[Update: Since my dear Curly actually awoke from her blog slumber to take up this tag, I’m keeping the questions the same and tagging her restrospectively, and basically the peeps who commented: Perspectives and Prejudices, Made to Misfit, and Brown Girl in the Wring. My Era, if you want to take on the extra questions, please do.]

A long overdue tag from Boiling to participate in the Sisterhood of the World Q&A. She blogs about gender issues (which is how I found her blog, I think), random issues in her head, the environment, and stuff she gets riled up about.

In true Boiling style she trimmed the question list to a succinct five, which suits me because these days I don’t have time to write a coherent long post. (Note to readers: If you notice my posts are filled with more than the usual amount of typos these days, please forgive. I literally write them up in 10 minutes, with no time even for a read through. See it as a peek into my online notebook rather than a polished blog per se).

Now on to the questions:

  1. One beauty product you would recommend to your girlfriends

Knowing Boiling, I feel I should be recommending something eco-friendly here. In fact, one of my aims is to only use cosmetics that do not test on animals. However, I am sad to report that I have not achieved this, though if I do notice that a product that works for me is not tested on animals, then I will stick with it. I really like Bath and Body Works body lotion, particularly the Shea Butter one, and the company’s policy states that it does not test on animals except when required to by law. (Unfortunately, since I live in the China region, many brands that do not perform animal testing in other markets, do so for this region because the law requires it. However, I am buying Baths and Body Works directly from the US or through parallel traders since the brand isn’t retailed here officially. So I’m getting the animal testing free ones).

OMG, I could have skipped all this and recommended Himalaya kajal. It is my make-up must have. Yes, it smudges off but I like that.

Of the top of my head, I also like Revlon’s lip stain range. There, you got three for the price of one, which just goes to show that once I get started, I cannot stop blabbing.

2. Three books everyone must read.

Ok, if I couldn’t cut myself off on the beauty question, when I’m hardly a beauty expert, you can imagine how this one is going to go down. Honestly, I can’t say this is my final word on the matter, but for the moment, I’d say:

a) Bridget Jones’s Diary: What? It’s a my Bible a contemporary classic. I’m doing a PhD on chick lit, whadja expect? But honestly, the more I think about it, it’s a suberbly clever book. If I were to intellectualize it, I’d call it an inter-textual bildungsroman in the grand romantic tradition.

b) But first read Pride and Prejudice. It is now officially literature so you can feel smug.

c) Mary McCarthy’s The Group. I am surprising myself by putting this out there but I love how this novel about women coming of age covers a lot of themes of the early feminist novel without being laborious about it.

To include the last one, I had to knock off Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, a personal favourite (though right this minute, I think The Moor’s Last Sigh might edge out Midnight’s Children, which is a surprise to even me). But I kind of like having an all-woman list so I’m going with those three.

Frankly, I’m not sure I think everyone must read anything. To specific people, yes, I’ve been known to go, “You must read this (and then talk to me for two hours about it).” But when people generally ask me to recommend a book, V has told me I kind of freeze, and when I think about it, it’s because I cannot suggest a book without knowing the person.

3. Favourite online shopping site

Flipkart. It was the first one I tried, and I primarily still use it for its original purpose, which was buying books. It’s heartwarming in a weird way that the whole thing started with books. Which goes to show that books can be a business model. Maybe. Also, though I’ve heard some negative stories, I’ve never had a bad experience (except for the annoying thing where the delivery comes staggered and my mum has to keep answering the door). Maybe because I mainly order books, and who would want to steal those

I barely shop online though because with clothes and even shoes I can never remember my own size and then I still feel I need to try. With cosmetics, I used to use Strawberry.net until I realized some local retails stores are cheaper. Generally, I now shop very little and am currently typing this is an old T-shirt of V’s that has multiple holes in it. Operation Budget is succeeding y’all.

4. Favourite phone app

Facebook? Mundane I know, but I use it a lot. If you’re looking for recommendations, I also use Wally to track expenses, PeriodTracker to track, well, the obvious, and I found XE Currency Converter very useful on holiday

5. One dishย you are really good at making and its recipe