Monday, 30 January 2012

Written in the stars

Sometimes our pre-destined life's path paves the way.

Something we don't have control of- a cosmic intervention.

I strongly believe that some things are meant to be and we are pre-determined to be in that place at that time, meeting that person.

Take this deep,dark, mysterious BarryM Nail Paint in Navy for example.

It is the way blue polishes should be inky and moody, wearable and chic, not gothy or gaudy but a little rock n roll all the same.

Happy alone, a little chipped around the edges but still felt content with how it looked and had been getting a few admirers.

And that is the way this post would have read had I not been at a loose end browsing in Sportsgirl on that  fateful day.

But the cosmos intervened and I found myself swatching this sparkly number mindlessly;


Sportsgirl Nail It! All that Glitters. A 3 free polish befitting Midas and his digits. Lustrous gold platelets suspended in a clear medium. 24K gold on one side, platinum on the underside which creates a multi-faceted depth.

Almost like gazing at an illuminated, twinkling night sky.

Our chance meeting written in the stars.

This is what happens when two forces collide:

And now that we have found each other, we may never part.

Expect to see a gold-spangled mani on these hands for a long-time to come, it is simply my destiny.

Do you believe in beauty fate?

Do you like a spandangled mani?

Navy? The new black??

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I am woman hear me raw

So I became a raw foodist.

Well a fair-weather one anyway, for 8.5 days to be exact after New Year's.

I'm not sure if you've seen or read anything on the raw food movement but it is to crudely summarize a diet based on fruit, seeds, nuts and vegetables. It is vegan and nothing passes your lips that has been heated passed 37 degrees, the temperature at which digestive enzymes start to be destroyed.

For it is the consuming of these enzymes in abundance that raw foodists claim make the compelling difference and reaps them all the bountiful energy and vitality, clear skin, white teeth and healing of allergies and disorders they rave about.

My motivation to try it was purely cosmetic I wanted to glow plus I'd heard so many report how it cleared  skin and how old scars started to heal and fade miraculously.

It was a video of a 65 year old raw food convert looking amazing that did it for me , secured further by this lady's story on how she cleared her acne.

I had been wanting to have a go myself for ages but it I a HUGE commitment and I live with a near carnivore who I can only push so far with my 'one day meat free per week' rule that leaves him salivating for his rump steak, lamb backstrap, pork chop (insert manly meat cut here) the next day.

So with said carnivore husband away for a week, a shiny new juicer from Santie to call my own, a liver that answered to the name Sheen and the beginnings of a festive paunch that threatened to obstruct view of my hot pink pedicure any day now, there had never been a better time to get down, clean and raw.

So armed with a fridge full of veggies and a fruit bowl of overflowing abundance I set about my raw journey.

I kept things fairly simple- mega green juice on rising, organic raw muesli and almond milk with berries, LSA & chia seeds for breakfast, monster everything salad for lunch and zucchini 'pasta' and raw pasta sauce for dinner and a fruit dessert with some smoothies throughout the day and fruit, crudities and nuts for snacks

Thank the raw gods for my juicer, the Breville Juice Fountain is all I can say. I couldn't have attempted such a thing without it. It is quick, powerful and as easy to clean as a quick rinse unlike many juicers I've encountered in the past.

Also this zucchini 'pasta' recipe is so tasty, nutritious and quick and something I will keep eating when looking to make something fast but not fatty boombala for myself. In fact I had it for dinner last night after an event when I came home late.

Avocados were my new best mate, we were pretty close as was. I discovered an amazing creamy avocado dressing which is basically an avocado, Himalayan salt (much better for you as is alkalising to the system) and pepper, organic raw apple cider vinegar and cold-pressed olive or flaxseed oil ( or both). Whip it all up with a ballon whisk or a fork and it will make any salad decadent, rich and creamy. Cobb salad without the blob! I've kept doing this in work with my DIY lunch salads since.

Then there was my raw cacao powder and raw coconut chocolate butter discoveries from Loving Earth. Chocccccolatttttte! (in Homer Simpson voice)

Cacao Powder - Raw Organic
Coconut Chocolate Butter - Raw Organic

My sweet, chocolate fix but without the sugar and with added nutrients and minerals.

These two between them kept me satiated and felt like I wasn't deprived. A spoon of raw cacao powder in a smoothie is an instant chocolate milkshake and the raw cacao butter is like the richest most decadent chocolate ganache sauce you would get for dessert at a posh restaurant. It's so rich you can only have 1/2 teaspoon or so and it has a coconut oil base so it will keep you fuller for longer.

Drizzled on mango chunks or strawberries it is heaven and you are left with the feeling you have had a gooey rich dessert when you haven't really at all. It also does that magic chocolate sauce thing whereby it sets hard on ice-cream which i made with whizzed up frozen bananas and strawberries.

Serious yum goodness.I'm addicted - stuff is good!

So what benefits did I see of being a raw warrior?
  • Well I lost the festive pork - the few kgs I piled in such a scarily short amount of days over the holidays were gone after my 8.5 days of raw but I hit my plateau weight which means I was getting enough calories to sustain me without going below my body's right weight.
  • By evening two I could see a glow to my skin, not something I usually can notice in myself even when others comment. All raw foodists talk about this. Apparently it is because of all that living energy, enzymes, vitamins and super water you are consuming and not cooking out of the food.
  • I was sceptical but low and behold there was a glow. I had not one spot pop up over the 7.5 days, naturally on day 8 a whopper festered on my cheek just in time for my husband's return but to be fair I suspect it was brewing under the surface for weeks, you know the ones.
  • A girl in work did comment on how sparkly and white my eyes were and my stomach was flatty, mc flat, flat, flat
But how did I feel?
  • Day 1 I had a shocker , irritable, hungry, grumpy- I suspect this was just the normal detox symptoms post Christmas excess.
  • From Day 2 I was fine however I struggled to get out of bed in the morning but then had boundless energy in the day, then it would trough and I would need a late afternoon nap, then I would be all energizer bunny again and struggle to get to sleepy enough to go to bed early. I thought that cycle of highs and lows was interesting,
  • On the eight day we went for dinner and I wanted nothing but salad and was even perplexed by the roast sweet potato in the salad and the following evening I really felt adverse to the thought of eating meat and hesitated over my prawn salad thinking is this the point I turn vegetarian in my life? Three prawns sucked dry later I found my mojo again but my mind took me there for that little moment.
  • Hunger would also creep up quickly and with a bang so I needed to be poised and ready with snacks.
  • I did find I got into a rhythm and enjoyed the regular eating pattern BUT imagine I would get bored over a longer period.

Could I sustain for longer than 8.5 days? I don't think so to be honest it's a lot of hard work and planning and that was with me at home on holidays, a working week would be really hard plus I would run out of dinner ideas.

As fate would have it just as I finished the fabulous and inspiring people over at Echolife (great natural online store with FREE shipping, love that) were doing a 21 day greensmoothie challenge

It was the perfect way to keep my green smoothie momentum going and find inspiration and motivation while I did it. You can follow on twitter #greensmoothie.

Some of what I've been guzzling and yes I've been enjoying the amateur food-styling.

I have to say I'm loving it - it feels great , I do have lots of energy and my skin is being well behaved. I'm all for it - go the green smoothie movement. I swear you can whack a whole bunch of spinach in amongst bananas or apples and it will go unnoticed. Try it!

Will I keep it up?
To be honest I default back to my 80:20 rule. I think everything in moderation.

Yes I will try to green smoothie it a day and my breakfast and lunch Mon-Fri are always raw but at the weekend I do love my organic sourdough bread form our local bakery or meals out however if you approach with the intent of having some raw fresh fruit/veg component with every meal you can't go too far wrong.

Have you ever tried to go raw?

Would you consider it as a short term detox?

Are you partial to a green smoothie?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dreaming of a white toothed Christmas

No not that kinda one. I live in Bondi ya great gala.

Christmas is not right unless I'm sweating like a leg of ham down on the beach.

But I was dreaming of white teeth for Christmas.

Let me reminisce a little.

You see white teeth have always been a little obsession of mine and I've had marvellous results in the past with a home whitening kit that involved a custom mould for my teeth and dental practice strength peroxide from this crazy lady that calls herself Tina the Tooth Fairy! at Striking Smiles.

Now I did have to wear the mould at night for two weeks, which I diligently did and  the results were amazing and lasted for years with only a top up one night a month every 4 months or so.

Some photographical journalism from that white-toothed era circa 2005

(note to self: am glad you let those brows grow out and that you have eased off on le face faux glow and did somebody get a little cray cray with the under eye illuminating concealer, did they?)

There is no denying those fangs are impressively white for a DIY home jobby.

I did a top up session then for my wedding of the same magic with a reorder from Tina The Tooth Fairy as I still have my moulds in tact and while I didn't persist to get them as white as my pearlies are above they were fairly blanched to be fair on the big day. An important bridal move when in stark contrast with a white gown.

Then comes Natural November and the perils of using a natural tooth powder- Mukti's version. While my hair and skin and everything benefited from my month au naturale my chompers were decidedly jaundiced.

In fact scarily so that by the end of the month I felt more than just kinda gross.

They were very yellow and in particular around the gum line, yes I was smiling with my lips pursed Posh Spice style.

I thought this was actually staining but I think it was a plaque build up - ewwww gross I know plus some staining underneath. Double gross.

Anyway come December I was scrubbing weekly with bicarbonate of soda and reverted back to old reliable white-keeper Colgate Max White One

However I'm still looking a little too yelly for my liking.

Then in swoops Vani-T Pure White Tooth Whitening Gloss like a glimmering silver Christmas Fairy sent from above to save me and abolish my yellow dental sins.

Now quite a random thing for a cosmetic company to have in their wares. But I won't argue as apart from looking quite important and lux in a silver metallic pen, this shiz works.

What is more over the course of a lazy afternoon watching movies on the sofa you can have vastly improved whiteness.

Its a pen tip not unlike a Touche Eclat and you simply paint on the gloss every fifteen minutes for two hours, thats right multiplication whizzes , that is indeed eight applications.

Now I am extra geeky and used my teeth mould to hold the gloss in place while I watched Sherlock Holmes or some other non-eventful husband chosen matinee.

It tastes minty and a little chemically in the same vain but it kept me away from the popcorn, perhaps another of it's perks.

And by Holmes I was pretty happy with the results for the minimum effort involved.

Then for upkeep I've been nonchalantly using these two easy peasy white and breezy products that come in the one pack. Extreme Teeth Whitening Pen with Whitening Strips

A handy litle combo pack that contains a pen, not unlike the Vani-T number and seven little white strip packs which are much like the cult Crest strips in the US.

The pen lives on my desk at work and I duck down in my pod and paint this on my teeth for a little whitening touch up. The strips are really easy and you just stick the little pre-loaded cellophane strips on to your teeth , top and bottom and they mould and hold reasonably well.

They get a little foamy under the collar but mostly go unnoticed as you wear them for 0 mins or so. I sometimes do this on the transit to work. I like the idea of using the begrudged trans-Sydney commute for beauty avail.

The first strip I did , hubby noticed a difference so while they are not whitening superstars they are great for maintenance dear Watsons.

So my eternal white search continues and writing this has made me think I should do another Striking Smiles blast to get back to my former glory.

Oh also to note my dentist gave me a great descale and polish on Monday and turns out my teethys have come up trumps with no lasting staining from the Natural November plaque attacks.

One last memo- I got a dentist scolding for not flossing regularly . I'm sporadic to say the least. He tuts and says daily, you must floss daily so thanks Doc, Day 4 and I've flossed nightly, just another 2 mins to add to the already arduous night time beauty ritual.

Tis tough work this beauty!!

PS he quoted me $600 for in-chair whitening.....

Have you had your teeth whitened?

Do you use whitening prodz?

Do you humour your betrothed and mindlessy watch crappy movies for their sake while writing blogs in your head?

* all products were supplied for consideration. Stains, plaque attack opinions and wonky bottom snaggle tooth are my own

Entered my Dermalogica Daylight Defense Kit Giveaway yet? 
Why the blazes not you crazy cat? 
Scoot on over and tell me why you love summer....

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Saxy in the buff

Grey and beige.

Not two words associated with sexy but smash them together to get greige and then paint them on your nails and you'll soon be upping your digits sex appeal.

See I think greige, short, square and highly polished nails are terribly sexy in a Calvin Klein cotton underwear ad sort of way.

They also make such a cool, neutral and well polished canvas to reflect attention to a more overtly racy attributes like those hot pink toenails you hot piece of ass you or that racy red shift dress, banging bright orange clutch or that teasing teal eyeliner.

Yadayada, you get the picture, I'm a greige advocate, it is understated yet sexy.

I've flaunted quite a few of such shades in recent months - the multiple-faceted Orly Nite Owl, and the bolder and more assertive Sally Hansen Commander in Chic.

All buff winners to me.

For my next trick....

A glossy, creamy taupe.....

That paints so creamily and streak free you'll be purring as you apply...

Virtuously 'three free ' with no chemical baddies so you can relax and enjoy the ride....

See what I'm doing here?

The slow and saxy reveal ...

Yours, for only $8.95 (gasp)

The one, the only relatively high performing

SAX Nail Life No 65.

Devilishly,angelic no?

I'm loving these Saxy SAX polishes let me tell you and I've just discovered there is quite an impressive little colour range that perform just as well as the high end big guns.


Want more, more I tells you.

Oh and PS I hate polishes that have numbers not names, how painstakingly dull.

Oh and PPS greige does not do it for me on toes, at all, not one bit. Funny that!

Tell me

Do you like to wear your nails in the buff

Have you tried SAX Nail Life Polishes?

Does the whole greige thing do it for you like Bradley Cooper topless in denim dirty and greased up under the bonnet of a car? Oops have I said too much..........?

Entered my Dermalogica Daylight Defense Kit Giveaway yet? 
Why the blazes not you crazy cat? 
Scoot on over and tell me why you love summer..

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sunny side up + Dermalogica Giveaway (closed)

Finally after a horrific three wet weeks in December the sun decided to come out and play, seriously just in time for Christmas Eve. With nineteen days off work (who's counting) with the sole intention of doing nothing much at all  except lying sunny side up down at North Bondi, the sun being an imperative part of my beach bumming masterplan.

Can you spot me in this great aerial view taken on New Year's Day? Nah me neither!

Now I hadn't as much as put my pedicured metallic orange  big toe in the sea yet this summer. Total shocker! I'd usually be splashing about come mid-October. I had bikinis still with tags on and a box full of SPF products that needed testing.

A fairbear at heart who is unsure of the reality of my own skin as the lines between fake, gradual and actual tan are blurred I do burn easily so I need an easy apply, easy blend, last for hours, waterproof, doesn't turn me or my carefully chosen beach to bar ensemble into a greasy, stained mess. Oh yeah and ideally physical not chemical with no nano-particles confirmed.

Fussy little surf seeker no?

Well I'm still on that hunt and haven't reached full sunscreen monogamy just yet BUT I have been having a few fun little summer romances with these hotties;

Banana Boat Everyday SPF30 Sunscreen*
Well hello there big boy! This tube is a monster at 200g and what that means for my inner stingy psyche is I apply more and where sunscreen is concerned and dishing out that one tablespoon per limb serving that I never meet this is a good thing. I squirt out heaps as I go but the appeal with this one is that it doesn't matter as the texture is so easy to work with.

This cream emulsifies really quickly so becomes nice and fluid and easily spread before sinking in quickly, not a white cast to be seen. There is no fake cloying coconut or any scent at all except for a bog standard Cetaphil type ointment smell that dissipates. I can do a head to toe cover and get dressed and be out the door in five minutes.

Now I usually hit the beach for the afternoon decline- say 2pm onwards. With this there was no reapplication required even after diving paddling cautiously in the waves. Plus the easy application meant no missed burned patches even on my self-applied back.

Sing with me; Do do do do Banana Boat do do do do, do do do do do Banana Boat!

Love Summer. Love this stuff.

Vaseline Aloe Fresh Lotion with SPF 15
Another big boned beauty with a fabulous pump feature and a generous 375ml size. This bottle lives in my hallway for the sole purpose of weekend ambling cover by that I mean. I've decided it's not quite beachy and I am already dressed in weekend attire. My husband fancies nipping out for a coffee and maybe a wander in the shops. My shoulders/back/chest (insert tender fair area prone to roasting pink here) are exposed.

As I am running out the door I'll slap this on whatever pink bits are hanging out there. It's light, easily spread and will sink in without stickiness or clamminess in the heat outside. The scent borders on fresh and a tad too synthetic and strong cucumber for me but it does fade so I get over it. Only an SPF15 but enough to keep me from sizzling while sipping my skinnyhazelnutsoylongmochafrappawankerchino. Ahhh.

Thanks to gorgeous Sarah from Hip&Haute who handed this over as part of a giveaway she ran. xx

Dermalogica Daylight Defense Kit*
I do love a mini-kit, hell that's how I got hooked on Dermalogica way back when. The all inclusive packable, compactness of this set would excite me no end to stuff in my suitcase on a getaway. Seeing as I wasn't going further than 50m from my front door over the holidays I would have to make do with my imagination!

The kit contains travel sized versions of
  • Multivitamin BodyBlock SPF 20
  • Solar Defense Booster SPF 30
  • Solar Shield SPF 15 
  • After Sun Repair.
The hero for me is the Solar Defense Booster. I've owned this in full-size before and it just so handy. I have heaps of beautiful day creams in my cabinet that don't contain SPF so this is perfect to mix with one of those to give them protection.  SPF30 protection at that. You can also blend it with a foundation or use on it's own as a base. A little goes a long way and you should aim for a half/half mixture.

I also have been loving the After Sun Repair after the beach. It is really cooling with all the soothing greats lavender, cucumber, aloe and chamomile in a super light gel texture with Japanese Alder that works to scavenge free radicals and accelerates DNA repair - so saving not only the pain of sunburn but the long term damage effects on your skin health which I physically imagine and picture in mu mind when I put this on.

The Multivitamin BodyBlock SPF 20 has now taken pride of place at my desk in work for days I decide to eat lunch outside or go for a walk. It's light enough to apply without messing up my work clothes. The technology behind this uses encapsulated stable vitamins when subjected to UV release these antioxidants to work alongside the sunscreens and provide photo protection. I find this thought really reassuring!

They all smell typically Dermalogica - gentle and light with a hint of lavender.

Now  - the good news for you is I have a Dermalogica Daylight Defense Kit up for grabs for one lucky winner.

All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me what makes you smile about summer. The person who makes me smile most with their comment is the winner.

Don't forget to leave contact details if your email is not on your profile.

Winner will be announced on Australia Day!

Sorry Australian Residents only

Were you sunny side up over the Christmas holidays?

What sunscreen are you loving right now?

Have you tried any of these sunscreens?

Are you partial to a skinnyhazelnutsoylongmochafrappawankerchino? I haven't had any coffee since New Years Eve- ARGH!

*products provided for consideration-road-tested sunny-side up on the beach by me

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The year my skin chucked a mental

The post could easily be about the year 1999 and I could be writing this mid-way through Beauty School, a time I was mad for smoky eyes, my Babyliss Steam Straightener  (Remember those- I thought that was the best invention like eva!) and pearlised white eyeshadow highlighting too thin sperm brows.

The year I also had a horrific acne breakout from overworking my skin training in Beauty School.


But its not it is circa 2011 and at the ripe old age of thirty (oneish) when my skin chucked an almighty, astronomical mental.

Nice one.

Only 6 months after having the best skin of my life for my wedding.

Alas breaking ties with the contraceptive pill started a chain reaction of awful hormonal teenage skin again.

I managed to get some control of it by using trusted Dermalogica's range but then come August things started to get really bad.

I was testing products out like a mad thing and using so many things my skin just didn't know what to do so it just had a tantrum and chucked all of it's toys out of the pram and a whole lot of zits out of my pores.

Pinned Image
This was also around the same time I started using my Clarisonic Mia which in conjunction with my product flurry was making my skin purge.

I had hormonal oily skin, oversensitised breakouts plus a whole lot of surfacing skin congestion from my Clarisonic.

It was not pretty.

But wait it gets worse...

I decided in September we needed help, me and my skin, somewhere we could go to work through our problems together. So I booked us in for some therapy. Some LED light therapy - a whole course of it.

LED therapy is fairly new and much raved about and is a totally new approach to treating skin. There are many hybrids now but most usually fall in or around Blue Light - to treat acne, Red Light for anti-ageing and collagen stimulation.

I was getting eight regular treatments of the blue light therapy - which works by killing the Propionibacterium acne causing bacteria and a bonus oxygen facial afterwards.

By rights I should have been on the path to clear skin. I could have bet the $500+ outlay on it.

But nope- I got sidetracked and bedazzled. The clinic was running a deal on peels and the therapist talked me into a course telling me they would only enhance the effectiveness of the light therapy so I started having them at the same time.

I had a salicylic peel (serious peeling and face dandruff after that one) a pumpkin peel (hurt like burning in hell but not so much peeling) and a lactic acid/glycolic peel (somewhere in between on pain levels and flakiness).

Somewhere in between peel number two and three and LED number five my skin went absolutely, full blown, lie on the floor and bang your fists and feet mental. 

I may also have been "trialling" the oil cleansing method at the same time - foolish, foolish girl.

So it seems somehow with my oversensitized, overpeeled face and exposed pores - the oil cleansing was a catalyst for one almighty deep pore infection. All over my face. In places I've never even had a zit, like all over my cheeks and under my jawline.

Absolute skin carnage.

The pores were blocked really, really deep down, infected, painful and hard. Too painful to even contemplate squeezing and the multitude of blemishes on the surface were angry red.

I didn't know what to do - then I found this article from Beauty Editor Canada and the description was exactly what I was experiencing.

On reading that article I followed suit and went to the doctor and got antibiotics for the infection which I took for three weeks which really helped.

This was my skin a few weeks AFTER antibiotics - you can see where all the cysts /infection had been and I was still breaking out but it had calmed down considerably.

This was now October and there was still a whole lot of damage left behind I needed to treat. Congestion, scars and all those deep cysts that were no longer infected but still needed to surface and clear.

This was partly the reason I undertook Natural November. I needed to cut back on products, shelve the Clarisonic and look to rebalance my skin to try and stop breakouts and heal all these horrific scars and marks and redness I was left with.

Turns out a month of natural, simple, gentle treatment was just what was required.

Mid way through November my skin had calmed significantly, so much of the congestion had cleared and the redness and marks were calming.

I do believe by going really gently with the Kosmea and Mukti Cleansing routine I was rebalancing and my skin was calming and not being so over sensitised.

However it was by a twist of fate at this time I was in contact with Rebecca Powne the founder of Be in Awe Skincare around the same time. She gave me the opportunity to trial some of her serums which I truely believe were pivotal in the turnaround.

The Be In Awe mantra was so aligned at that time to what I needed both for the state of my skin and also for the Natural November undertaking. Natural yet powerful and effective with a traditional Ayurvedyic underlying principle that focuses on balance.

"We believe skin care should be free from potential irritants and harsh chemicals. It should be made from premium quality ingredients in packaging that will not harm the environment nor compromise the integrity of the product. It should be affordable. It should work."

Rebecca didn't just send me the products she actually called me and we had a thirty minute consultation on the phone which considering Rebecca's B.A in Ayurvedic Studies (Indian Medicine) and B.H.Sc. in Clinical Dermal Therapies, was extremely valuable.

She prescribed firstly their Calming Serum to rebalance and secondly their Clearing serum to breakdown the rest of the congestion. had she asked me for two words of what my skin needed "Clearing" & "Calming" would have been it.

So  within two weeks of using the Clearing Serum  followed a minute later by the Calming Serum twice daily there was a marked difference

amala Clearing serum

The Amala Clearing Serum  is salicylic acid based. With Oleanolic acid, Nordihydroguaiaretic acid Azelaic acid as the other active ingredients chosen for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.It is then blended with natural oils like Apricot Kernel and Sunflower Seed and healing and inflammatory essential oils such as tea-tree, lavender and sandalwood. There is also ginger root in there which nods to the Ayurveda

It smells unusual slightly warm and spicy, slightly astringent and almost musty like corked wine! It is light and almost gel-like in texture, absorbs straight away and is easy to disperse and control  from the pump packaging. I was using it twice a day all over my face - I have now cut back to once per day at night on my t-zone and there is still some left.

nirvaata Calming serum
The Nirvaata Calming Serum is slightly creamy in texture yet still light and absorbs readily. It smells quite marzipan-mixed spice like and dries to a really soft, velvety finish which I love , no grease factor whatsoever.

It's hero ingredients include essential fatty acids, Bisabolol and Vitamins E and D3 along with colloidal oatmeal, wheatgerm oil, frankincense and more ginger root.

All chosen for their natural anti inflammatory effects and ability to aid in skin barrier function, reduce the effects of external stressors and maintain the cell’s energy levels.

I'm using this only intermittently through the week now as things feel and look so much calmer.

So great and fast has my success with these two products that next up I am going to try the  Kaanti Lightening Serum next designed for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, While my skin is no longer congested or breaking out it is scarily scarred and still really marked.

kaanti Lightening serum 

This is my skin just after Natural November. About six weeks after the photo above. You can see it is still heavily marked but all those marks are actually healed old blemishes (except the whopper on my cheek)

Breakouts had all but a few cleared.

I look awkward because it is bloody awkward taking photos without makeup!

Ten weeks on my skin is remarkably balanced and is only getting the odd pimple here and there and looks so much healthier. I can report only two spots in the past three weeks!

 It is clearer than it has been in years which is some change from the worst it has ever been sixteen weeks ago.

I'm just focusing on the scar reduction now- onwards and upwards!

So what have I learned during this turbulent and trialling skin year?
  1. Do not overwork the skin. It has come back to bite me in the ass twice in my life - giving me acne. Ill never let it do it a third time. Keep your routine simple and introduce new products slowly and one by one.
  2. Be cautious of the effect the contraceptive pill can have on the body and your hormones. I have had to rebalance my gut, vitamin levels and suffer greasy hair and skin and breakouts since coming off it. My hair has also started growing almost like it was stunted before. Great in theory but for the moment I have a halo of fuzzy new hair growth!! Perhaps take breaks from it or look at alternatives intermittently. I wish I knew the effect it was having on my system and had this retrospect.
  3. Clarisonics may cause purging. While I've introduced mine successfully now again and am using once daily and ave noticeably cleaner, tighter more refined pores - we did have a bumpy ride to begin with
  4. While the Oil Cleansing Method is used and adored by some - do approach with caution and be careful what other treatments you mix it with. Do read that post and comments I linked to above just to arm yourself with what may happen and how best to approach making the switch and maximising results. 
  5. If your skin chucks a mental it is possibly a sign it is oversensitized, cut back, simplify and look for gentle, natural products designed to rebalance, you may even find over time like me they achieve better results long term.
  6. Sometimes we need help beyond the bathroom cabinet. It pained me after all my months of expensive probiotics and gut rebalancing I did to take antibiotics but needs must.
I don't usually make New Years Resolutions- am rubbish at sticking to them past New Years Day. Instead I have declared 2012 - The Year of Good Skin. 

I'm going to treat my skin with the delicate love and affection it deserves, and I will not use it as a testing ground or refer to it as "my bastard skin" ever, ever again even if it chucks another mental. Pinky promise!

Have you come to any of those six conclusions before yourself?

What are your New Years Skin Resolutions?

Have you tried any of the Be In Awe serums?

Have you a top tip for healing acne scars/post inflammatory hyperpigmentation?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A Bonheur Christmas with some ladylike glamour

So I divulged in my last post how I was obsessed with Retro Hair and feeling all Betty Draper-like lately further fuelled by my very own version thanks to Kam at Gallo Hair.

I needed to know how to do a version of this myself. Most times when I attempt to curl my hair with a tongs or a straightening iron, I get tousled waves, which is fortunate as tousled waves please my no end but I wanted to shake it up, I want edDIY retro waves.

With this in the forefront I was stalking out Zoe Foster on MamaMia breathing heavily and rustling leaves in the bushes and found this and realised of the many errors of my many curling ways;
  1. I wasn't pulling the strand tight enough or taught enough around the barrel.
  2. I wasn't allowing the curls to set 100% cold before going near them. 
  3. The reverse wand - this is the most genius bit- with tong in right-hand, curl left side of head with tong tip pointing down plug at top. For the other side  invert it.  So tong in left hand tong curling right side of head plug is at the bottom tong tip is at the top. Now why did I not think of this  - I am clearly a moron. Remedial. 
  4. Once cold tug to release the curl- this is grea tip for taking it from Lil Miss Betty Beauty Pageant curls to something more wearable for your inner Lil Miss Retro Rhonda.  A light brush with a wide paddle brush or any cushioned style of brush can also ease the curl into a set wave. my hair is thin so I go very, very lightly and only once. I like this step - adds to feeling like a layyydddee much like powdering ones face with a compact does.
  5. As I said in the last post, befriend hairspray and spray like a rampant skunk in heat.

So Christmas morning is an ambitious time to attempt such a thing but with half a bottle of Moet inside me I believed I could do anything. Turns out I can, I might start having it for breakfast!

Now that I believe in the deep side part, I divided and conquered and blow-dried with some mousse (John Frieda Bountiful Body Mousse) plus a spritz of O&M Atonic Thickening Spray which I heart a lot.

Bountiful Body® Mousse

 Then applied said new curling techniques with my Remington Tribal Tong.

Then sprayed like a good thing with Sebastian Re-Shaper Hairspray which I'm really impressed with as it has serious staying power and sort of sits nicely between mega-strong hold and flexible. As did the judges of the Australian Beauty Awards apparently- crowning it with the Judges Choice Award in 2010.

It also has humidity protectant in it which was handy seeing as I was emphatic with my turkey basting and had my curls stuck inside an oven for half the afternoon. Quite the achievement on a 29 degree day!

The result - my first DIY retro curls:

Now maybe it was the fact that I was cooking up a festive culinary feast for my Mr Draper or the fact I was the owner of a Christmas pinny, I just felt that a Betty Draper look would suit the day.

And what else would put the finishing touch on such festive lady-like glamour? A Chanel lippie of course. I whipped out my Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur , a beautiful sheer violet-plum. Another lipstick loophole for me the colour is dark but the texture is so light and glossy it kinda works, even more so I think with a dress of the same colour family.

Of course I am a total Draper fraud as I soon realised . I burned the arse of my Gordon Ramsay's cider & walnut gravy and concluded the day in my PJs eating cherry trifle from the bowl on the sofa watching The Royle family Xmas Special.

The antithesis of the demure Betty. 

Does this video enlighten you on achieving retro curls or am I truly a bit slow?

What was your Christmas Day look inspired by?

Do you love Betty as much as I do?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

She's got Betty Draper hair

Forget Betty Davies eyes it is Betty Draper I'm coveting so much right now. Retro, set & fabulous.

Betty- you are crazy as a kid after eating a bag of skittles but that is half your charm and we forgive you because you manage to live in Craycrayville whilst always maintaining that prissy, co-ordinated, perfectly coiffed elegance

Betty is queen but I can't get enough of other retro-fabulousness lately. Rockabilly, 20s, 40s glamour, if it requires setting and hairspray and perhaps a scarf, I'm there.

So the obsession obviously started whilst glued to the stylus maximus in the Mad Men series (OH HURRY UP SEASON FIVE). That show is stylish sensory overload and makes me look at mustard in a whole new light!

Meanwhile back on my sofa I developed another style crush on Natalie Bassingthwaighte and her spot-on hair and make-up get on the recent X-Factor show. Further enhanced by the stark contrast of ex Spice Girl Mel B's fails every week. (Seriously Mel - sack that stylist you are about as spicy as porridge these days.)

Example- starts with T, rhymes with Granny, Mel you can do soooo much better

However it was these two Nat specials that got my retro juices flowing! Oh and what's that you say? More reasoning to love mustard, oh yes I agree. 
The flames of this retro hair fire are then further fanned by all the amaze retro barnetts that keep cropping up in mags and on TV - looky, looky;

So fast forward and it is no wonder I am sitting in a chair at Gallo Hair briefing the stylist on "retro and fabulous please , oh yeah and  it needs to last me two nights"

I was so lucky to have been given the opportunity to go there and have a treatment and style and it created the opportunity to do something new.

Kam my stylist was a bit of a hair ledge, genius and prepped my hair with a double Wella/Morrocan Oil treatment mask for shine then some Kevin Murphy Body Builder mousse which he claims is never crunchy and his go to for oomph. 

He then deep, deep parted my hair as I looked on sceptically thinking my cows lick and natural parting's lack of ability to stay to the side would make him fail.

Blow drying  it mostly with his fingers for movement before moving in with a few big barrel brush stretch & root blast combos, that I often try to emulate but can never achieve.

Taking quite a large big barrel tong (sans clamp) Kam curled my hair inwards and mostly with the tong upside down in one inch sections, wrapping so tightly and near the barrel I thought each time I would get the smell of singed skin, but he survived unscathed!.True Pro!


As he curled each section with the tong he would then wrap it straight into a Kevin Murphy Hair Curler that had this cool elastic string clip that held it tight. He assures me I could omit this step at home.

He did the whole head the sprayed about half of can of spray before taking out the cooled curls delicately one by one.

I think there was more spray, I may have been high from the previous fumes.

The curls are really tight and through my aerosol haze I am still sceptical but he whips out a paddle brush and starts gently brushing the ends while holding the roots and I'm getting giddy as it is starting to look amazing.

More spray.

Than a neat little trick whereby he pressed the barrel of the tong vertically along the horizontal side swept fringe to create a little dent to give it that finger curl wave thing. Noted.

Then we both unanimously decide it needs to all be swept to one side, then it seems to want to be pinned underneath by two bobby pins to make an almost side low ponytail. 

My hair has always had a mind of it's own!

Bit more spray and we have this:

Yes it is a little grainy and yes I am a little tipsy and maybe posing more than a  little lot but what can I say, I LOVED it!

And heaps seemed to as well - boys in the office who never noticed any of my ensembles or attempts to style it up made comments.

I am even a little sad I didn't do this for my wedding hair!

Later that night I was coherent enough to don a silk scarf Marilyn style to bed and woke up the next morning still with my retro on, much to the amusement of my husband. A yoga class, day at work and a water taxi to Island Bar on Cockatoo island later there is not a hair out of place. Kam - you wizard, you nailed the brief xx

And the moral of this festive, tipsy, retro story?

Curl and then allow those curls to cool like Vanilla Ice before touching.


Hairspray like it's 1984 baby. 

Don't mind Michael Jackson - he gave it bad press.

That's right spray away ladies-spray like a skunk in heat!!

So inspired I was that I attempted my own version for Christmas Day - but that is tomorrow's blog post!!

What y'all think?

Have you rocked retro hair?

Do you spray like a skunk in heat?

Is retro the new bed head?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Gold Lang Syne


Hope you all had a good one.

Unfortunately we had some bad news from home and a death in the family so we didn't  really feel like partying too much.

I had however already pimped up my nails with an ombre metallic festive mani chosen to enhance a glass of bubbles in hand and visa versa.

We went out for a quiet dinner locally so I still donned the glitzy outfit I had planned for firework watching and gilded up my eyes a little so they would fit!

It's New Years Eve - that is what one must do, sparkle like it's 1999!!

From pinkie to thumb:
  • Face of Australia Molten Metallics, Bronze
  • Face of Australia Molten Metallics, Gold
  • Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen, Gold
  • Face of Australia Molten Metallics, White Gold
  • OPI, Kyoto Pearl
My two cents: 
The Face of Australia Molten Metallics are blingbadabing awesome, 3Free + apply really streak free and have held really well.

Sally Hansen's pen was a little disappointing more of a verdigris greeny than gold and a tad streaky plus hard to manage dispersing the right amount with the clicker pen. Best not bastardise like I did and stick to nail art with it.

OPI is top a always and makes me start to think I may be coming full loop back to the nineties and embarrassing a pearl finish!

bareMinerals in Light & Fairly Light & Warmth to contour, Everyday Minerals Lucent Face in Dusty Miller, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal to highlight, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral set with Arbonne Blush in Apricot to set

Australis Eyeshadow Primer, Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Soft Shimmer in Champagne all over up to brow , Vani-T Mineral Colour Crystals in Bronze Fine, Brown from Clinique Surge Eye Shadow Duo in Strawberry Fudge in socket, Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Ore on the outer corners, e.l.f. Minerals in Elegance on the brow bone , socket inners, Collection 2000 Extreme 24 HR Felt Tip Liner, Mac Opulash mascara.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Coral Reef

Courtesy of a dip in the sea at North Bondi- I washed it that morning so wasn't fussed to wash again. I kept it in a centre part low pony when wet until dry so this helped to keep the top smooth and then just spritzed the salty waves with O&M Atonic Thickening Spray  to get some more definition. Totally feral!

Orly Mineral FX in Emberstone

Sportsgirl Sequin "Showstopper" top & "Tuxedo" shorts, Mollini T-bar heels, Mimco Resin Bangle

Do you agree New Years Eve is the night to bring out all the glitz and sparkle regardless of where you are going?

Where did you ring in the New Year?

What was your New Year look?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Eleven things I went GAGA for in 2011

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I am loving all the 'Top Eleven 201" posts I am reading. I am always a sucker for a top anything beauty list.

I thought this would be quite an easy post to do but when I sat down to tackle it I realised I was gaga for so many awesome little beauty ditties this year I may have to do genres.

Yes I am a flaky fence-sitter but what can you do?

So I bring you the top eleven types of products I've been muchos, muchos hearting this year.

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Mascara that holds tight for hours, survives the gym, rain showers and hormotional outburstsbut washes off cleanly with little or no rubbing with warm water at night and not a panda to be seen. To good to be true right? Wrong! Tubular mascaras are the Bradley Cooper of the lash worls. They have it all baby, it all.

My two favourites: Mac Opulash & Clinique Lash Power.

Mac Opulash offers all the beefiness of my old favs YSL Le Faux Cils and Christian Dior DiorShow. The brush is J-Lo esque, fat and curvy in all the right places and pimps out your lashes with fullness, volume and separation. Holds well and washes off down the plughole, almost unnoticed. My only regret is not ever getting the Wonderwoman special edition. Waaaah.

The Clinique Lash Power took a little getting used to - slimline brush with only a delicate curve and the formula feels wetter than the usual thickening kind. However it gives great length, total separation and holds as good as a waterproof and never flakes. Two tricks. One; acknowledge that this needs to set. Work fast layering a wet layer on a wet layer and getting it how you want than leave totally alone until set. Two; You need to get this warm to remove it - hold a warm cloth over your eyes for a few seconds each, you will reach the point where it just sludges and slides right off but it needs to get to a certain temperature point to do that.

2012 New Years Resolution:
Finally get around to trying these tubulars; Bobbi Brown's version Perfectly Defined Mascara and Kevyn Aucoin's The Mascara.

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2. Cheek & Lip Stains
Not usually a word that has a positive connotation "stain" but when it comes to lips and cheeks I can't be stained enough!! On cheeks nothing blends more seamlessly plus I find they behave themselves with my no.6 Mineral Powder Foundations, particularly the more liquidy ones like Benetint.

Lip stains are my lipstick loophole, I am not a bright lipstick gal but stains have allowed me to wear coral, fuchsia, berry and red this year. Previously uncharted territory for my smackers.

I've upped the anti from Benefit's peachy Posietint to Benetint, the rosy original and I am having a full blown love affair with it on lips and cheeks.

For lips the texta, marker style stain are ingenious as you can carve out a perfect lipline with it first before filling in the middle. A godsend for us uneven lined lip girls. They are also an amazing base for another lipstick on top and will have your back and peep through as the lipstick layer fades. Covergirl Outlast in Teasing Blush is the perfect natural pinky nude on my lips.

The Smashbox Limitless Lip Stain and Colour Seal Balm offering is also really clever as you can keep topping up the stain with the matching tinted balm. I like Petal a fresh and girlie pink.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Push the boundaries, go wild with colours. Try Tarte's Cheek Stain version and Daniel Sandler's raved about Watercolour Fluid Blush (Cherub is the bestseller). Bourjois also offer some good strong colours worth a try and, and, and....

3. Tinted Balms
Hot on the tails of cheek and lips stains are tinted balms. Another lipstick loophole for me the lipstick lightweight. Two standout releases in 2011 and firm favourites of mine were Burt's Bees Tinted Balms and Clinique Chubby Sticks. I have every colour in the Burt's Bees as it is true love. Rose, Pink Blossom and Hibiscus are my three most favourite shades. As for my Chubby Sticks. I seem to get a compliment everytime I wear Whopping Watermelon, the blue-based pink suits my skintone I think. I've also been playing with it's coral sister Mega Melon lately and think I need Super Strawberry and Whole Lotta Honey in my life too.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Never be without one in my handbag. They are perfect for throughout the day and layering over no.2, le stain.

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4. Spritzers
Yes I have become partial to a Sauvignon Blanc in a tall glass with soda water for a sneaky way to avoid the horror next day but I have been even more partial to a facial spritz or ten in 2011. Gone are the days of toner on a cotton pad. If it ain't got a spray nozzle I don't want to know. I have one on my desk , one for after I cleanse in the am, a different one for the pm, one for setting my make-up and one by my bed.

My favourites are Sodashi Calming Mist for night time , it is soft and rosy and relaxing, Mukti Refreshing Hydrating Mist for the evening after I cleanse as it rebalances and is astringent plus the sunny citrus mist can't help but make you feel good and Kosmea Hydrating Rosewater Mist is a great all rounder and a big bottle with a dense but super fine mist.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Don't be a ditz and forget to spritz. Sometimes I forget to set my make-up with a spray and often in work when busy I neglect to use one even though in the air-con it is probably when I need to most.

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5. Face Washing Routine
Washing my face has now become such a ritual. It sadly excites me. I start by either using Audra Jame's Skin Cleansing Oil on dry skin then hold a warm cloth up to my face a few times before rinsing or I use a few drops of Jurlique's Lemon-Lime Hydrating Essence in a sink full of water and do a few warm compresses with a washer using the pre-cleansing aroma treatment designed to soften the skin surface and opens the pores and get me all zen with its limey/lemony hit.

The cloth in either of these processes is paramount. Audra James and Mukti's cleanser accompanying cloths are plush and soft but my favourite is the Kosmea Five Minute Facial  Muslin Cloth. A huge quilted cloth that holds the temperature brilliantly for compressing but used with a bit more pressure removes product and buffs skin beautifully.

Then in the morning I've been using my Clarisonic Mia and it is all that. We had a bumpy start literally when my skin purged a bit followed by I think an unrelated acneic outbreak where I ditched it until my skin healed. Now I love the feeling this gives me in the morning and I am finally oohing and ahhing at the more refined texture and tighter pores everyone raves about.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Use this time to relax and refresh and enjoy the aromas and stay away from that magnifying mirror that makes me want to pick my pores!! Uncover a few more cloths so I have plenty in stock that I can change every second day.

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6. Mineral Make-up
This was probably my biggest revelation in 2011, all thanks to a make-under at Kit Cosmetics with bareMinerals and a Starter Kit. I have used my old liquid foundations twice since that day in October! TWICE!! I've been delving into mineral eyeshadows and blushes too for every day wear but the foundation is here to stay

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Branch out and try some other brands mineral powder foundations such as Inika, Eles, Youngblood, Bloom. There is so much to discover. Plus track down a great mineral based liquid foundation starting possibly with Inika.

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7. Spot & blemish treatments
These have always been in my beauty cabinet but those arrrrrggggh few months mid way through the year when my skin chucked a major mental meant I was calling on spot-busters more and more. However my philosophy has changed slightly.

Gone are the benzoyl peroxides and the "burn this bastard"off my chin approach. I surrendered to the gently-gently rebalancing approach during Natural November with some salicylic action when required for the big guns and I got off with a good skin behaviour warning.

Mario Badescu Drying Cream & Lotion were two winners for badly congested areas and coming to a head whoppers respectively. Dermalogica's Concealing Spot Treatment was great to use during the day as a top up to promote healing.

Mukti Sebogel takes the kid gloves approach and relies on a cocktail of natural spot fighting herbs and plant extracts which over time really does rebalance and clear.

Then to work slowly in the background unplugging, clearing and rebalancing Be in Awe Clearing Serum and Super by Dr Perricone Green Apple Acne Treatment are both gentle but effective salicylic based treatments that progressively work over time to get your skin back in shape. The Be In Awe transformed my skin dramatically over 8-weeks while also still being a natural product. I'll post more on that soon.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Try to keep my skin rebalanced and not over work it or use anything too harsh plus get to work healing all the scars left from the crazy breakout with some vitamin c treatments and lightening serums. I am currently getting good results from a mini-sized Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector and want to try the Be In Awe Lightening Serum and Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Sensitive Serum

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8. Oils - namely Rosehip, Coconut  & Argan
My three heroes this year. Give me rosehip oil in anything and my skin will adore it. BOD 
Organic Moroccan Rose Face Oil is the best I've tried results and also smellwise.

Kosmea Eight Wonder Facial Serum loves my skin and I love it back for the noticable glow I can see the next day. 

There hasn't been a week that has passed since August that I have not done a natural coconut oil mask in my hair and it is really improving the condition and my Audra James Bespoke Hair Elixr with Argan oil wears so well in my hair, never lank or greasy and makes me feel like I am nourishing it daily.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
See what other wonder oils are coming through the ranks. Borage and carrot seed seem to be popping up frequently. I also want to try Mukti's Antioxidant Facial Serum after using a delightful sample and start using oils on my body more often starting with a regular application of KORA Luxurious Body Oil.

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9. Sulfate free washing
I've lost all the sulfates and gone SLS free across the board. My hair is in better condition and my skin behaves itself. There are no spots around my hairline or at the back of my neck anymore. Now it's just a matter of finding which products work for me best.

Fun fun.

O&M Maintain The Mane shampoo and conditioners are firm favourite, I've been liking Burts Bees Green Tea & Fennel lately too and Sukin and Yes To Carrots shower gels are great value natural substitutes.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Fake suds are for duds buds!Keep going SLS free and discover some more great products that work just as effectively without the fake foam party.

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10. Big Hair Products
2011 was the year of big textured hair for me. I ditched the straighteners and grew out my layers and replaced with blunt choppy ends that need texture and oomph.

Dry shampoos were being used by the can-full particularly Batiste in Boho. Redken Wool Shake gave me a boophy, fluffy long lasting texture to ends that I've never experienced before and Aveda Abundance Potion gave me the same at the roots. 

O&M Atonic Thickening Spray and TRESemm√© 24HR Body Root Boosting Spray were used on wet hair to take me to new heights. VS Sassoon Big Hair Styler was scary at first but took no getting used to at all before I could call on sky-high, lasting , never been seen before volume in my rootage! Must don a vid & some photos.

2012 New Years Resolution: 
Keep the ends blunt with regular trims to add to the volume and find a good mousse for special occasions. I want to pick up some large velcro rollers to give another go, last befriended in the early 90s!

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11. Natural Skincare
After Natural November I have continued with mostly natural skincare. At least for my regular daily routines. My skin looks and feel so different and I want to see how far I can take it with my new natural friends.

There are so many Australian Brands offering great products it makes it so easy. Burt's Bees, Jurlique, Mukti, Kosmea and Sukin are favourites but there are still so many to discover.

2012 New Years Resolution: 2012 is the year of good skin. Did you hear me?
I will try to make sure that I work on the 80:20 rule and use clean products MOST of the time but still have fun with the less holistic versions at weekends and when going out etc. Cleanish, greenish 2012 here I comeish!

Whats been your product "monsters' this year?

Any product "bad romances"

Beauty New Years Resolutions??

Happy New Year Gorgeousnesses xx

Looking forward to another year of crazy, sexy, cool :)