Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Featured - Top 100 Indian Fashion Blogs

I'm so happy to share that my blog is in the Top 100 Indian Fashion Blogs by Feedspot - a blog aggregation site which lists top blogs in various categories! Check out the badge on the right sidebar of my blog! Blogs have been ranked based on their google reputation and search ranking along with influence and popularity on social media sites, quality and consistency of posts and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review. 

One of my recent collaborations with Accessorize
This is really special to me because this year I complete a decade of blogging and trust me, back when I started, no one in India even knew what a blog was. When I started blogging, it was those Orkut days and Facebook wasn't even popular in India. Over the years, Instagram came up and now there are numerous girls around the world who think posting outfit pictures makes them bloggers but I have stuck to writing because I feel that a blog should be a source of information and help others make decisions rather than just be eye candy. Even though I love Instagram, I keep it a mix of my personal life and blogging and don't want to show everyone a picture perfect life because that's not how life works. I took up blogging because fashion and writing have been my greatest passions and over the years, my blog has evolved beyond fashion and has diversified to topics like product and website reviews, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews. 

One of my collaborations with Lakme 
Blogging has been a fantastic journey for me - it has helped me make friends from around the world, it got me invited to attend and cover Lakme Fashion Week in 2012, then I got to travel to Dubai for an all-expenses paid trip and attend a fashion show in 2013. Thanks to the blog, I've been featured in various magazines and newspapers (you can check out my press mentions here) and of course I got to work with tons of amazing brands from L'Oreal to ASUS to Hard Rock Cafe and many more. So I'm just humbled and proud of my blog which has been my baby for a decade and a lifetime to come. 

One of my collaborations with TIGI
 A lot of people assume I'm a full time blogger but I've always had a full time desk job and I currently work as a data analyst and handle digital marketing in a research firm! And this is one of the main reasons that I don't get enough time to shoot or blog and disappear for a couple of weeks sometimes. However, all I want to say to each and every one of you who reads my blog is a huge THANK YOU for all your support! Keep reading :)

Thursday, June 08, 2017

An Afternoon With Kiehl's

Kiehl's is a 166-year-old skincare brand from New York which started off as an apothecary and has now transitioned into a full fledged skincare company which has a global presence. I was recently invited by the brand to host an afternoon with Kiehl's at their store at Phoneix Marketcity Pune and obviously obliged as I am a fan of the brand and absolutely love their products! 

It was a fun afternoon catching up with my friends and fellow bloggers over personalized skin consultations, product demonstrations of Kiehl's new launches and a lot of photo moments over some appetizers. 

Did you know that you will find a jolly lab coat clad skeleton called Mr Bones at every Kiehls store around the world?  The original 'Mr. Bones' is an actual human skeleton used by founding family member, Aaron Morse to educate patrons on various ailments and how Kiehl’s remedies would address them. Today, 'Mr. Bones' represents Kiehl’s pharmacy heritage, commitment to customer service, education and science.

My skin consultation was done by KCR (Kiehl's Customer Representative) Ranjana, who greeted me with a big smile and educated me about various Kiehls products. I was delighted to hear about the newly launched Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil which comes with the same formulation as their Midnight Recovery Concentrate which is a cult product around the world. She heard out my concerns and suggested appropriate products for the same. 

And that's happy June after her skin consultation!

What I love about Kiehls is that instead of advertising or fancy packaging, they let their products speak for themselves through customer testimonials and word-of-mouth. This always works for them thanks to their scientific and efficacious formulations that have always delivered fantastic results. 

The brand gives out samples generously, adhering to its 'try before you buy' sampling philosophy. Even if you come into the store and don’t buy anything they will always send you away with samples. All the ladies got their skin consultations done and received samples of products according to their skin type and problems. 

Their product ranges include body care, hair care, skin care, dermatologist solutions and specific collections for men and babies. If you’re new to the brand and don't know where to begin, there’s a helpful Customer Favorites stand near the entrance which features Kiehl’s best-selling products specific to each region. 

Anyway, getting back to the event, here are a bunch of photos of me and my friends -

 I had a superb time hosting an Afternoon with Kiehl's and my friends enjoyed the event! A big thanks to all of the girls who made it in spite of it being a weekday! In case you haven't tried it yet, Kiehl’s beauty products are internationally recognized as being the highest quality in skincare and are used by numerous Hollywood celebrities. So the next time you're looking for some serious skincare, don't forget to hit your nearest Kiehl's store and pamper your skin and senses!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My Envy Box May 2017

On the last day of May, I finally bring you the review of this month's My Envy Box! The May box had the theme Sip Of Summer and has a gorgeous watermelon print on the cover. Its contents are a mix of hair and skincare. Unfortunately I wasn't too pleased with them even though there were three full sized products in the box :(

To start with the The Nature’s Co. Mango Creme Body Wash (Rs 695) which claims to be a pulpy mango creme body wash which is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which makes your skin healthy, radiant and youthful. It's gentle and moisturizing on skin but I was disappointed by it because I wanted a strong and fruity mango fragrance and this doesn't smell anything like mango to me. With the uproar of everything Alphonso in every product in the market thanks to summer, I guess I set my expectations too high. 

Then there's the Fuschia Herbal Fusion Shampoo (Rs 450) which is supposed to combat hair loss and dryness while providing nutrition to the scalp and cleansing and conditioning it. It is herbal and sulphate free and is enriched with the goodness of Brahmi, Amla, Shikakai and many more natural ingredients that are very good for hair. I am yet to try it out so cannot really say more about it.

My favorite product in the box is Cheryl’s Dermashade Sunblock SPF 30 (Rs 550) which I have been using daily since I received it. I absolutely love the dry clay like texture of this product and how light it sits on the skin while offering sun protection. Cheryl's is a reputed brand among salons for facials and skincare products so their products are very good. 

Now for the products that came in really tiny samples! There's a sachet of Grecobe Green Coffee which has strong antioxidant properties and helps reduce blood sugar levels has an anti-diabetic effect. It also supposedly helps in weight loss and exerts an anti obesity effect. I don't drink tea or coffee so I don't know what   

There are two tiny vials of Omorfee Mellow Drizzle Skin Toner which I used a couple of times and quite liked. These are enriched with lavender, sour honey and rose to tone and soothe your skin. It has  skin balancing and healing properties pepped up with the unique sour honey which gives tightens skin and makes it glow. 

Then there are L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, Reine Blanche Illuminating Cream and Serum sachets which are all fabulous products but the one time use sachets make me sad. 

Overall, an OK box for me. Looking forward to the June box!! Woohoo my month is coming!!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Spa Review - Foot Scrub + Massage at Sukho Thai

Have you been to Sukho Thai? This Thai Foot Spa stands out of the crowd because of its unique therapies and is the first international foot massage spa chain in India which started in Mumbai 7 years ago. I absolutely love how relaxing and energizing their massages are and went there recently to try out their new foot massage with scrub which starts off feeling like a pedicure and ends with a fantastic massage.

As I entered the spa, the first thing that struck me was the dim lighting, soothing music and tranquil environment of the spa which makes you feel calm and relaxed from the moment you enter it. Unlike traditional spas, you don't need to undress and just need to change into a pair of loose cotton pants and the whole therapy takes place on a reclining chair. Besides the leg and foot part, the rest of the body is treated with a dry massage. For the Foot Massage with Scrub, the therapist starts with a leg and foot scrub and massage from below the knee which moisturizes and encourages new cell growth to produce healthier and radiant, silky smooth skin and removes dead skin cells. 
The exfoliating properties of the scrub get rid of rough patches leave soft, smooth and fragrant skin. This is followed by their signature foot massage using an aromatherapy blend of Lemongrass, Tea Tree Oil, Basil and Lavender essential oils which revives tired feet. 

After removing the scrub, the therapist brought a vessel of hot water using which she cleansed and sanitized my feet with liquid soap to cleanse them. This was followed by an oil massage from knees to my feet in firm strokes with a focus on all the right pressure points. She paid great attention to every part of each leg and foot so that every pressure point was emphasized upon. It was so relaxing that I had almost dozed off for a few minutes. Following this, she changed her strokes which felt like a wake up call! She also used a small stick to put pressure on certain points on the soles of my feet which was quite a unique feeling. In the end of the massage, she used some aromatic powder on my legs and feet which probably absorbs all the oil and cream from skin.  My legs were then wrapped with a dry towel followed by a dry massage to my full legs, back, shoulder and head. After the foot massage, she started with stretching my legs, shoulders and back along with a detailed massage on each area. 

Overall, it was super relaxing and energizing at the same time! I walked out feeling so great that I totally recommend a visit to Sukho Thai whenever your feet need some TLC!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My Envy Box April 2017

There are a bunch of beauty boxes in the Indian market but my favorite out of all of them is My Envy Box! As you may have noticed, I've been reviewing it on my blog over 3 years now and I really enjoy receiving a cute box filled with beauty, makeup and fragrance goodies every month! The April box is designed like a cute suitcase and came with a skincare, makeup and a body care product. 

The best part about this month's box is that 4 of out of the 5 products were full sized! 

To start with the full sized products, there's Ruby’s Organics Lipstick (Rs. 990 for 3.7gm) which I got in shade Brick, which is a bright red. Ruby’s Organics is a new brand which uses natural and organic ingredients to formulate its products. This lipstick contains moisturizing Mango and Shea butter combined with Almond and Castor oils.This lipstick is creamy on lips but gives a soft matte finish on application.  while giving the benefits of Mango & Shea Butter to help lips soften. It comes in a retractable pencil form and is easy to use and travel friendly. 

The other full sized color cosmetic in the box is Kinetics SolarGel Nail Polish (Rs. 475 for 15ml). I got shade Goldy which is made of sparkly gold glitter and little golden chips on a clear jelly-like base. It can be worn by itself and as a top coat. I've worn it both ways and it hasn't budged for about a week now so the product definitely lives up to its 10 day wear claim. 

In body care, there's Organic Mill Peppermint Foot Soak (Rs 250 for 100gm) is made of sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, epsom salts and peppermint essential oil. This quickly cools and refreshes tired feet and is just perfect for summer. 

The full sized skincare product is Tvakh – 5% Vitamin C Glow Booster Exfoliating Water (Rs. 525 for 200ml) which is a leave on exfoliating water that fights mild to moderate acne, scars and uneven skin tone unveiling visibly glowing and radiant complexion. It contains Vitamin C, Tea Tree Oil and Glycolic Acid (derived from Sugarcane) that work to create a younger appearance with diminishing fine lines, reducing pore size and purifying the skin of residue and build up in the most gentle way possible. I use this on my face at night after cleansing and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and tingly because of the vitamin C. 

The only travel sized product is Kronkare Body Lotion (Rs. 1095 for 500ml) in Caribbean Ginger. 
This blend is enriched with plant extracts and pure ginger oil to promote skin fluid circulation and toxin removal for nourished and glowing skin. I really like the unusual fragrance of this product which reminds me of Galangal. 

Overall, the contents of this month's box were pretty good and priced at just Rs 850 per month, My Envy Box is a steal as you get products worth much more. I love it and absolutely recommend it to all my friends and followers!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Restaurant Review - The Coconut Tree Bar & Kitchen

Being a Bengali, I am an avid seafood lover and it's not quite often that I find a seafood restaurant that wins me over but when I recently dined at The Coconut Tree Bar & Kitchen, I was beyond delighted by its lovely ambiance, wonderful service and outstanding food! The Coconut Tree is a contemporary space spread over two floors serving authentic coastal cuisine, innovative cocktails and premium alcohol. Inspired by the regions where the coconut tree grows in India, the restaurant offers the most delectable cuisine from Mangalore, Kerala, Andhra, Malvan and Goa along with an array of  seafood options. 

Coming from the same owners as the Coconut Grove Restaurant & Bar in Pune, The Coconut Tree is named so because of the essential role the coconut plays in their menu. Spread across an expansive area of 6000 sq feet area, the restaurant not only serves coastal cuisine but also offers delectable vegetarian and non vegetarian food in Awadhi and Nawabi food. The chef and owner has modified recipes with a mix of spices from specific coastal areas with her own innovations, taking a step forward in the way the food is prepared, cooked, plated and served. 

The fine dining area on the ground floor is adorned with a perfect blend of natural and modern elements white the upper floor which consists of the bar and dj console has a more casual feel. The seating is comfortable with a mix of high and low-top tables, and couches that spread throughout the space. They plan to start events at this space very soon. 

Moving on to my meal, we started with a the Coco Cooler which was a refreshing and super delicious blend of coconut syrup and cinnamon. Being a huge alcohol aficionado, the very fact that I loved a mocktail speaks for itself.  

We started off with the Kundapur Tawa Fish which consisted of fish marinated with Kundapuri Masala paste, steamed and grilled. Kundapur masala is a spice mix used in Mangalorean cuisine prepared by dry roasting dried red chillies, coriander seeds, pepper corns, methi seeds and turmeric powder.  This is just so delicious that you must try it when you go there!

We also had the Kundapur Kurkure Prawns which were Rolled in Kundapur Spicy Masala Powder, Garlic paste and deep crispy fried. Even though the same masala was used, this tasted very different from the dish above and is delicious and crunchy.

Not forgetting my love for lamb, I also tried the Mutton Andhra Banana Leaf Potli which came wrapped in banana leaves like the name suggests. 

This dish is made with tender pieces of mutton rolled in a paste of Kadi Patta, Ginger, Garlic, Mint along with Andhra spices and steamed. Heavenly! Absolutely recommended! 

Moving on to the main course I tried the Pulli Munchi Ghee Surmai Curry which is a traditional Mangalorean preparation with juicy fish pieces cooked in authentic, local spices along with coconut and tamarind and is known for its spicy and tangy flavors. Highly recommended!

I also had the Rajmandri Chicken Curry which consists of chicken marinated in authentic Rajmandri Garam masala and Andhra masala paste. This was a rich preparation and is not as spicy as it looks. 

As accompaniments to the gravies, we had the Egg Appam and Neer Dosa. Appam is a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. It is a common food in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. What made this one unique is the egg in the center of the Appam. 

Neer dosa literally meaning water dosa in Tulu Language is a crêpe prepared from rice batter. Its a fluffy, soft and non oily version of the commonly available traditional dosa.

Though I usually skip dessert as I don't have a sweet tooth, that night I was suddenly craving Gulab Jamun and decided to stuff myself further. After all, who doesn't like Gulab Jamun? The ones here are so tender and melt in your mouth. The perfect way to end a delicious meal!

Overall, I highly recommend The Coconut Tree Bar and Kitchen because it offers an amazing dining experience and I can't wait to go back to try out more great food from their menu. Their manager Nikhil is a wonderful host and recommended us what to try and also explained many aspects of the menu and space. I had a great time and loved the food at The Coconut Tree and am confident that you will too! Try it out!

Address: 5, Konark Icon, Near Seasons Mall, Magarpatta Road, Hadapsar, Pune- 411028
Contact: 020 30189850

The Coconut Tree Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Salon Review - Fabogo X Mink By Shailesh Mistry

I recently discovered Fabogo, a glam - tech service provider which lets you browse through a list of salons, spas, cosmetic clinics, fitness centers, gyms to find the services you need.  You can search for services area wise and even see the prices and reviews of various spas and salons across Pune. I am very particular about my hair and wanted a change of hairstyle and was also in dire need for a haircut which was long overdue. That's when I decided to check out Fabogo Pune to go through salon reviews and services and find the perfect hairstylist and my search ended when I discovered Mink By Shailesh Mistry

Situated in Lane 6 of Koregaon Park, Mink is a beautiful bright and airy salon which offers premium hair and beauty services. It was founded by Shailesh Mistry who is a skilled and experienced hairstylist and right from the moment you sit in the chair, you know you're hair is in the right hands. He has been in the line for many years and boasts of a premium clientele. When I asked him why he hasn't put up a prominent board outside the lane marking the salon, he told me that he believes in the quality of work and doesn't want to advertise and would rather have people come to him through word of mouth. 

From understanding your hair and other related factors to consultation about care and styles, Shailesh and his team will educate you about the kind of products to use, hair care regime to follow and the kind of hairstyle you should get to compliment your facial features. 

I had really long hair but the last couple of inches were very damaged and dry and to top that, my hair was just long, straight, rough and looked completely lifeless. I color my hair regularly and have also chemically straightened it for many years, so the lengths of my hair were quite damaged and the texture was absolutely terrible. 

We started my hair makeover with a consultation followed by a hair wash. Shailesh heard out all my concerns and then explained that the first step to making my hair fabulous again was to cut the damaged part which was a good four five inches. Though I really didn't want to part with the length, I'm glad I did because my hair feels bouncy, soft and healthy now. Furthermore, he added subtle layers to the lower lengths of my hair to add dimension and added a side fringe that frames my face.

This was me before, it might look red and nice, but it was rough as straw and very dull and lifeless

I love my new haircut! My hair feels soft and healthy now!
Here are me and Shailesh after the haircut! Needless to say, I was really happy with my new hairstyle!

I also had a pedicure which was a very relaxing and pampering session. It was done by Manju who is really sweet and does a great job. My feet felt rejuvenated and she did a great job at turning my man feet into girl feet again! 

Overall, I had a fantastic experience at Mink thanks to Fabogo and absolutely adore my new hairstyle. If you're looking for a hair makeover, Shailesh is definitely my top recommendation in Pune so head to Mink and I can guarantee you that you will walk out just as happy as I did! You can check out Mink's reviews to see more happy clients like me! 

Address - Mink by Shailesh Mistry - Hair and Beauty Lounge, Row House B/13, Chashme Shahi Society, Lane 6, Koregaon Park, Pune
Contact: 09921843304
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