The Best Gift I’ve Ever Given My Nieces

I have three beautiful nieces. The eldest Amiya is 9, then there’s Ayanna, age 5 and the youngest Aileen, whose 16 months. My sisters and I had very humble beginnings and I strongly believe that our drive, ambition and appreciation of our blessings is attributed to that.

My nieces are the first children from both sides of the grandparents, so it’s only inevitable they are showered with gifts. I too was guilty of spoiling them, getting them egregious gifts, despite my sister insisting that they don’t need anything. It didn’t matter to me, I wanted to get them the best gift every year.

It wasn’t until last Christmas, something really struck a chord with me. It seemed that there were nearly 100 gifts under the tree, with over 85% of them being for my nieces. They were ripping through each one so quickly that they didn’t have the chance to appreciate the current one they had unwrapped. A part of me started reminiscing about my childhood Christmas and even though Santa almost never got me the gift I asked for, I still have fond memories of Christmas. In fact, it still remains my favourite holiday of the year!

Now, don’t get me wrong. My nieces are growing up to be beautiful girls. They’re well mannered, caring and loving. But, there isn’t anything that they want, they don’t have. For us, not having what we wanted was a function of our financial situation at home, so it was easy to limit us, but how do you limit your child when you have the means?

It was right after last Christmas that I decided that I will no longer buy my nieces materialistic gifts. Instead, I will gift them memories. For their birthdays, I’ve now started doing hair salon and mani/pedi dates, so that we can spend quality time together – something that is invaluable.

This Christmas, my husband and I decided to sponsor two girls through World Vision for Amiya and Ayanna. We sponsored a 10 year old from Africa whose birthday is two days after Amiya’s and a 4 year old whose birthday is the same day as Ayanna’s. I wanted to find two girls, similar in age who shared something special with them, so they’d be able to relate, but at the same time, realize how different life is for others.

In her letter to Santa, Ayanna asked for super powers, so we gifted her the gift of super powers to help someone in need – which is what super heroes do.

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I remember when Amiya was 4 years old, on her first trip to India, she was at first disgusted by the half naked, malnourished kids on the streets of India. I then explained to her that they have no home and no access to food and it’s not nice to say things like “ewww”. The next time we went to McDonald’s, she bought an extra happy meal, tricking us into thinking she wanted it and then gave it to a hungry kid outside. It warmed our hearts in such a deep way and we wanted to give her the opportunity to do just that for someone again, but this time, in a more impactful way.

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I’m happy, thankful and most of all blessed that my husband and I are fortunate enough to be able to giveback in such a way. I truly hope that my nieces take this experience in stride and write to them and learn about life outside our beautiful country we are blessed to call home. This is my #beautygiveback story.

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Infuse Med Spa Giveaway

infuse med spa

Infuse Med Spa has graciously donated a $100 gift certificate for the third BeautyGiveBack giveaway!

Nestled in Toronto’s prestigious Yorkville, Infuse Med Spa brings you the latest innovations in beauty solutions. Their medical spa menu services include pain free laser hair removal, skin tightening treatments, anti aging photo facials, medical grade facials, hydrafacials, acne light therapy and their latest addition, the carbon facial. Plus much more!

You can enter on Instagram and Twitter.

To Enter on Instagram:

  1. Follow @beautycubed on Instagram
  2. Like the giveaway post
  3. Tag at least 3 friends in the comments section of the post

To Enter on Twitter:

  1. Follow @beautycubed on Twitter
  2. Retweet the giveaway tweet

You can enter both on Instagram and Twitter and it will be counted as two separate entries!

And don’t forget to share how you’re giving back to those in need this holiday season on social media and tagging it with #beautygiveback to be eligible for a special care package filled with goodies from Guerlain, Urban Decay, Korean Skin Care Masks and much more! 

Contest closes Friday, December 25th at midnight. Winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Sweet Leilani Cosmetics Giveaway

For the second installment of the BeautyGiveBack campaign this year, I’m giving away a goodie bag from Sweet Leilani Cosmetics valued at $145 CAD!

Sweet Leilani Cosmetics is a cosmetics brand based out of Vancouver, Canada. All their products are Canadian made, made of all natural ingredients and crueltry free. The line contains natural ingredients with anti inflammatory and anti aging properties for the skin such as rose hip, grape seed and green tea extracts. For a detailed review and a look I created with this line, check out my previous post here.

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Vega Giveaway!!!

To kick off the second annual BeautyGiveBack campaign, Vega has graciously donated a bunch of Vega goodies. In fact, they were so generous, that I decided to split it into two giveaways – one on Instagram and one on Twitter!!!

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BeautyGiveBack

I’m happy to bring you the second annual BeautyGiveBack campaign! Once again, I’ve teamed up with some of my favourite brands and vendors to bring you a series of giveaways during the month of December. During this campaign, I want my readers to take a moment and think about how they can give back this holiday season to those less fortunate.

With the rise of social media, outer beauty is constantly being gratified, but beauty is so much more than what meets the eye. It’s what inside and defined by our actions. So showcase what true beauty is this season by giving back and sharing it on social media (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram) with the tag #beautygiveback.

Every little thing counts, be it helping out at the local food bank, donating clothes, helping organize an event at work for the United Way – the opportunities are endless.

In addition to the giveaways, I’ll personally be putting together a care package filled with some of my favourite items for my favourite #beautygiveback entry.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Holiday Fit Guide

Holiday Season is upon us, which means Eggnog, Holiday Cookies, Holiday Parties and just about everything else that derails our progress.

There are more parties to attend between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than any other time of the year. Although a good holiday party is always fun, constantly eating party food doesn’t do much good for our weight or stress levels. That’s why I’ve put together a quick Holiday Fit Guide, including 5 tips to help you stay on track this holiday season.

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GIVEAWAY!!! Glam by Seher Studio Inc.

I’ve teamed up with Seher Studio Inc for another glam filled giveaway as part of my BeautyCubed Glam Guide series valued at $150! Giveaway includes:

  • 1 Gift Certificate towards your choice of either party make up or 1-on-1 make up tutorial by lead make up artist of Seher Studio Inc, Seher Sultan
  • 1 NYX eyeshadow palette in Adorable
  • 1 NYX lipgloss in Beautiful
  • 1 travel size Lancôme Genefique Youth Activating Serum
  • 1 travel size Miracle Philosophy Night Cream
  • 2 NARS Velvet Lip Pencils

Check out the glam she did on me here!

To Enter:

  1. Follow @beautycubed and @seherstudio on Instagram.
  2. Like the giveaway post
  3. Tag 3 friends that you think would be in interested in the giveaway in the comments section.

Contest closes Friday, November 27th, 2015 at midnight. A winner will be selected at random. Please note, you must be able to to redeem the gift certificate in the Greater Toronto Area.

Good Luck!

xo

Make Up & Hair By Seher Studio

Seher Studio Review

I first met Seher Sultan, lead make up artist for Seher Studio Inc nearly 5 years ago for my bridal make up trial. I then went on to hire her to do my E-shoot and bridal make up. She’s now one of my go-to make up artists for party make up. I absolutely love her work. As an artist, she brings out your true beauty and is also well versed in correctional make up, if you require it. When searching for a make up artist for my wedding, I was looking for someone who had their eyeliner game on point. I always say that you can really tell whose a talented make up artist based on their eyeliner – and boy does she know her eyeliner. I always leave her chair feeling my most beautiful self. Read More

Why a 50/50 Male:Female Cabinet Doesn’t Mean Equality

Justin Trudeau's Cabinet

On November 4th, 2015, Justin Trudeau was officially sworn in as Prime Minster of Canada and announced his cabinet. The cabinet is diverse as the nation, including aboriginals, minorities and gender neutral – comprised of 15 males and 15 females. This 50/50 ratio signifies to many, gender equality, and when asked about his gender neutral cabinet, Justin Trudeau’s response was simply put, “Because it’s 2015”.

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WMC Fashion Week SS16: Highlights & Trends

Hilary MacMilan

Last week I attended World Master Card Fashion week in Toronto, where Canadian designers unveiled their Spring/Summer 2016 collection. There were some standout collections, jaw dropping pieces and a mix of contemporary classics which I believe is true to Toronto’s evolving style.

The highlights for me were Mikhael Kale, Sid Neigum, UNTTLD and Rachel Sin.

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