Friday, May 18, 2018

Sherline's Sari Style: Inspired by art & worn with boho-panache

Hello Sari/Saree-loving ladies! Today, we have sari style with an interesting twist.  Sherline Pimenta, a storyteller and Lush Green Wellness member (check out da community – you won’t be disappointed), shares a fun, fuss-free drape with us. 

Here’s what she has to say:

Sherline says:

“This is all about the Sari drape that I've been flaunting:).

The story behind the drape is a simple design problem that I faced.

I am a storyteller and I need to have both my hands free as gesturing is an important component of narrating oral stories. I am also a lover of saris and wanted to use it as my trademark costume for my storytelling sessions.

In the most common way of draping a sari the pallu is left hanging over the left shoulder. This did not allow me to use my hands as freely as I wanted to so I looked at alternative ways of draping the sari.

The other issue was the blouse, I have been losing weight and gaining weight so my blouses just don't seem to fit me well. So I was looking for something that does not show the blouse too much.

Additionally, since I am a performer, I will have people looking at me and I get very conscious if my midriff or cleavage shows.  So all in all i wanted a one step solution to all the above.”

Inspired by art: Explains Sherline, “I was familiar with the traditional Kerala manner of draping the sari through the Raja Ravi Varma paintings. I understood that it is actually a two piece sari that is employed in the Kerala style. I liked that style and I really would have even given up the blouse but alas I am not that daring. So I tried to do the best I could with what I had.”

How to wear this drape: “My sari is the normal 5 yard one. My blouse is a crop top. You could use your regular sari blouse or a T shirt or a crop top. Just keep in mind if the sari is transparent the blouse will be seen and therefore you would want to choose wisely what would look good even underneath the sari.

For draping you begin like the normal sari drape, when you get to the pleats, instead of bunching up all the pleats in the center you spread them out over the front half of your body, kind of like a skirt. This will give you a skirt like volume beneath the pallu.

For the pallu, take it around you body like you would in a normal sari, the side that comes to your left shoulder you hold a bit of the material in your left hand against the front left side of your chest. Pull up the rest of the pallu from behind you and underneath your right arm. Leave about 8 inches of material free from the pallu end of your sari and grab the upper side of the saree into a bunch to be united with the material you are holding in your left hand and tie into a comfortably tight knot. 

Then go to the leftover 8 inches of the pallu that is hanging down in front  on your left side, pleat it up and pull up the tip and tuck it over the knot to mask it. Spread the top corner into a neat little triangle. Arrange the pallu pleat like a waterfall pallu, to give it a nice fall. And viola, you are done. :)”

Work in progress: “Please note this style of draping the sari is my work in progress, while I am pretty happy with the "handsfree part" I am not totally happy with the way the pallu falls in the front. I need to experiment a bit more. Also I have been using cotton saris, I have yet to see how silk with behave.
On the positive side, I've not used a single safety pin and I am glad because i do it like the holes them make in my precious saris; but on the other hand I have to deal with the sari material getting pulled into a knot.

Every part of me was covered & no cleavage showing, the focus is totally on the sari rather than the blouse :) so yes I am happy with my solution!

Well that's all I have to share about my sari draping style :)”

Thank you, Sherline, for sharing this drape and style with us.

Do you have an interesting drape to share with us? Leave a comment below with a sentence about your drape and your email add, and we’ll get back to you.

Also, don’t forget to grab a free copy of our e-book ‘Everyday Sari Style’ by signing up for blog updates.

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Hungry for more posts? Hop over to Gorgeous Girls go Green – our sister website. She truly is gorgeous and packed with green wellness articles for women (it's win-win for the reader). Here's the web magazine link.

#saristyle #sareestyle #sareechic #bohosaree #FashionFriday 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Work-from-home Fauji Wife – 5 Beginner Issues & How To Crack It

For every feisty fauji wife/military spouse entrepreneur I meet – the ones who make working-from-home work for them through the thick and thin of fauji life, I meet 10 others who are equally qualified and super talented but are not sure how to turn their talents into a viable career. The question is, whether working-from-home or military spouse entrepreneurship can be made to fit into our already buzzing fauji life and how to go about doing it.

Can one set aside time to carve out a career while also hosting Ladies’ Clubs, welfare meets, coffee mornings, weekend parties, beerings and breakfasts?
Is working-from-home easy or difficult? Is it worth giving a shot?

These are a lot of questions, but let me zero down on the first step - how to hack through the beginner issues of working-from-home and get down to business.

Let me begin by the quickly outlining the common issues that many fauji ladies face while taking the work-at-home/entrepreneurial decision & how to find come up with viable solutions:

1. Issue: “How do I know what I should do from a back-of-beyond place (because I can’t find anything to fit my college degrees) or where do I start looking?”

Crack it: Make a list of your strengths and hobbies and interests. What floats your boat? For me it’s writing and green living & women’s wellness. For you, it might be art, craft, fashion, counseling, baking, teaching or designing. Do a quick online search to see what kind of entrepreneurial careers can be fashioned out of these. Would you like to exhibit your art or sell within your community (a lot of my friends do this); can you take permission to create a baking business from home (I’ve seen this too); would you enjoy teaching online (this is getting popular); or, working with a karigar to create your own jewellery range (a friend had a home-based silver business)? Pick out one or two ways that you can work with a talent or qualification to set something up for yourself.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fort Kesroli - A Queen-size Holiday

As the summer see-saws between mind-numbing heat and raging storms, I yearn to escape the dusty furnace that this big, jammed-with-traffic city has become. 

I want to go to the hills with its lush forests and slower pace, bright sunshine and rolling breeze. We live in a huge apartment society with too many flats and lots of concrete; an island set amidst rivers of busy roads. If there’s anything I crave right now, it’s to sit on a patch of fresh green grass, listening to the birds (the only birds here are flocks and flocks of pooping pigeons) and the rustling of leaves.

But I’m not sure whether a holiday, even a teeny-tiny one, is on the cards. Not everyone in our house works from home, and so, out of the schedule holidays are hard to come by. So, the best I can do is escape into photographs of faraway lands that we traveled to this February, and create an imaginary holiday for myself.

Earlier in the year, we traveled to Fort Kesroli, right outside Alwar. Set on a small hillock, amidst dwellings of the local people and surrounded by a patchwork quilt of fields, Kesroli is designed like a fort, but is small enough to pass of as a haveli. Once upon a time it belonged to a jagirdar, but now it’s under the luxurious care of the Neemrana Hotels.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fauji Wife Sari Style - Standing Out In That Regiment/Squadron Sari

Earlier, when I’d hear about ladies of entire (fauji) units wearing the exact same sari, I’d roll my eyes and wonder why anyone would want to turn up in the same thing? I mean, why 'uniformalize' the sari for a party, even a super special party? (Ah! do wait...the gorgeous photos will change your mind.)

Photo credit: Strand of Silk

Over the years, I’ve seen ladies of units place an order for and dress in saris for official occasion that represent their unit colors (example: red & gold, or blue & white, black & gold), and the impact has been stunning. Instead of blending in, ladies decked up in that same shade of sari, stand out and proudly so. Wearing the same sari on a planned date generally takes place when there is something momentous happening for that particular unit – like a Raising Day function or a jubilee celebration, or sometimes even when the ladies are hosting a Ladies Club event (monthly evening get-togethers hosted by ladies of a particular unit and often with a theme).

Today, thanks to my fauji lady friends, I’m sharing some of their photographs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Meet Artist & Air Force Wife Monishikha RoyChoudhury

We're back with another interview from the 'Brigade That Builds Brands' series. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting, community mindset regarding how military spouses should or should not work and a lot more.

Today, I'm chatting with Engineer-turned-Artist and fellow Air Force wife, Monishikha RoyChoudhury about how she juggles fauji life, motherhood and her art through postings and social commitments.

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

M. I am a fauji daughter, an Electrical Engineer by profession and an artist by passion. I have been married to an Air Force officer for 14 years now.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

M. I have always had a passion for sketching but until a few years ago, I regarded it as a hobby only. I began painting two years after getting married, when I saw my mother in law painting .She introduced me to the basics of oil painting, and from there I took wing. A few months down the road however, a long cherished dream came to fruition when against significant odds, I became pregnant.So, I put away my paints so as to keep my baby away from noxious chemicals. 

Once my son was born in July 2009, I returned to blogging and sketching late at night while he slept. By the time he was a year old, I realized that watercolours would afford me the freedom of painting while being around my baby, without having to worry about any potentially toxic fumes. So I jumped in head first into what is mostly known as the most difficult medium of painting, namely watercolours. Thus began a long and happy creative journey of discovery from teaching myself how to paint, onto eventually teaching many a painting class and of late having the confidence to exhibit my work in exhibitions. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sari Folding - An Art Or A Science?

Hello there sari/saree girls! Today, I'm popping in with a different kind of #sari Friday. Not about style, but about sari humor. Cartoonist and writer, Ramya Sriram shares her take on sari folding through her images. Have you struggled with folding a sari on your own? I sure do :-).

Shares Ramya, "Every time I have worn a saree, I have struggled to get the folding right. I was inspired to draw this comic when I realised that I'd given up and asked my mom for help almost every time. I don't get to wear sarees often, though I do have a small collection that I hope to unleash one day. I adore Sambalpuri weaves and Kalamkari prints."

Posing with an Ethicus saree in Pollachi. Pic: Pravin Shanmughanandam 

Who is Ramya?

"I'm a cartoonist and writer, and I run The Tap ( independently. I currently live in a small town in the UK, and go back to Hyderabad often, where I'm from. I like long train journeys, filter coffee, monsoons and the Western Ghats."

#sari #saree #sareefolding #ramyasriram #saricartoon #saristyle

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

19 Things I Like & Don't Like About The Fauji Wife Life

I’m married to a man in uniform. I’ve also grown up as a ‘fauji brat’ + my uncle and grandfather were men in uniform. And I have this to say: I like a lot of things about the services, but I’m also not totally gaga over it. Like all things in life, there’s always a good and a not-so-good side to every situation, and the same can be said for the service lifestyle.

Here’s what works for me (and what doesn’t work) in my life as a fauji wife/military spouse. 

Disclaimer: Your opinions may differ and this post isn’t meant to offend anyone. However, what I write here is based on what I’ve experienced as I've bumbled along in my ‘career’ as a military spouse.

Here’s my non-sugar-coated list:

What I enjoy about the service lifestyle:

1. Some of my deepest bonds have been built in the services.

2. I love how laughter and light are part of gatherings with friends. Most people in the fauj don’t take themselves too seriously, and that makes our banter lighthearted.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Burja Haveli in Alwar - The Tango of Starlight, Slow Living and Scrumptious Fare

We love traveling, exploring the length and breadth of India in our little silver Wagon-R (this little buggie just completed 1 Lakh kilometers on our recent trip). Before my son was born, my husband S and I had chalked-up quite a list of places – about 52 little towns, forests and mountain tops. But all of that came to an abrupt end after our naughty munchkin with the face of an innocent monk and the mischief of a goblin, appeared in our lives.

We just didn’t have the gumption to pack all that baby gear or deal with oodles of fussiness that was the USP of my son, till recently. Add to that S’s postings and assignments that left us with meager holidays, most of them at last minute notice with the Damocles Sword of being called back from leave hanging on our heads. But this year, as 2018 rolled in all bright and dazzling, we decided to pack in a few places we’d been craving to visit. And with holiday destinations a drive away from Delhi, this seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.

Holidaying in a Haveli: Our first stop during our February holiday was a quaint heritage haveli in Alwar. Burja Haveli, which is three hours from Delhi, is just the place for spending a quiet little holiday in. A 240-year-old manor that once upon a time belonged to a prosperous Jagirdar, it’s still run by the descendants and offers a medley of comfort, old world charm and a taste of rural Rajasthan.

With rooms set around a courtyard that also doubles up as an outdoor restaurant, Burja Haveli is ideal for unwinding, soaking in the slow pace of this small town or curling up with a good book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Prabhjot Kour Dhillon's sojourn as a pilot-turned-paper artist & Air Force wife

Hello friends - faujis, fellow fauji wives & non-faujis! Welcome to 'The Brigade That Builds Brands'. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting, community mindset regarding how military spouses should or should not work and a lot more.

Meet Prabhjot Kour Dhillon, a Paper Craft Artist, former AF pilot and fellow Air Force wife. When I sent out the message for interview requests for this series (The Brigade That Builds Bands) and connected with Prabhjot for the first time, it turned out that she was my husband's course mate from the Air Force Academy. A happy coincidence that re-asserts the fact that this world of ours is truly a small and cozy one.

Let's get on with our chat as Prabhjot and I 'talk' about how she re-ignited her creativity after leaving the Air Force, turning her art into a creative venture. I do hope many of you will be inspired to do the same and create your own craft-based brands while juggling the many commitments of the service life.

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

P. Hi, I am Prabhjot Kour Dhillon, married to Gp Capt Anurag Khurana since 2003 and currently based in Jamnagar. I am a creative entrepreneur. I am into intricate cutting of paper works, mostly defence related themes like aircrafts, carriers, submarines, insignias as well as other things. Along with this, I also do paper craft, hand embroidery, bottle texturing, tatting and upcycling of folders. I have also taken workshop for ladies and children in basic and advanced paper craft, and stencils. I have put up my work at the AFWWA shop. I also take online orders, my work displayed on my Facebook page HandKraftd. Recently I had also put up my work at Kala Ghoda Art Festival, in Mumbai, along with another paper artist. 

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

P. I have always been into creative arts since my teen years. Lost touch when I was serving in the IAF as a Pilot. I restarted my hobbies after I left service and only recently commercialized my work since Oct, 2017. 

C. Fauji wives make their home in an assortment of obscure places across the country. Our lives are about living in the moment and doing what we can, when we can. Can you share how you stayed creative or found work that satisfied you while moving across the country?

P. The resources for my kind of work are available everywhere. Thankfully I have been based at places which were well equipped, so never had that problem. Things like finding a good framing shop was a hassle here in Jamnagar. The best I could find was in Rajkot which is around 100km. But since I can drive and am independent, I just drive to Rajkot and get my work done. 

C. How do you juggle that load of social commitments & welfare activities that are an integral part of the fauji community, while nurturing your passions and meeting work deadlines?

P. Hobbies are about spending your leisure time in something you love to do. If it makes money as well..I guess that’s the perfect job satisfaction. And, taking time out for something is all about priorities and time management, which with so many years of experience we have all learnt to manage. 

C. How do you market your business and products while moving from base to base, place to place, and often to remote areas?

P. I have a page on Facebook named HandKraftd which showcases all my work and I take the orders online. So even if I move to different bases, the work does not suffer as I can courier my parcels. Otherwise , there's always the AFWWA shop to keep my products. 

C. As a creative/entrepreneur + fauji wife, is there something that you cherish very much about being part of this community? And is there something you feel must/can change for the better?

P. As an Entrepreneur and a Fauji wife, I love the belonging and connection we have to where we are. Nobody is trying to put you down. The change is coming, and it can be felt in every aspect, in the sense that now women want to be independent. This was not the way earlier. They were content with their situation. This I feel is the first big step for everyone.

C. What challenges have you faced in balancing work and fauji life?

P.  In fauj we are like 'Koop Mandook'. It's the frog in a well who doesn’t know about the world outside. It's the same for us. A lot is happening in the world. Even though we live in the age of internet, we lack the exposure to various art festivals, exhibitions and so on.

C. What tips would you give to fauji wives out there who’d like to pursue their dreams while living at small and busy bases (many still believe or led to believe that you can either be a fauji wife or a professional, and that’s not true)?

P. It's all about priorities. Where there's a will, there's a way. With work going online, there’s a huge door open to all. There might be few difficulties, but not so much that we can't find a way through it. And, we are genetically built to multi-task, so we know how to juggle work and home.

C. A parting quote or philosophy that helps you stay calm and do what you do?

P. Hobbies are therapeutic. And if they pay you as well, what more can we ask for. We just need to prioritize things in our life and decide what’s more important to us.

C. Thank you for joining me at my blog!

Hey reader, would you like to read more military spouse/fauji wife interviews and stories? Here's the entire section.

And while you've still got your read-a-roo cap on, hop over to our Women's Wellness & Green Living e-Magazine - Gorgeous Girls Go Green, for a clutch of interesting articles.

#militaryspouse #armywife #faujiwife #TheBrigadeThatBuildsBrands #faujiwifeentrepreneur #gorgeousgirlsgogreen

Friday, April 20, 2018

Stay Cool In That Summer Sari: 11 Favorites To Inspire Your Summer Style

Summer’s in its element. If she was a lady, she’d be reigning the season in her marmalade and gold sari, her auburn hair swirling around her head in wild curls. Summer has fire in her belly and the sun in her heart. She rules with a fierce passion, weaving lava-hot sun beams into the dry landscape and trailing velvety ribbons of heat wherever she goes.

In one of my fav breezy Kota doria sari

But as Summer dances her wild dance, we on Mother Earth resort to everything cool and calm to seek balance in our lives. Chilled beverages, ice-cold luscious fruits, and gossamer fabrics.

Summer saris in crisp cottons, gauzy lace and breathable weaves are the perfect go-to-garments for our hot tropical climate. For this feature, I’m sharing a few of my own favorite summer weaves as well as showcasing what some of my sari sisters from across the country enjoy draping as the season notches up the heat. Get ready for a profusion of gorgeous summer saris that are lovingly worn by equally gorgeous women.

 Kanika Manaktala wearing her mom’s cotton sari and teamed with a top

Mukulika Sengupta in a Gamcha cotton sari

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

12 Things Nobody Tells You About Life As A New Fauji Wife

I got married to a man in blue 12 years ago, and even though I spent my growing up years in the defense services (we're called "fauji brats"), there’s a lot I didn’t know about the "other side of the fence". When I moved to a station in the boondocks (complete with fields of sarson and battalions of buffaloes), I truly understood how different it was as a service kid and a fauji wife/military spouse.

Married to the military

Are you a new fauji wife? Well, if you are, here’s some news for you. (And for those who aren't newly minted fauji brides, I'm sure some of the points will resonate!)

1. You’ll get a ‘welcome do’ that you’ll never forget. In my case, I was already familiar with the famous welcomes that new brides get, so when I was asked to turn up for a party in my pajama suit (they said it was a pajama party), I gave everybody a surprise by landing up in a silk sari. But if you’re lucky, your welcome will always be a memorable part of your time in the services.

Pick up, not pick up. Pick up, not pick up...

2. Picking up a plate at a party will never be the simple act that it always was. When dinner is announced at a party, the senior most lady (who is the wife of the senior most officer in the unit, generally the Commanding Officer’s wife) must pick up her plate before the next lady in the seniority chain picks up hers and so on. I remember goofing this up several times as a new wife and then being ‘counseled’ for it too (I’m very slow on the uptake when it comes to protocol and hierarchy).

3. You’ll get plenty of occasions to dress up like a queen. In fact, you can turn into a fashion diva, if you so wish. Whether you’re wearing a heavy sari for a formal party or a dress for a theme party, or salwar-kameez or crisp cotton for a welfare meet, there are plenty of occasions to dress up for.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Corporate Sari Style - Tips & Tricks To Make Saris Work For You At Your Workplace

by Ankita Priyadarshini

Corporate dressing for women has come to mean business suits in predictable combinations of black, grey, blue and white. There is neither much room to experiment, nor many options. While I have nothing against business suits, I prefer the freedom and elegance of a sari. Its flexibility to suit any shape and size and the comfort it offers for all-day wear, is what makes it a great work-wear option.

Ankita - dressed for work

Choosing and styling saris the right way goes a long way in helping you look put together while being comfortable. Some aspects to keep in mind while creating your sari look:

Fabric: The fabric is the foundation of your attire. If the fabric is uncomfortable it will be difficult to bear it all day and will show in your demeanor. Choose easy-to-carry, comfortable fabrics. Handloom cottons and silks are a good place to start. Try your sari beforehand to make sure it’s not too much to handle for a 10 hour workday. Lighter fabrics such as georgette or chiffon are acceptable if the sari is not sheer.

Some fabrics to begin with – Linen, soft cottons, silk cotton and Mysore silk are light and easy to handle. Choose breezy fabrics for summer and heavier silks or thick cottons for winter. Avoid stiff fabrics such as Organdy, Organza and Tissue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Payal Mittal Talwar's take on building a business & juggling service commitments

Hello everyone! Welcome to 'The Brigade that Builds Brands'. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting, community mindset regarding how military spouses should or should not work and a lot more. 

Meet Payal Mittal Talwar, a Life Coach, Trainer, Co-founder of WINGS Team and Army wife. I was introduced toPayal a year ago, when I was looking for ladies to interview for my article about Military Spouse Entrepreneurs. Since then, we've followed each other's journey and Payal has been especially supportive of my sojourn as a Green Wellness Educator & Entrepreneur

Here's our chat about what it takes to build a sumptuous work portfolio, while also living and working at back-of-beyond bases.

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

P. I’ve been married for over 22 years – a fauji to boot as I’m also a fauji daughter and a fauji daughter in law.

I co-founded a company, WINGS team, with my best friend- Priyanka Renjen Kumar(a  fauji wife herself). We are into Life Coaching, training and facilitation, and content development (social media as well as academic).

Friday, April 6, 2018

10 Reasons Why The Sari Is A Sustainable Style Option

At a time, when it’s even more important to make choices carefully, even in the fashion and style arena, the sari – especially the hand-woven variety, offers us a sustainable way of buying and wearing. Wondering what makes the sari a sustainable style option? Here’s why:

Though cotton requires a large dose of pesticides to grow and silk is harvested from silkworms (both of which don't make it very eco-friendly), the sari can still be a more sustainable choice of garment over factory-made apparel. And yes, there are organic cotton saris and Ahimsa silk too, to choose from, if you’d like to invest in a wardrobe that’s completely free of pesticides and cruelty.

However, for those who have plenty of non-organic saris in their closet and are wondering if saris can be brought under the green style umbrella, here’s my two-ana bit about why it is sustainable in so many different ways:

1. Handloom saris promote an age-old craft and tradition.

2. When you buy handloom saris, you're helping keep this art alive + helping weavers to do what they are so good at doing.

3. You can create a fabulous wardrobe with just a few saris. Mix-and-match your t-shirts and blouses + accessories to create new looks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Fighter Pilots

My husband is a fighter pilot. Hmm…now did I hear some oohs and aahs?! Because I always do whenever I mention this fact. With Tom Cruise aka Maverick having done a splendid job at creating this larger-than-life and smart-alecy image of fighter pilots, just the mention of this profession has people conjuring up Top Gun scenarios. 

Pic credit: The Fiscal Times

So, are fighter pilots like Tom Cruise in Top Gun? Do they wear their Aviator sunglasses all the time? Are they just as cheeky? Well, read on to find out.

I’ve been married to S aka Smokey Bandit for 12+ years now. I’ve also met and interacted with lots of other fighter pilots – his buddies, squadron mates, course mates and our friends. And this is what I have to say about the images and avatars that are attached to fighter pilots.

Here are the myths and truths (from my point-of-view):

1. The image: Fighter pilots have a larger-than-life persona.
Truth: These are guys with larger-than-life jobs, but down-to-earth personalities. Though not all of them are humble (c'mon we've all met a few stuffy ones, haven't we?), most of them are pretty easy-going.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Harpriya Bains's story about the joys and challenges of being an Artist and an Army wife

Hello everyone! I'm launching a brand new series today called 'The Brigade that Builds Brands'. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting and a lot more. 

An article I wrote a year back about military spouse entrepreneurs for, got me thinking about such a series. I'd interviewed several ladies for that article, and each had a lot of chutzpah to share, and an 800-word article just could not fit in all of it. Also, as an Air Force wife, entrepreneur and evergreen student, I've come across plenty of hiccups and situations, most of which may seem unusually strange to my friends who aren't part of the military. I also realize that  several military families are unaware of what a military spouse has to juggle, give up and work around to turn her aspirations into reality.

So maybe, it's time to tell our stories, with the hope of sharing some of our unique life and work situations with the world, and to inspire other military spouses to create their own work instead of feeling frustrated at the lack of opportunities or taking a rain check just because something suitable isn't available. I also hope that sharing our stories will help make the notion of entrepreneurship and women with alternative careers more acceptable within the fauji community.

Without further ado, here's our first fauji wife entrepreneur. I'd like to introduce you to Harpriya Bains, an artist and Army wife I met at her exhibition around 12 years ago.

Friday, March 23, 2018

5 Do’s and Don’ts for wearing Summer Saris in the Workplace

Summer’s are here and promising to go full-bore very soon. With sunshine pouring in like molten lava, the hot air chafing our skin, and not to mention the sweat sticking to our skin, summer’s a season when you can only think of very airy clothes for the workplace and super short clothing for home-wear.

Choose cool, breezy fabrics

Saris are often not preferred as the ideal work-wear during this fiery season – it sometimes feels too cumbersome to wrap a sari around you when all you want to do is fling on something soft and cool. Well, it need not be like this. You can be a summer queen in your gorgeous saris with just a little know-how. 

Here are 5 tips (the do's) to rock your sari style this summer:

Soft cottons for the summer workplace (Priyanka Mehta Mahanty)

1. Your comfort-quotient depends a lot on the saris you choose to wear. I like to pick the breeziest and softest of fabrics in this hot and muggy season. My personal favorites are Kota Doria, crisp Bengal taant cottons, block-printed mul and river-like chiffon leheriya saris. Georgettes are also very popular with sari divas.

Pick earthy or cool hues (Pri)

2.Choose your colors with care. It’s a known fact that colors have a strong impact on one’s mood and the way they feel. While fiery colors like bright reds, hot pinks and oranges are great for evening wear or to a fancy event, try softer and cooler shades like pastels, creams, blues and indigo & earthy tones like brick reds, greens and ochres for office wear. This color palette also suits the office ambience, exuding confidence and calm.

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

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