Style Files | Why the hustle is highly overrated

The first time I heard the word hustle probably dates to a decade ago. It originally meant something of a swingy dance and found inclusion in rap lyrics at the time. Today if you look up its meaning, you'll have to sift through thousands of entries which have nothing to do with music. In millennial speak, hustle is now commonly known as a synonym for working extremely hard.

I've never actually used the word in my vocabulary but it has found favour in inspirational-positioned Instagram captions. More often than not, hustle is used in a positive context. For example, "she's really hustling by working day and night" or "you've got to hustle if you want to earn the green". Hard work is an exemplary value but when it's in the guise of wearing yourself too thin, that's where the problem lies.

Many of us are on almost 24 hours a day. I sometimes check my email first thing in the morning from the crack of my eye, even before I get out of bed. Jobs have the accessibility of being done at home in your pajamas, which is great; but not always. It means you can't switch off; so to-do lists always have tasks, meetings are always scheduled and your phone is constantly buzzing. After tending to all of them, you're left with blurry eyes, decreased focus and a full night's sleep that is more worthy of being called a nap. Most of us who work in careers that can be done remotely have experienced this at some point or another. Egged on by pseudo-motivational words on social media, we push ourselves and we try and we push ourselves even harder, just because hustling is what we're supposed to do, right? I mean, everyone else is doing it.

The challenge is knowing where to draw the line until the hustle starts affecting your personal life and health. When your phone is beeping off the hook, you can't afford to take a day off or don't have the stamina for a leisure activity, that's a telling sign that you've crossed it. As Nigel popularly said in The Devil Wears Prada, "Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. Means it's time for a promotion." Many sacrifice so much in the journey to be a part of the phenomenon known as the hustle; which is worrying. With the value of mental health growing increasingly important, it's about time that changed.

Working hard is essential but when you're doing it to compete with others, prove a point or post a motivational picture on Monday, you're doing it wrong when you should be doing it for you. The hustle is nothing more than an extremely overrated digital trend. It can make you feel invalid if your buddy is clocking in overtime on Friday night while you're out getting cocktails when you should be enjoying your evening. Create a wholesome life for yourself, not one spent running on fumes to keep up with what everyone else is doing. Hustling may go out of style but living well certainly won't.

Beauty | Society's problem with body hair

While gabbing with acquaintances recently, one took a pointed look at my exposed ankle and suggested that it was time for me to visit the salon. The reason? To her, a few stray hairs peeking from beneath my trousers meant that hot wax was a necessity. Almost immediately, I remembered the numerous instances of exposed body hair from the likes of Gigi Hadid, Madonna, Penelope Cruz and Drew Barrymore. Of course, I laughed it off but it sparked something within.

What's the problem with body hair? Nothing, really. Scientifically speaking, the functions of body hair are wondrous; other than to annoy you during summer. Body hair is meant to protect the skin, regulate the body's temperature and facilitate the evaporation of sweat. So why are we so averse to seeing it on a woman's body? That answer isn't quite as easy. Women removing their body hair dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome. Through the centuries, methods evolved and fuzz-free areas grew larger and larger. Today, almost every part of women's bodies are completely free of hair. From shaving and waxing to lasers and depilatory creams, the methods are many to achieve the same hairless result.

When you think about it, the problem with women's body hair is entirely based on how we've been conditioned. The second we see a strand, we immediately deem it unsightly, masculine and unattractive. Not because of the fact that women have just as much hair as men (okay, maybe a little less) but because we've been conditioned to think that way. Although it's deeply rooted in society and probably won't change for a long time to come, if each one of us changes the way we perceive body hair, that's a start.

By no means am I suggesting you toss your razor away and follow no-shave November like your man. Neither am I saying to strip every follicle of hair. I do and will continue to wax and shave my body hair whenever I deem necessary. But when I choose not to, that's my choice and even if it doesn't fit with society's idea of what is unsightly or attractive, that's okay. Maybe one day the generations ahead will be conditioned differently but till then, let's remember that keeping or removing body hair is a personal choice and there's absolutely nothing wrong with either of the choices.

Style Files | What 13 Reasons Why taught me about healing

Whether you didn't care enough to watch the show or couldn't stop raving about it, ever since its release in 2017, 13 Reasons Why couldn't be ignored. Amidst many warnings of it being unnecessary and too graphic, I decided to watch it last summer and found the experience a slightly uncomfortable necessity. Before I say any more, a spoiler alert is in effect as I'll be diving right into the show so expect to see sensitive material of the plot and my opinions on it.

13 Reasons Why was unlike most shows I'm used to watching. It touched upon depression, rape, substance abuse and suicide; something I barely expected from a TV show about high school students. The second season of the show released last month and got even murkier. Along with the previous premise of Hannah's very graphic suicide and her notes left via cassette tapes, the new season also depicted more bullying, mental health disorders and loss. As you'd imagine, the death of their classmate left a Hannah-shaped hole in the lives of the teens at Liberty High. But that's only the start of the turmoil going on in their lives.


Clay, the closest to Hannah, is seen to be hallucinating and even communicating with a vision of Hannah, at one time almost pulling a trigger because she won't stop talking. It's evident that Clay is heartbroken, lost and seeming to sink deeper into the dark end. He finds temporary solace in Skye, tries to right the wrongs done to Hannah and even attempts to get inked but healing is a far more complicated process. Thankfully, Clay seems to find some semblance of balance when he opens up about his love for Hannah during her eulogy where he finally accepts the grief and anger to let her go.

Jessica, Hannah's ex-friend, has her own devastating ball game going on. Besides being dragged into Hannah's trial, she is also coming to terms with her own rape. Jess coping with her situation has got to be the most heart-wrenching of them all. From the bold, bright cheerleader and part of Liberty's it couples, she turned into a quiet, scared little girl who went into a shell. Her friend Nina on the other hand, copes with things a bit differently by reaching out and taking charge of how she wants her story to be heard. Alex's failed suicide attempt was possibly the most drastic of coping mechanisms seen in the show's two seasons. It wasn't only Hannah's death that drove him to take the step but also the mix of guilt and grief that weighed on his shoulders.

There were many more characters like Zack and Tyler who were affected by the events but these stood out to me the most. Although Clay seems to have finally started moving forward, him asking for help about Hannah's manifestations would have been ideal. Because like it or not, they did affect him mentally and almost physically. Jess opens up steadily through the season, especially post the trial and falling back into old habits (i.e. Justin Foley) may be her way of doing so. Friendship, self-deprecating humour and physical therapy is what seemed to have put Alex back on track. For Nina to put her traumatic rape behind her, erasing it once and for all by burning the Polaroids seems to be her method of choice.

Healing is a funny thing. Everyone does it in their own way; sometimes that's with meditation, other times it's more destructive. That was one of the stand-out points for me on the second season of 13 Reasons Why. There was a lot more going on but how the characters cope with loss and pain play a crucial part, especially at a time when healing is key for me. Thing is, you can't put a time limit on it, imitate someone else's method or quicken the process. All you can do is create an environment that's conducive and hope for the best. To heal, the destination is far more important than the journey you take to get there.


Life | Snapshots: Summer Break 2018

My love for summer is renowned and this year, the wait for it seemed endless. The past couple of months have been physically and emotionally exhausting so the second the temperature began to rise steadily and my travel plans were confirmed, all joy broke loose. Especially if you live your whole life in the city, the smell of clean air and blissful sound of silence are a welcome change. From eating dinner under the stars to 8K treks up hills, it was heavenly to just live with the sea, sand and sky as my constant companions.

I've come back renewed, focused and peaceful, feelings I haven't felt in a long time. It's also why I haven't been present on the blog as much as I would have liked but slowly, I will get back into the swing of things. Till then, here's a look at what transpired on my summer break. Be warned: If you're in dire need of a holiday, this might not do you any good.

My happy place

Image of pink frangipani champa flowers with green leaves growing on a tree in Goa
Blooming buds, all rosy and bright, at their peak

Image of a woman's feet besides a river with small fish swimming in Goa
Afternoon solitude by the riverside

Image of a dark grey sky surrounded by clouds on top of the mountains and hills in Goa
A mountainscape dotted with grey clouds that look like something straight out of a documentary

Image of a woman wearing printed shorts going for a walk with a brown dog in Goa
Afternoon walks with a furry new companion

Image of a basket full of green mango fruit in Goa
It doesn't get any better than harvesting your own drool-worthy produce, right in your backyard

Image of lightning striking the sky during a thunderstorm while cars drive on the roads in Goa
Almost otherworldly scenes with zipping cars and strikes of lightning at night

Image of a fishing net filled with fishes and crabs freshly caught in the sea in Goa
First catch of the day, fresh out of the ocean

Image of a sunset by the sea in Goa with the sky in shades of orange, peach, purple and gold
This is one of the many reasons why I adore the sea, through and through

Image of fresh berries on the brand of a bush in Goa
Evenings spent berry-picking and eating all our day's work, almost instantly

Image of a young woman in denim shorts under a flowering tree in Goa
Absolutely overjoyed at finding flowers blooming and beautiful

Image of a vegetable vendor sitting in a market selling carrots, beetroots, capsicum and cucumbers in Goa
You can only imagine how good food tastes with produce as fresh as this

Image of a green mango fruit hanging from a mango tree in Goa
What a delight to get a glimpse of (and eat!) more mangoes than the eyes can see

Image of a boats on a beach surrounded by mountains in Goa
Quiet mornings and empty shores at beachside towns

 Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File

Hope you enjoyed the pictures as much I loved experiencing all of them. It'll be back to business on Style File soon so here's to a fabulous last few weeks of summer.

Dayle Pereira

Life | Why self love is easier said than done

Look up 'self love' on Google and you'll find trillions of tips to make it happen and affirmations to chant every morning. And why not? In the recent past, words like body positive and self image have become regular buzzwords, which all fall under the neat package that is self love. I've always been a 100 percent and more for it. I've even written about the time booty went back to being big (hah!) as well as my trials and tribulations of being petite. But did I believe every word of what I'd written? I'm afraid not.

The idea of self love is so much easier to wrap our minds around than self love itself. Who wouldn't want to wake up every morning, admire their fantastic figure and clear skin, blow a kiss to themselves in the mirror and walk out the door. The reality of it however, is very different. Remember that self image isn't just your body; it's also your skin, your hair and your every other feature on your person. And once you step into that divine bubble of self acceptance and love wholly, everything falls into place. You overflow with confidence and joy, which seeps into other aspects of your life.

But how does it start? You've tried so hard but when you see yourself looking back at your reflection, with the marks, split ends and muffin top, do you really love what you see? Or is the concept of self love making you think you do?  It's something I've struggled with for a while now. After acne reared it's ugly head in my early 20s and then further, an injury; the scars it left in its wake seemed to be stubborn guests that refused to leave. I've envied women who can look fresh-faced when they wakeup. Or the hordes of Instagram influencers who do mini reviews but have flawlessly clear complexions without a stitch of make up. I had heard the chorus of self love and even preached it but fell short when it came to practising.

The quotes about 'loving yourself for you' are easy to spurt out but to live them? Not so much. The cold, hard truth is, self love is difficult and draining; a far cry from the sunshine quotes we're so used to associating it with. A large part of that is because of how closely our self worth is tied to our physical appearance. A single pimple, a few kilos, a bad hair day and instantly, we crumble beneath it and hate what we see looking back at us. Another reason is because of how acclimated we've gotten to unrealistic beauty standards. Day in and day out, we're privy to pretty young things across social media that resemble barbie dolls with airbrushed skin, thick brows, lifted butts and miniscule waists. In the due course of time, it's natural to have our own standards distorted.

With that out of the way, will you and me wake up in the morning tomorrow and love all of the flub, scars and hairy bits? Don't kid yourself. But the silver lining is, somewhere down the line, it's possible. It may not happen next week or even a few months from now but self love is gradual and can sometimes take a lifetime. Till it kicks in, allow space for gratitude. There are millions who would do anything to be in your shoes and being thankful eases in love. Give it space to envelope you, don't be afraid to feel your feelings and be honest with body. It'll take you on the journey ahead.


Beauty | 4 Liquid Makeup And Beauty Products That Upgraded My Routine

Through the years of reviewing and featuring beauty products, I've tried and tested many of them. Regardless of whether they came in simple tubes or luxurious tubs, what's within is all that mattered. Gels, mousse, powders, creams and liquids - you name it, I've tried it and amongst them all, liquids stuck with me past the trial stage. Liquid products not only blend a lot easier, their finish tends to be higher in coverage and more pigmented, without that icky heaviness.

An image of Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser, NYX matte finish setting spray, Benefit cha cha tint and Makeup Revolution liquid illuminator in front of a peach background for a beauty review

While organising my dresser recently, I realised that my preferences have begun tilting quite a bit towards liquid products for my face. Besides my previously featured Neutrogena face wash and Cover FX custom cover drops, a few new liquid face products have found their way into my life and made me wonder how I lived without them for so long.

For comfortably clean skin

An image of Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser in a white bottle in front of a peach background for a beauty review

Let me start with the only skin care product on this list and one I keep going back to. I'm not even kidding when I say I'm on my 3rd bottle of Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser. I discovered the unassuming bottle a few years ago when I was figuring out a skin care routine during a particularly difficult acne outburst and it did just what it promised without any frills and fancies. The slippery liquid cleans without that familiar lather and dryness we're used to, softens the skin while doing so and thankfully, has no fragrance. It's also a favourite in skin care circles, no surprises there.

 For dewy skin that looks like it's kissed by an angel

An image of Makeup Revolution liquid illuminator in a rose gold bottle with a dropper in front of a peach background for a beauty review

For the past couple of years, the world has been obsessed with highlighter and admittedly, I've got swept up in it too. While my resolve has been strong enough to stick to a single trusty powder highlighter, when I wanted an overall dewiness rather than specific highlighted main points, I picked up Makeup Revolution's Liquid Highlighter. An affordable dupe of Cover FX's illuminator drops, just a few drops are enough to leave the whole face glistening. It does require quick blending with the fingers so that it doesn't look patchy and once I got the technique down pat, I've been adding it to foundation, moisturiser and even applying it directly on my cheekbones.

For makeup that lasts all day and all night

An image of NYX matte finish setting spray in a black spray bottle in front of a peach background for a beauty review

One of the greatest troubles of oily skin is the fact that makeup unfailingly melts off by midday. When I was trying to change that by searching for a makeup fixer of sorts, I came across this viral review which led me to what I needed. The NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray sprays a bit too heavily which leaves you looking like you got wet in the rain so keep it at a safe distance when spritzing. Once it dries, it fixes face and eye makeup brilliantly but in keep in mind, this also works in hand with how oily or dry your skin is. Although greasiness begun setting in 4 to 5 hours later, my makeup stayed put and has held well for a good 6 to 7 hours overall.

For a naturally flushed face

An image of Benefit cha cha tint in a shiny glass bottle with a white cap and brush in front of a peach background for a beauty review

I've become more focused on skin over makeup in the past year which has led to 'lighter is better' becoming a sort-of motto for me. This, along with the fact that summer practically begs for a natural flush, made me choose Benefit's Cha Cha Tint. I'm always wary of highly raved about products because a lot of times, they come with empty promises. But like the original Moroccan Argan Oil, this stain too lived up to every reputed review it received. Its runny formula gives the cheeks and lips a sheer hint of colour but needs quick fingers to blend, or else it looks blotchy. The kicker? It can be layered so that you can decide how pigmented you want your lips and cheeks to look.

Dayle Pereira




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