the same applies. It's your journey, make sure you enjoy the ride!

"It's your journey, make sure you enjoy the ride!"


The photos you create are so stunning! How do you come up with the inspiration for your photos?

Thank you so much! I guess there's two parts to it - one is inspiration for the content and the other is presenting it in a frame.

I'm inspired by how there's so much beauty around us. I truly believe with the right composition, lighting and creative thinking you can make anything look attractive. I studied photography for a few years, experimented with lenses and participated in several Flickr walks to sharpen my skills. I constantly study fashion and home decor blogs on Pinterest, Instagram and even books such as "Elements of Style" or "Capture your Style".

With regard to presenting content, its really marketing at its best - except you are a one-person marketing team doing everything from product placement, staging, photography, editing, content creation, planning your grid, publishing and advertising. That's for every single post you see from your favorite bloggers that so seamlessly appear on your feed.


What are a few words that describe your personal style?

As much as I'd love to live in a bikini, I live a dual life and have to be conscious of how my outfits can carry from my 'Woman in Tech' profile to 'Holidaying in the Caribbean' persona seamlessly. My style is mostly boho-chic with fitted prints, sunglasses and quirky flats. I'm low key on makeup and let my natural Indian tan define my tone.


What do you love most about traveling?

We live in a world of bills, deadlines and mortgage… sorry, but that's reality! For me, travel is about everything that real life is not. It's about finding the wild and the quiet amidst the hustle; about richness in culture among the poorest of nations; it's about kindness of strangers and untold stories that only your heart hears. When the world looks so predictable, travel is my escape and hope of a world of inexplicable visions and unthinkable realms that you'll only uncover if you dare to travel.

"It's about finding the wild and the quiet amidst the hustle; about richness in culture among the poorest of nations; it's about kindness of strangers and untold stories that only your heart hears."


What is one of your best travel moments to date?

Every time I've travelled, its been a collection of unique memories - of the times it rained on a sunny beach day or of swinging on palm trees high above an abyss! My favorite travels have been with my husband, however my most memorable was when I traveled alone through Italy on my 30th birthday. From 27 to 30, I'd been through a painful divorce, moved homes, moved jobs and eventually met my prince charming and just started a new life… I decided to travel alone just to take a moment to absorb everything that happened, all so quickly. Sitting by the banks of the Venetian lagoon through twilight till the ferries closed down, musicians stopped playing and the last of tourists had left for the day, I stared into the dark peaceful waters for hours and could finally feel Peace - for life had been so kind to bring me here today. The love of my parents, strength to get back on my feet, and the support of my partner who understood I needed this time alone, so I could come back and begin our life together having put everything of my past behind me.

Sometimes you travel far away because you need a moment to yourself. The enchanting beauty and undeniable melancholy of Venice will always be one of my favorite memories.


Where to next?

Haha - that's what my husband asks all the time, because he never knows when we'll be hopping on a plane! Hopefully more of Europe and Central America!


Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?

"If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough"

"If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough"


Any fun facts we should know about you?

Well aside from what I've shared, my hubby and I are both part time musicians. So our favorite weekend thing is to jam and occasionally perform at open mics. And you probably already know this, but if you give me an acai bowl, you're my best friend!


So, what's coming up next that you are most excited about?

Well I'm actually taking on a new home décor project to covert my garage into a "she-shed"! I've wanted my own work space for ever and my love for DIY's is driving me to do up a dreamy she-shed. Hopefully it'll be complete this summer and I'll share a home-tour with you all soon!


Where can people learn more about you and follow along with your adventures? 

Photo Credit: Deb Dutta


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