20 July 2013
Recently I'd been having a lot of problems with my energy levels - I was coming home after work feeling completely exhausted and needing to nap, which is unusual for me. At first I attributed the energy drain to the insane hot weather, but I've been through a few Delhi summers and never faced a similar problem before. So I decided to make some changes to my diet and see if anything I was eating was affecting it - turns out, improving what I eat has made a huge difference!
I usually eat well, but not always 'clean' - plenty of sugar and processed foods creep into my diet regularly. I decided to omit a lot of not-so-great foods, most of which were indulgences anyway. It's been over a month now of altering my diet, and the results have been great - my energy levels are up, my mood tends to be better, and my skin problems have calmed down a bit. I started by giving up wheat, cutting out products like cereal, rotis and bread. I also started adding in more fresh produce and a wider, more colorful range of fruits and vegetables. And I'm currently avoiding processed foods, and have drastically reduced my consumption of meat, dairy, and sugar.
This is what my pantry currently looks like, more or less, with of course a lot more fresh produce (I usually try to buy fresh things every few days, convenient when I live right by a bunch of produce shops and fruit stalls). To break it down:
Carbs: I've always preferred rice over roti, so it wasn't that hard to cut wheat out. I try to avoid white rice when possible - Kerala red rice and short grain brown rice are my favorites. I also love quinoa. In place of cereal, I've been enjoying gluten-free puffed amaranth muesli, usually with some coconut milk and honey.
Protein: I'm still eating chicken and fish on occasion, though contemplating cutting meat out for a while as I have noticed my skin looks much clearer when I eat less. Otherwise, I'm having lots of nuts (raw almonds and cashews), nut butter (natural, not Skippy!), chia seeds, plain soy milk (in moderation), homemade almond milk (when I get time to make it!), and eggs. I've cut out dairy products entirely.
Sugar: all refined white sugar, brown sugar, jaggery, etc. is a no. I'm using raw honey for anything I want to sweeten, and having dates in place of after-meal sweets.
Fat: Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil has been my mainstay for some time. I use it to cook pretty much everything, and sometimes even take a straight spoonful to supplement. It's high in lauric acid and great for the skin, metabolism, etc.
Seasoning: Bragg's Liquid Aminos is my go-to for making stir fries and seasoning cooked quinoa. And I use Himalaya pink salt, as it has more trace minerals than regular table salt. I also have locally made miso paste which I use in various ways in cooking.
Outside of the chia seeds, which I carried with me from the US, all of these products were purchased in Delhi. Not all are the most reasonably priced as many are imported, but I justify it by diverting money that I'd otherwise spend on meals at restaurants or drinks. Here's where I shop:
Raw honey, Bragg's liquid aminos, gluten-free amaranth muesli: the Kirana Shop in Meharchand Market
Natural nut butter, quinoa, virgin coconut oil: Altitude, also in Meharchand Market
Raw nuts: easy to find in my local marketHimalaya pink salt: found at La Marche
Kerala red rice: Big Bazaar or the Tamil Nadu store in INA market
Brown rice: La Marche
Dates: Kunafa (Meharchand) or Bateel (DLF Promenade)
Soy milk: available most places now! I get it in my local market shop
Fresh lettuce: I love salad, but getting decent, non-wilted lettuce isn't the easiest. Food Bazaar at Citywalk has really good, fresh lettuce most of the time. There's also rawleaf.in, a home delivery service for greens that friends have been raving about.
I'll do a follow-up post soon with some more on what my typical 'day in food' looks like, and recipes!
1 July 2013
Bobbi Brown is a favorite, favorite brand, and I've had my eye on the storefront ever since I spotted it in Citywalk. I happened to stop by for some groceries yesterday and just my luck, the shop had opened! And because I possess very little self-restraint, I let myself be sucked inside and picked two things up: the bronzing powder in Golden Light, and lip gloss is Buff 4.
Bronzer and gloss are normally two things I never buy, but in the spirit of trying to avoid purchase multiples of the same type of product (red lipstick, looking at you), I decided to go for things I don't usually wear. Since Bobbi's collections lean towards very natural finishes, I knew I wasn't going to end up with anything garish. And it's true - both are very natural and complimentary, and overall I really love both of these products. The bronzer, while it looks a bit intimidating in the pan, looks quite nice with a light, buffed-out application. My style doesn't usually run tanned or glowy but if I apply this more as a contour, with a bit on the apples of my cheeks, it looks really lovely. I have Bobbi's Antigua bronzer as well, which is far pinker/more illuminating, and I think this one might be tight competition.
The gloss has just the right amount of subtle pink-brown tint, looks luscious without being overbearing or juicy, and from testing today I can tell lasts a very long time (provided I'm not eating or drinking). I'm a lipstick girl more than a gloss girl, but now and then you need a change. This is the gloss of change.
There was lots more I would've been happy to pick up, but I have plenty in my collection to get through and use up - next time!
1 June 2013
Hi everyone! Figured I'd make good on my promise to come back from my hiatus and do a quick post on some products I've been loving lately. To start, skincare! From top: Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask, Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser, and Nuxe Creme Fraiche de Beaute Light moisturizer.
I had received a generous sample of the Nuxe Creme Fraiche light moisturizer from the team at Sephora, and loved it. It's light but deeply moisturizing, and also performs well on the tricky job of both moisturizing the dry/flaky areas of my face (typically my nose) and mattifying and balancing the oily areas (forehead and chin). It sits well under makeup, and can be used both morning and night. The only downside to it is that it has parabens, so I might be on the lookout for another moisturizer (Dr. Hauschka's are tempting me!), but I'm quite liking this one overall!
The Alpha-H balancing cleanser has received rave reviews from various bloggers, and once my Emma Hardie balm ran out I needed something a bit lighter but still effective. I don't usually use cream cleansers, but I have some trust in Alpha H due to my good experiences with Liquid Gold, and this one really works like a charm. It takes off eye makeup fairly well, and leaves my skin feeling refreshed, never tight. I've been rotating it with my Organic Surge gel cleanser whenever my skin flares up a bit, and overall it seems to be keeping breakouts under control.
One persisting problem I have however is with skin clarity - even if I don't have breakouts, sometimes my skin just looks quite congested because of the heat, dust, sweat, etc. The Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey mask is gentle and detoxifying, and seems to help calm down congestion. I've also used it as an overnight spot treatment on blemishes, including those annoying beneath-the-surface-ones, and while it's not a miracle worker it does help calm and reduce them. Plus, it smells gorgeous and feels quite luxurious to apply. Definitely a new staple for me.
I may also have, erm, developed a Chanel habit. After discovering how amazing their nail formulas are, I stopped into their store and picked up Starlet, a summer-appropriate coral pink with a bit of subtle glimmer. I feel a bit Barbie Girl wearing this kind of color, but it's not garish or over-the-top. Plus the polish wears for about five days without chipping (using a base coat, Revlon), which is a record for me.
And of course I needed a lipstick to match (of course), and the Rouge Coco Shine in Liberte was a surprising find - coral pink was not a color I was expecting to look good on me, but it's light and glossy and subtle and really looks perfect for the season. A bit 60's, too, which I like. I'm an obsessive lip product applier so I don't mind that it wears off quickly - one quick slick from the bullet and I'm set.
And I posted this in my Instagram-updates, but this is my current favorite perfume. I mean, Tom Ford, how can it not be? I love all of his scents - so unconventional but classic and beautiful. I can't wear uber-feminine perfumes (outside of pure, single-note floral scents like rose), I like my spices and oud and tobacco and incense, blends which are earthy, rich and intense. Violet Blonde sits in an interesting middle ground for me. It has floral notes, of course, but powder which smooths them out and a bit of musk to deepen the fragrance, making it more classic (and sexy, frankly). It makes me feel very Old Hollywood when I wear it - retro but not at all grandma-ish.
That's a completely personal take, someone might read the fragrance completely differently - which is kind of the beauty of perfumes, isn't it? They adapt to the wearer.
I have a bit of new makeup that I'll swatch soon! Stay tuned.
28 May 2013
Hi, hi, hi!
Here are some glimpses of what I've been up to the last few months, Instagram-style:
Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I've gone on hiatus - I've just been too busy with work, travelling, life, etc. to maintain this blog to any decent degree. But I just got a lovely e-mail today saying that I'd been nominated for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, so I wanted to make an appearance to say thank you! If you feel at all inclined to give me a vote, you can do so here!
Here are some glimpses of what I've been up to the last few months, Instagram-style:
Went on a beautiful daydream of a trip to Darjeeling and Kolkata.
Stayed in this gorgeous colonial-style apartment in Kolkata. Didn't want to leave, ever.
The famous Kolkata flower market.
Technicolor ice cream with Daniel.
Before that I was in Bombay for a week, for our bhane. shoot. Mad love for that city.
Also went to Rishikesh. Basically have been spoiled for travel the last two months!
Have also been a tourist in my own city. Visited Paharganj for the first time and found my dream home.
Last month we had a launch party for our S/S collection for bhane., which was awesome fun.
I picked up this gorgeous skirt from Bodice, which has become my summer staple.
This dress from COS is also a new favorite, though not very agreeable with the recent Delhi heat.
On the topic of summer staples, this side chignon is pretty much how I'm wearing my hair every. single. day.
And this has been my daily face - light and simple.
April for April!
My current perfume <3.
And beachy waves even though there's no beach in sight.
Thank you again for your support - so many of you have been telling me to come back to blogging, so I'll definitely try to make more of an effort. And I would love your vote, though I'm in the company of many fabulous bloggers who I'm sure will win me out. But I'm so thankful and happy simply that you're reading this! :)