Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Quest For the PERFECT Travel Handbag

When it comes to the list of things I like to buy, shoes are obviously on top but I also like to throw my money at Zara in exchange for pretty handbags quiet often. I've spent a ton of money to purchase a certain of number of handbags that I do not need, and honestly every time I buy a handbag I feel like "yes this is the one" but it ends up being a fling of a couple of months until I get bored... kind of like how it is when it comes to the love life but that's a story for another day. I've been on the quest to find the perfect travel bag every since I started purchasing my own clothing (so a good amount of time). I can picture all the things that this ideal handbag needs to have, I can picture the way it looks, but I haven't been able to find it in real life (at least one within my budget). This handbag needs to be spacious enough for me to carry my laptop, makeup bag, a notebook, a book, headphones, keys, wallet, my glasses, and pretty much all the other random things that like to make their way into my handbags. It also needs to have a good number of compartments so that things don't end up a mess in there. It needs to zip up completely so that nothing falls out since I'm a clumsy person (not in that "hehe I'm so clumsy" cute girl kind of way, legit Jenga towers falling all around me clumsy). The final three things I also would like: a comfortable handle which won't dig into my shoulders while carrying my life around, a zipper pocket on the outside of the bag AND it must be sturdy enough to handle my abuse. All this while still being aesthetically pleasing so that I can take a cute Instagram picture with my luggage, IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK? I've been stalking asos, Zara, Forever 21, Stradivarius, Bershka, Mango, Aldo, and *insert whatever name store* for a long time, and I still haven't been able to find what I'm looking for. I've been using my black H&M tote for the past couple of years and it has been doing the job fine, but my buddy's getting old and I'm scared that I might kill it if I over stuff it. If you have any suggestions, or if you also face the same struggle as me, do let me know!

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Travel Diary: My Weekend In Windy Tripoli

A weekend getaway in Lebanon had been on my bucket list for quite sometime. After several failed attempts of making a little trip to Tyre or Amchit happen last summer with some friends, I concluded that such a trip would not be happening anytime soon. Little did I know that a couple of months after my failed summer master plan, I would be given the opportunity to have a fantastic getaway but to a city which I never thought I'd go to for such a purpose, Tripoli, or should I say "Tro-bles". When I received a phone call about this trip, I honestly laughed at the idea, "me? Tripoli? Why would I go to Tripoli?" was my initial thought, but boy was I wrong to judge the city in that way. Before I sound like a complete ignorant Beiruti, let me take a step back and explain my initial thought process. Before this weekend, I had been to Tripoli only on two occasions. The first was in 2009, when my cousin came from a visit from Los Angeles and my mother gave her a grand tour of the country. It was a very fun day trip filled with boat rides and yummy sweets, all-in-all a very "family friendly" outing. The second time I was in Tripoli, it wasn't even a proper visit, just a transit on my way to Aleppo by bus. Oh how times have changed. When people talk about Tripoli nowadays, at least the people that I run into, it's usually not in a nice way. It's almost always about shootings and fundamentalists, and never about the lovely seaside and all the interesting things the city has to offer. Thanks to the lovely people at the Via Mina Hotel, I got to see that the reality is far from the stigma associated with Lebanon's second largest city. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Barbie Has a New Body and I Love It!

Toys are usually not a topic I tend to cover on my blog, but after hearing this news I was inspired to write a couple of words on the subject. Barbie has finally released a new range of Barbie dolls that feature three new body types (petite, curvy, tall), seven new skin tones, and a variety of face shapes and hair colors. It's a big move for a company that has probably inspired a shit-ton of body image issues for girls around the world. 

Growing up, I owned many Barbie dolls and I LOVED playing with all of them. Especially my special edition Christmas Barbie and the Barbie that came with her own locker and backpack... I forgot her name. As a chubby bunny, I was always in awe of Barbie's body and thought that that's what I would look like when I grow up (even though no one around me really looked like that). I wanted blonde hair just like Barbie, and my cousin Talin (who preferred the brunette Teresa doll) would make fun of me for saying that out loud. As I grew older, I realized that it was an unattainable idealistic standard and that even if I really wanted to look like Barbie, I could never in fact look like her. I grew up at a time when the internet was just coming around, most kids did not get a mobile phone the second they learned how to read (or just breath). Magazines were filled with skinny models, but I never read them unless they had a poster of a band/singer I liked. Topics covered on kids shows were very relatable and "wholesome". Do you guys remember Lizzie McGuire and Boy Meets World? They were the best! I feel like times have drastically changed though in just a couple of years. Kids and tweens aren't as "innocent" as they used to be, which is a good and bad thing at the same time, but I want to focus on the bad part for a second. 

Being a kid (a term I'm going to use to refer to people under the age of 20) is hard, everything is confusing and you're insecure as fuck. Most of these insecurities come from messages a kid is exposed to throughout life from their surroundings and the media. When most of these messages keep saying the same thing, it's not far fetched for a kid to develop a certain mindset and think that he or she needs to be exactly like that message in order to be accepted and "normal". As you grow older the insecurities start to fade away, but some parts still linger and this honestly impairs your life. Who are these message makers to make you feel like shit? Who are they to say you're not pretty enough or skinny enough or tall enough or blonde enough? They're no one. They too are insecure idiots just like the rest of us, but they like to exploit insecurities for profit. Companies have been criticized for a while, Barbie and Mattel in specific, to stop manufacturing products that reaffirm insecurities. It's not acceptable for a 10-year-old to think about nose jobs and diets instead of school and fun! It's refreshing to see these companies finally adapt their products to represent a more diverse range of people in the world who have a diverse range of bodies that go beyond the stick-thin, big-boobed blondies. Could this be a marketing move by the company and not an actual step to show that "they care", possibly. That's business. The bottom line is making money for corporations and multinationals, there's nothing new there. Honestly though, who cares. Whatever their motives are, I'm happy that little girls can have Barbie dolls that look more like them. That they won't want to become blonde "just like Barbie" when they grow up. If they do want to become blonde, it would be because they just want to experiment with their hair color. Will this move by Barbie end eating disorders and stop all little girls from having any insecurities? Probably not, but it is a major move to help balance things out, and I really appreciate it. 

Thanks to an infinite amount of genetic combinations and evolution, we all come in a bunch of different shapes, sizes and colors. It's such an awesome thing! Why do so many of us spend most of our lives trying to change the things that make us, US? It's time to learn to be more accepting and to start redefining the crazy standards set on young and impressionable minds.  

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Best Beauty Products of 2015!

Since y'all loved my Best Beauty Products of 2014 last year, I have been looking forward to the end of the year to share my list for the year. I've tried a pretty long list of new products this year since I really took advantage of my trips to Dubai and the States to stock up on things that aren't available in Lebanon. Some of them were pretty awesome, and others... well, not so much. Today, we're going to go through the list of awesome items are stood out to me this year.

I've done a full review on this before which you can check out for more information, but long story short: if I could pick my ultimate beauty item for 2015 it would be this foundation. I just LOVE IT!

Concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind (light)

I CAN'T EVEN. I've tried my fair share of concealers in life and have never been completely satisfied with any of them. This is Photoshop in a bottle though. I love this so much that I bought FOUR back-ups because I was that scared I'd run out. 

Picked this up at the first time while I was in Dubai and fell in love with the product. The packaging is a little annoying, especially when you start using the product daily. I was half way through my first bronzer and I was worried that it would die soon so I asked a friend who was coming from abroad to get me a new one. Thankfully it arrived on time because my first one ended up breaking a couple of days after (I tried the whole fixing trick with alcohol, it sort of worked but it's not the same).

Mascara: Argan Black Oil mascara Jose Maran

I picked up a set of mini-mascaras while in LA this summer because who doesn't pick up a set of mini-mascaras while in Sephora? I picked up the set mainly for the Tarte Lights Camera Lashes and Lancome's Hypnose mascara, but I actually fell in love with the prettiest mascara in the box: Jose Maran's Argan Black Oil mascara. I didn't even know Jose Maran made mascara!

Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

We don't need to talk about my relationship with liquid eyeliner again, right? After trying out several drug-store options, I decided to take a dive off the deep end and invest in a high-end liquid liner. Kat Von D, you have restored my faith in liquid eyeliners. How did I ever live without your eye liner before? I don't know how or why, but this is so easy to apply that even I can do it. Second, it is super duper pigmented (even the tip that usually dries up after a couple of uses), and finally it's long lasting. I'm definitely repurchasing this as well when I find myself in a Sephora. 

Eyeshadow: LORAC Pro 2 Palette + Flormar Quad 

The biggest addition to my eye shadow palette collection since the Naked 1 is most probably the LORAC Pro 2 palette. For some reason, I never got around to doing a review or makeup look with it but I did mention that I use one of the shades for my eyebrows. The Flormar quad was a random purchase while in Yerevan, and I was blown away by the quality and pigmentation of these shadows. Not sure if they're available in Lebanon, but it's a very awesome brand (kind of like a Turkish Kiko)

Eyebrows: Maybelline Satin (Medium Brown)

While shopping with Maya at ABC one day, we both ended up picking up this brow product for some reason (in the same shade as well). It's the first proper eye brow pencil I've ever purchased and I was very impressed. I never thought anything would top my brow routine with the LORAC Pro 2 and an angled brush, but this Maybelline pencil has been all that I've been using for a good three months. 

Lipbalm: Kiehl's Lip Balm #1: Cranberry

I usually don't care about the lip balm that I use and just slap on whatever I find around the house. It's one of those things that I don't like to spend a lot of money on because I always tend to lose them. While waiting at the airport in New York, I found myself at the Kiehl's counter picking out products to try. This was one of them, and I've been using it almost every night since July. It has a Vaseline-like texture and tastes like sweet cranberries. 

Lipstick: MAC Ruby Woo + Kat Von D "Lolita"

These two were my most worn lipsticks this year, and for good reason. They're both GORGEOUS colors, and very long wearing. Ruby Woo is obviously a very popular classic red lipstick (that makes your teeth look SO white, it's magic), and Lolita is a 90's brown liquid lipstick that I would never ever have worn a couple of years ago, but can't get enough of at the present. 

Nail Polish: Essie "Pret A Surfer"+ "Licorice"+ China Glaze "Take A Hike"

My year in nail-polish can be summed up by these three polishes, the first two were my go-to for the first part of the year. I think I might have worn Pret-a-surfer for a good two months without getting bored. As for the China Glaze "Take A Hike", it came into my life later on in the year but I was BLOWN AWAY by the quality of the nailpolish. Super opaque, needs one coat, and lasts a reallyyy long time!

Hair care: It's a 10 Karatin Leave in Hair Conditioner
Everyone on YouTube has talked about this product at some point in time, so I had always been curious about it. When my parents were in the States, I asked my mom to get me a little sample. Once I started using it, I was in love. I have NEVER used anything like this that made my hair look and feel awesome. Sadly though, I finished up the mini bottle very quickly. Once I was in the states, I got the bigger bottle, and I went through that pretty quickly as well. It's a great product, but you use it up fast and it's a little on the pricey side. Either way, when I go back to the states this is on top of my shopping list. 

Brush: Elf Stippling Brush

I picked this brush up randomly while in Target and didn't have high expectations for it, I just thought that it was the perfect size to fit into my makeup bad so that I could use it on the go. After a couple of uses, it became my go-to brush to apply foundation. I never thought anything would replace my Real Techniques brushes, but this surely did for most of the year. It's my go-to for liquid foundations and concealer, although for thicker foundations I still like to start off with a buffing brush.

Honorable mentions: 

-Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
-Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
-Tarte's Light Camera Lashes Mascara

What were your favorite products of 2015?

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