Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Custom Order from eShakti

I don't wear a lot of dresses - it's hard for me to find non-sleeveless dresses that are knee-length or longer (my personal comfort zone). I often end up layering with sweaters/tights/leggings to get the coverage I want with off-the-rack dresses. When eShakti contacted me, offering to let me custom-design a dress from their website - I thought this would be a great opportunity to find a dress that I could wear on its own.

Different options offered by eShakti

After browsing the numerous dress styles on their website, I decided on the Victoria dress in Cream. The style reminded me of a J.Crew dress I had admired - and since this was made in cotton, it seemed perfect for summer.


I entered all my measurements on the order form, along with 2 custom modifications: added cap sleeves and below-the-knee length. Two weeks after placing my order, my dress arrived from eShakti's factory in India.

Worn with Old Navy Wedges (mine were from 2012, this year's version here)

Worn as a skirt:

Worn with Sam Edelman Gigi Sandals

PROS:
- Really good material and workmanship. The dress is made of a thick cotton that feels soft and stays smooth.
- Because it's based on my actual measurements, it fits me perfectly
- The flared silhouette is not my usual style - but I think I like it!

CONS:
- The dress comes with a sash that can be tied at the back or front. I wish there was a custom option to remove the sash because the dress already comes with elastic smocking in the back.
- Although I requested the longer-length dress, I'm not sure it suits my figure - I worry that it makes my legs look stumpy!

MY THOUGHTS:

Getting something custom tailored is a commitment. On one hand, you're getting something that will fit you perfectly. However, unlike off-the-rack clothes, you'll have no idea how the dress will suit you until it arrives on your doorstep.

If you're good at visualizing what you want, eShakti is definitely worth considering!

Have you ever had something custom tailored?

DISCLAIMER: The dress was sent to me by eShakti, but I am under no obligation to provide a favorable review.  As you can tell, I wrote my honest unbiased thoughts (as always!!!).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two OOTDs & a Reminder!

These past few days have been a blur of end-of-the-schoolyear activities for my kids...with all the volunteering and organizing, I haven't had much time to write a post - so I thought I'd quickly share two recent outfit-of-the-day pics:


Top: Forever21 Love 21 Embroidered Trim Button Up
Jeans: Garage



Cardigan: JoeFresh
Top: Old Navy (last year)
Necklace: Random Jewelry Stall
Jeans: Garage
Watch: Target

Every time I log in to my Google Reader, I get the reminder that it will close on July 1st!!! With less than a month to go, I wanted to remind all my Google followers to please click here to add me on Bloglovin. If you want to know how to import your Google reading list of Blogs over to Bloglovin - check out this helpful post on IFB.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cleaning Makeup Brushes using Olive Oil, Baby Shampoo & an Oven Glove!

When you have acne-prone skin like I do, washing your make-up brushes is especially important. I've recently discovered some tips that make the whole cleaning process faster and easier, so I thought I'd share them here!


Supplies:

- Olive Oil (I've decanted mine into a bottle with a dropper)
- Baby Shampoo (I transferred mine into a smaller bottle)
- Textured Silicone Oven Glove
- Brush Guard

Technique:

- Mix a couple drops of Olive Oil with Baby Shampoo on the glove
- Wet brushes and dip them in the Shampoo & Oil mixture
- Swirl each brush through the glove ridges to work the cleanser into the bristles
- Rinse under running water, using the ridges to remove all traces of soap
- Add more Shampoo to the glove (no oil needed this time).
- Swirl each brush in the cleanser & glove ridges to remove all traces of make-up from the bristles
- Rinse and repeat if necessary
- Squeeze the water out and slip on a Brush Guard
- Stand the brushes upside down to dry



  • I've been using the Baby Shampoo & Oil Mixture on my brushes for several years now. The baby shampoo is delicate enough to use on all brush types including natural fiber ones. The oil conditions the bristles while lifting off all make-up residue - it is definitely stronger than using Soap/Shampoo by itself. It is especially helpful in removing makeup residue from white bristles.
  • The Brush Guard has been a staple for me since 2010 - it lets you dry brushes upside down so that water doesn't build up in the ferrule and loosen the bristles over time. It also reshapes the bristles so that your brushes look new after every wash.
  • Before I purchased my glove, I used to clean each brush in the palm of my hand - this was very drying on my skin! The textured glove protects your hand while making it easier and faster to clean all your brushes - and the non-absorbent surface means that you end up using less brush cleanser!

The silicone glove technique is something I learned from Makeup Savvy (read her post here). She discovered that an oven glove was a MUCH more affordable alternative to the Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove ($35). My glove cost $4 on clearance at Winners - SUCH a bargain! The Sigma version has different textures for different purposes (i.e. Rinse, Refine & Wash) but the ridged surface of the oven glove is sufficient to achieve the same level of cleanliness.

For a demonstration on how to clean your brushes using a silicone glove - watch Tiffany D's video here. She uses the Sigma Glove but you can follow the same technique with your oven glove!

I love learning new techniques from blogs and Youtube. Hope you liked this post and found it helpful!

How do you clean your makeup brushes?

Monday, June 10, 2013

What is the difference between MoroccanOil, Macadamia Healing Oil & L'Oreal Eversleek Precious Oil Treatment?

My hair is the longest it has ever been - and this is COMPLETELY down to three staple products:

1) Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque to deep condition twice a week
2) Tangle Teezer to easily comb through my hair (no more knotted clumps at the base of my neck!)
3) Moroccanoil Hair Serum to help detangle my hair and keep it healthy, shiny & glossy.

These products work together to keep my hair manageable and tangle-free...so I don't end up cutting it all off out of frustration!


Although I'm loyal to my tried-and-tested Moroccanoil, I thought it would be interesting to test out two other popular hair serums: (Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment & L'Oreal Eversleek Precious Oil Treatment) and see how they compare.

My hair type: fine strands; highlighted; tangles easily. Rarely heat-style: 1-2 times a month at most.

What is the difference between MoroccanOil, Macadamia Healing Oil & L'Oreal Eversleek Precious Oil Treatment?
MoroccanOil, Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment & L'Oreal Eversleek Precious Oil Treatment


 When I use hair serum: 

- On wet hair after I shower to detangle
- On dry hair in the morning to add shine & gloss to my hair and make it look healthy

 Application technique:

- Pump dime-sized amount on to hand, rub together and apply to the length of hair (below the ears - never near the scalp & roots).
- Divide hair into 2 sections and finger comb through hair, massaging until oil is completely absorbed.
- Reapply as necessary. It's better to apply in tiny amounts to prevent greasy strands!

On My Hair:

What is the difference between MoroccanOil, Macadamia Healing Oil & L'Oreal Eversleek Precious Oil Treatment?

These pictures were taken over the course of a week - funny how my hair looks different in each set of pictures! I didn't use any filters -  the color variation is due to changes in lighting - i.e. how cloudy or bright it was outside!

Comparison chart:

What is the difference between MoroccanOil, Macadamia Healing Oil & L'Oreal Eversleek Precious Oil Treatment?


General Thoughts:

All these 3 serums contain silicones in them along with natural oils. While some people try to avoid using silicone-based products - I've found that the pure hair oils I've tested are not as weightless, tangle-free or easily absorbed.

As much as I love the Deep Repair masque from the Macadamia Healing Oil brand, their Oil treatment was a complete miss for me! It didn't detangle my hair or add shine to it...on the plus side, it did make it feel softer. I'm not sure why this product is so popular - perhaps it works better on other hair textures? Or maybe it works differently on heat-styled hair? (I usually air-dry mine).

My heart is still with MoroccanOil, but L'Oreal Eversleek is a great alternative, especially for the price point. The main difference I found between the two is that the MoroccanOil leaves hair slightly glossier, and keeps it tangle-free for longer.


Do you use an argan oil hair treatment? Which one is your favorite?

Disclaimer: I purchased the Moroccanoil myself, the Macadamia Oil came in a Glossybox and the Eversleek Precious Oil was sent to me by L'Oreal. As always - when I review a free item, I consider it as if I paid the retail price...and evaluate it objectively. Gifted or not, I blog to share my true feelings and help my readers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Go-to Recipes & Monthly Must-Reads

Question of the month from Kristen: "What's your go-to recipe? Drink, dinner, dessert, whatever..."

I love this question for two reasons: Firstly - I'm all about sharing recipes that I love (check out my "food" tab on the menu bar).  Secondly - I can't wait to read all the other responses to this question - I've already added Kristen's "one-trick-pony" salmon to next week's menu plan!

DRINK: Mango Lassi (my recipe)


In a blender mix: 6 TB Kesar Mango Pulp, 2 tsp sugar, 1 TB plain yoghurt, 2 ice cubes & 1 cup milk. Can add more sugar or yoghurt according to taste. Kesar Mango pulp is produced by many different brands and is the secret to Indian-restaurant-style Mango Lassi!





I usually make this dish when we have people over - it's easy to cook, only uses a few (fresh) ingredients and ALWAYS tastes delicious! Previously posted about here.



Simple recipe resulting in fresh tasting cupcakes - I made this batch on the twins' birthday for their classmates - and their teachers told me how they couldn't resist the home-made flavor! One tip - don't be tempted to simplify the recipe by omitting self-raising flour and only using all-purpose flour...I did that once and ended up with very dense cupcakes!


What's your go-to recipe? PLEASE share - I LOVE tried & tested recipes!



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