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My mum, my Super women (Mother’s Day 2014)

Today is Aama ko Mukh herne din ( Mother’s day) in Nepal. Please click here  and here to read more about it. I want to dedicate this post to all the moms of this world.

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in April 2014 issue.

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When I was young, I didn’t realised that my mum is a super women. But I know now that my mum is my hero and my treasure, she is like a prize I won the day that I was born.

My mum had a normal upbringing but she started working at a very young age. She worked as a teacher and continued working for most of her life.

When she got married to my dad, as in most of the household in Nepal, being a daughter in law, she had to cook, clean and look after the family and at the same time went to her 9-5 job six days a week.

After doing her daily chores, making sure we had breakfast, our lunch packed and everyone else is fed, she would to the school to teach. She usually arrived home late in the afternoon or before dawn and would prepare our food and take care of our needs.

I can’t remember her complaining about anything but remember her willingness and perseverance to help our family and trying to give me and my brother a better life. I really didn’t understand her sacrifices and to make it worst I used to complain about the food we ate, clothes we wore, toys I owned and other things.

It all seemed normal to me as a kid because most of the women around me were doing the same thing while most of the men were working in a job or business and were served hot meal 3 times a day without needing to lift a finger in the kitchen.

As I became more aware of the society in Nepal, I became aware of gender biases as well. I always asked questions if someone treated me different from my brother and I used to hate the answer when they say, “It is because you are a girl

“Girls should not be saying this.”

“Girls should not be doing this.”

“Girls should be learning how to cook.”

The amazing thing is, most of the times, these words were from the mouth of women like grand ma or aunties than men. As a child, it never understood why I have to be different from my brother. I am the same in every way I can think of to my brother so why I can’t do certain things or why I have to do certain things.

Watching Hollywood movies, I was happy to know that at least in some part of the world, women are treated better and equal and this made me dream of running away from Nepal and finding a future in a country where men and women are equal and gender bias didn’t exist.

When my destiny took me to Australia for further study, in my mind I knew that I was going to a developed country. I was sure my future was going to be much better than in Nepal. I had big dreams and was happy that I was taking the first step towards my dream.

Out of many things, I left behind in Nepal; I thought one of them would be gender bias. Living in Sydney for a while made me realise I was wrong. Like my mum, most of the women here were doing their duty at home as well as at work. Only few lucky ones had husbands who would help a lot in the kitchen and with kids but most women were doing 80% of the house chores while their partners were resting, as they were tired from a hard day’s at work.

Even though western society looks like they have no gender biases in movies I soon realised that the wives and mothers in Australia were going through the same story that my mum was going through in Kathmandu. Only a few lucky enough were telling me a different story but most of them had to look after both house and work. Therefore, my dream of living in a gender equal society was scattering into a million pieces.

I realised only when I started working and studying at the same time, how hard life can be. The hardships I went through as a student in Sydney made me think how great my mum is and how she is a super woman, able to do all that for us.

My mum deserves to be cherished because she taught us the values in life that inspired us to live wisely. She showed us how to be strong in times of weaknesses. She took care of us, fed us and did everything for us without complaining whether she was tired or sick. I feel bad that I used to complain about her food and the things she did or did not do.

Now I am a wife I understand her situation much better. I feel blessed to have an understanding husband but still feel a need to take care of many things in our house. Call it a women’s instinct but there are many things I feel I need to do to make sure our house runs smoothly and it is not an easy job. Right now, we are only two adults in the house and I can’t imagine how life going to be when we will have a couple of kids running around.

After a hard day at work, some days I feel exhausted and tired and remember maybe that’s how my mother felt as well when she was raising us. There are days I don’t want to go to the kitchen and then I remember my mum and how she handled two hungry screaming kids when she got back from work. It wasn’t easy for her and I can feel in my heart what she must have felt then. I know now that I should have appreciated all her efforts and all the sacrifices she made. She deserves to be loved and treated special. She is a superwoman.

mum

One day when I am going to be a mum and I hope to come into my own as a strong woman like my mum. I salute women like my mother who have paved the way for me as not only a woman and wife but someday as a mother and super woman to love and give with a big smile.

Please pick up a phone and call your mum and tell her how much you love her because you may not be this lucky one day.

Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

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Not Spending A Cent For A Day

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in March 2014 issue.

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Many times I have had people ask me how I manage to save money to travel, to do various activates and go to concerts. Most of them are in the same boat as me with big mortgage, ever-rising cost of living in Sydney and working average paying jobs. I hadn’t given it a thought until recently so here is my answer.

First and foremost you need to have the willingness to save money. Everyone wants to win a 50 million lotto and take their life from there but that is not going to happen with most of us so one must mentally prepare oneself to save money. It is easy to spend it but very hard to save it.

Second thing is willingness to do things. In Nepali there is a proverb, “Ta aat ma puraunchhu” which translates to you try and I will make sure you succeed. Unless and until you try to do something how will you know if you can or can’t do that. It is better to fail after trying than never attempting at all.

After that it’s all about being disciplined and sticking to the plan. Here are some simple tips I follow to get my saving in line:

  • Make a list of things you want to do in writing and pin that somewhere visible. Seeing something in writing everyday will encourage to reach your goal.
  • Make a note of every spending, even for 20 cents and put that in an excel spreadsheet.  Look at the incomes and expenses and see where you can cut down. This will give you a clear idea of your finance rather than just assumptions. Do this for at least a month.
  • Looking at the excel sheet, you will realise that food/grocery is one of the biggest spender apart from rent/mortgage so be smart while buying groceries. Plan your meals ahead and make a list so nothing goes to waste. Never waste food and never comprise on food quality. You won’t enjoy your saving if you have poor health.
  • Takeaway lunches are quick but they are not healthy and they make a big hole in your wallet. Try to take lunches from home and treat yourself with takeaway occasionally.
  • If you are a heavy coffee or soft drink drinker, check how much you are spending a day on your drinks. You will be surprised how much that amounts to in a year. If you can’t live without your drinks look for cheaper alternative like making your own espresso or buying cold drinks in bulk.
  • It is tempting to buy on impulse when shopping so make a budget and stick to it while you are in malls. It is easy to ignore the budget when you fall in love with the perfect dress that you have been looking for months but remember that dress you loved so much will still be around next week. And what are you going to do with the dress if you can’t afford your next planned holiday.
  • If you are saving for holiday, house, wedding, kids’ education, put aside a certain amount each month/ paycheck in a separate account and never touch this money.
  • Always have emergency money and never use it unless it is a real emergency. Staying so far from our family, you never know when you will need that.
  • Try to experiment just once for a whole day not spending a cent. Take lunch and snacks from home to work and do not buy anything. At the end of the day think about it and realise that you just made XX amount working whole day and not even a cent was spent. Isn’t that a great feeling? Don’t you want to have that feeling more often? I do. 🙂
  • By following these tips, you are not becoming a miser but being money smart. 

The most important thing to remember is: don’t stop living your life because you want to save money. You live only once so no point having millions in your bank account when you die. At the same time, you don’t want to be careless with your money that you have to struggle when you retire.

Good luck and HAPPY SAVING!!!

Different looks of Prabal Gurung for Target collection

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in June-July 2013 issue.

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If you are following the fashion world, I am sure you are familiar with Prabal Gurung,  the Nepalese born American designer who has dressed famous ladies like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, Zoe Saldana, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lawrence, Demi Moore, Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried,  and Sarah Jessica Parker to name just  a few.

On February 2013, Prabal Gurung collaborated with Target and launched a collection based  on the theme “LOVE”. The collection was a big hit with some of the favourite pieces running out on  the first day. Unfortunately, Target Australia did not carry the collection, which means we were left out.

Luckily, we managed to purchase a few items from his collection from the USA and have styled our pieces in different looks.

Prabal Gurung For Target Cardigan in Meet the Parents Print

Boho chic: For this look, we paired the cardigan with a black maxi dress and belted it to cinch the waistline. For accessories, we just went with a pair of black sandals, silver necklace and a mini shoulder bag to keep things simple and casual. This look is very bohemian and adding the printed cardigan elevated a simple black maxi dress making it boho chic.

Casual edge: For this particular look, we tried to put together a causal and laid-back style with a bit of an edge.  We simply paired the cardigan with a very basic yellow tank top and black skinny jeans. To add some edge, we accessorised with a pair of studded ankle boots, cross earrings and a big crescent pendant. Again, adding this printed cardigan injects life to this otherwise very plain style.

Girlie girl: For the third look, we tried playing the colour pink and girlie silhouette. We basically put the cardigan buttoned up and tucked inside a flared black skirt. To emphasize the waistline, we used a skinny belt in neon pink which also adds a girlie touch. To make this look even more feminine, we went with a pair of pumps in bubble gum pink and a statement necklace with pink accents. It’s a very fun and girlie look.

Prabal Gurung For Target Dress in Meet the Parents Print

Colour Burst: For the first look, we used some key pieces from Prabal Gurung(PG) collection. We styled this PG black & white floral printed skater dress with PG heels in similar print and PG clutch in lolita print. This cute clutch injects some colour to this otherwise monochromatic outfit; we also added some fun statement necklaces in yellow and pink for that extra punch of colour.

Frosty: We tried adding some glamour to this dress with frosty silver pumps and clutch. For some drama, we added a chunky pearl necklace. This look is perfect for girl’s night out or that romantic dinner date with your partner.

Lady in Red: Adding some structured pieces like this red blazer and wedges gives this dress a very formal and sharp appeal. This outfit can be worn to work or anywhere where you want to polished and formally dressed.

Casual Chic: We did a fun experiment by turning this dress into a flared skirt. For this look, knitwear is worn over the dress making it appear as a skirt. We finished off the look by adding pair of black tights, ankles boots and a scarf in bright yellow colour. This look is very casual, comfortable and chic; great for walking around or running errands.

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Confessions of a Shoeholic

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in June – July 2013 issue.

Confessions of a Shoeholic blogI am sure most women are crazy about shoes and I am not an exception. I am crazy about shoes or should I say addicted to buying them. Owning countless pairs of shoes has not stopped me from looking for more. You always find a nice pair of shoes and how can a girl walk past the shops.

If there were a group call “Shoeholic Anonymous”, I am sure I would need to attend one of their meetings. This is how I would be introducing myself.

Hi, I am M and I am a Shoeholic. I love shoes more than anything in this world and when I see shoes in a shop’s window, I feel like they are calling me with soft voices saying “Wear me”. I am 4 weeks sober because I have promised my husband that I will not buy another pair of shoes for three months if I was allowed to buy a Prabal Gurung shoes from the USA. I am doing OK so far but it is getting very hard. The worst part is that I can purchase shoes without feeling any guilt.

Or I can be in denial and never attend these meetings :).

I justify myself that my collection of shoes didn’t happen overnight as I don’t have money like Tamara Ecclestone. It is my collection of over a decade now. And they are from all over the world. Wherever I travel; I try to get at least a pair to add to my collection. I was quite surprised that when we were in Europe, the shoes were cheaper there than in Australian so I had to buy a few pairs for sure. And how can I not mention America where everything is so cheap especially the shoes. I bought so many shoes there because,  when bought one pair, another was just a penny. Can you imagine my reaction when I learned that I was getting the second pair literally for nothing?

Buying a pair of shoes has always had some supernatural effects on me, making me super happy and super confident when I wear them. I believe that shoes also tell a story about the kind of person you are. Feet are our feelings and a good pair of shoes that are well-made, attractive to look at, and comfortable to wear tell the world what you think of yourself all day long.

I might be highly inspired by characters like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City or Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic but I know I live in the real world. I don’t have 100s of pairs of Jimmy Choos or Manolo-Blahniks. Neither will I buy the latest issue of Vogue instead of buying dinner, max out my credit card while shopping or become a shoe lady. But I just love shoes.

I have to tell you a funny incident regarding my shoes. A while ago I was lunching with my friend in a café. That day I was wearing my favourite suede shoes as there was no sign of rain when I left home.

But while we were having lunch, it started to rain cats and dogs. We waited for a while for the rain to stop but it didn’t let up and there was no sign that it was going to stop anytime soon. We were less than 10 minutes away from work and we were getting late so we decided to run from the café to work.

Instead of saving myself from getting wet, I took my jacket out and put it on my head to save my hair and took off my shoes and hide it under the jacket. Then we both ran all the way to work. I was really hoping that no one I knew would recognise me in the street. It was quite embarrassing to run shoeless on the streets but my brand new shoes were made out of suede. If they got wet, I was not sure what would happen to them. When I finally got to the office, my dress was wet but my shoes were dry, not a drop of water on them. I was really happy with myself.

If you really want to start a shoes collection just remember quality over quantity. A quality shoes with quality maintenance should last for years and that is how you build your big shoes collection. As an adult, if you look after your shoes, you can keep them for years.

I am hoping to keep adding new and lovely shoes to my collection and one day will have this lovely collection which I can pass on to my daughter.

If you have watched the movie Sex and the City and remember the scene where Mr Big takes Carrie to their new penthouse and shows her the new walk-in wardrobe, that’s the moment my heart nearly stopped because that is exactly what I want; a walk-in wardrobe with one whole wall just for my lovely shoes.

 I hope one day my dream will come true.

Till then – “If the shoe fits… buy it in every colour.”

P.S: I wrote this article few months ago when I had no idea that I will own my walk in wardrobe soon 🙂

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Lace in Fashion

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in May-June 2013 issue.

977 Lace in Fashion

Lace detailing is absolutely beautiful and undeniably feminine and it has always had a particular allure in fashion and now it’s sexy, skin-tight & best worn with ample attitude. It was a textile that signified all that was luxurious, highly desirable and new.

‘Lace’ is a category that includes a number of detailed techniques, from embroidery, macramé, knitting, knotting and crochet, to guipure, Chantilly, Valenciennes and Venetian.

The LBD gets an even sexier tilt when you add a little lace. And don’t forget all the sexy accessories you can get in lace like stocking, bags, belts, shoes, scarfs, headbands, gloves and even umbrellas.

How to wear lace dress?

Colourful Lace

Colour is always good mood enhancer and it is same with a colourful lace dress.  Colours such as bright red or pink will give a sufficient statement to your appearance. Make sure you accessorise in neutral colours .

Casual Lace

For a casual look, you can choose to wear a longer dress with neutral colours. Choose minimal accessories to keep it simple, fun yet elegant.

Metallic lace

If you want something a little more contemporary, choose metallic lace for parties or formal occasions. Metallic lace goes best with black accessories.

Lace for evening

Lace goes perfectly for evening wear or formal events. From long gowns to elegant short dresses, lace will definitely make you look more feminine. Match the accessories and keep it minimal to highlight the dress.

Do you like lace?

Till next post, take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

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Loving Nepali Culture and traditions

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in June 2013 issue.

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I have lived in Australian for over a decade and I have to admit, I love Nepal, its culture and traditions more than the day I left her.

It is funny to remember how relived I was when I received the visa to come here. It was like; finally, I was going to be out of Nepal, far from all the stupid traditions and cultures to a new land where I could start all over again. Even though I was very sad leaving my family behind, I was really excited for the possible future. The preparation to leave the country was done with high spirit and positive attitude.

Finally the big day came. Before I left the house, in a traditional manner, my grand ma put a red tika on my forehead, and blessed me with sagun. I still remember the time I spent at the airport in Kathmandu. I was a bit teary eyed while bidding good bye to all the people who came to see me off. I realised that day that I had so many people around me who loved me. I had my parents, my brother, my relatives, my cousins, my school friends and my college friends, more than 30 people there wishing me well and saying their good byes.

Travelling in a plane to Sydney for the first time, I knew I was blessed with loved one but still at the back of my mind, I was happy about my decision about leaving Nepal and coming here.

The first few weeks in Sydney were really exciting as it was a new place, so much to see and explore. I got my first mobile phone and it surely felt like my dream country. But then reality hit me. For the first time in life, I needed to find a job. It was quite an effort to work, to cook meals and study at the same time. I was missing Nepal and home a lot. I convinced myself that the hardship was just temporary and once I got settled, things would change.

Things did change for the better after I got a job and started making friends but I still missed my family and Nepal a lot. I was surprised that I was missing my morning ritual in Nepal, going to the temples with my dad. I was missing my mum’s puja in the morning, the noise of the chaotic traffic of Kathmandu, the vegetables and fruits vendors’ calls selling their stuffs door to door, the sound of temple bells, and missing all the festivals. Being far from home, I realised and slowly started to value the culture and tradition of Nepal which I used not to like.

The first Dashain and Tihar away from home were really hard ones. Even though holidays were the best part of Dashain and Tihar in Nepal, I missed the tika and other religious aspects of these festivals. I also missed celebrating my birthday in a traditional way, tika with sagun in the morning and visiting many temples during the day.

As time passed by, I started embracing Nepali culture and tradition and started following it as much as possible. I started taking down notes of what happens in our culture and it was a joy to explain to people from other countries the different aspects of Nepali tradition. It felt so good to see their reaction when I explained what we do during our festivals, wedding, birth and death. I realise that our culture is so unique and old that it is worth all the effort to preserve it

I started celebrating Dashain and Tihar in full swing and having more family and friends here definitely helped to make it better. Even though I am from a Newar background, I joined my friends when they celebrate Teej and love every minute of it. Living abroad definitely has made me appreciate Nepal and its culture lot more than before.

I went to Nepal and had a very traditional wedding and I was happy to participate in a very elaborate ceremony over many days. Recently, my brother and sister in law were blessed with a baby boy and we made sure we followed all the traditional rituals here even though we are so far away from home. He had his Chhaithi and Nwaran here and we all went to Nepal to celebrate his Pasni with our loved ones.

These days instead of getting annoyed by the tradition and culture in Nepal, I feel inquisitive. I always want to know more why we do Ihi, Gufa , Bartamanda, Saradha, Pasni, Nwaran or any other ritual. I want to learn the legends behind our every festival and one day wish to pass this knowledge on to my kids. I want them to be proud of Nepal and Nepali culture. Even though I am not in Nepal, Nepal and its culture and tradition will always be in me and I hope to spread this love to the next generation so they can be proud of our heritage, tradition and culture.

Do you still follow your cultures and traditions?

Till next post, take care.

M from nepaliaustralia

XOXO

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Autumn Trend Alert: “Dot On”

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in April 2013 issue.

polka dots for blog kkkk

Polka dots have been in fashion for a long time and it is here to stay as polka dot pieces are guaranteed to cheer up any outfit. Remember the red and white outfit of Minnie mouse? Whether you prefer to be girly, casual uber-feminine, sophisticated or retro, just adding polka dots will definitely add a whole new level to your look making it perfect for work or the weekend.

There’s certainly no shortage of polka dot items to choose from like pants, dresses, coats, tops, stockings, shoes, bags, accessories, scarfs, umbrella etc.

How to wear Polka dot

  • Mix them with a sheer material or a skin-baring silhouette.
  • Wear neutral pieces with polka dot.
  • Wear cinched-waist polka dot dress to get an hourglass figure.
  • Wear a polka dot jean with a solid sweater or blouse in a corresponding colour
  • Pair with stripes or tiny floral for fresh look.
  • Wear polka patent belt to break the bold print.
  • Wear darker shades polka dots to get slimmer look.
  • If you’re not one to wear lots of prints, start with accessories.
  • If you are not comfortable with big dots, get small dots in stockings and under layer.
  • Wear polka-dot scarf or headband to add a new dimension to your everyday look.
  • Wear a light spring scarf to casual chic outfit.
  • Try also polka dot handbags, pumps, umbrellas and mobile phone cases.

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