quitting shellac nails
For the last two years I’ve been visiting my nail place almost bi-weekly for a shellac manicure. There were a couple of times I let the time between visits extend to three weeks, and I might have taken a one month break last December, but otherwise it’s been pretty consistent. 

Truth be told, I love my nail lady, and my salon is dirt cheap, so there was no real desire to quit until a few months ago. Earlier this year Zara really got into doing nail art. She slowly moved all of my old nail polishes into her room and set up a little station to conduct experiments. Over the summer she spent hours practicing and perfecting her skills, and it was adorable. Sadly, every time she offered to do my nails I had to decline – because it would mess up the shellac. 

Zara’s daily nail art attempts also reminded me of how much I used to love trying different types of nail art on my own fingers. So, I was inspired to quit. I followed the directions on my friend Kendra’s blog for removing a shellac manicure, and once my nails stopped throbbing a few days later [they were so weak and damaged], I was ready for my first manicure by Z. 

[If you look closely in the video you can see that Z has given herself a marble manicure. Also, why can I never remember to turn the camera when making videos!]

For the last two weeks I’ve really been enjoying painting my own nails. Every few days I stop what I’m doing, make myself a cup of chai, earl grey tea, coffee, or even pour myself a glass of wine, and just focus on my nails. It’s strange, but it took painting my nails to realize I’m rarely ever in the present moment. But there is no other way to do a good job on your nails – you have to focus on what you are doing, or you’ll make a mess!
dsc_1668adquitting shellac nails[Polish shade: REVLON Cherries in the Snow]

An added bonus of doing my own nails is that I’m experimenting with different colours. I love red nails, but I’d pretty much stopped getting them because two weeks with red tips was a bit much for me. Instead I’ve been picking safe, and ‘photo friendly’ colours for nearly two years. 

Here’s to fun manicures, cheap drugstore polish, and many nail art adventures with the babe in the future!

Images by: Aziz Dhamani


Nothing beats finding the perfect lip colour. Except maybe finding a quality lipstick in a fabulous colour, that looks good on my desi skin at a drug store price. You see where I’m heading with this post? I’ve been a fan of Covergirl Colourlicious lipsticks for quite a while. This basic pink is still my daily go-to, and it looks amazing on every desi girl I’ve ever seen wear it. So a few weeks ago when my current lipstick collection was feeling a little ho-hum, and I was ready for a pout pick-me-up, I hit up my local drugstore and stocked up.lipstick for desi skin tones

Full disclosure: I received a couple of colours of Covergirl Colouricious to try out from P&G last year. I loved them so much that I bought all these beauties with my own minimal make-up budget!lipstick for desi skin tones

Colourlicious lipsticks come in 36 shades which makes it really easy to find a shade in
almost every colour that matches desi skin tones. As a bonus, even their dark saturated colours stay put all day and don’t spread (which is usually my beef with drugstore brands – no one wants to look like a clown). covergirl colourlicious, pink chai living

So after a lot of testing and colour swatching, these are the six colours I added to my collection. Let me know which is your fave in the comments below!

covergirl colourlicious coffee craze275 Coffee Crave 
I don’t wear brown toned lipstick very often, but I’ve been loving this coffee colour for everyday wear.
lipstick for desi skin tones285 Sweet Tangerine 
This almost orange tone is pretty far out of my comfort zone, but I love the idea of pairing it with a smokey kajal lined eye for summer evenings.
lipstick for desi skin tones372 Divine Wine
I am just a bit embarassed to say how much I love this colour! It’s very Sridevi in Mr. India, but there is something about it I can’t get over. It’s a bit of a break from my pinks, but not too far out of my comfort zone. 
covergirl colourlicious spellbound325 Spellbound
This purple based pink is very much my go-to colour, and I think it was one of the most flattering colours on Indian skin tones. If you want to try a pink lipstick, you can’t go wrong with spellbound.lipstick for desi skin tones425 Bombshell Pink
This pink is just a bit more “shocking” than Spellbound (it is brighter in real life than this pic), but it’s not too far to the Malibu Barbie side for a desi girl to pull off.
lipstick for desi skin tones305 Hot
I pretty much never buy a drugstore red. When it comes to red lips I’m pretty committed to MAC Ruby Woo or Russian Red, but this tomato red is too beautiful to pass up. colourlicious covergirl lipstick

If I haven’t convinced you already, these lipsticks run $8-10 depending where you buy them. Go ahead, treat yourself!

Text by: Raj Thandhi
Images: Aziz Dhamani


best drugstore foundation for Indian skin, pink chai livingDesi girls around the world know the struggle when it comes to foundation shopping. Lighter shades are not made for our skin tones, darker shades are too dark for us, and medium shades are few and far between. Over the years I’ve been able to find some shades that match my skin tone really well in higher price point brands like MAC, NARS, and Estee Lauder, but there hasn’t really been a great option in drugstore foundations.drugstore foundations for indian skin

My old trick was mixing two colours on the back of my hand to create a custom colour. That’s a bit of a nuisance when you are trying to rush through a 5 minute makeup routine in the morning though. Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time, and a decent amount of dollars testing different foundation colours on myself and my mom. Since she’s 2-3 shades lighter than me, it made for some variety. So which drugstore finds are my favourite? Here’s my round-up…best drugstore foundation for Indian skin


Maybelline Fit Me and Dream Wonder Foundation
As far as foundation under $10 goes, you can’t beat the Maybelline formulations. They are not full coverage and don’t cover up scarring or serious redness, but they are perfect for everyday. I wear the Fit Me foundation pretty much daily now, and love how it feels on my skin. My only issue with Maybelline is their concealers, they just don’t have a colour for me so I tend to pair them with the Cargo HD Concelear.

I do have to say about the Cargo Concealer; it’s not the cheapest at $28, but it’s the formulation that matches the Maybelline foundations the best. Also, the colour on the outside of the tube is quite deceiving, this shade is much lighter inside.covergirl outlast stay luminous foundation

Covergirl Outlast Stay Luminious Foundation and Red Set Gorgeous Concealer
Until the beginning of this year I was pretty much married to the Cover Girl Classic Formula for my daily foundation, but then I was introduced to the Ready Set Gorgeous line, and I was converted. As far as colour choice goes though, the Stay Luminous collection has the best range for Indian skin tones. 

At $15 for the foundation and $9 for the concealer this combination is a great deal. My only issue with this foundation is it’s a bit drying for my already dry skin, so I have to use a thick moisturizer under it. best drugstore foundation for Indian skin

L’oreal True Match Foundation and Concealer
So I totally saved the best for last. I love everything about this foundation & concealer combo – the range of colours (I’m N5.5 in foundation and N4-5 in concealer), the texture, and the durability. This duo will cost you about $25 with taxes, and it’s totally worth it. 

What’s your favourite drugstore foundation? I’d love to hear your feedback – leave a comment and join the conversation!

Want to save this post for later? Here’s a pinnable image for you!drugstore foundations for indian skin





I have a surprisingly sharp recollection of the summer of 1996. It was the summer before my 16th birthday and it was all kinds of perfect. It was before high-school took it’s toll on my self-confidence, and well before I started letting other people’s opinions influence my self worth.

covergirl ready set gorgeous{In these photos I’m wearing Ready Set Gorgeous fresh complexion oil free foundation in Soft Honey. I love how well this foundation covers my pores & the matte look it gives my skin. I do look a little washed out in these pics though and I think it’s because I’m not wearing any colour on my lips thanks to a cold sore!}covergirl ready set gorgeous

Three really key things happened in the months leading up to summer 1996 that made it what it was. First, I was asked to choreograph some dance songs for a local film production (my dancing days are a story for another post), I answered an ad for a “modelling agency” that ended up being a sham, and I discovered Sun In. The combination of my perception of myself as a ‘model’, my role of authority on a film set, and orangey blond streaks gave me a level of confidence I’d never had before.

It was also the summer that I discovered foundation. I still remember my first bottle of foundation and pressed powder compact; they were by CoverGirl, and they were so wrong for me! I bought foundation that was too light, and powder that was too thick. I was a hot mess – not in the sort of sexy 2015 way, but in the “what is up with your face” 1996 way. But I didn’t care. Every morning I applied my foundation and powder all wrong, lined my lips with a dark Jordana liner and filled in with way too light lipstick, and acted like I owned the world (or at least the neighbourhood).

covergirl collage{What do you think – my 15 year old self aint got nothing on me, right?}

Shortly after I discovered make-up, I also discovered Seventeen magazine. In the first edition I ever bought there was an ad for a contest being held by CoverGirl. They were flying 15 girls to to New York for a week, giving them makeovers, and then one of them would get a modelling contract. I was so excited, and so sure I would win! I posed for pictures (see embarrassing proof above), prepared my wardrobe, and wrote the best damn essay on why I should be a CoverGirl, and then I read the fine print: contest open only to US residents. I was hashtag heartbroken (or pound sign heartbroken, because it was 1996 and all).

So I didn’t become a CoverGirl, but my love for their foundation stayed strong over the years. (It’s one of the few beauty products I never cheat on). Year after year I’ve applied classic tan on my skin and faced the world. There were plenty of years in between when I felt anything but easy breezy beautiful, but CoverGirl foundation was my constant companion…

Fast forward 18 years to January 27 2015 and a package shows up on my doorstep. The note inside reads: Welcome to the P&Gmom program! We’re so excited to have the opportunity to work with you. To get you started, here are just a few fabulous products from the P&G family. 

covergirl 3

Any guesses what was in the first box I opened? CoverGirl foundation and concealer. As Mr. T opened up and dug through the other boxes and told me about laundry soap, dish soap, batteries, and a whole load of other stuff, I couldn’t take my eyes off the foundation and concealer in my hands. Call it cheesy or over-dramatic, but nothing gives me more goosebumps or gratitude than the opportunity to work with brands that I love and use every single day. Who’s life is this anyway?

I’m thrilled to join the P&Gmom team this year, and I’m looking forward to trying out new products and sharing my finds with you, but for today, I’m going to enjoy my CoverGirl moment. Who would of thought – that 15 year old girl that wanted so badly to be easy breezy beautiful was ready set gorgeous all along – it just took 18 years, 2 kids, and 4 years of blogging for her to figure it out! 

Disclosure: I am a member of the P&Gmom program and receive products to test/review as part of my association. As always, I only share products I love and use myself. 






Loyalty is a trait I value highly, but when it comes to beauty products I’m extremely disloyal. If I run out of mascara I’m likely to run to the local drug store and grab whatever is on sale or has a pretty package and grabs my attention. It doesn’t help that I’m a product junkie and am always looking for the next best thing. Strangely enough though, there are few products that I never deviate from and will drive all around town looking for. What makes me so loyal to them? They work every time without fail! View Post