Beautiful Persian and Middle Eastern Inspired Makeup

I love cool makeup looks, but am not particularly talented in the makeup realm.  Because of this, I end up having to pull down pictures of desired looks or tutorials anytime I want to do something cool and don’t have a talented artist at hand to pull off something half decent.  If exotic is your thing, check out my three rules of thumb along with picture inspiration and follow the links to my two favorite tutorial gals below!
 
1. EYEBROWS MATTER670px-Apply-Makeup-for-Middle-Eastern-Skin-Tones-Step-4
I’m a brow queen and let me tell you ladies, your brows are the most crucial part of your face.  For some reason this is just catching on in the Western world, but it’s been a big deal in the Middle East for centuries.  Even before I was allowed to wear makeup I wore eyebrow powder, and to this day I always wear my brow powder and lip balm even if I wear absolutely nothing else.  CRUCIAL.  If you are looking to reform your arch, I suggest growing your brows out for about 6-8 weeks.  This will be terribly annoying and messy, but trust me it’s worth it to gain back the perfect arch.  This will give your face a whole new look! Stop waxing (it breaks down the skin in your delicate eye region) and begin plucking or threading.  Typically I will go to a threader 3-4 times a year and supplement the rest of my weekly shape ups with plucking.  Fine tweezers and a magnifying mirror makes the job quick and painless.  
 
2. GO BOLD WITH EYES
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3. BE COMFORTABLE WITH NEUTRAL EVERYDAY LOOKS AND USE THEM TO DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR FAVORITE FEATURES.
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Finally, check out Middle Eastern inspired makeup bloggers Huda Beauty or Dress Your Face  for more incredible ideas and pictures! These girls are crazy talented and have the best pictures and tutorials out there! Dressyourface is especially great at contouring, which seems difficult and unnecessary for everyday wear but makes a huge difference when you need a smokin’ look for a special occassion!
xo
ThePersianPishi

Making time: 5 tips that allow you to do it all…with less stress!

Though I understand the sentiment behind it, nothing gets to me more than hearing people talk about how there isn’t enough time in a day!  Since the hours in a day probably aren’t changing anytime soon, it’s time to instead grab your days by the horns and make the most of the weeks you have left in this world! I have a pretty crazy schedule, and though I’ve been known to stress at times, for the most part I am able to stay pretty calm and also have plenty of time for myself despite all my responsibilities.  Here is my ultimate list to getting it all done so you can kick back a little more and enjoy the world around you. Carpe diem!
 
Efficiency
The biggest secret of the pros: When you’re at work, WORK. Whatever you are currently occupied with, allow yourself only to be occupied with that one thing so you work at maximum efficiency.  A master of efficiency can get double the work done in half the time.
 
Keep TO DO lists
I keep a daily/weekly to do list, as well as a long term tasks one. It also really helps to keep it all in a notebook that is fun to carry around! Nothing feels as good as crossing jobs off and tearing out completed daily pages!
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Get the important stuff done first- prioritize
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or managing a multi-national; prioritizing is a life saver. Make a goal list of what will get done, when, and in what order.
 
Break it down
There are 168 hours in a week…how will you spend them? For me, having a break down of my average week helps a lot when it comes to staying on track and prioritizing work, health, happiness and more! Though many weeks are inconsistent, for example during my travel seasons, for the most part it becomes easy to stay on track when you have a habit of keeping steady with your list. And don’t worry; a good list shouldn’t make you boring! If anything I feel I am more spontaneous than ever before since I know when I have the time to enjoy life and try new things! I recently re-made my list to include blogging so I could force myself to make the time necessary to pursue this joy. Check it out!
 
168 hours/wk   24 hrs/day
  • Sleep 49 hrs/week (7 hours a night)
  • Work 50 hrs/week (Prioritize while at work to limit to 8-10 fully productive hours each work day)
  • Stocks, investments 3 hrs/week
  • News, global affairs 3.5 hrs/week
  • Blogging 3 hrs/week
  • Time with loved ones 5+ hrs/week minimum (Fiance, parents, friends…down time with those you love!)
  • Cook 6 hrs/week
  • Workout 4 hrs/week (Four workouts a week)
  • Drive time 5 hrs/week (2 20min drives, 5 days a week with extra 10 mins each in case of traffic)
  • Creative hobbies 5 hrs/week minimum (dance, art, sew, concerts, music, new concepts, decor…it is important to always learn new things!)
  • Clean home & office 2 hrs/week
  • Free time 5 hrs/week (television, movies, shopping)
  • Meditation 1.5 hrs/week
Based on this list, I am at roughly 142 hours a week, meaning I still have 26 hours to whatever else! Keep in mind- even fun stuff, like hobbies, should go on this list! This is merely a weekly blue print; nothing is set in stone.
 
Keep your space clean
I recently redesigned and cleaned my office to cater to both my creative space and my logical space. In order to work at maximum efficiency and joy, I need to constantly have everything around me clean.  When things get cluttered, your mind will as well.  Vision is the most important component of any goal: make sure your space reflects your ability to keep vision flowing.  Make your space comfortable, fun and unique to you, but also sustainable and focus-oriented.
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Hope these tips help :) Happy organized and productive new year!!
xo, The PersianPishi

The hottest products of 2013: the verdict is in!

Sorting through the hype and excitement, I’ve chosen six of the hottest products from 2013 to review in all honesty. Enjoy!

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1) GLAMGLOW supermud clearing treatment

 Available at Sephora and other fine retailers: $69

 My verdict: 2.8 of 5 stars. 

The first time I used this product I was blown away.  The problem is, the more I used it, the more issues came to light.  I am a huge fan of the charcoal properties in the mask and felt it truly did do a great job minimizing the appearance of pores; the issue was breakouts. While I am a bit prone to blackheads,  I never have issues with acne. After using this product three times within the week (as suggested), I noticed I had three whiteheads within the course of that same week.  Hoping it was just a fallacy, I continued to use it for another 3 uses over the next week with the same continuous issue.  As this is the only thing that I changed within my skin care routine over those two weeks, it is pretty safe to say this was the issue.  That being said, this is a great mask to use once in a while for the mere purpose of minimizing pores.

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2) La Prarie Cellular Serum Platinum Rare

Available at Neiman Marcus and other fine retailers: $680

My verdict: 3.5 of 5 stars. 

La Prarie fames itself to be the ultimate in luxurious at-home beauty.  As a fan of their previous skin caviar collection (in the blue jars), I was super excited to try the new Platinum Rare collection.  This serum is supposed to brighten, tighten, increase hydration, and provide an overall transformation to the skin. While it feels nice, smells nice and does a nice job brightening, a lot of the hype behind this product is just that: hype.  While it sounds cool to wipe platinum all over your skin each night, save your $$ and invest in a more results oriented serum.  To be honest, I really like Genifique by Lancome (review below) and saw way better results from it.  I still have a half bottle left of this, and while I will continue to use their skin caviar, I’ll pass on buying this serum again.

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3) Lancome Genifique

Available at Macys and other fine retailers: $84

My verdict: 4.3 of 5 stars. 

For an at home serum, this little bottle is the best out there.  Not only is it reasonably priced (this little bottle is packed!) but it also provided immediate and continuous results. I have used this serum on and off now for about a year, and every time I change my regime up I can tell an immediate difference. This formula seems to work well for all skin types and provides a nice protective layer on the skin that can be worn after washing at night or under makeup during the day.  I really recommend this product and suggest you all ask for a little sample next time you pop by Macys, Nordies or Sephora.  After about 10 days you will see a nice difference in the tone of your skin.

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4) Exfolikate by Kate Somerville

Available at Neiman Marcus and other fine retailers: $85 (I believe there is also a smaller size for about $20?)

My verdict: 4.0 of 5 stars. 

I am super picky when it comes to face washes.  I typically make most of my own washes myself so I know everything in it will mesh with my skin types and clean deep without stripping my skin.  Though I’m not usually one for store bought cleaners, this stuff is GREAT! I only use it about once a week for a super deep clean, so the bottle also lasts for a long time.  A little goes a long way! I love being able to both smell and feel the tingling, herbal properties working to slosh dead skin away.  Definitely a must have- I even bought my mom her own bottle!

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5) MISSHA Choco Cacao Scrub

 I purchased this in Korea for about $25 USD, but I am sure you can find it online or through MISSHA dealers worldwide.

My verdict: 3.0 of 5 stars. 

I love chocolate.  My favorite part of this scrub is how incredibly REAL it is…no fake chocolate scents here, folks! Plus, for only $25 the pot is quite large. While the consistency is a bit sticky and weird, the smell is incredible and this mask rinses off beautifully to reveal fresh, soft skin underneath. It really doesn’t seem to do too much for the skin as far as results, but it is definitely a nice softening agent for a luxurious spa night at home.

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6) Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

Available HERE: $24.50 for the starter kit

My verdict: 3.9 of 5 stars. 

I came into this purchase with high hopes, having heard rave reviews from friends on the East coast who recently tried this product through the Birchbox sampling program.  My opinion? It doesn’t make me want to drop using Exfolikate but it’s DEFINITELY a great product for the price and a nice cleanser for everyday care.  The raw herbal ingredients can be smelled when pumping the cream out onto your hand and a little goes  a long way.  My favorite thing about this cleanser is how refreshed your skin feels afterwards.  The starter kit comes with two exfoliating towels that really work with the cream to polish and cleanse the skin in a softening, kind way that most harsher cleansers are incapable of.  If you crave softer skin and are open to trying a lotion textured cleanser; this is the best I’ve tried yet!

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I’ll have more reviews up soon! xo Persian Pishi

Investment jewelry: what not to buy, and what to buy instead!

Let me start by saying I’m not 100% against diamonds.  When sustainably obtained, they can be a beautiful offset for jewelry and other gems.  That being said, I’m here to give you the skinny on exactly what you’re getting yourself into by purchasing a diamond and what alternatives I would suggest instead. Remember: the goal of this article isn’t to amass jewelry.  It’s to allow yourself a material moment without feeling bad about it later.

Four simple reasons you shouldn’t focus on diamonds as an investment gem:

1. They have no investment or resale value. 95% of the diamonds on the market have no intrinsic value.  Granted, there are exceptions, however these diamonds have either some sort of historical relevance (ie Elizabeth Taylor’s diamonds, the crown jewels…rare gems or those worn by specific cultural icons) or come with a designer name that holds more value than the actual gem. Other, more unique gems (or even unset stones) tend to have more potential for return in the long run.

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2. Slave Trade.  Very few companies actually own their own mines and can vouch for being entirely slave free.  Companies who buys from mass mines has no complete way of ensuring their diamonds were ethically sourced. Nearly half of the workers who hunt for diamonds are children under the age of 16. A typical diamond slave will only make about $1 a day and receive a cup of rice ration to eat. There are programs like the Kimberly Process that are aimed at eliminating ‘blood diamonds’; however blood diamonds have taken on a new name. With such horrendous labor regulations, many sources are now able to pay a bollocks wage and get out of calling a diamond ‘slave trade’ because now, instead of working for $1 and rice, the ‘employee’ now makes $4 and is considered fairly paid because their name actually shows up on a book.

3. Marketing.  You’ve probably seen the rants about De Beers marketing scheme.  I wish I could tell you that it’s false, but it isn’t. De Beers, in a desperate attempt to unload their mines way back in the day, spent a plethora of money on a marketing campaign that made diamonds the ‘must-have’ for any woman.  And how else do you profit in the middle of tough economic times? You tie it to one of society’s most valued norms and every girl’s dream; marriage. Now, I’m as capitalist as the next guy; so smart business move. BUT, the true problem is tied to the practices behind this original business plan (or shall we call it cartel plan?): fix prices, control supply and limit competition.  Pretty monopolistic if you ask me…which isn’t a big deal, unless you like giving all your money to the same five people.

4. Industry markup.  Firsthand knowledge at work here; the costs associated with diamonds versus profit is ridiculous.  When it comes to diamonds, the margin of profit runs anywhere from 100% to well above 1000%.  So, imagine you want to buy a ring that costs $5,000.  The actual cost to make that ring could have been anywhere from $200 to $2,000 depending on the exact specs of the ring as well as the sourcing and marketing expense put forth by said company. When it comes luxury goods this is common practice. However, luxury goods do not promise high investment and return value. They are made for people who have money to spend on a particular item and/or want to spend money on a particular item due to taste, demand or other reasons.  When it comes to diamonds, the trade has blossomed on demand by literally tricking the common man into spending a ton of money on something completely worthless that is more of an obligation to ‘show love’ than anything else.  Go try to resell a traditional diamond necklace or ring versus a Chanel bag and you’ll see the difference in purchase versus sale value. Chocolate diamonds are the worst of all. They are essentially low grade, industrial pieces that have become popular because some Persian guy (yeah, we’re not all that cool) was smart enough to market them as ‘chocolate diamonds’.

So you’ve decided not to buy a diamond.  What are your alternatives?

Diamonds may not be forever, but there certainly are other gems that are. As a rule of thumb, gems increase in value at the rate of inflation, so though you won’t get double-digit gains, you do get a store of security. Buying a piece from Tiffanys or Macy’s may make you look pretty, but it won’t add to your wealth.  To create value from your investment, you will need to look below retail.  Going direct to a dealer who mines and cuts themselves will not only give you great value, but also increase rarity if you utilize a unique design.  Whether you choose something one-of-a-kind or simply mold off of another precious cut, custom gems are always of more value than a commercial cut because of rarity. If you have the patience, estate sales and other second hand methods are a very interesting way of coming about fine, valuable jewelry.  I personally haven’t gone this route before, but I do know someone who has made quite a bit of money and amassed an incredible collection through this manner.

One thing I cannot emphasis enough: though the following are all traditionally greatly valued gems, rarity is always a determining factor in value. Do NOT buy traditional store bought jewelry. Go the extra mile to invest in something unique and I promise both your wardrobe and net worth will thank you.

Emeralds, gold and platinum are all universally accepted as precious and valuable since the old ages. Emeralds are not only my birthstone, but also my favorite gem when it comes to both investment value AND looks.  Known as the most valuable of stones, you will still need to sort through the nonsense as many companies offer shoddy yet expensive emerald jewelry. The value of these gemstones is solely dependent upon a combination of attributes known as 4Cs- Cut , Carat , Color and Clarity. Though pretty expensive, Padparadscha Sapphires are also one of my absolute favorites (see pink pics below).  Sapphires, rubies and silver are all also wonderful, less expensive alternatives that maintain good value.  If you are looking for something slightly less traditional, try checking into: Tanzanite, Mandarin Garnet, Paraiba Tourmaline, Benitoite, Pink Apatite, Imperial Topaz, Demantoid Garnet, Contra Luz Opals, and Mint Green Garnets. 1187902682084_emeraldNatural_History_Museum_-_Chalk_Emerald

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In short, your gem collection should not only bring you joy and glitz, but it should also be viewed as a life investment. I am not against utilizing safe trade-certified diamonds to offset another precious stone, however think before spending your money on a generic diamond necklace in the future and instead consider a piece that is a wonderful investment and will also bring you a lifetime of joy!

xoxo

The Persian Pishi