Drawn to DRAWN

Well, when something excites me, I don’t hesitate one bit to come forward and share with as many as I can and hence, this blog post.

Sharing all about this brand, “DRAWN” to which I am literally drawn to and can’t wait to get shopping. Here are few reasons for it-

  1. If you chek out their styles- you’ll feel that finally someone gets it that looking fashionable can be effortless for you just slip into one of their dresses and get ready to turn heads! Whether its the big bold sleeves or the perfect slight- the brand does make looking stylish very easy!
  2. Bold prints, don’t shy-yes, time for some confession, I absolutely love bold colours and prints and sometimes, I do make my mom cringe with my choices but mostly she compliments my confidence to be able to carry them off! And boy, check out their prints for they are so unique and cool! And don’t forget, ” Fashion, is an instant language.” So, pick well!
  3. The price factor- I would say the brand is affordable for what looks like good quality stuff!

Now, without further adieu- let me share with you some of my favourites and guess what? They are soon coming up with a brand new collection too.

The Art Deco Shirt
Isn’t this shirt just a piece of art? Can’t wait to wear this for an evening out with nice funky gold earrings!
The Anti Stripe Oversized Shirt
Add some volume to your upper body with this cool shirt and it is going to look uber fashionable with your favouirte pair of jeans!
Drinks at 9 AM/PM ‘Too Much Colour’ Off Shoulder Dress
Running late for a date? You shouldn’t think too much and just opt for this one 😉
Hi, Sunshine! Midi Dress
Remember- It’s always summer somewhere. It’s my recent favourite and it looks gorgeous, soothing and comfortable.
‘Don’t Cry Over Spilt Paint’ Shirt and Pant
Leisure sets are a hit these days when you don’t have to get into the business of, “What will this go well with?”

P.S. This is absolutely not a promotional post but an admiration post for a MADE IN INDIA brand that deserved a shout-out! Hence, more power and success to them!

The Solid Type!

The Bold Type has been trending on Netflix for a while now and chances are slim that you would have missed watching the series! Though at different stages in life, one has been hooked on to the “Sex and the City” and “Gossip Girl” series, post which one is always hesitant whether one will take to another series through and through!!! I will be honest, initially it did require a bit of an effort but now I am clearly hooked to it. So much so that I got inspired to write about it as well.

Well, most of these shows though invite enough eyeballs and fans, there is always a section of society that comes up with harsh criticism. Though I am yet to come across pieces on, “The Bold Type” but I am sure there would be someone dissecting it left, right and centre. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that but I feel a fun watch should be taken in the spirit it is intended to cater. There are definitely some bold instances and personalities in the series but so are they in real life too. Also, it touches upon and openly discusses about some important issues, for it is the “BOLD” type!

Let me focus on what I enjoyed and loved the most as I am currently just nearing the close of Season 4!

  1. New York City– Everytime I have seen the skyline or the streets of New York in the series, I have just wished to be magically transported their in no time. The buzz, the vibe and just the coolness- has been very pleasing and inviting. I too want to sashay down its streets in fancy heels and softly curled hair with coffee in a hand and on a mission to get somewhere asap!

    And yes, checking out a new bar every now and then or perhaps trying something fun and unique with my girlfriends in the city would be a big YES for me!
  2. Girl Power- I cannot stress enough how therapeutic is just being around your girls. Yes, we do love the men in our lives but the time spent with the girl gang is unmatched. Just watching that bond on the show has been a delight and has made me remember and treasure all the fabulous women in my life more than ever! Whether it is salon date together or just knocking at each other’s home post work- best time is guaranteed even doing nothing!!!
  3. Fashion and Beauty Inspiration- I will be honest I relate most to Sutton’s (show name) dressing style. But overall the series is high on some good fashion and beauty trends. I have fallen for good eye make-up ever since I have seen the gorgeous looks spotted by Jacqueline Carlyle (show name). Well, office wear gets a whole new meaning in the series and I am not complaining for I too choose to dress well to work well.
  4. The Big Boss- The show thankfully for a change shows that you can be lucky with a good boss as well. Not all of them are tyrants. And Jacqueline is just the boss you would dream off. She is confident, secure and excellent at what she does! She stands up for her employees and is just so inspirational to work with. Well, icing on the cake being she is willing to take risks no matter what!
  5. Beauty and Brains– These girls are undoubtedly well turned out but there is more to them than just that. They take some bold life decisions, don’t hesitate to not follow the herd, be change makers and yes, stand up for what they believe in.
    You may not necessarily agree with all their decisions nor did I but maybe we don’t agree with everyone all the time!

Waiting for Season 5 already!

Image Credits: The Bold Type official instagram page (@theboldtypetv)

Pondicherry Diaries

Well, I just had to break my blogging fast and what better way than to do it over a pleasant and memorable staycation!!! What makes this post even more special is the fact that it revolves around a place which both me and my husband wanted to visit for long time, i.e., Pondicherry.

And yes, our holiday was most relaxing and rejuventaing for it is a peaceful and quaint place you wouldn’t ever mind.

Our Stay

We, both opted for villa stays and because we wanted to experience as much over our short stay, hence, we stayed a night at the suite available at Villa Shanti which is also extremely well known for its food and the second night we stayed at La Villa. We learnt later that both these places have the same owner. La Villa is quieter we felt, one of the reasons being it has very few rooms but no complains as the place is very modern, clean and comfortable. Sitting out in the mornings and evenings was truly blissful.

Villa Shanti
La Villa

Eating Out

There are lots of good cafes to check out in Pondicherry. One of the most popular and loved ones is Coromandel Cafe and it does live up to all the hype as the food was great and good quality. Also, when in Pondicherry- you have to binge on crepes and croissants because they are just too yum. For croissants, we would enjoy them throughly at the breakfast offered by our villas. And for crepes, we headed to Cafe des Arts in White Town itself. For bakery items, you just have to visit the Baker Street. Another cafe we had checked out was the PY Cafe which not only is done up well but it also promotes the idea of hand-written letters and posts them for you. And while we were hungry and hunting for a place to eat, we landed up right in front of The Promenade and opted for a buffet.

Breakfast at Villa Shanti
Breakfast at La Villa

Auroville

Auroville is a beautiful story in itself. There’s just so much on offer here. And yes, there is great shopping and eating too.

Shopping

When in Pondicherry, do pick up chocolates, jams, peanut butter, mustard and such items as we did too. And yes, I picked up lots of cottons- dresses, skirts and tops and I love them all. Pottery from Pondicherry is famous too.

This was my take, now I am waiting for yours.

Love,
Sonali

Deyga- For the love of Natural Skincare

Well, I would have to accept something straight up for not only am I quite proud of this habit but this entire move has educated me immensely on the subject of skincare- I have genuinely started exploring quality products and do play close attention to what goes on my skin or hair.

And as they say, “Better late than never.” I am quite happy that I now closely monitor the ingredients and certainly believe in the magic of natural products and most importantly I don’t follow the herd, instead I go with what my skin says yes to!!!

I was fortunate enough to have encountered this amazing Indian brand which is 100% pure, handcrafted and natural making use of sustainable practices and traditional recipes- Deyga.

I tried these following products over the last few weeks and this is what I have to say about them:

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A peek into the products

  1. Rose & Mulethi Skin Brightening Pack– Well, Mulethi as an ingredient for the skin was new for me as I have used a lot of Multani Mitti in the past but Mulethi instead I felt conditions the skin well. You need to apply the pack regularly and actually see for yourself a brighter face with lightened dark spots. I realized that it cleanses the face rather well giving it a rejuvenated and refreshed look. The application process is quite simple, you mix the powder with milk and form a past and apply on your face and neck. As the pack dries up- wash your face and feel as well as see the difference! For those who are intrigued, its ingredients comprise of Native Roses, Mulethi, Oat Meal and Skin Cherishing Essential Oil.

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  2. Beetroot Lip Balm- No girl can ever have enough lip balms. However, few of them little to no good but Deyga’s Beetroot Lip Balm is truly a blessing for parched lips. It does infuse some life in them. The lip balm has a subtle natural smell and is made up of Shea Butter, Avocado Oil, Beeswax and Beetroot extract. For someone like me who has had dry lips- it has worked well to moisturize and smoothen them! It does add a good shine to the lips and works as an excellent base for lipsticks! While it is always giving me company during the day, I love to even apply the Beetroot Lip Balm before going to sleep to ensure I do not wake up to dehydrated lips.

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  3. Sweet Almond Oil- I have started hearing the benefits of Sweet Almond Oil often and far too many and hence, wanted to give it a definite try. Sweet Almond Oil is full of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Mono Saturated Fatty Acids, Protein, Potassium and Zinc.
    Vitamin E does well to protects one’s skin from UV radiation damage while keeping it soft and smooth. The best thing about this product is that it can be used head to toe. I have used it mostly on my face and it definitely ensures that my skin doesn’t look dull and dry. It truly makes the skin look and feel healthy. We don’t need to apply large quantities, just a little bit massaged well and evenly on the face is good enough. It is also known to heal brittle nails, contributes to healthier hair and works well as a natural make-up remover.
  4. Sunscreen SPF 30- I am always up for investing in good sunscreens for I reckon- it is imperative to protect your skin from sun exposure. This sunscreen adds a good sheen to your skin and is made up of Raspberry Seed Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Shea Butter and Sunflower Oil.
    It should be ideally applied 20 minutes before you plan on stepping out and should be applied at regular intervals of 3 hours or so. It is 100% natural and well suited for everyday use. Its compact size even makes it easy to carry and move around with. Last but not the least, it is also believed to soothe irritation, repair sunspots and other signs of sun damage.

I would like to sum-up by saying that Deyga certainly is a brand to look out for and you wouldn’t feel guilty investing in its products even a bit for they are natural, cruelty free and loaded with goodness! To get their products, log on to: http://www.deyga.in

Love,
Sonali

BEST OF BALI, PART-2

Well, I have shared quite a bit and continue to do so for our love for Bali should come across loud and clear. In this post, let me highlight few experiences which you too can indulge in on your next holiday.

1.Bali Safari and Marine Park- It is slightly expensive but for someone like me who hasn’t ever experienced night safari before- we didn’t think much but just went ahead and booked! I would say- it made for a fascinating experience moving around and getting to feed the animals through the caged bus and then ending the evening with a cultural performance and dinner. In our case, we took out that extra moolah for some chilled beer! I must add that the way the entire tour is handled is very smooth and professional!

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2. Bali Swing- It is truly a wonderland for a girl who loves Instagram. You can take the experience a notch higher by hiring an outfit and professional photographer from the site itself. But be ready to stand in a long line waiting to experience the Swing.

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3. Spa Time- Well, when in Bali- a good massage session is a must! While most hotels do have worthwhile spas, you can always explore quality and standalone spas too. We experienced the Sundari Day Spa in Seminyak for a foot massage and absolutely loved it, half way through the service both husband and I had dozed off which for me is a sign of an excellent experience.

4. Uluwatu Temple- Well, in case you are staying in Seminyak, then I would recommend heading to Uluwatu for a day trip. You should visit the temple too! I have to say the location of the temple would leave you awe-struck!

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6. Seminyak Village- It is a cute little mall but if you are looking at buying some quick gifts for family and friends back home, then I would definitely recommend this place. Also, its location definitely makes it very convenient to visit!

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

Memorable Eat-outs in Hyderabad

Hey everyone, apologies for having been missing in action but well, I am back with something fun and exciting!!!

As work takes me to Hyderabad multiple times-I thought why not share with you all some of my favourite meals and places you must check out when in Hyderabad next! Trust me, the food in the city wouldn’t disappoint you even a bit! So in no particular order, here are few of my recommendations…

1. The Food Court at Ikea,Gachibowli- Well, I was damn hungry so the meal here was a good respite. This makes it to my list for the different experience it offered and is worth exploring specially when you have had a hard day shopping!!!IMG_2468

2. Fab Cafe, Banjara Hills-Hyderabad is also lucky to house this gem! I absolutely loved their twist to the mainline dishes. My favourites here include the Tri-Grain Papdi Chaat Medley, Spicy Sprout Filled Golgappa and Chocolate Cake.A5AB1F79-60E8-47DC-AC89-AAA0F1FF2FEA (1)

3. The Glass Onion, Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club, Gachibowli- Truthfully, I have never really had a bad meal here. Each time around, the taste and presentation have been on point. While evenings here are amazing with the golf course in the backdrop, the Sunday Brunch is equally fun and leaves you with much to choose from! On a regular day, I would definitely order the Quinoa Avocado Chaat and Broccoli Cheese Kebab!

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4. Ulavacharu, Jubilee Hills & Gachibowli– It serves authentic South Indian Telugu cuisine and is a good place to taste the local food. However, to be honest I have had both good and ordinary experiences here but the reason for that I blame on poor ordering. So, be very clear with what you want and they would be happy to help!

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5. Exotica, Banjara Hills- I absolutely love their Mughlai and North Indian food. Their Roti Pe Boti and Galouti Kebab are absolutely divine. For me they are among the best for North Indian food in Hyderabad! And to add to that, the ambience of the place is pleasant and soothing!
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6. Sante Spa Cuisine, Jubilee Hills– The food here is made with healthy ingredients without compromising on the taste factor. And for someone like me who is quite conscious of my food intake, a healthy eat-out option is absolutely a great idea!!! Their Valrhona Chocolate Pie with an oat flour base was absolutely heavenly so much so that we ordered it twice and so were the Thai Spiced Fish Cakes!

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7. The Fisherman’s Wharf- Well, this place absolutely has my heart. Ask me why? One of the major reasons is that it quickly disconnects you from the city life and that itself is a super reason to keep visiting this place. Their food and drinks are worthwhile as well but trust me, the vibe of the place pretty much takes you to Goa in no time!

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8. Feast, Sheraton Hotel, Gachibowli- It totally lives up to its name and makes for a memorable feast. The Sunday Brunch is absolutely worth visiting. Take my pro tip, have a light breakfast and then, have a meal to remember and let it be stretched outing!

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9. Yi Jing, ITC Kohenur, Madhapur- This is another top favourite of mine and no matter how many times I have been here, each time around the experience has only been better than before. We swear by Chef Shloke Chhabra’s recommendations and he does not disappoint ever! If you are on a look-out for a quality Chinese meal, this is it!

Here’s wishing you the best meals and experiences in Hyderabad and I look forward to sharing much more with you all!

Love,
Sonali

Time for Tea Party!

Hey, while it is the best time to be on a vacation right now but there is never really a bad time to have friends and family over, right?

So for those like me who have weekdays packed with work, sometimes hosting lunches or late evening plans may seem tough but I truly reckon the new age way to party is to organize fun and tasteful tea parties. Trust me when I say this that I feel people are still not so exhausted to meet in the evening, it doesn’t require so much effort and you are pretty much going to find this concept as a breath of fresh air.

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Yes, even the present generation can have fun at tea time. So, here are some tips to help you plan your ultimate tea party-

  1. Colour Theme- I always like my main table done up really well so we could fill up our vases with nice flowers- go for pink and white or yellow and white. Else, you could stick to pastels. Make sure some basics like napkins, plates and the like are in line with your colour theme.
  2. The Tea- Make sure you have a variety on offer. Don’t forget that Tea has to be the highlight and why not? There are just so many variations available. However, do not serve something you have not tried before, please! So there must be a house favourite which should be pouring. Then lay out the rest for the guests to try-out and to involve them, this could make for a perfect “DIY” activity. Also, keep the essential ingredients readily available such as Milk, sugar, honey and lemon. When in India- Masala Tea be a hot favourite. Another favourite of mine which got to make the list is the Chamomile Tea. What would be helpful would be to display the Tea Menu!

    Also, you could offer some cooler versions like Iced Tea on the menu as well.

  3. Food Factor- Like any party, you can’t ditch or ignore this aspect even a bit! Here are some of our recommendations:

    -Scones with Nice Berry Toppings and Whipped Cream OR a Pastry Platter
    -Mushroom Quiche
    -Finger Sandwiches (these are done well at most homes)
    -Cookies (a variety here would sure win hearts)
    -Cake (we absolutely love the Victorian Vanilla Cake from The Daily Gourmet and we usually add some Orange Marmalade to it)
    -Chocolate Muffins (again think no more and use the ones from The Daily Gourmet as they are so easy to make)
    -Fries (everyone loves them no matter what the age)
    -Cheese & Crackers
    -Fruit Platter
    -Last but not the least, no Indian Tea party is ever complete without Samosas so this is a definite winner always!

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  4. Dress Code- Well why not? How about nice floral dresses with hats? In case you feel that is a little over the top for you then how about everyone dressing up in white?
  5. Value Additions- Soft Music is a good idea and you can have some tarts or muffins as giveaways for all! And keeping some games which can be played as guests sip on their tea is a fabulous idea.

Pro Tip: There would be lots of used tea bags- make sure you station a small bin to dump them. And, warm water must be available throughout!

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

Hyderabad-it doesn’t get greener and prettier than this!

Well whether you’re a local or a tourist or visiting for a business meeting- when in Hyderabad besides gorging on Biryani or experiencing the Ramoji Film City or visiting the Charminar or for that matter shopping at Ikea- you must make time to visit the Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club!

The 18-hole championship golf course has been designed by Peter Harradine and truly has it all to challenge a golfer and for the rest, it is a beauty like no other!

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And you need not stress about bringing your own equipment, the club is well stocked to offer a variety on rental and their very friendly panel of coaches shall make your golf lesson extremely fun! Taking to golf has a plethora of advantages- you meet an excellent profile of people, invest in a sport that you can pretty much play for life, spend enough time amidst nature and the list can go on!

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The weekends at the course are extremely busy so make sure your book your tee time or lesson in advance! Also, when at BHGCC- do grab a seat at their cafe which is pool facing and gives you a jaw-dropping view of the golf course and order some tasteful snacks!

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In fact, Boulder Hills is a lot more than a great golf course. It offers venues for your special occasions, whether it is a wedding or a proposal or even a corporate day-out, discuss with them and see them going all out to ensure the delivery is top-class!

Having mentioned about the swimming pool already, the club is also equipped with   squash court and gymnasium facilities.

Now, wait no more and gift yourself an experience like no other!

Pictures Courtesy: Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club

Club Address: Opposite Indian School Business, Beside Infosys, ISB Road, Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Telangana 500032