beauty · Makeup

e.l.f. cosmetics beauty haul!Β 

I’m back in the States! I’ve actually been back for a few weeks, crazy wedding events every weekend! Will fill everyone in on that in a later post.

Anyways, since I’m back home, that means it’s time to stock up on products that I can’t find in Dubai. Especially my drugstore makeup and beauty products. 

e.l.f. cosmetics has been one of my favorites. It’s inexpensive, has a broad range of products, and has recently added many new things to their collection, and improved formulas. So naturally, I had to go and stock up on a few of my faves.

I had to go pick up some brushes that disappeared or finished. I got the highlighting brush and fan brush. The e.l.f. ones are so soft and perfect for picking up the right amount of product. And at $3, you can’t beat that. 

I also got the 10 color eyeshadow palette in the shade “Nude Rose Gold”. It’s the great little palette, easy to travel with, muted nudes and brown shades and some rosy shimmer shades. It’s easy, it’s convenient, it’s pigmented, it’s $10. I’m sold. I think I’m going to have to go back for the Mad for Matte palette as well. Can never have enough palettes! 

Also picked up another of my favorite powders, the HD Powder in Sheer. It’s white, finely milled, perfect for baking and setting, and doesn’t have flashback. Also comes with those cute little poofs for smacking your face with powder in a really frilly, pink powder room 😜

Speaking of baking, I like to use a sponge. I usually gravitate towards my real techiniques sponge for setting under my eye. But I really liked the feel and softness of the e.l.f. sponge, so I decided to buy it. It also comes in 4 different colors, so I got the teal one. It feels nice for blending and I’m sure I can use the rounded side for baking and setting powders. 

Also decided to pick up a primer spray. It’s from their new aqua beauty collection of skincare products. The woman who worked there said it’s great before and after makeup application. Really hoping it works out well, because I would love to buy a few more $8 face sprays. 

So my total came to over $30, and they had a promotion for a free gift with a $30 or more purchase. It came in a cute pouch with newer products I have yet to try. It’s from their “beautifully bare” collection, and they look quite promising. 


I’m quite excited to try the natural glow face palette because you doesn’t love a palette with some nice highlight and contour???

anywhooooo, i must go now. will definitely come with an update later on and review some of the newer products I bought! 

love always, lala.

lifestyle · travel

Miramar Al Aqah- weekend getaway to Fujairah!

My husband and I love a good weekend trip. Love the long drive (ok, two hours isn’t that long, but it’s still enjoyable), the scenic views of the desert and mountains of the UAE. We tend to go away every two months or so for a weekend somewhere. The best part of living in the UAE has to be the fact that the different Emirates have such beautiful (and reasonably priced!) resorts just an hour and a half away from Dubai. We love heading to Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, and have stayed at a few resorts there.

But this past weekend, we went to Fujairah and stayed at the beautiful Miramar AL Aqah Beach Resort. 


We found a groupon for it, which included a one night stay, with suhoor and iftar (since it is Ramadan right now.) We headed out around 12 AM from Dubai, and reached around 230 PM. We really weren’t expecting it to be too busy, but it was a FULL HOUSE. Regardless, check in was a breeze and we headed to our room right away. Since it was fully booked, the rooms with the King bed were completely booked and we got the room with two full beds that were joined together, so it really wasn’t a big deal. The room was clean and neat, spacious, bathroom was modern and had a waterfall shower head (i am a sucker for a waterfall shower!), and the balcony was quite large with a table and chairs.

We stayed in during the day, since we were fasting and it was quite hot that day, around 44*C/111*F. We hung out, watched some TV,  and then decided to check out the resort. It has its own private beach, a giant pool, jacuzzi area, lounge chairs everywhere to hang out, and an area to do sign up and do some water sports and activities! It had quite a lot of options for keeping yourself busy during the day. After roaming around, we had about an hour until iftar time, so we headed back to our room to get ready and head to the restaurant.

The dinner menu was crazy, there were so many fantastic options, with an Arabic menu. There was salads and veggies and fruits, plenty of bread and sauce options. There was a grill of Iranian shish tawook and kabab, and a shawarma station, which was exciting because I love shawarma! The other dishes were plentiful and delicious, and the dessert options were even better. Let’s just say I might have eating alllll the cream puffs… Overall, we ate to our hearts content and left feeling very satisfied. 

I took pictures of the dessert over the actual dinner and food…..

Afterwards, we headed down to the beach to take a walk and sit at the Bahari Club on the beach and enjoyed some sheesha and relaxed. And enjoyed the views of the pool all still and calm and lit up.

When we returned to our room, we hung out, watched some movies and then ordered our suhoor around 2:00 am. They delivered it right away. It was from a prefixed menu, of omelettes, fresh fruit, labneh, yogurt, dates, fresh orange juice, bread basket, and other little items. It was a lot for two people, use they delivered each option per person, so we were STUFFED. It was such a great suhoor menu.

Honestly, we had such a wonderful stay. We’re thinking of returning in the cooler months, like October, and it’ll be less packed with tourists and not as scorching hot. Definitely would recommend to check this place out for a vacation or a quick weekend trip!

thoughts

Is it okay?

Is it okay to feel sad all the time- even if you have someone who loves you? even if you have every reason to feel happy? I have been haunted by this great feeling of sadness the past few months. My brain won’t shut off the crazy thoughts. I overthink everything, I doubt myself, I doubt when I feel happy. I wonder why people like me, why they don’t like me. I worry over nothing.

Everyone thinks I’m happy. I tell them I am. I tell myself I’m happy.

Yet, deep down I know I’m not happy.

I’m lonely. I’m sad. I want to cry all the time. I don’t know why.

I have a great husband. He loves me so much. He does everything to make me happy. He comforts me and spends time with me, and buys me ice cream whenever I want (major plus). Yet, I still feel sad. This sadness has nothing to do with him, it’s just that I don’t feel happy with myself. Am I good enough for him to be with? Am I pretty enough? Do I take care of him well enough? Why is he with me?

When I go out, I wonder- is everyone wondering why this girl is always sitting by herself? Always on her phone? Never smiling? I want friends here in Dubai, but it feels impossible to make friends and start over. I’ve gotten more social anxiety. It takes everything I have in me to get up and get ready for the day. Sometimes I don’t even bother getting out of bed until mid day.

Living overseas and away from my home, I obviously get homesick for New York. I love Dubai, and all that the city has to offer me. But I always miss my friends and the good times we had, always up to no good and our shenanigans. I see them when I go home once a year (obviously impossible to travel back and forth constantly from Dubai to New York.) I wonder if they feel happy that I’m not there? Do they even miss me? Do they think about me? We can’t communicate constantly because of the time difference, and I always end up withdrawing from conversations, because I feel like since I’m not there, I’m not wanted in the conversation. I have nothing to say anymore. I don’t share much, because I feel like I’m bothering everyone. Why do I feel like this?

I get sick from these thoughts. I feel like I’m dying on the inside. I don’t want that feeling. I want to feel happy. I want the bad thoughts to go away.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

I don’t know what I want, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know.

Is that okay?

love always, lala.

food · lifestyle

friends avenue cafe

you know when you come across a really nice coffee shop? one that makes you feel welcome, has a really nice environment, where you can easily relax, read a book, do some work, chat with friends, or just chill by yourself?

no, you don’t know of any?

well, let me tell you about one.

it’s called friends avenue cafe.

this cafe rocks, and for many reasons. it’s got a really laid back vibe to it. it’s designed as a really cute, hipster-y coffee shop, so you get to enjoy the food and hang in a really cool place. it’s got hanging lights, planters on the wall, cozy chairs and open space, natural light, the aroma of coffee in the air, and a foosball table! i love coming in here for a cup of coffee, book in hand, and spending an hour just having some me time.

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besides the interior and the looks being awesome, the staff is also a group of wonderful people. they make you feel welcome, they love their job, and interacting with coffee and food lovers from all over. their first location is in jlt and they recently opened their second location in motor city, which is a prime area with people popping in and out of The Ribbon and weekends full of brunchers.

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now lets talk about food. and coffee. omg i love their flat whites. i could drink three cups in a row, but i’d be bouncing off the walls. and their latte art is so cute. i’m also a big iced latte person, so those are great for on the go.

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they have quite the talented staff. their food has great presentation to it as well, and the taste is great. they have a pretty decent menu, with options for all. coffees, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, everything. i am a big fan of their breakfast options. it’s decent sized portions, well plated, and of course- delicious!

i would really suggest that you grab a friend (or if you’re like me, grab a book!), and head over there, get a cup of delicious coffee, and enjoy the good times.

love always, lala.

beauty · lifestyle · Makeup

going to the dark side- essentials salon

I have had blonde in my hair since I got engaged. That was July 2015. When I decided to get my hair done then, I said that it was time for change. I was getting married, I should I have a new look. At the time, my hair was grown out, it was my natural color after who knows how many years. Anyways, I decided to cut my hair a bit, add some blonde tones. I kept the blonde until my wedding, and after also. I mean, I love blonde hair, and it always looks good.

Now, I’ve been married for almost a year and a half, and I. Am. Sick. Of. Blonde.

It’s just such a hassle to maintain, and to make sure it doesn’t go brassy and orange. I had had enough. I did my research, and I finally found the salon I wanted to go to for the change. I have yet to do anything to my hair since I moved to Dubai, which was almost a year and a half ago. I was just waiting to go back home to New York and then do something to my hair. I find it hard to trust new hairdressers, especially because I had been going to the same one for 10 years. But I have events and weddings coming up, and I didn’t want to wait till the last minute.

After A LOT of research, I chose to go to Essentials Beauty Salon and Spa. I had heard good things about this place, and it was also reasonably priced. I called ahead for a consultation, where I met with Svetlana. We discussed whether I should I dye my hair dark, or tone the blonde to a nicer shade and slowly work it back to dark. I decided to tone it to a nice medium/dark brown shade, almost a mocha brown. It would cancel out all the gross blonde that was being stubborn and turning brassy.

The salon atmosphere is so nice, very comforting and relaxing. It’s set in a villa, and decorated in such a cute English style, with shades of pinks and blues, and pretty chandeliers and lace curtains. I was seen right away, and the process begun. It takes about a half hour for toner to set in your hair. So I had my hair washed, toned, and rinsed in under 45 minutes. After, Svetlana dried my hair so I could see how the color turned out.

And it came out to exactly how I wanted it! The blonde toned into the perfect chocolate brown shade of my dreams and blended in nicely with my roots, which are a dark brown/black.

Overall, the whole thing took about an hour, and I left a very happy customer, who will definitely be returning and recommending to everyone who ever asks for salon suggestions. Their rates are very reasonable too, compared to other higher end salons in Dubai, and this salon is categorized into the high end branch. I paid 165 dhs, and I was very pleased with the outcome.

love always, lala.

thoughts

5 things that make me happy.

I’ve been MIA for so long, and that’s because I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been down lately, and nothing seems to make me motivated to get out of bed or get on with my day. My anxiety and depression get the best of me, even when I have no reason to be feeling this way. My brain and I are currently at war with each other. Some battles I win, some I lose.

So, I thought I would share a few things that bring me happiness. Maybe it’ll bring help me.

  1. Freshly brewed cup of coffee. Nothing beats the smell of a hot cup of joe, the aroma in the air, the caffeine perking up my day even before I’ve drank it.
  2. Walking in the woods. I’m not much of an outdoorsy and nature person, but just taking a walk to clear your mind (especially in fall weather), it’s just so calming. It could be walking anywhere really.
  3. Reading. I can sit in one spot for hours on end, with a stack of books next to me. My dream is to have my own little reading nook in a future house, or own a coffee shop that has books lining the walls. It’s great to get lost in a different world, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.
  4. Ice cream. What can’t ice cream fix? Just give me my cookies’n’cream and I’ll be happier than ever.
  5. Friends and family. I love spending as much time as I can with my husband, because he can cheer me up and make me smile like a fool, even if I’m angry at the world, or the laundry machine, or over nothing. And when I’m back home in New York, I cherish every second I get with my friends and family, because it’s not that easy to travel constantly from Dubai to New York. I make a yearly trip for at least 4-5 weeks.

Basically, I just need to remind myself that I have every reason to feel happy and blessed, Alhamdulillah. God has given me a home, food to eat, a loving family. But sometimes, even I can’t control how I feel.

love always, lala.

Makeup

motd- smokey purple eye

I love how purple looks for brown eyes and tan skin. It’s smokey and magical and it can just make your makeup stand out. I love doing this on random days when I feel like making my eyes pop.

Brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade in the shade Dark Brown.
Face: On my face is my trusty Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Matte + Poreless in the shade 220.

Concealer: Under my eyes, I used the NYX HD concealer in the shade CW04.

Powder: Set it all with my NYX Mineral “set it and don’t fret it” powder in the color Translucent. I love this stuff. I use it to set my makeup and for baking on days I feel like it.

Cheeks: Bronzed and lightly contoured with my favorite, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, and blush was Milani Romantic Rose.

Highlight is Becca’s Champagne PopΒ (center shade) on my cheekbones and on my nose and Cupid’s bow.Β 

Eyes: On my eyes, I used The Anastasia Beverly Hills Self Made palette. I used the color SherbertΒ in my crease and ButteryΒ on my brow bone. All over the lid is Metallic Plum, such a gorgeous shade. Packed the tiniest amount of Pink Champagne on the center of the eyelid to brighten slightly, and Treasure in my inner corner.

NYC Liquid Liner and Kat Von D Trooper eyeliner for my wing. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara all over. 2 coats = BAM! instant eyelashes.

Lips is NYX Matte lipstick in the shade Honeymoon!Β 

I hope you like this look! Please comment or like if you do! Thanks.

love always, lala.