Big Love for Bourjois

The world of beauty is notoriously fickle. With new products being launched on a daily basis, our loyalties for brands and their products are regularly put to the test. The must have product today, will soon become yesterday's news as we try to keep up with the latest releases. However, a quick browse through my beauty stash and it's pretty clear that I'm loyal to one drugstore/highstreet brand. Bourjois, je t'aime. From their foundations, primers, concealers, mascaras, lip products and right down to their nail care products, you name it, I've tried it. Not all products take my fancy, but for the most part, Bourjois hardly puts a foot wrong. Thus it's one of the few brands I genuinely get very excited about when I hear they're launching new products. Below is my edit of the best products it has to offer.

When I think of bases, Bourjois automatically springs to mind because they know exactly where it's at. My love for Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream is well documented. A great everyday base because it's not only a dream to apply, the natural looking sheer luminous finish instantly counteracts fatigue and redness. It has a light to medium coverage. Great for ladies who prefer to keep their bases lightweight, fuss-free (finger application is best suited here) and as simple as can be. If I'm looking for more coverage, I reach for the Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in 55 Dark Beige. It has to be said that the level of coverage still sits between light to medium, depending on method of application. Personally, I prefer to apply it using my fingers. However, applying it with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush would certainly boost its coverage. As the consistency differs from the CC Cream (think less runny and more 'gel' like) it covers blemishes in a way that my beloved CC Cream can't. It imparts a dewy radiant finish, creating a complexion that's fresh, glowing and youthful. Infused with lychee, goji berries and pomegranate, I find the formula hydrating and a savior of dry skin. Just don't forget to set it with a mattifying powder as things can get oily throughout the day.

The Healthy Balance Powder in 53 Light Beige go hand in hand with the Healthy Mix Serum and other foundations with dewy finishes. Quick dusting of this over my t-zone and that's oiliness kept at arm's length. It mattifies, but still manages to let a hint of radiance to peek through, thus preventing the skin from looking flat and cakey. It's my go to for setting my under- eye concealer too.

These days, mascaras are definitely back on my radar and I have Volume 1 Seconde Mascara to thank for that. It single-handedly reingited my interest in mascaras. It lengthens, defines, volumises and manages to hold a curl without leaving my lashes in a clumpy mess. Only downside? It smudges as the day goes by, but nothing a swipe using my pinky won't fix.

And lastly we have Rouge Edition Velvet in 05 Ole Flamingo. No adjectives will ever suffice to fully capture how I feel about this lip shade. Let's just say I can no longer imagine my life without it. This vibrant deep cerise pink  will forever be my fave drugstore lip product. I simply don't have anything quite like it in my collection. For days I'm feeling more drab than fab, I reach for this and it brightens up my complexion. It's THE shade I know I can slick on and feel instantly good in. Matte and opaque, it stays on and on with a stain that lasts up to 6 hours. And no, the compliments I receive whenever I'm wearing this have nothing to do with it. I swear. ;)

Two products that deserve honorable mentions are Magic 2 in 1 nail polish remover and Instant Dry Nail Drops because removing nail polishes and waiting for them to dry are two things no girl should ever endure for long, if there's a way to do it half the time.

And there we have it. Clearly when it comes to drugstore beauty, Bourjois wears the crown. I'm open for a debate though. Agree or disagree?


The GET FIT pledge

Okay. I need to get something off my chest because I am feeling overwhelmed with guilt. Last year, I was on a roll. My fitness gear was in full swing. Determined and motivated, I used to hit up the gym 3 to 4 times a week before attending my lectures. ( I also had a short lived love affair with karate, by that I mean I attended 4 classes.Let's move on) I went from couch potato to fitness junkie almost overnight. My mind and body craved working out, to the point I was waking up at 5:30 am to start sweating. Much to my surprise and delight,  I LOVED every single minute. Aside from basking in post-workout flush, the boost of endorphins and increase in my energy levels left me not only looking but also feeling better. The high that you get after a hardcore but equally rewarding workout routine? Damn. I miss it. You see, I've fallen off the fitness wagon for the past few months now. And let's just say that I haven't quite managed to pick myself back up. In short, I'm back exactly where I started.

When I cast my mind back to September of last year, when I decided to overhaul my lifestyle, I remember the reasons why I felt motivated enough to purchase a pair of Nike running shoes. My primary goal was to lose weight. I neglected my body for so long. I was tired of looking at clothes that would never fit me. I was fed up of constantly feeling so tired when I barely lifted a finger. It was all due to the foods I was eating and my lack of physical activity. It wasn't all about shedding the pounds though. I vowed to not be a slave to the weighing scale. Instead, I made a promise to myself that I'm going to concentrate on how my clothes would start to fit me. How I'd able to go down several flights of stairs without running out of breath and how I'm able to run for the bus without feeling like my lungs are going to explode into a million pieces. Sexy. How alert and alive I'd feel after each trip to the gym. My fitness mojo lasted for months until I hit a dead-end.

I've never been the kind of person that goes ''Exercise? Hell yeah I want to get sweaty'' But I became THAT person. The first couple of sessions were tough and I literally felt like I was on the verge of death. As the weeks went by though, I became stronger which made me feel powerful and capable of accomplishing anything. For the first time, in a very long time, I was connected to my body.  Sadly, when I look in the mirror I no longer see that girl. So what exactly happened? I guess I'm the type of individual who favors instant gratification and results. I wanted them and I wanted them fast. So when I didn't see the results I desperately sought, I found it easier to throw in the towel rather than finding the motivation to keep going. Mistake #1. Mistake #2? I kept coming up with excuses. Be it that I work full time, the gym was far away (UCD is 1 hour and 30 min bus ride) and my personal favorite ''But it's raininnngggggg. Hello Netflix day.'' As if the rain is a good enough  reason to stay in and be a sloth for the rest of the day. Silly excuses, I know. If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done. That's me told then. I failed to realized back then that staying consistent is the key to my success.

The journey towards a healthier and better you will not be smooth sailing. There will be certain obstacles along the way. But lack of motivation should not be one of them. Although I acknowledge the fact that there will be days when exercising is the last thing I would want to do, I'm choosing to make the commitment to myself that from here on in, I'm going to train and ensure physical activity is a part of what I do on a daily basis, irrespective of what else is on my schedule. I'm pledging to GET FIT! 

Primary goal this time around? I want to improve my endurance and aerobic fitness. I want to be able to run faster and longer than ever before with shorter rest periods between intervals. Overall, I just want to improve the quality of my life. I want to feel vibrant, energized and powerful 24/7.

Feeling like your commitment to change is under threat? Here are my top tips on how to reconnect  with your self-motivation, thus allowing you to commit and follow through your personal goals.

Start Small
I started on cardio because I knew my cardiovascular function was not at a place where it should be. The problem arose when I wanted to start weight training too. For someone who's a newbie, it's better to start small and work your way up. As I've said, I haven't been to the gym for weeks. To kick start and reignite my love for working out, I shall enlist the help of Cassey Ho and follow her Blogilates workout vids. Fun, free and effective regimes? What's not to love?

Set realistic goals
So you want a Victoria's Secret Angel body and a sculpted killer washboard abs like Gisele Bundchen. I hear you. While there's no harm in aspiring to achieve that level of hotness, it's more effective to set realistic goals that you know you can accomplish within a specific time frame.For example, being able to run 10+ km/hr on the treadmill without losing your cool. Right now, I can run 10 km/hr for about 3 mins. Atrocious isn't? We have to start somewhere. By the end of  summer, I'm hoping that I'll be able to run 12 km/hr for 10 mins without stopping. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.

Plan ahead
Planning ahead is essential as it holds you accountable for both your actions and inactions. Personally I love writing down my workout plan for the day as putting it down on paper means I'm scheduling it. Scheduling means I'm going to take it more seriously. So if my planner says I'm doing 100 sit ups, 100 criss-crosses, 200 reverse crunches  and 1 1/2 hours of cardio, then that's what I'm going to do. Planning ahead means your workout has a clear direction.  No cheating allowed. 

Change your mindset
No matter what you do, don't feel disheartened. There's no easy way to inject exercise motivation into your life every day. Negative commentary such as ''This is what was handed down to me by genetics. I can't change. Why fight it? ''  will certaintly not help.  So delete those thoughts from your mind. For you to succeed at transforming yourself, you need to believe that it is POSSIBLE. In order to make the commitment to train day after day and eat healthier require one's belief in himself/herself.  For inspiration I love using mantras. Personal favorites? ''You've to train like a beast to look like a beauty'' and ''Strive for progress. Not perfection'' Repeat several times and you'd start to feel the power of those words. 

Switch it up
The idea of working out is usually met with a bunch of groans across the board. How to stop viewing it as a chore and turn it into something that you look forward to doing? Switch it up. Endless cardio? Puh-lease. Find activities that thrills you. Incorporating a variety of activities to your workout plan from dancing, yoga, cycling ets ensures that no sweat day is ever the same. Hence, you're going to be more motivated and actually stick to it because you love doing it. I'm convinced I'm a water baby so swimming is my favorite form of exercise. I also love dancing so learning the choreographies of Matt Steffanina is high on my to do list. Favorite songs to dance to right now: Do It Again by Pia Mia ft Chris Brown and Tyga and Somebody by Natalie La Rose and Jeremih. For more of my favorite workout songs, check out my Gym Playlist

Remember why you started
When you have no physical reasons for not giving it your all, address your lack of mental energy. For this, it's important to remind yourself of the reasons why you started. For me it's about feeling good inside, having more energy and wanting to look my best for my graduation later this year. If that's not motivating enough, what is?

My body is the only body I will ever have. If I'm not going to take care of it, who will? I'm looking forward to finding my inner athlete again. I'm excited to see the reflection of the girl who finds happiness upon discovering the joy of moving my body and pushing its limits, one who makes a conscious effort to prioritize fitness,staring right back at me. 


The Dream Team

Meet Brave. Meet Soar. Otherwise known as the 'Dream Team' because combined together, they just create all sorts of beautiful magic. Worn together, I can't help but feel like a bona fide bombshell (excuse my pathetic attempt of channeling my inner Megan Fox in the photo above) Between you and me, the obsession with achieving the Kylie Jenner lip was and still is beyond my understanding. Back when the whole thing kicked off out of nowhere and quickly spread like wildfire, I was ready with my fire blanket to put out the flames. Why did every single girl suddenly wanted to rock brown nude lip shades? I guess the influence of the Kardashians/Jenners over our lives was greater than we thought. To the point that young girls were risking their health and safety by participating in the #kyliejennerchallenge .People, why?

I never meant to join the bandwagon, but the constant raves about Mac Soar (as per Kim, this is one of the lip liners that Kylie wears regularly) got me searching for this most wanted convict (Clearly I've been watching too many episodes of Prison Break. Lincoln Burrows, call me ;) ).  Seriously, it was constantly sold out E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. I managed to track this elusive lip pencil by stalking Brown Thomas religiously for weeks until one blessed day, it finally arrived on my doorstep. So what exactly is the deal with SOAR? And more importantly, is it worth the hype and trouble of tracking it down? The answer? YES!

Soar is a cool toned deep mauve-pink. The rosy tone of the shade stops it from looking ashy and washing out my complexion. Soar is not my first lip pencil from Mac. Cherry got there first, but as of writing, it's been missing for the last 8 months. (I'm still grieving. It's pretty hard to move on from that one). The texture and formula of Soar quickly reminded me of what I have lost and come to love about this offering from Mac. In terms of formula, Mac lip pencils are on top of the lip liner hierarchy. Smooth and creamy, it glides easily without tugging on the lips. Despite a matte finish, it's pretty non-drying. All that and it's incredibly pigmented and long-lasting? No wonder why I'm happy to sport Soar on its own.

Whilst I enjoy wearing Soar by its lonesome, it's twice as fun having Mac Brave around. Brave is a soft medium pink  with a satin finish. It leans fairly on the cool side when I wear it on its own, but paired with Soar's deep rosy-mauve tones? They're best friends for life. Truth be told, Soar is that kind of shade that would simply get on well with just about any pink-toned lipsticks. It's also the perfect companion to Patisserie. It looks amazing when put in a tandem with a nude, but looks equally beautiful and wearable on its own. Defining and making lips appear fuller in an instant.

I am madly in love with this lip combination, hence why I am getting through them at a worrying speed. Must I try to put a stop to this love affair for the sake of the well-being of my purse? I don't think so.