Tag: Spain

Shani Asks You Sundays – Traveling Shopping Experience

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*This entry has been prescheduled to post while I am out of the country, so if you comment and I don’t reply right away, that’s why.*

This week’s question again comes from my friend Andrea, and seems fitting since I am currently traveling.

What was your best or most memorable shopping experience while traveling?

There are SO many to pick from, for me! But last year around this time when I was in Spain, I scored my Guerlain Rouge G de Guerlain in Garçonne for about €23 at a random tax-free store on the street in Malaga!! (It retails for $49.50 at home.) 😀

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Tips for Shopping Overseas

Shopping overseas It will surprise no one that I like to shop. Or that I like to travel. Or that I like to shop while I’m traveling. Since I’m heading off to France (I know, again) in a week and a half, I thought I would write up a guide with everything I’ve learned about shopping overseas.

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The skin I’m in—My basic skincare regimen dissected

Someone asked me to do a post (someone asked me to do a post!!) on my basic daily beauty routine, so I thought I would start with my skincare.

My oily skin has been the bane of my existence since I was a teenager. My favorite joke about my skin is that there is enough oil on my face when I wake up in the morning to solve the energy crisis. (There really is.) When women talk about wanting a foundation that makes them look “dewy,” I know that with me, all I have to do is put on foundation and wait an hour and POOF! Dewy.

Much like my perfume-buying habits, I’ve been through practically every oily skin line of skincare trying to find the holy grail of mattifying moisturizer (or cleanser or toner). My conclusion: There is no such thing. The companies will claim to eliminate all your shine, but if you’re as oily as I am, you’re always going to be a little bit shiny. The thing that you can work on, though, is how shiny you’re going to be.

I feel like I need to state that one of the problems with taking care of oily skin is that in an attempt to eliminate oil, we sometimes strip away too much oil. Doing what? Causing your skin to produce more oil to compensate. So don’t forget: some oil good, too much oil bad. I use moisturizer even at night, even though it seems counter intuitive.

I had a fantastic run from March to April this year, where by the end of the work day, I just had a slight sheen, and just needed to dab a bit before going out. I had started a new skincare regimen and also discovered a new line of foundation (that I’ll talk about in the follow up to this post).  What was the magic combination, you’re wondering?

DSC_0999Clockwise from left: Lush Ultrabland, Tea Tree Water, Grease Lightning, Enzymion, Fresh Farmacy Soap

I have friends in Scotland who are big believers in Lush, so I decided to go in and buy a skincare system and see how it worked. The routine was, take my eye makeup off, then use Ultrabland to take the makeup off the rest of my face. This step was something new to me. I had never taken my makeup off my face before cleansing, or, double cleansing. It feels completely counter intuitive to put Ultrabland on oily skin, because it feels oily (and is in fact made with essential oils), but seeing how much dirt came off my face when I used the Tea Tree Water on a cotton pad to take it off, I was amazed. I also did not break out more because of it, and rationalized that it was probably good to be putting some oil back into my face (see factoid above). The Tea Tree Water smells fresh, feels refreshing, and is really a great product. The person who helped me told me she even sprays it on her face during the day to help mattify and refresh her skin (I haven’t tried that for fear of my mascara running, heh).

Next step was to wash my face with the Fresh Farmacy Soap. She chose this cleanser because I do have some pimples, but don’t need an exfoliating cleanser since I use a Clarisonic Mia brush. Fresh Farmacy is made with calamine, so it’s the same color as the old mosquito bite remedy. You can smell it, too. It kind of feels medicinal, but in a good way.  At night I (still) use a prescription retinol on my face, generic Retin-A. During the day, I uses Grease Lightning for oil and pimples. Then I used Avibon (which is a French skincare secret: pure vitamin A retinol, used by French women to keep wrinkles at bay) under my eyes and whatever eye cream in the morning I was using at the time (probably some sample I got), and then moisturized with Enzymion. I’ve heard that they do demos of this moisturizer on people’s hands, showing how it sucks up oil. I’m sure it does, and like I said, it worked really well for a spell. It smells citrusy and fresh, which is especially nice in the morning.

In April, I went to Spain for a week and a half, and I don’t know if it was the traveling, the change in regimen while I was away, or the changing of the season, but when I got back, my skin did not respond to this routine as well. Quel disappointment! So what’s a beauty product addict to do? Go find some more, of course!

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Dollars and Scents – The Perfumes I’ve Known and Loved

I have a confession to make. I’m what you might call “promiscuous” when it comes to perfume.

DSC_0988The usual suspects, old and new.
(clockwise from front right: Petite Chérie, La Petite Robe Noire, Portrait of a Lady,
Pear Cassis, Un Jardin après la Mousson, Manifesto, and Orange Sanguine)

I’ve spoken at large about my obsession with makeup (especially lipstick, these days), but I’ve kept mostly mum about my embarrassingly large fragrance stash.

Growing up, I knew what a signature scent was in theory, but in practice, it seemed as abstract and unreal as the Yeti or Loch Ness Monster. It also had an allure that I seemed to lack, a girl growing up in Brooklyn. A signature scent seemed to evoke a chic Parisian woman who walks by and you turn your head because she smells so good and you don’t know what it is. And, bien sur, she won’t tell.

The romance of fragrance still feels very French to me as an adult. I still assume every French woman has a signature scent, something that is not available in the United States, and that they keep the name as secret as their internet passwords.

I can’t even say that it evoked a sophistication I didn’t have yet, as a teenager (or even now as an adult, big geek that I am), and that’s why I shied away from one. Honestly? I just liked smelling different every day. It was fun. It was like playing a different person every day. (I still do this with my makeup. I rarely look the same from day to day.)

So I was the girl buying every new perfume when it came out, desperate to get my hands on the latest and greatest. There was Pleasures and Trésor and Happy and my cherry-blossom-smelling G Gigli and my wear-in-winter-only tuberose Fracas. There were the two scents that just smelled so damn good on me, Eternity and Chaos. And let’s not forget Samsara and the summer I wore only Sexy Graffiti. Or the first time I went to Paris, and I followed Suzy Gershman’s advice and went to the most amazing duty-free perfume store ever, Catherine (which has since closed down, lucky for my wallet). I think my sister and I walked away from there with 4 new perfumes (in addition to the Spring Flower I had already bought at Creed), including a 3.4 oz tester of J’adore that was pure perfume (parfum!), not eau de anything. (For only $100!)

And, yes, I spent all that money. Because, as you know, perfume don’t come cheap. I actually feel faint when I think of the money I’ve spent on perfume over the years, especially considering how many of them it turned out I couldn’t wear.

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Well, hello there!

And welcome!

I just wanted to say that I’ve been seeing visits to this little blog from all over the world, and that excites me so much! I just wanted to extend a personal greeting and to thank you for taking the time!

(Pour mes visiteurs belges: mon père est né à Anvers, donc je suis à moitié belge. 😉 [Is that the correct way to say it??] )

I’d love to hear from you, in any language!

Bisous! x