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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.

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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.

xo
Dayle

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.

xo
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.

xo
Dayle

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.

xo
Dayle Pereira

DIY | How to wax your body hair at home

I've been waxing for years now but the realisation that majority of people don't do it themselves hit me only recently. While a sudden dinner date makes me reach out for my razor; when I have the chance to plan my schedule, waxing is my hair removal method of choice. Agreed, it's painful to the extent that I've had tears well up after the strip was pulled but the advantages exceed it - it removes hair right from the root, results last so much longer and it even removes dead cells on the skin's surface.

After many salon trips in my teens ended up with me getting bumpy patches and improper regrowth on my somewhat sensitive skin, I decided to take things into my own hands. At first, it seemed daunting to wax my own body hair but years later, I'm glad I started. A number of benefits came along with waxing my body hair at home: I could adjust the dreadfully hot wax temperature as per my liking, pull the strip according to the right direction of my hair, do it as often as I liked, maintain my own standards of hygiene since it wasn't a mass salon for hundreds of women, wouldn't have to face the judgement of the parlour ladies and most importantly, I could save a ton of money doing it myself.

A flatlay image of honey like hot wax in a metal tin along with a metal applicator on a white background


I've been waxing myself for at least 3 years and except for the unforeseen times I've needed quick hair removal with my razor, I've kept going back to my little salon set-up. If you'd like to take the resourceful route and save a whole lot of money every month by waxing your own body hair at home, this post is meant for you as I go through the steps to wax, tools you need and precautions to take.

An image of a blue wax heater filled with yellow hot wax and disposable waxing strips with a metal applicator on a white background


What you need:
When waxing at home, you only need a few purchases that last for multiple waxing sessions.
1. Automatic wax heater
I have a Clairol automatic wax heater which doesn't seem to be available online but there are plenty of alternatives available on Amazon. When making this one-time purchase, make sure it's sturdy with no exposed wiring, has an automatic cut-off which turns off when the wax is hot enough and a medium size since no one needs an industrial size metal bowl for a single person waxing.

2. Hot wax
Just simple unflavoured hot wax does the job of hair removal efficiently. In the attempt to see if flavoured hot wax like fruit and aloe vera wax removes hair better, I've even tried them. But apart from a strong synthetic fragrance, I didn't find any difference between them. Store hot wax in a cool place and make sure it never comes in contact with water.

3. Disposable waxing strips
Basic disposable strips that can be used on either side are enough. Don't mistake them for ready-to-use strips though. Keep a few packets on hand because you can never tell when you will run out.

4. Applicator
A flat metal applicator without sharp ends is ideal, I use an old blunt butter applicator. Never use a plastic applicator as it will melt.

How to wax:
Now on to the actual waxing process.
Step 1 - Use your applicator to put 3 to 4 tablespoons of hot wax into the heater, turn it on and leave it to heat. Ensure the room has no running fan, air-conditioning or direct breeze as that'll restrict the wax from reaching its melting point.

Step 2 - Once you find the hot wax has reached a thick liquid state and resembles honey, take a small quantity with your applicator, blow on it for 2 or 3 seconds and apply it on the skin directly in the direction of your hair.

Step 3 - Quickly place a wax strip over the applied area and press it firmly down. Hold an end section of the strip as a handle and pull it off in one swift motion in the opposite direction of your hair growth.

An image of sleek hot wax in a metal tin with a metal applicator on a white background


That's literally all there is to it. Once you get used to the motions, you'll wonder why you ever went to the parlour for something so easy.

That being said, it's important to keep a few points in mind when waxing, especially if you're a hot wax newbie so here's a little of what I've learned from my experience.
1. Blow on the wax before you apply it. Regardless if you're used to the temperature, the heat always tends to sting.

2. Rather than doing large areas of the body, start with small patches of 3 to 4 inches and keep an eye out for hair growth directions when applying.

3. While it's fairly easy waxing hair on the limbs, for more sensitive areas where the skin is thinner like the face and pubic area, it's best left to a professional.

4.  If a few stubborn strands of hair refuse to come out, don't go over it immediately as that will only irritate it further. Let the redness subsides, wash off the excess wax, dry it and retry.

Now go on and keep your next weekend aside for a self-waxing session rather than checking in at the parlour.

xo
Dayle

Life | 8 self-care practices that I've added to my routine

Call me cliched but the start of the year always leaves me reflecting on the one that was. I've yammered on about 2017 being incredibly rewarding but it wasn't without its share of lows. While it's only human to pretend everything was rosy; especially on social media, life doesn't work like that - at least mine certainly doesn't.

With its good and bad, the silver lining was that I learned how far I could go and what I needed to reach there. I was thrust into many unfamiliar situations ranging from infuriating to just-leave-me-to-curl-in-a-ball. Most showed me that I really could do it, while every now and again, some showed me that I couldn't and that was okay.

In times like those, just shutting down my laptop and focusing on me helped greatly. Especially when I grappled with anxiety or got overwhelmed, a few practices saw me through. I didn't know it back then but they're called self-care habits, because well, they're meant to care for oneself. Besides just that, self-care soothes the senses, boosts confidence and deviates one mind from the problem at hand. Here are 8 of them I've started practising, which are now a regular part of my daily routine.

An image of hands holding beauty products, St Ives apricot scrub, Cover FX custom cover drops and colourpop highlighter as part of her self care


1. Night time routine

I've slathered on moisturiser and sunscreen since my teens but I really got into a night time routine over the past year. For an article I was researching on Korean beauty, I came across the statement that Koreans look at their skin care routine as a mini-pamper sesssion, not the 'lets get this done with' attitude we often have. That changed the way I looked at my night routine. Once I'm completely clean and dry, I get into applying eye cream, moisturiser and prescription creams, all slowly and gently, to make it as relaxing as possible.

2. Waking up early

I'm terribly guilty of having an erratic night schedule. On some days, it's lights off before midnight and on other days, I'm scrolling through Instagram at 2 am. Together, all of that makes doing anything in the morning unbearable. Once I started slowly winding down in the night, waking up was easier, which made the rest of my day more manageable.

3. Meal prep

Sounds weird, I know but I've found that readying my meal for the next day also has a calming effect on me. I'm lucky enough to eat my Mom's home-cooked meals but prepping and packing a side salad, fruit, a snack and water in my bag the night before makes me feel a little more prepared about the next day.

An image of a young woman with straight hair and eye makeup applying coloured eyeliner as part of her self care

4. Outfit planning

You've surely read this elsewhere as a life hack to avoid a rushed morning and I couldn't agree more. Besides cutting down on time tremendously in the mornings, picking out my clothes and ironing them for the next day saves plenty of time and also makes me feel less scattered about what's ahead tomorrow.

5. Exercise without electronics

When I saw almost everyone on my morning workout with headphones in, I realised how beneficial it is to exercise without a phone or iPod, only my FitBit. Not being distracted by a phone means I'm observing my surrounding, hear the birds chirping and can hear my breath. Also, exercise overall is self-care magic. There's a world of difference on days I workout in the mornings versus ones I don't - my head is noticeably clearer, I'm so much more energetic and I get the most peaceful sleep at night.

6. Step away

From the time I wake up in the morning to when I'm home from work, I'm either checking emails, writing or listening to music. While I can't stop most of that, I try and step away from my desk when possible. Every hour or two, I go outside for a quick walk, take in the view on the terrace or sit in the sun on a bench outside. Unplugging gives your brain a break and while that's not always possible with a 2 week beach vacation, mini breaks like these help a great deal.

A 360 degree image of a beach landscape with coconut trees, sand, shore, water and boats


7. Take the day off

Since I'm barely at home during the week, I like taking one day off solely for myself, which usually is Sunday. Sundays are for me-time, which is the best kind of self-care. No matter how busy the week is, on Sundays I'm camped in my PJs organising my closet, scheduling blog work and cleaning the house. When I'm done with all that, I use the rest of the day to catch up on TV shows while looking my finest; with a face mask and hair pack. Sometimes, I even fit in an at-home pedicure and movie night so by the end of the weekend, I'm rested and ready to take on the world.

8. Always grateful

Last year really taught me the value of gratitude and how easy it is to take all of it for granted. That's why this year, I'm making an effort to be more conscious of what I'm going through and be thankful for every minute of it, good and bad. Even when you're down in the dumps, taking a step back makes you realise how small your problems really can be and how lucky you are to even be a living and breathing at this moment.

Many of these self-care practices may seem simple enough but that's exactly what makes them so easy to fit into your routine. They've helped me a great deal in overcoming difficulty and dealing with anxiety and I hope they do the same for you too.

xo
Dayle 

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