As an eclectic Libra with a head full of shimmering optimism and an imagination that looks not unlike like an episode of Adventure Time, having people on my team who deliver loving-but-firm reality checks and warn me of derailing into irrational territory with my business and personal life are I-N-V-A-L-U-A-B-L-E.
Aparna Dasgupta is one of the rare people I know who does this as if it were an art form. She can scan a resume, conversation, or a list of habits, and call you out on the things that aren’t working for your higher purpose.
She’s done this for me many times in our 11 years of friendship, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s decided to take this gift and give it back. Her new venture, Life Stylist, is currently campaigning for funds to launch and provide resources for women to take life into their own hands… with style.
Hey Mishka: First, happy International Women’s Day! What’s the special significance of this day for you and this venture?
Aparna: Women’s Day is one day in the year when the focus is on change. It’s a bit like New Years for Women! 364 other days of the year are spent toughing it out, but Women’s Day is a time for both resolutions and reflection. It’s also a time to reach out to others.
Life Stylist is built on the premise of helping women ‘level-up’ in life through 1-on-1 coaching. It’s about sharing what I know in order to bring more fulfillment, success, and happiness into my clients’ lives. Launching my crowdfunding campaign the week of International Women’s Day was serendipity. I’d been working on it for months! But I believe everything happens for a reason.
HM: What do you think is the biggest barrier women face in their professional lives?
A: Women are fighting against bias and constructs that are centuries deep in the very foundation of the work force. It’s invisible, noxious, and deadly. Many women have internalized the bias against them and feel uncomfortable stepping out of the box they’ve been put in. They’ve been led to believe that the only way to make it is to “play nice”.
Women are inherently apologetic for their existence as a result. When they do step up, lean in, or take charge, they’re seen as rebels: uncouth, unladylike, a threat! Other women even condemn them for it. That’s actually the worst part.
HM: What are 3 things you see most women doing wrong?
A:That’s a tough one! Everyone is so different, and the reasons why they act a certain way is unique to their circumstances. I’d say the 3 most common things are apologizing, fighting, and waiting. Let me elaborate:
Apologizing – Women make excuses for their daily existence. Sure, be polite, but being passive and sorry all the time is destructive. Women step back to accommodate everyone, and essentially cut themselves out of the sphere of influence. Passive verbiage and excusing oneself, in a work email for instance, results in a muddled, ineffective message. It immediately puts one at a disadvantage.
Fighting – I find mixed messages within the “women’s empowerment” movement. Women’s empowerment isn’t a fight against men. It’s a fight against oneself. You have to be daring and bold enough to step outside the “ideal” feminine box you’ve been born and bred into. It’s not about acting more masculine, or being superior to men.. It’s about raising yourself up.
Waiting – Women have a tendency to behave passively in more than just the workplace. They are careful, they are maintainers, they cripple their ability to achieve their dreams due to caution and doubt. They wait for an opening in the conversation.., but there’s no invitation coming! You have to invite yourself to the table and be heard.
A: Life Stylist is an iteration of Life Coach that speaks to my background in fashion as well as my services. My coaching method is all-inclusive, addressing both the internal and psychological, as well as the external self. I show women how streamlining their internal an external selves will bring focus and success, on their own terms.
I offer clients two different ways to work with me: on an a la carte basis targeting specific areas of concern, as well as all-in-one coaching, where I work hand-in-hand with them to clarify goals and challenges, and ultimately guide them through a carefully designed transformation. Changing habits, overcoming fears, even making head or tail of what it is you want in life? These aren’t things one can do alone.
HM: From a young age, you’ve been running the show. Can you tell me about your progression into the mental and professional place you’re at now?
A: I did direct a class play in Grade 4, if that’s what you mean! ;} My life has been a winding journey of diverse experiences. From my roots, planting me at the crossroads of distinctly different cultures (Indian and American), to my interests, both at the geeky and fashion-forward ends of the spectrum, I’ve thrived in the midst of some very conflicting ways of life. This lends itself to becoming a top-notch communicator. It’s hard to navigate such extremes if you aren’t!
I was the shyest kid in school, but at the same time I’d deliver thoughts without apology when given the podium. I realized the power of this ability—assertiveness—through much self-reflection. I began using it deliberately.
This skill led me to a high-earning career in the fashion industry where I became known for my abilities to lead, execute, and churn out results. By age 28 I was earning a 6-figure salary and had launched two business ventures. Where I am now is a result of all of this, but especially a result of my self-reflection and analysis each step of the way.
HM: What kind of woman will your program benefit? Is there anyone this program won’t work for?
A: Absolutely! There’s no one solution for everyone. The woman who will benefit from my coaching is already aware. She knows she wants more than she’s been handed. She is outgrowing the box she was born into. Her eyes are open. She wants to upgrade, and while she may be afraid, conflicted or uncertain, she’s determined.
That’s where my coaching comes into play. I help her answer those questions and get her out of the woods and onto the freeway. It’s all upwards from there!
HM: We’ve been close friends for over 10 years, so I know you’re amazing, but for those who are hearing about you for the first time, can you sum yourself up in 3 words?
A: Empathetic, logical, and visionary.
HM: What did you have for breakfast?
It’s a miracle I remember! It was a bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup and walnuts, and a cup of Red Rose black tea. I am such a tea addict.
HM: Finally, tell us how people who donate today will be benefiting your mission.
A: The money will help pay for the tools that business owners have traditionally gone to banks and investors for: PR, marketing, webdesign, and professional services, and the ability to pay a fair rate to those I work with. Anyone can say they’re a life coach, but not everyone takes their business seriously. Shortchanging myself in that regard just isn’t my style—and I wouldn’t be taking my own advice if I did it!
I’m excited to share a number of fantastic perks you can score for contributing. Some of those are free private yoga classes, a luxurious key charm bracelet, and one of the best, “The Pro”: a 4 week career boot camp guaranteed to give you a killer advantage in the job market.
For International Women’s Day I am running a special perk through midnight PST on the 8th. 10 lucky women can snag the key charm bracelet AND a 1 hour free consultation for a donation of just $50. All day tmrw IGG is matching 4% of contributions, so your participation means SO MUCH. ஐ
A huge thanks to Aparna for sharing the mission behind her venture on Women’s Day. I hope you’ll consider contributing to her campaign. Having had the pleasure of her council and friendship for over 10 years, I can say with full confidence that she’s capable of facilitating clarity and general awesomeness in the lives of the women who are dedicated to taking what’s theirs.
Drop a comment with your thoughts, and Happy Women’s Day!
Looks like I’m not the only one with a sweet tooth! Karl Lagerfeld’s show may have been the most novel thing I’ve seen in many Fashion Weeks, but it was Manish Arora’s FW14 collection that left me starry-eyed (and reminiscing about my early teenage candy rave era).
While one might pine for a deeper palette of inspiration, Manish was inspired simply by candy. He bought bags and bags of it, in fact, while designing and executing the collection. Other motifs include a trans-global sampling of cultures: Peru, India, and China. These three blend together with such ease that the eye processes the combination quickly, and moves on to be overwhelmed and amazed at the digital printing, embroidery, wild embellishment, and playful accessories.
I am not a fan of the shoes. I’d have changed them out for something more fashion-forward. These giant pump sneakers weigh down what is otherwise an incredible explosion of color and inspired cross-cultural deliciousness.
See the full collection here.
Speaking of sweet stuff, check out the giveaway I’m hosting this week for Dosha Pops! The winner will be drawn on Friday.
While I am ever-evolving into a far more health conscious consumer, I still have one heck of a sweet tooth. I sneakily buy donuts on my way home from work, indulge in San Pelligrino’s blood orange soda, and on a really guilty day, eat a whole box of cookies with my tea.
The trouble is, indulging in sweet stuff never feels as good afterwards. Sugar rush now means a sugar crash later. I’ve always pined for a sweet treat that adds value to my day beyond the initial sensation of deliciousness, and it appears my wish has been granted at long last.
Enter Dosha Pops: the only candy of its kind. Dosha Pops are lollipops (handmade in NYC) with ingredients that support a healthier lifestyle based on your Ayurvedic dosha. Ummm, how amazing is that?
What is Dosha? Here’s a quick explanation via Doctor Oz (and if you would like to identify your own Dosha, you can take this quiz): ”According to ayurveda, each of us has a unique mix of three mind and body principles, which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called doshas. Most of us have one or two doshas, which are most dominant in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less expressed.”
When you read about Dosha Pops’ founder Peggy and her story of becoming a social entrepreneur, you’ll definitely be inspired. She’s worked hard to bring this vision to life, and I was honored when I was asked to test it out.
A crucial aspect of the Ayurvedic lifestyle is regularly consuming herbal teas. Herbal tea is a key ingredient in Dosha Pops, as well as herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and cardamom. Lucky for us, these are all delicious things to pair with sweets.
I have fond memories of getting lollipops from bank tellers as a kid, and junior high was all about sour green apple Blow Bops. But I assumed I’d grown out of my lollipop love by now. Actually, I haven’t eaten much candy in my 20s at all (I’m more of a pastry girl now). So while the concept of Dosha Pops immediately won me over, I wasn’t sure if I would be crazy about them…
In fact, I was amazed by the sheer amount of flavor possessed in this little disc of sweetness. There were layers of flavors, overlapping but individually thrilling my taste buds. My favorite? The Inner Glow Dosha Pop—no surprise considering my obsession with ginger and turmeric.
The longer you enjoy these pops, the more flavors are revealed. It is truly a gourmet candy experience, and while I don’t think any instant Dosha magic happens on the first try, I do believe the healthy ingredients paired with the joy of eating colorful candy could be beneficial to people of all ages.
Hey Mishka x Dosha Pops Giveaway
I really want you to try these pops, so I’m giving some away! Enter below in the comments after liking and following Hey Mishka & Dosha Pops on social media. I’ll be picking one lucky winner on Friday to receive a flavor of their choice, or the sampler. You’ll be in for a treat either way.
To Enter The Giveaway:
3. Leave a comment below with your email and tell us which flavor you’d like to try!
A random winner will be selected this Friday, March 7th. The winner will receive one pack of 6 delish Dosha Pops (assorted or a flavor of your choosing).
Good luck, and here’s to a balanced, healthy week!
Last week ENK Coterie came to the Javits Center for three days of trade show madness. An overwhelming number of brands in sportswear, denim, accessories, jewelry, and loungewear represented with their latest releases.
I did some trend hunting and snapped pics of my favorites. Lots of bohemian prints and filmy fabrics, big audacious phrases printed on separates, and creative approaches to embellishment. It’s interesting how intense the boho trend is becoming. I’m definitely not complaining!
Quite possibly my favorite thing in the whole show? The beautifully decaled floral staircase leading up to the main event.