Stories by: Grace

Fragrance, InternationalTenue de Soirée

cm9ifp2wcaaf7_mI am about to embark on a long, fantastical weekend in Paris where the lights are always bright and the Haussmannian architecture sweeps me off my feet at bonjour. Packing is of utmost importance to maximize space for some imports coming back (wink wink), and every outfit has to be effortless, chic, but warm! I have a few favorites in the bag ready to go for being a flâneur in my favorite city, and the amazing scent Tenue de Soirée is an essential which embodies the spirit of sophisticated adventure. The newest and most beloved member of the Annick Goutal family is this modern fragrance inspired by the sky at dusk (my favorite time of day) and the promise of a magical night out in Paris. Does it get any more romantic than that?

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Beauty, SkincareVotre Vu Duette

3005_416x500My skin is better than a weather forecast when it comes to temperature changes! It starts to dry and flake even before the chill fills the air, especially lips and hands. Moisture evaporates quickly into cold air and leaves behind chapped and crackly skin. My lifesaver has been Votre Vu’s Duette which is a tube of rich and luxurious hand cream topped (literally) with a nourishing lip balm. The pop up top is a mirror which is more handy than I’d like to admit when making discreet checks during the day. The combo is genius and convenient, and it is either by my nightstand or ready to go in my day bag.

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Insider's Obsessions, JewelrySmith + Mara

diamond%20suspender%20-%20on%20earI’m excited to share my latest obsession, a super edgy and creative jewelry line which has burst in and changed the landscape of the accessories scene. Smith + Mara, which is based out of LA, marries punk rock with fine jewelry. The unique shapes really caught my eye at first, making a statement piece out of every necklace, ring, and bracelet. I was swept away by the ingenuity, beauty, and edginess of the suspender earring in particular. I love how it takes the idea of the earring out of the box, and still maintains the quality and materials for high-end jewelry. The earring is lightweight and comfortable to wear, and the delicate size retains femininity while standing out in the crowd. It contours perfectly to a sensual part of the ear that is underrated, in my opinion. I even fell asleep with it on, and didn’t notice until I was pleasantly surprised to look in the mirror the next morning! The diamonds are well- set, so I don’t have to worry about losing one (Mara comes from a line of experienced jewelers). The pouch that delivers the jewelry is perfect for travel, with a hidden magnetic closure and compartments for two pieces. With Smith + Mara jewelry you’ll be in the know, channeling the likes of Gigi Hadid, Miranda Kerr, Anna Kendrick and Sophia Bush who are already fans.

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Mom & Kids, New YorkBonpoint Sample Sale

bonpoint_braderie_octoberOne of my favorite sales of the year, where I wish everything came in my size. Some of my favorite pieces have come from this sale which I’ll keep forever, even when they’ve been outgrown!

Beauty, MakeupRimmel Brow Shaping

scupltingkit_productWhen I’m doing makeup on the go (subway, uber, planes), I need products that are easy to apply but foolproof that don’t require a lot of technical prowess. One nifty little compact that packs a punch is the Rimmel Brow This Way to create defined and manicured brows by filling and shaping. There are two easy steps: first apply wax to shape & fix, then layer powder to set. I’ve even used the wax on its own before with good results. The formula glides on easily and blends well, creating a natural look. The mini brush it comes with includes ends for precise application, and I love how this tiny box fits into my makeup pouch with no bulk.

The kit is available in three shades- dark brown, mid brown, and blond, there’s no complicated color matching since these are meant to complement a variety of natural brows. I have black brows myself, and find that the dark brown blends without looking unnatural (I’ve tried jet black brow liners before and look like Cruella Deville). The result is long lasting and dependable. And the icing on the cake? It’s around just five bucks!

SkincareJuara Radiance Enzyme Scrub

juara_radianceenzymescrub_900x900So many of the best beauty products draw their ingredients and inspiration from exotic roots. The Chinese found that proteins found in egg whites tighten and hydrate skin, and Queen Cleopatra bathed in milk, honey and olive oil to soften and smooth her legendary skin. Juara is one of my favorite lines which incorporates extracts from fruits and plants from ancient Indonesian traditions. For its products, Juara draws on time-tested beauty rituals as well as current research and modern advances to make products effective and safe even for sensitive skin. I always gravitate towards products with a natural base and a long history, simply because the knowledge built up from hundreds of years holds much wisdom from utilizing nature’s remedies.

The Radiance Enzyme Scrub contains bamboo and Jojoba beads to gently and effectively remove impurities including dead skin cells, dirt, and makeup from deep down. Apple enzymes naturally soften skin by dissolving dead skin cells, and cinnamon fights bacteria and is especially great for oily skin. Only gentle to moderate pressure in circular motions is needed when applying to wet skin, as the beads are firm and substantial enough to do all the work. The formula itself is fluid and milky and does not leave a residue as it rinses off easily. Clove flower brightens and protects by inhibiting melatonin production, which is how those pesky dark spots appear in the first place. My skin tone was more even after settling down for 30 minutes following the scrub, and dry patches were virtually eliminated, revealing fresh skin underneath. I love the end result, which is smaller pores, tighter skin, and best of all, a natural glow. The scrub is part of my post-workout routine twice a week, and I love the feeling of scrubbing out all the toxins and giving my face a new start!

 

 

Fragrance, InternationalDolce Vita

dv-eds--flacon-_-packAnnick Goutal is a legend in Paris, both for the charming and storied life she led, and for her impeccable house of fine fragrances. She was one of those women whom I fantasize about spending a day in the life of. Before opening her boutiques in Paris and New York, the beauty wore many (chic) hats including pianist, international model, antique furniture shop owner, and mother. In 1981, Annick opened her first shop on the Rue de Bellechasse in Paris, and instantly those in the know with an appreciation for couture fragrance became clients. I instantly became obsessed with the limited edition summer trio of scents named the Dolce Vita. The deeply sophisticated collection is inspired by Camille Goutal (Annick’s daughter) in collaboration with DJ extraordinaire and creative director Cecile Togni. This tribute to Italy tells a story of an olfactory journey into parts of the beautiful country. Eau du Sud instantly captured my heart and is my personal favorite. Upon my first spritz, I was taken by the vibrant layers of the citrus perfume, making me reminisce about warm summer evenings I spent al fresco in Tuscany. I prefer scents that are less flowery but confident and unique, which powerfully envoke nostalgia while giving off hope, which is all incredibly captured in this elegant and classic bottle.

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Fitness & HealthFitness + Fashion

37810117-STAINED%20GL-a6a50224-This summer has been a diet-a-week for me, as I struggle to balance health and weight with a propensity to celebrate social occasions (aka weekends) with food and drink. It’s so frustrating when my favorite shorts from last summer are waaay too tight, and I feel tired and run down. After a stream of “quick fix” diets, I’m settling nicely into the infamous Whole30 diet which I’m combining with extra workouts sprinkled throughout the week. So far, it’s been great because I don’t have to starve myself, but there is time that goes into planning and shopping for meals. The workouts are tough but much more fun when I have new activewear, and I’ve been really hooked on Yummie by Heather Thomson! The quality and comfort of their line is steps above some other popular brands, and I can trust it to hold up while looking edgy. One thing I hate is accentuating my “fat pads” with unflattering thin or flimsy materials. I’ve never had that problem with Yummie, and the sweat-wicking fabrics keep me comfortable and supported during runs, burpees, and situps.

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Food, InternationalSummer Spread

green-jar-boxJust in time for festive summer gatherings to kick into gear, I’m perfecting some simple recipes to serve, from girls night to a Saturday picnic at the vineyard. My go-to ingredient to make any simple dish zing is Maille’s limited edition mustard with Rosemary honey, made in the Pyrenées Mountains on the west side of the French Mediterranean coast. The fragrant condiment is such a zesty treat for the tastebuds that I love spreading it on a hearty wheat cracker as a snack. I savor the flavors as they hit, from the sweet Grand Cru honey from bees pollinating rosemary grown in rich soil and of course the Dijon mustard base ferrying these flavors forward. I love the creativity the veteran French house has shown a seemingly simple condiment, and has elevated it in a way that showcases carefully sourced herbs and ingredients.

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Bath & BodyBudget Beauty

21532620Being on a budget does not mean your beauty regimen must suffer! I happen to love quite a few products that are effective and work just as well as the “investment” lines. One of my faves that has saved me a trip to the spa is the PediSpa Gentle Exfoliating Foot Mask ($9.99 for a pair), a foot exfoliate plus treatment filled in a pair of wearable and disposable foot masks for your feet. Key ingredients like chamomile and natural botanical fruit extracts help control callus build-up for visibly smooth feet within two weeks. A few days after application, dead skin will actually slough off on its own, sans pumice or a file of any sort! The first time I tried it, I actually forgot that I had done the treatment and a couple days later, was pleased to notice some dead skin rolling off (painlessly, I might add).

A tip on application- I would recommend treating this like a home-spa ritual- lie down, and do a mask at the same time, and relax. I tried to move around and clean up while wearing the masks, and felt a little sloshy and slippery. There was no noticeable discomfort, only some mild tingling while the formula did its job. I ended up encouraging my baby soft heels to reveal themselves by exfoliating a bit after I noticed the sloughing, which required much less force than without the treatment.

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