Taking Care of Oneself

They say that the sum of the whole is larger than its parts and I find this especially rings true when I receive a carefully curated box (of goodies.). I’ve gotten a lot of subscription boxes but this one from POPSUGAR is especially meaningful because it’s their 5th-anniversary box, and in a few months from now it would mark 5 years since I started TheAmbitionista.com.

Heidi Nazarudin walks on the beach

(PS: And as a side note – POPSUGAR Must-Have boxes have been voted the best women’s Lifestyle box by My Subscription Addiction readers.

Aside from the fact that it’s their 5th anniversary – August’s Must-Have box is especially special also because it’s CEO Lisa Sugar’s 5th year curating her most favorite items. And the box contains some of her favorite items like the one below:


I especially like the First Aid 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask. I love how this mask enables me to feel like I’m pampering myself in 10 minutes or less. Which brings me to back to the title of this blog post – Taking care of oneself.

Over the last 5 years of building TheAmbitionista.com as well as a couple of other companies I have started along the way, I realize that one of the things that we must do in order to thrive is to take care of oneself. Self-care is not selfish and definitely, it does not need to be excessive. Even little things like taking the time to put a mask on or enjoying a half hour walk, or even eating ice cream in a park, is important for us to rejuvenate and revive our minds and bodies.

And if it’s not clear – if you like subscription boxes I highly recommend subscribing to POPSUGAR Must-Have lol.
Use the discount code PARTY (expires 8/31) to allow your readers $10 off their FIRST Must Have Box

Attending Coachella “Like a Lady”

This is a guest blog post by Nicole Wright.

Whether your doing Coachella for the first time, escorting a teen, or a veteran, there is a certainly a definitive “look.” Not only for style, but for practicality. When it swells in the low desert, it swells. Temperatures on average, in mid-April are in 90’s, but then can drop to the low-60’s at night.

Let’s get back to Coachella’s roots, going strong since 1999. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (commonly referred to as Coachella or the Coachella Festival) is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. The event features musical artists from many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music, as well as art installations and sculptures. It has become just as much of a destination on the first weekend, for music, as it is for celebrities, fashion and parties.

Light colors, whites and beiges, crochet and lace, hats and colorful jewelry rule. I’d like to think that this “all black everything” is just a phase, perhaps defiant, that seems to be trending at festivals, but after all, rock n’ roll, is rock n’ roll. The black outfits with cutouts and tears in otherwise in way too close proximity to a lot of body parts, well, it’s just not very inventive. Sexy, maybe – depending on what you’re going for and your body type. The “millennial” set seems to think this looks good, but it’s not quite Electric Daisy yet. Doc Martin’s, yes! These are cool and comfortable. If anyone can recall their first set of 14-eyes, then your with me.

Making the voyage to Coachella is long and expensive.  A VIP 3-day ticket will now set you back $1,000. By the way, Jet Blue and Virgin America both have non-stop flights in the high season. Palm Springs International has been named “American’s Most Stress-Free Airport.” I have a whole list of Palm Springs “go-do-see’s,” but off the top of my head, one of the most coveted boutiques in town, is Lindy California, a store offering uniquely curated vintage items of special pedigree.

So who nailed it, in the style department at Coachella? Supermodel and icon, Alessandra Ambrosia, who turned 36 just last week on April 11th, completed her looks wearing much of her own label, Ale by Alessandra.

Loeffler Randal Bag

Photo: Alessandra Ambosio, photo by Marcos Mella Cavallaria

Her 8-year old daughter, Anja Louise performed for her first time and took to the stage just like her mum.

Photo: Alessandra Ambrosio and daughter, Anja Louise Ambrosio Mazur. Photo by Marcos Mella Cavallaria.

How could you not love the old Rolling Stones t-shirt and black and white two-toned leather jacket?

Photo: Alessandra Ambrosio in the crowd at Coachella. Photo by Timur Emek.

Let’s talk about Rachel Zoe, who is known for her “Boho-Chic” style. She hosted a very tasteful party at the Colony 29, in lovely floor-length version of the “Lucille” dress created for Revolve.

Rachel Zoe Photo: Rachel Zoe, photo by Getty Images

Meanwhile, Actress Kate Bosworth and TV Host Louise Roe, accomplished their looks in head to toe, ready-to-wear Rachel Zoe. Clearly, MCM was the “it” bag  – a square version, which I was happy to see vs. the trendy “bucket” bag every blogger seems to covet. Check out Louise’s “luxe glamping trip” during her stay. To better capture their Instagrammable looks, guests were each gifted Google Pixel phones, paired with the newly launched Zoe-designed case.

Kate Bosworth photo: Kate Bosworth, photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Photos of Louise Roe by Getty Images

Then there was the PopSugar annual party, hosted at the Spanish Colonial luxury-boutique hotel, the Colony Palms. The activations at this event were super personalized and yes, Lisa Sugar, I am reading your book! We are bi-centennial babes. The colors were popping and loved Victoria Justices’ bold red. Perfectly on point with a hat and chain link belt.

Victoria Justice Photo by CelebsLA.

Last but certainly not least, Lady Gaga. She really set the stage on fire Saturday night, with a 20-song set, releasing her new single “The Cure” with just enough outfit changes to excite the crowd, but not too much circus for the festival crowd. Stefani Germanotta rocked an embellished blue jean jacket, with matching sequin multicolored thigh-high boots. Afterall, the fashion is amusing, but we’re really here for the music and what’s on stage is still the main attraction.

Photo of Lady Gaga, taken with Nichole’s iPhone

Want more? Armarium created this fabulous guide to Palm Springs and otherwise style inspo.

Nichole Wright is a Los Angeles based event producer, who plans corporate, social and philanthropic events, including activations for Bon Vivant Events. Originally, from Texas, she immerses herself in the cultural and arts scene, diving into music, fashion and culinary adventures all over the world. She has written for New York Woman Around Town, The LA Examiner, Guest of Guest, among others.

5 Bucket List Ideas for this Fall


Need some motivation? Read on for five bucket list ideas you need to try this fall.

Have a bucket list? Good! They are important, as we only get to ride once this crazy merry-go-round called life. It’s easy to get bogged down in the monotony of day-to-day schedule and lose your inspiration. If you haven’t written a bucket list, do so now, and refer to it often and always. Autumn is a great time to chip away at it, as we all want to get in as much as we can before we’re trapped indoors with the heat cranked to high.

1. Travel

Island-style ???. #stbarths #stbarts #casualchic #travelgram #clozette #ootd #fashiondiary #whatiwore #currentlywearing #printonprint

A photo posted by Heidi Nazarudin (@theambitionista) on

Stop postponing that trip or trips you’ve wanted to go on for years. Your excuses not to travel will always be there, but the opportunity might not be. Pulling the trigger on this bucket list item will never be a mistake. And fall is a wonderful time to travel; you’ll likely experience nice weather in many places and you’ll get better rates than in the summer. Whether you do it solo or surround yourself with your favorite traveling buddies, traveling is simply good for the soul. Remember to take your journal as well as lots of photos. About that last part, though—don’t take so many pictures that you’re not living in the moment, okay?

2. Land the Job of Your Dreams

#fromthefrontrow @klfashionweek is barely over and I'm already on the way to the airport for #nyfw . See you in a few hours NYC!

A photo posted by Heidi Nazarudin (@theambitionista) on

So this doesn’t sound like a bucket list item but it is when you’ve been slaving away at a job for years that you don’t enjoy. It might be time to take the leap. Of course, you need to assess the pros vs. the cons, and you obviously don’t want to make a huge life change if you’re the main breadwinner in your family and this decision could affect everyone. If you’re in a position to do it, however, take the chance. Open the wine and cheese shop you’ve envisioned your whole life. Become a personal trainer. Teach yoga! Find your passion and do it. Or if you’ve been longing to take a hiatus and are able to do so, fall is the perfect time to indulge.

3. Dress Up for Halloween

Lost baby porcupine looking for his mommy. #besthalloweencostumeever #cuteoverload #halloween2015

A photo posted by Heidi Nazarudin (@theambitionista) on

Have you been that person every year? The one who shows up in “street clothes” when ghosts, ghouls, and goblins abound? Don’t do it. It’s a downer to all who attend Halloween parties. This year, commit to finding Halloween costumes for you and your significant other or your whole family. The Tipsy Elves options are easy and sure to be a conversation starter—you’re not reinventing the Halloween wheel here.

4. Get Active

A photo posted by Heidi Nazarudin (@theambitionista) on

We’re not just talking about a jaunt on the elliptical or the hike you’ve done a thousand times. Think about signing up for an adventure race, go bungee jumping and/or zip lining, or climb a mountain. Fall is such a gorgeous time of year, so get out there and take advantage of the crisp air, comfortable temperatures, and changing leaves. Check out Cloud9Living to find some excellent fall adventures in your area.

5. Go Wine Tasting

Fall is an ideal time to go wine tasting, as this is the time of year that many vineyards have their harvest festivals. They often pair up with other vineyards nearby to offer food and wine pairings that will knock your socks off. You might live close enough to do a road trip but, if not, think about traveling to a place like Napa, Sonoma, the Oregon coast, Santa Barbara, or even France! While wine tasting is different at some vineyards, it typically consists of about six to eight pairings of red and white wines. Some places offer nibbles while others have restaurants on site. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to walk around the grounds or get a guided tour, as vineyards are often on land that will take your breath away.

Between the pumpkin spice-ification of all things, the stunning weather, and the opportunity to watch far too much football, fall is really hard to beat. If you’ve been letting your bucket list gather proverbial dust, this is a great time of year to change that.

beauty model reading book

Book bucket list + Pumpkin Spice Latte anyone?

How to Save Money at College | Sponsored by Regions Bank

College is stressful enough.  Leaving home for the first time, surrounded by smart peers, missing your family and friends.  Just typing this is practically causing me to hyperventilate from the memories.  On top of all of that is the worry about money.  Money before, during and after.  So when Regions Bank approached me to write this article, I was thrilled to discuss the money matters I wish I’d known back when I was a broke college student.


The syllabus and course outline are passed out at every student orientation or first class, but there’s almost no discussion about budgets and hidden costs.  Everything I knew I picked up in the hallways like some sort of illicit conversation. Regions Bank has you covered with advice so that you don’t find yourself relying on the equally clueless in your classes.  Here’s an outline for students out there:

1. Make a budget.  Seems basic, but how many of us actually wrote out a budget before college?  Sure we learned Excel spreadsheets, but I thought of those as a way to keep track of my outfit options and as a way to keep track of who was coming to parties and what everyone was bringing.

2. Get creative when it comes to vacations. Welcome to college and the real world where getting creative is more than learning Adobe and Instagram filters. For example, Regions Bank is always looking for great ways to help with finances and even has some really interesting thoughts on low budget vacation ideas. Hostels are traditional, but there’s also Couchsurfing.com and staying with your new college friends. Facebook is a great way to look for friends of friends who might let you stay with them for a short while. I have a friend who recently travelled across the United States, just by reaching out via Facebook to see who had a friend in the next town that she could crash with. It doesn’t cost anything (except a small thank-you gift to your host(s)) and you meet new people.

3. Look for scholarships. You’d be surprised by how many random, narrow-focused scholarships there are out there that few people know or qualify for. I’ll bet there’s even one for left-handed, red-headed, ferret-loving women under 5’. My cousin applied for and got so many scholarships that he ended up making money during college. And don’t just look for scholarships your first year, keep looking. Sometimes a student drops out and their scholarship opens up, and some are just for sophomores or juniors. No need to stop looking for free money.


4. Get into habits you’ll maintain the rest of your life. And no, I don’t mean “beer on Fridays.” I mean learn to:


I’d love to hear anyone else’s tips – I’m sure I could still use some, and I know college kids who should be all ears. Regions Bank has more ideas than the above and you can find them all on their site here.

Now I’ve gotten to thinking about all the other things I wish I’d known before college. Such as how to get coffee stains out of denim, the best alarm clock, how to deal with obnoxious housemates, when fabric softener goes in the laundry, and am I ever going to use what I learned in “Introduction To Gothic Literature.”

It List: Dining

Heidi Nazarudin of The Ambitionista Tea Time at The Majestic Hotel

If there’s one more thing I’m head over heels in love with– it’s FOOD! Glorious, glorious FOOD! More so if they look as stunning as the picture above taken back during my stay at The Majestic Hotel. If you’re aiming for that Instagram worthy Foodie Shot or just want to leave your guests drooling with these beautifully set meals, then check out my stylish dining must-haves!

Businesswoman Having High Tea at The Majestic Hotel Malaysia

Gorgeous high tea setting at The Majestic Hotel | Photography by Mandy Aileen

An Oscar Worthy Desk

While a heart of gold is something to admire in the rest of the world, in Hollywood it’s all about the gold statue – winning an Oscar is the pinnacle of success in The Golden State.  So let’s look at how the gold Academy Award can be reflected in gold accessories for the work-desk where we all want to succeed.

For every Oscar-nominated film, there’s a corresponding desk accessory to consider.

1.   Gone With the Wind. Nothing will be blown away by the wind if you get these adorable paperclips by Kate Spade.


2.   The Razor’s Edge.  This elegant peacock letter opener from Jonathan Adler is far superior in function and looks than any ordinary razor’s edge opener. I have this at home and it looks beautiful by itself on the entryway console.


3. The Hours. Opt for a traditional clock with a feminine, whimsical edge.


4. Cleopatra.  Not only is this snake a fun talking-point, but it’s a magnifying glass for those times you don’t want to reach for your reading glasses but can’t read the fine print.


5. The Sound of Music. Dock your iphone or iPad on this gold accessory and listen to your music, or just charge your gadget, all with elegance.


6. Silver Linings Playbook. OK, so this Kate Spade one is lined with gold polka-dots, but it can still serve as your work-notebook for all your ideas.


7.  Letters from Iwo Jima. From seeJanework.com comes this letter holder with an ampersand, heart or dots imprinted in gold.


8. The Reader.  For the readers out there (and aren’t we all?!?) these gilded rock bookends are from Z Gallerie.


9. On Golden Pond. This S’well gold water bottle will look elegant on your desk while it reminds you to stay hydrated.


10.  And don’t forget Chocolat.  These chocolate truffles covered with edible gold and housed in an office-serious wooden box are the icing on the cake so to speak.


No one wins every time, but at least you can always feel like a winner when you surround yourself with touches of gold.  And feeling like a winner is half the battle that leads you to success.  Dress your playing field accordingly.

A Hollywood Smile in Kuala Lumpur

Yoko Ono once said “Smile in the mirror.  Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.”  It’s terrific advice, but if you don’t like your smile, the big difference isn’t going to be positive yet. Which is why sometimes the first big difference we need to make is to change our smile.

Okay let’s back up a bit. There is nothing wrong with my smile. I actually have a nice smile. (PS : Thank you Dad for ‘investing’ in braces for me when I was in middle school)

Here’s me before my Hollywood Smile makeover. Do you notice the assymetry ? The right side has shorter teeth than the left.


And also this (note the gummy smile) :


Do you see how the left and right is slightly asymmetrical? Its also … gumy especially if I laugh or smile too wide. Which is why if you look at various photos of me on my Instagram, you can see that before this smile makeover, I hardly smiled. Now, if I was not in front of the camera a lot, this would just irritate me slightly but it’s something I can live with. But unfortunately I live in Hollywood and my face is in front of the camera a lot and so I wanted to get it fixed. But the thought of spending $15,000 – $20,000 ( this is how much it would cost in LA on average, if I were to do it  with one of the top smile doctors here) on my teeth for 6 tiny little porcelain bits gave me pause.

Luckily I am a global citizen and known for a fact that where my parents live ( in Malaysia) getting my smile improved with a top doctor would cost around 25% of what it would in LA.

Enter Dr.Kamsiah of Kam Clinic. Dr.Kam (as she likes to call herself) graduated in 1987 and had been practicing dentistry since 1987, that’s 29 years. She’s one of the top cosmetic dentists in Malaysia and is so skilled that other dentists fly in to train with her.

So on one sleepy morning ( she laughed when I declared 10 am is ‘early’) I sat down with her and went over my Hollywood Smile makeover

Here’s how the process works :


Initial Consultation  – The doctor looks at you and asses your face features and takes lot of photos of your face and your current smile. She also asks what your goals are for the smile. For me it was a whiter, but not blinding white even though there is that option, but just a natural white more even and feminine smile.  A mold is taken of your current smile situation.

On the right are the porcelain veneers , on the left are the mockups.
Hollywood Smile

According to Dr. Kam Digital Smile Design helps her to :

  • Improve Esthetic Planning and Smile Design

  • Improve communication between she and her laboratory, which is involved in the case from the very beginning

  • Improve communication with the patient, (like me) increasing participation in the design process of their own smile, motivating and educating them about the benefits of the treatment and increasing their case acceptance.

Second Consultation – Dr.Kam  installs a ‘fake mock up’ e.g basically a slip-on cast of what your actual smile would look like. She explains the reasoning behind it, including why your teeth are their new length/shape. You can take it off right then and there if you like it but you can also wear it longer to really see if you like this new teeth that you are going to have for the rest of your life. I decided to wear it for 24 hours, all throughout my photoshoot the next day.

copywright Mandy Aileen Photography

Dr.Kam also encouraged me to take selfies of myself and stare at the photos for hours. Okay she didn’t but that was what I did. I basically took a million photos of myself and using FaceTune , adjusted/edited the smile on the best one of the lot – I made my smile whiter/not so white/longer/shorter etc. Note that before I did this I somewhat knew what I was doing as I have read up quite a lot on ‘what is a beautiful and feminine smile’. This article describes it best.

So I texted Dr.Kam  the edited photo and she said she’ll take a look. Oh, I forgot to mention, the fake/slip-on teeth broke while I was having tea after my photoshoot. No one noticed.

3rd consultation – Dr. Kam put stuff over my teeth and then reshaped my teeth and gums. She then took another mold and told me she’s sending it to the lab so they can now create my custom veneers. My teeth felt slightly rough but nothing I can’t live with and my gums felt slightly bruised from the gum reshaping. I looked in the mirror and saw slightly swollen and slightly bloody gums and my teeth (now covered with the resin) looked just slightly odd. Nothing anyone else would notice, only me which was fine as I knew this was not the final result & I went home excited.

Or scientifically ( According to RealSelf.com):

Your dentist will remove roughly half a millimeter of enamel from any teeth getting veneers, which is the thickness of the porcelain that’ll be added to the surface of your teeth. Once this portion is complete, your dentist will make a model or impression of the teeth being treated and send it off to a dental lab for the creation of the veneers.


4th and Final consultation – Sleepy, but excited with the prospect of a beautiful smile  – I headed to her clinic in Taman Tun Dr.Ismail. The journalist crew from the Utusan Melayu (a national daily newspaper)  was actually invited to film the whole thing as we wanted to show how a Hollywood smile can be done in Malaysia, and done well.

For me – documenting and blogging about this process is important as I’ve seen many horrible smile jobs. Having veneers on your face is not just a matter of technical know how and a qualification – it’s also an art… and while I was in the dentist chair, folks were taking  photos, filmed and laughed a lot.  And then finally it’s done.

So to recap – I went from a nice smile to a brilliant smile.



Basically we analyzed my smile and features, put in 6 very customized porcelain veneers and reshaped my gums.


And of course, thank you Dr.Kam!

Disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare professional. Your reliance on any information or content provided in this article is solely at your own risk. You should always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare professional for any questions you have about your own medical condition.