Moroccan Oil

I just want to check in to say WOW about Moroccan Oil.

I’ve had these bottles in my house for 3 or 4 years now, thinking that they do jack all.

But just yesterday I discovered something quite amazing. They say in the directions to use this sparingly. Last night, in a last ditch attempt to soften my permed to a crisp locks, I thought screw that, I’m going to pump as much as about the size of a quarter in my palm and run that through the ends of my hair.

This morning, I woke up and what do you know, soft hair!!!

So if you’re thinking that Moroccan Oil doesn’t work, you’re not using enough. Don’t use sparingly. Use lots. Just don’t use lots before going out because it does have a very strong smell that not everyone will like!

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Up-coming travel

This Christmas, I’m going to London! 

I haven’t been to London since I was very young, almost 16 years ago and I absolutely hated it back then. It was cold, rainy, the people we encountered were not very nice at all. Since then London has never really seemed attractive to me. Holidays? I wanted to go to Europe and only Europe (the real Europe, not UK). But since discovering how much I love the USA after my last couple of trips there, maybe my sentiments toward London will be changed.

 From London, I’m taking trip to Spain for NYE and then a day trip to Paris for some shopping and catching up with a friend of mine (hopefully!). 

I’m so excited!

Thick green smoothies – thanks Jessica Alba!

Every time I’m on the road eating highly overpriced and usually over dressed “healthy” foods, or eating quick unhealthy meals [read: McDonalds – yes, I’m no snob to this wonderfully convenient chain], I tell myself “when I get home, I’m going to do a detox”. But the truth is a lemon water, all natural, raw food detox is in itself a massive challenge. And I’m somewhat skeptical about the real benefits of doing something so drastic. Basically, I just want a higher intake of fresh vitamins and minerals to aid my body in replenishing itself.

So I was watching The Ellen Show a few weeks/months? ago and saw a segment where Jessica Alba went on to show Ellen how to make a green smoothie. I occasionally juice celery, carrots, spinach and ginger but her green ingredients were, for one actually green.. but also incorporated superfoods like kale and fresh flavours like cucumber and apple. Sounded quite good. This time when I found myself at the supermarket, feeling particularly inspired by the fresh looking veg in the first aisle, I picked up all the ingredients to try this concoction. I made a huge batch, bottled it all into empty glass bottles (thanks to all my Beyond coconut waters consumed).

After a week of drinking a bottle a day, I can see a notable difference. Firstly, I have energy in the mid afternoon – yay! and a focused energy, not a bumbling caffeine buzz. Secondly, I have managed to stay in perfect health even after those around me at home and work have caught colds during this period of crazy hot-cold weather. And thirdly, as an unexpected side-effect, my skin has improved a lot. I wish I could attest to this being the one and only contributing factor to my skin, but it could also be due to a new skincare regime I am experimenting with. But I do believe that what you eat does affect your skin and with these results, I’m not going to change something that seems to be working any time soon!

Link here to the recipe as demonstrated on Ellen.

Jakarta for work – you get what you pay for.

This week I’ve been in Jakarta for work. The advisable taxi is the Bluebird chain which is supposedly owned by the mayor or someone super important. They are reputable and by Western standards, very affordable. The rates are based on what seems like kilometers so one hour in heavy traffic from point A to B might set you back 4USD equivalent.

Shopping in Jakarta is not expensive and the cost of living is definitely cheap. A factory workers’ salary is approx. 100USD/month and they manage to get by so it gives a bit of an indication. However, when you drive along some streets you will see houses that are like palaces, so there seems to be a huge disparity between the rich and poor.

Today I’m not really going to contemplate this, I’m still gathering my ideas regarding rich/poor/exploitation etc. I just wanted to share a couple of new things that I really liked in Jakarta:

1) Kelapa Gading Mall – largest mall in Indonesia, and although it doesn’t look impressive, there are a lot of shops inside.

2) Pancious – a pancake house that has savoury and sweet waffles and pancakes (as well as other things on the menu)

The other times I have stayed in Jakarta, I have stayed at the Alila hotel. The hotel is also well known among locals for its spa. From memory, a 90 minute full body massage and scrub was 60 or 80USD. I think this is quite cheap by Western standards. It’s very convenient as well being on the bottom floors of the hotel. The ambience is amazing and it’s a very peaceful and relaxing 90 minutes.

This time, our hotel offered a 90 minute full body scrub and massage for 25USD. Score! Or not.

The massage and scrub was outsourced by the hotel and available in the hotel room. So there was no massage table, just someone who came to my room with a bottle of exfoliating scrub. The therapist talked throughout the treatment so it was not relaxing, and in the end I realised that although I was not expecting something like the Alila experience, I was probably expecting a bit too much for the price I was paying. But at the end of the day when I factor in the limited time I have in Jakarta, I would probably have preferred to pay the Alila price for the relaxation than anything at all for the makeshift in-room massage. By Indonesian standards, 25 USD is pricey for a scrub/massage of that standard. 60 or 80USD is expensive but expected for the higher standard of products used and just the general experience. So even though 25USD is cheap, I feel a bit ripped. I guess next time I will stick with what I know and just book the Alila again. It’s true in Indonesia as much as anywhere else, you get what you pay for.

The most delicious Coconut Water in a bottle

I love coconut water! I used to look forward to going to Singapore, Thailand or Indonesia just because I was craving drinking from a freshly opened coconut. But I never knew of the supposed health benefits until my grandmothers’ nurse told me that they drink it all the time in the Philippines because it’s supposedly good for the kidneys and the liver.

Now I’ve moved to Australia and there’s bottled/juice box coconut water on the shelves everywhere! I guess it’s something that’s trending at the moment. The best in my opinion is by far the water from Thai coconuts. It’s sweeter, tastes less salty and for some reason just seems purer. The only brand I found that has Thai coconut water is Beyond. I recently ordered a LOT of this online because it’s not very well distributed here.

I wouldn’t dare to claim any health benefits from coconut water really. I don’t drink it often enough. And something that tastes so delicious and refreshing seems almost too good to be good for you. But for this time, I’ll blindly accept that it is supposedly good for you… but keeping in mind the calorie count per bottle.. 48cals/300ml [note to self: coconut water is not a water replacement].

Lulu Lemon. I finally get it!

Two years ago I stumbled across a site founded by a husband wiife team called bodyrock.tv. This site offered daily high intensity interval training sessions for free and all the workouts were demonstrated by the wife side of the team, Zuzana Light. Since then, the couple have split and Zuzana has started her own site: http://www.zuzkalight.com
Zuzana used to always wear and showcase Lulu Lemon workout clothing, a very appealing range. Their leggings and shorts with the designed seams that make the butt look smaller, their vibrant colours and the designed sports bras had me quickly scrambling online to look for how I could get my hands on this range. But until last year, it seemed as though they were only present in Canada and shipping to the USA and Canada. So I found an alternative brand in Australia. Vibrant colours, cute designs. The Australian company touts a great concept, and the founders’ story is quite inspiring. I thought it was the bees knees!

Since Lulu Lemon has opened stores in Sydney, I have wandered in a couple of times without purchasing a thing. Their clothes aren’t cheap! It wasn’t until Saturday when the colour from my multiply pre-washed red/pink sports bra from the Australian brand ran onto my towel and my singlet during hot yoga that I thought perhaps I should try something from Lulu Lemon.

I bought a cute sports bra and leggings. After one yoga session, I get it! This is what all the fuss over Lulu Lemon is about! The leggings are of a totally different material. They’re super light and the pair I chose has meshed areas to keep you cool, with fabric that doesn’t stay looking wet in patches where you might sweat. Their sports bras are light, with enough padding/coverage (I never want to be that girl in the yoga class with too much showing/sweating!) without feeling overly padded.

Not completely abandoning my old workout gear, but Lulu Lemon is just on a whole different level. I love how you still feel like you’ve won when you spend a lot of money on something and it turns out to be super impressive. I can’t wait to go and buy more of their clothes!

Hot Yoga…wow!

I’ve been meaning to try Bikram yoga ever since it started becoming popular in the USA. At that time about 5 or 6 years ago, I couldn’t find a location close to me in Australia and that presented a problem. Then I moved overseas and a couple of years later, this became a big trend in Australia with studios popping up left right and center offering yoga in rooms heated anywhere from 30 to 40 degrees Celcius.

Since I have moved back to Australia, I finally decided to do a week long trial of hot yoga. In one week, I went to 6 morning classes and I think I’m addicted. The first thing I noticed was compared to my normal yoga practice, yoga in a hot room allows you to really go deeper into your poses. It’s so hot that there really is no head space for you to think of anything other than your breathing and holding the pose you are in right that second. It’s really  – in the moment – stuff and I left my first class feeling amazing.

The following morning after a late night, I hardly wanted to get out of bed for the 7am class but my boyfriend convinced me it was just the first few minutes of waking up that would be brutal and once I reached class, I’d feel fine. And I did. Basically pushing through that brutal wake-up, simple as it seems, made me realise that that is all it is. Just those few minutes of getting ready. The simpler the morning routine before walking out the door, the better.

So every day after that, I managed to get up with minimal effort and by the fourth class, I was really looking forward to practise! In my fifth class, I managed to hold a pose that I have never, in my life been able to reach and I was amazed at how simply it came. I had to look at myself a couple of times before acknowledging that I was in the pose.

After a week, it was obvious to me that I have to continue with hot yoga. The feeling after leaving a class is refreshing and invigorating. Sure, you’re sweating and by day 6 it’s demanding on your muscles but it’s the feeling afterwards. I almost believe I’ll be able to kick my caffeine addiction somewhere down the track just because I don’t need that morning coffee to wake me up any more!

Water!

If you drink over 2 cups of coffee for an energy hit to get through your day, it’s probably because you’re not getting enough water. Water is not only necessary for your body, it’s incredible.

I used to have weeks where I would just feel lethargic, unmotivated and tired all day long.  When I’m tired, I tend to eat more (I know a lot of people have the opposite happen), or drink copious amounts of coffee. Because strong black coffee always seems like a ‘guilty pleasure’, it used to be the only thing that really got me to head into the office in the mornings and after lunch. But it always happens like this: once that initial spike of energy wears off, I’m back to stage 1 or to another cup of coffee. Vicious cycle.

One evening I bought myself a nice huge sports bottle to fill and refill and take around with me everywhere. I thought alright, I’ll give this water thing a go. 2L every single day. That was 4 years ago and I have not looked back. The amount of energy I have has pretty much doubled and I’m actually able to think clearly. Hello productivity! If you’re not already onto this stuff, try it. It’s virtually free. Put a bottle on your desk at work, next to your bed.  Just make drinking water accessible and you will start to drink more of it!

Soar like an Eagle

http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2011/11/the-hit-list-13-things-crucial-for-success/

Why is it that some people seem to have it all?
They seem to always be happy, always traveling, always doing something different, something interesting?

I remember Tony Robbins once saying that success leaves clues. If you see the happiness these people have as equating to being successful, they’re usually leaving a whole bunch of clues. If you spend more time around these types of people, their energy and their positivity is infectious.

I thought about this as I was reading point 11 of this article. I love the line “It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you run around with turkeys”. It’s just so true!

Mario Badescu Skin Care

Last night, I placed another order at Mario Badescu online. Originally, I just wanted to get the oil free moisturizer and the collagen moisturizer with SPF. They’re my favourite light moisturizers with sun protection. They don’t clog, they don’t look oily on the face but they are hydrating.

My only gripe with them is that 2 out of the 4 bottles I ordered previously have somehow clogged up or something. I have tried just about everything to “unblock” the bottle openings and they have remained non-functional. So I’ve had to just twist open the entire cap and use a q-tip to get the product out each time I’ve wanted to use it. Not a big deal, just a hassle.

Anyhow, just checking out the website, it seems there are so many other new moisturisers so I have to try them. I actually didn’t end up ordering the products I needed re-ordering but I figure, I would never finish them if I did. Looking forward to the package arriving!

Score: 8/10 and 8/10 for day creams with SPF.