Skin food for the soul

After a rough week of battling the flu I thought I would make a comeback to the blog world the same time I made a comeback into real life. You know that moment when you have been sick for so long that you just want to get out of bed and literally make yourself look and feel better? Well, this is the perfect time to give you all another one of my must-haves from my “winter survival kit”: Baléa refreshing and moisturizing face masks.

Found at your local Shoppers Drug Mart at an amazing value of 3 packs for $5 (or practically free thanks to my sister’s employee discount), Baléa is a German skincare line which not only has an extensive line of face masks but has ventured out into other exclusive body care products which is definitely on my list of things to try.

Since I have extremely sensitive skin, I am not one to get too adventurous and try different things but I am so glad my mom convinced me to make an exception and give these a try. As the packets claim, each formula is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. I have been a huge fan of this line since my medical school island days and each mask is infused with a variety of ingredients all meant to the serve one purpose: complete hydration for your skin no matter what the situation is.

So what do you use to bring your skin back from flu-cation to real world glamorous just in time for a night out in town with your friend from out of town that is visiting? The Coconut, Papaya & Vitamin E moisturizing face mask, of course.

Within just 10-15 minutes of application of the mask, my skin felt silky-smooth, detoxified, and exceptionally hydrated. Absolutely amazing deal for the price you are paying. My skin was also noticeably brighter and had a tanned and glowy appearance for the entire night. It felt so good not using foundation after such a long time! My on-the-go au naturel face mask which has never failed to make me feel pretty! Thank you, Baléa!

This isn’t my first time using this product (and all the other different masks) and it definitely will not be my last time using them. The best part about these masks is there are no effects on different skin types as far as I’ve seen even days after using them. My mother and sister are huge fans as well and with our different skin types they work flawlessly and leave us all with our own natural glows. It is also noteworthy that unlike most masks, while it feels dry to touch, it never feels tight and you are still able to move your face muscles while you are wearing it.

And if that’s not reason enough to be on your way to your local Shoppers Drug Mart, when you apply the masks they feel very cool and refreshing to your skin and the cooling sensation remains the entire time the mask is on your face.

It’s like skin food for the soul.

Buy yours today because my Mr. Owl is really overprotective of my set so you can’t have mine.

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♥♥ stethsandsprinkles

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If my life were a movie…oh wait, yes it is.

How many times have we wondered what our lives would be like if it were a movie? Or better yet, how many of you think there should be a movie based on your life?

Well for those of you who relate and those of you who care, ladies and gentlemen, the story of my life is now a movie.

[Cue the Dr. Cabbie theme song]

I’m calling it now before you read on… POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERTS. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Moving on.

In a vain effort to put aside my study-shower-study-eat-study-sleep-study-ohanddontforgettobreathe routine and venture out into civilization and see what the world has been doing, I joined my mother at the movies to watch a movie that threw everything an IMG dreads right back in my face: Dr. Cabbie.

Thank you God and co-screenplay writer/protagonist (Vinay Virmani) for bringing my mind right back to where it always is – I see what you guys did there. I will never leave my rock and books and hibernation mode again, okay?!?!

I tend to read up on movie reviews before deciding on what to watch so when I saw the mixed reviews for Dr. Cabbie, I was a little skeptical about using my free movie from my Scene points to go see it. (hey, I worked hard to get every point. Don’t judge me.) With past experience though I have realized that my idea of something is usually very different from a critic and let’s face it critics are just…so….well… critical.

First of all, I am a huge Big Bang Theory fan (heeeyyyy there, Kunal Nayyar) and to be honest, the movie had me at the super cute Vinay Virmani (Love. him. That is all.)

Second, the location and storyline of the movie hit home (Literally. I live here. And this is the story of my life.) so I obviously had to go see what the fuss was about.

Also, I can’t even pretend I wasn’t mildly fascinated at how a Salman Khan-produced movie landed Katrina Kaif’s sister, Isabella Kaif. (Ooooooh that Bollywood drama though.)

The Story 

The movie starts off in the hub and bub of India, in one of the most amazing and well-known cities, Delhi, where a young lad named Deepak Chopra (that coincidence though) follows in his late father’s footsteps and graduates from a well-known medical institution with flying colours. With a heart full of compassion, a spirit determined to heal people irrespective of who they may be, sponsored by his Uncle Vijay who actually lives in Mississauga…

(Which is only the greatest city ever. No really though it is. Sorry I had to digress. I live here. It is, indeed, awesome. Heh…heh…heh? *Uncle Vijay props*)

…and holding the Hippocratic Oath as the foundation on which he builds his morals, he sets out to the “land of opportunity” (Toronto, Canada) with his mother in hopes of starting a medical practice and making a difference.

Everything seems to be wonderful when he sends out his CV and cover letters to every medical program in the vicinity and is called in for interviews. [Cue Reality Check laughing because this DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE. There are lonely long months without a single response to your applications and you overuse your Internet Data refreshing your email page over…and over…and over…but I digress once more. Sigh.]

Back to the movie. No more sidetracking, I promise.

Sooooo the interviews roll in. Happy music playing. Emotions running high. A Desi mom who is gori­-fying under the influence of her very gori-turned-“rattlesnake-worshipping”-actually-a-stripper-but-this-is-not-revealed-yet bhabhi. Good times ahead, Dr. Chopra.

Or, you know, the best time for reality to kick in and knock all that delusion out of you.

Each interview brings nothing but disappointment, excuses, and rejection for our beloved (and as we will later discover, extremely skilled) protagonist. The real problem we face in Ontario in terms of doctor shortages (26,000 to give a rough idea) is even brought up during said interviews but to no avail.

After leaving his last interview, Deepak dejectedly walks through the streets of Downtown Toronto, where he is “picked up” so to speak by Tony, a cheeky, smooth-talking, Indian cabbie (Kunal Nayyar) who hooks him up with a job at the same cab company. Hesitant to be a cabbie at first since he feels he is “too good” for the job (and rightly so), Deepak quickly realizes the plight immigrants face when he sees that his fellow cabbies are all overqualified people from other parts of the world that have been left with no choice but to slum it as cabbies in order to survive.

As Uncle Vijay says though, there is no job too small, so bearing that in mind, Deepak accepts the job, moves out of his uncle’s house and sets out on his own to see where his destiny will take him. After the video of him successfully delivering  the baby of his love-interest/customer, Natalie, in the back seat of his cab goes viral (thanks to Tony), Deepak gets famous overnight and starts treating patients in his taxi, giving out pearls of wisdom and prescriptions to a variety of fares.

Sounds absolutely crazy, and possibly criminal, no? Oh, absolutely.

Casting

Vinay Virmani has come a long way from the days of Breakaway and he puts forth a quality that draws the audience into his character’s troubles. Kunal Nayyar is nothing like the Rajesh Koothrapalli we are used to seeing on Monday nights. As the Toronto Star says, and they said it perfectly well, his role is “not a particularly sympathetic or even well-written role but Nayyar gets some of the film’s biggest laughs with his salty language.” The role of Uncle Vijay is played by Rizwan Manji and borders on stereotype of a man who is caught between two cultures which is not uncommonly seen over here. But maybe the stereotype is the beauty of it all.

The real surprise element is Uncle Vijay’s wife who is blonde and Western (succumbing to the North American stereotype) but is nothing like what you would stereotypically assume when you first see her…or is she? Er… was she?

Lillette Dubey plays the role of Deepak’s mom and Vijay’s sister, and there is absolutely no one else who can pull off the character the way she does. She is phenomenal in everything she does and I have always been a fan.

The other cast members each bring their own mix to the table and all of them work refreshingly well as a team.

OH and a noteworthy mention, Lily Singh, better known as YouTube sensational comedian IISuperwomanII who I didn’t even recognize initially!!!!! So proud of how far you have come!

My take on the storyline?  

Dr. Cabbie takes something that is actually happening in our country and puts it forth in a way only the reel life could. That is to say immigrants bringing essential skills to Canada which are terribly wasted because of the kazillions of rules and regulations and examinations etc and ending up as a convenience store worker, or a cabbie in this case, when they suited for something bigger and better. Then we complain about shortages in health care for instance and how there is such a long wait at times to see specialists. Being in the field myself, I can only really speak for health care, but I am sure it applies to many other fields as well. Anyone remember the episode of Big Bang (Sheldon and the Physics Bowl) where the janitor on Sheldon’s team actually had a Masters in Physics and was a big deal in Russia?

Same deal.

With flavours of Bollywood mixed in though, comic relief in all the right places, and putting forth an issue faced by many immigrants, Dr. Cabbie manages to be lighthearted, amusing, and heartwarming.

Ladies, it might also be slightly reassuring that if you’re pregnant and your water breaks on your way to the hospital or while stuck in a cab in that downtown Toronto traffic (and it happens to be pouring outside and I mean like a Bollywood-love-song-kinda rain) your cabbie might just be an MD and you and your baby will be perfectly fine (and possibly famous).

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Watch the trailer on YouTube or by clicking here.

Hurry and cab your way to a theatre nearest to you!

♥♥ stethsandsparkles

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With great skin comes great responsibility

With the various creams and moisturizers on the market each promising to “renew” and “rejuvenate” skin (as well as shed years off your appearance), it is often a hit and miss trying to find absolutely what is perfect for your skin.

Having being born and brought up in the hottest and driest of climates, and then moving to the other side of the world and living through frigid and humid temperatures, one of my most tremulous battles has been with proper skin care.

Don’t get me wrong.

There is no denying the benefits of sun exposure on the skin. Adequate amounts of Vitamin D (which is produced by our bodies with sun exposure) is important for normal bone formation as well as improved resistance against certain diseases. It is important to note, however, at times the ultraviolet rays can be detrimental and over time cause the skin to lose its elasticity and age prematurely.

Humidity and winter temperatures on the other hand? Entirely different story.

When the temperature drops, the humidity level plunges as well. Dry air leaves skin parched. Turning up the thermostat doesn’t help, either. Indoor heating strips even more moisture from air (and your skin).

With winter just around the corner, taking the necessary measures to keep your skin (and you) healthy, happy, and hydrated is essential so as tradition goes, I went to the health and beauty section at the local pharmacy today to prepare my “winter survival kit” as I like to call it.

First on my list and my absolute favourite? Gehwol Med Salve for Cracked Skin

Active Ingredients: Lanolin, Vaseline, medicated soap, panthenol, bisabolol, zinc oxide, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, seabuckthorn oil, menthol, camphor, and much much more!

The salve is based on a wonderful mixture of special soaps and lipid-friendly oils. It is used primarily for severe hard skin, dry or rough skin, or very cracked skin as commonly experienced during the winter season. It also provides protection against inflammation and redness seen with cracked skin. The medicated soap mixture, lanolin, and Vaseline soften the skin and leave you with a smooth and silky feel whereas the panthenol and bisabolol are effective in resolving cracks caused by excessive dryness. Other ingredients such as eucalyptus and other oils stimulate the blood flow and the camphor and menthol cools and refreshes. The product and it’s variants have been dermatologically tested and it has also been proven to be suitable for diabetics.

If used regularly the company claims that skin will regain its natural elasticity and resistibility and stay protected.

Available in 4 sizes ranging from 25 ml to 500 ml, this product is a must have and my best-kept secret (until now). Although I have only recently started using it, the results have been quick and nothing less than impressive. Within 2-3 times of application, my skin feels younger, fresher, softer, and more hydrated than the rest of me feels on most days! I have no doubt in my mind that with more applications, the results will just keep getting better.

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For other must-have items in my “winter survival kit”, stay tuned.

♥♥ stethsandsparkles

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Going green to battle those blues

It is a well known fact that 5 out of 5 medical students diagnose themselves with everything under the sun on an average of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and so on. Being an unemployed medical school graduate who spends all her time under a rock studying for her upcoming USMLE boards, I am convinced that I have spiraled into some sort of seasonal affective disorder or “the winter blues”. (Even though winter hasn’t even hit yet but Canadian fall weather tends to get arctic at times.)

So what better way to battle those blues? Go green, of course!

I have been focusing on nutrition in the last month to get me back on track and will be posting my findings very soon.

#cleaneats

Stay tuned, loves.

♥♥ stethsandsprinkles

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“And the worst thing was, there were no mirrors out there in the wild, so the princess was left wondering whether she in fact was still beautiful… or if the fall had changed the story completely.” – SW

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I am a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend. A young girl, and a grown woman. I am confident and scared. Terrified and excited. I am loving, and caring, and thoughtful, and hopeful. I am sick and tired. I am shy and friendly, and careful and careless. I am broken and whole. I am misunderstood, misguided, and mislead. I am hard working and determined, but a little scared on the inside. I wish on stars and dream my dreams. I pray to God and cry my tears. I smile on the outside, while I’m dying on the inside. I listen to others who won’t listen to me. I walk on eggshells, and I walk on fire. I believe in passion but not true love. I am strong, because I’ve been weak. I am fearless, because I’ve been afraid. I am wise, because I’ve been foolish. I love you and I push you away. I want you but not so close. I am everything and nothing all at once.

With the start of my favourite season and inspired by my one of my closest friends, Daff Diaries, I have decided to get back together with one of my old loves: writing. I haven’t quite the decided on the content of my blog yet, but stay tuned for updates.

♥♥ stethsandsprinkles

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