chronically ill but make it Fashun

Hey loves!

So chronic pain and my injury have been kicking my ass this year and as a result I did not feature quite a few looks styled over the months, instead posting them on the Gram. But it is not fair for my readers here and I will make more of an effort to post them here first as I always have in the past! Not all of these looks were shot ‘professionally’ from the DSLR but I reckon you will like them all the same. Enjoy!

This will be in chronological order by the way. Also, most of them are sales items or outfits I purchased last year but never got around to wearing because of the injury. Life happens, expenses for my and the pets’ health cropped up a fair bit. So I will not add a link to where you can get the items unless they are still available because they will most likely be gone from the shopping sites.

 

Tomboy

The Midnight Wasabi lipstick from Fenty Beauty’s Mattemoiselle series has become one of my personal favourites!  

Both t shirt and denim shorts are from Forever 21 Plus. 

 

Night out with the Girls

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Forever 21 Plus in size 1X 

shirt dress with collar

Getting dressed up has become a little infrequent of late so getting some makeup on and cleaning up for dinner with my girlfriends was so very welcome 🙂

 

Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day

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sheer off shoulder blouse – Forever 21 Plus

Asos Curve jeggings in Uk 20 

Your girl does not find it terribly exciting to partake in Valentine’s Day but my girlfriends who own plus size retail store The Curve Cult had a neat event for their customers for the occasion and it was so much fun with some bubbly haha!

 

Women’s Day shoot and video 

off shoulder blouse and floral skirt – The Curve Cult 

I was so honoured to be a part of my friends’ from The Curve Cult’s passion project for International Woman’s Day featuring personal stories from a diverse range of Singaporeans.

Summer Lovin’

 bodysuit – Forever 21 Plus in size 1X

white jeans – Asos Curve in Uk 20

 

Geek Chic 

both top and shorts are from Forever 21 Plus 

cute comfy shoes from Hush Puppies

 

Polka Dotty

Asos Curve top and jeggings 

Oh I love this shirt so so much because it is so Yayoi Kusama inspired! Polka dots have been very popular this year in plus outfits and I have enjoyed wearing a few outfits in the print.

Cateye Help You?

 Sometimes we centre an entire outfit around an accessory or a makeup look right? I know its definitely not just me who does this! I have enjoyed getting myself cute pairs of glasses this year to add to my collection.

 

Baecation Please

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Hubster and I had a much needed staycation at the Fort Canning Hotel, for some relaxation time. Lovely place!

 

Hey Kitty Girl!

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The Asos Curve X Hello Kitty collection gave me LIFE!!

 

Heart of Glass

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A little bit of Blondie never hurt anybody 😉

 

Date Night Velour

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I love this suede-like dress from Rue 107. Purchased it in 2016 but never got around to wearing it!

 

Summer Blousey

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this Asos Curve blouse is so comfortable and because it has lining I can choose to go braless if I want hehe 

 

Flared Up

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The trend of flared, frilled pants definitely had me piqued too. Did l enjoy it? I’m not too sure. Also HAAAYYY Resting Bitch Face!

 

Pizza: a love story

this is an older dress from Rebdolls but I enjoyed taking these shots so much I had to share!

 

Uptown Girl

a look for a rare night out and about in town, wearing an Asos Curve tank top and pencil skirt

Pride 

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I adore vibrant Forever 21 shirt and gave the flared Asos Curve pants another spin!

 

I got it from my Papa

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Went purpley plaid with this Forever 21 dress for Father’s Day. The title is pretty accurate when you see the identical resemblance we share! Don’t believe me, check this out

 

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UNCANNY right?

 

Retro Chicky

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You know I don’t do flattering clothing – if I like it, I wear it. And this retro blouse was calling my name! Also, if I take pictures at home, rest assured our Jack Russell Schatzi will be in the frame. If she isn’t it is because she is being carried by the photog to get out of the shot! 

 

Weekender

 

 

Comfy in Crop

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Romping

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This cute romper from Forever 21 Plus was another purchase for summer of 2017 that I did not get to wear because of the injury so I styled it up here with this gorgeous blue lipstick – who else but Fenty Beauty! It’s a mix of 2 of the Mattemoiselle lippies. 

 

I was Beyond stoked to have this artwork of me from a talented artist made inspired by this look!

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I really enjoyed this impromptu shoot

 

Weekday Casual

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More Polka?

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Another impromptu shoot I did in this dotty Jumpsuit from Asos Curve! Love the earrings, they’re from Pretty Little Thing 

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Classic Combo

 

Tangerine Dream

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I really love this satin Asos Curve jumpsuit and should have done a proper blog shoot! If you’d like to more of this let me know and I will happily get a more professional shoot done 🙂

I quite adored the makeup for this look, even if I say so myself.

 

Day at the Beach

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Camisoles have been trending this year as well and it has been fun reworking it into my wardrobe since I only used to wear them back when I was straight sized. 

 

Aaaand that is a wrap for now loves! Which look/looks were your fav? What have you been styling up or added to your wardrobe this year?

 

xxxo Aarti 

 

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Unconditional Body Beautiful – Part 3: My journey with my Legs 

  
This part of a collective blogger body positive series of posts was due in March, but if you’ve been around you know I’ve been less active on the blogging front. 

I was an outdoor sports lover. I lived to bask in the sun and run as fast as my legs could take me. Even as my body changed from gangly 7 year old to chubby 11 year old, I was constantly on the move. I kicked up a storm in the pool and even today, when I lie in bed, I kick my feet like as if I’m free styling in the pool. It’s a force of habit!

My feet are able and that is an achievement for me everyday. Many of you will be familiar with the mishap back in 2004 that rendered me wheelchair bound, with minimum chances of physical mobility. As you can see I challenged that diagnosis and live to tell the tale. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. 

 

post surgery lookalike photo

I actually found that picture above online lol because I didn’t take pictures post-surgery (wasn’t a priority) but my foot was actually double the size of this foot, darkened to a purple hue and the surgery scar was not simply at the Achilles’ tendon but all around my foot. 
Gaining a new lease of life with my newfound mobility comes with a unique set of daily challenges. Outdoor sports, running, dancing are out of the question. Vigorous gym exercises are too much of a strain. Even yoga has to be gentler because my feet cannot take all of those poses. It is a whole new way of life. I have had to learn to be more considerate to my feet else I may have a few days of bed rest to ease the pain. Some days the pain and swelling flare up out of the blue and there is nothing that I can do except for take care of it and be patient. Yes my days are complicated by swollen feet, restless leg syndrome and pain but I do my best to take good care of them and that is why I stand on my own two feet with pride everyday. 

 

water baby
 
Thankfully not all of my favourite activities have been banned, swimming is very therapeutic and walks around my neighbourhood keep them active. I have to make a point Not to be sedentary as it hurts the blood circulation and actually makes the feet more susceptible to sprains or swelling. Some days with the pain and tension on the feet I would rather not move around much but I remind myself of the repercussions of not moving for an extended period of time. So that’s the story of my feet! 

  
I love how defined my calves are over the years thanks to the years of being a dancer and gym rat. I have a strong set of calves and knees that I have learnt to take better care of since the foot mishap. It is even more important now to keep them strong. 

My shoulders are proportionate to my hips, which makes me one of those plus size bodies people love to hate. Well they’re still plus sized thighs folks! Shopping for bottoms with these thighs in mind is never easy. They became thick in my teenage years as my curves came in and have remained so. No amount of working out and dieting can slim these thighs. This is how I am built! 

  
These thick thighs are drizzled in cellulite and odd pigmentation. Which is why I am not in the habit of wearing short shorts or mini skirts; not even when I was an in-betweenie. With serious leg injuries the last thing that came to my mind was how my legs looked. 

Of course to a complete stranger they picture a whole other story in their heads and some of these idiots make it a point to let it be known to you. After a few months of swimming post-injury, I stopped for a few years because it became very upsetting to be made fun of in the public pools. I remember how tough it was to get my feet to grip the wet tiles in order to keep me from slipping and how much of an effort that was. These people managed to take away the one sport I was still able to enjoy. 

Imagine my joy when my folks moved 5 mins away from me this year and I had pool access without having to concern myself with idiots like the ones in the public pool. Or so I thought. 

Do you recall my Gabi Fresh Swim Sexy post with that one piece swimsuit? Last week I chanced upon a local Singaporean Indian fellow’s blog who copied my post onto his website word for word and turned it into a fat shaming spectacular. It was filled with fat shaming gifs, memes, ‘fat people Health statistics’ and his personal demeaning comments on me and how I looked and what he thought about me. I was shaking after I read his post. I felt violated. I felt disgusted by his blind hatred. 

This wasn’t the first time someone saw nothing but a body to hate and ridicule. It brought me back to how small I was made to feel despite my well meaning efforts to keep myself active by swimming. The clear message I got was : I hate everything about you. Get out of my sight. You freak me out. You anger me. You disgust me. 

The biggest difference between the Aarti back then who stopped going to the pool and the Aarti now who was shamed for being in a swimsuit is this: 

I move on. Within a day of that asshole’s blog post, I strode to my folks place..dropped my towel with no shame and had myself a languid swim.  Wanna stare at them thighs? Go right ahead. Wanna disapprove? Fine. Just do not expect me to ruin my happiness over your preconceived notions. You don’t know me. I don’t know you. So excuse me for not giving a shit. 

  
 
Not everyone has the luxury of physical mobility. There are amputees, conditions that cause paralysis, people born without a leg, people who experience constant pain and instability with osteoarthritis and children with cerebral palsy. Those are just a few examples of how mobility can be taken away. In the larger scheme of things if I give such fools permission to affect my wellbeing then shame on me. I know how I live my life and take care of myself. That is all that matters. I look up to people who inspire and empower in the hopes of doing the same for others. THESE are the people that matter. 

Jackie Hagan is someone I stumbled upon after reading this post on BUSTLE. She is a ‘lemonade’ girl, a term I use for people who turn life’s sour lemony experiences into delicious well worth your buck lemonade lessons. She performs her show “Some people have too many legs” to theatregoers and it speaks of facing your fears. She also runs workshops, has a book published and well basically is a chick I would very much like to meet and give a big hug someday for the message behind her work. You can visit her website here

  
Stacey Baker,  a photo editor at the New York Times has a gorgeous Tumblr site called Citi Legs. What started out as self scrutiny of her legs metamorphosed into a project that celebrates size and style diversity through taking photographs of women from the waist down. Check out her interview by Refinery 29 here
  
And of course, there is no lack of inspiration from the body positive community. I am not sure how many of you are aware of the ban of the hashtag curvy on Instagram. It was done with no warning and to say the body positive community was enraged is putting it mildly. To be surrounded by people who understand the stigma of being a certain size or colour and to remain empowered through the sense of community is a very powerful thing. 

Last year, I was still afraid of wearing a two piece swimsuit. I hadn’t even done a proper one piece swimsuit shoot. I worked hard at that insecurity last year and asked myself pertinent questions. I asked myself : were the words I used to criticise my thighs my own? Wasn’t there anything I liked about them? Why was I being so unfairly harsh on myself? Who did this benefit? 

 

what people see
 
I felt wistful when I watched my friends posting pictures of themselves having a good time splashing in the pool. Mostly because I was denying myself the incredible amount of joy and serenity felt when I was in a pool. 

 

what I see

I cannot run. I cannot dance. I cannot play tennis or trek mountains or hike up a hill. But I Can swim. I needed to stop hiding and having a hand at stealing my own happiness. 

So I gradually began to stop hiding. I took these pictures of myself and learnt to see the good instead of the ugly. 

  
I reminded myself of what I was capable of overcoming. 

  
and it’s still a work in progress ..

  
but then again,

  
A work of art was once a work in progress 😉 

On the lighter side of leggy issues, how many of us know the many joys that come with this heat and humidity and our legs? Chub rub, sweaty car seats, sweat stains on your skirt Eeeek! There’s this really funny (although kind of problematic) post by Cosmopolitan magazine I relate to and I’m sure a few of you will as well! I’ve got a few of my own chub rub solutions, but the sweaty thighs oh my that’s just uncomfortable. 

Allow me to share a personal anecdote. I adore boyfriend jeans especially those that are slightly ripped. They’re comfortable, roomy and I never worry about my thighs rubbing with them. BUT be careful how you slide in and out of a car because your blogger friend here did her usual tomboy jump into the cab and girl, those jeans became obscene lol. I mean, there was way too big a hole and I didn’t want my lady parts out there for the whole world to see. Lesson learnt! 

At the end of the day, this picture sums it up for me :

  
 We have such beautiful, varied forms waiting to be dressed and adorned. As an Indian woman, henna and anklets are a beautiful touch to my feet. Thigh highs are so hot. Shoes are such statements. Skirts are all kinds of sexy on us while shorts keep us comfortable. Pants make us look sharp and stylish. 

Our legs should be busy trying to take on the world and stamping our presence. While I appreciate them, I am so done obsessing over them. 

  

  
 check out my fellow Unconditional body beautiful bloggers : 
Rebequita Rose 

Leah 
Olga Gonzales Ramos
 Nefferth Bernadina 

 Gaelle-Valencia Prudencio 

 Maui Bigelow

Parker Simmons

Miz Liz 

 Irene Medin

Shalon Dozier 
Kim McCarter 
 Katie G 

Pepper Martin 
 Natty Nikki 

 Hollie B 

 Mele Falala 

 Marie Legette 

Josephine Josofabulous Lee 
 Cassandra Westfall

 Zadry Ferrer Geddess

Lei-loni 
Curvy Chrisandra

 

eye of the beholder

Most days, the work that I do for the blog and it’s cause is personally rewarding. It keeps me tethered to the things that matter to me – body image, female empowerment, style talk.

I do get my off days though. Although not as frequent or as intense, they do mar my thoughts.

I guess Im not completely comfortable in my skin. Not yet.

From a young age I did what I could to lash out against society’s extremely biased and distorted views – I spoke up with fierceness, cut the toxic people out and kept my distance from those with immensely judgemental eyes & tongues. What people failed to see was how that fighting really impacted my psyche. It tired me so I began to hide indoors and avoid being seen in public places. I even refused to go to the supermarket close to my apartment, afraid of having to glare and vocalise my disgust at dirty looks aimed towards my size. I was sick of always being up in arms.

I bailed out on meetups with friends. Stopped visiting my folks and in-laws. Only took pictures from face-up. Refused to take buses or trains. Covered the mirrors in my room, refusing to have a look at my reflection.

I didn’t know if there were fashionable outfits that worked for my body, so I purchased clothing that would fit but look ungainly for my age and sense of style. It didn’t occur to me to take a look online at how girls like me dressed well because I did not accept the fact that I was going to stay that size. I was going to be slim again, this was just a temporary phase & setback. So I told myself and people around me.

So I wasted away, hiding behind midnight snacking and impulsive emotional eating which fed further into the self hate. I stopped talking to anyone about my feelings, didn’t discuss anything that bothered me with the hubster. Just stared at my body and wished I could claw my way out of the fat suit.

I started believing that I was hideous and chubby from the extremely impressionable age of 11.

I wish I could go back to that 11 year old and talk to her. Tell her that she was going to outgrow the baby fat, that she was far better than she gave herself credit for. That she had nothing to be ashamed about, that she should not believe everything that is said to her. That she should love her kind heart and thoughtful mind along with her big smile.

I wish I could go back to the 15 year old who binged and purged meals round the clock. Her form was never meant to be overly athletic, round curves were perfectly acceptable. Her thighs & derrière would always be fleshier, hips wider, shoulders sloped broader but that only added to her beautiful hourglass figure.

I wish I could chat with that despondent 16 year old. Who tucked her feelings away behind her food. Who stopped having refreshing jogs and stayed beneath the bed covers to sleep her pain away. Who really began to hate herself with a vengeance and cut her skin in places nobody could see.

There are too many of these years that I would like to revisit. It pains me to look back at how much time I spent hating myself to the core.

When men showed interest in me, I was baffled at what they could have possibly seen. I would make up for my ‘flaws’ by allowing them to push me around and be controlling, hurtful. I allowed myself to be disrespected, toyed with emotionally.

By the time the hubster entered my life, I was so internally damaged that I refused to believe that he could love me at any size. When my weight would begin to yo-yo, Id watch for signs that indicated he was disgusted by me and wait for the day he would eventually tire of me and leave me.

In my early 20s, when I began to believe that the hubster and a select few friends loved me for who I was..the parents and future in-laws, other relatives played havoc with my self esteem. I believed them when they said there was something very wrong with my size. That I was unbelievably obese. Here is a picture of what I looked like back then:

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Does this picture show a morbidly obese person?

Lets fast track to my late 20s, the time around my wedding. I was fat shamed every single day by strangers – the place where I acquired my wedding outfits, the photographers, guests to the wedding events. Here is a picture of how I looked like at that time :

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Did these pictures show a morbidly obese person?

I was crying my eyes out during the honeymoon because of my weight woes. Here is how I looked like :

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Again, was this a morbidly obese person?

I was never morbidly obese. But with every weight loss attempt, my self esteem dwindled. With every successful weight loss attempt, I regained more weight. Because I was really sad and frustrated inside, being sedentary and emotional eating were my only destressing outlets.

The final straw was on the 30th bday. This was how I looked like :

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I was at my largest and happiest.
The weight losses and gains had caught up with me. I was so angry with the world. I ate voraciously and could not care less. I forgot what it felt like to feel flushed after a good workout, being sick of pushing myself to the brink of breakdowns. I did not go out much or do things that I used to before when I had an active lifestyle, but I kept myself sanguine.

I learnt more from this period than I ever did during all the weight loss attempts. Yes, I was unfit and an introvert who shied from gatherings. But I was looking at myself in the mirror again, and could see beyond the appearance. I was mindful of my health ailments and mobility issues due to crippling life long injuries that were sustained when I was slimmer.

I am not advocating extreme weight gain or poor lifestyle habits. What I am advocating is the attitude that You are beautiful at any size. You can be stylish at any size. Losing all the kilos may help you find your way, or it may not. It does not guarantee happiness. That is a state from within.

I had allowed myself to just be. Without the previous pressures and harsh self talk. I was grieving the death of my mother and concentrated on staying positive through the grief, celebrating her life instead of mourning the loss.

Exactly a year after her demise, which was a few months after that last photograph was taken..I went on my first holiday in a long time. That experience was another wake-up call: All this time, I focused on the weight losses and gains but disregarded my health. I wasn’t sleeping well, I had so many health problems, I couldn’t walk without huffing or reaching for the inhaler. My feet were rickety and I got tired so very easily.

It has been a year since I decided to implement positive changes, had that shift of mindset and priorities. This is the longest period I have gone without yo-yo weight fluctuations. I may be overweight but I am not unhealthy with my habits and choices. My weak immune system affects my ability to sustain regular workouts. So I keep myself un-sedentary, watch what I eat (unless it’s that crazy pms time), and am now beginning to dress, look more like the authentic Me.

In fact during this period, my parents, in-laws and other folks have come to terms with the fact that I am not going to lose extreme weight at warped speed like all those other times. They have reduced the chiding..thank goodness.

I am married to a man who has seen me in so many different sizes and looks, and loved me unconditionally through it all. He makes me feel beautiful all the time.

I have friends who may have once had preconceived notions about bigger bodied people, but have come to alter these opinion. They are not perfect, projecting their own body image and self worth-related insecurities onto others unknowingly. But I do know that they have no or minimal disgust or harsh judgements in their hearts when their gaze falls upon me. They see the person, not the size.

So I continue to work on feeling comfortable in my own skin, and living a life true to the person that I am. Having fun and good laughs while at it of course 🙂

Onwards and Upwards!

Be Kind to One Another,
Love Aarti Olivia xx

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Sincerely

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It has been a mere 5 months since the conception of Curves Become Her. It is a wondrous feeling to sit back and think about the leaps & bounds I have made in these 5 months.

I thank you for visiting my little world and for putting in your comments, thoughts on my posts. I value your feedback immensely because it tells me more about my readers and fellow awesome bloggers.

I hope that along my bumbling path on the plus size fashion world, I have imparted some tips & ideas for girls out there (like me) who are learning to grow comfortable in their skin. Im no professional (Yet); just learning the ropes as I go along.

What really helps in this journey is my genuine love for this and your input. I honestly have had many a day of doubt, unsure if I was cut out for this and really unsure if I am any good at it. After all, everything in my life has either been psychology-related, arts & writing related, and my love for history & philosophy..with the exception of my background in the performing arts.

It’s amazing what polar opposites my 2 blogs are and rather cool 🙂 and yes, in case you don’t already know I am no newbie in the blog world, Ive been writing as Indigo Violet on wordpress for years now 🙂

I am still trying to work through the technical aspects of CBH – Ive mentioned it in a post before that I really don’t want to post pics of myself behind that blank wall at my apartment with insufficient lighting and Im sweating buckets the whole time because it’s stuffy, added to that my hyper dogs that start jumping around me or worse still picking a fight to get my attention while I pose – I do my best to stay poised in the pictures despite these shennanigans !

Admittedly, the 2 months of mono which started my 2013 was quite the downer. It’s difficult to pick up where I left off in terms of fitness & diet, there are so many things that Already complicate my exercise routine (feet with chronic injuries, asthma, chronic low grade depression). It’s the Pushing that’s hard to do. It is extremely important for me to get healthier because my doctors have advised it, and no they didn’t just advise it because I am overweight. There are a few other complications involved.

Speaking of which having injured feet is a double edged sword – on one hand I tend to get RLS after a workout which gives me hell during bedtime..imagine falling into deep slumber while you feel a knot of tension in your foot that’s just waiting to create a knee-jerk reaction that Will wake you up.
Not Cool.
On the other hand, it’s imperative to keep the feet limber and active, because the tightness in the muscles and tendons ease up so much more. It helps me walk easier and for longer periods of time when I am out and about.

The BIGGEST culprit with my exercise motivation is the depression. It is sooo easy to give into the excuses that my mind makes up because of my dull state of being.

But like I always say .. I Will Perservere.

I know that a lot of my friends don’t take my blog seriously, they see it as my hobby or extracurricular activity. I also know that they’re surprised with my progressive transformation from a wavering plump wallflower to a confident plus sized woman.

All I needed was to permit myself to pursue my passions and to bid the daily rat race goodbye. To permit myself to stop hiding underneath clothing I abhorred and having style choices that were mine.

Jennifer Lawrence once said in an interview that during her growing up years she wasn’t sure at all if she would get the chance to get noticed and become an actress. What she did believe was that if she was given the chance, she would be spectacular at it.
She just knew.

That’s a lot like how I feel about this blog. I just knew.

Thank you so much for your love and w encouragement – to my fellow bloggers be it from WP or elsewhere, to my Instagram account followers, to my Twitter folks, to my Facebook mates. I hope that your support will remain steadfast and that you hang around long enough to see me move through even more leaps & bounds 🙂

A personal thank you, with tight hugs & kisses to my tier of best friends – Chita, Soma, Sunita, Harsha, Munira, Esther. And my good friends Sakina, Indrani for the support!

Sincerely, Aarti Olivia Dubey

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