Thursday, October 6, 2016

September Favorites

I'm bringing back these posts because a) I love reading these and b) I think it'll be a great way to round off each month!

September was an okay month but I definitely enjoyed these bunch of things over the last 30 days - there's some beauty stuff, a book and weirdly, a car cleaning service (don't say that I never surprise you)

The Martian by Andy Weir
Haven't seen the film yet but love the book. Great read even though there are an insane amount of technical details in there. For those who haven't heard of either, the book follows Mark Watney, an astronaut who gets stuck in Mars after a storm separates him from his teammates who were heading back to Earth. He figures it might take a while for him to get help as they presume that he's dead and starts planning his survival on the planet.

Wet n Wild - MegaLength Mascara
An oldie but a goodie - if you're looking for a mascara to give you clump-free long lashes, this mascara is for you. I would recommend this one for days where you are wearing minimal or no makeup as it looks very natural and doesn't them weigh down through the day. Perfect for those no-makeup makeup looks and for those who have semi-decent natural lashes as these don't really add much volume. If you're doing a glam look, I would definitely recommend the Maybelline Lash Sensational, another great budget option.

Kiko Milano - Heatwave Vanilla Lip Oil
First of all, Kiko has finally made it here - super exciting! Lip oils are becoming quite popular these days and this one works very nicely - smells incredible and feels really nourishing on your lips. Recommend if you're looking to try out a reasonably priced lip oil.

Kathleen Lights x Makeup Geek Highlighter Palette
Beautiful, beautiful palette. The formula is based off of the MUG foiled eyeshadows which I've heard great things about - it's very smooth and easy to blend (recommend using a blending brush and not a fan brush). It gives you a nice subtle highlight but is totally buildable into a blinding one with ease. If you're on the pale-light side, you'll most likely be able to use the first two shades as highlighter and possibly the third as a bronzing shade or on the lids.

Lush - Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser
As with all Lush products, this smells amazing and has a wonderful mix of clay, almond, lavender and lots of other delicious things which makes for a very good cleanser. It provides a nice gentle exfoliation without irritating my sensitive skin and helps balance it out nicely without any redness. I use it every other day on my face but it can be used everyday and for the body as well (love products that have these bonuses). I would however recommend using this in the shower as it can get slightly messy due to its gritty clay texture. Their new Halloween and Christmas collections also in store and online now (squee!)

Tarte - Shape Tape Concealer
Believe the hype, this concealer is pretty incredible. I got it after hearing the 20th beauty guru recommending it on Youtube and it was totally worth it! It's super light weight with medium to full coverage, stays on all frikkin day and it really does not crease. Really hoping this launches with rest of the Tarte goodies at Sephora Middle East at the end of October (still yay!). This one does have a slight fragrance if that's of concern to you but otherwise, excellent product.

Lottie London - Powder Power Brush
I love this brush - it's so soft, is a great size for powdering your face and it doesn't shed! Bonus - cute as a button! Definitely want to try out rest of their brushes.

Mavala Stop
So if you go back to the beginning of the year and read my resolutions, getting a grip on my terrible nail-biting habit was one of them. Mavala Stop is slowly making this a reality - it's a clear nail polish that youapply on and the next time you bite on your nail, it tastes bloody disgusting. I've tried other products that have similar effects but thisone is by far the worst tasting and therefore the most effective. Highly recommend if you're struggling with this habit. is a car cleaning service based in Dubai - they come right to your doorstep and do a full clean of your car inside and out, as simple as that. I've spent, what feels like, a lifetime waiting at petrol stations to get my car cleaned and therefore, this is excellent. They have different packages depending on how intense a cleaning you want. I used them the other day and opted for the Gold Package - they did a nice deep clean of the interiors, got rid of all the different random stains and were very thorough with the exterior as well! Very impressed, definitely recommend if you've been putting this off for the same reasons as me.

And that brings us to the end of this post.. until next month. What were some of your favorites this month, comment below! Also, what kind of posts would you like to see from the Monalogues - beauty, lifestyle, personal or something else? Hit me up and let me know, would love to hear the answer to this one!

Mona xo

Thursday, September 8, 2016

3 TV shows and books for the long weekend

I am thoroughly prepared to veg so hard this long weekend. I've been in Dubai long enough to know not to venture into any sort of mall or outdoor space during these times and therefore, I'm going wrap my blanket around myself babushka style, binge-watch a ton of stuff and be unproductive AF. I've been feeling slightly out of it these past few weeks and think I need to switch off for a bit.

Everyone needs these days - to shut down, unwind (or just be plain horizontal) and resurface back to a hopefully fresher self. I've been saving Stranger Things and a few others bits for this laze fest of a long weekend (it better be good) but here are some shows/books I've enjoyed that can keep you company.

Shark Tank

If you haven't watched Shark Tank as yet, what have you been doing? Also, I'm sorry. You're about to go down a rabbit hole so deep but you're going to lurrrve it. The show is simple - budding entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to investors a.k.a the Sharks in hopes of a partnership. Sounds quite basic I know but it's a really interesting watch!


One of those shows where you don't have to think too much - a comedy with a charming set of characters based in a supermarket setting. America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) is in it as well some other familiar TV faces. Good laughs, simple stuff.


Unreal's lead is Shiri Appleby who I find so terribly annoying but I have somehow managed to pushed past that because I really enjoy the show's theme! She plays a producer of a dating reality TV show and it's a look into what lengths people to go to for drama and high ratings. A bit farfetched but definitely entertaining.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

If you're looking a short and sweet read (it's only about 150 pages), I cannot recommend this enough. The book is narrated by Enzo, a dog, who recounts his experiences and his life with his owner, Dennis Swift who is a race car driver. This book is absolutely precious and expect to have a nice long cry at the end - I don't think it's possible to avoid this. Thanks Ekta (Dollz in Dubai) for recommending this gem!

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

If you liked Girl on the Train, this book is on similar territory. A great thriller - follows the story of Claire and Lydia, estranged sisters who reunite when Claire discovers some horrible secrets of her recently killed husband. I finished this in one night!

God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

This is one of my favorite books - probably will get around to re-reading this as I do every year. I know this is a super oldie but if you've been putting off reading this one until now, you really are missing out. The book has so many beautiful details - it is based in Kerala, India and follows of the story of fraternal twins growing up in a mess of a family combined with various political and emotional themes. Must warn you that it's an intense read!

Eid Mubarak everyone and have a lovely long weekend. Tweet me with who your favorite Shark is or if you have any recommendations for me - babushka out!

Mona xo

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Treat Yo Self - Budget Edition

This blog post is inspired by certain purchases I dwell on for, what feels like, years and years for absolutely no good reason.

You know those items that you don't really need but want? Let's say this is the budget version of that list. These items that are definitely NOT ones that you need to splurge and live in guilt for but more like really - do I really need these?

I rarely put in this much thought when you don't have to shell out as much but somehow, I've built up quite the list of what I like to call 'budget luxuries' - it's like when you have a Coke with ice and lemon or when you get a new screen guard, when you buy an app even - you get the gist.

Here's some that I finally went ahead and 'treated' myself to:

1. Pillow mist

I can hear the eye rolls going around on this one but trust me, it's deliciously wonderful. You spray this baby on after you lay out fresh sheets and BAM, relaxation central. I got this one from Bath and Body Works and I believe they have a range of scents for this - so go treat yo self.

2. Shower speaker

I listen to music during most activities - working, doing chores, in the car etc. Like most people, I usually use my iPhone for all of these which works okay but it was just not cutting it for my shower karaoke sessions. (yes, major first world problems)

After extended contemplation, I got myself a banging speaker off of Dubizzle for an extravagant AED 30 and I freaking love it - jamming out in my shower, all day err day now.

3. Popsocket

Do I really need this? Phone grips, I feel, fit right into this category. So, I spent many browsing minutes over Popsockets for a while before I bought it along with the PopClip which looked promising as a stand for the car.

And it is so freaking convenient. It makes for such a comfortable experience holding your phone and it doubles as a stand as well so +1. With the PopClip, it's perfect for the car because I always end up dropping my phone in all the possible crevasses and now it has its neat little spot.

Totally recommend, go treat yo self.

4. Magnetic weekly planner

As much as I want to be the person using all those cute planners you see everywhere for my schedule/to-dos (also, do I really need those?), I never end up using them. And the same goes for using my phone for this - just can't seem to get into the habit of it.

And so, it usually ends up on random post it notes, notebooks, magazines.. pretty much anything I can write on till it's lost/forgotten forever. When I found this little guy in Typo (this place is filled with budget luxuries, it's dangerous), I reminded myself that I MUST start using my planner/phone again for these things and then, shocker, I never did. On my millionth visit to Typo, I finally decided to 'treat ma self'.

It's magnetic so I put this onto a tiny whiteboard I already owned and hung it above my desk and now, I'm wonderfully organised - I can see my immediate schedule for the week as well as other little to-dos all together on this planner.

It worked out surprisingly well with these products but as you can imagine, this is almost never the case with my budget luxuries. There's tons more where that came from - mugs, novelty USB sticks.. anything novelty for that matter!

Comment below with one of your recent budget luxury purchases, would love to see what you've indulged in.

Mona xo

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Get to know me: 20 questions

I've been blogging for close to two years now and am surprised I haven't done one of these yet.

I've got a lot of new people come on here recently (welcome!) and so, this seemed like a perfect time to do a little 'get to know me' post with eclectic questions from the treasure trove that is the internet. Let's go!

What is..

Your biggest pet peeve? 
Rude people drive me up the wall.
- Animal - Dogs
- Color - Yellow
- Holiday - Christmas
- Ice cream flavour - Oreo
The latest photo taken on your phone? 
A blurry one, very representative of my general album I have to say.

What would you do if, at this current moment, your mirror self comes out from a mirror? 
I would probably pass out - don't see myself surviving this terrifying moment.
What was the last concert you were at? 
Adele and she was magical!

Would you rather

Holiday at the mountains or the beach? 
Beach bum all the way.

Sit at a window seat or aisle seat?
Window, so that I have something to sleep on. (most window people consider this reason a blasphemy)

Read on an e-book reader or a real book?
I would much rather read a real book but the reality is I read on an e-book reader. I find it easier to carry around and end up reading more. 10 of 52 books done btw, if any one is keeping track of my resolutions from this year - going horribly so far.

Be in a crowd or a small group?
Weirdly, both.

Be in sunshine or gloomy weather?
I <3 gloomy weather but it has to be chilly as well. Gloomy days in the summer are the worst!

A photo posted by Mona | the monalogues (@monagir) on

Do you..

Take the shampoo and conditioner bottles from a hotel room? 
Hell yes, I take everything that I'm possibly allowed to take out a hotel room, especially the slippers!
Like to use Post-It notes? 
I love to but I can almost NEVER find one when I need it! Is this just me?

Sleep with your doors open or closed? 
Closed, the other option just gave me the shudders.

Have any pets?
Yes, a handsome little old man dog.

A photo posted by Mona | the monalogues (@monagir) on

Believe honesty is the best policy? 
Not always.

Can you..

Curl your tongue?
Nope, I try every single time someone asks me this question.
Play an instrument?
Change a car tire?
Nope - would love to learn! Is there a life skills class I can take?
Yes, glad my parents powered through my tantrums and made me learn.
Totally. If the below picture is not proof enough of my artistry, I don't know what is.

And there, you know a little bit more about me now - follow me over on Instagram and Snapchat for more sneak peeks into what I do on the daily!

Mona xo

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Blame the Blogger: Beauty Edition

This surely happens to most people - you read a blog post, you see that glowing review of a certain product and boom, you're usually halfway to the store (or checking out online). Is this just me?

Bloggers, influencers, enablers - call them what you may but they are a dangerous bunch. So, in this post, I'm going to talk about some of my recent purchases that totally have a blogger's name on it. I'm currently testing all of these guys, so let me know if you'd like a review on a specific one.

Let the blame game begin!

Product: Pixi Glow Peel Pads
Culprit: Aseya, Pretty in The Desert

This one has been on my list for a while but it went to the top when Aseya snapped it out a few weeks ago and mentioned how it's improved her skin. SOLD! The product has 20% glycolic acid which which is more than most glycolic products in the market - it helps with treating acne, scarring, hyper pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles etc. - I've tried this once already and I'm very impressed!

Product: The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil
Culprit: Laura, Buy Now Blog Later

I'm really not loving micellar waters at the moment. Yes, the Bioderma one is still my favorite and it's excellent if you are looking to try out a micellar water. Don't be fooled by the alleged Garnier dupe of this one! It is nowhere close to the original - I don't care who says what.

So, as I was saying -  I was looking for a more satisfactory makeup removing experience and Laura has mentioned this a few times as her go-to. Cleansing oil is a first for me - it's meant to be good with sensitive skin and clears out waterproof makeup as well.

Product: RCMA No Color Powder
Culprit: Kathleen, Kathleen Lights

Kathleen Lights talked about this guy a while ago and it has since exploded online. It's supposedly the dupe for Laura Mercier powder and for a fraction of its price, so seemed like no-brainer purchase. Also, I <3 Kathleen Lights!

Product: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation
Culprit: Huda, Huda Beauty

First of all, I feel like I should list Tarte as the culprit for this one because the packaging itself is so terribly gorgeous, it's enough to make me want to purchase the whole damn range. This foundation is meant to be quite natural and light weight plus my first experience with a water foundation. Great reviews have been going around for this guy and Huda's recommendation was the final push - excited to see Tarte launching in the region soon!

Product: Colourpop Liquid Lipsticks
Culprit: LuAnne, Weesha's World

LuAnne is solely responsible for all my Colourpop liquid lipstick purchases - I'm sure this is true for most people! Both the Ultra Matte & Ultra Satin liquid lipsticks are great quality, have a diverse range of colors and are cheap as chips - what's not to love? My favorite shades at the moment are Tulle & Avenue (as featured in the picture) which I feel will suit a variety of skin colours as well. Great brand to experiment with for liquid lipsticks.

Product: Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Palette
Culprit: Bonnie, Bonnie Garner

I'm a newbie to makeup and so, eyeshadow palettes with upwards of 8 shadows scare me a little. When Bonnie blogged about this a while ago, it seemed like an approachable one and the colours formed a good all-round palette to have. So, I took the plunge and got it last month - it smells incredible as most Too Faced products, I'm afraid I might lick it. (let's be honest, I'm going to)

Of course there are many more purchases triggered by some lovely bloggers, but I'll save that for the next one. Meanwhile, let me know who you blame for some of your recent purchases and what were they? I'd love to check them out!

I know my blog schedule has been slightly off but hopefully back on this wagon here on. Thanks for sticking around and following the Monalogues.

Mona xo

Monday, May 16, 2016

7 Travel Tips for your next holiday

Disclaimer: I'm no Nomadic Matt. I've just spent the last two weeks submerged in prep for my upcoming holiday and these are my simple go-to resources for holiday planning.

I'm off in 3 days, eeek! Here's a little peek at where I'm headed:

Don't get me wrong - I'm a big info/planning-nerd and all about the YAY in holid-yay.

But the research, planning, itinerarizing, bookings, payments, cancellations, (shudder) last minute changes AND that too for an ENTIRE group is just about as fun as getting your teeth pulled. I wouldn't have it any other way :)

For now, I'm reaching the very end of this process and thought I'd share my go-to resources/tips that made my planning process infinitely easier! 

Flight search

Usually, I use Cleartrip for flight searches - it's easy, you can compare a bunch of flights and book with very few clicks - what's not to love? But on this trip, we stumbled upon some incredible rates using Google Flights. Google magically picked up (as they do) these awesome promotional fares that didn't show up elsewhere and boom, we got tickets almost half off the original price!

Start a spreadsheet

As soon as a holiday plan is in place, the next thing I do is make a Google spreadsheet (promise I'm not sponsored by Google, teehee) and share it with people I'm travelling with - it includes the basic info like a rough schedule, cities we're going to and things we want to see in these places, flight info etc.

This little guy is useful for so many different reasons - you have all the info you need in one place which helps especially if you have a long trip and lots of bookings, you have a clear overview of the schedule, costs and status of things and like I mentioned, you can share this and any updates you make will reflect for others also. It serves a nice little list for the future as well!

The Modern Tourist has done a great in-depth post on this, so head over there if you want more on this!

Finding a place to stay

My go-to is always because (again) it's easy, you have free cancellation on most places, so you can book and then take your time to look around for some more options in the meanwhile. I do refer back to reviews on TripAdvisor because sometimes reviews are not that detailed on Booking and they only have the fancy shiny photos of the accommodations as opposed to regular life photos which TripAdvisor has in addition.

Airbnb is also a popular option if you're looking for a homely experience (or so I've heard), I'm yet to try it out myself.

Where to go, what to see

This is the fun but difficult part - I usually use TripAdvisor as a starting point for places to see and then work my way down the rabbit-hole to travel blogs, social media, friends, family etc.

During this process, make sure to look out for the little additional info that people usually share like this is not open on that day, buy these tickets in advance and don't bother waiting in line for this statue etc which will help save time (and heartache). There's tons of different itineraries online from different tour companies, just mix and match as you please.

Zomato collections also work as an good base guide as to where you can eat and drink your way through the city. Apart from this, do a general Google search for events possibly happening in that city while you're there, might stumble into something exciting! (Adele in Lisbon, Coldplay in Barcelona for me and a local festival in Cordoba for me!)

Internal travel

We're booking a lot of internal travel on this trip and it was quite the challenge to figure out what works best with distances, times and the different modes of transport. This website called Rome2Rio was super useful for this specific reason - it lists all options between two places (bus/flight/car/train) along with the relevant information and links to where you can book them as well. You can use this for international travel as well if you need.

Label your bookings in your inbox

While this is not a new trick, it's well worth adding in this list! I have a little more than 20 different bookings on this trip and I've done myself a favor and labelled every booking - Spain/Portugal 2016 - in my email, so that when it's time to print, everything is in place and I don't need to worry about missing an important printout to present at the airport or anywhere else I might need.

Get your International Driving Permit (IDP)

This is a no-brainer. If you're planning to drive where you're going (even if you're not, good to keep handy), get your IDP locally, they are valid for a year and so it'll also help for future travel within that time frame. They print it in a bunch of different languages so you're covered translation wise.

Here's a detailed post on how and where to get your license in Dubai by Globe Trotting Filipina!

And that about rounds up this post, hope it helps you on your next trip. You can follow me on Instagram and Snapchat for updates on my travels!

Mona xo

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Clarisonic Mia 2 Review - Yay or Nay?

So, I waited patiently to do this review and have now been using the Clarisonic Mia 2 for a whole 4 months - that's like a lifetime in waiting-to-write-a-blog-post years.

If you've not already heard about this product, the Clarisonic Mia 2 is a facial sonic cleansing brush with an oscillating brush head that's meant to give you squeaky clean skin by cleaning 6 times more intensely than if you would wash your face with your hands alone.

What, where, how much

Let's look at the basic info - the Mia 2 model is a good one to start with. It comes with a compact charger (each charge will last you 30-ish uses), a sensitive brush head, a sample of the Clarisonic cleanser and a travel case. It's definitely pricey at AED 700 - see it as a relatively long-term investment but do keep in mind that it's best to change brush heads every 3 months which cost roughly 100 AED. You can get the Mia 2 as well as the brush heads at Sephora. There seem to be vendors selling it online for cheaper, be cautious of fakes as always.

How does it work?

It's pretty easy to use - apply your cleanser of choice either onto the brush or onto your face. Mia 2 also has a useful setting which is a buzzer for every time you need to switch to a different spot on your face in the 1-minute period - 20 seconds on chin/nose, 20 seconds on forehead, 10 seconds on each cheek. It also has two speeds in case you want to experiment with what works better with your skin.

So, switch on the Clarisonic and follow the vibrating buzz-es. Afterwards, rinse your face and then rinse your brush head, dab the brush head onto a towel to remove the extra water, put on the lid and it should dry off before your next use. You can use it in the shower even as it's waterproof.

Chapter 1: Mia 2 + Sensitive Brush Head

Now, for the review itself. My expectations from the Mia 2 was to help improve my skin texture in general. I started off using the Mia 2 once a day with the sensitive brush head that came with the product and the first time I used it - I was very impressed, my skin was super smooth, soft and so clean.

Yeah, this lasted all of one week. I started breaking out so horribly and I hadn't changed anything else in my routine except for adding the Mia 2. So, I gave it up and decided to just chalk it to a bad purchase. I went online, read some reviews to see who I can blame this on and move on with my life, and came across a bunch that mentioned that they had the same issue before it got so much better.

So, I went back to reluctantly using the Mia 2 and waited for the light at the end of the tunnel. Nope, nothing - still as bad and no signs of improvement. At this point, I did feel as though the sensitive brush head was harsh on my skin and caused redness, but I just dismissed that thought assuming that that is how the brush felt and plus I was still waiting for this to turn better as it did for most people.

Chapter 2: Mia 2 + Acne Brush Head

My final ray of hope was to try a different brush head. My skin had been strangely sensitive over the last 6 months prior to Mia 2, so I had figured that the 'sensitive' brush head that I'm already using should be best for it. I anyway looked at some options and decided to try out the acne cleansing brush head which is usually for acne-prone skin.

In the meanwhile, I stopped using the Clarisonic till I got this new brush head and as soon as it came, I braced myself for whatever was about to come - one last try.

And.. it worked. The acne brush head is INCREDIBLE. It is essentially the brush head that is meant to be used for people with sensitive skin - it's much softer and gentle on your skin than the damn sensitive brush head + it almost feels like it's polishing your skin while deep cleaning it. So if you've reached this part of the post and hate your Clarisonic, try the acne brush head!

Since the acne brush head, I've experienced some vast improvements in my skin - much smoother, my skin feels so soft and radiant, my pores seem smaller and makeup goes on much nicer. It's even helped with absorption of my other products into my skin helping get better results from them as well, so more bang for your buck. I usually use it once a day at night and follow it up with my night routine.

It didn't seem help to particularly help with scars or pigmentation - let me know if you've seen otherwise.


Yay! Absolutely recommend if you're looking to elevate your skincare routine. You'll be fine without it for sure but I'm glad I got onto this wagon (though it took a while). If you're looking for a good cleanse and refined skin texture, you can bank on this product for that. It also means for fewer facials (lesser $$) as you have far less blackheads, acne and clogged pores etc. You're giving your skin some TLC essentially everyday with this one.

And that brings to me to the end of this saga. Let me know if you have any tips/tricks for me to try out with this one!

Mona xo 
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