Friday, November 28, 2014

DIY: Candles from a Mason Jar

Tired of those old boring mason jars lying around in your kitchen?
You can up-cycle them to these wonderful candle holders by using this simple DIY!

All you need is-
- old mason jar/cookie jar/any glass vase
-gold spray paint (I love gold, but you can use anything really)
-black glass painting liner tube
- candle (thick)

-Clean the jar with some soap and water. Dry completely.
-Cut out two heart shapes from paper (same size and shape) proportionate to the jar.
-Glue this paper hearts to the front and back of the jar so that you cannot see the other heart from the front of the jar. Use a tacky glue just to stick the edges of the hearts so that the paint does not bleed through the edges.
- Now use your favorite spray paint and spray all over the mason jar (protect your eyes and wear a nasal mask).
- After it dries out, peel out the paper hearts carefully.
- Line the heart shape with glass liner and draw small spirals all over the heart.
 and Voila! You have a pretty candle holder!

I just stuck to a simple design, but you can create anything you like with different colors, different shapes etc!

Feel free to post the pics of those you have made either here or on my instagram page!(@hzarswomen)


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Recipe Log: Indo- Thai Chicken Sauté

Its almost lunchtime, I peek into the fridge, pull out some possible raw materials to make a last-minute-edible kitchen invention. I had no idea what I was going to make and how it was going to taste in the end. As I hurried, through the whole process of adding ingredients and spices to tasting it- I thought it is going to turn out fine, ONLY if I keep it simple. Keep it simple, ladies! Always! It's the rule of the kitchen.
I prefer to use chicken thighs/drumsticks for most of my cooking that involves a chicken broth/stock, simply because I do not like using those high-sodium chemical-tasting artificial chicken stock cubes. Also, chicken breasts dry out quickly, so I would not recommend using them for this recipe.
In the end, it turned out to be delicious. I decided to half-fry some eggs to go along with it (inspired by the Thai Nasi Goreng) and serve with Indian Flat bread/layered Chapati.

Step 1:
For Cooking the Chicken, You Will Need:
- 500gm Chicken Thighs
--2 tbsp olive oil
-4-5 baby potatoes
-5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-2 green cardamoms
-1 clove
-3 whole black pepper
-1 shard of cinnamon
-1/2tsp black pepper
-salt to taste
-1/4 cup of water

Add all the ingredients in a vessel, bring to a boil and then cook under low heat until the chicken is tender (about 20-30mins). Add splashes of water if necessary (if the chicken is drying out).
Check the seasoning of the broth and chicken. 
Shred the chicken from the bone. Peel the Baby Potatoes (optional). Filter the chicken broth and keep it aside for the next step.

Step 2:
For the Saute, You will Need:
-1 medium brown onion, diced into cubes
-1 green capsicum, diced
-1 spring onion, chopped
-4-5 Thai Red chillies, chopped
-2-3 garlic cloves split
-1-2tsp soya sauce
-1 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
-salt to taste
-1/4 tspblack pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2tsp Red chilli powder
-coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnishing

 In a wok, add the oil, onions, capsicum, garlic cloves, red chillies and soya sauce sauce and saute on medium heat. As soon as the onions are starting to soften, add the shredded chicken and the baby potatoes and mix well. Keep adding the chicken broth little by little until the desired consistency is achieved. I prefer the saute to be slightly on the dry side, so I use only 3-4tbsp of the chicken broth. Check the seasoning again and add the black pepper and the Red chilli powder (skip this step if you do not want it to be spicy!)

Garnish with coriander and serve with a fried egg and Thai Rice/brown bread/flat-bread! Enjoy!

Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves 2 people

Until Next time,
Take Care Ladies

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What do You do, When You are feeling Blue?

 Clouds hugging the earth- Protective?
No matter who we are, we all have those days. Those days, when the whole world seems to be conspiring against us, we wonder what we  have done and where our lives are heading and we just feel like a total wreck!

We also tend to compare our lives with other people, with those around us, with the people on the social media, with that girl on the news who has got "everything".  Something which always leads to feelings of low self-confidence and ingratitude with what we have been blessed with. My husband had once told me: 'Everybody is writing an examination from God and everybody is trying to copy each other. But, they do not realize that everyone has been given a different question paper! So live your life as you want to and not as anybody else. And in doing so, you might be an inspiration to someone!' Strange! How one motivational sentence from a loved one, can change your entire thought process! I never found myself comparing myself to someone else, since then!

Some people adapt to stress easily, some people find ways to deal with it and some people get crushed by stress simply because they do not know where to channel the negative energy.

Here are a few ways I use to Detox my Mind:

  1. Prayer: Leave everything aside, go and pray. You can say anything you want and ask anything you want from your Creator. You will suddenly feel so light and relaxed as you know your troubles are being taken care of, by the Almighty. Spiritual Bliss!
  2. Spend time with your loved ones. Go to your mom's. Date night with husband. Call a friend for tea.
  3. Clean your home and your workplace. There is something therapeutic in this. It's like you are sweeping away your troubles and putting them in the thrash can for good! 
  4. Refresh yourself, with a warm long bath!
  5. Dress- Up, (add a dash of Mascara if you can ;) )! Nothing can boost your confidence more than this : Looking Good = Feeling Good!
  6. Exercise! Whether you choose to go for a walk or to the gym for a good hard work out, it is going to release those  feel-good-chemicals in your brain- endorphins and you suddenly realize that you feel light and happy!
  7. Chamomile Tea instead of your regular Coffee- Caffeine tends to trigger or worsen anxiety, so choose herbal infusions instead. Chamomile has shown to be a relaxant and Immune -booster. It  relieves muscle and nerve tension and is effective against menstrual cramps. It also has mild sedative properties- great for people suffering from insomnia.
  8. Indulge in any activity that interests you. It can be anything from reading a book, painting, going for a movie, shopping, walking in the park, photography, cooking or baking!
  9. Help-Somebody-Today attitude: It does not have to be something big, even small things can make a big difference to someone else. Giving way to the rushing lady behind you at the shopping counter, allowing someone else to get onto your lane while driving in traffic, giving up your seat to a pregnant/elderly lady at the clinics/airports, buying a bottle of water for the poor construction worker, old clothes to any nearby orphanage, etc. Kindness begets Kindness, so you never know when Karma can hit you!
  10. Smile! No matter what mood you are in, Smile even if you cant. The gentle curve of your lips breaks down that negative energy and those stiff frowning facial muscles and make you feel good in an instant! Remember, your smile can do wonders for that person at the receiving end too!
 Lovely Roses in my Garden! Aren't they pretty!

So, What do you do, when you are feeling Blue? Let us know in the comment section below :)

Until Next time,
Take care Ladies!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Garnier BB cream: Hit or a Miss?

I used the original formula of Garnier's BB cream, and no matter how hard I tried, it always failed on me. It got greasy, slid off my face, oxidized on my skin and wasn't long wearing enough!
I was so reluctant to try the new one which was launched earlier this year. The 'noncomedogenic and combination/oily skin' label caught my attention, so I decided to give it a try. And I do not regret it at all!

Garnier Skin Naturals BB Cream: Miracle Skin Perfector for Combination to Oily skin
Price: 12$ approximately, available in almost all drugstores
Amount: 40 ml
- Anti Shine, mattifies non-stop- ultra absorbing mineral pigments
- reduces pores and imperfections
-unifies and boosts healthy glow
- moisturizes
- UV protection- SPF 20
- non comedogenic, non - acnegenic, oil- free, non greasy
- dermatologically tested

Packaging: Long vertical tube, with a nozzle top

Color Selection: Only two shades(light and medium) though on the website they have listed three (light, medium ans deep).

Consistency: Liquid

-Applies smoothly with fingers or even a beauty blender. Too watery to be used with a brush, but you can try!
-evens out the skin tone, minimizes redness, dark patches
-reduces the appearance of pores
-Low to medium Coverage, which is buildable. Covers minor imperfections

Finish: Natural Matte, Skin feels brighter!

Long Wearing: Yes (6 hours or more if used with a primer or setting powder)

- Inexpensive
- Medium Coverage for a BB cream since most of them are so sheer!
- stays matte for a long time, controls sebum secretion especially in the T zone
- Brightens the complexion
- Non comedogenic
- Hydrates the skin
- Added protection due to the SPF in it
- Lightweight

- the liquid tends to ooze out from the nozzle top. I recommend to store it upside down to prevent it spilling all over. 
- only two color shades to choose from.

Will I repurchase it: YES!

I actually like this BB cream much more than the high -end ones because they are just so sheer (like tinted moisturizer ) and this one gives a glow with a matte finish while covering those annoying spots/patches/redness!
If you have acne prone, combination to oily skin, this is an amazing BB cream for you all to try! I highly recommend this product for use on a daily basis! Just set with a good powder and you are good to go.

Monday, November 3, 2014

NARS Concealer stick in Ginger

NARS does some really good products, totally in love with their ever-so-famous Blush in "Orgasm". I wanted to try something else from their Make-Up range, and since I'm always on the look out for good Blemish covering- concealers, I decided to try their concealer stick.
I picked this one up in a hurry, So I ended up getting a shade, a tad bit darker than my skin tone.

What is it: NARS Concealer
Price: 24$ from

What it claims: 'Brilliantly obscures imperfections and dark spots with a creamy, vitamin-rich formula that nourishes the skin for all-day wear. Crease-proof and easily blendable for a flawless finish.
  • Long-wearing
  • Enriched with moisturizing Vitamin E' 
Shade Collection: 10 shades from Chantilly (lightest) to Cacao (darkest)
I got 'Ginger' - Golden undertone for medium complexion

'Ginger'- swatch

After blending, slightly darker for my skin tone, but works well under foundation!

  • Creamy, smooth, easily blendable with a concealer brush
  • Medium coverage, build-able to full,  for post-inflammatory pigmentation spots (acne), scars, sun spots etc.
  • Does not settle into fine lines/wrinkles
  • Long wearing
  • Stays matte especially over the T-zone
  •  The darker shades (cafe and cacao) are excellent to be used as Cream Contour for the face and the light shades (chantilly and ivory) can be used as a cheekbone highlight.
  • expensive
  • Is not a heavy duty concealer- does not cover major skin imperfections
  • I do not find it to be very effective for under-eye brightening. Has a slightly heavy feel when applied over the under-eye area.
Final Verdict: I really like this concealer, it has good coverage and does not slide off by mid-day- the most important point, I look for in concealers! The quality definately makes it worth the price.

Will I repurchase it? Yes, probably in Cacao and Chantilly -For contour and highlight.

What do you ladies think of this product? What other Concealer- sticks would you recommend?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Acne? Get TTO.


Acne is the most common problem that affects humanity. The prevalence of acne was 85% in the 12-24 year age group in the US census conducted in 1996!
Acne might seem a trivial issue to some, but it actually affects mental health (anxiety and depression), self- esteem, confidence, social interactions and employment problems even in its mildest forms!
Over the years, there have been  many topical solutions and antibiotics formulated to target the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, but they are becoming less effective with time probably because of the emergence of resistant strains.
The search continues to find the effective remedy to combat acne.


Tea Tree Oil has been shown to have broadspectrum antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This volatile essential oil is derived mainly from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia and has been used since centuries by the Aborigines!

A clinical trial conducted in 2007 concluded that :"Topical 5% tea tree oil is an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne vulgaris". The low and minimal side-effects of TTO treatment render it as a suitable treatment option for mild to moderate acne vulgaris.*

 Another study showed that both "5% tea-tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide had a significant effect in ameliorating the patients' acne by reducing the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions (open and closed comedones), although the onset of action in the case of tea-tree oil was slower. Encouragingly, fewer side effects were experienced by patients treated with tea-tree oil." *

Uses of TTO:

(Use as a topical application, gargle or steam inhalation with hot water, not to be swallowed! )
  • bacterial and fungal skin ailments: Oily skin, acne, abscess, blisters, sun burns, athlete's foot, insect bites, rashes, dandruff and other minor wounds and irritations. 
  • respiratory problems ranging from common sore throats, coughs and runny nose and may help in  severe conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis.
  • Viral infections: chicken pox, shingles and measles, flu, cold sores and verrucae/warts
  •  strengthens the body's immune system
  • Used in mouth washes as it combats oral candidiasis.
  • Used to treat lice


  • pregnant and breast feeding women must avoid TTO
  • May cause redness, irritation, itching on sensitive skin so dilute it with olive oil or any other oil base if you have sensitive skin!
  • should not used near eyes, genitals
  • dilute well before using as a mouthwash
  • DO NOT CONSUME TTO! can lead to diarrhea, impaired immune function, drowsiness and Coma!

 My Favorite Tea Tree Oil products:


  • clear lotion like consistency
  • applies smoothly - has a matte finish- really seals those open pores!
  • has a minty strong fragrance which might be a little overwhelming at first.
  • can be used as primer before Makeup.
  • Available at all Body Shop outlets. (7.6 OMR)
  • Contains tea tree water (tea tree oil is dispersed in water)  dissolved in grapefruit water
  • Particularly effective for oily, combination or blemish-prone skin
  • alcohol free
  • Spray directly on the face (with eyes closed!) after cleansing skin. To tighten pores, let the toner air dry. 
  • It also helps combat the drying effects of airplane travel and air-conditioned offices.
  • not only a toner, but is aromatherapy in dilution. 
  • Available on for 21.95$
  • 100% pure tea tree oil
  • Its my go -to product in those Acne emergencies!
  • To be used as an antiseptic on minor cuts, wounds, abrasions, pimples, bites and stings
  • Treats fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and nail infection
  • Has demonstrated to be as effective as Benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of mild to moderate acne*
  • Cleaning: Kills 99.9% household germs

I really love TTO! It works magically in zapping those pimples which appear out of the blue at the wrong times!
Have any of you used Tea Tree oil? What products did you use? Post your comments/suggestions in the comment box!

Until Next time, take care ladies

Reference Researches*:
  • Enshaeih S, Jooya A, Siadat AH. The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. IJDVL 2007;73-1; 22-25.

Bassett IB, Pannowitz DL, Barnetson RS. A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Med J Aust 1990;153:455-8

 First picture is from!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recipe Log: Winter-Chicken Stew!

As the weather is changing, most of us are down with either flu or sinusitis. Yes, its that annoying time of the year when all we want to do is, stay at home with a cup of tea AND the Magical Elixir- chicken soup!

I wanted to make something different this time, more like a full meal , yet incorporating all those Immune- boosting ingredients of the traditional chicken soup. I ended up making Chicken Stew, which was full of flavor and kicked the congestion out of my sinuses!

Chicken Stew Recipe:

You Need:
800gm Chicken Drumsticks
2 tbsp Canola Oil
1 Red Onion, chopped
1tbsp freshly prepared Ginger Garlic Paste
2 cloves
1 green cardamom
1 shard of cinnamon
10-12- whole black pepper
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander seeds
salt to taste
Sprigs of Fresh coriander leaves

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan under medium heat.
  • Saute the onion until soft and then add the Ginger Garlic paste
  • Grind the cloves, cardomom, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander seeds in a mortar-pestle and add to the saucepan along with the turmeric powder and cook for 2 minutes.
  • keep stirring so that the mixture doesnt stick to the bottom of the saucepan or add splash of water when necessary.
  • Now, add the chicken and the salt and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add 2-3 cups of water-(depending on the consistency you like)- and let the chicken cook on low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Check the seasoning, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with toasted brown bread!

Did You Know?

 -   Studies have found that hot chicken soup can improve the ability of nasal cilia, to protect the body from bacteria and viruses.
 - Ginger is packed with virus-fighting agents against cold and flu viruses. One such agent is gingerol which has been studied as a cough- suppressant. It helps in clearing congestion and clearing nasal passages.  Ginger is well known for its use in nausea, motion sickness, stomachache, diarrhea, cholera, rheumatism, and headache!
- Garlic has antimicrobial and immune-stimulating properties and may give you slight relief from congestion. Raw garlic works as  a powerful antibiotic that fights bacteria, viruses and parasites. Good for preventing heart disease and stroke, and it contains many preventive anticancer compounds and antioxidants.
 - Turmeric is a spice that contains Curcumin- anti-inflammatory agent.

Let me know if any of you guys have tried this recipe! Post your pictures on Insatgram and hashtag with #hzarswomen!

Until Next time, Take care ladies!
- Zara

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Travel log: Paris in September '14

One fine day, out of the blue, me and my husband, decided to go to Paris (for a week). It was something we both decided so randomly and everything fell into place one after the other. We just booked the tickets and the Hotel and got the Visa almost in a flash.
With less than a week for us to leave for Paris, we both were in a fix as to what to pack.
We weren't going for  camping/trekking or just any other trip where we could fare well with a couple of jeans and sneakers. We did not want to look "touristy" even though we were and we were worried about dress-codes especially in restaurants.

So finally we decided to play safe and kept loads of black -had heard Parisians love black, grey, taupe with little pops of color in the form of scarves. If you are in Paris, you must add a scarf either around your neck or your bag to look chic. Probably the only city in the world (after the middle- east, of course) where scarves are loved! You do not need to buy a Hermes scarf, any simple chiffon, silk or Pashmina will do.

We were also worried about the weather, anything could be cold for us since our innate thermostats are in tune with the Middle-eastern weather! However, the weather in Paris in September was really pleasant, mornings were warm yet breezy and the evenings got a little cooler. It never rained there throughout our trip (yayyy! )

So what did I pack?

-Jeans obviously, black slacks, semi-casual tops, maxi-dresses (can never get enough of those)
-blazer, lightweight sweater for the cool evenings
-LOADS of scarves ;)
-Clarks shoes,Cozy knee length boots, neutral Fit Flops (did not take my sneakers)
-Aldo Black Handbag (large, light, completely zippered and strong with double straps- had heard pickpocketing is very common in Paris as in all the large cities! )
-Basic toiletteries- I usually take the cheap ones and leave it in the hotel on the way back.
- Givenchy Perfume, moisturizing Cream, My favorite Bvlgari sunglasses.
- Cosmetics - Something I never compromise on ;)
(Clean &Clear Moisturizer, Loreal UV perfect, Elvive Loreal Hair serum, Sephora Primer, Clinique Anti-blemish Foundation, NARS concealer stick, Maybelline Fit me under eye concealer, Maybelline anti- shine Powder, Borjouis Bronzer, MAC prep+prime illuminator, Bobbi Brown blusher, Bobbi Brown Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette, Mikyajy Eyebrow kit, Maybelline Gel liner, Essence eyeliner, Benefit They're Real Mascara, Mikyajy lip liner, 3 basic makeup brushes- one for powder, foundation and blush.)

Mikyaji Coral Eclairs, MAC girl about town, Bobbi Brown True pink, MAC Russian Red

Where did we stay?

Hotel Ibis, 2, Rue Cambronne
Very close to the Eiffel tower and the Rue de Commerce
Choose the rooms with a view of the Eiffel Tower!


Must- see Places:

- Eiffel Tower Tour (1st floor plus summit views)
-Louvre Museum housing the famous Mona Lisa
- Orsay Museum
- Notre Dame
- Pantheon
- Avenue des Champs Elysees
- Arc de triomphe
- Place-de- la- Concorde
-Pont Neuf
-Les Invalides
- Grand and petit palais
-Center Pompidou
- River Seine sunset cruise
- Disneyland resort, Paris
- Chateau Versailles
- French Riviera (Monaco, Cannes, Nice)- South of France

What did we eat?

  • Lots of restaurants, cafes, bistros on every street. Enjoy a cup of warm coffee and a Croissant and watch the Parisians swarm by! 
  • The world's best ice-cream "Bertillon Icecream " Is located on the Île Saint-Louis, small island in the middle of the River Seine. Absolutely Delicious and rich!
  • Paris is also famous for their Macaroons- Stop by Laduree on Champs Elysees and get yourself and your loved ones, boxes of these heavenly macaroons!
Must say that the desserts are hands- down the best I have ever eaten!

Enjoying Gelatos atop the Eiffel Tower!

At Laduree, Champs Elysees

The best Molten Chocolate Cake I had

Macaroons @ Laduree

Yummy triple cheese Pizza


- Big Bus Tours: We took the Big Bus Tours on the first day to get oriented to the  place and also to cover the major -tourist sites.
- We used the Paris Metro for the rest of the week. Very fast, efficient and cheap means of travel.
We bought the Paris Passport online before we left. It included the Paris Visite Metro card (zone1-3), the big bus tour for one day, and passes to almost all important museums. (For more information, check the website for Paris passport)

Paris Passports

Places for shopping:

- Rue du Commerce (Lots of shops on this street- local as well as international)
- Galleries Lafayette
- Printemps
- Champs Elysees- one of the most expensive streets in the world, But it has a Sephora! :)
- Monoprix- like your local Hypermarket- we grabbed quick meals/drinks/water from here. Good selection of locally manufactured clothes, shoes, cosmetics, bags, toiletteries etc.

Buy loads of souvenirs for yourself and your family at the local small souvenir shops you can see everywhere as the larger souvenir shops at the Tourist sites can be a bit pricey.

Must-buy stuff from Paris:
-Cheese, Dijon Mustard
- Argan Oil
- Cosmetics

At the end, I totally fell in love with Paris. With Love in the air, Fashion on the streets, historical stories etched on each and every brick and delicious authentic desserts, who wouldn't fall in LOVE with this magnificent city?

A few snapshots of our stay in Paris:

Morning coffee at starbucks
Delightful flower shop
River seine view from the top

Champ De Mars

Eiffel Tower

On the Big Bus

The Louvre

Lock your love ;)

Notre Dame from the Big Bus
Place de la Concorde
Champs Elysees

Chateau de Versailles

Chateau De Versailles

Disneyland Resort


Center Pompidou




Until Next time , Take care Ladies
- Zara