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Statement neck pieces I'm obsessing over

I don't know if you have watched Grace & Frankie - I did and I loved it. Watched a few episodes twice over. I have always liked Jane Fonda but I fell in love with Lily Tomlin a.k.a Frankie. Her character resonated with me - and so did her accessories. Boho , hippie, statement & bold. I would pause and stare for a while at most of her neck pieces and in some sense - her character inspired in me a love for bold neck pieces. I found a few online stores and I thought of sharing some of the designs that I liked here.

A still from Grace & Frankie



I particularly liked the combination of rough stones and metal - they're so bold - in fact you can wear just a pair of linen pants and a tee and throw a rough stone statement neck piece.










Some of the online stores I really liked were Havana Flamingo , David Aubrey , Afrikea , Adina Mills , Aerow Handmade. Would you wear these statement neck pieces ? Which one is your favourite ? Would love to hear your thoughts xx

Shampoo bars from Lush : Worth a try

Lush is definitely one of my favourite brands. Their soaps smell like heaven. If you have ever used any of their products - you'll agree with me. But I never got around to the idea of using a soap as a shampoo. It felt like a step backward. I mean there's a reason that most brands have liquid shampoos and not a soap to wash off grime from your hair.

A few months ago, I had coloured my hair an ombre. But that incident messed up my hair so bad. To somehow get my hair to be manageable I would run a hot iron through my hair just to look alright for that day. My hair became so dry and damaged and that I had to chop off the ends twice in just a few months.

I took a resolution this June to stop straightening or curling my hair - even if there was an important event.  I haven't yet coloured my hair after last time's debacle. My hair thankfully didn't get worse but wasn't getting better. So I started a series of different experiments. Olive oil massages. Caviar treatment. Almond oil. Virgin Coconut oil. But recently, I decided to experiment with my shampoo. I was using a colour protect shampoo - Kerastase - which is good - just not good enough for my extremely damaged hair.

A few weeks ago - I decided to try out the Lush soap/shampoo for dry and damaged hair. I had so many preconceived notions before buying it and I'll address some of them here. Inspite of it being a soap, it lathers pretty well and pretty fast. You may have used a soap shampoo to be disappointed as it didn't lather well. But the lush one works pretty well.

After one wash - my hair felt so soft. I was still not jumping the gun but I was really hopeful about this product. I have now used the soap for almost 3-4 washes and my hair is slowly getting better.

Does the soap melt all too fast?
I remember buying a soap shampoo a few years ago - but it disintegrated really fast and I was quite upset as I had spent a fortune. So while talking to the adviser at the Lush shop here, she gave me a really simple tip. Once you use the soap - you need to wash the soap - free of any lather and then dry it. This way, the soap lasts long. It probably is a 'no-brainer advice' but I'm happy the adviser gave me the simple tip.

How do you use it?
The adviser also suggested I lather the soap onto my hands and also onto my hair directly. And this has worked well. I mean I'm so happy I'm using less than half the chemicals I used to use on my hair while also noticing that my hair feels softer than before. The plus ? The mild syrupy sweet fragrance it leaves on your hair.

Which one is for dry hair?
As my hair was dry and damaged - I bought the 'Honey' shampoo which you can buy here . But you can ask the adviser what suits your hair best.

Also - it's environmentally friendly.
Buying a simple soap shampoo actually reduces the plastic pollution. I mean every time we buy a shampoo in a plastic jar - we're adding so much to our carbon footprint. These soap bars are a perfect alternative.

Would you swap your shampoo for a shampoo bar ? Also, are there any really great products that you used for your hair that helped restore the damage ? I'd love to know.

Foreign language love on Netflix.

So I watched 2 Spanish movies back to back and I absolutely loved both. What am I doing only watching English movies when Peru and Spain and Mexico are coming up with some amazing stories? The most recent movie I watched was 'How to get over a break up'. Now I know that the title is really cheesy, but the movie is really well made. All the characters are well developed, the setting is beautiful - I mean you can watch the movie just for the house, and the story is well written and it leaves you inspired.

I basically love stories based in cities around the world - that side of the world that doesn't really get a stage on Hollywood or Bollywood. This movie is based in Lima and that was enough to convince me to click on play. It's the story of 28 year old woman that goes by the name 'Fe' who gets dumped in the beginning of the movie by a guy whom she has been dating for 6 years! The movie is about her journey as she starts to understand who she truly is, and the movie shows how she goes over all the stages of a break up - the denial and the anger and the negotiation and the depression - I don't remember all the stages to be honest. We get to see some really nice characters like her friends, colleagues and her ex as well - and some of them get their own sub story.

I love how the movie ends - I can't say it wasn't expected - we all have seen enough series and movies in our lives to predict endings. But this was a great foreign language movie for me and if you are subscribed to Netflix - a must watch. Here's the link. If you want to check out some other foreign movies - you can try some of these which I watched on Netflix.

No Estoy Loca (I am not crazy) - the story of how a woman accepts and understands herself. It's a light comedy, about life, heart breaks and importantly, also about mental health. Set in Chile.

The Tribe - a story of a man who goes through a rough patch, a loss in memory and ultimately a true finding of himself. Again, it's a light, feel good drama and lots of dancing. Set in Spain.

The Red Thread - This movie started off as a light romantic drama but kept getting more deep. I don't know how I feel about this movie to be honest. I guess I lean more towards romance+comedy genre and this was mostly romance. A fateful encounter of 2 people that would start a passionate story.

And finally, a series - that is if you're looking for something longer - that I really liked was 'The hookup plan'. A French romantic-comedy drama series. The characters are all amazing and if you're looking for some fun+love in Paris - watch this one.

Hope you liked these recommendations - let me know if you have any other reccos. Have a great day.

About sleeping soundly

It had been a few months that I have been thinking of a solution to my sleeping problem. I couldn't sleep. Extremely small sounds would wake me up. Footsteps outside. Snoring. A fast car driving by (mind you we stay on the 12th floor) but still the faint sound of vehicles would keep me awake. I had sampled out simple ear plugs that you get in hardware stores. Those cost peanuts - but they don't stay in the ear properly neither do they drown out any sound.

I tried out noise cancelling Bose headphones and of course they served the purpose - but you can't really use an expensive pair of ear phones - you'll land up pretty much destroying them and after a while - they begin to hurt your ears.

I did some research and finally bought something off Souq.com - a pair of Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone ear plugs - they're a pair of 6 silicone putty moulds. They're literally moulds - soft round ones placed in an easy to carry travel case.

It's not brand new - I wanted to use the silicone ear plugs a couple of times before writing this piece - just to be sure.

They're unconventional - imagine rolling them to a soft round dough kind of thing, placing them in your ears and allowing them to take the shape of your ears. It may come across as icky to many.
Anyhow, if you can move past the unconventional bit - these plugs work real fine. They drown out the sound so beautifully - I have been sleeping quite well the last few weeks. They're sticky so you can plug them in your ears and they'll stay the night just fine. I was quite apprehensive the first couple of nights - but over a period of time, you get used to the quiet after you put them on and then you just get used to the putty moulds.

Is it safe to use and can it be reused?
It is safe to use - as long as you don't break each plug into 2 pieces so you can save some money. There are clear instructions on the box which tell you to not roll them and place them far inside your ear or to break them and use them as two instead of one. As for economy, I typically reuse the plug for 3-4 nights. The trick is to keep it in a clean and dust free place after each use. After that, it loses it's stickiness and gets dirty.

Does it actually work?
I have tried many methods to cancel the noise but these Mack's, by far, have worked best. They reduce ambient sound very well while not hurting your ear. They're quite soft and just stay put - blocking out noise.

Are they worth it?
For me, getting a good nights sleep was becoming challenging so I was willing to spend a reasonable amount. I got my 6 pairs at 25 AED / 7 USD (I got it during a sale) and that you can reuse them means the cost to block out sound comes to approx. less than 40 cents a night.

These are unlike other plugs - these are just a moulds. But it does the job. If you have had a success with a pair of ear plugs or any other method that allows you to sleep peacefully - let me know in the comments. Have a good week!

PS - This is not sponsored, I am just happy to have come across these and thought of sharing the information with you all. 

5 months off Facebook

Well before the scandal at Facebook broke out and well before Mark Zuckerberg was invited to speak (defend?) to the US senators regarding Facebook data privacy, I deactivated my profile. Honestly, I thought it would be for a week or two - like the previous times I had deactivated my profile.
But it's been 5 months. I think I was concerned about the inappropriate amount of time I spent scrolling through the timeline - often times commenting - in my head - on every single post that appeared on my feed (how narcissistic was that?)

Photo by Rawpixel
Facebook is great - but lately, I prefer a more 'pick up the phone and talk' kind of approach. I talk to lesser people than I used to. I struggle when someone asks me, 'so who all do you keep in touch with?' I can count the people on my fingers. But I have better conversations with those fewer people. And that's working for me.

Postcards from a village near Pushkar, Rajasthan

I've always wanted to go to an actual village, and on a recent trip to India - I got to experience one of the best 24 hours of my life. When you live in a big city like Dubai, the idea of silence, barren land and 'no wifi signal' fade to make sense. We live immersed in so much convenience and technology even without actually understanding it, that to see how lives are lived in small villages in the middle of the desert in India can be a heart wrenching experience. (I am not exaggerating)

Why did I choose Pushkar - and where is it? 
Pushkar is a small town a couple of hours from the capital city of Rajasthan. It is very famous for its annual camel fair - when thousands of camels from all over India are brought to this town to trade, showcase, breed etc. That's how I know about this place. I have a fascination for small towns, the community - what makes the people stay in these towns, how they earn a living, how the children think, where do they buy their every day groceries from and what kind of functions/ festivals do the people go to. The fact that there was easy access from Jaipur via the railways and that I found this amazing farmer who had a small boutique hotel (like really a tiny hut) that seemed like an experience worth having combined with the fact that I did not have a reason to travel to Pushkar; made me go to Pushkar.

It's been a while in Dubai

It’s just any other Friday evening. As the colours of the sky change from a dull indigo to a pale crimson to a beautiful midnight blue, I can see the lights come on. From where I sit, I can see the skyline of the famous Dubai Marina. The shadowy silhouette is slowly changing to a beautifully lit silhouette. I am tempted to take a bus, the F29, my lifeline, to Dubai Marina; just to walk by the water – with the many yachts parked, swaying almost negligibly, on one side and the tall rise buildings on the other side. There are residential buildings, hotels and office buildings, all shining glamorously as the designers have ensured that the steel and glass live up to their reputation of being popular modern architecture elements.

I don’t know if Dubai has ever been called the land of dreams, but for more than a million Asian and Western expats, this city has become synonymous to being called a second home. From the outside, Dubai is a perfect city – I say perfect thinking of Nadia Comaneci and her famous 10 score at the Olympics. But Dubai allows, or rather unceremoniously ignores the chaos, the tiny streets where hustlers sell their artefacts, where taxis park erroneously; surely making the visionaries of this futuristic city scratch their heads in their sleep, where an older generation – the one that came to Dubai in the 90’s – lives in buildings so old, it could remind you of a section of Mumbai’s Dadar.

Art inspiration in Dubai

Last weekend, I visited Alserkal Avenue, which is alternatively called a hub of creativity and art. I wanted to check it out for myself, see what exactly the place was all about. Even though it's October it is still hot and humid here in Dubai (I would have loved to declare that Autumn is here, but alas, not yet).

There's a lot of walking around to be done, the Avenue is a maze of warehouses, dotted neatly alongside a criss-cross of tiny lanes. Unsure of where to begin, I walked over to the A4 Space, it seemed like a popular meeting spot. The day I went, there were dozens of NYU students who had come to check out the place, like I had.

The A4 Space is a minimally designed, artsy warehouse space, with benches and chairs, plants and eclectic lighting fixtures all over. A small stairway led me to the top - where there were more couches and hundreds of books to browse through. This was only my first stop at the Avenue, and I couldn't wait to walk around (in spite of the heat).

Some photos from my visit.