Why we keep making resolutions every New Year

Depending on what kind of person you are, the advent of a spanking New Year can mean different things to you. If you look forward to it, then you're sure to be bounding with excitement at the clean slate with new planners and promises for the rest of the 12 months. If you fall on the opposite end of the spectrum, the beginning of the year and excitement surrounding it can seem unnecessary and silly, especially when it comes to making resolutions.

Come the end of December and the ritual of goal-setting is expected by almost everyone. They can be dedicated to self-improvement or additional fulfilment; there's no restriction on what a New Year's resolution can actually be. The most common one is that of getting fit, which is also why gym memberships see an increase in January every year. There's also the usual bag of eating clean, travelling more and staying motivated. They may be mentally vowed for the 12 months ahead but come February and already willpower begins dwindling. Lives start getting in the way and before you know it, it's summer, which translates to having fun in the sun, damn everything else. Before you know it, we've crossed the mid-year mark and all those resolutions we've pledged to ourselves have faded to a distant memory. Admittedly, it's a story we've lived through many times; for me especially.

Like a proper cliche, I always make resolutions every New Year. Admittedly, I've been setting similar resolutions for years now because I can't seem to see them through so it's an annual ritual, really. As cliched as it sounds, mine revolve around getting healthier, eating better and being more mindful. But year after year, why does the rest of the world and me insist on making resolutions we probably won't pay heed to in another month?

You could argue it's because we consider it unfinished business from the previous year. The missed workouts, skipped salads and unnecessary clothes with their tags still on are guilty reminders of our failures in the past year; which we try to rectify desperately.

Or it could be because every New Year is a beacon of hope. It's a crazy, frustrating, sometimes fulfilling and often unfair world we live in. Ever single day, there are calamities and tragedies; sometimes personal, sometimes in the world at large. I don't mean to sound depressing, just realistic. So when a brand New Year rolls around, everyone wants something to work towards, a goal that's bright and shiny; basically something positive to look forward to. Sure it's idealistic but hey, we're human.

So we waltz into each New Year, bright eyed and fresh faced. We repeat it with regularity like an annual tradition regardless of the results, brimming with hope, excitement and anticipation of what could be.

xo Dayle

Life | 7 things I won't be getting enough of even in 2019

The end of a year means two things; looking ahead at what's to come and looking back at the year that was. It has been a memorable year but I'm not here with a think piece on setting resolutions and pressing replay on its best moments.
What I'm here for is a round-up of the best items I've used in 2018 which are good enough to take with me to 2019. Through my job and ever-willing spirit to try something new, I've experienced a plethora of makeup, skin and lifestyle products. While most have been good, a select few have gone on to outshine the rest. These are 7 things I've enjoyed using this year which delivered amazing results and ones I'll definitely be using more in 2019.

1. Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer

At the start of the year, I decided that it wasn't worth spending hours applying makeup if the base beneath didn't stay put. After a few samplings, I settled on the Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer. It goes on as a super soft formula that gives a powdery-blurry finish. For oily skin like mine, it has worked wonderfully to hold makeup firmly in place, even on the greasiest areas like the lids and cheeks. It's pricey but you only end up using a smidgen for each application. My only regret is purchasing the pore minimizing variant, which I got talked into buying by the store person even though pores aren't a concern of mine, oiliness is. You can purchase the Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer for Rs 3100 for 30ml.

2. Fitbit Versa

Frequent visitors on Style File may remember that my Fitbit journey began more than 2 years ago and has only been getting stronger. Through the years, I've upgraded models, sported various straps and always found the brand's customer service to be the finest I've ever dealt with. This year, my loyalty and adoration went a step further when I bought the Fitbit Versa. It satisfied my itch for a smart watch that paired sleekly with all my outfits. As this isn't a tech review, I'm not dwelling on specs but in a nutshell, it's the simplicity and beauty of tracking my runs, sleep cycle and even the weather on my wrist that makes this a winner. You can purchase the Fitbit Versa Smart Watch for Rs 21,999.

3.  L'Oreal Series Expert Liss Unlimited Masque

After a great salon treatment this year, I tried to replicate the results at home with the L'Oreal Series Expert Liss Unlimited Masque. The thick shimmery paste is to be applied on damp hair and needs only a few minutes to sink into the cuticle. I leave it for a tad longer to thoroughly penetrate the hair shaft. Even with consistent care, thick hair like mine tends to get rough and dry. This mask is a great fix with results and an incredible scent that lasts for days. You can purchase the L'Oreal Series Expert Liss Unlimited Masque for Rs 780 for 250ml.

4.  Plum Skin Clarifying Concentrate

After unsatisfying results from a clarifying potion by an award-winning beauty brand that cost thousands, I was wary about products with similar claims. When Plum sent this one across, my hesitation was natural but short-lived when I actually began using it. As someone who has experienced the ravaging effect acne can have on one's skin (versus someone with already clear skin), I witnessed the Plum Green Tea Skin Clarifying Concentrate working wonderfully on my skin. It has a lightweight formula, doesn't irritate the skin and showed an improvement on dark spots and dullness over continuous usage over a month or two. If the almost-empty bottle pictured above isn't proof enough, I don't know what is. You can purchase the Plum Skin Clarifying Concentrate for Rs 1,175 for 30ml.

5.  Foreo Luna Mini 2 Skin Cleansing Device

Skin cleansing gadgets have always fallen in the 'will they, won't they' category for me. As in, will they actually do more than a face scrub or won't they be an expensive purchase that doesn't yield results. When the brand sent me the Foreo Luna Mini 2 Skin Cleansing Device all the way from their international HQ, I arrived at my verdict. You can find my in-depth review on NDTV Lifestyle but simply put, it gives my face a deeper, more hygienic cleanse without traditional bristles, hasn't troubled my skin and left it smoother and softer from the first use itself. With a steep price, it's definitely a skin care investment but one which I now can't do a day without. You can purchase the Foreo Luna Mini 2 Skin Cleansing Device for Rs 14,430.

6. Aroma Magic Lavender Essential Oil

After adoring the fragrance of lavender scented beauty products, I went a step ahead and added the Aroma Magic Lavender Essential Oil to my routine. Known for its various skin and wellness benefits, this little bottle has a neat dispenser and doesn't break the bank. Even a drop or two is enough for a relaxing whiff and has found itself in many of my masks and hair packs. You can purchase the Aroma Magic Lavender Essential Oil for Rs 300 for 20 ml.

7. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 10th Gen

As a child, I spent many summers poured over ghost stories and mystery novels. Unfortunately, it's a habit I fell out of as an adult and never picked it back up because of how hassling it can be to purchase books and lug around paperbacks. So the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-book Reader seemed like a natural choice for me. I purchased the newest edition of the reader which is waterproof, thinner and lighter with a backlight and slowly but steadily, I've found myself picking up the habit again. I'm no reading purist so I didn't miss the feel of paper between my fingers.  The ease of finding books at my fingertips and reading in the dark before I sleep without straining my eyes has made this a clear winner for me. You can purchase the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 10th Gen for Rs 12,999.

On a separate note; for those who have noticed, I haven't been posting much on Style File and even when I have, the tone and nature of my posts have changed significantly. It's a deliberate choice that I've made for the blog; not only to explore my skill and thought process more but also because content about pretty outfits and new launches have kind-of reached peak saturation in the current digital climate. My intention when starting Style File almost 8 years ago was to write about what mattered to me, regardless of whether it got me followers or went viral. As I slowly get back to more regularity on Style File while balancing my job and the rest of my life, I'd like to thank you for reading what I have to say. Every single reader matters to me and I'm glad to have you on my journey.

Cheers to a year that I don't think I could possibly forget and to the one that is to come!

xo Dayle 

Style Files | The big Bollywood wedding has never been more private

The clock struck 7. Me, and almost everyone in India (and the world, to be honest) who has even the slightest interest in Bollywood glanced anxiously at their home screens. A few refreshes later, it arrived. And by that I mean, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh's first official photos as a married couple. After years of shipping and weeks of waiting, it wasn't a surprise that the coveted pictures went viral within seconds. But why? Marriages happen every day; even in the celebrity world. So what made this one so special? Apart from the fact that they are currently India's most loved celebrity couple, what further heightened the anticipation was that most of the affair was kept under wraps.

Illustration by Leo Alemao / Style File

Last December, Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli made a quiet escape to Italy and returned as a married couple with the only intimation being pastel toned Sabyasachi clad wedding pictures on Instagram. This year started off rather differently in Bollywood with updates of Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja's summer wedding being readily shared online. But days later, maybe Neha Dhupia's surprise wedding to Angad Bedi should have been a telling sign that the secret shaadi was here to stay. Even Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas' union, which saw numerous ceremonies marrying Eastern and Western rituals, came to life in a select spread in People Magazine.

For as long as I can remember, celebrity weddings in both Bollywood and Hollywood have had a reputation for being glitzy, larger-than-life and most notably, public. In 2012, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor's regal wedding spanned across days with the country's finest in attendance. Two years later, Kim Kardashian married Kanye West in a lavish Italian wedding that included multiple designer gowns, a flower wall and 7 tier cake, all of which costed cool millions. In what could be considered a parallel universe, many quieter celebrity weddings have taken place since then. Lisa Haydon's 2016 hushed wedding to Dino Lalvani as well as Preity Zinta's vows to Gene Goodenough in the same year are proof. So was the surprising hush-hush marriage of Justin Beiber and Hailey Baldwin that took place months ago.

It looks like Bollywood took a note out of their book to make their weddings incredibly opulent and luxurious but even more private. On one hand; exotic locations that have only been seen in movies, couture crafted by the world's most talented designers and close pals staying in posh suites. On the other handthe one which we can seea handful of pictures on social media that look like something out of a magazine. It's resplendent and magnificent and we're privy to only as much as they choose to show us. No paps or livecasts; just pictures that are worthy of being turned into a coffee table book.

By no means is this a grouse or complaint; just commentary on the shift of the big celebrity wedding in Bollywood. The paparazzi may be unhappy with the trickle of precious wedding content and so may be the rest of the media. But at the end of it, the celebrity couples are making their wedding their own and driving up their following, who keep hitting refresh. Now all that's left is the anticipatory wait to see if the trend continues. That all starts by checking your mailbox to see if the next wedding invite has arrived.

x Dayle

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.





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