Saturday, July 3, 2021

Support artisans & opt for handicrafts with iTokri.com!

If you know me, you know that I am a creative person who loves art and craft and of course handicrafts hold a special place in my heart. Handmade with love > Machine-made mass-produced anytime! I was so excited to discover yet another gifting and decor site called iTokri.com and their collection and offerings are never-ending! Right from handpainted buttons and drawer knobs to ready-made or ready-to-stitch fabric to even toys - they have got a wide variety of handmade products under one roof. In fact I had a tough time selecting designs, such a wide variety I was highly confused.

Here is a quick haul of 5 products under Rs.1500, yes you got me right:


1. Sitalpati शीतल पाटी Grass Handwoven Fabric Embellished Sling Bag Rs.750/-

This is such a nice mid-sized bag perfect for storing your phone, wallet, mask, sanitizer & spectacles/sunglasses on a quick trip to the grocery store or while running errands. In fact, my mom loved it so much, I had to let her keep it.


How cute are these cotton scrunchies with the tie-up bow or you can use them with your braids as well. They were there in so many cute prints that I just wanted them all. A lot of online stores sell scrunchies these days, I would urge you to buy these, they're so good and you are supporting local artisans!



3. Doll (Set of 5) - Handpainted Wooden Toy Rs.300/-

I have always wanted Russian dolls and this desi version was so cute! Something to keep in the living room and something for the kiddo to play with too. Did you know nesting dolls represent values of family, respecting elders, unity of extended family etc. And the price makes it all the more worth it, I am sure if you would buy it elsewhere you would end up paying a lot more.


4. Handmade Patchwork Pencil Pouch Rs.150/-

I am a sucker for stationery and this patchwork pouch is perfect for me to store all my pens, pencils, and colors! Again, there were soooo many options that just wanted them all.  In fact, they make a great gift/return gift as well - for birthday parties or kitty parties and so on.

5. Patchwork Fabric Cover Handmade Paper Scrapbook/ Sketchbook Rs.190/-

This handmade paper scrapbook with a patchwork cover is so pretty! I actually have a collection of books and I have not even used them. I plan to use this one to stick photos/souvenirs and make it into a nice way to store all my memories!

Apart from this, I loved the cute personalized touch of them writing a note and also giving a free pair of earrings - so cute - a perfect match for my black kurtis. Even ther box and packaging was unique and sustainable - reusing paper and newspaper - it felt really nice to see all these efforts being taken.

I really cannot wait to buy more things from iTokri.com - especially the kurtis, stoles, jewelry and home decor items. They also have cloth masks - in so many prints! Stay tuned for more such website reviews and discoveries.

Don't forget to check their Rakhi gifts and hampers!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

5 things I learnt from using credit cards for the last 13 years

Believe it or not, I got a credit card at the age of 19. I had my own customized gifting business, and my bank with whom I already had a savings account gave me a credit card just on the basis of my business card, that is all! I sometimes wish it wasn't so easy, and I wasn't so careless. But I wanted to share what I have learned, so that it may benefit any other millennial who is considering getting one or has just received one.

1. Annual Charges

via GIPHY

Most credit card companies will lure you into getting one with offers like a free shopping voucher or no charges for the first year and so on. Make sure you know what the charges are from the second year onwards, as it could be something like 1-2K per year too! I had a credit card that I was not even using and it was frustrating to pay Rs.700 just for nothing, even the bank doesn't give as much interest tbh.


2. Jitni chadar ho utna hi pair failao

via GIPHY

Quoting a popular Hindi muhavra, what I mean to say is don't use your credit card over your income or ability to pay back. The lucrative credit limits may make you feel like God, but remember, if you're not paying it all back in one go, you're paying the bank hefty interest charges, and when I say hefty, I am not even kidding. In fact, even when setting a credit limit, I would recommend keeping it lower, when the bank offers to increase it, politely refuse.


3. EMI's - the good, the bad, and the ugly

via GIPHY

Most of us get a credit card because we want to be able to buy expensive gadgets and other commodities on EMI. While no-cost EMI certainly are wonderful, I advise you to opt for the shortest duration possible for you. Always go for 3-6 month EMI's instead of 12-24, for multiple reasons. The first being that obviously you will have to pay more interest to the bank, and honestly even if the amount is small over time it starts feeling like a burden. Imagine using your new phone for months, or going for that international holiday for a week and the next year you're still paying for it - that doesn't feel very nice. Been there, done that. And you may also fall into a habit and before you know, every month your statement comes to big figures and you're paying for EMI's which you did not even remember in the first place, that may put you off your money management for that month.


4. Consider credit card as an emergency fund

via GIPHY

We all see hard times, you never know when an emergency may come up - like hospitalization due to an accident or sudden health issue. Having a credit card can make you feel at peace for when such a day arrives so that you get instant funds and then have a month or so to figure how to pay it back. Whenever making transactions using your credit card otherwise, ask yourself if you could pay for it via debit, ask yourself if you can push this expense to the next credit cycle. In fact, so many times if I want to buy something and my credit cycle is about to renew, I wait till that happens so that I get more time to pay it back.


5. Utilise those points

via GIPHY

Many of us, especially I have noticed one generation above, totally forget that their card collects points for using it - which you can redeem for gift vouchers, products, or even cash back! Don't forget to redeem  - the joy of free vouchers is amazing. Also, don't fall for fraudulent messages that say your points are about to expire and lure you into sharing your card details and OTP, before you know it, your money will be gone.

Hope my experience helps you! If you're a fellow CC user who has some more tips to add, please add in comments!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Tips & Tricks for Viral Instagram Reels! #BornOnInstagram

 A few months ago, Instagram invited me to be a part of 'Born on Instagram: Reels Edition'. Via this initiative, I get to attend workshops, interact with the team and learn how to produce better content. I thought I should share some of the useful things with everyone here. I am totally hooked to reels, making as well as watching. Each time someone tells me they smile when they see my reels, they look forward to mom and son reels on my handle or that I made their day - I know, that I am doing something right. And then, for me, it not about the 1m views, but even that ONE smile. Here are some tried and tested hacks you can try:

1. POST ON FEED AND REMOVE

So my mind was blown by this hack. Many times you may not want your reel to be a part of your feed or grid for aesthetic or other reasons. When you publish a reel, allow posting on feed, and after publishing remove the feed preview. Your reel will still show to all your followers on their feed. Try it, it works.

2. FOR IPHONE 12 / 12PRO / 12PRO MAX USERS

I love my iPhone 12 Pro's wide camera. The 0.5 allows you to capture so much more in every frame.  I had no idea that I just had to pinch my screen and zoom out to be able to use the wide-angle to create reels too! It makes life so much easier!

3. HOW TO GET SOMEONE'S ATTENTION

Transitions, transitions, and transitions! Whether you jump, clap, throw something at the camera or block it using your palm - transition reels are always a super-duper hit! Everyone seems to love the before and after outcomes! Try it - it may feel difficult in the beginning, but you will soon get a hang of it and get seamless at them transitions! (I myself am still getting there).

4. LOOK OUT FOR TRENDING CHALLENGES

There are dance, singing, talent, or funny challenges to copy every other day! So if you're not able to think of content, you can always try your own version of the fun challenges! I love the dance challenges the most - they look dope, and it helps me come out of my comfort zone and try to match the steps. You must have seen the Riko Riko Challenge, Iko Iko Challenge, One Dance Challenge etc on your feed in the last couple of months They are so fun!

5. REMIX AND COLLABORATE!

Instagram bought on the famous Tik Tok duets in form of remix wherein you can copy, react to or do anything fun and creative by remixing anyone's reel! You can also allow others to remix your reel by checking allow remixes option on your reel - you may disable it as well if you don't want others remixing to your original reels.

Know of more guaranteed, sure-shot tricks to successful reels? Mention them in the comments and I will try them out next.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

My vaccination experience - dose 1

Vaccination for the age group of 18-44 was announced on May 1st, soon after which Maharashtra government also announced that vaccination would be available free of cost in the state. Slots soon started opening up on the COWIN website as it became the fastest fingers first game.

People I follow on Twitter went for their vaccination and shared updates of a seamless, smooth experience - which helped encouraging others. Of course, getting a slot itself is very frustrating - follow Twitter to know what time will the slots be released. I myself tried a few times unsuccessfully, it was my brother who booked a slot for me.


Some tricks to book:

1. Use incognito mode browser.

2. Ensure you have a fast internet connection.

3. Use a laptop/desktop to book instead of the phone.

4. Log in a few seconds before the given time and refresh till you find the slot, enter the correct captcha, and book.

5. Don't be choosy about center and time options - make those decisions in advance else it only takes a few seconds for the slots to get full.


What to keep in mind before going for vaccination:

There is no official communication made, but generally be well-rested, sleep well the night before, have a nice healthy meal beforehand. I would also advise you to inform at work - as you will need to rest for a day or two.


What to carry to the vaccination center:

1. The ID that you used to make the booking (Aadhaar/Voter ID/Pan/Driving License etc)

2. A pen (some places request you to fill a form or sign and you don't want to use their pen)

3. A small water bottle (Mainly because of the blazing summer, though I would suggest not removing the mask at all as far as possible).

4. Your phone and earphones (You may have to wait for a while, especially if you're alone you may get bored so you want to have some music or movie to watch).

5. Make sure you double mask - surgical disposable mask inside and cloth mask over that (don't double mask with the same type of mask).

6. Small Sanitizer bottle - to use frequently after you have had to touch any surface.


Before you leave your home, make sure you double-check the address for the vaccination center - for me, it was confusing as it just said Gaondevi on SMS so I thought it was Vashi, and just in nick of time I realized it was Panvel. Even google maps did not have the correct information for UPHC and luckily my cabbie knew the vaccination center.




At the vaccination center:

  • My center was UPHC at Panvel, Raigad and it was a small town-style place where they only spoke in Marathi.
  • Upon arriving I joined a queue to show my registration SMS and get a token.
  • After which I have to take a seat and wait for the announcement of my token number.
  • Social distancing is all upon you - there are many chairs and it's totally on you how far you can keep yourself from others waiting along with you.
  • During my time, most of the chairs were full so it was not possible to maintain a 2-feet-distance, but everyone seemed to be double-masked.
  • I did see the security guard remove his mask for a short while, and another person where his mask below the nose - I was highly discomforted by both.
  • They announce token numbers in batches.
  • I had to wait for almost an hour for my number.
  • Then I was taken to another queue where my secret password (that you get when you register) was asked if I had any health concerns, was pregnant or lactating, my name, age details were taken.
  • We were asked to remove our shoes before heading inside and asked to take a seat.
  • There were separate rooms where the vaccine was being administered, I was called within a couple of minutes.
  • The nurse/professional informed me that she was administering the COVISHIELD vaccine and gave the jab on my left arm and put a cotton swap and asked me to hold it but not rub or put pressure, and then go outside and sit. She also gave me 2 paracetamol tablets - to be taken at night and in the morning the next day.
  • Soon another nurse called me, took my name, age, location details again. She asked me to throw the cotton swab in a bin, checked my O2 levels on an oximeter, and then asked me to wait for 15 minutes (not 30) at the waiting area near her.
  • This area soon got crowded too, with no social distancing again. She asked everyone if anyone is feeling dizzy or discomfort of any type happening.
  • After 15 minutes, she took my name and said I could leave.


Post vaccine:

Vaccine Day: I felt fine the day I got the vaccine shot, just a bit tired which could be because of being out in the heat and waiting. I took a Dolo 650 at night and went to sleep.

Day +1: I got up with a fever and left arm where the injection was given paining so much that I could not even move it properly. I had my morning Dolo 650 and went back to sleep. Fever returned again at night - but it was always low-grade 100 degrees Fahrenheit for me.

Day + 2: Did not have a fever anymore, pain in my arm still there but I was back to work (work from home of course).

Day + 3: Felt much better overall, but topical pain at the injection site was still there.

Day +4: I observed that the topical pain at the injection site was accompanied by tenderness, redness, felt warm to touch and I asked others in the family if they also had such. None of them did. I then consulted the COWIN helpline, my doctor friend, and a third nearby doctor - all of them telling me that I seem to have had injection inflammation. Anti-inflammation medicine prescribed for 2 days.

Day +5: Anti-inflammation meds seem to be working, all above-mentioned symptoms are still there but much less than Day +4.


Things to learn from my experience:

1. Try to opt for a center that someone else has visited and okay'd. (In terms of social distancing, language spoken, overall cleanliness and hygiene and comfort).

2. If you have to travel far to the vaccination center, make sure someone is accompanying you (I had my husband accompany me  - just in case you don't feel too good afterward).

3. I would also advise that not everyone in the fam should get vaccinated together - because you may all be feeling under the weather for the next couple of days. Always split so that one half can look after the other, especially if there are kids at home. My husband will get his later, and by then I can look after him.

4. At the center, please ask them what are the possible side effects you should look out for (they all differ depending on which company's vaccine you are getting). Also ask them what should be the treatment/remedy for that side effect.


Next dose:

At the center I visited, the gap between 1st and 2nd dose for COVISHIELD was mentioned as 45 days i.e. around 6-7 weeks, but soon after it has been announced that the new recommended gap is 12 weeks i.e. almost 3 months after the first dose. I will update this blog once I have more clarity on that front.

Making Peace With Death

I am making peace with death,

After all one or the other day, we all have to go.

I am making peace with death,

Because I cannot force my loved ones to be caged at home.

I am making peace with death,

This caged life seems to hold no purpose.

I am making peace with death,

The world is anyways not livable anymore.

I am making peace with death,

After all, we are all just statistics that make no difference.

I am making peace with death,

Are we even worth saving?

I am making peace with death,

So that when my turn comes, I am prepared.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mango Pudding Recipe - Easy & Yummy!

 Mango season is loved by all! Come summers, we await feasting on the king of fruits - mangoes! Specially Alphonso! I grew up with a few traditions that I still try to keep up after years of marriage. Mango sandwiches (yes, slices of mangoes inside slices of buttered bread), aamras and mango pudding are some must-haves! I have been making the mango pudding on my own in the last couple of years, but never wrote down the recipe and I thought, why not share the pure joy with each bite this layered pudding is! I don't usually go by measurements, but I will try to make it as easy for you as possible.

Servings/Portions: 6

Time taken: 1 hour + 2-3 hours of chilling in the refrigerator

Ingredients:

Marie Biscuit: 2 small packets or 1 big packet, any kind.

Butter: 1 tablespoon

Mango Pulp: Of 4-5 medium-sized mangoes

Mango Pieces: Of 3 medium-sized mangoes, chopped into small pieces

Milk: 2 Litres (to make the fresh paneer)

Sugar: Half Cup (For the chenna)

Vinegar/Lemon Juice: To make the paneer


Method:

Chenna (Paneer):

  • Start by bringing the milk to a boil, once it is boiling switch off the gas.
  • Put 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar/lemon juice to curdle the milk.
  • You should instantly be able to see the curdled milk and water separate.
  • You can add few cubes of ice to slow the process so that it doesn't over curdle.
  • If you have your own method to make paneer that differs from this, by all means, go for it!
  • Now collect all the curdled milk and hang it in a muslin cloth, draining all the water away.
  • Let is hang for around 30 minutes.

Biscuit Layer:

  • In the meanwhile, take the Marie biscuits and break them into pieces and grind them into the mixer/blender.
  • Do not over grind them to make them too fine, we want them to be a little grainy.
  • Pour this into the bowl you will set your pudding in.
  • Add 1 teaspoon melted butter, 2-3 teaspoons of milk and if you want, 1-2 teaspoon of mango juice to soak the biscuit powder a little.
  • Press the biscuit mixture to the base of the bowl, our first layer is now ready.

Layering the Pudding:

  • Next, take the mango pulp you have prepared and add a layer of that. Do not dilute the pulp by mixing water/milk. Do not add any sugar either.
  • By now your hung paneer should be ready to use. Remove it from the muslin cloth, break it into smaller chunks. First, blend the sugar to make powdered sugar, and then add the paneer to it and mix till you get a nice 'cream cheese' like paste.
  • Now layer this chenna above the mango puree layer. This needs to be done gently, carefully as you may mix the layer of chenna with mango pulp if you apply to much pressure. Gently cover the entire area. 
  • Now finally decorate and fill the entire bowl with pieces of fresh mangoes! Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or more. When ready, serve into smaller bowls. It will be a little messy, but the combination of biscuit layer + pulp + chenna + mango pieces is just melt-in-the-mouth!

Tips:

  • You can change the proportion of layers as per your liking, a thinner biscuit layer, or a thicker chenna layer as per your liking, just make as much quantity. 
  • Also, do not use all too ripe, too sweet mangoes - a sweet and savoury taste is more fun, so I like to add some just-ripe mangoes which are a bit tangy!
  • I have never tried making these with another type of mangoes, so cannot be sure how it may taste - but feel free to experiment and let me know via comments!


Saturday, February 20, 2021

A memorable token from Tokenz.com! Site & Product Review

Have you ever bought Indian mithai online? I had never, have always relied on my parents buying them from offline stores they trust. But I bought Kaju katli and besan laddu online and I love the quality! So convenient especially since we still want to avoid crowded places.

I also got a buddha statue from their website, I simply fell in love with the serenity and calmness the serene buddha idol displays and reflects! Definitely need such energies in my life, to be able to feel peaceful amongst all the chaos.

Delighted to have discovered yet another amazing, unique gifting portal! Why gift the common options like flowers or cake when you can craft a joyful experience with Tokenz.com.

Their website has a wide range of offerings like paintings, idols, jewelry and jewelry boxes, clutches, fragrances, skincare, and my fav section - food! Dry fruits, mithai, and biscuits/cookies to name a few options.

Buddha idols are said to bring peace and harmony to your home, and there are different variations of Lord Buddha - meditative, laughing, praying, serene, and so on. Each represents something different, and while I am no expert, I believe the serene buddha form represents inner peace and harmony - which I believe we all need!

The brass idol is actually heavy to lift for its size, so you know it is made of solid metal and the cut-work for the clothing is simply beautiful, as I mentioned earlier, I just fell in love with it when I saw it on the website. 


I personally like homemade delicacies more, and badaam katli more than kaju kalti. But both besan laddu and kaju katli are my kids favorites! In fact he calls katli - diamond. He totally loved both the sweets, so it is kid-approved surely! The rest of us need to control our sugar intake, lucky kiddo!

The mithai is packaged very nicely, making sure they don't get messy or damaged in transit. 

I placed the order and in a matter of 3-4 days it was delivered to me as well. Do explore their range of products, for your own home or if gifting to someone else! I am surely going to try more of their food range soon, and maybe their Khadi skincare range too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

How to file a consumer complaint in India, and WIN!

Most of us make purchases online, ranging from small denominations like an Rs.50 mobile phone recharge to buying the most expensive gadgets too (I am sure that day is not far behind when cars or houses are purchased online too!)

And if you are making transactions online almost daily, you must be hearing of cases of fraudulent websites, orders that were never honored, refunds that were never given, or the wrong product and other woes. More often or not, you will try to reach the brand's customer care via email or phone or social media and if still no luck then you will leave it (unless you have a lawyer friend or strong connections and there is a big amount involved).

Though I am fortunate to usually have good experiences mostly while making the numerous purchases I make online (I bought some of my wedding outfits online, mind you), there was a recent experience that left me bitter but I resolved to do something about it, and want to share my experience with you'll in case it helps.

Site: Apple India's official online store.

Item purchased: iPhone 12 Pro Max Magsafe Leather Cover

Issue: I had purchased an iPhone 12 Pro right from the Apple India official online store, and a few days later I ordered the adaptor (they no longer include one with the phone) and a MagSafe case. My hurried mistake while ordering was that I did not notice that instead of iPhone 12 Pro, I placed an order for iPhone 12 Pro Max case (both phones look exactly the same, sans the size difference) and the price for both covers was also the same. The cover arrived soon, and I only realized that it was the wrong model when I went to open the box and saw what was written on it.

The cover costs Rs.5900 which is a huge amount for someone like me (you would get a starting end android phone in as much!) so I pleaded my case to apple's customer care (their chats are largely flawed, there is no email, none responds to social media/tweets, so telephonic is pretty much the only way).

The first time I explained my situation, the customer support executive heard me out and wanted to help, and told me she would try to make an exception in my case by talking to her seniors. When I did not hear back from her on days, I called them again, my hopes raised, only to know that no such commitment was made and their policies state that they cannot make any refund or exchange in this scenario.

I was furious for two reasons - one being that the previous person did give me hopes, and second being that had this been Apple's policies for the US, they would have happily taken away the case back even if I opened the packaging. Not to forget that I indeed had purchased the phone from their website, which was in their records, this is the least they could do to support a customer instead of making the experience sour.

I had almost given up and was trying to find a buyer through my own contacts, but no luck (fortunately).

Resolution: Someone told me about consumer complaint forums, and I decided to give it a shot. You first need to sign up on - https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/ or download their app and register. Do not expect an impressive shiny website, but it works.

Next, you need to submit your complaint by sharing all details possible, date of purchase, invoice details, issue, and all supporting evidence. That is all, your case is registered with them.

I did not hear back for days, and then I got a notification that my case was escalated to the next step which made me hopeful. A few more days passed, and there was no intimation or update of any kind after which out of the blue I received a call from Apple's International team, who told me that they will exchange the product and give me the right product as soon as the return is made! I could hardly believe my ears, Justice had been served!

Soon the original wrong product was picked up from my address, and the correct model's case is finally delivered to me, 2 months to get a resolution but still better than Rs.5900 going down the drain.

It is indeed a powerful feeling to know that as a consumer if you are right and deserve resolutions, there are means to get it done. I am grateful to the consumer forum team, and by the way, did I mention that they do not charge any service fee/cost to get the resolution?

So next time you are wrongly charged, duped, or not given proper resolution and have tried all other means, do try making a grievance application here. I would remind you to be patient, and I would also urge you not to misuse the facility by making false claims.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lego Super Mario Starter Course - Rental with Brickz On Wheels

 I recently stumbled upon a lego rental service called Brickz On Wheels. It is the perfect option for parents who do not want to spend or buy the set at the full price, if the kids play with it only initially for the first few days or weeks and then forget all about it (Typical kids!).

How the rental works: you pay the one-time rental of subscribing to their 3-month silver/gold plans + pay a deposit. Then you select from the variety of sets available, and they will ship it to your address.

Watch this unboxing + building video we made for the Lego Super Mario Starter Course we rented:


Pros of renting a lego set:
  • You/Your child gets to play with more lego sets and get variety rather than sticking to one at the same price. So overall, cost-effective.
  • You don't have to worry about storing the sets, if you lack space, you play and you return it back.
  • Since the child is aware that they have the set only for a couple of weeks, they will utilize those 2-3 weeks very well in playing with the set instead of spending time on a screen.
  • If you are a serious lego collector, this is a good opportunity to try the set before you consider buying it.
Cons of renting a lego set:
  • I think the only thing to take care of and remember is, if your child is between the age group of 6-8, they are not matured enough to keep all the pieces properly, and there is a chance of pieces going missing if you aren't there to monitor. If you do not return all the pieces, the set cannot be used by others, and money may be deducted from your deposit depending on how many pieces are missing.

So, as long as the kids are careful, understand, and take responsibility for keeping the set properly, and you are attentive and present when they're playing (for the younger lego fans) - then do try renting lego sets! Brickz On Wheels has amazing sets that can be rented, do check them out! I cannot wait to rent the passenger train, space rocket, Porsche, and other cool sets that they have!


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Make your guests remember the visit! Unique home & decor products from 'Exclusivelane'.

 The first article of 2021, so let me start by wishing everyone a #HappyNewYear! May this new year bring good health and an abundance of happiness! We have been most lucky to meet our loves ones in the past few months, where there have been travel and other relaxations. Nothing can be compared to talking to your friends and relatives over a cuppa coffee or a good meal!


I wanted to buy some things for my home, and be ready to welcome guests once again, and stumbled upon this wonderful site called exclusivelane.com. Just like their name says, they have a very well-curated range of home decor, kitchen, garden, accessories, and a lot of other things for you and your home!


Let me quickly show you what I purchased in about 2000INR.


1. Hand-painted half-cup set of 2:

If you're an ardent chai and coffee lover like me, who can have it any time of the day, you must have definitely tried to cut down on the portions and ask for "aadhi cup chai" or half cup coffee. When your guests ask you for just half a cup of tea next time, serve it in this literal half cup, and see their reaction! The unique cups are definitely conversation starters, microwave safe, and look amazing. The only downside is they aren't the most comfortable for daily use I felt - as you have to be a bit careful when placing it down or drinking out of it - not for clumsy folks.

 

2. Hand-painted salt and pepper shaker set of 2:

We needed to get new shakers, and instead of getting the typical ones, I loved these hand-painted ones with cute huts and houses made on them. And the best thing is, if you like the print, they have an entire collection of plates, platters, etc - so you can also have the entire theme if you are looking at having the entire set. They're really cute, so the next time you are adding seasoning to your dishes, you are also appreciating art at the same time!

3. Sheesha Wood spice box with spoon

While the box is sold as a spice box in their store, it actually is a box of endless possibilities! A good quality wooden box with compartments that you can use to fill with spices, or fill with mouth-fresheners and supaaris for your guests, or even fill with a variety of candy for your lil guests. And not just that, you can also use it to organize and store your trinkets - rings, pendants, or any other nick-nacks. 

They also have wonderful planters, jewelry and so much more - that you can buy for yourself or even gift to someone if you're looking for a unique and not mass-produced gift option!

All the items were shipped in careful packaging, since they are delicate items, and came to be intact, and it took about a week for the items to be delivered.

The best part is that they support local artisans, and you can also see different artisans featured on their page - so if you are someone who is "Vocal for Local" too, then this site should definitely be explored. Happy Shopping!

Also check out, Exclusivelane.com Valentine's Day Store - Gifts for Her