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In June I had an awesome beach vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at the Riu Palace Pacifico.

Here are the must have items that I think any girl or woman should pack when heading south for some sun!

1. Vichy’s Capital Soleil Sunscreen Cream SPG 60 with Mexoryl XL and other sunscreen filters. Although some darker skin beauties may believe they don’t need sunscreen, the higher levels of Melanin in brown and black skin mean we are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation from sun damage. Vichy’s SPF 60 helped me get the right amount of colour and didn’t feel greasy on my skin.

2. My awesome HUGE grey-blue sun hat that I scored for only $16.99 at Winners, get a true hollywood glam beach look with a hat like this, oversized shades and a floral one-peice bathing suit with a cutout back and roushing on the sides. Add on short frilly skirt for when you are out of the water or grabbing some lunch for a complete look!

3. Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility: A great beach read is always key for the days you don’t feel like being active on the beach or in the pool. This classic girl-book by Austen was just the thing I needed on the beach since the waves in the Pacific were too intense for me to swim in the ocean!

4. Dior’s Sunset Cafe Palette 440: For obvious reasons I don’t wear makeup during the day on beach vacations, but for dinner and evenings out a warm and neutral palette complements your new tan. This 5 colour eyeshadow palette by DIOR allows you to create more playful sun kissed looks or bolder dark eyes because of the mix of gold, deep browns, and shimmery pinks.

Well those are my must haves for your next beach vacation!

In the last  4 months I’ve been finishing up course work for my publishing certificate, attending vendor appointments with my fiance for our wedding in the Fall, and interning at two magazines. Basically I spend a lot of my time  on public transportation – whether it’s a municipal bus, subway, TTC streetcar or the GO Train -to get around.  During all of my time  on the road when I am not taking a cat nap to catch up on sleep, I’ve been reading.

Finding the right book or article for commuting is important:

The book needs to be simple enough so that you can sometimes only read  3 pages while  on a short bus ride, but also engaging enough to motivate you to keep the pages turning when on route in the early morning (as early as  6:45 am this past Winter when I commuted out to the Danforth area of Toronto for class!) or  after a long work day.

Sometimes it also helps if the book is big enough so you can hide from the crazies on the TTC!

So I thought I’d share with you the written word that has managed to win over my desire to just use my commutes as nap time:

1. Chantel Simmon’s LOVE STRUCK talks about the complexities of marriage, the need for communication between partners and takes a humourous and whimsical look at what can happen to a married woman when she confronts her deepest fear, infidelity.

2. Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry: Completely unique from The Time Traveller’s Wife, Her Fearful Symmetry is deeply evocative, gothic and outright troubling. Niffenegger’s novel, which I just finished last Friday, challenges what we understand as reality, spirituality, love, and death.

3. Jhumpha Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth: I can’t even put into words how much I loved this collection of short stories. Lahiri unearths the darkest of humankind’s moments in her painfully real fiction. Fine, you may not want to read this book on a Debbie downer morning, but if you want to be moved by the complexities of issues such as inter-racial marriages, alcoholism, and unrequited love then Unaccustomed Earth is your answer.

4. Anokhi Magazine : Articles in past issues that  drew my attention –  the March/April Kajol cover story , the article on marriage in South Asian culture called  Great Expectations, and the controversial feature on the swinger’s lifestyle in the May/ June Wedding issue. I especially recommend you to read the article on the swinger’s lifestyle, I love an article that causes discussion, shock, and mixed emotions. If you read it let me know what you think!

5. Fashion Magazine really made me appreciate beauty and fashion features. The farewell profile on Alexander McQueen was amazing and I also liked the article in the May issue about the trend of  Canadian designers collaborating with accessible brands, such as H&M or Joe Fresh.

Do you think international names like Jimmy Choo  and Stella McCartney lose their esteem if they collaborate with chains such as Target or Adidas? When and where do we draw the line between fashion and business?

6.  Toronto Life: The features in  TL never  cease to amaze me. I particularly enjoyed the TTC feature in the May issue because yes,  I also loathe the overcrowded situation at Yonge and Bloor and the ridiculous fare hike put into place in January!

Book’s I loved, but found difficult to read on a commute:

Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native: The book is characterized by amazing writing, language and poetic devices. Plus, Hardy discusses so many controversial issues at such a ground breaking time in history  (the 19th century), but the flow of my reading was disturbed by the constant yammering of  people on the train. Also, the subway cart sounding to a halt at each  stop took away from the luxurious experience Hardy deserves:  a comfortable read of the novel before bed, or on a lounger in my backyard.

Sometimes literature is too luxurious and precious to deal with the invasive honking of car horns and musty subway smells.

Get into the Olympic spirit and in-style with Vasanti Cosmetics official Go Canada Palette.

Closing Ceremony Musings

With the Olympics in full swing after yesterday’s breathtaking opening ceremonies, Canadian beauty label Vasanti cosmetics unveiled an official GO CANADA palette that celebrates the Vancouver Olympic Games.

First off, before I gush about Vasanti’s patriotic new palette, sorry for being away from my blog for so long. I was terribly sick for almost two weeks and struggled to juggle classes, while getting rid of this horrible cough! But, I am back now and ready to share with you the endless ideas I thought up to write about as I fought off my cough and pored over beauty and fashion magazines, websites, and great books in bed.

The fiddlers, tap dancers, the flame lighting in the stadium, and KD Lang’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” were my favourite moments at the opening ceremonies.

Listen to Cohen’s Hallelujah here. Cohen’s beautiful single was also recorded by Jeff Buckley and Imogen Heap for the OC, it’s so beautiful how one musician’s creation can take on so many unique forms by different artists.
What performances, or memorable moments of the ceremonies did you enjoy? SHARE THEM WITH ME!

Vasanti Cosmetics

For those of you who don’t know Vasanti, here’s a quick rundown. Vasanti Cosmetics was established in 1999 by South Asian BEAUTY divas Pinki Gosal, Monal Patel, and Priti Patel. Vasanti’s entrepreneurs developed special formulas and colours specifically for the Southasian yellow skin tone often not considered in mainstream brands found in drugstores. So Vasanti Cosmetics are a hit with women of South Asian descent because for once the colours match our skin and remain bold all day long.

The palette made for you to sport during the Olympic games includes a white shimmer powder reminiscent of ice rinks and ski slopes; bronze, silver and gold shadows in honour of the Olympic medal colours; and a sexy red gloss in honour of our flag.

Use the eye and lip palette for a glowing day look, or transform the makeup into a makeover for a night on the town by using a black liner on the upper and lower lash lines, apply a coat of DiorShow mascara to your lashes – my  favourite mascara, and a bronzer to highlight your cheekbones. Try Physician Formula’s Bronzer palette. What would you pair with Vasanti’s patriotic palette for a night on the town?

Vasanti’s GO CANADA Palette is available at your local Shoppers, Rexall or directly on their website for a limited time. At the cost of $40.00 this makeover will last you the entire Winter season well into the Spring. I can’t wait to go get mine! Now go support our athletes while flaunting your Olympic inspired beauty!

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