I talked about my impulse to share about some things I am loving here & got some really good suggestions on how I can make it interesting. Hence, I started with this monthly favorites series (literally the second post in a year but that’s because I didn’t have media storage space, I’ll hopefully be regular with my favorites now!). Don’t think I remember my Feb “favorites”, its just that I had this post in the drafts.
Diving right into it, I do realize there’s a lot of personal care featuring here this time around:
Coconut oil by The Moksha Life: As some of you would know, it is my friend’s brand, so you are bound to think that I am biased. It may be difficult to believe but its actually one of the best coconut oils I have tried. Admittedly, I didn’t go beyond a certain price range but within my preferred price range, this one truly stands apart. Its taste is incredible for using in dishes and when i apply it on hair, the fragrance and feel is better than any that I have used.
Wide tooth neem wood comb by The Moksha Life: For this, I don’t really have a comparison as this was my first time using a wooden comb. However, I was expecting a lot more issues with getting used to a wooden comb. This didn’t take me any time to adjust and the best part which led to it being in my favorites list is that it has a very mild and soothing fragrance. I don’t know if its the fragrance of the wood or what but I love it!!!
Boroplus cream : Completely cliché, iconic Indian moisturizing cream! I mean its a child product of the old product, Boroline. Boroline works very well for moisturizing lips and so does Boroplus cream. I should not have actually listed it as a favorite because its not, but it reminded me of Boroline, which I love, not just for what it does but also because of the iconic packaging that stood the test of time!
Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia: It was my favorite scent till I tried more of Jo Malone’s scents. I have not tried many designer scents, but I think Jo Malone is always going to be my favorite. I am loving all the new ones that I am trying.
Jodhpur Jaisalmer trip: I think I should do a separate post on all the travel that I have done since some time, since not everything is documented here and I hope I don’t forget!
Club Iraa: My dad was posted in Raipur since more than one year, he recently got retirement. So, we had visited this one restaurant/pub there when we were visited him once. It was so good! I mean, such an amazing vibe this place had and, in India, since usually tier 2 cities don’t have space issues, it was a huge place. We loved it. I wish we had gone there again in any of our follow-up visits but we did not end up doing that.
I know these are really old favorites, but I would love to know your current ones! 🙂
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I talked about my impulse to share about some things I am loving here & got some really good suggestions on how I can make it interesting.
One of the suggestions by Moksha was to do monthly favorites like the YouTuber Sherry Shroff. A little interesting fact – I have loved Sherry’s monthly favorites videos since a long time. In fact, they are some of my favorite videos on her YouTube but I find doing monthly favorites myself scary. My reasons are no doubt petty, but they matter to me. 😀 First of all, I am not someone who goes through a lot of products to make a good enough monthly favorite products list. However, I am now seeing this as a boon – it means my monthly favorites will be a good mix of experiences & how the month went, instead of only ‘products‘. Secondly, I also fear getting too much into the groove of tracking your favorite stuff throughout the month which may take away the joy of just being, but I hope that doesn’t happen, and, therefore, I am just taking the plunge here.
I now present to you my monthly favorites for January ’22. 😀
RiteBite protein bar: Ritebite is my new favorite snacking brand. You will know when you read my favorite #2. I keep trying a lot of snacking brands and I think food will always be a feature in monthly favorites one way or the other. The biggest reason I like RiteBite is because of favorite #2. Chips is a food category where its difficult to make a healthier alternative for regular chips that just tastes as good. I love their chips & if I go by their claims, one packet of their chips has ~10g protein. As for their protein bar, I like it for a very straight forward reason. It tastes good & is not as expensive as other protein bars available in the online space. Just to be clear, I don’t consume these products as any supplement or meal, its just that I snack a lot and I understand no packaged food is as good as home made, but I just look for healthier alternatives to the regular snacks I am addicted to.
RiteBite chips: I have already explained this.
Crax: Do you remember this brand we grew up eating? This particular variant is very tasty and a good snack for chilled out things like watching a movie. You know, like popcorn.
Cheesecake from ‘Salt & Sugar’: Its a cloud kitchen in Gurgaon that you can easily find on Swiggy/Zomato. We recently got their blueberry cheesecake for our friends’ wedding anniversary & it was a hit. I have had better cheesecakes, but it was a good mix of everything – product, price, promo & packaging. 😀 The taste was such that four of us demolished a full cake in half an hour.
Himalayan Ciders: We recently went on a trip to Shimla & again had the famous Himachal Ciders. Its a lovely drink to try out if you like trying out new things in alcohol. The apple one which is the most common is not that great for me, but I love the ginger ale variant.
Kurkez: There is a famous bakery on Shimla Mall Road called Krishna Bakery. I am not sure what their claim to fame is although most of the stuff I tried, I loved. They have this specialty item called ‘Kurkez’. I really can’t explain what it is. It is such a desi colonial hangover dish. It is a completely Indianized cutlet but looks like a seekh kabab. Just have it with the ‘white sauce’ they give the next time you are there. I don’t know whether you will love it or not, but I for sure miss it!
My new Kaftan: My massi (maternal aunt) gifted me this Kaftan which is a traditional Kashmiri dress & I love it to bits. She is selling Kashmiri clothes until 28th of Feb after which she would move to another handloom product that is seasonal for the North India. In case you want to buy what I am wearing in the picture, please reach out to her – +919216745142
Kindle Cover: This has nothing to do with January and I got it a long time ago last year but its one of the best purchases ever! I was very torn for the perfect Kindle cover and I was being too critical of all the options I had. Finally, went for this one and its so sturdy but also feels good to the touch. I love it!
Aroma Therapy sunscreen: Sunscreen is one thing I am always experimenting with. Reason? I am yet to find a perfect one, but this one’s close. First of all, it smells amazing to me, a fresh herby smell but nothing overpowering. (I have a very sensitive nose). Secondly, it glides on my skin so smoothly and while it may be light for parched skin, but I also have normal to dry skin and this is decently moisturizing for me. To me, the texture seems like it would work for most skin types.
B&BW Vanilla Lavender Candle: This is my first ever Bath & Body Works candle and its a bit controversial that this product is on my favorites list. Let me explain. I have used some of their cosmetics in the past & they are known for having amazing fragrances. This also means that most of their products are heavily fragranced, I have ended up loving some of those fragrances, but the fact that they are heavily fragranced made me feel uncomfortable about using them a lot. Same goes for the candles. They smell amazing and the fragrances are very long lasting. However, no doubt they are overpowering and in this age of soy candles which are more environment & inhaling friendly, they continue to be made of paraffin. I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing these any time soon but there are 2 reasons why its on my favorites list – 1) I love this fragrance & since its long lasting, I use it very, very often to create an ambience. this itself is a good enough reason, but 2) I have tried a couple of Indian newer brands for candles and my experience hasn’t been even decent, forget being good. So, if you are completely satisfied with any soy candles that smell amazing & are available in India, please share your suggestions in the comments.
Trip to Shimla: We recently did a cousins trip to Shimla which was a lot of fun. This trip came with its own challenges due to the friction of finalizing plans, this and that. However, Shimla is one place I always love to be, no matter how crowded and commercialized its getting. The weather was chilly but with that sweet sunshine and we also got to witness snow at Narkanda (although not snowfall). However, the biggest highlight of this trip was the place we stayed at which brings me to my next favorite.
Marley Villa: This was your typical villa with a swing, tiny garden to play cricket in, wind chimes, creaky floors and a colonial interior. So heritage feels, such beautiful bar glasses. They have a functioning kitchen from where two caretakers & a cook serve all meals. The view from the garden is top-notch. The best part – its located slightly away from the mall road so you don’t witness the typical crowd but its close enough for an appetite building walk up the mall road. My favorite part was the garden. If I had to find cons with this place, one is that its not completely private. It is basically a set of two villas that are connected to each other, which didn’t bother our group in any way by the way but parking gets tricky up the hill. The other con is that we stayed in a 5-room villa as we were 9 people and there are two rooms in that villa which don’t have a door separating them, only a curtain. Depending on who you are travelling with, this may matter with regards to privacy.
So, these were my monthly favorites and I would love to know some (or all) of yours now. Please comment your favorites or leave a link to your blog if you do similar posts.
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I have done a similar post in the past. There are some bloggers that I came across in my old days of blogging which don’t post a lot anymore but i go and revisit their blogs every now and then.
I will be doing a post for the new blogs that I have discovered too, but to be honest, I haven’t really been that active in finding new blogs. However, I still got lucky with some that I absolutely love reading.
The list obviously has to begin with two of my favorites which I have already written about:
A Splash of my Life: its a funny story how I found her. In the comments section of a really popular blog. If you guys follow WedmeGood, you may know that the founder had a personal blog earlier for beauty & makeup. Which reminds me, I should put that also in this list. 🙂 Our girl Princess Butter (That’s what she calls herself on A Splash of my Life) had commented something and I ended up clicking on her blog. I love how funny she is and how she puts a fun spin on everything she writes about. I wish she would write more. I now know her real name but I like to address her as PB even when I am talking to her offline. 🙂
A Dashof Pepper: I love the way she writes. I found her via the above blog and have been hooked since. She is not super regular but gives an appearance on the blog every now and then and I am living for it. I also realize just how many life events I have seen for these two blog owners. Isn’t that a great thing?
Peaches & Blush: This is the founder of Wedmegood. I have been reading this blog of her since I got into blogging. A little note – How I discovered the world of blogging was in 2011 when I searched for best Kajals in India (more on this coming soon). Hence, I landed up on a lot of beauty blogs at that time so my first intro to blogging was beauty blogs. One that stood out for me was Peaches & Blush and even now I love going back to her old posts, although she has almost completely stopped writing here. Her bridal series became a huge hit and that’s how she started Wedmegood.
Keira Lennox: One of the few in this list who continue to post. She is a lifestyle blogger and its sometimes difficult for me to like content of lifestyle bloggers outside of India as it may not be relatable but I love her content & her journey.
Know-All’s Box: One person I loved interacting online, he found my blog first I guess. Usually I am not into photography blogs but his photographs are just beyond ethereal. I wish he hadn’t stopped posting. He posts a little more regularly on Instagram but I definitely miss his presence on WordPress.
Nishita’s Rants & Raves: Another on this list who continues to post regularly, thankfully. I don’t remember how I found her, it would have been something to do with a bookish post. However, her blog is pretty diverse. She covers a lot of topics but the most I love are books and, more than that, her family & travel stories. Funny thing – both of us feel when reading each other’s post that its so good to be reading someone’s post whom you have been following since a long, long time.
Blush Canvas: She writes mostly about high end makeup and I enjoy her aesthetically done blog & beautiful pictures. She does make an appearance every once in a while but its super rare and irregular.
Shoestring Style: I wish I could write in as many words just how much I miss this blog. The girl who owned this blog, Shivani Dogra, is an interior designer and if you just Google this name, you would come across multiple publications of her work & her own design studio’s website. If you end up liking her aesthetic, you would understand why I miss her blog posts. Those posts were on her personal style but with this aesthetic. I mean, I can’t even begin on how much I loved it! I just did a quick Google search and I am now going to go through her interviews on various publications! 😀
very impulsive decision to try Blogmas again this year. Please hype me up so that i stick to it.
I have often mentioned in passing in my blogs just how far I am from working out regularly. I almost never have a fitness plan and that truly sucks. There is nothing more important than health and this is something that all of us have come to appreciate more over this pandemic period. I am still far away from a rigorous workout routine, but a step in the right direction should always be appreciated. I did a stretch of complete one month of home workouts right before Diwali after which I slacked and now with winters stepping in I have become all the more lazy.
But one happy realisation out of all this is just how much more motivated I am for home workouts compared to gyms and all. Therefore, I am going to list down 3 home workout channels I ended up discovering and enjoying. Of course, please bear in mind that these are very popular channels and if you are even a tiny bit into working out, you would already know them, but maybe someone like me will be helped. 🙂 More importantly, please, please do leave your recommendations on home workout YouTube channels in the comments for me!
1. Mady Morrison My favorite on this list and probably the least popular among the ones listed. I am so lucky that she was the first suggestion in my searches, I had just randomly searched for a stretching video because of a back pain. The worst thing though? Apart from this particular stretching video and a few others, almost all of her content is in German. I have enjoyed her vibe the most while working out and her videos instantly bring me calm. I think I would just become okay with subtitles eventually, that’s how much I like her videos.
2. Growwithjo I don’t know anyone who makes workout seem as fun as Jo does. Honestly, i was a little skeptical to consider her videos as ‘proper workouts’ as they are just so chill but she keeps posting about these people who have benefited from her workout programs and it’s just motivating.
3. Madfit to be honest, despite it being so popular, it wasn’t the best for me. It felt a little too stern for my liking (and less calm), but the good thing is that they have a lot of content to choose from, and she gives quite some breaks in between the workouts which maybe a good thing for many beginners. I stuck it out with this one for sometime because Mady is not in English, but I am looking out for more options. So, do leave suggestions in comments please.
Aside from these, i also keep seeing Pamela Reif and Dhruvi Shah being mentioned by a lot of Indian instagrammers but I yet don’t have a strong good or bad opinion on those.
This is about the time before I got Covid and when the second wave just started in India. I would say I consider this period as beginning of April. (I know I sound like this was millions of years ago. But, honestly, sometimes this all just feels like it’s a movie we are watching, happening to someone else sorts).
This is the time when gradually it started happening to your family members, or someone in your immediate circles, and, in most cases, to entire families. The best thing that could happen to most of us at this point was get recovered at home without having to hunt for hospitalization and most of us have nothing but immense gratitude for that. Most of us also have a close one who had to get hospitalized or a family member lost. So many people are arranging for covid meals in their localities to help out those affected and social media became the go-to place for finding medicines, hospitals and what not! (Something that infuriates most of us but it is what it is).
My cousin’s wedding was also planned for 25th April and honestly I find it funny now how the situation for our family was only worsening as his wedding drew closer. Anyhow, he went ahead with the wedding with just parents being there and all.
Anyhow, I didn’t intend this to be a post about the scary situation in India but I just wanted to share some little things that helped me have a less anxious state during those days (and even now) when social media is abuzz with remdisivir requests, hospital hunting etc. You are either helping amplify these requests, or God forbid, hunting yourself for these or just completely off social media to let your mind have some sense of peace.
And these are the things I was doing (or I am doing) when I am not doomscrolling these social media posts (of course, I meant apart from work and home chores) –
1. This blue tokai coffee and my favorite things ever – chips Self-explanatory. And yes, I want to change the habit of having too many chips. But there’s nothing I love more when it comes to food 😀 I cannot imagine life without chips. Also, guys, it doesn’t mean I don’t eat fruit etc. 😀 I just mean to point out that chips make my day infinitely better. Infinitely. Lastly, not recommended, chips is Extremely bad for health due to added sugar and sodium content. How I try to compensate is by not having refined sugar in any other form most of the times but it’s still not right to have chips daily!
2. Coloring Books Adult coloring books have been a thing for few years now and art is therapy anyway. But I started using adult coloring books since a year back and only recently did I use them to such an extent (daily or alternate daily). To be honest, I didn’t feel as much happiness as I expected but it sure is a great way to be more mindful – focussed at one thing, being in the moment and visualising colors. I also tried drawing something even though I am not good at it and that also brought me calm.
This is still a home chore and, of course, you dont feel like moving your a** for every meal but, in general, cooking (and eating😀) brings me a lot of mindfulness.
4. Dancing Just 2 days before I got Covid, I had decided to try doing this daily like I used to as a kid on Bollywood numbers. This was turning out to be a really fun thing because I enjoy dancing and I find it hard to stick to other workouts (I know it doesn’t have the same impact and I should have a proper workout regime, but something is better than nothing). It only happened for 2 days after which I got sick but this was fun!
5. Deep Breaths In the pre-covid era, I used to do this once or twice everytime I got anxious in day to day activities like, you know, when you are angry at the cab driver, people in your office. Oh man! This seems like a different lifetime already! However, now I practise deep breaths daily as part of using a meditation app (it’s called ‘Calm’ in case you want to check out, I get the premium version from my employer). I am still not good with meditation but I want to make it a habit and this focusing on breaths make it easier and more doable for me.
6. Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory These two felt like a warm hug while I had Covid just like watching ‘Friends’ feels to most of us. Just this time, I didn’t want to watch Friends because that’s what I am anyway watching all the time. Or, the US Office.
7. Reading I hope it’s obvious to the regular readers of this space why this is the last point. 😊 This is a constant in my life and these days when I come across other people mentioning that reading is helping them so much in coping up, since it truly feels like an escape, I don’t know, my heart just becomes full. I am not focusing a lot these days on stepping out of my comfort zone in reading, which is why on the number of books scale, I am doing good this year for my standards, even though I read pretty less each day. However, I should (as I always say) need to read more informative stuff but I’ll get there. I am just happy that there’s something called reading that exists in this world.
If you are reading this, would love to know the little things that are helping you stay sane these days. Do share with me!
Here’s a little insight into how my daily routine of 2020 can be extrapolated to an entire year – basically be doing office work the whole freaking time and finding pockets of time throughout the day to do other stuff like having lunch, cooking, being a potato & instagramming (coz a day seems incomplete without it just like it would without pooping). Needless to say, this means my reading has gone for a toss! I entered the biggest reading slump with my 12th book of the year and I can say that I haven’t read more than 20 pages since last 1.5 months. I also mentioned here that I realized most of my reading happened in my pre-pandemic commute.
What I am trying to say is I have no life left. And, no, I am not going to blame work for it. I need to reform myself and it hit me the hardest when I realized we are already in December. So here I am – picking books again, writing here again – even trying out blogmas (whatever that means seriously). Also should mention that I am typing this all up via the WordPress phone app because too tired and lazy to pickup the laptop again. I need to do a post on what a whirlwind of changes this year has been (don’t we all?) but this post is a fun one for me to get into the writing vibe and for you to savor.
Here I am talking about my favorite movies of ‘current times’. When I say current times, I mean the times when we have grown as adults and when we are in the age where we love to say “they don’t make good movies anymore”.
Tell me by the end of this post – do you see a pattern here?
1. Piku: what completely seems to be a regular drama feature gradually turns into an emotional ride as it progresses. I have watched this one several times and felt an emotional void, a feeling where I didn’t know exactly what I felt – maybe that feeling of knowing that your parents are growing old, there is a child to parent role reversal happening gradually but you still can’t be done with the fights with them? I was always teary-eyed, always left longing for something I couldn’t put my finger on. Apart from the emotional bit, I love the vintage-style shots of Kolkata and, of course, Piku – Smart, confident, fierce, protective, fearful yet strong and unapologetic! This movie starred Amitabh Bachchan as one of the leads, but if you have watched this, you know late Irrfan Khan stole the show (can’t believe we are writing late for him!)
2. Queen: The coming of age of a ‘homely’ Punjabi girl whose fiance decides to call off the wedding on the wedding day. Not used to stepping out for errands alone, she decides to go on her honeymoon to Europe alone. This movie is better than it sounds and delivers more than it promises. You cannot stop cheering for the protagonist and her wins become your own! I want to say one thing – I don’t watch a lot of movies so I may not be right – but I do feel it’s one of the freshest concepts Bollywood has explored!
3. Dear Zindagi: a movie aptly describing our generation – Kiara – accomplished yet discontent, over ambitious and always being hard on herself. And then comes a therapist who decidedly changes the way she thinks, frees her mind and takes her on a journey where she can face her biggest fears and sets herself free. Every lesson he teaches her makes me emotional and I relate to the feeling of finding it difficult to go easy on oneself and when someone else has to take the onus of making you realise the same. Few of my favorite lessons and lines from this movie –
“जब आसान रास्ते से काम हो सकता है, तो मुश्किल रास्ता चुनना क्यों जरूरी है?” Translation – when something can be done through an easy method, why it’s always important to take the difficult route?”
“अगर हम खुल के रो नहीं सकेंगे, तो खुल कर हसेंगे कैसे?” Translation – if we won’t be able to weep uninhabited, then how we will be able to laugh uninhabited?
Something that everyone who has watched this movie would have noticed – this movie shows Alia Bhatt in some of the best outfits ever for a girl next door role!
Bonus – Band Baaja Baaraat: Now this is a movie with all the typical bollywood masalas but it still stands out for me than the usual fare because its plot is focussed on two graduates making a career out of wedding planning. If you know me in real life, you know I dig this as a career option. 😀 I love, love, love the idea of being a professional wedding planner because I think this is the only profession where I won’t dread Monday mornings! I love weddings, I love helping out friends plan their outfits, venues etc etc (provided I am being asked) and I am excited as hell about wedding planning. Let me know if you want any help in planning yours!😛 Needless to say, this is the reason I love this movie a little extra. Do watch this if you are looking for a fun, light rom-com.
That’s it from my end for today! Do share your own recommendations in comments.
Also, I made a similar list here long ago where I mentioned my most favorite movies of all times (they belong to times I was not born in😀)