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Weekly Vibes: Life-changers This Week!

This one’s a killer way to tell you what I buy, why I buy, what makes them work, what makes me waste some good monies on things that don’t need their due and ones that makes me go waaaw (that’s the South-Indian wow!). Hello, am a serial buyer of hipster-and-otherwise things and I plead guilty to Instagram-ing them repeatedly to get your attention. Every week I will tell you what makes something work for me, or not. This week’s stuff is here!

BEAUTY

#1: Clinique Pep Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser

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ok now, I got bullied into buying it at Sephora. I bought my all-time favourite Clinique Moisture Surge and this was just added by the salesgirl saying, try it. Not free, mind you, I bought it. Fine, I bought it because of that stark pink packaging, okay? OK! But still. From the house that gave me my best moisturiser and my favourite toner, this HAS to work. But no, I wouldn’t say it didn’t work but I saw no visible results. No crazy glow, no OMG clarity in skin. It just did it’s job of washing. *insert saddest smiley. I am on the fence on this. No breakouts, no bad vibes. Just okay-ish. With all the “epic” and “awesome” and “mind-effing-blowing tags everywhere, this seems bland. Thank god it was 750 bucks – travel size, if I spent a bomb, I would have straight lost my shit.

Verdict: Nopes, not for me! I might try the eye cream though, from what I hear, that’s the shizz!

DESSERT

#2: Lindt Excellence Caramel & Seasalt Chocolate Bar

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The ONLY chocolate you need. It’s a staple in our home. The fridge is never without it and I think it’s a tad too expensive but worth every penny. Not available officially but duty-free has some great offers. I bought it at Le Marche for Rs 399 bucks.

Verdict: On a scale of bliss to hell, I’ll go for #supereffingawesomeness.

DRINK

#3: Soju

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Living near Korean-restaurant-infested Gurgaon malls means only one thing – Korean Supermarkets filled with nori sheets and what not. The husband and me are completely trying out newer cuisines and ingredients. Today, we got Soju – the trademark drink. Case in point – HiteJinro’s many varieties of soju, especially Chamisul, which is Korea’s best-selling brand. It tasted like Gin to me and went well with the home-made biryani.

Verdict: Require more to finally make decision. It’s strong, I’ll say that.

FASHION

#4: Label Life Block Heels

These suede block heels have been on my list for a while. Label Life has come a long way as a brand. It had okay-ish collections when it started out but honestly, it’s now my number one place to buy stuff. That’s because it has clean, minimalistic fare and of course, work wear that’s kickass. Yep, it’s a bit on the expensive side but it’s the fabric that makes it click. Fresh, plush and totally great. These block heels look great on dresses but currently, they are not as comfy as I thought they would be.

Verdict: I will still buy. Colour = check. Material = check. Heel = I am determined to check. Maybe a few more wears.

FOOD

#5: Burger Singh Burgers

If there’s one thing I did the moment I landed my ass in Gurgaon, it was to search for some great food places. And as I was talking by Golf Course Road, this name I saw sounded super funny. BURGER SINGH. And it also said they are open until 3 am. So we decided to check out the menu. Some really great options: The Amritsari Murgh was brilliant, the Malabar Chicken was super nice. I love it when they Indianise western food, because why not? The surprise one was the Punjabi Samosa burger, at Rs 100 it was yummers as hell. In Mumbai, we were crazy about this burger place called Serial Griller. It’s home-made and even sometimes delivered by the owner. The Burger Singh burgers are my Delhi-equivalent. The bun is so soft, you wanna make your bed in it and sleep!

Verdict: We already ordered 3 times from there and looks like it will stay on.

MUSIC

#6: Aarya on Apple Music

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This boy I tell you. This is one reason I love the fact that my husband introduces new music to me. This boy has the most velvety voice ever and some really cool songs. He reminds me of Jason Mraz. Maybe a bit of Jack Johnson. Also a masala of Ed Sheeren. But I really liked his music: Download here.  Particularly the songs, Mum & Dad (reminded me of mine so much!) and Wasted For Love.

Verdict: Yep, totes awesome and addictive!

Handcrafted: Quirksmith, The Label That Takes Silver On A Whimsical Flight!

I used to be crazy about silver. In college, it was all about that Fab India kurta and oodles of oxidised silver. Always dull, always antique-y and probably a bit cliched also. But we hardly had any options when we were growing up – not so much social media really and no Insta trends and FB pages to ogle at.

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So we chose a few things that we saw: Posh – chic person, boho-whimsical person and ultra-traditional human. Everyone fell into these boxes and for those bordering on hippie-boho, silver jewellery was the uniform of sorts. But options for silver were very few. We had lots of jhumkas, a pair of anklets thrown in with some random meenakari work and of course, hoops (they were my fav!!!). Some girls wore semi-precious stones with their silver: amethyst, pearls, rubies and even opals. That was 1999.

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In 2017, the rules seem to have changed. There are so many homegrown labels that are outdoing one another like no man’s business and excelling at making that humble jhumka into an artefact with a POV. One among them that keeps cropping up on my radar is Quirksmith. I like the label for a variety of reasons.

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  1. They make affordable silver jewellery: The nose rings retail at Rs 600.
  2. They do inspirational words: I like the Aham Brahmasmi ear cuff.
  3. They are almost like modern weaponry. Warrior-like, rustic yet contemporary.
  4. They are all made in 92.5 silver. I like that it’s not sterling silver. (Sterling silver and zircons are the worst!)
  5. They have a new thing on the menu: Ear plugs and they’re gorgeous. *mental note: buy them!

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Started by Divya and Pragya – an NIFT ’04 grad with a specialisation in jewelry designing and an IIT Delhi and INSEAD graduate, this one’s got design and business going well for it. I even heard that Divya worked with Amrapali ( my fav store!) for a bit. Woohoo!

 

 

What should I buy? I am eyeing the ear cuffs with words on them. Definitely buy the ear plugs, they’re great for those who don’t have piercings. I like the sharp, warrior-like earrings with arrows, the “Nakhrewali” ring and those fun brooches. I might try the septum rings. My favourite piece has to be the Jugalbandi Nath. *mental note: wear more silver!

Well, so that’s Quirksmith for you and may it impress you.

Available here. Pricing starts at Rs 600. You might want to catch them at Lakme Fashion Week 2017 this time in Mumbai.
Date – 16-20 Aug
Place – St Regis

The Only Playlist Your Little Girl Needs!

Music isn’t my strong suit. I mainly go for pop, a bit of metal (that happens because of prolonged exposure to it by husband) and lots of Hindi/Tamil/Telugu stuff thrown in liberally. I own no genre, am loyal to no artiste. Except for those who are rocking the charts at the moment. With the exception of Dave Grohl, Beyonce, A.R. Rahman and Red Hot Chilli Peppers – these guys I will be happy to listen to at any given point in time. These are probably the only artistes I will see in concert I think.

Well, anyway, so when it came to my daughter, I naturally gave her my playlist with a healthy dose of Gaga, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor and she loved ’em. She even loves a good dose of Keeravani, Rahman and Arijit Singh – because we love all kinds at home. Infact, my best friend’s husband, let’s call him Sean, thought Meghan Trainor is a great role model especially when the girls (they have a 5 year old) get into their teens. The song “My name is No. My number is No” might just be their anthem when pock-marked teen boys approach them. #futuredating = check!

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The husband on the other hand uses his time to show her every damn freaking playlist and plays it to glory. Beatles, Megadeth, Rolling Stones, new indie bands, metal, jazz….blah blah blah. And she has her favourites!

Now, while there is music that we give her, there’s also music she finds. Yep, the 4 year old keeps jumping from video to video on YouTube Kids and finds her own tune. And my daughter, as I’m seeing has a fierce independent streak of her own – you could give her the whole world to listen to but she picks what she wants meticulously and plays it with great care. You can’t bribe her, influence her or bombard her – she simply won’t do something just because you told her so. *Already dreading those teen years.

Anyway, these days, she tells me about this fun song she heard with Daniel Tiger (super cute!) or an interesting version of “Let it go…” that she hummed. A neat Wizard of Oz lyric or an interesting line from Mental Manadhil. I learn a lot from her everyday.

But of all the things she taught me, this playlist was my biggest and my loveliest surprise. As you know, she loves those ponies from My Little Pony and she found this Everfree album to be her favourite piece and it’s been a year now. She still loves it to death and makes sure it plays while she sleeps at night. And if are looking for something to play for a girl (boys too, why not!), this might just be the most amazing one with some kickass lyrics. From what I heard, the Legend of Everfree songwriter Daniel Ingram had said that he was majorly inspired by Mumford & Sons when writing and composing this song.

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Here are the best things I thought made me love this one:

  1. It’s not just for kids, it’s for adults too.
  2. It’s so inspiring, like you want to get up and go achieve something!
  3. It’s about dreams and I’d like those better than a kid singing about a boy, a princess waiting for a prince or a fight brewing etc etc!

Just read this chunk of lyrics, would you?

Will you be lost by time or be part of history?/Will your story be told or remain a mystery?/Will they sing your song, telling all that you have done?/Time to make your choice, only you can be the one. 

Will you do something great with the time that you have here?/Will you make your mark?/Will you conquer what you fear?/And when you go back home, everybody there will see/You were part of the Legend of Everfree!

Will you find your greatest glory?/Will you be a falling star?/Here to learn what nature teaches/Here to learn more who you are

I thank my kiddo for this gem. And if you’re looking for something to add to your kid’s playlist, look no more than the Legend Of Everfree. The Equestria girls are a riot and they really have some great vibes and give out good learnings. And P.S there are other albums too but this is our family favourite!

Jean Paul Gaultier And His Sari Obsession Became My Obsession!

I’m no fashion student. I wish I was though because when I was studying for entrance exams to get into college, it wasn’t even a career option. Now, after 10 years and more, I still want to do something about that. Because, curiosity and obsession with style, yougaiz.

Anyways, with the limited knowledge I had, I went to work for Marie Claire for almost 5 years and gained so much. I learnt to understand what makes style work. And worked alongside talented stylists who knew their job and are still doing a great job at fashion till date. And I distinctly remember a time when every look we picked for our covers needed to make a point – Shefalee, our editor absolutely insisted on it. Sigh, editors like those are rare.

And that’s how on a random day in the sweltering Delhi heat that I discovered Jean Paul Gaultier’s work in the magazine cupboard of our office. There were Marie Claire magazines from all countries just sitting there waiting to be read and I would hungrily devour them on weekends. And the thing is, you don’t need to know / be a fashion person to understand his work. It’s really instinctive. I like anything Indian-inspired so I was amazed at how wearable some parts of it are – and so close to reality. That’s real fashion for me – real, wearable and at the same time, artistic.

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The last Hermes collection in 2008 was my favourite of all time. Those light-as-air sari dresses, my god, so pretty. It’s truly timeless and I really wish someone on a red carpet would wear that Hermes sari dress again. That would be something!

I really can understand the sari obsession, it’s such a pretty drape, open for interpretation and is quite malleable.

And now, his couture collection for 2017-18 is inspired by those jet setters and their fab lives in exotic and glamorous chalets and skiing destinations and how he got saris into the mix is another thing. And at the same time, nothing sticks out as odd – skiing in saris, bring it on. Also, the ornate sari or the royalty-laden stuff is not there. Just modern fabrics in a beautiful fluid silhouette. I have been meaning to put my favourite pictures up here and you know how it is, so.many-chores!!! So here they are!

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And hello, the makeup on this show – so out-of-the-box, those eyes! And the nosering with a chain, well, that style is still doing well on the streets of India and to see it on international ramps, is delightful.

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No matter how much I think of fashionable silhouettes, I cannot for the life of me move beyond saris – they are worn by every woman I know and interpreted by each wearer so differently. And that’s why it’s a magic garment, isn’t it?

That’s my inspiration for the day. It’s already been a month since this show happened but this new collection will not care when it’s discovered or where – it will stay timeless.

Pics via Rediff; Vogue

How Self-Care Is Changing My Life One Step At A Time!

Reason 1:

I am a working woman with a 4-year old kiddo. I have no time. If I’m not working, I’m with kid. If I’m with kid, I’m desperately getting back to work to deal with unfinished business. Little windows of time go in managing a home – damn, Surf is over again and the clothes are piling up. How people before and around and after me manage to do all three beautifully is perplexing for me.

Reason 2:

Laziness. Lots of it. After gathering motivation for aforesaid activities, doing “productive” or “purposeful” things is out of question. I’m no Rocky and “Eye of the Tiger” isn’t that effective after dealing with a 4-year-old all day. Forget eye of the tiger, I need some shut-eye. So, my new motto aptly called “Whatever!!!!” takes over. Yes, that word comes out loudly and rather forcefully. With chips, a wine glass and a frown. With exclamation points.

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That my dear friends is how I found this little spot in my life called “Negligence”. Things suffered. They are:

My home:

It isn’t Pinterest-worthy anymore. It’s a mess. Clothes piled up and toys strewn around. Those pretty homes I see on Insta? Best left on Insta. But also, I thought, I’ll let go coz things are great in other depts. Home can suffer.

My skin:

It looks dangerously like I’m morphing slowly but surely into a crocodile. Post 30 life isn’t helping. Skin is dry like Gurgaon in summer ( I just moved there so you might see G-town refs left, right & centre).

My body:

It’s got a life of it’s own and Hypothyroid is the outfit it wears nowadays. Yep, that explains the weight gain. And all the other things that come with it – Fatigue, Moody behaviour, definite dry skin, weight gain etc etc. I can deal with everything on this list except fatigue. It’s a nightmare.

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My style:

I don’t know for sure what my style was before I had a baby. It was electric maharani because I wore colourful outfits and went berserk. But now, my style is mainly “Wearing clean clothes – ironed ones, even better, spotless, I attained nirvana”.

My hobbies:

What? Do people have those anymore?

Food:

I ate anything. It has to be food. My kid and husband fall in the same logic. Husband is tall and hardly needs exercise – he looks great. Metabolism dammit. Kid is eating healthy and good – with a side of fuss which is normal I guess. But we don’t know what’s good food for us?

Sleep:

I am shamelessly addicted to Instagram. And reading quora. And other time-wasting things people set up so you click on the net. I hate click-bait, but I’m curious. So, basically sleeping at 1 am and waking up for my kids school at 6 am = chaos.

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And so, according to me these 7 were just not important. You see, I am a practical gal. I know there’s nothing called work-life balance. There is something called “Prioritising”. That means, you pick 3-4 things that most make you happy and make sure they are in a good place. So, my list goes: Baby – Husband – Job – Small Business. You could add Travel into this – I’m getting there but it’s still a fledgling. Rest, falls into the “whatever” box.

I was content until last month. We moved to Gurgaon and I suddenly had to start afresh on things. And that’s when it got confusing. Who am I? A mom, wife, a decent employee and an okay-ish Entrepreneur ( for my sweet label Buttermilk). But who am I?

I STILL DON’T KNOW.

But I knew I had to tackle the unimportant stuff to know the truth. My little windows need to accommodate things. So I shook up my space and let in some fresh air and started small. I’m still at the starting line.

And in this journey, I discovered ideas and labels that made my life easier. So far, my apple cart is not lopsided so am guessing it’s ok.

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Home

Home needs a makeover. I did love some of the nicest stuff I bought at Urban Ladder and this little furniture market in Sector 56 where I bought crockery for as cheap as Rs 35. A good beginning. I also discovered that Amazon.in delivers some great coffee stirrers and this cute kitchen essential. Chumbak gave me new crockery like this cute green plate platter.

Skin

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I started reading up on my skin type and stopped buying cosmetics because I liked the packaging or the idea of it perpetrated by Fashion bloggers and ads. I realised that I need some Hydration in my life. A bit of Retinol. Maybe some Vitamin C goodness. All great (post coming up soon). For starters: I started with this amazing Spanish facial mask called Rosoil  (Rosehip oil #forthewin) and went ahead with a good skincare routine that included my current favourite Clinique Moisture Surge.

Body

Just got all my tests done. Started working out. Realised that Yoga + Body Pump with a healthy dose of strength training is what I figured I liked.

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Style

I am still figuring out what fits me and makes me smile. But bags were my constant love these 4 years – my trusty Marc Jacobs bag. My hard-earned Ferragamo tote. An interesting cutie I bought on a sale at Koovs that makes for a great holiday bag. It was touted as THE vacay bag for women.

Hobbies

NAHI! Does watching GoT fall in this category? WIP.

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Food

Now here’s where I made a leap. I don’t have a cook because both my husband and kid eat in their office and school respectively. So that leaves me to deal with ONE MEAL. And I finally made a menu and bought some great things (All homegrown labels, I love that bit) – The Cambray Tiger Basa Fillet, Bacon Bits from La Carne. A kickass Epigamia breakfast – Jalapeno with barley puffs. And some nice Bananachip-infused chocolates from Daarzel.

I made some great smoothies – Spinach, banana, chia, kiwi, almond milk was one helluva thing. I’m trying to eat mindfully because there’s temptation all around.  I made a menu and I’m trying to stick to it.

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Hot Restaurant Alert: Shophouse Kylin and it’s chilli basil chicken bowl. H-E-A-V-E-N.

Sleep

Getting into a routine of shutting eye by 10:30 pm. Tough, but switching off lights and looking up into the ceiling helps. I’m still wonky on that. Damn you, Insta Stories!

And that’s really where I am now. Today. Nowhere close to perfection. But closer to sanity. I hope to keep my blog updated from now.

Big dreams.

Look Book Love:This Shoot Reminded Me Of The Beauty Of Heritage Bungalows! *Le Sigh

It’s Thursday. Probably the most boring day of the week. And what’s worse? It’s the day after Trumps win – that terrible aftertaste that the world is experiencing, like a bad hangover, like a feather from a pillow stuck in your throat. And I decided to move onto things that make me happy. And one such, is this pretty pretty shoot by a friend of mine, Kanika Karvinkop, ace stylist and all round sweet girl. It’s for the Nylon Singapore magazine, November issue and it’s so haunting and oozing with awesome.

So I asked Kanika to give me the goop. The shoot had something beautiful – it was shot inside a heritage bungalow and that belonged to Mumbai designer James Ferriera. Now if you know Ferriera, you would know that his home is a reflection of his personality – Goan, Vintage, Relaxed and Nostalgic. Mi Casa – those two words fit right in like poetry. And with that as inspiration, this shoot showcases style that’s modern, edgy and sophisticated against a laid-back vibe. The trend was clearly pantsuits.

Of course, I asked Kanika all about it and this is what she had to say: 

“Right in the centre of the all the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest cities in the world, Mumbai, stands a a beautiful heritage bungalow that dates back almost 200 years and seems to be a complete misfit in the 21st century. Just the same, we’ve added a modern touch with what’s heritage and show you how the Pant Suits have broken out of the formal office cubicles are now more relaxed, fresh, cool, and effortlessly chic. To put it one line, we wanted to show something modern in a vintage setting.

James Ferriera ancestral was obvious choice, since its a 200 year old house and has a great history behind it. From the interiors to the decor everything has a very vintage touch to it and worked perfectly for us. The styling leaned towards a insouciant, effortless, minimal look, giving it that borrowed from the boys feel but still keeping it feminine at the same time” she adds.

Here are the pictures that I loved!Though I wish I could see more of that pretty bungalow 🙂

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Photographer: Vikas Vasudev; Stylist Kanika Karvinkop; Hair & make up Kritika Gill 

Label To Love: The Cooling Glass Company Is Just The Thing To Carry To Burning Man!

I’ve known Pavitra online. Strictly online. Because there are very few blogs I follow relentlessly and her blog Masala Chai was a delight. Too bad it isn’t functional now and I missed her banter and discoveries. We met by chance online and kept at it – we’d often Skype, just talk and give each other virtual hi-fives.

Then she got married, moved to the US and I was pretty sure she’ll make it big there. Some people have the drive, you see it in their soul. And one fine day, something cute popped up on my timeline. A neat pair of sunnies, totally approved by MIA. Certified for Burning Man.

The name struck me as the most creative: The Cooling Glass Company. These glasses are hand-made and hand-crafted – and so unique.

So since it’s a venture I truly love, I decided it’s time to give it all the attention I got this week. Presenting to you….The Cooling Glass Company on Etsy. Over to Pavitra. 

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A bit about you:

I am a person who needs to be engaged creatively at all times. I have a background in art management and curated a blog called MASALA CHAI for 7 years. I loved it but it was time to move and thats when ‘The Cooling Glass Company’ happened. It was all organic and not planned at all. 

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A bit about the brand:

I went to a music festival this year and decided to “bling” out a couple of sunglasses, and it was so well-received and I loved the process so much. So I decided to just make a few pairs for fun. What I learnt was that it helped me relax and put me in a meditative state of mind, while also engaging my creative side. And it was so much fun, coming up with quirky ideas.

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What made you think of these fun glasses as a business?

All of it was very organic. Just made a pair one  day and the idea stuck. So, I made it my business. 

A super cute name, how did you come up with that, rockstar?

Well, nostalgia is a big part of my creative process and I wanted to play into that. When we were kids growing up in Madras, we would call those cheap plastic shades you got at Marina beach ‘cooling glass’. So when my husband reminded me of that, I immediately thought of naming my venture ‘ The Cooling Glass Company’. It’s playful.

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What is so different about these glasses?

They are embellished by hand and each piece is unique .I think everybody should feel like a queen (or king). I want these sunglasses to make you feel soooo fly – like a queen.Also 15% of all proceeds will go to Shankar Netralaya Trust, they carry out eye surgeries for those who cannot afford it. http://www.supportsankaranethralaya.org/heartfelt_stories.html

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Your inspiration…

The free spirited people around me. This venture is completely inspired by festival culture. A mish-mash of unabashed self expression.  Ultimately it comes down to being authentic to yourself and when you are, you can be loving and empathetic to other people. Having fun with dressing up can be a catalyst for one of those things. It makes you feel good about yourself.

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Tell me a bit about why this matters to you, this label?

Well , donating a part of it to a cause I believe in, is the most motivating thing.  The second motivation is that I love to express my creativity and being able to have someone wear something I created would be amazing. I think people will have fun with it for sure. It will be a part of some good memories.

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And finally, what’s the future for the cooling glass company?

I do not know yet, It’s not something I have put pressure on myself  about, I’m not trying to grow it and crunching numbers and so on. I am happy to have it be in this scale and if it gets bigger and better, I would love that.

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Here’s a peek into the coolest thing from The Cooling Glass Company. And buy them here. Priced between 16 USD – 23 USD, these are a riot!

And don’t forget: 15% of all proceeds will go to Shankar Netralaya Trust, they carry out eye surgeries for those who cannot afford it. http://www.supportsankaranethralaya.org/heartfelt_stories.html