By Ishani Nath, Guest Blogger @ishaninath
Usually it’s considered rude to be on your phone during a networking event, but at Masalamommas’ latest Tweetup event, tweeting was not only common, it was encouraged.
A tweetup is a real-life event that is organized through Twitter, or in this case, through Masalamommas.
This tweetup was the first one with a celebrity guest, creator of the Masala Bhangra Workout and fitness personality, Sarina Jain, who came from New York City to be part of the VIP hour with masalamommas’ readers.
The downtown dessert bar was white and black and pink all over as founder Nisha Amin dished out her creative twist on the traditional cupcake.
“People just don’t eat full cupcakes anymore”, says Amin, so she decided to think big and bake small making bite-size cupcakes in flavours ranging from peanut butter and jelly to cookies and cream. After mixing her unique concept with an extensive line of specialty dessert teas, such as lychee or pear caramel, Bite Bar was born.
The hip hangout opened its doors earlier this week and the Masalamommas tweetup was the venue’s first event – and it was clear that the response was very sweet.
“It was delicious! I ate everything!” says Samantha Kemp-Jackson, a new fan of the bite-size “banana splitz” cupcake and one of the non-South Asian Masalamommas fans in attendance. “I think it’s really important that we all support each other’s cultures.”
Though there were different types of bites lining the bar, this event was not just about the food. It was also about fitness and entrepreneurship. More specifically, it was about fitness celebrity Sarina Jain, founder of the Masala Bhangra Workout empire. Sarina told moms of her early days with an idea and a mission to get the South Asian community healthy. She also talked about how her mom was her biggest champion through it all. Having support during times of challenge was key as well for Sarina.
She faced personal threats for pursuing her dream. The threats came from North American born kids of Indian origin. The international fitness guru spoke candidly with the crowd about the inspiration she got from her family, and with tears in her eyes, recalled how her dearly-departed father taught her, “Don’t ever forget who you are and don’t ever forget being desi.”
With those lessons in mind and a passion for getting people up and moving, Jain started creating workouts and videos that combined Indian dance and fitness. When it came down to starting her business, she thought, “if someone’s got to do it, I’ve got to do it,” says Jain. “It’s been a joy ride.”
Thirteen years later, the Masala Bhangra empire has grown to include ten videos and ambassadors teaching her “Balle! Balle!” routines everywhere from New York City to Japan.
“She was amazing. Very inspiring, very cool, very down to earth and it kind of made everyone feel really comfortable just to listen to her story,” attendee Sandra Loval says. “She didn’t talk about us, she talked with us.”
After sitting and chatting with the crowd and opening up for a Q&A session, Jain ducked out to prepare for Friday’s Canada AM appearance and her weekend session on the Shopping Channel.
As guests filtered out, they received pink and black swag bags loaded with paper lashes by Micha Lash, The Craft Souk, & a beauty pack from Shirley Wu Beauty Concept with eyeshadow and a $20 giftcard for a makeover, tasty vitamins by Adult Essentials, coupons for Chiri Baby Wear, a little gift from BiteBar and tons more. Some lucky attendees even left with great giveaways like best-selling novels and Masalamommas’ gear.
By the end of the evening, Bite Bar, the Masala Bhangra Workout founder, Sarina Jain and the Masalamommas community seemed to leave a lasting impression on the tweetup attendees.
“I thought this was a great venue to come out to feed into that energy of like-mindedness and meet some really cool women that will inspire me further,” says mom and entrepreneur Satvir Dhillon. “Two thumbs up. This was my first event and now I feel like I’ve been missing out.”
A big thank you to all of our supporters including Popcorn Studios for the amazing photography and the Grand Hotel & Suites Toronto for sponsoring Sarina’s stay while she was in the city, a fabulous centrally located hotel with great service according to Sarina.
Read her review here!
Here’s our twitter re-cap from our #mmtweetup!
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