Life | I left my heart by the sea

It's safe to say that I love the sea. I've mentioned it time and again, to the extent that you've probably wondered if I'm on a coastal management board on the side. Well no I'm not, although that does sound nice. I've shot posts by the seaside, I've watched it while dining under the stars and even been inspired by it when all I could see were waves from afar.
A video gif image of ripples and waves flowing in the sea with sand below and sunshine above

Although I now make a mandatory trip (or two) to the sun-kissed beaches when I'm back home, I didn't always feel the same way. Owing to a few wave-washed tumbles during my toddler years, I've been told that I refused to even step inside the water! With such contradictory feelings being experienced over the years, I've always tried to pin-point where my sentiments changed so drastically and how the adoration washed (hah!) over me but, to no avail. All I know is that it happened like Hazel Grace and Gus' sappy romance; slowly and then all at once.

An image of a woman standing on the shoreline of the beach in the sand as the waves of the sea touch her feet

I don't believe that questioning its origin will help me find answers. I mean, we've all had absolutely irrational crushes or weird clothing stains that appear without prior notice. Some questions have no answers so all you have to do is accept their occurrence. Same with my sea struck affair. Like a whirlwind romance, I didn't know where it began and why, all I knew was that I had to savour every second of it.

And so it began. Picnics on the sand, straight out of an Enid Blyton novel. Soaking up the waves, even before eating breakfast. Midnight walks on the seashore with the only audible sound being the waves crashing against the rocks. A large chunk of both, my camera roll and long term memory have been formed there.

An image of waves in motion hitting the rocks in the sea surrounded by trees and sand at the beach

 Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File

But it isn't just a few pleasant memories that carved the sea into my being - it was also what I learnt from it. I learnt that salt water, be it tears or crashing waves, heals all wounds. Just like a glimmer of sunshine and calm water after a night of rocky waves, I learnt that a new day always brings new hope. I also cannot deny the fact that no beauty product has ever been able to give me the beachy waves that a morning soak in the sea can. A happy place is a wonderful thing. Some find it in a designer store, others in a corner office. Mine is on a sand bank, with the approaching waves caressing my toes.


Personal Style | Prima Ballerina

Cultivating your sense of style is extremely personal; something like discovering your favourite type of wine. You may have to step out of your comfort zone and depend on good pairings but when you find your fit, you'll wonder how you lived so long without it. It's funny how similar my realisation of a crisp glass of white wine being my spirit animal was to my journey of finding my personal style. To my good fortune, Style File was born during my prime experimental years. While it's always nice to see where my sartorial tastes came from, it can also be proof of a train wreck of an outfit.

Fresh from the years when Serena Van Der Woodsen and her brat pack ruled the Upper East Side, my teens were a time when I brought out my rare bohemian side. Fortunately for everyone surrounding me, it transitioned when I began my first big girl job at a fashion magazine where I thought I'd want to wear pencil skirts and top buns for the rest of my life. That faded shortly and soon enough, in the midst of trial and error resembling Macklemore and imitating Audrey, I realised that my style was more about me and less about the world. It wasn't in a high street store window or a hot trend off the runway. It was all me.

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of Indian fashion blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, collar necklace and highlighted skin

Image of Indian fashion blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, collar necklace and highlighted skin
Image of Indian fashion blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, collar necklace and highlighted skin

Marks & Spencer plaid shirt | H&M glitter tulle skirt | Zara red pumps [previously seen here] | Accessorize mini messenger bag [previously seen here] | Forever 21 sunglasses | Accessorize necklace | L'Oreal Paris Pure Reds lipstick in 'Pure Scarleto' [review here] | OPI nail varnish in 'Ink'

Photography: Leo Alemao / Style File

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

I soon discovered that my style falls somewhere in between a dainty ballerina, yoga fanatic and preppy cheerleader. Like the fresh intermingling of flavours in a glass of Chardonnay, my personal style too has grown into a blend of femininity, minimalism and refinement. It may have taken a few years, but it finally evolved into that of a post-show prima ballerina; girly without being frothy, chic without being extravagant, athletic without looking like an gym trainer.

This look is an extension of it. Polished plaid contrasts magically with frilly tulle and is tied together with a collared necklace and chunky sunglasses. For the makeup, I couldn't see past a classic red lip and highlighter that is poppin'! I gave the underliner eye makeup trend a try which gave the eyes a hint of colour without taking away from the look. Personal style can be conflicting, ridiculous and brilliant at the same time; all you have to do is listen to it.


Beauty | Why oil is my hair and skin saviour this season

With its soaring popularity in recent times, oil has come to be a new-age beauty fix of some kind. From the rose gold speckled elixir that's spotted all over Instagram to the celebrity favoured dark Josie Maran bottle, it seems like a dressing table is incomplete without a beauty oil on it. From applying it as a serum to moisturising one's lips prior to swiping on liquid lipstick, there isn't a single beauty addict who hasn't experienced oil in their hair or skin care routine, in some way or another.

Image of a woman's hands holding the Moroccan Oil Treatment Original bottle, L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection Micellar Water and Johnson's Baby Oil against a brown background in sunlight

So how did the human population decide to suddenly bestow oil with a badge of honour as a fixer of frizzy hair and moisturiser of dry skin? Well, for one it isn't a modern discovery at all. Back in ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is said to  have favoured olive and sesame oil. From my own experience as an Indian woman, oil being used in beauty treatments is far from new. In fact, my earliest memory of it is from head massages with coconut oil during my school days, which was enough to leave me mellowed and relaxed for the rest of the day. As per Indian tradition, even new mothers and their babies receive oil massages to stimulate their blood circulation and firm their skin.

Image of a coconut speaking about uses of coconut oil humourously in a beauty meme

The revival of beauty oil is one I saw coming. So the recent popularity of the liquid in beauty; be it as a massager, an oil pulling base or a moisturiser, made me happy to see the industry go back to its roots. Even with an oily skin type and scalp, the substance has been a permanent part of my beauty routine, whether it's on trend or not. As I consider myself an OG oil obsessor of sorts, today I'm telling you about my favourite hair and beauty oils plus how my adoration for them began.

Image of a woman's hands holding a Johnson's Baby Oil bottle against a brown background in sunlight

As with most babies, my connection with Johnson's began at infancy with their creamy soaps and comforting lotions . Little did I know, decades later I'd be going back to where it all began, albeit for a different skin of skin care. Since my skin type is generally oily, moisturising is an area that I can sometimes afford to cut some slack in because sebum has my back. So it was unprecedented one winter, when I noticed that my limbs were dry and flaky. While lotion is something I procrastinate with using until I step outside, I zeroed in on Johnson's Baby Oil to moisturise my skin through the night without leaving me sticky. All it took were a few applications to find that the lightweight baby oil left my skin supple, shiny and as fragrant as a new born!

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm a whole hearted supporter of coconut oil and for that, I'm eternally grateful to my grandmother and mother for always having a bottle on hand. While my love affair with it began in childhood, it bloomed when I hit adulthood. Lip scrub? Add a little brown sugar to it and scrub away. Spa day? Nothing like my favourite head massage to top it off. In the past few years, I've also trusted the pure handmade oil as a make up remover for my oily, sensitive skin. After trying scores of dual phased removers, till date there's nothing that melts even the most high coverage make up like my favourite coconut oil.

Image of the Moroccan Oil Treatment Original bottle against a brown background in sunlight

Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File

If the inclusion of micellar water seems like an odd fit to this list, let me explain. By definition, micelles are oil cleansing molecules which form the gentle substance by attracting impurities and drawing them out of the skin. The L'Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Water seemed like the natural choice for my sensitive skin and I couldn't have been more right! It leaves the skin fresh after easily cleansing away make up, sits lightly on the face when used as a toner and doesn't feel greasy or harsh for a second.

Possibly the most renowned hair oil out there, I first discovered MorrocanOil Treatment Original at the Taj Salon. At first I wrote it off as one of those overrated beauty products that people buy because of the hype but it was only until I tried it that I realised how wrong I was. Other than leaving the hair with a delectable fragrance, this Argan Oil infused wonder soothes frizz in a jiffy, adds a glossy finish and leaves hair so smooth, you'll want to keep running your fingers through it. If there's only one review you trust, make it this one because the MorrocanOil Treatment is the hair oil, serum and styling potion that good hair days are made off. 


Personal Style | Daily diary: edition 3

The more attention I pay to my daily dressing, the more I realise the effort that goes into it. As I work in an office environment and meet people constantly, I realised that I can't just throw on the first thing I feel like. Those sweat pants and tank tops just have to wait until the weekend. Also, unlike an outfit shoot for Style File, there's more activity involved. And by activity, I mean real life - schlepping it in the train, walking to the station and sweating in the sun. With that kind of busyness, there's no time to teeter in high heels, wear an impractical dress or flaunt a full face of makeup. Every woman who steps out every morning will know it to be true.

Image of fashion blogger's outfit in frames on black and white background with text of what I wore

But that's the beauty of daily dressing - it is real and relatable. It can withstand the searing sun, streams of sweat, plenty of walking and still ensure you look groomed. And while it may not be as glamourous or airbrushed as a shoot, it's realistic and practical. In the 3rd edition of my daily diaries, here's how I keep it real.

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing printed plimsols and tote bag with neon crop top and white skinny jeans

Possibly the boldest look I've worn in ages, I wore this merger of print mixing and colour blocking to a previous Lakmé Fashion Week edition. The location made blending into the crowd easier and actually turned out to be very comfortable!
{Crop top previously seen here}

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing grey polka dot dress with black accessories, sunglasses and pink lipstick

Give me a sun dress with my favourite print on it and I'm sold! Since my blue FitBit has been my recent obsession, expect it to peek through in future outfits too. Minimal accessories and a pink lip were all I needed for a Sunday lunch.

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing off shoulder blouse, shorts and fur charm on transparent sling bag with reflectve sunglasses

The absolute joy you can see on my face is all because this was my first day of vacation back home. It was the most wonderful time, where all I did was relax and take in the sunshine - hence the off shoulders and sliders.
{Tutorial for DIY transparent bag here}

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing high waist trousers, black pumps and sheer polka dot blouse with a bob haircut

After demolishing a season of Goliath in a single weekend, it was bound to inspire me in the week ahead. So when I had to attend a formal 'do; I, obviously, channelled my inner Callie Senate and paired my freshly cropped hair with high waist trousers and a sheer blouse.
{Polka dot sheer blouse previously seen here}

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing a little black dress, gold shoes and denim jacket and black satchel bag

This has got to be one of my favourite looks in recent times mainly because of its chic yet casual vibe, which is very me. While I kept the palette in black and gold, the denim jacket and red lip definitely added a cool girl edge.
{Denim jacket previously seen here}


Style Files | A beginner's guide to acing a fashion job interview

After endless phone calls and bated breath, you've finally managed to bag an interview with the publication/design studio/fashion designer you've only dreamed of working with. So you imagine yourself sashaying through the door, looking fabulous from top to toe, charming the CEO in five minutes flat and being told that you're hired instantly. Because that's probably how fashion interviews work, right? Wrong.

An image of a black givenchy handbag on a wooden table along with a money plant, starbucks coffee, note book and pen

During my job application process, I repeatedly heard how easy fashion interviews must be because 'you just have to be well-dressed' or how 'it's so much easier compared to a real interview'. Multiple interviews and jobs later, those words couldn't be any further from the truth. Like any other interview in hospitality, I.T. or management, fashion interviews are expansive and gruelling. My previous beginner's guide spoke how you can get a foothold in the industry so this edition is the next step to actualise your fashion dreams. If you've finally cinched that coveted interview, you already know how important it is to nail it. That's now possible with a little help from the collective wisdom I've learned through the years.

a gif video of a bird appearing for a job interview with desirable qualities and then being hired
Prep steps

Congratulations, you got the interview! Now all that's left is to turn it into a job. For that, being prepared is top priority. I've previously spoken about how I generally like to put my best foot forward. To do that in an interview, I compile a list of probable questions that could be asked to help me stay one step ahead of the game. Read up on the current affairs of the industry as well as on the happenings of the company you are interviewing with. Look up the location on Google Maps a day prior and estimate your travel time so that on the d-day, you won't be late or lost in an alley.

Interview baggage

In all likelihood, you won't be walking into the interview arms a-swinging because you'll need to carry your necessary tools and paper work. Prior to the day, find out from HR what documentation you need and carry it on A4 sized colour prints. If you're showing your interviewer a soft copy of your work, carry it on a pen drive with your laptop because you never know if you'll have access to one. The trick to staying calm in the final minutes before the interview is to go completely prepared for any eventuality so that nothing can possibly fluster you.

An image of a young woman wearing white crochet and maroon corduroy pants, leather tote handbag and loafers in front of wooden gate

Appearance is key

Thankfully, fashion is a fairly lenient industry when it comes to dressing so restricting yourself to a white shirt and black trousers isn't necessary. Your appearance is an area where you can allow your personality to shine through - in limits of course. Depending on the dress code of the office (another point to ask your HR personnel about), it's safe to wear formal clothing or smart casuals. This could be well-fitted trousers in dark tones, delicate printed shirts, midi skirts in muted tones and pastel shift dresses. Avoid heels completely - this is an interview, not a Friday night at the club. Instead, ballet flats or minimal sandals should do the trick. For your make up, opt for light skin coverage, a simple swipe of eye liner, a mauve toned lip and groomed, light coloured nails.

Interview etiquette

You know how they say that first impressions are the last impressions? Well, it's highly applicable to your interview. The very first time you meet the interviewer could be just the time for you to create an impact and get hired. From the second you walk into the door, be on your best behaviour. Wait patiently in the lobby, no matter how long it takes without getting disgruntled. Hold doors open for others and seat yourself properly. Switch your phone on silent and tuck it away in your hand bag. Remember everything you've learned about saying please, thank you and sorry because courtesy will hold you in good steed, during your interview and in life too.

An image of motivational girl boss quote in black over a pink water colour background

Photography: Leo Alemao / Style File

The moment of truth

You've finally entered a spacey conference room with swinging glass doors. You've made it to this point with a cheerful demeanour and no untoward incident whatsoever. This is it - the tipping point that could open every door you've ever wanted. So start with a polite smile and firm hand shake to open the conversation on a pleasant note. Maintain a healthy balance of eye contact, without verging on creepy. When asked for an introduction, speak about your education, previous work places and relevant assignments. In a first interview, expect to be the one doing most of the talking. In the second and third one onwards, you can discuss details of allowances, salaries and leave days. Lastly, while I have stressed on the importance of being knowledgeable, it deserves to be doubly highlighted. There's absolutely no substitute for being well-read, which is bound to start your journey on the right foot.

So if you're heading for a fashion interview, I wish you a tonne of luck and hope my experience helps you bag the job of your dreams.


Beauty | My resolutions for 2017

While it may get more over-hyped each time around, there's something so exciting about a new year. Just like my enchantment for beginnings, I'm a happy clam when the 1st of January rolls around. Remember what it felt like to write on the first page of a new notebook? Or when your car still had that delightful 'new car' smell? That's what the start of the year feels like to me. While savouring the novelty of the new year, penning down a resolution or two is not beyond me. Of course, I struggle to keep them alive shortly after but that doesn't make the process any less exciting.

My resolutions have always hovered around exercise and sleep (or the lack of them) but I knew that in 2017, I wanted to try for more than just squats and 8 hours of snooze time. As a beauty editor during the day and a blogger by night, reviewing lipsticks and researching hormonal functions have become second nature to me. So while walking fiercely into the year, I've decided to dedicate a few of my resolutions solely to that of make-up, hair and what I hope for my beauty routine in the next 365 days ahead.

Woman smiles while wearing cat eye sunglasses with red lips, layered gold necklace and red strapless dress

Find my right fit

A good make-up routine is akin to pair of blue denims. One size doesn't fit all, it needs numerous trial room visits and the reliable ol' staples are always there when you need a back-up option. Apart from my dual jobs, I'm also a beauty enthusiast, which means I'm always trying new and sometimes not so exciting things. As I work my way through new launches; in 2017, I'd like to find my beauty footing. Like a good pair of skinny jeans, I'd like to add to my collection of reliable bottles that fit my skin type which I can bank upon.

Quote by author roald dahl about smiling, sun shine and positivity

Gorgeous, inside and out

I've learned more and more through the years that even the fanciest brushes and luxury creams cannot do for your face what a good heart can. As cliched as it may be, I'm a big believer in your body reflecting what's on the inside. So if you are a genuinely good person who is happy, kind and positive - it will show instantly. Apart from just its beauty implications, the world definitely needs more people like that. So this year, keeping my heart and soul open for new experiences is at the top of my list.

Image of a woman wearing a black flat rimmed hat over short hair with a strap blouse

 Care comes first

Maybe its because of an exceptionally busy week, back-to-back occasions or even just laziness, sometimes I forget to give my hair its due nourishment. No, I'm not talking shampooing and conditioning which makes its appearance every night - it is hot oiling, clarifying my scalp and applying a hair mask that I'm on about. After the cycle of styling and sun exposure, I can feel my hair parched and craving a long sip of hydration. To finally put hair care before hair styling, my 2017 is going to see my tresses getting much more nourishment.

Image of Rimmel cosmetics scandaleyes show off mascara and mascara wand in front of a bright green background

Leaving black behind

The first make-up technique I learned during my school days was applying kajal to my lash line for a smouldering eye make-up look. While I've grown into cat eyes and fluttery lashes since then, I've always turned to jet black for just about any look. This year, I plan to change that by finally dipping into the blues, coppers and emeralds which lie within my dresser. While so many coloured shadows and liner have remained nothing more than props, this year I'm going to wean myself off black and pick up the champagne toned eye pencil instead.

Image of a woman wearing silvery smokey eye makeup and fluttery lashes with a nude frost lipstick and graduated bob hairstyle on a silver glitter dress in front a Christmas tree

Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File
Skincare > Make-up

In the quest for a flawlessly made-up face, there's more collateral damage than I'd like to admit. This translates to a heap of unsuitable foundations and concealers in the wrong shade that lie in beauty purgatory somewhere on my dresser. It was during this journey I learned that if you've got good skin to begin with, facial make-up serves merely as an enhancer and not a base. While I've had issues with my skin (a story which I'll save for another day), I've begun hammering them out and putting skin care at the top of my list of beauty priorities.




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