Mirela Talic Fashion Stylist & MUA

Mirela Talic Fashion Stylist & MUA

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let's talk about skincare......

So I tend to talk about makeup, fashion and everything related to beauty and style a lot. However, one thing I give a huge importance to in my personal life but feel like I don't talk about as nearly enough as I should online is skincare. 

It's very important to take good care of your skin and have a good routine in place. No matter your age, skin type, color or needs. There are tons of products out there on the market that you can test out and see what works best for your individual needs.These are my current favorite face skincare products I use daily. They include: my exfoliator, anti aging night and eye cream, toner, cleanser an SPF moisturizer and a vitamin infused retinol.  

So first of all let me begin by saying that my skin is NOT perfect. When you see my pictures online, pictures of the makeup looks and OOTD pictures I am most probably earring  full face of makeup .....therefore sometimes it's somewhat hard to tell a person's skin condition just by looking at them online as oppose to up close and personal without full coverage makeup. And with all the latest advances in HD foundations and cosmetics .....lets just say that makeup in more ways than others kept up the pace with the latest technology so it's still hard to really tell if what you are seeing is really what you are seeing, if that makes sense. Even with all of that though, I always though skincare is important and essential no matter the price point....no matter the excuse. 

Sometimes it's hard to grasp the concept but even with makeup very often it's hard to hide unkept and unattended skin that has not been taken care of for a long time or even ever simply because makeup can cover only so much. The truth of the matter is that most of the time makeup tends to look worse on skin that is or has not being taken care of. Sure, you could get away with it for a while when you where younger but as you get older the neglect, aging and all those   sleepless late nights you out partying when you forgot to remove your makeup before bed start taking effect and eventually catch up to you before you really realize what just happened here. I am by no means saying you should try to or even convince you to stop or reverse aging......that is still at this point in time impossible even with all the plastic surgery out there you can really only go so far before you downright start to look weird. I'm not saying I'm against improving your looks I'm just saying some people just don't know when or where that limit is unfortunately. However, I am saying that taking care of your skin needs will result in more graceful and a more beautiful aging process ....and I think ultimately that is what we all want.To look as best as we can for our age ....no matter where we are in life. 

A lot will depend on your individual skin needs and your age. I'm  currently 31, and have a combination skin with some acne and pore/blackhead issues ...both due to the oil production.So let's just get into the products I use and talk a bit more about my skincare routine. 

First off lets start with exfoliators. Exfoliators are important part of a good skincare routine. They are also the part that sometimes gets overdone to a point where it's damaging to the skin. Exfoliating basically gets rid of dead skin cells that have not fallen off yet on their own on the surface of our face. Exfoliating properly helps the skin renew itself resulting faster in smoother, more radiant even skin as oppose to dull flaky one that makes our foundation looking flaky. I use a combination of products to exfoliate my face. Sometimes I will use homemade brown sugar scrub for a natural home remedy. Other times I will use my Clarisonic Mia in combination with my Cetaphil cleanser. If you'’re not already a Clarisonic convert, you’'re missing out. Using a sonic frequency to oscillate back and forth at a rate of more than 300 movements per second, the brush removes up to two times as much dirt and oil and up to six times as much makeup as cleansing with your hands. You’ll notice clearer skin and smaller-looking pores after just a few weeks. Other times I will just use plain baking soda to exfoliate my t-zone and nose and tops of my cheek area where I tend to get blackheads the most. Because my skin is combination type which means it tends to get oily in my t-zone ( forehead/nose area) while the rest of it is fairly normal I exfoliate about 3 times a week, 4 if I wear especially heavy makeup often. 

Removing all the oil, dirt and makeup every night before bed is an essential step you should make a daily part of your skincare routine habit. I just really cannot stress that enough.I used to dread washing my face and removing makeup when I was younger because I was either too tired or too lazy to bother....nowadays I don't even think of it....its just something I do without a thought. The days I wear heavy makeup or waterproof mascara or liner I usually start by using makeup wipes to get rid of most of it. After that I dip a cotton swab into a coconut or olive oil and clean my upper and lover lash line if there is any mascara left. That way I take any trace of it off as well as condition my lashes at the same time.  Finally, I wash my face with my Cetaphil cleanser normally unless I'm exfoliating that day. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a mild, non-irritating formulation that soothes skin as it cleans. In fact, it's gentle enough for a baby's delicate skin. Designed specifically to work for all skin types, it is a simple, yet highly effective way to care for your skin. As gentle as it gets — soothes and cleanses, leaving skin smooth and soft Mild, soap-free formula cleanses without irritation — it won’t strip skin of its natural protective oils or emollients. Moisturizes without leaving residue that can clog pores and is even good for special skin needs including those of rosacea-prone skin.

After my skin has been cleansed properly I use a toner. For this step I either use rose water as a natural way to tone my skin and get it to its recommended ph level or I use a Japanese  Eudermine softener/ lotion as they refer to it in Japan which can be somewhat confusing to those who only ever heard of a traditional skin toner. I tend to prefer this type of a product than a alcohol based, harsh toner most of western countries use. Prized in Japan for over a century, Eudermine is one of Shiseido's oldest products introduced in 1897. A softening lotion that delivers immediate moisture and improves your skin's own moisturizing power. The result is supple, smooth skin. Responds to changes in climate to keep the skin's moisture level constant regardless of location or time of year. Recommended for all skin types. Recommended use morning and night after cleanser. It's consistency is clear and waterline ....completely unlike lotion. If I'm not using Eudermine, which I usually tend to before bed I use another Shiseido product. Pureness Balancing Softener Alcohol-Free. A pre-makeup essential that helps hide imperfections and improves the wear of foundation, while offering UV protection. This formula helps fill fine lines while counteracting dullness, redness, and unevenness to leave skin smooth, refined, bright, and even. 

My next step kind of depends on whether I'm off to bed or not. If I'm on my way to bed I use my retinol right after Eudermine skin essence. I pat it into my skin gently all over my face, neck, forehead and around my eyes. I use  Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM. Potent concentration of microencapsulated Retinol at 1.5% helps to encourage the skin's renewal process. Moisturizing formula, infused with Vitamins C & E that suits all skin types. The appearance of tone and texture is enhanced. The look of fine lines and wrinkles is visibly reduced. Skin looks renewed, refreshed, restored. It's both oil and fragrance free and it doesn't irritate my skin at all. I use retinol only at night ....never during the day. 

If it's day time and I'm about to start my day I would normally use the Shiseido Pureness Balancing Softener first and then use a bit of a Cetaphil SPF moisturizer mixed in with my foundation ....instead of retinol .....SPF is very important especially when using any type of retinol ....and well, so is daily moisturizing ....even for combination skin like mine ..... Because it stops the skin from overproducing oils in order to moisturize itself naturally and in turn clog pores resulting in blackheads and acne. 

But let's return to nighttime routine. As I was saying previously, after the retinol application I let it absorb for few seconds because my skin just drinks the stuff up...literally. After that I apply my night  and eye cream. The night cream, Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Night Cream by Shiseido is an age-defense nighttime moisturizer.This moisturizer creates a visible reduction in the appearance of existing wrinkles, intensively addressing lines before they become more serious. Its advanced formula works while you sleep to promote a silky-smooth skin texture by morning. As far as the eye cream is concerned Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream also by Shiseido is my eye cream of choice and has been for a while now. An ultrarich, age-defying cream that visibly improves the appearance of all types of eye area wrinkles. This advanced treatment addresses signs of aging in the eye area, including inner corner creases, undereye wrinkles, crow's feet, lid creases, and undereye vertical lines. The WrinkleResist24 signature ingredients prevent future wrinkles and repair existing wrinkles. This treatment contains burnet extract to revitalize cells and counteract loss of firmness. Developed with advanced Shiseido technology and ingredients including Super Bio Hyaluronic Acid N and hydroxyproline, this formula provides intense moisture and supports natural collagen production.

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 is a complete line of skincare products that targets every step of wrinkle formation. It goes without saying but I really love using this line and anything that Shiseido makes as far as their always innovative skincare products are concerned. Each product contains a breakthrough ingredient, mukurossi extract, which directly inhibits the activity of a wrinkle-triggering enzyme. Skin is made resistant to future signs of aging while existing wrinkles are visibly improved. Though I'm only 31 and don't have any deep wrinkles yet. However, I use this line as a  form of preventive care. I have been using it for couple of years now ....and I must say I really like it and apparently so does my skin. 

Apart from all the things I talked about just now in here. I also am a big fan of using face masks 1-2 times per week.They can be both home made, Asian (Korean, Japanese, Indian) or preventive, acne healing, pore unclogging, deep cleansing and anti-aging. I'm always after new ways to improve my skin condition. So there you have it, these are the things I currently use and have been loving for a while. There are times when I will change up some of the products in my skincare routine depending on my sometimes changing skin needs ....but usually if they work I tend to stick to them. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The true power of the perfume

Like most little girls, I found the lure of grown-up accessories astonishing - lipstick, perfume, hats and gloves. Which takes me way back to a specific day when I was I believe around 8 years old. My favorite auntie came for a visit from Germany to Croatia where I lived with my family at the time. She was one of those women I always admired and aspired to be like when I grow up. She did as she pleased. Went wherever she wanted. Said whatever she meant....no matter the situation without apologizing about it. Despite her carefree spirit, she was always a lady first. Her fashion was always on point and her love for perfume.....impeccable.

When I think of the history of perfume, it takes me back to ancient Egypt where it was used  used by the Egyptians as part of their religious rituals. The two principal methods of use at that time where the burning of incense and the application of balms and ointments. 

Perfumed oils were applied to the skin for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes. During the Old and Middle Kingdoms, perfumes were reserved exclusively for religious rituals such as cleansing ceremonies. Then during the New Kingdom (1580-1085 BC) they were used during festivals and Egyptian women also used perfumed creams and oils as toiletries and cosmetics and as preludes to love-making.

The use of perfume then spread to Greece, Rome, and the Islamic world. And it was the Islamic community that kept the use of perfumes since the spread of Christianity led to a decline in the use of perfume. With the fall of the Roman Empire, perfume's influence dwindled. It was not until the twelfth century and the development of international trade later that this decline was reversed

Perfume enjoyed huge success during the seventeenth century. Perfumed gloves became popular in France and in 1656, the guild of glove and perfume-makers was established. The use of perfume in France grew steadily. The court of Louis XV was even named "the perfumed court" due to the scents which were applied daily not only to the skin but also to clothing, fans and furniture. I found that part so charming :) The eighteenth century saw a revolutionary advance in perfumery with the invention of eau de Cologne

 Going back to my childhood, that specific  crisp fall day, my aunty was shopping for a bottle of her favorite perfume - Coco Chanel. Coco by Chanel which is an oriental spicy fragrance for women. Coco was launched in 1984. The same year I was born :). The nose behind this fragrance was Jacques Polge. Top notes are coriander, mandarin, orange, peach, jasmine and bulgarian rose; middle notes are mimosa, cloves, orange blossom, clover and rose; base notes are labdanum, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, opoponax, civet and vanilla Though she always had a quite the collection of beautiful bottles of exquisite perfume, Chanel line of perfumes was always on top of her list. I remember being utterly fascinated, looking at all the endless shelves filled with intricate bottles of different designs and colors while sitting in a big plushy comfortable arm chair in one of the upscale department stores waiting for her while the beautiful sales lady helped her go through different scents available. 

One of the peculiarities of Coco is that it was among the first perfumes to be conceived not as an extrait de parfum first but rather envisioned in its diluted form of eau de parfum. The market had gone away from the more discreet, more intimate use of parfum extrait and demanded a really powerful spray that would announced the wearer before she was seen; ergo the eau de parfum (and sometimes the parfum de toilette) concentration, less expensive than extrait but rivaling its lasting power, while at the same time being extra loud thanks to the volatility boost via the spraying mechanism. The secret ingredient in the formula of Coco by Chanel is the inclusion of the base Prunol*, a rich and dark "dried fruits & spices" mélange famously exalted in Rochas Femme by Edmond Roudnitska, which gives Coco a burnished hint of raisin. The cascade of honeyed spices immediately asserts itself: pimento, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and clove, while the overall feeling is one of amber plush and resinous warmth (with a wink of leather) with the flowers folded into a rich batter and undiscernable. The patchouli (tucked into the Prunol base) gives a whiff of chocolate, though, in the words of Susan Irvine, not even a fashion innovator of the magnitude of Chanel would have considered a note reminiscent of a bedtime drink as worthy of consideration in fine fragrance. (One would perversely wish she had lived through present fruitchouli-infested times to see how she'd chuckle under her smartly cuffed sleeve.)

I remember thinking to my self "One day I want to be just like her" ....mesmerized by all the things we did together and by all she was as a woman. She was always so different than anyone I knew. So carefree, happy, full of energy, determined, unique in the way she present herself both fashion and personality wise. And while I will never forget our special shopping trips or our love for delicate and beautifully crafted european cakes. One thing I will never forget is  the signature fragrant  aroma/scent of her favorite perfume .....which always brings me so many memories no matter where I am in life.  

The appeal of perfume is that it is at once ephemeral and empowering. It creates a shimmering invisible armor that lingers in a room long after its wearer has gone and infuses our imagination with a subtle power, hinting at a hidden identity. My auntie's demeanor  always showed little hint of glamour, yet her dresser and bathroom windowsill where always loaded with jewelry and perfumes in sensuous bottles. Their fragrances  always made me feel wonderful and at home. 

In today's world though, the perfume is a luxury industry as never before, which like other economic sectors goes into financial decline at times. This industry doesn’t count for anything if it doesn’t use marketing strategies. A much larger and an ever demanding clientele has to be appealed to. As the times change so do the trends and preferences of course, and because of this in turn the perfume of the 21st century had to also be improved. As a consequence of the progress in the chemistry, the perfume industry will easily face the fashion fads of the 21st century, and will have to develop revolutionary technologies, such are  those in the field of genetics. Indeed, without loosing track of the artistic side of the profession because ultimately perfume ....has always been an artistic expression :) 

Today I'm my own woman with my own preferences of fashion, scents and the way I choose to portray and express to the world just who I  really am as an individual. I have come to understand with the passage of time just how much scents can influence our memories,, perception, feelings and mood. Regardless of it all for me she was, still is and will always remain my inspiration and whenever I dab a bit of her signature favorite on my wrist my childhood nostalgic memories come back .....and they feel so intense and clear like everything happened yesterday, though in reality it happened almost 2 decades ago. There is just something so special and profound about that. I believe that is the true and ever infinite power of a perfume....it never lets you really forget. That is exactly why I have my own signature favorite ......no matter how big my fragrance collection gets over the years there is always that constant one that I reach for always. Simply because I want to be remembered by others ....the way I  myself always remember her. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Living with Congenital Nystagmus/Strabismus

This week I want to talk to you about something that is very hard for me sometimes to talk about to .....or with people who are not involved in my life on a more personal level. It really takes courage and strength to talk about things like these, exposing yourself and being vulnerable ....especially on the Internet where people tend to me more confortable with lets just say.....being unkind to others while hiding behind the screen. I want to talk about the eye condition I suffer from since I was born. I want to talk to you about my experience with Congenital Nystagmus with Strabismus. 

Nystagmus most commonly causes the eyes to look involuntarily from side to side in a rapid, swinging motion rather than staying fixed on an object or a person. Some nystagmuses, however, cause the eyes to jerk sideways or up and down. This can be very hard on a person's confidence. I know mine has suffered because of it and many times it can get in a way of things in life you normally would not think of had you not had the condition to begin with. For me those things sometimes include: how people view me and what they think I can or cannot accomplish, being able to keep an eye contact when meeting people without making them wonder what is wrong with my eyes and vision problems among other things.  

Nystagmus is usually infantile, meaning people have it from a very early age. Experts say that about one child out of every several thousand has nystagmus. So that basically means I'm not exactly alone ....but sometimes the condition can feel quite isolating. 

Congenital nystagmus is present at birth, which is the eye condition I suffer from. I was born with it and never really experienced life or my vision to be exact without it. With this condition, your eyes move together as they oscillate (swing like a pendulum). Most other types of infantile nystagmus are also classified as forms of strabismus, which means the eyes don't necessarily work together at all times. Which  as I mentioned above, I also have and in layman terms is called being "cross-eyed". 

All forms of nystagmus are involuntary, meaning people with the condition cannot control their eyes.  Though I was never really targeted or picked on in school about it and was a rather quiet and reserved type of a child who spent the wast majority of their time in library reading tons of books. I remember, when I was younger other kids would ask me "How do you do that thing with your eyes?" I used to laugh it off and answer them "Well it's a secret but I bet you can't". This was my way of coping with something I felt self conscious about since I can remember. Nystagmus improves slightly as a person reaches adulthood; however, it worsens with tiredness and stress. I have noticed that when I'm especially stressed, nervous or upset about something my eyes will move more rapidly. 
Having nystagmus affects both vision and self-concept. Most people with nystagmus have some sort of vision limitations because the eyes continually sweep over what they are viewing, making it impossible to obtain a clear image. For this reason, sometimes it takes me longer to either notice things at a distance or sometimes focus on a particular thing I'm trying to see better.Some people with nystagmus have so many vision problems that they can be considered legally blind.
I remember as a child I would frequently be perceived as clumsy when in reality nystagmus can after your vision's depth perception. Depth perception is the visual ability to perceive the world in three dimensions (3D) and the distance of an object...so sometimes I would trip or hit into things that are other people had no issues seeing. Even people wearing glasses ....but without having this condition. 
If you have nystagmus, not only is your appearance affected, but you literally see in a way that is different from people who don't have the condition. Your eyes are in constant motion and the constant questions and confusion about your eyes by others (mostly strangers you encounter everyday) is a sometimes a very clear reminder of how "different" you are from others. And sometimes that is not the easiest to deal with. I guess it would depend on your emotional state at the time of when the questions are asked. But admittedly for the most part things can feel more uncomfortable than necessary....
When you have nystagmus, you must deal with the personal and social consequences of this difference. We are all judged everyday by different people in our lives on different things. That is something nobody can escape really. But when you have an eye condition such as congenital nystagmus people may conclude you maybe less capable than others  right off the bet which is not true nor exactly fair in many cases.....though in some it could be that the condition is so severe that it literally disables the person from having and leading what the majority would consider a "normal" life. So sometimes it can feel like being turned down before getting a fair chance even .....which can be to say the least very frustrating. Nystagmus can affect nearly every aspect of your life, including how you relate to other people, your educational and work opportunities and your self-image. 
I have many hobbies and many things I love to do. I love to cook, travel, swim, write, read, fashion design, travel, languages, learning about different cultures,  shopping, makeup, painting and drawing (which some people can't understand how I am able to do with my vision and eye issues). I'm just a person who is passionate about life and things I love to do ....and I have decided long ago not to allow nystagmus stop me from living and enjoying my life even though sometimes this is hard to put to practice. But.....there is always a but somewhere :) ......congenital nystagmus is an eye condition not who I am.....therefore it should not define me as a person. I should not ever allow it to. If you are reading this and you or somebody you know suffers from this or a similar eye condition counseling may be helpful as you face the social and personal challenges often associated with nystagmus. Perhaps learning more about it and reaching out to others in similar situations might be helpful. 
Several medical and surgical treatments that sometimes help people with nystagmus are available. Surgery usually reduces the null positions, lessening head tilt and improving cosmetic appearance. Drugs such as Botox or Baclofen can reduce some nystagmic movements, although results are usually temporary. Some people with nystagmus benefit from biofeedback training and generally contact lenses tend to be more beneficial for the  clearer vision and for preventing or slowing down the eye movement. 
I'm not sure how many of you that don't know me in person, have actually noticed my condition. Because I do try to hide it to some degree in the pictures and videos I have put out there. And, nobody ever asked me about it .....well there was one person who did few years ago thru You Tube, because her daughter had it......but besides that I never was asked about it online nor I really wanted to discuss it further. Partially because sometimes it can be very uncomfortable talking about it ...and partially because of my need to be "normal" like everyone else. Which I think is very understandable by most of us. Today though I decided to actually acknowledge that I'm definitely not like everyone else :) ......and I decided to open up and talk about this straightforwardly in hopes of helping someone out there who might be stoping themselves from living their life to the fullest potential because of this condition that they never wanted or had control over. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

For the love of dessert!

It's kind of ironic how I just wrote about my ongoing weight-loss journey in my latest blog post few days ago, simply because what  I'm about to write about right now is about to get very and I do mean very sweet :)

I will never deny that loosing weight and keeping it off did not come with its ups and downs. Indeed, I have learned a lot about portion control, calories, healthy and well......not so heathy options out there. I have also discovered that while my passionate, over the top love affair with dessert has gotten me in trouble many times in the past, I was not yet prepared to give it up completely. Even while loosing all that weight. Because I knew that my weight-loss doom would always result from deprivation. Not only of dessert but of anything really.the trick for me as with everything else was to find that balance and have a bit of everything in moderation. 

My solution and my way of keeping things in check is to allow myself once in a while to actually  have my cake and eat it too :).  By once in a while I actually mean once a week. What I mean by that is that I actually do have guilt free desert ....and I do mean indulgently rich kind of dessert. The kind that makes me feel downright bad after I had devoured it ravenously. I never believed in watered down desert .....we all know the kind I'm talking about. I always believed dessert should be indulgent ......but also portioned and worth eating. It should be something you really enjoy since you don't  get to eat it in limitless quantities or often......in other words I'm not  a fan of wasting my calories on things I felt just so-so about.

So my favorite types of dessert are truffles and European cakes and pastries usually eaten with coffee....all of these options are needless to say are very bad for weight-loss if eaten in abundance. However, I simply must have these once in a while and they must be  best tasting and of the highest quality I can get. I'm the type of person who would rather eat one over the top dessert per week than spend all week eating random sweets here and there....that where not as good but much more affordable.  I'm not sure how or why but my strategy so far has kept me out of trouble in terms of getting of track when it came to desert in general. Let's just say I have learned to keep my sanity this way :) 

So, last week was my birthday and when hubby asked if I wanted a cake I simply said no. I told him I wanted a box of my favorite truffles instead. There where actually two very specific reasons for my answer that day, because let's face it turning turning 31 does require a cake for sure :). The first was because the truffles I could actually eat little by little overtime instead of having a huge cake I had to eat quickly before it dries up in the fridge and goes to waste. The second reason was that the weekend following my birthday I was actually going to be in Vancouver BC, Canada. While there, I was planning to visit Thierry: a French Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe, where I was planning to get really  really bad :). Knowing all this made my decision of not having a birthday cake that much more easier ..... 

Voted “Best Desserts” and “Best Pastries” in Vancouver, Thierry offers a contemporary approach to the finest handcrafted chocolates, macarons, pastries, and desserts where renowned Pastry Chef Thierry Busset’s can often be seen working in his open atelier. I must admit, after reading all the wonderful online reviews about this place there was just no way I was able to stay away. I must say their Chocolate Marquise Cake was to die for. The hazelnut dacquoise, salted caramel,  crisp praliné and chocolate mousse made me want to eat my breakfast, lunch and dinner there for the next year .....but unfortunately or should I say fortunately for my waistline  I had to leave in three days. 

Ultimately  I  have realized my love of desert never really went away completely, it just got more and more refined as the time went on and the pounds came of :)