Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year or rather Old Year finds

The new year always always comes with resolution building and making a to-do list of stuff you want to achieve. A clean slate, a fresh easel, etc, etc. I have tons of things that I'd like to do, but I'm not really the type to write all that stuff down.  This year, I hope to write more, and not just my little stories about Sid and me and the dogs and our friends, etc, but also some stuff about interesting things I find or use.

So for a person who spends an unhealthy amount of time on Facebook, I am quite bad at doing other things online - I don't shop much online, preferring to spend much more and go to a store! I do use sites like Pinterest to save things I come across, but most of the time I forget and then have to search for things. I don't like reading online so my Kindle and Kindle Fire are just lying around.  But in the last year, I've come across a few sites, products and apps that I've been using more regularly and realized how much more convenient, cost effective and useful they are. Some of these are more gifting ideas, but they are all available online and I discovered them through their social media pages and got them delivered to my doorstep. So here's some fun stuff I came across last year:

1) Flipboard - is not new, but like I said I only downloaded it recently and got Siddharth hooked on it too. While both our Flipboards look vastly different, his filled with current affairs, sports, technology news and mine with travel, food, books, social media, marketing and work related topics - it's the only app I end up reading on. It collates articles from various sources into a snappy magazine for you and you can flip through and get some really great content. Of course Sid now sits and reads on it all the time and is looking a bit cross eyed! https://flipboard.com/


2) All Things - I love chocolate and I can't remember how I stumbled across All Things, but I decided to include chocolate bars as gifts to my family in their gift bags at Christmas. I'm a sucker for anything home made or with a limited variety and basically not just the biggest brands and flashiest stores. Their packaging was interesting with each type of chocolate with a different cover - All Things Monday, was dark chocolate and granola with a blue pinstriped cover and a little pocket on the front with a To Do list slipped in! All Things Barcelona with a sangria filling, though not bang on sangria flavoured was still yum, and All Things Tropical with a passion fruit filling was my favourite. All Things Chilli with a hint of heat was alright, as was All Things Polo which had a generous hazelbut filling - but perhaps too generous as the outer chocolate layer seemed less in comparison. For the kids I got All Things Christmas and All Things Winter - which were sweet and magical and tasted like all things kids love - crushed peppermint candy in the former and marshmallow bits in the latter. Great gifts! https://www.facebook.com/allthingschocolates/?fref=ts


3) Avirich - I'm not big on buying clothes online, but I've realized how much great variety there is and a lot of them cheaper than in the stores. I recently bought some clothes from the Label Life, a website I have used to buy Christmas gifts before, but I ventured into buying some clothes this time and was pleasantly surprised.  I love dresses and I wear them to work and otherwise, so when I bumped into a lady at a Christmas party who had her own online dress store (only dresses!) I was really excited. She mentioned that she had recently invited a bunch of lady friends over to her apartment to try on dresses and buy them, but other than that they were only available online. I went to her website - www.avirich.com and I liked several of the designs - shifts, skater dresses, A-lines, sun dresses, etc so I have every intention of ordering a few. And once again much cheaper than I am used to paying for dresses at regular stores! www.avirich.com

4) Burst of Happyness - my sister, Shaheen, is into everything natural and organic and though I am not as disciplined, I am trying to make better choices.  So when my friend Karen told me about Burst of Happyness with their natural, homemade and vegan skin products, I decided these again would make great Christmas gifts for my mom and sister, and I ended up buying some for myself also. From natural deodorants scented with lavender and grapefruit and using coconut oil, baking soda and other oils; to shampoo bars of beer and aloe to moisturisers with mango, kokum and shea butters, I was quite happy with my haul as was my sister who put in a special mention for the moisturiser. Again some convenient and much appreciated gifts! https://burstofhappyness.in/

5) Books and Beyond - Last year was also the year I was told categorically by Sid that I just had too many books and needed to use less space in the house for them. After getting rid of around 150 or so, I decided to join a local library. I've been going to Books and Beyond here in Dwarka for a few years now since it is also a toy shop, and my brother-in-law, Anand, introduced me to it since they also rent out toys for kids' birthday parties and to schools. The owner, Gagan Jolly, is a very sweet man who chats with me about books and puts a lot of effort into helping me choose good reads.  And as convenience is key, he also has them delivered to my doorstep if I can't go to his place. If I call him up and ask him for a book, which he doesn't have, he orders it for me and it's delivered to me within a day or two. It's not just books, I even ordered a new Monopoly set from him and it shall be delivered to me in a day or two since he didn't have the regular version I needed at the time. At Rs.500 a month, and I end up reading 2-3 books a month, I'm happy, Sid's got more space and all is good!

6) Day One - an app I found through an article on Flipboard, this is a sleek and simple journal app. In an attempt to write more, I thought it might help to quickly capture a picture or jot down something that I can go back to later. It's private, but also allows one to publish posts to social media or via email and also converts it into PDF. It's clean, it's attractive and I've only just started using it and right now just jotting down silly things, but since it's just me for it doesn't really matter. It also lets you publish certain entries online if you choose to make them public - https://dayone.me/2q4pzDN













7) Gifts of Love - not new either, but I got gifted the nicest cake plate from here recently by Neha and Shamsher and I passed by the store in the mall and thought a lot of the stuff looked great for gifting. I bought some nice gifts from the Wishing Chair recently and was very pleased with what was shipped to me, and in my new aim to shift to more online shopping, I went to the Gifts of Love website and intend to use it for some gits this year- though I've got my eye on some great magnetic notepads and boards in quirky designs for myself and a very pretty looking calendar and some stationary for my office, http://giftsoflove.in/

8) Yoga Bars - I haven't tried these yet, but plan on ordering a few since the mayonnaise filled sandwiches and sugar filled drinks at my office cafe are diabetes-on-a-plate, and I like to stock up on filling and nutritious snacks.  Their nutrition labels show no artificial colours or flavours, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, no chemicals and no compromise on taste. I am ordering a box this week - probably an assortment of cardamom and coconut; chocolate chuck nuts and oats and almonds.  Say no to your office cafeteria!  www.yogabars.in

9) Ekaiba - I got the sweetest gift from a friend I made through the choir I sing with, CCM. Smita doesn't sing with CCM right now but has kept in touch and reads my blog and my posts about my silly dogs and mentions how much she enjoys these whenever she meets me (which is like once a year). So I was touched and very pleasantly surprised when she sent me some lovely candles and a decorative box with an assortment of herbal tea bags inside from her new start-up design label - Ekaiba. With decorative items hand made by her team who specialize in decoupage, she made me lovely candles with frolicking doggies on them! With pretty boxes, candles and other decorative items and online orders to be placed at her website http://www.ekaiba.com/, I'm happy I found another place for unique and fun gifts.

10) This last one isn't an app or a website, but more to do with convenience and variety. I follow Little Black Book religiously and am always looking out for good caterers for home parties. With a friend asking recently about South Indian food catering in Gurgaon, I did a quick search and LBB threw up this article about seven caterers that did regional food for parties - from Parsi to Goan to Hyderabadi to Malayali to Rajasthani and Kashmiri. If you're tired of the ubiqitious and generic "Continental" or North Indian with no particular distinctions between regions, I thought this would be a definite list to try out. https://lbb.in/delhi/food-from-all-over-india-in-delhi-home-caterers-from-every-indian-state/

So there's my list of interesting finds from the last year!






No comments: