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.

www.loccitane.com

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!

My Holy Grail Moisturizer – Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate Review

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When it comes to beauty products I tend to avoid overhyped products, but every once in awhile there is a product that comes to my attention that I just have to try for myself. Such was the case with Lait Creme Concentrate from the French brand, Embryolisse.

This amazing product has been a cult favorite of makeup artists, models and celebrities for years. It’s certainly lived up to the hype in my opinion. I now call this plain looking tube my holy grail of moisturizers. If you have seen any of my videos on YouTube, you’ll will know that I rave about this product pretty much all the time.

About the Company

Embryolisse was founded in Paris in the 1950s when a French dermatologist specializing in skin disorders created the first product, Lait Creme Concentrate, to offer to his patients. The brands simple and no frills packaging offers many great products that have now become the “beauty secrets” of many makeup artists.

Embryolisse products are a favorite of shoppers at French pharmacies but fortunate enough for us, they are now sold pretty much globally.

embryolisse_lait-creme-concentre_ls_1500x1500
Image from Birchbox.com

What They Say

24-Hour Miracle Cream The must have product for makeup artists, models and celebrities. A cult favorite that has found its way onto countless photo shoots, television and film sets internationally. This creamy lotion is three products in one: primer, moisturizer, and make-up remover. Its formula remains extremely simple and effective with nourishing ingredients that restores the skin’s natural glow and gives a boost to tired dehydrated skin.

Ideal for these Skin Types: Dry Skin
Aging Skin: Fine Lines and Wrinkles, Loss of Firmness
Ingredient: Aloe Vera, Shea Butter
Skin Care: Treatments and Serums
Application Area: Face
Treatments and Serums: Wrinkle Cream
* from Embroylisse’s website.

My Review

I can see why this is a cult beauty product. My skin is super soft and hydrated feeling all day. A little bit of this goes along way, the texture is rich and glides effortlessly onto the skin. It absorbs quickly, without any greasy feeling, but leaves skin hydrated all day. It even helps to plump the skin a little, minimizing the appearance of fine lines.

It leaves a pearly glow to skin that looks beautiful but not shiny or oily at all. It works well under makeup as both a moisturizer and a primer. I love using this as my daytime moisturizer as it is light enough to wear during the day.

This is definitely my holy grail moisturizer and will forever be in my skincare routine. In fact, I often purchase multiple tubes so I never run out. I have even tried a few of the other products from Embryolisse and loved every single one of them.
Grab your own tube at the link below and let me know what you think!

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate

Beauty Battle: Guerlain’s L’ Instant de Guerlain vs L’ Instant Magic

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Anyone who knows me or who watches any of my videos, knows I love fragrances. Especially, Guerlain Fragrances. They are pretty much the only fragrances that I purchase and wear. I consider myself a bit of Guerlain collector actually.

Beauty Battles are a series that I created awhile back to compare two similar products against one another and see which one comes out on top. In today’s Beauty Battle, I’m pitting Guerlains L’ Instant de Guerlain against Guerlain’s L’ Instant Magic.  Although the names are very similar, that is about where the similarities end. These two fragrances couldn’t be anymore different.

The Fragrance Notes

L’ Instant de Guerlain is a very soft floral fragrance created in 2003 by the nose Maurice Roucel. The top notes are citrus such as Mandarin and Bergamot. The heart of the fragrance includes the soft white florals of Magnolia, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang. The dry down is the beautiful base notes of Vanilla and Musk.

L’ Instant Magic is more of a powdery, woodsy fragrance that was created in 2007 by Sylvaine Delacourte and Randa Hamammi. The top notes are Bergamot, the heart of the fragrance is Rose and Freesia and the final base notes are white musk.

To hear my final thoughts on these two fragrances and see which one came out victorious, check out the video below. Have you tried either of these two before? What is your current favorite fragrance? Sound off in the comments!

Au revoir!

L’Instant de Guerlain for Women

L’Instant Magic by Guerlain for Women

Klorane Peony Shampoo & Conditioner

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I don’t know if it is the warmer weather here in Florida or the shampoo and conditioner I’ve been using recently, but my hair and scalp has become very dry and irritated after our move down here.

I decided to go back to using some of my favorite haircare products from Klorane. Klorane has been one of the top haircare companies in France for decades. They use pure botanical ingredients including pure plant and flower extracts; without all the nasties like SLS.

The Peony line is wonderful at soothing irritated scalps. So I’ve gone back to using those products and it has been a huge help.

Here is what Klorane has to say about the products.

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The Shampoo with Peony for Irritated Scalp:

Klorane Shampoo with Peony

A calming and soothing pH balanced Shampoo that provides immediate & 24-hour scalp comfort to dry, irritated and itchy scalp.

Benefits include:

  • Scalp is soothed, comforted and hydrated
  • Cleanses while respecting scalp balance
  • Enriched with detangling agents
  • pH balanced, ultra-gentle formula
  • Hair is soft, shiny and easy to detangle
  • Biodegradable formula. Vegan
  • Hypoallergenic

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Gel Conditioner with Peony:
Klorane Gel Conditioner with Peony

A lightweight, moisturizing pH balanced gel conditioner that provides an immediate & 24-hour soothing sensation directly on the scalp while hair becomes soft and shiny.

Benefits Include:

    • Provides an immediate soothing sensation to scalp
    • Innovative applicator tip to apply directly onto scalp
    • Maintains an optimal scalp balance
    • Anti-irritant efficacy lasts up to 7 days
    • Moisturizing gel texture
    • Hair is soft, shiny and easy to detangle
    • Hypoallergenic. Biodegradable formula. Vegan.

My thoughts:

I definitely find that both of these products have been very soothing for my scalp. I’ve had less dryness and itchiness since returning to using these. I find the scent is very lovely, but it is light and not overpowering at all. Peonies are actually my favorite flowers so I love the light floral scent of this line.

Seeing how the shampoo is formulated without SLS, it does’t foam up a ton. However, it creates a very light sud that does a nice job of cleansing without drying or stripping natural oils from the hair/scalp.

The conditioner is a unique gel texture, unlike most conditioners we are used to. The gel is very light and does not weight hair down but still leaves a very soft feeling to the hair. I also find a get a lot of shine with the gel conditioner.

Overall, I really love both of these products and they have been amazing at soothing my dry and irritated scalp. Check out Klorane for any other hair or scalp concerns that you may have. I highly recommend this line and they usually include free samples with purchases.

Klorane USA

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?

Disney Dining Review – Monsieur Paul At Epcot

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As a Francophile, I love to celebrate my birthday with a bottle of Verve Clicqot and a great meal at a wonderful French Restaurant. This year we decided to try Monsieur Paul at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. We have not been here since it has changed over from Bistro du Paris many years ago.

In this video we share our experience and what we ordered as well as give you a detailed review of our meal and the service. Bon appetit!