Review: Lush Ultrabland Cleanser

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The Ultrabland cleanser was my first Lush product and the main reason I bought it was because I was tired of using make-up wipes and wanted something a little more environmentally friendly. I read reviews and finally made the plunge and forked over CAD 29.95 for the larger pot of the cream cleanser.

Firstly, I thought the price tag was a bit too steep. I was always a run to Wal-Mart and pick up a Garnier face wash kinda girl and I wasn’t accustomed to spending 3 hours of work for soap (I price things according to a state-of-the-art method I invented known as “The Number of Hours I Would Have to Work to Afford This”. It’s supposed to make sure I don’t spend too much money on one thing but, clearly, doesn’t work).

To use this, you:

1. Take a small dollop and massage it onto your dry, made-up face.
2. Wet a face cloth with warm water and wipe the cleanser off.
3. Look at your face cloth with shock and horror as you realize how much make up you slathered on your face this morning.
4. Realize how moisturized and smooth your skin feels.
5. Smile.

What I love about this cleanser is that it is so moisturizing. It really balanced my skin out and I didn’t feel the need to apply moisturizer or oil after using it. It was especially great during the summer because my skin wouldn’t be shiny and greasy from the additional moisturizer. I know this quality is what others may not like about this product; when I first used this, I felt like the moisturizing property made my skin feel unclean rather than hydrated. But once you get used to this feeling, it’s all good.

Lush Side

I would definitely be buying this product again and I encourage you all to try it out. Let me know what other Lush products I should try out!

*I have combination skin with a slightly oily T-zone all year round  and dry spots around my mouth/chin during the winter.

Changing the world, one bee at a time.

I’ve realized that I’ve become too passive and I hate it.

I watch and read the news and I’m outraged and hurt by all that goes on in the world. But after a few days, the effect wears off and I accept what I “cannot” change and go on with my life. The truth is, I’m tired of being lazy and selfish and thinking I can’t make a difference because I am just one person. I can make one person’s worth of a difference and, to someone, that may be all the difference in the world.

I’ve decided that it’s time I start caring and start doing what I can to see the world I want. I want people to care more about others? Then I’ll care more about others. I want people to care about climate change and the environment? Then I’ll care about climate change and the environment.

Recently I had the chance to hear some wonderful people talk about bee keeping. They had several colonies just a couple streets away from my university and they were talking about raising awareness to the fact that the population of bees is decreasing by screening Vanishing of the Bees.

(credit: Wikipedia –

But why are bees really important? Turns out, they’re responsible for a little thing called pollination. Pollination isn’t just about pretty flowers; it’s about our food. Without pollination, we wouldn’t have a third of the food we currently eat. Artificial pollination wouldn’t be able to sustain the current and ever-growing human population. Without bees, humans can only sustain themselves for four years before eventually starving and dying out. This being said, why aren’t we trying to save the bees (and ourselves)?

There are a few things we can do, the first being stop using pesticides. Sure, they keep our lawns lush and green but at what cost? Luckily, there are several bee-friendly pesticides that we can use so that we can have the best of both worlds. But ideally, no pesticides are better for our bees and our health.

The second thing we can do is build a bee home. All it takes are a couple of widely available materials and an easy set of instructions. And if you find that there are a few too many bees to your liking, just contact your local bee keepers (all you Ontario folk can check here) and they should be able to get those bees off your hands and into hives. Just remember not to call some sort of pest control – we’re trying to increase our bee population, not lose the ones we’ve got!

After doing my research, I was all gun-ho and ready to turn my house into a hive. I’d forgotten one little thing: I’m deathly afraid of bees. That being said, I’ve decided maybe bee-keeping isn’t for me. But this doesn’t mean I can’t do anything to help. I’m planning on planting some bee-friendly plants for my bee friends. I just have to make sure the plants I buy aren’t treated with pesticides but that can be easily done by asking the nice people at the nursery. This doesn’t seem like much but every little bit helps.

So this brings to me to the first lesson I’ve learnt on my journey: start small. I’ve learnt not to overwhelm myself in the process of trying to be a better person. I don’t have to (and I couldn’t possibly) change the world overnight. But I can start with a single step, no matter how big or how small.

Challenge Yo’self

I’ve spent all morning doing a little work and a lot of lying in my bed and watching youtube videos so I thought I’d at least get my writing juices flowing and write a blog. 

Lately my phone addiction has been getting out of order and after months of my friends yelling at me to stop checking my phone when people are talking to me, I decided to do a week-long no texting/whatsapp-ing, no social media challenge

The rules were I couldn’t go on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram (I don’t use any other social media, really). I also couldn’t text/whatsapp/BBM anyone (not that I do the last one very much) – I could check the messages, since I had a lot of group projects and had to communicate with a lot of people, but I couldn’t reply. I had to either e-mail/call them.

It was really really hard. I slipped once the first day and click on the little Instagram logo on my phone but quickly exited before I saw anything. I never quite realized how much I (and so many others) was (was? were? do things in brackets count as part of a sentence?) addicted to my phone. I also never realized how rude it was to check your phone in social situations or while people are talking to you. It is incredibly disrespectful and it makes it seem like you don’t care about what people have to say. I apologize sincerely to everyone I’ve done it to. 

What I’ve learnt since then is that I don’t have to constantly be up to date with everyone’s mundane lives. It’s alright to be sitting on the bus and just thinking or looking around you. You don’t have to check your phone just because you’re alone or because you feel awkward. It’s okay to just beI admit that I’m back to my creeping ways. I’m not proud of it but I didn’t expect to just quit it. What I have changed, though, is making sure my phone is in my pocket or away from me when I’m hanging out with friends. I’ve learnt to listen to people and pay attention to them. Why is it that even when we’re with the friends we usually text, we have to text other friends to see what they’re up to? Let’s learn to focus on where we are and who we’re with and forget about the lives of others for a while.

I really liked the challenge and since then I’ve challenged myself to not straighten my hair for a week (worst week ever), not wear contacts for a week (strangely enjoyable) and not eat meat for a week. Each of these challenges seem to teach me something about myself (I’m rather vain and I really like meat) and encourages me to be better.

So now I’d like to invite you to challenge yo’self


The Not-So Best Kept Secret

I’m pretty susceptible to advertising and fads – the second I heard about Moroccan Oil. I was ready to shell out my life savings on bottles of the stuff. Thankfully, I was broke and couldn’t afford it and so I just read about it, longingly, while using plain ol’ coconut oil on my dry, curly locks.

Now I’m here to tell you that that stuff works. Not the brown-bottled, blue-labelled serum masquerading as the oil but the actual, pure Argan oil. I, as well as the incredibly dry skin around my eyes, are living proof.

My little brother did a unit in school about healthy eating and he taught me that the ingredients (or chemicals) on food labels are listed by weight (in descending order). So when looking at the label for Moroccan Oil, one may notice that Argan oil is listed sixth on the list. This (should) mean that there are more of the five chemicals listed prior in the product than actual Argan Oil. I’m not hating on Moroccan Oil, I haven’t even tried it. I’m just trying to put perspective on how amazing pure Argan oil is.

I was in the Middle East earlier this summer and while in Medina, I passed by a beauty store. One of the salespeople shoved a cellophane-wrapped gold box in my face, speaking rapidly in Arabic, a language I don’t understand. I grabbed the box from him and saw that it was labelled “Liquid Gold, Argan Oil” and I was intrigued. I checked the ingredients label, and, lo-and-behold, Argan oil was listed first on the list. Up next was Sunflower oil and Vitamin E. There were a few chemicals listed after but what excited me was that Argan Oil was listed first! The salesman asked for an exorbitant amount, claiming it really was liquid gold but, after much bargaining, my dad pushed the price down low enough for me to buy two bottles. It was still expensive but nowhere near as expensive as the Josie Maran oil (which is pure Argan oil) you’d buy at Sephora. I actually bought 5 times the amount as the Josie Maran vials at half the price.

Now for the proof: these past couple weeks, it’s been raining non-stop in my ‘hood. The rain, combined with pollen, grass and all things summer, gave me really bad allergies. My eyes were dry and itchy and I clawed at them like a deranged cat. After a week or so, I noticed that my inner eyes would burn whenever I teared up or washed my face. The skin around my eyes were painfully dry. For weeks I applied coconut oil before I went to bed, hoping the oil would soothe my eyes. Soothe they did but moisturize they did not. When I moved out of my home and back to school, I realized I had forgotten my jar of coconut oil, so I used the only substitute I could find: Liquid Gold, Argan Oil. I squeezed out a drop and applied it all around my eyes, using the excess oil on my hands (Note: a little goes a long, long way). I went to bed and the next morning, while applying eye liner, I noticed something was off. My eyes weren’t stinging, they weren’t painful and the skin wasn’t dry. That’s right, Argan oil did in one night what coconut oil hadn’t done in two weeks. Argan oil works and my eyes are thanking God for it.

I’m sorry about the lengthy post, I just love this stuff so much. I understand that on this side of the world the oil is pricey but I do believe it’s worth it. Buy a tiny bottle and apply it sparingly and luxuriously on your hair or your face or your neck. I can’t make any promises, but I know it’s worked for me. I do hope it works for you; may you reap its rewards and love it as much as I do.

Confessions of a Homebody

I like staying at home. Sometimes, a bit too much.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hermit. I would do anything for my friends and I do love them, but, the truth is, I like my family better.

You know what I genuinely admire about the Kardashians (that felt awkward just typing it)? How family-oriented they are. They have an amazing time just hanging out with each other, which, fortunately, is true about my family too. I like my brothers: they’re loud, annoying and hilarious. My mom laughs non-stop and puts up with my spontaneous and intrusive interpretive dances. And no one can make an awful, punny, dad-like joke quite like my own father.

I know a lot of you probably like spending time with your family too, but here’s where I get overly attached: sometimes, I’m annoyed with hanging out with my friends because it cuts in on family time.

I don’t live at home during the school year so I treasure the weekends I spend away from school and with my family. And honestly, even in the summer, seeing my friends once a week is a perfect balance. I love you guys, but if I saw you yesterday, I can wait another couple days. And please stop asking me if you can spend weeks at my house: you can’t.

Disclaimer: this post is an excellent indication of why I can count the number of my close friends with one hand. Luckily all of my friends are exactly like me so I know they’re not offended.

Irrationality + Gratitude

Here’s the thing about me: I have an irrational fear of death.

Honestly, I have an irrational fear of everything, but death is number one. I can’t figure out exactly what it is. Maybe it’s about not being able to see the world anymore. Or maybe it’s the idea that, even after death, life goes on. I know it’s horrible – I spend so much of my day worrying about death, I forget to live.

I’m paranoid. The weather patterns caused by climate change keep me up at night. The sudden increase in sinkholes makes me scared to walk around too heavily. I shiver at the thought of cancer, ALS, locked-in syndrome, Alzheimer’s, MS, etc.

I’ve decided to do something about the phobia that’s eating me alive. Every time I’m worry about death, I’m going to list something that makes me grateful I’m alive. Starting here:

– I am grateful for friends. For professors that take the trouble to host wonderful barbecues with wonderful people and wonderful food. I’m grateful for people who make me laugh, think and who make me happy.
– I am grateful for my family. I’m grateful that after a long day of work, I come home to my caring mom, my angry father, my annoying brothers. I am grateful for not just having a family, but one that cares so fiercely and infinitely.
– I am grateful that I am healthy.
I am grateful that I’m well fed.
– I am grateful that I am mobile, I am bright, I am blessed.

But most of all, I am grateful that I’m alive.

Rest In Peace

To my dear friend,

You were beautiful and honest. You were a character out of the book, and each time I describe you, I sound like I’m making you up; you were larger than life. You were conniving and manipulative. You were crazy and wonderful and awful, all at once. 

I hate that you’re gone and I hate that I can’t bring you back. 8 years of knowing you was 8 years too short. 

I love you and I miss you.
Rest in Peace. 



Happy Labour Day, Canadians! I hope your weekend was as good as mine – I spent all of today downtown with my family. We went to High Park where we walked around for a couple hours, rode a tiny creaky train, saw a bunch of animals and fed a couple o’ llamas. The park is one of the reasons I love this city – complete serenity despite being in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Today was the last day of the Canadian National Exhibition and they had an air show with four or five planes. Me, being Mrs. Paranoid and the anti-adrenaline junkie, watched the planes in fear and in hopes of everything going smoothly. Thankfully, it did.

Before we realized it was an air show, we (and several other drivers on the road) were confused at the loud whirrs coming from the sky. In all honestly, I think we were all worried; this foreign noise sounded dangerous. It was only when my family stopped at a gas station and examined the sky did we realize what was going on. This made me think though – all of us, being in a place as wonderfully safe as Canada, were all scared for those few minutes. But imagine all the poor souls in war-stricken countries, listening to the drones of planes day-after-day. They know exactly what it is and know that this is the sound of inevitable doom. But they’re trapped, in the middle of a battle, praying that it won’t be them, not today. This thought brought perspective and sadness into my heart. I’m blessed to be living here, in a country so safe I can sleep soundly at night. Being in my bubble, it’s so easy to be ignorant to the world around me, a world I can’t even fathom. I pray that God has mercy on those less fortunate as us and may they be granted the peace of heaven. And may it never be us.

So what are you grateful for today?  Let’s all take a minute to appreciate what we have, forget what we don’t, and pray for those who have it worse.

Be kind and God bless,

Peace Be Upon You

The thirty days of Ramadan are coming to an end and with Eid just around the corner, I thought I’d do a quick religious post. I generally try to avoid the topic of religion just because I believe it to be personal and there always seem to be politics associated with it. This blog isn’t meant to be controversial – it’s just about what I like and who I am. But the thing is, religion is a huge part of who I am so why not write a little about it?

I’m not one to shove religion down people’s throat and hopefully everyone who reads this post doesn’t interpret it that way. I just want to share one of my favourite phrases in Arabic, a custom Islamic greeting: As-Salamu Alaykum.

“As-Salamu Alaykum” means peace be upon you. I think it’s a beautiful way to greet people – why not wish peace upon those you love? Even upon strangers – everyone deserves peace and happiness in their lives. When I say good morning, I really do hope people have a good morning. Likewise, this greeting is meant to be said with sincerity and the hope that people are at peace. (I’m not entirely sure that last sentence made sense – you get the gist of it, right?)

In response, we say “Wa Alaykum Salam” which, too, means peace be upon you. In Islam, it is required that you respond with an equal or even better greeting. So, for example, when someone says “As-Salamu Alaykum”, you can respond with either “Wa Alaykum Salam” (which is equivalent) or “Wa Alaykum Salam wa rahmatu lahi wa barakatuh” (which means: may peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you – a response better than the greeting you received).

I love this custom, and how you have to wish something just as good or even better to those around you. All it takes is a little bit of happiness and a few good thoughts to brighten up your day.

I’d love to know if there are any customs in your religion/culture that you enjoy – feel free to comment or message!

Be kind and God bless

The Devil Wears Affordable Accessories

Going through my blog today, I realized that I’ve never done a post on fashion. This strikes me as odd, considering that fashion is an integral part of who I am.

In high school, I’d wake up early and spend time getting ready for school, carefully selecting my clothes, accessories and shoes to match. But as an university student, I tend to roll out of bed and straight to class, not really paying attention to how I look. Not to say I never care about my appearance – I always dress up when I go out. However, for school, it comes down to sleep vs beauty, and sadly, sleep wins every time.

But walking along the streets of Paris (not to sound like a pretentious ass), I realized that it’s just me. It seems that I’m the only 20-year-old female who really doesn’t care what I look like. Of course, my samples were probably skewed, seeing as I was in the fashion capital of the world. It did wake me up, though, to the aesthetics of the world around me. Even in Canada, people are well dressed and put together. And so for this academic year, I promise to implement more fashion in my life, even while trying to study/work/save money/sleep.

Until then, here’s another glimpse into me: my current favourite accessories. Please feel free to comment/message me if you’d like to know where I bought these.

Pink + gold oversized clutch

Nude + gold studded watch

Gold + green jewelled earrings

Printed scarf

Lace up grey wedges

Blue flower-print scarf