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Lifestyle

Lets Talk Naturally Curly Hair

Sheena Virmani

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I was born with wildly curly hair. Well it didn’t start off as “wild”. I remember before I was 5 my hair would fall into these perfect little ringlets that were so pretty, but as I got older the curls got less defined and just turned into a frizzy mess. I had these frizzy little baby hairs that would stick out of the side of my head every time I would style it up or in a pony-tail. Bobby pins and hair gel were really my best friends through this time.  I used to hate my hair so much and never thought it was pretty even once. In fact, I would long for perfect, straight, and silky hair- which was my idea of pretty hair.

It all changed for me when I was 13 and my mom bought me my first hair straightener. I kissed my curly hair goodbye and kept my hair straight from there on out most of the time. I remember feeling prettier then I have ever felt with my new silky straight hair.

I would either wear my hair pin straight or up in a bun for years – up until this past year – so like 13 years. Even when I did feel like having my hair curly, I wouldn’t utilize my natural curls. I would blow-dry my hair straight and then use a curling iron to curl it.

It wasn’t until I started cutting my hair a little shorter this past year that I fell in love with my curls. With short hair the natural curls are less weighed down, and those pretty little ringlets started to show up again. I decided I liked my curls and was honestly just so tired of blow dying and straightening my hair all the damn time. I liked my new hair length and went to get a touch-up to maintain the length. The stylist asked me how I like to wear my hair as they usually do, and this time instead of saying straight I said I like to wear my hair naturally curly. And her response was, “You are so lucky you have such pretty curls”. She gave me a beautiful cut that suited my hair texture and natural curls, and it allowed me to start being true to my natural hair versus hiding it all the time.

 It’s been a few months and I haven’t looked back since. I have actually had more free time now because my hair is such low maintenance and I am not spending hours blow-drying and straightening – ain’t nobody got time for that. For the first time in my life I feel like my curly hair is pretty.  I feel like I am being myself, and it feels SO good.

I don’t like using a lot of products in my hair; I don’t find I need it, and find products leave my hair oily and weighted down after the first day. I usually only wash my hair twice a week so the more natural the better.

Here are some of my tips for low maintenance curly hair styling:

The Cut

I have naturally loose curls and a heart-shaped face, so after chatting with my hair stylist about my natural texture she suggested a wavy lob. It gives me a lot of body and bounce. I do add in some curls with a curling wand, but it is relatively low maintenance. She also gave me undercut layers, which are layers cut from underneath the hair to allow for more hair movement.

Chat with your stylist about the best style for your hair depending on the texture of your hair and curls.

Combing

I use a wide tooth comb to brush my hair so the curls can stay intact, versus a brush that breaks up the curls.

Drying

When I get out of the shower I use an old T-shirt to dry my hair instead of a towel. Unlike a T-shirt, towels will absorb too much water and moisture out of the hair, which causes frizz, instead of just the excess water. The smoothness of a T-shirt will also help smooth your curls and prevent them from getting matted together and getting frizzy.

I then let my hair air dry naturally.

Product

I only use a teeny tiny bit of coconut oil on the ends of my hair to help smooth the frizz and for extra shine white still wet. Be cautious with the amount as it could leave your hair looking greasy if you use too much.

Styling

Once my hair has air dried, I usually go in with a curling wand to define some pieces of hair – usually like 5-6 curls around the top of my head max.

Next Day Hair

Switching to a satin pillowcase will help your curls stay intact for the next day. Curls will usually stick and get knotted with a regular cotton pillowcase. However, using a satin pillowcase will allow your hair to slide over the smooth surface and keep them looking fresh for the next day.

Dress for Success YYC

Sheena Virmani

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Dress for Success Calgary boutique located in Inglewood.

They reached out to me a few weeks ago to help promote their October text campaign, and as soon as I learned more about what this organization does for women in our community I immediately jumped on board.

I was pleasantly surprised at how the boutique looked on the inside. It was very welcoming, and it looked like any cute boutique I might shop at. What is so special about this boutique is that it serves women in our community who are in need of professional attire. Women who are searching for jobs can get referred to the boutique through other community organizations in order to get professional attire for a job interview. A stylist will work with her to select an outfit that is interview appropriate, and even better, once she gets the job she can come back to the boutique and get a few more outfits to wear to work. When I say outfit I mean the full deal – clothing, accessories, shoes, handbags, and even cosmetics, it’s pretty awesome.

We all know how hard it can be to find a job, especially in this economy. Someone can have all the right skills and qualifications for the job but if they don’t have the means to buy professional attire for the interview they are automatically disadvantaged in their job search.  Dress for Success ensures that these women are not in a disadvantaged position when it comes to their job search and levels the playing field for them.

We also all know how important it is to look and feel your best when going into a job interview. Someone who is confident with how they look and feel is more likely to perform better during the interview, and a great outfit can really make the difference for someone.  

Dress for Success is really empowering women in our community and helping them to become financially independent GIRL BOSSES by helping them dress the part and providing a network of support to them.

You can take part in their October text campaign by texting DRESS to 20222 to make a $10 donation to this wonderful organization.

My Thoughts on Fast Fashion

Sheena Virmani

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A few weeks ago I watched a documentary that forever changed my view of the fashion industry; specifically fast fashion and how I shop for clothes. The documentary is called True Cost and I watched it on Netflix.

Call me ignorant, but I had no knowledge of the fast fashion supply chain system, not that the information isn’t readily available with a quick Google search. My mind just didn’t go there when I was shopping for clothes. When I would walk into a store and see a trendy pair of jeans for twenty dollars I would get excited, now the thought of that excitement just makes me sick to my stomach. Let me explain why:  

The documentary calls out many of my favourite retailers – H&M, Zara, ASOS, and Boohoo just to name a few.  These are all places I shop often, and these retailers part of the Fast Fashion industry. Fast fashion retailers are able to move fashion designs from the runway to stores very quickly, hence the term “fast”. This ensures mainstream consumers can buy the latest trendy items quickly in-store or online. Quality isn’t at the forefront when retailers are producing these trendy items. The goal is to mass produce trendy items for a low cost. Production is done in third-world countries in order to keep costs low. Workers in the factories in the third-world countries are often subject to poor working conditions and low wages – even for their standards.

So when you see those jeans for twenty dollars, you really have to think about why you are able to walk into a store and buy them so cheap. The true cost of these jeans is really the cost of the factory workers (majority being women) in Bangladesh (or other third-world countries) who are making these clothes in unsanitary and unsafe working conditions and getting paid as little as $2 dollars a week so that mainstream consumers can continuously buy cheap and trendy items for their closets.

This was me up until about a month ago. As the writer of a fashion/lifestyle blog I am constantly scouring the web researching about trends and visiting online retailers to scoop up the trendy items for the season. The problem with fast fashion is that it empowers the average consumer – like me, to shop a lot. I am an average consumer, and because a lot of the items from fast fashion retailers are low cost, I can afford buy a lot of clothes and it makes me feel good. I can afford to revamp my wardrobe every month if I really wanted to without breaking the bank. I can buy a new dress for every date night, birthday party, or occasion that comes my way. I can wear it once and throw it away. That is reality for me and a lot of millennials, but not at the cost of someone’s life. This was not possible even 10 years ago when there would generally be 2 seasons for fashion - Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Now stores have new items every week. Boohoo adds 700 new items to their online store every week, which is so mind blowing to me. As a consumer, how can one possible keep up? Items that were purchased online and take two weeks in the mail are no longer trendy once you get them (I’m exaggerating, but you get the point). These fast fashion items are really one time wear items. I think about my closet that is overflowing with items I have purchased and worn just once.

After watching this documentary I was honestly in a state of shock, it was like I had been hiding under a rock all of these years. I felt guilty for not only taking part in fast fashion as a consumer, but I also promoted it as an influencer.

I don’t really know what my next steps are in terms of fashion. I am in this place where I feel the need to take some time and reevaluate a little bit. I have been writing this blog for 4 years now, I started it when I was 22 years old and I want this to be a place that I can continuously grow and evolve with my readers. Where at 22 I might have accepted things at face value, at 26 I want to be more aware of what is going on in the world and care more about "the why" behind things. It doesn’t mean I am going to stop loving fashion, I don’t think that’s the answer. I think moving forward I need to be a more conscious consumer and put my dollar in the right place when it comes to shopping for clothing.

Those are just some of my initial thoughts on the subject, but it is something I am going to continue to educate myself on and keep you updated on where my head is at around the topic. I strongly suggest watching True Cost to learn more about the global impacts of fast fashion. 

Advice on Buying Your First Home in Your 20's

Sheena Virmani

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It has officially been one year since Kunal and I bought our first home together.  The process of buying a home has been a really great learning experience for me (it was my first time, not his) and really threw us into the world of #adulting. I realized my life had changed when I would rather go shopping for house stuff over clothes, I never thought I would see the day.

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I find now a days it is hard for people to put enough money together to own a home in their 20’s because it costs a lot more to do so today versus when our parents were buying their first homes. People are in school longer, moving around a lot more than they used to, and getting married later which all adds up to less people our age investing in homes. That being said, Kunal and I were able to buy our dream home after being in the full-time working world for 5 and 4 years respectively (him and me).

Yes, I waited until I got married to invest in a home, but married or not, I think owning a house rather than renting is a great way to save money and set yourself up with a valuable asset for the future.

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Here are some steps we followed:

1. Build Your Personal Credit

You should start building your credit from a very early age – before you even think about buying a house. I worked at a bank throughout university so I learned this one very early on. A good credit score will help you get financing for any houses, or even businesses you want to pursue later in life. This is really invaluable – if you don’t have good credit you can be in a tough spot for securing any sort of financing from the bank.

You can start building credit by opening a bank account, getting a credit card or a small overdraft on your bank account and ensure you are paying down what you’ve spent every month on time.

2. Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

The bank will check your annual income and credit score and tell you how much money they can potentially lend you for your home and give you a “pre-approval” on a mortgage. This can be really valuable to put your home search into perspective.

Once Kunal and I were pre-approved for a mortgage we then knew how much we could spend on a home.  We were able to narrow down what neighborhoods and size of house we could afford based on the amount the bank was willing to lend us and our personal savings.  We then only looked at homes in our price range with our realtor, that way when we found one we loved, it wasn’t a question of “can we afford this” because we already knew what we could afford.

3. Save Save Save

Aside from being approved for a mortgage- you have to be able to come up with that 20% down payment:

  •  Before we got married, I lived at home with my parents so I could save on living expenses
  • Have a side hustle. Kunal and I both have our own side-hustles aside from our full time jobs. Even if it’s something small – like blogging for me, you would be surprised how it can add up over the years and help you make those big purchases when you need it
  • Make a budget for yourself. You would be surprised how much spending a little bit of time creating a personal budget for yourself helps with saving money. We still do everything we want to do – go on vacation, eat out, go to movies, and even go shopping – it’s just informed and controlled spending.

4.Be Smart – it’s an investment

Owning a home is an investment. Do your research about neighborhoods and the housing market where you live. Be patient, and buy when it’s the right time. Home buying isn’t something you want to jump into. You could potentially have to hang on to this place for at least 3-5 years so think long term. You want whatever you are purchasing to go up in value, so doing your research is very important.

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Buying your first home can be pretty scary but liberating at the same time. It’s something I definitely recommend doing in your 20’s as a learning experience. Buying real-estate is something everyone will have to do at least a few times in their life; you might as well get started as early as you can so you can get good at it.

Aside from searching and purchasing our home, my favourite part has been interior designing our home together. We are taking it really slow, and even a year later a lot of the house is still unfurnished. I am okay with that, I’m taking it slow and making sure whatever I do is in our budget and fits us as a couple.

 

Have you bought a home in your 20’s?

 

I would love to know your experience.

 

- Sheena

Boho Chic Party

Sheena Virmani

You  must have a boho chic party in your backyard this summer. It is the perfect theme for a bridal shower or a birthday. The best part is you don't have to break the bank to host it. 

It all started because I wanted to throw my sister a surprise party for her birthday and host it in our backyard. The only problem was I didn't have any patio furniture yet and I didn't want to rush to buy it just for the sake of the party. Kunal and I are taking our time furnishing our place just how we like it. So, after perusing Pinterest for party ideas I came across the boho chic theme and I just ran with it. I saw a bunch of inspiration pictures with a picnic type spread on the ground - no patio furniture necessary. 

You probably have a lot of things lying around your house you can use for the decor:

  • Persian rugs
  • Boho looking bed sheets
  • Cushions
  • Flower garlands 
  • Tassel banners
  • Wooden crates 
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My Everyday Beauty Routine

Sheena Virmani

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Happy Monday my loves! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I spent my weekend creating some spring content I am very happy/proud of. I can’t wait to share it with you in the coming few weeks.

Yesterday I shared my basic beauty routine with you on Instagram:

 

 

As I shared with you in my Instagram post, I am pretty basic with my daily beauty routine. When it comes to buying beauty products I have been pretty much using the same products for years with a few new additions here and there. I have experimented with using less/more makeup and I find what I shared with you is what works for me on a daily basis.

I recently started using products from the Rocky Mountain Soap Company  for my face– the hydrating toner (Here) and the day cream (Here). I really love these products. What I love about them is that they are toxin-free. It’s really hard to find good natural products that work for me (I have struggled with allergic reactions to natural beauty products in the past) and that fit nicely into my everyday routine. If you are looking for toxin free beauty products I highly suggest this brand.

I don’t use foundation on my skin, instead I opt for a lighter BB Cream. My absolute favorite BB Cream is one by Dior. It is a little pricey, but I don’t mind spending a little extra on it because it does last me (I only use a small amount every day). It leaves my skin feeling so glowy and I find it to be the perfect coverage for my skin.

Another product I have really enjoyed using is the Goof Proof Brow Pencil. Again, as someone who is a make-up amateur I found this product really easy to use and love the way my brows look with it. I love the spooley brush that comes on the other end of the pencil. If you want really clean and natural looking eyebrows I definitely recommend this product.

The last product I will highlight in my routine is the Bumble & Bumble dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is a savior for me most weekday mornings. This product absorbs all the oil from my second or third day hair and gives me such great volume. I have tried many dry shampoos and find this product works wonders for my hair.

For me, less is more when it comes to my beauty routine. I like sticking to a few really great products for my everyday look.

I would love to know what some of your favourite everyday products include, let me know in the comments!

 

 

Love,

 

S

 

 

Shop the Look:

 

 

DIY Valentine's Day Flower Boxes

Sheena Virmani

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Valentine's Day is already just a few weeks away and I have the perfect DIY to get you in the spirit. Nothing says February 14th like some red roses, but this year I'm adding a chic twist by making boxed flower arrangements for all of my Valentine's. Boxed flowers are super trendy right now, there are a lot of high-end floral companies that offer these types of arrangements for a hefty cost.

If you like these boxed arrangements, do yourself a favour, save your money and DIY instead of BUY.

This arrangement cost me thirty dollars in total to make (including the cost of the roses).

Here are the steps I followed:

Materials:

  • Two packs of Wet Foam (try Michael's or Walmart)
  • A gift box of your choice
  • Roses (depending on the size of your box)

 

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Method:

  • Measure and cut your Wet Foam so it fits nicely inside the box (I had to double stack mine to get the right height). The wet foam ensures that your flowers will stay moist and will help your arrangement last for 3-5 days.
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  • Measure and cut your roses to your desired height.
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  • Place roses one at a time into the wet foam in a line (I did 4 rows of 4 roses - so used 16 roses in total).
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  • Get ready to impress your Valentine
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I have to say I am really enjoying doing DIY`s lately - maybe it has something to do with the whole wife thing.

Let me know if you have any DIY suggestions you think I should try.

 

Love,

-S

DIY Marble Side Tables

Sheena Virmani

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Hi Friends!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I spent half of my Sunday completing my first ever IKEA hack.

What is an IKEA hack you ask?

IKEA is a great source for affordable and basic furniture. After purchasing basic pieces from IKEA you can add your own DIY touch to customize hack your IKEA purchase into something unique.

As an avid reader of many style blogs I have seen some amazing pieces created with IKEA hacks. Since this was my first attempt at one, I wanted to do something relatively easy on the DIY scale.

I have been looking for marble side tables for our living room for a few months now. I am on a budget when it comes to furnishing our home, and I couldn’t find any options I liked in my budget. On a recent trip to IKEA I found these LACK side tables on sale for only ten dollars each! I bought them right there and then and decided that I would create my own marble side tables. Each table only cost me fifteen dollars to make which is incredible, not to mention they look great!

Here are the steps I followed:

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Materials:

Side tables - IKEA

Marble Contact Paper - Home Depot

 

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Method:

·         Assemble the side tables following the instructions received with them

·         Measure out your contact paper to the size of the top of the table and cut

·         Peel the backing from the paper to expose the adhesive

·         Place the adhesive side down on top of the table and smooth out any air bubbles (it works best to start in the center and work your way out to avoid air bubbles)

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Verdict:

My first IKEA hack was a success. It was a really fun way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon. I look forward to trying out more of these DIYs and sharing them with you. 

Top Moments of 2016

Sheena Virmani

Hi Lovelies,

I cannot believe that I am already writing a top moments of 2016 post. I feel like the year has just flown by. While 2015 was a year of immense personal growth for me, I feel that 2016 was a year of following through on that growth. 

Here are some of my top moments of the year: 

1. Growing as a blogger 

This year I worked hard to grow this platform and I created content that I am truly proud of. I had amazing opportunities to work with some of my favourite brands, and these opportunities were really a dream come true. My work was showcased in the Metro Newspaper, which was also a great and proud moment for me this year. 

I pushed myself this year to be a better writer, take my photography and editing skills to the next level, and create overall high quality aesthetics for my blog and social channels. I didn't think I could get anymore passionate about blogging, but I did. My successes this year have given me even more drive to be better. I am truly passionate about this platform and this space and can't wait to grow even more as a blogger in 2017. 

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2. Trip to San Fransisco 

This trip stands out for me this year because it came at a very fitting time. I remember feeling stressed out from wedding planning and we were also in the middle of searching for a house to live in after the wedding. I decided to get away for a few days to visit my two cousins and clear my head. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from real-life and come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on challenges in your life again. 

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3. Bridal Shower 

My sister and cousins threw me a gorgeous bridal shower. It was the first event to kick off the wedding festivities and made me feel truly special to have such amazing women in my life. I was so excited to wear this dress which I had purchased so far in advance (typical Sheena). 

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4. Joint Bachelorette Party in Kelowna 

Over the July long weekend my best friend and I had a joint Bachelorette party in Kelowna. We got 20 of our best girlfriends together and had one awesome weekend. It's very rare that you can get all the special gals in your life together for a trip like this one, it made me feel really special have all these lovely ladies there to celebrate us. 
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5. The Wedding 

After more than a year of planning the wedding week had finally arrived. Up till the night before the first event (the henna party) I remember K and I running around like crazy chickens ensuring everything was in place for our guests. I remember having to tell myself over and over again "you can get through this Sheena" because I was that overwhelmed. 

It ended up being one of the best weeks of my entire life. Just like the bridal shower and bachelorette party I was thankful to have all the women I loved together, at the wedding I was thankful to have everyone I loved together for a week. It was once in a lifetime to have both my mom and dads (there is a lot of them) side of the family together. My grandma flew all the way from India just for the wedding and I haven't seen her in 15 years. It was really special to be able to re-connect with her and spend time with her. I felt truly blessed to have such a big support system to be there with me as I entered this new chapter in my life. 

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6. Honeymooning in St.Lucia 

After one crazy wedding week and an awful few days of the stomach flu we found ourselves in the magical paradise of St.Lucia. Up till this point in the year it had just been go-go-go for both K and I so this vacation was truly necessary. We were so exhausted we did a whole lot of nothing on this trip and it was great. We caught up to sleep, relaxed on the beach, swam in the ocean, ate well-prepared meals. I couldn't have asked for anything more in a honeymoon. 

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7. Marrying my best friend 

After the novelty of the wedding and the honeymoon wore off, it was just K and I, and it was a wonderful feeling that this amazing human is my partner in life. He is truly my best friend and has been for years. I feel blessed that I got to marry him this year. 

8. Moving into our new home 

K and I buying our first home together was something really special. It was the first big purchase we have made as a couple #adulting. It was a really great learning experience, I learned a lot when it comes to financing, what to look for in a realtor, what to look for when purchasing a new home- these are all such valuable life skills that I will hold with me for the rest of my life. 

For the first time in our lives we had this space that was only ours and we could design it however we pleased. We love furnishing our house slowly with pieces that we absolutely love, we love cooking together in our kitchen, and we love entertaining friends and family in our space together. 

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9. The Holidays 

Moving into our new home was special, but the holidays in our home was really something else. K and I got to create our own traditions and host our own get-togethers. We had the best time. 

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10. Tree-lined street

Sometimes it is the small things that make life wonderful. One of the best things about living inner-city in an older neighbourhood are the beautiful tree-lined streets. I wish I had a nice picture of our street in the fall, because it goregous, but winter is just as nice. 

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Thank you for supporting me throughout this wonderful journey in 2016. I would not be able to pursue this passion of mine without all the wonderful love I get from my readers. 

Cheers to 2016 

Lots of Love

-S 

Gift Guide: The White Elephant Gift Exchange

Sheena Virmani

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Every year my family plays The White Elephant Game during the holiday season, it is a really fun holiday tradition at our house. 

The reason why I love this game so much is because it makes our holiday shopping relatively simple. Each person is only responsible for one generic gift, it makes things around the holidays a lot less stressful in terms of gift buying. It also allows our family to focus on what is really important - quality family time instead of worrying about what to buy one another. We have found over the years that everyone has everything they want, and gifting can be challenging. This game really isn't about the gift itself, the goal is to entertain rather than gain, and to just have fun with it. 

Here is a little description of how the game works:

"Each participant supplies one wrapped gift within a certain predetermined price range. The gifts are placed in a central location, and participants determine in which order they will take turns selecting them. The first person opens a wrapped gift, and the turn ends. On subsequent turns, each person can open a new present or gets the choice to "steal" another person's gift. One gift can only be stolen two times, after it is stolen for the second time the gift is "dead", meaning no one else can steal that gift. When a person's gift is stolen, that person can either choose another wrapped gift to open or can steal from another player. The game is over when the last person goes. Generally, it is recommended to have at least six participants for the gift exchange party. With a larger group, game play may be more protracted."

Our family changes the price limit for the gifts every year to change-up the game, it's usually somewhere between ten to fifty dollars. This year we are on the higher end of the scale at forty dollars. I decided to throw together a gift guide if you play this game too. I always find it tricky to come up with unique, useful, but generic gifts that anybody would like. 

Happy gifting! 

- S 

XX Lip Balm: Meet the Creator

Sheena Virmani

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Hello Friends!

Hope you are all doing well and are full force into your holiday prep, cause I know I sure am. Speaking of holiday prep, a few weeks ago I got to chat with Sam, the creator of XX Lip Balm, and if you haven’t checked her stuff out yet, I think her products would be really great to gift your friends and family this season.

 Sam’s products are made right here in Canada and all natural. She gave me a few balms to try out, which I absolutely loved – they made my lips feel super moisturized, and as someone who always suffers from chapped lips (it’s Calgary -let’s face it), this was really refreshing. She also gave me a coffee scrub to try out, I used it all over my body in the shower and my skin felt really soft afterwards. Sam explained to me she uses avocado oil in her products, which is soothing for your skin.  Overall I really enjoyed using her products.

I always love meeting young entrepreneurs and I love brands that are all natural, so naturally I felt very connected to this brand. I had Sam answer some questions behind her brand for you guys:

How did you come up with the concept for the brand?

Sam: After working at a cosmetic store for seven years and being an overall product junkie, I always felt like lip balm was never good enough. It was either colorful, a thoughtless point of purchase item, or made from sub par ingredients which made you reapply it every ten minutes.  When I set out to do XX,  I wanted the concept is to be honestly good lip balm that evolved every year and that it is inherently part of your routine.

What is the mission behind the brand?

Sam: XX is limited and locally made quality lip balm for men and women who want natural and quirky, yet simple, long lasting positive products for every day. Although, each of the balms look the same on the outside- it’s what is on the inside that counts.

Where can I buy your products?

Sam: I sell my product at The Livery and Meraki Supply co. here in Calgary. If you haven’t shopped there yet- what are you waiting for!! They both sell some great local brands which I believe have similar beliefs. You can also order online Here.

What is next?

Sam: The new season! Next year we will have an all brand new line of lip balms in July which I’m hoping to incorporate some new ingredients. Perhaps there will be more products but that’s in testing mode and to come!

What advice would you give to anyone trying to start their own beauty brand?

Sam: My advice is from my very short lived experience so I must start off with that before you take any advice from me!

I think when you start a business or any new venture one of the most important things is identify what would constitute as failure. The hardest part of starting a business is actually just going for it because of the fear of failure.

For me, when I narrowed down what would be “failure” I searched out an action plan to remediate any setbacks. Not to mention if you figure out what curveballs could be thrown into the mix you can also find out ways to mitigate them. I should note that I’m sure there are some obstacles to come but I’ll worry about the things I can control for now.

My second piece of advice is go with your gut. If you are doing something and something doesn’t feel right- DON’T DO IT! So if someone suggests a concept and you’re thinking “hmm I’ve seen that before and it might be a little too close to home if we take that idea” go with that instinct you might be doing something wrong.  If something feels right and you get this brimming feelings of excitement in your stomach then you’re probably onto something and run with it.

Lastly, really work hard to build a thick skin- and mind you I am still working on this. When I saw that a few of my friends unfollowed my Instagram for XX or when I was having troubles getting the right labels because I got push-back from my manufacturer, well, this really got to me! Even when you’re a sole entrepreneur you have to remember there is a line between who you are and what is just business. I still find this a struggle but it comes down to the fact that you can’t control what other people do or say and that’s okay. The best you can do is to beat to your own drum and keep on keeping on with what you think is right for your business.

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Well said girl! Keep doing your thing!

 

Lots of Love

 

-S 

We Are More Than Our Instagram Feed

Sheena Virmani

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Lately I find myself struggling. I feel uninspired and am having a hard time trying to find my place in the world of digital influencers. In the three years I have been blogging and creating content, I don’t think I have ever found myself having a creative lull like I feel now. There are a couple of things going on that have me feeling like this:

Sometimes your personal life gets in the way

2016 has been a busy year for us in our personal life- we planned a big wedding and moved into a new home, even though it has been three months for us in our new home we are still settling in. We started from scratch, we moved in with no furniture, and a lot of our weekends are spent buying furniture and other items for our home. K and I are both really picky when it comes to how our space is going to look and want to take our time furnishing our place with items we love and not just settling with things we aren’t absolutely crazy about. We have also been adjusting to living with one another as we didn’t live together before we got married. It’s been wonderful, but it has also been a lot of work to figure out what our roles will be in the household – who will take care of finances, who does the groceries/cooking, keeping up with each other’s family obligations, the division of chores etc.…

The last and most important thing going on in our lives this year is that we are in the midst of opening a new business, which we are very excited about and it’s been an opportunity K has been working for over 3 years now. It’s really a dream come true for us. Both of us are really high achievers, we always have a lot on the go all the time and we work really hard.  With everything going on in our lives right now I just haven’t had much “me” time which is my time to myself where I can be creative and think through my ideas to bring to this space to share things with you guys.  K is also the backbone to this blog, and he hasn’t had much time to help me shoot content and put ideas together with me.

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The pursuit of authentic content

I think this is something that every digital influencer struggles with. If I am going to be honest, over the past few months when scrolling through my Instagram feed I haven’t been feeling as inspired as I usually do. It seems like a blur of “perfect outfits”, “perfect brunches” and “perfect lattes” all lumped together no matter who the influencer is. We are putting on a display of the most “perfect” part of our lives for our followers to see, but the problem with that is “perfect” is not authentic ( I am guilty of this too).

 The thing that attracted me to fashion blogging when I first started a few years ago was the fact that it was authentic, I would much rather see how a dress looked on my favourite fashion blogger over a model in a magazine ad because she was more relatable in terms of body image and social status. She was a “real girl” and not some fancy model who I couldn’t relate to. Nowadays, we see thousands of perfectly curated Instagram feeds with magazine quality pictures. That girl who was once your favourite fashion blogger is now dressed up in top designer wear and getting flown all over the world after being sponsored by different brands, and all of a sudden she isn’t relatable anymore. Her content isn’t authentic, it’s bought out and perfect, and it’s really no different than an ad in a magazine.

I am going to work really hard to try and make my content as relatable and authentic for you as possible. Of course I want to post good quality content, but I don’t want to put on a front for my followers- like I live some unachievable fancy-pants life, because the truth is I don’t, and most digital influencers don’t live perfect lives although it might seem like that from Instagram. I have my share of struggles and problems and that is real life. This is my space to share my real life with you and I want to make this less cookie-cutter and more raw for you so stay tuned!

Shop the Look 

 

Thank you for reading and your continued support

 

-S

 

 

The Essential Skill to Create Your Dream Job

Sheena Virmani

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Hi Friends!

Today I am sharing part one of a new series I am launching on entrepreneurship. It is a topic I am deeply passionate about and really excited to write about! I am reflecting on some of my experiences in starting my own business and my thoughts on what makes a successful entrepreneur. Stay tuned in coming weeks as I will get K to guest post on the topic as well.

Ever since I was little I was always a creator. Whether that was arts & crafts at school, creating my own clothes from the left over fabrics in my grandma’s sewing bag, or designing websites for fun. As I grew older, I was unsure exactly what I wanted to do as a career. Even throughout my degree, all I knew was that whatever it was, I wanted to build it on my own and I wanted to be passionate about it.

As I moved into the workforce, I realized that our generation, the Millennial generation, is very different from previous generations, and many companies have yet to adapt to the resulting changing workforce. Companies are still very much catered to the Baby Boomers who don’t mind a rigid corporate structure as long it’s providing them with economic security, where as Millennials really value a fulfilling and flexible career over a stable one (is this ringing a bell with you?).

 This feeling has fueled the birth of Millennials who started creating their own jobs because they don’t find fulfillment in a traditional job structure. Free-lancing and self-employment are on the rise, and 60% of Millennials consider themselves to be entrepreneurs.

This brings me to the part where I am going to share the skills that have allowed me to be a #girlboss and create my dream job. I’m not writing this to toot my own horn, I am writing this to let you know that turning a blog, or any digital platform into a business is a very attainable goal. The goal isn’t to be famous, or get thousands of likes on Instagram. The goal is to be independent and successful. 

The future is digital. We have all heard this so many times, but what does this actually mean for us and our generation in the workforce? This is especially important to understand if you want to be an entrepreneur. Today, there is not a single aspect of our lives that technology does not touch – from communicating with others, social media, education, banking, and healthcare to just name a few. Yet in our schools, incorporating things like coding into curriculums was not enforced. The truth is, if we don’t understand technology, we won’t understand the world around us in this day and age. If you are not educated in tech you are putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to creating your dream job or starting up your own business.  

Coding or an aptitude for technology is a basic literacy that every entrepreneur needs to excel in today.

I was fortunate to be exposed to technology and pick up foundational digital skills from a very young age, and it has allowed me to create this platform for myself which is now my business. I admit, I wasn’t always comfortable with coding or learning how to use new software, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It is important to be self-reliant, in your own business nothing happens until you make it happen, and you can’t rely on others to make your vision come to life. As the creator of this blog I am able make changes to the layout whenever I please because I designed it, I don’t have to deal with a third-party developer who I have to go back and forth with so he or she can understand what I want (if you have ever attempted to do this you know how annoying it is). Even if I did want to use a developer, having  foundational skills allows me to communicate better with designers and prevents me from getting taken advantage of.  

The digital world is always changing, and you can’t just expect to learn a new skill once and be good to go forever. I think it’s important to be aware of your environment, be an early-adopter, don’t be afraid of technology, and keep learning new things.

Bottom line – a key part of being an entreprenuer is understanding technology because its an integral part of everything we do. Set a goal, start small if you have to, learn as much as you can, and most importantly, have fun.

Being a geek can be chic!

 

-S 

Valentine's Day Breakfast

Sheena Virmani

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Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and it is the perfect opportunity to share some love with the people in your life. Surprising my loved ones with breakfast in bed is one of my favourite things to do for the people I love. Simple gestures can have a big impact and doing something as small as making someone breakfast can really make their day. This Valentine’s I am straying away from buying store-bought gifts and focusing on gestures and handmade gifts as I find them to be much more meaningful.  

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Here are some of my favourite items for putting together a Valentine’s Day breakfast:

Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutters - Williams Sonoma

Heart & Stripes Mug - Indigo

Fur Throw- Indigo

PJ’s - ShopBop

Vintage Milk Bottles - ETSY

Why I Love Coconut Oil

Sheena Virmani

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I thought I would share one of my favourite beauty secrets for the winter with you all today.

 I suffer from extremely dry skin especially in the winter. Here in Calgary, the climate is super dry. Most of the year it is manageable- but I find in the winter it really starts to take a toll on my skin and hair. I use coconut oil all year long for all sorts of things, but it especially comes in handy at this time of the year.  

Here are some of the ways I use coconut oil:

Moisturizer for skin:

I find a little bit of coconut oil works better than any off the shelf moisturizer for dry skin. I usually use it on my skin after I shower to keep it feeling soft all winter long –now, be conscious that you don’t use too much because it can get greasy really quick. You only need a tiny amount; a little goes a long way!

Hair mask:

I massage coconut oil into my scalp and hair a couple of hours before I shower and this leaves my hair feeling super soft and shiny for the week. This is usually a Sunday activity for me when I have a couple of hours of spare time at home doing errands, or you could even apply the oil and leave it over night before washing out the next morning.

Highlighter: 

I am all about the au natural make-up look and am always looking for ways to cut out toxic make-up products from my daily routine.  Often times our make-up is loaded with harmful ingredients that are not always the best for you in the long term. I have started using a dab of coconut oil on the tops of my cheekbones for a more natural highlight and really love how it helps me to achieve an everyday look.

For Acne:

This may be one of my favourite uses for coconut oil. Coconut oil is a great anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial (which means it helps fight infection). Applying it on your zits reduces the chance of infection, speeds up the healing process and reduces redness.

 

So there you have it. Once you start incorporating coconut oil into your beauty routine it’s hard to use anything else!

I have also linked my favourite brand of coconut oil right here: Costco

 

-S 

2015 Reflections

Sheena Virmani

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2015 has been a whirlwind of a year for me. I don’t even know where the time went, but at the same time I feel like so much has happened.

The biggest lesson I learned this year is something that will now be a guiding principle for my life. I learned that if you are unhappy with something (personal or professional) don’t dwell on it, do something to change your dissatisfaction. I learned first-hand that life has a way of working itself out, and being afraid of change or taking a risk is not a good enough reason to stay in an unhappy situation - especially in your 20’s. Your 20’s should be a time to explore, take risks, make mistakes, try new things and get out of your comfort zone- if you don’t do it now you won’t ever do it. I still don’t feel like I have completely mastered this mantra in 2015, but these are going to be my words to live by in 2016.

I learned that career for me doesn’t necessarily mean working towards a bigger and better title as the end result on my list of goals at this stage in my life- this doesn’t mean I don’t think it is important, but it means I value finding my passions, living a well-balanced life and being happy  as my top priority right now, all else comes after, and there is nothing wrong with that.  I also learned that if you find something that you love doing it won’t feel like work, and the work-life balance that felt like a struggle all of a sudden becomes easy.

Lastly, I learned that you can do anything/be anything you want in life and become successful at it with hard work and consistency. Starting is really the hardest part. “Just doing it” is the difference between someone who makes their dreams come true versus someone who just sits there thinking about them.

I am so grateful for all the opportunities this platform has brought for me this year. I have met some amazing people and worked on some amazing projects because of this blog. I am thankful to all my readers, friends and family for your constant support; you are the reason I am able to continue to do what I love.

 

Happy New Year!

 

-S 

The cool girl’s guide to Alberta: See my favourite shops, eats + more

Sheena Virmani

I am so excited to share with you that I was featured in the September issue of FASHION Magazine in the Alberta feature section. I had so much fun creating this page. I got to put some of my favourite local hangouts and brands on display. I also shared some of my fall fashion essentials. 

In case you weren't able to pick up a print copy, you can now find it online! 

Click here for the full article! 

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Rhea's Asian Inspired Birthday

Sheena Virmani

The other evening we hosted Rhea's Asian inspired nineteenth birthday party. Complete with Kung Fu Girl wine, fortune cookies, pocky cake, and chocolate fondue served with fruit and chopsticks for dipping.. it was definitely a party to remember! 

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Creating A Meaningful Vision

Sheena Virmani

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One question that constantly crosses my mind is how do creative people stay inspired. Although this might seem like common sense… a lot of us (including myself) forget that to stay inspired you need a vision. If you have no goals and no vision to guide your life, you can end up feeling lost and directionless.  You may not know what that vision is, but creating a Vision Board can help to add clarity to your desires. Creating a vision board is a powerful tool you can use to give your subconscious and conscious mind positive visual affirmations of what is important to you, where you want to be, and what you want from your life. It helps to keep you focused, reminding you of who you intend to be and keep you focused on that goal.

Vision boarding can be used to visualize all aspects of your life, or maybe just one that you feel needs a little work. For example, the vision board I created that I am sharing below is purely a fashion and style board. I love fashion and style, and want to stay inspired about this particular topic so I can keep generating ideas for my blog, and more importantly because it is one of my passions - I want to stay excited about creating content in this area. This is an activity I try and do once every season to get my ideas all into one place.  If you decide that you want to be successful in your life, figure out what success means to you and what that success looks like to you because defining what you want is the first step in getting thereIf success means dressing better or being stylish, figure out what dressing better means to you, create a board and visualize it so you can start putting it into action.

Getting Started:                                                                                                                                    

  • First of all, if you are feeling vision-less, the act of creating the vision board will be very useful to you. Get a stack of magazines, go through and tear out pictures or words that you are attracted to or mean something to you. Analyze what you pulled and see if there are patterns or themes to help you clarify what exactly your vision is for your life or a particular area if you have chosen to focus on one aspect.
  • Paste the pictures on a white canvas (Cardboard or Bristol board) and add text if you wish.
  • Place your board in a place where you will see it often.

 

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The Shortest Day

Sheena Virmani

Yesterday marked the shortest day of the year. I went out for a walk around 4 pm just as the sun was setting and got to witness the most beautiful view. I feel as though now a days we become so consumed with the lives of other people, largely through social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), sometimes we don't even realize how beautiful our own backyard is. We feel pressure to constantly stay connected in order to know what's going on in the world at all times (at least I do).  It's amazing how good it feels to unplug, clear your head and appreciate what you have instead of constantly comparing your life to all the images of perfection you are bombarded with over social media each day.  As the year winds down, I am finding time to reflect upon the past year and take some time for myself. I am looking forward to relaxing and spending some quality time with friends and family over the holidays. 

On a lighter note... outfit of the day! ..Lately I have been really into the sporty chic look - mixing sporty pieces such as the puffer vest and leggings with some chic pieces, like the camel turtle neck and black jacket I am wearing below: 

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Outfit Details:

Jacket - Michael Kors

Top- Zara

Puffer Vest - Forever 21

Leggings - lululemon

Shoes (Similar)-Nike