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.

 

July 2018 Favorites – A Francophile’s Favorites – Part Deux

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Bonjour,

Seeing that Bastille Day, a French National Holiday, took place in July, I thought it only fitting to share more of my favorite French products for this month. These are the products from France that I have been loving for the month of July.

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Le Petite Marseillais Shower Creams/Body Washes

What They Say: Le Petit Marseillais™, the #1 body wash brand in France, is a beloved bath and body line born in the South of France. Our body wash, lotions and soap are all inspired by the scents and sun-kissed ingredients of Provence.

Le Petit Marseillais™ Lavender Honey Body Wash gently cleans your skin. It’s smooth and easy to rinse foam reveals a sweet and romantic fragrance. Leaves skin feeling moisturized and nourished.

The extra gentle pH neutral formula makes this body wash suitable for everyday use.

Paraben free. Phthalate free.

My Review: First off, I love the size of these shower gels, especially because they are only $4.50 a bottle. The scents are lovely but not overpowering. I have the Orange Blossom, Vanilla Milk and Lavender. The Lavender scent is by far my most favorite.

They leave the skin feeling soft and hydrated without stripping and drying skin like most soaps do. I can’t wait to try these as a bubble bath since they lather up nicely in the shower. I’m sure they will make a lovely bubbly bath.

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Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

What They Say: Mustela’s best selling daily-moisturizing Hydra Bébé Body Lotion provides immediate and long-lasting moisture for your baby’s skin.

Formulated with an elixir of plant-based ingredients including Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Oil, Vitamins E and F, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, and our signature Avocado Perseose, Hydra Bébé Body Lotion protects and strengthens the skin

My Review: I know, you’re probably thinking “A baby lotion?! Huh?” but hear me out. I used to work in a luxury beauty store where we stocked this French baby line. Many mothers would come in to stock up on this stuff and swore by this product for themselves as well. It’s 97% natural ingredients. If it is gentle enough for baby’s skin, why not ours?

This leaves the skin super hydrated, nourished and protected. It does have a slight baby powder smell but that dies away quickly as the product is absorbed and you are left with super soft skin.

Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

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L’Occitane Hand Creams

What They Say: One of our best-selling Shea Butter Hand Creams is sold every three seconds around the world! Enriched with 20% organic Shea Butter, this super-creamy balm penetrates quickly to protect, nourish and moisturize hands. Honey, almond extracts and coconut oil are blended with Shea Butter to create this extremely effective formula. Considered a “beauty must-have” by many, this “life-changing” hand cream is essential for home, work and on-the-go.

My Review: The original L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is the number one selling hand cream in the world, so you know you can’t go wrong. I also really love the other scented ones. They are not as hydrating as the Original, but they still do an amazing job at leaving my hands super soft.  I love that the scents are very light and not overpowering at all, so they don’t fight with whatever fragrances I’m wearing.

I love these so much that I have multiples and keep them everywhere; my bag, my car, in the living room and in my nightstand.

L’Occitane Hand Creams

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Phyto Haircare Phytopaisant and Phytobaume

What They Say: Fascinated by nature, Patrick Ales decided to study the power of plants,
their history of use in traditional medicine, and the role they might play
to reveal hair’s natural beauty. It was finding ways to rescue his clients’ dry,
bleached-out locks in the sixties that inspired his first products. In 1967, he created PHYTOTHÉRATHRIE*, a ground-breaking concept of treating hair through plants,
and to this day inseparable to the brand identity.

My Review: Moving to Florida, my skin, hair and scalp freaked out and did a total 180 on how they reacted to the climate and products. I found my scalp had become very sensitive, irritated and dried out. I remembered that years ago, a salon I had worked at carried the Phyto Haircare products and I had loved them.

The shampoo, Phytopaisant, does a great job at cleansing my hair without drying out my scalp. In fact, my scalp has been less sensitive since switching over to this shampoo. The conditioner, Phytobaume, is very hydrating but light weight. It helps my hair to be soft and manageable without weighting it down. My hair has been shinier, smoother and my scalp less irritated since going back to using these. A true lifesaver.

Phyto Haircare

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Givenchy Dalia Divin Eau de Toilette

What They Say: Like a Haute Couture gown, this fragrance envelops you in freshness and sensual softness that reveals the divine within you. Like a custom-made Givenchy creation, Dahlia Divin Eau de Toilette is an exquisitely refined, multi-faceted fragrance. The scent envelopes the skin with a fresh and soft sensuality, and like a golden haute couture gown, leaves you feeling divine.

Top notes of blood orange and peach, the heart is composed of rose and jasmine and the base notes are sandalwood, vanilla and musk.

My Review: I went in to try some other Givenchy perfumes but kept being drawn back to this one. It has all of my favorite notes: rose, jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla and musk. I don’t get the crispness of the fruit with this one though.

I find this to be a very sensual scent that is perfect for date night or a special event, or really just any time you want. It is warm and comforting. My only complaint is the wearability, because I feel like after a few hours I can no longer smell it. I might try this in the Eau de Parfum to see if the stronger version will stay on the skin a bit longer.

Givenchy Dalia Divin

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Givenchy Rouge Interdit Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick

What They Say: Enhance your lip look with Givenchy’s Rouge Interdit Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick. This unique formula is infused with black rose oil, a rare and precious active ingredient that delivers extreme moisture and comfort to the lips for hours. It is combined with a silicone resin that forms a shiny, thin, and supple film on the lips’ surface for a second-skin feel. Lips are left with a “vinyl” radiance and a filling effect: lips instantly appear fuller, smoother, and denser. Each high-shine color blurs away all the lips’ tiniest imperfections and reflects the light, and its slick case features a metallic, satin ribbon design that’s inspired by the House’s fashion designs.

My Review: I love using this just by itself, so I can’t speak to it’s color changing effects when applied over other lip products. I love how hydrating it is for the lips. It keeps my lips smooth and plumped for a long period of time. It is black but goes on more clear and I haven’t noticed any color change to my natural lip color. Plus the packaging is just so chic. I carry this everywhere now and it has become my favorite moisturizing lip product.

Givenchy Rouge Interdit Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick

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The Little French Bistro by Nina George

What They Say: Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.  After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.”

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

My Review: It has been my dream for decades to just sell everything and run away to live a simple life in France. Maybe somewhere by the seaside working in a cafe or owning my  own business. Or maybe owning a vineyard, growing grapes to sell to the local wineries.

I would wake up and after having my coffee and croissant, travel through my small village where my neighbors are more than neighbors, they are family. A simple French life with good people, good food and good times.

This book is like someone took my dream and put it on paper. I read this book in one day because I was so in love with this wacky cast of characters. The way the book is written, it is like poetry, you can actually place yourself into each chapter and feel as if you are there. I love this one so much that I can’t wait to pick up more books by Nina George.

 

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Netflix’s Documentary – Chef’s Table: France

What They Say: Sample the bold new flavors of France with chefs who are pushing the boundaries of fine dining and reinventing a rich culinary tradition.

My Review: This series ties into the book I mentioned above actually. I love seeing how these French chefs are evolving food as we know it. They find new ways to use food to create masterpieces that are pure edible art.

My favorite episode was on Alexandre Coullion and his restaurant Le Marine in the small seaside village, Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, France. The way he talked of food and used locally sourced vegetables and seafood was very reminiscent of the cafe in The Little French Bistro I mentioned above. I’m definitely adding a meal at Le Marine to my bucket list.

 

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Suzy Salidor

Suzy Salidor was someone I discovered while looking for some French music on iTunes. But her rich history drew me in even more than her voice. Early in 1930, she became a popular singer and opened a chic nightclub, in Paris, called La Vie Parisienne. It was unheard of for a woman to own a nightclub but La Vie Parisienne was the most popular during the time.

She also lived a very daring life because she was openly lesbian. Salidor is also known as the most painted woman in history. During her life she was painted and collected portraits of herself by some of the world’s most famous artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Tamara de Lempicka, Marie Laurencin, Francis Picabia and Kees van Dongen.

Her voice is beautiful and I really love listening to her sing some of France’s most popular jazz songs.

Let me know what you fell in love with for the month of July in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the video below to learn more about my thoughts on these items.

Au revoir,

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!