Cool tips for the summer

Summer is my favourite season. Nature is bright and colorful and it brings delicious seasonal fruits like mangoes, jackfruit and the clothes come out crisp and warm after drying. On the downside, it is extremely humid and our skin is prone to damage easily during summers.

You know the usual drill of keeping hydrated and applying sunscreen. So here are some other tips to come out of this summer all refreshed :

1. Make the regular water interesting

Noone has to force us to keep hydrated in summer because we feel thirsty all the time. But you can make it much tastier and refreshing by adding a spring of mint, basil seeds or a dash of lime to a bottle of water. This will make it interesting for kids as well.

Refreshing hydration

Easy Fruit Punch:

Cut some seasonal fruits like watermelon and pineapple into thin tiny pieces. Soak some poppy/basil seeds in water and let it puff up. You can add this to your regular lime juice or to a mix of lime and pineapple juice and it will taste sooo good.

A great welcome drink for guests

2. Face mist to hydrate and protect your skin

A spritz of cool face mist helps in calming irritated and sensitive skin and protects it from sun damage.

Steam distilled rose, lavender, aloe, vetiver, orange blossom waters can be refrigerated and sprayed on skin frequently throughout the day to wake up and cool tired/hot skin.

3. Use natural deodorant instead of anti perspirants

We tend to sweat a lot during summers and everyone usually opts for anti perspirants. The ingredients in it like aluminium compounds, clogs the pores of sweat glands and prevents sweating. This is quite harmful, as sweating is a natural cooling mechanism and it is a way of eliminating toxins from the body.

A little goes a long way

4. Multi purpose natural skincare

It is better to keep skincare simple and basic on summers. Aloevera gel is a versatile skincare product that can be used as a moisturizer, face mask, hair conditioner and after sun gel to prevent sunburn.

Click on image for the post

Avoid claybased masks that dehydrate and heat up the skin.

5. Eat your water and drink your food

Include more seasonal fruits in your diet, especially the ones with high water content. Also have light and easy to digest home made smoothies, salads and soups including more vegetables in the diet.

Eat the greens

6. Wear clothes made of natural fibres

Clothes made of cotton, linen, jute etc are apt for summer and will let your skin breathe underneath.

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Travel in Style : Urby

I recently received a cutomised product that I was very much in need of, an elegant passport holder, from the brand called Urby.

Why you should check out this brand:

Incase you are someone who struggles to think of useful gifts for friends or family (especially for men), this site will spoil you for choices.

Check out the site : Urby

Urby is a direct-to-consumer, lifestyle and travel accessories brand. They design and manufacture essentials for an urban lifestyle using the most premium materials and finest craftsmanship.

About the brand:

I read about the brand and their story is quite interesting. We all know that premium brands always sells their products for atleast double the original price in India, as compared to USA or other foreign countries. Exactly why we all ask our aunts and uncles abroad to bring us laptops and other products. Sometimes even when we are ready to pay, we might have to compromise on the quality here. Urby was born to eliminate this gap, by selling directly to the customer, without any middlemen who just contributes to the price and nothing to the product.

What does the brand offer:

Premium quality products that are affordable. The products include travel accessories, wallets, pouches, passport holders, phone & watch cases, jewelry organizers etc. All their products come with a one-year, material and craftsmanship guarantee.

My take on the product :

The starting range of passport holders in the site is Rs 795, which I feel is quite reasonable for a premium quality product that can be used for a life time. The brand offers a wide range of colours and textures for their products. You can also get couples passport holders and kids variant with cute labels. There is also an option to customise with any text you want to get debossed in the product.

I received a white passport holder, customised with my name in gold letters. Here is the unboxing video.

The product comes in a drawstring cloth pouch, inside a black box with the brand name. There are 3 slots for cards, and another bigger one that can be used for currency or coins. There is a long side pocket on one side and one on the outer cover that will be useful to keep boarding pass or currency. The inside of the sleeves are lined with a velvet material. The passport slot is on the right side, and my passport fits snuggly in it.

Even with the cards and passport inside, the product is quite sleek and doesn’t bulge up. Also the sleeves are quite flexible and doesn’t create lines when bent. But I will have to use it for a while to give an honest opinion on its durability.

Incase you are someone who would leave this in your handbag with a million other things like pens without cap; I would strongly recommend you to go for darker colours. White for sure looks very nice, but might not stay white for long with me (:P). I made a tiny mark on it with a pen to find out if it can be wiped off with a wet tissue and I couldn’t.

What I liked the best about this brand is that, they have a wide range of lifestyle products that looks very high fashioned and classy, but are still affordable. And more importantly, these will make good gifts for your loved ones.

Also they offer free shipping and free returns.

Discount code just for my readers:

Urby is a direct to consumer brand with products at an amazing value. They don’t have a discount code box on the website. But for FOB readers, they have given this special offer.

Use the coupon code FLBEUTY17 to get 10% off on your Urby purchase.

You need to email this code to support@urby.in along with the names/links of products you would like to purchase. The support team will help you with the discount.

Summer hair care with natural hair wash powders : Featuring Krya and JivaVrksa

Temperature is soaring day by day and occasional rains are the only relief. This is also the time when oily skin gets extra oily and dry skin gets extra dry. Hair gets frizzy and untameable for some where as it becomes an oily mess for others. So you will be surprised to know that there is a common solution for this. That is to balance the sebum production of the scalp. Using silicone and sulphate filled hair cleansers and conditioners can be damaging in the long run.

The below ingredients in shampoo are the major culprits of your bad hair days.

Alcohol, for instance, does have the effect of removing oil, but it dries out your scalp and stimulates it to produce even more sebum. Alcohol types called “isopropyl alcohol,” “benzyl alcohol,” and “denatured alcohol” are especially damaging, since these are pure types of alcohol.

Silicone also shouldn’t be in your shampoo; it not only surrounds your hair, causing it to dry out from within, but also builds a non-water soluble layer on your scalp. Sebum production builds up and increases under this layer. Silicones are usually easy to recognize in a list of ingredients because they end with “-cone,” “-conol,” or – “siloxane.”

Both Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its close relative Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are the major foaming ingredient in shampoos and detergents. The sodium laureth sulfate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.
In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, SLES also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

There are many more harmful chemicals like Triclosan, Dimethicone and Phenoxyethanol, to name a few, in the common drug store shampoos.

Why should you switch to natural chemical and preservative free hair wash powders according to me:
,
1. It cleanses hair gently without stripping it of moisture or natural oils.
2. Repairs and conditions hair and cools your scalp.
3. Doesn’t make the hair dull and lifeless after 2-3 days of hair wash like synthetic shampoos.
4. Adds volume, shine and softness
5. Brands claim that it prevents hairfall, split ends, premature greying and dandruff when used regularly for longer periods.
6. Balances the sebum secretion of scalp and there by prevents scalp from becoming too oily or dry
7. Gives a natural refreshing herbal scent to hair.
8. Prevents itchiness of scalp
9. These powders can also be used as hair masks for that extra nourishment, by mixing with banana pulp, curd or egg white.
10. The water after hair wash is bio-degradable and eco friendly unlike its chemical laden counterparts. This can be used to water plants.

Well if the above list failed to impress you, I don’t know what would.

1. Krya Hair Wash Powder


PC: Krya.in

Krya is a completely natural and ayurvedic brand with a wide range of bath and body care products in addition to products like natural laundry and dish wash powders.In their blog and site, they have given detailed explanation of the different skin types as per ayurveda, the reason for various skin and hair problems and what lifestyle changes to stay healthy and beautiful. The ingredients used are mostly organic and they use traditional ayurvedic preparation methods that extracts goodness of each ingredient used.

This brand has separate products that caters to specific conditions like normal, oily hair types and dandruff prone hair. I tried this particular hair wash powder from them.


Ingredients:
Shikaki, Citriodora, fenugreek,vetiver, tulsi,triphala, soapberry. Key Ingredients are listed in the pack, as the ingredients changes depending on the season and availability of herbs
Price: Rs 300 for 100g
Packaging: Comes in a cardboard pack with paper labels. My only request to Krya is to have better packaging with clear labels. Because when I bought multiple products, after taking those out of the cardboard boxes it really confused me as to which powder is what.
Fragrance : Strong herbal fragrance

Buy : here

JivaVrksa Hair Wash powder:

To know more about the brand and reviews of skincare products from them, check out my post by clicking here

Ingredients :

Price : Rs 80 fro 75g
Packaging : Comes in paper satchets with clear labeling. There are paper pouches inside the satchet that holds the product. This makes it easy to store the product and not get confused with other similar powders.
Fragrance: Light herbal fragrance

This powder is much lighter and easier to spread. But this doesn’t remove oil completely from pre-oiled hair in one wash. Need to use 3-4 tsps of product to completely remove the oil but the price point and ingredients list is very impressive.

Buy: Amazon

How to use:

Take 2-3 tsp of any of these hair wash powders in a bowl and make a thin paste by mixing with water. Use this paste to wash the hair just like you use shampoo and rinse it off. Soapberry is the natural foaming agent in the cleanser that gently removes the oiliness from the scalp. Don’t expect any bubbly foams like your synthetic shampoos. I spread the paste on the scalp and hair and gently massage it from roots to tips. It can be easily washed off, if you were wondering and takes less quantity of water when compared to washing off highly lathering shampoos.


Keep in mind :

If you oil your hair, you might have to wash it multiple times with the powder to remove the excess oil.
Also if you are new to natural hair cleansers, it will take you a while to see positive results from these. This is because the powders would in the initial uses, be removing all the chemical build up in hair, during which you might feel the hair is a bit weighed down.
Store the powders in air tight containers and use dry spatulas to take them out. Avoid contact with moisture as these are preservative free.

Hope you liked this post.

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Why you need to convert from sanitary pads or tampons to Menstrual Cups

I know that not many of us are well aware of what menstrual cups are and will have quite a lot of questions about this. Through this post I intend to share my experience with using menstrual cup as an alternative to pads or tampons. I seriously wish someone had introduced this to me when I was in school.

How I was introduced to menstrual cups (MC for ease of typing throughout this post :P) :

I knew that this product exist as some of the organic brands I follow sells this. But it was when my colleague told me about how using MC has changed her life, that I felt like trying it out. Now coming to think about it, it’s not just that. Usually when we are at home, we don’t care much about waste disposal part as our moms takes care of it. But since I moved to an apartment where the waste disposal is really a pain, I have been conscious about minimizing the quantity of waste, be it bio-degradable or not. Also since choosing to live in an environmentally conscious manner, I was really disturbed about the amount of non-biodegradable waste in the form of sanitary pads, we dump every month.It comes to a bag full and just goes in land fills. So all of us women combined, really causes a huge impact in polluting the earth. But well, so far we could say that we had no choice. But now that I am aware of the alternative which is so much better that using pads or tampons for us as well as environment,this should be made aware to all. So let me start by telling you my learning curve of using a menstrual cup and how it has changed my period days in a very positive way.

What is a menstrual cup??

MC is a flexible bell shaped cup,which is usually made of medical grade silicone. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood). Some of you might find this gross already and feel that ‘No I am not doing this’, but trust me I have been through that and just read on, as this is a life saver and can just make your life so easy and comfortable.

Menstrual cups comes in different sizes, mostly medium and large (for this brand). Medium is for women under 30, who has not given birth vaginally and the larger size is normally recommended for women who are over 30, have given birth vaginally, or have an unusually heavy flow.

For some motivation, let me give you few reasons of why MC rocks!!!

1. Huge money saver > One MC can be used for upto 10 years depending on how you maintain it. So think of all the money you save by not buying tampons or padds.
2. No leakage what so ever, if you insert it correctly. Not even a drop on the days of heavy flows.
3. No wet feeling, actually you really have to remind yourself that you have this on. You may as well forget that you are menstruating,as you wouldn’t feel a thing.
4. No headache of changing pads regularly,as this can be used at once upto 12 hrs, depending on the flow. So you don’t have to sneak a pad to the rest room in office or school and can be carefree till you get home.
5. No problem of disposing waste. Incase you are sleeping over at a friend’s or relatives place at this time of the month, remember how awkward it feels to ask where to dispose the pad. Actually in my hostels girls used to flush it, and it was so gross to see it stuck there. So ya with MC there is no such worry. Just have to clean it with water or tissue.
6. Can be used while swimming or while in activities without having to worry. Trust me, I used to avoid long journeys on those days. But now I have no worries.
7. There is no known report of Toxic shock syndrome, where keeping bloodied pads/tampons for long time causes potentially fatal bacterial illness
8. Most important of all it is sustainable and helps the environment. Each year,billions of pads and tampons are discarded which typically end up in landfills or are incinerated, which can have a great impact on the environment. Most of the pads and tampons are made of cotton and plastic. Plastic takes about 50 or more years and cotton starts degrading after 90 days if it’s composted.
9. Easily available online and in stores
10. Great for those unsure days. Everyone wastes atleast 2 pads or panty liners a month, thinking it might start on a partiular day. Especially for us working women, we can’t take any risks while traveling. This one makes sure that you don’t have to wear the uncomfortable pads and waste them on those days.
11. And as an additional point, it just gives you a better understanding of your body and it’s cycle. It’s you blood and it is not gross.

In rural areas of the country, menstruation stops the education of girls and involvement of girls in social activities, due to lack of sanitation facilities,fear of leaking, or even the monthly expenses involved. The use of unhygienic alternatives causes infections and health issues. MC offer a longer-term solution as they do not need to be replaced monthly and ensures menstrual hygiene as long as there is access to clean water.

So if all the above points influenced you to move to MC, read about my learning curve using one. The mistakes I made will help you not to make them and to start using MCs immediately. But just take it easy and most likely no one gets it right on one go.

Journey of converting to MC from pads
I bought the WOW Eva cup for under 30 from Amazon. Now I can’t find the same brand in Amazon, so just linking from another site so that you get an idea Eva cup link
It comes in a storage pouch made of cloth and a bottle of gentle feminine wash an I bought it for around Rs 699.

First month :
Tried using it as per instructions from the product pack and failed miserably. I folded the cup into a C shape and tried inserting it, but failed as this felt quite big to insert inside. So I did not use it. Instead I watched many youtube videos and there are a few about different folds of the cup. So you can choose any fold that is easy and comfortable for you to help get this inside. This really helped me as I felt the C fold in the packet didn’t make any sense for a beginner. So I tried the shell fold/punch line fold and I was easily able to insert the cup inside. This time I just tried inserting it in and taking it out a couple of times, around the last day of periods.

Trying this when you don’t have periods might make it difficult to insert, as during periods the walls are not so tight and also the area is wet and hence easy to slide the cup in. Making the cup wet might help as well. Also it is very easy to clean it, just hold it under running water or clean it with tissue.

Second month :
Used it on the second last day of periods and found that it was slightly leaking. Big disappointment!!! But I found in a video that after inserting, we have to make sure that the folds have opened inside. So I had to just insert a finger and run it along the walls of the cup to make sure it is in the unfolded form. So it was still folded inside. So I just pulled the stem gently in and out to reposition it and voila no more issues.On pulling out the cup, direct it to the toilet and empty it immediately so that it doesn’t make any mess.

Also if you are not confident enough, use a pad after inserting the cup, until you get the hang of it.So that even if it leaks because of the wrong way in which you inserted it, there is an extra protection. Don’t worry, in a couple of tries you will know if the position is correct or not.

Third month :
Tried this from day one and did an overnight travel for 12 hrs in bus wearing this. There was a pad ofcourse for my confidence and I felt in the morning that it had all leaked and made the pad very wet. You know that sliding feeling of the pad. But when I reached home and checked, there wasn’t even a drop! That’s when I realized that it’s not all the bleeding that makes us uncomfortable, it’s the pad itself.

After this there was no looking back. I am using this every month and not rescheduling travels or vacations because of my monthly.

Things to remember :

1. Relax and take your time. Probably after a bath and at a time when you won’t be interrupted. You cannot rush through this until you get the hang of it.
2. Sit in a squat position to easily insert the cup.. Don’t try to insert it vertically. Always insert at an angle of 45 degree.
3. Follow the same rule while removing the cup. Pull at an angle gently and not vertically down.
4. You might over estimate how much you bleed. Mostly a medium sized cup will suffice.
5. Follow the instructions about cleaning and storing in the product box religiously.

I know you might still have a lot of questions. Feel free to comment below or DM me on my instagram or facebook handle. If you liked the post, do share it with your friends,daughters, sisters or cousins, especially the ones who goes to schools and colleges.

Here are a few links that might be helpful:

Step by step guide for first time
Different folds for cups


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Eat healthy,live healthy : My favorite organic food stores

Our skin problems are mostly related to our lifestyle and food habits. What we eat directly reflects on our skin. Many skin related issues can be fixed by just eating right. So I have made it a habit to eat organic and chemical free food as much as possible.There are many online sites and local stores that sell chemical free produce and food products these days and here I am going to list down my favorite ones in Bangalore.

1. QTrove

Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are natural, sustainable, not easily available elsewhere, enhance the well-being and social currency of today’s discerning consumer.

I regularly buy organic products from here. Few products I love are Gulkand,choco-chip pancake mix, fresh fruit preserves, organic ghee, hot chocolate blends, Caramel and chemical free detergents and dish wash liquid. They have an amazing collection of products covering food items, bath and body products, household items, pet care products and even a women exclusive collection.

The delivery is very fast, sometimes even the next day and products are packed neatly. Most of the food items are made to order and hence cannot be returned. There are frequent offers for particular products.

Check out my haul post for details here

I am sure that these days one can find organic food stores every where but you need to make sure that the products are certified organic and not fake. In Bangalore, there are two Organic stores that are my recent finds. Actually when I searches for an organic store near Indiranagar I found so many in the same area.

2. FRESH EARTH ORGANICS

You will almost miss this store in CMH road, unless you are looking for it in particular. This small store stocks groceries, veggies, bath and beauty products and even chocolates and nut butters.

Products I love : Pomegranate dark chocolate, organic eggs and ghee, Apple cider vinegar
Find them Near-Mayur Technologies, Chinmaya Mission Hospital Rd, Indira Nagar 1st Stage
Timings : 9.30am to 7.30pm


3. HAPPY HEALTHY ME

HappyHealthyMe is India’s first 100% certified organic food brand and grocery store. Our locally sourced products have been carefully selected to promote health for the mind, body and soul.

I love this store because the store itself is like a food boutique and it feels like each product is specially curated and put in packs with designer labels. The packing is so appealing and eco-friendly.

They have a wide range of products including super foods like chia and flax seeds,groceries, exotic herbs, spices and their special salads.

Read about the bamboo brush here
Products I love : Almond mylk, Cacao nibs, Bamboo toothbrush, Seeds from Super food range
Find them @ 660, 1st Cross, 11th Main road, Indiranagar
Timings :10:00AM – 8:00PM

Eating healthy organic produce that are seasonal, can bring great improvement in your health. Including greens in the diet helps in flushing out the toxins and improving the bowel movement. But having pesticide laden food does more harm than good. So even if you buy produce that are not organic, make sure you soak the veggies and fruits in vinegar+salt water for at least 2 hours before using them.

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