Tuesday, March 20, 2018

5 Obstacles I Come Across Frequently As A Fauji Wife Entrepreneur & 1 Solution To Ace It

If you thought setting-up a business, even a micro-business is hard work, multiply that by 10 if she’s a fauji wife trying to nurture a venture on the go. Frequent postings, innumerable house shifts, living out of boxes, erratic net connection, a full load of social commitments and sometimes, interference from certain members of the society that you are part of, can make managing a venture as easy as walking through a storm.

Our suitcase life...

Why am I telling you this? After 12 years of being married to a man in uniform and almost all of those years trying to juggle various micro-businesses and projects, I can safely say I’ve encountered enough hurdles and challenges to fill a book with.

Disclaimer: This is my story and my experiences might be different or similar to yours. None of this is made up or exaggerated (yes, maybe toned down to keep things soothing).

My story as a fauji wife entrepreneur: In this span of time in the services ( a little over 12 years), I’ve launched a writing business, a health coaching practice, a blog, an ongoing creative writing workshop series and am in the midst of building a green wellness project. When I’ve not been working, I’ve studied and got my degrees that’ll add to the work I’m doing or give me options to branch out, if that’s the need of the hour.

Was any of it served to me on a platter? No. On the contrary, this journey to find and do meaningful work while also moving with my husband and attending to the commitments that come with his positions, has been an obstacle race of sorts. And I’m sure most fauji wives face their fair share of hardships to make work work for them.

Friday, March 9, 2018

6 Quirky Craft-based Techniques to Jazz up your Sari Blouse with

Believe it or not, a blouse can make all the difference between making your sari ensemble look funky or mundane. Go with a totally matching blouse for your sari and you risk putting together the usual look. But think out-of-the-box while choosing the blouse, and you’ll look like a rock-star

Wondering how to jazz up those plain blouses or which kinds of blouses can make your sari ensemble ‘hat-ke’ (different)?

Me in a blouse by Anagha

Embroider your blouses: If you enjoy the art of hand embroidery, then pick up some threads a needle and get to work. You can choose a motif of your liking and make it all pop on the canvas of the blouse. Again, choosing a design that can be the focal point can make that blouse uber interesting. Priyanka Mehta Mahanty, a sari sister I met online, does exactly that via her handmade label, Pri.

Priyanka sporting her embroidered blouses

Applique a design: The art of appliqué can feel a lot like creating a scrapbook, only in this we’re working with fabric-based designs. A bold appliqué on the back of your blouse can really rev up your entire outfit. Imagine a sprig of deep pink bougainvillea, a kite floating in its fabric sky, a mask or a portrait – go wild when creating your appliques. Alternatively, you can buy such blouses from brands like Parama by Parama Ghosh.

Some of Parama's out-of-the-box blouse designs

Cloth Patchwork: We associate patchwork with quilts and blankets, the kind we like to snuggle into on chilly nights. But, how about getting a blouse designed with elements of patchwork? Choose fabrics that’ll tango well and sketch out a design for your tailor to work on.

Hand-paint a motif: Whether it’s a few sprigs of flowers or a focal motif, you can paint something interesting on a plain blouse, especially on the back and the sleeves. You can also get this customized from entrepreneurs who specialize in this art.

Add-ons like buttons, sequins and lace: You can re-vamp an old blouse with a little lace or a bit of sequins or some colorful buttons. As long as you’re not loading your blouse with a lot of these elements, you’re good to go.

More of Parama's designs, featuring Sreyashi & Priyanka

Block-print an old blouse: If there’s a blouse or top that you’re getting bored off, try giving it a makeover with block-printing. The best way to get this done is by asking a block-printing entrepreneur if they can do this for you.

Do you know a craft-based technique that can jazz up a blouse?

For more out-of-the-box ideas to style your saris/sarees, download my ebook 'Everyday Sari Style: 22 ways to keep it fresh, fun & fuss-free' by subscribing to my blog (the ebook is free!). Sign-up by popping in your email add in the box below or on the side-bar, click the confirmation that comes to your inbox & download the book directly from the link.

Or join the sustainable style + green wellness for women project at Gorgeous Girls Go Green.

#saristyle #sareestyle #saree #sari #sariblouse #sareeblouse

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My dream: To support women & girls through their wellness and green living sojourn

Exactly a year ago, I sent a wish out into the Universe. I wanted to get back to working with women as a Health Coach, like I did before my son was born (my wellness practice was called Luscious Health). But this time round, I wanted to do things differently. Support more women. Create varied offerings. Work towards making something better. However, I didn’t know what shape this dream would take at that time.

12 months on, it’s morphed into this melting pot of gentle wellness, green living and creativity called Gorgeous Girls Go Green – a resource center that works with women and children to empower them with gentle + eco-friendly lifestyle choices. 
A resource center? Well, a one-stop shop to tank up on green wellness through our digital magazine, a bouquet of wellness workshops and eco + skin-friendly bodycare products. GGGG is all about learning, sharing and implementing all that knowledge through small, practical steps.

It might be easy to call Gorgeous Girls Go Green an eco venture, a micro-business or a project. But what I wish for it to be is a warm and cozy blanket that’ll offer you comfort when you need it. That cup of coffee or tea that you reach out for at a busy time. That buddy you turn to for support or help or a few minutes of sparkles.

photo credit: www.unspalsh.com

Let Gorgeous Girls Go Green be your very own 4G Network. Let it be your go-to friends’ group when you need to slow down or take care of yourself, or do something to make this world a better place. Does any of it resonate with you? Join me on this sojourn on a new path. Like the Gorgeous Girls Go Green Page on Facebook to stay connected . See ya around J.

And ladies, how can I support you as you strive to stay well, go green and be creative? Drop in a comment below or contact me via our GGGG Facebook page.

#gorgeousgirlsgogreen #greenliving #womenswellness #ecowellness

Thursday, March 1, 2018

That Elusive Summer Dress and 6 Simple Ways to Style It

There's always some kind of design/dress/sari/shirt that we have an idea of in our minds, maybe gleaned from a magazine or a photograph, that we cannot really get our hands on. Either we're in a place that really doesn't have stores that stock those designs, or those pieces of apparel look better on others when you see it in reality, or some other little hurdle that keeps you from adding it to your wardrobe. For me, it was the summer dress.

I’d been looking for a summer dress that’d be crafted out of handloom, block-printed fabric for a very long time. But most of the dresses I came across were either made of polyester or had a pattern that just didn’t suit me. And, whenever I did find something that I liked, the right size would elude me.
But finally, I stumbled across not one but three dresses that fit me to the T at a craft bazaar. 

Here’s moi in one of my summer dresses – what better way to say ‘hello’ to this fiery, feisty season than shedding the layers of winter woolens and wearing something that makes you feel like a summer princess J.

O Summer, treading softly on the toes of winter
Melting the mist with your sunny fingers
Showering gold, burnished and hot
Like molten lava poured from a pot.
When you’re here, it’s time for soft, mushy cottons
Breezy saris and dresses in pastels, creams and the colors of autumn
Let me enjoy you before you turn up the heat and sweat
Let me celebrate the newness of you, like an old friend I’ve again met.

Monday, February 26, 2018

What’s your Quiet Activism Style?

Recently I read an article about quiet activism (do check out Karen Walrond's blog Chookooloonks for all kinds of awesome). The kind, where you zero down on a cause that you are passionate about, and take small and steady steps to create a positive change. 


Your way of quiet activism could be through sharing a series of paintings centered around the message that you want to nudge into the world. Or, a blog post every Monday. Or short snippets woven around that message. Maybe, you’d like to volunteer with an organization that works in that area. The ways you can work on your quiet activism are numerous and varied. But the crux of the idea is to do what you can, when you can.

Quiet Activism

You don’t have to hit the streets with a placard (by all means do that is that’s what floats your boat) or think of a really Big plan to spread your message. Instead, start small, but continue doing some little thing to bring about a positive change. Start with one person and slowly reach out to more.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

7 Sure-shot Ways to go from Resisting the Sari to Lovin’ It

Did I tell you that there was a time, many years ago, when I didn’t like saris very much? Had someone told me then that I’d not only be gaga over saris and that I’d go on to write sari style articles and even a book (Everyday Sari Style) about them one day, I’d have rolled around with laughter.

sari style
photo: chandana

My relationship with saris was difficult at the best. I loathed the tussle that ensued every time I got one out from my trousseau box, wrestling with the pleats and pallu for hours, wondering if sari-wearing was some kind of new workout. I also didn’t think that saris were chic. Wearing them once in a while was okay, but give me a pair of smart trousers or even a party gown for dressy occasions. That’s what I used to think at that time.

In a nutshell, I believed that saris were fussy and belonged to our mothers’ generation. How wrong I was!

classic saree style
photo: pinterest

If you think that sari-wearing can be time-consuming or fussy, or that a pair of stone-washed jeans is better for a day out, then here are some tips to help you ease into the 6-yards of magic, and eventually fall in love with it.

1. Choose a few saris that you like the look and feel of. Don’t start your sari-wearing ‘career’ with textures that you don’t enjoy. If heavy brocaded silks aren’t your cuppa or if blingy net saris don’t light your fire, then don’t feel pressured to wear them (just because these came as part of your trousseau or they are your mom/mom-in-law/spouse/best friend/partner’s favorite.) So, if pastel-hued chiffons or crisp cottons or soft Maheshwaris entice you more, keep those saris handy.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Everyday Sari Style – 22 Ideas to keep it fresh, fun and fuss-free (and a Gift inside!)

If you’re reading this, then chances are that you love saris. The way they look – like butterfly wings; the way they feel draped on you – soft as butter; and, what this garment brings out in you – the regal bearing of a queen. A sari does that to every woman who chooses it over a hastily put-together ensemble. It makes you special even on an ordinary day.

sari style

It is this need to share the beauty and versatility of the sari that nudged me to craft my first sari post a couple of years ago. At that time I didn’t know that there were so many of you who loved saris or who, wanted to start wearing it more often. Every sari style post that I wrote was a way to curate all the little tips and lessons that I had garnered in my journey of going from not enjoying saris to falling head-over-heels in love with the garment.
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