Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Postcards from my Instagram feed - June 2013

Hello folks! Im visiting my blog after looong.. and the number of visitors to my blog has significantly dropped :((. Serves me right for not being active. But I've been busy with work and some other things including a short holiday to Goa!! And Ill be writing about this monsoon getaway of mine very soon. But before that I have to share my Instagram pictures from June that talk about the things and places I explored last month. Here you go:

This super blurry picture was taken from my car while my brother was driving in one of South Mumbai's rainy lanes.How can any post in June/July not talk about the monsoons. Some may find the Mumbai rains romantic and some may love the weather. But me - I just think they cause a lot of inconvenience, especially if you rely on public transport like autos/taxis and generally add to the whole mess around. I can go on cribbing. But I shall not. I know our Eco system needs them. So rain gods please do the needful! 

There's new bar in Bandra, Mumbai called The Daily that is slowly becoming my favourite. I have already been there 4 times in the last 2 months. Its small, hip, with good music and yes expensive drinks. Pictured here is my favourite drink of the moment Sangria accompanied by some cheesy Jalapeno poppers. Yum!

Talking of bars here is a picture I took in Ladies' room of Irish house. The place is full of these posters and coasters with these quirky one liners and some good music too.

I am a foodie! I love my food and I love trying new cuisines, new restaurants. Not just because I get to eat something new but also because I get to talk about it with people and then I like asking "Oh have you been here?" Delhi's Mamagoto has finally opened in Mumbai in Bandra. My first visit there left me quite happy with their twist in South Asian food. And yes a picture for me to talk about :)

Here's a glimpse of my Goa trip. this picture was taken during sunset at Curlies, Anjuna Beach. While the beauty of sunset was majorly covered by the gloomy clouds.. the entire feel of being at a beach in Goa just made up for it. Shall talk about my trip in detail in my next post.

Are you on Instagram. Do share your handle would love to follow you. Mine is http://instagram.com/rajvibhow

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to wear red lipstick and not look dramatic!!

I know Red is old news. Infact the rest of the bloggers are done with reviewing red lipsticks, claiming their love for Mac's Ruby Woo and Scarlet Ibis and have moved on to the other colours.

But how many times have you excitedly applied red lipstick and then wiped it off thinking it gives clown lips or for the lack of a better word makes you look OTT and trashy. Well welcome to the club!

Like the rest of the world I too bought a lot of red shades, to find my 'the one' as mentioned in my earlier post Colorbar's Hearts and Tarts is the one that suits my yellow skin the most. However, that was not the end of the problem. When wearing red I am always confused what makeup to pair it with. Especially with Indian wear (read while attending weddings) just a lipstick with no other makeup looks to plain no? I know the trick is to always pair bright lips with muted eyes but even a simple Kajal, eyeliner and neutral shadow would look to stark on the face. So I did some experimentation at home, and after some trials and errors here's what I found:

  • Always wear red in the matte form
  • Skip kajal completely or apply a very thin line
  • Apply eyeliner thinly and a thin cost of mascara
  • Use only neutral eyeshadows like gold or copper
  • Use a very neutral blush bordering on coral/brown
I also googled some pictures of actresses wearing red for inspiration that led me to this conclusion, here are they:

I tried this look on myself and here are my pictures:

With flash

Without flash

The products I used

  1. Colorbar Hearts & Tarts lipstick mixed with Colorbar Obsessed with Orange lipstick to give that slight orangey tint
  2. The brown eyeshadow from the Lakme 4 in 1 Eyeshadow quartet - Silk Route
  3. L'oreal Trumatch Blush - Pink Grapefruit
  4. Revlon Lash Fantasy Mascara
  5. Benefit High Beam highlighter
  6. Chambor dark brown eyepencil - to line my lower eye lid (instead of black kaajal)
  7. Avon eyebrow filler

Missed on clicking my foundation and finishing powder - Used Mac Studio Sculpt N30 and Loose Powder N30

What do you couple your red lipstick with? I would love to hear. Do drop your inputs in my comments box

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Truly God's Own Country - Munnar, Kerala

Before I start writing about this place, here soothe your eyes with some green..

BEAUTIFUL pictures right?? Believe me my camera has not done half as justice to the actual beauty of this place. Probably cos these pictures were taken on cloudy and rainy September days. We took this trip last year in September. After considering places like Udaipur, Kashmir and Kumarakaom within Kerala itself, we zeroed in on Munnar, as my dad who is a member of Club Mahindra offered us some free stay vouchers for this resort. Although, we would have preferred to have explored more of Kerala by visiting Kumarakom/Allepey (backwaters) and Kovalam (beach) too, we did not do so as we had keep our vacation as short as just 3 days. Reason being, we just wanted a short relaxing vacation that would'nt be too heavy on the pocket. This was more like a break for me before I joined my new job.

About the place

Munnar, is Kerala's tea country. Apart from the beaches and the backwaters, Kerala is also known for it's hilly regions like Wayanand and Munnar. Munnar just like it's Tamil Nadu counterpart is lush green, and a tea growing region. The weather throughout the year remains chilly and is one of the highest rainfall receiving regions of India.


Munnar is a good six hour drive from Cochin. We flew from Mumbai to Cochin and then booked a cab (prepaid online) through www.TaxiCarKerala.com for our entire stay which included the travel to and from the Cochin airport.

Our flight tickets cost us a BOMB- Rs 10k per person. Actually we didn't realise that our travel dates clashed with Onam (the Malayalam New year). No wonder the tickets rates were so steep.


As mentioned earlier, we stayed at the Club Mahindra resort in Munnar. My taxi driver mentioned that it is the best resort Munnar has, and it was originally a part of the Taj group of hotels later taken over by Mahindra. Since, we are members, the stay for us was for free. Again because of Onam, the studio apartments and the cottages were full and thus, we had to stay in a ground floor hotel room, which had absolutely no view. (A lesson learnt. Must check for local holidays before making travel plans). From whatever hotels I could see from outside, Mahindra did look the biggest and the best.

Club Mahindra Munnar

View from the resort

Since, we did not get to stay in the cottages/studio apartment. We were slightly disappointed. Our room was like any other other hotel room. Not very small but not very spacious also. Forgot to take pictures of the room. But you can take a look at all the different rooms on tripadvisor.

The resort is huge and has an in house club house, spa, 2 restaurants and a coffee house. There is no swimming pool as the weather in Munnar does not permit to have one outdoor pool. During our stay there we did avail the services of the Kerala spa there, and must say it was quite relaxing. The staff is extremely hospitable and friendly.The food is good if you stick to Indian, can't really experiment here although they serve all cuisines. They have buffet during lunch as well as dinner. One can opt for either buffet or a la carte. The buffet for members was around Rs 650 per person per meal. We had the best time enjoying their filter coffees and pakodas during evening overlooking the rain. They were yummm. 

Things to do

There's not much to do in Munnar except for some R&R (relaxing and rejuvenating). However, we did do a couple of things there:

Visit the town and watch a Kathakali show

Kathakali Dance show
We are all for encouraging local art forms. Also, I've never seen a live Kahthakali performance. So on one one of the rainy evenings we decided to check out the market and the Kathakali show. The ticket prices are nominal (around Rs 250). There's also one martial arts performance (name can't recollect). which my driver said is also an interesting watch.


After the Kathakali show we went to the market to buy Kerala's famous banana chips fried in coconut oil. They are yellow in colour and yumm. We were also told to buy these various handmade choclates. And we bought lot of packets as gifts for our family. Also, worth checking out our sandalwood collectibles and the handmade massage oils and soaps.

Visit the highest tea plantation in the world - Kollukumalai

Kollukumalai Tea plantation - Munnar

You know what they say that it's not the destination but the journey that matters. Well, this place is one of those places. Once you reach there you'll feel no different than being in any other part of Munnar but the journey is one helluva ride!! It's nothing less than sitting on a roller coaster, only this one is more scary. Being the highest tea plantation this lace is 7500 km above sea level and one needs to hire a jeep and trained driver to take you here, as the roads are very narrow and rough. the views on the way are spectacular, reminded me of some Scotland landscape pictures I have seen. But if you have a back problem or a heart problem , this journey is definitely not meant for you. This tour was arranged by my driver. (he didn't drive ofcourse). the jeep driver took Rs 1100 for a return journey. But it was well worth it.

Inside the Tea factory

Other things that we missed out on but can be done:
  • Visit the Matupetty Dams - there's also boating there
  • Visit the Rose gardens
  • Waterfalls
  • Anaimudi National park
The info for all these can be availed at here

Have you been to Munnar? How did you find it? Do share your stories and feel free to ask me details in case you are planning a trip there.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Postcards from my Instagram feed - May 2013

I switched from my precious Blackberry to an Iphone lately. Not out of choice. Mainly cos my BB died. Call me primitive if you want to but I never thought I'll be able to give up on BBM. The blackberry messenger was pretty addictive and although, there's always Whatsapp but there was this feature of Recent updates on BBM which was pretty entertaining. However, a lot of people started moving from BB to Iphone/Android and once my BB gave up I thought it's high time I did too.

And the one thing that I was most looking forward to on the Iphone is using Instagram. It's more or less like facebook where you can upload and share photos, but here you can edit and filter them as well.Thus, it brings out the photographer in you. Here's are some pictures that I clicked and filters and uploaded on my Instagram and the stories behind them:

Tamilian thali at Saravana Bhavan

I was in Chennai and wanted to try authentic Tamilian dishes. I didn't know what to order after seeing the menu. So decided to order a thali so that I could sample lot of things at one go. Bad decision! The meal looked and felt too heavy for my palate.I could hardly finish all the things that they served for just around 200 rupees. Must be around 10-12 items. The Sambaar and Rasam were the best parts. And please STAY AWAY from the paan that they serve hear after the end of the meal. I almost spat it out. It was soooo spicy! One of the worst things that I have put in my mouth recently.
Orissa handicraft from Dilli Haat

I am a very touristy kind of a traveller. Whenever I go to a place I want to check off places that are usually recommended for tourists. On one of my work visits to Delhi I wentt o the Dilli haat, besides looking for some phulkari dupattas for my self, I also bought this colourful handicraft from the Orissa stall. Just to spice up my dining table and also to do my bit to encourage these arts.

Jenga @ Doollaly

This place - Doollaly a brewery in Pune ( a lil on the outskirts, quite a long drive from Mumbai) was discovered by my friend. Personally I am not a beer fan. But their apple cider is sweet enough to turn non drinkers into fans too. They also serve vodka, rum and cocktails for non beer drinkers.We were a group of 8. Beer, Mojito pitchers, jenga and some really good music gave us good company. Totally enjoyed the experience!

This picture of a painting of a not so good looking woman wastaken at Darios in Pune. From the same trip as mentioned above. Had heard so much about the place. The food and the ambience really lived up to it. Although I went there in the month of May, so couldn't realy sit in their apen air zone. But I'm guessing winter will be a great time to visit this place.

Mango Margarita @ Sammy Sosa

I love Margaritas. I love my Margaritas even more when they are served with some authentic yummy Mexican food. Mumbai has such a dearth of authentic Mexican restuarants. The only ones that are there are Sanchos and Sammy Sosa.   I know the month of May for some is fully welcome because of Mangoes. Not a big fan of them. But this Mango Margarita was a great accompaniment to my Mexican meal.
That's it from my this month's Instagram feed. (Yes I am planning to make this a monthly post). Are you there on Instagram. Do follow me. My handle is @rajvibhow. Would love to see your pictures as well. After all, pictures tell great stories and I love stories!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5 must have lip shades for yellow skin and my favourites

While the words "5 must have lip shades" may not sound like rocket science..I feel that finding the right shade that suits one's skin tone within "the must have shades" is a task na? Any girl who is wee bit into fashion and beauty would know what the most in or the must have lip shades. But what I find most helpful is when I come across blog posts/articles that mention shades that suit a  particular skin tone.

So I thought i'll share my bit of research with you all. I am yellow skinned, (I know most Indians are right?) but my skin has no warm tones just cool ones. And I've tried lots of reds, sometimes wasted money, by buying a particular lipstick and then not wearing it cos I feel it looks weird on my complexion. But yes! after a lot of trials I have across these 5 shades that are as distinct from each other as they can be, but yet suit my yellow coloured skin. And the best part - All of them are really affordable and super lasting as well!!

For me to judge a lip colour -a hand swatch is just not enough, because so many a times it looks different on the hands and when applied on the lips it looks different ( lip pigmentation has a role to play here you see!) and thus, I have put both hand and lip swatches for you'll to judge.

#1  A baby pink lipstick 

A baby pink shade for all those times when you want your lips to look naturally flushed. You know something that you feel like putting on when your mood is in between a sheer lip balm and a lipstick?
The one that suits me the most is - L'oreal Infallible Tender Berry. (MRP - Approx 700)
This shade when swatched on the hand looks purplish but is not! I had spoken about this lipstick in my post here. Love the texture cos its creamy and not very drying.

#2  A bright pink lipstick

Because you are a girl and you love all things pink! For those days, when you don't care what the world thinks, and want to wear pink unapologetically!
The one that suits me the most is - Maybelline Super Stay - Stay with me Coral. (MRP - Rs 450)
Is it just me who feels that this shade shouldn't have been called Coral? You can look at the pictures above and below. Everything about this lipstick screams fuschia pink. 

This pic is a lil blurry but the shade is much brighter in real                              
(Btw Revlon Just Bitten - Sweetheart comes a close second here)

#3  An orange lipstick

Image Source

When I saw this pic of Kareena's I knew I had to get an orange lipstick. Not many girls can carry off an orange lipstick. But once you find the right shade, you'll love the sunkissed effect it gives to your face.
The one that suits me the most is - Colorbar - Obssessed with Orange. (MRP - Rs 250)
Believe me you'll really get obssessed once you start using this colour. This shade just magically matches everything that I wear.It's not peach it's not coral it is orange but yet does not look stark and blends so beautifully with my skin tone. I'm totally in love with this one right now!

#4  A nude lipstick

On the days when you feel like you've all grown up and want to keep it subtle and classy!
The one that suits me the most is - Chambor - Desert Rose. (MRP -  Approx Rs 500)
I had worn this shade here with a gloss on top. Although, this shade is great and is the perfect nude for yellow skinned people without making them look tan ( a la Gauri Khan) it is slightly drying and will need a gloss to be applied to avoid making one's lips look chapped. 

#5  A red lipstick

Because it is red and everyone's wearing it!!!
The one that suits me the most is - Colorbar - Hearts & Tarts (MRP -  Rs 250)
I think when it comes to lipsticks Colorbar beats any other brand be it MAC, Revlon or Inglot! They are super lasting, super affordable and what a range! All colours are so apt for the Indian skin. I have tried many reds, reds from Indian brands as well but nothing comes close to this one when it comes to lasting power + red that suits and does not make you look cartoony/slutty.(Disclaimer: I have not tried the much acclaimed MAC Ruby Woo, but I'm happy with this one currently!)

And the customary hand swatches

So what are your favourites? Have you tried any of these? what do you think about them? Go ahead and tell me. I would love to hear!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Girls (TV show) Review

When I wrote this post about which girly TV shows to watch, fellow bloggers Marlen and Jamie recommend saying I should watch Girls.

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The reason why it was not included in my list was because I had seen the pilot episode but somehow I was little grossed out by the in your face sex scenes,foul language etc. But then Gossip Girl ended and New girl season 2 was getting kinda boring so I thought why not give it a second chance. And boy! was I hooked. I finished watching 2 seasons in flat three days. The reason why I have still not seen the season 3 is that it is still in the making. So here's more about the show and what I like/dislike about it..

The Plot

When the Pilot was first aired a lot of publications thought it is this generation's Sex and the City. If you think about it you can't really blame them, there are indeed many common points. 4 single 20 something ladies, best friends, New york city as the backdrop, based on love, sex and relationships, protagonist is a budding writer and the list goes on. The Sex and the City comparison basically summarises the plot. I would actually call it a prelude to the actual Sex and the City as the girls here are still maturing.

Here's the trailer to give you a better idea of the storyline.

The characters

The characterization is the highlight of the show. The 4 girls although best friends couldn't have been more different from each other. Each character is so uniquely crafted.

Marnie - Perfect in everyway. Hot bod, smart, miss goody two shoes, likes the securities in life

Jessa - Bohemian by natures, dresses to reinforce that, mysterious, beautiful in an exotic way, British accented, follows her heart and as she calls herself - adventurous

Hannah - Whimsical, aspiring writer, chubby has lost some fat trying to lose some more, mostly unemployed, spunky, humorous (her character will touch you the most. She is also the writer, director of the show. No wonder she kept the best role for herself :p)

Soshana - The youngest of the lot but preaches the most, still a student, innocent, comical, pristine

Out of the male leads the character that will grew on me the most was Adam. There's something about that guy. Unconventional, crazy, but then turns into someone so sweet and caring. So somewhere from finding him hot you'll start finding him cute! I'm not putting up a picture of his because I just googled and his pics don't do justice to him!

What I liked/disliked about the show

First of all if you are an Indian, you will be shocked..culturally SHOCKED. Even if you an Indian like me who is used to watching American shows you will be Shocked, probably grossed out with the every 2 minute -there's a sex scene in your face. I for one just do not understand how is it humanly possible to have sex so randomly. But once you get over this, then you will slowly start feeling for the characters. I love Jessa's character she's so intriguing. She got pregnant last year (off screen) which is why you will see lesser of her in season 2. The fact that one sees lesser of her want's one to know her more. There are some very real moments like peeing behind the bushes while your friend is watching for you, or wanting your ex to suffer for atleast 6 long years after a breakup or even feeling betrayed by your parents when they no longer want to support you.

The show has it's humour intact, but as Marlen and Jamie would call it - it's a different side of humour, not dark, not in your face, not subtle, just different!

So go ahead and watch it and don't judge it by the pilot episode like me!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Checklist 2013

I had done a wishlist way back in 2009! When I look at that list I wonder how small my wants were..I ended up checking off most of the things from the list that year except for the Swarovski ring (which I still haven't bought!!). And I'm back again with a wishlist 4 years later (naming it checklist, because these are not exactly wishes, and definitely not a bucket list as it is restricted to this year) with bigger wants!! I guess we all just keep demanding more and more from life. So here goes - 5 things that I have to, want to and (maybe need to) do this year: 

Get my nose pierced 

When it comes to piercing, I have got my ears pierced (well not surprising since 99% of Indian girls do). Got them done when i was a kid so don't remember how bad the pain was. I also have gotten a tatto done so yes, nose piercing shouldnt be that bad. But I'm struggling to find a good jeweller who does it in Mumbai. Anyone knows anyone in Bandra or town who can do it for me? Would love to know.I plan on wearing a simple, tiny diamond stud like the one seen below not into nose rings much.

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How pretty it looks on Sonali!

Take a trip on my own

I have been wanting to do this since a long long time now. Probably since, the time I read Eat Pray Love. It may not be the best book that I have read but one thing it did was inspire me to travel on my own.. Its surprising how common it is abroad to travel alone.. but we Indians think that it's quite a looser-ish thing to do na? But really I want to take up  a trip maybe not very far and just within the country. Maybe somewhere up north in the hills not very commercial and just laze around for a week and explore. 

travel books
The book that inspired me

Get an add - on done to my tattoo

I have a small cute-sy tattoo right above my right ankle. Frankly, when I got it done I was just checking off something off my bucket list, and although I knew I wanted some pretty looking thing on my leg I didn't really put any thought to it. So now, I have something in my mind that will not just add some meaning to my tattoo but also mean something to me. Will put up pictures of this once I get it done, to explain this better.

Take a European Holiday

This is mainly because of two reasons 1) I want to go on an international holiday 2) I'm bored of Asia, have gone to Thailand, Dubai, Malaysia, Bali, Singapore so you see besides Hongkong there's not much left to see. And flying to the USA is as expensive as a full vacation. So I'm trying to plan a trip for me an my husband either to Turkey (Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir) or Italy (Rome, Naples , Amalfi). Keeping my fingers crossed for this one.

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Get working on that draft 

I have an idea, not very unique, but want to put it down. And this year I better get working on it. I know many bloggers aspire to write a book someday. Ive been wanting to write one too. I don't know how good or bad it'll turn out to be. But one can always try right?

So here's my small but heavy checklist! Do you have one too?  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My current favourite summer trend - Maxis!!

Its April - which means in Mumbai it's hot, correction hot and humid, correction unbearably hot and humid..the saving grace is that for most of the day I am in my air conditioned office premises but when I'm travelling I just can't stop thinking about how hot it is..so cotton airy clothes are currently my best friends.. I can't even think about getting close to denims.. and when it comes to non office wear Maxis are what I am really looking forward to buy..I mean one can always wear knee length flowy dresses to beat the heat. But Maxis are so in trend right now and although they are long but quite airy and soo comfortable. And it's not just maxi dresses but maxi skirts and maxi pants (palazzo pants.. but i like caling them maxi pants) are in too.. Here are some pictures of how celebrities here and abroad are wearing them.. Take a look for some inspiration to look cool, casual and breeze through this summer..

Maxi Dresses

Anita Dongre's Summer Resort collection. Pretty pastels!

Doesn't she look pretty and the dresses give such soft vibe

Kim K being Kim K shows off her curves in a tight Maxi

My favourite Blair aka Leighton Meester looks cute as always

Lindsay Lohan Gives two different Maxi looks

Neha Dhupia teaches us how to make a Maxi dress look more formal

Maxi Skirts

No fashion mood board is complete without taking inspiration from Blake Lively!! (Don't miss those India inspired Christian Loubotins)

Kim K shows off some leg in a Maxi skirt too..

Maxi Pants

Pair you printed Maxi Pants with a solid tank top

Shraddha Kapoor's petite frame looks even more slender in palazzo pants

Deepika was the first  Bollywood actress to sport them on screen

Blake Lively's power pink pants look classy and formal!
And don't even think that these silhouttes are meant only for tall women..Look at how cute petite women like Rachel Bilson and Selena Gomez look in them

So where does one buy them?

Looks like the trend is still setting in India, as not many high street brands have started selling them yet except for say Zara. So be on the lookout.. some boutiques like the ones in Bandra (Mumbai) have stocking up on Palazzo pants but not the Maxi dresses/skirts as yet.. as for me, I'm still searching for these and for matching/contrasting well fitting tank tops :p