Wednesday, 25 February 2015

STWW: Tips for Spending Less

It's rather ironic that I have a beauty blog that advises you to buy different products and I'm writing this post telling you to stop. But this is something I've been trying for a few months - there have been moments of weakness and lapses but, overall, I think I've been doing a pretty good job of spending less.

I would spend a lot of money on make up, food and clothes. I was addicted to online shopping (since I hate trying clothes on in-store) and it is the devil's work: shopping from the comfort of your bed is exactly what a lazy shopaholic like me needs. But my lack of savings forced me to rethink my spending habits and so here are a few tips that have helped me spend less:

1. Try to avoid malls (or don't bring your wallet): my biggest problem was that I'd go to malls with my mom "just to walk around" since it's too cold to do so outside. When I did this, I'd spend money on things I didn't need and clothes I wouldn't wear. I found that it was easy to not spend money when you literally couldn't.

2. Sleep on it: a new Forever21 opened up in our local mall and I went in a dropped quite a lot of several items. I went home and, feeling guilty about my purchases, I began to think, do I really need this? After a few nights, I realized I only needed (or really, really, really wanted) 2 out of 5 things I bought. So I went back and returned them. Having several days to mull over what you want is a good way to show that it's just a want, not a need. Before you buy something, take a couple days to think of if you really need it and you may realize that you don't.

3. Give yourself a time span: one way I began controlling my spending was setting myself a time span: I wouldn't spend money on unnecessary things for this month. After the month passed and I realized how much I'd saved, I would push it to another month. Gradually, I realized that I was capable of not spending and so, now, I don't find the need to.

4. Shop around: if you really need something (and time isn't a factor), shop around. You may find similar and cheaper products in other stores or even on Amazon and Ebay. Take your time to spend smart.

I hope these tips help you spend less and save more - it can be quite difficult but, ultimately, worth it.

Is spending less something that you'd want to try? Do you have any tips for spending less? Leave your comments down below!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Quick Day to Night Products

I've been having days where I run around at work and then have to rush straight to going out with friends. While the latter is enjoyable, I hate not being able to go home, shower and apply my make up  properly as it is a step I enjoy. After months of doing this, I've found 3 easy products that take me from day to night and take less than five minutes to apply.

The first is the Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in Oyster Glow; this silky smooth liner is perfect for adding some brightness to the inner corners of my eye. A step I usually do with eye shadow can be quickly done with this pencil for the same result. After I draw on the liner, I smudge it slightly with my fingers to make it seem as though I took the time to use an eye shadow instead.

The second product is probably of more use to all of you who wear just mascara to work and that's eyeliner. While this step takes more time, it definitely adds drama and dresses up any look. In a rush, I wouldn't faff around with a pot of gel liner and a brush and so I opt for my Sephora Collection Dramatic Line 24hr Felt Eyeliner. You can read here for a full review. A quick feline flick does wonders!

The third, easiest and common way to dress up is wear a dark lip. Dark lips are the perfect way to transform your look from work to play and I often reach out for my favourite lip products to achieve a plum-coloured pout. Even if you skip the previous two steps, this step alone is enough to get you from day to night.

What are your favourite day to night products? Anything that's quick and easy to use?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Faux Flowers

There's nothing quite like fresh flowers to make a house seem homely. Flowers have a knack of making everything seem prettier and brightening my day just by being there. Unfortunately, keeping your home filled with flowers is a costly habit and something a lot of students like myself cannot afford. Faux flowers are a great way to keep your rooms looking beautiful and your wallet happy.
I find that faux flowers range from looking plastic to looking quite real and a lot of it has to do with the price. The more expensive fake flowers look realistic and, while it hurts at first, it pays off to fork over the cash for a year-round bouquet. I got my peonies from Ikea and my hydrangeas from Home Sense and while they're not the most expensive or real-looking flowers, they work well enough. I keep my flowers simple and on their own as I'm not a fan of a huge arrangement. I find that a large arrangement, if not done well, has the tendency to make the flowers looking even more fake and so I stay clear from that.

I love faux flowers especially during winter when everything seems gloomy and flowers are nonexistent in nature. An easy and affordable way to brighten a room and your mood!

What's your favourite way to brighten your room?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

STWW: The "News"

Last week, three University of North Carolina students were murdered in their condo: Deah Barakat (23), Yusor Abu Salha (21) and Razan Abu Salha (19). Deah and Yusor were newly weds and dental students, only having been married six weeks prior. They often ran workshops that provided food and dental supplies to the homeless in Durham. Deah was raising money to visit Turkey and provide dental care to the Syrian Refugees - since his death, his online fundraiser has received over $400 000 in donations. These three, innocent people were shot in their condo a little after 5 pm on Tuesday, February 10th. 

When I heard about the shooting, so many emotions ran through me. I thought that it must have been a hate crime, how could it not? Three young Muslims, including two hijabis, shot execution-style in their own home. Then, why did I read both the American and Canadian versions of the Huffington Post and not have seen this story? Why did I only hear about it when I logged onto Twitter and saw my feed chock-full of shocked, horrified and enraged tweets?

Once I got over the initial shock, I was filled with hurt and anger. Hurt that when a "Muslim" gunman killed an RCMP officer in Ottawa, it was front page news for days. Hurt that when 12 journalists were cruelly massacred in Paris, there were marches of solidarity for the victims. Hurt that no one was Deah, Yusor or Razan but the world was Charlie.

Why is it that "Muslims" (and I use this term lightly because I don't consider people who kill innocent people to be part of the Islam I know) are only on the news when they're committing heinous attacks? Why isn't the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka on the news? Why wasn't this murder of three innocent souls, only 23, 21 and 19 years old, breaking news? They had only been reported on hours after their murders. I read the news multiple times a day and I hadn't seen a story on this till over 12 hours later.

I don't think any killing is more or less horrific than another. I don't think this story deserves more precedence than Charlie Hebdo, than the murders of Nathan Cirillo or Michael Brown, than the victims of ISIS. But I would think that word of a shooting would bring some attention, especially since these people were targeted for their religion. The media is still reporting this attack to be the result of a dispute over a parking space, not a hate crime - but who kills three young people over just a parking spot? Attacks by "Muslims" are so quick to be labelled as acts of terrorism and the religion is to blame while attacks by people belonging to any other religion (or none at all) are thought of as attacks by lone wolves, outliers, mentally ill individuals. Crimes in the name of religions and hate crimes are constantly highlighted in the media, why wasn't this? Don't all lives matter?

This STWW is to remind us all to be a little media savvy. This story hits close to home as I am a Muslim but it reminds me to check multiple news sources. Some of my favourites are Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, Vice, RT and Haaretz. Try to look for news sources that tend to report facts without clouding the meaning behind grammar and vocabulary (ex. using the word "died" rather than "killed" can lead to the assumption that the victim died of natural causes, rather than be a victim of murder), or present both sides of a story though articles and opinion pieces. It's important to be smart when it comes to the media to gain as much knowledge as you can, to know that the wool isn't being pulled over your eyes.

This story, like many others, make me wonder what is it that the "News" isn't reporting? What else is going on in the world that is being covered up or distorted by the media? What are we not being told?

What are your favourite news sources? Is there a story that affected you and that you feel hasn't gotten enough coverage? Post it here, I'd love to learn and read more! 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

I just can't get enough..

I've been using these for months and this is the one product I continuously repurchase time and time again. The Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner is creamy and long lasting. Their neutral shades are the perfect "your lips but better" colours and I use these pencils every single day. I use Enchantment underneath my Flower Lip Suede Lip Chubby (see review here) for the perfect bold pink and the liner helps the lipstick last much, much longer.  Epic has become my perfect nude, a brown colour that looks pink-brown on my lips. These liners lasts for hours and through drinks but starts to rub off slightly after eating. I find they work best under moisturizing lipsticks because they are slightly drying (emphasis on the word slightly - my lips don't feel dry but they don't feel moisturized either). The fact that you won't need to sharpen them is a bonus and I will probably be repurchasing this product for a good long while. 

Have you tried these lipliners? What did you think? What is the one product you continuously go back to? 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

STWW: Ways to Say I Love You

Relationships are hard work. You're taking two independent, individuals with different experiences, personalities and opinions and melding them together. There will be happy and sad times, laughter and fights but nothing that love, mutual respect and compromise can't fix. While I think Valentine's day is a great way to show people you love them, it's important to show love in anyway you can everyday. I read this great article which reminds me that love isn't a four letter word and it isn't always obvious; it's a collection of actions and questions and concerns. Here are my favourites:

1. Cut your partner some slack. We all forget things, lose things, or screw things up. Why rub it in?
2. Pay attention. As in full-on and undivided. Not every minute of every day, but show up when it counts.
3. Keep two feet in, especially when things are difficult. Commitment is about staying with your challenges long enough to make things better.
4. Receive and acknowledge your partner's acts of love. The happiest couples are those who notice and respond when their partner reaches out. A thanks or a smile is all that it takes.
5. Stop a fight in its tracks. One of the most loving things you can do is stay calm when your spouse is getting worked-up.
6. Hug back. Kiss back. Smile.
7. Your spouse wants to go back to graduate school, eat more fruits and vegetables, train for a marathon. Your response: that's great!
8. Be the first one to reach out after a fight. Don't think for a minute that the first person to give ground is admitting fault. Marriage isn't a game of chicken. It takes courage and kindness to yield.
9. Make your relationship a priority. Marriage doesn't stay sweet all on its own, year after year. Have a date night, a weekend getaway, keep work hours within bounds. And for goodness sake, when you're together, turn off your phone.
10.Think your spouse deserves a standing ovation? Tell someone how talented, smart, loving, gracious she is. How patient he is with the kids. How he makes the world's best pie crust. Make sure he overhears you.

I think these are great tips to apply to your relationship at any and all stages, not just when things are fresh and new. What are your favourite tips from the article? What are tips you've learnt from your relationships?

Monday, 9 February 2015

Valentine's Gifts for Him

With less than a week till Valentine's Day, you're down to the wire to get a gift for your special man. Happy Shopping! 

1. Burberry London Cufflinks - Harry Rosen
2. Faux Leather Carryall - ASOS
3. Bluegrass Floral Tie - The Tie Bar
4. Organic Espresso - Transcend
5. Polo Black - Ralph Lauren
6. The 4 Elements for Perfect Shave Starter Kit - The Art of Shaving
7. Vintage Brushed Chrome Zippo - Things Engraved
8. Jersey Boxes with Heart Print - ASOS

What have you gotten your boyfriend for Valentine's Day? Anything home/handmade?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Valentine's Gifts for Her

With Valentine's Day around the corner, it's time to formally show your girlfriend, boyfriend or yourself how much you love her/him/yourself! I think it's a great time to give more personal, luxurious gifts so I've comprised a list to help you out:

1. Jardin Smyth Sewn Journal - Rifle Paper Co.
2. Macarons - Nadege
3. Crystalline Stardust Pen - Swarovski
4. Angelic Pierced Earrings - Swarovski
5. Daisy Eau So Fresh Sorbet - Marc Jacobs
6. Tactic Thin Bangle - Swarovski
7. Creme Brûlée Honey Bath - Laura Mercier
8. Santiago Huckleberry Candle - Voluspa
9. Q&A A Day: Five Year Journal - Potter Style

What are you getting your significant other for Valentine's Day? What do you want your significant other to get you for Valentine's day? Any fun plans?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

STWW: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

For as long as I can remember, my grandpa has been eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning (or as he says, porridge). My parents have recently gotten into it too, realizing the benefits of the grain on the human body. Oatmeal, other than being a warm, delicious breakfast is great because:

1. It's a whole grain and a source of fiber: so it lowers your risk for many diseases such as type 2 diabetes (by stabilizing blood sugar levels) and high blood pressure. It also helps lower the risk hemorrhoids and provides relief for those suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

2. It's great for weight loss: being fibrous, it keeps you full longer so you don't end up snacking or eating soon after.
3. It lowers your cholesterol: oatmeal helps lower your LDL, or your bad cholesterol, and therefore reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes
4. It enhances your immune system: oats contain beta-glucan which enhances your immune system to respond to and eliminate bacterial infections.
*Information from: 1 / 2 / 3

We stay away from the flavoured pouches of oatmeal as they have a lot of sugar and are unhealthy. My mom makes a healthy mix of oatmeal, combining plain oats, ground almonds, raisins, a touch of brown sugar and cinnamon. I dislike cinnamon and so I've come up with a recipe that's less healthier but a lot tastier (but still healthy!).

1/2 c. Quick Oats
Almond Milk
Chocolate Chips
1 Banana
Put your oats in a bowl and cover with almond milk
Stir your oats so all of it is coated with milk
Heat up your oats in the microwave in 30 second intervals for 1.5 minutes, stirring in between. If you heat it all at once, it will explode!
You can add your chocolate chips while you heat it or all at the end, stirring them in to distribute the chocolate
Slice your banana and add on top!

I also make this for my little brother who loves it - adding chocolate to most things make for delicious food. I hope this inspires you to eat this healthy grain, dressing it up with anything from chocolate to fruits and nuts - get creative with your breakfast!

How do you eat your oatmeal? If you don't eat oatmeal, what food do you generally eat for breakfast?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

January Favourites

I'd say how astonished I am that we're already in the second month of 2015 but I know everyone and their mothers will be saying that in their favourites, so let's just dive in!

Tasseled Tartan Plaid Scarf ($12.90): This scarf, which is unfortunately sold out at Forever21, has been a staple in my wardrobe - it's so easy to throw on and makes a plain, solid-coloured outfit much more interesting. I love pairing it with darker colours, my favourites being an all-black outfit or a grey sweater with black jeans. I'm sure you could find this scarf anywhere as they're everywhere right now but I find that Forever21 has done an affordable and warm version of it.

Too Faced The Chocolate Bar Eye Palette* ($59): This is one of the best palettes I own and I can't get enough. The colours are great for doing both neutral and smokey eyes. They're pigmented, have no fall-out and have longevity like you wouldn't believe. I once wore these shadows for 10 hours and they looked as pristine at the end of the day as when I first applied them. I own a few popular shadow palettes but none come close to this.

Glysomed Hand Cream: It's embarrassing how much I talk about winter dryness and lotions but I couldn't resist adding this hand cream to my favourites. This bad boy keeps my hands soft through the cold days and even through washes - I can wash my hands three or four times before I find the need to reapply this cream!

St. Ives Swiss Formula Apricot Scrub Gentle: With my skin looking blah thanks to the lack of sun, I turn to this scrub to add a little brightness and make my skin feel soft and smooth. This scrub is gentle for my sensitive skin and I use it twice a week to get rid of any dead skin cells. It helps my skin absorb cream/oil better and I love how clean it makes me feel. 

Nars Blush in Oasis ($35): I absolutely adore Nars blushes. I currently have three on rotation but this has been a firm favourite for January (and December). It's a darker colour which I love for the evening and it is incredibly pigmented and lasts ages on my skin. I can go through a whole day to find my concealer rubbed off but this blush entirely intact.