August 4, 2017

Reena Mathur | Famous Fridays

Reena Mathur | ReeMat Designs

I met Reena Mathur, couple of months back at an event organised by Brown Girl Magazine in NYC. She stood their by her jewelry counter attending all her customers as I curiously glanced through the display of her exquisite jewelry - trying some pieces on.  When the two of us got talking, Reena filled me in with details about ReeMat Designs, and I knew it in my head that I wanted this lady on my FF page. 

A ball of talent- who's designs have been worn at the Miss USA pageant by Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg, tells us all we need to know about her journey towards the creation of ReeMat Designs!

1) Was Jewelry Design always the preset career option for you?

Growing up in the eighties in India, ones career choices were set early. If you were academically bright, you either became a doctor or an engineer. Coming from a family of engineers, I pursued Civil Engineering from Mumbai University and went on to complete my M.S in Construction Management at Stanford University. 

2) So how and when did you make the switch?

After working in the bay area for several years , I moved to the east coast to work on various construction projects in NYC. Priorities soon changed as motherhood took over. Raising two kids, building our new home became a full time project. As the children became independent, my creative passion for jewelry designing unraveled and with the encouragement of family and  friends I launched ReeMat designs - a line of handcrafted jewelry.

3) Give us an insight about your jewelry.

Our statement jewelry pieces are handcrafted by artisans in India and designed/ curared by ReeMat Designs. These works of art are crafted using various materials including semi-precious stones, wood, kundan, and even recycled paper. Each piece is painstakingly designed with a "fusion twist", combining the contemporary with the classic.

4) How do you keep the global element in your jewelry alive? 

Apart from creating my own designs, I've teamed up with several design workshops in India, and artists in Delhi and Singapore. Currently, ReeMat's stone collection is displayed at high-end boutiques in New York, California, New Jersey and many other states nationwide.

5) What sets ReeMat Design apart from others? 

ReeMat's mantra is "jewelry with a cause", donating a portion of our proceeds to various charitable causes is an important part of our journey towards building the brand across various platforms.

Thank you Reena for the inspiring interview and showing so much warmth during all our conversations. Wishing you tons of luck for the future!

You can view her entire collection here

July 24, 2017

Battery low!

I don't know if this is true for all iphone users but I'm always running out of battery life. Especially when its time to head out- and I see a 15% battery remaining (which practically happens  to me 90 percent of the time) I know I'm gonna have to borrow a strangers phone to make that urgent call to RJ or D's nanny about my whereabouts! 

Being a mom, and not being accessible over phone when dear hubby is babysitting all by himself, can create quite some panic on both ends. And you can trust me when I say that because I've been there.

Another very important area where my phone abandons me- is when it's time to click some great pictures for the blog. Just when I'm in the middle of a moment that I could use to capture for my Instagram story, my phone has died on me. 

Having said this, and for all the other important reasons of carrying a (charged) phone, I decided to gift myself a much needed power bank that I could bank upon:) 

This has truly been a life saver, when I'm out and running low on battery. Not just that, but I love how I can continue to use my phone on the go while it chargers itself simultaneously without being tied down to a wall charger. And yes, it has also put an end to the awkward phone borrowing from strangers to make urgent calls. Love love love this gadget!

Whats even better is there are so many pretty and chic versions of this handy gadget to choose from and I couldn't resist sharing it here on the blog. 





Isn't it cool when carrying a tech accessory can be made to look so much fun and non-geeky!?

With so many options to choose from, I really hope none of us have to ever be in a "low battery life" situation again!

Happy shopping

June 12, 2017

Happy feet!

The weekend temperature finally feels like summer is here. This kind of weather makes it so much easier to dress up. Not having to add layers before stepping out makes me a happier person! If there is one shoe that you're looking for, to get you through summer - its got to be a pair of espadrilles! Don't we all agree? They are so comfy yet stylish - making them one of the "must have" category. Lately they are my current favorite because I've been wearing them with all my outfits and they match effortlessly.

Whats even better is how many options they come in- basic, fun, flirty, hot or even glittery!  I've done a quick round up on them. Hoping you'll find a pair or two, to slip into- while you're headed out this summer!


Happy shopping:)

June 7, 2017

How big/small is our carbon footprint?

I grew up watching my dad's love for nature! It reflected in everything- the kind of vacations he took us on, weekends at the farmhouse and our beautiful garden at home. Occasionally he would even trim the overgrown leaves and water the plants himself. 

Watching him do so, deep down I wondered why did he take time out for such things! We had a gardener coming in for weekly maintenance and the watchman watering the plants every evening. 

I may have seemed to miss his point back then, but today it all makes sense. There is a distinct happiness that comes from being connected with nature. So while we enjoy all the goodness from mother nature, I feel like we owe her big time!!

As we celebrated World environment day recently, I wanted to do something more than just wishing everyone a "Happy environment day" on social media.

On that note - I'm sharing a few choices that I've personally made:) We all can do so much to reduce our carbon footprint by just making a few simple changes in our daily routine. 

1) E- magazine subscriptions: I got myself an online subscription to all the magazines I read. Because even though paper can be recycled it comes with a cost to the environment. Cutting down on unnecessary use of paper while their e-versions are available, so why not! 

2) Replacing the dryer sheets: I am(was) a big fan of dryer sheets for the way they made the clothes smell! Until I found out how many chemicals it came loaded with, not to forget the synthetic fragrances used. A little bit of research for an eco-friendly option led me to these dryer balls at target. Just toss them into the dryer and they last you up to a 1000 loads. Isn't that so much better than buying dryer sheets again and again? 

3) Carry your own bag for groceries: We all have heard how it takes years and years to dispose off one plastic bags. A trip to the grocery store and the amount of plastic bags that tagged along were seriously making me feel guilty and hence the switch. Not having all the unwanted plastic enter my home is a big relief. 

4) Practising the R's: Recycle, Reuse and Reduce are keys for a safer environment and Pinterest is flooded with suggestions. All I do is type those R's and take inspiration. A recent post I read on Pinterest was about using cotton cloths and going paperless in the kitchen. I haven't given it a shot yet but its totally on my list of " go green" 

5) Running the dishwasher: Thank God for the dishwasher because I hate doing dishes. So for all the energy and water consumption it demands, I make sure that its running only when fully loaded. 

6) Switching off the lights when not needed: This is something I've learnt while growing up and comes naturally so I don't have to try too hard. Another practice I'm getting into is unplugging the chargers from the wall while the electronics are not in use. Believe it or not, even a charger not in use but merely plugged in, consumes electricity. 

7) Kitchen garden: This is yet to be attained, but I've always dreamt of growing my own food. Fresher, healthier and definitely an eco friendly option. So whenever I do (hopefully soon!) you know its coming on the blog for sure;) 

8) Buying organic: Until I have my kitchen garden in place, I have settled for buying organic food. But here's the deal - I've learnt (again, thanks to Pinterest) that we don't have to buy everything organic and that certain stuff is better off bought conventional. Sharing the list here 

9) Use of hot water: Apparently hot water does immense damage to the skin so its been a great motivation to limit the use. I do the dishes using cold water and shower with lukewarm. So while my skin stays happier, lesser consumption of energy for hot water is an added bonus. 

10) Donate: This is perhaps the best way to contribute to the environment. By simply making sure to "donate" and not "trash" the stuff we no longer use we are making a huge deal of a difference.

Over the weekend we took D to central park. Don't we hope that generations to come have access to such parks with lush green trees!? 
If yes, then lets do our bit. Lets #gogreen

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 ( ), 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 

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!

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!