Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How To: Messy Bun

Many blogs make the top knot / messy bun seem like the most complex everyday hairstyle to master.
Let me tell you right now, it's not!
It might be easier for me to say since my hair is naturally crazy / messy / what have you but I will do two different tutorials on how to get the same effect.
Sorry it's so small - still working out how to use gifs!
Steps for hair that's naturally crazy / messy / what have you
What you'll need : pony tail holder
(1) Give your brush a break and start with your hair down and 'slept in'
(2) Pick up your hair as if you were going to put it into a normal pony tail
(3) Start looping your hair through the pony tail holder and stop half way creating a loop on the inside of the band and a tail on the outside
(4) Swing the 'tail' into the hand holding the loop
(5) Twist pony tail holder once and then secure around messy bun

Steps for hair that's naturally fine / delicate / what have you
Having hair that is naturally straight, fine, or flat, you can start off by:
(1) Washing your hair upside down
   (a) This gives your hair volume!
(2) Blow dry your hair upside down
    (a) Again, all about the volume.
(3) Add a sea salt spray like TGI's Love Peace & the Planet  'Totally Beachin' spray
(4) And blow dry your hair (you guessed it!) upside down. Try to scrunch the hair so it gets a really nice messy texture.
(5) By now it should be nice and full so go ahead and complete the above steps.

Hope that helped a bit - happy bunning!
Samantha xx

Monday, February 25, 2013

SoHo Shoot

The thing about not editing your own photos is not knowing when you'll get to see them.
I did a shoot the other day with my two favorite photographers at [unknown] photography, Sophia and Toby, who have been absolutely wonderful with filling me in on how the pictures are looking.
So it was only natural for me to squirm with joy when Sophia sent me some quick snaps of some shots from the shoot to me today.
Like any photo taken of a computer screen, the picture quality doesn't look all that great. But I can assure you, the way they looked on the camera when we were shooting looked like they had already been edited to perfection! I will most definitely do a post of the finished products...but I just couldn't wait to share these.

If you're looking for incredible photographers in Hong Kong, [unknown] photography comes highly recommended. They're always snappy with their editing and have gotten photographing down to a science - two people, two cameras, and (sometimes) one subject. It's the scientific method of success! You can find their page here. And even if you're not looking for photographers, I suggest you head over there anyway to take a peek at their work!

*Latest edition and personal favorite:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Music Junkie Monday

I openly broadcast that I am the 'music junkie' among my friends (which went from a joke to a nick name overnight!). And over the years have built up an extensive music library. So to make it do a bit of work back for me,
I'm going to post a song every Monday!
But before we get started, there's something you should know.... I love getting to know people, I really do, but the question I despise most in this process is 'what's your favorite song?' Even if I wanted to, I couldn't answer this! It's seriously as impossible as asking my pug, Chubby, if he likes eating over sleeping. No way one is better than the other - especially since they're so different!
"You seriously cannot expect me to answer that!"
So I figured that I'm just going to post music with high number of plays / current favorites / have some sort of meaning behind them.
Without further ado, I'm kickstarting this Monday with one of my most listened to songs - Hundred K by Left Boy.
I'm kind of an advocate for the Left Boy cause. I have all of his songs, know all of the lyrics, and follow basically all of his social networking profiles. Stalker? Nah, just a dedicated fan ;) (that's what I tell myself anyway!)

I know this song was made more of a joke than anything but I honestly couldn't help but get hooked on its hype. Hope this pumps you up too and gets rid of those Monday blues!

*Note: I'm one day ahead of most countries so my Mondays are (depending on where you are) your Sundays! So make sure you check in here a day early so you can set up your computer for your Monday morning :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Final India Recap Video

Although this trip was one I could never forget, I couldn't help but get everything on video! So behold, the 2013 India video starring my family and me!

Friday, February 22, 2013

DayFive - India

   One of the many things I love about traveling is getting a new perspective on the world. And as I've grown older, I've been able to do this more so because my maturity can now handle reading an entire newspaper without just flicking though to look at the pictures. 
   So as the saying goes, when in Rome, do like the Romans! So the morning of day five, I pulled on my clothes and went downstairs to have another brilliant buffet breakfast (I'm telling you, I have no idea how I didn't gain at least 10 pounds after coming home from this trip!) and picked up a copy of the local newspaper (which, thankfully, was in English).
   As I read about Indian businesswomen making their ventures known, I came across the pop culture section which was dotted with bits and bobs of gossip. As I spotted a quote from on of my favorite comedians, Joan Rivers, I couldn't help but laugh not only at her joke, but at the fact that the magazine had to put a smily face saying 'Joke' so that the reader would know it was supposed to be funny! Such an adorable touch and really made me fall for the Indian population that much more.

Well, as was the ritual for the past several days, we got in the car and headed over to Mandawa - a small little town in the boonies that is known for its Havalis, or abandoned mansions that were occupied with royal families thousands of years ago.
Given that it was a 4 hour drive, we knew we would be stopping to stretch our legs often. So the first stop (which made my mum and I very happy) was the textiles store.
All of the Indian treasures you could imagine and more!
After going into a shopaholic coma for several minutes, I got a grip on my urge to buy everything and started sifting through all the goods. It didn't take me long until I found this little gem. It's a pillow that was made from old wedding sarees (traditional wedding dress) and pieced together by hand. The craftsmanship in these pieces were truly amazing!
 As you can tell, I could've spent all day looking around and marveling at my findings!
But all things must come to and end, so as we packed up our goodies of pillows, shirts, and textiles, we continued our journey to Mandawa.

 And made some military friends on the way!
 A popular Indian saying is that life is on the road. I have never seen a place where this is quite literally meant! You see travelers living on the sides of roads, shops on the side of roads, and guys hanging out on the side of the roads.
There really is no shortage of things to see! Especially when guys get the urge to 'go', they park their bikes in the middle of the roads, get off, do their business on the side of the road, and get back on their bikes and head off. It's funny to see so many people doing it and so many witnesses not bothered by it! But hey, when you gotta go you gotta go right?
After finally arriving in Mandawa, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel and met up with our tour guide who took us around the town. I must say, on our way there, we were skeptical that we would find much of anything in Mandawa. As we were driving, the only living things we saw were trees and cows but not much else. So we were very happily surprised to see that a town in the near distance wasn't a mirage after all.
Thankful to be out of the car, we visited our first havali. You can see that these mansions were owned by very wealthy people because they're intricately decorated with fresco paintings and carved architectural pieces.

 Need less to say, we wouldn't mind spending a night or two in such a tremendous mansion (with such a tremendous bed to fit all three of us!).
As we walked through the streets, these pots caught our eye. Their purpose at first unknown was casted light on by our tour guide. They're water jugs for the local people and are filled up with fresh water daily. I loved that this community was so willing to help everyone else out - especially since it was a place where everyone seemed to know everyone. Hard to find this much compassion in SoCal if I may say so myself!
Local goods transportation

Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra never failed to surprise us, and Mandawa was no different. As we walked down the streets and admired the history behind the walls, we ran into a group of college girls who were waiting for the arrival of Bollywood super star Akshay Kumar to film his newest movie. Gotta love the old world and new world coming together!

 But before we left India, we wanted to make sure we took a piece of its history with us. And what better way to do that with hand made shoes?!

Well this trip was hands down an adventure of a lifetime. The only way I'm able to describe this magnificent place is 'rich'. It's rich in people, culture, food, and history. Despite its rough and tough appearance, I have never met such amazing people, eaten such mouthwateringly good food, and discovered such a majestic history in any of my other travels. I completely submerged myself and only came out realizing that I've only just scratched the surface. Be ready, India, I'm coming back for you in the future.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DayFour - India

Waking up in Jaipur is somewhat like waking up in any other major city. You hear the sounds of cars honking and breaks screeching and people yelling...but there's a whole other element to Jaipur that you can't find anywhere else. The sound of cows. The sound of camel carts crossing through a busy intersection. The sound of India.

After doing a big cat stretch, wiggling into our clothes and squeezing ourselves inside of them from the buffet breakfast, we piled into the car and headed to one of Jaipur's biggest attractions - Hawa Mahal.
This palace is notorious for its tiny windows. All those years ago when women weren't allowed outside of the house, they would use these peepholes to see what was going on in the world of man. The trick with these windows, though, is that you can see out from the inside, but can't see in from the outside. Cheeky engineers they were!
Next stop was Amber fort where the views were 360 and the animals got a bit more exotic.

Not to mention that no India adventure would be complete without a snake charmer...

Let's just say he charmed the pants off his audience!
After the rumbles started in our stomachs, we headed off to lunch and then see the local markets.
I'm pretty sure India has the most delicious, vividly colored carrots in the world. So much so, they should be considered out of this world! They're a cross between neon pink and orange and taste sweet like heaven.
One of the many great things about India is that its an entirely self-sufficient country! Everything you see is India made. They have just the right amount to keep everyone going so they don't export their culinary gems (goodbye carrots!) so I'll just have to go back to have some more.
Dad making friends
The exquisite camel hair rugs and textiles have always drawn me in like a magnet. So after indulging in a buffet lunch, we went off to see how these jewels are made.

Which were all made by hand!
Including this luxurious saree. I felt absolutely radiant in this work of art and wish I could've bought one in every color.
Next on the itinerary was Birla Mandir - the only temple with Jesus and Moses carved straight into the marble.

And the only temple in the world to have to most excellent mustache in all the land.
Due to poor lighting you can't see the excellent 'stach but you can take my word for it!