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How I Bought My New MacBook Air

How RansomWare attacked my system and encrypted my system life

Holla Dearies,

You would be knowing that my laptop crashed earlier this month, leaving me high and dry. It was a long-standing Dell Inspiron that became my knight in its shining black coat armour. It was an old buy but helped me with my requirements just right.  Darn, the malware criminals who planted a "ransomware" in my laptop, that encrypted all my documents, pictures and every single file in my laptop to .cerber files. 

What do they want? Well, they wanted 1.2 bitcoins or $500 to decrypt my files, which amounts to Rs 33,000. Did I pay them? No! Why? 

a) The amount was exorbitant
b) There is no guarantee that they will return your files back.

Solution? Well, I googled and asked friends but unfortunately, there wasn't any solution that could work on my system. I went to a couple of IT experts but in vain. I bought the most popular antivirus- Kaspersky and scanned for almost 24 hours, combining Kasper with Trend without any success. 

Why I did not format my system, plug and play?
I could have simply got my system formatted but that would not have helped me in recovering my data. Alas! I had no backup either. 

I have been using laptop and computers from last 20 years but it was first of its kind experience. Ransomware is a malware, unlike other viruses that encrypt your files and hence it is imperative to have a data backup. Unfortunately, my lack of backup cost me dear and that is the reason I was missing from the blogging scene from quite some time.

After multiple attempts and efforts that went futile, I decided to get myself a new machine. My budget was a petty Rs 30,000, that busted before you could spell the dot-com bubble. It was strange to find the ugliest looking laptop selling at 30,000 +

I went to buy Dell or HP but seeing their prevailing configuration and markets prices [starting from 51k] I did not realise how many meters I rolled backward, in shock and exasperation. Man! I am not even earning. I threw a distant glance at Apple counter and sighed as deep I could. I have promised myself that if I get a job, I will fulfil my long pending desire of buying a MacBook Pro. It wasn't a wishful thinking, I gave two "shandaar" interviews wherein the HR and spokesperson were 200% positive with my candidature. At one presentation, I was told that I delivered more than what was expected, yet I did not get the job. Sigh! My 3 days of hardcore research and hard work trying to create a meaningful presentation went down the drain. I wondered was it the "fishes" that I did not "understand" or was it my obsolete looking temporary laptop that served me till that presentation did the spoil. Whatever it was, I couldn't stop admiring the temporary help that my temporary laptop provided me. It worked well till the presentation, only to go kaput next day. 

Job or no job, it was about time that I get myself a new machine and with a little research and nudge from friends and family, I found an excellent offer that helped me buying my new Macbook Air.

Best Offer via WishGini.com
When it comes to buying electronics, I seldom like shopping from online. However, it is a good idea to check prices online and do some ground research before you hit the retail expedition. I checked the prices on Amazon and Flipkart before moving to retail outlets. Apparently, some offers were doing rounds at Vijay sales [least lucrative], Chroma [good staff at Juhu including Mahendra Singh and Pratibha], Reliance and others. 

It was quite tedious to travel to different stores and check the price. Notwithstanding the traffic, travel and additional cost of traveling, I tried this consumer to business portal called- Wishgini.com

The portal has a unique mechanism wherein I can "make a wish" i.e. tell my requirement via a web form including the product type, specifications, and budget scope. The wish is then circulated to all the relevant vendors as registered on the portal on a discrete basis. The one with the best offer will connect with you via the portal, respond to your query and you can strike/seal a deal thereon. Off course, you need to be genuine with the "wish" you are making. It is not necessary that you may get the same price that you quoted but there might be a +/- the price, without any pressure on you to accept the offer. With a little negotiation, the two of you can strike deal online. I will tell you more about it in some other post.

The products are however genuine as they are retailed by authorized retailers only.

If you are in Mumbai, do check out this website www.wishgini.com




MacBook Air V/s Macbook Pro

My first stop was Vijay sales where I discovered an ongoing offer on Macbook. When compared, the price of MacBook was quite competitive to other available brands. Like the true Surf Ramaji, I felt- Jab itne mein MacBook mile toh koi aur kuch kyu le". [When you get MacBook at a price which is at par with other laptops than why not buy MacBook].

Next question was MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Well, you will find the answer and more, in my video below.

So, do check out my "Unboxing" Video below, and do subscribe to my youtube Channel



Beauty Sleep With Sofy Overnight Sanitary Pads


Women, Hygiene and their Sleeping position
Women across the world play different roles in their daily lives. We are Daughter, sister, beloved, wife, manager and mother. Irrespective of the roles that we play in our daily lives, the struggles that we undergo, the fears that we defeat, there is one thing that worries we women a lot. That is the fear of menstrual strain and that sticky discomfort especially through the night, interrupting our beauty sleep.
Yes, those 3 days when women face heavy menstrual flow that not just leaves them physically drained but also makes them mentally conscious, very conscious that they couldn't sleep well or sleep the way they usually do.
You would have heard about different sleeping positions that people have and things it tells about their personality. However, during the menstrual cycle, when a woman needs maximum rest and good sleep, she ends up sleeping like an attentive soldier, sans the salute. Reason? We told you, fear of stain, crampy napkin, poor absorbing sheet leading to careworn attitude of changing napkins during the night
Sleep at Ease with Sofy Overnight
It is time to change! Instead of changing sanitary napkin every 2 hours, change the napkin brand that you have been using. Try Sofy bodyfit overnight. 

Sofy bodyfit overnight is a product from Japan's no 1 brand Unicharm. 


What does Sofy Overnight provide?
Sofy Overnight is acknowledged as India's longest napkin with its 420mm [XXXL] variant. It also has a 350 MM variant that has a wider hip guard and 3 Way leakage control system prevents Leakage until morning.

It is a slim fit napkin with comfy dry cover and wings, and best suited for night usage. 


How it works-
1) Wider Hip Guard: This covers your under pant /undergarment from the back for extra coverage to prevent stains, allowing more padded area for absorption
2) Flexi Absorb System/ Shape Maintenance System: It makes the napkin move with your body and yet be in shape in the position that you may sleep in, to prevent leakage. 
3) Double Absorbent Core: It fits the body and continues to absorb from night until morning 

So no matter which position you sleep, you can sleep peacefully, ugly yet beautifully. 

It costs Rs 155 for 10 350 MM pads that mean just Rs 15.5 approx for one pad. They also have the pack of 5 pads and 20 pads available.

Here's how the product looks like-




So Women, Time to Sleep Ugly for your beauty Sleep, with Sofy


====

Here's a small poem to all women

Women, you are an epitome 
of beauty, of grace and
elegance.
 sophistication is thy second name. 
Charisma is your tame.

You walk like an elephant, 
indulging in your own gait. 
You dance like a peacock, 
through the puddles of rain. 
You pout like a diva, 
you sing like a nightingale

My warrior princess,
my sweet September
You are the loveliest dame.

Let me kiss you goodnight,
so you sleep 
without any fear or shame

Toss, turn, snore or yawn
#SleepUgly till the break of dawn!

When Hi- Tech meets Lifestyle - Review of the New OPPO F1s Selfie Phone


Life is too short to have boring Selfies
Haute Kutir 

We are toh the "Selfie crazy" People

I am known to do a lot of mystery shopping. For me, it has always been a good source of understanding the consumer behavior at ground level. Last week, when I was at this digital store checking out some devices, I heard two girls sighing over a probable smartphone and its feature. After the store guy explained them all [exhaustive] features of the 2 smartphones they probably were interested in, they sighed over the too much of specifications and asked- What is megapixel you told of the selfie camera?

The guy confused and asked which brand they were asking for and was embarrassed to know it is the front camera megapixels instead. He smiled and said- "5 Megapixel but the rear camera is 13 megapixels, madam. See, have a try."

The girls almost fainted when they heard the price that was way above Rs 30,000 but the seller almost convinced them that it is the best in their favor to buy that expensive phone with 5 MP with xyz features that can make their face look smaller and eyes bigger with easy settings. The girls were confused

Take 2: Rhea, my younger cousin is very popular among her friends for her pictures, swag and more. She loved taking selfies and apparently someone told her that the X brand that cost more than half a lakh is the best phone to have in the world. It is not just the "brand value" that will make her equal with some of her high-end peers and celebs, but also a lifestyle investment. She was so convinced that she let go of all her savings that she has saved for buying the new spring collection outfit to buy that expensive phone. A decision she regretted later.

Well, it is not just about Rhea and the other girls. It is about the "Consumer demand" and "matching supplies".

The smartphone that was once known for its sheer mobility advantage, has now found many "use cases" to entice its owners/buyers. Our smartphone is not just a device to make/receive calls/message. It has replaced our diary, calendar, fitness bands, pedometer, notebooks and above all camera.

Talking about Camera, do you know which is the most popular social app these days? 

It is Instagram, and if you know a bit about this popular app, you will know of the most leading category is #Selfie.

Selfie is such a craze that Oxford Dictionary declared it as "Word of the Year" in 2013 and added it to their dictionary. The generation today is #Selfie crazy and very demanding. We want best of technology with ease of operations and higher cosmetic value.

And #Selfie is one popular feature that is riding the smartphone market, and will continue to ride till next best technology does not make an entry.

That is why, smart brands like OPPO are slowly moving from just a "rear quality camera" to also, "Selfie cam" focussed demand. One such example was OPPO F1 that we discussed earlier here and here. Another example is the newly launched OPPO F1s smartphone. What does it have in store? read more-



The New OPPO F1s and why it is No1 Selfie Phone
I found OPPO as a brand that likes to reach out to their audience and tell them what they have up their R&D sleeves. One such interaction was this massive launch in Mumbai last week, wherein OPPO invited different community including bloggers to come experience and learn about their new phone OPPO F1s. You can find more details on my Twitter and Snapchat.

If you think that I just went to a launch, saw the feel presentations, checked the demo devices and came back to form an opinion, then you are not right. I am a tough cookie to crack and to maintain that notoriety I thoroughly checked my review device especially its most talked about feature- The "Selfie" Cam. Do you know that OPPO F1s has 16 Megapixel front camera, with 5.5 inch display?

About OPPO F1: The phone is a reiteration of the previously launched OPPO F1. [I have not reviewed the OPPO F1 plus, so I could barely comment on that].The other features include- 3GB RAM, mediaTek M6750 Octa Core processor [talk about high processing speed and ease of usage], 13 MP rear camera, Android Lollipop 5.1 with color OS 3.0 customization on top [untill you cannot wait for Android 7.0 Nougat launch for Nexus phones], fingerprint sensor, Beautify 4.0 for selfie enhancement at pre-processing stage, 3075 mAh Lithium polymer battery [non removable, so you friend/spouse cannot emotionally blackmail to swap w/o return], 4G VoLTE compatibility, Bluetooth 4.0.

The phone slot has dual sim capacity [Nano Sims Only] and a slot for expandable memory up to 256 GB against the in-built of 32 GB internal storage. The display is 5.5 inch and has corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Look wise the phone has a premium form factor, akin to iPhone and is 7.4mm thick and weighs 160 grams. The phone is priced at rs 17,990/-

I have done a device first preview and form tour on my snapchat. Hope you follow me [@ektakhetan] and have seen :)


To make my understanding even stronger, I took Samsung A710 that the store guy was promoting and did an apple to apple oops phone to phone comparison, focussed on camera especially the "Selfie" part of it.


Samsung A710 v/s OPPO F1s Handset

Both have the sleek design but that silver lining on OPPO F1s adds further to the suave and cool quotient. The phone has a metal body with subtle round corners. The back side of OPPO F1s is quite neat and clean. If you can see those two panels at the top and bottom of the device back, Let me tell you that they are made of plastic so a sto inculcate better reception capability.

The fingerprint button is at the bottom right side of the screen. Oh yes, the fingerprint sensor is not a duh but lives up in terms of accuracy and blazing speed.

See it for yourself-




Let us talk more about the personal experience here with the help of these real pictures -

Disclaimer: All these pictures are shot simultaneously at the Haute Kutir war room with same setting and time. Pictures are original without any iota of editing.

Rear Camera Shots







The Selfie Camera Comparison

OPPO F1s has a "Beautify 4.0" features that can change the light and add rosy effect to your picture on the scale of 1-7. The pictures come smooth, flawless and well illuminated.



Same day and a little liner, lip color and well-manned hair, and Lo behold,m we clicked the selfie with both the phones. So which one did more justice to pictures by choosing their best setting?


Hello, did someone said iPhone has the best camera? Well, let's see which one looked better? There may not be a drastic change in the quality of both the phones but when you get same/better quality at a lesser price, what stops you from going for it?

Low Light Shot: Another striking feature for all you night lovers. Woohoo...Samsung A7/iPhone selfie cam does not work in dark wherein OPPO F1s does.


Other Camera Features

The rear camera of the OPPOF1s phone comes loaded with striking features including the diverse filters [same as OPPO F1] and Patterns to add that extra touch to your pictures shot by the rear camera. Fear not, even the selfie camera comes pre-loaded with filters that you may want to chose.







Isn't that cool? You have more options to click your pictures with and that saves you a lot of editing time and installation of multiple picture editing software to bring that additional touch to your work. Well, I am a blogger who does not like carrying her DSLR all the times yet want my pictures to have that personalized touch without photoshopping. Hence, these features come handy to me.


Good news for photo frenzy who love shooting in the manual mode as the manual controls has more than the basics like - ISO, Shutter speed, exposure compensation, Manual focus and even RAW support

The Night Mode does not work for Front Camera

Accessibility at Fingertips

OPPO F1s has some amazing gesture control that makes you run your literally at your finger tips, off screen. For eg- you can draw "O" to start the camera, draw "V" to turn on flashlight, and if you are a music lover, you can control your music by drawing  "||" to pause/play a track or simple "<" ">" to switch between the tracks.

Also, the Internal Memory of 32 GB means that you do not have to worry about the storage and click good, click happy. How much the Internal memory for Samsung A710 is? Hold your heart, it is mere 10 GB on a clean phone [devoid of non-factory apps installed]

What OPPO F1s lacks but Samsung A7 has?
Clearly the Auto-focus feature that is quite strong in samsung Camera.


Haute Kutir Verdict
In the race of OPPO F1s v/s Samsung A7 and iPhone, want to know who is the winner? Well, the winner is-

OPPO F1s

It wins hands down cause of-

Superior Selfie Quality | Robust inbuilt Camera features | Pricing | Form factor | Storage | Customization Opportunity

If you are thinking it as a feminine phone, hold your horses, it is completely unisexual and comes in two colors- Rose Gold and Grey.

Here's me at the event, my Instagram update, just in case you want to #FollowMe



I have shot some more pictures that I will soon update once the sorting and watermark is done. Plagiarism is scary you see ;) Stay Tuned and do follow me on my social media channels

Affordable Beauty With Fair & Lovely Powder Cream

We all love to look good. Let's face it, people see your face first before seeing the purity of your heart or your inner beauty.

It doesn't matter what is your skin color, face shape, ethnicity is. What matters is how you conduct yourself and how well do you carry yourself. This post is largely about your facial looks and being the beautiful you.

Our skin type and daily makeup ritual
We all select different products basis our needs, comfort, skin type and awareness. If we have oily skin, we buy oil free/matt products and if we have dry skin, we look for cream based formula. Unfortunately, our skin is not as stereotype as this. Skin needs moisturization, skin needs to breathe too.

Girls need to look good too but makeup every day? Not everybody can do an elaborate makeup every day. Besides, makeup is not an end in itself, it needs articulation, it needs to touch up.

The Need of the Selfie Generation
Today's selfie generation needs a little more than just skin care. They wany to look good, ready for their next photo opportunity, anytime.

They all look for that one product that is-
1) Easy/Quick to apply
2) Affordable
3) #SetLookAllDay
4) Goodness of Cream and Matte look of Powder

In short, they are looking for- Affordable beauty with goodness of Powder and Cream

Popular brand Fair and Lovely recently launched a new product called "Fair and Lovely" powder cream. Pre-Launch, they invited a group of 14 bloggers [including Haute kutir] for an exclusive preview and "try it yourself" rendezvous at Bungalow no 9 earlier this month. I am not a fan of fairness product per se nor do I like to invest my time in an elaborate "makeup" regime. However, there is a huge population including my readers who are interested in fairness products. Hence, it made an interesting proposition to check it out.

#FALPowderCream Rendezvous at Bungalow no 9, Mumbai
It was a rainy, sleepy Sunday morning. Not an ideal day for work but definitely an ideal way to engage, discover, interact. We were greeted with pink roses and white Tiara at the Pink and White themed venue [FAL brand colors]. Post the initial interaction with the brand and product team wherein they discussed this idea and their "yet to be released" new campaign. Check it here.



The day then proceeded with some playful games and "try it yourself" product trial session. To have a better comparison, I wiped off the mousse from one side of my face and applied the cream there. The cream was- Easy to absorb and needed little quantity only. 


Different Strokes for different folks

Let's face it, we all love looking a shade fairer as long as that does not end up as an obsession. There are people who love looking fair and there are people who love tanned look. Some of us while there are people who like to look fair, some likes to look tanned, there are also people who like to look fresh and ready all day long with least efforts, affordable cost. 


For the 3rd category, Fair and Lovely's this new product may come handy and worth a trial. I carried it with me on my travel trip to save the time and space in my suitcase. 



It is a cream based formula that claims to give you a fresh, matte look all day long.  



The 40g tubes cost Rs 115/-



No doubt beauty is skin deep. However, with a little attention to our face, we can work on how we look externally as well.

with #FALpowderCream you can #SetLookAllDay

10 Things About Hair Smoothing Treatment That You Should Know




Hey Gals and Pals,

You would have seen on my Snapchat and twitter about my latest outing to JCB for a hair treatment service. I have been to JCB some two weeks back for a Cysteine treatment. If you recall, I had a partial cysteine treatment done on my hairs this January by Juice Salon and it was a good experience.

I have to turn down some complimentary Hair Spa including the one with Macau Tourism and one for Fusio dose as I wanted to get the Cysteine done before my wedding anniversary :)

Why Cysteine: Off late due to stress, water among other issues, my hair quality have gone down. They have become dry, rough and thin. I wanted to bring back the original shine and sheen but on a long term basis. Hence, having tried Cysteine once,I wanted to go for it again. However, my regular stylist Athing at JCB suggested me to try hair smoothening or smoothing for a longer term effect. Oh yes, my Cysteine got worn down within 2 months 

Hence on Athing's recommendation, I went for Hair smoothening treatment. You can watch the entire treatment at my YouTube Channel or here-



Here are 5 things about Hair smoothing that you may want to know


1) Chemically loaded treatment: It is a chemical treatment for hair unlike Cysteine that has lesser chemical in comparison

2) Different than hair straightening: Hair Smoothing is different than Hair Straightening as it does not really change the natural structure of your hair but reduces frizz and makes it softer and shinier. however, some smoothing treatment do break certain parts of your hair bonds and glue them back in a sleek pattern

3) Duration: The stylists will claim that hair smoothing will last for 6 months, however, the best results lasts only till 4th month. Since I got one done, I am going to monitor and share my experience with you all

4) The Process: Smoothing process esp the one that I had, goes for 3 hours. It starts from hair wash followed by blast dry. Then the cream is applied on your hair and kept for 30 minutes before the rinse. Rinse is followed by another blast dry and hot ironing that lasts 30-40 minutes. Post which, a neutralizer is applied on your hair [from scalp] to close the pores. Keep the neutralizer on hair for almost 10 minutes. Post 10 minutes, go for rinse and blast dry using a paddle brush. The look is finished with leave-in serum.

5) Cost: Hair Smoothing costs starts from INR 3000 to INR 10000 depending upon your hair length. I have shoulder length hair and JCB charged me Rs 8000 plus taxes [sob sob]. However, you can try some other local salons that charge lesser say around Rs 4k-5k for the same.

6) Risks and Side Effects: They are chemically loaded and some products contain formaldehyde. You need to check the products for chemical composition. Your stylist may say that it is "free of formaldehyde" but it may not be. Formaldehyde is more of gas that contains methylene glycol, formalin, methanal, and methanediol—ingredients that release formaldehyde when heated or mixed with water. It is more risk to the people who work with it than you and hence exposures needs to be limited. Since salon treatments don't require FDA approval, you need to do your own due diligence if you want a formaldehyde-free service. 

We mentioned Formaldehyde above and an inclusion of it could cause nausea, headaches, teary eyes, skin rashes, throat, and nose irritations. I had nausea, severe headache and wheezing post this Wella Smoothing treatment at JCB that could also be accorded to weather change. This was a learning curve for me.

7) Post smoothing care: It is not a standalone treatment but requires due care including the duration of hair wash, oiling etc. It may be exhaustive and hence I will do a separate post on it.

8) No Major Loss in Volume: Unlike Cysteine, this process will just ease out your frizzy hair and make them softer and shinier. Except for the initial week when you hair may look flat post the treatment, they will come back to original volume post 2-3 washes, signifying the cut/waves that you may have. 

9) The Frequency of the Treatment: You will indeed love your hair post-treatment and when it starts wearing off, you may feel the urge to re-do it.  I am not saying do not do/repeat smoothing treatment. Do go for it but do not get it frequently. In my humble opinion, you should not do smoothing more than twice in a year. 

10) Smoothing is an alternative, not a solution: A lot goes behind keeping your hair healthy . It can genetic, lifestyle, diet, fitness or so. Thinking that one treatment will solve all your hair problem is unfair. You need to substantiate your quest for good hair with a good diet, proper lifestyle and good level of hygiene. 

Haute Kutir Views: 
Anything chemical or unnatural, have their own side effects. If a cream can change the look of your hair, they will also have a changing impact on your hair cells. Sometimes smoothing can make your hair weaker and thinner. Well, that can hold true with hair products including shampoo, conditioner, serum and styling products. Hence, be careful and inquisitive about the treatment you are doing. Talk to your stylist and do follow a proper skin and hair care regime. 

Post smoothing, I am liking the way my hair is looking. They look more neat,sorted and manageable. Though I am recovering from my fever and cough post the treatment, I am not linking it totally to the treatment and giving it a benefit of doubt as of now. I am also facing some dandruff and hair fall issue but that is not the first time issues and can also be due to monsoon.

Like I said, it is too early for me draw conclusions. Let me revel in with my hair and in meantime fix dandruff and hair fall issue. I will keep you posted on hair condition. Stay Tuned.

Do try out hair smoothing treatment and let us know your experience. For any query/tips/collaborations, do write to us at hautekutir@gmail.com or tweet #AskEkta for any beauty/hair tips.

Ah! do not forget to #Subscribe my +YouTube India channel

Love,
Haute Kutir



How I TLC My Nails with Sally Hansen #AskEkta #BeautyTips


My Nail Story
Let me confess, I was [err still am] an inveterate nail biter who used to derive some kind of nail-gasm biting my finger nails. You may accord that trait to lack of calcium, an overloaded stress system, however for me, it was the pure habit. The Irony was that I used to have all the lovely nail paint shades, hues, and range in my dresser from brands across the globe but I would barely have any nails to paint as my nail size would never exceed beyond the finger top. So much to the nail chewing till the last possible mile.

Not that I cared much. I grew up a very footloose kind of person who loved makeup but not much on self. Simplicity had always been my signature statement as I would find that convenient, highly wearable and natural to me. It is like I blog about fashion but that doesn't necessarily mean wearing all kinds of cloths, posing and getting my pictures clicked. After all, a doctor need not be patient you see.

Not that I never desired to have those long, well-polished nails like a lot of people around who will get up with a nail paint and sleep with another. For me, hygiene and convenience are more important. More often I would end up scratching my face with my own nails, giving fodders to people's unruly imaginations. However, I was fascinated with the nail arts and in spite of some repeated attempts, I could not manage to grow or sustain all my nails longer and in the same size for a befitting nail art. 

How I worked it out: Nail Gym 
My nail biting and "I care a damn" habits lead me to chipped or broken nails. My attention to details was confined only to my work and personal hygiene and painting my nails were never a big priority for me. and then one day I decided to get some faux nails for a beauty shoot for Navratri Looks.

Officially, that was the first time that I took to gel or acrylic nails and much again my wishes, the beautician decided to make it little longer so as to suit the shooting needs. They looked lovely but the end of the day they were artificial and made me very uncomfortable. Next morning I called up the beautician and got all the faux nails removed from the right hand and for my left hand, I got them trimmed. It took some week to get in peace with them but it was accomplished

My faux nails chose to stay a little longer contrary to the suggested tenure of 1 week, they were my guest for almost a month or two until they started coming off naturally or with a friendly push from my side. In spite of looking glam, the faux nails did another good thing was to bring down my habit of chewing nails or restricted it to my right hand only.

And then I Discovered Sally Hansen Natural Nail Growth Activator


This comes with ingredients like natural botanical, sea minerals, and Vitamins to re-hydrate and boost the growth of nails. This product provides instant hydration to the dry and brittle nails, and you will love the mild growth it brings on your nails.




How to Apply: After washing my hands, I apply at least two coats of this activator at the front, from the bottom to tip and also at the back of my nails. You can also use it on top of your nail paints. Post application I rub them with fingers so to allow it to penetrate deeply into my nails.

It is odorless and I loved the texture. I got it for Rs 775/- long back [13ml]





Nail and Hand TLC with Sally Hansen
Sally Hansen Nail Growth Activator earned its place in my vanity bag and is my favorite nail product, I loved the brand so much that I have teamed it with the Radiant Hands Nails and Cuticles creme. Its a "hand and nails" cream that softens hands, smoothes cuticles and also claims to strengthen the nails. An all rounder kind of creme. I bought this at INR Rs 775/- for 99.2g and used scantily thus far.



How to apply: Squeeze a tiny portion from the tube, apply as needed and then massage fingertips to wrist and then concentrate to cuticles.

Off late, I have got thirsty, rough hands and guess this will provide all nourishment.

The creme has Vitamins- A,E,C, Grape seed oil, and Chamomile. It is totally non sticky and non greasy so far.

This NY brand has won me over and I heard they are No 1 in UK too. I am planning to buy Sally Hansen's 7 in 1 complete Nail treatment next. Heard among it multiple benefits that it also is good as base coat and the top coat, now that is a product that I am looking for.



So got a nail problem? Seeking some nail related suggestions/ advises/ tips/ tricks? Write to me at hautekutir@gmail.com with a subject "#AskEkta" or tweet to me at @numerounity using hashtag #AskEkta

--

5 Tips to Keep Your Home Happy & Healthy This Monsoon

source
It is Monsoon time and where there is rain, there will be moisture, seepage, and other problems. In monsoon, it is not just our skin or our hair, but our homes face a great risk from the unruly weather conditions. Hence, it becomes imperative to not just identify the monsoon-related problem but to nip them at bud.


What are these issues? And how could you keep your home protected from them? Well, read more to know more.

source

Common Construction Issues during Monsoon

The three things that you should be mindful and watchful are best summed up as-

Cracks | Stains | Sparks


Here's how they pose a threat to your beautiful abode and how can you identify them to mitigate the risk and Keep your Home Healthy and Happy.

5 Tips to happy and healthy Homes

1) Tame the risks of Electrical Sparks: Electrical spark or fire hazard could be a serious threat. Before the onset of monsoon, get your house' electrical connections thorughly checked and fixed in case of any loose wires or unsafe plug condition to keep fire hazard at bay. If you see a spark even after that or have a slight feeling of shock, get the wires checked and rectified.

source
2) Wall Happy: Tame the Creepy Crawly Cracks. Cracks are inevitable but good news is they can be fixed. Check for the cracks and anything thats exceeds width more than 1/4 inch, fix them up using waterproofing acrylic, cement or Polyurethene. If the cracks are big, get them filled to avoid rain water seeping inside.







3) Attic Happy: A small stain here or a small drip there is fine. however, if its constant, get your attic checked as it may signal a probale issue/damage in the roof. We all know how a leaky roof can disturb your house. It is like an umbrella or a cap over our head. If the umbrella has holes in it, it loses its utility

source:Sherasolutions

4) Wood Safe: If you have wooden flooring and furniture, they need extra caring in monsoon. The high moisture in the air leaves a bad impact or swelling in the wood especially doors. Ensure that you polish or wax them properly to safeguard. Store some neem leaves or camphor balls in your wooden wardrobes. When I can't find them, I use cloves to keep the insect at bay

source
5) Well- floored:  Excessive rain water may make your floor and stairs slippery and dirty. A happy home is not just about clean indoors but is also about clean and hygienic outdoors. Keep the common area cleaned and devoid of mosses and moulds. Use anti skid tiles with lesser gaps

source

Well these were the top 5 issues that our homes faces in monsoon and tips on keeping them in check, or say rain-checked. We all know that "Healthy" Homes are the "Happy" homes.

Home & Garden
by
Haute Kutir

Haute Kutir's Guide for Buying House in Mumbai [Real Estate]

A home is not just a brick and mortar structure. It is our identity, our living pad, a commitment that we have made for us, for our family. A home is not just a monetary investment but has many strings attached to our heart, life, joys, and career. So when you are investing into something that touches so many chords of your life, you need to be careful, diligent and acquaint of what you are getting into. 



Investing in a house in Mumbai
Living in a rental apartment in Mumbai has its own limitations and the ever inflating rentals costs are not helpful either. I have not seen any decline in residential property rates in last 10 years and believe they will continue to upsurge. Are you planning to buy a residential property in Mumbai but not sure of how to go about it? I have something informative for your perusal. Hope they will help you as much they have helped me.

Here are the three things that I think are imperative to consider while buying a house in Mumbai- 

1. Know Your Parameters: I evaluate every property on these five parameters
a.       Budget
b.      Location
c.       Size
d.      Amenities
e.      Possession
Every property that I see, I make note of details under these broadheads.

2    Know Your Priority: From the above 5 parameters, I list the priority in Descending order and evaluate each property against them which give me fair idea v/s the comparison and clarity

3. Know Your Sourcing: There are plethora of mediums like Property Mela, Ads, Real Estate Agents from where you can learn about a probable property for sale. While Word of mouth plays a great role, you always look for a little more credibility as the investment and stakes are quite high. More than the builder’s net worth or credibility, it is also about financial outlook and support. You then start looking for names associated with the projects. For an example, I went to see a couple of upcoming properties in Andheri East on my Birthday via an estate agent that my friend from the industry suggested. The properties that we saw were good but one project was a totally new discovery for us. However when we learned that project is backed by HDFC, we were assured of its quality and merit.

This is where the credibility comes in and this is where HDFC Red comes in.

What is HDFC Red and How Is it Helpful?

HDFC is my preferred banking partner over the years. When I heard about their new initiative called HDFC Red, I could not pass it as just another app but took notice. You can accord that to my new found interest in real estate while looking for suitable properties to buy with my husband or this business strategist keeda in me that wants to go beyond mere what is visible to eyes. 

Unlike a lot of women, I had no time nor patience to go around, check properties that real estate agents want to “showcase” to me, collect brochures [read waste paper printing], spend time with real estate marketers, compile all brochure, compare et cetera. Remembering www.hdfcred.com was easier for me and I was delighted when I opened the website. The landing page has my thoughts talking to me in terms of parameters I were looking at.

In less than 6 clicks which actually filtering down my requirements from no of bedrooms to gauging my spend allocation spectrum to desirable amenities, the portal showed me a list of properties that qualified my “requirement” in no time. 

Here's how-







Open Sesame with HDFC Red

Here’s the final result with options to “shortlist” the ones that I liked and “contact Builder” directly. The list is quite exhaustive. It also shows an under construction redevelopment project that is next to my building with all the details.

The listings had details like-
  1. Cost per square foot
  2. Developer’s name
  3. Floor plan
  4. Total saleable area/ super built
  5. Location details on Google map
  6. Loan calculator 
  7. Fitment ratio or Relevance score to my requirement with a preview of missing element from the requirement. For ex- I selected Lotus Springs by Lotus Group in Yari road [see picture below] the property doesn’t have Sauna as sought by me in amenities that was highlighted at the right-hand corner at the bottom


I liked the portal and do you know it has 24000+ different types of properties, 7000+ new Builders project across 23 cities. The website also has app for both iOS and Android enabling the convenience of browsing at your fingertips. Click the OS type to download the app,

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, explore and make HDFC Red your alibi while Buying house in Mumbai or any other city of your choice.

Live Haute, Live Beautifully
Ekta

[Picture Courtesy: 1, Rest from HDFC Red website]
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