Friday, October 29, 2010

Updos, Updos and More Updos

My friend is getting married next week, yay!! She also asked me to be her Maid of Honor (Double YAY!!!) so I've been busy helping her out. She's the first of my close friends to get married, so it's really exciting!

I just can't decide on how I want to wear my hair. Here's the dress I am wearing:

Here you can see the color and detail a bit better

I personally love the look of an updo with a floor length dress. I think it looks so elegant. Here are some styles that I like:

Vanessa Hudgens
Lacey Chabert (This one's my favorite so far)
Rachel Bilson
Sophia Bush

I was also thinking about wearing my hair down. Here are some big, bouncy, blowouts that I love.

 Salma Hayek
 Eva Mendes
Jessica Alba

So yeah, decisions, decisions! What do you guys think?

Have a great weekend!

Love and kisses!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Aussie Moist Conditioner

Aussie Moist Conditioner, Dhs 28 at Safestway

I took my sister to Safestway on Saturday because she had a craving for pumpkin pie. She didn't want to wait until thanksgiving and refused to believe us when we told her they probably wouldn't have any canned pumpkin for a couple of weeks. 

I like going there because they carry a lot of American products and it's one of the places where I go to stock up on my Secret deodorant. Unfortunately, they didn't have any :( But they did have a few bottles from the Aussie range. My scalp has been acting up at the moment so I only bought the conditioner. 

What Aussie Says:

QUENCH THAT COIF

Moist Conditioner, with splashes of Australian Aloe, Jojoba Oil and Sea Kelp, helps seal in natural moisture and takes thirsty tresses from hapless to hydrated. 
What I say:
I really, really like this one. I have super thick hair that is now pretty much all bleached up and incredibly dry and porous. I didn't expect to get such great results from a supermarket brand!
This conditioner is incredibly thick, almost like a mask. It works really well and it works quickly. It doesn't have to sit for very long and after I rinse it out and air dry, I am left with really soft, moisturized hair. It even tames my frizzy ends. I will definitely be repurchasing this. I'll probably have to go and buy like five bottles because Safestway sometimes runs out of products and it takes forever for them to restock :(
I can definitely see this becoming one of my staples although, as I mentioned, it is really thick so it might not be the best product for finer hair. 
Love and kisses!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quick Tip: Treat Your Hair Overnight

If your hair is really dry (like mine is!), try leaving your hair mask on over night. Lightly dampen hair and apply a little bit of your mask or conditioner. Put your hair in a loose braid and wash it out (or cowash) in the morning followed by a light conditioner.

Monday, October 18, 2010

MHK Challenge - Weigh In


How has everyone been doing so far? This is the last official week of the first challenge, so I guess it's now or never!

I've lost two pounds since the start of the challenge. I don't know why my weight seems to be stalling. I haven't measured myself yet, I'm waiting till the end of the challenge to do that. Hopefully I'll see some changes there.

All in all, the past couple of weeks have been OK. I did have Wendys on one of the days but I did manage to watch what I ate for the rest. I had a week of really being good and going to bed early and stuff, and then I gave myself the weekend off and that was gone! I drank more water, but I wasn't drinking as much as I would have liked. I started carrying a small bottle in my purse to make sure I drank more during the day.

I'm going to try really hard this week. I am going to a wedding next month in Jordan and I know it will be cold. I already have a gown and some coats and stuff but they are a bit too small so I need to be able to fit into them by the end of next month! So that means going from 2-3 days of cardio per week to 4-5 and really watching my calories. It's doable, I just need to work at it :)

Here's to a great finishing week!

Love and kisses!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Foals - Spanish Sahara

I've been loving this lately. Actually, I've been playing the whole album a lot this week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Topshop Makeup Range Finally Launches in Dubai!



The Topshop makeup range has finally landed in our pretty little city! I can't tell you how excited I was about this. Yes, I do realize that I probably need to get out more.

As part of Harper Bazaar Arabia's Fortnight of Fashion, Topshop held a small catwalk show at the Dubai Mall. After the show, my friend and I ran up to the store...OK Fine. I ran up as fast as I could and dragged my poor friend behind me. What can I say? I've been waiting for this launch for MONTHS. I kept seeing all the pictures and reading about all the British bloggers hauling the products and cursing them all under my breath.

I didn't get any pictures of the show because it was a really small one and I'm kinda new to this blogging thing, so I didn't really feel like whipping out my camera/phone and snapping away.

However....I did force myself to take a couple pictures of the makeup display. Guess this really goes to prove that as much as I try, my love of beauty will always trump my love of fashion.



The best thing was that the products had literally JUST been set up. As in, some of the testers hadn't even been opened yet! So I threw hygiene to the wind and went crazy.

The collection is gorgeous! Lots of bright colors, pretty glittery shades and rich lip and nail colors. The packaging looks really cute, too. My only complaint is that a lot of the packaging is white. That really confused me because white tends to get dirty really quickly, so it doesn't seem like the best option for makeup.

Anyway, I did buy a few products and I will take some swatches and post reviews as soon as I can.

Have any of you checked out the range? Are there any products you'd recommend?

Hope you guys had a great weekend,

Love and kisses!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ashlee Simpson Gets a New 'Do

Ashlee usually slips under my radar. She hasn't really done anything of significant interest since the SNL incident.



She's always been quite open to changing her hair color but I don't think we've ever seen her go this short. I don't hate it. I think that the actual cut itself is cute. She's managed to go shorter but keep it feminine. Plus, with shorter hair you can go really bold with color so it might be nice to see her go more of a cool, white blonde than the slightly yellow blonde she has now.

All in all, I like the change. I would just love to see it a bit more polished. It kinda looks really greasy and messy, but Ashlee seems to prefer to look a little 'grunged up', lots of liner, pale lips and dirty hair. I also really like the way she has layered a long sleeved sweater under her cropped jacket. It looks cute (and warm) like that.

What do you guys think of her new haircut?


Love and kisses!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lauren Conrad on Chelsea Lately

I've been a big fan of Chelsea Handler for a few years. It's crazy how big she is now!

I am also a not-so-closet fan of The Hills PC (Pre-Cavallari) so I was pretty excited to see a snippet of Lauren Conrad's latest interview with Chelsea.

Lauren looked cute in a gray dress and black heels.She was rockin' a faux bob and her new ombre hair. I'm not a big fan of faux bobs, I think they just look really fake, but I do think that Lauren looks really cute with shorter hair and should permanently ditch the extensions.


For some reason, her face and legs looked really, really shiny. I think her makeup artist used a tad too much luminizer. But, oh well, stuff happens!

You can catch a clip of the interview here:



What do you guys think? More importantly, what do I watch now that the Hills is over??? :(

This Week's Beauty Buys

Didn't really buy a lot of beauty products this week. 

I went to Daiso today to buy some nail art pens.



I also grabbed some sheet face masks, after reading about them on skindeco.net. I can't wait to try these out!
 

And I bought some more polish from Forever 21. I am on a bright pink polish kick right now, and I also loved this bright tomato-red polish. 


I got a call from my local MAC saying that the Venomous Villians collection has finally arrived! I was at Mall of the Emirates yesterday so I popped into Harvey Nics to see if they had it, but they didn't have anything yet. I guess the collection has only been released at certain locations :( 

I didn't want to leave empty handed so I bought some Select Sheer/Loose Powder, NC40.

My cat decided to jump on the table. He just HAS to be the center of attention at all times!

So that's what I bought this week. I'm going to try out the powder tonight and post photos of how it looks. It looked OK in the store, but let's see :)

Love and kisses!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Hair Growth Game Plan - Retaining Length

My hair is naturally curly and prone to dryness. It is also double-processed (bleached and toned) so I have to be very careful with it. 

Retaining my ends is super important because I plan on only getting a trim every two months. Which means that I really have to baby my hair in between. 

Here's what I've been doing to retain my growth and keep my hair from further damage:

- I avoid using shampoos that contain Sulfates. Sulfates, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, can strip your hair of natural oils and irritate your scalp. I actually find that I have less problems with my scalp when I use a SLS free shampoo.

- Co-washing. Lots of women these days are turning to conditioner to wash their hair. Most conditioners do contain some form of detergent to allow them to rinse out. I alternate my shampoos with a light conditioner (I use Suave Clarifying Daily Conditioner). Cowashing leaves my hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed, but also moisturized and soft. It has really helped improve the condition of my hair. 

- Using a leave-in treatment every day. I am still 'experimenting' and trying to find the perfect leave in for my hair. Right now, I am alternating between L'oreal Elvive Royal Jelly Leave-in and KMS Moistrepair. I think I prefer the KMS one. I especially make sure to apply it to my ends to prevent split ends.

- I try not to heat style my hair more than once or twice a week. This means that I've been wearing my hair curly and air drying it more often. If I want to relax my curl, all I do is towel dry it and let it air dry about 80% before I put it in a bun. I let it out when it's totally dry and my hair has a very natural relaxed wave.

- I always, always, ALWAYS use a heat protectant before I blow dry or use my curling iron. ALWAYS! My favorites are V05 Extreme Heat Style Protectant, Redken Smooth Down and Schwarzkopf Osis Flatliner spray.

Well, that's how I take care of my hair!

Love and kisses!

My Hair Growth Game Plan - Growing My Hair

I keep forgetting to finish my growth plan!

Basically, I am trying to grow my hair out as much as possible by my birthday next year
.
Trying to get from here....

To here..

My game plan actually consists of two parts: growing as much new hair as possible, and retaining as much length as I can. There's really no point in growing 4 inches of hair if your ends are so ruined that you have to cut off 3 inches!

So, for the growing part:

- I am taking biotin vitamins to maximize my hair growth. Biotin is a well known growth supplement; it helps aid in stopping hair loss as well as increasing the thickness of your hair and the speed at which it grows. My hair already grows pretty fast, but the growth tends to slow down in the winter so I'm trying to prevent that from happening.

Another great thing about biotin is that it really helps to strengthen my nails and makes them grow a lot faster. In my opinion, that's a big enough reason to take it.

Here's an article about biotin and how it can help with hair growth.

- I've also started being more active and trying to work out 3-4 times a week. This helps increase the circulation all over your body and ensures that your scalp and hair follicles get all the oxygen and blood they require.

- A clean scalp is the key to healthy hair! I have a fickle scalp, I'm prone to dermatitis so I have to keep my scalp happy or it really rebels. One of the things that helps keep my scalp calm is to use an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse once a week. I just fill a 1.5 liter bottle 1/4 full of ACV and then fill the rest with water. I rinse my hair with that, massage it in and leave it on for five minutes before I shampoo and condition as usual. This is also a great clarifiying treatment!

- I've upped my vegetable intake (via green smoothies) and started to increase my water intake as well.

Ok, well these are the main things I am doing to help my hair grow as fast as it can. As much as I love having shorter hair, I really miss all the updos and curls and fun things I could do with longer hair!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Retail Therapy

I went to look at cameras today.They didn't have the one I wanted, so I went into Forever 21 and New Look to make myself feel better.



 
 I found this bag at Forever 21 for 89dirhams! It's a bit smaller than my regular purses, but I thought it was a good way for me to dip my feet into this season's animal print.

 These are from New Look. They were 149dirhams, but I used my Grazia Card and got 20% off. I love nude shoes, but it can be hard to find the right shade, especially if you have darker skin.

.These ones are perfect!


I also went into Boots and stocked up on some new hair stuff. I'll post reviews as soon as I wash my hair :)

Love and kisses!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cleaning Day

I'm trying to finish up cleaning/organizing/getting rid of everything I don't actually use. I've been putting it off for a while, or I'll start and stop like half an hour later.

But I'm going to completely finish it this week!


The Joy Formidable - Whirring


Have a great Sunday!

Love and kisses,
A

Saturday, October 9, 2010

No Hands!

My dad is a bit of a germaphobe. He's ever-so-kindly passed that on to me. It's really fun. *eye roll*

Anyway, my parents were at the grocery store and came across this. I think it launched in the UK a couple months ago, but apparently it's new here. They bought one for the downstairs bathroom and loved it so much that they bought one for all our bathrooms.

It's the Dettol No-Touch Hand Wash System.

Dettol No-Touch Hand Wash System, Cleansing Green Tea and Ginger



Basically, it's a little, automatic antibacterial soap dispenser. It runs on batteries and has tiny sensors in it so there is no pump to use, you just place your hands under the nozzle and it automatically dispenses the soap.

I'm not really sure how environmentally friendly this is. It does run on batteries so you will have to replace them. Also, it has a lot more plastic than regular soap dispensers, but I guess in the long run it evens out because all you have to do is replace the actual soap bottle (I'm sure you could just refill it).

But I do love my gadgets so I am going to try this out for a while and see how it goes.


Love and kisses,
A

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quick Tip: Keep Your Body Lotion In the Shower

Vaseline Cocoa Butter Deep Conditioning Body Lotion

I keep my body lotion in the shower. I find that it helps me cut down on time when I apply it straight after a shower.

After I turn off the water, I just dab myself dry with a towel and quickly slather on some lotion. The extra moisture on my skin means that I don't have to spend as much time rubbing in the lotion. By the time I am done applying my facial products, all I'm left with is soft, moisturized (but not overly greasy) skin. It's especially great if you live in a mostly humid climate like Dubai.

This also works really well with body oils, too. Body oils tend to be a little bit more moisturizing for my skin when winter gets into full swing over here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: Sephora Smoothing Primer

Available at Sephora stores, nationwide. Approximately 60dhs (I think)


What Sephora says:

Improves foundation application while minimizing skin imperfections. Makeup lasts longer and skin is left velvety smooth with a matte finish. What else you need to know: Glide this wonder gel over skin before applying foundation to matify, smooth, perfect, and prep your skin for the a perfect foundation application. It can be mixed with a liquid foundation for a lighter coverage and to create an even skintone. Ideal for combination-oily skin types. 

What I say:

For the price (that I can remember!), this primer is a good bargain. I apply it over my moisturizer and it really does help my face stay smooth. It works well under liquid foundations, tinted moisturizer and even mineral powder foundation. It really does help makeup 'glide' onto the skin and there have been nights when I have gone out, danced like a fool, sweated my butt off and come home to find that I still have my makeup on. Awesomeness.

The bottle is quite small, but you really only need the teeniest amount. Just one tiny little pump is enough to smooth over your entire face. Any more and you may end up feeling a little bit greasy, which is the opposite of what we're trying to get out of the product.

I have found that this works well for my combination skin. It doesn't dry out my cheeks and it keeps my t-zone shine-free for at least a couple of hours.

Love and kisses,
A

Monday, October 4, 2010

MHK Challenge - Week 2

Alright, since last week didn't go so well, I am going to have to try my darndest to get results this week. I'm carrying on all the mini challenges from last week, but I am adding a few new ones.


Be in bed before midnight and wake up before 9am.

Bowie likes his sleep, too!

Since I am not 'technically' working at the moment, I get to wake up whenever. Up till now, this has meant waking up at noon after watching episodes of True Blood or Weeds until 2am. This week, my main challenge is to get to bed before midnight and set my alarm (and wake up!) before 9am so I can hit the park for a run before it gets too hot. I will NOT allow myself to turn off my alarm because I am really tired and 'want to sleep in just a little'.

Also, research has shown that women who go to sleep and wake up at regular hours can lose more weight. Check out this awesome article from Glamour magazine about a study they did, one of the women lost 15 pounds!

No eating after 8 pm.
That means no late night snacks, no 'quick bites' and no tea, unless it's decaffinated.

No bread or noodles and no dairy.
Bread (and carbs in general) are my drugs of choice. But if I am going to do this and I want results quickly, cutting out bread and noodles is a way for me to get results. I will probably eventually add them back in, but I will avoid them for the rest of this challenge since this really is a 'kick start' for me.
I am slightly lactose intolerant, but lately cheese and dairy has been aggravating my asthma and making my chest congested. I usually drink soy milk anyway, so cheese will be the real problem.

Plan my meals the night before.
I tend to overeat when I'm hungry, so I need to make sure that I eat frequently during the day. This week, I want to try and plan all of my meals the night before so that I can prepare them during the day. Hopefully, this will also help keep me from overeating.


Well, those are my mini challenges for this week! I'm looking forward to much better results at the end of this week.

MHK Challenge - Weigh in 1



So. Yesterday was supposed to be my first weigh in but, in true Dubai style, I'm late.

In my first week on the MHK Challenge, I lost......0 pounds.

I kind of let myself down last week. The weekend made me lose a couple of days and then I just sort of let myself feel sorry for myself.

I managed to drink lots more water, but I did have the odd diet soda.

I had green smoothies about 4 out of the 7 days last week, so that's not too bad.

I did manage to use my body brush regularly, so that's good!

And I did run...twice. And it was HARD. It's still so hot over here! I haven't been able to drag myself out of bed early enough during the morning and the park is pretty busy at night so i try and avoid it after dusk.

All in all, I think I will give myself a 3 out of 10 for last week. I don't think I did that well, and I kind of put minimal effort in. I'm aiming for an 8/9 star rating this week!




PS. you can check out the original challenge over at It's All Peachy Keen.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Hair Growth Game Plan (the Story of my Hair) - 1


I am trying to grow out my hair again. The picture in my profile is actually from Christmas 2008 and I would love to get it to that length again.

First off, I promised pictures of my new hair color, didn't I? I'm so sorry I kept forgetting and then I didn't have a decent camera (or any decent pictures) This is kind of all I have at the moment, so please bear with me :)
My natural hair color (kind of old, before I cut it)


The original highlights (please excuse the mess and the scrunchie, I was getting ready to tone it)

I really wanted a change and so I went to the very lovely Jardin at Jen's Hair Studio on Shaikh Zayed Road. She did such a great job at lifting my hair (I LOVE the depth and variation that she was able to achieve) She applied a full head of highlights and I love how natural her technique came out. I didn't want it to look too streaky and she managed to make it look like I have a lighter base + highlights with just a full head of foils.

My hair kinda bothered me for the first few days. It wasn't Jardin's fault, she did exactly what I asked her to and the results were beautiful (even better than when I used to have my hair highlighted before), but it was just a little too light and bright for me. At least for my first time back with a lighter color.


So...I got out some leftover dye and toned my hair with a very low peroxide and an ashy blond dye.


Tada! I prefer this a lot more, and I was super pleased that the variation is still visible.


So there you go, that's my new hair color. It's funny, when I had it highlighted Jardin asked me how it felt and I said 'it honestly just feels really normal to me'. While I love my darker, natural color, somehow having lighter hair feels just as natural. I know most people go darker for fall/winter, but hey, it's pretty much always sunny over here!

For some reason, I also feel a little more confident. I think it's good to shake things up every once in a while. I'm thinking of going bright red next year, so we'll see. I still want to wear this color for at least 5-6 months.

What do you guys think?

Love and kisses,
A





Bath and Body Works in Dubai!

Bath & Body Works Plumeria Body Lotion.


I went to Mirdif City Center yesterday and had the best surprise ever! I don't go there very often, so I guess this was payback...but anyway...There was a shop being set up on the ground floor and the outside read 'BATH AND BODY WORKS OPENING SOON'.

I actually stopped mid-stride and just stared with my mouth open for a little bit. Super sexy.

So yeah, we're finally getting a freaking Bath & Body works. I can't wait! Apparently they are also going to carry C.O. Bigelow products which excited me even more.

Yay!

Topshop Makeup Tutorial - Statement Lips

I came across this tutorial today and I think I might give it a whirl. The Topshop makeup range hasn't launched here yet (I think it launches this month, yay!) so for the time being, I will have to improvise.

This look is perfect for fall/winter. I normally team my red lips with cat-eye liner and go for a more polished look. The smudged liner in this video gives the look a much more rock and roll, almost vampy vibe (which works, cuz apparently that's the name of the lipstick!) I never really thought of teaming smudged eyes with red lips, but the result is gorgeous!




Love and kisses,
A

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