Enough About the Botox!

Every time Shobhaa De hurts anyone’s sentiments (which is pretty often), haters crawl out to target her age and surgical ‘interventions’ as if the fact that she’s had work done reduces her right to an opinion. One early instance that stands out in my mind is when a vibrant and bubbly Sonam Kapoor made fun of Shobhaa De’s ‘plastic-filled’ face, over a cup of coffee with Karan. Sonam justified her stand by declaring that her father has never gone under the knife and how good does he look?
How about hair weaving or transplant? Or that doesn’t count? Or perhaps he’s just never gone in for any procedure and hair just thins for Anil Kapoor at a different rate. God knows he’s always been blessed in that department. When the rest of us mortals start losing hair and pray to God to give us thicker locks, our prayers are purportedly answered when it starts sprouting on our chins. Science has thankfully come up with a solution and has installed Cntrl X and Cntrl Y keys in our hirsute programming. Everyone’s happy. Except maybe the guys who happily go bald.
Is it alright for bald men to criticize someone who’s gone in for weaving, just like those who have never had any plastic surgery feel entitled to criticize those who have gone in for it?
No. It’s not.
We need to stop giving ourselves medals for wearing the “embrace your age and be natural” tag. One time a seriously depressed and tired looking acquaintance said to me, “Oh I never wear make-up,” and preened as she waited for me to gush over her beauteous non-made-up looks. I stared at her in wonder. Does she even own a mirror?
There are some people who don’t wear make-up and still look fabulous, and those that look fabulous even without make-up but still choose to wear it for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just about making a statement. If we want to look bolder, stronger, more grungy, playful or glamourous, we turn to make-up as it helps us achieve these looks. The fact that is often helps us look better doesn’t hurt. So if we start feeling superior because we’re walking around without any make-up on, we really should get off our high horses and not talk about being au natural unless we’re sprouting a unibrow and handlebar moustache.
No one should tell us what an acceptable level of modification is. Our faces, our bodies. We get to decide how far we’re willing to go in this relentless pursuit of beauty. Some blowdry their hair regularly, some go in for chemical treatments. There are those who flaunt grey locks with pride, those who colour their hair just to hide the greys and those who regularly highlight their hair in varying shades of blonde and red. Can’t wait to get longer locks? Clip ‘em in. Don’t like your eye colour? Change it! It’s all good.
So where do we draw the line?
When I asked this question to my husband, he said he wouldn’t like it if I anything injectable done – being traumatised by a certain Bollywood actress’s lips – or went under the knife. Coloured contacts, highlights, lowlights… all else is fine. Of course, I don’t have to listen to him but if I do draw the line at fillers, that doesn’t give me the right to poke fun of those who don’t. A little less judgement, a little more kindness. Please!
Shobaa De recently posted a callous and shallow tweet about our country’s sportspersons. We are entitled to object or bristle, but constant references to her age and her “plastic-face” – things that have nothing to do with her tweet – is a little bit ridiculous. When a singer thinks it’s fair game to call her a “besharam budhiya” – well, that’s just disgusting. It’s not even true, because a “budhiya” is the last thing she looks like. In fact, if one wants to go in for fillers or face-lifts or whatever it is one does at a certain age, they should follow Ms De’s example. We’ve all seen horrific photographs of plastic surgeries gone drastically wrong. Shobha has done nothing very drastic. She looked good when she was young, and has managed to hold on to those looks with a little (or a lot!) help from science. She’s not blown her boobs out of proportion, she’s not fattened her lips to get a pout a la Angelina Jolie. She’s filled in the gaps, nothing more. If she puts her foot in her artfully-enhanced mouth, which she often does, feel free to disagree with her. But really, making fun of her because she’s older, pays attention to her looks, and doesn’t look like a “budhiya” should? Give it a rest.

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Mustard Oil for Hair

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I stumbled across a bottle of cold pressed Mustard Oil, which I had picked up from Godrej Nature’s Basket, when cleaning up my kitchen cabinet this afternoon. A quick glance at the expiry date showed me that it had another month to go, but I still wasn’t very comfortable using it for cooking. It had been lying in the shelf, opened, for eleven months, and that called for automatic disqualification for consumption. But that didn’t mean I had to toss it in the bin!

When my elder daughter was born, I had a maid from Bengal who swore by the healing powers of mustard oil. Every time my daughter had a cold, she would apply mustard oil on her back and chest. It helped. Mustard oil is very heaty, and has been used as a remedy for cold for generations in India. I also remembered her massaging mustard hair into my daughter’s scalp, and into her own, and she had jet black hair.  But that of course could be genetic.

So I thought, why not apply it to the hair? Most oils undoubtedly provide intense moisturizing benefits to hair, and it stands to reason that different oils have unique properties. It makes sense to use different oils in order to gain varied benefits. Coconut oil is very cooling, and I stay away from applying it to my scalp in the winter months. Mustard oil is actually the perfect winter oil. In addition, the act of massaging the scalp is very beneficial in itself.

Although cold-pressed oils are expensive, they are a far better alternative to refined oils. In fact, cold-pressed oils can very easily take the place of expensive body lotions, which often contain carcinogenic chemicals. After massaging a generous amount into my scalp and on my hair, I applied a few drops of the oil to my heels, which are now encased in socks. It’s been a lazy day and I have all the time in the world to pamper myself – and that’s what I intend to do these holidays.

I plan to shampoo my hair after around three hours, later this evening. Here’s hoping that the oil will not be a nightmare to wash off. I do hope that the result will be soft, shiny locks!

Lovin’ my PS1

So this time, when my DH made a trip to Seattle, I spent a week burning up the internet as I obsessed about my next bag purchase. I narrowed my choices down to the Chloe Marcie and Proenza Schouler. I don’t have a tan bag in my very limited collection, so when I decided on tan, that helped me narrow my choices somewhat.

I also considered the Frye Jenny hobo, considering the leather quality is really good and I’m a sucker for durable, high quality leather. To be honest, I haven’t seen the bag in person which is why I make all my decisions based on extremely helpful reviews, and most reviews for Frye leather are pretty outstanding. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Nordstrom store DH visited didn’t have any Frye handbags, and so he had to select between the PS and Chloe.

He picked up the PS1 and as usual, when he reached home, he said he hadn’t had the time to buy anything for me. I was asleep when he placed it on my bedside table and I woke up to a lovely ‘surprise’. ❤

Ever since I have received my tan PS1, I haven’t been able to separate myself from it. I have carried it with me every single day for the last twenty days. This bag is edgy and gives out a casual vibe, although of course you can carry it out for lunch parties. It’s not, however, a formal looking bag, but it is definitely a bag you will get more wear out of. I went out of town, and this was the only bag I carried. The tan colour goes with almost anything as long as I have either my tan belt or tan shoes.

How could I not love this bag?

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I have realised that although I do carry it with jeans or trousers a lot, it really looks best when paired with flowy dresses and skirts, as they bring out the satchel’s cuteness factor.

Material: The PS1 comes in both leather and suede. Although the suede is stunning too, I chose leather as I presumed it will look better for much longer than suede will, and I will not have to baby it as much. The leather is lambskin, and very soft. Earlier PS1 bags had issues with hardware falling off and leather changing colour, but this has been rectified and the newer bags have been better treated. The bag has a zipped pocket on the back, and my zipper kept falling out as the loop hadn’t been adequately tightened. I just did it myself with a pair of pliars.

The bag is not heavy, which is something I love about it.

Shoulder strap: The bag has a long shoulder strap, so you can hang it from your shoulder. But it is NOT long enough to be worn cross-body if you are taller than 5ft 2 or maybe 3 inches. I am 5ft 5in, and definitely cannot carry it cross body.

Handle: The bag has one handle so you can hold it in your hand or hang it in the crook of your arm. In my opinion, this is when it looks at its slouchiest best.

Pockets: The medium size bag, which is what I bought as I don’t have to carry a lot of stuff, has plenty of compartments so you can organise your things beautifully. It is also spacious, yet not so much that you’re constantly digging to find something. It can easily fit a large wallet, sunglasses case, lipstick case, phone and book in the main compartment, and more stuff like keys and compact in the outside and back compartments. It is large enough to fit an ipad or a kindle.

Durable: Is the leather durable? According to the reviews, it is, but in order for me to attest to that, I will have to wait a while longer. I can however say that my very first designer bag which I bought five years ago, the LV Neverfull, still looks good as new.

Yaay for Olay!

For the longest time I cleansed my face using nothing more than a face cleanser, some water, and my fingers. That was all I needed, right?

Wrong! 

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Ever since I started using the Olay Pro-x. my skin has felt softer and smoother. It also looks clearer. I use it twice and day, morning and evening, and am super-thrilled with the results.

Because of the thorough cleansing, moisturisers and serums work better and are far more effective.

I am currently using the Korres Vitamin C Wild Rose moisturiser, which works wonders at diminishing sport, freckles and any discoloration, and evening out skin tone. I was using Hope in a Jar earlier but stopped as according to the Good Guide it ranks pretty low on ingredient safety.

Before buying any products, I recommend running them through the Good Guide, which lets you know whether that product uses any known carcinogenic products or not. I must admit, I don’t use this website as often as I should, but hope to change that in the future.

Okay, enough off-topic rambling. Back to the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System.

It is fabulous! It is battery-operated, which is why it is easy to use often. I just keep it in my mug along with my toothpaste and tooth brush – that’s how convenient the battery system makes it. I’m glad that there’s no fiddly wire hanging about. This is a great plus, in my opinion, and makes it as easy as brushing your teeth.

You can also use it with any exfoliating product, unlike the Neutrogena’s Wave Sonic Spinning Power cleansing brush, which needs only Neutrogena cleansing pads. I am presently using the Olay exfoliator that came with the brush. I’m not a great fan of Olay products as they make me break out (the products themselves are fabulous; it’s just me), so I tried the exfoliator with some amount of trepidation and it’s been wonderful so far.

The Clarisonic retails at 200 dollars, and possibly cleans a little deeper, but as long as my face is getting a great cleansing, and my skin is looking better, I don’t really care about spending the extra moolah. It’s 6 times the price, for perhaps slightly better cleansing action if reviews are to be believed. But then again, there were a few reviewers who felt like the Olay cleanser was actually better.

The Clarisonic also has an automatic timer which tells you when it’s time to move on to another area of your face, and when to stop. This could be viewed as another pro in favour of Clarisonic, but I don’t even bother about that.  I just use my watch! That’s why I bought it after all.

Although the Clarisonic may have a better technology, for now, if you simply cleanse your face with your fingers like most of us do, perhaps its time for an upgrade. Try the Olay Pro-X, and there will be no looking back! It’s a great product, at a great price. Don’t buy it in India though, if you have a choice. I ordered it online at Amazon.com and had it delivered to a friend, who brought it with him when he visited Bangalore.

 

 

 

 

Mac Prep + Prime BB Compact

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A BB cream is a moisturiser, sunscreen and foundation all rolled into one. Sounds great, right? It is, if you select the right product. I recently picked up the MAC Prep+Prime BB Compact and was sorely disappointed.

It’s a creamy formula in a compact form, and the problem with that is that is is not easy to apply. It comes with a sponge, and I feel like I need to really dig the sponge into the compact to get a decent amount of cream for coverage. I have read reviews in which it has been recommended that I use a foundation brush, but I’m not sure if doing so is going to help much. It applies best with fingers, but it takes a long time.

Being a tinted moisturiser, the coverage is very light, and it also seems like it doesn’t moisturise nearly well enough. I was told by the MAC sales assistant that I should apply it over a moisturiser, which is what I do now, but that seems to reduce the value of this product. If I wanted a separate moisturise, why on earth do I need to buy this? I could just as well have bought a foundation with SPF.

I have the MAC studio fix compact, which is fabulous! I had equally high expectations from this product, but was sorely disappointed. The colour, Medium Plus, is an exact match, which I’m happy about. So as of now I’m giving it a go.

The 30 SPF coverage is pretty good, but I feel like I’m never really applying enough product to get that much coverage. I also feel like most of the product just gets absorbed by the sponge, another reason why the SA told me to apply moisturiser first.

There is also a BB in the form of a tube, and I feel like that is what I should have gone in for. Anyhow, I’m just using this up until it gets over, and will not buy again.

 

 

Marc Jacobs Zip Clutch

I desperately needed a new wallet. My older one was falling to pieces, and it was anyway pretty useless. It was bulky, and my cash didn’t fit into it because the cash compartment was too narrow for my larger 500 or 1000 rupee notes. I could fit in a few 100 rupee notes, and had to fold in a couple of 500 rupee notes. It was totally impractical, especially since I always liked carrying cash with me in case of emergency, So I had to carry my wallet in a purse, and I always carried cash in the zipper compartment of my bag. Every time I changed bags, I needed to remove my wallet, my phone, my cash, my make up case, my sunglasses case, notebook, pen etc etc, and move it from one bag into another.

I decided I really needed a new wallet when I noticed that every time I was driving the car, perhaps to drop my daughter to a friend’s house, I also had to lug my bag around, even if it was just to be sitting in the car, because I needed the essentials, which were;

My drivers license

Credit cards

Phone

Some cash

So I started my hunt for a wallet that would accommodate all these things, and found it in the Marc Jacobs Zip Clutch.

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First of all, most LV wallets, which I was also considering, are triple the price and are slightly smaller in size (eg. the LV zippy, which was one of my choices). The zippy does not fit 1000 rupee notes. It may fit one note with some difficulty, but not if you’re just dumping them in.

The Marc Jacobs wallet is 8 inches, as compared to the 7.5 inch zippy.

I considered a bunch of other wallets too. In fact, I spent an entire week going through possibly every single website, trying to find the perfect wallet for me. And this was the one I zeroed down to. What can I say? I am in love.

I can use it as a small clutch, and as a wallet. It fits my iphone 4, my cards, my cash, including a bunch of 1000 rupee notes, and one small lipstick tube. Switching bags is suddenly so much easier. I also find myself carrying just my wallet with me all the time, because if I’m stepping out for a short while, it’s all I need.

It’s also something that looks good inside and outside the bag. It can be carried with you at night, even with a dressy outfit, and it makes a perfect clutch.

My husband got it for me at Barneys for 395 USD, plus tax. It’s a third of the price of an LV Zippy, and is much more versatile as it also doubles up as a clutch, and like I already said, it holds a lot more.

I did a lot of research on the durability of the wallet, and many users have written about how they have enjoyed their zip clutches for a number of years.

The leather is gorgeous. It is soft, and the quilted  pattern on the back makes it look rich and luxurious.

There is a flap at the back which I use for sales receipts. There are 12 credit card slots, and there are two bill compartments, There is also another zippered compartment in front along with two small buckled pockets. These compartments are great for small important slips of paper which you don’t want to lose track of, like little credit notes.

 

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It’s also super-stylish. It doesn’t scream the brand and is a high-quality and practical item that will last for years.

I read somewhere about it being heavy, but I haven’t found the weight to be an issue at all. If you have a bag which is anyway heavy, then this will add more weight to it. It is heavier than your regular wallet though, so keep that in mind. My bags have always been fairly light, so adding a marginally heavier wallet is not even an issue.

In a nutshell, it is FABULOUS!

Look Stylish in a SCARF

I have a bunch of scarves lying in my closet basically going to rot. I never wear them! First off, it’s not that cold in Bangalore, so I’ve never felt the need, but of late I’ve been realising how damn COOL a light cotton scarf looks just as an accessory!

There are literally hundreds of ways to wear a scarf, so one of my resolutions for the new year is going to be to experiment with scarf wearing and see where it takes me! I wore a scarf yesterday with an old black t-shirt which I hadn’t worn in ages and ages. It was a terrible, out of shape t-shirt with an iron stain. All that was completely hidden under the scarf, wasn’t it? 🙂

Mango, Zara, Accessorize all sell scarves for around Rs. 1000+. I saw a bunch of scarves on Myntra.com for less around Rs. 200, but I’m not sure of the quality of the fabric. You could even pick up half-meter or quarter-meter fabulous fabric from stores and get your own scarves stitched for a fraction of the cost. Or tear up some old chunnies and convert them into scarves. Getting a few new scarves could totally transform your wardrobe and can make a simple outfit look fabulous. So before you drop thousands of rupees on a new dress, try transforming it with a scarf.

Quick tip: Always remember to wear a printed scarf with a solid, single coloured top, and you should be fine.