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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

That's what she said

10/31/2017 3 Comments
Hi girls!

Wedding season 2017 has kicked in and this time, I am also a participant! :D The past few years has seen a revelation in the "hen party" side of the wedding shenanigans. Typically a bachelor's party is supposedly a guilt free pass for the groom to do everything he wishes to do before he ties the knot. But why should boys have all the fun? I have always wanted to have a cutesy, girls-only party of my own and since this was a highly requested post, I decided to write about my lovely bachelorette party weekend. Since Goa is one of my favorite holiday destinations in India, it had to be Goa or nothing! The planning began nearly a month before the date of travel.

We had booked our stay in Eros Boutique Hotel near Baga beach. Unfortunately for me, I fell sick a day before the trip, but who cares, right? I had to put it together for one fun weekend! The hotel had a beautiful, Greek decor and quite pricey to be honest. But since we were there for a night, we spent around 12K for 2 rooms and 6 people. The service was pretty good and they also arranged cabs for us.

We arrived in Goa at around 8 in the morning and went straight to the hotel to freshen up. After some light breakfast at the hotel, we headed to Britto's and gulped down some beer and gobbled up some sea food. In no time, there was a pretty "Bride-To-Be" sash on me and a funky headband on my head and the girls were bombarding me with silly dares like "get a picture with the hottest guy here" or "kiss that dude's girlfriend" or "get his number". The girls sure did have a lot of fun watching me embarrass myself (although the sash was a savior!). We spent the rest of the day chilling by Baga beach.

Once we returned to the hotel, the ladies were being sneaky and kept me hidden for a while. I had absolutely no idea as to what was cooking! And just like that, there was a delicious cake, some shots and a smug look on all of their faces waiting for me as I set foot in the room I wasn't allowed to enter. I was so overwhelmed to see that they had this whole "Koffee with Karan" kind of a game planned and had asked the groom a set of questions that I had to answer. For every answer I got wrong, I had to gulp down a shot (not to brag, but I did get most of the answers right :D) and boy, that was brutal! We then played some dirty charades (don't think it's safe to let out the details here :p) and headed to LPK to party all night long.

The following morning we checked out of the hotel and spent the whole day relaxing and recovering by the beach. We went to Sukho Thai for a much needed intense Thai massage, Baba Au Rum for brunch, lazed around the shacks at Candolim beach for some Vitamin Sea and took the bus back to Bangalore later in the evening. It was a really short trip, but a memorable one.

I wish every bride-to-be gets to spend quality time with her girls before the big day. And as far as my hen party goes, thank you, my dear girlies. I absolutely had a blast!

Hand On The Hip 

Monday, 23 October 2017

Ditch the chemicals, go herbal!

10/23/2017 8 Comments

When we were kids and our grandmothers used to chase us with henna for our hair or shikakai for our bodies, we'd absolutely feel tortured. When they would tell us to apply turmeric on our bodies everyday to improve our skin, we'd be terrified. But now when the same natural ingredients with a pinch of fragrance and some pretty packaging is presented in front of us, we go gaga over it! Well, whatever it is, it has worked! More and more people are going organic by the day, be it in the food department or healthcare or beauty products, everybody is after the herbs. I have been hoarding on organic products for a while now and I have used them enough to review them for you guys.

Herb Island
Herb Island manufactures a lot of shampoos, shower gels, conditioners, hair oils, facewashes etc. I used 4 of their products and they are insanely good! They are completely chemical free and I can't stop using them!

French Green Clay Facewash
I have often wondered what green clay feels like and when I got my hands on these, it took me seconds to open it and start using it. It feels amazing to use this! It may not be as effective as most chemical based facewashes are, but it's still worth buying as it's really good for the skin.

It's really good for the skin since it contains green clay that is known for its highly absorbent properties.
It's very easy to wash off as it is not very soapy.
The product is quite affordable for a green clay product.

Does not give any foam if you're the kind of person who likes a frothy wash.
It hasn't helped me much with oil control to be honest.

Price: 199 INR
Buy it here: French Green Clay

Forest Berries & Exotic Flowers shampoo
While the Forest Berries didn't do much for me, the Exotic Flowers shampoo really helped me clean my scalp. It's one of the very few anti-dandruff shampoos that hasn't made me feel like I am shaving my head!

The anti-dandruff shampoo has really helped me reduce dandruff on my scalp.
The fragrance is out of the world!

Somehow my hair is dry and frizzy after use.

Price: 200-250 INR
Buy it here: Shampoos

Moroccan Argan Oil
I am quite skeptical about trying oils from brands I haven't heard of. Argan Oil is a very important product in my beauty kit and this one is a blessing! It's unbelievably inexpensive for Argan Oil and has helped me strengthen my hair. I use it every time I wash my hair and it tames the frizz.

This is the most affordable Argan oil of all times!
The serum is not at all greasy and works as a great styling product.
The bottle comes with a nozzle and it's quite user-friendly.

The size of the bottle should have been bigger :D

Price: 399 INR
Buy it here: Moroccan Argan Oil

Fursat Ki Baoli
Handmade soaps are the best! They smell and feel amazing. I got these two amazing soaps from Fursat Ki Baoli and they are so refreshing.

I got 2 flavours - Indian Dream Gulab & Mogra and Cedarwood Himalayan Deodar. They are both amazing to smell and feel really good, but I like the pink one better. The only complaint I have is how they are always moist or wet. I still won't stop using them!

They smell like heaven!
They are massive which makes it worth paying so much.
You can actually smell the flavor.
The soap never melts away like regular soaps do.

The soaps are always wet for some reason.

Price: 150 - 200 INR
Buy it here: Soaps

Ryaal Black Mess
This is a face mask that is Activated Charcoal based. Along with that, it contains a bunch of other natural products like Moroccos Lava Clay, Organic Dead Sea Mud, Aloe Vera Extract etc. Once applied, you need to leave it on till it dries up. All your clogged pores get instantly cleaned leaving the skin lightened and brightened. This cleaner is a big thumbs up for me!

This product has helped me get rid of my blackheads.
The fact that it contains a lot of different natural ingredients makes it very healthy for the skin.
The packaging is beyond amazing!

It's a bit expensive.

Price: 500 INR
Buy it here: Ryaal Black Mess

I hope you guys liked my picks. Do give herbal products a try. You will not regret it!

Hand On The Hip

Friday, 20 October 2017

The blouse that never was

10/20/2017 0 Comments

When I was around 14 years old or so I would binge eat potato chips and watch NDTV's Band Baja Bride and wish that some day I'd be on the show too. In fact, my BFF also suggested that I write to them. Had my hubs-to-be not been such a busy bee, I'd have definitely considered it. But why be on a wedding show when you can customize everything on your own anyway, right?

The moment my mum would get involved with the wedding shopping, I knew it was not going to be all hunky-dory! We are like the North pole and the South pole when it comes to fashion. However, I just decided that this time I am going to let her pick and choose everything or at least meet her halfway..well, more than halfway! So after some massive silk saree and lehenga shopping, we decided to find a good tailor to get the blouses stitched. Now normally, I don't spend a single ounce of my time worrying about tailors and blouses and always just end up wearing anything the tailor throws at me. I am the least fussy person when it comes to tailored Indian clothes. But what I saw and experienced was beyond belief!

One of my closest friends, who wears well-fitted and beautifully stitched blouses, recommended that I visit this tailor who goes by the name Code. Somehow I ended up going to New Code in MG Road, Mangalore, which I later found out was kind of a spin-off from Code that was downstairs in the same building. The lady (Thilaka) who owns the store sweet-talked us into getting not one, not two, but four of my saree blouses and one lehenga choli stitched there! When I went there to collect the clothes, I noticed that everything that could go wrong with the blouses had gone terribly and annoyingly wrong! The service was horrifyingly wicked and the cost of each blouse was over 3000 INR!

So I made a list of things a bride-to-be must take care of before handing over her wedding trousseau to anyone who has the power to make or alter it!

1.  Get some zari fabric and get a trial blouse made with all the designs and embroidery you would want on your wedding blouse. 
2. Ask the tailors to show some of their work and test it thoroughly!
3. Keep all the designs you want handy. Never let the tailor convince you what to get and what not to get! They're tailors, not designers!
4. Just because the price is high, does not mean that the quality of work would be good too! 
5. Do an extensive research and ask the fashionistas around you for suggestions.

And just because I want to share with you guys what a nightmare it was for me, after 5 visits and 4 months of waiting, here's a glimpse of my lehenga blouse that makes me so angry!

The finish was horrific! The color of thread used was an ugly gray and did not match my green blouse at all. The lining material was of an inferior quality.

There were many patches on the blouse that had a strange gap instead of embroidery that should have been there, like the shoulders.

The borders were all crooked and incomplete! This was the most annoying of them all!

Look at the bottom part of the blouse. There is no embroidery there! I mean, seriously...@#%$!!!

There were parts where the beads would just fall off or were broken. The embroidery material and everything else was of really inferior quality. There were no hooks in some places and parts of my precious silk blouse were torn! :(

It absolutely broke my  heart to see all of my ridiculously expensive clothes, most of which came from my life savings, being butchered like that! I usually never badmouth any clothing brand or service to this extent, but I really hope that no one else goes through this a month before their wedding. What am I gonna do? Probably just live with it! Or if time permits, get new pieces of cloth and re-make everything from scratch! Thanks for letting me vent :)

Hand On The Hip

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Diwali - a celebration or a massacre?

10/19/2017 2 Comments
Hello lovelies!

Wishing you a all a very happy and safe Diwali! Diwali is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by Indians in India and all over the planet. We clean our homes for weeks together in the hope that Goddess Laxmi pays a visit, wake up extra early that day and enjoy an oil bath, decorate our home with lamps and candles, gulp down a ton of kaju barfis, dance around and twirl in our newest anarkali outfits and end the festival by bursting some crackers. No Diwali is complete without achieving these tasks! I thought of wearing this gorgeous black anarkali I picked up from Biba for this festive season.

 When I was a little kid, "pataki hodiyodu" or bursting crackers was the definition of Deepavali. A bunch of us would gather around with our heavy boxes full of fire crackers and burst them till the wee hours of night. After we ran out of crackers, we would burn the boxes! There was no way we wanted to be home before 11 pm. After those 3 days of non-stop masti with friends, there would be this Diwali hangover that no one enjoyed. Well, what was the lesson learned here? I realized that it's all about togetherness. The fact that I could spend 3 nights straight playing and spending time with my friends, no questions asked, was exciting! Be it Christians or Muslims, the boy who lived in a slum or a mansion, girls or boys - all of us came together as one family and celebrated the festival of lights!

If you have been following me on Instagram, you'll know how I have been against bursting crackers this year. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely enjoy it! But I also hate myself for it. My brother was just telling me how it doesn't make sense to not burst crackers on Diwali since it's a part of our culture and there are other things that are polluting the environment that need to be banned first. I am sure a lot of you agree with him, but let me give my two cents on this topic.

You think that vehicles and factories cause more pollution and that our once-a-year fireworks should not be blamed for air pollution? Well, I agree with the first half of this statement, but in a country of 1.324 billion people, where at least 90% of the folks celebrate Diwali, do you think it makes sense for them to add to the already existing pollution related problems? It might be a matter of 3 days or so, but can you imagine how much of a damage it would cause if billions of people were setting our beloved planet on fire at the same time for days together? Using vehicles is a necessity, but bursting crackers is plain entertainment!

If you are a pet owner, you know how much of a torture it is to those little ones during Diwali. Now you might feel that on various other occasions they have been exposed to a lot of noise, say a dance program in the neighborhood or a party in your apartment. Let me get into the scientific aspect of it. Fireworks often cross 150 decibels. A normal conversation is 60 decibels and a loud concert is 120 decibels. Anything above 80 decibels is considered dangerous for our eardrums, but with ear plugs we are capable of saving our ear drums. What about the dogs? A stray puppy cannot find a pair of ear muffs and save himself from the trauma of fireworks!

Do you guys ride a two wheeler in Bangalore? Well...DON'T! During Diwali, it's a mine field out there! I've been exposed to harmful laxmi bombs being set ablaze inches away from my scooter while riding it. The worst part is, these people are actually educated! Don't you think it's a little insensitive and dangerous to be setting your neighbor on fire in the name of Diwali?

Although I don't fully support the ban on fireworks, I think there could be a workaround! Perhaps find an empty space far away from civilization or something to burst crackers that go really high up in the air and explode? Or maybe if you really want to enjoy the festival, then a couple of sparklers and flower pots should not hurt? I have enjoyed my share of fireworks during my childhood and it would be nice to share it with the next generation. It's definitely my guilty pleasure, but if I cannot do so much for Mother Nature, then what kind of a human being would I be? Do give it a thought, guys! Don't be heartless!

Hand On The Hip

Sunday, 1 October 2017

A linen love affair

10/01/2017 2 Comments
Hey there!

I cannot believe that Navaratri is actually over! I mean, back in school when we'd be waiting at the edge of our benches for our class teachers to announce the Dushera holidays, the one week we'd get off from carrying 20 kgs of books on our backs would be the most awaited holidays of all times. It would be long enough for us to get that much needed break after the mid-terms and short enough for us to not get bored and miss our friends. On that note, Happy Dushera! I spent my time with family and also doing all kinds of touristy things in my hometown as I had a special visitor.

Now that Navaratri is done and dusted, I won't need any ethnic wear for a long time. WRONG! Today is Gandhi Jayanti and in a couple of weeks, we'll all be lighting our homes with diyas for Deepavali. Let's not forget the fact that some of us are soon-to-be brides and we need to have ethnic wear lying around in every nook and corner. As I am the newly appointed (self-proclaimed) and probably the only poster girl for D'art Creations (you'll know if you followed me on Insta), it only seems fair to talk about their fabulous linen collection every once in a while.

Just to brief you guys up a bit, linen is created using flax plant that comes from China. This fabric helps absorb sweat and helps your skin breathe. Although it's slightly more expensive than regular cotton, it lasts longer and is definitely more comfortable. D'art Creations has kurtis in different colors that you could experiment with, wear to work or social gatherings and is suitable for women of all age groups. They are so classy that the moment I wore them, I went through a transformation - from a girl to a woman! Do pay them a visit at Banaswadi, Bangalore.

I personally am a huge fan of linen. I am sure you will love it too!

Hand On The Hip