I’m a big sucker for yearly favourites on You Tube, and feel inspired to do something similar on my space, here. However, a full year of favourites maybe a bit too much information to spill all at once (and monthly is way too often), so I’m dividing this series into four quarters. Also, I can’t wait till the year-end to tell you what I’m loving, because I feel like some of this stuff may push you to achieve your healthy mind-healthy body goals with greater conviction, not to mention the beauty stuff that you will succumb to in the nanoseconds that are to follow!
The Indian Sari – my first love
When in doubt, play the sari card. I believe that you can never be under or overdressed in a sari. It makes you miraculously fit in. Gives you a swag in your step, hides the flaws, enhances the curves, and boosts your confidence.
I’m finally wearing saris again after two long years (wasn’t fitting into my blouses after my son’s birth) and I feel like myself once again. Time to dust them off the trunk and rock them like a superstar. Oh yeah.
Highlighter – Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter in Champagne
I have been so tempted to reach for this pretty vial of sparkle even when I’m going out for a walk, that I have to hide it in my drawer and not see it. Now, that says something for a person who never wore highlighter. It’s the perfect shade of champagne — not pink, not white, not gold. It blends with literally 5 gentle taps of my fingertips and photographs like a dream. Even if you have never worn a highlight, this is the one to break the rules for. Just freakin’ sublime.
Just a note of caution — if you like a blinding, banging highlight, then this one isn’t for you. Try the Makeup Revolution Soph highlighter palette instead. Overall, this liquid highlighter has been a controversial product in the beauty blogosphere — some love it, some hate it. I like my highlight to be subtle and ‘barely there’; so if you are like me, then give this a go.
These highlighters are a complete dupe for the Cover FX custom enhancer drops (not available for retail in India), the most-raved-about illuminator drops in 2017, also winner of the Cosmo beauty awards for last year.
Blushes – Nykaa Just Cheeky! Blush Duo
My absolute new obsession with respect to make up is blushes. I have never been big on pink cheeks; I always chose a blush that is close to my skin tone with just a hint of browny-pink or a nudey-coral. That being said, these blushes are like no other I have tried before. I mean that. They are mega pigmented (like an eyeshadow), top-notch in quality, creamy smooth in texture, and though they aren’t matt in finish, they leave a subtle sheen that’s natural, yet hot damn gorgeous! They come in three shades; each is a duo of two shades, so that makes a total of 6 unique shades, covering all bases. I have all three, and I’m not crazy. I love big cheeks and I cannot lie.
Brazilian Bombshell has a goddess-like, raisin-coloured bronzer shade and a cool-toned, dull, rose pink shade. My favourite for an evening out (I use this on the eyes as well).
Cali Chic has a rebellious plum that is pigmented like nothing else, and a mildly warm-toned coral-pink.
Malibu Barbie is my least favourite of the three — only because this one doesn’t have a stand-out shade and because I have used similar shades in the past. This one has a beautiful summery, coral shade, and a dull peach that looks pigmented in the pan but isn’t. Letdown.
Nykaa has been hitting the jackpot with so many of their recent launches and I’m thrilled that an Indian brand is capable of matching up to some luxury sector products sitting up there on the throne.
Books – The Subtle Art of Not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
A blogger turned author, Mark Manson rings in genius with his first ever book. He introduces his reader to a counter intuitive approach to living a good life, finding and re-finding happiness by identifying the good problems in life and learning to solve them without giving too many f*cks about too many things. His writing is refreshingly honest, self-reflective, amusingly profane and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Not much to say about this legend, other than the fact that you absolutely need to read his first book (for f*ck’s sake).
App – Sweat by Kayla Itsines
When it comes to exercise, I’m as unmotivated to win the fitness race as the proverbial Mr. Tortoise. But, I want to try. I’m slow to feel motivated, slow to imbibe a new idea, slow to believe in results and slower to acknowledge my progress. A few weeks ago, at midnight (I feel like everything life-changing begins at midnight), I downloaded and paid a hefty fortune for the Sweat app. I assumed I would unsubscribe after a month, because how long can an app possibly keep me motivated?! But, I’ll happily eat my words. Kayla gave me a reason to really start sweating and even to look forward to it! I thought, if I can work out from home and stay motivated then what’s better than that?
A cute, super-fit avatar of Kayla herself guides you through 28 minutes of workout without any machines. The FAMOUS 12-week BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program is worth every penny, worth the time and worth the effort, especially when you are 20 minutes down and you want Kayla to literally come out of the bloody phone and kill you instead of asking you to do 4 more laps of burpees. And yet, I’m in love with the app, in love with Kayla’s program and in love with the way I feel. Life-altering.
Ingredient – Cottage Cheese, the make-do Feta
I never understood why people love paneer (cottage cheese). It’s tasteless, doesn’t have much of a texture, doesn’t look inviting, becomes tough and chewy when cold, and doesn’t absorb a marinade. Recently though, I discovered a new way to use paneer — bring some full cream milk to a boil, split it with vinegar or juice of lime and strain as you would to make paneer. Now, instead of setting it into a block, allow it to remain soft, creamy and a bit wet. Use it in a salad, in sandwiches or on crackers for a mid-day snack.
Here are some fun ways I used the boring, characterless paneer feta and gave it a kick ass personality.
These recipes will be featured in my next post, coming at you in five days. Watch this space.
Instagram bloggers – @missstylefiesta and @shivesh17
@missstylefiesta (fashion and lifestyle blogger) — An Indian living in Europe, Masoom Minawala is a blogger who can write and inspire readers with her words. Her wearable style in fashion, her insightful stories and advice on social media entrepreneurship, and her not-so-staged blog posts and IG pictures are the reasons I like to follow her work.
@shivesh17 (food blogger) — This fellow is deeply endearing, to say the least! The dessert recipes on his blog are simple, without too many gourmet ingredients and look sensational. His photography has grown by leaps and bounds in the few years that I have followed him, and his rustic, earthy, colourful photographs of heavenly desserts on IG make me so happy everyday! There are a lot of food bloggers out there, but this guy is extraordinary. Most importantly, his recipes work. Like magic.
Stationary – 2018 Planner by Alicia Souza
I know I have harped on and on about this planner in older posts, but it is so much more than just a planner. It’s a concentrated dose of happiness in every list you make and every chore you tick off it. It’s beautifully conceptualised, designed and created. It makes work seem like a whole lot of fun, so what more can I ask for! Perfect for crazy list ladies, like yours truly.
Idea – Make the best out of what you’ve got
If you don’t have the best of everything, you gotta make the best of everything. This has been my biggest life lesson and my only mantra in the past one year, and more so in 2018. Anyone can make an excuse, especially because it comes easier than answering the question — ‘if not now, then when?’. Do what you gotta do, with what you have — it’s called being creative.
With that thought, I’ll see you here for quarter two of this series in 3-months time. Until then, see you every five days with lots of new, exciting content!
What have you been loving in 2018? Tell me in the comments!
Until next time, XOXO