Week 29: NYFW Recap. Invites, Perfect Hair, Survival

Today I am going to tell you some of the Behind-the-Stage Fashion Weeks Secrets. How to get invited to NYFW, how to have perfect hair a few days in the row, and HOW to survive the lack of sleep during the fashion madness!

Sex and the City pastiche with Ulia Ali. NYFW Survival Guide.



When I just started blogging, I thought getting invited to fashion shows is extremely hard. And it is if you do nothing! Luckily, I had blogger friends who have been leading their blogs for years and who kindly shared some advices, and I made my own research to discover other useful steps you can take in order to get invited to New York Fashion Week shows.

1. Start at least one month in advance

I had to miss out on some great shows because I was travelling almost the whole January, and didn't communicate fast enough with representatives. Don't repeat this mistake and start emailing brands 1-2 month prior to Fashion Week.

2. Fashion GPS Radar App

Get the most useful app Fashion GPS Radar. It not only gives you a list of shows, emails of PR people, but after some time automatically adds show invitations to your schedule that you can accept (or ignore).

3. Email YOUR people

Like anything in the world, fashion world is about knowing the right people. Think of the brands you already collaborated with, shoot an email to one of your old friends who is working in Fashion PR, or simply ask your trusted blogging friends to share some contacts, or take you as their +1. Yes, sometimes they let you take +1. I sneaked my husband to all my shows :)

nyfw 2018

4. NYFW Schedule

Find websites with the NYFW schedule. Many of these schedules contain contact information. For example, I used Fashion Week Online to get some emails.

How to look good during NYFW?

Depending on how busy your schedule is during Fashion Weeks, you might not be able to style or even wash your hair every day. Running from an event to showroom and then to runways shows, and doing it all over again back and forth, can be extremely exhausting!

Luckily, I have found a salon, Julien Farel, that creates KILLER blowouts and hairstyles that last perfectly for a few days in a row. I have partnered with Julien Farel before for Valentine's Day, and was so impressed that my hair, usually so flat and not that fresh only after 1-2 days, stayed absolutely flawless for 5(!) days. And honestly they still looked good after almost a week, and I just had to force myself to wash my hair because I felt it was too long.

That is why I chose Julien Farel salon to style my hair for NYFW. I highly recommend their stylist Aizhan.
Check out the salon: 540 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065. You will love it!

berocca review 2017

And last, but not least is my energy secret. Of course, you have to drink a lot of water, and can consume tons of coffee, but I have found out that I feel better just drinking one Berocca vitamin mineral supplement from time to time. Usually I take one when I wake up super sleepy, and it gives me an instant energy boost! Plus it tastes like a lemonade :)

I hope you liked my little NYFW secrets, and they will prove to be useful to you in the future. Let me know if you have any special tips? I would like to hear!

Week 27: The Start of 2017. How to Reach Your Goals!

How to achieve your goals and fulfil your dreams!

In my A Girl With A Plan post I shared my goals for 2017, and today I am going to write about what helps me stay on track. Hopefully this will be useful to you as well!

A girl with a plan? Have I ever been one? 

Looking back at my life, I think I have always been one of those lucky people who could wing anything and win. In school, I could prepare for a very complicated exam the night before and get the highest grade. During my Master’s degree course at the London College of Communication, I wrote my dissertation and conducted all the necessary interviews, observations and experiments in less than two months, while other student were planning their research for a year. In the end, I was one of very few at the University who got top marks with distinction (A+), and praise for my work.

But is it really only luck? Now, having more experience and knowledge of myself, I realise that I am just much more productive when I have a tight deadline.

I always complete my tasks on time, and I try to produce the best work I can in the shortest amount of time, no matter what it takes. 

During the last month of my dissertation writing, I did not sleep for days - surviving on coffee mixed with RedBull and pizza deliveries. I had no social life. I read at least ten books on my topic per day and watched videos and Ted Talks about my subject. I was totally immersed in the process. 

The same happened to me with my editorial job with Wedding Magazine: The last week before an issue went to the printers, I would sleep with my laptop, a highlighter in my hand and an ocean of printed design mockups and articles that needed to be edited.

These experiences have taught me that in order to make my life easier, I should give myself a deadline every single day. I started writing task lists. Nothing major or crazy, but I would write down at least five things that needed to be done before the clock struck midnight. This is the key and the most important secret that I have that helps me achieve my goals:


Tip #1: Give yourself DEADLINES.

Have small tasks for every single day and bigger ones for the month, or even the year. Make sure that your daily ‘To-do List’ contributes to your bigger yearly goals. If you want to write a 50,000 word novel in a year, then make sure you write 1000 words every Monday, for example.

I prefer using a paper agenda or notebook for my task lists. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction at the end of the day to strike through each task I completed that day. I write all sorts of things from ‘Do Laundry’ to ‘Edit 30 photographs.’

Having an agenda keeps me focused on my dreams and major goals, while still helping me get through everyday life. I also strongly recommend writing down pleasant things you have to do as well. For example: ‘Meet up with a friend at 6 pm’ or ‘Find the perfect dress for my opera night date.’ You get the idea, right?

I also have a little, digital helper, the Do-It-Tomorrow app. I fail to use it regularly because I am more of an analog type of person, but I know many people who prefer using apps over paper notebooks. The app is very straightforward and easy to use, and has a very simple, pretty design.

I have linked to the notebook that I absolutely love (I got this gorgeous pink Agenda from my husband this Christmas!) and apps that will help you plan your day and reach your goals.

Agenda 2017
Riffle Paper


If you are a freelancer, a blogger or a writer like me, finding your workspace can be incredibly hard. Working from home might sound great, but it can be disastrous if you cannot separate your lounging time from work time. Make sure you set strict hours of work for yourself and stick to them regardless of whether or not there is a new episode of The Bachelor waiting to be streamed or a welcoming bed ready for you to plunge into any time of the day.

If it is hard not to be distracted when working at home. Make yourself a little ‘office corner’ and sit there only when you are actually working. No Facebook scrolling, no binge watching Netflix.

If that does not work, find a café near you. I find the Starbucks in NYC to be too loud and too small compared to a my favourite ones in London (how awesome is the one on Regent’s street?), but luckily there are many many places in Manhattan with free Wi-Fi and delicious treats. I love Macarons Cafe on Lexington Ave and Mari Vanna on weekday afternoons for writing.



Sounds like a weird tip, but highlighters and bookmarks make my life so much easier. Highlighting an interesting passage in a book, bookmarking an inspiring photograph in a magazine or just underlining an important meeting in your agenda with a coloured pen helps me to get the most out of my learning and growing as an individual.



Pinterest is not only about saving pretty photos and illustrations. I have about fifty secret boards on Pinterest that only I can see. 

For example, before I visit a new travel destination, I research it on Pinterest. I pin the most interesting places in the city, travel articles I find online, travel guides that I might want to buy on Amazon, cute illustrated maps of the city, and even outfits I would like to buy for that destination.

I have Pinterest boards that link to useful articles on Writing, Blogging Ideas, Photoshop Tutorials and so on. Because these boards are secret, I have total freedom of what to pin, prioritising usefulness over the aesthetic beauty of the board. 

To help you, I made one of my secret boards from our ‘Scandinavian Adventure’ public, so you can see what I am talking about.

These are my main tools that help me achieve my goals, and hopefully these tips will be useful to you too. And remember, it is easy to make New Year’s resolutions, but without a proper daily plan, you will run out of enthusiasm and results before Valentine’s Day. Treat every single day as a step towards a better, more accomplished you, and do not put tasks away for later.

I know it is hard, but follow my ‘#1 Tip’ for at least a month, and you will notice huge differences in how you handle your life. :)

Week 27: The Start of 2017. A girl with a plan.

A girl with a plan. How to set goals and manage your own expectations.

I am lucky that, in less than a year, my blog has received a great amount of attention from brands and companies, so now I am able to choose who I want to prioritise and to whom I have to say no.

3. Creating video diaries.

I am very excited to finally start my Youtube channel in 2017. My husband, Ben bought an awesome camera for Christmas, and I am very excited to share detailed reviews and videos from our travel adventures, and blog diaries from me and my other blogger friends.

So, there :) Now I have to accomplish all three of my goals! I promise I will try to keep you updated on my progress and share my other 2017 goals on my vlog diaries.

Are you a girl with a plan?

Check out my next post to read how I get things done and what helps me the most!

It is unbelievably scary and vulnerable to share your goals for the new year. People might laugh you off or will be able to point out your failure at the end of the year. However, here I am, sharing with you my top 3 blogging/writing-related plans for 2017:

1. Finish writing at least one novel.

I have always wanted to be a writer. I don’t know if I will get published this year or at the age of 80 when I am wiser and more proficient in the English language, but I know it will happen. I have several unfinished novels and tons of drafted ideas, and this year I plan to finally complete at least one of my novels and show it to a few agents and publishing houses.

2. Quality over quantity.

Since I want to write more fiction, I want to make my blog more about quality content rather than swamping you with myriad outfit posts.

Fashion blogger Ulia Ali in Soho, New York. True Manhattan girl.


Coat - MakeMeChic | Black Dress - SammyDress | Boots -  Steve Madden | Bag - Kate Spade

Ombre blonde blogger in a black dress from SammyDress and green Kate Spade bag.
hot blogger 2017. A girl with a plan. 2017 goals! Blue Wall

Week 11: Instagram Babe. Secrets of a Perfect Selfie

I have been busy in Park City with my hubby the last few days, so I was't able to publish the last post of the Instagram Babe Week on time. However, I always try to keep my promises and below I am sharing a few tips on how to take the perfect selfie. And get ready for the new Theme of the Week that will appear shortly!

Ulia Ali

7 Secrets of a Perfect Selfie

It might come as a surprise to many of you, but I am not a huge fan of social media. I do not try too hard to gain more followers, I don't buy thousands of fake likes just to prove something, nor do I share as regularly as some social media maniacs do. On the other hand, I am genuinely trying to increase the engagement level and the quality of my content, even though most of the times I laugh at myself and my generation for caring so much. But we all care at least a little bit, and we do want to take good selfies!

I have gathered all the information I could, from my own experience and from the experiences of a few of my most-followed friends and came up with this little guide to perfect selfie-taking.

1. Lighting is everything.

Good light is one of the most basic key elements of every successful photograph. My best selfies are taken indoors using natural sunlight coming from the window. Always face the light for crisper, sharper and more vivid photos. Outdoors self-portraits can be beautiful as well, however try to take them in the shade and preferably before noon when the sun is not too bright. 

Avoid taking photos at night because even if you turn on every single light in your house, your face will probably look too yellow and flat.

Poor Indoor Light. My skin looks too yellow and flat.

Poor Indoor Light. My skin looks too yellow and flat.

Natural light coming from a window falls beautifully on my face.

Natural light coming from a window falls beautifully on my face.

2. Insta-makeup.

Girls with the most liked selfies often have very heavily done up make-up which looks amazing on Instagram, but quite ridiculous and cake-y in real life. If you want to do full blown Insta-makeup, watch this tutorial:

Double layer of  Dior Mascara  to make my eyes prettier.

Double layer of Dior Mascara to make my eyes prettier.

If you are like me, a little bit more sensible and not willing to spend an hour drawing another face on top of your own, follow my easy little tricks. I've noticed that the most important part of my selfies is my eyes. I almost never wear faux eyelashes, but when I do, my selfies look prettier.

No one has time for applying faux lashes, so usually I just use a double coat of my favourite Diorshow Iconic Mascara.


My TOP 3 Mascaras:


Another area I also focus on is my under eyes. Try to conceal any darkness under your eyes and make the area as light (but natural looking!) as possible.

Here are my TOP under-eye concealers:  


If you do not have time to perfect your make up, download the Perfect365 app. Almost every single girl I know uses apps to enhance her beauty, but the ones who nail it, use it just a tiny bit. Make-up apps can make you look like a clown, however if you use it moderately, you will get great results! I use Perfect365 when I find that my eyelashes don't look long enough. 

BEFORE Editing.

BEFORE Editing.

After. Have you noticed that my eyelashes are darker and longer? I also added the HB1 VSCO filter to adjust colours.

After. Have you noticed that my eyelashes are darker and longer? I also added the HB1 VSCO filter to adjust colours.

3. Clear the Background.

Make sure there is nothing in your background that will distract from your face. Try to have as few colours in the background as possible. Some bloggers recommend using the Whitening Tool on the FaceTune app for whitening/discolouring the background.

White walls are always handy!

White walls are always handy!

But a beautiful landscape or city view can look gorgeous in a selfie as well.

But a beautiful landscape or city view can look gorgeous in a selfie as well.

If you want to show your background then make sure it's interesting and that you fit well into the photograph.

4. Know Your Angles.

"Legend" has it that Ariana Grande demands photographers and filmmakers only shoot her left side. We get it, Ariana has a favourite side. You might not have to go that far, but you can certainly experiment to try to find your most flattering angle and facial expressions. 

P.S. I just noticed that I usually find my left side more photogenic as well!

5. Organise your Instafeed

I used to post without thinking of the overall colour palette of my Instagram gallery. But lately I've been trying to make my Instagram page look more consistent and organised. VSCO is my favourite app for organising my Instagram Feed. You can upload the photos you post on Instagram to VSCO in the same order and then use the app to see if the next picture will fit into your gallery and play with its colours. 

My Instagram Feed a year ago. Colours and croppings are inconsistent. 

My Instagram Feed a year ago. Colours and croppings are inconsistent. 

My Instagram Feed now. More sleek and organized.

My Instagram Feed now. More sleek and organized.

Did you find any of these tips useful? Do you have your own insta-secrets? Share on our FACEBOOK page or write in the comments below.