Rituals of Happiness

Balance, inner harmony, healing and positivity: Keywords reflecting a philosophy that many are currently seeking in this rat race world we live in where consumerism is the main drive behind a seemingly unconscious existence. Where “success” is measured by the number of followers and likers we have on social media and the “good life” is merely an accumulation of more, bigger and better as compared to others.

These keywords happen to be some of the main ingredients in the Rituals brand product line as well, a brand that I had the pleasure of experiencing recently after meeting with and interviewing the man behind this concept, Raymond Cloosterman.

 

What really intrigued me was this very philosophy and the story telling aspect behind each collection, which is not merely a marketing tool but a true experience that you can only savor once you give it a try yourself.

As he explained, the idea to ‘Transform everyday routines into more meaningful moments’ lies at the heart of the RITUALS philosophy and forms the basis for each of its products.

stop, breathe, connect...

I loved the fact that the products are not made in the lab with a functional theme in mind ranging from dry to acne prone skin, but rather a wellness theme that you can connect to and choose from according to your emotional scale at the time. Giving that extra soul connection ingredient to everyday necessities just feels right as we all deserve to stop and enjoy the moment, the now, even when performing a simple task such as showering everyday.

Finding happiness in the smallest of things and transforming everyday routines into more meaningful moments lies at the heart of the brand philosophy.

 

So next time you need an uplift, savor the collection of the laughing Buddha. Been in Dubai for long? Focus on nourishing your Yin energy with The Ritual of Dao collection that helps you find inner peace and tranquility in your busy life. These are a few of the collections I got to sample and I can tell you one thing, they are pure luxury indulgence packed in a bottle – an affordable one I may add.

The first Rituals store in the Middle East is now open in MOE after the huge success the brand had across Europe for the past 10 years so now you can walk into the store yourself for a personal experience that will start a hand massage before contemplating which mood enhancer you would like to go for today. Please feel free to share your experience with me and remember we all need to stop, breathe and connect.

 

 

The complete guide to SK advanced set of brushes by Samer Khouzami

SK brushes

 

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time now, as I was struggling to figure out which brush does what when I first received the advanced set of SK brushes by Samer Khouzami. It does get overwhelming with 24 of them elegantly staring back at you in different shapes and sizes - and you definitely would want to know that you are using the right one for each application! So here you go - the complete guide of who's who in the world of SK brushes, reviewed by number and approved by the artist himself - Samer Khouzami :) 

But first I would like to say that I absolutely love the elegant design and most importantly the perfect flawless finish they deliver - something we all look for in quality brushes but rarely experience so well!

Eyes

No. 11 - For concealer application and blending under eyes

No. 14 & 15 - For blending eye shadow

No. 29 - For applying eye shadow

No. 17 - For eye shadow dabbing or concealer

No. 21 - For inner lid eye shadow and under eyes eye shadow blending

No. 19 - For blending gel eyeliner smoke out

No. 24 - For eyeliner application

No. 20 - Angled eyeliner brush, can be used for eyebrow too

No. 18 - Concealer brush can be used for highlighter too

No. 39 - For cleaning under eyes eye shadow + highlighter

 

Face

No. 37 - For blending cream contour brush

No. 33 & 34 - Buffing brushes to apply foundation and blend it

No. 12-  For creamy blusher blending

No. 13- For powder blush application and blending

No. 10 - For contour blending

No. 31 & 32- For pressed powder or loose powder

No. 38 - Classic foundation brush to apply base and primer

No. 35 & 36 - Foundation brush

No. 14 - To apply contour on nose

No. 22 - Lip brush

Happy blending everyone, please do share with me your experience with the brushes if you tried them yourself!

xxx

A canvas of white and blue

Cropped top #romwe Denim ripped shorts  #Thailandstreetmarket Soles #Birkenstock Beach bag #newlook

Cropped top #romwe Denim ripped shorts  #Thailandstreetmarket Soles #Birkenstock Beach bag #newlook

Salt in the air, sand in my hair... planning an outfit is not on the agenda here. There's nothing more beautiful than the freedom to just be. The endless blue and white making up this land of the sun Gods is an inspiration for many. Island dressing is all about less is more and that doesn't only go for the shorts and cropped tops, it applies to colours as well which are always a reflection of your state of mind and your surroundings. Nothing makes me calmer than being at sea. 

outfit inspiration anyone?

beachaccessories.jpg

One of the joys of being in this island is the random shopping finds you land when you're least looking. Love this rope anchor which I styled into a bracelet. I always make sure to add an element to my arm candy from each new place I visit ( Ofcourse I ended up buying a lot more accessories by the end of this post). #wristcandy  

 

playsuit #Asos Belt #mango Soles #forever21 Bag #marcbymarcjacobs

playsuit #Asos Belt #mango Soles #forever21 Bag #marcbymarcjacobs

All you need to pack for an island getaway is white, really. Nothing looks better against your tan and it's so easy to style. As for shoes, forget the high heels and leave your Louboutin's at home as you will be walking pavements all day long. 2 pairs in nude/metallic is all you need to mix and match with any outfit. And know that you will end up buying some gorgeous pairs of gladiators on the road so leave room for the way back.

 

I got these rose gold gladiators from Mykonos 2 years back and I still get stopped and asked about the brand. On this trip, I made sure to find the place again and ended up with 2 new pairs!

 

  These were designed to be wrapped around the ankle but I tried lacing up and loved the barely there Gladiator look with the leaves detail. Gold again, to go with everything - but much lighter than my old pair from the same place (pictured above).

 

These were designed to be wrapped around the ankle but I tried lacing up and loved the barely there Gladiator look with the leaves detail. Gold again, to go with everything - but much lighter than my old pair from the same place (pictured above).

IMG_5474.JPG

Mykonos, I love you. Till we meet again xxx 

 

 

Ready for some deep tanning? Let’s help choose your swimwear first!

With so many trends hitting the racks every summer, shopping for swimwear can be a hard chore. To make your life easier, we have listed some basic design styles to look for to help you land the style that flatters your figure the most. Oh and we got you covered all the way to your sunscreen!

Small bust with large bottom or wide hips

 

If you are heavier on the bottom and small on top, you can easily balance your proportions by going for a padded bra in a patterned design, such as an ethnic print in line with the seventies trend. The twist bandeau style is your best friend if you have a flat to small chest. As for colors, bright or light colors are your go to choice to make the area look visually larger- add embellishments, frills or ruffles on top and you’re almost full busted!

Halter styles will enhance a small bust, it's also big on the Seventies trend right now, which makes it an ideal buy. The old faithful triangle style is suited to almost everyone - showing off both what you do and don't have. 

Keep the bottom part quiet by going for a darker solid color with no accessories. Stay away from straps and any design detail that will draw attention to your bottom. A full cover bottom is not always an ideal choice as it may make you look bigger. Look for semi coverage on the back but don’t take all the way to Brazilian bottoms. 

Bigger on top and smaller at the bottom

If you are heavier on top, keep the bra simple and clean, by choosing one that fits you perfectly in a darker solid color. Look for structured styles with hidden bust support for maximum hold.

Choose a bikini bottom with a fun print in a bold color, add frills or fringes if you’re the fun type. Another option is to go for horizontal stripes on the bottom to balance your top part. If you have short legs, stay away from boy short styles and loud colors and designs on the bottom. Take the attention away from your largest part by directing the eye elsewhere. Heart shape necklines, wrap styles and diagonal designs and prints will help to create softer lines around the bust and break up the volume a bit making you look slimmer all over.

#toastwoman #jets #laperla 

#toastwoman #jets #laperla 

Show off your curves in a Fifties silhouette - high-waisted bottoms and a retro bikini top will fit the bill perfectly. A high-waist will also help to hide any insecurities you may have with your stomach. 

 

#soutbeach #jets #plumerias #beach #coverup

#soutbeach #jets #plumerias #beach #coverup

Next, think of the cover-up style that you would like to go for. You can choose from the vast kimono trend to see through tunics. Get one in a neutral color if your swimsuit is already loud or a statement color and design if your swimsuit is basic.

Some accessories add an individual style, but don’t over clutter. Your sunglasses should do the work, an anklet or a dainty necklace if you want to but nothing more. 

Your flip-flops or sandals should coordinate with the style you’re wearing as well. Keep it sweet and simple for the beach. Nude colors will elongate your legs. Platforms may work if they’re not too high. High heels will not, they only look funny and out of place – like in an X-rated movie.

 

#beachmakeup

#beachmakeup

Beach Makeup is not an option as even waterproof will eventually smudge and go greasy. A lip stain can do. Believe it or not, men are not attracted to a contoured made up look by the pool. That goes for any glitter or shimmer on your body as well. Protect your hair with UV hair oils and a stylish hat. Wetting it before hitting the pool or the sea will save it from extra damage, as the strands will absorb less chlorine or salt when wet.

Last, your sunscreen should be your base, as you should never step out of the house without wearing it first and reapplying after swimming or showering. Try a tinted option matching your skin color if you are big on coverage, it works better than chalk white too. Finally, carry yourself in confidence -life is a beach, own it!

 

BREAST CANCER. But first, let's take a selfie!

breast cancer
breast cancer

What is breast cancer doing on a style and fashion blog page at 4:00 am? Well, it just got me out of bed, as I needed to get the words out of my head and put them on e-paper, in hope that I will get some sleep afterwards. I have been away from my blog for some time as I was busy carrying and having my baby and I didn’t really get the urge to come back and write until now.

Why now? Cancer is certainly not a fashionable topic. On the contrary, it’s kind of a taboo that we think would go away if we don’t talk/learn about it. Actually I’ve been meaning to write a post on the madness of fashion weeks going on now and give you the low down of what’s hot but I still didn’t get to that. I will share the latest trends soon - that can wait. I think this is more important and trending in my head right now.

So I was invited today to a very fashionable afternoon tea organised by Hia magazine and Estee Lauder in support of the breast cancer awareness campaign. As I listened to the speaker share her experience and story, I suddenly felt so small. You know that feeling that hits you when you step out of your body for seconds and look around you wondering what am I doing in my life? As in the bigger picture? Ok, maybe you don’t – but I can tell you it’s a feeling that drives you out of bed to write about it. As I listened to her talk about the increasing rate of breast cancer in the region, the lower age group of the women being hit by it (20s to start with) and the lack of funds/action to support medical research, I also noticed many guests taking selfies and religiously repeating that angled strike to land the best pose/pout worthy of sharing with the world (that’s another topic to be discussed in a one off post – we are all guilty of #selfies). So it made me think. What exactly is going on with us humans? When did we become mere spectators interested in nothing/no one but us? Maybe we don’t really give the cancer topic much attention because it didn’t happen to us…yet. We surely sympathise with it, but as long as it’s a story – life goes on in selfie mode. I think they call it selfie for a reason. It’s all about one’s self. You don’t even stop to ask someone to take a pic of you – you do it yourself because you need to document to the world/or yourself that in that specific moment you were somewhere doing something wearing some brand. Ok I said selfies will get another post – so let’s get back to cancer here. I come back home to hear that a friend of a friend just passed away from cancer. So it hit me, how much I personally hate that disease that has no available explanation or cure till this date.

Then I wondered how would it feel like if you were the cancer patient or survivor? Would you still be taking selfies? I think you should (happy selfies that is). Because life should not stop. On the contrary, I’ve heard many stories of how people took over, transformed their lifestyles and really started living only when they knew they had cancer. It’s like being told you have an expiry date – being ordered to wake up and stop wasting your days by repeating the same empty cycle and start living. One of the latest and most touching stories being that of Sara El Khatib – who has sadly passed away recently only after showing the world what a brave and free soul she is.

I would like to hear some day soon that there is a cure. But for now, I would like to do something small myself to make someone else feel great about themselves. You know that awkward moment when you’re having a bad hair day and so you miss out on important events? Well, how about having a no hair day? I believe cancer takes a major toll on one’s self image and I would like to do my best to make that person feel beautiful again.

So if you know someone who knows someone who is a cancer survivor, please let them get in touch with me. And if you are a hairdresser/makeup artist or in the business of making other people feel great then I’d love to have your help organising this makeover and making it happen ( by the way, I already discreetly tagged you on instagram :)

I do hope that this can make a difference, no matter how small. And I’d love to think that we can make a positive campaign out of this. That’s all I could think of right now. And if you can spare a moment to learn more about breast cancer and how to detect it early then please visit the page BCAcampaign.com and help spread the word by tagging #BCAstrength

In the end, one day it could be me, you or your loved one.

@fashion: my first makeover experience on a TV show!

I have just finished working on a TV fashion makeover last week and I am so excited to share with you what goes into producing a TV show from the behind the scenes work to the final result that I personally loved! Hope you enjoy the process and don't forget to watch the video at the end of the post :) Here is Mounia, a gorgeous soul, who just didn't know - or as she put it - doesn't have the time - to reflect her beauty to the world! The picture of her on the left  is what she sent me from her office, before the makeover. My first impression was that she looked tired, old and frumpy! Getting to know her on a personal level I can tell you she is anything but that!

mounia before_after
mounia before_after

Mounia is a hard working 37 year old career woman with 2 gorgeous kids, who leaves to work at 6am in the morning and comes back home anywhere around 7pm. She often has after office work events to attend to and as she doesn't have the time to commute back home to change, I took that into consideration putting together the outfits below. Her days off on the weekend are spent with her kids and so practical comfort is key here.

Corporate business
Corporate business

Look no 1. Corporate. Structured Grey jacket on white trousers and blouse with statement accessories.

As Mounia is not a big fan of colours, I tried to take her away from the 50 shades of grey and neutrals she lives in to a lighter basic outfit to start with, all white - perfect for the summer - and showed her how to mix and match different jackets to turn it into corporate. The pop colours were added through accessories, shoes with interesting print and bold coloured bags.

Corporate business casual Etoile La boutique
Corporate business casual Etoile La boutique

Look no 2. Cream and gold jacket on same white trousers and blouse with statement accessories. Perfect for office too.

night look Etoile La boutique Ingie Paris
night look Etoile La boutique Ingie Paris

Look no 3. Leaving from office to business event, all she needs to do is change into this amazing statement coat from Ingie Paris, swap her work bag with a clutch,  and add a necklace!

Day to night
Day to night

Look no 4. Using the same jacket and shoes from look no 2, we created a new outfit with this amazing leather fitted dress from Jitrois. Again, all she needs to transform it into a business event night outfit is take jacket off and replace bag with a clutch!

day look casual Etoile La boutique
day look casual Etoile La boutique

Look no 5. As Mounia won't want to spend her weekends in anything close to corporate or heels, we chose this laid back casual outfit that could take her from lunch with the kids to the mall in style.

reveal look Etoile La boutique
reveal look Etoile La boutique

Mounia's wide smile, the final result of the quick one day makeover, is the best reward I can ask for. I personally don't believe in extreme TV makeovers and drastic changes to impress the audience. What I loved about this experience working with Rulan Al Omari and the team of experts,  is that we agreed that our goal is to bring out the best in Mounia by reflecting her true character : Fresh, young, successful  and a woman in total control!

Mounia's makeover included the work of beauty experts Jaques Hanna for the hair makeover, Samira Olfat for makeup tips and Dr Majd for that perfect smile.

Wardrobe from Etoile La Boutique.

Watch the full makeover in video here

How NOT to shop maternity fashion!

If there is one sad place you’d like to go to at the mall for a crisp dose of depression, it’s the maternity shops. Take one step in and you are drowned with horrible images of how you would look like wearing that frumpy tunic, hideous shirt or even worse - their idea of a dress. Horror images come to my mind looking at those endless rails that should come with a “not suitable for viewers with photo epilepsy “ warning! The only thing you can reach for in a maternity store is a much-needed basic classic pair of denim in a straight (or if you’re luck, skinny) leg with that wide elastic cotton waistband. Maybe some leggings with that same band too. A maternity bra/sports bra, maybe two. And this is where it ends. Literally.

Now to be fair some high street fashion stores’ maternity sections are more forgiving, as I have found a really cool pair of jeans trousers and shorts at H&M and Topshop and a very wide selection online at asos. But maybe I was lucky at the stores, because stepping back and looking at the whole section they have dedicated to “mama” fashion - you will think I don’t want to ever be a mama if mamas look anything like that!

Seriously, why does strict maternity fashion stores have to be so hideous and cheap looking? Ok, pregos do get bigger - mainly around the waist, i.e adorable baby bump and the bust. But that’s it; they don’t grow into a full rounded walking watermelon (I hope) for any designers to design a tent for them to hibernate under!

Ok enough b****ing about the so-called maternal fashion lack of taste or style. Let’s look at the bright side - there is one! It’s right there in your entire favourite, go to stores where you love shopping for your favorite brands and in your own wardrobe .  You can absolutely style that bump by doing a bit of adjustments in the size department, a bit of creativity in the layering department and by learning some amazing line and design visual illusion tricks - the secret holy grail is out!

 

Tops: Go one size bigger to fit that blossoming bump and bust. Bonus tip: As you will develop a round appearance on top, opt for non round necklines and designs, no scoop lines or crew- simple! Go for V necks, boat necks and off the shoulder that show some skin and break the balloon effect! You can even use your own, just layer over a longer cami or tube top worn under. Trick is to pull the tune top so it sits below your bust, allowing more length to cover that bump all the way to your hips. Have fun mixing and matching colors and prints!

Bottoms: Do not walk towards the button, zipper pants or skirts rails - they just won’t do, even in a bigger size. Instead hunt for low elastic waist pants or ones with wide cotton bands. You might be surprised that your regular size still fits if you pull the waist a bit lower. Once you’re mid way in pregnancy then go for a size bigger. Go for peg pants, pajamas style printed pants with an elastic waistband and plenty of legroom and tapered hemlines and sweatpants- all perfect for pregnancy and still so in. Pair with a nice t-shirt and blazer or a denim shirt.

 

As for skirts, cotton is your go to material - with or without a wide elastic waistband. As cotton is naturally stretchable (with a bit of lycra), you can position the waist of the skirt a bit above your natural waistline for a comfortable fit, or below. I still wear my S size cotton straight skirts, they just feel a bit tighter now but not uncomfortable. Again, you can always go a size bigger, important thing is the waist doesn’t pinch or else you’d end up taking it off in public - it does hurt and itch like hell when it’s tight! Go for skirts with asymmetric hemlines as they add interest and divert from the roundness!

 

 

Dresses: You all know that the empire waistline (the one that sits right below your bust) is best for pregnancy, so stock on those. But the usual stretch cotton dresses in maxi or midi work just as fine! They will show your silhouette more as they are body hugging, but in a sexy stylish way. And you can always add a blazer, denim jacket or shirt on top to break that spray on lycra effect. Get one LBD as it will be your savior when you get that next invite to a fancy dinner or event.

Scarves and accessories are THE ESSENTIALS when styling maternity outfits. They add interest, colour and individuality. Even though you might feel too lazy to bother with what goes with what at this stage, do keep some statement necklaces and scarves in bright and neutral colours at hand. You can thank me later.

I can’t promise you will still manage to pull off all your wardrobe items as it does get frustrating at times trying to find a suitable outfit for an important event with a wardrobe full of “am so tiny for your toes to fit in now” closet staring back at you. But with a bit of creativity mix and match you will find that dressing up is still fun and your bump is something to be stylishly proud of!

Image credit asos.com

 

 

 

Here glides the bride... Jimmy Choo bridal collection 2014

Walking down the red carpet? Do it with a Jimmy Choo.

Long recognised for red carpet glamour, the brand has now extended a foot into the bridal aisle - with a tempting wardrobe of beautiful styles from the traditional elegance of ivory satin courts to the Hollywood glamour of Swarovski crystal embellished pumps, strappy single-soled metallic sandals to more fashion-forward seasonal designs.

 

This season sees sparkling embellishment add a more directional edge to classic silhouettes with the pointy-toe pump encrusted with cut-crystal opulence, frosted with glittering micro-crystals. Strappy single-sole sandals also get a dusting of shimmer in molten metallic hues.

For the bride who likes to stay a little more classic, delicate lace panels  adds a touch of fairy tale romance to the platform sandal silhouette. A scattering of silver crystals gives texture to the intricate weaved detailing.

Jewellery moves to the foot with sparkling clusters of precious rhinestones on satin peep-toes  and round-toe  in varying heel heights.

For more dramatic gowns that demand towering heights, platform sandals and peep-toes come served in sumptuous satins, shimmering metallics, embracing hints of Art Deco style in , while single soles  do incandescent shimmer in glitter lame.

Summer and beach weddings can call for a chic flat and the SUTRI sandal in metallic silver or gold strikes the perfect balance of elegant design with practical comfort - they have you covered!

And if that variety in choice for brides isn't enough, check this out: Jimmy Choo offers the same full range of services to brides as it does for celebrities, including Champagne shopping days for bridal parties, shoe re-colouring - both before the ceremony to match the dress, and after the ceremony to ensure the newlywed can wear the special shoes again.

Wedding bells anyone?

Men! Red Carpet Chic Decoded!

The Red Carpet is a great place to learn but if you are too lazy to research or maybe too busy to do so, you might consider enjoying a glamorous red carpet coverage on TV or at least let us do it for you.  

The Golden Globe Awards 2014... Yes, it's this time of year already, and what better place to witness the masterpiece creations of all renowned designers, tailored to fit those million dollar celebrity bodies.

 

Despite the Fact that the ladies were stunning and studding, the guys decided to take a stand this year and captivate our interest as well.

 

Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Hemsworth and Usher were just a few of the fellas that did not want to go unnoticed!

WHAT HAVE WE ANALYSED?

1. Velvet...Velvet...VELV-IT!

Mathew McConaughey stepped up his style in an emerald green shade velvet jacket, while Chris Hemsworth owned it in a mid night blue velvet jacket. Gentlemen, show off your shoulders frame and step away from dull tuxedo jackets this winter, it's this time where you get the chance to be playful with your jackets....VELV-IT!

 

2. "Is this black?… I can't tell..." "NO! IT'S NOT BLACK AT ALL"

Despite the fact that black is a color that we are not even allowed to discuss when it comes to classics, this winter keep away from it!

This winter you have a much diverse selection around you, from daring textures to jaw dropping patterns, choose a suit that makes you stand out!

 

3. Oxblood, blues & 50 shades of grey!

This winter when picking a suit keep those three colors in mind. Opt to wear an oxblood color tuxedo, stray from the pack in blue suits of all degrees and shades --think bright blue all the way to navy blue--- and lastly remember that dull is not the grey color anymore, grey this winter can be matched with hmmmm...Grey. Combine several shades of grey for a modern twist of chic.

I'm more than happy to share with you these time saving tips, if you get stuck in working out those tips, do not hesitate to drop me a message at maya@ranasaab.com and I'll get back to you as quick as blink!

Contributed by Maya Sebai