March 27, 2017

My Polka Dot wall


Lately, one thing that's keeping me occupied other than D (of course) is Pinterest. I've been spending all the free time at my discretion to browse through the creative world of DIY stuff and believe me it can get addictive.

We have a play area for D and I wanted to do a little something to decorate it since a while now. And so I turned to Pinterest for some nursery decor ideas. After scanning through bunch of gorgeous images, I decided to glam up the walls using some gold polka dot wall decals.

They were super easy, quick and non messy to install and I love how it has changed the look of her entire play area. Another advantage of this DIY weekend activity was how much fun RJ and me had doing this together for our little girl.

We did this during D's afternoon nap time and when she woke up to the gold confetti sprinkles on the wall she couldn't stop gazing. Watching her excitement trying to catch them with her tiny hands was so adorable. 

Having done this, I'm so excited to try a few more DIY projects for the home, and as and when I do, I'll make sure to keep you'll posted!

March 17, 2017

Anu Sehgal | Famous Fridays




A doting mother to her boys, a business person, an avid practitioner of one’s culture/language, and an amazing chef, when Anu Sehgal decided to quit her corporate job and combine all her talents to benefit others,  The Culture Tree was born. True to its name The Culture Tree’s mission is to promote Indian culture through language, activities and events.

Anu hosts various events and South Asian language classes in the city for the kids and adults, and as an attendee of her last Holi event at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, I can vouch that she is here to make a difference. 
Let's here the rest from the Mompreneur herself!  

Anu with her two Sons, Nikhil (left) and Vikram (right)

1) Tell us about the concept behind The Culture Tree?

The Culture Tree is a product of a lot of love! I founded it in 2014, with an ambition to create a South Asian hub that would have cultural and educational programs and a community center, where kids and adults can learn and enjoy their Indian heritage and culture, while still maintaining a balance with their American identity. Our mission is to promote Indian culture in the New York City area. We engender cross-cultural awareness through language, activities and events. 
Currently, we host several Hindi/ Urdu Language classes across different levels, through which children have the opportunity to develop a deeper sense of curiosity about their language.
We also host events based on key holidays and festivals in India (Gandhi Jayanti, Holi, Diwali, Republic Day, Independence Day etc.). Our goal is to make these events educational and enriching, while still being extremely authentic and enjoyable for the kids. 

2) How and when did you think of starting it?

I grew up in India and moved to the US more than 20 years ago. After the move, I was starved for authentic Indian experiences and community and devoured anything that came my way: film festivals, exhibits, book readings etc.
Once I became a mother, the lack of quality and authentic Indian programs and classes became even more evident.  I am an active parent and believe an awareness of one’s heritage, culture and language is key for children to become self-aware and confident individuals. 
So I initially conceptualized a language program primarily for my two sons, within a couple weeks we had 13 kids enrolled in the program. At the time, I was working on launching my own food business and was spending most of my time on that. However, within a few months the program took off and needed more teachers and more attention. The Culture Tree continues to expand, though initially language was the primary focus, enriching cultural events and cooking classes, and building a sense of community are the current areas in which we are expanding. 
I take a lot of pride as most of the kids that started with the program 3 years ago are now in the advanced class. They can now converse in Hindi and also understand and write the script.

3) Where do you see The CultureTree in the next five years?

We want The Culture Tree to become a hub for any South Asian cultural and educational initiatives in the U.S. This year our emphasis is to focus on Museums and Schools to host our classes and events. Our first assignment this year was to host a Holi at CMOM (http://cmom.org/ ), this was a multi-sensorial event that made the festival come live in Manhattan!  Eventually, we would like to have a physical space, where all these activities will take place.

4) A message for Indian moms raising their kids globally?

It is critical to provide our children tools for managing multicultural exchange from a young age. These exchanges, don’t happen immediately, but have to be imbibed from a very young age. Language, dance, music, activities and general awareness of a culture and country is critical to creating the right foundation for these exchanges. Additionally, having the forum where the entire family can participate in this exchange makes the whole process very rich. Some of the grand parents have dropped their grand kids and told me that since the Hindi class, the grand kids have been talking to them more via phone and facetime. It is priceless to know that we are able to make these connections and form stronger bonds.
We also firmly believe that language is a gateway to cultural learning and acceptance. Something that is critical for South Asian kids born and raised in the US. 
Cultural awareness leads to confidence and pride, and is critical to strong, independent and confident kids.

5) The biggest challenge, faced by you as a mother?

For me the key challenge as a mother is the clash of cultural values that I grew up with (in India) vs. the ones I see in America. As a mother, I am always telling my kids about the values that I grew up with, I make an attempt to educate our students about these values as well.

6) Your biggest support system?

My biggest support system is the parents who understand the value of cultural awareness and knowing ones language. They are invested in the whole process of learning. They spread the word, prepare their kids and provide exceptional feedback. 


Thank you Anu for taking the time out and educating us about The Culture Tree. Wishing you lots of success for all your future events:)

March 14, 2017

Artkhoji Indian decor


Hey guys! Warm HOLI wishes to everyone. Over the past two days, it was so delightful to see everyone posting pictures of their Holi celebrations. Love the colors and fun this festival brings into our lives. And now we are stuck with a snowstorm and everything I see outside my window is wrapped in white.

Anyway, what I'm about to share on my blogpost today will surly brighten up your screens :) If you too are into Indian decor for your home - this blog post is meant for you,  so continue scrolling...

Last month on my hunt to find something artistic (and Indian) for my entrance wall, my relentless surfing on the internet led me to Artkhoji at Etsy.com 

Parul, owner of artkhoji has created some incredible pieces of wall art capturing India in its true essence. The moment I saw her artwork I instantly knew I wanted these for the house. 

The files are for sale in digital format and you can get them printed and framed as per your choice. I got mine on canvas and they look adorable on my wall!

These are a few of my favorites!

And these are the two I picked for my home.



To explore her entire collection hop on to the direct link here. You can also avail a 20%
discount using the code IGAW20




March 3, 2017

Famous Fridays | Arpana Moorjani


Arpana Moorjani - Personal Stylist

It's both refreshing and encouraging when you meet women who pursue their passion professionally. Arpana Moorjani from Brag your style is one such lady I know.

 Her endless love for fashion is evident not only in how she dresses herself but also as she talks to me about her journey of styling herself and friends to now being a professional Personal Stylist.

Recently, Arpana styled me for Valentine's Day and the entire outfit selection process was so seamless and easy. You can read all about it here

She is talented, ambitious, gorgeous and all set to explore the new realms in fashion. I'm so delighted to host this fashionista on my FF page today!
In conversation with Arpana, as she tells me all about brag your style


1) Tell us everything about brag your style

Brag your style is my way of expressing who I am through fashion. With my expertise as a personal stylist and shopper I help people find their own unique style. My services include styling men and women for special occasions and/or updating their wardrobe.

2) Is being a stylist something you always wanted to be?

I’ve always been driven to fashion. In the last few years I realised how much I loved helping my family and friends put together outfits/accessories and I decided to convert my passion into my profession.

3) Fashion to you is...

Fashion to me is an amalgamation of all beautiful things life has to offer. As once said by my fashion icon, Karl Lagerfeld,
“I am a fashion person, and fashion is not only about clothes – it’s about all kinds of change.”

4) Walk us through, how you work with your clients?

My job as a stylist and shopper is to work with clients to help them avoid the hassle of shopping for themselves. With the busy lives and schedules that people have today, they have no time and patience to shop for themselves. That’s where I come into play. The process is very easy and convenient and includes an initial complimentary consultation where I meet the client and get their requirements including size, budget, event, etc. Thereafter I shop for them and take their selections to them. The client keeps whatever they like and the rest goes back.

5) Whats in store for brag your style in the new year?

The plan for 2017 is to continue to grow and establish a strong foundation of clients who can benefit from my services. I would like to help my clients understand that anyone can look fabulous and stylish without breaking the bank.

6) An accessory that never fails you?

My Hermes Collier de Chien bracelet. Whether I’m casual or dressed up, this bracelet always adds the right touch to my look.

7) Your favorite Indian fashion icon?

Sonam Kapoor is my favorite Indian fashion icon. She is very fashion forward and carries herself with a lot of grace and sophistication.

February 14, 2017

Valentines Day OOTD

Come February, and it definitely seems like love is in the air. My inbox is overflowing with special valentines day shopping deals, merchandise at the mall is drenched in shades of red on their window displays! Dunkin' Donuts and their heart shaped donuts or for that matter 50 shades darker playing at the movies. Everything seems to be love struck.

Luckily RJ and me have the same take on Valentine's Day or any such special occasion. We don't pressurize ourselves into celebrating it,  however do make time to do a thing or to. Lately with our little one around, even a dinner (just him and me) turns into an occasion for us. And so we decided to do so over the weekend and call it our V-day date! 

January 31, 2017

The Culture Tree + Desi Babies book reading!

As a mother of a ten month old, I do have qualms about raising her here in America. Whether or not - will she grow up learning to communicate in her mother tongue, having knowledge and respect for Indian culture or feeling at least a tad bit connected to her Indian roots. 

Luckily, I'm not the only mother with worries stated above. After meeting mompreneurs like Anu Sehgal, owner at The Culture Tree and Reena Puri & Mital Thelan from Desi Babies, I feel extremely proud that there are women out there who are making an effort to infuse the richness of our culture amongst these tiny tots. 

When Anu invited me to an event hosted by her and Desi Babies, I was more than happy to attend. It was a book reading for babies and toddlers for the book Meet my Hindu gods followed by a coloring activity into My first Indian colouring book

Reena and Mital- the authors of the book Meet my Hindu gods have taken great efforts to illustrate it in a manner that would appeal to the kids. Adding fun as they get to learn about their hindu gods.

The book has some cutest of drawings and the choice of words makes it a perfect read for children. 

The hosts were so kind to hand me a personally autographed copy of their book for my daughter. I can't wait to start reading this to her and teach her about Indian gods in the form of most innovative stories. 

Throughout the book reading, the kids listened to the narration patiently and displayed equal enthusiasm during the Question and Answer round. When asked about who their favourite gods were, I was amused at how promptly and confidently they spoke about their choices. 

All the mommies kept themselves entertained indulging in mimosas and samosas, as they happily watched their kids get engrossed into being a bit more desi. Sonia Puri who runs Sonia's petite patisserie added a dollop of sweetness to the event by baking some adorable cookies for the kids. Well let's just say kids weren't the only ones eating them😜 They were irresistibly cute and delish!

Being part of an initiative like this, put a broad smile on my face as I walked my way back home after the event. Making a promise to myself that I'll do my best to teach my daughter about our culture and knowing in my heart that I'll always have company and support from these lovely ladies!


MEET THE TEAM
From the left: Sonia Puri, Reena Puri, Anu Seghal and Mital Telhan
           
 

Posing with the authors, and delighted to have an autographed copy of their book. 
My little one enjoying her story time at home, as I narrate stories of Lord Ganesh and other gods.
Book reading in progress
Checkout how cute these cookies look, adorned with logos of Culture Tree and Desi Babies on them.
Sonia Puri,  owner - Sonia's Petite Patisserie


January 20, 2017

(Belated) Happy 2017!



I know I'm terribly late for "happy new year " wishes.  My apologies for being MIA but I really hope everyone's had a terrific start to twenty seventeen!

With no good reason to justify, why I ignored my blog, I partly blame it on my laziness and partly on being a bit overwhelmed! Yes, overwhelmed from all the hype created around the New Year.

What are your plans for the New Year's Eve? Have you made a list of resolutions yet? Are you hitting the gym already? Feel the energy, be positive etc etc. The pressure of keeping up made me do exactly opposite of all this. Hence, my start to the year was a mellow one. 

Spent the New Year's Eve playing poker with family (losing big time), eating pizza and calling it a night at 12:15 am. This entire month went by doing the following- 

1) Catching up on Bollywood movies that I missed watching on big screen. Aye Dil Hain Mushkil, Rustom, Dear Zindagi and M.S Dhoni. Absolutely loved them all.

2) Wearing the chefs hat and trying my hand at new recipes that included Thai curries and baking thin crust pizzas! 

3) Practicing driving under the supervision of RJ with a mission to be able to drive independently by the month end.

4) Reading The legend of Laxmi Prasad -a book that I wholeheartedly enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised with not just Twinkle Khanna's writing skills but also her choice of genre. 

Having done all this without any pressure to perform makes me feel that I'm ready to get back into the game and put my best foot forward. So if any of you happens to be sailing in the same boat as mine, let's just say it's never too late. Because its not just the first day of a brand new year, but any day, that can be a new start.

Have a lovely weekend!