“I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my makeup box.” –Bette Davis

Let’s face it: beauty has evolved. Of course, perceptions of beauty, the products available, and the way they are represented in media have all changed drastically over the years, but one thing remains the same: beauty is always in demand. It’s also always sought after and appreciated in a myriad of ways. 

Today, thankfully, we see all types of women –and men—depicted in beauty ads. There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing people of different shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and backgrounds represented.

A couple of other things that have drastically improved when it comes to beauty—makeup, hair, and nails—are the variety and quality of products.

Long before shopping on the Internet (so, very recently), beauty products were harder to come by, and people simply didn’t shop as they do now. First of all, the sheer amount of different products now was unthinkable then. There wasn’t much diversity in beauty wares. For example, women shampoo their hair far more now than they used to. If we’re going to go way back, the question of water was an issue. Without indoor plumbing, people bathed a lot less, and a good shampooing was quite the luxury! To even think of washing one’s hair every day was a foreign concept (and we know that it’s actually better not to shampoo every single day: let those natural oils work their magic).

Hair: Before the 1920s, women mostly wore their hair long. During the day, they usually styled it piled on their heads into a bun (think of a Gibson girl) and, at night, would let it fall, brush it out, and put it in braids with a nightcap. 

Before portable hair dryers, women were less willing to get their hair wet. Swimming without a rubber cap, are you crazy? Going to the beauty parlor once a week to have their hair set (in curlers) and styled for the entire week was very popular. A beauty parlor has always been thought of as a place of necessity—for the most basic maintenance—as well as a community hot spot. If you heard any gossip (especially in small towns), it was at the beauty salon.

Then, in the 1920s, when flappers were all the rage, women started bobbing their hair. How revolutionary! 

Soft curls have always been an incredibly feminine, lovely look. Long before electric curlers, women wore hard plastic ones to bed (can you imagine sleeping on those things?). Now, with heated rollers and sophisticated curling wands, one doesn’t have to sacrifice a good night’s sleep for voluminous hair. Thank goodness for hairspray and dry shampoo!

Hair dye has, over the years, become much more sophisticated. Women (and men) still use Clairol at home and, gasp, peroxide to achieve a platinum blonde look. Now there are so many more colors from which to choose, and it’s not considered risqué to dye your hair. One hundred years ago, it was all the rage (and pretty sassy) to put a henna rinse on one’s hair for a flame-red effect.


“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” –Coco Chanel

Women in small towns who wanted to bring a little glamour into their lives and some extra money started selling Avon and Mary Kay products. Avon—founded in the late 19th century—was the first beauty brand to be sold door to door by representatives. This made beauty much more accessible! This way of shopping has gone out of fashion because, as we know, beauty supply shops like Sephora have taken over, and, of course, there’s online shopping. 

Max Factor was probably the first big name in quality makeup (of course, quality has changed and gotten exponentially better, more ethical, organic, etc. over the years). Founded in 1909 by Maksymilian Faktorowicz, this brand specialized in movie makeup and really had a monopoly on the business. This is where the Pan Stik (or pancake makeup) began. Liquid foundation, imagine that! 

Elizabeth Arden and Revlon were also the go-to brands, but the range of colors and shades was limited early on: in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, red was all the rage. Classic, bright red lipstick and fingernail polish were pretty much the only options, and this is what women wore when they wanted to dress up and feel beautiful. Some of the vintage Revlon lipsticks that are still widely available include “Cherries in the Snow” (a pinkish red loved by Marilyn Monroe), “Fire and Ice” and, believe it or not, one of the early pinks worn by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” called “Pink in the Afternoon.”

The glamour goddesses of stage and screen have always used false eyelashes and press-on fingernails (think of Marlene Dietrich), but today, these things are much more refined and available to the general public. Mascara has changed a lot, too. It used to come in a compact cake, and you’d have to wet it and apply it with a little brush. Now there are so many types of brushes, colors, and brands of mascara and false eyelashes can be purchased just about anywhere.


Paul McCartney said that he wrote “Eleanor Rigby” about his mother; he thought of her pot of Nivea cream (thus the lyric). This was the staple when it came to skincare: Nivea or, of course, cold cream. A jar of Pond’s Cold Cream immediately evokes a great sense of nostalgia! 

For a little bit of color or “bloom” (if rouge wasn’t readily available), women and girls pinched their cheeks. This is still a great secret if you’re out and about without your blush!

Skincare has gotten so much more sophisticated over the years: now we have exfoliants, toners, facial wash for every skin type, anti-aging serums, and masks…just about everything you can think of! Although, people have been using the bare basics (such as mud) for centuries on their skin. Rose water has also always been a beauty necessity—for cleansing and adding a hint of perfume.


Long before Spanx and Skims, women had to rely on painful corsets, girdles, and control top pantyhose. Now it’s okay for bare legs to show beneath a skirt or dress, but it used to be thought of as unseemly! Still, stockings with seams held in place by garters are incredibly sexy and romantic. Today they are thought of as more of a novelty rather than a necessity. 

For everything you need to know about sustainable, organic, inclusive, and high-quality beauty products, check out Nabila K Cosmetics (for skincare and makeup)! 

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“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” –Edith Head

There’s nothing that transports us like wonderful clothes—costumes, even—and getting all dolled up. Sometimes, getting ready for a party is the most fun of all. Even before you arrive, feeling like Cinderella at the ball is a truly whimsical experience. 

Always a fan of flamboyant fun, dressing up is something I’ve always loved, whether I’m actually going out or reading my favorite Fairy Tales from childhood.

Having a theme is always helpful because you have an idea of where to begin when planning your attire. Seeing the Met’s Costume exhibit each year is always an artistic highlight.

 Lots of hair, jewels, makeup, and an evening gown make any woman feel like a princess. The amount of time, artistry, and detail that go into creating a certain hairdo, makeup, look, or piece of couture is staggering.

(The photo above was taken at the Monaco Red Cross Ball.)

In Praise of the Masquerade 

It’s rare that one really gets to dress up in finery galore, so when the opportunity arises, take advantage! Why not look and feel like a goddess?

Some truly spectacular galas:

  • The Rothschild’s 1972 “Surrealist Ball” was the ultimate in over-the-top glamour and definitely one of those moments where it’d be fascinating to be a fly on the wall, observing in absolute anonymity. 
  • The Black and White Ball hosted by Truman Capote at the Plaza Hotel in 1966 was complete with guests Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra wearing masks to resemble a black cat and white butterfly (other guests included Lee Radziwill, Ladybird Johnson, and Gloria Vanderbilt).

The Best Period Costume Film Moments

A love for fantasy and dressing up goes back to my love of movies, especially old films.

  • Claudia Cardinale in “The Leopard”: wears possibly one of the most beautiful gowns ever shot for the screen.
  • Elizabeth Taylor in “Dr. Faustus”: no one quite does cinematic beauty and spectacle like La Liz in all her various outfits and wigs. She’s even painted entirely silver at one point.
  • Marisa Berenson in “Barry Lyndon” is one of the finest examples of an actress used for her supreme modeling capabilities. In order to inhabit the role, she had to simply sit and stand while wearing the most ornate 18th-century costumes, complete with wigs, bonnets with plumes, corsets, white makeup, an enormous beauty mark, and elaborately complicated gowns. At times, she’s like a wonderful Georgian painting come to life. 
  • “Eye of the Widow”—a film I did in the early ’90s (alongside the great Mel Ferrer and F. Murray Abraham of recent White Lotus fame)—called for a great deal of costuming, complete with a corset, hoop skirt, and hair in corkscrews curls. 

18th Century fashions were especially over-the-top—elaborate powdered wigs, ruffles and bows, bustles, gowns with a million layers and petticoats, etc.—and completely fascinating. There definitely is an art to dressing up, and the history of fashion is endless!


  • Goya’s portraits are so hypnotic; one can get lost in them. Painting the aristocracy—lords and ladies, dukes and duchesses—employed Goya, so he was able to work and wow us with his wonderfully dark and more complex pieces later on. His “Black Duchess” (1797) has always been a great source of inspiration.
  • Women known for dressing up, like Luisa, Marchesa Casati Stampa di Soncino (the heiress who wowed Europe in the early 20th century), are supreme muses and influence painters, sculptors, poets, and, of course, couturiers and fashion designers. 

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“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” –Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Valentine’s Day has always been a favorite holiday (if nothing else, the candy and flowers will always lure you in). A romantic ambiance complete with a bubble bath, rose petals and candlelight are a sure way to anyone’s heart! Go ahead and give in: make this Valentine’s Day extra special for yourself and that special someone with all the charming bits and bobs. 

The phrases “Lovecore” and “Heartcore” have taken over the lexicon and are intended to describe décor and aesthetics that rely heavily on a romantic theme. 

Romantic and passionate love are always ideal on Valentine’s Day, but so is the love of friends, girlfriends (i.e., “GALentine’s day”), and one’s self. Self-love and self-care are incredibly important, and, now more than ever, we’re actually talking about how to nurture ourselves as well as others. This means taking time to be alone and, like Miley Cyrus’s recent siren song, buying yourself flowers. This is not selfish or even a wee bit sad (even on Valentine’s Day); it’s liberating!

What you’ll need to win hearts and/or treat just yourself:

Bubble baths, oils, and organic salts (all rose-scented, of course) are must-have items for the most romantic day—and night—of the year. Even if you’re simply soaking by yourself and not coupled up, taking a hot bath is one of the most relaxing, practical forms of self-care in which to indulge. Fill the tub to the rim (but watch for overflow; your neighbors downstairs will complain when water drips ruin their V-Day plans), fill it with Nabila K Rose Garden bubble bath, organic rose bath salts (with actual rose petals), and just a tad of bath oil. What could be more luxurious? 

Candles are absolutely necessary for conjuring romance. If you’re not one who goes for a lot of frills, fake it till you make it: there’s nothing like a candle flame to ignite passion. If you’re on a budget, try Nabila K’s small soy-based candles (these are perfect for fitting onto the corners and edges of a bathtub). Take your bubble bath game to the next level with light emanating only from Nabila K Rose Garden candles

  • Oil Diffusers are a chic flame-free option for perfuming large spaces (try Nabila K’s Rose Garden scented option).
  • Red lipstick (or gloss) is a Valentine’s Day essential. How else are you going to leave red prints on his cheek, collar, and, most of all, seal your love letters? Make sure to mark them “SWAK.” Nabila K has the perfect red lipstick in the shade called aptly called “Vixen.”

Perfume is necessary for evoking passion and is one of those things we always remember: long after memories have faded, a special scent remains. Fragrances even have the power to unlock memory.

  • The perfect love letter is, of course, sealed with a kiss. More than that, it has to be written from the heart. Whether you make your own heart-shaped paper Valentines or purchase a greeting card, make sure that the message is heartfelt and filled with a bit of poetry. Nabila K’s unique stationery is a great idea for the occasion (especially the Rose Garden design) and is blank, so you can choose the perfect, one-of-a-kind sentiment. 
  • Of course, champagne is the beverage of choice! Like Oscar Wilde said, “Only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason for drinking champagne.”
  • Plush toys—especially teddy bears—have always been a favorite and always make for sweet, cuddly presents.

Add some smooth jazz, jewelry, and lingerie and you’re all set for a perfect Valentine’s Day! Even if you’re sleeping alone, cozy pajamas are sometimes the cutest and, clearly, the most comfortable! As for jewelry, costume is just as fun as real gems; try something with a heart charm to feel exceptionally cute.

  • Chocolates (in a heart-shaped box, no less) are always welcome, and Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without them. An old-fashioned box complete with satin pleats and a big bow is the ultimate treat.

For more information on the Nabila K products mentioned above that will make your day—and night—as lovely as possible, check out the links below:

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How to Live a Mediterranean Lifestyle

“I’m glad I am a woman who once danced naked in the Mediterranean Sea at midnight.” 

-Mercedes McCambridge

When people hear the phrase “Mediterranean lifestyle,” most will probably think of diet, but it’s so much more than that. What we consume is what constitutes our lives, but it’s not just about food and drink: it can be culture, beauty, poetry, architecture, and that irresistible Mediterranean sunlight that drenches everything white.  

Maybe it’s the sheer beauty of the landscape that makes inhabitants of Mediterranean countries happier and healthier. These countries of Europe, North Africa, and Asia in the west are almost achingly beautiful; everything is old and kept in beautiful shape (they actually appreciate their culture and want to keep it intact). History is very important; old buildings are preserved and cherished, and monuments and statues are revered. Architecture and art are a way of life, and beauty is extremely important!

Europe especially reveres its artists. People can be seen dancing and singing in the streets; there are actual troubadours who will serenade you in the town plazas of Spain!

Greece, Italy, Spain, and France, oh my! These are some of my favorite places in the entire world (and I don’t think I’m the only one). 

Some tips on how to live like a local and reap that glow that only these countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea can offer. 

“I love Spanish food. My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food. I eat well.” 

–Penelope Cruz

Indulge in food and drink (the Mediterranean diet): olives, olive oil (which is called “liquid gold” for a reason: it offers not only culinary greatness but is beneficial for silky, shiny skin and hair), freshly caught seafood, oranges, herbs and spices, whole grains, vegetables, paella, tapas, etc. Eat fresh! Go to the market every day and see what looks ripe and delicious (never eat processed food if you can help it, and everything in moderation). Take your time to really enjoy the flavors. Of course, France, Italy, Spain, and Greece are known for their little outdoor cafes that are so charming, and we all know more time spent outdoors is very good for our mental and physical health. Because the Mediterranean diet focuses heavily on fruits and vegetables and is low in saturated fats, it’s heart-healthy. It’s a way of life, not a fad diet.

  • Bathe in the sea, go for a boat ride, smell the lavender and rosemary, literally take time to smell the roses, so to speak. We all know that Spanish is the loving tongue, the French have a “joie de vivre” sort of attitude, and the Greeks are culturally steeped in the beauty of gods and goddesses, so it’s no surprise that they’re very sensual people. Living by the sea is also very calming and tranquil.
  • The Mediterranean light is so captivating and, because it gets very hot and arid during the summer, it’s customary for shops to close in the afternoon so everyone can take a little siesta. Then, in the evening, around nine o’clock, restaurants and cafes reopen so townspeople can enjoy dinner until late. Meals can last for hours. Enjoy wine or an Aperol Spritz and laugh easily and often. Try to take it easy so you, too, can live a laid-back life.

Community and family are very important. People actually talk to each other in the streets; meeting friends for coffee seems easier in these parts of the world.

  • Generosity and hospitality. Go somewhere where things aren’t mass-produced: try a tiny French bakery and see how much love goes into the sweet delights.
  • Walk a lot! Move freely. Don’t think of exercise as a chore but a way of life. If you do something daily, it becomes much easier. 
  • Adopt a zest for life, for conversation, and for meeting new people.
  • The décor is sublime, especially with colorful tiles everywhere.

Artists who have captured this Mediterranean feeling…

Isn’t it amazing that so many of the greatest fine artists the world has ever known are from Mediterranean countries? 

(Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “The Farm at Les Collettes,” 1914)

Some of our favorite painters—from Baroque to Impressionist—include:

  • Van Gogh (especially his paintings of Arles and Avignon)
  • Velázquez 
  • Goya
  • Cézanne 
  • Gauguin
  • Monet 
  • Renoir 
  • Matisse

For more tips and musings on life and beauty, see what’s on the blog.

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“A Room of One’s Own”

Virginia Woolf wrote of a feminist freedom in her 1929 novel, A Room of One’s Own; she was way ahead of her time and said, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” How you wish to furnish that room is another story. 

What do your design preferences reveal of your personality? Are you into minimalism: monochromatic rooms filled with sparse furniture and blank walls?  Or maybe the baroque, slightly tacky vintage aesthetic (Tiffany lamps, lots of velvet, fainting couches, heavy drapes)? Perhaps you’re a bohemian at heart with a fun-loving spirit (with beaded doorways, a lava lamp, yoga cushions, and succulents) or simply an overgrown college student (bean bag chair, anyone?). 

“All I want is a room somewhere

Far away from the cold night air

With one enormous chair

Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely?” 

–Lerner and Loewe, My Fair Lady (1956)

(Ingmar Bergman’s bedroom in Fårö, W Magazine)

  • Modernist, Minimalism: Hello, Ikea! When it comes to functionality (and monochromatic color schemes), the Swedes are revered. Simple, modern, monochromatic: do you prefer solid white or beige? Most minimalists are, of course, very neat, organized, and efficient. They also enjoy space! The “Less is More” aesthetic is all about clearing out the clutter and only having maybe one throw pillow on the sofa. Also, you probably have a twig of eucalyptus in your bathroom somewhere.

(Gloria Vanderbilt and Diana Vreeland photographed by Horst P. Horst in their over-the-top NYC apartments)

  • Vintage: What about a chenille bedspread? If you’re into antiquing and thrifting, you probably have an old handmade quilt somewhere (at the foot of your bed) and gewgaws and tchotchkes everywhere. If you love kitschy décor, you’re probably an old soul who is very thoughtful, playful, and into the fun in life. Your drapes are probably a funky color, and there are definitely feathers and/or dried flowers somewhere to be found. The furniture (and tub) has claw feet, and the dining room table is made from Formica. You have a tiled bathroom and a percolator on the stove. There are also lots of picture frames filled with loving faces, art on the walls, and maybe even a sculpture or two.

(Eudora Welty’s simple, light-filled Southern kitchen, photographed by William Eggleston)

  • “Shabby Chic,” Classic/Traditional Farmhouse: Are you interested in repurposing old items? If you see a piece of sturdy craftsmanship on the curb you probably take it in, clean it, wax it, paint it, etc. Sound familiar? This means that you’re very much into quality and well-made furnishings. Furniture used to be made to last and families passed down pieces through the generations. Do you own a family heirloom, something that belonged to your grandparents or even great-grandparents? If your old grandfather clock is what makes your heart go pitter-pat when it comes to décor, well, you’re obviously into antiques and keeping memories alive. You have reverence for the past. You also probably have hardwood floors, a butcher block table, an Oriental carpet, mason jars filled with flowers, and a kerosene lamp. 

(Frida Kahlo’s kitchen, “La Casa Azul” in Mexico City: Note the traditional Mexican clay pots and unexpected splashes of color)

  • Bohemian: What does your sofa look like? Is it covered in layers of throw blankets and decorative pillows of all shapes and sizes? Do you have contrasting patterns, fuzzy rugs, plants galore, bright paint schemes, a Buddha statue and some incense on the coffee table? Well, you are most definitely a free spirit! Don’t forget that all bohemian style aesthetics include candles on just about every surface and an altar complete with personal effects. 

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“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” -William Blake

Winter—despite the shorter hours, less sunlight, and colder temperatures—is a magical time of year and, with the right perspective, a great season to embrace. Instead of dreading winter, enjoy all it has to offer!

Winter Holidays

Winter is, of course, the season that brings us the most wonderful time of the year. With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and ringing in the New Year, there’s a seemingly endless barrage of festivities. This can seem daunting to many of us, so why not, this year, focus less on consuming and more on living in the moment and enjoying life? Instead of fretting over presents and getting the decorations just right, spend time with one another and do what makes you happy. If you enjoy flowers the most, make sure that garlands, holly, and poinsettias are the standout décor. If you enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas, string popcorn and cranberries, and don’t hesitate to let the children in the family trim the tree as well (haphazard ornament placement and all), you can tweak it later. 


Let’s face it: winter is a time for serving looks! If you’re not lucky enough to be living it up in a tropical climate, take advantage of it and, of course, keep warm with stylish layers. Whether you’re breaking in a new pair of chic leather boots, rocking an essential black turtleneck, or keeping cozy in cashmere and wool blends, you’re bound to find fashions to enjoy. Cute sweaters, cardigans, scarves, leggings, gloves, and a matching pom pom hat, oh my! Now, I know most people will shirk at the idea of real fur, so make sure it’s either vintage or faux. There’s nothing more stylish (or warm) than a shearling coat, and if you’re feeling really cute, take a cue from Ali MacGraw in “Love Story” and try crocheted knits as your new winter gear. Also, remember that winter white is always a good idea: it’s simple, understated, and always looks luxurious.


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

– John Steinbeck

There’s nothing more beautiful or peaceful than freshly fallen snow. A walk in the woods in winter is one of the loveliest, most tranquil things a person can do. Listening to snow crunch underfoot while observing animal tracks on an otherwise untouched blanket of snow is any nature lover’s dream and also pretty irresistible. Watching the sun glint off of snow, through pine and cedar trees, illuminating snowflakes (none of which is alike) is pure poetry. Go ahead and look for the beauty in winter this upcoming season because, after all, there’s so much to find.

Time Spent Indoors 

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” -Edith Sitwell

Winter is the time for spending more time indoors. Not only does it get dark early, but the days and nights are cold, so there’s nothing better than cozying up by a crackling fire with a good book, a cup of cocoa or mulled wine, and relaxing with loved ones. Winter is also the season for comfort food! Hot, hearty meals and favorite desserts are one of the best things about winter: when your kitchen is filled with the aromas of nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves, it’s undoubtedly enticing and extremely inviting. Now is the time to start baking!


Whether you’re usually into sporting or not, winter is always a good opportunity to at least observe others frolicking! If you don’t feel like skiing or snowboarding, sit back in the chalet and sip your hot chocolate. The same goes for ice skating: it’s just as fun to watch the couples at Rockefeller Center as it is to actually put on a pair of skates. If it’s a winter wonderland, you can always build a snowman, go sledding or have a snowball fight (especially if you have children in your family; they’ll absolutely love it, and you’ll feel like a kid again).

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“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” 

–L.M. Montgomery

We’re all guilty of making New Year’s resolutions and breaking them, but the important thing is to declare affirmations and plan for the future. These little rituals are hopeful and help make life a little easier. If you have a goal to work towards and something to look forward to, that’s all you need to give life meaning.

Make Affirmations

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.”-Emily Dickinson

To make resolutions for a new year is to believe in tomorrow. When we want to mend our ways or simply be a bit better, we turn over a new leaf. It’s also incredibly helpful to literally think of a clean slate: to see everything as blank and brand new is very refreshing. 

The most common resolutions are, of course, to lose weight, eat healthier, quit smoking, drink less, exercise more, etc. It may be time to rework these ideas. Of course, we all want to be healthier, but sometimes it helps to be less specific with goals. Instead of just losing pounds, think of the new year as an opportunity to begin new, better routines. Fad diets usually don’t work very well; it’s about changing habits and lifestyles. If you can cultivate a healthier routine, it’ll gradually take effect, and, most likely, you’ll see long-term results. 

Good New Year’s resolutions are all about intention. If you sincerely want to be more patient, loving, kind, and less anxious, it’s the desire that works as a driving force. It doesn’t really matter if you mess up one day and indulge too much in your vices, for every day is a new opportunity, a fresh start! 

Inspiration from the Greats

We celebrate New Year’s Eve with champagne, fireworks, funny hats, balloons, confetti, and streamers. It is thought that whomever we kiss at the stroke of midnight is who we’ll love and be within the coming months. Kiss any loved one; it doesn’t matter who! We say goodbye to the previous year and let go of old disappointments. 

“Each age has deemed the new-born year the fittest time for festal cheer.” – Sir Walter Scott

Mark Twain was a bit more pessimistic (but certainly realistic) than some of the other great writers and wits we’ve quoted in this blog. Saying that “Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.” Let us hope that, by the end of January, we keep the hopeful, cheerful spirit of the New Year alive and well!

And, of course, there’s no greater witticism than that of Oscar Wilde: 

“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”  

Even with a good heaping of cynicism to keep us warm, it’s really never too late to change, to better yourself, to be the best version of yourself!

How to Keep Them

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and the days of auld lang syne?”

Little good luck traditions can’t hurt. After you’ve had your New Year’s Eve dinner of ham hocks, black-eyed peas, and collards (for wealth), you’ll be ready to stay up all night until a whole new year ascends upon us. 

  • Most sing “Auld Lang Syne” (a Scottish poem from the late 18th century that literally means “old long since”).
  • In Colombia, people run around with empty suitcases to ensure a year filled with travel and adventure. 
  • Some people open all the windows and doors and even throw water out the window (in Puerto Rico to banish evil spirits).
  • In Denmark, people jump off chairs for luck.
  • Smash a plate and eat 12 grapes when the clock chimes midnight (to represent the 12 months of the year).
  • Some do the Polar Bear Plunge! Go swimming in ice-cold water. This has become a tradition but is a bit extreme! With all the germs and sickness floating around this year and most of us recovering from a bout of Covid, it might be wise to skip this one!
  • We all know that the Chinese Zodiac is very lucky; 2023 is the year of the rabbit.

“Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, & with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day…is too dear with its hopes & invitations to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

To help keep your resolutions, 

  • Write them down. Either where you can see them or, if it’s a more personal wish, some people write them on a piece of paper and tuck it away in a box, sometimes forgetting about it until years later. Some people even get a little pagan and bury their wishes and resolutions in the ground beneath the moon. Making a wish on a star is always a nice touch! 
  • Be open to change. If we don’t truly accept the natural progression of time and want to grow, it just makes it that much harder. This is why daily affirmations (all year) are good for the spirit and keep us focused.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Take a cue from Emerson and live in the moment!

For more inspiration, life hacks, and information on all things beautiful, check out Nabila Khashoggi’s blog!

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“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” –Fran Lebowitz

There’s no question that reading enriches our lives. It is the optimal source for information. Living very busy lives filled with work, family, travel, etc. can make it difficult to unwind with a good book or almost impossible to become immersed in an escapist novel. There is so much information everywhere so, whether you prefer to get your news from the television, smartphone, podcasts, and/or audiobooks, there’s something to be said for an old-fashioned book (no E-reader) with dog-eared pages and notes in the margins. 

Tips for Reading More 

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” –Cicero

  • Set aside a half hour a day to start.
  • Have a stack of books to read on your bedside table. Make a list of books, authors, and topics of interest.
  • Read before bed. This will help you to doze off; a book is so much better than a screen.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself; you don’t have to have read all the classics.
  • Encourage reading in your home. Set aside time for your spouse and children to gather in the den for some quiet relaxation and reflection. Put down your phones, turn off the television, fill the coffee table with books and see what happens.
  • Skip around. Skip entire chapters if you’re losing interest. You’re not going to be tested on the material!
  • Read several books at once. This way, you’re more likely to find something you really enjoy.
  • A comfy reading nook requires good light and a big, overstuffed chair with a throw blanket, an ottoman, and don’t forget your favorite snack. This is a great incentive to read more!
  • Carry a small paperback in your handbag, tote, or backpack. While you’re on public transportation, waiting in the queue, or simply waiting, refrain from answering those texts and emails and read. 
  • Don’t make outlandish goals. Maybe don’t start with “War and Peace.” 
  • Any reading is good reading! Don’t let people tell you that one book is more worthy than another or that “guilty pleasure” reading is silly. That’s ridiculous! 
  • Magazines and tabloids count!
  • Try a new genre. 
  • The more you read, the more you want to read. It’s like exercising a muscle. It becomes habitual.
  • Go to the library. 
  • Visit rare and used bookstores. There’s nothing more charming than old books, and it’s so important to support small business.

Benefits of Being a Book Worm

“Reading brings us unknown friends.” –Honoré de Balzac

We live in a technology-fueled world, so the analog era is sometimes thought upon with nostalgia and longing. I’m not saying we should go back to using quill pens with a pot of ink but writing longhand, sending letters and postcards instead of texts and emails, and reading a book or magazine is so enjoyable and therapeutic. It’s calming and meditative to slow down, take a breath, and put down those screens. 

  • You’ll sleep better if you engage in less screen time before bed. Put your phone or tablet away (and turn off the television) at the very least thirty minutes before bed. You may even have better dreams (depending on what you’re reading). No news right before bedtime, either!
  • Of course, your concentration will improve. You’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll absorb all sorts of new, wonderful information. 
  • Think of starting a book club and, when you finish with a book, give it to a friend to lighten your load. There’s no greater gift than a good book, and this will help to cut down on clutter (even though shelves spilling over with books is a wonderful, cozy sight). Sharing ideas and stories is probably the highlight of a friendship so find a book you love and give the gift of literature. 

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Winter Holiday Pastimes and Traditions

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card I write; may your days be merry and bright and may all your Christmases be white.”

Winter Holiday Traditions 

There are so many festivities and traditions associated with Christmastime, some old and still in practice, while some have sort of gone out of fashion. As a big lover of Christmas and all the winter holidays, I enjoy all the merriments and celebrations. Why don’t you and your family try something new this season? 

Trimming the tree: most people—even non-Christians—put up some sort of tree for Christmas. It used to be tradition not to decorate the tree until Christmas Eve; this may seem a bit late for many of us, but it’s really a lovely idea to have a tree trimming party just before the official day of Noel, don’t you think? If you want to have an old-fashioned Christmas, try making your own ornaments using paper and fashion garlands out of popcorn and cranberries on string. Don’t forget to add dried fruit (especially orange slices) to your tree, and remember that it’s always charming and fun to cut down your own tree if you can. Before electric lights, people would actually place real candles on their Christmas tree branches. This is, of course, a fire hazard!

  • In the UK: Christmas crackers are a fun little offering that actually make a cracking sound when you open them! Good for stocking stuffers or holiday party favors, they make for the perfect little gift. Of course, in the UK, children refer to Santa Claus as “Father Christmas.”
  • In Iceland, children leave their shoes by the window in preparation for Christmas, hoping for candy and treats. If they’ve been naughty, they receive rotten potatoes! This is quite similar to the old adage that a badly behaved child will only get a lump of coal as a present.  

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” 

– Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”

  • Cozy touches: Watching a yule log burn and crackle on the fire, being kissed beneath the mistletoe, and caroling are all festive and merry ways to participate in the holiday season. 
  • Hanukkah is the Jewish winter holiday where the lighting of the menorah takes place and is celebrated for eight nights. 
  • Religious observance is, of course, very important. No matter what your religion, there are Christmas Eve services to attend, beautiful hymns to be sung, and, of course, it’s ideal to put charity into action.  Volunteering and donating to your favorite charities, local church, and food and clothing drives are really the best, most appropriate ways to celebrate the holidays. It’s a time, more than ever, for hospitality, compassion, love, and generosity.
  • Writing holiday cards is such a lovely gesture. This quaint act of kindness may mean more to someone than you know, and it’s much more charming than sending an email. 
  • Traditional foods and goodies are probably everyone’s favorite part of any holiday! Some of our beloved staples include a  plump Christmas goose, fig or plum pudding, homemade fudge, sugar cookies (in festive shapes) and milk for Santa Claus, marzipan fruit, ribbon candy, fruitcake, egg nog, minced meat pies, a Christmas Stollen, chestnuts, ham with pineapple, wassail, sugarplums, gingerbread men and, of course, a gingerbread house.
  • Stockings (always with an orange, apple, or candy cane inside): fresh fruit used to be a luxury for many people (and still is for some), and they could only get it at Christmas. An abundance of fruit at Christmas is just one of many sweet indulgences. 
  • A festival of lights: some neighborhoods go completely wild when decorating their homes; it’s always fun to go for a drive and check out the lights!
  • Secret Santa seems to pop up every year, whether it’s at work or among family and friends. This way, you only have to buy one gift. 
  • Keep an advent calendar counting down the days to Christmas!
  • A couple of surprises: did you know that it used to be, in some cultures, commonplace to tell ghost stories on Christmas Eve? It’s also tradition to appoint someone as the “Lord of Misrule” on Christmas Day! 

“Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings!”

  • Classic movies, books, and songs will always define our culture. Try watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” or reading “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens this year. Sing “Jingle Bells,” “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas,” “White Christmas,” and “Silent Night.” If you and loved ones can gather ‘round while someone plays the piano, all toasty and warm by a roaring fire with cocktails and glistening snow outside your window, then you’ve just achieved the ideal mise-en-scène. 

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Clean Beauty for the Holiday Season 

Clean beauty is a trend that has been growing in popularity in the United States since the early 1990s. However, it is also a beauty trend that isn’t always entirely understood or embraced. The hazy definition of clean beauty products in the early years and the many products on the market today have led to some confusion. That is why it is important to have a clear idea of what clean beauty is to make the best use of clean beauty products this holiday season. Here is a short overview of the clean beauty movement and the clean beauty products available to help you achieve the look you want this holiday season without sacrificing your skin health. 

Image of Make up brushes over white background

What Skincare Ingredients Are Bad for Your Health?

The main reason some beauty products are frowned upon is they contain chemicals and other ingredients that can potentially be harmful to your skin or your general health. Some of those ingredients have been eliminated in the United States due to Food and Drug Administration regulations. Mercury compounds and bithionol are among those restricted materials. However, other potentially harsh or harmful materials are still allowed in traditional beauty products. Some of those less desirable beauty product components include:

  • Parabens
  • Oxybenzone
  • Hydroquinone
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

What is the Clean Beauty Movement?

The clean beauty movement is a movement away from traditional beauty products containing ingredients like those listed above. Over the last several decades, consumers and business owners alike have been steadily embracing healthier living habits. Many of those habits are more mainstream, such as sticking to regular exercise routines. Clean beauty, while lesser known in some circles, is equally important. It ensures that you can still maintain the same type of beauty regimen you always have while also maintaining your health. All you must do is make the important switch to using healthier beauty products. 

How Did Clean Beauty Start?

The start of the clean beauty movement in the United States can be traced back to the 1990s. Although, some companies produced healthier beauty products before that time. Most experts attribute the true birth of the clean beauty movement to Whole Food Markets. That company was one of the first to have a section devoted to healthy beauty products in its stores decades ago. Since then, many companies have begun producing clean beauty products. Some, like Nabila K, have dedicated themselves to healthy beauty product production since their earliest days in business.

Start Embracing Clean Beauty Products by Choosing a Clean Foundation

Image of Nabila K Foundation

A clean beauty routine is like any other beauty routine in the sense that it needs a good foundation. Foundation formulas like this one by Nabila K contain healthy ingredients without sacrificing function. In fact, water-based foundation formulas are ideal. Not only do they contain safe products for your skin, but they also help you hydrate it. Adding such a foundation formula to your daily skincare routine is a great way to start embracing clean beauty.

Sodium Hyaluronate Hydrates the Skin

Color correctors and concealers are types of cosmetic products you might use every day. They are designed to cover up and hide the blemishes you do not want the world to see. The best color correctors and concealers can hide everything from acne scarring to under-eye circles. That way, you can go out on the town with confidence in your appearance.

A good concealer can hide a lot of things, but one thing that should never be hidden is its ingredient list. Concealers produced with clean beauty in mind have ingredient lists the manufacturers can be proud to display. Those ingredients often have multiple skin benefits rather than just not being harmful. For instance, many color correctors and concealers, including those from Nabila K, contain sodium hyaluronate. Sodium hyaluronate is capable of penetrating deeper layers of the skin. It also attracts water molecules, which helps skin stay hydrated for a longer period. Sodium hyaluronate is also found in many other types of skincare products and cosmetics, such as:

  • Face Washes
  • Moisturizers
  • Toners
  • Body Lotions

Isododecane Also Offers Hydration Help

Another ingredient found in Nabila K concealers and many other products that provides hydration help is isododecane. Isododecane is an emollient. Emollients do not directly provide your skin with hydration. However, they do form barriers that keep moisture already in your skin from escaping. That is why using hydrating products along with emollient products is always a good idea. 

When you are looking to use clean beauty products this holiday season, emollients like isododecane are the types of ingredients your skin cannot do without. Locking in moisture is especially important during the holiday season because the holidays fall at the end of the year. That is a time when many regions have cold, dry weather. Emollients help to soothe rough, dry, damaged skin and restore it to its preferred soft, supple texture. 

Get Your Holiday Glow Back Using Glycerin

Nabila K products and other clean beauty products also often contain glycerin. Glycerin is a clear material usually derived from animal fat or plants. It is one of the powerhouses of clean beauty products because it is safe for all types of skin. Glycerin is a type of product known as a humectant. That means it can draw moisture from other areas. When you apply it to the outer layer of your skin, it brings moisture up from deeper layers and draws moisture in from the air around you. When you use products that contain it, you can keep your outer layer of skin well hydrated. Then you do not have to worry about losing your healthy glow over the holidays. 

The Best Way to Embrace Clean Beauty for the Holiday Season

The best way to embrace clean beauty this holiday season is to keep educating yourself about the products that are good and bad for your skin. Go through your bathroom cabinets and read ingredient labels. If you find products that are not meeting your clean beauty standards, throw them away. Trade them in for healthier options like those provided by Nabila K. 

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