Avon simply pretty cherry red review

So the other day when I was going through my collection of makeup and cleaning up my place, which I rarely do, I noted the woeful absence of a classic red lipstick. Not that I really needed one given that I hardly sport bold lips and I really do not like buying something that I would be using once in a while and it would expire after couple of uses. But red is a colour that tempts us all and so I was out, searching for an economical option but should be true red. I knew of this lipstick and soon managed to get one and after using it for almost six months, here is what I think of it.
Price: Rs. 169 but I got it at a discount for rs.129 for 4.2g
Packaging
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The lipstick tube is magenta in colour and has a baby pink band in the middle. The name of the range is printed in baby pink as well. The shade name is mentioned below the tube. The tube feels flimsy but the cap shuts firmly and since it is made of plastic chances of breaking or cracking is minimal.
My view of the lipstick
Texture:
The lipstick is moisturizing in texture and glides very smoothly on the lips. the lipstick does not feel heavy or stretchy on the lips even after a few minutes from application. However it can bleed due to the moisturizing texture particularly at the corner of the lips. it can also transfer very easily and smudges if you rub your lips even a bit somewhere. The lipstick would not survive a heavy meal and leave a patch stain after meals.

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Pigmentation:
The lipstick is much pigmented and covers the pigmentation of your lips with a single swipe. For a deeper shade, one can build up the colour with double swipe but after that it can get streaky.
Longevity:
The lipstick can survive on the lips without any heavy meals for about 4-4.5 hours. It is easy to remove. I am not very fond of the moisturising shiny texture so usually matte down the texture with powder and tissue paper and after that it has survived really well for around 6hours even with a full course meal in between.
Color:
The colour is true red. There is no sparkle in it. the colour would suit everyone and perfect for parties. If you are thinking about trying out red lipstick for frst time and do not want to spent a fortune on a lipstick and then regret buying it because it is not suiting you, this lipstick is very good option to choose. A true scarlet red at such  low price is near impossible to find these days- even the elle 18 lipsticks with new formulations are priced higher than this one.
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Rate: 4.5/5
Would I recommend?
Yes, highly recommended for beginners or someone looking for economical options.

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Chandannagar to Bandel- A day out to remember

Being a bong, feeling restless every few weeks just to go out and breathe some fresh air is a second nature for me. So keeping in mind all sorts of parental curfews and restrictions, I still managed to plan a day out within the curfew limits (think restrictions to how long you stay out and who you go out with to where you are going). Chandannagar seemed to be the perfect place that fitted my criteria and the trip was chalked out soon. I am glad I did not think of a solo trip as usual and went out with a friend who is almost equally crazy about travelling- you will find out soon why having someone as company helped.

The plan- theoretically

We planned to head out really early at around 6am in the morning to make sure that even if any unwanted hindrance does occur, we still have enough time to all the places and come back home in time too. The primary attraction of the town include the Chandannagar museum, the Sacred heart church, Patalbari and the Strand. Chandannagar was the only place we had in mind.

The day out in reality

So, first we reached the Howrah station in record time around 6:45 in the morning and looked for the first Bandel local that was scheduled at the earliest. We ended up on an unreserved train that was supposed to go to Chandannagar but were scheduled to leave much later. The chaos began as we almost forgot our bags on this train as we ran to get on the Bandel local that had arrived on another platform. We finally managed to get on the right train with everything and being the early morning train, it made before time to the destination station. We were at Chandannagar by 8 am.

From the station we took an auto to the ferry ghat. From the ferry ghat the strand, the sacred heart church and the Chandannagar museum and the Patalbari are all in one direction and close by. It is about ten minutes walk from the ferry ghat along the Ganges to reach the strand which is right opposite to the Chandannagar museum. The way to Sacred heart is easy enough. The road beside the Chandannagar college leads to the Sacred heart Church and Google Map was cooperative enough to provide accurate locations so far to us. The Chandannagar college is right beside the museum.

However the real trouble was not with direction but with time- we reached too early even for the church to open. So we had to spend approximately one and a half hour loitering around. This would have been hard enough if any of us had come alone. The sacred heart church opens at 9 am. The major attraction of the church is its history. Some of the oldest recorded graves during the french colonial times in chandannagar are also there within the church compound.

The Strand is a beautiful structure that is a fine specimen of the blend of French and Indian architecture and the serenity of the location make it a pleasant view of the town. The Patalbari is within your visual range from here. The house has its own history and noted as a home where Rabindranath Tagore had resided for a while. However the home is not open to public and someone actually stays in the house and the owner’s family lives across the street. So whether there are rooms below the water level was something we did not get to witness personally. So that was another disappointment.

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Our next stop was the Sacred heart church. Early in the morning we were the only people who came there as tourists. The church is homely and the detailed glass paintings are particularly beautiful. The oldest recorded grave is there right behind the church and the entire church compound is well maintained and beautiful.

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The Chandannagar museum opens at 11am or supposed to be open by 11am officially but it was finally opened around 11:30am when the employees arrived at last. Till then, we spent loitering around the museum lawns and the building itself which is a very beautiful French architecture and a sight to behold anyway. The graveled path, the really thick pillars along a long and sunny corridor was a fine sight indeed. The museum which at first appeared small actually holds quite a large number of artifacts and paintings which are very valuable. There are various manuscripts and specimens of the French colonial period that the museum holds but sadly their conservation and maintenance is not up to the mark. The French library and the duplex room are also part of the museum. The duplex room houses some very valuable and beautiful furniture and antiques from the French era.

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However exploring the museum took us about an hour and by 12pm we had nothing more to explore- not at least in Chandannagar. So we started looking up other places to go along the river and there was Bandel and regions of Hooghly. We chalked out our next part of the trip as we searched around for a restaurant for lunch. One we had lunch; we again head off for Bandel.

One can go to Bandel by train from the Chandannagar station. That is the most straight forward option for a newcomer. But the other convenient option that we found from the locales is by road. Take a tracker to “Khajnar More” and from there one can get auto to Bandel more that is the cross road between the station road and the one leading toward the church. Once you reach here, you would find numerous auto towards the church from this point. The auto we took from Khajnar more actually said that there would not be any option to go to the church and that the best choice would be reserving the auto for going to both the Bandel church and the Hooghly Imam Bara. However the Bandel church is 10minutes auto ride from this region and one would not be disappointed at the grandeur of the structure.

The Bandel church is a specimen of Portuguese architecture dated in 15th century and it is much larger than the Chandannagar church. The church compound is beautiful and one can even go to the terrace of the church. The view of the Jubilee bridge from the terrace and the sparkling Ganges under the midday sun is soothing. Like any average tourist I am not a history buff and I liked the location, the beautiful structure and the overall magnitude of the building no doubt but much of the history has just bounced off my head.

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The next stop was the Hooghly Imam Bara. One can reach the Imam Bara by auto from the front gate of the Bandel church but a more serene and beautiful option are the boats which ferry from the makeshift ferry behind the church. There are boatmen at the gate of the church itself who would ask you to opt for the boat but it is better to go to the ferry yourself and talk directly with the boatmen. The rates they tell starts from 200 approx and then with much haggling settle for 100, which is still expensive for the distance they are covering but it is worth the cost. The Hooghly Imam Bara dates into the 12th century. The location is beautiful right by the Ganga and the Imam Bara has a very serene ambience about it. There is a sun dial outside the imam Bara, though I found the view from the clock towers of the imam Bara overlooking the river and the entire Imam Bara more rewarding, though the climb up spiraling stairs seemed eternal and never ending as I climbed up.

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The trip came to an end as we proceeded to go to the station from here. The Bandel station can be reached from the imam Bara by the battery cars that were on the road outside.  We came back to Kolkata by 6:30 in the evening.

My conclusion

First, I guess we should have started at least 2 hours later to ensure that we did not have to sit or loiter around waiting for the museums to open. The second thing we could have done was plan visiting Bandel first since it seemed more interesting than the places in Chandannagar. Then lastly, I am thankful I planned to go out with someone and not alone- I would have been bored sitting around and would never have had the enthusiasm to plan on the go and keep pushing myself for going around to the new places.  The Chandannagar and Bandel trip is a perfect plan for a day out when you have to be back home within a decent time.

International men’s day celebration and Kolkata

It was like any other day as I turned my laptop on and started checking the mails of the day without expecting anything other than work mails. As I started discarding all the promotional mails as usual, my eyes got stuck to a mail from a personal email address. As I read through the mail and re-read again to make sure that I have read it right, it become obvious to me that it is an invitation to witness a car rally celebrating International men’s day. If not anything, curiosity drove me to find out more and eventually go to the event the following day, that is on 19th November.

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So what is Men’s day? Days dedicated to women, children, even fathers in particular are something we all are familiar with but a day dedicated to men in general? It was new to me and from what followed afterwards through the day, it was apparent that the event is new to a lot of people all over the city. While the world have witnessed fickle calls for an official men’s day since the 1960s, it formally came into being in 1992 , 7th February, inaugurated by Thomas Oaster. Eventually the Date was set to 19th November all over the world.

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In Kolkata, the event was being celebrated through a car rally organized by Hridaya- a NGO which focuses on improving the gender equality standards and they have been organizing this program since 2007. The car rally was scheduled to start from Kolkata Press club at 2 p.m. and after passing through significant regions like park circus, and landmarks like Science City and Ruby Hospital finally ended in Golf Green at 5 pm. The main agenda of the car rally was to make people aware of the day and how men too can seek help in distress and need to be vocal of their rights too.

In a strictly patriarchal country, the notion of distressed men is alien. Women empowerment is essential but one cannot completely discard that laws that are designed to help women are also often being misused. Patriarchy today gives women rights through reservations and with laws in their favor, perhaps in an attempt to be acknowledged as tolerant further aggravating the divide and inequality between the sexes. The celebration of this particular day focus on bringing about a change in the biased laws where the woman have every power to lodge complaints of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dowry troubles and rape. On the other hand, men complaining of domestic violence, and even sexual harassment is looked down upon. After all, the stereotype about men is that they have to be tough against all odds. Yet, in reality, men too have their share of troubles but the difference in the situations is that they do not have any law to back them up.

As I spent the three hours interacting with several members of the NGO, a thought recurred in my mind that, patriarchal society not only victimize their daughters but also their sons in a manner that is even more exploitative. I came across one such man who have been granted the legal custody for his child but is still not allowed to meet his daughter by his wife. Another man was a victim of acid attack. The men are passionate about the cause and at some point I cannot deny, the demands are just. Upholding the rights of one sex with the logic of empowerment hardly justify depriving the other of legal faculties completely. True empowerment is possible only when truly equal rights are delivered.

Voitre Face serum Review

However much I resolve not to indulge in more makeup and cosmetic products, resisting temptation is difficult when there are so many attractive offers and deals around us. I had been contemplating on subscribing for Fab Bag subscriptions for long and after going to through many mixed reviews about their repetitive and average products most of the time, I kept putting off the idea. Finally I subscribed after getting the notification that they would be giving one of the sugar matte lipsticks as a part of the bag. The voitre Face serum was among the other products that I received on that month. Read on to know how it fared for me.

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The voitre face serum comes in a tiny glass bottle with a cap that also doubles as a dropper. The glass of the bottle is thick and dark- like the packaging of essential oils. The cap is golden in colour and there is a tag tied around the neck of the bottle that gives a brief introduction of the brand and also has the ingredient list.
Price: rs. 1500 approx. for 12ml
Ingredients

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Texture and consistency
The product is milky and has a watery consistency. One has to shake the bottle every time before using it. The smell of the product is strong but not overpowering. The fragrance is heavenly. It is natural and floral and there is no artificiality about the scent.

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My view on the Voitre Face serum:
I had already read a number of good reviews on this product and was ecstatic when I received it as a part of my first month fab bag subscription. This was my March fab bag subscription and my skin was feeling rather rough during the season change. I am not very dedicated about my skin care regime and only when there is some serious trouble that I feel the urge to take care of my skin. So needless to say, my skin was dry and chapped from the winter months and was some parts of my cheeks were hurting when I finally felt the need to be regular about moisturizing. This is when I received the serum.
One needs hardly a couple of drop of the serum for your entire face. After using the serum every night before bedtime for 15 days, I must admit the results were fabulous. First, the parts of my cheeks where the skin was chapped and flaking started healing and within a week it was completely healed- something that was just not happening even though I was already routinely using moisturizer twice a day since a week before getting this serum. By another week my skin was glowing, felt very soft to touch and was smooth and hydrated. The change was very much noticeable. My mother and my sister too used the serum. For my mother, the some of her dark spots were significantly reduced which hardy happened before even though she used various anti-ageing products. My sister also experienced reduction of acne scars.
However, given we three were using the product, the bottle lasted 15 days for us but the effect of the product was lasting enough. Overall, this is one of the best face serums there is for every age group though it is extremely pricey. But the results I have experienced were miraculous and hence I cannot blame the company for such a price tag.
Pros:
Beautiful fragrance that is lasting
Consistency that gets absorbed easily in the skin irrespective of skin type
Heals acne scars, and dry, dehydrated and flaking skin
Reduced dark spots significantly
A little goes a long way
Hydrates the skin and rejuvenates youthful radiance
Sturdy packaging
Completely herbal and no preservatives
Cons:
Expensive
Not available easily
One bottle would hardly last a month when used by a single person
Would I recommend?
Yes, if you do not mind spending thousands for such tiny bottle then go for it. It is effective indeed.
Rate: 4.5/5

Star’s cosmetics concealer palette

`I have always considered concealers unnecessary given that I do not have much to conceal. But still I wanted to try out a concealer for the little amount of dark circles that I do have. I was looking for a product that would look good in photographs and suit my complexion perfectly. I had been eyeing the products from star’s cosmetics for a long time on online stores majorly because of the affordability and the wide choice they provide. They are actually an Indian brand of theatre makeup originating from Mumbai. Unexpectedly I bumped on these palettes at the oldest art supply store of Kolkata- G.C.Laha and I must admit I was elated and shocked. Elated because they cost was less than what flipkart or jabong displays as the MRP and shocked because they actually are charging so much more.
Read on to know how it fared for me.
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Price: rs. 350- I got it for rs.315 for the three shade palette
The online stores mostly charge rs.500 and extra 50-80 for shipping for these particular palettes.
The larger 12 or 10 colours palette (I do not remember exactly the number of shades they had) cost around rs.850 at the store.
Packaging:
It comes in a silver carton with the brand name printed in black. The palette case is matte black and the name is printed in white on it. There is an average sized mirror that is almost as large as the palette within it. The palette is quite sturdy but would not survive a fall as mine have cracked slightly already from a fall. The packaging, at least the outer carton reminds of kryolan cosmetics.
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My view of the product
I got this palette around December or January and at that time the temperature of Calcutta was rather low. Initially it felt very dry and almost rubbery to an extent. I was completely disappointed with the product then. But soon it turned out that with the room temperature, the texture of the product varies as well. I left the palette under the sun for about 10mins and it turned really creamy and easy to use. Now that it is summer here, the product is always creamy and smooth. The palette that I got, have a light shade which is of neutral undertone, a medium shade with strong yellow undertone and a yellow colour corrector. I use the medium one mostly, sometimes mixed with the light one depending on where I am using it.
I find that this works best with fingers or sponge. I dab a little bit of it under my eyes and then blend it with a wet sponge. Personally I feel a concealer that can stay put without creasing even during summers is the best. Sadly, this one does not fulfil that criterion at all. I have not tried wearing it under the maximum possible temperature, but it did settle in the creases badly even when the temperature was tolerable, within 3-3.5 hours of wear time. Settling it with powder did not help much, rather it felt heavy and uncomfortable that way.
The yellow corrector was a disappointment though. If you use it and then try to layer with the concealer of your tone, it gets cakey- so the purpose of the corrector fails.
Coverage is medium and buildable but not up to full. It will start getting cakey that way. The shade medium would suit anyone with yellow undertones and probably would suit most of the fair to medium skin toned women.
Since I use the concealer rarely at functions and occasions, the product despite its shortcomings is good enough for me. It photographs really well and stays in place in AC or colder temperature.  The pallet is good for beginners who want to master the use of the concealer before trying out something really fancy and expensive.
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Pros:
Affordable for a palette of three-each pan weighs 5g
Would suit fair to medium skin tone with yellow undertones
Photographs well
Cons:
Availability
Creases badly under hot temperature- not suitable for daily use
Yellow corrector is of disappointing quality
Gets cakey if layered
Tips:
It actually last longer when you blend a layer of the concealer with wet sponge and wait a while for it to dry up and then layer again in a similar manner and set it with powder.
Rate: 2.5/5

What would happen if harry potter was based in Kolkata?

 

Ever since I read the first book, my free times were mostly spent imagining myself as one of the students of Hogwarts. Sometimes, if I had the audacity to imagine myself as brilliant, I saw myself as Hermione- accompanying Harry on every expeditions and adventure. But I stumbled as I tried to follow him around given Europe or wherever the Hogwarts school is (you see, magical schools are really secretive about their whereabouts as per Bathilda Bagshot in Hogwarts: A history) since I hardly know the country. How nice it would have been had the story been set in Kolkata. The city of joy is a magic to be unravelled every day- every lanes and street hold their own history and magic that you can explore. What if there were…

Flying metros

Invisible to the muggles, flying metro would have been the perfect substitute to knight bus in Kolkata. You have to reach the metro station by either apparating, floo powder or with broomsticks and the train can take you across continents. It does not even need railway tracks and it is faster than aeroplanes. How cool is that?

 

Platform 17 ¾

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The new platforms of Howrah station are less crowded and hence the ideal place to reach the magical platform undetected. The chaotic coherence in the spirit of Kolkata is particularly manifested in the bustling heritage station which resembles platform 9 ¾ every time a train arrives at any platform. No- you don’t have to walk through the pillars here, though, it is too scary for an eleven-year-old. Platform 17 ¾ can be reached simply by flushing yourself down a particular toilet here.

The Diagon alley of Kolkata- icchepuron goli

The magical street where you can find everything you need has to be around Dharmatala in Kolkata. What can be more fitting that the central Kolkata region where you can find everything and anything. To reach the place that is located right below the Hogg Market, go inside New Market at the centre where the alleys within the market converge at the tiny shop in the middle. All you have to do is simply walk through the shop and there you are- at “icchepuron goli”.

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Floating school

Take a train to Hogwarts which is located in the heart of the Ganges on a floating coral island guarded by the Mer people. Wondering how a train can travel under water? Don’t worry- Hogwarts express is equipped with floaters or trained giant squids to pull it forward while a special water-proofing charm protects its engines. The school often rise up on the surface of the river- not that you would feel the lack of sunlight or air underwater as well. After all, Hogwarts enjoys a natural ambience even within the building itself with its enchanted ceiling.

Crows instead of owls

Kolkata has plenty of crows and the magical community can actually get a great deal of use out of the rodents simply by petting them and training them to carry your letters.

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Wands made of neem, mahogany, and saal

Wands made from the tropical and evergreen trees are the best choice here. A wand from the neem tree would perfectly match the ambience of Kolkata when to harry potter is set here. But resisting the urge to chew at it is an art to be mastered by many.

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Am I raving with my imagination? Even if I am, I do not care to restrict myself. Magic is madness. Magic is imagination and Kolkata are magic. So you never know when you stumble upon real magic in this city.

 

This Blogpost is an entry to the blogging contest, a part of the book launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in association with Kolkata Bloggers.

Image courtsey for all the images used in this post goes to google images.

Top things to do in pahalgam- the beginning of the journey

 

Pahalgam was the first place in our trip plan. After the sweltering heat of Jammu, we were more than eager to go to some place cold. Till the journey began, our trip felt like driving o first gear on the highway. Our pickup was scheduled at 5 am but ultimately after some minor tension whether the guy in charge is at all going to turn up, we began our journey around 6:30 am. If you are planning a trip between Jammu and Pahalgam by road, then try and begin the journey as early as possible. It is almost 300km and takes 12hours on an average in ideal situation.

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betaab valley from the top

 

We reached the hotel at Pahalgam around 9:30pm at night as we were stuck in traffic for hours on the way. The road itself is very adventurous but hot during this time of the year and extremely dusty. But as soon as you gain some altitude, the variety of the view from rocky terrains to green mountains compensate the discomfort of the journey. Here are few things we did and I feel is worth doing in Pahalgam.

  1. Picnic by the Lidder River

We were short of time extremely given that we reached almost 6 hours late of what we had actually expected. So as much as I would have loved to picnic there, we did not get the time. But the ambience by the Lidder is splendid- the water is crystal clear and you can spend hours simply watching the water break on the rocks. We stayed at a hotel much higher on the mountains and it was rather isolated from the central commercial area of Pahalgam and we could hear the water gushing down the river at night. The Lidder valley’s main attraction is the natural beauty. Sit by the river or walk down the bank, this is a place you will remember afresh for years ahead.

 

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The Lidder River

 

  1. Chandanwari

This is a point from Pahalgam which, I felt, is notable just because you can see ice-clad mountains here. The road to Chandanwari is beautiful and it is like a spiral curved up the mountain. However, I did not find the spot particularly appealing as such. It was crowded and had a number of shops and hotels and shacks here and there. The snow was rather grimy and muddy. There were facilities of sledging but it looked almost child’s play in so little snow. The view of the river from the snow clad mountain was appealing though, but in all, I did not find the place worth travelling for almost 1.5hours from Pahalgam.

 

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at Chandanwari

 

  1. Betaab valley

Located within the Ananth nag district, about 15 km away from Pahalgam, this place got its name from the movie “Betaab” which was filmed here. Now it has become a tourist attraction that is maintained and almost landscaped artificially. Again, this is another very crowded spot and there is a separate entrance fees for the place which is Rs.100 per person. You can get the view of the entire valley from a height on the road and that is a really beautiful experience. However, we chose not to enter the landscaped area.

Being too concerned about cold, we had made the mistake of layering sweaters and by this time, we were all feeling giddy with heat and our trip seemed to be on the verge of getting ruined. As we roamed about a bit outside the entrance, I located a small trail used by the shopkeepers here to get water from the river. You have to remove the nettle fencing to go on that road. My sister and I soon crossed that fence and we were technically within the boundaries of Betaab valley. At this point, with the pine forest on the banks of the river and less crowd, the true beauty of the place seems to exude thoroughly.

 

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Betaab valley

 

  1. Other places of interest

There were many places which one can cover centring Pahalgam and if we had time enough, I would have liked to go to Aru as well. The hotel where you stay in will have a rate chart for renting cars to these places. The rates are fixed and are rates fixed by the government. But make sure that you ask for this chart and should not entirely rely on the words of the staffs or your guide. Also, if you have a private car arranged for the trip, you would not be able to go on that to these places and it is mandatory that you get the local cars. There are some lakes as well which one can cover only if they are staying in Pahalgam for more than a day.

  1. go for a walk

Ditch the car and go for a walk as this is the perfect place for going on a walk. You never know what view you can come across on the way around this region. For me, it was the stretches of the valley which almost looked white with little daisy flowers, then watching the way the snow mountains seemed to peep through the pine trees or how the brooks break through the yards of people’s home and small make shift bridges over them. Then there were occasional chunks of snow here and there and how vast the valley looked from the top of the mountain and the play of light and shade as sun rays fell on one mountain that cast a shadow on another.

 

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a spot on the way to chandanwari

 

  1. Shopping in pahalgam

The market region is not large and there is no speciality which you can assign to this place alone. Since most of the items come from Srinagar itself, it would be better to avoid shopping here since you can get the same things at a lesser price in Srinagar.

However at Chandanwari, the locals come with baskets of freshly picked walnuts from the villages and the price is dirt cheap here. Understanding the quality is difficult but if you are lucky you can actually get superior quality of the nuts. We did. It was not the best but for 300 per Kg it was a bargain and they ripened completely when kept in the sun for a few days back in Kolkata. There is a place on the way to Srinagar which is notable for the dry fruits alone and the shops there are supposed to sell the best quality of the dry fruits. We stopped at such a place as well. While the product was truly good here, I would still recommend the locals at Chandanwari if you are particularly looking for walnuts.

  1. Sudden stops

We were on the way to Srinagar from Pahalgam and we stopped here and there on the way. One of the best places we stopped was a pine forest by the side of the road on the way to Srinagar. The beauty and the solitude of the place were enchanting. Another place that was truly interesting is the titanic view point which is a view of the entire Kashmir valley, 2 km beyond the Jawahar tunnel. We came across this point on our way to Pahalgam. If you have an eye for natural beauty and places which are still not a conventional tourist spot, then you will be able to spot a number of such stops on the way.

 

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the titanic view- the entire view of the kashmir valley

 

There are dhabas where you can stop by for food, roadside shacks for tea and similar attractions. One can find plenty such eateries on the way and depending on the time you can afford to spent, there are so many things you can do.

So have you been to these places? How was your experience? I feel each place deserved a week at least to truly savour its essence, instead of covering four locations in a week. I have shared what I know to the best of my knowledge and experience and additions are always welcome.

Bye for now and in my next post I will come up with a detailed journal of Srinagar so stay tuned and keep reading.

What You would Love about a trip in Kashmir and my experiences

Though a lover of the seas personally, I love to travel in whole. A trip to Kashmir has been long due and at last, we finally managed to plan it. Kashmir has always been elevated to a dreamland and heaven on earth status- to me, this was a bit of exaggeration until I actually visited the place. Summing up the entire trip into a single post would be impossible and this has been so far, one of my best trips.

Going away

So we started for the trip on 26th of April by Himgiri express and the train was scheduled to start from Howrah station at 12 am sharp. This is the best train that one can avail from the Howrah station to Jammu Tawai. The other train is Jammu Tawai express which takes twice the time to reach the destination. The other option for reaching Jammu and Kashmir is by air from Kolkata. We reached the destination station in 37 hours which is 1 hour more than the scheduled time of arrival.

 

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A view of the Bahu fort from Bahu Bagh- Jammu

 

The tour plan

We had decided to manage our holiday on our own but luckily dad decided against it in the last moment. So we opted for a package tour for 8 days that covered Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Srinagar. The trip started with a sightseeing of Jammu. Though we expected a cooler weather but Jammu in the month of April can compete and exceed Kolkata in terms of the heat. The first-day experience was not really what we were expecting. We met the person who would be taking us around Kashmir for the rest of the days. I would not say we were very optimistic when we met the guy but we were proved quite wrong over the next few days.

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Patnitop- this is a landscaped children’s park really but the views of the hills are splendid on the way

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The Lidder River-Pahalgam

 

Our experiences

There are so many experiences- big and small throughout this trip that it is difficult to compress all of it within a single post. So I would rather concentrate on a few pointers and suggestions that I have learnt from the overall experience of the trip.

The very first is, Kashmir is hot during April and may depending on the places you visit. Every day the road journey from one place to another in the morning almost reminded me of Kolkata. Once we reached the destinations which were above a certain altitude the temperature had decreased, but not on the way. The weather is extremely unpredictable in Kashmir. If it rains, the temperature drops drastically. Luckily we did not get any rain until the very last day of our trip.

 

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the snow clad mountains from pahalgam

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Betaab Valley- Sight seeing from pahalgam

 

If you visit any of the points like ice point in Gulmarg, the zero point from Sonamarg, places like Chandanwari- proper shoes and blazer is mandatory. I guess if we had the jackets suitable for the places, we could have simply rented the shoes alone.

 

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Thajiwas Glacier

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The road to Zero Point from Sonamarg

 

Opt for package trips rather than going on your own. At every point you would have to encounter people with whom you have to bargain about variety of things like rental for horses, for jeeps, for ice sports and the unrealistic amounts they quote cannot be bargained to a sensible price unless you have some local connections.

 

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ice point- gulmarg

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gulmarg

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sonamarg

 

Roads are unpredictable- there are always high chances that you would be held up by traffic or even by herds of sheep, goats and even horses. We had an idea that Jammu to Srinagar or Jammu to Pahalgam would be 8 hour journey roughly. But in reality, it is a minimum of 11-12 hours and by all means, it can be more but not less unless your driver drives like a madman. This is a really adventurous drive but no doubt, a hectic one. Halfway through the trip, there is a place called Patnitop which has a number of resorts and is perfect for resting in. You can even manage rooms on hour basis for just cleaning up and resting for a while but, I guess, this is a settlement entirely dependent on the understanding between the guide or driver you have and the resort managements.

 

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sunset on the dal lake- srinagar

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pine forest- on the way to sonamarg

 

Heavy tips are charged by everybody wherever you go- whether the staffs in hotel or even the horsemen whom you hire and even the drivers. Do not give away a 1000 or a 500 rupees note and expect the change if you are tipping and wish to tip moderately. The trend to keep the change and refuse to give it under several pretence is quite consistent at every place we went to.

Snow fighting is fun but up to a certain limit- you would definitely not enjoy the blisters you get from excessive clawing in the snow. If you want, get proper snow gloves and do not take inspiration from the local people and start clawing the snow bare handed. This can be tolerable for a few minutes but not for hours if you are planning on spending that long in the snow. My sister got blisters and I ended up with numb and stiff fingers.

If you really want to get the feel of ice sports like skiing, and sledging then Sonamarg is the best place- to be precise the zero point. The prices they quote are reasonable and one does not have to bargain and lot and the experience you have is priceless. One can also come across similar sports in Chandanwari and Gulmarg as well but they are like child’s play compared to the experience one has at zero point and they are by far unrealistically expensive.

In short, these are all I could think of for now. I will go down to detailed descriptions of each day of the trip in mu next post. So stay tuned and keep reading.

8 Budget valentine’s day gift ideas for him

Usually gifting the girl on any occasion is not that difficult unless your girlfriend or wife is completely offbeat in their personality or taste. But finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for him can be tricky. Most gift shops focus on women-centric gift ideas since that is more commercially profitable, and finding a proper gift suitable for the day for your man becomes even more difficult than deciding on the perfect foundation. 😀 Guys too like getting pampered though few admits it and in fact, they do so as much as women. So here are some ideas that you can try out this year and surprise your boyfriend or husband that day and some of them actually would not cost you more than your effort and creativity.

The ready made gifts

It is understandable that not every one of us has the same level of creativity and then ready made ideas come to rescue. While a personalized paperweight or coaster looks fine, I always prefer something that would be useful and handy which he would always be using for some reason or the other.

Coffee mug set

The easiest option- personalize a cup with the best photos of your two for him. If you live with him, then get two such mugs.

Pocket notebook and pen

You will find plenty of classy choices and they can be the perfect gift for a serious and somber guy. Add a personal touch to the notebook with a handwritten note on the first page and trust me, he will treasure it.

Gadgets

Guys can never have enough of gadgets. If your budget is below Rs.500 then go for a pen-drive. There are plenty of choices which are high on performance, looks classy and has enough storage if you consider 16gb enough, that is. If you are willing to spend another 1000 bucks, then hands-free from top brands or a headset would surely get him jumping in joy.

Video games

Well, I am quite a novice in games actually and as far as my knowledge goes, now a days, the most popular video games are actually all online games. But if you have a boyfriend who is gaming freak you would know better about what he might want.

Clothing

This is easy- all you have to know is his size. His favorite sports jersey or a shirt he has been eyeing online for a while- you just need to be alert about what he is looking for. An extra tip here- try picking up during the sales season by January if you want to get something within budget from top brands- we all have to take care of our pockets too.

May be there are exceptions, but as far as my knowledge goes, most guys downright hate teddies so unless you want that to be handed down to his sister or someone, do not attempt gifting teddies and heart shaped pillows to him.

DIY gift ideas

DIY is a very romantic idea if you can execute it well. For often than not, they hardy cost much except being tedious even, but that much effort would not hurt when you are madly in love. The DIYs can be anything ranging from the ones listed here or simply arranging the day such that you can have some great time together- all you need to spare is some sincere thought to it and understand what he would enjoy too.

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Handmade card and chocolates

Guys like chocolates too and when you give a card that you have made yourself along with it, you really do not need to do anything else. Making a Valentine’s Day card is not exactly too difficult even if you are not good at painting- you can easily make a scrapbook of pictures you two treasures and also add quotes along with it- things you sincerely wish to say. Do not worry about your handwriting; if he is really into you, the words would matter, the handwriting would not.

Arrange candlelight

This arrangement would be even better if you do it properly at home. It is not very difficult to arrange. A couple of aromatic candles placed strategically around the dining room, and his favorite dishes preferably self-cooked if you can manage it. Oh, you can add a little handwritten note along with everything else.

Love notes

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If you have access to his home or room even when he is not there, you can make his day really special with these little surprises. Think writing a love letter in parts. Decide the number of notes you wish to give him and time them such that he finds them through the day around the house. You can set alarms at the given time on his phone when he does not notice. Put little gifts like a pen, or pocket deodorant, or key chain along with every chit and let him eagerly wait to find the next chit and the gift along with it.

Lastly, even if it is a special day for couples, in reality there is nothing like “particular” or “special” day for each other. You can make every day your valentine’s day when you have little surprises and almost unnoticeable gestures of care for your valentine. Gifting does not have to be elaborate as long as you are genuine with what you do for him or her.

 

Maybelline fit me matte and poreless foundation review

Searching for the right shade of foundation is one of those eternal “quests” a perfectionist woman has to go through. Being someone who prefers to stick to the sheerest formulas to avoid shade matching mayhem, I have always avoided buying a foundation. The first one I ever got was a pink toned one and looked ghastly on me which I turned blind to and still used it, the second one I got from online store and while it matched my face in terms of undertones, it is still slightly fairer and so I was quite excited seeing the shades launched here in the maybelline new launches fit me matte and poreless range. I always had difficulty to make the SA agree to jawline testing but this guy at the store complied and it became so easy to find what I need. After testing three shades I zeroed down to 310 sun beige which is the fourth shade of the range launched here.

Company claims:

Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • Available for different skin tones.
  • 6 different shades
  • 25% anti-shine perlite + micro blurring

The shade names enlisted on the website does not match the names on the bottles of the foundation at stores. The shade names on the bottles are 115 ivory, 230 natural buff, 128 warm nude, 310 sun beige, 322 warm honey and 330 toffee caramel.

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Price: Rs.525 for 30ml

ingredients:

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My view on the product:

The foundation comes in a heavy glass bottle with a black cap which is a screw down one. The brand name, variant or range and other details are mentioned on the bottle. The bottle is sturdy enough and it survived a fall soon after I bought it, unscathed. But the major complain that I have about the packaging is that it does not have any pump or at least a spatula so getting the foundation out without wastage is a tedious job.

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The consistency of the foundation is more creamy than liquidy. I usually shake the bottle and then pour on my fingertips and apply the foundation at one part of my face at a time. the foundation sets faster than any foundation ( Maybelline dream matte liquid mousse and makeup revolution the matte effect foundation) so it is better to go part by part than trying to do the whole face at a time. I have tried applying it with brush by stippling it and with fingers and the results with fingers were the best. I am yet to try it out with a sponge though.

The shade sun beige is meant for neutral undertones or yellow undertones and it is the perfect match for me, on my neck as well as face. In fact, in terms of shades, I am overjoyed to have found the perfect match at last which is not even tiniest bit darker or lighter than my tone. The shade selection in general would suit Indian skin tones well though I wish there were chocolate tones as well so everyone could find their shades perfectly. The darkest shade is dark enough for dusky to brown skin tones but in India at least, we have a huge range of skin colour and six shades are not just enough- especially when they have twenty four shades in total for this range in the international market. The coverage is medium and buildable to full. I prefer to use one coat though and since I do not have many problem areas building the coverage is not very much necessary for me.

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Staying power is quite good though the real test would be when summer arrives in Kolkata. Till now the foundation wears well for 4hours without any sign of wear and tear or oiliness which is the longest time I managed to test it outdoors. However the formula emphasises flaked skin and the matte finish can make the skin feel taut and dry. Though I have combination skin, it turns extremely dry on the cheeks in nose during winters and without proper exfoliation and moisturization, wearing the foundation can get difficult.

I have visible pores on my nose though nothing that is extraordinarily large and this foundation do cover them up well. The foundation however transfers if you rub your face somewhere. I discovered this when I hugged my sister who was wearing a white shirt- I suppose she would know what the yellow marks are if she reads this! Anyway, do watch out for such mishaps! I did not set it with any powder or setting spray and this happened. I have to see what happens when I set it with something.

The foundation photographs really well in artificial light and sunlight. If it match your shade perfectly, it would look fine in flash photographs as well. Overall, the foundation is a very affordable option that does meet all the basic requirements we have from a foundation on daily basis as well as during any party as well.

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if you look closely at the images,the encircled part is has some redness and pigmentation which gets quite covered after the foundation was applied

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easily available
  • Packaging is very sturdy and travel friendly
  • The shade selection is quite suitable for most average Indian skin tones
  • Matte finish
  • Reduced pore visibility considerably if you have average open pores
  • Keeps oiliness at bay for quite sometimes
  • Photographs really well

Cons:

  • The packaging- not even a spatula if not a pump
  • Emphasizes flaky skin
  • Rubs off on surfaces
  • Shade selection is limited when extreme skin tones are taken into consideration(chocolate tones)- not a personal con though
  • Most shades are yellow toned except the lightest two-pink toned women may have trouble finding their best match- again, not a personal con

Rate: 4/5

On a personal level, despite the troubles of rubbing off surfaces and packaging, this has become my HG budget drugstore foundation and I will buy this one again and again just for the shade unless I find another HG foundation.

 P.S: I missed out about the smell. It smells, as my sister describes “like beer” and I find her description just right. It has a very strong alcoholic smell which luckily evaporates within minutes of application. While I am not very sensitive smell of any kind so it is fine for me, someone who is might find this smell awful.

My first ever Blog Sale! :D

It is so true that a girl can never have enough of makeup and when things go overboard, blog sales are there at our rescue. sometimes I do not even know why I get certain things I might rarely use but then I cannot resist the temptation of new things at times. So, here goes my first ever blog sale which I have been planning for quite a while. The products I have here are not used as such and in fact some are brand new except that I have swatched them today.

streetwear megasine parrty melon

Brand new

Price: rs.120

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urban decay naked-2 dupe

used- 5 to 6 times, some colors are untouched though.

price- rs. 700

This is a Urban decay Naked 2 palette dupe I picked up from a Thailand counter in the international trade fair of kolkata last year. So far, the performance has been great and until I had my 120 colour palette, this was the palette I would opt opt when I had to use eyeshadows.

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maybelline dream matte liquid mousse- light 5- creamy natural

used- 3-4 times

price- rs.400

Had it matched my tone perfectly, I would have never thought off parting with this one. This foundation has pink undertones and supposedly the darkest of the light category of foundation in this range, though on me, my face never matched my neck.

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Kiss Beauty blush palette

brand new- just swtached

price- rs.120

A korean brand we often locate at some online sites, I got this at a store in Kolkata. The pigmentation is quite dense, but coral and cool tones pink and fuchsia are not my cup of tea.

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Colorbar Velvet Matte range thrilling pink

used- 2-3times

Price- rs.200

reviewed here

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roots professional thermal round brush small

price- 120

used, but thoroughly cleaned

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vega round brush+ elle 18 lipstick

price- rs.130

  • sale within india only
  • confirm the product you want by commenting here, make payment within 24 hours of the confirmation. in case any product that interest multiple customers, the first to confirm would be given preference.
  • NEFT/IMPS

Commitment

“What are you going to do on Valentine’s day?”

“I have office that day. I cannot come.”

“Bunk office please!”

“And why would I do so? What does it matter?”

His question stopped her on her tracks and she kept silence and looked away hoping what he would say to her silence now.

“I may not turn up, but you are not going out with anyone but me.”

“And why not?”

“Just not.”

Just two words betrayed that he cared. The magic was back when Commitment was no longer an obligation.

 

New year Look- Burgundy Eyes

Today’s post is going to be really brief as I have to get going. This is basically a look I created for New Year and this one is comparatively dramatic than the previous one I did. I am not very fond of dramatic looks and even when i try to create something dramatic I end up creating something “mildly” dramatic- that is what I would call this particular look. I rarely use berry and burgundy colour  and in this look, I based entire color scheme around pink and berry tones.

For the eyes, pearl finish burgundy, burnt-sienna and chocolate brown as transition colour has been used. For the lips, I have used a subtler rose pink colour. The makeup is suitable for any berry toned dress and would also look flattering with emerald green and peach dresses in contrast.

Here is the breakdown images for the Look:

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the lip colour is from estee lauder double wear range- just ginger and topped with maybelline hypershine gloss in forever mauve

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This is the entire look. I planned this post for yesterday but got stuck in some work.

So, I am off to my day’s plan.

Wish You All  A Happy New Year In Advance and enjoy the day!

Quick christmas look

With the Christmas approaching and is in 3days, here is a look that I created for this year. You can say this is my own dress rehearsal for Christmas. 😀 Hope you enjoy the tutorial! The LBD gives so many chances to play around with your look and so after much pondering, I decided on the satin taupe shadow with lined eyes and bright ombre red lips.

I am not very fond of heavy base and hence started with simple cleansing, toning and moisturizing routine. Once the moisturizer got absorbed well, I used the Maybelline superfresh compact all over my face with the stippling brush and blended it well. I wanted a stronger contour than usual and hence contoured my face, nose and jawbone with the Freedom matte bronzer and a tapered brush. I finished the base makeup with hint of peach toned blush on my cheeks.

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the face products

For the eyes, it was also very simple. I used shade 1, all over the eyelid and then using shade 2 made the crease line. I blended shade 2 and 3 in the crease and finished with shade 4 as transition colour. Then I lined the eyes with the Maybelline colossal liner and it is done.

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products used for eyes

I emphasized the lips in this look and used a maroon toned red and a bright coral red together to create an ombre. I lined the outer part of my lips with the maroon lipstick and them applied the coral at the center of my lips. Blending them together gave a nice fiery red that is wearable in reality.

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for lips

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Forgive the saturation of the picture, I did not realize it is so bright unless I opened the link on my mobile to check the view of the post.

Maybelline Superfresh Compact in Coral review

Though blessed and cursed with oily skin, I never liked compacts much. I would rather say that I was prejudiced against them. The white cast effect with flaky skin that I saw on aunties at wedding parties as a kid, that too in zoom mode when they would rush to pinch my cheeks, had put me off compacts for what is believed till now forever. Yet there are so many women who would swear by compacts and I had to find out why but within a budget. So when I saw these newly launched compacts by Maybelline I thought to give them a try after checking couple of reviews.

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Company claims:

Stay Fair & Fresh 12 Hours With The New White Super Fresh Compact

  • Maybelline New York introduces it’s all new perfecting compact powder, White Super Fresh that comes in three shades, Pearl, Shell and Coral. The new perlite formula absorbs oil and sweat and gives you a fresh look all through the day. Now bid goodbye to touch-ups and stay fresh and fair upto 12hours.
  • Here’s why you will love it:
  • – UV filters protects skin from both sun darkening and damage.
  • – Helps you stay 12HR Fair and Fresh
  • – Perlite, a pure mineral that helps absorbs oil and sweat.
  • – gives a naturally perfect-looking complexion
  • – Suitable for everyday use.

sourced from maybelline.co.in

Price: rs.150 for 8g

Packaging:

The compact comes in an all-white and sky blue cardboard box which encases the circular white plain compact tub. It clicks shuts firmly but is very lightweight- almost to the extent where it feels like flimsy but the overall finish of the packaging is practical, travel friendly and handy. The compact has a sponge but I find it useless. The mirror is a clear winner though. It is clear, bright and just exact size for touch ups.

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My view of the product:

I will start on a positive note- the oil control part- it is winter in Kolkata now and my skin ha started to feel dry though my t-zone still gets oil when I am outdoors though not as much as in summers. The compact easily survived 8hours and still looks fresh even on my t-zone without any unnatural shine. However I suppose this would not survive more than 4-5hours during summers. The powder is easily blende able and covers minor imperfections when used alone. the pigmentation is light and you can built it though after a while it can become cakey.

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The major drawback is the shade selection. I must say it is extremely limited- even medium toned women would have hard time finding the best match but as it is sheer you can work it out. The range has three shades namely, pearl, shell and coral. Pearl is a pink based compact and is the lightest of the three and will only suit the fairest who are also the rarest in India unless you photoshop every women’s pictures. The shade shell is too yellow toned and though it would suit the indian skin tone well, it again would suit only the yellow toned fair girls. The shade coral which I got is a neutral tone-neither too pink nor too yellow. Though it is considered the darkest of the three I did not find any difference in colour depth, but just the in the tone when swatched. Basically shell and coral are of the same colour depth where one is with yellow undertones, the other is more neutral. I already had decided on shell before going to store but seeing the swatches coral seemed the safest choice since it is not darker than shell but not that yellow either. It does match my tone perfectly well.

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I had sandy beige of the clear glow range of Maybelline to compare with and in terms of quality, this new one is a definite improvement. Sandy beige is the darkest shade of the clear glow range but still match me moderately well. Compared to sandy beige, the coral shade is more yellow toned and lighter. Overall, the compact is decent for the price you pay and part from the shade range I do not have anything to complain about.

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as you can see, I have swatched it against a deeper colour which is actually a matte bronzer.

This is how it looks on me. In this picture I have just the compact on with light contouring.

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Chicken In mixed herbs and Honey

When you are a foodie, striving for good food is a second nature. you cannot help search for new recipes or invent some. This is how I came up with this particular recipe. I had the bottle of mixed herbs lying around which I hardly used anywhere else apart from in pasta recipes and there was honey- the recipe was made on the go- without any idea of how it would end up tasting but it did definitely taste good or else I would not have been sharing it here. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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Ingredients:

  • Boneless chicken- 500g
  • Mixed herbs- dried thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil- approximately 2table spoon
  • Lemon zest- from a whole lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly grounded black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Homemade vinaigrette- ½ tea cup(75ml)
  • Honey-4-8 table spoon(depending on how sweet you want it to be)
  • Ginger paste- 1tablespoon

Direction for the vinaigrette:

Take vinegar and olive oil in the ratio of 1:2 and whisk them together in a bowl with a hand blender/machine blender/ spoon whatever you have at hand- the key point to be ensure is that the emulsion is thick and saucy. Add a pinch of salt, half a tea spoon black pepper, oregano, garlic paste (quarter tea spoon), half a lemon’s juice and whisk it again. This homemade version can be stored for a couple of week when you store it in an air tight jar.

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Direction:

  • Marinate the chicken pieces by rubbing little salt and black pepper on the bits and then sprinkling the herbs over the pieces and making sure that they are covered well with the herbs. Then add zest from half a lemon and squeeze half a lemon. Put aside this marinade in the freeze- there is no rule for how long you need to keep this- I kept it for some 5-6hours because I would not have had time for preparing this marinade later in the day.
  • Heat the regular olive oil (about 2 table spoon) in the pan and then add the chicken pieces to the pan along with the marinade that is leftover if any. Add salt according to your taste and more pepper if you want to. I added more oregano as well.
  • Keep stirring the chicken pieces and add the ginger paste and stir the chicken some more to ensure they do not stick to the pan.
  • Add the vinaigrette and the honey (I used 3 tablespoon) and cover the pan for 10mins or until the chicken is completely tender and it is done.

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Extra:

  • You can make the vinaigrette by putting all ingredients in a mason jar and tightly closing the lid and shaking it vigorously.
  • When you add the vinaigrette it crackles a lot- so be careful.
  • Tastes good hot or cold- it is perfect for snacking and also as a side dish too.
  • thyme, rosemary, oregano are difficult to find fresh in India but you can find bottled dried versions in super markets in the spices section.
  • the smaller pieces are easier to cook but i suppose it will taste better with larger pieces.

Maybelline Bold Matte 02 lipstick Review

Hi friends!
This month I am in a mood for bright lips and hence I am posting about lipsticks time and again. This time it is another favorite from Maybelline( looks like 80% of my makeup collection is from them) from the Bold Matte Range in the shade MAT02. I actually have a love-hate relation to it. You will soon find out why.

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Brand Claims:

Get sensational lips with Maybelline’s Bold Matte by Color Sensational Lip Colors.

Offering 5 trendy shades in a brilliant matte texture, these lip colors look and feel great on your lips. Let your lips speak volumes with Maybelline’s 1st matte lipstick in India!

Here’s why you’ll love it:

• Enriched with rosa canina oil and jojoba oil for a moisturizing effect

• Contains honey nectar which has a hydrating effect

• Has powderless matte pigments for attractive, vivid shade

Price: Rs.425 for approx 3.5g

packaging:

The lipstick comes in a silver casing with a translucent red matte plastic cap that click shuts firmly on the lipstick bullet. The packaging is travel friendly and the name of the lipstick is there underneath the case.

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My take on the lipstick:

This is by far the boldest color that I have in my collection. I was in search of a coral lipstick which was matte and I ended up with this one since the hand swatch looked beautiful on my inner arm. My bubble of happiness was abruptly burst when I tried in on my lips after coming back home. In the natural light without any base makeup, the colour looked awful on me. So initially I hated it unless I worked out ways in which I can look good wearing this colour.

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The shade is a bright germanium red that can look more pink or more red based depending on your skin tone and lip pigmentation. On me, the colour looks more towards red. I soon found out, that I can carry it even without any base makeup when I do not look dead tired and have cleansed by face off any grime and dirt and that it looks better on me under sunlight than in incandescent light. The pigmentation of the lipstick is very good and it applies as opaque in two swipes at most. The best thing about this lipstick is the staying power- it survives light snacking, does not transfer once it is set and stays put without fading much up to 6-8 hours. It does not bleed as well. However to wear this lipstick with perfection you have to ensure that your lips are smooth and hydrated. When you apply the lipstick it feel very smooth without any tugging but sets in a perfect matte finish.

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In all, it can be concluded as a quality lipstick. I got it back when these beauties were cost Rs.375 and that was really value for money. But at Rs.425, I would say you can explore and find out similar qualities too. For me, it is a personal favorite since I managed to work out ways in which I can carry this shade but I do not think i would be buying it again.

Pros:

  • availability
  • affordability
  • true matte and not drying
  • beautiful shade for fair to medium skin-toned women who have pink undertones
  • fabulous staying power
  • does not feather or bleed
  • negligible transfer

Cons:

  • limited shades- only 5
  • makes your teeth look yellow 😛
  • have to exfoliate and prepare your lips well

Maybelline color show matte lipstick in lively violet

When it comes to nude lipsticks resisting the lure is difficult for me and I cannot help but turn towards the various nude lipsticks which I come across in various shade ranges of different brands. Nude-pinks, nude-mauves, nude-peach, nude-buff, nude-brown the choice is endless when you are choosing the neutral lipsticks and the best thing about them is that they are mostly suitable for every skin tone- you cannot go wrong with them. Today’s post is about a lipstick from a recent launched range of shades by Maybelline- the Maybelline color show matte lipsticks in the shade lively violet.

Price: rs. 325 for 3g approx.

Company claims:

“Show off your colorful side with the Color Show Lipsticks now in 12 Matte shades
From the loved Color Show Lipsticks, Maybelline New York is now launching 12 new lipstick shades now in Matte! With stunning hues of red, pink, brown and mauve, these 12 matte, moisture rich shades allow you to express yourself everyday. The ultra-care and super hydrating formula is light and gives you high coverage while caring for your lips. The heat resistant soft waxes in the product ensure texture integrity even at high temperatures. These matte shades have the right amount of moisture, a sweet fragrance and stay true without drying up your lips. Are you ready to show off your colorful sides?”

Here’s why you will love it

-Enriched with ultra-care hydrating formula
-12 matte, moisture rich shades
-Lip color doesn’t fade in extreme heat and humidity
-Shades stay true without drying up your lips
-Non-sticky & soft texture allows the lipstick to glide easily

 

Packaging of the lipstick:

The lipstick is available in a simple black packaging with a violet glossy translucent band in the middle that marks the shade family. The black square casing is the signature packaging of the colorshow range of lipsticks and the only difference is that the casing for the matte lipsticks of this range is matte plastic. The cap clicks shut firmly enough for the lipstick to be called travel friendly.

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My take on the product:

Matte lipsticks are by nature bit drying on the lips and the Maybelline colorshow mattes are no exception to this. The range has a total of twelve shades. The texture of the lipstick is creamy to powdery depending on the weather. It applies well and easily but with time it feels dry and stretchy on the lips. The pigmentation of this particular shade is medium and one layer would be enough if your lips are not very pigmented. The shade is itself is very easy to carry- it is in fact almost the same shade as my lips and basically it even out the pigmentation of my lips. Though called lively violet, the shade is more of nude mauve and there is nothing lively about it. The shade is suitable for office wear and formal occasions and would even look good with Smokey and played up eyes. However it may wash out those who have darker skin tone and I would say that it is suitable for fair to medium skintone.

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Though it looks bit cool toned in the photos, in reality it is more neutral and looks almost same as my lips. The only drawback that I can think of is the smell of the lipstick which is rather odd- I do not find it to be very likeable.

Overall, the lipstick is good for the price you are paying but not the perfect matte and if you are looking forward to using the lipstick, make sure your lips are smooth and hydrated enough.

Pros:

  • availability
  • the affordable price
  • the colour
  • the travel friendly packaging
  • staying power

Cons:

  • the smell

Makeup revolution matte foundation golden

Hi friends!

Today I am going to review a foundation that I recently purchased online. Base makeup are those essentials that you cannot do without when you have a occasion or function to attend and know that you would be photographed. You would not want to look dull and lifeless would you? This particular foundation is by makeup revolution which is a popular British drugstore cosmetic brand that is recently available on Flipkart. I had read a lot about their products while checking for “budget makeup” online and when I found them on Flipkart, I could not resist getting the stuffs I need.

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Personally, I do not use foundation much except for day out with friends or parties and even then I prefer light coverage matte finish product that would suit my oily skin type. hence when I read the name “the matte effect”, and the shade name golden I decided taking the risk and it is worth it- you will soon find out why.

Price: Rs. 425 on discount

Quantity: 30ml

My take on the foundation:

Packaging:

The foundation comes in a flat tube with a black screw down cap. The nozzle is long for the size of the tube and it is thin. The colour of the tube is of biscuit colour and the name of the brand and the variant is written in gold lettering on the tube. The caps shut down very firmly and the nozzle dispenses exactly the amount you want.

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Texture:

The foundation has lotion like consistency and is quite light on the skin. It is very easy to blend in and does not get patchy if you take time with the blending. The best way to blend it that I found is applying it as dots and then using your fingers to roughly blend it and finally with a stippling brush you can completely blend it.

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Staying power

The foundation claims to impart a matte finish and stay up to 16 hours intact. On my oily skin and the weather of Kolkata, this is bit of an exaggeration. The foundation gives a light dewy finish and the oiliness is kept at bay for about 6hours which is enough for me. After that my face starts looking oily again though the brightness of the foundation does not fade away completely.

The colour

The best part about the foundation is that this is a perfect match for me. The shade golden is just the right shade for my skin tone and for the first time I am thoroughly happy with the match and the staying power at the same time for a foundation.

Does it photograph well?

It does. I have not tried it on during evening parties yet, but it does not flash or look washed out in the flash of the camera when I tried it in the artificial low lights with the camera flash. However in the morning time pictures it looks very natural. It does not contain SPF but I have used foundations which looks dull in the flash even when they do not have SPF.

In short, the foundation is perfect for those who prefer light coverage foundation that is comfortable and does not get patchy and rubs off.

Here are the images showing the differences between the looks with and without the foundation.

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Pros:

  • Shade selection- they even have a cocoa shade which is suitable for dusky indian skin tones though the same cannot be said about major indian brands.
  • Matte finish for about 6 hours
  • Light coverage- can be build up to medium
  • Easy to blend
  • Photographs well
  • Travel friendly packaging
  • Suitable for oily skin
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Availability- available online only.
  • Probably would not last for more than 3-4 hours in the summers of Kolkata.

 

 

halloween makeup ideas- two quick and scary looks

Hi, it has been quite sometime that i have last posted. Even today, this is going to be a short and quick post of the looks I created for this Halloween. One is done on myself and the other on my sister. Do let me know what you think of them. I created the looks solely in the craze of doing something on Halloween since it fascinates me but there is hardly any celebration of the day in India. However, we do have “Bhut chaturdoshi”  before the Kali pujas which is a Indian equivalent of Halloween for kids.  In most places, it is considered the day for paying respect to your fourteen generations of forefathers. Traditionally fourteen diyas are lit and a combination of fourteen green leafy vegetable is served as a compulsory part of your diet to ward off the ghosts who are said to come in the closest proximity to us on this day in particular. Even clay models of ghosts are made. To kids, the real fun lies in the preparation of kali puja which is the day immediately after bhut chaturdoshi. The preparation include usual traditional rituals to their own innovations of mischief like starting a bonfire or dressing up as ghosts. The craze is observed mainly in villages though it is becoming quite rare today.

Since I really did not have much to do on this day in kolkata since I am not a party enthusiast and it goes without mentioning the hundreds of time and deadline you have to keep in mind from your parents- in short, Halloween party are fables to me, I decided to scare my family members instead with my antiques. here are two looks I created for Halloween on myself and my sister. Hope you enjoy them!
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wpid-img_20151101_015322.jpg wpid-fb_img_1446324800069-01.jpegMy sister do not look much of a ghost or scary either. basically she did not allow me to “mess” with her pretty face so I had to settle with a sexy exotic Egyptian ghost with burned throat.

Maybelline colossal kajal Review

My love for kohl was never very intense and that is basically because I did not like getting raccoon eyes every time. As a kid the only kohl I was familiar with is the Lakme kajal. Waterproof and kajal can go hand in hand was a dream then until maybelline came up with their colossal kajal which became a instant favorite for me. So by now you can understand that I would be raving about this kajal in the review- saying that,  I would try and not be biased. 😛

What the brand claims:

Colossal effect: Enriched with Olive oil esters,Vitamin E, Vitamin C derivatives and conditioning agents,Colossal kajal has our deepest black formula,a unique tip and exclusive color fix formula,which gives you smooth intense black colour that stays on for up to12 hours. The Colossal Kajal is ophthalmologically tested and is suitable for contact lens wearers.

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The packaging:
The kajal comes in a slim, yellow twist up pencil like tube with bold black lettering printed on the tube mentioning the name and brand. The twist up functions well but in certain faulty tubes, it can break– happened with me on my second tube and it is irreparable- the kajal becomes completely useless when you cannot twist up the product. But overall it is travel friendly and sturdy otherwise. It can fit very well in the slimmest of purses.

My take on the kajal:

I have been using this kajal since it was launched in its 6 hour formulation. I am through with three tubes already so you can understand that how well in like this kajal. I find the new 12hour formulation to be a definite improvement. The kajal is smoother while applying and does not cause any kind of stress on my eyes while applying. my eyes are not watery but I have oily eyelids and hardly any kajal lasts on my waterline or eyelids. But this particular kajal fares well enough. On my waterline it lasts 5-6hours without smudging during winters and in summers, around 4 to 4.5 hours. On the eyelid is lasts much longer- i have not really tested whether it is true to the 12 hour claim but it definitely stays put without smudging on mu eyelids from morning till the time I return home which is often quite late.wpid-dscn1793-copy.jpg.jpeg

The pigmentation of the kajal is not the blackest black that you can get but black enough. The kajal cannot be sharpened and hence after the tip gets blunt you have to be very careful with application to get the finest lines. The kajal is matte and removing it can be quite a pain. It fades with soap and water but to completely get rid of it, I use Baby oil.

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It does not sting my eyes in any way. I use it majorly in the upper lash line so that my lash looks fuller, but I have not seen any kind of adverse effect so far. The kajal is used by my mother and sister as well who have dry and normal skin type respectively. They too have never faced any kind of trouble.One kajal lasts fairly for a long time despite being used by three people in my home- at least for 3months. So it is indeed cost effective. Overall this is one kajal that is perfect for someone on a budget.wpid-dscn1808-copy.jpg.jpeg wpid-dscn1813-copy.jpg.jpeg

Pros:

  • available easily
  • budget friendly
  • pigmented enough
  • truly waterproof and smudgeproof
  • does not sting eyes
  • travel friendly

Cons:

  • if the twist mechanism malfunctions-the entire tube becomes useless.

Will I repurchase?

I have been repurchasing it for all these times now.

Comparative analysis:

So far I have used three kajals- lakme eyeconic in black, maybelline colossal kajal, and Lo’real Kajal magique. among these, maybelline is truly waterproof and smudgeproof and lasts the longest on my oily eyelids and waterline. Lakme is the blackest and smoothest is formulation though it starts smudging within 2hours on my waterline. Lastly Lo’real is neither pigmented nor lasting so I will skip talking about it at all.

Rate: 4.5/5(0.5 deducted for the mayhem I had with my second tube)

Festive Golden Neutral Eyes and makeup tutorial

Golden Eyes, pinkish nude lips and a glowing face is a universally flattering look for every women with olive or indian skin tone- fair to dusky, this is one of the classic and safe look that anyone can pull through with ethnic attire and look stunning. Perfect for wedding ceremonies, this look have been created time and again. So here is the breakdown for the entire look that I have created.

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The eyeshadows used from the palette are numbered in the picture and accordingly mentioned by their respective numbers in the Tutorial. I did not use any kind of primer for this look since I would have been removing the makeup anyways after a few minutes but depending on the brand and your liking, you can use eyeshadow and face primers.

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Things Used:

  • Maybelline Dream Matte liquid Mousse foundation- shade- light 5
  • Maybelline hyper curl mascara waterproof
  • Maybelline collosal kajal
  • Avon simply pretty lipstick- Romance
  • Maybelline cheeky glow Blusher- Creamy Cinnamon
  • Clinique Travel kit- Sun kissed Bronzer
  • Lakme eyeconic eyes brown
  • Buyincoins 120 eyeshadow pallete #3
  • Brushes- BIC stippling brush, BIC tapered end brush, BIC eyeshadow blending brush, Sponge tip applicators.

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The tutorial:
I started with washing my face thoroughly before doing anything else. This is the vital step of any look- clean up all grime and dirt and freshen up before you apply any makeup because you will look tired anyway if you do not clean up. After that I applied aloe vera gel from Patanjali which is suitable for oily skin. This acted as a base for the makeup I am going to apply. I then took a pump of the foundation on the back of my hand and with the stippling brush I picked it up from there and stippled in on for a natural finish. I blended the foundation well down my throat as well. Sucking in my cheeks, I applied the bronzer along my jawbone for slight contouring. I used the blusher on the apple of my cheeks. I blended them together for softening the effect overall. For the lips I used two swipes of the lipstick.
Method for eyes:

  • I started with lining the upper lash line with the black kohl from Maybelline.
  • With the help of sponge tip applicators, I applied shade 1 all over my eyelids. I used the applicators for the maximum pigmentation and color intensity.
  • I blended out the shade 1 with shade 2 in the upper half of the eyelid with the applicators as well.
  • In the outer two-third I applied shade 3 with the blending brush.
  • I used the shade 4 for neutralising all the shimmers and blending them together into a balanced look overall. The matte brown acted as a transition color in the outer corner of my eyes and in the crease.
  • Shade 5 was blended in little amount on the brow bone for highlights.
  • Shade 1 was used as highlights for the inner corners of the eyes.
  • Use the brown kohl in the corner of your eyes in the lower lid and blend it till the 2/3rd of your eyes.

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Extras:

  • There are several ways of applying your foundation- I found that the method I mentioned above is best suited for getting the most natural finish with this particular foundation from Maybelline.
  • There is no ingredient list for the BIC palletes- but the quality in terms of staying power and pigmentation is really good and I have been using it for months now without any side effect. But I would not recommend it if you are squeamish about ingredients.
  • If you are wearing this in the morning- skip the bronzer.
  • Suits perfectly well with ethnic dresses.
  • Any lipstick shade will equally suit this eye makeup- but play up the lips keeping in mind the occasion, the lighting you will get and the time of the day.
  • Do not overdo the foundation- you do not want to scare people in real life and look endearing on in the photos, do you?

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Fiama Di Wills gentle exfoliating shower gel- lemongrass and jojoba review

Shower gels are like luxury for many and even I had always thought them quite unnecessary in my cleansing regime until recently. When you have the good old soap bars to keep company why go for shower gels at all? I bet there are many out there who feel the same way. But showers gels are milder than soaps generally and hence soothing on skin. They come in liquid or gel forms so they are easier to lather up and reach places where your soap fails. For me, they are more like indulgence when I want to spent some extra time relishing the bath. Today I am going to review one such shower gel hat I have been using recently and tell you about my experience with it. It is the Lemongrass and Jojoba variant from Fiama Di Wills brand.
Product Description:

Superior skin conditioning meets a luxurious bathing experience with Fiama Di Wills Shower Gel, an innovation from Laboratoire Naturel. The shower gel infused with skin conditioners brings to you gentle and effective care for youthful skin. Enriched with Lemongrass and jojoba beads, it gently exfoliates making the skin clear and smooth.”

Ingredients:

The ingredients- did not feel like typing it all :D

The ingredients- did not feel like typing it all 😀

Price: Rs.180 (got a Loofah free with the bottle) for 175ml
Packaging:
The shower gel comes in a flip open bottle which itself is made of transparent plastic. The bottle is sturdy and the cap click shuts tightly. The colour of the cap is green and so are the labels with the name of the variant and the brand name. Overall, the packaging looks and good and feels sturdy but if you are planning on taking it with you, do not stuff it under all other things that you are carrying with you.

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My take on Fiama di Wills Gentle exfoliating shower gel:
The texture and colour: The shower gel is chlorophyll green in colour and contains minute exfoliating particles and green globules. In the bottle it looks quite vivid as a green but when you take it on your palm it is transparent with a slight tinge of green.

The flip top cap

The flip top cap

The scent: The scent is strong and citrus. It is beautiful and heavenly to me. Anyone who is a fan of citrus and lemongrass scent with like this one. Initially I felt the scent is overwhelming and reminded me of phenyl for some reason, but after you have lathered it up and washed it off, the scent gets toned down and the scent is heavenly. The scent will last for a couple of hours on you; at least it does so for me.
Cleansing and exfoliation: The shower gel cleans well and lathers really well. It is especially effective with the loofah. The exfoliating particles are not hard on the skin and the gel is mild as well. It will not leave your skin dry in any way but I make it a point to use a moisturizer after bath every time anyways. The shower gel leaves the skin hydrated enough though.
Cost effectiveness: I need a couple of dollops for the entire body for thorough cleansing and after being used thrice a week by my mom, sister and me for the past three weeks, we have hardly managed to finish 1/5th of the bottle. So it is going to be lasting for another 3 months easily. So though priced higher than other drugstore shower gels available in Kolkata, it is still quite cheap.
Comparative analysis: I usually prefer exfoliating shower gels more than others, and if it comes with a pleasing fragrance, it is like a bonus point to me. So far I have used three varieties of shower gels from Palmolive and Fiama Di Wills which are the most popular drugstore shower gels here. In terms of exfoliation and quality, I would rank the Palmolive Jojoba and Coconut exfoliating shower gel best. In term of fragrance this one and Palmolive ginger and sandalwood are both equally good to me. But the best overall performance, accepting minor drawbacks, is provided by Fiama Di wills Jojoba and lemongrass is the best. It cleanses well without being harsh on the skin and at the same time has a really good fragrance that last for sometimes at least- in short, everything that I can possibly ask for from a drugstore brand shower gel. I am glad that my favourite jojoba coconut shower gel was unavailable and I picked up this instead because I have found another variety that I love as well.
Will I repurchase?
Yes, but that will have to wait quite a while until this bottle gets over.
Rate: 4.5/5 (0.5 deducted because initially it smells like phenyl and there is still another one which cleanses better than this one)
Pros:

  • Availability
  • Affordable
  • Travel friendly
  • Cleanses well enough
  • Smells good
  • Hydrates skin
  • A little goes a long way
  • Exfoliating particles gentle on skin
  • Transparent bottle makes it easier to keep track of the amount used.

Cons:

  • Contains SLS
  • Might leak if you dump it under all other stuffs in you travel bag
  • Initially smells harsh.

Pasta in Red sauce and spices

A spicier version of my previous white pasta , this is another favorite of mine which I usually prepare most often. the ingredients used are always available at home at least for me and so I can easily make it whenever I want to. Though this is spicier but still I would say it is healthier as it does not contain raw eggs like the other variety. So here goes the recipe. the amount will yield enough for four people easily.

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Ingredients:

  • pasta- boiled, 400grams
  • onions- chopped 2 large
  • carrots- 1 medium chopped in thin slices
  • capsicum- 1 chopped in thin slices
  • beans- 5 chopped
  • chicken- boneless, boiled and shredded- 200grams
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • Tomato sauce- half  cup
  • soya sauce- 4 tablespoon
  • vinegar- 2tablespoon
  • chilli sauce- according to taste
  • in the cup, stir all these together- it will yield about a cup of the sauce

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Directions:

In a pan, stir fry the vegetables in a spoonful of olive oil once the oil is hot enough. Add the boiled chicken bits to the pan and also salt and pepper to taste. Stir them a bit and then add the sauce hat you have prepared- add about a third of the entire sauce. close down the lid and let it cook in low flame until the veggies are soft and the chicken bits juicy with the sauce. Now at the boiled pasta to the vegetables and chickens in layers. simply add some of the pasta, a bit of the sauce and stir together. keep adding until you have added the whole of the pasta. Use the entire sauce that you have prepared.

Extras:

  • go easy on the salt as you are already using the sauces which contain salts already.
  • you can use anything instead of chicken or along with chicken.
  • grilled chicken will taste even better
  • you can go vegan as well.
  • replace the soya sauce with Worcestershire sauce for a tangier taste
  • you can use Tabasco sauce instead of powdered pepper as well.

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Colorbar velvet matte lipstick in thrilling pink

Lipsticks are like an obsession for every girl who enjoys make-up. A dash of your favorite lipstick is enough to brighten up you entire look. Pink lipsticks are one of those indispensable colours which is universally flattering if you choose rightly. So, today I will be reviewing one such much talked about pink lipstick by Colorbar in their velvet matte range by the name thrilling pink. It was an impulsive buy and I don’t really know why I was so desperate to lay my hands on a new lipstick from Colorbar and since I did not have a true pink in my collection, I wanted a pink in particular. But to know how well this impulsiveness fared for me,read on.

Product description:

For a rich lip color with a creamy shine, the Velvet Matte Lipstick, available in 45 stunning shades infuse the lips with vibrancy. Its unique 2-in-1 formulation gives the lips a creamy, yet matte finish. A one of a kind product in India, it has super softening agents that give the lips a soft and supple appearance while keep them nourished with Vitamin E. Staying on up to 5 hours on application, the Velvet Matte Lipstick can be further accentuated with lip gloss and lip liner.”

Price: Rs. 299 for 4.2g

Packaging:

colorbar velvet matte thrilling pink

colorbar velvet matte thrilling pink

The Colorbar Velvet Matte range of lipstick comes in a silver twist up round tube with a transparent plastic cap. The shade of the lipstick is indicated underneath the bullet in a fiber pot attached below the lipstick tube. the name of the brand is printed in bold black letters on the cap and the shade number and name written in a silver sticker below. The cap clicks shut and the overall packaging is sturdy enough and even the fiber cap which looks fragile but is quite tough in reality.

My impression of Colorbar Velvet Matte Lipstick:

colorbar velvet matte thrilling pink bullet

the bullet- it had a unique cut out unlike the usual bullets and this is the only change I could find since the price hike. however, the cut out looked good but was hardly functional.

This is my second lipstick from the range by Colorbar. The other one that I got was Obsessed Orange. I recently have developed a liking for lipsticks particularly corals and nudes. But for a change, i wanted a pink lipstick in my collection and I wanted a Colorbar lipstick. I tried swatches of a couple of them and zeroed on this since it looked quite wearable in the swatch. The lipstick is true pink with with blue undertones. The color would look flattering on anyone with fair and pinkish complexion. I have a mix feeling with this color. Sometime it looks flattering under the sunlight, but most of the time, it makes me look sickly. The smell is like that of vanilla and I have no issues with that. Coming to the texture of the lipstick; the lipstick is smooth for application and does not tug or pull while applying but settles in a matte finish with slight sheen that will last for a couple of hours and then completely dry out. The color pay-off of the lipstick is good and you can get opaque coverage in a couple of strokes. However, the lipstick can be quite drying for the lips and it leaves behind a stain that is rather patchy. Removing the stain is quite difficult as it settles in the lines of your lips. The lipstick survives light snacking but not a full course meal and transfers a lot which seems to be a common problem of the Velvet Matte range. The lipstick has a good lasting time and survives for 5-6 hours fading with time. Overall the lipstick is suitable for wearing to college and work occasionally if you are fair with pink undertones. Underneath are the swatches of the lipstick in natural light.

colorbar thrilling pink handswatch

The hand swatch is 2 swipes of the lipstick

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two swipes of the lipstick freshly applied- picture taken in natural light.

Pros:

  • pigmentation is good
  • lasts long enough
  • available easily
  • budget product
  • travel friendly
  • classy packaging

Cons:

  • Stains your lips badly-hard to remove
  • transfers a lot
  • suitable for fair complexioned girls with pink undertones only
  • Scent is like vanilla which can be a problem for many.

In conclusion it can be said that the lipstick is quite good but the price hike to Rs.299 is unreasonable since their is really no improvement in the performance. I am earnestly waiting for this tube to get over or break or just get lost somehow so I can have a excuse to replace it with a pink that will suit me 😛 . At the moment, I create an ombre effect using Maybelline Bold matte 02 and this lipstick so that it is wearable enough for me.

I would rate it 3.5/5.

Pasta with garlic mayonnaise and shrimps

Hi all!

This would be my first post and I am very excited. Cooking has never been a hobby that i am passionate about but I did manage to master a few recipes that comes very handy when in emergency. Today I am going to share one such very favorite recipe of mine that have always been a life saver whenever I had to cook for myself. Its pasta with shrimps and eggs tossed in classic mayonnaise and other sauces.

Pasta has now become a favorite among many and I particularly like it because it is tasty and pasta preparations can be made real fast. The measures in following recipe yields enough for 4 people and you can have it with a side dish or just alone. So, let’s get going with the recipe then!

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Ingredients:

  • elbow pasta – 400 g
  • capsicum – 1 large, cut into thin and small slices
  • onions – 2-3 large, chopped
  • carrots – 1 medium chopped
  • shrimps – 12 large de-veined
  • egg whites – 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mayonnaise – 1 cup
  • pasta seasoning – 1 tbsp
  • white oil
  • red chili sauce
  • garlic paste – 1 tea spoon

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Directions:

  1. Boil the pasta in a pan with approximately 300 ml water, a tea spoon of oil and 1/2 tea spoon salt for about 7-8 minutes. the pasta should be firm to bite but not too hard. remove from heat and drain the water and keep it aside.
  2. In a frying pan fry the egg whites and scramble them first and keep it aside. in the same pan fry the shrimps and add a tea spoon of vinegar while frying them, Fry the shrimps well until they are taut and the smell is gone.
  3. In a pan heat oil and add the garlic paste. Next add the onions and fry them for 2 minutes. Toss the vegetables in white oil ( around 3 table spoon) and add the eggs and shrimps in it along with the onions and garlic. Close the lid and let the vegetables cook for sometime. When they are thoroughly boiled and soft to bite, slowly add the pasta in small portions and continue stirring. Add the salt and pepper according to your taste in this step.
  4. Divide the pasta in the serving bowls or plates and top it with refrigerated mayonnaise that you have prepares before. I used home made classic mayonnaise in which I added red chili sauce, pasta seasoning that contains garlic powder, rosemary, basil, pepper, chili flakes, and oregano.
  5. The preparation tastes equally good when served hot or cold.

Extras:

  • You can use boiled or grilled chicken bits, crab meat as well along with shrimps or just as replacements of shrimps. If you are using crab meat then make sure you cook it well before using it in this recipe.
  • A vegetarian version would be to replace shrimps with mushrooms, baby corns and cottage cheese.
  • you can add various other vegetables like beans, olives, baby tomatoes and bell peppers as well.
  • I skipped the cheese, but topping it with grated cheese brings a complete new dimension to the taste ( and a dimension for calories as well!)
  • you can tweak the mayonnaise recipe and get various different tastes each time or simply replace the mayo with other sauces.

Another spicier version of this recipe is coming along soon so stay tuned and keep cooking!DSCN1350

Questions

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A toddler of four, she walked down the same path everyday holding her father finger to reach the children’s park round the corner in the evening. It was a routine they both enjoyed. Her days were eternal freedom. She observed. She analyzed the world around her in her own ways. Nothing escaped her eyes and she was bursting with questions all the time. It has been a few months since she has started talking in sentences- an achievement that she could not help but show off in every way possible.
It was a winter evening when the father-daughter duo walked out of the park and headed towards their home. She pranced and jumped, all the while asking anything and everything she could. A little ahead of them, there stood a man in his mid-twenties at the edge of the road, looking down at the drain with his back turned to the road- a awkward posture to her virgin eyes.
“Dad? What is he doing?” her shrill voice rang clear amidst the silence.
“He is peeing. Let’s go home.” The father replied. He was much at ease with his only daughter- she was his child and not just a daughter.
She stopped walking.” Why is he peeing there?”
“Maybe because it was urgent dear.”
Her chubby cheeks inflated further as she contemplated the idea of urgent bladder relief. All of a sudden she let go of her father’s finger, ran to the man and peered good-naturedly at his front side, much to his mortification and her father’s amusement.
“Sorry mister–, come back here kid- you are not supposed to do that.”
“Why not?”
Her father recognized a tinge of haughtiness in that baby voice that came somewhere from below his knees. She was mirroring his stubborn character already. He was proud.
“You do not watch people while they are peeing. That is bad manners and it is their private needs.”
She kept silence for a while more as they walk ahead from the spot. Her father was not used to this silence. He felt uncomfortable worrying that she might have taken his tone for scolding. And then she blurted out,
“Why is his one long? It is not like mine.”
For once the father was stumped. But he was her father after all.
“Because he is a man. You are a girl. They are different.”
“Okay. I need to pee. Can I pee there?”
“Absolutely not. It is unhealthy. You will fall sick.”
“But why not? He was doing it. Would he not fall sick?”
“You will wet your pants. Home is just a few minutes walking dear.” He chose to avoid the last query.
“I will take off my pants.”
“You are not supposed to take off your pants on the road dear. That uncle was wearing his pants, remember?”
“So… I can pee anywhere if I do not take my pants off?”
“No… because you cannot pee without taking them off. Men can.”
Again, she lapsed to silence. Her tiny head felt heavy with the “simple” idea of the “other” gender. Who are men? Any person peeing on the road is man. Are they good? Don’t they have bathrooms? A million more question fluttered around in her mind.
“Dad…”
“Yes?”
“I want a long one.”
“Men only have long one dear.” He was flabbergasted.
“ I want to be a man.”
Her father was taken aback.
“Why?”
“I can do anything and no one will tell me it is unhealthy or bad manners. That’s why.”
“But you do not need to be a man to do whatever you want to. You need to grow up for that. You need to study and become a great person. Then you can do whatever you want to. Grown up girls who study hard and become something worthwhile always can do whatever they want. Girls are equally good and better. You do not have to be a man for that sweetie.”
He stopped short. She was four and perhaps she can hardly understand what he meant. He never wishes to see her just as a girl but then, even he is bound to the society.
She just nodded and did not ask any further on this.
Twenty three years later, a pleasant February evening:
“Dad, I am going out on a trek trip.”
“Good. Who are you going with?”
“No one. I am going alone.”
“You cannot go alone. I will not allow it.”
“Why not?”
The potent haughtiness he had witnessed a score and three years back, now has been unleashed to its maximum in her voice making her voice hardly female.
“But my friend already went there alone and he said it is safe enough.”
“He is a guy. He can go and survive anywhere. You are a woman. There is a difference.”
“Who said I cannot survive? Why can I not survive?”
“You are old enough to know why not. Now no more questions.”
The first rule of being a female- “does not ask questions” was quoted to her yet again- a quote she has heard billions of time since puberty.
She silently went back to her room trying to remember the things he had told her once. Or has she imagined them?
The very teachings of childhood now became vague in the light of adulthood. She is a woman first and human later now. It does not matter if she is perfectly fit and capable enough to take care of herself. It does not matter if she is better trained at combat than most males. After all, she is a “she”. She is the goddess meant to be worshipped but not to be unleashed. She is meant to be pleased and pampered in her tantrums but never to be understood.  She is meant to be controlled for she cannot mind her own safety. She is meant to be always addressed as C/O and not by her identity- her name. She is to serve and never be thanked or ( am I asking way too much?) served. Her parent’s home is not her own, neither is her husband’s. Her womb is not her own but the family ‘s she never really belongs to. Her body is not her own, neither is her mind and never her will. She never really gets to choose who will touch her for there are many who will touch her some way, whether she wants it or not.
These are knowledge she was never taught but she imbibed with time. Painful truths- even more so for her who believed ardently the words she believe to have heard as a kid- the consolatory lies. She has lived enough with them so far. She did what she could do best now. She was his daughter after all.
A note fluttered in the morning breeze early dawn, stuck on the refrigerator-
“Let me fly dad. I am your child and not your daughter. Let me fall.  Let me get hurt. Only then you can really know that I will survive when you are not around.”
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Image courtesy: google images