Saturday, February 18, 2017

Busy Mom Diaries - Hair care

Being a mom and working full time, means 'busy' becomes your middle name. There are days when I just walk out of the house with just sunscreen on my face and hair tied up in a bun, because I do not have the time to comb it. Food blogs are visited more often than makeup blogs, and beauty just took a back seat. Though I am planning as always to change that.

My hair needs major therapy, crazy hair fall and dryness. I am looking around for salons that offer treatment, so Mumbai people, feel free to give reccos.

I noticed a lot of hair fall, and dryness and breakage 2015-June onwards. Lots of things were tried and I also made the epic mistake of going for a cysteine treatment in 2016. There is nothing wrong with it per se, other than the fact that it is insane to not be allowed to oil one's hair, and even with the recommended products which cost a bomb, I ended up with crazy dandruff. No home remedies could be used since they were simply not allowed with these products. I lived like this for 2 months and gave up. I applied hair oil, and just around then stumbled across Shayoni's blog that pointed me to Japakusum scalp lotion.  This is a wonder product, if you don't have it, go get it. Like seriously. This fought my dandruff and reduced hairfall considerably. Only problem I have with this is, that if I apply this before bed, I catch a cold, and mornings are too rushed to apply this.

Also it is meant for scalp so my dry hair was still dry and I didn't want to load up on too much hair conditioner with silicones (plus the aforesaid busy mornings). So what is a girl to do. Here is the hair care routine I worked out,

  • Apply Japakusum scalp lotion twice a week. One is a weekend morning, and some weekday evening post returning from work. 
  • Apply Maxcare virgin coconut oil on my hair ends (and scalp occasionally), any virgin coconut oil does wonders for dry hair and this one has given me softer hair ends. I try to do a hot oil massage on weekends, but coconut oil is a pain to wash off. So I try and use oil very sparingly. 
  • Shampoo is Biotique Green Apple shampoo for babies, this doesn't stop hair fall but neither does it increase it, also no impact on my dandruff. Occasionally I apply Scalpe dandruff shampoo, leave it for 5 to 10 mins and wash off with water, this works wonders on dandruff, but is a bit on the drying side. That said, you should not use it on oily hair or use oil afterwards, it simply wont work then. I am also working hard to finish my Schwarzkopf Bonacure Damage Repair shampoo. 
  • Conditioner is Himalaya Protein Hair cream, as this is a leave on, I sometimes skip conditioner and reach for this instead. On other days I use Loreal Professionel Liss Ultime hair masque. I have a big dabba that I simply cannot seem to finish and I am working very hard not to buy new things till I finish my current stock. (wish me luck)
  • Other things I occasionally apply (once a month), herbal hair packs (have some shortcuts here, will share in a detailed post soon). My hair packs typically contain a lot of hibiscus powder and varying amounts of other things. Nature's co rosemary and fenugreek hair pack mixed with curd is good too. 

Hope this helps all the people out there trying to deal with hair issues.

Monday, June 6, 2016

My current makeup and beauty reads

Sorry for my disappearing acts, which are pretty much the norm now. Here is what I have been doing to get my daily dose of makeup and beauty.

Following this all in one makeup blog. You want make up breakdown, discussions on history of makeup or simply learn how to put on your foundation correctly, she is your go to. I especially loved her videos on pink lipsticks, explaining different shades and undertones. Though a lot of those shades would hardly show up on my wheatish complexion, I still liked her patience and her entire demo of how to do your makeup to balance the pink lipstick.

Pink lipstick guide video is a must watch if you love pink lipsticks and an even more helpful watch if you are clueless about pink.

Another amazing find of a beauty blog is Into the gloss. The people they feature often give you some rare beauty tip, be it about fragrances or makeup or hair care. I have found quite a few such tips here. Also what I really love are the pictures of people's bathrooms. Oh gives me so much to wish for. I love going to people's bathrooms and seeing what they use. It totally makes any boring party worth it. (Hope I am not the only one to be doing this)

Amongst Indian beauty blogs that I follow, there is ofcourse Indian Makeup and Beauty Blog. I love how extensive it is. Almost all the products that are in the market are reviewed by them and all different shades too.

I also read Wiseshe, they have a good collection of tips and home remedies and lipsticks.

I have started looking at beauty bloggers on youtube and a lot of them are so much fun. One interesting youtube channel for makeup looks depending on seasons etc and using indian wheatish skin toned models is eltonjfernandez. He has a very crazy sense of humour, speaks bambaiya hindi terms, such as 'mundi' (not punjabi for girl, but marathi slang for head), ragdao (to overuse) and his looks and technique is very helpful. Of course he is professional and he says so upfront, so there are things he can do better than most his viewers, but I appreciate his honesty. It would be great though if he could simplify or show in detail the things he does instinctively as a professional.

The other Indian beauty bloggers are the usual suspects, Mr Jovita George, SJlovesjewelery (misleading name, since she really does truly love makeup and beauty above all else), Shruti Anand.

Tell me who you follow, what you read. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Eat Local Think Global - Implementing Rujuta Diwekar's Thoughts

I am positively horrid with exercise. I keep procrastinating. I hope someday (hopefully soon) I will get my act together on this one. But till then I thought to implement her eat local funda. It seems very easy and almost common sensical, but honestly this takes a fair bit of effort, though every bit of it is worth it.

So what is eat local, it means to eat what you naturally grow and easily get which translates into eating seasonal produce. Mangoes and sitaphal are recommended, but each in their season, no mango pulp in winter or sitafal ice cream in summer.  Now how do you do this on a day to day basis. That is a killer. I am putting down what I am doing to implement it.

 Eat ancient grains - This does not just mean quinoa or couscous. I have started eating jowar and bajra rotis twice a week. I hope to make this a more frequent occurence. Also eating jowar and bajra in winter is considered to help keep the body warm. Not that there is much of a winter in Mumbai. But nonetheless. Ragi is good in all seasons, but super highly recommended for summers since it is considered cooling.

Buy from local sabji wala - I love shopping, and not just clothes, but even vegetables and fruits. I used to get my vegetables from online sites. I realized that not only was I getting oldish vegetables, I did not have an option to really go local. Think how impossible it is to buy toovar dana (fresh ones) online, and yet how easily you can buy it from your local sabji mandi. I just made some undhiyu with toovar dana, baby potatoes and purple yam and am I thrilled or what.

Ask around - Do not be ashamed to ask your vegetable or fruit vendor what is being sold, and the smallest portion he will give you of it. Sometimes we just don't know what a vegetable is, or have never seen it in its raw form. I ate what I was told is a 'meetha aaloo' (sweet potato) by a street vendor in Kolkata and it turned out to be a sweet turnip. It was really oh so sweet and fresh.

Lookup Recipes - This is my favouritest part of the whole implementation. I love looking for different ways to make the same vegetable. You need not even go outside India, the diversity in our regional cuisine means that you can 5 different types of potatoes, and not venture out of a state. And if you are tired of those 5 types there are 28 more states  to choose from.

On this quest, here is what I have prepared so far
- Undhiyu
- Pithla Bhakri (love this to bits)
- Kolhapuri Chicken
-Poha Payasam
- Curd and Poha (Maharashtrian answer to bircher muesli)
- Paneer Parathas
- Amaranth Leaves vegetable
- Chowli leaves/ Cow pea leaves
- Mayalu
- Sarso ka Saag
- Dum Aloo

And this is only the beginning.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

100 day no buy challenge completed

I am finally done with my challenge, 108 days without a single beauty product, not even shampoo or conditioner. Not that i ran out of anything, but since when did we wait to finish a bottle to buy another.  I am so glad that now i can atleast consider whether or not to purchase so many things I was eyeing throughout the challenge. Instead of doing a haul and lust list or just a lust list, what with it being christmas and all, I thought I should share my experience on this challenge.

  1. You realise how easily small purchases add up. - I used to buy things like kohl pencil (200 rs) and some normal lipstick (600 rs) and slowly slowly my bill would cross 1000rs and still counting. It doesn't matter if you buy one at a time, or haul it all in at once, do not impulse buy. Think, think, and think some more. Do research and then buy. 
  2. My makeup drawers were full, and i still have not made a dent on my collection, which is moderate to meagre for a beauty blogger. But you learn to use all the duds in innovative ways and discover a few hidden gems along the way. 
  3. I had set my self a goal of using makeup everyday to office, i only followed through for a month or so. I failed so miserably at this. The mornings for me are such a fight that i cannot even begin 
  4. Every week when you look through your office clothes for a week, look through makeup and skincare also. I am too lazy to set them out apart, but i just have an idea of what I will wear through the week. Every week I started taking out a tube or two of creams, generally received in my Fab bag, and I finally finished 2. One was a hand cream called Southern Spice (that smelled nothing like spice, maybe it got too old.) the other was a face cream by Ananda Spa. I wanted to keep my makeup aside also, but somehow that did not happen. 
That is all from my side for now. I will be back with some detailed reviews and lust list and maybe a haul.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Golden Glow Makeup in 2 Products

There is a sale everywhere, a million and one tutorials on the glittery glam, golden glow and what not look. I was as on a no buy challenge on the worst time of the year to do it. But then it would not be a challenge had this been say summer or rainy season when the makeup temptation is not as much.

I desperately wanted to have that glowy look that all models have all year round. So here is what I did. I used an eyeshadow primer and a blush as highlighter, eyeshadow, blush, bronzer.

Ladies and ladies, I present to you the Faces Metaliglow Primer and the Chambor Blush in Amber Rose. These are absolute must haves.

The primer can be used of course as a primer, and is priced slightly on the higher side (around 700rs for a tiny tube), but since we do not have enough of eye primers in Indian market, this seems like the only option. FYI, I had this lying around in my drawers. Never used it except for weddings. But the challenge made me think on my feet.

I used this as a highlighter on my cheekbones, forehead, cupids bow. And did this work or what. It stayed put, of course being a primer and all that. It also is super easy to apply and blends easily.

The blush, oh my good lord. This is an epic blush that I strongly recommend, though I should confess that I find this overpriced as well. Is it just me, finding everything expensive, or has makeup in India become prohibitively costly. (this was 800rs or so when purchased about a year ago, see it is as good as new)

This is a colour that is between burnt orange and brick, applied very lightly, it does give a subtly flushed golden shimmery look. I am probably raving. But it is good.  I am an NC42 and I have trouble getting blushes to show up in the first place on my skin, and then I also need my blush to show a bit for night outs, for day time, its a very matte pink-peach blush by Bharat and Doris. But nights call for shimmer and a bit of risk taking. This colour was perfect. I wore it with a light hand, for a golden glow look.

This blush doubled up as an eyeshadow, a highlighter and a shimmer brick. Lovely non. It gives a back from a beach vacation glow and you totally do not need a bronzer since the blush is heavily pigmented and on the burnt orange side. Super duper perfect.

Lesson learnt, not buying things makes you realize how much of products you have at home waiting to be used up. Just keep using products differently, blend blend, watch millions of youtube makeup tip videos, there is just so much of interesting information there. (there are also some really blah ones).

The biggest bonus, using one product on eyes, cheeks and overall face gives you a monochromatic look, really pulled together. This video above was my inspiration. She has used a lot of products, I didn't have them. But the look we are going for is more or less like this. Shall post  a LOTD soon.

Here are the swatches.

Sorry still no camera. So the phone barely does this any justice. But do atleast swatch these products next time you see a chambor or a faces booth.

Btw on day 73 of the challenge. Yay.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Weightier Matters- Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight Book Review

I was never hugely overweight, and neither did I ever want to be stick thin. One thing though I always wanted was a healthy weight and flatter stomach. Who doesn’t you would ask. But I wanted it very badly, because my doctor told me that fat around my stomach was causing my PCOD, it was trying to prevent me from losing weight. And weight would worsen PCOD, which would send my hormones in an overdrive (could also lead to diabetes) and then I would never ever lose weight without hormonal medication. Hormonal medication, by the way lists weight gain as one of its side effects. So imagine my situation. This is not exactly a rare situation amongst urban women. 

I wanted to lose weight and toyed with the idea of seeing a dietician. I almost visited one whom my in laws had gone to. But the food they were made to eat scared me a fair bit too. Dry rotis, limited quantities, and though she didn’t make them buy anything, their diet was time consuming and intimidating. I didn’t have the time was my first thought, but a more honest thought was, can I really eat like that for 3 months, and what after that. So I dropped the dietician idea. 

That is when, on a lark, I ordered a Rujuta Diwekar book, Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight.

It made a lot of sense. I saw the logic she spoke of and somehow I agreed on nearly all her diet suggestions. Being brought up eating proper home cooked Maharshtrian food, I had heard most of what she said in the books in person. But somehow a lot of new books, well meaning doctors and friends had told us otherwise. Portion control, less oil, no carbs, only protein were some of the key concepts everyone had told us about. Rujuta’s book disagreed and I loved it for doing so.  The book only costed me INR 213.

On a whim I then read her other books, Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha and Work Out don’t Lose Out. I will discuss each of these separately. I also bought her DVD titled Indian Food Wisdom and it is sooo good. It comes highly recommended from me. And if you are the kind that does not like reading, then you must definitely buy. I am in no way paid or compensated to write this, but I am still promoting it and that should say something. 

Any how, back to the first book, it gives  lot of examples of her clients, so many of those cases sound familiar. Drinking lot of green tea, eating very little in the day time and so on.  So what does the book say, and how much of it do I follow. 

  1. Don’t start your day with tea, eat something. – I started eating first thing after waking up when I was pregnant. This was done to avoid morning sickness, and it worked like a charm. I largely ate nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts. I even ate a milk toast before my tea, instead of with it. Rujuta  goes one step further and asks us to cut down transfat. No biscuits, not even digestive. Of course I gave up my milk toast and I no longer buy digestive biscuits. I was guilty of loving them with a nice light mint tea. Its easier than it sounds, believe me.
  2. Eat your breakfast in an hour to hour and a half after your wake up.  – Again, so important to follow this if you want to get your metabolism going. Eating a healthy breakfast just changes your entire day. This also means Do NOT eat cereal or muesli or whatever else comes in a box. It’s a lot of sugar and transfat. Instead eat parathas, roti, eggs, rice, idli, upma, poha. Whatever fits your schedule. 
  3. Eat early dinner- Doesn’t everyone say this. These three things done, is more than half your battle won. I have started eating by 8 pm. I know this is near impossible in Mumbai. But on days I work longer I just carry my dinner to work. Vegetable and chapatti, or dal –rice and vegetables is perfectly acceptable. No need to make a dinner out of soups and salad. The key is in eating early.  
  4. Eat frequently – As women we are taught since childhood to control our hunger. We are told to eat only during the stipulated lunch –dinner time. My breakfast growing up used to be a glass of milk which I used to fuss over like crazy. I never threw my milk away, but everytime I drank it, I thought my parents didn’t love me.  Why eating often helps, other than obviously making sure you eat only as much as you want at lunch/dinner etc, it tells your body that food will be there when it is needed. The result is that body does not store calories into fat for use during starvation. Remember evolution. Snack healthy by the way, do not go back to eating digestive biscuits as snack. Rujuta gives some amazing snack options, such as chana singh, and cheese in addition to fruits, sprouts et al. These are easy to eat in office while working. So a super plus for me.

My progress 
  I was trying to limit my food intake for the past few months, I would eat very poorly, like 1 chapati and vegetable for dinner. By 11 pm I would be hungry and go looking for a chocolate or some mithai. Needless to say I was not at all losing any weight. Or if I lost half a kg in a week, in the next two week I put it back on, and sometime I even put on twice as much. 

I started following Rujuta’s tips and I have lost 2 kgs in 2 months. I know this is by no means quick weight loss. But that’s not the idea either. Doing it right and doing it in a sustainable fashion is a big plus. By the way, I must confess that I am also eating the occasional brownie, shrikhand, sandesh and kheers. If you can completely give up sweets, I am sure your weight loss will be much better.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bong Food Craving and Pujo

Remember I said I was a foodie, and never again mentioned food items on this blog. Well that is about to change now. Here is what I have been craving for the past few months. Call it Pujo in the air, or the influence of my numerous Bengali friends resurfacing. But Bengali food has been on my mind for a while now. 

I went to the Powai Durga Puja pandals and finally ate Shorshe Paabda (Paabda fish in Mustard Gravy) with rice and what huge quantities. I was in heaven. The paabda was fresh almost creamy, and the shorshe sauce was well amazing. It was pungent, deliciously oily, and spicy with just a hint of sourness. Delicious. I ate with my hands, alas there was no place to sit and eat, or I swear there would be no flesh on the Paabda bones. But I did my best.

I wonder what started my bong food fascination, partly the loss of loving bong lunches and dinners enjoyed at a friend's place, since all my bong friends have migrated. And the craving. Oh the craving. I would dream of mustard sauce on my rice, crave sandesh, kosha mangsho. But more than anything else in this world, I would crave fish in mustard sauce. Most of my cravings have to do with fish and rice being a coastal girl, that to me is chicken soup for the soul.

So I did what any blogger would do, find other bloggers who cook bengali food. I found Bong Mom's Cookbook. You must visit this blog if you want an easy to follow version of bengali food, that even non-bongs can follow. I also bought her book. And dare I say it is so totally worth every penny I paid.

I made paturi, indian salmon in shorshe sauce, a basic macher jhaal and  bhapa sandesh and then stopped. I went to the Durga Puja pandals looking to buy a kasundi, after a tip about how kasundi could be used in any shorshe dish . Unfortunately I found no food stall selling bengali food staples, what I found instead were bengali uncles who very passionately discussed where to buy the best kashundi and who should I go to for date palm jaggery. I came back with a few address and some phone numbers and am so very happy.

P.S In my search for Bengali food I did go to the Bhojo Hari Manna in Mumbai, and left a happy person, just that my husband complained of rude staff and fishy smell. I was too engrossed in what to eat so probably took little notice of the rudeness. The fishy smell did not bother me, though I admit, it was very much there.

 Here are the bengali food blogs I go to whenever a craving hits me. There are many more I do go to, but below are the two I frequent the most.