My Dressing Table Declutter

I did not do a dressing table purge in a long, long time. As such, I don’t think I would have needed it if it was regular programming since I don’t hoard a lot and I would have run out of stuff if these things were getting a lot of use. However, COVID happened and the usage of color cosmetics reduced drastically and I realized, as much as I would hate it, I do have to let some of these go. Most of the stuff you see here is bought after 2019 as I got married then and I kind of took stock of what I already had and what do I need to buy, as I go on the journey of trying full face of makeup more often.

A bit about the way this dressing table is organized:

  • the top shelf in the closed cupboard section is the one you see in the first picture. It is basically skin care that’s opened but probably not used daily. 90% of the bottles & jars visible here are actually empty and I was collecting them for a recycling program or reuse, but since its been years and I didn’t manage to do it, I finally just got rid of them from this space and put them in a box.
  • The second shelf is all my nail paints on display. That’s the only makeup item I use very regularly even if I am not going out, so I like to have them on easy access and display. There are also some miscellaneous items here like my supplements and lenses.
  • The third shelf has a bangle hanging stand, even though I don’t make a lot of use of bangles, since I have some from my wedding, I just keep them here on display to use the stand.
  • There is one last shelf right in the closed cupboard and that has daily use stuff like combs, office ID cards, sunglasses etc.
  • Let’s come out of the closed cupboard now. The open shelfs right next to it contain 3 things – lipsticks, fragrances and daily use skincare like sunscreen. Out of these 3, only the skincare actually needs to be in open for easy access but I like to have lipsticks and fragrances on display, even though they only get used when I step out and sometimes not even then. Also, apart from sunscreen, other more important daily skin care is on my bedside table and not on the dressing table.
  • Below all of this, there are two sections. The right ones actually contain two makeup organizers, one bought by my mom and one by MIL during my wedding. Both the makeup organizers contain things that I use for special occasions only, like highlighter, makeup brushes, foundation etc. This, I would say, is the most under utilized section due to COVID as this only gets used during weddings and all. Apart from these two organizers, this contains some empty but too-pretty-to-throw boxes and a hair straightener.
  • The left ones are two deep drawers. First one is used for keeping any yet to be opened stuff, primarily skincare, and the black Nykaa box contains makeup that is somewhere between most used and special occasions. I’ll give some examples – basically I don’t wear base when I am stepping out usually, but I might use concealer on some points and sometimes might spritz a makeup fixer spray even without any base. So, this black Nykaa box doesn’t contain stuff for full base but contains makeup fixer, hair serum, mascara etc, things that I may use if they were placed closer rather than the special occasion box. πŸ˜€ In my view, using this black Nykaa box for this purpose is one of my most brilliant ideas as this made me reach out for these products more often. πŸ˜€
  • The bottom drawer just contains medical supplies.

Now let’s come to what all I decluttered.

The first things to go were the empty jars and bottles but they are not out of my house yet 😦 just in a small box now kept separately.

Then, I got rid of the most obvious, super-expired kind of products that you see below. Two of the three lipsticks you see below are pre 2019 and I loved both of them to death. I am glad that I used them almost to completion. The nude peach one is from Flormar and not available in India, I bought this same lipstick in different shades for my relatives too and everybody had such good things to say about it. The second Wet n Wild Catsuit is quite well known anyway and totally lives up to the hype, it is the only liquid lipstick I have used till date that does not feel heavy on the lips. Also, both were amazingly cheap, less than 6 USD!! The eye pencils you see have also been bought, in some cases, before 2019 and I know its horrendous that I still had them. To give some relief, let me tell you I only used the Lakme Absolute kajal in the last few years. The green one was a random local brand that I bought in one of those big beauty stores in Mumbai that I forced my husband, then boyfriend, to take me to. This green one was quite good at just almost a dollar! The Lakme Absolute Kajal, Sugar Kajal in blue and this green one – all three were very good to use. I especially love it when colored Kajal come with amazing color payoff and no eye irritation. I don’t know why i bought the white eyeliner from Essence, maybe to try some edgy look but the only time I have used it is to fill inner corners while feeling fancy. The grey eyeliner is from Catrice, both these products were bought in Europe and didn’t have good color payoff at all. The grey one was pretty irritating actually and I just used it as an eyebrow filler mostly. The red Earth Rhythm lip tint is not actually very old, but it really doesn’t do anything or I got a defective product and I was happy to let it go!

Then, comes the empties. There are two mascaras which are not empty, but you know, mascaras need to go out every 3 to 6 months. I still kept these for years. πŸ˜› While both these mascaras work well, I am not ready to pay for mascaras as they are supposed to be tossed out quickly and, in my books, the L’Oreal million lashes one works the same as the yellow Maybelline one while its 3x the price. So, I am not buying it again. The ColourPop eye shadow was quite amazing with the color payoff and such a soft, buttery texture, but it fell off and broke and it was remaining only little, so I let it go. The tiny jar you see with ‘be good’ tag is the very popular cleansing balm in India – Plum Cleansing balm, but I am not a fan at all. Its too fragrant for a cleansing balm and I will go for better alternatives by trying. The Organic Harvest strawberry lipbalm was good but nothing out of the ordinary.

What you see below are some almost expired or soon to expire lipsticks and I didn’t have the heart to let them go. I am trying to use them up for few more months and then, its definitely bye bye. I’ll make a separate post on all the stashed out, yet to be stashed out and current lipsticks. πŸ™‚

Aside this, I know that my the Balm highlighter has expired but seriously, it gets used like 4 times a year and is not even 1/3rd used. I am not going to let it go right now but next time, I’ll buy its mini version.

This is it for the declutter. I know this post has got way longer than one would anticipate, but do share your thoughts if you happen to read. πŸ™‚

Book 2 of 2023 | The Accidental Prime Minister

So, so many feels while reading this book! I never expected to feel so emotionally charged up at a non-fictional work, and that too a work on politics.

I have so much to say but considering I don’t keep myself up to date with current affairs and these days, its not a safe space to comment about the government anywhere, I’ll only be commenting on what I felt reading the book.

Why I chose this book?

I have been meaning to read this one since a long time. Most Indians have a special, soft corner for Dr Singh ever since he was the PM of India and I being one of them also wanted to know more on this ‘accidental’ PM via this book. If you are clueless about what I am talking about, Dr Singh was part of the Congress Alliance that won the elections in 2004 and since Mrs. Gandhi was/is the Congress party leader, a PM was expected from her familial dynasty. After all, that’s how Congress has functioned over the years. However, due to various reasons, Dr Singh was the chosen Prime Minister, the one we didn’t know we needed.

What is it about?

The book is written by Sanjay Baru, who acted as a media advisor for Dr Singh during his tenure. He was specifically contacted by the erstwhile PM to hold this position that, in his words, the PM created for him. Quoting from the book – “offered him the job with the words, ‘Sitting here, I know I will be isolated from the outside world. I want you to be my eyes and ears. Tell me what you think I should know, without fear or favor.” So, this is an account of Mr Baru’s time with the PM. You can also read more about Mr Baru’s accolades and his background on Google.

What I liked about the book?

I read the book for a reason. I usually find it hard to read non-fiction books and barely read anything on politics, so I had a hard time with this too. However, I would say it was way easier than other non-fictions because this was a topic I wanted to read about. As I moved towards the end, I was invested too much and there were instances where I was overwhelmed with emotion. I have always had respect for Dr Singh, for the way he has conducted himself. However, this book made me way more acquainted with how much of a learned, intellectual man he is and how it is our misfortune that he is not leading the decision making for country. He had served as finance minister in the early 90s government and it is the result of his initiatives that liberalization happened for the Indian economy, which opened a lot of doors for private jobs in India. It is due to those initiatives that many of us from service class background have an amazing lifestyle today. He has always been a growth-enabling, forward-looking person and even in his tenure as the PM, he had many such initiatives in his kitty. The book talks about them during his first tenure (i.e. 2004 – 09) primarily, since that’s when Mr Baru worked with him. He also talks a lot about the challenges he faced because of not being the party leader and the center of party power residing with Mrs. Gandhi and also how he had to navigate the likes of the Left and other parties because this was a coalition government. Despite many hurdles, this was still the highest economic growth rate that the country witnessed (8-9%), even though it was the time of global crisis (2008-09). I loved reading about how much depth Dr Singh had for planning for each of his decisions and policies but what shined throughout the book was how passionate he was about seeing the country grow.

Another thing in the book that I loved knowing was that Dr Singh came from humble beginnings and whatever he is, its because of his academic background and how passionate he is about education being the key to all. It was heart touching and from whatever little peak we got, his family, wife and kids, seemed to have academic backgrounds too.

What I didn’t like?

I wished to read more on his tenure of 2009-14 when he was put in a questionable position due to his cabinet ministers corruption and other scams. However, the book touched upon that very briefly. While I would have thought this to be intentional, its also key to note that Mr Baru only worked with him in the first tenure, so he had an ‘in’ on mostly that.

Overall, I am glad I read this book and I would recommend it to everyone.

Anniversary Letters to Rahul | 4

My wedding anniversary was on 28th April and per usual I am here to send out a letter days later. πŸ™‚

This year, the letter is very important because few weeks back, I would have again thought that life has been the same, so what new to write. However, as I am writing this to you today, a lot has changed or about to change in our life this year. When I write this, it sounds scary and I don’t know how to tone it down, but I know in my heart that we will sail through new things happening in our life together. I also hope that its all for good, for better and brings immense happiness in our lives.

I would work on being less scared of changes and more reassuring like you. That, by the way, is truly God’s gift. I mean, I am sure you would have scary thoughts about changes too, but you know how to face them and also enable me to be better at facing them. You bring so much joy and calmness to anything that is happening and I hope this continues. I hope our love for each other continues to increase.

On another note, I believe my FOMO about traveling may peak this year, so we will figure that out together. I definitely look forward to many more fun trips and vacations in near future. ❀

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Book 1 of 2023 | The Hindu Way

Remember how I mentioned here my objectives for 2023? I didn’t do good at the reading front at all, but I have thankfully picked pace in April. It can also be attributed to the fact that I was reading a lot more out of my comfort zone, e.g. this first read of 2023.

My blogger friend Juliette also pointed that one should refrain from reading books they find difficult when stuck in a rut, but, you know, a) I have a hard time DNF-ing books, b) I am glad that I am reading new stuff even though at a snail’s pace.

Onto this first read of 2023 now (that I actually started in 2022 already but finished sometime in Feb I think :P) :

Why I chose this book?

Simply because I had never read anything from Dr Shashi Tharoor. Google him, his accolades are many and he is a great orator. I have once listened to him in person during the Jaipur Literature Festival and it gets as mesmerizing as people claim it to be.

What I liked?

Hmm, this is a difficult one because I have my thoughts all muddled up on this. I’ll also check if I noted something in my notes while reading this one.

First of all, even though the bar is too high when it comes to his oratory skills, still the comparison is inevitable – his authorship, while being good, is not comparable to his oratory skills.

Secondly, I usually avoid reading book blurbs in detail if my reason to pick the book is already decided. In this book’s case, I didn’t really know what to expect, so, here’s what I noticed this book is about – it basically talks about good things of Hinduism as a faith and, most importantly, how its an all-accommodating and flexible religion. He talks about its not insecure and is the only religion where you don’t have to believe in a certain, tangible God. This is the entire theme of the book and I quite enjoyed reading it, maybe because I am a Hindu but, at the same time, I think it could have been an article or an essay. Also, there is a sequel written to this one as well! πŸ˜€ What I am trying to say is – while being interesting for me, the context of the chapters seemed little repetitive, except the first part where he talks about his upbringing in a practicing Hindu household. That was definitely different.

I cannot say whether I recommend this book or not – I have a lukewarm opinion – but you will definitely enjoy it if you are into reading about historical and other aspects of a religion.

What I didn’t like?

I kind of covered that above only, so I guess I have nothing more to add. I am still glad that I read something written by him.

My 2022 Sunscreen Round-Up

Life of Srish

I think I can keep doing Sunscreen round-ups all the time because I don’t have a holy grail as such and I keep trying new ones. I have actually tried some new ones since I clicked this picture of my 2022 sunscreens and I’ll just share my views on all of them.

If you have a holy grail, do let me know in the comments so that I can try that next. πŸ˜€

Just a disclaimer – I don’t do a lot of ingredient-based research for my sunscreens, although that would have helped for sure. I basically try new ones basis hear-say and my skin type. If you do ingredient-based research, then this post may not be actually for you. However, let me try to do some research now, while writing this post.

Aroma Magic Cucumber Sunscreen Lotion: I loved this one quite a lot for quite a lot…

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My 2022 Sunscreen Round-Up

I think I can keep doing Sunscreen round-ups all the time because I don’t have a holy grail as such and I keep trying new ones. I have actually tried some new ones since I clicked this picture of my 2022 sunscreens and I’ll just share my views on all of them.

If you have a holy grail, do let me know in the comments so that I can try that next. πŸ˜€

Just a disclaimer – I don’t do a lot of ingredient-based research for my sunscreens, although that would have helped for sure. I basically try new ones basis hear-say and my skin type. If you do ingredient-based research, then this post may not be actually for you. However, let me try to do some research now, while writing this post.

Aroma Magic Cucumber Sunscreen Lotion: I loved this one quite a lot for quite a lot of reasons: 1) Soothing fragrance, 2) texture suited me, 3) so cheap (its like 3 dollars!), 4) I support an Indian brand. The only reason I didn’t repurchase is because of the low SPF 30, but I just read that its a physical, mineral sunscreen, and I am trying to avoid chemical sunscreens at the moment, so I’ll probably repurchase this if I don’t come across a better, higher SPF option. Read up more about chemical vs mineral sunscreen here.

Earth Rhythm Ultra Defence Mineral Sunscreen (Glass Bottle with Pump): This particular variant is discontinued by Earth Rhythm now but I feel about this sunscreen exactly what I feel about Earth Rhythm as a brand. I wrote about it in detail here. It definitely had a feel good factor but I wouldn’t have bought it simply for that at a high price.

Earth Rhythm Ultra Defence SPF 50 (Tube): This is again one of my top favorites for the feel, but purely due to the texture. Same Earth Rhythm story – their products seem so good and soothing on my skin but seem to do nothing. Hence, I am wary of buying it again, even though I have repurchased this one many times. I can’t seem to find its ingredient list also on Earth Rhythm’s site. 😦

La Shield Mineral Sunscreen Gel: This is a weird one. I didn’t love, love it. However, this is fairly cheap and being a dry skin person, its overtly creamy consistency works fine for me in winters at least. The problem is – it is from a brand whose sunscreens many dermats also recommend in India, but those are the brand’s higher priced sunscreens. Now, it makes me wonder that why is this one not in that list of recommendations. Ingredient list is principally similar for both the sunscreens, hence, I am not able to figure out the logic behind the other one getting more accolades and being priced significantly higher.

Minimalist SPF 50: In case you didn’t know, Minimalist is an Indian brand who copied the brand ethos of the OG – The Ordinary. In the initial days, this brand got a lot of flak for being a copy. However, lately, people have been impressed with their products. This one came highly recommended from my friend and I was excited to try it too. However, I felt this one made my skin look super dull. I didn’t hate the texture but also didn’t love it. I am especially wary of trying this again due to the dullness it imparted my face.

Re’equil Oxybenzone & OMC Free Sunscreen: Not featured in the picture, but I also tried this one and I faced the same dullness issue with this one as Minimalist. I really wished to like this one because its soothing baby-type fragrance was really lovely and I wanted to use it.

Suncoat: Tell me, where have you seen this one? Its pretty commonly available in tourist places like Goa randomly. I bought it because having seen it so many times, I thought why not. Let me tell you – its the worst possible sunscreen out there. It doesn’t spread at all! Like, I have to wring my skin like an industrial tool and it still won’t spread, would leave a ghastly white cast. Also, I despise the smell. I know fragrance is subjective, but I hate it so much that I struggle with using it on my body too. I guess I would have to throw it.

That’s about it. I also want to try all the premium Biore, Isdin etc kind of sunscreens but I am stingy to shell out money for sunscreens, although its the only skincare I religiously follow, so, ideally I should.

More suggestions on sunscreens are welcome! πŸ™‚

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