Planning the First Birthday – Indian Style

PLANNING THE FIRST BIRTHDAY – INDIAN STYLE

Though I’ve already covered on how to plan for a first birthday, this blog is about planning your little one’s special day, the Indian Style. What I mean by Indian style is colourful and flamboyant and not necessarily expensive.

Starting with the Invite:

Budget friendly: If you are on a budget the best option would be to pick up cute little Indianised greeting cards (that do not have any wordings), pen out the invitation the way you want to and hand it over to your guests well in advance.

For the more elaborate: There are many designers, who design e-invites. Design the invite based on the colour scheme you have chosen for your Indian theme.

The Decor:

Budget friendly: There are numerous party stores open that cater to any type of party and of course any theme. Pick up colourful streamers and balloons (you get fancy helium balloons as well). This can be the backdrop for the table where the food is served (again use a colourful contrast table cloth)

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For the more elaborate: In simple words, hire a planner to design and execute a wonderful and colourful backdrop setup. The theme for example can be Amar Chitra Katha (we all remember reading this as children).

The Food:

Budget friendly: Since the whole theme is Indian, you can serve Indian finger food like Bonda, Bhajji, Vada, Indian sweets etc. Chaat gets messy (specially Pani Puri and if there small children). Of course there is the cute cake that is baked and decorated to suit the theme.

For the more elaborate: Cup cakes, tier cakes, payasam and different types of finger food can be the food that is catered.

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The Return Favours:

Budget friendly: Prior to buying your return favours, work out on an approximate list of the number of children and adults for whom you would like to give return favours to. They can be right from customised pencil boxes to small games like bubbles, race cars etc…

For the more elaborate: Custom-made jigsaw puzzles to suit the Amar Chitra Katha theme, to stationery to customised hampers with chocolates, kids books to badges etc… you can do it all!

Sky is the limit when it comes to planning parties and it can be done within any budget!

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The Complete Package

For a long time I’ve been contemplating with a fellow image consultant to offer the complete image transformation package and now proud to have launched ‘Aara – Image for You’. Aara in Sanskrit means ‘light bringer’ and we at Aara wish to create the path for success.

Right from helping one create the lasting first impression, to dressing to suit your body shape, to dressing for occasion to soft skills such as, interview skills, etiquette, communication skills, presentation skills and public speaking we help you with everything. Not to forget evaluating your wardrobe and personal shopping.

With the growing stress on visual communication (since 55% of the communication is visual), Aara helps you create the right look for the right time and place.

There is a lot of misconception about grooming to be considered as fashion, but no they are entirely different though inter-related. For example; to present a sharp and smart look at work, you don’t need to follow what’s in fashion but be groomed and wear what looks smart on you!

We are looking to transform lives by changing the way one looks, feels and acts!

The Gaining Momentum of a Personal Shopper

When I used tell people that I am a personal shopper and a wardrobe consultant, they would think,’Oh, what does she have to tell me about my clothing’. While in my mind, I would think, ‘You could do a better colour and cut’. Times have changed and we are softening to the whole idea of having someone suggest what is flattering and what isn’t.

With people giving more and more importance to first impressions, the need for wardrobe consultants has also increased. The job of a personal stylist/shopper is indeed difficult. It is easy to create your own look but challenging when you have to create a look for someone else, specially when the image they want to portray is definitely a priority.

It’s just not about walking from one store to another and carrying shopping bags. There’s a lot of interaction that needs to happen prior to the wardrobe change. Personal stylists first get to know the client, their characteristics, what they want to portray, evaluate their wardrobe and then finally take them shopping.

Many people hire personal shoppers as they have a hard time picking out the right outfits, be it casual or formal. It gets more difficult for men and formal wear. With fewer prints and colours, how does one choose the right one?

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The whole concept of hiring a personal shopper is not for you to end up buying and spending more, but even if it’s just a few clothes, it’s choosing the RIGHT clothes.

Our job is to create illusions and make the world acknowledge and appreciate the time and effort spent in dressing a person up.

Ending with Coco Chanel, ‘In order to be irreplaceable, one must be different’. That is what I want I am here to do!

Money Matters

It is a every girl’s dream to have that fairytale wedding. Right from childhood we are made to know of all the ‘happily-ever afters’ that we long to have our own.

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When we start planning a wedding, the first thing that we all calculate is a budget. How much will the clothes cost, or the hall cost etc… With the right kind of budget planning, the dream wedding will come true. The quote,’ Nothing comes for free’, is most applicable in this case.

Here are a few simple tips to help you plan your budget better and finalise on your vendors:

  1. Jot down the requirement for the wedding. I would suggest that you take a couple of days so that you’ve not missed out on anything.
  2. Plan an overall budget – how much you would like to spend for the entire wedding inclusive of the planner, hall, catering etc.
  3. Hire the right wedding planner who understands your needs and requirement based on your budget.
  4. Leave the planner to micromanage by allotting individual budgets for each requirement.
  5. Have a choice of minimum 2 vendors per requirement for you to make the right choice.
  6. The wedding planner will plan and execute the rest.

P.S. With the growing price rise, make your budget requirement clear to the planner to avoid bargaining.

Wedding India

If you think getting your girlfriend to agree to marry you is the hardest thing, I would like to invite you to the fanfare called Wedding India. We all love weddings, but planning it to perfection gets a bit overwhelming.

Of course, Indian weddings look fun and colourful. But, they also have the drama side to it as the list of things to do is quite never ending. To ease it all, I have created a basic checklist that will help.

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Checklist
Date of task achieved Task
6 MONTHS BEFORE 
Finalise the date of the wedding
Book your venue based on your requirements
Hire a wedding planner who understands your requirements and needs
Work on an approximate guest list
Chalk out a budget and have your wedding planner work around the same
With the help of our dedicated planner, finalise a catering service
Block the pundit for the wedding and finalise his charges to perform all the rituals
Sit with our planner and finalise the vendors – decorator, photographer & videographer, makeup artist, designer, wedding cake baker, invitation vendor and mehendi artist
Pick an auspicious day to buy saris, veshtis, lehengas etc.
3 MONTHS BEFORE 
Get a more approximate number of the number of people attending the wedding functions
With the assistance of our wedding planner, choose the physical invitation that needs to be handed out
Start working on the designs for the decoration, wedding trousseau and the baker along with the planner and get an idea of the costing
Start all spa treatments and any fitness regime if required
Enquire the services of the photographer and videographer – candid, regular photography, wedding film and candid, regular videography
Purchase any other clothes that need to be bought to avoid last minute confusion
Finalise on accommodation and transport vendors
1 MONTH BEFORE 
In the presence of our planner, have a hair and makeup trial to be sure of the look for all the functions
Explain your requirements and the number of guests for the function to the mehendi artist
Do a complete run through of the flow of events and the designs for the decoration
Send out the physical invite copies and e-invites to all your guests
Our planner will also maintain the RSVP for the physical copies and e-invites that have been sent out
Block the marriage registrar to solemnise your wedding. Hand over all document proof required well in advance
Sit with the caterer to finalise on the menu, the return gifts and all the services provided by him
2 WEEKS BEFORE
Have a fitting of your clothes and ensure that all alterations are done on time
Do any last minute shopping – accessories, shoes, grooming accessories etc.
Have our planner follow up on the baker
Remind the purohit about the wedding dates once again
Finalise the timing with our planner to inform all the vendors as to when they should arrive in the wedding premises
Hand out your planner with the arrival, in-city transport and departure timings to your planner to execute a systematic and prompt service
1 WEEK BEFORE
Confirm with the marriage registrar the muhurtham time and when he should arrive
Do not try out any new spa treatments
Do another run through of the sequence of events with our planner
Let the mehendi artist know the time and venue for the mehendi ceremony
DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING
Ensure you pack everything in order of events along with the jewellery and shoes
Remember to pack all the items required for the functions as per instructions of the purohit
Try getting a good night’s sleep
ON THE DAY OF THE WEDDING 
Start the makeup 3 hours prior to the ceremony to avoid last minute rush
Ensure you sign the marriage certificate and have at the 3 witnesses who will be signing in close proximity
Hydrate regularly and rest for a couple of hours before getting ready for the next function
Enjoy the wedding without any tension
Wishing you a happy married life from team Vida 🙂

Dress How You Want to be Addressed

‘You never get a second chance to create a first impression’.

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We always advise people not to judge by a book by it’s cover, but in today’s world we are all full off snap judgments based on first impressions. So it doesn’t matter how we speak, but what really matters is the kind of clothes you’re wearing when you shake hands for the first time with someone new and important.

Clothing communicates your level of seniority in the company and also communicates how much you really need the other person’s business. Dressing to the occasion reflects on how much we pay attention to detail. Don’t worry about brand or style but about fit and appropriateness for the meeting.

For starters, you’re selling a service and you know that your client is a difficult one:

1. Start with the pre-preparation – Practice what you need to communicate to the person who is looking out for your service. Always start with a catch phrase that leaves the listener wanting to know more of the service that you’re providing. Practice in front of a mirror – it never lies!

2. Choose the appropriate clothing – You don’t want to be looking uncomfortable when you have a major presentation to make. If you have a formal meeting, a suit works best – it is crisp, sharp and denotes your wisdom, your confidence and trust. For a less formal meeting I would always suggest a shirt and trousers that can also be paired with a blazer (of softer fabric) if required. Once you’re comfortable in your own clothes, you get the confidence to put across the message more effectively!

3. Groom yourself – You don’t want to be dressed 9-5 but look shabby for your presentation. Grooming and appropriate clothing make the right kind impression and of course will bring you all the success!

We all need to follow this simple mantra for better opportunities –

LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD!

Happy Entrepreneur, Happy Business

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Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy’s quoted, “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.”

Startup businesses are extremely sensitive to success. They work in the sole direction on Road Success. But what drives success? Happiness! Being mentally positive and patient will definitely drive a business towards the goal that all entrepreneurs are looking to achieve.

Here are some tips to stay a happy entrepreneur and achieve the success we are looking for.

1. Don’t be afraid of failure

If you’re scared of failing, then you’ve hit a roadblock. Right from our childhood our teachers and parents have drilled into us the famous quote,’Failure is the stepping stone to success’. Valuable lessons can be learned through this experience.

Think about the worst that might happen to you in your business and think about the following:

  • If the business fails?
  • Will I be able to recover it?
  • Do I start a new business or find employment?

Most times, it might not be as bad as you think it might be!

2. Be a part of an entrepreneur group

Being a part of an entrepreneur group will motivate you and knowing the fact you have like-minded people to support and advise you throughout your business journey will help you stay positive.

3. Don’t get bogged down by the negative

When it’s your own business and you are passionate about what to do, it’s only natural that you take each comment personally. But keep in mind that for an entrepreneur, rejection is just part of the game.

If you dwell on each rejection, you’ll get bogged down in bitterness. If you’re going to wear your heart on your sleeve you will not be able to view the criticism objectively, make changes and be ready to face new challenges.

4. Make time for yourself

Dedicating every second of your day, week, year will not help you achieve success. Spend some time for yourself – eat right, exercise to keep your body and mind active and of course sleep well. Develop habits like reading books, listening to soulful music.

P.S. I recommend yoga for the anxious entrepreneur (out of experience)

5. Be grateful 

We get caught up in ur everyday madness that we tend to forget why we started in the first place. Be grateful for the things that we have been given and then we will learn to embrace everything that comes our way! This way we block out all the negative thoughts and actions that head towards us.

6. Set attainable goals

Create goals that you think can be achieved easily. It doesn’t have to be far-sighted goals. Start with today. The tasks that need to be completed and how you can achieve the same!

With all this mind, ending on a funny yet serious note, I would recommend everyone to listen to Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ once a day. It works for me! 🙂

The New Planner – Galacrity.com

I gave you an introduction about Galacrity.com, but never told you guys how it works! Hope these few weeks have roused enough curiosity in you all. 🙂

The New Gen Wedding Planner
The New Gen Wedding Planner

Sign in to Galacrity.com. If you’re the one hosting the party, this website will definitely blow your mind away. Once you sign in with your FB details, like any website your contacts will be synced. Galacrity shows you how to plan your event one step at a time. It starts by helping you create the occasion, choosing the invitation from the wide range of e-invites designed in-house. One of the best features I would say is the RSVP. The concept of RSVP is yet to catch up in India,  but hope with this feature it will! You can send the invite to your friends, receive their RSVP along with food preferences and the number of people attending the event. Amazing isn’t it?

Don’t we all love to save the best feature for the last? Apart from shopping online to your requirement, you can also add the gifts to your gift registry! This way you make sure that you get the gifts that you really like and appreciate!!!

It doesn’t stop with that. Galacrity.com also services your events, so it goes more from the internet and offers that personal touch! 🙂

Power-packed with features, I am sure that on launching this site will be the new gen wedding planner!

Establishing Everyday!

It has been 2 years since I quit my well-rewarding job to start something on my own. It took me half a year to come up with a game plan as to what I wanted to do. This lead to the birth of my babies, Vida Weddings and So Diva.

Being in the service industry and completely new to business, everyday was a struggle. Anyone, even me for that matter would hesitate to give business to someone young and nascent. This thinking got me nowhere the first couple of months.

Once I thought of myself as a young, dynamic and idea-loaded entrepreneur things started to look up. I got my first client, then my second…. and now, a year and a half later – planning the 12th wedding.

Now I can proudly say to others that I have established myself but to me deep inside I know that I am still establishing. I would rather climb the ladder of success slowly learning it the hard way, making mistakes and learning from the same rather than reaching the top right at the beginning.

From my 2 years of business experience, I would say that everyday gives us a little more to establish and learn. It might seem like a struggle, but in the end it’s worth it!

So don’t feel that you’re not established or struggling. Just think about why you started doing what you do in the first place!

Introducing India to Power Dressing

Power Dress your way to Success!

There’s an old saying ,’ Dress for the job you want.’ How true is that?

We’ve all heard about Power Dressing and how it helps one climb up the corporate ladder, but why do only the women in top positions power dress their way to success? Why doesn’t the regular employee dress the same?

Before starting up my personal styling and grooming business, I used to work for an MNC. A friend of mine had set me up for the interview and I always prefer to attend an interview in western formals. To my astonishment, I was given a dress code for the interview and the only day westerns were allowed were on casual Fridays. To go up the social ladder, my office clothes seemed perfect but was I really heading for success in my job? Not really.

I wondered where I was lacking. I had the skill, I was able to communicate perfectly and yet I lagged behind. That’s when I realised I wasn’t power dressing.

A lot of my friends complain about their managers not taking them seriously and piling them with loads of work. My only advise to them is why not power dress? One doesn’t need to even wear a blazer. To start of with – a crisp white shirt, black trousers and formal looking accessories will do the trick.

I would really like to start seeing more women in India power dress their way to success. We take so much from the West, why not take this as well?