Monday, October 15, 2012

Lifestyle: Happy that I can smile :)

"We have good news, we didn't find cancer, we were able to excise the tumour by removing the entire gland, and our tests confirm, it did not become cancerous and it has not spread!  You will experience facial paralysis on the right side of your face, for 3 - 6 months, but please don’t worry, it is temporary..."

Two years ago today I heard the faint voice of my surgeon tell me the above.  What did I feel: Relief, Euphoria, Happiness, Love, Faith, Lucky? All of the f*%ing above!

I think it’s important to be thankful and remember every single obstacle you have to go through on this journey of life to get to the top of the mountain.  I am getting closer to that mountain and realised there are many mountains for me to climb and reach the top of, and this is just the beginning.

2 years ago, I went to my doctor to find out what could be done for the many sinus related issues I was having.  On her advice, I went to numerous specialists until ultimately I was referred to the ENT who literally changed my life!

It was a pretty routine visit, questions about history, issues I was having and anything odd that needed to be brought to his attention. Now, I was at this visit to inquire about my sinus issues, so when I told him about this tiny bump I had under my ear, I was pretty sure that it was nothing, as my GP had concluded, “It was nothing to worry about”, so I was already committed to that opinion. Nonetheless, I brought it to his attention.

There is a tiny chill you will experience when the demeanour of your Doctor changes when he’s trying to alert you or is about to discuss with you something of concern that somehow may be life changing.

Needless to say, he was concerned about the tiny bump, my initial reasons for the visit were put on the back-burner and from that point forward, the course of action that my life was about to take, all of the various tests/scans, the agonizing and waiting would lead me to the scariest 8 months of my life.

This tiny bump, was cause for concern, it was a tumour and therefore I was quickly scheduled for a number of tests to help conclude whether it was what the doctor assumed it to be.  I got a call from my GP’s office regarding the test results, which stated that the tumour was benign (non-cancerous), so of course when I heard this news I was once again committed to this conclusion and felt safe.  So when I got the call from the specialists office to come in and see him regarding the results, I was already on cloud 9 and assumed it was a due diligence visit.  After all, everything was fine.

That was not the case!  My assumption was wrong.  The tests concluded that I had a tumour; it was a special kind of tumour that changes over time and becomes a malignant (cancerous) tumour. There was no way to know how long that would take to happen; therefore the tumour had to be removed.  On top of that news, I was also told that the surgery has major complications as there was no clear way of knowing prior to the surgery how intricate this tumour was.  The position of the tumour could be affecting my facial nerves and that there was a chance that I would lose permanent movement from the right side of my face post surgery.  

This complication could result in not being able to blink, close my eyes or smile properly. I would lose the ability to show expressions correctly.  This was a lot of detailed information and therefore I was encouraged to get a second opinion before making a final decision, but the only decision was to remove the tumour.


That is how I felt as he was telling me the news.  My safe bubble had popped...I couldn't figure out what just happened, only a few hours before this visit, I was euphoric, and now I was crashing like no tomorrow, and all I did was try to absorb the information as best as I could, and I wanted to run.  I had to take the long elevator ride down to the lobby, walk to my car as fast as I could and then sit in my car in the parking lot and cry.

My course of action was clear, the tumour had to be removed and I confirmed and booked the surgery.  Unfortunately, I was placed on a waiting list with no timeline on when I would have my surgery.  No way of knowing whether the tumour would change as I waited. The only thing I did know was that the tumour was growing at a rapid rate.  So I had no choice but to wait.

Was this a dark period for me? Was this something that could have broken me? Did this make me want to not be around anyone? Feel a little selfish? YES!

I chose to let this be a learning period for me.  This whole experience taught me patience, learning not to stress about the small things, learning how to be more pro-active about health, learning about what I was dealing with and facing the facts.  It taught me to be less dismissive about my health and ultimately it taught me how to appreciate who I was, why I was here, what goals I had left to accomplish, what I wanted out of my life and appreciate the people that were in my life.  I would continue climbing those mountains, no matter what.

Fast forward to the surgery day, the 8 months of waiting, worrying, talking with friends and family, feeling their support, trying to be calm and peaceful I faced my surgery.  How did I do that? By being as calm as a cucumber, saying a prayer and leaving my outcome in the capable hands of my amazing ENT/Surgeon and, of course, God.

I remember being awoken from an amazing sleep to flashing lights and noises and wondering who had turned the lights on since I wanted to sleep in. I remember trying to move to the side that I sleep on, which turns out to be the side of the surgery and being informed by the nurses not to move, not knowing who the F was trying to mess with my sleep.  Then, it hit me where I was and everything came back, washing over me like Oceanic waves.  I didn't feel scared, I didn't feel lost, I felt relieved, I was happy to be awake and knowing that everything was going to be fine. 

My surgeon came by and gave me the news as stated above.  I was elated, I didn't have cancer, it had not spread and the tumour was taken out in the safest smartest way they could, they removed the entire gland that contained the tumour.  The nerves were protected and left intact, however I did experience temporary facial paralysis which lasted for about 4 months, permanent numbness on the right side of my face, an indent on where the gland was, perspiration on the side of my face any time I think or eat food and a 7 inch scar, which in the last two years, is hardly visible.  If you haven't seen me in a few years, you would never really know anything had happened.

I was left with the gift of life, the gift of living life on my own terms, the gift to conquer my mountains, the gift of being able to smile as much as I possibly can. 

I reflect on where I was today 2 years ago, where it took me emotionally, how I grew and adapted to become the person I am now.  It was a dark period in my life, but it taught me to appreciate life, and to really go after my hopes and dreams and to appreciate all the love and support I received from all of my loved ones.  I am going after my dreams, climbing those mountains and ultimately this experience taught me, no matter what, you should...

 Always Smile! - :) Sand 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

TV Fashion/Makeup Icons

There have been many great TV shows that have influenced my ideas on hair,clothes and Makeup. Music videos have inspired me as well, but that will be a post for another day ;) 

My Top shows that inspired me were as follows:

1. Sex & The City
2. Friends
3. Ugly Betty
4. Beverley Hills 90210
5. Who's the Boss?

Today I have compiled together a few of my favourite photos from Sex & The City, specifically "Carrie Bradshaw", that inspired either a fashion trend or inspired my Makeup choices.  Enjoy!

Sex & The City - Carrie Bradshaw:
I loved her evolution over the years in fashion and Makeup.  Here are my faves over the years.

I absolutely loved when Carrie changed her hair colour in the first movie instalment of S.A.T.C.  I remember being in the theatre, watching the scene with Carrie at the Salon, and her hair is complete and she does her flip upward and reveals her new hair, literally everyone in the audience went, "Wowwwww".She looked great in the Fashion scene of the movie with her looking marvellous!  (I still have not managed to figure out how to replicate, but I am getting close! :)

The following picture is a favourite of mine due to her amazingly soft shiny curls.  Once I saw this, I know I had to figure out a way to do this at home since this look is so beautiful.

When Charlotte gets married, her first wedding, it is one of my favourite episodes.  For the fashion, the storyline and of course Carrie's AMAZING, gravity defying bun!  In my opinion, this is the first time we saw, what we now call, the infamous "Sock" bun.  It looked amazing on her :)

Last but not least, the wedding Makeup from the S.A.T.C. movie. I loved how her skin glowed, the classic lined eye, the soft brown shadow, rosy hue on the cheeks and the lips painted that amazing Red!

More inspired posts to come.  

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Portfolio Pics

Here are some updated photos of my Makeup clients.  Check them out below:

Soft and Romantic

Indian-Glam Look

Wine & Cheese Pre-Wedding Event for Bride to be

Peacock inspired look

Beautiful Bride and her Mom :)

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Creative Inspiration: Pillow Decor :)

My inspiration from yesterday was decor, specifically, Pillows.  I was at Home Sense and I loved the variety of ideas they have there, but my smile widened when I went into the Pillow section.

There was so much variety in colour, design, texture and style.  What I loved most is that I got inspired, as I will relate a E.O.T.D (eye of the day) based off of these images that I captured for inspiration!

Take a look below:

Next time you are looking for Makeup or any kind of inspiration, open your eyes, you never know where or when it will be right in front of you :)

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Monday, September 10, 2012

Product to Try: Marc Anthony True Professional Easy Lites

These posts relating to this topic are and will be pretty simple, I pick a product that I want to try.  The products will be chosen for the following reason:

  1. Products or things that I have seen and want to try
  2. Heard about from friends or in the industry
  3. Trend setting item
This way, I get to have a part two of the blog with me having ample time with the product and providing a realistic review.

I heard about this unique product from the Marc Anthony True Professional line, that would give your hair highlights by using a flat iron.  A few sprays, saturate the hair, flat iron for several swipes and voilĂ , highlights achieved.

I did grow up in the late 90's and therefore cannot help to compare it to a similar product called Sun-In, the only difference here is you rely on the Sun and the heat to alter the colour of your hair naturally.

I am excited to try it and see if I can achieve at-home ombre highlights.

The product snapshot is below and it is called Easy Lites:
Courtesy of: 

We shall check back and I will post the Part 2 blog post here.

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Smiles :)

This post idea has been pushed aside for the last little while but today I thought it was the perfect time for me to bring it back!

Here are my smiles for the week:
  • Spending time with the Family
  • Watching a little baby dance to songs by Drake
  • Trying  Java Chip Frappuccino® from Starbucks - so delish!
  • Working an amazing TIFF 2012 Event this weekend
Hope you all had a great week!

Always Smile :) Sand

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lifestyle: Spending time with the Family

This is just a simple post on spending time with family and how important it to prioritize that time with the family.  After a busy week, I am lucky I got to spend time with the cousins and share with them how their summer has been and just overall get a chance to see them. I have a very large family and I appreciate the time I get to spend with each of them. 

Always Smile :) - Sand

Friday, September 7, 2012

TIFF 2012 - Lights, Camera, Action!

TIFF 2012 is upon us and the city is buzzing with Canadian and Hollywood celebs!  This is a great opportunity to watch amazing Independent films at the beginning stages before it becomes a box-office success!

This weekend there will be some amazing events happening and I will be sharing some fun photos and events I will be attending, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out the details at:

Courtesy of:

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Braids? Who knew - Fall 2012 Hair Trend

Now growing up in the early 80's and being South Asian, it was very common for girls in my family, during this era, to have their hair done in either a single braid or 2 braids.  

For me it was painful being in class and watching all the other girls with their hair flowing, decorated by pretty hair pins or headbands, and here I was with my hair pulled back into braids.  For me, braids represented restriction and therefore I begged to have my hair cut, and in time my parents gave in, and no more braids.

Fast forward to the present and braids are the hair-du-jour!  Who knew?  Now they reflect free flowing form and whimsical fun.  Therefore, I am falling back in love with braids from the creative, cute, funky and sexy ways to wear them.  

I compiled a few pics that I am in love with and would love to try! Hopefully once my hair gets a little longer :)

Look 1:  
The Snake braid which looks complex but is a simple twist on a regular braid.

Check out the great tutorial by clicking here or on the pic!

Look 2:
The Chain braid, 2 versions on this creative look!

An amazing Makeup artist and now amazing hair art! Click here.

Look 3: 
The Bridal braided bun, I love how pretty, effortless and beautiful this look is.

Such a pretty look for a bride or bridesmaids, click here for more inspiration.

Once I get a handle on the length and technique, I will share some of my own attempts.  Enjoy the inspiration!

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Yummy Food - Vacay Post

I am going to try to post on my blog, at least once a week, food related posts.  I will share and showcase delicious food that I have enjoyed out and recipes that I love making at home.  This will be fun for me to share my love of food, share a variety of things I like, new things I have tried and good old favourites.  The beauty of all of this will be captured in words and of course photos!

This week I wanted to post pics of yummy food that I had on my vacation in the Dominican Republic.  As with most resorts, the food is available at all hours, and of course offered in Buffet Style for main meals.  Since I have to be careful with what I eat due to stupid  acquired food allergies, I made sure I picked food I was familiar with and are from my favourite category: CARBS! Lol.

Please enjoy the pics below:

Lunch on the first day, pasta was incredible :)

Dinner was almost gone till I realized I forgot to take a pic ;)

Breakfast in general will always be my fave in any country! :)

Mexican Restaurant in the DR!  Nachos & cheese w/ the view of the Beach

One Word:  Guacamole! 

This was a filling meal:  Chicken Mole, Taco chips, Coleslaw with Steak

Breakfast of Champions: Potatoes, Cheese, Bacon AND pancakes! :)

One of many reasons why all inclusive vacations are great, is that you get to enjoy a lot of various cuisines at once!  Many more Food and Recipe posts to come!

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


If you look hard enough, you will find colour blocking everywhere! Whether it be in Fashion, Makeup or even retail spaces, the vision of colours seamlessly blending into one another has always inspired me.

Below are a few photos that are bursting with colour and are great examples of colour blocking.  The Library I would LOVE to attempt, just not sure I have the patience for it :)

This to me is art.creativity and literacy wrapped into one. :)

Not sure what I love more, the heels or this ingenious way to store shoes :)

How can you not LOVE the colours in this palette :)

I had to take a picture of this, it made me so happy :)

Take a look around, when you are at the Mall, in a chic shop, or out walking in nature, where will you find your rainbow?

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Monday, September 3, 2012

Inspired Eyes - Blue and Gold

A few weeks ago I attended a beautiful wedding.  The wedding was a two day affair with the religious ceremony held at Black Creek Pioneer Village.  It was unique to see an Indian wedding against the beautiful backdrop of a clear blue sky and a green cascading lawn.  

I debated back and forth on what to wear to the reception and found the perfect outfit, a turquoise/blue Indian outfit embellished with gold toned details.  

Now as a Makeup junkie, you have to first find the perfect outfit but then you have to figure out the Makeup look to go with it.

My inspiration came from the jewellery I was wearing as well as the outfit.  Here is what I came up with:

My favourite part of this look was seeing it come together at the end and it was exactly what I wanted. I wanted the hint of gold with it washing into the turquoise blue.  Here is a breakdown of the look below:

Vasanti Liquid Cover - V4 (Eye base)
Vasanti E/S Duo Golden Temple, Lighter Shade (Inner Corner & Highlight)
Vasanti E/S Duo Lake Louise (Middle to Outer Corner) 
Vasanti Pure Pigment Mineral Shimmer Powder Sand Dune - (Middle of Eye)
Vasanti - Cleopatra Liquid Liner
Mascara – Vasanti Conditioning Long Lash Mascara

I lined the eyes underneath to reflect the hues on top, it completes the look and really makes the eyes stand out!

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer 2012

This summer I got a chance to explore the great beaches and bluffs in Toronto and I got a chance to go to Puerta Plata for a cousin's wedding.  Here is a collection of some of my summer memories via photos.  Enjoy!

View from my amazing room at The Palace Balaji in Puerta Plata :)

This place was incredible.

This chandelier was very impressive

The place did look like a palace

Private courtyard

Getting closer to the Ocean

The view was unreal, nothing but Ocean :)

A view of the private beach below

This view made me appreciate nature and life

The water was unreal.

The Beaches in Toronto :)

Board-walk - Loved the walk and the street meat available

Amazing beauty so close to home

Love the mix of majestic trees and sand

The Bluffs - Amazing what we have so close


Even though technically it is not over, I hope everyone had an amazing summer :)

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Saturday, September 1, 2012

So many Books to choose from....

Well hello strangers it has been a very long time since I have posted or wrote for my blog.  What can I say, life, work, trips, family, weddings took a lot of my free time, but I always try to achieve balance.  So when life gets too busy I will try to take a step back, press re-set and make time for all the things that make me happy and strive for balance.  Therefore, writing and posting fun things on my blog is one of them, so I am back!  
(I encourage you all to do that!)

Today I am going to talk about books!  I love books and have an amazing waiting list:

As you can see there is a mixture of things.  I am currently finishing up Revolutionary Road. This book to me is incredible because it was written in the 60's, but the issues and themes within the book regarding marriage and married life I feel are subject matter that is present today.  

I always try to mix up my subject matter of reading options from book-to-book.  Therefore Revolutionary Road was realism life based book, I think my next read may be Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.

Stay tuned for my "book report" for Revolutionary Road.  

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I was lucky enough to get my brother and Dad to review the products for L'Oreal - Men Expert line.  I am glad they were able to really use the product and experience it for about 6 weeks to give me their honest opinions. 

Check out the details below!



Product Description:  Fast absorbing, non greasy, non sticky formula enriched with Vitamin C.

Who is it for?

Men's expert hydra-energetic anti-stress & fatigue moisturizer is for men under the age of 35, who want to proactively defend against skin stress, which, if left untreated, will lead to signs of aging and dull-looking skin.

  • Ease of Dispense
  •  Non-greasy
  • In different to Scent
  • Absorbs

  • If you are use to wearing something heavier, you may wonder whether it is working and keeping you moisturizer.

Overall Opinion:  
  • Was really good. Would definitely repurchase!


Product Description: Comfortable shaving foam that will help to protect the skin.  Contains a Hydra-Protective Shield that prevents skin dryness reinforces hydration of the skin and protects against irritations.

Who is it for?

Men of any age who want a close, smooth shave without all the irritation.

  • Aerated
  • Goes on thick
  • Used very little
  • 6 Weeks (50 ml)

  • None found.

Overall Opinion:  
  • Would spend the money to buy
  • A GREAT product in all aspects, from design, dispensing and the product itself

Always Smile :)  - Sand

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nails for Spring 2012 :)

The Spring season brings beautiful days, blossoming flowers and amazing colours for Fashion and Beauty!  With recent trends of colour blocking and bright colours of pinks, corals, oranges and purples, nail colour choices are just as exciting for this season.  They will help compliment and complete your look.

The China Glaze colours I have picked are awesome because they work beautifully for this season.  If you are looking for a pop of colour or to help create a uniformed look, these colours are my Spring 2012 faves!

Check out the colours below:

A light champagne beige colour.

As the name says, a light peachy colour.

A beautiful petal pink colour.

If you are a sucker for purple, worth adding to your collection.

What I love about these shades is that they are opaque and pastel toned.  Awesome addition to your Spring Essentials!

Always Smile :)  - Sand