Sunday, May 31, 2009

Monetary disposition

There has been so much noise with regards to the economy and we all have already witnessed the panic it has generated. Honestly, things aren't so bad. Its the media that creates such sensory perceptions that make us head for a brown bag as we huff and puff to glory. Do you know America is still the richest country in the world and the price of basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter) is still affordable to almost 80% of the population. Now, this is the type of information the media should really focus on. 

However, a little extra monetary disposition does not hurt anyone, and I would like share some ka-ching! saving tips with you. These are just little changes you can bring into your life - and then, you can sit back and enjoy the luxuries it brings (ahem, yes, you can treat yourself to those shoes you have been eyeing for a while, but only if you save enough):
  • Credit Card: if you have been paying your minimum balance, call the credit card company and ask them for a competitive interest rate; doesn't hurt to ask and you may just end up with a lower rate; savings could be significant depending on your balance
  • Phone Bill: call them and ask for an adjustment of plan, especially if you never use up your minutes; you could save upto $20 a month
  • Electricity Bill: unplug your chargers, kitchen appliances, lamps, fans, when they are not in use. It doesn't just help you on your bill (approx. 15% savings), but also the environment
  • Buying online: since internet how now become the way to go from staying connected to shopping, make avail of plethora of coupons online. Before you buy anything online, just do a quick search of coupons on -- you will save a lot! I love books, so I used to order a lot online. But, once I heard about this site, I paid only $9.00 for a book worth $30.00 on (barnes & noble website) -- cool, right? Plus, you could also get printable coupons for store use as well
  • Eating out: buy full price vouchers at half the price at neat!
  • Free credit score: you can not only get just free credit report via equifax, etc., but also FREE credit score at That will save you some nice change!
Just my little contribution to help ease the pain and save you from pinching your pockets! Life is to be enjoyed, and you can truly do that by being a little careful with your spending habits! Shikha and I have become even more so when we decided to launch our own business. It takes a lot of patience and discipline -- but, we are getting there --yes, yes, we are getting there!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Smell the flowers

I have to dust the table -I have to make lunch - I have to put lotion on my feet - I have to text my friend about the latest gossip - I have to... well, that's me with 5 red bulls in my stomach and only 5 minutes in hand : ) I mean isn't there  just so many things to do? You run after the chores and the time runs away from you. Ah, that's what we call life, isn't it? 
Well, after a strong deliberation on my part, I have learnt finally that life doesn't always have to be like a road runner - honking and zooming off to the oblivion. It takes only few small steps to add the purposeful zing to your life - and yes, one of them is literally, to stop and smell the flowers. 

Know this: everything will be accomplished -- all the books will be straightened on the shelves, the floor will get cleaned -- but, the stress you put on yourself by thinking about all the things that need to be done, cannot be reversed, and as with anything negative -- it will keep attracting to itself more of those things. When you see yourself as going on that path - stop and take a deep breath!!

Ok, here are my quick tips to ease off when you start getting that overwhelming feeling of moving a mountain:
  1. Relax, take a deep breath and sit down
  2. Take a note pad and pencil or your blackberry or your laptop and write down your chores
  3. Divide the list into types of chores, eg. you can lump laundry, grocery and dusting into house, manicure - haircut - putting lotion into personal, and so on...(By developing categories, you will have a clear sense of what truly you have on your hand)
  4. Then, just put achievable target dates of completion next to the categories, and yes, these dates can be ranges as opposed to specific numbers 
  5. Print it and put it on the fridge so you have your eye and mind on it
  6. Go ahead, treat yourself then and convert chore into chore - a la McD style : )
And, the best part is that once you have set it up on your, say,PC, all you have to do is update it. The secret ingredient is Keep it Simple and Keep it Real.  This attitude is useful for all types of situations in go ahead, try moving the mountain. It will seem a lot easier and a lot more fun!


Friday, May 29, 2009

"This is how we do it.."

I couldn't help but belt this song out loud, thumping the table, the wall, the door, and my hubby's head. Yeah, I am that charged up :) Its one of those days where you feel a heavy load has been lifted and you are ready to make a change in this world. I am sure you have had a similar feeling.
But, I was a complete opposite a couple of days ago - I was sad, thinking about how things would turn up with our business venture - would we get the clients, would we make smart decisions, would we add know going on a spiral with those thoughts.
As those thoughts paced furiously in my frontal lobe, I was twirling my hair in a curl with one hand, and eating raisins with the other. And, then, just like that, I flipped open the lid of Sun Maid Raisins box, and there they stared at me... "It is upto you." Just those four small words stared back at me and I couldn't help my tears from rolling out and encircling my cheeks - soothing me and telling me - its all okay And, then, just like that, my mind shifted to positivity and good thoughts. I decided not to spend anymore time and energy on ifs and what nots, but rather focus on things that mattered -- and one of them is this blog. I truly want to thank you for being there for Shikha and me as we trudge along and make our dreams into a tangible product that we can touch and feel and be proud of.

Because I care if you are planning to hit it off on your own, I wanted to share with you some of the initial ground work that Shikha and I have covered:
  • Vendor research: when Shikha was in India attending weddings, her smart brain was also scoping for possible vendors, and she and her husband scoped out a few of them. You can use your friends or family members as starting point of getting contacts. Once you have the leads, TAKE ACTION!! Call up and talk to the vendors and find out if they fit the bill of the type of product you want to be associated with. Don't wait on this, even if you don't get what you want, atleast you will have an idea of what's out there and this may, infact, lead you to more leads
  • Business Plan: this is the most critical step in starting a business. While its very good to have discussions and have an idea on what you would like to do, its equally important to document what the mission statement of the business will be, how will the business model look like (partnership, sole proprietorship, etc) and how will the expenses, etc. be managed. Here's a list that I carefully selected from a plethora of sites out there

  • Goal setting: this follows closely at the heels of writing a business plan. Its good to have a measuring tool of where you started with and where you want to go. Personal note: I see this blog as a goal setting tool as well : )
  • Research Research Research: Shikha and I are searching the web to learn how we can gather all the resources to make our business model unique and a value add proposition. We are reading blogs, observing how small businesses have set up their websites and product catalogues, etc. We are also searching for deals online for business cards, label makers, logo stamps, bags, etc. Yup, people, internet can be a powerful tool if you put your mind, eyes and fingers to it!
So, now that I have you on the business bandwagon, lets all thump our tables and sing loudly, "Th-ii-ss ii-ss how weee do it!"


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Shikha and I have been getting antsy for the past few days -- we can't wait for our jewelry order to arrive. Until then, we spend our time strategising (yes, I love that word now) and discussing our POA (that one too!) for the future. Its fun, trust me. We get super excited and go on tangent talking about all the details involved...from the color of our business card to how many mirrors to hang in our boutique to do we serve tea? Details darlings -- its all about the details.

Anyhow, so we happened to visit CVS the other day to grab a Revlon nail polish. Did you know that they are having an amazing sale, where you if buy one for $3.99 you get $3.00 back - how crazy is that? I didn't believe it when I heard about it, and so I had to just go, eventhough I did not really need another color.While browsing through the Revlon aisle, Shikha told me about these awesome pair of slippers she had bought earlier. After I picked up my nail paint, we headed for ze zlipppers. I have to say that they are the most comfy piece of foam to have hit my foot - I mean if I could fly, I would definitely fly with these slippers on. All for just $6.99 (minus the $3.00 that I got back) - just $3.99!!! And, how cute are those polka dots...awww love em'

aur revoir! a demain!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

This is a day to remember not only those who lost their lives so that our country could live, but also to remember those who are currently in the battleground. Our thoughts and best wishes to them as they make daily sacrifices for the betterment of our existence. Hats off soldiers! We look upto you - not just today, but everyday! :)

Shivika and Shikha

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The sun is bright and its very warm outside. It is a nice day to be at the beach. But, Kartik and I are planning to stay home all day today - he's studying for an exam and I want to make sure that I support his will to stay focused by not dragging him to shopping, to visit family/friends or to the beach.  I am a good supportive wifey, you see :) 
So, we have leftovers for lunch, and for dinner I will make him his favorite - spicy cauliflower... yummm! Its a very simple Indian dish and goes well with naan or bread. The recipe I use has been in our family for ever and I will share it can thank me later : )

Spice Cauliflower with potatoes

1 Cauliflower
2-3 Potatoes (depending on the size)
Green chillies
1 Tomato (diced)
Black Pepper
Red Pepper
Turmeric powder 
Bay leaves, mustard seeds (if you don't have them - no worries)
Oil (Olive or vegetable - your preference)
1/4 cup water


1. Cut cauliflower and potatoes into appropriate pieces, wash, drain, and keep it separate
2. Cut green chillies and ginger into thin long slices
3. Heat just a spoon of oil in the pan, and then add bay leaves and mustard seeds
4. Add cauliflower and potatoes in the pan, and l
et it cook until the cauliflower and potatoes become reddish in color
5. Once you see the color, add tomatoes, all the spices (salt, black pepper, red pepper, turmeric) and green chillies and ginger
6. Allow everything to cook for 10-15 minutes by covering the pan with a lid
7. Check after 15 minutes, if the dish looks too dry or sticks to the pan, just add 1/4 cup of water, cover with lid and let it simmer
8. After another 15 minutes, the dish is ready  - and so, is your appetite!!



Here's a picture from my culinary expertise...

Saturday, May 23, 2009


It's a beautiful day today. I got a sunburn (minor), but my first ever as our Indian skin is not made for sunburn.
I went to Michaels with my sister to scope and pick out things we would need for our boutique: stamps for our logo, product tags, paper for flyers, boxes to put jewelry...and, then some artificial flowers, pots and candles -- but, those were not for the boutique. What to do? Its soo easy to get distracted darlings, especially in an arts & crafts store : ) Those cute lil stickers, the cordless glue gun, the crazy n' fun patches for jeans and t-shirts...ooh. If it wasn't for my sister voice saying "err..Shivi, those patches wouldn't work on the bridal outfit" I would have definitely added them to my shopping basket. I said before, it's a beautiful day today.


Update: Here's a picture of the box of tags that both Shikha and I fell in love with -- plus, you also get to see a glimpse of our jewelry collection  that we are working hard to put together...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

mind womb

il est en retard --- french for I am late. Yup, I am taking french classes - finally - and am so excited about it. I always wanted to do this for the longest time, but recently took real steps to make this happen. 
I am not the type who sits down and makes lists of things to do - have it all in my amazing brain : ) haha - but, yeah, I pretty much note down everything mentally. Up until now. 
I take the effort to actually write down what I want to do and what I want to be. So, when I wrote, "Take French Class" I knew I would be able to make it happen soon. And, within a week, I srtuck that off from my list. I have now realized the power of the written word. Its as if it becomes an embryo in the womb of your mind, grows and gets pushed out in the real world in a solid form.
Its an amazing feeling, and I would highly recommend it to everyone!
So, another thing on my to-do list is to start up my own business, which as I mentioned to you few days ago is being fervously pursued by my sister and me. I am very happy with the leads we have received and the steps we have taken so far -- and I cannot wait for the business to get out of its embryonic stage. I know, my sister and I would make a great set of parents -- nurturing and loving it and growing it into the entity we want it to be. We know we have a lot of work to do, but its a role we are more than willing to take and infact, looking forward to it.

Ah, the power of the written word. 


Monday, May 18, 2009

peter griffin

"and, now, coming up the biggest curse word in the world  - cleveland"
Thats how insane family guy is, with its inane, incoherrent, silly humor and bunch of addictive characters. I mean c'mon how can you not resist the british drool of stewieeeee.. "oh, what the duce!!" 2 hour marathon on Monday and my day is made! Love it love it!!

Today I asked my husband, Kartik, do I know you completely? And he replied, no I don't think so - atleast not completely. My first reaction was, how can that be, why don't I know you completely. He replied, does it matter. And, that got me thinking. What is really important? Me knowing him completely or knowing him enough to the extent that I can be comfortable not knowing him completely. Bliss!! :)

Hugs and some tortilla chips (for the marathon u see)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

yellow monkey

Few weeks ago, I had a "better yourself and release stress" type of event at work during lunch time.  I thought it was a good break from the usual and decided to give it a try. And, I was glad that I did. This forum focused on simple techniques of breathing and using the breaths to tackle stress. If you notice, when we are angry/mad our breaths come and go rather furiously, but when we are calm then our breathing is normal. One of the examples the instructor gave us was that we should not focus on anything negative - image,word or thought - because that negativity really takes a lot of our focus.  She said the minute we entertain such thoughts in our mind, we just have to give it our attention and by doing this we are creating opportunities for more of the same. Instead of saying,  I am not thinking about the yellow monkey, we should say, I love the red bird. By putting not and the subject in the same thought - guess what we end up thinking about - the yellow monkey.  Plus, our breathing is slightly faster when we are doing the no's, not's and the dont's.

This simple idea reinforced my ideas of having good thoughts and energy at all times. This attitude is very important because as I push myself to pursue my dreams, I will be hounded by the "no, that cannot happen" voices in my head - but, hopefully I will remember to focus on "thats exactly how I want it to happen " and breathe slower! : )

Happy Sunday!

Shivika :

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is just the beginning...

...of a dream that my sister and I had for a long time. A far fetched idea nonetheless considering we work full time in the corporate world and have a house to run (but, a special shout out to our loving hubbys for making it soo easy for us : ) ) But, like I said, we had this dream for a long time.
Grew up in India, but matured in America. Truly global :)

So, what is the dream I am referring to? I can't believe I am actually writing this...we are actually pursuing our hobby seriously...there! said it! and I can't help but smile and feel blessed. It is a passion we both share. A passion to create a beautiful experience for you.

Who? What?How? When?
The answer to all these questions will be, Banno Raani.
A gazebo of the most exquisite bridal trousseau and jewelry waiting to be explored. And, ofcourse, all sprinkled with warm, friendly and welcoming confetti. Need I say more?

The boutique is not set up yet, but we are taking all the sweet steps toward it.

We wanted to announce to the world, wanted to make a promise that we both are committed to our dreams. It takes a lot of courage, hardwork and ofcourse $$ to dive into the unknown did discourage us at first, but we are ready in our minds, in our hearts and with our checkbook : )

Do you feel the loveliness of pursuing a passion? We do....



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