Five Things I’m Loving Right Now #1

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I wanted to start a new series where I share the things I’m loving right now! This series will be different than my regular “Favorites” videos and posts though. Favorites are things that I use on a regular basis and have incorporated into my normal daily life.

“Five Things I’m Loving Right Now” will include things that I’ve recently stumbled on and am currently obsessed with at this moment in time. Who knows, maybe one day they will become Favorites? These are just a few things that I’m loving and want to share with you.

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Me & My BIG Ideas The Happy Planner Scrapbook Stickers

I used to do “Plan With Me” videos and posts but they never seem to get much love. Although I love watching them myself, I decide to stop sharing my weekly spread in my Rose Gold Passion Planner. Every week, I take the time on Sunday to sit down and plot out my week in my Passion Planner. I love to add Washi Tape and brightly colored stickers to spruce up my week and add a little flavor.

I recently found these Me & My BIG Ideas Planner Stickers from Target. The first one is the Happy Planner Scrapbook stickers which contains 766 stickers over 20 pages. The second one is also a Happy Planner Scrapbook sticker set but contains 1349 stickers over 20 pages.

These both have fun stickers to jazz up my planner as well as ones that help with productivity such as color coding, appointment reminders and more. I found these in the back to school section and they were actually on sale. I love the fun bright colored stickers and I found these really fit into my lifestyle to help me set up a better week in my passion planner.

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Bliss Jelly Glow Ball Facial Cleanser

I talked about this in a recent blog post where I reviewed all of the Bliss products. While I’m not a fan of the packaging that the cleanser comes in, the cleanser itself is amazing. I love how the ball shape fits the contours of my face really well. I love that it is a very good cleanser and it cleanses without stripping away the natural oils from my face. My skin is not left dried out like other cleansers will sometime leave it. This has a very light and pleasing scent. I have definitely noticed my skin has been brighter, more radiant and more clear since using this cleanser. Huge huge huge fan!! If you are on the hunt for a new daily cleanser, I highly recommend the Bliss Jelly Glow Ball.

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Paris Bath and Beauty Book by Chrissy Callahan

I literally can not stop raving about The Paris Bath and Beauty Book. I’ve mentioned it on this blog and on my social media, as well as telling anyone who will listen about it. I think we all wonder at some point, how do the French always look so chic? Callahan does a great job of sharing some of the most common Beauty secrets from French women. Also included are several amazing DIY Beauty recipes for skin, makeup and hair. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.

Valspar’s Oh So Pink Paint Color

We recently purchased a new home and will be moving in shortly. So expect lot’s of house organizing and decor posts coming up. The first thing I did, of course, was to pick out paint colors. I am not the type of person who can live in a beige and white world.

My favorite color is pink, so I wanted to incorporate some Pink into our home decor. It’s not a color we have ever used in our homes, so I wanted to try it this time around. I decided to  paint our dining room (shown above on the left) and my in-home Pilates studio with Valspar’s Oh So Pink. Now, my husband almost vetoed any pink paint in the house, but I managed to win (eventually and with much persuading).

The previous owners had the walls white above the chair rail and a dark grey color on the walls under the chair rail. I found the room looked small, dingy and too dark. At first, I actually thought this color was going to be too light. However, when I started painting with it it looked like too much pink and I was a bit scared. But after it dried down it looks amazing.

The pink is not too in your face and really brightens up the room. Even my husband, Matt, has decided he really likes it. I just need to do one more coat of the white on the bottom and touch up some spots but I’ already loving it. And it looks great in the studio space too. I want to use it everywhere in the house now, but my husband is reigning that one in.

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Paris In Four Months

While spending some time looking for Paris blogs and Instagram accounts, I came across Carin Olsson of Paris in Four Months. I have been following her blog and Instagram account ever since. Carin is originally from Stockholm and decided to move to Paris for a bit. Her blog and Instagram account were going to be her outlet for chronicling her stay in France. She now lives there regularly and shares some of her amazing photography.

I just adore her accounts and her aesthetic. Definitely go check her out! I could spend forever just perusing her blog and photos, imagining I’ve been whisked off to Paris.

Now it is your turn! Tell me in the comments, what are you loving right now? Also, don’t forget to shop my favorites in the sidebar.

 

 

 

 

French Find Friday – Nina’s Marie Antoinette Tea

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Today’s French Find Friday product is not a beauty product, but I recently discovered it on Instagram and ordered it right away. If you have been following me for some time, you know I have a small Marie Antoinette obsession. I can’t explain why really, but I just do. I have since sixth grade when I did my History report on her.

Nina’s of Paris was founded in 1672 by Pierre Diaz. Originally, the company was a distillery who supplied luxury fragrances to the court of Versailles including to King Louis XIV as well as Marie Antoinette. Diaz named the company after his great-grand daughter who later changed the company over to a tea and patisserie company.

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Today, Nina’s Parisian Boutique and Salon sit next to La Place Vendome. Nina’s has an exclusive relationship with Versailles in order to use the ingredients for the Marie Antoinette Tea. The black tea base is brightened with rose petals and apples hand picked from the King’s Garden at Versailles. It is a unique and delicate blend that was a favorite of Marie Antoinette’s.

The tea comes in this beautiful pink tin for storing that has Marie Antoinette’s personal insignia on the top. Nina’s also sells other teas, tea ware and gifts.

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I’m not usually a fan of black teas, but I rather enjoyed this one. It is very light depending on how long you let it steep. The rose and apple flavors are very unique and add something special to the tea. I’m not much of a tea drinker regularly, but I like this for a special time where I want to sit and relax and sip a little tea.

I will definitely add a stop to Nina’s Paris on my trip when we go. And I love the history that comes with a cup of Nina’s Marie Antoinette tea.

 

June 2018 Favorites – A Francophile’s Favorites & A Giveaway

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Favorite videos and posts are well…some of my favorites. They are my favorite to make and to watch/read. As July 14th is Bastille Day, a big holiday and celebration in France, I thought I would make my June and July Favorites all about my favorite country, France. So for these two months I will share some of my favorite French products that I’ve been loving and obsessing over.

Beauty Products

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L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Eye Balm

What they say: The Precious Eye Balm offers a velevty, soft formula to help smooth and firm, and visibly reduce dark circles and puffiness.

My Review: This is one of the best eye creams I think I’ve ever tried. The texture is very light, somewhere between a heavy balm and a milky cream. It glides on the skin very effortlessly and instantly brightens. I have definitely felt that after using this for two weeks my eye area seems smoother, more lifted and much brighter.

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

What they say: Cleanses softly and helps to hydrate and nourish the skin all-day-long with almond oil.

My Review: This is heaven in a bottle! The oil turns to a foaming cleanser when it makes contact with water so it takes the place of shower gels that can often be too drying. You can even use this to shave in the shower. The scent is sweet and warm, leaving your skin soft and smooth all day long. The scent is light enough to be there without being overpowering. This is going to be a holy grail bath and body product now.

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Guerlain Blurring Active Primer

What they say: Blurring Active Base, the smoothing primer by Guerlain, instantly blurs the appearance of pores and allows skin texture to look more refined day after day, while mattifying the complexion for perfect skin all day long. Its fresh and non-greasy texture allows the skin to breathe while prolonging make-up hold. Its formula contains an antioxidant for an anti-pollution effect*, and improves the appearance of the skin and helps to preserve it** against daily aggressions.

My review: I’m not someone who wears foundation but I do like my skin to look it’s best. I’m a big fan of skincare and using great skincare to make our skin look incredible, instead of covering it up with a bunch of makeup products. However, there are those days where we just want a little something extra to help our skin look flawless. On these days where maybe my skin texture looks off, or I’m a little red, I like to use blurring primers.

I recently discovered this one from one of my favorite Beauty brands, Guerlain. The texture is a little thick, but glides on the skin easily. It really minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines, giving me a more even textured look. It is great at helping to matify the skin as well, keeping me shine free all day long. I’ve used BB creams and bronzers over this and those products apply nicely and stay put pretty much all day. I even like wearing this alone to give a more flawless look to skin.

Guerlain Blurring Active Primer

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Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

What they say:  Inspired by the passionate love story between an emperor and an Indian princess, Shalimar, which means “temple of love” in Sanskrit, symbolises the promise of eternal love forevermore. It is a fragrance of desire. With its smouldering and slightly impertinent character, the star oriental fragrance in perfumery embodies skin-caressing sensuality with a hint of the forbidden. “Wearing Shalimar means letting your senses take over,” Jacques Guerlain would say.

In 1925, the Shalimar bottle designed by Raymond Guerlain won first prize at the Paris Decorative Arts Exhibition. Its curves were inspired by the basins of the famous Shalimar gardens. The fan stopper with its sapphire transparency recalls the garden’s eternally gushing water.

My review: This perfume is a classic and I think we all maybe grew up with one woman in our life that had this on her vanity. My grandmother used this fragrance and the scent always evokes memories of her getting ready.

I find this to be a very unique and beautiful fragrance, unlike any other I’ve ever smelled. At first the scent is strong but it does dry down to a beautiful, powdery incense like scent. The top notes of flowers and bergamot give a crisp freshness to the scent. The heart of Shalimar includes powdery florals like iris, jasmine and rose. The base notes lend to the softness of the scent on the final dry down. These include tonka bean and vanilla. Truly a beautiful fragrance.

Shalimar by Guerlain

Lifestyle

Louis Vuitton Pocket Organizer 

My review: I’m really not a fan of carrying a bunch of stuff in my pockets, which is usually why I carry a bag of some sort. This goes for wallets too. I hate having a bulky and heavy wallet in my pocket.

I’ve always been a Louis Vuitton fan and when I came across this pocket organizer I knew I had found the perfect wallet for me. This slim organizer has just enough slots for me to carry a little cash, my ID and a few credit cards. I keep it pretty close to empty so I don’t overpower it’s slimness. It fits easily in a bag or even my pocket, without being bulky and annoying.

Also, I try not buy too many leather products, and this is a waxed canvas, so I feel better about this purchase. My Pocket Organizer is in the Monogram Eclipse pattern, which to me looks very chic and manly.

Louis Vuitton Pocket Organizer Monogram Eclipse Canvas

Books

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The Private Life of Marie Antoinette by Madame Campan

I don’t know why I have this obsession for Marie Antoinette, but I’ve had it for years. In fact in sixth grade, I did a report on her. But she is one of my favorite people in history. I do think she is one of the most misunderstood people in history and sadly was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This book is the memoir of one of her ladies in waiting, Madame Campan, who details Marie Antoinette’s arrival at Versailles and all of the struggles she endured while reigning as the Queen of France. It’s a fascinating read as it’s from a first person point of view of someone who actually lived beside Marie Antoinette during this time. I learned a lot more about her through this book. If you are interested in Marie Antoinette, the French Revolution or French History in general, I highly recommend picking up this book.

The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake

Another favorite person in history that I adore is Yves Saint Laurent. I’ve been fan of his and the brand for years. He was such an interesting person and created some new and unusual trends for his time.

This book is well researched and details the friendship between the two rising stars of French Fashion, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. Their relationship is what we would now call “frenemies”. It’s interesting to learn more about these two amazing designers and how they broke into international fashion fame.

Documentaries

Versailles 73

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Battle at Versailles

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Both of these documentaries were ones that I discovered on Netflix and Amazon Prime. The funny thing is that they are both about the same event in history. In 1973, fashion influence, Eleanor Lambert decided to host a Fashion Battle at the Versailles Palace.

At this time the palace was falling down and in desperate need of repairs. The Fashion Battle was to be a fundraiser to raise the funds to help restore Versailles to it’s former splendor. The Fashion Show pitted American designers (Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Anne Klein and Bill Blass) against French designers (Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Emmanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin and Hubert de Givenchy).

Both documentaries have amazing footage and interviews with people that worked on the show, with the designers and even some of the models. While both are interesting, I actually preferred Battle at Versailles because it has more in depth reviews with the people who were there.

That is what I’m loving for the month of June. I’ll be doing a Francophile’s Favorites Part Deux as I share what I’m loving for the month of July. Coming soon! But for now, you can hear more about my thoughts on these products in the video below. I am hosting a small giveaway as well, so make sure to watch the video for the details about how to enter the giveaway.

au revoir!

How To Start a Yoga Practice

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Yes, starting a yoga practice can be very intimidating. One of the number one reasons I hear from people for not starting a practice is that they feel they are not flexible enough to do yoga. That is why you start! Yoga helps build flexibility, so you can just meet your body where it is now and get started. As long as you show up on your mat, you can benefit from yoga.

Besides flexibility, yoga is also great for increasing muscle strength, reducing pain, improving mental clarity, it offers a sense of calmness, relaxes the mind and relieves stress.

With so many studios popping up and yoga seemingly everywhere, it has never been more accessible. However, it can also be a bit overwhelming to know where to begin. Here’s some tips and information to get you started and on your mat in no time.

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There are now several styles and schools of Yoga. Here are a few and their different approaches.

  • Hatha – this is a generic term that refers to most forms of yoga. Typically these classes move a bit slower and focus on holding poses (or asanas) for a few breaths.
  • Iyengar – developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, this type of yoga utilizes props such as yoga blocks and straps to make the asanas more accessible. This is a great practice for beginners or someone who maybe has difficulty with balance, alignment or who has certain physical conditions.
  • Vinyasa – Vinyasa is a more fluid and constant moving form of yoga. Asanas are linked with breath and transitioning from one asana to the next is part of the practice. When you see classes labeled as Power Yoga, they are usually a form of Vinyasa.
  • Gentle or Restorative – there are many forms of gentle or restorative yoga, such as Yin Yoga. These classes will also feature props like yoga blocks and bolsters in order to support the body in more passive poses. These classes typically move very slow and are great for relaxation.

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I highly recommend trying out a few classes and styles to get a feel for what type of practice you may be drawn to. Also, taking a class in a studio means you will have a teacher there to watch your alignment in the poses so as to avoid injury.

A certified yoga teacher will be able to modify the exercises for you and help you to find the proper alignment in each exercise. Make sure that your teacher is there to teach, focus on your alignment, and keep you safe. They should not be practicing alongside you for the whole class. They are there to teach, not get in a workout of their own.

A knowledgeable teacher will focus on alignment, anatomy and offer modifications for special cases or injuries. They should also be able to teach all levels of students at once, teaching the exercises so a beginner can do them, while offering progressions of the exercises for intermediate and advanced students in the class. No yogi left behind!

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If the thought of going to a studio is still a bit intimidating, there are now many options that can help you start a practice at home. This is actually how I got started in my own yoga practice, which led me to practicing at local studios and then eventually getting certified to teach.

All you need is a mat and some floor space to get started. I started off by following along to yoga DVDS. Some of my favorite yoga DVDs are from Gaiam, especially Gaiam Healing Yoga DVD With Rodney Yee. Not to mention that there are so many great instructors who do videos on YouTube (myself included) and there are even some pay per view yoga sites online. These help to make getting started easy and fun. Here are a few that I love:

As far as what to wear, just wear what you are comfortable in. I prefer athletic gear that is lightweight, more form fitting, breathable and moisture wicking. I prefer more form fitting clothes when I work out, because extra fabric can actually be a hindrance and just get in the way. However, wear whatever you feel comfortable in and what’s going to get you on your mat.

Make sure to have a towel nearby for sweat and to wipe sweat off your mat so you don’t slip in certain poses. Also, have a water bottle handy so you can stay hydrated while focusing on your practice. Props are a great way to help make certain asanas more accessible as well as take you even deeper in some poses. I recommend having at least one yoga block and a yoga strap ( or a long towel or belt will do). You can find these anywhere now, even at places like Target, TJ Maxx and sporting goods stores. I’ll leave a few links at the end of this article of my favorite yoga props. I’ve also included one of my YouTube videos that is a short and gentle yoga practice perfect for beginners.

I hope this post as given you some more information on starting a practice and helped to relieve some of the anxiety about getting started. If you have any questions please comment below or reach out to me and I’ll be happy to answer them. Now unroll that mat and get your yoga on. Namaste!

Resources:

Yoga Mats:

Manduka Yoga Mats

Gaiam Moroccan Garden Yoga Mat (3mm)

GoFit Yoga Mats at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Yoga Props:

Gaiam Block & Strap Combo

Gaiam Rectangular Bolster

Yoga Props at REI 

The Happiness Project: Mid Year Check In & June Resolution

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After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin back in December, I set out to create my own Happiness Project for 2018. I set an area of focus, or resolution, for each month in which I wanted to bring more happiness and joy into. I shared my goals and resolutions for each month in 2018 here, check then out.

Now that we are half way through the year, I did a mid year check in on my goals. In the video below, I share how I did on each goal, including some wins and some misses. I also share my resolution for June and some exciting news about my professional career.

I would also love to hear about any goals you set for this year and how you are doing on them, so comment below.

My Experience at the Guerlain Boutique

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If you have been a long time follower of my blog or YouTube channel, you will know that I love Guerlain fragrances. They are the only fragrances that I purchase and wear.  I include them in my favorites frequently. However, I’ve always been curious about the skincare that Guerlain carries. I have tried it once or twice many years ago, when I worked in the Beauty Industry, but nothing recently.

During a recent Epcot trip, I stopped in at the Guerlain boutique in the France Pavilion at Epcot. I was there only to purchase a new fragrance, the new limited edition Meteorites. The Guerlain ambassador was kind  enough to sit me down and give me a mini facial demo. She shared a few of the products with me and my skin looked so good that we purchased a few.

Check out my Guerlain Boutique experience and what I purchased in the video below. What are some of your favorites from Guerlain?

8 Steps To Selling Your House Quickly

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We’ve recently sold our house in Massachusetts and moved back home to Florida. We were lucky enough to sell our house in a matter of one week! We learned a lot in the house selling process and wanted to share our experience with you.

In this video, we share our top 8 tips to selling your house quickly. Let me know if you have any questions on the process and we would be happy to help.