Sunday, August 31, 2014

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in "KISS ME CORAL"

Revlon is one of my favorite brands from the drugstore; especially for lip products! Their colorstay foundation is my everyday foundation (well, on the days when I wear foundation :-)) and recently I have been totally impressed by their lip crayons... 

Summer is almost gone and we might wanna savor the last few days with full-on ORANGEy-coral lips :-) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in "Kiss me Coral" is an appropriate choice to do just that! It's easy-to-use, has a very nice formula, gives a decent few hrs. of wear and it's very very affordable. And that name is just cute!

The lipstick costs anywhere between 5 to 8.49$ for 0.17 oz. (5 g) of products. It’s been a while since I bought it, but I believe it was around 4.50$ in Walmart. The good thing is Revlon is available in many stores like Ulta, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Target. Plus, you can almost always find sale offers like "Buy one Get one free" here in USA. It's also relatively easy to find in India :-)  

Packaging is pretty and functional too; considering the price. This is how I visualized lipstick to look like when I was a child! Ha ha! I love the gold with the black; it gives me a nice nostalgic vintage-y kind of feel. I also appreciate the transparent top on the cap. You can definitely get a peek of the color inside. It’s pretty sturdy too; I have travelled a few times with it and it has remained intact!

Yes, it’s a bold color, but the formula is really easy to wear. I can just slap it on and go out the door. I, usually, NEED lip liners to wear bold-bright colors, but not with this one! It is a creamy formula but end finish is definitely with a subtle sheen; not overly glossy! It also does not bleed or transfer to the teeth :-) But because it’s a creamy formula, you have to trade off the wear-time. It lasts around 2.5 to 4 hrs. on me before it fades. And when I say "fade" I mean it completely vanishes ;-) ;-) ! But it’s not a tough color to wear; I don't really mind reapplying. 

Bright and bold colors are slowly becoming my thing! This was one of the first bright colors I owned and I have not stopped since then :-) "Kiss me Coral" is an orange-y coral shade with an almost invisible red undertone. It's not a straight up "orange", but I consider it to be one. That’s just me though! I definitely think it suites my kind of tanned skin tone. If you don’t own any bright colors yet, this may be a good start! Its fun and bright without being overwhelming and can surely brighten up your entire face!

  • Affordable and easily accessible.
  • Easy-to-wear.
  • Very easy on the lips despite being a bright color.
  • Pigmented. Color is true to the tube. 
  • Does not last more than 3-4 hrs.

I will definitely recommend it, if you are interested in fun summer shades. And if you like, wear it and flaunt it in winter or any weather for that matter! You will not be disappointed :-)

Thank you a lot for visiting my blog, people! Hope you all are having a wonderful Labor Day weekend :-) Much loveeeee......................


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sweet and simple "Payox" (Rice Pudding Dessert)

Now that I have started to blog regularly and have been feeling a little less "shy" about sharing my blog in front of my friends and family members, they have started to take notice on the changes that all these years has brought in me! For example, I never cooked much when I was at home in India. Also, I was completely unaware of the wonderful world of makeup and beauty!! The two main focus of my blog :-)

I am now pretty confident in inviting a few guests over and prepare a presentable and somewhat “enjoyable” dinner course. But one thing always scared me; it still does! That “thing” in question is dessert! To be honest, I am not really "crazy" about it either! I have not developed a huge interest in baking, yet! And I don't really know any Indian dessert from Sewai and Suji :-) I guess I thought I will butcher the savoriness in any dessert… :-) 

But a few months ago, I don't remember exactly how but I had to face a situation where I needed to make some dessert and I had some ethnic aromatic rice that I brought from India! So I finally gathered up some courage and decided to make some "Payox" :-) or Kheer as you all may more familiar with!  I picked up my phone and called my father (yes, my father! He is an awesome cook) and he gave me the basic steps for making Payox. Then my mother offered her help and shared some simple but important tips that she follows!

Payox (Rice Pudding/Kheer/Payasam) is a very sweet Indian dessert delicacy! It’s almost always a must have in any auspicious occasion. I remember my mom cooking it utmost sincerity whenever she will offer puja for any holy occasion! Almost every mother that I know back home still makes “payox” for her kid’s birthday; no matter how old she or he is!! It’s something that mothers in Assam do :-) I always perceived it to be a tricky item to cook but when I followed the recipe my parents shared, I realized I never had a reason to be scared of making dessert, at least for "Payox". There is not a lot to be done in the recipe; all you need the ingredients and stir occasionally. I have fallen in love with the simplicity of the recipe and have started to make it at least twice a month these days! I even intend to make it during my long-term hotel stays for my work! It's that simple :-)

Ingredients: Rice (Any aromatic rice is good, I use the scented variety known as Joha Saul in Assam), Bay Leaves, Almond, Raisin, Honey, Cardamom, Milk (I use 2% or whole milk; more fatty is definitely better), Ghee.

  • Soak a handful of rice in a bowl of warm water for at least 1 hr.
  • Crush the rice using your hands after it’s soaked. You will see them breaking into smaller pieces. Crushed rice pieces makes the dish look aesthetically pleasing, at least to my eyes! :-)
  • Meanwhile, warm up the milk in "medium heat". I love my payox to be a little runny, so I use a lot of milk (Almost half a gallon for a handful of rice; around 2 litre). You will need to keep stirring occasionally; otherwise the milk may get adhered to the bottom of the pan!
  • After 10-15 minutes when the milk is a bit warm, add the rice and keep stirring from time to time.
  • After a while add the raisin, bay leave and almond. 
  • Remove the seed from the cardamom and crash it as small as you can. Add it into the mixture. All these ingredients will start feeling up your kitchen with a lovely aroma.
  • I use both honey and sugar in 3:1 proportion for bringing in the sweetness. I believe using more honey gives me a little bit of peace of mind. (You know, you gotta think about your calorie intake ;-)
  • After around 30-45 minutes, you can see the rice getting boiled and soaking up/puffing up.
  • Keep stirring, the milk will start getting condensed. Depending on the consistency or thickness of the Payox you want, you might need to add more milk!
  • I believe one of the key points in making the perfect payox is to allow the milk to get condensed and cook slowly for a longer time. Boiled and condensed milk has a different kind of taste itself.
  • I love to add a few more almond pieces just for garnishing. 
  • Payox surprisingly tastes good when served hot as well as when keep refrigerated overnight. I prefer the later :-)
This is one very simple but very popular dessert in India. And I am happy that I finally learnt to make it. I hope you also enjoyed it! I would love to hear back.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Love: Makeup Geek Eyeshadows and Pigments

This has been a much procrastinated post. I have been using Marlena's brushes since late last year and eyeshadows since February; so I believe this is a good time to share my very humble and honest "user-experience" with Makeup Geek (MUG) products!

Marlena was the first YouTube Vlogger I stumbled upon when I desperately needed to "learn" some basic makeup techniques before an epic Vegas trip with my friends. She has some super easy basic tutorials. Those really helped me to get the first grip into whole world of makeup without intimidating me. If you are just starting out, I highly recommend her tutorials on basic makeup. Apart from that, I just love the brand name! For most of my life, I have been more familiar as a Geek rather than one who follows trends and fashion; hence my inner self almost immediately responded to the word "geek"  B-) B-) (Nerdy smile!!!)

Anyway, I have a lot of neutral eyeshadows which was making my collection rather boring. So I mostly wanted to get some "colorful" shades like green, purple and blue! MUG also has some very gorgeous neutral shades suitable for almost every skin tone. I have always ordered them in the "pan" form, so I cannot be a judge on the quality of their “compacts”. I love the pan packaging though. They arrive in a very colorful yet sophisticated pink and black thin packet. Love it; it's very cheerful! :-) They are robust as well; you can safely store the pan-packets in your stash while you find a permanent storage solution like Z-palette! On the other hand, the pigments are a bit messy! MUG now offers 5 shifters at 0.75 USD, but I am not able to use them properly on my jars yet! I don't use the pigments that often; but I can definitely see how a frequent user will have trouble dealing with pigments flying everywhere while using :-)

One of the very best things about MUG line is the price range. These shadows are 5.99 USD/pan for a total product of 1.8 g (0.064 oz.) and 7.99 USD for the compact version (They are unavailable in this form as of now; but as I have found out that they are working on some new compacts for coming months). Everybody compares MUG with MAC eyeshadows but I only own "Carbon" from MAC! Price wise MUG is just a little more than half of MAC shadows! Another thing I appreciate HUGELY is their shipping charges. I have never paid more than 4 USD for shipping (inside USA)! In fact, my last order (of 80.80 USD) cost me just 2.17 USD. That was awesome! They also offer international shipping; I have heard they are pretty fast as well. Definitely a huge plus, if you happen to live in places where some international brands are a bit hard to access. The online MUG store also offers some selective products from brands like NYX, Sugarpill, LA SPlash, Z-palette etc. I like this feature because - this way you can order products from different brands at the same time.

I already blabbered so much without even talking about the quality :-) :-) These are some of the best eyeshadows in the market. They are heavily pigmented, very easy-to-blend and VERY long-wearing. Some shadows look vibrant in the pan, but proves disappointing when you start applying. But these shadows appear very true to the color in the pan! The mattes that I have tried are also very smooth and easy to use. I give those 9.5 out 10 in terms of quality! Oh wait extra 0.5 points for the price :-) The pigments are also to die for! They have some very gorgeous everyday as well as some over-the-top pigment shades. I don’t do makeup as a professional, so I have not had a chance to test a lot of the pigments. But the ones I got are simply MIND-BLOWING!!

Let’s discuss the colors

Burlesque: Gorgeous Copper and an evenly distributed gold with a red undertone. Very smooth! I don't know why I expected it to be a little more vibrant than it turned out! But still a gorgeous color!

Drama Queen: Extremely deep purple with minuscule speckles of gold. Almost appears black-ish with a hint of purple peeping through. It makes a gorgeous smokey eye. I also love using it in the outer-v to create a subdued glam eye!

Nautica: I love blue eyeshadows; specially this kind! Nautica is a very smooth gorgeous royal blue color. Sometimes it also appears as a dual tone to my eyes- royal blue with dark grey. But when applied it shows as very vibrant blue. This is definitely one of my favorites.

Ocean Breeze: It’s a very subdued blue. Actually more teal than blue. If a little bit of silver is mixed with Nautica, this is how it will turn up. If you want to try blue shades and "in-your-face" blues scares you off, you might like this this shade. Pigment wise, it seems just a tiny bit "weaker" than Nautica.

Envy: Gorgeous name :-) and gorgeous shade! Very dark Emerald Green with gold mixed with it. Looks absolutely beautiful when paired with gold shadows. And it makes me very giddy to realize that I got it way before Cult favorite YouTube Vlogger Jaclyn Hill mentioned it as one of her favorite MUG shadows! It assures me that I have quotation mark*good taste*quotation mark.

Cupcake: Warm toned light pink shade. I am not a fan of pink shade. My sister actually chose this for her. But when I finally got it and used it, I realized that it’s a lovely shade. Can be used to replace the otherwise *boring* brown crease colors.

Cocoa Bear: Very warm Brown. This is what I visualize when I imagine the color "brown" :-) VERY useful on my skin tone. One of the very very smooth matte colors that I own. Very easy to use as well. LOVE it.

Corrupt: Claimed to the blackest black in the market. :-) I don't know about that but it's definitely way dark and pigmented that MAC Carbon. See for yourself here. Both after 3 swipes without any primer. :-) Matte, smooth and easy, but you need to be careful because of its crazy pigmentation.

Bewitched: Such an appropriate name!! Purple is one of my favorite color and it really compliments brown eyes. This is a very bright light purple (not lilac though) and also has tiny gold speckles mixed within. Even though it’s a pigment it’s much easier to work with than "Utopia". I applied it with a primer and elf glitter glue and it stayed from 5 pm to 2 am without losing any vibrancy!

Utopia: Ooh-la-la! Need I say more? This is one of MUG products that you have to hunt down as it almost always is out of stock!! It looks VERY gold in my swatch but it does have a blackish brown base. It's a very glamorous shade; definitely not for the faint-hearted! But JUST the color to glam up with for New Year’s Eve, any party or even for the over-the-top Indian wedding makeups :-) I don't get a lot of chance to wear it, still love the shade.

  • Very pigmented, smooth, long-wearing high quality products. Easy to blend as well.
  • EXTREMELY reasonable price
  • Huge range of shades (I will still love to see some more blues)
  • Very very beautiful range of pigments.
  • They offer a very low shipping charge inside USA. I highly APPRECIATE that.
  • International shipping is also available.
  • I have never had a problem ordering online and have received my packages within a week of ordering.
  • Accessibility is a problem. As of now, you can only order online or in some of the makeup shows like IMATS. (I, however, don't see this as a problem. I respect the founder as a person! The brand is growing and it has been providing good products till now. So I am willing to deal with the accessibility issue for now.).
  • In the same line, because the demand is so high, most of the shades remains out of stock and when get restocked they sell out immediately. You have to literally stalk some particular shade which may also mean that all the shades you want may not available at the same time :-) Again, I understand.
  • I, however, will really appreciate if they offer free shipping beyond a certain dollar's order.
Last but not the least, I always very eagerly wait for the colorful "thank-you notes" (you know as seen in Instagram and other social media ;-)). Apart from the simple thank-yous in my order details I have not have the luck to get those colorful ones!! :-) May be some day :-)

I love MUG as a brand and I have been enjoying their products. I will definitely continue to explore more of their products. Once I can finish at least 1/3 of my current stash of eyeshadows, I will definitely get some more colors. I will also have a detailed post on their brushes sometime in the coming months! 

Thank you for being a patient reader and staying till this point. I hope you all like the few of the looks I did using MUG shades as the main focus! If you have tried MUG or thinking of getting some shades, please do share your thoughts! I will love to help in any way I can! :-)


Friday, August 15, 2014

My First Ever Eyeshadow Palette: LAKME Eye Color Quartet in "SILK ROUTE"

If you are from India, I am sure there is AT LEAST one makeup item from "Lakme" in your vanity. It has been an iconic Indian makeup and skincare brand. As a child, I remember longing for the fancy lipsticks and skincare items my aunts used to bring whenever they visited us!

I have been saying that I was not much into makeup that much earlier! A few years ago, I was really busy in managing a full-time job, preparing my application to get into MS courses here in USA and saving up for sponsoring my education. An eyeliner, a kajol pencil and a lipgloss; that was all that I had in my vanity. After everything finally came together and I had my visa, ticket all ready to go, I went to the Lakme counter in my nearest mall to get some very basic beauty products. The lady actually gave me a very nice makeover and helped me get some staple products. I picked the Eye Color Quartet called "Silk Route" at that time. To be honest, the feeling was very overwhelming as it was the last time I splurged on myself before becoming a poor MS student in a completely new country! ;-) I believe I am emotionally connected to Lakme as a brand; just a tad :-)

This quad is available at INR 500 (around 9 USD) from Lakme Cosmetics for a total of 7g (0.25 oz.) of products. As per my understanding, the price may vary a little bit depending on where you get it! The best thing is; if you happen to be a reader in India, Lakme is very easily accessible in most malls and also in local beauty stores. They can also be found in online shopping sites such as nykaa, Jabong etc. I am not very sure if it was a limited edition palette as I don't see it in Lakme website anymore. My apologies for that.

Just like the signature black packaging for MAC, typical violet-purple packaging pops into my mind whenever I hear about Lakme. Same typical color scheme in a perfect square, decently thin box with a clear lid. I have to say it is a VERY sturdy packaging. I have travelled extensively carrying it along. It occupies very less space and has the strength to withstand travel travails.  There is a little applicator as well, but we all know how useful they are :-) I did use it when I first started; not anymore. There is no mirror though, which is not an issue for me as I don't use these mirrors anyway.

All the shades are shimmery; if Lorac pro shimmery shades had a little bit more shimmer to them, this is how they will turn up. These are smooth, easy to blend and don't have a lot of fallout. I have to say that I underestimated these shadows! Now that I have been dabbling on a lot of different eyeshadows I can definitely vouch for the quality of these. These shadows are fairly pigmented and give me a SOLID wear of 5-6 hrs. before starting to fade. After that, it does fade quickly. But overall I think they are good shadows and definitely make a very good "first palette".

I am not sure if the shades have individual names so I am going to name 'em myself :-) There are two neutral-hued shades along with two bolder colors.

Magnetic Magenta: This is my fav color from the quad. Looks very dark purple in the pan but transforms to a less vibrant fuchsia kind of color when blended. I love these kind of shades. These bright colors also look very beautiful with Indian outfit when mixed with some gold.

Pearlescent Pink: I am scared of light pink shadows in general. I think they look a bit ashy on my lids. However this is not that bad to carry off.  If you have a lighter skin tone than me, this will look beautiful. Texture wise this shade is a little bit rough than the other ones.

Bridal Bronze: It is a warm mid-tone brown infused with a lot of gold! This is definitely the most useful shade in the bunch. This works as a great one-lid color, especially if you work in a "very" professional environment. I love it using that way along with very thin eyeliner. I also love pairing it with bright colors like fuchsia, emerald and dark blues.

Glam Grey: This is a deep grey+silver mixed with black (I know, very weird description!). Just the color to create a lovely grey smokey eye.

  • Nice blend of everyday and adventurous kind of color.
  • Easy to wear and smooth to blend.
  • Offers decent wear time.
  • Affordable.
  • Very complimentary to Indian outfits.
  • No matte shades hence cannot function as an independent palette.
  • No mirror in the quad (this might be an issue with some of you).
  • Some of the colors appear less vibrant when applied than in the pan.

I used the magenta on the outer half and and the bronze shade in the inner half, of course I needed some matte crease colors from other palettes...but I think it turned out pretty good! I would love to sport this look with some of my indian outfit :-)

This was one of the few VERY FIRST "makeup" products on which I spent my very hard-earned money. I guess because of that I have some kind of weird emotional bond with it. I love exploring the Lakme Aisle when I go home and I might (might!) pick some more of these next time I visit India.

Hope it was helpful, especially for my readers in India. 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Products I've Used Up/Empties Vol. 1

When I first started reading blogs, watching YouTube videos as well as writing my experiences here in my blog, I would feel weird about "Empties" article. It seems strange to me as to why I would like to know about what products somebody uses I was not able to understand the point on reading about someone's bath products :-) But now I truly understand the point of these empties posts :-) When you use a product and like it enough to use it up (especially cosmetics products...they take forever to finish) and then you feel inspired or still impressed enough to jot down your feelings regarding the product, that really makes sense. And it is a great way to find out about "really good" products :-)

So here it goes, my first ever empty products...

1. Matrix Biolage Root Nourishing Oil: This is a blend of 3 nourishing oil including coconut, almond and sunflower seed oil. It is meant for scalp as well as root-to-tip hair care. I actually got this as a gift from my hair salon back home in India when I got my hair chemically smoothened last October. But now that it's finished, I cannot find it anywhere to buy :-( I TRIED really hard to find it...but my hard luck! :-( But I thoroughly ENJOYED it when it lasted. I love me some deep massage before I wash my hair. I had been regularly using this in combination with my "Old and Faithful" coconut oil to deeply massage my hair and scalp and keep it overnight before washing it off the next day! I strongly believe it has helped me a lot in keeping my hair healthy and straight enough even after almost a year from the smoothening treatment. I just LOVED using this stuff and now only if I could find it somewhere. Please let me know if you all have any clue :-)

2.Schwarzkopf Professional Bonacure Hair Therapy (Repair Rescue) Shampoo and Conditioner: Phew...that was a long name! It was suggested to me by my hairstylist after the smoothening treatment mentined above. Both the shampoo and conditioner are very good to use. I feared that my hair will go back to its fizzy natural wavy self, but I am glad that it is still smooth and healthy enough and more importantly 'Straight' :-) 

I bought this from the same hair saloon @600 INR per bottle and then I ordered it from but Ulta has recently started to carry this line..I think it costs $. I will definitely keep repurchasing it. :-)

3. Topcare nail polish Remover: Very basic and must-have product right? This is affordable (around 3$), easily available in most of the drugstores and gets the work done. I, of course, need a little more work to remove glitter polishes with this remover. But if you use the "aluminium foil" trick, it works wonders. I am definitely repurchasing it.

4. Lakme nine-to-five Intense Volume Mascara: If you are from India you know all about "Lakme" as a brand. It is an Indian brand which has been in the beauty market for a long long time now. When I was in India, Lakme was one of the relatively higher end brands that was easily available in my place (key word--> relatively, available etc.) 

This was my first ever mascara. I loved using it. The formula is really nice and "wet enough"! I never had any problem with smudging or flaking. And it stays for a long time. I love the short and simple bristles. Perfect for my small eyes :-) I also love the simple compact packaging; it takes a real tiny place in your bag or vanity. And it really lasted for a long time without drying. I will definitely repurchase it; as a matter if fact, I already have a back-up!

5. Neutregena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes: I traditionally don't completely rely ONLY on makeup remover wipes to  remove my makeup. But they definitely are very useful in removing the first layer which means less stress for my clarisonic brush head which eventually prolongs its life. I do not have experiences with many different wipes. But keeping that aside, I love these. They are effective in removing chunk of the makeup. I have stopped using wipes for my eyes at all, but when I did, it did work good enough for simple eye-looks! I am definitely going to repurchase it.

These were not a lot of products, but then again, I don't use makeup products on a day-to-day basis :-) But as I have started to really dip my toes into all sort of beauty products, I am pretty sure you will definitely see more empties in the months ahead :-) !! Thank you for stopping by and I hope it was a good read!!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Home made simple and quick Momo Chutney!

Starting the month of August with a quick and easy chutney recipe. A while back I wrote a blog post on momos (steamed buns with or without filling, and originated in Nepal). If you have already read that post you know how much I love momos! And every time I try dumplings, wontons or momos in any restaurant or even the frozen variety available in grocery stores, I miss the "chutney" SO MUCH. I am referring to the chutney that is offered in restaurants back home in Assam :-) It is spicy, savory and has a certain kick to it. That's the best way I can describe it :-) Because Assamese food is not at all spicy in nature, I think this chutney takes the momo to a whole different level!

Ingredients: Dry Red Chilies, Tomato, Garlic, Ginger, Green Chili, Coriander leaves, Sugar

  • Cut the tomato into big chunks and boil it for around 10 minutes with the dry red chilies.
  • With one or two tomatoes I use 2-3 dry chilies and 4-5 green chilies. You can also use more red chilies, but I personally prefer fresh green ones over dry chilies. I feel they are relatively better for my health. :-)
  • Take the boiled tomato and chilies from the water; mix all ingredients and blend them together in a blender.
  • That's it :-) 
After I learned how to prepare momos at home, I googled "momo chutney" and altered the recipes to get the outcome I wanted. So there goes my disclaimer; I have not invented the recipe :-) I just changed a few ingredients from 2-3 recipes google provided and mixed into one :-)

I totally enjoyed my homemade momos with my homemade mouth-watering chutney! It's not the same YUMMY and mouth-watering that would make me nostalgic...but I am getting there :-)