The #InnerGlow Magic Shots by Ponds

Of all the instant pills of happiness, getting an unexpected compliment is my favorite! Since I am the giver clan, I equally like giving compliments as much as I love receiving them. One fine day, @PondsPk held a mini competition on their Twitter account on which I had to compliment a friend – stating the obvious, I chose to brighten Afrin’s day. Gladly, lady luck cherry-picked me as the winner and I managed to bag Ponds freebies for myself and Afrin.

ponds pk @shaguftaabbas

Got back home to a nicely wrapped Ponds White Beauty Facewash and Cream and instantly chose to give the mini mystics a shot. Being home to a combination skin gets challenging in the weather these days so I experiment with only a few tried and tested names. Ponds, being one of the most reliable brands was a safe pick so I promptly gave my dirt-laden face a therapy. A wee bit of the facewash, whoa bits of lather; splash splash and bam! Skin so smooth, it was as good as my daily cleanser from TBS. Since the everyday hustle and bustle at the hospital effortlessly slurps the glow from my face, the facewash and daycream duo was an instant hit!

To share my views, I was invited to the Ponds Bloggers Meet later that week. Hosted by Alishba Yousuf, the former Ponds girl, the evening was glitzed and glammed in all the pretty shades of white and pink along with the prettier ladies from the blogoverse.

The meet and greet session was all about breaking stereotypes of confining beauty to the clichéd fair-toned skin. Rabia Abdullah, Assistant Brand Manager Ponds Pakistan (and the lovely lady in the picture below) glimpsed through the magic potion of the White beauty range and said;
“Good skin is not just about fair complexion but also about freshness and the glow. The GenWhite technology is part of our ongoing efforts to contribute towards Pakistani women looking good, feeling good and getting the most out of their lives.”

Rabia Abdullah stuns in white and pink!
Rabia Abdullah stuns in white and pink!

And that’s what the Ponds Range is all about! We discussed how it’s not ‘fairness’ that defines beauty but the confidence and strength within that makes a woman beautiful! After all, it’s all about unblocking your #InnerGlow!

My girls!
My girls!
Nida Mughal sharing her reviews of the Ponds White Beauty Range
Nida Mughal sharing her reviews of the Ponds White Beauty Range
Myself, doing what I do best. Chirp, chirp!
Myself, doing what I do best. Chirp, chirp!

Followed by reviews from Nida Mughal and yours truly, we then moved forward to some innovative activities that none other than the brains at Creative Chaos could think of! From uncovering the Ponds Wall brick-by-brick to passing on the Ponds Legacy further to more pretty women, the event ended with some great food and even better gift hampers!

The #InnerGlow pretty much radiating from the oh so delicious food as well! xD
The #InnerGlow pretty much radiating from the oh so delicious food as well! xD

Yaad reh jane walay alfaaz.

I was about to brag about the incident mentioned below on twitter (since it has been my rant shelter 24/7) but just for a change, I felt like giving it a concrete locus on my webspace. So here’s what just happened;

11:30pm, just about twenty minutes ago, the doorball rang. My father and I were together in the living room, with him glued to the TV screen and myself to the laptop, I reached out to the entrance just to find it was the lady who lives a floor below ours. She had made Haleem and had come with a papa-bear-full pot (if that’s a word?) for me- talk about almost midnight surprises!

She’s quite a generous Memon lady (mentioning her community to break a stereotype against memons of being miser) and loves me a little too much. Whenever she hears my steps banging against the staircase of our apartments early in the morning as I leave for a walk or to the university, or when I am sluggishly climbing my way up from a long day’s work, she always gets to the main door of her house and never forgets to give me her blessings. I’ve rarely come across ladies as sweet as her. And guess what made me write this entire post out of the blue?

The lady left on the following note as dad and I walked to the door,

“Logon kay tou betay bhi aisay nahi hotay jesi Abbas bhai, apki betiyaan hain..”

(And yes, she was pointing at me.)

I HAVE LIVED.
*wipes her tears of joy as she ends this post*

Catharsis

“Some have found God in the depth of their sins.”

This sentence has been carved on the walls of my soil heart ever since it met my eyes a few days ago. It’s amusing how everything black in these words pave way for everything white – how The Almighty still sends the magical rays of hope through the wrecks in one’s soul. It makes me feel like the feeble most being on this planet yet the sturdiest creature alive when I come to think of this fact that maybe, somehow, even in this hollow of evil, I still have hope that God will find me, and I, will find Him.

Ever wondered how close He is to us, yet how far we are to Him?
Ungrateful little beings, who were made with the purest and finest of elements by the best Creator in the best of forms, sent on diverging roads to travel, provided with a will that’s free and a guide to help us through, we chose all the forbidden lanes and thought the journey has no end until we realized how effortlessly vulnerable we are, despite all our strengths. At every stepping stone where we stumbled, we were saved by His endless mercy. Do you even ponder on how He is always there to bless us without even asking? His compassion and love knows no limits, no conditions, no margins.

Someone dear to my heart once told me that if you want to get close to God, talk to Him. Talk to Him like you talk to a friend- rant, vent-out, complain, weep, laugh, share secrets and go for every little gesture you’d do for a friend. That’s how you will get closer to Him. Once you’re friends with Him (unrelatedly to the fact that He is always there for you), you’ll start doing things that He likes. Just like you ignore things which a dear friend doesn’t like, and put in extra efforts to make a pal happy, give in and give up your actions for Him, to make Him happy, and see the difference for yourself. He, as a friend, won’t let you down. And you, as a flawed mortal, would also develop a habit of sharing things to the only source that shall guard you in every way possible.

I was a firm practitioner of this notion till I got lost somewhere on the highway to hell.

Lately, I had gone through major changes in my life.
Over 6 months ago, back in September, I started off a journey to my lalaland where I was under a false belief that I had my invisibility cloak on. I have always been scared of dreaming big, always shut down and overruled by the society’s tags, but back then, I planned on going for a stupid little dream which I was getting a chance to turn to the truth. Under the yolo spell, I went up for it just to find myself as the happiest misfit in the new planet.

I have always been a giver.
Those who know me know my mantra for life,
“Give respect, get respect.”
I’ve always believed that respect is far superior to love and that is the best gift you can give to anyone.

Following my concrete theories, I went on practicing it and found myself to be the most blessed of all. I got respect from the most unexpected of sources and radiated positivity wherever I went. My new planet was my new home, until I met a few unfortunate incidents that lauded me with a bunch of lessons.

For all that I learnt, there’s one thing I’d stick to in the future-
Sometimes, it’s okay to be judgmental.

Yes, people are fighting their own battles and we never know what hides beneath the skin and flesh, but when there is a roaring lion right in front of you, it’s wise to stay afar.

Constantly brewing in fear, regret, disappointment and getting an unceasing radio therapy of negative vibes, I realized my spirit was bruised- badly. My demons had consumed me and all I had in my empty palms was just a WHY against the Supreme Power. From the liveliest soul you could spot I had turned into the living dead. That’s when I came across this beautiful piece by Yasmin Mogahed- which hit me like a sign, and alongside, God sent various other clues to help me get out of the cage. Here, here’s what she says;

“We must also realize that nothing happens without a purpose. Nothing. Not even broken hearts. Not even pain. That broken heart and that pain are lessons and signs for us. They are warnings that something is wrong. They are warnings that we need to make a change. Just like the pain of being burned is what warns us to remove our hand from the fire, emotional pain warns us that we need to make an internal change. That we need to detach. Pain is a form of forced detachment. Like the loved one who hurts you again and again and again, the more dunya hurts us, the more we inevitably detach from it. The more we inevitably stop loving it.”

Detachment. There lied the answer!

I had to plan an escape. I stood for my right and down the road, figured out that people who’ll be your actual true support systems in dire times of need would only be ready to rip you off when they spot you at your frail most. Bruised and not yet scarred (which means healing is still in process), I managed to scrap off a few masks as I left. The pain was immense since the outcome was what I had never even iimagined in the wildest of my dreams.

“Like icebergs, people normally expose only a small part of themselves, and generally just the part they wish to show.”

I think some people are better off with their masks on. Saves the entire universe from so much misery. At the same time, a part of me is an advocate of the spread-love-it-cures-all-pain theory and wants to see people all bare and broken- in their own beautiful ways.

Please tell me the latter clan is of no good; at least I shouldn’t be a part of it. It has taken me a great deal of courage and trauma and supernatural help from The Almighty to find a way out of the maze I had gladly gotten myself lost in.

Now that I am no more caged, let me feel the wind against my wings. Let me feel what freedom feels like, ‘coz a butterfly whose wings have been touched, will now show you how flawlessly she flies!

Dolmen Shopping Festival – Calling all shopaholics under one roof! #DSFKHI

“I love new clothes. If everyone could just wear new clothes everyday, I reckon depression
wouldn’t exist anymore.”

New clothes, new bags, new tags in your closet. Who doesn’t like that?
Having recently been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Shopping Disorder, the latent shopaholic in me has been up and in action since forever now. Fellow shopaholics, we needn’t confess the culprit that stimulates our shopping spree, everyone, by now, must have known of the four letters that magnetize us to any and every product in that rack.

SALE!

shopping meme

Be it a new pair of stilettos from Charles &  Keith or ethnic Khussas from the roadside vendor at Tariq Road, Karachi has always been a shopper’s paradise. Chronic shopaholics of all stages –be it early or advanced, have found their paradise in either of the malls and/or vendors across this city of lights as it hosted sales of all kinds in the past few weeks.

My recent bargain hunting was provoked by the evergreen Dolmen Mall as they flooded the city with billboards of their mega event, the Dolmen Shopping Festival #DSFKHI this year! Please tell me how is anyone supposed to keep their calm when your favorite chain of malls announce an endless list of sales in over 100 or more outlets?

Starting from December 20th, the Dolmen Shopping Festival continued till January the 4th across all three malls – Clifton, Tariq Road and Hyderi and started off with the opening being dedicated to the 141 precious lives we lost in the Peshawar School Attack. “We are dedicating the entire Dolmen Shopping Festival to the children of Pakistan.” , said the GM Marketing Mr. Adnan Maqbool during the tribute.

Two days later, on the 22nd of December, the team organized a bloggers meetup at Bartista Lavazza and briefed the bloggers about the Dolmen Shopping Festival and geared up the tweeps for the first of it’s kind treasure hunt!

We were given a set of tasks to be completed in a given time across Dolmen Mall, Clifton and at each step we had to solve a clue and publish our baby steps on either twitter, facebook or instagram. Within an hour, the #DSFKHI went viral as over 40 tweeps and bloggers competed for the actual treasure. Brands that took part in the treasure hunt include Sindbad, Kaju, Object, Kerastase Lounge andYellow etc. Umair Mirza, the guy behind Umairica, turned out to be the man of the show and got an Intel Tablet worth PKR 40,000! (Now that’s a treasure!) The runners up, Hera Mannan and Adeeqa Nazir got prizes as well and the rest of us got goodie bags! It’s always a win-win situation in here. ;)

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Capture

For more info, join the conversation at #DSFKhi on twitter, facebook and Instagram.

*The Digital PR Event was handled by Walnut Communications in partnership with Adil Siddiq Awan.

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For more information, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/dolmenmall
https://www.twitter.com/dolmenmalls
https://www.instagram.com/dolmenmall

Busting the Milk Myths with DayFresh!

Plotting new maneuvers every morning on how to escape out of the house, under my mother’s nose, without gulping down my throat the hugest of all glass of milk that could’ve ever existed on the face of this planet was one of my toughest childhood challenges. Grew up as the undisputed champion in this regard ‘coz that heavenly beverage people love to drink was something that always repelled me. Not that I am proud of being allergic (not literally) to milk, the trazillion refusals ended up in chalking down my bones to as brittle as possible that I ended up getting the bachpan main pachpan  title years ago. Repentant on my milk-hatred throughout decades, I was bound to take extra-cal milk and supplements to make me taller, stronger and sharper, uh well.

Ever since I got back to my relatively stronger bones, I grew myself distant from the milk magic yet again but held all my faith in milk products to get me going. From egg puddings to kheer and from coffee to tea, the best milk had to be my choice!

Though it’s quite of a certified myth by oldies (and goldies) that the khalis bhens ka doodh is the best of all picks- both in pricing and in nutritional value; my subtle gut has never been that welcoming so I have always stuck to the good old, tried and tested tetra pack unless I met the brains behind the K-town dairy brand DayFresh.

Last month, DayFresh held a bloggers meetup at the DAAS Headquarters in Karachi. Yours truly, all dressed in hues of blues, attended it and met the COO DayFresh, Mr. Ali Raza along with the manager operations Mr.Ghulam Hussain and they helped me unveil the hidden milk mysteries. Never had I known that there existed a brand in my city that works on the Grass-to-Glass theory and has a farm with over 3000 imported Australian cows and buffalos. The best is yet to come, the brand keeps animal rights as one of its priority concerns and hence their cattle is kept free of hormonal injections! Talk about customer service- keeping in mind the eventful and hectic schedule of the always busy Karachiites, their sales department offers home delivery across the city with a minimum order of just half a kg! Get a prepaid card made and forget the hassle of paying cash on delivery all the time. What to dial? 111DFRESH is the code!

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We be tweetin'
We be tweetin’

After the briefing session the bloggers were presented with a delicious array of snacks created by using Dayfresh Products and were served with the mouthwatering Dayfresh Flavored Milk – in three flavors, Zafrani & Pistachio, Chocolate and Strawberry – Zeera Raita and Low-fat Yogurt. The snack bar was comprised of scrumptious treats that the bloggers indulged in and enjoyed thoroughly.

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Finally the bloggers and the Dayfresh team took pictures at the Dayfresh Photo Booth with #RejuvenateWithDayfresh themed props and shared them across various social media platforms. I clung to the safest of all props, a glass of milk!

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Before I end the blogpost, here’s a catch!
How many of you are in absolute love with Gloria Jeans Gourmet Ice Chocolate? Now get the exact same at home as the very awesome Adeeqa Nazir discloses the secret recipe in here!
Join the conversations around #RejuvenateWithDayfresh on Facebook and Twitter.

https://www.facebook.com/111DFRESH

https://twitter.com/DayfreshMilk

HBL Always On!

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The gammy and dusted card you see above is none other than my partner in my endless retail therapies, my HBL ID. Though it isn’t covered with a gold or silver film, having an identity of my own always rose me to cloud nine. A few weeks ago, on the buzz of my phone, it was none other than my bank inviting me to a launch of Always On! At Dolmen Mall, Clifton, Karachi. Since the launch was on a Sunday and yours truly didn’t have to put in 9 hours of ceaseless efforts at the workplace, I planned on dropping by out of sheer curiosity to unveil what new is it that my bank is offering for online banking users like myself.

There came the much awaited Sunday- November 30th ‘14, with friends who vowed to pool in for a Noori performace at the event and ditched at the eleventh hour, I reached the venue just in time. Found the mall crowded like never before, singing along Noori as they sang and spotted numerous families posing at the special Always On Photo Booth. Turned out, HBL had revamped its e-banking services with an oath to provide it’s customers with an even more enhanced experience.  In addition to offering a comprehensive range of features, the new internet banking would empower the customers with greater control of their finances.

First Time Login to HBL Internet Banking from HBL on Vimeo.

Since I was, and pretty much am, an e-banking user of HBL, I decided to absorb as much keynotes as I could and as the crowd enjoyed performances by Noori and were starstruck by the presence of Ali Safina, Ayesha Omer and Anoushay Ashraf, the very awesome yours truly got to see the corporate faces behind the brand itself. Spotted the chief guest at the ceremony- Mr. Nauman K. Dar – President & CEO of HBL and Mr Faiq Sadiq- Head Payment Services, who expressed his ways as follows:

“HBL as Pakistan’s largest bank with over 7 million customers has always been at the forefront in delivering innovative banking products and services to its customers. The launch of this platform will allow customers to conveniently and efficiently carry out their banking transactions on the go. They can now experience utmost convenience in transferring funds, topping up their mobiles or for that matter paying their utility bills at the click of a button.”

(God bless the soul who came up with online utility bills payment option!)

Mr.Sadiq added that this launch will be a major boost for the growth of electronic payments in Pakistan. As HBL looks to the future, it continues to innovate with the view of improving transacting convenience for its customers through HBL’s 1500 plus branches, 1600 ATMs and diverse banking facilities. Our endeavor is to continue improving our services and the launch of internet banking is another step in that direction.

Introduction to HBL Internet Banking from HBL on Vimeo.

Oh, and here’s a look at the tweeps I met at the Always On Launch, cookies for spotting Shaggy! :D

Hint: Red lippy!

You can join the conversation and give your suggestions or feedback by tweeting with the #HBLAlwaysOn hashtag.

If you want to know more about HBL’s Internet Banking Services or the launch event, check out:

Facebook: /HBLBank
Twitter: @HBLPak
Instagram: @HBLPak

On a lighter note, which bank are you with?