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Thursday, September 30, 2010 Quick Tip: Use a Spray Bottle For Toner

I can't remember where I read this, but it was somewhere online. Someone suggested pouring your toner into a spray bottle because you tend to use a lot more when you just pour it out of the bottle.

So I headed to the drugstore and bought a tiny little spritzer bottle and poured some toner into it. I just use a couple of spritzes onto a cotton pad (or even directly onto my face, sometimes) and it really helps reduce the amount of toner I use. I'm pretty sure this tip has saved me lots and lots of money!

Frustration!!!

You know that point between frustration and fear where you just feel like crawling under the covers and crying all day? Well, that's where I am right now.

Here's a little background:

I have always been a girlie girl and I have always been into make up and beauty. I remember taking the Cover Girl ads from my mom's magazines and pretending they were real makeup as a little girl. So naturally, I chose a career in beauty therapy.

Cut to today, past many failed jobs and terrible working experiences and I now have the opportunity to open up my very own beauty salon.

I'm more than excited. It's something I've wanted almost my entire adult life. But I am also scared shitless. There's just so much to do and I don't even know where to begin! And it's so hard!!! We're working on a budget at the moment and trying to work within it is proving to be a little difficult.

I do realize how lucky I am. I get to follow my dreams and build my bliss and all that good stuff, yadda yadda yadda. I have a wonderful support system made up of family and friends and I am so grateful for all of this.

I'm just a little stressed out right now because I can see the end result, and I know where I want to get and what I want to get out of it....I just have no bloody clue how to go about getting there.

*and breathe*

So that's my little vent for today. I've had this song by Royskopp on repeat today to try and calm myself down. If any of you have any suggestions on really calming albums (that do not include Enya or Michael Buble) please let me know:)





Love and kisses,
A

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 Happy Birthday Joan Jett!

Last week was Joan Marie Larkin's birthday.

I remember the first time I ever heard her. It was insane, she really spoke to me (as cliche as that sounds!) I remember thinking 'this woman rocks harder than most of the men I've ever heard'. It really was an eye opener to me and I credit her with being the catalyst for my love of women with guitars. I really don't think I would be the same person if I hadn't ever 'discovered' her.

Anyway, here's one of my favorites.





Love and kisses,
A

Review: Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil

Available at Bobbi Brown stores, nation wide. Approximately 180Dhs.

What Bobbi says:
A 2-in-1 formula that gently removes all traces of makeup & cleanses the skin while maintaining natural moisture levels. Olive and Jojoba Oils condition skin and leave it feeling soft and supple while ginger root extract soothes and calms the skin.

What I say:
I was given a sample of Bobbi's eye cream and loved it so much that I went back and bought the cream and some other products. This was the only cleanser they had in stock at the time and I am such a big fan of the Oil Cleansing Method that I thought I'd try this one out.

You are supposed to use a couple of pumps and massage it into dry skin and then add a little water and rinse it all off. It smells lovely and fresh and rinses off really well, leaving behind little residue.

However, after the first couple of times using it, my skin started to get rough and feel slightly dry. My skin is normally quite soft and smooth, so this really irritated me. I tried using it every other day or only a couple times a week and the same thing happened.

That said, I do LOVE this as an eye makeup remover. I use two pumps and gently massage it onto my eyes and into my lashes and it almost magically dissolves everything. Sometimes when I use a makeup remover, I still get little bits of mascara smudged under my eye. Not with this stuff. It really does work well to remove even water proof liner and mascara or the dark smokey eye makeup that I love to wear. I also love the fact that you don't need to use cotton pads with it. Hurrah for the environment!

I will continue to use this as an eye makeup remover, but I wouldn't recommend it as a cleanser. It is a little expensive and I definitely prefer to use the plain old OCM instead as it gives much better results.



Sunday, September 26, 2010 MHK Challenge - Week 1

So this is my first week on the challenge and I'm ready to go! I weighed myself and took all of my measurements this morning so I can fully track my progress. I think I'm only going to measure myself at the end of the challenge, but I will weigh myself every week. I'm going to try really hard not to weigh myself every day.

I'm still feeling the effects of over-partying this weekend, so I wasn't able to wake up as early as I had planned and go for a run. I'll make up for it by doing a couple miles of my Walk Away The Pounds video this evening.

Here are my mini challenges for this week:


water!

Drink 2.5 - 3 liters of water per day, and no sodas or juice this week.
This is actually doctors orders. I've been having problems with my eyes and my doctor suggested I up my water intake until my eyes are healed. I'm usually a big water drinker, but I have recently found myself reaching for diet coke instead. So this week, I am off the soda and juice and only drinking water.

Work out 3 days a week.
This one is actually going to last the whole month, and I will eventually move it up to four or five days/week. My plan is to run or walk at least 20 minutes and follow that with some light weights. I've chosen Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday for my workouts, which gives me the weekend off and allows me to take a day off in between.

Have one green smoothie every day.
I actually started having the smoothies before the summer and then stopped when I was on vacation. I like them because they are an easy way to get in my vegetables and I do notice a difference in my skin when I have the smoothies regularly.

This is the body brush I have, it's from The Body Shop. Love it.

Use my body brush before every shower.
Like most women, I do battle with cellulite. I've put on a lot of weight recently and it's really starting to bother me, so I am trying to get myself into the habit of using a body brush daily to help increase circulation and aid in detoxification. Super soft skin is just a bonus :)

The Mini Health Kick Challenge

I recently joined a mini health challenge that was started by Vicky of It's All Peachykeen. The point of this is that you set yourself smaller goals instead of bigger ones. I tend to focus on the final goal and it does frustrate me when I don't get there fast enough and then I just end up giving up.

This way, you can mainly focus on making it through the month, and then sit back and enjoy a healthier you. Plus, hopefully you can fit back into those little shorts that are taunting you in the back of your closet.

I'm excited about this because there are other bloggers who are doing it as well, and hopefully that will keep me motivated, if only to save e-face haha.

The challenge runs for a month at a time and one of the rules is that you have to report back at least once a week. I'm starting in the morning (Sunday the 26th) so I'm going to try and use Sundays as my 'weigh in/progress report' day.

Since this is the first month (I will definitely be going for longer), I really want to use this time to establish habits and get my body used to working out regularly and eating healthier. They say that it takes about four weeks to form a habit so I'm going to have to be very consistent this month.

My main goals in general are to tone up, lose weight and build my endurance. I also want to start running because I have been walking for a while now and want to kick it up a notch. I'm going to use this routine that I found at the Glamour website. It's meant for beginners, and you basically alternate walking and running and try to build up until you can run for a full 30 minutes.

I'm also going to give myself mini-mini weekly challenges, like 'drink 2 liters of water a day' or 'no bread this week'.

Well, that's pretty much it for now! I'll make my first 'official' post in the morning.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Love and kisses,
A

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 The Raveonettes - Love in a Trashcan

'Looking for love in a trashcan' pretty much sums up dating in Dubai!!



Kind of an older song (old as in from 2005) but still loads of fun. This album has been re-playing on my ipod for the last couple of weeks.

Love and kisses,
A


Friday, September 17, 2010 Quick Tip: Recycle Your Sample Containers

I hardly ever throw away the little bottles and tubs that my free samples come in.

When I'm done trying out the product, I wash out the container with warm, soapy water and let it air dry. Then I store it in a ziplock bag with all of my travel 'accessories'.

These little bottles and tubs are perfect for travelling, especially if you are only going away for a bit and don't want to check in your luggage (damn you, 3 ounce rule!!) I just pour or scoop a little bit of my product into the empty containers and I'm ready to go! I can usually get about 5 days to a week (if I really stretch!) out of the container.

The small size also makes them great for stuffing in your purse, so they're perfect for impromptu sleepovers! ;)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 Emma Stone Works 'Sexy Rock Chic' Like There's No Tomorrow

Emma Stone is one of my favorite 'young faces' around at the moment. Not only is she gorgeous, she is also very funny (check out her hilarious Funny or Die video) and she has a great sense of style.

Here she is totally KILLING the 'white carpet' at the 2010 MTV VMAs. BTW, really? A white carpet? Is it 1998 and did Diddy have something to do with this?


Let's break down the look, shall we?

Sexy, black leather Emilio Pucci dress that hugs all the right curves and is short enough to show off legs but long enough to sit down in? CHECK. I love how the high neckline balances out the 'mininess' of the dress.

Super sexy sky high stilletos paired with a bright clutch for accent? Check and check...and do I spy a Bottega Veneta?

I also like that she has teamed her big cocktail ring with a simple pair of hoops, keeping it very simple. She's obviously following 'the rules' and playing it safe. This look might have been boring if it weren't for, you know, the awesome dress, but with everything put together, it really works for her.

This is a great look for her and it's really age appropriate. I hate it when younger celebs try and sex things up too much and come out looking like a fool (yes, I'm looking at you, Miley)

Who made your best dressed list at this year's VMAs?

Love and kisses,
A

Monday, September 13, 2010 Remember Pete Doherty?

Whatever happened to him?

I saw him play with Babyshambles back in '08. He was pretty rambly and I don't know how the rest of the band didn't dismember him then and there....but...when that boy is sober enough to handle a guitar, beautiful things happen.

Sigh, I guess it was one Kate Moss break up too many.

Anyway, here's one of my favorite Babyshambles songs, Delivery.





Love and kisses,
A


Sunday, September 12, 2010 Quick Tip: Brush Before You Wash

If you are prone to dry lips, try brushing your teeth BEFORE you wash your face.

Toothpaste and mouthwash residue can be really drying. Washing your face afterwards will help ensure that you have gotten rid of any leftover toothpaste.

And keep your lip balm next to your bed so you remember to apply it before you go to sleep!

Friday, September 10, 2010 That's It, I'm Growing My Hair Out Again!

I had my hair thermally reconditioned last year and just had all of the straightened ends cut off. It's basically in a shoulder length bob with sideswept bangs right now.

I really want to grow my hair out and my ends were really damaged (they were basically bleached, dyed, straightened and then bleached and dyed again!) so I wanted to cut them off and start over.

I was thinking of cutting my hair shorter and having it shaped a bit more....

Then I saw this video.


How gorgeous is her hair??
So yeah...I'm not cutting my hair for a while! Apart from the occasional trim, of course :)

It's been about a year since I first cut my hair shorter and I do miss having longer hair. So that's my new mission. I'm getting my hair dyed on Wednesday (super excited but kinda nervous!!) so I'll post starting photos and some of the tips I'll be using soon.


Love and kisses,
A

The Summer of Loves

Summer's pretty much over now, so I wanted to share some of the things I loved/fell in love with over the summer.


I totally loved the album Gemini by Wild Nothing. It was the perfect soundtrack for lazy summer days and it's perfect for laying on the beach.



Hawaiian Tropics Oilfree Faces Sheer Sunscreen SPF 30

I bought this at the supermarket for less than 30 dirhams, so I really wasn't expecting anything from it. This turned out to be, hands down, the best sunscreen I have ever used on my face. No shine, no white cast, no sticky film (ie no sand sticking to my face!) Just brilliant. I bought it for the beach and I am still using it as my every day sunscreen.

Essie Russian Roulette
A bright, true red. Perfect for summer toes (and fingers)!
Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream
Love this stuff. It's texture is light, yet incredibly hydrating. It's great to use before makeup.


Starbucks' Iced Coffees
Hold up, so you're telling me that I can have an iced Americano with sweetner for less than 10 calories? And add nonfat milk for 20 extra calories? Holy crap, I think I love you.

What were you loving this summer?

Love and kisses,
A

Thursday, September 9, 2010 Spring 2011 Color Trends

(Can't believe it's nearly 2011!!!)

Pantone has announced it's colors for Spring 2011.

These colors were inspired by exotic destinations like Africa, India, Peru and Turkey.

I usually wear neutrals so I am super excited to try out some of the brighter colors. I can't really decide on my favorites, but I guess the ones I am least excited about are Silver Cloud and Beeswax. Mainly due to my coloring. I can't really pull of colors like that :)

You can check out the entire report here.
Which colors are you most excited about?


Love and kisses,
A

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 Manila Haul: Baubles and Beads

I love to DIY my jewelery. A lot of the times, I'll go into the store and see something beautiful but I just can't bring myself to actually pay money for it when I know I can make it myself.

We found this wonderful notions store at Megamall and I almost cried. Everything was SOO much cheaper, it made me realize just how much the people at Dragonmart are ripping me off.



I'm still really big on statement necklaces. I loved the black one because it's pretty simple and can go with pretty much anything. The beads on that one are cool, too, because they are almost a matte metallic. The other two are actually collars but I mainly bought them for the beads so I'll probably end up de-beading them.

Some big rhinestones that I bought. They are so expensive here, I'm not sure why (maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?) The rectangular ones in the bottom left corner are pretty cool cuz they change color. I also bought some black felt so I can just sew them on my own necklaces.

I bought these little beads because I've also been loving Chan Luu's beaded jewelry and wanted to DIY my own (look for a tutorial soon!)

The leather cord is for the beaded jewelry, I just liked the colors. The flowers and the sequin strips are for headbands. I want to start wearing more and thought I could just use my glue gun to glue them onto headbands.

Some earring bases that I found and some posts. I also bought these little clasps for the leather straps because I haven't been able to find these here (kicking myself for not buying more!!)

How cute are these little maroon crochet balls? I thought they were so cute and would look nice on a long floral fabric necklace come spring. The rest of the beads are just big, colored ones that I liked.

I also bought some black lace, because I love, love LOVE black lace and girl can never have enough! hehe

I guess with all this stuff, I have no right to ever say that I'm bored again!

I can't wait to show you guys what I've made with the stuff.

Love and kisses,
A





Sunday, September 5, 2010 Easy DIY Highlights

Here's a great two-part video on how to achieve natural looking highlights without heading to the salon.







Please go see a professional if your hair is already processed or you want all over brightening. Color-treated hair doesn't always lift or lighten evenly and if you want an all over lighter look, you will need a full head of highlights. That's not easy to do and you can easily damage your hair. Plus, you may end up even paying more to have it corrected than you would have spent on the highlights. I learnt this the hard way during the Great Bleaching Disaster of '09 :(

I know that highlighting kits are a little hard to come by over here (are we EVER going to get a damn Sallys??) so here's a very basic description of various levels of developers. Most highlighting kits contain some sort of bleaching powder or creme and a developer (peroxide). You need to mix the developer with the bleach to activate it.

10 Volume - does not lift hair color. Only use a 10 vol if you want to deposit hair color (meaning to go darker or simply add a little bit of tone to the shade you already have)

20 Volume - lifts hair 1-2 shades. 20 Volume peroxide is great if your hair is already quite light or if you want very subtle lightening.

30 Volume - lifts hair 2-3 shades. Your best bet for lifting darker hair.


Please, please, please follow manufacturer's instructions and measure out the product properly. I know it sounds silly, but make sure you use measuring cups to get it right. It really makes a difference. And don't forget to set your timer and keep checking the foils!!

In my opinion, one of the big keys to great, even highlights is sectioning properly. Make sure to clip the rest of your hair out of the way and highlight thin sections. Bleach will only lighten the hair that it touches, it doesn't seep through like regular dye does. You need to use smaller, thinner sections and apply the bleach as evenly as possible to avoid patchy highlights.

Again, if in doubt, please see a professional.

For more haircoloring tips, check out The Hair Color Mix Book by Lorrie Goodard-Clarke. I recently bought it and she has dozens of great hair color recipes!
Let me know if you try this out! :)

Love and kisses,
A


Quick Tip: Use Oil Instead of Gel

Try using oil instead of gel when you wear your hair in a ponytail or braid.

The oil will tame flyaways and baby hairs and it will also help to soften your hair and add a little shine.

Make sure you use natural, organic oils and if you have fine hair, use a lighter oil like Grapeseed or Jojoba. I like to use Extra Virgin Coconut Oil on my hair.

Just use a couple of drops (literally!) and smooth from your midlengths to your ends. Then style your hair and use whatever is left on your palms to tame the front and crown.

Again, use just a tiny bit. I have thicker, shoulder length hair and I literally use 2-3 drops.


Love and kisses,
A

Vacation Haul: Duty Free and Nail Polish

OK, here are some of the things I bought on vacation. I spent most of my money on shoes so I wasn't able to get a lot of products. Plus, I avoided department store brands because we get most of them here, anyway.

So here's some stuff I bought at the duty free (in the Dubai airport, Manila airport and on the plane)


MAC tinted lip conditioner in Petting Pink
L'oreal Double Extension Duo (mascara + lash serum)

Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau De Parfum,
Stella McCartney Stella In Two Peony Eau De Toilette

Orly Nail Laquer in Samba, Caronia Nail Polish in Claret
Dashing Diva Tangerine "something" (I accidentally tore the label off, sorry!)
Elianto nail color in Peach, Caress nail polish in Attraction, Elianto nail color in Silky

I am really excited about the L'oreal lash serum. I inherited my mother's sparse Japanese eyelashes and I'm really hoping the serum lives up to all the hoopla! I've taken a 'before' picture and will post the 'after' in a couple weeks.

The MAC lip conditioner surprised me. I always avoided it because I thought it was just an overpriced lip balm. I was wrong. I beg the forgiveness of the beauty Gods. This stuff is awesome and tastes great.

The Tom Ford perfume is one that I wanted for a long time, and I finally got it. Better late than never, right? I tend to lean towards heavier, more exotic scents and this one seems like the perfect accessory to go with my dozens of little black dresses.

The Stella McCartney one is much lighter and probably better for daytime. I loved the bottle and the scent was very fresh, feminine and uplifting. I thought it would be great to pair with my sundresses.

I bought some of the brighter polishes because I'm one of those annoying girls that can't stand to have chipped polish EVER - even on vacation. I try not to get manicures done in the Philippines because they can be quite harsh and last year I came back with really thin, weak nails. I thought the orange and pink would be pretty for the summer and the plum Orly shade would be a great way to introduce fall.

Greige is still having it's time in the sun, but this season it's got a bit more tone to it. I thought the purple-gray (preige?) Caress shade was gorgeous.

I love, love, love metallics right now and I spotted the gold Elianto from the corner of my eye and flew over to it. It's a little more sheer than I thought it would be, but it's a pretty, festive alternative to the nudes that are going to be big.

Anyway, that's part one of my vacation haul! Sorry for the photos again, I have no camera and have to use my phone :(

Happy ramadan!
Love and kisses,
A

Friday, September 3, 2010 Rollasoles!

Thanks to a certain nameless telecommunications company (OK, I'll give you a hint, rhymes with Schmepisalat) I had a bad morning.

I perked up when I walked into New Look and saw Rollasoles on the counter! I know they've been around for a while, but this is the first time I've seen them over here. I haven't been shopping much lately, so forgive me if they were being sold here before!

Anyway, they are basically little ballet flats that you can roll up and stuff into your purse (or clutch! They fit in my clutch, I checked)

They are a godsend you've been dancing all night and the thought of walking to the taxi in your heels makes you want to chop off your feet. Or if you've been in heels all day but you just HAVE to check out the sales.

They're 55dhs a pair. I used my Grazia Card and got them for 44dhs.

Here's what they look like:

They only had the Large ones, which are a US 9/10 or a UK 7/8. They were a little too big for me, but I got them anyway. I figured my feet would appreciate the extra space at the end of a night out.

They also come with a bag to roll them up in so you can keep them in your purse. I can't for the life of me figure out how to roll it up properly, so I might just make my own bag.


Party season starts up in a week or so and I suggest you all go out and get some! Let me know what you think if you've already tried them.

Love and kisses,
A