Friday, May 23, 2014

Hair Chronicle - Tryst with Sunsilk Recharge

Well that is how protective and obsessed I am with my Hair!

Chronicles of My Hair and Me just never end. I love my hair, I am obsessed with protecting it in all the ways I can and you can totally call me a Hair-Narcissist because that is who I am. My hair has always been compared to My Mom’s Tresses, which by the way were far more lustrous and healthy than mine are right now *jealous me*. So in order to trump my Mom in this case I must have tried every product that is set out in market with a promise to make my hair stronger and shinier. Imagine my horror when I recently realized my experiment platter contained Parabens. Wondering what they are and why am I scared of something that sounds like some Gujrati Aunt? Well Paraben is not my aunt but they are chemical compounds of para-hydroxyl benzoic acid that disrupt our endocrine system and make our body prone to cancerous tumors caused do to endocrine enzymes. For more details read THIS.

The scary alter egos of the Gujrati Aunt!

Anyways even before my hunt for Paraben Free Shampoo started IndiBlogger and Sunsilk gave me a free sample of Sunsilk Natural Recharge and guess what, it was a Paraben free product! I was a very regular user of Sunsilk Black Shine before switching to another product last year. But guess I am a boomerang because the trust in Sunsilk products made me come back to them and try out this new product. But the boomerang effect was not without sky high expectations and true to their brand quality, the product did deliver.

Natural Recharge on and tension gone - Really? *Wondering*

Travelling in Mumbai heat and pollution surely takes a toll on your hair – Hair fall, dryness, dullness, dandruff and dirt are just every day’s story. I have been relying on a broad range of products for quite some time now. On one side when they do reduce the dandruff they fail in case of hair fall, if one brings back the luster of my hair I pay the price by sacrificing the quality of my hair as the products tend to make my hair still and greasy in the long run. But Sunsilk Natural Recharge managed to get a green tick in almost all the boxes. The Product says - New Sunsilk Natural Recharge Strong and abundant is infused with ginseng plant root extract. It helps to strengthen, nourish and recharge tired hair making your hair look thick & abundant; it turns out to be true, false and true.

Master Shifu's Inner Peace mantra for Hair - or is it Master Sunsilk?

Sunsilk Natural Recharge definitely defeats the dry dull demons that have been haunting your hair for eternity. It renders your hair oilfree without stealing its natural moisture. It gives your hair a bounce that makes your heart flounce with glee (sorry for the poet in decided to come out :P) and more than anything makes your hair soft! Oil free hair means less dirt and less dandruff – so mission accomplished! And as far as hair fall is concerned – it makes your hair less frizzy, which means less number of hair mazes to give you nightmarish nights and less tangles means less number of precious strands sacrificed. Only in case of shine it falters a bit because it doesn’t give the stunning shine that Sunsilk Black Shine promises. Also I don’t really think any shampoo can nourish your hair, because they are chemicals after all; so let the nourishment department be with spinach and its brigade of leafy veggies. We wouldn’t want the green community to lose their jobs during this global warming recession now, would we? But never before has the less oiling before the wash and using the Sunsilk Natural Recharge conditioner given the same effect of leafy delights. And more than anything – This shampoo is Paraben Free! *yes I am stuck with this scary organic chemistry nymph*

Carefree Me - Thanks to Sunsilk!

So basically Sunsilk Natural Recharge, which has been my Hair’s best friend for over 2 months now, is here to stay for a very long time. It makes sure I have zero bad hair days and am at peace by letting my hair breath. I am more confident about my hair while travelling and have seen a significant reduction in the rate of hair fall. Also it has made me a carefree hair lab rat considering the fact I never allowed anyone to touch my hair other than my mom and my granny! Just hoping it won’t back fire in the long run. *Fingers Crossed*

Hair Styling - You don't scare me anymore!

And my mantra for people like me!
Recharge your hair, recharge your ways
For enjoying life every bit, every day
Let free and loose that unruly mane
That has promised not to get tangled ever again
Be it desert or a dreamy beach date
Never will your hair scare your dear soul mate
For life it breathes all charged up for the game
Of spoil me if you can; now I dare!

P.S. - This product was sent to me by Indiblogger and Sunsilk and my review is absolutely honest. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dove Love with Play Date

Beat the sun,
Lets go off the burn,
When Dove Play Date calls for fun
Guys we run run run!
Ops, it was Dove Play Date so no guys this time. Yes this time we had an all Women Indibloggers meet thanks to Dove. But let us not jump the gun shall we? Let me start from the very start. Sunday the 10th of May, aka Mothers’ Day Indi team and Dove decided to treat the female bloggers of Mumbai or well that’s what I thought in the beginning and when Indi calls we show up no matter what. So a whole lot of amazing female bloggers made their way to J.W. Marriott, Juhu, besting the ruthless Mumbai summer sun and the totally unbearable humid heat only to be welcomed in style to the Dove Meet – A Play Date with Dove.

Dove Registration Desk

While we registered, for the first time our hands were kind of full even before we started with the event. No goodies, patience! We were given maps, codes, team numbers and badges and were left clueless to enjoy the selfie tweeting booths setup by the Dove Team. Post some selfie proclamation of existence when I made my way to the funky photo booth with my gal gang we were transported to some vineyard with red and white wine – choose what you like. Women love themselves and well according to me no one gets to question why; and when we go click click we are one of the happiest beings you would ever come across - and that is the exact thing we did at the photo booth. And travelling, chitchatting and too many photos do make your tummy growl right – Indi team knows us, so from paani puri to chaat, from mini sandwiches to cheese delight and from cup cakes to well a lot of cup cakes, they had it all ready for us.

Oscar Selfie fever is here to stay for a very very long time!

Then started the real fun – Enter me to a lantern lit Hogwarts Great Hall! I am not exaggerating. The Ballroom where the starting of the event was organized looked nothing less that Hogwarts great hall, infact it looked better with the multi colour lanterns and the dim lighting shining on the wave of white. All the lovely ladies in white (because the colour code of the meet was witty white!) settled and our lovely host Freeshia began with the Dove Love, giving our regular favorite Indi Host Anoop a break for the day. This is when we realized it was not just the Mayas of the Maya Nagri enjoying but female bloggers from a lot of other places of India were also being showered with the Dove Love. Cross Country meets are the best and this revelation indirectly announced what and amazing evening we were to experience.

The Great Hall reminding me of Hogwarts

Ladies in white eagerly waiting

Post the regular Intro session we were asked to let loose! Women tend get pretty conscious about their looks, figure, weight, surrounding etc…but Dove made sure we let go of all our reservations and just enjoy life, the day is meant for us, and so it made us all do Zumba. We were divided in 12 groups of 10 with hair dare names like Pixies, Bun Games, Waterfall, Bangs, Fringe etc and for next 10 mins we danced our hearts out music and cheers and how can I forget – The Gangnam Style!

Let us do the Zumba Baby!

Post the ‘Let your body move’ was ‘Hips don’t lie’ which marked the start of the competition among the 12 teams. Hips don’t lie was the hula hoop competition where the lady brave enough to challenge and win against Shakira won the round for her team. Next up was a kindergarten decorated for us to let the child in us play and be carefree in pools of balls. Have a ball was arranged in another ballroom of Marriott. The dove people had 3 pools of colourful balls ready for us to dive in and fish out grey dove balls. 3 players threw the balls and 2 players caught them in a basket, in the end the team with maximum dove balls won the battle. Reminds you of some round of ‘The Legends of the Hidden Temple’ of Nickelodeon right? ;) It was a colour blast for sure! And from there we rushed to be the mannequins for hair styles. We had to try a range of trendy hairdos on our team mates and deck up in ‘Hair Play’. I learnt some really cool hair styles during this round and then the teams thronged into yet another ballroom where a life size dove play puzzle waited to test our brainteaser skills.

Cant she make Shakira seethe with Envy! 

Play the Jigsaw

Hare Care with Team Dare

Ball Pool!!!!

After all the running and chasing and competing it was finally time to be pampered and dove had the whole of Saraswati Ballroom turned into some studio salon where we go our hair done by the professionals. Hair cut and broad tong curls is what I opted for and O Boy, did it look pretty! The narcissist in me just fell in love with my hair that day.

By the way did you guys notice, dove people had booked all the ballrooms for us? Well if you think that is it, it is not. Be the bartender was the next mini event and it was organized at the pool side! Well now the women power of innovation was on the rocks, because 1 person from every team was to make a cocktail to please the judge to win 1500 dove gift vouchers for every person in her team! Too much pressure right, but the lovely ladies did get the chilled drill right to get the ‘Bartender’s attention’ but just one got the berry pink drink that was at stake – group 6!

Ladies at work

Instructions are always important

At Stake!

All done we were ready to literally hog on the delectable platter placed by the chefs of Marriott. We enjoyed the buffet with the open house bar when the dove team surprised us with a peppy flash mob performance.

Dove Team Flash Mob

And then the end of the day was announced with the event winner Team 2 and with the Dove Love Goodies and Indi Tee! Also we had drop till home facility so while we waited for our car we had a DJ session on. Ok yes I am literally dragging the post now, because I still don’t want the day to end, but not everything we want can be true right?
Now for the skeptical souls like me out there, you must be wondering why would a brand spend so much and not promote any of their products in the meet, right? I have a small theory about it – If the product is good it does not really need people preaching about it, does it? I have used Dove Split End Rescue System earlier and have to say the product does its job quite well; also the Intense Repair system leaves your hair with a soft feel. In this meet I got the elixir in the goodies and have used it twice already and it undoubtedly leaves a visible shine post the wash. Don’t believe me, check and try – though I solemnly swear I am not endorsing their product!

My share of Dove Love

All said and done I really think Dove takes its motto  - Go Play and Dove will take care (edited a bit by me in this case) pretty seriously. This raises the bar for the future meets because hands down, this was one of the best Indimeets I have attended so far.

Last but not the least - A pic with my Gal Gang!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

10 Important Things for a Kashmir Visit

Paradise is beautiful, but unfortunately has some rules we need to follow when in or about to be in Kashmir.

1.    Forget your prepaid phone connections – they just don’t work there. For security reasons Prepaid SIM cards are a total no no, so get a postpaid connection to stay connected or you will have to live in the era of cellphone-less days during your Kashmir Trip.
2.   Houseboats, hmmm let’s see - Though houseboats are amazing it is always better to stay in hotels and spend just a night or 2 in houseboats merely for experience. Also just an observation Houseboats on Nagin lake are better than the ones on Dal.
3.   Take a night stay at Pahalgam, come what may – Sonmarg Gulmarg Patn and a lot og such places are pretty close to Srinagar and can be visited in a day’s to and fro journey from Srinagar but there are a lot of places around Pahalgam that are not to be missed, and here if you do the same day to and fro job you will lose out on a lot of amazing places.
4.   Hazratbal Shrine – Though it is an attractive location, unfortunately women are not allowed after a certain point and as for others, the prayer timings make it a really weird place to visit. It feels like you are waiting for eternity before visiting and experiencing, so one could easily give it a miss.
5.   Let the Bargain queen in you rise and soar – Kashmir in peak season is much commercialized. Agreed there is a lot of poverty around, but at certain places the rates are just not reasonable so do bargain, but don’t overdo it either please.
6.   Water Issues – If you have problems adapting to water food around places, you will surely suffer in Kashmir. The water tastes quite weird, so if possible buy and carry your own water – you won’t want to fall ill during an awesome trip now, would you?
7.   Be Cinderella but shift the time to 8 pm – Try and get back to where you are staying by 8 o clock in the night. The road in Kashmir become haunted alleys past that hour. You could obviously take a stroll around your place but being close is important.
8.   No Ladies, Don’t worry – You would hardly see females in the market areas of Kashmir post 7 p.m (that was the timing during winters, summers not really sure) but that doesn’t mean you can’t roam around. Kashmiri people are really cool to talk to and the markets are awesome, so just be the way you are, you might feel weird but don’t let that affect you.
9.   Afridi or Sachin - Cricket for Kashmiri’s is Shahid Afridi, no India no Pakistan so just accept it and avoid political talks with locals, it might get weird.
10. No handbags! – Yes while returning you are not allowed to carry any hand baggage with you in plane, unless of course you have a laptop or tablet. And if you do they will switch it on and ask you to show else chuck it in the normal luggage, so keep the batteries up and device running.

Hope this post is helpful to you guys, because travel needs to be fun and by taking care of these certain things you can enjoy an unhindered blissful trip. Happy Travelling!

An account of my trip to Kashmir can be found HERE.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Kashmir Diary

Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast…
(If there’s a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here…)

This is how Emperor Jahangir described Kashmir centuries ago and people till date are trying to gauge the truth and depth of this statement. I too am a part of this “Kashmir Loving” crowd now, thanks to my recent visit to this picturesque Himalayan State. People say the best time to visit Kashmir is from April to June, but from what realized on my trip is Kashmir is beautiful all-round the year, you just need to have an eye for it.
I went to Kashmir early in the month of March this year and this is how it treated me – Serpentine roads, endless white valleys, snow laden pine trees, cascading streams of frigid water and the music of running stream between icy rocks. But let me start from the very start.

Day 1 - Srinagar

The escape from the scorching early summer heat took me on a 2 and a half hour long flight with the last half an hour flooding my sight with breath taking views of Himalayas from the sky. On landing between the hiatus for rigorous checking and reaching our hotel, I spent my time shivering (didn’t keep enough cold clothes handy) and staring at the beautiful city of Srinagar. The excitement of the trip takes away all uneasiness and tiredness, and so we ventured out to explore the lake city as soon as possible.

Destination 1 – Shankaracharya Temple.
Overlooking the Dal Lake, the Adi Shankaracharya Shiv temple is situated on the Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar. A drive through meandering roads in this densely forested mountain leads to this 9th century temple which is said to be a meditation seat of the Saint after whom it is name. The stone temple, almost 250 steps up the mountain, is a regular place of worship and a must visit place in Srinagar. Due to security reasons phones and cameras are not allowed here but the view of the city from the mountain top is totally priceless.

Destination 2  - Chesmashahi Garden
Close to the Shankaracharya Temple is the smallest of the Mughal gardens of Srinagar, Chesmashahi. This 3 terraced garden is situated at the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain which paints a hypnotic backdrop against the high gate of the garden. It was built by Emperor Shah Jehan and is house to a small shrine of Chesma Sahibi which has a perennial stream of water.
Destination 3 – Pari Mahal
Pari Mahal was the perfect getaway for the end of a really tiring day. This garden adorned by age old ruins made by Dara Shikho is the best place to spend a peaceful evening and watch the sun go down. The lush green grounds and the Islamic arcs in the orange shade of twilight – I guess you guys go a pretty good picture..:D Unfortunately had to say good bye to all of it, because it is better to be back to your room before 8:00PM in Srinagar and the next day was my tryst with Sonmarg.

Day 2 – Sonmarg

Next day began early with adrenaline rushing through me as it was day to go to Sonmarg! It takes almost 2 hours from Srinagar to Sonmarg but the travel freak in me made the journey about 3 and a half hours long. We stopped at the Nagin Lake and at some

Paddy Fields and a Punjabi Dhaba before finally reaching Sonmarg. Personal vehicles are not allowed to explore the area and we had to choose between Jeeps and Horses. The rates of Horses started rather ended at 1k per person and 1 Jeep’s rental from 4000 so - You have to Bargain! In the month of March this meadow of gold wears a thick blanket of white and becomes a famous sledge fans’ destination. During other time of the year it is a trek destination. I was lucky enough to not only witness the thick fir and pine forests sprinkled with fresh snow and touch the chilled crystal clear water of the Nallah Sindh but also to witness snowfall which started at around 3 – first ever experience of snowfall! Speechless! Be sure you go around the whole village area of sonmarg coz the snow clad mountain is not everything, there is much more to enjoy. Anyways back to my trip – Didn’t feel like leaving, but by the time we did leave I was shivering with cold and the only thing that gave me relief was a cup of hot tea and a plate of hot Maggie in a nearby shack which had round coal chimney. My parent, brother and I huddled around the chimney with a couple more who also, like us, were lamenting about going back to Srinagar after and awesome day at Sonmarg.

Day 3 – Gulmarg

Day 3 also started with an equally ecstatic me. We got up early to get to the meadow of flowers as soon as possible. We reached Tangmarg in 1 and a half hour. Tangmarg is the starting point for Gulmarg climb. Personal vehicles are not allowed after Tangmarg. So we booked a local jeep, got a guide and fur jackets and shoes and were on our way up in less than half an hour. Did I forget to mention, it had started snowing way before Tangmarg and the snowfall continued and got heavy with every passing altitude. It was hilarious to see the jeeps move with iron chains tied to the wheels just to avoid sticking. Traffic had never been more delightful. We moved at snail speed and my brother and I used every opportunity to get out and make snowmen along the meandering roads in the pine forests of Gulmarg. We finally reached the top and then started the enthralling experience of walking in snowfall for hours.

To reach the Gondola people usually choose sledges but only my parents selected that option, my brother and I decided to walk the 4.5 km to and fro journey and enjoy every moment in the snow. We walked to the Shiv Temple where Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz dance to the tunes of Jai Jai Shiv Shankar and to a 120 year old Church sitting quietly on the mountain top. The Golf course was covered with feather soft snow and us walking and slipping and falling, left deep some big foot impressions and some crazy snow angel forms. During the summers the golf course in inaccessible to normal tourists but during winters it is covered with almost 5 6 meters of snow and becomes a skiing hub. We spent almost an hour skiing and sipping Kashmiri Kaawa here. Skiing rates start from 500 to 2000 INR depending on how much time you will to indulge in it. Then we continued our walk till the Khyber Hotel which literally loved like some frozen palace and finally reached Gondola, the highest cable car ride in the world – goes up to 14000 ft above sea level.
We could not go to level 2 on Gondola – Aparwath, due to heavy snowfall, so had to suffice with the wonder of lever 1 - Kungdoor. Gondola Cable ride for a person to level 1 is INR 600 and level 2 is INR 800. Once on level one the white valley below reminded me of the movie Fanaa – and to my surprise some scenes of Fanaa were apparently shot in Gulmarg, so our guide said. We spent more time skiing here and did I mention LOC is visible from here; it is clearer from level 2 though. After an awesome hour at Kungdoor we made our way back to the base and back to where our local jeep was kept. Coming back to Tangmarg was another snail trail and we decided to stay in the jeep this time and use the Kangri’s we had taken with us from Tangmarg. It was freezing as the snowfall that had started at 10 that day, was still going on; it was 4 when we left Gulmarg. On our way back to Srinagar we stopped at a small shack and enjoyed hot cup of tea with special Kashmiri barley cookies and mawa cakes.
After reaching Srinagar we quickly freshened up and left for our palace on water aka the houseboat we were going to spend our night in a house boat on Dal Lake. There are almost 100 houseboats on Dal most of them costing around 3k to 6k per night. Our date was New Sultan Hunky Dory – a 25 year old house boat. It was a cozy artistic boat which made us feel no less than some sultan of Kashmir. The whole lake was illuminated by colorful lights from different houseboats at night and early morning we woke up to quacking of quails and wild ducks.

Day 4 – Pahalgam

Next day we travelled out to Pahalgam where we also had a one night stay. On the banks of Lidder River lies this beautiful hill station. It takes over 2.5 hours to reach Pahalgam from Srinagar. But before Pahalgam we decided to make a halt at Avantipura. Avantipura is an ancient city and it serves as the junction between Jammu Srinagar and Pahalgam. This city is best known for the ruins of temples, which are believed to be built by Pandavas and date centuries back. Unfortunately the real size and grandeur of these temples are unknown as they were destroyed in early Sultanate attacks on India.
From there we went straight to Pahalgam, crossing acres of apple orchards – all leafless due to the winters but beautiful nonetheless.  We reached Pahalgam where there was snow everywhere but it was sunny at the same time. We settled in our hotel room and in no time were out to go to Baisaran Valley aka Mini Switzerland. Baisaran Valley is a large clearing on mountains 3km up Pahalgam. The best way and the most interesting way to reach Baisaran is Pony ride. A pony costs around 500-1000 INR again bargaining is needed. It is better to give extra money to the kids who take you up the mountain than paying the pony dealers.
The uphill climb left me speechless. Not only is it a crazy climb, the constant music of the hidden spring made it one of my most memorable experiences. And the clearing which is a lush green meadow in the summers was laden with cotton soft snow everywhere shining in the sunlight. Achar paratha and coffee with snowman, a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, right?

Day 5 - Srinagar

After returning from there we went for a walk around the town, visited a temple and the horticulture garden. Next day it was sheer delight waking up early morning to witness the sun peep between snow clad mountains and we made our way back to Srinagar.
We bought kesar and walnuts on our way cause that is what Kashmir is famous for. Back in Srinagar we started with the remaining Mughal Gardens  - Nishant and Shalimar; both equally beautiful but Nishant being the largest one was more attractive and we went ahead and clicked photos in the traditional attire, why miss a chance right?
The local market around Nishat is also considerably cheap and has a pretty good collection. From there we went for our shikara ride and visit to the floating market. I got a chance to row the boat and click quite a lot of birds during the ride. The floating market is not exactly a shopping paradise but if you get into the right shop and are good at bargaining you would enjoy it anyways.
After spending almost 2 hours on Dal we went to Shawart Palace – a huge Kashmiri Handloom showroom which also had a carpet making machine on display, which was really cool actually. After that we spent the evening roaming around in Lal Chawk Market. When in Srinagar do eat Pattisa and Petha if you have a sweet tooth and if you love nonveg – the streets are yours!

Day 6 – Return to Maya Nagri

Well nothing much to do on the day when you have to catch a flight back home because Srinagar Airport makes sure you remember every nook and corner of that structure. So leave atleast 3 hours before your flight, you have to cross the hurdle of 5 check points. Lucky me we I sported a army plane just before leaving paradise. The trip to heaven and back was not just a trip but an experience that would stay with me forever. Kashmir is one destination people just have to visit. People say they want to go to Switzerland to enjoy the alps, the gardens and tulips; I would say go to Kashmir Switzerland might be the same but could not really be better than Kashmir.

P.S - For more pictures click HERE

Quick 'To Know' and 'To Do' list for your Kashmir Trip can be found HERE

Friday, May 9, 2014

TRESemme Split Remedy

Pop Quiz – What issue related to hair scares a girl the most? (Remember it is a girl not everyone, so Dandruff is ruled out!)

Ans – Trichoptilosis!

The Problem (Souce Google)

The name does sound scary right. It is simply called ‘Split Ends’ and trust me every girl has nightmares about split ends. Luckily there is a very simple and efficient solution to this problem - All we have to do is have regular hair cut every 8 weeks. But what is someone doesn’t want a haircut? Doesn’t want to compromise the length of their mane? What then?

The Solution - Really? (Source Google)

Now days, market is flooded with products that claim to repair hair damage and split ends and the new one to join this race is TRESemme Split Remedy solution. I have to admit I used another product of a very well-known brand for the same problem, but in due time I realized it caused hair fall and made your hair greasy, hence causing more damage than solving one. So I took the sample of TRESemme new product for a whirl. I have used it five times now and have seen a significant amount of difference.

If not then what?!?!?! (Source Google)

Way Better Alternative - The Miracle Solution (Personal Pic)

Split ends are caused due to excessive heat and chemical stress. Extreme styling, colouring, constant blow drying and straightening or curling leaves our hair damaged and frayed aka causing split ends. TRESemme promises to reduce the split issue by 80% to 96% - depending on the hair quality, but not completely, and rightly so. The product doesn’t rid your hair of splits like some magic portion Professor Snape forgot to teach Hermione, but it kind of changes your damaged hair quality from the first and second year Hermoine to the radiant one. TRESemme claims the product binds the split prone hair and thus repairing the damaged hair. But in turn it tends to make the hair a bit stiff, but guess what - stiff hair means no frizzy hair and split end free hair is worth it any day.

This might become your Reality!!! (Personally edited pic)

On the whole TRESemme Split Remedy is quite effective. The shampoo works well and caters to the split issues very impressively but same can’t be said for the conditioner. Other conditioners of TRESemme work better than this one in particular. Also it is better to use this product every alternate day as the shine of hair due to the product doesn’t last very long. On the plus side more regular the use less will be your splits. Also the best solution to avoid the greasiness caused by the stiffness of hair in long term would be to use TRESemme Climate Control or Frizz control along with split remedy. More the merrier and it surely treats your hair well. 

In Short this is how it works! (Personal Pic)

 P.S. - This post has been written for TRESemme Review through