HIGH ON HOTELS: THE DYLAN

Amsterdam… what more do we say that we have not said in admiration of this city? Well, continuing with our public display of affection (P.D.A. you see) for this city, next in our High on Hotel series- we getting chatting with the representatives of another extremely credible and worthwhile hotel- The Dylan, so sit back and enjoy!

Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: The Dylan consist of 40 rooms and suites. All the rooms are individually designed in different styles. The Dylan Amsterdam is located in the heart of the city center and in “de negen straatjes” district. In “de negen straatjes” you can discover different galleries, boutiques, bars and eateries. Personal attention and high-quality service isn’t something we have to explain to our staff –at the Dylan it comes naturally.  Our guests are always our priority. The guests can have a perfectly crafted coffee or one of our signature cocktails at Bar Brasserie OCCO, an exquisite dinner at our Michelin Star restaurant Vinkeles or they can relax in our lounge by the fireplace.

All in one, The Dylan offers a refined, modern decor along with unparalleled, personalized service and a five-star product.
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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: We have the following comfort in the rooms: Air-conditioning, Bose sound system with Bluetooth iPod connection, safe, minibar, telephone, television, work desk (incl. USA adapter), “Frette” bathrobes, linens and slippers, James Heeley bath amenities and a magnifying mirror. Also, there are tea and coffee facilities, free Wi-Fi and 24 hours room service.

Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam has different facilities. Bar brasserie OCCO, Michelin restaurant Vinkeles, fitness room, a cozy lounge, garden, massages, bicycles, concierge service and free Wi-Fi.

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: We have two must try restaurants in The Dylan. One of them is Restaurant Vinkeles. The intimate and historic setting offers the perfect mood to enjoy the cooking of Chef Dennis Kuipers and his team. His modern French cuisine with its international twist, often described as “exciting, modest and refined”, has been awarded a Michelin star in 2009.

Bar Brasserie OCCO is a distinct cosmopolitan eatery with menus highlighting handcrafted cocktails and creative cuisine drawn from local Dutch influences and producers. A perfect, more casual alternative to Restaurant Vinkeles.

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Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: One of the unique selling points of The Dylan Amsterdam is the location. The rooms have a view over the canals or our garden. The Dylan offers refined and modern décor along with personalized service. Another unique selling point is our the Michelin star restaurant and our beautiful secluded garden.
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Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam is perfectly reachable with public transportation. The tram station at the Keizersgracht or Elandsgracht is within walking distance (5 minutes).

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: The easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport is with a taxi but the hotel is easily reachable by public transportation.

Q: For all the prospective guests and shopping lovers, please tell us about the closest shopping hub to the hotel?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam is located in “de negen straatjes” (The nine streets).  These streets are the connection between the four main canals. Vintages stores, alternative fashion and specialized theme stores can be found there. The nine streets is also an excellent location for a good cup of coffee and to escape from the busier streets in Amsterdam.

Q: Lastly, if one got back at 2 am to the hotel, what is it that one would get to eat?
A: There are many things that you can eat when you get back to the hotel at 2 am. For example, for a big appetite-we offer pizza, roasted steak with fries, different kinds of wraps and more. Next to this, we have different options for a late night snack. Think of veal “bitterballen” or Dutch shrimp croquettes.

Pictures Curtesy: The Dylan Amsterdam

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HIGH ON HOTELS: Swissôtel Amsterdam

It is not an unknown fact that we absolutely love and adore Amsterdam. The place has a fun and cozy vibe which is very inviting and we just cannot wait for our next visit there. Today, in our High on Hotels series, we are throwing light on a boutique hotel situated in our favourite-Amsterdam which looks extremely impressive and comfortable. So, sit back and enjoy this beauty of a property as we get chatting with its representative…

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Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: Swissôtel Amsterdam offers outstanding, personalized service- making guests feel comfortable and at home. The staff goes above and beyond for their guests and has a lot of knowledge regarding the city and its activities and is always there to help and inform guests. Furthermore, the location of Swissôtel Amsterdam gives guests direct access to shopping, public transport and the main tourist attractions. A few minutes away you will also find the famous Body Worlds, Madame Tussauds and Royal Palace.

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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A:
Every room has a Nespresso machine and tea- free of charge and a mini bar at an additional charge. Furthermore, guests can enjoy complimentary wireless access and every room has a pillow menu, where people can find different pillow types that can be requested at reception.

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Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: All guests have free access to the Swissôtel Amsterdam Fitness featuring state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment and to the business centre which offers complimentary internet access and light snacks.

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: Swissôtel Amsterdam does not have its own, in-house restaurant. However, right next to Swissôtel Amsterdam- you can find the restaurant ROYAL98, which offers seats with a view on the famous Dam Square. ROYAL98 opened up last year and offers delicious, fresh wood oven pizzas and pastas as well as more international dishes such as sandwiches, cakes, burgers and Dutch Bitterballen. And don’t forget to try the typical Dutch dessert-Trio of Stroopwafel. Hotel guests can also enjoy the buffet breakfast or A la carte breakfast for an additional charge.

Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: The prime location on the Dam Square and personalized service would be our USP.

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Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: There is a tram stop right in front of the hotel, which is connected to the most important stops in the city. Furthermore, the metro and train stations are situated on a 7 minutes’ walk, connecting to the other areas of Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport.

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: By train, you arrive at Amsterdam Central Station within 30 minutes, then it is a 7 minutes’ walk to the hotel. Swissôtel Amsterdam can also arrange a taxi to pick guests up from the airport at an additional charge.

Q: For all the prospective guests and shopping lovers, please tell us about the closest shopping hub to the hotel?
A: Next to the hotel- the famous warehouse ‘De Bijenkorf’ can be found, other warehouses ‘Magna Plaza’ and ‘Hudson’s Bay’ are on a 5 minutes’ walk and the main shopping street is right behind the hotel with stores of all the popular brands such as Pull&Bear and Forever21.

Q: Lastly, if one got back at 2 am to the hotel, what is it that one would get to eat?
A: Swissôtel Amsterdam offers 24/7 room service, with offerings such as pizza, pasta, sandwiches and ice cream.

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Pictures Courtesy: Swissôtel Amsterdam

 

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

For the love of Good Skin

It is quite well believed that the best cosmetic is great looking skin! Hence, we reckon that one should go deep into the skin-care products we use and lay utmost emphasis on the quality of what gets applied on our skin!

Though I love my basic make-up but I also truly appreciate natural beauty, I mean we would all love it if we could just step out more often in our no make-up look. For if the skin is glowing and radiating- who needs loads of make-up? Anyways, even if we do apply make-up often, there is still no missing on a regular skincare routine.

Up your confidence in your skin by upping the quality of products in your beauty closet.

Now accelerating focus on a brand we came across few days ago and got a chance to unravel more about… Sharing all from our chat with Zahara Gizelle Nedou, CEO, Zahara Skincare. Let me tell you the brand sure looks promising and I am thoroughly enjoying applying their refreshing Spring Scrub and before calling it a day, I love to apply their Walnut Oil on my face and body for some nourishment!

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Q: Tell us the story behind Zahara and what led to the coming up of the brand?
A: My English and Kashmiri grandmothers were my biggest influences, watching them every day make something out of pure recall of what their cultures of parents did-was for a 6 year old almost a miracle! At the age of 9, I already knew what Cleopatra did as a beauty regime and I would fill my bathtub with milk and roses and was very well aware that it would moisturize and lighten my skin! So, I grew up replicating and adding to what I knew about organic skincare. With my diverse family culture and all my travels and knowledge and love for organic skincare regime grew. However, it was not until recently that I decided to commercialize it.

Q: How has the response been so far?
A: Fantastic! I tested my products in Dubai when I first started making them and it was there where I realized what Zahara Skincare is actually capable of and what it can do as an organic skincare company. I came back to India with the same zest and it has been a positive if not a similar response like I had internationally. It is slower but very positive as the awareness of using or switching to an organic lifestyle is still in its initial stages in India. But we are growing as a brand on a daily basis and it’s becoming a really fun journey!
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Q: What is the uniqueness of Zahara products which sets it apart from the rest?
A: I do understand that each organic brand has a few things that sets them apart. At Zahara Skincare, we grow most of our ingredients and harvest them on family run farms across the valley and our very own orchards. We also pay detailed attention that everything is grown chemical-free and most importantly, we are reviving and modernizing traditional beauty regimes and recipes from the Middle-East as well as Kashmir. These are tried and tested methods from the past, which we re-introduce today!

Q: Tell us about the hot buys of Zahara and what makes them must try products?
A: Hot buys would be-
1. Shine Bright like a Diamond- It’s a glow pack with a history of hundreds of years of Kashmiri culture!
2. Spring Scrub- It’s a rose and oatmeal scrub with just the right amount to give you a scrub and a soft rosy glow!
3. The Bow-tox in the Bottle- This is a traditional Arab recipe for removing fine lines and shall plump your skin for that young look.
4. Our rare product “Mulberry Silk Worm Cocoons” that no one in the country has and we at Zahara skincare, have got a raging response for that.

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Q: One unhealthy beauty routine according to you which must be done away with right away?
A: I can sit here and list a million routines that we still practice in India which really aren’t very good for our health or bodies. But if I had to choose the worst according to me, then it would be the constant use of “Skin Bleaching Creams/Products”. Some cosmetic products, including skin-lightening creams contain high levels of mercury.

Mercury is primarily used in skin-lightening creams because it blocks the production of the skin pigment melanin. It can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and very young children.

Q: The healthy home beauty routine which must be a part of our routines?
A: First up, not many people are strict about their water intake, so- hydrate, hydrate and hydrate yourself! If you find it difficult to have plain water, add some lemon or mint or even fruit. Add whatever but have water! Most people don’t realize how water affects a human body.

About the beauty aspect of it, try to reduce the use of chemicals on your skin. Try applying organic turmeric with coconut oil on the face at least 2-3 times a week- it eradicates acne, any toxins or any form of infections that may start to begin on your skin and the coconut oil hydrates and lightens your skin.

Q: What are the future plans for the brand and where can one get their hands on Zahara products?
A: As for now, we take orders and are very efficient on both our social media platforms, i.e., Facebook and Instagram. Just “like us” on either of the pages and send us a message and we would guide you through your skin concerns and offer you a few of our products and BOOM within the next 24-48 hours, our jars of joy will be with you! We will be now available on various other platforms just for the comfort of our clients like Amazon, Scootsy, Sublime Factory and many more. We also plan to be available on ground across the country in many organic/multi-brand stores! And we are even available in Dubai, Oman and New York at selected stores.

 

Well, I can only sense goodness for the brand and being offering by the brand. Here is wishing them the very best, always! And I am almost running to try out their Shine Bright like a Diamond pack!
Best,
Sonali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Love with Tea all over again!

I would be lying if I’d say that I have not been a tea fan. In fact, I have always loved my tea and even more in times of rejoicing as well as during stress times to refresh myself! But my latest obsession without a doubt has been with the teas from Gardner Street which are rather aromatic and tasteful. And trust me I have never enjoyed having my tea as much as I do now. I am big time in love with tea all over again! And what is more is that these teas do come with considerable benefits as well.

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And then I got talking with their Brand Representative, so without any delay- here is all that they had to share…

Q: Tell us a little about each of your signature, luxury and wellness collections?
A: So, sharing some information on them-
Wellness- The blends have been created keeping in mind certain targeted problems that are faced by our consumers in their daily lives.
Luxury- Blends that are to be sipped on in leisure, while conversations with our loved ones flow into the night.
Signature- Our first line of teas which is focused on making one ingredient the hero while our whole leaf green tea and other accompanying ingredients compliment it.

Q: Tell us one rare benefit about these teas which is least known?
A: All our teas are whole leaf teas which means that they have a much higher concentration of EGCG and other antioxidants that provide all the benefits from weight loss to clearing the skin. Also, commercial variety paper teabags are composed of tea dust and fanning which is the lowest grade of tea available and is in the form of tiny tea particles. When tea is broken down into such tiny particles it loses all its nutritional benefits and often results in a brew that tastes stale and is more likely to turn bitter.

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Q: This one is for all those who love to host tea parties, what food goes best with your teas?
A: It actually depends on the tea-
1. Glow- Goes best with light foods like Salads, Sandwiches and unsweetened baked goods like Croissants
2. Moroccan Mint- Apple Pie, Poached Pear Tart, Fruit and Spice-based Desserts
3. Chinese Whispers- Asian food like Dim sums, Teppanyaki Rice and Vegetables, Udon noodles
4. Kashmiri Kahwa- Rich Indian foods like Biryani and Kebabs
5. Flower Power- Pancakes, Crepes, Light Salads and Desserts

Q: What are the key points to keep in mind while preparing your teas?
A: Your final cup of tea is a result of the following factors:
1. Quality of tea leaves used- Gardner Street teas are high quality whole leaf teas
2. Water temperature- For Green teas, make sure the water temperature is just under boiling temperature (85 degrees Celsius). To arrive at this, let the water come to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and then wait for 2 minutes till it cools down a little. Then pour the water over tea and not the other way around. For Black and Herbal teas (Moroccan Mint and South African Rooibos) – use boiling water
3. Brewing time- Green Tea- 2-3 minutes, Blacks and Herbals- 5 minutes
4. Quality of the water used- Make sure that you are using filtered water

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Q: For someone who has stopped by Gardner Street Tea for the first time, what would you recommend is a must try?
A: The must-try would be our best sellers: Glow, Moroccan Mint and Kashmiri Kahwa
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Here is hoping you enjoyed reading this post and wishing you a teariffic weekend ahead!

Love,
Sonali

 

 

 

For the True love for Fashion, Beauty, Wellness & More…

This one is especially dedicated to all our readers who have been wanting to read a beauty blog post- there are some fab tips and recommendations… And what’s more is that we have combined this demand with something for our readers who love to read and enlighten themselves on wellness and food.

The best part about this post is that we reached out to someone who constantly loves to educate herself about what goes into her food as well as the body. And whatever she writes whether it’s on natural products, health food, yoga, wellbeing, eco-travel, home or sustainable fashion- she doesn’t shy away from being honest and only recommends brands she truly trusts and that too post sufficient background check!

Now without any further delay, here is Helipadonheels Team in conversation with Alisha of http://www.beautysprinkles.com

 

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Q: Tell us about your journey on what eventually led to starting- Beauty Sprinkles?A: I had been blessed with very good skin throughout my teenage days but as soon as I hit my 20’s, my skin started to become very sensitive and even intolerant. It took me a couple of years to understand what exactly was going on and how I could tackle the issues without changing my lifestyle overnight. Alongside, since I already had a knack for literature, designing and other creative fields,I decided to share whatever I had learnt over all these years with other people.

Q: Tell us about the best beauty buys of 2016 and why?
A: The three best buys of 2016 would definitely be- 1) Just B Au Naturel’s 100% Natural Deodorant Cream because it is made with organic ingredients and is 100 % free from aluminum. 2) The Skin Pantry’s Aloe Whisper Moisturizer as it is very mild and hydrating and of course is organic and is made with very high quality ingredients. 3) A pair of earrings I got from Purpose Jewellery. Not only because it reflects my personality but also because it is made by survivors of human trafficking. These women are very talented and deserve to be applauded for their courage.

Q: Tell us how in our daily living-a few basic practices which we can alter to ensure a healthier living?
A: I know it may sound very basic but keeping hydrated is very important mainly to flush out all the toxins. My health has gotten a lot better after I scrapped processed food from my diet and started having fresh home cooked food. The third practice would be to have sugar in moderate amounts. You don’t have to completely remove it from your diet but having it every single day is definitely not a very healthy practice.

Q: Tell us about the three best health food buys of 2016 and why?
A: Himalayan Cheese mostly because of the taste and because it is made from real milk from grass fed cows and also as it involves fair trade. The next two things would be ideal buys for the vegans- Nut Khut Peanut Butter from Organza Foods because of the organic ingredients and the delicious taste and SVA Foods Nut Milks because they are freshly made and they even have a big range of flavoured nut milks.

Q: The most underrated health food according to you and why?
A: In my opinion, since I am not a nutritionist-I think the most underrated health food would be Psyllium Husk also known as Isabgol. It not only helps with constipation but also cleanses the colon.

Q: Tell us about that the one food term, we have to know about!
A: Omega 3 Fatty Acids which is an unsaturated fatty acid mostly found in food items like fish, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds etc. It has numerous health benefits for the heart, skin and hair and is also very beneficial for women with PCOD problems.

Q: According to you- the most environmentally conscious beauty and fashion brands of recent times?
A: Well, conscious beauty brands will definitely hit boom in the coming years but for now I love-The Skin Pantry and Just B Au Naturel. But when it comes to fashion, I am extremely happy to tell you that we have a long list of conscious fashion brands in India. I love Arture, Chirita, Pero, Tribling, Doodlage and Chola … I can just go on and on

Q: Any message for our readers
A: My message would be to appreciate the beautiful life you are blessed with.Taking care of your health because to create a life you want and to give back, the most important thing would be to have energy which is possible only when you are healthy. So, just be happy, be healthy and share the love.

Wow, that was quite a simple yet profound message for you guys, what say?

Here’s to Girl Power: Happy Women’s Day

Seldom do we both get this candid at a personal level and pour our heart out… So, here’s a brief one on being women and being inspired by other women!!!

 

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Sonali says-

“I love being a woman and I love being feminine.” Charlize Theron

Well, I truly and deeply believe and live by this quote… The most beautiful gift has been of being a woman!!! Of course the life of a woman is so colourful for we have more variety of clothes at a store or for that matter- there are endless shades for our lips, nails and eyes and yes, we love our heels as well!!! But not taking away from any of these fancies, I feel I would still love being a woman… For my mother with or without make-up instills great hope in me on days I see none, for my mother can bind us together with or without getting us materialistic stuff and for her hug is the best thing in the world….

I feel a woman does just so much for a lot gets seen and most remains unseen… And they are much stronger than we really feel they are!!!

Today, I would once again like to thank all the women in my life for making my life even more beautiful…

I have to mention my mother who inspires me the most- I don’t say it enough but how much and what all she does in a day and still has a smile on her face is just so amazing! Today, if I get complimented for how I look, how I dress and the like- I feel I have just inherited it all from her… Most importantly, she has demonstrated true character and substance in the harshest of times- that for me has been the biggest learning for life!!! For the value system instilled in me and my siblings- deep down we thank you each day for this!

I love you mom- for being my best friend, support and so much more…

And I have to thank all my friends and sisters… Girls you are the ones who have helped me savour the true joy of friendship…a relationship whose importance I have only learned over time… But today, I value you all just way too much…You all have contributed in helping me become a better individual and it is because of you all that I feel rather wealthy 🙂  Here’s to many more memories and experiences of a lifetime!

Wishing each and every woman – Happy Women’s Day! More power to us today and everyday!

Shagun says-

Women’s Day always makes me introspect on who I am as a woman and also think about women who have inspired me. There are so many of them but today I want to share a little about three of my special ones.
-As cliched as it might sound, my mom to begin with inspires me each day with her positivity and strength; the elegance which she has dealt every single problem in her life with. And when I say problem, there have been plenty. The depth to soak her pain upon realizing the loss of her husband and not shedding a single tear just for the sake of her children is one moment that gives me chills till date and inspires me to hold tight no matter how testing the time may get.

“A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

– I have also been lucky to have two very special friends in life who inspire me to no limits. Sonali on one hand is the most patient, calm and understanding woman I have ever met. She can love someone all her life without expecting anything at all in return. She has the unique potential to see positivity in the darkest of times. She loves a lot but never at the cost of her self respect. I have seen her make the wisest of decisions which most of us fail to at the hands of getting emotional. She inspires me to love, love a lot but also hold your ground for what is right. I don’t have enough words to describe her but she is the kind of woman who can make you feel blessed for her presence. I do!

“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story–I will.” —Amy Schumer

-Another beautiful friend of mine, Varsha has inspired me in ways that I bet she does not even know. From being a younger sister who I always watched out for to getting on the cover of VOGUE, she has not just inspired me but many. Her go-getter attitude is intimidating and shaking. She gets what she wants because she wants it bad. She wants it so bad that she will put all her love, sweat, time and most importantly her faith in it and then sit back and wait till things come around. Until then she won’t quit. She has come out a winner but she is still the younger sister I watched out for. Her laughter is still as loud and hysterical as it always was. That innocent naiveness combined with sheer fierceness is what inspires me.

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” ―Madonna

Saluting all the women out there…

Love,
Shagun & Sonali