Literary Book Gifts Writing Gloves | Review

Have you ever scoured the internet for a gift that seems custom made for a book lover? T-shirts that speak of their favourite books or accessories that make the experience of reading or writing even more enjoyable? If so then literarybookgifts.com is a blessing for you because they provide gifts that will speak to every writer and avid reader out there. The brand kindly sent me their Cashmere Writing Gloves to review, and here are my thoughts on these beauties that arrived at the perfect time – right when the cool monsoon winds engulfed my town.

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The Coming Of Age Of A Beauty Blogger

I started this blog almost a year ago but my love for makeup goes way beyond that. I was the kid who secretly retouched her lipstick after a school performance was over and the bride who silently missed her falsies once the wedding festivities gave way to the daily grind. Between the two phases, I was the teenager with blemished skin, whose peers were as prejudiced as you would expect kids that age to be at recognising the beauty that lies beneath the temporary curtain of pimples. This is how I was introduced to the world of foundations and concealers when I started attending college.

For the longest time, I believed that most skincare products were either ineffective or way beyond my budget. This skewed perception was perhaps caused by poor experiences with certain anti-acne drugstore products as a young kid who didn’t know her salicylic acid from her benzoyl peroxide, and also by the impatience I developed over the years that caused me to reject a lot of products if they didn’t show visible results within a week or so.

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When I started blogging, it was primarily to share what I had learnt about makeup and skincare over the years with whoever cared to listen, but in the process, I also stumbled upon great bloggers who offered amazing product recommendations and some lesser known skincare brands who were just starting out but their products were way more effective than the big names in the industry. Thus began a tryst with skincare that made me fall in love with the lotions and potions, the exfoliating acids and soothing gels that actually started to improve the texture of my skin with time. After around 6 months or so, I reached a point where I was completely comfortable stepping out of the house sans makeup, a first for me in my adult life.

It was not just the efficacy of these new skincare products that I discovered but also the newfound patience that came with age, and the fact that I actually starting enjoying my 5 step skincare routine that enabled me to step out of the house without a drop of foundation on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my makeup, but it is now more of a choice and a creative outlet than a daily chore or a self-imposed obligation.

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I am extremely grateful for the messages I receive on Instagram asking for product recommendations. Some of these kind followers are brides to be while others are those in their late 20’s who are looking for ways to fight those fine lines. Most of the inquiries that I get are for skincare products, not for that perfect lipstick shade or the best foundation. This means that at the end of the day, almost everybody wants to enhance and celebrate their natural beauty. Makeup does add a special touch for certain occasions by providing a hint of sparkle and a dash of colour but will never look as good if you do not take care of your skin. This is the biggest lesson I have learnt in my one year as a beauty blogger and this is the message that I wish to propagate among all the girls who are struggling to meet the so-called “standards of beauty”.

At the end of the day, I know that I may never get rid of those dark circles completely or may never have perfectly flawless skin, but what the lovely women of substance I follow on WordPress and Instagram have taught me is that I am still beautiful, with or without makeup, and so are you!

All images are taken from Pixabay.

 

 

Nykaa Voucher Giveaway!

Hey everyone. I am ever grateful for all the love and support I receive from you guys on this blog and on Instagram, which is why I am announcing a giveaway to celebrated 3.5K followers on Insta. 2 lucky winners will receive a Nykaa voucher worth INR 500 each! This giveaway will primarily run on Instagram but one of the rules is that you need to be subscribed to my blog. Here are the rules in detail-

  1. Subscribe to my WordPress blog (https://lipstick-for-lunch.com/) with your WordPress account or email ID.
  2. Follow me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mrinalinism/) and like the Giveaway announcement picture I will be sharing there today.
  3. Comment below the Instagram post stating your WordPress ID or email ID that you used to subscribe to my blog and also tag 3 friends (not celebrity accounts) in the same comment.

Giveaway is open only for Indian residents. Note that everybody who follows these rules will get one entry in the giveaway. You are welcome to repost or share my post but that will not get you extra points. Winners will be picked via lucky draw from all the valid entries (i.e. everyone who follows the 3 rules stated above). Any DM’s or comments questioning the results without understanding the rules will not be entertained. Those who unfollow after the results are announced will be blocked from the next giveaway which will be announced early next year.

Winners will be announced on or before the 16th of December based on the participation I receive. So do participate soon and spread the word among your friends 🙂

Disclaimer – This giveaway is not sponsored by Nykaa or Instagram and is being conducted solely by me.

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Bloggers Needed!

For almost a year, Lipstick For Lunch has been my voice and my voice only, but now is the time to add the voices of my lovely readers to this blog. I am at the point in my career where it is becoming increasingly harder to provide you a different post every day and I also want this blog to represent the thoughts of a larger set of people. So now I will be accepting guest blog posts for this blog which will be mixed in with my usual blog posts. So in case you are interested to write for us, here are a few terms and conditions-

  1. Only original content and images will be accepted.
  2. The post should be grammatically correct. Poor grammar may lead to the rejection of the post.
  3. Minor edits/corrections might be made to the post by the editor, prior to publishing.
  4. All images should be high-resolution pictures, preferably clicked in natural light.
  5. The topic should be related to the spheres of fashion, beauty, or lifestyle.
  6. Any content submitted to Lipstick For Lunch may not be published on any other platform by the author.
  7. Unfortunately, as of now, we cannot provide any compensation for the articles but we will be linking back to your blog/social media which will definitely help in attracting more traffic to your platform.

So anybody who is interested to write for us, kindly drop a mail at sachan.mrinalini@gmail.com with the subject line “Guest Blog For LipstickForLunch”. I am looking forward to hearing from all of you 🙂

(Featured Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/typewriter-book-notebook-paper-801921/)

 

 

 

How Do Blogger Collaborations Really Work?

A number of new/aspiring bloggers often send me in queries regarding how to turn blogging into a profession. While I am not an expert, nor a super successful blogger, I have worked with a fair share of brands during my blogging journey and today I will use my experience to share some knowledge regarding blogger collaborations. Bear in mind that I primarily work with beauty and lifestyle brands in India, so this blog post will be most relevant for beauty bloggers in India who want to know more about working with brands.

Although for most beauty bloggers, makeup & skincare is a passion, it becomes impractical to buy and review new products all the time unless you have a steady source of income, either from another job or from your blog. This is where the concept of blogger collaboration comes in handy, particularly for full-time bloggers. Many of you who are just starting out in this field do not know how to go about such collaborations and there are others who feel that bloggers lead a privileged life where they get sent a bunch of products for free. Today, I will answer some of these questions and will bust the ridiculous myths about blogging that I have seen floating around the internet.

1. Sponsored Posts – Sponsored posts basically mean that a brand pays you for talking about their products on your blog/social media platforms. However, a brand will offer you money for promoting their products only if you have a HUGE number of followers on at least one platform. Only those who have put years of effort into their blog or YouTube channel or Instagram profile, get to the point where brands start offering them money for their posts. So basically, you have to be prepared to make no money from your posts for a long time before you begin to get noticed by brands.

2. Free Products? – So do bloggers really get products for free? Yes, sometimes they do. However, influencer marketing largely works on a barter system wherein a brand expects you to review/feature the “free” product on your blog and social media profiles. So basically, you don’t really get a product for free, you have to click some great pictures of the product and create a video/blog post about it in return, which is not as easy as it may seem to non-bloggers. I would say that instead of being paid in cash by the brand, this model allows us to get paid in the form of products for the labor that is needed to create the required content. Bear in mind that most ethical brands request bloggers for their honest reviews on products, so all that you read/hear about a “free” product is not a bunch of lies. However, there are a few brands that insist on biased, positive reviews and I would recommend all bloggers to stay away from these folks because such malpractice will tarnish your reputation as an honest reviewer with time and is totally uncool too!

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3. Discounted Products – Some of the more established brands may not be willing to offer free products but may provide some discount to a blogger based on the traffic the blog generates. Again, most brands expect you to share an “honest” review in return for the discount and these are the brands that I choose to work with. If your content about a brand gets a lot of views and positive responses, then chances are that the brand will approach you for more collaborations in the future and may also send you some free products if things work out. The key lies in creating the best possible, engaging content about each product that you feature on your blog.

4. Affiliate Links – Some brands may also provide bloggers with affiliate links that help the bloggers earn some commission each time someone uses their link to purchase a product. To be able to earn anything at all from these affiliate links you must have a large number of readers/followers in the first place, which brings me back to the main point of this post – no one can make anything from blogging without putting in a ton of effort. 

What should new bloggers do?

If you are a new blogger then I will encourage you to first work on creating great content that attracts a reasonable number of readers. You will need to buy your own products for a LONG time before any brand starts sending you samples, and even then you cannot just work on sponsored posts because then your blog will turn into a collection of advertisements for a handful of brands. In the beginning, no brand may approach you, you will have to contact them instead. When approaching a brand for a collaboration, make sure to let them know how you can feature their products in a unique manner and why you are wanting to work with them. This will increase your chances of grabbing their attention and earning a spot on their collaboration program.

What are the blogger’s responsibilities when creating a sponsored post/writing about a PR sample?

It is not only ethical but is also mandated by search engines and different social media platforms to mention when you are creating some sponsored content or writing about a PR sample. This can be in the form of a hashtag (#ad, #sponsored, #PRsample etc) or in the form of plain old text. Also, if a brand is paying you for linking to their website in your blog post then make sure to add a “nofollow” attribute to this link. Google penalizes the web pages that add paid links to their articles without this attribute because some brands use underhanded tricks to increase their digital footprint by paying the bloggers to link to their website. (You can find out more about this by googling about no follow links.)

If you have made it to the end of this post then you must have realized that blogging and working with brands is not as easy a task as it may appear to be. It is not a rosy, privileged life for most bloggers and in fact, is one that requires a lot of dedication behind the scenes. So if you are new to the world of blogging, do keep these points in mind to set the right expectations and to take the necessary steps towards becoming a successful blogger.

Remember, keep your content honest, unique, and useful for your readers. Blogging should be a passion first and a profession later.

Happy Blogging! 🙂

Note – All images are taken from Pixabay

P.S. – If you enjoyed this blog post then please click this link and leave a comment on the nomination page to help me win the Indian Bloggers Award!

 

 

The Indian Blogger Awards -Vote For Me!

Hi guys, happy Friday! I am happy to announce to you that I have been nominated for the Indian Blogger Awards in the Beauty and Personal Care category. If you feel that my blog deserves to win, offers you an enjoyable read, or has helped you in making product choices then please click on this link and leave a comment and like to vote for me.

https://www.indiblogger.in/iba/2017/entry/107212

I owe all the success of this blog to my lovely readers and it would mean the world to me if you help my blog in getting some more recognition. Thanks a lot in advance for all your love and support and please do not forget to vote!

XoXo,

Mrinalini

Featured Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/trophy-trophies-win-winner-winning-83115/

 

Is Blogging A Dying Art?

I recently read an extremely thought provoking post by Mehak Sagar Shahani from Peaches And Blush that was titled “Whatever Happened To The Blogging Scene In India?“. The article talked about how social media marketing has become imperative for the success of any blog and how the old school model of blogging that focused on pure content is slowly degrading. With today’s post, I take the discussion one step further by talking about how I feel that the power of the written word has diminished over time and how the good old art of blogging is dying a slow death as a result of the same.

Be honest to yourself, how many times have you skipped reading an article or a blog post simply because it was too long and wordy? I must confess that I am guilty of this as well. We seldom pay much heed to the fact that the writer has dedicated additional efforts for creating something more substantial, and simply skip reading the article or skim through it, blaming it on the lack of time. It is also the lack of time that makes us gravitate towards videos and audio books, that we can devote a percentage of our attention to while performing more important tasks, as opposed to focussing all our attention on a blog post that requires actual reading. Not that I am against videos or audio books, in fact, I appreciate and respect the hard work that goes into creating them. But what about those who do not have the skill for creating such content but are extremely talented at writing? Is it fair for them to suffer if they are not comfortable with other mediums of expression?

Another reason for the reduced audience of a blog is the sheer abundance of bloggers in the world today. Although this may seem contradictory to the title of this post, it actually isn’t. I refer to the new generation of bloggers who do not consider blogging as an art but as a money making machinery. They do not rely on creating unique and useful content but on producing a random mish mash of keywords that will attract search engines. Although making a clever use of SEO techniques and social media marketing is not a crime, blindly relying on these without backing them up with talent is (in my humble opinion). What I am trying to say is that what used to be a task as basic as typing down your thoughts and pressing the publish button now comes with a rather intimidating and disorienting formula for success (as depicted in the image below). Many talented writers and bloggers are able to master this formula but others get swallowed by it.

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Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/seo-search-engine-optimization-1906465/

The art of blogging originated as a channel for the creative individuals to express themselves and to showcase their talents. Blogs soon became digital journals for some and online portfolios for others. Things escalated rapidly as bloggers discovered that they could actually generate some revenue with the help of advertisements and sponsored posts, but as YouTube and Instagram began to boom, the revenue generated by blogs started to dwindle. In fact, this problem is so deeply rooted in our habit to avoid reading as much as possible, that even the carefully worded descriptions beneath the Instagram images often go unnoticed.

That being said, I consider myself a writer before anything else, and will, therefore, continue to pen down my thoughts and send them floating in the sea of digital media. Those of you who miraculously survived till the end of this post (a BIG thank you to you), do comment below to let me know that there are still many who enjoy reading the written word!

Featured Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/workspace-place-of-work-work-766045/

Forgotten Favorites: YouTube Made Me Buy It

Today’s blog post is a nostalgic edition of YouTube Made Me Buy It, which means that I will be talking about a few of the products that were raved about a few years back on YouTube but have now disappeared from the makeup scene, or at least from my makeup routine. In this post, I will be talking all about lip products, and if you guys enjoy it then I will publish similar posts for face and eye makeup really soon! So without much ado, here is a list of the lip products that have been sitting in my makeup drawer for quite some time!

Maybelline Lip Polish

Maybelline Lip Polishes – Does anyone remember Essie Button (Estee Lalonde) talking about the Maybelline Lip Polishes in one of her favorites video a long time ago? These lip polishes were somewhere between a gloss and a lip tint and were preferred by many YouTubers for daily wear. Personally, I found most of the shades too patchy and the only color I ended up wearing was the shade GLAM2. With the matte lip trend taking the world of makeup by storm, these lip polishes seem to have disappeared from the makeup counters.

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer

Rimmel Apocalips – This product was all the rage back in the day. I clearly remember watching Dolly Bow Bow (Kate Murnane) swatching all the shades from the collection in a video when I was in college. I did not even know the meaning of a swatch at that time. I purchased just one shade from the Rimmel Apocalips range of lip lacquers but found it too pink and shimmery for my taste. I haven’t thrown away the tube though, being the nostalgic fool that I am.

Maybelline Color Sensational Bold Matte Mat3

Orange Lipstick – If you are a follower of YouTube beauty gurus then you MUST remember Zoella’s (Zoe Sugg) orange lipstick phase. All the lip products in her hauls from back in the day used be some shade of orange although now she has moved on to neutrals and berries. Zoe was such an inspiration that I would buy all the cute shirts that resembled the ones she bought at Primark and pair them with an orange lipstick. This one is the Maybelline Color Sensational Bold Matte Lipstick in the shade MAT3, a muted orangey-coral that they seem to have stopped selling.

Lipstick SwatchesIt is funny that I have so many oranges and pinks tucked away at the back of my makeup drawer when all I wear these days are mauves and brownish nudes. Still finding it hard to throw them in the bin though! What do you guys do with the products you fall out of love with? Do you have some products in your stash that you bought on a whim based on the reviews of your favorite YouTuber? Tell me all about it in the comments section <3

Is Vanity A Bad Thing?

Hey everyone, today I have a different kind of a post for you. It is not a review but a ramble pertaining to some thoughts that cross my mind from time to time. To summarize the gist of the post, I will be sharing my opinion on the negative stereotypes that exist around makeup. I am sure most of you must have heard pedantic suggestions to “embrace your natural beauty” and to stop using makeup on a daily basis. The trouble is that these naysayers seldom realize that a majority of women use makeup to simply enhance their natural looks and not to create an entirely different face.

The misconception that makeup is synonymous with being fake is one that has persisted over the years and hence many are quick to pass a judgement regarding the character of a woman based on whether or not she is wearing lipstick. The sad part is that these very people put actresses and models on a pedestal for their beauty, turning a blind eye towards the fact that that not only do the magazines show images of women heavily decked up in makeup, most publications also favour photographs that are airbrushed to make these women look slimmer and flawless. It is highly ironic that women like you and me are expected to be comfortable with our blemishes and wrinkles when we are being told that these images are what define beauty.

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If you Google the definition of vanity, the first one that pops up is “Excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.”. Clearly, the meaning has a negative connotation. I wonder what the word is for wanting to be the best version of oneself with the help of grooming? It probably does not exist because people still find it hard to believe that the most common use of makeup is to make women feel more confident in their own skin. I was born with perfect skin but it got battered and bruised over time due to hormonal breakouts. No matter what I try, I cannot eliminate my acne completely. If a tiny dab of concealer can make me feel more comfortable walking out of my house then is it really such a crime to use it? If it is socially acceptable for women with good morals to match their shoes to the color of their dress then why is wearing a red lipstick frowned upon by many?

The bottom line is that the people who conform to the beauty standards established by media should not feel entitled to discourage the women around them from wearing makeup. I do not have a solution to this particular problem but there is a general solution to most problems in the world, to live and let live. Whether I chose to wear or skip makeup on a particular day should be my decision, I know that I am beautiful with or without it, and so are you!

Related Post: 5 Pressurizing Standards of Beauty That Need To Go

Long Overdue Post: Lovely Blog Award

This is a long overdue post. Many of my lovely readers nominate me for blog awards from time to time and I am ever so grateful to each one of you. Although I may not be able to respond to them immediately, they always make me so happy and thankful! I was recently nominated by the amazing Toribeth2016 from https://batgirlwordpress.wordpress.com/ for the Lovely Blog Award. If you haven’t heard about this one, here are the rules:

  1. Mention and leave a link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
  2. Share seven interesting facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate others for the award.
  4. Share the good news with your nominees.

So here are 7 facts about me that might interest you:

  1. I am a die-hard foodie who is willing to taste almost everything edible.
  2. I am quite an introvert and have a very small social circle.
  3. I HATE Mondays!
  4. I love reading historical fiction.
  5. I would much rather spend a day at the beach than at a hill station.
  6. I have recently discovered adult coloring books and find them to be a great stress buster.
  7. I sometimes buy stuff online when I am half asleep and totally regret it the next morning 🙁

Those were 7 facts about me, I nominate the following people for the Lovely Blog Award:

  1. https://beautytalkswithneha.com/
  2. http://personalogues.com/
  3. https://msmeehnia.com/
  4. http://makeupandsmiles.com/
  5. https://phashionbug.com/

I would also love all of you to share an interesting fact about yourself in the comments 🙂

XoXo,

Mrinalini