Wednesday, 28 January 2015

STWW: The F Word

I am a Feminist. I am not a lesbian, I do not hate men or marriage and I do not burn bras (here). By definition, I want to "to define, establish, and defend equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women". I am a feminist because I believe that all humans, men and women, deserve equal rights. 

I became a feminist when I learnt about and began recognizing the blatant biases that women face at school, work and in life. I was blissfully ignorant and accepting of the way women were (and are) being treated and oppressed. I thought it was just the way things were and that was that. I even once stupidly told my male friend (a feminist too) that women shouldn't dress provocatively and then get offended when men leer and hit on them. 

Before I get into why the world needs feminists, I want to dispel some stereotypes about feminism and help clear this unfair and bad rap the word seems to have:

  • Feminists are man-haters and/or think that women are better than men: feminists are against the gender discrimination that women face, which has been taught to and easily accepted by both men and women. They don't think women are better than men, they think women are just as good as men which, unfortunately, is a concept that not everyone has grasped. Giving rights to women doesn't take away the rights of men.
  • Only women can be feminists: this would mean that only women can and should care about equal rights. This is entirely wrong, the feminist that introduced me to feminism is a man (a 23 year old, 6'1" football playing engineer).  
  • There is no sexism and so there is no need for feminism: if this were true, why are women that have the same jobs as men paid less? Why are female victims of sexual assault so afraid to report the perpetrators? Why are women who are raped blamed for the clothes they wore? Why are women judged for how they look rather than what they say? These things still occur so that must mean that feminism is still needed.
For more stereotypes on feminism, see here.

What are your opinions on feminists and feminism? Are you a feminist? Why/why not?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

The one thing I hate about nail polish is the fact that I'm constantly chipping it and having to reapply. This is a full time job in itself and is one of the reasons I wear nail polish once a month or so. Cue Sally Hansen Miracle Gel ($9.97), the no-light gel polish that I've fallen in love with. It's a two-step process where you apply the colour first and follow with a clear coat of the same brand for shiny, long-lasting nails.

If you've read my other post on the Insta-Dri polish (here), you'll know that I'm a fan of the Sally Hansen polishes. This is by far my favourite formula, hitting the nail(s) on the head(s) of every one of my nail criteria (colour, formula/application, and longevity). The colour is a gorgeous, pale pink that is neutral and definitely goes with most (if not all) skin tones! It's my favourite year-round shade and my go to for weddings/formal events.

It has the same wide, flat brush as the Insta-Dri polishes which I love so dearly. The brush makes for even and fast application, even when using my left hand. As the colour is light, I find that I have to do 2 or 3 coats to really get the colour to show through which I know may annoy some of you but I'm fine with it.

The longevity is an absolute dream. I'm prone to chipping but 2 to 3 coats of this colour followed by 1 application of the topcoat leaves my nails chip-free for a week at least. I will definitely be buying more shades of this polish and encourage you all to try it out!

Have you tried this formula or any other 'no light gel' polishes before? Did you like it?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Review: Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil

I remember the first time I tried a Live Clean product - I had run out of shampoo whilst in the shower and so I used my roommate's one. And I was hooked ever since. After a few times of sneakily using her shampoo, I bought my own one, choosing the Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil ($4.99) shampoo and conditioner, given my incredibly dry and curly hair.

The ingredients of this product are what I really loved - all natural and almost all organic. I learned, from my little brother, than ingredients are listed in order of quantity. The further down the ingredient on the list, the less of it there is in the product. Argan oil was listed among the first few ingredients so I knew there was a good amount in this product.

These products are incredibly hydrating without being greasy and it leaves my hair feeling soft and clean, rather than stripped and dry. I find that my hair still feels so nourished even after washing off the conditioner (a rare feeling when it comes to my dry locks) and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone with dry hair or anyone during dry, winter months. If your hair is fine and has the tendency to be greasy, I suggest only using the shampoo as even just that is hydrating. I leave my conditioner in for a couple minutes (seriously, my hair is that dry) which works well. I've also tried the body lotion from this brand which I liked and yes, I will definitely be buying this shampoo/conditioner combination again, as soon as I can find it stocked. Apparently I'm not the only one who loves it.

Live Clean has many products for different hair and skin types so I'm sure there is something for everyone. Have you tried any Live Clean products? If so, which ones and did you like them? What's your favourite shampoo/conditioner?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

STWW: 5 Small Things

If you're reading this post, that means you own a computer, iPad, phone or some sort of electronic device. And, for this, you should consider yourself incredibly lucky. Things we take for granted around us, whether it be our homes, our clothes, our families or our health, are things others may be praying for. It's so easy for us to become unaware for all our blessings as they have become 'normal' to us and we feel entitled to them.

This STWW is a little tip for being grateful, happy and aware of all you have. My mom taught me this when I had a bad case of the winter blues: I was constantly unhappy in the winter months and so she told me that I should keep a notebook by my bedside and, every night, I must write down five things I am thankful for. They can be small things like waking up for work on time, having a delicious dinner, and seeing a friend, but it's the small things that we must be grateful for. 

So let's take a look at our lives each day and think what we should be thankful for. I'll start. Today I am grateful for:
  1. My health
  2. The warm bowl of oatmeal I had for breakfast
  3. Having a job that may not always be fun but pays the bills
  4. My mom's date cake
  5. Having a gym membership for all that date cake I ate.
What are you grateful for? What are your 5 Small Things?

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Brand Review: Flower

Flower, Drew Barrymore's new line of drugstore make up, was something that caught my eye a few months back when I was in Chicago for a holiday. The first two products I tried from the line were the lipsticks and, after trying them out, I had no intention of ever purchasing from the brand again. Luckily some beauty bloggers convinced me to give the brand another go and so I bought my first ever cream eyeshadow and, after several months of trying the products, I feel qualified to give my opinion on the brand.

 The Lip Suede Lip Chubby in Berry-More (US$ 7.98) was the first product I tried out and it was only okay for me. While I loved the colour and it wasn't drying, it didn't last very long at all - I had to reapply each time I ate or drank. It was disappointing as I loved this colour for an everyday lipstick but, thankfully, I found a great lipliner (stay tuned for that) and now when I apply this lip chubby over the lipliner, it lasts all day. So, yes, I would repurchase this for the colour and since I've found a way to make it last longer but it's not my top choice.

The next product I tried was this Kiss Stick Velvet Lip Colour in Desert Flower (US$ 6.98). This product was incredibly disappointing: while I loved the colour, this matte lipstick had awful lasting power. I would practically have to reapply after each bite of my food - it wiped off so easily. This would happen despite me wearing my lipliner beneath this lipstick. It isn't drying but, no, I will not be repurchasing this product. In fact, this product put off the brand completely until I spoke to other beauty bloggers who raved about this brand, which convinced me to try out the next and final product of the brand.

The Colour Play Creme Eyeshadow in Wild Geranium (US$ 7.98) is a beautiful rose gold shadow. Incredibly pigmented and long lasting, I was surprised and happy with this product. I apply it with my finger over an eyeshadow primer and it didn't crease all day and stayed looking beautiful. It definitely changed my opinion on the brand and yes, I will be purchasing more colours of this product - they have some beautiful neutrals. 

Have you tried this brand before? If so, what were your thoughts? Will you be trying any products after this review?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

STWW: Charlie Hebdo and the Ridiculousness of Generalization

I'm going to start off this post by saying, of course, that I condemn and am horrified by the recent attacks in France. It's shameful and cruel that a couple of extremists are doing heinous crimes "in the name of Islam". I am a Muslim and I have to make it clear that their religion is not mine - I view my religion as a way of peace, of showing kindness and of making myself better (my STWW are inspired by my Islam) while they are abusing the name of Islam and using it to justify their sick and unjustifiable actions.

But I am also horrified by ignorant people who are looking at all Muslims as though it is our fault. Anyone in their right mind would condemn this brutal attack, why is it that Muslims have to specifically condemn it and apologize for it? Two mentally unstable individuals do not represent the thoughts, minds and actions of billions of people around the world. I would never expect all American males to apologize when a few mentally ill American males choose to gun down kindergartners and high school students. In fact, I would be enraged if someone expected something of that sort. People are more than just their religion and generalizing everyone of that religion, based on extremists and terrorists, is shameful.

I'm grateful that I haven't personally faced this sort of discrimination but my aunt, who has been living in America for decades and wears the hijab (head-scarf), was yelled at and had a waterbottle thrown at her as she walked on the street. My old, kind aunt who tries to feed everyone who comes into her home and has a warm smile and generous heart.

To keep things light, I'm going to hand it over to Aziz Ansari who tweeted the ridiculousness of this generalization best:

Let's remember to stay kind to one another, to never generalize and to try to see the good in everyone. It's not about "Us versus Them", it's not about religion and it's not about money- it's about humanity. Peace and love to ALL.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Review: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

The red-brown isn't showing up as well as I hoped, unfortunately. But it's a gorgeous colour!
If you follow me on twitter (shameless plug: @SundayWardrobe), you would've recently seen me show some love to Sally Hansen for their Insta-Dri formula. As usual, I'm going to share my review based on a criteria: colour, formula/application, and longevity.

These are two of my favourite winter month colours (Cinna-Snap and Slick Slate). The first is a reddish-brown colour and the latter is a simple grey - both colours look different on the Sally Hansen site than when applied so I'll encourage you to check them out in store (mine were from Wal-Mart but any drugstore would have them). I love that they're bold while being neutral and I've had these bottles for a couple years and I consistently reach for them. There are also many colours in the range, perfect for any month/season.

My formula/application criteria refers to how easy it is to apply and how many coats are needed. It could be because they're dark colours but I find one coat is enough though I do two for good measure. I also LOVE (check it, capitalized and bolded) the brush. It's a wider, flat brush that makes for incredibly easy application and even distribution. *Update: this nail polish doesn't bubble up as it dries (a reader asked) and it does dry within the minute! Great for me as I have the habit of smudging my nail polish because I'm impatient to sit quietly as it dries*

The one complaint I have is longevity; I do find that these polishes chip after a couple days despite a top coat. It could be me as I've only found one formula that doesn't chip on me (I'll do a review of that polish soon). I would love it if these lasted longer as they are so wonderful. 

I will definitely be buying more of these polishes as I just can't get enough of that easy-application and one-coat colour! Have you ever tried out Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri? If so, what were your thoughts? What are your favourite nail polish brands?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Review: OMG NailStrips

Nail strips were unchartered territory for me; I've seen them, I've liked them but I never tried them because I've always been worried I wouldn't be able to apply them correctly and I'd mess it up. Then along came OMG NailStrips which opened my eyes to the wonderful world of nail strips!   
I chose the Geometric Nail Strips* ($7.99) and the Houndstooth Nail Polish Strips* ($7.99) because I preferred monochrome designs as I still wasn't sure how I'd wear it. Firstly, their service was prompt and the order came within a week or two. The company offers free shipping which is always a bonus in my eyes. Their packaging is also simple and effective with no fuss which I love - nothing screams wasteful like styrofoam, tissue paper, bubble wrap and cardboard all for something that couldn't possibly break in the mail! These nail strips aren't terribly expensive, most of them costing $7.99 and the company also offers foil strips for $4.99. There is a wide selection of patterns but, the safe, unadventurous person that I am, would love to see more "plain" strips - though there is definitely something for everyone there! 

There were clear instructions in the back of the packaging and, though they were simple, I got nervous at the thought of messing it up. I didn't - they were so easy to apply and shape to my nail and they looked great! 

I applied a topcoat to it as instructed and I'm happy to show how my nails looked after 7 days: 
While the cheap polish chipped my other nails (I reapplied it every other day), the OMG NailStrips had only a tiny couple chips which weren't noticeable. They claim to last 10 days and, if that's the result after 7, I'm confident their 10 day claim is not bogus. 

I feel like I'm late to jump on the nail strips bandwagon but I'm definitely in love now. It's perfect for vacations where you don't want to constantly worry about your manicure - you just apply the strip, add a topcoat and you're free and fabulous for 10 days. 

Have you tried any nail strips before? If so, what were your favourite brands? Comment below or tweet me @SundayWardrobe!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

STWW: Fitness - Tips for Sticking To It

I realize my STWW posts are generally about making others' lives and the environment better (while hopefully enhancing your life along the way) so I wanted to do a post just for you. Exercise is not just great for your health but for your mind and mood as well! I'm sure many of you have decided to get fit for the new year and I'm hoping these tips help.

I really, really, really hated working. Really.

But as I get older, I'm realizing that I can't just eat anything I want, not work out and be healthy. I'm in my twenties and fatty foods no longer melt off my body. I couldn't walk up the stairs and talk at the same time without panting (I bring shame to my family). So I finally decided to join a gym and I've been going twice or three times ever since. And guess what: I love it!
Shirt - Adidas, Pants - Costco, Headband - Target, Shoes - Adidas

So who better to give you tips that someone who hated working out?

1. Do something you'll enjoy. I cannot stress this enough: if you hate your workout, you will not stick to it. You have to do something you enjoy and make working out something you look forward to. I hate running. I hate how my ears and jaws get cold, I hate people watching me as a puff along and I'm pigeon-toed so the insides of my feet would get painfully sore. So I don't run - it's that simple. The easiest and most fun way to start working out is by joining a class. The gym I joined has great Zumba, yoga and kickboxing classes and so I do that!

2. Start slow. You don't have to go to the gym every single day - you're allowed to have rest days and cheat days and lazy days. I go twice, maybe three times a week. And it's okay because I used to go no times a week and even my comparably small effort is huge.

3. Don't be so hard on yourself. It's okay if you can't work out as fast as everyone else - go at your pace and gradually build yourself up every workout. I'm probably a lot younger but a lot slower than many of the women there but I try not to compare myself or bring myself down. I push myself just a little harder each week and it really does get easier over time.

4. Do what's convenient. When choosing gyms, I was tempted by a gym that was a twenty minute drive away because it was significantly cheaper than my current gym (a two minute drive). But my mom reminded me that I'm not a huge fan of the gym in general and if I had to make more of an effort to get there, I wouldn't get there at all. And looking back, this was entirely right and the extra $15 a month was worth it.

Hopefully these tips help you start and stick to a healthier lifestyle! Let me know what tips you have for gym-bunny-wannabes! 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Tips for Keeping Hydrated During Winter

A few of my favourite hydrating products.
The bane of my existence is how dry my skin, lips and hair get during winter. Dry skin, chapped lips and frizzy hair tells me that there's a 40% chance it's already snowing (just call me the Canadian Karen Smith).

In the hopes of dryness not being a problem for you too, Here are 3 tips for keeping hydrated during these cold months:

1. Moisturize. This sounds like common sense but it doesn't hurt to reiterate this point. Use heavy hand creams, intense moisturizers, hydrating body washes, deep-treatment conditioners; double down on every hydrating product you use for the next four months. The minutes of greasiness after initially applying the creams are worth not needing to scratch yourself, seeing dry patches and feeling tight for the rest of the day.

2. Use a humidifier while you sleep. This tip isn't so common sense. I used to save my humidifier for the nights I had a dry cough as it helps me sleep better. Recently I've started using it daily since I realized that it really helps my skin and lips too, not just my dry throat. Since the air is much drier during winter, I have to refill my humidifier every other day as a opposed to once a week during the summer, but it's worth it. I would recommend every house get one, if not for the cold dry months, for your poor dry throat.

3. Drink water. Another common sense one but it always is ignored. Water is probably the most effective way of beating dryness during winter. All the moisturizers in the world aren't half as great as a glass of water. I keep a Nalgene bottle (say no to plastic disposable bottles!) beside me at work and often end up drinking over 2 liters a day. I also keep a mug full on my bedside table and gulp some down before bed and soon as I wake. I would go so far as to say that there's no point doing anything else to hydrate your skin if you aren't going to drink water.

For my winter lip routine, check out this post! And my favourite hydrating hand products can be found hereLet me know if any of these tips work for your or if you have any tips to combat winter dryness!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

All About That Base

This was originally a guest post I'd written for The View Is Beautiful, a lovely blog on beauty and fashion.

When it comes to base products such as foundation, I have a criteria, common to many women, but only fulfilled by certain foundations. My criteria are questions such as:

  1. What type of coverage does it offer? I have hyperpigmentation so I’m always looking for full or buildable coverage.
  2. How long does it last? I wear foundation to work/school so I’m looking for something that will last all day
  3. Does it get greasy/feel cakey? I have combination oily skin that does have dry patches so I don’t like foundations that feel heavy or get greasy at the end of the day.
  4. Does it have a large range of colours? My skintone is the bane of my existence; matching a foundation to my skin is the most difficult part of shopping for a foundation so it’s a valuable criteria in my books.

This year was spent scouring for the perfect base product after learning that my previous favourite was an unethical purchase. I’ve narrowed it down to three products that I love enough to give a genuine recommendation.

My first and most recently purchased base product is a cult favourite and I can see why. The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer has amazing coverage, doesn’t make me greasy, doesn’t look cakey even over 3D blemishes (this makes acne sound like sci-fi), and lasts well. Although I was able to find my shade easily, there are only 10 to choose from which is a bit troublesome. I love this concealer and it’s the best one I’ve found so far (Make Up Forever does a great concealer but I can’t find the right shade… oh that pesky skin tone!) and will definitely be repurchased.

Next up is the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage Foundation in cream form. It ticks three of my four boxes - it is an almost-full coverage foundation (some of my darker spots still need concealer and this is not very buildable), it lasts very well throughout the day even without a primer and it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. It almost feels like a second skin which is perfect for those who want to wear foundation but hate the feeling of it. The only downside is the range of colours for the foundation is very minimal. I’m between shades so I just opted for the shade down. I find this to be the perfect foundation for long days as it is long lasting and doesn’t feel heavy while giving great coverage. Despite the colour range, I will definitely repurchase this product.

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide hits all four of my criteria which makes it my favourite foundation of all time. Firstly, the colour range is brilliant - I was able to find my exact shade without any problem (Suntan, if you’re curious). Though it is light to medium coverage, it’s easily buildable and without feeling heavy. By the end of the day, my combination oily skin is not much oilier than when the day started which is another plus. The only troublesome part of this foundation is that it’s messy - it needs to be shaken well to be activated and this causes the foundation to dribble out everywhere. I find that storing it upside down helps infinitely so be sure to do that (trust me on this, it’s a lifesaver). This has been my favourite foundation of 2014 and I don’t know if I’ll find any other that makes me quite as happy.

I hope you guys have found this all useful - one can never have too many foundation/concealer reviews. Any favourites that you think would meet my criteria?