August 26, 2012

Thieving Instead Of Cleaning

I'm just gonna write about this because it's bothering me and I can. Before we came back from the US my husband wanted us to come back to a nice clean apt so he had a woman come clean. The woman is someone who cleans for people we know very well and has for years so we assumed she was trust worthy.

She brought another woman with her to help get the job done. Unfortunately they didn't clean anything. Except the fridge because E asked they clean it out and take everything. The perfume bottles on my dresser showed some evidence of being dusted and the dishes were done but otherwise all I found was things moved out of their place, and well, a few missing items.

I'm now missing 2 expensive handbags and 2 pairs of these flip flops.

Can you believe it? I'm really not that angry about the items. Well, I wish I still had them, but it just makes me angry to know there were people in here, going through my stuff. I'm now wondering if there's other things missing that I didn't notice yet. I think some of the maids that do this kind of this kind of assume someone with several bags won't notice two missing or it won't make much of a difference to us. I guess you're not supposed to trust anyone. So annoyed, really.

August 24, 2012


I just made these to bring to a friend's house tomorrow. It's a girl party, so I went with pink! Just Betty Crocker mix and this frosting recipe.

August 23, 2012

Matchng Shoes and Bag?

You guys know I love handbags and shoes. Well, I have this weird thing where I think that my shoes need to match my bag. The thing is, I don't even want to be hung up on that. I'd like to mix and match but I can't seem to get past it, for the most part.

I mean if I'm wearing sneakers then I don 't care, but why can't I just let this stupid old fashioned idea go? I'm not the Queen of England. It makes sense for formal wear maybe, but for every day and even semi-dressy, I want to just be cool with rocking a pair of brown shoes with a beige bag, maybe? A multi colored bag would be good!

I have to say I cared less while in the US. People are more casual there. Here however, people dress to impress and I like that, but even so, the matchy matchy bag/shoe thing isn't a hard fast rule so I don't know where I get it.

Take this pair of nude shoes. I don't want to go and buy a patent nude bag right now. I mean, if I saw one that was amazing, yea but, that's neither here nor there.  What kind of bag or what color bag would you pair with these?

Do you match your shoes and bag? No, just me?  Seriously, I'm gonna stop though!

August 22, 2012

US Make Up Haul

I'm a huge make up fiend. While in the US I fell prey to the cosmetics sections and Sephora a very many times. I'm pretty happy with most of the items I got. A lot of them were on my wish list and not available in Egypt or overpriced here. Just to be clear, this was my first time in the US in 10 years! This is not a regular thing for me :)

Here's what I got, and some short reviews. I've put a pink asterisk* before my very favorites, 'cause this post is kinda long!

Ok, so lips and cheeks.

From the top left, Loreal's The Balm is really nice and sheer and smells great but in hindsight, I'd have gotten a different color but this mauvy one is not awful.

Revlon lipstick in Soft Nude, I love the color, but it definitely needs a full face of make up on me to look good.

Next, DuWop's Lip Venom. I love cinnamon so this is nice and doesn't burn on me like some reviews I've read, but I can't really say that it plumps lips. It's a nice, long lasting pink tinted gloss at best.

Lancome Juicy Tubes are nice and not too sticky.

Unforgettable Moments cheek and lip stick was found at Payless shoes. Nice as a blush, stays on nicely throughout the day, but no good for lips.

*Benefit Benetint is one of my all time favorite products. The last bottle I had lasted years. It lasts all day and looks so natural. Love it.

*Next to that, NYX blush, can't recall the color but if anyone is curious, I'll look. It's a nice matte dark peachy color. I don't like blush with shimmer so I was glad to find this.

*Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain is an interesting product. It's a thick pencil that goes on smooth like a balm but leaves a stain. A little goes a long way. The regular magic marker type stain, below that is good too. It has a chapstick type deal on the other end as well. This color is like my perfect natural color.

Sephora Lush Flush is a lot like Benetint but it's way cheaper but doesn't last as long as Benetint. It has a thicker consistency and a sponge tip applicator which is easier than Benetint though.

*The Vincent Longo double ended lip liner came to me in a Beauty Bar Sample Society box and it is incredibly long lasting. I like both colors so I lucked out.

Eyes: Pretty simple for me:

Most of the summer I used Maybelline Colossal Volum Express. It's comparable to Cover Girl's Lash Blast in my opinion. Thickens, very black and I always go for waterproof so yea, long lasting, no flakes.

Sephora Kohl liner is your basic black smudge-able liner. It's very soft going on and easy to use.

*Elf eyelash curler. This is great for just a buck and the removable/changeable pad is curved so it gives you a nice curl instead of a crimp.

Sephora Waterproof Eye Make up Remover is a must when you always use waterproof mascara. This stuff dissolves it quickly and easily, like most similar products.

*DiorShow Iconic Waterproof Mascara is THE best mascara ever created on earth in the history of mascara. Enough said.
Face, from the top, left:

Benefit set, Realness of Concealness, Comes with mini's of Lip Plump, High Beam, Ooh La La, Lemon Aid and Boing. I like Lemon Aid to counteract blue tones in under eye circles and High Beam is a great highlighter. The rest, I can take or leave. I'm such a sucker for Benefit for some reason though.

To the right of that is a mini of Benefit's Hulu Bronzer. I'm not a big bronzer person but it's ok occasionally. I like Hulu because it's shimmer free which is super hard to find in a bronzer.

*Make Up Forever HD powder is a translucent finishing powder. It keeps away shine and makes my make up stay put. Just don't take flash photo's with it on or you'll look like another kind of fiend.

*Bare Minerals Powder Foundation. I really love this stuff. It gives a nice glowy finish, and looks very natural. It's effortless to apply and a tiny bit does the job.

*Lancome Teint Idole Ultra. This foundation is super long lasting and stays put even on the hottest most humid days. Days I swore my face must have melted of hours ago, I'd catch a look in a mirror and be pleasantly surprised that while it was dewy-er looking, my foundation was still there. This along with Revlon Color Stay are my favorite liquid foundations.

Garnier BB cream. Meh. Not worth all the hype. It's pretty much a tinted moisturizer. Not very much coverage but ok for days that you just want a light face.

*Tarte Primers. This mini set of primers was a great way to try these out. They're all great but  I found that the Poreless one is wonderful. This makes my skin look better and my make up never budge. Good stuff!

Benefit Some Kind Of Gorgeous cream foundation. This surprised me. It actually gives good coverage and it's easy to apply. Not as long lasting as I like but a pretty good foundation over all.

Benefit Dr. Feelgood is a good mattifier for touch ups but I prefer blotting papers or films. It does leave a nice velvety finish though.

Elf Shine Eraser Oil Blotting sheets. These are ok for a buck, you can't complain. Your basic rice paper oil absorbing sheets.

*Sephora Matte Blotting Films are the real deal. These syntheic sheets absorb better than paper and leave a nice matte finish.

Loreal Magic Lumi concealer is supposed to be a dupe of YSL Touch Eclat but I don't love it. It's ok but creases on me so not a fan.

*Garnier Skin Renew Anti Dark Circle Roller,  I have never found a concealer that I like as much as this one. It gives good coverage of  under eye circles and doesn't crease or get cakey. What more could I want?

Sephora had a sale on brushes and I picked up these. No reviews as I'm not a huge brush person so I don't have much to compare them to. They're soft? :) Top is good for in my purse to touch up on Bare Minerals. Second two are for eyes. I almost never wear eye shadow beyond the over all beige so I'll use these to practice appliction of colors in the crease, etc. Next is a lip bush and below that is for brows.

Do you use any of the above? What's your take? What are your favorite products of late?

August 19, 2012

Happy Eid

From my family to yours, wishing you a happy and blessed Eid :)

August 17, 2012

How To Be A Badass

You know the girlfriend you have that is just  fabulous and in complete charge of her life? She doesn't take shit from anyone. She knows what she wants and goes for it.  She does only things she wants to do. She handles tough situations calmly and wisely. Does what she sees is best for her and her life and owes no explanation to anyone. She's a badass.

Don't let the post title mislead you, I'm not writing a post on how to be a badass. I'm asking!

How does one become a badass? Know that when I say badass, I mean it in the most awesome way possible.

You see, I find that I'm a bit of a push over. I've always chalked it up to being easy going or very kind, but I feel that I need to change that some. That doesn't mean one has to be bitchy. Just in control.

 A good friend recently shared a great quote, it went something like:

"If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done"
Ding goes the lightbulb! How can one expect different results when they are doing the same thing they've always done? 

So here's where you guys come in. Give me your best  Badassery 101. Think of the most confident, independent, fabulous woman you know and tell me what makes her so amazing. It might be you!  Examples, stories, traits, advice, whatever. Go! 

It goes without saying that I mean within Islam because there's always gonna be that comment.

August 13, 2012

On The Topic Of Tipping

Tipping is one of the more interesting social phenomenons, I think. I find the subject intriguing.

 In America, tipping is expected in restaurants. Wait staff make something like a little over $2 an hour in most states and  they depend on tips for their income. I prefer when the restaurant includes the gratuity right on the check. That way, I don't have to figure out any math. If not, I like to leave 18-20%.  Usually my kids take forever to decide what they want and more than likely make a bit of a mess so I appreciate when the server is patient with them. 

Tip jars are a somewhat newer trend and I think they are fine in places where the staff is serving you in some way. Recently I saw a tip jar at a self serve fro yo place. The cashier just rings you up. What are people tipping for?

Here in Egypt on the other hand, waiters make a wage just like any other employee so tipping isn't as expected but it's becoming more and more common. A lot of places now just add a service charge.

That's as far as restaurants go. On our way out of Cairo International Airport, some dude took it upon himself to "help us" put our bags on a cart when I was perfectly capable of doing so.  I didn't even have Egyptian money on me so I just gave him a couple of dollars. THEN, while we were loading up the car this other guy expected a tip just for standing there and saying "Kol sana wenta tayeb" (meaning, like happy Ramadan kind of). Seriously. He made no attempt to help strap the bags on the roof rack or anything. Just stood there with his sad little broom and dustpan, literally for a good 15-20 minutes. I was like "is this guy really expecting a tip, merely for saying a few words?" He was.  It's like glorified begging.  We backed on out of there and were like "see ya!" That really irked me. 

But it's pretty common here for people to want tips for everything. A guy helps you park your car by standing there and telling you if you have enough room, or when to stop. Tip, please.  Some lady hands you 3 squares of less than soft toilet roll. Tip please. A bloke takes your picture for you at a scenic or tourist site. Tip, please. A lot of things people would do elsewhere, just to be nice or to help you out.

I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they tip. It's never cool when a big group of us is out at a cafe and everyone figures in part of the tip except for one.  It's like suck it up and throw in an extra pound or two. Honestly.  Some people say they don't tip, as a rule. It's mind boggling to me. If you order food to go or delivery, you're paying for the food. If you're dining in, you're also paying for the service of sitting in the establishment, having someone bring you your food and refill your drinks and what not. There ought to be a difference, no?

What are your thoughts on tipping?

August 11, 2012

Back In Egypt

Well we're back in Hurghada now, been home for a few days. I'm still trying to get settled. I haven't completely unpacked yet, the apt needs a good cleaning, and friends are calling to get together.  I just needed a few days to recuperate from our trip.

We started out getting dropped off at the wrong terminal. Thankfully we had come to the airport early so we had plenty of time to take a few elevators and an air bus to the right Terminal. My bags were a couple of kilos over but the lady let it go except for one where I had to take some stuff out and carry it on. Thankfull that we had checked our bags we relaxed and ate at JFK and took our first plane to our connection in London. We had less than 2 hours between touching down and our next flight, and man is Heathrow huge. We took several escalators, an airbus, and a 10 minute shuttle to our gate but not before being stopped for not having my liquids in baggies. Then we had to speed walk to what seemed to be the very farthest gate in the whole place and made it just in time to board.  Whew, alhamdulillah. Only good things to say about both British Airways and British Midland International.

I didn't sleep at all, couldn't sleep. I watched a few movies, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen. Liked that, and was glad to see Egyptian Actor Amr Waked getting more Hollywood roles. I also watched We Bought A Zoo and loved that. I love anything with animals and the story was cute. A Thousand Words was stupid and not funny. Don't waste your time on that one.

When we finally arrived my senses were assaulted when I went to fill out our arrival cards and the BO was pungent.  Haven't these people ever heard of deodorant?  We got our bags and got out of there pretty fast and it was such a notable difference stepping outside the airport. People were crowding the entrance and there was no order. The cars weren't stopping on the cross walk for people like us with luggage carts trying to make it to the parking lot. Horns beeping, super hot outside and it was really a "Welcome to Egypt" kind of moment.

Alhamdulillah I slept most of the way back on the 5 hour car ride  from Cairo to Hurghada. I'm hoping to feel settled soon and enjoy the last week of Ramadan. It's really odd, I keep forgetting that I'm here. I'll see a thing online about something going on in NJ and think to myself, oh we should go to that. Then I'm like. Oh. Right.  All in all it was a long and tiring trip home but I'm glad to be back.