Exotic Beauty Treatment Of The Moment

photo credit Taste of Life

My experience with Turkish baths, or Hamams, was an interesting one to stay the least. I’ve experienced an Arabic bath when I was in Spain. I figured this would be pretty much the same, but I was so wrong. In a good way. I went to the Ayasofoya Hamam which was originally constructed in 1556. Here’s a little background:

“The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam in Istanbul was designed and built by Mimar Sinan, the chief Ottoman architect. It was built at the request of Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana), the wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century (1556-1557 AD). It was built where the ancient public baths of Zeuxippus (100-200 AD) used to stand, between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. The area is also particularly significant as the site where the Temple of Zeus once stood.”

The men and women entrances are completely separate and on opposite ends of the building. I started the experience by entering the Hamam on the far end closest to the Blue Mosque.

I went in and was greeted by the manager. She led me in to the very quiet and dim room with relaxing, soft Turkish music playing and I filled out the standard “do you have any injuries” paperwork. Once I was done with that, I went to the changing area where you remove everything. When I say everything, I mean EV-ER-Y-THING. They do provide you with disposable underwear that feel more like a loose peace of cotton than underwear. And I got a purple peshtamal (turkish hand woven towel) to wrap around myself. I then met the attendant who would be performing the bath on me. She took my hand, and while holding hands, she led me to the next room. That was different for me. Usually they say something like “come with me” and you follow behind them. But she took my hand, and led me to the next destination. It’s subtle, but was very noticeable for me. I thought it was nice and immediately indicated to me that this would be a very different experience. We went into the all-white marble room and she instructed me to sit next to the fountain with the gold spout. I sat down, she ran the water and made sure it was a nice temperature. She handed me a gold bowl and told me to sit back against the wall and relax. I sat against the wall, to attention, and she said, “no relax”. I still didn’t understand what she meant, so she sat next to me and sat down against the wall and completely let herself relax. Every single muscle, down to her posture was almost limp. Then I had the “oooooh” moment, and understood what I needed to do. The whole point is to completely let go, and cleanse your body and mind. So I did just that, and used the gold bowl to pour water over myself as I waited for her to return.

When she returned, she also changed into just the towel and some flip flops so she doesn’t get her clothes wet while she baths me. She took the special exfoliating mit and scrubbed my whole body from my face down to my feet. She did everything. My butt, my legs, my boobs, feet, everything. I remember thinking “this must be what it feels like to a baby when they get a bath”! Once she was done exfoliating, she walked me over the the center of the room and then unwrapped my peshtamal and laid it on top of the heated marble. I laid down on top of it, face up, wondering “what the heck is she about to do?!”. She then took a bucket and dipped a cloth inside, flipped it around and then rung it out. When she rung it out, a huge blanket of foam soap covered my body. She did this 3 times and my whole body was covered in the soapy foam. Then she washed and massaged my whole body, I turned over and she did the same. Then we went back to the fountain and she rinsed my body and she washed my hair for me. It was literally the most relaxing thing ever. I thought we were done, and apparently we weren’t! We went up 2 flights of stairs and in to a small room with a massage bed. She then gave me a nice medium-pressure massage for about 30 minutes.

When I was done I went back downstairs, put on a robe and relaxed with my choice of Turkish coffee or Turkish tea. The experience was seriously unforgettable. I have never had anything like this happen to me before and it’s something I would love to do again. I felt like Royalty!

You guys, this is a must-do activity when traveling to Istanbul. Why is this the best-kept beauty secret? Because it is a full body exfoliation and moisturizing event! For days my skin felt incredibly soft and glowing. Have you ever been to a Turkish Hamam? Have you ever been to Turkey? xoxo

Love,

Marcella

Dubai Travel Guide

One of the things that I love about living in the GCC area is that there is always something to do and see. I’ve lived here for several months and haven’t taken the time to sightsee so I decided to take a weekend and do just that. Dubai is especially fun because there is so much to do.

I started the weekend off by heading over to Miracle Garden. It was hot as balls outside, so I only lasted about 30 minutes. Literally. It was blazing hot that day, and they give you a small umbrella at the entrance to try and cover yourself from the sun, but it doesn’t help at all. Other than the excruciating heat, the garden is so amazing. All the colors, the different sculptures made out of flowers, the different types of flowers. And it’s massive! I heard the garden is more lively in the winter time (i.e. December to February). Around that time of year it’s about 75 F or 24 C and it’s the perfect weather for outdoor living.
The Dubai Mall is a great place to spend time if you come anytime from late March to the end of October because it’s air conditioned. It’s so big that you can spend several days just exploring Dubai Mall. There is almost any and every major brand you can think of here. From high end retailers like Chanel, Burberry, Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton to high street like Top Shop, River Island, etc.
Just outside of the Dubai Mall there are water shows every 15 minutes and it’s synchronized to different songs. One time they did the 007 movie theme. Another time they did what sounded like a traditional turkish song. It’s a really lovely experience something nice to do with a snack or ice cream to take a quick break from shopping.

Food:
My favorite restaurants are of course the ones where I can get items that remind me of home like Texas Roadhouse and Cheesecake Factory. But if you’re looking for a little more culture in your food options I LOVED Abdel Wahab! The food there is absolutely delicious!

Helpful hints:
-When getting a taxi, don’t use the concierge. They use the more expensive black cars. Ask where to find a “regular taxi”. Do the same in the airport. There will be people asking you “taxi? taxi? you need a taxi?” and my first time here I said yes and was put in a black car. I thought “wow this is so cool. Dubai’s taxis are all town cars”. Really? Who am I kidding lol. I later found out those are people who are trying to get rides out of tourist who don’t know any better i.e. myself. So don’t make the mistake I made. Unless you prefer a town car, then more power to you. But for me, I just want to get from point A to point B.

-I highly suggest if you are visiting the GCC area, do it between the months of November and early March. Any other time, it’s just too hot! Especially to do anything outdoors.

Let me know if you want to see more travel guides. I’ll have part 2 of Dubai for you soon! xo

Love,

Marcella

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Muscat, Oman

It truly seems like the time is flying by! I feels like just yesterday I moved to the Middle East and now, suddenly I’m about 5 months in to living here and I’ve found my groove! My time here involves many busy days of work, housework, cooking, spending time with friends and finding time in all of that for self-growth, meditation, saving money, working out, being great, etc. It’s exhausting! So I decided it was time for a much-needed break and I wasn’t going to take anything other than the sounds of the ocean and a nice cold cocktail with the warm sun feeding my soul and my skin. So that’s exactly what I got, but the place I stayed was more amazing than I expected.

Shangri-La is a franchise of hotels that has several locations around the world and they are known for their five-star service and accommodations. They have locations in the Hong Kong, France, and Japan just to name a few. First of all, the room was pretty awesome. It’s like staying at your relative’s house who is well off and super clean. It feels like a safe haven. Away from all of the chaos and racket of city life. Of all the activities I did, I especially appreciated the room for my one night of “stay-in-bed-and-watch-a-movie” night. I loved that there were good channels to choose from and there are different languages also (french, spanish, arabic, english, etc.), and they even had a good movie channel in English. The mornings were heavenly because the drapes were black out and I was able to sleep in for as long as I wanted.

Breakfast is included in your stay and it’s a full buffet of deliciousness. You can omelettes made-to-order any way you like. There were meat options (chicken or beef), and you had your pickings of fresh breads. My favorite was the chocolate croissants. I almost always have as salad for breakfast when I travel. So in sticking with tradition, I enjoyed a large salad at breakfast every morning and their salad bar had everything you could want, even smoked salmon! You can also order any sort of coffee you want like a cappuccino, americano, latte, etc.

What to Do:

I really liked the water sports area at Shangri-La. I did the donut ride which is a speed boat that is connect to a floating circle by a long rope. Then the boat takes off really fast and then is pulls you along for a super fun ride on the waves it creates. I had the wind blowing, water splashing in my face, lifting from my seat from the wave cutting. It was a blast! I think the total cost was 20 Omani Riyal for this ride which wasn’t too bad for 2 people. Then we did kayaking which is the only free watersport. I liked that you didn’t have to pay to use the life vests with the kayaks. Kayaking was such peaceful ride along the cove. You can see the entire property and the natural rock formations on your ride. Once I circles back around to shore, we decided to go snorkeling and borrowed some snorkeling gear from water sports area. I saw so many fish! And the waters are crystal clear. I couldn’t believe how far down you could see in what I considered a pretty deep area of the water. It was just stunning.

Eating:

I really liked Al Tanoor restaurant. It’s buffet style but you get gourmet items. I usually don’t like buffets because they seem to have lower quality food or food that has less effort put in to it because they just worry about making it in bulk, not necessarily the food itself. But this buffet was so opposite of that. I loved that you can get made to order options like the skewer of prawns that you can order and have made fresh for you and they bring them to the table for you when they’re done. Or the beef tenderloin is made fresh that day. There are also so many healthy options too. I didn’t do any other restaurant option because the buffet was enough. One day I just did the buffet breakfast and the buffet dinner. I brought in my own snacks from a local store before hand and had that snack during the day while spending time at the beach because I was pretty full from the breakfast buffet and didn’t really need a full meal for lunch.

Nightlife:

There is a rooftop bar on-site that plays house music. The vibe is really nice and the setup reminds of a Miami outdoor bar area with the wicker furniture and white cushions. The bartender was ok. They weren’t very good at making a classic margarita, however their drink list has really good options. They had one drink that had cucumber and red peppers. I love spicy, but I was a little nervous it’d be too spicy but it wasn’t. Actually it could have used more pica (means spicy in spanish) in my opinion.

I can’t wait to share more of my travel and life adventures with you all! Please subscribe to my Youtube Channel Love, Marcella. xo

Love,

Marcella

The Best Way to Stay Cool in Hot Weather

One of the things I love about summer is the blooming flowers and bustling streets. So many people are out and about enjoying the weather and each other. I especially love going to a beach and having fresh coconut water and taking a nap under the shade of a huge, beautiful tree.

Moving to the Middle East, aka the desert, has brought a whole new meaning to summertime. It is absolutely scorching hot here in the summer (and springtime)! I can not stand the feeling of being sticky and hot, especially when my clothes stick to my body. Since moving to the Middle East, I’ve had to make some major adjustments to how I approach my outfits for the day. It gets extremely hot here (i.e. 50 C or 122 F) and I need to keep my body nice and cool at all times. Some of the ways I do this is by wearing loose fitting or oversized clothing that covers more of my skin. I think most of us think that the less clothes we wear, the cooler we’ll be. But I’ve found that to not always be true. In fact, the opposite is much more beneficial. With the more clothes you wear, you’re not only protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, you’re also creating a cooling system around your body with the fabric you’re wearing. Your body is cooler because the sweat on your body is not being boiled by the sun, and it’s covered by the shade your clothes are giving your body. Also the light, airy fabrics allow for air to flow throw in a better way than not wearing clothes.

Some of my favorite current options are culottes, linen tops and pants, and very thin cotton trousers. What are your favorite items to wear in the summer to keep cool? Leave a comment below telling me all about it!

Oh, and drink LOTS OF WATER! That is a major key to keeping your body cool!

Love,
Marcella

5 Ways to Wear White Jeans

Hey y’all, I wanted to share a few different ways I like to style white jeans. One of my favorite items in my wardrobe are my white jeans. They are so comfortable and the options are endless! Above, I provided a video I put together with some easy variations you can try. Please like the video and subscribe to my YouTube Channel here -> Love Marcella. It would be a major help to have your subscription to my channel in helping me to unlock some special features I can use on my channel once I hit 100 subscribers! Your support is greatly appreciated! xo

Love,

Marcella

Weekly Skincare Routine for Acne Prone Skin

Hey y’all, with Spring and Summer upon us, I don’t know about you, but my skin doesn’t do well with heat and humidity. As soon as it’s hot or humidity gets past 50%, my skin goes crazy with breakouts. Your skin products more oils due to the humidity and you’re also just simply sweating because of the heat. Dirt latches on to those oils and has more of an opportunity to seep into the pores and cause a breakout. As a teenager and in college I never had issues with my skin. I rarely had breakouts, and when I did, it was maybe only 1 or 2. I have had issues with Adult Acne for the past few years. I have suffered from cystic acne, skin congestion especially in my cheeks, and all over redness. I have done so many different things over the years to try and obtain tamed and smooth skin again. I have done everything from getting shots into the blemishes from the dermatologist, chemical peels, hydro-facials, regular facials, intense facials, retin A, etc. I have done everything except for taking internal medication. I am determined to achieve good skin without the assistance or help from internal medication (i.e. pills or shots). It’s just my personal preference. One of the major things I had to change was my overall stress levels and my diet. Once I got that under control, I believe I was dealing with normal hormonal acne from that point on. After all the products and trial and error, I have found the products that help me keep my acne at bay. I do this regimen weekly to do a deep clean of my skin. Check out the video I made explaining it all below! Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel Here ->Love Marcella Your support means everything to me!

Here are the steps I take to keep my skin in good condition:

Step 1: Cleanse

If I am wearing makeup, I start by doing a pre-cleanse on my skin using Coconut Oil. It is excellent at breaking up all the makeup on your skin (even waterproof mascara) without having to be rough on your skin. Then after that I cleanse with my Dermalogica MediBac Skin Wash. This wash contains Salicylic Acid, which aids in reducing the amount of sebum that is produced by your skin. Sebum is good, but too much production can lead to congested pores and blackheads and lead to breakouts.

Step 2: Exfoliate

I like to exfoliate after cleansing, but it’s important to use a gentle exfoliant. If you use an exfoliant with too big of beads, or too gritty you can actually make your skin worse since you are causing an excessive amount of irritation. I love the Botanical Exfoliator from Mario Badescu. You’ll want to make sure you use a light hand when using your exfoliating product. It’s already doing the work for you, and you don’t want to irritate your skin too much by using a heavy hand and scrubbing your face too hard.

Step 3: Clay Mask

This is my FAVORITE part of the process. I love The Problem Solver clay mask from May Lindstrom. The smell is indescribable, but I love the smell. It’s just a fresh, spa feeling smell. You’ll want to take a tea spoon amount in a small bowl and mix it with equal parts water. I just use an old foundation brush to mix it and also use it to apply the mask to my face. I leave it on for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. I think you’re only supposed to leave it on for about half an hour, but I personally love to leave it on for longer because I believe it penetrates much better. I need all the help I can get! I then use a wash cloth that I run under warm water to remove the mask. Try to not be rough when removing because the mask turns hard when dried and it can be a little uncomfortable and feel kind of scratchy if you don’t use a wet warm rag and go slowly.

Step 4: Honey Mask

Honey is believed to be calming and repairing. So I love using the May Lindstrom The Honey Mud mask after the clay mask. Another option is to mix together The Problem Solver mask with The Honey Mud mask, but I love the separate process. It feels more like an ‘at-home-spa-day’ when I do it this way. Use a clean spoon to scoop out a little product, spread it all over your skin and leave it for half an hour. I however leave mine on for an hour. Again, I need all the help I can get haha! Then take a brand new wash cloth and run it under warm water. Use the wash cloth to remove the mask from your face.

Step 5: Face Mist

I love the Jasmine Garden face mist from May Lindstrom but another that I also love is the Caudalie face mist. I go between the two. Just depends on my mood that day. But the mist contains anti-oxidants which are crucial to preventing blackheads and white heads. It’s also calming to your skin and in my opinion from several uses, seems to reduce redness.

Step 6: Moisturize

I use the Blue Cocoon beauty balm by May Lindstrom in this process. I can write an entire post raving about this moisturizer. You guys, you literally need half a pea-sized amount. When you apply the balm to your skin, it warms up and turns into a spreadable moisturizer. When I first used it, I made the mistake of using maybe a little more than a pea sized amount and I had so much product I had to spread it over my neck and hands and elbows and knees haha! I do this routine at night just for this moisturizer. It is so moisturizing, that when I apply it, sleep and then wake up, my skin looks so radiant and healthy and glowing.

Let me know how this regimen worked out for y’all. As far as the products, I suggest trying to get samples of the products and try them out. The May Lindstrom products are a little on the pricier side, but if you think of cost per use, how long it’ll last you and the cost of going to a spa for this treatment, it’s actually very worth it! Let me know how you liked the regimen in the comments below or what products you used as your Clay Mask or Honey Mask. I love trying out new products! xo

Love,

Marcella