Gift the ASAP way!

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I love surprises.. well who dosen’t! I am into all that sappy stuff a surprise picnic, unplanned dinner or travelling – an old romantic like that!   I  love receiving gifts specially surprises but i get a lot of joy when i plan something special for someone be it my fiance, my friend my sister or my mother! The whole journey to making plans for the party and finding the oh so lovely gift but the look on one’s face when they get a gift is priceless. The only thing is that there is a dearth of gifts when it comes to personalized gifting i mean you obviously wont find that personal touch in stores in the malls or your local archies!

I came across this very fun online gifting service Any surprise Any Place a very fitting name to the amazing work they do. After all they deliver experiences not just gifts! All thanks to Ruchi Chopra who founded ASAP when a friend wanted to have pizza and she wanted to surprise her! The best part is that ASAP knows no limits when it comes to surprising so all you need is an idea in your head( of course your wallet too)  and they become the gifting helpers you need..

I got the chance to talk to this beautiful lady who squeezes out all her creative juices to give you exactly what you are looking for.

Excerpts from the interview 

thebridalbells (TBB) : So how did asap come about?

Ruchi Chopra (RC) :The idea came to me in Oct 2006 when I was sitting at work at a multi national I worked for and a hostel friend messaged me saying “I want Pizza”. It was one of those messages from a old hostel friend I could have smiled at and thought : “yeah, me too”

But I didn’t, instead I decided am gonna send her a pizza from me.

Sitting at work pondering over how the hell do I do this when I have to be at work till 7 and run for a work dinner right after. I walked into the balcony area of my office and I started called the pizza service to deliver the pizza to her and take the money from me. It would have been a 2 km detour and I was more than wiling to pay for that detour, even double the cost. From that time at work till my travel to my dinner place, I spent 40 minutes with a pizza place over the phone trying to explain to them how this was a simple thing to be done for a friend and I want to pay for it. Finally, the detour option didn’t work, so I promised them that a  friend would go to another outlet and pay for the pizza. I entered my dinner with a sense of peace that I got it done. Half an hour  later I got a message from my friend saying : hey, thanks for the pizza and so on.. I was delighted!!

An hour later I got a call from my friend who went to pay for the pizza at another outlet saying: they wont take the money because this order has already been paid for. I spoke to them and they said it was paid at on delivery. WOW!!!!!! I said to myself..

I called my hostel friend to check if she had paid for it, and she very naturally said: ya, ofcourse. They gave me the bill, I paid for it.

I ate the rest of the meal with a shocked look on my face. The whole point of surprising her and giving her something from me  WAS LOST. It was a disaster!!!!!!!!!!

I started to think that night, THIS was just a pizza.. the least complicated of all gifts one has to `think of.. in a case when u know what a person  wants and what pleases them and u don’t have to spend hours thinking of what to send them.. 80% problem solved. And yet we couldn’t achieve that 20% by just organizing it..

There must be, it thought a zillion people who want to do something nice for someone  ..

One : they don’t have the time and are stuck at work

Two: they don’t even have ideas..

I started working on the concept ……. And ASAP short for Any Surprise Any Place &  for As Soon As Possible, the name came from scribbling over a paper tissue sitting with a friend..  got my legal aspects in place, got the name of company trademarked..

TBB: What inspires you your creative ideas?

RC:  Romantic movies, things i hear girl friends say: i wish ladka aise hota jo eh kare.. voh kare, internet- what people do for each other across the world..

TBB: Any favorites? 

RC:  Customised monopoly- i love that gift. its super personal because everything is customized on the board and i have great memories playing the game- for me its timeless and specially when its created with my school name and places i have been bought up in instead of lake palace etc. its perfect!

TBB: There are a lot of “online gifting sites” out there. How is ASAP different?

 RC : We deliver experiences. There is a reason why we have not made our website with the -add to cart- system. We want to understand what our client wants. There are so many choices. You can pick a gift from the site or ask for something totally different.Tell us about your friend/ son/ grand dad, we will accordingly plan something for them.                                                                                                                                             For a set of grandparents who couldn’t get out of the house- we sent a portrait artist home to sketch a picture of theirs and frame and gift it to them at home and return. Its about understanding and being flexible to a client- its about touching someones heart and not having a fixed cart of gifts waiting for delivery!

TBB:  How can one personalize this service?

>> You can call or e mail and say : i want to do a gift for my dog but he isn’t allowed chocolate. he can only eat hersery’s white sauce and ofcourse pedigree. We will create a cake for your little pup with pedigree and hershey’s white sauce. We don’t like to give our clients set products- I can send a 10 kg cake to your dog for his birthday , but its pointless that he wont enjoy it!

You can call and tell us which is your son’s favorite cartoon character and we shall send customized balloons and masks with just those characters. Its all about understanding your client.

Twitter handle : @keepsurprising

Facebook : ASAP- Any surprise any Place

Leaving you with some lovely images of their recent surprising ventures!

So go on start surprising ASAP!!

75 days to the Wedding :Update!

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Yipee!!  I am so so happy that its now a two digit number to the wedding. All i can think of is the wedding now that’s pretty much all i talk about in office, at home on the phone!

Coming to the update:

My wedding lehenga is STILL not here.. am i worrying too much..? there is still two months but i would like to see it in front of my eyes in cloth and thread. You can sense the desperation!

The only significant thing that has happened since the last update is that i have got my Wedding cards and they look lovely! Just how i designed them the only downside is the color. I wanted to refrain myself from a specific color combination but i ended up with that only that’s something i wish i could change but overall it looks good ..well it better look good!

I am also in the process of looking for an MUA but the thing is i think i am a little late in booking as almost all of them are busy on the dates i need them *sigh* I am mainly looking for MUA’s who are willing to travel so that i save a trip to and fro to the parlor. Its easier to get ready in the comfort of your home. Well i guess that’s not happening!

I am going to be giving my notice in office now and i don’t know how to break the news to my bosses! Yes bosses all three of them.We have a relatively small office setup so its a very relaxed environment. For one they treat me like a kid because i look like one, like seriously i don’t look over 20! I have been asked many a times by the Uncles and auntys “beta, which class?”  So you get the picture and secondly because i am one! I behave like one too i just hope they don’t laugh at my face when i tell them “theee news”

I know this was not part of the update but had to share its eating me inside. For now i will go and think of ways to NOT freak out about this!!

How to choose a Make-up artist for your wedding?

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You have been waiting for this day and planning like crazy..the perfect dress..perfect photographer..the décor like you imagined it to be and what not. You want to look your best for your wedding and this brings me to another important factor that plays a very crucial role in a wedding..

Hair & Makeup

After all the make-up artist is going to be responsible for making you look your best or make you look like a totally different person altogether. This person has the power to affect how you look on the most important day of your life and affect the memories that you will preserve though photographs.

When it comes to bridal make up, you generally have 3 options: you can hire a professional to do the job, you can rely on your trusted parlor that you frequent to get you ready or, if you feel confident enough you will brave to do your own wedding makeup.

As I am having an out of town wedding wherein  after much research I cannot for the life of me find a decent parlor I am taking my trusted parlor people along for the wedding day. It’s affordable and it will save me the trouble of running round in the morning to get ready too so for me it’s a sweet deal. As far as the reception is concerned I was exploring options to look for in Delhi and yes I am spoilt for choice. After following all the wedding blogs and taking referrals from friends and family it’s a bigger list than I imagined I would have.

Here I have decided to look at the first option of hiring a professional makeup artist-MUA as you call it!

So for the background I know zilch about makeup I mean seriously I have never even tried to learn call it laziness but all the makeup that I can do is apply kajal, a bit of mascara and a lip balm and I am set to partaay.

So how can I educate you all about MUA’s you ask?

Well now that I am a bride to be its very essential for me to learn the basics of makeup because I cannot run to the parlor for every party I am invited to post wedding. *sadly* I have done ample research in the process of choosing an MUA and have picked up a few makeup skills on the way too.

Here I present to you a list of steps you should follow while choosing an MUA

Have a clear picture in mind

-Before you frantically start calling every MUA in your region get a sense of what kind of makeup you would want for your function, have some specific pictures or prototypes for reference.

-Also know where would you like the makeup and hair to be done-at home or in the parlor.

-What is the time period you can devote to for getting ready

Start your research

-Get hold of names and contact information from your trusted friends and family

– Also search online especially Indian wedding blogs who will definitely have more ideas and recommendations also will have more experience in the area as alternatively you will be tapping into a wider network of people.

Referrals

-Nothing beats recommendations from friends and family so start your search for a great bridal makeup artist by asking around to see if anyone has any suggestions.

-Get recommendations from trusted customers or do a background check on their facebook page to check out the portfolios and see comments from customers. If you like what you see and they match the criteria you had in mind go ahead and give them a call.

 Inquiry

Once you sit down to call an MUA of your choice ask in detail about the services offered.

-What are the costs-hair and makeup together and separately

-What is included in the cost-transportation, hours of service, any other equipment required from you etc

-Be sure to note what type of products will be used for makeup and hair, especially for someone who has sensitive skin or if you just prefer a particular brand of makeup over the other.

-Check and see how responsive the MUA is to your needs like what you will be wearing on that day and how would you like your hair to look

Makeup Trial

It is a must. I cannot say this enough you need to get a trial for makeup done without doubt. Thedelhbiride makes a good point about getting a makeup trial before the wedding that’s sure to convince you here.

-Do not book an MUA based on a few pictures or recommendations because at the end of the day what might work for some may not work for you and you don’t want to be in for a surprise on your D day!

-Once you get the trial take a couple of pictures, with flash without flash and take someone trusted along with you who will give you advice objectively.

-Also the MUA should be someone you like or someone who is easy to talk to from your point of view because you will be spending the most nerve racking time of the day with her and she should be responsive to your needs and open to listen to what kind of makeup you want.

Seal the Deal

Once you’re happy with your trial, seal the deal

-Make the down-payment, confirm the balance and ensure you both have a copy of the receipt

-Confirm the time of arrival and all the details because you cannot be stressed about your MUA turning up late

-Call a week before the wedding to touch base to ensure both parties are aware of the details and requirements

Lastly,

Just Relax!  You have done all the homework possible. Leave the rest in the hands of your trusted MUA and keep that smile on your face!

 

I am in search for the perfect MUA who fits my requirements without burning a hole in my pocket..will keep you updated of who I hire and will definitely recommend if it’s worth a mention.

 Any other things that need to be kept in mind for finalizing an MUA? Have you any suggestions for good MUA’s? Do tell.

Homemade Hair care regime for the bride to be!

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We all want to look our best on our wedding day, the perfect hair, the right amount of make up the glow in the skin the blush on the cheeks. Well it’s definitely a pretty picture I painted and that’s where the pre- bridal packages come to rescue. You can subscribe yourself for a week or month of pampering with a spa and what not, but the thing is I am too lazy to go to a parlor religiously for over a week or month and blow up money to make me look good for a a few days .What about the long run. How do I pamper myself otherwise? Well to answer that I started with my hair care regime first. I made a homemade pack that’s not too good to look at but does wonders for your hair.

You can test it and see the results yourself. Here’s how you can make it too.

You need:
Half a lime
Half an avocado, eat the other half(if not avocados, you can also use aloe vera which works pretty much the same way)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of coconut hair oil, I have longish hair so this suits fine if you’re  Rapunzel then add 2 more!

Mix all the ingredients and pour into a blender. Blend it well till it looks really icky.

Something like this..

the hair care paste
Divide your hair into sections and put the pack all over, starting at the scalp.Leave it on for an hour or two and then wash off.

Try it. Tell me how your hair felt..for me it gave it some really good shine and left it extra soft!

Apart from  this its recommended to  get a haircut just before your big day to remove split ends. If you are going for a new  look for your hair or coloring your hair do this at least a month before your wedding to avoid any surprises later. Say you don’t like how the haircut turned out or the color of your hair after your treatment so you have ample time to settle in with your look and can easily decide styles for your hair on the wedding day!

In other news I realized I don’t have enough water during the day so I downloaded an app to track how many fluids I consume in a day(an APP is going to remind me to drink water, I know!) It looks something like this. You can get one for yourself too there are many apps out there.

photo 1photo

Apparently I have had only 25%. Not good but hopefully this helps me to get into a healthy habit.

Till then pamper yourself ladies you need it!

Have you any other great ideas for homemade beauty care? Do share.Would love to know!

Save the date cards-Yay or Nay?

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Save the date cards-Yay or Nay?

I say Yes and Yes for save the date cards!!

Wedding planning isn’t easy and and keeping up with the numerous checklists that u have in your head and on paper can be a daunting task. You put in all this work and come *this* close to losing it sometimes that you forget the essence of it all. It is your BIG day and you want to share and celebrate with all your friends and family. Apart from running behind the perfect pink shade of the lehenga or getting the flowers just right or serving the most extravagant meal for your guests, it’s actually more than that it’s a union of love and of two families and at the end of the day you want to celebrate it with the people you love, people who can join in the happiness.

That’s where Save the Date cards come in!!

Why do your guests need to mark their calendars’ you ask?

You wouldn’t want to hear an excuse from them like “it was such short notice” or “I wish I knew sooner” Save the date cards are the best way to inform everyone of your wedding plans and venues in advance as we tend to send out the formal wedding invitation cards only a month before the big day.

I say you can send out save the date cards as early as 8-10 months before the D day! This gives due notice to all your out of town guests to book tickets and plan accordingly. Be it a destination wedding or  for brides like me who have functions lasting over a week(different cities as venues too..more on that later!) It’s a great way to be organized.

Creating your Save the Date cards

They are many ideas out there for Save the date templates and there is no harm in taking some inspiration.

The best part is they are *Free* (ah! We don’t hear these words in wedding planning). If you are the budget bride (like I try to be) and are not too keen on spending on printing Std cards you can just send e-save the date cards.

Get cracking with your creative skills on powerpoint and photoshop  or whatever other fancy software you can utilize and create your customized Std. Do a collection of photographs of you and your better half along with the wedding details.

To start with get a template ready and don’t forget to add the wedding dates+ venue. You can keep it concise and simple with the wedding details and just add RRSVP details and you are all set.

It’s a great idea isn’t it?

In the beginning I didn’t think I would need one but as the news of my engagement spread I felt I kept missing out on someone or the other about my exact wedding plans because once u start wedding planning it’s just a race against time and I wouldn’t want someone to miss out on celebrating this beautiful day with me because of my not so great organizational skills and feeble memory!

My Save the date card!

I went for a different idea. I just posted the necessary details sans the pictures and color coded it in subtle hues of pink and peach. I had some cards printed and used some as e-cards depending on the guests I was sending it to.

This is a prototype of my save the date card.

Prototype of my STD!

I got mine from this great website   www.weddingchicks.com. They have some more amazing designs in the free pintables STD cards which u can customize and print or just use as e-cards!

Some shots from their website

Nice na…

With this you can strike one thing off your to do list and this brings you one step closer to saying “I do”  So go on get one for yourself now I know u want to!!

Have you any other great finds for save the date cards? Do share. What did you do for your save the date cards? Let’s hear them!!

100 days to the Wedding: Update!

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I just reached the 100 day mark to my wedding not far away from now I will reach the two digit mark and it’s overwhelming! Yes it’s finally happening and I will be a newlywed..aah!

I decided to do a wedding update starting today and will do so quaterly until the wedding..

Before I give you the entire scoop about my wedding trousseau I should tell you about my wedding functions. I have functions lasting over a week. We are having a day wedding a simple one at Shanti Kunj, Haridwar a suggestion from my Future Mother-in-law(FMIL)  and a good one at that. I am marrying into a Christian family and even though I would love to have two separate wedding function(s) it’s getting a bit too much to handle. Even though I have always adorned white wedding gowns *dreamy eyes*

Any way we decided to go for a simple temple wedding at Haridwar, at first I didn’t like the idea all that much but once you experience the calmness and simplicity at ShantiKunj,Haridwar you will fall in love with it, I did for sure! I call it my *destination wedding* cool na! I decided to go in for a saree instead of a lehenga because I needed a yellow saree for the pheras and always wanted to wear a red/pinkish something on my wedding too..Hence an amalgamation of the two which is purrfect!

So this brings me to my TWO wedding receptions. M’s family and mine are both settled at different cities and we wanted to have a grand wedding reception as not all of our guests can make it to haridwar A lot of wedding planning and racking our brains later we settled to host different receptions at our cities so that no guest is left out from the celebrations that is our wedding! This is so much fun because this only means good things for me –more wedding dresses for me yay!! Ok, apart from being totally selfish it’s great because the wedding functions never end (more pampering for me :P) Okay maybe it’s all selfish but it is my  our wedding!

Me and M are meeting only on our wedding day so my dreams for having a combined sangeet are not happening Hmph! Nonetheless I am going to daaancee the night away(with fresh mehendi on my hands)

Over to my wedding trousseau update

Wedding saree –I had purchased my wedding saree long long ago. Just fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. It’s a beautiful deep red in colour which has copper work on the border and has yellow piping throughout. The blouse is the same yellow colour which contrasts with my saree giving it a great look.

Reception Lehenga  – Bought both one fuchsia pink ,one red! Love both. Highly awaiting their arrival J

Sangeet/Mehendi  outfit- Done and Done!

In other updates:

Wedding Photographer–almost done!

Honeymoon plans-Finalized~so excited

 

Will let you in on the outfit(s) hunt in a separate post!

 

Where to get bridal mehendi in delhi from?

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Mehendi is such an important ritual for us brides and it has to be just perfect. Nothing else will do and you will want to search high and low in my case every place in delhi (actually impossible) to get what you need. Along with adding color to the brides hand its actually a stress buster by cooling your nerves. Who knew ha!

I am 3.5 months away from my wedding and still haven’t been able to decide on the mehendi wala.  (I know I know it’s late..i am working on it) I have some specific designs in mind and I am very choosy when it comes to mehendi. Unlike everyone else who loves applying mehendi i don’t like it so much but it’s something that I *need* to get done so I want a very spaced out look and something that’s not running all the way up to my arms and legs.

I came across this useful article in HT a couple of days back and I thought I should share it with you all. There are a couple of different types of mehendi one can adorn. I only knew about the traditional mehendi and a variation of that which is called Arabic mehendi by some which has some dark black undertones. Many of you will stick to the traditional henna but it’s always better to know what all is out there.

Giving you a scoop on the different kinds of mehendi + Where you can get them from

Traditional Mehendi

This is our very own trusted mehendi type that we have been seeing for ages and it’s obviously the oldest and the loveliest. You can choose between the many designs from ambis to rajisthani type to the bride groom figurines variety. This type of work is usually called the Delhi style with peacocks and ambis and Bombay style which has detailed designs.

Where from : Milan mehendi art, Southex ; Raj kumar Mehendi wala,Shalimar bagh and Sukhdev Mehendi Art, Lajpat nagar.

Colorful Mehendi

Newest addition and a popular trend in mehendi design. They offer color varieties from orange to brighter hues to brighten up the mehendi. You can ever color code it with your outfit (tacky much?)

Where from: Ajay mehendi wala,Krishna nagar; Jaipur mehendi art,Preet vihar; SK Mehendi centre ,Sarojini nagar.

Glitter Mehendi

For that extra sparkle in your mehendi. Although the glitter does not last too long and I don’t see the need for you to transfer all the glitter to your face/clothes eventually by the end of the day maybe it’s not such a great idea.

Where from: Vikas mehendi art,Daryaganj; Tiwari mehendi designer,Lajpat nagar

Tattoo Mehendi

We have all heard of this one but I always thought why someone would want to get a henna tattoo. Obviously this is the temporary kind but it’s fun if you want o have a traditional vibe to a modern look. Ladies like to don this look on the stomach or shoulder areas along with some color.

Where from: Kalam Mehendi Art, Malviya Nagar;Talwar Singh Mehendi wala,South ex

I was thinking of using two different types of mehendi wala’s for my function for the guests of course. They can enjoy the variety of mehendi’s and it will be a fresh change.

Leaving you with some inspiration on my Pinterest board.

Now that you have gained a Phd in Mehendi types go on and explore what you like. After all it’s your wedding mehendi it has to be extra extra special.

I will update you on what I finally decided to do on the mehendi day

 

What type of mehendi have you liked the most? Have some great mehendi designs from your wedding day? Send them in…would love to have more inspiration!

A Happily ever after afterall!!

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Boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Don’t all love stories revolve around this and they should too but ours is a little different.

As promised i am going to spill the beans on our not so fairytale love story. I met M when i was in first year of college.He was four years elder to me and we were not in the same college in fact not even in the same city.

We met through a common friend and well we have been inseparable ever since. we would talk through the night in the beginning and it was the typical young romance we had with exchanging gifts and running out on pocket money just recharging our phones.But it was all worth it in the end. Me and M have been together more than 7 years now and it feels like just yesterday i used to bunk college, lie to mom( a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do right!) and meet each other. In the past 7 years there have been many trying times the burden of sustaining a long distance relationship was hard for us like it would be for any couple but we stood through it all and i am so proud of us that we have finally come to this day when we can stay in the same city together hell just be together all the time.

I longed for the little joys of a relationship the meeting everyday, the going shopping together the having lunch and dinner dates but alas we couldn’t do any of that but we made sure e would make up for it whenever we did get the chance to meet. every 3-4 months we would meet for a day or two when he would come to Delhi on his way to his hometown and time would stop still for both of u at least we wished it did!

Despite of all this i wouldn’t change anything that happened sure i would have loved to see him everyday but i think that made me realize that if we could get through all this together it just makes us all the more stronger!

This reminds me of the song “ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you baby”

Too dramatic.. i was just letting you get the feel of it! 😛

I am so glad its finally happening we are finally after so much struggle getting married and i will get to wake up in his arms every morning for the rest of my life!

Have you also gone through a long distance relationship? how has the journey been for you? i would love to hear it!

How did the Bridal bells start?

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I am getting married on 14th November 2013(yes that’s children’s day!) well i think its a great irony after all i feel i am a kid comfortable in the protective arms of my family,never had to worry about well stuff you know the “grown up things”like bills,responsibility,looking after the house etc etc.

No i am not a spoilt brat i do have a job and contrary to how this sounds being the elder sibling and all i am well very responsible. But that’s not the responsibility i am talking about you know how it is the “life changing event” where you step into new shoes and another title is added to your name. Yes its exciting and great and something i have obviously dreamed of but it also scares me a little but just a little the excitement and happiness overwhelms me.

Coming back to my children’s day wedding(i have to stop calling it that) me and M( my Fiance) are both just kids at heart or maybe everyone has a kid in them somewhere. Nonetheless we will be two kids growing up together!!

Our love story in the next post!