October 16, 2017

DIY diya garland for Diwali


I love decorating the house for Diwali. Each year I go shopping looking for new candles, rangolis, hand painted diyas and anything new that I can lay my hands on. This year apart from decorating the home I also wanted to create something thoughtful and special in D's play area. And so I ended up making a diya garland. Not only does it look adorable hanging on the window but also adds the right amount of festive touch to our favorite area of the house.

Last week, a fellow blogger posted about how she made a diya garland at home. It was simple, easy to put together and such a unique idea for festive decor. Taking inspiration, I decided to create one of my own. 

Following is the step by step process on how I made it. Don't panic guys, it's really easy and hardly took me an hour to put together.


Things you'll need

1: Craft paper ( I used the ones I already had)
2:  A pair of scissors
3: Glue
4: Sparkle colors
5: A thread (to hold the garland together)

Since its a Diwali garland you can choose the craft paper in combination of red ( for the diya) and yellow (for the flame) The reason I chose different colors for mine is because it was for D's play area.


Using a pencil I traced out a diya on the blank side of the craft paper. It was fairly simple ( no artistic skills needed!) Then with a pair of scissors cutting it along the borders, my first diya cut out was ready. I used the cut out to trace diyas on the rest of the sheets


Once my diya cut outs were ready I used sparkle colors to brighten them up. The only thing to remember while using sparkles is that they take about 5-6 hours to dry but its totally worth the wait.


After they dried out completely I used a punching machine to make holes on both ends of every Dia. Then tied them all together with a jute thread thick enough to hold the weight of the diyas.


I had 16 diya cut outs and didn't want a very long garland so made a double layered one. You can choose how long you want yours to be and accordingly decide on the number of diyas.


It's really that easy and I had so much fun doing a diy activity this Diwali. Coincidently, it's a diya garland which also happens to by my daughters name! And so I feel like I'm going to let the garland stay hanging on the wall post Diwali too! 

















October 4, 2017

Surviving Motherhood!



D is just six months away from turning two! I look at her and wonder how did time go by so quick!? The flashes of that day when she was born are still clear in my head. How the first glimpse of her made my heart melt. I won't lie but holding her for the first time also made me a little nervous. Doubting myself at the title of being a "mom" and whether or not I'd be able to keep up.

Today as I reflect back on the past one and a half year of my life, I don't know if I have been the "idol" mom but I can proudly say that I've learnt so much out of it. 

From testing my patience, to being more patient. Learning to love selflessly and turning out to be a stronger person both physically and mentally- it's been a joy ride! 

Enter a tiny little member and you bet how everything starts to revolve around them. It's easier to get caught up and lose yourself in the entire process. Life changed 360 degree for me and as demanding as motherhood got, I found more the need to stay connected to the older version of me. 

On the blog today- I'm sharing a few things that I made sure to do during my journey with D. It helped me sail beautifully through what I call the first two most demanding years with the baby. 

Prioritising myself:  As mommies we are not breaking rules of motherhood by taking time out to do things that make us happy. After a month of having D, I stepped out to get my hair colored. I would plan trips to the mall around D's nap time. Catch up on my favorite TV shows. Basically tried to do as many things that made me feel normal because believe it or not, feeling normal is like luxury postpartum! 

Taking time out for RJ:  Priorities do change once you have a baby. Its easier being parents than being partners! I've realised how D has become part of most of the conversations that RJ and me have. Everything is directly or indirectly related to her. But we do consciously try and take time out for one another. Whether its going out for dinner or watching a movie on Netflix its quality over quantity after you have a baby.

Hanging out with the BFF:  This has truly been a life saver and the biggest stress buster I could ask for. Catching up over brunch, dressing up to make sure we click good pictures together, talking about fashion endlessly or for that matter just speaking my heart out. Having a bestie around post pregnancy was like forgetting all the blues of motherhood and shifting focus from sleepless nights to a glass of wine!

Updating the blog: I started blogging even before I had D and this was something I never wanted to let go off. Writing keeps me connected to my inner self and I made sure that no matter what, I took time out for it. Making D a part of my blog (which earlier I was hestitant about) has helped me a great deal. Since the blog is all about my life here in the US, talking about how I'm raising my baby girl sure deserves a mention. 

Eating well: I had so many people advising me how to avoid "certain foods" and watch what I was eating (especially while breastfeeding) because it would directly go to my baby. But I cant be thankful enough to my mom, and mother in law for letting me eat whatever I craved for, in moderation of course. For a foodie like me, having any kind of limitations on the type of food I was eating would have been super frustrating. D was absolutely fine during the entire breast feeding process with no stomach issues and has developed an equal fondness for food ever since she started eating solids. 

Getting help:  I was lucky enough to have my mom and mother in law beside me during the first year with D. They took turns to come visit me and their experience really came handy. As a new parent we tend to panic at every cry of the baby but having them around was so comforting. From D's everyday maalish (body massage) sessions to making yummy recipes to feed her, these are things that I learnt from them and cannot even imagine sailing through this phase of my life without these two ladies! 

Mommy duties can been quite overwhelming and bittersweet but at the same time I can assure you its been worth every sleepless night. On top of that, practicing all of the above really helped keeping my sanity intact and I wish to continue doing so over the years to come.

September 26, 2017

Fall/Winter baby coats 2017

Summer is officially over, and I'm kinda looking forward to fall and winter. Little surprised at myself as I say this coz things weren't the same seven years back (when I moved to this country) I've dreaded the change in seasons especially the brutally cold winters on the east coast. But I guess with the passing of each year, I've learnt to appreciate the beauty and importance of every season in my life and embracing change. 

Fall always manages to play it's charm on me. Everything about it- leaves changing hues, the crisp cool breeze and of course the need to upgrade your wardrobe with fall fashion essentials! 

This year I'm super excited because I get to shop not just for me but also D. Though I've always enjoyed dressing up my baby girl, looking for tiny fur options to keep my little girl warm in the cold weather gives me so many more options! And you can trust me when I say so that baby clothes mean serious fashion!!! No kidding, I'm stunned by the gorgeousness of winter clothes being made for kids.

After browsing through all the baby gear available online, and having done my research promptly -  here is a list of my top 10 picks for baby girls: ( Available for sizes 6 months - 2 years and for Zara clothing up to 4 years)


Faux fur puffer jacket - Zara
Trench coat with faux fur hood - Zara
Denim jacket - Gap
Water repellent, reversible hooded jacket - North Face
Crepe mustard yellow jacket - Zara
Floral hooded vest - Zara
Checkered wool coat - Carters
Red puffer jacket - Gap
Faux fur vest - Gap
Military green jacket - Carters 



Now that I'm done updating D's wardrobe, I can hardly wait to start shopping for mine:) If you've read my previous posts you'd know how I went Twinning with D over the long weekend. Honestly I had so much fun matching my clothes with her's, I have a feeling I might pick up similar winter gear too!

September 14, 2017

Miranda Frye Ashleigh necklace



I rarely purchase jewelry online but for this particular Miranda Frye Ashleigh necklace, which also happens to be one of their bestsellers, I gave in to the temptation. And now that it's here I can't wait to share all about it. 

From hitting the "place your order" on my laptop screen, waiting for it to arrive and to the day it actually got delivered (it took a month!) was quite a journey.

Apparently I had entered the wrong apartment no. and USPS ended up shipping it back to Miranda Frye office. After endlessly tracking my parcel with USPS and exchanging emails with MF customer service ( they were so kind and prompt)  I finally had the chance to open my first Miranda Frye jewelry box last week! And I can safely say it was totally worth the wait. Though I couldn't stop thinking about how many times I could have worn it earlier had it arrived in time. 

Never mind, it's here now and I can't stop wearing it over everything and anything. The shining silver adds the right amount of glam to otherwise such a delicate chain making it look super elegant and an everyday kind of jewelry to adorn.




Details: 

The chain is 42" long.
It comes in sterling silver and gold filled. ( I ordered mine in sterling silver)
Gold filled is an actual layer of gold pressure bonded to another metal and has more gold compared to gold plated. 

I feel that this kind of jewelry is definitely a great and affordable alternative to solid gold jewelry without compromising on the quality. 

Care Instructions:
With just a little bit of effort you can make your jewelry last longer!

Store it in an air tight plastic bag to avoid contact with air. Humidity is an enemy! My MF necklace already came with a ziplock pouch perfect for its storage.  
Wear your jewelry at the last. Perfumes,  deodorants, lotions or hair sprays have harsh chemicals that will hamper the quality of your jewelry in the long run.
Lastly, avoid rough wear and handle your jewelry delicately to slow down the process of "wear and tear"

The coolest part for me was how this necklace can be worn in 9 different ways out of which I've listed my 5 favorite below.

   
                           
The only downside is that you have to be very careful while you take it on and off your neck because it tangles very easily. 

Other than that I'm obsessed with this necklace, for that matter all of Miranda Frye designs. And now that I'm assured of the quality I know I'll be indulging in a few more of their stuff :))


Happy shopping! 

September 6, 2017

Twinning with D!


There is nothing more blissful then spending time with your loved ones and this long weekend was all about that. We rented a cabin in the woods at Poconos and I still can't get over the feeling of living right in the middle of lush green forests. 

The weather did play spoil sport and we couldn't do much of outdoorsy stuff, but what followed was a series of dumb charades and poker sessions, late night conversations with lots of chai and food and getting clicked in the lap of nature. 

D and me ended up twinning during our stay and I can't wait to share our pictures together. 



Outfit details:

D's Shirt Dress: Zara 
D's Shoes: UGG
My blouse: (old) similar- (1) (2)









August 25, 2017

My All-purpose bag!



If you ask me about my favorite fashion accessory, it's ought to be handbags! It's like there will always be a handbag on my wish list or at the back of my mind that I wanna buy, at any given point. 

For quite sometime now, I've had my eyes on Ted Baker handbags. Typically, their signature PVC tote bags. Last week I ordered one for myself and I have only good things to talk about the purchase. Therefore, I decided to share my arm candy details on the blog today!

Ever since I got this bag which was last week, I've been wearing it on every single outfit and each time I've stepped out. The design of the bag is just so simple and basic, that it effortlessly compliments both casual and a dressy look making it my current go-to bag. Another very important feature (that holds a lot of importance to me) is how roomy it is and accommodates all my essentials.

The PVC material makes it really light weight and super easy to clean. Love low maintenance bags, don't we!?


The tote is available in two different colors- black and beige. After sparing a few extra minutes in deciding the color, I opted for the beige. The neutral tone of the bag makes its look so chic and classy and I don't have to overthink about matching it. Plus i know the color wont betray me in any season, as I definitely plan on using it this fall and winter!


Coming to the price of the bag (which is my favorite part) I think it's a steal.  It's below a $100 bucks and worth every penny. I would even rate it by far THE best bag I've bought in that price range. Having already received a bunch of compliments over it, on how different it looks and where did I buy it, keep scrolling for all the details!


The bag is from Bloomingdales and here is the link. Ted Baker has a lot of options in PVC bags. They come in various colors, adorable prints and other sizes too.  If you do happen to shop for one of their pieces, do leave me a comment below on which one did you buy! I'd love to know.


Happy shopping and have a good weekend!

August 23, 2017

Story time!

It's 12 pm and while I'm busy prepping up for lunch in the kitchen, I'm interrupted by tiny fingers trying to reach out to me. It's D (my 16 month old daughter) She drags me to her play area and persuades me to take a seat. 

The next thing I know is she runs towards her pile of storybooks, grabs one and quietly comes and sits back into my lap. This is "our routine" Something we follow multiple times a day and so I know it's my turn now! I open the book and start reading out to her... soaking myself in satisfaction that D has developed a love for books at an early age! 

Being a parent in a technology dominated  world has not been easy, it comes with its pros and cons. While I have the convenience of handing D an iPad (which I do, and she loves her video time) I don't want her to miss out on the simplicity of learning from a book. Basically, even if not a 100 percent, exposing her through realms of the kind of technology-free childhood I had.

Talking about my childhood - I remind myself how I was born and raised in India, as against raising her here in the US. I realize that our desi culture won't come to her by default, and if I lack the effort to teach her about India or things back home on a daily basis, she might grow up to be completely ignorant of her Indian roots. 

Fortunately, I'm not the only South Asian mommy with a similar thought process! Reena Puri and Mital Telhan from Desi Babies have actually gone a step forward by designing baby books that teach kids about our culture. 

Their latest one being- 10 Noisy Rickshaws!

The book is a perfect way to introduce numbers to your little ones and what I absolutely love love love is how cute and Indian the illustrations in the book are.

D was absolutely thrilled to start exploring the pages as soon as the book arrived and watching her do so was priceless.












10 Noisy Rickshaws has become a very valuable addition to D's library of books and if you ask me- I couldn't have found a better way to get her to learn counting while she also learns about a few Indian things. 

You can buy the book here and also get a 10% discount using promo code: IGAW

Photo credit: Saumya- a dear friend and an amazing food blogger! Don't forget to check out her blog @upclosewithsaumya

The Tent is the latest addition to D's play area! Its not only our reading nook but also her secret hide out whenever she wants to run away from me!:)

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. 







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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!



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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