Ubud & Us…

Well, this was my first time to Bali and my husband’s and mine first time ever to Ubud and while after all the wedding madness- I was quite kicked to visit what seemed from pictures like a very relaxed place, my husband- Ishan wasn’t too excited but on reaching Ubud- we both were instantly on the same page and absolutely fell in love with it!

I feel Ubud is nice quiet, the quiet that you cherish and not the quiet that haunts you.

Here’s sharing few notes on Ubud and I truly hope that they come handy on your next visit!

Our Stay: We stayed at Alaya Resort which was on a fun and relatively bustling street. But just putting it out there quite clear that Ubud didn’t feel like a place for night-outs, so don’t really expect otherwise. We loved our hotel- the staff was extremely helpful, the pool though small was fun, the breakfast spread was decent and delicious and yes we were truly happy with our room as it was really well done up and from the balcony- we were witness to ample greenery.

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Shopping: Truthfully, by my normal standards I didn’t shop much but I did pick up lovely stuff for our home. Also, you can pick up amazing gifts such as handmade jewellery, dream-catchers, cane bags and so on. Also, the boutiques though very fancy stocking fashionable stuff are on the expensive side.

Food: There are umpteen options to binge!

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We quite liked this placed called Simply Social! Also, we tried coffee at several cafes and at all places it was really good! Also, when in Ubud, a smoothie bowl is a must!

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Nearby Attractions: I have never before been on a Night Safari and opted to go with the husband and it truly made for a worthwhile experience. Also, Bali Swing is a must for those looking for lots of instagrammable pictures and take our advise, hire their photography services. Both places offered meals and we decided to end the Night Safari with a cold beer each!

I must add that there are several waterfalls in the vicinity and a visit to at least one is a must!

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We loved to walk around so I’d suggest carry/wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen is a must as the sun was strong while we were there at least which is beginning December. There are several temples throughout Ubud- we definitely did stop by at one of them! There are also plenty of Departmental Stores where you can pick up your essentials from! We didn’t really visit the Monkey Forest as we got a feel just walking past it but you could plan a visit there!

On our next trip- we are looking at trying several spa treatments, visiting the rice fields and yes some yoga classes for me 🙂 Ubud, call us back soon! And I have to say that every local we encountered was a gem and ever so cheerful and helpful!

Happy Travelling!
Sonali

ON GRATITUDE

Today, I am getting back to writing for my #LoveLife series and would like to share about the concept/attitude of gratitude.

I have to say it first up, having a heart of gratitude is having the key to a happy life. Over the years, I have realized that most of us have this tendency of focusing on things we do not have. For instance, seeing the glass half empty instead of seeing it half full. However, if the focus changes to what we have or who I am- it truly can become a game changer! We shall wake up each morning feeling genuinely grateful for the little things such as the delicious home-cooked dinner we had last evening or the amazing weather in the morning or even looking forward to dressing up for work or most importantly, feeling healthy!

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A heart of gratitude is truly an enriched and beautiful heart for it appreciates and celebrates life. And trust me, everyone loves to be around people who appreciate and are grateful. With gratitude being our foremost attitude not only do we feel good but instead we uplift the spirits of another life too! For instance, it maybe routine for mother to cook, but try and compliment her for the meal and see the big smile on her face!

Also, I feel gratitude reduces the room for complain for you try and look at the good or positive in every challenging situation as well.

Lastly, I would say always be grateful for this life, our families and friends, the person we have become and are becoming and cherishing each and every necessity of life we have been blessed with from our home where we live to the clothes we wear!

Having said this, celebrate the little things in life and you would realize that you are celebrating ever so often. Share your celebrations, involve others in your celebrations, make them feel a part of being the reason itself to celebrate. Also, always have gratitude for the things you wished to own one day and with your hard work have been able to!!!

For me, my heart wells up with joy and happiness each time I think about the trips I have made and I can’t be grateful enough for those plans having become a reality!

P.S. I have and shall continue to have gratitude for all my dreams getting fulfilled. And writing this makes me realize how about some gratitude for having the will and courage to dream itself?

Best,
Sonali

On Top Fashion Gear with Avnni Kapur

Well, truthfully you can’t ever really have an overdoze of weddings considering quite a few celebs got married lately but fact is that the wedding season is on and the charm and beauty of a bride or the excitement of the groom are sights which seldom go out of demand so to say.

Weddings are beautiful, no matter how simple or lavish they maybe- weddings are just beautiful. And the most talked about are the brides at these weddings (sorry guys but guess you know it too). Also, we reckon the looks for the pre-wedding day celebrations are rather important as they let you truly experience and create a build-up to the big day!

So, since it is the wedding season and we want our brides to look their gorgeous selves- we got talking with one of our favourite designers from Delhi. Well, not that she just has a youthful take on design herself but her clothes are unique, colourful and playful. And I must add that every time I visit Avnni Kapur’s store- I am always pleasantly surprised by something or the other for the pieces wouldn’t be very routine.

When asked about the Mehendi celebrations, she said, “A trend that is hitting this season for Mehendi is the mid-length skirt and crop top which is comfortable and allows the wearer to show their beautiful Mehendi designs. What is more is that it is practical and very easy to carry. People are also trying to experiment with more vivid and vibrant colours, therefore no greens.” Further commenting on the hues for Mehendi, the designer said that to feel and look different, she would recommend trying colours like lilac, shades and tints of bright blues, or maybe even corals.

And with the hits, you also got to know the other side. Avnni said,” A complete no-no for Mehendi will be over-accessorizing with Jewellery, a little bling is what is needed but do not go overboard with it. Also, a no-no to Churidars please.”

And no such celebrations are going to be complete without the bride’s squad. Yes, we are talking about our bridesmaids. Avnni suggested, “The bridesmaids can always opt for something simpler like dhotis, crop-tops and skirts or maybe a jacket with cigarette pants and can have that element of co-ordination with matching dupattas, maang tikkas or even same colour skirts.”

And the most action-packed function has to be the Cocktail night! The designer said,”The brides of today are keen on having an Indo-western look for their Cocktail with stylish cuts. They also prefer unique drapes, unconventional tops or even long capes. Keeping it traditional yet modern is the way for the brides of 2018-19.” We do agree with our ace designer, don’t we?

Lastly, do check out the fabulous work of our designer-

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Perks of staying in Pratunam, Bangkok

Well, with the airport less than an hour away, there sure are some fancy perks of staying in the bustling Pratunam area of Bangkok.
 
Talking from experience, I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay at hotels in Pratunam on each of my trips besides the times I have stayed with my friends at their residence in Sukhumvit.

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Be on a Shopping Spree:
 
There is never a dull moment especially when you are staying in this area. During the day, no matter how much time you spend- you shall still be left wanting for more at the Platinum Fashion Mall. What’s more is that a newer building of the mall has been developed as well. 
From clothes to bags to shoes to accessories to beauty products-this one is an absolute haven for girls and from the point of convenience- there is a floor where you can leave behind the love of your life or even better if he is not accompanying you, then take back something for him from that floor.

One of my personal favourite shops is the Pink Pvssy for their gorgeous and stylish clutches.
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Handy Hacks for the Platinum Fashion Mall:
 
1. If there is anything particular you have in mind- seek their Help Desk and they give you the exact shop numbers dealing with the requested category of products.
 
2. Their food court is a must visit, there are ample choices and you would get a very affordable meal.
 
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3. Carry a big empty bag as you land up shopping enough to stress your arms and hands- a bag with wheels would be a true blessing.
 
And, for the tech-savy, just few steps away is the Pantip Plaza.
As you step out of the Mall, do grab a slice of Pizza at Crispy Pizza or a Japanese Soft Serve at  Demi Concept or how about some Mango Sticky Rice?
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Some of the other malls not too far would be:
 
Almost a 10 minutes ride away would be the very well known MBK Mall and then not too far from MBK are the Siam Malls for all the branded shopping.
And must mention my current favourite- Central World.
 
And, as the sun sets down- the streets of Pratinum also liven up further with the night markets. My recent most discovery was the Neon Night Market- it was quite fun and casual.
 
However, a market I truly recommend for the evening would be Asiatique The Riverfront  which though would be about half an hour away from Pratunam but would be totally worth the visit. There are plenty of shops, amazing restaurants by the river, live entertainment and there is just this fabulous festivity in the air.
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Hotels at Pratunam, My picks would be:

 –Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel- you would love their breakfast and land up clicking umpteen pictures here for sure!
 
The Berkeley Hotel-the room size is a complete luxury and we thoroughly relished all the dishes we ordered in our rooms. The location for me was perfect.
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When looking for hotels, make sure you cross-check that it is not too in the interiors or isolated as then you would be far-off from the action. 
 
Binging Big:

Just about five minutes away from the Platinum Mall is this cute place called Hungry Nerd. From their pasta to their burgers- I have always loved everything here.
Another favourite place in this area which we love for desserts is the  B Story Cafe.
 

Hope this information comes handy and connectivity isn’t really an issue with Grab, regular cabs, tuk-tuk and so on.

 
Wishing you an ever amazing trip to Thailand!
xoxo,
Sonali

Bright & Beautiful Birthday at Blo Bar

Can only begin by expressing gratitude to all those who made my birthday super special and beautiful. While the celebrations went on for days, sharing a little about the party I had hosted for my girlies at the newly opened Blo Bar in Defence Colony Market.

The minute I came across the fun concept of this place, I just knew it that I wanted to host a party here and what’s better is that the birthday was not very far off. Blobar is India’s first blow-dry bar only. They strongly believe in the transformative power of a simple blowout.

Here is taking you through the journey of planning and executing this very simple yet supremely fun party. As a birthday girl, I can talk for myself for sure with confidence that I had a ball of a time.

  1. Invitation- Being an event planner, I was certain to go into details. Hence, this invite for my close group of friends and sisters. The theme had to have an essence of celebrating “US”- so, I thought of Bright and Beautiful. And I love making invites on www.greetingsisland.com so the birthday invite too had to be from here!
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  2. Venue- Girls, believe me when I say this that I made the best decision to host my party at Blo Bar. It was something so different and unique that everyone thoroughly enjoyed and so many reached out to me to ask more about this entire concept. The package I opted for included shampoo/conditioning and hair styling with drinks from their side such as Champagne, Sangria and Vodka which translates to the fact that each guest got 2-3 glasses of alcohol. Yes, you read it right, the owner-Sargam is ever so sweet and did pop a Champagne as well. In addition, they provided some munchies such as Cheese Crackers, Nachos & Salsa and Puffs. What’s better is that they are ever so flexible and hence, let me add more food to the table. 
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  3. Food- Since the talk on the food just got started thought I’d enlighten you a bit on what all I added. There was Vegetarian Quiche from Defence Bakery, Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Kathi Rolls and Yummy Sandwiches, courtesy mother.
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  4. Games- Yes, we had to play some fun games as the girls took turns to get their hair shampooed and conditioned and then styled. They have a lovely hair styling menu for one to pick and choose! And each one loved their hair styles and flashed a big smile! The games included- What’s on your phone- the girl with the maximum score won, then-Who knows the Birthday Girl the Best and lastly, I got everyone to write their most Special Memory with Me!
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  5. Cake- Well, this element too had to be different so I ditched cutting the usual cake and instead ordered Passion Fruit, Mixed Fruit, Lemon and Chocolate Tarts from The Bombakery! And believe you me, their tarts are absolutely divine!
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  6. Photos, please- The entire venue is so so pretty but there is one particular wall against which you gotta click enough pictures! And Blo Bar was kind enough to arrange some amazing photo props as well!
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  7. Decor- The place requires very little add-ons. They arranged for some beautiful hangings and I too added a few cut-outs of flowers, pink buntings, purple tissues, polka plates, pink glasses and the like! The place is very bright and beautiful!
  8. Music- I had shared my preferred list and they played them all! In the end, you gotta a shake a leg or two!
  9. Return Gifts- I just wanted to do this! As a very small gesture to express tremendous gratitude to each one of them for adding so much brightness to my life- I gave each one a Face Mask from The Face Shop with a Thank you Card!

    Hope you enjoyed going through my party in brief!!! And THANK YOU Blo Bar for making this Birthday truly memorable and extra special!

    Love,
    Sonali

WITH LOVE FROM THE MOST ROMANTIC CITY OF INDIA-UDAIPUR

I am a complete dreamer and I don’t shy away from admitting to it either. I love to dream…Dream about countries, cities, beaches, mountains, lakes and so much more. So, while conversing if you feel that I have switched off, maybe I actually have switched off… And have commenced my day-dreaming probably about being on this beach I came across while glancing through my social media account.

For many of these dreams have turned to reality and many are on the wish-list but I am in a happy space as I gradually want to unravel these places spread through the length and breadth of the World Map. Eagerness to visit any destination makes me think more, makes me read more and most importantly it make me work more (harder) so that I can savour the destination in its true spirit.

Today, I am going to throw some light on my very first holiday and trip of 2017… The trip was made to Udaipur- the city of lakes where I had been to-long time ago. But yet again there was something about it which was making me want to visit it sooner than soon and so it happened! Having a loved sister in company just added the right colour and laughter to the trip.

So, without any further delay-sharing as much from our trip…

  1. When visiting this rather romantic city- best is to stay closest to the lakes. I love the water, so there was no way that I was going to be away from the water. We chose- Udai Kothi to be our home for 2 nights and 3 days. Yes, you can see the lake from several parts of the hotel and I must share that our stay was cozy and comfortable. Though we didn’t eat much here, but we would certainly look forward to the breakfast area by the pool to just sit and relax. We clicked umpteen pictures, for the property is gorgeous in white and gets decorated with gorgeous marigold flowers in the common areas. I must add our room was much bigger than expected and was stocked with all the essentials.
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  2. We had amazing gastronomic experiences, like each meal surpassed the one before. For the very reason that we ate to our heart’s content- we are actually happy that we got to walk quite a bit! Hear me out on this one-whenever you decide to visit the City Palace Museum- you must make time to eat at the Palki Khana as this restaurant lets you enjoy the view of the overwhelming structure.
    Also, when both of us were wanting to try out a nice café- we landed in front of the Udai Art Café which was established by Meropi, a vibrant lady hailing from Greece who is a photographer, a coffee connoisseur, a chef and an adventurer. Wow, impressive right? She impressed us equally while she passionately helped us decide our order. We binged big on their pesto pasta and crepe with mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese and bell peppers. We loved our meal which was light on our tummies and pockets!
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  3. For our evening meals we opted for the Aravali Lakeview Restaurant at the Radisson Blu Hotel where we binged on some Laal Maas and the second evening we ate our all-time favourite, Chicken Biryani at this spectacular restaurant right opposite our hotel called Hari Garh. In both cases, we enjoyed views of the lake (both were different lakes), had amazing food and didn’t land up paying all that much. At Radisson Blu, while we enjoyed a live flute performance, the next evening- we played and enjoyed some soothing music from our own phones as we got the best table which only made us pray that the time should freeze as we were having the best time ever!

    Glimpses from  Aravali Lakeview Restaurant at the Radisson Blu Hotel-
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  4. Two things which must feature on your itinerary when in Udaipur- the Lake Pichola Boat Ride and a visit to the City Palace Museum. You are able to soak in much of the city on opting for these two!

    Views from the boat-
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  5. When in Rajasthan, you would certainly have a strong urge to shop everything colourful that meets your eyes. At the Hathipole market– we shopped dupattas like there’s no tomorrow. Also, while passing through several lanes. we picked up jhumkas and lovely neckpieces! Ghewar and Pyaazki kachori are must buys from the Jodhpur Misthan Bhandar for all loved ones back home.
  6.  So, here’s the funniest account-just when someone advised us to head to Sajjangarh for a picturesque panoramic view of the city- we did get there but without looking around much straight away got the tickets for their biological park. Yes, you got that right!!! Little did we know that the very next gate leads to their rather pretty Monsoon Palace… Want to know what next? We were on a golf cart scaling through the park and giggling like little girls spotting the lion, tiger and much more…

  7. For our divine calling, we headed to the Jagdish Temple which is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur…And we were thoroughly satisfied with our visit.
  8. We thought of ending our trip on a high note and hence, headed to The Oberoi Udai Vilas. Words fall short to describe the beauty that this place is. We had made a reservation for their restaurant-Chandni and post arrival,were soon guided to our table which was facing the lake on one side and gave us a beautiful view of the property on the other. The quality and taste of the food was extremely impressive and we enjoyed every bit of it.
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    Here are few handy tips if you are planning to visit Udaipur anytime soon-

    1. Be ready to scroll around with your luggage in case your hotel is situated in some narrow lane as sometimes the taxi drivers don’t want to risk taking their cars through the congested routes.
    2. Some of the locals take art classes which seem very interesting. Make sure if interested, you keep aside approximately 3 hours for it.
    3. Commuting isn’t an issue, you’ll find autos mostly everywhere…We also made good use of Uber!
    4. Make sure you take reservations in case you are planning to visit one of the plush properties and even check if they allow non-residential guests at all.
    5. We did hear much about the Bagore ki Haveli for its popular evening show with a variety of Indian dance- maybe you could check it out!


    Happy Travelling, always!!!
    -Sonali

Fashion Notes for the New Year’s Eve

Girls, it’s truly one of our favourite times of the year… And come December, we already start figuring our New Year’s Eve plans and then the even bigger question which starts haunting us almost instantly is, “What to wear?”

We are certain that just about every girl goes through the same churn!!! But we are quite excited as Sonali this time around is sharing her thoughts on her ideal New Year’s Eve look for this season. She has kept in mind the current hot trends and what is more is that the look you’ll witness here is simple yet smart and comfortable yet chic. Time to share what she reckons shall truly turn heads as you dazzle to dine and wine with your date…

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Velvet is absolutely hot this season and this one is a true stellar!
Shop this Wine Velvet Shift Dress from http://www.thelabellife.com
Price-Rs.2,640/-

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These heels are sure going to notch up your style quotient while notching up your height and confidence as well!
Shop these Intoto Detailed Multi Strap Sandals from http://www.koovs.com
Price-Rs.2,099/-

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Love great jewellery? You have to love Prerto then! These ones are just too classy!
Shop these Crystal White Rubix from http://www.prerto.com
Price-Rs.3,000/-

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Chokers are big this season, so glamourize the look with this stunner around your neck!
Shop this Grunge Chic Choker Necklace from www.pipabella.com
Price-Rs.749/-

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These are certainly our best friends for they let us carry all our essentials!
Shop this Nicole Genuine Leather Clutch from www.aqshop.com
Price-Rs.1,159/-

In company of these great fashion pieces, I already feel like a glam girl! Hope this post helps you plan your New Years Eve look better.And don’t forget to highlight your eyes and let some blush and gloss compliment well..Wishing you a Sparkling time!– Sonali