Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ugly Days Happen, and I Don't Care.

#NoMakeUp (and forgive the chipped polish!)

Most days I am quite lucky to wake up refreshed and feeling beautiful. I do not necessarily forego my beauty routine, but do not cringe as I look at myself in my bathroom mirror.  

And then there are days where I wake up on the wrong foot, resenting everything from the alarm of my phone to the light that filters from the blinds, and let this feeling ruin every single thing, whether it is some weird universe trick-playing, Karma, or my subconscious mind. I drag myself to the bathroom, where even a warm shower cannot soothe me, then realize that a pimple appeared on my forehead and my foundation won't hide it or even cover my skin properly. I start obsessing over facial hair that seem to have grown overnight. The bright fluorescent light doesn't help. And catching my profile in the mirror, I wonder if I should bond more with my Lebanese descent by getting plastic surgery all over. My hair is a dry, static mess, as if I never got the Keratin treatment that made it so silky and smooth this summer. As I dry my skin to get dressed, my thighs feel fatter than the day before, and all I see is cellulite.

And then I tell myself, fuck it all. 

When I am able to cancel all my commitments for the day and stay at home, I give up the idea of looking perfect for that day, and cuddle in my armchair with a fuzzy blanket, a cup of tea, opera, and a novel. Or Netflix. I declare that the ugly day will morph into a cozy one, where I am excused to fully relax and let everything go (Jesus, not that bloody song again! Predictably stuck in my head now... Arrrgh. #IfItIsNotOperaThenItIsIntellectualTerrorism). 
I don't care whether I look like a mess, my hair feels like straw, and my nail polish is chipped. No one is here to judge (not that I care much, honestly), and most importantly I am not judging myself today. 

Sometimes these feelings that something so trivial is so utterly wrong are a sign that we need to slow down, relax, and take the time to "faire le point", as we say in French. Ultimately, I know that the feelings of "ugly" will be gone at the end of the day. 

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Mad About McQueen

I'm not one to obsess over brand names for no other reason than the status symbol they represent, as I find this approach to fashion unhealthy. There's nothing I find more distasteful than flashy logos and items of luxury worn with little consideration towards the entire outfit. 
This said, there are designer that I admire and appreciate because of their significance in the history of fashion, and the true artistry of their creations. Among them is Alexander McQueen. The grand yet finely cut lines of the garments, the drama, and the darkness tell a story in each design. And I find that no other brand fits the colder months better, as the leather, wool, suede and dark satins evokes foggy and English landscapes and notes of Lucia Di Lammermoor. As to the ever-present skulls and bones, Shakespearian in their nature, they romanticize the approaching Halloween.
I have selected a handful of Alexander McQueen items that I would love to own.

9. Fur Fox Tail Charm

What is the designer house that inspires you? Do tell me in the comments below! 

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Monday, September 22, 2014

This Week

I hope you all had a wonderful. Mine was rather exhausting, so I was happy to escape to the Poconos mountains for the week-end. I stayed at the Chateau Resort in Tannersville, PA, a beautiful hotel that I do recommend. I visited beautiful and calm landscapes that were a welcome break from the business of the city. 
I also had the occasion to assist to my first-ever rodeo, which is not my favourite form of entertainement, I'll say, but still an experience to have once in a lifetime. In the midst of so much patriotism and religious display, I realized that having a Marriage Equality sticker on the back of my car, looking horrified at seeing a small cow being pulled with ropes from its neck and ankle, and speaking with an accent that is certainly not American did get me weird looks. 
And before any of you wonders, no, I was not able to catch the escaped cop-killing fugitive... 

As this new week is about to start, I look forward to re-attending a reunion of the francophone opera club that my friend has created, and going regularly to the ice-skating rink for a more interesting cardio session than the elliptical machine at the gym. Have I ever mentioned that I once had aspirations to become a figure skater? While I cannot do a lot of jumps and spins and all, I do feel quite in my element when I am speeding on the ice, so much that I used to go there to calm my nerves before any stressful event (for example, French baccalaureate exams!). 

Have a beautiful week!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall Beauty Essentials {and a happy acne update!}

As the weather gets colder and dryer, it is necessary for me to adapt my beauty routine to the fall. This year, I am looking forward to make more daring choices when it comes to make-up. As to skincare, my priority is to hydrate, nourish and maintain the healthy look of my skin. 

Because, dears, my skin has never looked better! Remember those pesky acne problems I always talked about? They're gone!

I've always envied women who wake up and do not need to spend thirty minutes in front of the mirror applying make-up in order to look presentable. Unfortunately, since my early teens, this was not a possibility for me, given my problematic, dry, acne-prone skin. Being a very feminine woman, I always felt bittersweet towards make-up and beauty, as I loved taking part in these rituals, but part of me wished they weren't so essential. Part of me wished I could go to the gym or the pool or even the supermarket without having to wear foundation, concealer, and powder or look scary. 

This summer, all of this changed. By some miracle, ten days into my trip to Lebanon, my skin became completely blemish-free, allowing me to not wear any make-up. And to think that two days before, I had consulted a dermatologist who prescribed me another round of Accutane. Luckily, I didn't have to think about how I would be allowed to take a six-month supply of the treatment through US Customs, as going through the treatment became completely unnecessary. 

I wish I knew what exactly caused that, if only to advise people who are struggling with acne, but I cannot say that I did something particularly healthy. I ate delicious Lebanese cuisine, hardly fat-free but probably organic and GMO-free, drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes much more than I do here. I cannot say it was the absence of pollution, but perhaps proximity to the sea? Iodine-filled air? Or... simply being happy and away from the stress of my daily life here? 

In any case, I am beyond happy to have this "new" blemish-free canvas, as it allows me to take even more pleasure in those delightful, quintessentially feminine beauty rituals. And at the risk of sounding superficial, I just love it when people tell me how much better my skin is, and how radiant I look! 

Here are the products that I have incorporated in my beauty routine for this fall.

1. MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Invisible Cover Foundation: As I said, I very rarely wear foundation now, but I use this long-time favourite to unify my complexion when needed. 

2. Rimmel London Glam Eyes Mascara: I change my mascara every three months, and the packaging on this one just seduced me completely. I'm a sucker for pink! 

3. ROUGE COCO HYDRATING CREME Lip Color Limited Edition: My lips get extremely dry in the fall, so I make sure to wear a hydrating lipstick close to my natural colour. 

4. Guerlain Khol for Eyes: This fall, I am determined to play up my eyes and make a tribute to my Lebanese roots by wearing black kohl, for that Oriental temptress look. 

5. Aura Cacia 100% Pure Essential Oil Calming Lavender: I've spoken many times about using lavender essential oil on my skin to treat acne and calm redness. I avoid using it undiluted during the warmer months on a daily basis, but in the fall I apply it at night to wake up with a calmed, brightened and unified complexion. I also use it in bubble baths, on burns and scrapes, and my oil diffuser.

6. Boots Botanics Organic Super Balm: This was a recent discovery from Target, and I love that it is not only very affordable, but makes my skin extremely soft (and not oily). I apply it at night, usually, but sometimes in the morning, when I feel that my skin is in need of a little more hydration. 

7. essie® Nail Color - After School Boy Blazer (0.46 oz): I know, I've been raving for ages about how I only wear red nail polish, and my Fifty Shades of Red, but this dark navy blue is the colour that you'll always see on my nails this fall. 

8. Burt's Bees Beeswax Hand Creme Almond: My hands get terribly dry in cold weather, and it doesn't help that I'm terribly OCD with dishwashing and need to wash everything meticulously in boiling water (I wish there were good dishwashers in this country, that wouldn't leave white residues on half-cleaned utensils... And faster trains. And the metric system while we're at it. Yeah, keep dreaming). So I use a thick hand cream that contains beeswax and slip on cotton glove.

9. L'Occitane 'Aromachologie' Repairing Mask: This summer, in Lebanon, I got a keratin treatment that took my hair from dry and damaged to healthy and shiny. It was extremely practical as I did not have the time to blow-dry my hair after spending the day at the beach all the time for it to look acceptable. In order to maintain this healthy appearance, I keep using sulfate-free shampoo and regularly apply a repairing mask. 

10. Spa WisdomTM Africa Shea Butter & Sesame Body Balm: Again, to avoid the problem of dry, flaky skin, that also bleeds profusely - I'm almost exaggerating - when I shave, I use the thickest, most hydrating balm available. Shea butter also helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks, which is good since I am also shedding off the pounds! 

11. Tresemme Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo: I have noticed that my hair is more oily now that, after the keratin treatment, it is no longer wavy. I try however to shampoo it every other day so not to fade my colour. This dry shampoo allows me to add volume at the roots. 

12. Dr. Bronner's Hemp Pure-Castile Soap Peppermint: I've used this soap for two years now, and in its many different scents (lavender, rose...). However, I find the tingling feel of a peppermint shower very invigorating on these cold mornings when you don't want to get out of your warm bed...

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Dessus-Dessous: Sultry Lingerie For A Small Price

When I lived in France, I loved going to Monoprix to hunt down stylish finds at small prices, which is in fact the favourite activity of the quintessentially chic Parisienne-on-a-budget. While I wait for a Monoprix to open on this side of the Atlantic, I enjoy shopping for inexpensive stylish clothes at Target. 
I like the idea of wearing sexy lingerie at all times (except for those ghastly five-days-a-month that every woman has to go through... #OurBurden #SoHardToBeUs #INeedAGlassOfRos√©), so the affordability is a rather important factor. 
A few days ago, I had an utterly harrowing moment where I was stuck in rush-hour traffic on Connecticut Avenue (is it just me, or people don't know how to drive here? Every single expat' I know seems to agree). So after that, as a reward for not figuratively murdering anybody with a hail of French curse words, I treated myself to some chic, sexy and inexpensive lingerie at Target. Here are a few of my purchases: 

Of course, no matter how much I got my lingerie for, I take particular care for it by washing it by hand with warm water and mild soap, and letting it air-dry. 

Where do you get your lingerie from? What are your favourite colours and styles? Tell me in the comments below! 

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