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Friday, February 25, 2011

10 Ways to Become Happier and Healthier

In a world where women are pressured to be thin and fad diets run rampant, it is best to scrap the unrealistic goals, and start a consistent and persistent effort to achieve a happier and healthier you.

Here are 10 things that I learned in my health & wellness class a few years ago that I would like to share with you:

1. Aim to get half hour to an hour exercise per day. You don't need to do extremely high intensity cardio or train to be the next Olympic athlete in order to be active at a healthy level. Walk your dog, go swimming, take a long walk in the park, go for a jog, play with the kids-pick a physical activity that YOU ENJOY and stick with it.

2. Set realistic weight loss goals. Quit trying to look for fast weight loss. It won't happen, and if it does, you will gain it all back and then some. The healthiest approach to weight loss is 2 lbs/week.

3. Breathe. Yes, between work, family, friends, and other activities, you may find yourself very busy. Keep in mind that taking a few minutes per day to "breathe" and clear your head will help you deal better with stress. Take a nice bath, read a book that you like, meditate.

4. Listen to your body. If you are feeling hungry or thirsty, you probably are. Drink water and keep hydrated. A lot of what you think is hunger is actually thirst. If you are still hungry after drinking water/tea, have a snack.

5. Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from the different food groups. There are 5 food groups: grains/breads, fruits, vegetables, milk/dairy, and meat/alternatives. Your body needs different nutrients from different food groups, since any one food group does not have all the nutrients needed to maintain your health.

6. Have a good time at social activities. Build and maintain good relationships with friends and family. Healthy relationships=healthy you!

7. Do something that benefits others. Volunteering for a worthy cause and helping others will contribute to your feeling of happiness and personal satisfaction that money can't buy.

8. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. If you skip meals to try to conserve your calorie consumption, you will overeat at the next meal. Eat at regular times during the day, and have small snacks in between your meals to keep your blood sugar stable.

9. Accept the fact that you are a unique individual with special talents. Work on developing your skills/talents and/or take up a hobby. We all have something that we love to do and are passionate about. Find your passion, and go for it!

10. Make gradual lifestyle changes if your current lifestyle is not healthy. Reward yourself after a successful week/month. For example, if your goal was to jog 4 times a week, then buy yourself a new pair of runners if you keep your routine up for a month. When you have a goal, and a reward waiting for you when you reach that goal, your mind becomes focused on the goal because you know deep down that you will be rewarded for your efforts.

I wish you all the best in all your endeavors! I hope you achieve all your goals, whether they have to do with relationships, health, or career.

In the mean time, share some things that make YOU feel good!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Featuring Amazing San Francisco Hair Stylist/Make-Up Artist Kevin D. Nguyen

Kevin D. Nguyen is a very talented and experienced make-up artist and hair stylist from San Francisco, California. He is also a licensed cosmetologist with extensive certifications from various make-up, hair, and nail schools.

You can clearly see Kevin's passion for the work that he does. It is an honour for me to be able to interview him.

Image Credits: Photo-Antonio Markus, Model-Elliana Marie, Retouching-Photo Retoucher, Hair & Makeup-Kevin D. Nguyen

AVIVA: How long have you been doing hair and make-up?
I went to Makeup schools in LA when I was 15 year old , then went back Bayarea took Cosmetology school and graduated at 18 year old. I went on taking many different Makeup , Hair ( Colors, Cut, and Updos), Nail ( Gel ) schools from San Jose, Hercules, and San Francisco.

AVIVA: What inspired you to become a hair stylist/make-up artist?
My parents were professional Ballroom champ and teachers so my whole life has exposed to the glam and stage light at very young age.

AVIVA: What do you believe is the best part of your job and why?
Best part of job is my passion for art itself and of course the knowledge of business management skills.

Image credits: Model-Alexandra Haag, Photo-Steve Smith, Retouching-A3rd Vision, Hair & Makeup-Kevin D. Nguyen

AVIVA: What are the names of some hair stylists/make-up artists that inspire you?
I love Carmindy (from What Not To Wear) because her makeup tech is clean, fresh, fast and enhancing individual woman's beauty rather take away their uniqueness. As for Hair, I love Nice Arrojo ( from What Not to Wear on TLC ). His touch change a woman's life.

AVIVA: Do you have any favorite skin/hair care products that you would recommend to others?
I love Lancome and Estee Lauder. Their products are consistent. You pay for what you get.

AVIVA:What are some of your other interests/passions?
I love doing Nail Art. It's very detail work yet, can scream out loud if you take it there. Moreover, you can judge a person's personality by how a person takes care of their nails.

Image credits: SFS Photos, Model-Daniel Orth, Photoshop-A 3rd Vision, Hair & Makeup-Kevin D. Nguyen

AVIVA:What do you think has been your greatest accomplishment in the fashion/beauty industry ?
My greatest achievement is I've started to understand the beauty of art either simply beauty or extreme in your face statement and I've learned to manage both worlds evenly.

AVIVA: Do you have any crazy/funny/weird photoshoot story that you would like to share?
I've done all types of photoshoots as crazy as can be to some one and simply state of mind to others. But bad experiences are plenty when I first started and still some til these days. Some people don't understand the term of "Burn your bridge behind you" ...just sad

AVIVA: What is your ultimate goal in the beauty/fashion industry if money/time were no object?
I want to finish my Double Business Degrees now so I can open my own Makeup line and Wig line.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
I would love to encourage other artists out there who just enters the beauty world that nothing is free or easy. You have to earn it and pay your dues. And to those who made it, cockiness is your worst enemy, which will destroy your soul and talent in the end.

You can see more of Kevin's work on his website, Model Mayhem Hair Portfolio, and Make-Up Portfolio

I would like to wish Kevin all the best in his career!

Thank you,
Aviva :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kylie Minogue Darling: Perfume Review

About a year ago, my mom bought me a bottle of Kylie Minogue Darling perfume. The best thing about it is that it lasted me almost the whole year, even though I was using it frequently.

Image found on the Internet and assumed to be public domain
Personally, I like the way it smells because the smell is noticeable but at the same time it is not too strong. I am not a fan of perfumes that smell so strong that you have to wonder if the person wearing it didn't just pour the whole bottle of it onto themselves. Subtle-smelling perfumes such as the Kylie Minogue Darling are great for everyday wear.
If I had to compare Kylie Minogue Darling to Fantasy By Britney Spears , Kylie Minogue wins hands down. I found Fantasy By Britney Spears too strong for my liking.

I believe that Kylie's perfume is appropriately priced for the value that the buyer would be getting.

VintAgeous Vintage Fair Coming up in Victoria, BC

Hey everyone!!

A couple of weeks ago I found out that there will be a Vintage Fair in Victoria on the following dates:
Friday February 25th, 2011 6pm-10pm
Saturday February 26th, 2011 10am-4pm

The event will take place at the Fernwood Community Centre, 1240 Gladstone Ave.
Admission to the event is $3.00

There will be 20 vendors on Friday and 30 in total on Saturday. :)

I know I am kind of late at posting this, but if you don't have any plans for this weekend, you should come and check out some awesome vintage fashion, accessories and more.

Check out Vintage Fair Victoria for information about other upcoming events!

Image: Screenshot of the Vintage Fair Victoria website.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A World of Black and Rhinestones from Savilla

Photo By: IMS FotoGrafix
Retouching/Hair/Make-up/Model: Me
Wardrobe provided by Savilla Swimwear

I LOVE bikinis that have rhinestones on them. The rhinestones definitely add a splash of colour to an otherwise black bikini. I would like to thank Savilla for the bikinis!

Savilla is absolutely amazing at what she does. :)


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Black Leather Corset-Urban Lingerie

Photo By: IMS FotoGrafix
Make-up/Hair/Model: Me
Wardrobe provided by Urban Lingerie

I don't usually wear black leather, but this corset is very nice. So I wore it for a shoot that I did for Urban Lingerie, here in Victoria.

I hope you like :)


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Introducting Young, Beautiful Model Briana Robertson

Briana Robertson is a beautiful, young fashion model from Phoenix, Arizona. She is interested in fashion, beauty, editorial, and commercial modeling. Briana is agency represented, tall, and slender. She has experience in runway, catalogue modeling and music videos, in addition to having worked with several talented photographers,clothing designers, make-up artists, and hair stylists. Briana has done great and I hope that she continues to rock every photoshoot!

It was a pleasure interviewing her, she's beautiful on the outside and the inside.

Image Credits:
Photographer-Robert Jewett
MakeUp-Didi Clark,
Retouching-Elan Digital

AVIVA: How long have you been modeling?
I started modeling professionally about a year ago, but I always loved my photo being taken. When I was about ten years old I found my mother’s old modeling book and I became obsessed. I would beg my Mom to drive me to various different places and take photos of me. I would do my own make up and get dressed up in the craziest of outfits. Many of those photos actually turned out quite well, from my part. Too bad they were taken with a point and click camera – I knew at that point I needed much better photographers. No offense to mom.

AVIVA: What inspired you to become a model?
: My mother’s work inspired me a lot and got the ball rolling, but mom says it was in me long before that. I was never a shy child and loved being the center of attention. If someone brought out a camera at a family gathering, you could find me running out in front of it. My Aunt, who was a landscape photographer, got involved when I was older and helped support me – I probably wouldn’t be where I am without her. I am also a huge fan of shoes and clothes! Fashion inspires me a lot and being able to wear such beautiful pieces and work with such talented people is a constant inspiration to me.

Image Credits:
Makeup Artist-Crazy Face,

AVIVA: What advice would you offer to girls who are interested in pursuing modeling?
I honestly could go on and on about this, so I will pick just a few points. First, think about WHY you want to be a model and be realistic about IF you can be a model. Modeling is extremely competitive. If you are not approaching it from the right angle, you are not going to get very far. Modeling is not just about “being pretty” or “tall” or “thin,” rather “good” modeling also includes a passion for the product, and passion for the art. If you do not possess this passion and confidence, then modeling will be much more difficult for you and you will probably not enjoy it. Second, know the common scams. Know that modeling schools are usually outdated in their teachings and generally just want your money. You will get much more from reviewing magazines for poses and practicing in a mirror to know what looks good on your body/face and what doesn’t. Learn the basics of acting to learn how to emote properly (if you don’t know how to portray feelings realistically). Many models just go through the motions without the emotions, and that just makes for a boring photo. Third, networking is the key to it all. Networking and knowing the right people will make all the difference in the world. Follow up with people, communicate, be friendly, be prompt, and be approachable. Attitude is only acceptable on the set when the camera is clicking… it is not acceptable off the set or during business negotiations. Send emails or letters and make phone calls. Modeling is a popularity contest in a sense.

Image Credits:
Photographer-jesse paulk,
Makeup Artist-Crazy Face

AVIVA: Do you have any brief fun/crazy/weird/interesting photo shoot story that you would like to share?
I was shooting in a bathing suit in a deserted parking lot. It was about 10 PM, so it was dark. About 5 cop cars surround us and start asking the Photographer questions. The bathing suit was yellow, so in the light it had looked as if I were nude from the street, so apparently the police received many calls of a nude girl being photographed out in the open near a very busy road in Phoenix. They eventually let us go. It was much more intense and even funny than I have described here. It is one of those situations where you just had to be there.

AVIVA: What do you feel has been your greatest achievement in modeling so far?
I don’t look at modeling from that point of view. I look at modeling as a form of art. If I happen to achieve my goal from the shoot or show, etc and make it better than anticipated then I feel great that we created something wonderful. It is difficult to compare one achievement to another. For example, I do a lot of work for charities. Working on the KatOuz catalog was a great feeling because much of their profits go toward a great cause ( I did a charity runway show for Macy's and the Gap to help with abused children. To me, both of these events, and many more were great achievements. We worked hard and hopefully made lives better from it.

AVIVA: What are your other interests/passions besides modeling?
I enjoy making great images, even as a painter. Being a painter helps me appreciate the art of modeling as well and inspires me to make more out of my images. I also enjoy acting, music, playing the guitar, making videos, anime, socializing, and song writing.

Image credits:
Makeup Artist-Crazy Face,

AVIVA: What is it like going to high school and modeling?
When I first started modeling professionally, I was very happy and took my book to school. Several of my older friends talked about their work all the time, so I didn’t see anything wrong with discussing my work. After sharing my book, they accused me of bragging, called me stuck up and stopped hanging around with me. I am very much a tom boy and stuck up was never a part of who I was. I was very hurt by this. Some high school kids have a hard time understanding what I do, so I quit telling them. Some will shun you for it and others want to be your best friend because of it…. Boys want to have a “model” for a girlfriend, and the girls want to start fights and be jealous, so I don’t tell many people my age anymore. I am now in a different school that has much more emphasis on the arts and people are much more accepting of my career there.

AVIVA: If money/time were no option, where would you like your career to take you?
From a selfish artist’s viewpoint I would love to be in Vogue, Elle, Cosmo, Bazaar, Marie Claire, W Magazine (what model wouldn’t) to name a few and to work with cosmetic companies and high fashion clothing/shoe designers. I am also a huge fan of jewelry and hair products. I want to walk the most elegant runways in the world and travel and see everything, maybe even dabble in acting and even music videos with some of my favorite artists. I want to meet the most fabulous people and be surrounded by creativity. My hope is to get to the point to where I have enough money to sustain me so that I could do more work with charities and make a difference to abused children and struggling families. If my career could take me to that place, I would be fulfilled.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
Thank you for your interest in getting to know me. I hope you have a happy and successful 2011.

I wish Briana all the best in her career, and would like to thank her for the interview! :)
You can see more of her work on her website. You can also check out and like her
Facebook page

Come back for more interviews, photos, reviews, and much more!

Aviva :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Empress Jade Vintage Top and Flare Pants

Photo by:IMS FotoGrafix
Retouching: Me
Model: Me
Make-Up: Gracee

This is a photo from a few months back.

Check out Empress Jade Vintage on Etsy

Have a great day! :)


Monday, February 7, 2011

100 Valentine's Gift Ideas For Under $50

With Valentine's Day being less than 1 week away, you are probably looking for some last minute gift ideas for your loved ones.

When it comes to presents, the most expensive stuff is not necessarily what you need to buy in order to make people happy. Happiness comes from within, and it is not the monetary price that you pay, but the thought that counts.

People want to feel loved & remembered, and when you buy something for them, you are letting them know that they are not forgotten. It doesn't matter if you spend $25, $100, or $500 on a present to the people that you're buying for.

Buying inexpensive presents does not mean that you are cheap, it just means that you are resourceful when it comes to budgeting.

While browsing on Amazon, I found some awesome gift ideas.

Fragrances. Provided that they are not allergic, women love perfume. I enjoy getting perfume as a present, and I know many of my female relatives and friends do as well.

Jewelry. You don't have to buy $1000+ diamond rings/necklaces in order to show your appreciation of the person you are buying for. Generally, women like jewelry because it looks nice.

Magazine Subscriptions. Why not give someone a subscription to their favorite magazine?

Books.They are inexpensive, and some of them are intersting and entertaining.

Movies & TV. People love to watch a good movie/show. There are movies for all interests.

These are only a can check out Amazonfor more gift ideas :)

Have a great one!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review of Tim Gunn's "Life's Little Lessons for Making it Work"

A few days ago, I finished reading "Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work". Usually, I take longer than 1 week to finish a book, but this one, I just couldn't put down. Tim's stories are very interesting and the way he presents the lessons is entertaining, to say the least.

Tim Gunn's story is very inspiring because he came from a humble background and never thought that he would ever be a media person of any kind. However, his people skills, dedication and passion have put him into the position of co-host for reality TV show Project Runway, where he mentors aspiring designers. According to the book, Heidi Klum loves working with Mr. Gunn because he always has excellent advice to offer.

Tim did not start out as a well-spoken gentleman. In fact, in the book, he states that he "was a classic nerd with a terrible stutter" and was "teased and taunted at school"(pg. 13).

He lives with the philosophy that you do not need to be nasty and disrespectful to people in order to get what you want and climb up the ladder in whatever career path you choose. In fact, the nicer you are to others, the better they will react to you and your ideas.

Tim also stated that "the world owes you nothing". It is through hard work, careful planning, and meeting the right people that you get to where you want to be. He frowns upon demanding divas and gives reasons as to why such attitude will not work.

He also doesn't believe in trying to get famous fast, and frowns upon those who approach him with the hope (and demand) that he will make them the next star. Those who try to get famous fast are doing it for the wrong reason and people will see through that.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:

"People who are used to having things done for them don't often have a strong grasp on how the real world functions." (pg. 34)

"Even if you are a really selfish person and are only looking out for your own self-interest, you should treat people well." (pg. 51)

"My suspicion is that cruelty to those you have power over is insecurity, pure and simple."(pg. 62)

"As anyone who sticks around in an industry for a while knows, the people who have the best careers and the best lives (and often those who do the best work) are not the demanding, screaming, flinging divas" (pg. 63)

"You don't have to spend a ton of money to look good" (pg.127)

"My advice to them [people]: Try to take your ego out of it. You don't make it about you and how hard your life is. You have to focus on what needs to get done and find a way to do it, independent of what your ego may be saying about what you deserve or what is beneath you." (pg. 233)

If I wrote every single quote that I liked in this book, this post would be far too long to read. So I am going to leave it at that.

However, if you want your own copy of Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work, you can order it here.

It is a GREAT read, and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Aviva :)

What great books have you read lately? Share them in the comments below.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Empress Jade Vintage: With or Without the Fur Coat?

Photos by IMS FotoGrafix, MUA-Gracee, Model-Me.

Wardrobe provided by Empress Jade Vintage

The purple dress is actually a slip that women used to wear under their sheer dresses. However, now women like to wear the slips the same way they wear dresses. It's interesting how the same article of clothing can be worn different ways as time passes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Weight Training For Dummies the 3rd Edition Review

This review is a guest post submitted by Eschelle Westwood.


Weight Training For Dummies was a really great source of information for anyone looking to get into the weight training scene. I found that there was great information for EVERYONE even those who have been in the weight training scene already.
Dummies books have always been great at approaching everyone with their humorous, easy access,information.

The book touches on how “all ages…[can] benefit from weight training.” Which I agree with, as long as you are doing it properly and this book definitely tells you how to do that. It shows you the wrong way to do exercises, as well as the RIGHT way.

They go into such detail that they have a chapter dedicated to EACH muscle group and how to work out each properly depending on what you want to achieve. Not to mention they explain the differences between gym training and AT HOME training. Even explaining how to set-up and create your own home gym, what kind of equipment you need AND how to care for it properly! They even went into great detail on the etiquette of the gym, which I think is VERY important. Nothing ruins your gym experience more than inconsiderate member’s right??

The next thing that could ruin your gym experience is the wrong trainer and this book provides the tips you need to know on how to pick the RIGHT trainer for you. If you are familiar with the “dummies”series you would know that they have some great tips, warning, myth busters etc. all-throughout the book to help you REALLY get it! Not to mention they touch on the subject of “liability insurance,” and how important it is to get a trainer that has it.

Another one of the many great point this book tries to make is the importance of healthy living and tracking your exercising! This book shows you in detail how to track what you do daily; one to track your calories burned and two; to ENCOURAGE you to keep going. Writing down all your daily activity is supposed to be a great motivator, when you see your list daily activity list grow it must be nothing more than “awe-striking” when you see exactly what you can do.

This book even manages to inform you and give you a good estimate on where you fitness level SHOULD be depending on the exercise you are partaking in.

Weight Training For Dummies tries to make it IMPOSSIBLE for you to not continue your training by even providing you with great tips and ways to “pack” a gym for vacations, business trips, or even to keep in your car for when you’re at the park with the kids. They even touch on how “De-training” can be really important and harmful to your training, in the sense that once you fall off the horse it is WAY harder to get back on once you stop. I love the no excuse approach to exercise and health, just as they touched on the importance of water. We all know that we need it but not many will drink it!

Like I said in the beginning this book is filled with a plethora of information, so much so that I couldn’t possibly fathom touching on them all here. I really suggest this book; it really managed to make weight training accessible and not nearly so overwhelming. Even shows how ANYONE can weight train, which I greatly commend. I give this book a 5/5! Not easy, but well deserved!

**Note: Images in this post are screenshots of content in the book.
You can read and follow Eschelle's Blogs here:, and
We hope you found this review helpful!
Click here to get your own copy of Weight Training for Dummies.
Have a great workout and I wish you success!!! I would like to thank Eschelle again for sending in this review.

Come back for more!
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