Sunday, 16 November 2014

Green Trends Salon Review - Forever Blue Hair

I was invited to review the upcoming Durga Puja hairstyle and beauty trends at Green Trends Salon, Salt Lake branch. But, me being me, I got my hair coloured blue and decided to take my time and review it properly after the colour had properly faded and washed off. So, here I am to rave about Green Trends Salon for doing such a great job. I also should mention right away that here I got one of the best pedicures of my life ever. Just go in and ask for Zainab. It would be an understatement to say that I have horrible feet. And she worked magic by scrubbing and massaging all the right spots. I felt truly pampered.
Green Trends is a family chain salon originally from Chennai, but now they have around 200 branches all over India. They have 3 branches in Kolkata - Salt Lake, Golpark and Bangur Avenue.
"Green trends is a contemporary hair & style salon that offers cool looks for a new you– all at practical prices."
We had a chat session with head trainer, Saddique Alam. He suggested colour chunks and curl enhancing treatments as Bong beauties have a natural tendency towards curls. He personally oversaw every step of my colouring method. It was decided that my already honey blonde ombre hair had to be lightened further for the blue to show up. After the single bleach session, they put in the Majirel mix blue colourant in my hair and kept it in for no longer than 10-15 minutes. This ensured the colour did not turn too dark. There were 3 people working at my hair and that was a very funny feeling. The other bloggers opted for red hair highlights, curl enhancing haircuts and treatments, nail art and facial treatments. The end results for everyone was pretty amazing.
Pre-bleach and colour
Waiting for the bleach to lighten my hair further
The Majirel Mix Creme Blue looked like this after being mixed with a 20 vol developer
The process begins. Soon he will be joined by 2 others and Mr. Alam
The awesome pedicure where Anupriya and I got pampered. Pic c/o Poorna Banerjee
Saddique Alam brushing my hair personally before the money shot. Felt like a celeb in a photoshoot. Pic c/o Anupriya Dg
The money shot Pic c/o Anupriya Dg
Wish I had magical powers so that I could change my hair to all sorts of amazing colours like this whenever I wanted. My hair was as blue as my studded Peter Pan collared sheer top from Vero Moda. I washed my hair once or twice(maximum) a week. It took a full month for it to completely go away. It faded to green. After waiting for 1 & 1/2 months I decided to use the soap capping method(details here) to remove the colour completely.
Green Trends already has very reasonable rates for their wide range of services, but if you get a membership card worth Rs.100(valid for 2 years!) you get further discounts. Now, I have given you every reason to try out their services for yourself. Go get pampered!

Monday, 27 October 2014

How Are You Detoxing?

Okay, the festivities are finally over! We have almost 2 months till the Christmas/New Year binge has to begin again. But, for us Indians the period between Durga Puja till Bhai Dooj is the time when we gorge like monsters. Almost on a daily basis there is an array of ghee laden, sugar syrup injected sweet dishes lying around, lunch and dinner includes fish fries, dal, special sabjis, spicy mutton/chicken and pulavs and biryanis! Phew! I am sure half of you are already on a cleanse. I tried after Durga Puja was over with no success. Here are a few ways you can detox for 1-2 days before easing back to your normal daily dose of calorific intake:

honey lemon ginger tea
This is the divine honey-lemon-ginger-tea I had while I was in Gangtok at Baker's Cafe
  1. Start the day with green tea. I usually have green tea at least twice a day, sometimes when I feel sleepy after dinner and have to stay up to work I will knock down another cup. I try to veer away from milk and sugar in tea, and also I have stayed away from coffee for almost a year now.
  2. Go on a 2 day juice/smoothie cleanse. Smoothies are much more filling because they still have the fibre from the fruits in it. I do not like chunky smoothies, I like them well blended. I make a whole batch for a day and keep sipping one glass at a time.If I get hungry towards the evening I usually make a salad with blanched spinach, mushrooms and any other light vegetables I have in the fridge at that point. My favourite smoothie making fruits-bananas, apples, any kind of citrus, grapes, mango. I also add a pinch of cinnamon powder, honey and a squirt of lime juice for flavour.
  3. Have roti and sabji twice a day. I cut out on rice, potato, bread and butter on such days and avoid too much oil in my food. I am a meat lover so I need some protein(otherwise I get midnight bacon cravings). I stick with a small piece or two of chicken. Also there is a bowl of yogurt on my plate. If I get hungry between meals I will usually scramble an egg. This keeps me full and is what you need if you need to work and run around. No one does running around on juice, right? Except crazies.
 So, this is what I do. Some people just swear by lemon juice and honey in warm water every morning. What are your ways of detoxing?


Thursday, 16 October 2014

5 Useful Travel Tips for the Budget Conscious

I have a love-hate relationship with my city, Calcutta. No, I do not like calling it Kolkata even though it has been officially changed thanks to the whimsies of the ruling political party leaders. I don't know if that is neocolonialism deeply embedded in my psyche that makes me think this way or just my preference with the more familiar, but it is the way it is. When I was growing up, I couldn't wait till I left this city forever to settle somewhere abroad. When I started weighing the pros and cons (aka when I was old enough to understand how much money matters) I realised the dream to live in some fancy destination is not really a true dream of mine, it is the dream of travelling the world then returning home that is truly mine. This city is known as the City of Joy. But, to me it does not represent this single emotion. How can it? I have lived in this city my whole life and every lane I have been to represents something different to me. More than anything else, it feels familiar. Not safe and secure, but even the presumed dangers here are familiar to me.

North Sikkim
North Sikkim
I am not a seasoned traveller. But, I would love to travel the world on my own someday, one destination at a time, strictly on a budget. This year I took 3 short trips within India with my friends. The first one was a college trip to Lava and Lolegaon, the 2nd to Shantiniketan and the 3rd to Gangtok. These are a few things I think everyone needs to know about travelling alone, especially if you are on a budget. Do keep in mind there are a lot of other things you need to carry along, like medicines, lots of clean underwear and all your chargers(for your cameras, phones and other gadgets).
  • Carry a small tube of toothpaste that can be stowed away in a small pocket in your handbag and can be accessed easily every morning. Do not throw away old containers of these small tubes. Just refill them from a bigger tube you keep at home before every trip. Hold the mouths of the tubes firmly together and squeeze it out of the bigger tube into the smaller one. You can always share a tube with your friends.
  • Do not carry huge shampoo and conditioner bottles that you use at home. They will take up a lot of space and might come out of the bottle under pressure and ruin your clothes and other things. You do not want to spend on laundry which is usually expensive at any hotel. Carry sachets instead. They are easier to carry, cheaper and are disposable after use. Every hotel may not give shampoo bottles. 
  • Carry disposable paper soaps to save space and for easy access. Every hotel usually provides a small soap, or you can buy them at your destination. But, while you are travelling on a train or a bus these will come in handy. I forgot them this time and had to make do with hand sanitizer, which is also a pretty useful thing to carry around while travelling.
  • Trolley bags, if not rucksacks are the way to go if you want to run around between hotels, trains and buses. The 1st 2 trips I ignored the need because I travelled light. This time, between missed trains and running around the railway station for about 5 hours I realised how badly I needed to buy a trolley bag pronto. A rucksack might be too big for short trips. I had helpful travel-mates who shared the burden halfway through every time, but you may not always be so lucky. You don't want to hire a porter on a budget trip. And my bag felt heavier after each hour which made me desperately want to hire one this time.
  • If you have bought e-tickets from the online website of IRCTC and are wait listed then do yourself a favour and either buy the tickets on tatkal or buy them from the ticket counter in person. This is a valuable lesson we learnt this time. Many of you may know that wait listed e-tickets get dropped on final charting. Of course I am writing this for the non-smartasses who do not  know this information. At least IRCTC will refund the money because we were on wait list. If you missed the train you would end up losing the money entirely. So, reach the station on time if you have reservation. We came back in an AC sleeper bus (which cost us a little more than the train would have) which was full of families who had met with a similar misfortune like us. The bus journey wasn't as bad as we had expected and would have in fact been a better experience if the bus reached Calcutta a little earlier. Do use the washrooms at every bus stop and try charging your phone at every stop if it is feasible.
Misty Mountains Cold-(yes I just referenced LOTR. I had thought of it while taking the photo only.)
Over all I have loved all my trips so far. India isn't safe enough for solo vacations for girls yet(although someday I would love to take a solo trip, but it might get lonely). It is always better to have someone watch your back. I learnt from my travel-mate, Anu how to be in zen mode when situations are completely out of control. I learnt I am a semi-good mimic and provide good enough entertainment even in such out-of-control situations. Here's hoping I get to travel more, to more beautiful places and to learn something new everywhere I go. Don't get discouraged by what others have to say. You don't need a lot of money for travelling, you don't need to have lived on your own to be independent enough to know your mind and you don't need to travel with a guy every time to watch over you for safety. Truth be told, I did not feel unsafe anywhere I went with these girls. We did get quizzical looks and some assumed we must be related.
Make your own memories and be unafraid to experience new things (unless it's something gag-worthy enough to make you super sick. After all, you do not want to spend your vacation in the bathroom or the local hospital).

kolkata fashion bloggers
With Anupriya DG and Soumi Paul in Gangtok

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Remember this ♫Bobby McFerrin♫song?
I don't remember ever not worrying. The worries go away temporarily (especially when I am in the company of someone or when I am listening to weirdly upbeat songs) but, they bounce right back. Has this ever happened with you that you saw someone smiling and looking happy in a picture and wondered how they do it? They make it look so easy. They make moving on and living life happily look reasonably easy. I swear to you, the more someone is capable of detachment, it is more easy for them to be without constant worry.

hot chocolate

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Durga Puja 2014 - Trends Spotted

I saw a good deal of Normcore fashion this year while pandal hopping. But, I am not really sure how many of them consciously dressed up that way. Normcore fashion is where people dress up in a normal way to look same rather than stand out. Read this *article* to get an idea of what is Normcore as documented by artist Hans Eijkelboom.

paan stall outside Badamtal Durga PandalBut I did not capture the denim on denim and other Normcore craziness during Durga Puja for you! Here are 3 of the biggest trends I spotted this year. All my fashionable friends wore gorgeous sarees every day. Well, of course I didn't. I did wear an ethnic kurta with a beautiful printed vest on Ashtami. And I gorged on a sumptuous Italian fare at Spaghetti Kitchen that day. Also watched Haider on the first day of release and loved every bit of it.I wrapped up that awesome day by promptly falling down wearing flat shoes and tearing my beautiful red leggings on the way back.

Printed leggings were everywhere, they were mostly paired with bum covering long tops and flats

the Anarkali salwar kameez was everywhere! It was a bit weird how many of these I spotted this time.

Kolkata Fashion Bloggers
No one wore the saree better or more fashionably than city bloggers Soumi and Anupriya DG. Soumi draped her saree over leggings! It doesn't get more trendsetting than that. Love Anu's necklace and clutch. Learn how to put a twist on your traditionals from these 2 ladies.

outside Badamtala Durga Puja
People really do forget all about calories during these 5 days

And with this I wish you a Subho Bijaya and Happy Dussehra!

In association with Lifestyle International I will be highlighting the food, fashion and atmosphere of Durga Puja here on the blog.