December 12, 2012

TGAT: An Afternoon with Philosophy at Top Chef Cooking Studio

Once upon a Thursday afternoon, I found myself surrounded by all things unlikely. Being in Dubai on a weekday - a rainy Dubai at that, wearing a rather fancy accessory – an apron, and inside an unfamiliar territory – the kitchen! Can you smell what The Girl and The City is cooking? How unoriginal, ha!

This kitchen fairytale I was recently involved in was made possible by Philosophy when they invited us bloggers to join them for an afternoon baking session at the Top Chef Cooking Studio in preparation and celebration of the festive season. The venue is an open kitchen studio fully equipped with everything you will ever need, machines I can never name except for maybe the stove. They hold cooking lessons as well wherein you can book a session with their resident chef. Such an interesting way and approach to culinary artistry! Though for this particular afternoon, the whole place was transformed into a Philosophy Haven! The team showcased the whole range of skin care, fragrance, bath and body wash and even their concept of gifting products. While browsing, I got distracted by the illustrated books that I literally stopped on my tracks and flipped through the pages instead. Since I am a dork for details, I even obsess about how everything, from the books to the cupcakes, were made to match the trademark Philosophy font! After which and a bit of meet and greet with the rest of the bloggers, we were all ushered to a center table set with cupcakes and marshmallows and offered free-flowing drinks of our choice (I had Cafe Americano) while the very-French-girl herself (her words, not mine), Amelie from Philosophy made a run through of the whole product range with bits of history about the founder, Cristina and how she came up with the whole Philosophy concept of approaching beauty from a skin care point of view. If you'd notice, the branding is simple and precise and the packaging is even simpler that comes with inspirational messaging to further create an approachable attitude and uber positive thinking towards beauty.

Skin care is underrated when it is supposed to be a lifestyle - a non-negotiable part of your everyday routine. Just because your skin looks fine doesn't mean you won't indulge it with the necessary approach. I've realized all this after knowing how it all boils down to the basics - clear, healthy and glowing skin that smells good will definitely give you the confidence you will ever need to get through each day! Check out the Philosophy range as they offer quite an array of products to choose from. As for me, the Microdelivery Peel looks promising, I cannot wait to lather it all over me and see my own skin in an entirely different perspective - a brand new one! Might give the BB Cream a try too since I've been on the look-out for one and also might be in the hopes and a promise of me being my beautiful best, blemishes be gone! Now who wouldn't want that!

With the great Top Chef apron comes an even greater responsibility! This is where my kitchen fairytale came to life and how it came to a happy ending, surprisingly! It surely wasn’t my first time to bake but with my history of being the clumsiest girl with the most butterfingery hands ever, I needed all the luck I can get to not topple the whole batter all over the place, let alone end up with a final product that actually looks and even tastes nice. This Philosophy-inspired Buche Recipe was put together by Top Chef's resident chef using some of the actual bath and body products as inspiration. How brilliant! This is definitely one kitchen fairytale I'd never get tired of telling everyone I know... "Once Upon a time, The Girl and The City learned how to make the buche and she baked happily ever after." Thank you so much Philosophy for my Top Chef Cooking Studio experience that is not only fun but incredibly memorable!

And now, I leave you with this, my sweet little labor of love and tiny piece of happy ending...

 Me and Mine: The Philosophy-inspired "Joy Buche" ala The Girl and The City

Philosophy Facebook Page | Twitter | Website
Top Chef Cooking Studio Facebook Page

December 10, 2012

TDUG: Be My Teenage Dream Tonight

F21 butterfly top | H&M tee | F21 jeans | Zara flats | H&M purse | H&M necklace | F21 beanie

I randomly picked out a mint coloured beanie from F21 and since then, I haven’t put it down – like literally. I have been building all of my outfits around it! This is what I wore to an afternoon spent with Philosophy baking at Top Chef Studio last Thursday. I figured it’ll serve me well for it will keep my hair off my face the whole time and that it did! Coincidentally, it matches the colors of the Philosophy sorbet products and I definitely looked like I belong!

I wanted to wear something cute, comfortable and functional for the event. Yes, I did include cute because the invite had a photo of a cutiepatootie kiddo with an inset of the words, believe in miracles – instant inspiration! Then I had to think about comfort and function since the invite says baking and the venue is inside a chef studio! You can’t imagine my excitement when I received this invite so I decided to dress the part as far as comfort and function are concerned. I’ve put together one oversized shirt over another and picked out a pair of skintight jeans – that’s comfort and function for you! Added the something cute bit, a powdered peach feather and pearls necklace from H&M. Since it turned out to be a simple colour-blocked outfit altogether, I picked out the tribal printed purse from H&M to add some ‘noise’ and contrast. To literally cap off the whole look, may I present to you one and all, the mint beanie from F21!

What do you think? Do you dress for comfort and function often or no rules at all? The beanie did serve me its purpose though – score! More on the afternoon bake off with Philosophy on my next post!

WWJS: The Benefit Brow Bar

Since I have been hearing a lot of good reviews about The Benefit Brow Bar even long before it came to the Middle Eastern soil, I was kind of excited to finally experience it myself! I have never tried anything more than just the usual tweeze/thread so when I checked the services listed on their 'menu', I was a bit overwhelmed! My decision to go all out with the services was justified by the fact that my brows and upper lip area have not been kept for the past *wait for it* 3 months. Shame, I know and that’s why I indulged a little.

Before I proceed with my experience, I wanted to share how important I find the brow is. A filled in and well-kept brow makes you look fresh and poised, put-together and confident. I personally didn’t care, let alone knew, about it until I discovered the whole new world of make-up artistry and beauty blogging. And then there’s THE difference right before my eyes in front of my vanity mirror. So now, I almost never leave home without filling them in with a brow pencil or powder. I haven’t mastered nor perfected the art of, but I’m getting there. So here’s when the Brow Bar experience comes up!

When I walked into the bar, I spotted France, the Benebabe who gladly accommodated me and answered all my questions about the services before I jump right into the Benefit Brow Bar bandwagon. She said my kind of brows are the nicest to shape (I always get that but I don’t know why) and my hair strands are thick by default (yes, even my brows apparently) but I had tweezed the base in excess so now I have to grow them out a bit to have a thicker one. She also shared that all of them had to undergo an intensive training prior to the launch which is just fitting considering the hype and the standards The Brow Bar has been known for.

I then decided on getting the eyebrow shaping, tinting, waxing and upper lip waxing combo. The whole process lasted for about 45 minutes in total which is reasonable enough considering the state of my unkempt brows and facial hair. I only ever noticed the first step though, which was tinting that has to stay in there for 2 minutes then it will last for 3 weeks max after. Then I was either too unsettled to even consider or too shy because I was there on the ‘hot’ seat for everybody to see to even remember anything that followed! You may be asking if it is painful though, not at all! But be warned that I slightly have a higher tolerance for pain. The upper lip waxing though, man that was crazy! I can feel the tiny hairs in the corners of my lips being literally peeled off my skin and that’s where it stings – a little. But still very tolerable, nothing you have to worry about. Besides, they have this cooling gel/vaseline ready for you just in case and it works!

Overall, Benefit Brow Bar was a fun, experimental and satisfying experience. Not only will you get what you pay for, but you actually get what you came for – perfectly raised and flattering brows! Though I have to be honest, shedding quite a few dirhams more to fix an eyebrow may be too much for some but like I always say, if it delivers and in no way is the result being compromised, then it’s a few dirhams more well spent! I personally have no regrets as this was a first time and the experience was well worth it! Maybe a follow up visit every three months or even twice in a year is in order though!

Finally, here we are! France kept the mirror to herself and wouldn’t let me look at it halfway during the process for the element of surprise (her words, not mine) but I am not good with surprises so you can just imagine the look on my face the whole time! I trust her though, her own set of brows can vouch for her credibility, so after 45 minutes and then some…

December 04, 2012

TDUG: So This Is Me Swallowing My Pride

Topshop cropped knitwear // Thrifted collared top // H&M necklace // MNG Lizzy trousers // H&M studded loafers 

This is basically how I dress up for work. As much as I love dressing up, sometimes I wake up, stare at my closet and think to myself, what to wear today, and still end up staring for a couple more minutes until I finally snap out of it. Which is pointless really because I do not have a big closet to begin with so I don't have that luxury. But when I say what to wear, I just literally mean what to put together so I can just get it over and done with. What I do however is I think of a strategy at the beginning of my work week. Coming up with a theme, like choosing one particular fabric or style to focus on for the whole week! It will save you a lot of time on dressing up and will leave you experimental on the pieces you already have inside your closet! And this week, as we welcome DecemBRR, I decided on wearing all my knitwears!

On this particular work day, the gray oversized cropped knit top from Topshop takes the spotlight! It's warm enough yet hangs loosely so you have to make it work for you. As there is no way I'm allowed to wear a cropped top out, nor is there even a possibility because lovehandles, I layered up with a striped collared top to create the whole preppy drama. I focused on the pastel theme of the colours by wearing Kate Moss for Rimmel in 101 on my lips. It's a pretty shade of powder pink complimenting the powder blue details of my striped top. I completed the preppy look ensemble with the gold collar necklace and studded loafers from H&M - what other way to spell preppy than being buttoned up and in loafers. I gotta admit, this look altogether reminds me of the One Direction boies and if you're a fan, I bet you'll get my drift. Or maybe, that was me taking my overly fangirl self into the spotlight, together with the Topshop knitwear, once again.

And oh, plus points if you figured out how I ended up with the title of this post! We're back to Decembrr! x
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