Another absence. Another return





Hello dear reader, we meet again! (I didn’t mean for that to sound as sinister as it does!) I’ve been toying with the idea of coming back to this little blog for over a year now and I kept going back and forth. 

I wanted to come back so desperately but another part of me, the negative side of us that always keeps us from taking the leap we want to take, kept saying “You went back once and you didn’t keep it up, it’s embarrassing if you keep going back and then letting it go again, just face the fact that you can’t do it and quit already.”

I never fully gave in to this voice but it prevented me from coming back for a long time. I thought about just setting up a new blog, starting from scratch - fresh start and all that. I didn’t want to do that either, though, because I love this blog and I love the moments I’ve had interacting with people on here and the other blogs I’ve found because of it (speaking of which, oh how I’ve missed reading them). 

This year though, I made a promise to myself. That I would not let self-doubt keep me from chasing after my goals and dreams. Me returning to this blog is me honoring that promise to myself. I honestly don’t know if I’ll start posting regularly now or come back full force in a little bit or simply disappear again but I know that blogging keeps tugging at my soul and I want to be a part of this world.
 
A lot has happened since I was last here, I’m two years older for one thing and for another, I got married, moved into our very first apartment and successfully passed my doctoral comprehensive exam! All of these experiences have been amazing and my heart is full of gratitude for all of them and more.

I’ve also had some learning moments along the way. In late 2016, I began to have panic attacks and intense anxiety, seemingly out of the blue. I have no history of anxiety so I didn’t really know how to deal with this and in some ways, I’m still learning. I’ve also had moments of what feels like high functioning depression but I’m grateful to say that both are much better now. 

It was definitely challenging at times because it’s kind of a lonely experience. Anxiety can crop up anywhere and ruin perfectly happy moments. However, this is literally nothing compared to what some people have to go through in this world so I’m not complaining and I’ve learned so much because of it. Possibly because of the anxiety, I’ve devoured a ton of personal development books and videos and here I am, chasing some goals in 2018.

 Needless to say, I’ve also accumulated a ridiculous amount of beauty products over the time I’ve been away from this blog and can’t wait to share my thoughts about them and read about what others have been up to.

So, all that to say that I would absolutely love to come back to this blog and revisit all my old favorite fellow bloggers. I don’t know if that will happen tomorrow or a month from now but I do plan to be back and I hope you’ll have me when I do. That’s all I really wanted to say. :-)

x Belle 

StyleWe - Review & Wishlist

Lately, I've been feeling a bit "blah" about my wardrobe. Anyone else ever have those phases? There's nothing wrong with my clothing per se but I see all kinds of fabulous ladies on social media, looking like they've stepped off a runway and suddenly I'm squinting at my tops and dresses, which now look frumpy and unsatisfying. I know I shouldn't get sucked into it and yet I still do.

Now, since it's far too much effort to get dressed, get in my car, drive to a mall and peruse through the clothing there, I've been spending some (way too much) time browsing online clothing retailers to find some new pieces to add to my wardrobe. One of these sites is StyleWe. When they asked me to do a review, I was only too happy to spend even more time browsing their extensive collection.

I tend to wear dresses and tunic tops more than anything else so that's typically what I look for when I shop. StyleWe has some of the most beautiful dresses I've seen online in a long time. Perhaps it's because they have a number of light, flowy dresses which I personally adore. I also noticed that they've got a nice mix of different styles available. A lot of sites I browse tend to have one primary style of clothing with a few other pieces thrown in. StyleWe seems to have a nice balance of classic and edgy styles.

The top I'm reviewing is a beautiful little tunic top, very light and airy. It's primarily a light blue color with blocks of color overlaying it. The blocks are all different shades of blue and pink with just a touch of sea green thrown in. The collar has gorgeous silver and white detailing.

The whole thing is utterly stunning, in my opinion. Since it's so light, I was worried that it might tear easily but the fabric is actually great quality. I paired it with white leggings and silver sandals and basically felt as glamorous as they come.

The colors are perfect for spring and summer, although I don't really believe in any rules for such things. Going into fall, I'll probably continue to wear this top with a tank top underneath for warmth. My little sister was very happy to get her glam on and model the top for us all to see below.








My little sisters have a habit of borrowing (taking) my clothes and all 3 of them tried this piece on. Despite being different ages and different heights, it worked beautifully on each one of them. For two of them it was a nice tunic top and for the youngest one it looked more like a dress. They were all anxious to model it for this post but only one of them got to do so. :-)

Overall, I'm thoroughly satisfied with my new addition from StyleWe. A lot of their pieces are definitely a splurge, in my opinion, but I've been eyeing up a couple dresses to order, just to treat myself and to help my wardrobe makeover along. Which one do you think I should get? I can't decide!

                                     
Have any of you tried StyleWe? Do you know of any other good online clothing sites? Let me know!I hope each and every one of you lovely readers is having an amazing weekend.

StyleWe Links:

Site

Top ($62)

 Twitter 

Facebook


Disclosure: This item was sent to me for review by StyleWe. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.






GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment Mask | Review


GlamGlow has a bit of a cult following and I’ve consistently heard good things about most of their products, especially the masks. It’s no different for the GravityMud Firming Teeatment Mask which was touted by many a beauty guru on YouTube as well as the skincare experts in Sephora. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to try it so try it I did. This is a deluxe sample size that I picked up with my reward points from Sephora, the actual product comes in a bigger jar. Since my skin is very sensitive, I like to try out new skincare products before I buy the full size versions. 

Here is what GlamGlow says about the product on their site:

"GRAVITYMUD™ is an Out of This World Innovative Peel Off Mud treatment that instantly leaves skin feeling firmer and more lifted. Mega-Targeted ingredients transform from White to Brilliant Chrome, delivering toned, sexy contours. Powered by TEAOXI™ Marshmallow + Licorice Leaf."

Notice it does say instant so I expect to see some immediate results now. My expectations were just raised even higher! Here's what my experience was like:

Thoughts running through my mind upon first use:

-          The smell is really very nice, very Pina Colada like

-          In order to peel it off, which is 80% of the reason I even wanted to try this mask, you’d have to really put on a thick layer. If I do this regularly, I’ll run out pretty fast.

-          Can I peel it off now?

-          This stings

-          I look like the tin man…tehe

-          It’s been a few minutes, the stinging is starting to fade

-          Can I peel it off now?

-          For $89 this thing better perform some miracles!

-          What exactly is this mask supposed to do again?

-          *lifts a tiny bit from a corner* nope, can’t peel it off yet

-          *paces around like an expectant father until it’s time to peel it off*

-          Oh wow, it feels like such a thin layer now but it’s not breaking apart

-          This peeling off situation is both satisfying and weird…

-          Huh…I can see the imprint of my pores in there

-          My face looks red…is it supposed to?

-          I don’t notice much of a difference…

That last thought pretty much sums it up. It was fun to peel off but I really didn’t notice any difference in texture or firmness or anything. I got multiple samples and gave this mask numerous tries but every time, my face turned red and I never noticed anything even slightly better let alone miraculous about my skin. It’s a popular product and I'm happy if it works for other people but for me this was a bit of a fail.  

How do you feel about widely touted products? Do get excited to try them or do you become cautious, thinking it may be all hype? Let me know! I'm kind of halfway. I get excited to try it but the more popular it is, the more I expect from it.


Update | Random Chatter | I'm back!


Well hello! Hi there! How are you?!

Wow, it's been a minute and a half since I've posted and I'm quite ashamed of myself, to be honest. I love blogging and this blog is precious to me, it's like my own little corner of the internet where I can just be me, rant about beauty and connect with other like minded beauties/weirdos. I got a bit busy but I'm back and excited to be blogging again!

Before I get back into regularly scheduled posting, I thought I would do a little bit of a life update. Share some bits and bobs, just for fun. I love reading these on other blogs and getting a glimpse into someone's life. I don't know, isn't it fascinating to see what's going on in another humans life? Since we're all playing this game called life together. While there's nothing particularly fascinating going on here, I hope you'll enjoy all the same!

So since I last posted, here is what has happened:

I went back to my homeland (Pakistan) to shop for my wedding dresses. I hadn't been back in almost ten years and I didn't know how I would feel going back. I love living in America and I don't think any other place could ever feel like home to me but where we come from will always be a part of us I suppose, regardless of how we feel about it.
 
So when I stepped off the plane, I was full of this weird, nervous trepidation. I didn't know how to feel or what to feel. When I walked out of the airport and looked around at all the people standing there, waiting for their loved ones, I didn't feel much of anything. Or perhaps I was feeling so much that my mind was simply shutting it out. I just remember being very blank and then out of the crowd, I saw my aunt coming towards me. This aunt is my father's little sister and she helped raise me, she and I have the same philosophies on a lot of things in life, we're kindred spirits. When I saw her walking towards me, I have no clue what happened. Something broke and I put my arms around her and burst into tears. I still can't explain what exactly happened, I rarely cry and absolutely refuse to do it in front of people! Yet there I was, standing outside a packed airport, with people gawking at me, sobbing into my aunts shoulder. My aunt, my cousins, my grandparents were all there and I couldn't believe it had been ten years since I had seen these beautiful faces. We cried and we laughed and we hugged. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

I had initially scheduled a one week trip but ended up extending it another week. It was an amazing, beautiful, humbling experience. There was so much love, so much positive energy, it was a completely different world. I could write an essay about it but for the sake of time and space, I'll stop here. Perhaps I'll write another blog post about it. Oh and I found my dresses! (pictures to come)

On the way back, I had a 13 hour stop in Dubai, which sounds daunting but it was amazing. I had booked a hotel room so I slept for quite a while, ordered room service and shopped!! The airport is beautiful and huge and has so many shops, you could wander for hours and hours. By a stroke of good fortune, they were having a rare sale on cosmetics when I was there so of course, I went a bit crazy. I also got chocolates. Lots and lots of chocolates.

I took very few pictures but this creme brulee was the most delicious thing ever!


Once I came back, I had a qualifying exam to look forward to for my PhD. In order to continue in the doctoral program, I had to get an 80 or above. If a student scored between 70 and 80, they got another chance at it. 70 and below, you're out, no second chance. Now, when I'm of sound mind, I can tell you that an 80 really shouldn't be so hard to achieve. During exam time though, reason and logic go out the window and you start believing that you're a complete imbecile who doesn't know a thing. I felt both ready to take it and completely unprepared at the same time. It was an eight hour exam and I almost broke down at least three times out of sheer nerves.

The week that followed was worse still because of the waiting. I alternated between telling myself it'd be fine and questioning why on earth I cared so much about a silly exam anyway when I was and am happy, healthy and blessed with so much. In the grand scheme of things, a silly little qualifying exam shouldn't be something that I give so much power over my peace and happiness. This thought would linger for about thirty seconds before the crushing doubt and anxiety would settle back in. Thankfully, joy of joys, I passed! So I'm one year into it with a little over two years to go! (Pray for me)

I am also now only 23 days away from my wedding! Eep! Any of my married readers with wedding/marriage tips, please leave them below! Goodness knows I need them because right now, if anyone asked me for advice I'd tell them to elope. Just elope!

And that's about it, now you're all caught up with my life. I hope I didn't put you to sleep! Tell me what you've been up to, what is your absolute favorite memory from this past month? I want to know!

I'll see you in my next post, my beautiful, amazing reader. :-) 

P.S. I decided to finally catch up with the times and make an Instagram! It's llbeautiful.blissll if you'd like to add me. I also made a beauty related instagram with my best friend/sister in law if you'd like to check that out as well (llsparklyglowll). I included some pictures from there below...I have a slight obsession with Chanel, you'll see that a lot on my social media. Now, I'm off! I hope you have a wonderful day/night.




Beautiful Quote - Never give up!




 “No matter how you feel today, get up, dress up and show up.” - Paulo Coelho

This is one of those quotes that keep me motivated on days when I feel drained. I’m in my first year of a doctoral program and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve questioned what I’m doing, not because I don’t want the PhD but because the work is just too much sometimes. There’s quite a bit of self learning involved in grad school and the learning curve is incredibly steep at times. Quotes like this tell me to push forward anyway because I know these feelings are temporary and because I know that my goal is worth fighting for.  

Personally, I believe that it’s simply not possible to remain a hundred percent motivated at all times. We’re human and we do not stay in the same emotional state for very long, we flip flop around and move through a number of emotions on a daily basis. To me, that’s ok. 

It’s ok to not be one hundred percent motivated every second of every day. As long as you don’t stop trekking forward in those moments. Don’t let your emotions become your excuse. 

It’s ok if you feel tired or cranky or bummed some days. It’s not ok to stop trying those days because those feelings will not last, your old motivation will come back and you’ll be glad you didn’t stop. As Mr. Coelho so beautifully tells us, just get up, dress up and show up. 

Sometimes life will happen, sometimes you’ll just wake up in a bad mood, sometimes those around you will tell you to quit. Forget it all. If you think your goals and dreams are worth fighting for, then get up and get going.

That's my quote for down days, what words do you look to if you're feeling down? :-)