Monday, April 17, 2017

Top 5 beauty and skincare products

It is not a well kept secret that I am unbelievably lazy when it comes to skincare and haircare. Till about a year back, my idea of skin care was a good face wash and a moisturiser. Over time (and age, UGH), I have begun to realise how crucial it is for everybody to start early when it comes to taking care of their skin. This does not by any stretch mean that you have to fixate on every line, every blemish and poke it till it leads to a mental breakdown. It just means that a few products and a few easy peezy remedies can go such a long way in actually preventing a breakdown of your skin.
Over the last few months I have devised a serious regimen for my skin which I have been attempting to follow without any exceptions. Over the years, I have received so many queries and emails from my readers asking me to talk about hair and beauty and I'm finally getting around to (after having cleaned up my act of course). I'm doing videos on instagram and now this dedicated blog post about 5 skincare and beauty products that have changed my life in the last few months. Take some time, see the images but most importantly read up and learn from my experience with these products. I have kept it as real as possible and I hope to help as many of you as I can in making an informed choice about these. Please leave your questions, comments, suggestions, anything else that you would like to see in the FTLOFAOT Beauty segment, right here.

  • Bio Oil (60 ml and 125 ml): Many many moons ago, someone had told me about the unbelievable powers of Bio Oil to fix stretch marks and scars. I was young and nonchalant (also super careless) and did not really think about beginning any serious remedy for little spots and marks that all of us have on different parts of our body. Around the age of 24, I started developing this weird allergy every summer on my arms and legs. Routine, as the doctors say. It's basically a lot of itchiness (not because of dryness) and it leads to these red bumps all across your skin. Sometimes the bumps disappear but the scars remain. Over the last two-three months of having used Bio Oil for my fore-arms and legs, I can safely say that it actually works like magic. It has something they call the Purecellin oil and it is recommended that you use it twice daily, religiously. The marks lighten and I do not plan to stop the use anytime soon. I also want to use it for the face and see if it has the same results. But for now, I'm enjoying the cleaning up process for my limbs. Price: Rs. 450/- (INR) for the 60 ml.

  • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (30 ml): I remember putting this decision to vote on my instagram stories as what nighttime recovery cream should I invest in. I was using Forest Essentials at the time and while it works well to moisturise, I realised that I needed something to work as a light moisturising agent and a serum to work on my face while I sleep, simultaneously. It's pure essential oils and distilled botanicals work like a charm for me as a midnight serum. There is a great deal of moisturising for a normal skin like mine and it definitely leaves you with a visibly healthier skin the next day. The idea is to remove your make up (however little) everyday, cleanse, tone, apply the night serum (I skip the moisturising for night) and follow it up with a night cream if you so wish (and if your skin needs more than the basic moisturising that the serum offers). It gets used very little and the dropper mechanism is so convenient. For this 30 ml dropper bottle, the price in the Indian market is Rs. 2250/- (INR).

  • Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot solution (30 ml): Let's face it. There are tons of beauty products in the market that claim to address the most common skin problem of them all; the pesky dark spots. In my understanding owing to my skin's experiences and endless discussions with many skin doctors and dermatologists the reasons for random dark spots are aplenty. Ranging from repeated and harsh sun exposure to genetics. In between lie the myriad of reasons like not enough nutritious food, hormonal changes, reactions to something, acne marks etc. This product comes in handy for people who do not have extreme dark spots or anything that appears more than a regular sign of ageing/sun exposure. I have used it for a month and more now and I can definitely see a visible degree of reduction in the appearance of the dark spots. Again, let me reiterate, this is not magic. This is certainly not the holy grail of skincare but it does a fairly decent job of reducing the darkness over time. I use it on my face on the random spots, twice a day, right after toning. It is slightly sticky so don't lather too much of it in a go. Again, the dropper mechanism is convenient but make sure you use it judiciously over the spots. Price: Rs. 4450/- (INR)


  • The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner (250 ml): Since this is not a sponsored post and just me being awesome and finally doing this post to answer a few of your queries at least, I can be brutally honest. (Not that I'm not brutally honest otherwise, you know!) I am not a fan of The Body Shop's skincare products and have had some horrible experiences with a few. The bath accessories, love them but skincare I've usually steered clear of after buying some really bad products. How this, then worked for me so well is beyond me. This toner is perfect. It cleans nicely, does not sting or feel too strong, has a faint nice fragrance and just leaves you refreshed without any sticky feeling or unclean skin. The fact that it has moisturising wheat germ oil might have something to do with it. Either way, this is the only Body Shop product that I vouch for (not saying I have tried them all, just that a few that I have tried before this have been ummm, kind of sort of disastrous). Price: Rs. 895/- (INR)

  • Eau Thermale Avene Micellar Lotion cleanser and make up remover (200 ml): I had heard so much about this French brand of beauty and skincare and like most french pharmacy brands, I had only heard good things. Started my journey with Avene with this make up remover for sensitive skin and it has been the best kind that I have used so far. I love make up wipes for when I'm lazy but I would never use make up remover wipes on a daily basis since I feel that they do not clean the face adequately. Maybe it is just a mental block but the satisfaction of a make up remover on a cotton pad is unmatched for me. It has more of the removing concentrate than the wipe and I just find it a lot more thorough. Again, mild fragrance, not sticky, not heavy on my skin and most importantly not oil based. I'm also currently using the Avene Sunscreen for extreme protection but I am going to save that review for another day. For now, I'm swearing by this make up remover. Price: Rs. 1200/- (INR) 

Shot these beautiful images at Dyo Resort, Mukteshwar where I was for a workcation and I hope you saw my travel story here.

Leaving this post with a disclaimer that every beauty product or skincare product does not work the same way for all skin types. Even between the same skin types, albeit little, the likelihood of a different result still exists. I find it very hard to trust most beauty products and hence it took me a while to decide on my top five skincare beauty products, at the moment. Hope this helps and I would be more than happy to take questions here, on Facebook and on instagram.

x

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Travelling with Dyo Organic Village Resort

I have mentioned this before when I went exploring Anant Rasa in Sitalkhet which you read about here, that as I grew up I realised that I enjoyed the reverie of the hills almost as much as the beach. I live for the cool breeze, the empowering yet intimidating Himalayas, the serene landscapes and the sincere sounds of only the birds chirping all around you. It doesn't hurt to go at an ideal time like this which is April to a property as stunning as Dyo Organic Resort in Muktehwar, Uttarakhand (a few hours away from Ranikhet) since it is warm in the day and cold in the night and you get to enjoy almost both the seasons at once. You also witness the entire land lush and green in all its glory what with every possible patch of green dotted with flowers, wild and otherwise and the trees dotted with red rhododendrons for as far as the eye can see. 



Our little getaway to Dyo was nothing short of perfect. Not only was I enamoured by the hospitality of the lovely sisters who run this little boutique resort, I was also taken in immensely by the design and decor of the property. This deserved such a special mention simply because a property of this scale and style gets its modern chic, minimalist design value from the effort and thought that goes into it. From the logo design to the signages that have been firmly planted across the entire property (including deep in the jungle where we went for a jungle walk accompanied by the quintessential hill dog Loorie) that carry the most considerate and almost adorable messages for the guests and passerby, I was very impressed with it all. The furniture and design of the five rooms have been done up in the theme of the five elements of Earth. While that holds the possibility of going over board, they manage to keep it stylishly restrained. 





The USP however of Dyo, located in Mukteshwar, remains the fresh produce and the unbelievably delicious food that is made available at Dyo Cafe (also open for non-guests of the property). We tasted a variety of cuisines and it has never been that hard for me to pick a favourite. If I had to, I would go with the experience of the authentic Kumaoni lunch especially for the authenticity and delight of its flavours. It helps that you can sit in the cafe and enjoy the views of the hills and blooms and your food at the same time. 


The origin of the delightful food experience stems from the poly house located a few feet below the property where we trekked down to pluck our own fruits and behead our own vegetables to make for our next meal. The lush green cabbage patch, the cauliflower ready to pluck, the thin sweet radishes that we plucked from the ground under and the peas that glistened like pearls in the pods (and were sweet enough to pass off as dessert) are all memories that make for a brilliant and literal Farm to Table experience.




Would I go back? I most certainly will. I slept like a baby at our cushy suite and I chased butterflies and lady birds and drank chai by the sunset point in the day. Life is great, at Dyo Organic Resort.



For any kind of questions, queries, comments et al, don't forget to drop in a line below or email me and I would be happy to answer your questions about Dyo or direct you to the concerned person.

x

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The importance of being earnest

Anyone who knows me half as well as my readers, knows that my largest inspiration in life comes from books, movies and music. So much, so that I'm always thinking in book titles, music covers and possibly film adaptations. When it comes to fashion, I'm no different. More often than not, you will see me borrowing titles from books and poems for my pieces because I find it a lot of fun to lend an absolutely new and different meaning to an iconic literary work. Incidentally, I also acted in a production of the same. But that really is not the point on the table today. Finally talking about something that I have been thinking about for a while.
How important is it for a fashion blogger to talk about, shoot in and share outfit ideas from one's own closet? To lend a little sanity to this haphazard thought: Think back to your favourite fashion blogger and their blog or instagram feed. Of course, expensive one-of-its-kind couture pieces lend their feed the much required aspirational value which millions of girls across the world are always vying to achieve. How important is it then, to intersperse that with clothing that a blogger genuinely buys with their own money and wears more than just once for a shoot? Why is it important for a blogger to talk about a product that they were not paid to review or sing praises of?
From the inception of FTLOFAOT, my core ideology has remained to mix business with pleasure. The one rule that they ask you not to break. Jokes apart, the idea is to create a mix of what is commercially viable with what appeases your sensibilities the most. Strangely, most artists across the board will agree with that sentiment. Is there anything wrong with promoting a brand? Hell no. That's what fosters our business. But there is an inherent relatibility and value to be gained out of talking about and shooting real buys that you make. That remains the sole reason I continue to do unsponsored content with a mix of the sponsored. From personal travelogues to personal luxury buys and other personal shopping that finds itself on the blog and instagram because I earnestly believe in and work towards helping my readers make informed choices. What are your thoughts? Do you believe it is completely alright to only post sponsored content? Where does the realness and authenticity of opinions come in, in that scenario?








Wearing:
Shirt: Zara
Powder blue tiered dress: Mango
Champagne pink metallic pants: Topshop
Blue clutch: Armani Exchange
Sunglasses: Chloe
Shoes with metallic toecaps: c/o Adidas Originals
Socks: Monki
Photography by: Aditya Saxena

x

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Summer fashion with Benetton

Don’t get me wrong. I love trends. But there is something to be said about classic, timeless sensibility of choosing what you put on your back. For instance, an effortless mixing of prints. Christopher Kane did it, Emilio Pucci runs a design house with this, Mary Katrantzou does not shy away from it and United Colors of Benetton SS,17 definitely encourages it. The nautical stripes, the maritime colours, the cotton and linen pants in easy breezy silhouettes and dresses that scream comfort with a side of chic. I could see these traits from the Benetton SS,17 collection becoming a way of life, not just a hip trend. And for all those who like to add that one trendy piece to an otherwise effortlessly stylish outfit, the collection marks the revival of the canvas bags. Not just any canvas bags but those with splashes of paint that make for a very ‘Summer in Arizona’ theme. Style comes easy while trends require study and efforts is very easily embodied by Benetton as a design identity. They give you comfortable, relaxed silhouettes with a side of funk and that alone makes me think that some brands find a place in your wardrobe no matter what your age and style.
Diving headfirst into this trope, let me take you through a little skit of fashion where I give you a preview of some of my favourite pieces from Benetton SS,17, with a moody twist.









Wearing:
All pieces c/o United Colors of Benetton


x


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bringing sexy back

I walked into a party once and found myself deeply embroiled in a controversy, two minutes into a conversation with a man. "You're a fashion person, you should know. More the skin, sexier the outfit.", I was told. But precisely because of the fact that I came from the fashion industry could I say with the utmost confidence (sexy confidence, if I might add) that being sexy, since time immemorial has had to do with so much more than skin. I like to lead with example. Not my own at this point, but Courtney Love to me, is the epitome of all sexy ironies. Unruly hair, peter pan collars, slip dresses with ripped stockings, even Mary Janes and somehow I also find fascinators in the weird mix. That, on paper does not spell sexy but when you throw in Courtney's rock-n-roll persona into that mix, it's a yelping winner. 2013 saw Hedi Slimane's YSL campaign headlined by Love and her contemporaries, and was it sexy or what.
A white over-sized shirt is sexy. So is a leather (or pleather if you may) miniskirt, a la 60s. Bare skin is sexy. But so are oversized clothes. A fresh blow dry is sexy but so is the sweat and elbow grease of a work out.
I have been begging to understand why should the two ideas be mutually exclusive anyway. But the good side that surfaces through these comparisons is that while the world might claim that fashion is for the superficial, fashion has through ages redefined sexiness in various terms of its own; be it conservative, nerdy, hot or basic. In an industry where I am finally at peace with being more than just clothes and shoes, I find heaving respite in the company of people like myself. Aien or AJ as she is fondly known of Fashion & I has been one of my favourite indian fashion bloggers for a long time now. We have been friends for a while now but fashion's self proclaimed Olsen Twins for even longer. We have been intrigued on numerous occasions by what we find stylish or even sexy in terms of our sartorial representation. Oversized coats, bralettes and corsets and wide legged pants were the common denominators. We thought about what defined sexy as sexy is. Should it not be just anything that transcends your body and brings out your soul? Wearing your soul in the form of your fashion statement is sexy to me. Channeling your art and creativity to give it a voice in the form of a statement, day in and day out while being completely truthful to yourself is sexy. Patti Smith is sexy to me. Fashion can be very sexy and if you scratch beneath the surface, you just might like it.









Styled and modelled by: Aien Jamir and yours truly
Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project
Location c/o: Parallel
Make up and hair by: Awon R Vashum


x

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Part Deux: am:pm for FTLOFAOT Bride

My occupational hazards including living the digital life and being clued into almost every interesting and not-so interesting moment that makes it to the internet. This includes the hordes of bridal photographs that make it to your instagram, Facebook and pinterest, day in and day out. If you thought I was cribbing, I must clarify that I am not. If anything, for a year now, it has been serving as a constant source on inspiration/perspiration (I am definitely going to hell) for a bride-to-be like myself. A few months short, I still don't have enough clarity on what I want to wear for my wedding. Honestly, it does not peeve me so. At the risk of sounding like a lovelorn romantic, when it's the right one, you just know. And if my personal taste is anything to go by, a lehenga with substance and the charm of a gazillion centuries bygone and my love for modern renditions will make the cut. Over time and time again, my incessant browsing has led me to the conclusion that meaningless bling or trendy designs just do not cut it for me. It's like when I put on this lehenga by am:pm by Ankur & Priyanka Modi, I instantly felt the character of the lehenga uplift my personality. The blouse is designed to be the perfect modern addition to the dreamy lehenga. I choose that particular adjective to describe it because that is what it succinctly is. The delicate contrasting coloured embroidery in romantic floral patterns brings out the rich velvet surface of the lehenga. The embroidery is accentuated with tiny mirrors and in my mind, this little fiesta of craft and minimalistic charm definitely ticks all the boxes on my list of lehenga expectations. I tried to do justice to this celebration of design and old-world glamour in a dark over-cast night with only the golden glimmer of these statuesque light fixtures.









Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project
Location c/o: Qla, Mehrauli
Make up and hair by: Makeup by Supreet Dhillon

For any other queries regarding the FTLOFAOT Bride series, do leave me a comment here or instagram or Facebook.

x



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