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

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:

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.

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