Travel Essentials


Rajidesigns Travel EssentialsLike 99.9% of the travelers, I hate traveling in a plane.  Unfortunately, a plane is my only option in most cases.  So rather than psyching myself out over how horrible it is to be cloistered in a plane, I try to make it a pleasurable (or at least tolerable) experience.  Besides the obvious basics like computer, iPod, phone, etc., here are a few things that may help make your journey a whole lot better…

Beauty: You should always try to get on a flight (especially a long haul) make-up free.  Not only is makeup drying (planes use recycled air) for your face, it’s going to get all messed up after you sleep in a million different positions. Once on the plane, a few things will help you look refreshed at the end of flight…Rajidesigns Chantecaille Mask

  • Face Mask:  Since the air in a plane is recycled, it’s dehydrates your skin.  To protect yourself, apply a thin layer of a clear mask, like Chantecaille Healing Mask.
  • Face Cream:  Apply a thin layer of face cream, like Clinique Moisture Surge, over the mask.
  • Eye Cream:  Use an eye cream, like Clinique All About Eyes, all around your eye to keep it hydrated.
  • Hand Cream:  Apply a hand cream, like Aquaphor (which can double as a lip balm), each time you wash your hands and when the skin feels even a little bit tight.
  • Lip Balm: Apply a lip balm, like eos Lip Balm, constantly to keep your lips supersoft.
  • Hand Sanitizer: I don’t want to get up to wash my hands each time I want to eat finger food.  This is a savior during those lazy times.  Since it is drying, use hand cream after each use, just as you would after washing hands.
  • Face Wash: At the end of your flight, you’ll want to rinse off and moisturize.

Entertainment:  It’s tough to fill up the hours spent in a plane, so I like having a variety of options to choose from.  Rajidesigns Travel Essentials--2

  • A Good Book and Magazine: Long flights generally have movies, but my eyes get tired/annoyed looking at the tiny screens, so I also bring along some reading material.
  • Headphones: If you do watch a movie or listen to music on a plane, it’s best to bring your own headphones because the ones the airlines provide are so low quality that they tend to break soon after you get them.
  • Pen and Notebook.  The pen will come in handy when you need to fill the customs forms.  Or when you want to jot down some ideas, because you have nothing to do up there really but think.

General Comfort: Unless you’re in the first or business class, the plane ride can be rough. I’ve found that I need two things the most when I travel internationally: sleep and good food.  So I try to take care of both.Rajidesigns Eye Mask

  • Head Pillow: The pillow you get on a long flight is about the size of a handkerchief, and since my head is slightly bigger than that, I much prefer my own pillow.
  • Snacks: I miss the days when you actually got proper meals on a plane.  Now, the plate keeps getting smaller and the food keeps getting crappier.  To avoid an unintentional hunger strike, I pack nuts, energy bars, and even a few pieces of dark chocolate.  And I bring along a proper meal if it’s a long flight.
  • Eye Mask:  Since you can’t control the lights on a plane, this is the next best thing to having a pitch dark bedroom.

(Images via 1, 2, 3)


A Good Hair Day


There are days when your hair just refuses to do you want it to.  Sadly, I’ve had one too many of those days, and have come up with ways to cope with most common hair situations.  Here goes….

  1. Static Hair:  A chic ponytail is the answer to your prayers.  To keep frizz at bay, use a little smoothing balm and brush your hair into a low ponytail with an elastic.  To keep the look polished, use pins to secure loose strands.  Rajidesigns Low Ponytail
  2. Limp Hair: A stylish half-updo can rescue you.  To boost volume at the top, backcomb/tease about an inch at the crown section.  Take the front and side sections and pin them at the crown.  To give it a little extra oomph, slide the hair forward just a little (but not so much that you have a pompadour). Rajidesigns Half-updo
  3. Greasy Roots: A sleek ballet bun is your ticket to style.  Accentuate the wetish effect by running a wet comb through your hair so that it is damp.  Apply some conditioning mousse and brush back your hair into a low knot. Rajidesigns Low Knot

(Images via 1)

Winter Skin


Rajidesigns Winter Skin--4As much as I love the slight chill in the air, I don’t love its effect on my skin.  To counteract these changes, I simply tweak my skincare regimen to continue having relatively clear skin.

  1. Switch To Cream or Oil Cleanser:  Gel or foaming cleanser can be drying so switch to cream or oil cleansers that won’t strip the skin of moisture.  Look for a cleanser that doesn’t contain lauryl sulfate, which produces a rich lather that can strip the skin of essential oils.Rajidesigns Winter Skin--3
  2. Easy On Exfoliation: As skin-cell production slows down in the winter, dead skin cells build up more quickly.  However, skin is more sensitive due to the same elements.  Use a non-abrasive exfoliator (these are with AHA, fruit acids, BHA) rather than a physical/grainy scrub that can damage sensitive skin.  How much you need to use depends on your skin.  Generally, once a week is enough. Rajidesigns Winter SKin--2
  3. Step Up Hydration:  You need increased levels of hydration in the cold weather, so simply swap your lightweight face cream for a richer one.  Look for a cream that contains hyaluronic acid, which attracts and locks moisture in your skin.  If you’re already using a richer night cream, just start using it for day as well.Rajidesigns Winter Skin--1

(Images via Respective Brands)

The Perfect Matte Red Lips



Rajidesigns Matte Red LipsNothing perks me up more than a red lip.  As someone who barely wore lipstick a year ago, I’ve adapted quite well to wearing a red lip.  It may be because I found a shade that flattered my skin pretty early on.  If you want to get the perfect matte red lip (I think there’s a red shade for every skin tone), these tips to prep may prove very useful.

  1. PREP:  You need super-soft (read: not chapped) lips for the perfect red lip.  I love to dab on some lip balm and exfoliate my lips with an old toothbrush.  However, feel free to use a warm and damp washcloth to do the job.  Then, apply some lip balm again and blot it gently to create a shine-free surface.
  2. DEFINE:  With a creamy pencil that matches the natural color of your lips, line the borders of your lips.  This prevents any bleeding of the red lip color.
  3. COLOR: Either with a lip brush or straight from the tube, apply lipstick to the center of your bottom lip, and purse lips together.  With a lip brush, fill in the remainder of your lips.  For a stained (that is, matte), rub the color into your lips with your finger from side to side until it’s uniform.  Finally, reapply the red lipstick, and then gently press a tissue on lips to give them a nice matte finish. Cheers!

15 min. Chocolate Pudding


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Rajidesigns Chocolate Pudding-5   Although I grew up on chocolate pudding in a cup, I can’t bring myself to eat it the same way as an adult.  Now, I want a rich chocolate flavor with a creamy texture.  And this recipe provides me with just the right amount of each. Plus, it takes only 15 min. to make from start to finish. Who can say no to that? Hope you enjoy! Cheers!Rajidesigns Chocolate Pudding-4

INGREDIENTS (serves 6)

  • 3 cups (710 ml) whole (or 2% for a healthier version) milk
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 oz. (85 grams) dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Rajidesigns Chocolate Pudding-1


  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk with the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. When well blended, whisk in the egg yolks. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups of milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently so as not to scorch the bottom. As soon as milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer. Gradually whisk in egg mixture, stirring quickly to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring until pudding thickens enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until it is completely melted and the pudding is smooth. If there are any small lumps, you may optionally run the pudding through a fine mesh strainer to remove them. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Serve the pudding warm or cold, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or nuts, or a dollop of whipped cream. The pudding will thicken up quite a bit when cooled.Rajidesigns Chocolate Pudding-2Rajidesigns Chocolate Pudding-3

(Images and recipe via 1)