DIY Christmas Tree

Yes I realize this is a wee bit late but I got caught up in the Christmas wave. Great thing about Christmas though, is that it’s every year 🙂

If you’re like me and aren’t to keen on real Christmas trees, then you opt for the fake version that can be pulled out and set out every holiday and packed away neatly until the next year. But what if you can’t quite afford one? Honestly they’re a little pricey, and if you have to choose between that and booze et food more likely the latter will win out.

So what do you do? Make your own tree of course. (no duh!)

Seriously. And it will cost you way less and you can store it away and use it again if you want, plus you’ll be recycling which is great for the environment.

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What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard box
  • Paint (whatever colour you want, set your unicorn free)
  • PVA glue/Mod Podge
  • Scissors and a X-ACTO knife
  • A general idea of what a tree should look like
  • Newspaper to cover your work station
  • paint brush/foam brush
  • Shallow bowl
  • Ruler or long straight edge
  • Pencil

What to do:

Choose two similar sides of your cardboard (whatever size you have or prefer) and cut them out. Lay one board down and measure to find the top center of cardboard. Mark a long line from top center to bottom left corner of cardboard. Mark another long line from top center to bottom right corner of cardboard.

 

Design a tree edges beginning at top center to bottom left corner, using your marked line as a guideline. Do the same on the other side. I kept mine simple.

Take your X-ACTO knife and cut out your tree design.

diy-cardboard-christmas-tree-1

 

Use your cutout as a stencil on the other cardboard piece and draw out the trace the design, then cut it out.

Now to make the slits. So the idea is much like puzzle pieces; you need to cut slits on both cardboards so that they fit together perfectly and can stand upright.

 

 

diy-cardboard-christmas-tree-2

You will need to make sure you have a line centered on both cardboard pieces to make center slits through each cardboard piece.Cut a slit about a centimeter wide from the top to the center of cardboard 1 and cut from the center to the bottom of cardboard 2.

tree-shape

 

You can paint your cardboard pieces or leave it as is. I mixed 2 tones of green to get the colour I wanted and added a little glue to stiffen the board.

 

 

When it’s all dry, slide the pieces together. Slide cardboard 2 onto cardboard 1.

Now decorate! You can make your own ornaments or pin store bought ones, then through on some Christmas lights and your done.

well

 

 

 

 

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Is getting a facial worth it?

hydrafacialMost people have had to deal with acne at some point in their lives, and we can all agree that acne is a serious pain in the rear. I said goodbye to acne in high school without really trying, I just washed my face every morning and evening as I showered. I’ve never been into these rather dramatic face care routines some women are into. But this year, my skin broke out. It makes me incredibly self-conscious, since I sometimes can’t tell if someone’s having a conversation with me or the raging zit on my forehead.

My sister told me (several times) that it would be a good idea to see a dermatologist just to figure out why I could suddenly have endless fun playing connect-the-dots on my face. So I did, I mean what could it hurt?

So I made an appointment for 4pm on a Saturday at Avane. I got there 10 minutes late, but that didn’t matter much because they were running behind schedule, meaning I wasn’t seen until 5:20pm. Dr. Pancholi asks me into his office and I sat down. This chap stares at the form I filled out and glances at me then recommends a treatment and shoos me out of the office, very politely. Now I’m confused…is this what I paid KES3,000 for? To feel like an insignificant pain that can bring in a little extra money? Wasn’t happy if you can’t tell. No sir.

The treatment suggested is one I’d heard of and always good things. “It’s changed my life forever” type things. So I decide to give it a go. The receptionist/cashier then tells me that it’s KES15,000 for the hydra facial treatment and KES8,000 for the home care kit. Yes people, KES26,000 in total. Insane right? I mean if you’re not reasonably well off or a sugar baby, this is hella expensive! How badly do you want that baby smooth skin? Would you give up buying that fridge or discount trip to Malindi for it? Be honest.

Anyhow, I decide to be a little reckless because I never spoil myself. Things like waxing, mani-pedis, spa days, even getting my hair done at a salon are completely foreign concepts… so this once I’ll do something nice for my otherwise bruised and battered body.

The treatment room is a floor down in this forgotten office space that isn’t nearly as inviting as the fourth floor space. The technician handling my treatment, Eunice, asks me to give her a second to set up then ushers me into a room and asks me to lie down. Now Eunice gave me the attention Dr so and so should have. She explained what she was doing and made light conversation which was nice. For those of you who haven’t done it, this is the process:

Eunice started by cleaning my face using face-wash and wet wipes, she then went into the activities below; Alexandra explains it well:

1: Cleansing and exfoliation. The technician uses a small “deplaning” tool that opens up pores and sweeps the uppermost layer of makeup debris and dead skin cells away. It feels like a spinning toothbrush was being run over my face.

2: Acid peel. Most glycollic peels leave your skin stinging for a few minutes until they’re washed off, but not this one. The glycollic/salicylic acid peel is gentle enough that it only creates the faintest tingle.

3: Extractions. If you’re the type of person who gets off on seeing what comes out of your clogged pores, this is the part of the treatment you’ll love. Instead of performing manual extractions, the technician uses something rather elaborately called a vortex-extraction nozzle that acts as a vacuum. The sucking sound it makes is oddly satisfying, but the best (or the worst?) part is the cup at the base of the machine that shows exactly what was extracted—and it’s more than you think.

4: Serum application. This step uses the vortex-fusion tool, which infuses an antioxidant-and-collagen-rich serum into the skin to promote elasticity and hydration.

My face felt all tingly and looked all glowy. There was a little soreness but not horribly so. I couldn’t wash my face until the next morning and scrubs are out of the question for at least 5 days. My skin is really soft now, though bumps are still there. I think the home care kit they gave me which has a facial wash, exfoliating scrub, facial and spot treatment, and moisturizer (BelleDerm products), is working. That or I desperately want it to. Giving it up to the end of the month to start seeing results.

bellederm-clear-kit

Was it worth it? For 26K it better be! I’ve gotten a few compliments which is encouraging, but I don’t think I’ll be going again at the end of the month like I was told to. I’m a freelance event planner not a CFO for a multinational company. Plus I’m not too keen on Avane…just felt like a money-making joint not the sort of place where you feel like an appreciated client. (Just my personal opinion).

If you’ve done this, or something like this, share your thoughts below on whether it was worthwhile and if you’d do it again or recommend it to other people.

Edit: I received a call from Sonya Syan today who works at Avane. We had a short conversation where she apologized about the service received and explained a few things with regard to how Avane functions. She also offered to make it up to me. Now if you’ve ever had a bad experience with a company, rarely do they give a flying cow about your complaints, and they either ignore you or give a half assed apology, so I appreciate the gesture. She also sent an email:

Dear Misa,

Please allow me to introduce myself as the manager at Avané clinic. We are sorry to hear that you feel that the doctor did not spend enough time with you, and we want to assure you that we value every one of our clients highly. The doctor usually sees 40-50 patients in a day, and is usually able to make an assessment and entrust your treatment to the capable hands of the relevant therapist. We deeply regret the occasional delays that inevitably do occour and highly appreciate the patience and understanding of our clients. Should clients have any follow up concerns which they wish to raise with the doctor in respect of the treatment, they are always welcome to a follow up consultation at no additional charge.

The Hydrafacial is indeed a skin changing treatment, and the standard charges worldwide range from $170 – $200 per treatment. This because the products we use are genuine, our technicians are highly trained and we are able to skilfully adapt the administration of the treatment according to the skin’s responsiveness. The benefits of the Hydrafacial can be felt instantaneously, and this treatment is highly effective at improving overall skin health as well as addressing specific issues such as acne. 

As a gesture of our good faith, we would be happy to waive the fees of your consultation and offer you a complimentary Hydrafacial treatment on your next visit. We do hope that you will trust us to get you on the sure path to beautiful, acne free skin. Please get in touch with us to arrange an appointment at your convenience, and we assure you that your next Avané experience will be a happier one! 

Best wishes,

Sonya Syan

Avané Clinic

Trapped

Trapped

She stares at her hands,

they shake..showing the fear she dares not voice.

She wants to give in to reckless abandon,

to be herself,

to laugh,

to love,

to live.

Her experiences have been cruel lessons.

Dare she trust again?

Feel again?

Believe again?

Become lost in the sweetness of the moment again?

A wave hits her,

she can’t resist the force.

Her hands curl into fists.

To be oneself is to be rebuked.

To act out of expected norms is to seek punishment.

She is trapped in her fear.

Her longing daring her to break free,

but its not quite enough.

What to do?

What to feel?

What to think?

What to say?

These things she no longer knows.

Watch game

Getting the special men in your life, family, friends or a significant other, the perfect gift tends to be a lot harder than it is for women.

Mayhaps it’s just me.

Whenever a birthday, or valentines day rolls around I start panicking because I haven’t a clue where to start. So I asked one or two chaps what they’d like to get that’s practical (because a gift should serve some purpose) but still be special.

WATCHES!

Now, people shy away from this because good watches cost quite a bit and cheaper ones tend to last about the lifetime of a fruit fly. But look at it this way, quality watches are the kind of gift you give someone really important like your dad on father’s day or your hubby on your anniversary, and will serve them for a long time and serve as a quiet reminder. So take the time to educate yourself and really shop around for something great.

How to know what watch to buy? What makes sense? What would he like?

Here’s how I’d decide:

  • What’s his current style? This is important because a watch tends to be a reflection of his personal taste and must fit into his lifestyle.
  • How easily can it be fixed? It needs to be something you can get fixed without too much fuss.
  • Value of the watch versus what you pay for it.
  • Where you get it. No back alleys in town people!

This video has a couple of helpful tips as well, and gives suggestions on blogs, apps e.t.c dedicated to watches:

Nat did a shoot featuring some swanky watches for men.

The idea behind the shoot was to show watches in the modern man’s natural habitats.

These pieces are gorgeous and each one suits different tastes. Click on them to get a closer look 🙂

 

 

Brown Sugar Body Scrub

I’ve recently discovered the beauty of coconut oil and one of the things I made recently is a coconut oil sugar scrub  with lavender essential oil. It smells amazingly edible and feels yummy on my skin.

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal, and is an excellent moisturizer.

Lavender essential oil is relaxing and good for the skin, like if you have skin irritations.

Here’s how you can make your own …

Ingredients:

  • 240/250ml Jar(s) (buy one or use an old glass jam jar)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (adjust this according to how course you want it)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (don’t heat the coconut oil prior to mixing, because hot oil will dissolve the sugar.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lavender essential oil

Method:

Combine all ingredients into a well … a scrub. You could add everything directly to your jar to make things easier.

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Directions:

Massage the scrub onto your skin in circular motions for 30 seconds.  Rinse and pat dry, letting the oil.

Here’s two labels you could add to your jar or you could make one yourself. 🙂

 

 

Banana Mug Cake Recipe

You find yourself craving a sweet treat and really don’t want to leave the house…mug cakes are the answer! Now I know not everyone has these ingredients in their home but maybe you should.

Anyhow, my current favorite is a simple, moist, banana mug cake.

Ingredients:

Ingredients.jpg

  • 1 tablespoon butter/margarine (melted)
  • 1/2 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 3 tablespoon plain flour
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • You can add nuts if you like.

Method:

Mash the banana till it’s as smooth as you can get it, with a fork.

To a microwaveable mug add your butter and melt it. Make sure it’s at room temperature and add in the other wet ingredients (egg, milk, milk and mashed banana.

Add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar) next, and fold them into the wet ingredients until it’s well combined and there aren’t any lumps.

Put into the microwave and let it cook on high for 1 minute. Different microwaves work…well…differently so if it isn’t quite done after a minute, cook it at 10 second intervals until it’s moist and cooked through. Don’t over do it though…it’ll dry out the cake.

You can add whatever you like on top and dig in. It’s awesome when it’s nice and warm.

Let me know how it goes 🙂