Niche Fragrances in India: A Shopping Guide

Niche Fragrances in India: A Shopping Guide

I discovered the world of niche fragrances only recently. It started with a small sample of the classic Baccarat Rouge 540 EDP, from the house of Maison Francis Kurkdjian. And it went on to become two samples, and then a handful and then I fell down that rabbit hole. It’s been a good rabbit hole, but it’s easy to get lost along the way: the reason for this being the fact that there are a ton of fake fragrances floating around, and unless you are careful, you’re going to end up losing a lot of money. This is where I come in, with a select few LEGIT recommendations of places you can get hold of your niche fragrances from.

Now, before we get into the whole shebang, let’s talk a little bit about how a niche fragrance differs from a designer one.

Fragrance experts have divided fragrances into designer and niche since for ever. When designer fashion houses, like Chanel for example, make a fragrance, it is designed to appeal to as many people as possible – this also means that the ingredients that go into the fragrance are usually synthetic. Now, that might not always be the case. On the other hand, niche fragrances are designed to appeal to a “niche” group of people who are always looking for something unique and different. Niche fragrance brands almost always exclusively sell fragrances, and usually use better ingredients, or offer a smoother blend. They also often have a much better sillage (derived from the French word meaning ‘wake’, or the trail of scent that one leaves behind when wearing a fragrance) and wear longer.

This is also why niche fragrances cost you more money, even the entry-level ones like Montale/Mancera. They are also notoriously hard to come by – you won’t find these at your local Parcos – and you are left with very few options to choose from.

2021 for me has been a year of fragrances: I have bought almost little to none of everything else. This whole journey has also made me gravitate towards a few boutiques that I know I can trust, and I am so happy to be sharing them right here:

1. Maison Des Parfums:

They have a boutique located in Palladium Mall, Mumbai and they have a BUNCH of niche fragrance brands. You can find Amouroud, Bond No. 9, Nasomatto (whose fragrances are super unique, from the shape of the bottles to the blends) and even Xerjoff, to name a select few. They don’t have a dedicated website yet, but I’m told it’s in the works. Meanwhile, if you want to buy from them online, you can always look on Tata CLiQ Luxury or send them a direct message on their Instagram handle @mdpindofficial. Shipping is fast, and I always receive my package in less two days.

2. Scentido Niche Perfumery:

Scentido now has three boutiques in the country – one at Fort, Mumbai, one at Khan Market, Delhi and the last one at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. They carry brands like Clive Christian, Jul et Mad, Roja Parfums, Fragrance du Bois – that list is endless. They also have Fragrance Consultants who actually call and stay in touch over WhatsApp should you find it confusing to pick THE scent of your dreams. And they send in two samples with every order.

Scentido also has an online store.

3. Splash Fragrance:

I got my backup bottle of La Nuit Trésor from Splash Fragrance. Owned by the VERY patient and kind Gaurav Verma, also has a Lucknow based store called Opulence perfumery, this is a one stop shop for BOTH niche and designer fragrances. They also sell decants, and again, send samples with every order.

Find them online here.

4. Belvish:

My latest discovery, I had to add this store to my list for the sheer fact that they tick all the boxes. Really good prices, check (I find their pricing slightly better than Splash’s). Amazing customer service, check. The two gentlemen at Belvish, Akshay and Jaspreet, are real gems of people. You get pot-pourri and eco-friendly packaging with every order. Their shipping is fantastic and I got my order in less than two days. SHOOK.

They’re based in Delhi but they ship pan-India. Find them online here.

Now, having recommended these stores, there’s a tiny footnote I would like to add: niche fragrances are an investment BUT you need to be careful with how much you end up spending. It is so easy to lose track of things, so I recommend sticking to a budget if you’re just starting out. With that thought out of the way, happy shopping!

Review: Netflix “Elite”

Review: Netflix “Elite”

Who’d have thought that yet another teen murder mystery would garner so many fans worldwide? It took me the longest time in history to finish Netflix’s hottest new WILD teen-drama, Elite. There are only twenty four episodes – eight episodes per season, spread across three seasons. And you’ll see a lot of familiar faces if you’ve already seen Money Heist.

From Elite Fandom Wiki:

At some point, Pablo Ruiz and Marina Nunier began a relationship that led to Marina contracting HIV. Enraged, Marina’s brother, Guzman, along with Polo and Ander, beat him up. This led to the scholarship program in the school to be suspended, until  San Esteban collapsed, leading to three former students to gain admittance to the school through scholarships provided by the construction company. 

For a short time, Rebeca and Valerio began selling drugs on school premises in order to finance themselves. Valerio needed money to study abroad with Polo and Cayetana, whilst Rebeca needed to feed herself after her mother was arrested. They were eventually found out, and Rebeca, Valerio, Guzman, and Samuel are expelled for being involved.

Did I enjoy watching Elite? The third season, yes. It’s been kind of a slow-burn frankly, so it took time to grow on me. The storyline is just okay, and the makeup is great. But that’s just about it. You’ll see a lot of Gossip Girl and a lot of American Horror Story happening, but it ends with a twist. Again. The show seems to be full of those.

The few things that I did like, though, were:

1. That a Spanish show is doing so great. This is the second one after Money Heist that seems to be getting a lot of attention, and it’s good.

2. The plot twists. It starts off with something and before you know it, something else has happened altogether.

3. The cinematography and location. Beautiful shots.

4. Female friendships. Two of the main characters, Lucrecia and Nadia, start off on the wrong foot but become good friends sometime well into season three. Also, I love Lu’s hair and hair accessories to death.

Unfortunately, the list of things that I didn’t like actually trumps the other list. Here’s what GOT my goat:

1. TOO MANY CHARACTERS. You can do a show with basically two, and even four, protagonists. But here you’ve got a million – Samuel, Nadia, Christian, Guzmán, Polo, Ander, Omar, Carla, Lucrecia, Valerio, Rebeca, Cayetana, Yeray, Malik… oh man, that list is endless and the show is only three seasons long. So far.

2. Unrealistic storylines. Like which high-school student goes to so many parties?

3. Drugs and sex. Everyone seems to be having too much sex – (and of course the nudity is crazy) – with every random person, and the drugs that they’re doing are out of control. Netflix is accessible to everyone and the audience is often young and impressionable. Yikes.

4. Incest. As if Game of Thrones wasn’t enough.

5. Strong language. Everyone seems to be swearing, all the time, even in their parents’ faces. Like, what? And if you’ve grown up in an Asian family, you know that’s the cue for the rolling pin from your mum to hit you on the head.

If I were to rate the show, I’d give it a three out of five. And since we’re all quarantined with nothing much to do, maybe you can give it a go.

What are you binge watching this week?

This Show Touched My Heart

This Show Touched My Heart

“You’re a wish come true I never knew I was making,” – Marilla, Anne With An E

I’ve watched more Netflix shows than I’d care to admit. At this point, I’ve developed a pounding headache and pink eye and 2020 isn’t looking too sparkly for me. Also, the news isn’t helping. There’s far too much terror in India at this point. Between Christmas and New Year’s, I’d binge-watched Don’t F*ck With Cats, You, Unbelievable and gotten overwhelmed by all the murder and other forms of bloodshed and chanced upon Anne With an E.

I’m not someone that watches a lot of dramas but Anne with an E is based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, and it was one of my childhood favorites and Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, with her fiery red hair and her romantic ways, is actually pretty iconic.

The show drew me in. Based in the fictional town of Avonlea, the cinematography is stunning. There’s a bunch of glorious shots of Prince Edward Island.

AmyBeth McNulty, who plays the titular Anne, is perfect. She actually beat almost two thousand other people that auditioned and got the role. Anne with an E follows the story of an orphaned thirteen-year-old, severely bullied and shuffled from home to home, in her quest to belong to someone.

Anne is accidentally sent to the Cuthberts, a pair of elderly siblings called Matthew and Marilla, in place of a farm hand they originally requested for, from the orphanage. Anne meets Matthew at the train station and talks all the way to the Cuthbert residence, the Green Gables. Initially disapproving of Anne, Marilla eventually warms up to her, and she and her brother go ahead and adopt Anne formally. Anne adjusts comfortably, and although often she creates trouble, she does a lot of good too, thanks to her quick-thinking. She also becomes good friends with the neighbors’ older daughter, Diana Barry.

The first season was a tad too slow and flowery for my liking, but if you’ve loved Ms Montgomery as much as I have, you’re probably going to stick to it too. Season two picks up pace that season one lacks and the writers put their own twist to the plot, with Aunt Josephine “Jo”, Diana’s aunt, being revealed as lesbian and Anne’s classmate, artist Cole, as gay. The coming-of-age bits are brilliant and beautifully done. You also witness a lot of focus on the LGBTQ community as a whole, with Jo’s companionship with Geraldine shocking Diana initially till the time she learns to accept it. Gilbert Blythe, another classmate of Anne’s, goes off on a ship and meets Trinidadian Sebastian “Bash” after the death of the former’s father. An unlikely friendship forms and the two boys return to Avonlea.

The new teacher, widowed Ms. Muriel Stacy, who wears pants and forgoes wearing the corset obstinately, much to the chagrin of Rachel Lynde, while also riding her motorcycle, is like a breath of fresh air. Anne realizes that she and Ms Stacy are kindred spirits and I almost whooped when they go to the town hall in season three to protest against the ministers burning down the school and taking away the printing press because Anne dares to post an article about consent and what’s fair, and what isn’t.

While the other girls aim to be good brides and wives to some man, with Ruby cherishing a burning passion for Gilbert, Anne wants to become a bride of adventure.

That is, until she realizes that she’s loved Gilbert since forever and while Ruby finds a new object of adoration in another classmate, Moody, Anne and Gilbert try to communicate with each other via notes. These notes never reach the concerned parties and a lot of confusion ensues, and I almost wanted to shake Gilbert and go, AAAAARRGGGGHHH, when he keeps courting Winnie and doesn’t get anywhere. Season three has to be my favorite. Anne searches for her legacy and finds love and Marilla and Matthew send her off to college and Gilbert comes to meet her before going off to the University of Toronto, and I’ve never sighed so much in my life. That too, as dreamily.

Anne blossoming into a young woman in the last episode, running to meet Gilbert with her fiery red hair flowing behind her, contrasting perfectly with her blue dress and freckles, is the best thing on Netflix right now. Oh, sigh.

Honorable mentions:

• Rachel Lynde, Marilla’s best friend – the character’s transition from the narrow-minded mean woman in the first two seasons to someone who’s all for women’s rights, is brilliant.

• Ka’kwet, a twelve year old belonging to the indigenous people who sell hockey sticks and make baskets – the way she escapes the clutches of the whites trying to “convert savages” by locking children up in schools and forcing them to learn English and rechristening them, had me on the edge of my seat.

• The Cuthberts – I had to talk about them twice. They’re super adorable. Matthew is sweet and Marilla, stern start first. I kind of bawled my eyes out when she yells that she loves Anne in the third season and therefore, wants her to be safe. Talk about tough love mellowing into mushy and selfless love, I love how Marilla makes a detour and takes the ferry with Matthew to retrieve memoirs of Anne’s long dead parents from the first home Anne lived in. WHOOP DE DOOP!

• Aunt Josephine Barry – she’s got to be my favorite. Full of life and new ideas and open-mindedness and the fact that she’s fiercely supportive of Anne, is amazing.

The show focuses on so much, there’s so much you can take from it. The diversity is incredible. The most important thing, I’ve learned, is to give people, and things, chances. Because who knows what you might be pleasantly surprised with, right?

There’s a New Genre of TV Shows and I’m HERE For It

There’s a New Genre of TV Shows and I’m HERE For It

So I binge-watched Dead to Me on Netflix a couple nights back and like the cool kids say: I AM SHOOK. (That’s super weird if you think about it grammatically, but that’s another story for another day.)

This whole genre of TV shows portraying angry women is something that’s been gaining a lot of popularity lately and I’m honestly a fan. Although most of these are advertised to be “dark comedy”, I think I’m sticking with “angry women”, because it makes me feel like we need some female badassery already. I’ve talked about Good Girls and Why Women Kill on the blog before. And I adore both shows. All have a similar vibe – cheating spouses/partners, money, sexual tensions, they’ve got it all.

Also, did I mention – all of these shows have a BRILLIANT cast? Dead to Me, for example, has an ensemble cast of Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini (who was born on June 25th as well, OMG does this mean I qualify as THE NEXT VELMA DINKLEY?) and James Marsden, who in my opinion, has only gotten hotter. Take a look:

I also love the fact that these shows feature multiple protagonists, and they all come from different age groups and ethnicities. Win. Win. A total win. Jen and Judy, for example, have totally contrasting personalities in Dead to Me. While Jen is a mother of two, who’s investing the recent hit-and-run of her dead husband, and is constantly on edge, Judy is an artist who’s carefree and believes in woo-woo. The banter the two exchange is hilarious and very well-done.

Also, SPOILER ALERT: there’s a brilliant 1966 Mustang that plays a key role in the show. And, Judy’s bangs are on point.

If you’re looking for something to binge watch this weekend, Dead to Me is an excellent pick. That is, if you don’t mind the fact that your Netflix playlist looks like you’re plotting a murder and doing your very own thorough research.

And if you’ve already watched the show, and cannot wait for season two, what was your favorite bit?

Book Review: My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Book Review: My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

• This is Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel.

My sister the serial killer is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and the story is told from the point of view of Korede, the (eventual) head-nurse at St. Peter’s.

• She has this sister, Ayoola, who’s already killed three men, making her a serial killer. Ayoola also starts dating Tade, the guy who Korede secretly cherishes a burning passion for. Actually, scratch that: she loves the guy. Love love. The book opens with Ayoola calling Korede in panic. Ayoola has just murdered her boyfriend of one month, Femi, who used to write poetry. She doesn’t remember Femi’s last name, but she remembers his poetry. This bit hit me so hard. The two sisters then go ahead and clean up the mess and dispose of the body, with Korede doing most of the work – from the cleaning to the driving to the tossing of the body wrapped in three bedsheets they take from Femi’s studio apartment.

• I found parts of the book super interesting, the writing is mostly lucid as well, but to me it felt slightly bland as the book came to a close. The book (hardcover) is a little over two hundred pages long, and won’t take you a lot of time to finish reading.

• The ending’s been left vague. There’s man that comes to visit the sisters and you can totally speculate, but you can’t tell for sure, as to who he could be. Is it a new man, a new target that Ayoola is about to murder with their dead dad’s famous nine inch long ornate knife? Or is it the newly-back-from-a-coma patient, who in his comatose state had become the only confidante to Korede, who wants her for her, now that he’s divorced his wife? It’s up to you to decide.

• The humor is very Sophie Kinsella and the storyline is vaguely similar to the cookie cutter murder books we’ve all read at some point. Also, I love the contrast between the two sisters. While Korede is plain Jane, who shocks people when she randomly wears makeup one day after looking at a YouTube tutorial, Ayoola is a total knockout and a fashion designer who uses social media and men, for her own purposes. And for her designer wardrobe. She’s also messy, and Korede is so clean and organized, she probably has OCD.

My sister the serial killer is a mix of chick lit, deadpan comedy, dark fiction with hints of romance (the way Tade woos Ayoola with red and white roses), jealousy (the way Korede shreds the roses in the dead of the night) and Daddy issues (the father isn’t mentioned by name, but he had been the law in the house and never a father figure). If I had to rate it, it would get a 3.5/5 for good premise, and I would dock points for the rushed and vague ending.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Any recommendations I need to be looking out for?

Are Reboots Better Than The OGs?

Are Reboots Better Than The OGs?

Netflix is doing great lately. It gave us Birdbox. And it gave us Stranger Things. It also gave us the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Dynasty, reboot and Charmed, reboot.

I grew up watching Sabrina the teenage witch. I mean, Melissa Joan Hart was adorable. Take a look at that hair! And aw, that face. She was bubbly and cute and everything rosy. But nobody realized what we were missing out onuntil the CAOS happened. And it was so good. Is so good.

It stars Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina, and boy oh boy, her acting skills are top notch. Although arguably a lot darker, the show is also a whole lot more gripping. While many people detested the show because of how satanic it seemed to be, and quit midway, most of us loved the show and cannot wait for the new season. The trailer that dropped a few days back looks promising and basically, just whoa. The bonus Christmas episode from 2018 was beautiful. Super nice.

Dynasty was a big hit in the eighties. The 2018 reboot is actually more interesting to me. Maybe that’s got something to do with my love for Liz Gillies but the girl can act. And sing. And the clothes are great, and the script is great, the cuts are crisp and Alexis is awesome (spoiler alert: even though she gets thrown into the fireplace in the latest episode of season two.) I’ve rarely loved a TV villain half as much as I’ve loved Nicolette Sheridan’s – remember her from Desperate Housewives? – portrayal of Alexis. The woman is as eye-conic as her eyelashes. Although Dame Joan Collins as Alexis was just as badass:

…I still like the newer cast better. For starters, I love the inclusivity and the tweaks here and there – for example, I love that Sammy Jo is a gay man in the reboot, that the Colbys are black, and that the new location is now Atlanta. Woot woot. Plus, I love the new Fallon. She’s PERFECT.

Which brings me to the last show I want to discuss – Charmed.

Okay, I loved the OG. I was obsessed. I mean, who doesn’t love Prue and Paige? Rose McGowan was a treat to watch.

The new show though, wow. They changed the names and the sexual orientation of one of the sisters. Which made me go, yaaaaaasssss girl, and I adore Macy. She’s brilliant and doesn’t wear over the top clothing and isn’t perfect, and has demon blood in her and oh my goodness, she’s brilliant. Swoon. Also Maggie as the empath is just so effing cute. Kind of don’t like Mel much but I love Jada because she’s so mysterious. Ah. You need to watch the show.

Clearly, all the reboots take the crown. In my opinion. Are you a fan of the OG or the reboots, in case you do watch any of these shows? Meanwhile, I cannot wait for the new episode of Charmed, this Sunday. The only sad part about these shows I watch would be the fact that they only air once a week. Argh.

What Happiness Feels Like

What Happiness Feels Like

So you’ve seen it all. Heard it all. Your back, it’s now against the wall.

You’ve fallen so far down the rabbit hole, you can’t possibly fall any farther down.

Your heart was broken, you fixed it, someone broke it all over again.

One day you looked at your forehead in the mirror, and started smoothing out that frown.

That same day, you decided, you won’t let pain cut into your veins, you’d had enough.

That very moment, you decided, you were done with people and their words – oh such words.

That instant, a fire lit within you, and you with your wounded pride, you picked up the pieces.

Your individuality, it started to shine through, despite how, all this while it lay blurred.

Your frown, where was it, now? Your eyes crinkled up at the corners.

What people called “crow’s feet” and got Botoxed for, turned into your prized possession.

Your lips stretched into a smile, and you felt the iron cage around your heart break open.

Suddenly such a weight lifted and suddenly you never knew depression.

And for the first time in what feels like years, you’re breathing like you were meant to.

You feel unburdened, and it’s not because you’re rich, it’s not because there’s a new man.

You feel like a Phoenix, that’s risen from the ashes they left abandoned in the corner.

You’ve left behind all negative energy and you’re a new woman with a new plan.

You’re going to be unflinchingly yourself – shameless, bold, bad, manipulative – so be it.

They misunderstand you, you don’t care, you’re dealing with it like it’s not important at all.

You’re happy, and finally, nothing gets to you – this bubble around you, it protects you.

And this time you’re sure, that no matter what happens, this time you won’t fall.

Why Puddin’ Is Such A Feel-Good Book

Why Puddin’ Is Such A Feel-Good Book

The first actual physical book I read this year was Puddin’ by Julie Murphy. Right off the bat, I’m just going to go ahead and say it – it’s adorable. It’s weird when you use the word “adorable” to describe a book you’ve read, but hear me out, okay?

Looking good there, Ms. Murphy!

Warning: SPOILER ALERT!

Puddin’ has two protagonists – polar opposite characters called Millie and Callie. While Millie is an overweight, craft-obsessed, good Christian girl who refuses to say the “s” word and calls it bull-“doo doo” instead, Callie is the quintessential pretty girl, she’s on the dance team and she’s also Mexican.

The story starts off with Millie and her mum and their back and forth about her going to fat camp again, which she’s completely not okay with. She wants to secretly be a Journalist and take over the world.

The next thing we see is Callie’s dance team losing their sponsorship, which was supposed to come from Millie’s Uncle Vernon’s tiny gym. So Callie and her team vandalize the place because they’re so mad at having lost their potential Nationals dream. Millie identifies Callie on the CCTV, thanks to the signature necklace she sports. Callie, being a firm believer in sisterhood, refuses to divulge the names of the rest of the girls who were a part of the prank gone wrong, and ends up getting kicked off the dance team. Vernon doesn’t press charges but Callie is asked to work for free to raise the money lost in the vandalism.

After the few initial hiccups including the fact that Vernon’s wife, Inga, detests Callie, Millie and Callie becomes good friends. Since Callie has no friends left and she manages to hurt the reputation of the Shamrocks (the dance team she was formerly a part of), Millie introduces her to her little group of friends. Routine sleepovers become a thing and Millie is given enough confidence boosting by Callie to ask out the guy of her dreams – the only Indian boy at school, Malik. The story of how they fall in love, and their cutesy dates left me going awwww.

Meanwhile, there’s trouble in Callie’s love paradise, and she has a very banshee-screaming, loud, public breakup with her rich boyfriend, Bryce. A slightly overweight guy, Mitch, shows interest in her but she pushes him away because Mitch isn’t her type. We’ve all been there and pushed away people who were perfectly right for us because we felt like they weren’t our type at all. I know I have.

On her last day at the gym, Callie accidentally finds out that Millie was the one who’d told on her to the cops, and she feels betrayed because Millie never owned up and let her go hurt the Shamrocks instead. Their friendship ends. Temporarily.

But whatever is meant to be, will always be, and they become friends again. Millie’s journalism application is rejected but Callie takes her to Austin (AUSTIN OR BUST) and practically bully the director there to accept Millie’s application despite the fact that Millie isn’t the quintessentially skinny or the prefect newsreader types.

The Shamrocks get their funding too, from Bryce’s Dad and his car dealership ways. The ending of the book is super sweet – the girls are all sitting together and enjoying a pool party with their boyfriends, before Millie leaves for the summer program in Austin. She’s also totally twinning with Callie in their retro swimsuits. Go, girls!

The book is filled with beautiful one liners you could either put on a tee or use as a bumper sticker. My favorite?

“Love is in the details.”

And this one too:

I also realize the power of a red lipstick and I’m picking myself up a Revlon Certainly Red 740, the shade Mrs. Bradley (Callie’s Mama) wears. Love comes and goes, but lipstick is forever, you know?

Romanticizing The Morbid

Romanticizing The Morbid

Sabhyata (@palletesandpaint on Instagram) recommended this show to me. I’d thought that Gillian Flynn’s Amy Dunne was the coldest of the lot. Turns out, I was wrong.

What show am I talking about? Read on to find out.

We’ve all seen Gone Girl or read the book, and we’ve all been weirdly fascinated by the way Gillian Flynn’s mind works. She writes some of the best psychological crime thrillers in my opinion. I had no idea that Caroline Kepnes managed to create a protagonist – or an anti-hero, if you will – quite as fascinating as Joe Goldberg, and he’s clever and calculating and obsessive and I love the way Kepnes portrays him.

Joe Goldberg first makes an appearance in the 2015 novel, You. It’s now a Netflix show, same name, and there’s a season two coming. Oh JOY.

The reason why I found Goldberg so appealing was the fact that he comes across as a harmless bookstore manager. How crazy would a bookstore manager be, right? WRONG. He’s Internet-savvy, and can work Google like a pro. Also, he’s read every book out there and *spoiler alert* knows how to dispose of most evidence. Also, his stalking skills are crazy. It’s kind of chilling, you know? How far a person would go to get the woman of his dreams, whom he ultimately ends up killing. At least Amy Dunne let Nick live. Shudder.

Things people say they do in the name of love.

Now, is the show any good? And is it different from the book?

Well, yes and yes.

I made the mistake of watching the show first and then reading both You and the sequel, Hidden Bodies. It should have been the other way round, just so I could compare better. It’s kind of different from the book, because the producers of the show decided to bring Joe’s ex back. Candace doesn’t make a comeback in the book. Which means that the sequel is going to be way different from Hidden Bodies. Ugh. Now I’ll have to wait for ever to find out what’s going on.

How good is Penn Badgley’s portrayal of Joe Goldberg? On point.

Joe is a completely different character than his portrayal of Gossip Girl’s Dan Humphrey. Sure that character was shady and everything, but it feels like a completely different person. You couldn’t tell this was the same actor. The manic, crazed look in his eyes. The brooding demeanor. Oh my. Everything is perfect.

Apparently the character is so crazy and evil and sinister and all of that, that Badgley was super hesitant to play the role initially.

Left: Goldberg. Right: Humphrey.

I know a few people that happened to get so freaked out after watching the show that they had to go look at puppy videos. I’m not kidding. If you’re someone that’s sensitive and cannot stomach morbid stories, maybe stay away. Someone sent me this meme the other day, which sums up just about everything:

Did you watch this show? Or read the books? Any new Netflix recommendations are welcome. Hope your 2019 is going great.

The Ordinary: What Worked

The Ordinary: What Worked

If there’s a brand you need to do extensive research before buying, it has to be The Ordinary. Their Instagram is called Deciem if you want to check them out.

Before we get started, here are a few things you need to know:

1. If you’re buying The Ordinary skincare/makeup off of BeautyBay, and you happen to be in India, please note that you’ll have to pay custom duty.

2. Too much of anything is bad, so understand your skin really well before you buy stuff. But I bet you already knew that.

3. Be consistent.

And now, without further ado…

I have oily, acne-prone skin. When I say acne-prone, I mean SUPER acne-prone. My skin has a mind of its own and I get pimples right before I have an event coming up. And it gets super annoying. Which is why, after hearing about The Ordinary skincare a lot, I decided to haul a few things.

The Ordinary has no-fuss packaging, which I love. It’s very um, straightforward. Most of their products come in glass bottles with a dropper, which makes it so easy to use. Even though the pricing is super nice, they don’t compromise on quality. Here’s everything I got.

• Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%:

While neither ingredient effectively gets rid of acne, they work together to minimize the look of blemishes, reducing the congestion, and also improves the tone of your skin. I noticed a huge difference in my skin right from the first week of constant use.

Deciem states on their website that this product isn’t meant to be used with Vitamin C, because it takes away the integrity of the ascorbic acid. Aka, your skin will get irritated and you might get burns.

This is a water-based formula, which means the ingredients are super clean – there’s no alcohol, silicone, gluten, and it’s also cruelty free and oil free – and it feels super nice on the skin. I like to use it in the morning and well as before bedtime before my sunscreen and/ or moisturizer.

Some people are sensitive to Niacinamide, and you might get breakouts, so it’s always important to do a patch test first.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy it here.

• Salicylic Acid 2% Solution:

This was a lifesaver. I like to typically use a drop of it directly on whichever pesky pimple shows up , typically at night before my moisturizer, and I’ve noticed that it makes pimples go away within three days, tops.

However, it also makes your skin very sensitive to sunlight so if you apply it in the morning and you’re going out, don’t forget the sunscreen.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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• Granactive Retinoid 2%:

I love that it comes in an amber glass bottle, keeps it potent for longer. It’s meant for anti-aging, and I’ve noticed that it helps with hyperpigmentation as well.

I use this a couple times every week, before bed, and I put on my moisturizer and I’m going to slowly start using it more, because I don’t want to shock my skin with BAM, overdose. Know what I mean? I make sure I don’t use it with anything else – the Salicylic and Ascorbic acids, to be precise – and so far my skin hasn’t gotten burned.

A word of caution, pretty much like the rest of The Ordinary stuff, this product will burn your skin if it’s sensitive. Never use this in the morning and never use it with any other retinoids.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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• Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA spheres 2%:

This is the only product that comes in a squeezy tube, and I like that it has hyaluronic acid mixed in. To be honest, this is a very potent combination and if used right, you’re going to see a massive change in your skin in just a few weeks.

The Ordinary recommends you use the lightest stuff first and then move on to the heavier bits of your skincare regimen – and for good reason. I found that when used on my naked skin, the tingling (yes, they warn you about the tingling on the packaging) got pretty unbearable. When I woke up the next day, I noticed that my skin had inflamed around the edges of my mouth. And my brain went: Chemical burn alert!

My skin cleared up when I stopped using it. So if you’re someone with super sensitive skin, I’d say give this a miss.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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High Spreadability Fluid Primer:

I cannot begin to explain how much I LOVE this stuff! It does have silicone, obviously, but noticed that my makeup stayed put longer, and looked really good too.

It’s also fragrance-free (Huda Beauty, are you listening), so if you’re looking for a pocket friendly primer that fills pores and blurs out fine lines, get this. It feels super luxe and you only need a tiny drop.

I’ve seen people complain about how it gets too slippery but nothing of that sort happened to me, so major props to this little guy.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy it here.

• Serum Foundation:

So I saved the best for last.

Okay, I bought the wrong shade and unless I’m super tan, I can’t really wear it out, but thankfully it’s the peak of the summer right here in India and this foundation feels like NOTHING on the skin. It’s that weightless. I’m getting the shade 2.0 YG next. It’ll hopefully match me better.

The coverage is natural and makes your skin look like it’s happy and aglow with life. I know I’m being dramatic, but that’s exactly how it makes me feel. I also love that it comes with a pump you can actually lock.

I tried mixing it in with some Cover Fx custom cover drops, to lighten it, and it worked well too. Major props to The Ordinary for doing everything right. The only reason I’ve given it four stars is that the shade range needs work. I mean, Fenty has a million shades. Come on, Deciem.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy it here.