Beauty Talk With Minerva

Hello, all! I am so excited that one of your (and definitely mine) favourite series on this blog - Beauty Talk - is back and I am even more glad that today, I get to interview the very lovely, a dear friend and fellow military wife Minerva, the charming soul behind the popular Insta page @thatsillywander. Read on to know her skincare secrets, beauty must-haves, all the deets on her popular lip colours and the cute secret behind her rosy cheeks.

What is your morning skincare routine like?
I wake up and after gulping down a bottle of water, wash my face with regular tap water and ensure a good amount of it enters my eyes. Then, I pat dry my face and am ready for the morning. 

What is your go-to daytime look?
I am mostly without any makeup at home - just moisturise my face and body really well post bath and make a pony tail and that’s how you will find me at home. I was using Neutrogena moisturiser on my face for years but recently switched to Cetaphil and I am loving the extra hydration that it provides to my skin. On a casual day out, I prefer applying Lakmé CC cream on top of Neutrogena sunscreen, Lakmé Iconic Kajal if I am feeling lazy or Lakmé Absolute Shine Line eyeliner if I have time, my trusted nude lipstick from Lakmé 9-5 in Pink Tint and my current favourite Acqua di Gioia perfume by Giorgio Armani.  Also, I finish off the look by gently pinching my cheeks which very well brings out the natural blush. 

What is your night-time skincare routine like?
Never have I ever slept with my makeup on! I remove my makeup using the Garnier Micellar water and wash my face with a Plum face cleanser. All through my pregnancy and for a couple of months after Umaid was born, I was using coconut oil locally sourced from Kerala on my face. But from the past one year, I have been using the Indulgeo Essentials Rose Goldoil on my face and follow it up with their Rejuvenating Eye Serum under my eyes and I am extremely happy with the results. Also, I recently replaced my Biotique toner with Indulgeo’s Rose Geranium Witch Hazel facial mist and I am absolutely loving how refreshing it feels. Nothing better than waking up to a happy, plump skin! I love experimenting with skincare and with all the wonderful indie skincare brands coming up, it’s hard  to not get tempted. I am already eyeing a couple of products that I might purchase soon. 

You have beautiful tresses! How do you take care of them?
I try to oil my hair once or twice a week and wash them with the Khadi Naturals shampoo. I rarely use heat on my hair unless they are really misbehaving which doesn’t happen often.

What are your favourite party looks?
Even though on most of the days, I catch myself watching makeup tutorials, I am frankly not patient enough to spend much time doing things to my face. My party look and my everyday look is mostly the same which mainly revolves around my comfort zone since I don’t prefer experimenting much with my makeup look. However, I really enjoy using bright colours like reds and hot pinks on my lips. My all time favourite red is the Mac Ruby Woo which is probably the most flattering shade of red and my current favourite party pink is Fuchsia Flare by Maybelline. I also fill in my brows using the Sugar eyebrow pencil in Taupe Tom and use loads of Wet and Wild highlighter for that extra glow.

How has your idea of beauty changed from when you were 16?
Oh, this question just spoke to me on a different level. Well, when I was 16, beauty was mostly about a pretty face. Over the period, I realised that beauty is more about your thoughts and deeds. This realisation came from different experiences for which I am grateful. 

But keeping that perspective aside, well frankly, when I was 16, I wasn’t really doing proper makeup or skincare just yet but I was so ready to dive into the world of it. Back then I would apply just anything without reading the labels and treat my skin as the dumping ground but now I try and read about things and learn. I am making more informed decisions now and treating my body with much more respect by choosing what I put on and in it. 

Do you have any beauty indulgences?
Oh, it has been ages since I last ‘indulged’ in anything. Even the shower doesn’t last for more than five minutes these days before my son starts banging the door. But a good spa day is what I would call my beauty indulgence! 

What is that one product you can’t live without?
A kajal/eyeliner. Currently using the Lakmé Eyeconic Kajal but Nykaa Kajal is one of the best I have used till date. 

What products do you always carry in your handbag?
A Nykaa lipstick in the shade GulL'occitane hand cream and a sanitizer. 

According to you, what beauty trick does everyone must know?

Vaseline works wonderfully well as a clear mascara just to give the right lift to your lashes and a mascara wand can be used to tame the flyaways into place. 

Do you have a family beauty secret?
Not a secret really, but I never sleep without cleansing my face, moisturising my hands and combing my hair. I’ve been doing it ever since I was 15. It’s a habit! 

Who is your beauty idol?
Oh, my one year old! Never seen anyone with a skin more flawless and a smile more pure. Babies are the epitome of real beauty!

Thank you, Minerva!

Weekend Links

Hello, lovely people!

How have you all been? We have been good until today because the bub has caught cold again! So we are just planning to nest and rest this weekend. How about you? I am trying to write more regularly and have lots of exciting new posts coming up including interviews with some wonderful women from around the world. Keep an eye here, the best thing would be to just subscribe to the blog by entering your email ID on the box at the top right side. No spamming, pure posts automatically once published, easy peasy!

Here are a few links from around the world that I have enjoyed reading this week:

Firstly, The Family Man is finally out! I plan to binge-watch it this weekend.

Hilarious Ryan Reynolds is every parent ever!

These are just the food photography tips we needed!

How gender-bias runs deeper than we ever thought and its implications in our daily lives.

Have recently started using this face oil and my skin is glowing!

Home styling ideas with plants.

The heart-warming story of a human rights lawyer and drag queen.

Someone please take me back in time!

I have just finished reading this book (my first one since I've become a mother) and already craving for my next one. Any suggestions? Have heard great reviews about this one.

Have a great weekend!


The Only 6 Words You Need to Say to A New Mom (or All Moms For That Matter)

Everybody likes to give gyaan to a new mommy - friends, family, neighbours, maid, driver, stranger et al. We give her unsolicited advice about how to manage motherhood (which by the way had just hit her like a truck barging on an unsuspecting pedestrian), judge about her breastfeeding choices, lament her for wanting to sleep much or her baby not sleeping enough.

I so often find myself doing that too, though I try my best to limit it to only sharing the information sought.

I also don't know if it is an Indian cultural thing or is the norm everywhere else in the world too but we always like to point out what this new mom is not doing right or not doing enough or how she can do better when it comes to taking care of her child.

But have we ever taken a moment to wonder what it is that the lady in question must really want to know? 

All a new mom actually needs to hear is -

"You are doing a great job." 

Yes, as simple as that.

Even if you see her energy maxed out in old clothes reeking of baby spit, hair unwashed for the second week, eyes encircled in dark hollow hopelessness, trying to soothe her crying baby or head full of contrasting complex thoughts of despair, fear and self-doubt., even if she's falling, failing and almost giving up, let her know that she is doing a great job. Because by God, there has never been a woman who has not given her all and then some more to make it work, to keep her baby healthy and happy and alive! Because just 'being' a mother is not easy. And to try to give it her best makes her a warrior already.

So next time you see a new mom or any mom whatsoever, tell her she is doing a great job.

Because I was blessed enough to have someone say that to me and it has made a world of difference.

(Photo by Alex Pasarelu on Unsplash)

A Very Funny Weekend Incident

Hi all! Hope you had a good weekend. I had one too, except for this accidental hilarious incident that happened:

So, I have  this Whatsapp group of a special set of friends from college days who have stuck together for more than a decade now. All of us have interesting work profiles, are married with kids and settled in different parts of the globe. This is my go-to group for all the advice, support and help I need on anything related to my existence or my family's. Needless to say,  we also know how to have fun with each other.

So a couple of months ago, out of utter boredom and exhaustion our lives had become, I decided to share one shirtless photo of a male celebrity every night before bedtime (Indian Standard Time). Surprisingly (and not so surprisingly), it was enthusiastically received by all with free flow of thirst comments from all the ladies in the group . Haha! It continued for a while and everybody loved it so much so that if I ever got late in sharing a pic, they would message me that they were waiting and asking to share 'pic of the day'. ;)

But eventually, life and travel took over and I stopped sharing the pics. Until last Friday at midnight (technically Saturday) when I suddenly remembered our little ritual out of the blue, scoured this picture of Shawn Mendes and shared on the group with the caption, 

"Wassup ma ladies?!! Miss me much? :-P ).

Little did I realize that midnight in India meant morning in the US, where this Friday, my friend V was in the middle of giving a presentation where she was pitching her company’s latest mobile app to the clients and she was doing this using her own phone which she had connected to the screen.

Guess who’s whatsapp message popped up on the big screen for all to see?

Yes, yours truly.

So V happened to click on the notification by mistake and our very sexy shirtless (and pantless dare I say) Shawn Mendes shone brightly on the big presentation screen!

Everyone started to laugh out loud and the ladies in the meeting said, “Sold, we are buying this app!”.

Needless to say, I have sent across my bank details to V to deposit my commission cheque ;)

Also, she is the butt of all jokes in her office these days.

Sorry V! But I’m sure her employer (and the client) is loving it! ;)

Has anything funny happened to you lately?


(Picture credit: Calvin Klein. For the full length NSFW picture click here.)

Weekend Links

Hello hello! How have you all been this week? I've been good and the bub has been naughtier than ever! So our week has just been him running around and me running behind him! Haha! Anyway, here are a couple of interesting, funny, awe-inspiring links that have caught my attention this week. Hope you enjoy browsing them as well!

Sports Ministry's historic all-women list for Padma Awards. Bravo!

An eye-opening article on pregnancy.

The B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L living room of Boman Irani. That wall colour - wow!

How cute are these lipsticks!

A new way to travel after baby - child-free solo holiday. Sign me up!

Looking forward to the Prime show Modern Love. I've already been a fan of this NYT series!

This lady is giving me travel feels. Check out her recent Namibia trip.

Currently reading this book and loving it!

Have a good weekend!

(Photo by guy stevens on Unsplash)

Our Kashmir Trip : A Photo Diary

In middle of June, the bub and I left for Kashmir to spend time with the Soldier. We had to take two flights to reach Srinagar - the first one was horrible as the bub was active and super cranky while the second was a breeze as he slept through the journey (Quick tip - Try to plan flight bookings around your baby's sleep schedule!).

We finally reached Srinagar on a balmy, rainy afternoon and immediately took a cab to our destination where we were reunited with the Soldier and some old friends!

After a couple of days of rest and recoup, we started exploring the neighbourhood whenever the weather would allow it.


Despite it being so-called peak summer, the sun would be out just a couple of hours in the morning while the rest of the day would be mostly rainy and cold with frequent hailstorms, confining us mostly to indoor play!

We were out in the sun every chance we could get!

The pool table in the Mess was the bub's firm favourite...

...closely followed by the dining area.

A few weeks in, my parents visited us and we went to see Pahalgam and Srinagar with them.

pahalgam aru valley kashmir

We visited Chandanwadi which is where the Amarnath Yatra starts from, Pahalgam (and the famous Betaab Valley), Ashmuqam and the beautiful Aru Valley where I wish to go again but I don't really have pictures from that day because I was sick whole day and rarely wanted to get out of the cab. :(

The next day we went to Srinagar where our first stop was the famous Nishat Bagh.

My parents, the garden aficionado they are, decided to take a tour around while I just lazed with the bub under a tree!

Next on our list was boating in the famous Dal Lake and if you follow me on Instagram, you know my mom made me do this -

The bub though, loved playing with the water throughout the tour.

The same day, we travelled to Gulmarg, Bollywood's favourite destination in Kashmir! After a rest day, we went to experience the famous Gulmarg Gondola to Mt. Apharwat which happens to be one of the world' highest cable car rides! That's the Gulmarg 'bowl' you see from high up.

And this is how the top of the mountain Apharwat looked like. Of course, I don't have any pictures here because as soon as we reached, the bub decided to breastfeed and go to sleep the whole time we were there!

Rest of the days were spent just chilling around and soaking up all that nature had to offer, something not found in the city life.

And then after about two months, we returned home.

We got stuck here because of the incessant rains and then a major bout of cough and cold for both the bub and me. We are doing fine now but still not adjusted completely and miss the Soldier big time. We loved our time with him and the beauty of the place and hope and pray for all good things for everyone there. Kashmir will forever have a special place in our hearts.

Where have you traveled lately?